Jane C Hoffmann | Boston Real Estate, Milton Real Estate, Quincy Real Estate, Hingham Real Estate

So many of us rush through the drive through each morning and grab a cup of coffee or get to work and pour the black liquid into your special mug. But do we really think about the process of brewing that beverage as part of the enjoyment? In today's busy hustle and bustle taking the time for yourself and making an excellent cup of coffee can be a relaxing and satisfying process. New machines and fancy appliances promise amazing coffee, but you can get a fantastic result using some of the older technology from the last century.

Percolator of the Past

You may remember your grandparents’ or even your great-grandparents’ funny sounding coffee maker called a percolator. This coffee maker can have an internal electric heat source that heats the water to boiling. You can also buy them where you place them on an external heat source; like when you are camping. The heat source causes the water to circulate through the grounded coffee repeatedly while brewing. The length of time brewed determines the strength of your coffee. While operating, the percolator gives off a pleasant coffee aroma, the end result may be less enjoyable, thus the decline of this process since the 1970s. 

Moka Making Coffee

Often lumped in with the percolator, the Moka, is actually a separate brewing method easy for the home brewer to perfect. Using a drip grind instead of the espresso grind will give you a smooth tasting cup of coffee. The Moka is a stove top method of brewing coffee most of the time but can also be purchased in an electric version. The small 8-sided pot invented in 1933 by an Italian engineer is now a well know design found in many museums around the world. It is designed to use the vapor pressure from the heated water placed in the bottom chamber to push the heated water vapor up through the coffee grounds into the top chamber, producing an excellent cup of joe. Base and top chambers are separated by a gasket that over time may need to be replaced to ensure the safety of operation. The key to this method is to be patient and use a low-level heat. Remove the pot from the heat source when you heard a gurgling sound. Pour your creation into a mug and enjoy with or without additional flavors, sweeteners or creamers.

Try out one of these throwback methods of brewing for yourself today.

Pets are a special addition to the family or your individual life. They offer companionship, friendship, security, and happiness. Pets are loyal creatures, and most people have grown to love them more than anything else.

While it’s great to own a pet in your home, it is important to remember that they come with responsibility. Pets need love and care to promote their health and to keep them with you much longer. To help you care for your pet the right way, here are five toxic foods to avoid feeding pets.

  1. Alcohol. Humans can consume alcohol with almost no complications, but pets have a different response. The ingestion of alcohol into your pet's body can cause a drop in blood pressure, blood sugar, body temperatures, and much more. It can also lead to seizures and respiratory problems. Keep alcohol and foods that contain it far away from pets, especially in your absence.
  2. Fatty Foods. It may seem proper always to allow your pet to have a piece of every junk food you eat, but it is detrimental to their health. Fat-containing foods such as fried chicken, ribs, steak, hot dogs, and burgers can cause vomiting or diarrhea in pets. Pancreatitis equally affects most dogs that consume fatty foods.
  3. Raw Foods. Most raw foods need proper washing to avoid food poisoning. If your pet eats raw meat, fish, or eggs that are unwashed, uncooked, or handled unhygienically, they can get infected with bacteria and fall ill. A sick pet is no fun to themselves, or you and they are hardly excited to visit the veterinarian for treatment.
  4. Chocolate. Chocolate always appears as such a sweet treat, but it is one of the most hazardous foods to pets. It often contains a substance called theobromine which causes seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, and more fatal health complications. Dark chocolates are dangerous too, and their effects increase depending on the size of the pet.
  5. Onions and Garlic. Onions and garlic contain a potent substance called thiosulphate that is lethal to pets. Ingesting it damages the red blood cells and leads to anemia. Even in small amounts, onions and garlic can compromise the health of your pet. Make sure not to include them in their meals or treats you give them.

Take special precautions to avoid any foods dangerous to your pet’s health. If you're new to the neighborhood, make an effort to find your nearest veterinarian or veterinary hospital so that you'll know where to go if your pet eats something that disagrees with them.

Everyone loves a party, but it seems everyone loves a Super Bowl party even if they don’t like football. This is a great occasion to get together with family (maybe), and friends (probably). However, have you ever considered that this could be a time to make new friends? There probably are people in your neighborhood, church, work, or parents from your kids’ school that do not have plans, but they would come if you invited them. Maybe use this occasion to expand your friendships, particularly to people that you may have wanted to get to know but never could make it happen. Now is the time!

Now for the party.

If you do not have a large television or two smaller ones viewable from your living area, move to the largest room or maybe even outside (if you're one of the lucky ones that live where it is warm).

Now for the food.

Consider the usual suspects: lots of chips and dips on the menu. Sodas, iced tea, juice drinks, and of course the alcoholic beverage of your choice can fit in tubs of ice. But from there, try to make it as unique to your style as you can. If you are a foodie make some things that you enjoy. If you are not, then go to the store and there are all kinds of prepared items available.

Breaking out the barbecue is always a good idea even if it’s cold outside. Make some burgers, hot dogs, sausages, or if you want, smoke a pile of ribs or that Southern favorite—brisket. People love ribs and brisket, but it is not something they often make themselves. There will always be some that want chicken, so throw a few legs, thighs, and white meat on the grill as well.;

It's a smart idea to talk with the people that you invite to see if they have any particular allergies or eating issues. If you go out of your make to make some things that will work for them, you'll win the hosting prize. The entire idea of a party like this is to gain new friends and create an environment for everyone in the room to have a good time and want to come back next year.

Now, this may seem strange since it is a football game that is the reason for the party, but remember, not everyone likes football! They are actually there for the people. So, if you have board games or card games in the cupboards, take them out and stack them on a table. Some guests will take advantage of those as well. If you do not have games, find out if your any of your friends do and ask them to bring one or two along.

Deserts are a great finish to the day, so have some pies, cupcakes, ice cream or cookies available. Remember, you don’t have to supply all of it. Most often, people are happy to bring stuff, so if they offer, let them. One final point: have available a couple of boxes of baggies, so when people are ready to leave, you can offer them some of the food to take home. Most people like free food, so you can probably get most of the food taken care of, and you won't have to eat it for the next two weeks.

Create a great environment to make new friends, build old ones and that people look forward to coming to again. If your house doesn’t work for a large group this year, start looking for one now for next year—ask your real estate agent about open house events so you can start seeing what’s available.