Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Alternatives to the Easter Egg

Easter weekend is quickly approaching and we thought you might like some fresh ideas on an old tradition - the Easter Egg. Click on the photos below for details on how to make each egg yourself.

1. Use Glitter!

The blog www.the36thavenue is full of ideas including using glitter for a sparkling twist on egg decor.


2. Melted Crayons

Over at www.jennaburger.com get instructions on using melted crayons for a unique and kid-friendly way of decorating.


3. Even Shaving Cream

Make use of household item like shaving cream to create wonderful egg designs. Find instructions at www.katiescrochetgoodies.com

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Southern Plants

Working outside is a sort of homeowner’s rite of passage.  Molding the look and feel of your home from the outside in is a privilege and opportunity.

So what to do? An easy way to start is with plants and flowers suited to our Southern climate. We’ve compiled a list for you to do just that. Simply take to your local nursery or outdoor store and start shopping!

Flowering Shrubs:
Camellia
Azalea
Gardenia

Flowering Trees:
Crepe Myrtle
Magnolia
Dogwood
Redbud

Flowers:
Daffodil
Verbanas
Heliotrope
Begonia

Groundcover:
Bishop’s Weed
Lamium
Lily-of-the-Valley

For information on how to best plant and care for your southern lawn check out www.bhg.com or www.southernliving.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Getting Ready for Spring!

Spring is right around the corner and it’s time to dig out from winter’s doldrums. There’s an hour more of daylight which means more time to get things done around the house – including a jump start on spring cleaning!
For some tips on how to make your spring cleaning as efficient and effective as possible read below, then let us know what you do as part of your spring cleaning routine! 

Spring Cleaning Tips:

Make sure your tools are ready! Use a clean mop head, empty out the vacuum filter and pull out your gloves! Keep your cleaning supplies in a bucket with you as you move around the house.

Go room to room with a trash bag. Gather everything that needs to be thrown away from each room including trash, papers, receipts, old magazines, etc.

Dust from top to bottom which allows all dust and lint to accumulate and be vacuumed at the end of the process. Work from left to right, top to bottom.

Spray bathroom or kitchen hard surfaces with cleanser and let sit while you work on other areas of the house. The longer the cleanser sits the easier it will be to wipe up without too much scrubbing.

Don’t feel like you need to clean each room at a time. Focus on a task such as dusting and dust the whole house. Then focus on windows, floors, baseboards, etc. without spending all day working in just one room.


For more ideas on Spring Cleaning check out Pinterest for checklists and helpful hints. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ideas for your tax refund

Tax time may not be your favorite time of year, but if you’re expecting a refund you can use that money in a variety of ways to improve your current lifestyle.  While getting a refund feels good, financial experts agree that the best way to leave tax season is by breaking even. A refund means the government is giving back your extra money that you could have been saving and building interest on all year. However, if you do get a refund back, here are three ways to put it to work for you.

Down payment on a new home.  Use your tax refund towards a down payment on your new home. 
The average tax refund of $2000-$3000 can be a nice bonus towards your new home savings plan. If you’re a few years away from buying a home, years of saving your refund will help making the down payment easier.

Pay off debt.  Take the money and use it to pay off debt or make extra mortgage payments. Pay off a chunk of that student loan or get rid of credit card debt.

Save for retirement.  Place your refund into your retirement savings 401K or IRA. Your refund will continue to grow over time as interest accumulates. The earlier you begin saving the better!


These are just a few of the ways you can put this “found money” to work for you. What plans do you have for your tax refund?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring Forward

When you go to bed Saturday night be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour. Daylight Savings Time officially begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8.  That is of course unless you reside in Arizona or Hawaii, two states who have chosen to opt-out of the time change.
Daylight Savings Time originated in Germany during WWI as a way to conserve fuel used on artificial lighting. The practice was eventually adopted by the United States and occurs the second Sunday in March. Daylight Savings Time ends in the fall always on the first Sunday of November. 

Sleep experts claim that the average person takes 2 or 3 days to adjust to the new schedule since the change will result in losing an hour of sleep. To ease the transition, try to go to bed a little earlier than usual and stay away from caffeine. Expose yourself to sunlight as early as possible in the morning to help reset your internal rhythm.