Happy 4th of July!


 

The Spirits To Move wants to wish each of you a happy and safe 4th of July! 

As you spend time with family and friends, take a moment on this day to remember the

men & women of present & past that have and are still fighting every day for our independence.

Have a Safe & Happy

4th of July!

Friday Fact…


 

 

The Average person will eat 10,866 carrots in their lifetime.
Carrots were the first vegetable to be canned commercially
The Longest Carrot recorded in 1996 was 5.14 metres (16 feet 10 ½ inches)
Carrots produce more distilled spirit than potatoes
In early Celtic literature, the carrot is referred to as the “Honey Underground”!
Carrots are one of the rare vegetables which are more nutritious cooked than raw
Carrots were first grown as a medicine not a food
It’s a myth that Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots – he simply did not like them.

For more carrot facts visit The Carrot Museum

Picture from michael.newman

I Need to Hire a Contractor. What Should I Know or Do?


Many people are opting to stay in their current homes and remodeling and not building a new home or moving into a different home. Not sure how to do the work and want to hire a contractor? Where do you find a good contractor, what questions should you ask, how much should they charge? These are all probably questions you are asking yourself.

The first thing that I tell people is ask around. The best information we can gather is from friends and family. They may have information of a person that they used that was outstanding, not so good or didn’t do what they want. So, be sure to let people know you are looking for a referral and see what they have to say.

Once you find the person you want to work with, call the Better Business Bureau. You are going to want someone who is licensed & insured so if something happens during the process, whether to them, you or someone in your family, they will be able to pay for any of the medical or correction items needed. Tell the contractor that you would like to speak with 3 different UNRELATED people they have worked for. The reason you want someone who is unrelated to your contractor, is we all know we will vouch in a positive way for our family members that need a referral. While you are on the phone with these testimonial persons, here are a few questions you may want to ask:

~Was the contractor and employees courteous & thoughtful to your home, space & your privacy.

~Do they feel the job was appropriately charged.

~Did the contractor do a good clean up job at the end of the project to make sure that the area and surrounding rooms were clean & tidy.

~Were they on time according to the schedule you agreed to upon the signing of the contract.

~Was there continual contact during the project, whether they were running late, not able to make it that day or acknowledgment was given for any other reasons/days they were not going to be able to make it.

~If the project goes over the projected finish date, did/does the contractor give discounts for your inconvenience.

Also ask to see pictures of current past projects they have done. Some contractors will also have photos of the progression of the project and you may be able to see how the space around is for cleanliness.

So know you have found your contractor, spoken with some references, now it is time to sit down with the contractor to begin your project. Make sure the contactor completely understands your time/budget you have to work with. Ask them to do a drawing of the finished project with measurements and a detailed cost outline. If you are working with more than one contractor, they may ask to see one of the other drawings you have received, DO NOT let them see the other plans. This should be something that comes with your contract. Each contractor has a different style, hourly rate & cost price. You do not want them to look at the other contractors work and say, “YEAH, WE WOULD BE RIGHT THERE WITH THEM.” What does that really mean. Also, ask the contractor if they charge and added price for a draft done earlier and if they will reasonably sell you the draft even if you decide to not hire them or go ahead with the project at that time.

So you have the plan know and you are ready to go. In the contract, have a very detailed timeline for when milestones will be done. This will keep your contractor on track and not push you to the bottom should a higher paying contract come in. Also, DO NOT pay the contractor up front for all the work. Break the payments out based on the completion of work that has been done. An example would be the contractor could get 40% when the contract is signed another 20% when the job is half done and the rest upon completion. By upon completion, make sure the contractor knows this means the space & area to be cleaned & in good repair also. Ask the contractor if he will give you a discount if you let him take pictures for his portfolio/website once the project is complete. Remember, they don’t give you anything for free, so why should you let them put your idea out there for others to copy?

The other thing you want to be sure is that the contractor can afford to buy the supplies needed without other upfront dollars from you. If you have a specific item you want to get yourself and supply for the contractor, ask them if they will give you a discount for your time & energy to have this there for them when needed. Be sure if the contractor orders something specific for you and you pay the in advance or during the job for this specific item, that the contactor informs that shop that he ordered it from you also have the right to pick it up. If the contractor does not authorize you to be able to access these items, you will never be able to pick the item up and if something should happen to the contractor, you will never get this item.

Also be sure that someone is available to be at your home at all times during the working process. The contactor may come across questions or complications that need immediate answers and if you or someone who knows what is to happen is not available, the contactor may just make an executive decision. The other thing to remember is this person may be in your home for long periods of time and unless you completely trust them, they will have access to your personal belongings. Make sure important papers, blank checks, expensive items and sentimental items are put away or locked up.

If you take the time to do your homework up front, you should get the outcome you want and have a pleasant experience. If you do not, do not be afraid to contact the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint. Remember, if someone had complained with their unsatisfied work, you may have thought differently in hiring this person also. So do someone else a favor if your experience was not a pleasant one and let others know about the contractor and what happened.

THE SPIRITS TO MOVE is here to give quality information & ideas.

Your Minnesota Real Estate agent providing quality service whether buying, selling or relocating. Experienced in short sale & foreclosures. Learn more at http://www.VickieGylling.com.

How Cold is Cold?


It is Friday, January 21, 2011. If you are living in the Minnesota area, you know that the freezer door has definitely been opened on our state. It is 10 am and our current temp here is -15 and with the windchill they are saying it is about -35. How’s that for cold?

How does this cold affect your home? This type of cold can do a lot of damage to your home if you are not paying attention. With just a couple easy steps, you can elevate a lot of pain.

PIPES~ Most people think that the pipes are on the inside of the home and the home is heated so they should be fine. But do you know that the pipes that are located on exterior was and in cabinets will get cold. So if you can, leave the cabinet doors open so the heat from your home can get directly to the pipes. You can also put towels or by the pipe heating blankets.

WINDOWS~ Unless you build your home and put high quality windows in, the chances of having some sort of draft from your windows is very likely. Most of your box stores now sell plastic that can be placed on the trim work and keep these drafts out. This will also save you dollars as your heater won’t have to work so hard to keep heating the air.

DOORS~ Not only does our family & friends come and go from these area, but so do your dollars in the winter seasons. Invest a few dollars and put the foam around the doors to keep the cold drafts out. You may also want to invest in draft preventers that go at the bottom of the doors.

So with the economy straining our pocketbooks, why not take a few moments of your time and put some of those dollars back into your wallet? Invest a little time into your home and keep it warm.

THE SPIRITS TO MOVE hope you & your home stay warm!

Your Minnesota Real Estate agent providing quality service whether buying, selling or relocating. Experienced in short sale & foreclosures. Learn more at http://www.VickieGylling.com.

Look Around YOUR Home For Ideas


Some are still putting away the holiday decorations, some already have them down and all are left staring at the large spaces that 20 days ago glitzy and gleamed.  Now what?

Are you sitting in this space wondering what to put on that empty wall space? Maybe thinking about that chair that just doesn’t fit the rest of the room or looking at the kids art work piling up and not sure what to do with all of it?

Let’s take a look at what we can create and do to change some of these dull or unfitting pieces.

That large open spot on the wall:   Have you been given some great dishes with unique designs on them?  Why not create a wall design that uses these?  You can get wall hangers for plates and such at any hardware store or large box store.  Hang the hangers-on the wall in a unique arrangement that will display these great pieces and make for wonderful conversation pieces.  How about some unique jewelry that you aren’t using any longer but still remember all the compliments and “OH’s & AH’s” you got when you wore it.  Why not get a frame and use this as a picture on a wall or in a stand on a counter.  This way you can still get that wonderful “OH’s & AH’s” and display these great pieces rather than hide them away.

Curtain tie backs: Rather than using the same old tie backs that all of us buy at the local store, then walk into our neighbors and see the same thing and think, “I WISH I HAD SOMETHING NO ONE ELSE DID”.  Again, use your old jewelry to create a unique & custom tie back that will create a distinguished look you are hoping for.  Use long pearls wrapped or tied back. Have a large necklace these work great also and can create quit a sparkle in any room.

That chair that just doesn’t fit: You painted the room and now that great chair doesn’t fit any more.  What to do? Why not repolster it or if it is wood, paint it and put a new cushion on it.  These are cost saving ways to update a chair and make it work in the room.  You can find easy instructions to assist in these projects on the internet.

Oh, all the kids artwork!:  What wonderful pieces your child has created and given to you.  Know what?  You have a one of a kind original that no one; no matter how hard they try will be able to get a copy of (unless you pass it along or copy for them)?  Why not put these pieces in frames and display them on your wall, end tables or frame stands around the house?  Your guests will love to see their work, your kids will love telling everyone what they were thinking when they created it  and you can rotate these so your pictures and decor are always changing.

Be creative and let THE SPIRITS TO MOVE help you to create new focal points, discussion points and save you money while doing it.  We all have many unique things in our own homes that can be used for more than it’s intended purpose, open your mind and see what you can create.

Dessert for your holidays


When the SPIRITS TO MOVE make you want to make a fun and easy dessert for your family and friends over the holidays, why not try this one.  It is from Cat Cora’s “Classics with a twist”.

“Pumpkin Pie” Parfait       Serves 4-6

a sweet desert

 

2 cups canned pumpkin

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 pint of heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

1 small angel food cake, cut into small circles/cubes

1 cup pecans pieces, toasted

In a processor, mix the pumpkin, brown sugar & melted butter. Remove & refrigerate.  With mixer, whip the heavy cream & confectioners sugar together until whipped to light peaks.  In a wine or martini glass, begin layering the parfait.  Spoon first layer with whipped cream, pumpkin & pecans pieces.  Repeat the process until you finish with a dollop of whipped cream on top & sprinkle of toasted pecans.  repeat the process with 4-6 glasses.  Chill & serve.

You can alternate many other items for the pumpkin if you are not a fan of it.  How about a berry mix, kiwi or pudding? Drizzle some chocolate  on this or put a thin layer on each of your layers as you create them.  The ideas are endless.

Once you have this done, take a picture or blog us back and let us know what you & your family thought of this delightfully sounding dessert, if the SPIRITS TO MOVE you.