1. Preparing for Moving Day

    Well, the big day is almost here! You are feeling pretty confident that you are ready. The movers have been hired, your worldly possessions are all neatly packed in boxes, and you’ve completed your change of address card at the post office! So, now you can sit back, relax and enjoy moving day, right?? Awww, if it were only that simple! Let’s face it, moving day can be stressful and energy draining to say the least! So, how can you survive it, and maybe even enjoy it?

    Here are some simple tips to help you survive (and thrive) your moving day experience!

    1. Confirm with everyone involved in the move the night before. This means calling the movers, the babysitter, the electric company, the telephone company, and cable company. You don’t want any surprises on Moving Day!
    2. Move all your boxes as close as you can to the entrance of the home that the movers will be using. This makes loading your possessions much easier and faster for the moving crew.
    3. Take all lampshades off lamps and remove the light bulbs. The movers will have to do this anyway, so save some time by doing it the night before.
    4. Ask your moving company to supply you with several wardrobe boxes. Simply take your clothes (on the hangers) and place them in the box. You can do this while the movers are loading up all your other items.
    5. Strip all the linens off your beds and put them in a box marked ‘bed linens’. This not only will save the movers’ time, it will make it easier for you to find the sheets when you get to your new home.
    6. Pack a cooler the morning of your move with all items from the refrigerator and freezer. Keep the cooler with you. Make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks for the day.
    7. Start your moving day with a power breakfast! Seriously! You are going to be working hard all day long; you will need your strength!
    8. Ship the kids and pets out so they are not around on the big day. This will eliminate a great deal of stress for you. All the commotion caused by the movers will just get your children and pets overly excited and the movers will appreciate not having to work around your children and pets.
    9. Take valuables and family heirlooms with you personally. Don’t trust Great Aunt Eunice’s Waterford crystal pickle bowl to the movers. Even if you have movers insurance, you can’t replace certain items that have sentimental value.
    10. Have cash available to tip your movers…they’ve earned it!

  2. Turning your New House Into your Dream Home!

    One of the most exciting and rewarding parts of building your new home in a Neal Community is the opportunity to personalize and customize your dream home to reflect your unique personality and lifestyle. The fun beings once you sign your contract to purchase your new home. The next step is to schedule your appointment to visit to our fully integrated Design Gallery.

    Our team of design professionals walks every Neal homebuyer through the process of selecting everything from exterior and interior color palettes to kitchen cabinets and appliances to door handles, all with a variety of price-point options. You are given an initial tour and preview of the Design Gallery one week before the actual design session, including time to browse on your own.
    The entire team of Neal Communities Designers is committed to excellence in design and to helping you choose the features that enhance your new home. Our designers are creative, organized and skilled in combining aesthetic vision with practical skills and knowledge. They will provide you with professional guidance and assistance in developing a design plan to create the perfect home for you.

    A few recommendations to get you started before your appointment with the Neal Communities Designers:

    • Tour several of the model homes at any of our Neal Communities. You will be presented with a wide variety of design styles and collections. Be sure to make notes of what you like best. Expect to be impressed!

    • Look through home décor magazines for ideas on fixtures and other options.

    • Watch some of the great home shows on HGTV for ideas on the latest trends and fashion must-haves or visit hgtv.com for other design ideas

    • Collect samples of fabric swatches, tile and paint colors that you find appealing and bring them with you to your appointment

    • Lastly, give yourself permission to get creative! This is YOUR dream home, let your imagination take flight

  3. Dish out great recipes!

    It is summertime and all around Neal Communities our home owners are ready for some summertime fun! One thing you can be sure you will see in our neighborhoods is happy home owners firing up their grills and having fabulous summertime cookouts with neighbors and friends!

    This week, we wanted to give you a few simple recipes to complement your summer time cookout! We made them easy so that you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside enjoying the party!

    Emily’s Classic Deviled Eggs

    6 eggs, hard-cooked, yolks removed and mashed2 tablespoons mayonnaise

    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

    ½ teaspoon mild vinegar

    2 tablespoons sweet-pickle relish

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Paprika for garnish

    Combine yolks with other ingredients and fill whites. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika or a dab of relish. Enjoy!

    Easy Pasta Salad

    1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta

    1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian salad dressing

    2 cucumbers, chopped

    6 tomatoes, chopped

    1 bunch green onions, chopped

    4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

    1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

    Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 12 minutes, until al dente, and drain. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the Italian dressing, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions. In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning, and gently mix into the salad. Cover, and refrigerate until serving.

    Tina’s Fruit Trifle

    Make the ‘trifle’

    16 oz of LITE Cool Whip (thawed in refrigerator overnight)

    1 can of sweetened condensed milk

    1 pkg/box of cheesecake flavored pudding mix

    1 tablespoon sherry (optional)

    Mix the ‘trifle’ in a bowl

    Take a pre-made Angel Food Cake and cube it. Put 1/3 of the cubes in the bottom of a glass dessert bowl. Add 1/3 of the trifle mixture. Have a fresh fruit of your choice washed and sliced (strawberries, blueberries or kiwi) and scatter atop the triple. Repeat the process, ending with fruit on the top. Refrigerate 3 hours before serving.

  4. Plan B: Things to Do on a Rainy Day

    If you have ever lived in (or visited) Florida during the summer months, you know there are a few things you can count on. You can be sure that the weather will be hot and humid, and you can bet your bottom dollar you will experience a RAINY day or two.
    The interesting thing about a rainy summer day in Florida is that it doesn’t necessarily last the entire day. In some instances it might rain ALL day long, but often times you will just experience a brief summer shower that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours! You just never know what kind of weather is in store for you during the summer months. Most Floridians appreciate these summer showers, as it provides a cooling down period, albeit it brief! It offers you a chance to seek shelter from the sweltering sun and enjoy the cool breeze from the air conditioning inside.
    It is always wise to have a Plan B in place for those times that it does rain in the Sunshine State. Unless you want to hear you children saying for the millionth time ‘I’m bored! What is there to do?’ have some fun indoor activities planned.
    At Neal Communities, we have your Plan B! Here are 10 of our favorite suggestions on ways to spend a rainy day at home with your family.

    1. Organize an indoor treasure hunt – Hid fun items throughout the house, give your kids a secret map and let them discover the ‘treasures’.
    2. Get creative in the kitchen – A rainy day is the perfect time to try out new recipes! While you are at it, why not have everyone write down their favorite recipes and make a ‘Rainy Day Recipe Book’.
    3. Host a movie marathon – Let each person pick a movie of their choice, pop some popcorn and hunker down for your movie marathon.
    4. Break out the old fashion board games – Twister, Monopoly, Candy Land, Pictionary…..all are excellent ways to have fun indoors!
    5. Organize your photos – Why not go through the boxes of photographs that have been sitting in your garage or attic and put them into fun photo albums and frames! Everyone loves looking at old photographs.
    6. American Idol or Dancing with the Stars competition – Let everyone show off their talents by videotaping your very own ‘competition’. Once everyone has ‘tried’ out, play the video back and let the judging begin.
    7. Read a book…..out loud! – There are reasons that books on tape are so popular. Gather the family together and read one of the classics. Let everyone read a different chapter.
    8. Create Vision Boards – Give everyone a piece of poster board and then have them go through magazines and photos cutting out pictures and words to put on their vision board. Create a theme for each vision board. IE., Places you want to visit as a family.
    9. Plant an indoor herb garden – Turn your egg cartons into herb gardens! All you need is a little water, dirt and some seedlings.
    10. Singin’ in the rain – If all else fail, put on your galoshes, grab an umbrella and make like Gene Kelly in the classic movie ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.