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Smart Kitchen Upgrades for Effortless Holiday Entertaining

November 15, 2023
The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and spending quality moments with friends and family. If you're the designated host for holiday gatherings, you know the kitchen is the heart of the action! Whether you’re a seasoned chef or more of a novice in the kitchen, there are plenty of ways to make holiday entertaining easier and more enjoyable. From larger prep stations to wine fridges, consider some of the below kitchen features to turn your space into a holiday haven:Double OvensWhen you're cooking for a crowd, having a double oven can be a game-changer. Not only does it allow you to prepare multiple dishes at different temperatures simultaneously, but it will save you time and ensure everything is ready to be served together. While it may be more expensive than a traditional oven, it’ll be worth it when you remember you can roast a turkey in one oven while baking pies in the other!Large Island for Prep and GatheringA spacious kitchen island is the perfect epicenter of activity during holiday gatherings. It provides ample countertop space for prepping meals, arranging dishes, and setting up a buffet. Moreover, it's a great place for your guests to gather, chat, and lend a helping hand in the kitchen. If you don’t already have a kitchen island and you’re looking to cut costs, you can always purchase a rolling kitchen island kit, a butcher block cart, or even refurnish old furniture into a festive island space!Coffee or Drink StationThe upcoming holiday season is a great excuse to build out a coffee and drink station that will serve you year-round. Whether you have a designated spot in your kitchen, or you utilize a bar cart for this purpose, a drink station is a fun way for guests to serve themselves coffee, tea, or delicious holiday cocktails. Stock this area with a variety of beverage options, festive mugs, and a coffee maker or a small bar with all the essentials for mixing drinks. Don’t forget hot chocolate and plenty of marshmallows for the little ones!Walk-In PantryA well-organized walk-in pantry is a must-have for holiday entertaining as it provides storage space for dry goods, serving platters, seasonal decorations, and extra supplies. Having everything easily accessible ensures you're well-prepared for any impromptu gatherings or last-minute recipe adjustments! If you don’t have a huge pantry, take this time to organize your space using baskets and labels, and consider installing additional cabinets, shelves, or even a built-in pantry to keep pots, pans, utensils, and servingware readily available.Wine FridgeWho doesn’t enjoy a nice glass of wine during the holidays, especially if it’s mulled! A wine fridge is an excellent idea for entertaining as it keeps your wines at the ideal temperature and frees up space in your main refrigerator. You can even stock it with a variety of beverages to cater to different tastes; eggnog, anyone? Smart AppliancesDon’t want to look like a fool who overcooked the turkey again? Wish your dishwasher could sense just how dirty the dishes are? Consider investing in smart appliances this year! With the cutting-edge technology of smart ovens, fridges, dishwashers, and more, you’ll be able to focus more on what matters most–spending time with your loved ones. Easily supervise your culinary masterpieces from anywhere using remote control and monitoring systems.The best thing about all of the above upgrades is that they will serve you throughout the year! So, as you gear up for holiday hosting, keep in mind that these kitchen enhancements aren't just a seasonal treat; they'll be your trusty sidekicks for every gathering you throw. Remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune to upgrade your kitchen; with some careful planning and easy organization, you’ll be able to create the perfect space for any festivity! 
Smart Kitchen Upgrades for Effortless Holiday Entertaining

Spook-tacular Halloween Decor Ideas for Your Home

October 24, 2023
As a homeowner, you understand the importance of creating a warm and inviting space… but who says you can't have a little fun with your home's decor during the spooky season? Whether you're hosting a haunted house party or just want to embrace the Halloween spirit, we've got you covered with both indoor and outdoor decor ideas that are sure to bewitch your guests and neighbors. Now’s the time to unleash your inner decorator and transform your home into a spine-tingling spectacle this Halloween!One of the best things about Halloween decor is its versatility; you can simply toss a few pumpkins on your porch and call it a day. But if you’re looking to get more creative than a few  jack-o'-lanterns this year, you may want to consider these fun outdoor decor ideas:Sinister Scarecrow: Place a spooky scarecrow in your front yard or garden, complete with a tattered outfit and a jack-o'-lantern head. If you’re looking to go the extra mile, you can add motion-activated sounds or lights surrounding it. Ghostly Graveyard: While you can buy plastic tombstones, it can be more fun to make them–get your friends and family involved and utilize your home-building expertise! Creating a makeshift graveyard has never been easier using cardboard or foam. Plus, you can include your own epitaphs, like "Lost in a Corn Maze for Eternity" or "Here Lies a Pumpkin Spice Addict.”Pumpkin Paradise: Spend a day at the local pumpkin patch and then line your driveway or walkway with an assortment of pumpkins, big and small. You can carve them, paint them, or just let them be!Witchy Welcome: Hang a wicked witch's hat on your front door, and place a cauldron filled with dry ice near your entryway. The billowing fog will create a captivating, witchy atmosphere.Spine-Tingling Sound: Today’s tech makes it easy to set up outdoor speakers and play eerie sound effects or a Halloween-themed playlist to set the mood. The distant howl of a wolf or the creaking of a haunted house can add an extra layer of spookiness.If you want to bring the fun indoors, check out these easy decor ideas for your home:Create a Haunted Entryway: From eerie, flickering candles to cobweb-covered door frames, it’s easy to bring Halloween indoors with these simple decorations. You can even add a witch's hat to your coat rack for a touch of whimsy.Ghoulish Gathering Space: Have you ever considered swapping out your regular light bulbs for black lights or orange-tinted bulbs? This simple change can create an eerie ambiance in your living space, perfect for the spooky season.Wicked Wall Art: Another easy trick is to replace your usual artwork with spooky, Halloween-themed prints or framed vintage horror movie posters. A current popular trend called “thrifted ghost painting” is another great option for your home–check it out here. Creepy Crawlers: Place fake spiders, rats, and snakes in unexpected places, like your bookshelves, couch cushions, or even your refrigerator. These little touches will keep your guests on their toes. Of course, don’t forget about them yourself or else you might have a fright!Mystical Mantel or Tablescape: If you don’t have a fireplace mantel, you can also decorate your kitchen or dining room table; if you have a smaller space, even a coffee table works! Simply place a black cloth with some spooky candlesticks, fake bones, and other spooky trinkets to set the October vibe.Feel free to mix and match these indoor and outdoor ideas to create a unique and hauntingly beautiful display. Remember, your home builder expertise extends beyond bricks and mortar, and now you can showcase your flair for fun and fright. Whether you have a smaller space or a large house, you can embrace the Halloween spirit and give your home a spook-tacular makeover that will leave your guests and neighbors spellbound! Happy haunting!
Spook-tacular Halloween Decor Ideas for Your Home

Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Holiday Entertaining

November 16, 2021
'Tis the season for entertaining! Be ready to welcome guests into your home with open arms and be prepared for stress-free holidays with these tips.Start the Pre-Holiday CleaningPre-holiday cleaning is important no matter how many holiday events you're planning. You might have accumulated quite a bit of unnecessary stuff over the last 18 months – we get it. Now's the time to take a moment at the start of the busy season to thoroughly clean and de-clutter your home. First, it's a great way to enter the winter and new year. Second, it'll mean less time spent cleaning in the days leading up to a big holiday event. Get rid of clutter throughout the house, give your kitchen a deep clean, replace light bulbs, restock bathrooms, and make sure guest rooms are set up. Deck the Halls What would the holiday season be without decorations? Lavishly decorate your home before events to ensure guests feel festive, cozy, and welcomed. You can opt for holiday-specific décor (Christmas trees, Thanksgiving cornucopias, winter window clings) or classic decorations that are more seasonal. Put up lights indoors and out to give your entire home a cheery feeling. And don't forget your entryway! This is the first room that welcomes guests, so you want it to be carefully decorated. If you can, make sure there's a bench available so guests can easily remove bulky boots or puffy winter coats. Be sure to add decorative lights here as well. Upgrade Spaces to MingleHoliday parties rarely end once the meal is finished. Guests will want to linger and mingle, so make sure you have spaces set up to accommodate that. If your guest list surpasses your furniture limit, set up comfortable folding chairs. Additionally, people tend to gravitate toward the kitchen. If your kitchen isn't set up to handle an entire crowd, gently steer people toward your living areas by keeping beverages and snacks in these communal areas along with ample places to sit.Prepare for Overnight GuestsIf family holiday gatherings tend to bring people from all over to your home, prepare your guest room and other sleeping areas for overnight guests. Change the bedding, restock guest bathrooms, and leave out clean towels for the morning. These details will save you the hassle of scrambling to find more pillows the day of and allow guests to stow away overnight bags before the party.Nail the Party PlanningWhether you're the sole host or a co-host with helpers, planning will make the day of the event run so much smoother – and allow you to enjoy it! Here's how you can nail the party planning:1. Send out invitations to your holiday events as early as possible. Make sure you request an RSVP so you can have an accurate headcount for meal planning. If you're asking guests to bring food in a potluck style, make sure you include a sign-up sheet or request a specific dish. Otherwise, you could end up with a table full of pies and nothing else!2. Plan the menu (and do all your shopping) well in advance. Avoid the last-minute grocery run for the critical ingredient in the main dish by preparing the food days before the event. Check and double-check your list to make sure you have everything you need to make the meal. If there are items you can make in advance and freeze – such as pies, casseroles, or bread – do that. Just make sure you remember to thaw those items the night before.3. Set the decorations, dining area, and other details the night before. If you set the table in advance, that's one less thing you'll have to worry about as you're checking the oven and making sure guests' glasses are filled.4. Meticulously plan out every food item if you're cooking a full meal. If you're cooking a full Thanksgiving meal yourself, create a schedule for the entire day. Determine what time the turkey needs to go in the oven when sides need to be started, what time each item goes in and out of the oven. Don't leave anything to chance! It's so easy to get distracted when you have a house full of people.And there you go! Follow these tips, and you'll be ready to host stand-out holiday events this year without added stress. 

Father's Day Gift Ideas

June 14, 2021
5 Father’s Day Gift IdeasOur dads deserve the best and with Father’s Day less than a week away, the pressure to get the perfect gift can add a lot of stress! These gifts will make dad feel special without breaking the bank so he can have an amazing Father’s Day!1. National Park Pass – This is the perfect gift for anyone who has been itching to get out and see the sites after the past year. This covers dad and 3 additional people ages 16+ and children younger than 15 are free! This isn’t just a gift; this is an experience that you and your family will talk about for years to come. https://store.usgs.gov/product/2069462. Ginmic Magnetic Wristband - If dad is a handyman or even likes to work on the occasional home improvement project, this accessory is perfect for keeping everything in one place. https://www.amazon.com/Ginmic-Magnetic-Wristband-Carpenters-Boyfriend/dp/B07FC9N2TJ3. Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N45NNCL?tag=221704-goodhousekeepingfdhotlist-20 Take this 5-star hammock anywhere from the mountains to the beach. This hammock is portable and comes in dozens of colors.4. PVO Portable Projector – Whether he is watching movies in the backyard or DIY videos while working on a project in the garage, he will surely love the best-selling projector. https://tinyurl.com/46mdpteu5. Apple AirTag – This is the perfect gift for the dad who is always losing things. Attach to keychains, backpack, or anything you want to track and sync with your iPhone or iPad, and he’ll never have to look for it again. (Compatible with iPhone 6s and up and must be on iOS 14.5 or above). https://tinyurl.com/4v5whvvu
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