Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to Start a Family Game Night Tradition

      18 June 2021

      Starting a weekly, biweekly or monthly tradition can prove to be an effective and incredibly fun way to slow down and focus on each other even when schedules get hectic. If you are ready to start a family game night for this reason, here are some tips to make it happen.

      Define Game
      Game night can mean different things to different family members, so be sure to define what your family would like to see on a game night. Will it be a rough-and-tumble night of sports or obstacle courses? Does your family enjoy the strategy involved with a long-lasting game of cards? Do you prefer quick board games? Or do you simply want to join the kids in a battle royale on their favorite video game console? Whatever you choose, be sure to set expectations for what the tradition will involve.

      Pick a Low Traffic Night
      The key to making the family game night a true tradition is simply ensuring that it continues even when life gets more chaotic. Pick a low-traffic night, especially if you plan to make your family game nights a weekly event. Choosing a Friday night may work for your family when your children are small, but it could pose a challenge to keep everyone interested as high school years and Friday night football games approach. Choose a night that won’t require family members to sacrifice events or extracurricular activities and you’ll be much more likely to keep up the tradition long-term.

      Ensure Variety
      Traditional family game nights often involve board games since they are an easy way to ensure a technology-free and family-focused evening. If you opt for board games during your game nights, don't forget to ensure variety. You can achieve this by creating a monthly game night with a form of games you don’t normally play (think video games or sports) or you can purchase or borrow new board games regularly. Check with your local library to see if they lend board games to members, or support a local game store and find an eclectic board game you wouldn’t come across otherwise. Either way, keeping game night fun and interesting means mixing it up, especially if one family member keeps winning every time you play Monopoly. 

      Bring Snacks
      Snacks and game nights go hand-in-hand, and everyone can get excited about a delectable treat. Keep it low-key by setting out your family’s favorite crunchy snacks and treats, or plan your game night around dinner and make it a fun build-your-own meal. Taco bars, chili bars or ice cream sundae bars can prove an excellent companion to game night fun. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Summer Snacks That Satisfy Cravings

      18 June 2021

      (Family Features) Road trips, outdoor adventures and relaxing by the pool are some of summer’s most popular activities, and all can be more enjoyable by adding favorite snacks to the mix. Next time you bask in the summer sun, bring along some tasty pecan snacks that allow you stay on track with wellness goals without sacrificing those snack-time delights. 

      Whether you enjoy their natural sweetness straight from the bag or add them to your go-to recipes, pecans are among the lowest in carbs and highest in fiber of tree nuts, an option that’s perfect for snacking. In fact, each ounce of pecans includes 3 grams of plant-based protein and 3 grams of fiber to go with 12 grams of “good” monounsaturated fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat. 

      Curb your snack cravings with a savory option like Buffalo-Pecan Pimento Cheese Dip with veggies and crackers, or if something sweeter tempts your taste buds, dive into a tangy treat with these Mini Pecan Lemon Berry Tarts. 

      Visit for more snacking tips and recipes. 

      Mini Pecan Lemon Berry Tarts
      Total time: 22 minutes
      Servings: 24

      Mini Pecan Crusts:
      Nonstick cooking spray
      2 cups pecan pieces 
      1/4 cup butter, melted
      2 tablespoons sugar

      Lemon Filling:
      1/2 cup lemon curd
      1/2 cup blueberries, raspberries or combination
      powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

      To make mini pecan crusts: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line mini muffin tin with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

      In a food processor, blend pecan pieces, butter and sugar until mixture forms coarse dough.

      Scoop about 2 teaspoons pecan mixture in each muffin tin. Use the back of a wooden spoon or fingers to press the mixture evenly along the bottom and up sides of each muffin cup.

      Bake for 12 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown. Allow crusts to cool completely before removing from the pan.

      To assemble crusts: Spoon 1 teaspoon lemon curd into each mini pecan crust. Top with one raspberry or three small blueberries. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. 

      Buffalo-Pecan Pimento Cheese Dip
      Total time: 15 minutes
      Servings: 30

      1 cup raw pecan pieces
      1/2 pound (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
      1 jar (4 ounces) sliced pimentos
      2 tablespoons red hot sauce 
      2 tablespoons mayo
      1 teaspoon kosher salt
      1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
      1 tablespoon chives, freshly chopped
      veggies, for serving
      crackers, for serving

      Preheat the oven to 350 F.

      On a baking sheet, spread pecans and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant, tossing once halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. 

      In a bowl, combine cheddar cheese, pimentos with juice, hot sauce, mayo, salt and pepper. Stir until combined.
      Add 3/4 of pecan pieces and mix until combined.

      Place dip in a serving bowl and top with remaining pecan pieces and freshly chopped chives.

      Serve with veggies and crackers. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Best Tips for Planning a Family Chore Chart

      18 June 2021

      If you are hoping to keep every member of the family on the same page and want to ensure that even the youngest members of the household get involved, a family chore chart could be exactly what your home needs. Planning a family chore chart can be more involved than you might think, but with a little foresight and these helpful tips, you can create a chart that everyone can get behind.

      Figure Out Your Household Priorities
      Every home has basic chores that need to be done, however, only you and your family know what chores are vital for your home to function well. Dishes and basic cleaning tasks should naturally be on the list, but tertiary items like watering the garden, or feeding the family pet, should be included. 

      Plan Around Your Family
      Give special attention to chores that you know may not be getting done in a timely manner that is bothering household members or causing the family to miss out on a smooth daily life. Items like picking out kids’ clothes the night before school days or meal prep routines should be considered if your priority is to make mornings smoother. Honestly consider your family’s regular schedule—can you realistically commit to cleaning the bathrooms on Tuesdays when soccer practice is that night? Examine your family’s primary needs and current schedule. Create your chart only after you have done this.

      Get the Youngest Kids Involved
      Young toddlers can do small tasks on their own or can be given little pieces of larger tasks to help their older siblings or adults in the house. Make it a game! Does your young child love to sort shapes? Have them put away dull utensils in the drawer. For older children, research the best chores for their age to ensure you are teaching responsibility while not creating unreasonable stress.

      Make Sure the Adults Have Observable Tasks, Too
      Adults know how much work they do in the home, but children often don’t see the daily tasks their parents or guardians complete. Be sure to display that everyone is part of the household routine by listing the parents’ chores as well. It will ensure that children do not feel singled out and can even serve to create a more equitable task distribution between the adults.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Clever Small Space Gardening Tips

      18 June 2021

      Gardening can serve to boost your home’s curb appeal, prove to be an enjoyable hobby and can naturally lead to gently encouraging healthy eating. Not to mention, creating your own vegetable garden can lead to food savings all season long. Thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice your whole backyard to plant a wonderful garden.

      Evaluate Your Space
      Whether your home boasts a huge backyard or just a small patio, you can find a way to embrace the space only when you truly evaluate what it has to offer. Asses where in your yard you would like a garden. If your options are limited, this is even more vital. Evaluate how much direct and indirect sunlight your space gets and where. A building or tree located nearby may mean that part or all of your space is not viable for full sun plants. Decide what your space can easily cultivate.

      Think Outside the Planter Box
      Traditional garden planter boxes can make having a garden easier, but if your gardening space is limited, don’t be afraid to get creative. Planter boxes can be utilized on a porch or patio, but consider using freestanding boxes that take advantage of vertical space. A table-like planter box with tall legs will allow you to store your gardening items below. You can also get even more creative and utilize DIY or storebought vertical planters, which will easily maximize your gardening space.

      Rethink the Squash
      While a garden with traditional veggies may sound appealing, it is important to realize exactly how much space your ideal plants will require. Squashes and cucumbers, for instance, require room to grow outward along the ground—this can mean that your small space can only handle a few plants. Opt for vertically growing plants or consider instead creating a herb and sprout garden. Herbs and sprouts take up very little room, but the flavors and added texture will pack a delicious punch in your next dinner. 

      Getting fresh and delicious foods on the table this season doesn’t require a ton of space. As long as you go into your gardening season with an honest evaluation of what your gardening area can handle, and you think creatively, you are sure to have a green thumb.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Keep the Fun Afloat: 5 Tips to Make Watersport Adventures Safe This Summer

      17 June 2021

      (Family Features) For those who enjoy outdoor and active summer lifestyles, water entertainment may be the way to go. Racing the waves with the wind flowing through your hair can be a fun and exhilarating way to enjoy fresh air; a dip in a cool lake can also help keep the heat at bay on hot summer days.

      Despite world events over the past year, the watersports lifestyle is thriving – potentially due to the nature of personal watercraft riding and ability to practice social distancing. In fact, powerboat sales reached record highs, and while that momentum has slowed some in 2021, personal watercraft sales are still surging – up 77% over 2020, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. This growth means there are lots of new riders on the water, and that can affect the safety of riders both experienced and new. 

      Respecting riding etiquette, wearing protective gear and being conscious of the environment can help ensure riders have fun and continue to enjoy access to watersports. The team at Sea-Doo, a global leader in personal watercrafts, shares this advice to help keep everyone safe while having fun on the water:

      Know the rules. Rules can vary from one state or location to the next, so be sure you know what the expectations are before you head out on the water. You can find more about licensing requirements and other regulations in your area through the Boat U.S. Foundation.

      Dress for success. Ensure you have a life jacket or personal flotation device that fits snugly but comfortably. Remember to connect the tether cord from the ignition of your watercraft to your life jacket to cut power to the engine should you end up in the water. Additionally, neoprene shorts can help prevent injuries and give you a comfortable layer between your body and the saddle. Gloves and boots provide protection and improve your grip, and sunglasses can help protect your eyes from the wind and water. It’s also a good idea to keep a windbreaker in a storage compartment in case weather blows in unexpectedly.

      Gear up. Once you’re dressed for the occasion, you won’t need much other gear, but there are a few items that can help protect you. Always keep an anchor on board, along with a radio to call for help if you have trouble. A water bottle can help ensure you stay well hydrated on the water, where you typically sweat a lot due to the wind and sun. 

      Play nice. On gorgeous, sunny days, you can expect your local lake to be busy. Being respectful of others on the water helps ensure everyone can enjoy their water adventures safely. If you haven’t already, take a watercraft or boat safety course and brush up on the basics. Beyond that, pay attention to signs, especially ones that note restricted areas and no-wake zones, and keep a safe 200-foot distance between yourself and other watercrafts.

      Be earth aware. Part of being responsible in the water is respecting the environment. You can do your part by committing to green habits like refueling on land and doing maintenance work well away from the shoreline. When you’re riding, getting too close to the shore can tear up your watercraft, but it can also be harmful to the fish and birds that feed on the sediment in the shallows, as well as the vegetation. Be aware noise and movement of boats may disturb bird populations. Stay clear of posted bird nesting areas. Nesting birds may fly from their nests, exposing unprotected eggs and hatchlings to the sun’s heat or predators. Keeping to channels and deeper water also helps protect the wildlife and prevent shoreline erosion.

      Find more tips to maximize your fun in the sun and stay safe on your personal watercraft

      Published with permission from RISMedia.