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Embrace Minimalism This Holiday Season

by The Hat Team


Ahh…Christmas.  A time for happiness and good cheer.  And shopping. And cooking. And wrapping. And decorating. And baking.  Are you tired yet? I am…just from typing this list of things we all do during the holiday season.  Don’t despair!  It doesn’t have to be this way.  You can experience the magic of the holidays without exhausting yourself to the point that you can’t even enjoy it.  Embrace minimalism this holiday season and you will breathe a sigh of relief as you savor the joy of the season. Here are some tips to help:

  • The Three Gift Rule - If maxing out your credit cards and spending hours wrapping gifts doesn’t sound like fun, you may want to consider the “Three Gift Rule”. With the Three Gift Rule each person gets one thing they need, one thing they want, and one surprise.  Turn the focus from quantity to quality while saving yourself time, energy and a little money. The Three Gift Christmas Rule - How and Why to Do It
     
  • Keep Your Tree Simple - Unless every single ornament you own is super meaningful to you, you don’t have to use them all.  If you are overwhelmed thinking about how much time it takes to decorate your Christmas tree, then consider toning it down this year.  If you have three bins of ornaments, just use one this year.  Next year you can use another one.  When it comes to your Christmas tree, there is beauty in simplicity. If you decorate it so much that you can’t even see any of the actual tree…you are probably doing too much!
     
  • Don’t be “Extra” - You may have heard kids using this term lately.  It refers to someone trying too hard or being over the top.  We can all get caught up in trying to outdo our friends, neighbors, social media acquaintances, and/or family members during the holidays. But do you need all the additional stuff at Christmas?  Stick to the basics…a lovely Christmas tree, a few special gifts and a wreath on the door…and you can still have a magical holiday!
     
  • Give Homemade Edible Gifts - We all have SO. MUCH. STUFF.  When thinking about what gifts to give to neighbors, friends and family, consider making and/or baking edible gifts.  Not only will your time and thoughtfulness be appreciated, but the food will be enjoyed and won’t add to the collection of stuff taking up space in our homes.
     
  • Go Easy on the Stockings - If you fill a stocking so full that you can’t leave it hanging because it’s too heavy, you have put too much in it!  Use Christmas stockings to hold small items like candy, lip balm and socks.
     
  • Secret Santa - If you are part of a large extended family or a large friend group, it can be stressful and expensive trying to find the perfect gift for every person in the group.  Avoid that stress (and expense) by suggesting that you all do a “Secret Santa Gift Exchange”. This way, each of you will only have to buy for one other person. You will not only save money; you will be able to focus on finding a special gift that your chosen person will love! 38 Creative Secret Santa Gifts Under $25 That Beat Your Go-To Gift Card
     
  • Give the Gift of Experiences - When the holidays are over, many people find themselves with a bunch of things they will never use again.  But if you give the gift of a future experience…think tickets to a show or movie, gift card to a restaurant or spa experience…not only will there be less “stuff” to put away, but there will be things to look forward to as the holiday season draws to a close.
     
  • Only Decorate the Room You Spend the Most Time In - You don’t have to decorate your whole house. Skip the Christmas shower curtain in the bathroom and focus on decorating where you and your family spend the most time.  Some people enjoy decorating their entire home, but if you don’t, it’s ok.  Do what brings you joy and skip the rest!

The bottom line is that the holiday season should be a time of peace and happiness.  Do what works for you and your loved ones so that you can truly experience the joy of the season!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs! Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: lakesideohio.com

Fun for Kids This Holiday Season

by The Hat Team


Holiday break.  It sounds like fun. It should be fun. You start the break with images of snuggling up to read stories, making hot cocoa and going for adventures outdoors.  But sometimes it can be challenging for parents to figure out how to fill the hours of free time kids have over the holiday break. Before you know it, you are in survival mode – just trying to get through the break with your sanity intact.  That is why it is a prudent idea to start the break with a plan in mind. It certainly can’t hurt to have a few activities planned to fall back on to keep your kids entertained and engaged.  Here are five budget friendly ideas to keep your kids busy during the holiday break.

1. Creative Coloring 

A box of crayons and some paper can keep toddlers occupied, but as children grow, they may need a few more creative ideas for how to use those crayons to stay busy. Here are some creative coloring options:

  • Coloring wrapping paper. Who doesn’t need more wrapping paper for the holidays? This is a twofold activity. You get your wrapping paper at a low price, and you keep your kids busy awhile. Just buy rolls of cheap, plain-colored wrapping paper. (The cheap kind is thin, so darker colors work best.) Roll it out a few feet at a time on a table or a hard floor, and let the kids go to town.
     
  • Upside down coloring. Turn coloring on its head – literally – with this easy activity. Just tape coloring sheets to the bottom of a table, and turn your child into a tiny Michelangelo. This is a great way to keep them busy and build upper arm strength.
     
  • Color the windows. Kids love being able to use crayons on surfaces that are usually off-limits. Crayola makes some crayons specifically for coloring on windows. Grab a pack of these, and let kids decorate the windows for the holidays. Window Crayons
     
  • Try complex coloring sheets. Older kids may think freestyle coloring is boring. Try printing off complicated geometric coloring sheets. Kids can create gorgeous designs, and the challenge keeps them engaged longer. (Note: They may need colored pencils and a good sharpener to be able to tackle these detailed designs.) Complex Geometric Coloring Pages

2. Indoor Games

It can be especially challenging during the holidays when the weather doesn’t cooperate and kids can’t play outside. And you probably don’t have a gym like your kid’s school does where they can release their pent-up energy. Luckily, with some creativity and basic supplies, you can create your own indoor gross motor games to burn off that extra energy.

  • Obstacle courses. Obstacle courses are surprisingly easy to create, and you can customize them for kids of any age – even elementary-aged kids would love a superhero obstacle course. These can be heavy on the prep work, but one course could keep your kids busy the entire day. (Worth it!) This Indoor Obstacle Course is simple. This String Laser Maze is great for older kids, as well.
     
  • Hopscotch. What better way to burn off energy than with hopscotch? Crafty parents can put together this adorable Indoor Hopscotch Mat to use again and again, or you can just make a DIY Indoor Hopscotch Game With Tape.
     
  • Scavenger hunts. You may think scavenger hunts are just for outside play, but you’d be surprised. You can put together some fun indoor scavenger hunts. These are a great way to get kids to play independently or in teams while you get other stuff done. (Or just relax with a cup of coffee for 20 minutes!) This Indoor Bug Safari is great for little kids, or try a Christmas Themed Scavenger Hunt. You can come up with any number of scavenger hunts tailored to your kids’ ages and interests.
     
  • Tossing games. Throwing balls in the house is usually off-limits. But indoor tossing games turn that rule on its head. These Indoor Ball Games are great for practicing hand-eye coordination in a safe way.

3. Arts and Crafts 

Before the holiday break starts, plan some crafts for your kids to do. Then, hit your local craft store sans kids, and pick up the supplies you need. Stick supplies for each craft into a gallon-sized bag, and write the name of the craft and any necessary instructions on it with a marker. This may seem over the top, but when your kids are in the throes of boredom two days into break, you’ll be glad you have an activity to pull out and run with. Here are a couple of craft ideas to try:

  • Holiday gifts. Kids love to make things to give to others, and if you have a lot of people on your list, you can keep them busy all break long making DIY gifts for the holidays. Hand-painted ornaments are always a great option, and these Finger Print & Hand Print ones especially cute. Grab some canvas aprons, and let the kids decorate them with fabric paint as gifts. Older kids can also DIY No Sew Blankets & Pillows without much supervision. 45 Gorgeous Gifts Kids Can Make
     
  • Winter crafts. Kids of all ages will love to make and play with this Snow Clay, which you could use to make ornaments for gifts. This adorable Luminary Jar Ornament would be great for older kids, or try this Snowman Slam Game , which you can make and then play with. And, of course, kids of all ages love to make Paper Snowflakes!

4. Service Projects 

This is the time of year when many of us are trying to find ways to give back. Why not involve your kids in giving back this year? Some ideas include raking leaves for older neighbors or baking cookies for local police officers or firefighters. Another option is to make cozy No Sew Fleece Scarves for a local hospital or nursing home. Older kids can even plan, shop for and make a meal for ill or elderly neighbors, or the couple down the street with a new baby and no time to cook.

5. Sensory Bins

Finally, crawlers to elementary-age kids love sensory bins. (They can be surprisingly fun for parents, too!) Yes, these can get a little messy. The best trick is to set up a sensory bin on an old-fitted sheet. Weigh down the elastic corners with books, and you’ll create a little valley to catch most of the mess. Here are some sensory bin ideas for the holiday season:

  • Dried Corn Sensory Bin  - This one includes popcorn seeds, Indian corn, mini pumpkins, silk fall leaves and cookie cutters in fall shapes. You’ll want to include some cups and scoops in this and all your other sensory bins, too.
     
  • Apple Pie Bin -  This simple sensory bin is just dough (flour and oil), a pie plate and some measuring cups. You could add in cinnamon for apple pie smells, and include red gems to look like apples.
     
  • Apple Cinnamon Scented Sensory Rice Bin - Making colored, scented rice is simple. And it’s a great way to theme your sensory bins. This apple cinnamon scented rice would pair well with play apples, cookie cutters, measuring tools or fall leaves.
     
  • Cotton Ball Snow Bin -  For a less messy sensory bin, fill up a tub with cotton balls. Add in some measuring cups and winter-themed toys, and you have your very own (not-so-messy) snow-scape.
     
  • Decorate a Tree - This is a genius idea that may keep some of the sensory bin materials more contained. Instead of measuring and pouring, this decorate-a-tree activity lets kids carefully place decorations on their own tree.
     
  • Sparkly Snow Bin - This sensory bin features sparkly snow made from Epsom salt, iridescent flakes and tinsel garland. Add in some winter-themed plastic animals, and you’re good to go.

So, if your kids are bickering or complaining that they are bored, save the day with these fun, inexpensive activities and enjoy the holiday break!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs! Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: rvshare.com

Kitchen Remodel 101

by The Hat Team


Have you been thinking about remodeling your kitchen, but you’re not sure where to start?  Kitchens are important to resale value, so if you’re going to invest money in a remodel, you want to be sure that you end up with a kitchen that will stand the test of time. So, instead of following fads that are currently popular, stick with classic features that will not only bring you joy, but will entice buyers should you ever sell your home.  Here are some tips for creating a kitchen that is timeless and functional:

  1. Brighten up your kitchen using white as the dominant color. White is the most marketable color and never goes out of style. It is associated with happiness and new beginnings.  It makes small spaces look bigger.  And best of all, it’s easy on the budget due to its availability. The Best White Paint for Your Kitchen
     
  2. Install hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors are popular among buyers of any age; both male and female.  Hardwood adds warmth and coziness to a home.  It’s great for open floor plans because it flows beautifully from one room to another. It’s durable and long-lasting. And if “going green” is important to you, hardwood is echo-friendly.  It’s considered a “green” building material when it has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and comes from sustainably managed forests.
     
  3. Choose cabinets that have clean lines, like Shaker Kitchen Cabinets.  The clean lines of these cabinets will be in style forever. Their beauty is in their simplicity.  They help limit the “busyness” of the kitchen, creating a soothing, peaceful vibe.  They also transition easily should the next homeowner want a change of style.  Whether you want a traditional or contemporary look, these cabinets will work for both.
     
  4. Go with marble countertops; specifically, Carrara marble. Carrara marble has been used in homes for centuries.  It looks fantastic in a white kitchen, but also with other colors. It’s affordable and readily available and will last for generations.  You will find some critics who will tell you that it stains easily, but that can be avoided with proper sealing. If you want a truly timeless look, Carrara marble is the way to go. Carrara Marble Kitchens
     
  5. Include smart storage.  If you currently store many of your kitchen supplies in other areas of the home due to lack of storage space, now is the time to change that!  Cabinets that are being made today feature a plethora of storage options including shelves and compartments that unfold, extend, slide and turn.  Have fun and be creative when designing kitchen storage.

You will love your new kitchen and future potential buyers will find it irresistible!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Tips for Keeping Your Children Safe on Halloween

by The Hat Team


When caught up in the fun and excitement of Halloween festivities, it’s easy to overlook safety issues. There may be ghosts, vampires and witches on every corner, but what is truly frightening is the number of preventable accidents that occur each year on this night. You will enjoy this spooky holiday more if you know your children are safe. Here are 5 safety tips for Halloween:

  1. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should not cross streets alone before they are ten years old. Maturity, danger awareness, and traffic savvy are all required for navigating street crossings and research cautions that even some ten-year-olds might not be ready for that.  In a Wall Street Journal article, author Andrea Peterson stated, “Research has found that young children walking to school often don’t look for traffic to stop at the curb before stepping into the street.”  And the AAP's Policy Statement on this topic is that parents “are likely to overestimate their children’s ability to safely cross the street.”  So, if your little princess or superhero is under ten, make sure there is a trusted adult with them to guide them across streets.  Teach them that looking left, then right, then left again is the best way to be sure no cars are coming.  Remind them to listen for traffic as well. If your children are trick or treating in a city with busy streets, always use designated cross walks for crossing.
     
  2. Avoid visual impairments, like masks.  Face paints are a great alternative for masks for trick or treaters.  Incorporate bright colors into the face paint to make your child more visible in the dark. It’s also a good idea to add some reflector tape to dark costumes so that your child can be seen in the dark.
     
  3. When trick or treating in an area that does not have sidewalks and you must walk on roads, be sure to walk FACING oncoming traffic.  This makes it easier for you to spot cars coming and for drivers to spot you.  It’s a good idea to carry a flashlight and point it forward and down. It will not only give you more visibility, it will make you more visible.
     
  4. Nothing says Halloween like a candlelit jack o’ lantern, but unfortunately, it’s also a fire hazard. Long capes and costumes with trailing material on crowded doorsteps are disaster waiting to happen when exposed to an open flame.  Be sure to purchase flame-retardant apparel for your little ones.  And to be extra safe, go over the "Stop, Drop, and Roll" procedure with them.
     
  5. Set some rules for candy consumption.  Don’t allow your child to eat while out trick or treating.  It’s too hard to inspect candy properly in the dark and you want to be sure packaging isn’t punctured or previously opened.  Don’t let them eat anything homemade unless it’s from a friend or neighbor that you know. Wait until you child is home and you can inspect their loot in a well-lit room and set guidelines for how much they may eat and when. Last thing you want is a tummy ache at the end of a spooktacular night…especially if it’s a school night! How to Check Your Kids' Candy for Potential Hazards This Halloween

Follow these tips and use common sense and Halloween night will be festive but not frightening!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: slate.com

How to Simplify for a More Peaceful Life

by The Hat Team


With summer in the rear-view mirror and the holidays approaching, life has likely gotten a lot more hectic. Chances are you have multiple schedules to juggle and little free time.  Now is a good time to simplify your life and eliminate as much stress as possible. Get started with the following steps:

  • Let go of extraneous possessions.  Having too many "things" can be detrimental to a peaceful life.  They cause clutter, drain your bank account and use energy and attention that could be elsewhere.  Take the time to remove unnecessary possessions from your life and you will not regret it!
     
  • Learn to say no.  Too many commitments will not only take up time, but will leave you feeling like you can’t really give 100% to anyone or anything.  Prioritize what is most important to you, whether it’s a book club or a hobby or volunteering.  After working and taking care of your family, you want to make the most out of the free time you have. Filling it with activities you don’t really care about out of some sense of obligation will leave you feeling tired and unfulfilled.
     
  • Get organized.  There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find something when you need it.  Imagine the time and energy that will be saved if you don’t have to search for your keys or the phone charger or your child’s permission slip that you signed last week.  Having a place for everything and knowing where it is when you need it will make your life much less stressful and free up more time for fun and relaxation. How Clutter Affects Your Health
     
  • Reduce screen time.  How many times have you run late for something because you just had to read one more article on the internet.  It’s easy to get sucked in when so much information is available so easily.  But too much screen time means too little REAL time.  Don’t let the screen dominate your life.  Make a conscious effort to unplug and free up more time for other activities.
     
  • Stop multi-tasking.  It may seem unavoidable when life is so busy, but research indicates that multi-tasking increases stress and lowers productivity.  Focus on one task at a time, give it 100% of your attention, and when you are done move on to the next task. How Multitasking Affects Productivity and Brain Health
     
  • Ask for help.  Sometimes life is hard.  Trying to do everything yourself can leave you feeling defeated and deflated.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

These are just a few ideas for ways to simplify your life.  If you are buying or selling a home, you can count on Sandra Nickel and Her Hat Team of professionals to make the process as simple as possible for you! Give them a call today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: frugalfamily.co.uk

Tying Up Loose Ends When You Move

by The Hat Team

Let’s face it - moving is overwhelming no matter how well you prepare.  There are what seem like a million little pieces that all must fall into place to make a move go smoothly. And even then, it is stressful.  You are upending your life; putting everything you own into boxes and bags, and making big changes.  So, it’s easy to understand how some tasks fall through the cracks and are forgotten.  Here are some important things that many people forget to do (or don’t even realize need to be done) when moving:

  • Cancel recurring charges for local memberships. During the chaos of moving, the last thing you are likely to think about are membership fees for things that may not transfer to your new place of residence, like a gym membership.  And if those fees are automatically charged to your credit or debit card you need to cancel those memberships at least a month before you move so that you don’t continue to get charged even when you’re not there to use them any longer.
     
  • Call your car insurance company. Per the Department of Motor Vehicles,  it is vital to check on your car insurance when moving, as states have varying levels of required coverage.  In fact, insurance rates can even vary from neighborhood to neighborhood in the same city.  So, make sure you call your insurer before you move to see if you need to update or change your coverage at your new address.
     
  • Change your address early.  Changing your address is easy using the Online Form provided by the U.S. Postal Service, but don’t wait until the last minute to do it! If you want to be sure that your mail arrives at your new home in a timely manner, complete the form about two weeks before you move. 
     
  • Take care of your finances.  During the whirlwind of moving, it’s easy to forget the everyday tasks that are a normal part of your routine…like paying bills.  It’s also easy to lose track of paper bills among all the boxes you’ve packed.  Take the time to set up auto pay for things at your new home like mortgage/rent, phone, utilities etc.  This can help assure an on-time payment during a hectic time.  Designate a spot for mail both in the home you’re packing up and in your new home so that paper bills aren’t lost in the shuffle.
     
  • Change your billing address on credit cards.  Don’t get caught by surprise when your billing address doesn’t match the address on your credit card because you forgot to change it when you moved.  Some transactions now require that you put in your billing zip code when using your card, so if that has changed, then you need to change it on your credit cards as well.  The last thing you want is to deal with a transaction being denied and then finding out it was simply because you hadn’t changed the address on your card.

Yes, moving is stressful. But taking care of these often overlooked tasks will make it a little bit easier!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: braybray.co.uk

Enjoy the Advantages of Downsizing

by The Hat Team

 

Have you recently become an empty nester with a home spacious enough for a large family?  Maybe it’s time to consider downsizing.  There are numerous perks to downsizing to a smaller home:

  1. SAVING MONEY. You will not only save on your monthly mortgage payment in a smaller home, you will also save money on frivolous living.  One of the advantages of downsizing your home is that you can stop wasting money on furniture and home décor that are used to fill space rather than to fulfill a function.  Filling a smaller space will allow you to prioritize what items are important and necessary for you.
     
  2. LESS STRESS. After working hard all week to pay the bills, it’s no fun to have to spend your weekend doing chores.  A smaller home equals fewer chores and less upkeep. This will free up time to enjoy leisure activities and relaxation.
     
  3. SAVE ENERGY. If you live in a large home, you know that energy costs can be expensive.  Smaller homes will not only save you money on heating, cooling and water costs, it will also allow you to reduce your carbon footprint.
     
  4. FREE TIME FOR TRAVEL. With additional disposable income and less upkeep needed, a smaller home will afford you the time and cash for travel and adventure.  Weekend getaways or even long trips are less of a hassle now that you don’t have to worry about being house-poor.
     
  5. A NEW BEGINNING. Downsizing can be the beginning of a new chapter in your life.  If being an empty nester has you feeling down, a lifestyle change might be just what you need to start focusing on how you want to spend your time, money and energy. 

If you are ready to downsize, let professional Realtor Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team help you sell the house you’re in and find a new home to better suit your needs!  Contact us today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: aarp.org

How to Host a Fantastic Game Day Party!

by The Hat Team


Football season is here and whether you are cheering for Alabama or Auburn, that means party time!  Gathering with friends and family to watch your favorite team will be all the more fun with these game-day party tips!

GUEST LIST: Make sure to invite people well in advance so that you know how many to plan for.  If you are a die-hard football fan, you may want to consider only inviting other die-hard fans, but if you are just using the game as an excuse to have a party, invite anyone and everyone you enjoy socializing with. The more the merrier!  You also might want to make it an adult only affair. A day of watching tv and eating junk food might not be the best idea for little ones, especially if there isn’t a lot of space for them to run around and burn off energy. 

PARTY LOCATION: If you live in a tiny apartment with one small couch, you are going to want to either limit how many people you invite to just a few or you might want to totally steer clear of hosting a party at your home.  The optimal setting for a football watching party is a large room with lots of seating and a casual atmosphere.  Oh…and don’t forget…a BIG television!

WHAT TO SERVE: As far as drinks go, make sure to have a variety. Remember that some people don’t drink alcohol, so you should have non-alcoholic beverages available.  Now, for the most important aspect of a game day party…THE FOOD!  Creating a game day menu is one time when you can be a junk food junkie and feel good about it!  Think finger foods that are easily consumed while sitting on a couch watching the game. You can’t go wrong with chips, dips and nachos, but if you want something a little more substantial, great options are wings, ribs and chili.  You want to stick with foods that can be prepared ahead of time and served up easily so that you don’t have to miss any of the game.  Have some sweets on hand for dessert. They should be portable and easy to eat - like cake pops, cupcakes and brownies.  If you really want to impress your guests, make some football shaped food.  Whether you keep it simple, or go all out in terms of presentation, just make sure you have enough for everyone! 8 Football-Shaped Foods for Your Game Day Party

USE TEAM COLORS FOR YOUR THEME: Make things festive by adding decorations in your favorite team’s colors.  Think streamers, paper plates, napkins, and cups. Decorating can be the difference between a gathering and a true PARTY!

If you love to host parties and relish the idea of going all out, then go for it!  But if you just want to kick back with people to watch the game, keep it simple and don’t stress.  Most importantly, enjoy the time spent with friends and family!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: mydish.com

Creating a Colorful Fall Garden

by The Hat Team

Fall gardens bring to mind vivid, jewel toned colors such as scarlet, deep purples and gold.  Planning for a fall garden needs to start early so that plants are established. Even if they bloom late in the season, they will be hardier and bloom best if they’ve been in the garden longer.  Before planting, research what kind of flowers and plants will do best in your area.  To help, here is a list of some that thrive in hardiness zone 8 (Montgomery, AL): Alabama USDA Hardiness Zone Map

Chrysanthemums:  Commonly called “mums”, these richly hued plants are true sign of fall. When buying mums, look for ones labeled “hardy mums” or “garden mums” for the best chance of having them thrive throughout the season.  Plant them as soon as you buy them.  Given the opportunity to develop a strong root system, they will last longer. Chrysanthemums: The Ultimate Guide to Growing Mums

Helenium: Part of the daisy family, this cheery flower blooms in yellow, orange and red bringing a vibrant ambiance to your garden. These tough, easy-to-grow perennials bloom late in the season and last a long time.

Asters: Available in a variety of hues in shades of pink, purple, blue and white, these perennials bloom from mid to late fall.  Loved by bees, butterflies and other pollinators, they provide a late feeding opportunity for them.   Plant them as soon as they are available in early fall so that they can establish a strong root system.

Pansies: One of the most popular cool weather annuals, pansies are favorites for fall flowerbeds. They are very hardy and can continue to bloom through winter and into spring, thereby adding lively color to your garden almost year ‘round! All About Pansies

Sedum (Stonecrop): Robust, carefree, pretty, and long-lasting, sedum is about as close to perfect as you can get for a fall flower.  Sedums comes in many various sizes and colors, including mat forming, creeping, and upright varieties. Easy to grow, they are great for beds, borders, or even a rock garden.  How to Grow Sedum

If you are thinking about selling your home this autumn, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with getting it on the market and sold for the best possible price!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

How to Stay Active When You Hate Exercising

by The Hat Team


Do you hate exercising?  Do you want to be healthier and more fit, but the thought of going to a gym fills you with anxiety?  Well, I am here to tell you that there are numerous ways to “exercise” that you will enjoy so much, you won’t even realize you’re exercising!

Seven Fun Ways to Stay Active:

  1. Hiking - Whether you like the solitude of hiking alone or you would rather go with family and friends, you will be surrounded by the beauty of nature and wildlife and you will walk miles before you know it.  There is no shortage of beautiful places to hike in and around Montgomery! Best Trails Near Montgomery, AL
     
  2. Walking - If you don’t have time for a hike, go for a walk instead.  Even a fifteen-minute walk can get your heart pumping.  Walk in your neighborhood, or during your lunch break at work.  One way or another, get those steps in! Our Free Self-Guided Walking Tour of Montgomery, AL
     
  3. Geocaching - For the adventure nerd in all of us…geocaching allows us to be real-life treasure hunters and get a great work out at the same time! Check out this Website for information on geocaching events taking place in Alabama.
     
  4. Dancing - So many types of dance, so little time!  You can try swing dancing, Latin dancing, tap!  The options are limitless!  Try some ballroom dancing lessons at River Region Ballroom or step out for some country line dancing at one of the many Country Line Dance Bars in Montgomery!
     
  5. Martial Arts - Just like with dancing, there are loads of different types of martial arts.  Not only will you learn to defend yourself, but the practice of martial arts can be a stress reliever. Try karate at the Family Karate Center or jiu-jitsu at Montgomery Martial Arts.
     
  6. Clean - I’m shaking my head as I type this, because really?  Who likes cleaning?  But by thinking of it as a great way to get fit, you can kill two birds with one stone (so to speak).  Blast your favorite music at max volume and see how much you can get done during one song. Make it a challenging game and before you know it you will not only have a clean house…but you will have worked up a good sweat too!
     
  7. Play – Get outside and play childhood games with your kids and their friends. Hide and seek, tag, red rover, kick the can.  These games will keep you moving…and probably laughing, while you enjoy quality time with your kids! 30 Unorganized Sports You Should Teach Your Kids This Summer

So, if “exercise” is a bad word in your book, remove it from your vocabulary and replace it with one of these fun and exciting ways to stay fit!

Photo Credit: nationalpost.com

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