Our Favorite Maple Cookie Recipe – Fall Maple Cookies

Maple cookies, along with a warm drink on a snappy fall evening, are a delightfully decadent treat that will warm your heart. Our favorite maple cookie recipe is easy to make yet is complex in flavor. At its heart is its maple flavor through the addition of real maple syrup — a genuine North American substance that is made from the nectar of sugar maple trees.

Maple Syrup in North America

There are a lot of legends about how maple was first discovered; however, by the time the Europeans landed in the northeast section of the Americas, the Native Americans had discovered how to extract this treasured substance out of sugar maple trees. They shared this knowledge with the Europeans who, in turn, added their skills of storage and transportation into the mix to make maple syrup a big business that has spread throughout the world.

A New England Treat

Although the Canadian province of Quebec is the top producer of maple syrup today (6.5 million gallons per year), various other New England states and Northern Midwestern are known for their production as well. Vermont leads in American production, followed by New York, Maine, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Maple syrup production is a lengthy process: it takes about 43 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup. For this reason, many of the bottles of “maple syrup” that you see on the shelves of your local grocery store use imitation maple flavor in their recipes.

The Benefits of Maple Sugar

Although maple syrup is probably best known for its addition to breakfast foods like pancakes, French toast and waffles, it is also a fabulous choice to substitute for cane sugar in baking. Maple syrup has health benefits that other processed and refined sugars do not. Maple syrup is high in antioxidants as well as zinc, potassium, riboflavin, calcium and magnesium. Did you know that during the Civil War, Union households regularly used maple sweetener to boycott cane sugar? This is because cane sugar was a product that used slave labor in its production. Maple syrup has been used in recipes for centuries and can be used in main courses, soups, desserts and sauces. If you’re looking to substitute maple syrup for sugar, ¾ cup of maple syrup for every cup of sugar.

What Kind of Syrup Should I Use for Maple Cookies?

When you’re making our favorite maple cookies, be sure to look for real maple syrup — not just “real maple-flavored syrup” or other misleading wording on labels. The cheap “maple-flavored” stuff is a highly refined, highly processed food. Its main ingredient is often high-fructose corn syrup. Real maple syrup will cost you more because of its labor-intensive production. For each bottle of genuine maple syrup, thousands of trees were likely tapped, miles of tubing were installed, and thousands of gallons of watery maple sap were boiled in a process called “sugaring” to condense it to the product we all know and love.

So, be prepared to pay a bit more. Real maple syrup is worth it, however, even if it is a splurge. Save some of that real maple syrup for our delicious maple syrup cookies. This golden, delicious all-natural, vegan, pure and naturally healthy substance is a delicious addition to your maple cookie recipes.

Kitchen and Serving Essentials at Miles Kimball

Our maple cookie recipe makes about 60 cookies, so they are great to make and freeze or share with guests who may drop by in time for a fall afternoon treat. Serve with coffee or tea from accessories and tea boxes available at Miles Kimball. For classic percolated taste, consider a tried-and-true stainless-steel coffee percolator from Miles Kimball for perfect coffee every time. Use our Chef’s Pride Insulated Coffee Carafe to keep your coffee fresh. (Hint: Our carafes also keep hot water hot, which was quickly boiled up in our Whistling Tea Kettles by Home-Style Kitchen™.)

Maple Cookies’ Ingredients

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 cup real maple syrup

2 teaspoons Watkins Pure Vanilla Extract  

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

4 cups all-purposed flour (bleached or unbleached)

1/3 cup granulated sugar (for decoration)

Maple Sugar Cookies: Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F (or 175° C)
  2. Grease several cookie sheets with your preferred non-stick method (Hint: We love our baking sheet with red silicone handles by Home-Style Kitchen™)
  3. Cream butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl with our PosiGrip Stick Blender Set from Home Marketplace
  4. Add egg, maple syrup and vanilla, using measuring spoons and measuring cups, available at Miles Kimball
  5. Mix until well blended
  6. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together with our mini flour sifter by Chef’s Pride
  7. Stir into sugar mixture until well blended

At this point, some cooks have said that the dough is easier to work with if it is refrigerated for about an hour.

Shop Miles Kimball

Miles Kimball has all of the kitchen essentials and cookware you need to whip up maple cookies — or any other cookie, dessert or treat you prefer — in no time at all. We have a fantastic selection of silverware, silverware sets —even kitchen organization and storage products.

Let Us Know How Your Cookies Turned Out

Did you make our favorite maple cookie recipe? Do you have any tips or tricks to make our maple cookie recipe even better? Leave a comment below to let us know! We would love to hear from you.

Get Your Outdoor Furniture Ready for Fall

There’s a scent of smoke in the air from a nearby fireplace, there’s a slight snap in the evening breeze and pumpkin spice is on the menu at your favorite coffee shop. These events can only mean one thing: autumn is getting closer. September 22 will be here before you know it; although 2020 has been a strange year, time continues to march ahead!

Regardless of whether or not you’re happy to bring out the sweaters and think about those winter clothing essentials, fall is the time to do a bit of cleanup in your outdoor spaces. In fact, fall and winter preparation chores may have already been added to your to-do list to complete before that first frost. Luckily, Miles Kimball and Kimball Corner have compiled some must-do chores to get your home ready for the fall and winter season, including chores that include your outdoor furniture.

Clean and Cover Your Outdoor Furniture

The wildly fluctuating temperatures can be tough on your outdoor furniture, grills and outdoor structures. When these items (which are sometimes a big investment) aren’t properly cared for and protected during the winter season, their lifespans are reduced considerably. If you’re like most Americans and can’t afford to replace your outdoor furniture on a yearly basis, fall is the time to winterize outdoor furniture in order to extend its life.

After a full summer, your outdoor furniture and your outdoor rocking chairs may be ready to take a break. Clean these items thoroughly with a pressure washer or a garden hose before saying goodbye to them for the winter. Sweep off debris, add some gentle detergent to a bucket, scrub with a good water broom and then rinse well with water. Clean the cushions and wash the covers, if possible. If you’re lucky enough to have a designated space in a shed or a garage where they’re covered, this is ideal. However, patio furniture covers are also a great option if a covered space is not available.

Patio furniture covers are also great to use even if you have a covered space. They add a bit more protection to your patio furniture during storage. Miles Kimball has many different styles of furniture and equipment covers in high-quality vinyl and in a variety of styles, colors and shapes that will protect your outdoor patio furniture and other investments. Shop Miles Kimball for chair covers, grill covers, table covers, HVAC covers and lawn mower covers that will fit your spaces perfectly.

Clean Gutters

Leftover debris, leaves and nests displaced from summer storms can also be left over in your gutters and downspouts and can clog your gutters. Ideally, gutters should be cleaned twice a year — in fall and in spring. Clogged gutters can lead to wet basements, interior and exterior damage, mold growth and other undesirable consequences.

Whether you hire a service to clean your gutters or you choose to do it yourself, Miles Kimball makes cleaning your gutters an easier task. It’s important to have a sturdy ladder that can be placed on a solid surface (not on landscaping rocks, woodpiles or other moveable objects). Also, wear a long-sleeved shirt, work pants and high-quality garden gloves. Miles Kimball has some great options available in our gardening tools, such as our NFL Sport Utility Gloves, our Gorilla Garden Hands and our set of two Garden Hands™.

While you’re getting up close and personal with your gutters, it’s also great to inspect the fascia boards, your shingles and the condition of the gutters you’re emptying. Note any cracks, splits or damage. Gather your tools (gutter scoops, trowels, buckets, garden hoses, fire nose nozzles, spray nozzles). Pressure washers are ideal for this chore. Even better? Look for special garden hose attachments that are designed specifically for cleaning gutters. Miles Kimball has a convenient home and gutter flusher tool and a telescopic gutter brush that will help make this job more convenient.

Caring for Hoses and Outdoor Spigots

Cold climates can also mean winterizing your outdoor water sources and spigots. Disconnect your hoses and other fittings that are attached to your outdoor spigots. Now is the time to inspect these spigots and other fixtures for leaks or drips and to completely drain them. To do this, shut off the water line to that space and then let the spigot open until all of the water drains out. It is important to remember to close the spigot after this step. Cover your outdoor spigots with tight-fitting, outdoor faucet socks/covers, such as our outdoor faucet covers and faucet sock sets. These insulated covers contain Thinsulate® insulation that help save and protect your outdoor faucets from damage that can occur in cold weather.

Organize and Tidy Outdoor Spaces

Grandma once said that “everything should have a place.” When it comes to getting your outdoor areas ready for fall and winter, this saying has never been truer. Tidy your outdoor lawn equipment: bring these tools inside, organize them with our garden tool organizer or corner garden tool rack and keep them secure throughout the winter to extend their lives. Miles Kimball has a great selection of outdoor storage and organization items to help get your outdoor spaces in top shape. Protect your wood piles with tarps and our set of four tarp clamps to keep your wood free from moisture and bad weather. Shop bungee cords and bungee cord sets at Miles Kimball that are great for multiple uses.

Fall Prep is Easy with Miles Kimball

Getting your outdoor furniture, tools and home ready for the fall isn’t hard when you know where to look for the right tools to help you get the job done quickly and easily. Miles Kimball has unique fall preparation items and goods — as well as the best outdoor lighting, garden décor and more that’s great to enjoy during the warmer months.

Grandparents’ Day Gifts They Will Love

National Grandparents’ Day in the United States has been a relatively new addition to the parade holidays that are celebrated in this country. President Jimmy Carter signed the legislation that detailed the first Sunday after Labor Day as “National Grandparents’ Day” in August of 1978. According to the preamble of the statute, the purpose of the holiday is to “honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become of aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”

National Grandparents’ Day 2020

Because of the isolation that many of our nation’s elderly experienced during the long months of quarantine, this upcoming National Grandparents’ Day is even more significant. The COVID-19 quarantine may have directly affected your parents, grandparents or other elderly members of your family in many different ways. For this reason, it is even more important to acknowledge this holiday and make it a point to celebrate National Grandparents’ Day 2020. At Kimball Corner, we’ve put together some thoughts and ideas about some gifts that grandparents will love for the National Grandparents’ Day holiday.

Personalized Outdoor Garden Flags

Everyone loves personalized gifts; grandparents are no different! Personalized gifts offer someone an extra-special product and demonstrates that you put some extra effort and thought into their selection. With Miles Kimball, it’s easy to find personalized items that your grandparents will love. You can tailor your grandparents’ hobbies, interests and pastimes into this personalized gift-giving tradition.

For a grandma or a grandpa who love their outdoor spaces, our personalized outdoor décor, garden flags, wind chimes and planters are must-sees. Check out our personalized garden flags in several styles, including our personalized “Garden of Love” garden flag, our “Patriotic Fireworks” garden flag, our personalized “Frog Garden” flag, personalized “Grandma’s Favorite Peeps” Easter garden flag or the charming custom “Tweet Hearts” garden flag. These garden flag selections can be personalized to feature the names of grandkids, which we think will utterly delight all grandparents!

Personalized Home Décor for Grandparents

Home is where your grandparents’ hearts are, so a great addition to their home is likely something that they’ll love. For veterans, our Veteran’s Flag Display Case is always a thoughtful choice to give a grandma or a grandpa who served in one of the branches of the military. Family birthdays are meant to be celebrated and with our Personalized Dates to Remember wall hanging, your grandparents will never forget whose birthday is when. For a rustic table centerpiece, planter or home decoration, they’ll love our personalized wooden planter boxes. Choose from our “God Bless America” style or our “Family Name with Year” style. These versatile, high-quality personalized wood planters are a fantastic addition to grandparents’ home and will be cherished for many years.

Personalized Photo Frames for Grandpa and Grandma

Many grandparents love showing off their grandchildren with school and special occasion photographs. There’s always a place on proud grandparents’ shelves for another picture frame that highlights their pride and joy. What’s an even better way to show off the grandkids? With a personalized photo frame, of course! At Miles Kimball, we have personalized Exposures photo frames galore in all sorts of styles. From eye catching and vibrant to rustic and understated, there’s a photo frame for all interest preferences and décor choices.

Our personalized “Gone Fishing” frame celebrates the bonding time between grandpa and his grandson or granddaughter. Don’t miss our personalized shiplap “Grandpa” frame for a high-quality addition to any mantle, shelf or table. For the best grandma ever, our “I Made it Just For You” or our personalized “English Rose” style frame allows you to feature the names of the grandkids under your favorite family picture.

Photo and Scrapbooking Items

Our Exposures photo and scrapbooking albums are top-quality ways to organize and highlight the most special moments in life. We think grandparents will love one of these albums — better yet, purchase one of these high-quality albums and their corresponding pages to create a bespoke album that highlights a special moment, such as a golden anniversary party, a special birthday or a reunion. They’ll love these thoughtful handmade gifts that were put together with love and care by the people who mean the most to them.

Letter Writer Gifts, Stationery and More

Have a grandma or a grandpa who loves to write letters and send cards? Consider making a basket of personalized address labels and stationery items that they’ll be able to use throughout the year to communicate with loved ones all over the world. Our personalized name and address labels are always a fantastic idea and come in a huge variety of styles, including patriotic red, white and blue styles, garden-themed personalized labels and religious and faith-themed address labels that feature stunning scenes and vibrant, eye-catching colors. Grandparents will love our greeting and note card products, our 24-count all-occasion greeting card sets and our notepads. In the gift basket, don’t forget to add a smooth-writing gel pen and some stamps, too!

Celebrate Relationships that Mean the Most

National Grandparents’ Day is a way to highlight and celebrate the relationship that means so much. Make this day even more special with gifts they’re sure to love. Our personalized gifts are a way to say, “I love you,” even if long distances may physically separate us. Do you have any ideas for gifts to give grandparents? Do you have a special way you celebrate your grandparents for National Grandparents’ Day? We hope you’ll share your story, gift or idea by leaving a comment below.

Top 5 Baking Must-Haves – 5 Kitchen Essentials

At Miles Kimball, we know that buying the best cookware, bakeware, microwave cookware and cool kitchen gadgets can sometime seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together our favorites in these five categories that will help you get started in the kitchen on the right foot. Whether you’re looking for a useful wedding or housewarming gift or you’re starting out on your own and are stumped, we’ll help you navigate those often confusing culinary kitchen waters to help you find the most useful pieces that you should not be without.

#1: Cookware Must-Haves

Humans cannot live on takeout alone. Even if you’re experience in the kitchen is limited to fried or scrambled eggs, a frying pan or a skillet is a must-have in the kitchen. Skillets are even better when they come with lids. Miles Kimball offers many different styles and skillet products, including our set of three ceramic copper non-stick fry pans, our 12” ceramic sauté pan with a glass lid and our 8” ceramic non-stick pan. They can be used to fry hamburgers, make grilled cheese sandwiches, brown meat and more. They can also be used in the oven to make those super-convenient premade chocolate chip cookies.

To boil pasta, a lidded sauce pot or a stock pot with a lid is a must have. Shop our 8-quart stockpots or our 3-quart ceramic non-stick saucepan. To obtain just about everything needed in one fell swoop, we offer both eight-piece copper cookware and 6-piece non-stick cookware sets. These sets include just about all of the cookware you may need in the kitchen. Check out Miles Kimball for our cookware selections for additional accessories and items, too.

#2: The Best Bakeware

Even if you’re not planning on baking a cake or preparing muffins from scratch, having certain bakeware items on hand if you pick up a just-add-water or oil mix at your local grocer will be necessary. Cake mixes and muffin mixes are super-easy and can be whipped up in minutes, even by children, and make fantastic after-school treats or rainy-day snacks. They also are great activities to enjoy with kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews.

With our 12-cup muffin pan from Home-Style Kitchen™, you’ll be able to properly whip up some muffins or cupcakes from the comfort of your own home. And thanks to the red silicone handles, our muffin pans will be cool to the touch. Baking sheets are also an essential part of a well-stocked kitchen. Baking sheets can be used to make cookies and can also be used to bake meats, chicken breasts, veggies and more. Looking for something a little out of the ordinary? Check out our 10” fluted cake pan, which will transform the most basic cake recipes into an extraordinary creation.

At Miles Kimball, we have something that all bakers will enjoy, no matter how experienced or inexperienced they are in the culinary arts. For delicious baked apples, be sure to take a look at our set of two stoneware apple bakers. Simply core an apple, top with brown sugar, cinnamon, sugar and/or raisins and bake in a microwave or an oven for baked apple perfection!

#3: Microwave Magic

The microwave is a magic do-all in the kitchen. It’ll do everything from heat up last night’s hibachi dinner to cook eggs, popcorn and potatoes in minutes. Our microwave cookware is a must-have in any kitchen. Shop microwave corn steamers, microwave egg boilers, and our 20-piece microwave storage sets with lids. Some of our most popular items in our microwave cookware section are our microwave soup mugs with vented lids, microwaveable bowls with lids and our microwave popcorn poppers.

#4: Cool Kitchen Gadgets Galore

At Miles Kimball, we think that the best kitchen gadgets are not just fun — they’re necessities! That’s why we’ve stocked some of the best kitchen tools in the business that will help accommodate every cook. Shop kitchen utensils and holders that will help keep your items all in one place, like our personalized stoneware crock, our personalized spoon rests and our bamboo organizers. Spatulas are always needed in the kitchen, as is a good set of knives and utensils that will withstand the heat of skillets and frying pans. In our measuring, mixing and prep category, measuring cups are always useful in the kitchen — as are good measuring spoon sets. Don’t forget kitchen timers, some good stainless-steel colanders and a good cutting board. Choppers, graters and slicers are also essential. Check out our wildly popular ChopStir™ — a handy food chopper and stirrer in one. From apple peeler/corer/slicers to meat grinders, our kitchen gadgets offer something for everyone’s kitchen.

#5: Kitchen Organization and Storage

Clever kitchen organization and storage has become quite popular. Because of this, however, more and more organization and storage gadgets have come onto the market. Although we offer dozens of kitchen organization and storage items, we have some favorites. These favorites include our reusable plastic bowl covers in a set of 24, which make it easy to keep dishes, bowls and other serving items fresh with elastic covers that are a cinch to put on. Our square and round cracker keepers are great additions to your pantry and will eliminate those stale crackers that are opened and not closed tightly. From food storage containers and refrigerator organizers to freezer labels and storage, storage racks and bins, there’s a kitchen storage solution for just about every organizational challenge.

Miles Kimball

When it comes to must-have kitchen items, Miles Kimball has everything you need to create a well-stocked kitchen. Our website is always an adventure in shopping, and we hope you’ll take a moment to check out our many departments, including items for the home, holidays, personalized gifts, clothing and accessories, hobbies and books, health and beauty, kids, foods and candy and more.

Meaningful Handwritten Notes: From the Heart

There’s a lot of talk today about people feeling isolated, lonely and physically separated from family and loved ones. Because of this, it’s even more important to get back to the basics of communication. This means taking time out each day to let someone know you’re thinking of them by sitting down and writing a personal note, sending a personalized card or even calling them on the phone to let them know you care.

The Importance of Staying in Touch

The importance of staying in touch with others has never been more important than it is today. This means that honing skills like letter writing and personal note writing has become ever more important. Our selection of personalized stationery, note cards and other personalized items at Miles Kimball is a great way to get started. Start slowly by making a goal of writing one personalized note per week — it doesn’t have to be fancy, eloquent or expertly written. Just a quick “Hello, I’m thinking of you and I hope you have a great day,” is a great start. Tell your friend or loved one about the highlights of your week, something special that happened or something that made you smile. Has a cardinal couple been regulars to your bird feeder each morning? Did you enjoy the smell of the rain from an enclosed porch? Is a beautiful flower growing outside your window? The simple fact that an effort was made to stay in touch is often enough to make a world of difference.

Personalized Address Labels

Consider creating a basket full of personalized correspondence goodies from Miles Kimball to send to a loved one who is isolated at this moment. Include our personalized address labels, a set of new pens and some fun postage stamps that are in line with a particular interest of the recipient (such as animals, flowers or inspirational themes). Personalized address labels are a fun and easy way to add some personality to your correspondence and are easy to stick to your envelopes in seconds, saving your hand to write that personalized note inside.

Available in many different styles, colors and designs, our self-stick address label rolls are a delight to receive. Shop label and seal sets that allow you to decorate your envelopes with patriotic themes, holiday themes, religious themes to wildlife, animals and floral decorations. Adorn your envelopes with these labels, address labels, clear address labels and seals in colorful designs.

Personalized Stationery

One doesn’t need a special occasion to get a personalized note in the mail. In fact, we think that it is even more special to receive an unexpected note in the mail when you’re least expecting it. To be honest, the thought of heading to the mailbox to take out more junk mail and advertisements can often be a bit depressing. A handwritten note from a friend or a family member can uplift one’s thoughts and considerably brighten their day. Click on our personalized calendars and stationery to check out our selection of personalized paper goods and accessories, including our self-inking stamps. Add a pocket calendar to a “Thinking of You” card, add a personalized note pad or give someone a towel calendar that they can use throughout the year (and then add to their kitchen collection when the year is over).

Our personalized stationery is great to say everything from “happy birthday,” “hello,” “I miss you” or “hang in there.” Our high-quality note cards and personalized stationery products are available in many different designs and font styles — from traditional script to personalized home state note cards.

Seasonal and Holiday Cards

Of course, the holidays are a fantastic reason to send cards. Personalized Christmas and holiday cards are our specialty at Miles Kimball and our affordable personalized holiday and seasonal cards are not-to-miss sections of the Miles Kimball website. For Christmas and holiday lovers, nothing is more special that receiving and displaying their holiday cards. Luckily, we have a stunning array of holiday cards from which to choose. From religious blessing cards, nostalgic cards, whimsical cards and traditional cards to season’s greeting and nature scenery displays, there are cards that will satisfy every seasonal preference.

Office Organizers and Supplies

If you’re new to sending hand-written thoughts via the mail to loved ones, that’s OK. Getting in the groove with sending love to friends and family members takes just a little organization and will get easier with time. Until then, there are fantastic organizational tools that can help you get your thoughts, dates and supplies in order. For example, we offer a greeting card organizer book that allows you to organize a year’s worth of cards in advance so they’re ready to go each month. (Hint: Our greeting card organizer makes a terrific gift!) Other organizers and dividers can be used, such as our greeting card organizer with dividers or lined index stick-on tabs to help you stay organized, write notes to yourself about when to mail out your correspondence and more. From letter holder baskets and storage bins to magnets and multi-function pens, there is a great selection of office supplies and organization products to get you on track.

What’s Your Style to Keep in Touch?

Do you have a special tradition among friends or family that helps you all keep in touch? Has someone in your family made your birthdays special by always remembering them? What is something that is super-meaningful to you that you have received in the past that is a unique idea for a handwritten note? Whether it is informative or funny, let us know. Share your thoughts with us below.

Garden Flag Décor: All Season Charm

It’s no secret that we love garden flags here at Miles Kimball. In fact, garden flags and garden flag decor are some of our all-time best-selling items in our store. It’s easy to see why, too. These colorful pieces of fabric add color, whimsy and fun to a garden. What’s better is that they couldn’t be easier to include in your garden or backyard landscaping!

Many of our customers take advantage of the changing seasons, holidays and special occasions to swap out their outdoor garden flags. Continue reading Kimball Corner to learn more about our outdoor garden flags and how you can add some colorful fun to your landscaping, garden, deck or patio areas through the use of outdoor garden flags.

How to Install Garden Flags

All that’s needed, really, is a good garden flag pole from Miles Kimball and some imagination. Our convenient, easy-to-use metal garden flagpole fits our garden flags perfectly. The bottom stakes easily into the ground and the garden flag slides over the display. After that, the sky is the limit!

Where to Install Garden Flags

Wondering where to put your garden flags? Natural suggestions include adding them into your landscaping islands, including them in front porch areas, installing near patios and putting them near seating areas. For an outdoor lighting idea, an outdoor patio lighting idea or an outdoor lighting idea for the front of the house, consider using one of our outdoor solar LED lights to add some focus to your garden flag. Your garden flag will not only be a great addition to your garden’s daytime beauty, it will also be a focal point in the evening and nighttime hours as well! Add decorative garden flags to multiple places around your yard — even one of our personalized garden flags for an extra-special touch.

Spring Sunshine: Colorful and Charming Garden Flags

Spring is a great time to add some color to your garden. While you’re looking for easy flowers to grow for your garden, you can also incorporate one of Miles Kimball’s spring garden flags. Our spring garden flags add a pop of instant color to your garden — long before your first flowers pop up after a long, gray winter. We have a variety of fun and festive spring flags. Don’t miss our selection, including our personalized St. Patrick’s Day mini banner or our personalized St. Patrick’s Day garden flags, our Easter “He is Risen” garden flag and Easter Bunny garden flags.

Summer Sun Soaked Garden Flag Fun

Summertime sun means sun-drenched color, get-togethers with friends and family and more relaxed schedules that force us to slow down and enjoy each moment. Summer garden flags are beautiful ways to create some wonderful whimsy in your garden. Our delightful Happy Campers garden flag adds fun to your sidewalks or entry ways. Nothing says summer like a Mason jar full of vibrant, summery wildflowers. You’ll love our personalized Mason Jar Floral garden flag — add your name for a custom touch. For the greatest grandma, add our Grandma’s Garden of Love garden flag, which is personalized to feature all of the special sprouts in her life. Don’t forget to celebrate those summertime patriotic holidays! Show your allegiance to the red, white and blue with American flag-themed garden flags, our personalized Patriotic Eagle garden flag or our Patriotic Fireworks personalized garden flag.

Fall Festivities Garden Flags

With the end of summer, the earth’s colors turn from muted browns to brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. Many autumn-themed garden flags reflect these colors and are fun to swap out in your garden flag repertoire. Opt for fall fun garden flags that feature scarecrows, pumpkins, autumn leaf colors or fall holidays, like Halloween or Thanksgiving. There are so many fall garden flags to choose from — too many to choose just one. From our Autumn Greetings garden flag to our Happy Fall scarecrow garden flag, you’ll find a fun fall look for your landscaping.

Winter Garden Flags Wonders

Think that winter is drab and dreary? Think again! With winter garden flags, you can transform your outdoor areas to reflect the many festivities that wintertime has to offer. It’s natural to anticipate the holiday seasons, so swap out your fall Thanksgiving flag to a colorful Advent, Christmas or holiday-themed flag to kick off your outdoor holiday decorating scheme. From snowmen, snow and poinsettias to winter birds like cardinals and wintertime-themed garden flags, there are winter-themed garden flags available for everyone. Check out our Poinsettia garden flag, our Let it Snow garden flag and our welcome Snowman garden flag. When the holidays are over, Valentine’s Day can create some festive decorative color. Check out our Happy Valentine’s Day Mini Banner Valentine garden flag.

More Outdoor Garden Décor There have been so many great additions to outdoor décor in recent years. Outdoor décor, including garden flags, can really highlight your home and spotlight your personality. From outdoor lighting, garden and lawn figurines, there is yard decoration that will brighten up your space — effortlessly. Be sure to shop our outdoor décor and yard decorations, many of which complement our garden flag selection. For example, check out our yard and garden stakes. From 4th of July decorations to decorative plant stakes and decorative garden stakes, these yard décor items are easy ways to add some fun.

Stay Healthy and Hydrated This Summer

Ah, summer. It’s the time of year when we enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of the wonderful warmer months. It is also the time of year when increased outdoor activity means that we need to up our hydration game. We’ve all heard that we should hydrate well, particularly during times of activity. Staying hydrated for optimal health is easier than you think. Read on to learn more about hydration and your health.

Hydration and Your Health: The Facts

Water makes up about 60% of the adult human body. However, did you know that this percentage changes throughout our lives? In utero, our bodies are made up of 94% water; infants are 75% water. As we age, our body’s water composition changes: the average elderly individual’s water composition can drop to 50%. As we take a closer look into water composition, individual organs vary too. The organ in the body that’s made up of the most water is the lungs (83% water), followed by the muscles and kidneys (79% water), the brain and the heart (73% water) the skin (64% water) — even the bones (31% water)! Staying hydrated is vital for your organs to function properly. Hydration regulates your body’s temperature, acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord, helps with digestion, forms saliva and lubricates joints.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

We’ve all been told that we should drink about eight glasses of water per day; however, this is a myth. The truth is that our water needs change and depend upon a lot of factors. These factors include our activity levels, how much we sweat, the climate we live in as well as our overall health. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, need more water. Eight glasses of water or liquids per day a great starting point. Take into account your personal activity levels (and the other factors described above) when determining how much water to drink per day.

How Can I Tell If I’m Getting Enough Water?

You can always tell if you’re getting enough water by the color of your urine. Of course, if you’re rarely running to the bathroom to urinate (less than four times a day is a warning sign), you’re definitely not getting enough water. That said, the color of well-hydrated urine is light yellow. In addition to urine, your hydration level can directly affect how you feel. If you are mildly dehydrated, you’ll likely have a headache, have dry skin or bad breath, you’ll feel tired or you will be unlikely to focus. Sudden and unusual cravings for sugar can also mean that you’re dehydrated. This is because dehydration interferes with many of the body’s function, including its ability to gain access to those stores of glucose. More severe signs that you’re not getting enough water is feeling dizzy or lightheaded. You may feel increasingly thirsty; if you’re thirsty that actually means that you’re already a bit dehydrated.

What are Some Easy Ways I Can Up My Water Intake?

Luckily, it’s fairly easy to stay hydrated. Although good, plain water is the best, the good news is that many other things count as a liquid, including herbal tea, coffee, milk, soup, juice, smoothies — even fruit! Love watermelon? Cut up some watermelon and take advantage of this great source of water; make your melons fun to eat with our stainless-steel cookie scoops for some decorative and easy-to-create melon balls. All of these items can count toward your daily water intake. If you prefer, filtered water, check out our clear water filtration pitcher. Keep it in the fridge for cold, filtered water to sip on throughout the day in your colorful 16-ounce insulated tumblers. Drink your coffee or tea out of a special personalized mug. Miles Kimball offers our personalized tea bag mug or our popular personalized coffee mug. Have a favorite NFL team? Check out our NFL coffee mug from Miles Kimball. Freshly squeezed juice is easy to enjoy and helps with hydration. Our 16-ounce citrus juicer by Home Marketplace is a great way to enjoy fresh orange juice. Keep your drinks cold with ice cubes, made with our aluminum ice cube trays.

Do I Need Sports Drinks?

With their fun flavors, sports drinks are often a favorite among people — both young and old. These flavored drinks are made mostly with water. They are also enhanced with electrolytes (sodium and potassium), as well as carbohydrates, and may contain glucose, fructose or high-fructose corn syrup. Some of the newer drinks are enhanced with vitamins and protein. Some studies have shown that individuals who are continuously and vigorously exercising may lose a lot of electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium, calcium, chlorine, phosphates and magnesium). Electrolyte depletion can cause cramps and heat illness. If you are exercising in warm weather and are sweating a lot, these sports drinks may be beneficial to you. However, experts also agree that water is still the best solution for high-performance athletes. Electrolytes can be replenished without the use of those sports drinks, which may include added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Instead, opt for bananas, coconut water, dairy and avocado to replace your lost electrolytes.

Hydration and Health

It’s important to stay hydrated, and we’ve explored the ways that you can stay hydrated and healthy this summer. Do you have some tips and tricks that you’ve found to stay hydrated and healthy? What do you, your kids or your grandkids do to make staying hydrated for health fun? Leave a comment below to share.

Summer Garden Care

For avid gardeners, spring and summer are the high points of their year. These are the times when gardeners get to experiment with color, grow and nurture their outdoor plants and reap the rewards that can only come from caring for and tending to one’s own garden.

Gardening Tips for Weather Woes

From the time when those first tender new plants are planted to the end of summer, wild ranges of weather conditions can occur. These conditions can be particularly hard on flowers and outdoor plants. High winds, blistering heat, downpours and dry conditions can all affect how your garden thrives (or doesn’t thrive). Miles Kimball has some tips and gardening tricks for beginners — as well as for seasoned garden novices — that will help them get, and keep, their gardens in tip-top shape.

Pick the Right Plants and Flowers for Your Region

Although picking the right plants and flowers for your gardens, raised gardens, hanging baskets and planters may seem like no-brainers, these are quite often gardeners’ downfalls. It’s vitally important to take where you live into account. Have your Midwestern heart set on tropical plumeria, hibiscus or bromeliad? Planting tropical plants like these in places that don’t get enough humidity and sun is a surefire way to be disappointed. Instead, check out this USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This is the standard by which many nurseries and plants are rated and will let you know where your plants will thrive. A plant’s zone is usually prominently displayed, either on its container or as an information note added to the pot’s soil. This will let you its zone, what type of water level the plant needs and what type of sun requirements are necessary. If you’re looking for easy flowers to grow, it may be as simple as finding the flowers that are native, or at least conducive, to your agricultural zone.

Sun or Shade

When you’re determining how to plant a garden that’s best suited for your home and its environment, it’s also important to take your home’s sun or shade levels into account. As a rule of thumb and as a gardening tip, you should always remember these four facts:

  1. The north side of your house receives the least amount sun;
  2. The south side is always the sunniest and is often the hottest;
  3. The east side of your home is a space where your flowers and plants will receive the gentle morning sun; and
  4. Your west-facing plants will likely face the brutal brunt of the afternoon setting sun, which can be very hot in the summer months.

Plan your garden by first learning which part of your home faces what direction. It is also vital to consider the microclimates in your yard. Microclimates are affected by large shade trees, unique angles and other structures.

Miles Kimball makes it super-simple to find easy flowers to grow. Consider our roll-out seed mats that were designed by a horticulturist and are created according to their sun-loving or shade-loving flower needs. Shop our shady annual tree ring, shady garden roll out seed mat or our sunny tree ring. If you want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, check out our butterfly and hummingbird roll out seed mat. Love sunflowers? Planting them is easy as preparing your ground, rolling out our sunflower garden mat, watering and watching your sunflowers grow. Check out all of our plant and garden rolls for an easy garden to grow and to tend to.

Water Wisely

Everyone knows that all flowers and plants need water. However, watering your garden can be tricky. It’s often tough to know when to water and how much to water. Watering issues like watering too much, not watering enough and watering at the wrong time, can lead to poor plant progress. Experts all agree that watering in the morning is best for your plants. This is because the temperature is cooler: this gives the plants more time to absorb the moisture. Watering during the afternoon heat can cause water to evaporate quickly; alternately, watering at night can sometimes cause mildew. Remember that young seedlings and young tender plants need the most TLC, so plan on caring for your plants the most during their beginning stages.

Mulch

Mulch not only can make a garden look tidier, this extra layer of protection over the roots can help keep that summer heat at bay. A good layer of mulch also helps retain moisture, helps keep the soil cool, adds organic matter to the soil (mulch decomposes) and helps deter weeds. Garden tip: Adding three to five inches of organic mulch (pine needles, cardboard, wood chips, straw) will benefit your garden exponentially!

Crush the Competition: Weed and Dead Head

Weeds not only make a garden look untended, they rob your flowers’ and plants’ much-needed moisture. Keep weeds pulled. This, of course, is easier said than done. Weeds take advantage of the nutrients in the soil and often seem to grow hardier (and faster!) than your flowers or plants. A little weeding every day can greatly help your garden’s weed situation. While you’re weeding, this is also a good time to “dead-head.” This simply means snapping off the dried, spent or waning flowers, leaves or plants so your flowers can use their energy to produce new buds.

Miles Kimball has a great selection of lawn and gardening tools that will help you keep your lawn and your garden in top shape. Check out our folding garden seat, our three-in-one leaf race, our flexible fence edging and our extendable garden shovel.

Sit Back and Enjoy

Take time to enjoy your garden by adding some comfortable outdoor furniture, some bird baths and bird feeders and some spinners, chimes or windsocks, available at Miles Kimball. Gardens are hard work, but with our garden tips, you will see just how rewarding gardening can be!

Ideas for Gorgeous & Electricity-Free Outdoor Lighting

During the warmer months of the year, your yard naturally becomes more of a focal point for activity and entertaining. Gardening and watching your flowers bloom is an enjoyable hobby, of course, as you proudly behold your efforts lead to a gorgeous, colorful yard display. If you have young children, chances are they’re playing in the back yard, so you find yourself out there with them much more frequently. It can be so satisfying and pleasurable spending time in an attractive, well-tended yard.

When the sunsets and all is dark, however, we may not be quite as struck by the beauty of our landscape. Fortunately, thanks to today’s advanced solar technology, there are many exciting options and ideas for lighting the front of your house, deck, patio, stairs and back yard. Not only can you be creative, but you can add illumination without having to worry about electricity costs and hazards.

Outdoor Solar LED Lighting Basics

With the development of LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs, especially ones that run on solar power, outdoor lighting possibilities have expanded enormously. LED’s produce light through the use of a semiconductor material filled with electrons. When an electric current hits this semiconductor, the electrons move to fill electron “holes” in the material, and energy is released in photons of light. Basically, LED technology has made it possible to produce light using much less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

Outdoor lighting using solar-powered LED bulbs is comprised of a solar panel, battery, control electronics and a light fixture. During the day, the battery collects energy from the sun’s rays, which is stored in the battery. After the sun goes down, the electronics trigger charging to stop and the light to go on. The fixture will radiate light until either there’s no charge left in the battery, or the sun comes up.

With these lights, which don’t rely on electricity and therefore need no plugs or outlets, you can basically place them wherever you want that’s accessible to sunlight. Areas that receive several hours of direct daytime sun are ideal. Outdoor lighting ideas include using them to light the walkway to your front door, illuminate special features of your yard, or add of touch of art to your garden and patio, as discussed below.

Outdoor Lighting Ideas

1. Sparkling StringsSolar LED String Lights are an excellent way to bring more light to your yard and patio after nightfall. They come in an assortment of hues — many are designed to automatically rotate among a menu of colors — and are made with a weather-resistant battery and solar panel, thereby affording electricity-free outdoor illumination. When used as pathway lights along the walkway to your doorstep, they not only look elegant, but help make it safer for anyone visiting in the evening. They can also be used at the base of the riser or under the nose of any steps outside your door, making for a safer stairway climb.

Another way to add accents to your yard with solar string lights is to place them along the top railing of a deck, raised patio or enclosed hot tub. It’s surprising how much ambience is added by these softly lit strings when you’re enjoying a warm summer evening relaxing in your back yard.

2. Sophisticated Stakes – Another type of outdoor solar LED fixture that comes in a variety of designs — traditional, modern and everything-in-between — are stake-mount path and accent lights. With the versatility of these electricity-free fixtures, you can highlight just about anything you like in your outdoor landscape, including walkways, plant-bed borders, koi ponds, unique plants, outdoor sculptures or other artwork. Have some fun being creative and experimenting with lighting effects.

For those who like a more dramatic look, try installing solar-powered spotlights aimed at higher-profile features of your property, such as unusual trees, boulders, and large fountains or sculptures. Spotlights can be strategically placed in front of these structures to provide artistic silhouettes against an exterior wall, like the front of a residence. Other types of fixtures provide all the art themselves in the form of eye-catching, multicolored light displays.

3. Dazzling Drops – Try using strings of droplet-shaped LED bulbs to add a delightful, whimsical appearance to trees, trellises or pergolas. Most solar LED strings, including this type, automatically switch on at night and return to charging mode during the day. However, there are some that include remote controls to adjust brightness and timing.

4. White Light Warning – Besides being decorative and preventing slip-and-fall accidents, outdoor lighting can serve a very important security function. Illuminating areas of darkness deters thieves or vandals, who depend on shadows and low visibility to mask their criminal activities. With solar-powered LED convenience, fixtures triggered by motion detectors shine bright light on outdoor areas — which unlit, would leave you and your valuables vulnerable to theft.

Other ways to combine outdoor illumination with added protection against unwanted visitors are solar-powered fixtures made to deter nighttime animals or insects. Equipped with motion detectors and ultra-sonic frequency dischargers, animal-repelling fixtures discourage foxes, cats, pigeons, rodents and other animal trespassers using light and high-frequency sound. Solar-powered LED insect zappers concurrently emit white light to enhance visibility for people, and purple UV light to kill pests.

By exploring today’s outdoor lighting options, you can affordably highlight the most attractive features of your garden or patio. So, when blazing hot summer days cool down to more pleasant evenings, you can unwind on your patio surrounded by enchanting illumination. Better yet, share the de-“light” by inviting family or friends over for an evening get-together.

How to Pack for a Picnic with Essentials from Miles Kimball

It’s a gorgeous summer Sunday. Your plans to get some housework done today fade as soon as you look out the window and see the sun playing on the softly rustling tree leaves. No, this is a day for a picnic with your family. A few phone calls later, you have a plan to meet your sister and her crew at the park by a nearby lake. Now, the question is, what picnic items will you need? Fortunately for you, you’ve been a devoted Miles Kimball fan for years, so you have everything on-hand for a perfect afternoon outdoors.

Your Picnic Checklist

Because a picnic is essentially a “moveable feast,” your thoughts turn to the food you’ve agreed to supply: your famous potato salad, hot dogs and buns, and a cake (chocolate, your spouse has insisted). You head to the kitchen, and pretty soon, the whole family is down there with you, risen from their beds by the smell of boiling potatoes and rising cake batter in the oven.

In a couple hours, the food is ready, and the family is — well, on their way to being ready. Now for the “moveable” part of that feast you’ve prepared. You already have hot dogs, condiments and buns handy, and you pull out your Bun and Hot Dog Keeper Set, one of your first Miles Kimball purchases. Next comes that spectacular potato salad, the recipe for which you keep top secret. Into the largest of your cheery, summer-themed 6-piece Strawberry Mixing and Storing Bowls it goes. These bowls are perfect for picnics, with their plastic snap-on lids. You start whistling as you pack the picnic lunch. This is getting fun.

Now your cake is ready to frost, and your youngest insists on helping. You hesitantly agree, wondering how much of that frosting will go onto the cake versus into her mouth and all over her chubby little 4-year-old cheeks. Oh well. Once the cake is ready, you pop it into your Miles Kimball 12” Cake Carrier. Check.

It’s time to start packing up the car with the help of your spouse and oldest son. Good thing you purchased that trunk organizer last summer, which included a cooler to keep perishable items fresh. You know how important it is to keep food items cool in the summer heat, especially things like your potato salad. Hopefully your sister will also remember her picnic essentials, like that Miles Kimball Double Decker Insulated Food Travel Tote you gave her last Christmas. She loved it, of course, since you had it personalized with her name.

More Picnic Items to Have On-Hand

Everything seems ready, but you wrack your brain trying to think of anything else you might have forgotten. That’s when your little girl comes outside carrying her Melissa & Doug Cutie-Pie Butterfly camp chair, and you can’t resist sweeping her up in your arms and kissing her, she’s so adorable. The sight of her little chair also reminds you of a few more items for your picnic. You run into the garage and grab the deluxe picnic table cover with cushions, which will make it so much nicer for everyone to sit at those public picnic tables and benches, which can be so dirty sometimes. You know your niece Jenny will especially appreciate this, since she’s always excessively paranoid about microbes.

But wait. What if there’s not enough room for everything on one picnic table? Or worse, what if there’re no picnic tables left? What time is it? We better leave soon, you think, before all the tables get taken. Suddenly calm is restored as you remember you actually purchased two of those amazing red folding picnic tables from Miles Kimball a couple years ago, since they were so handy and reasonably priced. We can always use those, you think, if we miss out on getting a picnic table. Plus, we could set them up right on the shore of the lake, in any pretty, shady spot of our choice. You recall that the folding tables even have special beverage holders for your brother-in-law Eddie to put his favorite beer. Your heartbeat returns to normal as you fetch the efficiently compact tables. Thank you, Miles Kimball.

Un-Pestered and Grateful

Finally, everyone is in the car and you’re backing down the driveway. You decide to text your sister once more to remind her to get ice for the 5-Section Condiment Server she’s bringing. Your mouth is watering as you already anticipate a hot dog with onions, relish and mustard. Just as you’re pressing “Send,” an annoying fly lands on your wrist. Gross. But then, the one last thing you forgot flashes through your mind. Stop the car, honey. You get out and return to the kitchen, where you grab your Picnic-Size Food Umbrella. There is no way insects are going to ruin this delightful picnic.

Your kids laugh and play in the back seat during the drive to the lake. It’s one of those moments of joy and exhilaration, and gratitude is your attitude. You consider how lucky you are — a wonderful spouse and children, a beautiful day ahead, and everything to make it enjoyable with the help of Miles Kimball.