Below is a list of the Top 10 gift ideas for First Time Home Buyers. Let me know what gifts you wish you had received, when you moved in to your first home.
Lawn Mower/Yard Tools
It didn’t even dawn on me until after my first week moved in, “I have a beautiful yard and need to maintain it!” I really love working in my yard but securing all of the tools was a big upfront cost. Lawn items like shovels, garden hoses and rakes are a great, useful gift ideas for Christmas. Yard Tools
Large Serving Platters/Dishes for Entertaining
I was never able to entertain large groups in my old apartment. With our new home we’ve been entertaining much more and having large dishes for party platters has been a real benefit. Dishes for Entertaining
Grill & Patio Furniture
Our house has a great outdoor living spaces for entertaining. When the weather is nice, we enjoy spending the evening outside grilling steaks. Most apartments won’t allow personal grills and this was at the top on my list when we moved. Grill & Patio Furniture
Fire Extinguishers & First Aid Kits
Many new homes come with smoke detectors hard wired into the home, but it’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand. If you live in a two story home you might consider a safety ladder. Safety gifts like these are often overlooked until it’s too late. Fire Extinguishers & First Aid Kits
I never thought I’d use my ladder as often as I do. From tree trimming to Christmas Lights I find this is a great item for home owners. I remember putting on hold so many personal projects until I finally got a ladder. Ladder
Picture Frames & Hardware Kits
It’s your home, a place to build memories. Home purchases typically come with other life changing events and picture frames are a great way to capture those moments. A level, hammer and hardware kits are often great ideas that they’ll use for years. Picture Frames & Hardware Kits
Fireplace Screens & Pokers
Nothing makes a home feel cozier than a warm fire during the winter. My old apartment didn’t have a fireplace and I remember waiting for the temperature to drop before I could use the one in my new home. Fireplace Screens & Pokers
A new home is a blank canvas ready for home owners to add their personal touch. We spent months looking for new accessories and completing new rooms that we had never had before like our home office and guest room. Gift Cards
These are a great addition to any room and help circulate the air and reduce heating and cooling cost. With so many styles they add a great personal touch to a home. Ceiling Fans
I remember when we first moved into our new home. We were so proud and a welcome mat was one of our first purchases. Our home is so much larger than our apartment and we have mats for the front and back patio doors. If the couple you’re shopping for is anything like my wife, we have a welcome mat for each holiday season. Welcome Mats
The greatest challenge when cooking a turkey is getting the skin crispy and the dark meat cooked — without overcooking the white meat. The solution? Carve the turkey before cooking. Actually, you don’t need to cut up the turkey yourself. Just buy one that’s already disassembled into breast, legs and thighs.
The drawback is you lose that Norman Rockwell moment where you bring out a magnificent, golden turkey to wow guests seated around the table. But Kimball says his makeover recipe is focused more on the food than the presentation. “You can take a painting of Norman Rockwell and put it on the wall,” he says. “But [if] you want perfectly cooked white meat [and] perfectly cooked dark meat, this is the way to do it,” he says.
3 medium onions, chopped medium
3 medium celery ribs, chopped medium
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped medium
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 whole bone-in, skin-on turkey breast (5 to 7 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and patted dry with paper towels
4 pounds turkey drumsticks and thighs, trimmed of excess fat and patted dry with paper towels
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 bay leaves
table salt and ground black pepper
serves 10 to 12
For the turkey: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Arrange onions, celery, carrots, thyme and garlic in even layer on rimmed baking sheet. Pour broth into baking sheet. Place wire rack on top of vegetables (rack will rest on vegetables, not on bottom of baking sheet).
Brush turkey pieces on all sides with melted butter. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over turkey. Place breast skin-side down and drumsticks and thighs skin-side up on rack on vegetable-filled baking sheet, leaving at least 1/4 inch between pieces.
Roast turkey pieces 1 hour. Using wads of paper towels, turn turkey breast skin-side up. Continue roasting until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 170 to 175 degrees in thickest part of thighs, 1 to 2 hours longer. Remove baking sheet from oven and transfer rack with turkey to second baking sheet. Allow pieces to rest at least 30 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours.
For the gravy: Strain vegetables and liquid from baking sheet through colander set in large bowl. Press solids with back of spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables. Transfer liquid in bowl to 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Add chicken broth to measuring cup (you should have about 3 cups liquid).
In medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is dark golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Whisk in broth mixture and bay leaves and gradually bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until gravy is thick and reduced to 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Remove gravy from heat and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Keep gravy warm.
To serve: Heat oven to 500 degrees. Place baking sheet with turkey in oven. Roast until skin is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven, transfer turkey to cutting board, and let rest 20 minutes. Carve and serve, passing warm gravy separately.
This vibrant condiment takes its inspiration from the popular cocktail the Cosmopolitan. The alcohol heightens the sauce’s flavor, but for kids and nondrinkers, the recipe can easily be made nonalcoholic by substituting orange juice for the water and deleting the vodka and liqueur.
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed, drained, and picked through
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vodka
3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
In heavy medium saucepan over moderate heat, combine cranberries, sugar, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil, stirring often to dissolve sugar, then reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened and reduced to about 3 cups, about 15 minutes.
Transfer to medium bowl and cool, stirring often, until tepid, about 30 minutes. Stir in vodka and liqueur. Transfer to serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 2 hours. (Sauce can be made up to 2 weeks ahead and refrigerated.) Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Wondering when Daylight Saving Time ends so you can get an extra hour of sleep? The good news is that you will be turning your clocks back an hour soon, but not soon enough for those of you who are sleep deprived. According to the Brevard Times, people people who live in states that observe DST will have to wait until after Halloween to gain an extra hour.
This year, Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014 at 2 a.m. Of course, you don’t have to stay up to change the time on your clocks — most smartphones, computers and tablets adjust to DST automatically. Just don’t forget to change the clock in your car or on your microwave and stove after you’ve enjoyed a little extra sleep; it’s likely those clocks have manual settings.
Not everyone in the U.S. will have to “fall back” and set their clocks back an hour on Nov. 2. Fox News reports that there are areas of the U.S. that do not observe Daylight Saving Time and stay on Standard Time year ’round. If you live in Hawaii, Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) or the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa, you won’t have to be bothered with turning back clocks back an hour.
According to Time and Date, Daylight Savings Time was created “to make better use of the daylight in the evenings” by setting the clocks one hour ahead during the summer and back an hour in the fall. However, there are some who think that DST should be totally eliminated.
The Washington Post reports that two Utah lawmakers, State Rep. Lee Perry (R) and Sen. Aaron Osmond (R), will propose legislation in the next session to put an end to Daylight Saving Time. The proposal came about after a survey showed that 62 percent of those who responded were in favor of making the time change go away.
“The most common complaint among those who want to do away with daylight saving time is the hassle of changing clocks, but safety was also brought up… parents [are] frustrated because their kids are going to school in the dark.”
In addition to Utah, there are other states who are considering doing away with DST, including Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
For states that stick with Daylight Saving Time, it begins again on March 8, 2015 at 2 a.m. On that date, you’ll have to set your clocks ahead, and unfortunately, lose that hour of sleep that you gained in November.
WHY End Day Light Saving Time ?
Why did daylight saving time (DST) start, and why does it still continue? When asking a random sample of people we heard two answers again and again: “To help the farmers” or “Because of World War I … or was it World War II?”In fact, farmers generally oppose daylight saving time. In Indiana, where part of the state observes DST and part does not, farmers have opposed a move to DST. Farmers, who must wake with the sun no matter what time their clock says, are greatly inconvenienced by having to change their schedule in order to sell their crops to people who observe daylight saving time.
Daylight saving time did indeed begin in the United States during World War I, primarily to save fuel by reducing the need to use artificial lighting. Although some states and communities observed daylight saving time between the wars, it was not observed nationally again until World War II.
Of course, World War II is long over. So why do we still observe daylight saving time?
The Uniform Time Act of 1966 provided the basic framework for alternating between daylight saving time and standard time, which we now observe in the United States. But Congress can’t seem to resist tinkering with it. For example, in 1973 daylight saving time was observed all year, instead of just the spring and summer. The system of beginning DST at 2 AM on the first Sunday in April and ending it at 2 AM on the last Sunday in October was not standardized until 1986. The rules changed again in 2007. DST now begins on the second Sunday of March and ends the first Sunday in November.
The earliest known reference to the idea of daylight saving time comes from a purely whimsical 1784 essay by Benjamin Franklin, called “Turkey versus Eagle, McCauley is my Beagle.” It was first seriously advocated by William Willet, a British Builder, in his pamphlet “Waste of Daylight” in 1907.
Over the years, supporters have advanced new reasons in support of DST, even though they were not the original reasons behind enacting DST.
One is safety. Some people believe that if we have more daylight at the end of the day, we will have fewer accidents.
In fact, this “benefit” comes only at the cost of less daylight in the morning. When year-round daylight time was tried in 1973, one reason it was repealed was because of an increased number of school bus accidents in the morning. Further, a study of traffic accidents throughout Canada in 1991 and 1992 by Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia before, during, and immediately after the so-called “spring forward” when DST begins in April. Alarmingly, he found an eight percent jump in traffic accidents on the Monday after clocks are moved ahead. He attributes the jump to the lost hour of sleep. In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, Coren explained, “These data show that small changes in the amount of sleep that people get can have major consequences in everyday activities.” He undertook the study as a follow up to research showing that even an hour’s change can disrupt sleep patterns and “persist for up to five days after each time shift.” Other observers attribute the huge spike in accidents on the first Monday of DST to the sudden change in the amount of light during driving times. Regardless of the reason, there is no denying that changing our clocks has a significant cost in human lives.
While some people claim that they would miss the late evening light, a presumably similar number of people love the morning light. And projects, postponed during the sun filled summer, will be tackled with new vigor when the sun sets an hour earlier each day.
Congress appears to have felt we were not having enough of a difficult time so in 2007 they passed a law starting Daylight Savings time 3 weeks earlier and ending it one week later. This cost US companies billions to reset automated equipment, put us further out of sync with Asia and Africa time-wise, inconvenienced most of the country, all in the name of unproven studies that claim we save energy.
STANDARDTIME.COM SAYS: If we are saving energy let’s go year round with Daylight Saving Time. If we are not saving energy let’s drop Daylight Saving Time!
iTunes 12 got some changes this time around too. Unfortunately, it looks like we’re all stuck with the new interface and can’t bring back the old sidebar, but you can at least get the list view back. When you’re on the “My Music” tab, click the drop down on the right and change it to “Songs.” This’ll sort everything in the classic list format. You can also click the “Playlists” tab to get part of the sidebar back, although it doesn’t include all the same info as it used to.
So, iWeb 3.0.4 is still working for at least one more version of OS X. I installed and tested under the new OS 10.10 Yosemite this morning and can confirm that iWeb runs just like it had on Lion or Mountain Lion, or mavericks :
Key iPhone 6 camera features: 1. Faster processing, more storage and all-new Retina display
Obviously bigger is better, whether you’re talking displays or legroom on a plane. The larger format and thinness (stack two CF cards and you’re pretty much there) of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screens may be the headline-grabbing feature, but touches such as the wider viewing angle, increased brightness and improved contrast of the all-new Retina HD displays is likely to make more of a difference to photographers.
The iPhone 6 Plus runs at 1920 x 1080 Full HD screen resolution, while its baby brother offers a resolution of 1334 x 750.
Both the iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus use the same 64-bit A8 chip, which comes with a video encoder and image processor built in. As well as enabling camera and video features such as Focus Pixels and continuous AF, the A8 chip also offers improved efficiency so you can shoot for longer.
With the creative video options, high-res panoramas and longer battery life, iPhone 6 photographers are going to need plenty of storage space. There’s no 32GB option this time around, with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus available in both 16GB and 64GB variants, along with a new 128GB option. The iPhone 6 Plus demands an $100 premium over the iPhone 6.
Key iPhone 6 camera features: 2. Autofocus with Focus Pixels
This is Apple’s way of saying that the iPhone 6’s sensor comes with phase detection autofocus built in. As you know, phase detection AF is more responsive than contrast detection AF.
It uses two images seen from slightly different positions to drive the focusing mechanism, with the goal being to make those two images line up.
Contrast detection is slower because it measures the focus directly from the sensor, with the goal being to find the point of maximum contrast – but it has to focus back and forth to find this point.
The end result is that the iPhone 6 reportedly autofocuses twice as fast as the iPhone 5.
Another welcome feature is that the iPhone 6’s Focus Pixels enable continuous AF when shooting video, something which D-SLR manufacturers have only recently begun to roll out across their camera ranges.
The iPhone 6 Plus camera introduces vibration-reducing optical image stabilization to the iPhone range. This uses the gyroscope to detect any movement of your hand while you’re holding the phone to take a picture or shoot a video, with the A8 chip and M8 motion coprocessor adjusting the position of the lens unit to compensate for this motion.
Optical image stabilization has the potential to offer an improved low light performance, and is particularly effective when shooting video, reducing the chance of motion sickness-inducing juddery footage.
Only the iPhone 6 Plus comes with optical image stabilization – it gives Apple another way to differentiate the more expensive 5.5” iPhone 6 from the 4.7” version, after all – and photographers using the regular iPhone 6 will have to make do with Auto image stabilization, a digital solution as seen in the iPhone 5s.
This takes a rapid sequence of four short exposures and then combines the sharpest parts of each to create a final composite image.
Key iPhone 6 camera features: 4. New frame rates for iPhone 6 video
Video recording is where the most significant gains have been made with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus’s iSight camera. Now, in addition to shooting 1080p at 30fps, you can record Full HD at 60fps.
Capturing more frames per second offers the potential for sharper, smoother videos, albeit ones that are likely to suck up more storage space.
If you’re committed enough to use video editing software to cut together your iPhone movies, then importing 60fps into a project that’s running at 30fps will cause the 60fps to run at half-speed. In other words, you end up with smooth slow-motion footage.
Of course, you can always record slow-mo video clips in-camera (in-phone?). The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus go one step better than the iPhone 5s’s 720p at 120fps, allowing you to record HD footage at 240fps.
Key iPhone 6 camera features: 5. IOS 8: time-lapse video, exposure control and more
IOS 8 enables a number of new features in both the Camera and Photos apps of the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.
Top of the list is time-lapse videos. Creating a time-lapse movie is an automated process: tap the Record button and the iPhone camera will grab frames at ‘dynamically selected’ intervals.
There’s no time limit for time-lapses, so they can be as short or as long as you wish, and to achieve the smoothest results you’ll want to keep the phone as steady as possible while the frames are being recorded.
Key iPhone 6 camera features: 6. Exposure control and editing
Another new camera feature debuting with iOS 8 on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is exposure control. Yes, /finally/ you can adjust the exposure before you shoot a photo or video footage with an iPhone rather than making it brighter or darker after the event. You can adjust the exposure by up to 4 stops in either direction by simply sliding your finger on the preview image.
Apple’s Photos app gets some iOS 8 love too, with improved editing tools. Horizons can be automatically straightened and the exposure, brightness, contrast, shadows and highlights can all be fine-tuned independently.
Apple is also opening this editing framework to developers through its PhotoKit, enabling filters and editing tools from third-party apps to be used within the Photos app.
Key iPhone 6 camera features: 7. High-res panoramas
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus improve on the iPhone 5’s panorama mode by offering high-resolution photos up to 43MP (the iPhone 5 panoramas max out at 28MP).
Although the iPhone’s ‘sweep’-style panorama mode requires a steady hand, the automatically stitched images coughed up by the iPhone 5 are generally of excellent quality. Having higher resolution files means you can make larger prints, but they will take up more room on your phone.
Key iPhone 6 camera features: 8. Improved face detection
Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus camera offer improved face detection over the iPhone 5’s ‘bog standard’ face detection. If you were anticipating slower, less accurate face detection in the iPhone 6, you’re going to be sorely disappointed…
Apple says that the iSight camera is better at picking out faces that are farther away or in a crowd, as well as selecting faces in burst mode. Blink and smile detection are also said to be enhanced.
All well and good if you’re a regular at one of the rooftop parties packed with good-looking people that Apple typically throws up in its iPhone promo videos. But if you’re anything like us then you’re unlikely to take much advantage of face/blink/smile detection outside of wobbly selfies down the pub. Which, come to think of it, the iPhone 6 Plus’s image stabilization will come in handy for, too.
So, I had received an email from AT&T Friday morning (9/12/2014) saying something along the lines of: Your att.com order needs further attention. After, several days/phone calls I had found that my bank had put a fraud watch on my account as they thought the purchasing of 2 phones was suspicious. I hadn’t received the message from my bank so, this took me several days to determine why AT&T wasn’t processing my order. So, if you are experiencing a similar issues you may want to call your bank to check the status of your account. This banking issue has pushed my 128gb iPhone 6 plus order out to November or something ridiculous along the time frame.
The order status on AT&T had been flipping back & forth between processing & action required. The AT&T 1-866-267-4510 number was worthless 611 from your current AT&T phone was a quicker response time.
Despite online-store outages and other glitches, more customers have preordered Apple’s two newest iPhones than ever before, the company says.
So, I am one of the many who have cracked their wallets for a new iPhone. My brother & I opted for the iPhone 6 plus due to it’s Optical image stabilization (that is an iPhone 6 Plus only feature). I ordered two (one for my brother & one for myself) at launch AT&T is still playing catch-up on processing (only one of the 2 has processed) See why only one was processed: http://wp.me/p2Gd2Q-4PN