14 Must-Know Road Trip Hacks

When it comes to a road trip, it’s often about the journey, not the destination. Make sure that journey is memorable for the right reasons with a few tips and tricks.

1. Before you leave home, either download or screenshot directions for your route for when you inevitable lose cell service along the way.

2. Pack a bag with wet wipes, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and use a cereal container as a trash can to deal with accidents or messes.

3. Freeze bottles of water and use them to chill your cooler instead of ice – you’ll have extra drinking water if you need it, and you’ll avoid the mess of having a potentially leaky cooler full of melted ice in your car.

4. Bring shower caddy for easy eating.

5. Avoid the endless “Are we there yet?” questions.  Make a visual road trip map to help answer that question for the 12 millionth time and add a little fun to your trip.

6. Have a tablet? Get one of THESE awesome back-of-the-seat holders!  Not only do they hold your tablet so the passengers in the back can watch something together while out of the sight of the driver,  but they can also store other road trip necessities.

7. Make DIY car seat pillows for when you nod off or wrap seat belts in a small blanket.

8. Make a DIY travel tray by using a pillow with a cookie sheet or tray on top. Great for kids and grown-ups alike, the tray keeps  it easy to keep coloring books and snacks contained.

9. Use suction shower organizers to hold art supplies.

10. Forget overly pungent air fresheners and make your own!  Place a few wax scents into a mason jar and cover it with a top that has holed drilled into them.  The wax will melt while it sits in the warm sunshine and the scent will make your car smell amazing.

11. Traveling with a bunch of friends? Make sure you’re all on the same money-sharing app so you can easily transfer funds to keep gas, toll, and food costs equal.

12. Bringing your four legged family member with you?  Keep your pooch happy with these essentials:

– Vaccination papers

 – Waste Bags

– Food and treats

– Dog food in a Travel Bag

Portable Food and Water Container

– Dog Shampoo and Accident Cleaner

Dog Medical Bag

13. Don’t forget the Emergency Car Kit with First Aid!

14. Need more tips or looking for a gold mind of information, from quirky roadside sights to accommodations?  Check out Roadtrippers.com to help plan your trip. (They also have an app that you can download HERE for iOS or HERE for Android.)

January 2019 Newsletter: Market Update | Resolution vs Vision | Save the Dates

“How’s the market?” That’s a question we hear year round, but we certainly hear it more often with the turn of a new year.

Overall most people expect the 2019 market to be similar to the markets of 2018 and 2017. The last two years have been extremely heavy seller’s markets due to high demand and low supply, although we expect to see a small shift this year as inventory begins to rise.

With low interest rates it still makes a lot of sense to buy today instead of waiting for a “better” market in the future. A $300,000 home this year could cost an extra $100/month next year due to rate increases and appreciation. For more information on how rates affect your purchase power check out our old blog post “The Right Time to Sell“.

Key market stats:
-The 8,002 single family and condo sales in Dane County during 2018 make it the 3rd highest sales year ever trailing only 2016 (8,085) and 2017 (8,079)
-Dane County prices are up roughly 5% over the last year
-Rates are higher than they’ve been, but still extremely low. As of January 10th the 4.45% rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage was the lowest since mid-April.

Statistics show that roughly 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Despite this low success rate we continue to challenge ourselves each year by banking on that one thing that we want to change.

Each year Jeff takes a different approach to setting resolutions by writing his vision for the year to come. To learn more about his process in creating a successful year click HERE.

 

Each month we will be featuring a business or person that helps make our community a better place. This month, Jeff talks with Coach Jimmy Brooks of Primal Strength & Fitness.

Primal has a culture unlike anything you’ll find in the big box centers while offering opportunities for everyone in your household.
 
See what Jimmy has to say:
0:52: Jimmy comes back to life
1:44: Why “family” is the Primal culture
2:08: Hardcore powerlifting gym?
2:33: “If you can walk, you can lift. Get in here, let’s go”
2:41: Why Jimmy works so well with young athletes
3:15: Primal Power-Kids
3:45: The beard
 
Save the Dates
Mark your calendars…We have two client events coming up and we’d love for you to join us!

**More details to follow as we get closer to the event dates**

2926 Richardson St, Fitchburg

$375,000

4 Beds | 3 Baths | Tons of Updates!

 

145 Prairie Grass Rd, Oregon

$219,000

3 Beds | 3.5 Baths | Private Entrance & Garage

 

New Year’s Resolution vs Setting Your Vision

Statistics show that roughly 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Despite this low success rate we continue to challenge ourselves each year by banking on that one thing that we want to change. 

Personally I’ve never really set resolutions. One year I resolved to eat more bacon, but that resolution was more deeply rooted in the perspective of doing things that add joy to life than actually consuming the world’s tastiest meat. 

Instead of setting resolutions I tuck away a little time each winter to set my vision for the coming year. By setting a vision I get a clear picture in my mind of what I really want for the year in all areas of my life, and in striving to fulfill this vision I take proactive steps that will put me in a better place 12 months later even if I fall short of the ultimate goal. 

Here’s the process…

  1. Write down each of the following categories with a little space under each: Work, Money, Love, Family, Spirituality, Social, Self
  2. Under each category define 1-3 things you would like to see at the end of the year in order to consider this year successful. Examples may include a monetary amount you want to donate during the year, the number of dates you want to go on with your spouse, or how many songs you want to learn on the guitar. Each goal should stretch you a little bit so you can grow, but keep it realistic. The ultimate goal is total personal growth, not domination of one specific area of your life. 
  3. Under each of your goals set 1-2 action items you can complete to ensure you stay on track towards your vision. If you want to lose weight you may include hiring a trainer, joining a gym, or buying new running shoes. If you’re looking to save for college expenses consider how often you can tuck money away and where you will put it. These action items should be specific so you have a gameplan in place to be successful and a roadmap to follow if you get off track.
  4. Post the final document somewhere that you will see it regularly and set a time on your calendar each week to review your vision. If you aren’t on track use this as a reminder of the action items you wrote down and work in some time that week to get back on track. The key here is keeping your vision in front of you throughout the year so you can keep your big goals front and center. Resolutions tend to fail because life happens and people fall off the momentum train. Keeping your vision in front of you makes it hard to forget what you’ve set out to accomplish.

I find that this process produces results much more effectively than a resolution. To be totally honest, I’ve never fulfilled my whole vision before. Usually I end up achieving about 70% of what I set out to accomplish. But that’s not the point. The point is that setting a vision has helped me set the course, given me focus throughout the year, and led to personal growth that I never would have seen had I relied on a single resolution to improve my life or just gone with the flow to see where I end up. 

If you want to take things even farther write your vision in the present tense, start each morning or week with reviewing your top 3 current action items, or find an accountability partner to help stay the course. 

Do you have a method of planning that takes this step further? Or do you have a strategy that simplifies this process? We’d love to hear about it. Share a comment below or contact us directly at minter@realtyexecutives.com. 

 

Jeff & Jimmy Talk Primal Strength & Fitness

January is a month where many are still working through New Year’s resolutions with many people focused on health and fitness.

We thought this would be a great time to introduce you to Coach Jimmy Brooks at Primal Strength and Fitness LLC. Primal has a culture unlike anything you’ll find in the big box centers while offering opportunities for everyone in your household.

See what Jimmy has to say:
0:52: Jimmy comes back to life
1:44: Why “family” is the Primal culture
2:08: Hardcore powerlifting gym?
2:33: “If you can walk, you can lift. Get in here, let’s go”
2:41: Why Jimmy works so well with young athletes 
3:15: Primal Power-Kids
3:45: The beard

Oregon WI Real Estate Market Update: January 2019

How’s the market? Well, that always depends. Are you buying? Selling? Both? Neither? What’s your price point? Where are you looking? These all play into the answer that’s most meaningful for this question.

Since we love our town we keep the focus on Oregon and the unique aspects of our local market. Here’s the current state of the market in Oregon as we begin the 2019 market year.

1. Rates have dropped back to less than 4.5%. We haven’t seen this in the last few months as they recently jumped to over 5%. This is a welcome change for home shoppers and should continue to spur a large buyer pool.

2. Oregon had 24 active single family homes at the end of December 2018. This is down over 40% from both November of this year and the same time last year. There is little competition for homeowners looking to sell today but this will change quickly as we head closer to our spring market.

3. Only 2 properties are available in the $400,000-$500,000 range and both are new construction. Homeowners looking to sell in this price point should be in a great spot provided their home is still priced appropriately.

Remember each situation is unique. This means even though there’s little competition it doesn’t necessarily mean your home will sell quickly. Likewise, just because there are few options to choose from doesn’t mean you won’t see your dream home pop on the market in the next few days so make sure you’re ready.

Home Design Trends for 2019

We are seven days into 2019, and many of us have already started working on our New Year’s resolutions & intentions for the year.  When the clock strikes 12:00 AM on January 1st, many of us commit to the goals we have set for the year. We commit to these intentions so we can work towards being the best possible version of ourselves.
 
But what about our homes?  Our homes are our safe haven, an extension of ourselves and our family.  It’s where we play, teach, learn, sleep, eat, and bathe.  It’s where dreams are made, where we run to when we are having a bad day, and where we heal ourselves, whether it be physically or emotionally.  So shouldn’t we give our homes the TLC it deserves?
 
Besides keeping up with your home maintenance schedule, a fun way to spruce up your home is to check out some of the hottest home design trends for 2019.  If you’re looking for a little inspiration, here are seven enviable design trends for you to consider:
1. Pantone Color of Year (of course we have to start with this!): Living Coral
The Pantone website describes the color as “An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge”. 
Typically seen paired with teal, this uplifting color also goes well with bright yellows and natural greens for an energetic feel or, if you’re looking for a more sophisticated look, pair it with navy blues, taupes, or greys.

If coral isn’t your cup of tea, other color trends for 2019 include burnt yellow, misty blues, dark greens, soft terracottas, almost whites, and bright citrus colors.

2. Terrazzo surfaces:

With the continued popularity of mid century modern design, it’s no surprise that Terrazzo is coming back. 

Terrazzo is a composite material that consists of chips of marble or granite that is set in concrete and polished to give it a smooth surface. It is incredibly durable & water resistant, so it can be used just about anywhere!  

From counters and showers to indoor or outdoor flooring, the possibilities are endless!

3. Bold, beautiful kitchens:

For years, the kitchen trend has been minimalistic, simple, and clean. This year, however, kitchens are becoming more personalized with color.

Other big trends for kitchens include the use of raw materials like wood & stone, mixed metals, and open shelving or glass cabinet doors.

4. Mix & matched furniture:

Instead of purchasing furniture sets from the same store, collect pieces as you go along. Having furniture in your home that isn’t all matching gives your home a more personalized feeling.

Don’t be afraid to mix furniture from different periods or show off your favorite family heirloom or a chic piece you picked up at a thrift store and refinished.

5. Boho is back:

The bohemian look is back this year but with a more modern, clean, and sophisticated look.  This can be achieved by mixing modern with vintage furniture, using softer lines, and layering fabrics.

6. Natural & green pieces:

Items made with natural materials are showing up more and more. Not only are they unique, but they also help you feel more in touch with nature while in your home.

Want to bring more of the outdoors in? Add some house plants! Not only can plants change the way a home feels by adding a refreshing and calming touch, they are also healthy for you (and look great next to the Pantone color of the year)! Plants can purify the air in your home, help you breathe easier, sleep better, decrease stress levels, and improve mental health.

7. Eco-friendly:

With climate change constantly on the news we are thinking more about how we can lower our personal carbon footprints.  Decor that is easy on the eyes while leaving little to no impact on our environment or resources will continue to be a big trend this year.  It is becoming more typical in interior design to use items that are repurposed, reclaimed, and recycled.  

You know the sayings “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” and  “What is old is new again”?  Well refinishing furniture pieces found at thrift stores or flea markets can not only be a fun DIY project that you can show off, but it also helps the environment by lowering the amount of waste that is put into landfills, which in turn, reduces the amount of virgin materials that are used to make new items.

7 Ways to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

Happy Friday!  Winter arrives today with the solstice occurring at 4:23 PM.  That means that the Northern Hemisphere will be at its maximum tilt away from the sun, making this the shortest day of the year. 

A lot of us dread this time of year because of the cold weather and lack of sunshine, so why would you want to celebrate the winter solstice? In early societies, the intention of winter solstice celebrations were to release the dark in favor of the light.  Think of it as out with the old and in with the new, as the days start to grow longer.

Here are some fun ways you can celebrate the winter solstice this year:

1. Make a winter solstice tree – Many animals’ food sources are scarce this time of year. To help them get through the winter you can decorate a tree with popcorn strings or pinecones and apples that are covered in peanut butter and bird seed.

2. Try a new winter activity – Is there a winter activity that you’ve always wanted to do or somewhere in our community that you would like to explore? Make a list of these activities and try to find time to do them this winter

3. Visit your local library – If you have young children, there are a ton of great books about the winter solstice.

 

4. Have dinner by candlelight – Enjoy the longest evening of the year and celebrate the return of the longer days with a candlelit meal.

5. Look up at the night sky – On winter’s first night (December 21st) and on December 22nd of this year, the night sky will be beautiful! Not only does the Cold Moon fall on the winter solstice, but you will also be able to see Mercury and Jupiter, and the Ursid meteor shower will be at its peak.

 

6. Have a solstice fire – Ancient cultures believed that the winter solstice was a powerful time of release and of rebirth. If there are events or feelings from throughout the year that you need to let go, write them on small pieces of paper and throw them into the fire.  Next, replace what you need to let go with something positive.  Write down something you’d like to invite into your life and toss it into the fire as well.  It could be something as simple as courage, openness to an idea, or love.

 

7. Set Intentions – An intention is simply something that you plan to do, to achieve, or to aim towards. Are there habits, passions, or ideas that you’d like to work towards? Intentions should come from the heart so you can focus on who you are and recognize what you truly value in life.

However you choose to celebrate, we wish you all a magical winter, a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!

 

December 2018 Newsletter: Be the Gift | Website Update | Featured Listings

This time of year we all tend to reflect a little. We try to take in life, to focus on the important things, to spend time with friends and family, and to plan for a more successful and enjoyable future.

But with that a lot of us can become stressed during the holiday season.

We’re stressed because we can’t get all our errands run, we are missing loved ones, or we are frustrated that we didn’t meet the goals we set for ourselves this year.  We can’t find the right gift, enough gifts, the house isn’t clean for guests, and we ran out of sugar for yet another batch of cookies. There’s travel, and parties, and you can’t believe you didn’t lose that weight this year.

The winter itself can be hard, but the expectations of the perfect holiday season combined with the pressures we place on ourselves for performance can definitely add to the struggles.

One thing I’m really trying hard to work on right now is to quit aiming for perfection, and to give myself a break. I’m definitely not perfect, and I never will be. But I can continue to wake up and do my best, to focus on who I want to be, and to keep taking steps in that direction no matter how often I fall.

So this year we encourage you to give yourself a break as well, because you too will not be perfect. We know you want to create the perfect Christmas for the kids, to have the house perfect for your visiting friends and family, or to get the perfect gift because it comes from your heart, but as my wife always says, the real gift is you….you are the gift, and you will always be the gift despite all the struggles you will face.

So give yourself a break and go be the gift this season. Be the gift to strangers, to your friends, family, and most importantly, be the gift to yourself.

Wishing you all the best for a wonderful holiday season in which you find time to recharge, reset, and take in all the wonderful things that truly matter in life.

We are excited to announce the launch of our new website!  Not only have we updated the look, navigation, and information, but it is now also mobile friendly with a ton of new features.

Our website now offers everything you need to search for up-to-date home listings.  Interested in being notified of the newest listings that match your criteria?  Then be sure to sign up for email alerts!

For those wondering how much their home is worth, we have added a free home valuation form.

If you have your home listed with us, it will show up right on our homepage under “Featured Listings” to give your home even more exposure!

As former teachers, we know that the only way we can learn and grow is from the people around us. If you check out our website and have any suggestions, feel free to send us a message. We would LOVE to hear your feedback!

3634 Hovde Rd, Madison

$225,000

3 Beds | 3 Baths | Large, Mature Lot

145 Prairie Grass Rd, Oregon

$219,000

3 Beds | 3.5 Baths | Private Entrance & Garage

How Do YOU Start Your Day?

The morning ritual. 

Most of us are aware of the benefits involved with starting your day with a consistent morning routine. Morning rituals help us frame our day, prime our brain, and prepare our body for a successful day.

Without question I have noticed that when I hold myself accountable to my routine that my day flows in a more positive direction and I also tend to get more accomplished. This is especially true as we dive into the dark days of winter, a season I always struggle with. The cold temperatures combined with less sunlight and general seasonal stresses can wreak havoc on my system.

For the last few months working through some version of the following routine:

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8 Things Every Homeowner Should do Now for a Worry-Free Winter

Old Man Winter is on his way!  Before he is here to stay for a few months, get these things done BEFORE the snow flies:

Cut the power to your A/C – Cut the power to your central air condition by flipping the breaker in your electrical box so your compressor doesn’t get damaged during the frigid weather.

Make sure your heating system is ready – Depending on the type of heating system you have, there are a few maintenance things you should do before the temperatures really start to dip.  We always recommend having a professional check and tune up your heating system once a year… And don’t forget to change your furnace filter!

Disconnect all hoses and shut off outdoor faucets – Make sure to disconnect all hoses before the weather is consistently before freezing and turn off outdoor faucets.  Typically, outdoor faucet shut offs are in your basement near where the spigot is located.

Check your insulation – Having the correct amount of insulation will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer which will cut down on your energy costs.  It’s also a place where mice and other critters like to call home.  Check of your attic to make sure there is plenty of insulation and to ensure that there aren’t any unwanted guests.

Switch ceiling fans to reverse – Most people think of turning on their ceiling fans when their home needs to be cooled down, but many ceiling units come with a switch that reverses the direction of the blades.  Clockwise rotation can help keep your home warmer (and cut down your heating costs!) because the fan will circulate the warmer air that is near the ceiling back into the living space.

Insulate your pipes – Insulating your water piping will not only decrease the chance of them freezing, but it will also help you save money for your hot water.  Pre-slit pipe foam is available at most hardware stores.  Cut it to size and fasten it in place with duct tape.

Dodge the drafts – Drafts can waste up to 30% of your energy use.  Check doors and windows for any drafts.  Install storm doors and windows if you have them.  If you can feel the cold air coming from underneath exterior doors, use a draft stopper or place a rolled-up bath towel underneath the door.

Clean your gutters and down spouts – Clogged gutters can lead to damaging ice dams and roof leaks in the winter.  If you don’t have gutter guards, make sure they are clear of leaves and other debris before the first snow fall.

June 2018 Newsletter: Mallards Thank You | Market Advice

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who joined us for our client appreciation event at the Mallards game this week! We had nearly 130 guest, along with a ton of fun. We are so appreciative of everyone who has supported The Minter Team these last few years.

Market Advice for Buyers: 2018 has been a challenging year for many homebuyers. But so was 2017, 2016, and 2015. In fact, the last 5-6 years have really pushed homebuyers in many areas out of their comfort zone as inventory of available homes continues to drop, prices rise, and competition picks up. We don’t know when the market will shift back to favor homebuyers, but in our current state we still believe we have awhile before we get to that point. So where does that leave us and how can homebuyers navigate the rest of 2018?

First of all, realize that buying a home is still an affordable option that makes financial sense despite rising prices and interest rates. You can read more on the effect of these rising numbers in a blog post we wrote a few years ago (www.TheMinterTeam.com/the-right-time-to-sell). While the numbers in that article have shifted, the main idea remains the same: As interest rates & prices rise the amount of home you can afford declines. We know that over time rates and prices will more than likely continue to rise. The question remains how quickly this will happen. What we can feel very confident advising clients on today is that there’s strong evidence supporting the idea that buying in 2018 will be a better financial option than waiting to purchase in 2019.

If you are already in the game and hunting for a home you need to be prepared to write an offer just outside of your comfort zone. Many homes, especially those under $300,000, are seeing multiple offers and eventually selling over asking price. Often these homes also include buyer concessions on appraisals or inspections. Keep the big picture in mind and realize that “winning” in this market means buying a great home, not beating the seller in negotiations.

Market Advice for Sellers: We have talked to a number of people who would love to make a move but are afraid to put their home on the market as they are struggling to find a home to move in to. This is certainly a valid concern, but one that needs to be addressed in some manner prior to making a purchase. We’ve filmed a short video explaining some options for problem solving this scenario that you can watch on our YouTube channel (youtu.be/jfESSbdleGY). Our advice would be to get your home on the market and then figure out the next steps. We know this is uncomfortable, but it’s the best way for you to stay in control of your move as writing offers with home sale contingencies is very difficult in today’s market.

When you are ready to take advantage of today’s sellers market and list your home you’ll want to remember that just because it’s a great time to sell a home doesn’t mean you should just slap a sign in the yard and call it a day. Sellers who are really winning in today’s market are doing everything they can up front to ensure their home is fully market ready, marketed correctly, and priced appropriately. Yes, you can probably secure an offer just by putting your home up for sale, but if your goal is to maximize your profit then making a stronger investment into your preparation and planning is the best route to take advantage of the opportunities today’s market offers. Watch “5 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Sale” for more on getting your home ready for the market (youtu.be/xRJECwSNZ78).

Make sure your home is marketed on the MLS and your agent has a clear plan to put the home in front of as many people as possible BEFORE you hit the market. Video, professional photography, and “coming soon” teasers are great ways to draw excitement about your home and bring buyers in that are fully prepared to write an offer.

Beyond preparing the home for market you’ll want to price it appropriately and not get too greedy out of the gates. Today’s homebuyers are smart. When sellers price too high in an effort to see what they can get, or to leave room to negotiate, many buyers will pass on the home all together. This leaves the home on the market for longer than it should be, and that almost always leads to a lower final sales price. Smart sellers are pricing their homes where they belong, and allowing the market to raise the price through buyer competition.

Earth Day 2018 Madison, WI Area Events

Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day –  A day to celebrate the natural beauty of our planet and remind us of what we can do to help keep it healthy.  If you’re looking for events to honor our planet and get outside after our long winter, we have put together a list of some of our area’s Earth Day events.

 

 

 

Sunday, April 22nd

9 AM – 5 PMEarth Day Kid’s at Jada’s Garden & Greenhouse in Blue Mounds – For just $5 per child you can stop in at any time to plant veggies in peat pots and paint a garden rock.

12:30 – 3:30 PMEarth Day & Party for the Planet at Henry Vilas Zoo – Partnered with MG&E for tons of family-friendly activities.

1 PM – 3:30 PM – UW Arboretum’s Earth Day Among Woodland Wildflowers Walk and Earth Day Family Nature Program – Meet at the visitor center at 1 PM for the walk and indoor activities start at 2:30 PM

 

Saturday, April 21st

10 AM – 11:30 AMLand Steward Work Day at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center to help restore and maintain ALNC’s prairie, marsh, and woodlands

10 AM – 5 PM – Sustainable Stoughton’s 2nd Annual Earth Day Expo – A free, family friendly event that offers food, workshops, crafts, and more!

11 AM – 12 PMSeedballs at the Madison Children’s Museum -Kids will be able to make their own seedballs from clay, soil, and seeds to gain an understanding of the cycles and processes of plants.

12 PM – 4 PM – Habitat ReStore’s Spring Celebration – At their East location they will host a kid’s build & garden project plus a gardening workshop at 1 PM about worms.

2 PM – 5 PM – Quarry Hill Park’s Earth Day Event in Fitchburg – Help plant trees and enjoy delicious treats from area food carts.

 

This list just scratches the surface of our community’s events and we’d love to hear from you if we think we should add something to our list.  Feel free to email them to annanorth@realtyexecutives.com.

We hope you have a wonderful Earth Day and get out to enjoy the beautiful weather we will have this weekend!

7 Tips & Tricks for Starting Seeds Indoors

It’s April, which means that you can now start many of your produce seeds indoors to get a jump start on your veggie garden.  Growing produce from seeds isn’t just a great way to save money compared to buying ready-to-plant seedlings from a garden store, but it is also super rewarding!

Before you get your hands dirty, take time to review the planting schedule to see when you can start your seeds indoors and when they should be transplanted outside.  Once you have an ideal timeline planned out, it’s time for the fun part!  Below are 7 tips & tricks to help make your indoor seedlings a success.

  1. Use seed starting mix. Purchase a  quality seed starting mix that will help your seeds grow into healthy and strong seedlings. Pre-moisten before putting in seeds. Fill your containers about 3/4 full with seed starting mix.  You can also mix in a little cinnamon as it prevents fungus and helps prevent dampening off.
  2. Give them plenty of light. Place your seeds under grow lights or near a window to ensure they get plenty of sunshine. 12-16 hours of light is needed by seeds for the best growth.
  3. Keep soil well-watered. Keep soil moist but not drenched.  Overwatering can lead to mold growth.  To ensure that you aren’t drowning your new seeds, try using a misting spray bottle instead of watering can. Let your soil dry out just a bit between waterings.
  4. Repot in larger containers. When the seedlings get their second pair of leaves, they will need to be repotted into large contrainers.  Prepare the larger pots with a potting mix that includes plenty of compost. Move the seedlings carefully to the new containers and water well. Keep pots out of direct sun for a few days.
  5. Gradually introduce to outdoors. Hardening off will slowly adjust your seedlings to the outdoors and give them the best chance to flourish. About two weeks prior to replanting outside take your plants outdoors under cover- the shade of a tree is good spot. Leave them out for a couple hours and then bring them back inside. This will help them get used to the sun, wind, rain, and other conditions gradually.
  6. Plant extra seeds. Plant more than you think you will need to make up for the seeds that don’t sprout or mature. You can also start seeds every 6 weeks so you have a continual supply of seedlings ready to plant, this will keep your garden producing for much longer.
  7. Follow packet instructions- Certain seed types need specific care and instructions.  Some seeds may need to be soaked,scratched, or chilled before planting.  Some may need their container covered with a top or plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect.  Read your seed packet before planting for best results

All Natural Cleaning Recipes

If you’re putting your spring cleaning on hold because just thinking about all of the potentially harmful chemicals in your current cleaning products is making you woozy, then these All Natural Cleaning Recipes are for you!

Not only do these cleaners smell GREAT but they are also effective, inexpensive to make, AND they are safe for your family & pets!

 

All Purpose Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups distilled water
  • 15 drops of Lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops of Sweet orange essential oil
  • 5 drops of Rosemary essential oil

Funnel all these ingredients into a spray bottle, seal, and shake. There will be a battle of odors here, with the acidic vinegar likely winning out against the sweet-smelling oils, but don’t let this deter you.

The vinegar scent disappears quickly, but that citrusy, herby zing lingers on. And these oils aren’t just there for their scent alone. Lemon oil is a natural disinfectant, orange oil busts grease, and rosemary oil has some antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.

 

Lemon Scented Window Cleaner

  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups of distilled water
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle.  Spray on any glass surface and polish with a microfiber cloth for a sparkling finish

 

Eucalyptus Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • 1/3 cup Castile soap
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 1/3 cups baking soda
  • 25 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil

Fill a squeeze bottle with all ingredients, seal & shake.  Squeeze around the inside of the toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. Scrub with a toilet brush, flush, and you’re done. **Aside from having a deliciously fresh aroma, eucalyptus is a natural germicide.

 

Vinyl & Tile Floor Cleaner

  • 1 gallon of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons of washing soda
  • 10-20 drops of any citrus essential oil of your choice

Mix together in a bucket and wash with a mop or microfiber cloth.

 

Soap Scum Remover

  • ÂĽ to ½ cup Borax
  • 2 cups of hot water

Mix Borax and hot water in a spray bottle.  Shake well. Spray area thoroughly and let sit for 15 minutes then use a Magic Eraser sponge to clean.  Rinse and wipe dry.

 

Room Deodorizing Spray

  • 1 oz witch hazel
  • 3 oz distilled water
  • 18 drops Bergamot essential oil
  • 6 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
  • 12 drops Lemon essential oil

Combine all ingredients in an 4 oz spray bottle and shake before each use.

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