Real Estate Tips

    • What to Think About Now for Aging in Place

      18 October 2021

      There’s no question that Americans are aging. The Population Reference Bureau estimates the number of citizens who are 65 and older will nearly double from some 52 million currently to more than 95 million by 2060—and an aging population will need practical solutions for living safely and independently as seniors. 

      Some basic home design features, such as wider doorways, wider hallways and entryways without steps, may be best left to new home builders. But for homeowners with renovation plans in mind, there are a few features well worth considering.

      • Lower Countertops - Kitchen countertops that are just three inches lower than the standard 36-inch height allow the wheelchair-bound or seniors with limited mobility to continue participating in meal prep. 
      • Thoughtful Kitchen Storage - Lower cabinets with pull-out shelves, ‘lazy Susan’ corner cabinets and easy-pull handles offer additional convenience for those with mobility issues.
      • Smart Appliances - Sight sometimes fails as we get older, as well as short-term memory. When choosing appliances, opt for easy-to-read microwave ovens and stoves with automatic shut-off features that ensure they won’t stay on if forgotten. 
      • Bathroom Aids - Practical think-ahead solutions that make aging in place easier include walk-in tubs or showers with seating, hand-held showerheads, comfort-height toilets and grab bars near the toilet and in the shower.
      • Non-Slip Floors - Fall-related injuries are commonplace for seniors. While it’s impossible to prevent every fall, you can minimize the risk by installing non-slip flooring choices, such as low-pile carpet, cork and slip-resistant vinyl.
      • Good Lighting - Adequate lighting is critical for seniors. Install bright lighting in hallways and stairs. Outdoors, consider motion-sensor lights that don’t need to be turned on and that will keep the area well-lit at all times.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • A Family Meal Worth Celebrating

      18 October 2021

      ( When you are hungry and searching for something filling, juicy and rich, turning to your pantry for on-hand ingredients can make dinner a breeze. Dodge snack cravings and avoid the temptation to swing by the drive-thru; instead, you can have a homemade meal ready in a matter of minutes by putting your skillet to work.

      Call your loved ones to the dining room to share time together while trying these Smothered Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce. It’s a dish the entire family can dig into without questioning the substance of the meal as it’s a filling option that requires just a few ingredients you likely already have at home.

      It all starts with the pork chops, which are thick and seared to perfection. The mushroom sauce is a beautiful blend of earthy and creamy textures. Bring it to a simmer then smother your pork chops and garnish with fresh parsley for a pop of color.

      The best part is this recipe doesn’t take much time to accomplish. The pork chops are seared for 3-5 minutes per side then simmered in the mushroom sauce for another 2-3 minutes until thoroughly cooked.

      Don’t waste time with complicated recipes, dirtying an array of kitchen utensils and multiple trips to the store for ingredients you may not use again. This recipe requires one bowl and a single skillet. Cleanup is a breeze, which means there is more time to spend around the table with those who mean the most.

      Find more savory recipes at

      If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

      Smothered Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce
      Servings: 4
      1 teaspoon mild chili powder
      1 teaspoon garlic powder
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      1/4 teaspoon pepper
      4 pork chops
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      2 tablespoons butter

      Mushroom Sauce:
      2 1/2 cups brown mushrooms, sliced
      5 garlic cloves, smashed
      1 tablespoon parsley
      1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
      1/2 cup chicken broth
      1 1/2 cups heavy cream
      fresh parsley, for garnish

      In a small bowl, whisk chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper until combined.

      Pat pork chops dry. Season generously with spice mix. Set aside.

      In a skillet, add olive oil and butter. Add pork chops; sear 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.

      To make mushroom sauce: In the same skillet, add mushrooms. Stir fry until golden brown. Add garlic, parsley and Italian seasoning. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add broth and heavy cream. Stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

      Return pork chops to sauce. Simmer 2-3 minutes until pork chops are cooked through. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Maintain the Beauty of Stainless Steel

      18 October 2021

      Stainless steel appliances give a renovated kitchen that pop it needs, while stainless steel cookware makes for a durable product that never disturbs flavors yet guarantees a balanced heating of foods. To boot, stainless steel even resists corrosion and rust.

      However, stainless steel can sometimes be difficult to keep clean. Here are some quick and easy tips for maintaining that fresh metallic look:

      Clean with water and a cloth. Microfiber cloths are the best option to use when cleaning stainless steel because they absorb all of the water. They also avoid scratching steel surfaces. You’ll want to avoid paper towels or any cloth or towel with a rough surface intended for non-stick cookware. This especially includes steel wool. When drying, dry along the grain to avoid water spots. If you clean or dry aggressively against the grain with regular scouring pads, you’ll leave marks on your appliance or pan, so be sure to take it easy.

      Only use a drop of dish soap. For most cases, a drop of mild dish soap and warm water is all you'll need to clean a stainless steel pan or pot, so don't overthink it. Just be gentle. Alternatively, using white vinegar as a cleaner has also been proven to work.

      Glass cleaner is your friend. Fingerprints on stainless steel is one of the biggest complaints, and it’s a valid concern. No matter how careful you try to be, fingerprints will always end up on your fridge. Spray glass cleaner on a microfiber cloth to get the job done. Wipe away the fingerprint using a soft circular motion.  There are newer finishes of stainless steel that are fingerprint resistant, so if you’re buying new appliances, be sure to do your research and seek those out.

      Keep a stainless steel cleaner on hand. If you need to remove stains or scratches from your stainless steel, using a steel cleaner is a great option. Read the directions on the cleaner, and be sure to test the product on an unnoticeable location.  Even if you aren’t trying to remove a stain or hide a scratch, stainless steel cleaner or glass cleaner will help your appliance shine. As always, rinse the area thoroughly afterwards and towel dry.

      Stainless steel can be finicky, but with a little TLC, it will keep your kitchen looking sleek and stylish for years to come.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Plants Your Garden Needs This Fall

      15 October 2021

      Leaves are changing and begging to trickle down in the breeze; there’s no doubt, fall is here and winter is on its way. Thankfully, the chilly weather won’t prevent you from keeping your yard vibrant and colorful; you just have to know what to plant. These 5 plants are just what your garden needs this autumn.

      Beautiful in spring or fall, these tiny flowers pack a punch of color and are inexpensive to purchase. Pansies are frost-resistant and cold-tolerant, meaning they can last until winter with ease. Pansies prefer a full sun location in the garden (at least five hours per day), so plant them accordingly. They will provide you with lasting vibrance even after the last leaf has fallen from the trees.

      Garden Mums
      Garden Mums (or Chrysanthemums) are a perfect addition to any fall garden. With bold hues in classic autumn colors such as orange, gold, and red there is no doubt that these flowers will brighten your yard and put you in the fall spirit. Mums prefer full sun and plenty of water, and they can succumb to winter freezes. To prevent against this, keep their roots covered with insulating mulch as temperatures drop.

      Beautyberry Shrubs
      These shrubs (native to North America and found in the southeastern United States) can add much-needed texture to your garden. Their striking bright purple berries add a pop of color in any landscape. Place a row of them together to border your yard, and watch as the color livens up the space even on dull grey days. If you’re a bird lover, you are in luck as these berries will attract flying friends in search of food throughout the fall and winter seasons.

      You are sure to love the pop of color these beautiful flowers bring. These true blue flowers’ peak bloom time is summer, but they can grow through the fall if you deadhead frequently. Keep in mind, however, young cornflower’s delicate stems can be damaged by excess rain or wind. To mitigate this, stake them or allow them to grow next to a heardier taller plant that can support them and provide shelter from winds.

      It’s easier than you think to keep your garden looking fresh and vibrant during the chilly season. These 5 fall plants will have your yard looking fall-ready in no time.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Pop Up a Celebratory Snack

      15 October 2021

      (Family Features) Popcorn lovers rejoice: October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, a seasonal celebration of one of America’s oldest and most beloved snack foods.

      As farmers head into the fields to harvest crops, families and friends gather to enjoy this ever-popular treat. Whether it’s prepared on the stovetop, in the microwave or ready to eat from the bag, Americans consume 15 billion quarts of this whole grain each year.

      Celebrated for its seed-to-snack simplicity, popcorn is also non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and naturally low in fat and calories, which makes it an easy fit for dietary preferences – and it’s budget-friendly. 

      Add in popcorn’s irresistible smell, taste and versatility, and it’s easy to understand its popularity. With so many different ways to eat it – plain, buttery or loaded with goodies like these Toffee Almond Chocolate Popcorn or Churro Popcorn versions – popcorn fits many moods and occasions.

      Pop up a bowl and join the Popcorn Poppin’ Month celebration with more recipes at 

      Toffee Almond Chocolate Popcorn
      Total time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time 
      Servings: 4

      4 cups popped popcorn
      3/4 cup chopped toasted almonds, divided
      6 tablespoons toffee bits, divided
      6 ounces milk chocolate, melted 
      1 ounce dark chocolate, melted

      In a large bowl, toss popcorn, 1/2 cup almonds and 4 tablespoons of toffee bits. Drizzle with melted milk chocolate; toss until well coated.

      Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with dark chocolate; sprinkle with remaining almonds and toffee bits. Refrigerate about 30 minutes, or until set; break into clusters. 

      Substitution: Use dark chocolate for milk chocolate, if preferred. 

      Churro Popcorn
      Servings: 2-3

      2 tablespoons granulated sugar
      1 tablespoon powdered sugar
      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      2 tablespoons butter
      6 cups popped popcorn

      In a small bowl, mix granulated sugar, powdered sugar and cinnamon.

      In a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar.

      In a large bowl, toss popcorn with cinnamon butter until well coated. Sprinkle evenly with remaining cinnamon sugar; toss to coat well.

      Tips: For spicy variation, add 1 teaspoon spicy chipotle seasoning. Serve with hot chocolate.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.