April 17, 2021

Where to see beautiful bluebonnets in Dallas-Fort Worth this spring!

 Ennis bluebonnet trails

April is that magnificent month when you see bluebonnets blanket the fields, pop up in parks, and dot roadways in every corner of Texas.

Following are some areas in Dallas-Fort Worth where folks have reported beautiful bluebonnets already, or where they're reliable for gorgeous photos every spring.

In addition to bluebonnets, you will also see other beautiful flowers blooming such as Indian paintbrush, Indian blanket, evening primrose, Mexican hat, anemone, redbud trees, Mexican plum, elbow bush, and coreopsis.  Texas is painted with many beautiful colors throughout this spring season.

Dallas-Fort Worth roadsides and fields

Each year, bluebonnets paint the landscape along highways 635, 183, 121, 114 and roadside fields near DFW Airport. There's a patch on a hill off 114 at Solana Boulevard in the Trophy Club/Westlake area that's become popular for family photos.

Pretty patches also pop up north of Dallas proper. One favorite is near the J.C. Penney headquarters on Legacy Drive and another one is around Zion Cemetery in Frisco/Little Elm off 423.

The Tarrant County College South Campus has patches proving popular for photos. Bonus is that you can park right there on campus, not on the side of a highway. Find it at 5301 Campus Dr, Fort Worth, 76119.

Glen Rose is a popular day trip from DFW; if you're heading toward Dinosaur Valley State Park or Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, look for bluebonnets along highway 67 and along county roads and rugged hills.

Parks and trails

The Native Texas Park, a 15-acre urban park on the grounds of George W. Bush Presidential Library at SMU, features a one-mile network of trails that walks visitors through native Texas environments, including spring wildflowers.

Plano's Bluebonnet Trail Greenbelt is popping with blooms. Bluebonnet Trail runs from Central Expressway to Midway Road, following an Oncor power line easement and along Spring Creek Parkway and Chase Oaks Boulevard; it intersects with the Chisholm Trail in the middle of Plano and connects with the Preston Ridge Trail at Carpenter Park.

Cedar Hill State Park is bursting with color this time of year. The best bluebonnets at the moment are along the mountain bike trails, with more in other areas popping up as well.

Ennis Bluebonnet Trails, running throughout the month of April, wind visitors through 40 miles of picturesque wildflowers. All indications are that they'll peak around the third weekend of the month, which coincides with the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival, April 16-18. The festival includes food, shopping, art and live music. 

Many Dallas parks have "no mow" wildflower areas, where colorful flowers dot pathways and fill fields in spring. According to the Dallas Park & Recreation website, parks with wildflower areas include: Flagpole Hill, Harry Moss Park, Bachman, Grauwyler, Kessler Parkway, Gateway, and many more.

Tandy Hills Hills Natural Area is a 160-acre indigenous prairie remnant east of downtown Fort Worth that's bursting with spring wildflowers.  They regularly update their website with what's blooming and host some special events.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden says lots of bluebonnets are in bloom throughout the garden, with many in the Rock Springs area, especially.

Rules of the road

  • Remember that while it isn’t illegal to pick the blooms, it is bad form. Leave them for others to enjoy and so the flowers can go to seed and make more for next year.
  • By the same token, minimize trampling of the plants, as crushing them repeatedly (by, say, sitting on them) can destroy the flowers. Try to walk in other people's footprints in a field.
  • Be aware that fields can also contain fire ants and the occasional snake. Be careful if walking through grass where it’s not possible to see where you’re stepping.
  • Pulling over on the side of a highway for photos is never recommended. Find a nearby parking lot.
  • Also, remember the "groups" rule. If you approach a pretty patch and another family is taking photos, ride on by.
  • Finally, be respectful of private property — no climbing fences, going through gates, or driving up driveways to get that photo. You might get a less-than-warm welcome.

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For more information, please click here.

March 22, 2021

Funfetti Cheesecake Crescent Rolls for Easter!

 Funfetti-Cheesecake-Stuffed-Crescent-Rolls - Buttery crescent rolls are filled with an easy funfetti cheesecake spread, baked until golden, and drizzled with a vanilla glaze!! Perfect for kids! | http://thechunkychef.com

 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 tube crescent rolls

8 oz cream cheese

1 ½ T sugar

¾ t vanilla

 

GLAZE

½ c powdered sugar

2 T milk

½ t vanilla

SPRINKLES for garnish

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

To a mixing bowl, add cream cheese, vanilla extract, and granulated sugar. Use a rubber spatula to whip together.

Open crescent rolls and separate into triangles.

Spoon about 2 Tbsp of cream cheese mixture onto the wide end of the crescent triangle and roll up towards to narrow end, forming the crescent roll shape.

Repeat with remaining crescent roll triangles.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

While crescents are baking, make the glaze.

Add powdered sugar to a small mixing bowl. Pour in milk and vanilla extract and whisk until a smooth glaze forms.

Remove baking sheet from the oven and drizzle glaze over cooked crescent rolls.

Garnish with sprinkles if desired.

 

For the full article and more photos, please click here.

 

March 1, 2021

DFW Housing Market is Hot!

Dallas ranked sixth in the nation just behind Austin, according to a panel of real estate experts and economists surveyed by Zillow.

Overall, the market is expected to be strong across the board.

While an improved economy and progress with the coronavirus vaccines are two of the highest contributing factors for the market, affordability and inventory still tend to hold the market back.

The pandemic has not upended the housing market as those expected, but it has actually accelerated trends we saw coming into 2020.  Record-low mortgage rates and the increased demand for living space, as well as a surge of Millennials buying their first homes, will keep the pressure on home prices for the foreseeable future.

For more detailed information, please click here

Feb. 1, 2021

White Texas Sheet Cake for Valentine’s Day

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup water

2 eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

 

Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup whole milk

5 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Chopped walnuts or sprinkles to garnish

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 15x10x1-inch sheet pan with baking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

Then in a small saucepan, add the butter and water. Bring to a boil and quickly remove from heat. Stir the hot liquid into the flour mixture.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and almond extract until smooth. Pour that into the flour mixture and stir until smooth.

Spread the batter in the prepared sheet pan. Baked 18-22 minutes until the cake is just golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes.

While the cake cools, prepare the frosting by combining the butter and milk in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar, almond extract, and salt. Spread the glaze over the warm cake and immediately top with sprinkles.

 

For step-by-step instructions, please click here.

Jan. 31, 2021

Pandemic is Driving People to Buy Bigger Homes in the Suburbs

The pandemic-induced run on housing has fueled a national affordability crisis for many would-be home buyers.   Homeownership has long been considered a staple of the American dream. As the coronavirus outbreak and rise of remote work pushed Americans to move from the city to the suburbs, those who could afford a single-family home have been able to leverage historically low interest rates to build equity and net worth.  During 2020, the homeownership rate jumped to roughly 67%, up nearly 3% from a year earlier after remaining largely flat for a decade, according to the Census Bureau.

High demand for housing, along with a record low supply of homes for sale, has also caused a sharp spike in home prices, shutting others out entirely.  The pandemic-induced run on housing has also fueled an affordability problem for many of those would-be buyers, despite mortgage rates near the lowest levels ever.

To see the full article, click here.

Oct. 28, 2020

Freeze Alert

FREEZE WARNING AND PRECAUTIONS

 

Greetings!

 

Winter is coming!  Water pipes in your home may freeze and burst if immediate action is not taken prior to the drop in temperature.  Below are some essential tips to avoid damage to your home due to broken pipes: 

 

HOW TO PREVENT FROZEN PIPES 

·         Disconnect and drain water hoses

·         Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers

·         Turn off the sprinkler system

·         If the temperature drops below 20 degrees, keep one or two faucets running slowly at all times. Water running through the system will prevent the line from freezing

·         Keep the cabinet under the kitchen sink open so warm air can flow around the pipes 

 

HOW TO PREP THE INSIDE OF YOUR HOME FOR WINTER WEATHER 

·         Turn ceiling fans on low in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to circulate warm air

·         Inspect fireplaces and chimneys before using and have them cleaned if necessary 

 

HOW TO PREP THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME FOR WINTER WEATHER 

·         Bring potted plants inside

·         Cover any outside plants with sheets, towels, or blankets

 

Also, we strongly recommend that you make sure your homeowners or renter’s insurance is up to date to cover liability and unexpected damage from water, fire, windstorm, etc. to your personal belongings.  The owner and management company assume no liability for personal loss.

 

If you are a tenant, please contact your landlord or property management company immediately if you suspect a pipe has frozen or burst!

 

Oct. 5, 2020

Leaves Are Falling, Home Prices Are Not!

Just wanted to let everyone know that the housing market is still very strong. Although the market took a slight drop in April and May while everyone tried to figure out the pandemic and how to handle home showings, it has come back stronger than ever. The summer brought back more of a normal housing market with many homes receiving multiple offers.  Inventory has been slightly lower with the coronavirus still lingering, but homes are still selling at a quick pace. We anticipate the housing market in the Dallas area to remain strong for the rest of the year.  

 

 

 

Oct. 5, 2020

Local Pumpkin Patches

Pumpkin Patch

  

Sept. 19, 2020

Millennials and Home Improvement

 

Millennials are getting handier around the home since COVID-19 lockdown measures began, according to this new survey.

A recent poll of 2,000 homeowners found that compared to other generations, millennials have been the busiest, with 81% having tackled a home improvement project since March.

This survey examined the various home improvement projects that American homeowners have completed while stay-at-home orders have been in effect—and why they chose to take them on in the first place.

Two-thirds of the respondents say they tackled their project to save money while 49% simply needed something to keep themselves busy during lockdown.

Overall, the average homeowner has attempted four different home improvement projects since March and saved an estimated $160 simply by attempting to complete a project themselves.

Not only have these projects kept homeowners busy, they have also led to new hobbies; 73% of those who tackled a home improvement project on their own revealed that afterward, they felt resilient enough to keep taking on more projects and 67% of homeowners look forward to tackling more projects in the future.

It’s projected that most of these future projects will be holiday prep related. Holiday-prep projects include bathroom and kitchen renovation, filling driveway cracks, fixing the patio landscape and replacing countertops and kitchen floors.

 For the full article click here.

Sept. 19, 2020

“Groovy” Chocolate Sheet Cake

A Texas sheet cake from the 70’s, which is why it’s called “groovy”.

 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Makes one 13 X 9 inch cake

 

 

Ingredients

 

For the cake:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), plus 1 tablespoon for greasing the pan

2 cups sifted flour

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

eggs, beaten

 

For the frosting:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

7 tablespoons whole milk

3 cups powdered sugar

1 pinch salt

1 teaspoon rum extract (you can also use vanilla extract)

1/3 stick of unsalted butter, melted

 

Directions

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan with 1 tablespoon of butter.

 

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

 

In a separate saucepan, melt the 1/2 cup butter over medium heat along with 1 cup of hot water and bring to a low boil. Mix in the melted chocolate and stir to combine. Take off the heat.

 

In a medium-size bowl, combine the sifted flour, sugar, and salt.

 

Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and combine well with a wooden spoon.

 

Add the sour cream, vanilla, and baking soda to the mixture and combine well.

 

Add the beaten eggs and mix until they’re fully incorporated.

 

Add the batter to the greased cake pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick or knife into the center, and it comes out clean.

 

Let cool completely before frosting.

 

 

For the frosting:

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

 

In a medium-size bowl, mix the milk and sugar gradually.

 

Add the salt and rum extract to the milk-sugar mixture and stir until combined. Then add the melted chocolate and stir until combined.

 

Add the melted butter and mix until fully incorporated.

 

Let the frosting cool slightly, before spreading on cooled cake.

 

For more detailed instructions and more photos see the full article here.