We have streamlined the process of buying or selling a home to make it easier for you! We have built a team of industry experts to make sure you have access to local home inspectors, contractors, interior designers, service providers, property managers, lending professionals, title and escrow companies, painters, gardeners, plumbers, electricians home warranty companies and more to provide you with the best service possible!

We are dedicated to providing the most up-to-date market data in the area. Our team is made up of caring, knowledgeable professionals that work tirelessly to help you with the home buying and selling process. 

 

June 27, 2023

July is all about fun in the sun with a month full of entertainment.

Sparkler & Fireworks Safety

More than 50,000 fires are caused by fireworks every year. Take the proper precautions when operating fireworks.

  • Never disassemble or try to make your own fireworks.

  • Don’t point sparklers, or fireworks at yourself or others, especially while they’re being lit.

  • Only light fireworks on the ground and in areas that are dry and fire resistant.

  • Don’t attempt to light multiple devices at the same time.

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers.

  • Always keep a portable fire extinguisher close by. Also keep a water hose or buckets of water nearby to put out fires.

Water Activity Safety

As July is one of the hottest months of the year, many families turn to water activities to beat the heat. However, even fun water activities have serious risks if the proper precautions aren’t taken.

  • Review safe boating practices.

  • Never consume alcohol while driving a boat.

  • Before boating, always check that there are enough life preservers on hand for every passenger.

  • Set water safety rules for your family.

  • Pools should be enclosed completely with a fence to restrict access to the area. Consider installing wireless outdoor sensors that will alert you via phone or with a chime inside your home if the sensors are activated.

  • Keep a first aid kit near the pool.

Grilling Safety

July is one of the peak months for grilling fires. Enjoy grilling your favorite meals this summer while also keeping your family safe.

  • Check gas grill hoses for cracks, holes and leaks.

  • Keep children away from grills. Gas leaks, blocked tubes, and propane tanks can be a cause of grill fires and explosions.

  • Never grill indoors, in the garage, in any enclosed area or on a surface that might catch fire.

  • Keep the grill at least two feet away from decks, siding, branches and any outdoor equipment that can catch fire quickly.

If you follow these simple 4th of July safety tips, your entire family will be sure to have a safe and memorable holiday.   

 

Posted in Safety
June 12, 2023

9 Tips and Tricks to Best Showcase Your Home to Potential Buyers while keeping you safe!

Tips and Tricks to Best Showcase Your Home to Potential Buyers while keeping you safe!

  1. Let Your Agent Take the Lead. In your own personal Home Show, your real estate agent has two roles. To you, they are the director, giving you instructions on how to prepare for visitors and what to do during the event. To buyers, your agent is the host. They will welcome viewers, introduce your home’s impressive features, and take questions from the audience.                            

 

Your job is to make your house look like a million bucks - or more like $300,000. Depending on your price range.

 

The job of your agent, an expert on your local real estate market, is to take care of the rest. That will include:

 

  • Help you stage your home, or recommend a reputable stager that you can hire.

  • Hosting the showing or open house.

  • Communicating with home buyers and buyers’ agents

  • Receiving feedback during the open house and communicating that feedback to you.

 

Your agent will also recommend that you should probably leave while they       show off your house to strangers, who will look under your sinks and peek into your closets. Why should you heed that advice? Because it makes good business sense for you.

 

  • A Homeowner's presence can make it awkward for the buyer. Buyers want to make assessments on their own, without worrying about how the seller might react or try to influence them.

  • Buyers may have trouble picturing themselves living in the house when the owner is right there.

  • Sometimes sellers say too much. You might point out something that you think is a nice feature or amenity of your home, when it’s something that might turn off a buyer. You might blurt out something that could tip your negotiating hand, like how motivated you are to sell (soon!), or that you always wanted to update the retro kitchen - but just never got around to it.

  1. Hide all valuables.  Including jewelry, bank information, prescription medication, electronics, guns/weapons, etc. Hide them where thieves don’t think to look. This means jewelry out of jewelry boxes, medicine out of medicine cabinets and guns/weapons in locked safes, If necessary, put valuables in storage. Put all mail away, including credit card bills and bank statements, which could allow identity theft. Put away personal photos of family members. Personal belongings can distract home buyers and make it harder for them to imagine themselves living in your home.

  2. NEVER let strangers who walk up to your door into your house. Make them schedule an appointment with your REALTOR in advance. Also, advise your children not to let anyone in the house, no matter what they say. Even if they claim to be a real estate agent and present a business card (anyone can print those), they need to follow your safety procedures.

  3. Beware of oversharing on social media. This includes your children. Don’t share or brag about vacations or plans to go out. Don’t “check-in” to places. Don’t photograph and show, or brag about expensive artwork, electronics, weapons (or even have them in the background of personal pictures), etc. Be especially careful when photographing the rooms for marketing purposes. Do not discuss family health issues or reasons for selling your home.  

  4. Clean Like Crazy. When your home is on the market, you need to keep it in showing shape - not only for the open house, but also for any scheduled showings with buyers. Even though you’ve already (hopefully) cleaned and organized your home for its listing photos, there’s a good chance you’ve let clutter or dust pile up again, especially if you have children or pets. Make sure appliances, windows, and mirrors are fingerprint-free. Clean and organize your closets, cabinets, and under the sinks (during the open house, buyers are allowed to be nosy). Clear every bit of clutter and get rid of it or put it in storage. 

  5. Do a Smell Check. If buyers get a whiff of something funky, they’re going to run - not walk - out of your open house or showing. A week prior to the open house, ask your agent to do an honest, no-holds-barred smell check. Some possible smell solutions:

  • If your house has the aroma of your beloved pet(s), deep clean the carpets, relocate the litter box, and take steps to eliminate all olfactory traces of Fluffy.

  • If the basement is dank and musty, buy a dehumidifier to remove air moisture and run a fan to circulate the air.

  • If the kitchen drain stinks, drop in a cup of baking soda, then two cups of white vinegar.. Enjoy the bubbling, then let the mixture sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Finally, run hot water for 15 to 30 seconds to flush the odor.

  1. Let the Light In. Light doesn’t only (literally) brighten up your space. It also makes rooms look and feel larger. On showing or open house day, open all curtains and blinds to let natural light in. And in the week before the event, make sure curtains and blinds are squeaky clean. 

  2. Give Your House Some Extra Curb Appeal. Landscape upgrades recoup more of their cost at resale than even popular interior projects, like kitchen and bath remodels, according to the National Association of REALTORS “Remodeling Impact Report.” Buyers will judge your house on its outsides. So, make last minute improvements to turn up your home’s curb appeal. Cut the grass, prune the trees, and trim the shrubs. Touch up porch fixtures and furniture with a little paint. Heck, paint the whole porch, if your budget allows. Plant new shrubs or set out potted flowers. Small, relatively low-budget outdoor enhancements will make your home look all the more enticing to buyers - and can add some last - minute value to its price.                                                           

  3. Draw Attention to Your Home’s Best Features. After your agent signs in and welcomes buyers to your home, they typically will have some time to wander around on their own. Even though you won’t be there, you can still draw visitors’ attention to features in your home that you’d like to highlight. 

 

What to Do During and After Showings. Once you’ve done everything you can to make our house look and feel amazing to buyers - and your agent is on site to assume their hosting duties - the time during your showings is yours to enjoy. Go to the park, get a three-course lunch, do whatever you like as long as you’re free to take calls.

 

Your agent may need to get in touch with questions, so make sure you’re available and have good cell phone reception. 

 

After the showing ends, your agent will share with you what questions the buyer asked and any comments they overheard by visitors. Buyers’ remarks will likely run the gamut, including some that could be negative.

 

The important thing is to stay open to buyers’ feedback, and to follow your agent’s advice about how to respond. Based on buyers’ reactions, your agent may recommend that you make certain repairs, do some painting, or invest in additional staging before your next open horse. Whatever they advise, it’s not personal - it’s just the business of selling your home.

 

Call the Knott Team at 402-210-3877 as we have been trained to protect not only ourselves but to advise you on protecting your family and valuables as well.

 

For more safety information visit

www.safetyandsecuritysource.com

 

 

May 30, 2023

Upgraded Solid Waste Collection Services: Enhanced Efficiency and Sustainability

Effective July 3rd, 2023

The city of Council Bluffs has announced significant improvements to the solid waste collection services for their residents. As part of a new contract, these enhancements will not only bring increased efficiency and sustainability but also ensure a cleaner and more organized neighborhood for everyone to enjoy. In this blog post, we'll delve into the details of the upgraded services and the positive impact they will have on our community.

Monthly Rate Increase and Billing:

With the implementation of the new contract, there will be a minor monthly rate increase of just $1 for solid waste collection. The new solid waste rate will be $21 per month and will be billed quarterly. This adjustment allows for improved services while maintaining affordability for residents.

Continuing with Waste Connections:

Waste Connections, the city's current vendor, will continue providing their exceptional services. Their experienced drivers, management staff, and customer service operations have proven to be reliable and familiar to their customer base. By maintaining this partnership, a seamless transition and uninterrupted service quality is ensured.

Automated Collection and its Benefits:

One of the significant upgrades to the solid waste collection is the introduction of automated collection, aligning with industry standards. This shift brings forth several benefits that will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the waste management system:

  1. Reduced Work-Related Injuries: The automation process minimizes the physical strain on the workers, reducing the risk of work-related injuries and promoting a safer working environment.

  2. Cleaner Neighborhood Streets: Automated collection ensures a more precise and efficient waste pickup, resulting in cleaner streets throughout our community.

  3. Uniformity of Carts: Every household will receive a 96-gallon recycling cart and a 96-gallon garbage cart, ensuring uniformity and efficiency in waste disposal.

  4. Less Wear and Tear on Roads: The automated collection process is designed to minimize the impact on our roads, reducing maintenance needs and promoting sustainability.

Service Options and Additional Offerings:

Residents will have the flexibility to customize their waste management services according to their needs. The following options will be available:

  1. 48-Gallon Carts: For households with smaller amounts of solid waste, 48-gallon carts will be provided as an alternative to the standard 96-gallon carts.

  2. Extra Bag Tags and Additional Carts: Residents requiring more capacity will have the option to purchase extra bag tags or additional carts to accommodate their waste disposal needs.

Enhanced Recycling and Yard Waste Collection:

The new service includes weekly co-mingled garbage and yard waste collection. During peak times in the fall and spring, additional yard waste collection will be available, ensuring an efficient and comprehensive waste management solution for our community.

Single-Stream Recycling and Glass Disposal:

The city is pleased to introduce single-stream recycling, simplifying the recycling process for residents. However, for safety reasons, curbside recycling will no longer accept glass. Residents are encouraged to dispose of glass via alternative methods, such as local recycling drop-off containers or at the Council Bluffs Recycling Center.

Bulky Waste and Appliance Collection:

Curbside collection of bulky waste and appliances will remain unchanged. Residents will still have the opportunity to schedule two pick-ups each year, ensuring a convenient disposal option for larger items.

Conclusion:

The upgraded solid waste collection services in Council Bluffs mark an important milestone in the city’s commitment to enhanced efficiency, sustainability, and a cleaner neighborhood. By partnering with Waste Connections and implementing automated collection, they are revolutionizing waste management while prioritizing the well-being of the community and the environment.

Posted in 2023
May 23, 2023

Iowa seniors, veterans can apply for new property tax break.

Newly enacted property tax law, known as, House File 718

Here’s What you need to know to apply.

The Iowa Department of Revenue announced that it has amended the homestead tax credit exemption form to allow seniors and veterans to apply for a new property tax exemption.

Iowans can find the application at tax.iowa.gov/forms under the form Homestead Tax Credit and Exemption 54-028.

Applications are due to local assessors offices by July 1st, and if granted, the exemption will be allowed for future years without further filing as long as the claimant continues to qualify.

Forms turned in after July 1st of the year in which the credit or exemption is claimed will count as a claim for the following year.

 

A qualified claimant receiving the homestead credit must be 65 or older on or before Jan. 1st of each assessment year to receive the exemption. To claim the new exemption, applicants must provide their date of birth and certify that the information on the form is correct.

Posted in 2023
May 17, 2023

Beyond Burgers and Hotdogs...

Beyond Burgers and Hotdogs: Innovative Grilling Recipe Ideas

With summer just around the corner, it's time to embrace the grill and unleash your culinary creativity. While burgers and hotdogs are classics, why not venture into the realm of innovative grilling recipes? Impress your friends and family with these unique ideas that go beyond the ordinary:

  1. Grilled Pizza: Skip the delivery and go for homemade grilled pizza. Roll out some pizza dough, brush it with olive oil, add light toppings of your choice, and cook on high heat until the crust turns crispy.

  2. Vegetable Skewers: Embrace the flavors of grilled veggies by creating colorful skewers. Thread together bell peppers, zucchini rounds, cherry tomatoes, red onion slices, portobello mushrooms, or any vegetables you fancy. The open flame adds incredible flavor.

  3. Cedar Plank Salmon: Infuse your salmon with a smoky essence by grilling it on a soaked cedar plank. Season the salmon, place it on the plank, wrap it in foil, leaving some breathing space, and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

  4. Grilled Watermelon Salad: Elevate watermelon by grilling thick slices or chunks until they develop golden brown marks. Make a dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and crumbled feta cheese. Toss the grilled watermelon gently in the dressing for a sweet and tangy salad.

  5. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: Take the classic grilled cheese sandwich to the next level by grilling it on the BBQ. Enjoy the perfect combination of crispy bread and a gooey, melted cheese center.

  6. Pineapple Salsa: Grill thick pineapple rings to achieve enticing grill marks, then dice them for a sweet and tangy salsa. Add diced red onion, red jalapeno, chopped cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Serve this delightful salsa with tortilla chips or as a topping for fish tacos.

  7. No-Bake Campfire Cones: Satisfy your sweet tooth by filling waffle cone cups with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers, or any desired ingredients. Wrap them in foil and carefully place them on the grill for 5-7 minutes, unwrapping occasionally. Sprinkle additional crushed graham crackers on top for a gooey and indulgent treat.

 

Grilling Recipes FAQ: Answers to Common Questions

Grilling has been a cherished culinary tradition enjoyed worldwide for centuries. Whether you're a seasoned grill master or just starting out, it's important to grasp fundamental grilling techniques and address frequently asked questions (FAQ) related to grilled recipes. Today, we'll provide answers to some common BBQ questions to help you perfect your grilling skills!

Q: How can I tell when my grilled meats are cooked?

A: The most reliable method to determine the doneness of meat is by using a digital thermometer. For steaks, chicken breasts, hamburgers, or fish fillets under 1 inch thick, the internal temperature should reach 165°F/73°C. Thicker meats like roasts and pork loins should reach around 145°F/65°C. Remember to let your meat rest for at least five minutes after removing it from the heat to allow the juices to distribute evenly within the flesh.

Q: Which wood chips enhance the flavor of grilled foods?

A: Different tree species impart distinct flavors to grilled food. Some trees offer stronger flavors than others. For example, hickory adds boldness to the taste, while mesquite provides a smoky essence. Oak offers milder flavors compared to fruitwood varieties like applewood, which adds sweeter tasting notes. With the variety of options available in today's markets, it's easier than ever to choose the perfect wood chips that complement different types of grilled food.

Q: Should I marinate my meat for grilling? If so, how long should I marinate it?

A: If possible, marinate your meat overnight for optimal flavor, especially for lean cuts like sirloin steak or flank steak. However, longer marinating times may negatively affect the texture of delicate proteins like fish fillets. Roughly thirty minutes should be the maximum marinating time to appreciate the nuances of a marinade and make necessary adjustments.

Q: What is indirect grilling, and when should I use it?

A: Indirect grilling involves placing food on the side of the grill that is not directly over the flames or hot coals. This method allows for slower cooking as the food is not exposed to direct flames, reducing flare-ups. Indirect grilling is particularly useful when thawing frozen meats evenly without burning them due to direct heat. It is also ideal for foods that require longer cooking times, such as smoking briskets and pork shoulders, allowing the real smoky flavors to develop at lower temperatures.

Now, armed with this knowledge, you're ready to overcome any obstacles during your next BBQ cookout with confidence! Embrace the art of grilling, understanding meat temperatures for different dishes, choosing wood chips for optimal flavor, marinating techniques, and the benefits of indirect grilling. Explore these approaches and unlock the full potential of your grilling adventures.

 

Posted in Recipes
May 17, 2023

Grilling Tips for All Seasons

Grilling Tips for All Seasons

Mastering Grilling Recipes Like a Pro: Tips and Tricks Grilling is an art that requires patience, precision, and a touch of creativity. Whether you're a novice or an experienced grill master, honing your grilling skills can elevate your cooking prowess and impress your loved ones. With the following tips and tricks, you'll be able to master any grilling recipe in no time:

  1. Achieve the Perfect Grill Temperature Understanding the right temperature for different recipes is crucial. Searing steaks or chicken breasts requires high heat, while slow-cooking pork ribs or brisket benefits from low heat. Mastering this fundamental step ensures consistent and flawless results.

  2. Keep Your Grill Clean Maintaining a clean grill is essential for optimal grilling. Leftover food debris can cause health risks and negatively impact the taste. Make sure to clean your grill thoroughly, removing any dirt or grease build-up before each use.

  3. Generously Season Before Grilling Seasoning is key to enhancing the flavor of your grilled dishes. Don't shy away from generously seasoning your ingredients before grilling. The combination of flavors creates depth and richness, and remember that salt helps bring out natural juices' flavors.

  4. Use Oil During Cooking When grilling lean foods like fish fillets or boneless chicken breasts, brushing them with olive oil can prevent sticking. Just be careful not to over-oil, as it can lead to flare-ups.

  5. Timing is Everything Pay attention to timing to avoid overcooking or undercooking your food. Keep a watchful eye on the grill, avoiding distractions, and ensuring your food reaches the desired level of doneness. Randomly checking or leaving the grill unattended can ruin the taste.

  6. Explore Different Cooking Styles Experimenting with various cooking styles and recipes is essential for mastering grilling techniques. Whether it's using indirect heat for roasting a turkey or ribs, or high-temperature methods like Korean barbecue bo-ssam pork belly, the possibilities are endless. Don't be afraid to try something new.

  7. Allow Proper Resting Time Resting cooked meats after grilling is crucial. Give your dishes a minimum of 2 minutes per pound to allow the flavors to settle and optimize the taste. Resting time also helps to retain moisture and tenderness.

By following these tips and tricks, you'll soon become a masterful grill chef, impressing everyone with your mouth-watering BBQ favorites.

Foolproof Steps for Perfect Grilling Results When summertime rolls around, there's nothing quite like the joy of a backyard barbecue. Whether you're cooking for family or hosting friends, grilling can be a fun and rewarding experience—if you know what you're doing. To ensure perfect results every time, follow this foolproof step-by-step guide:

  1. Ensure Your Grill is Preheated Before placing any food on the grill, it's important to preheat it properly. Make sure your grill is hot to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking. This will also give your food those desirable grill marks.
  1. Opt for High-Quality Ingredients To achieve delicious grilled dishes, prioritize high-quality ingredients. Choose organic meats from local farms or opt for vegetables that have been grown without pesticides or additives. Quality ingredients make a significant difference in the taste of your food.
  1. Properly Prepare Your Meat Don't overlook the preparation of your meat before grilling. Marinate chicken overnight or for at least 30 minutes with flavorful spices like garlic cloves, lemon juice, or paprika. This will enhance the flavor of the meat when it's cooked on the grill.
  1. Use the Right Utensils Invest in the right grilling utensils to make the process easier and safer. Long tongs and a sturdy spatula will help keep your hands away from the flames and ensure better control while grilling.
  1. Maintain a Steady Heat Maintaining steady heat is crucial for successful grilling. Keep the grill lid closed to retain natural flavors and conserve energy. Gas grills typically require low heat between 250-350°F, while charcoal grills can go upwards of 400°F. Follow recipe instructions and adjust the heat accordingly to prevent flare-ups.

With these tips in mind, feel free to explore different marinades and recipes to find what works best for you. Grilling can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience when done correctly, so follow this foolproof guide to become a master griller!

Table with useful data:

Recipe Name Ingredients Cooking Time Difficulty Level
Grilled Chicken Skewers Chicken, onion, bell pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper 30 minutes Easy
Grilled Shrimp Shrimp, garlic, lemon juice, butter 10 minutes Medium
Grilled Steak Steak, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper 12-15 minutes Hard
Grilled Vegetable Skewers Zucchini, squash, onion, mushroom, bell pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper 20-25 minutes Medium
May 16, 2023

Bike Night on the 100 Block

There is always something going on in Council Bluffs and the 100 Block is no exception, below is a list of the themed line-up for the 2023 Bikes on The 100 Block.

1st Gear - May 18: Shoot To Thrill 2nd Gear - June 15th: Hotel Desperado 3rd Gear - July 20th: Big Bang Maybe 4th Gear - August 17th: Gallivant NEW FOR 2023 5th Gear - September 21st: HELP PICK THE BAND / TBD

Come and enjoy the exhilarating atmosphere of the Historic 100 Block, where entertainment and culinary delights await you.

Posted in 2023
April 24, 2023

5 Tips for Dealing with the Blahs

1. Dance.

Seriously – turn on some of your favorite jams and dance. Do it with your kids or spouse – be silly. Music and dance help us feel better.

Important Rule: Don’t pick a sad song.

2. Bring on the light!

I’m going against the EPA here – but turn on all your lights. My body craves light. So if it’s only gray outside, I still open all my curtains and shades, and turn on my lights so that it feels bright. Every light in the house is onnnnnnnnnnnn! But only for the gray winter. 

3. Mix things up.

If you’re stuck in the same ole, same ole every day, change it up. I’m a huge creature of habit but if I get the blahs, I like to take one day and do something different! Maybe have a movie or game day with your family. Maybe pile in your car and go to a museum. Or go for a winter hike. Go visit some friends. Just stop the blah routine in its tracks and do something else.

4. Use citrus.

Did you know that the smell of citrus promotes happiness? In the winter, you’ll find something citrusy for your diffuser every single day. But even if you don’t use oils, eat an orange. Sniff a lemon. Put some fresh lemon in your water.

5. Go somewhere.

If you can make it happen, take a trip. Overnight weekend trip can change your attitude. Find a fun Airbnb not too far away and take your family. Eat fun food, sleep in, watch movies. See something fun wherever you go. Road trips are always fun – and you can make it fit just about any budget.

Budding tulips coming up remind you that Spring is here. So when you get blue, or am feeling especially blah, walk over to the window and give them a glance. God is good to give us these little reminders all around us that He’s always working even when we can’t see it and it feels gray. Be encouraged. Warmer weather is on the way!

Posted in Health
March 8, 2023

WHEN TO START SEEDS INDOORS (THE PERFECT GUIDELINE)

How To Figure Out When To Start Seeds: A Guide For What To Plant When

 

When should you start seeds indoors? This is one of the most common questions new gardeners ask.

 

There are lots of different planting charts out there, and they can be helpful to use as a guide for starting seeds. But, there are so many factors involved, that it’s best to create your own personal timetable.

 

Don’t worry, it’s not difficult to do, once you learn exactly when to start planting seeds indoors, the timing will become second nature to you!

 

WHY DO WE NEED A SEED STARTING TIMETABLE?

 

Timing is very important when it comes to starting seeds indoors. That’s because if you do it too early, you could end up with weak, leggy seedlings that won’t survive the transition to the garden.

 

But if you start too late, they won’t be mature enough for transplanting into the garden by spring.

It takes a little practice, but in time you will be able to create your own seed planting schedule so you know exactly when to start each variety. Let’s walk through the steps together…

 

Getting my trays ready for planting seeds indoors

Getting my trays ready for planting seeds indoors

 

FIGURING OUT WHEN TO START SEEDS INDOORS

 

The biggest problem with figuring out what to plant when is that every seed is different.

 

  • Some are fast growers, and it will only take a few weeks for them to get large enough to be planted into the garden. But others are very slow to germinate, and it takes much longer for them to mature.

 

Plus, every growing zone has different planting dates. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” seed starting chart.

 

So how can you figure out the best planting dates for YOUR seeds?

 

FINDING YOUR BEST INDOOR PLANTING DATES

 

Since every seed is different, and some have special planting instructions, we need to rely on the packets for help.

 

Unfortunately, many companies give us very vague details (or no instructions at all), which is super annoying.

 

But don’t worry, if you’re just starting out, you can follow these simple guidelines to figure out a basic timetable…

 

Figuring out when to start seeds indoors

Figuring out when to start seeds indoors

 

Step 1: Find the dates on the packet – First, read the instructions on each of the packets. Most will give you recommended planting dates for when to start seeds indoors.

 

Generally, it will be something like “4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost”, or “6 to 8 weeks…” etc.

 

Finding the best planting dates for seeds

Finding the best planting dates for seeds

 

Step 2: Sort your packets by best planting dates – Take all of the ones you plan to start indoors, and sort them by the recommended planting dates shown on the packet.

 

Step 3: Store them by date – Once you have everything sorted into piles, store them like that. That way, you’ll always know which ones to plant at the same time.

 

But wait… what if your seed packets don’t have any recommended planting dates on them?

 

Sorting seed packets by best planting days

Sorting seed packets by best planting days

 

GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR WHEN TO PLANT SEEDS INDOORS

 

Unfortunately, not all companies include seed starting dates on the packets for you (maybe they like to keep us guessing?).

 

So if yours doesn’t have the recommended planting dates, then here are a few basic guidelines you can follow to figure it out.

 

In general, you should start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the average last frost date in your area.

 

For example, our average last frost date here in growing zone 6 (Council Bluffs, IA) is April 23rd.

 

 

So, count backwards 6 to 8 weeks (which would be Feb. 26th – March 12th), and that’s when you should start planting seeds indoors.

 

March 7, 2023

Getting Your Clean On

spring cleaningPreparing for the Spring Clean

1. Get in the mood!

In order for your spring cleaning endeavors to be effective and at least a tiny bit fun, you need to prepare yourself mentally. Focus on how wonderful it will feel to transition into spring with a fresh, clean, welcoming home and set a date that you can keep with your cleaning. Mark it on the calendar, and commit to keeping that date.

2. Make a list of all of the things you want to tackle                                                   As you ponder how to prepare your home for spring cleaning, the priorities will dictate what gets moved where, what supplies you need to purchase, and what you take on first.

3. Purchase necessary supplies                                                                              Fresh rubber gloves, plenty of cleaners, trash bags, and other supplies that you may need. Stock up on lightbulbs, drain clog remover, door hinge grease, and other small things you may find require fixing along the way!

4. Declutter                                                                                                                      In the days leading up to the Big Clean, make little steps toward decluttering. Take out all of the recycling, put away all of your clothes, get rid of old food from the refrigerator, and so on – one of the simplest ways to get your home ready for spring.

On Cleaning Day

5. Save vacuuming and mopping for last                                                                Start with dusting all of those hard-to-reach places. Clean ceiling fans, the top of your refrigerator, the top of the TV stand, and light fixtures – whatever places you don’t typically clean on your average house cleaning day. Since you haven’t vacuumed yet you don’t have to worry about getting dust on the floor.

6. Clean out furniture                                                                                           Similarly, clean out cabinets and the refrigerator early on. Don’t forget to clean underneath and around the coils, where dust and grime can have an impact on your appliance’s efficiency.

7. Wipe down your walls                                                                                                 A winter of being closed in will likely mean your walls have accumulated more grime and dust than you think they would, being vertical surfaces. As long as your paint can handle a washing, you can use a sponge mop to do the dirtiest work and dry your walls with a soft, clean cloth. If you aren’t sure whether your paint can withstand washing, spot test it somewhere out of sight.

8. Wash carpets and upholstery                                                                        Especially if you have pets! Fabrics may not show the grime yet, but over time it will set in and stain. Use a carpet cleaner and you will be amazed at just how dirty the water becomes. Similarly, a small upholstery cleaner can be rented for a decent price and will do wonders for your sofa seat. You won’t regret it – just be sure you arrange your schedule to leave enough time for it to dry.

9. Vacuum & Mop                                                                                                      Lastly, vacuum, mop, and vigorously sweep your entry stairway and walkway. Voila!