Tips for Enjoying the Big Game at Home

Now that we have all moved past Deflategate, we can focus on preparing for the Big Game!

Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks…

vs

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

As you set up for your party, be sure you have enough seating for your guests.

Next, be sure to set up snacks…

Lots and lots of snacks!

Seriously, you can’t have enough snacks. Looking for some recipe ideas? Try here.

If you really want to go all out then you can even get your pets ready for the game :)

Once your guests start to arrive, entrust your remote to someone who will not be tempted to flip through the channels. It’s BIG GAME day..it’s all about the football!

You may be tempted to get up during the commercial breaks, but stick around because sometimes this is the most entertaining part of the day.

Well, maybe not as entertaining as watching Rob Gronkowski.

Don’t forget to catch the half time show. Katy Perry will be rocking the stage.

In the second half…anything can happen. Let’s hope for a close game!

Now would be a good time to put out some desserts.

Last but not least remember, if your team loses the Big Game…don’t be a poor sport.

Need more ideas? Check out “5 football party ideas that will score big”

 

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Home Tip of the Day: Holiday Ornament Storage

Sadly, it’s time for many of us to put away the holiday decorations.  Storing your favorite delicate ornaments can be tricky without the right storage solution.  Use this clever trick to keep fragile ornaments safe until next year.

For other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

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Home Tip of the Day: The Must-Have Holiday Kitchen Appliance

The key to holiday entertaining is a relaxed hostess.  If you’re hosting guests this holiday, this must-have holiday kitchen appliance will help you avoid running around the kitchen all day and most importantly, take time to enjoy your family and friends.  (It also makes a great last minute gift, too!) Happy hosting!

For other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

 

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Family Traditions At Christmas

It always seems like the month of December flies by. We sometimes get lost in the flurry of gift shopping, wrapping presents, and preparing our homes for holiday gatherings. Before we know it, it’s December 25th and we can’t quite fathom how Christmas is already here.

I’ve always found Christmas Eve to be one of the most peaceful, enjoyable days of the year. Everyone finally slows down and is able to enjoy some quiet, relaxing moments at home. Here are some of my favorite personal family traditions:

1. Watching “It’s A Wonderful Life”
This is one of those movies that I watch with my family year after year and it never gets old. I love curling up with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoying this classic which always leaves me feeling more festive and appreciative!

2. Matching PJs
Yes, my sisters and I may all be in our 20′s, but we’ve always worn coordinating PJ’s on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It makes for some really cute family photos, and a great cozy clothing option for lounging around all winter.

3. Baking with my mom
My mom is basically famous for her amazing chocolate chip cookies, and I always love spending the day “helping” her bake them (which means eating them as they come out of the oven). We always package a few tins up to bring with us to family gatherings, but my mom makes sure to keep at least one just for us!

4. Christmas breakfast
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is the delicious breakfast we have every year after opening gifts. It includes French toast, sausage, eggs, fruit — pretty much anything you could imagine, we have! It’s by far one of my favorite meals of the year.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Leave us a comment below or tweet us and let us know!

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I’ll Be Home by Meghan Trainor Captures the Feeling of Home for the Holidays

What is the purpose of a home?

At its core home is a gathering place. Sure you sleep there, eat there and watch TV there, but home is one of the few places you can join together with those that you love to celebrate any occasion. Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and most of life’s major events center around home, and not just the physical structure, but the idea that home is the place where your loved ones come. There’s a certain joy in having others come to your home.

You may remember that joy as a child, but with my 4 boys being young I witness it  every time someone comes to the door of our home. A spark of excitement lights in their eyes and the anticipated arrival of their cousins coming over is enough to make them sit patiently by a window. Did you catch that? 4 boys sit patiently. You know it’s a special occasion.

The holidays are, of course, one of the most prominent times where we gather with loved ones at home so when I came across this song I’ll Be Home by Meghan Trainor on my Spotify Christmas station, I knew it was something I had to share.

We’ve all heard various renditions of I’ll Be Home for Christmas which in my mind is one of the best Christmas songs ever written, but there’s something about I’ll Be Home that captures both the hopeful wishing that you will be able to make it home as well as the joy of being home for Christmas.

I’ll Be Home is all about wanting to be home with the ones you love and isn’t that what makes the holidays so wonderful? Sure I want Call of Duty for Xbox as much as the next person, but while gifts are fleeting memories made with loved ones last so much longer. Home is the canvas on which those memories are created.

While I enjoy being left alone to watch sports or be slothful at home, no one wants to be away from home and family and friends at Christmas. That’s why whenever I hear these Christmas songs about coming home for Christmas I can’t help but think of our men and women in the military who are not only away from the ones they love, but are also in harm’s way. They’re sacrificing Christmas memories for the sake of our freedom. When I think of it that way, it’s hard not to get choked up.

To all those headed home for the holidays, we here at Coldwell Banker wish you safe travels and a wonderful holiday season. And to those in the armed forces who are stationed overseas, we are hoping you get to come home soon.

Here’s Meghan Trainor’s I’ll Be Home.

 

Header image courtesy of Flickr user Chris_J

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Home Tip of the Day: Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

It’s officially wrapping season!  Looking for a unique way to doll up your gifts?  Try making your own wrapping paper.  Here are a few ideas on how to customize your holiday gifts to make them even more special.

For other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

 

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5 Holiday Storage Options for the Space-Starved New Yorker

Unlike suburbanites, most New Yorkers don’t have basements for holiday storage. And while some larger buildings offer storage to residents for a fee, waitlists are usually really long.

That means city-dwellers need to get creative when it comes to storing holiday decorations from year to year. Here are some ideas that’ll help save you from the clutter. Some require you to get out of the house, others can be done entirely from the comfort of your (warm) apartment.

1. Send Them to the Suburbs
If you have family or close friends in the nearby suburbs, now’s the time to ask them whether they’ll store a box or two for you. What seems like a lot in a New York City apartment would probably go unnoticed in a house.

2. Buy a Storage Unit
There are storage companies and storage units all over the city, and SpareFoot helps you find the storage space closest to your apartment (simply type in your zip code). Manhattan Mini Storage, for one, offers four-foot-by-four-foot “personal closets” for $29 a month if you sign up for a year. Plus the company offers a free ‘”storage taxi ” that takes you and your stuff to or from your holiday storage.

3. Donate Them
If you’re the nostalgic type, this option won’t work for you, but if not, you can forgo holiday storage altogether if you buy cheaper decorations each year (think Christmas lights, simple ornaments, and disposable popcorn chains) and then donate most of them after the holidays are over. Organizations like Goodwill welcome seasonal decorations. Not only will this option save you space, but it’ll help spread holiday cheer to others well into 2015.

4. Take Advantage of Storage Startups
NYC is home to a couple of new storage startups that do most of the work for you. They bring you some bins, pick them up, and store them for you on a month-to-month basis. Boxbee — which calls itself an “urban storage valet” — is $7.50 a month for each 24-by-12-inch bin. MakeSpace, whose motto is “Your Closet in the Cloud,” charges $25 a month for a 27-by-17-inch bin. Plus, they offer a digital visual catalog of your stuff so you can order it back to your home whenever you like.

5. Buy Some Cute Furniture to Hide Your Decorations
Here in NYC, our living spaces are so small that each piece of furniture needs to do double duty. Why not keep your holiday decorations in an ottoman that can also serve as extra living room seating or a place to put up your feet while you watch TV?

Image Source: Flickr/Tracy Ducasse

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The Ultimate Christmas Cookie Roundup

Baking Christmas cookies is one of those home traditions that fills up a kitchen with fun, brings a feeling of nostalgia to the soul and leaves your tummy feel full of love. Here is a roundup of cookies you may find helpful whether you are baking for Santa or for a holiday cookie exchange. Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies

I am pretty sure Sugar Cookies are the official holiday cookie. From sprinkles to frosting, there are countless ways to give these little sugary bites a fun and unique holiday look.

via Delish.com

Salty Caramel Butter Cookies

Rumor on the internet is that this salty sweet recipe is the secret to cookie nirvana.

via Traceys Culinary Adventure

Melted Snowmen Cookies

This recipe may or may not have been the impetus for the writers at Buzzfeed starting Pinterest Fail listicles. If you can nail this recipe the outcome is simply adorable.

Here’s what is SHOULD look like…

via homeiswheretheboatis.com

Here is what the typical Pinterest fail looks like…

Cream Cheese Cookies

These are my ALL TIME favorite cookies. This was my grandma’s specialty and when I take a bite I am brought back to my childhood. Fun Fact: it is impossible to eat just one.

 

via eggmeon

No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Oatmeal Cookies

Any recipe that doesn’t require turning a stove on is worth a try!

 via Food Network

Cherry Sugar Cookie Macaroons

You can feel good about eating these because they have fruit in them. It’s basically like eating diet cookies ;)

via Pillsbury

Peppermint Christmas Cookies

Colorful + Minty Fresh = YUM!

via Pamela (Food.com)

PB&J Linzer Stars

Since my nickname is Linz, I couldn’t resist leaving out this sweet treat.

Bonus: I’ve heard Santa’s reindeer LOVE peanut butter!

via Parents.com

Chocolate Chip Cookies

It doesn’t matter what day of the year it is, this cookie staple is always a crowd pleaser.

via VeryBestBaking.com

Confetti Cake Batter Cookies

What do you get when you mix confetti sprinkles and cookies? A Christmas party in your mouth!

 

via Sally’s Baking Addiction

Wishing you a sweet Christmas! Have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe to share? Leave it in the comment section below.

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Kicking Off Hanukkah 2014

To most Hanukkah represents one thing and one thing only.  Adam Sandler singing his infamous Saturday Night Live Hannukah song.  But clearly there is much more to the holiday than what he classically called “Eight crazy nights.”

Hanukkah is actually a minor Jewish holiday that honors the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews fought back against the Syrian-Greeks.  After emperor Antiochus outlawed Judaism in 167 B.C.E., the Jews retreated before re-engaging in battle.  They overtook the Syrian-Greeks and wanted to “cleanse” the Temple by burning oil in the menorah for eight days.  But they only had enough oil for one day, which by a miracle, lasted the eight full days.

The holiday has only “recently” become a major one largely due the commercialism of Christmas as Jews have an opportunity to celebrate the holidays with gifts too.

Beginning tonight, Jewish families around the world will begin the celebration in their homes at sundown (because Judaism uses a lunar-based calendar).  Here are a few of the traditions you would see at a Hanukkah celebration:

The lighting of the Menorah – the Shamas (usually the one in the middle) candle is the lead and after being lit is used to light one candle for each of the nights of Hanukkah.  Start with one candle on night one and move on to the appropriate number for each night.

 Kids spinning the Dreidel – It’s a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side that form an acronym meaning “a great miracle happened here.” Each side represents “take all,” “take half,” “put in” or “do nothing” as the children play for Hanukkah “gelt,” usually chocolate coins.

 Fried foods – To represent the oil, you will likely find mountains of potato pancakes called latkes.  Dip in apple sauce and you have pure goodness!

 Gifts – At a Jewish home you are likely to find tons of presents.  At least eight for each person piled somewhere near the menorah.  But believe me, not every gift is an Xbox One.

So as you drive home tonight, think about how lucky the Jewish kids are this year because they are getting their presents starting 10 days before Christmas.  But on the flip side, think of those same kids as you unwrap your gifts on the 25th while we look on in envy!

Happy Hanukkah!

 

Cover image via lovefromtheoven.com

 

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Top 4 Things To Do In Dallas TX This December

When it comes to festive fun for the holidays, there’s no shortage of things to do in Dallas, TX. The city comes alive with enchanting events for families and couples. If you live in the Dallas area, make the most of the upcoming holiday season by checking out these can’t-miss events.

1. See Missile Toes at Galleria Dallas | Through December 20

Only in Dallas can you watch Missile Toes, the ice-skating, back-flipping, pyrotechnic Santa Claus. He takes to the ice beneath a dazzling 95-foot-tall Christmas tree — the tallest indoor Christmas tree in the United States, boasting almost 250,000 lights and over 10,000 ornaments. It’s the perfect spectacle as you take a break from all your holiday shopping.

2. Visit the trains at NorthPark | Through January 4

The holiday season isn’t complete without seeing a locomotive chugging down the track. With 1,600 feet of track depicting such familiar Texas destinations as downtown Dallas and the State Fair of Texas, plus iconic American landmarks as the Grand Canyon, Route 66, and San Franciscio’s Golden Gate Bridge (and even the North Pole!), the trains at NorthPark can’t be missed. It’s the most elaborate toy train exhibit in Texas, and it draws more than 50,000 people each holiday season. Tickets are $7 for adults, $3 for kids 2-12 and senior citizens (kids under 2 are free).

3. Sip afternoon tea at The Adolphus | Through December 31

Get ready to raise those pinky fingers — O Christmas Tea at The Adolphus is one of the most fun things to do in Dallas TX during the holidays. You’ll feel like royalty sipping a variety of flavorful, spiced teas and nibbling scones, pastries, chocolate truffles, and more. The hotel is gloriously bedecked in holiday decorations, complete with a classical pianist playing holiday tunes on the hotel’s 1893 Steinway piano, which once formerly belonged to the Guggenheim family of New York. Reservations required; Tuesday–Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4:45 pm; $40.

4. Take a carriage ride through Highland Park | Through December 31

There’s no better way to take in the stunning lights and homes of Highland Park than in a horse-drawn carriage. When you climb aboard, you get to cozy up with a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy the twinkling lights and beautiful homes on a one-hour tour. Christmas music drifting through the air adds the perfect festive touch. Reservations required; daily from 6 p.m.–9:45 p.m.; $180–$250.

Image Source: Flickr/Keerthivasan Rajamani

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