Avocado Plant

Avocados have become a recent trend in many people’s diets. This fruit has an immense amount of health benefits while tasting extra delicious (yes, we said fruit). This delectable superfood can be planted in your home. The avocado is known to produce a tree-like plant that currently decorates many homes across America. Most homeowners just enjoy to use tree produced by this fruit for decoration, but there is potential that one day the tree may bear fruit. Depending on your region, you may be able to plant this tree outside if you live in an area that does not have temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. 

 

How to plant an avocado tree

Supplies

  • 1 Avocado 
  • 4 Toothpicks 
  • 1 Glass for water
  • 1 Pot 
  • 1 Small bag soil 

 

How to plant an avocado tree

Step One. Take your avocado and cut it in half. You want to cut the avocado in the direction that the stem goes down.

Fun Fact: You can tell if an avocado is ripe from their stem. Press down on the stem with your finger and if the avocado gives in with little resistance than it is ripe! 

Step Two. Remove the pit. 

Step Three. Take your pit and rinse it off. Make sure it is completely cleaned off from any avocado residue. 

Step Four. Place your four toothpicks throughout the wide part of the pit. You want the pointed part of the seed to be facing upwards. Now, adjust the toothpicks to be positioned on top of the glass of water. The toothpicks should ideally hold the avocado’s pit up. Make sure only one inch of your seed is in the water and you should place it in a warm temperature area of your home. 

Step Five. You will need to keep the water at that level consistently. 

Step Six. Wait for the stem to grow from your avocado seed.  Once it grows about six inches, you will need to cut the stem in half. 

Step Seven. Give your seed time to grow leaves again. After the leaves grow, you will need to move the seed to a pot. 

Step Eight. Prepare your pot with loose, sand-like soil. You will fill some of the pot with soil then place your avocado pit inside of the pot. Cover the roots with soil and leave the leafy stems exposed. 

Step Nine. Care for your plant often. Place the avocado plant in an area that gets a lot of sun light and make sure to lightly water this plant. 

 

Always keep an eye out on your tree’s growth and do proper trimmings when necessary. We hope you thoroughly enjoy your avocado tree this spring! 


Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds have been a longtime favorite to many homeowners. They are quick, little beauties that show up around your yard seeking satisfaction from sweet nectar. Hummingbirds do not exclusively love the sweet nectar you provide in your feeder, but they enjoy an array of “nectar producing flowers.” Surprisingly, hummingbirds eat small insects as well. If you are ever struggling with bugs entering your hummingbird feeder, experts encourage you to leave them as a nice snack with their meal. 

 

Preparing your hummingbird feeder is quite simple. Just always remember the ratio 4 to 1 (sugar to water). You will need to heat your water until the sugar combines with the water, but be careful not to overheat your sweet nectar. You can store your nectar in the refrigerator for two weeks without complications. 

 

Note: The nectar you are providing the hummingbirds is a “supplement” to the birds. Experts say not to invest in sugars that have extra additives and vitamins. 

 

If you are looking to attract more hummingbirds to your yard, buy plants that produce a natural nectar and are the color red. In fact that is why the feeders are red, hummingbirds are attracted to this hue. You may have heard of putting red food coloring in your nectar to attract the birds. We encourage you not to use red dye, because it can be potentially dangerous to the hummingbirds. 

 

Cleaning your hummingbird feeder is essential to keep the birds happy. Hummingbirds are extremely picky with the cleanliness of homeowners’ feeders. Some say that the birds would rather not eat than consume your spoiled nectar. 

  • Never use soap when cleaning out your feeder.  Studies have shown that the birds do not like the taste and will choose not to eat your nectar. 
  • Completely remove any uneaten nectar from the feeder. Take into account how much you are throwing out between each cleaning. If the birds are not eating all the nectar you have provided, decrease the amount of nectar you put into the feeder. 
  • Your feeder will need a deep cleaning at last once a month with bleach. Make sure to fully rinse out all bleach before using. 

 

We want to make hummingbirds happy, because they tend to make us happy when they are around our yard. We encourage you to follow these tips provided. Have you had success with any different ideas than the ones listed above? If so, we encourage you to share below in the comment section. 


How to Hang Mason Jars

Have you ever desired more storage in your kitchen, but do not necessarily have the room to add more cabinets? Your solution is here. Hanging mason jars underneath your cabinets add style and function to any space. Plus, it is super simple to do! 

 

Supplies

  • Mason Jar 
  • Piece of Wood
  • Hammer 
  • Nail
  • Screw
  • Screw Driver

 

Depending on the amount of space you have available under your cabinets, you can choose the amount of mason jars you will use for this project. 

*You will need one screw and one nail per one mason jar you use. 

 

Want to add color? You can even paint the mason jars if you would like to add a pop of color. Remember to paint your mason jar prior to attaching them to your cabinets. If you want a distressed mason jar look, paint the mason jar with color chalkboard paint. After it is finished drying, you can run sandpaper over the areas you want to look distressed. 

 

Step One. Take the lid off of your mason jar. 

Note: Mason jar lids have two parts associated with them. You will have the physical “rim” and “the flat top.”

Step Two. Grab your piece of wood and set your lid onto of it. Have the lid facing up in a bowl-like resemblance. 

Step Three. Take your hammer and nail and create one small hole in your lid. 

Step Four. Remove the nail and lid from the piece of wood. 

Step Five. Take your lid over to the cabinet that you wish to hang it underneath. 

Step Six. Place your screw inside the hole you just created. Screw it into the bottom of your cabinet. 

Note: It is essential that you make sure your lid is on tight, because your jar will be hanging from the lid. 

 

Was not that easy? It is a quick and simple way to add style and function to your kitchen or any room in your house. Try this hack anywhere in your home to add extra storage to your space. Just remember to always make sure your lid is screwed into your cabinet tight!

Your Guest Bedroom

If you love to entertain, you understand the importance of having a spare bedroom. An extra bedroom gives guests a comfortable escape from the traditional “couch stay.” No matter the length of their stay, you want guests to feel at home when they stay with you. Guest bedrooms can take on an array of different styles, but there are some essential factors that contribute to an wonderful stay!

 

1. Keep it cozy. 

Stuffed animals and decorative pillows all over the bed can be cute, but it can also be a hassle to remove each night. Consider keeping the bed as simple as possible for the guests.  

Make sure that if you keep your AC low to provide your guests with extra blankets. There is nothing worse than being cold all night. 

 

2. Provide an extra phone charger. 

It becomes really difficult to remember to pack everything when you are sleeping at someone else’s home. Phone chargers can be easily forgotten, but they are essential for the next day. Guests will be pleasantly surprised by this feature and it will not go unnoticed. 

 

3. Dress it up with a mirror.

Mirrors are extremely versatile. They provide a useful feature as well as a stylish one.

If you have a smaller room, consider putting in a large mirror on one of the walls. This tends to make the room look larger than it actually might be. 

Everyone loves a full-length mirror. They are perfect for putting on the final touches to your outfit and making sure everything is in check. If you have room, add a full-length mirror in or near the guest bedroom. 

 

4. Incorporate a desk/vanity. 

A desk gives your guests somewhere to sit down and write, but it can also be a place filled with necessary items. 

Think about items you would like to have in or on your desk (note pad, pens, pencils, etc.) 

 

5. Add storage with a dresser.

Your guest will need somewhere to put all of their belongings. If you do not have a closet, make sure to provide them with a dresser. Guests tend to keep the room neater when they have somewhere to put all of their things. 

Trend alert: Try using the dresser as a night stand! 

 

6. Be Bold.

This is your chance to be bold in your design skills. If you were afraid to try something in your own room, try it out in the guest bedroom! Take a chance with that paint color you were always hesitant to try out; you may be pleasantly surprised.  

 

7. Light it up.

Lighting can be a very important feature in your guest bedroom. Look for areas of the room with low-lighting and add a lamp. 

If you have room, put a lamp/lighting near the bed for nighttime reading.

Use Antiques to Add Visual Interest to Your Home

Antiques tell a story, hold a bit of mystery to them and always add character to a space.  That’s why it can usually add to the beauty of your home to add a bit of decor to it from time’s past.  Whether large or small, commonplace or unusual, antiques can draw the eye and be a conversation starter.  Collecting items for your home can be very exciting and you may want to start incorporating things right away but your best bet is to do a little research first.  Find out what styles you prefer by visiting a few thrift shops, flea markets and antique stores.  A pattern may emerge and you might notice that you are drawn to a distinct time, styles originating from a certain country or pieces produced by a popular designer of the past. Once you know what you’re looking for, the process can begin!

 

When it is time to introduce older items into your home’s design, a gradual approach is always best. While you may be a big fan of certain pieces, you also want to be sure that they will look appropriate in your home once you’ve purchased them.  Sprinkle items throughout the space to create flow and allow their placement to look more natural.  Simple ideas can be an old-fashioned spice rack in the kitchen, a gilded mirror in the bathroom and matching antique lamps for your bedroom nightstands. Larger furniture pieces can be used in guest rooms in the form of a dresser or in the dining room with a buffet. 

 

While some of these suggestions are more functional in nature, it is still a good idea to add artistic pieces to your home. Miniature statues, delicate vases and beautiful artwork will only add charm to a living space.  When properly spaced, guests will be able to appreciate all the modern amenities in your home, while enjoying the old-world appeal of your decor. So, get out there and explore the antique world to find out which pieces best evoke your sense of style!

Be a Good Neighbor

Whether you are new to the neighborhood or have lived there for several years, it is always a good idea to get to know your neighbors. Neighbors can become unexpected friends and provide a watchful eye for your home and family’s safety. In order to make friends, you must first be a good neighbor.

 

Tips on being a good neighbor:

  1. Get to know your neighbors. Go to the homes surrounding your house and introduce yourself. Plan to introduce yourself and/or family at a reasonable hour of the day. Get to know their names and write down their contact information if you ever need to reach them. 
  2. Keep your yard neat. Generally, the curb appeal of your home affects the curb appeal of your neighbors’ homes. Everyone wants to live in a well-kept neighborhood because it adds to the value of the houses. 
  3. Talk about community concerns. A lot of times, things that concern you about your community will be a concern to your neighbors as well. Talk about the things you are thinking and a reasonable course of action to take. 
  4. Start a neighborhood watch program. Your neighborhood’s safety is a concern to everyone. No one desires to have their homes or cars broken into! Start a voluntary neighborhood watch program. Two people can patrol the streets at night and report any suspicious activity to the police.
  5. Offer to watch their kids or pets. There is nothing like having a backup babysitter in case you are in a pickle. If you offer to watch their children, odds are they will return the favor. It is nice to have a trusted adult watch over your kids and animals while you are away from home. 
  6. Start a block party. This is a great way to get to know the people around your neighborhood. It is helpful to learn everyone’s professions and see if you can be of service to each other. 

 

Just like you, your neighbors want the best for the neighborhood. Make the first step in becoming a good neighbor. Plus, that neighbor you do not know yet may become a really great friend!

Organizing Cleaning Supplies

Whether you have children or pets, they way we store potentially hazardous cleaning supplies can be essential to healthy living. Although cleaning may not be your favorite pastime, it is important to evaluate your supplies and how easily it can be accessed. Let us plan on how to keep your cleaning supplies organized, safe and ready to use. 

 

Where to start:

  • Reevaluate: Look at where you are currently storing your cleaning supplies. Be smart and safe, think about if it can be easily accessed by your children or pets. In the circumstance of having hazardous supplies, the higher the better. Find a high shelf to put your items on or place them in a cabinet with a lock. It is always better to be safe than sorry. 
  • Relocate: The place you choose to have your supplies in needs to be easily accessible to you while cleaning. Try not to create more of hassle for yourself by moving it to an extremely difficult location. Think about when you are cleaning and what area in your house would be a neutral location for all of your rooms.
  • Reorganize: Getting yourself to clean can be hard enough, but when your cabinet is unorganized it makes cleaning the cabinet a process in itself. Always try to keep your cabinet clean and ready to function. For your smaller items, purchase a carrier to move from room to room with your supplies. For your larger items, you may need a closet or space in the garage or basement. If you are a fan of DIY cleaning products, make sure to always label your spray bottles. There is nothing more stressful than not remembering what liquid is in a particular bottle. 
  • Reassess: Look at your current cleaning routine: Is it as efficient as it could be? Make a schedule and keep on track of your household duties. If you have the time, separate cleaning into two days to relieve some of the stress. Try to get other family members involved to help move along the process. Also, assign a weekly chore list for everyone to stick to so that when “cleaning day” comes, everyone will have less to do.
  • Reinvent: Cleaning does not necessarily need to be a boring task. Make it fun by playing music or watching television. 

 

We hope these tips help you with your cleaning process. Let us know how you make cleaning fun by leaving a comment below!


Bringing Autumn Home

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It’s challenging facing Autumn in Arizona if you’re originally from another part of the country. For many of us who originated in states with four seasons, this time of year always promised chillier weather, crisp evenings and the start of fall leaves turning.

But if you’re new to Arizona and used to digging out your sweaters and crockpots to make chili and your mom’s chicken soup, it may seem strange to face the fact that here in the middle of September we’re all still wearing shorts every day. But for those of us who have been here a while, we have developed some habits to make it feel at least a little bit like fall. Here are a few suggestions:

Showcase fall colors: Use table runners, placemats, or add some pillows and throws on your sofa to pull some of the colors of autumn into your home. Yes, you’ll still see bright greens outside, but you can add gold, rust and brown to your interiors.

Bring your autumn accessories out: Pick up a few small pumpkins, gourds, pine cones or whatever takes your fancy. If you want you can even go to a hobby shop for some branches with silk autumn leaves. Then have at it on coffee and side tables. Make your home look like you’ve been wandering outside and brought some gleanings in from the woods.

Fix some cocoa: OK, it may still be too warm for that chili recipe, but a mug of hot cocoa with a few marshmallows might be a nice preview of the treats you’ll enjoy in the cooler days to come. After all, our evenings really are starting to cool down. And eventually we will get to see some leaves turn and drop… in December!

Throw a Mind-Blowing Boy’s Birthday Party

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It’s pretty easy to put together a party for toddlers. Get some cake and ice cream, play a few games and have them run around the yard. Then have the parents come and get them while their sugar high is still going strong enough that they haven’t all crashed into each other yet and turned into a soggy mess of birthday goo.

But as children get older, particularly boys, it gets harder to keep them entertained. Taking them to a water-park or movie can get expensive, plus it’s easy to lose control if you have too many boys along. Here are a few ideas for a fun party that’s also easy on your budget.

Take a hike: Plan to explore one of the many safe hiking options available near Phoenix. Choose one with limited height exposure or distance. Plan a picnic lunch. If you’re in a National Park you may be able to take advantage of a park program with a ranger to explain some of the wildlife or other insights of interest to the age group. If it’s not snake or scorpion season, a night hike followed by ghost stories around a campfire might be a fun variation.

Have a Lego party: Create a series of Lego contests using Legos you provide. Include Lego giveaways as prizes. This only works if you son and his friends are Lego fans.

Create an all-night movie marathon: Choose a great series that they will all like like Star Wars or X-Men. Pick up a variety of popcorn and movie snacks. Plan on pizza at about 11 p.m. and sleeping bags out at midnight. Chances are they won’t make it all the way through but that’s OK. It’s the possibility and the permission that makes it exciting.

For some other great ideas and venues for birthday parties around Phoenix, Raising Arizona’s Kids has a list of opportunities. We’d love to hear about your ideas.

Make your Garage Something Special

design center 7It’s easy to end up with a garage that’s a catch-all. When you first move in you may find that extra boxes and other items you don’t know what to do with end up in the garage. Then add in the kids sports equipment, yard supplies and tools, and then other odds and ends. Before you know it, the whole space is a mess.

If you find yourself cringing every time you open your garage door, think about choosing some of these garage options when you design your new Fulton Home. Just a few organizing elements could make a big difference in the look and functionality of your new garage. Let’s take a look at some of these choices.

Cabinetry: Garage cabinetry has a heavy-duty structure designed to hold up to power tools, yard equipment and other larger items. This is perfect storage for the home handyman, and it keeps everything under control. The countertop area is great for small assembly projects or organizing outdoor plantings.

Storage racks: Everything is so much more under control if it stays off the floor. With coordinated storage racks designed to hold yard tools and sports supplies you can easily put your hands on whatever you need whenever you need it. And when you are finished you have just the place for it to go back. And when not in use everything stays in place, out of the way and clean until the next time.

A garage can be a messy catch-all or it can be a great resource for storing things that fit well in that space, well beyond a place to keep your cars. Take advantage of options such as these to make it into a functional addition to your new Fulton Home.