5 Tips for Carving the Perfect Pumpkin this Halloween

Spooky. Creepy. Goblins and ghosts!

The Halloween season is oh-so-slowly creeping upon us. A time for trick or treating and dressing up in the zaniest of costumes.

Although costumes and candy usually take center stage, carving a pumpkin is the perfect activity to squeeze in some quality family time. Carving the perfect pumpkin is all about having the right tools and a few ideas to give you the creative edge.

Here are 5 tips to help you out.

  1. Pick the Perfect Pumpkin: When picking out your pumpkin, be on the lookout for a solid, even-colored pumpkin. Pumpkins can sometimes be spotty and discolored. Try to find one that is as orange as can be! Also, beware of any soft spots. If you’re ambitious this year and want to do an intricate design, be sure to find a pumpkin that has a flat surface.
  2. Find a Stencil: Get creative this year and try something new! The same old silly Jack-O-Lantern grin could use a facelift. Here are some stencils that you can print out on your computer. Thanks, Better Homes & Gardens!
  3. Get the Right Tools: If you’re using one knife to carve the whole pumpkin, you’re doing it wrong! Here’s what you need: a serrated knife (that is sharp), a large metal spoon or scoop, and a few small pairing knives to get that detail you want.
  4. Preserve Your Jack-O-Lantern: There’s nothing worse (and sometimes silly looking) than a Jack-O-Lantern’s smile turning into a shriveled grin. This year, take a little extra time to help preserve your masterpiece. Follow these steps to make your Jack-O-Lantern live even longer!
  5. Light It Up, Without the Fire: Jack-O-Lanterns have traditionally been lit with candles. This year, go for one of those small, battery-powered LED lights. You can even find ones that flicker like a real candle! Be sure to check out your local Halloween or crafts store for this type of candle.
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5 Travel Apps for Your Trip to the Lake of the Ozarks

Remember the good ‘ol days of unrolling or unfolding paper maps? Well, those day are over for the most part.

Today, most of us have smart phones that allows us to navigate our way easily on any trip. Or even a trip across town!

Even though reception can be spotty at the Lake of the Ozarks, as long as you have a signal, here are 5 mobile apps that will help you out during your stay.

  1. Yelp: There are plenty of fantastic restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks — from BBQ to seafood, there’s something for every taste bud. If you’re not sure where to go, open up this app and search what’s nearby. You can filter the search by how many stars people gave the restaurant and by which type of cuisine you’re craving. Download: iPhone | Android
  2. GasBuddy: Looking for a gas station and wanting to save some money? GasBuddy is your new best friend to find the best prices at the pump. iPhone | Android
  3. Google Maps: This is a no-brainer for any trip. Google Maps seamlessly helps you get to your final destination. Either use it as a map or use the GPS feature to make it even easier to navigate the winding roads at the Lake. If you have an iPhone, you can also use their Maps feature. Your preference! iPhone | Android
  4. Travel List: Whether you’re going on vacation or traveling for a work trip, this app is your lifesaver! Never again will you forget the little things: your toothbrush, shampoo, that shirt you love. The app helps you organize and remind you what needs to be packed. This is perfect for those of you who are forgetful. 🙂 iPhone only
  5. Weather Channel: Wondering what the weather at the Lake of the Ozarks is going to be during your stay? Open up your app and add a new zip code: 65037. Once it’s add, take a look at the weekend, 5-day, or week forecast. Once you’re at the lake, begin your morning with taking a look at this app and plan your day accordingly. iPhone | Android

Finding Your Way Around the Lake of the Ozarks

We know the Lake of the Ozarks like the back of our hand.

However, when you’re headed to the lake and staying at one of our properties, we understand the roads can be a little tricky at first. When you book a stay with us, we’ll send you the physical address of the property you’re staying at, plus suggested directions.

One reason we do this is because GPS often doesn’t work that well around the Lake of the Ozarks. So, before you’re packed and backing out the driveway for vacation, keep these three tips in mind.

  1. Print Your Directions: Be sure to check through your e-mails, as we send the address, plus suggested directions. If you can’t access e-mail from your phone, simply print the directions to have on-hand. Printing is your safest best. Cell service can be spotty, depending on your service provider.
  2. Make Sure You Have the Access Code: The access code is crucial. This is how you’ll get into the property at which you’re staying. The access code will be sent to you in advance by e-mail. Go ahead and write that access code on your printed directions. That makes it so easy!
  3. Know Where the Nearest Grocery Store and Gas Station Is: This is simply a matter of convenience. We’re more than happy to help you find the nearest grocery store or gas station. Give us a call at 866-273-2169 or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Last but not least, here’s a Lake of the Ozarks area map worth checking out. Zoom in, look around, and orient yourself before heading to the lake. As always, please let us know if you have any questions!

Lake of the Ozarks: Travel Headlines You Might Have Missed

Happy New Year!!  A new year means making plans to travel!

Just like last year, we are going to provide you with travel tips and other information to keep you in-the-know with the latest travel trends.

Of course, we hope to see you at the Lake of the Ozarks this spring, summer, or fall!

Goodbye jet lag? New website offers free solution – NBC Travel Kit

The 10 most overrated tourist traps (and what to see instead) – USA Today

Can airliners really fly upside down? – CNN Travel

2013 Travel Prediction from an Airline Expert – ABC Explore

Richard Branson’s Travel Tips – Entrepreneur Magazine

For Travel Savings in 2013, Go Retro – Frugal Traveler

How To Deal With Holiday Stress

Baking. Wrapping. Buying. In-Laws.

During the holiday season, we should be enjoying delicious dishes and spending time with family.

Too often, however, the holidays can turn into a big cause of stress.

Author Deborah Schoeberlein has one tip that could be a lifesaver: breathe.

Sure, it sounds simple.  Like it couldn’t make a difference. But taking time to breathe deeply can be the perfect de-stressor.

Read about Deborah’s breathing tips here.

What stresses you out most during this time of year?

Lake of the Ozarks: Travel Headlines You Might Have Missed

Fall leaves

When taking any vacation, it’s always best to be prepared.

Vacation is meant to be relaxing!

Here are some great tips to make packing, traveling, and enjoying your destination headache-free.

7 ways to go local while traveling – CNN Travel

Fall is the perfect time of year for Leaf Peeping – USA Today Travel

Travel Tips for Women: What to pack for a weekend escape – 303 Magazine

Hunting season heats up – CNN Travel

Tips for traveling with infants – USA Today Travel

Tips for taking a trip with kids who need car seats – Conde Nast Traveler

4 travel mistakes women make when traveling solo – go Girlfriend

Hiking At the Lake of the Ozarks: What To Pack

Fall is the perfect time to hike the Lake of the Ozarks State Park.

While hiking is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable activities at the lake, “safety first” is always the mantra to keep in mind.

It’s more than finding the perfect walking stick!

Are you wondering what to pack for your hike? Watch this video below on how to create your hiking kit. Then, head on over to Wal-Mart or Target to get your supplies!