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New Faces to Meet

New Faces to Meet

Owner / Broker Jennifer Stutesman Yarsulik welcomes new agents to the real estate team. ” We are so excited to be adding professionals to our real estate industry which allows Stutesman’s Action Realty to cover more territory – Kobie Langford will be specializing in Jasper,Barton, Newton, and Dade Counties & Bailey Lyons will be specializing Bourbon, Crawford and Linn County Kansas plus Vernon County Missouri. 

 

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TECH TIPS: Our Favorite Smart Home Devices Right Now

TECH TIPS:

Our Favorite Smart Home Devices Right Now

techtips-cover

Upgrade your living space into a smart home without breaking the bank with our hand-picked smart home devices that include speakers, security cameras, light bulbs and more. Create a smart home hub with these gadgets that work with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant to simplify your technology and help make your day-to-day life even easier.

Whether you want to personalize and control your lighting, stream music and videos or secure your home, we’ve found a variety of top-rated smart home gadgets to help you get started building your smart home. Most of your products work with Alexa or the Google Assistant so that you can control the devices with the command of your voice. We’ve also included the Aukey Smart Plug-in our list which gives any device you plug into smart capabilities.

Read on for our list of the best smart home gadgets that include the best prices and deals that are currently available. We have a variety of devices that will fit all smart home needs and budgets.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Home security from anywhere

Help secure your home with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro that allows you to answer your door from anywhere. The Ring Pro works with Alexa and will send alerts to Echo devices which allows you to hear and speak to visitors entirely hands-free. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro also sends alerts to your smartphone when motion is detected or when someone presses the doorbell so you can monitor your home from anywhere. The Pro features advanced motion detection with a camera view that generates motion alerts within user-set motion zones. The Ring doorbell connects to your existing doorbell wiring so you don’t have to worry about re-charging the battery and features four different face plate options. (amazon.com $199)

Echo Dot (3rd generation)

Voice controlled smart speaker

The best-selling Echo Dot is a voice-controlled smart speaker that works with Alexa to make calls, answer questions, set alarms, check the weather and so much more. The compact smart speaker can also control your compatible smart home devices with the command of your voice. Just ask Alexa to find TV shows, turn on lights, adjust the temperature and more. You can use your voice to play a song or artist through Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and others. Alexa has over 50,000 skills so you can discover new skills that will help you with everyday tasks. (amazon.com $29.99)

Amazon Echo

Amazon’s smart speaker with Alexa

The Amazon Echo smart speaker can play music, answer questions, set alarms and more all with the command of your voice. You can also control your other smart home devices with the Alexa-enabled speaker just ask Alexa to turn off the lights, adjust your thermostat, lock your door and more. The Echo can make calls and send and receive messages through the hands-free speaker. The smart speaker features a better audio experience than the Echo Dot offering a powerful audio with Dolby technology built in to the speaker. (amazon.com $79.99)

Voice controlled light bulb

Control your lighting from anywhere with the TP-Link Alexa-enabled light bulb. You can turn your lights on and off and adjust brightness with your tablet or smartphone using the Kasa app. You can connect the smart bulb with Alexa or Google Assistant devices and use your voice to control your lights. The easy-to-install light bulb can transform into any color to set the mood and personalize your lighting by adjusting brightness as well as light appearance from soft white to daylight. The TP-Link bulbs will also help you out with your energy costs by reducing energy use up to 80% without brightness or quality loss.  (walmart.com $29.99)

Alexa enabled WiFi Plug

Turn your electronics and appliances into voice and app-controlled devices with the Kasa Smart WiFi plug by TP-Link. The smart plug works with Alexa and the Google Assistant so you can turn your devices into a hands-free experience. You can turn on lamps, appliances and more from anywhere on your smartphone using the Kasa app. You can also schedule the smart plug to automatically turn on and off when you’re away and reduce your energy by managing devices that use the most power.  (amazon.com $13.99)

Nest Learning Thermostat

Change the temperature from anywhere

Control your thermostat from anywhere with the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat. The smart thermostat uses technology to learn your habits and adjust automatically to help save you energy. On average the Nest thermostat saves 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills so the Nest will pay for itself in no time. You’re able to control your thermostat from anywhere with Nest app using your phone, tablet or laptop. The smart thermostat also works with Alexa so you can adjust and control the temperature with the command of your voice. The Nest thermostat features a thinner and sleeker design than previous models and comes in four different colors. (amazon.com $199)

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum

Wi-Fi connected robot vacuum

Clean your floors with the command of your voice and completely hands-free with the Wi-Fi connected iRobot Roomba Robot Vacuum. You can use the iRobot home app to clean and schedule your vacuum from anywhere and receive notifications when the job is complete. The Roomba 960 can continuously clean for up to 75 minutes and will automatically recharge. The robot vacuum features a three-stage cleaning system and a high-efficiency filter that captures 99% of allergens, pollen, and dust. The Roomba is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant so you can control the vacuum with your voice.  (walmart.com $549)

Amazon Cloud Cam Security Camera

Works with Alexa

The Amazon Cloud Cam is an indoor security camera that monitors your home in 1080p full HD. You’ll be able to watch your home from anywhere at any time with the compatible Cloud Cam app. You can view live streams, replay clips and get alerts when the camera detects activity. You can customize your alerts so you’ll only get alerts that matter. The Amazon camera features night vision so you’ll also be able to monitor your home in the dark. The Cloud Cam also offers two-way audio so you can speak to guests in your home through the app. The security camera works with Alexa so you can use your voice to show your live feed on the Amazon Fire TV, Fire Tablet, Echo Show, or Echo Spot. (amazon.com $119.99)

Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt

Alexa enabled deadbolt with built-in alarm

Secure your home the smart way with the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt. The Schlage connect features a touch screen keypad which allows for keyless entry. This lets every member in your family have their own 4-digit code that will be easy to remember. You can also create temporary codes for visitors and never have to worry about replacing locks or exchanging keys. The Schlage Connect is Z-Wave compatible and connects to your home automation system which allows you to lock or unlock your door remotely. You can also use your voice to control the lock with any Amazon Alexa compatible device. The deadbolt features a built-in alarm that comes in three different modes that will alert you when someone is coming or going and communicate any potential security threats. (homedepot.com $184.29)

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The Forever Faithful Perennial

The Forever Faithful Perennial

There’s nothing more trustworthy than a good, hardy perennial. These plants might go dull in the winter, but you can rest assured they’ll return faithfully the following year. Perennials have the power to keep your landscape alive with new colors, fragrances, and wildlife all season long — as long as you treat them well. While they’re well-known for their minimal maintenance, there are still some things to keep in mind.

When to Plant Perennials

Planting is both an exciting and stressful time for plants. Most perennial plants need a modest amount of moisture to survive, especially when they’re just trying to establish themselves. The best time to plant your perennials is during the transitional seasons: spring and fall.

In our area, we fall into hardiness Zone 6a, and, lucky for us, perennial plants tend to do very well in this zone! However, spring carries with it a lot of cold weather. If you plant too early and your young plants are caught in a particularly bad frost, they may not grow at all. Avoid a disappointing garden by paying attention to frost dates. The last frost in Missouri and Kansas typically happens in mid April (but lately, we have had some pretty crazy weather!), so wait until after then to plant new perennials. Even then, check the forecast and be wary of the conditions your new plants may be subject to. It’s best to err on the side of caution and plant when you’re confident that the weather is going to cooperate.

Of course, the ground has to be unfrozen to plant anything in it. One test to see if the soil is workable is to grab a handful of it and squeeze it tight. If your soil sticks together, it’s a little too wet. If it crumbles, it’s in workable shape and you can start planting!

Any perennials you plant in summer will need a lot more attention and water to encourage growth. Avoid digging up perennials in bloom during this season. Just let them do their thing.

How to Plant / Balancing Bloomers

The term ‘perennial’ encompasses thousands and thousands of plants. Naturally, they don’t all bloom at the same time. The key to keeping an interesting garden all season long is to interplant species that flower at different times in the summer. That way, you always have something new blossoming in your garden. It’s those little pops of new color that keep something exciting happening all the time. Here are a few model varieties of gorgeous perennials that bloom at different times in the summer:

Late Spring / Early Summer Bloomers

For your early summer flowering perennials, consider giving these plants a try:

clematis

Clematis: Creeping up several feet tall, clematis produce single, colorful flowers in shades of blue, pink, red, and white. They continue to bloom all the way into fall, and they prefer lots of sunlight and damp soil.

Siberian-iris

Caesar’s Brother Siberian Iris: This deep violet flower rises up on tall, poker-straight stems that really stand out along borders. They thrive in moist soils better than most, and are extremely resilient and adaptable. Just make sure you water them regularly, especially during hot dry weather.

peony

Peony: This lush, romantic flower is very popular for wedding bouquets and decor. Its massive blooms are a true work of art and some of our favorites are Sarah Bernhardt, Bowl of Beauty, and Bartzella Itoh. Their stems are nice and sturdy, so you won’t have to worry about staking them to keep them upright.

Creeping-phloox

Creeping Phlox: This fabulous groundcover plant spreads like wildfire and is great for rock gardens, as it creeps its way up rocks and rough terrain with ease. Its densely packed flowers create a carpet of vivid color that’s truly breathtaking. So long as it has full sun and is watered regularly, it will thrive beautifully.

Midsummer Flowering Perennials

These flowers bloom beautifully in the prime of summer:

Balloon-Flowers

Balloon Flowers: Balloon flowers are easy to care for, and are named as such because their buds balloon before blossoming. Among a few different colored varieties, balloon flowers can come in a very striking, deep blue.

coreopsis

Coreopsis: These sun-lovers come in bright, warm colors and attract all sorts of butterflies. They make great cut flowers.

salvia

Salvia: Tall stalks of blossoms adorn this beautiful plant in all different shades of blue, purple and red, with a few less common varieties in shades of yellow and white. It’s actually a member of the mint family, and its aroma is absolutely divine.

lavendar

Lavender: With a pleasant fragrance and characteristic purple color, you can’t go wrong with growing some lavender in your garden.

monarda

Monarda: Also known as bee balm, these vibrant flowers lure in pollinators like a magnet. Planting monarda in either spring or autumn will give you the best results. Some varieties can grow up to 4 feet tall, and they spread quite a bit, so dividing the root ball and replanting every 2 or 3 years will save it from getting overcrowded.

Late Summer / Early Fall Perennials

These plants are perfect reminders that summer is still hanging on:

aster

Aster: Asters provide great coverage in your flower beds, and bloom small flowers in reds, blues, and purples. They grow easily enough in a richer soil without much maintenance.

chelone

Chelone Hot Lips: This mounded plant has gorgeous blue-green foliage that contrasts beautifully with its pink clusters of flowers. It makes a great border plant, reaches to around 2 feet tall and spreads 2 feet across.

lobelia

Lobelia Cardinalis: The bright ruby red racemes of this fabulous perennial can be seen from miles away! It does best in moist clay soils, so if your soil is very loamy, make sure to water is generously.

When Fall Arrives

These are just a few of the endless perennial plants that can complete your garden. When fall rolls around, pay attention to any perennial pruning and winter protection needs. It’s also the perfect time to plant new perennials, as your soil is in ideal, moist conditions. You can use this season to also divide up some of your perennials, so long as they aren’t still in bloom.

Planning ahead for this season will reward you kindly. Be adventurous, and be sure to plant perennials of all different kinds during this time. A higher volume of plants will provide for more color and texture in your garden and culminate in an exciting new growing season the following summer!