Trick Out Your Treats

Halloween is here again, which means it’s time for fun foods and festivities. This holiday really lets your creativity shine with scary snacks and tricky treats. Everyone knows food is the crux of a great party (besides adult spirits…slow wink). To make your next fright fest a monster smash, follow these easy recipes to trick out old treats in new ways.


 

MB_0083_17OctB19-1-dogs
https://www.homemadeinterest.com/mummy-dogs/

This easy snack will be a delight for the young ghouls and young at heart. A cool twist on Pigs in a Blanket is Mummy Wrap Dogs. You’ll cut your crescent rolls into strips and wrap around your hot dog in typical mummy like fashion. Bake as directed on package. Then when all cooked, add eyes with your favorite dipping sauce.


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https://www.momdot.com/how-to-make-poison-apples/

Poison apples are an advanced version of candy apples. They are beautiful black and blue sheens. These will be sure to give all the neighbors chills. Recipe to follow:

Poison Apples

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon purple gel food dye
  • 1 teaspoon black gel food dye
  • 6-8 granny smith apples

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry apples thoroughly.
  2. Place on a baking sheet and poke firmly with candy sticks.
  3. Line a second baking sheet with buttered parchment paper, and set aside.
  4. Place a candy thermometer in a medium saucepan and add sugar, water, and corn syrup.
  5. Place over medium heat; whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  6. Let the temperature rise without stirring until it reaches the hard-crack mark at 290-310F.
  7. Remove pan from heat and carefully remove thermometer, and stir in food coloring.
  8. Holding the pan at an angle to gather the syrup in one side for easy dipping, dip and swirl each apple in the syrup, let excess drain off back into the pan, and then dip, swirl and drain a second time.
  9. Place on buttered baking sheet.
  10. Repeat with remaining apples.

 


 

MB_0083_17OctB19-3-Lemonade
https://goo.gl/2Dh2ZY

Bubble bubble, toil and trouble. Now all you need is a perfect concoction to poison your guests…whoops, I mean serve your guests. You can use your favorite punch recipe, lemonade, or cocktail to make this delightfully dark drink. All you have to do is break open activated charcoal tablets and stir into your beverage until you have a black potion of your desired ebony. Bonus points because charcoal is cleansing to the system.


 

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http://onelittleproject.com/harvest-hash-chex-mix/

Back in my day, my mother would mix peanuts and candy corn and that was our Halloween treat that we would munch on for days. Now there is fancy Harvest Hash, which sounds amazing. This will be the first recipe I try this year.

  • 1 12 oz Box Chex Cereal, flavor of your choice
  • 1 7oz bag of Bugle Chips
  • 4 cups Pretzels
  • 3/4 cup Melted Butter
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Candy Corn
  • 1 cup Candy Corn Pumpkins
  • 1 8oz bag of Reese’s Pieces

In a large bowl you will mix 1 box chex cereal, 1 bag of Bugles, and 4 cups of pretzels. Melt ¾ cup butter mixed well with ¾ cup brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp vanilla extract. Pour this sauce over your cereal mixture. Combine well then spread over cookie sheets lined with parchment paper to bake for 45 min on 275 degrees. Once baked and cooled you can add 1 cup candy corn, 1 cup candy corn pumpkins, and 1 bag of Reese’s Pieces. Mix well and enjoy some harvest time.

You are now ready to make a graveyard smash.

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Feng Shui Your Day

Our homes are a place where we go to relax, unwind, and get away from the world for a bit. We want it to be as welcoming and warm as possible to ourselves and family. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice to balance the energies in your house. Rearranging your home is a perfect way to have a refreshed space and attitude. Maybe your annoying Aunt Linda will have a better attitude during visits after she sees this transformation.


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Kitchen: The kitchen is a place for gatherings. It is the most important room in the house according to Feng Shui. Use a warm accent color to promote socialization during meals and parties. If possible hone as much natural light in the kitchen. If no natural lighting is available then layer various light fixtures to encourage positive energy. Free your kitchen counters of cumbersome gadgets or dirty dishes for a simplistic open flow.


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Living Room: The living room is a communal room for family and friends. Again, you should optimize the natural light and any large windows. Hang sheer airy curtains instead of heavy ones to accomplish this. Live plants, mirrors, and fresh cut flowers encourage liveliness in the room. Neutral colors should be present to allow coziness with pieces of red for color to bring wealth and add interesting pops of color.


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Bedroom: Choose calming colors for the walls like blue, green, and chocolate brown. Keep electronic stimulation out of the bedroom. Leave televisions, computers, and gaming systems in the family room. This promotes relaxation without distractions. Remove any storage you may have cluttered under your bed in order to provide positive energy flow and deeper sleep.


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Bathroom: A bathroom should be clean and clutter free at all times to create positive energy. This is especially true for mirrors to prevent distortion. Soothing artwork is advised for a spa like feel. Display quality soaps, thick towels, and candles to increase luxury and beauty. A bathroom is meant for cleansing as well as indulgence.

These are just a few starting pointers to start the process of how to Feng Shui your day with positive energies.

 

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Kick Summer to the Curb

The end of summer marks the beginning of a new season, which means a whole new look for our homes. It is time to break out the pumpkins and haystacks. The outside of our houses is an important presentation to our visitors and passersby. It is a welcoming entry way into our personal lives. Today we will find ways to shout out our seasonal pride by sprucing up our street curb credit.

 


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New Heights. The key to a successful porch makeover is to create different heights with your décor. Create a layering effect with chairs, planters, stacked pumpkins and wheat stalks. Place planters on chairs to reach greater heights or strategically place candle holders along your porch. This will visually make leading lines toward your door as the focus point of your home


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No Bore Door. Doors should make a statement. They are the first objects people will see and notice when approaching the home. Change up your look by choosing a bold color to paint or stain it. A beautiful blue, red or yellow can renew the vibe of your porch experience while staying in budget if decorating on the cheap side.


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Thick and Theme. Just because it’s Fall doesn’t mean you have to stick to boring oranges and reds. Choose a fun color theme that combines fall and fun such as pale blues or greens. There are various colors of gourds and squashes that aren’t orange at all. Cool tones can be used instead of warm tones with just as much charm.


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Pumpkin Patch. These are a given staple in an Autumn curb display. Paint plastic pumpkins cool colors like gold or white for a modern touch. Show your home pride by stenciling the outline of your state on your real or faux pumpkin or the number of your address for visitors to spot from the road. You can even wrap your gourds in ribbon for a fancy addition to plain pieces.


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Mums the word. There is no Autumn without mums. This beautiful flower is the cornerstone of the season. My mother is a traditionalist when it comes to decorating with mums. She buys orange and red only. The other colors are greatly underrated. There are deep fuchsias, goldenrod yellows, lavender purples and bright whites. Don’t limit your color scheme by tradition. Go wild and crazy with purple and white mums.

The curb appeal of your home will now be the talk of the neighborhood. Your modern spin on old Autumn sights will inspire others to think outside the corn stalks.

 

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Cooler Weather Makes Cooler Chores

The temperature is dropping and so is the need to stay indoors from the heat. Now is the time to get up and be as productive as the attention span allows. In preparation for the cooler times ahead there are a few items on the to-do list for the apartment or home that can be easily crossed off in a matter of minutes.


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Air out your mattress. Our mattresses collect bacteria and skin cells over the years. Every so often it is good to give it a sunbath for its protection and ours. Setting it out in the sun for a few hours will kill potential bacteria and mold. This can make your mattress firmer and less liable to sink in the center. It will also give it some fresh air so that it will smell like new…maybe. Now that it’s not blazing warm out, it will be easier to maneuver your bulky bed to the outdoors and inside with ease.


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Waterproof your shoes. Just because shoes are canvas doesn’t mean they have to hide in the back of the closet for colder seasons. Make your canvas shoes waterproof by using Neverwet for fabric. This is an easy and cost efficient way to use your favorite shoes all year round. Don’t want to drive to Target (Let’s face it, the only place to shop)? Then you can take an unscented candle from home to rub over the canvas of the shoes, heat with a hair dryer and you can then wear your tennis another season.


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Optimize the nice weather. Open windows and doors and throw open the sashes. Now that the heat is beat you can now enjoy the afternoon breeze before it turns again. This will keep energy costs down if you turn off your AC or heat as well as refresh your space.


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Make a cool tunes playlist. Nothing prepares the soul for a season change like a heart felt playlist that will set the right tone. Use it for the commute to work, while cleaning house and for a background for relaxing book reading. You know in the movies when a person is driving through the color changing trees with the car windows down and the perfect melodic yet inspiring song comes on? Be that person.


Flower Pots Begonias Potted Flowers Garden

Outdoor home maintenance. There is not a more perfect time than to do all the outer housework that you have been meaning to get to. No more excuses. It is no longer “too hot” or “too rainy” or “It’s such a nice day out how could I possibly waste it on house chores.” Now everyday is a nice day at least for a few months. So get out there and clean gutters, freshen paint, put perennials in those terra cotta pots. You’ll be proud of yourself after.


These aren’t all the items you need to accomplish this season but it will give a running start. Make your minutes count in the lovely weather because you don’t know how long it will last in Oklahoma.

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OKC’s Most Chill Treats

It is a typical summer day in Oklahoma. Over 90 degrees and the sun feels like it’s specifically hovering over you alone. Your air conditioner is acting like it has an upper respiratory issue by the way it’s wheezing and you may have a sun burn just by even thinking about stepping on your porch. It’s so hot out that your taste buds are sweating. Well sweat no more because we have a set of the coolest treats that melt in your mouth and chill your core.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-1-rasapados hawaiian

Raspado’s Hawaiian is a snow cone that will satisfy the sweet and sour side of you. These treats are all natural fruit flavors with over 40 options. This cup of heaven comes complete with actual chunks of fruit, chamoy syrup, and a tamarind candy covered straw, which are scientifically considered all the flavors of a flawless summer. If milkshakes are more of your taste style then order an obispos, which is shaved ice in choices of mango, strawberry, pineapple, and banana topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to create a creamy dream.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-2-Trailer Trash Treatz

This one is a little off the beaten path, but if you’re a snow cone connoisseur then this will be just another glorious adventure that you can add to your Yelp review collection. Trailer Trash Treatz will surpass its name and your expectations.

Pick from almost 50 flavors of snow and order it “trashy” for an extra sweet surprise. Dig to the center of the cone to discover ice cream and a slice of cheesecake. Three, yes three, of America’s favorite desserts in one cup. With two locations in Yukon and Choctaw, this small chain is changing the way people think about cones of snow.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-3 Organic Squeeze

Now you’re staring at your kids in envy with their trashy feasts and candied fruit cups. A dreaded four letter word is holding you back from tearing into one like a rabid polar bear…diet. Organic Squeeze has got your back. You can indulge without the guilt. They have made from scratch Squeeze Pops crafted with the finest organic ingredients. Enjoy unique flavors such as Orange Ginger Pineapple or Berry Cream made with Himalayan salt. Kids can also enjoy a healthy snack because when they complete the “no soda challenge” for one week they get a free Squeeze Pop. Double the yum for the price of one.


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It’s been a rough sweltering day, right? A little time out is in order. Sneak away to Revolución for an adult snow day that will make you feel like you’re in a winter wonderland for a minute. This boozy beverage is named a Cannonball and for good reason. It will blow away all your problems. A frozen margarita topped with a sangria snowball. Those red and greens are like Christmas in July.

Now go treat yourself.

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NEVER LEAVE YOUR BACKYARD AGAIN

When your barbecue just isn’t bringing the guests to your shindig, you need to up your entertainment game. Some good old fashion competition should rile up your audience. Here is some backyard business that everyone can get on board with. Now let’s get the ball rolling…


MB_0045_17JulyB5-1yardzee

Yard-zee is an oversized version of the classic dice game your grandparents used to make you play when you were young and they’d beat you every time. You’ll have a blast wrestling a large bucket to “shake” your dice in and chasing your steroidal cubes all over the lawn. When tired of all that winning, you can switch to Farkle, another household favorite with a questionable name. Now that you’re an adult, you can beat your children, nieces, and nephews. Maybe let them win just once to show good sportsmanship…Nahhhh.


MB_0045_17JulyB5-2cornhole

Corn Hole is a personal favorite at my house. There is nothing like getting a group of family together for a tournament. The rules are fairly simple; just toss your corn bag across the yard in attempt to make it into the hole. Don’t judge. It’s harder than it sounds. Make sure everyone is playing by the same set of rules with a unbiased score keeper in order to prevent major family rifts that end with not talking to Aunt Sally for months. Then when all is said and done the winner is named Corn King or Queen. Okay, so its not a fetching title but your family won’t forget who won the year of 2017. Boo-yah.


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To put a twist on the traditional “Potato Sack Race” and “Three-legged Race,” go to a local thrift store and buy four to six of the largest sets of jeans or pants you can find. Each person will slip inside a pant leg in teams to work together to hop across the finish line. Kids and adults alike will not be able to stop laughing by how silly this game is. Goofy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. The videos will go viral on YouTube.


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The sun is going down, but no one is ready to end the fun. After all, now that it’s evening it is the perfect summer temperature. That’s when you break out the Glow in the Dark Bowling. Take small bottles for children or two-liter bottles for adults then fill with water and place glow sticks in them. Grab your favorite basketball or soccer ball and you have a rager of an evening. A great way to end the night and you’ll gain brownie points with your Grandpa who’s in a professional bowler’s league. The summer fun has just begun.

 

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The OKC Bucket List: Outdoor Escapades and Eats

 

Having trouble beating the summer bummers? These entertaining activities will keep you from losing your mind and your tan line. Oklahoma is a thriving community in the summer season so relax and let the fun divert all your cares.

 


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1. Reach Great Heights. On the Wheeler District’s Ferris Wheel you can get an amazing view of the river and downtown. The Wheel was bought on Ebay and originally stood on California’s Santa Monica Pier. The district often has food trucks and festivals for your dining pleasure. Only $6 per ride makes for an affordable memory. We recommend going at night for a romantic evening gaze of a sparkling skyline, still flowing waters and an Oklahoma sunset. Ahhhh.


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2. Get Insomnia. The one time it may benefit you to get insomnia is to go to Insomnia Cookies. They have a variety of desserts including cookies, brownies and ice cream. If your blood sugar is especially low then you’ll want to indulge in a Deluxe Cookiewich to satisfy the craving. The best part about this fine establishment is that they are open until 3am, not to mention that they deliver. So you can feel good about not being able to sleep.


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Spokies

3. Embark on a Ride. Spokies is Oklahoma City’s only bike sharing system. You can glide through traffic without having to worry about pesky parking. On your ride, you’ll be able to tour Downtown, Midtown and historic neighborhoods from its eight locations around town. For a small fee, you can ride for 30 minutes or get a pass that allows hourly use. Embark wanted to provide eco-friendly and affordable transit to those in need of fun and fast transportation.


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4. Sport About. The Boathouse District contains an exciting day for the family. Riversport Adventures is hours of thrills with water rafting, zip lines, rope courses, tubing, kayaking and slides. This will not disappoint the adventure seekers in your group. You can choose from a day or season pass or even a single experience for the more serene adventurer.


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5. Reconnect with Nature. Do you miss the forests but are stuck in the city? Martin Nature Center is where you should be. Tucked away in Oklahoma City is this amazing reserve. Several trails will take you over a river, past prairie dogs, and up to a bird observation center. It is the perfect place to trick yourself into thinking that you’re hiking a National State Park. Looking is free. Try not to take home a prairie dog though.


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The decision to FSBO could cost you!

Some homeowners opt to sell their residence without a real estate agent to get around paying a commission and make more of the profit. Forty-eight percent of people who sell without a real estate agent think that if they sell themselves, they’ll end up doing a little extra work in exchange for not paying a commission or closing fee. According to the research, however, what they actually get is a lot of time spent hustling to make the sale and a final selling price that is less than what the market can bear.

Do you have a lot of extra time to market your home and do all the work to meet and greet properly? Are you versed in local trends on the housing market and know the latest regulations for closing a sale? Do you have a list of potential buyers ready to view your home? Eighty-nine percent of all homes sold in 2015 were sold with the assistance of an experienced real estate professional, according to the 2015 Home Buyers and Sellers Profile. Most leave it to the professionals, yet there is still a small group of people who prefer to do it themselves. Eight percent of home sellers chose to list themselves, known as For-Sale-By-Owners (FSBO) home sales. That number has steadily declined since 2004 where only 82 percent of all home sales were agent-assisted and 14 percent of homes were listed FSBO. FSBO sales are currently at an all-time low since data collection began in 1981.

Let’s break it down further. Thirty-eight percent of all FSBOs—that’s only three percent of the total home sales in 2015—were homes sold to people where the buyer knew the seller selling to a friend, neighbor, or family member. However, 62 percent of FSBO home sales—five percent of total homes sold—were sold by the owner to someone they didn’t know. According to the 2015 Home Buyers and Sellers Profile report, sellers cited creating yard sings, listing their homes online on multiple websites, spreading the news through word of mouth, putting out classified ads, displaying on social media, hosting an open house, and registering with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database. That’s a lot of work just on marketing and finding potential buyers.F

The time it takes to sell a home on the market was roughly the same for FSBOs and for agent-assisted homes, the median time listed was four weeks for both groups. A third of all homes were sold in less than two weeks last year. Most FSBO homes sales were located in a resort area (16 percent), rural area (15 percent), or a small town (13 percent). Seventy-five percent of FSBO sales were detached single-family homes. Ten percent were mobile or manufactured homes. FSBOs typically had lower incomes than those who worked with an agent. The median income of FSBOs was $84,000 and for those who sold through an agent was $105,600. Those who sell themselves have the perception that they have less money to pay for assistance when selling their home and opt to go it alone.

As it turns out, FSBO make less money on their home sales than buyers who work with a real estate agent. According to the report, the median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number plunges to the median selling price of $151,900. For homes sold with the assistance of an agent, the median selling price was $249,000 ̶ almost $40,000 more for the typical home sale. According to NAR’s 2015 Member Profile, sixty-nine percent of all real estate agents get paid by a percentage commission split between two agents representing the buyer and seller.

Talk to an agent and find out what they suggest for the commission and then do the math yourself. The closing price for the agent-assisted seller is likely going to be way above an FSBO. In reality, homes sold by the owner make less money overall. Based on these closing numbers, why not save yourself time and make more money by working with a real estate agent that is excited to sell your home?

Home owners believe it’s a good time to sell: read why!

Fifty-two percent of home owners say now is a good time to sell in their neighborhood. This is up from 34 percent who said so last year, according to a survey conducted by the real estate brokerage Redfin.

What’s more, 58 percent of home owners believe sellers have more power than buyers in the market right now. Redfin researchers note this is nearly the highest level of seller confidence they’ve recorded.

The top reasons sellers say they want to sell now:

  • I want a larger or nicer home: 40%
  • I am relocating to a new city: 24%
  • I want to pull out my profit: 21%
  • I want a smaller or less expensive home: 20%
  • I have had a change in family status: 19%
  • I want to move to a better school district: 15%

“Many move-up buyers have told me they are buying now to take advantage of low mortgage rates,” says William Porterfield, a real estate professional with Redfin in Little Rock, Ark. “Buyers are trying to get as much home as possible before rates rise.”

Still, some Americans expressed concerns about selling, mainly about finding a new home to buy when they sell their own.

The following were Americans’ top concerns about selling:

  • I might not find another home I want: 30%
  • Prices might fall before I sell: 26%
  • I might not find another home I can afford: 25%
  • General economic conditions might discourage buyers: 23%
  • The appraisal might come in low: 19%

Pricing Matters

When it comes to setting the price for their home, 55 percent of home owners say they will price in the middle range based on comparable sales. However, 19 percent of home owners said they would price high, citing that negotiation is inevitable. Also, 12 percent of home owners said they would price high because if the market didn’t value their home, they would wait until it did.

“While we’re noticing a shift among sellers in terms of their confidence in getting their homes sold quickly and for good prices, it’s up to the agent as their advocate to keep their expectations grounded and recommend a pricing strategy that is most likely to get the best value for their home,” says Sascha Gummersbach, a Redfin real estate agent in Atlanta. “A seller’s market doesn’t grant home owners a license to skip things like valuable upgrades, home staging or setting a price based on comparable homes in their neighborhood.”

The features active first time home buyers are looking for!

Mid-Atlantic real estate professionals are bullish on the housing market this spring, particularly due to the growing number of first-time home buyers entering the market.

In its 2016 Mid-Atlantic Housing Market Survey, MRIS – one of the nation’s largest multiple listing services – found that 57 percent of nearly 750 real estate professionals recently surveyed expect this spring to be busier than last year. The majority of the respondents cited low mortgage rates as the main reason they believe buyers will act faster this year than last year.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents predict there will be more first-time buyers this year too. With that growth, how do you appeal to first-time buyers with your listings? Respondents rated the following home features as the most important to first-time home buyers:

  1. Updated kitchen and bath: 81%
  2. An open floor plan: 59%
  3. Low-maintenance features: 43%
  4. Walkable communities: 36%
  5. Energy efficiency: 20%
  6. Strength of cell phone service or WiFi: 19%