Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Last Minute Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. You've thought of everything - the menu, the guests, the music, the centerpiece? If you're not sure how to dress up your Thanksgiving table here are a few quick ways to make a big impression!

Make use of some items you probably already have around the house - candles, fake leaves and a chalkboard!

Incorporate your Halloween decor in a new way - spray paint pumpkins a shiny gold to dress up your holiday tablescape.

Get the kids involved by making a gratitude tree.

However you decorate have a very Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Talking Turkey about Energy

Amid all the preparations for Thanksgiving - the food, the decorations, the guest list - it's easy to overlook minimizing your energy costs.  There are ways to use less energy and work for efficiently while cooking and preparing the many side dishes, helping to save a little money this holiday season!
Cooking:- Use the smallest pot or pan to cook your food - it will use less energy and speed up cooking time- Always use a lid on your pots or pans - it can save up to three times the amount of energy used without one- Glass and ceramic pans heat up quicker than metal pans- Don't open the oven to check on your food - you can lose up to 25 degrees of heat each time- Utilize smaller appliances like convection ovens, crock pots and microwaves- Turn the oven off 10 minutes before the meal is done - the leftover heat will be enough to finish cooking
Other Tips:- Rinse dishes with cold water instead of hot- Keep drinks in a cooler to keep guests from opening and closing the refrigerator all night- Turn your heat down in the house to 68 and let the extra heat from the kitchen warm you up- Don't pack your refrigerator too full of leftovers or it will have to work harder to keep cool

Do you have any tips to save energy during your Thanksgiving prep?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Create the Perfect Space for Guests

The holiday season is in full swing! For many people that means entertaining family and friends - sometimes overnight!

Here are some tips to prepare the perfect guest room.

1. Freshly launder your sheets - even if they haven't been slept in, it will add a nice touch to have a the fresh scent of clean and aired out sheets.

2. Provide the best sleep environment possible. This includes extra blankets and a box fan - accommodating for any temperature preference.

3. Anticipate your guest's needs so they don't have to ask. Provide bottled water, reading material and extra hangers. Have an alarm clock available so guests don't have to ask for a wake-up.

4. If you don't have a full time guest room - no problem. If your guest room doubles as an office or play room clear out the clutter before your company arrives.

5. For extra touches to really wow your guests add fresh flowers, provide your wi-fi password and include a basket of seasonal snacks!

What do you do to prepare for guests? Any tips and tricks to share?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Larger Homes on Smaller Lots?

The housing market continues to change and adapt as the wants and needs of consumers change. Since the late 1990's the trend towards larger homes on smaller lots has been developing.  Zillow's latest research helps to quantify this change.

The median size of homes increased by 24%, from 2100 square feet to 2600 square feet. At the same time, the average lot size has shrunk about 10%.

There are a few reasons for this change.  Home buyers are looking for more space - specifically an increased number of bedrooms and bathrooms.  They are also looking for locations convenient to work and recreation. These locations often come at a premium. A smaller size lot allows for a compromise between cost and desirability.

Zillow's latest research also showed the average length of time for a new single-family home to sell is about two months after the start of construction.  Construction itself usually takes about five months.

What are you looking for in a new home? Did you know that your buying power is never more powerful than it is today?