Walnut Zucchini Bread

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup avocado oil
2¼ cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour two 4 x 8-inch loaf pans.

Sift flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat well. Stir in zucchini and walnuts until well combined, and pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

Increasing Interest Rates – Can I still buy?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Are you looking for housing this year?  Maybe you are a renter looking to become a homeowner.  Maybe you are graduating and looking for your first housing and are on the fence about renting or buying.  What is it like to be a buyer today?  There are so many hurdles for buyers at the moment but this doesn’t mean you can’t buy. It just increases the reasons to be sure to work with a professional that will be working towards your same goals.  

Home sales prices are increasing and most homes are selling for over the asking price.  Sellers are receiving multiple offers on their homes.  As a buyer, if you are trying to stay within a budget, avoid looking at only homes that are at the top of your budget.   

Interest rates are increasing and causing increased monthly payments.  An increase as little as a half of a percent in interest rate could mean an increase of about $28 per $1,000 on monthly payments. This means more than busting your budget – it could also mean lowering some buyer’s mortgage approval options.  Interest rates are currently the highest they have been since May 2019 but they are still not as high as they were in the 1980’s when the average interest rates were about 18%.  

Purchasing a home is a great way to build your wealth portfolio.  You build equity over the years when you purchase a home.  For example, $2,000 in monthly rent could easily equal almost $50,000 in equity over a two year time period.  To protect that equity, don’t forget to include property maintenance in your budget because you must maintain the home to keep it in good condition to maintain that equity.  Monthly rent prices jumped an average of 14% this past year and some larger city locations saw an increase of about 30%.  Take control of your housing costs and start building your equity instead of your landlord’s.  

But don’t get me wrong, homeownership is a big responsibility and may not be your cup of tea.  You will be responsible for all of the upkeep and repairs. Only you know what best suits your life but if you are looking to become a homeowner, your top priorities right now should be to pay down any debt you currently have and work on improving your credit score so that you are ready when it’s time to finance your future home.  The current home market requires you to increase your mortgage approval options in as many ways as possible.  

We are here to answer your home buying questions and help navigate all the hurdles and obstacles along the way.  Call us today and take advantage of our experience and our team of professionals.  

Let’s recycle for Earth Day 2022

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Did you know that Earth Day and Arbor Day are both celebrated in April?  Earth Day began in 1970 in the United States but has now become a global event.  It’s a great way to bring attention to the ways all of us can protect the environment.  Arbor Day began officially in 1874 in Nebraska but became a legal holiday in the state in 1885 and today is celebrated in all 50 states.  Arbor Day is a day to celebrate the planting of trees which provide us with clean air, cooling shade and overall a healthier community.  

One way to protect our environment is to recycle.  Many communities have a recycling program – do you know about yours? Recycling simply reduces landfills, conserves our natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.  My community has programs for recycling electronics, yard waste and everyday items. 

The Covered Device Recycling Act (CDRA) in 2010 established a recycling program for electronics.  Recycling electronics is important in helping eliminate pollutants to the environment from their toxins.  This includes your computers, keyboards, monitors, televisions, etc.  

Items like your tree trimmings, shrubbery and organic landscaping vegetation are all examples of yard waste that can be recycled.  How is recycling these items helpful? Yard waste recycling is one way to help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.  It is estimated that if everyone recycled their yard waste, we could remove about 35 billion pounds of garbage per year – wow! 

Everyday items to recycle can include your aluminum cans, glass, plastics, cardboard and newspaper but don’t forget about recycling the things that don’t come to mind when you think about recycling like clothes, homewares and furniture. 

I encourage you to check into your community’s recycling programs, many of which are included with your trash collection.  If you aren’t already recycling, let’s get started.  Maybe this year is also the year to plant that tree that you have been dreaming of having.  We all can join together this month to recognize Earth Day and Arbor Day.  Share your pictures celebrating #recycling #reducereuserecycle #recyclingideas #nowaste #happyearthday #arborday #floweringtrees 

Exciting Update!!!!

Today I am sharing my exciting news. We are officially licensed to sell real estate in Delaware.  What does that mean for you?  If you are considering a move or maybe a vacation home or even an investment property, you now can take advantage of our experience and expertise to do so in Delaware.  I recently passed the Delaware Real Estate Exam after taking the Delaware Salesperson Real Estate course.  I could not be more excited to open this new door in my real estate career.  I thought I would share a little about me and my path to this point.  

After a few years in the mortgage industry, I obtained my Pennsylvania real estate license in April of 2000 (wow that seems like a long time ago, it even shows my age a bit – trust me I still feel like I am 20 some days).  I obtained my real estate license while working on a top-producing real estate team in York, PA.  I took this time to learn as much as I could from those on the team.  This is where I even met my now husband, aspiring at the time to become just like him.  I left the team to return to the mortgage business and worked as a mortgage processor for many years to follow. As a mortgage processor, I work on obtaining mortgage approvals for buyers so that they can finance their home purchase.  This requires a great deal of detail, communication and time management to ensure that I meet important deadlines and smoothly secure the loan approval for the buyers.  

As a realtor, I  use a lot of those same skills to work with the buyers to find a home.  Also, having a background in the mortgage industry enables me to help buyers through the home-buying process even more.  Communication and details are key every step of the way.  I’ve now worked with my husband as a team for the past ten years and have enjoyed every moment. I have so many favorite things about my career in real estate and still get excited for each buyer and seller.  

In my free time, I enjoy going to the beach and kayaking and I do both in Delaware.  I’ve vacationed in Delaware for over 20 years with my children.  Continuing my education and adding a Delaware state license just seemed like the most appropriate next phase for my career.  I look forward to continuing to learn the area and serve the people in Delaware.  

Let’s Talk About Tenancy

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels.com

It’s important to understand tenancy and this confuses many people, even real estate agents.  The Merriam-Webster definition is : a holding of an estate or a mode of holding an estate.   How you choose to take ownership when you purchase a property is important.  This will determine what happens to your interest in this property upon sale or death. Here is  a short, easy-to-understand description of the three types of tenancy:  

Tenants in Common – Two or more people own a property.  The equity interest owned does not have to be equal shares. For example, three owners’ equity can be divided into 10%, 20% and 70%.  Their share is inheritable upon death.  

Joint Tenants – Two or more people own a property.  The owners will have equal equity interest in the property.  The equity interest does not pass onto their heirs, but instead will pass onto the surviving person(s).  If one individual is sued a judgment can be entered against the property.

Tenants by the Entirety – Reserved only for spouses.  A married couple can take the title this way.  Equity interest will pass onto the surviving spouse upon death.  In the event that a creditor is defaulted by one spouse, the creditor can not take action to place a lien against the jointly-owned property.  

When you are buying a house with someone else, you will be able to pick which type of tenancy works best for you prior to closing.   

Hope that this helps and if you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you. 

In The Kitchen: Quick Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup

Let’s get cooking.  I don’t know about any of you but when the weather is chilly, I like to have some warm soup.  This is a great simple creamy tomato soup recipe that you can whip up pretty quickly.  Once you have had this, you will never go back to canned tomato soup.  

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil (or ½ -1 tsp dried) 
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 2 ½ cups milk (you can substitute ½ with heavy cream) 
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes 
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste 

Instructions

  • In a large pot (I like to use my cast iron dutch oven), melt butter.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add four and whisk to combine. 
  • Add basil, sugar and salt.  Cook and stir for 1 minute.
  • Add milk and whisk until combined.  Cook and whisk on medium heat until thickened, stirring often. 
  • Add tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until combined. 
  • You can puree with an immersion blender (but I like mine nice and chunky) and serve. 

You can top with parmesan cheese or any other favorite topping of your choice.  It’s also great served with a french baguette.  I typically do not have any leftovers when I serve this everyone wants seconds.   

I hope that some of you try this recipe and let me know what you think.  I’d love to see pictures too. 

DIY Inspiration: Dining Room Chair

I am back with another DIY.  This time I am inside again.  

 I decided I wanted to redo our dining room chairs. These chairs have padding that was way overdue for a “redo” and I knew that myself and any guest would greatly appreciate this project.     

Unlike most of my projects, this one wasn’t from Pinterest. I started this project at my local JOANN Fabrics.  Shout out to the girls at the Queen Street, York, PA store because they were amazing.  They helped me calculate the amount of padding and fabric I would need for this project and showed me the different padding options I had.  I think they went over and beyond this busy day in their store and can’t thank them enough.  

Supplies Used: 

  • Flat head screwdriver 
  • Electric drill 
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Heavy duty staple gun 
  • Staples 
  • Pliers 
  • Fabric scissors
  • Serrated kitchen knife (or electric carving knife)
  • Fabric 
  • Foam padding 

First Step: Remove the chair seat from the chair.  My chair seat came apart fairly easily.  I flipped the chair over to find the screws that attached the seat to the base of the chair.  I used an electric drill and screwdriver to remove all the screws.  

Second Step: Take apart the seat of the chair. I used a flat head screwdriver and a pair of pliers to remove the staples that held the fabric onto the seat.  Once the staples were all removed from both the main fabric and the felt cover on the bottom, I was able to access the very worn padding.  I can say this project was way overdue, you know that the padding is old when it crumbles as you handle it.  

Third Step: Cut your fabric and padding.  I used the wooden frame of the seat as a template to cut my foam padding.  I laid the foam on a workspace table and cut it into smaller, easier-to-handle squares using a serrated kitchen knife (you can also use an electric carving knife).   I then traced the wooden frame onto the smaller squares of foam and used a serrated kitchen knife to cut out my shape.  Then, I moved on to thefabric.  The store provided the fabric on a roll which made it much easier to work with.  I unrolled sections of fabric on my workspace table and cut the fabric into easier-to-handle sizes. I used the old fabric I removed from a chair as a template but  I knew that I would need to cut the new fabric in a larger size since my padding was four times thicker than the original. 

Fourth Step: Attach the fabric and padding to the chair seat.  On my table, I laid the fabric for one chair then laid the padding in the center of my fabric and then the wooden chair seat frame on top of my padding.  Once I had all pieces layered, I roughly pulled the fabric around the padding and onto the wood frame to ensure that I had it all placed properly.  Once I pulled my fabric as tightly as I could, I stapled the fabric to the wood frame on each side,  using a basic heavy duty staple gun, which can be purchased at any hardware store typically for $20.  Once all the fabric was stapled onto the wood frame securing the foam padding, I reattached the felt fabric that covered the wood frame on the bottom of the seat using the staple gun as well. The felt covers all of the rough edges of your fabric and gives it a very nice finished look.   

Final Step: Attach seat to chair frame.  Turning the chair frame upside down again, I placed the newly finished seat on the chair and reattached it using the screws I removed previously when disassembling the chair in the beginning, using the electric drill and the screwdriver to tighten the seat securely onto the chair frame.   

If you had a good experience with a recent DIY, I’d love to hear from our followers.  I’m looking for my next project, any suggestions?

Local Business Insight – Wayward Waffle

Did you know that there is a holiday that is best celebrated eating a waffle?  International Waffle Day, Friday, March 25th.  So I think that March is a fantastic time to feature another local business – a great little local waffle food stand located inside the MorningStar Marketplace in Thomasville, PA.  This marketplace operates on Saturday and Sundays 8am – 4pm.  This is when you can find Devon Carney-Engle, the Waffle Goddess hard at work serving her many customers at the Wayward Waffle food stand. 

I recently stopped by the Wayward Waffle on my way back from a real estate appointment. It was a moment in my day to just slow down and enjoy some tasty goodness.  While I sat at the small stand waiting for my order, I had the opportunity to watch Devon prepare orders and to speak to her about her business.  She has such a loving soul.  She greeted everyone with a smile and pleasant conversation, whether she was describing the different items on the menu or just checking in with the regulars that were dropping by.  I asked her a few questions about her business while she popped around the kitchen area steadily making all the orders.  What started out as her husband’s craving for a waffle one morning has turned into a passion for her. With that one waffle iron her husband ran out to purchase that morning, she has created works of art.  She said it was like a switch that just turned on and now waffles and toppings just click with her.  

Her menu consists of both savory and sweet creations and all of them are very reasonably priced.  I decided on a classic, the original waffle with some strawberry ice cream.  The warm soft waffle with the creamy cold goodness of the ice cream just collided for an explosion of flavor in my mouth.  However, I know that I will need to revisit soon so that I can try one of her best sellers, the Life Changing Banana Pudding waffle.  I was told that the banana pudding is the best banana pudding recipe there is and takes three days for Devon to make.  She uses only the finest ingredients in her creations to ensure the greatest taste experience is had.  Devon spends days creating new recipes and preparing for the weekends.  

At the stand, Devon has five waffle irons set up in her kitchen and says that most mornings she has all five running at the same time to keep up with the orders.  I was lucky enough to drop in right after the busy wave and was able to really enjoy my time there.  Around the stand, you will see her collection of waffle trinkets that she has been given by her loyal customers and all the adorable artwork that her younger customers have created for her.  It all gives you a very cozy, loved atmosphere.  She has been making waffles for the public for a total of eight years now, five of which have been at this marketplace.  You can just tell how much she loves what she does.  

I encourage you to make a point this month to drop in and enjoy a waffle experience like I did.  You can find her on Facebook at the Wayward Waffle where you can see a preview of her menu with all of the pictures that will guarantee to make you hungry.  I am hungry for another waffle just typing this.  Yum! 

Client Relationships

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

I’d like to say that my husband and I are very passionate about real estate.  We love meeting the people, seeing the homes and making people’s dream of homeownership a reality. 

We have trained for this job learning the real estate market, staying up to date on the ever-changing legal documents needed for a real estate transaction and staying current with what is happening in the communities.  We have developed many personal contacts over the years that also help us with our job— for instance, insurance agents, mortgage lenders, etc.  All of this is invaluable to a client that is looking to buy or sell a home.  With current day technology, most clients are able to learn a lot about homes in their area but a computer can’t provide the personal touch that a real estate agent can.  

We like to make meaningful connections with each of our clients that a lot of times turns into a friendship that lasts a lifetime. Your real estate agent should be someone you can reach out to years later as your life changes.  

What do we think a client is looking for in an agent? 

People Skills 

Homebuyers should feel comfortable and confident with the real estate agent that is helping them with such an important step in their lives—Someone who is kind and can also negotiate on their behalf.

Local Knowledge 

Homebuyers should consider whether their agent has the local knowledge for the area they want to buy or sell.  It is important that a real estate agent be informed about the areas that they service and know what the current market is so they can inform and support their client

A Partner 

Homebuyers need someone that not only can find them the perfect home but can lead them through the entire process, from finding the home, to getting the mortgage to finance that home, to getting them the keys on their closing day.  Being there to answer all of the questions that will come up along the way. Whether you are buying or selling, there are so many steps from start to finish so you want someone that is going to be with you the entire way.  

Have you bought or sold a house in the past? ould you agree that these things are important?  Maybe you are thinking about buying or selling and would like to talk to us directly about your concerns or worries.  We encourage people to reach out to us. 

Library Lovers

Do you enjoy a good book?  It is amazing how you can whisk yourself away in a book.  Here in York, Pennsylvania, there are a number of great local libraries available to peruse.  I thought I would provide a little history on the Martin Memorial Library located at 159 E. Market Street in downtown York.  

Martin Memorial Library was named after Milton D. Martin, a well established business owner in York County.  At age 22, Milton went into the carriage making business.  After only 4 short years, the company grew so much that he had to open a bigger factory.  Milton D. Martin passed away and left his estate in a trust to his wife in 1912.  After his wife passed away in 1915, their estate provided a $185,000 endowment for the building of a public library.  The lot on the southwest corner of East Market Street was purchased in 1920, construction began in 1934 and the library—designed by architect Frederick G. Dempwolf—opened in 1935.  

This library has become a city landmark.  It currently has three levels of space and the largest collection of books in York County.  They offer programs for all ages, events and access to over 70 computers.  They were closed in December 2021 for a $6 million investment renovation.  I can’t wait to check out the renovations in person once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and the library is fully opened.  

Martin Memorial Library is now part of the York County Library System that was established in 1974.  The York County Libraries is made up of 13 full service libraries with locations all over York County.  They have over 600,000 print and digital items for the community to borrow and use.  The York County Libraries is a non profit with ample opportunities for volunteers and donations.  You can easily obtain a library card directly online and a hard copy is mailed to your home.  With your card, you can access many online features right away.  Your local library is a great place to meet people.  Currently, there are many virtual programs available for all ages. When you move to a new area, make sure to seek out the local library.  

What is your genre of choice… fiction, novel, non-fiction, mystery, romance? There are just so many to choose from. 

@MartinLibrary.YorkPA