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Tinsel and the Christmas Spider

Do you know about this Christmas tale? A spider is not something I am usually looking for on my Christmas tree…until now. It is Only 11 more days until Christmas morning!

Tinsel and The Legend of the Christmas Spider

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Tinsel was created in Germany. Tinsel was originally made from thin strips of beaten silver. But when plastic/man made tinsel was invented, it became very popular as it was much cheaper than real silver. Also, it was lighter to go on the tree!

There are also folk stories about how tinsel was created – by The Christmas Spider!

These tales seem to have started in Eastern Germany or Ukraine but are also told in parts of Finland and Scandinavia. The stories are now also popular in other countries too.

All the versions of the story involve a poor family who is so poor, they can’t decorate a Tree for Christmas (in some versions the tree grew from a pine cone in their house, in others the family have bought a tree into the house).

When the children sleep on Christmas Eve a spider covers the tree in cobwebs. Then on Christmas morning the cobwebs are magically turned into silver and gold strands which decorate the tree!

Some versions say that it’s the light of the sun which changed the cobwebs into silver and gold but other versions say it’s St Nicholas / Santa Claus / Father Christmas which made the magic happen.

In parts of Germany, Poland, and Ukraine it’s meant to be good luck to find a spider or a spider’s web on your Christmas Tree.

Spider’s web Christmas Tree decorations are also popular in Ukraine. They are called ‘pavuchky’ (which means ‘little spider’) and the decorations are normally made of paper and silver wire. You might even put an artificial spider’s web on your tree!

All my best,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

4 Easy Low-Cost Christmas Crafts

Keep holiday spending under control with these innovative and easy Christmas crafts that spread holiday cheer. We have tons of Christmas projects for you to try, including holiday door decorations and festive table toppers — all available on a budget!

Pinecone Ornaments

Take a stroll through the neighborhood and collect a few fall pinecones and pine needles. Arrange this free foliage in glass ornaments, bowls, and hurricane vases for a fragrant and festive look. Match the display to your other holiday decorations by adding a few colored ornaments or tinsel to the mix.

Budget project price: $2

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Paper Christmas Tree Display

Transform holiday scrapbook paper into a jolly display when you use this easy to cut and fold template. For a custom Christmas countdown calendar, print and attach numbers to a series of 25 paper trees and display them along a mantel. Fill the trees with candy for a charming party favor.

Budget project price: $3

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Glitter Ornaments

Adorn basic ornaments with glitter. For simple designs, use a paintbrush to apply glue directly to the ornament, and then sprinkle with glitter. If you want to try a more detailed design and aren’t comfortable applying glue by hand, punch a snowflake, Christmas tree, or other shape out of cardstock using a holiday-theme paper punch. Apply glue to the punch-out and stamp it on the ornament. Finish with glitter. Tip: Sprinkle glitter over a tray for easier clean up.

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Felt-Wrapped Wreath

Wrap a foam wreath frame with strips of felt in varying widths and colors. To create the berries, cut a long, thin strip of red felt with pinking shears and roll it into a circle. Secure with fabric glue, and attach to leaves cut from green felt. For a more traditional look, skip the orange and turquoise strips.

Budget project price: $7

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All my best to you and yours this holiday season. Have a merry time together.

Helping you make your house a home,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

Black Friday – Up and At ‘Em?

The retail frenzy known as Black Friday is now an integral part of many family Thanksgiving traditions. From looking at the ads days prior, to getting up in the middle of the night to spending money on things you “can’t live without”.  All of this has become part of the norm. We understand you have to have those things that make your house feel like a home! 

But how did Black Friday start?

This is a great question. I had to consult http://history.com for the answer to that. It wasn’t as cheery and uplifting or festive as I thought it would be.

History.com says:

The term “Black Friday” was applied not to holiday shopping but to financial crisis. Specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869.

As the story goes, two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits.

On that Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.

This isn’t what you have heard?

The most common story behind the post-Thanksgiving shopping-related Black Friday tradition links it to retailers. After an entire year of operating at a loss (“in the red”) stores would supposedly earn a profit (“went into the black”) on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers blew so much money on discounted merchandise.

Though it’s true that retail companies used to record losses in red and profits in black when doing their accounting, this version of Black Friday’s origin is the officially sanctioned—but inaccurate—story behind the tradition.

Here is a Visual History of Black Friday: From Financial Crash to Today’s Shopping Mania

1924 – The first Macy’s Day Parade

Today the parade is held on Thanksgiving Day this wasn’t always the case. The very first Macy’s Parade on November 27, 1924 was advertised as a “Christmas Parade” with the arrival of Santa Claus signaling the official start of the holiday shopping season.

The original parade, promoted a full-page advertisements as a “marathon of mirth”, including live animals from the Central Park Zoo. In 1927, the live animals were replaced by giant balloon animals.

Black Friday

Today, Black Friday looks like this:

Black Friday

Not only do we have Black Friday but Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday now too.

 

Do you get up and go out on Black Friday? I’d love to hear what your family traditions are.

 

All my best,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

Baby, It’s Cold Out Here

cold, garden, vegetables, frost, winter, fall, Picket Fence Properties, Windsor, Windsor CO, Property Management, Colorado, rental, income, investment properties, vacancy, vacancies, Northern Colorado, rent, manage, tenant, Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Ft. Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Frederick, Firestone, real estate, rental, Property Management, Rentals, Investment Properties, Income, Tenants, Vacancies Northern Colorado, Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone, For sale by Owner, Owner, house, home, subletting, evict

Brrr it’s cold. The air is nipping back the greenery and the trees are changing from green to gold, orange and burgundy hues.

It is beautiful in spite of the cold.

Though we’d all like the temperatures to say warm, the reality is they are dropping as we head into the tail end of November, December and frigid January.

With the extended warm weather, no one told the plants and shrubs it was winter yet. Therefore, they and acting as if it is summer – growing new vines, sprouting crops and growing feverishly.

The hard part of an extended warmer fall is that we must choose which plants are protected and which ones we let go. Keeping your yard’s appearance and curb appeal is important and yet tricky during this season of change.

Let’s peek into your vegetable garden:

In my opinion, I always try to save the sweet potatoes, pumpkins, kale, boy cos, lettuce and peas because they are still growing.

Beans, melon and zucchini are pretty much done.

Frost protection consideration

Success in frost protection comes when you try not to touch the plant but ensure it is covered all the way to the ground – kind of like a tent.  Cloth works for frost but never for cold rain or snow. Plastic is always best as we move into the moisture season but keeping it from touching your plants is vital, as it conducts cold temperatures.

Best practices say cover them in the evening and then remove the covering in the morning so the soil can get warm again in the daylight.

Here is a really cool thing you can purchase for seasonal vegetable gardens – a grow tunnel. This is a great $20 investment!

Happy Fall/Soon Coming Winter!

All my best,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

 

7 Tips to Prepare Your Home For Winter

Cooler temperatures and occasional snow are reminders that it’s time to prepare your home for winter. Here are steps to take to get ready for falling leaves and freezing temperatures, as recommended by House Beautiful.

1. Prepare your gutters


Clean and well-functioning gutters are a must for winter. Now is the time to clear gutters of leaves and debris and replace damaged sections.

2. Ensure against drafts

Windows are a major source of heat loss in the home. One simple solution is to eliminate drafts with weather stripping. To check for drafts, close the door or window on a strip of paper, and then slide the paper. If it slides easily, it’s time to replace your weather stripping.

3. Disconnect outdoor faucets

Take action sooner rather than later to avoid frozen and bursting pipes in your home. Drain and disconnect your hoses from outdoor faucets before the first freeze.

4. Protect outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture lasts longer and looks better if it is protected from winter snow and freezing temperatures. Either store the furniture inside for the winter or cover it with a waterproof furniture cover.

5. Repair driveway and sidewalk cracks

When water freezes in small cracks, the small cracks become big cracks. It’s easy to prevent by filling those small cracks with concrete crack sealer. Your drive and walkways will look much better over the years – and will be safer – if you take this preventive step.

6. Fertilize your lawn

As your grass prepares for winter, it needs to be fertilized to prevent stress and damage through cold temperatures. When days shorten, turf grass shifts food reserves from leaves to roots. Fertilizing grass in the fall feeds the roots and paves the way for a healthy green lawn when spring comes.

7. Check your snow blower

Go ahead and dig your snow blower out of the garage now. Check the oil, tires, and shear pins and crank it up now, before the snow flies consistently this winter.

To read the full article, click here.

All my best,

 

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

What’s Cooking This Fall? Beef Pot Roast

One of the things I love to do is cook!

As a Property Manager, I envision all of our tenants making their houses/properties their homes. Perhaps they have friends and family over to enjoy the things they are cooking.

So every once in a while I like to throw our some good ‘ole home cooking ideas for you to enjoy.

Pan-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms

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This one came from MidwestLiving.com

  • Makes: 4 to 6 servings
  • Hands On 25 mins
  • Total Time 1 hr
This beautiful, buttery beef tenderloin is so simple. Brown the beef in a cast-iron skillet, roast it in the oven, then take advantage of the hot pan to toss together the thyme- and sherry-glazed mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 1 2 – pound beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon canola or corn oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms (or mixed cremini and shiitake), trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

Directions

  1. Pat beef dry. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Position rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 425 degrees . Season beef on all sides with 2 teaspoons each kosher salt and pepper.
  2. Heat canola oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and sear on all sides for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees , 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer beef to a platter; tent loosely with foil while preparing mushrooms.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the olive oil to same skillet. Add mushrooms and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to turn golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add shallots; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully add sherry; cook and stir until almost evaporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir juices from tenderloin platter into mushrooms with remaining tablespoon butter and thyme. Slice beef and serve with mushrooms.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 4, chol. (mg) 154, cal. (kcal) 506, vit. A (IU) 213, iron (mg) 7, Fat, total (g) 27, vit. C (mg) 5, sugar (g) 4, Potassium (mg) 1107, pro. (g) 54, calcium (mg) 53, Trans fatty acid (g) 1, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 8, fiber (g) 2, sodium (mg) 757, Monounsaturated fat (g) 12, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 2, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 3, Folate (µg) 34, sat. fat (g) 9, Riboflavin (mg) 1, carb. (g) 9, Niacin (mg) 15, Thiamin (mg) 0

All my best,

 

Teresa

Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

What Do Renters Really Want?

As a property manager, this question surfaces all of the time. What do renters really want?

Most real estate expert agrees that personalized customer service ranks at the top of the list. Happy customers who feel valued are more likely to stay in a rental relationship.

“60% of renters plan to relocate within the next 12 months” according to Elizabeth Millar from Appfolio.

Ask Your Tenants What They Want

Ask them what amenities and neighborhood area characteristics are most important to them.

  • In-unit laundry
  • Pet friendly policies
  • High-end applicances

Communicate With Them In Their Preferred Style

Have you asked them how they prefer you communicate with them? There is paper, email, text and tenant portal options these days.

If you are wanting open, honest communication, you might consider anonymous forms. This will give you and your rental team accurate responses.

We like to ask such things like:

  • Which amenities are your favorites?
  • What could we do to add, change or remove to make this feel more like home?
  • Do you feel valued and appreciated by our team?
  • How would you rate overall safety and security?
  • Is the maintenance staff responsive and efficient?

Did you know that 13% of Americans don’t have smartphones while the other 87% use their phones to manage almost their entire lifestyle. Don’t leave out that 13% that might be attracted to the properties your company has.

All my best,

 

Teresa

Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

9 of the Best Ideas for Entertainment Centers

Organizing your home to make your house feel the way you want it can be tricky.

Better Homes and Gardens has shared 9 of their best entertainment center ideas that may work for you.

TVs are not like the TVs I grew up with. They are thin, sleep and can rid bulky components. Consider having your TV on the top of your mantel for a eye catching display.

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Cords, cords, cords! DVD players, video game systems, cable boxes and other electronic devices such as sound bars, stereo systems that can be bulky and an eye sore. Consider an old dresser as a storage space. You can leave the drawers in or take them out.

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Perhaps you were just thinking about throwing away all your vinyl records. Perhaps a shelving unit is what you need, while a wall mounted TV can be set above it.

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Just because you have media doesn’t mean it has to be bulky looking or lack style.

Wide and deep cabinets can store movies, video games, blankets and much more. When you frame your TV with the things you love, it will be sure to feel like home sweet home.

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Perhaps you have a small space or you are looking to put your TV entertaining area in a bedroom, basement or den. Consider separating the consoles into zones – games, remotes, etc. Keep the thing you use near where you will most likely use them at.

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A family room or play area is a great place to store games, toys and other kid activities.

Go through your items and consolidate. For instance, keep DVDs and other discs in a binder instead of their individual cases. Or corral all art supplies in one easy-to-carry tote rather than separate containers.

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Can’t see the TV? That is one look you can do too. There is a sleek hidden away look with built-in entertainment centers. This is a great way to make your area feel multi-purpose. My guess is every person who comes over will want their entertainment center this way too when they leave.

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Find a deep cabinet or console table and line up books, bookmarks, notebooks and other reading needs. This might end up being your favorite spot in the house!

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Are you looking for an airy, no clutter entertaining area. Consider concealed cabinetry for a balance between chic and storage. Inside these you can put movies, games, blankets, and other unsightly items.

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SW corner of the TV room/Family room

No matter which is your style, I hope this gave you some inside ideas of what you might consider for your entertaining area.

After all, making your house your home is what going home is all about.

All my best,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

Winter Proof Your Home

If you live in Colorado, there may only be a few moments that you need to winter proof your home.

After all, it is negative temperatures one week and 60 degrees the next, not that I am complaining.

Perhaps  it did get cold enough where you needed to winter proof. Here are some things you could do to keep your utility bills down and your home warm.

 

The word winter along makes me dream of jumping on a plane to one of my favorite tropical destinations but then reality strikes and I embrace the cold and winter proof my home.

 

Let’s start at the top:

When is the last time you had your roof checked for shingles that may need fixed or repaired? If you have trees in the neighborhood, make sure you have cleared your gutters so the moisture can melt when the sun comes back out.

 

Now let’s look at windows. When I think of windows and winter, I get cold at the thought of it. Do your windows let cold air in? Even just a little bit? Every bit counts. If your window is drafty, fixing that right away will keep you warmer instantly. If you have sliding panels, make sure they are in the closed position to slow or stop drafts and make sure your windows are sealed properly so that moisture does not get in.

 

If you are one that has a doggy door or mail slot in your doors, you may want to seal that up for a temporary time and make other arrangements for the frigid days.

 

What about the things you do not see like your furnace. When did it last see the HVAC doctor for preventative maintenance?

 

If you need a recommendation for a professional in any of these areas, give me a call or email today.

 

With all that in mind, hopefully this winter and all that follow will be warmer for you and yours.

 

Happy at home!

 

Cheers,

 

Teresa

Traditions: 8 Family Friendly Ones!

Are looking to keep your family busy this December with some family friendly traditions?

traditions traditions traditions

Here are a few traditions you might consider starting. 

Traditions don’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time and money.

  1. Make a countdown calendar. This could be a countdown to Christmas, New Years or going back to school.
  2. Bundle up and visit your local tree farm. Chances are, you’ll do more than find a tree: Many tree farms offer hayrides, sleigh rides, and other family-friendly activities.
  3. Decorate your tree. This includes setting it up, putting lights on it, hanging garland, ornaments, other household decorations, and the star. Wrap presents together to put under the tree.
  4. Make a personal ornament. I know some of my favorites and everyone’s favorites in my household are the homemade ornaments that hold sentimental value. It is a great way to capture a moment in time.
  5. Bake cookies. No matter what your cookie status is (regular, paleo, gluten-free only, etc), cookies are great to make and give as gifts to others and they always provide some interesting, fun, quality time.
  6. Make a picture album. Get your camera or cell phone out and take pictures, capturing memories throughout the season and make it be your “2016 Holiday Album”. Everyone can help so it reflects everyone’s personality. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
  7. Study cultural traditions. Make this fun so everyone has to learn about different traditions and teach everyone else what they learned. You may find some new things you want to try every year on  your holiday.
  8. Make it be a season of giving. No matter what day you start, you just give something away to someone else that needs it (obvious or not) every day. The blessings that come from this will make a lasting impact on your family’s lives.

No matter how you spend your quality time this season, making holiday traditions is a very important part of life. Not only for your young ones, but for you too. The season is always happier when you are doing things you love.

Warmest regards,

Teresa