Posts Tagged With: Christmas

Best Wishes for the Holiday Season


Wishing you a Holiday Season filled with warmth, comfort and good cheer!

Should the new year bring you a change of address, please contact me so that I can assist you. Please remember that I’m only a phone call away (even during this hectic time of year) should you wish to discuss your current home value or your plans for a new home purchase. I’m here to help you realize your real estate dreams!




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Tips to Shop Safely Online

online-shopping-conceptShopping online this holiday season could leave you with your identity stolen, or at least an expensive surprise when a thief charges a ticket to Fiji on your credit card. Swearing off online shopping isn’t necessary, though. You just need some simple steps to protect yourself from online fraud, which ticks up this time of year as more people shop.

1. Strong passwords and phrases

Using a hack-free password may sound elementary. Many people, however, continue to use passwords that are too easy for attackers to figure out. To make a strong password, use some special characters, numbers or, better yet, a phrase. Phrases like “Iamthegr8est” are harder for a dictionary attack to break. Also, using different passwords for different sites is never a bad idea. So don’t leave all of your accounts open to a single password.

2. Beware of free Wi-Fi

Sometimes you’re sitting in the coffee shop, and you think, “Now would be a good time to get that gift for someone.” Don’t do it. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to people listening in. A fraudster can just let his or her computer gather up all the data flying around the room, and sort out the usernames and passwords later. If you’re going to shop online, do it from a password-protected network. “A lot of people connect to Wi-Fi and don’t think anything of it,” Hanson said. “Every single thing that you type is vulnerable.”

3. Don’t be phish bait

Sometimes an email can look like it’s from a trusted company or bank. Many people don’t check before they click the links, or they send back Safe-Online-Shoppingwhatever information the institution asks for without first requesting more detail, said Hanson. “Sometimes you get an email that says ‘we’d like to expedite something, click here.” Remember that emails from major retailers or banks never ask for personal information or passwords. And when in doubt, call.

4. False friends

Scammers often take advantage of the clumsy typing skills of the average person, or the fact that few people pay close attention to the Web address of a site they are shopping on. For example, Amazon’s Amazon Payments site is hosted only on certain domains — and no others. If you see an email or are directed to a website where the Web address looks close, but doesn’t match, then it’s likely a fraud, and your information could be at risk.

5. Look for the lock

6.HTTPS_On browsers such as Firefox and Safari, there’s a small lock icon next to the site address, and the “https” on the address bar. The lock shows whether the connection to the site is encrypted. If you don’t see the lock, it’s probably not a good idea to send any credit card information over that link.


6. Credit cards, not debit cards

Sometimes it may seem like a good idea to use a debit card, because the money comes right out of an account and keeps you honest —gift_card_1no running up huge debts. However, credit and debit cards have different rules. Generally, it’s easier to get your money back (called a charge-back) from a credit card if you get scammed and a thief uses the card. It tends to be harder to do the same on debit cards, if they offer such protection at all.  Use gift cards. That way, you need not enter your personal information on a site, and you know that there’s a preset amount of money on the card. “Most of the time, we think of them as gifts for other people,” he said. “But they are really good for this.”


7. Check your statements

Checking your bank statements more often is never a bad idea, but doing so during the shopping season is even more important. That way, it’s easier to spot transactions that aren’t yours. Even better, sign up for the alerts that the credit card company will send, either by email or to your phone, whenever a purchase is made. This is a good way to guard against the fraud that happens when thieves buy blocks of credit card numbers online, because the only way to know if yours is among them is when it is used. This way you’d know when that happens and can call the credit card issuer right away.

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Categories: Christmas, Cyber Safety, family, holiday, Home Safety, Home Tips, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make Your Own Gift Bag

I just had to share this simple wrapping technique for those odd shaped gifts.  I found this on facebook at

The Meredith Vieira Show zulily Lifestyle Editor Amy Goodman reveals the secret to wrapping oddly shaped gifts.




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Warmest Wishes for Christmas

Wishing you all the best in 2014!


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Christmas Table Decoration Ideas

When decorating for the holiday season many people remember to decorate the yard, the Christmas tree and the mantle, but what about the dining room table? You want your dinner guests to be transformed into the holiday season mood immediately upon entering the dining room.  Christmas Day is near and I wanted to share a few table decoration ideas that won’t break the bank. Enjoy !

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Keep Your Home Safe This Holiday Season


During the holidays and throughout winter, the use of fireplaces, candles, furnaces and decorative lights goes up. So does the risk of a home fire, says Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Residential fires during the winter are responsible for more than 900 deaths and 3,800 injuries each year.

Keep your home safe with these precautions:

  • Only burn seasoned hardwood in your fireplace. Never toss trash, gift wrap or branches from your old Christmas tree into the flames.
  • Extinguish candles if you’re feeling drowsy. According to the NFPA, 36 percent of residential candle fires start in the bedroom. Blow out candles before you fall asleep to prevent curtains or bedding from catching on fire.
  • Keep your Christmas tree watered. Water it daily to prevent it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. When needles begin to fall off or break rather than bend, it’s time to dispose of the tree.
  • Check electric cords for damage. Frayed cords and exposed wires are a major fire hazard, especially when they rest on Christmas tree branches and other flammable materials. When decorating outdoors, prevent cord damage by using clips to hang lights—don’t use nails or staples.
  • Have your fireplace professionally cleaned. According to the NFPA, creosote buildup is responsible for 22 percent of home heating fires. Avoid the danger with an annual chimney inspection and cleaning.
  • Opt for smoke alarms with battery backup. Winter storms can knock out the power and prevent electric smoke alarms from functioning. Make sure your alarms have a battery in place to keep them functioning no matter what.
  • Get the right extension cord. If you need an extension cord for items such as space heaters, make sure the cord is the same size or larger than the cord being plugged into it and that it can handle the amp load.
  • Keep walkways clear. Keep Christmas trees, decorations, furniture and other items from blocking from your home’s exits. If a fire breaks out, this will help everyone get out safely. “Make sure that there are two ways out of every room,” Carli says. As an extra safety precaution, Carli recommends that families practice their fire escape plans in the winter as well as in the summer to account for seasonal changes such as ice and snow.
Categories: Christmas, family, holiday, Home Tips, Real Estate | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Add a Festive Flare to Your Christmas Table

To view as a slide show just click a pic and scroll; hit your Esc button to return to this blog … let your imagination create the perfect and festive holiday table.
Categories: Christmas, family, holiday, Home Tips, Real Estate | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Safety Tips for the Holidays


* Lock all doors and windows when leaving the house, even if only for a short time.  For an extended leave, have a neighbor or family member get your mail.  Install an automatic timer for indoor and outdoor lights.

* Mount your tree on a sturdy base.  Keep it at least 3 feet away from furnaces, radiators and fireplaces.  For an artificial tree, make sure it is fire-retardant.

* Replace any strings of lights that are frayed or broken.  Be sure the lights are certified for indoor or outdoor uses.

* Some plants such as mistletoe or holly berries can pose risks to small children and pets.  Keep them well out of reach.

* Never leave candles unattended or near flammable materials such as books, curtains and tablecloths.

Categories: Christmas, holiday, Real Estate | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Candied Yams for Your Holiday Meal

Southern Style Candied Yams with Gingersnap Crunch:

  • 8 medium yams or sweet potatoes (about 4 pounds), peeled, halved crosswise and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg


  • 4 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 16)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • (Serves 8)


For the yams: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the yams with the oil in a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugarhoneycinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a simmer and the sugar dissolves, 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, add to the yams and toss to coat.

Spread the yams and all the sauce evenly into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake until beginning to become tender, 30 minutes.

For the crunch: Meanwhile, pulse the gingersnaps in a food processor until they are fine crumbs with a few larger pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the sugar, butter and flour to combine. Form crumbles in several sizes using your hands and chill in the refrigerator.

Remove the foil from the yams and stir to coat with the sauce. Continue baking uncovered until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with gingersnap crumbles and bake until the yams are very tender and the topping is nicely browned, about 10 minutes longer. Serves.

Recipe Courtesy of Treva Chadwell

Categories: Christmas, Real Estate, Recipes, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Quick and Easy Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables:

  • 3 to 4 pounds fresh vegetables, prepared
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Fresh herbs, if desired
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Serves 4


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  • Chop the vegetables or roast them whole. The larger the pieces, the longer it will take to roast. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, fresh herbs, and generously season with salt and pepper.
  • Place on a prepared baking sheet, cast iron pan, or a roasting pan.
  • Keep in mind that the harder the vegetable and larger the size, the longer it will take to roast. Whole beets can take an hour or more, while asparagus will roast up in about 10 minutes.
  • Test for doneness by piercing the vegetable with a knife.
  • Serve the roasted vegetables with toasted nutsbread crumbs, or grated cheese on top.

Roasted Vegetable Variations:

  • Slow-Roasted Tomatoes: Quarter 3 to 4 pounds ripe tomatoes brushed with olive oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, and generously seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast the tomatoes cut side up on a large baking sheet. Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are beginning to brown and maintain their shape when moved. Cool. Make into homemade tomato sauce by chopping the tomatoes and heating in a saucepan with chicken stock, fresh herbs, and just a bit of fresh cream.
  • Roasted Garlic: Peel the paper exterior off of garlic heads. Set the garlic heads on top of aluminum foil square. Brush the garlic head with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and top with any desired fresh herbs. Fold the sides up crimping tightly. Place the packet on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Cook’s Note: It is best to use the roasted garlic while still warm. 

Recipe Courtesy of Kelsey Nixon

Categories: Christmas, Real Estate, Recipes, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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