PARAS NEWS April 24 You Can Support Local Biz Find Out How

The Paras Team shares personal thoughts and tips for coping during the coronavirus pandemic, plus market info and ways to support your local businesses (see list of operating businesses).

Kids in Focus: Mom of Five Shares Ideas & Insight

Whitney Stephens

Whitney Stephens’ family at home during quarantine. Whitney is a mother of five, wife to one, and dog mom to two. She’s a real estate agent who’s been with the Paras Team for three years and couldn’t be happier!

I’m happy to share my thoughts and ideas—I hope they’re helpful! Here’s my “Activities to Do with Kids” list:

  • Let every kid pick a different theme and make the day fun with that theme. Examples could be Hawaiian Day, Disney Day, Superhero Day, etc. Think of fun activities and meals to go along with the theme. You could do this once a week or every day if you’re on spring break.
  • Coordinate with neighbors to do a scavenger hunt. We did a teddy bear scavenger hunt in our neighborhood, and the kids had so much fun decorating the windows with their stuffed animals, then walking around the neighborhood admiring everyone else’s displays! Here’s a website for ideas.
  • Cross E Ranch is doing a drive-through baby animal tour! What a fun way to get out of your house and enjoy the baby animals and springtime!
  • My kids enjoy baking, and we’ve done a lot of that! They pick out the recipe (that uses ingredients we have on hand), help make it, help clean up, and help eat it, of course! We’ve also enjoyed leaving goodies on the doorsteps of neighbors we think might need some cheering up! (Granite Bakery was selling 10 pound bags of flour for $5 last weekend and last I checked!)
  • Sidewalk chalk is always a fun activity, and letting the kids leave positive messages in their own driveways or on their friends’ or families’ driveways is a great way to spread your love!
  • Another activity to spread love and positivity is to decorate your own windows with hearts, or decorate a loved one’s with messages facing the inside of their house to read.
    My kids love movie nights, and we’ve been taking turns choosing them. It’s been fun for me and my husband to share classic favorites with them!

My personal thoughts on keeping kids sane and healthy right now:

This is a time of big feelings for all the kids. They’re missing out on the end-of-year activities they’ve worked so hard for all year: cheerleading competitions, dance recitals, music performances, art shows … the list goes on and on. They want to be in school with their teachers and friends. And it’s a massive, terrible disappointment for all the high school seniors! No graduation, no prom, no signing year books, no saying goodbye.

There’s also much fear and unknown for parents. Most parents are dealing with some sort of pay-cut; there are limited food supplies, earthquakes, and a lot of fear. It’s important to let yourself feel the sadness, fear, and anxiety, but also to see and feel the positivity and love. Your kids will likely mirror your attitude.

Never before and most likely never again will we have the time to spend together like we have these last 5-plus weeks and counting. Get to know each other. Spend quality time together. Catch up on sleep! Make memories. Laugh. Amidst the fear and anxiety, make love win!

We’re protecting our society by staying apart and sacrificing—and there’s something very beautiful in the very thought of that. We’re doing it because the people in our lives are the most important things. We can and will get through this. Until then, enjoy the journey!
P.S. If all else fails, buy a trampoline!

4 Tips for Outdoor Recreation

Cindi Opdycke

Cindi Opdycke and family on a quarantine trip to the Spiral Jetty.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a homebody. Staying inside for long periods of time can be not only bad for my physical health—but also my mental health!
Luckily, we live in a beautiful state with many outdoor spaces to explore. Whether I’m hiking, running, walking, or biking, these are the tips I follow to continue to explore safely:

  • Avoid popular trails. If the parking lot is full, go find somewhere else to go.
  • Stay close to home. We have been advised to stay in our counties so we don’t burden other counties’ resources if we end up getting sick or injured.
  • Give others plenty of space. Be friendly and give people the space they need. Recommendation is 6 feet.
  • Be safe. Don’t make search and rescue come find you! By putting yourself in a dangerous spot, you are not only risking your life, but the lives of others.

Let’s work together to follow these simple guidelines so we can stay sane during these trying times. We’ll get through this!

Outdoor Décor: 4 Small Ideas with Big Impact

Audrey Reynolds

Audrey Reynolds, enjoying quarantine with her chickens.

Best easy tips for freshening up outdoor spaces?

  • Add color! Planters in coordinated colors not only brighten up your space but you get to add greenery! Try planters and plants in varying heights and including edible plants to kill 2 birds with 1 stone!
  • You can add more life and personality to your space with a fun seasonal welcome mat, bee houses, and hummingbird feeders!
  • Check sites like KSL classifieds for outdoor furniture you can upcycle and paint.
  • LED string lights are a great, inexpensive way to add instant warmth and mood lighting!

Personal Note & Market News

Tara Paras

Tara Paras and family enjoying staying home and staying safe together.

We have entered an interesting time in our life, environment, and business. The governor has made us an essential business, because a place to live is a basic necessity. People need a place to live, and many may need to sell.

The real estate market started out strong January 2020 and has continued to do so. We’re seeing more of a stabilization since the first few months of 2020. In Salt Lake County, the inventory is still low comparatively; however, it has begun to equal out in the last month or so in regard to active inventory vs homes with pending contracts.

March 2019, the median days on market was actually higher at 28 days on market, whereas March 2020 the median days on market was at 20 days. The median price per square foot is $149.93 in the valley. This is all relative to many different property features, so ask a real estate specialist to give you a comparative market analysis (valuation) on your unique property for an accurate estimate.

The median sold price is now $340,000, which is up from $305,000 last March. There are less active homes for sale and more pending contracts this March versus last March, which indicates a strong market.

In order to follow the Stay Safe, Stay Home directive, we’re offering virtual tours via FaceTime or Marco Polo and walk-through recordings. Our agents provide gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers during showings and listings.

We’re also asking the COVID-19 questions we’ve been directed to ask by our local MLS and board. As a team, we’ve provided many extra ads and boosts on social media for our listings.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns. We’re here for you not only as your real estate team but also if you need to chat! We’re always here for you!

Sending love to everyone—please stay safe and healthy! XOXO

Restaurants Open for Business

This website has a list of open restaurants in Utah. If your favorites are missing, let them know to get on this list! https://supportutahdining.com/

Golden Pearl
Delicious authentic Chinese takeout with flat noodles and egg rolls to die for!
1625 W 700 N Suite D
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
801-363-5223

Zest
Pick-up for delicious plant-based food
275 S 200 W
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Zestslc.com
(801) 433-0589

Cannellas Restaurant
Delivering family-style Italian meals through their website
204 E 500 S
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
https://www.cannellas.com/
(801) 355-8518

Tuscany
Fine Dining for Pick-Up
Lunch M-F Dinner M-S
2832 6200 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
tuscanyslc.com
(801) 277-9919

Other Businesses Still Open

Spice Kitchen Incubator (an awesome local nonprofit https://spicekitchenincubator.org/about-us/) has Community Food Boxes for order weekly.
Support your hairstylist by purchasing hair products or gift cards from them.

Barley’s Canine Recreation Center
Dog daycare center, dog sitter, dog trainer
2827 S 2300 E
Salt Lake City, Utah 84109
swimatbarleys.com
(801) 467-6069

Pure Paws
Specialty pet store with high-quality food, supplements, and treats
1927 E Murray Holladay Rd, Holladay, UT 84117
mypurepaws.com
801 996-3259

Hip & Humble
Free local delivery of fashion, décor, gifts, and more
1043 East 900 South, Salt Lake City UT
https://hipandhumble.com/
(801) 467-3130

Mad Snacks Produce
Small year-round farm, delivers hearty greens and other produce
www.madsnacksproduce.com
724-421-4837

Fine Tilth Farm
Fresh produce, curbside pick-up
12820 S Fort Street
Draper, UT 84020
801-971-9647
finetilthfarm@gmail.com

Sugar House Coffee
Drive-up, walk-up coffee shop
2011 South 1100 East SLC, Utah 84106
https://sugarhousecoffee.com/

Alpha Coffee
Take-out coffee and more at the mouth of BCC
7260 Racquet Club Dr
Cottonwood, UT
https://alpha.coffee/

Basecamp Kitchen
Food truck serving breakfast, coffee, and more at the mouth of BCC
3700 E, Fort Union Blvd
Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121
https://www.facebook.com/basecampkitchen/
(503) 338-0994

Vive Juicery
Delivery for vegetables and juices
1597 1100 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
www.vivejuicery.com
801-875-8923

Lone Pine Bakery
Cakes, pies, pastries, croissants, and more
834 E 9400 S #58
Sandy, UT 84094
385.237.3556

Babinski Baby
Everything for babies!
1324 S. Foothill Drive
Salt lake City, Utah 84108
https://babinskis.com
801-583-2229

Red Balloon Toy Store
Specialty toy retailer specializing in smart toys
2033 E 3300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
https://www.redballoontoystore.com/
801-467-7232

Cynthia McPhie
Instructor at Corepower Yoga, specializes in high-intensity yoga with or without weights
Instagram @cynniandco for live class schedule Stephanie Willey
Instructor at Rocksteady Bodyworks, specializes in reformer-based workout called BURN
Yoga and mat pilates also available
Instagram @rocksteadybodyworks
rocksteadybodyworks.com

John Paras Furniture
Quality furniture and mattresses, various locations, free local delivery
https://www.johnparas.com/index.html
801-973-7051

Wasatch Pro Painters
Experienced interior and exterior house painting
Wasatchpropainters.com
801.652.4648

Western Garden Centers
Order and pay over the phone; they load your car in the lot
550 600 E Suite #101
Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Westerngardencenters.com
(801) 364-7871

Wasatch Community Gardens
Annual fundraiser and sale online this year
https://wasatchgardens.org/news-and-events/events/item/6-spring-plant-sale

Henrie’s Dry Cleaners 
Utah dry cleaners since 1958, various locations
https://henries.com/
801-359-2271

artÉmotion Summer Intensive
Dance instruction summer program
http://www.artemotion-summerintensive.com
801-403-6468

Oasis Games
275 E. 400 S.
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
http://oasisgamesslc.com/
801-738-4413

Barrus Pianos
Piano moving, service, and sales
2191 S 300 W #6
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
http://barruspianos.com/
801-486-3652

Western Garden Centers
Indoor and outdoor plants
550 600 E Suite #101, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
https://westerngardens.com/
(801) 364-7871

Southeast Market
Great local market, currently doing curb-side pickup
422 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
https://www.southeastmarket.com/
(801) 363-5474

8 Great Tips to Get Your Home Winter-Ready

 

 

 

 

 

Mow your leaves!

When leaves decompose, they feed your lawn invaluable nutrients for winter. Not only does mulching your leaves with a mower nourish your lawn, you won’t have to do all that raking! The key is to cut the leaves into dime-sized pieces when they’re dry, so they readily break down into your grass.

Use your mower without a bag, or get a mulching blade, which runs around $20. Rick Wroblewski, owner of iMow, says this blade “creates lift under the mower and cuts the leaves multiple times before they’re discharged.” He recommends one to save time plus get best results. Watch Mow, Don’t Rake, Those Leaves!

Prep your mower

As your mower sits all winter, remaining fuel in its engine decomposes and “varnishes” the carburetor, causing trouble in the spring. Rick says the simplest way to winterize your mower is to add fuel stabilizer. Then run the engine for a few minutes to make sure it circulates through the gas tank and carburetor. “If you don’t at least do that, your mower won’t start in the spring. Gas has a very short shelf life, especially gas with ethanol, which ruins rubber gaskets and such.”

DON’T prune

It’s tempting to get out the pruning shears after the leaves fall, when you see the underlying structure of your trees and shrubs. But horticulturalists say wait until late winter, just before spring growth begins.

It’s best to get advice specific to your plants and Utah. You can consult a horticulturalist or master gardener at local nurseries. One exception: Hire someone to remove deadfall or trim limbs close to your home or power lines that cause trouble in a winter storm.

Prevent water damage!

If your home had lots of icicles last winter or ice dams—which can cause meltwater to back up into your house—an energy auditor or weatherization contractor can fix air leaks and inadequate insulation that cause these issues. You may be eligible for an energy tax credit or rebate for this.

Also, make sure your gutters are clean and in good condition, and add extensions to downspouts so water runs at least 3 – 4 feet away from the foundation. You can get these for under $10, e.g., this one at Home Depot.

Caulk windows & doors

If gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. (Check the joints in window and door frames, too.) Silicone caulk is best for exterior use, because it’s impervious to the elements and won’t shrink.

Tune your HVAC system

A technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to make sure it’s clean and working well so it’s getting manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage.

Reverse ceiling fans 

If your ceiling fans have a reverse switch, use them year-round! Reverse the blade direction when you turn on your heat. Since hot air rises, the fan will push heated air down into the room. This can save you money in heating bills, especially great if you have high ceilings!

Drain faucets & sprinklers

Disconnect all garden hoses from their faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (if your home is older than 15 years, you probably don’t), turn off the valve inside your home, then open the faucets to drain them. We recommend getting professional help to winterize your sprinklers. It will probably cost you $50-150 but will prevent bursting pipes and big headaches come spring.

 

The Executive Chef at Pallet Shares the Perfect Fall Recipe!

For Buzz Willey, the story is classic: he grew up with the warm, embracing aroma of his Italian grandmother’s kitchen and nurtured a lifelong passion for cuisine, which led to culinary school and culminated in opening a restaurant. Now, 8 years later, Buzz’s restaurant Pallet is an award-winning hotspot in a city where the culinary scene is booming. He says, “It’s amazing to be part of it, a city that’s growing and so many great chefs coming up.” He says that in the restaurant business, a cook will stay with you a few years, learn, and move on. “It’s a lot of fun watching them grow and seeing what they do.”

In a fast-growing restaurant scene, how does Buzz create a menu that stands out? As you would expect, it’s based on classic principles: use the freshest, brightest ingredients for the best flavors, and make what you love. In Utah, because there are four seasons, Buzz says always using ingredients that are in season means the menu is always changing, and finding new and better ways to make your favorites means they’re never boring. Buzz says it’s a team effort, where all the chefs consider what’s in season and environmentally sustainable. He says, “Then I ask them, what did you grow up eating? What are you comfortable cooking? And we’ll go from there.”

The menu at Pallet changes 4 to 8 times a year. The flexibility lets them make changes depending on seasonal availability—and lets the culinary team stay creative. “We change it when we want a change. We’re not stuck cooking the same things.”

For home cooks, Buzz says, “Cook what you like and want to eat. You’ll get better at what you’re doing, keep trying—and taste it while you’re cooking—you’ll improve on the things you cook.” He says to use seasonal foods, which will force you into trying new things.

“I’m a giant fan of the farmers’ market, and they’re all over Salt Lake and Park City,” says Buzz. He also likes the Tagge’s farmers’ carts and Asian and Hispanic markets. His tip for shopping at the farmers’ markets? Don’t limit your shopping to produce. Look at fresh meat, cheese, eggs, and honey. He mentions Morgan Valley Lamb, Frog Bench, Top Crops, Drake, Clifford, and Bread Riot (“go early, before 9:30”), but recommends you “explore the whole market!”

And now, what you’ve been waiting for, Chef Buzz’s fall recipe that reminds him so much of his grandma and the warmth of her kitchen: “It’s really fun to let something go for 4 hours—the aroma fills up your house”:

Braised Lamb Shank
1 ea large onion
3 ea carrots
10 ea garlic cloves
4 ea celery
1 c dried tart cherries
4 ea sprigs rosemary
4 ea sprigs thyme
2 qts veal stock/beef broth
1 c red wine
¼ c balsamic vinegar
8-10 lamb shanks
TT salt
TT black pepper

Method:
Preheat your oven to 275°F, peel and rough chop the first 4 ingredients and set aside. Season the lamb shanks using just the salt and pepper, applying a healthy amount of each. Heat up a large rondo or large skillet, add oil and sear the shanks thoroughly and place in a deep pan. Deglaze the rondo or skillet using the veal stock, red wine, and balsamic vinegar. Once the liquid has come to boil, pour it over the lamb shanks (should almost cover the shanks), and add all the other ingredients. Cover the pan with parchment paper and tin foil and place in the oven for 4 hours.
Pumpkin Puree
2 c dice pumpkin
½ onion julienne
6 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1½ c cream

Method:
In a large sauce pot, sweat the pumpkin, onion, and garlic cloves. Add the butter and sherry without browning the vegetables and add cream to cover the mixture. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until veggies are soft, blend thoroughly in Vitamix or similar.

Spring home checklist

Weed, prune, and add weed control and mulch. Your lawn and garden need nourishment to grow. Maximize its chance to flourish by removing pesky weeds and feeding it compost and mulch.

Pressure wash house, driveway, patio, etc. Nothing feels better than a serious power wash. You’ll be amazed at how bright your home looks when the winter film is washed away.

Clean gutters and yard debris. Spring cleaning is a thing for a reason. Snow melts away and leaves behind rubbish. Clear your gutters to prevent spring rains from causing leaks and water damage.

Check sprinklers. Don’t wait till the rain stops and the heat dries up your yard. Check sprinklers now so they’re ready to feed your grass, food, and flowers.

Plant something new! Spring is the season of new beginnings. Add something pretty to your garden, or try a new veggie, like easy-growing greyzini!

April showers bring May flowers!

Whether you’ll plant your first garden this spring or you’re a seasoned green thumb, here are expert tips from client Molly Dockter, who says now is the time to get started!

  1. Prep your soil. Add amendments like compost and mulch. You can get compost from the landfill. Get small pieces, less than 2.5”. Your local nursery will have bulk products. Or compost your own: get a bin or tumbler (which is easier), and add a balance of green (nitrogen, home waste) to brown waste (carbon, dead plants, shredded newspaper, etc.); avoid bread or meat.
  2. Check irrigation (sprinkler) system. Check for breaks, and call a specialist if you find any. Molly suggests converting from hose to drip timer, which is simple and cost-effective for small gardens.
  3. Weed! Start now while they’re small and before dandelions seed. Add compost and mulch, which reduce weed pressure.

“Prep now. You’ll have way less to do later. If it sounds daunting, call a landscaper ASAP. They get so busy,” says Molly. She says to prune now, too.

For the hot, dry climate in Salt Lake, Molly recommends native, low-water plants. Her favorites are sage, Wasatch Penstemon, and ornamental grasses such as Karl Foerster.

Herbs are also excellent low-maintenance, great-smelling plants. Molly says basils come in different, beautiful colors and varieties like cinnamon and Thai. She also recommends sage, thyme, oregano, and rosemary—all pretty and edible! Plus they attract bees and other beneficial insects. In fact, Molly says these herbs are the simplest, most beneficial additions to your garden.

Molly says the Conservation Garden Park is a great resource for Utahns. Molly runs market garden operations for Pomona and Produce. Her specialty is veggies and microgreens. You can follow her on Instagram at @pomona_produce.

A mom to many: client Jodi Morris

Jodi’s daughter’s wedding. In attendance: Jodi’s foster daughter and two foster sons from Myanmar with their families, foreign exchange student from Germany, and two foster daughters and their families. All six of the children call Jodi “grandma.”

Mother’s Day is this month, so we were excited to speak to a remarkable mom, client Jodi Morris. In addition to having two children of her own, Jodi fostered 22 kids from ages 3 to 21 (maximum age for refugees) over the span of 17 years. Before you can praise her laudable generosity and hard work, she’s quick to point out that she’s the lucky one.

Jodi says fostering children has made her and her husband better parents, provided her children with an invaluable education on different perspectives and cultures, and expanded her family to include all the children they fostered. And their children. Jodi has seven foster grandchildren.

“I love my children’s view of family, and my husband and I got a lot of training. People worry about exposing their children to the issues of foster care, but ours have benefited from them. The big picture has taught them a lot. They’ve learned a lot of lessons without having to experience the consequences themselves,” says Jodi. She says everyone loved having extra people in the house, learning to work with and help each other.

Nine of Jodi’s foster children came to Jodi’s daughter’s wedding. Two were bridesmaids, and Jodi’s foster granddaughter was the flower girl. “To me, it’s never short-term. They’re still a part of our family,” Jodi says. She says social media helps her keep in touch with all of them.

Jodi got to know about foster parenting while working at Utah Youth Village. She says the shortage of foster parents is unfortunate, and thinks most are afraid of the children’s issues they will confront. While Jodi agrees “the kids are dealing with a lot,” she emphasizes that benefits far outweigh the hurdles. She says her children were sad when there weren’t extra kids in the house, and their extended family is family for life.>If you’re thinking about fostering children, Jodi says to adjust your expectations. “You never know the difference you’ll make. You may not know the impact you’re making or what’s working at the time. I’ve thought they weren’t listening and discovered later that they were.” She says “success” may not look like you imagined—things may not go your way—but you could be making a profound difference in these children’s lives. She says, “They’ll be in a better place” and, chances are, so will you.

To find out more, visit Utah Youth Village or contact Mark Baker at (801)680-1049. Jodi also recommends the movie Instant Family, which she says gives a realistic portrayal of foster parenting.

 

A Mother’s Day to remember!


                                 Photographer Idie Atencio on the other side of the lens.

Do something different this year! Give mom a family photoshoot (what mom isn’t crazy about family photos?), private-chef dinner, interior design consultation, or other unique experience. Here are suggestions.

Professional portrait photography: Idie Atencio Photography, idie@idieatencio.com.
Private chef for intimate culinary experience: Chessa Jones, chessabella.com.
Interior design: Mikelle Mabey, Instagram: @mabea_design, mabeadesign@gmail.com