Archive for August, 2014

Overnight Guests? 9 Tips to Host Them in Style!

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Overnight Guests?  9 Tips to Host Them in Style! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSummer in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region often means welcoming family and friends from out of town, out of the province or even out of the country for a stay in your home. Whether their stay is for one night or several weeks, you want your guests to feel comfortable in your home, and you want the experience to be as easy and stress-free for yourself as possible. Take some tips from the best hotels.

 

  1. Plan, plan and plan some more! Think about the people who will be staying with you. Any special needs that should be considered, such as dietary or mobility issues, or allergies? Any special equipment needed, such as a crib or baby gate for an infant, toys and activities for the kids?  Organize and clean everything beforehand so you can spend your time enjoying the visit.
  2. Welcome your guests with a great meal and some relaxation. Show your guests where everything is and how to operate basic equipment, such as that toilet with the touchy flush mechanism. Give them a set of spare keys so they can come and go as they please. It’s also a good idea to supply emergency-contact information and general phone numbers, as well as any other essential details about the house and the neighborhood (appliance quirks, security information, remote control codes, special house rules such as no smoking in the house, etc.)
  3. Sleep, and other basic needs! If you have the space, put up your guests  in a private guest room and bathroom. It goes without saying that everything will be spotlessly clean, even if the bedding and towels aren’t new, and make sure the bed and pillows are comfortable. Extra blankets and pillows are welcome. The best guest rooms will also be equipped with a place to sit other than the bed (how about a comfy chair, reading lamp and some current magazines for real pampering?) and a place to store suitcases and their contents. Empty a dresser drawer or two, make room in the closet, supply some empty hangers. If the room you offer your guests usually has another function in your home – not during their residency, please! If the bathroom they’ll be using will be shared, make sure it’s free of clutter and available for your guests’ needs, and well-equipped with essentials such as plenty of toilet paper.
  4. Place a basket of basic travel-size toiletries in your guests’ room: shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, shaving cream, soap, hand lotion, tissues, and the like, along with a little note encouraging them to help themselves. Plenty of towels too!
  5. Use a second basket to hold treat and snack items: bottled water or juice, granola bars, small packages of nuts, fresh fruit, etc.
  6. Other nice touches in the guest room: wall-hung mirror, waste basket, USB plug adaptor/charging station, wifi password, fan in the summer or heater in the winter, alarm clock, hair dryer, pen and paper, fresh flowers.
  7. Meals: Do as much pre-planning and advance preparation as you can so that you’re not stuck in the kitchen chopping, cooking and cleaning instead of visiting with your guests. Take a tip from many hotels these days that offer a help-yourself breakfast buffet. Plan for some meals away from home, whether it’s a picnic in the park or visits to local eateries. Keep things simple.
  8. Plan plenty of activities, or at least have lots of suggestions ready. If your guests will be with you for a while, chances are you won’t be spending every minute with them. If they’re unfamiliar with the area, they would likely appreciate a city tip sheet listing local attractions, restaurants, and shops, along with a map and information on getting around.
  9. Household chores: Do as much in advance as you can, and try to do basic household maintenance, such as bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, etc. when your guests are out. Your guests might even be the type who would happily pitch in.  If they offer to help, take them up on it!

 

Planning ahead will minimize the work and stress of hosting and maximize the enjoyment of the visit, ensuring a memorable and positive experience for you and your guests.

Do you have some great hosting tips to share? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Ready to Hang Up Your Hat? Three Reasons Why the Edmonton Area is Perfect for Retirees

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Ready to Hang Up Your Hat Three Reasons Why the Edmonton Area is Perfect for Retirees | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamCanadian retirees don’t have to head for the United States to find a great place to retire. Hot and sticky Florida or sunbaked Arizona don’t have anything on the magic of Edmonton, Alberta. If you’re searching for a great retirement haven to call home, you should browse through real estate in the quaint areas of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, and the Edmonton region. Edmonton and the surrounding area is a great place to retire. Here’s what you can expect when you enjoy your golden years in beautiful Edmonton.

Why Retire in Edmonton?

Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, and it was first settled during the booming fur trade in the late 1700s. It’s currently a major hub for the technology, mining, and energy industries in Alberta. Its nickname of “Festival City” means there’s always something going on that’s celebrating the heritage, food, film, and music of the region. If you want a city where there’s always something to see or do, then Edmonton is the place. Its lush parks and miles of walking trails are always bustling with bikers, runners, and walkers, making it a great place to stay active. Summer brings hiking, fishing, and lazy afternoons in the backyard, while winter welcomes white Christmases and a thriving skiing industry.

Golf: The Staple of the Retirement Life

Edmonton’s beautiful summers mean there are plenty of golfing opportunities in the warmer months. The Glendale Golf and Country Club opened in 1962 and is home to 18 premier holes. Also known as The Player’s Course, it hosts many national and professional golf tournaments every year. Teaching programs, fine dining, and a full service pro shop are just a few of the amenities that have made this golf course one of Edmonton’s most exclusive country clubs. There are dozens of different golf courses throughout the city, so no matter your skill level, you can find the perfect course to practice your swing.

Recreational Opportunities: Discover Elk Island National Park

Once the summer golf season is over, Edmonton residents flock to Elk Island National Park to soak in the park’s beauty in the fall and winter months. Fall brings the sounds of rutting elk echoing through the golden trees and the gruff calls of the wild bison roaming through the waving grass. Moose, deer, coyotes, and even beavers can be spotted throughout the parkland. No matter how often you visit the park, you’ll always see something different. Endless photo opportunities arise with every visit as visitors meander through the endless trails. When the snow starts falling, you can suit up and explore the wild land on your snowshoes or by cross-country skiing. Elk Island is a great ski getaway as well, and it’s often less crowded than the nearby ski resorts.

Shopping: Everything You’d Possibly Need is At Your Doorstep

Shopping is always in season in Edmonton. The 124 Street shopping area is the city’s premier shopping and dining location. Patrons can browse locally owned art galleries before hitting up ethnic restaurants or even fine dining. West Edmonton Mall is North America’s largest indoor shopping mall, and is home to a water park, a skating rink, a hotel, and an amusement park!

If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat up at the end of the day and need a final place to call home, you need look no further than Edmonton, the Festival City. Whether you enjoy strolling through the malls, skiing in the wilderness or enjoying a fun cultural festival, Edmonton has something to offer you.

Other reasons retiring in Edmonton makes good sense:  excellent health care, affordable real estate, high but affordable standard of living, accessibility to travel opportunities, decent weather most of the year, and many more!

I am always available to help you get acquainted with our lovely city, so please contact me at any time to find your own little piece of Edmonton!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Fostering Animals Does Good, Feels Good!

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Fostering Animals Does Good, Feels Good! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHomeless or abused animals in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton area may end up in the Edmonton Humane Society shelter or the Parkland County Animal Shelter, but only if they are lucky enough to be rescued by somebody. Recently, my wife, daughter and I became involved with another option.

Hart, or the Humane Animal Rescue Team, is an Edmonton-based non-profit organization committed to rescuing stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs from rural areas around Edmonton and finding them permanent homes. Through this organization, my family’s home has become a temporary home for a few of the dogs rescued by this group, and it has been a rewarding experience!

From the hart website:

“…we rely entirely on the generosity, skills, and compassion of a volunteer network to:
• provide foster care, socialization, and basic training to prepare rescued dogs for adoption;
• coordinate the adoption of rescued dogs through a matching process of the dog’s needs to lifestyles and personalities of adopters;
• administer medical assistance to rescued dogs;
• respond to calls for dogs in need by traveling to rural locations to perform rescues;
• provide food to field volunteers for the dogs who cannot yet be rescued;
• prepare and deliver outreach programs and initiatives that promote responsible pet ownership;
• raise funds to support hart activities; and
• build awareness about hart and about the overpopulation problem.

hart does not operate out of a facility; instead, we rely on a network of foster homes, volunteers who open their homes and hearts to a rescued animal until a permanent home is found. Supplies such as leashes, collars, toys, dishes, food, treats, and crates are provided to our foster homes.

“A loving, safe and lifelong home is the goal in hart‘s re-homing efforts. A multi-step adoption process is followed to ensure the best match possible between the needs of the dog and the lifestyle of the potential adopters. Many of hart‘s adoptable dogs have been rescued from harsh situations and are therefore adopted out as companion animals to be loved and protected for the rest of their lives. The time we take in the adoption process and the fact that we visit each potential adoptive home is unique to our organization.

“Despite the initiative, the reward for hart volunteers is always the same: wagging tails and wet noses when lonely, scared or sick dogs are transformed into happy and healthy companions.”

Anyone who loves dogs and is able to devote some time and space in their home to helping a dog become adoptable might want to consider getting involved with hart’s foster program. Fostering can take many forms and is very customizable to personal circumstances. You can designate the age of dog you’re comfortable with (young puppies up to 6 months, young adult dogs aged 6 months to 1 year, or adult dogs), as well as the size and gender of dog. Hart welcomes people who can accommodate dogs in all kinds of special situations: mothers and their newborn pups, high energy dogs, low energy dogs, bonded pairs, or dogs with medical or behavioral issues. Hart also needs temporary homes, vacation homes, and emergency homes. Commitment can range from full time till adoption to various short term stays from under one month, up to 3 months and so on.

As mentioned above, there is no cost commitment since hart supplies everything needed by the dog in your care, and the hart foster team is always available for support.  Fostering is a great way to have a companion animal in your life on a temporary basis, maybe allowing you the chance to decide if you are ready to make a life-long commitment.

Other opportunities for fostering animals:

Many of the organizations that rescue abandoned animals operate through foster homes rather than housing the rescued animals in a central facility. Here are a few of them in our area:

Edmonton Humane Society (dogs, cats, rabbits, birds), 780-491-3513

Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS), (dogs), Edmonton and Athabasca

Northern Alberta Society for Animal Protection (NASAP), Sherwood Park

Why foster? Because everybody needs a home!

I love to hear your questions or comments. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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