Eliane Consalvo - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Merrimack Valley



Posted by Eliane Consalvo on 9/17/2017

Cooking with fresh herbs is infinitely better than using the dried out flakes you'll find at the grocery store. Not only are they packed with much more flavor, but they'll also save you money in the process. Sure, there are some herbs you probably won't use very often and should just keep a small jar of them in your pantry. However, certain herbs are so useful that it's worth having on your window sill to pick from when you need them. If you're thinking about starting an indoor or outdoor herb garden, here are the best herbs to put in it that will spice up your recipes and save you money at the checkout line.

Basil

Number one on our list is sweet basil. Basil can be chopped up into sauces and salads, or it can be used whole on pizzas and sandwiches. For a great snack, toss some olive oil with chunks of tomato, mozzarella, and chopped basil. It's the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and refreshing. Basil is also great for making tea and has a strong and pleasant aroma. If you start running low, you can start a new plant with clippings from an old one. As you pick from the plant, be sure to remove the leaf node (the stem part of the leaf) fully so your plant keeps producing more leaves.

Parsley

A good herb to pair with basil is parsley. It goes great with pasta dishes, sauce, pizza, or eggs. Like basil, parsley can be harvested as needed. Simply cut the outermost leaves for use and leave the inner leaves to mature. However, parsley is also easy to dry and store. To dry parsley, hang it up in a warm place that has plenty of shade and ventilation. Test it by seeing if it crumbles in your hand. Once it does, crumble the rest up and store it in an air tight jar.

Thyme

Arguably one of the the prettiest herbs on the list, thyme fills its long stems with small flowers and fills the air with a pleasant scent. Thyme goes well with many vegetables and types of seafood and is also common in many teas. If you live in a temperate climate, you could also try growing some thyme as an ornamental and aromatic shrub in your yard.

Mint

As you would suspect, mint smells and tastes...minty. To impress everyone at your summer cookout, place some mint leaves from your garden into their ice cold drinks. Like many other items on the list, mint is also great in tea and can be paired up with basil, lavender, and many other herbs to make a great herbal tea concoction.

Lavender

Lavender is another pretty flowering herb. However, due to its size, it's best grown outdoors. You can make several homemade items from lavender including soaps, fragrance sprays, tea, and more. However, be sure to read up on caring for lavender plants as they require a lot of sunlight and well-drained soil. To make use of its size and aesthetics outside, you can plant lavender along walkways in your yard or garden.




Tags: home   gardening   garden   mint   herbs   herb   herb garden   basil   parsley   thyme   lavender  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Eliane Consalvo on 8/13/2017

Everyone likes to keep their home smelling fresh. At the very least, it assures us that when our guests come they have a pleasant aroma that welcomes them into the home. However, fragrances can be beneficial in other ways.

Some are calming, while others stimulating and invigorating. They can help you set the tone you’re aiming for, whether it’s a relaxing bath or sitting down to get some work done in your office.

At one time, you didn’t have many options when it came to giving your home a pleasant fragrance. You could burn candles, which can be dangerous if you have children or pets running around. Or you could use a plug-in air freshener, which are expensive and smell artificial.

Recently, however, a third option has been gaining popularity--essential oil diffusers.

Essential oils have a number of uses. They’re in the cologne and perfume we spray on our bodies, they’re in the room spray we use to freshen up our homes, and they’re an ingredient in a number of other cosmetic and therapeutic products.

Many are said to have medicinal value, such as a decongestant or a sleep aid. Others are used simply because they smell great.

In this article, we’re going to talk you through using an essential oil diffuser in your home and what oils you might want to start with.

Methods of oil diffusion

There are a number of ways you can spread the aroma of essential oils in your home. One of the quickest and easiest ways is to put a drop or two of essential oils on a tissue and simply wave it around in the room.

For a more far-reaching effect, you’ll need to find a longer lasting way of diffusing the oils. Many people choose steam. You can either purchase a steam oil diffuser or just put a few drops into boiling water.

Another option is to use a heat source. You can buy tea light to heat the oils or, if you want to avoid open flames, buy an electric heat diffuser.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and if you’re new to essential oils, it might be a good idea to start small by simply buying a starter pack of oils, smelling them to see which you like, and putting a couple drops in a boiling pot of water or dabbing them on a tissue.

A note of caution: essential oils are strong. Getting them on your hands or clothing, especially if undiluted, can mean your hands or clothes smelling like that oil for several days. You should also avoid putting them near your eyes or mouth as many essential oils can be dangerous.

Which oils to use

Oils have a range of scents--floral, citrus, earthy, spicy, minty, and so on. Knowing which oil you want for a given scenario is a matter of preference and trial and error. However, there are several blends or “recipes” that people prefer.

Common pairings include:

  • Orange and peppermint

  • Lavender and lemon

  • Bergamot and patchouli

  • Basil and sage

  • Cypress and cedarwood

  • Lemongrass and eucalyptus




Tags: home   essential oils   fragrance   diffuse  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Eliane Consalvo on 5/14/2017

Behind your doors and windows lies everything you hold dear. Your family, pets, important documents, expensive laptops and televisions, and any number of things rely on the hope that no one will break into your home. In spite of this, many people choose not to take the best safety precautions available, whether it is because they feel safe in their neighborhood or they think they can't afford a security system. As home security technologies advance, homeowners and renters get a growing selection of security systems. Finding a security system that works with your budget while still keeping you safer is possible. However, learning about the various systems and choosing one that works best for your needs is the hard part. In this article, we'll cover the basic types of security systems and what they offer so you can make the best decision for your home and family.

Monitored or unmonitored

One way of dividing up security systems is monitored and unmonitored. Monitored systems depend on landline, cellular, or broadband connection to communicate with the security provider who will call your home and alert authorities in case of a break-in. Unmonitored systems, on the other hand, rely only on alarms such as sirens and flashing lights. Monitored systems that are connected via landline have the disadvantage of being cut or by losing connections due to power outages. Cellular-based systems (a.k.a. wireless monitoring) have the advantage of staying up even if your telephone line is cut. One disadvantage of monitored systems is that they often come with monitoring fees. The disadvantage of unmonitored systems is that it relies on your neighbors to call the police in case of an emergency. The problem with this is that not all neighbors are going to go see if everything is okay until it's potentially too late.

Contracts and Installation

Depending on whether you rent or own your house and how long you plan to stay in your house, you'll want to read over contracts before signing away. If you plan on moving or are only leasing your apartment, it might be a better option to buy a system outright that you can set up yourself at your next home. Systems that rely on technicians for installs may charge you fees for having to relocate or uninstall your system.

Added features

Home security and home automation are two separate industries that have become one due to similarities in the way they function. Many home security companies now offer automation technologies that allow you to control various items in your home remotely. If you can't remember if you locked your door or if you need to unlock it for a house guest, there's no need to leave work--just hit a button on your smart phone to unlock the door. Other systems even allow you to answer your doorbell remotely from your smartphone in the same way that you would have a conversation on your phone. If you are paranoid about checking up on your house, you could go with a system that allows you to view your security cameras live feed right from your phone or computer.   Now that you know the basics of home security systems, go check out some of the top rated providers and compare prices. You'll soon be on your way to making your home an even safer place for you and your family.  





Posted by Eliane Consalvo on 12/25/2016

As house sizes grow ever larger more people find themselves with spare bedrooms in their homes. These bedrooms are often called "guest rooms" by default, even though they're usually just a place where all the extra furniture ends up. When guests do come to stay over, you shouldn't have to worry about cleaning out their room. Ideally, a guest room is low maintenance and includes everything your guest will need to feel comfortable away from home. So, instead of filling the room with the 25 old pillows that have been accumulating in your house, here are some essentials that every guest bedroom should have.

Decorate like you'd want to sleep there

Use bright, but calming colors on the walls, put a bedside table with a beverage coaster near the bed, use curtains that can be closed to block out the morning sun or opened to let in as much light as your guest would like. The important thing to remember is to avoid clutter and personal objects. If your guest feels like they're surrounded by junk they won't feel very at home. Similarly, if there are personal items like your photos, notebooks, or clothing in the room they will feel like they're intruding in your space. Instead, keep your personal items in your own bedroom or office and think of the guest room as more of a hotel within your home.

Essential items

We won't discuss the obvious necessities of a bedroom (i.e., beds and beddings). Rather, here are some items you may not have thought to include in your guest room that will make your guest feel more at home.
  • Cell phone charger. Odds are your guest only brought one charger with them. But if you have an iPhone or Android (micro USB) charger ready for use on the bedside table, it will let them keep their own charger in their bag for use outside the house.
  • Wi-Fi name and password. Write the Wi-Fi name and password down on a notepad and place it on the bedside table. This way your guest won't have to worry about disturbing you late at night to remind them of the log-in info. It's also a good idea to leave a pen with the notepad in case your guest wants to leave themselves any notes.
  • Empty storage space. To help your guest feel organized, make sure they can use the closet or dresser to unpack their clothes and belongings and store away their suitcase.
  • Tissues and wastebasket. A common, but overlooked, courtesy to include for your guest is a box of tissues and a wastebasket.
  • Ear plugs. Even if you don't live in a noisy neighborhood there may be some late night sounds that have become white-noise to you but that your guest isn't familiar with (i.e. trains, heating or AC sounds, wildlife).
  • Shower caddy with useful items. You can buy a small shower caddy at the dollar store and fill it with useful items for your guest, such as: soap, shampoo, shower sponge, razors, Q-tips, headache medicine, and band-aids. Your guest can bring this back to their bedroom and won't feel like they're taking up space in the bathroom.
   





Posted by Eliane Consalvo on 11/6/2016

American households are busier than ever before. Parents are working overtime to keep up with the cost of living. Meanwhile, kids and teenagers have more homework than previous generations. Teens and parents alike are burdened with saving for college. And, everyone in today's world has to take the time out of their day to stay updated on social media. That doesn't leave much time in the day to hang around and relax with your family. If you--like many American families--wish you could spend more time together, it could be as simple as having a plan and making time on your schedule. This article will cover the steps to planning a weekly family night and how to stick to the plan once you start.

Step One: Scheduling

The hardest part of planning a family night is finding a time to have it. Each member of the family likely has sports, extracurricular activities, or other obligations that keep them tied up. Find one night of the week that works for everyone. To make sure nobody forgets, add it to your calendar and send invites to the whole family. You can do this via Facebook, Google Calendar, or just a note on the refrigerator--whatever works for your family's needs. A good practice to make sure everyone remembers is to send out a group text message reminder to the whole family so that no one is left out.

Step Two: Make it fun for everyone

If your family nights aren't "fun for the whole family" you can be assured that they won't last long. This can be hard in a family where kids are at different ages and have different interests. Games that your two-year-old loves will seem boring to your teenager, and vice versa. One way to make sure everyone enjoys family night is to alternate who gets to pick the activities. Start off with your youngest child and work your way around to yourself, this way everyone gets a chance to have a night that they can especially look forward to.

Step Three: Choosing activities

There are endless fun family night activities. Depending on the ages of the members of your family, you might have to stick to things that are more kid-friendly. You're also going to need to pick activities that are season and weather-appropriate. Here are some examples for family night activities that work for various ages and seasons:
  • Paint night - gather the colors, brushes, and paper you need, then watch a painting tutorial together
  • Game night - the most time-tested family night activity is board games. Roll the dice to decide which games to play.
  • Video game night - multiplayer games that include everyone are the best option. But you could also take turns or have tournaments to play against each other.
  • Ice cream - in the summer, take the family out for ice cream and a walk.
  • Bake night - make enough types of cupcakes, cookies, and brownies to last the whole week.
  • Backyard camping - set up your tent, build a fire, make S'mores, identify stars and planets, tell ghost stories, and whatever other fun camping ideas you can think of.




Tags: home   family   fun   house   kids   children   games   planning  
Categories: Uncategorized