Friday, November 30, 2012

Delight friends with unique eats this holiday

Delight friends with unique eats this holiday

The holidays are a magical time to celebrate with family and friends. Whether it's the first snowfall or a gift from a loved one, the season inspires us to celebrate and be merry. It's also a time when holiday hosts and hostesses are eager for entertaining inspiration.

Entertaining isn't effortless, but there are simple ways to host a festive time to remember. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of each occasion:

*Decorate with simplicity. Keep holiday decor quick and easy. Fill a decorative bowl with ornaments for a pop of color. Drape garlands in unexpected places, tie big bows on furniture and dangle bells on doorknobs. Most importantly, let the party decor reflect your style.

*Illuminate the setting. Make a show-stopping centerpiece for the dinner table by filling a hurricane vase with water, add cranberries and evergreen sprigs and top with floating candles. Warm lighting is an affordable, handmade detail sure to set a festive mood.

*Improvise space. Avoid kitchen traffic jams by designating separate spaces for drinks and food. Lay a cloth runner on a table behind a couch and line it with cocktail napkins and small plates. Set up folding chairs and arrange furniture to provide extra room for guests to mingle.

*Surprise your guests. Delight everyone with a unique sweet treat. Try a different spin on snacking, like Pringles Crisps Holiday Flavors in Cinnamon & Sugar and White Chocolate Peppermint. Slip a can of these limited edition Pringles crisps into a gift bag or simply top the lid with a bow.

*Start a tradition. Creating traditions provides lasting memories the whole group will cherish. Before dinner, have every individual share their favorite memories from years past. Play a classic game like charades as a group or candidly take a quirky group photo with props. Fun activities will give guests something to look forward to each year.(BPT)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Homeowners tackling more home improvement projects themselves

Homeowners tackling more home improvement projects themselves

On any given weekend, homeowners can be found climbing around in attics to add insulation, repairing shingles on the roof, installing new floors in kitchens and bathrooms, and handling many other home improvement projects that, with a little elbow grease, they are able to do themselves.

This trend is crossing many generations. Forty-four percent of millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) and 57 percent of Gen Xers (born between 1960 and 1980) prefer to do home improvement and renovation projects themselves, according to Iconoculture researchers.

One popular project that affects both the exterior and interior of the house is replacing a drafty old entry door with a stylish, energy-efficient one to transform the look and feel of the home without breaking the budget.

"As interior and exterior focal points, entry doors add highly-visible curb appeal," Krafka Harkema says. "Whether you're expressing a certain style, your commitment to energy efficiency, or your passion for a particular color, Pella entry doors can help you reflect your home's unique personality."

Fiberglass entry doors are a popular choice. They look like wood, but without the ongoing maintenance needs of wood. Plus, fiberglass offers exceptional energy efficiency, weather-resistance and outstanding durability to resist dents and dings.

For the DIYer interested in installing a new entry door, keep these tips in mind:

* Proper installation is critically important to ensure the door opens and closes smoothly and seals correctly to prevent air, light and noise from passing through. Take time to read and follow installation instructions. Pella products feature comprehensive installation instructions to make it easy to properly install them.

* Take inventory of the tools you currently have. Determine what you will need for the project. If you don't have all the necessary tools, check with family and friends about borrowing items or consider renting them.

* Ask for help from a family member or friend to help you complete the project. Extra hands can come in handy.

And of course, once you've finished installing your new entry door, be sure to show it off to family and friends by inviting them over for a gathering. (BPT)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Video Tour - 5108 Bay View Drive, Fort Worth

Video Tour - 5108 Bay View Drive, Fort Worth
Offered for sale by the Grove Team, Keller Williams

Charming 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath home in Villages of Woodland Springs. Immediately you notice more than 1,000 sqft of Italian hand carved wood that continues up the stairs. Abundant natural light & space are welcoming throughout this home. Escape to your downstairs master retreat, featuring en suite bath with dual sinks, separate soaking tub & shower. Generously sized secondary bedrooms and gameroom wait for you upstairs. A pleasure to see & show! 

Grove Team, Keller Williams
(817) 337-0000

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Don't get caught in the cold: Know the facts about winter gas mileage

Don't get caught in the cold: Know the facts about winter gas mileage
Winter and colder temperatures are notorious for creating difficult driving conditions that can place strain on drivers and their vehicles. And as the temperature drops this winter, so will your gas mileage.
Colder temperatures mean cold oil, tires and cold air in the carburetor - all factors that reduce gas mileage. With higher prices lingering at the gas pumps, a few fuel-saving tips can help protect your miles per gallon (MPG) this winter.

*Warm your car up the right way

Many people believe the myth that you must warm your car up in the winter. The truth is that idling your car actually destroys your MPG and isn't necessary.

Modern cars don't require a warm-up, even when the temperatures drop below zero, according to AAA. Modern engines, those built since about 1990, have fuel injection systems rather than carburetors and need no more than 10 to 30 seconds to get oil moving through the engine properly.

Auto experts recommend driving moderately in cold weather to allow the engine and other systems to warm up slowly and reduce wear and tear. So even though many people choose to warm up their car in the winter for personal comfort or to defrost windows, idling a vehicle for more than even one minute is simply wasting gas.

*Get your car winter ready

From changing the oil to checking the tire pressure on a regular basis, improving your winter gas mileage is easier than you might think.

'Your vehicle's motor oil becomes thicker in colder temperatures, which adds stress to the engine,' says Jim Rossbach, CHS director of technical services and quality. 'Try a thinner grade of oil to keep your engine running smoothly in the colder months.'

Proper tire inflation can also improve fuel economy by up to 3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It is important to check tire pressure several times throughout the winter when colder temperature can reduce tire pressure at a rate of one pound per square inch (PSI) for every 10 degrees change.

*Lighten the load

Extra weight from cargo or snow also reduces fuel efficiency. Cleaning out your car and clearing off snow is an easy way to get better gas mileage.

In the past, carrying sandbags in the trunk was a common method for gaining more traction and helping rear-wheel drive cars perform better on snow and ice. Today, most cars are front-wheel drive with the engine over the front wheels, creating that same grip. Carrying extra weight does not add traction on snow and ice, but simply lowers your fuel economy. (BPT) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Fun Facts

Thanksgiving Fun Facts

As we count the days down to another day of thanks with our family and friends, we thought we would share a little history about its origins.  

  • Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. 
  • Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada. 
  • The first Thanksgiving Day was the fall of 1621. 
  • The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land. 
  • The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days. 
  • President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in the year 1789 and again in 1795. 
  • The state of New York officially made Thanksgiving Day an annual custom in 1817. 
  • Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor with a magazine, started a Thanksgiving campaign in 1827 and it was result of her efforts that in 1863 Thanksgiving was observed as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer. 
  • Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. Whereas earlier the presidents used to make an annual proclamation to specify the day when Thanksgiving was to be held. 
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt restored Thursday before last of November as Thanksgiving Day in the year 1939. He did so to make the Christmas shopping season longer and thus stimulate the economy of the state. 
  • Congress passed an official proclamation in 1941 and declared that now onwards Thanksgiving will be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November every year. 
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States. But it was Thomas Jefferson who opposed him. It is believed that Franklin then named the male turkey as 'tom' to spite Jefferson. 
  • The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920's. 
  • Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Get high-end looks for your kitchen without the high price

Get high-end looks for your kitchen without the high price

Each year, House Beautiful magazine builds its highly anticipated Kitchen of the Year, a showplace for what's hot in the kitchen. Designed around the latest trends, the annual Kitchen of the Year is the epitome of high-end style. But let's face it. The majority of us don't have the luxury of a 1,000-square-foot kitchen designed by a celebrated designer. Nor do we have the budget.

Don't give up on your kitchen design dreams just yet. There are several ways to bring a high-end look to your home without the high price. With a little inspiration, research and proper planning, you can have a picture-perfect kitchen that will look as though it's been lifted from the pages of the top home design magazines. Get started creating your dream kitchen with these tips.

Be inspired

Browse magazines, home design blogs and websites like Pinterest to gather inspiration. Take note of the kitchens that catch your eye and what it is that you like most about the design. Many of the things that you're drawn to are within your budget.

Assess your space

Take stock of the space you currently have and consider the layout and the work triangle. A smart layout can create a more spacious and efficient kitchen no matter the square footage.

Design for your style

Whether your style is classically traditional or more contemporary, there are cabinets, appliances and fixtures to fit. Whether your budget is under $10,000 or more than $50,000, you'll take pride in having a kitchen that was designed with your style and needs in mind.

Get help

It's easy to be tempted with extras during the kitchen design process, and costs can quickly add up. Work with a professional designer to set and manage the budget, and help determine areas to invest and where to cutback. If you're drawn to elements of luxury kitchens, share that with your designer for ways to achieve a similar look.

Let cabinetry set the stage

The cabinetry you choose can set the stage for the entire kitchen. While many high-end kitchens will have custom cabinets, you can achieve a similar look with semi-custom cabinetry at a fraction of the cost and without the extended lead times.

Customize with color

Combining contrasting colors, textures and materials creates visual interest and can make your kitchen look custom. Try adding some color by varying cabinetry finishes and countertop materials. Add a backsplash with artistic glass tiles to let your personality and style come through.

Remodeling a kitchen can be stressful on you and your wallet, but if you're committed to your design dream, it's likely you'll find ways to achieve it. (BPT)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Donations to the Keller Community Storehouse

Donations to the Keller Community Storehouse

The Grove Team would like to take a moment to begin wishing everyone a very safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!  We appreciate each and everyone of you and want to take this opportunity to say thank you for continued support of the Grovet Team, Keller Williams. 

We would like to take a moment to invite you to "Like" and follow us on the blog.  For all new followers and "likes" received this month, the Grove Team, Keller Williams will contribute a donation to the Keller Community Storehouse -

May your Thanksgiving be filled with happiness! 

Grove Team, Keller Williams
(817) 337-0000

Find us on Facebook -

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quick-change kitchen decor ideas make redoing a room easy

Quick-change kitchen decor ideas make redoing a room easy
Falling out of love is a painful experience - especially when the love affair that's ending is between you and the pricey, permanent design changes you made as part of a kitchen renovation. While it's always easy to repaint if you don't like a wall color, more significant renovations - like cabinets and countertops, flooring and fixtures - require you to live with them for a long time.

With even minor kitchen renovations costing, on average, nearly $20,000 (according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report), you may worry that you'll fall out of love with the redesign that you spent a lot on. The good news is you don't need to commit to a complete renovation in order to update your kitchen. Here are some easy, cost-effective do-it-yourself projects that can give the room a whole new look, yet will still be easy to redo later on when the redecorating urge strikes again.

Make a splash with a backsplash

Backsplashes can be both practical and beautiful, but traditional installation methods have meant committing to the look of a backsplash for the long-term. Now there's an alternative that makes it easy for do-it-yourselfers (DIY'ers) to create a custom look - and then change it whenever they decide it's time for something fresh. Featured on DIY Network's 'Hot List: Kitchens' and various DIY/HGTV programs, Kitchen Palette ( is an affordable, interchangeable backsplash system that measures 22-inches by 14-inches. The system can be installed in less than 30 minutes, using tools most DIY'ers already own. After installation, customize your palette however you choose. Or consider purchasing finished palettes from the website; a wide variety of Print Gallery images and Ready to Finish tile options are available. Additional blank palettes are also available for purchase and are completely customizable. Palettes can be swapped out in a matter of seconds. Kitchen Palette is made in America and uses recycled plastic, making it a green choice as well as an attractive one.

While the system is designed to fit behind conventional cooktops and ranges, it's also a great option for virtually any space you might want to change quickly and beautifully. Because of its design, Kitchen Palette is ideal for use as a hiding place for valuables … above a fireplace, in an entranceway or in a bedroom. Kitchen Palette is perfect as an access panel for hiding plumbing and electrical in kitchens and bathrooms.

Customize cabinets

Replacing cabinetry can be cost-prohibitive. Plus it's a tough job to tackle for even seasoned DIYers. Fortunately, there are easier ways to update the look of your cabinets. Switching out dated hardware with something new and eye-catching is a great start. Wooden cabinets can be repainted or stained. Outdated trim can be removed. Or, if you love the open-faced look that's in vogue in many upscale kitchens, simply remove cabinet doors altogether.

Winning windows

When it comes to window treatments, most people have two objectives: to create a great look and protect their privacy. The kitchen, however, is one room where privacy is usually less of a concern. That means you can lighten up on window treatments, open your design options and create a light-filled look. If your kitchen windows are currently covered with blinds or heavy curtains, take them down. Next, add decorative hardware and top it with a window treatment that creates an attractive frame for the window without blocking light or the view. Valances and sheers are great for achieving this kind of look.

Outstanding accessories

Updating accessories is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to change the look of a room. Accessories like new upholstery on chairs in breakfast areas, patterned towels and potholders or even a decorative holder for kitchen utensils make it simple to redefine decor without the commitment of a major change. Different color appliances make varying design statements. For example, white appliances will impart a country look. Changing the look of your appliances doesn't mean you have to replace them. Many appliance makers now offer models with reversible panels. Or, consider painting to match your design choices for a truly customized look. (BPT)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How your credit score is affected by common activities

How your credit score is affected by common activities

Managing money wisely: It's something that everyone is told to do from an early age. From putting pennies in the piggy bank to classroom instruction in how to balance a check book, the message is to spend and save thoughtfully. However, in the real world, those lessons often fall by the wayside due to crunched schedules, unexpected expenses and simple forgetfulness. However, the way you handle - or mishandle - your money from day to day will have an impact on your credit score.

While many people only see their credit scores with their free annual check, a recent white paper by credit score model company VantageScore Solutions points out that roughly 70 percent of credit scores fluctuate by as much as 20 points in a 90-day period. Whether it goes up or down depends on your behaviors.

'When it comes to credit scoring, there are two questions that are most commonly asked by consumers yet rarely understood. These questions are 'why did my credit score change,' and, 'how can I improve my credit score.

Consider these common behaviors and how they'll affect your score:

* Paying a bill late for the first time: Missing that due date will likely cause your score to drop. Try signing up for auto-pay to make sure your bills are paid on time.

* Maxing out your credit card: When you are at or near the limit on your credit card, you'll see a drop in your score. By paying off your balance monthly, as is commonly advised, you can avoid the problem.

* Inquiring about a new loan: This common activity can cause a small drop in your credit score. Credit rating agencies might be uncertain of why you need the added credit exposure. You can show them that it's simply a normal expansion by making payments on time, which will also help rectify the minor drop in your score.

* Closing an account: You might want to think twice if you think closing an account is a good way to keep yourself from getting in credit trouble. Closing an account can actually cause a minor drop in your score, while scores get a boost if you have a long credit history with an account.

How long-lasting the effects of a drop might be depends on the severity of the problem. The minimal drop associated with things like obtaining new credit or closing an account can be righted within roughly three months - as long as you're being otherwise financially responsible. However, a more major drop, like a missed payment or default, can last for nearly two years, and the biggest drop, caused by bankruptcy, can affect your score for seven years. There are many other everyday activities that can impact your score, and the Consumer Federation of America offers more ways to learn about them at

Keeping your credit score healthy will have lasting effects on your financial future, so it pays to be attentive each day. A slip-up here and there can make a real difference, and it's more challenging to raise your score than it is to lower it. Manage your most basic financial activities carefully and you'll see positive results in your score

Monday, November 12, 2012

Buying and selling a home during the off season

Buying and selling a home during the off season

While cold weather causes many people to stay snug and cozy indoors, it provides a great opportunity for home buyers to get out and find their dream home. Fall and winter are typically considered the off season in the housing market, but actually buyers can potentially find better deals and sellers may find the most serious buyer. To take advantage of the benefits of off-season real estate, consider these important areas of advice.

Use strategic elements of the season

The off season is a great time to buy because you'll have less competition with other buyers and a reduced chance of getting in a bidding war that drives up a home's price, something that still occurs frequently. When you're not fighting with other bidders, you can make a sound decision and have a better chance of getting the seller to pitch in on concessions, such as closing costs or funds for improvements like appliance upgrades.

Prepare yourself from the start

Today's unique real estate market can be confusing for even the most savvy folks. That's why it's important to work with a real estate agent who can answer all your questions. Not all real estate agents have the same training and experience, so find one who has the background necessary to navigate complex situations.

Look beyond the first impression

During the fall and winter seasons, it might be easy to overlook subtle home issues. Outside leaves pile up, snow drifts form and they may cover up problems with the siding, foundation or landscaping. A home that is currently vacant, whether it's a foreclosure or the homeowners already moved, may have internal issues due to freezing temperatures. Empty houses are typically heated less, and some, unfortunately, not at all. If a house you're interested in is vacant, make sure that it has been properly winterized or maintained so that you can be confident there are no issues with frozen pipes or a malfunctioning furnace.

Strategic points for sellers

For sellers, the off season doesn't have to be a detriment to making a sale. Remember, staging your home so it looks organized, stylish and modern is a smart move. Take cues from the season in your decor choices, creating a clean yet homey feeling that will help potential buyers visualize their future in the space. Also, remember potential buyers may want to drive by your home before they schedule an official showing. With fewer daylight hours, it's important to keep lights on in the evening, so if they drive by, your home isn't completely dark.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just Listed by the Grove Team - 217 Dodge Trail

Just Listed by the Grove Team
217 Dodge Trail, Keller

Handsome three bedroom, two bath home located in Keller! Freshly painted interior and new carpets and real wood flooring welcome you immediately as you come in. The open floorplan offers flexibility for entertaining and offers great natural light. The split bedroom set up is ideal. Additional updates include, natural gas added to kitchen, updated ductwork for HVAC, additional smoke detectors added in all bedrooms.

Contact the Grove Team, Keller Williams to schedule your own private showing!
(817) 337-0000

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Protect what matters this holiday season

Protect what matters this holiday season

The winter holiday season is here, which means we can look forward to a lot of decorating, parties and possibly some travel during the next few months. But with all the hustle and bustle of shopping and celebrating, it's important not to lose sight of what matters most: the safety of your family and home.

From now until New Year's, you'll be expecting guests more frequently and your house will be filled with beautiful, but highly flammable, decorations. These range from the candles on your dining room table to the tree in your living room to the paper decorations on your walls. All of these items can contribute to potentially unsafe conditions in your home.

To keep your family and house safe and still enjoy all the festivities, keep in mind these simple precautions:

1. Always make sure burning candles are never left unattended (blow them out if you leave the room) and are placed at least 12 inches away from flammable objects. Candleholders should be sturdy and placed on a stable, uncluttered surface.

2. Make sure to check your smoke alarms monthly. They should be installed in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your house. Replace the batteries in all of your smoke alarms at least once a year.

3. The holidays also mean travel for some families, and it's important to make sure your house is safe while you're away. Consider a home security and automation system that offers comprehensive protection inside and out. A customizable system allows you to control your lights, lock your doors, adjust your thermostats and watch your pets from wherever you happen to be via a computer or smartphone.

4. Make sure your decorations are safe. Only use items that are flame resistant or flame retardant, and avoid placing them near doorways or windows.

5. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. Make sure to use a fireplace screen to contain any sparks or hot embers. Once you put the fire out, let ashes cool, and then transfer them to a metal container with a lid. This should be kept at a safe distance from your house.

With the help of some common-sense safety precautions and a good security system, you'll be able to enjoy all the fun and festivities of the holiday season, whether you're hosting or traveling. (BPT)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trophy Club - JUST LISTED - 9 Wentworth Crt.

Just Listed by the Grove Team, Keller Williams Realty
9 Wentworth, Trophy Club

Stunning renovation by TK Homes, LLC! Updated from head to toe...including new interior & exterior paint, new laminate flooring & carpet, new tile in kitchen, utility, & baths. First class kitchen updates include granite, stainless appliances and offer ample counter-cabinet space. Well appointed throughout with crown molding and finishes...wet bar open to patio complete with inground gunite pool. So much to list, so little space!

Call on the Grove Team for more information or to schedule a showing today!
(817) 337-0000