Home Tip of the Day: No Valentine’s Day Babysitter – No Problem

If you’ve struck out on finding a babysitter for the kids this Valentine’s Day, don’t fret! Here are a few ways you can still have some quiet time with your significant other.

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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Live from CES: A Smarter Home = A Smarter Family

There are three major takeaways I am leaving with after Day 1 of CES:

1) Saying “Smart Homes are the thing of the future” is a cliche. Smart Homes are NOW.

2) Creating a smart home is surprisingly more affordable than I expected.

3) A Smart Home runs in parallel with a Smart Family.

As our #CBCES team explored the over 2 million square feet of exhibit space, we saw everything you could possibly imagine in a smart home from light bulbs that play music to home robots that put Rosie from the Jetsons to shame. But the thing that ties almost every product together is most definitely a smart phone. Nearly every exhibitor did their product demonstration right from the palm of their hand furiously swiping through pages of the app to get through their well rehearsed sales pitch. With each app came a promise to give homeowners an easier lifestyle by means of efficiency, control and automation not just for them but their entire family.

A smarter home makes a smarter family.

While I can clearly understand why thousands flock to innovative products on the entertainment side of smart homes, like the incredible 4K TV for example, what really stood out to me was how brands are changing the way parents care for their kids as well as their own parents. Let’s dive into how a smart home is changing how parents take care of and monitor their children.

The Evolution of the Helicopter Parent

A “Helicopter Parent” is a term coined by the media for parents who pay extreme attention to their children, meaning they constantly hover. A helicopter parent can mean anything from the parent who snoops through their children’s text messages to acting like their personal secretary.

Today I realized that the helicopter parent of the future will evolve into a group of parents who will know everything from the second a child leaves their bed to their exact location at any given moment.Here is a round up of some of the products that parents can use in their smart home to better connect them with their children.

Sleep Number Sleep IQ Bed

“Family connected, sleep perfected”

This cloud connected mattress syncs with your smart phone to track your child’s sleep and adjusts the comfort to an optimized Sleep Number®. Talk about dynamic comfort! Here are some of the other standout features for parents…

1) Monkey Alert: “No More Monkeys Jumping Out of Bed!” If a child is out of bed, up late or restless parents will receive an alert on their phone. The app also lets you set bedtime goals so is takes the stress out of a parent and child’s bedtime routine. When a child gets in bed at the predetermined time they get their star for the night.

2) Twinkle Twinkle When a child gets out of their bed a light under the bed will turn on.

3) Lifts Them Up  Whenever I had a wicked cold growing up my mom would prop some pillows under my mattress to make me feel better. The Sleep IQ bed has a head tilt feature that removes the need to prop up the mattress with pillows.

4) Monster Scanner Quite possibly my favorite feature, the sleep number app banishes unwanted creatures not only under the bed but in the entire room with a monster detector feature.

TempTraq

When you think about “wearable technology” you may think about a Fitbit or Google Glasses. Temptraq, which was unveiled today, is taking wearable tech to an entirely new place with their new “wearable bluetooth thermometer patch.” TempTraq is the first and only 24-hour intelligent thermometer that senses, records and sends alerts of child’s temperature to a parent’s mobile device.  Now if this isn’t helicopter parenting I don’t know what is. Gone are the days of checking in every few hours with an old school thermometer! Check out how it works…

Video Surveillance  

Not only can parents now track a child’s every move via smart phones and wearable technology but they can also watch! A major theme at this year’s CES was video surveillance. The show had every type of video camera you could imagine from a wireless baby monitor called the ibabi HD (pictured to the right) to Sengled Snap, an led lightbulb that has an integrated ip camera, speaker and microphone. Oh and this bulb won’t burn out for at least 17 years! Not only is this a “bright idea” for home security but it is also a great way to keep tabs on your family members while you are home or away. Look out for our video on this super cool lightbulb later this week!

In addition to parent’s connecting with their children via technology, another theme that ran concurrent was watching over elderly parents. Technology enables older parents to keep their independence and allows their children to have piece of mind. Products like Onelink by First Alert offer both home and personal protection through a smart device. As a caregiver you can set up connectivity with things in an elderly parent’s home from temperature adjustments, smoke and carbon monoxide detection and even monitor their home via video surveillance.

With over 20,000 new product launches at this year’s CES I am sure there dozens of other products that I could add to this list and I look forward to exploring them during day 2.

Follow our adventure in real time on twitter with #CBCES.

 

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Welcome Home, Mrs. Klein!

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Floral Park, NY elementary teacher Josephine Klein has had to rely on a cane or wheelchair to get around her home. With no handicap accessible exits, her family worried that should an emergency happen, Josephine would be unable to get out of the home on her own.

Here’s where George Oliphant and his team of designers come to the rescue. George turns the Klein’s backyard into a beautiful oasis, equipped with a handicap lift to allow for easy accessibility in and out of the home. Of course, one of the sweetest touches George adds to the space are the terracotta pots, painted by each child in Mrs. Klein’s class, which he incorporates seamlessly into the design of the new patio.

True to form, Josephine expresses her gratitude to George not for coming to her rescue, but for the rescue of her family: “While you may be thinking you’re rescuing me, I think you’re rescuing the whole family. I had no idea they worried so much.” And Mr. Klein is most thankful for bringing his wife’s independence back. “You’ve given her freedom,” he says.

When asked what Home Sweet Home means to her, Josephine Klein puts it perfectly when she says that home is “the place where you feel most peaceful.” We hope she enjoys this new tranquil backyard oasis.

A heartwarming story for a very deserving family, click here to view the complete segment of George to the Rescue.

Welcome home, Mrs. Klein!

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Leaving Home and Going to College

The following is a guest blog post from Julie Allison, a Syracuse University senior and Coldwell Banker Commercial summer intern. 

When it came time to apply to colleges, I knew for sure that I wanted to be somewhere different than my home state, New Jersey. So when I was accepted to Syracuse University, I readily agreed to separate from everything I knew to live in a quad with three other girls. I was very excited but also nervous to go somewhere I knew nothing about besides the brutal winters that everyone seems to mention.  Little did I know that would be one of the many challenges of going away to school.

The excitement of starting a new chapter lasted for some time until I finally realized, you’re not in Jersey anymore Julie. There were a lot of new things to adapt to including: complete freedom, sharing a bedroom and bathroom, dining hall food and living on a floor with 30+ other people. These challenges also came with more responsibility especially when dealing with money, time management and people.  One of the most difficult adjustments I had to make was sharing a room with someone I hardly knew. Add the stress of a homework load I had never experienced before and I quickly became very homesick.

Within three weeks I even found myself on a plane, yes plane, on my way home to see my family and friends. I really missed my family, friends and the delicious bagel sandwiches that no one in Syracuse could ever seem to replicate.

But there is undeniably something Syracuse has that New Jersey just doesn’t for me, the opportunity to grow, become an adult and meet and learn people from various parts of the world. Throughout my time in college it became easier to adapt once I realized the lessons I learned from leaving the comfort of my home. I’m happy that I was ultimately able to meet new friends who helped me find a place where I could get some delicious pizza (thanks, Varsity!).

Freshman year was a time of important life lessons and once I came to grips with all of the opportunities there are for me at college, being away from home turned out to be just as sweet. I also now have a newfound appreciation for my family and their unconditional love and support…and obviously the home cooked meals!

There’s no place like home, but there’s something quite comforting about the journey and lessons you learn when you decide to leave.

college cover photo

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14 Incredible Outdoor Living Spaces

I’m not sure about you but I adore being outdoors during the summer months. Imagine with me, if you will, the beautiful feeling of a breeze grazing your skin and how great the sun feels too. Magic! Pair that with being surrounded by family and friends and you’ve got perfection.

Here are 14 incredible outdoor living spaces, pulled from Coldwell Banker listings, that I think embody what it means to have the ultimate outdoor living space.

First–keep in mind if you are pondering over whether to add an outdoor living space or kitchen to your home, the potential, or lack thereof, for return on investment. If you happen to live in geographical areas that don’t experience many warm months you might end up losing in the long run. If the outdoor space will not be a feature used much, it won’t be very valuable to the home.

 

Pacific Palisades, CA $11,380,000

 

Honolulu, HI $3,900,000

 

Malibu, CA $11,750,000

 

Medina, WA $4,588,000

 

San Antonio, TX $675,000

 

Mercer Island $5,695,000

 

Malibu, CA $24,950,000

 

Traverse City, MI $5,500,000

 

Boca Raton, FL $4,999,000

 

Heath, TX $2,275,000

 

Prospect, KY $895,000

 

Woody Creek $5,995,000

Miami Beach, FL $19,000,000

 

Aspen, CO $19,500,000

To see more beautiful outdoor spaces and kitchens check out our Pinterest page!

Follow Coldwell Banker’s board Outdoor Living on Pinterest.

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How To: Get Rid of Bugs and Insects at Home

Summer is in full swing which  means enjoying heaps of outdoor activities like swimming and barbecuing. Often times, however, our excitement gets halted by a variety of annoying bugs and insects. Thankfully there are at least five things you can do to alleviate the nuisance and get back to enjoying some fun in the sun . Check out the infographic below.

final

Step 1: This is one of the biggest reasons people experience an influx of bugs and insects around their property. Did you know the mosquitoes (quite possibly the most irritating creatures in existence) nest in still water? 

  • Emptybuckets/planters with sitting water
  • Clean out gutters 
  • Change bird-bath water every couple of days
  • Fix puddles 

For more tips on getting ready of mosquitoes check out our post The Ultimate Guide to Winning the Battle Against Mosquitoes.

Step 2: This may sound alarming at first but attaching a bat house to a tree on your property is probably one of the greatest things you can do. Bats are pertinent to maintaining a healthy ecosystem and they consume large amounts of bugs and insects. Perfect!

Step 3: Bird seed is a great way to attract birds and treat them to a little yummy snack. But did you also know that mosquitoes are a part of a bird’s daily diet?

Step 4: Set up an extension cord and hook up some fans. The air rotation discourages bugs and insects that fly from coming to the area. 

Step 5: Natural essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and basil are great at repelling bugs that bite. Get a spray bottle and mix together one of the aforementioned oils of your choice with some water and apply to the skin. This is a safe and organic which also makes it ideal for kids. 

For more eye-awakening facts, visit the Farmer’s Almanac 

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How To Plan For a Successful Move with Children

Guest Post by Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company Laura McHolm

Summer is almost here and for families it’s the most popular time to move to a new home. In fact, May was National Moving Month. Nearly 40 million of us move in the summer and begin planning our moves in May.

It’s no secret, no one likes to move and that includes your kids. Moving is one of the most stressful times in life. It brings a lot of change, to do lists, financial concerns, and for your kids it means making new friends and maybe adjusting to a new school. Way before you break out those card board boxes, use these pointers to help your kids get through the moving process.

There are four steps to a successful move with kids: timing, transition, getting the kids involved, and an adjustment period.

 

Timing

First consider the timing of your move, this is probably the most important element.

  • What grades are your children in? If your eldest is about to be a senior in high school, it may be best to let them live with a trusted relative to finish up high school with their friends. If your youngest is about to enter middle school, this is an ideal time to move since they will be entering a new school either way.
  • Is school on a break? Much better to time a move with kids when school’s out.

Transition

Second, make the transition into the new home as easy as possible for your kids.

  • Make the new home the kids’ own. Allow them to walk through the new house before the move. Let them feel that they are part of the decision. Allow them (as much as possible) to choose their own bedroom, paint colors, and play the imagination game with them: “Let’s imagine what this room will be like when it’s yours? Where will your stuffed animals go? Where will the bed go?” etc.
  • In the old house, talk about how their favorite toys, games, etc. are going to be in the new house too. This is not the time to clean out the closet and discard unwanted clothes and toys. You don’t want your kids associating loss with the move. If you need to de-clutter your kids’ room, do that way before the subject of the move comes up.
  • TALK and LISTEN to your kids. Ask them what they are excited about and what things they are going to miss. Address their concerns; “What are we going to do about that? How about…”
  • Before you move out, sit down with your children with a map. Show them where the new house is and have them help you plan the trip and then have them follow the map as you make your way to your new home.
  • Stay connected to friends, neighbors and family back home. Arrange webcam time with the children’s friends before you move to the new home, it will help make the transition easier when they know they can keep in touch with their old friends. And, set up a play date for the old friends to come over for a sleep over.

Get Them Involved

There is no easier way to keep kids happy than giving them a feeling of control – get them involved!

  •  Have them arrange their own room. Draw out a floor plan of the rooms in the new house and let the children make paper doll furniture and arrange what they want in their room.
  • Encourage your kids to pack themselves so that they are involved in the moving process. They can have their own boxes and suitcases that they are responsible for. Give them color codes or fun stickers to stick on the boxes that belong in their room. You can oversee this.
  • Give each child a backpack to fill with overnight items so that you don’t have to dig through boxes. Include their toothbrush, pjs, favorite stuffed animal, favorite bedtime story, remember to put the children’s medications in mommy’s purse or back pack for safe keeping.
  • Give them one box to pack freely with the stuff they want, that will be the first box that they open in their new room

Get Them Adjusted

Last, is the adjustment to the new home and neighborhood, an extremely important phase of a move as it sets the stage for your new life in your new home.

  •  Host a party in your new neighborhood and invite children of the same age as your own kid(s) over so that they can make friends. It’s as easy as a pool party, pizza party, or cookout. Try and host the party the first weeks of being in your new home.
  • Take them for a drive by their new school, the local ice cream place, playground, if they have a hobby such as dancing, show them that there is a dance studio here too, so that they see their new neighborhood has all the same things as the old.
  • Set up a tour of the new school and to meet their new teacher before school starts.
  • If you move in the beginning of the summer, sign the little ones up for camp or other local activities where they can meet the new kids before school starts. It also keeps them out of the house so you can continue the unpacking!

Here are more and tips on how to keep the kids entertained on move day.

Wishing you and your family happiness in your new home!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com

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Welcome Home: The Leggios’ New Kitchen

“Kitchen MacGyver” Arlene Leggio makes school lunches for the local high school in her kitchen that is held together by tape and paper clips. Always doing things for others, Arlene’s daughters finally wanted their parents to come first. George Oliphant and his ‘George to the Rescue‘ team arrive at the family’s Islip, NY home to cook up a modern, updated and functional kitchen for the Leggios.

When asked what “Home Sweet Home” means to him, Tom Leggio says, “Home is where I want to spend the rest of my life.” And I don’t blame him, the kitchen George creates for the family is a chef’s dream.

See the gorgeous kitchen renovation on the full episode of George to the Rescue: The Leggios’ New Kitchen.

Welcome Home, Leggio Family!

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Taking a Moment to Reflect on What Memorial Day Means

seanColdwell Banker SVP of Marketing, Sean Blankenship, takes a moment to reflect on what Memorial Day means to him. In a recent conversation with his grandmother, Sean discovered more about his late grandfather’s time in the military…

This year I asked my grandmother Elizabeth Gaynor, on my mother’s side, to tell me a little about my grandfather’s military service.  While growing up, my grandfather never talked much about war; he was a very proud man who loved his country.  It wasn’t until after his death that my grandmother shared bits and pieces, even memorabilia, from his days serving his country.  And now I’m sharing a piece of that history, along with a link to a YouTube video about the B24 Liberator bomber, with a bit of history about Ford Motor Company, that I bet many of you didn’t realize.

Lt. Col. Lee R.  Gaynor III, United States Air Force

While in high school with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell (yep, for real), Lee decided he wanted to volunteer for the Navy with his buddies when he was 16 and not yet graduated from school.  His mother would not sign the papers because he was too young.  He joined the Army Air Corps. His first overseas assignment was with the 15th Air Force in Italy as a ball turret gunner in B24 Liberator (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKlt6rNciTo).  They flew the Hump, bombed Ploesti, Vienna and many more.

After WWII he was discharged, then recalled during the Korean War, with a tour in Japan as Headquarters Adjutant. As Aide to the Commanding General  of Tachikawa AFB, Lee met many Japanese Officials including Admiral  Nomura.

There was a remote tour in Saudi Arabia in his future where he was again Squadron Adjutant.  Their mission was to teach the Saudi Air Force warfare.  The men lived under Saudi law with no immunity or U.S. protection.

Lee’s assignments within the United States were quite varied – like Office of Special Investigation (OSI), Inspector General, Missile Procurement during the Atlas and Titan missile programs and before retiring was Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF) in Washington, DC.

I’m glad to have this piece of history to carry with me and pass along to my children. My grandfather was more like a father, he raised me, and I will forever miss him.

 

Cover image via Flickr user Chris Yarzab

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Welcome Home: Everett Siblings

The Everett siblings became homeowners overnight after their parents passed away in a tragic accident during Superstorm Sandy. Zoe Everett, the eldest of four, took on the brave task of not only serving as guardian of her three siblings, but also managing their large Randoph, NJ home.

Wise beyond her years, Zoe sums up her struggle with managing the house: “I think the hardest part with the house is that it’s just large and unpredictable, but that’s with any house. Home ownership is just unpredictable.” How right she is!

Here’s where NBC’s George To The Rescue makes his entrance. Contractor and designer, George Oliphant, arrives with his crew to help the Everetts manage their cluttered house and turn their kitchen annex and office into rooms better fit for this family of four.

It struck me that even though the Everett siblings have taken on a very grown-up responsibility, their household is still very obviously the home of four young adults. This is most apparent in their reaction to the transformation of their home. George converts the office once overrun with clutter into an organized oasis, which is quickly renamed “the girl cave.” Likewise, the large banquette table George designs for family meals in the kitchen annex is declared “the perfect fort table.”

While the Everetts may view their home through the eyes of teenagers, they have a very adult perspective on home. “Home to me is the people you’re surrounded by,” Zoe says. Hear more about what “Home Sweet Home” means to the Everetts in the video above.

A story that breaks and warms your heart all at once, watch the full episode of George To The Rescue: The Everett Family Rescue.

Welcome Home: Everett siblings!

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