Three Online Sources to Find Design Inspiration for Your New Home

image003Pretty pictures of homes. Perhaps the only thing that outnumbers them on social media and blog posts are even prettier pictures of food (because, hey, priorities!)

But really – it seems they’re everywhere you look, right? When you’re trying to find a new home design style that suits your life – and you’re starting with an empty canvas of a brand new home – you probably know that you can spend hours (maybe even days!) swiping through images on your mobile device. And eventually, you’ve looked at so many photos it seems your brain is so filled with ideas it’s just going to explode. (Note: That’s not a good look on your new home’s walls.)

So we thought it might be helpful to provide you with a short list of online sources that would be good places for you to begin your ‘personal style’ search. Take a little tour with us . . .

Houzz

Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, you’ve probably already seen plenty of images and articles that come from this dynamic site. A huge resource for virtually any type of style that’s out there, it invites interaction with members (it’s free and easy to create your profile) from virtually all aspects of the home industry – from builders and designers to homeowners and contractors – and pretty much everything in-between. Houzz is a great place to begin your search because it makes it easy for you to create “Ideabooks” where you can create projects by room, gather ideas and images from across the internet to add to your Ideabooks, and ask people and companies to provide feedback, suggestions, ultimately helping you find the look that’s just right for you.

House Beautiful

An excellent resource for articles on almost any topic pertaining to homes, House Beautiful has a wide variety of guest bloggers whose experience can collectively be considered encyclopedic. Search for information by topic, by design style, even by room. For those who like to dig a little further behind the photos alone, this website has the chops to deliver.

House and Garden

Some people may not know that there is no longer a U.S. version of this site – but the U.K. version is alive and well – and that’s really kind of cool when you think about it. Just like American television has a tendency to re-create U.K. shows, if you take a good look at the U.K. House and Garden site – you can do the same thing with design. (Be the first on your block to add fresh, new looks to your home that perhaps haven’t hit the States in full yet!)

In fact, it’s really a good idea to spend some time seeking out other international design sites for ideas as it can open your eyes to different concepts and elements. It may actually lead to you incorporating those looks and style elements that speak to you personally so that you can create an entirely new design style that is ‘uniquely you.’

The best thing about interior home design? You’re able to try different things – colors, accents, furniture, and more – and if you plan wisely, can change the whole scheme and look with minimal effort and expense. (Just remember, when it comes to the pricey items, think quality and classic – because accessories are easily and affordably changed, and hey – you can always repaint the walls!)

WHERE TO BEGIN WHEN LANDSCAPING YOUR LAS VEGAS HOME

paver-path-turf-newtex-landscape-inc_4145Sometimes it seems like a lot of people have the wrong idea about Las Vegas when it comes to landscaping options. Sure, we’ve moved away from big grassy lawns that require a lot of maintenance – and a lot of water. (But the upside is that all sorts of new and realistic artificial turfs keep being invented!). But it’s not simply a world of turf and rocks here.

Southern Nevada is home to a broad cross-section of desert-friendly plants. A visit to one of our local demonstration gardens, such as the ones found at the Springs Preserve or at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory, can give you a good idea of how these plants interplay in a landscape and provide inspiration.

And a quick trip to a local nursery will demonstrate just how much the Las Vegas climate is capable of sustaining when it comes to trees, plants, ground cover, vegetables, herbs, and more. The experts there can also help homeowners determine which of the many options available will do best for their home – which can depend on many variables from shade/sunlight conditions, drainage, and your ultimate goals for your property.

To help you make those decisions, consider the following:

• Start with sketching out your property on paper, to scale if possible. Place your home on the lot and make a note of window and door locations – because you’ll want to make the most of your views from inside the house, too.

• Next, write down your biggest priority for your exterior. Do you want to dress it up for entertaining friends? Want to supplement your dinner table with home grown vegetables and herbs? It’s easier to make the right choices up front than to plant, remove, and replant something new.

• Make a note of where sun and shade fall on your lot, including an approximate amount of time each is present. This will help you in selecting plants that need full sun, part-shade, etc.

• Consider materials of varying heights to increase interest in your final landscape design. These can include not only the trees and plant materials themselves – but also the use of raised planters, pots, and the like.

• Now go back inside your home and take a look out your windows and doors. Mark on your sketch where you’d like to have the most interesting views and/or shade added or avoided in those areas. There are few things more relaxing than sitting in your favorite chair and getting to gaze out the window at your favorite tree or garden colors.

• Finally, take all that hard-earned knowledge (because what once seemed “too difficult” has now become much clearer with regard to your needs and preferences for your landscaping) – and take it down to your favorite nursery. They’ll be able to help you determine not only which plant materials to purchase and what’s needed to prep your soil for best results – but also help you stay within your budget and show you how to get the most for your money.

Whether you choose to do the planning and installation yourself, or hire a landscape designer to manage the entire project, the critical thing is that you’ve given a good deal of thought to what you want – and what you don’t want – so it will be done just the way you imagine it the first time (and that will save you money, too).

Happy planting!

Five Reasons to Buy a New Home Now (Really — There’s No Reason to Wait!)

Thanks for paying my mortgageYou’re on the fence…..waffling back and forth about whether or not to buy a home. It irks you each month when you write that rent check because you know it’s just going out the door and isn’t doing anything to help your finances, your bottom line, or your credit rating.

If that describes you right now, we’d like to point out some of the best reasons to actually make that move from “Renter” to “Homeowner.” It’s easier than you think, with all the financing benefits today – and smarter than you may realize, with all the hidden benefits you may not have considered. So we’d like to suggest you think about the following reasons while you weigh your decision.

OMyGosh – Just to Put a Nail in a Wall!

As a homeowner, your decorating, do-it-yourself, and home improvement choices are your decision to make (just be sure not to break local building codes or violate homeowners’ association rules). Paint walls, create a Man-Cave, build in shelves for your personal needs, update your kitchen and bath, build a deck – the opportunities are endless. No more beige carpet/white walls – add your personality to your home environment – you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes for your outlook!

Right Now, It’s Cheaper to Own

Home prices in Las Vegas have been on a slow, gradual, steady climb since the market bottomed out at the start of The Great Recession. That’s a good thing – because drastic jumps in pricing aren’t indicative of a healthy housing market so much as a market that’s unprepared to realistically meet a community’s housing needs (think: San Francisco.) Plus, mortgage rates have remained low for an extensive period of time – and are nearing historic lows never seen before in the U.S. (Whether they get there or not, we won’t know until it happens. But the fact is, even if they do, it won’t be much lower than it is right now.) Combine stable housing prices with super-low interest rates, then compare that to the continued rise in rental rates – and you have a situation such as Las Vegas, where in some cases, owning a home can cost literally half as much as renting one. Need we say more?

Build Equity and Financial Worth

Unlike renters, homeowners build equity over time. On most mortgages, a portion of each monthly payment goes toward the loan’s interest. The remainder pays down its principal. What that means is that every dollar you put toward your loan’s principal represents a dollar of equity – actual ownership of the property. Historically, the primary path that Americans have used to create wealth has been through homeownership. Not through their jobs, not through stock market investments – but by owning a home. And while economic issues of recent years may have put off many from owning again – the basic facts of why people choose to own won’t change: You can either pay a landlord, or pay yourself. Which sounds better to you?

Tax Benefits

Yes – you already know that mortgage interest rates and property taxes are deductible on your 1040 each year of you itemize. But you can also get both local and federal tax benefits by making certain energy-saving updates to your home, too. (And none of these financial benefits are available to renters.) Even better, when you buy a new home, it comes with a warranty on the structure and the systems, appliances, etc. So you won’t have to worry about large repair expenses for years to come.

A Place of Your Own is a Touchstone

Owning a home is a huge accomplishment – one that still exemplifies the American Dream. It’s a place to call your own, that you can personalize to suit your needs and your tastes. It gives people more confidence in their achievements. Taking pride in not only acquiring a home but in making improvements to improve your lifestyle – that’s a really big deal. And if you’ve owned a home before, you know what we mean.

There are few things more unsettling than living in a home at the whim of a landlord. Never knowing when or if they’ll want you to move (so they can rent the place to their Aunt Mildred instead) – and you’re always subject to rent increases, as well. With a mortgage loan, not only do you have the security of knowing it’s “your home,” but with a fixed mortgage, your payments remain the same (and that means if your income increases, that’s money that goes in your pocket and toward your own financial wealth – not to someone else’s net worth.)

There are other proven benefits to owning a home that many don’t think about, too. Access to neighborhoods with better schools, better social and physical conditions, and it’s proven that single-family homes are generally maintained at a higher level – which can result in lower crime rates, too.

All things considered, now is not only a great time in Las Vegas to buy a home and stop throwing your money away on rent – it’s also an excellent time to buy a NEW home. Fresh new designs are made for today’s lifestyle – with warranties and updated, energy-saving construction materials and techniques. Add it all up and it makes a new home a wise choice for you and your family.

SUMMER’S OFFICIALLY HERE – IS YOUR HOME READY FOR IT?

hvac-maintenanceEvery region has its differing needs when it comes to keeping a home maintained and to care for the costly systems involved so you get the longest life out of them. Here in Las Vegas, we’re not so much about cleaning the rain gutters and sanding the sidewalks like in other parts of the country. But there are maintenance basics that should be tackled on a regular schedule both inside and out. So if you haven’t given your Las Vegas home a once-over for the season that’s already begun, here are a few things you should consider tackling (or at least have inspected) as soon as you’re able to.

 

HVAC System

If you’ve ever had your air conditioner go out mid-summer in Las Vegas – even if it was just in your car – you know that’s not something you ever want to have occur again. Goodness knows it’s bad enough for us humans, but an a/c unit that goes out during the day while you’re at work can be deadly for any pets you may have in your home, as well. It’s not worth the risk.

Schedule a maintenance/check-up call with a reputable HVAC company and ask them about the maintenance checklist they use. (It should include checking thermostats and controls, checking the refrigerant level, tightening connections, lubricating any moving parts, checking the condensate drain, and cleaning the coils and blower.) Duct cleaning, while it probably won’t hurt anything, is usually not necessary. It may also be a good idea to ask them about their regular maintenance plans – and to ensure that you can have someone on call in case anything goes wrong.

By the way, keeping those interior air filters changed so they’re clean – is going to help your unit run more efficiently, last longer, and use less energy. (There’s a reason everyone at Home Depot has those in their cart all the time!) Can never remember what size yours are? Take a photo of the packaging and keep it on your phone for future reference.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Check your batteries and make sure these devices are functioning properly – at least twice a year. And your annual summer checkup is a good time for one of those reviews. There’s not much reason to have safety devices around if they’re not going to work reliably when you need them. And these are two things that you don’t want to discover the hard way weren’t properly serviced.

Bathroom Vent Fans

Bathroom ceiling vent fans can collect quite a bit of dust, which can make them noisy and inefficient. To clean and maintain a bathroom vent fan, remove the cover, vacuum out any dust, and spray any moving parts with silicone lubricant to get your fan quietly humming once again.

Showerheads

When the nozzles on a showerhead become clogged with mineral deposits, the spray can be reduced and start going haywire. To clean your showerhead, tie a plastic bag full of vinegar over the showerhead and allow it to soak overnight (or take the showerhead off and soak it in a pan), then turn on the hot water to rinse it out. If your showerhead has seen better days, perhaps it’s time to replace it with an updated, water saving model.

Appliances

Look at it this way – it’s a lot less fun to put out a $1,000 or more for repairs or appliance replacements – than it is to do a bit of extra maintenance to get the longest life out of them. So consider checking out these items, as well:

Refrigerator Coils: The condenser coils on a refrigerator remove heat from inside the unit; and if they get dusty and dirty, it can cost up to $100 more a year on your energy usage. The coil is located either on the bottom behind the kick plate or on the back of the refrigerator. To clean refrigerator coils, turn off the power to the fridge, then vacuum the coils using a homemade wand from a cardboard gift wrap tube or a vacuum cleaner brush attachment.

Refrigerator Door Gasket: The flexible magnetic rubber gaskets on your refrigerator doors can wear out and reduce its efficiency. Start by inspecting the seals for cracks or tears, then clean the gaskets with soap and water. Next, test the seal by closing the door on a piece of paper or dollar bill, then gently pull it out. You should feel resistance if the seal is working properly. If the paper pulls out easily, you may need to realign the door or replace the gasket.

Range Hood and Filter: Allowing grease to buildup on range hoods and over the stove microwave fans can reduce their efficiency and shorten the life of the fan. In addition to cleaning the outer and inner surfaces of a range hood or microwave with a citrus-based cleaner, it’s important to remove and clean the range hood grease filter regularly by washing it in the sink in hot, soapy water or running the filter in the dishwasher. If you can access the exhaust fan on the range hood, turn the circuit breaker off and clean the fan blades as well.

Clothes Dryer Vent Pipe: The accumulation of lint in the vent pipe and hose on clothes dryers not only reduces the efficiency of your dryer’s capabilities – it actually causes 15,000 fires annually. To prevent a dryer vent fire in your home, it’s important to clean the dryer vent regularly. Start by removing the dryer hose and/or outside vent pipe cover, then clean the inside of the hose and pipe thoroughly with a special brush or vacuum cleaner. Also, make sure to clean the lint filter on your dryer every time you dry a load of clothes.

These are just a few tips to help you get your home into its best shape so you can enjoy it for the coming months. Want more information about how to care for your new Harmony home? Contact our Customer Care team (you can even do it online at http://www.harmonyhomes.com/customer-care/) – and we’ll be happy to share!

EASY AND ECO-FRIENDLY SOLAR LANDSCAPE LIGHTING

image003The desert lifestyle is all about indoor/outdoor living these days, but you know – it does still get dark outside, at least once a day! So taking advantage of the growing number of options for solar lighting gives you an affordable and energy-efficient way to add ambiance to your home and yard for summer parties and back yard entertaining.

The options can range from simple pathway lighting to gateposts, wall lighting to decorative ‘fairy lights’ that all but bring fireflies directly to your personal event. And the list goes on. It’s all a matter of preference and logistics – figuring out what works best for your yard or the area you wish to accent with solar-sustained lighting.

Don’t downplay the security factor, as well. Solar lighting set to automatically turn on at dusk can help keep your home access points illuminated – especially appreciated if you’re headed home after the sun goes down. It’s one of those easily accomplished plusses that make the installation of solar landscape lighting a real “why on earth wouldn’t you?” homeowner to-do’s.

Solar lighting is simple to install and uses the energy absorbed from the sun during the day to provide the power for nighttime lighting. This means you can light your yard without affecting your energy bills. There are a few different options you can use to create the lighting effect you are seeking in your yard.

Lighting Your Walkways, Patio, and Yard

image005The most commonly used solar yard lights are the classic stake lights. They can be placed at the interval of your choice, and are great for lining flower beds, placing around the patio, or illuminating the path up to your house. These versatile lights are perfect for just about any situation. They give a very classic look that works in both the front and back yard and will fit in with most landscaping or architecture.

 

But in recent years – and your stake light options have multiplied tremendously (especially now that LED bulbs are so versatile and efficient). So if the classic, old-school look isn’t your style, consider some of the more interesting options available – whether modern or wildly freestyle, as shown here.

image007 image009

 

 

 

 

 

Driveway and Stairway Lighting

image011 image013 image015Other options to consider are driveway solar lights. These flat lights are designed to light the edges of the driveway to make parking easier at night. Especially for long or curving driveways, these are a great way to illuminate the way at night. Also, if you have steps leading to your entry door, it’s always wish to brighten the path to help ensure they’re seen and navigated without injury. Stairs by the home could utilize attached wall light, while those leading to the home benefit from well-placed and positioned stake lights.

No doubt about it, solar lights give your home a warm glow at night and require virtually no maintenance (or energy costs!) Just install them, let the sun do its thing, and enjoy them when the sun goes down!

Harmony Homes is First Las Vegas Builder to Join “Above Code” Program

sngbp_logoSome times, you just need to say: “Hey! Lookie what we did!” And we thought that this was one of those times. (But very humbly, of course!)

We’re proud to announce that in our typical Harmony Homes fashion of remaining on the leading edge of new home building in the Las Vegas valley, we have recently taken a huge step forward with our commitment to energy-efficient and environmentally-responsible development.

This month, the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association (SNHBA) announced that Harmony Homes is the first builder to sign up to participate in the newly-launched “Above Code Program” – part of the association’s Southern Nevada Green Building Partnership Program.

Our three newest communities, Malibu, Daybreak, and Talus – as well as all future Harmony Homes neighborhoods – will exceed the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code, and we are committed to continuing to produce electric, gas, and water savings in our new homes that will consistently go beyond building code requirements.

The Above Code Program is administered jointly by SNHBA and CHEERS (ConSol – Home Energy Efficiency Rating Services, a major energy consulting firm based in Stockton, California) in an effort to promote energy efficient and environmentally sensitive home building in metropolitan Las Vegas.

To learn more about the goals and requirements of the Southern Nevada Green Building Partnership, we invite you to visit the website at nvgreenbuilder.com.

Harmony Homes – we’re on your side!

Our Top 10 Picks From The Pinterest 100 for 2016

image003Each year, Pinterest analyzes the pinning habits of more than 100 million users to create their Pinterest 100 – a list of trends that are believed to dominate the year. We’ve picked our ten favorites that offer some interesting looks for your home and some helpful news for your life – and here they are:

image003First up from our blog post image is from popsugar.com – “13 iMessage Tricks You Were Too Embarrassed To Ask.”

 

 

 

image007From SlipTalk – “These 14 DIY Projects Using Cinder Blocks Are Brilliant. I Love Them All.”

 

 

 

image009From My List of Lists – “15 Easy-to-Build Raised Garden Beds.”

 

 

 

image011From Dwell – “How to Make Your Garden Water-Free”

 

 

 

 

image013From A Burst of Beautiful: Calm & Soothing Gender Neutral Nursery

 

 

 

image015From ViralNova.com – “Here Are 34 Relatively Simple Things That Will Make Your Home Extremely Awesome.”

 

 

 

image017From Amazon.com – Power up off the grid. Solar power chargers for your phone that cling to a window.

 

 

 

image019From decor8 – “8 Great Living Rooms & Why They Work”

 

 

 

 

image021From Instructables.com – “Computer Cable Management on the Cheap”

 

 

 

image023From Studio M – “Neutral Tones”

3 Reasons To Buy A New Home – Rather Than A Used One

Reasons-Buyers-Prefer-a-New-HomeYou’re ready to make the move into owning a home of your own. Or perhaps you already own your home, but you need a larger or smaller one – or you need to move to another part of town. Those are all great reasons to buy a home. But you could be undecided about whether you should consider buying a brand new home, or a resale.

As a home builder, naturally we have a certain bias in the direction of new homes. But a big part of the reason we chose to be a builder was because we know the value that we bring to homeowners – in more ways that you might realize. So we’d just like to point out three of the most important ones you may not have thought much about.

Energy Saving Features. New homes are required to build to current, modern building codes – and that affects pretty much everything about how your house functions. From electrical wiring, plumbing, insulation, windows, doors, roofing, appliances and more – advances in technology and more stringent energy-efficiency requirements mean that your home will not only remain more comfortable inside no matter the season, but you’ll save money on utility costs across the board.

Space. New homes give you more. From higher ceilings to larger bathrooms, from roomy kitchens to nearly triple the closet space of older homes. New designs make more sense for the way we live, and space has been reallocated wisely to reflect the real needs of today’s homeowners.

Maintenance Costs. Even a home that’s only a few years old can end up needing costly repairs. Whether it’s appliances gone bad or water heaters breaking down the day after their warranty expires – or even simple items, like replacing tile grout, or re-caulking tubs, showers, and windows. It adds up. And even worse, it doesn’t necessarily have these emergency repairs happen on your budget’s schedule. With a new home, you’re starting out fresh. The latest in materials and construction techniques, manufacturer warranties are just beginning, and you’re also going to have the home builder’s warranty and customer service technicians available for when/if things do need attention. With a used home, it’s like walking into a “Mystery House,” – you don’t know what might lie around every corner that needs costly (in time and money) attention. With a new home – you and your budget rest easier.

That’s certainly not an all-inclusive list of reasons why buying a new home is a smarter bet than a used one – but they’re the top three that are best for your wallet, your comfort, and your peace of mind. Our Harmony Homes team will be happy to show you many of the other reasons up-close-and-personal. Just visit one of our sales centers to find out more!

Spring Landscaping Tips That Won’t Break The Budget

image003Lovely landscaping doesn’t need to be expensive, or high-maintenance, either. Here in our Southern Nevada desert climate, there are many clever and cost-saving ways to create an outdoor environment you’ll enjoy spending time in (without having to work so hard to keep it that way).

Here are a few tips to help you get started making the most of the trees, plants and ground-coverings that flourish here in Las Vegas – without breaking the bank to do it.

Avoid lawns. We’re in the desert – so why pretend it’s the Augusta National Golf Course? In fact, many local regulations won’t allow you to plant lawns now – but there are plenty of alternatives . . . from multiple levels of artificial turf to attractive hardscapes, or sculpted rock paths and formations. Let’s make it a point to save our water when we can. (And this is the place to begin.)

Use Desert-Friendly Plants and Vegetation. Common plants that thrive in our desert climate include mesquite, sage, yucca, bottlebrush, aloe and agave. Plants native to the desert Southwest will look best because they will be in their ideal growing conditions. They’ll also be cost-effective, as they won’t require expensive fertilizers. Choose plants that don’t require a large amount of water, and plant them in thick bunches to create a lush feeling. Questions about other plants you’re interested in? Just ask your local nursery for their recommendations.

Plan a Cactus Garden. It’s classic and economical. Begin with a foundation of sand-colored pebbles to form the base (i.e., “go cheap” on this part). Next, plant several types of cacti scattered throughout the yard. To add flair and character, add a few finishing touches – you can line pathways with potted plants, flowers, and herbs, or accents with solar landscape lighting.

Think Perennials – Not Annuals. They’re pretty when you see them everywhere in the spring and summer – those bright and enticing flats of annuals. But “annuals” mean just that. You’ll have to replace them every year – and that is definitely not kind to your budget. Perennials, on the other hand, will amaze you with their longevity. As they go through their growth, blooming and dormant seasons, they’ll continue to get larger and more beautiful each year.

Room for a Dry Stream? It won’t require much in the way of work, supplies, or maintenance. Just map out a spot in your yard for a small twisting stream—giving it beginning and end points. Fill out the area with river rocks or your choice of medium-sized rock. Finish with a couple of large boulders on the stream banks; add a small bush next to each rock – and voila! Instant landscape feature!

Seek Out Alternative Resources. Think outside the box. Check your local rock quarry to see what options are available to you for only a few dollars a ton that will handle your hard surface groundcover needs. Or keep your eyes peeled for demolition sites – because broken concrete can also be an inexpensive alternative. If you want to add definition to your design, pick up some affordable bender boards and stakes from a garden supply store to create pathways and/or contained areas of rock. Be creative – keep your eyes open – and you just may find the perfect, zero-cost method of turning your yard into your personal outdoor playground.

Whether you just moved into a new home and need to decorate on a budget or if your yard needs a facelift, there are a number of ways to landscape your yard with limited funds. Enjoy making your new home “The” place to be for your friends and family this season!

FUN EASTER FACTS

It’s probably one of the most Googled questions this time of year: “What date is Easter 2016?” (Thank goodness for Google, eh? And in case you’re wondering, it’s March 27 this year.) Well, we found the answer to how they determine the date for Easter each year – along with a few other tidbits of information that we thought would be fun to share. So read on for your Easter Trivia! (We hope you win an extra chocolate egg with one of these!)

1. Most Americans bite off the ears of a chocolate bunny first. In fact, a whopping 76% say that’s where they take their first mouthful, followed by 5% who eat the feet first, and 4% who eat the tail first.

2. The most popular non-chocolate Easter candy is marshmallow Peeps, of which 700 million are sold during the Easter season. The most popular color is yellow, followed by pink, lavender, blue and white.

3. According to one amateur statistician, two of the top ten most popular items people give up for Lent are abstaining from Facebook and Twitter. Not surprisingly, giving up chocolate, swearing and alcohol also made the list.

4. Buying a new outfit for Easter stems from a superstition. Back in the mid-1800s in New York, people believed that buying new clothes to wear on Easter would bring them good luck for the rest of the year. And, lucky for us, the custom continues today.

5. It is said that the Easter bonnet (a hat) was a treat women allowed themselves after abstaining from other luxuries during Lent. They would wear the bonnet to Easter morning celebrations.

6. Easter Eggs were called pysankas, and were made by using wax and dyes. It wasn’t until Ukrainian immigrants came to the U.S. that the colorful custom caught on.

7. Easter is a big time for candy consumption. In fact, if you exclude Halloween, Easter is the biggest candy-consuming holiday with 120 million pounds of candy bought each year. For the holiday, 90 million chocolate bunnies, 91.4 billion eggs, and 700 million peeps are produced each year. Oh, and Americans consume 16 billion jelly beans on Easter.

8. Germany first made chocolate eggs for Easter in the 19th century. The Easter egg is symbolic of rebirth, but using eggs to celebrate is a tradition that dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and the Zoroastrians in Persia who dyed eggs to celebrate the start of spring. The Chinese also dye eggs when a newborn enters the world.

9. The largest Easter egg hunt was in 2007 in Florida, when 10,000 people searched for half a million eggs.

10. In ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and Persia, painted eggs were used in Spring festivals and exchanged as gifts. It was the Europeans who took the tradition one step further to Easter.

11. The first White House “Easter Egg Roll” was in 1878. Ever since, children gather the Monday following Easter to push with a spoon decorated hard-boiled eggs across the White House lawn.

12. In 325CE, the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. From that point forward, the Easter date depended on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21 for the vernal equinox. HOWEVER – Easter is delayed by 1 week if the full moon is on Sunday, which decreases the chances of it falling on the same day as the Jewish Passover. Easter can fall on any Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. The most common day is April 19th, on which Easter falls about 4% of the time.

Now throw on that bunny suit and get in the spirit! If nothing else, there’s a lot of chocolate to be consumed (that’s where we would start!). Happy Easter!