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Holiday Tour of Homes Around West Cobb

I just finished the Fall Season magazine and the holiday season around West Cobb begins with holiday home tours. This is my favorite time of year and it seems to go by the fastest with so many things to do! Some events happen so early, they are almost missed. So this post is to let you know about some of the events coming up and how to make sure not to miss them.

2017 Holiday Home Tours

  • Last year, the Milton Tour of Homes sold out within minutes. And this year, while they have expanded to offer FOUR tours, you can plan on the same thing happening – especially since it is a fall decor event. This year’s event will feature autumn decor and there will be two tours each day on October 21st and 22nd. Saturday tours will depart at 9:45 am and 1:30pm, and Sunday tours will depart at 10:45am and 2:30pm. Tickets will be $35 each and are limited to 4 tickets per purchase. Tickets will go on sale Monday, September 18th at 9am.
  • The Atlanta Home for the Holidays Showcase Home has been announced and it is 1800 Garraux Road NW, Atlanta GA 30327. Twenty designers will transform the home for the holidays and tours will be scheduled from November 16 – December 10, 2017. Tickets range in price from $25-$175. The event benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
  • The Marietta Pilgrimmage will again showcase six private homes in the Whitlock Avenue District that will be decorated for the holiday season. Organized by the Marietta Visitors Bureau and Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society, this year will be its 31st year. On Friday, December 1st, the event will kick off with a tickets only,  black tie gala – “The Marietta Pilgrimage Tour Gala,” offering an evening of dining, music, and dancing at the Whitlock Inn.  No tour homes will be open for the gala. The tour of homes will be held on December 2 and 3 and tickets will range from $20-$25.
  • The Virginia Highlands Tour of Homes will also be held December 2 and 3, with tour hours on Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sunday from 11am-4pm. There will also be food tastings both days from 12pm-4pm. There are 8 homes in this year’s tour including a 1920’s English country style home, a recently renovated Colonial Revival home built in 1916, a unique 1925 Cape Dutch home, a restored 1916 bungalow, and an historic building used as a combination art gallery and residence, as well as three other historic homes. Tickets will range from $25-30.
  • The 2017 Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes will be held on December 9 and 10, from 6pm-10pm. Advance tickets for the 2017 Candlelight Tour of Homes are $20 each through Friday, Dec. 8. Ticket prices increase to $25 each beginning Saturday, Dec. 9.
  • The Woodstock Junior Woman’s Club will host it’s 21st Annual Holiday Tour of Homes on November 11 and 12. This year’s event will include 5 homes decorated by 6 designers. The homes are:

Think you might want to create your own holiday home tours by having your home professionally decorated for the holidays? Here are some local companies that can help with the decorating:

  1. Acorn Home & Decorating
    3870 Due West Rd. NW
    Marietta, GA 30064
    Website
  2. Seasonal Designs
    Hiram, GA
    Website
  3. Lightning Bug Electric
    3605 Sandy Plains Road
    Marietta, GA 30066
    Website

Holiday home tours offer the opportunity to consider new possibilities. If you are looking for a new home, there are still historical homes for sale around West Cobb that you can buy and decorate for the holidays.  Contact us to help you with your home search.

Thanksgiving Around Cobb County

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this week? Signs of Thanksgiving around Cobb County are seen throughout our neighborhoods as we welcome the holiday season and start planning the holiday menus. All around West Cobb, Publix and Kroger stores have holiday planning displays reminding us about baking supplies, and the trimmings for the turkey. Yes, let the holiday season entertaining begin.

If you recently moved into your West Cobb home, you might be hosting your first family Thanksgiving. And while you focus on making sure the house is ready for the guests, you might want some help. Here are some hotlines that can help you with menu planning, portion calculations, food safety and more.

  • Butterball Turkey Talk-Line: 1-800-BUTTERBALL
    The Turkey Talk-Line is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 7 PM CST from now until December 21. And the best part of all: it’s open Thanksgiving day, starting at 6 AM CST!! TDD line: 1-800-TDD-3848. Bilingual help is available. Online help in Spanish and English.  They also offer a FAQ list to quickly answer many popular questions.
  • USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-888-674-6854
    If you have questions about food safety, including storage, handling and preparation of the Thanksgiving turkey, call the USDA hotline weekdays from 9 AM to 3 PM CST. TDD line: 1-800-256-7072. The Hotline is open on Thanksgiving Day from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p. m., Eastern Time, but closed on other Federal government holidays.
  • Fleischmann’s Yeast Baker’s Help Line:1-800-777-4959
  • This helpline, for all your questions about breads and rolls, is open Monday – Friday from 9 AM – 7 PM, all year long. Online help.
  • Land O’Lakes Holiday Bake Line: 1-800-782-9606
    Any and all baking questions are answered from 8 AM to 7 PM CST at Land O’Lakes from now until Christmas Eve. Online help.
  • Hershey’s Consumer Hot Line: 1-800-468-1714
    Let the folks at Hersheys walk you through every chocolate question you’ve ever had. Ask for recipes too! This line is open Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM EST, all year round.
  • Libby Consumer Hot Line: 1-800-854-0374
    Stressed about your pumpkin pie? Get tips and advice, plus recipes using canned pumpkin. The line is open Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 8 PM EST, all year round.
  • Ocean Spray Consumer Helpline:1-800-662-3263
    Learn everything you ever wanted to know about cranberries, including ideas for using leftover canned cranberry sauce. The hotline is open Monday – Friday from 9 AM – 4 PM EST, all year round. And it’s open on Thanksgiving! Online help

And if cooking Thanksgiving Dinner is overwhelming you, and you decide to let someone else do the cooking & cleanup this year, here are the restaurants in our area open on Thanksgiving Day and offering a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner:

Whether you dine in or out, enjoy your holiday and be safe.

Black Friday Changes

This is the year that Black Friday changes and has created the most controversial start to the holiday shopping season. Most major department stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day. 

Town Center at Cobb was closed for the last time on Thanksgiving Day last year when it opened at midnight. But like most malls around the country, this year they will open on Thanksgiving Day for  an estimated 41 hours of non-stop shopping. Macy’s and JC Penney have announced that they for the first time, they will be open on Thanksgiving Day.  While Black Friday has become a holiday tradition for many, the switch to Thanksgiving Day has created an online controversy and commentary for many articles

The one positive for some, and negative for others, is that this will be the shortest holiday shopping season since 2002 – shorter than last year’s by six days. Which in “retailese” will cost retailers $1.5 billion in online sales alone according to a recent study by Adobe, and the estimates are still out on brick and mortar sales. 

So the malls and large chains will offer extended hours with lots of promotions. But in our corner of Dallas and Acworth, we have several local retailers that will continue their regular hours while offering unique items to delight shoppers and gift recipients. And while you plan your shopping expeditions, please don’t forget them or the basic tips below:

Some basic tips from the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC):

  1. Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
  2. Shop online with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you are not familiar with it. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  3. Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases.   Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit  card or bank statements as they come in. 
  4. Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction sites.
  5. Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
  6. Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
  7. Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
  8. Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
  9. Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies if you are using mass transit.
  10. If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.

Holiday Security Tips Around Dallas & Acworth GA – at home & around town

Unfortunately the season of giving sometimes becomes the season of taking as well. Holiday security around Dallas & Acworth GA – at home and around town, is important and it doesn’t hurt to have heightened awareness. So what can you do to protect your home, yourself and others? Here are some tips as well as tips for while for home security around Dallas & Acworth GA.

Holiday Security Tips

Consider a Security System

Statistics show that homes with security systems are a deterrent to criminals. And today you have several options from DIY self-installed systems that can be installed fairly quickly to professionally installed systems that offer countless additional services and monitoring services. Regardless of the system you install, you should make it clear that your home is secured by placing a sign near your front door. As with any other purchase, some things to consider when investing in a security system:

  • Research the company. A fast talking salesperson alerting you to increased prices or scare tactics can be an indication of an unethical company. Check sources other than their website for testimonials and reviews.
  • Carefully examine the contract for early-termination charges. Many companies offer the system for free as long as you sign up for a specific period of time of monthly maintenance. Early cancellation may leave you responsible for the cost of a very expensive system, even if it’s because you sold the home and moved.
  •  Advertising promises cannot be binding if they are not specifically spelled out in the contract. Check for inclusions and exclusions to ensure that what you have been promised is actually covered.
  •  Limited liability often refers to the alarm company’s responsibility if you suffer a break-in, regardless of negligence or failure of equipment or service, and what the reimbursement level is.
  • Monitoring 

Some basic DIY issues you should make sure to do:

  • Have a deadbolt on all exterior doors. If you have more than one exterior door, you probably want to ensure that the deadbolts use the same key. 
  • Have a pet? Dogs barking are actually a deterrent to burglars and is why there are alarms sound like a dog barking. 
  • Turning a light on when you think someone is in the yard is a deterrent, and since you might not be home all the time, a motion sensor light can help you with this. 
  • The internet and smartphones have made home monitoring so much easier. You can install cameras to monitor your home online whether you are at work, or thousands of miles away. And today’s systems enable you turn lights off and on, and more.

Research has shown that neighborhoods where most home owners have installed security systems usually have fewer incidents of residential burglaries. And this might be why the Cedarcrest neighborhoods are the safest in our area according to Neighborhood Scout.

Watch What You Say

Are you really popular on Facebook, accepting friend requests from everyone? And sharing all of your personal information? It is amazing how many people accept friend requests from people they don’t even know. Imagine this scenario…

[message type=”custom” width=”100%” start_color=”#FFFCB5″ end_color=”#F4CBCB” border=”#BBBBBB” color=”#333333″]You won the holiday sales contest at work and the prize is two weeks all inclusive tickets to Hawaii. (cool, huh).  Once you let your travel partner know, you announce the news on Facebook. And the congratulations, likes, and shares begin. Then the questions…when are leaving? How long will you be gone? Do you get it? You just let everyone know that your home will be empty for two weeks. [/message]  

Vacation Tips

  • Don’t announce on social media when you will be away – and this should be true of all members in your household.
  • Use automatic timer for your lights, and if you want, for televisions, etc.
  • Ask a neighbor to watch your home, shovel snow, and park in the driveway from time to time.
  • Don’t forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it’s a sure sign you’re gone.

Holiday Decorations

For some reason, most homeowners open their window treatments at the holidays and place their Christmas tree and gifts in the front windows, for everyone to see – even potential burglars. Considering placement of your decorations and holiday presents is important to deter them. And after the holiday, don’t leave the empty boxes from large purchases like flat screen tvs, computers, etc. on your front lawn with the trash. Consider taking them to the Solid Waste Transfer Station & Recycling Center off of Seven Hills Blvd.

Also be alert when you return from shopping excursions with gifts. It’s best to empty the car after you are in the garage and the doors are closed so that no one sees your purchases. But if you cannot do this, make sure you weren’t followed home from the mall and that there is no one suspicious around the neighborhood.

Most of all, enjoy the holidays, just step up the awareness a bit.

Smart Holiday Entertaining in Cobb County

Smart holiday entertaining in Cobb County or anywhere can be overwhelming this time of year whether it’s attending or planning holiday parties. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just pick up your smartphone and download some apps to help.  We thought it would be great to share some basic info with you to help make your holiday season and party plans a little easier, along with a list of smartphone apps to use during the holidays and after.

Party Planning

Even when you are the host, sometimes everyone pitches in – one person does appetizers, another does dessert, etc. This app helps keep everything organized and know who is pitching in what.

  • PitchIn
    http://vimeo.com/49807168

Food & Beverage

There are now smartphone apps that can help you with planning food & beverage menus, but a general rule of thumb I use is ½ pound of food per person for cocktails and snacks, and ½ pound per person for a meal. Since I prefer buffet parties, here are suggestions for different categories:

[custom_table]

Appetizers
Qty per person/per 1 hour Number of hours
5 appetizers First two hours
3 appetizers Each additional hour
Example: cocktail party from 7p-10p = 8 appetizers per person with a variety of 5-7 choices of appetizers
Dips
Qty per person/per 1 hour Number of hours
½ pound per person Total event time
Fondue
Qty per person/per 1 hour Number of hours
½ pound per person First two hours, and then each hour
Two fondue forks per person Total event time
Example: per person = 20 cubes of bread; 6 ounces protein, vegetable or fruit; 4 ounces cheese, cookies or cake
Pizza
Qty per person/per 1 hour Number of hours
2-3 slices  per pie
Platters
Qty per person/per 1 hour Number of hours
½ cup of fruit Total event time
4-8 pieces of vegetables Total event time
6-10 pieces of cheese Total event time

[/custom_table]
from Eventually Perfect
 

Apps that can help you:

Invitations

The invitation is everyone’s first impression of your event. Make it stand out. You can send invitations via the internet, but that should be a last resort, unless you are doing something unique, like a slideshow, which should still include a printed invite. 

Websites that offer online invitations:

Cobb County offers sober rides:

Metro America Safe Drivers
Phone: 770-507-3332
Hours: 7pm-7am everyday
Details: A driver takes you home in your own vehicle
http://www.metroamericasafedrivers.org/

And finally, be safe and have fun!

Remember to not drink and drive.