We are in the final weeks of the school year. Don’t panic! There is still time! Just because the kids are out of school doesn’t mean parents don’t have to get things done. As we all know, summer camps are a great way to get the kids out, meet new people, and reduce the amount of screen time. They also give parents a minute to do, well… all of the things we need to do on our mounting lists. Right now — if you’re like me you’re just trying to get through the last few weeks of crazy with all of the end of year activities. So summer camp may be just an after thought….until NOW… there is still plenty of time to find a great camp in your community!!
Where do I look?
The Puget Sound area offers a variety of great camps for all ages, check out 6crickets to see what camps are in your community.
How cool would an indoor ski camp in Bellevue be? What a great way to get the kids ready for the slopes this winter! Sign the kiddos up for Nature Camp Sessions and allow them to deepen their understanding of the environment and its inhabitants through games, exploration, hands-on activities, stories and art. This program is offered at Madrona Park, The Valley School, Hamlin Park, Cascade K-8 Community School, Soundview School, or Brookside Elementary School.
Parentmap is another great resource for camps in your area. You can search by key word, location, day camps, classes, or overnight camps and by category. With so many great options this makes it really simple to find the perfect fit for your kiddos.
Kiddie Pool Fun!
If summer camps are not working out or maybe not in the budget, I found some really fun things to do with your kiddie pools… and some of them do not require water! I am not sure what I want to try first… walking the plank or maybe the rainbow soap foam? I would love to know what you decide to try! Check out these fun things to do with kiddie pools.
Just a head ups, next Sunday, June 16 is Father’s Day. And we have your back! We are dedicated to helping with a few places to go and things to do for the Dad or Dad’s in your life!
Washington Brewers Fest June 14-16 – Marymoor Park in Redmond offers 500 beers from Washington breweries, wine, cider, food trucks, live music, and a kids’ area. Check out this fun event!
Fenders on Front Street is a great car show in Downtown Issaquah where you can see hundreds of classic cars as you stroll down Front Street. Don’t miss the “cruise” that starts at 3pm. For more great ideas in your community click here.
NO more tie’s — I don’t really think that’s a thing anymore but we have found some personalized, inexpensive and heart tugging gift ideas too.
Let’s get those little hands dirty! So many fun projects to do with your hands!
How cute is this? If you can’t get your hands on the fancy letters grab the markers and crayons and have the kids draw their own! Get the full tutorial from Make It & Love It. If you have pets have them help with this too, maybe dangle a letter from their collar? Let us know if you try it and how it worked, we would love to see how creative you get!
Let’s face it! You’re busy…heck we’re all busy. And in the case of shopping — technology is your friend. I’ve been wishing this new shopping and pick up thing was available for years. Mostly when my kids were little — who wants to take three kids into a store and roam the isles! EEK! But I guess better late than never. Many of us have tried online grocery shopping but it seems there is a new alternative to this. I can still shop at my local grocery store then pick it up — it’s all ready and waiting for you in a designated spot in the store. Even better — having fresh produce delivered to your front door? There are so many great options for this (see below). It may take a few times to get your online ordering skills on point but let me tell you, it’s so worth it! Your orders will be saved and the next time you shop you can just click click click on the items you need and love and you’re done. Another bonus — coupons are more accessible and it’s easier to take advantage of additional savings while shopping this way. With so many local grocers offering this service, whether it is delivery or pick-up, this will save you time and these days, time is money so it is a win win!
Located in North Bend this is a great option for your produce. Farming organically since 1996 they make it simple to live the good food life and bring the season’s best mix of organic produce and specialty farm products conveniently to your home or office. Each delivery comes with farm news and some fun fresh recipes.
Smith Brothers Farms is a local family-owned and operated dairy that has been serving the greater Puget Sound area for more than 90 years. They are one of the largest independent dairies in the region, processing and delivering the freshest milk and select Northwest products to more than 50,000 homes every week. And don’t be fooled, they don’t just have milk and eggs, my kiddos love the Alki Bakery Banana Bread and Blazing Bagels.
Although I have not tried New Roots Organics I love that they are located in Ballard and have been supporting healthy customers and local growers since 1999! Each week a bin of fresh seasonal produce is delivered, you will have the option to customize what you are getting prior to your delivery. Throughout the year they make it a priority to include locally grown produce 1st, and then when needed to make your bins balanced and complete, they will include citrus, avocados, fresh greens and lettuces , etc. from California, and sometimes Mexico but they will always identify what is grown locally. Let me know what you think if you have tried New Roots Organics, I would love to know.
Check out https://www.fredmeyer.com/ for a location offering pick-up/delivery near you.
A few locations are below:
17667 Ne 76Th St
Redmond, WA 98052
12221 120th Ave NEFred Meye
Kirkland, WA 98034
23475 NE Novelty Hill R
Redmond, WA 98053
2041 148Th Ave Ne
Bellevue, WA 98007
2746 NE 45th St
Seattle, WA 98105
2902 228th Ave SE
Sammamish, WA 98075
21045 Bothell Everett Hwy
Bothell, WA 98021
Did you know May is National Bike month? Yes that’s right, it’s time to dust off the wheels and enjoy those sunny day’s — because we all know, sometimes in Spring they are few and far between. One of the best places to ride in our area is the Burke Gilman Trail — enjoyed by runners, walkers, bikers, young, and younger. Extending from Seattle to Kenmore –with MANY amazing spots along the way. Much of the trail is wide and flat with great spots to stop for lunch and views of our beautiful region. With so many access points along the trail you will usually be able to find a good spot to start and will always find a new view. If you’re really ambitious you can always just ride the whole thing from start to finish, 19 miles in total! This is a great trail for the whole family, you will not be disappointed.
Miri’s at Golden Gardens
Begin your journey at the sandy beaches of Golden Gardens that lie at one end of the trail. If you don’t pack a lunch Miri’s specializes in local, organic breakfast and lunch goodness. Make sure to try the poffertjes, Tiny Dutch pancakes! Yum! Open Thurs.-Sun. and Mon.-Sun. starting in mid-June.
8498 Seaview Pl. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98117
The Lockspot Cafe
The Lockspot is located at the entrance of the Ballard Locks, so if you are hungry or thirsty be sure to stop. From The Café the kiddos will be intrigued as they watch the boats go through the locks. Maybe Mom can actually eat her fish sandwich while it is still hot, one can only hope! With a menu for your little riders, and a beautiful patio, make sure this is marked on your map as a must see.
3005 N.W. 54th St
Seattle, WA 98107
Hale’s Ales and the Burke-Gilman share the same corner of the path in Fremont. Order some Mexican food from El Camión and check out the live event at Hale’s, make sure to catch The I Hate Children Children’s Show, a very funny magic show starring… kids!
4301 Leary Way N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107
Whatever you may need bike related Recycled Cycles will have what you need. Have you heard of a Trail-a-Bike? It is hitched to an adults bike and the kiddo gets to pedal along while still safely attached to your bike. With 25 years of dedication and knowledge Recycled Cycles is a great place for all your cycling needs including, air, parts, new and used bikes.
1007 N.E. Boat St
Seattle, WA 98105
Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club
Switch it up and add some water fun to your cycling journey. Agua Verde rents stand-up paddleboards and kayaks for the whole family. It is also a great place to grab tacos, nachos, and margaritas… Oh my!
1307 NE Boat St
Seattle, WA 98105
206-545-8570 (ext. 2)
Great State Burger & Burke Gilman Brewing Company
2 in! Burgers and Beer at 1 stop! Are you tired yet? Grab a burger, fries from Great State Burger and a NW IPA from the recently opened Burke Gilmand Brewing Company, which opened July of 2018. No worries… they are kid and dog friendly.
And if you prefer wine over beer and Burrata Tartin instead a burger try Erickson’s Bistro Shirlee just opened in the same complex. bistroshirlee.com
Great State Burger
3600 N.E. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
Burke Gilman Brewing Company
3626 N.E. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
Where are you going when you hit the Burke Gilman trail? Any great places to be sure to see, play, restaurants to enjoy? Let us know!
The real estate market continued to improve for buyers in November. Interest rates dropped slightly, price increases slowed and inventory soared. It’s important to note that inventory increases, while significant, are being compared to the record low supply of last year. We’re still far short of the inventory needed for a truly balanced market, however buyers have greater choice and less competition than they’ve had in years. Sellers who price their home according to current market conditions continue to see strong interest. Heading into the holiday season, there’s something for everyone to celebrate.
The Eastside economy continues to be very strong. Heavy investment in commercial construction from companies such as Vulcan boost expectations that the area will continue to thrive. The median price of a single-family home in November hit $885,000 on the Eastside. Although an increase of 4 percent from a year ago, home prices have remained steady since this fall. With continued demand and only 2.4 months of inventory, the market has a long way to go to becoming balanced.
Price increases continued to slow in King County. The median single-family home price was $643,913 in November, an increase of 2 percent over a year ago. South King County, where the most affordable homes in the county are located, saw significantly greater increases compared to a year ago. North King County also posted greater increases than the county overall. Inventory has skyrocketed as the number of homes for sale in King County more than doubled year-over-year. While that’s good news for buyers, there is only 2.1 months of available inventory in the county, slightly down from October and not nearly enough to meet demand.
The median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $760,000 in November. This is up 3 percent from a year ago and slightly up from October. Inventory jumped 177 percent year-over-year however, at just two months of supply, the Seattle area has the tightest inventory in King County. With the city’s strong economy and lifestyle appeal, that’s not expected to change any time soon. Forbes recently named Seattle as the best place for business and careers in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Washington among the top ten universities in the world with Money Magazine rating Seattle the #5 Best Big City to Live In.
Inventory in Snohomish County continued to climb, surging 88 percent in November as compared to a year ago. That said, the area has fewer homes for sale than King County with just 1.8 months of inventory. This is still far short of the four to six months of supply that is considered a balanced market. The median price of a single-family home sold in November was up 6 percent from last year to $470,000, virtually unchanged from October.
This post originally appeared on the WindermereEastside.com blog.
If you haven’t gotten your tree already — and you are feeling adventurous — here are some places you can cut your own tree down. Close to home even!
We live in the Christmas tree capital of the United States, it’s easy to see why so many people enjoy cutting their own tree. But, given the traffic situation in the Seattle & Eastside areas, it’s also easy to understand why you might want to cut a tree close to home. While there may not be any Christmas tree farms in Seattle, Kirkland or Bellevue, you can find a couple in Redmond and a few more just outside of the central Eastside. Now go find your perfect tree!
13925 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE Redmond, WA 98052
Open daily from 10 am to 8 pm, McMurtrey’s makes it simple to plan a tree cutting trip with your family. Found in the heart of the Sammamish Valley, you’ll find Noble, Grand, and Fraser Firs on the property. Extra tall trees are on site, and delivery is even an option, in case you don’t have a large enough vehicle to tow the tree back to your home. The farm is dedicated to sustainable harvesting, meaning that once a certain number of trees have been cut they’ll close the season. So get out there early! Once you’ve found the perfect tree, the farm treats you with complimentary hot cider or hot chocolate.
14500 NE 116th St. Redmond, WA 98052
Offering 100% organic trees as well as home delivery service, Buttonwood Farm is another close-by option for creating a family tradition of cutting your own tree. Here you’ll find Douglas, Turkish, Nordman, Noble, Grand, Fraser, and Blue Spruce trees. The site also offers sturdy stands. The farm has limited hours, however. If this is where you want to cut, be sure to visit on the weekends. Buttonwood is open Friday and Sunday from noon until 4 pm, and on Saturdays from 10am-4pm. You should check out their website before heading out to find tips for tree care as well as fun seasonal recipes.
3861 Tolt Ave Carnation, WA 98014
Open from the day after Thanksgiving until trees sell out, the Carnation tree farm has been offering trees for over 30 years. The farm has been in the family since 1901 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That means you’ll be taking a step back in time as you step into the forest to play your part in this time-honored family tradition. Across 16 acres you’ll find Douglas, Fraser, Grand, Noble, and Nordman Firs as well as Norway and Blue Spruce. In addition to cutting your own tree, you can pick up handmade local greens, garland, swags, mistletoe, and holly. Employees will let you borrow a saw and even help you select your perfect tree. With a focus on family fun, expect to spend some time in the shelter area where you can have complimentary cider, shop a fresh bake sale, or even have your photo taken with Santa. The shop is open Sunday- Thursday from 9 am until 4 pm.
Where did you get your tree this year!
Checklist of 10 Things You Gotta Do Before Winter Sets In
Such as look for roof leaks before the first winter snow. Preventative maintenance is key.
When the last of summer’s heat is a faint memory, and you’re pulling out your hoodies (and puffy coats!!) more than your shorts, it’s time to tackle a few simple chores that’ll make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring.
This fall checklist helps:
#1 Clean and Stow Your Mower
If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, get to know it. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.
Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it.
1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole.
2. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated and ensures an easy start come spring.
3. Turn the mower on its side and clean out accumulated grass and gunk from the mower deck.
#2 Remove Garden Hoses From Faucets
Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.
Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.
While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.
#3 Drain Your Sprinkler System
Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.
- Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.
- Shut off the automatic controller.
- Open drain valves to remove water from the system.
- Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.
If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.
#4 Seal Air Leaks
Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.
Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.
#5 De-Gunk Your Gutters
Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.
If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.
Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.
#6 Eyeball Your Roof
If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.
Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.
Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.
A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.
#7 Direct Your Drainage
Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.
Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.
#8 Check Your Furnace
Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.
An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.
Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.
#9 Prune Plants
Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.
For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.
#10 Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over
To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.
Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.
You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.
Increased inventory, slower sales and more price reductions all point to a balancing market—welcome news for price-shocked buyers. Sales prices are up from last October and down from the all-time high reached this spring. Despite the slowdown, it’s important to point out that we’re only moving back toward what a normal market looks like. King and Snohomish counties each have over two months of available inventory. While that is double the inventory of a year ago, it’s far short of the four to six months supply that is considered a balanced market. Sellers looking to list their home now can be sure there remains plenty of interest among home buyers.
The median home on the Eastside sold for $890,000 in October, up 5 percent from a year ago and unchanged from the previous month. While year-over-year price increases were in the single digits for the Eastside overall, several areas, including Kirkland, Woodinville and Mercer Island, experienced double-digit price gains. Buyers are still having to pay a premium for desirable Eastside properties. However, with more choices and less buyer urgency, sellers need to price their home correctly to maximize their chances of getting the best possible return.
Inventory in King County for all homes, both single-family and condominium, soared 102 percent over last October. The increase was due to an influx of new listings and the fact that homes are now taking longer to sell than at the peak of the market this spring. While buyers now have more breathing room to make their decisions, the 2.4 months of inventory in King County is still far from a balanced market. The median price of a single-family home in October was $670,999, an increase of 7 percent from the same time last year, and virtually unchanged from August and September. South King County showed larger increases, with prices rising more than 10 percent from a year ago in Auburn, Kent and Renton.
In October, the median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $750,000, up 2 percent from last October and down slightly from last month. While inventory doubled over a year ago, Seattle falls behind most areas of King County in supply with just under two months of inventory available. Demand is predicted to stay high, with Seattle’s population projected to grow at twice the national rate next year. That said, buyers are in the position to be able to negotiate. A recent analysis named Seattle as one of the top markets in the country where it makes the most sense to buy this winter.
Inventory in Snohomish County soared 65 percent in October as compared to a year ago. The area now has 2.4 months of inventory, about the same relative supply as King County. As with most of the Puget Sound area, the increase in inventory was due to a higher number of sellers listing their homes and fewer sales. Year-over-year, the median price of a single-family home sold in October in Snohomish County grew 8 percent to $473,000. The median price in September was $485,000.
This post originally appeared on the Windermere Eastside Blog.
Return on Investment
If you’re considering having some work done on your house, it’s wise to consider making the right choices. We’ve all seen the HGTV shows that teach us a $20 lamp can yield a $250 improvement in sales price or something silly like that, but if you’re like many of my clients, you’re probably left more confused by these sorts of home improvement shows than you are left informed.
Bottom line? Investing in your home is (almost) always a smart choice. If you’re on the fence about doing it, just do it. But if your goal is getting the most “bang for your buck” with your improvements, there are some things that you should know before breaking out the Home Depot charge card.
We all know that improving a kitchen or a bathroom is the best way to turn a $500 remodel into a $5,000 value, right? But did you know that you’ll actually realize a better return on investment if you do a mid-level upgrade versus a luxury model upgrade?
If you check out this graph, compiled by Redmodel.hw.net, you’ll see that a midline bathroom upgraded yielded an 87.7% cost recoup, while an upscale remodel yielded just a 60.8% recoup on costs. Pretty impressive right?
Turns out, you don’t have to break the bank on your home project to get the best bang for your buck.
The trend continues when you look at a major kitchen remodel. A midline upgrade, defined as one costing in the ballpark of about $70,000, yielded an average 62% cost recoup. Taking a look at an upscale major kitchen remodel, think more in the $125k range, only yielded a 56% recoup on costs.
The trend continues through almost every major area of home improvement, including additions of master suites and bathroom additions.
So, what areas of home improvement should be done at an upscale level?
There are some parts of the home that deserve the extra bang for your buck. The addition of a grand entryway, for example, can recoup 82% of your costs, making it one of the smartest improvements that you can make. Other areas where you should consider an upscale improvement include window replacement. No matter if you choose wood (81% recoup on costs) or vinyl (85% recoup on project costs), you’ll realize a great home improvement by going upscale with windows.
Midscale? Upscale? Just tell me what to do first.
Still confused? Don’t worry, I get it. There are a lot of numbers flying at you right now. Most people can only budget for one major home improvement project at a time, so if you’re staring down a long list of “maybes” and only have time or budget for one improvement, let’s cut to the chase. . .
Are there any home improvements where you can recoup all of your investment?
Are there any improvements that will actually yield a pure profit?
The good news here is that, yes, Virginia, there is a home-improvement Santa Claus. If you’re only going to tackle one project- make it an upscale garage door improvement. Those babies can realize a 120% return on your investment. That means it’s not only “free,” but it will make you money when it is time to sell your home. Since even the most upscale of garage door replacements can be done for under $5,000, this is a smart investment that you should be making right away.
Another sure-fire bet is a midrange stone veneer upgrade to your siding. These are very trendy right now, and reports are showing that this improvement will realize about 120% return on investment. Considering the average project cost for this is generally under ten grand, this is a smart investment.
Finally, consider upgrading your front door to a steel door. At around $1,500, this project has a 95% recoup of costs, making it almost free. Another trending improvement is the addition of a wood deck.
What to put on hold
While it would be nice to do all the upgrades at once, that’s not realistic. According to the reviews I’ve been monitoring, the following improvements have the lowest recoup of investment potential and can safely be saved for another time.
Upscale master suite addition, 51% ROI
Midrange backyard patio addition, 51% ROI
Major, upscale kitchen remodel, 56% ROI
Upscale bathroom addition, 60% ROI
Midrange kitchen remodel, 62% ROI
Upscale bathroom remodel, 62% ROI
Still feel like you could use some home improvement guidance?
The truth is that I find all of this really interesting, and would love to speak with you about it! If you’re confused on where to get started, how to budget, or who to hire to do the work – I’ve got you covered. Feel free to email me or call me and we can schedule a time to talk about your unique home and how best to improve it for your future resale value.
And if you’ve just completed a major home project, I want to see it! Be sure to share it with me on social media!