Elf Yo’ Self

Elfie is the newest member to many families these days. He makes all kinds of raucous in the home with crazy antics and surprising pranks. Elfie can be a great gauge for your kids (or husband) to measure how close they will be to the naughty or nice list this year. While Elfie is busy getting into trouble, the little critters are having so much fun keeping up with him or her that they are staying out of it. Let’s see what Elfie is up to lately…


 

elf-dog

Elfie is tired of walking. Being mischievous is a lot of work. Elfie has borrowed a beautiful Barbie saddle that’s placed on top of Charlie, the family dog. Elfie lures Charlie with treats on the end of a pole in order to lead him around. Elfie doesn’t have to walk so far and Charlie enjoys his snacks so it’s a mutual agreement.


 

elf-candycanes

Elfie says goodbye to Charlie because he has to hide 12 candy canes he stole from the Christmas tree before the humans wake up. He can’t wait to see their faces when they read the note he wrote telling them of his maniacal plan. They will never find them all! He is too good of a hider; he won first place in hide and seek at the North Pole Elves Convention.



 

elf-snow

Elfie is sad. It hasn’t snowed at all here this Christmas. He misses the snow and all the things you could play in it. He has an idea. He pulls down flour, marshmallows, sprinkles and all kinds of finds from the baking shelf and spreads them all over the counters. Elfie brings a little white Christmas to the family with flour snow angels and marshmallow snowmen. It’s starting to feel more like home here every minute.


 

elf-paper

The humans need a bit of help decorating. They only have ONE tree up. At the workshop Santa has a tree every 20 square feet and garland covering every wall. Elfie finds their wrapping paper. This will do. He starts with wrapping the cabinet doors. It looks pretty festive but it still isn’t enough. He then wraps the table. Much better. Might as well finish it off by wrapping the couch. Perfect. The humans will be so pleased with the redecorations.

 


elf-bath

It’s almost time for the family to wake. Better hurry. It’s time for Elfie to take a bath so he’s presentable to them. He has bits of paper stuck to his back and streaks of flour in his hair. He rushes to the sink and fills it with cotton ball bubbles. Ah yes. This is the life. He grabs an American Girl robe and a washcloth to wrap his hair. Now to relax after a full morning at work.

 

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Versatile Holiday Décor

The holidays are here and now you have to drag down all your decorations from the attic. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have less décor with just as much holiday flare? It is possible. Before you go out and buy a whole new collection of ornaments for each holiday motif, take a look at these clever creations that may save you space and money.

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Get it on Etsy here: https://goo.gl/xrG62P

Reversible holiday blocks are a precious way to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Thanksgiving.” One side has winter season and one side has fall. You just flip them around when one is over. You can get them custom made on Etsy.


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Find it on Etsy here!

Show a little spirit in your entryway or on your front door with a cute sign with stacked pumpkins on one side. When snow comes to town flip over for a pleasantly plump snowman.


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Celebrate the upcoming events with a chalkboard countdown with Halloween or Thanksgiving on one side. On the other displays you favorite Christmas or Hanukkah countdown. It’s a fun way to keep your kids excited and engaged with holiday plans. They can even change the number themselves.


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A cool way to yule is to have wooden pumpkin cutouts painted then reversed to show festive tree ornaments. These wood discs a person could easily paint themselves with little time and effort to make a big statement piece.


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See all the options here! https://www.thoughtsinvinyl.com/wooden-letters/interchangeable-home-letters

Spruce up each season with these HOME letters that require a different shaped holiday symbol as the ‘O’ for every national celebration. There is a heart for Valentines, a maple leaf for autumn, a Frankenstein monster for Halloween, a bunny for Easter, and several others to choose from. You can keep this decoration up all year round. Everyone will compliment your highly functional piece and how quaint it is.

You won’t have to completely change your entire house around each passing season and fool everyone with your clever tricks.

 

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Why Do We Give Thanks

When thinking of Thanksgiving, we usually think of the main event, which is FOOD. Let’s face it, sometimes that is the only reason you put up with Uncle Joe asking you what you plan to do with your life or those annoying reminders about how your sister’s son got into med school. So why do we do it? Why do we gather around and eat the same meal every year since you were old enough to gum your mashed potatoes to death. Let’s explore this subject further.


 

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It all started a long time ago, 1620, when the pilgrims left England to find freedom of speech and religion in a new land safe from the scrutiny and tyranny of their homeland. The ship, Mayflower, left Plymouth and settled near now Cape Cod 66 days later. The pilgrims had a rough start of things. They barely left their ship that winter because the conditions were too harsh to create proper lodging. Many of them suffered from scurvy and infectious diseases. Only half lived to see the next spring.


 

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Much to the settler’s surprise, they received a visit from an English speaking Native American named Abenaki. After their visit, Abenaki returned later with another English speaker of the Pawtuxet tribe, Squanto. Squanto became a big brother to the weak and defeated pilgrims. Squanto took them under his wing and taught them how to fish, how to gather maple from the trees, which plants were poisonous, and how to grow corn. Then he helped the newly settled villagers to create an alliance with a neighboring Wampanoag tribe. This union lasted over 50 blissful years and is sadly the only recorded harmonious period between English settlers and Native Americans.


 

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In 1621, the Europeans hauled a successful crop. They were so ecstatic that they planned a large party for the Native Americans in celebration of their generosity. I hate to break it to you but there is no record of there being a cooked turkey at this feast. A shocking revelation, I’m sure. They did however go hunting and brought back three deer for the feast. Poor Bambi’s mom. Sigh and sniff. The party was a huge hit. They had so much fun that it lasted for three days. THREE. I can’t even party for 3 hours. The festivities became tradition and mainly celebrated in the North until Abraham Lincoln made it a National Holiday in 1863. Now we can all reap the benefits of an excuse to overindulge. It’s downright patriotic.

 

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Get Your Piece of the Pie

Are you feeling it yet? That’s the rush of the holidays flying by. We are already past Halloween and now shortly coming upo­n Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving you will be prepared. You will not let your Mom and Grandma down by forgetting to bring something to the table. You’re a grown adult now and you can contribute to the feast. How can you possibly do that with such a hectic schedule, you ask? That’s where we come in.


 

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Pie Junkie is a delicious little place where you want something sweet and homemade. The best part about it is that you can order by the slice or a whole pie. They offer frozen and fully cooked pies for your convenience. They have multiple options that makes it difficult to choose just one. There is Apple Crumble, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Crumble, Drunken Turtle, Orange Bourbon Pecan, Coconut Cream, Macadamia Key Lime, Sweet Potato Crumble, and Bird Dog Buttermilk. Stop by here to pick up your preordered holiday pie before heading to Grandma’s and get a little slice for you for the road. The family will never know you didn’t make it yourself, unless you’re an honest person and give all the credit to Pie Junkie because you can’t tell a lie. In that case, good for you. *pat on back*


 

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If you’re tired of the same ol’ traditional desserts, this year you can pick up a dozen of Green Goodies’ seasonal cupcakes. These cupcakes are made with top quality ingredients and various cupcakes available in gluten free and vegan options for the cousin with sensitivities. Seasonal cuppies are Caramel Apple Pie, Chocolate Peppermint, Peppermint Bark, and Pumpkin Spice. Mmmm.


 

Belle Kitchen is known for yummy donuts and macarons. In addition to that they have a few holiday pastries that may tempt even the saltiest of tongues at your gathering. The Rustic Plum Spice Bar looks festive and delightful. Belle herself requires it be paired with hot cocoa.


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Sweet tooth still not satisfied? Grab a pastry from Ingrid’s. If Pie Junkie didn’t have the rare pie you were looking for, then Ingrid’s does. Rhubarb and Strawberry Rhubarb are options for the adventurous. Several fruit pies like Dutch Apple, Apricot, Triple Berry, and Peach for the traditional folk. You can also enjoy some dense cake-like treats of pumpkin bars and cherry pudding bars for a change of pace.

Either way you can’t go wrong with any of these great desserts. Make your family proud.

 

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Get Your Ghost On

Ghostly times are upon us. We need to be prepared. We need to make plans to make sure that this October is the spookiest of scares yet. Some of the creepiest places and activities are right here in our own OKC. Read on for more details…if you dare…muahahaha.


 

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https://www.facebook.com/events/261577657653117/

Cycling Ghost Tour: Take a 7 to 8 mile tour of the most haunted places in Downtown OKC. Jeff Provine, The Ghost Guy, will thrill you with tales of sites such as the Myriad Gardens, Film Row, Bricktown, The Skirven, Carey Place, The Plaza District, and The Overholser Mansion. You can rent a $3.50 Spokies bike for the trip or bring your own helmet and bike. The cost is $20 per person for a 3-hour ride of stories. For more information visit SpokiesOKC.com.


 

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http://www.thesanctuaryokc.com/

Cry “Sanctuary”: The Sanctuary is a year round haunted attraction that is sure to psychologically shake you. On its website you can read a full background of its beginnings that will prepare your mind for the story about to unfold. Each level has a specific storyline delving deeper and deeper into Dr. Hammond’s mysterious ways. For $25 each person you’ll have a 40 minute tour of the facilities. If you need a stiff drink to calm the nerves, there’s a full service bar and nightclub in the basement for the faint of heart. Food and refreshments also served on the grounds.




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http://vhsandchill.net/index.html

Sit and Screen: “It Came from the VCR!” is a film festival of old VCR days. Come in costume and enjoy frightful nostalgic films. In between films you can partake in free food or place an order at the bar. This event takes place Oct. 27th at the IAO Gallery. Admission is nada, zilch, zero. Prizes and best costume honors will be awarded so dress your best.

 


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http://okrivercruises.com/specialty-cruises/haunt

Creeping Cruise: On board a Haunt the River Cruise that’s quite a hyped specter. Delight in refreshing snacks, haunting sounds and tunes, some decked out décor, as well as a cash bar. It departs at Exchange Landing. It is $35 per adult. Cruise the river in true horror style while sipping a wicked cocktail.


 

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https://www.okczoo.org/haunt-the-zoo-2017

Got Little Ghouls?: For those with little ghouls looking for something a bit more tame for the tiny beasts, then Haunt the Zoo may be a purrfect pounce. Each year the OKC Zoo holds a trick or treat experience that is a sight to see for young and old alike. It contains over 20 different themed booths with costumed volunteers handing out goodies. There are plenty of photo op stations for your little lion to explore.

Let loose and howl fiendishly into the night. You’ve been waiting all year for this.

 

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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.


 

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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.

 


 

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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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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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Spice Up Your Autumn Fare

Who’s excited for Autumn and just about everything that comes with it? I know we’re getting ahead of ourselves because its still 85 degrees out, but we just can’t contain our happiness. In preparation for our favorite time of year (sorry Summer fans) we have compiled a little something of our fall faves. Here are all the must tastes and sniffs to warm the home and your bellies this amazing season.



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Pumpkin Everything. The best part of the season is PUMPKIN. Sorry, not sorry to the pumpkin haters. To fully appreciate this Fall feature is to become as basic as possible and get a Pumpkin Spice Latte (#PSL). That is your first mission. Once accomplished you must make or eat pumpkin bread. Then to complete your experience you will partake in the consumption of pumpkin pie, while simultaneously, one of your middle-aged relatives burns a pumpkin scented candle or Scentsy. Side note: check out pumpkin flavored cream cheese. Bagels will cry with gratitude. You have not lived until these are done. That is all.



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Apple Cider. There is nothing more satisfying than having a hot cup of Apple Cider when it’s chilly out and you are sitting on your favorite porch chair. The great thing about it is that it is so easy to make and most of the time the ingredients are in your kitchen already. Take a crock pot, plug it in and put it on low, then put in apple juice, cloves, cinnamon sticks (or ground cinnamon if you have no sticks), nutmeg, and allspice. Add sliced oranges and apples for a fancy flair. This will make the home smell like a heavenly haven. If you’re feeling feisty you can slip a little bourbon in, but you didn’t hear it from me. Slow wink.



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Maple Pecan. Maybe pumpkin isn’t your jam, but who can resist Maple Pecan? That scent in the morning means one thing and one thing only. Pancakes. Not only does maple pair perfectly with pancakes but it’s also this season’s go-to for donuts, oatmeal, bacon, candy and dressings. It’s like a little black dress, it is appropriate for every occasion. Here is a little dish that I’ve been dreaming about since starting this post:

MAPLE PECAN BAKED BRIE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 round (8 ounce) brie
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place brie in a small baking dish or pie plate and bake for about 15-20 minutes until warm.
  3. Meanwhile add sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves and mixture just begins to boil.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and stir in pecans.
  5. Pour mixture over brie and serve warm.

 



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Savory Soups and Stews. Not going to lie: soups, stews and chili are my absolute weakness. Don’t tell anyone. I could be lured away easily with a promise of this savory concoction. They are not only scrumptious; they are the easiest dinner to make. Take any vegetables and ground or squared meat in the pantry, add spices then bang, you have an amazing dinner for the entire family. Then it becomes lunch and breakfast too after making such a large batch. A healthier version of traditional chili, but just as good:

Turkey Chili

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow (or orange) bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb. raw 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 (28-oz.) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15-oz. each) kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • Crushed red peppers (to taste; optional)
  • 12 Italian parsley sprigs, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft.
3. Add turkey; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until turkey is browned
4. Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, salt, and red peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Divide chili into 6 serving bowls and garnish with parsley if desired.

 

Have we whetted your appetite for Autumn yet? Go indulge those senses.

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Benefits of Buying

Renting is overrated. The money is being thrown into the wind while your landlord is rolling in your hard earned cash and paying off their mortgage while telling you they’ll get to that leak under the sink “soon.” I remember renting one year when I didn’t even see the landlord. I couldn’t tell you what they looked like. My dishwasher was broken and the maintenance man told us to not use our health hazard heater because it was outdated. Needless to say it was a cold winter and we moved out of there quickly as possible. Does this sound like a familiar situation? Then you may be ready to sail into the sea of ownership where you are the Captain and that ship is under your control.

Buying a home comes with certain freedoms. One of those freedoms is not having a landlord. You are able to paint, hang wall art, and landscape as you please without the risk of not getting a deposit back. There are no noise restrictions, pet deposits, or remodeling. Butters, the hound, can run and be free in his house without his human worrying about what the landlord will say about his accident on the carpet. Renting stifles this ability to truly make a space your own. A home is yours to customize into a beautiful space that mirrors your personality with no guilt.


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Taxes are a big stressor. Who doesn’t want a little relief when April comes around? Homeowners are offered several tax breaks. Some of those include Mortgage Interest, Tax and Penalty Free IRA, Home Improvements, Energy Credits, Home Equity Loans, and Real Estate Taxes. There is even a Home Office credit if you work from home. So many deductions, so little stress.

A homeowner’s net worth is 45 times that of an average renter. While rent is never recovered, mortgage payments build equity. It is an investment in the future by increasing an individual’s net worth. Not to mention it is cheaper to buy than rent. The average mortgage is lower than a rental payment and over time the interest portion of the mortgage payment decreases therefore the interest that you pay will be lower than a rental cost.


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Having a home in a neighborhood provides a sense of community. You know your neighbors. You know where your children will grow up and go to school. You know that you can walk your dog every night with a peace of mind. One doesn’t always get that when renting because you never know when the rent may be raised depending on your lease. You may not even be able to renew your lease when the time comes. Community is a sense of stability and security.

Free yourself of the waves of rent, buy your dream boat.

 


Come to our First Time Home Buyers Workshop if you would like to learn more on August 26th:

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