Cranberry, Apple Chutney

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays.  A holiday that is just about being thankful for our blessings, sharing our bounty with others, and being thankful for the Beautiful Country we are lucky to reside in, and the freedom we all share.  We love to cook, we love to entertain, and we love to eat and drink.  I make this Chutney every year before Thanksgiving.  It is a great addition to a cheese board.  I spill this over the top of a wedge of cheddar, cream cheese, brie, or serve alongside creamy goat cheese.  Lee and I also add this chutney to a slice of turkey, ham, chicken, or pork.  Sometimes I slice and toast a baguette, I spread cheese on the baguette and top with Chutney.  I know if you make this Chutney you will enjoy a tasty addition to any meal or snack.  It is always a hit at our home, and made in advance, easy for you too.   When you have this in the refrigerator you are ready for cocktails at a moment’s notice.  

Cranberry, Apple, and Ginger Chutney

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger root
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup Orange Juice and the zest of an orange
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ½ cup chopped Granny Smith Apple
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer low heat until berries start to pop (about 5 minutes). Add the finely chopped onion, apple, and finely chopped celery, continue to cook, stir occasionally until mixture thickens, about 7 – 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool slightly.  Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to mature.

This recipe is tried and true, easy, yet delicious anytime, but especially delicious at the holidays.  We wish you, your family, and friends a Beautiful Thanksgiving overflowing with Love, Good Health, Laughter, and Peace.

What’s With The Solivita® Pink Flamingos?

Have you Seen Any Solivita Pink Flamingos Lately? While driving through Solivita be on the look-out for Pink Flamingos, not the ones with feathers, but rather pink painted Flamingos planted on the front lawns in Solivita. Why are you looking for Pink Flamingos? The answer is – So that you can go to a party […]

Orlando Hits #4 on Zillow’s Projected Top 10 Housing Markets of 2017

On January 6, Zillow, a leading real estate and rental database, announced its predictions for 2017’s 10 hottest housing markets. Topping the list this year, at #4 in the nation and #2 in the East, is our very own Orlando, Florida! Zillow’s predictions are based on rising home values, low unemployment rates, and

It’s a New Year and a New Brokerage


Just when I thought we could start winding down after all the holiday celebrations, gift giving, food, fun, and visits with friends and family we are pleased to announce that Lee and I have opened a new realty company – Bella Verde Realty.   Translation – Beautiful Green. We are grateful and thankful for each and every client, friend, family member and neighbor that has helped us achieve this goal. We could not have done it without you. Thank You.


We are ready to list, show homes, show commercial spaces, assist you in your move to Florida or just find a new home for you around the corner from your existing home. The past does dictate the future, and we remain happy to provide each of our clients with a beautiful new home space to hang their hats in.

Lee is our Commercial Space Expert and will be happy to assist you in locating commercial space for the relocation of your business or assist you in securing space for a new business venture.  I will continue to concentrate on the residential side of real estate sales, as I find great satisfaction in finding clients the home of their dreams.

Our office is set up and running and we are pleased to say the phones have been busy.

Please call us with any of your real estate needs, questions, or concerns. Or, we invite you, your friends and your family to join our newsletter – a great way to stay in touch with me and to stay in touch with what is going on in Solivita and real estate. Sign up today to see what is new in Solivita, Photos, the Latest Information, Fun Ideas, Reviews, Recipes, Articles, Etc. We publish the Newsletter once per month and I will be delighted to add you to our list.

May 2017 bring us all Great Health, Peace and a Beautiful Year!

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Solivita Retirement Community Boasts Accolades

Where to Retire Magazine has named Solivita one of the country’s best master-planned communities. Solivita is celebrated, admired, and with an active 55+ Community with over 4,300 acres of great natural beauty, pristine ponds, conservation, walking and biking paths for your enjoyment, it’s easy to see why.

Solivita offers 150,000 SF of fabulous amenities designed to create an active country club lifestyle. Included in the amenities are two resort style complexes; the PALMS, and the RIVERA SPA AND FITNESS CENTER. Together these complexes include outdoor and indoor heated pools, multiple hot tubs, exercise suites with aerobics studios, highly trained coaches, cardio & exercise equipment, active dance and fitness classes, and an indoor temp controlled walking track.


Throughout the community you will find lap and splash pools, multiple hot tubs, a softball diamond, tennis courts, bocce ball courts, pickle ball courts, and horseshoe pits. Solivita is the home of two championship golf courses, waterfront restaurants, a library, a sports bar, a driving range, a lake for dragon boating and kayaking, parks and a community garden. In downtown Solivita you can explore your creative side at the sculpture and ceramics studio or enjoy movie screenings, dances, concerts and theatrical productions in the 17,000 SF Starlite Ballroom. These amenities are for your enjoyment. This is the time you worked your entire life to enjoy and Solivita is the place to enjoy your time.


Retiring In Central Florida: Pickleball In Solivita

Imagine taking badminton, ping-pong, and tennis and put them in a bag and shake it up. What you get is pickleball. Solivita Pickleball is fun, great exercise, and a wonderful way to make friends.

Why is the game called Pickleball? In 1965 Bill Bell and Congressman Joel Pritchard invented the game in Joel’s backyard. Rumor has it, the game was named after Joel’s family dog Pickles, who would run away with the ball.

The more people that became introduced to the game the more people began playing the game. By 1972 a corporation was created around the sport and in 1976 the first world tournament was played in the state of Washington. Now Pickleball is played in all 50 states.

Solivita has a strong and active Pickleball Club. The Solivita Smashers Pickleball Club seeks to provide an opportunity for social interaction through sport and recreational activities. The annual picnic and themed games are just a small part of all that the Smashers have going on. The club travels and plays against other pickleball clubs; the game has really caught on in Florida and is one of the most popular sports to play!

Never played pickleball? No worries! When you choose to spend the best years of your life by purchasing a retirement home at Solivita, you get the benefit of having a community of wonderful people to learn from. The Smashers Pickleball Club offers clinics for newbies!

All in all, pickleball is just one of the many activities available at Solivita. The fun is waiting. Will you be joining in?



New To Central Florida: Hurricane Matthew

Warm days, small towns, lovely gardens, scenic lakes, walking trails, and great golf are just the beginning of the wonderful amenities of living in Central Florida. Since my family’s roots are not from the South, we don’t have much hurricane experience. When we heard a storm that was targeting Florida had been named a Hurricane, we wanted to be as prepared as possible.

We took the outdoor furniture off the lanai, rolled up the rug, and moved the potted plants from the front entrance to the garage. Then we hunted down two flashlights, checked the batteries, and stocked up on water. The hurricane preparation guide said to fill up the tub with water, just in case we lose power. We followed all the recommendations and then went to the grocery store; got some chips, bread, cheese and wine. Red wine, as it is good for the antioxidant value. Although we have spent time in England, we still have not developed an appreciation for warm beer.

We sat back satisfied that we were as ready as we could be. When Matthew hit, it rained some and the wind blew. We heard a few claps of thunder but all in all Central Florida was quite fortunate. Sadly, all of Florida was not so lucky. Hurricane Matthew hugged the coast and damaged countless homes, bridges, roads and the beautiful beaches along Florida’s east coast.  Much of the coast was without power for multiple days. Solivita and Central Florida did quite well. Our power lines are underground and we had no damage, nor did we lose electricity. A few branches fell, but Solivita Maintenance was out cleaning them up as quickly as the clouds cleared. We were out and about within a few hours after the storm blew through. In fact, we still have the wine to prove it!

Originally we had planned to move to one of Florida’s coasts, but after looking around and finding Solivita we changed our minds. While looking at property it is important to look at insurance and maintenance costs as these expenses need to be factored in to your future expenses, especially when purchasing a retirement home. These costs are much lower in central Florida than the costs to insure and maintain property on either coast. Our friends in Daytona and Jacksonville agree, as they are paying higher premiums and have had quite a few storms blow through causing concern, damage, and dollars. Dollars in retirement that should be spent on the golf course, spa, mall, or a vacation and not on storm repairs and storm insurance.

All roads point to Solivita!

Orlando Tops List Of Best Places To Retire In 2016

If beautiful weather, breath-taking sunsets, and an extensive selection of recreational activities for adults 55 and better are part of your retirement wish list, look no further than Orlando.

WalletHub, a personal finance website which seeks to help it’s users make better financial decisions, conducted a study where it ranked the 150 largest U.S. cities based on its viability for retirees to live a blissful retirement. Several Florida cities made the top 5, but what’s most impressive is that my very own Orlando metro area ranked no. 1!

What exactly did WalletHub factor into its study? Important factors such as Affordability, Activities available in the area, Quality of Life, and Healthcare systems were key in determining rankings for each city.

The Orlando area is known for it’s extensive list of activities for all ages, but the activities available specifically for people 55 and better are difficult to compete with. Orlando retirees have plenty to keep entertained with all year, and even have plenty to keep the grand kids entertained when they do visit. The activities factor was key for earning the top spot on the List Of Best Places To Retire In 2016.

Orlando comes in first, followed by Tampa in second, Scottsdale in third, Miami in fourth, and Sioux Falls coming in fifth.

List Of Best Places To Retire In 2016

The Orlando area boasts some of the best active adult communities in the country such as the decoratively awarded Solivita. Solivita is a luxurious gated community located in the heart of central Florida. With a name that means “sun” and “life,” after a stroll down Solivita’s community streets, it’s easy to see why so many choose to call Solivita “home”. No matter where you live within this lush gated 55+ community in central Florida, you can easily walk, bike or drive your own golf cart to indoor and outdoor dining venues, state-of-the-art spa and fitness complexes and other facilities for sports and games.

Take advantage of all the perks of an Orlando area retirement, and explore what your retirement could look like in Florida today! I can help you find the perfect home so that you just worry about what exciting activities you will be indulging in.


55+ Adult Communities: Solivita Is Getting Better And Better!

I am just so excited to see what is coming to Solivita in the upcoming months! What exactly is coming? More amenities and major improvements to existing amenities!

AV Homes a national, award-winning trusted homebuilder of active adult communities, such as our beautiful Solivita in Kissimme, Florida, announced the major remodel to the Stonegate Grille and the addition of other amenities.

The Stonegate Grille remodel began this month (August 2016). The new plans for the Stonegate Grille will include an enlarged outdoor seating area, redecorated dining area, and a new sports bar with TV’s. The Stonegate Grille will be re-launched as the Stonegate Sports Bar and Grille upon the completion of the remodel. This was already one of my favorite dinning spots, and the upgrades should really bring up the energy!

On the list of added amenities are a pharmacy and a convenience store offering sundries on Village Drive. The pharmacy and convenience store will add a new level of convenience and service to the community. Less time spent driving to pick up everyday items means more time to golf and more time to indulge in all that the spa and wellness centers have to offer!

Completion of Poinciana Parkway will provide an added ease of access to Solivita. A State-of-the-art gate entrance equipped with high-end transponder technology and a license plate recognition software. This is a huge deal for me as a resident of Solivita – I already felt secure, but this just gives me absolute peace of mind. Less worrying and more living!

I just can’t express how excited I am for all that is coming to Solivita. I will be sure to give you my update on the Stonegate Sports Bar and Grille after it is re-launched. Maybe you’ll give me a call and I would love to show you around Solivita so you can see first-hand all that it has to offer… who knows, you make love it so much you’ll make it your new home.

Must Knows When Buying a Home in Orlando | Bella Verde Realty 02

Must Knows When Buying a Home

There are a few must knows when buying a home that any serious buyer should know. These things aren’t top secret industry knowledge, but they’re actually just real estate basics anyone can have access to. Realtor Lorraine Valdes shares some of these must knows in a short interview below!

How can someone identify when a home is overpriced?

A good realtor will know the local market, that is why it is so important to work with someone that is experienced. Days on the market is an indicator… most sellers feel their home is better than the rest and tend to ignore market values and overprice their home, which leads to a home sitting for months. Your realtor’s research is of utmost importance!

I research every home sold in the area before recommending offer price to my buyers.

Research tells me the price per square feet and the financing obtained by other buyers in the area. Once I have that information, I can ascertain what appraisals would have been based on the mortgage type. Current market analysis is performed for every one of my buyers.

What are three things that may usually go wrong when buying a home?

Inspection, finance, and COLD FEET.

Common issues with inspections are faulty wiring, leaking roofs, plumbing issues, heating/cooling system malfunctions. Some serious problems in Florida are traces of mold throughout the structure of the home.

Financing issues usually involve a buyer not being approved for having too low of a credit score, buyer recently lost his/her job, buyer income is not sufficient, the information provided wasn’t consistent, too much debt is being taken on, or because the home appraisal was low.

Cold feet. It just happens. The buyer or the seller just has a change of heart, and that means the deal is off. There are possible penalties to either party depending on the established contract.

What kind of “first-time homebuyer programs” are available?

Many areas in Central Florida are considered for USDA loans, which is a great program. An experienced realtor working with a good lender can place you in the perfect finance program that fits the needs.

Some parting words of advice.

When buying a home, be sure to work with an experienced realtor… A good realtor places ethics first!