Happy Fourth of July!

Photo courtesy of washingtonbus.org-View from Gas Works Park

We wish you a happy Fourth of July! Here are some great ideas on celebrations and things to do to make your Independence Day fun event to spend with your friends and family!

-2015 Independence Day Celebrations in Washington
July 4th Celebrations in Washington

-Best 4th of July Road Trips in Washington
July 4th Road Trips

-Best 4th of July Recipes
July 4th Recipes

Again wishing you a safe and wonderful Fourth of July!

Water saving tips and tricks!

With the summer months now upon us, many people start to think about water saving tips and tricks. While being environmentally thoughtful is something that we here in the Pacific Northwest are known for, saving water can also help save a few dollars for the many vacations that we take during the summer. There are so many ways out there to do this and here is a list of some of the easy habits you can do to start saving water today!

· In the kitchen there is a lot you can do to save water. Some ideas for saving water include:

o Use a full dishwasher to wash your dishes, it typically uses less water than washing dishes by hand. If you do wash dishes by hand, then fill up one basin with dish soap water and one of rinse water to wash dishes, or put soapy water in a pot that you are washing and use the soapy water out of that to wash the rest of your dishes.

o Avoid using running water to thaw out food, not only is it better for saving water but it’s safer for your food to thaw them out in the refrigerator.

o Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator, that way every drop of water gets used instead of going down the drain. As well as it ends up being colder than the water you get out of the tap water when you first turn it on!

o Reuse a designated cup or bottle for water, so you don’t have to keep washing it out. When you have leftover ice cubes, or they fall to the floor, you can also use these to water plants!

· In the bathroom, you would be amazed what amounts of water you can save! Here are a few ideas:

o By shortening your shower by only a minute or two can save up to 150 gallons per month and if you keep it under 5 minutes, you can save up to 1,000 gallons a month!

o Turning off the water when you brush your teeth, will save up to 4 gallons a minute, that’s about 200 gallons a week for a family of four!

o If you plug the sink full of water to rinse your razor when you shave, you can save up to 300 gallons a month.

o Make sure to check for leaks. One drip every second can add up to 5 gallons a day! Toilets can also leak and should be checked for leaks by placing food dye in the main basin about once a year.

· We all love having our plants and lawns outside stay green throughout the summer. Here are a few ideas to keep it green and save water:

o Group plants with the same watering needs together to make sure that you don’t over or under water them.

o If you adjust your lawn mower to the cutting height of 1.5 to 2 inches, this can save water because taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better then short grass. As well as aerating your lawn periodically can allow water to reach the roots easier, instead of just running on the surface.

o When your kids, or fur buddies need to cool off, run the sprinkler over an area of grass that needs watering. If you use a kitchen timer to time how long to run the sprinkler, you can continue to move it over your lawn until it’s all watered!

o Use a commercial car wash that recycles water to wash your car, or park your car on your lawn so you get your car washed and your lawn watered at the same time! If you turn off the water or use a hose nozzle, when washing your car, you can save up to 100 gallons or more every time!

Well I hope that these few ideas got you inspired to save water in easy ways throughout this summer! Since they are so easy, get your kids involved and maybe come up with games to get them thinking of more ways to save! A great website to go to for more ideas is http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/?view=list as well as they can found easily with just a google search of “conserving water ideas”.

I hope you have an amazingly fun, safe, and water conscious summer!

Spruce up your outdoors!

Your outdoor patio and entertaining area can be a vital part to your spring and summer time entertaining.  Don’t wait for that first big bbq of the summer to get your backyard in order.  We all usually need to re-plant flowers, etc. come spring time, but an easy way to update your yard is to update the pots and containers you’re planting these new flowers in!  Here are a couple great ideas to add a little fun and flair that are sure to be eye-catching!


For a nice little corner addition


You can pick these or similar pots and containers up at your local home and garden store, and they’re a great way to add some fun and excitement to your summertime abode! :)

Eastside Farmer’s Markets are Back!

The highly anticipated Eastside Farmer’s Markets are back!  This is a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy some fresh local produce, and with a multitude of Markets in different locations and cities, chances are there is one near you!  The markets have an array of items on display, from organic meats, cheeses, bread and eggs, fresh cut flowers, as well as gourmet food!  Many feature arts and crafts vendors and entertainment such as live music, cooking demonstrations or children’s activities.  See below for locations and times for the Farmer’s Market nearest you!

Come join us for some fun in the sun and support our local farmers and vendors!

Bellevue Farmers Market

May 17-Oct. 11 3-7 p.m. Thursdays,
First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue,
1717 Bellevue Way N.E.
Crossroads Farmers Market
May 22-Oct. 9 Noon-5 p.m. Tuesdays,
Crossroads Bellevue parking lot next to Circuit City,
15600 N.E. Eighth St.
Bothell Farmers Market
May 21-Sept. 28 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays,
Country Village in Bothell,
23806 Seventh Ave. S.E.
Issaquah Farmers Market
Thru Oct. 13 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays,
Pickering Barn,
1730 10th Ave.
Kirkland Wednesday Market
Thru Oct. 10 Noon-6 p.m. Wednesdays,
Park Lane East between Third and Main streets.
Free parking available in the Kirkland Library parking garage,
308 Kirkland Ave.
Friday Night Market at Juanita Beach
June 1-Oct. 5 3-7 p.m. Fridays,
Juanita Beach Park,
9703 N.E. Juanita Drive, Kirkland.
Redmond Saturday Market
May 23-Oct. 27 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays,
7730 Leary Way.
Woodinville Farmers Market
May 23-Oct. 13 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays,
Woodinville Village,
Northeast 145th Street and Woodinville-Redmond Road.

Mother’s Day is a Special Day

In the spirit of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, May 10th, we wanted to share some of our favorite Mother’s Day quotes and stories.  Remember, not everyone is lucky enough to have a mother, or maybe their mother has passed on…  So, whether with you physically or in spirit, remember to thank your mom for everything she has done for you, and for how she has inspired you and helped you to become the strong person you are today.

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~Tenneva Jordan

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love.  ~Mildred B. Vermont

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.  ~Irish Proverb

A baby asked God, “They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so10 small and helpless?”

“Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.”

The child further inquired, “But tell me, here in heaven I don’t have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy.”

God said, “Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel’s love and be very happy.”

Again the child asked, “And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don’t know the language?”

God said, “Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.”

“And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?”

God said, “Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.”

“Who will protect me?”

God said, “Your angel will defend you even if it means risking it’s life.”

“But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.”

God said, “Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.”

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, “God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.”

“You will simply call her, ‘Mom.’”

Make sure if you are lucky enough to spend time with your Mother or loved one this Sunday, that she knows how much you truly appreciate her and all she does.

It’s EARTH Day – Time to think GREEN

Sure, we all try and be as environmentally friendly as possible each day throughout the year, but Earth Day is a great reminder of why it’s important to think Green on a daily basis.  Below are 10 easy steps to helping the environment on a more regular basis.

1. Change your light bulbs – Seems pretty simple, right?  What’s easier than simply swapping out a few light bulbs?  To see the biggest change, use Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL), as they use about 75% less electricity and last about 10X longer.

2. Recycle - Sometimes I think we overthink this.  If you’re not a someone who recycles regularly and has a method to the madness, start simple.  An easy way to get going is by starting to set your glass and plastic bottles aside in a separate bin.

3. Ditch the bottled water – It’s said that roughly 90% of plastic bottles are not recycled – WHAT?!  To avoid being one of the obvious masses here, get a pitcher with a filter in it, this will make a huge difference!

4. Shorten your showers – It’s understandable that this is not something we can do daily, but think about this: Every 2 minutes you can save on your shower can save more than TEN gallons of water.  Think about that next time you take the average ten-minute shower…

5. Turn off computers at night – This is very simple.  We rely on “power save mode” when we are not using our computers, which is understandable, but turn them off at night.  The amount of electricity you’ll save is worth the extra minute or two to reboot in the morning.

6. Turn off everything with an LED - “Anything that has an LED (light emitting diode) that glows even after you turn it off continues to draw energy,” said Better Homes and Gardens. Your TV, cell phone charger, and printer are likely culprits. Unplug the offenders from wall sockets and plug them into power strips instead. When you leave a room, flip the strip switch to cut the flow of electricity. Unplug appliances and electronics that glow and you could save $200 a year.”

7. Don’t forget about video games - Getting your kids into the habit of turning the games off when they’re done is an easy and simple way to save on electricity AND money.

8. Slash your junk mail – It’s estimated that the average American receives 40 pounds of junk mail a year!  That equates to roughly 100 million trees!?  Can we say ‘unsubscibing frenzy’?  This will not only help you cut down on your environmental impact, but save you space in your mailbox, time shuffling through your mail everyday, and last but not least – your sanity.

9. Stop paying your bills - Unfortunately, we don’t mean this literally. :(  It’s estimated that we could save roughly 20 million trees a year if Americans opted to pay their bills online and/or received e-statements.

10. Buy some new appliances – Simply put, buy appliances that have an Energy Star label.  Better Homes and Gardens states “A household with Energy Star products uses about 30 percent less energy than the average household—an annual savings of about $570. You may even be eligible for a tax credit when you purchase an Energy Star product.”

Hope these energy-efficient tips help you all with being more environmentally friendly while putting a few extra dollars back in your pockets! ;)

As I prepare to sell my house, I am reminded….

As I prepare to list and sell my house, I am reminded of all of the things my clients have to do to get their house on the market.  Looking at it from a hands-on experience, it really gives you a different perspective on all the work that goes into the process, and really makes me wish I stayed on top of my spring cleaning more.  This has inspired me to take another look at my “Spring Cleaning Checklist”, and makes me realize, had I stayed on top of these a little better over the years, I wouldn’t have as much scrambling and clutter to go through now that the time has come to sell.

Store Seasonal Clothing – This one is not as relevant for selling my home, but definitely nice to have a seasonal closet full of clothes you actually wear on the regular.  When warmer spring weather arrives, you can efficiently stow away sweaters, coats, and other cold weather clothing. Storing seasonal clothing is easy to do, just make sure that the storage containers and areas are clean, cool, dark, and dry will keep clothing in good shape for next winter.

Clutter Control - This has never been more relevant.  Going through the attic, garage, storage, I keep finding things we haven’t used in YEARS!  Sometimes I have to wait until my husband isn’t looking so I can get rid of the things he “wants to keep” but I know he would never notice missing. :)  Old paperwork is a huge clutter area for me.  Going through my attic, I am finding boxes of old documents I haven’t needed in ages.  Good thing Windermere is having their annual “Get Your Shred On” Event soon!  Here is also a great resource for getting rid of old computers, electronics, etc.

Patios and Outdoor Areas – Spring is a great time to get the outdoors ready for entertaining. Clean the patio and outdoor furniture. Do some basic landscaping repairs on the lawn, shrubbery, and plants. The exterior doors and windows of the home may need some attention. Check for fence and exterior repairs. Lawn maintenance or pest prevention may need to be performed as well. Don’t forget that outdoor cleaning projects are great to involve the whole family. With a little effort this spring, outdoor areas will be ready to entertain throughout the summer.  Keeping up on these yearly can save you a TON of time and hassle down the road if you ever need/decide to sell.  Not just that, but it makes sitting outside much more enjoyable in the spring and summer time!

Window Treatments – Again, never been more relevant.  Whether you need to wash blinds, send drapes to the dry cleaners, or throw washable curtains into the washing machine, getting your window treatments clean after a long winter can brighten an entire room.  Make sure sure to dust down the window casing, wash window sills, and clean any window hardware while you are at it.  This will make your entire room will feel brighter and fresher, and the more you keep up on it, the easier it is to clean each time!

Ceiling Fans – We’ve all seen those gross, dusty ceiling fans, right?  Constant and yearly upkeep on your ceiling fan saves you headaches down the road!  Take a few minutes to spring clean the ceiling fans in your home. An entire season of dust and buildup will need to be cleaned away before we can enjoy these fans.

Outdoor Grills – This is less about prepping my home for sale (we are taking our BBQ with us), and more about that first spring get-together, when you invite all your friends over and realize….  ”I haven’t cleaned the grill since last summer!!?”  Don’t wait until it’s too late and your guests are asking what “secret spice” you used on the steaks!  Get out there and scrub that baby down…  You, your food, and your guests will thank you for it!

This list is just a few of the things I try to do during my yearly spring cleaning, but these in particular are some that, over the years, have slipped through the cracks.  Therefore, now that I am getting ready to sell my home, the perfectionist in me is keeping me up at night making sure everything in my home is spotless!  Fact of the day?  Regular upkeep around your home, with yearly ‘spring cleaning’ (doesn’t have to be just you – make it a family event!) can save copious amounts of hard work down the road.

Why NOW is the Time to Sell

Historically, spring is the best time to put your house up for sale; that stat could never be more clear in this market.  With interest rates still low and many cash-buyers and investors still out there, we have an overload of buyers with very little inventory.  Here are 3 great reasons why this is a benefit to the seller, and why now is the time to take advantage of it!

1. Low housing supply: Tight inventory is a main reason the ball is still in the sellers’ court.  Having a low inventory tends to increase home prices, shorter market time, and in many cases, can create multiple offer situations.

2. Higher interest rates: While mortgage rates remain low, experts predict more buyers will enter the market in the coming months.

The Federal Reserve’s recent hint that higher interest rates are coming sooner rather than later could prompt buyers to start their house hunt in order to take advantage of lower mortgage rates.

With interest rates expected to escalate, we will definitely be seeing an influx of buyers hit the market to try and take advantage of the rates before they get too high.

3. Rising rents: Rising rental prices could motivate tenants to make the leap into home ownership.  Rent prices have risen 15% nationwide in the past five years in 70 metro areas across the U.S. and income growth hasn’t kept up, according to NAR.

Getting more buyers into the market, especially first-timers, can help sellers feel more comfortable about their prospects.

Higher rental rates can be a double-edge sword, though.  With rental prices getting so expensive, it makes it difficult to save money for the down payment on a home.  This takes us to another blog post we recently did called: Get off your Butt and BUY A HOUSE! – See what we did there? ;)

Spring Cleaning is Here!!

Now that spring has officially arrived, it’s time to dust off the cobwebs, put the decorations away, and get your house back in order.  Here is a quick list to help you get your home ready for the sun-filled days ahead!

Inspect your home – head-to-toe: Find a dry weekend afternoon, and go through your home, inspecting it to to ensure it weathered the winter storm.  Check the roof for leaks, gutters for damage, and check your exterior for any cracks.  It would also be in your best interest to check the basement/foundation for any shifts that occurred during the winter season.  Remember, better to fix and make repairs now to prevent further damage and future issues.

Clean your gutters: Get in there and clean out the leaves, etc. that have built up over the winter season.

Pest Control: The cold weather during the winter months are a pest’s favorite time to snuggle up somewhere in your home.  Therefore, now is the time to get your yearly pest inspection done and rid your home of any unwanted guests.

A / C Maintenance: If you are one lucky enough to enjoy the pleasures of an Air Conditioning System in your home, now is the time to inspect it to ensure it is working properly.  We have a limited window up here in the Pacific Northwest to enjoy the cool breeze of an air conditioned room, so it’s in your best interest to make sure you can take advantage of it!

Rid the Clutter: Do a clean sweep of your home and clear it of any unneeded clutter that has built up over the winter and holiday months.  This not only makes your home look much cleaner and more ready for spring BBQs and Summer get-togethers, but it’s a great de-stresser as well!

Deep Clean: Now that all of the clutter has been removed, it’s time to get out the elbow grease and do a deep cleaning of your home.  Dust, wipe, scrub and polish all the tables, counters, floors, chimneys, and every other nook and cranny in the home.  This will bring a fresh feel to your home after the bogged down winter months!

Landscaping Maintenance: If you’re like the majority, your yard and landscaping doesn’t get a ton of attention during the wet, winter months.  Now is the time to get out there, give it a fresh mow, the trees and bushes a fresh cut, and re-plant your favorite spring plants and flowers.

Spring and summer are all about nice weather, fun get togethers with friends and family, BBQs and being outside.  What better way to start prepping for all of this fun in the sun than getting your home in order for the first big Spring Fling gathering.  Make your friends and family jealous and show your home off with pride!

Attain Housing’s 6th Annual Fighting Homelessness Benefit Luncheon

Today marked Attain housing’s 6th Annual Luncheon Event to raise awareness and help fight homelessness in our community.  What a great event it turned out to be!  We nearly doubled our number from last year!!  We had the amazing Thach Nguyen – Philanthropist, Entrepreneur, and Author of “Dream Big” give an incredibly insightful and empowering speech.  Thach himself was homeless as a child, and has devoted much of his life to giving back and helping local communities.  We at Attain Housing  look forward to teaming up with Thach in future endeavors and continue to raise the awareness together!

For those who don’t know Attain Housing’s mission is bringing our community together to partner with homeless families by providing affordable housing and empowering them with practical case management and hope.  You can find out more about Attain Housing (formerly KITH) and how you can help from their website.  More photos from the event are below.