Consumer Real Estate News

    • 4 Simple Family Activities to Promote Healthy Living

      25 November 2020

      Keeping your family healthy is a top priority, but with everything we have to juggle in modern-day life, that’s easier said than done. Luckily, there are simple activities your whole family can enjoy that will promote a health-focused lifestyle in adults and children alike.

      Visit a U-Pick Farm
      Young children will especially enjoy visiting a local farm, but teens and adults alike can enjoy seeing where food is sourced. Visit a U-pick farm and gather some of your favorite fresh fruits and veggies. Not only is this activity more fun than a plain grocery trip, but you’re also likely to save money when buying in bulk.

      Find Active Hobbies
      Keeping your family active and healthy doesn’t mean everyone has to sign up for a sport or gym membership. Think of fun activities the whole family can enjoy that aren’t exercise-focused. Kite flying, paper boat racing, walking the family dog and picking wildflowers can all be fun hobbies that encourage movement without feeling like a chore.

      Look for Tech Tools
      For tech-loving families, there are a plethora of options to stay active without feeling like you’ve traveled to the stone ages. Try geocaching, having a step-count contest or play a movement-focused video game.

      Cook Together
      The best way to please a picky eater? Get them involved in the process. Cooking together can be a fun and messy experience that kids will enjoy. Get the whole family involved with age-appropriate tasks and try a new recipe together. Get chef hats and aprons to make it a novel experience. Just be sure to leave plenty of time and plan for delays if you are working with younger children.

      Incorporate these simple habits that your whole family will benefit from, all while having fun.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Hidden Pet Dangers That May be Lurking in Your Home

      25 November 2020

      You love your pets like they are part of the family. You have done your research on the best food for their needs and know all their favorite toys. Still, there may be hidden dangers in your home that you don’t know about. Keep your pets safe by removing these dangers from your home.

      Makeshift Pet Toys
      You may picture a classic scene of a kitten playing with a ball of yarn, but this seemingly-cute makeshift toy could pose danger to your feline friend. Household items like string, yarn, floss and coins—among other items—are easy to swallow. These can pose a choking risk, intestinal blockages or strangulations. Opt instead, for a vet-approved pet toy of your choice.

      Medication
      Store medication and supplements safely out of reach. Just as humans can face harmful side effects when consuming medication not prescribed for them, your pet could be at a similar risk. Even vitamins and mineral supplements can contain doses or ingredients unsafe for your pet. 

      Your Diet Food
      While consuming imitation sweeteners may seem like a good idea if you are watching your waistline, you must keep your sugar-free items away from your pets. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener often found in sugar-free gums, which acts as a toxin to your furry friend. In dogs, small doses can result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or death.

      Cleaning Products
      Your pet may be at risk when in the presence of cleaning products. Chemical fumes pose an obvious threat, but even your natural cleaners can contain essential oils or other ingredients that act as toxins to your animals. Be sure your cleaning products are pet safe.

      Ensure your home is just a little safer for man’s best friend by removing or hiding these household dangers.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 10 Ways to Help Rein in Spending

      25 November 2020

      If, like many Americans, you find your money runs out before the month does, it may be because you don’t keep track of your spending. Budgeting helps, financial advisors assure us, but budget or no budget, there are ways to rein in your spending that may be less painful than you think:

      1. Plan meals ahead and shop with a list. Planning out your meals for the week and shopping with a list can rein in food costs big time. As tempting as store displays may be, resist the urge to splurge.
      2. Stop buying brand name products. When shopping, you may automatically reach for the branded products you know. But many generic brand products work just as well as their branded counterparts and cost considerably less. 
      3. Don’t buy bottled water. It’s a $20 billion industry that is costing you money. Buy a water filter, if you need to, and carry a reusable water bottle.
      4. Make your own coffee. Americans love their coffee, but if you’re spending $10 to $25 a week at the corner shop, you are spending $500 to more than $1,000 a year. Make your coffee at home, carry a reusable cup and save your cash.
      5. Consider buying used. Whether it’s a car, household goods or even furniture, you can often find great buys on gently used items and save big bucks.
      6. Check your 401(k) fees. Congratulations if you’re stocking away funds for retirement, but paying high fees can reduce your savings. Check to see how much is being taken off the top and make changes as needed. 
      7. Consolidate student loans. If you’re paying down multiple loans, consolidating them may save you money and/or extend the repayment period.
      8. Don’t pay unnecessary bank fees. If you’re paying monthly fees, shop around for cheaper banking services. Don’t use an ATM out of your network, and be sure you have fee-free checking.
      9. Turn down the thermostat. Save on heating costs. Put on a sweater and turn down the thermostat a few degrees, especially during the day and early evening. 
      10. Check your tires. According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as 3 percent a year on gas when your tires are properly inflated. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Helping Your Child Connect With Nature

      24 November 2020

      Amid growing environmental concerns at a time when group activity is curtailed, encouraging your child to bond with nature can achieve two important goals, researchers say.

      According to a recent study by North Carolina State University, solitary outings and shared outings with parents help children to not just understand and enjoy nature, but to build respect and personal concern for preserving natural resources. 

      Preschoolers on a walk outside can identify flower colors, inspect insects, and collect and trace fallen leaves.
      Older children can benefit from picnics in the park or in a wilderness area. They can do a soil test, create a wildlife habitat, learn to identify trees and shrubs and research their contributions to the environment.

      Hiking, fishing, skiing, surfing and other outdoor sports are far more than a source of fun, researchers note. They boost physical health and emotional well-being and, especially when paired with parental questions and input, they inspire in children of all ages a connection to and an interest in nature and the environment.

      Now, with screens taking up more of your child’s time than ever, health experts agree that it’s critical for parents to provide opportunities for outdoor activity and nature study.

      Set up a treasure hunt - Make a short list of things for younger kids to look for outside, such as a smooth rock, something green or something that grows on a bush.

      Schedule sidewalk activity - Skating, bicycling, skateboarding or scooter-riding are great ways to keep kids moving.

      Plan a camping trip - Spend hours or days in a mountain or seashore environment. Talk about the difference between pets and wild animals. Talk about how things grow, about keeping the environment safe and about how tides work.

      Try photography - Older kids can use a phone, but even young children can use a simple camera to photograph things in nature. Talk about the plants, animals or seashells they captured. Frame a few of their best photos and put the rest in scrapbooks. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Top DIY Outdoor Projects You Need to Know

      24 November 2020

      Keeping your home looking its best can require learning a lot of new skills. If you want to boost your curb appeal without breaking the bank, here are the top DIY outdoor projects you should know.

      Reseeding the Lawn
      You don’t want to go through the expense of installing sod simply because your lawn became slightly patchy. Instead, learn how to grow grass that will make the whole neighborhood envious. The grass truly is greener on your side.

      Building a Raised Garden Bed
      Whether you’re hoping to create a prized vegetable patch or simply want to grow your favorite blooms, there’s no better way to create structure for your curb appeal than a few raised beds in your yard. Select the wood, stone or brick of your choice and get to work to create a cohesive feel.

      Build a Window Box
      You don’t have to be a master builder to ensure that this simple project turns out well. Give the exterior of your home a facelift with a few well-placed window boxes and some vibrant flowers. This easy project is sure to make your home look great for years to come.

      Make a Trellis
      A garden trellis is a must-have for any plants that need to climb. They add needed structural support for those plants and also give your outdoor space visual interest in the form of additional height. Go simple and make a garden trellis of wood and lattice or shoot for a more elaborate mixed-medium trellis.

      Power Wash Your Driveway
      A good power wash can do wonders for the appearance of your home. Power washing your home’s siding or your driveway can take years off the look of your exterior. Removing dirt and grime can be just as visually impactful as a new coat of paint, for far less cost.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.