Blog :: 05-2010

5 Tips for the Best Backyard BBQ

You love your home, you love your yard and Madison WI finally has gorgeous weather so you can share the fun with neighbors, family and friends. The Backyard BBQ is the best way to do that. Here are 5 great tips to get you started!

1. Get your backyard ready!

You can involve the whole family; kids can help by picking up sticks & organizing outdoor toys and games. Mow the lawn the morning of your BBQ party and take steps toward a poison free, natural lawn. Make sure to have a variety of outdoor fun like bubbles, chalk, balls and depending on the size of your yard you can set up a volleyball net or get ready for a game of capture the flag. If you are going to have some sprinkler fun, make sure to let your guests know so they can bring bathing suits, towels and an extra set of clothes for the kids.

2. Double check that you have the basics.

Make sure you have these important things on hand: a cooler for drinks, ice, enough outdoor chairs and tables (you can borrow from neighbors too), grilling utensils, charcoal, condiments, buns, and a planned menu.

3. Plan for smart eating.

Don't use disposable plates and utensils. It may seem easier but think of the extra waste added to the landfill and the extra dollars you can save by using the plates in your kitchen. Since you most likely enjoy outdoor eating during the warm summer months invest in sturdy recycled products that you can reuse over and over again. If you are having a huge party and need to bring in disposable products there are wonderful options out there with sugarcane being 100% biodegradable, and other recycled paper products that are compostable too.

4. Create a list of easy side dishes.

When you invite friends, family and/or neighbors over for your fun backyard BBQ they will most likely offer to bring something to the party. Be prepared with some easy dishes to request to ensure a great variety and then confirm what they plan to bring and add that to your planned menu. Some easy ideas for great side dishes are: fruit salads, potato salads, guacamole & chips, drinks, and healthy desserts like strawberries and whip cream or oatmeal cookies. 

5. Grill to perfection.

You can't have the best backyard BBQ without preparing the best BBQ foods. Go easy and grill hot dogs and brats. And if you are ready for some delicious ribs, Carlos has an easy and yummy recipe. Boil the ribs until they are soft, adding 1 cup of BBQ sauce and 1 orange (cut the orange in 4 pieces, squeeze the juice in the boiling water and toss the peels in). Then grill the ribs for 3-5 minutes and coat with more BBQ sauce. If you want to prepare early you can boil the ribs a day or two before the party and they will be ready for quick grilling.

HAVE FUN! Make sure that the planning and preparing is full of fun and that will guarantee the best BBQ day for everyone! If you are looking for a home with the perfect backyard for a BBQ party check out our Madison WI featured listings and call us to get started!

Green Homes are Green Cleaned

Great ideas for non toxic cleaning

There is always a debate about the definition of a green home but that is not what we're posting about right now. It doesn't matter what shade of green your home is, or maybe it isn't green at all and it's blue, again, it doesn't matter. What matters is that your home is healthy. Everyone wants a healthy home and the best way to start is by learning how to use non toxic, safe cleaning products.

FREE Green Spring Cleaning Event in Madison WI

Monday, May 17, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

at Madison Environmental Group, Inc., 25 N. Pinckney, 3rd floor, Madison, WI

ALL EnAct participants past, present and future are welcome to come to our Green Spring Cleaning event and learn how to make eco-friendly cleaning products!

We will demonstrate how to make your own non-toxic cleaning solutions using common household products. These products are less expensive, clean better than many of the leading store-bought cleaners, and keep harmful chemicals out of our lakes and streams. Plus you help the environment by not driving to the store and back. Bring your own bottles if you would like to take some of our solutions home. The event will be filmed and broadcast at a later date on Madison Gas and Electric's Green View.

We will make an oven cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, furniture polish, mold killer, and a creamy soft scrubber. 

Please RSVP if you would like to attend: Email: Maria Sadowski at call (608) 280-0800.

EnAct is still accepting applications for the Greener, Faster Challenge.

Don't miss this great opportunity to learn how to reduce your eco-footprint and win GREAT prizes. To learn more, come to Whole Foods on Tuesday, May 18, at 4:30 p.m. to hear Sonya Newenhouse speak about why we must take action now to reduce our environmental impact. Deadline for nominations is Monday, May 24.

EnAct is made possible by generous sponsors: Madison Gas and Electric, Madison Environmental Group, Inc., City of Madison Water Utility, Dane County Department of Public Works Solid Waste Division, City of Madison Metro Transit, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, Organic Valley Family of Farms, City of Fitchburg Public Works Department, and Home Savings Bank.

How clean is our air in Madison, WI?

Are any of these kids suffering because of the outdoor air quality?

As a Mom to an asthmatic child my eyes open wide when I see published information about the air quality in Madison, WI. And I KNOW we have many clients that not only care about air quality in our beautiful city but also in our homes!  I just read that, "Dane County continues to meet state and federal standards and enjoy a majority of days with "good" quality air. However, we still have days when the air quality is unhealthy, particularly for sensitive groups (e.g. children, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory or cardiovascular disease). In 2009, there were 10 days that reached the federal "unhealthy for sensitive groups" classification due to high levels of fine particulate matter." That is a scary number for many people. In fact, 63,000 people in Dane County suffer chronic respiratory disease. Read more about it here...

And we've got Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) to think about too!

The great thing about indoor air quality is that it is something that can be monitored and improved by simple actions we take on a daily basis:

1) Quit smoking in your home (or just quit smoking altogether)

2) Building materials and furnishings

3) Asbestos (and if you have an older home, find out about possible vermiculite insulation in your attic)

4) Household cleaning products (we are huge Shaklee fans, find out why!)

5) Radon, pesticides, carbon monoxide

Important information about these potential hazards in your home can be found at the Environmental Protection Agency website or click here.

We should feel good about our kids playing outside EVERY day in Madison, WI and everywhere in the world! Not 355 days of the year but 365! And it is our responsibility to be proactive about the quality of the air in our homes!


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They're going WILD over Madison WI's Northside.

It is no secret, Madison WI's Northside is a hot spot. Maybe it was the United Force of the Northside when it fought hard for a neighborhood grocery store that created the strength it needed to attract new homeowners. Or maybe it is the continued support of local businesses in the Northgate Shopping Center on Sherman or Northside Town Center that offers neigborhoods the luxury of proximity for needed items yet maintaining the urban feel and quick commutes.

Visit the Northside Farmers Market

Northside Farmers Market is a Hot Spot on Sunday mornings

For the people that live in these neighborhoods, the love is strong and it shows. The Northside Farmers Market has grown significantly since it opened in 2005. The first celebration was a hit this past Sunday, May 2nd, as Northside Farmers Market in Madison, WI kicked off the season with a Cinco de Mayo Celebration. And if you didn't make it this Sunday, don't worry because it is open every Sunday from 8:30 - 12:30pm until October.

The Northside isn't a small area in Madison, WI. If you are shopping around and looking for the right place to live on Madison's Northside, one way to do it is to check out the Northside Planning Council's website. Or visit the City of Madison's site for detailed neighbohood association information.

Parks are everywhere and it you live on the Northside you are expected to have a big party for the infamous Rythm of Booms celebration each 4th of July at Warner Park.

There are a number of homes available and we are excited to feature some of them right here! If you are looking for a spacious home with a formal dining room and an amazing backyard, check out 1953 Sachtjen Street or 1817 Schlimgen Ave offers 2 bedrooms on the main floor with a very open kitchen and a finished lower level. It only took 6 days for 4509 Cody Lane to sell and that sold for more than the list price! I'm tellin' ya, the Northside is hot!

You can search homes on Madison, WI's Northside with our unique mapping technology or give us a call and we can get you started in the right direction, 608.251.6600.