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Nov. 19, 2018

Snow Time Like The Present: Your Idaho Winter Adventure Planning Guide

People tend to spend a lot of time looking forward to the summer months in order to have road trips and explore the outdoors, but forget about all of the adventure that winter has to offer. There are those of us that prefer a toasty winter coat and a steaming mug of fresh hot cocoa over sunburns and itchy bug bites. After all, humankind conquered winter long before AC was invented. Winter is the original time of year for adventure. Your crops were dormant and many of your trade routes were snowed over. With little else to do around the homestead, it was time to create your own adventures and activities to pass the time and ward off cabin fever. We’ve put together an authentic Idaho-centric winter adventure guide that will keep you and your family entertained from now until springtime. Enjoy!

First Event: Take an Epic Idaho Road Trip. Recommended in November.

Get the family ready for a road trip like no other. It starts in Boise and loops around the entire state and ends back in Boise. The trip is about 40 hours of driving over 10 days. You will travel from Boise north to McCall, Lewiston, and finally Bonners Ferry in the panhandle. Then you will loop east and south down to Salmon to Idaho Falls then to Twin Falls and Stanley while finally looping back to Boise from Stanley. This trip is such a good showcase of Idaho and everything she has to offer. The complete guide can be found here from the Visit Idaho website. That PDF lays out the entire map and details every leg of the journey. It also includes recommendations for great places to eat and stay along the way! 

This is such a great road trip that will help you and your family enjoy so much of what Idaho has to offer that will be unlike any other family vacation they’ve seen before. Pack up the ol’ station wagon and head out! You’ll be glad you did.

Sleigh Ride Adventures: Mid to Late December

Nothing says “Christmas Time” quite like a sleigh ride. The family is going to love dashing through the snow in these fantastic and authentic horse drawn sleigh adventures. There are many great places in Idaho to enjoy a transcendent sleigh ride this winter, but our favorite is in Garden Valley at Idaho Sleigh Rides. 

Believe us, it’s worth the journey from Boise to spend an enchanted winter evening peacefully gliding along the snow, bundled up tight in your winter jacket and mittens as the sleigh bells ring off the trees. After your sleigh ride, you are treated to an authentic dutch oven dinner with a side of homemade bread and warm cider. As you’re enjoying your dinner, they will also provide live music. Besides actually meeting Santa Clause, it doesn’t get much more Christmas than that!

The Great McCall Winter Carnival: Late January

You’ve never seen a carnival like this! McCall is home to a lot of things. Celebrities like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger may live in the slightly swankier Sun Valley, but the real party happens in McCall every year. Get the family to McCall this year and see what some people call the “Winter Mardis Gras” is a celebration “of all things winter” according to the McCall Chamber of Commerce website. 

McCall Winter Carnival Dates: January 25, 2019 – February 3, 2019

Theme: Legends, Myths and Superheroes

“During Carnival, enjoy our famous snow sculptures, Torchlight and Mardi Gras Parades, live music, daily events spanning everything from comedy shows to art auctions, snowbike races to the Monster Dog Pull and much more.”

The Winter Carnival is a great time to celebrate and say goodby to winter in one last hurrah! It’s a perfect last stop on your Idaho winter adventure tour.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Oct. 26, 2018

Northwest Meridian, Idaho: Hidden Treasure in The Gem State

CREDIT CITY OF MERIDIAN, IDAHO - GOVERNMENT / FACEBOOK

Just because Boise is the most popular girl at the ball doesn’t mean that Meridian’s dance card isn’t full. It is the third largest city in the state and is one of the fastest growing in the entire nation according a recent Idaho business Review report. The city is growing at a massive pace as more and more people discover its charms. It has great golf courses, gourmet restaurants, and first class live entertainment. Meridian has been recently ranked in the top 50 “Best Places to Live” by Time magazine. It’s a great place to buy a home! Northwest Meridian has many great homes for sale that are perfect for families who want a quiet homelife with quick access to the “big city fun” in downtown Boise. Let’s look at a few highlights of what this great city has to offer.

 

Food

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then you can’t help but fall madly in love with Meridian. If you like a good steak (and who doesn’t?) you should head on over to Kahootz Steak and Ale House located off of Main Street downtown. It has one thing in common with a lot of businesses in Idaho: It’s family owned and operated. Two friends partnered up to bring healthy and fine dining together with an inviting atmosphere. John Forsberg and Joe Anderson founded Kahootz Steak and Ale House in 2002 and the rest is history! Stop on by for one of the best steaks in Idaho and one of their 43 beers on tap. 

 

If you’re feeling more like Italian, then you have to check out Garbonzo’s Pizza. They make their dough fresh daily and let it age to perfection before hand tossing it into the perfect crust. Their cheese and toppings are sourced locally from other Idaho businesses. They deliver but also have a great dining space. But, don’t take our word for it! Give them a try next pizza night. 

 

Golf

Hit the links at the majestic Lakeview Golf Club. It is one of Idaho’s best golf attractions. It features over 6,521 yards of playing area on its competitive 18 hole par 72 course. If you’re a golfer and are looking for a great place to live, then you might want to buy a house close to this course. Imagine waking up every Saturday morning and strolling or biking down to your favorite course. Or hitting a quick nine with your buddies after work. The possibilities are endless! Check out more features here:

CLUB FEATURES

  • Competitive Rates
  • An 18 Hole, Par 72 Golf Course
  • Junior Programs
  • Full Tournament Programs
  • Private Carts Allowed
  • GolfBoards!
  • Golf Lessons and Packages
  • Driving Range and Practice Facility
  • Restaurant and Bar with Nightly Specials
  • Beautiful Setting for Weddings and Special Events
  • Located just 5 minutes from the Ten Mile Interchange at I-84

 

Great Home Prices

While the food and golf may be great, you also have to think of how you’re going to be living day to day. The good news is that Northwest Meridian offers fantastic homes at great prices. Many of the homes in the area are new construction or have been built within the last decade. Houses can be found for about $126 to $169 per square foot, depending on the neighborhood. Just like in the rest of the state, your dollar goes a long way when buying a house here. 

 

This is but a taste of what Northwest Meridian has to offer. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us today to let us be your guide to one of Idaho’s best hidden gems. 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Oct. 12, 2018

The Perfect Menu for Your Next Fall Dinner Party

Boise's Best Fall Menu Planning Guide

It’s fall (finally!) and the leaves around Boise are turning a spectacular shade of orange and yellow. The wind has a little bite to it and the nights leave morning frost instead of dew. This is the perfect time to put another log on the fire and invite friends and family over for a delicious home cooked dinner. We have put together a perfect menu for your next dinner party this fall. 

 

Drinks: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Bar

Let’s start with the apps and the drinks. We want everything to be on-theme so your guests will be sipping on homemade pumpkin spice lattes that you can serve iced or hot. Yes, there are many jokes and snide Twitter comments about pumpkin spiced lattes and the people who enjoy them, but they are popular for a reason: they are delicious! Here’s how you can make a huge batch of them for the party with ease. You’ll have a full pumpkin spiced latte bar up and running in no time! Just make sure to save some for yourself as they will go fast. 

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Appetizers: Rosemary and Sea Salt Chips With Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

For the appetizer, we are going for a mix of a classic with a new twist. Potatoes are all the rage these days and making your own artisanal chips at home has never been easier. You’ll be serving handmade rosemary and sea salt chips with a warm spinach-artichoke dip. With this one-two flavor punch, your guests will never know what hit them. The hearty chips are perfect for dipping and the hint of rosemary, a fall staple, will take the whole affair to the next level. Here is the recipe for the chips and the recipe for the dip can be found here, courtesy of Alton Brown

 

Main Course Drink: Warm Spiced Mulled Wine

Staying on brand for our fall dinner party, we are going to be serving hot spiced mulled wine. You can make this ahead and just keep it simmering on low until dinner is ready to serve. The beautiful thing about mulled wine is that it is a great pallet for experimentation. Try a few dashes and pinches of your favorite fall flavors like pear, cocoa, mango, or ginger. The final flavor is up to you but it is always delicious. Here’s a great recipe from Ina Garten’s kitchen. How bad can that be?

 

Main Course Dish: Oktoberfest Beer Holiday Chili

The great thing about chili besides how it tastes is that it is deceptively easy to make. For this dinner party we are going to be serving crock pot “Oktoberfest” beer chili that you can make hours ahead of the party and let simmer all day filling the house with warmth and sumptuous smells. What’s special about this chili is that it has its flavor backbone supplied by the year’s most flavor-packed beer: Oktoberfest. No summer or spring beer comes close to the depth and richness of flavor that the average Oktoberfest beer has. They are typically darker and malt driven and have complex notes of citrus and spice. All of which makes for the perfect chili! We recommend using Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest as it is a top shelf quality beer that is widely available. For the chili recipe, we recommend this one, which is a slow cooker beef chili with beer

 

Dessert: Homemade Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Going “traditional” has been the officially “non-traditional” thing to do lately. So, we are rounding out this fall themed dinner party meal with a very traditional dessert with a small twist. We are serving a homemade pumpkin pie ice cream instead of just plain old pumpkin pie that can be made in your freezer without expensive and cumbersome ice cream making equipment. Find the recipe here! This can be made a day or two ahead of time as well. Simply mix, stir, pour, and freeze!

 

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this festive fall menu. Feel free to use it for your next fall or even Christmas get together to help you take a little pressure off of the planning stage of things. Fall is a time for contemplation, relaxation, and spending time with valued friends and family. May this menu help you enjoy your next fall party a little bit more. If you don’t currently have the perfect home to host your next dinner party, then please give us a call and we will help you find the home of your dreams in the Treasure Valley and beyond! Contact us today to get started.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Sept. 28, 2018

Keeping Your Yard Safe For Pets Year-Round

Boise Real Estate Pet Safety Guide

The great American backyard. It’s a place for epic barbeques. It’s where your childhood swing set lives. You built your first treehouse out there. It’s where you and your dad had your first game of catch. The American backyard is hallowed ground for many of us, but it is also where your pets spend most of their time. Your backyard should be a safe and fun environment for your pets and should be a place where they too can relax, stay cool, and have some fun. We’ll explore several key things you can do to make sure your backyard is perfect for your pets. 

Pool covers and fences 

Don’t get us wrong, having a pool is great for your dog (and some cats too)! However, just like with human children, leaving a dog in the backyard with an open pool is a recipe for disaster. If you have a pool or hottub, make sure you have a secure cover and even a sturdy fence or railing to keep both two legged and four legged children from falling in on accident. 

Hydration station

We humans don’t walk around all year with a thick fur coat on, so it’s easy to forget that our dogs do. Dogs can suffer from heat stroke and dehydration in the fall and spring months just as much as in the middle of summer. Their thick fur and lack of sweat glands are a recipe for trapping heat and the need more water, even during cooler months. Make sure that you keep a fresh water bowl or automatic station outside for your pets, especially if they are not allowed inside during the day while you’re away. 

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Plenty of shade

Many of us keep our dogs in the backyard during the day while we’re away at work. This is great, but make sure that fido has plenty of cool shade to hang out in. Otherwise they can overheat in the direct sunlight. If they have a doghouse, make sure it has adequate insulation and ventilation so that they can stay cool even in the hot summer. 

Plant barrier between grass and fence

Dogs love to think they are little escape artists. One way to make sure they stay away from the fence and prevent them from testing for vulnerable areas is to plant thick vegetation or trees close to the fence between the grass. Prickly bushes like roses, natal plum, or blackberry are ideal for keeping your fence intact and your dog in your yard. They also have the added bonus of being extra security against unwanted human prowlers. A nest of prickly thorns at the base of a fence will ruin just about any would-be burglar’s day (or night).

Fence maintained 

Making sure your fence is maintained is essential to keeping your pet in, yes, but it’s almost more important that it keeps unwanted animal visitors out. If you live in an area like Boise or Meridian that is close to mountains or foothills, then you are at risk for being in coyote or mountain lion territory. It is not uncommon for packs of curious and hungry coyotes to wander into residential neighborhoods looking for an easy meal. Same thing goes for mountain lions and even stray neighborhood dogs. Some dogs escape their owner’s backyard and roam the neighborhood looking for fights. These are the threats that you want to keep out of your backyard and away from your pets. 

All in all, no backyard is perfect, but every backyard is unique to the quintessential American experience. If you take some time and put a little elbow grease into it, you can make your backyard a great place for you, your family, and your pets.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Sept. 13, 2018

Staging to Sell: Make Your Home Irresistible to Buyers And Sell For More

All the world’s a stage, as they say. And your home is no exception. Why present potential buyers with the play entitled: “Dreary, Cluttered, Living Room,” when you could treat them to the next showing of, “Wow! My Friends Will Be So Jealous Of My New House!” instead? Only one of those “plays” is going to get your home sold faster and for more money. Why not get this show on the road and start staging your house for a command performance that will have buyers demanding an encore?

 

Light The Stage

One of the most important things to buyers is to be able to see the fine details of the house. This can be easily accomplished by keeping windows open and lights on during walkthroughs. The presence of soft, bright light can make things appear cleaner and more inviting. Consider getting all of your windows professionally cleaned and adjusted prior to your first showing. The bright, clean light will entice buyers, not to mention the ultra clean windows will give that same “brand new” impression that a fresh coat of paint would.

 

Big Art- Big Impression

Go big or go home, or in this case, go big IN your home (and go ahead and stay where you are because you are already home). Ok, so that second saying is a little more of a mouthful, but it’s nonetheless true. Take down your tiny picture frames and wall decorations and put them in storage for a while. Rent or buy some large framed art pieces with eye-catching colors and hang them up instead. A wall is like a canvas and the less left blank, the better. Larger pieces of art on the walls make the room itself feel larger. Combine this with a fun accent wall in your living room and you will be able to create a unique space that will leave a lasting impression that won’t break the bank.

Scents

Besides “curb appeal” the real first impression, and sometimes the strongest, is how a house smells. We’re not suggesting the old “trick” of putting cookies in the oven or anything like that, but it really pays to closely observe just how your house smells to new visitors. Consider getting all new trash cans and liners in every room. Smells can linger in them for weeks even after emptying them. Also, take control of your sink odors. Garbage disposal odors can waft through the entire house and can greet visitors with the unpleasant scent of food waste. Spend a little money to get your disposal and drainage tract professionally looked at and cleaned. At the very least, run a few gallons of bleach water through there followed by hot water to help get rid of the bleach scent. 

 

Plants

Plants are important not just for helping clean out greenhouse gases, but for making your house feel more alive and inviting. Consider popping down to your friendly neighborhood garden supply shop and pick up 4 or 5 pre-potted plants to place about your home. Your buyers will fall in love with a bright, clean house that has beautiful plants all around. 

 

Declutter and Depersonalize

The best and easiest tip is to declutter every showable area of your house. Make sure that everything is put away and organized and that your countertops are spotless. While you’re at it, take down every picture, refrigerator art, and any other personal items that may give the impression that somebody is already “living” there. The buyer wants to be able to easily imagine they are living there in this new house rather than have to feel like they are imposing on somebody who is already occupying that place. Out of sight, out of mind. 

 

With these tips and a little luck, your next home staging will have your house selling quickly and for more money. If you really put your mind to it, you can present buyers with a “play” that will put Broadway to shame. Bravo! 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Aug. 22, 2018

Got The Air Quality Blues? Use Plants to Make Your Air Safer to Breathe Indoors

Our Guide to Filling Your House With Air Filtering Plants

Smog Idaho's Best Real Estate

 

The air quality right now in Boise and the rest of the Pacific Northwest is pretty terrible. Excess smoke in the air has caused heightened respiratory problems and forced many Idaho kids to stay indoors this summer. Well, the air indoors isn’t much better. With wildfires raging and hardly a drop of rain since June 17th, we are in need of some relief from this smoky air. We’re going to explore four common houseplants that you can buy at your friendly neighborhood garden supply store that will help clear your home’s air of dangerous toxins.

 

Spider Plant (AKA Chlorophytum Comosum 'Vittatum')

Spider Plant

 

This is not only a powerhouse in filtering toxins from your home’s air, but it is also very easy to take care of! Spider Plants originated from Africa, but have been flourishing around the globe as houseplants for many years. They typically like to hang in baskets and like cooler indoor temperatures between 65*F and 90*F. They only require watering once or twice a month and thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Perfect for a kitchen or living room. 

 

Snake Plant (AKA Sansevieria Trifasciata)

Snake Plant Boise Idaho

By Mokkie - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32807562

 

Snakes and spiders, oh my! While the names for these top two plants are unpleasant, their effects on your household’s air quality is anything but. Fill your bedrooms with this sneaky snake plant (also known as “Mother-in-Law’s tongue,” but you didn’t hear that from US!) because they can survive in low light levels and occasional watering. During winter months, they can go up to two months between watering sessions. Beware, though. They are susceptible to rot if overwatered. These are also great to have in a bedroom because they release their clean oxygen at night time as opposed to during the day. Keep your friends close and your snake plants even closer!

 

Aloe Vera  (AKA Aloe Vera)

Aloe Boise Idaho

By Collage by en:User:MidgleyDJ, original images from Wikimedia commons (Image:Aloe_vera_offsets.jpg and Image:Aloe_vera_C.jpg) - See author., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5084561

 

Aloe vera is already a well regarded plant due to its use as a topical medicinal agent for thousands of years, but did you know it also is a top air purifying plant as well? Aloe is good for you both inside and out. It is considered a succulent and survives with little rainfall in its natural environment, which makes it a very hardy houseplant. They don’t like standing water, though, so make sure they have good drainage when potting them. They are great at clearing formaldehyde from the air, which is a common air pollutant in modern American homes. 

 

Bamboo Palm (AKA Chamaedorea Seifritzii)

Bamboo Boise Idaho

By Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.auCanon 5D II + Canon 400mm f/5.6 L - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17996261

 

Bamboo is a very pleasant and fairly uncommon houseplant, at least here in the PNW. This is a great addition to the home arsonal for fighting indoor air pollution because it is easy to maintain and filters out three known harmful pollutants: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene. Bamboo is also pet friendly, in case one of your dogs or cats likes to chew on houseplants. It likes bright light or even full sun. They can grow to be quite tall, so plan accordingly!

While the smoke in the air may not be getting better outside, you can make a difference inside by adding these four plant purifiers to your home.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
Aug. 9, 2018

Boise, Idaho is The Country’s Top Relocation Choice and We Have The Articles to Prove It

Boise's Best Real Estate Idaho Guide

If you already live in Boise, then congratulations. You are among the select few in our great country who can say that they were in on the ground floor of what will be the nation’s next major and most beloved city. Idaho has been one of the best kept secrets for many years now and in the age of Facebook and Instagram, the secret is getting out. If you are thinking of moving to Boise, then you’d better hurry before it’s too late. But, don’t take our word for it. We have been featured prominently in not one, but FIVE major publications in the past year alone. Let’s explore a few and see what they have to say about our little (for now!) city.

 

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. While anatomically incorrect, the sentiment is dead on. Food (and drink) matter and if you’re not getting what you deserve out of your city’s cuisine, then why are you living there? Just this month (August, 2018), USA Today published a breathless expose on Boise’s white hot food and wine scene, in which they detail many of the top food and drink spots in our little hamlet. Here’s a link to the article and a small excerpt that features one of Boise’s greatest guilty pleasure eateries, The STIL: 

 

In a city with a row of downtown restaurants that source locally and boast picture-perfect patios, plus three new taco eateries, two acclaimed hotel restaurants and a slew of specialty food shops, there is one place where you might have to wait in line. It serves two things: ice cream and alcohol.

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To go with our big appetites for great food and booze, we have a big taste for adventure. Boise was also recently featured in Lonely Planet’s popular blog as the #2 place in their “Best in the US. Places to Visit in 2018” list. They definitely mention our thriving food and art scene, but they also take time to mention that Idaho has an abundance of natural treasure as well. Excerpt:

 

Being in close proximity to a wealth of natural riches, urban adventures easily transition into outdoor escapes. Meander through the Boise River Greenbelt, a 25-mile park in the heart of the city, or head into the surrounding mountains and foothills for hiking, mountain biking, skiing and river rafting.

 

The thing is, Idaho isn’t just a great place to eat, drink, and explore. It’s also a great place to build a business and secure a great career. Forbes recently awarded Boise one of the nation's top 20 cities for young professionals. “We used six metrics crucial to recent graduates: salary, rent, employment prospects, networking opportunities and social outlook,” the author Samantha Sharf wrote. On that list, Boise beat other major cities like Portland, San Diego, and Nashville. Forbes must really love Boise because we were also featured in an article about us being one of America’s fastest growing cities in 2018, and an article that came out on June 13th, 2018 called “Booming Boise: My Relocation to the Fastest Growing City in America.” 

Boise's Best Real Estate Burger Guide

So, if you’re thinking of moving to or buying a house in Boise, you’d better make your move sooner rather than later before someone else snags up your new dream home! Boise's Best Real Estate has Idaho's most comprehensive relocation guide to help equip you with everything you need to know about setting down roots in our beautiful state. Get your free copy of the relocation guide here. Come to the place where the beer is cold, the mountains are close, and the jobs are plentiful.

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
July 24, 2018

Cool Summer Recipes to Beat The Heat

Beating the heat in the summer is a full time job. It’s not just your house that needs to be cooled down, it’s your car, your office, and everywhere else you may be during the day. Unless you are blessed to be in Anchorage, Alaska where the average high temperature for late July is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. For those us stuck in the scorching heat here in Boise and the rest of Idaho, we have a few things to discuss today that will help you keep the heat at bay (and have fun doing it!).

 

One of the best ways to stay cool during the harsh, hot summers here in the high desert is with cool food. We have designed for you a perfect menu for a dinner party with friends and family this summer that requires zero heat to prepare! It’s a win-win scenario. You get to entertain your guests with great food and you don’t have to spend any time over a burning hot stove or barbeque grill. 

Photo: Food Network 

Cocktail

All great dinner parties start with two things: Refreshing drinks and tantalizing appetizers. For today’s menu, we are going to be serving up an ice cold twist on an old classic: The Long Island Iced Tea. This recipe is handcrafted by none other than Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Not only is he classy and amazing, his cocktails are too! This iced concoction is perfect for cooling down your guests and for getting the party started off right. It contains equal parts vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and triple sec, with an ounce of sour mix. It’s finished with a splash of rose champagne and sliced lime. Sweet, sour, refreshing and strong! Full recipe here. 

Photo: Wildgreesandsardines.com

Appetizer

Ok, this appetizer is the perfect compliment to any summer party. What food reminds us more of July than corn? We are serving up a chilled sweet corn soup garnished with cold cherry tomatoes and jalapeno slices. This is a quick way to create a delicious chilled treat that will put a bit of summer in every bite. It can be made the day before so you can technically still have a full day of entertaining without turning on the stove. This may even enhance the flavor as it will get to marinade overnight in the fridge. Here’s the recipe (it only takes about 20 minutes, top to bottom).

Photo: Tasteofhome.com

 

Main Course

For our main course, we’re going to Italy. We will be serving up a triple meat, savory, crowd-pleasing dinner sandwich: The Muffuletta. This giant Italian sandwich has everything your hungry guests will want. It has three types of deli meat, olives, sweet red peppers, parsley, garlic, and (of course) CHEESE! This can be made ahead as well and stored in your fridge overnight. Simply serve the entire loaf on a platter and slice pieces of it like a big sandwich cake! Here’s the full recipe. 

Photo: Petalandply.com

Dessert 

What dinner party is complete without dessert? Especially in the summer where a cold dessert will help keep the heat at bay. We recommend this pistachio icebox pie. It only has five ingredients and is devilishly easy to make. Simply combine, pour, freeze, and serve! This dessert is a beautiful lime green in color and is slightly salty at first with a sweet finish that will leave your guests lining up at your freezer door for more. Pro tip: make sure to make an extra batch to serve after the first one gets devoured. Here’s the recipe. 

 

We hope you enjoy your next dinner party and that you are able to beat the heat this summer!

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
July 13, 2018

Top Home Security Tips For Summer Vacations

There was an old poster that hung in my 6th grade teacher’s classroom. It said, “The top three reasons for being a teacher: June, July, and August.” Mrs. Krenshaw was a great teacher, but she REALLY enjoyed her summers off. And you should too! This is the perfect time of the year to pack the family up for a vacation. During that vacation, you shouldn’t have to worry about such things as a home burglary or break in. We’ll explore some great safety tips today to help you gain that valuable peace of mind when you’re on your family vacation this summer.

 

Outdoor Security

To secure your home, you need to take steps to make it look like your home is still occupied and attended to. You can accomplish this in a few different ways. First, you can ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway while you’re away. This makes it look like the home is still occupied during the time you’re gone and it may be a nice perk for the neighbor to be able to have more off-street parking available to them for a while. While you are talking to your neighbors about parking, you can also ask them to keep an eye out for suspicious activity while you’re away. Another great favor they can do for you is to check your mail. Mail sitting in your mailbox and piling up can be a prime target for burglars and identity thieves. 

Bonus tip: if your neighbor can’t park in your driveway, shell out the extra cash to take an Uber or Taxi to the airport so you can leave your own car in the driveway or in front of the house. This will help people think you are still home at first glance. 

 

Smart Home Security

Invest in some smart outlets for your house lights. For about $21 bucks, you can get two smart outlets that connect to your home AI device like an Alexa or Google Home. Once you connect your AI device to the smart plugs, you can set a schedule for lights to turn on and off in different areas of your house. This will again make it appear that the house is being occupied while you are away. Or, if you prefer the old fashioned route, you can purchase analog timers for your outlets that let you control your lights without having to own a home AI device. These can be found here on Amazon for about $11 plus shipping. 

 

Locking Up and Securing Entryways

If you have friends or family closeby, you can have them stop by the house each day or every other day to check on things, take out the trash (if needed), and make sure there are no water or gas leaks or break in attempts. Always lock your doors and windows while you are away and if you have a sliding glass door, invest in a wooden or metal blocking dowel that can prevent the door from opening even if the lock is broken or bypassed. Sliding glass doors pose a huge threat to home security. Make sure your doggy doors and other pet doors are securely locked and barricaded as necessary. Many larger doggy doors can allow a smaller person to crawl through, or are large enough for someone with long arms to reach through and unlock the door entirely. 

Smart Security System

If you already have a security system, then you are well ahead of most people. One extra step you can take is to give your login credentials to a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member. They can also keep an eye on monitoring the system remotely and can receive updates and get to your house quickly in case of an alarm. You may not be within cell or wifi range the entire time and you could easily miss an important security alert. If you don’t have an alarm or camera system, then we suggest you invest in one soon! You can find many security camera options out there, but a good place to start is the Ring System for about $99.

 

Lastly, don’t post the fact that you are going on vacation on social media! Just post when you get back in order to prevent tech savvy burglars from casing you from Facebook or Instagram. Have a safe and fun summer out there and remember to take an active role in keeping your house secure while on vacation.

 

Posted in Boise's Best Blog
June 26, 2018

Enjoying the 4th of July Holiday Safely: Fire Safety and You

As the year gets closer to being halfway over, we are also getting closer to July 4th. The 4th of July is one of the greatest holidays of the year. The 4th is a day that brings families together to enjoy some sunshine, delicious barbeque food, and of course, fireworks. Fireworks symbolize the battle our forebearers fought to form this great nation of ours. They can be dazzling, fun, and potentially dangerous if not used properly. Today we will explore some ways to keep your home and fingers intact this holiday.


Home safety tips

Living in Boise, we don’t see a lot of rainfall each year, especially in the height of summer. This means that you can be reasonably sure that the grass, brush, and surrounding vegetation near your home will be dry on July 4th. One thing you can do to prevent a fire around your house is turn your sprinklers on about an hour or so before you are going to be lighting your fireworks. Getting your lawn, siding, and fence a nice soak before the sparks start flying is a good way to keep potential fires at bay. While you’re doing this, take a few minutes and spray the roof of your house as well. You may be extremely careful with your fireworks this year, but your neighbors may not be and dangerous cinders and rockets can travel a long ways and still be able to cause fires. Keep you hose handy during your fireworks display as well.


What you should know for this fireworks season (in Boise, Idaho)

From the Ada County Commissioners Office: Fireworks banned in unincorporated areas of ADA County. These areas include property that is “both outside of city limits AND outside of a fire protection district. The ban remains in effect during the current fire season.” You can read more here on their website. Be careful to check the map before lighting up this year! You don’t want to be on the hook for an accidental fire.

 

Firework safety tips from the experts

Fireworks and fire safety are a serious matter. We should all take safety precautions in order to have a fun and worry free July 4th holiday this year. But, you don’t have to take our word for it. Here are the top tips for firework safety as put forth by the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

 

Recommended Safety Tips

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

 

Bonus Tips: Pet Safety

  • See your vet about getting a natural tranquilizer for your pet before the 4th of July. It may help calm their nerves before festivities.
  • Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
  • If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
  • Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
  • Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.

We love the 4th of July as much as the next person, but it’s important to study up on the latest safety tips and guidelines before the fireworks start going off. The best part about the 4th of July is being happy and healthy to enjoy it next year as well! Have a safe and sane holiday this year.

Posted in Boise's Best Blog