November Newsletter


, , , , , ,

The weather outside may be cooling down in the Treasure Valley, but the market continues to heat up. There is really no better time to be a buyer or seller in the Boise area, and we can’t wait to work together with you on your property journey! If the arrival of the holidays has you worried about the amount of space in your house or the best way to accommodate family and friends, check out our new listings—it may be time for you to find your dream home. 

If you’re feeling inspired to embark on a development project, reach out to us with your ideas, and we will help you turn it into a plan! If you’re not sure how we can help, we’ve shared some of our specific offerings for you to peruse. Let yourself be inspired, and give us a call for our input on how to implement all your amazing development ideas. 

Click below to read our full newsletter for market insight, information about our land use planning services and more!

How To Throw The Perfect Football Party


, , , , , ,

Football season is a special time of year. It can bring people together cheering for their favorite teams or create a bit of friendly tension with football rivalries. It’s also a great time of year to entertain your guests by tailgating at home. Who doesn’t love dressing up in their favorite team jersey with a drink in one hand and nachos in the other? Here are a few tips to help you throw the perfect football party this season. 

Be careful who you invite

We all know that one person who takes football season way too seriously. You know the one. It’s the person who paints their face even if they are watching the game at home alone. It’s the one who picks up a chair and throws it at the TV when their team is down by 10 points. That person who is yelling and screaming and freaking out the kids. That’s the person who is likely to ruin your entertainment center and the good vibes. If having a chat with this fanatic about their behavior isn’t something that’s possible, it’s probably best to leave them off the guest list altogether. 

Themed drinks and snacks

Sure, it’s possible to have a great time watching the game without the extra touches that themed drinks and snacks can bring, but where is the fun in that? Take this season to the next level by adding a few football-themed items into the mix. Add some vinyl laces to your mason jar mugs and *bam*, suddenly you have football-themed drinking containers perfect for hot or cold drinks. If you like DIY projects and enjoy football this could be the perfect project for you this football season. 

Make sure the fridge is stocked

You never want to run out of food, drink, or ice during a party. It’s the worst. You have to find the one sober person who is old enough to drive to run for the store for whatever was inadequately stocked; and who knows if they’ll get it right or where they may stop along the way. Make sure you get everything you need ahead of time and you won’t have to worry about shortages when game day rolls around. And while we are on the subject of grocery runs—grab some toilet paper, hand soap, and paper towels so they are ready for your guests as well. 

Don’t forget about the grill

You don’t want your guests showing up on game day only to discover you are out of charcoal or forgot to refill the propane tanks. Before you head out for your food and drink runs, be sure to take a quick look to be sure you have enough fuel on hand for an afternoon or evening full of grilling. It’s the absolute worst to run out of heat in the middle of grilling up some juicy meats and tasty veggies. Avoid a game day faux-pas by making sure you have your grill situation in order. 

When it’s time for kickoff, you’ll still have your sanity in check if you follow these simple tips for game day. Then all you have left to do is sit back and enjoy the game with your guests. 

Prepare Your Home For Ice & Snow


, , , , , ,

Protecting your home during the winter is an important yearly ritual. Very often fear of disaster is accompanied by this annual chore. This year we encourage you to make this a pleasant experience for you and your family to care for your house together. Use it as a teaching and bonding moment to prepare your future generations on proper home care, but most of all, make it fun! How can it NOT be fun to blow the water out of your sprinklers!

Wait, do what with the sprinklers!?

You read that correctly. One of the most vital things you can do to prepare and protect your home from the cold is to deal with the outside water flow. This can include but is not limited to, fountains, sprinkler systems, and hoses.

Create a game with your family to see who can find the most outdoor water sources around your house. You might find faucets you didn’t know existed, but you may also find things you wouldn’t think to look for such as art decorations, watering stations or other things you added to your yard during the summer. 

Then work as a family to drain the hose or fountain and turn off the water to outside faucets if that option is available in your home. If not, drain the hoses and tubes that connect your water feature to the water supply in the home. Some also like to add insulated covers to the outside faucets. 

Finally, if you have a sprinkler system, used compressed air to blow the remaining water from the labyrinth of tubes beneath the ground as your kids dance around in the yard. This is not an activity just for children. Water Disco anyone? Just because it’s a chore, doesn’t mean you can’t create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Other Outdoor Preparations
After you’ve made sure to prepare all of the water sources in your home, turn to the other tasks around the outside of your home that need attention before cold and snow blow into town. Clean out your gutters, remove tree branches that could fall if wet, heavy snow weighs them down, inspect your fireplace from the outside, and fix any roof leaks. 

These types of chores can be the least fun part of owning a home, we totally get it. But, by going through these steps each fall you’ll save yourself the headache of mishaps during the coldest parts of the year, that could leave you and your family displaced. Who wants to spend the holidays in a hotel while repairs are being made to your roof? 

This is also a good time to clean all of your lawn and garden equipment and prepare them for winter storage. Make it a family activity to work through the list, even the wee ones can get involved. Future you will thank you!

Indoor Preparations

The list of things you can do to prepare for cold weather seems to be never-ending. One may argue that one of the more important things you can do to prepare is to have your home inspected for any electrical problems. The freezing temps and the cold wind is no time for you to lose electricity due to a problem you could have fixed in advance. 

You’ll also want to check your fireplace from the inside to make sure there are no concerns. Be sure to change your furnace filter and turn on the heat to make sure everything is working as it should. This is a perfect time to make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly or to prep your propane tanks for the cold if you use propane to heat your home. 

Have all the kiddos go around the house to check the heater vents and make sure there are no pieces of furniture blocking the vents and that you’ve moved all plants or delicious chocolates away from areas that tend to get the most heat. 

Final Touches

You’re finally done with the big stuff you needed to do to prepare your home for the cold. Now, it’s time to pay attention to the little details that will make life more comfortable during the cooler months. 

Change the direction of your ceiling fans, buy an automatic or smart thermostat, check your windows and doors for places that may need to be sealed. Adjusting your curtains and blinds can also have an insulative effect and help keep the warm air inside with you and your family. Consider getting freeze and flood sensors or other environmental sensors for your home and look into other smart features that may make the winter months more enjoyable.

Now sit back and relax and prepare yourself for a winter full of fun, memories, and spending time with those you love most. 

Making the Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape


, , , , , ,

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and now is a great time to start planning your Thanksgiving day menu and thinking about how you’ll make the perfect Thanksgiving tablescape this year. We’ve got some tips, tricks, and examples for formal, casual and homemade tablescapes to help you out, so read on.

What is a tablescape?

A tablescape is a tabletop design in which every element is carefully and deliberately chosen. You may have also heard it referred to as a tabletop decoration, tabletop arrangement, or a centerpiece. But, a true tablescape is more involved than a centerpiece and is often planned out in advance. Tablescapes generally follow a theme or intention and there should be a sense of balance or harmony within each of the items chosen for the tablescape. There shouldn’t be anything that is too overwhelming or distracting from the rest of the elements, though there should be details that help to bring it all together. 

Formal tablescapes

After you’ve decided on a theme and design, it’s time to decide if you will have a formal table setting or an informal table setting to complement your tablescape this Thanksgiving. Each choice comes with its own sets of benefits, but the big drawback of a formal tablescape is that it does require a little more time and effort. You’ll have to get out all of your fine dining pieces. That may include polishing silver and washing all of your fine dining dishes by hand. Then doing it all over again after dinner. Don’t take on more than you want this holiday season, you can still have a gorgeous tablescape if you don’t incorporate any of the formal setting ideas into your dinner.  

Casual, informal tablescapes

Forget the fancy dishes and extra work. This year you want to leave behind tradition and get creative. You can still set the table in a relaxed and visually pleasing way, but have more room on the table and make it a more family-friendly (read spill-proof) experience. Take time to consider new ways to insert creativity into your design. Have you ever played with fun fonts for name cards? Or maybe you are celebrating in a beach house this year (or just wish you were) and you don’t have your usual holiday dinnerware and you want to sprinkle a coastal feel throughout your Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps you are in the desert, why not throw some air plants into your tablescape? Or for the most minimally labor-intensive tablescape, just pick two colors, say gold and black, and go nuts. 

Handmade tablescapes

Maybe you have decided this is going to be a super chill holiday with family and friends this year. You want to make some memories and share traditions, but you don’t want any stress or hassle. This year, you want to focus on spending time with loved ones and eating delicious food. One way to hit all of those marks is to make your own tablescape centerpiece cornucopia. You can make your own from scratch or buy the main piece and spend time with your kiddos or friends filling it in with all those things that make your community feel abundant.  And don’t forget the little ones. Just because they have their own pint-sized table doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be included in a fun tablescape design this Thanksgiving.

No matter which direction you decide to go for your Thanksgiving dinner, we are sure it will be the right choice for you and your family. Send us pictures of your tablescape this year and tell us which of these tips you used to make it perfect! 

Modern Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas for Each Course


, , , , ,

It’s never too early to prep for Thanksgiving. This year, we are here to help you get your kitchen in order with a collection of some of our favorite recipes for a modern take on a Thanksgiving menu. Check out our ideas below and let us know if you have any favorite holiday recipes. 

Snacking before a big family meal is decadent. But, that’s what the holidays are all about, right? Eating, drinking and being merry with those we love most is a great excuse to whip up a quick snack for everyone to graze on before the food starts pouring out of the kitchen. We like this Fall Themed Chex Mix because it’s something that everyone can enjoy, and the ingredients can be adjusted to account for dietary restrictions in your family. Plus, those tiny cornucopias are just *too much*.

Who said drinks aren’t a course on a Thanksgiving menu? Not us. A delicious drink can take some time and finesse to perfect for the holidays and we think it’s just as important as any other recipe on Thanksgiving day. This gorgeous Cranberry Blood-Orange Spritz even has a non-alcoholic option so everyone in the family can join in.

A modern menu doesn’t have to mean a bunch of extra work. It will be easy to impress your friends and family this holiday with fancy-looking menu options that won’t take up all your time so you can focus on the main event. We love these Warm Spiced Olives with a Creamy Cauliflower Dip.

Main Entree

Just because you want to modernize your Thanksgiving menu doesn’t mean you can’t still create new recipes from traditional meals. Turkey is a tried and true main course, and with these moderns takes, it will be a breeze to create these dishes for your holiday. This Sous Vide Turkey Breast with Crispy Skin recipe is sure to delight. Or maybe the Red Wine Braised Turkey Legs would work better for your family. Either way, don’t forget to try this Umami Gravy regardless of which turkey recipe you make. 


Have you ever made a Panzanella? It’s also known as a bread salad and the one we are about to suggest has put a modern twist on an Italian classic. Before you brush this one off as being a little too different for your family holiday, might we suggest you check out this yummy recipe for a Winter Greens Panzanella? It’s a dish in a dish that looks delish! 


It’s finally time for dessert and we think it’s perfectly reasonable to have several options when it comes to the sweet stuff. The Big Almond Orange Ginger Cookie sounds just right for those who want a pinch of sugar after enjoying such a lovely holiday meal. But, for those who aren’t ready to stop with the decadence just yet, we love the sound of this Deep Dish Maple Bourbon Creme Pie

Please let us know if you try any of these recipes! We’d be so happy to hear how much your family loves trying some new flavors this Thanksgiving. 

Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, & Hayrides! Oh My!


, , , , , ,

It’s finally the fall season and you know what that means, right? The foliage around Southwestern Idaho is breathtaking and it’s a great time to take a short road trip and soak in all the stunning colors surrounding our great city. But, if you have members of the family who don’t road trip well, or you just can’t imagine making *yet another* bathroom stop on what was meant to be a one-day adventure, then maybe some of the autumn activities in and around town may be more appealing to your family!

Pumpkin Patches
Who doesn’t love a pumpkin patch? Whether you find a small roadside patch or visit a large farm, one can always find the perfect pumpkin addition to the family. You’ll have the opportunity to peruse pumpkins with the family in every shape, size, and color this season. Grab some of those picture-perfect moments for your upcoming holiday photo collage and to remember this experience for years to come. Gallivanting around a pumpkin patch is just as colorful and beautiful as gallivanting around the mountains…and with fewer bathroom breaks in the woods. Check out the Farmstead Festival in Meridian.

Corn mazes have become the “lite” version experience of haunted houses, which is great because that means every human member of the family can participate. We’ll bet there is even someplace out there that will let you bring your four-legged family members in for some corn maze fun. From the creative mazes designed with little ones in mind that are made by stacking bales of hay, to the full-on mazes designed from corn that stands 7 feet tall, there is no lack of variation when it comes to mazes. Some farms even have multiple maze types on site so that everyone in your group has a chance to get just the right about of spooky this season. Get lost in the Queys Maze in Mountain Home.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of hayrides, I smell a campfire, hot apple cider, and horses. Hayrides are a lovely way to take in more than just the stunning fall colors of Boise and offer a fully immersed sensory experience that everyone can enjoy. Did you know there are even haunted hayrides? Just make sure to wear proper clothing if the hay makes you or a family member itchy or make sure to have some non-drowsy allergy meds on hand if someone can’t stop sneezing. Give a visit to Twin Oaks Farm in Eagle.

If you want to get a little bit of everything in this season but don’t want to take multiple trips, we have it on good authority that there are farms around Boise and Southwestern Idaho that have multiple activities available to give you the full fall experience in one stop. Grab a hot cocoa and take a stroll through a corn maze or spend some time in a petting zoo with the kiddos. Then take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch, pick your favorite pumpkin, take no less than 1 million photos for the ‘gram, and head back home with a car full of happy family members and new pumpkins to join you for the season.

Want more info about these types of activities in Boise and the surrounding areas? Check out this compilation of events.

How To Create A Welcoming Front Porch For Fall


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fall is officially here! Time to make sure your home is ready for colder weather, and it’s also time to create a welcoming front porch. This is especially important if you’re looking to sell your home this fall! By creating a welcoming entryway into your home, you’re allowing family, friends, and potential buyers to feel completely comfortable when they enter your house. Did you know buyers make a decision on whether they like a house within 8 seconds of seeing it? If your front porch hooks them, we can guarantee they’ll want to see the rest of your house!

Read on to learn our tips and tricks on how to create the best fall porch ever. 


Before you actually begin decorating, it’s essential to keep up the maintenance on the exterior of your home. If you’re noticing peeling paint, fix it! Or better yet, hire a local contractor to do the hard stuff for you. We recommend Natural Born Painters for all of our painting needs.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could opt to paint your front door! By choosing a comforting hue for your door, you’re setting the tone for all who enter your home. Check out this blog for the do’s and don’ts of how to choose the perfect color for your front door.

A Clean Slate

Once your exterior home maintenance is complete, you’ll want to clean your porch, front entry way, sidewalk and yard. If raking leaves and doing fall landscaping is not in your wheelhouse, we recommend using Alluring Lawn Service. They’ll be able to get your yard ready for fall and winter, and keep it looking sharp! A tidy yard has major curb appeal and it’ll make your spring yard maintenance easier. 


Now to the fun part! Decor! I don’t know about y’all, but I love decorating my front porch for fall. 


In order to make my porch welcoming, I always include a wreath on my door. You can find many pre-made wreaths at craft and home good stores. Another option is to make your own! If you want to be absolutely sure your wreath goes with your color scheme of your house, making your own is simple and easy. Check out this blog for some wreath inspiration

Door Mats + Rugs

If you’re a Pinterest fan, you’ll notice tons of “porch inspo” on there. At this moment in time, it’s very popular to layer a doormat over a small rug at your front door. Whether you hop on this trend or not, having a cute and appealing doormat is essential for guests to wipe their feet and leave the mud outside vs. tracking it through your gorgeous home!


If your porch is large enough to accommodate seating, we suggest you dress up this area and make it comfy by adding fall-inspired throw pillows, throw blankets, and a lantern for some additional light.


Mums are my favorite to plant in cute planters on my porch! If you’re looking to add some natural beauty and color to your porch, mums are the way to go. As Halloween approaches, you can even place some mums into a pumpkin.
I hope these tips will help you create a wonderfully welcoming porch at your home! If you’re looking for more helpful tips on how to create more curb appeal, or would like information on how much your home is currently worth (and tips on how to improve it’s value), give us a call! We’d love to hear from you.

Fall Bucket List: Boise


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fall weather is nearly here! When I think of fall, I think of sipping hot beverages, wearing a hoodie and blue jeans, and playing in the yard with my family. We love going on hikes to see the beautiful fall leaves change color, and snuggle under flannel blankets near the bonfire. Luckily for us, all of these activities are abundant in Idaho. If you’re in search of some fun fall activities to do this autumn, be sure to bookmark this bucket list for later!

As always, if this wonderful list makes you daydream of moving to the Boise area, we’re here to help you find the perfect spot to watch the leaves change and enjoy all four of Idaho’s vibrant seasons. 

1. First Thursdays

Every first Thursday of the month, businesses around downtown Boise put on small events with features of local items and potentially different deals and discounts. Some spots will even have live music!

2. See Fall from Camel’s Back Park

The view from Camel’s Back lookout is the perfect spot to see all the colorful trees in the Treasure Valley. While you’re up there you can also see a perfect view of the entire skyline.

3. Boise State Football Games

Fall means football season in Boise. If you’re not a Bronco, that’s ok! The blue turf field and atmosphere of Albertsons stadium and Broncos fans are super welcoming. Being around this type of energy is thrilling, and it’s something you won’t want to miss.

4. Boise Farmers Markets

Saturdays are the day to go check out and supports all of the local vendors at the market and see what they have to offer. Fresh produce, delicious food, hand-made products are what the Boise Farmers Market is all about.

5. Pumpkin Patches

Make a trip out to one of the many farms in the area and pick the best pumpkins! Some pumpkin patches even have hay bail rides, and hot apple cider. 

6. Apple Picking

Apple picking is one of the very first things we do once the weather gets cool. We love the U-Pick farms and then we head home to make a delicious apple pie! We enjoy visiting Tyler’s Rocky Point Orchard

7. Take a Hike

Hiking in Idaho is the best in the fall. Be sure to check out some of the wonderful trails that Idaho has to offer, including Goose Creek Falls, Dry Creek Trail, Mores Mountain Trail, Charcoal Gulch, and Goose Creek Falls.

8. Make Caramel Apples

Who doesn’t love caramel apples? If you have kids, they’ll absolutely love this! Homemade caramel apples taste way better than the ones you can find at gas stations and grocery stores. Follow this easy recipe to make ‘em.

9. Host a Chili Cook Off

If you’re not able to make it to a Boise State Broncos home game, you might as well watch football at home with your best buds and host a chili cook off while you’re at it!

10. Cozy-Up Your house

Cool weather always makes me want to curl up with a warm blanket, slip on some fuzzy socks, sip hot coffee and sit near the fireplace. Before you roast those logs, make sure your chimney is good to go for the season. If you’re looking to sell your home this fall, a good rule of thumb is to declutter, but make it super inviting. This time of year you might want to dress up your sofas with some beautiful autumn-inspired throw blankets and pillows. You could also add some tasteful fall decor to your front porch–you only get to make a first impression once with potential buyers!

If this doesn’t make you want to experience fall in Idaho, I’m not sure what will. Our door at First Service Group is always open and we’d love to have you. We love Idaho, and we especially love it in the fall. 

Autumn Inspired Recipes: Sweet Treats


, , , , , , , , ,

That wonderfully crisp fall air is upon us! I enjoy this season. I love fall decor, the weather in beautiful Idaho, and seeing the leaves change colors. I especially love all of the fall spices! Some people are not fans of the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte…but I’d bet you’d love some autumn-inspired sweet treats!

When the weather cools down, I love to bake. Baking in cool weather is great because it warms your house a little, and it makes it smell amazing! If you’re looking to sell your house, and you want it to smell delicious, whip up any one of these homemade recipes and you’re sure to get those buyers day dreaming of owning your home. If you need help making all of that happen, reach out to us at First Service Group. We know what people are looking for, and we know what the real estate market is like this fall season.

Read on to learn how to make some of my favorite, autumn inspired sweet treats!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

After you pick some local apples at an orchard, save some to make these amazing cupcakes topped with caramel icing. 

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 19 minutes

Total Time: 49 minutes

Yield: 22-24 Cupcakes


1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup salted butter, slightly melted
1 large apple, peeled and chopped

Caramel Buttercream Frosting:

1 cup salted butter
1 cup shortening
8 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp caramel sauce


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Whisk together flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add egg whites, vanilla extract, sour cream, milk and butter and mix on medium speed just until smooth. Do not over mix.

4. Stir in chopped apples

5. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.

6. Bake 17-19 minutes.

7. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then remove and set on the cooling rack to finish cooling.

8. To make the buttercream, combine butter and shortening and mix until smooth.

9. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

10. Add caramel sauce and mix until smooth.

11. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

12. Top cupcakes with icing and a drizzle of caramel.

Apple Cider Donuts

Ok, I love a good donut–especially with my coffee, as a treat. Homemade donuts taste so much better when you prepare them from scratch! I guarantee you won’t have any left over…This would be the perfect sweet treat to serve your family for a Sunday breakfast.


1 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 c. apple cider
2 large eggs
6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for work surface
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice
1 48-oz. bottle canola oil


Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a paper bag; shake to mix.

Boil cider in a large skillet over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely. Whisk together eggs, butter, and reduced cider in a bowl.

Beat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and pie spice with an electric mixer until combined, 30 seconds. Beat in cider mixture just until moistened. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat to 365 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time, on a floured work surface, roll dough to 1/2″ thick and cut into circles with a floured 3″ doughnut cutter. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling scraps once.

Fry doughnuts and holes, in batches, until golden brown, 45 seconds to 1 minute per side. Drain on prepared baking sheet 30 seconds. Gently toss warm doughnuts in cinnamon sugar.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pretzel-Chocolate-Pecan Slab Pie

This is a huge dessert that can easily serve 16 guests for a fall dinner party. Maybe you’ll want to tuck this one away for Thanksgiving? 


all-purpose flour, for work surface
1 all-purpose pie crust, doubled
8 large eggs
2 c. light corn syrup
1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. bourbon
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. kosher salt 
6 c. pecans
2 c. mini pretzels
2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
flaked salt, for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Press 2 disks of dough together. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to a 16- by 21-inch rectangle. Transfer to a jelly-roll pan and trim to a 1-inch overhang. Tuck overhang under and crimp edges with your fingers or a fork. Freeze 15 minutes.

2. Whisk together eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Stir in pecans, pretzels, and chocolate chips. Transfer to prepared pie crust.

3. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pretzels start to darken. Cover with foil and bake until the filling is puffed and the center is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and sprinkle with flaked salt; cool completely.

Football Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Cream

And I’ll leave you with this one! Perfect for any game-day. Especially if you’re cheering on the Boise State Broncos


For the cake:

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
3/4 c. Dutch processed cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. buttermilk, at room temperature

For the filling:

1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
White store-bought decorating icing


Make the cake:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium and beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture, just until flour is incorporated. Transfer mixture to a piping bag or a large resealable bag; cut a 1/2-inch-wide hole.

Pipe footballs on prepared baking sheets by drawing 2 1/2-inch football shapes on parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart; invert paper. Following the outline, pipe from one end of the football, along the outer edge, and to the other end. Repeat along the opposite edge. Fill center of football. Smooth top with a small offset spatula or your finger.

Bake, in batches, until puffed and just set, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Make the filling:

Beat butter on medium speed with an electric mixer until pale, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add half the confectioners’ sugar, beating until just incorporated. Add remaining sugar, cinnamon, and salt and continue beating until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Assemble the pies:

Spoon filling onto flat sides of half of whoopie pies and sandwich together with unfrosted halves. Use icing to pipe football laces on top.

How To Prep Your Home and Yard for Fall


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

September is always full of change and transition. The kids go off to school, the lazy days of summer melt away and our daylight hours get shorter and shorter. Fall is usually a very busy time for families, so we totally get that sometimes your home improvement projects slip to the wayside. We’re here to help you with that!

At First Service Group, we’ve seen first hand how weather can affect all homes, new and old. Mother Nature is a force, and you’ve got to protect your most valuable asset: your home. 

If you’re like me, you get super excited to finally decorate your porch with fall decor…you should be just as excited to prep your home for cooler weather — beyond decorating! If you need a pep talk, that’s what this blog is for. Read on to learn some simple tricks that will go a long way in keeping your home and yard well maintained from weather damage this fall season. 

Get a Check Up on Your HVAC System

This may be something you haven’t really thought about. People often only get a check up on their heating/cooling system when they have a problem–and at that point, it’s super stressful and usually very expensive. It’s best to have an HVAC person check out your heating system before the cold weather settles into your home (just as you should have your AC serviced before summer). If you’re done using the AC for the year, cover the outdoor unit to keep debris and ice from damaging your system. Remember to change the filter, too.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

To work smarter, make sure you have all of the correct tools needed for whatever job it is you’re doing. If you have a huge driveway, start saving up for a snow-blower and leaf-blower. If you don’t want to do those tasks yourself, now is the time to line up your local lawn care and snow removal folks for the season. If you have a huge yard and big, mature trees, make sure you’ve got rakes, a leaf blower, and a giant tarp to move the leaves. Pull out all the tools you may need and make them easily accessible in your garage or garden shed for easy access. 

Windows + Doors

Even if your home is new, it’s always a good idea to make sure wind, snow, rain and ice cannot get in through any openings — weatherize your doors and windows. Check to see if your windows are drafty. If they are, add weather-proof strips or replace old windows. Do the same for the crevices around your doors.

Rake Those Leaves

This one is important if you want your lawn to thrive for your future spring and summer seasons. Letting leaves cover your grass suffocates it and often kills it. The leaves will also begin to mold and smell. Check out this blog for some tips to make raking easier.

Clean Your Gutters

Continue to check your gutters in every season — however, in the fall, you’ll want to triple check that they are not blocked or damned up with fallen leaves and twigs from storms. If your gutters are blocked, water will begin to seep into places you don’t want it to and it could eventually damage your foundation. Keep your gutters clean!

Prevent Frozen Outdoor Pipes

Disconnect your outdoor hoses and turn off the outdoor water supply. Open the outdoor faucets and run your sprinkler system to drain any remaining water. By doing this simple trick, you’ll help to prevent your outdoor pipes from freezing.

If you’re planning to put your house on the market, you’ll definitely want to make sure you take these precautions to ensure the value of your home continues to go up. The real estate market is constantly changing, and we want to help all of you buyers and sellers out there!

This to-do list might seem long or even overwhelming, but now is the time to do a little bit each weekend and your home will be weatherized in no time! So sit back, and enjoy sweater weather from your well-maintained home.