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Linda and Carrie's Newsletter

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Volume 35 Number 3


When it comes to selling a home, staging the outdoor space is just as important as indoor staging. Even if your outdoor area is a small balcony, you want to present potential buyers with an idea of how to use the space. For example, buyers will want to get a feel for the different way furniture can be placed. If all you can fit in your outdoor space is a small bistro set, then play it up with throw pillows and a floral centrepiece. If you have a large outdoor space with multiple seating areas, designate those areas with throw

rugs and different seating options like patio tables and outdoor couches. How much outdoor space you have will dictate what you can do with the landscaping, the most important thing is that what you do have is neat and tidy. A few potted plants will only show well if they’re watered and weed-free. Likewise, a large yard with flower beds and a garden will only be appealing if everything is taken care of during the selling process.


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This Mexican-inspired recipe satisfies healthy eating requirements as well as the urge to have incredibly yummy things – and it doesn't take long to make! INGREDIENTS: 1.5 pounds of chicken (thighs or breasts) boneless, skinless 2 large bell peppers (any color) 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided 1 packet taco seasoning 1 pound cauliflower rice or cauliflower crumbles 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup salsa 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and green onion

DIRECTIONS: 1. Chop the chicken and slice the bell peppers. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet, and add the chicken and bell peppers; saute until starting to brown. Add the seasoning, cooking until the chicken is cooked through. 3. Add the remaining olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the cauliflower rice and salt, cooking until the cauliflower is warmed and slightly browned. 4. Divide the rice between 4 bowls, and top with chicken and peppers. Add sliced avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, green onion, and salsa.

1 jalapeño, sliced 1 avocado, sliced

FLOWERJOKES What did the bee say to the flower? Hello honey! Why did the gardener plant light bulbs? He wanted to grow a power plant. What do you get when you plant kisses? Tulips! What did the bride say when she dropped her bouquet? Whoopsy daisies! Why did the gardener quit? Because his celery wasn’t high enough.

NEWYEAR’S… INMARCH? Welcome to the third month of the year – or, if you were born before 150 B.C., the first! According to the oldest Roman calendars, one year was ten months long, beginning in March and ending in December. It may sound crazy, but you can still see traces of this old system in our modern calendar: because December was the tenth month, it was named for the number ten in Latin (decem), just like September was named for seven (septem). So, what about January and February? They were just two nameless months called “winter.” Courtesy of

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WEIRDHOMESOFTHEWORLD When it comes to home design, creativity knows no limits! Here are three of the world’s weirdest – and coolest – homes. World’s skinniest house. The Keret House, located in Warsaw, Poland, is just under five feet in width and is known as the slimmest home in the world. Designed by architect Jakub Szczesny, the house is located in a small space between two larger buildings. Despite it’s slender size, it still manages to contain a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room. World’s smallest house. How small is the world’s smallest house, you may wonder? Well, it’s small enough to carry on your back. Known aptly as the “One-Sqm-House,” this DIY wooden structure is one metre by one metre and can be flipped on its side to provide a sleeping space. World’s coolest house. Like skateboarding? Then the PAS House, located in Malibu, California, is your dream home. Designed for pro-skating champion Pierre Andre Senizergues, every surface in the home is skateable. Senizergues also designs sustainable men’s clothing so you know the home is both cool and eco-conscious.

5HOBBIESTOENRICHYOURLIFE Whether we have a lot of spare time in our lives or very little, we all need something that takes us away from work and life’s other stresses. Something that is enriching and just for us. Here are five fulfilling hobbies. Maybe one of them – or all of them – will help you live your best life. Yoga. There’s a reason yoga is a go-to activity for so many Canadians. Not only is it great for your body – it’s also a wonderful exercise for the mind. And because yoga is low impact, it can be done by anyone in any age group. Plus, thanks to free online videos, you can cultivate a practice from your own home – for free! Hiking. Hiking doesn’t have to involve trekking up and down mountains with gear strapped to your back. All it requires is a good pair of shoes and a sense of adventure. Whether you want to hike the trail system in your city, or set off into the great unknown, hiking is another excellent form of low-intensity exercise that provides your inner self with a connection to the outdoors and the space to just breath. Genealogy. If your idea of a hobby doesn’t involve working up a sweat, consider taking a metaphorical stroll through your ancestry. Thanks to technology, it’s now easier than ever to trace your family history. Not only does this hobby provide you with a fascinating look into your past, it also allows you to connect with others searching for their own ancestors. Upcycling. If you’ve got a crafty mind and are good with your hands, upcycling may be right up your alley. Transform odds and ends and other people’s “junk” into treasure by repairing and painting anything from mirrors to dressers to knick-knacks that others would just throw away. The best part? Upcycling is a great way to do your part for protecting the environment as it diverts trash from the landfill and replaces the need to purchase brand new items. Volunteering. If you love to help others, consider volunteering with a local organization. From working at a food bank, to reading to seniors, to coaching a kids’ sports team, spending time with those in need, or with the eldest or youngest people in our communities, is perhaps the most fulfilling hobby of all.


Just like in Sudoku, fill in the grid with the digits from 1 to 9. Each group of digits must add up to the number that is just to the left or above it. No group can repeat the same digit twice. Although they are aligned vertically or horizontally, a group does not necessarily span the whole column or row. This means that although you may not repeat a digit within a group, you may repeat it within a column or row. There is no requirement to use all of the digits.


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SPRINGCLEANINGFORCONDODWELLERS Condos may be known for having lower maintenance requirements than a single-family home, but that doesn’t mean condo owners can skip spring-cleaning entirely. May the following list help you streamline your scrubbing and dusting activities – so you can get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. Bathroom deep clean. Ah, the bathroom. The place in every home, no matter the size, that just doesn’t stay clean. Whether you’re a regular scrubber or tend to neglect the grime that builds up in the bathtub, spring is the perfect time to really get into every corner. Grab your rubber gloves, an old toothbrush and your favourite abrasive cleaner and go to work. Baseboards and trim. An area of the home that definitely gets overlooked during regular cleanings are baseboards, trim and any other decorative mouldings. Give them all a vacuum, a dust and a wipe. And while you’re at it, give your doors and windowsills a tidy- up. It’s amazing how cleaning up the smaller details of your home will make everything seem shiny and new. Cupboards and closets. This step is less about scrubbing and more about organizing. If you tend to shove things into every available cabinet – and who doesn’t – now is the time to go through your storage spaces and purge what you no longer need. Then, invest in some boxes, baskets and labels and create a place for everything. Wash your un-washables. Anything that you don’t – or can’t – regularly wash should be aired-out, vacuumed or sent to the dry cleaners. This means curtains, duvets, furniture and throw pillows. You know all of those small attachments that came with your vacuum cleaner? Now is the time to use them. Prepare your outdoor space. Whether you have a tiny balcony or a good-sized patio, it’s time to prep it for all your favourite outdoor activities. This task is perhaps the most rewarding of all your spring cleaning to-do’s because it signals the beginning of good times spent outdoors. Give your outdoor area a sweep and a wash. Bring out your pots and planters and – depending on where in the country you live – plant a few annuals. And of course, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. Because spring is on its way!

HOWTOSPOTWATER ISSUES INA BASEMENT If you’re buying a house with a basement, know that every basement has the possibility of water getting in simply by nature of it being in the ground. Water follows the path of least resistance and can find its way into a basement over time. Watch out for these potential warning signs that a basement has had water problems in the past, has current issues, or is a wet mess waiting to happen. Water stains. Water stains on walls and floors can be caused by circumstances other than outside water getting in. Perhaps a laundry tub overflowed or a pipe leaked, but has since been fixed. Still, it’s important to note them, ask questions, and look for other signs of water damage. Damp smell. Excess moisture has a musty, earthy smell. Again, a damp smell doesn’t necessarily mean water has come in through cracks in the foundation or slab, but pair it with water stains and other signs of dampness and the case for a wet basement strengthens. Mould spots. Just because something looks like mould, doesn’t necessarily mean it is mould. But any spots that look black, brown, yellow or green on walls, floors and ceilings should definitely be noted and further investigated. Mould can be a serious health concern, especially for young children, senior citizens and those with respiratory conditions. Water-removal equipment. If a basement is filled with large fans, pumps, mops and other equipment used to dry up excess water, take it is a sign that the basement indeed has water issues. However, don’t write the home off because of this. Perhaps there were water problems in the past and they’ve been dealt with. The best way to know for sure if it’s a current problem – or will cause problems again in the future – is to hire an independent building inspector.

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