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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

There’s A “Festivus” In All Of Us!

The holidays are officially here.  Before your social calendar fills up, add one more shindig to your agenda: bring your community together by hosting a holiday party in your neighborhood. Some of our favorite party ideas include:
Gift Making Get Together
What do you give the people in your life who impact your life in a big way, but aren’t family or big friends?  It’s a struggle to find affordable, thoughtful gifts for the pet sitters, accountants and other helpers in your life.  So gather together some supplies and your friends, and spend an afternoon making Christmas or Hanukah gifts.  Check out websites like Martha Stewart’s or Pinterest for gift ideas.
A Caroling We’ll Go
Holiday music is a tried and true favorite!  Give everyone a chance to belt out their favorite tune by hosting a karaoke sing-a-long.  Buy or rent a karaoke machine (most party rental businesses offer them) and get some carols to sing along to.  Ask people to pick their favorites, and serve eggnog or hot cider to sooth throats after a big solo number.
Wrap Up The Gift Giving Season
All of your Christmas and Hanukkah shopping is done and now you’re ready to wrap!  Ask your neighbors to gather together their wrapping supplies (think tape, scissors, paper, ribbon and gift tags) and meet up for a gift-wrap party.  You’ll be amazed how quickly your wrapping done while you chat with your neighbors – and you won’t have to worry about repetitive wrapping paper.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Holidays are for Time with Family and Friends

From all of us at Jensen communities® we wish you and yours an enjoyable Holiday Season with family and friends.
We understand that as families come together to celebrate and take part in traditions; time is precious.  We all will have to get back to our work or regular routines all too soon!  At Jensen’s we are taking Christmas and New Year’s Eves as full days off and Sales will be off the Saturday before the Christmas holiday but open the Saturday before the New Year’s holiday.  With few exceptions the Jensen Offices will be open between Christmas and New Year’s. 
We also understand that families and friends talk about possible changes in life such as moving to a new home and community.  You may have visitors in from out of town who might be interested in learning more about a Jensen Community.  Very often our sales representatives can accommodate your busy schedules if you are interested in showing your community or new homes to your visitor(s) on a day we may be closed.  If you call our offices and/or reach our answering services they will make every effort to contact your Sales Representative to answer your questions.  Making a special appointment in advance during the holiday season is the best way to ensure your Sales Representative can be available to you.
Making a move is often best made with input from family or friends.  If we can help while your family is in town, please let us know.
Have a joyous, healthy and safe Holiday Season.
Kris Jensen III
Get in on the Good Life!®
800-458-6832

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crantastic Cookies!

Last time I wrote, I gave you my all-time favorite pumpkin bread recipe.  And this time, I feel like sharing once more.  I hope you’re hungry!
Now that December, and the holiday season is here, a whole new slew of sweets and treats are up for the making, baking and partaking: from candy to cookies to breads and appetizers, I could spend days pouring over my holiday recipes.  The richness of the season – with sweet chocolate, tangy citrus, and aromatic meats – brings out the inner chef in me to try new creations in the kitchen.  I love both traditional Christmas and Hanukkah fare, such as candy canes and challah bread – and I love finding new ways to enjoy them! 
Without a doubt, cookies are my crowning masterpiece of the holiday season.  I’m especially partial to those that contain a combination of sweet, tangy and crunchy.  The following recipe comes from Ocean Spray (the crown jewel of cranberries!), and it’s a much-requested dessert.  It blends white chocolate (the sweet), oatmeal (the crunch) and cranberries (the tangy) into one heavenly cookie.  Bonus?  They’re easy to make!
Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 5-ounce package Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.
  3. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Get In On It!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A New Year. A New Focus.

When my wife and I were younger, we relied on the help of family, friends and neighbors to make our life easier. Whether it was a helping hand to repair a gutter, or the willingness of a friend to watch our children for an afternoon, we often remarked to one another how lucky we were to have people in our lives willing to help. 
My life has become easier since down-sizing and moving to my new low maintenance Jensen home. In fact, I find myself with a lot of free time. So I got to thinking: my wife and I are lucky.  Not everyone has a support system they can turn to like here at Jensen’s.  Somewhere in my community there must be an opportunity for me to help.  So for 2013, I’m making my first-ever New Year’s Resolution: to use my time in retirement to help others in our town.
Now, I’ve never been one to see the value in New Year’s resolutions.  I’ve always thought that if something is worth doing, why wait?  But I think it’s important to set goals, and there are a lot of ways I want to help.  I’d like to get involved with a local non-profit organization, volunteer with a youth service, or help-out at a local animal shelter.  I may be able to do more than one and know I can enrich my life and my community when I donate time to help others less fortunate than us. So, starting in January, you might just see me around town, pitching in.  And hey – maybe I’ll even bring along a few buddies from here at our Jensen Community!
Flyin’ Free

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Wishes

With a four day weekend knocking at the door and the opportunity to again celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, here are the things I am thankful for in 2012:
  1. A wonderful circle of family and friends to enjoy the good times and bad.
  2. Working for and with people that care about our customers, residents, employees, contractors, suppliers, vendors and the towns in which we operate as well as the opportunity to make our business a little better each and every day.
  3. That Super Storm Sandy did not severely damage our communities or the homes of our residents.  And thankful for the staff members at Jensen’s that work so hard to put things back in good order after a serious weather event.
  4. Living in a democracy were voices and votes do matter, that we can chose to elect our own representatives and we can have hope that partisan politics will be put aside for the good of the American People.
  5. The Armed Forces of the USA that protect us from greater harm.  That men and women so courageously and selfishly serve our country.
  6. That our financial system has begun to recover and that people have started to rebuild the strength and security they have lost over the last decade.
Best wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving with family and friends.  Consider a prayer around your table for those still without after Hurricane Sandy, for our elected representatives, for our troops in harm’s way and that we can all live a better life by working together.
Kris Jensen III
Get in on the Good Life!®
800-458-6832

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Smart Shopping

What is it about gift buying that makes it so stressful, especially around the holiday season?  We’ve all been there – frantically scanning barren shelves at the local big box store, less than 24 hours left of the shopping season.  Nothing induces panic quite like realizing you still have to find the perfect gift for that special someone – while maintaining your budget and without driving needlessly. 
This year avoid the headache, and plan ahead for your holiday shopping.  We’ve rounded up some of our favorite tips to help you conquer your holiday shopping list without a fuss.
Get organized
            Make a list of everyone you need to purchase a gift for – and plan on what to buy before browsing the aisles.  Planning purchases ahead saves time and money.
            Get gift receipts for all purchases.  Avoid frustration later by keeping receipts and their corresponding gifts together.
            Resist spur-of-the-moment purchases that result in over-spending.  Sticking to a plan will maintain your budget, and cut down on time spent shopping.
Compare Prices
            Whether you purchase online or not, retailer’s websites are a great way to compare prices.  Find out which retailers sell the item you’re looking for, and make note of who has the item for less.  Many stores will even match the online price. 
            Sign up for email alerts from retailers, to stay in the loop.  Many stores give exclusive coupons to email subscribers. They’ll also announce special deals and sales happening both online or in-store.   
            Look into specialty stores, flea markets or independent sellers.  Smaller retailers will sometimes haggle on prices with you, and many will match coupons or deals at other stores. 
Be Smart!
            Double check return and exchange policies.  In the event that a gift receipt is lost, stores with accommodating return policies are much appreciated. 
            Don’t wait for Black Friday to make your purchases.  Most retailers offer comparable sales during the year – so unless you need a “big ticket” item likely to be heavily marked down, take advantage of sales as they happen throughout the year.
Why wait?  Make a list, and go bargain hunting; you’ll beat the holiday rush!  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Life Improvement

If you are thinking about making a move and looking at new homes there is an underlying reason or two.  There is a problem to solve and you believe that a different home and new neighborhood can improve your life.  It is usually a combination of issues that have built up over time that now motivate you to “start looking”.  Most people start their search on the Web and then make visits to the communities that interest them most.  For resale homes a good agent can be invaluable.  For new home purchases a good builder representative who is trained and knowledgeable can help you focus on your needs to make the process successful.
So how are people looking to improve their lives by purchasing a new home?  They are:
  • Right-sizing their homes for only the square footage and actual rooms needed.  This makes the home easier and more affordable to maintain inside and out.
  • Deciding on a one-floor home with everything on the same level.
  • Reducing costs by eliminating space that is no longer needed.
  • Improving comfort by taking advantage of Energy Star homes and appliances.
  • Customizing features based on needs and everyday satisfaction.
Jensen’s Comfort Design Homes offer ease of living to fit your needs and lifestyle for years to come.  We enjoy hearing your personal story and helping you to improve your life.
My next Blog will discuss what community features can help you improve your life.
Kris Jensen III
Get in on the Good Life!®
800-458-6832


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Smart Shopping

What is it about gift buying that makes it so stressful, especially around the holiday season?  We’ve all been there – frantically scanning barren shelves at the local big box store, less than 24 hours left of the shopping season.  Nothing induces panic quite like realizing you still have to find the perfect gift for that special someone – while maintaining your budget and without driving needlessly. 
This year avoid the headache, and plan ahead for your holiday shopping.  We’ve rounded up some of our favorite tips to help you conquer your holiday shopping list without a fuss.
Get organized
            Make a list of everyone you need to purchase a gift for – and plan on what to buy before browsing the aisles.  Planning purchases ahead saves time and money.
            Get gift receipts for all purchases.  Avoid frustration later by keeping receipts and their corresponding gifts together.
            Resist spur-of-the-moment purchases that result in over-spending.  Sticking to a plan will maintain your budget, and cut down on time spent shopping.
Compare Prices
            Whether you purchase online or not, retailer’s websites are a great way to compare prices.  Find out which retailers sell the item you’re looking for, and make note of who has the item for less.  Many stores will even match the online price. 
            Sign up for email alerts from retailers, to stay in the loop.  Many stores give exclusive coupons to email subscribers. They’ll also announce special deals and sales happening both online or in-store.   
            Look into specialty stores, flea markets or independent sellers.  Smaller retailers will sometimes haggle on prices with you, and many will match coupons or deals at other stores. 
Be Smart!
            Double check return and exchange policies.  In the event that a gift receipt is lost, stores with accommodating return policies are much appreciated. 
            Don’t wait for Black Friday to make your purchases.  Most retailers offer comparable sales during the year – so unless you need a “big ticket” item likely to be heavily marked down, take advantage of sales as they happen throughout the year.
Why wait?  Make a list, and go bargain hunting; you’ll beat the holiday rush!  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The King Of Fall

Ah, fall.  The season that brings about my favorite vegetable: the pumpkin.
Pumpkins are part of a family of vegetables that are breathtaking in their versatility.  Have you ever taken a moment to admire the different varieties gourds are available in?  There are butternuts, spaghetti squashes, pumpkins (of course), acorn and Hubbard, among others.  Each one holds a special place in my kitchen, but only one deserves the kind of attention that is devoted to it. 
Pumpkin is of course the king of fall.  That lovely orange squash is so adaptable.  I use it for everything: soups, side dishes, main courses, deserts, even as spreads (pumpkin butter, anyone?).  My children – and now my grandchildren – look forward to entering my kitchen on a crisp fall day; the smell of baking and cooking pumpkin with spices is intoxicating.
There is one pumpkin delicacy that I could never have enough of – pumpkin bread.  I’ve made so many loaves through the years, I’m tempted to bake it with my eyes closed.  It’s good plain, or with raisins or walnuts thrown into the batter.  My grandchildren love a slice with cream cheese spread on top.  And I am so trying that pumpkin bread French toast recipe I saw online this fall when I get this batch done!
So get a pan, pre-heat the oven.  Here is my all-time favorite pumpkin bread recipe.  Share it with your loved ones!
Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread
As found on allrecipes.com
             Ingredients
                         1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
                         4 eggs
                         1 cup vegetable oil
                         2/3 cup water
                         3 cups white sugar
                         3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                         2 teaspoons baking soda
                         1 1/2 teaspoons salt
                         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                         1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
                         1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
                         1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Directions
1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
2.     In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  1. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Get In On It!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Day Trippin’

I spent years commuting through rush hour traffic during my career, and once I retired I was done with extended car rides. There is one exception to the general rule, however.  Once a year, I willingly sit in the car for an extended period of time –and I really look forward to it. 
I am a bona-fide fall enthusiast.  Vibrant colors, the sound of rustling leaves, pumpkin flavored everything – fall is a season you want to experience with all of your senses.  And each year, I plan a fall-foliage drive that immerses me in everything autumn. 
I plan my road-trip very carefully: finding the best day in terms of weather; planning my route on back roads with the deepest canopies of foliage; strategic stops mapped at the most breath-taking look-out spots.  And I always plan a lot of stops. 
There’s the farm-stand at the beginning of my journey, with mums and pumpkins, ready to pick.  And of course, delicious sugary sweet cider donuts! There’s the state park where I take a short hike, enjoying the sound of the wind through the leaves and the smell of the forest as it readies for winter.  Finally, there’s the cider house that serves lunch – and the best pumpkin coffee I’ve ever had.  I keep a slow but deliberate pace, appreciating this spectacular time of year for all it has to offer.
You know, back in the days of my rush-hour commute, I used to admire the leaves.  The difference now?  Instead of rushing by, I actually get to enjoy the season!
Flyin’ Free

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Your Beach Vacation Has Been Extended...



For most of us the summer is officially over after the Labor Day Holiday.  We are back at work and the kids return to school.  Busy doesn’t accurately describe the increased pace and full schedule.
But how would it feel to stick around a resort town once the summer crowd has left for the season?  Probably pretty darn good!  You can get into your favorite restaurants when you want.  There is no better time than early fall on the beach when the water is still warm but you can find room to enjoy the sand and surf.  Tee or court times?  When would you like to play?  The course and courts are yours again.
And off season no longer means desolate.  The resorts listed in the “5 Affordable Beach Resort Towns - Vacation in the simple pleasure of sun, sand and surf” article on AARP’s site by: Alexis Flippin (from: Frommer's Travel - August 9, 2012) still have plenty going on.  Number 5 is Jensen’s particular favorite with two outstanding communities at either end of the Grand Strand as the greater Myrtle Beach beaches are known as.  Country Lakes located in Little River offers peace and convenience just five minutes to Cherry Grove Beach.  Our sister communities of Ocean Pines and Magnolia Grove are at the south end of the Strand in Garden City Beach just a golf cart ride away.
Whether you are looking to extend your summer fun or live in a warm climate year round, you too can enjoy a retirement that will feel like a vacation every minute you are there.
Kris Jensen III
Get in on the Good Life!®
800-458-6832

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A New Season: A New List

Ah, Labor Day.  Hard to believe June, July and August went by so fast! The long weekend is summer’s last official hoorah before it’s time to face the shorter days, the crisper nights and the reality that fall and winter are coming.  It’s also a good reminder of the loose ends that should be tied up before the busy months of the holidays are in full swing.
It may be the last thing you want to think about when it’s sunny and warm outside, but late August and early September are the perfect time to begin winterizing your home and belongings.  There are a host of items on the winterizing to-do list, and it can seem daunting without a plan. 
Make it easier by breaking up your tasks, and focusing on one area of your home at a time.  Start with the exterior, by preparing items such as lawn mowers, gutters and landscaping like shrubs and flowerbeds for winter hibernation.  Prepare the inside of your home by stocking up on emergency supplies (you never know when that freak storm might hit!), unpacking winter clothes and double-checking insulation.  A few minutes now can mean so much more later.  Like having a good reliable flashlight on hand, a radio and plenty of batteries to spare.  It doesn’t hurt to store some bottled water and snacks, too.
Preparing now means fewer headaches later, and more time to enjoy what colder weather has to bring – like family and celebrations.  Preparing now also means fewer surprises later – by ensuring everything in your home is in working order and ready for the long haul of fall and winter.
So between Labor Day burgers and fall foliage, set aside some time to tackle that cold-weather to-do list.  There’s no time like the present!
Jensen Communities

Making the Most of Your Free Time

“Live life to the fullest.” 
- Ernest Hemingway­
Over the years, I’ve drawn inspiration from that quote, always keeping those words in the back of my mind.  I’ve used it as motivation to learn to sail, drive cross-country and even visit Australia.  They are the words I’ve lived my life by, as simple as they may seem.
Now that my children have their own families and I’ve retired, I find that that saying still has meaning in my life – though in a new way.  It used to be about using my free time wisely, and finding the biggest and best adventure to experience.  Now it’s about savoring the little moments, and appreciating what my life has given me. 
Fall is probably my favorite time of year to put that wisdom to use.  My flexible schedule means that no matter what activities my family has going on –sports, school or work – I can always find a way to spend time with them. 
I make a point to take my grandchildren apple picking and on hayrides; to can the last summer veggies with my daughter; and to take fall foliage drives with my son and his family.  We live life to the fullest by appreciating the beauty of our world and the joy of being together.
I used to think that living life to the fullest meant traveling far and spending money to find the most exciting experience I could.  Now I know – it’s about the sound of crunchy fall leaves, and the smell of fresh tomatoes.  Living life to the fullest is about valuing what you have, no matter how simple or how small.
Get In On It!

Fish Fry

Labor Day isn’t a holiday that mandates you spend time with family, or give thanks for what you have.  There’s no gift exchange, and no special songs or decorations to denote its arrival.  For me, it has its traditions, all the same.  It’s that last opportunity to really enjoy all summer has to offer, and prepare for the fall and holiday season ahead.
Years ago, a few buddies and I decided that the best way to spend our Labor Day was out on the water, boating and fishing and swapping stories.  No one really remembers whose idea it was in the first place, but it has become a tradition none of us would pass up.  There’s nothing better than the quiet sound of the water, the small splash of the fish jumping and the excitement of that first tug on the line. 
The Labor Days are gone where my buddies and I commiserate with one another about the stresses of work and the challenges we’ll face – we’re all retired now.  But some things never change.  We may not talk business anymore, but we still remark how lucky we are to enjoy the open water; how good the fresh fish tastes grilled just after we catch it; and we still debate who has caught the biggest fish so far.
Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the fresh fish grilling.  And for me, Labor Day is the perfect time to enjoy everything life has given me.
Flyin’ Free

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rewarding a Green Thumb

Jensen residents usually don’t need a lot of encouragement to keep their home sites looking their best.  At this time of year, we like to give them an added incentive by providing a Prize Home Site Award or two for each community!
Having a small, private and manageable home site has long been a key advantage of owning a home in a Jensen community.  The grass doesn’t take long to mow.  The leaf raking or snow shoveling is nothing like the big chore it was in the old house.  And for those that don’t want to do any heavy lifting, you can hire one of the many contractors that are available (or use Jensen’s service at Brook Ridge, Hillcrest, Cherrywood and Southern Palms).
What a right sized yard gives you is time to utilize that green thumb for your flowers, shrubs and other garden tasks.  The results are beautiful and enjoyable.  It is a difficult task for Jensen’s judges to choose the best site or two out of so many attractive yards.  Here are a few examples from up and down the coast:

And that award?  Residents with the winning home sites receive a check for one month’s lease fee for their efforts!

Congratulations to all of the Jensen Prize Home Site Winners in 2012!
Kris Jensen III
Get in on the Good Life!®
800-458-6832

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who Says You Can’t Go Back?

There used to be a time when the end of summer meant going back to school - getting new supplies, picking out the perfect outfit and figuring out which friends shared your classes.  But just because you’ve long since graduated, we think there’s no better time to get back to the classroom.  And who says you need to learn math or English in that classroom? 
There are all kinds of classes available to those who are willing to learn.  Local parks and recreation departments, local colleges and universities, and even some local businesses offer classes that are not only affordable, but will also give you the opportunity to meet people like you.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to paint or play guitar.  Or maybe, you’d like to perfect your favorite hobby, whether that’s cooking or taking photos.  Even better, convince a friend (or two!) to sign up with you.
At Jensen Communities®, we think age is just a number – and you’re never too old to learn something new.  So let the kid in you play a little – sign up for a class and have fun!
Jensen Communities
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