Saturday Cleanings and Holiday Schedule 2017

Vibrant leaves, crisp air, pumpkin spice – the Holiday Season is upon us!

As you clean up after goblins and ghouls and start prepping for Turkey Day, here are the changes you can expect to Carpe Diem’s usual schedule.

Saturday Cleanings & Holiday Closings

Saturday Cleanings and Holiday Schedule 2017 | Carpe Diem CleaningThis year’s Saturday cleanings are available this year on

November 11th & 18th

December 9th & December 16th

Book your Saturday cleanings today to guarantee a clean home for the holidays!

…And don’t forget, we will not be servicing homes on November 23rd and 24th (Thursday and Friday), December 25th (Monday) or on January 1st (Monday). So if your regular cleaning falls on one of these days, be sure to contact us to reschedule.

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle | Carpe Diem CleaningIt’s almost that time again!  The 4th of July is always a great time to celebrate our country’s independence and the freedom that we enjoy year round.  What’s a better way to celebrate than by watching fireworks with friends and loved ones?

Today we’ll tell you where the best places to watch fireworks in the Triangle are so that you can pick the location nearest to you!

 

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Downtown Durham

Durham – Durham Bull’s Stadium

The Durham Bull’s Stadium will have fireworks after the games on July 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th this year.  Find this year’s schedule here.  Come out and cheer for the Durham Bulls (and Wooly Bull!) and stay after the game to see the fireworks!  The stadium will open to the public for free in the 7th inning, so if you’re not up for a whole baseball game, you can catch the end and still get a great seat.

 

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Kenan Stadium

Chapel Hill & Pittsboro – Kenan Stadium

If you’re in Chapel Hill on the 4th, head on over to Kenan Stadium, home of the Tar Heel football team, for the best seats!  Doors open at 7pm, and fireworks start at 9:30pm, and there will be a watermelon eating contest, face painting, music and more!

Check out their website for more information.

 

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Downtown Raleigh

Raleigh – Fayettville St.

Raleigh’s 4th of July celebration lasts all day long!  For a fun-filled day, come to Fayettville St. to hear music, watch street and aerial performers, check out the hot dog eating contest, kids’ zone, just to name a few.  This event will be held from noon to 11pm.  Fireworks will start around 9:30pm!

Find the schedule for the day on their website!

 

Make sure that you stay hydrated during these events by drinking plenty of water, and have a plan in place for parking your car before July 4th arrives.  Whether you celebrate 4th of July all day or just in the evening for fireworks, you’re sure to have a blast!

Commemorate Memorial Day

Memorial Day

The sun is shining, the mercury is rising, and strawberries are ripe for the picking! The month of May is a beautiful time in the Tarheel State, and in just a few weeks we’ll be gathering with family and friends to commemorate Memorial Day, which honors the brave men and women who have died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Celebrate with a Parade!

Celebrate with a Parade!

Memorial Day with Kids

Looking for ways to teach your kids about Memorial Day? You could celebrate with a parade, create a card to send to a soldier who’s overseas, or visit a local war memorial. Check out Military.com’s guide to Commemorating Memorial Day with Kids for a full list of activities.

Flag Mason Jars from "It All Started With Paint"

Flag Mason Jars from “It All Started With Paint”

Patriotic Crafts

Or maybe you’re looking for some fun DIY craft ideas to remember this special day, like these Star Spangled Patriotic Crafts from around the web. Classy and kid-friendly, there are plenty of ways to get your red-white-and-blue on!

Chile Lime Shrimp from "Fork Knife Swoon"

Chile Lime Shrimp skewers from “Fork Knife Swoon”

Fire Up The Grill

Planning a legendary cookout? Check out 32 Delicious Things to eat on Memorial Day for inspiration! The list is chock-full of crowd-pleasers like Roasted Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Sauce, Chile Lime Shrimp Skewers, Watermelon Feta Salad, and Mini Strawberry-Rhubarb Pies.

Red White and Blue Bark from "The Cookie Rookie"

Red White and Blue Bark from “The Cookie Rookie”

…And For Dessert

Whatever you do, don’t forget dessert! Try a new “flag cake” recipe, or branch out with some of these other Patriotic Treats, like Red White and Blue Bark, or All American Berry Buttermilk Shortcake.

Last-Minute Neighbor Gift Ideas

Looking for some easy, no bake, last-minute gifts for neighbors, teachers, mail-carriers or friends?  Look no further!  Here are the top ideas for gifts that you can whip together in no time.

Easy Does It!

Here are some super simple gift ideas that you can simplify even further.  Don’t have time to make tags for the reindeer noses?  Leave them out altogether!  Want to skip the sprinkles in the Christmas Crack Chex Mix?  Do it!

Mason Jar Reindeer Noses

Make these Mason jars of Reindeer Noses with Whoppers and red gumballs for the noses.  Just glue the antlers, googly eyes, and pom pom nose, and you have a cute, delicious present.

Don’t want to make your own gift tags?  These are elegant and simple and will go well with many gifts.  This round-up post includes templates for gift tags, gift card holders and even winter crafts for the kiddos in your life!

Sweet & Salty Treats

Christmas Crack Chex Mix - sweet and salty with a touch of peppermint!

Christmas Crack Chex Mix

If your favorite neighbor or teacher likes sweet and salty treats, then we’ve got you covered!  This recipe for Chex Mix Christmas Crack has Bugles, white chocolate, peppermint, and more.  Mix your dry ingredients together first, then coat with melted white chocolate, and let dry.  Break apart and give away in a cute holiday tin!
Love chocolate and pretzels?  Easily make this White Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel recipe by melting white chocolate with a little bit of shortening in a tall glass or container.  Dip the pretzel rods halfway in chocolate, sprinkle your favorite sprinkles on and let dry.
These classic Christmas Pretzel M&M Hugs can be made in 30 minutes or less.  First, line the pretzels on a baking sheet with the Hugs on top of them and bake.  Then put an M&M on top of each Hug and press down.  After they have cooled, put them together in a clear gift bag!

Fudge for All

Easy Salted Caramel Fudge | www.somethingswanky.com

Easy Salted Caramel Fudge

Love to make fudge, but want to give your recipients something they won’t get from anyone else this holiday season?  Try these three easy fudge recipes!

Use sweetened condensed milk to make the base of this easy Salted Caramel Fudge.  Then pour melted chocolate and sprinkle sea salt on top, and you’re done!
Want a holiday variation on an old favorite? Try this Chocolate Peppermint Fudge made with Andes Mint chips, and add sprinkles to take it to the next level.  Ready for something sweet that’s not chocolate?
This non-traditional Gingerbread Fudge will knock your socks off with molasses and seasonal spices.  Bonus points if you use a cookie cutter for that adorable gingerbread shape!

Gifts Ready in 5 Minutes!

Cinnamon Roll Neighbor Gift Idea

Cinnamon Roll Rollin’ Gift Tag

And, last but not least, here are the ultimate easy, last-minute gifts for that person who you almost forgot about…

If you want to give something a little less sugary that still packs an aesthetic punch, make a Clementine Wreath!  Simply lay out 6 to 8 clementines on a piece of cellophane, wrap up, tie together in a circle, and add a gift tag to complete the gift.

Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls, especially in the winter?! With the cute (& free) printable, you don’t even need to wrap this gift.  Your recipient can enjoy hot cinnamon rolls with minimum effort as a special treat either during the holidays or the first snow of the season.

So which gift (or gifts!) will you give this week?

Still need help getting your house ready for the holidays? We clean houses in Cary-Apex, so give us a call today!

Tips for Traveling with Kids

Traveling with Kids

Are you traveling to visit loved ones this holiday season with your children in tow?  Traveling with kids can be a daunting task, even for seasoned parents.  Here are some tips to keep the whole family sane and happy at the final destination!

almond snack white bowlPlanning your Travel Time

Pack snacks that you know your family members will enjoy.  Bring some healthy snacks (nuts, fruit squeezers, trail mix) and as well as some treats (cheese crackers, special juice, etc.).
Don’t want to entertain your kids for the.whole.time while traveling on a long road trip or cross-country flight?  Travel while they sleep as much as possible.  If your kids are light sleepers, then this tip is not for you.  However, if your kids are champion sleepers, try it!

 

ipad

During breaks, keep kids active!  Let your kids run around and get their energy out when stopping for food and bathroom breaks during road trips.  On flights where you have assigned seats, wait to board the flight until everyone else has been called.  Why be on the plane with small children 30 to 45 minutes longer than necessary?!  That way, they will be more tired and likely to sleep later on in the trip.

When flying, give toddlers and infants something to drink or suck on during the descent such as a bottle or a pacifier to distract them from their ears popping.  Have a snack, lollipop or gum ready to give to older children.

Use electronics as needed, and know how they affect your children.  Does playing their favorite iPad game wind them up or calm them down?  Do what works for your kids and family!

 

Assign a bag to each childtravel-bag

If you are flying, make sure that each child has their own backpack with their essentials in it.  This will keep them from having to ask mom or dad for anything that they need and will open up more space in your carry-on or personal item as well.   If you are driving, separate bags for activities and snacks ahead of time, so that you can pull out individual bags as needed.  Bring a cookie sheet for younger children to keep coloring books, crayons and small toys from escaping to the floor.

 

What to Keep On-Hand by AgeTraveling Night Road Trip

Infants & Toddlers – diapers, wipes, plastic bag for extra stinky diapers, snacks, 1 to 2 changes of clothes and small toys
Preschool & School-Aged – snacks, change of clothes, I-spy books, sticker books, drawing notebook and small toys, water bottle
Middle & High-Schoolers – water bottle, snacks, travel pillow, Mad-Libs, audio books from Audible or the library, extra charging device for electronics

Don’t forget that the things that go wrong often make the best memories!

Happy Travels!!

 

Fabulous Holiday Dinner Party

It’s that time of year again!  Whether you’re hosting a dinner party for local friends or out of town house guests, here’s a meal plan that will take the stress out of cooking for a crowd.   Having loved ones in your home can be a blast if you plan ahead of time, so check out this easy and delicious meal plan to help you enjoy your guests and not be stuck in the kitchen the whole time!

Starters

Pick up your favorite bottle of wine, or try this 3-ingredient Cranberry Vanilla Mimosa as a fabulous cocktail option!  Looking for a healthy starter? These adorable Cucumber Tomato Santa Hats are made with cucumbers, grape tomatoes and a mixture of Ranch dressing, cream cheese and mayonnaise.  Prep the dressing the day before, and assemble these the day of your party and keep refrigerated until your guests arrive.

 

Want a hot appetizer for your guests? Try heating up Martha Stewart’s Spinach Dip or this delicious Baked Brie Recipe with pita chips or whole-grain crackers.  To make the Baked Brie, spread your favorite jam on top of a wheel of brie. Next, wrap in uncooked crescent rolls, and bake on a pizza stone or baking sheet.  You can even put these appetizers in your toaster oven if you’re running out of oven space.

 

 

The Main Course

Next, chop your Brussel sprouts and prep your roasted thyme carrots to roast in the oven and mix up the seasoning for the pork tenderloin.  Cook the brown rice on the stovetop or rice cooker to go with the dinner.  While the tenderloin is cooking, put the Brussel sprouts and carrots on their respective baking sheets. Then, put them in as soon as the tenderloin finishes cooking.

Then, while the vegetables are roasting, the tenderloin should be able to rest so that the meat stays juicy and moist.  After 5 to 10 minutes, slice the pork tenderloin and dish up the Brussel sprouts and carrots.  Enjoy your easy, fabulous meal with your guests!

 

 

The Grand Finale

Finish the night by celebrating with a satisfying dessert!  Make sure to make dessert the day before your party or earlier that day so that it will be ready when it’s time for dessert.  Serve the simple, yet festive Eggnog Pie or the stunning Chocolate Peppermint Holiday Cake (use meringues from Trader Joe’s or your local grocery store to cut down on the prep time, or leave them out all together!).

 

Enjoy your guests and delicious food this holiday season!

Holiday Tipping Unwrapped

Tipping House Cleaners and Holiday TippingDuring the holidays we always get a lot of questions about tipping. Here’s the scoop on some of your most Frequently Asked Questions!

Q: Should I tip my cleaning team?
A: Tips are not considered mandatory in the house cleaning industry, but are nevertheless an important part of a cleaner’s income. House cleaning is both a personalized service and a physically demanding job, and is just as deserving of a tip as restaurant service or hair styling. Ultimately it is up to the client to decide whether to tip, based on their budget and the quality of the service they are receiving.

Q: Should I tip extra during the holidays?
A: Many clients choose to give a special holiday bonus as a “thank you” to their team, especially if they do not tip regularly during the year.

Q: What is an appropriate amount for a holiday bonus?
A: Holiday bonuses typically range between $25-$100 per team member. Clients should take into account the length of time that the team has been cleaning their home and the quality of service that they have received throughout the year.

Q: How can I get a tip to my team?
A: There are a few different ways! If you choose to give a cash tip, be sure to place it in a clearly marked envelope indicating that it is for your team. If you pay for your cleanings by check, you can write a separate check for your tip or add the tip to your regular check and indicate in the memo line that you have added a tip. If you pay by credit card, contact our office and indicate the amount that you would like charged to your card. Team members will receive tips given via check and credit card on their next paycheck.

Q: Due to a schedule change I switched cleaning teams halfway through the year, how should I handle holiday tipping?
A: Please contact our office if you have any questions of this nature (or want more information about your team, such as members’ names and length of time serving your home), our knowledgeable staff will help you to make an informed decision!

Holiday Schedule 2015

The Holidays are on their way!

Schedule your Saturday cleaning today!

Saturday Cleanings

Exclusively during the Holidays we break with our Monday through Friday schedule and make several Saturdays available for anyone to schedule a cleaning!

Both regular clients and new clients are able to take advantage of these special Saturdays.

This year we will be open for business on the following Saturdays:

Saturday – November 14th
Saturday – November 21st
Saturday – December 12th
Saturday – December 19th
   

The Holiday Season is one of our busiest times, so don’t delaying in contacting our office if you would like to schedule a cleaning for one of these Saturdays.

2015 Holiday Schedule

With the Holidays on their way, it’s time to announce our official Holiday schedule!

Due to the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day holidays, we will not be servicing homes on the following days:

Thursday – November 26th
Friday – November 27th
Thursday – December 24th
Friday – December 25th
Friday – January 1st
 

Rescheduling options are on a first-come, first-served basis. If your regular maintenance cleaning falls on a day when we’ll be closed, you’ll want to contact us well in advance to reschedule.

Commemorate Memorial Day

Memorial DayThe sun is shining, the mercury is rising, and strawberries are ripe for the picking! The month of May is a beautiful time in the Tarheel State, and in just a few weeks we’ll be gathering with family and friends to commemorate Memorial Day, which honors the brave men and women who have died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

 

Celebrate with a Parade!

Celebrate with a Parade!

Memorial Day with Kids

Looking for ways to teach your kids about Memorial Day? You could celebrate with a parade, create a card to send to a soldier who’s overseas, or visit a local war memorial. Check out Military.com’s guide to Commemorating Memorial Day with Kids for a full list of activities.

Flag Mason Jars from "It All Started With Paint"

Flag Mason Jars from “It All Started With Paint”

Patriotic Crafts

Or maybe you’re looking for some fun DIY craft ideas to remember this special day, like these Star Spangled Patriotic Crafts from around the web. Classy and kid-friendly, there are plenty of ways to get your red-white-and-blue on!

Chile Lime Shrimp from "Fork Knife Swoon"

Chile Lime Shrimp skewers from “Fork Knife Swoon”

Fire Up The Grill

Planning a legendary cookout? Check out 32 Delicious Things to eat on Memorial Day for inspiration! The list is chock-full of crowd-pleasers like Roasted Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro Sauce, Chile Lime Shrimp Skewers, Watermelon Feta Salad, and Mini Strawberry-Rhubarb Pies.

 

Red White and Blue Bark from "The Cookie Rookie"

Red White and Blue Bark from “The Cookie Rookie”

…And For Dessert

Whatever you do, don’t forget dessert! Try a new “flag cake” recipe, or branch out with some of these other Patriotic Treats, like Red White and Blue Bark, or All American Berry Buttermilk Shortcake.

Prepping For The Holidays

Wendy Clark shares tips with My Carolina Today

Wendy Clark shares holiday tips with          My Carolina Today

Preparing your home for the holidays and for houseguests can be a daunting task, lucky for you we’ve come up with a handy checklist to help you get your household in order. Click here for a printable PDF and here to watch Carpe Diem’s Wendy Clark share holiday tips with NBC-17’s My Carolina Today.

General

♦ Cover your bases! ♦

  • Carpets: if carpets have obvious stains, have them cleaned before guests arrive. If carpets are in good shape, wait until after the holidays so you can start the new year with clean carpets (we can help – that’s right folks, we clean carpets too!)
  • Nightlights: place nightlights in the rooms that guests will be using.
  • Sidewalk Salt: have salt on hand for your driveway and sidewalks in case there’s some unexpected weather.

Hospitality

♦ Happy houseguests make for a happy holiday – make sure everyone is comfortable! ♦

  • Sleep Areas: vacuum sofa beds and sofas, make sure all surfaces inside and out are clean. Put clean sheets and blankets on beds.
  • Towels & Toilet Paper: make sure that items like bath towels and toilet paper are available and easy to find.
  • Personal Care Kits: create care kits containing little soaps and toothpastes, pain reliever, and allergy pills if you have pets.

Kitchen

♦  Be prepared and let no guest go hungry! ♦

  • Food: clean out your fridge and pantry, then stock up on some basic foods in addition to your holiday meal shopping. Show your house guests what foods are available if they get hungry. If you have a guest with food allergies, make sure your buy foods which are appropriate for them.
  • Food Storage: buy some basic plastic containers or Ziploc bags so you can easily give out leftovers after parties and meals. These will also help for storing extra holiday food if you have a shortage of containers.
  • Labeling: make sure you have a Sharpie (or multiple Sharpies) handy for labeling and dating leftovers.

Childproof

♦ A word from the wise: always childproof BEFORE visiting children arrive. ♦

  • Electrical Outlets: make sure you have covers for all of your electrical outlets.
  • No Tinsel: do not decorate with tinsel as it is a choking hazard both for children and for pets.
  • Baby Gate: get your old baby gate out of the closet if there is an area that you would like to partition off from little people (or pets).