Buying November 25, 2022

7 Signs It’s Time to Upsize

 

 

Have you ever thought about upsizing your home and being unsure when to go for it? 

Upsizing your home can be intimidating, but there are a few telltale signs it’s time to do so.

 

Your Family is Growing

 

Your family is growing quickly, and your current home is overflowing with stuff! That two-bedroom home may work for children who are okay sharing rooms, but they may want their own space once they grow up. Not only do children (and pets) take up space in our homes, the garage and backyard can quickly become full of stuff too. 

 

Even if you aren’t busting out the seams of your house, but you plan for kids or many pets, it could be time to upscale before you run out of room.

 

Being Able to Afford It 

 

One day you will be in a better financial position, and buying a house might be a significant next step. After all, as they say, a home is an investment. Perhaps you finally got a better-paying job or that promotion you have been working towards—if you have weighed the pros and cons, and feel you can afford a new home, now is the time to go for it!

 

Needing More Space

 

Even if your family doesn’t grow with kids or pets, there is still that basic human instinct of accumulating stuff—whether you have started a new hobby or just existing daily, things seem to pile up continually. Upsizing would allow you to spread out more throughout your home and possibly have better storage solutions.

 

More space in your home can also provide more room to get that trampoline you have always wanted or a hot tub—inside, perhaps you want more luxuries, such as furniture or appliances.

 

Bigger and Better Furniture and Appliances

 

Lifestyles changing is one thing, but what about just wanting everyday luxuries, like a larger couch or dishwasher? I would love a dishwasher in my kitchen. A finished basement is also on my list to entertain guests easier in a separate space with a wet bar and projector screen.

 

Making Room for Pets

 

If there is a reason to up-size one’s house, it is to allow for additional pets or provide a great space to take care of them—whether that be room to have their bed and food in or even an indoor pet bath and foyer. 

 

Entertaining Guests

 

One of the reasons I want to have a larger house is to entertain guests easily and have bigger groups come over. The responsibility of gatherings usually falls on a few people in the group—but being able to host from time to time sounds excellent too.

 

Having a bigger home will finally allow you to comfortably invite over all those people you couldn’t have over before in your smaller accommodations.

 

Relocating

 

Relocating to a new area or another town will allow you to get more bang for your buck. We all have relocated at least once, which can open up an excellent opportunity to upsize your home.

 

Some homeowners might want to stay in the same home because of the memories made there, but sometimes running out of space might be a more significant reason to change houses. If you notice these signs, it might be time to upscale your home. Make sure all your finances are in place, and make a list of needs and wants before searching for the perfect house.

 

Your Local Realtor® can help you discover the best-upsized home for you!

 

Lifestyle November 18, 2022

How to Build the Perfect Snowman

Making a snow person was my favourite pastime when I was a kid. I used to create families of snow people, including pets, and a home for them to live in. There is a bit of science behind the snow consistency and the success rate of building the perfect snowman.

 

The Right Snow

Proper snow consistency is key to making a snowman. Look for dense, wet snow that falls or is already on the ground on a warmer day. Stay away from cold days or blizzards like snow falls for snow person building—nobody wants to be out there anyways.

Location, Location, Location

Make sure you find a perfect location for your snowman to show it off. When I was a kid, I used to build my snow person in front of our living room window, so I could gaze upon it and say hello! The best spot to build a snowman for longevity is in a shaded part of your yard and/or in the center area where you roll your snowballs.

Best Structure

Build your snow person like a “pyramid” with a large ball at the bottom. Medium-sized for the tummy and a smaller one for the head! The smaller the snowman, the more structure it will have. As you increase the size, it becomes less stable. Once in a while I would make a 6ft snowman with the help of my dad or grandpa to add the finishing touches.

Rolling it Up

Start by making a larger-than-average snow ball (you know, the kind you throw at someone)…then start rolling it around in the snow and watch it magically become larger. Roll it around until you can’t physically push it anymore or until you are happy with the size. Once the main snowball is ready, pack snow around the base to make it extra secure to the ground. 

Flatten Each Ball

While rolling each ball, make sure you stop from time to time to pack it down and ensure it’s a solid ball. Remember to do this for building the actual snow person—pat down a flat area between each ball to strengthen the structure.

The Perfect Accessories

My mom always had an old box of too-small hats and gloves for us to use for our snow person. That way, if they blew away or someone needed it, we wouldn’t be sad to let them go. We also had a gravel driveway that provided many rocks for the snowman’s eyes, nose, and buttons—and a garden for a carrot for the nose. Deer would often come into the yard and eat the nose! 

If you are going for a certain aesthetic, try matching the snow person to the scheme of your home or outside decor. Try an ugly sweater on it or an old jacket for an extra bit of whimsy. Don’t forget to add branches for the arms!


Building a snow person or a snow family is a lot of fun for the whole family or alone. Plus, being outside is a great way to boost your mood and get active.

Contact your Local REALTOR® today to find the perfect home and yard to build a snow person in.

 

Lifestyle November 11, 2022

Surviving Winter Blues

 

Here in Saskatchewan, winter is a drag, the snow, the ice, and the overall coldness. It is hard to leave your house, and being cozy is the ultimate goal. However, here is a helpful list of fighting off winter blues that can boost your mood and improve your mental health.

 

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

 

Often referred to as seasonal depression, it’s a type of depression related to the change of seasons—mainly in the colder, darker months, like winter. Some symptoms include:

 

  • Depression
  • Low Energy Levels
  • Mood Changes and Social Problems
  • Changes in Sleep Patterns
  • Changes in Appetite or Weight

 

If you already experience depression year-round, these symptoms tend to worsen in winter.

 

What can you do?

 

There are a few key things you can do to help curb seasonal depression and improve your mental health during the long winter months. Even if seasonal depression doesn’t affect you, the suggestions below will boost anyone’s mood.

 

Get a Light Therapy Lamp

 

Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, can be a great way to stave off winter blues. If you are working at a desk or need a few minutes of stress relief, try buying a bright light lamp that imitates natural sunlight. 

 

There is a proper combination of light therapy based on timing, light intensity, and duration. Consult a doctor or the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure you don’t hurt your eyes and have the best results. It is most effective early in the morning for at least 30 minutes—keep a light schedule to have the most impact.

 

Exercise

 

Exercise releases endorphins and is an excellent way to boost energy. Even moving your body 20-30 minutes daily can have tremendous benefits.

 

Taking up a winter hobby might be nice to get outdoors and get a little fresh air. This season I bought a complete winter gear kit to do winter walks and try snowboarding. If you want to try snowboarding, I recommend Optimist Hill, right in Saskatoon! Walking down the Meewasin trail amongst all the birds and trees is a surefire way to enjoy the outdoors. Having a friend to do these activities with is also a great way to get a chat in and boost your mood. 

 

Pick one winter activity that you love or at least can tolerate, and try to do it a few times or more this winter season! If you feel like -20C is too cold, prioritize activities on good weather days. Sometimes it can be hard to take advantage of these if you work full-time, but if they fall on a weekend, there’s no better time to get outside!

 

Prioritize Social Activities

 

Staying inside all winter sounds like the best course of action but remember to prioritize socialization. The roads might be bad sometimes, but plan fun activities with friends and family when it’s safe. Having a close social group and having connections with various people will enrich your life in ways you can’t imagine. My favourite winter activities with friends are going to a cozy cafe, going to the art gallery, walking outside, and skating at a rink near my house.

 

Remember to Get Enough Vitamin D

 

We have already touched on the Light Therapy lamp. Still, real vitamin D is also required to regulate the amount of calcium, Magnesium and phosphate in your body, which is vital for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. The research on vitamin D and your health is limited, but it can’t hurt to try to get more in regularly.

 

Low sunshine throughout the winter months means less vitamin D from the sun, and luckily there are supplemental vitamins. Food can also be a great source of vitamin D, such as juices, milk alternatives, oily fish, red meat and eggs.

 

If you can, taking a vacation to a warm climate can be a nice break from winter blues and an excellent way to gain more vitamin D!

 

Be sure not to let winter halt your life entirely, and try something new this year to keep yourself active and healthy. These tips will hopefully get you out of that slump and encourage you to get out there.

 

Contact your local REALTOR® to find a wonderful home for those shopping endorphins this winter!

 

Lifestyle October 28, 2022

Halloween Treat > Caramel Apples

 

Since Halloween is coming up this Monday, I wanted to share my all-time favourite Halloween treat. My mother and I made them when I was a kid, and we gave them out to trick-or-treaters. Those days are gone, but the nostalgia still lives on.

 

Caramel apples are a super versatile treat. They are crunchy, creamy and delicious. Eat them plain or enjoy them with various toppings, like peanuts, melted chocolate, cookie crumbs, marshmallows or other delectable treats.

 

Before we begin, I want to warn you that making these can get quite messy and be prepared for a complete kitchen clean-up, but trust me, it’s worth the mess.

 

Apples that work best for this recipe are crunchy, firm apples, like granny smith, fuji or even my favourite honey crisp! Choose a small to medium-sized apple that is firm and round, with no soft spots.

 

After your apples are selected, you will need:

 -a candy thermometer

– a heavy-bottomed saucepan

– a wooden spoon

– strong wooden sticks: we will be stabbing these into the apples, and they will act as the handle for the apple

– a pastry brush: to push the sauce down into the pan and remove the excess caramel from the apples 

 

Ingredients:

 

8–9 cold apples

1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) heavy cream

1 cup (240ml) light corn syrup

2 cups (400g) packed light or dark brown sugar

1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Instructions:

 

Prep:

 

  1. Wash the apples thoroughly. Scrub them to remove as much wax coating off as possible to help the caramel stick better. (organic apples with no wax coating might work nicely for this too). 

Remove the apple stem so that the stick can be inserted into the apple easily later.

 

  1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat. Or grease the baking sheet with butter. 

DO NOT use wax paper or parchment paper, as the caramel will stick to it.

 

Make the Caramel dip: 

 

  1. Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. 

Do not turn the temperature up or down– keep it at medium the entire time the caramel cooks. 

Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted. 

Once melted, brush down the sides of the pan with a water-moistened pastry brush and attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure the bulb is not touching the bottom of the pan (as you’ll get an inaccurate reading).

 

  1. Without stirring, let the mixture cook and bubble until it reaches between 235°F – 240°F. 

Reaching this temperature should take about 15 – 20 minutes, though don’t use time as your guide because it depends on your stove. 

Don’t be alarmed if your caramel is taking longer. Just use the candy thermometer as your guide. 

The temperature will heat up slowly, then move quickly, so keep your eye on the pot. 

Once at 235°F – 240°F, remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla. 

Avoid over-stirring, which can create air bubbles in the caramel (and then on the apple). 

Allow caramel to cool for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. 

If caramel is too thin to coat apples, let it cool and thicken for 5-10 minutes longer.

 

Dip the Apples: 

 

  1. Holding the caramel apple stick, dip the apple into the warm caramel, tilting the pot as needed to coat all sides of the apple.

Lift the apple up and swirl it around or gently tap it against the pot’s side to let excess caramel drip off. 

***After dipping the apple in the caramel. If using extra toppings, place toppings on a shallow pile on a plate and roll the apple around in the toppings.

Place coated apples on the prepared pan. 

Repeat with remaining apples. 

Enjoy immediately or allow caramel to set about 45-60 minutes. 

If you want to wrap the caramel apples in cellophane treat bags for travel/gifting, wait until the caramel has been completely set.

 

  1. Once completely cooled for displaying or serving, place the apples on wax paper or another nonstick surface. 

Even when the caramel has been completely set, caramel apples may slightly stick to a serving dish.

To eat a caramel apple, you can bite right into it or sit it upright on a cutting board and cut slices around the stick. (Or pull out the stick and slice.) These are great for sharing!

 

  1. Loosely cover and store the leftover dipped apples in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Bonus Tips:

 

How to clean a sticky saucepan: 

It’s not always easy or fun, but I have a helpful solution! When you’re finished making sticky caramel, simply fill the dirty saucepan with water until the water covers all of the candy residue. Place the saucepan on the stove over low heat. Let the warm water simmer and melt the sugar off the sides of the pan. Pour out the warm water, then let the tools sit until cool enough to handle. Rinse clean.

 

DO NOT double Batch: 

I don’t recommend halving, doubling, or tripling candy recipes, especially this caramel.

Increasing or decreasing the quantity may work for baking, but the extra or decreased volume could prevent the candy from cooking properly. 

Make separate batches instead.

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