While you are hanging your stockings by the chimney with care, spare a thought for your porch. Decorating your porch for the holidays is a delightful way to spread holiday cheer and welcome guests to your new Marvida home. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

Start With a Wreath

Start your decoration journey with a beautiful holiday wreath on your front door. You can choose one with traditional evergreen branches, red bows and ornaments, or get creative with unique materials. If you already have a wreath, update it. Need inspiration? Better Homes & Gardens offers 56 of them.

Frame With Garlands

Frame your front door with festive garlands. Incorporate ribbons, bows and pinecones for a classic touch. String together white and gold ball ornaments for a more modern look. For sparkle, use pre-lit garlands. If your porch has railings or columns, be sure to wrap garlands around them. If not, use them to frame your windows.

Light It Up

No front porch would be complete without lights. Illuminate your porch with festive string lights wrapped around railings or pillars. Hang them along the eaves. Place lanterns with LED candles on a table or stairs for a more rustic look. White lights create an elegant look, while colored lights can add a playful touch.

Potted Plants and Evergreens

Arrange potted evergreen plants such as spruce or pine near the entrance. Decorate the pots with festive ribbons or small ornaments. Consider placing small Christmas trees in decorative containers for an extra festive touch.

Underfoot Décor

Swap out your regular doormat for one that features a holiday design or message. It’s a simple yet effective way to set the tone. Most stores sell themed doormats but for something truly unique, make your own.

Cozy Up

If space allows, add a cozy seating area with holiday-themed cushions and throws. This can be a great spot for enjoying hot cocoa or taking in the winter scenery. No snow? Create your own by cutting snowflakes out of cardstock and hanging them from the porch ceiling with clear fishing line.

Make a Scene

Include outdoor decorations like figurines, reindeer or light-up sculptures. These can be arranged on the porch to create a festive outdoor scene. Old-fashioned sleds or wagons filled with wrapped presents will give your porch a Currier and Ives look. Baskets filled with logs, oversized pinecones, greenery and ornaments give your porch rustic appeal.

Final Tips

Before you get started, have a plan. See what you have and throw out any worn decorations. Make a list of what you may need to buy. Think about layering your decorations. You want a mix of tall and short objects. Think about colors, too. Red and green are traditional, but if you are looking for something more elegant, consider blue and white. Gold and silver decorations will give your porch a luxurious look.

It’s finally here. The day you’ve been anticipating since you purchased your new Marvida home — closing. Also known as the settlement, it involves the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. Here’s what you can generally expect at a home closing.

Final Walk-Through

Before you close on your home, your builder will schedule a final walk-through. This is your chance to ensure there are no structural issues with the home and everything is as it was agreed upon in your contract.

Where to Go and When

The closing date and location will be specified in the purchase agreement. The closing typically takes place at the office of a title company, escrow agent or attorney.

Who Will Be There

In addition to yourself, participants in the closing typically include a builder representative, real estate agents representing both parties, a closing agent (often from a title company or escrow company) and possibly attorneys for both sides.

What Will You Do?

You’ll be presented with several important documents to review and sign. These may include the closing disclosure, the loan estimate, the promissory note, the deed of trust or mortgage and the property deed.

Bring Your Checkbook

You are required to pay your closing costs at this time. Sometimes the funds can be transferred electronically, or you may need a cashier’s check. Many Lago Mar builders offer incentives that reduce or eliminate closing costs. Check with them. Closing costs usually include fees for loan origination, appraisal, title insurance, attorney fees and more. The closing agent will provide a breakdown of these costs for your review and payment.

Time to Sign

Both the buyer and seller will sign the necessary documents to transfer ownership of the property. This includes the deed, which officially transfers the property from the seller to the buyer.

Pick Up the Keys

You will receive the keys to the property and copies of all signed documents, including the settlement statement and the closing disclosure.

Other Things to Know

The closing agent is responsible for disbursing funds appropriately. The closing agent also verifies that property taxes and utilities are paid up to the closing date. Once all documents are signed and funds are distributed, the closing agent will ensure that the deed is recorded with the appropriate government office. This officially transfers ownership of the property.

Keep in Mind

The specific details of a home closing can vary depending on the location, the professionals involved and the terms negotiated in the purchase agreement. It’s essential to carefully review all documents, ask questions and ensure that you understand the terms before signing.

Planning your first Thanksgiving in your new Marvida home can be exciting and slightly overwhelming. You want to establish traditions and create lasting memories. Here are some tips for hosting your first Thanksgiving meal:

Create a Guest List

Make a list of everyone you plan to invite. This will ensure that you have enough seats for everyone and help you with menu planning and grocery shopping. Consider sending out evites. That way you know who is coming and there will be fewer last-minute surprises.

Plan Your Menu (But Don’t Stress)

Planning your meal will help decrease holiday stress. You can see which items can be made ahead of time and which ones can be purchased. If you are thinking of purchasing an entire prepared meal, order now. If anyone asks what they can bring, tell them. People love sharing their special recipes and it’s one less dish you will have to cook.

Don’t Try Complicated Recipes

You want your meal to be special so it’s tempting to try one of those complicated recipes found in glossy food magazines. Don’t. Keep things simple so you can spend more time with your guests.

Make a Shopping List

Once you’ve decided on a menu, create a grocery list. Divide it into perishables and non-perishables. You can buy non-perishables a week in advance. Don’t purchase your perishables until a few days before the feast. Purchase your turkey early

Buy the Turkey

When buying your turkey, plan on three-quarters to a pound of turkey per person. A frozen turkey must be thawed thoroughly. Most chefs recommend one day of thawing for every four pounds of turkey.

Take Inventory

Make sure you have everything you need to prepare Thanksgiving dinner including a roasting pan large enough for your turkey, serving dishes, plates and silverware. Purchase anything you need now.

Prepare for Overnight Guests

Tidy the house and prepare the guest room if you will have guests staying overnight. Make sure you have clean towels in the bathroom and clean sheets on the bed. For fun, set up a small coffee or tea station in the room. Fresh flowers on the dresser or chocolates on the pillow give guests the feel of staying at a bed and breakfast.

The Day Before

The night before Turkey Day, double check your ingredients to make sure you have everything. Clean your kitchen. If you bought a home in Marvida, you probably have plenty of counterspace, but lay out non-perishables ahead of time to make sure you have enough prep space. If children will be attending, put away any precious items. Clear your hall closet to make room for guests’ coats. Set your table the night before so you have one less thing to worry about the day of.

Turkey Day!

Wake up early. Everything takes longer than you think it will, so you want to build in some extra time. Have a checklist ready. It should tell you what time to put items in the oven and how long they need to cook. If guests have offered to help, accept that help and write down what you want them to do. Kids need to be entertained, so set up lawn and board games. If you have a game room, prepare it for kids with comfortable chairs, a gaming console and a quiet corner where kids can decompress.

Have Fun

Thanksgiving is about being grateful and spending time with family and friends. Don’t stress if something goes wrong. Rather than getting upset, laugh and use it as a learning experience for next year.

Halloween is coming soon, what are your plans? How about taking the family to one of these family-friendly events near Marvida? From trunk-or-treats to haunted houses, there’s plenty to do. Here are our favorites. Don’t forget that Marvida is less than 30 minutes from Houston, making it easy to attend spectacular Halloween events held in the city.

Good Shepard Pumpkin Patch
10 a.m.-dusk daily, through Oct. 31
Pick a pumpkin any day or plan to attend a Family Fun Day on Oct. 29 featuring face painting, pumpkin decorating, pet adoption, photo opportunities, hayride, concert and trunk-or-treat.

Cypress Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch
10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, through Oct. 31
Come out for the pumpkins and take home some delicious pumpkin bread. Activities include crafts, food trucks, pumpkin decorating, movie nights and more.

Halloween Spook-tacular
1-3 p.m. Sat., Oct. 28
Celebrate the spooky season with crafts, balloon art, face painting, costume contest, monster dance party, giveaways and more. Costumes encouraged.

Haunted Trails
Days and times vary, through Oct. 31
$30 general admission
Cypress’ favorite haunted experience is back with more scares, thrills and chills than ever before. Traverse the haunted trail if you dare!

Halloween at the BOO!seum at Children’s Museum Houston
10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, through Oct. 31
The Children’s Museum of Houston will celebrate the spooky season all month long with special activities and events, including dance parties, trick-or-treating, crafts, magic shows and more.

Zoo Boo at the Houston Zoo
9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, through Oct. 31
Houston’s favorite family-friendly Halloween event is back with a jack-o’-lantern tree, animal-themed peek-a-boo pumpkins, Happy Harvest photo opportunities, pumpkin arch, fall-themed animal activities, scary-go-round and much more.

Don’t let the Texas summer heat fool you. Texas winters can be brutal. Winter storms can disrupt power lines and extreme cold can freeze pipes. Here are some things you can do to ensure your home is warm, safe and protected.

Insulate Your Pipes

Freezing temperatures can cause pipes to burst, leading to costly repairs. Insulate exposed pipes in unheated areas of your home. Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses and consider installing frost-proof outdoor faucets. Make sure you know where your main water valve is located so you can cut off your water in case of an emergency.

Check the HVAC System

The first and foremost concern during winter is staying warm. Schedule a professional inspection of your heating system well before winter hits. This will help identify any issues and ensure your furnace or heating system is in good working order. Replace air filters, clean vents and consider installing a smart thermostat for better energy efficiency.

Check Your Door Locks

It may seem silly to prepare your door locks for winter, but they can freeze. Spray a little powdered graphite lubricant into each door then turn the key in the lock. The powder lubricates the pins inside the lock to prevent sticking. You only need to do it once per season.

Reverse Ceiling Fans

Hot air rises so reversing the direction of fans will create an updraft, which, in turn, will push down any heated air pressed against your room’s ceiling. By circulating warm air, you’ll use heat more efficiently, which could cut energy costs.

Give Trees a Trim

Inspect the trees on your property for overhanging branches that could break and damage your home during a winter storm. Prune or remove them to prevent accidents.

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Test and replace batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Consider installing additional detectors, if necessary, especially in bedrooms and near heating sources.

Clean Out Gutters

Gutters collect debris. If you don’t clean them out, that debris can freeze into a big, icy mass. The mass can then damage your roof. Get a ladder and scoop it out before the first storm arrives.

Check the Roof

If you just moved into a new Marvida home, your roof is in good shape, but it never hurts to look anyway — especially after the first winter storm. Look for damaged or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms.

Winterize Your Sprinkler System

Drain your sprinkler system so the water doesn’t freeze in it. You can also pay someone to do a sprinkler system blowout. A blowout uses high-pressure air to force water out of the pipes, eliminating the problem of water sitting in low spots.

Check Your Home Insurance Coverage

Review your coverage to make sure there are no surprises. Confirm how your policy would cover potential winter damage. If you aren’t sure something will be covered by your existing carrier, shop around.

Purchase a Home in Marvida

Purchasing a new home in Marvida can make your winter prep chores easier. New homes are better insulated and better protected against all types of weather. Plus, everything is under warranty. Visit us today.

Mommy and Me group playdates are a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to create lasting memories. You can host a gathering at your home, a local park, pizza parlor or just about anywhere (Marvida residents are partial to our new Island Amenity Village). Once you’ve picked the place, it’s time to pick some activities. Stumped? Here are five creative ideas everyone will love.

Art and Craft Extravaganza

Kids love to paint, color, draw and sculpt, so why not set up an art station in your backyard? Invite parents to provide art supplies to share. Make sure you have plenty of paper. Choose a theme such as favorite animals or superheroes. Then turn the kids loose. Parents can help or just watch and share parenting tips.

Pool Party

Grab some floaties and meet up at the pool. The Island has a pool, lazy river, splash pad and water playground — perfect for tots and their parents. Pack snacks or a picnic lunch. If pool toys are allowed, be sure to bring some. For extra fun, bring bucket hats or sun visors kids can decorate.

Yoga and Mindfulness Session

Even tiny tots will enjoy a yoga session (child’s pose will probably be a favorite). Arrange to meet at your community’s event lawn if you have one or a quiet park. Find a shady, quiet area. Arrange to have an instructor available or just follow along with a child-friendly YouTube video. Make it playful and accessible for all ages.

Cooking and Baking Party

Your new Marvida home probably has a gorgeous kitchen. Why not invite your group over to play in it? Choose a child-friendly recipe like homemade pizzas, cookies or fruit kabobs. Allow the kids to participate in age-appropriate tasks like rolling dough, decorating cookies or assembling their pizzas. While the treats bake, moms can have quality bonding time and enjoy the delicious results.

Outdoor Picnic and Nature Scavenger Hunt

Choose a park or nature reserve for your playdate location. Invite moms to bring a picnic lunch to share. With help, even toddlers can engage with a scavenger hunt. Create a list of items like leaves, rocks and pinecones for them to find. Provide small baskets for collecting treasures. Parents can walk along with the kids pointing out items or just letting the kids fill their baskets with anything they fall in love with.

Visit Marvida and The Island Today

Marvida is a great place for families to live and play. You are sure to meet plenty of parents with young children. Visit us today to tour our model homes and The Island Amenity Village. Then start planning your Mommy and Me playdates!

A new homeowner’s gardening work is never done. While each season brings its own set of gardening tasks, fall is a critical time for preparing your garden for winter and ensuring a vibrant spring. Here’s a checklist to help you get started:

Say Goodbye to Summer

Remove dead plants, fallen leaves and any other debris that may have accumulated during the summer months. This not only tidies up your garden but also prevents potential pest and disease issues.

Time to Trim

Don’t leave inspecting your trees and shrubs until after the first big storm. Look for dead or diseased branches. Prune trees and shrubs back to encourage healthy growth in the spring. Trim back any overgrown hedges and bushes to maintain a neat appearance.

Get Out Those Bulbs

Want to wake up to beautiful spring flowers such as daffodils, tulips and crocuses? Plant bulbs now. September or October is the best time to plant.

If You Love Perennials

Perennials have a long growing season, but even they need to rest in the winter. If your flower bed is overcrowded, now is the time to consider dividing perennials. This not only rejuvenates the plants but also gives you the opportunity to expand your garden or share with friends and neighbors.

Let’s Talk Mulch

Mulch helps regulate soil temperature, conserves moisture and reduces weed growth. apply a layer to plant beds to protect bulbs, seeds and winter plants.

Lawn Lessons

Give your lawn some attention by aerating, fertilizing and overseeding. Fall is the optimal time for grass seed to establish itself, resulting in a lush lawn come spring.

Stow Your Tools

You won’t need your gardening tools much in the winter, but that doesn’t mean forgetting about them. Clean and properly store them. This includes sharpening blades, oiling metal parts to prevent rust and storing tools in a dry, sheltered area.

Plan for Spring

Use the fall season as an opportunity to plan for your spring garden. Research new plants, create a garden layout, and make a list of any supplies or tools you’ll need.

August is National Family Fun Month, a time for families to come together, create lasting memories and celebrate the bonds that make families truly special. It’s also a great time to get out and enjoy the many attractions found near Marvida. Here are a few of our favorite places to play:

Spend Time Outdoors

Little Cypress Creek Preserve

Immerse your family in nature with a trip to this beautiful, 58-acre nature preserve featuring 57 acres of interactive trails for hiking, biking, wildlife viewing and more.

Cypress Park

Picnic in Cypress Park, an expansive 165-acre area boasting picnic tables, barbeque grills, restrooms, water fountains and shade structures as well as a playground, exercise stations, paved walkways and a pond for catch-and-release fishing.

100 Acre Wood Preserve

A favorite with hikers and cyclists, this 100-acre preserve also offers opportunities to sneak a peek at local critters.

Do a Little Shopping

Houston Premium Outlets

There’s no better place to get in a little back-to-school shopping than this expansive ode to discounter designer duds. Shop 145 designer and name-brand outlet stores, including Burberry, Nike, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch and Versace.

The Boardwalk at Towne Lake 

Shops, restaurants, services and even a farmers market can all be found lakeside. Attend one of the many events or just have fun window shopping.

Catch a Show

Berry Center

The Berry Center is a great place to catch a concert or theatrical performance. You can also cheer on your favorite team in the arena or on the field.

Star Cinema Grill

Why settle for popcorn when you can watch the latest blockbuster while dining in style. The theater boasts an extensive menu and a full-service bar with a wide selection of beer, wine and spirits.

Fun and Games

TRX Paintball

Known as one of the finest fields in the United States, this is the perfect place for families to enjoy a little friendly competition.

Painting with a Twist

Create creative colorful memories you can hang on your wall! All tools are supplied.

Blackhorse Golf Club

One of Texas’ best public golf courses offers two 18-hole courses that can accommodate beginner to professional-level golfers. Finish the day with a meal at Ropers Grill.

Little Beakers Science Lab for Kids

Kids go nuts for this scaled-to-their-size science lab. There are more than 30 experiments to pick from in the Open Lab, which is geared toward the young and the young-at-heart.

Bounce Bounce

Families can bounce off the walls at this indoor trampoline park. There’s also a zip line, foam zone, ropes course, arcade, water zone and more.


Families can play together at this unique indoor playground where parents can race kids down the slides, toddlers have their own zone and the food is mostly healthy. Security cameras monitoring all corners of the playground allow parents to keep an eye on their kids.

Dine Together

The Shack Burger Resort

Enjoy your burger while the kids burn off some energy on the huge playground featuring sand pits, climbable oversized tires, slides and more.

Creekwood Grill

Parents will love the craft beer and southern comfort food. The kids will love the playground with two play structures, a sand pit and room to run.

Roseville Beer Garden

Food trucks, beer, playgrounds and fun. What’s not to love about this family-friendly venue?

Safety and security devices are at the top of every homeowner’s to-do list. You may not need them, but it’s nice to know they are there. If this is your first home, you may be overwhelmed by the many options available to you.

Fortunately, every Marvida resident also has access to a home security monitoring service and our builders offer smart home packages full of security features. Guess your to-do list just got shorter. Take a look at these common smart home devices:

Home Automation Systems

Home automation systems tie your devices together and allow you to control them via a centralized hub or smartphone. Marvida homes feature a Honeywell Tuxedo System touchpad that acts as both a home automation controller and interface. Use it to schedule lights to make it look like someone is at home and check who is at the door before you open it.

All-in-One Security Systems

Marvida homes are pre-wired for home security systems. These all-in-one packages usually include high-definition cameras, motion detectors and door/window sensors. You can monitor your home remotely or go with a service that offers professional monitoring, alerting the authorities in case of a break-in.

Video Doorbells

Equipped with a built-in camera and two-way audio, video doorbells allow you to see and usually speak with anyone at your front door — whether you are home or not. That way, you know who is at the door and can keep an eye on deliveries.

Smart Locks

Who needs a key when you have a smart lock? These devices use Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or a mobile app to control access to your home. You can lock or unlock your doors remotely, assign temporary access codes to guests or service providers and receive notifications whenever someone enters or exits your home.

Wi-fi Cameras

Wi-fi cameras are good for monitoring the interior and exterior of your home. Most are equipped with night vision so you can check on your front or backyard even in low-light conditions.

Water Leak Sensors

Sometimes pipe spring a leak. Unfortunately, you might not notice it until your floor has an inch or two of water on it. Prevent water damage by installing sensors near sinks and appliances. When a leak is detected, these sensors send immediate alerts to your smartphone, giving you the opportunity to act swiftly.

Smart Smoke Detectors

Take safety to the next level with smart versions of traditional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These devices send real-time alerts to your smartphone in case of smoke or carbon monoxide detection, even when you’re not home. Some models can even differentiate between types of smoke, reducing false alarms.

Visit Us to Learn More

Want to know more about our builders’ safety and security features? Stop by our model homes and speak with sales representatives today.

Your first home is an opportunity to express yourself, and what better way to do that than art? Hanging and styling artwork can create a visual masterpiece that reflects your personality and style. Of course, if you’ve only rented, you may not have had the opportunity to hang anything on your walls. How do you go about it? Here are some ideas to bring your walls to life.

Gather Supplies

The most amazing piece of art in the world will look terrible if not hung properly. To get started, you need a hammer, tape measure, nails in various sizes, wall-plug anchors, screws that fit them and a screwdriver. If you are hanging pictures on glass or tile, choose low-profile adhesive hooks. If you are hanging art on brick, use brick clamps.

How High?

Galleries and museums typically hang their art pieces approximately 57 inches above the ground. That’s the average eye level for most people. Start by marking the height with a pencil, then measure to find the middle of the wall from end to end and mark where the two points meet. That’s where you should center your piece. Measure the distance between the middle of the piece, and where it will catch the nail. Measure that difference from your mid-point mark on the wall — that’s where the nail goes. Mark that spot.

Hang It Up

How you hang a piece depends on how heavy it is. Light pieces need small nails. Heavier pieces need larger nails or wall-plug anchors and screws.

Choose Your Pieces

Now that you know how to hang a picture, it’s time to get creative. Consider the style and theme of your space, the size and shape of the walls and the overall color palette. Think about the purpose of the room and the mood you want to create. Choose pieces that resonate with you and reflect your personal taste. Consider a mix of different mediums, such as paintings, photographs and prints to add depth and variety.

Identify Focal Points

Where do you want to draw the eye? Hang your most prominent artwork or a collection of pieces in this area to create a visually captivating focal point. The eye will naturally be drawn to this area, setting the stage for the rest of your artwork arrangements.

Balance and Symmetry

Strive for a cohesive look. You can do this by creating a grid-like pattern, aligning the center of each piece at the same height or using symmetrical arrangements. This sort of styling works well in formal living and dining rooms or studies.

Scale and Proportions

Your art should harmonize with your furniture and the size of the room. You don’t want to put a small portrait in a large room. It will get lost. A large painting in a small area will make the room feel cramped.

Have Fun, Be Eclectic

Informal areas such as family rooms, kitchens and game rooms may benefit from more eclectic groupings. Choose pieces of different sizes and shapes. Experiment with overlapping frames or creating clusters that vary in heights and orientations.

Light It Up

Proper lighting is crucial in highlighting the beauty of your artwork. Install adjustable track lighting or picture lights to focus attention on specific pieces. Experiment with different lighting angles and intensities to create dramatic effects and accentuate the textures and colors of your artwork.

Visit Marvida Model Homes

A great way to get inspiration for styling your artwork is to visit model homes in Marvida. The homes are professionally decorated which means designers have chosen artwork that complements each room. If you really like the rooms, speak with a sales counselor about making your home in Marvida today.