Archive for January, 2012

Teach for America Teachers Added in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City Public Schools will soon be receiving two new teachers from Teach for America, the national organization that aims to provide teachers for two years to some of the toughest inner-city school districts in the country. The organization employs professionals or top college graduates in different professions and offers them crash courses in teaching to help provide students throughout the country with access to equal educational opportunities.

In addition, the Oklahoma City School Board has approved the hiring of 70 more Teach for America teachers for the 2012-2013 school year. Currently, there are only 54 first-year Teach for America teachers in Oklahoma City after two dropped out of the program before the end of the fall semester. According to Sandra Park, Deputy Superintendent, the new teachers will be based in schools that have previously hosted teachers from Teach for America. They will mostly be covering pre-kindergarten positions since the entire city is heading toward an all-day pre-kindergarten program.

By bringing on 70 additional new teachers, the school system will incur an added cost of $280,000. Executive Director Lance Tackett explained that this is only a fraction of the $2.4 million that it will actually cost to provide support to the 122 teachers. Private donors and businesses will be making financial contributions to cover the rest of the expense.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Make Your Kitchen Appear Larger

Small kitchens can be frustrating, especially if you have dreams of having a bigger one or feel trapped by a house design that does not allow for expansion.  Fortunately, however, there are ways you can make even the smallest kitchen appear larger.  So, put down your chopping knife, take a deep breath, and follow these ideas…

  • Install large mirrors. Mirrors can make any room seem larger because they reflect light and brighten a space.  Though your first reaction may be to buy a small mirror because you have a small space, in reality, the bigger the mirror is, the wider the room will appear. So, identify an area where you can place a decorative mirror and start enjoying the results.  If you have enough wall space and your budget permits, you could even try installing an oversized mirror to cover an entire wall.
  • Less furniture means more space, so if you don’t need an extra table inside your kitchen, don’t put one there. Moreover, make use of multi-functional furniture, such as all-in-one countertop, storage, and food preparation stations.
  • Avoid low hanging lighting because it can make your kitchen appear smaller. Instead, use track lighting or recessed lighting.  Another trick is to aim your light toward the ceiling, which gives the illusion of greater height.
  • Use light, warm colors when painting your kitchen. Light colors will add a sense of more freedom to your room, while warm colors will give it more energy.
  • Use a glass table in your kitchen. Because it is transparent, it will appear to take up less space and will therefore create an open feeling while still providing function.
  • De-clutter your kitchen. Free up as much space as possible, including along your countertops.  Clutter makes any room feel smaller, so remove what you don’t need, and your kitchen will immediately feel more spacious.
  • Remove window curtains.  If your window can live without a curtain, let it do so.  This will allow more sunlight to enter the room, which will make it feel lighter and more airy.  If you really need a curtain, consider something sheer in a light color.
  • Make use of reflective finishes. Mirrors were already discussed above, but similar results can be achieved from other shiny surfaces such as stainless steel appliances and glass tiles.  Reflective surfaces spread the light inside a room, making it look wider.
  • Opt for open cabinets instead of closed ones. Open shelves enable light to shine in more areas, which creates a brighter, more spacious feeling.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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What Not to Do When Decorating

Even though it’s fun to be creative, there are still certain rules when it comes to decorating your home.  If you simply decorate freely without thinking things through, you can end up with a mess on your hands – or awkward arrangements – and all of your work will have been wasted.

So, before you start your next decorating venture, read these tips on what not to do…

  • Don’t go overboard with old heirlooms. Of course, we value old heirlooms from our great grandmother or great aunt, but let’s face it.  Unless the theme of your entire house is old world antique, they’re going to look a little odd with modern elements if there are too many of them.  If you really want to preserve your keepsakes and be able to see them on a regular basis, choose only the ones that are your favorites and space them throughout the house rather than group them.
  • Don’t position your toilet in front of your bathroom door. Do you really want your toilet to greet you when you open your bathroom door?  Probably not.  So, either offset it or place it around a divider if one exists and instead, have a lovely vanity greet you when you open the door instead.
  • Don’t stick to matching colors. The truth is, not all matching colors actually match. After all, if you have a red wall, adding a red sofa, red area rug, and red lampshade is going to be overkill. Sometimes, contrasting colors work better together because you don’t have to match the exact shade of every item and you can create depth. Play with different color combinations and create a beautiful outcome that is uniquely you.
  • Don’t let your furniture occupy the entire room.  Sometimes empty floor space without a specific purpose bothers us, so we put a chair or another piece of furniture on top of it. Though that may be great in certain scenarios, it isn’t always a good solution.  In a living room, for example, it is best to group furniture closer together to encourage conversation instead of scattering it all over the place to “fill the room”.
  • Don’t put “for display only” furniture inside a room.  If a piece of furniture has no other purpose other than to be there, and people aren’t allowed to use it, get it out of the room. There are much better ways to utilize your floor space.
  • Don’t keep furniture that doesn’t match your room.  This isn’t to say that you can’t mix and match furniture with similar elements, but if you have chosen a modern black and white palette, an antique cherry wood chair with golden upholstery is probably going to throw things off.  Either sell the furniture, give it away, or repaint it, but don’t keep it in the room.
  • Don’t overdo your ornamental display. Do you want to give off the impression of having a store inside your house?  If not, avoid excessively placing many ornamental décor on all of your countertops and cabinets.  It’s all about moderation.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Final Plan for Assisted Living Center Approved by Edmond Commission

The Edmond Planning Commission has made its decision, and there will soon be a new assisted living center in the city called Autumn Leaves of Edmond. At this week’s meeting, the commission voted 4-0 in favor of the final plan.

The City Council has also already approved zoning changes for an office planned unit development to accommodate the proposed assisted living center. The LaSalle Group, a company that offers specialized assisted living facilities to patients with Alzheimer’s, is planning to build a 25,783 square foot facility on a 4.3-acre tract located on the north side of 15th Street.

According to Bob Schiermeyer, City Planner of Edmond, LaSalle Group will be building a center that includes 35 private rooms and 2 semi-private rooms. There will be a drive on the east side of the building with no access on the west.  Schiermeyer added that the utilities and drainage that will be used by the one-story building have also already been reviewed.

To protect the welfare of the Alzheimer’s patients who will soon be living on the center, a fence along the back of the property will be built for added security.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Make Your Bathroom Clutter Free

Bathrooms are one of the most challenging areas in your house to keep clean because they are in constant use and are full of moisture.  There are, however, several organizing tricks that you can use to make sure your bathroom always stays clean and well-maintained.  Bear in mind that bathroom organization will require the help and cooperation of your family members in order for it to be successful, so sit down with everyone and explain to them the new systems.

Now, gather up your cleaning and organizing tools and start putting your bathroom in order, using these helpful tips…

  • Get rid of everything you no longer need. That includes empty bottles and expired toiletries. They only add clutter to your bathroom, and beyond that, it’s not a good idea to use products that have already expired.
  • Remove all pills and medicine from your medicine cabinet and store them in your room or kitchen to keep them out of the humidity and heat. Then, you will have space in your cabinet to store your toothpaste and shaving cream. If you have a wide enough counter in your bathroom, use trays to place all your bathroom essentials in one area, so you can get rid of closed cabinets completely.
  • Separate what you have already used from what you haven’t. That way, you only have to put the things you are using where you can easily access them, and you can store away extra bathroom essentials in higher cabinets.
  • Use hooks or towel racks to hang your towels instead of throwing them over the shower curtain rod or bathtub.  Installing the racks near your bathtub or shower will make them easily accessible.
  • Use a bath caddy to keep your shampoo and soap in one area. Bath caddies are very convenient, inexpensive, and take up minimal space.
  • Put a small hamper in your bathroom so you can immediately put dirty clothes away without scattering them across the floor.
  • Make use of your empty bathroom wall. Instead of placing artwork on your wall, add extra storage space by installing a cabinet above your toilet.  You will create additional storage space, which will reduce the need to keep things out and create clutter.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Window Treatment Ideas For A New and Lovelier Window

Tired of your old curtains and plastic blinds?  These days, there are a variety of new window treatments to choose from that can add style to your room and ensure that your windows are well protected.  Here are a few styles to consider.

  • Horizontal Wood Blinds. If you want to replace your plastic blinds, but would still like to keep their function, consider wood blinds.  Wood blinds come in a variety of shades and create a more elegant look, while still providing you with control over how much light to let in. Faux wood blinds are a lesser expensive option than real wood blinds and are actually more durable.
  • Fabric Window Shades. Window shades made of polyester fabric function like regular blinds, but instead of blocking the light from the outside, they soften it. This type of shade is an excellent option for bedrooms in which you would like a softer, more sensual atmosphere.
  • Roman Blinds. For some people, this kind of window treatment is considered outdated, but if you choose the right material and design, it could be a perfect fit for your window. Consider more stylish patterns and bolder colors, so you don’t run the risk of them looking like a hand-me-down from an older generation.
  • Bamboo Roman Shades. Love that Zen feeling inside your home?  Complete it by covering your window with bamboo Roman shades.  They allow you to filter the light that comes inside your room and the aesthetics of the bamboo material will add to an overall tranquil feeling.
  • Luxe Fabrics. Luxe fabrics will always be trendy, and their bolder colors and different textures, like velvet, fur, suede, leather, and silk, are truly a worthy of showing off.
  • Sliding Panels. For larger windows or your patio, vertical blinds and drop down curtains are not your only option. Sliding panels can transform your patio and widen windows, creating a beautiful addition to your interior.
  • Indoor Shutters. These may not be as universally applicable as any other window coverings, but if placed in the right location, they can make a room more romantic and cozier than ever.  Explore darker colors, in addition to the usual white, to expand your options.
  • Window Films. Window films will fit any window size and can protect your interior from harsh sunlight. They also serve to give your room a bit of privacy, while still leaving you a good view of the outside.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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OSU-OKC Farmers Market Customer Appreciation Day

The OSU-Oklahoma City Farmers Market will soon be putting on a fun day to show customers their appreciation.  The Customer Appreciation Day, open to everyone, will be held Saturday at the Horticulture Pavilion at 400 N. Portland Avenue from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Those who want to shop for organic products, fresh food, and other handmade products, ranging from skincare to craft items, can come Saturday to enjoy a variety of selections from over 30 vendors that include local farmers, food producers, and artisans. In addition, customers will have the chance to win great door prizes during hourly drawings.  Prizes will include customized OSU-OKC Farmers Market thermal totes and large Farmers Market baskets full of fresh foods and artisan crafts.

According to Cheryl Camp, OSU-OKC Farmers Market Manager, the appreciation day is a way for Farmers Market vendors to say “thank you” to their customers. The appreciation day is open to everyone, ranging from customers who have been with them for more than 15 years to first-timers.

Camp added that the OSU-OKC Farmers Market is living up to what it means to be a market community. Vendors, customers, and their families already know each other and enjoy interacting during market time.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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