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It is Florida Fresh Strawberry Season

Did you Know?    Plant City, Florida is recognized worldwide as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World.

Did you Know?    There are approximately 8,000 acres of strawberries grown in Florida.

Did you Know?– Eating eight Strawberries a day has been shown to lower blood pressure and to improve memory and heart health.

Did you Know?  – Strawberry Shortcake originated with the American Colonists.


Well now that you know.  I am passing along a shortcake recipe we have been enjoying for years.  But the favorite way we enjoy strawberries is freshly washed,  sliced and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  The berries are Great on their own, and delicious over vanilla ice cream.  However, you enjoy your berries, enjoy them Florida Fresh. 



Florida Strawberry Shortcake 


4 Cups Fresh Strawberries, hulled


2 Cups Sifted Flour

2 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Tsp Salt

½ Cup Butter

½ Cup Milk

2 Cups Heavy Cream Whipped


Slice 3 cups of Strawberries and sweeten to taste.


Preheat Oven to 450 degrees. Sift the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt into a mixing bowl. With a pastry blender or your fingers, work in 5 tablespoons of butter until mixture is course and grainy.  Stir in the milk.


Shape the dough into a ball and roll it out to ½ inch thick on a lightly floured surface.   With a 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut out six rounds. Set them on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until brown. 


Split the biscuits while hot, butter the bottom halves. Place them on a serving plate. Spoon on the strawberries, top with whipped cream, and place the biscuit top on.  Add the whole berries to each plate and generously share the juice on each shortcake.

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Housing Predictions for 2022

Everyone is making predictions about the housing market, will the market rise, will the housing market fall, will the housing market crash or will prices remain static.  Of course, no experts can predict the market with complete accuracy, but it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that housing prices will drop in the U.S. in 2022.  The most recent predictions, based on facts, see home values continuing to climb through this year and into next. However, many experts advise we will see smaller price gains this year, compared to the gains from 2020 and 2021.  The experts are predicting that U.S. housing prices will rise in 2022, but only by about 4%, so clearly a cooling trend is expected, but the market is expected to remain strong.  All the experts studied seem to have the same outlook, except for Zillow.  Zillow is predicting a rise of about 12% in home values in 2022, and they have based this prediction on the ongoing housing shortage.


Housing supply in the U.S. remains below normal levels, even with the massive amount of building all around us.  Housing Inventory was tight before the pandemic, and the inventory only became tighter due to the unexpected rise in home sales.   Two factors are cited that could possibly reverse this trend.  One is inventory growth which could balance the shortage thereby reducing home price appreciation.  The second factor that could cause a cooling effect on the market is affordability, or the lack of affordability.   Many U.S. Cities are becoming unaffordable to an ever-growing number of residents thereby reducing the number of buyers.  In Solivita we do not have this issue as our housing is still affordable and our community is almost built out to capacity making it impossible for Solivita to overbuild.

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Sightseeing in Sanford

One of the girls in the office recently spent an afternoon in Sanford, she and her husband did a walking history tour of the old city.  They both came back and said they had a wonderful time. Sanford truly is a Central Florida Treasure, not just for good restaurants and brew pubs, but really does hold  an historic place in Florida history from Citrus growing to Celery Farming to Naval Aviation to sports, Sanford is a town with lots of history. Once Walt Disney World Resort was built the economy of Central Florida shifted away from agriculture, defense/aerospace and military installations and moved to tourism, the driver of our economy today.  The city has retained a significant collection of older commercial and residential architecture and the old streets in downtown are still shaded by live oak trees.  Hard to write a review on Sanford without recalling the sad news in 2012 of the killing of Trayvon Martin and the actions taken by the Sanford Police Department. History has many twists, since that time, Sanford has made positive changes in their policing policies, developed solid relationships with the community, and has completed a multimillion-dollar streetscaping project. City leaders and planners have sought and have successfully attracted new businesses and visitors to downtown. By 2016 downtown Sanford emerged as a safe, friendly city and a center for craft beer production, with multiple microbreweries, a home brewing supplier and lots of pubs focused on craft beers.  Not a beer drinker, no worries, Sanford has lots of pubs serving spirits, creative cocktails, and wines.  Looking for a more wholesome drink visit the Root’s Raw Juice Bar, seems that Sanford has something for most everyone. 


Sanford is the southern terminus of Amtrak’s Auto Train and is served by Florida’s SunRail, a Central Florida commuter train, serving the city from the new station in Sanford off State Road 46.  The City also has a trolleybus that provides service between SunRail and the historic downtown.  From Solivita you can take the train from the Poinciana Station to Sanford.  If you prefer to drive, Sanford is about one hour northeast of Solivita.   


Bring or rent a bike and ride the trail, walk, or jog along the Sanford RiverWalk or just relax on a swing and enjoy the sailboat dotted scenery.  If you are looking for a laid-back afternoon or evening take a ride on the Rivership Barbara-Lee, the only authentic sternwheeler sailing the river.  


If you have the grandchildren with you, visit the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, originally started by the Sanford Fire Department.  As the firefighters saved folks from burning buildings they also rescued animals and found themselves with quite the collection of monkeys, birds, reptiles, etc., and the Zoo was born. It has grown since its founding and now is quite a large zoo and a nice spot to spend the afternoon.   If the kids are a bit older they will love the Zoom Air Adventure Park at the zoo, where they can enjoy rope bridges and zip lines.  

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Staying Safe from Covid in Solivita

Although Covid is still with us, life in Solivita has been good.. We have pools, activities, and fun events to attend, and with our beautiful weather, we can do almost every activity out of doors. Everyone is still playing golf, and at the end of a round we enjoy the 19th hole at one of the outdoor tables at the grill. We have taken art and photography classes outdoor; helping to keep us active, busy, and engaged while maintaining safe Covid Practices. As the experts are predicting “we may all get this thing”, but we are doing the best we can to keep safe in Solivita. Must admit, Lee and I have not attended any large gatherings indoor or eaten indoor in any restaurants, but lots of our Florida restaurants have outdoor seating, and Lee and I are enjoying every moment we can of the fresh air that is blowing through Central Florida.

Last week I ordered an Epoxy Resin Art Kit and if my mom enjoys it, I will order kits for my friends and family and share some art time outside on the lanai. Another way to stay busy while being safe. You never know, we may find that one of us, or all of us, is not only clever but talented too. LOL. We are Keeping up our Spirits, having fun, and staying healthy so together we can continue to enjoy the Good Life in Solivita.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Looking for a special gift for Valentine’s Day, may I suggest tickets to a Concert Under the Stars at BOK TOWER GARDENS on Friday, March 4, 2022.  The concert will be performed on the Oval Lawn and seating is available on a first-come basis.  Ticket holders can begin setting up at 3:00 PM.  Bring a Blanket, and or low lawn chairs and a flashlight.  Face masks must be worn when not seated in the listening area and all parties must remain at least 6 feet apart.  The March 4th Concert features ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL.  Asleep at the Wheel has been a part of the American Roots Music Landscape for over 20 years.  This band is inspired by Western Swing and honkey-tonk country, and has won 10 Grammy Awards.  The evening looks to be a fun filled event and a lovely date night.  Food and Beverages can be purchased and enjoyed on site.   If you are unfamiliar with ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL, listen to them on  Their sound will have your toes tapping and your fingers dialing BOK TOWERS for tickets faster than a “cat on a mouse”.  Enjoy the Show and Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Central Florida Gardens

February is a Wonderful Month in Central Florida, our weather is amazing, our skies are blue and after the holidays our company “has left the ranch”, giving us time to “smell the roses”.

This is Camellia Bloom Time in Central Florida. These lovely blooms can reach 5” across and create a gorgeous floral display from late winter to spring.  Now is the time to enjoy the blooms, when the weather is a bit chilly, and the plants are dormant although they are actually blooming they are not in an active growth cycle.

Where can you see these lovely blooms, at Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando.  This is the perfect time of the year to take a walk in the garden, the weather is cool, and with the current Covid Surge, you can safely walk through the outdoor gardens enjoying the beauty of the season without worry.  Lots of flowers are in bloom in February and March.  This time of the year you will enjoy not only camellias, but azaleas, trumpet trees, orchid trees, sweet Osmanthus, powder puffs, and citrus trees in bloom.

Harry P. Leu Gardens is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m and is located at 1920 N. Forest Ave in Orlando, FL 32803.  The phone number is 407-246-2620 and until further notice Face Masks are required inside all buildings.

You may purchase admission tickets online or pay in person when you arrive at the gardens.  The gardens are self-guided, and maps are available at the Garden Home Welcome Center.  The Leu House Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am – 1 PM, The Gardens are gorgeous, and you can spend quite a few hours wandering through the 50 acres. Enjoy the impeccable grounds, the beautiful displays of blooms, the live oaks and the bamboo.  The Leu Gardens are a perfect place to stroll, relax, or to enjoy a snack in the café as you plan your own garden.

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Real Estate Sales In Solivita

We are in a Very Hot Home Market in Solivita, seems as fast as the FOR SALE SIGN is put on the lawn, we are putting up an UNDER CONTRACT SIGN. If you are thinking about selling your home, now is the time, call a Bella Verde Sales Associate to schedule a free, informative, appointment and achieve a complete market analysis of your home’s value today.

Bella Verde Sales Associates are residents of Solivita and are a wealth of knowledge about our surroundings, our HOA, our home floorplans, and the benefits life in Solivita offers. If you live in Solivita you already know, Life in Solivita is wonderful, our landscapes are manicured and maintained by the HOA, our pools are sparkling, heated and tropical, and there is always something to do. One of the folks in our office calls life in Solivita a perpetual cruise without the fear of encountering rough seas. The Reflections Magazine lands on your driveway advising you of upcoming events, concerts, dinners, classes, club meetings, activities, tours, and just fun in general. No worries, and just like a cruise you can choose to participate in all the activities, some of the activities, or none of the activities, the choice is yours. Our two 18 Hole PGA Championship Golf Courses are groomed and ready to play 12 months a year, our flowers are always blooming, our clubs are active, and our neighborhoods are not only lovely but filled with fun loving, welcoming folks, enjoying the good life. So, if you are selling your home today, we have a list of buyers interested in living the good life in Solivita. Of course, if you are selling your home in Solivita because you want a larger residence or a smaller residence or a home with a different view we are here to help you with that too. A large percentage of our sellers purchase another residence in Solivita, as they know when life is good it is very good.