Thursday, April 27, 2017

What’s Happening this Weekend?

We are in the full swing of Minnesota spring. The weather is crazy. If you are hoping to spend some time outside this weekend, try to plan it on Saturday. It is supposed to rain all Sunday.

If you’d like to celebrate the rain head to the Chaska Community Center for SWCHS’s production of Singin’ in the Rain! There is a show tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7pm. Tickets are $15 for an and $10 for a student. You can find more information and purchase tickets here: iTickets

Waconia Brewing Company is having a new food truck come out Friday and Saturday. It’s called Smashed Potatoes and features… you guessed it lots of potatoes. The use baby red potatoes and grill them with toppings of your choice. For more information click here:  Waconia Brewing

There are a couple of things happening this weekend in the big cities. Craftstravaganza is happening at the St. Paul Fair Grounds. It’s a huge one-day craft sale. For Info visit:  It is also the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. Tickets are $6-$13 and the shows are running at the St. Anthony Main Theater. For a schedule and more information click here:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Easy Ways to Live Greener

The U.S. is the number-one trash-producing country in the world, at 1,643 pounds per person per year. In 2008, only a third was recycled, reports the EPA, though experts say more can be. Here, a quick primer:
1. Do: Recycle paper with staples, clips, or spirals intact — the metal will be filtered out by machines later. Don't: Include any paper with food stains (think pizza boxes), as they can contaminate a load.
2. Don't: Forget to remove bottle caps. They're made of a different type of plastic and can mess up a whole batch. Do: Return plastic bags to stores. Find a local spot at
3. Do: Rinse out bottles, jars, and cans; throw away (or recycle) caps. Don't: Worry about labels — they'll burn off at the plant. Do: Include washed pie tins and foil, metal bottle caps, wire coat hangers, scrap metal.
4. Don't: Make the town dump your first stop. One person's trash is another's treasure — so when you want to ditch an old item, first try, Craigslist, or a thrift store that does pickups.
3 ways to cut the clutter — and save trees in the process
1. Get off junk-mail lists Register with the Direct Marketing Association's DMAchoice mail preference service (, and you'll see a significant reduction in mail after three months.
2. Permanently place a recycling box an arm's length from your mail bin so you can toss any remaining junk mail pronto.
3. Pay bills online, or set up automatic check paying from your bank account. No envelopes, no postage — and no late fees, if you're on an automatic plan.
• Buy refillable containers Spray bottles, for example, can be refilled from larger jugs or concentrate. Over time, you'll buy — and dispose of — fewer containers.
• Choose concentrated or "ultra" cleaning products, which use 50 to 60 percent less packaging than traditional formulas while cleaning just as thoroughly.
• Don't use more product than the directions indicate Pouring in extra laundry detergent or fabric softener won't get your clothes any cleaner or cuddlier. Instead, follow the markings as directed on the label.
• Stop brown-bagging it (literally) and wasting paper when you pack lunch. The best-tested L.L.Bean Flip-Top Lunch Box (plus some ice packs), keeps contents nice and cool.
• Grab a microfiber cloth, which can take the place of 60 rolls of paper towels before it needs replacing.
• Stash leftovers in reusable containers. Some choices: plastic Rubbermaid Lock-Its (for portability) and glass Snapware Glasslock (for microwave reheating).
• Green your next move with Rentacrate's reusable plastic crates (, which mean no more dozens of cardboard boxes to tape up and try to get rid of later.

Article from 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending April 15, 2017

In light of the low inventory and affordability situation this year, it was a good
surprise to see existing home sales hit a national 10-year high. It isn't a surprise,
however, to see multiple offers on a home within a few days of being on the market.
Buyer demand is high and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, so it was
also welcome news that builder confidence and housing starts were up as well.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending April 15:
• New Listings decreased 17.8% to 1,612
• Pending Sales decreased 6.7% to 1,374
• Inventory decreased 20.1% to 10,574

For the month of March:
• Median Sales Price increased 7.0% to $237,500
• Days on Market decreased 14.1% to 73
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.3% to 98.1%

Publish Date: April 24, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Information from MAAR

Monday, April 24, 2017

10 Things to Look for in a House if You Have Children

Your life at home with children will be easier if your house has some version of these features.

houzz logo
Houzz Contributor, Laura Gaskill
If you have kids (or are planning to) and you’re shopping for a house, your what-to-look-for checklist is probably already a mile long. To avoid getting swamped by the home buying process, focus on what you really want from your home. Beyond the basics of location, price, condition and school district, what would really make a home a great fit for your family? Consider adding these 10 items to your home buying wish list!
1. Entry storage. From the strollers and car seats of the baby stage to the sports gear and backpacks of the older years, a never-ending parade of stuff comes with having children in the house — and the more places you have to put this stuff when you walk in the door, the better! Look for a house with built-in entry storage, from closets and cabinets to cubbies and shelves. Having an entry out of view of the rest of the house is ideal, so you can enjoy your home without staring at the gear in the entryway all the time.
2. Convenient laundry. A laundry in the basement may not be the first thing you notice at an open house, but if you have young children, you might want to give the laundry zone a little more thought. Having the washer and dryer on the main level — in a mudroom or off the kitchen, for instance — comes in incredibly handy when you’re wrangling small children who go through more wardrobe changes in one day than Lady Gaga. A laundry near upstairs bedrooms is another good option, since this will likely mean a lot less schlepping of heavy baskets up and down the stairs.
3. Stairs that can be safely gated. Speaking of stairs, if you are looking at homes with more than one level, pay attention to the stairs and railings. Look for stairs that can be gated easily at the top and bottom, and sturdy railings without any wide gaps. Airy, open staircases may look beautiful, but if you can’t easily block them, life with a little one will be very stressful.
4. Ditto for the kitchen. While being able to see what’s going on in the living room while you chop veggies for dinner is a definite plus, it still pays to consider how you can gate off the cooking area to keep curious little hands out. Door openings that are larger than standard size may require custom (read: costlier) solutions. Of course, you may decide you don’t need to separate this area … but it never hurts to think about it before you buy.
5. Built-in storage. Built-in storage means more places to neatly stash your family’s stuff, without worrying about anchoring tall, topple-prone pieces of furniture to the wall. Ideally, look for built-in shelving in the living room or family room with open shelves above and closed cabinets below.
6. Kid-friendly bathroom. We’re not talking about a themed bathroom here, but a functional space that will work well for your family. Look for a bathroom with a tub and plenty of room to maneuver — you may be spending a remarkable number of hours perched on a stool beside that tub, so comfort and spaciousness count! Other details to look for include a bathroom mirror that comes down close to the sink (so little ones can actually see themselves), and storage space for bath toys and extra towels, and if you have a large family, multiple faucets are a big plus.
7. Bonus space. When you have kids, extra space is always a good thing. Look for an area of the home that has the potential to be used in a number of different ways, from playroom to home office to nursery for a future sibling. If the space (attic, basement) is not finished, find out what it would take to make this area usable in the future.
8. Fenced yard. Even a small yard can offer big possibilities to a child, from building play forts to digging in the dirt. For your own peace of mind, look for a backyard that is fully, securely fenced, so you can let creative play happen without worrying your little explorer will go toddling off toward the street.
9. A view of the outdoors. Being able to take care of a little chore inside and still have a view of your child playing can be a huge help. A bonus benefit of having a good view of your outdoor space — whether through generous windows, sliding glass doors or French doors — is that it will encourage you and your family to actually use it!
10. Master suite. As a parent, having a space to call your own is so important. Sure, you may end up sharing the space with a toddler who had bad dreams or a random pile of Lego bricks more often than you would like, but knowing that this space is officially yours is worth it. Look for a master bedroom with its own private bathroom and a spacious closet. French doors leading to your own private balcony or patio? Major bonus.
Tell us: Do you have kids in the house? What features do you love the most (or wish you had) in your home?
Related Reads:
Inspiration to Make Your Dream Closet a Reality
Keep Kids’ Spaces Tidy With a Toy Organizer
Dedicate a Corner to Creativity With a Kids’ Table and Chairs

Friday, April 21, 2017

Hello, Weekend!

Happy Friday!

There is a lot going on this weekend.
You can catch a Twins game against the Detroit Tigers today, tomorrow or Sunday. Saturday is Earth day so be on the lookout for events at your local parks. St. Paul, Eagan, Stillwater, Lino Lakes, Bloomington and Blaine are all having cleanup days this weekend. Chaska is having theirs on May 6th.

There are also a lot of events to remember Prince on the anniversary of his death. There is a special concert at First Ave in Minneapolis. There is also a 4-day celebration that started yesterday at Paisley Park called Celebration 2017. To find out more about the Paisley Park events in Chanhassen check out their website:

The Minnesota Woodworkers Guild is presenting a Northern Woods Exhibition featuring woodworking by local artisans with furniture, decor, and accessories made from wood. It’s free at the Eden Prairie Center. Daily from April 20-22, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. April 23, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Have fun and enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

It's time to start planning a garden

Spring is here and summer is coming sooner than we think!  It’s time to start planning a flower garden. Why not grow your own flowers from seeds?  
  1. Start with good seeds. The best place to get seeds is from your Grandma or someone you know. A lot of avis gardeners harvest seeds from old-fashioned, heirloom flowering plants every summer and are willing to share. Annuals such as Marigolds are some of the easiest to harvest.  If you can’t find someone who can share, there are several good seed catalogs online: 
  2. Seed starter trays. Purchase a couple of seed starter trays for a few dollars at your local garden center or make your own out of egg cartons or a clean container that’s two or three inches deep. Make sure to give it some drainage by punching a few holes in the bottom.
  3. Start with good, clean dirt. Seed starter mix can be purchased at your local garden center.
  4. Planting the seeds. Drop your seeds on top of the soil and cover, but check your seed package first. The rule of thumb is usually three times the size of the seed. However, some seeds, like Alyssum, should not be covered at all because they need more light. Loosely covering with plastic wrap will help keep your seeds warm and damp. Uncover when the sprouts start showing.
  5. Water lightly. It’s best to mist your seedlings until they get established or place the tray in a little water.
  6. Place in a sunny window. A kitchen garden window is perfect for starting seedlings, but if you don’t have one, place your seedlings in front of any window that’s sunny and away from drafts. If your plants start to lean toward the light, they are not getting enough sun.
  7. Move your new plants outdoors slowly. When your plants are ready to move outside you should give them a little bit of the outdoors every day. Maybe move them to a porch the first day or two. Then give your new plants a few hours outside every day for about a week so they get used to it. Your new flowers should then be ready to plant.
Are you planting vegetables, flowers or both this season?

Info gathered from Coldwell Banker Burnet Blueprint Blog

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending April 8, 2017

With both inventory and months of supply struggling to keep up with demand, it will
not be unusual to see some weeks where pending sales post a year-over-year
decline, especially if new listings droop below the standards set during the prior
year. Meanwhile, we can continue to expect to see sales prices forge their way
upward and affordability shrink downward in what is expected to be a pleasant
spring and summer for sellers.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending April 8:
• New Listings increased 1.4% to 2,013
• Pending Sales decreased 9.1% to 1,337
• Inventory decreased 21.7% to 10,188

For the month of March:
• Median Sales Price increased 7.0% to $237,500
• Days on Market decreased 14.1% to 73
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.3% to 98.1%
• Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 19.2% to 2.1

Publish Date: April 17, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Information gathered from MAAR

Friday, April 14, 2017

Have you heard about Hygge?

It’s pronounced Hue-guh and is a Danish word for cosy/comfortable. It is the newest lifestyle trend. It’s about creating a minimalist approach to your home decor while also having it looked lived in and comfortable. It’s about a being able to enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee in comfy socks. The question is how does one create Hygge at home. Here are 4 ways:

  1. It’s not about one specific style but more about a state of mind. This means looking at a space like your living room and asking yourself how to make it warm and cozy. It might mean decluttering everything and just leaving a simple palate of throw blankets. You could also have comfortable pillows and create spaces to relax.

  • This style isn’t about having a pristine white feel to your spaces. Try introducing wood finishes like a warm walnut or natural oak.
  • The less is more approach doesn’t just mean decluttering. Hygge also included finding the best solutions for your spaces. Having small nesting tables instead of a larger coffee table is an example.

  • Light will make your home feel more comfortable. Having the right lamps in your house helps. Pick them not only for design but for function. Natural light is always the best but you can create a natural feel through beautiful lamps and daylight bulbs.

In a fast paced world that can be stressful a lot of time your home should be an oasis for you to relax in, maybe the concept of Hygge will help. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending April 1, 2017

Confidence in buying a home has fallen according to the Fannie Mae Home
Purchase Sentiment Index after hitting an all-time index high in February.
Continuing price increases and low inventory are easy answers for why the index
fell. The good news is that an improved employment outlook and higher wages are
major factors toward purchasing a home, and demand is not expected to abate.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending April 1:
• New Listings decreased 3.9% to 1,874
• Pending Sales decreased 5.2% to 1,303
• Inventory decreased 21.7% to 10,003

For the month of February:
• Median Sales Price increased 7.7% to $223,250
• Days on Market decreased 14.6% to 82
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.4% to 96.5%
• Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 28.0% to 1.8

Publish Date: April 10, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending March 25, 2017

During the first quarter of 2017, housing affordability has clearly become an issue
for some buyers, as prices continue to rise amidst strong demand. Even so,
pending sales figures have generally remained positive across the nation. A better
balance between high-price inventory and starter homes being sold would be the
most beneficial situation for the marketplace.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending March 25:
• New Listings increased 6.3% to 1,584
• Pending Sales decreased 4.9% to 1,292
• Inventory decreased 23.0% to 9,874

For the month of February:
• Median Sales Price increased 7.6% to $223,000
• Days on Market decreased 14.6% to 82
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.4% to 96.5%
• Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 28.0% to 1.8

Publish Date: April 3, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016