How to Safely Dispose of Your Holiday Tree

happy couple carrying fir tree for christmas in pickup truck in forest

happy couple carrying fir tree for christmas in pickup truck in forestAs the end of the holiday season approaches, you may be wondering about the best way to dispose of your holiday tree. It is important to remove your tree from your home before it becomes too dry since a dry tree sheds pine needles everywhere and is much more of a fire risk.

Follow these simple steps to dispose of your tree safely and easily:

Remove all trimmings – Before disposing of your tree, it is imperative to remove all decorations, including lights, ornaments, tinsel, and any other trimmings. Returning the tree to its natural state is of utmost importance.

Cover the tree – Use a large plastic tree bag or a blanket to cover the tree before removing it from your home. This will help prevent any needles or sap from falling from the tree and potentially damaging your hardwood floors and carpet. If needles have dropped on your hardwood floor, carefully remove them with a broom to avoid clogging your vacuum cleaner.

Check with waste management – Many local waste management companies provide curbside pickup for trees. If your waste management company offers this service, bring your tree to the curb in front of your home, making sure not to obstruct any roads, sidewalks, or driveways. You may also want to confirm that there are no additional disposal instructions. To find the waste management company closest to you, click here.

Recycle your tree – If your local waste management company does not provide curbside pickup, there is likely a nearby recycling center where you can bring your tree. Many centers will chip and shred your tree so it can be used as mulch or in erosion programs, providing environmental benefit.

For more information about tree disposal, click here.

Wrap the Perfect Gift

Packing of the christmas presents on white background

Packing of the christmas presents on white backgroundSay goodbye to gift-wrapping chaos this giving season! Instead, follow the simple steps outlined below to wrap the perfect gift.

Before you begin, gather your supplies: wrapping paper, scissors, tape, and ribbons/bows. Note that it is generally easier to wrap a gift that is inside a box. You can purchase gift boxes, but many stores will often give you boxes for free if you ask.

Once you have all your supplies ready to go, it’s time to start wrapping. Here’s a step-by-step plan:

  1. On a flat, clear surface such as a counter or kitchen table, unroll some of the wrapping paper, printed side down.
  2. Starting with the gift on the edge of the paper, roll the wrapping paper across the box to determine how much paper you will need to cover the entire present.
  3. Cut the paper, then fold about an inch over the cut to create a clean edge.
  4. Place the box in the center of the paper and bring the paper edge opposite to the folded edge up the side and halfway across the top of the box. Fasten with tape.
  5. Bring the folded side up so that it overlaps with the taped edge and pull the paper tightly around the box before affixing with tape.
  6. Fold the paper in on each side of the gift. To do this, fold down the top flap onto the side of the box, creating two wings at the side. Flatten the wings and fold them inward. Fold the remaining triangle of paper up against the box and attach with tape. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Add ribbon, a bow, or a decorative gift tag to the present to give it a festive touch!

View photo instructions here.

For a tutorial, watch the video below.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or refinancing in the coming year, I would love to help! Call me today to discuss your home financing options.


Holiday Fire Safety

Warm Night Christmas decorations  with candles, baubles and ribbons on magic  bokeh backgroundDuring the holiday season, homes are often beautifully decorated with candles, fresh garlands, and trees adorned in lights. While the wonder of the season is enchanting, it is important to be aware of potential fire hazards. Follow the tips below to reduce the risk of danger while making your home look festive.

1. If you choose to decorate a live tree, find one that is as fresh as possible. Fresh trees are safer for your home because they are less prone to catch fire. Some indicators of a fresh tree include:

  • Vibrant green color with needles that are not easily plucked.
  • A trunk that is sticky with resin.

Watch out for trees that have a greenish cast to their trunks and branches as some growers spray trees with green paint to make them more appealing to buyers.

2. When decorating your Christmas tree (live or artificial), keep the following tips in mind to lessen the chance of a fire hazard:

  • Use only lights that have been tested for safety (a label from an independent testing laboratory should appear on the box).
  • Check each set of lights for broken sockets, frayed wires, or loose connections.
  • Use a maximum of three standard-sized strings of lights per single extension cord.
  • Keep cords and lights away from the tree’s water supply.
  • Put your tree’s lights on a timer so they are not left on for extended periods of time. Even LED lights can overheat and, with a combination of a dry tree, could cause a fire.

3. To dispose of your tree, take it to a tree recycling center or have it hauled away by a community pick-up service. Never burn trees, branches, or needles in a fireplace or wood stove. Fir trees and pine trees have a copious amount of sap, which can explode.

For more on holiday fire safety, click here. If buying a new home is on your list of resolutions for the New Year, I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your homebuying needs. Call me today!

Happy Thanksgiving



Every day is an opportunity to tell those around us how important they are and how much we appreciate them. This Thanksgiving, I wanted to send the following message to you: Thank you for entrusting me with the care of your home loan and for the opportunity to advise you throughout the homebuying process.

If I can ever be of service to anyone you know who is looking to purchase a home or refinance their home, please know that I will employ the same excellent care with them that I did with you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. I wish you all the blessings of the season and look forward to talking with you again soon.

Festive Holiday Wreaths for Your Home

Christmas wreath made of natural fir branches hanging on a white wall. Wreath with natural ornaments: bumps, walnuts, cinnamon, cones. New year and winter holidays. Christmas decor

Christmas wreath made of natural fir branches  hanging on a white wall.  Wreath with natural ornaments: bumps, walnuts, cinnamon, cones. New year and winter holidays. Christmas decorIt’s the holiday season, and what a better way to liven up your front door than with a festive holiday wreath! With a little bit of work and a trip to the craft store, your wreath will be the talk of carolers everywhere. Check out these fun tips on the different kinds of wreaths you can create!

Sisal Tree Wreath – using a faux evergreen wreath, faux snow, and some sisal trees, you can create a magical winter wreath for your front door! View the tutorial here.

Dried Oranges and Greenery – Using dried oranges and cut greenery, you can make a beautiful wreath for your front door that is both festive and fragrant! See more here.

Gilded Magnolia – Purchase magnolia leaves from a craft or floral store or forage some from your yard. Paint a few silver and gold, then attach them all to a wreath form. Click here for more!

Ornament Wreath – This wreath is festive and fun and can be adapted to any color scheme! Using a wire wreath and a hot glue gun, attach tinsel garland, then cover in ornaments of various sizes. For a tutorial, click here.

Upgraded Store-Bought Wreath – if DIY isn’t your thing, try purchasing a store-bought wreath and adding a little flair! Check out this tutorial here.

It is the perfect time of year to add some character and decorations to your home! If you are interested in buying a new home before the new year, call me so we can talk through some of your mortgage options.


Host a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Son is helping mother to prepare pumpkin pie. American family. S

Son is helping mother to prepare pumpkin pie. American family. SNo matter the size of your Thanksgiving gathering, hosting a large dinner can be overwhelming. If you are new to hosting Thanksgiving or looking for ways to make your day less stressful, check out the following tips for hosting a Thanksgiving that friends and family members will remember for years to come!

Set your table the night before. This will eliminate a huge amount of anxiety on Thanksgiving Day. If you have a larger home with plenty of space, you could even plan as far ahead as a few days before. Need some tips on setting the perfect Thanksgiving table? Click here.

Create a menu. A few weeks before Thanksgiving, determine how many guests you will have and create a menu of the food and drinks you will serve. This will help you create your grocery-shopping list. Need some inspiration for creating a great menu? Check out these ideas.

Ask guests to contribute. Once you have created your menu, do not be afraid to ask your guests to bring food or drink items. Making everything yourself can be time-consuming and expensive. Just make sure to find out what everyone is bringing ahead of time so you do not end up with multiples.

Decide which dishes can be made in advance. Food that can be served cold or heated up can often be made a couple of days before Thanksgiving. For make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes, click here.

Don’t stress about the turkey. Does the idea of cooking a turkey seem daunting? Follow this simple guide to preparing a Thanksgiving turkey.

Systemize cleaning. Make kitchen cleanup easy! Follow this guide to systemizing your post-meal cleanup to make it stress-free.

Enjoy the company! At the end of the day, Thanksgiving is about being with your loved ones. Enjoy the time you have with each other as you share the warm spirit of the holiday season.

For more tips on minimizing the stress of hosting Thanksgiving, click here.

Do Thanksgiving preparations remind you that it’s time to find a bigger dining room or a home with a guest room? Call me! I would love to discuss your home-financing options.

Set the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving table setting with automnal decorations, pumpkins, glasses and plates. Holidays, catering and hospitality concept.

Thanksgiving table setting with automnal decorations, pumpkins, glasses and plates. Holidays, catering and hospitality concept.Thanksgiving is right around the corner, making it a great time to start preparing your home for the holidays and giving your dining room table a fall makeover! Whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving this year with friends and family or just your household, below are some tips that will help ensure this special day is a huge success.


Because Thanksgiving is the most anticipated meal of the year, presentation is key! This pumpkin printable centerpiece is simple, stylish, and cost effective. For more beautiful centerpiece ideas, click here. 

Name Cards:

Name cards are the perfect way to make personalize your table settings. These printable name cards are free to download, easy to assemble, and will add a personal touch to your table.

 Table Settings:

If you are new to dinner party hosting, setting a table can seem like a daunting task. Here are some instructions to help make table setting simple. To view some beautiful Thanksgiving table-setting ideas, click here. Setting the table the night before is an excellent way to reduce stress and prepare for the day ahead.

Cleaning Checklist:

Don’t let the stress of cleaning up for Thanksgiving dinner overcome the joyful sprit of the holiday! Here is a mini checklist to help you eliminate stress during the process.

For more on hosting a successful and hassle-free Thanksgiving, click here.

If purchasing a new home or refinancing your current home is one of your goals for the coming year, call me to set up an appointment to discuss your finances.

Hosting Last-Minute Guests for the Holidays

Family Arriving In Hotel Room On Vacation

Family Arriving In Hotel Room On VacationSpending the holidays with your family and friends can be wonderful. But with all the to-dos that the season brings, last-minute preparations for hosting out-of-town guests can also be stressful. Get a jump on preparing your home for visitors and welcome them warmly with these quick tips:

Towels – If several people are sharing a bathroom, set out different-colored towels for your houseguests so they can easily tell which towels belong to them. Make sure to have a bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth for everyone. If your collection could use a refresh, Amazon has sets that can arrive quickly (be sure to wash those before using!).

Toiletries – Place travel-size toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste in the bathroom or bedroom for your guests. Most stores will sell travel sizes, but check your cabinets for any extras you may have.

Closets – Clear out a small space for a suitcase and have a few empty hangers available in the closet. This will make your guests feel more at home and keep things organized. A small ironing board and iron will come in handy as well.

Cleaning – If your guests are arriving on short notice, you may not have time to do a deep clean of your house. Focus on high-trafficked areas such as the kitchen, living room, and guest bathroom that will be visited by everyone. Wiping down the counters and removing clutter can make a huge difference in a short amount of time.

Instructions – Have a printed list of Wi-Fi passwords, simple login instructions, and TV and streaming-video directions, for example. This will alleviate confusion for your guests, and they won’t have to keep asking you for them.

This holiday season I hope you know how thankful I am for your business. If a new house or a refinance is one of your goals for the new year, I would love to help! Call me today to discuss your finances and homebuying options.

The Teal Pumpkin Project

teal project

teal projectHalloween is right around the corner and children everywhere are looking forward to celebrating in some way. Unfortunately, children with food allergies miss out on the full Halloween experience as most types of candy are off-limits to them. In light of this, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) has created the Teal Pumpkin Project to make sure all children will come home from trick-or-treating with something to enjoy.

The Teal Pumpkin Project, founded in 2014, is a movement whose goal is to create a safer and happier Halloween by raising food allergy awareness and encouraging the availability of non-food alternatives for children. Last year, households from all 50 U.S. states and 14 countries around the globe participated in the movement.

To take part in the Teal Pumpkin Project, follow these simple steps:

  1. Place a teal painted pumpkin in front of your home to signify that you are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project and have non-food items available for trick-or-treaters. You can paint pumpkin cutouts to store and use them year after year. Many stores now carry teal plastic pumpkins as well.
  2. Display a sign in your window to explain the meaning of the teal pumpkin. Click here to find printable signs from FARE.
  3. Provide trick-or-treaters with fun non-food items such as glow sticks, stickers, bubbles, and bouncy balls. To view a more extensive list of non-food options, click here.

Along with the Teal Pumpkin Project, many people choose to give out treats that are considered “allergen-free,” meaning they do not contain the eight common food allergens responsible for 90% of reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. For a list of these treats, click here.

Watch the video below to learn more about celebrating Halloween this year with Teal Pumpkin Project.


Make Your House a Spooky Stop This Halloween

Little children trick or treating

Little children trick or treatingAre you ready for Halloween? This year, make sure you have the spookiest and most festive home on the block! Follow these five steps to make your house an amazing stop for trick-or-treaters.

Understand your audience – Gauge your level of scariness based on the age of the children you are expecting to trick-or-treat at your home. You may want to tone it down if most of the children are young, but if you have a neighborhood full of older kids, spookier is better!

Choose a theme – When decorating, choose a theme and stick to it. This will have the biggest impact! Maybe you want your home to look like a haunted house or you’d like to create a scary science lab. Whatever you choose, Halloween is one of the best holidays to be resourceful with decorations! Click here for some great Halloween decorating ideas.

Dress the part – When you see children at your home, you want to make sure you are dressed to match your theme. Whether you are dressed as a butler, mad scientist, vampire, or something else, it will tie the decorations together and give your home the full Halloween effect.

Stay safe – You may have the scariest yard in the neighborhood, but it is still important to keep it safe. Be certain that stairs and walkways are well-lit and that there are no obstructions that could cause someone to trip.

Have treats for everyone – We know that the biggest drawing card for kids is candy, so make sure you have treats for everyone! You may consider being part of the Teal Pumpkin Project and offering non-candy alternatives for those with food allergies. Non-food treats are easy to find at stores such as Target and Walmart, or on Amazon!

We hope you enjoy the holidays with your neighbors! If trick-or-treating at different homes has you wishing your home was bigger, or if you need more space, I would be happy to help answer questions you may have about securing a home loan.