1. Summer Nights- Backyard Bliss

    Summer is just around the corner, and you might find yourself spending more time in the outdoors. If you enjoy entertaining family and friends, or just want to spruce up your outdoor area, check out these great tips!

    Lights. Lighting can set the mood and don’t have to cost a fortune. Consider using your holiday lights to wrap around tree trunks. Tiki torches, candles, and cheap lights can all be found at local stores like Target or Walmart. Consider stringing lights from corners to brighten the scenery and add decoration.

    Decorations. Outdoor accessories can really transform an outdoor space into a something magical.  Check out local flea markets and dollar stores for pots, bowls, ornaments, lanterns, chairs, and other outdoor items.  Don’t be afraid to get crafty! If you find an item that has potential, consider painting, decorating, or fixing it. Pinterest has millions of ideas to help you!

    Privacy. You want your outdoor space to feel private and comfortable. Consider growing tall shrubs, hanging plants, or placing a garden gate in area to provide privacy from neighbors.

    Customize. Add something that best suits your personality. Maybe it’s a hammock to take naps in, or a wicker chair perfect for reading a book. A porch swing can be hung to sit with a friend and share stories,  and an herb garden can be grown with love and care. The beauty of owning a home is making it customized to you.

    Create an outdoor space that will be the hangout spot of the summer! What ideas do you have for your backyard?


  2. Throw a Memorable Memorial Day Party!

    Are you hosting a BBQ for Memorial Day?

    Try these recipes we have collected for you for a party that will surely be remembered!

    Main course-

    For an easy and delicious burger, try this recipe! Combine ground beef, a packet of dry ranch dressing, and shredded cheese. Mix ingredients and form into patties.  Cook on the grill, flipping until meat is cooked to the desired temperature.

    Side Dish-

    Corn on the cob- Nothing says “let’s kick off summer’ like corn on the cob. Peel off the husks on the corn. Slather with butter and season with sea salt and pepper. Wrap up in aluminum foil. Add a little water in with the aluminum foil when wrapping. Grill and turn until kernels are cooked.

    Dessert-

    This patriotic meal is sure to be a hit.  In a parfait cup, layer blueberries, cool whip, and cut up strawberries. Repeat order until the parfait cup is full and add a dollop of cool whip on the top.

    If you are looking for decorating ideas, try hanging American flags around, or red, white, and blue stars. Centerpieces on the table can be a bouquet or red, white, and blue flowers.  American themed table clothes can be found at many craft stores.

    Whatever is on the menu, let us not forget why we celebrate this holiday – Thanks to all of the military, past and present, who fight for our country. Happy Memorial Day!


  3. Tips to Get Your Home Squeaky Clean

    Cleaning isn’t exactly on our list of “Favorite Things,” but who doesn’t enjoy having a clean and beautiful home?

    We found these cleaning tips on Pinterest and wanted to share.

    Cleaning a Shower head

    Simply put 1/3 cup baking soda, and 1 cup white vinegar in a zip lock bag. Wrap the baggie around the shower head and keep it in place with a twist tie or rubber band, letting it soak for 2-3 hours or overnight. Wipe it off when you carefully remove it. Looks as good as new!

    Removing scuff marks

    Try using WD-40 on a scrub brush. Seems odd, but works wonders.

    Stainless Steel Cleaner

    If your toaster, fridge, or even granite counter top need a wash, use 1 Tbsp. Cream of Tarter with a few drops of water. Rub it onto the appliance with a sponge brush and wipe it clean with a damp paper towel. The results will amaze you!

    Dirty Pans

    If you have cookie sheets or muffins tins that you’ve considered throwing away due to their appearance, don’t be wasteful! Instead, use tea tree oil to scrub it right off.

    Electronics

    If you have coffee filters lying around, use one to wipe dust off electronics such as TVs and stereos.

    For more cleaning tips you might not have thought of, check out the full article.

    Happy cleaning!


  4. Tips to Save Money for a New Home

    The thought of buying your own home is very exciting! You can paint the walls whatever color you decide, you can turn your backyard into a private oasis, you will have more storage space, and the option to make renovations to customize your house to meet your personality.

    Don’t let money keep you away from your dream home. Follow these tips to start saving today.

    Set a budget. It’s hard to know how much you’re spending, and on what, if you don’t track it. You might be surprised to find you are spending a certain amount on food or entertainment. Find areas in which you can cut back.

    Unplug. When you aren’t in a room, turn off the light. Keep the TV or radio off when it’s not being utilized.  Even unplugging items not used daily can conserve energy. Use cold water when you can and limit the time spent in the shower.

    Limit Food. We’ve all gone to grocery hungry, bought too much food, and then had to throw it out. Try planning your meals for the week. Stick to your list at the store. Use items that will go bad before canned food.  Try out generic brands versus the bigger brand names to save even more.

    Cut back. If you really want to save money for a home, consider cutting back on luxury or disposable income items. If you get your nails done every week, try going ever other. Try placing the money you would have spent into a savings jar.

    Save before you spend. Sometimes, saving money can be easier said than done. When you get paid, automatically set aside a certain amount of money into your savings. This will allow for you save before you spend.

    If you find yourself struggling to save, remind yourself what you are doing this for : your dream home! Picture yourself in your home and remind yourself of all the reasons you want to save for a home. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself, “is this purchase more important than saving for my home?”  Before long, you will be ready to make the move.