Archive for August, 2012

New Funds Approved for Adult Softball Fields in Edmond

Edmond residents will soon be able to enjoy new adult softball fields, thanks to approved funding by the city council sfor a community park.

The northeast corner of Post Road and State Highway 66 is the proposed site for the softball fields. Edmond City Council said that this will be the fourth community park in that area, and it will be named Edmond Route 66 Park and given a Route 66 theme.

The plan was actually set years ago, but delays occurred and pushed back the request.  City Council will be adding $1.6 million to the original budget request to cover additional construction costs.  Previously, the budget was set at $4.2 million with $600,000 having already been spent on design work. Now, it is being increased to $5.2 million to include four adult softball fields.

The added funds for the construction of the new community park will be taken from sales tax revenue, which was approved by voters in 2000. Part of the sales tax money will be used on capital improvement projects of which the softball park is one.

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

 

 

 

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Preparing Your Lawn and Garden for the Winter

Caring and maintaining a beautiful garden during the summer is great, but if you don’t prepare it for the colder fall and winter weather, all of your hard work can be ruined.   Winterizing your lawn and garden will them to remain healthy even when the temperatures are at their coldest and snow is covering them.  Doing some preparation to prevent them from getting damaged by frost and freezing temperatures will enable you to enjoy flowers and greenery that return automatically once the weather warms up again.

To help you winterize your lawn and garden, here are some tips you can follow:

  • Continue watering your plants to provide them with water to store during the winter.  If you don’t, they will likely die.
  • During Fall, make sure to rake all the leaves that fall onto your lawn. That way, when the snow comes, there will be no dead leaves around to rot and ruin your lawn.
  • Get rid of damaged vegetation brought by the summer season. There will be a lot of weeds and dead plants to remove and gather from your lawn.  Many times, you can use them as mulch or compose later.
  • Don’t prune too much. It is okay to cut down dead branches, but pruning your trees and shrubs right before winter can be unhealthy because they haven’t had enough time to regenerate and build up their new protective layers.
  • Place a layer of around the base of trees and plants. This will help them retain moisture and also be better protect their roots against snow and ice that cover the ground.  About two or three inches of mulching is ideal for them.
  • When winter comes, turn off your water supply to the outside, so your pipes will be less likely to freeze and burst.  Clean and empty your hoses and store them inside, so they don’t break as a result of the cold temperatures and frozen moisture.

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

 

 

 

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How Do You Keep Your Home Appliance Working Longer?

The last thing you ever want to deal with is having to repair your home appliances.  It’s expensive, it interferes with your day-to-day functioning, and it’s frustrating.  And, though you may be trying to save money, any time you have to fix your appliances, it usually requires a large chunk of change.

Finding ways to make your home appliances last longer will help you prevent the need for costly repairs and buying new units.  Below are some tips you can follow to make your home appliances last longer:

  • Maintain your home appliances yourself. Regular and simple maintenance will keep your home appliances in good working order. A simple fix of a small malfunction will prevent the problem from worsening and having to call a serviceman to fix it. In addition, constant cleanup will keep dirt, dust, and other external factors from building up and harming your home appliances.
  • Always follow instructions. There are special instructions on how to use specific appliances properly and how to clean and store them. In particular, kitchen appliances are more fragile, so it is important to take note of these precautions and implement proper cleaning, so you don’t cause damage to the appliance inadvertently.
  • Check for cracks, holes, and other flaws in your home appliances. Keep in mind that huge problems start from small ones. A crack in one of your appliances may start be small at first, but if you leave it be and refuse to repair it, it will likely grow into a bigger crack and larger repair expense. So, to spare you that hassle and cost, always check your appliances for any tiny problems.
  • Know when you can do it yourself and when you need to hire a professional. Yes, doing the repairs yourself is a practical idea, but what is even more practical is know your limits and when you can no longer do the job.  If you go beyond your limits, you are likely to complicate and create further problems, which will only increase your cost when you end up hiring a serviceman to do the job for you.
  • Service your appliances regularly. Take the time to clean the bigger appliances and clean each part thoroughly as instructed. Clean your small appliances after you use them, so they will continue to run efficiently for you.

 

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

 

 

 

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Free Health Care Offered for Oklahomans This Weekend

Oklahoma City residents who are seeking free dental, vision, and medical care will have access to those services this weekend. The second Oklahoma expedition of Remote Area Medical will be held this weekend at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in the Oklahoma Expo Hall.

Based out of Knoxville, Tennessee, Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps (RAM) is a non-profit airborne medical corps that offers different forms of health care to remote areas around the United States. Since its inception in 1985 by Stan Brock, RAM has helped thousands of people through medical relief missions and programs.

In Oklahoma, the group held its first medical program in 2010 as a part of Reach Across America.  More than 1,600 patients where provided with medical care that year.  Now, in its second time in Oklahoma City, the group is expecting the turnout to be even greater than last time.

The medical program will be held on both Saturday and Sunday with doors opening at 6:00 in the morning. However, numbers will be handed out to patients as early as 3:00 in the morning on both days. Those people who are seen will also have the chance to have follow-up care from medical experts, and they will be advised on where they need to go to continue their care.

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

 

 

 

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Go Greener This Fall: Practicing Green Living

 

As cooler weather begins to set in, it’s the perfect time to turn off your AC and enjoy the beautiful fall weather outdoors. When the seasons change and cool breezes become common, you can begin cleaning up your yard, preparing for winter, and reducing your energy bills.  Living green during moderate weather is easier because you can embrace open air living and rely less on heating and cooling units.  To help you go greener this fall and practice an eco-friendly lifestyle at home, here are several tips you can try:

  • Pick from local farms. Even if you don’t have your own garden, now is the perfect time to go apple picking or enjoy the fresh harvest from local farms. Instead of going to the supermarket, take some time to visit local producers and see what fresh fruits and vegetables are available. Also take advantage of farmers markets.
  • Go out more often. Staying outside and enjoying the cool fresh clean air will enable you to reduce your AC usage indoors. Aside from enjoying spending time with your family playing in your backyard or taking walks, you can significantly reduce your energy bills.
  • Create natural compost for your garden. Fall leaves you with a lot of dead leaves to compost, and you can use them as mulches or fertilizer for your garden. So, rather than running to the nursery to buy artificial fertilizers or fill up landfills with bags of leaves, use something from your own backyard.
  • Use your car less. Now is the time to walk or bicycle instead of drive.
  • Use your hands instead of using electrical equipment. Rather than use your electric blower to rid your yard of dead leaves, use a rake. This will not only save you the energy needed to power up your blower, but will also help you get your exercise in for the day.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Increasing the Value of Your Old Home

Old homes are very charming, and their old structural designs offer a charm that simply cannot be replicated by new homes.  However, as enchanting as old homes are, especially to new home buyers, there are certain things that commonly reduce the overall value of old houses. They can really take a toll on sales prices too, especially if they overshadow the aesthetic charm.

Values of old homes can be increased with proper remodeling and renovations in certain areas. Not only will it modernize functionality and provide the proper amenities for homeowners, but it will also help to ensure that your old home holds a strong value.

Below are some renovation tips to help you increase the value of your old home:

  • Install solar panels. One of the main problems in old houses are the outdated, energy inefficient electrical systems. Installing solar panels will provide renewable energy to help counteract that and reduce energy bills.
  • Fix your plumbing and electrical systems. You don’t want to live in a house where you need to do constant repairs because of leaky faucets and pipes or open and damaged electrical wiring. The need for constant repairs quickly reduces the value of your home, so it is better to fix issues properly up front, so they don’t require ongoing maintenance.
  • Install functional windows and doors. They control the level of protection of your home, and if they are unsturdy or in poor condition, that is a major drawback.  So, make sure that your windows and doors open and close properly.
  • Offer a garage. Even if you don’t mind parking your car in the street or in your open driveway, the next homeowner might.  Plus, some communities are strict about parking cars on the streets.
  • Clean up your garden and enhance your landscaping. Curb appeal does a lot for the overall value of your home. If you have a garden in your front yard, make sure it is well-maintained and add some flowering plants to enhance it.
  • Repaint. If the paint on your old house is chipping off or outdated, repaint it before you try to sell it. A fresh coat of paint completely transforms a house.  Choose a color that is updated, but that also fits the style and vintage of the house.

 

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

 

 

 

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Tiny House Movement. Could you Live in 500 Square Feet?

Alan and I recently listened to a popular podcast called Stuff You Should Know and the subject was “What is a Shotgun house?”  I’ve heard the term before but not been exposed to many in Oklahoma architecture. Having family in the Mobile, Alabama area, I had seen some when visiting but more than anything the name caught my attention. http://castroller.com/Podcasts/StuffYouShould/2872754

The show reminded us of the tiny house movement we’ve seen in the United States the past 5 or so years. Many people have wanted to downsize to something more manageable and less expensive while others want to reduce their carbon footprint. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_house_movement

The shotgun house and tiny house have size in common. I wondered if they had design commonalities as well. This is what I learned.

Built before central heat and air, shotgun houses were designed to offer the best airflow with doors and windows open. Given it’s name because the floorplan allows someone to stand at the front door and shoot a gun through the house and out the back door, these homes were popular after the Civil War

in the Southern states. They continued to be popular through the 1920’s. New Orleans has many shotgun homes but they can be found as far away as Chicago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_house

The shotgun house has been revived since Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area as an easy and quick way to build housing to those displaced by the 2005 storm.

In the western part of the country, California and other areas started thinking smaller houses for other reasons. The economy crunch and the real estate market decline caused people to want to own but have less maintenance and lower cost. The tiny house movement came from this.

Tumbleweed Tiny House:

The Widbey Plan

461SF for 1 bedroom/1 bathroom

557 SF for 2 bedroom/1 bathroom

Estimated Material Costs: .

$35,000 – $41,500.

Tumbleweed, Tiny House Company is the commonly known company to offer this kind of a home. Offering floor plans from 99 SF to 874 SF, these homes can be stationary or on wheels. They have three styles: bungalows, house to go and cottages with the later being the largest. I did find that the floorplans are quite different from the shotgun house as their main goal is efficiency and offering today’s conveniences in as little space as possible. http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/pages/plans

One of the earliest things we learn as students is that history repeats itself. The reasons can be different but usually the outcome is the same. We have seen a recent movement toward simplifying and this is how it has evolved in housing. The question is… what is your definition of enough?

Finding what works best for you and your family is what matters. Sometimes that has to do with the amount of space. Other times it is more about features of a house or location. Or maybe wanting a house on the go.

I will close with one thought… isn’t nice to have so many choices?

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

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Painting Mistakes to Avoid During Home Renovations

Anytime you paint the interior or exterior of your home, you have two options: either hire a professional painter or do it yourself.

If you feel like you can do the painting job yourself, familiarize yourself with the most common painting mistakes people make, so you can avoid those same pitfalls. Painting your house exterior, or even a small room, can be very challenging and time-consuming, so you want to avoid making a mistake and having to do the job again at all costs.

So, to avoid making mistakes while you paint, here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Not protecting the floor. Sometimes you can get so excited about painting that you forget to protect your floors. If you skip this step, you can expect a few stains on your floors, so go ahead and cover then before you even allow yourself to open the can of paint.
  • Not waiting. This is a common habit and mistake, but it doesn’t help anything. Sure you want to finish the job as soon as possible and see the final outcome, but by priming your walls and letting them dry before you begin to paint, you will create a more beautiful outcome.
  • Not preparing the surface. Sometimes, you need to sand the surface before painting.  Other times, you need to fill holes with caulk. But, even if the walls are in good shape, you should absolutely always clean them before you begin, so you don’t unintentionally texture your walls with painted dust.
  • Skimping on your paint supplies. It’s great if you want to do the painting yourself, but just don’t skimp on what you need. Invest in quality paint and brushes, so you can have a smoother and faster painting job. If you don’t get everything you need up front, it will make the job longer because you’ll have to run back and forth to the store in order to get additional supplies.
  • Not clearing everything out before painting. Even if you already have experience painting, you still need to take everything out of the room.  You don’t want to risk staining rugs or decorative items with paint.  If you have furniture that is too difficult to remove, cover it with drop cloths and secure them with tape.
  • Not wearing the right clothes for the job.  Wear old clothes or work clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or stained because you will inevitably wind up with paint on you at some point.

 

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

 

 

 

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10 Simple Things That Will Make You Happier At Home

I am a BIG believer that “nesting” is a very important part of life – creating a comfortable home helps to create an anchor for everything else in your life and this article gives 10 simple tips to make your home that sanctuary every day. Enjoy!

Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives — we are, in fact, in control of our outlook on life.

It’s amazing how a few tweaks to our daily habits can become a catalyst for meaningful, positive change. Here are a few simple things you can do every day to feel happier at home.

1. Make your bed. In a popular post last month, I explained the many benefits of daily bed-making. Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to “ready.” I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul’s clever book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys. It’s a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to “ready” before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home. One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, “What was the best part of today?”) Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!) If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.

5. If you can’t get out of it, get into it. This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting “Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!” and pretend you love it.

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says “”Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” Wow. What a wise man. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, “Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!” Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like “be productive” or “enjoy today’s delicious moments” or it could be something more specific like “say thank you to my loved ones today.” But it should not be another “to do” item on your list.

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). (That’s right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don’t expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don’t try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It’s YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It’s a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day. You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don’t feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home. Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don’t forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)

Sourced From: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/10-things-that-will-make-you-happier-at-home-174151

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

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