Decorating For Fall

Put away the white linen, beach towels and cool toned accessories. It’s fall and it’s time to breakout the corn husks, pine cones and other harvest decorations. Here are a few simple ideas:

Decorate a bookshelf with pressed leaves and pumpkins.

Hang a corn husk wreath.

Display green apples and acorns in apothecary jars.

Spray paint pumpkins silver and white. Make sure you use a variety of sizes. Display them on your mantle with pine cones. This is a very elegant look.

Decorate your dining room table by placing a row of pumpkins and gourds. Add a tall vase filled with wheat.

Fill your votive candle holders with pumpkin or squash seeds.

Make leaves out of decorative scrapbook paper. Glue them to branches for a whimsical look. Display the branches in tall glass vases.

Fill an old tool box with candles, clementines and pine cones.

Hollow out gourds and use them as vases for fall flowers.

Put single leaves, either pressed or fresh, in small glass vases or use old lab beakers — look for them at antique stores. Replace leaves as they brown.

Put together a colorful outdoor fall display using a sturdy wheelbarrow as a base. Fill the wheelbarrow with ornamental cabbage and peppers, grasses, chrysanthemums, flowering zucchini and other seasonal plants. Fill the wheelbarrow with soil and insert the plants loosely, or tuck containers into the wheelbarrow, making sure to fill in the gaps with more plants.

Nuts are as easy to decorate with as they are good to eat. Anchor a candle inside a hurricane lamp. Experiment with different varieties of nuts and a selection of clear containers.

Nestle a candle in popcorn kernels or other seasonal materials such as candy corn or colored clear round stones.

Don’t forget to break out the rich, warm colored throw rugs, pillows and rugs. Light a fire, pour a glass of wine and enjoy autumn.

Happy Fall Decorating!

Labor Day Kid Party Ideas

It’s time to start planning an awesome party for the kids! What better time to have some late summer fun than the ultimate holiday for being outdoors? We’re guessing you already have the menu and decorations planned for your event, but there’s a good chance you haven’t yet planned out the games. The best part about Labor Day is that it has an easy going vibe that makes life seem breezy and fun. As such, planning for a party shouldn’t feel like a big burden! To help you along we’re sharing seven quick ways to create a super day of play!

  1. Squirt gun tag. Provide the squirt guns and place a large bucket of water in the middle of the yard for use as an easy refill station.
  2. Prior to the party, let the kiddos paint empty tin cans red, white, and blue. Then on the big day stack them in a pyramid. Provide a lightweight ball, such as a wiffle ball, and let the bowling shenanigans begin.
  3. Buy neon light-up necklaces at a party supply store. Shortly before the party light them up and attach them end to end. Drive a stake into the ground and play a game of glow in the dark ring toss.
  4. Serve red, white, and blue cupcakes filled with Poprocks. Have your camera ready! (Be sure and warn the kids first!)
  5. On the morning of the party give your kids plenty of sidewalk chalk. Instead of asking  them to “keep busy” using it, tell them you need their help to decorate for the party. They’ll feel very important accomplishing the task of sidewalk decorator!
  6. Set up an American flag relay race. Fill extra large red and blue buckets with sand and handheld American flags on sticks. Each member of the relay team has to grab a flag and bring it back to a teammate.
  7. If you have a yard full of rocks make a game of it. Tell the kids they can each select 1-3 rocks (they like picking things out.) Then provide red, white, and blue paint and brushes.

Happy Labor Day from all of us at Fulton Homes!

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your BFF

Valentine’s Day is not just for couples. It is a day where love is celebrated. Show your BFF how much she means to you. These gifts can be given to your mom or favorite aunt as well. Remember this holiday may not be the same for a single person or someone who has lost a love. Show the people who you love the most, how much you really care!

Give the gift of color. Buy your special person their favorite shade of lip gloss or lip stick. If unsure what their favorite is, give them Valentine’s Day inspired chap sticks. They can be found in any drug store.

A gift certificate for a manicure, pedicure or facial is appreciated by any woman. Most women love to be pampered. Being pampered on someone else’s dollar makes that treat so much more special! She can be worry free and truly enjoy a luxurious treatment if she is not spending her own money. A less expensive idea is to give her a favorite nail polish or a Valentine’s Day inspired nail polish. Tie some red, pink, or a combination of thin ribbon around the top of the nail polish.

Give the gift of sweet treats. Get a compartmentalized box and fill each box with different candies and treats. This is a gift that can be kept in her desk at work and accessed on stressful days. Each time your BFF reaches for the candy box, she will be reminded how much she is loved and appreciated by you!

Buy your BFF a small bottle of her favorite perfume! If she loves using one of your perfumes when she comes over, buy her a small bottle of her own. Little bottles of perfume are the perfect gift for a special friend in your life. If she doesn’t enjoy perfume give her a luxurious Valentines inspired bath balm. These two gifts can be enjoyed, because they are not something one typically buys themselves!

How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey

When it comes to making turkey for holiday dinners the number one challenge is making sure to allow enough time for anything you want to accomplish. Among the most time consuming tasks is thawing a frozen turkey. Planning ahead is the best way to ensure the food is safe. Food safety must be a top priority when preparing to serve a large group. Meat is very susceptible to bacterial growth if the temperature is not well managed. Being prepared is also the best way to ensure that you don’t forget about it entirely and wind up with a still-frozen turkey on the big day!

Refrigerator Method

Remove the turkey from the freezer and leave it in its plastic wrapper. Place it in a shallow pan to catch the juices. Calculate roughly 24 hours of thawing for each 4 pounds of the turkey. We’ve included a simple guide: 

4-12 pounds = 1-3 days
12-16 pounds = 3-4 days
16-20 pounds = 4-5 days
20-24 pounds = 5-6 days

You can allow an additional 1-2 days in the schedule to store the turkey in the fridge after it thaws.

Cold Water Method:

This requires more work than just letting the turkey sit in the fridge for a few days. Remove it from the freezer and leave it in its plastic wrapper. Place it in a deep pan of water so that it is submerged. You can also use one side of the kitchen sink or a drink cooler. Plan to let it soak for 30 minutes per each pound of turkey. Important: Change the water every half hour until the bird is thawed completely.   We’ve included a simple guide:

4-12 pounds = 2-6 hours
12-16 pounds = 6-8 hours
16-20 pounds = 8-10 hours
20-24 pounds = 10-12 hours

With diligent attention to the water changes, your turkey should come out perfectly thawed and you can proceed with cooking!

How to Host a Quarantined Easter

Easter is a time of the year that brings the whole family together. It is fun with egg hunts, kid-friendly activities, and quality time with loved ones. However, with the pandemic at hand, this is going to be a very different Easter than usual. Churches are closer, social gatherings are dwindling, and home lockdowns are going into full effect. So how do you celebrate this time with others when you are forced to stay at home by yourself?

Sunday Service

If you go to church on Easter Sunday, consider that plan to be canceled. However, many services are still live-streaming or creating pre-recorded sessions. You can now enjoy your Sunday Easter Service in the comfort of your own home.

Family Time

These new times demand innovative gathering solutions. Many families are staying connected through Facetime, Zoom, and other virtual calling apps like HouseParty. You can facilitate these plans with your own family for Easter. Make something unique where you can have a family game night or an activity to partake in while video chatting. This activity is a great way to have family time still, even when you cannot all be together.

Easter Dinner

Just because your friends and family cannot join you, does not mean you cannot dine like a king or queen. You can still have some of your favorite holiday, traditional meals this season. You may need to have your groceries delivered, yet a half ham or turkey will go great with other mini Easter dishes as well. Simply create your own mini feast for the ones in your home. If you live alone, still enjoy your dinner yourself!

It can be challenging to celebrate a holiday alone or without your typical holiday plans. However, do not hope in this uncertain time. The holiday is still here, and it is an opportunity to celebrate it in a new way. Make sure you still enjoy this day by making it special. It can be hard to get everyone excited in the house for the new, changed celebration, yet the opportunity to enjoy the day is still there! Do not lose sight of the holiday.

St. Patrick’s Day in Arizona with the Rising Concern of Coronavirus

St. Patrick’s Day is a global holiday celebrated in remembrance of an Irish patron saint who ministered during the fifth century. Every year on March 17th, the world takes part in festivities, parades, and social gatherings to celebrate this holiday. However, this year may be different than most years. We are closely monitoring and taking precautions to prevent the outbreak of the Coronavirus or COVID-19. This virus has the potential to become a pandemic disease and quickly spread throughout the world.

Arizona

Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona is advising people to stay home and avoid large social gatherings this St. Patrick’s Day. The term social distancing is being used quite frequently. Many areas around the world, including the United States, are shutting down large social gathering events, bars, restaurants, gyms, and stores.

Symptoms

The disease signs and symptoms may start off resembling a severe cold. You may notice a runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, and even difficulty breathing.

Prevention

It is highly advised to avoid gatherings over ten people to prevent the spread of this disease. While we cannot make certain how severe this virus pandemic may be, it can be prevented by simply engaging in proper hygiene. Your first and best approach to prevent the spread or contraction of the virus is to wash your hands regularly.

Current Stats

The United States death toll is currently sitting at 85 people. More than 4,660 cases have been confirmed to date (3/17/2020 @ 9:00am/MST). The population at the greatest risk is our elders. Therefore, please take cognitive measures to avoid the spread of this respiratory illness.

Be Safe

While the death toll is currently low, this is no small matter to dismiss. It is always better to stay safe than sorry. There are several confirmed cases that have emerged here in Arizona.

St. Patricks’ Day Celebrations

Staying in this holiday may be your best move to help prevent the spread of the disease.

At Fulton Homes, we want nothing more than the health and safety of all our communities; therefore, we encourage you to be precautious and use the authorized safety measures.

Do-It-Yourself Christmas Décor for the Whole Family

It is Christmas time, and we are getting to spend more time with our loved ones. Use this opportunity to help build memories by participating in fun activities featuring creative DIY Christmas décor. Plus, you can let the children join in to make it an all-around fun family activity. Enjoy the spirit of Christmas throughout your home with these five simple DIY Christmas décor ideas:

Ornaments

There are hundreds of fun ways to decorate your tree. You can color-theme your ornaments, add candy canes, pictures, garland, and so much more. Personalize your tree, even more, this year by adding your own bulbs. Get the family together, and have everyone can paint their own bulbs. You can draw cool patterns or funny pictures. This idea is an excellent activity for the whole family. Plus, you will have the memory for years to come.

Mini Wreaths

Mini wreaths are fun, festive décor pieces that you can be used throughout your whole home. Plus, there are hundreds of creative ways in which you can make these wreaths. From rosemary, pinecones, cranberries, marshmallows, and even garland, you can let everyone put their own original spin on their wreaths.

Decorate the Stockings

Decorating your stockings is another excellent way to prepare for the holidays. You can even make stockings for your pets and get creative. Use glitter glue, paint, and other artsy accessories to personalize each stocking! After you are all done, make sure to display them on your fire mantle for everyone to see (and for Santa to find)!

Paper Snowflakes

Are you looking for an expensive do-it-yourself project? Try making paper snowflakes. Simply fold a paper into fourths and cut out a unique design. When you are done, hang your snowflakes around the home with string to make your own Christmas wonderland.

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread men and houses are fun for all ages. Let everyone decorate and create their very own gingerbread man/woman. You can all work together, putting your own touches onto the gingerbread house as well. Display the house and cookies and enjoy eating them after the holiday!

These fun activities can help you start getting into the holiday mindset. Use this time to bond and spend time with your loved ones. These activities are great and fun for the whole family. What are some of your favorite seasonal projects? Let us know below in the comment section and remember to subscribe!

Christmas Tree Care and Maintenance

Christmas is quickly approaching, and it is time to start putting up the festive décor. Of course, what is Christmas décor without the iconic Christmas tree? There something extraordinary about having a real pine for Christmas. Picking out the perfect tree can be fun in and of itself, but maintaining the tree until Christmas comes with a handful of challenges. So if you are planning on having a real Christmas pine this season, it is essential to understand care and maintenance to have it last for the season.

Picking the Tree

When picking a Christmas tree, you need to find a species that can last well into the season without being rooted. Some of the top species of trees are Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, White Pine, and Balsam Fir. If you are planning on planting your tree after the holidays, you will need to understand that the tree cannot last very long inside. Most trees can only be replanted on if they have been in your home for shorter than five days. If you are getting a tree, check to make sure none of the pines easily fall off when you touch the tree. You want a tree as freshly cut as possible to allow it to last the season.

Care and Maintenance

When you purchase your tree, have the stem re-opened so the tree can easily drink water. When you get it home, keep it away from any heat source that can speed up the drying out process. While Christmas trees may look great by the fireplace, they can dry out quicker. You should create the stand and allow the tree to drink up a gallon of water immediately. Your tree will need to be watered daily to last until Christmas. The best water to use is just plain tap water. You will notice if your tree is dehydrated when bristles begin falling off, or your water stand for Christmas tree is empty.

After the Holidays

After Christmas, you can consider cutting your tree into firewood for your home. You can also have it chipped into mulch to use around your house. If you have no use for your tree, you can consider donating it. Many nonprofit organizations have many purposes in which they can repose the tree from creating energy, enriching zoo animal habitats, or even hiking trails in parks.

Let’s be honest; what is Christmas without a tree? If you have only ever had faux trees, consider having a real Christmas tree this holiday season. The authentic nature and pine scent throughout the home is just one more way to add to the festive season.

Holiday Meals for the Entire Family

The holidays are full of memorable events, but nothing brings a family together like food. Sitting down with your loved ones and sharing a meal brings a sense of togetherness and evokes feelings of thankfulness and comfort. It provides the assurance that the people who have gathered with you are full and happy.

Today, cooking a holiday meal that can be eaten by the entire family can be a difficult task. Beliefs, preferences, and allergies can make catering to everyone’s needs frustrating and nearly impossible. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives out there that can be used to make holiday dishes available to almost everyone at your table this year.

Plant-based cooking not only ensures that vegetarians and vegans in your family can enjoy your meal, but it also eliminates dairy, making it okay for anyone who is lactose-intolerant. Plus, it eliminates any type of meat which may be avoided due to someone’s religious beliefs.

While drinks are just as important at the dinner table as the food, you can make sure everyone is catered to this year with an easy to make vegan eggnog.

Vegan Eggnog

Ingredients: 

  • 24 ounces silken tofu (crumbled) 
  • 2 cups of soy milk
  • 2/3 cup turbinado sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup water (cold) 
  • 1 cup rum
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 20 ice cubes 
  • Nutmeg for garnishing

Instructions: 

  • Place the tofu, soy milk, sugar, and salt in a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the water, rum, and vanilla extract.
  • You will want to keep the mixture refrigerated until it is ready to be served.
  • When you are ready to serve the eggnog, blend the mix with the ice cubes until frothed 
  • Enjoy! 

A hearty vegan Shepherd’s pie is an excellent way to ensure all your guests are able to enjoy a warm and filling entree this holiday season.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients: 

  • 4 Potatoes 
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine 
  • ¼ cup unsweetened soy milk 
  • Salt and pepper (to taste) 
  • One onion 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 ½ cups vegan ground beef substitute 
  • 1 ¼ cups vegan gravy 
  • ½ cup green peas 
  • ½ cup of corn 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • Dash of cayenne pepper 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F 
  • Dice potatoes and chop onions
  • Boil or microwave potatoes until soft 
  • Drain potatoes and mash with vegan margarine and soy milk 
  • Add salt and pepper to add taste 
  • Saute the chopped onions in the vegetable oil 
  • Combine the onions, beef substitute, vegan gravy, peas, corn, garlic powder, and a dash of cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl and pour into a pie pan 
  • Spread the mashed potatoes over your vegetable mixture 
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes 
  • Enjoy! 

The holidays are full of wonderful sweets, so give vegan gingerbread cookies a try this holiday season to ensure everyone satiates their sweet tooth.

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of vegan margarine 
  • 1 cup of sugar 
  • Egg Replacer for one egg 
  • 1 cup molasses 
  • Two TBSP apple cider vinegar 
  • 5 cups flour 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBSP ginger 
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp cloves 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Instructions:

  • Beat the margarine and sugar together in a large bowl 
  • Add the egg replace, molasses, and apple cider vinegar to the mixture 
  • In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. 
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients and combine well 
  • Let the dough refrigerate for at least two hours to become firm 
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F 
  • Either roll out your dough and cut it into holiday shapes with cookie cutters or form it into ½ inch balls 
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper 
  • Place your cookies on the sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes until done 
  • Enjoy! 

The holidays bring a lot of different people from separate walks of life together. Plant-based options make sure that you are prepared to cater to anyone this holiday season. Feel free to leave a comment below with your favorite go-to holiday dish and make sure to subscribe!

How to Make Your Home Smell Like Fall

Fall is here, and there are many wonderful smells that the season has to offer. In fact, we love fall! It can be a great season where we get to spend time inside with our loved ones. From cozying on up by the fire to the colorful, warm colors on the trees, fall is a beautiful time year. Plus, it is always fun decorating for the season and having some of these natural fall fragrances around the house. In fact, fall has so many great scents; it can be hard to know how to capture them all in your home. To help, we put together a list of five ways that you can have your home smelling like autumn this season. Let’s take a look!

Apple Spice Air Spray

For bathrooms, consider getting an air spray can. Apple Spice is a beloved fragrance that is always adored by fall enthusiasts. Just be sure to keep it in a spot where guests can easily see it to use it if they desire.

Pumpkin Spice Air Diffuser

Pumpkin Spice is another highly-respected fall scent. Purchase an air diffuser and look for Pumpkin Spice. This fun fragrance will make your whole room feel like an autumn wonderland.

Cinnamon-Scented Pinecones

Are you looking for a centerpiece for your table? Consider a basket of cinnamon-scented pinecones. Not only do they look fantastic, but they smell great as well! Use them on your coffee table, end tables, fire mantle, or dining room table to incorporate fall décor throughout your space.

Maple-Scented Candles

Candles are an excellent way to add warmth and fragrance to the home. Maple-scented candles are a classic sweet-tooth lover’s dream. Add these around your house to infuse your space with the dreamy, sweet scent of sugar.

Fall Simmer Pot

Lastly, consider making a fall simmer pot. Add apples, orange peels, almond extract, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, and more. Add water and let the pot simmer to make your home smell delicious all day long. Continue to add water throughout the day, and do not let the ingredients burn.

Making fall scents can be fun. What are some of your favorite fall scent additions you use in your own home? Let us know below in the comment section.