Winter Wreath Ideas

Categories: Blog | Posted: December 2, 2013

One way to help bring in the Winter season and the Holidays this year is with a festive door wreath.  Here at Cornerstone Homes, we love seeing what the folks in our community put up for decorations.

To help with ideas and inspire this year’s Winter wreath, we found these 7 from Better Homes and Gardens.  Have your own design?  Send us photos, we’d love to post them!


Vintage ice skates, pine boughs and a glittered chipboard phrase create a one-of-a-kind decoration.


Magnolia, boxwood and fresh apples combine to add a vibrant pop of color to a door.

Tip: Apples won’t stay fresh for more than a week; substitute faux fruit for an enduring alternative.

Unique Wreath Design

Fresh boxwood wreaths in assorted shapes and sizes are linked together for a modern spin on the traditional wreath. Like conifers, boxwoods are evergreen, making them a beautiful alternative to pine or cedar.


This pinecone wreath was made from cones that were found in the yard of this home.

Wreath Creation Opens Door to World of Possibilities

Assorted winter greenery, pinecones, artichokes and cranapples combine to create a woodsy, organic wreath.

A small barn star and flat-backed basket filled with fresh-cut evergreens add a primitive touch to this front door.

This wreath was inspired by a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Unique elements include pheasant feathers and fragrant oranges studded with cloves.

Tips for Staying Active on Thanksgiving

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 26, 2013

Push, Lift, Walk.  Push, Lift, Walk.  Those are the latest tips we’ve found online for keeping active and healthy this Thanksgiving.

The Bad: Studies show that if you count all the snacking, the feast, the desserts, the seconds (the thirds?), you may be looking at taking in 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. That’s at least twice as much as an average sized, active adult needs. Just the Thanksgiving dinner alone generally weighs in at 3,000 calories – source

The Good: An indulgence like a Thanksgiving meal is OK for most diets and health plans.  With the “Push, Lift, Walk” method, it may be even easier to feel less guilty about indulging.

Push yourself away from the table.

Lift plenty of glasses of water all day.

Walk it off when all is said and done.

While it may be pushing boundaries of dietary sanity, Thanksgiving is still one of the greatest days of the year because of all the THANKS that will be given.  Be sure to enjoy time with family, the grandkids, and the warmth of a great meal – whether we have to cook it, or not.

From the Cornerstone Homes family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

A Note From Dotti – The Orchard Villas Roanoke

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 7, 2013

WOW – what a great turnout we had at The Orchard Villas Roanoke’s Grand Opening of our new Colonnade model last week!

Thank you to everyone who came out.  We gave over 60 tours of The Colonnade, and we have only 2 available for sale.  If you want to move into a Colonnade, act fast before they are sold out.

For those that asked us about The Canterbury, we have those available as well.  Contact us at 540-977-0238 to set up an appointment to begin your new life at The Orchard Villas Roanoke!

– Dotti Houlihan

Taking Care of Our Aging Pets

Categories: Blog | Posted: October 30, 2013

Our aging pets…

They may not be as fast as they used to be, their eyes may not be as clear as they used to be – but they are still the same little puppy or kitten (or iguana) that they were when we found eachother.

It’s always hard to think time has passed by so much, that they are considered a senior…

We’ve got their Vet on speed dial, so here are some indicators of age, and things to look out for, in our senior companions:

1. Arthritis

Is it Arthritis?  It could be lumbosacral instability.  The bigger the animal, the more likely arthritis will develop.  While symptoms can vary depending on age and breed, it’s important to not rule out other muscle and joint ailments.

Dragging real heals is sometimes a sign of arthritis, but it could also just be lumbosacral instability – when an animal fails to realize their rear feet are not in proportion.  Lumbosacral instability occurs at the point where the vertebral column, the “backbone,” joins the pelvis via a fused set of vertebrae called the sacrum. In dogs, especially older big dogs, this joint can become unstable over time leading to arthritis and the secondary changes associated with it. It is these changes resulting from instability that can partially and even completely, in some cases, block nerve communication from the rear limbs to the brain and back. In cases of complete blockage, paralysis occurs.

For more information –

2. Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, and Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Alzheimer’s, or Dementia is more common in dogs.  Technically called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, the symptoms are more silent than with people – making it harder to diagnose and see as an immediate problem.

Some possible signs of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction:

  • Dog becomes lost in familiar places in the home or backyard
  • Becoming trapped behind familiar furniture or in room corners
  • Does not respond to name or familiar commands
  • Withdrawn behavior that is out of character
  • Frequently trembles or shakes
  • Seeks less and less of your attention
  • Is hesitant to take treats, drink fresh water, or eat fresh food

Treating cognitive problems in dogs is possible.  Treats that promote “composure”, along with anti-anxiety medication prescribed by your Vet can help improvements be made.

The most important treatment in the fight against aging in your pets is a regular check up at the Vet…and lots of love!

The Orchard Villas in Roanoke, an Epcon Community, Rolls Out New Home with Private Courtyard

Categories: Blog | Posted: October 28, 2013

New floor plan designed in response to groundbreaking findings on buyer preferences……


Cornerstone Homes, LLC, an Epcon community builder, is excited to publicly reveal, for the first time, it’s Colonnade floor plan, as part of the new Classic Courtyard Collection.

The Grand Opening Event at The Orchard Villas in Roanoke  will take place on Saturday, November 2nd and Sunday, November 3rd from 1 – 5 pm. The Community is located just off Route 220 on Crumpacker Drive in the Bonsack area.  The Celebration will include tours of the new Courtyard Model and our popular Canterbury Model, community amenities, refreshments, and drawings!

Media members will have the opportunity to tour our new Colonnade home and speak with members of the Cornerstone Homes Team for details on the new product as well as current homeowners who enjoy the unique lifestyle and true “sense of community” offered at The Villas!

These homes were planned in response to a groundbreaking study revealing Boomers affinity for outdoor living and recreation, as well as a need for privacy and desire to have an all-in-one home that’s the square footage they want and the price they need.  In addition, the research revealed that homeowners refused to sacrifice style or amenities for a “right-sized” home.  The Courtyard Collection features four new floor plans.  The Colonnade is the first of these plans to be built at The Villas.  Only two Colonnades are available for sale!

The Orchard Villas offers ample amenities and outdoor living space, while also improving lifestyle appeal for residents.  The Colonnade comes with an abundance of new amenities, one of which is a private outdoor courtyard area which caters to the idea that outdoor living should be as central to design and as carefully planned as interior home design.  This distinctive home includes exciting options for outdoor entertaining and a private outdoor living space that can be utilized 365 days a year.  Homeowners will have the option of adding features such as a fire pit and water feature creating a unique outdoor gathering space that is unprecedented with homes in this price range. The Colonnade, a single story attached home, starts in the  $270s with 1547 square feet of living space.

Roger Glover, Owner of Cornerstone Homes, stated, “We are excited to offer this new concept in Roanoke at The Orchard Villas. These homes are simply exceptional in both design and style.”

The Colonnade New Model Home Grand Opening is open to the public.

Only a total of 7 new homes remain in this unique community, which includes two Colonnade floorplans.

Founded in 2005, Richmond, Virginia based Cornerstone Homes, LLC, is a franchisee of Epcon Communities.  Epcon Communities is one of the leading developers and franchise operators of lifestyle rich developments in the United States.  Currently with over 100 franchisees in 31 states, Epcon Communities’ long term goal is to expand to all 50 states and Canada.  For more information, please visit

4 Quick & Easy Home Decorating Ideas

Categories: Blog | Posted: October 16, 2013

From recycling leftover fabrics and materials to accenting rooms with furniture, these easy home decorating tips can quickly add some flair to a room.

The following tips come from HouseBeautiful online:

1. Move Seating Away from Walls

“Float furniture away from the walls: It creates more intimate seating,” designer Betsy Burnham says. She did just that in the living room of this California house.

2. Wallpaper Your Vinyl Window Shades

“I had a roll of wallpaper in my office that was left over, and I was about to put it in the trash when I thought, ‘No, I can do something with this’.”

“Then I thought of the vinyl shades in our guest room. So I wallpapered them. You gotta go for it.” The canopy bed was painted black to show off its silhouette.

3. Cover a Wall with Plates

Whether you have an impressive plate collection already, or have recently started collecting, these can make great accents for any wall.  A great place to start are plates pictured above called, “Hackerware” which can be purchased on eBay or may be found in thrift stores.  Hackerware may be the best place to start for a DIY project because it is cheaper than most decorative plates.  Covering the whole wall with plates has the same effect as one big piece of art.

4.  Curtains…not just for windows

In the kitchen, install a linen curtain on a track spanning the room that can be pulled to conceal the mess of preparation. On most Cornerstone home models, you can even expand the view with your personal exterior courtyard.

Have any of your own ideas?  We’d love to see them!  Email them to Dotti at

Fall Vegetable Gardening

Categories: Blog | Posted: October 3, 2013

fall vegetable garden

Fall Vegetable Gardening

Autumn’s mild temperatures create perfect growing conditions for cool-season crops such as lettuce and spinach — so enjoy late-season treats by planting a fall vegetable garden.

Summer might be high season in the vegetable garden, but autumn also brings wonderful rewards. Fast-growing salad crops will revive the most bedraggled fall garden, and good care can keep sweet root crops and cabbage cousins growing for several weeks beyond the first frost. The tips below will help you extend your vegetable season long beyond the heat of summer.

The secret to having a great fall vegetable garden is getting the timing right. And that means thinking a little differently because you have to plan backward.

Start with your area’s average first fall frost date. Then look at the number of days to harvest for each vegetable you wish to plant. You should be able to find that number on the seed packet, in the catalog description, or in our Plant Encyclopedia. Use that number to count back from the first frost date. Then add two weeks; many plants grow more slowly as days shorten in fall.

Want an example? If your first fall frost typically occurs around October 31 and you want to grow ‘French Breakfast’ radishes, which mature in about 25 days, you’d plant them around September 22.

(taken from Better Homes & Gardens)

Health Benefits of Traveling

Categories: Blog | Posted: October 3, 2013



Stay healthy by traveling…

It’s never too late to go on an adventure! And what’s not to love? Whether you’re visiting family or planning the getaway of your dreams, traveling can bring a spark to your retirement.

Consider this: travel can be good for your health. Getting out of your home promotes physical activity—something your body and you’re mind can’t get enough of as you age.

Maybe you’re visiting a national park or sightseeing with a friend. You’re probably walking more than usual, but with so many things to see, you don’t even notice. You’re strengthening your body by exercising and you’re enjoying it too!

Or maybe you’re staying with your family for the holidays. This is one of the easiest ways to share a good time with people you love, and at the same time you’re improving your mental health and preventing yourself from being lonely.

And of course there’s always the mental picture of you relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean. Even this can be healthy too. Being in fresh air may give you more energy, help your body function properly, and even give you a brain boost.

Just about any kind of travel is good for you, as long as you’re properly prepared. There are endless destinations, so pick one you really think you’ll enjoy. Plan your trip long in advance and run it by both your family and your doctor. They’ll help you work out a safe and reasonable itinerary, as well as guide you on what to pack.

Your health and financial situation may determine the scope of your trip, but they shouldn’t prevent you from getting out every once in a while. If your plan on doing a lot of walking, train in advance by walking in your neighborhood. If you are going abroad, find out from your doctor if there are any disease risks and make sure you receive any necessary vaccines.

And sorry, Medicare does not cover Caribbean vacations, but you may be able to find discounts or reduced fares for seniors. If you’re looking for something more affordable, research sites or attractions that are within driving distance of where you live, or plan a visit with your family.

So what are you waiting for? Keep yourself physically and mentally active through travel, and make the most of your retirement.

Exercise Once a Week

Categories: Blog | Posted: September 24, 2013

Once a Week! You only NEED to Exercise Once a Week!

Now, wait a minute that can’t be true! Actually it is – quality over quantity. A recent Canadian study showed that women who engaged in a weekly strength training program are more likely to slow improvement in their physical and mental abilities than those who engaged in a bi-weekly program.

3 Training Groups for the Women

We are talking about strength training with dumbbells, resistance bands, weight machines and free-form exercises. A 12-month study was done with 155 women who were randomly divided into three groups:

1 – weekly
2 – bi-weekly
3 – twice a week without weightlifting

Strength Training Groups showed Cognitive Ability Increase

The strength training groups demonstrated increase in cognitive ability at the end of the 12 month study. This included decision-making and conflict resolution skills. Similar tests a year later identified that members of the weekly strength training group demonstrated long-term mental and physical benefits while those in the bi-weekly group did not.

Training that is Easier to Keep Up Yields better Results

Author Teresa Liu-Ambrose suggests that the reason behind the difference is that weekly participants had an easier time keeping up the exercise program than their bi-weekly counterparts. She notes that it is more important to stick with an exercise routine for a longer period than to exercise more frequently for a shorter period.

How much Exercise will do it for You?

If you are anything like these study participants, you might have a choice here worthy of consideration. Would you be more likely to continue for years if you just went to your gym once a week and enjoyed a lengthy workout? Is it more difficult to get yourself motivated several times a week over the long term? What works for you.

If the goal includes developing your mind along with your muscles, maybe it is worth considering these results. Choose whatever will work for you consistently, and keep it up!

(from Home Care Assistance in Raleigh, NC)

Make Your Golden Years Shine by Staying Active

Categories: Blog | Posted: September 20, 2013

As adults advance in years, many will find that they are less active overall than they were in their younger days. Activity level varies considerably, and some may wonder if they are getting enough exercise over the course of a day or week.

The fact is that staying active and getting enough exercise is one of the best steps that you can take to promote longevity and health.

Taking a closer look at your own activity level and making changes if necessary can help you enjoy good health and an independent lifestyle for many years to come.

The Benefits of Exercise

Whether living at home, in an independent living facility or in another setting, it is imperative to stay as active as possible. Enjoy a number of mental and physical health benefits by getting some amount of exercise on a daily basis. Even a moderate amount of light cardio activity that elevates the heart rate slightly can help you to maintain a healthy body weight. Keeping your weight under control can decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.

Staying active can also maintain coordination and sense of balance, which decreases likelihood of mishaps related to falls and other events. In addition, exercise is known to alter and improve your mood, and it can help ward off depression, dementia and other conditions.

A Walk Can Be Better Than a Jog

Even as you consider the health benefits of adequate exercise on a regular basis, don’t forget that the amount and type of exercise that you may have benefited from in your younger adult years is not necessarily the ideal option in your golden years.

Focus your efforts on finding types of exercises that are enjoyable but not overly rigorous. For example, walking at a brisk pace through your neighborhood rather than jogging may be a better option because it is easier on your joints, elevates your heart rate and keeps your muscles toned. Other activities like swimming, water aerobics and even senior yoga classes may be ideal as well.

The key to getting adequate exercise in your senior years is to find one or more activities that you find enjoyable. Many seniors also enjoy exercising with friends.

Enjoying The Results

You may start to think about taking steps to stay healthy and safe in at homes. By getting adequate exercise on a regular basis, you may be able to maintain good health or even improve their condition overall. In addition, exercise can also improve cognitive abilities and focus, and this can also help maintain the ability to live independently for a longer period of time.

If you aren’t getting enough exercise, there’s no better time than right now to make a change and to become more active. Exercise can benefit older adults in a number of ways, and being more active may be as easy as putting on your walking shoes and heading out for a stroll around the block.

Nikki Longo is a Freelance Writer and Safety & Security Expert

Page 15 of 18« First...10...1314151617...Last »