Friday, December 20, 2013


It's the last weekend before Christmas.  Somehow you get the feeling that there wasn't enough time after the Thanksgiving holiday to get all the shopping done and you're right - the shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year has been one of the shortest in over a decade.  Less shopping time means less presents bought, and you find yourself in a gift crunch.

Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when making a list of last-minute gifts:

  • Check out you neighborhood thrift store or  flea markets.  These shops can be a treasure trove of unique gifts you won't find at the mall.  You can do all your shopping in one location without paying department store prices.  
  • Buy local. Instead of fighting the crowds at the mall or big box stores, stay nearby and support area small businesses.  The range of items can range  from artwork by student artists, local-brewed spirits, or even baked delicacies from your neighborhood experts.  
  • How about a gift that gives all year?  A magazine subscription  will remind your friend of your thoughtful present every time an issue arrives. Gift wrap a current copy and include a note stating more are on the way.  
  • Head to the nearest museum, science museum or zoo, and browse the gift shop for something a little different.  
  • Get away from it all and drive through the countryside this weekend and browse rural stores that stock handmade soaps, candles and regional treats. 
  • Make a theme basket!  Do one for mundane tasks such as car wash, or one for a spa night or barbecue bash.  Just fill the basket with everything the receiver needs to get the job done.  
  • Ever thought of making your own gifts?  Handmade items don't have to be predictable or sub-par. If you have a special talent for making baked goods or reclaimed wood picture frames, put that talent to use! What's more, you don't have to stand in store aisles debating which to color, size or shape to choose.

These are just a few ideas to help you through the next few days.  These tips may allow you to find some time for yourself for the holidays, the ultimate gift to your favorite person - YOU!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


There are numerous recipes available on seasoning and cooking your turkey for Thanksgiving.  Below are a few preparation tips that you will find useful before and after cooking the Great Bird for the Big Occasion:

  • The safest way to thaw a bird is in the fridge; count on about five hours per pound for it to fully defrost (so a 20-pounder will take four days).
  • For crisper skin, unwrap the turkey the day before Thanksgiving, and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Turkeys cook more evenly if they're not packed full of stuffing. A loose handful of aromatics (carrots, celery, onions and garlic) or fresh herbs adds flavor without leading to a dry bird. Cook the stuffing in a dish on the side, moistened generously with stock.
  • Scatter roughly chopped chunks of onions, carrots, celery and garlic on the bottom of your roasting pan before arranging the turkey on top. They'll add tons of flavor to your drippings (and thus to your gravy).
  • Once the turkey goes in the oven, don't open the door too often. Every time you do, the heat drops precipitously, so it'll raise both the cook time as well as the odds of a dry bird.
  • Carve your turkey with as sharp a knife as possible. Take the legs and wings off first (go straight through the joint) and you’ll have more room to maneuver when you get to the breast.

(Courtesy of The Food Network)

Friday, October 18, 2013

QUICK Pumpkin Pie Parfait

This time of year brings us many delights of the season such as the changing of the leaves, the cool crisp autumn air, change in one’s wardrobe, and of course, this is also the part of the year with the most holiday themed foods.    

Here's one quick treat to make during this season:


13      gingersnaps, chocolate wafers or graham crackers
1        tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3/4     cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1/2     cup canned pure pumpkin
2 1/2  teaspoons bourbon
1/2     cup white chocolate chips
2        cups cold heavy cream
3/4     cup of nuts
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


Put six of the gingersnap cookies in a resealable plastic bag and crush into crumbs. Use the butter to brush the bottom and up to 1 inch of the sides of parfait glasses. Place a small amount of the crushed cookies/crumbs in each parfait glass and roll around the insides of the glasses.  Any extra crushed cookie crumbs can be re-used for the topping. Refrigerate the prepared glasses.

Add 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, the canned pumpkin, 1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon and the nutmeg in a food processor, pulse until smooth. - usually around 1 minute.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring halfway. Add melted chocolate to the pumpkin mixture and process until combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Whip 1 /12 cups of the cream in a bowl with a mixer until soft peaks form.  Fold whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Spoon among the prepared glasses and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream until foamy, add remaining confectioners' sugar and one teaspoon bourbon and beat until soft peaks form. 

Top the parfaits with the whipped cream, sprinkle top with remaining cookie crumbs, top with nuts and stick rest of cookies toward side of each cup.  


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Purdue University Calumet to Continue Indiana Dunes Environmental Research at Mansards Apartments

Wild lupine
The Mansards Apartments and Purdue University Calumet last month renewed their arrangement for use of the Mansards’ greenhouse by the school as a research facility for their environmental studies.    “We are loaning the facility to the university as part of our outreach and involvement in the community,” said Linda Jacknow, Senior Vice President of the management company for The Mansards. “The Mansards strives to do what it can to make a positive impact in our region.”

The university uses the Mansards’ greenhouse as a staging area for their ongoing study on the environmental impact and long-term effects that nitrate addition has on biomass production of plant species native to the Indiana Sand Dunes and other dunes around Lake Michigan.  The Indiana Dunes has more than 1400 species of vascular plants, ranking it 8th in total plant species among all units of the National Park System, and plays a vital tourism role for Northwest Indiana.  Some of the local plant species being studied include the little bluestem grass, switch grass and wild lupine.

The Purdue Calumet research is being coordinated by Dr. Young Choi of Purdue Calumet’s Department of Biological Sciences.

Little bluestem grass
“One of the main sources of nitrates is automobile emission,” said Dr. Choi in a recent interview.  “Nitrates leave automobile tail pipes, enter the atmosphere, and eventually fall down to nearby lands such as the Indiana Dunes.  Past research shows that the sand dunes in Northwest Indiana receive approximately 20 Kg of nitrogen from the atmosphere.   We are doing this research because we want to see how the depositions of nitrate from the atmosphere impact the plant communities of the sand dunes.”  

For more information on the Purdue Calumet project you may visit their website, or contact the Department of Biological Sciences at 219-989-2404.

The Mansards Apartments is an award winning rental community located in Northwest Indiana in the town of Griffith.  The resort style property offers renovated and deluxe one, two and three bedroom apartments with large walk-in closets, gas or electric stoves, dishwashers, ceiling fans, and private patios or balconies with park, garden or lake views.  All apartments are located in buildings with intercom controlled access and modern laundry facilities.

This gated community has one of the largest amenity packages in the area with a heated indoor pool, multiple clubhouses, four outdoor pools, billiard rooms, computer lounge, banquet rooms, tennis courts, and a sports-themed bar complete with vintage sports memorabilia, all set amongst 90 acres of natural wooded lands.

For rental information about The Mansards call (219) 923-5800 or

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mansards Apartments Partners with the American Red Cross for Blood Drive Program
The American Red Cross has approved The Mansards Apartments located in Griffith, Indiana as a recognized collection site for blood drives organized within the Griffith/Hammond area of Northwest Indiana.

The site was approved after The Mansards reached out to the Red Cross earlier this year to participate in the organization’s blood donor program.   The Red Cross found the facilities at The Mansards – especially the banquet room in the north side of the property - to be more than adequate to hold large-scale donor events.

Blood supply is an important piece of America’s ability to respond to disasters. By donating blood, people help prepare for the unexpected and ensure blood is available when and where it’s needed.
“Any disaster, man-made or natural, can result in people being injured and needing blood,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “While people often join together to help after a disaster, it’s just as important to be organized and prepared today for when disaster strikes.”

According to the American Red Cross the need for blood increases during the summer when vacation travel and activities increase the chance of serious accidents that may require lifesaving or sustaining care.  At the same time, blood supplies can shrink as donors become busy with summer fun and overlook giving blood.
“Here at The Mansards we are involved in various programs in our area, giving back to the community where we can. We feel that hosting and coordinating blood drives is another way for us to be good corporate citizens,” said Linda Jacknow, Senior Vice President of the management company for The Mansards.  “By participating we are providing valuable resources to an important agency such as The Red Cross which plays a crucial role in Northwest Indiana’s emergency and medical services.  The Mansards will always strive to do what it can to make a positive impact in our region.”

For more information on participating in the Blood Donor Program with The Mansards call 219-923-5800 or register at

Monday, July 15, 2013


 We've all heard the expression “the dog days of summer” and some wonder exactly what it means.  Is it referring to annual summer heat waves when it’s so hot and humid we think the weather has gone to the dogs?

Actually the phrase originated in the days of old when Sirius - the Dog Star - lined up with our Sun. It was thought that when Sirius was in the right position with the Sun their combined energy made the weather even hotter.

(Of course, we now know that no star would warm the earth at even the smallest fraction that our Sun does.)

Regardless of the lore we are approaching the hottest part of the summer season and not only must we keep ourselves cool, we need to ensure our four-legged companions do not get overheated.

Here are a few tips on doing just that:

ALWAYS HAVE A FRESH SUPPLY OF WATER AVAILABLE:  ensure you pets have access to fresh drinking water at all times.  Remember, dogs do not sweat.  They keep cool by expelling body heat build-up by panting through their mouths.  

OUTSIDE SHELTER:  Your dog might enjoy a little sunbathing, but they ultimately need a cool, shady spot to relax. Prolonged sun exposure not only leads to heat exhaustion, it can also cause sunburn. (Yes, dogs can get sunburned too!)  While sunscreen is available for dogs, it is not ideal. The best thing is to offer shelter. Shade from trees is nice, but not perfect - an actual structure is better. Consider getting an insulated dog house, but make sure it is large and well-ventilated.

POOLS FOR A COOLING DIP:  if your dog loves the water you may consider keeping a kiddie-pool handy so they can take a soothing dip when needed.  Also, keep the pool in a shady area so the water is not heated by the open sunlight.    Also, empty the pool each day or cover when not in use so as not to become a breeding are for mosquitoes.

Regardless of the options you may provide to help keep your dog cool, always remember to keep an eye on your pet.  When in doubt – move your dog to a cooler area just to be sure, and call a vet other concerns arise.

Friday, May 31, 2013


Sometimes we are so caught up in the weekly rat-race of work/commute/work/commute, we rush in and out of The Mansards without realizing it's potential for our personal health improvement: it's the perfect environment for jogging.

Many experts have touted the health benefits of a regular exercise routine, especially the rewards of jogging.  Here are a few examples why jogging is good for you:

MENTAL IMPROVEMENT:  When you go out for a jog you can let your thoughts wonder. It’s here you will be able to sort out any problems in your life, whether it be work or relationship problems.  The reason why running is so good for de-stressing is because it releases endorphin, the hormone that makes us feel good.

WEIGHT LOSS:  Jogging also burns a significant amount of calories and is a perfect companion to a balanced diet for those looking to reduce their waistlines.

CARDIOVASCULAR:  The exercise given to the heart during jogging will improve the efficiency of your cardiovascular system.  Regular running lowers your blood pressure and the improves the oxygen capacity of your lungs. 

INTERNAL HEALTH:  Our bones are made to accommodate the demands placed upon them. By sitting in front of the monitor all day many of us allow our bones to grow weaker, but by jogging regularly our skeleton gets the demand it needs to stay healthy. In addition to keeping our insides from aging quickly, regular, high-intensity exercise, like jogging, has been proven to promote the human growth hormone, which helps us looking younger.

Those are just a few reasons to motivate you to begin a regular exercise regiment.  Because of it's size and layout (built amongst 90 acres of natural woodland), The Mansards provides a natural setting for daily walks or runs.

This evening, why not take a stroll around the community and select an exercise route that you think will work for you best - who knows?  It may be the start of a new beginning.

(Always remember to consult your physician before starting any strenuous exercise routine or regiment.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

QUICK RECIPE: Bacon Wrapped, Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Prep time:  15 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Serving size: 2


2 boneless skinless chicken breast
4 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoon green onion (chopped)
4 pieces bacon (partially cooked)


  1. Pound out Chicken breast so it is about 1/4" thick.
  2. Mix together cream cheese and green onions and spread cheese mixture over 1 side of chicken breast.
  3. Roll chicken breast up to conceal cream cheese.
  4. Wrap partially cooked bacon around chicken breast and secure with toothpick.
  5. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes at 375.
  6. Broil for about 5 minute to crisp bacon.
VARIATIONS:  If you like the flavor of blue cheese you can crumble some over the cream cheese spread before rolling and wrapping chicken.  Or place slices of gourmet cheese on top of the cream cheese spread prior to rolling.  

(Recipe courtesy of

Friday, April 12, 2013


In today's economy we all look for various ways to save a penny so our paychecks can stretch further than before.  Some people brown bag their lunches,  or create their own special latte before bolting out of the door for their daily commute.

And some even take it to the extreme and combine both savings and exercise by riding a bike or jogging to work.

Rather than resorting to drastic measures to save a buck, let's look at a few easy ways you cans save money around your home:

TURN THINGS OFF when you are not in the room such as lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and your computer and monitor.  Don't keep opening the fridge door to get one item while cooking - plan what you need from the fridge and get it all in one go.

USE POWER STRIPS FOR ELECTRONICS.  Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use—TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.

MAKE IT QUICK:  Take short showers instead of baths and use low-flow shower heads for additional energy savings.

AIR DRY dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.  Also, air dry some of your clothing after washing a few items by hand.

IRON OUT THE KINKS:  When doing laundry remove clothes promptly from the dryer and place on a hanger to reduce ironing time.  Also, iron what you need in one task rather than ironing on the go; a single  warm-up time costs less than constantly plugging and unplugging your iron.

Also, study your family’s lighting needs and look for ways to use controls—like sensors, dimmers, or timers — to reduce lighting use.  Use lower wattage bulbs in certain low-traffic areas.

By following these tips you will not only benefit financially, it will also help conserve our limited resources and help reduce the impact on our global environment.

Friday, April 5, 2013


"April showers brings May flowers."

That sunny prose has been around since the dark ages and is a reminder of another season that lurks hand-in-hand with spring:  allergy season.

According to the National Institutes of Health the number of persons affected by allergies has increased two to five times since 1980.  This increase is being attributed to a number of factors including global warming, higher levels of pollution in industrialized nations, and better diagnosis of allergy conditions - just to name a few.

If you are one of the many people today who morph into frantic tissue-hoarders during the warmer allergy months, below are a few tips on "allergy-proofing" your personal castle aka your home:

  • Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once a week in water heated to at least 130 F (54 C). Remove, wash or cover comforters. Choose bedding made of synthetic materials.
  • Close windows and rely on air conditioning during pollen season. Clean mold and condensation from window frames and sills. 
  • If you have pets in your home,  give them a bath at least twice a week to help reduce the amount of allergen in the dander they shed.  
  • Wipe up excessive moisture in your refrigerator to avoid mold growth. Discard moldy or out-of-date food. Regularly empty and clean the drip pan and clean or replace moldy rubber seals around doors. 
  • Mold can be removed from surfaces and walls by using a solution of one part bleach to 20 parts water. Dead mold can still cause an allergic reaction, but bleach has been found to reduce the severity of the reaction in susceptible people. 
    False color scanning electron microscope image of pollen grains from a variety of common plants: sunflower, morning glory, prairie hollyhock, oriental lily, evening primrose and castor bean. 
  • Vacuum daily and use special carpet treatments that inactivate the accumulated allergens and reduce the dust mite population. Frequent vacuuming is needed to remove surface allergens from carpets, however many vacuums simply blow allergens into the air. Replace your standard vacuum bag with a high filtration multi-layer bag and add a vacuum exhaust filter.

Just following a few of these tips could lead to less sneezing and wheezing, and more time quietly relaxing with your perfect companion:  YOU!

Friday, March 29, 2013


It's that time of the year again - as the weather gets warmer, the urge to open up and freshen your home from the stale dry air of winter grows stronger.  Then one day the sun is shining brightly and you suddenly find yourself with a bucket in one hand, cleaners and cloths in the other, feeling frazzled and wondering if this couldn't be easier.

Avoid spring cleaner's remorse and follow a few tips to get this major once-a-year chore done quickly and efficiently:

1. ORGANIZE BEFORE STARTING.  Prior to any cleaning project take stock of your current supplies.  Plan to clean accordingly, for example, cleaning your least favorite room first.  Keep everything together in a bucket to easily move supplies from one room to another.

2.  USE THE RIGHT TOOLS TO GET THE JOB DONE.  Make sure you have the right equipment:  microfiber cloths pick up and removes dust and other allergens rather than pushing them around the surface like regular dusting cloths do.  Get a vacuum with attachments, a dependable cleaning wand, and machines that use steam to sanitize.

3.  WORK SMART, NOT HARD.  When cleaning stubborn areas give the cleaners a chance to work.  Leave cleaning solutions on heavy traffic areas for over 5 minutes to give them a chance to penetrate the grime for easier removal.  Remove food stains in the microwave faster by nuking a cup of water for 2 minutes; the steam will loosen the stains making them easier to clean.

4.  DON'T KEEP USING THE SAME CLOTH.  If you are doing a large room or area, keep on hand a large stack of cleaning cloths.  Cloths loses their effectiveness after a time and begin to leave streaks and spots.  If using a microfiber, make sure your gently shake the dust free in a trash bag.

5.  DON'T TRY TO BE A CLEANING SUPERHERO.  Get others involved!  Have the children empty light trash bins or shake the dust from small rugs.  Get your husband/brother/teenage kids to help with the lifting.  If you live alone, ask a friend to come over just to keep you company....just be sure to return the favor when they want to do a cleaning project of their own.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST:  DON'T WAIT UNTIL SPRING!  If you make it a mission during the colder months to commit to small cleaning jobs, then your cleaning project won't be such a monumental task come spring.

Ready, set, clean!

Sunday, March 24, 2013



 Most people view indoor plants as either a hobby for some persons, or a easy decor tool for others.  But did you know that there are actually healthy benefits of having plants inside your home?  Indoor plants assists with removing toxins from the air, calms the mind and relaxes the body while relieving overall stress.

Let's look at a few benefits of house plants:

1.  Filling your home with plants can decrease or eliminate headaches. With plants, you’re much less likely to be breathing the kind of stuffy, stale air that contributes to headaches due to the filtering process used by plants during photosynthesis.

2.  House plants can contribute to a feeling of well-being, making you calmer and more optimistic. Studies have shown that patients who face a garden view in their hospital rooms often recover more quickly than those facing a wall.  Also, plants with lush green foliage provides a more relaxing environment.  Research shows that green is the most relaxing color on the planet.

3.  If you are a smoker or live with one, a plant may help you remove the airborne chemicals from cigarettes.   A classic NASA study has shown that house plants can remove up to 80% of air toxins within a 24 hour period.

Some of the most popular - and beneficial - indoor plants include:  the Pothos plant, the Spider Plant, the Rubber Plant, the Diffenbachia plant (with it's two-toned leaves) - just to name a few.


So whether it for health benefits, or just for looks, you will find that placing a few house plants inside you home will be beneficial both physically and emotionally.

This spring - look at doing some indoor gardening, it might just improve your health!

Friday, March 15, 2013


Aquatic exercise is more than just swimming laps.  It can include using the water for resistance when stretching, a way to control the body's movement during water aerobics, or it can provide a calming environment for persons suffering from certain physical medical conditions.

Exercise in the water puts very little strain on the bones, joints and soft tissues while still allowing for high levels of energy expenditure. The buoyancy and cushioning effect of water is especially beneficial to people at risk when performing weight-bearing exercise such as the elderly or obese. It may help with pain management for individuals with soft tissue injury, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or orthopedic disorders.

Exercising in the water decreases the amount of weight the spine and joints have to support. The buoyancy of water supports about 50 percent of body weight for a person immersed waist-deep and 90 percent of body weight for a person immersed up to the neck.

Working out in a heated indoor pool, such at the one located in The Cambridge Clubhouse at The Mansards Apartments not only soothes the body but can help calm the mind.  Exercise in warm water relaxes muscles, decreases depression, anxiety and stress, and thereby improves your overall mood.  Also, regular visits to have a swim in the warm waters during the long dreary months of winter helps alleviate symptoms of seasonal mood disorders.

Exercising in water offers many physical and mental health benefits and is a good choice for people who want to be more active. When in the water, remember to protect yourself and others from illness and injury by practicing healthy and safe swimming behaviors.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


In today's busy world of hurried commuting, work, kids, and family, we get so caught-up in our daily schedule that we feel stuck in a rut.  One of the ways to bring a welcome change that can reinvigorate your routine is to change your immediate surroundings.

However in today's economy where a crisis looms around each corner some of us are hesitant to spend resources on decorating.  Here are a few affordable tips that can breathe new life in your apartments:

1.  RE-ARRANGE YOUR ROOMS:  Even a quick switch of furniture in the living room or bedroom to opposite sides can bring a new feel.  Experiment with angles, switch out lamps, add a couple of bright cushions, or even changing to brighter light bulbs can make a difference you can instantly appreciate.

2.  MAKE A TRIP TO THE DOLLAR STORE.  These stores have come a long way from selling only car fresheners and cheap soap! Find dollar stores that offer home decor, cleaning products, storage items, kitchen utensils, etc… You may be pleasantly surprised to see that you can decorate and have all your essentials for your apartment for a small amount of money.

3.  USE VINTAGE POSTERS OR OTHER COLLECTIBLES.  Do you collect movie posters or have a collection of vintage Coke bottles? Why not use them as decor in your apartment? Decor doesn't have to be purchased. Use your collections to display them on walls, in shadow boxes, or on a shelf to bring instant personalization to your apartment.  You will be surprised how collections can be a clever focal point or conversation starter for a room.

4.  REHANG YOUR PHOTOS OR ARTWORK.   Switch the locations of your paintings or family photos.  Put art pieces in unusual places, like above a door. Lean some against a mirror. Hang several in an asymmetrical collage, at least three inches apart.

5.  ACCESSORIZE WITH BOOKS.  Stack art, design, gardening, travel books — whatever you collect — on a table. Books are great accessories because they're so personal — they reflect your interests.

These are just a few ideas to get you started.  Remember your apartment is just not a place to eat and lay your head - it's also your home.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


We are extending an invitation to for you to experience all we have to offer in either one of our clubhouses – The Cambridge Club, The Cricket Club, or MatchPoint Tennis & Fitness Club – or take advantage of our outdoor facilities.  

The stately Cambridge Club has a banquet room to seat 60 persons, with caterer’s kitchen, OR small private meetings can be held in the Meeting Room.  

Our sports themed Cricket Club is a great facility to host a sales meeting, or small parties for your staff.  MatchPoint is the largest US Tennis Association (USTA) sanctioned facility in Northwest Indiana and features 12 tennis courts (8 indoors and 4 outdoor), a fully equipped Fitness Club, a spa with whirlpools, and steam & sauna rooms.  

All this set amongst 90 acres of beautiful wooded surroundings with private parks and picnic areas.  Apartments at The Mansards all have spacious floor plans, large rooms, ample closets and extra storage.  Not only are these resort-style amenities the best in the area, there is easy access from our community to all major tri-state expressways.  

Come, experience the difference!