Pets of the Month

Say hello to this month’s featured furry friends!

Munch: This is Munch, and he is absolutely the best dog there ever was! I recently went though a very hard time that caused me to move from Idaho to Omaha. I really had nothing with me, except Munch. He went through a huge move with me, and hasn’t complained (that much) about it! Every time I walk with him outside all of the neighbors come running up to see him. Everyone seems to totally adore him, and he adores everyone too. He has made lots of new friends and is so happy to live at Alpine Village in La Vista, NE. Munch made this move so much easier on me, and I could never thank him enough. He is my family, and I am so lucky to have him.

Ginger: Meet Ginger, a 14-year-old tortoiseshell. I have had her since I was a little girl, and she has always been the greatest companion. She spends most of her time in boxes, laundry baskets, or hunting down pieces of paper/receipts. What she loves best about living at Claremont in Minnetonka, MN, is that she can safely go out on the balcony without me being afraid of her running off! She loves that she gets to see all kinds of birds and squirrels from our balcony window, something she did not always get at our last residence. You might even see her around the community as we occasionally bring her for walks with her harness!

Get these 10 Gadgets to Help with Your Spring Cleaning!

1. Eufy Smart Robot Vacuum: Want to keep your floors clean without lifting a finger? Let a robot do the work for you. Eufy is voice activated and works with home assistances like Alexa and Google. So, while your hands are busy cleaning your bathroom, let Eufy take care of your living room or kitchen!
Price: $244
Where to find it: eufylife.com

2. Paw Plunger: The Paw Plunger is a quick and effective way to clean your pets muddy and dirty paws after outside and before they make a mess in your home! The extra soft bristles quickly and gently remove dirt from between the paw pads and nails, leaving your pets with clean paws!
Price: $15 – $27
Where to find it: pawplunger.com

3. Alfawise Window Robot: You can’t always reach the high windows in your home, but dust bunnies can. These Roomba like cleaners use artificial intelligence to detect window frames and avoid obstructions. The robot uses suction to crawl on the window, wiping away dirt in those high places so you can avoid wobbly, tall ladders.
Price: $217
Where to find it: amazon.com

4. Aribelly Ball Cleaner (& cat toy): Tired of constantly cleaning up your four-legged friends’ fur? Get this colorful fur ball that automatically rolls around your home, cleaning up your pets winter coat. All you need to do is clean the furry cover and let the ball do the rest!
Price: $9
Where you can find it: amazon.com

5. SpotClean Pro Spot Remover: Vacuuming might get the dust and debris out of your carpet, but it’s not really cleaning it. SpotClean Pro is a portable carpet cleaner combines powerful suction, strong scrubbing action, and cleaning solution for professional cleaning results that remove stubborn dirt and super tough stains.
Price: $139
Where to find it: bissell.com

6. O-Cedar Mop and Bucket Kit: With the O-Cedar Easy Wring Spin Mop and Bucket System, you will enjoy an effective and efficient cleaning experience with little mess! Its triangular mop head allows for cleaning in hard-to-reach areas. The mop’s deep-cleaning microfiber removes tough dirt and grime!
Price: $30
Where to find it: amazon.com

7. Angry Mama Microwave Steam Cleaner: Need a quick and easy way to clean your microwave? Angry Mama steam cleaner disinfects and cleans the crud in your microwave in minutes! The steam comes out of mama’s head and softens microwave dirt and stains for easier cleaning.
Price: $10
Where to find it: containerstore.com

8. GermGuardian Smart Air Purifier: Sure, you can clean all the surfaces in your home, but is there a way to clean the air? Sure is! GermGuardian Air Purifier is an app-controlled gadget will help to provide allergy relief, fight germs, and monitor indoor air quality, keeping your home sparkly clean and happy!
Price: $145
Where to find it: guardiantechnologies.com

9. DrillBrush Heads: Some things you just can’t get clean by hand. DrillBrush power scrubbing brushes are the way to go for tough spots and corners you can’t reach, and they promise to cut through tub grime way quicker than scrubbing by hand.
Price: $15
Where you can find it: amazon.com

10. Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner: Your washing machine helps you clean your clothes, but what helps keep your machine clean? Affresh washing machine cleaner works with almost all washing machines, getting rid of odors and mildews, making sure your next batch of laundry is cleaner than ever.
Price: $11
Where to find it: amazon.com

Tasty Spring Time Recipes!

Looking for fresh new recipes for this spring season? Check out our list of what fruits and vegetables are in this spring to make these tasty meals, created with seasonal ingredients like zucchini, asparagus, strawberries and more! Happy Cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound asparagus (trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 5 ounces prosciutto, diced
  • 2 cups sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • 8 ounces grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Toss pasta with olive oil.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, roast asparagus, broccoli, bell pepper, and zucchini until flecked with dark brown. Set aside.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Saute garlic with prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes until heated through. Toss with penne, roasted vegetables, and Parmesan. Place in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until hot.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 2.5 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 8 strawberries, quartered
  • 2 kiwi, peeled and sliced

Directions:

  1. Mix together raspberry vinegar, raspberry jam, and vegetable oil in a small container.
  2. Combine spinach, nuts, strawberries, and kiwi in a salad bowl. Toss with raspberry dressing.

What’s in this spring?

 

After a long winter, there’s nothing more welcoming than the sight of spring’s first vegetables: Crisp lettuces, earthy mushrooms, slender spears of asparagus, leafy spring onions, fresh peas, and green beans, and piles of bright rhubarb join year-round staples like garlic and beets as well as winter favorites nearing the end of their season. Below is a list of fruits and vegetables to look for this season as well as some expert tips for buying the best of spring’s bounty!

  • Spring Peas: Peas should be tender and the pod plump.
  • Blackberries: Ripe berries are large, plump, and deeply colored.
  • Swiss Chard: Harvest leaves under 4 inches and when tender.
  • Strawberries: Berries will have an even deep red all around.
  • Celery: Ripe when the stalks are 6 inches in length and clustered together.
  • Parsnips: Roots should be 1 to 2 inches wide and 8 to 12 inches long.
  • Beets: Best when harvested young, smaller than 6 inches.
  • Leeks: Harvest when stalks are around an inch wide.
  • Oranges: Ripe when the fruit has a firm texture with thin, smooth skin.
  • Carrots: Mature carrots will have a firm and tender texture.
  • Broccoli: Ready when the buds of the heard are firm and tight.
  • Rutabaga: Ripe when it is smooth and has purple-tinged skin.
  • Cauliflower: Ready when the heads are compact, white, and firm.
  • Avocado: Ripe when it has a slight sponginess to it and is dark in color.
  • Raspberries: Ripe berries are plump, large, and brightly colored.
  • Peaches: Ready to each when the color is deep golden.
  • Mushrooms: Freshest right after the veil breaks open.
  • Asparagus: Ready when spears are deep green or violet tinted.
  • Brussels Sprouts: Ready when the heads are firm and 1 to 2 inches.
  • Rhubarb: Freshest when the stalks are at least 10 inches long.
  • Cabbage: The heads should be firm all the way though when squeezed.
  • Bok Choy: Leaves may be anywhere from 6 inches to 2 feet when ready.
  • Radishes: Fresher when harvested young, roots no wider than an inch.
  • Artichoke: Look for a firm bulb with tightly closed inner petals.
  • Lettuce: Leaves will be well-ruffled and deeply lobed when mature.
  • Plums: Ripe when texture is semi-soft has a deep, even color.
  • Zucchini: Will be a deep green and around 6 to 8 inches in length.

 

December Pets of the Month

Hi! My name is Fergie and I live at LionsGate in Lincoln, Nebraska! I am a domestic shorthair kitten and my mom adopted me in September from Capital Humane Society. I love to play with my feather boa and all my fun toys. I also love to explore and watch the cars drive by outside the window!

Hi! My name is Sherlock and I’m an 8-month-old Sheltie! My mom and I just moved into The Saxony in Dallas, Texas a month or so ago and it’s been great! We go on tons of walks now ‘cause there’s so much shade to stay cool and tons of bushes and green stuff that we get to sniff. When we’re not out and about, I love to sleep where I’m not supposed to (My momma says I’m mischievous! I don’t know what that means, though.) and play fetch with my favorite ball!

Think you have the world’s cutest pet and want everyone to know it? There’s nothing wrong with being a show off! Enter your pet in Richdale’s Pet of the Month contest for a chance to win a BarkBox or KitNipBox for your furry friend. Tell us about your furry friend and if he or she is featured, YOU win! Send pictures and a brief description to: TheLeaf@richdale.com!

Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
5 1/2 cups milk
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups good quality milk chocolate chips
Marshmallows and mini candy canes for garnish

Instructions:
1. Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a slow cooker set to low heat.
Let cook for 2 hours, stirring occassionally. When chocolate is fully melted
and the drink is hot to taste, it’s done!
2. Top with marshmallows and mini candy canes for some extra fun.
3. Enjoy!

Let’s Get Organized!

Is the clutter around your apartment driving you crazy, but you just don’t know where to start?

Keep in mind that it doesn’t all have to get done in one day. Take 30 minutes each day to tackle a small project and little by little the clutter will disappear.

Start by going through that stack of papers on your desk or kitchen counter. To make the process easier, make four piles – to file, to toss, to shred, to do – and separate the stack into each pile accordingly. Chances are you will end up getting rid of a majority of the stack. Create folders for the documents you want to file and the documents you still need on hand. Keep the folders in a drawer to keep them hidden or pick up a fun folder stand to keep on your desk as an accent piece.

Next, look around your apartment and see how you are storing things. Is there a better way to use the space? For example, that old coffee table, try replacing it with something that doubles as extra storage. Take all those blankets from the couch and store them in your coffee table; and all those miscellaneous objects on the shelves can be stored in baskets to make your space look a lot cleaner. This same technique works wonders for your under-the-bed mess. Get a set of plastic containers that can slide easily under the bed and presto, no more mess!

Oftentimes, bathroom cabinets and under the sink can be a catch all for cleaning supplies and other household items. An easy solution to this problem comes in an unobvious form. You may be surprised to learn that a simple item used to store shoes can also be used to organize all of your cleaning and maybe even laundry supplies. Hang a shoe organizer on the inside of a closet door and simply fill the compartments. Now, all of your tools for a clean apartment are all in one place.

Last, but not least, it’s easy to make extra storage with DIY shelves. Do you have more books than you know what to do with? Install a shelf in the empty space above your door and instantly you have a home for all your books or even decorative storage baskets! You can also use the empty side of your fridge by hanging a small shelf perfect for spices.

Can’t get enough of these organization tips? Go online and search easy organizing tips and you’ll have an endless supply of fun ideas to choose from! Happy organizing!

Recipe: No Bake Strawberry Pie Bites

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs fresh strawberries (diced)
Juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 or 2 boxes mini phyllo shells
Whipped cream

Preparation:
1. In a medium sized saucepan add the diced strawberries, reserving 1 cup.
2. Mash the berries with a potato masher until desired consistency is reached.
3. Add the lemon juice, water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
4. Stir the mixture together until the cornstarch is completely incorporated.
5. Turn the stove to medium heat, cooking and stirring the berry mixture until it thickens, about 8 minutes.
6. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the extracts.
7. Cool the mixture completely, then cover and refrigerate until cold.
8. Once the mixture is cold, stir in the remaining cup of diced strawberries.
9. Just before serving, fill each mini phyllo shell with a spoonful of the strawberry mixture and top with whipped cream.

No Bake Strawberry Pie Bites

What’s New in Technology?

Amazon’s newly released Echo Show is everything Echo users love about Alexa, but now with all the capabilities of a screen. This high-quality screen is combined with Alexa’s skill set to create a seamless interaction with the use of voice command. Echo Show is also equipped with eight microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation allowing it to hear you from any direction even if music is playing.

The Alexa Skills Kit now has more than 15,000 skills making it easier to customize and add skills. Updates have been made to optimize skills for the screen, allowing individuals to connect their smart home cameras, which gives them the ability to see any room by simply asking Alexa.

Echo Show’s optimized display and video interfaces make streaming videos quick and easy with the option to control playback with both voice and touch. The new screen also allows you to make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have the Echo Show or the Alexa app on other devices with video capabilities.

This new technology is also equipped with the powerful room-filling speakers, which makes listening to music even easier and fun! Stream music through Amazon Music or other apps like Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio with the ability to show on-screen lyrics so you can sing along with your favorite songs.

Be sure to visit Amazon.com to find pricing and to see what other cool features the Amazon Show has to offer.