Omaha Home & Real Estate Blog

It's not often you see for-profit companies launching grass-roots volunteering campaigns. 

Sure, you find the occasional business asking for donations for environmental projects or social justice campaigns, but sometimes it's hard to find a business whose campaigns focus on a wide variety of movements happening in their city.

Thankfully, Omaha is home to one of those programs: Commit 20. Commit 20 is a volunteer project led by Sun Valley Landscaping where volunteers are asked to commit 20 hours of their time to a local non-profit organization. 

The project started in 2014  when current general manage Ashly Neneman and her colleagues created "a way for Sun Valley Landscaping employees to become more involved in community volunteer projects,"

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If Cupid's arrow hasn't hit you yet, beware. 

The high holy day of love is just around the corner and that chubby little cherub may very well be pulling a an arrow out with your name on it. And if he does fire that heartward dart at you, there's not much you can do.

Well, there's not much you can do to avoid it (aside from holing up in your bedroom and binging on Netflix), but you can avoid the cardinal sin of waiting too long to choose a spot for Valentine's Day dinner. 

We did a little research and put together a list of four restaurants hosting lovey-dovey dinners for two (or one, if that's your style). This year, we've taken the liberty to create a box-of-chocolates style of list. Over the next few minutes, you'll get rustic, modern,

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D.J. Sokol was an inspiration to thousands of Omaha residents. 

The son of a Berkshire Hathaway exec, D.J. died of cancer in 1999 at the age of 16. D.J. left behind a positive legacy, so much so that Omaha's chapter of the Salvation Army has named a scholarship after him: the D.J.'s Hero Awards. 

That scholarship's nomination window is now open, and is available to "exceptional" Nebraska high-school seniors who emulate D.J.'s life. As the Salvation Army wrote in the scholarship program's info brochure, "D.J.’s positive outlook on life and extraordinary dedication to helping others made him a hero."

Seven winners each will receive a $10,000 scholarship. Many of the students who've won this award went on to do some pretty awesome things. You

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When the forecast for the weekend is 6 degrees like it is this weekend, wintertime temperatures deserve to be called "ice cold." 

As homeowners, we know that temperatures cold enough to bring ice are also cold enough to, ironically, thaw out all those old myths about ice melt. 

Top-5 Ice Melt Myths

We talked with Sun Valley Landscaping's Annie Forsyth about these myths. Over the next few minutes we'll uncover five of these myths, as well as give you a quick guide to some of the top-rated ice melts at Home Depot. 

Myth #1: Wind chill affects the freeze-thaw cycle of ice melt and salt. 

This one was pretty easy. Annie pointed out that only the actual temperature, not the wind-chill temperature, will affect the freeze-thaw cycle of ice

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In case you missed it, earlier this month the Federal Reserve decided to raise the interest rate by 0.25%. 

What does that mean? Great question. Banks lend money to each other every day at the Federal Reserve's predetermined rate. Now, that rate has been bumped up a notch. It's a good sign, because it means they feel confident enough in the economy's strength that they don't have to lend money with rock-bottom interest rates.

 

Without getting too complex, raising the rate also makes sure that inflation stays in check and the cost of daily life doesn't get out of control.

But the important question for homeowners is how that increased percentage will affect everyday things like mortgages, auto loans and credit card rates. To find the answers,

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There's nothing that says celebration like fireworks, and there'll be plenty of them at the Holiday Lights Festival New Year's Eve Fireworks Spectacular. 

Omaha's favorite NYE celebration will take place at 7 p.m., Dec. 31 at the Gene Leahy mall on 14th and Farnam. 

According to the event's website, you'll need to make plans to get there early because event organizers predict that more than 30,000 will converge on the mall to watch the night sky burst to life at 7. 

Attendees are encouraged to tune into Star 104.5 to hear specially choreographed music.

If you haven't been to this particular fireworks show, we think you'd really enjoy yourself. It's hard to put into words what it's like to see the crisp Omaha sky bursting to life with

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Don't you just love that wintry scent of pine or fir filling every corner of your living room? 

The aroma of your tannenbaum is one of the trademark characteristics of Christmas.

Sadly, though, Christmas trees have also been the source of heartbreak over the years: home-destroying fires, in some cases, have been caused by heat, trees and bad luck.The American Christmas Tree Association (yes, there is such a thing) estimates that yuletide trees cost $13 million annually in property damage.

So, in an effort to keep you safe, happy and Christmasy as your tree dries out, we've created a list of three different safety tips based on information we found from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA).

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If you're a champion of tradition, then Christmas Eve Eve and Christmas Eve are probably one of your favorite days of the year.

And who can blame you? The thrill and rush of Christmas has reached it's goosebumpy build-up. Children everywhere are literally bursting with anticipation. Santa's the world round are giving their yuletide best during their stretch run of photos, ho-ho-hos and hours of listening to hopeful kids beg for their beloved (but yet to be confirmed) Christmas presents.

And, of course, your holiday ears are happy as can be with the steady stream of Christmas music joyfully tumbling out of speakers all around town. 

So, with today's post we honor all the champions of Christmas who want to spend their last 48 hours before the

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What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Is it the stockings above the fire, the endless array of candy canes? 

Or maybe you're more of a Santa fan and you love setting out cookies and milk every year, taking your kids to see Santa and cozying up to your significant other for a night of old timey Christmas movies. 

Or may your favorites are more of a heavenly bent and you love the candlelight service at your church on Christmas Eve. 

We became curious about where these traditions came from, so we did some digging and found some very interesting holiday lore. So sit back, relax, grab your moose mug and fill it up with egg nog. 

Three Christmas Traditions and How They (Supposedly) Started

Why stockings, and why over the fireplace?

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Every year, one giant Christmas tree has the honor of gracing the cavernous expanse of Dunham's Union Station. 

This year, the beautiful old train station is home to a 40-foot Colorado blue spruce that grew up on the not-so-mean streets of Ralston. Resident Rita Guenette took care of the tree for 40 years as it grew from a $1.49 seedling in 1975 to the proud patriarch of Union Station's Christmas celebration in 2015. 

Rita talked with the Omaha Herald a few weeks ago when the tree was transported to the station. She said she remembers her kids running and hopping over the tree when it was a seedling. 

“I fertilized it every year and it grew really nice," she told the Herald.

Too Big For His Britches? Not Quite...

A photo of the day of

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