Ah, yes, Thanksgiving. The succulent turkey, the green bean salad, the cranberry sauce… and a winning photograph? Submit a photo of your Thanksgiving feast and you could win a $100 gift card. Plus, you’ll spread the holiday cheer, because if you win we’ll donate $250 to a charity of your choice.
Share your best tasteful photos of your Thanksgiving spread on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/taylormorrison) and leave a comment with your image by midnight December 1, 2013 and you’re in the running. We’ll select the best from qualifying entries.
Three contest winners will each receive a $100 gift card and the charities of their choice will be given $250. Keep coming back to Taylor Morrison on Facebook, because we’ll be posting other contests throughout the holiday season.
So, on Thanksgiving Day—before the leftovers are put away, Fido has devoured his table scraps and Uncle Ned has fallen asleep in the easy chair—take some photos of your feast and enter in our Thanksgiving Photo Contest. You and a charity of your choice could win.
A chill in the air and growing piles of leaves signal fall is here. Though the kids may bemoan the annual raking ritual, there’s something invigorating about being outdoors and prepping the yard for the coming winter and the spring that follows. Think of it as your very own harvest celebration.
Here are some tasks to add to your fall to-do list.
Generally, leaves should be raked up, or cleaned up using a blower, within three or four days of falling; if they’re soggy with rain, get them picked up even faster. Mostly, this is because lawns need to breathe to be healthy, but grass types should also be considered. Most lawns in the northern parts of the United States are made up of grasses that are most active during cooler weather. To do that, they need sunlight, too, so getting rid of the leaves helps the grass along. We found this great raking tool that makes the task easier than ever on Quirky.com.
Over seed your lawn
It’s time to fill in those bare patches by over seeding your existing lawn. First of all, determine whether you have warm- or cool-season grass. Warm-season grasses grow in the Southern areas of the country and go dormant in cool weather. To avoid an unattractive brown lawn, you can over seed your grass. Cool-season grasses of the Northern states grow during cooler weather, and fall is a good time to over seed. In either case, mow the current grass, cutting it about ½ an inch shorter than you would in the spring. To give the new seed better access to the soil, be sure to bag or rake up the clippings. Aerate, seed according to the instructions on the seed bag, nourish with fertilizer, and start a daily watering regimen. If your current lawn is especially sparse, consider planting an entirely new lawn.
Don’t forget to water
Even though it might rain a lot in your region, many areas don’t get as much precipitation. When that’s the case, keep your watering routine until around Labor Day. Conventional wisdom calls for lawns to get an inch of water every 2-3 weeks. Avoid over-watering, though, because soggy soil can get moldy.
Give your garden some TLC
Mulch your garden in the fall to keep it healthy and thriving. Once the fall veggies and annual flower gardens are dead or depleted, you can begin the process. Remove plant debris and compost it then weed and rototill the soil. To use leaves as mulch, run the lawn mower over them to shred them up first.
Put pruning on pause
Hold back on the pruning in the fall. Although there are exceptions, generally plants are getting ready to go dormant for the winter so you don’t want to encourage new growth. You can check with a local nursery if you’re unsure about any plant or tree in particular, but generally, give the pruning a rest in the fall.
Put bulbs in the ground
Plant some bulbs now and be rewarded with a big splash of color next spring. If you live where the ground doesn’t freeze, plant in November. Otherwise, plant bulbs before the ground freezes. Check out the Old Farmer’s Almanac hardiness and growing guide to decide what kinds of bulbs flourish in your region.
If you want more information about gardening, ornamental grasses, trees or plants, the U.S. National Arboretum gardening page is a great resource.
Spooky! Hauntingly Delish Halloween Treats
Face it, you need a break. Buying a new home can be exciting, but it’s Halloween, a great time for some monstrously fun moments with family and friends. So, for a now, put away your contemplation of new home construction or how to finance a home and make some enchanting, unforgettable edibles for the celebrations.
Need inspiration? Check out these recipes for frighteningly delicious Halloween treats.
Ghostly Sugar Cookies
You’ll need a ghost-shaped cookie cutter for this recipe, but they’re not hard to find this time of year. Ghost Cookies are topped with a yummy cream cheese frosting and a couple of raisins or chocolate chips for the eyes. Have on hand flour, baking soda, softened butter, powdered sugar, an egg, vanilla, almond extract, and cream cheese. For step-by-step direction, see the full recipe.
Squished PEEPS® Cookie Sandwiches
Now, here’s a way to take full advantage of all that Halloween candy you probably have on hand. Colorful and gooey, these sweet treats call for Pumpkin Peeps; you can use any kind of Peeps for other times of the year. This recipe uses a modified soft bake chocolate chip cookie recipe with marshmallow Peeps, peanut butter, chocolate M&Ms and sprinkles.
Witchy Finger Cookies
These sugar-cookie fingers look so real, there’s definitely an ewwww-factor here. So, of course, they’re perfect for a Halloween party platter. Just roll out some sugar-cookie dough into thin finger-shaped lines (they’ll enlarge some when baked), place one almond shard on each for the finger nails, score the dough to make the knuckles, and bake. To see the full recipe and a photo of what these look like complete, go here and scroll down the page.
No Bake Oreo® Cookie Bat Pops
Your kids will have a great time helping with these easy pops. The yellow-chocolate dipped Oreos on a stick are super easy to make and are ideal for party favors. You’ll use lollipop sticks, Oreos, melted white chocolate, melted yellow chocolate, and for the bats soft black licorice and small red candies for the eyes.
Mummy pops are easy to make, tasty and so cute they’re sure to elicit plenty of awww’s. This simple recipe transforms double-stuffed Oreo® Cookies, melted white candy, candy eyeballs and cookie pop sticks into yummy mummies. Spooky-good!
Spidery Peanut Butter Cookies
Easy to make, goofy to look at, yummy to eat. Just bake some peanut butter cookies and top with chewy milk chocolate caramels for the little spider bodies, red or black licorice strings for the legs, and mini candy-coated chocolate baking bits and black decorating gel for the eyes.
Crispy Candy Corn Puffed Rice Treats
Gather unsalted butter, miniature marshmallows, salt, puffed rice cereal, grated orange zest, grated lemon zest, and yellow and red food coloring. All of this makes for the colorful and flavorful puffed rice candy corn treats. Follow the recipe and you’ll have what could turn out to be everyone’s favorite Halloween goody.
Handmade delights are fun to create and are guaranteed to turn Halloween tricks into eerily tasty treats. Enjoy!
From slimy to sublime, eerie to elegant, tricky to tasteful, there is a wicked wealth of ways to decorate your home for the creepiest holiday of the year: Halloween. Whether you’re having crafty fun with the kids or staging a ghoulish party for children or grown-ups, we have some great ideas to share.
FREAKY KID-FRIENDLY FUN
Kids love to dive into projects that stir their creativity. Here are some amusing options.
Baby Vampire Pumpkins
A great project for children to sink their teeth into, these little vampires are the perfect ending for family pumpkin carving. Gather some small pumpkins, vampire fangs and sewing pins (black ones work best) and you’re ready to go. Carve out the pumpkin through a slot made just large enough to accommodate a set of fangs and remove the fleshy insides. Put the teeth in place and add the pins above to make beady little eyes. Simple and sweet with a touch of scary.
Egg Carton Bats & Leafy Ghosts
Put those empty egg carts and a few artificial maple leaves to work with this fun kids’ crafting project. You’ll need an egg carton, scissors, black paint, a paintbrush, googly eyes, glue and orange ribbon. The leaves require white paint, a paintbrush, black marker, glue and black ribbon. Cut out 3 egg carton cups for the bats, cutting the bottoms out of the 2 outside ones to create the wings. Paint them black, add the eyes to the middle cups and glue enough ribbon to hang them from a light fixture or the ceiling. Paint the leaves white on both sides (you’ll probably want to apply 2 coats of paint), draw on ghost eyes and mouths, glue on a piece of ribbon on top of each and hang the ghoulish ghosts and bats together.
Trust us on this one. Sure, it sounds yucky, and admittedly it looks pretty gross, but kids love creating these brainy cupcakes worthy of Dr. Frankenstein himself—and they do taste yummy. Use some small jars with lids, seedless raspberry jam, strawberry cake (or white batter died pink), butter cream frosting with a few drops of pink and a teeny tiny drop of black added, and a no. 5 piping bag. You can see the tutorial and the deliciously disturbing results here.
SOPHISTICATED HALLOWEEN-THEMED DECORATIONS
If you’re planning a Halloween party or just want to decorate your home with more refined trimmings, here are just a couple of the possibilities.
Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with a way to make bats look beautifully elegant. You’ll need thick black paper, a bone folder, painters’ tape or removable hooks and a half-bat template. You can make the template using Martha’s template instructions. Print out the template then fold a piece of the black paper down the middle; place the template on the fold, and trace. Cut it out and unfold. Using a bone folder, crease the wings and fold in the opposite direction of the body fold. Poke holes in the bat’s wings and head and hang from the ceiling.
Harrowing Halloween Candle Holders
These skull-themed candle holders can each be decorated uniquely and staggered by height. The other supplies you’ll need are candle sticks, Gorilla Glue, an assortment of felt skull coasters, and materials like feathers, baubles, and sparkly trimming and tulle. Have fun with these! You’ll find full instructions, suggestions for where to purchase the items required, and images of the wonderful results here.
Our Best Taylor Morrison and Darling Homes Single-Story Floor Plans
Although two-story homes have held a special place in Americans’ hearts for many years, single stories are making an impressive comeback, and for good reason. Living in a one-story such as a ranch-style home has some distinct advantages, not the least of which is the fact that there are no stairs to climb—a great idea especially popular with older residents and homeowners with small children.
Taylor Morrison and Darling Homes offer a number of thoughtfully developed single-story floor plans, all designed so homeowners can have the convenience, comfort and privacy they desire.
Emerson – 2,781 sq. ft.
With the four bedrooms separated, this split floor plan affords plenty of privacy. Emerson is also open and airy, with a large kitchen with a big center island, a breakfast bar and expansive counter space.
Pesaro – 4,484 Square Feet
This spacious split bedroom plan is sized for lots of elbowroom Pesaro features four bedrooms, a roomy kitchen with a center island and walk-in pantry, an office, and huge living spaces. Out back, an inviting, extra-large covered lanai with optional fireplace. The master suite includes its own private courtyard. The plan also offers an optional second story with bonus room and a fifth bedroom suite.
This spacious split bedroom plan is sized for lots of elbowroom features four bedrooms, a roomy kitchen with a center island and walk-in pantry, an office, and huge living spaces. Out back, an inviting, extra-large covered lanai with optional fireplace. The master suite includes its own private courtyard. The plan also offers an optional second story with bonus room and a fifth bedroom suite.
Lancashire - 2,617 sq. ft.
One of our most popular floor plans, Lancashire can be found at our The Lakes at Westoods, Terrain and Silverleaf communities. This three-bedroom ranch-style floor plan includes an island kitchen open to a great room and breakfast nook. Two bedrooms are separated by the main bathroom, with the master suite on the other side of the home for extra privacy.
Taylor Morrison Houston and West Florida
Pinehurst - 2,055 sq. ft.
The award-winning Pinehurst floor plan is offered in Houston at Churchill Farms 50s Villa Series, Mar Bella 50s Villa Series and Lost Creek 50s Villa Series and in West Florida at Oak Creek in Riverview and Verona Reserve in Venice. The plan features a dramatic rotunda just past the foyer. The handsome kitchen opens to a breakfast nook and family room. One of the many options available is a second floor game room.
Darling Homes Houston
Plan 5133 – 2,550 sq. ft.
This very popular patio home open floor plan is perfect for entertaining. Besides three bedrooms located for privacy, Plan 5133 features a gourmet island kitchen with breakfast area that opens to a family room with fireplace, and a master closet that accesses the utility room. The floor plan is offered in our Barrington Kingwood, Woodforest Patio and Riverstone communities.
Coming Soon: New Taylor Morrison Homes in 13 Phoenix Communities
Residents of Phoenix, Arizona enjoy a lifestyle that more and more are making their own. This is where Taylor Morrison is bringing thirteen collections of new homes, each designed to fulfill our exacting standards for quality and comfort. Known as the Valley of the Sun, the area is fast growing and rich in performing arts, museums, fine arts and sports.
For more information, send us a message and find out more about our popular Arizona communities.
COMING SOON TO THE PHOENIX AREA
Arboleda Estates Summit Collection
This beautiful collection of Taylor Morrison homes is coming to Arboleda Estates in September. The Chandler community, located just off West Germann Road, is convenient to local freeways and local interest such as golf courses, shopping, entertainment, and downtown Phoenix.
Chandler, AZ 85286
Belmonte Landmark Collection
Taylor Morrison’s Landmark Collection comes too Belmonte in Chandler this fall. Area residents take advantage of entertainment options like Phoenix International Raceway, the acclaimed Phoenix Zoo and many recreational sports centers.
3125 E. Cherrywood Pl.
Chandler, AZ 85249
Bridges at Gilbert Landmark Collection
We are pleased to bring our Landmark Collection of homes to Bridges at Gilbert in the fall. The area’s Jobing.com Arena has been recognized as the Best Sporting Venue and Best Major Concert Venue in the Valley. Other entertainment includes The Golf Land Sun Splash, Phoenix International Raceway and more.
5311 S. Tatum Ln.
Gilbert, AZ 85298
Copperleaf Encore Collection
The Taylor Morrison Encore Collection will come to Cooperleaf in Gilbert in early 2014. Area residents are served by Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, Williams Gateway Airport and many entertainment centers.
Gilbert AZ 85297
Copperleaf Passage Collection
Our gorgeous Passage Collection comes to Copperleaf in early 2014. Residents in this Gilbert community have a lot of choices when it comes to fun. NASCAR fans can see the event twice a year at Phoenix International Raceway. Other destinations include golf courses, sports stadiums, theatres and aquatic parks.
Gilbert, AZ 85297
Estates at Happy Valley Summit Collection
Coming in November to this Peoria, AZ community, our well-appointed Summit Collection will be convenient to many local interests, from Peoria Sports Complex and the Wildlife World Zoo to Lake Pleasant Regional Park and plenty of shopping venues.
7360 W. Fallen Leaf Ln.
Peoria, AZ 85383
Northlands Encore Collection
Northlands Encore Collection comes to this Phoenix area community in November/December. Local interests include shopping, entertainment, parks and recreation.
9945 W. Spur Dr.
Peoria, AZ 85383
Northlands Passage Collection
Northlands Passage Collection comes in November/December. This area north of Phoenix features many dining options, just 1.3 miles to 3.5 miles away. Residents also enjoy all the amenities that Greater Phoenix has to offer.
9916 W. Redbird Rd.
Peoria, AZ 85383
Northlands Summit Collection
Taylor Morrison’s Summit Collection arrives at Northlands in November/December. The community is situated in Peoria, AZ, conveniently close to an abundance of area diversions.
9934 W. White Feather Ln.
Peoria, AZ 85383
Reserve at Nortella Summit Collection
Coming September/October! After a day out and about in Phoenix, residents will love coming home to these distinctive floor plans.
905 W. Spur Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85085
Sonoran Commons Encore Edition
Situated in the popular state capital of Arizona, this community arrives in early 2014. The Sonoran Commons Encore Edition offers beautiful floor plans and closeness to Phoenix’s best amenities.
Phoenix, AZ 85086
Sonoran Commons Passage Collection
Make a New Year’s resolution to live well at the Sonoran Commons Passage Collection, coming in early 2014. There’s plenty to do in the area, with the Sonoran Dessert Reserve nearby and the many other attractions in the Phoenix area.
Phoenix, AZ 85085
Victoria Estates Expedition Collection
Located in downtown Queen Creek, Victoria Estates is Just a short drive away from a day of hiking, biking and horseback riding on twenty miles of trails in the San Tan Mountain Regional Park, a 10,000+ acre preserve of the Sonoran Desert.
2056E. Escalante Rd.
Queen Creek, AZ 85142
Take the Design Center Preview Tour
After the excitement of selecting your home, adding your own finishing touches is like icing on the cake. Our Taylor Morrison Design Studio and Darling Homes Design Center, which are stocked with all the latest finishes, tiles, flooring and more, will help you customize your new home to suit your lifestyle and tastes. We’ve put together a preview of the Design Studios for you. Before you get started, check out our Worksheet to help define the kinds of finishes and options you prefer.
North Florida Design Studio:
North Florida Design Studio features stunning showrooms for the kitchen, bathrooms and more.
The Design Consultant at this Studio offers one-stop convenience to order everything you want. You’ll get expert assistance as you pick your favorite kitchen and bath designs and all other options available to you. Choose from an impressive selection, from flooring to plumbing fixtures.
Austin, Texas Design Studio:
The Austin, Texas Design Studio, homebuyers choose from modern and traditional options.
Which do you prefer for your kitchen: modern or traditional? This Design Studio will show you both, as well as other stylish selections for master and secondary baths.
Houston, Texas Design Studio:
The Houston, Texas Design Studio showcases contemporary, traditional and transitional options.
Contemporary, traditional and transitional, you’ll see them all at the Design Studio. Design Consultants get you started with cabinets and countertops, key focal points to your home. You’ll choose from a variety of cabinets, countertops and back splashes and go from there. Build-to-order homes come with free upgrades, per community.
Bay Area Design Center:
These carpet and tile, kitchen, tile and backsplash, and wood displays are offered at the Bay Area Design Center.
This Design Center will take you where your imagination wants to go, with a wealth of quality finishes, flooring and other options to inspire you.
Darling Design Center
Choose from an abundance of beautiful options at the Darling Design Center.
This beautiful new Design Center opened just last July, and it’s brimming with options and ideas to help you can personalize your home and make it your own. Enjoy!
Depending on where you live, changes are happening in the garden. It’s either winding down or offering up a final bounty of veggies like tomatoes and squash. Here are some end-of-summer tips for the garden.
Flowers and Plants – It’s time to stop fertilizing perennials so they can start storing starches, helpful for surviving the winter. Start planning the bulbs you want to plant in the fall. (See more ideas at apartmenttherapy.com.)
Vegetables – This time of year is all about preserving goodies from the vegetable garden, so get out the mason jars and pickle those cucumbers. If you have a bumper crop of zucchini, make and freeze zucchini bread.
Herbs – Hang dry resilient herbs like lavender and rosemary, freeze dry more tender herbs like basil, parsley and chives. You can rinse leaves and then place them in ice cube trays using this Herbal Ice Cubes recipe on Food.com. Check out this list of what you can harvest now.
Berries – Berries make great frozen treats to eat later whole or as icy refreshment, like these Triple-Berry Popsicles. Or, to simply freeze them whole try these instructions for How to Freeze Fresh Berries.
Clean-up and Storage – Empty all your pots, dumping the soil in the beds or your compost since soil nutrients won’t keep when stored for months. Store garden ornaments and clean your garden tools to avoid rusting while in storage. To kill any diseases or viruses that could be bad for future seeds and plants be sure to wash your pots and let them sun dry before storing them away (apartmenttherapy.com).
Retirement is a great opportunity to relocate, and Forbes Magazine has released its 25 Best Places to Retire list. Since we always choose cities and regions that are great places to live, we’re not too surprised to find that of the picks, six of our locations have made the list! Here’s a little something about each of these communities, shown in alphabetical order.
Sometimes called the Heart of Texas, Austin is the popular and eclectic state capital. Both the city and the greater Austin area offer residents a fun, active lifestyle. Besides the music scene, including Austin City Limits, for which it’s famous, Austin has a wealth of things to do and local interests to enjoy.
Clearwater, Florida made the list because of the area’s low cost of living, agreeable climate, above-average air quality and many doctors. The city sits by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.
College Station, Texas
College Station and the surrounding area are located in East Central Texas, not far from Houston. Known for its location near Texas A&M University, the area offers diversions like Houston Zoo, Sam Houston National Forest and more. Residents enjoy a low cost of living, warm climate and low crime.
Like many on the list, Jacksonville, Florida has a low cost of living, agreeable climate and excellent air quality. Three golf courses, museums, shopping, parks and beaches, and lots of entertainment options are among the many local amenities.
Popular Mesa, Arizona offers warm weather, a moderate cost of living and a low crime rate. But the city and the greater Phoenix area have many other great attributes. Local points of interest include several golf courses, entertainment venues like the Phoenix Zoo and museums, Red Mountain Lake and much more.
Nicknamed Theme Park Capital of the World, Orlando, Florida has a low cost of living, good weather, and great air quality. Local amenities in Orlando and the greater Orlando area include world famous Walt Disney World, Universal Orland Resort, SeaWorld, shopping spots like Orlando Premium Outlets and museums, parks and gardens.