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Get Ready for the 19th Spring Market at Bizarre Bazaar

by Deelyn Neilson

Many people venture to Richmond, Virginia for the annual Bizarre Bazaar Christmas Show, but have you been for the Spring Market?  This market features two large exhibition rooms filled with unique gifts, gourmet foods, boutiques, fine artists, crafters, and whimsical decorative accessories for the home and garden.  The 19th Spring Market is next Friday (April 1st) - Sunday (April 3rd).  You can get your tickets at the door, or buy them in advance at www.thebizarrebazaar.com.

 

  • Friday, April 1st 10am-7pm                       
  • Saturday, April 2nd 10am-7pm
  • Sunday, April 3rd 10am-5pm

General Admission is $7.00.  Children (2-12) are $1.50.  The event takes place at the Richmond Raceway Complex, 600 E. Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, VA  FREE PARKING!  

Are you a runner? Was it your New Year's Resolution to get in shape?  Is running a half marathon or marathon on your bucket list?  If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may be interested in registering for the half marathon that is going to take place in the Historical Triangle in May! 

Why is this race historical?  It is the first authorized race along Duke of Gloucester Street.  1,900 people have already registered.  It is anticipated that runners for this event, are going to stay and enjoy what the area has to offer.  This is music to the ears of Hotel owners, local gift shops, and other tourist driven businesses! 

Colonial Williamsburg is offering runners discounts in its hotels.  Runners are also receiving other freebies, including pases to Colonial Williamsburg, discount vouchers for family and friends, and the first 3,000 entrants can enjoy a day at Busch Gardens on the house!

Still not convinced you are ready to run?  Maybe the after party in the Sunken Gardens, hosted by Pierce's Outt Bar-B-Que will entice your senses! 

Perhaps the philanthropic side will seal the deal.  All proceeds from the race will benefit the Wounded Warriors program, and An Achievable Dream.

Ready to lace up your sneakers?  The race caps at 4,000 entrants, so do not delay...To register, got to www.RunforAchievableDream.com.

Would you rather pass out water and cheer? Volunteers can go to www.RunforAchievableDream.com/Volunteers

 

 

When I think of a nice garden, the name Martha Stewart inevitably comes to mind.  So, I turned to her for some helpful tips on what you can do now to make your gardens beautiful throughout this Spring and Summer.

Follow the 10 tips outlined below for a welcoming garden that's filled with color and fragrance -- and song.

Survey the Yard
Make note of tree limbs that should be removed or cabled, especially those that overhang structures. Hire an arborist to maintain large trees.Cut down last year's perennial foliage, and toss it into the compost pile. Rake mulch from beds planted with bulbs before foliage appears, and refresh mulch in other planting areas after soil warms. Check fences, steps, and pathways for disrepair caused by freezing and thawing.

Order Tools and Plants
Tune up tools so everything is ready when things start growing. Make note of what is missing, and order tools for the new growing season. Choose new plants for the garden. Order perennials, trees, and shrubs for spring planting.

Get Ready to Mow
Send the mower and leaf blower for servicing, or if you have the right tools, sharpen the mower blades yourself. Refill your mower with oil, install fresh spark plugs, and lubricate moving parts if necessary. Clear the lawn of winter debris, and look for areas that need reseeding before mowing.

Prune Trees and Shrubs
Remove dead, damaged, and diseased branches from woody plants. Thin and trim summer-blooming shrubs such as butterfly bush, hydrangea, and most roses, except for old-fashioned once bloomers. Prune cold-damaged wood after plants resume spring growth. Prune spring-blooming shrubs and trees after flowering.

Take a Soil Test
Check soil pH with a home soil- test kit, taking several samples from different planting areas for an accurate reading. Enrich soil as necessary: Add dolomitic lime to raise the pH or elemental sulfur to lower the pH.

Prepare New Beds
Clear the planting area as soon as soil can be worked, removing sod or weeds and debris. Spread a 4-inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure and any amendments over soil, and cultivate it to a depth of 10 to 12 inches with a spading fork.

Plant
Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and perennials such as hostas and daylilies by early spring. Choose a cool, cloudy day if possible. Transplant container-grown plants anytime during the growing season except midsummer; be sure to water them thoroughly. Sow seeds of cool-season flowers like sweet peas, poppies, and calendula, and vegetables such as lettuce, parsley, and spinach.

Fertilize
Apply balanced fertilizer (6-6-6 or 8-8-8), fish emulsion, or other soil amendments recommended by soil-test results around trees and shrubs when new growth appears. Spread high-acid fertilizer and pine-needle mulch around acid-loving shrubs like azaleas and camellias. Begin fertilizing perennials when active growth resumes.

Start a Compost Pile
Start a compost pile, or use a compost bin, if you don't have one already. Begin by collecting plant debris and leaves raked up from the garden. Chop these up first to speed decomposition. Add equal amounts "brown" (carbon-rich) materials like dried leaves and straw and "green" (nitrogen-rich) materials like grass clippings and weeds in even layers with water and a compost bioactivator. Turn regularly. Continue adding to the pile throughout the season for rich, homemade compost next spring.

Clean Bird Feeders and Baths
Disinfect the feeders by scrubbing with weak bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach: 2 gallons warm water). Rinse and dry the feeders thoroughly before refilling them.Scrub birdbaths with bleach solution, then rinse them thoroughly and refill, changing water weekly. Clean birdbaths and feeders regularly throughout the season.

If you follow these steps, you will hopefully find that your garden has become, "A Good Thing"!

Williamsburg Buyers: Are you aware of Fannie Mae's New Policy?

by Deelyn Neilson

FANNIE MAE'S NEW POLICY:         

Fannie Mae has implemented a new policy that is very important. Since most lenders use FNMA’s guidelines this is an important change to be aware of.

As of June 1, lenders are responsible for certifying the borrower's monthly obligations have not increased from the time of the initial credit report through the closing date. This is effective for new conventional applications only and is not applicable for VA, FHA or Rural Development loans at this time. However, they could follow suit.

For Fannie Mae, the goal is to reduce the number of loans that default because of new, non-disclosed debt. Lenders have the freedom to verify in whatever manner they wish, but in most cases, the verification process will amount to a credit re-pull made just prior to closing. A credit report will be pulled at the beginning of the application and will also be pulled 5 days prior to closing.

What does this mean for the conventional borrower? It means that you absolutely should not take out any additional credit or even have an inquiry into your credit report from the time you start the loan application until after you close.

Tips to Avoid Last Minute Issues

DON’T:

• Take out any new credit during your loan application – wait until your loan has closed

• This means no furniture shopping, new window treatments and especially no “Buy now –Pay later” type of financing

• Use your line-of-credit to purchase anything • Make any large purchases using your credit cards

• Co-sign on a loan for anyone else

• Pay for the mover upfront – ask to be billed later

• Go car shopping even if not ready to buy yet – the dealer may pull your credit that will result in an additional inquiry

• Add to your current debt load as of application time until after closing • Pay late on any obligation

DO:

• Create paper trails for all deposits into your asset accounts

• Be prepared to write letters of explanations for anything out of the ordinary, e.g.: -For inquiries into your credit report – for any reason – over the last 90 days -For any derogatory credit issues -For any employment gaps

• Speak with your loan officer if you have any questions regarding any of this information.

Is NOW a Good Time to Buy Real Estate in Williamsburg, Virginia?

by Deelyn Neilson

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Never Ask a Barber if you Need a Haircut?"  Well, often times, the same can be true in real estate...so I was thinking...perhaps I should look to some other experts, and see what they have to say. 

 Business Insider’s Money Game interviewed real estate expert Barbara Corcoran earlier this week. This is what she said about buying in this market:

“We have a regular real estate miracle happening right now. We not only have record low prices, but we also have cheap money.”

A second real estate icon, Donald Trump,  just a few weeks ago said:

“This is a great time to go out and buy a house. And if you do, in 10 years you’re going to look back and say, ‘You know, I‘m glad I listened to Donald Trump’.”

Maybe it’s time to start listening to the people who have made fortunes buying and selling real estate. They may know best!!

 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

by Deelyn Neilson

 

 

 

 

Busch Gardens, Williamsburg Pass Member Appreciation Day Is Here!

by Deelyn Neilson

Pass Member Preview Day is here for Season Ticket Holders at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg!  Roller coaster enthusiasts - it is the day you have been waiting for!  Saturday, March 19th, the park will be open exclusively to Season Pass Holders.  Enjoy the new Oktoberfest village...but remember, the new Mach Tower does not open until later this Spring. 

Interested in some new Busch Gardens Merchandise?  Now is the time to buy!  You will receive 30% off purchases thru March, 27th - so stock up and save!

Be sure to pack a rain coat...Saturday's forecast is calling for a few showers, and a high of 64 degrees.

 

Williamsburg Military Personnel: Mortgage Help is Available!

by Deelyn Neilson

 

                     

 

Bank of America Introduces Program to Extend Mortgage Protections for Servicemembers Beyond Active Duty Unique Program Includes Interest Rate Reductions, Targeted Principal Forgiveness, and Dedicated Mortgage Servicing Team to Assist Military Customers

Bank of America has just recently introduced a Military Loan Modification Program for active duty members of the United States Military who are behind in their mortgage payments.  In addition, protections for mortgages of servicemembers who are not currently actve duty are available.  

“Our new Military Loan Modification Program builds on our long-standing commitment to the United States military forces and will help address the heavy burden of financial matters at home that can weigh on those who are protecting our freedoms,” said Terry Laughlin, executive vice president for Bank of America. “Military men and women face extraordinary circumstances, and they make unique sacrifices for all of us. For these reasons, we want this combination of tools to address their needs and help them when they need it most."

Beginning April 1, 2011, Bank of America will also offer a 4-percent interest rate on mortgages for active duty military personnel while they are under Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protection. This is lower than the 6-percent rate required by SCRA guidelines. The 4-percent rate will be applicable for the duration of the borrowers’ active duty and for 12 months after release.

Servicemembers with Bank of America mortgages may reach the dedicated customer service unit at 888.325.5357.

 

It's Fat Tuesday!  You have your beads, and your favorite New Orleans jazz music...but what is for dinner?

Jambasta!   

Definition?  Rachael Ray says, "My dad is from Louisiana, originally. This is a combination of jambalaya, a native favorite, and pasta, something he developed a love for by having Italians in the house! It can turn Wednesday, Monday or Sunday into Fat Tuesday!"

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1 pound penne rigate (pasta with lines)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, any brand, casing removed and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped or thinly sliced (1 large jalapeño may be substituted)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery from the heart with greens, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beer (1/2 bottle)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Franks Red Hot or Tabasco brand (eyeball it)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 pound chicken breast, diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (eyeball it)
  • 2 scallions, sliced

Preparation     

Heat a pot of water to a boil for pasta; add salt to it, then pasta. Cook to al dente and drain.

While pasta works, heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add EVOO, about two turns of the pan, butter and andouille sausage. Brown the sausage 2-3 minutes to render the fat. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add garlic, peppers, celery and onions. Sauté the veggies for 5-6 minutes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add flour to the pan. Cook flour with veggies two minutes more, then whisk in beer. Cook beer out, about two minutes.

Add chicken stock, tomatoes, hot sauce and thyme. Bring liquid to a bubble and add chicken and shrimp. Cook 6-7 minutes, until chicken is firm and shrimp are opaque and firm. Stir to mix in cooking juices, then add in cream. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Ladle up the jambasta and top with chopped scallions and reserved crispy andouille.

Enjoy!

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

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