How to Host a Stress-Free Holiday Party + The Best Restaurants in San Antonio Open for Christmas Day

December 14th, 2018

Hosting a holiday party doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, if you follow these tips it can be a fun and enjoyable experience for all!

holiday party

Tip #1: Make the menu easy, yet impressive
It is only natural to want to make something complex and impressive. However, impressive doesn’t have to mean complicated. Consider an easy menu you can make the day of the party! Maple-glazed ham is impressive, easy and quite tasty!

Tip #2: Step away from the cocktail bar
Don’t be the bartender for the night. Instead, make a couple of holiday cocktails ahead of time, let them chill in the fridge and then put them out for guests to enjoy. Here are some holiday cocktail ideas everyone will enjoy:

Winter Sangria

Vodka Cranberry Cooler

Spiked Sparkling Cider

Or, you can stick to the basics by stocking the bar with wine, red and white, champagne and beer.

Tip #3: Set the stage with a warm atmosphere
Set the mood by dimming the lights, lighting the fire, incorporating candle votives at the dinner table and playing some seasonal holiday favorites.

Tip #4: Do some work, behind-the-scenes
A little behind-the-scenes work is key to a successful party. With that in mind, soak dirty dishes (to make clean-up easier), crack a window to circulate fresh, crisp air and keep prepared food warm in the oven at 200-degrees.

Tip #5: Rearrange your living room for entertaining
After dinner, move to the living room for some fun and games. Make sure your living room is arranged in a way to allow for easy entertaining by adding more chairs and pointing them all toward the center of the space.

Tip #6: Wind it down
While you don’t want it to, the fun will eventually stop. Lower the music, blow out a few candles and start cleaning-up to signal the party is over.

Not up for hosting a big holiday party? Let someone else do the work! Head out to one of these Austin-area restaurants open on Christmas Eve and Christmas:

  • Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
    • Enjoy the steakhouses everyday menu full of delicious grilled steak, pork, chicken and more, plus a selection of seasonal salads, soups and fresh vegetables.
    • Cost: $52.95 for adults, half-price for children 7 to 12 and complimentary for children 6 and under.
    • Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Oro at Emily Morgan
    • A holiday brunch with a Texas twist featuring dishes like Gul oysters with chipotle remoulade, herb-roasted prime rib, guajillo-maple glazed salmon and more! Oh, and don’t forget to save room for a wide range of delicious desserts.
    • Cost: $64.95 for adults, $24.95 for kids 12 and under and FREE for children under five.
    • Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Palm Restaurant
    • Head to this classic steakhouse and enjoy its regular a la carte menu – and a special treat, a prime rib served with au jus and horseradish cream!
    • Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Supper
    • You simply can’t miss Hotel Emma during Christmas! While there, dine at Supper and enjoy some hearty shareable starters, wintery dishes and more!
    • Hours: Lunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and dinner (5 to 8 p.m.)

Whether you decide to host your own holiday party or forgo the work and head out to one of these San Antonio restaurants, we wish you a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

Do you have any questions about San Antonio? Give us a call! We are never too busy to help you navigate the local real estate market!

Christmas Tree Farms in San Antonio, TX

November 27th, 2018

Do you love that fresh pine smell of a live Christmas tree? We couldn’t agree more – there is no better smell during the holidays. And, while you can get that smell with a candle, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without heading out to a farm with your family to pick out your annual Christmas tree! With that in mind, here is a look at some of the best Christmas tree farms around San Antonio:

Seiler Tree Farm
4100 Jakes Colony Road, Seguin, TX
Hours: Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m

Devine Acres Farm
944 FM 2200, Devine, TX
Open November 23rd through December 16th, Thursdays through Sundays only from 12 to 6 p.m. Closed Monday through Wednesday.

Pipe Creek Tree Farm & Pumpkin Patch
805 Phils Road, Pipe Creek, TX
Hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Papa Noel Christmas Trees
Cornerstone: 121 N Loop 1604 W & Alamo Heights: 6333 Broadway
Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Holiday Hills Christmas Trees
Various locations around San Antonio
Hours: Sunday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Christmas Tree Lot at The Home Depot
Various locations around San Antonio
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Skateland Pumpkin Patch & Christmas Tree Lot
2351 Goliad Road, San Antonio
Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

SA Holiday Traditions
3700 Broadway Street, San Antonio
Hours: Open daily from 8:45 a.m. to 9 p.m.

We wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season!

Do you have any questions about San Antonio and its surrounding areas? Contact our team today! We are always available to help those in our community.

Holiday Season Turkey Trots and Fun Runs in and Around San Antonio

October 26th, 2018

The holiday season can be hard on your waistline! Are you searching for ways to keep the weight off while still enjoying everything the holidays have to offer? Head out to a turkey trot in and around San Antonio:

turkey trot

2018 Turkey Trot
Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.
Boerne City Plaza, Boerne
Join the Boerne YMCA for their 7th annual 5K/10K, Fun Trail Walk and Youth Mini Race that starts on the west by the Main Plaza and follows the Old #9 trail. Register early – the first 600 participants are guaranteed a long-sleeve t-shirt!

San Antonio Food Bank Turkey Trot 5K Presented by H-E-B
Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 6:30 a.m.
Commander’s House – 622 S. Flores, San Antonio
Hit the streets on Thanksgiving for the annual Turkey Trot through the King William District of San Antonio. Proceeds from the event benefit the San Antonio Food Bank.

Texas Tough Turkey Chase 5K/10K and Kids Run
Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 8 a.m.
20 Dominion Drive, San Antonio
Come out for a morning of competitive fun and stick around for an afternoon of some cold adult refreshments, light snacks and mingling with good friends and neighbors.

2018 Comal Cops for Kids Gruene Turkey Trot
Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.
Gruene Hall – 1281 Gruene Road, New Braunfels
Starting at the historic Gruene Hall, the Comal Cops for Kids Turkey Trot support the law enforcement efforts to benefit the children in the Comal County community – Green Santa and Blue Santa.

8th Annual “Original” Santa Antonio 5K Walk/Run Runnin’ & Walkin’ for a Cancer Cure
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Kid’s Dash at 8:30 a.m. and 5K & 1 Miler at 9 a.m.
Sunset Station – 1174 E. Commerce Street, San Antonio
All proceeds benefit cancer research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
All registered participants receive a complete Santa Suit – pants, jacket, belt, hat and beard! Stick around after the race to enjoy live music, food, beverages and more!

We wish you a fun and active holiday season!

Who do you know thinking about buying or selling around San Antonio? Send them our way. We are always available to lend a helping hand.

Termite Prevention Tip

October 5th, 2018

 

Termite Prevention Tips – How to keep those pesky, destructive critters away from your house.

According to the National Pest Management Association International termites cost $5 billion a year in treatments and damage throughout the United States. While detecting and controlling termites is a job for a professional, there are several simple tips homeowners can follow to help protect their homes from termite damage.

Since termites are attracted to moisture, avoid moisture accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.

If your home is on a crawl space make sure your crawl is properly ventilated. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents.
The general consensus among researchers seems to be that mulch creates a favorable termite habitat, and, while most commonly used mulches are low quality termite food sources, termites do consume them to some extent. Although there is no evidence that mulches “attract” termites, they do create favorable conditions for termites near the home.

The most important practice for detecting a termite infestation in one’s home is to leave at least a foot of concrete foundation exposed so that mud termite tunnels can be easily seen during inspection. Keep mulch several inches away from the house foundation. Never allow mulch to cover window sills or to contact house siding. Watch wood chip mulch for signs of activity if termites are present in your area. If you suspect termite activity contact several professional termite control services for inspections and estimates.

Heater Maintenance for the Fall

October 3rd, 2018

Heater Maintenance for the Fall – I know – we don’t really use our heaters very much in San Antonio so why should I care? Well – on the days when the temperature dips below 32 then you’ll be glad your heater is working.

So – It’s just about time to store those portable fans and pull out your cozy blankets! It’s still a little warm and humid. It seems like this time last year, we had some cool days already??

With summer coming to an end, cold weather is knocking at the door. Make sure your family has a warm, safe place to come in from the cold by preparing your heater for the winter.

First – Clean or replace air filters – Depending on the type of filter you use, you should replace the filter every 1 to 3 months. The filters capture dirt and other airborne particles during the intake of air and if they’re not maintained, they can clog, taking longer to heat your home and potentially raising your energy bill. Worst case – dirty filters can damage your heating and air conditioning system.

Get your ducts in a row – Ductwork with holes or other damages can cause the furnace to work harder than usual. Replace all damaged and collapsed ductwork and make sure all the vents are clean with no obstructions that could prevent airflow. You can call a professional for assistance with this. Let us know if you need a referral.

Test your thermostat – Make sure your thermostat starts up properly at the temperature you have set for it. The optimum comfortable room temperature ranges from 68° to 76° F (20° to 24° C).

By the way – City Public Service has programs to replace your thermostat with a more energy efficient thermostat. They installed the Nest thermostat at our house and it didn’t cost a dime. Now, we can change the temperature in the house from anywhere in the world!

Contact us if you have any questions.

Moving Checklist

September 24th, 2018

Moving, while stressful and time consuming, is exciting. It’s the start of a new chapter in your life. But, before you can enjoy it, you have to take care of a few things: packing, updating your address, etc. With that in mind, here is a moving checklist to help you stay organized during your upcoming move:

 moving checklist

Change of Address

  • Post Office
  • Driver’s License – Vehicle Registration
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Social Security
  • Voter Registration
  • Banks
  • Checks
  • Loans
  • Investments
  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Automated payments
  • Place of employment
  • Insurance
  • Doctors
  • Schools
  • Subscriptions
  • Associations
  • Friends and family

Services to Cancel or Transfer

  • Cable
  • Internet
  • Phone
  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Trash
  • Landscaping
  • House cleaning
  • Pest control

Organize

  • Explain the move to the kids
  • Pack all your personal and financial documents in one box to keep with you (checkbook, passports, birth certificates, insurance documents, tax documents, etc.)
  • If you’re moving school districts, notify both the old and new school and arrange for transfer
  • Save all moving receipts – they may be eligible for tax reduction
  • Pack a box of stuff you will need the first day and bring it with you in the car

Packing and Storage Tips

  • Purge unused items – consider a garage sale or donate to Goodwill/Salvation Army
  • Pack items you use less frequently first
  • Reserve rental truck and movers at least a couple of weeks ahead of time

Moving Day Tips

  • Arrange help for kids and pets for the day
  • Tip the movers
  • Have cleaning supplies ready to do a final cleaning
  • Do a final walk through to make sure you don’t leave anything behind
  • Raise or lower the thermostat (depending on the weather)
  • Turn off water heater
  • Lower shades
  • Lock all the doors and windows

Click here for a printable moving checklist PDF to help you stay organized.

Do you have any questions about the San Antonio area? Possibly the new neighborhood you are moving to? Contact our team today. We are always available to help you learn more about the Alamo City!

Quick Washing Machine Tip

September 14th, 2018

Here’s a quick washing machine tip to keep your machine running smoothly. 

I didn’t even know washing machines have a drain pump filter!!

You load your clothes, drop in some soap, and press the power button. Easy! Except when a cycle takes forever or your clothes come out dripping, or even worse, the washing machine makes scary noises. Don’t worry — It’s likely just a clogged washer drain pump filter. Clean this filter every two months for more efficient washing.

What’s in it for you? Faster rinse cycles, higher unit efficiency, increased washer life.

Clean Your Washer Drain Pump for More Efficient Washing

Open your washer’s filter access door. You’re looking for a small, rectangular door on the bottom right-hand corner of your machine. Once you’ve found it, get it open. Some doors have a push and release mechanism and just need a firm tap to open. For all other access doors types, use a flathead screwdriver to wedge it open.

Unhook the emergency drain hose. You should see two things behind the filter access door: a round dial and a rubber hose. Unhook the hose from the clip holding it in place.

Empty the hose. Grab a bowl and spread a towel on the floor to soak up any stray drops of water. Hold the drain hose over the bowl and remove the cap. Water will fill the bowl. If it gets too full, just replace the cap, empty the bowl and repeat until the water stops flowing.

Remove the drain pump filter. It’s the round dial that was next to your drain hose. Rotate it counterclockwise until you can remove the filter from your washer. Easy!

Clean the drain pump filter. Grab a towel or washcloth and head over to your sink. Rinse away any accumulated debris or gunk and wipe your filter with the towel. Who knows — You might even find some coins you lost years ago. Don’t forget to wipe down the washer’s drain pump compartment as well.

Replace the drain pump. Now that your filter is clean and you’ve found all your missing change, put the drain pump filter back and turn it clockwise to lock it into place. Replace the cap on the emergency drain hose and secure the hose back inside the washer. Close the access door and you’re ready to do a fresh load of laundry in record time.

Pro Tip: Don’t do laundry without checking your pockets. Change and other loose objects that find their way into the drain pump will decrease the lifespan of your machine.

Check your Roof – Get Those Branches off the Roof!

August 24th, 2018

Take a look at your roof! Are your tree limbs / branches less than 18 inches from your roof. If so, get them trimmed.

We had a client this week that had an unpleasant surprise. Her home is impeccably maintained. Except for the roof. She hardly ever looked at her roof – most of us don’t. We just don’t think about it. Well – those darn limbs over the past couple of years have been rubbing back and forth against her roof. The consistent, unnoticeable rubbing caused enough damage requiring the roof to be replaced. It was a 25 year roof and just 9 years old – it should have had 16 more years of life.

 

The next time you go outside – take a walk around you house – make sure the vegetation and trees are at least 18 inches from the roof. If not, call the arborist and get them trimmed back.

If you see the branches touching your roof, cut them back and then have a roofer take a look to see if there is damage and if it can be repaired.  This is a much better solution and less costly than a full roof replacement.

If you need a referral to an arborist or a roofer, let us know – we’d be happy to put you in touch with a licensed arborist, highly-regarded roofer today.  In fact, we have a list of preferred contractors for anything you might need related to your house.

New Restaurants in San Antonio: Spring & Summer 2018

August 23rd, 2018

San Antonio’s growth has led to the addition of several new restaurants this year. What new spots can you find around town? Here’s a look at the new restaurants in San Antonio:

new restaurants

Churroholic
4138 S. New Braunfels Ave.
San Antonio’s southeast side just got a little bit sweeter with the opening or Churroholic, a California-based chain serving churros with a twist, as well as churros in sundaes and ice cream sandwiches.

Tiny Cantina
The Shops at La Cantera
Sip and shop has become a reality with Raul Carrera’s latest concept, Tiny Cantina. Set up as kiosks, Tiny Cantina allows customers to sip on wine, beer and non-alcoholic cocktails while shopping.

Frida’s Corner
1407 Bandera Road
Paula Flores loves Mexican snacks and her husband, Alfredo Cruz, is all about fitness. This combination led to Frida’s corner, a shop that offers both! Their menu provides street snacks like corn in a cup, Tostilocos and chicharrones, as well as healthier options like fruit cups, mangonadas, acai bowls, smoothies and more!

Dab
105 Warren Street in Five Points
Dab is San Antonio’s first hemp and CBD café. The restaurant offers a variety of coffee drinks, pastries like doughnuts and “hempanadas,” and juices with wild names like Watermelon Kush and Pineapple Express.

True Texas Tacos
Northeast side H-E-B store on Bulverde Road and Loop 1604
H-E-B recently debuted its first-ever taco shop. True Texas Tacos features freshly made flour and corn tortillas with more than a dozen breakfast and specialty tacos on the menu! Tacos are served from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Steel City Pops
The Rim – 17619 La Cantera Pkwy.
Working with local vendors and farmers to source many of its ingredients, Steel City Pops offers gourmet, paletas-style popsicles in a variety of flavors: chocolate, peach cream, horchata, cucumber lime, cantaloupe and more. Once you have selected a flavor, you can either choose to have it dipped, drizzled or dredged in a variety of add-on toppings.

Pluckers
14881 IH 35
An Austin favorite for years, Pluckers has finally made its way to San Antonio. The chain restaurant dishes up a menu with 20 different win sauces, fried pickles, Holy Macaroni (fried macaroni ‘n’ cheese) and a Bypass Burger. A second San Antonio is scheduled to open in spring 2019 in the Landmark Development at Texas Highway 1604 and Interstate 10.

The Patio Southtown
1035 S. Presa Street
Featuring comfort food with a Southwestern twist, The Patio Southtown offers a menu that includes half racks of ribs, a towering burger with a grilled hot dog, a chicken-fried steak topped with queso and more.

Berry to Bean Coffee House
3900 Broadway Street
Joining a corridor full of coffee options, Berry to Bean Coffee House has plans to differentiate itself by focusing on health. Their menu offers the typical espresso drinks and artisan pastries, plus some freshly prepared smoothies, cold-pressed juices, sugar-free pastries and several plant-based options like muffins and doughnuts.

Kobe Teppan & Sushi
7824 Pat Booker Road
A Japanese steakhouse, Kobe Teppan & Sushi is stacked with a menu of grilled items, sushi, sashimi and for those that like their fill, an “endless” option that allows a customer to gorge on all of the above.

Get Fried
North Star Mall at 7400 San Pedro Ave.
Got a hankering for French fries? You’re in luck! Get Fried offers six versions of French fries – hand-cut, seasoned waffle, coated straight cut, curly, sweet potato and funnel – with your choice of sauce and toppings. Sauces range from ketchup and malt vinegar to basil pesto mayo, roasted red pepper, honey and maple syrup.

Please note: this list is not comprehensive.

Do you have any questions about San Antonio? Are you looking for additional new restaurants? We are here to help. Contact us anytime!

14 Back-to-School Tips for a Smooth Transition

July 24th, 2018

Three months of summer vacation seems like a long time. But, before you know it, summer is over and it’s time to get back to a regular schedule. To avoid a rough transition, it may be in your best interest to prepare your children for their usual school routine by doing a couple of things ahead of time. Follow these back-to-school tips to get everyone, parents and children alike, ready for the new school year:

back-to-school tips

  1. Put your kids on their new wake/sleep schedule a week before school starts.
  2. Block out the week before school starts as a “low key week” – a no vacation week.
  3. Stock your pantry with items your children will want in their lunch.
  4. Buy snacks in bulk and portion them out yourself.
  5. Make and freeze sandwiches ahead of time.
  6. Download a math app like Photomath to check your child’s math homework – we all get a little rusty!
  7. Keep a last-minute homework survival kit in your car.
  8. Prevent distractions by setting a designated study area/homework station within your home.
  9. Fill a supply bin with everything your kids need to do their homework and place it in the study area/homework station. An old toolbox works great!
  10. Buy a large wall calendar to keep track of the academic calendar (holidays) and activities. To make it easier to read, color code activities for each family member.
  11. Use a sheet protector to create a dry-erase task board and insert your kid’s to-do list for the week. Use a dry-erase marker on the sheet protector so your kids can check off items once they are complete. Use this free template.
  12. Add hooks to your laundry room to be used as a drop-off spot for backpacks, books, shoes, jackets, etc.
  13. Set family and individual goals for the year.
  14. Sit down and take an inventory of the school supplies you currently have and then make a list of what you need. Take this list and go school supply shopping ahead of time. Tax-free weekend is a great time to do this – August 10-12.

These back-to-school tips will have you, your kids and your house ready for the new year in no time. Plus, they will help with organization and productivity throughout the school year.

Have questions about the San Antonio area? Give us a call. We would be honored to share our expertise of the Alamo City with you!