5 Essential Pumpkin Items for Your Home

Pumpkin mania has arrived. Everywhere you turn there’s more pumpkin-related items to be seen. How do you know which ones are essential and which ones can be ignored? Easy. I’ll tell you which ones. Do you doubt a 35 year old, white male from Jersey doesn’t know what are the most important pumpkin items to reside in the place you call home? What gives me this right? Well, I was born on Halloween…that’s about it, so proceed with that in mind.

Besides that, being married to woman who’s admiration for all things fall and pumpkin for the past 12 years has given me some additional insight. Here you go:

Spiced Pumpkin Candle from Yankee Candle

spiced-pumpkin

Sure you can get a pumpkin spice candle from just about anywhere, but there’s only one place to get the best. Light this baby up and your home will smell like fall and dessert for the entire month. Don’t be cheap. Get the big one.

Pumpkin Wreath

pumpkin-wreath

Don’t buy your wreath at KMart. Look for a nice wreath that’s more than just a plastic pumpkin sign you could get at any party store. It adds a touch of class to your front door while still getting in the festive autumnal spirit. There are a tons of options at Etsy.com including the one above (although it’s a little pricey).

Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

pumpkin-cheesecake

It’s not decor, but it’s one of the most beautiful things you can have in your home this fall. The Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream from Ben & Jerry’s is no trick, but certainly a treat. Better buy more than one.

Glow in the Dark Pumpkin Teeth

pumpkin-teetch

Anybody can make a Jack-O-Lantern. Set yours apart from the others on your street by adding a set of glow in the dark teeth. Perfect for frightening your children or in-laws. And they’re only $6 for a three pack.

Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks

psl

You can find a recipe for it online. You can buy it for your Keurig. Or you could just go straight to the source and get it from Starbucks. The Pumpkin Spice Latte is so big it even has its own Twitter handle @TheRealPSL.

BONUS: Pumpkin Costume

pumpkin-costume

For those with children, it’s required that you dress them up as a pumpkin at least once in their life. Makes for great photo sharing before their prom or at their rehearsal dinner.

 

Header image courtesy of Flickr user liz west

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9 Easy Homemade Halloween Costumes for the Whole Family

The spookiest month of the year is upon us once again and the time to select a Halloween costume is here. Not to fear! We’ve compiled a list of 9 easy homemade costumes for all members of the family!

Spider and Web Costume
A few black knee socks and some black yarn are all you need to make this adorable mommy-child costume. Stuff the black socks with newspaper or cotton to create the spider’s legs. Attach them to your baby’s all-black outfit with a glue gun or thread. Mom adds some black yarn to an all white outfit to create the web. And voila! You be catching compliments all night!

Spider

Piñata Costume
A few yards of rainbow-colored felt, a scissor and a glue gun are all you need to make this creative costume. Cut slits in the fleece to create the frayed tissue paper effect. To make the hat, make conical shapes with sturdy poster board and cover with more felt. A touch of colorful ribbon at the end add the finishing touches.

pinata
Sushi Baby
Add a little felt to a white onsie for this scrumptious baby costume. The best part are the dabs of wasabi and pickled ginger on the side.  Keep a close eye on your little one, he’ll be cute enough to eat!
Sushi

Starbucks Cup

Make yourself a Starbucks latte with a white dress and a Starbucks sash.  Top it all off with a plastic cap and straw and you have one creative cup of joe!

Starbucks

Dr. Frankenstein

This illusion costume is an excellent experiment!  Fill out a doctor’s coat with pillows (use a pool noodles for structure in the arms) and attach to the back of your little mad scientist.  He’ll be turning heads all night!

Mad Doctor

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

If your little one dreams of being Michelangelo, this homemade costume is just the trick.  An aluminum tray painted with greens and blacks makes a perfect shell and a colored T-shirt works perfectly as an eye mask.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

Spice Girls
Not what you were expecting, huh?! Print or draw out extra large spice labels like cinnamon, cardamom and chili powder and attach around your torso with shoulder straps made from string.
spice_girls_with_bodyguard

Baby Chick
When you combine a feather boa, rubber gloves and some felt, what do you get?  The cutest costume on the block!

Baby Chick

Operation
Remember this classic board game where you play doctor? You’ll be sure to hit everyone’s funny bone with this homemade costume.
Operation

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6 Houses That Are Obsessed With Halloween

Halloween is a scary season, and today marks the first day of the spookiest month of the year. Finally, an excuse to indulge your sweet tooth, dress up like your favorite superhero and scare others for fun. Maybe you want to do these things all year long, perhaps you can’t let go of this wicked season? Here are six houses currently on the market on streets that scream Halloween all year long.

7 Pumpkin Hill Lane, New Milford, Connecticut: $379,000
The ultimate trick-or-treat destination, this 3 bedroom, 3 bath ranch-style property is full of country charm. The house also has 3 stone fireplaces, a game room and wood floors throughout the main level.

pumpkin hill

56 Witch Hazel Dr., Deep River, Connecticut: $315,000
Located in sought after Witch Hazel Estates, this colonial-style 4 bedroom house would be the perfect location for a Halloween party. Did we mention it has a walkup attic?

witch hazel

7518 Spider Lake Rd., Iron River, Wisconsin: $242,500
Seated on 2.6 wooded acres, this lake home could be decorated in no time for Halloween. The property has a large kitchen, a lake view living room and a master bedroom with a lakeside screen porch.

spider lake

1114 N. Broom St., Wilmington, Delaware:$479,000
This turn of the century home might be the quintessential Halloween house. It has 5 bedrooms, 10 ft. ceilings, arched doorways and a 2-tier deck overlooking the garden pond.

broom

163 Gothic Cir., Manorville, New York: $309,000
This 2 bedroom, 2 bath house is perfect for a couple of Halloween fanatics. Located in South Manor School District, this ranch style end unit has loads of space and is the best value in the complex.

gothic

12 Ghost Court, Cherry Log, Georgia: $349,900
This cabin-style property has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and sits on a lake. It has a large dining area, an open kitchen and is the perfect fall getaway. Besides, “12 Ghost Court” would look amazing on a Halloween party invitation.

ghost

Enjoy Halloween all year long and search for these houses or others like it at coldwellbanker.com.

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How To Decorate for Halloween Without Going Overboard

The humid summer air is slowly turning into cool and crisp bursts of wind. Colorful flowers like impatiens and begonias are being replaced with yellow and orange mums. Yup, fall is here.

As the countdown to summer resets, our list of things to do around house includes transitioning our house from summer to fall. For many of us that also means breaking out the Halloween decorations. If you want to show off your festive side but would prefer your home not to resemble that of Morticia Addams, then these tips are for you.

Outside

(Not So) Spooky Steps

Your steps are probably the easiest thing to decorate. If you want to go basic, you can buy a few pumpkins and you are all set. Want to take it a step further? Add a few lanterns for an elegant effect.

Get instructions for this DIY project

Party Porch

Porches were made for Halloween decorations. OK maybe I am exaggerating, but they are the perfect spot  for seasonal decor. Focus on one corner of your porch and pick one large item as your focal point. Some ideas to get you started: a cauldron, broomstick, pumpkin topiary or a hay bale.

Candy Sign

Topiary

Cauldron

Ghastly Garden

Mums are a fall classic that are an elegant addition for your curb appeal. In addition to planting mums you can find other garden decorations like flags and signs on sites like Etsy and Amazon.

Like this flag? Buy it here.

Dressed Up Door

A simple wreath will tie the look together. You can make your own or buy one from Michaels or Etsy.

Like this Wreath? Buy it here.

 

Inside

Eerie Entry Table

Creating a frightening foyer is as easy as picking a theme. You can go with colors, like orange, black and/or purple, creatures like bats, skeletons or witches or just an overall Autumnal theme. This is the first, and sometimes only, thing guests will see when they enter so you can show off your Halloween spirit without even touching any other room in the house.

Get the look here

Frighteningly Fun Fireplace Mantel

If you have a fireplace then you have prime real estate in your home for a Halloween display. Candles, mini pumpkins and simple garland are affordable touches that go a long way.

Need more mantel ideas? Click Here

Looking for more Halloween fun? Click here.

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5 Great Summer Hostess Gift Ideas

It seems like during both the summer and holiday seasons we’re bombarded with invites to this and that. If you’re like me, the first thing that pops into your mind upon receiving notice is 1) what am I going to wear and 2) what am I going to bring?

When in doubt bring a gift that is both personalized and one-of-a-kind. You won’t have to worry about your recipients having one of the same or not liking it. Below you’ll find five ideas that are guaranteed to be a hit and make you the most liked guest of the night.

1. Custom Coasters

 

Coasters probably get used the most during parties and the like. So there is no better hostess gift!

2. Coffee Table Books

Coffee table books are simply stunning and they are a great decor piece. Get your hostess a book on a topic she loves. 

3. Custom Cutting Boards

 Ever go to reach for your cutting board only to find it’s still dirty? I have, that’s why having a couple on hand is great. Another gift that is functional and can be personalized. 

4. Hand Towels

Who doesn’t love a pretty hand towel? Every time your hostess goes to use it, she’ll think of you. 

5. Your Favorite Old School Game

 If you fear running out of good conversation at the party, bring a classic board game to spark up nostalgia! 

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The 10 Commandments of Throwing a Great House Party

One of the greatest joys of owning a home is sharing it with others. Follow these commandments and become the ultimate party host.

1) Thou Shalt Not Drive Yourself Crazy Cleaning Beforehand

Now I am in no way saying your house should be a mess but it is easy to get carried away cleaning before guests come. Focus on the areas you know your guests will be spending time in and tidy up the rest of your home.

2) Thou Shalt Not Run Out of Food

This is one of the most important rules you must follow. Seriously, is there anything worse than showing up to a party and leaving with a growling stomach? Avoid your guests having to stop at a McDonalds after your party by ensuring you have the right amount of food. Check out this simple chart that tells you how much food and drink to have at your dinner party.

3) Thou Shalt Be a Responsible Party Host

If cocktails are on the menu then please be sure you keep an eye on your guests. Also, don’t forget to have a variety of non-alcoholic beverage on hand like water and various juices and soda.

4) Thou Shalt Have A Plan For Your Pets

If Fido isn’t the friendliest perhaps he should remain separated from the group. Also, if your indoor cat is an escape artist you may want to alert your party goers to ensure they always shut the door behind themselves.

5)  Thou Shalt Give Your Neighbors a Heads Up

If your neighbors aren’t invited to your party then it might be a good idea to give them the courtesy of letting them know you will be having a party, especially if it will be outdoors and/or if you plan on having it go late into the night.

6) Thou Shalt Plan A Few Activities

First things first, make sure you introduce everyone to each other if they aren’t already acquaintances. Next, having a 3 page itinerary filled with activities for your party goers isn’t necessary but you should have a few activities planned that you can pull out of your hat if you see people getting bored. For smaller crowds, board and card games are always great ways to pass time. If your party is outdoors you can consider volleyball, horseshoes or cornhole.

7) Thou Shalt Not Forget About the Kids

If you have guest coming with children it is important to give them something to do. Here are 116 awesome ideas.

8) Thou Shalt Use Paper Goods (When Possible)

Unless you are having a formal dinner party it is always best to go with paper goods. (recycled if possible!) By doing this you avoid a sink full of dishes, time away from your guests (cleaning them) and the possibility of having your good plates, cups and cutlery thrown away or broken.

9) Thou Shalt Play Music

Having music at your party is a must. Depending on the type of party you have it may even lead to a dance party! Here is a great playlist you can use.

10) Thou Shalt Remember To Have Fun!

Sometimes being a host can feel more like work than play. Make sure your guests are well taken care of but don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

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“America the Beautiful” by Coldwell Banker

In honor of Independence Day, we’d like to join you in celebrating America with a look at our country’s beauty, as seen through the windows of Coldwell Banker homes.

“America the Beautiful”
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward

skies_wlyrics

for amber waves of grain

Mountains_wlyric

above the fruited plain

America!

America!

God shed his grace on thee 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 

from sea

to shining sea!

Each of the images above are from Coldwell Banker listings.  Click on any image to see more about the property.

To view more Coldwell Banker listings, or to search for your dream home here in the USA or internationally, visit coldwellbanker.com.

Happy 4th of July!

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Grilling Guide for 4th of July

Nothing says “Freedom” like firing up the grill! BBQ is near and dear to the hearts of so many Americans. Looking for a grilling guide for 4th of July?  We’ve got you covered!  Here’s our guide to home cooking, 4th of July style!

Main Event
Let’s start with the meat. For the ultimate 4th of July BBQ, you’ll need to give your guests a few options. Whether you go with classic burgers & dogs, chicken & steak, pulled pork, or tofu & a big platter of grilled veggies, you’re sure to please a crowd! Remember to prep and marinate meat in advance so that when your guests arrive, you can relax and sip one of these delicious watermelon cocktails with them.

Classic burger

Image Source: Food & Wine

Savory Sides

For me, a summer barbecue is not complete without the side salads: potato, pasta, greens. Here are 16 great BBQ sides to give you plenty of ideas for dishes to round out your menu.  One of the easiest side dishes is buttery corn on the cob.  Soak husks in water for 10 minutes before throwing on the grill to avoid burning.

american-potato-salad-new_gal

Image Source: Real Simple

Get Saucy
There are about as many varieties of BBQ sauce as there are states in the U.S. Depending on your tastes, you can go sweet, spicy, smokey, tangy and even mustard-y. Check out this clever guide to American Barbecue Sauce Styles to find one that’s right for you.

Neely's BBQ Sauce

Image Source: Food Network

Sweet Freedom
Looking for a creative way to bring red, white and blue into your 4th of July menu? Dessert is the way to go! Check out these patriotic dessert ideas.  When in doubt, throw some sweet like peaches or pineapple on the grill for an easy, healthy treat.

4th cake

Image Source: Mashable

Header Image Source: Backyard Simple

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What Really Happened on July 4, 1776?

Guest Blog by Lisa Yauch

via wcvb.com

Every year, most Americans celebrate the Fourth of July in recognition of Independence Day, when we declared our sovereignty from Great Britain and the birth of the United States of America.

But did you know…

  • Our predecessors actually began fighting for our freedom, during the American Revolution, in April 1775
  • One of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, completed the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776
  • The Continental Congress decided it was in our best interest to declare independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress finally approved wording of the Declaration of Independence after deliberating over the copy for two days following its initial submission on July 2. And so July 4 became the date included in the actual document. It also happened this was the date printed on original copies of this historic piece, which was circulated throughout the new nation.

The formal and handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence, which is on display in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., was actually signed by our founding forefathers in August of 1776. Great Britain did not receive official notification and a copy of the document until November of 1776. Talk about snail mail!

How July 4 became an official holiday

Approximately 15-20 years after the Declaration of Independence was drafted, people did not celebrate much as you might image they would have. The idea was very new and a wave of political unrest was surfacing.

  • 1790s – The Declaration was seen as controversial and two main parties (the Democrat-Republicans, who sided with Jefferson and the other, the Federalists, who did not) were bitterly divided
  • Following the War of 1812, the Federalist Party began to unravel and new parties of the 1820/30s became more supportive of the Democrat-Republicans; printed copies of the Declaration once again began circulating throughout the nation
  • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who both uncannily died on July 4, 1826, may have helped spur the notion of an important date to be recognized and celebrated
  • The Fourth of July became more common and celebrated as the years went by
  • In 1870, (almost 100 years after the Declaration of Independence was written!) Congress declared July 4 to be an official, national holiday

While you celebrate the freedom of our great nation this coming Fourth of July, whether with ceremonies, fireworks, spending time with family and friends, just remember, you could have been celebrating it two days sooner had history dictated otherwise.

Sources – Google, constitutionfacts.com, Wikipedia

Cover image via coversfortimeline

Lisa is the Manager of Communications for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC

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10 Cool Kitchen Appliances

In almost every household’s kitchen there are standard appliances and tools that everyone uses. These consist of toasters, blenders, pots and pans, forks, spoons, knives etc.  Besides these run-of-the-mill appliances are others that are genius.

Recently, while roaming the internet I came across some interesting kitchen appliances that I had never seen before. Things like a tomato stem remover, vegetable cleaner, a pineapple slicer, and a salad chopper.

I rounded up some of what I thought were the coolest tools that I could find. Most of these are total luxuries and not entirely necessary but they will definitely make your life easier. Check them out!

1. Pineapple Slicer and Wedger  Have you ever nearly sliced both hands off whilst trying to prepare a pineapple? I certainly have, once or twice. I think this tool is incredible because whether you’re preparing the fruit for your family or trying to look fancy for a party, a tool like this one will help you get it right every time.

2. The Original Whirley Pop™ Stovetop Popcorn Popper This may be the hottest summer attraction in your home this summer. Does it get much better than custom made popcorn on your stove top? It’s a healthier and more fun alternative to using the microwave.

3. OXO Good Grips® Apple Divider Here is another tool that I think would make a great addition to your kitchen lineup. Imagine a world where you could have a perfectly sliced piece of fruit in one shot. If you are an avid baker, unlike me, this is a must have for ensuring that your pies look completely immaculate.

4. Icy Bottle Sticks Trays These ice trays struck a nerve in me. I have, for seemingly, my entire life looked for ways to squeeze regular sized ice cubes into my water bottles. It never worked, and I was always stuck with hot beverages. The moment I saw these special ice trays, I nearly jumped for joy. You can bet I’ll be ordering these soon and just in time for summer.

5. Bagel Biter I’m starting to notice an overlapping theme in this post. Many of the products mentioned thus far, and even ones that are to come, all involve ways to avoid accidentally chopping your hands off. Being from New Jersey, bagels are a regular part of my daily diet. Subsequently, this will get a lot of use in my house.

6. Oxo Good Grips® Salad Chopper and Bowl I’ve never been able to properly or gracefully eat salad. I like this salad chopper because it allows you to cut up salad into socially appropriate pieces.

7. Flavor Injector with Storage Case If something as genius as a flavor injector exists why would I ever resort to marinating meat over night again?  This is going to really come in handy this summer for all of the backyard barbecues that’ll go on.  

8. OXO Good Grips® Natural Bristle Vegetable Brush  Have you ever wondered how exactly to remove that gross wax coating from your favorite fruits and vegetables? Here is the answer to your dilemma!

9. Chef’n® Bananza™ Banana Slicer  All you need for perfect, uniform banana slices in no time is the Bananza™. Great for cereal, desserts, smoothies or just a snack, a quick squeeze of the Bananza™ and you’re all set. (Bed Bath & Beyond)

10. OXO Good Grips® Jar Opener

Open jars of any size and stubbornness. Simply wedge the opener around the lid and twist. (Bed Bath & Beyond)

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