New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

 

December is synonymous with festive decor, choosing the perfect holiday gifts for loved ones, and food – lots of food. It is also the time of year when many vow to make positive changes, whether it be hitting the gym more regularly or dedicating more time to family and friends. But how many  of you make resolutions for your home?

Whether you plan to buy or sell in 2018, or your home is just in need of a little TLC, these ideas will help give your space a fresh look. Check out all of our suggestions in this episode of Open House on NBC.

To start your home search, visit coldwellbanker.com.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 28, 2017 at 8:50 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, holidays, real estate | Tagged , , , , ,

Give This Holiday and Make Your Home Clutter-Free

Charitable organizations make it even easier for you to donate your household items this time of year.

Guest post by Laura McHolm

‘Tis the season of gratitude, giving and of course: decorating, parties, feasts, shopping and more. But before you go down your merry, merry to do list, think about the needs of your community and all the stuff and clutter you don’t need around your home. Perhaps, you have clothing, furniture, kitchen items, or even food you have been meaning to clear out? The jolly news is charitable organizations make it even easier for you to donate your household items to assist those in need this time of year. You can make a difference, so everyone can have a joyful holiday. And, you get to rediscover the holiday joy you experienced as a child.

This is not just another to do on your holiday list, it’s very simple and the rewards are immense – it’s the ultimate win- win! You assist others and at the same time you get a clutter-free home, all prepped for the holidays. No need to scramble to find a solution for outgrown clothes and furniture, and pantry items you will never use, simply follow this guide of “What to Give and Where to Give” and the process will be Grinch-free!

1. Non-Perishable Food

Make room for all of the yummy holiday goodies! Wondering if your food bank wants your three pound bottle of mustard? Here are the top items that they need:

  • Canned Vegetables & Fruits
  • Canned Stews & Soups
  • Canned Beans
  • Canned Tuna
  • Pasta & Sauce
  • Baby Food
  • Dry Beans
  • Flour
  • Cereal & Oatmeal
  • Juice
  • Rice
  • Peanut/Nut Butters & Jelly/Jams

Where to Donate:

  • Your local Food Bank. You can find your local food bank here.
  • Check with your local fire department, churches, synagogues, schools, and grocery stores to see if they are hosting food pantry donations drop offs
  • Visit www.MoveForHunger.org, a non-profit organization that will connect you with a local moving company that will deliver your non-perishable food donations to your local food bank for you. Check out their Find A Mover tool.
  • Willing to roll-up your sleeves? Start your own food drive. Simply ask local businesses, schools and libraries to put out your colorfully decorated food drive donation boxes and use your social networks to get the word out. It only takes 1.2lbs of food to provide a meal to an individual in need, so it doesn’t matter how big your food drive is, every little bit helps.

2. Clothing

Make room for your holiday sweaters! Bring gently used clothing to the following charities or go online or call them to see if they will come to your door to pick up your donations.

  • Baby, kids and adult clothing
  • Coats (Kids and families are in great need of coats this time of year.)
  • Suits
  • Belts
  • Scarves
  • Ties
  • Pocketbooks
  • Boots
  • Shoes

Where to Donate:

  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army
  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • Veteran organizations
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
  • Red Cross
  • Check with your local fire department, churches, synagogues and schools, to see if they are hosting clothing donation drop offs

3. Toys

Make room for what Santa brings! Get your kids involved in sorting through their things so they get to learn the ultimate gift – the gift of giving!

  • Gently used, unbroken toys or new toys that are unwrapped (it depends on the charity if a new toy is required so contact them first.)
  • Stuffed animals
  • Coloring books & crayons
  • School supplies and stationery
  • Hand held games
  • Children’s books
  • No toy guns or other violent toys

Where to Donate:

  • Toys for Tots. Find your local Toys for Tots drop off locations here.
  • Local children’s hospitals & hospitals
  • Local Ronald McDonald House. Find a local Ronald McDonald location or care mobile here.
  • Local Boys & Girls Club
  • Many local shelters or children’s charities accept toy donations. Use this Homeless Shelter Directory to find shelters in your area.
  • Organizations like My Stuff Bags and Stuffed Animals for Emergencies offer children a familiar object in times of crisis.
  • Check with your local fire department, churches, synagogues, and schools, to see if they are hosting toy donation drop offs
  • Other places to check include a children’s social services office and even stores often have a donation bin at the front entrance where you can place donation

4. Household Goods & Furniture

Make room for your gifts!

  • Antiques, collectibles
  • Appliances (small)
  • Artwork
  • Bedspreads, blankets, curtains, tablecloths, decorative pillows
  • Bicycles
  • Books, records, tapes, CDs, DVDs
  • Cookware, dishes, pots and pans
  • Housewares and decorative items
  • Jewelry
  • Sporting goods
  • Gently used furniture

Where to Donate:

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore
  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army
  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • Veteran organizations
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
  • Red Cross

5. Cell Phones 

Clean out the old gadget drawer! Donate old smart phones & tablets (make sure to clear your data from it first!)

Where to Donate:

6. Gift Cards

Keep your drawers clutter free! Re-gift the gift cards you are given and turn them into charitable donations. Exchange your retail gift cards for a charity donation. You will receive a tax receipt for the entire full value or residual balance of your card.

Where to Donate:

  • CharityGiftCertificates.org

7. Vehicles

Open up a parking space for Santa’s sleigh!

  • Car
  • Truck
  • RV
  • Boat
  • Motorcycle
  • Trailer

Where to Donate:

  • Habitat for Humanity Cars for Homes
  • Salvation Army
  • Kars 4 Kids
  • Wheels for Wishes
  • Cars Helping Veterans.org
  • Goodwill

Once you have cleared the clutter and given to those who will actually use and need your unwanted items, well, just like they say in Whoville, your heart will grow three sizes and the true meaning of the holidays will come through, plus two!

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 15, 2017 at 10:00 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Charity, holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Prevent a Holiday Disaster at Home With These 10 Must Read Tips

 

Keep Your Kids (2 legged and 4) safe this holiday season with these 10 tips from Northstar Moving Company!

NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

There is no ignoring it now. The twinkling trees, tinsel and….attractive trouble are all around. Whether you are singing “Feliz Navidad” or “Dradle Dradle Dradle,” we can all agree this is one of the greatest times of the year, BUT it’s also filled with hidden dangers for your children and pets. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous times of the year for your dog Dasher, your cat Blitzen and your two legged crawlers. So, don’t let all the sparkle distract you, be sure to keep an eye out for festive trouble.

That’s why I called upon two experts to guide us through all of the dangers our holiday décor and holiday foods can create for our little loved ones. First, the child safety experts at Boo Boo Busters talk Santa safety with five key tips to keep your children safe:

  1. The Christmas Tree: We are all conscious of hanging the fragile or sharp ornaments up top to keep them out of reach of those curious hands, but have you thought about where you place your tree? Positioning is always important, think: fire safety. Keep your tree more than 48 inches away from any open flame (that includes candles and the menorah.). When decorating your perfectly chosen greenery, it’s best to use plastic hooks instead of metal. Lastly, KEEP IT WATERED! A dry tree is a dangerous tree. Follow the instructions for watering the tree so it can last as long as your holiday season lasts. Also, consider buying a real live growing tree in a pot, it’s a greener earth-friendly solution and the tree can become part of your family traditions.
  2. Frosty’s Scarves : A strangulation hazard is anything that can be made into a loop and placed around a child’s neck, this includes scarves. Since your little elves need to stay warm, let’s take scarves off the strangulation list by making them safe by simply tucking the ends inside your child’s jacket. Oh so fashion forward and the scarf can’t get caught on anything. Whew, problem solved.
  3. Miniature Décor: Choking hazards are everywhere this time of year; they disguise themselves as decorations and holiday cheer. A good rule of thumb: a choking hazard is anything that can pass through a toilet paper roll holder unobstructed. Now is the time to scan the environment to see what’s around each and every corner. Remember, it’s not always just your house that needs your safety check. Visiting the grandparents, other family and friends who might be inadvertently unaware of what is or isn’t safe for your kids. Say Ho Ho NO! to decorations within your child’s reach. Snow villages, nativity scenes, and light up and display decorations with lots of small pieces, electrical cords and even batteries can easily be pulled out and end up in your cherub’s mouth. Lighted garland adorning the staircase or the mantle where the stockings will be hung with care, can also create dangerous scenarios. Bowls of candies, nuts and little yummy things are often put out for grazing. Even though they are edible, it doesn’t make it safe for a baby or small child. Place these delicious favorites higher than a child can reach. Lastly, although it may not be a choking hazard, put mistletoe on your priority watch list. This pretty little smooch maker may have fun motives but everything else about it says keep away. It’s about as toxic as a plant can get, berries, leaves and all. No one knows what your kids can get into better than you do. So, put your Grinch hat on before the kids see the decorations, then you can put the Santa hat on once the wide-eyed wonder-filled kiddos with busy little fingers enter the scene!
  4. All That Glows: We all have that part of us that wants to light the house up like Clark Griswald, but let’s try to keep those little admirers in mind when powering up. Secure lights in place with clips, not left dangling where a child can reach. Using staples to attach lights can also be dangerous: they can cut through the cord without you even knowing it and cause a short or spark leading to a potential fire. Take extra care when using extension cords to power up those giant blow-up dradles or reindeer dancing in the front yard. Secure them with stakes so they can’t create a potential tripping hazard. Put the lights on a timer so they turn on when you want them to and turn off around bedtime. Mother earth and your neighbors will both thank you. Nothing like a silent glow-free night.
  5. Ringing in the New Year: Last but not least, New Year’s Eve! Party favors, noisemakers and poppers are fun (and equally annoying) but can also be very dangerous. Check when purchasing noisemakers and party favors to see if they could be potential choking hazards. Poppers and silly string should be used with adult supervision. Poppers should never be popped in the vicinity of someone’s face and silly string should never be used near an open flame.

Child-Safety-v2

Next,  Dr. Anthony George, doctor of veterinary medicine and certified veterinary acupuncturist, says to keep these five jolly activities away from your pooches or felines and they will be as merry as you are all holiday season:

  1. Holiday Foods: Many people like to include their furry friend in the festivities by giving them a ‘sample platter’ of the holiday’s bounty. This act, unfortunately, can introduce a variety of potential risks to pets. Eating fatty and rich foods can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. In some dogs, the elderly in particular, calorie dense foods can potentially lead to inflammation of the pancreas. Chocolate contains methylxanthine, which can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from stomach upset to tremors, hyperthermia and seizures. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it can be. Grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are also extremely toxic to dogs. And, if you’re taking acetaminophen for pre and post celebratory aches and pains, bear in mind this medication can pose a tremendous risk to your pets. Commonly found in name brands such as Tylenol and Excedrin, along with many generic cold and allergy remedies, acetaminophen can change the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. If your pet ingests any of these substances, it’s always a good idea to contact your local veterinarian. So keep your pets safe by having them celebrate with their regular diets.
  1. Festive Plants: Plants and flowers transform any room into a holiday showcase, but also an unforeseen room of danger for curious pets. The usual suspects, poinsettiasand American mistletoe, have been considered potentially toxic to pets in the past. However, today it’s generally considered unlikely that either one would cause significant ill effects unless ingested in great quantity. Lilies, on the other hand, pose a significant risk to cats. These lovely flowers can dress up any holiday flower arrangement, but all parts of the plant are toxic to cats and can lead to kidney failure. Ingesting even a small amount of the leaves, petals, or even pollen can result in severe illness and possibly death. Warning signs include an increase in salivation, depression, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Stay clear of these beauties if you have a feline friend.
  1. Ribbon: If your dog or cat loves to help you wrap the presents or loves to un-wrap their own present, make sure they don’t run off with the ribbon. These colorful strands can wreak havoc if ingested. Once ingested, the intestines can bunch up on the ribbon in an attempt to pass it. If you should happen to see part of the ribbon ‘exiting’ from the hind end, never pull it out, as this can cause it to cut through the intestines. Absolutely, consult with your veterinarian to aid in its removal, whether it’s through endoscopy, surgically or manually.
  1. The Many Dangerous Layers of the Tree: The Christmas tree is the centerpiece of many holiday homes. However, if you have a cat you may want to lay off the tinsel as it poses the same threat as ribbon does. Electrical cords from the Christmas lights, as well as other holiday decorations, can be an enticing chew toy for a pup or cat. This playful act can lead to severe mouth burns. The electrical conduction of their heart can even be altered, resulting in the accumulation of fluid in the lungsand difficulty breathing. Take measures to prevent your pet from coming into contact with these electrical temptations. Many trees are also fitted with water containers to keep them fresh. This water could contain fertilizer or become stagnant over time. Prevent your pet from drinking from the tree to avoid potential complications.
  1. The Impulse Buy: Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles make sure the entire family actually wants a pet before you present one as a holiday present. Please make sure everyone understands that a pet is a gift for life not just for the holidays. Everyone must be ready for the full-time job of getting the pet acclimated to it’s new home. If you’re planning on adding a four legged family member: puppies and kittens aren’t the only way to go. Remember to rescue and adopt any age and/or any breed. Many lovable pets looking for a good home can be found on www.petfinder.com. Avoid adopting exotic pets, primates and reindeer. Make a pet’s life happy this holiday season too by finding it a forever home.

Pet-Safety-v3

Keep your head above the twinkle and remember this simple checklist. Santa’s basic yule tide rule of thumb: if it looks like it could be trouble then put it on the naughty list and hide it away.  Wishing you and your family a wonderful memorable holiday season and an amazing New Year full of safe and happy smiles!

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

 

Posted on December 12, 2017 at 12:44 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, Dogs, holidays, pets, real estate | Tagged , , , , ,

How to Decorate Like a Christmas Elf on a Budget

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! Break out that rubbermaid and dust off your ornaments because it’s time to decorate your home like the elf that I know you are. Here are five affordable and totally adorable ways to decorate your home with Christmas ornaments.

Christmas Shadow Box

Adding Christmas Cheer to your home couldn’t be more easy than this easy DIY Christmas Shadow Box idea.

 

Christmas Ornament Wreath

This project may look difficult but in just four easy steps you will be humming jingle bells. Learn how here.

Window Display

Show your neighbors that you are ready for a Holly Jolly Christmas with this simple hanging ornament idea.

In a Glass Vases

Remind your family it is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with these easy Vase ideas.

As a Tree

Your guests will be rockin’ around the Christmas Tree when they see this adorable DIY Ornament Tree craft.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 4, 2017 at 8:51 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, decorating, holidays, interior decorating, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Homeowner’s Guide to Hosting Holiday Guests

As a new homeowner, there’s a good chance you’ll have the opportunity to host the Christmas festivities — after all, everyone will want to see your new place, so you’ll want it to look its best for the holidays.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry: Follow this simple game plan for adding decor to your new home and helping your guests settle in comfortably.

Dress Your Home in Holiday Style

Focus on decorating a few key areas in your home to create a warm, festive vibe. You don’t need — or want — to have decorations in every corner. Using too much decor will make your rooms feel smaller. Instead, make a few spots gorgeous with these tips:

  • Start at the front. Greet your guests with a beautiful wreath on the front door. Choose a pre-lit, battery-powered wreath so you don’t have to worry about extension cords — all you need to do is hang it up. Next, clean off your porch, clear your walkway, and add a holiday doormat. Finish with an easy “wow” factor, like a lawn figure of a nutcracker or snowman.
  • Trim the tree. Don’t worry about getting the tree decorated before your guests arrive. Instead, host a tree-trimming party as a fun holiday activity. Assemble your tree or place it in a stand with water the day of the party. Add lights and set out your ornaments. Then, break out the cookies and eggnog and enjoy a night of decorating with your guests.
  • Hang stockings with care. Decorate your mantel to make it a beautiful focal point. If you don’t have a fireplace, create your own focal point by using a bookcase or entertainment center. Bring the space to life by draping a pre-lit garland across it. Then, nestle a few similar items around the garland, such as a parade of nutcrackers, stuffed or wooden Santas, a Christmas village, a row of candles, or an arrangement of ornaments. Finish by hanging your stockings with stocking hooks or removable adhesive hooks.
  • Add decorations. A few places need a holiday twist: the dining table, the coffee table, and the kitchen island. While you don’t need to cover every surface, you do want to spread some holiday cheer here and there. Try something simple and quick like a glass bowl filled with ornaments, a tall jar of candy canes, or a lovely red poinsettia.

Get Ready for Guests

Treat your guests like you’d want to be treated. Once you’ve spread Christmas cheer around the house, take a few steps to get ready for company.

  • Clean the guest room. Declutter if you’ve put items in this rarely used room. Give it a good cleaning. If the bedding is clean but hasn’t been used in a while, toss the bedspread and pillow covers in the dryer on air-dry to fluff out any dust. Add a fun Christmas pillow to the bed, put out a basket of holiday goodies, and place a predecorated tabletop tree on the dresser.
  • Set up the sofa. Don’t have a guest room? If you’re pulling out the air mattress or sleeper sofa, make sure you’ve got extra bedding on hand. Vacuum underneath the sofa cushions to remove any dust or crumbs. Set aside an area for your guests to put their belongings.
  • Prep the bathroom. Arrange personal care items for your guests in a basket so that they’re easy to find. Show your guests where to locate clean towels and which towel bars they may use. Finally, add some festive elements to the bathroom with holiday-themed soap, air freshener, and hand towels.

Gathering with friends and family is the best part of the season. Once you’ve decorated the key places and made a welcoming spot for your guests, you can sit back and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

 

Lea Schneider loves to decorate for the holidays. As a professional organizer, Lea provides tips on tackling your decorating tasks in an organized way. Lea also writes for The Home Depot. To find more Christmas decor options like the ones Lea talks about in this article, visit homedepot.com.

This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement.

Posted on December 1, 2017 at 8:54 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, decorating, holidays, interior decorating, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Create Lasting Holiday Memories

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we can’t think of a better season to make some special holiday memories with your loved ones! Knoxville, Tennessee, offers lots of holiday cheer for residents, and we all look forward to the annual traditions. Here are a few ideas for making holiday memories with your loved ones that will last a lifetime.

Ice Skating, Shopping, and Dining on Market Square

Market Square in Downtown Knoxville has always been a hub of activity, ever since its early days as a market where farmers could bring their produce to sell and trade. These days, it’s a great spot for dining, shopping, and people watching. During the winter holidays, Market Square is transformed with a giant ice-skating rink in the center. The rink, part of Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice festivities, opens November 24 and runs through January 7, 2018.

This is a great spot to create some special holiday memories! Maybe enjoy a little skating to work up an appetite for one of the great local eateries around the square. Or perhaps you’d like to cap off a day of holiday shopping with some ice-skating fun. Many shop windows around downtown Knoxville will be decorated in a peppermint theme as part of the Window Wonderland. There’s plenty to do and something for folks of all ages.

Holiday Lights Auto Tour

Many neighborhoods around Knoxville get all decked out for the holiday season, and this is a great opportunity to create some special holiday memories with your family and friends. Plan an evening for you and your loved ones to hop in the car and cruise around town to see all the outdoor holiday lighting and decorations.

Knoxville’s historic Sequoyah Hills neighborhood is always a great option for those really special decorations on a grand scale. West Hills is another neighborhood to visit for lovely light shows, and don’t forget Founders’ Park in Farragut for a truly magical twinkling light display.

Want to get an even closer look at some of the beautiful lights around the city? Take part in Knoxville’s Tour de Lights event on December 15. Decorate your bike with lights and tinsel and meet at Market Square for a ride through the historic 4th & Gill neighborhood.

Love Your Neighborhood

Another special way to create lasting holiday memories is by showing your neighborhood some love. Deliver baked goods to neighbors and maybe sing a carol or two. Or perhaps you could host a holiday drop-in and invite neighbors over for cookies and cocoa.

This is a wonderful way to get to know the folks in your community and introduce yourself to neighbors you haven’t met yet. It’s also a worthwhile opportunity to just get out of the house and explore the neighborhood as a family.

Give Back to the Community

The holiday season is a great time to give back to those folks in your community who might need a little help. Plus, taking the opportunity to give back as a family is a wonderful way to create some lasting holiday memories. Knoxville has a variety of nonprofit organizations that are always looking for volunteers. Consider volunteering at a local food pantry or maybe buying gifts for a family experiencing financial trouble. You can also help out at a local animal shelter.

These are just a few ideas for this season in Knoxville. Get together with your loved ones and see what you can come up with.

Posted on November 29, 2017 at 10:03 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Celebrate, decorating, family, holidays, real estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

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