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Start Your New Year With Some Self-Care!

Neglecting ourselves and our mental health is something that we are leaving in the year 2022! Especially with the holidays wrapping up, you deserve to take some time for yourself in the new year. In the throws of the holiday season, sometimes it is hard to slow down and spend that time focusing on your physical and mental health, but you can not water anyone else’s grass with an empty well. The same way that we are instructed to “Put the mask on yourself before assisting others” during an airline flight emergency, we need to always remember that recharging our batteries is a NEED, not just a want. Self-Care doesn’t have to be lavish and time-consuming. It only needs to be intentional and fulfilling. Yes, a spa day or a vacation are a FANTASTIC way to practice self-care, but we should not limit relaxation and peace to a few times a year, or month. There are plenty of ways to recharge on a day-to-day basis. What are the things that bring you joy, that put you at the center of focus? What are your hobbies? What are some meals that you love, but you don’t get to enjoy as much as you would like? What is an activity around the house that you really like doing? What are some local places you have been wanting to check out, but have not yet? In the last few years, I have been really focused on getting rid of the guilt and the feeling of sacrifice that can be associated with spending my time and energy on me, and I am here to help you do the same! STEP ONE: Romanticize Your Life I know this sounds silly, but think about yourself as the main character of your life’s story! Invest your interest in rooting for yourself! Have you ever felt connected to a character in a television show, or a book, that you find yourself crossing your fingers for their good fortune? It is time to look at yourself the same way! Become your own cheerleader! Start looking at even the little mundane tasks that you do in your day-to-day life, and thinking “How could I make myself feel like a superstar doing this?” Sometimes it is as simple as drinking your orange juice out of a fancy glass in the morning, getting your car detailed so that you feel like you’re driving around a brand new car while running errands, or adding a few drops of essential oils in the shower to make it feel more like a spa. Take a moment to think about ways that you could possibly elevate your daily routine in a way that makes you feel like a celebrity! A study performed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that “Even 20 minutes a week of household cleaning reduces feelings of stress and reduces the risk of psychological difficulties.” There is a pressure that we can subconsciously put on ourselves when we are surrounded by clutter. Your environment can often feel like a reflection of your life, and when it is messy, it can cause an anxiety. Whether it is doing a load of laundry, finishing the dishes, making your bed, or wiping down the countertops, cleaning projects (small or large) can have an extremely positive effect on your mood! Being in a clean space, makes it easier to relax, since your mind will not wander to the list in your head of things that you still need to get done. If you are interested in learning more about how to organize your space, do not forget to keep up with our blog, and keep an eye out for our blog post about organizing your space! Most importantly, don’t forget to implement Step 1 during the cleaning process. Light a candle, put on your favorite music or television show in the background, and remind yourself as you are cleaning, that you are not doing it as a chore—you are doing it for YOURSELF! STEP 3: Find and Do a Hobby That Makes You Happy Do you have a hobby that you wish you had more time for? Do you have an interest in a hobby that you would like to explore, if you had more time? It is time to make time! Whether you love to read, quilt, scrapbook, play or listen to music, garden, work out, catch up on the latest episodes of your favorite television show, take your dog to the dog park, or whatever else it is that you love to do/have been itching to do, carve out the space in your schedule to do those things! Make it an event for yourself. Put in your headphones, sip on your favorite drink, and do those things that make you happy! STEP 4: Get Outside The fresh air and sunshine can be absolutely mood-stabilizing. Even taking a few minutes out of the day to walk down the street and back can influence your mood. If you are struggling to fit time outside into your schedule, try to incorporate being outside into an activity that you are already planning on doing. Take that long phone call with the bank outside while you take a walk, take your laptop onto the front porch or back deck if you need to do something on the computer, eat your lunch outside. Any way that you can add even TEN minutes of outside time to your day, is a win! STEP 5: Treat Yourself While most of these suggestions are small ways to practice self-care, I would still like to challenge you to take 2 days out of this year and have a “ME DAY.” On this day you will schedule a massage or hair appointment. Or maybe, you will take a day trip to a museum or aquarium that you have been wanting to visit. Perhaps, you spend this day shopping around for a couple of things that you WANT but might not necessarily NEED. Use those holiday giftcards, and call in that babysitting offer from your parents, and do something you and your spouse have been wanting to do for date night. YOU DESERVE IT!

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How to be the “Hostess with the Mostest” This Holiday Season!

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and food! For some families, this is the only time of the year that they will have all of their family under one roof, so it is safe to say that it is one of the most important times of the year for many households. However, along with the cheer and excitement that accompany the grand events, stress can pry its way into the days and weeks prior to hosting. As a family-owned company, we care about the gathering aspect of the holiday season here at Shurm Homes. We want to make sure that your energy and focus can be on your time with loved ones, rather than worrying about preparation. We have compiled a list of suggestions and reminders to help you ease into the holidays! Organize the Food: How much pie is too much pie? You may find out if you skip this step! If your guests are all bringing dishes to the meal, you may want to set up a system for assigning dishes. You, as the host, can either do this on your own by reaching out to guests individually… OR you can use a program such as Sign-Up Genius. You can put all of the food items into the program and send a link to your guests. This serves two great purposes: 1.) It allows you to make sure all food items will be present at the meal 2.) It allows your guests to see what food items have already been chosen by someone else, so you don’t have too many of the same items. Don’t forget that some of your guests may have dietary restrictions! Ask this in advance so that you are inclusive as possible—No one wants to only eat salad at a holiday feast! Clean That Kitchen: One thing that throws a lot of people off when it comes to hosting a big family meal, is just how jam-packed your kitchen will be with people and food. When you clean and organize your kitchen in preparation for a large gathering, make sure that you are cleaning every surface with a disinfectant. Every inch of your available counter and island space may be used to hold food. Make sure your normal counter décor, and unnecessary appliances are off of your counter and put away in a space that will not disrupt your meal preparation. Make sure that all cookware that may be needed is cleaned, and in a convenient location. Wash and dry all of your dishes prior to hosting—Your sink will be full by the end of the day, so create the space now! Make sure that you sweep and mop a day prior, so that your floor is safe and not slippery! Make a Plan for the Food: Cooking takes time. Make sure that you make the most of your kitchen appliances by planning the order of dishes and cooking! If you built a home with us, you may remember speaking to our Designer about appliance packages. Did you take advantage of our convection microwaves, or our double ovens? Now is the time to put them to use! Prior to beginning the cooking process, make sure that you have a plan of action for which ovens and microwaves to use, and when. A double-oven can allow you to cook a large item like turkey or ham all day, while simultaneously cooking the sides. A convection microwave, paired with the double oven, can be a great help in warming and heating the food as you set the table! Cooking is already a time-consuming and attention-consuming process without the added element of scheduling the food preparation as you go. Some items like crock-pot recipes, turkey and ham will likely take longer to cook. Make sure that you are well-aware of how much time each item you need to make will take. Get ahead of the undue stress by mapping out your cooking ahead of time. Create Your Gathering Space: Make sure you have your space set aside for your guests to eat. Whether you already have a table for dinner, or you need to set one up, you don’t want to make decisions about your gathering-place at the last minute. Due to high-demand, you may find it difficult to find foldable chairs and tables close to the holiday season. Everyone who forgot to plan beforehand will be scorching the earth to find those last available sets of tables and chairs. Don’t leave any room for worry—plan your space ahead of time! Create the Boundaries That You Need: The last piece of advice that we have may seem obvious, but it is extremely important, and isn’t always easy. You are inviting your friends and family into YOUR space. A home is a very special place, and your family and friends should respect that. Since you are hosting, if you need your friends and family to wait until a certain time to come over, or safely leave at a certain time, make sure to create a clear boundary ahead of time so that everyone knows the plan. You want to have the best time possible, and that can not be done if you feel uncomfortable. It is best, and easiest to set the expectation early. So, whether your holiday is going to happen in a small window, or is going to run from sun-up to sun-down, make sure you let everyone know the plan! If you find yourself hoping to change something about your space to enhance your hosting experience next year, now is the perfect time to start talking to someone at Shurm Homes about building in time for next years’ celebration! Whether you host this year and want more counterspace, better appliances, or more outdoor space, OR if you are a guest with aspirations of having a place to host at next year, Shurm Homes can help you create the space of your dreams! From everyone here at Shurm Homes, have a happy, healthy and safe Holiday Season!

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Winter is coming!

It seems that the cold weather is coming in more like a dam-break and less like the trickle of a faucet this year! One day, we were choosing between shorts or jeans, and the next day we were digging our winter coats out of the back of our closets. As you prepare yourself and your family for the incoming cold-weather months, don’t forget to prepare you home as well! Yes, that is right— in the same way that we need to prepare ourselves for the Winter by getting out our gloves, hats, vitamin-C, heavy blankets and cozy socks; we need to prepare our homes for the changes they could go through due to those pesky winter temperatures. Here at Shurm Homes, we know that knowledge is power when it comes to home prep, and we have compiled some of the top tips to help you make sure your home is as safe and comfortable this Winter season as you are! Check Your Heating! This may seem like a “no-brainer,” but checking your heating before the cold weather sets in can be an absolute life-saver (LITERALLY!) Make sure that your home is up to the task of keeping your family warm and cozy. An HVAC inspection can insure that your home is venting properly. This can cut down your risk for Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Test Your Detectors! Make sure that you test your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors. Winter is the season that averages the most house fires per year! Of course, one of the goals of this list is to show you a few ways to avoid having those alarms sound, but we want you to be as prepared as possible in the case of emergency. If your detectors are beeping, it is likely time to change out those batteries. A new set of batteries before the winter months is never a bad idea! While you are in the mindset of checking your alarms, don’t forget to go over a family fire plan with your loved ones. Pick a meeting spot outside that you all know to gather at, and even do a fire drill to make sure everyone is up-to-date on fire safety information! Take a Look at Your Trees! Before the first snow of the season, take a moment to look at the trees that are surrounding your home. Look for any that look like they may be dying, fractured, or limbs that look particularly weak. When we think of snow, we often think of light, fluffy flakes. However, when snow piles onto the limbs of trees, it becomes very heavy. This, plus freezing temperatures can leave limbs weighed down by heavy, icy snow that can cause a break which may cause damage or injury. It is important to nip this problem in the bud (or “limb”) before such an issue occurs. Clean Your Gutters! Once the trees around your home are bare, it is time to clean out those gutters! During the fall, leaves… well… fall. This leaves your gutters packed with fallen leaves, leaving no room to do their job accurately. Water can sit on and between the leaves in your packed gutters and cause them to overflow. This leaves dripping water to fall down the sides of your home and cause deterioration the exterior of your home. Not to mention that overflowing water that freezes into icicles can be very dangerous! Don’t Forget About Your Pipes! Pipe bursts can be expensive and debilitating. It is so important to make sure that you are doing your due diligence to get ahead of the effect that winter weather can have on your pipes. Make sure that you drain all of your outdoor faucets. Sprinklers outside should also be blown out. You can have a professional come out and “winterize” your sprinkler system for you so that you can rest easy knowing it wont be a problem. On particularly chilly nights, when the weather is going to drop to or below freezing, it can be helpful to drip your faucets. Even the lightest movement of water through the pipes (a very slow, steady drip) can help keep the water from freezing in the pipes. It also will help to open the doors underneath your sinks to allow the pipes to be warmed by the air in the home. (If you are doing this step—PLEASE make sure that the items under the sink that are unsafe for children and your furry friends are REMOVED from the exposed area under the sink!) It is recommended that you keep the home at one temperature at all times of the day if possible to ensure that temperature changes do not aid the freezing of your pipes. Whether this is your first year in your own home, or your 50th year in your own home, we want everyone to enjoy the winter and holiday season with their families. This should be a worry-free time of laughter, making memories, time spent with loved ones and engaging in all of your yearly traditions! We hope that you have been able to take away something helpful from this article that you can implement in your new Shurm Home!

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