Friday, August 18, 2017

It's a Solar Eclipse!

While Minnesota is not in the path of totality that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a huge solar event on Monday. We can see the first total eclipse since 1979. The solar eclipse is happening from around 10 am in Oregon until almost 3 pm in South Carolina. At the longest point the sun will be blotted out for 2:48 minutes over Illinois. In Minnesota the maximum viewing time is 1:06 pm. We will have an 80% partial view. Remember you can't look directly at the solar eclipse so many people make or buy viewers.

To learn more about the eclipse check out this video:

To build your own solar eclipse viewer check out this video:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Does Your Living Room Feel Unfinished? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions

Have you ever felt like your living room looks incomplete but you haven’t been sure what to do about it? Being your own decorator can be difficult — you get used to your own furniture, and it can be challenging to think of new approaches to a space you’ve been living in for some time. If that’s the situation for you, ask yourself these six questions to jump start a new perspective and take your living room from not-quite-right to beautifully decorated.

1. Do you have a focal point? Many features in a room can be its focal point, including a fireplace, built-in shelves or even a grouping like a chest with a lamp and art overhead. If a focal point doesn’t seem to exist in your living room, think about where your eye goes naturally when entering the room and create a point of interest there with furnishings, such as a sofa table and lamp or maybe a curio cabinet with decorative items. To emphasize your focal point, add finishes or decor that will make it stand out: an accent wall can draw the eye, as can bold artwork, contrasting decor or a stunning piece of furniture.
In this photo, a wide doorway frames the focal point beyond: the sofa and art. The white sofa, light walls and rug create a bold contrast against the eye-catching red pillows and dark tables. The large artwork pulls together the different colors in the room.

In this room, the built-in shelving is the obvious focal point, thanks in large part to its fetching blue paint. The large framed art and contrasting shelf decor further draw the eye to this part of the room. It’s just as important that the sofa, end table, coffee table, gray chair and pillows provide a neutral foreground that doesn’t compete with the shelving.
Keep in mind that not every element of your room has to be special or colorful or unique — keeping some pieces simple allows the items you want to showcase to really stand out.
2. Do you have a cozy seating arrangement that enhances your focal point? Of course a wide range of options exist on furniture placement, but by placing your sofa or love seat facing your focal point with chairs laced in to create an intimate grouping, you naturally draw attention toward that focal point, whether a fireplace, artwork or view beyond. If pointing your sofa toward the focal point isn’t an option or doesn’t look quite right, try flanking your focal point with the furniture grouping instead to enhance it like in this photo.
Here, the bold green chair and colorful decor on the mantel give emphasis to the fireplace, while the yellow pillow and flowers add a cheerful pop of color.
This photo provides a great example of a U-shaped seating arrangement that enhances the fireplace focal point, providing an enticing place to sit. The striated horizontal tile and lit shelving flanking the fireplace call further attention to that wall.
3. Do you have stylish side and coffee tables? Not only are tables practical for holding lamps, drinks and decor like trays, books or flowers, but also they can make a design statement.
These quirky stacked tables are a great example of how to have an impact when mixed with simple furnishings. If you have upholstery that looks heavy — skirted, thick legs or no legs showing — try offsetting them with tables that show more leg for a lighter, balanced feel (and vice versa). In this photo, a gallery-style wall of art adds a personal touch and vibrant color to the room, as do the pillows and plants.
4. Do you have an ample-size rug that augments your design? Rugs not only help delineate spaces in open floor plans but also ground a furniture grouping, or help define it as a contained space. When selecting a rug, ensure that it supports your room’s style and that it is large enough to tuck fully under your seating area. If not, then place front furniture legs on top of the rug, as in this photo, to create a connection between the rug and the furnishings.

5. Have you added window treatments? Window coverings can range from draperies, as shown in this photo, to window toppers and hard treatments like shades, blinds or shutters. Window treatments need to be beautiful as well as functional, providing privacy, darkening, sun protection and insulation from outside elements when needed.
In this photo, the draperies add height to the room and reinforce the color palette, making the room feel more finished.
6. Does your room showcase your style and color preferences? As much as neutral schemes can be calming and beautiful, accent colors and stylish furnishings can bring a room to life. In this photo, bright orange and golden yellow pillows warm up the gray sectional along with the orange and yellow accents on the shelving beyond.
Wall shelves and a coffee table reveal an affinity for clean-lined furniture in light woods, while the rug and gold pillow fabric at the far end of the sofa demonstrate a fondness for graphic patterns.

Houzz Contributor, Karen Mills

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending August 5, 2017

As we reach into August, we'll begin to see the volume of activity wane in
anticipation of the school year. Although not every buyer or seller has children, it's
no secret that homeownership is a popular housing option for those with kids. In
bulk, this has historically been enough of a factor for turning down the summer's
market heat before lower temperatures take hold.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending August 5:
 • New Listings decreased 0.5% to 1,787
 • Pending Sales decreased 3.6% to 1,285
 • Inventory decreased 16.9% to 12,541

For the month of June:
 • Median Sales Price increased 7.0% to $259,000
 • Days on Market decreased 16.1% to 47
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 99.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 13.3% to 2.6

Publish Date: August 14, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information Gathered From MAAR

Friday, August 11, 2017

What’s Happening this Weekend?

The big event is the Big Island and Back - Paddle for Freshwater!

Tune up your canoe, kayak or paddleboard and head on over to Excelsior on Saturday, August 12th for a friendly race out around Big Island and back. They start near the swim area at Excelsior Beach Park. The goal is to get paddlers of all ages and skill levels out on Lake Minnetonka for a great community summer event and raise money for a worthy cause.

Don't miss the after-party at Excelsior Brewing Company beginning at 11 AM for refreshments from Joey Nova's, music and of course, beer! Awards and door prizes at around 12 noon.

Proceeds go to the Freshwater Society and ICA Foodshelf! For More information check out:

For water fun before the paddle check out the Excelsior Beach Roleo! Log Rolling Tournament
This is a log rolling competition for beginner and intermediate rollers of all ages. Come experience the fun of competing in a friendly atmosphere, meet new friends, and enjoy free doughnuts and prizes! If you're a new roller this is a perfect first competition! This event will be outside. Bring some towels, water bottles, and sunscreen. Spectators are welcome and encouraged! It runs from 8am to 10am. 
Hosted by Blue Ox Log Rolling. For more information visit: 


The Star Tribune is hosting a Street Art Festival - August 12 & 13 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee.

Racing Starts at 12:45 PM each day. The fair will feature graffiti, chalk, and other unique art from local and regional artists. Other Activities Include: Kids Chalk Art Station, Giant Paint-by-Number Station and a Kids Art Station with Coloring, Bingo Dauber Art & Scratch Art.
& More Admission is $7 - Buy online in Advance & Save. Kids 17 & Under Free For More info check out:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Tesla is producing a solar roof and it looks to be cheaper than expected.

Just under six months after announcing its Solar Roof, Tesla has finally put a price tag on those eco-friendly solar tiles that look like the real thing — and they're actually really affordable.
Orders are now being taken for the Tesla Solar Roof at a price of $21.85 per square foot, which is nearly 20 percent less than the cost of a normal roof — even without factoring in the energy savings.
Back in November, Consumer Reports projected that the Tesla solar tiles would need to come in at $24.50 per square foot in order to compete with traditional roofing materials, something Tesla CEO Elon Musk was able to handily deliver — and then some.
Tesla's Solar Roof tiles are made of glass over a photovoltaic substrate as a replacement for traditional roofing materials — not an aftermarket add-on to the roof line, so they actually look like the 'real thing" from the ground, allaying previous aesthetic hurdles to solar panel adoption (much like Tesla already has already done for the electric car).
Solar Roof is launching with four styles: Tuscan, Slate, Textured, and Smooth, with two of the styles — grey smooth and textured black glass — available to order now for installation, with the other two options (and orders outside the US) coming in early 2018. Tesla says that installation will take about five to seven days, entirely managed by the company itself.
In addition to purchasing the Solar Roof, Tesla is packaging the system along with its forthcoming Powerwall 2.0 — a battery storage device with a built-in inverter that connects to your home's electrical system, which will cost an additional $6,500 but could essentially take your house completely off the grid with 100 percent renewable energy, Musk promises.
The absolute best value feature, though? Despite originally joking that he wasn't going to promise an infinite warranty for the tiles, it turns out that Musk has changed his mind. "We offer the best warranty in the industry—the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first," a Tesla rep told Inverse.
In addition to the value proposition, Tesla's Solar Roof is being touted as stronger than traditional roofing tiles, too — something that will be especially important to homeowners in sun-drenched yet wild-weather-prone regions like Texas and the Southwest, where flying debris could also be a hurdle to adoption.
No sweat, says Musk. Just watch this video he posted on Instagram of a solar tile taking a direct hit from a "slo-mo hail cannonball."


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending July 29, 2017

A favorable economy has kept buyers active amidst a summer of stiff competition
that has led prices upward and often over the asking price. The latest recorded
national unemployment rate of 4.3 is historically low and has served as a general
indicator of a strong economy. If wage growth shifts into overdrive from its current
state of patient increases, we may see even higher prices or, conversely, more
willingness by sellers to increase the inventory pool.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending July 29:
 • New Listings decreased 2.3% to 1,686
 • Pending Sales decreased 4.7% to 1,300
 • Inventory decreased 16.9% to 12,645

For the month of June:
 • Median Sales Price increased 7.0% to $259,000
 • Days on Market decreased 16.1% to 47
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 99.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 13.3% to 2.6

Publish Date: August 7, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information from MAAR

Thursday, August 3, 2017

What's Happening this Weekend?

There are a bunch of fun happenings going on this weekend. Starting with Adult Night at the Zoo!
It's an 18+ evening event to experience a kid-free version of the Zoo while exploring indoor and outdoor trails. Grab a cocktail and enjoy a summer evening stroll through the Zoo. Northern Trail, Russia’s Grizzly Coast, Kangaroo Crossing, Tropics Trail and Minnesota Trail will be open until 8:00 p.m. African penguin exhibit will be open until 8:30 p.m. Discovery Bay will be open until 9:00 p.m.

There will be Live Music by “The Shasta Kings” 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Lakeside Terrace. Admission is free for Zoo members or $10 for general. Food and beverages will be available for purchase as well.

To buy tickets click here: 

Saturday you can enjoy the Tour de Tonka. 

In just a decade’s time, the annual Tour de Tonka bike ride has become a staple of the west metro community, growing from 819 riders in 2006 to over 3,500 riders in 2016. Riders from more than 166 different Minnesota communities and 19 states participated in the event last year.
Riders can choose from seven distances: 16, 30, 48, 57, 65, 75 or 100 miles

Saturday and Sunday you and your kids can enjoy the LEGO American Roadshow. It's from 12pm-4pm at Ridgedale Mall in MInnetonka. In addition to displays kids can make and take home their very own mini LEGO® Supreme Court for FREE! They’ll receive printed instructions and all the LEGO® bricks they need to build their creation.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Why Buying a Home is Better than Renting

Conventional wisdom used to state that buying a home is always a great investment. But after the housing crisis, many people who saw their equity sliced in half began questioning this logic.
That’s unfortunate. In most parts of the U.S., home buying is still a better decision than renting for people who plan to remain in the space for at least 4-5 years or more, both for financial and emotional reasons. Let’s explore some of these factors in-depth.
Price Security in Home BuyingHistorically, prices tend to rise over time. For example, a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a semester of college tuition cost more today than they did in 1990.
Your mortgage payment, however, is one constant you can rely upon. If you hold a fixed-rate mortgage, your monthly principle and interest (P&I) payment remains the same, regardless of how prices are moving in other industries. (Your property taxes and homeowners insurance may rise.)
Price consistency offers the advantage of planning for the long-term future. As a homeowner, you can anticipate your monthly housing costs in 5, 10 or 15 years.
As a renter, you can’t lock in this type of security. As prices climb, landlords raise the rent to meet the current market. In fact, some landlords write rent escalation clauses into their leases, systematically raising the rent annually.
If you’re renting with a month-to-month lease, your landlord may announce a price jump with only 30 to 60 days of advanced warning, depending on the laws in your area. This puts renters in the difficult position of needing to either find the additional funds or scramble to secure new housing with little advance warning.
Investment – Cash-on-Cash ReturnAs a homebuyer, the outlay of a small down payment can give you the opportunity to make outsized gains.
Hypothetically, for example, imagine that you put a 20 percent down payment on a $100,000 house. The price rises 5 percent, to $105,000. You would earn $5,000 on your initial outlay of $20,000 – a return of 25 percent. This is known as cash-on-cash return, and homeownership can make this type of gain accessible to the average person.
Forced SavingsA home can be a type of “forced savings.” Each month, a portion of your mortgage payment is returned to you in the form of equity. The longer you own your home, the more equity you build – both via mortgage payments as well as in potential value increases.
Renters don’t have this luxury. Many of the pro-rental arguments hinge on the assumption that money “saved” (either via lower monthly payments or through alternate uses of the down payment) would be invested in the stock market.
Realistically, though, what’s the likelihood that a renter would invest that money, rather than spend it on a trip to the Bahamas? And if that money were invested, what’s the likelihood that a renter wouldn’t panic during the next crash and sell at the bottom of the market, turning paper losses into actual losses?
A home functions as ‘forced savings,’ helping you build equity. Like a personal trainer, it keeps you accountable.
Flexibility with Home ImprovementsAs a homeowner, you can have the freedom to upgrade your home to your heart’s content – without carrying risk or ongoing financial commitment.
If you get a bonus at work, you can celebrate by installing hardwood floors or renovating the bathroom. If you suffer a financial setback, you can defer your plans to remodel the kitchen.
Renters don’t hold this flexibility. The only way they can upgrade their living space is by moving, and this entails both hassle and commitment.
Homeowners, by contrast, can upgrade their home piecemeal as they accumulate cash over the years. Home improvements are a one-time expense that doesn’t require continuous commitment.
Pride of Home OwnershipYou wouldn’t invest hundreds of hours cultivating an exquisite garden in a rental property. You wouldn’t hang wallpaper or replace the light fixtures on a rental property.
As a homeowner, you can take pride in crafting, personalizing and perfecting your home. The space can truly morph into a reflection of you, in a way that a rental property never could.
Neighborhood ConnectionAs a homeowner, you’re more likely to become involved in your local community. There’s a stronger chance that you’ll join the neighborhood association, organize potlucks or block parties with your neighbors, coach a local sports league or volunteer at the local school.
While it’s possible that you’ll get involved with the community as a renter, you’ll also likely feel an emotional barrier that stems from knowing you might move in a year or two. Committing to an area for the long-term can inspire you to invest more time and energy into improving the neighborhood and connecting with the surrounding community.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending July 22, 2017

Residential real estate activity has remained robust through the summer months so
far. New listing and sales activity may not always land exactly where desired or
expected from week to week, but it is clear by gradually increasing prices and
ongoing low inventory that buyer demand has not weakened.
In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending July 22:

 • New Listings increased 0.9% to 1,842
 • Pending Sales decreased 6.3% to 1,297
 • Inventory decreased 17.2% to 12,555

For the month of June:
 • Median Sales Price increased 7.0% to $259,000
 • Days on Market decreased 16.1% to 47
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 99.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 13.3% to 2.6

Publish Date: July 31, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Information Gathered from MAAR

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tips to Turn Your Backyard into a Party Paradise

Outdoor living is as important as indoor space, especially in the summertime. Everything in your backyard — whether it’s a fire pit, dining area and bar, or theater — should be part of a well-planned, integrated design. Here are a few outdoor accessories that will turn your backyard into another room of your house.

Fire pits
Fire pits add a warm touch to an outdoor area and can serve as a focal point in landscape design, especially if you live in an area that gets cool at night. You can choose from wood-burning, propane, gel fuel and natural gas fire pits. If space is a consideration, go with a tabletop model.

Outdoor kitchen and bar
Offered in a variety of styles, such as gas, charcoal or hibachi, a grill should be part of any fully equipped outdoor kitchen. A mini-fridge, sink, an ice maker, a beer tap, a wine chiller and warming drawer are just some of the other equipment you can add to enhance your outdoor drinking and dining experience. And don’t forget to make sure the area is well-lit for those evenings of entertaining.

Dining areas
What good is it to eat and drink outside without a dining area? Make sure it has comfortable chairs with durable cushions, and a table for dining with an expansive umbrella for shade and shelter. You can design them with a Mediterranean, Japanese or Victorian flavor, or with whatever stylistic flourishes tickle your fancy. Citronella candles or tiki torches will help keep away those pesky mosquitoes.

Backyard theater
The next best thing to a drive-in, a backyard theater can entertain family and friends. For a well-designed movie-viewing experience, make sure you have a video projector, a free-standing portable screen, a DVD player, surround sound, theater seats and, to top it all off, a popcorn machine. Another outdoor viewing option is a self-contained outdoor TV. LED/LCD outdoor TVs come in sizes from 32 inches to 65 inches, or even larger, and incorporate heavy-duty construction, making them resistant to temperature and weather. Some also are resistant to rain.

From cbburnetblueprint

Monday, July 24, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending July 15, 2017

The primary selling season tends to begin a subtle slowdown at this point in the
year. That does not necessarily equate to less competition for available housing
stock. While total sales and inventory may be lower than at points earlier in the year,
those still looking for homes tend to match up with those willing to list. Call it a
back-to-school effect or call it an active and healthy residential real estate market
no matter the season.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending July 15:
 • New Listings increased 2.2% to 1,936
 • Pending Sales decreased 3.9% to 1,371
 • Inventory decreased 17.7% to 12,362

For the month of June:
 • Median Sales Price increased 7.0% to $259,000
 • Days on Market decreased 16.1% to 47
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 99.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 16.7% to 2.5

Publish Date: July 24, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information gathered from MAAR

Friday, July 21, 2017

What’s Happening this Weekend?

It’s Crazy Days in Excelsior this weekend! Join for the fun filled fair-like shopping and dining! 
The classic Crazy Days is back in full force this year with a full schedule of events!

Saturday July 22; open 10AM - 6PM
*  9-3 pm:  Camp Smile Kid's Carnival (located in  Gary's First Class Auto parking lot)

*  9-4 pm:  Flea Market at corner of Water Street and Lake Street
*  10 am:  Darel Leipold's Historic Walking Tour (meet at museum by Street Car tracks)
*  2-6 pm:  Streetcar Rides

Sunday July 23; open 11AM - 4PM
RED HOT SALE - FInal Day to get your best of the best bargains
*  1-4 pm:  Streetcar Rides

In Chaska it is the Fire and Ice Bonspiel. Beer, Music and Food will be happening in Fireman’s Park.
Saturday July 22: Opens at 1pm
*2-6pm: Fin in the Park - Inflatable Bouncers •Ninja Warrior Course
Water Bubble Inflatables on the Water
Paddle Boards and Paddle Boats
Face Painting • Water Blast Contest
* 3pm: Bean Bag Tournament
*10pm Fireworks

Sunday July 23: Opens at 9am
*9am-1pm: Fin in the Park - Inflatable Bouncers •Ninja Warrior Course
Water Bubble Inflatables on the Water
Paddle Boards and Paddle Boats
Face Painting • Water Blast Contest
* 9am: Fun Run
*10am: Edina Model Yacht Club Parade

For a full list of events check out:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tips for Power Washing Your House

Your home is exposed to outside air, pollution, rain, and more 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Is it any surprise your home looks a little dirty from time to time? Power washing your house can help remove dirt and grime. But, a lot can go wrong if you aren’t sure what you are doing. Before you pick up the power washer, check out these tips to make the most out of your deep cleaning experience.

Use Detergent

To get the most out of power washing your house, it helps to use detergent. Even with a lot of pressure behind it, water alone isn’t enough to do the job. Pick a detergent that’s designed for use in a pressure washer. Some household cleaners, such as bleach, shouldn’t be used in the machine, as they can damage it, according to Popular Mechanics.
Typically, you apply a coat of detergent with the washer and let it sit on the exterior wall of the house for a few minutes before you rinse it away.

Know Where to Aim

Some materials can be damaged by the force of the power washer. For example, you don’t want to power wash stained glass windows, nor do you want to get water underneath the siding of your house. If your home has a brick or stucco facade, make sure the material is in good repair and that it is completely dry before you power wash. You don’t want water to wear away damaged brick or stucco or for it to seep into any cracks.
In the case of brick, you’ll want to make sure you wet it before you apply the detergent. Power spraying detergent onto dry brick can actually damage the brick. Soak the brick with water first, then apply detergent, and then rinse the detergent away.

Protect Yourself

Remember safety first when power washing your house. Although you might see people climbing up on ladders when using a pressure washer, that’s not the best idea. You’ll be using a machine that shoots water with a lot of force at the walls of your home. It’s best to stay on steady ground, so that you don’t lose your balance.
Since power washing involves shooting a jet of water at the home, and because water and electricity can be quite shocking when they get together, it’s a good idea to turn the electricity in your home off before you start. At the very least, flip the switch on any outdoor sockets. If you’re using an electric pressure washer, be careful not to touch the plug if you have wet hands.
It’s also a good idea to wear safety goggles when using the power washer. If you’re using a gas-powered machine, hearing protection might be a good idea, since those machines can be very loud.

Call in the Pros

Nervous about power washing your home? There are a few companies in the area that can handle the job for you. Websites such as Angie’s List and Home Advisor feature reviews of popular companies. You can also ask your friends and family members if they can recommend a dependable power washing business in the city.
Pressure washing your house can make it look like new again. If your house looks a little dingy or worse for wear, it might be time to give its facade a deep clean.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending July 8, 2017

From a heart-of-summer perspective, the residential real estate market has
performed as expected when predictions were made at the front of the year. Buyer
interest is high and inventory is not at a proper level to meet demand. Total sales
and new listings are generally behind last year's levels from week to week, but there
is evidence of improvement in both metrics.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending July 8:
 • New Listings decreased 16.9% to 1,371
 • Pending Sales decreased 4.7% to 1,061
 • Inventory decreased 16.7% to 12,351

For the month of June:
 • Median Sales Price increased 7.0% to $259,000
 • Days on Market decreased 16.1% to 47
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 99.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 16.7% to 2.5

Publish Date: July 17, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information gathered from MAAR

Friday, July 14, 2017

What’s Happening this Weekend?

In Hopkins the Raspberry Festival is still going! This weekend is packed full of events. Saturday has the Marketplace Arts and Craft Fair, the Cruisers Big Wheels for Hot Meals, the Raspberry Breakfast, Soap Box Derby and the Street Dance with Fireworks after. Sunday is Parade Day! For more information on all the events check out:

Sociable Cider Werks in Minneapolis is hosting Americana Fest. The event is free but if you plan to drink wristbands are $5. The #SociableSummer is back for round two with more music, libations and good times! Join us Sunday, July 16th for the second of three shows featuring: Roe Family SingersThe Dead PigeonsNo Man's String BandDead Horses and host Bill DeVille of 89.3 The Current. There are Food trucks from Red River KitchenButcher SaltThe Anchor Fish & Chips,Potter's Pasties. For more info:

If you need a good dose of animal cuteness Chuck & Don’s in Minnetonka is hosting an adoption event. It's time to meet the dog of your dreams! Many adoptable dogs will be here there, looking to make a connection with you. The event is Saturday from 12 – 2pm at 4723 County Road 101, Minnetonka, Minnesota 55345

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

3 Energy-Saving Central Air Alternatives

You can give your air conditioner a well-deserved break and lower your energy bills by considering other ways to keep the heat of summer from sweating your brow. The U.S. Department of Energy says alternatives such as energy-efficient windows and doors, shading and natural ventilation can help cool your home with less energy use.

Window coverings

During summer, keep window coverings closed in the daytime to block the sun’s heat. Consider window awnings or roll-down shades for the outside of the home that can be operated by remote control. Choose manufactured shades or blinds that are labeled blackout, or have reflective backing.


A good way to help your air conditioner is to run ceiling fans at the same time. They will circulate the cool air, allowing you to turn down the air conditioner. Installed on the ceiling between the attic and living space, a whole house fan can meet your home cooling needs by pulling in air from open windows and exhausting it through the attic and roof.

Central air conditioning alternatives

Consider room air conditioners and ductless mini-split air conditioners. Both provide the flexibility of being able to cool individual rooms. Dehumidifying heat pipes allow an air conditioner to dehumidify better while still cooling the air, making them ideal for hot, humid environments.

So, stop relying on just your air conditioner to keep you cool. Alternatives can help you stay comfortable and reward you with cheaper electric bills.

From CBBurnet Blueprint

Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending July 1, 2017

Nationally and locally, economic conditions affecting residential real estate have not
changed much this year, which is good for market stability. The most recent jobs
report was favorable, while unemployment and mortgage rates both remain
satisfyingly reasonable. If there were more homes for sale, we might see a shift in
prices. Although builder and seller confidence are high, we are not close to a trend
change in that regard.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending July 1:
• New Listings decreased 0.1% to 1,587
• Pending Sales decreased 5.6% to 1,377
• Inventory decreased 16.5% to 12,628

For the month of May:
• Median Sales Price increased 5.5% to $250,000
• Days on Market decreased 15.0% to 51
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.9% to 99.5%
• Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 17.2% to 2.4

Publish Date: July 10, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information from MAAR

Friday, July 7, 2017

Happy Friday! Here are some fun things happening around town this weekend!

Stay Cool this weekend and check out some fun things:

Tonka Cycle and Ski is hosting a Pedal for Pastries event Saturday, July 8th at 8am. You can meet up with Tess and pedal from Hopkins to Glam Doll Donuts in Minneapolis. It will be a casual pace with no drop. Reward your ride with a perfectly glazed and sprinkled donut and cup of coffee. For more info check out Tonka Cycle and Ski: For more info on Glam Doll:

Excelsior Brewing Company & Gathered Goods Company is holding a Crafts & Drafts Summer Craft Fair! This Sunday, July 9th from 10am – 5pm come discover some fantastic local crafters and artisans and of course Excelsior Brewing Company's award-winning craft beer! There will be jewelry, home d├ęcor, baby things, clothing, accessories and more
For more information check out the Excelsior Brewing Co. :

If you want to venture out the Basilica Block Party is this weekend. The Basilica Block Party began in 1995 as a fundraiser to help pay for the structural restoration of The Basilica of Saint Mary. Today, proceeds from the event benefit The Basilica Landmark, which preserves, restores and advances the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations. In addition, a portion of all proceeds from The Basilica Block Party go to The Basilica’s St. Vincent de Paul outreach program, which provides services to those in need. It is  Friday, July 7th and Saturday July 8th. For more info:

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Top 12 Packing Tips to Get It Done Over the Weekend

These 12 packing tips can make your weekend move quick, organized and doable.

Packing for a big move does not have to take months. This may come as a shock, but in many homes, it can be done in a weekend or less. 

Here are the top 12 tips on how to make the packing process quick and a little less painful.

1. Do not panic! Your nerves can get the best of you if you let them, so take a deep breath and make a list. This list should include what needs to be packed, what supplies should be purchased (such as moving boxes and tape) and in what room order you are going to pack.
This giant list will be your guide as you make quick work of packing the house. Having everything on the list can help you keep your brain focused on the job at hand, and it will feel good to check each task off.

2. Purge your belongings. On your giant to-do list, the first order of business is to purge. Get rid of all the things you can before you begin to pack.
Take a garbage bag and walk through the entire house. It is truly freeing to get rid of things you don’t need. Throw away expired medicine, broken toys, puzzles with missing pieces and other things you’ll never use again. Make sure everything that remains is a full set or in great condition.

3. Pack kitchen breakables. Your glasses and dishes in the kitchen require some additional attention, so start the packing process with these items. When you are packing away these breakables, save time and money by using soft materials you already own as packing supplies.
Grab your beach towels and large bathroom towels first. Put them at the bottom of your boxes to absorb any shock or shifting that may take place during the move.
Next, grab other towels, linens, dishrags and even T-shirts. You can wrap the fragile items in these pieces, which means packing that section of the house will take less time later.
Tip: Now that you have moving boxes getting full, take a minute to label each box with a number using a permanent marker. Then, start a list of the numbered boxes and their contents. This is essential and will save you precious time later in your new home when you need to quickly find something.

4. Leave dresser drawers full. Save yourself some time and leave your clothes in the drawers. You or your professional haulers can remove the drawers from the dresser and move the drawers with their contents that way. An individual drawer stuffed with clothes stays organized and is easier to move than a filled dresser.

5. Clear out the closet. Clothes from your closet can easily be moved into wardrobe boxes, which come with rods for hanging things up. You just put the clothes in, seal up the box and then unpack and hang the clothes in your new closet after the move.
If you have shelves with sweaters, sweatpants and shoes, pack them into medium-sized boxes. Make sure you label the boxes and add them to your ongoing list.
Tip: Use an extra shoe box or a clear container for the odds and ends — such as buttons, safety pins and old letters — you’ll come across while you pack the closet. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

6. Take care of valuables. Pack jewelry and other valuables carefully. These items are fragile and sentimental. The last thing you want to do is tangle necklaces or lose earrings. I love using pill stackers or snack bags to sort jewelry and keep everything safe.
Tip: Do not put these items in the moving truck. Instead, keep them with you in your vehicle as you go to your new home.

7. Stack the toys. Toys tend to be made from tough materials that don’t break easily. You can pack them into bins or boxes and then stack them into one larger wardrobe box. I’ve found that having the toys packed always brings a huge sense of relief for parents.
This method also will keep all the toys together, and the kids will be happy to pull them all out again in their new home.

8. Box up bedrooms. Now you can concentrate on accessories and personal items. Similar items should go in the same box: shoes in one box, books in another and so on until everything has a box.
Tip: If any of these items are fragile, grab clothes out of the dresser and use them as packing material.

9. Remove everything from the walls. The best way to pack wall art is with towels and flat pieces of cardboard. Wrap each photograph or piece of art in towels and tape the towel around the piece so that the towel stays in place. Then you can place wrapped items in a box and put a piece of flat cardboard between them for added protection. Cut-up wardrobe boxes are a great source for large, flat pieces of cardboard.
If your large wall art doesn’t fit in a box, you can carefully stack the pieces in the moving truck or your vehicle and use flat pieces of cardboard as dividers.
Tip: Small art and wall decor can be packed similarly to your fragile kitchen items.

10. Keep boxing until you’re done. If you are at this step, you’ve already accomplished a lot. Now you just need to finish. Keep motivated with good music, good food and good friends, if they are willing to help.
The trickier parts of the home have been addressed, so now you just need to keep going into each room and putting the contents in boxes. Keep in mind any previous tricks, such as wrapping breakables in clothing.

11. Do a final check. When you’re done packing, congratulate yourself and call in friends. Order pizza for everyone, and then ask your friends to walk around and see whether you’ve missed anything. Sometimes another set of eyes can be invaluable.
If you find anything, put it in a box. It’s totally OK to have miscellaneous boxes as long as their contents are labeled on your box list. You may find that the items that are last to be packed are the things that didn’t fit into other categories. Ask yourself whether you really want these items before packing them away.
Make sure each box is taped shut, has a number and is listed on your master move list.
If all the loose items are packed and the boxes are closed, you’re officially done.

12. Hire help, if needed. While you can pack in a weekend, it might not work for you every time.
If you are truly in a time pinch and feel that the cost would be worth it, consider hiring the movers to pack you.

Houzz Contributor, Aly Finkelstein