Unique Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving Menu Options

So you’re hosting a Thanksgiving meal this year? Maybe you’re calling it Friendsgiving or some other creative name, but no matter what, you will need to provide some, if not all, of the food for the gathering. Whether you are cooking for four people or fifteen, you want to make a meal they will remember – and maybe even post about on Instagram. Here are some unique menu options to get your creative juices flowing to make a meal to remember this year.

Roasted cauliflower: This pairs great with the gravy, so it’s an easy (and healthy) addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Baked apples with sausage stuffing: Sweet, savory, and a great aesthetic to add to the meal.

Bacon and cheese Brussel sprout casserole: Spice up your veggie side dish by finding a Brussel sprout casserole with bacon, cheese, cream or any other ingredient you think might make it more unique.

Apple pie salsa and cinnamon chips: Serve up a fun appetizer or dessert of some apple pie salsa and sweet chips.

Stuffed squash: Stuff your acorn squash with feta, quinoa, greens, white beans, and more for a delicious, vegetarian side or main dish.

Chipotle shells and cheese potato skins: Combine some holiday favorites for a fun appetizer or side dish.

Honey roasted sweet potatoes: Skip the sweet potato casserole and try out this sweet and savory, healthy alternative with a honey dip.

Bacon wrapped turkey: Upgrade your main course this year. Almost everyone loves bacon, but adding it to your main Thanksgiving dish might just set this holiday apart from all the others.

For a twist on the traditional

Fried mashed potato balls: Think fried mac and cheese balls, but with the Thanksgiving staple of mashed potatoes.

Green bean casserole with onion rings: Don’t use those flash fried onions…use the real thing.

Pumpkin pie popsicle: If you’re celebrating in a warmer climate, this dessert might be the option for you!

Do you have a favorite, unique dish you make for Thanksgiving meals and holiday potlucks? Share it with friends, family, and us on social media to inspire people’s meal plans this year.

Looking for a new home for the new year? If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, The Edge Group at Keller Williams can help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and con

Cute and Easy DIY Thanksgiving and Fall Decorations

As you open your home to loved ones for the holiday season, you may want to decorate (or enlist the kids’ help!) with some seasonal decorations. With cooler weather, it can be fun to stay cozy inside and create some homemade crafts and decorations. Here are some ideas to get you started!

Autumn Leave Jars: A simple one for the whole family! Grab some empty mason jars, some leaves (you can get real ones or fake ones), mod podge and a sponge brush if you don’t want to use your hands. Apply the leaves to the jars using the mod podge, wrap some ribbon around if you choose and put a tea candle inside (again, real or fake works here).

Doily Garland: You can make this one look like whatever you want but some ideas to start with are paper doilies, acrylic paint, glitter or glitter glue, felt leaves (or a leave paper punch and some fun seasonal papers), ribbon, etc. Decorate the doilies and string them up on the ribbon. Find a tutorial here.

Painted Jars: With acrylic paint, you can paint leaves, messages (like grateful, thankful, family, etc.) onto mason jars and use them as centerpieces with flowers or greenery arrangements.

Jar Lid Pumpkins: With the rings from mason jar lids, you can create your own decorative pumpkins! String a bunch of jar lids together (they can be silver, gold or a mixture!) and tie it tightly so they bunch up. Add cinnamon sticks for the stem and burlap leaves if you choose. Here’s a tutorial if you would like to see what this might look like.

Thankful Tree: Use a bare tree decoration as a base for this, and cut out leaves from construction paper (of all different colors, or choose a theme). Let the kids or all attendees write what they are thankful for this year on a leaf and hang it on the tree.

Fall Leaf Candles: You’ll need fake leaves, candles, burlap ribbon and twine. Using the twine, tie the fake leaves and burlap ribbon (overlapping each other) around the candles. Set them on a tray or plate, and use it as a centerpiece for your holiday table, or set it in an area where everyone will gather after the meal.

Are you planning on buying or selling a home in Florida? The Edge Group at Keller Williams can help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and con

5 Tips for Home Upgrades and Renovations

If you’re looking to buy or sell your home in the new year, or if you just want to update the home you’re living in, now is a great time to start planning for and working on those home upgrades or renovations. Here are five easy tips to help you tackle the home upgrades more efficiently and see a greater reward. 

Start Small

As you start on your home project list, start small to avoid getting overwhelmed. If you pick something too large, you may be tempted to stop halfway through your project, and that’s never a good feeling. Some smaller projects can include cleaning the gutters, repainting a room or upgrading the house number on the front of your home. Once you’ve checked off one small project, you’ll feel inspired to keep going.

Declutter

The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to get rid of the clutter in your home, as you decorate, remove decorations and make room for new items. Put away or get rid of anything that isn’t regularly used.

Reorganize

The easiest way to check off some of those home improvement projects is to get organized everywhere. To help complete “decluttering” consider closet or garage renovation. To update and upgrade your storage situation, change the shelving or storage bins. Label the boxes so you know what is in them. Reorganize and get rid of anything you don’t need anymore. Buy new bins if needed to have even more storage, or hang a new rod for jackets or add a new shoe rack for the growing collection of running/hiking/work shoes.

Make It Efficient

Perhaps the biggest money saving project to tackle is to upgrade the energy efficiency. Start small, again, by swapping out light bulbs and water-efficient showerheads or faucets, and then move on to bigger projects like a smart irrigation system renovation and installing energy efficient home appliances and toilets. Some areas offer rebates or incentives for making energy efficient home improvements.

Replace Décor

A simple way to make the place feel like new is to change up the pictures, paintings and wall hangings. You can also move the furniture around, or swap out knick-knacks sitting on shelves, tables or dressers.

Once you’ve tackled a smaller project, it’ll be easier to move on to things like adding a fresh coat of paint and other projects that will make you feel better and increase the value of your home.

Are you planning on buying or selling a home in Florida? The Edge Group at Keller Williams can help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and con

Halloween Safety Tips for Everyone

Halloween can be a lot of fun. Dressing up. Getting candy. Watching scary movies. Spending time with friends, walking the kids around the neighborhood – or just staying home and passing out candy. No matter how you spend Halloween night, it’s important to be safe. People may be out driving around, or pulling pranks, or staying out later than normal. Here are tips to be safe no matter what your Halloween plans are this year.

For Trick-or-Treaters:

  • Watch for cars. Before you run across the street to the next house you want to go to, be sure to look both ways. If you have small children, hold their hands tightly and make sure they understand basic road safety rules.
  • Walk on the sidewalk, whenever possible. Walking in the street puts you in more danger, so try to stick to sidewalks and paths.
  • Use reflective tape, glow sticks or lights. This can help other people and cars see you so that you are more visible in the dark night.

For Party-Goers:

  • Don’t drink and drive. It puts you and others at risk. Get a ride home if you’ve been drinking.

For the Rest of Us:

  • Slow down and watch out. As you drive home from work, a party or trick-or-treating at another neighborhood, drive slowly and watch for people darting across the street.
  • Keep your yard hazard free. It’s fun to decorate for Halloween, and even to go all-out with those decorations. But it’s important to ensure there are no items people may trip on or fall on top of and injure themselves.
  • Don’t use your phone while driving. Many people still reach for their devices, but especially on Halloween leave those out of reach so you aren’t tempted. You want to be able to pay attention to the road – and the trick-or-treaters.

Now that you know the basics of Halloween safety, you’ll be able to go out (or stay in) and have a great night. It’s a school/work night this year, so that may mean the celebrations end a little earlier – or not! But be sure to stay safe and enjoy the Halloween festivities in your area!

Are you planning on buying or selling a home in Florida? The Edge Group at Keller Williams can help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and con

Where to See Beautiful Fall Colors in the U.S.

As the seasons and the leaves change, it’s time to break out the sweaters, scarves and boots — and the cameras! Where can you go to see the best colors and fall leaves this autumn? Depending on where you live, the best colors may be just down the road…or it may require a bit of a trek for those of you in states like Florida or Hawaii. Here are some of the top places to see fall leaves, and take those sought after photos!

Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania: This is a large area featuring more than 100 types of foliage, so you can see a variety of colors as the leaves change here. Making a trip of it? Check out some wineries, breweries and live music!

Shenandoah National Park in Virginia: Take a drive through the Park to see some of the best leaves along a 105 mile Skyline Drive, where you can see red, orange, yellow and green intertwining along the ridges.

Columbia River Gorge in Oregon: On the other side of the country? Find some beautiful and bright colors in the Cascade Mountains, where you can hike to waterfalls or just drive through the mountains.

Upstate New York: Heading to upstate New York in mid September through end of October will find you in the midst of bright fall colors. You can even take a chairlift up the mountain to view the changing leaves from above.

Aspen, Colorado: Named for the aspen tree, one of the brightest yellow fall colors you can see, this is one of the best places in the southwest to view the seasons changing. Heading here on a fall vacation? There’s events and mountain biking you can participate in.

Ozark National Forest in Arkansas: With more than a million acres, the Ozark has golds, oranges and reds along the mountains and rivers, making this a photographer’s dream fall location.

Stowe, Vermont: Called “Fall’s Color Capital,” Stowe is a great place for chilly weather hiking, mountain biking and scenic driving through the fall colors.

White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire: Another great place to take advantage of outdoor activities with beautiful scenery, or to just relax in a local inn, the White Mountains feature bright colors.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes for the Whole Family

With just weeks until Halloween, it’s probably about time to start thinking about Halloween costumes, if you haven’t already. You could head to the store and check their supply, but sometimes it’s even more fun if you get to work on creating your own costumes. Here are some easy, do it yourself Halloween costumes that you can start gathering the supplies to create so you are ready for work parties, neighborhood gatherings and trick or treat adventures!

For Couples 

Salt & Pepper: One dresses in white, the other in gray or black. Don’t forget to create some hats! A simple hat could just be disposable round pans, with holes cut in it or circles of construction paper attached. You could also cut out an S and P to tape to your fronts.

Pirates: Grab a bandana and maybe an eyepatch. You can go all-out with the rest of the outfit or piece together a simple pirate costume with what you already own. You can add a pirate’s hate or a sword if you wish, or consider a hook hand!

For the Kids

Arthur: From the kids’s cartoon, you can simply grab some jeans, a yellow sweater, fake glasses and a headband with brown round aardvark ears attached (consider some pink inside the brown, maybe even with some glitter for an added touch!).

Cat: Dress the kiddo in just about any color you want and add a set of cat ears, which are available at most stores with costumes for pretty cheap (maybe even a local dollar store!). For a black cat, just dress in all black; a tuxedo cat can be dressed in black and white; a tabby cat can be dressed in orange. Don’t forget to draw on some whiskers!

Pumpkin: A simple costume to make for smaller children; just grab a plain orange onesie and cut out black construction paper to make the eyes, nose and mouth of your pumpkin! 

Ghost: Depending on the age and preferences of your children, a ghost costume can be created out of a white sheet thrown over their heads, with holes cut out for eyes; or it can a white onesie, T-shirt or full outfit with a ghost like face taped to the front (eyes and maybe a mouth).

For the Whole Family

If you’re looking for family or group costume ideas, consider one of the following:

  • Winnie the Pooh and Friends
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Harry Potter and friends
  • The Peanuts Gang
  • M&Ms

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Basic Fall Lawn Care Tips for a Lush Lawn

Creating that perfect outdoor space to relax in, play in and entertain in all year long takes a lot of work. It can seem as if there’s an endless list of things to do to have green grass, beautiful flowers and trimmed trees without fallen leaves on every surface beneath them. Fall is the perfect season for outdoor barbeques and parties, with friends and family gathering in your outdoor space. If your lawn is in the front yard, it can help to increase curb appeal and give your home that well-kept look. That’s why it’s important to understand at least the basics of fall lawn care.

Seasonal care requirements for the fall

Reseed your lawn: Usually, turf renovation is done during the fall months, before the ground freezes but after the hot summer months. You can reseed your entire lawn, or target just browning or thinned out areas.

Fertilize grass and other plants: This is often done in the fall, in conjunction with reseeding. When you fertilize, you feed the plants the nutrients it needs to grow and flourish, creating a beautiful display of color in your yard. 

Pest control applications: The time of year you should apply a pesticide depends on what pest you are targeting. 

  • For weeds, this is often done in the spring, as a pre-emergent herbicide, to stop the seeds from germinating. It can also be done with a post-emergent application during the summer or later months of the year (when you see weeds coming up). 
  • If you need to target an insect infestation, you can apply an insecticide as soon as you notice it. 
  • When disease takes over your lawn, shrub or tree, applying a fungicide that targets that disease can help. Read the label for application rates and targeted fungi.

Regular needs on a weekly or monthly basis

Water: You’ll want to do this more than just once a week, but the exact frequency will depend on your plants’ needs, soil moisture levels and rainfall. One size fits all may not work for your yard. A professional can help you get your irrigation system set up to a schedule that can benefit your yard. 

Mow: Mowing your grass is important to keep it healthy. When you regularly mow, you help get water and fertilizer to the soil, where it can be taken in by the roots. Most of the time, keeping grass between two and three inches is good. This height will help encourage deeper roots and reduce weed problems. 

Mulch: Mulching around your plants (and in your grass, especially during renovation) can help with weed control and maintaining a proper soil moisture level. Mulching can be added to your to-do list when you notice the past mulch application has thinned.

Pruning and trimming: Keeping shrubs and flowers trimmed and pruned can help to reduce the dead stems and leaves from taking up space. It also ensures that when you water and fertilize, you are getting that needed care to healthy parts of the plant that will use it.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Start Listening: International Podcast Day Recommendations

More than half of the adults in the U.S. listen to podcasts, at least occasionally. Are you one of them? On September 30, people around the world celebrate podcasts for International Podcast Day. 

What are podcasts?

Podcasts are audios that are usually free. Sometimes they are fictional, and sometimes they are factual. Sometimes, they are a mix of fact and fiction. There are thousands of podcasts, consisting of millions of episodes, in just about any genre you can imagine. Podcasts are incredibly popular in the U.S., and around the world — and are produced in more than 100 languages. 

If you have never listened to a podcast before, it is something to try out! Podcasts are great for busy people, as they can easily be listened to while commuting, running, walking, eating, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, or just about any task you can think of. 

Popular podcasts to try out

Here are some of the top podcasts featured in Apple’s podcast library that you can get started with, or add to your already full podcast list:

Business

  • HBR IdeaCast: For readers of Harvard Business Review, this podcast brings interviews with industry leaders about all things business.
  • Safe for Work: This podcast covers all sorts of work-related topics, like challenging coworkers, burnout or work-life balance. 
  • Business Wars: If you’re into some conflict in changing industries, check out this newer podcast that digs into case studies on two businesses in war with each other (think Blockbuster and Netflix).

News & Politics

  • The Daily: The New York TImes podcast discusses daily news and politics in a brief morning podcast each weekday so you can quickly get caught up on the topics of the day.
  • Today, Explained: From Vox, this podcast gives some explanation to what’s going on around the world every weekday.
  • Slow Burn: Each season, this podcast covers a political scandal in-depth. Past topics have included Watergate and Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

Comedy

  • Call Your Girlfriend: This conversational podcast is between two female friends, and covers just about every topic you can imagine.
  • My Favorite Murder: A true crime comedy podcast, this is hosted by two women who each discuss a murder or crime each episode, broken up by banter about their lives in LA.
  • My Brother, My Brother and Me: Three brothers answer questions from Yahoo and crack some jokes throughout these episodes.

With more than half a million podcasts, there are sure to be some you enjoy! Browse the podcast app on your phone to see if something catches your eye, and put your headphones in on your next jog, lunch break or cleaning day.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

5 Ways to Decorate for Fall

Fall is right around the corner — literally when you look at the calendar. The first day of autumn is September 23. With the season change comes the desire for many to decorate their home with fall colors, pumpkins and warm, cozy blankets. Here are five ways you can make sure your Florida home is decorated for fall, creating a welcoming environment for your family and your guests.

1. Leaves and foliage

Fall leaves are often a tell-tale time of seasons changing and weather cooling off. You can use fall leaves and branches both inside and outside to decorate your home. Entryways, patios, living rooms and bathrooms can all feature bowls, wreaths or vases of fall foliage. Make some DIY decor, or purchase some from your local stores.

2. Table and dining room area

Make or purchase a centerpiece of fall foliage, pumpkins, pine cones or other small items that remind you of the season. You can even purchase live flowers or ferns, as well as candles or scented items to create a full autumn experience at your dining room table.

3. Throw pillows and blankets

As seasons change and there’s a chill in the air, you may want to add cozy blankets or decorative pillows that are themed or in fall colors. You can find Halloween or Thanksgiving specific items, or just find some in warm, autumn colors to create that warm, cozy environment for guests or just yourself. What better way to have a warm, inviting area to curl up after a long day at work or school?

4. Pumpkins

Paintings, wall decor, fake pumpkins or even real, home-carved jack-o-lanterns all feel like fall to many people. Find some that you love — or create your own. You can purchase pumpkins to decorate at your local craft store, or find some you love at a home goods store. There may even be some in non-traditional colors you can choose from to fit your unique tastes and home decor theme.

5. Candles

Candles add warmth and coziness to just about any room, and with fall scents like leaves, berries, pumpkin spice and cinnamon, you can create a space that feels just like fall — even if it doesn’t feel that way outside yet.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Tips for Unpacking and Organizing Your New Home

If you’ve just moved into a new home (or if you’ve ever experienced moving into a new home, apartment or dorm room), you know the feeling of being surrounded by boxes and furniture just not in the right place. It can seem overwhelming and stressful to get a new place set up and feeling like a home. However, it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few tips for unpacking and organizing a new home so you don’t feel like it’s going to take forever to be comfortable in your new space.

Have an essentials box.

This should be one of the last on-first off the moving truck, and set in a place where it won’t get buried or lost in the moving mess. In the box, you can include anything you’ll need pretty immediately and anything you’ll need or want within the first few days. This box should have:

  • Medications
  • Toiletries (don’t forget the toilet paper in this box!)
  • Granola bars and other easy snacks
  • Coffee (instant or a coffee pot, filter and grounds)
  • Pet food
  • Some bandaids in case of emergencies
  • Trash bags
  • Phone chargers
  • Any important paperwork you may need

Prioritize your rooms.

Priorities may vary, and can change over the course of your life. The first priority if you have small children may be setting up the nursery or kid’s room. By setting up a crib or bed, changing table, rocking chair and other necessities, you can know that you have that space ready to go in the first few weeks in a new home.

This can also help slightly older children feel a sense of normalcy when their room has their bed, clothes, books and toys set up. It also gives them a space to call their own in a new house, where they may be a little uncomfortable or scared.

Tip: The wall decor can wait, if it needs to! As long as the room has the necessities for the kids, it's good to go.

Other priorities may be the kitchen so you can start cooking in the next few days, or a home office if you will be working from home at all during the transition. For the kitchen, just the essential pots and pans, as well as a few plates, bowls and silverware will suffice for now. In the office, the desk, computer, chair and any of the need-to-haves can be set up early on, with everything else waiting until later.

The garage can wait.

The garage unpacking and organizing can wait until last. You’ll probably end up putting boxes in the garage anyways in the meantime while you unpack the necessities. Just make sure you have the tools you need to assemble furniture handy so you aren’t frantically digging through the garage when bedtime comes.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

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