December 23rd, 2013

Merry Christmas

Categories: Holiday | Tags:
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

From our home to yours, the Grand View Builders team would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! We hope your holiday is filled with joy, laughter and family.

Joyful Christmas

December 18th, 2013

Holiday Baking

Categories: Baking, Holiday | Tags: , , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

The Grand View Builders team knows the holidays are an especially busy time for your home and kitchens as guests make their way into town. Everyone has his or her favorite go-to recipes, but if you’re interested in spicing your baking up and trying something new, we’re sharing some exceptionally delicious cookie and bread recipes below.

Breads are easy to make and also make delicious gifts for teachers, neighbors and friends. You can bake large loaves, mini loaves or muffins depending on how you want to package your snack. We recommend these apricot bread, banana walnut bread and gingerbread loaf recipes for a spin on some classic Christmas flavors. Let the bread cool for an hour after baking.  To ensure the bread stays fresh wrap it in wax paper and then saran wrap.

apricot bread

Since breads frequently have a longer baking time than other homemade products, we recommend baking cookies if you’re in a bit of a time crunch. Although we love classic chocolate chip and sugar cookies, consider baking theses Oreo doodles, figgy peanut butter and molasses cookies for unique and out-of-the-box Christmas treats. Arrange a variety of cookies on a platter for a beautiful presentation or package the cookies individually in cookie bags or boxes as gifts.

oreo doodles

Once you’ve finished baking all your delicious treats, festive containers or packages are the perfect way to add extra Christmas cheer to your baked goods. Your treats are sure to taste and look like perfection when you use decorative loaf pans, festive holiday paper baking cups, mason jars or cookie bags tied with colorful Christmas ribbons.

cookie jar

We hope your kitchen is as busy as the North Pole this holiday season and full of delicious treats and savory scents! Send us your favorite baked goodies recipes on Facebook and Twitter.

December 11th, 2013

Picking the Perfect Christmas Tree

Categories: Family Activities, Holiday | Tags: , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

A house isn’t a home without a Christmas tree this time of year.  The Grand View Builders team wants to make things easier for you, so we’ve put together a list of where you can locally purchase your family’s Christmas tree.

There are numerous Christmas tree farms throughout the greater Houston area, so see our list below for the ones that are convenient to our communities.

Mill Hollow Christmas Tree Farm
is centrally located near our Stewarts Forest, Foster Glen and Cumberland Crossing communities. View a variety of Virginia Pine, Leyland Cypress, Japanese Cedar and Arizona Cypress Christmas trees before you pick the perfect one to cut down. You can also enjoy hayrides, wooded trails, tree houses and other family activities during your visit.

Our Lakes of Bella Terra, North Pointe Trails and Amburn Oaks residents are a short drive away from the Holiday Acres Tree Farm. Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, this tree farm offers the more traditional Fraser Fir in addition to Virginia Pine and Leyland Cypress trees. Enjoy a campfire before or after your tree cutting adventure and pick up a homemade wreath before you head home.

For those living in our Inverness Estates, Inverness Estates Signature Series or Wimbledon Falls neighborhoods, think about visiting Spring Creek Growers to find your perfect Christmas tree this year. Enjoy fresh baked cookies, hot chocolate and hot apple cider free of charge when you visit the gift shop. More than just Christmas trees, the farm also has a fishing pond, a variety of games and numerous Santa visits during the holiday season. Don’t miss their Breakfast with Santa event on December 14th!

Tree farm

If the tree farms listed above aren’t convenient for you, try visiting one of these farms instead.  A few of these tree farms will even deliver your Christmas tree straight to your home.

After you have chopped down the perfect tree, there are a few things you need about live tree care.  Don’t place candles anywhere near your tree to help avoid fires. It’s also important to make sure your tree is not near a direct heat source like a space heater, vent or fireplace.  It’s best to not leave the lights on for more than five hours at a time and never leave a lit tree unattended.  Remember to water your tree daily so it doesn’t dry out and become more susceptible to catching on fire.

ChristmasTreeSafety

Once the holiday is over and it’s time to dispose of your tree, the Grand View Builders team, along with The Solid Waste Management Department, encourages everyone to recycle his or her Christmas tree this year.  There are 18 free drop-off sites throughout Houston and the surrounding areas where residents can recycle trees; therefore, there is no need to put it out with the trash or leave it in the backyard this year.

We hope you and your family find the perfect tree this year! We love seeing holiday decorations, so feel free to share photos of your decorated tree or home with us on Facebook and Twitter!

December 4th, 2013

Easy Gift Ideas

Categories: Crafts, Holiday | Tags: , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

With Christmas quickly approaching, Grand View Builders knows that deciding what presents to give to co-workers and friends can sometimes be a headache.  There are many options when it comes to gift giving: baking, buying and crafting.  Which will you choose this year?

Baking
We know that the kitchen in your estate, signature or liberty series home stays extra busy during the holiday season.  Your favorite recipes also make delicious gifts for co-workers and friends!  Bake up a batch of your favorite cookies, package them in a cute container and gift away! If you’re feeling extra gracious, consider tying your secret recipe to the package so your friends can enjoy your treats again and again.

BakedGoodsBasket

Buying
Hoping to make things a bit easier for you, here are our top two suggestions for any person on your list!

Gift Cards: Never underestimate the power of a gift card! This perfect piece of plastic holds plenty of potential. Picking a general gift card like Target, Wal-Mart, Starbucks or a grocery store allows the recipient to pick out exactly what he/she wants. These are also easy to mail and make great stocking stuffers!

Business Card Cases:  Business card cases are an easy, convenient way to carry your cards and a fantastic gift for a co-worker. Etsy has card cases ranging from $5 to $25.

Card Case

Crafting
Handmade gifts are perfect for smaller budgets. Making Christmas gifts for co-workers and friends will add a personal touch to each gift and is a fun way to show them how much they are appreciated.

Coasters
:  You’ll need 4-inch round, flat cork pieces, modge podge and card stock paper to create these personalized coasters.  Spread a layer of modge podge onto the cork piece and then place any color or pattern card stock on top.  You can also include photos before you seal with another thin layer of modge podge.

Coffee Mug
:  Buy white ceramic mugs and create your own unique design with a sharpie.  When you’re finished drawing and designing, place the mugs in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.  The ink will dry and become permanent. You can also package it with some gourmet coffee, tea bags or hot chocolate mix to add another surprise.

Mug

We hope these gift ideas have inspired you and made your holiday gift giving a little less stressful!

November 27th, 2013

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Categories: Holiday | Tags: , , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

From our home to yours, everyone at Grand View Builders would like to wish you and your family a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday.

By now, you have already prepared for the big feast using our Thanksgiving Tips, but cooking and eating are only half of the holiday nowadays. Last year, more than 32 million Americans shopped on Black Friday, and this year, that number is expected to rise to 38 million shoppers.

With major retailers including Toys R Us, Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Target opening on Thanksgiving evening, the holiday deals are starting even earlier this year. Black Friday has expanded into Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday.

These shopping frenzies are a great time not only to pick up gifts, but also a wonderful time to buy new things for your home. From appliances small and large to technology and décor, the deals during the holidays just might be worth a trip to the shopping center.

If you are looking for great deals on technology this year, we like this list via Heavy: “Best Black Friday Sales 2013: 17 Deals Worth Fighting the Crowds.”

We also recommend taking a look at the deals from Sears and Lowes if you are in the market for any appliances, home repair or maintenance items.

While it’s hard to compete with the deals from major corporations, we hope you will also consider shopping locally this year. Help support your community by purchasing at least one item from a local store this holiday season. With all that shopping, you’ll need to take a break for some energy-refilling eats. Try visiting a local restaurant  and your dollars will be well spent.

Happy eating and happy shopping to you and your family this Thanksgiving weekend!

November 20th, 2013

Thanksgiving Tips

Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Grand View Builders

The holiday season is upon us! The staff at Grand View Builders wants to share some Thanksgiving tips with all of you.  Whether you’re hosting family at your home, traveling for the holidays or searching for the perfect holiday recipes, Grand View Builders has some pointers for you!

Holiday House Guests
If you’re like us, the week before our Thanksgiving guests arrive is spent cleaning and decorating the house.  We add decorations to the exterior of our house to add some extra holiday cheer, but the majority of our preparation goes into cleaning the kitchen (make sure your turkey carving knife is sharp!) and preparing the guest bedroom.

We’ve got some tips to help you make your guest room feel warm and inviting.  Store extra blankets, towels and robes in a basket and place it visibly in the room so guests have everything they need to freshen up on arrival.  You can make the bed look like a five-star hotel bed by using plush bedding, layering pillows and adding pops of color.  Top the bed with an overload of pillows that are different colors and fabrics.  These things are sure to make your guests feel right at home!

bedroom

Hostess Gifts
If you’re traveling to a relative’s home for the holidays, you should give the hostess a gift.  According to the Huffington Post, the price point for the gift should stay around $20 and should reflect the season.

Our favorites hostess gifts include the beaded leaves table runner, pumpkin scented soaps and turkey salt and pepper shakers.  Find more gift ideas here.

scented soap

Kitchen Preparation

There’s always a good chunk of time spent in the kitchen when you’re hosting the Thanksgiving Day meal at your home, which means your dishwasher will be put to good use!  Here are some instructions and tips for keeping your dishwasher clean and odor-free.

dishwasher

We love traditional Thanksgiving food and we’re sure you have your favorite recipes that you always cook, but be sure to properly put away and store your leftovers so they stay fresh.  You can keep the party going by using the leftovers in other recipes.  Try making turkey and mashed potato potpies or turkey chili with cornbread topping.

pumpkin pie

Grand View Home Builders hopes these tips help make your Thanksgiving a bit easier and stress-free!

November 13th, 2013

“You Share, We Give” with USO Fort Hood

Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Grand View Builders appreciates all men and women serving in the military and understands it can be a difficult transition for veterans returning home, which is why we are pleased to be contributing to USO Fort Hood for this month’s “You Share, We Give” campaign.

Over the last three months, Grand View Builders has donated to Operation Homefront, Lone Star Veterans Association and Grace After Fire. Our donations would not have been possible without your help, though! We hope that you join us again and help support this month’s military organization by sharing our Facebook post about this campaign. Help us reach 500 shares before November 30 and we will donate $1,000 to USO Fort Hood!

"You Share, We Give" USO Fort Hood

USO Fort Hood’s mission is to lift the morale of military troops and their families. They do so through programs including USO in a box, USO operation phone home and families of the fallen support.  Fort Hood welcomes any and all volunteers for these programs and any of their other programs.  You can volunteer at your local USO center and provide support to military families and returning veterans.

Veterans make up an important segment of our country and are present throughout communities across the nation. Grand View Builders is proud to raise awareness and support our veterans in their civilian lives.

Visit the Grand View Builders Facebook page to share our “You Share, We Give” campaign!

November 6th, 2013

What To Do With Old Pumpkins

Categories: Fall, Home Tips, Outdoor Care | Tags: , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

As we wrap up another holiday, our staff and homeowners at Grand View Builders have found ourselves busy taking down Halloween decorations and cleaning the house and yard.  The iconic symbol of Halloween, the pumpkin, has many uses after October 31. So before your old pumpkins wither and rot away on your front steps, here are some tips on what to do with the orange vegetable post-Halloween.

If you’re full of chocolate and sweets, enjoy the taste of the season by roasting the pumpkin seeds.  We used this recipe to flavor the seeds before we popped them in the oven.

roasted pumpkin seeds

There are numerous recipes that use pumpkin.  Feel free to roast the seeds with the recipe above or add the pumpkin filling to your favorite muffin, cake or bread recipe.  All of this cooking is sure to fill your kitchen with amazing fall flavors and scents!

Here are a variety of ways you can recycle and dispose of your pumpkins.

old pumpkins

Pastures, fields or wooded areas are environmentally safe areas to dispose your pumpkin. . Pumpkins will naturally decompose and provide a great snack for any resident animals.

You can also compost your pumpkins by cutting them into small pieces and adding to your compost bin. Cutting the pumpkin into small chunks will speed up the decomposition process. Reference our “Green Home, Green Lawn” blog for more compost tips.

If you don’t have a compost bin, you may choose to bury the whole pumpkin.  We suggest digging a hole in your backyard and dropping the pumpkin inside.  Make sure you cover the hole with dirt and place a pot over it, so that squirrels don’t try to dig it up.

compost pumpkin

We hope our pumpkin cleaning tips make your fall clean up process easier!   Stay tuned for more yard and recycling tips in the future!

October 30th, 2013

Have a Spooky and Safe Halloween

Categories: Events, Family Activities, Holiday | Tags: , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Our Grand View Builders communities provide the perfect layout for our residents to enjoy trick-or-treating. Since Halloween is tomorrow, we’re sharing some trick-or-treat safety tips with you!

jack-o-lantern

Safety Tips
1. Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Host a meet up at your home and trick-or-treat with a group of your school friends or neighbors.
2. With the sun setting earlier, it is important to make sure your costume can be seen after dark. We suggest fastening reflective tape to your costumes so drivers can see you after sunset or walking with a flashlight.
3. Always walk, don’t run, from house to house.  Not only will your trick-or-treat adventure come to a close the faster you move from house to house, but you also are putting yourself in danger of getting cuts and scrapes if you run and fall.
4. Walk on the sidewalks whenever possible and look both ways before you cross the street.
5. Only enter homes if you’re with a trusted adult and you know the people inside the house.

trick-or-treat

Etiquette
1. If you want trick-or-treaters to stop at your house, make sure the outside lights are on. This alerts trick-or-treaters that you are ready and waiting for their arrival.  Houses that don’t have lights on usually mean no one is home and you should skip that property.
2. Be mindful of others’ property and use the walkway leading to the door. Don’t run through the yard as you may damage sprinkler systems, yard lights or get tangled in Halloween decorations.
3. Don’t relentlessly ring the doorbell or knock on the door.  If no one comes to the door after the second ring or knock, move along to the next house.

Other Halloween fun facts: The amount of sugar in candy is frightening! According to Reader’s Digest, the seven healthiest candy choices are 3 Musketeers, Peeps Pumpkins, York Peppermint Patties, Peanut M&M’s, Tootsie Rolls, Jolly Ranchers and Charms Blow Pops.  Consider one of these options if you are expecting trick-or-treaters this year.  You might also opt to give your Halloween visitors individual packs of crackers, granola bars or apples.

We hope these tips keep you and your family safe while you’re out and about trick-or-treating this Thursday!  From our family to yours, have a happy and safe Halloween!

October 23rd, 2013

How to Pick the Perfect Floor For Your Home

Categories: Home Tips, Kitchen, Move In Ready Home | Tags: , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Grand View Builders offers move-in ready homes throughout the greater Houston area and we understand that looking for or building, the perfect house is only part of the process. Once you begin the process of shopping for a home, you’ll notice there are many different flooring options to choose from.

Choosing the correct flooring for a room in your home is a process that combines personal taste and practicality. Not only are you choosing something you need to like aesthetically, but you are also deciding what surface will work best for your lifestyle.

Here are some tips for selecting the right floor for you.

The Basics
Before you start you research be sure to ask yourself some basic questions:
How much traffic will the floor receive?
Will children or pets cause greater distress?
How often do you expect to clean your floor?
How long do you want your new floor to last?

Kitchens
When you’re choosing kitchen flooring, durability and ease of cleaning should be the top two criteria. The most common choices include linoleum, ceramic tile and wood. Linoleum is typically the least expensive option and is the easiest to clean. Ceramic tiles are also relatively easy to clean but offer slightly more durability. Tiles tend to be more resistant to scratches, but they do run the risk of cracking over time. Last but not least is wood. Not only is wood a great choice for a high traffic room, but it also offers a homier vibe to the room. Make sure there is a protective finish, like polyurethane, applied to the floor to help protect the wood from moisture.

Kitchen
Bathrooms
Bathroom floors see a lot more moisture than kitchens so linoleum, tile and stones like marble or granite tend to be more popular and functional flooring options. Installing tile or stone can be a very tricky process, so make sure you hire a professional to install. It is also important to test the slickness of the floor before you make a decision.

Bathroom

Living Areas
Flooring for the rest of your home including living, dinning and bedroom areas really comes down to your personal style. While tile offers nearly unlimited patterns and styles, it can often feel cold and hard on your feet. Wood flooring tends to be easier on your feet and back and offers longer-term flexibility because it can be refinished. The options for wood are also limitless as the wood type, texture, size and pattern can be mixed to create endless options. Carpet offers the most comfort and is typically a popular option for bedrooms, media rooms and living areas – places you typically spend most of your time barefoot. Carpet can often help with soundproofing as well.

Living room
When choosing your flooring throughout your house, make sure to ask yourself the basic questions, do your research and know your personal style to make picking your floor practically painless.

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