7 Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner


Thanksgiving pumpkin pie in plate, downward view with fork and knife on rustic white wood background
 
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means it’s time to start planning for the big day. Preparing a meal can be stressful regardless of whether it’s for a few friends or a large gathering, so we’ve rounded up seven important tips to help your Thanksgiving meal run smoothly. All these tasks can all be done in advance, leaving you more time to catch your breath between now and when your guests arrive.
 
1. Take inventory

Make sure you have all of the cookware and kitchen tools needed to cook the menu you have planned. Broke your pie dish? Only have a dessert thermometer? Now is the time to grab the items that will help your meal succeed.

 

2. Make a prep list

Cooking a turkey, side dishes, and dessert can be hard to balance regardless of the size of your kitchen. Figure out in advance what recipes can be made ahead, which ones will take the longest to cook, and what dishes can share the oven space.

 

3. Make ahead and freeze

There are many dishes that can be prepared in advance and will freeze well. Cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and sweet potato casserole are all good options to make ahead.

 

4. Thaw the bird

If you have a frozen turkey, make sure you leave ample time to thaw it. The rule of thumb is for every four pounds in weight, the turkey must thaw one day.

 

5. Utilize a cooler

Fridge space is prime real estate during Thanksgiving, but purchasing a cooler can help. Fill one with ice and you now have a space to temporarily store all the random jellies and condiments from your fridge that you can’t seem to part with, leaving you more space in the fridge to stock up on menu essentials.

 

6. Ask for help outside of the kitchen

Try not to overcrowd your kitchen by having guests help with tasks such as serving drinks, hanging coats, and entertaining children. If space allows, set up the drink station away from the kitchen.

 

7. Keep food warm

If the turkey takes too long to cook, don’t fret. Slow cookers, thermoses and microwaves are all great options for keeping dishes warm until you’re ready to enjoy.

Fresh Listing Friday: Lovely in Lantana


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Happy Friday y’all! This week’s Fresh Listing Friday is a beautiful custom in Lantana, just south of Denton.  Situated on a spacious corner lot, 601 Joshua Road features hardwood flooring, stainless-steel appliances, a three-car garage and a wall of windows overlooking the saltwater pool. Take a virtual tour below to see all of the details and upgrades throughout.
 
Need-to-know Details:

• Priced at $600,000
• 4,587 square feet: 5 bedrooms, 4.2 baths
• Master suite with custom closet and vaulted ceiling
• Kitchen with built-in oven and microwave, farmhouse sink and a walk-in pantry
• Pool with a swim-up bar, water features and a jacuzzi


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To view this listing, contact the Karen Sefcik at 972-880-8464 or karensefcik@ebby.com.

Ebby’s Home for the Holidays: Scardello Artisan Cheese


A cheese board is a never-fail addition to any holiday gathering, whether it’s a small friendly get-together, or a large family celebration. With that in mind, we visited our friends at Scardello Artistan Cheese in Oak Lawn to learn how to create the perfect one. Watch the video below to see how you can ace your next cheese board.

Ace Your Cheese Board

• Include a combination of three firmnesses of cheese – soft, medium-firm and hard.

• Feature different animal milks (i.e. cow, goat, sheep).

• Add a twist by featuring different regions of the world.

• Include a variety of accompaniments like cornichons, dried fruits, nuts, olives or charcuterie.

• When displaying a cheese board, set out a knife for each cheese on the platter. This way, the flavors won’t be compromised.

• Set cheese out for at least 30 minutes to reach room temperature.

• Before any guests arrive, cut a few slices of cheese and arrange them on the board. Present each cheese with its own knife and allow your guests to continue to cut slices for themselves. These measures will prevent the cheese from drying out and allow the full flavors to emerge.

Still unsure of where to start? Don’t be afraid to venture into Scardello and ask for help. The knowledgable staff will work with you to create the perfect cheese board for your palate or gathering.

Happy cheese hunting!

 

Cozy Fall Fireplaces


The cooler weather approaching presents the perfect time to warm up by a crackling fire. Whether indoors or outdoors, relaxing by these fireplaces is the quintessential way to spend a cool, crisp evening. And, they’re all currently on the market. (Chestnuts not included.)


5003 horseshoe outdoor fireplace
5003 Horseshoe Trail | Dallas – Bluffview | $1,849,999
WIW 6655 green knoll (1)
6655 Green Knoll Drive | Dallas – Crestway Forest Estates | $1,495,000
6204 martin (1)
6204 Martinique Street | Plano | $1,324,900
662 chisholm
662 Chisholm Ridge Drive | Rockwall | $1,275,0006526 chevy chase
6526 Chevy Chase | Dallas – Preston Hills Estates | $1,225,000
LoveHenry
715 Love Henry Court | Southlake | $1,099,000
Post Oak
3706 Post Oak | Corinth | $724,900

To see more homes currently for sale, visit the award-winning, mobile-friendly Ebby.com.

 

Holiday Season is Bright for Selling Your Home


Holiday Season is Bright for Selling Your Home

 

The holiday season is upon us.

 

With all the parties and family events taking place this time of year, many people decide to take their homes off the market or delay listing their home for sale. But this holiday season may actually be the ideal time to sell your home. Why?

 

*  The average home sales price in North Texas is up 4.3 percent over this time last year.

 

*  Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows.

 

*  Consumers who shop for a home during the holidays are serious, motivated buyers.

 

*  There are fewer homes on the market during the holiday season. With less competition, your home may sell faster and at a higher price.

 

*  Homes “show” better when decorated for the holidays.

 

*  January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since many transferees are not able to wait until spring to buy, your home should be on the market now to not miss out on this significant group of buyers.

 

*  By selling now, you’ll have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the spring, when many more houses will be for sale, which may mean lower prices. This could allow you to sell high and buy low.

 

If you’re considering listing your home this holiday season, contact an Ebby Associate today to learn more about the real estate market in your neighborhood. To find the right agent for your residential real estate needs, visit the award-winning, mobile-friendly ebby.com.

 

6 Must-See Open Houses This Weekend


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If you’re looking for a home in North Texas, you’ve come to the right place! Even if you’re not, these properties are all open to visitors this weekend and may serve as the perfect inspiration for your next home search.
 
155458153-3745803
6331 Northwood Road | Dallas – Preston Hollow | $1,895,000
147005973-3914373
6722 Vanderbilt Avenue | Dallas – Lakewood | $1,175,000
117447223-2541933
4634 Ridgeside Drive | Dallas | $1,535,000
150545733-3586973
613 Rustic Ridge Drive | Heath | $1,299,900
155664473-3817483
7723 Midbury Drive | Dallas | $1,295,000
136442173-2864283
1812 MacGregor Drive | Plano | $1,149,000
133019953-3995773
4609 Blackshear Trail | Plano | $899,999

 

 
To see all the wonderful homes open this weekend, visit EbbyOpenHouses.com
 

 

6 Feast-Worthy Dining Rooms for Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and what better way to get in the spirit than to round up some of our favorite dining rooms on the market? No matter the size of your gathering, these dining rooms will serve as the perfect backdrop for spending time with family and friends.
 
153956753-3671993
9226 Hathaway Street | Dallas | $6,600,000

751 Amber Lane | Little Elm | $2,725,000
140353683-3064973
4430 Taos Road | Dallas – Bluffview Estates | $3,229,000
148192623-3324943
11805 Green Knoll | Dallas – Crestway Forest Estates | $1,595,000
180014053-3996733
5306 Glenwick Lane | Dallas | $1,395,000
173716943-3987163
5604 Fairfax Drive | Frisco | $975,000
 
To see more beautiful dining rooms currently on the market, visit Ebby.com.

Holiday Market Benefits Collin County Charities


 

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Ebby Halliday Realtors is a proud sponsor of the Junior League of Collin County’s 22nd-annual ’Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market, taking place November 9-12 at The Plano Event Center.
 
Shop the selection of home décor, ladies clothing and accessories, gifts, jewelry, children’s items and gourmet food from over 100 carefully selected merchants. You’ll find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list while making a difference in the community.
 
’Neath the Wreath provides funding for the Junior League of Collin County, a nonprofit organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
 
Advance tickets are $12 at area Tom Thumb stores and at neaththewreath.org. Tickets at the door are $15. Children 12 and under are free. For more information, visit neaththewreath.org.
 
Ebby Halliday Realtors has served the residential real estate needs of Collin County since 1971, when Ebby personally opened a one-room office in Plano. We now have 10 offices serving Collin County: 190-RichardsonAllenCampbell/CoitFriscoMcKinneyPlanoPlano/Willow BendPreston KellerPreston Plano Parkway and Prosper | Celina.

9 Steps to Downsizing and Prepping for a Big Move


 
For most people, just the thought of moving from a larger home to a smaller one can be overwhelming. Since most of us don’t have a lot of experience in this area, we can be at a loss as to where to begin. In addition, sifting through a lifetime of possessions can be emotionally taxing as we decide what will fit into our new space. But we have help. Read on for a big-picture snapshot of what’s involved in downsizing your home for a move, as our guide goes over the major points.
 

 
1. Deciding what to pack, donate, sell or toss. This is by far the hardest part of downsizing. Depending on your energy level, the size of your home, the number of possessions you have and how quickly you make decisions, you might want to start this process six months to a year before you plan to move.
 
Many of us have accumulated a lifetime of things that we don’t know what to do with. You may want to enlist the help of a family member, friend or professional home organizer to keep you focused and motivated. Another set of eyes can help you decide what you truly need and what you can let go.
 
Some people work better if they make decisions based on categories, such as clothes, books or household items. Others like to tackle the job one room at a time. Whichever method works for you, try to give yourself plenty of time for this project.
 
2. Giving items to family and friends. When deciding what you want to give to family and friends, check with them first to make sure they really want them. Then arrange a time a few months before moving day to remove the items from your home so you have less to contend with. Resist the urge to gift items to someone who doesn’t truly want them. This will just cause problems for them down the road when they downsize their own homes.
 
3. Holding a yard sale or alternative. Although many of my clients enlist the services of an estate sale company after the moving van has come and gone, some like to try to sell items themselves before they move. This can be a lot of work, but it may be worthwhile for some folks who don’t want to pay an estate sale company. If this is the case for you, plan to hold your sale a few months before you move. Here are a few things to consider as you decide whether a yard sale is right for you:
 
• You might make a bigger profit if an experienced estate sale agent handles the sale for you.
 
• Watching your beloved possessions sell for pennies on the dollar at a yard sale can be emotionally trying.
 
• A yard sale can be a lot of work. You’ll need to advertise the sale, price items, haul everything out to the yard and sit outside for hours while people haggle over your belongings.
 
• You might make more money by taking the tax deduction associated with donating the items to charity.
 
• If you live in an area with unpredictable weather, an unexpected rainstorm might keep shoppers away and potentially ruin some of your belongings.
 
• If you live off the beaten path and don’t have a lot of traffic flow in your area, you might not make much money.
 
As an alternative, one of my clients invited neighbors and friends over on a particular day to select books, furniture and household items they might want or need. In exchange, they made a charitable donation to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. I thought this was a touching idea that left everyone feeling good about the transaction.
 

 

4. Scheduling a donation pickup. Many charities will send a truck to gather items curbside, but keep in mind that not all will accept furniture. Before you drag an unneeded sofa to the street, consider researching charities in your area that actually pick up furniture. Also, double-check to make sure the donation to your favorite organization is tax-deductible — and always ask for a receipt.

 

5. Dealing with trash. Unfortunately, the landfill may be the only option for items you can’t give away, sell or donate — items that are stained, worn-out or broken beyond repair. Please consider the landfill only as a last resort, exclusively for items that have reached the end of their useful life.

 
Many local disposal service companies will provide a small dumpster annually at no added cost, while a large dumpster is an additional expense. Check with your local service. Alternatively, a hauling service can be hired to take items to the dump.

 
6. Packing for your move. Ideally, once you’ve reached this point, you’re left only with the things you’re packing or selling at an estate sale. Consider marking all estate sale items with blue tape so there’s no confusion when the movers arrive.
 
Many professional home organizers provide packing services. If your budget allows this option, it will save you significant time. If you’re packing yourself, consider starting to pack nonessential items like home decor, books and craft supplies four to six weeks before moving day, depending on your energy level and volume of belongings. Label boxes by room and briefly list their contents. That way, the movers can easily deliver boxes to the appropriate rooms in your new home.
 
Some of my clients have the option of staying in a hotel or with friends or family for a few nights before the move, while their kitchen, bathroom and laundry supplies are being packed. This can eliminate a lot of confusion. If you don’t have this luxury, you might consider eating out or using disposable plates and utensils for a few days so all of your kitchen items can be packed.
 
7. Packing your suitcases. A few days before the movers arrive, I recommend packing a suitcase for yourself and each family member, as if you were going on a trip. Your bags should contain toiletries, medications and clothing for approximately a week. Plan to live out of this suitcase for a few days before and after the move.
 
8. Getting through moving day. This is the day the van arrives and moves your possessions — hopefully now packed and labeled — to your new home. It might be a good idea to have a close friend, family member or professional organizer with you to help keep things running smoothly and provide an extra set of hands. If you’re moving locally, you may want to have a friend help you unpack a few boxes of essential kitchen items and linens in your new home before the movers arrive. This can help you feel less overwhelmed when the unopened boxes get there.

 

 
9. Having an estate sale. After your house has been vacated, consider scheduling an estate sale. Your real estate agent will likely be able to recommend a reputable company in your area. Fees can range from 20 percent to 45 percent of the proceeds, depending on the services provided. The cost will most likely include taking inventory of items, organizing, staging, researching prices, advertising, marketing and holding the sale.
 
After the sale is over, most companies will get rid of unsold goods for you. Many partner with a local charity to clear out items appropriate for donation, and some also arrange trash-hauling services for an additional charge.
 
After the sale, your old home should be free of unwanted belongings and debris. Before you sign a contract, carefully read the scope of work so you know exactly what to expect. The lowest bid may not in fact be the best deal, so be sure to review the details. Although the fee may be daunting, an estate sale company can save you time and effort and potentially net you a bigger profit than selling your belongings yourself would.
 

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