22nd Annual Oil Center Festival of Light

christmas lights

Looking for a festive way to kick off the Christmas holiday?  Bring your family to the Oil Center for the Festival of Light!

You and your loved ones will enjoy a magical evening full of music, food, shopping, and fun.  Take pictures with Santa, play in the (artificial) snow, and gaze at the beautifully strung Christmas lights on Coolidge Blvd.

The Festival of Light is one of Lafayette’s favorite holiday traditions.  Join in on the fun next Friday, December 4, from 5 PM to 10 PM in the Oil Center.  Admission and parking are free!

festival of light

4 Leaf Removal Tools that Clear Yards of Fall Debris

Just for fun, take an inventory of all the leaf removal tools cluttering your garage.

If you’re like me, you’ve got a half-dozen rakes of different sizes and materials, a couple of blowers in various states of repair, and a couple of infomercial gadgets that promise to make annual leaf gathering faster and easier.

In fact, you need only a few essential leaf removal items in your landscape tool collection to accomplish your autumn goal — removing the heavy leaves that smother grass and make your lawn a splotchy mess in spring.

oak leaves
Fewer gizmos and more elbow grease help home owners remove leaves and keep up with lawn maintenance, according to landscaping experts.

The reality is, you can’t avoid hard work when it comes to fall landscaping chores. There are some tools that will help us, but the best help is family and friends. The more hands, the better. Doing it yourself is daunting.

Unless you tether a mower to a stick and let it mulch leaves all by itself.

Whether you rake, blow, or tie a mower to a stick, you should remove leaves at least twice each fall.

Some people wait until every last leaf falls, and then they pick them up. You should pick them up throughout the season. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Here are four essential leaf-removal tools that’ll help you clear your lawn before winter sets in:

  • Rigid leaf rake. This plastic, fan-shaped rake is your go-to rake for collecting leaves. Pick one with a cushion handle and a 30- to 36-inch fan. Avoid the super-wide fans that can spread to 48 inches; they’re too big to rake between shrubs and in flower beds. Cost: $10-$20 (30-inch fan).
  • Leaf tarp. Instead of scooping leaves into a million plastic bags, rake or blow them into a big pile on top of a polypropylene leaf tarp. Then drag the tarp to the curb and dump. Cost: $22 for 12.5-by-10-ft. tarp.
  • Leaf blower. Select a two-cycle, gasoline-powered blower to collect leaves in tarps or blow them directly to the curb. If you have a large yard, buy a backpack model, which is more expensive but more comfortable than handheld blowers. Cost: 2-cycle handheld blower: $180; 2-cycle backpack blower: $300.
  • Yard vacuum. This tool vacuums, shreds, chips, and bags leaves and other yard debris. Once leaves are ground up, they’ll decompose quickly in your compost pile. Cost: $400-$650.

Wine Down Wednesday – Turkey, Pesto, and Cranberry Melt

Wine Down Wednesday Logo New
Is it really the end of November already?  Oh, how this year has flown…  It feels like just yesterday that I was getting my first dose of summer heat; now it’s nearly time to bring out those scarves and coats!
The holiday season is my absolute favorite time of year.  It’s the time when I begin to reflect on the past year and all of the accomplishments and good memories it has brought.  It’s the time where the whole family gets to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s a time of joy shared with the people you love.
And let’s not forget about the food!  I don’t know about you, but my family goes ALL OUT for our Thanksgiving feast. We spend hours preparing our meal to perfection, and we all bond through our teamwork.  All our hard work really pays off when we finally get to sit down and eat!  Thanksgiving surely is the cheat day of all cheat days.
After all that time spent cooking, there’s no need to worry about what’s for dinner the next evening.  We always have a surplus of leftover Thanksgiving food.  That’s why I fell in love with this simple recipe when I stumbled upon it! These turkey, pesto, and cranberry melts are a great use for that leftover turkey and cranberry sauce while still essentially eating something different.  This is the perfect meal to throw together after a long, successful day of Black Friday shopping.  Pour yourself a glass (or two) of Pinot Noir and relax, knowing that you’ve got another wonderful Thanksgiving in the books.
turkey pesto cranberry melt
  • 6 slices of roasted turkey breast
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tablespoons pesto
  • 6 tablespoons fresh or canned cranberry sauce
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, cut ½ – ¾ inch thick
  • Butter
  1. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Spread the pesto on the sourdough bread, and then add turkey breast, cranberry sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
  3. Place the sandwich into the skillet and let cook for a few minutes until cheese melts, then flip the sandwich onto the other side and repeat until desired color and look is reached.

Tech Tuesday – Automate Your Life with NFC Tags

Tech Tuesday Logo

There are certain things you do on your phone every day–check the weather with your morning cup of coffee, open up navigation when you get in your car, and set your alarm when you go to bed.  What if there was a way to automate these processes without having to go through your phone each time?

nfc phoneActually, there is a way, thanks to near field communication (NFC) tags.  Near field communication is exactly what it sounds like: you have to be in close range in order for it to work.  It’s essentially like wi-fi, with a much smaller range.  NFC tags are tiny stickers, key chains, or other trinkets that perform specific tasks whenever your phone comes in close contact with them.

How can you implement NFC tags into your daily life?  Program one to display the day’s weather forecast and place it near your coffee pot.  Your phone will automatically open up your weather app when you reach it.  Program another to open up navigation and place it on your dashboard.  Tap your phone on it and navigation will automatically open. Program yet another to set an alarm for the morning and place it on your nightstand.  The alarm will automatically set when you rest your phone near it.  These are just a few simple ideas…the possibilities are virtually endless!

Word Cloud "Near Field Communication"

Of course, as with everything, there is a downside: not all devices have NFC capabilities.  Not surprisingly, Apple devices are one group that does not support NFC.  Most newer Android devices and some Windows devices do. Simply do a quick search on your device to find out if it supports NFC.


NFC tags can be fun to experiment with and are pretty cheap!  Some may think that using NFC tags is lazy, but I see nothing wrong with making your day a bit smoother and looking tech-y while doing it!