Blog :: 11-2016

Thanksgiving 2016 Survival Guide

We found this article titled, "Thanksgiving 2016 Survival Guide: How to Get Through this Year's Gathering with a Smile on your Face" by Jaymi Naciri at Realty Times. It's been a little...tense this past month and while this should be a time for family and friends, we don't always see eye to eye on integral parts of our lives. Here are some tips on how to avoid an all out brawl at your holiday meal.

For many people across the country, Thanksgiving represents a time of togetherness when the entire brood can gather around the table and sink into some family love - and a vat of mashed potatoes. For others, it's a terrifying time of strife and stress.

Well, get ready for the "normal" fabric of family dynamics to be stretched to its limits this year. In the aftermath of the most contentious U.S. election of our time, nerves are frayed, and two distinct and disagreeable (and that's putting it mildly) camps of voters could make sitting across the table from each other more challenging than usual.

So how can you get through it, and maybe even enjoy yourself? Here's your Thanksgiving 2016 Survival Guide.

Cocktails Any One?

Depending on your family dynamic, you may already be quite familiar with the whole drinking at Thanksgiving thing. But this year may call for more - and stronger - imbibing.

There are a lot of great, Traditional (and some not so traditional) Thanksgiving cocktails out there, like these from the The Food Network. If you think you can inspire a little humor in your family members, set up a blue and red bar and allow everyone to show their true colors. Or, go with Purple Drinks that mix the blue and red to show unity.

Make dinner a multicultural affair

What better way to make a statement about acceptance than by bringing in some new cultural dishes? "Thanksgiving dinner is conventionally associated with very specific foods. Turkey. Pumpkin pie. Stuffing. But that's not where every family's tradition begins and ends," said Mashable. "The U.S. is a melting pot. It's all about different cultures coming together with family traditions that blend the best of the old world with customs of the new.You might want to try them yourself this year. After all, the blending of American tradition and familial culture often starts with food."

A few of their suggestions: An eastern European Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon, Persian basmati rice stuffing, and Argentinian alfajores,  buttery dulce de leche-filled cookies that are perfect with that post-meal cup of coffee.  Will it cure the ills of the world? No. But it'll be tasty.

Play a game

Thanksgiving Bingo is a fun way to get through a strained holiday, but cards from years past probably won't do this year. Generate your own Thanksgiving Bingo cards (Great Aunt Linda starts talking about the woman down the street, and you're just waiting for her to drop the "N" word; Cousin Bill uses the words "whiny," "pansy," and/or "loser" when referring to Democrats), and pass them out to a few family members, or give them to friends who you know could really use some help at the dinner table next year. Keeping your ears open for the next winning phrase by making it a game could help soften the tension.

Volunteer

Maybe what your family needs this year is to not sit down to eat together at all, but, rather, to be of service. Volunteering at Thanksgiving can be rewarding for those who are on both the giving end and the receiving end. You can check VolunteerMatch to find a local spot in your area.

Be truly, sincerely, thankful

It's easy to get lost in the minutiae of sorrow or regret, especially when the big picture is also not one you can find much solace in. Whether you're feeling dread at what the next four years hold, or if you're feeling joy, or somewhere in between, taking a moment to get in touch with what you're grateful for can be powerful. Health, wealth, a good job, strong friendships, a loving family (even if this year some are a tad less so), and a table full of food to enjoy offer plenty of reasons to be thankful, which, not coincidentally, is the name of the game on this holiday. If you need help getting in touch with your gratitude, check out these tips.

To read the original article click here.

Weighing the Pros & Cons of a Home Addition

Andrea Davis, the editor for HomeAdvisor, brings up some important things to think about when a home addition might be in the cards. The cost of living in Vermont is pretty high, so you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your living space, even if that means doing a little construction.

Adding a new addition to your home is a great idea for various reasons. But interest rates and property values can change the effectiveness of your investment. If you are considering building a home addition, you'll want to consider the following information as you make your decision.

Cost

Possibly the greatest consideration regarding home additions is cost. Generally, many homeowners opt to build or renovate when interest rates are low and they can take advantage of home equity loans. When budgeting for your addition, it's important to plan for the costs that are often associated with major home improvement projects. The hefty cost of a new home addition is something that homeowners need to consider closely before embarking on this type of construction. It's also important to consider the additional costs of utilities and taxes that will affect your annual budget.

Investment Value

Experts suggest that you can recover the cost of a mid-range home addition at the point of sale. This is the main inspiration for many homeowners investing in extra square footage. Even though extra square footage should drive up the value of your home, sellers don't necessarily recoup their entire investment due to other variables associated with property values.

 

Enjoyment Factor

Cost and investment aren't always the main considerations for homeowners who opt for new additions. Many people simply want to enjoy the added space or have a significant need for expanding their home. Whether you're considering extra bedrooms or an expanded kitchen, an addition will improve the functionality of your home and increase your overall enjoyment.

Stress

From conflicts with contractors to the inconvenience of living in a construction zone, home renovations and new additions can be fraught with stress. While stress is a con, it's also likely to be a temporary problem. Moreover, selling your home and buying a new one may prove no less stressful. By working with skilled reputable contractors and planning carefully, you can avoid many of the headaches associated with residential building projects.

Design Aesthetic

A poorly designed addition can detract from the appearance of your home. It's important for homeowners to work with an architect who has the experience and knowledge to create an addition in keeping with the aesthetics of your home. An addition that's mismatched with the main structure can detract from the visual appeal of the house and ultimately turn off buyers.

Other Pros and Cons of a Home Addition

Unless your new addition is a second-story addition, a home expansion is going to swallow up some of your property. Less yard space could prove to be a turnoff to some home buyers. On the other hand, staying in your home allows you to keep your great neighbors and reside in the community you love. Adding on to your home also allows you to customize the entire project to suit your household's needs.

Conclusion

Consider all of the pros and cons when it comes to making a decision about a new home addition. Talking to other homeowners can also help you gather advice and enhance your decision-making process.

To read the original article click here.

 

9 Tips for Creating a Family Friendly Home

Vermont is a great place to raise a family with most towns having tight-knit, supportive communities. Most areas offer lots of activities for creative fun for all ages. Check out the local schools and businesses in your area to see what they offer. The rural lifestyle of Vermont is great for instilling an appreciation for nature and a lifelong love of the outdoors. A lot of new homeowners are, or were, in the market because they want to start a family. Having a safe but stylish home doesn't have to be such a crazy transition. This is an article by Jaymi Naciri from Realty Times, entitled "9 Tips for Creating a Family Friendly Home that Marry Form and Function." Here are some ideas to get you started down this new path and ease some worries you may have. 

Having a kid and trying to make sure you don't lose your sense of style as the home gets overrun by bouncy chairs and toys? Maybe you've been in kidland for several years and are looking to reclaim some of your style. It can be challenging.

"As tricky as it may be to live comfortably in a small one-bedroom or studio, decorating a big family home has its hurdles, too," said MY DOMAINE. "There are so many questions to ask: What fabrics are kid- and pet-friendly? Which coffee tables won't take my toddler's eye out? How can I give myself a little privacy? Once you figure out what works best for your brood, the next big thing to consider is how to do it all in style."

Here are some tips to help you navigate the space between form and function.

Fight against dirty walls

"There's no getting around it: Walls take a beating with young ones around," said HGTV. "Cleats are casually tossed against white baseboards. Bedroom doors become backboards for basketball practice. A fresh expanse of drywall morphs into a blank canvas for that new set of crayons. Sticky fingers trail along hallway walls."

But that doesn't mean you can't have beautiful color. Just make sure you choose paint that is washable and wipeable. Some family-friendly favorites can be found here.

Watch those corners

Sharp corners are the bane of a new parent's existence. You can mitigate them by using pool noodles or edge guards, but they're not so stylish. A round coffee table instead of one that's squared off can be a great addition to your living room, both from a functional and style perspective.

Bring in a little fun

Adding in fun touches keeps your home lively. This chalkboard barn door does the trick, and it comes in a variety of different finishes and textures to match your unique style.

You can have the white couch

We always chuckle when we see home design shows that give a growing family a big white couch. That's not happening in our house, where materials are chosen expressly for their ability to resist spills and dog hair, and colors chosen to best disguise dirty fingers and puppy stains. But, white can be done. You just need some washable slipcovers, a little diligence, and a good washing machine.

You don't need a glider chair

It's one of the first things new parents-to-be think about when preparing for their first child. And a glider chair is a great place to hold, rock, and nurse a baby. But, unless you're planning on having several children in a row or see the chair melding into your décor beyond the baby stage (especially if you're intending to put it in the middle of your living room), you might be able to do without - especially if you're on a budget.

There's a lot of back and forth about how much of a necessity (or not) a glider is, but if you're on the fence, don't want to spend the money, or would rather focus on something that better matches your style and long-term décor needs, you're justified.

You don't need duckies and bunnies or baseballs and mitts in the baby's room

Nor do you need a gender-specific color. Check out the chic HGTV star Jillian Harris created for new baby, Leo.

Don't go with a cheap rug

You might be worried about wear and tear and stains with kids, but a quality rug may be a better option than something cheap. "Invest in a wool rug," said The Chriselle Factor. "Wool rugs generally come at a higher price point, but for the family-friendly home, they're worth every penny. They're soft underfoot, help break the tumbles and falls of the newly-walking, and they're much more durable against foot traffic - so more often than not, you'll be saving in the long run."

Get creative with storage

Whether your kids are brand-new or heading into their teens, you always need more places to put stuff, and you want them to be as nice to look at as they are useful. If you're in the market for a new kitchen table, consider a banquet with a lift-top bench or slide-out drawers. They make great places to store kitchen or dining items, bibs and towels, and kids' art supplies.

Coffee tables with drawers or ottomans you can slide under desks or taller tables are key for families and also make great options for extra seating in a pinch. But when it comes to toy storage, they can start to overrun your house.

One of the keys to a good design scheme is mixing it up with interesting shapes, colors, and textures, so consider this tip from Huffington Post: "Think outside of the box with your storage! Who says toys need to be stored in ugly plastic bins? There are so many gorgeous baskets (or even an unexpected roomy tote) at a range of price points. Storage that doubles as décor also makes cleanup a cinch."

Keep the big picture in mind

There are several great tips in this chic living room: Ottomans keep it cushy and can be moved out of the way for floor play. Bookcases stuffed with games and toys put everything your little one wats at arm's reach and are easy to put back for a tidy space. The concrete table is "perfect for kids' crafts," said MY DOMAINE. And bright pops of color and a ship chandelier keep it all interesting.

To read the original article click here.

Seasonal Fun

There are a lot of fun things to do leading up to the holidays. Many local towns have ongoing events for whatever your interest. Check out some of these events this month:

Nov 11: Rusty Nail Dance Benefit for Veterans

Nov 12 & 25: Cider Tasting: Champlain Orchards

Nov 12: 40th Annual Milton Pre-Christmas Craft Show

Nov 14: Pint Night at the Reservoir Restaurant and Tap Room

Nov 24: Turkey Skate in Stowe

Nov 25: Homemade Candy Cane Demonstrations

Nov 25 - Dec 17: Waterbury's Wrap It Up & Win

Nov 26: Waterbury Holiday Artisan Boutique & Small Business Saturday

Dec 2: 24th Annual Vermont International Festival

Dec 2 - 4: Mad River Valley Country Holiday Fest

Dec 3: River of Light Lander Parade

There's something for everyone! We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season. Click here for more Mad River Valley Events, Waterbury Events, Stowe Events, and Burlington Events.