Make Somebunny’s Day with These DIY Easter Ideas

Want to put a smile on your little one’s face?  Here are three ways to let them know that the Easter Bunny stopped by your house.

Leave a Trail of Rabbit Tracks

A great idea for inside or out! For inside tracks you can use baking powder and outside you can use chalk.

via happyhomefairy.com

Capture the Magic

Seeing is believing! This site will allow you to prove that the Easter bunny stopped by with pictures! All you need to do is upload a photo, choose your bunny and voila!

Leave a Treasure Map Note

Last but not least, a treasure map with hints on where to find hidden treats is an eggscellent way to end the day.

via curioussprinkles.com

Looking for more fun holiday ideas? Take a look at these.

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Home: It’s Tradition.

Let’s talk about tradition. It’s defined as “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.” While traditions vary drastically from home to home and family to family, one thing remains the same — tradition and home go hand in hand.

Traditions often start with a story, so that’s how we’ll begin today. Once upon a time, my family sat down to dinner.  Dad had just come back from a long business trip and was clearly happy to be home. As we enjoyed a home cooked meal, Dad looked around the dinner table and dramatically declared, “Isn’t it nice all sitting down as a family?” My sister and I rolled our eyes at our sentimental father, but sure enough the next evening, just as everyone sat down to the dinner table, my sister and I raced to say it first.

Isn’t it nice all sitting down as a family?

And he was right.  It was. From that day forward, it became our version of grace.  Every evening before anyone lifted a fork, we’d repeat that simple phrase.  It was a blissful reminder that home, family and the stories shared over dinner were certainly worth appreciating.

I haven’t lived at home for several years now, but I still say our version of grace with my future husband. “Isn’t it nice all sitting down as [almost] family?” He, too, rolls his eyes. But, I know we’ll carry on the tradition when we have children of our own.

Tradition comes in so many different shapes and sizes. And sometimes, we don’t even realize we’ve created a new one. In Coldwell Banker‘s newest 2015 TV ad campaign, “Catch,” we see how the tradition of backyard baseball is passed down from one generation to the next.

What are some of the traditions in your home? Wearing matching pajamas on Christmas Eve? Baking Grandma’s secret chocolate chip cookie recipe? Throwing an annual 4th of July barbecue? Let us know in the comments below — we’d love to hear.

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Real Estate Headlines with Manny Pacquiao, Floating Bed and Slim Thug

The Final Four is set. Baseball is about to begin. And those coconut chocolate eggs are calling your name. Yes, April is about to begin and the spring buying and selling season is in full swing. Let’s welcome April the right way with your weekly dose of real estate headlines.

The OC Register thinks drama abounds in the spring real estate market.

PBS doesn’t think “location, location, location” is a valid real estate idiom.

Rapper Slim Thug shares his cautionary tale of not taking real estate transactions seriously.

South Florida is experiencing an international real estate boom thanks to buyers from Latin America and China.

Here are 8 tips for maximizing space and decor for shared kids’ rooms.

Build a house in a day? It can be done and still look fantastic.

Yes, you do want to see what a floating bed looks like.

Manny Pacquiao is moving to 90210.

A North Vancouver home just sold for $153,000 over asking price. Yes, over. And it sold in 3 days.

And finally, it’s not too soon to start thinking about those summer electric bills, so here are 9 tips to prep for lowering your electric bill this summer.

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How to Keep Your Dog Safe at Home

You’ve heard of baby-proofing your home, but what about puppy-proofing? I know from experience how mischievous a new puppy can be in your home, but aside from chewing up shoes and ripping up newspaper, failure to take proper precautions could result in your dog getting hurt. Here are some helpful tips to remember when considering your pet’s safety in the home:

1. Don’t Leave Harmful Food Within Reach of Your Dog
Food items like chocolate, grapes, and raisins, can be extremely harmful and even deadly for your dog. Check with your dog’s vet to confirm what should absolutely be avoided and make sure your dog isn’t anywhere near these items. This is especially important when you’re hosting a party, so make sure your guests know to be cautious as well.

2. Protect Your Pup: Get a Fence!
Your yard should be a place for your dog to get some exercise and play. Distractions like cars going by, other dogs walking past the house, or kids riding by on their bikes can cause your dog to take off without notice. Protect him/her by putting up a fence (regular or electric) to keep them from running into the street.

3. Monitor Your Dog With a Home Security System
With all of the smart home technology available today, keeping an eye on your dog while you’re not home is easier than ever. This doggy GPS system by Tagg is only $99 and attaches to your dog’s collar so you know where they are at all times!

4. Keep Your Home Tidy
Keeping your home neat & tidy is a great way to make sure your pet stays safe. Small items like children’s toys and bobby pins can easily be swallowed by your pet which can lead to severe internal issues. Vacuuming your floors & rugs often will ensure there is no harmful items left behind for your dog to find.

What are some ways you keep your dog safe at home? Leave us a comment below!

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Smart House Technology: Digitizing Gardens

Striking the perfect balance between moisture and dryness in your plants’ immediate environment with smart house technology can help guarantee a fruitful garden, no matter the season. Excess watering can create a host of complications, like wilting, rotting roots, and yellowing or browning leaves, that can be difficult to remedy once they present. That’s why investing in smart home technology for your Fort Worth home — especially one which aids in the implementation of a smart watering system for your garden — can protect your foliage and help you conserve water in even the driest of Texas regions.

Plant Prognostications

A major factor in seeing an impressive leafy yield relies on your ability to correctly anticipate the needs of your garden’s plants and flowers. You can take the guesswork out of figuring out how much water your greenery needs by investing in smart watering technology. Smart hubs can regularly access the Internet for local weather history; consider current conditions, including wind speed and sun radiation; and take official forecasts into account before calculating a perfect water plan for your garden.

Manual estimations of this sort can require spreadsheets, charts, almanacs, and maybe even a good fortune teller by your side. A hub, however, can efficiently and expertly come up with a game plan that rivals any under a high school stadium’s Friday night lights. Hubs will even let imminent rainfall take care of your plants’ watering requirements, allowing for a natural conservation of water.

Say Goodbye to Wasted Water

Droughts and local water restrictions can act as speed bumps while on your journey to a lush and healthy garden. Homes that have been equipped with smart house technology that extends to their backyards can turn a basic garden patch into an oasis of domestic vegetation. Some watering technology considers the needs of specific plant species so that you won’t drown their potential for becoming beautiful blooms. An added benefit of this type of technology is that it helps stave off the accumulation of water around your plants and the probability that it will succumb to algae and fungus attacks.

Take Your Backyard Gardening On the Road

Over-zealous gardening is one of the main reasons why excess watering and unintended plant damage occurs. Ironically, downloading a smart garden app onto your phone that provides you with detailed information about weather conditions, your plants, and their watering systems can keep your personal gardening habits in check and vegetation in top form. These apps allow you to literally step away from your garden and allow it to maintain itself through a connected smart sprinkler and other similar systems.

The addition of other smart products in your garden can increase the area covered by this automated technology, giving you the ability to create your own version of the blackland prairies in your backyard. Some technology can even gauge the humidity, air quality, and barometric pressure around your home and compare it to forecasts to ensure the absolute best, most precise and efficient watering schedule possible. Remember that an adequate drainage system provides further protection against overwatering: Consider assessing and remodeling your drainage and runoff points to keep your garden’s ecosystem flowing like the legendary Trinity River.

Image Source: Flickr/PermaCultured

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Guest Room Ideas: How to Be a Great Philly Host

Traveling can put anyone out of sorts, whether they’re flying across the ocean or taking a two-hour car ride to the next state over. If you’re having guests visit you for any length of time, you want to make your house feel like a home to them. While you don’t have to babysit your gusts for the duration of their stay, preparing your home in advance will help their visit go more smoothly. These guest room ideas will help you get ready for visitors, whether your home in Philadelphia has a separate room for guests or not.

Stock Up and Clean Up

If you don’t use your guest room often, or are turning your office or living room into a guest area, start getting ready by making sure you have all the essentials. Wash the spare set of sheets before making up the bed, cot, or sofa for your guest. If your friend will be curling up in a sleeping bag while visiting you, make sure it’s been given a good airing out before use.

The little details make a big difference in terms of your guest’s comfort. Have a towel or two ready for your guest to use. You may also want to offer some toiletries, such as soap and shampoo, in case he or she forgot them. If there’s a window in the room your guest is staying in, check to see how much light seeps through the blinds or curtains in the morning. You might want to hang an extra set of curtains to better block out the light.

A day or two before your guest arrives, give the spare room and other parts of your home a good cleaning. A polite guest probably won’t mention the dust bunnies, but you don’t want to give him or her the chance to do so.

Offer a Snack

When your guest arrives, help him or her bring suitcases and other stuff to the room, and offer a snack or drink, no matter what time it is. You might also consider having a few bottles of water in the guest room, along with a small electric kettle and an assortment of tea, so that he or she can easily have a hot beverage or glass of water whenever. You can also put a few snacks in the room, in case your guest gets hungry after the rest of the house has gone to bed.

A Personal Touch

A few guest room ideas will help your visitors really feel welcome in your home. Write up a greeting card for your guest and place it on the pillow. Include essential information in the card, such as the password for your WiFi network and any important phone numbers. Try to make the space feel homey for your visitor by setting things you know he or she likes by the bed, such as a few books or magazines, flowers, or even some locally made chocolates.

While you’re probably going to be spending some time with your guests during their stay, they might have some downtime to explore the city on their own. Make up a list of recommended places for them to visit during their stay, such as Reading Terminal Market or the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and include directions to those places from your home.

It’s the little things that make a guest feel welcome in your home. Paying attention to your guest’s needs and making sure he or she is comfortable will help him or her enjoy a visit to Philly that much more.

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How to Throw the Best Cocktail Party Ever

Throwing a cocktail party is probably one of the most grown-up, sophisticated things you can do in your NYC apartment. The fact that you’ve thrown tons of parties doesn’t take away from the feeling of excitement that overcomes you as you plan the menu and activities for your latest event. Whether your gatherings are starting to run together or you’re throwing your very first party ever, check out our tips for making your next cocktail party one worthy of a scene in Downton Abbey or Mad Men.

Party time

Image Source: Flickr

1. Shop Early or Take Advantage of Grocery Delivery Services

If you’re the type of person who loves to stroll the aisles of your favorite grocery store, grabbing up a fresh batch of cilantro, selecting the thickest salmon steaks, rolling slowly through the aisles as you pull together all the ingredients for your meal, make sure you do so early enough. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to get everything on the list. If it can’t be helped, however, and you’ve waited until the day of to get what you need, avail yourself of services like Instacart. They can deliver everything you need to your door in as little as an hour (if they’re not backed up).

2. Cook as Much as You Can in Advance

That way, you spend as little time as possible working the party and more time enjoying it.

3. Mix Expensive Treats with Affordable Ones When Planning Your Menu

You don’t have to spend a bajillion dollars on a cocktail party the way you would on a full dinner, so use the extra savings to mix it up and serve pricey but yummy cocktail party goodies. Top toasted ciabatta with caviar or truffles. Slice up some fresh mango and strawberries, whip up some rich Devon cream from British grocery store Myers of Keswick, dollop it into crystal glasses, and place the sliced fruit on top. Filet mignon as a main course for a crowd of 10 or 15 could set you back a pretty penny. Filet mignon hors-d’oeuvres topped with horseradish are just as dazzling and a lot more affordable.

4. Plan an Inclusive Menu

Chances are, your friends make up a pretty diverse culinary crowd with unique dietary needs and restrictions. Make sure that your menu takes care of all of them — whether they go for vegan, gluten-free, or raw-food fare — so no one goes hungry.

5. Send Real Invites

Real paper invites are a huge hit in this pixelized world. These days, people get a geeky thrill from receiving invites they can hold in their hands and pin to their fridges.

6. Plan Out Activities Ahead of Time

It probably goes without saying that you’re a joy to be around, and people look forward to your gatherings with great anticipation. Having said that, it would behoove even a rad party person like you to have backup entertainment on hand just in case the vibe suddenly dips south. It can happen at the best of parties: The mood is chugging along at Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show levels, when suddenly, wham — it’s C-Span in your space. It pays to be prepared!

7. Choose a Theme

Before you roll your eyes into the back of your head, a themed party doesn’t mean your guests have to arrive in full costume. Maybe you’ve just returned from Italy. Guests could bring something Italian, which could be as simple as a bottle of wine or a box of Italian cookies.

Main Image Source: Flickr

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5 Often Ignored Things to Look at Before Buying a Home

Guest post by Apex Waterproofing Inc., a leader in basement and crawl waterproofing in Arlington, VA.

Although the aesthetics of a new home is a vitally important element to consider, there are a few more things that should be examined when viewing your prospective homes. While size of a home matters to many people, you should ensure that there are no underlying potential problems that can cost you a grave amount of money after you buy.  By making yourself aware of any possible unforeseen issues, you will be able to effectively work the financial details into your purchasing budget, hire the right help or even request a decreased sales purchase price, to cover the cost of these repairs.

1.     Foundation
Foundation cracks generally start small and continue to grow and expand over time if left untreated.  This occurs as a result of continuous water pressure on the basement walls, which can also spread to other areas of the home, such as your house’s frame, flooring, ceiling and walls.  The cracks can be effectively sealed with the appropriate products, if applied properly. It is important to hire a professional to assess the situation and take the correct measures. Concrete has variations in chemical properties, therefore there are no DIY cure-alls when it comes to the repair of your concrete.

Here are a few things that you can check manually, which have clear indications that you may need to hire a contractor:

  • Diagonal (stair-step) cracks in brick walls. Cracks may go through brick or mortar and vary in width
  • Sagging brick lines when sighting along a wall
  • Bowed or non-vertical walls
  • Separation of wood trim joints at corner
  • Separation of concrete driveway, patio, or sidewalk from foundation
  • Tilting of landscaping/retaining walls
  • Cracks in sheetrock walls or ceilings
  • Bowed or non-vertical walls
  • Bottom of wall separating from the floor
  • Cracks at wall corners
  • Cracks above doors
  • Sticking doors (warped door frames)
  • Sticking windows

2.     Floors
Issues with the floors may not always be noticeable.  Here are a few signs that there may be foundation damage that has begun to affect your floors as well:

  • Uneven floors, slopping or sagging floors
  • Cracks in ceramic or vinyl tiles or concrete floors
  • Hearing a cracking or popping sounds when you walk across the floor

Keep in mind, you can’t solely rely on the seller to disclose these problems because they too may be unaware. Hiring a qualified and accredited inspector is usually highly recommended by a real estate agent.

3.     Mold & Moisture
Keep your eyes open for any suggestions of water damage, such as mold, mildew, damp areas or evident leaks, which may be seeping through the cracks. Mold anywhere in your home can be potentially dangerous. If you don’t notice any visible mold and want to be sure that the mold isn’t hiding in the walls, hire a professional that specializes in mold detection and remediation.

4.     Leaks
Leaky walls may be hard to detect at first glance, especially in poorly lit areas of the home.  Small leaks can be more deadly than huge leaks that are easily noticed and can occur anywhere in the home.  Wall leaks would be best detected using a passive or active leak detection system, which a water leak detection company would have access to. It is necessary to find out why and where the leak is, to best address the issues before further damages transpire. Here are a few items that you may be able to check on your own to determine if you may need to hire a plumber after purchase:

  • Pressure release value of the hot water tank – listen for a hissing sounds
  • Toilets – remove the tank lid and listen for any sounds
  • Meter line – check the line that runs from the house to the meter

5.     Basements
Everyone knows that basements are the most common place for water, mold and structural issues.  Any issue that may be detected in the foundation, floors, walls or ceiling may require significant interior or exterior repair, such as excavation or maybe even a complete rebuild depending on the severity of the damage. To maintain your basement repairs and to stop water, mold and moisture from re-entering these areas, preventative measures like basement and/or crawl space waterproofing can be used. Having your basement and crawl space professionally waterproofed is superior to DIY options because these experts know how to meet the various structural needs through the use of advanced techniques and specialized tools.

For more great buyer resources, or to find a real estate professional in your area, visit coldwellbanker.com.

 

Header image courtesy of Flickr user ArmchairBuilder.com

 

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Home Tip of the Day: Make Room for Hair Essentials in the Bathroom

Running out of space in your bathroom to store curling irons and blow dryers? Create a more organized bathroom by taking a trip to the hardware store for these two items.

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

*Header Image Courtesy of: 864 Florida St San Francisco , CA 94110

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Three Steps to a Spring Miracle: An Organized Closet

By  Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company Laura McHolm

The official start of spring is just around the corner!  Most of hope, that  spring will bring us warmer temperatures but it also brings us the task of spring-cleaning. Each year  we dream of  starting the new season off with a cleaner, brighter and more organized home. Sound like a miracle? Well, it can all come true with one simple “miracle” closet.

109 Fall Breeze Trail Travelers Rest, SC 29690

109 Fall Breeze Trail Travelers Rest, SC 29690

You may already think your closet is a miracle because it holds everything you ever bought. But, can you find that hot little black dress  for a last minute date night dinner for two? Do you really need to keep your wedding dress right in the prime real estate of the center of  your closet? With one weekend and these simple step-by-step tips on how to create a true “miracle closet” you will be more organized. Life will just be that much better for you in 2015. Think of all the time you’ll save this year by not having to dig through your stuff. You’ll no longer be the “person who is always 10 to 30 minutes late.” Instead, you’ll have more time to focus on the important things in life like spending treasured time with your loved ones. Follow these three steps to create your very own miracle closet, the launching pad for a clutter free spring 2015!

Step One: Empty and Sort

  • Empty everything out of the closet onto the floor. I mean everything!
  • Create four piles: keep, give away, recycle and store.
  • Having trouble letting go of nostalgic items? Ask yourself: When was the last time I wore or used this? If you can’t remember, get rid of it.
  • If the item is just too difficult to part with, put it in a clear plastic box or bag with today’s date and place it in your store pile. If you go back to use it in the next few months then you earned the right to keep it. If not, it’s time to give it away and let someone less fortunate enjoy it!
  • If the item is something you use or wear only during one season a year, it can go into storage. Think of your closet as prime real estate that needs to be accessed daily and your storage as the summer vacation or winter chalet home for your stuff.
  • Look at your give away and recycle piles, ask yourself: Could someone else use this item even if I can’t? If so,  donate it to a charity. If it is too worn, add it to this week’s trash or recycle pile.

Step Two: Box and Label

  • Take photos of each item in your to store pile. Print out two copies of each photo.
  • Next, box up all of your items in the storage category be sure to include cedar balls to keep the moths away. Place one copy of the photo on the outside of each box with today’s date and the second copy either file away or scan and create a file on your computer. On your computer, clearly label the photos of the item and place them in a file labeled “garage storage.”  Then use your computer search feature to find “go-go boots” and look which file that photo is in. Presto, you’ll know where to go find it in your storage unit, attic or garage.
  • In your keep pile: take photos of shoes and accessories. Don’t forget to tell your shoes to “work it baby” as you snap the photo.
  • Place the shoes and accessories in clear plastic containers so you can see everything and tape their photo to the inside of their container with the photo facing out of the box.
  • For sheets and blankets: place them in clear containers and label the outside of the container with the size of the sheet and blanket. Or, if you prefer to let your linens “breathe” make labels (p-touch or by hand) and place labels on the shelves or use a tag around the hanger designating the size of sheets, etc.

Step Three: Put Items Back and Organize

  • Decide how many categories you want for your clothes. Ask yourself – How do I like to decide what to wear? Then organize your closet accordingly.  Remember, always within any category, organize by color.
  • Put your boxes of shoes back by use or occasion. For example, sport vs. work, and then break down your dressy shoes by flats to heels and light to dark.
  • For your folding clothes: lay them inside your drawers or on the shelf on their side. (NOT stacked on top of each other horizontally, but stacked vertically so you can see everything at once!) You can purchase wooden  or plastic planks to use as dividers. Having your clothes and accessories all in view and organized by categories will help you find items quickly and you’ll actually wear more of your clothes!
  • Last but not least, step back and take a picture of your new “miracle” closet and place it on the inside of your closet or drawer so you can keep it that way!

Bonus: Now that you can see all your clothes chances are you’ll wear different outfits more often. New wardrobe? Nope, newly organized.

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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