This year, Home Creations is a proud partner of the Oklahoma City Thunder. With that partnership comes the opportunity to present the game ball before a Thunder home game. We chose one Home Creations family to present the game ball March 4, when the Thunder takes on Philadelphia!
Here’s their story:
In 2010, Brandon, Erin, and their two children Kaylee and Lane, wanted to move from their apartment in Tulsa, into a Home Creations home they loved in Moore. Brandon was still in school, but they knew they wanted to move as soon as he graduated.
“I saw the process my parents went through with Home Creations. If they can please my mom, who is very picky and outspoken, I figured we should look into it,” he said.
One afternoon while they were visiting his parents, Brandon and Erin decided to visit Home Creations’ model home on a whim.
“We expected to be laughed out of the place. I was still in school, our income was very minimal, but we knew it was going to increase in the future. Debbie (a New Home Consultant at Home Creations) made it sound like this wasn’t going to be a problem. She took us step by step through the process since we were going to be first time homebuyers. That experience with Debbie in the model home was a selling point for us.”
The family chose this location in Moore because the neighborhood was close to a school, there were many young families with children, and there was a park right by their house.
Erin explained that the neighbors are her favorite part about living in this area. “There are always children near by and my kids can play outside and feel safe. We live in this nice little cul-de-sac and everyone gets along. Everybody talks. It just feels like a friendly neighborhood experience.”
Brandon added that the favorite part of his new home is the lot it is built on. “I grew up with my grandparents and they had a big yard, so I wanted one for my kids.” The backyard is a favorite for the children as well; Kaylee said she loves playing football and soccer in it.
The family chose the Raleigh Elite floor plan, which has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and an open concept. “My favorite part of the house is the living room, because that’s where I get to watch all of the Thunder games,” Brandon said. Kaylee loves her bedroom most because that’s where the video game consoles are set up and she and her brother Lane play together.
“My favorite room is the kitchen. When I cook, there are usually people in the living room watching the game. I can still stand in the kitchen and chit-chat while the TV is on and it’s really nice,” added Erin.
At the end of the interview, we tossed a coin to see who would present the game ball – Lane won! Keep an eye out for him right before the game as he presents the ball for the OKC vs Philly game next week.
We love our Home Creations homeowners!
A stay-at-home Valentine’s Day date can be even more romantic than a date out in the city. When you think about Valentine’s Day, you might think of an expensive night on the town. Staying home, though, means you have the freedom to create a perfect date in your own intimate setting. This could be your best Valentine’s Day yet! Here are a few ideas of some ways to stay at home on the most romantic day of the year.
Make a New Recipe Together
Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to cook a new gourmet meal. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year, you have plenty of time to go to the grocery store and a whole day to prep. Set the mood with candles and flowers! Small details will make your night extra special. Here is an example of a romantic dinner you can make at home, recipes included from Homeland Grocery Stores.
For more recipes, check out Homeland’s recipe library.
Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb—this is a perfect opportunity for taking risks in the kitchen. Even if you mess up the recipe, you and your significant other will have a lot of fun laughing about it later. If it ends up failing, you can always order a pizza!
Learn to Dance
Learning to dance can be intimidating, so a great way to learn without embarrassment is to dance like no one is watching in the comfort of your own home. There are thousands of videos on YouTube with step-by-step instructions on all styles of dance. Passion4Dancing has produced more than 50 free videos to help you learn the basic steps of any ballroom dancing style. To make this date even more romantic and fun, dress up before you learn the moves!
At-Home Spa Treatment
After you dance the night away, you might want to relax your feet before bed. You don’t have to go to a spa to get relaxed—you can create a full spa night from the comfort of your home. Light a few aromatherapy-scented candles like lavender or eucalyptus to get you relaxed. You should also light a few non-scented candles to balance the aroma. Fill your bathtub halfway up with hot water and Epsom salts for a soothing detox foot soak. You and your significant other can sit next to each other on the side of the tub while you treat your feet. After a relaxing bath, pop in a movie and give each other foot rubs on the couch while you watch.
Nothing can get your blood pumping at a basketball game faster than hearing the thunderous crowd booming, “O-K-C! O-K-C!” Thunder fans have been named some of the best in the nation, and it’s no surprise this has also made the Thunder franchise the best in the nation. One reason Oklahoma City’s fan-base is so great is because the city completely revolves around Thunder events. You can always count on every restaurant and bar in town tuning in to the games.
However, one of our favorite ways to watch the Thunder is from the comfort of our own home. There’s nothing better than inviting a few neighbors over for a potluck watch party. We’ve created this list of Thunder Watch Party Must-Haves so that you can be the “hostess with the most-est.”
Thunder watch parties are perfect excuse to make chicken wings, steak kabobs, and more. Even though NBA season is usually during colder months in Oklahoma, you can still grill! One of the best ways to grill in the winter is to use a Kamado Grill. Because of its thick insulation, the fire doesn’t need much attention to stay kindled. Also, the insulation keeps the grill hot by protecting it from the elements.
If you aren’t a great cook, or just don’t have the time to make a dish, you can always pick up a party food tray from your local Homeland Store. Homeland’s deli creates these custom party trays on-site, and you can even order them online! Veggie trays make a great side for chicken wings, and it never hurts to add a cheese tray as well.
Making Thunder themed desserts is a great way to get your kids involved in the party. Buy orange and blue icing and have a cupcake or cookie decorating station. Especially for younger kids, this would be a great activity to keep them busy! Here is a picture tutorial from The Crafty Penguin on how to make basketball cookies:
Luckily for Thunder fans, blue and orange drinks are not hard to create. Here are a couple recipes for unique Thunder drinks:
The Rumble: 3 ounces of pineapple juice + 1 ounce fresh squeezed orange + 2-3 drops of food coloring
Thunder Punch: Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade Koolaid + 3 cups of ginger ale or Sprite
Storm Chaser: ½ Blue Hawaiian Punch + ½ country time lemonade
Thunderstruck: 1/3 Orange juice +1/3 ginger ale + 3 cups orange sherbet
With these great food, dessert and drink options, your next Thunder Watch Party will surely be a hit! We love sponsoring the Oklahoma City Thunder, and we hope you love supporting them too.
While you’re busy coming up with new things to tackle in 2015, why not add some home projects to the list? Investing in your home can be one of the most rewarding New Year’s resolutions. Not only will you create a fun, functional living space for you and your family—but you can all work together as a family to complete the projects. From furniture upgrades to whole remodeling projects—2015 is the year for the DIY home improvements.
We came up with 3 practical, achievable home improvement resolutions for 2015 to help you get excited for a new year in your new home:
De-clutter and Organize
While we try to create homes with plenty of storage space, sometimes it isn’t enough. Especially if you have small children, toys seem to be overflowing from children’s bedrooms into the larger living spaces. Hanging storage compartments is one of the most efficient ways to create more storage without taking up too much space.
Try a hanging shoe rack on the back of closets to store toys, accessories, and game pieces. In the laundry room, hanging shoe racks can be used on the back of doors to hold cleaning products, supplies, and even hold missing socks the laundry elves don’t find. Another great reason to use a shoe rack—it can help you keep more dangerous cleaning products out of reach of small children.
Another way to create toy storage for your kids is to hang storage baskets in neat rows on a bedroom wall. You can also customize them to match room décor by painting them to coordinate.
One way to clear space in the kitchen is to create a Velcro or magnetic spice rack. Use adhesive to attach magnetic or Velcro strips to the inside of a pantry or cabinet. Then use smaller strips to attach spices to the strips. It’s that simple!
Image c/o Dee the Creative Mom
Redecorate a Major Living Space
Pantone’s Color of the Year, Marsala, is a wonderful color to anchor your redecorating. If you prefer a neutral décor theme, try using marsala-toned pillow covers to give your room a splash of color. A painted accent wall is also a great way to add some color and life to a room without being too dramatic. It only takes a few elements to make a huge difference when it comes to interior decorating.
Image c/o Pinterest
One of the easiest ways to keep your home feeling fresh is to rearrange the bedrooms. Not only will you feel like you have a completely new space to live in, but it will help you clean and organize along the way. Especially if you haven’t moved your bed in a few years, rearranging the room will give you an opportunity to vacuum and dust hard-to-reach places. After rearranging, you might find you have more room than you thought!
For more DIY ideas for 2015, be inspired by our Pinterest board:
If you’d rather not have “a shiver in your bones” describe the way you feel this winter, then now is the time to make sure your house is prepared for the coming months of snow and cold. From the roof to the cellar, blowing winds, swirling snow, and ice buildup can cause major damage to your home. Even a little advance preparation will save energy and prevent the need for costly repairs.
Check Outside, at the Top
Begin with the roof.
- A seasonal roofing assessment is the best way to prolong your roof’s health. Check for loose shingles, faulty flashing, damage along peaks and valleys, and proper ventilation. These check-ups are valuable in any season, but vital for winter preparation.
- A professional can also offer tips about dealing with the snow buildup and ice dams that plague local residents each winter in the valleys on their roofs.
- Check the flashing around skylights and chimneys, and be sure a spark inhibitor is in place.
Take a Stroll on the Perimeter
- Check all the gutters and downspouts to assure they are well secured. Clean them, remove all leaves and debris, and make sure all connections are tight and that they drain properly and away from walkways.
- Trim tree limbs and shrubbery, and make sure all exterior wiring is secure.
Survey the outside of your home:
- Repair any vents that need attention.
- Fix any damaged siding and trim, not only to eliminate drafts but to keep critters out.
- Caulk windows and doors.
- Check weatherstripping to ensure proper fit and operation. Adjust door thresholds if necessary.
- Check hose bibs to make sure that they are not leaking; then disconnect hoses and store them for the winter. Cover water faucets especially if they are subject to North winds.
- Repair damaged screens and, if you have storm windows and doors, check them and ready them for installation.
Also take note of chipped concrete on sidewalks or driveways, damaged steps leading to the front or back doors, and anything that might be hazardous if covered with a coating of ice or snow. Repair any problem areas that will only worsen in the snow and cold.
Freshen and Repair the Interior
Inside your home:
- Replace all filters and have your furnace and water heater checked and serviced if needed.
- Make sure your chimney is clean and that your fireplace damper works.
- Calibrate your thermostat; consider replacing an old one with an automatic setback model to save energy and money.
- Examine window caulking and check for drafts in every room. If you have an older home, you might need foam insulators at each receptacle and switch. Bob Vila has a handy checklist to help you with seasonal preparation.
- Visit the attic: If your insulation looks “flat,” you can either add blown-in insulation or have new batts installed as appropriate. Weatherstrip the attic access panels to retard drafts as well.
- In the basement, insulate any exposed pipes, and check for possible leaks and cracks.
- Add blinds or window treatments if your windows are bare. These help insulate the home as well.
- If your windows are loose or not energy efficient you might consider replacing them at some point. Most heat in a home is lost through windows and doors.
More than a State of Mind
You may not be able to escape the chill winds of winter, but you can lessen the effects of the cold. Add some bright accents to your living spaces in the form of pillows and cozy throws, stock up on candles, favorite music and movies, and think of Spring. It’s getting closer with each day!
It’s never too soon to get a jump start on the holidays, particularly when you consider how fast time flies by between September 1 and December 31. Those industrious North Pole elves are already hard at work preparing for the Christmas crunch. Here are some tips to join them and get ahead on the holiday season.
While you may be clinging to thoughts of warm summer nights, Jack Frost is on his way – whether you like it or not. Trick-or-Treaters, holiday carolers, family members, friends and even the UPS man will soon start stopping by, so take steps now to ensure that your home’s exterior makes a good impression.
If you haven’t yet cleaned and stored away outdoor patio furniture and other seasonal items, now is the time. This is also a good opportunity to touch up the paint on your deck, shutters, railings, trim and front door. And don’t forget to wipe your windows so they’re clean and sparkling for Santa Watch.
Lastly, spare yourself a smoke-free future if you’re planning on roasting chestnuts by the fire: schedule an inspection and cleaning of your chimneys and flues.
Get the Hang of It
From creepy cobwebs to those oft-mentioned boughs of holly, you’ll be hanging plenty of decorations throughout the fall and winter. And if you’ve ever tried to hang twinkle lights in a foot of snow, it’s unlikely a tradition you plan to continue.
While it’s customary to wait until after Thanksgiving to turn on your holiday lighting extravaganza, there’s no rule governing when to actually hang the lights.
“Save time by putting up your Christmas lights while taking down your Halloween decorations.”
This also gives you a joyful jump on replacing any dead bulbs or replenishing hooks and other hanging equipment–without any ice and snow on the roof and the need for gloves, or that cold Oklahoma wind.
Make a List, Check It Twice
You may not be ready to deck the halls and mantle just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an action plan ready. Whether you plan to follow last year’s theme or try something new, document your decorating plans. This is also a convenient opportunity to take inventory of your supplies. Do you have everything you need to execute with ease? If not, stock up now: you’ll not only beat the crowds, but also avoid holiday markups.
One last tip? Take plenty of pictures after your house is thoroughly bedecked — and not just for posterity’s sake. In future years, you’ll be able to admire your own handiwork while recreating what worked and rethinking what didn’t.
By attending to the bulk of your prep and planning now, you can enjoy a well-appointed home and a more peaceful December. And that’s reason enough to feel jolly this holiday season!
Can’t justify shelling out big bucks for tickets for the big college or NFL football game? Even though you may not be able to sit in the stands, you can still have a fantastic game day at home with family and friends, including hosting your own tailgate party.
A tailgate party traditionally revolves around tailgates of vehicles in the parking lot of a sports facility, but you can preserve the nature of the tailgate party by simply keeping pre-game festivities outdoors. That means food, games, decorations and a tailgate atmosphere.
Set the stage for your tailgate party with your team’s colors: streamers, banners, posters and other party-store and homemade decorations will transform your yard into tailgate party central. Encourage guests to come dressed up like they were tailgating at their team’s stadium. Some may show up in costume with painted faces. Use tablecloths, plates, cups and napkins in team colors. Give a prize for the best team apparel.
What’s a tailgate party without music? Make a playlist that’s spirited and full of classic game-day jams.
One of the hallmarks of the tailgate party is the grill, whether charcoal or gas, and you may want more than one to facilitate different foods and grilling styles. Remember the Grill Master is in charge.
Guests can nibble on snacks all day long, both indoors and outdoors. Serve tortilla chips with salsa, sour cream and a few homemade dips, such as pico de gallo and artichoke dip. Keep plain and flavored potato chips on hand. Put out trays of cut vegetables and a bowl of fruit.
For great main dishes, offer enough of a variety to make everyone happy. Grill a combination of steaks, burgers, hot dogs and brats, but also offer creative fare. Make homemade gyros or souvlaki; grill eggplant, bell peppers, onions and other vegetables, along with Portobello mushrooms. Have crock pots of chili and pulled pork on hand as well. Ask your guests to bring their favorite game-day snacks, and your table will have plenty of options.
Sides and Salads
Toss baked potatoes on the grill or use a shallow pan on the grill to fry some diced potatoes with chopped onions, bell peppers, olive oil and seasonings. Grill fresh corn on the cob and brush with melted butter. Seasoned green beans or carrots, warm biscuits, a chopped salad, a bowl of potato salad, a bowl of mixed fruit and thick watermelon slices will round out the meal nicely.
Ice your drinks down in coolers or ten gallon tubs. Have bottled water, juice, lemonade and soft drinks. Coffee, hot cocoa and cider will be welcome on a chilly afternoon. Let folks bring their own favorite beverages.
With all that food, dessert may not be a priority, but who can resist a football-shaped cookie with the stitching painted on with icing, or jersey-shaped cookies with names or numbers? And you can’t go wrong with brownies and cake pops.
If people arrive a few hours before the game, they’ll be ready for some fun. Set up a volleyball or badminton game, or play croquet, lawn darts, volleyball, or horse shoes. Leave plenty of room for socializing. A game of corn hole is great for all ages.
Play sports trivia and sports-themed charades and Pictionary to keep the indoor types happy.
Don’t spend so much time on the tailgating that you neglect the game part of game day. Keep the decorations going in the room where you’ll be watching the game on your large-screen TV, and have beverages and snacks available, just like at the stadium. Be sure to have enough comfortable seats on hand (padded folding chairs provide good extra seating). Have some small team flags and a few foam fingers on hand to wave during great plays.
When the game is over, wind down with coffee or cocoa and dessert– and chat about the game.
What tips do you have for having a game day tailgating party at home?