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Nothing says summer better than backyard cookouts. Family, friends, games, and the grill all make for a spectacular day. Food is a huge part of these parties and I am here to share my recipes and tips/tricks for a successful party. I have been hosting these for years and with good planning it can be a piece of cake for anyone. First thing you need to do it pick the date and send out your invites.  Next is food planning and that is what we will focus on. Here is a great menu to get you started.

Appetizers before the grilling commences!

 – You can't go wrong with a cheese and fruit crudite platter. Load up a cool old butcher block or chalkboard tray with all your favorite cheeses, fruits, and crackers.
 – Set up some veges with ranch dressing – classic
 – Hot artichoke & spinach dip – click here for the – recipe
 – Buffalo Chicken Dip – recipe
 – Make a pile of nachos. Real simple – Toss a big pile of tortilla chips on a big platter and add tomatoes, cheese, olives, beans, and whatever else you like. Add a side of sour cream

Drinks

– Pineapple Mango Margaritas – recipe
– Peach Sangria – recipe

Main Dish

– Burgers, hot dogs, linguica are all staples of a good cookout so don't forget those.
– Grill up shrimp on kabob sticks. All you need to do is mix some olive oil, garlic, S&P, & some seasonings. Then coat your shrimp and grill. Delish!
– Grill up some chicken on a stick. Marinate with your favorite rub and toss them on the grill too.
– Grill Sausage, steaks, vegetables, almost anything tastes good with grill char.

Dessert

– Angel Food Cake with fresh berries and hand whipped cream
– Cupcakes, Cookies – All homemade of course.
– Fruit Salad in ofcourse a cool carved watermelon bowl
– Chocolate covered anything
– Make a ice cream sundae station, kids and adults love this!

Remember, the simpler the better and plan ahead. Having all your food prepped the day before goes a long way on party day. You will be running around decorating and setting up and having to prep food at 5 am is never fun. You want to look fresh and alive at your party 🙂

Happy grilling!

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4th of July weekend is here! The weather looks to be sunny and hot all weekend long so it will be perfect for all your parties and activities. And of course, the fireworks. There is a ton going on in our area so here is a list of activities and fireworks you can head to this holiday weekend.

Firework Shows:

Orleans: Fireworks will be set off at dusk at Rock Harbor. You can also see the Rock Harbor fireworks display from Cape Cod Bay beaches in Brewster and Eastham. They’ll be off at a distance, but still fun to see.

Nantucket: Enjoy a quintessential Fourth of July celebration on Nantucket. See the annual fireworks display at Jetties Beach on July 3, and on July 4 enjoy family activities on Main Street, include pie-eating contests, a dunk tank and a parade.

Boston: Pops’ annual Fireworks Spectacular will feature Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas. Fireworks will light the sky over the Esplanade after the concert.

Bridgewater: Fireworks at Legion Field at 9:30 p.m.

Falmouth: The fireworks display will be held at dusk at Falmouth Heights Beach. Do you have a portable radio? Be sure to bring it with you, and tune to PIXY 103 (102.9 FM) to hear the music that accompanies the fireworks.

New Bedford: Celebrate Independence Day with a spectacular fireworks display over New Bedford Harbor. Presented by Mayor Jon Mitchell and the city of New Bedford, in collaboration with local partners, the fireworks spectacular will take place overlooking State Pier at 9 p.m.

 

Worcester: July 2, 9:30 p.m., East Park

Attleboro: July 3, dusk, high school

Gloucester: July 3, 9:30 p.m., harbor

Haverhill: July 3, 9:15 p.m., Riverside Park

Lynn: July 3, approx. 9 p.m., Red Rock Park

Milford: July 3, 10 p.m., Fino Field (rain date July 5)

Nantucket: July 3, dusk, Jetties Beach

Needham: July 3, dusk, Memorial Park

Sharon: July 3, dusk, Memorial Beach

Walpole: July 3, 9:30 p.m., Blackburn Memorial Park

Weymouth: July 3, 9:30 p.m., Wessagusset Beach

Bellingham: July 4, 9:30 p.m., Bellingham Middle School

Beverly Farms: July 4, 9:15 p.m., West Beach (rain date July 5)

Boston: July 4, dusk, Esplanade (after Pops concert)

Bridgewater: July 4, 9:30 p.m., Legion Field (rain date July 5)

Canton: July 4, 9 p.m., Irish Cultural Centre

Fall River: July 4, approx. 9 p.m., over harbor

Falmouth: July 4, dusk, Falmouth Heights Beach

Hyannis: July 4, dusk, Lewis Bay

Lincoln: July 4, 9:15 p.m., Codman Pool

Lowell: July 4, LeLacheur Park, 9 p.m. (rain date July 5)

Marblehead: July 4, 9 p.m., over harbor

Martha’s Vineyard: July 4, dusk, Edgartown

New Bedford: July 4, 9 p.m., State Pier

Newton: July 4, dusk, Albemarle Field (rain date July 5)

Plymouth: July 4, 9:15 p.m., harbor

Provincetown: July 4, dusk, over harbor

Salem: July 4, dusk, over harbor

Salisbury Beach: July 4, approx. 10 p.m., over ocean

Waltham: July 4, 9:30 p.m., Leary Field

Festivities:

Bourne: The “Bourne of the 4th of July” parade will step off at 9 a.m.

Bridgewater: Festivities will begin with the downtown parade at 10 a.m. After the parade, the Arts and Music Festival will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at “the quad,” Boyden Hall, Bridgewater State University.

Fairhaven: Classic and antique cars and vehicles gather at Fairhaven High School for the raising of the Big Flag at8:30 a.m. They will then depart at 9 a.m. to cruise through town, ending with a ride south on Green Street to Fort Phoenix. At Cushman Park a parade of floats and marchers will step off to follow the car cruise to the fort for the annual Independence Day Ceremony at 10 a.m.

Marion: The town of Marion and the Benjamin D. Cushing VFW Post 2425 of Marion are organizing the annual Fourth of July Parade, scheduled for 9 a.m. The parade will form beginning at 8 a.m.

Too many to list! For a full list head to our Facebook page!

Have a blast and Happy 4th!

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We all woke up today to the shocking news that the UK voted to leave the European Union. Going into the vote, it was thought across the globe that it would pass. It didn't. The vote slid by with a small margin. Nearly 52% to 48%. This has caused the global markets to plunge. It also led British Prime Minister David Cameron to issue his resignation this morning. He had been campaigning for the U.K. to remain in the EU. The pound had been trading at its highest level of the year around $1.50 on Thursday ahead of the referendum results. It fell to as low as $1.32 but has now recovered a bit to trade around $1.38. Investors are also piling into gold, which is rallying by about 4%.

We now know a bit about how this affecting markets, but what about your own portfolio? Should you do anything? Sell? The answer seems to be no. Don't make any hasty decisions. Speak with your broker before you do a thing.

So why is gold going higher when everything else is plummeting? Gold today hit a 2 year high! Some predictions have gold heading back over $1450.00. An article in the Wall Street Journal states that "Investors have grown concerned about global growth, and central banks have taken interest rates into negative territory. Gold has also benefited as the Federal Reserve has cut projections for the number of interest-rate increases planned for this year. Higher rates tend to weigh on gold, which pays its holders nothing and struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when borrowing costs rise. Gold is where it's at.

In short, take the weekend and think things through before making any decisions regarding your portfolio. Things have a way of bouncing back; maybe not right away, but they eventually do right? Or France or Spain could be next…

 

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Oh, it's time. All you gals know I'm right. Antiquing is here and we are so ready to start digging and collecting. When you live in an over 55 community in Massachusetts you certainly have the time to amass a cool collection of antiques. I have been to a ton of these places and while some are a bit of a drive, who cares? It's all about the hunt. SO grab that medium iced french vanilla coffee, your sunglasses, unload your trunk, and hit the road. It helps to bring some girlfriends along too. What's an antiquing road trip without some laughs:)

Let's start local, Stuff in the Ruff
397 South St. E
Raynham, MA
508-824-0255
Great spot for someone looking to revamp old pieces into something new. They have a lot of old rustic pieces and the staff is really nice.

Taunton Antiques Center
19 Main Street
Taunton, MA
508-821-3333
Tons of furniture and vintage bikes. Lots of smaller items too like knickknacks and plates. Furniture is the real grabber here though.

One Horse Shay Antiques
450 E. Center St.
West Bridgewater, MA
508-894-6977
Lots of furniture, smaller size shop, but worth the trip.

Fiddleheads
120 Washington St.
Canton, MA
781-828-9444
Tons of stuff to discover. More of a buy and place type of shop so if you are looking for a pickers shop, this isn't it.

Medway Mill Antiques and More
135 Main Street
Medway, MA 02053
508-533-7757
Not too bad on price, good selection. Owners are very knowledgeable.

Stonehouse Antiques Inc.
244 Washington St.
Norwell, MA
781-878-6049
This shop has it all. You never know what you will find so it is a must stop on your drive.

Mended Antiques
52 Blanding Road
Rehobeth, MA
508-336-7381
Open every day and loaded with tons of fun and unique items. They specialize in 4 poster beds so if you are in the market for one of these, this is the place to go.
 

 


 

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I love festivals, fairs, carnivals, the circus, I could go on and on. All of these events really make you appreciate the town/state you live in. These events bring together families from all over for just plain old fun. Weather it is a local apple peach festival or the Big E, there is an event going on every weekend, straight through to the autumn leaves. Living in an over 55 community in Massachusetts allows you the freedom to roam all of New England and enjoy the festivities. Here are a few of my favorites. Add yours in in the comments below!

Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival 2016
July 22-24, 2016
This popular extravaganza of public art includes a master sculpting competition, liver entertainment, food trucks, fireworks, and sand sculpting lessons for the kids. Voted one of Boston’s Top Events. This national contest attracts artists from around the world. Time: Festival is open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. 

Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival 2016
July 8-17, 2016
Ten days of open gardens Cape-wide from Provincetown to Woods Hole. Take a glimpse into some of Cape Cod’s most spectacular gardens during the 10-day festival. The festival will include tours of all types of private gardens organized by local nonprofits and museums, along with special hydrangea-themed events and promotions. All private gardens are open on selected days only, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Garden tours are $5 each.

Boston Portugal Festival
June 19, 2016
In Boston, Massachusetts, the Boston Portuguese Festival celebrates Portuguese heritage and its influences on the surrounding community. The festival draws on tradition but also emphasizes contemporary Portuguese contributions in literature, music, film and science. The two-month festival features weekly events and activities such as a literature conference, parade, Portuguese-American youth conference and Heritage Day of Portugal held at the Massachusetts State House.

Green Briar Blueberry Festival
August 6, 2016
When blueberry season is at its pinnacle, sometimes you just have to throw a good-old fashioned blueberry bash. The Green Briar Blueberry Festival has the right idea. Join the jam session (aka jam making demonstration). And since it’s not fair to just watch a delicious blueberry condiment being made, blueberry desserts will be available for the biting.

Hyannis Arts and Craft Festival at the Car Show
June 18, 2016
Event will be held on June 18 – 19, 2016. Over 100 of New England's finest Craftsmen and women will display and sell their American made arts and crafts. It'll feature American made Juried Arts, Crafts, Specialty Foods and Live music. Hours: Sat 10-5, Sun 10-4

Homecoming Day Fair 2016
June 28, 2016
Fairhaven's largest annual event features about 175 booths of handmade crafts and delicious foods in addition to live entertainment, an art exhibit on the west lawn of the Unitarian Church, and children's activities, including the very popular fire engine rides. Free admission. Handicap parking available. Hours: 10 am to 4 pm

Barnstable County Fair
July 18-24th
Need I say more? This is by far the best fair anywhere in the country and if you have not been, you need to go!

Brockton Fair
June 30 – July 10
This could be the last year for the fair due to the casino!

The fair will offer thrilling rides, fireworks, demolition derby, wrestling, live music & more! Visitors can enjoy fireworks on most nights – check here for the fireworks schedule.

 

 

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How I love this time of year! I am not talking weather here, I am talking about Farmer's Markets! Not all of us can grow our own vegetables so thankfully, the ones that can, sell them in local markets. I've put together a great list of where you can shop all the great local flavors and harvests. Comment below and add to the list!

Acushnet Farmers Market at Stone Bridge Farm
186 Leonard Street, Acushnet, MA 02743
508-951-1551
http://acushnetfarmersmarket.com
The Acushnet Farmers’ Market supports local sustainable agriculture by connecting the public with local farmers, artisans, and other producers in an economically viable marketplace.

Brooklawn Park Farmers' Market
Ashley Blvd, New Bedford, MA 02745
508-979-5100

http://www.farmfresh.org/food/farmersmarkets_details.php?market=115
Peets Farms – Jams, Poultry, Eggs
Ds’Lectables – Cookies, bars, and gluten-free items
Pies by Moira – Homemade pies

Silverbrook Farm
934 Main Street, Acushnet MA 02743
(774) 202-1027
http://www.thesilverbrookfarm.com/
Family owned and operated for nearly two decades, with their famous homemade Pies, Horse Drawn Hayrides, Expanding Produce and Livestock Programs, and colorful seasonal Events, Silverbrook Farm is becoming the standard in traditional products and entertainment.

Farmer's Market
255 Cape Hwy, East Taunton, MA 02718
508-824-7920
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Farmers-Outlet/140591585980273

Freedom Food Farm
471 Leonard St, Raynham, MA 02767
978-884-7102

http://freedomfoodfarm.com/
We care deeply about the quality of our food and sustainability of our practices. At Freedom Food Farm we produce healthy food that nurtures us as well as our customers. We offer a diverse selection of food year-round and all farm products are grown and raised on our farm.

First Parish Church in Taunton
76 Church Green, Taunton, MA  02780
508.822.2107
http://www.firstparishtaunton.org/
The Church Green Farmers Market is held on the lawn of First Parish Church in Taunton each year from mid-July to mid-October. The Market is open every Sunday from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and features fresh vegetables and fruits, homemade baked goods, local specialty foods, and handmade crafts.

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I think we have all heard of this movement or group I should say. While I am sure you all do kind things for yourselves and other people, this group really goes the extra mile by sharing ideas and stories on acts of kindness. "Be the Spark" is their slogan and what a lovely one it is. The idea is that kindness has a ripple effect and they want everyone to start the line. It can be something as simple as leaving a kind note or complimenting a stranger. I love this idea because our lives are so fast paced and we do not take time to appreciate the small things. Sometimes you just need to stop and smile. It will make a huge difference in yours and someone elses day.

Here are some great ideas from their site as well as some things I have done. This could make a great monthly gesture you perform with the grandkids too!

1. If you are a whiz with a needle and thread, offer to mend, hem or sew someone's clothes for free. Perhaps a friend of yours is getting married and needs her wedding dress or bridesmaids dresses hemmed. Or maybe your neighbor is constantly looking for a good place to hem his pants. Offer to do these services for free! Benefits: You get to do something you enjoy while also helping out a friend, neighbor, or stranger. Many people cannot afford to buy new clothes but you can help them make their old clothes look as good as new! Step It Up: Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. While there, take the time to ask the people there if they need anything hemmed or mended. Commit to going once a week and let them know you will be there to help each time. There are many ways to use the gift of sewing to help people. Keep It Simple: If you don't have a lot of time on hand, just commit to doing something small each month. Maybe patch a hole in someone's favorite jeans, or fix a zipper on someone's winter jacket.

2. Help the homeless by going to a shelter and volunteering your time. We have may people in need in our area so you will have many options as to where to go.

3.  If you notice a car's parking meter is about to expire, put some change in.

4. Create a Facebook page to share your own kind deeds as well as inspire others to follow your lead! It's such a simple task, to be kind, but often forgotten! Hoping we can make a difference by spreading our compassion. do a good deed! daily, weekly, whatever it takes! Give a compliment to begin and watch how contagious that good feeling is.

5. Start a food drive and donate it all to the local food pantry.

6. Organize a walk or a fill a bus event for toys.

7. Be kind to your neighbor by helping them take their trash out, bring them a meal when they are feeling sick, or something as simple as waving hello with a smile.

8. How about leaving your change in the vending machine. We all remember that thrill as a child finding the extra quarter someone left behind!

9. Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Working with animals is so rewarding and the love you give the animals will be well received.

10. Pay it forward in the line at any coffee shop or restaurant. Pay someone's bill or pay for the persons coffee behind you.

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There is nothing like fresh vegetables and growing them is not as hard as some may think. The key is good LOOSE soil and full sun. While we have a shorter grow season than that of the south, you can still grow quite a bit during the short months we do have. Even better if you know how to can, pickle, or have a root cellar. Your produce can sustain you all year round if you plan right! Not all vegetables can grow in the north though so here are a few tips for the best bets for your garden.

Root Vegetables: Potatoes grow especially well in Massachusetts, surviving in a wide range of soils. They do best, however, in well-drained loamy or sandy soil. Sweet potatoes need a longer and warmer growing season and do not do as well in the state. Carrots, as a cool-season crop, do well. You might want to build a mound before planting the carrots to help loosen the soil, but after this initial time investment the carrots need little care.
 

Lettuce: There are many varieties of leaf lettuce you can choose from. Plant as seeds or young plants, making sure they’re placed in afternoon shade and get plenty of water. Pull leaves off heads as they mature to create fresh, crisp salads! A second crop can be started for fall when the blazing hot weather has passed.
 

Corn: For early plantings, sow seeds 1 inch deep. In hotter weather of midsummer, sow 4 inches deep. Cultivate thoroughly around the stalks for the first month of growth. Afterward, control weeds by applying mulch to avoid damaging the shallow roots. To prevent cross-pollination keep different corn cultivars separated or plant so they tassel two weeks apart. To promote pollination, plant the same cultivar in blocks or hand-pollinate. Corn is a heavy feeder, especially on nitrogen. It thrives where earth-enriching crops like clover or beans grew the previous year.

Tomatoes: Cherry and grape tomatoes mature more quickly than large varieties and suffer fewer problems with pollination. But, most tomato varieties will grow in New England and benefit from a slightly acidic soil. Try planting several types, including grape tomatoes, fresh slicing tomatoes, and paste tomatoes.

Beans and Peas: All beans grow well in Massachusetts except lima beans. Plant beans in the soil after the temperature exceeds 60 F. Rotate your bean crop every year to avoid diseases that stay in the soil over the winter. You can plant snap peas, the most popular pea crop grown in Massachusetts, as soon as the soil is tillable.

Brassicas: Broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts prefer cool temperatures and moist, rich soil, making them an ideal crop for New England in the spring. They prefer soil on the alkaline side, so amend your soil if the pH falls below 6.0.

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With the weather taking a warmer turn one thing comes to mind – Concert Time. I am a die hard concert fan. There is nothing like live music on a warm summer night to make you feel alive. We have so many options around here on where to go too. Whether it is your favorite restaurant with local live bands, The Cape Cod Melody Tent, or larger venues like PPAC or Foxwoods, there is something to suit every musical genre.  Here are a few upcoming concerts to think about…

Cape Cod Melody Tent:
The Band Perry – July 6
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – July 9
Lynyrd Skynyrd – July 21
ABBA – August 10

Providence Performing Arts Center:
Carol Burnett – May 22
Celtic Woman – June 29
Steven Tyler – September 10

Xfinity Center:
Florence and the Machine – June 7
Dave Matthews Band – June 10
Dixie Chicks – June 14
Keith Urban – June 26
Steely Dan & Steve Winwood – July 7
Toby Keith – July 22

DCU Center:
Sting and Peter Gabriel – July 2
Maroon 5 – September 17
Kiss Tour – September 3

Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel:
French Montana – May 19
The Indigo Girls – June 26

House of Blues Boston:
Chvrches – June 3 and June 4
Whitesnake – June 25
Garbage – July 28
The Go Go's – August 8
Flume – August 29

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Pine Hill Estates is proud to offer exclusive modular homes from the Titan Homes collection. Call us today with any questions.

A little bit about Titan…

It’s finding a home you can truly feel proud to call your own. It’s design choices that perfectly match your need for space and comfort and frees you to express them in your own way. It’s award-winning design and craftsmanship, with true attention to detail. It’s a commitment to providing you with the style and features you’ll enjoy for years to come, It’s combining everything you would want in a home with surprising affordability.

For over 40 years, Titan Homes has grown to become one of the most recognized and respected builders of factory-built and modular homes throughout the Northeastern United States. It’s a recognition earned by consistently delivering more than our customers might expect. More innovative quality features. More home styles and personalized floor plans. More helpful customer service. More home for the money.

What is Modular Construction?

For decades, builders have been improving and shortening the construction process by incorporating factory assembled components like pre-hung doors, cabinet modules and roof trusses. Modern modular construction, with Titan, is just an extension of this evolution.

Titan simply assembles larger components (known as 'modules') in a manufacturing facility utilizing the same materials and construction codes used in the traditional-built construction process, but with all the benefits of a controlled manufacturing environment and improved quality control systems.

 

Advantages of Modular Construction

  • Better quality control

  • Shorter construction schedule

  • Energy efficient structures

  • Stronger, more durable structures

  • Less waste

  • Neighborhood friendly

You won't find better quality homes anywhere else in Massachusetts. If you are looking for a great over 55 community in Massachusetts, look no more. You have found your new home with Pine Hill Estates!

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