August 7th, 2013
Categories: Holiday, Summer | This post was written by: Grand View Builders
Get your shopping bags ready, tax-free shopping kicks off Friday! Texas has scheduled this annual shopping extravaganza one week early this year, meaning this weekend (Friday, August 9 – Sunday, August 11) is tax-free shopping time, and time to stock-up on back to school essentials!
As in previous years, the tax-free shopping law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks from sales tax. In order to qualify as tax-free, the item must be less than $100. Don’t worry if your total bill is more than $100, as long as each qualifying item is less than $100 all items will be exempt from sales tax. With tax rates right around eight percent, shoppers can save roughly $8 on every $100 they spend- we’ll take it! For an itemized list of what qualifies for tax-free shopping, click here.
Time to Shop
So clean out your closets, empty your desk drawers and get ready to re-stock this weekend. But before you hit the stores, make a plan! We’ve compiled a list of shopping tips to make your shopping adventure as hassle free as possible.
- Make a list: Have a comprehensive shopping list of what items you need to pick up this weekend.
- Know where to go: Do your research and find who has the best prices. Know where you want to go ahead of time.
- Visit beforehand: Visit the stores this week so you can try on what you want to purchase and locate your items in store. That way you can run in, pick up your items and make your purchase without getting lost and having to hassle with dressing room lines.
- Shop early: Start your shopping adventure early so you can maximize on the day.
Now that you have all the details on Texas’ tax-free shopping weekend, we wish you happy shopping!
July 31st, 2013
Categories: charity, Contest, military, military charity | This post was written by: Grand View Builders
Grand View Builders greatly appreciates those who put their lives on the line while serving and protecting our country. On August 1, GVB will kick off our new “You Share, We Give” Facebook campaign to help raise awareness and funds for organizations that support our troops and veterans.
From August to December, GVB will donate money to military appreciation organizations based on the number of “shares” our “You Share, We Give” Facebook posts receive. We will highlight one military appreciation organization by posting information about what they do and tips on how you can get involved in their mission. GVB will make a donation at the end of the month to our highlighted organization based on the number of “shares” our “You Share, We Give” post receives.
We will post a different “You Share, We Give” graphic each month, which we will encourage our Facebook fans to “share.” The more “shares” the post receives, the more GVB will donate to the organization of the month, up to $1,000 per organization.
“Share” one graphic or all five and help give back to our military community! We are kicking off our “You Share, We Give” Campaign on Thursday, August 1. This month’s spotlighted organization is Operation Homefront.
Details on how to participate: Become a fan of Grand View Builders on Facebook, “share” our “You Share, We Give” photo of the month and help raise money for a military support organization.
July 24th, 2013
Categories: Family Activities, For Kids, Summer | This post was written by: Grand View Builders
As August nears, we wanted to make sure you’re ready for the final summer hurrahs before the kids head back to school. We have compiled some great games to make our list of fun activities for an end of summer splash party!
Water Balloon Toss
Water balloons are a splash party essential. Although children always love a water balloon free-for-all, we prefer a more organized water balloon toss! Position the children in pairs that are roughly three feet apart. Instruct the children to gently toss the water balloon from one partner to the other. If they successfully throw and catch the balloon without popping it, each partner must take one large step backward before making the next toss. The last team standing is crowned the water balloon toss champions!
Fill the Bucket
Another great activity for your backyard splash party is a “Fill the Bucket” race. Divide your party attendees into two even teams. Have them line up in between one large container of water and one large empty container. The object of the game is to move all the water from the full container to the empty container using a small bucket. The first person in line will fill the small bucket and pass to the team member behind him or her. The bucket will be passed from team member to team member until it reaches the last person in line. The last person will empty the water left in the bucket into the empty container. The team that fills the empty container first wins! If you make the game even more challenging, drill holes in your small bucket so water escapes as it get passed down the line!
Slip and Slide
The perfect end to your end of summer splash party is a slip and slide. You can make your own slide zone by laying out a long piece of tarp, adding some dish soap and spraying the tarp with water. Find a flat surface in your backyard with no rocks, sticks or other objects that may be in the way of the slider. Remember to occasionally spray down the tarp and add some more soap so it stays slippery. You can also lay the hose on its slide for a more continual source of water. You can also never go wrong with a slip and slide from a store like Target or Walmart. Many of the store purchased slip and slides hook up to your home’s garden hose to consistently supply water.
Summer might be coming to a close soon, but the fun does not have to slow down just yet. While the days are still long and the sun is out in full swing, invite over some friends and family for an afternoon of summer splash fun.
July 17th, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Grand View Builders
The Texas summer heat continues to rise as temperatures reach well into the 100’s. Keeping your house cool during the summer months is a tough task, so causing your house to heat up even more with the oven is definitely an unwanted chore. Summer is a time of indulgence so we are sharing some of our favorite summer treats that not only taste good, but also keep your ovens off and house cool.
A fruity, cold Popsicle is one of our favorite summer treats. No need to head to the store to buy popsicles when you can make them yourself at home. You can buy a popsicle mold and make homemade treats with a packet of your favorite favor of Kool-Aid or Crystal light mix. Just stir up the drink mix, pour into the form and freeze for a couple of hours for quick and easy refreshing treats. You can also add in some pieces of fresh fruit to make the treat even more refreshing. For more recipes, check out Real Simple’s list here.
Another great summer treat that doesn’t require the oven is a “Dirt Cake”. This pudding-based “cake” is a fun and easy recipe the whole family will enjoy. Start by making a couple of batches of your favorite flavor of pudding. (We recommend chocolate to resemble dirt.) In a tall glass bowl, start by scooping a layer of pudding, followed by a layer of crushed Oreo cookies. Add in gummy worms and continue to layer your bowl until you run out of pudding. Top your cake with the rest of your Oreo cookie crumbles and a few exposed gummy worms and enjoy!
Staying hydrated during the summer months is a must! Pull out your blender and make a watermelon slushy, a fresh fruit smoothie or an ice cream milk shake to expand your summer drink options. Blend, shake or stir up hundreds of combinations using your favorite ingredients to create your perfect summer snack.
We hope you will enjoy these refreshing summer treats that keep your ovens off and homes cool!
July 10th, 2013
Categories: Contest, Kitchen | Tags: Contest, Facebook, giveaway, July, kitchen, Kitchen Aid, Patriotic, prize, Share
This post was written by: Grand View Builders
We are continuing the patriotic celebration throughout the month of July by giving away a red Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer to one lucky Grand View Builders Facebook fan.
At Grand View Builders we strive to offer a positive and memorable experience both during the home building and buying process as well as after. We are extremely grateful to each and every one of our customers and are happy to give back a little something special to our loyal fans.
A kitchen isn’t complete until it has a classic Kitchen Aid stand mixer on the countertop. It doesn’t matter if you have granite or marble, we promise this mixer will look great in any kitchen!
Details on how to win: Become a fan of Grand View Builders on Facebook, share our “Share-to-Win” patriotic photo before July 31 and you are automatically entered to win a red Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer courtesy of Grand View Builders.
The lucky winner will be notified on August 1, 2013. Visit our Facebook page today to participate in our Patriotic “Share-to-Win” contest! Best of luck!
July 3rd, 2013
Categories: Holiday, Summer | Tags: fourth of july, Happy Fourth, holiday, Independence Day
This post was written by: Grand View Builders
From our home to yours, we wish you a happy and safe July Fourth holiday. Enjoy good food, great company and fun festivities this week as we celebrate America’s Birthday.
Happy Independence Day!
Visit our Facebook page to tell us how you’ll be celebrating the holiday.
June 26th, 2013
Categories: Family Activities, For Kids, Summer | This post was written by: Grand View Builders
The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to come together with friends, family and neighbors to celebrate the wonderful country where we are so lucky to live. America’s birthday wouldn’t be complete without a plethora of good food, bright fireworks and friends and family having a great time. After you’re done grilling up some good eats, head over to one of Houston’s many holiday events. We’re sharing a few of our favorite Houston Fourth of July festivities to keep you entertained this year.
Start the celebration a day earlier with the Houston Symphony’s Star Spangled Salute at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on July 3. This free event will kick-off at 8 p.m. on the eve of Independence Day. Ignite your patriotic spirit while enjoying the annual Star-Spangled Salute, a free concert presented by The Woodlands Development Company. The show will also include its special feature of cannons accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” Come by earlier at 6:30 p.m. for pre-concert activities the whole family will enjoy, including patriotic characters, music, arts and crafts, souvenir shops and more.
Freedom over Texas is the official July Fourth celebration for the city of Houston hosted by Mayor Annise Parker. Complete with live music by Sheryl Crow and Martina McBride, this party won’t conclude until all the fireworks have made their debut over the Bayou City’s skyline. Join in on the fun from 4 – 10 p.m. at Eleanor Tinsley Park. From the Bud Light Zone to the Family Fitness Area, there is something for everyone at this July Fourth Celebration. Admission to the celebration is $8 per person, and free for children under the age of 5.
The City of Sugar Land will present their 27th Annual Red, White and Bluefest, Fort Bend County’s largest fireworks festival, starting at 4:30 p.m. on July 4. The celebration hosts an array of performances including an 80s cover band, magic shows, cultural dance performances and an 18-minute fireworks show with high-tech upgrades and other surprises. Festivities start at 4:30 p.m. and continue throughout the night until 11 p.m.
For a full list of July Fourth Celebrations happening in and around Houston click here. From our home to yours, we wish you a Happy Fourth of July!
June 19th, 2013
Categories: Family Activities, Summer | This post was written by: Grand View Builders
There’s nothing like summer in Texas: the sun stays out longer and the temperatures rise higher and higher. With school out of session, summer boredom can set in quickly and with temperatures in the mid- to high-90s, staying inside in front of the television all day may be tempting. Check out our cool summer activity ideas below that will keep you entertained during the summer heat.
Stay Inside, Read a Book
Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your reading list and a great excuse to curl up on the couch on a sweltering summer afternoon. Visit your community library and sign up for their summer reading challenge to keep you motivated. Summer reading is the perfect way to keep your mind sharp and is a great way to keep young readers engaged and learning while they are out of school. Challenge yourself to finish a new series or to pick up some of the classics you have yet read. If you need ideas for reading lists check out Oprah’s Book Club or the New York Times Bestseller lists.
Skip the Zoo, Visit an Indoor Museum
Although the Zoo is a great place to visit, it might be better to wait until the temperatures cool down. Don’t worry; there are plenty of museums that can entertain the whole family, while also providing nice cold air conditioning. Museums are always rotating exhibits, so there is sure to be something that excites you. For an adventure that doesn’t require enduring the summer sun, we recommend that adults check out The Houston Museum of Natural Science and The Museum of Fine Arts. More kid friendly options include The Children’s Museum of Houston and Space Center Houston.
Host a Summer Game Night
Board games are a great way to stay inside and cool this summer. Invite your family, neighbors and friends over for a night of friendly competition. Pull out the Monopoly board, Trivial Pursuit cards or start a game of charades and spend the evening competing for the game night champion title. For an ongoing activity that exercises the brain, think about starting a 1000 piece puzzle. You don’t have to do it all at once. Enjoy some quite time as you slowly piece together your project. If you want to get out of the house, consider visiting a bowling alley, laser tag center or arcade.
Summer may be the hottest time of the year, yet it can also be the most exciting. Use these ideas to build the perfect summer bucket list for you and your family. Always remember that you don’t have to be trapped in front of the TV to stay cool.
June 12th, 2013
Categories: Home Tips, Summer | This post was written by: Grand View Builders
The kids are out of school and it’s time to hit the road to make some memories with a summer vacation. Rather than worrying about what you left behind at home, there are precautions homeowners can take for a more relaxing vacation. Since a home left unattended is an easy and tempting target for criminals, we’ve complied a few helpful tips on keeping your home safe while you are away.
The most effective way to keep your home safe is to have someone staying there while you are away. Ask a friend, family member or neighbor if they would house sit for you during your vacation. Having activity in or around the house including a car that comes and goes or lights that turn on and off, will keep away anyone that thinks your house is an easy target.
If you can’t find a house sitter, ask someone to check up on your house daily. You should give this person a key to your house so he/she can bring in your mail, bring your trashcans inside, adjust the porch lights and open and close your curtains in the mornings and evenings. These actions will give the illusion people are home and activity is as normal as ever, thus deterring any unwanted visitors.
If you plan on going away for a longer period of time, there are other precautions to consider. You can pause or forward your mail and newspapers so the neither piles up on your driveway or mailbox. You should plan on having a neighbor or landscaping company mow your lawn and water your flowers so your house and yard remain intact and cared for.
Before you head out of town, take the time to do a walk-through of your house and make sure all your windows, doors and gates are locked. Remove the spare key from under the doormat, as criminals will look for an easy way to get inside. Unplugging your appliances, including the televisions, computers, toaster, coffee pot and iron, will help protect them from power surges as well as avoid any sparks that could cause a fire. Store all your valuables (jewelry, laptops, iPods, ect) out of sight to remove the temptation if anyone should peak in your windows.
Leaving your home unattended can be very stressful, but having a plan in place will put you at ease while vacationing. For more tips on keeping your house safe while on vacation, check out this article.
June 5th, 2013
Categories: Family Activities, Home Tips, Outdoor Care, Summer | This post was written by: Grand View Builders
Summertime is fast approaching and before we know it, pool party season will be in full swing. As the temperatures rise, more and more people will be spending their free time poolside. Splashing around a backyard or community pool can be a lot of fun, but unfortunately, it can also be very dangerous. It’s important to ensure everyone stays safe when they are in and around pools, so we are sharing some basic pool safety tips.
Pool Security and Equipment
It is always a good idea to limit the access young children have to both private and community pools. Make sure your pool is secured with a latching gate or fence so young children can’t access the pool without supervision. This will also protect any of your pets from accidentally falling or entering the pool.
It is also very important to make sure your pool meets industry regulations. Be sure to check the chlorine and chemical levels before entering the water to make sure they are at the appropriate levels. This will minimize the risk of any skin irritations, ear-infections and other illness. Even if the pool chemicals are balanced correctly, it is important to avoid drinking pool water. Be sure to check all of your pool’s drains and pumps as well to make sure everything is working correctly. Reference this guide for all your pool regulation questions.
Establish and Follow the Rules
Establish a set of pool rules for you and your family and post them visually by the pool. Ensure all swimmers know what the rules are before engaging in any pool activities in or around the pool area. Some example rules include: no running, no diving, swim with a buddy, stay away from pool drains, etc. When visiting community pools, be sure to explain who the lifeguards are, what their job is and how to alert them when there is an emergency.
Stay Close, Be Alert, Watch
Always watch your children when they are in or near pools. Remaining in a constant state of active supervision will greatly minimize the risk of dangerous situations. With young or inexperienced swimmers, we recommend staying within an arms reach away. Be sure they are wearing a proper fitting life jacket or other protective swim gear. Teaching children signs of a pool emergency will not only make them more aware of pool dangers, but it will also help keep others around them safe. Make sure children know to alert an adult when they see someone struggling in the water.
For more pool safety tips and information check out www.homepoolessentials.org, www.redcross.org and www.uscgboating.org.