Posts Tagged“Summer”

Solutions Ice Ball Maker

Solutions is all about fun! We search far and wide for products that will help you make your life simpler and more enjoyable. From clever kitchen tools, to our popular Miracle Cloth®, and a large selection of rugs and doormats—Solutions has it all.

This summer, we’re really excited about one of our favorite summer topics, “Entertaining.” We found unique items that will set your home apart from your neighbor’s (unless they too, know about Solutions). Amy, Solutions Director of Merchandising, just filmed two exciting videos this summer. Check out Amy in the “Beat The Heat” video, as she shows off some fun ways to stay cool and refreshed on hot summer days. Enjoy the sunshine! See more entertaining must have items at Solutions >


The freshest foods, locally grown – what’s not to love about the Farmers Market? Try these tips to get the most out of shopping locally:

  1. Shop early for the best selections before they’re gone. If you’re looking for great deals, shop late – vendors would rather get rid of it then haul it back home, so discounts abound!
  2. Spare some change. Cash purchases are easiest at the Farmers Market, and your purchases will go faster if you have exact change (or close to it).
  3. Bring along a cooler. Keep a cooler stocked with ice in the car so your purchases stay fresh on the way home.
  4. Plan meals ahead of time so you won’t waste anything – but do leave room for experimenting. It can be fun to try a new fruit or vegetable!
  5. Ask questions. If you don’t know what it is, approach the vendor about it. They love to share their knowledge!

Here are 3 of our top harvest helpers, perfect for bringing home your Farmers’ Market purchases:

82744 Envirosax: Takes up the same space as a cell phone—just tuck it into your purse! But don’t hesitate to load up this tote. It’s more comfortable to carry than plastic, and the bottom won’t get soggy or tear out like paper. Made of lightweight but durable polyester, this tote has double seams so it’s strong enough to carry up to 45 pounds—great for trips to the farmers’ market.
86419 Folding Wagon: Wheel everything along in this big, sturdy wagon—no lugging bags or boxes. Potted plants, flats of berries or bags of soil all fit inside the roomy, 10” deep bed. The durable canvas fabric and patented steel frame make this heavy duty wagon a breeze to fold so you can easily fit it in the car or store it in a corner of the garage. Holds 150 pounds!
87040 Mesh Bags: Fill these bags at the farmers’ market or store, then leave your produce inside while you wash it…even store it in the fridge. Because air circulates, produce even lasts longer. Ideal for garlic, potatoes, onions, lettuce, grapes and more!

cooling fanDon’t want to waste money by running your AC all summer? Don’t have air conditioning? Here are 8 tips to help you beat the summer heat using common household items.

Turn off heat sources. Switch off your computer and lights when not using them. Instead of incandescent and halogen lamps, use compact florescent ones that produce less heat.

Alternative air conditioner. If it’s hot but not humid, place a bowl of ice in front of a fan. As the ice melts and evaporates, it will cool you off.

What’s the wind doing? If there is a breeze, try circulating air by opening windows on the north and south sides of your home or apartment. Block solar heat with white window shades that deflect the sun.

Traditional desert technique. If the air outside is dry and cooler than the air inside, hang a damp sheet in an open window. Any breeze passing through the sheet will be cooled by the evaporating water.

What to wear? Something loose-fitting, preferably of a light color and cotton, which will keep you cooler than many synthetics.

Quick fix. Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator, and use it for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.

Fan strategically. At the end of the day when your home is steaming with trapped air, try some nighttime ventilation to help cool you while you sleep. Face the blades of a window fan to the outside to draw warm air out of the house and pull cooler air in. A fan that is blowing in seems an obvious choice, but it’s not as effective as one blowing out.

Running a fan and an air conditioner simultaneously. If you turn your air conditioner to low, set a fan to blow air over you. The air conditioner removes humidity from the air while the fan helps move heat away from your body. Continue to save by turning off your fan before you leave, because fans don’t cool a room, they just make you feel cooler.


Last summer, we added a set of French doors that opened onto our deck. We loved them, but soon found that leaving the doors open during the summer months let lots of flies and other insects into the house. After looking at several ways to screen it off, we decided that the Instant Bug Screen could be the answer.

We took some measurements and decided the 40” x 80” Instant Bug Screen (Solutions product number 64236) would be a perfect fit. Soon, the long square package containing all the pieces needed to get the job done arrived: two sections of screening, a long rod to go across the top, and some sticky Velcro® tabs.

bodyessentials log
We all know it’s important to protect your skin from the sun. But yes, sadly, sometimes we forget wear a hat, or we’re out too long during the “danger hours,” or we don’t remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming.

So you have a sunburn – how do you find relief? Here are some easy home remedies that will help get rid of the burning, stinging pain of a sunburn:

Yogurt. Not just a great calcium provider, yogurt eases the pain of a stinging sunburn in no time! Simply apply a thin coating of plain, natural yogurt to burned skin.

Cider vinegar. White vinegar is too acidic, but cider vinegar does a great job cooling down an angry sunburn. Add a cup to lukewarm bathwater and take a soak in it, or dab it directly onto the burned area.

Tea. Pat small, burned areas on your face or the tip of your nose with a wet teabag. You can also use it as a compress on sunburned eyelids. For larger burned areas, brew some tea, let it cool, then dip a cloth in it and use it as a cooling compress on the burned areas.

Note: If your sunburn is severe enough to cause blistering or peeling, don’t use these remedies – consult your doctor instead.

At Solutions®, many of our team members volunteer their talents and personal time to worthy causes in the community. One such event is the Sand in the City sand sculpture competition, which raises money for a non-profit organization that uses puppetry to educate children on important issues.

After taking home three "Bronze Buckets" in as many years, the team earned top honors at this year’s Sand in the City. They walked away with both the "Golden Shovel" and the "Sandy Gavel" Judges’ Choice Award.

"Everything turned out really well," said Linda Hilbush, a web designer at Solutions. "We were pretty excited to find out that it’s the first year one team has won both those awards."

The team’s winning design, entitled "Pig Out," depicted a whimsical group of wily porkers attempting escape from the pen. Work on the design began in May, including help from an architect. A clay model was then created as a prototype. June found the team practicing creating the entire sand sculpture once a week in the Solutions parking lot.

"We wanted something that would appeal to kids and be immediately recognizable," Linda said.

The competition began at 10 a.m. on a hot July day amid the 450 tons of sand dumped onto Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. Each team was allotted a 14′ x 16′ platform. The first step involves positioning the plywood forms. Sand is then dumped into the boxes, mixed with water and pounded until packed tight. At this point, the forms are gently removed, and the real artistry begins.

"This year it was difficult in two different ways," said Mindy Bush, web designer and team captain. "First, it was a tall design and, second, it was pretty complicated with lots of detail."

All for a Good Cause

The efforts of the 21 teams participating go to benefit the Kids on the Block Awareness Program, which uses puppetry to teach children about health, social and safety issues.

"It’s really a worthwhile organization," said Mindy. "They teach kids about social issues that they don’t necessarily have an awareness of. Even kids who don’t need help benefit from learning about other kids and their lives."

The annual Sand in the City event helps finance the nearly 550 free puppet shows Kids on the Block performs for over 68,000 children each year in the area. In addition to being a fun, interactive art, puppetry can be a powerful educational tool for children, giving them a safe place to talk about their concerns and fears. Each year, hundreds of children are connected to appropriate support and services thanks to the shows.

"Community involvement is everyone’s responsibility," said Mindy. "This is one way we can do that that is also a lot of fun."

As Cheryl, buyer for Solutions, put it:
“Sun, fun and community support – how could I not get involved?”

The 2006 competition raised $120,000 to help finance programs to benefit 70,000 elementary school children in and around Portland.

The Solutions team also made and sold sand-dollar cookies to the 50,000 people who visited the sculptures throughout the weekend.

"It was a lot of hard work, but it was a lot of fun, too," Linda said. "I’d do it again."

Kids on the Block
The Kids on the Block Awareness Program-Portland is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit educational program that grew out of an award-winning international program created in 1977 by a teacher in Washington, D.C. Today, there are more than 1,000 Kids on the Block troupes around the world. For more information, visit