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8 Uses for Pumpkins You Need to Know

8 Uses for Pumpkins You Need to Know

Halloween is right around the corner, so your neighborhood is about to become blanketed in Jack o’Lanterns. But a pumpkin can be used for a lot more than this typical decoration: here are 8 more uses for pumpkins you need to know.

1. Salvage the Insides

How does pumpkin pie, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cookies, or pumpkin butter sound? Delicious? Before you can enjoy any of those things, you need to salvage the insides of your Halloween pumpkin by whipping up some pumpkin purée. Chop your pumpkin in half, get a bowl, and scoop out the seeds and guts. Place your newly mangled pumpkin in a baking dish with the cut side down and bake it for about 90 minutes. You can freeze your pumpkin purée for several months, so you’ll have plenty of time to try out neat new recipes! If you need more detailed instruction, click here for a full guide to making your own pumpkin purée

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2. Separate the Seeds and Guts

Remember that bowl of seeds and guts you set aside? Get that bowl and separate the seeds from the guts. Rinse off the seeds and keep them in a zip-lock bag, because we’ll get to those shortly. Toss your pumpkin guts in a boiling pot of water and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Strain out the solids and preserve the resulting broth. Try to add your pumpkin broth to soups and casseroles to make them more interesting and seasonal.

3. Brew Up Some Pumpkin Ale

Do you like to brew up your own creative beers at home? Take a shot at pumpkin ale for a delicious seasonal treat. Perfect your recipe with experimentation over a few weeks before inviting over your friends for some football, when you can unveil your masterpiece.

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4. Feed the Birds

Your neighborhood birds would be happy to take some of that pumpkin seed off your hands. You could use this as an opportunity to buy or make a bird feeder to invite some beautiful new animal friends to drop by your house for a tasty snack.

5. Treat Your Skin to an Invigorating Facial Mask

Who needs to spend an arm and a leg for the spa treatment? Pumpkin pulp contains enzymes that can dissolve your dead skin cells, leaving you with smoother skin. You will also receive the benefits of a long list of nutrients that promote healthy skin including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, zinc, and more.

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6. Make Your Own Halloween Candy

Would you like to make a delicious (and healthy) Halloween treat? All you need is some pumpkin seeds and honey! You could also make some pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cookies, or pumpkin pancakes. Did your stomach just growl? Mine, too.

7. Plant Fall Flowers

Get a couple of large pumpkins, hollow them out completely, and fill them halfway with soil. You can then plant some colorful mums inside and put your festive decoration on your porch, walkway, or deck.

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8. Chill Some Beers

Find a large and round pumpkin that is shaped like a bowl. Chop off the top 1/3 and scrap out the insides. Put a glass or bowl inside the pumpkin cavity, fill it with ice and voila, you have an amazing beer cooler to show off to your friends for the rest of football season. If you’re feeling super festive, go ahead and buy a 6-pack of pumpkin ale to store in your pumpkin cooler.

Do you know of any creative uses for pumpkins that I didn’t talk about here? Please feel free to tell me all about your brilliant ideas in the comments. Also, in the spirit of Halloween, enjoy this clip from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” 

 

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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