Posted by Amanda Bruen on 3/21/2017

Cooking vegetables from your own garden is a great experience. In the same way that you appreciate a meal made from scratch more than a frozen dinner or takeout, cooking food that you grew yourself is an extremely rewarding feeling. Aside from being delicious, growing your own food can help you save money, waste less food, consume less plastic packaging (helping the environment), and try out new recipes you normally wouldn't. When it comes to planting vegetables for cooking, however, there's more to it than simply tossing some seeds in your garden. Here's how to get the most out of growing your own vegetables for use on the dinner table.

Plant smart

One of the first mistakes beginner gardeners make is planting the wrong vegetables or the wrong proportions of vegetables. One or two squash plants, for example, will provide ample amounts of squash for most small families. So, think about the meals you love to cook and what vegetables they require. Then find out how much those plants yield. Some vegetables can be planted and harvested at many times throughout the growing season. If you eat lots of leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.), don't plant a huge row all at once. Instead, plant in intervals of two or three weeks so you can reap the rewards throughout the season. Similarly, many lettuces (such a romaine) are able to be continually harvested--that means there's no need for pulling the whole planet out of the ground and replanting.

Plan your meals

To get the most out of your garden plan a weekly menu that incorporates items from your garden. If your tomatoes look like they're ripening, plan for making tomato sauce, pizza, or caprese sandwiches the following week. Get creative with recipes. If you have a surplus of peppers, try different stuffed pepper recipes. The internet is your best friend when it comes to discovering new uses for surplus vegetables.

Preserving

A garden should be useful to you year-round, not just during the autumn harvest season. There are several methods of preserving your vegetables. The way you choose depends on your own need. Common means of preservation include:
  • Freezing meals. Remember those stuffed peppers? You don't have to eat them every day of the week once your peppers are ripe. Cook up some rice, beans, and sauce, stuff your peppers and bake. Eat however much you want and place the rest in airtight bags in the freezer. They'll make great lunches for when you're in a rush.
  • Blanching and steaming.  If you're not quite sure how you'll want to use your vegetables but you know you'll use them later blanching and steaming are great options. Boil or steam them for five minutes then toss them into a bucket of ice-water to cool. Once cool, drain them and freeze them in bags.
  • Canning.  This method takes some preparation and research but canning is a great way to save fruits and vegetables for use throughout the year and are great if you don't have extra space in your freezer for frozen vegetables.





Posted by Amanda Bruen on 3/14/2017

There are few things more frustrating than having to put multiple holes into your drywall just to hang a picture frame correctly. One would think that, in this age of advanced technology where anything seems possible, we would have developed a standardized frame hook that cures all of our frame-hanging woes. Unfortunately, we still have single hook frames that can't hold a picture straight or two-hook frames that we can never measure just right. Well now you can put all of your bad frame hanging experiences in the past. In this article we'll cover the basics of hanging different types of frames and share some frame-hanging hacks that will help you get it right the first time--every time.

Choosing the right hook for the job

Over the years several cutting edge innovations have occurred in the work of frame hooks that you may never have even heard about. Monkey hooks, for example, weren't front page news when they hit the shelves, but they should have been. These painfully simple hanging hooks push right into your drywall and secure themselves on the back side holding up to 50 pounds (wow!), no hammer necessary. You can also go with tried and true nails, anchors, and wall plugs. The important thing to remember when using these methods is to consider the weight of your frame. A 10-pound monster of a frame shouldn't be put on the shoulders of one lonely nail that isn't even penetrating a stud. That's a for-sure way to break your frame and rip up your drywall as it comes crashing to the ground.

Placement is key

It isn't a picture hanging party without someone standing behind you saying "up a bit more" for 10 minutes while you lose circulation in your arms. You'll need a partner standing back a bit to tell you exactly where it should go. It's essential that they tell you where it should be hung so they can't blame you if they don't like the placement later on. If you don't have the luxury of a picture hanging partner, try tracing a part of the frame (extremely lightly in pencil) on the wall and standing back. If you're hanging a gallery or a frame that you want to align with another object on the wall, don't try to "eyeball" it. Get out the tape measure and be meticulous when measuring the dimensions for the other object.

Hanging Hacks

Thanks to the internet, there are several picture framing hacks that will make this whole process a lot easier. They are:
  • Use painters tape for marking and leveling. If you want the frame to line up with one near it, simply run the tape along the lower edge of the frame that's already hung to where you want the new one to be.
  • For frames with two hooks, run a wire between them and hang it on a single nail. It is virtually impossible (for me anyway) to get two nails exactly level for hanging a picture.
  • If you must use two nails, use your level as a ruler. Put one nail into the wall and rest one side of the level on it. Move the other side up or down until it's level and then mark exactly where the next nail should be.
 




Tags: home   hacks   frame   picture frame   wall   hanging   home hacks   life hacks  
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Posted by Amanda Bruen on 3/7/2017

Sophisticated & meticulously maintained 4 BD, 2.5 BA Condex located in Prospect Hill Estates in desirable town of Merrimac w/ NO HOA FEES conveniently located close to major routes 495 & 95, 15 mins to beaches & close to town center. 1st floor boasts gleaming hardwd floors, fireplaced living rm, spacious eat-in-kitchen, granite counters, & center island that is complimented by sizable dining room for more formal occasions. Half bath & laundry make unit perfect for 1st-flr living. 2nd level offers 3 BD, 2 BA to include generous master ensuite as well as bonus room which leads to the 3rd level currently being used as a 4th bedroom & oversized bonus/family room but could also be a 5th bedroom. While property is zoned condo, this is more like a single family home & is situated on approx. 5 acre wooded lot & a prime country setting that offers both privacy & comfort. Picturesque & oversized back yard w/ extra large deck in back w/ outdoor chimney for summer barbeques & entertaining!

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts





Posted by Amanda Bruen on 3/7/2017

For many people, spring represents a season of transformation. As such, spring often is a popular time to sell a residence, which means that a home seller likely will face lots of competition in the spring housing market.

Ultimately, how a home seller approaches the spring real estate market may dictate his or her success. Home sellers who allocate the necessary time and resources to prep for the spring housing market should have no trouble improving their properties and finding plenty of interested homebuyers. On the other hand, home sellers who lack the skills and know-how to get their residences ready for the spring home selling market may struggle.

What can you do to prep your home for spring? Here are three spring home selling tips that you need to know:

1. Enhance Your Home's Interior

Spring cleaning offers a great opportunity to transform an ordinary home interior into a stellar one. And if you focus on revamping your home's interior, you can boost your house's chances of making a positive first impression on homebuyers.

Remember, how homebuyers feel the instant they walk through your home's front door may impact your ability to sell your house. If homebuyers like what they see, they may move one step closer to submitting an offer on your home. Conversely, if homebuyers encounter a messy home interior, they may move on from your house and consider other properties.

When it comes to enhancing your home's interior, there is no shortage of options at your disposal. From wiping down the walls and ceilings to polishing the wood floors, you can bolster your home's interior in many ways. By doing so, you may be able to increase your chances of generating substantial interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.

2. Boost Your House's Curb Appeal

This spring, mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and clear the walkways outside your home – you'll be glad you did.

Many homebuyers may drive past your residence to get an up-close look at it. After a homebuyer sees a freshly cut lawn and clean home exterior, he or she may be more inclined than ever before to set up a home showing.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands what it takes to list a property in spring. Thus, this real estate professional will work with you throughout the home selling process and help you can get the best results possible.

With a real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to promote your house to the right homebuyers. Your real estate agent will set up open houses and home showings, keep you informed about any offers on your residence and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf. Plus, your real estate agent will answer your home selling concerns and questions and ensure that you can make informed decisions as the home selling cycle progresses.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of selling your house in spring.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Amanda Bruen on 3/6/2017

Sophisticated & meticulously maintained 4 BD, 2.5 BA Condex located in Prospect Hill Estates in desirable town of Merrimac w/ NO HOA FEES conveniently located close to major routes 495 & 95, 15 mins to beaches & close to town center. 1st floor boasts gleaming hardwd floors, fireplaced living rm, spacious eat-in-kitchen, granite counters, & center island that is complimented by sizable dining room for more formal occasions. Half bath & laundry make unit perfect for 1st-flr living. 2nd level offers 3 BD, 2 BA to include generous master ensuite as well as bonus room which leads to the 3rd level currently being used as a 4th bedroom & oversized bonus/family room but could also be a 5th bedroom. While property is zoned condo, this is more like a single family home & is situated on approx. 5 acre wooded lot & a prime country setting that offers both privacy & comfort. Picturesque & oversized back yard w/ extra large deck in back w/ outdoor chimney for summer barbeques & entertaining!

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts