Category Archives: At Home

Sharing everything about living at home in Minnesota. From tips and tricks to your seasonal to do lists.

Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

Fall has finally arrived and it’s time to get your home ready for cozy season. At our house that means layers, lots and lots of layers and candles, so many candles. Because for me this season is more about the mood than the decor. To set the mood these are the key pieces I will be adding to our home.

  1. Throw blankets, the softer and fuzzier the better. I like to put them at the end of the couch or over the arm of a chair so they are readily accessible.
  2. Candles, bonus points for earthy and grounding fall scents. My current obsession is the Teakwood and Tobacco candle by P.F. Candle Co. You can find them at Carousel + Folk, one of my favorite local shops for curated vintage goods and plants.
  3. I’m really loving faux pampas grass this year and plan to add a few vases around my house. I’ve already added a vase to my bathroom and am loving the cozy boho vibe it’s created.
  4. In the bedroom I love to add in a few extra fuzzy blankets and a few extra pillows. This year I’m thinking about adding in a few additional rust tones as well.
  5. And finally I will be adding in as many Twinkle lights as I can. Because why not, I love that glow almost as much as I love candles.

Fall home maintenance

It’s that time of the year once again, fall has arrived and with it we have your fall home maintenance to do list.

While we know home maintenance can be anything but fun but doing these tasks will save you time and money over the long run. A little regular maintenance will protect your investment.

  1. Clear gutters of leaves, sticks and other debris. We have leaf guards on most of our gutters, which I highly recommend, definitely worth the investment (and no this is not an ad) but if you don’t it’s time to get out the ladder and clean your gutters you’ll be surprised how much debris you’ll find.
  2. Drain garden hoses and put them away. Faucets and pipes can freeze and burst in our frigid temps which is a big mess that you will want to avoid.
  3. Get your chimney inspected and cleaned. Fire burning season is almost upon us and we could not be more excited. We love to cozy up around a warm and inviting fire but we also know that chimneys need to be inspected and cleaned for your safety. This is also area that continues to come up on inspections. Take care of your chimney now so you don’t have to pay later.
  4. Have your furnace inspected. You don’t want to wake up when it’s 40 below and find out you don’t have any heat. Get it tuned up now. Most places offer specials this time of the year.
  5. Check your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. I know most people save this for when the clocks fall back or spring ahead but I think it’s essential and should be done more than twice a year to protect you and your loved ones.

an organized home

Buying, selling or staying everyone loves an organized home. Here are 5 simple things you can do this weekend to be more organized at home.

  1. Clear the everyday clutter off of your surfaces for good. We all have stuff that ends up on our counters and tables that really isn’t needed. Try to remove those things and leave out only what truly adds beauty or function. (Think small appliances in your kitchen, books or Kleenex’ on your bedside tables.)
  2. Put away the winter gear and make room for summer. Removing seasonal items we don’t need from mudrooms and closets will instantly make those rooms feel more open and give you space to breathe.
  3. Take a peak at your closet. Pick up everything on the floor, refold your sweaters and make sure all your hangers are facing the same direction. While you’re adjusting your hangers, make sure the items you have hanging are clean and hung properly.
  4. Purge your fridge. Check expiration dates and throw that stuff away.
  5. Make your bed. Seriously it’s the easiest thing you can do to make your space feel clean and organized!

a family favorite recipe

If you’re like us cooking for the family is not an easy task and finding a recipe everyone can agree on is even harder. We found this recipe for Moroccan Chicken years ago and it’s been a family favorite ever since. It originally came from Men’s Health, a magazine we used to subscribe to, way back when people actually subscribed to magazines. We’ve made a few adjustments over the years to meet our families particular tastes but we think you’ll like it. 

Moroccan Chicken

What you’ll need:

2 packs boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 large Zucchini – Cut in to pieces

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can garbanzo beans

2 cups chicken stock or water

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil

White or Brown Rice

How to make it:

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan or low pot over medium high heat. Generously season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, place them in the pan and cook them for a few minutes on each side until they are brown thoroughly. Add the zucchini and continue cooking. Stirring occasionally.

When the zucchini has been in there for a bit and is starting to brown add the garbanzo beans, tomatoes,, chick stock, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

In the meantime make your rice according to package instructions.

The original recipe says to serve it with couscous something I love but my family does not. We’ve also served this with mashed potatoes but white rice is by far our family’s favorite.

We like to serve this in big bowls like a stew. It’s warm and inviting from the moment you start cooking, the cinnamon smells so good.

Free Quotable Art for Your Home

We know that moving can be expensive. Especially if you’re a first time home owner who just saved every last penny for a down payment. But we also know how fun it is to make your house a home by adding your own personal touch with home decor.

To help we partnered with Laura Anne Creative to give you some fun images you can download, print and frame for your new home.

How To Be More Sustainable At Home

Despite what you may think, being more sustainable at home is super easy. Most of the things we’re currently doing to live a more sustainable lifestyle at home we started by accident.

For example, I started washing our clothes in cold water when we first got married after I shrunk a countless number of sweaters and turned even more white t-shirts pink.

Another change I made after ruining several pairs of yoga pants, my favorite tank top and the living room carpet was to switch to all natural cleaning products. No more bleach at our house. Our favorite natural cleaner is a simple solution of vinegar and water.

Growing up I always had a thing for cloth napkins. They just felt so fancy and we used them for all our dinner parties. Well we just took it up a notch and started using them for all our meals at home. With two teenage boys I’m doing laundry all the time anyway.

When the time came for us to replace our dishes a few years ago instead of heading to the store I went to Good Will. Where I purchased the most beautiful floral china plates. I use these everyday, not just for special occasions. I do this with drink glasses and coffee cups too.

Replace plastic /paper straws with metal straws. This one was a happy accident. Nothing had to be destroyed for us to make this change. We just happened to get the cutest rose gold colored metal straws for a gift. We haven’t look back since.

Because we are often on the go and admittedly not good planners we go to the grocery store every day. This way we only buy only the ingredients that we need and nothing gets wasted. Did you know that as Americans it’s estimated we throw away 30-40% of the food we purchase. I find that number astounding. (Also please note because of the current stay at home order we are not doing this.)

Incorporate as many plants as you can into your home decor. We love plants at our house and have 7 different plants from this list to help purify the air in our home.

And finally we compost and recycle because the city provided the bins and well why the heck not? I’m constantly amazed by how much we’re reduced our garbage by doing this. Now if only we could get the City of Minneapolis to pick up our recyclables every week instead of every other week. Our recycling bin is always overflowing.

We obviously still have a long way to go to living a more sustainable lifestyle. But I hope you enjoyed seeing just how easy it is to be sustainable at home. Just imagine how happy the earth would be if everyone made a few changes to live more sustainably.

Follow us on Pinterest and Instagram. Love the home you’re in. #sustainablelifestyle #loveyourhome #sustainablehome

Love the Home You’re In!

As Realtors we believe in home ownership, we also believe that you should love the home you’re in and if not well you really should consider moving. Not because we’re in the business of helping people buy and sell real estate but because we really do believe that being happy at home is important. It doesn’t matter where you live or how big your house is what matters is how your home makes you feel. 

For some people a home provides security, belonging, privacy. For others it’s where they gather with friends and family it’s a place to start and end their day. 

We live in a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom colonial home in the Kenny neighborhood of Southwest Minneapolis and living here brings us much joy. We find joy in entertaining our family and friends, we love watching movies in the family room, playing games in front of the fire, playing ping pong in the basement, relaxing outside, (in the summer only) and I personally find much joy in laying my head on my pillow every single night. 

Love the Home You're In | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group
This is a picture of our home covered in snow.

Nevertheless we don’t see ourselves living here forever. At some point our boys will graduate from high school, move out (fingers crossed) and this will simply be more house than we want. We talk a lot about downsizing to something much smaller, an updated rambler with an open floor plan and a pool in the back yard sounds pretty fantastic, don’t you think? 

But that’s for some day, for now we’re going to love the home we’re in. It really is perfect for our family, it fits our needs and makes us happy and that’s what it’s all about.

Your Fall To Do List

  1. Rake and bag the leaves.
  2. Clean the gutters.
  3. Prune/trim/care for your plants and trees.
  4. Store hoses, turn off the water. If you have a sprinkler system blow out the lines.
  5. Empty and store your outdoor containers.
  6. Put away your outdoor furniture.
  7. Get your furnace serviced so it’s ready to go.
  8. Get your chimney cleaned, fire season will be here before we know it.
  9. Stock up on wood for the fire.
  10. Check the batteries in your fire alarm and CO detectors.

#fallcleanup #todolist #fall #home #mattengengroup

The Best Places to Shop for Houseplants

I love incorporating houseplants into my homes decor. (We also like to recommend them when staging a home.) I don’t think there’s an easier or more budget friendly way to add warmth, texture and a nice pop of color and personality to any space.

The best places to shop for houseplants | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Looking to add a few houseplants to your home? You can buy them from so many places including your local grocery store but I highly suggest forgoing that option and heading to one of my favorite local garden centers.  

  1. Tangletown Gardens: This has been my long time favorite place to go to shop for houseplants and outdoor plants. (This is not a new obsession for me.) I like to tell people that shopping at Tangletown Gardens is an experience. Nestled in Southwest Minneapolis this place is like a little fairy garden for adults. They have a great and unique selection of houseplants and beautiful pots to put them in.
  2. Tonkadale Greenhouse: I recently found this place (I found it in August to be exact) And I think I’ve been there 4 or 5 times now and I always bring a new friend. This place has the largest selection of cacti, fiddle leaf figs and snake plants in the area. I had no idea there were so many different types. The home decor is fantastic and the place smells so good. Visiting this place in the middle of winter is like a mini tropical vacation.
  3. Wagners Garden Center: I go to the Wagners on Penn Avenue in Minneapolis and if you haven’t been in recent years I encourage you to give it another try. The plant selection, pots and decor selections have changed dramatically over the last year. I was told the daughter took over but I’m not sure if that’s true. Either way the selection is definitely more on trend. I’ve gotten quite a few spider plants there, another plant I adore and can’t easily find. But my favorite time of the year to visit Wagners is at Christmas time they fill the whole green house with Poinsettia’s and it’s gorgeous.
  4. Bachman’s: Bachman’s was the very first place to take the mystery out of houseplants for me. They categorize them there; Plants of Steel (This is how I fell in love with the ZZ plant), Low light, Medium light and High light. Which makes the houseplant selection process super easy. I send a lot of my friends with black thumbs to their Plants of Steel section with much success. Bachman’s also holds a special place in my heart because I spent a lot of time at the Lyndale location when my boys where little. They loved the indoor Koi pond. It’s also where I introduced them to the Venus flytrap. That plant provided hours and hours at our house.

Making Room to Entertain at Home

We live in a 3 bed, 4 bath home in Minneapolis. We have a main floor family room, an updated kitchen, plenty of bathrooms and a finished basement. So in reality we should have more than enough room to entertain at home. And don’t get me wrong we do unless we’re hosting a sit down around the table event like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Despite all the rest of the space in our house our dining room just isn’t big enough to host the types of dinner parties I would love to have.

I picture our entire family gathered around the table as Matt carves the turkey and I sip my wine enjoying a well cooked meal. You know just like they do in the movies. But in reality we’re not great cooks and our dining room just isn’t big enough to accommodate 16 people gathered around a table. But I’m not the type of person to just give up and let everyone just sit willy nilly where ever they want like Matt suggests so this Thanksgiving I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I realized that we have a really large living room. It’s definitely long enough and wide enough for my large table. And the wheels started to turn. I could flip flop the rooms. So I quickly made up my mind and that afternoon while Matt and the boys were out of the house, I moved the dining room table to the living room and my living room furniture to my dining room. And it was fantastic.

I know what you’re thinking and yes it was a little bit of work. But it was worth it. I had achieved my goal, we finally had enough space for everyone to gather around the table.  And as I sat there sipping my wine and enjoying the moment I was pretty proud of myself. It was exactly how I pictured it, minus Matt carving the turkey. The only downside to this whole experiment is that one forgets how warm it is to sit in front of the fire.


Making Room to Entertain at Home | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

The first step in the great Thanksgiving flip-a-roo was to empty the rooms. This was a little tricker than I thought. You need to move things multiple times to make space.

Making Room to Entertain at Home | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

This is a picture of the empty dining room, before I laid out the rug. An added bonus to switching out the rooms, my house got a really deep cleaning.

Making Room to Entertain at Home | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Here’s a picture of my living room which is now my dining room. I could hardly contain my excitement. It still makes me really happy to look at this picture. It turned out better than expected.

Making Room to Entertain at Home | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

And finally here’s a picture of my dining room which was my living room. An added bonus to having the living room so close to the kitchen is that now everyone could hang in one space without bothering the cook.


#entertainingathome #thanksgiving #dinnerparties #atmine #myhomethismonth #mattengengroup