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Sunday, February 2, 2020

How to of the Day

How to of the Day

How to Clean Reusable Straws

Posted: 02 Feb 2020 04:00 PM PST

If you're looking for ways to make your lifestyle more sustainable, try using reusable straws instead of disposable ones – they create much less waste, so they are much better for the environment. They are also a great option if you just like using straws and want to have one available wherever you go. While their narrow opening might make them seem tricky to clean, cleaning out reusable straws is actually a simple process. The best way to clean a reusable straw is by using a pipe cleaner or cleaning brush. But don't fret – if you don't have either on hand, there are other ways to clean out reusable straws that work just as well.


[Edit]Cleaning Reusable Straws with a Brush or Pipe Cleaner

  1. Choose a pipe cleaner or brush that fits into your straw. Many reusable straws come with little brushes that are specifically designed to clean them out. If you have one of those, great! If not, you can easily use pipe cleaners to get the job done. Make sure the brush or pipe cleaner is long enough to clean out the entire straw.[1]
    Clean Reusable Straws Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • If you are using a pipe cleaner that isn't long enough, try twisting 2 or 3 together to get the desired length. Make sure to twist them tightly, so they don't fall off inside the straw.[2]
    • Always use clean pipe cleaners.
  2. Add dish soap to your pipe cleaner or cleaning brush. Squirt a few drops of dish soap onto the pipe cleaner or cleaning brush. You can use whatever dish soap you have on hand, or buy any brand you prefer.[3]

    • Try a dish soap that contains natural ingredients if you are worried about ingesting soap residue.
  3. Insert the pipe cleaner or brush into the straw and scrub vigorously. If you're using a pipe cleaner, insert the pipe cleaner entirely through the straw until it comes out the other end. Pull it back and forth a few times to clean out any hidden material in the straw. When using a brush, insert it into the straw and vigorously scrub the brush against the inside of the straw to remove buildup.

    • You may have to work on each end individually, especially if you're cleaning a twisty straw or an L-shaped metal straw. If this is the case, do your best to scrub each section of the straw, working on one end at a time.[4]
  4. Scrub the outside of the straw with a sponge. While the main reason you want to clean out your straw is to deal with hidden residue inside the straw, don't forget to give the outside a quick scrub as well.[5] Use dish soap and a sponge to scrub the outside of the straw.

    • If you don't have a sponge available, just soap up your hands and scrub the outside of the straw with your fingers.
  5. Rinse the inside of the straw under warm water to remove the soap. Once you've scrubbed the inside and outside of your straw thoroughly, rinse it under warm water until you have removed all the soap residue – you wouldn't want to accidentally drink soap the next time you use the straw![6]

    Clean Reusable Straws Step 5 Version 2.jpg
  6. Place the straw in an upright position so it can dry completely. Standing your straw in an upright position will allow excess water to drain out, letting the straw dry completely. Avoid mildew by letting your straw dry before putting it away.
    Clean Reusable Straws Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Use a drying rack to help your straw stay upright by leaning it against the metal frame.

[Edit]Cleaning Reusable Straws without a Pipe Cleaner

  1. Run hot water through the straw as soon as you are done using it. If you don't have a pipe cleaner or brush, it is best to rinse out your reusable straw immediately after use. If the straw sits for too long, the liquid you were drinking will dry and cake onto the inside of the straw, making it much harder to clean. Rushing hot water through the straw immediately after use will clean it out nicely.

    • If you can't immediately rinse your straw, stick it into a water bottle and take a few sips of water. While this is not as effective as hot water, it is better than nothing.[7]
  2. Soak the straw in warm soapy water, then rinse it completely. Soaking your straw in warm soapy water will break up any material stuck inside the straw. You can soak the straw for anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Once you're done, run hot water through and over the outside of the straw to rinse our any loosened residue that might still be stuck in the straw.
    Clean Reusable Straws Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Try filling a large mason jar with warm soapy water and add the straw. Cap the jar and shake it thoroughly to help dislodge material. Then, rinse out the straw until all of the soap is removed. When cleaning bamboo straws, this is the best method to use.[8]
  3. Run the straw through the dishwasher. Most straws are dishwasher safe, but it is best to check the manufacturer instruction for the straw you are trying to clean. Once you're confident your straw is dishwasher safe, place the straw in the bulk utensil section and run the dishwasher.[9] When clean, make sure the straw stands upright long enough for it to dry out completely.
    Clean Reusable Straws Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • Stainless steel straws and glass straws do well in the dishwasher. Bamboo straws, on the other hand, should just be soaked and rinsed.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

  • Cleaning brush or pipe cleaner (optional)
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Dishwasher (optional)
  • Mason jar (optional)


[Edit]Quick Summary

How to Make a Grazing Table

Posted: 02 Feb 2020 08:00 AM PST

A grazing table is a lavish buffet spread of tasty snacks and treats for a party or event. The keys to a successful grazing table are having lots of tasty snacks and treats arranged in a visually striking way, with no empty space on the table. Choose foods with a variety of textures to give your guests different things to try and have fun with your arrangement! Your guests will love seeing, and eating from the bountiful spread on your grazing table.


[Edit]Choosing the Food

  1. Keep your food bite-sized. A grazing table gives people tons of options to choose from, so keep the portion sizes small enough to be eaten in 1 or 2 bites. That way, people can fit more of the tasty treats and snacks onto their plates and they can try a little bit of everything![1]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 1.jpg
    • You can always cut bigger foods, such as large cuts of meat, wheels of cheese, and loaves of bread into smaller, bite-sized portions!
  2. Pick cheeses with different textures to give people options. Select creamy, hard, crumbly, and aged cheeses to give your guests different textures and options to choose from. Different cheeses also pair well with different breads, fruits, cured meats, and wine, so having multiple option allows people to mix and match however they like![2]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 2.jpg
    • Examples of cheeses to add to your grazing table include: gouda, cheddar, brie, goat cheese, and gruyere.
  3. Select a variety of cured meats for your charcuterie. Charcuterie refers to preparing and assembling cured meats that people can use to pair with the other items on your grazing table. Give your guests options by having a variety of meats for them to choose from such as salami, prosciutto, ham, and bacon.[3]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 3.jpg
    • Other cured meat options include: capicola, soppressata, and pepperoni.
    • You can include freshly cooked meat as well, such as roast beef or grilled chicken, but make the portions bite-sized so people can taste them without filling themselves up.
  4. Use several different breads and crackers. Freshly baked bread and tasty, crunchy crackers are a must have for any grazing table. Give people a selection of both so they can choose the ones they like and use them to mix and match with the various cheeses, meats, and spreads.[4]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 4.jpg
    • Some breads you can include on your grazing table are: fresh baguettes, sourdough, and pumpernickel.
    • Tasty cracker flavors include rosemary, thyme, and black pepper.
  5. Add some fresh vegetables to your table. Pick out some small fresh vegetables such as baby carrots and cherry tomatoes that are easy for people to grab. Cut up larger vegetables like bell peppers and cucumbers into slices and bite-sized pieces so your guests can add them to their plates.[5]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 5.jpg
    • Slice up some tomatoes for your fresh breads!
    • Fresh broccoli and cauliflower are great dipping items and give people a healthier food option.
  6. Have both fresh and dried fruits. When your choosing your fruit, keep variety in mind, since people have different preferences. Fresh fruit such as pineapple, strawberries, and cantaloupe add delicious sweetness and texture to the food options on your grazing table. Be sure to include softer fruits as well, such as dried apricots and figs.[6]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 6.jpg
    • Fresh pears and apples adds crisp, crunchy flavor to your table while plums and raspberries add a soft and sweet texture.
    • Having compote or fruit spreads are also great additions to a grazing table. Kick it up a notch by adding a pepper jelly for some heat!
  7. Choose dips, condiments, and accompaniments to add flavor. Use small, items such as olives, fresh basil, or pickled peppers to accompany the other food items on your grazing table so people can decide if they want to add them or not. Select spreads and dips that people can use to put on their bread, crackers, cheese, vegetables, and any other items on your table. Be sure to have some condiments so your guests can fix their servings just the way they like it.[7]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 7.jpg
    • Popular dips you can put out include hummus, ranch, and spinach and artichoke dip.
    • Melted cheese dips are always a hit as well!
    • Pick out some mustard, honey, and a spicy hot sauce for your guests to use.
  8. Sweeten your table with some small dessert items. Choose bite-sized portions of dessert items that people can add to their plates as a sweet treat. Cookies, brownies, or cupcakes are sure to be a hit and won't overwhelm your guests' plates, or their stomachs![8]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 8.jpg
    • Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are simple and easy to make and will wow your guests!
    • You can cut a larger cake into small, bite-sized portions and stick a toothpick in them to allow your guests to get a small taste.

[Edit]Arranging the Grazing Table

  1. Choose a table or piece of furniture that fits the decor of the event. Opt for a flat, sturdy table that can support the weight of all the yummy treats you plan to arrange in your spread. Choose an attractive table with a smooth surface so you can arrange your spread.[9]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 9.jpg
    • A solid wooden table is always a safe bet to use for a grazing table.
    • Make sure the table is at a level where people can easily access the items. Don't use a coffee table or a tall work station table.
  2. Select an accessible location to place your grazing table. Choose a place that allows your guests to move about all sides of the grazing table so more people can access it at the same time. Make sure the table isn't blocking a walkway or isn't in the flow of foot traffic.[10]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 10.jpg
    • Avoid putting the grazing table against a wall or in a corner or you'll limit how many people can access it at one time.
    • An open kitchen area or a dining room in a home is great for a grazing table.
  3. Cover the table with butcher or brown paper to protect it. Use butcher paper or brown paper to protect the surface of the table and make clean-up a breeze. Using brown or butcher paper also adds a rustic flair to your grazing table, making your spread feel more like a bountiful harvest.[11]

    • If you don't want to use butcher or brown paper, choose a table cloth that fits the theme or decor of your event so the grazing table doesn't clash with it.
  4. Use different serving dishes to add visual elements to the table. Fancy wooden cheese boards, silver platters, and porcelain dishes will add striking visual effects and make your grazing table really pop. Choose dishes that also add to the decor of your table.[12]

    • Have a variety of different serving dishes and items to add to the visual effect of your grazing table.
  5. Place the cheese on wooden stands or cheese boards. Add layers to the grazing table by placing large hunks of cheese onto footed stands or thick cheese boards. Arrange the stands and cheese boards around the table to add some dimension to the table.[13]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 13.jpg
    • Elevating the cheeses makes them stand out, adds depth to your spread, and will make it easier to access the cheese.
  6. Surround the cheeses with crackers, bread, and fruit spreads. People often like to pair cheeses with crackers and preservatives or fruits spreads. Place them near the cheeses for people to add to their plates.[14]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 14.jpg
    • Crackers and bread also take up space and can be used to fill in gaps around the cheese stands and boards.
  7. Make piles of charcuterie and keep them together. Stack the ham, prosciutto, salami, and any other meats you're arranging on the grazing table so your guests remove the topmost piece and add them to their plate. Keep the meats together so people can pick and choose them from 1 location, rather than having to move about the table to select their meats.[15]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 15.jpg
    • Wrap some of the salamis around cheeses for a delicious combination!
  8. Add bowls of dip surrounded by dipping items. Place bowls of any dips or sauces you plan to serve your guest around the table. Arrange dipping items such as carrots, chips, celery sticks, and grape tomatoes around the bowls of dip so people can use them with the dip.[16]

    • Don't overfill the bowls with dip or condiments, you can always add more later if you need it!
  9. Put out attractive utensils for people to use. Place cheese knives, forks, spoons, skewers, and anything else people will need on the table. Keep the utensils near the items people will likely use them for. For example, keep the cheese knives near the cheeses and the spoons near any soups or dips.[17]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 17.jpg
    • Use ornate serving spoons, skewers, and other serving items to add a decorative flair to the table.
  10. Keep the plates, napkins, and utensils together near the food. Choose a section of the table or use a table or countertop nearby to stack your plates and napkins so people can easily grab them. Keep the utensils organized near the plates so your guests can select what they'll need.[18]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 18.jpg
    • Keep the forks with forks, spoons with spoons, and knives with knives so your guests can easily take them.
  11. Use decor to add color and to fill in any gaps on the table. Don't leave any empty space or it will take away from the visual effect of a bountiful grazing table. Use vases with flowers, greenery such as trimmings of shrubs, and any other items that can add a pop of color to the table while also filling in gaps between the items.[19]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 19.jpg
    • Be creative with your decor! For example, you could tuck springs of green plants under paper along the sides of the table to cover the edges.



How to Celebrate Groundhog Day

Posted: 02 Feb 2020 12:00 AM PST

Every February 2nd, the United States and Canada celebrate Groundhog Day to check up on Punxsutawney Phil and see whether he saw his shadow this year. Supposedly, if the Pennsylvanian groundhog sees his shadow, North America can expect six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't, spring is just around the corner. Learn how to observe Groundhog Day traditions, where to find Groundhog Day celebrations, and what to do if you want to host a Groundhog Day party.


[Edit]Observing the Day

  1. Read up on Groundhog Day history. Whether you research alone or with friends, learn about the origins of Groundhog Day. In medieval German culture, people believed that hedgehogs could predict winter if it saw its shadow. When some Germans immigrated to Pennsylvania, they brought this tradition with them but switched to groundhogs. The first recognized Groundhog Day celebration was February 2, 1887, when the town of Punxsutawney dubbed their groundhog Phil America's weather-forecasting animal.[1]
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • Groundhog Day history can be intriguing, once you study it. For example: did you know that during the Prohibition, Punxsutawney Phil supposedly threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter if he didn't get a drink?[2]
  2. Watch Punxsutawney Phil emerge from his burrow on TV. At daybreak in Punxsutawney, reporters gather around the groundhog's den to watch him emerge from his burrow. Get up early in the morning to watch this momentous event on TV. Be prepared for a long winter if he sees his shadow!
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • Call or email your local station if you're not sure what channel is broadcasting the event.
    • If you live in the eastern US coast, you can travel to Punxsutawney to watch Phil in-person at his burrow in Gobber's Knob.[3]
  3. Go on a nature walk. If groundhogs are native to your environment, go on a hike or trail walk and look for groundhogs (also known as woodchucks).[4] Go with a group and make a game out of who can spot the most groundhogs. If you can't see any, enjoy the fresh air and see if there really will be six more weeks of winter.
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • Visit your local zoo if groundhogs aren't native to your area. Call ahead to ask if your zoo has a groundhog exhibit.
  4. Play with shadow puppets. To celebrate the importance of Punxsutawney Phil's shadow, make your own shadow puppets out of paper. Outline your shadow puppet on a piece of paper, then cut it out and attach it to a popsicle stick. After you've created your puppets, put on a puppet show.
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • You could even make a puppet show about the true meaning of Groundhog Day.

[Edit]Joining Celebrations

  1. Ask your teacher if you can celebrate Groundhog Day in class. If you're still in secondary school, let your teacher know Groundhog Day is coming a few days in advance. Let them know how much you enjoy Groundhog Day, and ask them if you can learn about Groundhog Day as a class. Your teacher might even plan some fun Groundhog Day festivities, like making Groundhog Day crafts or watching Punxsutawney Phil on TV together.
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • If you'd like, ask your teacher if you could bring a Groundhog Day-themed treat, like groundhog-shaped cookies or Groundhog Day cupcakes.[5]
  2. Look for local festivities happening in your city. Some cities in North America have their own Groundhog Day celebrations. Depending on the town, they might have a parade, town festival, or live animal shows celebrating Groundhog Day. Contact your city government to find out about Groundhog Day festivities for times and locations.
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • All is not lost if your city doesn't celebrate Groundhog Day. Celebrate it with your loved ones or visit a city that has special events.
  3. Check out a groundhog lodge festival. Groundhog lodges are clubs in Pennsylvania that preserve German immigrant culture. Dozens of groundhog lodges across the state celebrate Groundhog Day with food, games, speech, and songs. Look for a lodge closest to you, and join in on their celebrations.[6]
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Because groundhog lodges seek to preserve the dying Pennsylvania German dialect, speeches will often be given in this language.[7]
  4. Visit Punxsutawney's annual celebration. Besides watching Phil leave his burrow, Punxsutawney also hosts an entire weekend of festivities. In the morning, town citizens gather for an annual breakfast. A celebration tent in the center of town hosts fun activities, like a cornhole tournament and top hat decorating contest. Then, in the evening, you can join the Groundhog Ball at the local country club.[8]
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 8.jpg
    • In the off-season, Punxsutawney also hosts a wine festival where Punxsutawney Phil makes a special appearance.[9]

[Edit]Hosting a Party

  1. Decorate your house in a forest theme. To set the mood for your party, make your home look like the Punxsutawney forest. Cut out pine trees from butcher paper and hang them up on the wall. Use flowers or pinecones as a table centerpiece. You could even have your party outdoors to really set the mood.
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 9.jpg
    • Alternatively, you could separate a room into winter and spring decorations to represent Punxsutawney Phil's big moment.[10]
  2. Ask guests to come dressed in costume. Your guests don't necessarily have to come dressed up as groundhogs. Instead, ask them to come dressed as their favorite woodland animal. If your guests are not as passionate about groundhogs, they could come as a deer, bear, fox, wolf, or owl.
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 10.jpg
  3. Watch the 1993 film Groundhog Day. Bill Murray's Groundhog Day features a weatherman who must experience the same day over and over until he learns a valuable lesson. Since Groundhog Day thrust the holiday into popular culture, there's no better movie to show at your party. Snuggle up with your friends and a bowl of popcorn, and have a good laugh together.[11]
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 13.jpg
    • If you do not want to watch Groundhog Day, you could watch a nature documentary on groundhogs instead.
  4. Create your own groundhog masks. For a fun party craft, make groundhog masks out of cardstock. Draw your outline on the cardstock, then cut it out with a sharp pair of scissors. Color your mask with markers, paints, or crayons, then attach ribbon to the sides. You and your guests can now celebrate Groundhog Day in style.[12]
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 12.jpg
    • As an alternative, you could make animal masks to complement your guests' costumes.
  5. Bake Groundhog Day treats. No party is complete without treats. You could make traditional Groundhog Day cookies (popularized on the official Punxsutawney website), or you could make a festive cake.[13] Because groundhogs eat vegetation, you could also leave out a veggie tray or fruit bowl.
    Celebrate Groundhog Day Step 11.jpg


  • Groundhogs are also known as whistling pigs, woodchucks, and thickwood badger. Its scientific name is marmota monax.
  • Celebrating Groundhog Day is most fun with kids. Help your children or younger siblings with fun activities and teach them about the Groundhog Day tradition.
  • If you want to visit Punxsutawney, you will need to make travel reservations in advance.
  • Wear a light jacket if you go on a nature walk or watch Punxsutawney Phil outdoors. You don't want to catch a cold from the chilly winter weather if Phil does see his shadow this year!


[Edit]Quick Summary

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