Real Estate News

    • 5 Great Vacation Traditions

      13 August 2020

      Even if your vacation this year only takes you as far as the backyard, you can make it a memorable one by creating simple yet meaningful traditions. Consider these ideas from the vacation-planning experts at VRBO:

      1. Hang a sheet and host a backyard movie night. You can spread out a big blanket for everyone to gather on or arrange a collection of outdoor chairs. Serve appropriate snacks, like popcorn, s’mores and fresh lemonade.

      2. Collect memorable quotes. Some of our best vacation memories are the comical and inspirational moments we share together. Start a quote-of-the-day journal, to record the best quips and words of wisdom from various family members. Review it at the end of your vacation or at other times the family gathers, such as the holiday season.

      3. Host a potluck. Nothing is better than an outdoor pot-luck dinner, where everyone brings a dish so that no one family member is overburdened with the responsibility of cooking and cleaning. Make sure to involve everyone...even the kids...and have fun sampling everyone’s creative and sometimes crazy concoctions.

      4. Planner for a day. Whether you’re on a road trip or staycation, let everyone play a part by getting to take over the itinerary for the day. The designated planner gets to choose the day’s activities, as well as the foods that will be eaten. Giving in to this concept opens up all sorts of possibilities for fun and adventure!

      5. Make it an annual occurrence. Whatever vacation traditions you choose, be sure to make them an annual event. This will give the entire family something to look forward to, cherish and pass down through the generations.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Ways to Save on Your Utility Bills...Even With a Full House

      13 August 2020

      If you’re spending more time at home, as well as accommodating more family members than usual under your roof, you may be seeing an increase in your utility bills. But don’t despair! There are several simple strategies you can implement to save on energy costs, even with a house full of people—just make sure everyone’s on board and follows suit!

      1. Lower/raise your thermostat. Heating and cooling is typically a home’s biggest expense. If you’ve got the heat on, lower the thermostat by a couple of degrees, and do the opposite if you’re running the air conditioning—raise the temperature a degree or two. According to the Department of Energy, you’ll save about 3 percent for every degree you lower/raise...that adds up quickly! A programmable smart thermostat will make this a seamless process as you can set it to automatically readjust during certain times of the day.

      2. Decrease oven usage. Don’t turn the oven on to cook a small meal or warm something up. Use a toaster oven, outdoor grill, slow cooker or microwave instead. When you do need to use the oven, avoid opening the oven door as much as possible; every time you do, heat is released and the cooking time is extended. Of course, the best idea of all, is to add a couple of cold dishes to your dinner schedule. Consider a weekly “sandwich night” or integrate some healthy but satisfying salad mains to your repertoire.

      3. Don’t overtax the fridge. Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible by encouraging family members not to open the door for random perusing. Grab all the items you’ll need for a dish in one shot, instead of going back and forth. You’ll also save energy costs associated with your fridge by letting leftovers cool off on the counter before putting them away.

      4. Maximize laundry time. There are a few tricks that will help you save on energy costs related to doing laundry as well. For instance, use the maximum spin time when you can to remove as much moisture as possible in order to cut back on drying time. You can also make your dryer more efficient by cleaning the lint screen to improve air circulation. Get in the habit of using the dryer sensor to let you know when clothes are done, as opposed to setting a specific dry-time.

      Source: Consumer Reports

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Support Your Immune System With Grapes

      13 August 2020

      (Family Features) Boosting immune function through a healthy diet has become an important new focus for many people these days. One key dietary recommendation is to eat more fruits and vegetables each day to improve immune function and prevent heart disease and diabetes. When looking to guide your family to healthier snacks and meals or simply trying to mix up your at-home menu, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.

      Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make good-for-you dishes that are also satisfying and delicious. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.

      Try recipes like Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette, Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt, and Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes to pair heart-healthy grapes with other nutritious ingredients and add variety and fresh appeal in the kitchen.

      Visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com for more nutritious family recipes.

      Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes With Yogurt
      Prep time: 15 minutes
      Cook time: 5 minutes
      Servings: 4

      • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
      • 1 cup California grapes
      • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
      • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
      • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
      • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
      • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
      • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
      • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
      • 1/2 garlic clove, grated
      • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
      • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

      In a large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.

      In a small skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cover. Cook until seeds stop popping then add cumin and fennel seeds; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; pour over chickpeas and grapes. Mix well.

      In a separate bowl, stir yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and remaining salt. Spread on a serving platter and top with chickpea mixture, cilantro and scallions.

      Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (25% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

      Cauliflower Steaks With Grapes
      Prep time: 10 minutes
      Cook time: 30 minutes
      Servings: 4
      • 1 large head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
      • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
      • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
      • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
      • 1 cup halved California grapes
      • 1/4 cup chopped Castelvetrano olives
      • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
      • 2 tablespoons chopped, toasted pistachios

      Heat oven to 450 F.

      Cut stem off cauliflower and cut remaining head crosswise into four 1-inch-thick slices, keeping as intact as possible. Place on a sheet pan and brush sides with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle it with rosemary, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.

      Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.

      Nutritional information per serving: 210 calories; 5 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (60% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.

      Healthy Eating is Easy with Grapes
      Grapes are prized for their taste and crisp, juicy texture, but fresh grapes are also a heart-healthy, hydrating snack choice. Grapes contain more than 1,600 natural plant compounds, including antioxidants and other polyphenols, which help protect the health and function of the body’s cells. Grapes can be paired with other healthy foods to enhance flavor and nutrition, including dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Best Colors to Add New Life to Your Front Porch

      12 August 2020

      Your front porch is your home’s calling card, setting the stage for presenting the rest of your house in its best light, and creating a memorable welcome for visitors. That’s why choosing the right decor and, more importantly, the right paint color is a critical step.

      According to interior design experts, the best place to start when selecting a front porch paint color is by evaluating your landscaping, looking for colors that complement your grass, trees, shrubs and flowers. Also take into consideration any architectural elements that will come into play, such as brick, stonework, metal gutters and roof details. Any color you choose needs to work well with these various fixed elements.

      Color experts also advise taking into consideration your home’s exposure. For example, a front porch with southern exposure would be better suited to paler shades of paint, while the lighting from a northern exposure accentuates the cooler tones in a color.

      Here are some suggested paint colors to consider:

      A muted shade of green will tie into the greenery surrounding your home to create a pleasing cohesive look, without detracting from your landscaping.

      A deep blue paint will bring a sleek sense of style to your front porch, making your home stand out from the street.

      A warm blue will help offset a stand-out yard and garden. Look for colors that are reminiscent of summer skies.

      An off-white shade is always dependable and brings a crisp, fresh look to your home. Look for a warm but neutral hue that blends nicely with your home’s overall exterior.

      A silver shade of grey brings a sophisticated look to your front porch and helps highlight its architectural features. It also works well with just about any exterior color.

      Source: Martha Stewart

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Save Big on Everyday Essentials

      12 August 2020

      (Family Features) With many Americans spending more time at home, they are also using more common household items such as cleaning supplies, pantry items and snacks, among other things.

      According to a Harris Poll survey, Americans are concerned about the economic impact the pandemic will have on their lives. These economic concerns are leading shoppers to seek out more ways to save. With the convenience and flexibility online shopping provides, many customers are turning to e-retailers to find those must-have items.

      To help busy and budget-conscious shoppers, Woot!, the Amazon-owned daily deals site, launched a grocery and household category to offer deals on everyday essentials.

      Consider these five ways shoppers can save time and money when making household purchases.

      Compare prices. One benefit of shopping online versus in-store is you can look across different brands to compare prices in real time. By seeing available brands and pricing in one place, you can save more and make the best purchase choices for your household.   

      Take advantage of deals. When you shop in a store, you’re confined to the deals and selection the store is offering at the time of your trip. When you shop online, you aren’t limited to the store’s offerings, often allowing you to score better deals and browse a larger selection. For instance, you can check out deal sites like Woot.com to get new daily deals on household must-haves on your list for lower prices than you typically find in brick-and-mortar stores. 
       
      Save time exploring virtual aisles. Shopping at a store can be time consuming. Innovations like Woot!’s virtual grocery and household aisles allow you to quickly and easily shop various categories and find the best deals. Unlike in-person aisles, these virtual aisles hide categories when selection is unavailable so you won’t waste your time and can be confident items you’re looking at are available at a discount.

      Customize your shopping experience. The flexibility and convenience of shopping online can save you time. Since you aren’t shopping in-store, you don’t have to worry about store hours and locations, giving you the flexibility to shop at all hours and from any location, as long as you have Wi-Fi and access to a computer or mobile device. With the ability to shop around your schedule, you can gain precious time to spend with the people you love, doing the things you love.

      Benefit from membership perks. Another perk of online shopping is being able to leverage membership benefits to save more. Some retailers offer member-based programs or partners to offer members of certain programs discounts. One example is Woot.com, which offers exclusive deals and free shipping for Amazon Prime members who shop on the site. 

      Between the vast selection, price options and convenience of shopping from home, there are many ways shoppers can save big on time and money as they shop for everyday essentials and household must-haves. Learn more at Woot.com.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.