NELA Living Blog by Emilie Broughton

5 Ideas To Set Up Learning Space At Home

Even though some schools will open up, many people will still choose to continue to homeschool their kids. Getting your home ready can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have limited space. So here are a few things you can do to create a more official school-like setting in your home and get all you back on some kind of routine.

Giving ‘school’ it’s own area will help keep clutter confined to its own space.  But ‘where’ this new school is going to be depends on the available space in your house. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Can you take over the formal dining room for a bit? I mean, it’s not like friends can come over for dinner anyway right now. Maybe you have space in a guest bedroom that isn’t being used. Would the garage work? or a sunroom?

Whatever you decide it will be important that it kind of looks like school so your kids understand this is deal now. There are a few things you can do to create this new classroom in any space.

Designate a work surface and area.
If each child has a desk in their own room, consider moving them to a common space so you can monitor everything at once. If kids are working on a table, consider using the spare 6-foot table or card table you might reserve for family gatherings. This will make it easier than using the family dinner table and having to clean up every 10 minutes.

Keep supplies close at hand.
Use shelves or organizational units to keep all the materials in one spot. That will keep you from running from room to room to closet to drawer to get something for the next project.

Add a chalkboard or whiteboard.
Since you are the new teacher, a chalkboard or whiteboard might come in handy. Use stickers or wall adhesive get the job done and they are easy to put up (important) and take down (more important). Adding a calendar or bulletin board is also helpful to keep track of assignments and activities.

Create lessons from every day activities.
Things like cooking can help kids learn basic math skills and fractions. Taking care of plants and pets can teach kids about science, biology and basic responsibility.

Create a reading area.
You can utilize a colorful rug or maybe a beanbag chair to create a special space. This will also give kids a break from the desk or table work.

Of course, if you want to go all out you can paint and get new furniture. If you need more ideas for homeschooling rooms, look on Pinterest.

Portions of this article found at

Category: Blog |

3 Fun Backyard Summer Night Ideas

As we head into the final month of summer in 2020, most of us are bummed we didn’t get to take that annual vacation. Look no further than your own backyard! There are tons of fun and creative summer ideas for your backyard that kids and adults will be sure to enjoy.

Backyard Movies
There’s nothing quite like watching a movie  outside in your own backyard. And DIY backyard movie theaters are an easy to set up yourself. You can set it all up in about 30 minutes if you have the right equipment.

Grab a sheet or portable screen: A screen will inherently have less wrinkles in it than a sheet, which is optimal for clear movie-watching. But if you do use a sheet, make sure you pull it super taut when you secure it to either a stand or a vertical flat surface. Set up a projector or use your laptop and/or phone. Click here for a “how to” guide. Just make sure that you have a speaker system that will be loud enough. If you have already set up an outdoor speaker system, even better.

Set up a movie snack table with popcorn, drinks, candy and anything else you and your family enjoy at the movies. Bring out some blankets and pillows and get comfy on your patio furniture or bring some chairs outside.

Backyard Camping
Backyard camping is a blast. Setting up a cozy nest takes some teamwork. If you have a tent, treat your backyard like a real campsite. Take your tent outside and find a smooth, flat surface to call home for the night. Make it cozy inside with bed rolls or multiple layers of sleeping bags and cushy comforters. If you do not have a tent: You can easily create a makeshift shelter by tying a rope or clothesline between two trees and hanging a large tarp, blanket, or canvas over top. Just make sure you have a dry place to sleep by laying a waterproof tarp underneath, then make it comfy by layering lots of blankets and cushy pillows on top. Make it magical: Set the scene by hanging lamps or stringing lights around the tent. These will illuminate your campsite with a soft glow and help everyone feel more comfortable spending the night outdoors in the dark.

Eating around a campfire is one of the best things about camping. If you have a fire pit, it is easy to roast hot dogs and toast marshmallows. If you do not have a fire pit, a small charcoal grill will work.  Remember, a campfire is not needed to eat like a camper. Pack sandwiches, trail mix, juice boxes and desserts in your cooler to grab at the ready.

Lastly, make a promise to stay outside. Pack up everything you will need to sleep overnight, including a tent, sleeping bags, stuffed animals, pillows, flashlights, games, books, bug spray and a cooler packed with snacks and drinks. Once you have all your essentials, make a promise that everyone should only go inside for emergencies and bathroom breaks (no sneaking in to check phones!). And, of course, all electronics stay inside.

Play Lawn Games or Bring Board Games Outside
We are so used to playing games on our phone these days, especially now that we are required to practice social distancing. If you have some old board games like Monopoly, Uno, Yahtzee or any of your other classic favorites, bring those outside and set them up on a table. Or you can take it to the next level with jumbo size versions of board games and play them on your lawn or find a good spot in your backyard. Backyard games are a great way to add some more competition between family and friends and finally get your body moving.

Connect 4
Bring Connect 4 up a notch with a set that everyone within a 100-foot radius can see. This 4-foot-tall game is a great choice because it comes with a holder for all the rings (so you won’t lose them) and it’s easy to assemble. Plus, it’s plastic, meaning your set won’t be ruined by a random downpour.

Channel your inner Harry Potter by setting up an oversized chess game! Players will have to move the chess pieces by picking them up. It’s fun and a unique way to bring the classic logic game to the great outdoors!

Is it really an outdoor party if there isn’t cornhole to play? There’re so many ways you can decorate cornhole boards these days. From light-up ones to boards that advertise your favorite sports team, there are plenty to choose from.

Check out Amazon, Target, Walmart or Wayfair for these or other games including jumbo-sized Jenga. You can also build your own. Click here for more ideas.

The most important thing is to remember to have fun together and create summer memories to last a lifetime.

Category: Blog |

Low Mortgage Rates Are Increasing Buyer’s Purchasing Power

You may be asking how the real estate market is doing? Is it a good time to buy or sell at this point in time? With all the uncertainty in the world right now the answer to these questions may be surprising: There are opportunities out there!

Because the mortgage rates have been falling to impressive lows, buyers have more purchase power and negotiations have turned out beneficial to both buyer and seller. In June I closed Escrow on a condo that received multiple offers and inquiries about other similar properties in the same area.

Sellers in this market can be confident that they will receive offers that are in line with their desired listing price and property value. Buyers will benefit from locking in low-interest rates over the life of their loan and save on their monthly payments. This allows buyers to get more for their money.

Beyond purchasing a primary residence low-interest rates also present an incredible opportunity for people who have thought about buying an investment property but normally wouldn’t be able to afford to and the opportunity for supplemental income.

If you are considering downsizing,  transitioning from renting to being a first-time homeowner, or listing your home, I would love to connect with you to discuss the opportunities in this real estate market.

According to the California Association of Realtors (CAR) “new active listings in California surged 18.6 percent the week ending May 1, the third weekly gain in a row, and a sign that sellers are starting to feel more comfortable putting their houses on the market again.” So if you are looking to buy more properties are coming on the market every week.

I’m here to assist with your real estate needs. Please contact me at (626) 500-5504 or email me at if you would like to know what your home is currently worth or if you’d like to know where to start on your path to homeownership drop me a line.

With the current pandemic, we have been taking health and safety precautions to provide no-contact transactions and virtual tours. I am happy to discuss your real estate goals and how we can sell your property or help you find a home in a way that works for you.

I look forward to hearing from you. Stay well and safe.


Category: Blog |

5 Ways To Celebrate the Fourth of July and Still Practice Social Distancing

With the pandemic going on and some businesses shutting down again, 4th of July feels a little different this year. Even though you might not gather in a large group for the 4th of July this summer, you can still celebrate the holiday. You can even feel connected to the people around you at a distance. Here are 5 ways you can celebrate Independence Day while practicing social distancing this year.

Watch virtual fireworks shows
Most cities have been cancelling their firework displays for the 4th this year so why not bring the show to your own backyard? Set up your big screen TV or set up your laptop and project a past firework show on YouTube. Here are a few options.

Plan a neighborhood social distancing 4th of July party  
Talk to your neighbors about holding a red, white and blue decoration contest where every house on the street decorates their garage and donates $5. Neighbors can take turns walking around and then vote via group text and the winning household gets an e-gift card to a local restaurant or store so you can support local businesses and have fun at the same time.

Have a 4th of July themed Zoom party online
Zoom allows you to create your own background during live video calls so choose a red, white and blue theme and get together with friends or family who don’t live with you. Incorporate a singalong or talk about fun memories and possible future adventures you can go on together. 

Fun snacks and beverages
Summer foods are some of the most fun foods of the year. Things like hamburgers, hotdogs, ice cream, pies, popsicles and slushy drinks are always something to look forward to.

4th of July recipes for kids
Food Network 4th of July dishes, snacks, desserts & drinks
All Recipes 4th of July themed recipes

Play backyard games
Bocce ball, croquet, and ping pong are fun games that provide enough space for social distancing if you want to plan something with friends or neighbors. For household-only family gatherings, you can offer crafts for the kids and obstacle courses for the grown-ups. When the sun goes down, keep the party going outside. Even in the absence of fireworks, it’s the perfect time for a bonfire and fun with sparklers. For more ideas, click here.

Whatever you do for the 4th of July, please practice safety precautions and social distancing. But, most importantly, have fun. Get creative. Happy 4th of July to you all.

Category: Blog |