July 17, 2019

Good Eats on the Delta

Discovery Bay is a unique place surrounded by the Delta.  There are hundreds of waterfront homes, and people often like to take their boats out to dinner. Just a quick boat ride from Discovery Bay there are a few dining spots that each have a unique environment and menu.  Check them out. (This is not a complete list, but some yummy examples)

The Boardwalk Grill

The Boardwalk Grill is located right in the Discovery Bay Marina and offers a selection of seafood, sandwiches, pasta and more.  You can also try one of their signature cocktails or come early on the weekend for a waterfront breakfast.  

Orwood Resort

Located in Brentwood and near Indian Slough close to Discovery Bay, this restaurant cooks up breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and is home to the Oakie Taco.  Sit outside and enjoy the view while you eat or laugh at silly boaters.

Union Point Marina Bar & Grill

If you are up for a quick ride, check out this place in Stockton Ca.  Plenty of boat parking, beautiful bridge views and a full bar.  This burger joint has the perfect summertime vibe.

Also in Stockton, there is Garlic Brothers Restaurant and Bar and The Windmill Cove Bar and Grill.

 

For a farther boat ride and a very fun and delta living experience head to Isleton to The Lighthouse Bar and Grill or Moore's Riverboat Restaurant.  Or check out Bethel Island's offerings, The Rusty Pothole or The Sugar Barge.

 

There are plenty of options when it comes to getting a bite to eat out on the Delta.  Which of these have you tried? Let us know, we are regulars at Orwood for the Steak and Lobster special!

 

Posted in Community
July 11, 2019

5 Tips for Staying Safe on the Delta’s Waterways This Summer

If you’re planning to spend your summer days out on the Delta, heed these five boating safety tips.

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With over 1,200 miles of waterways, our Delta is a popular recreation area. Consequently, the heavy traffic from boaters, water skiers, fishermen, and swimmers can cause a lot of congestion out there. Between the level of traffic and boaters’ unfamiliarity with our local waters, it has one of the state’s highest accident rates.

 

You can never be too safe, which is why today I’m listing five boating safety tips for you to follow when you’re out on the Delta.

 

1. Don’t ski or travel too close to the shoreline. Instead, drive just to the right of the middle to avoid shallow water, rocks, and debris.

 

2. Know when it’s low or high tide. Years ago, I personally was a passenger on a boat that hit a sandbar in the middle of a slough and flung everyone onboard through the window. Luckily, we all walked away unscathed, save for a few scars, but it reminded me to be all the more cautious when the tide is lower.

 

  

Many of us have moved to the Delta area to take full advantage of its waterways, but it’s important that we do it safely.

 

3. Look out for others. Watching for other boats and jet skis is important, but also keep your eyes peeled for down skiers, ropes in the water, and families or pets swimming. Always be alert—especially when approaching blind bends. 

 

4. Protect yourself and others. Make sure you’re equipped with sunglasses for your eyes, sunscreen for your skin, and a life jacket for each person aboard the boat.  

 

5. Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol is a contributing factor in many boating accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Data suggests that the hazardous effects of alcohol are felt to a greater degree when one is operating a boat. Combined with the wind, boat noise, vibrations, waves, and sun glare, alcohol can impede your judgement and response time when boating. Please don’t drink and drive. 

 

Many of us have moved to the Delta area to take full advantage of its waterways, but it’s important that we do it safely. Please forward this video to anyone you know who spends time out on our waterways. 

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me and my team. I look forward to talking with you soon!

 

 

Posted in Community
July 10, 2019

Top 10 Kitchen Safety Do’s and Don’ts

When cooking with sharp knives and intense heat, accidents are bound to happen in the kitchen. Understanding the hazards can help you and your family avoid cuts, burns and a bout of food poisoning. Here are some kitchen safety do’s and don’ts to practice in your home.

1. Wear shoes.

Ever drop a knife? Imagine that going into your foot. Ouch! Wearing shoes while you cook is always recommended. Not only will the shoes protect you from a fallen sharp object, but they will also protect you from other kitchen mishaps such as broken glass and hot water or oil spills.

2. Learn how to extinguish a fire.

There are roughly 164,500 residential cooking fires in the United States each year. Cooking is the leading cause of fires and injuries that occur in our homes. Be sure to always have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and know how to use it. It takes only seconds for a fire to get uncontrollable. Learn about different types of fires such as grease and electric fires. Never put them out with water. Instead, your best bet to extinguish them is to use baking soda or a pan cover. Suffocating the fire by removing air is the best way to put out most fires. A fire inside your oven is best put out with an extinguisher, and a microwave fire can be put out just by turning off the appliance and keeping the door closed.

3. Learn how to use knives.

A dull knife is more likely to slip and cut you than a sharp knife. Keeping your knives sharpened is one of the easiest ways to keep them safe. A simple fix is to use a knife sharpener to maintain a keen-edged blade. Also, you should choose the appropriate knife for the task at hand. In other words, using a meat cleaver to slice strawberries isn’t the best idea.

4. Wear safe clothing.

Do not wear long, baggy sleeves in the kitchen. Can you imagine your sleeve catching fire on a gas stove? The outcome could be scary. In general, tops with fitted sleeves or no sleeves work best. Also, avoid wearing anything flammable or synthetic; when overheated, these fabrics can melt onto your skin.

5. Prevent burns.

Make sure when cooking that the handles of your pots and pans are turned inward. This will be safer than someone knocking into them resulting in your food flying and burning you. Always have potholders or oven mitts close by when handling anything on the stove top or oven. Don’t use wet potholders or dish rags because they will not keep the heat from burning your hands.

6. Always wash your hands.

You would think this is a given, but people forget. Don’t forget. It’s important to wash your hands in hot soapy water before and after cooking. Try to use paper towels to dry your hands afterward because if a dish towel touches any raw meats or juices it can lead to a bad case of food poisoning. Be sure to also clean all your surfaces and sinks where any raw meats or juices may have touched.

7. Always stir and lift away from you.

When lifting a lid on a pot there is condensation on the top. When lifting it off toward you, the scalding condensation can drip onto your skin, causing burns. The same goes for stirring. Make sure you always stir away from your body. Afterall, you want to eat the spaghetti sauce,not get burned by it.

8. Don’t set a hot glass dish on a wet or cold surface.

There’s actually a lot of science behind this tip. Glass expands when it gets warm and shrinks when it cools down, which causes stress, resulting in a combustion of glass. The best place to set a glass lid is on top of a trivet, cutting board or potholder.

9. Don’t use metal utensils on nonstick, Teflon pans.

Cooking with metal utensils on Teflon or non-stick pans can cause flaking or chipping of the Teflon. This can, in turn, mix toxic compounds into your food. A better solution: Use wooden or plastic spoons. Always.

10. Don’t use the same cutting board for raw meat, fruits and vegetables.

We all want to avoid washing extra dishes, but this is one area in which you shouldn’t take shortcuts. Using the same cutting board for meats, fruits and vegetables is a surefire way to get the whole family sick with salmonella poisoning. The FDA advises you use two separate cutting boards: one for raw meat, poultry and seafood, and another for fresh fruits and vegetables. If you must use the same board, its safest to prepare your fruits and vegetables first, wash your cutting board thoroughly with soap and hot water, and then prepare your meats.

*courtesy of tasteofhome.com

Posted in Community
July 3, 2019

Summertime Grilled Flank Steak and Vegetables

 

This summer grilling recipe will have you craving more, and best of all, the whole meal is made on the grill!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

FOR THE OLIVE OIL MIXTURE

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, rosemary, red wine vinegar and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  2. Season flank steak with paprika and garlic, rubbing in thoroughly on all sides; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Brush with 1 tablespoon canola oil.
  3. Preheat grill to medium high heat.
  4. Brush corn, zucchini and tomatoes with remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Add flank steak to grill, and cook, flipping once, until desired doneness, about 4-6 minutes per side. Let rest 5 minutes.
  6. Add vegetables to grill, and cook, turning occasionally, until vegetables are lightly charred all over and tender, about 8 minutes for corn, 5 minutes for zucchini and 2 minutes for tomatoes.
  7. Serve immediately, drizzled with olive oil mixture.

 

Recipe courtesy of damndelicious.net

Posted in Community, Lifestyle
June 27, 2019

Stay Safe This Grilling Season With These 10 BBQ Safety Tips

Do you know how to stay safe this grilling season? Here are 10 tips.

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With many of you planning barbecues this summer, today we’d like to share 10 tips to keep you and your family safe when grilling:

 

1. Keep the grill at least 10 feet away from any structures. A flare-up from the grill could easily cause a house fire.

 

2. Keep the grill clean. Built-up grease is not only a health hazard, but it’s also a safety issue.

 

3. Don’t relight flames immediately. If the fire in your grill goes out, always turn off the gas, open the lid, and wait five minutes for any excess gas to disperse before relighting the grill.

 

4. Wear fire-safe clothing. Make sure your shirt sleeves and apron strings are not so loose that they will fall into the fire. It’s also a good idea to keep long hair tied back.

 

5. Know where fire extinguishers are at and keep baking soda on-hand. In the event of a grease fire, never, ever use water to put it out. Instead, pour a generous amount of baking soda onto smaller fires, and use a fire extinguisher for larger ones.

 

 

  

In the event of a grease fire, never, ever use water to put it out.

 

 


6. Check for leaks in advance. Create a solution that is equal parts dish soap and water, then rub down the grill’s hoses and connections before use. After that, turn on the gas (with the lid open) and check for any air bubbles. After that, make sure you turn the gas back off and wait a safe period of time before relighting the grill.

 

7. Never turn the gas on with the lid closed. When the lid is closed but the gas is on, gas can build up and cause a burst of flames once the lid is eventually lifted.

 

8. Never leave your grill unattended. Fires double in size every minute, so things can quickly get out of hand if you step away for any amount of time.

 

9. Never use a grill indoors. If gas isn’t properly ventilated, anyone within the space may fall ill with carbon monoxide poisoning. A grill being lit indoors is also a significant fire hazard.

 

10. Keep an eye on pets and children. 

 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Posted in Community
June 26, 2019

Building Your Earthquake Kit

Are you and your family prepared for the big one? If not, we can help make sure you put together a top notch kit!

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. 
 
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
 
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Additional Emergency Supplies

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place

  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers

  • Replace expired items as needed

  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.

  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.

  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

We hope this information is helpful to you and your family.  Even if you have an emergency kit, it is always a good idea to check it annually and keep it up to date. 

Posted in Community
June 19, 2019

Pool Expenses... Building, Buying and Maintaining

If you are thinking about getting a pool, buying a home with a pool, or how much it costs to maintain a pool... we've got you covered!

Average cost to install a pool

When it comes to installing an in-ground pool, the average cost will be between $35,516 and $65,067, according to Dan DiClerico, a remodeling and home expert at HomeAdvisor.

The initial average cost of a concrete pool is $40,000, while a vinyl pool is about $30,000. And a fiberglass pool is even cheaper, at approximately $28,250. There are other factors, like the size of the pool, that determine the cost of building an in-ground swimming pool.

Cost of swimming pool maintenance

If you're toying with the idea of buying a home with a swimming pool, you'll want to know how much it's going to cost you to maintain it.  Most homeowners will pay an average of between $1,200 and $1,800 in annual upkeep.

“Monthly maintenance could cost anywhere from $80 to $150 a month, depending on the services,” DiClerico explains. “On the lower end of that amount, pool service professionals will test the water’s pH, and also check the filters, settings, and equipment.” The upper end of that amount also includes such services as brushing down the surface, vacuuming, skimming (which involves using a mesh net attached to a pole to remove floating debris), and emptying traps and baskets.

If you decide to maintain the in-ground pool yourself, DiClerico says you’ll spend at least an hour a week doing so, and will likely need the following:

  • Chlorine to neutralize harmful bacteria: $60 to $70 per 25 pounds
  • Muriatic acid to lower pH levels: $8 a gallon
  • Soda ash to prevent excess acid: $8 per 6 pounds
  • Test kit to gauge pH levels: $15
  • Replacement test kit solutions: $8 a set
  • Pool skimmer: $7
  • Vacuum to pick up items missed by skimmer: $20 to $600
  • Filters (replacement filter cartridge, $7 to $75; replacement filter sands, $12; diatomaceous earth, $20 per 25 pounds)
  • Pool cover: $600, depending on the material and size of your pool

Occasionally you'll also probably need chlorine to "shock" the pool to eliminate the buildup of ammonia, nitrogen, and other contaminants. The chlorine comes in 24- to 50-pound bags, ranging from $55 to $120.

Insurance costs for pool owners

Having a pool on your property will increase your home's liability, and that will probably raise your home insurance fees. Most policies cover pool-related incidents, but experts recommend increasing your liability from $100,000 to $500,000, which, according to HouseLogic, will cost about $30 more a year.

Pool are fun for the whole family.... just make sure you are prepared and understand the expenses before building, or buying a home with a pool.  Happy Swimming!

*by Terri Williams, Terri Williams is a journalist who has written for USA Today, Yahoo, the Economist, U.S. News and World Report, and the Houston Chronicle.

Posted in Homeowner, Lifestyle
June 13, 2019

Stay Safe at the Pool This Summer With These Tips

Having a safe pool is of the utmost importance. Here are six tips to help you get there.

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Summertime means pool time, so we wanted to give you a gentle reminder to stay safe this year by providing you with six safety tips that may help save your life or someone else’s:

 

1. Have rescue equipment and first-aid supplies available and visible. These supplies should be placed somewhere where they are clearly visible and easily accessible.

 

2. Move toys and cleaning equipment away from the pool area to avoid tripping hazards.

 

3. Inspect your drain covers often. Covers should be rounded without any cracks or missing screws. Many pool deaths occur from inadequate drain covers.

 

 

  

Check your chlorine levels regularly.

 

 


4. Make sure the chemicals in the pool are correct. Too much chlorine in a pool results in over 5,000 hospital visits each year. Please check your chlorine levels regularly.

 

5. Set pool rules. Make sure everyone knows about the Don’ts, such as: Don’t run, don’t dive in shallow areas, don’t hold someone underwater, etc.

 

6. Learn CPR. Knowing what to do in case of emergency can save someone’s life, so it’s important to be prepared.

 

I hope these tips help keep you, your family, and your loved ones safe this summer. If you have any other questions about this or about real estate in general, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email when they come up. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Posted in Community
June 12, 2019

How Much Does a Bathroom Remodel Cost?

Average bathroom remodels costs between $9,600 to $11,000. A low-end remodels typically cost around $2,500 while high-end remodels cost around $23,000.

 

There are numerous benefits in bathroom remodeling — improved aesthetics, safety and comfort. 

Did you know?

According to NKBA, millennials age 18 to 37 paid an average of $16,421 for a bathroom remodel.

Remodeling a bathroom also provides an increased home resale value, with a return on investment of up to 80 percent.

The average bathroom remodel cost $11,364 according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, with about 20 percent of that being labor cost.

A survey by NKBA on design trends showed that half of respondents paid between $10,000 and $29,999 for a bathroom remodel, while 31 percent reported paying more than $30,000.

Remodel your bathroom all at once or in stages?

If you’re suffering from sticker shock, don’t worry. Bathroom remodeling isn’t all or nothing. You can cut down on bathroom remodel costs by going one step at a time. A bathroom can still benefit from new lighting or ventilation updates followed by a new bathroom vanity or granite countertops. You can always upgrade some features later down the road.

While it's easy to replace a light or faucet at a later date, you should have your contractor do the larger tasks at the same time. If you plan to replace the tub and install tile floor, it's best to do that all at once. You may save on labor charges if they can do a few tasks in one day instead of doing these tasks on separate days a few months apart.

Choose quality over quantity, especially based on the amount of traffic the bathroom gets. It’s a waste of money and a source of future aggravation if you buy a cheap toilet that leaks after you’ve redone the floor.

To save money, wait for sales at your local hardware store and look for rebates on high-quality materials. That way, you end up with a product you know will last and won't have to have someone replace fixtures from your remodel too soon.

Prepare for inconvenience during a bathroom remodel

Hopefully, your contractor won’t forget to mention the inconvenience that comes with bathroom remodeling. When the bathroom is unavailable, chaos is sure to follow.

It’s tough to predict an exact timetable for bathroom remodeling. Here are a few things to consider ahead of time:

• Locate alternative bathrooms on-site or nearby during construction.
• Keep lines of communication open with your contractor; be on the same timetable page of when things will be finished and when you can use your new bathroom.
• Plan for at least three weeks of an unusable bathroom.

Are you ready to remodel your bathroom? Remember to get estimates from three different contractors to ensure a competitive price. Do your homework and check all online sources before contacting any company.

*article courtesy of Angie's List  

Posted in Dream Home, Lifestyle
May 30, 2019

3 Ways to Pay Your Mortgage Off Sooner

Do you want to pay your mortgage debt down faster? If so, try these three tips.

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If you want to pay your mortgage down faster, there are three simple ways to do so. Each of these tips will help you shave years off the life of your loan, while simultaneously saving thousands of dollars. The key to each of these tips is to specify that you want your money applied to the principal loan amount. For the sake of these examples, let’s say you’ve got a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5%, with monthly payments set at $1,500.

 

The first way to pay down your mortgage more quickly is by paying an additional one-twelfth of a payment each month. By the end of the year, this will add up to one full additional payment. This may not seem like much, but (using the figures we’ve established for this example) this method could shorten the length of your loan by four years and eight months, and save you $42,000 in interest.

 

The second option is to pay an extra $50 toward your mortgage each month. If a full extra mortgage payment every year sounds like too much, then this can be a good alternative. This option will save you two years off the life of your loan and $2,000 in interest.

 

 

  

Applying any extra cash that comes your way toward your mortgage will really pay off in the long term.

 

 


The final option on our list is to make one-time, lump sum payments when you can. Whether it’s from your tax return or a work bonus, applying any extra cash that comes your way toward your mortgage will really pay off in the long term.

 

You can also use these methods to pay off other, higher-interest debts you may have, such as credit cards. Paying these off first may be a good idea. Then, when you have no other outstanding debt, you can focus on paying off your mortgage.

 

Also, if you don’t plan on staying in your home for more than five or 10 years, it may not make sense to implement these strategies to begin with.

 

If you’d like to learn more about what financial strategy is best for your specific circumstances, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Posted in Home Buyer