If you’re like many of us, wrapping a holiday present means placing the gift in a bag with some tissue paper and calling it a day. Or, there’s always the option of shopping at a retail store that offers a gift wrapping service and watching in utter amazement as the professional works their magic on your beloved gift. Also among us, those talented, crafty folks who consider gift wrapping to be an art form and wince while the recipient tears through their meticulous creation. Then there’s some of us that hand the gift over in its raw, unwrapped form, with a sheepish, “Merry Christmas! I heard you needed socks.”
Regardless of which gift wrapping group you belong to, we thought you might enjoy these EASY and creative gift wrapping ideas!
Cosmetic Gift Bags. Cosmetic companies constantly have giveaways to promote their new product lines and will often package their “free with purchase” promotions in glitzy cosmetic bags. If you frequent the fragrance and makeup counters, you know what we’re talking about. At the end of the year, you may end up with 10 or more unused cosmetic bags. Varying in size, shape, and color these bags are perfect for a collection of soaps and creams, monogrammed golf tees and golf balls, make-up items or makeup brushes, clunky jewelry items like bracelets, small gift books, and everyone’s favorite – cash and gift cards! You can tie a bow on the zipper or handle, attach a gift tag, and your wrapping task is complete.
The Funny Papers. Next time the Sunday newspaper arrives, grab the funny papers and use them to wrap your gift. This is a big hit with kids and adults, alike. If your loved one has a favorite comic strip, you can glue or tape it across the front of any wrapped gift for that extra personal touch.
Colorful Pillowcases and Sheets. For bulky items like dollhouses, skateboards, trikes, and garden tools, try wrapping your gift in some colorful sheets or pillowcases. Dare we say it – make sure the sheets are clean! Scoop the gift item up in the sheet and tie it at the top with some colorful thick ribbon or for garden tools, you could add an outdoor element and use live twigs or ivy and attach a few live flowers or pine cones to the top with tape or twine.
Sheet Music. Sheet music adds a sweet personal touch for the musically inclined people on your gift list and is pliable and easy to work with. Add a ribbon to your creation and move on to the next person on your list.
Maps! Travelers will love this special touch. The great thing about wrapping presents with maps, is everyone knows that a map never really folds back in place, so a few wrinkles here and there are to be expected.
Tie a box with a jump rope.
Finish a gift off with bejeweled hair ties.
For food gifts, write your holiday message on a Christmas napkin.
Any box is fair game for your gift: empty cereal boxes, peach crates, etc.
Decorative bowls work for movie-package gifts, just add popcorn and a movie gift card.
Decorative mugs work with cocoa mix, coffees, and tees.
What is your gift wrapping idea? Share it with us at #LifeatWeidner.
The holiday season is often considered the “Season of Giving.” Nothing spreads holiday cheer more than investing in the happiness of others by providing support in their time of need. Here are five notable charities to consider donating to this holiday season, not to mention the many volunteer opportunities in your local neighborhood.
The American Red Cross is perhaps one of the most well-known international charities for their work in aiding those who suffer loss amid national disasters. Their mission statement reads, “The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. ” An estimated 91 cents of every dollar donated is reinvested in humanitarian efforts.
Toys for Tots provides toys, books, and other gifts to children in need. Numerous events are held nationwide that help facilitate the gathering of these gifts, with an estimated 97% of your donation going directly to the children and 3% spent to support their fundraising events.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s mission is to “advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.” Families never receive a bill from St. Jude Children’s Hospital for treatments, housing, travel or food “because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.” We couldn’t agree more.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a “nonpartisan organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States” through a comprehensive, solution-based approach ranging from connecting individuals to available housing and services, to crisis response and employment opportunities and assistance. Similarly, in Washington State, Hopelink “has served homeless and low-income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities in King and Snohomish counties; providing stability and helping people gain the skills and knowledge they need to exit poverty for good.”
World Wildlife Fund is well recognized for their efforts in “protecting the future of nature for more than 50 years. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by more than one million members in the United States and close to five million globally.” WWF’s mission is to “conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.”
From all of us at Weidner, we are grateful to each and every volunteer, donator, and charitable organization committed to the greater good of our communities.
What are some of your favorite charities or volunteer organizations? Let us know at #LifeatWeidner.
All is calm, all is bright. The lights are shimmering on your Christmas tree. Presents are neatly wrapped and stacked underneath, and the festivities are about to begin!
But wait, let’s cover some quick holiday tree safety tips!
If you are choosing a live tree, ask for a freshly cut tree with green needles. If it’s not freshly cut, ask the tree lot owner to re-cut the tree a few inches above the old cut to keep the moisture moving throughout the foliage.
Place your tree in a leak-proof container designed for holiday trees and check the water level daily. Keeping your tree moist is the key to reducing fire hazards.
Make sure your tree is securely fastened and positioned inside the container.
Keep all trees, decorations, presents, and lights at least 3 feet away from heat sources. Do not place your tree over or near the heating vent. Choose the coolest place in the apartment to set up your tree.
Never, ever leave a lighted tree unattended. Turn the lights off every time you leave the house and when you go to bed at night. (We’re pretty sure Santa won’t mind and that he can see in the dark. )
Please follow your leasing office tips and requests for tree removal. Also, never keep a tree beyond its natural cycle. If the needles are drying and falling off sooner than expected, replace the tree or invest in an artificial tree.
Decorating your tree, safely:
Choose flame resistant or flame retardant decorations for your tree. Never place a lit candle on or near your tree.
Keep all decorations, presents, and lights off the vents and heat sources.
Check your holiday light’s labels and make sure to use lights that read “independent laboratory testing.”
Use indoor lights for your indoor decorations and outdoor lights for outdoor decorations. Check with your community leasing or maintenance supervisor before putting up outdoor decorations, as the community must comply with various insurance ordinances.
Check to make sure all electrical cords are in good working order with no frays, cracked wires, or broken sockets. Do not “repair” broken light sets.
Don’t overload electrical outlets with too many lights. Don’t plug an electric device into the same outlet as your holiday tree.
Keep all exits clear of decorations.
DO ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY!
From all of us at Weidner, please have a safe and happy holiday season!
One of the most rewarding things about holiday shopping is the spirit of giving and the joy that it brings. Unfortunately, that spirit can get weighed down quickly in shopping lines that wrap around the store and stretch your budget way beyond the limits. Here are a few holiday shopping hacks that can save you time, money, and energy –and help keep the spirit of giving alive!
Make a list and check it thrice. Make out your gift list in advance of hitting the stores or going online. It will keep you focused, efficient, and on budget. Consider what the recipient’s passion or hobbies are and see if you can match that to your budget. Once the list is complete, organize it by store or what online sites you’re going to hit, so you’re not in excessive holiday traffic, albeit on or offline.
If you’re planning on shipping your gifts, try to take advantage of free shipping deals. Of course, Amazon offers free shipping with a Prime subscription, but other stores often offer the same service. For example, Barnes & Noble bookstore offers free shipping to the store or the recipients’ address. Be sure to gather the addresses you’ll need ahead of time, so you’re not halfway through the order process before you realize you have an outdated address.
Shop local stores during Open House events. Local businesses usually allocate a particular day or weekend to show their wares and often offer deep discounts to encourage shopper loyalty. It’s also an excellent opportunity to support local small businesses.
Consider using reward points to shop for gifts. While it’s nice to see those reward points accumulating all year long, reward points can save you a lot of money during the holidays. Check the fine print for any restrictions and avoid frustration during the check-out process.
Check out the deals on coupon sites. This 20 Best Coupon Sites list from Money Pantry has been updated for 2018 and boasts an up to 90% savings. A little tip on coupon sites – to redeem the coupon, it’s usually necessary to click through to the retailer’s website from the coupon site. Also, coupons and their codes expire when the deal runs out, so even if the deal is still listed on the site, make sure to check that the deal is still active.
Shop with the right credit card. If you’re shopping on credit, make sure you’re using the credit card with the lowest interest rate or offers a cash-back option.
Make it yourself. You knew this one was coming! Homemade gifts never go out of style, and depending on what ingredients/materials you’re using, DIY holiday gifts could save you hundreds of dollars. ThriftyFrugalMom.com has 20 ideas for gift giving on a budget, and House Beautiful boasts that these 60 DIY gifts are so fabulous, they’re not likely to be re-gifted!Whether you decide to join the masses at the mall or you prefer to shop quietly online while sipping your eggnog, we wish you a joyful and economical season of giving!
If you’ve never been “Elfed,” you haven’t experienced the holidays to their fullest – or so says the neighbor showing off their awesome basket of treats.
In its raw form, Elfing is a game of Pay-it-Forward mixed with a little Secret Santa. The game starts with one anonymous neighbor leaving a basket, bag, or box of treats for their neighbor with a note or poem on how to play the game, what to do next, and how to spread the cheer to the next neighbor. Organized Christmas and Pinterest have poems and printable “We’ve Been Elfed” signs to help you spread the holiday fun, or you can always make your own.
Elfing Gift Ideas
Traditionally, treats are defined as sweets like candy, gourmet popcorn, and cookies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative! Here are a few easy gift ideas for Elfing your neighbor:
Cozy, fun, colorful socks or hats. They come in a myriad of themes, sizes, and colors and are easy to transport. You could also fill them with wrapped candy treats.
Herb garden kits for the kitchen window. The benefit of this gift is that it keeps on giving and when they start growing, you can borrow those same herbs.
Fun, festive welcome mats.
Garden Gnome, a traditional Secret Santa favorite.
Coffee mugs filled with teas, coffees, and biscotti.
Cookie jars filled with cookies or dog treat jars for pet lovers.
Festive, blank journals.
How-to Build a Snowman kit.
Coloring books with crayons and pens.
A basket of cooking utensils and a family recipe.
A collection of cocoa mixes and a bag of marshmallows.
Holiday hand towels and soaps.
Share Your Elfing Stories at #LifeatWeidner
We want to hear all about your Elfing ideas and how the game played out at your community at #LifeAtWeidner!
Have a safe and happy holiday, from your friends at Weidner.
Winter isn’t just coming; it’s here! Perhaps it won’t be as dramatic as scenes from Game of Thrones, but we thought it would be a good idea to revisit tips on staying warm this winter.
What’s in Your Closet?
Before you head to the Great Outdoors, albeit for work or play, take a look through your closet and make sure you’ve got what you need to layer up. Stay cozy with long underwear and long tee shirts that are comfortable and fit to your body so you can add sweaters and coats without adding too much bulk. Remember to change out old gloves and hats that have lost their luster in past seasons and keep those feet, hands, and heads warm.
Recent technology will also help you layer with panache and efficiency. Now you don’t have to travel to the moon to enjoy NASA technology fashion for freezing conditions. “Developed from the NASA technology used for space suit insulation and the Mars Rovers, OROS has successfully made outerwear thinner, warmer and more flexible to help advance your adventures.” NASA fashions might also prove to be a good conversation starter at holiday parties.
Keeping Your Apartment Home Warm and Cozy
Here are some tips on keeping your apartment warmed up while also minding the utility bill:
Let the sunshine in! During the day, leave the curtains and blinds open to absorb the sun’s natural warmth and close them up when the sun sets. Thermal curtains help keep the heat in.
Indulge your inner chef and cook and bake at home. After dinner or dessert is heated through, turn the oven off and open its door and let the remaining heat escape into the apartment. Unless of course, you burned the lasagna, then skip this step!
Change out your summer throw blankets for heavier fleeces, wools, and down.
Close your closet doors! No need to heat your walk-in closet if you don’t need to.
Seal drafty under-door areas and windows with towels or stoppers made for just that and do let your maintenance staff know if there are drafty windows and doors that aren’t shutting properly. We want to know!
Consider investing in a heated blanket or go old-school and try a heated water bottle to warm up your bed at night.
Other Fun Ideas for Staying Warm in Winter
Host a Soup Party Potluck and invite friends and neighbors over for a soup cook-off.
Have your friends over for brunch with the stipulation that everyone dress in their flannel jammies and bring their favorite hot beverage.
Stay active! Dance, get on the exercise bike, do interactive workouts, or suit up and embark on an outdoor adventure. Either way, you’ll warm up.
Share your winter wisdom tips with us at #LifeatWeidner and stay warm and safe out there!
Thanksgiving has often been referred to as the “food holiday,” and for good reason. The mixture of friends, family, and sweet and savory recipes around the holiday table is an irresistible combination. Add leftovers to the mix, and it might just be the perfect holiday! Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes from some of our favorite chefs! Enjoy!
This “My Thanksgiving Dinner” from comfort-food favorite chef and television celebrity, The Pioneer Woman, is an all-out hit in our book. It takes all the stress out of planning and leaves in all the flavor. From the perfectly roasted turkey to the pear crisp for dessert, this is a win-win-WIN!
How many side dishes are too many? What a silly question. There are never too many side dishes, which is why we love this page from Martha Stewart, “82 Thanksgiving Side Dishes.” Yes, you heard that right. 82! As Martha puts it, “For many, the real star of a Thanksgiving dinner is the assemblage of side dishes.” We couldn’t agree more.
Ina Garten’s husband, Jeffrey isn’t the only one to benefit from her delectable recipes. Check out the Barefoot Contessa’s Easiest-Ever Thanksgiving Recipes and indulge in a few twists on old classics like pumpkin pie with rum-infused whipped cream or pumpkin parfaits.
We salivated over this collection from Southern Living! They have assembled their 50 Best Thanksgiving Recipes of All Time!Really? Of all time? No pressure! Corn casserole? Creole deep-fried turkey? We’re all in.
And for those of you who are running a marathon or going on a monster hike the next day instead of lazing around the house, here are 17 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes from Fitness Magazine.
For some, the thrill of Thanksgiving is in the leftovers. What to do with all that extra turkey? Here are some ideas from All Recipes that go beyond the typical turkey sandwich. You can never go wrong with turkey soup, however. Try this soup from Williams-Sonoma, get cozy, and enjoy!
Now here’s a video that might come in handy on Thanksgiving day. In fact, if you’re like most of us, it might even change your world: How to Carve a Turkey by Real Simple. You’re welcome!
If ever there is a time that holds equal parts joy and frustration, it’s got to be the holidays, and right behind that – holiday travel. Holiday movies center around the ups and downs of holiday travel and while we laugh at the classic, “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” if those mishaps befall us, it’s not quite as funny! Here are some timely reminders for making the most of your vacation days and traveling with ease:
Before you check in to flights, rental cars, and hotels, check in with yourself! The holidays have their own set of stressors, so best to check in with yourself and make sure you’re in tip-top shape for holiday travel.
Stay healthy! Get plenty of rest the night before your road trip or flight. Get in some good walks and exercise before you’re forced to be sedentary and make sure to drink plenty of water. Avoid catching a cold from your fellow travelers! Colds and flu viruses often live on handles, railings, and doorknobs, so avoid touching your face before washing your hands or carry a small sanitizer with you. (2oz or less for TSA regulations)
Prep the car for a road trip. Take your vehicle in for a quick check-up, and/or check your car’s fluids, tire pressure, and battery charge before you leave. If you’re going off the grid to get to Grandma’s house, pack some extra water, food, and blankets. Make sure your phone is fully charged and if your GPS fails, that you still know how to get to Grandma’s house!
Prep your pets! If your furry friends are staying home for the holidays, double check with pet sitters ahead of time to make sure they’re still available to pet sit and that they have an inclusive list of instructions, including the vet’s contact information. If pets are traveling with you, here are some helpful traveling with your pet tips from TSA.
Pack wisely. If you’re traveling to a different climate, it might feel like you’re going to need your entire closet, but with a little planning, packing gets a lot easier. Pack by Essentials first – underwear, meds, toothbrush, then move on to Temperature and Terrain – sweaters, snow boots or bathing suits, then by Events and Adventures – cocktail dresses or ski goggles, followed by Favorites and Extras – jewelry, perfume, your favorite socks. This categorized formula helps keep you focused on where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing and helps avoid packing more items than you’ll actually use.
At the Airport:
Arrive early. Expect delays during holiday travel and allow plenty of time. Generally speaking, allow 2 hours for a domestic flight and 3 hours for international travel. For up to the minute information, download the TSA app.
Double Check your Docs. Make sure your tickets are downloaded on to your phone and that the phone is charged up, or get boarding docs when you get to the airport as a backup. Double check to make sure your identification matches the name on your ticket, exactly. So if your legal name is Robert and your tickets say “Bob,” you could experience delays.
Add extra kindness and patience to your travel. Emotions are heightened during holiday travel. Your fellow travelers might be pre-occupied with what’s going on at home or work as they travel out of town. For the best holiday travel, add a smile, add words of kindness, and offer to help where you can. We all share one thing in common during holiday travel – we’re all trying to get somewhere else. Sometimes, it really does take a village!
Plan ahead and enjoy your time with friends and family because before you know it, you’ll be right back on the road or at the airport on your way back home! The holidays go by so quickly; cherish and enjoy!
From all of us at Weidner, safe travels and happy holidays!
If you haven’t noticed while strolling by any retail or grocery store, the holidays are upon us! It’s time for all those favorite holiday traditions, including hosting the perfect holiday party. Just because you don’t live in a mansion, doesn’t mean your holiday festivities have to be limited. Here are a few tips for hosting parties in smaller spaces:
First, decide on your theme and build your party around that. Is this a cocktail party featuring bite-size appetizers, a 5-course sit-down dinner, or a buffet-style potluck? Once you know what kind of entertaining you would like to do, you can start planning your party.
Plan your guest list. Planning ahead will help you, the host, enjoy your own party. Plan out your guest list, taking into consideration the size of your apartment and how many guests will comfortably fit. You can also check in with the leasing office about reserving extra space if your community features a banquet or entertainment room.
Plan your menu. Once you’ve determined your guest list, make a list of foods and drinks you’d like to serve, and whether or not you want to make those items yourself, purchase prepared foods, or hire a caterer. Keep in mind that the holidays are all about giving and that guests might enjoy contributing their favorite dish or drink to the party, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Prep food and drink ahead of time and free up your kitchen space. If you are preparing foods, try to do the bulk of your cooking ahead of time and keep the kitchen counters free of clutter and pots and pans.
Make room for guests! Move items off your countertops, tables, and shelves and put coasters down for your guest’s drinks. The more space you have freed up, the better. Designate a place for purses and coats so they don’t take up much needed space during the party.
Move your furniture around to accommodate a party. Depending on the type of party you’re having, don’t be afraid to move things around to make room for your guests. For larger sit-down dinners, consider moving the dining room table into the living room and adding rented tables and chairs to each end. Now you have a dining area fit for all your favorite people. Add a tablecloth and decorations, and let the feasting begin!
Transform your space. Invest in a few sushi-style pillows and turn your coffee table into a gathering area for guests to kick back, relax, and enjoy the festivities. Move the drink bar to the patio. Transform countertops to a buffet line. Use tiered and stackable platters to conserve space. Use one half of the kitchen sink to ice drinks. Avoid congestion and split up the food around the living room so guests are encouraged to mingle beyond the kitchen/dining area.
Of course, the most important component of any party is to have fun! Share your holiday hosting tips with us at #LifeatWeidner. Is it too early to say, “Happy Holidays?!” We don’t think so, and apparently, neither do the retail stores!
DAWN, Domestic Abuse Women’s Network, “shelters and empowers survivors of domestic abuse in South King County and helps to keep us all safe by educating our community to respond to and prevent violence.” Their vision is to, “envision a community that commits to the belief that violence is preventable and takes shared responsibility and united action to create a more peaceful place to live for us all.”
The Chili Cook-off event showcased the “fun” in raising funds and awareness for this important organization! Participants not only contributed with their delectable chili recipes, but also in their costumes, booth decorations, and overall spirit of giving. According to WMFHA, this year’s charitable donations “blew past last year’s total of $33,526 and came in 29% higher!”
This year, there were more than 500 attendees, 34 sponsors and competitors, and 49 in-kind donations to DAWN, making it their best Chili Cook-off to date.
Congratulations to all the winners:
Grand Prize Best Overall Chili: Greystar
Runner-Up: Alliance Flooring
Hottest Chili: American Furniture Rentals
Most Creative Chili: Security Properties Residential
Runner-Up: Bridge Property Management
People’s Choice Chili: 1UP Floors
Runner-Up: FPI Management
Best Overall Theme and Costumes: FPI Management
Runner-Up: 1UP Floors
A big thank you to all these individuals and companies who donated to the raffle:
1UP Floors, Agua Verde, AMLI Residential, Apartment Advantage Staffing, Arcadia Townhomes, Caffe Darte, Caffe Ladro, Capitol Cider, Family Fun Center, Fikes, FPI Management Inc., Greystar, HD Supply, Indigo Real Estate, Jem’s Jewelry, Lagunitas Brewing Company, The Liberty Group, Precision Concrete Cutting, Renaissance Seattle Hotel, Rent Path, Rhein Haus, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Reign FC, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Storm, Security Properties Residential, Security Solutions Northwest, Sherwin Williams Company, Starbucks (Renton), The Liberty Group, Thrive Communities, Wild Waves Enchanted Village, Katrina Bishop, Sloane Cerbana, Kelly and Robbie Burns, Melanie Reid, CAM, Sarah Hart, Christina Koski, Brandy Hildebrand, Vanessa Nguyen, Valerie Hill, Tania Angel, MacKenzie Price, Kayleigh Fulton, and Brianna Cook.
For those of you who like to plan ahead, next year’s Chili-Cook-off Charity Event is scheduled for October 26, 2019! We don’t know about you, but this amazing event is already in our calendars!