Delightful Dog Treats to Make at Home


A patient dog with a dog treat balancing on his nose

 

Home is where the heart is, and for many of us, our hearts are also shared with our furry best friends.

 

Making dog treats at home is a great way to reward your dog and keep an eye on what he or she eats. Here are some quick and easy recipes that make safe snacks for your pooch.

 

GettyImages-4789929271-1024x694

 

Dog Biscuits

*2½ cups whole wheat flour (substitute regular flour or oats if your dog is sensitive to wheat)
*1 teaspoon salt (or less)
*1 egg
*1 teaspoon beef or chicken bouillon granules (can substitute beef or chicken broth/stock)
*½ cup hot water
*Optional: Bacon bits, eggs, oats, liver powder, wheat germ, shredded cheese

 

Directions:
• Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit
• Dissolve bouillon in hot water, add the rest of ingredients
• Knead dough until it forms a ball
• Roll out dough until ½ inch thick
• Slice pieces with a bone-shaped cookie cutter and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet
• Bake for 30 minutes

 


 

Pumpkin Balls

*½ cup canned pumpkin
*4 tablespoons molasses
*4 tablespoons water
*2 tablespoons vegetable oil
*2 cups whole wheat flour
*¼ teaspoon baking soda
*¼ teaspoon baking powder
*1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

 

Directions:
• Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit
• Mix pumpkin, molasses, vegetable oil and water in a bowl
• Add whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon to the mixture, stir until dough softens
• Roll small scoops of dough into balls
• Set the balls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, flatten with a fork
• Bake for 25 minutes, until dough is firm

 


 

Frozen Yogurt Peanut Butter Cups

*32 ounces plain or vanilla yogurt
*1 cup peanut butter (preferably unsalted and unsweetened)

Note: Check your peanut butter label to make certain it doesn’t contain xylitol, an ingredient which is toxic to dogs.

 

Directions:
• Melt peanut butter, combine with yogurt
• Pour mixture into ice cube trays
• Freeze mixture until firm (about a few hours)

 


 

Frozen PB&J Ice Cubes

*About 12 strawberries, washed and rinsed
*3 tablespoons peanut butter (preferably unsalted and unsweetened)
*¼ cup cold water

Note: Check your peanut butter label to make certain it doesn’t contain xylitol, an ingredient which is toxic to dogs.

 

Directions:
• Mix ingredients together, scoop into balls
• Freeze mixture until firm (about a few hours)

 

Recipes courtesy of Cesar’s Way and Pawsh Magazine.

Earth-Friendly Ways to Minimize Waste


chalkboard with the text make every day earth day

 

With spring cleaning underway and Earth Day inspiring us to develop greener habits, now is a great time to think about how the two intersect. You’ll find that a little planning can help reduce the amount of waste you bring into your home, and with a few simple changes, you won’t have as much to take out.

 

Americans can generate more than 254 million tons of trash in a single year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If that number is too big to fathom, consider this: that amount of trash weighs more than the combined weight of 1 million blue whales (the largest mammal on Earth).

 

Doing your part to make less trash can be as easy as remembering your reusable grocery bags. Read on to see our 10 suggestions of how to reduce waste in your home.

 

1. Swap disposable water bottles for a water filter and reusable bottles.

We all know we need to drink more H2O to stay healthy. Carrying a steel or glass water bottle will remind you to hydrate throughout the day and prevent you from buying a plastic water bottle out of convenience. Investing in a water filtration system — even as basic as a pitcher filter — will elevate the way your tap water tastes.

 

2. If on-the-go coffee is a must, bring a reusable mug.

If you can’t kick your addiction to a daily cup of coffee, bring your travel tumbler or mug with you and ask the barista to fill it instead of a disposable cup. Starbucks and many other cafes offer discounts for helping them reduce their cup waste.

 

3. Get to know your farmers markets and bulk bin section.

Frequenting farmers markets will not only keep you in line with your healthy-eating goals, it also supports local businesses. When you purchase whole foods there, you’re opting to reduce the amount of packaging brought into your home through processed and frozen foods. Likewise, shopping in the bulk-bin section eliminates extraneous packaging.

 

4. Keep your reusable bags at hand.

Have you ever entered the grocery store only to remember your stash of reusable bags is sitting untouched in your cabinets? If so, eliminate the need to remember by storing your reusable bags in more convenient places: a more noticeable area at home or in your car, handbag or backpack. That way you’ll always have a bag at hand, even for those quick, impromptu trips to get groceries after work.

 

Use your reusable bags for other occasions as well. Ask the waiter to place your to-go order in your bag instead of using their plastic or brown bags. Going on a shopping spree? Let the sales associates know you have your own bags for your new purchases.

 

When shopping for groceries, bring smaller cloth or netted bags to store produce, bulk-bin items and fresh flowers to avoid the thin plastic bags provided by stores.

 

5. Use glass containers to store food.

Display your farmers market and bulk goods in glass containers to keep them from going stale. Repurpose old glass containers from pasta sauce, jams and condiments for future storage.

 

Involving Daughters In A Healthy Hobby

 

6. Grow a garden.

Grow your own herb or vegetable garden, so you’ll always have the perfect amount of ingredients for your recipes. Doing so reduces food waste, which comprises nearly one-third of annual solid waste generated in the U.S., according to the EPA.

 

7. Dine at home.

Cooking and eating at home allows you to have more control — you can eat whole foods and add significantly less sugar and sodium than would typically be used in packaged and processed foods.

 

Eating fast food creates a plethora of waste, from the plastic straws and cutlery to the extraneous napkins and packaging.

 

8. Cut down on paper towels.

Instead of using paper towels, keep a stash of kitchen cloths and rags made from old T-shirts to do your chores. Eco-friendly towels made of bamboo and cotton can absorb big messes and dry dishes quickly.

 

9. Use Swedish dishcloths instead of kitchen sponges.

Your kitchen sponge can harbor as much (if not more) bacteria than a toilet. Experts suggest tossing sponges after a month of use, but that merely adds to landfills. Instead, use Swedish dishcloths, which are made of cotton and cellulose and are super absorbent when wet. The malleable form allows you to get into the nooks and crannies of dishes and silverware.

 

Invented in 1949, Swedish dishcloths come in a variety of designs to coordinate with your kitchen. Throw them in the laundry when they get dirty and reuse them again.

 

10. Use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.

Dryer sheets may make your clothes smell nice and keep your sheets soft, but they’re a one-time use product. Wool dryer balls can make your clothes just as soft, but can be used over and over again. Throw three of them into the dryer, and reduce the drying time of heavy fabrics, such as towels or jeans.

 

Use three to four drops of your favorite essential oil to each dryer ball to keep your fabrics fragrant.

Design-Inspired Easter Eggs


Easter eggs painted by hand in blue color on light background

 

If you’re looking for a fun twist on classic egg decorating, these design-inspired Easter eggs are the perfect DIY weekend project — and if you’re lucky, delicious egg salad come Monday.

 

Gold Leaf — Paint boiled eggs evenly and let dry (try two coats of craft paint or spray paint for a smoother finish). Using a gold leaf kit, apply random strokes of glue for an abstract look, wrap egg in a sheet of gold leaf, rub away any excess and voila!

 

Contemporary — Boil cleaned avocado pits and skins to create your desired pink hue and mix black ink with 1/4 cup of water for the grey shade. Carefully dip boiled egg into one color and let dry before dipping into the second dye, overlapping for a graphic pattern effect.

 

Happy Easter rustic background with copy space. DIY dyed various shades of blue Easter eggs and vintage wooden picture frame mock up.

Ombré — Mix one color of dye and create different shades by leaving boiled eggs in colored water for different amounts of time. Start by dropping the first egg in for 30 seconds, try one minute for the next one, then a minute and a half for the third and so on until you achieve the variety of shades desired.

 

Pantone — Stand boiled eggs vertically in small cups of dye, type up and print labels on temporary tattoo paper (remember, text backwards) and apply to the white area. If perfectionism is your thing, match the color numbers using a chip book.

 

Marbled — Mix food coloring for desired palette of dyes, color boiled eggs and let dry. Blot egg with rubber cement and dip it into the dye for a second coat. Once it dries, gently wipe away rubber cement and repeat until you’ve reached your desired aesthetic.

 

Easter eggs

Wax-and-Dye — The traditional Ukranian pysanky technique calls for hollowed-out eggs, a kistka (styling tool for drawing with melted wax), dyes and beeswax. Use the kistka to draw a design with the heated wax and allow it to fully harden before dipping into dye for five to 10 minutes. After the egg has fully dried, carefully remove the wax, wipe clean and seal with shellac.

 

Keep in mind that despite their beauty, some designs require non-food safe materials and should not be consumed.

How to Create a Greener Home


Color photo of a beautiful modern kitchen.

There are many different ways to go green at home. Even if you do just one or two of the below five things, you can make a big difference for our environment — and you’ll see the results on your bills.

 

Monitor your temperature

Nearly half of a home’s energy usage goes toward heating and cooling. Keep filters clean, consider a new/more efficient furnace, and make good use of ceiling fans.

 

Upgrade outdated appliances

It’s estimated that almost 20 percent of the typical home’s energy bill can be attributed to appliance use. By upgrading to newer appliances, you’ll consume significantly less energy.

 

Save water

Putting an aerator on faucets can cut your annual consumption by half. Consider installing low-flow toilets, which use just over half the normal amount per flush.

 

Let the sun shine

The cheapest and most environmentally sound heat and light source is just outside your window. Open blinds, drapes, and shutters to let solar energy warm and brighten your home naturally.

 

Use greener cleaners

There’s an abundance of green cleaning products available these days. A simple online search will reveal which products are gentler to the environment than others.

Tips for Flawless Outdoor Entertaining


Candle and string lights outdoor dinner

 

Summer will be here before we know it, which means longer nights and warmer weather. What better way to spend a summer day with family and friends than at an outdoor gathering? If you’re hoping to host a backyard soirée, here are some tips that will help things run smoothly.

 

Prepare your yard

Tidy up your yard before hosting guests. Mow the grass and pick up any tools, hoses or toys.

 

Choose the right seating

Patio furniture with thick, comfy cushions are the best option for homeowners who frequent their outdoor space. When hosting a gathering, make sure you have enough seating. Benches and tree stumps are a casual, rustic way to add seating to your outdoor space. Make sure all the seating is clean of debris before your guests arrive.

 

Keep guests comfortable

Guests will be more inclined to stay for the duration of the party if they are comfortable. Have ample shade coverage and consider running a fan near the dining area to keep guests cool. You may also want to set out a basket with warm-weather essentials for guests to grab — think sunscreen, insect repellent, handheld fans and iced spray bottles.

 

Plan a simple menu

Opt for recipes that can be prepared in advance and will withstand crowds and heat. Fresh grilled vegetables, pasta salads and guacamole are all popular (and colorful!) choices.

 

Add lighting

Outdoor globe lights, lanterns and LED candles are all great options for setting a relaxed summer atmosphere. Setting out candles with an open flame is a bit riskier — instead, use hurricane lanterns or jars to shield the flames.

 

Play relaxed tunes

Set the right tone with a playlist that is easy and laid-back. You don’t want to overpower any conversations among guests. Create a long enough playlist to avoid repeating songs too many times while guests are there.

 

Display fresh cuts

Use flowers and foliage from your own yard as centerpieces. Arrange your fresh cuts in jars or buckets and set them out to brighten up your display.

 

Offer activities

Providing lawn games like cornhole or croquet will keep your guests occupied and happy. Use butcher paper as a tablecloth and set out crayons for creative people of all ages.

 

Keep pests away

Be sure to protect food with mesh food coverings and light citronella candles to keep bugs away. Eliminate any standing water in gutters or the bottom of flowerpots to keep mosquitoes from breeding there. Offer guests bug wipes and insect repellent.

 

Create a beverage station

Make sure your guests are hydrated by preparing a beverage bar or cart stocked with the essentials. Include straws and plenty of ice.

 

Opt for melamine

Melamine is an affordable and durable option for outdoor dinnerware. Using the break-resistant plastic will help you reduce waste and also keep the area clear of lingering paper cups and plates.

 

Visit ebby.com to view all of the extraordinary outdoor patios on the market that are begging to have you as a host.

Make A High-Impact Design Statement With Houseplants


houseplants

 

Your living environment can impact your health, happiness and quality of life. Houseplants add to your health and wellbeing, as well as enhance overall aesthetic, improve indoor air quality and humidity, and reduce stress while promoting focus.

 

Bonsai

Bonsai can be difficult to care for, but make a bold décor statement. Their artful, winding forms add new areas of interest to a thoughtfully designed living space.

 

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen produces tropical foliage and even tolerates poor lighting, dry air and drought. It grows best at room temperature, making it an ideal choice for living room décor.

 

Fruit Tree

Several types of fruits can be grown and harvested indoors, including figs, lemons, limes, avocados and bananas. A number of dwarf plants can survive and thrive in a large pot in a well-lit spot in your living room.

 

Parlor Palm

Parlor palm is designed to be grown indoors and survive well under low light and poor growing conditions. It purifies the air and adds a vintage touch to any setting.

 

Succulents

Small but striking, succulents come in all varieties of shapes, colors and sizes. Succulents are low-maintenance and work well in any home setting.

Spring Has Arrived


 

After cooler-than-normal temperatures, it’s welcome news that we’ll be enjoying the mid-70s this weekend in North Texas.

 

And, you can bet that with our spring weather potential buyers will increasingly be out and about discovering homes for sale across the region. Not surprisingly, those with the best “curb appeal” are often the first to sell.

 

Buyers often pass quick judgment on a property based on its drive-up appeal. A small investment in time and money to spruce up your property’s appearance could mean fewer days on the market and a higher sales price.

 

Below are a few areas in particular on which you should focus:

*  For a burst of color, plant spring flowers.

*  Tidy up your gardens.

*  Remove glass from light fixtures around your home’s front door and clean thoroughly.

*  Wash down your front door. If the sun has faded the paint, consider repainting.

*  Clean and polish your front door’s hardware. Replace it if necessary.

*  Check your house numbers. Are they still in good shape and visible from the street? If not, replace them.

*  Wash the windows. If this isn’t your strong suit, hire a professional.

*  Check your roof to make sure no shingles are missing or damaged.

*  Remove debris from your gutters and drain spouts.

*  Clean your patio furniture. You want potential buyers to be able to visualize your outdoor living area’s potential.

 

If you’re considering listing your home, contact an Ebby Associate to learn more about how to prepare it to sell in today’s ultra-competitive market and how Ebby Halliday Realtors will market your home, both locally and globally, to produce the most-favorable results for you. To get started, visit the award-winning ebby.com.

Luxe Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories


Eco friendly clean

 

Laundry is a dirty subject when it comes to waste production. High energy and water usage, coupled with plastic waste and byproducts make the task even more of a chore.

 

When laundering your clothes, there are small actions that make the job a little cleaner and greener. Opt for a cold-water wash on full loads to save energy from heating up the water. And, as much as possible, forego machine drying clothes. Both actions will save on the utility bills and make your clothes last longer while helping the environment.

 

We’ve selected nine products to keep your laundry routine more eco-friendly and luxurious simultaneously.

 

Luxury Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories

XL Whimsical Hamper | The Little Market | $218

Hampers may hide dirty clothes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful, too. This hand-woven hamper is made from cattail stalks and recycled plastic and was made by the Wolof Weavers of Senegal. The unique shape would enhance any space.

 

Luxury Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories

Pennsylvania Woodworks Clothes Drying Rack | Amazon | $139.99

Air drying clothing saves clothes, especially delicates, from the rough and tumble of a machine. This hardwood drying rack is made in America and is made to last a lifetime. Plenty of space is available for the family’s entire wardrobe.

 

Luxury Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories

European Wooden Ironing Board | Williams Sonoma | $129.95

Who knew you could feel like a chic European while ironing? This ironing board is made of FSC-certified solid beech and pine wood, meaning the wood is responsibly sourced from managed forests.

 

Luxury Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories

Chi Steam Iron | Amazon | $99.99

Chi, a leader in prestige hair care, has transitioned its ceramic technology to make your clothing just as polished as your coif. The titanium-infused ceramic, along with 400 steam holes, ensures a perfect press upon first pass. A quality iron will last years and eliminate the need for buying lower-quality replacements.

 

Luxury Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories

Signature Detergent Gallon | The Laundress New York | $56

Pods may be convenient, but so are economy sizes. The Laundress’ cult-classic Signature Detergent is available in a gallon size for up to 256 washes. One pump is enough for one load, so no need for exact measuring.

 

Luxury Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories

Rowenta Handheld Garment Steamer | Amazon | $50.99

If you don’t want to deal with the multi-step task of ironing, opt for a handheld steamer. Steaming is a great alternative to dry cleaning, which can sometimes use harmful chemicals to sanitize your clothes. The Rowenta steamer kills 99.9 percent of germs and dust mites on different fabric types.

 

Luxury Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories

Guppyfriend Washing Bag | Patagonia | $29.75

Plastic may not be apparent on clothing, but with each wash microplastic fibers can be washed away into rivers and oceans. Place any synthetically-made garment (nylon, rayon, polyester, acrylic, acetate) inside the Guppyfriend and watch the microfibers collect inside the recyclable polyamide bag. Toss the waste into the trash and away from water sources.

 

Luxury Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories

The Unscented Company Wool Dryer Balls | goop | $19

Seemingly innocuous, dryer sheets are often made of polyester and create a lot of waste for a single-use product. Forego the sheets entirely and use wool dryer balls instead. Wool dryer balls cut down on wrinkles, static and drying time, because they create air pockets between your clothes as they tumble in the dryer. The wool lasts for over 500 loads and can be backyard composted at the end of its lifecycle.

 

Luxury Eco-Friendly Laundry Accessories

Bumerang Hanger | Ikea | $4.49

What better way to end your laundry routine then by hanging your wardrobe on matching hangers. Ikea’s wooden hangers are not only inexpensive and durable, but the wood is sourced from sustainably managed forests in Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Germany and Russia.

7 Etiquette Rules for Home Sellers


7 Etiquette Rules for Home Sellers

 

If you’re trying to sell your home, you’ve probably scrutinized it, staged it, and scrubbed it down as if the folks from Architectural Digest were stopping by for a cover shoot. OK, so it’s in immaculate shape — but your home isn’t the only thing under scrutiny here. You are, too. That’s right: No matter how nice your home is, your behavior can also affect how buyers feel about making an offer.

 

Below are seven etiquette rules sellers should follow to show their home — and themselves — in the best possible light.

 

Leave — Sure, you’re dying to know if prospective buyers will love what you’ve done with the kitchen, but Realtors agree sellers should not be there lurking in the shadows during an open house or showing.

 

Take your pets with you — You may think your dog is the cutest ever, but not everyone is bound to share that opinion. In addition to having allergies, some home shoppers may not be in the market for a run-in with an animal they don’t know.

 

Move your car — Make it easy for visitors to park and view your home. No one likes parking issues. Having them is a sure way to get a viewing off to a bad start.

 

Offer some refreshments — House hunters can get parched and peckish. You can help. Putting out a few small bottled waters in a bowl of ice is always appreciated, along with some light, easy grab-and-go refreshments such as mints or cookies.

 

Be patient waiting for feedback­ — Of course, you’re dying to know what buyers thought of your home, but that information may not flow back to you instantaneously. It’s reasonable to ask for feedback from your Realtor after the showing, but understand it may take a day or two for the buyer’s agent to respond.

 

Don’t be greedy — Who doesn’t want top dollar for their home? But an unwillingness to negotiate can kill a possible deal and keep your home on the market long after you were hoping to be unpacking at your new place.

 

Listen to the professionals ­­— If your Realtor has some suggestions for improvements that may help sell your home faster, take them to heart but don’t take them personally. Keep emotions out and listen to what a licensed, trained, professional has to say about your house.

 

To find the right agent for your residential real estate needs, visit the award-winning, mobile-friendly ebby.com.

Tips for Picking the Perfect Paint


Sophisticated pastel bedroom interior

 

If you’ve ever had to pick a paint color, you know one thing to be true – the options are endless. Choosing the right color can be an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these 10 tips to take on the paint aisle with confidence.

 

Bring inspiration – Take along an existing pillow, piece of fabric or photo of your space. This will help you make more informed decisions.

 

The right light – Make sure to view your paint or paint chips in natural light to ensure you’re seeing the color correctly. Paint looks different under artificial light, so try holding the chip near a window or painting a sample on your wall first.

 

Take home testers – All major paint retailers now sell paint in small, tester sizes. These are perfect to take home and try out before committing to a full gallon of paint. The small amount will provide enough paint to give you an idea of what it would really be like to live with the color.

 

Try multiple shades – If you’re having trouble choosing, buy multiple testers and paint side-by-side squares on your walls. Live with them for a few days to see how the colors look morning, noon and night. Make sure to mark them with identifiers so you’ll remember which ones you liked best.

 

Choose your drama – Take a look at the color wheel for inspiration. Colors close together will make a room calm while those farther apart add drama.

 

Do what you love – Start with a color you love, even if it’s not popular at the moment. Doing this assures you’ll love the color for years to come. Just remember, your favorite color comes in a range of hues.

 

Lighten up – If you’re afraid a hue may be too dark, ask the mixer to do a 50 percent tint of the color to lighten it up. Custom colors can also give a room a designer look, but make sure to jot down the specifics of your color for future touch-ups.

 

Room to room – If you have rooms that are open to one another, avoid choosing radically different colors, which will make the spaces feel chopped up and small.

 

Go bold – Small rooms that are not visited often, like a library or half-bath, can be done in stronger colors that make a statement.

 

Spraying vs. rolling – Rolling may be the most popular choice, but it’s also the most time consuming and requires touch-ups more often. On the other hand, spraying results in a more high-end, professional look that cuts painting time in half. You can rent high-volume, low-pressure sprayers at most home-improvement stores. With both options, make sure you properly cover the areas you don’t want painted.