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December
7

Christmas Cookies from the Old Dominion Kitchen

Christmas Cookies from Old Dominion

With winter fast approaching, there's no better place to stay bundled up than in the comforts of your own home. Enjoy the quiet snowfall from inside, and do yourself and your family a favor by baking one of these festive and delicious cookie recipes! Our real estate agents love baking this time of year and enjoy sharing cookies with friends and family. From our table to yours, enjoy these recipes from the Old Dominion team. 

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Ritz

  • 2 sleeves Ritz crackers
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Melting chocolate

Make peanut butter sandwiches with a pair of Ritz and peanut butter.

Melt chocolate.

Dip sandwiches into chocolate covering them completely, set to cool and harden (chill in refrigerator).

Decorate for the season or enjoy them on their own.

Old Dominion Recipes Coconut

Coconut Macarons

  • 2 2/3 cups Baker's angel flake coconut
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp. flour
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • candied cherry halves

Combine coconut, sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl. Stir in egg whites and almond extract; mix well.

Drop from teaspoon onto lightly greased baking sheets. Add cherry halves.

Bake at 300 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until edges are golden. Remove from sheets immediately.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

  • 1 cups peanut butter
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Bag of Hershey's kisses or peanut butter cups
  • (double recipe for greater yield)

Mix peanut butter, sugar, and eggs.

Drop desired cookie size dough on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Add a candy on top right before removing from the oven.

Old Dominion Cinnamon Cookies

Cinnamon Delights

  • 3/4 cup Crisco
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Grandma's Molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. clove
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and molasses, mix well.

Add flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and salt.

Form dough into balls, roll each into a mixture of 1/2 c. sugar and 1 tbsp. cinnamon.

Bake for 10 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.

Old Dominion Sugar Cookies

Cut Out Sugar Cookies

  • 2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature for 1 hour
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Mix butter, cream cheese, and sugar with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer until fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and lemon zest.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate large bowl. Gradually beat dry mixture into butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated and soft dough forms.

Divide dough into 2 balls, roll out each to 1/4 inch thickness between parchment paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or freeze then thaw in the refrigerator overnight).

Cut out cookies and bake at 350 on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bake 8 to 12 minutes until set, let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Old Dominion Ginger Cookies

Giant Ginger Cookies

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Mix flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, add sugar, and beat till combined. Beat eggs and molasses into the shortening mixture until combined. Beat in as much flour mixture as possible, stir in the rest.

Shape dough into 2 inch balls then roll each in 3/4 cup sugar. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 11 to 13 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned and tops are puffed. Cool on a cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Involve your entire family in the process, and cherish this memorable activity you can revive each holiday season in your home. Looking for a sweet new home with a kitchen for all your baking? Let our team help you search Augusta County homes for sale and find the perfect home to celebrate the holiday season. To get started, contact us today.

February
6

Moving to Harrisonburg: Finding the Best Schools for Your Children

How to Find the Best Harrisonburg Schools
For growing families, school quality is an important factor when buying a home.  Harrisonburg, VA is known for many features that appeal to families--one of the most vital being excellent schools.

Families moving to Harrisonburg will find plenty of public and private school options from pre-K to college prep. Harrisonburg provides an atmosphere where every child has the opportunity to do his or her best academically. 

How to Find the Best Schools in Harrisonburg

Some communities have just a sprinkling of schools, but Harrisonburg is truly rich in this area. With that in mind, it can even be difficult to decide which school is right for your young learners. With a systematic process, you can compare your options more easily.

Here's how:

  1. Review School Statistics
    Many factors go into a good school, and not all are easy to measure. Most parents find, however, recent test scores are a good place to start. When scores are high – especially in notoriously difficult subjects like math – it means the "average student" has more chances to excel. Student to teacher ratio is another big one since it indicates personalized attention for students.

  2. Check Out Extracurriculars
    Each school has its own approach to subjects outside the core curriculum, such as art and music. In some areas around the United States, these are being cut – but they can help children grow into well-rounded adults. You can often learn about a school's extracurricular programs by visiting a school's website, as those who offer them tend to emphasize it prominently.

  3. Attend a PTA Meeting
    Although PTA meetings are generally open only to teachers, parents, and administrators, they are usually organized by the parents themselves. Exceptions can certainly be made for someone who wants to join the community, so don't be afraid to reach out. Not only will you get a sense for the issues a school is facing, but also how well parents and teachers collaborate to solve problems.

  4. Speak to Administrators
    School administrators tend to be cautious of anything that sounds like a promise to a particular parent or student. Still, they are often willing to discuss the school in general terms and how it could meet the needs of a particular learner. When the school staff is open, honest, and willing to engage with your questions, it is a good sign of how they will operate in the future.

  5. Plan for Tomorrow
    Depending on your child's age, it is usually a good idea to look ahead to the next "level" of schools. This is especially crucial as middle school students prepare to enter high school. What are the graduation rates? What percentage of students go on to enter college? Are there special college preparatory or accountability programs that can help students overcome challenges?

Choosing the right school takes some effort, but it is well worth it. After all, each student spends a tremendous amount of time within a school's four walls. Children are shaped by whether that environment is a fulfilling one where they can plant the seeds for a successful adulthood!

When it comes to moving to Harrisonburg , many factors come together. In addition to schools, you need to find the right neighborhood and home for you. It could be a daunting task, but Old Dominion Realty makes it much easier.

Our REALTORS® are Harrisonburg real estate experts who deliver sound advice and one-on-one care to each client. We'll be glad to introduce you to a selection of the best Harrisonburg homes – and help you close on your dream home.  Contact us to learn more about relocating to Harrisonburg.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

October
21

Augusta County School Receives Top Award

Strong Schools a Deciding Factor for Augusta County Home Buyers

Home Buyers Choose Riverheads High Schools


When you're ready to buy a home, there's a long laundry list of things to consider to help you make the right choice.  An excellent school district is one of those things. Even if you do not have children at home, you want to purchase a home in a neighborhood with quality schools, not only for any potential future children you have, but also to increase the potential resale value and the speed of sale of your home in the future.

For those shopping for a home in Augusta County, VA, the local school district is one of the area's biggest draws. Strong schools help families feel comfortable moving to the area, and also help improve the resale value of their homes. One of those schools, Riverheads High School, was recently awarded national recognition by being named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School.

Riverheads High School Recognized


Riverheads High School One of Seven Virginia Schools Recognized

Riverheads High School in Augusta County was one of only seven public schools across the state recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2015. This award is considered a prestigious recognition of excellent academics. Both public and private schools with superior academics or who demonstrate dramatic student achievement gains are eligible for the award. In total, 285 public schools in the country were given the award this year.

Specifically, Riverheads High School received the award because of high standardized test scores for its students. In the most recent school year 88 percent or more of the students passed the tests in every subject area, and that is a high number compared to national averages. Riverheads High School also boasts a 14 percent AP participation rate and received a Bronze medal from U.S. News and World Report's Best High Schools list.

Benefits of Strong Schools for Augusta County VA Homebuyers

If you are considering buying a home in Augusta County, this news is beneficial to you. If you have children, then you benefit automatically because the schools you will be sending your children to are gaining national recognition for excellence.


If you do not have children, you still benefit from strong schools. Strong schools are a sign of a strong, well-educated community base. They also make your home easier to sell in the future and drive up property values. Finally, strong schools can help protect a neighborhood from the natural up and down nature of the real estate market. Homes in neighborhoods with good schools tend to hold their value better even in difficult economic times.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


Remember, even if you don't have kids, someone in the future who is considering buying your home might. Strong schools make your home more appealing and easier to sell.  Contact the team of professional REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty to buy a home in Augusta County.

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