Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays because it centers around the home. It’s a time for great food, family and friends, and expressing our gratitude. But, if it’s your turn to host the gathering, there’s also the sometimes-stressful task of preparing your home for the big feast.
At Taylor Morrison, we put together preparation ideas for folks who own our homes across the country, from Campbell, CA homes in the Bay Area to homes in Jacksonville, FL.
Take inventory of plates, serving dishes, pots and pans, flatware and glasses. If you come up short, borrow from family or friends who won’t need these items for their own Thanksgiving. Ask guests to bring a Turkey Day side dish and do a potluck. This not only helps share the load, but allows everyone the chance to try different dishes and makes things more interesting.
Spruce It Up
Clean your home and move non-essential items out of sight to make your home feel more open and pleasant. Give the guest bathroom a lift with fresh flowers or a tray of scented soaps. If you’re having overnight guests, place clean bath towels and washcloths in the guest room and add a bouquet of flowers. Consider placing a welcome basket in the guest room with local goodies.
Prep Food Ahead of Time
Cook and refrigerate side dishes a day or so before Thanksgiving. This list will show you which dishes are easily made ahead. Fill your wine rack with a selection of different varietals. Don’t want to bake? Buy pies – every city has a local business known for their fresh pies. Or try these easy pie recipes. And remember that too much is better than too little, so be sure to have plenty of food for the big day.
Is it your turn to have the Thanksgiving feast at your house this year? It may seem daunting, but with a little planning, your celebratory spread will be a hit. If you’re inaugurating your new home in Houston, try something more regional, like this Texas-style Thanksgiving. Own a Taylor Morrison house in Fort Myers? Check out these Florida chefs’ recipes.
Here are some delicious Thanksgiving recipes to consider:
Let’s Talk Turkey
The Perfect Roast Turkey will get your mouth watering just reading the recipe. For something more unique, see 9 Unusual Turkey Recipes.
Don’t Forget the Cranberry
This super easy Chunky Cranberry Sauce uses frozen cranberries, apple juice and sugar. Or try Candied Cranberry Sauce, also a cinch to make.
If you or one of your guests prefer meatless, 40 Vegetarian Main Dishes for Thanksgiving has some great ideas for you. As a side, try Twice-Baked Butternut Squash.
Love on the Side
The Ultimate Potato Gratin looks tempting. You’ll also want to be sure to view this yummy video for making Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
This video dares to call the recipe Best Pumpkin Pie Ever, so it’s worth a try! A Grandma-style apple pie looks tasty, too. Or, for something more fancy, there’s Martha Stewart’s Marionberry Pie.
During the colder months, many residents leave their chilly climates and head to Sun Belt states like California, Arizona, Florida and Texas to reside. Many Taylor Morrison communities are located in these popular destinations because of the areas’ sunny attributes.
Winter visitors move here because of an abundance of sunshine, beautiful surroundings, a major university and pro sports teams.
People who own homes in San Juan Capistrano, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Carlsbad, and other SoCal communities will tell you the climate and proximity to the Pacific Ocean make the area a great place to live.
When you live in a Taylor Morrison house in Fort Myers or Naples you enjoy the Florida beachfront, low crime, cleanliness of the cities and, of course the weather which offers an average temperature of 77 degrees.
This city features a strong economy and mild winters. Beaches, natural parks and preserves, and golf are some of the top reasons to move to Jacksonville.
Sunshine 95% of the year, recreation, scenery, theme parks like Disneyworld Resort, and a general lifestyle attractive to retirees are just a few of the reasons people make Orlando their home.
According to a recent Gallup-Healthways poll, the Bradenton-Sarasota area holds top position as the most satisfying place to live in Florida. The beaches, Barrier Islands, lively arts and entertainment communities and more make the area a draw.
Tampa has something for everybody including great weather, water sports, some of the best beaches in the country, performing arts centers, proximity to theme parks and ethnic food. Here, there’s always something fun to do.
Judging by the slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance – Keep Austin Weird – people have fun here. Called the Live Music Capital of the World, there are plenty of diversions, from entertainment and recreation to the natural beauty of Texas Hill Country.
Listed among the top reasons to move to Houston are: low cost of living, low taxes, pro sports, employment opportunities, great food, cultural diversity, and arts and culture. The city also has the largest amount of green space – over 50,000 acres of parkland – among the ten most populated American cities.
Imagine spending four days roaming through Disneyland® Resort experiencing world-class entertainment and attractions including the Dream Home at INNOVENTIONS! After each fun-filled day, you rest up for the next day of adventure!
From now until Dec. 7, you have the opportunity to enter Taylor Morrison’s “Visit the Dream Home Sweepstakes”, which will give the winner and three guests the chance to win a Disneyland® Resort vacation.
How is that possible?
It’s simple – visit www.taylormorrison.com/dream-home-promotion to enter for your chance to win!
The winner will receive a stay at a Disneyland® Resort hotel, Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper® Tickets, a guided tour of Disneyland® Park, and an up-close look at the Dream Home at INNOVENTIONS, which Taylor Morrison worked with Walt Disney Imagineering to create.
But that’s not the end of the prize package!
The winner will also receive a Microsoft® Surface™ Pro 3 tablet PC, a high-tech Thermostat, a Legrand® whole home audio system and a $1,000 Visa gift card. In all, it’s more than $10,000 in prizes for the lucky winner. Not bad!
To enter the sweepstakes, visit www.taylormorrison.com/dream-home-promotion and register for the drawing, which will be held after the sweepstakes ends on Dec. 7. Eligible entrants must be at least 21 years old and a legal resident of the United States and the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico and all other U.S. territories. Full rules can be found here.
Remember, enter our promotion by Dec. 7 and you’ll have a chance to win:
- Four days and three nights at a Disneyland® Resort hotel
- Four-day Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper® Tickets for four
- Roundtrip airfare for four
Many of us remember back when as kids nobody worried about our safety on Halloween. But times have changed and it’s essential that we watch out for our children and keep them safe while they’re out trick-or-treating. Taylor Morrison has put together some safety tips for ensuring a safe Halloween for your kids.
- Be sure costumes are fire-resistant and fit properly to avoid tripping. Check masks to determine that visibility will be good. Remind kids to not get close to lit candles, even if their costumes are resistant to fire.
- Even if you’re a resident of sunny Southern California and own a new home in Yorba Linda, it still gets dark early. Be sure your kids will be seen by putting reflective tape or stickers on their costumes and bags. Also give them flashlights or glow sticks to carry.
- Don’t let children under 12 go trick-or-treating without an adult. If they’re old enough to go kids-only, have them walk in groups and know who they’re with and where they’re going.
- Doesn’t matter where you live, street safety is important. Steiner Ranch in Austin is a wonderful neighborhood, for instance, but kids still need to be reminded to look both ways before crossing the street and to stay on the sidewalk whenever possible.
- Remind kids to not take rides with strangers, trick-or-treat only at well-lit houses, and never enter a home unless a trusted adult is present.
- At the end of the evening, examine your tricksters’ treats for candy that’s been tampered with. Homemade treats should be tossed unless someone you know handed them out.
Whether you own one of the Taylor Morrison homes in Fort Myers, FL on one coast or a luxury home in San Juan Capistrano, CA, on the other, you’re probably gearing up for Halloween, getting out the carving knives for your pumpkins. Take a look at this mix of carved pumpkins that range from one end of the difficulty spectrum to the other.
Simple doesn’t always mean boring. This collection of traditional carved pumpkins are fun, creative and easy to make.
At the Movies
Kids love to help make movie-themed jack o’ lanterns, from Nemo to Mary Poppins. For more detailed, adult-friendly carving think The Shining or Chucky.
Speak to the Geek
Are you a geek? Carve computer-related icons, scenes and characters from games, and Star Wars.
Extremely creepy, extremely creative and extremely unique always impress. See some of the most unusual carvings around.
Leave it to Martha Stewart to share some not-so-ordinary carving ideas for your home. Check out these lace-patterned pumpkins, instructions included.
There are plenty of carving templates out there including those for beginners. You’ll also find some contemporary themes, traditional Halloween images, and stencils for every skill level and interest.
Ah, Halloween. It’s coming up and that means you better start thinking about costumes for the kids. Sure, you can go with a store-bought witch, princess or super hero. That’s easy, but not particularly satisfying for your creative side. From creepy to clever to cute, these ideas are just some of the costumes you can make yourself. Have fun!
Pop-Arty Comic Book Character – Okay, this one you might want to steal for yourself, because it’s just that cool. To create a very clever cartoon illusion watch this makeup tutorial.
Sweet Flower Bouquet – Turn your little girl and her friends into a blossoming bouquet of daisies, tulips and sunflowers.
Precious Paper Doll – Here’s another costume for a little girl. This paper doll is easy to make and very cute.
A Living LEGO Man – Bring out your kid’s inner LEGO man. It’s a colorful and fun costume that little boy and girl LEGO fans will love. Here’s the how-to.
Easy DIY Giraffe – Stretch your creativity and make a giraffe using easy-to-find materials, including a cardboard box, poster board, construction paper, decoupage glue, and chopsticks. Here is how you do it.
Cutie-Pie Hot Air Balloon – So cute! Suitable for kids and grownups alike, this one’s a little more detailed as costumes go, but well worth the extra effort. See the step-by-step instructions.
It’s spooky how fast October has flown by. What are you going to cook for Halloween? Indulge goblins big and small with tasty treats. Take a look at our collection of recipe ideas to get you on your way to planning some delicious October delights. From our Houston homes to our homes in Sarasota, Taylor Morrison homeowners are sure to enjoy these goodies.
Deviled Chicken Lollipops: Sounds strange, but isn’t that what the season is all about. These crusty drumettes are devilicious.
Pecan-Caramel Spiders: After they say ‘ewwww!’, they’ll take a bite and say ‘yum!’. If you enjoy candy making, this is the recipe for you.
Dark Chocolate Graveyard Pots de Crème: Easy to make, incredible to eat. These mouth-watering little tombstones are delightfully good.
Spooky Witches’ Fingers: See the recipe and watch the how-to video for making these creepy cookies.
Strawberry Ghosts: For a juicy treat, these strawberries coated in white chocolate are just what the not-yet-departed ordered.
Mummy Cake: These enchanting little coffins use vanilla, raspberry and chocolate with a frosted mummy on top.
There’s something invigorating about fall. The air is crisp, the skies are still blue, trees turn from green to gold and orange. After the heat and mugginess that can come with summer, October is a great time of year to have some refreshing fun with the family.
Visit a Ghost Town
Take a trip into history and visit a ghost town in your state. Own a house in Tampa? You have several ghost towns to choose from. Old gold mining towns can be found in the Sierra foothills of California.
Take the Kids to a Pumpkin Patch
Every town has a pumpkin patch. Take the kids through the corn maze, enjoy the refreshments and pick your Halloween pumpkins. Here are some pumpkin patches to visit near Taylor Morrison communities:
Austin – Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Farms has everything from Stuff Your Own Scarecrow to hayrides and a Candy Corn Hay Maze for kids.
Houston – A family favorite, Dewberry Farm features more than thirty-five attractions and ten eateries.
Southern California – Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Festival in Irvine includes pick-your-own pumpkins and veggies, and a wagon ride, corn maze and petting zoo.
Bay Area – A working organic vegetable farm, Perry Family Pumpkin Patch in Fremont features kid-friendly fun like a Maze & Tire Patch, photo opp with character cutouts, and Climb the Hay Pyramid.
Sacramento – Uncle Ray’s Pumpkin Patch touts itself as a laid-back, low-key patch offering carving as well as exotic pumpkins, hayrides, mazes and gifts.
Denver – Besides pumpkins, fun activities and treats, Rock Creek Farm has lots of farm animals like pigs, goats, ponies, donkeys and more.
North Florida – Located in Astatula, Stanley Pond Fall Family Festival has lots of activities including a Catch and Release catfish pond.
West Florida – The Sarasota Pumpkin Festival, October 24th, 25th and 26th, features a pie eating contest, a family midway with rides and games, and a beer garden for the grownups.
See the Fall Colors
Even California has fall colors. Folks who own our houses in Campbell and other California Bay Area community locations can take in the changing colors of the Napa Valley vineyards. SoCal residents can drive up to Julian, a quaint old mining town near San Diego.
Make Fun Things for Halloween
Kids love making stuff for the spookiest night of the year. They’ll have a blast making Halloween sounds with a Screaming Cup. All it takes is a large plastic cup, some string and water. Add violin rosin for an extra scary touch.
Now’s the time to prepare your home for fall temperature and weather changes. Cold weather can do a number on your home, especially if you own a house in Denver or any other chilly region. But even if you have a new home in Irvine, CA, it’s a good idea to inspect and fix where necessary. So make a checklist and get out the ladder, gloves, and tools.
1. Renew the Roof – Clean the gutters of leaves and debris and, if need be, repair downspouts and the sealing around the chimney and skylights.
2. Banish Walkway Cracks– Fix any cracks or loose pieces on walkways to avoid tripping and falling accidents.
3. Make Siding Repairs – Clean siding and make repairs if need be.
4. Foil Faucet Freeze – If your region experiences winter freezing, be sure to shut off valves to outside faucets. Open and drain spigots.
5. Switch Out Filters and Vents – Central air and heating systems should have monthly filter changes. For a window unit, either remove and store it or protect it with a waterproof cover. Change appliance filters and clean out vents.
6. Check the Chimney – Spruce up the fireplace to prepare for colder weather. Clean out ashes and make sure the damper works efficiently. If it or the flue isn’t working well, hire a chimney sweep.
7. Avoid the Draft – Maintain climate control by replacing any cracked or loosened seals or caulking around windows. For colder regions, consider installing heavier drapes. Replace cracked window glass.
8. Clean the Climate Controller – Clean the thermostat’s contact points, contacts and heat sensor. If it’s no longer accurate, replace the thermostat.
9. Drain the Hot Water Heater – If you have hard water, protect your water heater from sediment buildup. Drain the heater and, while you’re at it, look for signs of rust in the tank. If you have to replace the whole heater, go for an energy efficient model.
10. Test the Smoke Detectors – Press “test” on the smoke detectors. If you get a signal, change the batteries.
For a year-round menu of maintenance tips, check out this handy list.