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Author Archives: nextdoorwinnie

Halloween Tribute to Michael Jackson

As Halloween approaches, it’s only fitting that we do a tribute to the one and only Michael Jackson. His legendary “Thriller” video gives us all something to enjoy as we get into the “spooktcular” season.

And for a little more kid-friendly version, check out these singing pumpkins that dance to the “Thriller” theme song…

The “New Roof” Game

As a resident expert on neighborhood envy and the lengths people will go to just to “keep up,” we can’t forget about the “new roof” phenomenon. In addition to Christmas lights and landscaping, new roofs are one of the biggest ways the neighbors try to keep up with one another, and even show one another up, at times.


Keep up with the Joneses through a new roof

Getting New Roofs Around the Neighborhood

If you’re in or near the Midwest, you probably know what we’re talking about. Especially for our fellow neighbors who are also in tornado valley, or so it seems. Last spring we had a massive hail storm. Skylights were broken, gutters dented, and some people even had to replace car windshields. And with a massive hail storm came roof replacement. The funny thing to me is that there is a process that takes place in order for the whole neighborhood to get a new roof. It goes something like this:

1. All neighbors come outside after the hail has passed to evaluate the size of the hail. They gasp.

2. One or two wise neighbors realize that they probably just had storm damage to their property.

3. One of those neighbors gets on the ball, and calls their insurance agent ASAP to get a claims team out to the house to evaluate.

4. Claims team comes to the house, determines that the home indeed got storm damage. Cuts check.

5. On-the-ball home owner gets quotes and settles on a roofing company.Roofing materials begin being delivered.

6. Surrounding neighbors begin to wonder what’s going on with the new roof down the street.

7. Roofing company pulls up, spends the whole day atop the roof and sticks a sign in the yard.

8. Other neighbors wise up and realize they too could most likely get a new roof because of the storm.

9. Neighbors call their insurance companies, soon the number of roofing signs down the street double.

10. A few months later, the last straggling neighbors also call their agents. By the time it’s over, nearly everyone on the street has a new roof.

Insurance Companies Don’t Like Neighborhood Envy

I imagine that insurance companies don’t like neighborhood envy. It’s a domino effect – you see one neighbor gets a new roof and then realize you could probably get a new roof, too. But at least everyone doesn’t hate that game; I’m sure roofing companies have a heyday.


Removing Unsightly Driveway Stains

Your yard is perfectly manicured, and your house’s paint looks like perfection. Don’t let unsightly driveway stains ruin your home’s curb appeal. If you’re tired of your driveway looking shabby, consider trying to remove the stains so that your house looks like the best on the block.


Enhance your curb appeal by cleaning up oil stains

Removing Oil Stains from the Driveway

Whether it’s your own car leaking oil, or one of your guest’s, make sure that you try to get oil stains removed as soon as possible. Several tips for removing oil stains will include kitty litter, but this mainly gets the oil to rise from the surface. You can try covering the kitty litter with newspaper to get even more oil removed, or scrubbing the area with oven cleaner after using kitty litter. If kitty litter doesn’t work, you can also try scrubbing the area with gasoline or Ultra Dawn dish soap.

Or, if none of those easy tips are working, check out this video by professional Eric Stromer from HGTV that explains how to create a scrub to remove oil from your driveway.

It may seem like a pain, but your house will look much better with the oil stains removed. Be a good neighbor and help keep your neighborhood looking nice!

My Favorite Kids Halloween Costumes

I was shopping the other day and realized that Halloween really is just around the corner. I was picking up a few things for my little gal when I stopped and realized that the rainbow tutu that I really wanted to buy her was in the “Halloween” section.



Baby Halloween Costumes are the Cutest!

Then, I got very excited for Halloween. Whether it’s adult or kids costumes – they’re all fun! I thought I’d feature a few of my favorite costumes over the next few weeks, starting with the kiddos costumes. There are especially some great ones out there this year – hit the stores now to get some great ideas!


Baby Halloween Costumes

Babies are the cutest when it comes to Halloween costumes. I especially love Walmart’s selection of Infant Costumes this year. It’s nice to have an option to not break the bank (since these babies grow so fast!) yet look absolutely adorable. My favorite this year happens to be their baby elephant costume.

My Favorite Kids’ Halloween Costumes

Children’s Place has some great costumes out already. Plus, the nice thing is that with these costumes. you can buy stuff that your kiddo can wear later throughout the season. While they’ve got some great ones to choose from like a witch, bumble bee and princess for girls and even cowboys and astronauts for boys,  I happen to favor the lady bug costume.

baby-peacock-costume will make your kids stand out this Halloween

Unique Kids Halloween Costumes

For those who really like something different, check out this website that features specialty costumes. If you want to stand out and have your child look different from all of the other neighborhood kids, consider a unique costume. From elaborate peacocks to spiders and scarecrows, this is the place to get your stand-out Halloween costume.




Dream House Planning with House Hunters

As you’ll pick up pretty soon, I am a big reality TV junkie. I already admitted my addition to the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Well today’s show is a little more classy, and less dramatic, but still very reality. Yep, it’s House Hunters.


House Hunters helps me prepare for my dream home

I love House Hunters and House Hunters International on HGTV. I mean of course I do – I blog about big houses and neighbors, right? If you’ve not seen House Hunters, it’s a show that follows a couple/family/individual as they search for a new place to live; they are often relocating from a different area of the country (or even to a new country.) A realtor is hired and takes the family to three different locations. As the family tours each home, you get to sit in your living room, eat popcorn, and yell at the screen and tell them what you’d do, and then take bets on what they choose. Well, at least I do that…

So anyway, I’ve learned a lot through House Hunters and it’s helped me start forming my “dream house” wish list so that when the time is right and I can move to the Seychelles Islands – yep that episode was on the other day and nope, I had no idea where it is…. I had to look it up.

My Dream Home List Thanks to House Hunters

So – here is what my dream home entails so far, thanks to what I’ve seen on House Hunters and what’s out there:

– a view of the beach (meaning we’re heading International on at least one of my dream homes)

– a little courtyard off of the master bedroom overlooking the pool (so we have a pool too)

– an open kitchen with a bar for eating, homework and hanging out

– a fun attraction around the home, maybe something like this musical fountain.

– a camera near the front door programmed to display on the kitchen TV

– a big enough rooftop for a grand Christmas lights display with lights, music and the works.

– a HUGE master bathroom

Well, that’s my list so far at least. I can’t wait for the next season of House Hunters so that I can add to my growing dream house wish list! What’s on your list?

Kansas City’s Edge of Hell

I’m a local gal at heart, and so after my Bates Motel post, I needed to give some love to another one of America’s Scariest Haunted Houses & Attractions. Plus, it’s right in my backyard.


Kansas City Haunted Houses are Great!

Kansas City’s “Edge of Hell” has been around for many years, since 1975 to be exact. I remember even as a junior high student, all of the high school kids were hitting this Kansas City haunted house. It was known for its fright tactics – for its themes and amazing costumes. And it was THE place to be in Kansas City around Halloween time.

Well, I’m obviously not in junior high anymore, but I am way excited that this haunted house is still in existence, and stronger than ever! Part of what makes the Edge of Hell unique is it’s location – it’s in a run-down part of the city (West Bottoms) that just makes you a little on edge as you drive to the haunted house. There are five floors that you have to walk through, and after 30 minutes of terrifying noises, characters and lights – you’re totally spooked. But there’s also some fun things they do to make it a “spook”tacular time…

– characters in crazy scary costumes, like “Ratman” who bites the heads off of rats

– shadows cast by dim lighting, even right as you walk in

– Frights from all of the scariest things: bats, dogs, Dracula, ghosts and more.

– light and state-of-the-art technologies

– spooky music

– cramped quarters and lots of walking wears you out and has you guessing what’s next around the corner

If you’re in KC and a big fan of Haunted Houses, you’ve got to check this one out. There are some other great ones too, and you can even buy some package deals to go to several haunted houses. This year, Kansas City is also getting a “Ghost and Gangsters” tour together that runs year-round! Check it out if you’re out this way!

Christmas Light Competition: Ditto

I know it’s still summer but I had to share this photo. Now this is a funny way of getting around neighborhood envy. And it goes to show that some like to compete light-for-light, while others take a creative approach and play along:


One house has obviously gone all out with their Christmas lights. They not only have icicle lights hanging from the entire perimeter of the house, but they have pre-lit deer, Christmas trees and other iconic Christmas lights in their yard. Their neighbor must have known it was coming, as they carefully constructed a “Ditto” sign with an arrow pointing toward the bright house. I have a feeling this wasn’t the first year that the house on the left has gone all out. At least they spread the Christmas cheer so that their neighbors eventually did play along. Happy Holidays!