Home Tips: Backyard Activities for Kids

Are you a homeowner with little ones running around? We know that coming up with fresh ways to keep your kiddos entertained during the summer months can become a little bit exhausting, so we’ve compiled a list of outdoor activities to keep your kids engaged and entertained this season!

Backyard Picnics: Why stick indoors for mealtime on a nice, sunny day when you can get outside and enjoy some Vitamin D? Have your kids help “pack” a picnic basket, grab a blanket, and get snackin’! One of the best parts about taking mealtime outside is that clean-up becomes a breeze!

Backyard Camping: A fun way to enjoy some extended backyard time is to plan a backyard camping “trip” with your children. It’s less stressful than taking a real camping trip (if you forget something, just run inside to grab it), and it’s much less commitment than packing up the whole crew to go to a camp ground in another location.

Water Balloon Baseball: When the weather is hot, water games can keep kids cool and entertained for hours. We love the idea of combining your typical water balloon fight with a game of whiffle ball. Just swap the ball for filled balloons and grab the whiffle bat, and you’ve got a game that is sure to keep little ones smiling and laughing!

Painting Rocks: It may seem a little less than thrilling, but for those with artistic little ones, painting rocks is a fun (and cheap) way to get their creative juices flowing. And when you keep this activity outdoors, it makes for much easier clean up. Just throw down some old newspaper if you’re painting on a deck or patio, go hunting for the perfect rock “canvas,” and get to painting!

Plant a Butterfly Garden: If you want an activity that is both educational and rewarding, this idea is a winner. Here’s a list of flowers that can attract numerous species of butterflies. A great benefit to this activity is that it allows an opportunity to teach your kids about responsibility when it comes to watering the plants in the long run, and it shows them that hard work is often rewarding, when the butterflies begin to show up!

Egg Drop: For those of you with a second story to your home and kids that are a little bit older, an egg drop is another fun activity that can go for hours and also has an educational component. Give your kids the opportunity to think outside the box by providing them with a few eggs and cardboard boxes, old box packaging (bubble wrap, packing peanuts, etc.), tape, string, and more – really, whatever you have laying around the house or garage. Have them build something that will protect an egg when dropped from the second story window! For safety, we recommend supervising this activity, especially with young ones.

We hope that these ideas help keep your kids’ outdoor activity list going and, let’s face it, help to keep you sane while you wait out the summer months before your kids head back to school in August! For more summer activity ideas, check out this extensive list provided by Unicef!

 

 

 

Home Tips: What’s All the Buzz About Bees?

You know the sound…a quick buzz right by your ear on a hot summer day. You swat and shoo the sound away but it returns only moments later: the honey bee.

For ages, we’ve been conditioned to fear and avoid bees, and for some valid reasons: they seem to come around where they’re not welcome (like when they dive bomb into your sweet glass of lemonade), and the occasional sting from a bee is enough to put both children and adults on edge when they make their appearance. But contrary to popular belief, bees are not “out to get us.” In fact, with a little education, you may find there’s much more to love about them than to hate.

Here’s a few reasons to welcome honey bees and and a few ways we can be better stewards of their home and environment.

What’s to Love

Did you know that 1/3 of our food sources in the U.S. alone depend on pollination from bees (and other insects)? Plants and food crops like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and beans all require pollination to grow, thrive, and reproduce. So that means that less bees equals less food production in the long term.

Probably the most well known benefit of the honey bee is the liquid gold they produce: HONEY. But what you may not know is that honey is more than just a tasty sweetener to stir into your tea or drizzle over a buttered biscuit. Honey has a long list of health benefits aside from nourishment. This tasty nectar is rich in antioxidants, which are linked to reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and some types of cancer. It’s antioxidant compounds can also help to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol.

Not only does honey benefit the human body internally, it can also affect change topically. It has been applied to burns, wounds, and ulcers for centuries, as well as being used as an anti-aging remedy for skin wrinkles. Basically, honey is the miracle food and is ONLY made by, you guessed it, honeybees.

How to Help

While you may be okay with the occasional bee buzzing around in your yard, the majority of home-owners likely do not care to have an entire swarm or hive taking up residence on their property. But before you bust out the sprays and pesticides or call an exterminator, give your local bee keeper’s association a call. The Northeastern Indiana Beekeeper’s Association (NEIBA), in partnership with the Southwest Honey Company, will come free of charge to extract and relocate swarms to an apiary where they can continue to thrive, pollinating and producing honey. Here’s a recent article with resources on how to identify honey bee swarms and how to contact the Southwest Honey Company to relocate bees from your property, in and around the Fort Wayne area.

If hives or swarms aren’t a problem on your property, but you are eager to help provide a healthy, beneficial habitat for the bees that are in your area, consider planting bee-friendly flowers, herbs, and trees (that have not been pre-treated with pesticides) on your land or in your yard. These will provide a habitat for honey bees to thrive as they venture out from their hives each day in search of plants to pollinate. Click here for more on what plants to plant in your yard!

Lastly, consider providing a source of water for the bees to drink from because just like people, bees need to stay hydrated on hot summer days! An easy way to do this is to place some stones and pebbles in a filled bird bath so that honey bees can crawl into the water to drink without drowning.

We hope that these buzz-worthy bee facts inspire you to better steward and care for the honey bees that benefit us in so many ways!

 

Home Tips: Bonfire Essentials

A favorite evening activity for many is hosting bonfires for their family and friends, but how do you take your backyard fire from status quo to fresh and fun? Here are a few ways to step-up your bonfire game while hosting at your home!

Set the Mood: While the fire will put off some mood-lighting all on its own, consider adding some string lights or tiki-torches to your backyard to help define your gathering space.

Wow the Tastebuds: While hot dogs are typical bonfire fare, consider adding to the menu with a “build-your-own” food bar. We love the idea of setting up a walking taco bar where guests can fill a bag of fritos with taco meat and all the fixings. It’s plate-free and mobile, and is an easy meal to enjoy around the fire.

Keep it Cozy: Even during the summer months it can get a bit chilly once the sun goes down. Provide your guests with a cute basket of blankets to keep everyone comfy and cozy. Blankets also serve as great shields for bare legs and feet when the mosquito squadron arrives for the night!

S’More than Just S’Mores: Everyone knows that S’Mores and bonfires go hand-in-hand, but make this traditional treat even more exciting by having a S’Mores bar with a few extra fixings! In addition to graham crackers, provide a few flavors of cookies to sandwhich around your toasted marshmallows or try adding things like Reece’s cups and alternate chocolate flavors to give a twist to an old favorite!

Here’s to summer and your perfect backyard bonfire!

On the hunt for a home with the perfect backyard for hosting? Connect with a North Eastern Group Realty agent to get your home-hunt started today!

At North Eastern Group Realty, we are prepared to assist our clients with their significant Fort Wayne real estate decisions. Our corporate commitment is to provide real knowledge, proven experience and professional, quality service. To search all Fort Wayne homes for sale or find a Fort Wayne REALTOR®, visit our website at NorthEasternGroup.com.

North Eastern Group Realty is Fort Wayne’s largest independent real estate company located at 10808 La Cabreah Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 46845.

Home Tips: Creating Your Outdoor Space

One of the things that we find great about home-ownership is the extra “room” that you get to add on to your house during the warm summer months: the deck or patio. Why not fully cease this extra space and make it your own? We’ve gathered some of the top trends in outdoor furnishings and decor to help style your space.

Accent Lighting

Every good patio space needs lighting done right. We love the look of these string lights and they are relatively easy to hang over your space. They provide just enough light when the sun goes down, without being overly bright and set the perfect mood for outdoor evening gatherings. Find them on Amazon here!

Mixed Material Furniture

Many home goods stores are featuring patio furniture this season with a blend of materials: teak, wicker, iron, aluminum and more. Don’t be afraid to go for a furniture set that plays with these materials to add more texture to your patio or deck space. The picture below is a set we love, available on Wayfair.com!

Pops of Color

You only get to use your outdoor space for a small chunk of the year, so why not keep it bright and fun! Choosing accent throw and floor pillows in vibrant patterns and colors brings some life to the space and they are also an easy way to switch up the vibe of your patio or deck each year on a budget.

Fire-Side Dining

One of the coolest trends we see emerging this season are outdoor dining sets with built in fire pits. These are the perfect touch for home-owners who love to entertain! For those willing to splurge, there are plenty of these dining sets at a higher budget, but here’s one we love for a more moderate price at Hayneedle.

Rugs

Outdoor rugs aren’t exactly a new trend, but why stick for beige and boring when you can accent your outdoor “room” with a bold pattern and pop of color! Check out the rug below from Rugs USA!

We hope these ideas get you started on creating your perfect outdoor gathering space this season!

Check out the rest of our blog for more home tips & tricks this season!

 

 

Home Tips: Low-Maintenance Landscaping

Do you want the look of luscious landscaping around your home without all of the effort it takes to get there? Here are some simple ways to cut down on time spent preparing your landscape so you can get to enjoying your landscape!

Fuss-Free Plants: This is a no-brainer when it comes to planning out your beds. Opt for more perennials than annuals so you don’t need to re-plant your entire landscaping each year. A go to for us? Evergreen shrubs provide the look of green foliage (even year round!) but require little attention along the way.

Potted Plants: Pots can be lifesavers when it comes to planting in your yard. Going this route means less weeding and more control over how big certain plants get – that way, you don’t have any rogue plants taking over your garden beds. An additional benefit to planting in pots is the way you can customize and introduce pattern and color in new ways!

Native Species: The more native plants you can incorporate into your landscaping, the better. They are already used to our climate, which means you won’t have to stress as much about water, light, and temperature! No need to add to your outdoor to-do list if you don’t have to.

Mulch: While mulching can initially eat up a decent chunk of time (dedicate a few spring days or a weekend to tackle this task and you’re set for the season!), it has the power to cover a multitude of gardening sins in the long run. Mulch makes it more difficult for weeds to sprout and crowd your plants, and it also helps to feed your garden as it breaks down over time. Not to mention, a fresh layer of mulch just looks SO good!

Cottage Garden: Love to have lots of colorful blooms around your home but don’t want the added maintenance? Going for a natural look in some of your beds can add a sweet cottage charm to your landscaping. Just remember, it’s okay to let your cottage garden run a little wild, but keep this style of planting to specific beds to avoid letting your yard look more overgrown than sweet and tasteful.

 

On the hunt for more home tips and tricks? See more on our blog!

Home Tips: Drool-Worthy Memorial Day Recipes

Memorial Day weekend feels like the doorway to summer with gatherings, backyard barbecues, and hopefully plenty of sunshine and warm weather to go around! Tired of the same old recipes year after year? Here a few drool-worthy Country Living recipes to get the party going this year!

Bourbon BBQ Glazed Pork Chops – Tangy, tender, and downright tasty.

Vegetable Kebabs with Lemon Scallion Vinaigrette – This new twist on a classic is both fresh and zesty – just the way we like it.

Bee’s Knees Shandy – With this easy recipe, the 1920’s classic cocktail gets a tasty remix with a splash of lager.

Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie – No backyard barbecue is complete without something sweet to round out the meal. Here’s a recipe with the classic, fresh taste of summertime.

No matter what ends up on the menu, North Eastern Group Realty wishes you and yours a happy holiday weekend!

 

 

Home Tips: Gardening 101

Maybe you’re a gardening pro with a green thumb, or maybe you’ve avoided growing your own produce out of uncertainty. Whichever end of the spectrum you land on, here’s a timeline and a few tricks to keep your own backyard garden teeming with life.

Mid-May

Now that we are (hopefully!) past anymore night time frosts, it’s time to start planting the following:

  • Tomatoes: It’s best to plant these starter plants about 2 feet apart, giving them plenty of room to grow and thrive. Use a cage or stake if the variety you choose recommends it!
  • Eggplant: Plant starter plants now, and they’ll be ready to harvest at the end of July!
  • Peppers: Plant your starter pepper plants about 18 inches apart. Just like eggplant, these will be ready toward the end of July.
  • Green Beans: Opt for seeds over starter plants with these, planting the seeds in a row. A popular variety of green beans to plant are Blue Lake Bush beans. Just keep in mind, pole beans will need to be staked.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash: Go with starter plants for these and expect to start harvesting mid-June.
  • Melons: While it’s likely we are in the clear by now, wait until we have consistently warm nights as melons are extremely susceptible to cold. Plant starter plants and look forward to the harvest in early August.
  • Cucumbers: Last but not least, go with starter plants for your cucumbers. You should be able to start harvesting in July.

Early June

Here’s a few plants to hold off on planting for now – wait until early June to have a fall harvest!

  • Pumpkins: Go with seed planting for pumpkins and expect your harvest in time for Halloween!
  • Winter Squash: Opt for seed planting here as well. You’ll have a harvest in the fall, just in time for cool weather soups and recipes!

 

Not sure where to buy seeds and starter plants? The following greenhouses are local options that will likely have everything you’re looking for, as well as more expert advice, tips, and tricks!

Here’s to eating fresh this season!

Home Tips: Spring Cleaning Kick Start

There are few people who truly LOVE to get started on their spring cleaning projects, but here are a few ways we’ve found to make getting started just a little bit easier:

Reduce and Declutter – Ever notice how we tend to accumulate more and more “stuff” as we hunker down during the cold winter months? One of our favorite ways to kick start your spring cleaning is to gather and get rid of items that are collecting dust and are no longer being used. There are numerous ways to up-cycle your gently used items locally (think Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) but you can also explore selling items of greater value on Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, or Poshmark (for nicer clothing, shoe and accessory items). You may even be able to sell enough items to create a little cash fund for vacations, entertainment, and more this spring and summer!

Make a Cleaning List – That first deep clean of the season can feel daunting, especially when you’re not sure where to begin. We suggest getting out some pen and paper and making a list. Cleaning can feel much more satisfying when you’re able to cross each item off as you accomplish them and watch your to-do list shrink as you go. Still not sure what to add to your list? We love this list from Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia website!

Reward Yourself – What is a long to-do list without a reward at the finish line? We suggest coming up with a way to reward yourself at the end of your spring cleaning to keep yourself motivated and on task. Maybe your reward is splurging on some beautiful floral arrangements to sprinkle throughout the house? Or maybe it’s declaring an official “day of rest” where you don’t have to worry about any more to-do’s – read a book, enjoy the outdoors, etc. Whatever it is, make sure it’s relaxed and enjoyable!

For more home tips and tricks we love, visit our blog!

 

 

There Is No Planet B.

I know I know, what is this? this is a real estate blog why are we talking about the environment? Well, because the environment needs help, and we need the earth in order to sell houses. I’m going to tell you what global warming is, and how you can help.

Water Bottles– I know its easy to just use plastic water bottles and then just throw them away after they’re done being used, But fun fact, it takes 400 years for one plastic water bottle to decompose, or ANY plastic at that. That means you could throw a plastic water bottle on the ground and come back in 2220 and it would still be there. By buying a reusable water bottle you’re not only saving the earth from being littered of plastic for 400 years, but you’re ending the risk of it going into the ocean. Most reusable water bottles can hold up to EIGHT hours of hot liquid, and up to five hours with cold liquid! Reusable water bottles last you for literally as long as you want it for.

Reusables – This one is a bit tougher, for me its hard to find reusable grocery bags locally. You can order a pack of reusable grocery bags from Amazon for $15, so not only will you be saving the earth but it’ll be in style. You can order reusable metal straws from amazon as well, at the most they’re $10, only ten dollars to never reuse a plastic straw ever again. You can find alternatives for literally everything that they make from plastic. Sure one time use plastic is nice and you dont have to worry about it when youre done, but it destroys the earth, and gives us less time to be here.

Global Warming

I know some might not believe in global warming but here are some pictures that have been taken only ten years apart. Now I don’t know about you, but this is scary to me. The way i see things is that everything and everyone was put here for a reason. But its the decisions we made that got us to this point.  As a whole the human race gets so caught up in what they’re doing or whats going on in their lives they don’t see the bigger picture here.

Now lets talk about the leading causes of Global Warming, and i will say in advance, some might not like it.

Food Agriculture- The meat industry is literally the leading cause of Global Warming. It took more than 20 years to broadly accept that mankind is causing global warming with the emission of greenhouse gases. The drastic increase in the emission of CO2 (carbon dioxide) within the last 30 years caused by burning fossil fuels has been identified as the major reason for the change of temperature in the atmosphere. What causes CO2? Major industries and factories. Whats the biggest industry here in the US? You got it, the meat industry. With the way the US is producing meat your children and even grand children might not live their full lives. At some point the earth is going to give the human race the boot, unless we stop and come together to help, not just for the earth to be beautiful again but for the children who are alive now that deserve a chance at life.

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has become so large that planting trees can no longer save us. For those that don’t know trees absorb CO2 to grow, they then release oxygen for humans and animals. But a very abrupt realist shows that there is simply not enough room on the earth to plant the number of trees it would take to stop the earth from warming up just 3.6 DEGREES. only 3 degrees. If the planet were to warm up just 3.6 degrees it will increase the amount of wildfires, droughts, extreme storms. What does it take to stop this from happening? Studies show that we would have to plant over 1.7 BILLION acres of trees, through that it would remove 3 billion tons of atmospheric carbon each year. That is only about 10% of what we emit annually. But planting that many trees wouldn’t solve the problem but it would be a major help.

There’s still one more problem with that, 1.7billion acres is about the size of the entire united states. The US covers half of the land that’s used for crops WORLDWIDE. So if this tactic were to be planned out this way and used, people everywhere would starve.

 

Here are a few solutions scientists have thrown in the air to help.

  1. Switching from gas to electric, there are little to no downsides to switching from gas to electric, it ceases the use of fossil fuels.

“Since the Great Smog of 1952, which killed 4,000 Londoners in just five days, air pollution has been linked to a shortened lifespan. Over 60 years later and air pollution is still a valid health concern and with more cars on the road than ever, transport is now a major contributor to poor air quality in the UK. Unfortunately, the threat of climate change now hangs over the world and it has been argued that if we do not reduce our polluting emissions we risk the quantity and quality of water resources, crop yields and may even see an increase in climate-related hazards such as droughts and hurricanes, according to the International Panel on Climate Change.”

2. Finding and alternative to plastic/paper. Paper isn’t such a big deal for us, because well, its biodegradable AND we get it from trees, which we get to be lucky enough to know how to replant. We need to find an alternative to plastic that is safe for our environment, and better for us in the long run.

3.  Reinvest habitats instead of destroying them- We need to stop looking for space or land to build on when we already have what we need, old buildings and structures will sit for decades without being touched, we can tear that down and plant trees or reuse to building for something eco-friendly.

 

People and scientists are coming up with new ways all the time to better the earth, our home, everything and everyone living on it. Regardless its up to the people to decide what we want. To keep investing in plastic companies that don’t care about anyone or anything besides themselves or money, or go the eco-friendly route, by buying reusable’s, to help sustain a longer life span for the Earth and the human race. There is no planet b.

 

At North Eastern Group Realty, we are prepared to assist our clients with their significant Fort Wayne real estate decisions. Our corporate commitment is to provide real knowledge, proven experience and professional, quality service. To search all Fort Wayne homes for sale or find a Fort Wayne realtor, visit our website at NorthEasternGroupRealty.com

North Eastern Group Realty is Fort Wayne’s largest independent real estate company locates at 10808 La Cabreah Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 46845