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Thanksgiving 2022

Posted by Josh Grabiec on November 22, 2022
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Halloween and Thanksgiving: These two holidays always seem to be in the top three alongside Christmas. We don’t want to play favorites, but since two of those holidays fall within Autumn, one could make a case that it’s the best season of them all…

Well, we’ll leave that argument for someone else to have! Here in the Piedmont-Triad, every season has a wonderful reason to celebrate, and we celebrate each one to its fullest. What follows are some interesting, little-known facts about this iconic holiday and North Carolina itself.

Thanksgiving Trivia

Did you know that there is no clear evidence that turkey was enjoyed at the first Thanksgiving meal? It’s true: it appears this North American fowl was off the menu way back in 1621, in favor of venison and seafood. Considering it was an east-coast meal, can anyone be surprised? But that said, some 46 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving. That’s double the amount eaten on both Easter and Christmas! Speaking of the bird, where did the name ‘turkey’ come from anyway? Honestly, from marketing: Turkish importers brought Guineafowl from Africa to Europe; Europeans loved the animal and called them by the slang term ‘turkeys’; Spanish importers, bringing the native North American birds in from across the Atlantic, called them turkeys to capitalize on an already delicious bird for sale on the continent. Another Thanksgiving staple, cranberries, also didn’t figure into the original meal, considering that the sugar needed to make the sour berry palatable was in short supply back then.

Seagrove Pottery

There is nothing more iconic of North Carolina than its red clay and the pottery made from it, and Seagrove pottery is legendary across the world. The town of Seagrove—located in the middle of the state, so don’t let the name fool you—is the handmade pottery capital of the US. Over a hundred potteries are located in this town, and normally there are two annual celebrations around this time of year to experience the history, tradition, and craftsmanship of one of America’s oldest art forms. They’re cancelled this year, but if you don’t have at least a few pieces of Seagrove Pottery for your Thanksgiving spread, take the time to find and purchase some from these local artisans.

Sweet Potatoes

Since 1971, North Carolina has produced the most sweet potatoes out of any state in America. It’s no surprise that the rust-colored soil of this state yields the most rust-colored vegetables of all, and sweet potatoes have always featured strongly in any Thanksgiving feast. From the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission itself are tons of recipes featuring this vital and variable vegetable.

Thinking About Buying Some New Furniture For Your Home?

Posted by Josh Grabiec on August 01, 2022
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Ready to invest in some new home furnishings? There’s a lot to think about!  Along with the design and look of your new furniture, you’ll also need to think about the space that it will reside in. Furniture is an investment that you’ll want to last for years, so choosing well is key. Below are some tips for selecting the right furniture and accessories for your living space.
Room Size Considerations 
Choosing furniture for your home shouldn’t be a rushed process, it’s important to take the time to choose pieces that are right-sized for your space. Oversized pieces will make a small room feel cramped and cluttered. Conversely, items that are too small look out of place and can be dwarfed their surroundings. To get a good feel for how a piece of furniture will look in a given room, be sure to measure both furniture’s dimensions and the available space in your it’s going to be placed in.
Only Work with Reputable Dealers
Finding a dependable store is key. Unfortunately, there are a some less reputable companies selling their wares. Since furniture is one of your largest investments, make sure you do your research before you buy anything. Read online reviews and comparison shop before you make a purchase. Buying furniture online can be a great way to find and buy quality products at an affordable price. However, you’ll need to review these site and make sure they are legit. For brick and mortar stores, look at their products and see if they have good reviews.
Function over Form?
If you’re looking for an occasional table, choose one that’s the right size for your space and has a sturdy construction. The top should be suitable for holding drinks and books. If you’re seeking a  dining table, select one that’s large enough to seat your entire family and guests comfortably. Some dining room tables come with an insert-able leaf to make the table larger. For a sofa, choose one that’s not only comfortable but also stylish. By considering the function of each piece, you can slim down your options and quickly find the perfect pieces for your home.
What’s it Made of and Why?
Home furnishings are made out of a variety of materials that offer have a wide range of different looks and feel. These materials also require different levels of care and maintenance. Consider materials like leather or faux leather, plastic, or metal if you need low maintenance. These materials are very easy to clean and generally don’t require a lot of upkeep. If you need more durable materials, choose things like wood or wicker. These natural long-lasting materials can last for years with the proper care. Higher quality materials often costs a little more, but they will also last longer much longer. Choose the material that fits both your needs and your budget.
Colors, Should They Match or Complement?
Ask any interior designer and they will tell you that the colors of your furniture will play a large role in establishing your space’s overall look and feel. If you want a dramatic look, choose furniture that offers bold, bright colors. If you prefer a more subdued feel, opt for more muted tones. For the best results,  take into account how the colors of your furniture will coordinate with the other design elements in your space. For example, if you have a room that features brightly colored walls, you may want to choose furniture that in similar hues to create a cohesive look. Alternatively, if you have very neutral walls, you can experiment with different colors to add more visual interest to your space. Sometimes, a bright red sofa make for a great focal point and adds just the right “pop” of color.
Styles, Which One? 
Think about the overall aesthetics of your space. If you have a more traditional styled space, choose pieces that trend toward the traditional. If your space is a bit more modern, you can go for more contemporary pieces. This will ensure that your selections will fit in with the overall style of your space. Peruse some interior designer web site for inspiration concerning the style you think fits your space best. Some sites such as Pinterest will show you how to achieve a specific look by accessorizing or layering different pieces.
Take Your Time
No need to hurry. Don’t be in a rush when you’re choosing furnishings for your space. This is a big decision, and a large expense. You need to take your time and really think about what you need and want before you make any decisions. Once you’re ready and have a good idea of what you’re seeking, only then should you start shopping around. Compare different pieces and find the one that is perfect for your home.
Now that you know a bit more about how to choose the right home furnishings for your space, it’s time to start shopping. With these tips, you’ll be sure to create a wonderfully welcoming space with your personal touch.

Six great ways to beat the summer heat while outside

Posted by Josh Grabiec on July 25, 2022
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Everyone loves a bright summer day and some pleasant warm weather. But even those who love the summer months know that heatwaves can be a bit much. it can even make stepping out on a hot summer day a real challenge. The sweat and heat can easily lead to dehydration and make you feel lethargic. While its important to be mindful of high temperatures, here’s a few ways to make getting outside a bit more manageable.
Stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated is the first rule of surviving summer heat. By drinking water, we help to maintain a reserve amount of fluid in our bodies which can easily be lost in the form of sweat. Consuming about 2 liters of water is desirable for every individual in all the hot weather. If you need to do a little outdoor work plan ahead and drink water hours before.  Also, have a ready reserve of juice, coconut water and hydrating fruits for replenishment.
Consider taking a lukewarm shower
Taking a lukewarm shower in the summer’s hottest days can be relaxing and comforting, but scientists suggest that this makes you feel even hotter. When you take a cool shower your body has to work a bit harder to warm up again and this natural warm up, causes you to feel hotter. The most recent studies suggest that warm water showers do a better job of cooling your your bloodstream without invoking the bodies natural tendency to try to warm up afterwards. .
Avoid drinking caffeine-based drinks like tea and coffee
Caffeine and nicotine intake increases the body’s core temperature. They tend to constrict the blood vessels which warms the blood and makes you feel hot and sweaty. No one wants that, Prepare some cool beverages such as coconut water, lemon water or other fruit juices. Also, a reminder, excessive intake of alcohol should be avoided.
Eat lighter meals
Consuming larger,  heavier meals kicks up your metabolism and generates heat in the body which can make you feel uncomfortable. Large meals make your body work harder to digest the food and metabolize it. This increases your core temperature can make you feel sweaty and lethargic afterwards. It’s best to consume light , freshly cooked meals in the summers.
Cool your toes and hands.
If you have to be outside and are feeling excessively hot, an easy way to lower  your temperature down is by cooling your hands and feet. Soaking your feet in cool water for some time can relax you and make you feel less hot. if you are exercising or working in the yard, wear a neck gator that you  dip into ice water. This will create a nice cooling effect.
Wear loose fitting face drying clothes
Wearing tight fitting and dark colored clothes can make you perspire more. If you wish to stay cool and avoid excessive perspiration, opt for loose, light-colored cotton clothes. Your sweat doesn’t easily evaporate when you wear thicker clothes. Dark colors retain more heat, making you feel hotter and should be avoided.

Cheat a bit with an outdoor fan.
Large DIY stores carry larger portable fans that are great both indoors and out.  If you need to be outside, they make it much easier if you are going o be working in the same spot. So if you absolutely mist do some gardening or tinkering, these larger outdoor fans are a real lifesaver.
Do it later.
If possible, postpone outdoor work and events until after the sun goes down.  Summer evenings are often a little more breezy and pleasant sot if possible, schedule them later. Use a pop-up style event tent  when you can to create shade. You can also purchase misters  to help create a cooling effect in sunny areas. If you can plan your time to be in the shade of trees, this helps a lot. Also, remember that the air cools as it goes over bodies of water so if  that’s a possibility, plan this into you events outside.
Hotter days are unavoidable but with the right tools and a little planning, you can still enjoy your time outside and maintain your cool.

Happy Fourth of July From Keystone Homes

Posted by Josh Grabiec on July 04, 2022
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Keystone Homes wishes you and yours a most happy Independence Day holiday! We hope your weekend was full of camaraderie and cheer and your Fourth is full of fun, reflection, and good times in your beautiful Keystone Home.

How Piedmont-Triaders Beat the Heat!

Posted by Josh Grabiec on June 27, 2022
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Everyone loves a North Carolina summer but let’s face it, it can get downright hot. Luckily, there’s a ton of great options for residents in the Piedmont Triad to escape the high temperatures. Check out these great recommendations for keeping cool all summer long.
North Carolina offers a ton of hiking trails that feature a “swimming hole” along the way. Because these hikes are often in some of the higher elevations, they offer some nice shade and a refreshing dip in the water.  One of the most well known of these water feature destinations is Sliding Rock. Located in Pisgah National Forest, visitors  slide along a 60 ft smooth rock and plunge into chilly water below.

Another great idea is to spend the day floating down the Yadkin river.  Several outfitters in the Wilkesboro area provide all the equipment and shuttle services at low rates. Ask for some tips from a guide to take advantage of a few rope swings along the way.  Check with your local paddling club and join one of their outings for  those who wish to canoe or kayak.  It’s a great way to enjoy  the hottest summer day when water is just a quick dip away.

When you’re looking for something different but want to keep cool indoors, check out some the area’s planetariums. With Culp Planetarium in Winston-Salem, Morehead Planetarium in  Chapel Hill and Greensboro Science Center’s planetarium, there are several options to choose. many of these offer  traditional stargazing and astronomy education alongside  major motion picture screenings.  Most are not crowded during the day and can be a great escape when temps starting hitting the 90s. Whether you’re exploring, frolicking or learning, there’s plenty of places to keep your cool.

Fresh Summer Recipes That’ll Have Your Family Begging for More

Posted by Josh Grabiec on June 20, 2022
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We’ve been talking a lot about gardening and food these past few weeks, but can you blame us? Your customized Keystone home will not only feature interior accents and amenities custom-tuned to your exact liking, but you also have the chance to create your perfect space outdoors. And we feel that every yard or patio needs a little bit of a vegetable garden for that extra special something. The Piedmont-Triad is temperate and is amenable to growing just about anything you’d want to grow!

So whether you’re going to get a small tomato pot, a corner planter on your deck, or a massive set of raised beds, you’ll want to make sure you know where your bounty is going when the harvest time comes. Here’s some hints from us here at Keystone Homes!

Roasted Tomato Salsa

What You’ll Want Grow: Tomatoes, Cliantro, Jalapeños

If it wasn’t for okra, tomatoes would be the easiest plant to grow in the Piedmont-Triad! Hot peppers come in third place, meaning salsa is one of the easiest recipes you can make where most of the ingredients come from your own little garden. Roasting the veggies in the oven gives them a nice rich char flavor, but consider using a wood fire or grill for some intense smokiness!

Squash Gratin

What You’ll Want to Grow: Zucchini, Straight-Neck Summer Squash, Thyme, Parsley

Plant a zucchini plant and you’ll have all the zucchini you’ll need for the summer. Plant two, and you might just get sick of it! That is, of course, unless you have a recipe as delicious and easy as this one. Accentuate the thick meatiness of zucchini with some more tender summer squash and you’ll get a wonderful texture that you won’t believe you’d find in a side dish. Though this recipe stands well on its own, if your herb garden is flush, you can’t go amiss with some fresh thyme mixed in with the sauce or some chopped parsley with the bread crumbs.

Okra Curry

What You’ll Want to Grow: Okra, Tomatoes

Make sure you follow the prep and cooking instructions on this one, unless you’re a big fan of okra’s natural sliminess! This technique will allow you to pull out all of okra’s earthy flavor and eliminate the sliminess which many folk find unappetizing. The high cooking heat will also help when you fry up the spices: don’t skip this technique either! Proper spice-handling is the key to delicious curries.

Tzatziki Sauce

What You’ll Want to Grow: Cucumbers, Dill

This sauce is so fresh and vibrant you’ll want to slather it on everything! Well, not everything. I suggest you put it on grilled souvlaki, grilled squash, and toasted pitas, but leave it off of your morning oatmeal. The secret to this recipe is grating and draining the cucumber overnight so that your sauce isn’t watered down by the cucumbers’ juices. The overnight wait time is important to help meld the flavors of the ingredients, but if you’re pressed for time, add 1 tsp of salt to the grated cucumber, let it sit for 20 minutes, then squeeze the water out gently by wrapping the cucumber in a tea towel and squeezing.

The Only Moving-Out Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Posted by Josh Grabiec on June 13, 2022
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Are you ready to move into your Piedmont-Triad home? We know you’re excited about your new Keystone home: After all, our homes and communities are perfectly tailored to you and for family! All of that hard work you’ve done customizing or choosing your home is finally over; now it’s time to prepare for the Big Move.

We’ve created the definitive moving checklist for you. With this useful tool, you’ll be completely prepared to enjoy your new Keystone home as soon as possible!Moving_Out

Spring Cleaning? Why Not Summer Cleaning?

Posted by Josh Grabiec on June 06, 2022
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KB_110314We’ve been lucky this June: it’s been downright chilly some mornings! But before the heat sets in, why not take some time to get your house ready for when summer really hits?

Clean Air

Just like in winter, sometimes it gets stuffy in the summer. This is the best time to fill your home with plants! NASA researchers, in cooperation with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, discovered several houseplants that help purify the air and filter out volatile organic compounds. Choose succulents such as Aloe for your kitchen, Spider Plants, Ficus, or Bamboo palm for your living room, Snake Plants for bathrooms, and Gerber Daisies, Chrysanthemums, and Peace Lilies for bright, colorful flowers anywhere!

As for non-natural solutions, be sure to reverse the rotation of your fans, change out your heating and cooling filters, and make sure your window screens and seals are in good repair for those cooler days (or rainy evenings!)

Window Treatments

While you’re prepping your window’s functional aspects, don’t forget the decorative. For windows that get hit with a lot of sun, swap your heavy curtains for heat-resistant drapes with white-plastic backings to reflect the heat back. Go for lighter, happier colors to suit the season, and that’ll work well too: the darker something is, the more heat it absorbs and the hotter your room will be. You can seal them with magnets or velcro at the sides and bottom for even more protection, if you’re willing.

Kitchen Maintenance

It’s probably about time for you to clean out your fridge, but it’s definitely time for you to clean out the coils too if you haven’t done it already during your spring cleaning. This’ll keep your fridge running much better and efficiently.

Also, get your grill out of winter storage and make sure it’s up and running cleanly and safely. Grilling outside keeps the heat of cooking out of your kitchen.

Store or Donate

Again, it’s time to catch up on any Spring Cleaning you might have missed out on or skipped! Donate any winter clothing you’re ready to part with and pack up the rest for storage. Same goes with extra blankets and your winter bedding.

Air Conditioning Maintenance

Sometimes the best time for this is in the winter, when demand is low, but here at the end of spring is the latest you’d want to wait to get your AC serviced. Don’t forget any window units you might have! Also consider installing a programmable or smart thermostat in your home: Your home will be cooled more efficiently when it is only cooled during the times you or your family are home.

Happy Memorial Day From Keystone Homes!

Posted by Josh Grabiec on May 30, 2022
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Today, as you enjoy a relaxing holiday and prepare to fire up the grill in the backyard of your Keystone Home, take a solemn minute to remember the fallen American soldiers who died in service to their country far from their own homes. Memorial Day seems to have become a day to celebrate a backyard barbecue, buy a cheap mattress or car, light off some fireworks, and have one last long weekend before the summer begins, but let’s not forget to thank those who cannot enjoy these things any longer.

We here at Keystone Homes hope all Americans, service people, and veterans have a thoughtful and meaningful day today.

The Gate City: Greensboro, the Heart of North Carolina

Posted by Josh Grabiec on May 23, 2022
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Greensboro_SkylineThe Piedmont Triad is made up of three cities and the area around them: Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point. There are many smaller communities in and around the Piedmont Triad as well. Today, let’s take a closer look at Greensboro, known as the Gate City, and learn why your new Keystone home is always in the perfect location!.

Greensboro, North Carolina

(AKA Gate City, Tournament Town)

Established: 1808

Population: 280,000

History

Greensboro’s indigenous population were the Cheraw tribe, which moved south east toward the coast as European expansion moved inward. Today, the tribe is extinct.

The first European settlers in the the area were Quakers, who founded the New Garden Monthly Meetings; the name ‘New Garden’ still lives on to this day as a major road and shopping area, as does the Quaker tradition of hospitality and education.

The name ‘Greensboro’ comes from Major General Nathanael Greene, who commanded the American forces at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in the woods north of the city. It was a Pyrrhic victory for the British army of General Cornwallis, and the heavy losses he sustained in the battle helped turn the tide of the war to the American’s favor.

The addition of a major railway hub in 1840 gave Greensboro its nickname, the Gate City, as it became the largest transportation hub in the state. North Carolina, and Greensboro itself, has always had a strong textile industry, and still does to this day, thanks in part to northern industrialists coming down to rebuild in the aftermath of the civil war. The textile mills of the Cone brothers changed Greensboro from a small town to a city within a decade.

In February of 1960, Greensboro was the site of some of the first sit-ins of the Civil Rights movement. Today, the lunch counter of the Woolworth’s is preserved in the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

Industry

Greensboro has a history of textile production that continues to this day with major companies such as VF Corporation and the International Textile Group. Its qualities as a Gate City also brings major transportation companies to its hub, such as FedEx, Mack Trucks, Volvo, and Honda Aircraft. Although the ‘Triangle’ to the east is better known for its high-tech companies, Greensboro is becoming competitive in that area. Downtown Greensboro is also home to many graphic design and marketing firms.

Points of Interest

  • TripAdvisor claims that Greensboro is home to America’s Best Burger, at the Hops Burger Bar.
  • The Greensboro Science Center features a world-class Aquarium, twelve acres of animals from everywhere across the globe, and rotating exhibits.
  • The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park features many statues and informative plaques, describing in detail the Battle of Guilford Courthouse and how it affected the Revolutionary War. It also features running and biking paths that connect to Country Park.
  • The Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden has beautiful, well-kept grounds and features a small museum featuring objects excavated from the area that date back to the colonial period.
  • The Old Mill of Guilford is a still-operational stone mill that sells its flours and mixes today, the same way they were made back in 1767.