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    As summer winds to a close (remember: there are still 21 days AFTER Labor Day!!), we are all in a rush to get through our bucket lists. This summer, I had a variety of projects on my roster, including my easy summer recipes and beautifying my yard. They all got done. And how. But I knew there was one project I really wanted to do before the weather turns chilly and we all take ourselves indoors.

    That project? DIY Tin Can Lanterns.

    It's a project that has been making the rounds on Pinterest for good reason. They look so magical glowing in a walkway at night or hanging from trees. Like twinkling summer fairies, they're perfect for a barbecue or end of the summer farewell blast.

    For this craft, I gathered:

    Soup cans Markers Hammer Nails Candles (battery-powered for the kid-friendly version)

    After collecting my tools, I pulled my kids in to complete this craft with me.

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    Hard to believe since it's not even September yet, but Halloween is just around the corner. EEK! I can't help feeling excited as I think of all the decorating possibilities: the cute and creepy spiders, tombstones, and pumpkins. 

    We love all the fabulous Halloween ornaments we're seeing in catalogs right now. But if you're on a tight budget, you can still get some of the same looks without breaking the bank. You just have to be a little more clever and resourceful. 

    Here are a few ways to get a beautiful Pottery Barn-style Halloween look at dollar store prices.

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    If you've ever tried to fit a huge piece of furniture into a car, you will have some sympathy for these people. They were videotaped from across the street (thanks, nosy neighbor!) trying to shove a large, bulky sofa into the back of a tiny compact car.

    From the neighbor's vantage point a few floors up, it's quite clear that this sofa is never, ever going to fit into that car, no matter which way the couple turns it. And yet, they keep trying over and over again. (Oh yes, removing the cushions is definitely going to help. Eye roll.) It's exasperating to watch. But you gotta hand it to them, they are persistent!

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    Before even becoming a mom, one of the most common warnings you'll hear from other parents is how expensive it can be to raise children. As it turns out, they're right.

    Families who had a baby in 2013 can expect to spend on average $245,340 until the child is 18, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's just-released annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families. That's between $12,800 and $14,970 a year for a middle-income family with two parents, depending on the kids' ages.

    Angela Hawkins, 33, a mom of three in the suburbs of Houston, is living proof that the numbers don't lie.

    She shared her household budget with The Stir and estimated that she and her husband Shane will spend about $270,000 per child by the time they turn 18.

    "The figures can be overwhelming," Angela admits.

    So where exactly does all that money go?

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    If you have ever loved a dog, you know how much they love to wolf down whatever food they can find. And if you love ice cream, well, you know how hard THAT is to resist -- especially on these hot summer days.

    In this hilarious video that's been making the rounds, doggie brother and sister Cooper and Daisy went to the drive-thru window at McDonald's with Mommy for a soft-serve cone -- but only one of these cute pups was willing to share.

    Little Daisy starts licking the cone daintily, as Daisy does, and then, well ... what happens next is nothing short of hilarious. Talk about a surprise ending!

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    Saving for the future is always important -- and never more so than when you have children.

    But much like dieting or exercising, setting money aside may be good for you but isn't always easy or fun. Most people would rather talk about the next hot stock pick than about their will, notes Jeff Romond, president of St. George Financial Partners.

    But establishing a solid financial foundation should be a top priority when you're a parent. Even with the best intentions, it can be hard to figure out where to funnel those funds with so many choices available. But not to worry! We've broken it down for you. (You're welcome.)

    Here are 3 accounts every parent should have

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    Your front porch isn't only important because of its potential to lend great curb appeal to your home. It can also make or break that all-important first impression when new guests visit. And your deck can offer a much-needed "wow!" factor to an otherwise lackluster backyard. 

    With the help of a few simple items, the front porch and back deck can serve as welcoming outdoor rooms as well as an oasis of sorts during the mild weather months. 

    "It's really important that you think of your outside living area as an extension of your indoor space," explains interior decorator Ellie Mroz of Michael Robert Construction. "You should keep a cohesive feel and overall aesthetic between the two spaces so it flows well and you feel comfortable moving from space to space."

    Making the most of these areas may be easier than you think. 

    Consider adding one or more of these 8 features to reinvent your front porch and back deck!

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    So, you're looking for a house in the Detroit area because you hear they're ridiculously cheap. And this one catches your eye. It's probably a fixer-upper, but it's a 2,084-square-foot, 4-bedroom brick colonial -- for only $19,500! You HAVE to take a look, right? This is so worth considering. There's just one little thing. According to the listing, it was "previously a Halloween haunted house."

    No big deal, right? Yeah ... well, maybe you should see some photos first. Let's just say, the seller is "highly motivated" to sell but couldn't be bothered to stage the house.

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    When most people think of candles, fragrant and warm vanilla, berry, or floral scents come to mind.

    What you don't expect, and may not want to smell, are some of the wacky aromas captured in wax we found that mimic some rather strong odors.

    Here are 8 of the craziest candles scents you can find for your home. Don't say we didn't warn you!

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    Say ... how long have those chicken drumsticks been in your freezer? And that pizza? And the peas? It's easy to throw things into the freezer thinking they'll last forever. That's kind of the whole point. But my frozen fairy tale bubble has been burst: I've just found out how long foods really are supposed to keep in there.

    Guess what I'll be doing when I get home from work today.

    Yes, I'm afraid I have some cleaning out the freezer ahead of me. Can't wait! Ugh. Maybe you'd like a refresher too? Here's how long different foods really last in the freezer (at 0 degrees or below) without damaging the quality, according to FoodSafety.gov. Just note that technically, food will stay frozen and safe indefinitely. You just may not want to eat it once it thaws!

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