How to Survive the Holidays With Your Family

The holiday season is about being grateful, giving back, and spending a copious amount of time with your family. Sometimes being around your family so much can go to your head. If you have a dysfunctional family filled with big personalities, it can be treacherous at times. Here are some tips to help you get through the holidays with your family.

1. Smile and nod: The best way to avoid probing questions and unsolicited advice is to agree. Make like a bobble head doll and smile and nod.

2. Stay in the kitchen: Hide in the kitchen. No one will come in because that means they’d have to help with setting the table or washing dishes.

3. Overpowering Christmas music: When things start to get heated at the dinner table take to the radio to blast “All I Want for Christmas is You” at a ridiculous volume. Tune out the fighting. Everyone will thank you – and hopefully start singing along.

4. The kids: Pull up a chair at the kid’s table. They’ll keep you entertained, and they don’t have strong opinions on politics or your life. They probably won’t ask you why you aren’t married yet or whether or not you are dating someone. Kids always save the day, plus they have coloring books and would rather discuss Play-doh than Plato.

5. Read a book: Get lost in a good book. There are so many good reads to help you escape the drama and make your family seem normal. For example, check out Where’d You Go, Bernadette or Beautiful Ruins.

Good luck.

 

Recommended Reading:

-8 Things You May Have Thought When Your In-Laws Stayed Over

-5 Stages of Having Your Kids Home From College

-How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

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Deck the Halls: 10 Things to Do Leading Up to Christmas

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year. You have to buy and wrap presents, decorate the tree, cook, bake, and more. Preparing your home for Christmas may seem stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Here are small things that you can do every day leading up to Christmas. Your home can be more festive in no time.

1. Create a Christmas card display: Arrange the Christmas cards you’ve received over the past few weeks on a mantel or in a nice Christmas wreath. This adds a sentimental value to the holiday and shows your family and friends that you appreciate them.

2. Plan Christmas menu: Knowing exactly what you’re cooking makes grocery shopping faster. Plus you won’t have to run out because you forgot milk…again.

3. Put out smaller decorations: There is no such thing as too many Christmas decorations. If your tree is up and the outside of your home is decked out, adding small touches inside the home is the next step. Hang wreaths, display nutcrackers, snow globes, and hang the stockings — this added decor brings the Christmas season full circle.

4. Display presents under the tree: As you are finished wrapping presents for your family and Christmas guests, display them under the tree. You’ll remember where you put the gifts and you’ll get excited every time you see them under the tree. Note to Self: Stop hiding gifts and forgetting where they’re hidden.

5. Prepare for guests: If you have family staying over during the holidays, prepare in advance. There’s no need to run around on Christmas trying to cook, clean, and get things together for guests. A few days prior to the holiday, put out extra towels, bedding, and anything else your guests may need. If you have enough time, use these tips to set up a great guest room.

6. Bake, bake, bake: A night or two before Christmas, get all your baking done. It’s a fun activity to do with your family and you’ll take care of something else on your to-do list.

7. Deep clean your home: A clean home is a happy home, especially during the holidays. Clean your home a few days before Christmas. A mess may ensue during the holiday but at least the meticulous cleaning job is done.

8. Set the table: Don’t set your table in a hurry. Take some time to make it beautiful. Set up a runner, put out candles, and add a festive centerpiece.

9. Set out seating: If your home doesn’t have the capacity to hold all your guests, make arrangements in advance. Borrow or rent extra tables and chairs so there is room for everyone and everything.

10. Burn candles: There is nothing like the fresh scent of a Christmas candle. Light a few before your guests arrive to help make your home look and smell beautiful.

If you do one small thing each day before Christmas, your home will be prepared for the actual day. As a host, you will be able to enjoy the holiday more knowing everything is taken care of.

 

Recommended Reading:

-How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

-5 Ways to Reconnect this Holiday Season

-Winter is Coming: How to Prep Your Home for Winter

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If Igloos Had Real Estate Listings

The latest trend in real estate may be a little chilling to some people. These homes are the coolest thing on the market right now, and the best part is that there’s no need to worry about shoveling snow. Igloo homes are the next big thing.

Here are some igloo homes for every cool family:

1. This igloo comes complete with central AC and you’ll decrease your electrical bill because there is no need for a fridge.

2. You won’t have to ask your neighbor for ice cubes when you live in this abode. You may, however, have to ask for extra blankets.

3. Wouldn’t it be great to never have to worry about preparing for a blizzard? This igloo mansion allows for that luxury, along with other amenities including a gym where you’ll never sweat, the largest freezer known to man, and a lower energy bill.

4. Winterizing your home is no longer an issue in this ice palace. This home comes complete with an ice throne, a frozen pool (aka skating rink), and an icicle garden. There is also a gorgeous faux fireplace.

5. Who needs a treehouse when you have a snowy hideaway in your backyard. This little igloo is great for escaping when you need a break from all the holiday cheer. Keep a stash of ice cream and drinks along with a sweatshirt or two.

When you buy one of these homes you’ll automatically be the coolest family on the block.

Recommended Reading:

-Carrie, Seinfeld, and Friends: NYC Apartments Straight from the Screen

-How to Turn Your House Into the Ultimate Haunted House

-8 Things You May Have Thought When Your In-Laws Stayed Over

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At Home Magazine: How to Install Flooring

Laminated planks offer the look of wood or stone, but they provide greater durability and convenience. Looking to make a few renovations this winter? You can install flooring using these simple steps.

1. Allow flooring to acclimate to the room. It should sit for at least 48 hours prior to installation in order to contract or expand in relation to room’s temperature.

2. Remove existing base molding and flooring. Save molding to reinstall at the end of the project.

3. Install foam underlayment, ensuring the surface is clear of staples and nails from old flooring.

4. Plan your layout.

5. Measure and cut your first piece.

6. Install the first row with the tongue side facing the wall, cutting the tongue edge off of these planks.

7. Connect planks to each other using the tongue and groove.

8. Allow for expansion; leave a one-quarter-inch gap between the planks and the wall.

9. Cut the last plank to length.

10. Install additional rows, allowing at least 12 inches between the seams of adjoining rows.

11. Install the last row.

12. Cut around door casings using a jamb saw.

13. Reinstall base moldings. Install shoe moldings over expansion joints, caulking around the perimeter before installing if in a bathroom. Use transition strips to connect the laminate floor to adjoining surfaces, such as carpet.

Voila! Enjoy your new floor (and the fact that you saved money by doing it yourself)

Recommended Reading:

-Old to New: Tips for Rearranging Your Furniture

-6 Inexpensive Remodeling Ideas for Your Home

-Ask Our Expert: Budget Friendly Bathroom Update

-Done in One Hour: How to Install a Faucet

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5 Ways to Reconnect this Holiday Season

As a real estate agent, staying in touch with past clients is an essential part of building your business. The holidays are a great time to send your greetings and subtly remind clients that you’re there for their real estate needs.

Here are some unique ways to reconnect this holiday season:

1. Send an email: This is the easiest way to get a past client’s attention. Sending a thoughtful message or an e-card is a good way to let someone know that you’re thinking of them. Personalize it by asking questions such as them how they’re enjoying their home and neighborhood. Although it’s better to write individual emails, it is possible to send a message to multiple clients at once (just remember to BCC.)

2. Greeting cards: If you have a client’s address, take the more traditional route and send them a holiday card. They will appreciate the personal approach and they’ll be more likely to remember you when they see your card displayed in their home.

3. Small, thoughtful gifts: Whether it’s a tin of cookies, a flower arrangement, or a homemade gift, something small goes a long way. You can send these small gifts in the mail, or even give them to current clients at an open house. Clients will always remember the real estate agent who came to their showing with a holiday gift.

4. Set up coffee dates: If you had a really great client experience with someone in the past, call them to arrange to catch up over coffee or lunch. Face-to-face contact is great way to stay in touch and show that you truly care about the relationship.

5. Host a holiday party: To go above and beyond during the holiday season, host a small get together at your office or home. Invite past, present, and future clients, giving you the chance to work the room. This will help you reconnect with people you’ve once worked with, while also giving you the opportunity to promote yourself to future clients.

As a professional, you should be following up and connecting with clients 365 days a year, but the holidays are a great way to get unique with your networking.

Recommended Reading:

-5 Essential Networking Tips for Real Estate Agents

-Tech Talk: 5 Apps for Real Estate Agents

-6 Simple SEO Tips for Real Estate Agents

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Off-Season Home Maintenance Tips to Save Money

Contribution by HomeAdvisor

While some home maintenance projects — those such as tuning up your furnace in the fall and cleaning up your lawn in the spring — are directed by the seasons, other home maintenance projects are better completed off season. Performing select maintenance projects off season can save money — whether it’s a few hundred bucks on replacement parts or thousands of dollars in disaster prevention.

(Image: M. Besse Architect, PLLC)

Here are some off-season home maintenance projects to consider looking at now:

Perform sink disposal maintenance: Your garbage disposal gathers gunk and food buildup over time. You should clean it regularly to prevent problems. According to a recent HuffPost article, one of the quickest ways to clean your disposal is to drop lemon or orange peels down your drain, run the disposal, add some ice cubes and run it again. Next, fill the sink with water and drain it through the disposal. It should be good to go — and fresh smelling, too!

Clean out the range hood filter: Over time, your range hood filter collects debris from everything you’ve cooked on the stovetop. It will look pretty nasty if you’ve never cleaned it. Mix a degreaser intended for cleaning auto parts with hot water and let the filter soak for a few minutes. If you don’t have degreaser available, you can scrub the filter with a non-abrasive brush, dish soap and a lot of elbow grease. The debris will lessen with regular maintenance and your filter and fan will work more effectively.

Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: You should test your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms on a regular basis. Press the test button. If you get a long, loud beep in response, you’re good to go; if you don’t, you probably need to replace the batteries. If your alarms begin to chirp at any time on their own, they are notifying you that your batteries are low. It’s not advisable to wait for the chirping to replace your batteries. They should be swapped for new ones every six months.

Test the garage door’s auto-reverse: An automatic garage door stops closing and goes back up if something’s in its way. If the auto-reverse feature fails, the garage door may injure you or your car. Test this feature once a month by putting a 2 x 4 plank on the ground where the door sensors will detect it. If the door doesn’t go back up during one of these tests, you’ll need to have a garage door repair pro come fix it.

Suck up dust around fridge coils:  Your refrigerator uses almost 10 to 15 percent of your electricity, and the coils behind it are a major source of its power. Because it’s these coils are not generally included in weekly or monthly cleanings, they build up dust and debris — making it harder for electricity to run through to the refrigerator. You can use a vacuum hose to clear the coils once every other month or so. You’ll increase your refrigerator’s efficiency as a result.

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Snow Safety for the Home

When the winter months hit, one thing is guaranteed — snow. A wintery white wonderland laid out on your lawn is a beautiful sight — when you’re cozy and safe inside your home.

However, snow can be very dangerous when it’s not handled properly. Here are three ways to help keep your family, and your home, safe this season.

1. Prep beforehand: It’s always best to be prepared when you know there is a snowstorm coming. Have an emergency kit, snow removal tools, and flashlights on hand because once the storm hits you won’t be able to leave the house to acquire these items.

2. Remove snow from entryways first: When you go outside to shovel, be sure to remove snow from basement stairwells, windows, and walls first. Getting the snow out of these places quickly will prevent the snow from entering your home when it melts.

3. Pay attention to where snow accumulates: If snow is building up on the lower part of your roof, be weary of removing it. When you’re removing snow from a higher level, it can cause damage to you and your home. If there is too much snow, or you are worried for your safety, call a professional for help.

Now that you know these snow safety precautions, enjoy the weather. Go sledding in the backyard or curl up by the fire with hot chocolate and a good book.

Recommended Reading:

-Fall into Fall: 5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

-Cents and Sensibility: 5 Mistakes that Could Decrease Your Home’s Value

-Things Your Inspector Missed That You Could Still Catch

 

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Snow Safety for the Home

When the winter months hit, one thing is guaranteed — snow. A wintery white wonderland laid out on your lawn is a beautiful sight — when you’re cozy and safe inside your home.

However, snow can be very dangerous when it’s not handled properly. Here are three ways to help keep your family, and your home, safe this season.

1. Prep beforehand: It’s always best to be prepared when you know there is a snowstorm coming. Have an emergency kit, snow removal tools, and flashlights on hand because once the storm hits you won’t be able to leave the house to acquire these items.

2. Remove snow from entryways first: When you go outside to shovel, be sure to remove snow from basement stairwells, windows, and walls first. Getting the snow out of these places quickly will prevent the snow from entering your home when it melts.

3. Pay attention to where snow accumulates: If snow is building up on the lower part of your roof, be weary of removing it. When you’re removing snow from a higher level, it can cause damage to you and your home. If there is too much snow, or you are worried for your safety, call a professional for help.

Now that you know these snow safety precautions, enjoy the weather. Go sledding in the backyard or curl up by the fire with hot chocolate and a good book.

Recommended Reading:

-Fall into Fall: 5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

-Cents and Sensibility: 5 Mistakes that Could Decrease Your Home’s Value

-Things Your Inspector Missed That You Could Still Catch

 

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Winter is Coming: How to Prep Your Home for Winter

Can you feel that chill in the air? When the low temperatures roll in, it’s time to prep your home for winter, ensuring that everything is safe and ready for the cold.

Follow these to help keep a warm, winterized home:

1. Tune up heating systems: Hire a professional to inspect your furnace and heater, making sure it’s clean and in its best condition. This will help make sure that your home is properly heated and that the system isn’t working overtime to keep the house warm. (Boston.com)

2. Caulk windows and doors: To keep your home well insulated, make sure there are no gaps between windows and doors. If there is, use a silicone based caulk to seal it because the material won’t shrink when exposed to harsh weather conditions. (Kiplinger)

3. Turn off exterior faucets: If you have a sprinkler system or outdoor hoses, it’s best to turn those off during the cold weather. If you leave the faucets on and the pipes undrained, they can freeze and eventually burst, causing even more problems and damage to your home exterior. (Womans Day)

4. Check the roof: Santa’s sleigh needs a smooth surface to land on. Reindeer falling off the roof is unacceptable. Get on a ladder, or inspect from the ground, to make sure no shingles are falling off. Also make sure there are no cracks in the roof. If it needs fixing, hire a professional to do the job. (Kiplinger)

5. Prevent ice dams: If your home is prone to icicles and ice dams, you may want to take all precautions to prevent them. An ice dam not only causes meltwater to back up into your home, but can also rip shingles and gutters. To prevent this, seal air leaks, add insulation, and make sure your roof is vented properly. (Kiplinger)

6. Block dormant fireplaces: If your house has a fireplace that you don’t plan on using this winter, make sure to block it off. This will help keep warm air from escaping up the chimney. You don’t need to make a huge project from this; just put a decorative fireplace screen in front of it. (Womans Day)

7. Clean your chimney: If you’re roasting chestnuts on an open fire, make sure the smoke has somewhere to travel. Hire a chimney sweep to get rid of soot before using the fireplace. This precaution prevents carbon monoxide from seeping into your home. No one likes a dirty chimney! (Boston.com)[1]

Preparing your home for the winter cold is essential in keeping your home heated, flood free, and safe. It can even help decrease your energy bills during this high energy time. Take a day to do these projects, and your home will thank you.

Recommended Reading:

-Fall into Fall: 5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

-5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Property Value

-3 Things to Do With an Abundance of Autumn Leaves


Good sourcing!

 

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How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Not only are the holidays arguably the most cheerful and fun days to experience with your loved ones, they’re also the best time of the year for decorating. Whether you go all out or prefer minimal decorations these tips will get your home into the holiday spirit.

1. Decorate the door: Make a great first impression. Decorate your doorway with garland and hang a wreath from your front door.

2. Christmas lanterns: A lantern is a very elegant and sophisticated piece of decor that will instantly dress up any room. Add candles or flameless candles to brighten any room.

3. Centerpieces: A centerpiece is the focal point of your table. It transforms how guests view your dining room and can really get everyone into the Holiday spirit. Adorning your table with a bouquet of red roses mixed in with some garland, berry sprigs, and candles is a great way to bring the season into your home.

4. Hanging lights: Decorate any sort of hanging, pendant light with garland.

5. Staircases, columns, etc.: Take your love of detail into other parts of your home. Add bows, garland, and string lights to the handrails and columns inside and outside your house. These small decorations will help make your home cozy and give it a very Holiday feel.

6. Coffee Table: Fill glass bowls or cylinders with ornaments. If you’re feeling extra creative spray paint pinecones and add them.

7. Mantelpiece: Your mantelpiece is usually the focal point of your living room, and what better time to draw more attention to it than the holidays? Decorate the mantel with red berries, tree branches, Christmas stockings, and other small holiday touches.

8. The tree: For Christmas it’s all about the tree during the holidays. All families have their own traditions, but you may want to change things up a bit. Add some metallic shimmer, top the tree with bells instead of an angel, and cluster ornaments together. It’ll give a traditional tree a new look.

Decorating your home for the holidays is a fun family activity. Add some cheer to your home!

Recommended Reading:

-5 Ways to Make Your Home Cozy for Fall

-5 Creative DIY Projects You Can Do With Wallpaper

-First Impressions: Door Decor for Fall

 

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