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How To Prep Your Fox River Valley Home For Thanksgiving!

by The Rullo Team

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching! If you are hosting the big feast at your Fox River Valley  home, now is the perfect time to prepare so you feel less stress as the day draws nearer. Along with planning out your delicious menu, get your home ready so all your guests will be comfy and happy this holiday!


1. Keep It Bright!

You know your home like the back of your hand but your guests don't. Make sure that everyone can safely navigate throughout your home no matter what time of day it is. Check that all outdoor lights are working. Add nightlights to hallways and in bedrooms and bathrooms that guests will be using.

2. Clear The Space!

Remove all unnecessary clutter to accomodate more people in your house. Store these items out of the way in closests and the basement. Make sure you have ample space on counters and tables for all of your food prep.

3. Say Welcome!

Create an amazing first impression for guests as they enter your home by focusing on the foyer. Add some welcoming touches for a festive, homey feel. At the same time, keep it functional for your guests. With the colder weather, you will need ample space for guests to place their coats, shoes, and gear.

4. Get Your Kitchen Ready!

Your kitchen will be the central hub of your home next week so make sure that it is ready to go before the cooking starts. Have all essential items easily accessible. Make it possible for guests to keep you company as you cook by creating a comfortable hang spot for them in the kitchen.

5. Feels Like Home!

If guests are spending the night, make sure that they will be as comfortable as possible. Stock up on warm bedding for them to use. Even if they aren't sleeping over, have spots throughout your home where they can relax since we all get tired after the big feast!

6. Stock Up!

Make sure that all essential items are available in your home's bathroom to account for your additional guests. Stock up on toilet paper, towels, and toiletries for them to use. Keep these items in spots that are easy for guests to locate when they are needed.



For great homeowners tips throughout the holiday season, follow us on FACEBOOK and visit our WEBSITE!

A Season to be Thankful!

by The Rullo Team

A season to be thankful…

5 ways to give back this holiday season

There are so many ways to help others this season, or all year long! Now, who wouldn’t love to do that??

  1. Support our Troops: United Service Organizations offers a variety of drives for soldiers. You could also sponsor the cost of a phone call home, the local USO division can assist you with information. This year, Yankee Candle Company is selling Thankgiving-themed candles with part of the proceeds going to support the USO’s programs.
  2. Donate to a Food Bank: This would seem an obvious one, but did you know that not only can you donate food….but donate your time and money also? Food banks such as Northern Illinois Food Bank will accept help sorting food at their facility but if you are short on time, you can make a monetary donation. Whichever you choose, they are grateful for your help!
  3. Visit a Retirement home: Retirement homes and Memory care facilities often have residents who won’t see a family member during Thanksgiving. All you need to do is check the visiting hours and bring the gift of good conversation!
  4. Help the home-bound elderly:  Meals on Wheels delivers daily more than 1 million meals to the home-bound, and a large number of them are elderly. This organization is always looking for volunteers to continue their good works!
  5. Visit a hospital: Sadly, there are no holidays in a hospital. Call your local hospital and inquire as to how you can volunteer for the holiday. Offer to distribute food, bring small gifts to children or elderly, or maybe the best gift of all, just simply sitting and visiting with someone.

If you are interested in more information about the benefits of home ownership in the Fox Valley Area please contact a real estate professional with the Rullo Team.

Thanksgiving Survival Brief

by The Rullo Team

This Thanksgiving will be different you tell yourself!  You’ve decided on the menu ahead of time, you have your guest list and what everyone is bringing, but no matter how well you plan, something always goes wrong.  So here are ten extra tips to help your Thanksgiving go smoothly.   

 

Coolers aren’t just for tailgating!

 Everyone knows that refrigerator real estate is precious closer and closer to the feast, and the day of…forget about it!  So, bring out the cooler support.  You can clear your fridge of all of those large jars of pickles and condiments!  You can basically but anything you will not be needing for thanksgiving in your cooler and forget about it until after the big day.  If you live in colder climates you can store the cooler outside, away from all the ruckus of relatives.  The cooler isn’t just for storing space hogging jars of pickles though.  For instance, you could use it to brine your Turkey over night (just make sure there is plenty of ice!)  Or you could use it as a warming drawer…I mean it is insulated right?!  Line it with aluminum foil, add some folded towels and fill it with hot dishes as they come out of the oven.  

*NOTE* Use a little common sense…Don’t melt your cooler!

 

Pennies…Not just a useless form of currency!

 Pennies make great pie weights!…what’s a pie weight you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  Pie weights prevent your pie crust from rising, leaving you with an awkward bottom to your pie…just put a layer of tinfoil over your crust first, then fill it with pennies, then bake!  Boom, perfectly flat crust!

 

Aluminum foil!  One of Thanksgiving's MVPs

You can also use it as a Roasting Rack.  The point of a rack is to hold the bird above the pan so heat can circulate evenly, but who says it has to be made of wire?  If you don’t already have a store-bought rack you can make you’re own.  1. Crumple some sheets of foil into thick ropes and wrap them in coils on the bottom of the pan, that’s it.  Or you could go the green route and roast atop a bed of halved carrots, celery and onions.  

 

Ah the slow cooker.

 The only thing worst than lumpy mashed potatoes on thanksgiving is cold, gluey ones.  Keeping your spuds toasty while using the burners for other dishes is a piece of pie.  Butter your slow cooker, add some heavy cream to the potatoes, set the temp to low and then stir every hour or so.  Your potatoes will stay warm and silky s smooth!

 

Fat Separator…no not your belt.

The secret to great gravy is skimmed (not greasy) pan droppings.  If you don’t have a fat separator, simply pour your drippings into a large heatproof measuring cup and pop it in the freezer.  The drippings will cool and the fat will rise to the top and solidify, making it super easy to skim off with a spoon!

 

That thermos isn’t just for coffee.  

Put your gravy into a thermos… let sit until you’re ready to eat!  It’s that easy!

 

Local Salad Bar as Sous Chef

Ok this tip is going to be controversial, but it can literally save hours off of your prep time.  Go to your local market and pick up ingredients from the salad  bar that are already cleaned and ready to eat; chopped onions, trimmed beans, sliced bell peppers, hardboiled eggs, crumbled bacon…  It will save you a lot of work!…and you don’t have to tell anyone why you look less frantic this year, simply pour yourself a glass of wine and wait for the turkey.

 

Use your cabinets as cook book stands!

 If your recipes look anything like mine, they are covered in splashes and spills, the letters are barely visible at this point.  It’s a pain to keep flipping back and forth as well. Solution:  Print copies and tape them to your cabinets.  Keep them at eye level around your kitchen.  You’ve just minimized your kitchen clutter and can now  follow directions hands free, take notes on the fly; you could even arrange them in order of your cooking prep!  This is my favorite tip!

 

Bring that Turkey back from the dead!

Oops, did you over cook the Turkey?  Before glumly handing out the dried out bird  your guests, drizzle a little warm chicken broth over the meat.  It’ll moisten and add flavor.  This also helps for slices that have gone from room temp to cold!  

 

Deflect your guests

…in a nice way.  A busy kitchen is the worst when your trying to cook 8 things at once in order to eat on time, as to not disappoint your mother in-law.  So, give your guests jobs…outside of the kitchen.  Have a wine table with wine glasses and bottles as well as carafes of water.  Ask them to open the wine, pour the glasses, set the table, hang the coats, heard the kids.  Anything really, as long as they stay out of the kitchen!

 *Special Thanks to the Food Network 

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