This article was originally posted on www.bhgre.com/bhgrelife
Recently, being out and about has been more challenging. It’s time to adapt and host smaller outdoor gatherings. Just because it has gotten colder doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the great outdoors. Below are tips on how to make your backyard cozy and inviting this winter. There are also several delicious recipes that will warm up your soul.
How to prepare your backyard for an outdoor gathering
- Place lanterns, lamps and string lights to add sparkle. This is an easy way to improve the ambiance any time of the year.
- Fill a basket with blankets and pillows so everyone can get nice and toasty. You can also look into portable outdoor heaters or fire pits to keep your toes warm.
- Invest in electric warming blankets! They are great for those chilly winter nights and will keep you snug as a bug.
- Try out these holiday outdoor décor ideas for a beautiful and cozy winter.
- Make a magical winter landscape with 10 winter garden delight ideas.
- Spruce up your furniture. If you don’t want to buy new outdoor furniture, simply update what you have. Take an old side table or stump and place a blanket over it. Try using a warm pattern to make it look inviting.
- Add drama or privacy. If you have a covered patio, consider using outdoor fabric to hang as drapes. They can boost privacy and keep the wind or cold chill out.
- Build a fire pit so you can have a nice and toasty winter. You will need gravel, a shovel, concrete landscaping stones, a metal fire pit ring, masonry adhesive, and a rubber mallet. Before you start building, check the recreational fire codes in your area to make sure it’s allowed. You’ll want to build your fire pit at least 10-12 feet from any building structures, trees or fences. The first step is to pick the perfect spot and outline with spray paint where you want it to be. Grab your shovel and dig out the circle about 7 inches deep. Then pour the gravel into the hole until it’s level with the ground, which allows for proper drainage. If you’re using a metal ring place it in the center before you start placing your stones around the edge of the gravel circle. Use your rubber mallet to make them all level. Stagger the placement of the second row. When placing the second ring of stones use the adhesive on the bottom of each or if you prefer you can use cement to adhere the stones together. Repeat again for a third row. After its dry, grab some outdoor pillows and place them around the fire pit.
- Here are several fabulous outdoor fireplace designs or check out another great way to create your own fire pit.
Great drinks to serve at an outdoor party
- Warm up with these winter drink recipes.
- A perfect drink to serve during winter is the classic Hot Toddy. All you need is ¾ cup of warm water, 1 ½ ounce of whiskey, 3 teaspoons of honey, 3 teaspoons of lemon juice, and top it all off with a cinnamon stick and lemon wedge. You can also substitute the whiskey for rum or brandy.
- The seasonal spice blend of cinnamon, allspice, and cloves make this hot spiced cider recipe perfect for drinking in the great outdoors.
- Soothe your soul with these 16 to-die-for hot chocolate recipes. You and your friends can curl up with a hot mug of cocoa under the stars.
- Easy to make and delicious to drink. Try stirring up these 15 dazzling winter cocktails with your favorite seasonal flavors–perfect for any snowy-weather soiree.
Warm up with these tasty appetizers, dishes, and sweets
- These rustic winter vegetable tarts are savory and combine bacon, goat cheese, and squash for a warm appetizer.
- If you really want to have a cozy and comfy evening, go with the phenomenal combination of tomato soup and gooey grilled cheese. For an easy way to serve this outside, put the tomato bisque or soup in coffee mugs so it’s easy to serve and easy to consume.
- Check out this winter pear salad filled with pears, orange, kale, kumquats and more.
- Grow and serve your own varieties of winter squash and the good news is every type is edible.
- It’s not a winter gathering without mouthwatering s’mores. If you’re looking for a step up from the usual s’mores try incorporating granny smith apples. After you toast marshmallows until golden and add the chocolate, include a few slivers of granny smith apples. Then before you sandwich all the goodies together between graham crackers drizzle caramel over the apples. Here are 17 delicious ways to dress up a classic s’mores for ooey-gooey sweet snacks.
There’s a lot to love about Thanksgiving dinner. With many of us placing an increased emphasis on healthy eating, though, it can be difficult to prepare a holiday meal that meets our dietary criteria. Fortunately, there are plenty of Thanksgiving dinner ideas that easily convert your favorites to healthier versions.
Vegetable Sides are Foundational
Thanksgiving is inherently based around a variety of vegetable dishes, from green bean casserole to butternut squash to corn. It’s very possible to tweak many of these recipes so that they are healthier. Removing some of the butter, cream and cheese that many of these sides call for is a great first step. Food like sweet potatoes with brown sugar, too, can be changed to require less sweetener.
Give a roasted carrot and fennel dish a try for some healthy fall color in your meal. You’ll need to halve the fennel, trim the carrots of their greens and cook both with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet. You can add lime juice, cilantro, scallions and even feta or pistachios to taste.
If you’re a fan of green bean casserole but want to lighten it up, you can make a green bean salad instead. Adding a delicious Dijon vinaigrette provides the perfect degree of tanginess. Cherry tomatoes, walnuts and feta are nice toppers for this dish.
Lighten Starches and Meat
Looking for a healthy twist to your favorite sweet potato casserole? This one calls for making a peach and oat streusel to top the dish. Best of all, leftovers of this tasty side can grace your table at breakfast, dinner or even as a late-night dessert.
The star of the Thanksgiving meal, of course, is the turkey. While you can’t do much to change the bird itself, you can alter how it’s prepared. Avoid dark meat and skin if you are trying to lower your fat and calorie intake. Additionally, you could hold off on rubbing the bird with oil or butter before it is cooked.
Change your stuffing recipe to be a bit lighter. This homemade one calls for whole grain bread and copious herbs to compensate for less fat. It’s a delicious addition to your meal.
Lighten up Desserts
Desserts are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving, so it wouldn’t do to go without them entirely. However, you can put a twist on many popular holiday treats to make them fit your diet.
For instance, consider a single-crust pie instead of a double-crust pie. Fruit pies may have fewer calories than cream pies, depending on how much sugar is added. Some pies, like apple, actually don’t need sugar at all if you use sweet apples and enough cinnamon.
An alternative to pie is a baked apple or baked pear dish. This can be made in the form of a galette, tart or with freestanding fruit. These baked apples are stuffed with oats and have a streusel-type taste.
Top your treats with low-fat ice cream or whipped cream, and sample a small serving of each dessert, rather than having more than one normal serving. You can also set aside certain desserts that you would like to try and plan to have them the next day (perhaps for breakfast, if you can’t wait much longer).
Change How You Eat
You can also make changes to how you eat on Thanksgiving. Fill your plate most of the way with vegetable side dishes, followed by heartier parts of the meal like stuffing and turkey.
If you’ll be having appetizers before your meal, indulge in a little bit of everything, but don’t treat the pre-dinner course like a meal all its own. It’s easy to fill up on snacks and then feel like you’re still obligated to have a large dinner simply because it’s a holiday.
Limit how many drinks you have, whether you’re sipping soda or chardonnay. These can cause you to feel full quickly, but they contain a large number of essentially empty calories. If you’ll have a non-water beverage with your Thanksgiving meal, it’s best to drink it slowly through the course of the meal.
Eat your food more slowly, and enjoy the time you have with family and friends. Savoring the meal you have labored over can be extremely satisfying, and it may also help you to feel full more quickly.
Finally, be sure to save room for dessert. Thanksgiving desserts are some of the best of the year, and you’ll want to pace yourself throughout the day so you can indulge in something truly worthwhile.
Autumn is knocking. Whether you want to go out and enjoy the crisp, cool air or stay nice and cozy inside we have tons of activities, craft ideas, and recipes to fill your Fall!
Get ready for Fall with these awesome activities.
- Start a new family tradition and create unforgettable blanket forts with the kids. Pick a new theme every few weeks to change it up. One night could be space themed–hang twinkling lights and paper mache planets.
- Uncover some clever ways to add fall flair to your porch.
- Check out these incredible tips on how to host a fall backyard gathering! If you set a buffet, don’t forget to disinfect the serving utensils.
- Get festive and get decorating.
- Apple picking is a great activity to do while practicing social distancing. Try out some of the apple recipes below and donate a basket of apples to those in need.
- Create your own family board game. Use the bottom of a cardboard box as the board and create little pieces of out clay. Make your own little world with silly rules and fun twists.
- What better thing to do with all that fall foliage than have a pet photoshoot? Don’t forget to film a slow-motion video of your pet plunging into a pile of leaves.
- Host a virtual paint and sip night! Pick a fall-themed subject to paint and send it to everyone before you start. Everyone can paint on a canvas or regular paper while catching up and sipping on warm apple cider or wine.
- We all could use some serious comfy relaxation time. Discover great tips on how to make your home cozier for Fall.
Below are some craft ideas you will Fall in love with.
- Click here for some unbe–leaf-able crafts using leaves.
- Fall is all about getting cozy! Since we’re spending more time inside, discover how to make a weighted blanket so you can stay warm and comfortable.
- Create your very own leaf-shaped dish to hold jewelry or change. Press a leaf that you like onto a rolled-out piece of clay. Using a knife, carefully trace the leaf. When you’re done, slowly pull the leaf off and gently curl the sides up. Place newspaper around the edges, so it holds its shape and looks like a dish. Once it’s dried, paint it any color you want and seal it with a gloss or matte sealer to protect the finish.
- Here are some simple fall crafts and handmade ideas to make your home ready for autumn.
- Discover gourd–geous farmhouse fall decor ideas.
- Treat yourself! Make your own Fall scented candles such as cinnamon, pumpkin, or apple. First, find a glass jar you want to use as the container. Double the amount of wax you would use to fill the container and melt it in a double boiler while stirring frequently. Mix in whatever fragrance oil you choose. Place the wick on the bottom of your jar and slowly pour in the wax. Secure the wick while the wax hardens by sandwiching it between two chopsticks. You can also glue cinnamon sticks onto the outside of an old candle to make your home smell incredible.
- Find festive fall decoration ideas here.
- Make a variety of pinecone creations! Create cute little hedgehogs by making a face and limbs out of clay. Adhere the face onto the pinecone and glue on googly eyes and a small black nose. You could also make a flower bouquet by gluing pinecones to the end of sticks and painting each one a different color. Another option is to design a wreath using pinecones and colorful leaves and flowers.
Stir up some delicious food and drinks.
- Get dipping with this scrumptious recipe for marbled caramel apples.
- An apple a day… Click here for an assortment of mouthwatering apple desserts.
- When it’s chilly outside we need chili inside.
- There’s nothing to laugh about when it comes to this snickerdoodle recipe.
- It’s pumpkin season. Click here if you’re craving some classic pumpkin pie.
- Uncover this unbe-leafable fall marshmallow tree recipe.
- Pumpkin spice makes everyone nice. Get cozy with this pumpkin spice latte recipe.
Ways to Give Back
Fall into a charitable spirit with these ideas on how you can give back.
- Spring isn’t the only time for cleaning. Go through your summer gear and gather things you can donate.
- Be neighborly. Check on your neighbors and see if there is anything you can help them with. Rake the leaves in their yard, clean their gutters, or pick up their groceries.
- Make blankets to donate to the homeless and others who need to keep warm. You can recycle your old clothes to create a DIY t-shirt blanket as well.
- October is National Book Month so set aside some time to go through all of your books and make a donation box.
First published at https://www.bhgre.com/bhgrelife/fall-fun/
This wonderful roomy farmhouse with rich local history is conveniently located near the village of Grantham, close to Rte. 89, and a short distance to Lebanon/Hanover to the north and New London/Sunapee to the south. Once part of an over 500-acre working farm, this 4br/2ba home sits along a beautiful stretch of Stocker Brook. The 3.2 acre mostly-level property features perennial gardens, shrubs, trees, and an open pasture area suitable for livestock or horses. The attached outer buildings were once used as an ice house and farm storage, later as horse stalls and snowmobile storage (with drive out and direct access to miles of trails maintained by the local snowmobile club). Other features: FHA Propane heat (new 2016), 4-bedroom septic (new 2020), double pane windows with screens, a standing seam roof, and a great screened porch in shade of an old maple tree. Excellent opportunity for someone who would enjoy its history and charm and undertake some 21st Century updates. Offered at $229,000.
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Take a look at this mostly level, wooded, 6.1 acre lot in wonderful Wilmot. Peaceful, well-established neighborhood. Walk to nearby Pleasant Lake and the lovely village of Elkins. Minutes to New London shops. Convenient to Route 11, I-89 and Route 4A for an easy commute to Concord or the Upper Valley. Mount Sunapee skiing and Mount Kearsarge hiking - a fifteen minute drive away! Live here and play here! Offered at $89,000.
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The Town of Warner will have their annual Foliage Festival with entertainment, carnival rides, fine crafts and more throughout the town. And don't forget to visit the NH Telephone Museum there with free admission. For more information, visit www.wfff.org
Mt. Sunapee Resort will also host their annual Fall Foliage Festival and Pig Roast from 11:30-5pm. There will be pulled pork and chicken, all day games, activities and prizes. You can also take advantage of the aerial sky ride to the summit, weather permitting. For more information, visit www.mountsunapee.com
Get out and enjoy the beautiful colors!
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- Keep your driveway plowed and entryways clear.
- Keep walkways and stairs clear of snow and ice.
- Don’t let snow pile up on the roof and decks. At some point, too much snow on the roof can cause ice dams, leaks, and even structural failure. The same goes with decks.
- Keep a vacant house heated to at least 50 degrees. A warm house holds more appeal and will allow buyers to take their time looking. Buyers will rush through cold homes and it leaves a negative impression. If you are an absentee seller, set up fuel for automatic delivery.
- Have a good map to show where your septic system is. If your house goes under contract and a septic inspection is scheduled, it will speed along the process.
- Have a backup plan for extended power outages. This holds especially true for absentee sellers. Having the power out for even a day can cause pipes to freeze.
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Emily Campbell, Listing Agent, 603-526-4116