Best Places to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia

Get out your party hats and chill the champagne — it’s time to party like it’s 2017. Browse more places to count down to the New Year in Philly, below.

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SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront
Philadelphia will ring in 2017 not once but two times during the SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Delaware River Waterfront. With shows at 6 p.m. and midnight, revelers of all ages will have a chance to celebrate the New Year. Best of all, there are plenty of great places to watch the spectacular show.

New Year’s Eve Parties on Ice at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest offers one of the best views of the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Folks can lace up their ice skates for the New Year’s Eve Parties on Ice at the waterfront rink, which will fill with music, food, drinks and other entertainment. Outdoor seating is in abundance to watch the show, and the festivities inside the Winterfest tent add a cozy touch to the holiday celebration.

New Year’s Eve at SugarHouse Casino
In addition to presenting both New Year’s Eve fireworks shows, SugarHouse Casino is a destination of its own for explosive fun on December 31. SugarHouse hosts a grand celebration with an open bar, live music from Burnt Sienna, a complimentary champagne toast, a private viewing area for the midnight fireworks display over the Delaware River and more.

New Year’s Eve on the Moshulu
Have a sweet celebration aboard the Moshulu as you prepare to ring in the New Year. Head to the deck for great views of the fireworks as well as a dessert buffet, a cash bar and live music. For a more extravagant celebration, enjoy a four-course feast before the fireworks. A jazz trio will perform onboard, piano will be played in the dining room and a DJ will spin on the mid-deck, allowing you to pick the ambiance you want for ringing in 2017!

Click here to learn about more things to do on NYE in Philadelphia!

The Mummers Parade 2017

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In Philly, the New Year’s party doesn’t stop after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. In fact, some would say it doesn’t even get started until 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day, when 10,000 colorfully costumed Mummers line up to strut, sashay and pirouette their way down Broad Street.

Mummers are men and women of all ages who belong to more than 40 organized clubs that make up the parade participants. The clubs are split into five categories — Comics, Wench Brigades, Fancies, String Bands and Fancy Brigades — that function mainly to stage playful performances on New Year’s Day.

The parade begins at 9 a.m. and continues into the evening, ending approximately at 6 p.m. City Hall marks the starting point, with a judging station situated at 15th and Market streets.

Click Here to read about more things to do on New Year’s Day in Philadelphia. 

 

Choosing The Right Sized Home for a Retired Couple

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Looking to downsize? Facing retirement? Congratulations! With your children well grown and perhaps even your grandchildren, it’s time to start thinking about the next phase of your life. As a retired couple, you may not need a lot of space anymore, plus your needs have changed over the years.

Exploring Your Interests and Lifestyle

How much room is enough room for the two of you? Well, that’s a fairly subjective question that’s different for everyone. However, that’s the first thing you should ask yourself. Do you have pets? Do you watch your grandchildren during the day? Do you have hobbies that require a lot of extra space, such as woodworking or scrapbooking? Once you decide on how much room you need, you can move on to other aspects of finding the right sized home.

Consider lifestyle – not just now but in the future as well. If you still love to entertain, you may want a large kitchen with dining room and great room big enough to house seating for guests. If you have frequent guests over for the night, such as family members and grandkids, you’ll need more than one bedroom. If you don’t entertain a lot and just prefer to be casual, you can ditch the formal dining room and parlor.

Community Life

Many retired couples find the appeal of an over-55 community attractive. They can enjoy quiet days in the company of other like-minded adults of a similar age. Other couples, however, don’t care for the isolation this involves and would prefer to live in a regular neighborhood with a variety of people around them.

Health Needs

Consider your overall health when considering the size of your home. If you have arthritis, a bad back, or other mobility issues, you may want to consider single-level living. Having no stairs means you can move from place to place without pain and inconvenience. You may also want to opt out of any sunken living rooms. Even one step can pose a problem with aging retirees.

While no one wants to think about it, you may want to plan for the possibility of being wheelchair-bound or having to use a walker when you’re older. That means wider hallways, 36-inch doorways and more of an open floor plan. In the bathroom, you may want to incorporate a step-in shower with no lip at the bottom and plenty of grab bars. Extra storage space that’s convenient to access, as well as appliances and countertops that are easy to reach, possibly from a wheelchair someday, are also good to have.

Need help choosing the right sized home for you as you retire? Judd Builders has long been at the forefront in building high quality homes with the best materials and award-winning home designs in the most desirable neighborhoods. Call or visit one of our spectacular 55+ communities: Renaissance at Morgan Creek in Quakertown, PA or Meadow View Farms in Oley, PA. We can design the perfect home so you can live out your Golden Years in comfort.”

Preparing Your New Home for the Holidays

 

Christmas drink. Hot chocolate and marshmallowsIf you’ve been lucky enough to buy a house this time of year and are getting ready to move in before the holidays, congratulations! This is an exciting time for home ownership because of all the family get-togethers, decorations and cheer that’s inescapable during this most festive of months.

As you get settled in your new home, here are a few tips to get your house settled and ready for holiday company and the family!

Prep Outdoor Areas

Safety is the main priority when prepping the house for the holidays, especially the exterior. You’ll be having a lot of guests coming over and you want to make sure all walkways, driveways, porches and other areas are free of snow and ice. Do some shoveling, spread some salt, place lights along walkways, and stick reflectors along your driveway so people can navigate your property easily. Automatic light sensors are a good idea.

Create an Inviting Entrance

Immediately upon entering your home, guests should feel welcome. Create an area just inside the door where they can take off wet boots and jackets. Place a water-proof mat to the left or right of the door and be sure to have a coat tree available for hanging hats, mittens, scarves and jackets.

On a table near the entrance or in an adjoining room, have candles or a bowl of potpourri out to fill your home with warm, comforting scents.

Prepping the Rooms

When preparing your home, do a thorough walk-through to find places to add a little bit of holiday flair. From hanging decorative hand towels in the bathroom, to adding holiday-themed blankets to your guest bedroom – your family and friends will feel welcome and warm & cozy!

Organize the kitchen in a more conducive way to entertain, placing small appliances under cabinets to save space and freeing up islands to house all your holiday appetizers, drinks, dips and entrees. Make sure all appliances are working, such as the ice maker on your freezer, your margarita mixer, and your broiler for toasting appetizers.

If your guests will be staying overnight, put fresh linens on the guest bed, add candles and magazines to the bedside table, clear out closet space and drawers, and make sure there are plenty of extra blankets on hand.

Have your furnace inspected before the holidays so no unforeseen problems can happen with the heat. You don’t want the furnace to quit working right before a huge family gathering, do you?

Be smart about decorating the interior. Sync all lights to a remote or your smart phone so you can turn them all on with the push of a button, illuminating your space in festive holiday cheer.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

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Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest transforms Penn’s Landing into a winterized riverfront park.

A cold-weather version of the rollerskating oasis BlueCrossRiverRink Summerfest, Winterfest houses an Olympic-size skating rink overlooking the Delaware River, a ski chalet-style lodge and winter garden with a majesticly lit holiday tree (over 100,000 LED lights!), an outdoor seating area with fire pits, cozy warming cabins, a kids’ lodge with arcade games and more.

Now in its 23rd year as an outdoor ice skating rink and fourth season as Winterfest, Blue Cross RiverRink is the only outdoor regulation-sized rink in Philadelphia. The experience of Winterfest as a whole is an annual favorite among those of every age, offering plenty of special events throughout the season as well as daily entertainment, food and drinks.

Admission and Hours
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is open seven days a week, including all holidays, from November 25, 2016 to March 5, 2017.

General admission to the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is FREE. Skate rental and admission is not included.

Learn more about RiverRink Winterfest

Winterizing Your Home

 

Cozy winter still lifeNow that winter’s practically upon us, it’s time to start preparing for the cold and snowy months ahead. Failure to winterize can result in higher energy bills and more costly repairs. Here’s what you need to know to prepare your home for the colder weather throughout the winter season.

Seal Your Windows and Doors

To avoid heat escaping from drafty windows and doors, you should use caulking around all edges. You can lose a lot of energy through tiny cracks, which leads to higher bills. How do you know if you have drafts? Light a candle and hold it near the window; if it flickers, you have an energy leak. If your existing windows and doors are more than 20 years old, it may be time to invest in replacements. This way, you get more energy efficient windows and doors that look beautiful and add to the curb appeal and value of your home.

Install Storm Windows and Doors

In the same vein, it’s time to switch out your screens and put on the storm doors. This will keep cold, wind and snow from battering your front and side doors, which can really do a number on their appearance and functionality.

Service Furnace/Change Furnace Filters

Schedule a furnace inspection to ensure it’s in good working condition before you have to rely on it every day. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your unit, keep costly repairs at bay and ensure efficient operation. At the same time, change your furnace filters. Those filters should be changed every few months, but each manufacturer is different so read the box.

Clean Gutters and Clean up the Yard

Rake or mow up all the fallen leaves before the first snow. Cover any bushes you want to protect with burlap. Scoop out debris from your gutters to ensure a smoother flow of water and snow melt runoff.

Close Unused Doors and Vents

No need to heat rooms you never use. Close off vents and doors to guest rooms, finished basements and the like to conserve on energy and direct heat where it needs to go most: your main living quarters.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

Flip your ceiling fan switch to reverse the direction of the blades. They should be going clockwise in winter to keep warm air downwards. In summer, switch them back to counterclockwise.

Check Your Emergency Supply

With winter storms on the way, bringing the potential for power outages, it’s important to stock up on your emergency supplies. Make sure you have a first aid kit complete with sanitizers, bandages, over the counter medications and backup prescriptions. If anyone in your family has an allergy, make sure you have extra epinephrine pens on hand. Stockpile canned goods, dried foods, gallons of water (one per person per day), flashlights with extra batteries, manual can openers, matches, fully charged cell phones and a fire extinguisher.

Creating A Cozy Fireplace

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Fireplaces are not only a great source of heat during the harsh winter season, but they also add a stylish piece of work to your home all year round, even when it’s not turned on. Here are some tips to guide you in creating a cozy fireplace that fits your home:

  1. Decide on the fireplace’s main purpose. Whether you want it for warmth, beauty, or a little bit of both, making this decision first and communicating it to who you’re buying from could narrow down your options and make the process easier.
  2. Don’t buy a fireplace to heat more than one room. Most people want to save as much money on heating their home during the winter as possible, but fireplaces will not solve this problem for more than one room. Using a fireplace to save on heating costs will leave you with an overheated main room, which will force you to turn the fireplace off more often.
  3. For heat-efficiency, consider a thermostat-controlled gas fireplace. The fireplace will automatically turn up and down to control the room at the temperature you want it to be.
  4. Once you have chosen an insert for your fireplace, look at trim designs to see which would best fit the style of your home decor.
  5. Be sure to view the fireplace while it is off. Since the fireplace will only be on when it’s needed and even then it won’t be on 24 hours a day, it’s important that you like the way it looks with the rest of your home while the flames are inactive. Hopefully it looks just as cozy and beautiful for you to enjoy all the time!
  6. Avoid a heating insert that relies on a fan. Better quality fireplaces don’t use a fan to push the hot air into the room it’s been heating. It helps with circulating the heat; however, it only somewhat helps the heat output and causes some noise.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Philly Gift Ideas

Below are local Philly gift ideas. Happy holiday shopping!

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1) South Fellini Philly-themed Pins. Intent on showing off the “pretty and gritty” of South Philly, South Fellini’s Tony Trov and Johnny Zito opened their East Passyunk Avenue novelty shop this year for precisely this sort of occasion. Go for the pins –ideally the Wawa Jawn, but their newly released East Passyunk logo pins will also do just fine. ($12, SouthFellini.com or 1507 E. Passyunk Ave.)

2) Michael Malizia Custom Drawings. Wanting something a little more personal? Hoboken sketch artist Michael Malizia transforms memories – think: photos of a since-gone pet or a scene from a home video – into an artwork. This is one that, surely, will stick around for generations. ($650-plus, MyLifeStudioArt.com)

3) Yowie Bottle Opener. Most of us can agree that bottle openers aren’t the most sightly objects stocking our kitchen. Yowie, the online shop that operates out of the Italian Market, is offering a colorful Pat Kim bottle opener that promises to not “be banished into the utensil drawer.” Sold. ($36, ShopYowie.com)

4) Japanese-style Apron. This open-back apron is made from reclaimed linens with customizable pockets. To boot, 25 percent of proceeds are forwarded to Urban Agriculture. Consider it a good starter gift for the family’s cook-in-training. ($88, TheKitchenGardenSeries.com)

5) Philadelphia Tree Ornament. If the tree’s looking devoid of Philly representation this year, this one’s a no-brainer as a stocking stuffer or bonus gift for mom or dad. Go with the AIA Design Center’s ornament, which packs in depictions of One Liberty Place, City Hall and the Liberty Bell. ($25, AIABookstore.com or 1218 Arch St.)


Read the original article for even more gift ideas!

Holiday Decorations: We’ll share with you if you share with us!

 

Christmas background with christmass balls - Soft focusWith the holidays in full swing, you’ve no doubt already started your decorating madness. Whether you’re the type who has to have everything in its place and perfect, or you love the whimsy of controlled chaos, everyone has a certain way of going about this process. From kid-friendly fun to holiday best, we share some of our favorite types of holiday décor. In return, why not share with us YOUR favorite decorating traditions on Facebook? Who knows, you may even pick up a few tips from other readers!

Color Matching

There are lots of ways to traditionally decorate a tree, from silver tinsel to gold garland to popcorn strings. However, why not add a touch of bold color that complements the rest of your living space? HGTV shows us how a purple-themed living room gets a festive accent with a matching tree, complete with purple ribbon, ornaments, and lights. Even the presents are wrapped with purple accents to pull the whole look together.

Carrying a Theme Throughout

From the tree to the mantel, balanced holiday decorating is all about theme. A simple visit to your local craft store will net you bunches of silk flowers…just keep them all within the same hue or color family. At home, mold them into long pieces of garland perfect for the mantel, or fashion them in small bursts that you can stick here and there within the tree. Good silk flower choices include red garden roses, peonies, hydrangea and Gerber daisies. You can even weave these into garland strands to run along your staircase railing.

Keep it Understated

If you prefer a muted design and color scheme, go with a palette of whites, charcoals and grays to mimic the spirit of the winter season. Add some elegance and sheen to your mantel with floral cones, fringe trim, metallic accents, and pussy willows, all highlighted by a framed black and white winter nature scene photo hung above.

Of course, you could always go with a traditional look for the mantel complete with lush cedar garland, vanilla pillar candles and fresh white roses for an organic aesthetic that is sure to please.

Welcome Holiday Cheer

Spreading holiday cheer for everyone to see is a must in December. That begins with your front porch and door. Miniature faux pine trees make excellent additions to stairs and porches. Add bows of twine, beaded garland, bright red satin ribbon and handmade ornaments to give it a festive touch. Balance out your front door by adding one on either side.

Instead of a traditional wreath hung on your front door, hang a shabby chic off-white painted sled with the word JOY printed vertically in bold red. Instead of the “O”, use a simple green circular wreath. Got a rustic cabin? Adorn your front porch with a wreath made of moss- and lichen-covered twigs, suggests Country Living.

Now that you know some of our favorites, it’s time to share yours with us on Facebook. Judd Builders welcomes your comments and suggestions on what makes YOUR holiday beautiful!

Decorating Your New Home For The Holidays

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Decorations are an essential part of getting in the holiday spirit! Here are some small tips to get creative with in order to make your new home look extra festive for this winter holiday season with little time and effort:

  1. Use any extra ornaments for an ornament display. Place sparkling and colorful ornaments on a cake stand around with leaves for a beautifully simple centerpiece or table decoration.
  2. Greenery will surely add a festive touch in your home, whether its along a staircase or even around a doorway. This will create a very inviting atmosphere in your home. The same thing can be done with lights!
  3. Decorate a small artificial white tree with holiday items. Candy canes, bows and mints will make a stunning display on any table.
  4. A festive chandelier-like decoration can be made from clustering ornaments, tying different colored bows on them and hanging them from the ceiling or door frame.
  5. With a simple touch of spray paint, a frosting look can be added to a wreath to transform it into a winter decoration. Put on gold or any other holiday colored leaves to add a pop of color.
  6. Filling a snifter with different kinds of shiny silver bells will add some sparkle to your dining room table.