4 Great Places to Take Kids on the Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in New York City, filled to the brim with all of the apartments, schools, and activities that parents are looking for in a great neighborhood. If you’re new to the area and you’re trying to find great places for your little sprouts to plant roots, consider some of these tot-approved hot spots.

Apple Seeds Upper West Side

If you’ve been, you already understand why the Apple Seeds is such a big deal. This members-only kiddie wonderland is the perfect place to take your kiddoes (from newborns to five years old) to hang out with their buddies. Classes with names like “Build It! Break It! Fix It!” and “Scribble and Dribble” are sure to entice even the most seen-it-all toddlers. “Dinner & a Show” and “COOKing Monsters” are perfect for all the future Daniel Bouluds and Gabrielle Hamiltons in your house. Plus, there’s a 2,000-square-foot indoor playground. You can sign up for memberships that offer you access to either one or both NYC Apple Seeds locations. (Oh yeah, and adults are welcome, too.)

West Side Community Garden

Just because they live in a fast-paced urban environement doesn’t mean that your kids can’t learn about the beauty and peace that comes from growing their own flowers, plants, and vegetables. Take them to the West Side Community Garden. The Flower Park is open to the public, so your kids can see what their local community members are doing to bring more green to NYC. The vegetable beds are open for viewing to the public if a garden member is on site, but if you really want to give your kids a more hands-on gardening experience, you can sign up to get on the waiting list.

Chocolate Works

Willy Wonka has set up shop on West 91st Street — or at least that’s what you’ll think when you and the tots head over to cocoa confectionery kingdom Chocolate Works. Like the Jacques Torres Chocolate SoHo or DUMBO locations that allow you to press your face against the window and watch the chocolate-making process in action, Chocolate Works offers you the chance to see master chocolate-making in action. To top it all off, the place also offers the most awesome workshops ever, where tiny chocolatiers have the chance to get their hands deliciously dirty as they mold, shape, and create their very own chocolate delights and treats. Or you can really blow your kids’ minds and give them their very own Chocolate Works birthday party — drop-off parties that include a tour of the chocolate factory, plus pizza. You can tailor it to add all the extras that would make Veruca Salt and Violet Beauregarde proud.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

One of the best things about the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is that in addition to all of the amazing interactive exhibits for kids, this Upper West Side mainstay also offers plenty of awesome and informative chats for parents. Their “<a class="colorbox" target="_blank" …read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog

    

5 Simple Kitchen Organization Tips for Your DFW Home

The kitchen is one of the most commonly used rooms in a home. Whether you’re operating in a small space or enjoy tidy counters and cabinets, an organized kitchen can help assist with meal preparation and provide practical storage for kitchen utensils, dinnerware, and dry goods. Consider the following kitchen organization tips so you can reap the benefits of a clean and orderly culinary space in your DFW home.

1. Place Frequently Used Items within Easy Reach

Items you use most often should be easy to find and grab. For example, spices and herbs that you use on a regular basis should be placed at the front of a cabinet or storage container with lesser-used spices toward the back. The same principle goes for cookware and dinnerware: Place large pots or fine china that you rarely use in less accessible spaces so you have room for daily items such as plates and skillets that can be easily pulled out of cabinets or large drawers.

2. Organize Dry Goods and Pantry Staples

Rather than leaving a messy bag of opened flour in your pantry, use organizers, such as jars or sealable canisters. Not only will this help keep pantry staples fresh, properly labeled containers will help you find what you need quickly, while eliminating the likelihood of mistaking ingredients such as sugar for salt. Clear containers also promote efficiency because they allow you to see what’s inside. If you like your containers to have a unique look, pick up something eye-catching at these premier DFW home furnishings stores. Or if you prefer to get crafty, Martha Stewart offers a DIY tutorial for etched glass storage jars.

3. Make Efficient Use of Your Space

If your cabinets or countertops are cluttered, there are a number of ingenious ways to maximize limited space. For example, you can purchase specialty cutting boards with a built-in colander that fit over your sink. And for a creative storage solution, get vertical: You can store items on wall-mounted hooks, racks, and magnetic holders. Instead of a counter-hogging bulky knife block, you can use magnetic knife strips to hold kitchen knives against a cabinet or backsplash.

4. Compartmentalize Utensils

Most kitchens have standard silverware dividers, but to cut down on clutter, you’ll also want to organize large stirring spoons, ladles, and other common-but-bulky utensils like pizza cutters and vegetable peelers. Many supermarkets and home stores carry larger compartmental organizers for bigger utensils. HGTV.com points out that expandable mesh containers are easy to fit in different-size drawers, and their mesh construction helps keep utensils stored sanitarily.

5. Reach Items Easily with Lazy Susans

No need to root around in cabinets and countertops — lazy Susans offer access to your stored items, with just a simple turn. A small lazy Susan is perfect for efficiently storing spices and herbs, while larger lazy Susans can store light pots or pantry items like canned goods or sauces.

Ready to start using your kitchen more efficiently? With this short list of kitchen organization …read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog

    

November brings ideal gardening weather

Plant cool-season annuals such as alyssum, calendula, cyclamen, Drummond phlox, English daisy, lobelia, ornamental kale and cabbage, pansy, petunia, primrose, snapdragon, stock and viola.

Don’t forget to add veggies and herbs, including artichokes, bok choy, cilantro, dill, fennel, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard, rosemary, spinach, green onions, garlic cloves and turnips.

If you don’t compost, it’s easy to build a pile in the back corner of the yard garden, and add kitchen scraps (excluding meat) along with the leaves.

Mulch to conserve soil moisture and discourage weeds. …read more

Via: Gardening

    

Garden calendar: Nov. 1

Fall Vegetable Gardening: with Fort Bend Master Gardeners. 10 a.m. in the Demonstration Vegetable Garden, Agricultural Center, 1402 Band, Rosenberg; 281-341-7068, fbmg.com.

Fall Fairy Garden Day – Make ‘n’ Take: 10 a.m. at Enchanted Forest, 10611 FM 2759, Richmond 281-937-9449; 2 p.m. at Enchanted Gardens, 6420 FM 359, Richmond; reservations required; 281-341-1206, myenchanted.com.

Prairie Heritage Festival: sponsored by Coastal Prairie Chapter – Texas Master Naturalist. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Seabourne Creek Nature Park, 3831 Texas 36, Rosenberg; 281-633-7042, coastalprairie.org.

Steven Chamblee of Chandor Gardens. 10 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851, arborgate.com.

Fall Festival of Roses: lectures 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, tour 1 p.m. Sunday at the Antique Rose Emporium, 10,000 FM 50, Brenham; 979-836-5548, weareroses.com.

First Tuesday Lecture:

Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens’ 40th anniversary lecture series. 6:30 p.m. at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Drive; reservations, 713-639-4629, hmns.org/lectures. $12 for Mercer Society and museum members, $18 for nonmembers.

14th annual ReForest the Forest Tree Sale: sponsored by the Kingwood Garden Club. 8 a.m.-until sold out at the Kingwood Library, 4102 Rustic Woods; kingwoodgardenclub.org. …read more

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Home Tip of the Day: Halloween Safety

Halloween can be scary, even for parents. Here’s an easy tip to make sure your children have a fun and safe Halloween this year. Happy haunting!

For other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

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Why is it important to understand interest rates?

Sometimes a few points can make a major difference: like the score of the SuperBowl, or a mortgage loan interest rate. In the Super Bowl a few points can be the difference between being a champion or a loser. And a few points difference in a mortgage interest rate can mean the difference of a few hundred dollars.

In the below video, real estate professional Jessica Edwards of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage explains why it is important to understand interest rates.

While your lender and real estate professional should serve as resources for information about interest rates, you can also use mortgage calculators to estimate your monthly payment.

Ready to start the search for your dream home? Home begins at coldwellbanker.com.

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Home Tip of the Day: Easy Halloween Decor Ideas

Halloween is in just a few days, but it’s not too late to make the inside of your house look like the scariest home in the neighborhood! Here’s another ‘Home Tip” to turn your home into a haunted house this Halloween.

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Decorating your front porch for the season

37 Barnor Road, Wentzville, MO

This weekend I broke from my traditional afternoon love affair with football to get outside and Fall-up my front porch. During my evening walks in the neighborhood, I’ve grown jealous of my neighbors who already made their seasonal transition and felt I could no longer ignore the place where I spend so much of my time. That last push of motivation came from a great article in the Bitter Southerner called “Notes concerning the objects that are on my front porch,” in which Susan Harlan reflects on the items living on her porch.

I couldn’t have picked a better weekend to reconnect with my outdoor space. All those potted annuals from this summer were begging to be put to pasture as the terracotta containers begged for new life. Color has made its way back to my home’s front porch, sprinkled with yellow mums and purple pansies. Trick-or-treaters will be welcomed with a new seasonal doormat and a bundle of corn stacks tied around my light post. I no longer have to lower my head in shame when the neighbors walk by my house because now my home is decked out for the season… at least until the next holiday.

Still need more motivation to grab the garden tools and head outside? Here are a few of my favorite front porches on coldwellbanker.com that are sure to get you excited about beautifying your front porch.

52 West Clinton Avenue, Irvington, NY

9851 Royal St, St. Francisville, LA

22942 Goldenrod Dr, Ashburn, VA

259 Prospect St, Westfield Town, NJ

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4 Strategies for Dealing with a Bad Roommate

When you live with a roommate, learning how to coexist harmoniously with that roommate is crucial. Even if you’ve found the perfect New York apartment, dealing with a bad roommate can quickly sour the whole experience. If you find yourself in conflict with your roommate, keep these tips in mind, as you try to change the situation for yourself and turn a bad situation into a livable one.

1. Work on Communication

Good communication is key to successful cohabitation. It’s normal to want to avoid confronting someone who is annoying you or irritating you, but when you’re sharing the same space, you can dodge these issues for only so long. When roommates do things that bother you, don’t be afraid to let them know. But you should also think carefully about how you choose to put your message across. To minimize drama, be polite yet direct. Voicing your thoughts in a sincere, approachable way should help motivate your roommate to see your point of view.

2. Use Empathy

When conflict arises, you should also put yourself in your roommate’s shoes. Think about how the other person might be experiencing this scenario. There are two sides to every story. Everyone is different, and the way you live, eat, sleep, and handle problems is going to be different. So make sure to take the time to really get to know your roommate; it will help you understand where they’re coming from. The more you know about your roommate, the more effectively you will be able to communicate with them and handle potentially uncomfortable situations.

3. Set Boundaries

Bad boundaries makes for bad roommates. Walking in on your roommate going through your clothes or eating your leftovers can be justifiably upsetting; if you haven’t given your roommate permission to do these things, it’s a violation of your space and privacy. Right from the get-go, work with your roommates to set some lines that should not be crossed, and make sure everyone in the home respects those lines. If one of you needs to some quiet to work or study at night, the other shouldn’t be bringing friends over or having a noisy party. Setting boundaries includes outside guests: To prevent having issues with too many strangers being in the apartment, make sure to designate limits. These conversations are critical. No one wants to live in a place where they don’t feel safe.

4. Explore the Worse-Case Scenario

If nothing else works, then the two of you should sit down and talk about your options. At the beginning, you most likely you signed a lease. If one of you needs to move out, discuss subleasing options. If things are really bad, you may need to involve your landlord, and an extreme case might involve looking into eviction. But that’s a last resort, and you should try working things out with your roommate first.

Remember, having a bad roommate is fixable, so don’t fret!

Image Source: Flickr

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Unique DIY Headboard Ideas That Are Downright Dreamy

Want to update the look of your bed without spending a fortune on a new headboard? Here are three easy, affordable and unique ideas:

Two Doors Make One Beautiful (And Affordable) Headboard

Learn how to DIY here: http://bit.ly/1ygBx9r

Change Up The Look Of Your Headboard On The Fly With a Chalkboard

Learn more about this look here: http://bit.ly/1x5KGjY

Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles Are A Surprisingly Sweet Headboard Material

Learn how to DIY here: http://bit.ly/1CRDwlk

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