Give Us A Call: 413-586-9111
Delap Real Estate logo

Find Your New Home

Home Tips

Kid Stuff: Backyard camping and other fun stuff to do in quarantine

It’s “summer vacation,” yet many parents have already been at home with their kids for several months now, and ideas for activities may be running low. So here are some things you can do—either in your house, your own back yard, or in other outdoor spaces where social distancing is possible.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Plant something and watch it grow. Whether you have an established garden or room for a few pots on your front step, you and your kids can sow seeds, water them daily, and watch the transformation from tiny seedling to a flowering plant—or something edible like basil or tomatoes!

Go picking. It’s the height of blueberry season in New England, and many farms have made special accommodations so that you and your family can maintain social distancing while picking your own berries! (Just remember to bring your masks!)

Set up a water station. Splashing around will always be a fun choice for kids in summer—especially in hot summer weather. So why not set up a refreshing outdoor play station for your kids? Break out the garden hose, set up the sprinkler, or make a DIY water table from some old Rubbermaids (Pinterest is your friend!).

Take a nature walk. Explore local trails with your kids. Even just a 30-minute walk in nature can feel like a mini-vacation in quarantine times! Whether you opt for a long or a short jaunt, be sure to pack water and a snack. You will also want to bring masks for yourself and your kids. You probably won’t need them, but if you end up on a narrow trail with other hikers, it’s good to have them on hand.

Go backyard camping. Set up a tent, build a fire-pit, toast some marshmallows, and get ready for a fun family getaway right in your own back yard! This might not be the exact camping trip you’ve always envisioned, but there are some definite perks to the location… including the luxury of indoor bathrooms nearby!

Backyard Camping

THE GREAT INDOORS

Cook or bake something. Pick one of your kid’s favorite foods and whip it up together. From blueberry muffins to homemade pizza, there are plenty of fun and delicious things you can create—and eat—together!

Get an activity box subscription. Get kits and activities sent right to your doorstep on a regular basis! Subscription boxes are great for rainy (or very hot) days, when spending time outside isn’t really an option. From STEM- to arts-and-craft-themed boxes, these subscriptions will provide ready-made fun and learning for you and your kid(s)! Here are some popular services to choose from

Write a story together. Tired of reading that favorite children's book for the eleven-thousandth time? Sit down with your kid and cook up a new story! Whether you start with a prompt (Google “writing prompts for kids”) or inspiration from your kiddo’s own imagination, there is lots of fun to be had. Let your child take the lead, and you can be the scribe. Once the story is written down, you can even do some illustrations together!

Have movie night (or afternoon). Pop up some popcorn, pile up some pillows, and round up the whole family for a special viewing party. If you need some guidance choosing a flick that will work for the whole family, commonsensemedia.org is a great resource.

Family Movie Night

Build a fort. Whether it’s from blankets and chairs, cardboard boxes, or a giant stack of pillows—fort-building is a fun activity, and can result in a cozy spot for kids to sit and play or read afterwards.

Hold a living room yoga class. If you’ve taken a yoga class or two, then you probably know enough to hold an “intro” class for your kids. If you prefer more formal instruction, there are plenty of classes available online for kids of all ages. Check out some YouTube videos in advance, and find one that you think would be right for your family!

Build a truck ramp. Do you have a recycling bin full of cardboard? With some empty boxes, scissors, and some strong tape (think mailing or duct tape), you and your child can build tracks, ramps, or jumps and hold races for toy vehicles.

Check out a nature cam. Watching animals or marine life frolicking in their own habitat can be a fun, relaxing, and educational way to spend an afternoon. Here are some great animal livestreams to choose from.

Have a dance party. If your household has come down with a case of severe grumpiness, there’s nothing better than an impromptu dance party to lift the mood. Crank up some music and dance like a maniac! Your kids will either join you or laugh along with you. Either way, it’s a win!

The Place of Art in Your Home

By Linda Aird

Art is such a personal thing. It does not need to be a painting. It's the stuff you put on your wall or place on your coffee table. It can take many forms. It can be a piece of memorabilia, reminding you of a past activity, somewhere you've been or someone you've known. It can be a painting, print or poster whose colors or subject matter speak to you.

PICTURED HERE:  My latest art installation, by Rachelle Miller, a potter from Wisconsin. The landing at the top of my steps needed something. I had been planning on a series of small photographs in sienna (those brown tones of old photographs), but hadn't gotten around to it. The walls in my house are neutral and I thought this would be a good choice. After a couple of years (yup, it took that long), I started to think that a pop of color would be nice, and saw these in a catalogue. 

For me, the environment I find myself in every day, my home, is so important.

It affects how I feel. I tell my clients when we are looking at possible homes to buy that, in addition to the number of bedrooms, etc., there will be the AHHH factor. They'll know it when they feel it. It's the feeling that conveys "I can see myself being here."

Well, that is the beginning of a house becoming a home to you.

Art is the finishing touch, the icing on the cake. It makes our homes distinctly us. I have quite a range. I am not an art snob. I have what I like, what gives me pleasure, from a framed card purchased at a gift shop in Italy to a sculpture handmade to hang on the fireplace. I have items that came to me from other generations and those newly gained. I really believe that, as has been said, art is in the eye of the beholder, and is an evolving process.

So as I move about my house, these various and varied items come into focus, and I experience a sense of peace and calm. 

During this time, when we are feeling unsettled and we are spending far more time in our homes, those feelings of peace and calm are even more imperative.  

I wish you well and look forward to chatting more!

--Linda Aird

Comments

  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

Home Projects for Winter Weekends

House projects can be tricky in winter. Other than snow removal, there isn’t a ton you can do to improve your home’s curb appeal this time of year. But that doesn’t mean you need to defer all projects until Spring. There is plenty of work you can do inside to breathe new life into your home. Much of it can be accomplished in a weekend and for under a hundred bucks!

Rearrange

Whatever you want to call it—feng shui, space flow, reconfiguration—getting your furniture into just the right spots can make a huge difference to the impact of a room. If things feel off and you just can’t figure out why, ask a friend (or your realtor!) too look at the space with you. Sometimes all it takes is a set of fresh eyes to see the true potential of a space.

Do a Deep Clean

Once you’ve done the routine work of tidying, dusting, and vacuuming, try going a bit deeper. From washing windows and wiping down doorframes, to scrubbing bathroom grout and cleaning light fixtures, there is a lot you can do to make your home feel sparkly and new with just a little elbow grease.

Style Your Bookshelves

Tidy up your reading materials and make some space on the shelf for one or two non-book items (a plant, or a nice piece of pottery, for instance). This will add style and draw the eye to this otherwise utilitarian area of your home.

Do a Sofa Makeover

If your couch is starting to show some wear, dress it up with a new slipcover, some accent pillows, or a cozy throw.

Winter Home Project IdeasOrganize Your Kitchen

Kitchen clutter can be a real drag. If you have stacks of pots and pans living on top of your stove for instance, consider a pot rack. Whether it’s hanging, wall-mounted, or free-standing, an item like this can add visual appeal as well as providing storage space.

Paint

A fresh coat of paint on walls, trim, or doors can go a long way to making your home feel fresh and cared for.

Update Fixtures

From the pulls on your kitchen cabinets to the knobs on your interior doors, updating hardware can make a big difference for not a lot of bucks.

It's the Time of the Season for … Hygge

Cozy reading nook on couch with lamp and bookshelvesEight Tips for Adding Warmth and Coziness to Your Home

With Thanksgiving behind us and a fresh blanket of snow on the ground here in the Pioneer Valley, it feels like time to settle in by the fire, curl up with a good book, pour a cup of tea and luxuriate in the coziness of home. The Danish call this feeling of coziness hygge (pronounced h(y)oo), which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”

There are parts of our homes that tend to spark feelings of coziness naturally; A breakfast nook with the morning sun slanting in, a comfy couch with a blanket draped over the back, or any spot near a fireplace. If your home contains these things, congratulations—hygge slam dunk! But if not, never fear. There are plenty of other ways to infuse your house with a feeling of warmth and comfort this winter.

Boost your home’s coziness factor by adding any of these elements:

  1. Rugs. Not only are they kind to your feet on chilly winter mornings, rugs can really soften the vibe of a room and create defined and inviting areas within a larger space.
  2. Blankets and throws. They’re great for warmth, of course, but also for adding a touch of softness to more modern, angular furniture.
  3. Pillows. Well…what’s cozier than a pillow?
  4. Plants, flowers, or fruit. Anything organic, really—even a piece of beautiful driftwood—will bring softness and a sense of comfort to a room.
  5. Texture. Whether achieved through fabrics, prints, or objects with different surfaces, texture can make a space feel more inviting.  
  6. Books. Stacks of them. Preferably somewhere near an overstuffed chair and a reading lamp.
  7. Soft, warm light. So break out those candles, fairy lights, or Edison bulbs for an instant feeling of warmth and comfort.
  8. Good smells. Whether its from bread baking in the oven or a woodsy-scented candle, the right smell will trigger a sense of “home” like nothing else.

 

Fall Home Maintenance

Delap Real Estate: Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Welcome back from vacation! Best wishes to those heading back to school. Whether you’re getting ready to move, staying exactly where you are, or unsure where to go next, Autumn is a time of beginnings. For one, fair season is upon us! Just one of the many Fall traditions that makes Western Massachusetts a charming exciting place to live. 

As you know, Fall is the perfect time to dive into any home repairs that can improve your carbon footprint and save you money. Don’t forget to take care of your home as winter approaches! :-)
 

Fall maintenance tips:

  • Clean your gutters.
  • Don’t start wood burning season without a clean chimney! It’s a fire hazard :)
  • Make a day of cleaning up the yard and/or garden. Celebrate with a bonfire!
  • Plant some bulbs!
  • Plant perennials!
  • Winterize your Home

    • Caulk around windows if there are cracks.

    • Close up your fireplace, all the way.

    • Replace weatherstripping around doors.

    • Add drapes and heavy rugs to your home, providing extra insulation. 

    • Buy a water heater blanket at a local hardware store to keep your tank from losing heat

    • Clean furnace

      • Change the furnace filters

    • Shut off outdoor water so your pipes don’t freeze!

    • Consider window insulation film for added protection.
       

For those of us who don’t know everything, I find that a quick google search and a Youtube how to are very helpful with getting tips and insight from people who have found solutions already. Why stress when an answer exists? Head to your local library if you’re in need of a computer or internet!

Remember deep breaths and to spend time outside in the fresh fall air. Next post on Thursday!
 

- Delap :)

 

Comments

  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

Rolling with the Seasons

Raspberries are one of my favorite seasonal snacks.Delap Real Estate Rolling with the Seasons
I love adding them to ice cream, smoothies, or just snacking
on them straight out of the carton. But one thing I don’t love is the often
outrageous pricing at grocery stores. Fortunately for me (and for
all of you berry lovers out there), the valley is rich with abundance! 

When you get fresh produce from your local farm stands
and farmers markets, you’re buying fresher, tastier, in season
produce at lower prices while supporting your community’s economy.
Not everyone lives in such a crop-abundant area—take advantage of
what our home naturally supplies us and roll with the seasons.

Make it a weekly outing with your family, friends, or self.
Share a present moment with loved ones. And take it from
all of us at Delap: Farmers markets are much less stressful
than grocery stores! Farmers are homeowners and our neighbors. 

Let’s strive to support them AND have fresh food for our own kitchens. 

The farmers markets in Western Massachusetts can be found
all year long. Below is a seasonal schedule of the Pioneer Valley markets.

                                                             Know where your food comes from.
                                                                          Support your local farmers.
                                                                                                 Save Money. 

                                                   What’s in season? Native Corn  Blueberries  Raspberries  Peaches 

Summer/Fall Schedule

Amherst 

Thru November 16th 

Saturdays 7:30am - 1:30pm

@ Downtown Amherst in Spring St Parking Lot & Boltwood Ave
 

Belchertown 

Thru October 6th

Sundays 10:00am - 2:00pm Shop Local

@ Belchertown Common
 

Easthampton 

Thru October 5th

Saturdays 9:00am - 1:00pm 

@ 50 Payson Ave
 

Florence 

Wednesdays 2:00pm - 6:00pm 

@ Florence Civic Center 
 

Hilltown Mobile Market

    Thru September 26

Huntington 

Fridays 3pm-5pm

@ Stanton Hall Green 24 Russell Road

Worthington 

Thursdays 3pm-5pm 

@ The Maples 48 Old North Road
 

Northampton 

     Thru November

Tuesdays 1:30pm - 6:30pm 

@ Behind Thornes Marketplace (Next to Parking Garage Downtown)

Saturdays 7:00am - 1:00pm 

@ Upper Gothic St Downtown 
Abundant Gratitude

-->Ware 

Just Opened!

Saturdays 10:00am - 2:00pm 

@ Grenville Park 73 Church St
 

Westfield 

Thru October 10th 

Thursdays 12:00 noon - 6:00pm

@ 36 Court St with Live music & Food!
 

Williamsburg 

Thru October 24th

Thursdays 2:00pm - 6:00pm 

@ Route 9 on Lawn on Meekins Library 
 

Worthington 

Family Owned Sawyer Farm Stand 

Open 9:00am-7:00pm Daily 

@ 19 Sawyer Rd 

 

Comments

  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

Nine ways to secure your home while on vacation.

  • By
  • Posted

Finally, it’s time for a much-deserved holiday. The last thing you want to do is fret about your home while you’re away. Before you pack up and head out for your annual week on the Cape or the cabin in Maine, take a few precautions so you can really relax!

toys at the beach

Nine ways to secure your home while on vacation:

1. Put Lights on timers

Simple timers, available online or at your local hardware store, can be plugged into your lights to create the illusion of occupancy. Automatic motion sensor lights by your entrance are both useful when you are home and a real deterrent to potential thieves.

1. Install a home monitoring system

There are many affordable home monitoring systems on the market today. A simple monitoring camera such as the Wyze Cam is easy to install, allowing you to check in on your home remotely from your phone. More advanced programs such as Indigo Home Automation or Domoticz work with devices like X10 that plug into electronic outlets, allowing you to turn lights on and off remotely and monitor your home from virtually anywhere in the world. Some offer instant phone alerts in case of fire or break-in.

house lit up at night

3. Leave a key with a friend or family member

Having a trusted person close by to periodically check on your home is a real benefit.  You’ll also have someone to call on if something comes up that requires access, or if you lose your keys while away. Do not leave your hide-a-key in its usual spot. Chances are a determined thief can find it.

4. Enlist a house sitter

If you have pets or are going to be gone for an extended period, have a friend or family member house sit. Your pets and plants will get the most personalized attention, and you will have the peace of mind of knowing someone is there to keep an eye on things.

5. Keep up on yard maintenance

Keep a regular schedule of yard and pool maintenance so that your home does not look neglected. If you usually take care of these tasks yourself, hire a local company to maintain things temporarily. As an added benefit, you will have a much nicer place to return to.

6. Hold your mail and newspapers

Overflowing mailboxes and newspapers littering the yard are clear signals that you aren’t home. Contact your newspaper to suspend your paper delivery. Go to the post office and arrange to have your mail held, or ask a neighbor to collect it.

secure your valuables

7. Secure your valuables

If you don’t have a fire-proof box, now is the time to get one. Stow your valuable papers and jewelry in a well-hidden place. Be sure that tempting items such as laptops are not in open view from outside. Take in any statuary that could easily be carried off from your yard.

8. Don’t advertise your whereabouts on social media

As tempting as it is to post all about your adventures, be cautious about sharing your whereabouts on social media. Check your settings and limit access to your posts to trusted viewers only.

9. Double check your doors and windows

Disconnect your garage door, as these devices can be easily hacked. Close blinds on the ground floor.  Are your windows all closed tightly and locked? Make a last check to be sure. 

Buying or Selling a Home in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts?

Contact Delap Real Estate

Comments

  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.