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CASUAL BACKYARD DINNER MENUS TO MAKE COOKING AT HOME MORE FUN

(Published on - 5/6/2020 5:12:03 PM)

CASUAL BACKYARD DINNER MENUS TO MAKE COOKING AT HOME MORE FUN

 

We may be stuck at home but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate spring with some outdoor fun!

Even if you’re not a cook, there are a ton of things that can be thrown together with minimal time and effort. There’s no better time to start eating more vegetables and fruits with so many in season to choose from and the time to experiment!

Start Out With Some Grilled Fruit Kabobs

Fresh fruits are packed with antioxidants and a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Grilling fruit intensifies the flavors and brings out the fruit’s natural sweetness. Some great options that hold up well on the grill are bananas, pineapples, peaches, and melons. Cut fruits into large pieces to avoid losing any small pieces through the grates on the grill. You’ll know it’s done when the middle of the fruit is hot and it has thick, dark grill marks.

Make Some Homemade Lemonade with a Summery Twist

Watermelon is finally back in season! Try making some watermelon lemonade for a refreshing twist on a summer must-have. It has a perfect balance of sweet and tart that pairs perfectly together. Even better, make an adult version and spike it with a little vodka! 

Stuff it!

Avocados are one of the most popular fruits out there and are densely packed with nutrition. Once you remove their large seeds from the middle, it makes a perfect little crater to stuff things in! You can go for a Mexican appetizer and stuff a cold avocado with cubed tomatoes, onions and cilantro, or go a more savory route and create some chicken parmesan stuffed avocados for a heartier meal.

Bring the Caribbean Atmosphere to your Backyard

Even if you can’t escape on a tropical vacation, you can bring tropical flavors right to your backyard. Try making jerk chicken. You probably have most of the spices sitting in your cabinet already. The blend of spices contrasting with the hint of sweetness is irresistible. You can spice it as much or as little as you want! A typical jerk spice rub consists of allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, salt and pepper; and you can adjust the amount of spice to your liking.

California Vibes

Throw together some fish tacos and you’ll feel like you’re a surfer in Cali. Tacos are one of the most diverse dinner ideas out there. You can load up the toppings or keep it simple. Either way, this is a versatile summer dinner to please everyone.

A Grilled Cheese Walks into a Luau…

If you are a fiend for Hawaiian pizza then this is sure to tickle your pickle. Try making a grilled cheese on Hawaiian sweet rolls brushed with some teriyaki sauce and add slices of pineapple. It will satisfy your sweet and salty craving and make you want to bring out your loudest Hawaiian shirt.


DIFFERENT WAYS YOU CAN SAVE FOR A DOWN PAYMENT

(Published on - 1/27/2020 2:15:44 PM)

DIFFERENT WAYS YOU CAN SAVE FOR A DOWN PAYMENT

Everyone wants to save money but it’s usually easier said than done. And let’s face it, you’re only human! When there’s so many tempting things to purchase related to home buying, it’s essential to set yourself up for success early on. If you’re wary about where to start, try some of these helpful tips for how to save for a down payment.

Lower your Current Mortgage Rate with Refinancing

Purchasing a home is a huge expense. If you already own a home and are looking to relocate, consider refinancing your current mortgage to save for a down payment. 

Refinancing pays off and replaces your current loan with a new one that has different terms and conditions. These terms and conditions may include your interest rate, the balance itself and the length of your loan. 

In turn, the benefits of refinancing can lower your monthly payment or rate, change your loan type, get rid of mortgage insurance (PMI), provide funds for repairs or home improvements, consolidate debt and, most importantly, give your savings a boost!

Practice More Mindful Spending

Avoid the constant urge to frivolously spend by steering clear of stores that are your Achilles heel. Prioritize your needs first and then ask yourself if what you’re purchasing will improve your way of life.

A good way to do this is by taking a personal inventory of your goals and aspirations. If saving for a down payment is your prime concern, it may be helpful to ask yourself if what you’re buying is actually necessary. Spend smarter by being more mindful. In the end, your savings account will thank you!

Invest Any Extra Savings

Investing is a great way to save money for any upcoming plans such as securing a down payment. The easiest way to begin investing is by enrolling in your employers retirement plan. Many companies offer contribution matching up to a certain percentage which means free money for you! If this is not an option available to you, consider contacting a financial investment firm to help manage your money for a profitable future.

If you’re less inclined to seek the help of a professional, there are plenty of online apps that will guide you through the process of investing. Just be sure to take precautionary steps for keeping your mobile data safe and prevent your information from being put into the wrong hands.

Create a Budget You Will Stick To

Budgeting is another vital way to save money for a down payment. When creating a budget, be sure to take into account all your needs, wants and debt. From there, responsibly allocate resources within pay periods by tracking your spending and frequently reviewing account statements. 

Remember, even though you’re attempting to live a more economical lifestyle that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself every now and then! Just make sure you don’t overdo it and remember mindful spending, by scheduling them out in advance to better align with healthy financial habits. 

Shop the Sales

Hit the clearance section first before venturing out into more costly departments when shopping for necessities if you’re looking to save up. Most of the stores you visit on a daily basis have discounted products available for purchase. And yes, even most supermarkets have sale sections.

Take it a step further by gathering coupons that will enhance your saving efforts. Keep an eye out in local magazines, Sunday newspapers and other advertisements to pinch pennies wherever you can. 

Overall, saving for a down payment is a long-term commitment., but also a large reward at the end. Remember your life goals and keep in budget of what your dream house will cost you in the future.


HOSTING A HOUSEWARMING PARTY

(Published on - 11/13/2019 6:35:37 PM)

HOSTING A HOUSEWARMING PARTY

Buying a new home is an exciting time for anyone! Getting to show off your new pad to friends, family and neighbors…even more exciting. Here are some tips to get you ready to hold an easy and fun housewarming party.

Who to Invite?

Knowing who to invite to a housewarming party can be stressful. Do you want it more of a intimate gathering or open to many? It is ultimately up to you but typically family, close friends, new neighbors and even some of their friends should be included on the guest list. The point of welcoming people into your new home is to expand your circle and make friends in your new area. If you have young kids, this is also a great opportunity for them to meet kids their own age and schedule play dates. Meeting new friends, introducing your family to your new home…all this will help acclimate you to your new neighborhood.

Should You Have a Theme?

Not all parties need to have a theme, but it can help bring the decor, food and place settings all together and look cohesive to your guests. Maybe you want something more casual? Then go with a block party type housewarming, full of easy handheld food and games. Looking for something sophisticated? An open house with a seasonal theme is more for you. Some examples are for spring, your guests could expect fresh flowers from the garden and bright colors. For fall, rustic place settings and pumpkin based desserts could tie everything together. Whatever the theme, choose something that best fits your friends, family and new home.

Decor

Your new place may not be completely in order by the time the party comes around but that’s OK! Not having everything done means you can ask your guests for decorating or organizing advice. For the party decor itself, go back to your color scheme or a theme you decided on. Gather simple items to place on tables or trays, put out candles or flowers to spruce up the place. 

Entertainment

Having games can be fun but housewarming parties don’t need to have set entertainment like others. You can plan some easy games, like a scavenger hunt, allowing for a house tour without any of the talking or ask guests to compete in design contest for one of your rooms, don’t feel the pressure to constantly entertain during this time. Everyone that attends the party is there to enjoy your home and to mingle! Sit back, relax and break-in your new beautiful home.


PETS FOR HOMEOWNERS WITH ALLERGIES

(Published on - 10/18/2019 6:13:23 PM)

PETS FOR HOMEOWNERS WITH ALLERGIES

 

As many as three in 10 people in the U.S. have allergies to cats and dogs, and cat allergies are twice as likely as dog allergies. Allergies happen when someone’s immune system is triggered by something, such as pollen from flowers, or dander from pets. These allergies can cause itchy watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and rashes just to name a few, and it can make owning a pet extremely uncomfortable. 

However there are a number of pets which are suitable for all people, regardless of whether you have allergies or not; fish and reptiles are a couple of examples. You may be happy to hear that there are also a few breeds of cats and dogs which are much less likely to trigger reactions than other breeds and can be kept by people who are usually sensitive to them. 

These animals are known as hypoallergenic breeds. Here are some of the best pets for allergy sufferers. 

Cats

Some cats produce less allergens than others which make them a much better match for people who suffer with allergies. It’s the protein in an animal’s dander and saliva which triggers most allergies, so finding a pet which creates less of this protein is the key to living with a pet when you have allergies

Here are a few popular breed choices for hypoallergenic cats:

  • The Oriental Shorthaired cat is one of the most popular hypoallergenic breeds, they shed very little hair. 
  • Cornish Rex cats shed very little hair and only possess the undercoat layer known as the down hair. 
  • The Sphynx cat is hairless and so therefore doesn’t shed at all and has no hair to trap the allergens. 
  • The Russian Blue is a great choice if you want a typical furry cat; he has a shiny blue coat which is short haired. 

Dogs

If you’re a dog person at heart but can’t stand the sniffles that come along with cuddling a cute pooch, then you might be in luck with a hypoallergenic dog breed.

Similarly to cats, these breeds don’t create as much dander and so they don’t trigger allergies in many people. 

These are the most popular hypoallergenic dog choices:

  • The Bichon Frise is a beautiful cuddly teddy bear dog with fluffy white fur. 
  • Poodles are well known for their hypoallergenic traits. They have tight curly hair which traps shedding hair. 
  • Miniature Schnauzers shed a very little due to their short double coat which has a wiry outer coat.
  • Portuguese Water dogs are playful and laid-back as well as only having a single coat and shedding minimally.  

Rabbits

Rabbits can make great pets; they don’t require as much attention as cats and dogs but can still be cuddled and played with.

Just like cats and dogs, there are some breeds of rabbits which are less likely to cause allergic reactions. Mini Rexes are the best breed choice for people with allergies. They have short velvety hair and they produce less dander than other rabbits. 

If you do experience an allergic reaction around rabbits, make sure it’s not their hay that you’re allergic to because this is also a common trigger for allergies. If it is the hay, there are plenty of other choices available or you can ask someone to help with handling the hay.  

Fish

Fish may not be able to interact with you are much as the other animals listed here, and you can’t get them out for a cuddle when you need cheering up, but they are very good for cheering you up in other ways. 

Keeping fish has actually proven benefits in improving mental health and stress. Spending five minutes after a busy day at work, watching your fish swim around will help to calm you down. 

Fish can bring plenty of color and personality to your home. Depending on the space you have, a fish tank can either be a centerpiece in your front room or a small tank in your kitchen. These pets won’t trigger any allergies and they are much easier to care for than other animals. 

Reptiles

Reptiles are normally a great pet choice for people with allergies because they don’t produce the proteins which are found in warm-blooded animals. 

You will need to spend time caring for them and keeping their cage clean. Ideally you’ll wear a mask and gloves when cleaning their home out to avoid any allergies being triggered. 

Some of these animals require humid temperatures which can create a lot of moisture and easily result in mold if you don’t keep on top of their maintenance requirements. 

Concluding Thoughts 

If you have allergies and have put off having a pet because you’re worried how they will affect you, there are plenty of options which are available to you!

Always spend time around the animal you’re considering giving a home, before you bring them into your home permanently. 


SUSTAINABLE HOME DECOR TO ADD TO YOUR DESIGN

(Published on - 10/3/2019 1:58:21 PM)

SUSTAINABLE HOME DECOR TO ADD TO YOUR DESIGN

 

We’re halfway through 2019, but it’s never too late to start working toward sustainable living. One easy way to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle is to purchase from brands whose goal is to create ethically and sustainably made products. If you’re in the market for some new home decor, here are our top picks for the best sustainable home decor brands to check out this year. 

The Citizenry 

If you’re looking for beautiful decor pieces created sustainably, look no further than The Citizenry. This company creates gorgeous handmade home wares designed in collaboration with artisans around the world. They are committed to providing fair wages and healthy work environments for everyone who contributes to the making of their products, and each item is created in small batches in order to ensure amazing, handcrafted quality. 

Dims

When it comes to affordability, Dims has you covered. The company is founded on the principle of providing sustainable products at affordable prices, and if you’ve been wanting to find eco-friendly pieces that don’t cost a fortune, this is the brand to check out. All of the furniture is created ethically, with wood sourced from sustainably managed forests and finishes that are 100% VOC-free. 

Threaded

This company has the motto “stylish bedding with a conscience,” and that couldn’t be more true. In creating ethical, eco-friendly bedding, Threaded partners with mills and factories that are committed to empowering communities through support and education. Threaded also aims to be transparent with its customers, so everyone purchasing their bedding knows exactly how it’s made and where it’s coming from. 

Viva Terra 

Viva Terra is one of the best retailers for globally-inspired, sustainable, artisan-crafted products. The company values ethical craftsmanship and strives to provide consumers with goods that aren’t harmful to the environment or the people who create them.The company believes that you don’t have to compromise beauty (or your wallet) when decorating your home with sustainable products, and that’s a philosophy we can stand behind.

Prosperity Candle 

We’re constantly looking for new ways to make our homes smell great, but with all the pollutants in candles and home scents these days, it’s hard to figure out what is actually safe to use. Prosperity Candle creates unique candles that are hand poured by female artisans and refugees creating brighter futures for themselves in the U.S. THe candles are free of dyes and enhancers and are only made of soy wax, premium fragrances, and natural wicks. So both the customers and the workers creating the candles can live prosperously. 


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