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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
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