We’ve all heard by now that gratitude brings more “good stuff” into our lives, and if you’re lucky enough to have them, you know that great neighbors aren’t something to take for granted. Here are five ways to show your awesome neighbors that you appreciate them.
Did you pinky-promise to “Eat More Veggies” on January 1st? With this scrumptious dip in the house, you are sure to eat ALL THE VEG!
This tropical treat has the perfect fruit-to-veggie ratio, which makes it a great beginner-friendly green smoothie.
Here in NorCal, we enjoy a 365 day-a-year growing season, and if you’re a transplant from a colder climate, this is something you know shouldn’t be taken for granted. Most greens relish cool temperatures and go to seed in warm weather. Give them rich soil, keep them cool and you’ll be rewarded with fresh salad greens throughout the year. Here are some tasty veggies that love to grow in the winter (and check out the Green Smoothie recipe in this newsletter!)
Kale (SO easy to grow!)
Swiss chard (These are so pretty you’ll feel sorry picking them!)
Leeks (So good in soup.)
Radishes (Impatient? These sprout super-fast!)
Potatoes (Kids love watching these babies multiply!)
Get out there and get your hands dirty!
1: Streamline the stuff. Best-seller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, by Marie Kondo, has help millions to let go of *stuff* that make them less happy, not more. Check your library or amazon.com.
2: Make it safe and sound. Check out “Things to Do” in this newsletter- The Spiffy Chicks will help you feel safe, secure, and organized this year.
3: Shrink your bills (and your carbon footprint in the process). Turn off the lights when you leave the room, install “green” lightbulbs and low-flow shower heads, water your yard less in the summer, and really give composting your all.
4: Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean. Dishes go in the dishwasher every night - no excuses! Dirty clothes go in the hamper and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the closet. Bring everything back to its assigned place every evening. More tips in the book “Speed Cleaning”, by Jeff Campbell.
5: Get your place ready for entertaining. Each year most of us vow to spend more time with family and friends. To make you feel like inviting people in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update? The easiest way to freshen a space is with houseplants!
House plants are not only on-trend, but offer good Feng Shui, remove impurities from the air, and make your space look bigger by bringing the outside in. And you DON’T need a green thumb for these four rockstar plants…
Snake Plant The snake plant is one of the most durable house plants available, and makes for a striking display.
Areca Palm This palm topped NASA’s study as the most efficient air-purifying plant, but it also acts as an excellent air humidifier.
Aloe It’s in lotions, conditioners, sunscreens and juices — products everywhere tote the healthful attributes of this pretty little succulent.
Chinese Evergreen You might especially consider adding one (or more!) of these air-purifying plants to your house if you’ve just completed a renovation, installed new flooring, or purchased new furniture as those materials tend to emit toxins into the air.
Why Replace? Replacing gives you the most flexibility of the three options, and allows you to completely rethink the outlay of your kitchen. Any finish, any style, any hardware. (And some say soft-close hinges are the best invention of the 20th century…)
Why not? Replacing is the costliest option, and you’ll want a professional installation, as well as an architect or interior designer to make sure your investment is well-spent.
Why Reface? If your cabinets have “good bones”, and you’re not planning on reconfiguring your kitchen layout any time soon, then this might be a great compromise for you. After selecting new panels, doors, and hardware, it will feel brand new, and you’ll be saving about 50% compared to new cabinets.
Why not? You’ll lose some flexibility, but you can always add another cabinet, or remove doors on one or two to create an open-shelf look on which to display some of your prettier pieces.
Why Resurface? You like the layout, the style’s not bad, but the color- blech. Stained wood is OUT, paint is IN. California houses are not always blessed with large kitchens, and dark wood makes rooms look even smaller. Although you might be tempted to DIY this, we advise hiring a pro. (‘Cause drips and globs are NOT in…) Choose a shade of white or gray and you’ll thank yourself when it comes time to sell your house. Make sure to compliment your newly painted cabinets with a pretty wall finish, too! (Hint, we like white-on-white, with boldly colored accents.)
"Rats. I HATE rats!"- Indiana Jones (and the entire East Bay)
Last winter’s heavy rain grew lots of food for our area’s rodents to munch on. Unfortunately, they don’t always stay in the meadows like they’re supposed to. Here are 5 ways to rat-proof your house.
1. Start with inspecting the foundation of your house with an aim to discover any holes or gaps. Block the gaps with wire mesh or black foam.
2. Check all entry points; look for gaps in windows and doors, don’t forget the chimney!
3. The roof of your house should be well examined for rodents as well. Check the ventilators, shingles and chimneys for any breakages, gaps or leaks.
4. Keep a clean kitchen, and don’t bring food into bedrooms or other areas of the house. If you dine outside, clean up thoroughly.
5. Garbage must be kept in sealed bags or containers, and any kind of debris should be removed. It is essential to take care of hygiene and sanitation in order to rodent proof your home.
What is Defensible Space, and Why Do You Need It?
Our hearts broke as we watched our neighbors to the north reel from devastating wild fires. Looking ahead, creating defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It’s the buffer you create between your house and the grass, trees, and shrubs that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire—either from direct flame contact or radiant heat. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the brave firefighters defending your home. For more info, download the CalFire app on your smartphone, and check out readyforwildfire.org
"Being thankful gives you more to be thankful for."
Five ways to be more grateful this November.
1 Help others in a meaningful way.
2 Replace complaints with gratitude, even in your thoughts.
3 Resist comparing yourself with others, esp on social media.
4 Start a gratitude journal.
5 Spend time with loved ones, and express your love for them.
This recipe has been printed on Libby’s cans since 1950, and there is a good reason it’s still beloved today. It tastes like Thanksgiving. Enjoy!
•¾ cup granulated sugar
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•½ teaspoon salt
•½ teaspoon ground ginger
•¼ teaspoon ground cloves
•2 large eggs
•1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
•1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
•1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. POUR into pie shell. BAKE in preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool, top with whipped cream before serving.
Trot Like a Turkey and Earn That Pie!
It’s an East Bay family tradition, and (bonus!) it’s on a flat course. Register today for the Forma Gym Walnut Creek Turkey Trot! Race begins and finishes in Civic Park. formaturkeytrop.com
These items will save you big bucks, and we think the quality is even better than their name-brand competitors!
4. Body Lotion
6. Greek Yogurt
7.Organic Marinara Sauce
8. Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner
9. Olive Oil
10. Peanut Butter
hi! i'm leslie.
i'm a wife, mother of two boys, third-generation realtor, clinical psychologist. ('cause, you know, that helps sometimes...)
(oh, and here's my website)