How to be a Good Thanksgiving Guest

Group at holiday table - How to be a Good Thanksgiving GuestMost Thanksgiving guides offer tips for hosting Thanksgiving, but what should guests expect when they’re not the ones cooking? Even though your role on Thanksgiving is smaller, here are some things you can do to be a great Thanksgiving guest.


If you’re lucky enough to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner, be courteous by letting your host know if you’ll be attending right away so they can plan appropriately. Don’t show up with an unexpected guest! Always ask before bringing additional people.

Mention dietary requirements

Vegetarian, keto, gluten-free, vegan, or allergic to something? Let your host know if you have any dietary requirements, and offer to bring a dish that meets your needs that can be shared.

Always ask before you bring a dish

Your host will spend a lot of time thinking about the menu so if you want to contributing a side dish, ask!  If you do bring a dish, be considerate: bring a prepared dish (don’t try to put it together in their kitchen the day of) in its own serving dish and utensils, and if your dish needs to be chilled or warmed up on the stove or in the oven, let your host know ahead of time.

If your host declines, consider bringing a bottle of wine or sparkling juice, making it clear it doesn’t need to be served with the meal, or even flowers for your host as a thank you.

Be timely

It takes a lot of time and coordination to put a Thanksgiving meal on the table, so don’t stress your hosts out by showing up too early or too late. If you do end up running late, or not able to attend, be respectful and let your host know as soon as possible.

Don’t crowd the kitchen

The kitchen is the busiest room on Thanksgiving. The temptation to hang out in the kitchen to maybe get some taste tests before the meal but give the cook some breathing room and space by staying out of their way.

Offer to help clean up

Once the meal is finished, offer to help clean up but don’t insist. Some hosts may have a system in place or would prefer to have their guests relax following the meal. Whether or not the host accepts, simply asking to help is always appreciated.

Don’t linger too long

You don’t want to risk overstaying your welcome.

Give thanks

Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for what we have. Embrace the Thanksgiving spirit and share your gratitude to your hosts for inviting by sending a thank you note.

Wherever you spend your Thanksgiving, we’re sure you can find a lot to be thankful for this year. Do you want to host Thanksgiving next year? Or perhaps you need a larger home so you can invite more guests over. Whatever your reason, we have brand new homes throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Reach out to us today to learn more about our new homes for sale, and we hope you have a blessed and memorable Thanksgiving holiday!

Simple Ways to Prepare Your Home for Thanksgiving

Photo of a living room - Simple Ways to Prepare Your Home for ThanksgivingThanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It’s about gathering with your loved ones and celebrating thankfulness. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re hosting Thanksgiving at your new home. Especially when you begin thinking about all the things you need to do before your first guest arrives!

Don’t strive for perfection

The first tip: forget about reaching perfection: a perfectly cooked meal, clean kitchen, happy guests, etc. Sometimes life gets in the way and things go awry so before you begin planning, take a moment to focus on what a happy Thanksgiving would look like for you (it may include happy and full guests and a messy kitchen!) instead.

Deep clean the kitchen

Thanksgiving is the start of heavy kitchen use for many people. Now is a great time to give your kitchen a thorough cleaning. Clean out the fridge and pantry, wipe down countertops and sweep the floor, clean the microwave. Make sure your appliances are in working order. You can do a quick clean of your oven and stove but resist the urge to run the self-cleaning function. The self-clean cycle can be hard on your oven and this is not the time to start having issues with your oven! Save that for another time.

Get your guest room ready

If you’re hosting overnight guests, take time to get the guest rooms ready. Tidy up the guest room by vacuuming and dusting, change the linens, and set out fresh towels and additional blankets.

Prepare the bathroom for guests

Bathrooms are the second most used room during gatherings, so make sure they’re ready to handle a crowd. Give your bathrooms a thorough cleaning, focusing on the toilet, sink, and bathtub. Make sure there’s plenty of soap, the toilet paper and tissues are fully stocked, and put out plenty of fresh towels as well.

Clean the living areas

Make life easier by focusing on the areas your guests will be in: the living room, dining room, and bathroom. Your cleaning plan is simple: tidy up and clear clutter, dust, and vacuum. Your home will be clean in no time!

Set the table early

Ever rushed through setting the table before your first guest arrive? Instead, take advantage of the calm before the Thanksgiving storm to avoid feeling rushed. You can even plan out your serving dishes by placing food labels in the corresponding serving dish.

Set aside a place for coats and bags

Designate a place in your home to hold guests’ coats and purses. This can be a closet near the front door or in a bedroom

Enjoy the holidays in your new Hayden home!

We hope you enjoy your holidays in your new home by Hayden Homes. One of the best things is being able to spend time with the people who matter most. If you’re thinking of buying a new home (or even your first home), we have homes for sale in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home in the Northwest!

Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

Keep your home safe for the holidaysThe holidays are a joyous season; with festive parties, gift-giving, and general merriment abounding, the end of the year can be a crazy few weeks! While home safety is a year-round priority for homeowners, keeping your home safe during the holiday season can amp anxieties. Thankfully, with a few simple tips, you can keep your home safe and sound whether you’re traveling for the holidays or staying close to home.

Secure your home

Unsurprisingly, the top tip is to make sure your home is properly secured. Walk through your home to check that every door and window is locked and, if you have one, set your home alarm system before leaving.

If you’re traveling, don’t leave clues that you’re not home. Have your mail and newspaper deliveries placed on hold while you’re away, keep a car parked in the driveway, and use motion sensors for exterior lights around your home.

Keep vacation plans offline

Avoid discussing your travel plans on social media. You don’t want to signal when your home will be unoccupied. Even if you have the highest privacy settings enabled on your social accounts, it’s unwise to share this type of information.

Be smart about gifts and boxes

When you think of the holidays, what do you picture? Perhaps a Christmas tree in front of the window, fully lit and dozens of carefully wrapped presents underneath? While that’s a common sight, it’s also a tempting view for burglars. Keep your home safe by making sure gifts aren’t visible from the outside.

Once gifts are opened, don’t leave the empty boxes outside. Break boxes down so they can fit inside the trash bin so you’re not advertising the new items are now inside your home.

Keep package deliveries safe

Avoid a Grinch-like scene by not having packages sit outside unattended. If possible, have packages delivered to your office or held for pickup. If you’re shopping from an online retailer with a local location, consider having your order shipped to the store for pickup. Most shipping providers may allow you to postpone delivery until you know someone will be home to receive them, or leave directions on where to drop off packages.

Keep your home well-lit

Keeping your home well-lit is an effective way of keeping your home safe. If you’re away, put your lights on a timer so they can turn on in the evening, making it look like someone is home. You can use smart home technology or simple programmable light plugs.

Ask a neighbor to keep watch

Good neighbors look out for each other. Ask trusted neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. They can contact you if anything happens at your home or even collect your mail if you didn’t place a hold on deliveries.

The holiday season is a busy one but it only takes a few simple steps to keep your home and family safe this season! If a new home is on your wish list this year, Hayden Homes can help! We have new homes for sale throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon. We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home!

Host a Spooktacular Halloween Party

Happy Halloween Party TableDoes the thought of hosting a Halloween party leave you horrified? Don’t be afraid! Thankfully you don’t need to be a professional event planner (or even Martha Stewart) to host a spooktacular Halloween party. Plan a great Halloween party with this ultimate guide of tips, tricks, and party planning hacks.

Think of your guest list

Your guest list (along with your theme) will guide how you plan your Halloween party. What kind of party do you want to host? An adult-only affair? A festive bash for your kids? Or a family-friendly event? Figuring this out will make the rest of your planning easier.

Pick a theme

Just like pumpkins, Halloween comes in different shapes. You can host a cute costume party or go for a creepier bash.  Your chosen theme will influence your decorations, food, and more. Keep your prospective guest list in mind when deciding on a theme; if you’re having younger children or those who scare easily, a lighthearted Halloween theme will be your best bet.

Set the scene

Cast a spell on your home with Halloween decorations! Decorate with pumpkins, cobwebs, spiders, bats, candles…go wild! Set an especially eerie mood by replacing a few lightbulbs with colored bulbs or black lights. Make sure there is enough room for guests to safely move around without bumping into anything, especially if you use candles!

Play scary movies in the background to add to the spooky mood. If your party is more adult, try classic horror films like Rosemary’s Baby, Psycho, or Halloween. For a more lighthearted party, choose a family-friendly flick like The Addams Family, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Hocus Pocus, or The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Don’t forget the music! Create a Halloween party playlist with a fun mix of spooky favorites, old school classics, and today’s hits.

Tricks and treats

Provide plenty of savory food options to balance the Halloween sweets. Serve fun finger foods that are easy for guests to enjoy while mingling. If you need some menu inspiration, here are some scary good snacks and desserts your guests will love nibbling.

What’s Halloween without candy? Create a candy buffet so guests can create their own goodie bag to take home. Sure beats trick-or-treating!

Plan activities

Consider having games or activities available for your party guests, especially if you’re hosting children. If you have space, a pumpkin carving station is always fun. If you lack space or would rather avoid extra clean up, set out markers, stickers, and more for pumpkin decorating. Other fun activities include apple bobbing, mock trick-or-treating, even a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. If you’d like to encourage people to wear costumes, have a costume contest and award prizes.

Enjoy a spooky soiree in your new home

Celebrating the spooky season with friends and family at home is a great way to enjoy the fun and festivities of Halloween. You’ll love hosting everyone in your new Hayden home! If you’re still looking for a new home to haunt, reach out to us today to learn more about our new homes for sale throughout Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Ideas to Make Your Father’s Day Fun

Son giving dad Father's Day CardIt’s time to celebrate dads in gratitude for everything they do (those Dad jokes aren’t going to tell themselves). Whether you’ve already found the perfect gift or you’re looking for some simple yet meaningful activities to bond with your dad, keeping reading for some ideas!

Do what Dad loves

Sometimes the best gift is simply spending time together. Why not spend the day doing something dad loves? Whether it’s visiting museums, going bowling, hiking, camping, fishing or even catching a ball game, spending some quality time together is something your dad is sure to remember and appreciate for years to come.

Fire up the grill

With the warmer weather, celebrating Father’s Day outdoors is a great option. Get the entire family together to celebrate dad with a backyard BBQ. Play some backyard games while grilling up some of dad’s favorites for a filling meal everyone will enjoy. Need some ideas to plan the menu? Try one of these ideas!

Plan a spa day

Spa days aren’t just for women! Dad deserves to be pampered as well. Book your dad a haircut or professional shave, or even consider booking a massage to help him relax.

Have a Father’s Day movie night

Pop some popcorn, grab some snacks, and some favorite drinks and enjoy a movie night! Watch father-themed movies like Incredibles 2, Indiana Jones, We Bought a Zoo, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, or The Godfather for an older group. Here are some more ideas.

Plan a road trip

Pack up the car and road trip to a fun destination. Make it a day trip or a weekend jaunt. There are plenty of amazing destinations to explore with the family: visit a National Park, local attractions, or even far-flung family.

Time spent together is always the perfect gift. Whether it’s a grand adventure in the great outdoors or a quiet evening at home, these activities will give your dad a chance to spend some quality time together with the family.

Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, which means that if you haven’t already planned your Thanksgiving menu, it’s time to sit down and figure out how to entertain your guests. This year, instead of doing the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes – or perhaps in addition to these delicious Thanksgiving staples – why not try something non-traditional? This is not only something to do in an effort to be more creative, but as a way to make sure your vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and keto guests are all accommodated for, too.
Serve a veggie-centric dish at Thanksgiving
Serve a Large Veggie-Centric Dish
Regardless of what your main course is (for most people, it’s turkey), you should make sure that a veggie-centric dish is on your Thanksgiving table, too. With a veggie dish, like a large salad with nuts, fresh cranberries, citrus, and perhaps an optional goat cheese add-on, you can hit the mark for nearly all diets. This gives anyone who doesn’t want to have something else (potatoes, turkey, stuffing) an option that will still fill their plate and their stomachs.
Aim for Healthier this Thanksgiving
Aim for Healthier
Sure, we all love the traditional Thanksgiving foods, ranging from stuffing to green bean casserole. But it’s very possible to stray slightly from the traditional recipes without sacrificing taste and quality, and creating something healthier. For example, try The Castaway Kitchen’s keto, paleo, and Whole30-approved green bean casserole in place of the cream of mushroom and canned green beans variation. Your guests who are dieting will appreciate it, and provide some fun conversion around the recipe change-up.
Non Traditional Thanksgiving Meal
You Don’t HAVE to Stick with Turkey
Yes, turkey is the traditional Thanksgiving dish, but let’s be honest – it can be a pain to make (especially if you’re only serving dinner for a few), and a lot of people honestly just don’t prefer it over other meats. This year, consider venturing outside the Thanksgiving box by serving duck, goose, chicken, or even a pork loin or roast beef instead. If you are having a vegetarian or vegan Thanksgiving, you can forgo the meat altogether and focus on large and filling sides. After all, the sides are the best part according to some people.
Honor your heritage this Thanksgiving
Honor Your Heritage This Year
The above suggestions still keep the traditional Thanksgiving foods in mind, even though recipes and variations are made. But if you’re really feeling daring, you can host Thanksgiving without any Thanksgiving foods at all. Instead of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing, you could serve Indian food, go Cajun, try out Korean BBQ, or something else entirely like homemade sushi! The options are endless. If you’re going to put in a lot of work and effort into a meal, don’t feel confined to the traditional dishes. This year, honor your heritage, and look forward to sharing that with your guests. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is really about?
New Home Kitchen
Put Your New Kitchen to Good Use
Whatever you decide to do food-wise this Thanksgiving, we hope that you’ll put both your kitchen and dining room to good use!
Have you been thinking about up-sizing? Or perhaps you’re wanting to move closer to friends and family in the Northwest. At Hayden Homes, we are building brand new homes throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Reach out to us today to learn more about our new homes for sale, and we hope you have a blessed and memorable Thanksgiving holiday!

Trick-or-Treat Fun in Your New Home

Are you looking for a fun way to make Halloween more eventful this year? If so, one idea is to host a pre-trick-or-treating game night for your young trick-or-treaters. Here are some tips on how you can make the most of your new home on Halloween night.
Trick-or-Treat Fun in Your New Home
Start with a Plan (and Stick to the Schedule)
Having a plan, and sticking to it, is always one of the best ways to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. As you’re planning your event and creating invitations, things to consider include:
  • Are you inviting kids and their parents?
  • What time do you want the party to start?
  • What time do you want to the party to end and transition into trick-or-treating?
  • Do you need any chaperones? How about for the trick-or-treating portion of the evening?
Answer these questions now, and include any details on your invitations.
Create Cute Halloween Party Invites
Make Cute and Clever Halloween-Themed Invites
Part of the fun of throwing a party is making cute party invitations. An appealing Halloween-themed invitation can make the difference between a rockin’ party and a ghost town. We recommend sending out invitations that are crafty and clever. You can find some great invitation ideas on by doing a Google search or by looking on Pinterest. Plenty of inspiration out there!
Decorate for Halloween
Decorate your Home for Halloween!
In addition to the invitations, creating awesome party decorations is a must when planning a party in your new home. Buy decorations if you’re in a rush, or set aside a day with the kids to create different decorations by a hand. This is a great way to spend time together as a family and provide your kids with a creative outlet during a day of inclement weather.
Offer food and beverages for adults too
Offer Food and Drink (for Adults, too!)
No party is complete without yummy food and drinks. During Halloween, there are a lot of fun and spooky serving options. Some top food choices that kids and adults will like include deviled eggs with spiders (using olives to create the spiders), carrot “fingers,” and Frankenstein sushi (see this great post from Genius Kitchen for more recipe ideas, including the ones listed). Remember that the kids are about to go trick-or-treating where they’ll be walking a lot and – let’s not forget – loading up on candy, so this is a great way to get their bellies filled with something  nutritious before they go out.
Keep Games Spooky and Fun
Keep Games Spooky and Fun 
Finally, plan some games that are spooky, fun, and age appropriate! Some games might include Pin the Tail on the Cat, a pumpkin toss, Ghost in the Graveyard, a Halloween-creature pinata, and a Guess-How-Many game using candy corn or other Halloween treat. A simple game of hide-and-seek or duck-duck-goose can also be a great option.
Have a Great Halloween in Your New Home
This Halloween, put your new home to work by hosting a pre-trick-or-treating Halloween party for your kids. Remember to invite other parents and summon their help in keeping little ones supervised, and perhaps showing off that brand new kitchen or open layout of yours!
Still not in the home of your dreams? If you’re a potential home buyer, we have countless homes for sale throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Reach out to us at Hayden Homes today to learn more.

Stress Free Holiday Entertaining in Your New Home

If you’re excited about having people in your brand new home for the holidays, then you’re probably stressing over what you can to ensure that your holiday season is as stress-free and smooth as possible. Here are some tips for some holiday entertaining in your new home that will keep tension low and levels of fun high.Stress Free Holiday Entertaining in Your New Home

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

We know that you’re excited about your new home, but if you don’t give yourself enough time to plan the perfect holiday party, you’ll be kicking yourself over all of the last-minute stress. Start planning your holiday party, including when it will be, who will be invited, and what you’ll be serving at least a couple of weeks in advance. And of course, don’t wait until the last minute to get invitations out, get the place tidied up, and start your grocery shopping before things get crazy.

Ask for help at holiday partyDon’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Hosting your first holiday party in your dream home is a big deal, and you surely want to leave your guests with a great first impression. But that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything on your own. Ask your kids or spouse to help you get cleaned up or prepare dishes, and don’t hesitate to ask guests to bring their favorite holiday dish or beverage.

Keep Your Holiday Party SimpleKeep It Simple

One of the things that can cause the most stress is trying to do something overly complicated for the first time, like creating a centerpiece you saw in your favorite homemaking magazine, or trying to bake a very intricate dessert or a 4 course meal. Simple decorations and recipes can be just as enjoyable and impressive, and are typically way less stressful to try to manage. Finger foods are a staple at every party.

Set an End Time to Holiday Party

Set an End Time

There will always be that one guest, or guests, that can’t seem to take a hint that it’s the end of the night, and that you’re ready for them to clear out so you can clean up and hit the sack. The best way to ensure that your guests won’t overstay their welcome is to put an ending time right on the invitation, such as “Holiday Cocktail Hour from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.” As the hour to say goodbye gets closer, invite guests for a celebratory farewell toast.

Clean Up as You goClean Up As You Go

Of course, you don’t want to be scrubbing during the party, but you can take small steps to ensure that things will be a little bit easier to pick up at the end of the night. For example, set out garbage and recycle bins that are clearly marked, hand out napkins, and do quick wipe ups for any spills. Another easy hack is to use disposable (go for compostable to stay green!) plates so you’re not stuck doing dishes! Even some of the fanciest parties use plastic cutlery.

Your First Holiday Party in Your New Home

We hope that as a new homebuyer, your first holiday in your new home goes as planned and is a memorable experience for you! If you’re thinking of buying a new home or buying your first home, we have homes for sale all over the northwest, including in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. We can’t wait to help you find your dream home!

Quick Holiday Recipes from Hayden Homes

With the holiday’s nearing, we wanted to share with you three of our favorite quick and easy recipes. These are great for casual gatherings with friends and family and are sure to please any crowd! They are perfect for everything from waiting for the turkey to bake to a Monday night football game. Enjoy!

Easy Sausage Cheese BallsEasy Cheesy Meatballs
1 Pound Sausage
4 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
3 Cups Baking Mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, combine the sausage, cheese, and dry baking mix. Mix together, and shape mixture into walnut-sized balls. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Grape Jelly MeatballsGrape Jelly Meatballs – it sounds odd, but they’re delicious!
1 (32 Ounce) jar grape jelly
2 (12 ounce) bottles tomato-based chili sauce (such as Heinz®)
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
3 (5 pound) bags frozen cocktail-size meatballs

Combine grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper in a saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until warm, 5 to 10 minutes. Place meatballs in a slow cooker and top with grape jelly mixture. Cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours.

Artichoke dip on a holiday tableArtichoke Dip
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 bunch chopped scallions
2 cans quartered artichoke hearts (drained)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Simmer in double boiler until cheese is melted. Serve in fresh bred bowl, sliced baguette, or with assorted chips and veggies.

Leave a comment below and let us know if you made them and how it went!

Tastefully Decorating Your Home for Halloween

Fall is one of the best times of year for many reasons, especially if you are into home decor. In addition to changing leaves, yummy food, and scented candles, Halloween also falls smack dab in the middle of fall, providing for yet another great decorating opportunity. Here are some ideas for tastefully decorating your new home for Halloween.

Classic Fall
One way to celebrate fall and Halloween while still keeping things classy is to ditch the cobwebs and witches’ brooms and just stick to pumpkins, scarecrows, and bales of hay on your porch and outdoor walkway. For added effect, if you want to spook things up a bit, you can add a jack-o-lantern, or a model black cat. Adding an autumn wreath to the door complete with bats will do the trick, too.

Bringing Decor IndoorsPumpkins for Halloween Decorating the outside of your home is easy – you really can’t go wrong with pumpkins, fall landcare, and winter landscaping! But indoors, it can be a bit more difficult to strike a balance between spooky and elegant, tasteful and tacky. Some recommendations that can help you create just the right aura include:

  • Black candlestick holders with black or orange candles – A black candlestick holder is very classic, but when combined with a black or orange candlestick, you create a Halloween atmosphere without putting too much effort into it. This makes for a great table centerpiece.
  • Glittery spider webs, witches’ brooms, and witches’ hats – If you decide to go all out with the Halloween decor, more power to you! Consider incorporating some glitter to sparkle things up a bit. Glitter makes everything prettier. Put a fun spin on classic Halloween decorations by giving them a spray with black, and then glitter, spray paint, or simply glue some glitter where you see fit.
  • Pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins – Don’t just leave pumpkins for the outdoors! Pumpkins, gourds, carved Decorate-your-new-home-for-halloweenjack-o-lanterns, and painted and mini pumpkins all have a place on shelves and tables inside during Halloween, too.
  • Bat mobile – A great DIY Halloween project that you can involve the kids in making is a bat mobile from (this an other great Halloween ideas on our Pinterest Page). This is done by finding a great branch outdoors, spray painting it black, and tying bat cutouts (that you make yourself using black cardstock) to it.

Use Leaves to Your Advantage
During fall, the change of the color of leaves is beautiful. Not only do leaves change color, but they are often shades of orange, a color that represents the festivities of Halloween. If you have too many leaves in your yard to know what to do with and that are preventing you from using the lawn aerator, consider pressing and framing leaves, creating a leaf wreath, or bundling leaves and tying with twine as part of table centerpieces. Using leaves to your advantage is an easy way to tastefully decorate while also recognizing fall and Halloween.

Enjoy Your New Hayden Home!
We hope that you are loving your new home by Hayden Homes in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho. One of the most fun things about a new home in the Northwest is decorating, so refer to the ideas above to get your dream home looking great for fall and Halloween! Happy entertaining!