Well we just had yet another “unique” holiday this Halloween but kudos to you all for the creativity. Now onto the next “unique” holiday experience of Thanksgiving. Having just returned from my 9th trip to Liberia (more on that next month) it’s clear that despite all our travails stateside there is much to celebrate here at home so I’ll be curious to see what kinds of creative techniques folks will come up with for celebrating Thanksgiving in this new reality.
Speaking of new realities, there is excellent news that not one but two dedicated companies, Pfizer and Biontech are experiencing excellent results with their vaccine trials. So Lord willing we will have an implementable vaccine before we experience too many more “unique” holidays. Rollout and delivery will be daunting but there are a lot of good solutions in the works there as well.
In the Northern Virginia real estate market, we continue to see high times for sellers and challenges for buyers. Multiple offers are and continue to be the norm. Interest rates continue to remain at historic lows, which is great not just for purchasers but for those looking to refinance their existing property (or properties if you are an investor). If you have questions about re-financing, please let me know. I will be happy to connect you with a great loan officer.
What does the future hold? I see continued low inventory, low rates, and a competitive market. Some markets have advantages over others. For example, Cascades has 3,000 townhouses, and only one is for sale. There are thousands of townhouses in Bristow, and only one end unit is available under $400,000. These markets are truly in the sellers’ favor as buyers are having difficulty getting into properties in these locations. There are many more like them, as well as some softer yet still robust areas and sectors of the market. For those considering selling, I don’t see a real slowdown happening like we usually do during the holidays as the weather is great, rates are phenomenal, and demand remains high. Please call me to discuss your situation in more detail.
Please have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!
It’s a good life.
Garage Organization for Families
Make the garage a functioning addition to your home — for the whole family.
The family garage is a great space for working on projects, storing seasonal goods and housing sporting equipment. But often this space is so overrun with those things that you mean to get to at some point and just never seem to have the time. Professional organizer and frequent Mission: Organization guest Kristin Long offers web-exclusive tips so that instead of underutilizing this space, you create a functioning addition to your home by following these few simple steps.
Plan: Due to the nature of some of the items stored in the garage you may want to get an outside storage container to temporarily house your goods. This way you don’t have to move the lawn tools into the house in order to find space to sort.
Prepare: Before diving in, look around at all the items you have. Develop categories for those items and then sort your goods into those categories. Examples of categories include Car Care, Lawn Care, Household Storage, Seasonal Storage, Sporting Equipment and Tools.
When putting items back into the garage, make sure to put similar items near each other and then label the location for each category, making it much easier to find your belongings. This may seem obvious, but I have seen many garages where the nails were stored in the opposite corner of the hammer, or the seasonal goods were mixed in with various memorabilia.
Paint: A new coat of paint can really help change the overall atmosphere in the garage. Be sure to use exterior paint in order to withstand the fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
Kids Activity Center: Include the whole family when developing a plan for your garage. Have an area for each family member to store their items. That way they know where to find and put away their own things.
Workbench: A workbench is crucial for most garages. It provides needed workspace and a place to take care of those home projects, instead of using the floor. Even a small garage can include workspace with a drop down workbench.
Hooks and Ladders: The larger tools, such as shovels or ladders, are difficult to store on shelves. A great way to get them up out off the floor is to use hooks and hang them on the wall or from the ceiling. Just make sure you can reach the ladder–you don-t want to have to use a ladder to put up or take down a ladder.
Labels: Labeling is essential when reorganizing a garage. Without labels organizing and maintaining may be difficult. The key is to label the container, not the shelf where items are stored. That way if the container moves, the items are still put in the correct container.
Color Coordinate: Use color-coordinated crates and tote bags for each family members’ items. Crates can be hooked to the wall with matching totes below for
easy grab-and-go storage.
Fried Mashed Potato Balls
This easy recipe turns those sad left-over mashed potatoes into something MAGICAL.
Yields 5 servings | Total time 25 minutes
· 3 c. leftover mashed potatoes
· 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
· 2/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
· 2 tbsp. thinly sliced chives
· 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
· Kosher salt
· Freshly ground black pepper
· 2 egg, beaten
· 1 1/3 c. panko bread crumbs
· Vegetable oil, for frying
- In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes with cooked bacon, cheddar, chives, and garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Place eggs and panko in separate shallow bowls. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop 1” to 2” balls of mashed potato mixture. Roll into a ball in your hands, then dredge first in egg and then in panko. Repeat until all mashed potatoes are used.
- Heat 3” of oil in a large cast iron skillet until candy thermometer reads 375°. Fry potato balls in batches until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and season immediately with more salt. Enjoy!