Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 1st Time Homebuyer's Tax Credit & 4th of July Recipes

I am sure you've heard about the $8,000 tax credit available to First Time Homebuyer's in 2009. But, what you may not know, are the details surrounding the legislation, and how this credit MAY apply to you, or someone you know! Specifically, did you know that a "first time homebuyer" is, by definition in this legislation, "someone who has not owned a principle residence in the past three years. Those three years are counted up to the date you take possession of the house you buy in 2009. This means that even if you’ve owned a home in the past, you can still take advantage of the tax credit as long as you haven’t purchased a primary residence since 2006."
Keller Williams has set up a very informative section on our website to help you learn more about this benefit. Visit this link to learn more about how you can take advantage of this credit.

If this piques your interest, I would love to talk to you about the credit and show you homes that you love in the area.


Now... how about this heat? I'd say there's no doubt that SUMMER is here in full force. Here's a few recipes that your family might enjoy for the 4th of July weekend.
Grilled Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette

Yields: 6 servings


  • 3 yellow tomatoes
  • 3 red tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Garnish: fresh basil sprigs


Cut tomatoes in half; thread onto skewers, alternating colors. Brush with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium heat (300° to 350°) 10 minutes, turning skewers often.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and basil; drizzle over kabobs. Garnish, if desired.


Martha Stewart's All American Potato Salad

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 pounds russet potatoes (about 8 potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Homemade Mayonnaise, or prepared
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice (3/4 cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (1/2 cup)
  • 10 cornichons, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/4 cup)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika Directions:

  • Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover by several inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, add 1 tablespoon salt, and lower to a gentle boil. Cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes. Drain into a colander. Using paper towels or gloves to protect your hands, peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch dice while still hot. Drizzle with vinegar; set aside.
  • Place eggs in a small pan with enough water to cover by 1 inch, and place over medium-high heat. When water comes to a boil, turn off heat, cover, and let stand for 13 minutes. Drain, and place in a bowl with cold water to cover. When cold, peel eggs. Chop 2 into 1/4-inch dice. Slice the third egg into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, and set aside for garnish.
  • Combine diced eggs, mayonnaise, celery seed, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper in a large bowl, and whisk to combine. Add reserved potatoes to mayonnaise mixture. Add celery, red pepper, onion, cornichons, scallions, and chopped parsley. Stir to combine. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with paprika and reserved hard-boiled egg rounds.
  • *****

    American Flag Cake, a Greer Family Tradition

    Simply bake your favorite white/yellow sheet cake; top with whipped cream topping, strawberries (or raspberries), and blueberries, and you're all set to serve a YUMMY and PATRIOTIC dessert that they whole family will enjoy!
    Have a wonderful rest of your week, and a blessed 4th of July weekend!

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    ... and the WINNER is!

    (The winner was chosen by my adorable grandson!)
    Congratulations to the beautiful and talented Hayley Hardcastle of hh design house! Hayley is the daughter of one of my life long dearest friends. She has her own stationary design business and is by far one of the most creative and enthusiastic gals you'll ever meet. Visit her website for to see some of her fabulous creations... she does invitations for all sorts of events, incredible Christmas Cards, even custom sketch drawings of your home. Congrats sweet Hayley!

    Thanks so much to all who entered, commented, sent emails, and asked questions. Continue to visit Jill's Home News for more recipes, tips, giveaways, and... HOME NEWS!
    Have a blessed week.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Jill's Home News Giveaway #1!

    Friends, family, clients, co-workers, and blog readers... ENTER to win my first giveaway!

    I value your opinions, your feedback, your ideas, your input... and want to THANK YOU in advance for your support of Jill's Home News. I want this to be a place that you can come to find a last minute recipe, a decorating tip for your home, an open house to browse over the weekend, the latest listings in Fort Bend County... and much more! 

    Leave me a comment (it's really easy, even this Grandma can do it)... and tell me something! Have a suggestion or idea for a blog post, tell me. Want to learn more about a neighborhood in Ft. Bend, which one? Have a Real Estate question (market, home value, time to buy or sell?), let me know. Whatever comes to mind after browsing Jill's Home News... leave me a comment and you'll be entered to win a $25 Gift Card to Pappasito's! Who can resist their chips & salsa..
    Thank you for helping me make this site a beneficial and enjoyable place to visit, blessings to you all. 

    Winner will be chosen Sunday evening.

    Happy Father's Day weekend, thanks so much for stopping by!

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Pecan Grove Tradition: 5 Miles My Way

    For over 20 years, my family has called Pecan Grove home. We've seen it grow and change, we've participated in cake walks at Pecan Grove Elementary, had softball practice in the empty fields where Randall's now sits, and joined in the yearly holiday traditions that are so much a part of this wonderful community. One of our family favorites has always been 5 Miles My Way, put on by the Pecan Grove Volunteer Fire Department. If you have never participated, haven't done so in a few years, or are an avid 5-Miler, here's some information to help you sign up for the big race!

    The race kicks off the morning of the 4th of July. My girls used to decorate their bikes red-white-and-blue, while I pushed our youngest in the jogging stroller through the streets of Pecan Grove. Such wonderful memories to be made on this day! 
    Details on registration, starting times can be found here, or at the PG Fire Department's website.
    This event offers a fun race that can be competitive or just a personal challenge for

    A new five mile course for Bicyclist, Skaters and Runners. A new three mile course for Walkers. Registration Fee is $15.00 and includes a T-shirt while supplies last!

    We encourage you to register early at the Valero Corner Store parking lot at Plantation and FM 359 on:

    June 20, 2009  10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  &  June 21, 2009  10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 27, 2009  10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  &  June 28, 2009  10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    at the Pecan Grove Volunteer Fire Department  Fire Station, 727 Pitts Rd June 28 through July 3 - 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day
    You can register at the Starting Line on July 4th before the race but T-shirts will be limited and on a first come, first-served basis.   Approximate Start Times
    7:20 a.m. for Bicyclist & Skaters
     7:45 a.m. for Runners & Walkers

    Dust off those tennis shoes and join in one of Pecan Grove's great traditions!
    Like what you see? 
    The Butch Watterson Team has a new listing in the neighborhood. It's move-in ready! Find out more about it HERE.
    Pecan Grove is a wonderful place for families in all stages of life. If I can help you find your dream home in this lovely community, I would be honored to do so!