Fast Start Your Spring Garden

Ready to get that garden growing?  Here is a simple checklist to jumpstart your blooms from our friends at Thompson & Morgan.
  1. Order summer-flowering bulbs and seeds. …
  2. Tidy up flower beds and borders. …
  3. Clean out and wash your greenhouse. …
  4. Sow any seeds that need a longer season. …
  5. Hunt down and remove garden pests. …
  6. Install water barrels and start collecting rainwater. …
  7. Move deciduous shrubs. …
  8. Maintain fences, gates and trellis.
  9. Clean and sharpen tools.
  10. Start a Compost Area
MarketPlace REALTY offers a wide portfolio of real estate services in the Shenandoah Valley.   Call 540-450-2747 for a custom consultation, or visit us at mympr.com and discover all of our beautiful current listings.   We are located at 302 South Braddock St. Winchester VA, 22601.   Angela Duncan, Broker.   Licensed in VA and WV.  Equal Housing Opportunities.

Green Recipes For Spring Cleaning

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and start spring cleaning?   We searched high and low for some great, safe spring cleaning tips and we found these great tips on Better Homes & Gardens. 

 

Cleaner for countertops, cabinets, and walls

Dip a cloth in warm water, then dish soap and baking soda. (The baking soda serves as a soft abrasive to remove tough spots and light scratches). Wipe on to clean. Wipe off with a clean rag. To get after tough countertop stains, scrub and leave the solution in place for three to five minutes, then wipe with warm water.

Glass cleaner

Mix 2 tablespoons of borax or baking soda with 3 cups of water for sparkling windows and mirrors. Spray on and wipe off (just as you would with a store-bought glass cleaner).

Chrome and stainless-steel cleaner

Mix vinegar and water at a 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle. Shake well. Spray on chrome and stainless-steel fixtures and wipe off with a clean, soft rag. If the smell of vinegar bothers you, cut the aroma of vinegar by adding a few drops of essential oil (lemon, lime, mint, or tea tree).

Drain cleaner

Mix 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup salt, and 1/4 cup cream of tartar. Pour 1/4 of this mixture in the drain, followed by a pot of boiling water. Reserve the rest of this mixture for future cleanings.

Carpet freshener

Sprinkle dry cornstarch or baking soda on your carpet, then vacuum. The cornstarch and baking soda absorb odor.

Rug-stain remover

Rub borax into the dampened area, let dry, then vacuum or repeatedly blot the stain with a mixture of vinegar and soapy water. Get the rug as dry as possible to avoid moisture getting to the floor underneath.

Mildew Remover

Make a paste of vinegar and salt, and apply to mildew. Wipe clean with a dry cloth.

MarketPlace REALTY offers a wide portfolio of real estate services in the Shenandoah Valley.   Call 540-450-2747 for a custom consultation, or visit us at mympr.com and discover all of our beautiful current listings.   We are located at 302 South Braddock St. Winchester VA, 22601.   Angela Duncan, Broker.   Licensed in VA and WV.  Equal Housing Opportunities.

What To Do When Your Pipes Freeze

When arctic air strikes, your home faces many risks.  Frozen pipes are a common issue when temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.   Here are a few tips to help with battling the frost on extra cold days.

 

We collected these tips from our friends at STATE FARM.

 

The three central causes of frozen pipes are quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. You can prepare your home during the warmer months.

  • Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic, even if you live in a climate where freezing is uncommon. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember, the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature – more common overnight – could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Your pipes freeze, what might you do?

What if your pipes still freeze, despite your best preventive measures? First step: Don’t panic. Just because they’re frozen doesn’t mean they’ve already burst. Here’s what you can do:

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. You could be electrocuted.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hairdryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.

MarketPlace REALTY offers a wide portfolio of real estate services in the Shenandoah Valley.   Call 540-450-2747 for a custom consultation, or visit us at mympr.com and discover all of our beautiful current listings.   We are located at 302 South Braddock St. Winchester VA, 22601.   Angela Duncan, Broker.   Licensed in VA and WV.  Equal Housing Opportunities.

Winter Veggie Soup

There is something kind of wonderful about spending a weekend afternoon at home and crafting up a warm soup in your kitchen during the winter. Here is an easy vegetable soup recipe that is guaranteed to make your home smell amazing and keep you toasty on a cold blustery day! To enhance the flavor of this soup try using locally grown vegetables whenever you can!

Loaded Vegetable Soup Courtesy of Food, Fit, Fabulous! 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut into coins
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 cups winter squash, cubed
  • 3 cups, trimmed and chopped green beans
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini, cut in half diagonally and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Optional shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add cabbage, squash, green beans, tomatoes and basil. Stir to combine and cook 3 minutes.
  3. Add broth and bring to a simmer, cover, lower heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add zucchini and salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until zucchini is cooked through. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan is desired.

Add-Ins…

Freshly shredded cheese, goat cheese, a few sunflower seeds, and more fresh basil.

Serve in a whole grain bread bowl an extra treat!

MarketPlace REALTY offers a wide portfolio of real estate services in the Shenandoah Valley.   Call 540-450-2747 for a custom consultation, or visit us at mympr.com and discover all of our beautiful current listings.   We are located at 302 South Braddock St. Winchester VA, 22601.   Angela Duncan, Broker.   Licensed in VA and WV.  Equal Housing Opportunities.

Snow Shoveling Tips & Tricks

Managing snow can be a hassle, but here are a few tricks to make it easier until Spring decides to join us again.  Remember to practice safe snow removal habits so that you can stay healthy all winter long.

Tip #1: Mark special areas in your yard and driveway-    Reflective driveway markers can help prevent damage to your property, fences, flowerbeds and much more.   Utilize these affordable markers so you know where to shovel and plow.

Tip#2:  Shovel regularly throughout the storm when possible.   It is better to go out and clear a little at a time than trying to dig out underneath several inches.  Lighter loads are easier to manage on your back and reduce the risk of overdoing the cardio.  PUSH a half filed shovel, rather than lift.

Tip #3: If you have pets, seek out pet-friendly ice melt products.  Check out this product.

Tip #4: Take lots of breaks and stay hydrated.  Many people dehydrate while shoveling.

Tip#5: Invest in the right snow removal tools.  USA TODAY’s staff reviewed and tested snow shovels and THIS ONE was top rated for 2019! 

MarketPlace REALTY offers a wide portfolio of real estate services in the Shenandoah Valley.   Call 540-450-2747 for a custom consultation, or visit us at mympr.com and discover all of our beautiful current listings.   We are located at 302 South Braddock St. Winchester VA, 22601.   Angela Duncan, Broker.   Licensed in VA and WV.  Equal Housing Opportunities.

Winter Weather Supply List

When winter weather strikes it is important to be prepared and safe.   While making sure you have enough bread and milk is one concern… a bigger one is making sure you are heating your home safely.

The CDC has wonderful information about food, heating, health & safety suggestions.

Make sure to check it out!

Take Action

  • Be careful when using wood stoves, fireplaces, or space heaters to heat your home.
  • Avoid using candles during a power outage. Use flashlights or lanterns instead.
  • Never use an electric generator or a gas or charcoal grill indoors. The fumes are deadly. Conserve heat in your home.
  • Monitor body temperature for infants and older adults.
  • Leave water taps slightly open to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Eat well-balanced meals to stay warm. Avoid alcohol and caffeine

 

MarketPlace REALTY offers a wide portfolio of real estate services in the Shenandoah Valley.   Call 540-450-2747 for a custom consultation, or visit us at mympr.com and discover all of our beautiful current listings.   We are located at 302 South Braddock St. Winchester VA, 22601.   Angela Duncan, Broker.   Licensed in VA and WV.  Equal Housing Opportunities.

Closet Clean Up

 

Creating space and organizing closets and clothes storage spaces can be a challenge.  Many people choose the “new year” to tackle projects that fell to the wayside in the previous year.  If you are drowning in laundry, your closet may be a great place to start with your organization plan.

Step One: Get Inspired!  Measure your closet space and seek out a closet system that is ideal for that space.   Use Pinterest to find solutions that fit your budget.

Step Two: Make A Capsule Wardrobe!  Many people only wear a small portion of the clothing that they own.  Create a seasonal wardrobe around your key items, and lose the rest.  Check out this challenge for tips and tricks.

Step Three: Store out of season clothing appropriately. If you are working with a small closet, you will need to pack up seasonal items that are not in active use.   Consider the storage container, the location of storage and the elements that the clothing will be subjected to.

Step Four: Laundry System!  Do you have a routine for laundry?  Create a sorting system and designate days and times to keep the household laundry moving forward.  Often doing a full load of laundry each day will keep the backlog at bay (unless you have a very large family).  Creating a designated folding area makes this task a snap.   Have delicates that need to air dry?  Creating a drying rack in the laundry room keeps the process moving.

Step Five: If you shop… You donate.  Make a commitment to only shop when you need to replace items that are worn out.  This keeps clothing in a proper rotation and from getting smashed and forgotten in the back of the closet.

What are your favorite closet organization tips?   Share them below!   We would love to hear from you.

MarketPlace REALTY offers a wide portfolio of real estate services in the Shenandoah Valley.   Call 540-450-2747 for a custom consultation, or visit us at mympr.com and discover all of our beautiful current listings.   We are located at 302 South Braddock St. Winchester VA, 22601.   Angela Duncan, Broker.   Licensed in VA and WV.  Equal Housing Opportunities.