1. Have some Fun this Month!

    The Gulf of Mexico is lined with beautiful beaches and has so much to offer Neal Community residents!

    If you are beach-goer, don’t miss the Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest. Held on May 4 near the Pavilion, this event is free and open for anyone to compete in. Read more about it.

    Foodies will love the 3rd Annual Food and Wine on the Pine event which features more than 30 wines, independent restaurant owners, and craft beers. Come eat, drink, and be merry!

    Fishermen and women can participate in the 82nd Sarasota Sports Fishing Anglers Club Tarpon Tournament held May 12-June 17. The $100 entry fee will benefit The Suncoast Charities for Children. Cast a line and join in the fun!

    If you are beer enthusiast don’t miss the Venice Brew Bash featuring great bands and well, beer! For only $30 dollars, you will have unlimited beer tasting, but you must be over the age of 21. This will be held from 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. on May 25.

    Don’t forget about Memorial Day! May 26 from 6p.m.- 9p.m. a Tribute to Heroes Memorial Day Parade will take place at Lakewood Ranch. Come for the music, food, drinks, parade, and fun! And certainly come to honor our troops.

    There’s so much to do and so little time. Make the most of your May by attending these events and more.


  2. Outdoor Project- Build Your Own Fire Pit!

    Spring is here and like many other homeowners, you might have some outdoor projects  on your “To-Do” list.

    Stop and create something special this year that will provide outdoor entertainment to you and your guests – a backyard fire pit!

    Your backyard retreat is just a few steps away and you won’t need much to get started:

    • Concrete wall stones
    • Sand
    • Shovel
    • Tamper

    Before building anything in your backyard, you should always check with building codes. This will ensure you follow the rules and regulations.

    Pick a spot to build your fire pit that is far away from your house, low-hanging trees, or other structures.  When you start digging, be careful to not hit any lines.

    Once you determine how big you want your pit, lay down your concrete wall stones in a circle.  Typically, fire pits are anywhere from 36 to 44 inches in diameter.

    When you have your frame, dig a foot deep hole in the circle and pour sand in.

    Lay your stones around the perimeter and continue doing so until they are at least 12 inches above the ground.

    Take the time to enjoy friends and family sitting beside your cozy new fire pit!  Whether you are cooking s’mores, enjoying lemonade, or telling ghost stories, fun times are ready to begin near your backyard fire pit.


  3. Looking for an Excuse to East Pecan Pie?

    “Good Moms Have Sticky Floors, Messy Kitchens, Laundry Piles, Dirty Ovens, and Happy Kids!

     

    Did you know that this month hosts National Pecan Pie Day? We couldn’t think of a better excuse to be in the kitchen, cooking, (and then of course, eating) pecan pie!

    Here is a recipe from FoodNetwork to make a Pecan pie.

     

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • ½ cold butter (1 stick) diced
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • Flour, for rolling the dough

    Filling

    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • ¾ cu light corn syrup
    • ½ teaspoon fine salt
    • 2 cups chopped toasted pecans
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

    Directions

    Make the dough by hand: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter. (If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture.

    Alternatively, make the dough in a food processor. With the machine fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter, about 10 times. Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times; don’t let the dough form into a ball in the machine. (If the dough is very dry add up to a tablespoon more of cold water.) Remove the bowl from the machine, remove the blade, and bring the dough together by hand.

    Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.

    On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim. Flute the edge as desired. Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.

    Set separate racks in the center and lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is lightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

    While the crust is baking make the filling: In medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon, and the vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. (If the crust has cooled, return it to the oven for 5 minutes to warm through.) Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth. Put the pie shell on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the hot crust.

    Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 40 to 45 minutes. (If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil half way during baking.) Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature

    Do you have a delicious recipe for Pecan Pie you want to share?


  4. New Home? No worries!

    Are you in the market to buy a new home? Congratulations, you are preparing for an exciting adventure! Finding a new home can be scary, especially if you are a first time buyer.

    We’ve put together a list of tips to keep in mind when looking for a new home.

     Price Shop

    Just as you would if buying a new car, you should compare prices in the area. Websites such as Trulia or Zillow can give you a general idea of what you can expect to pay. Once you determine what your budget is, you can narrow in on options.

    Set Your Budget

    In order to set your budget, you might consider speaking with a mortgage company. Or, using a mortgage calculator, you can determine what your payments would be if you put a certain amount down.  Fannie Mae recommends buyers not spend more than 28% of their income on housing costs.

    Consider Additional Costs

    Once you have an idea of your budget,  do your homework and determine what additional taxes, insurance, and other expenses are necessary. Be sure to include this in your costs so you don’t go over budget.

    Distinguish Your Wants From Your Needs

    We all want a big house with a large kitchen, walk-in closets, granite countertops, a huge pool in the backyard, and plenty of space. Determining what features and amenities you need from your next home and community is important. Otherwise, you might end up paying too much for features you didn’t necessarily need.

    Clean Up Your Credit Score

    Even if you are in the very early stages of looking for homes, start building your credit score now. Run a free report to find out what your score is and how you can begin to improve it.

    Home is where your story begins. Follow these tips to find your dream home.


  5. April Events- Get Ready for Some Fun!

    They say April showers bring May flowers, but we think April will bring some fun in the sun!

    Neal Communities is fortunate to be located in the beautiful gulf community Sarasota, with white sandy beaches and pristine blue waters nearby.

    If your family is looking for something to do this month, check out some of these events happening near you!

    April 5-14:  15th Annual Sarasota Film Festival. If you are hoping for a celebrity spotting, you can look forward to this event. Actress Mariel Hemingway, director Peter Bogdanovich, actor Griffin Dunne and more will be in attendance. For more information, visit this website for details. 

    April 6: If you are an avid runner or just someone who enjoys helping the greater good, there will be a Run/Walk for the Turtles. This race takes place on Siesta Key Public Beach by the Mote Marina. Registration begins at 6:30 am. All fees benefit the Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program.  More details can be found here.

    April 12-14: If you are a fan of good food and music, the Rhythm and Ribfest is the place for you. Located at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, live music, fun, and food will be bountiful.  Visit the website for more information.

    April 13-21: The Sarasota Open USTA Championship Tournament brings the top tennis players from around the world to Sarasota . For ticket and more information visit the website.

    April 29: 10th Annual Ride the Beaches event will take place on Sharky’s by the Pier. Riders can select to bike 65 or 35 mile and will benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Contact Sharky’s for more information.

    All these events and more can be also be found on The Escape to Sarasota website. Which event will you and your family be attending this month?