Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Stress-Busting Tips To Help You On Moving Day

 

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Moving day can be stressful, but thankfully, there are ways to make life easier for yourself. You don't have to suffer a meltdown because of all the tasks you will need to get on top of, and you shouldn't need to book yourself in to see a counselor after moving day is over. By following the tips below, the big day should go by relatively smoothly.



#1: Give yourself plenty of time


When you are dealing with the realtor and discussing the time you will be moving into your new home, don't arrange a morning move. As excited as you will be to get into your new house, you should leave it until late afternoon, as this will give you more time to do everything you need to do. You are then less likely to panic when you realize you can't find the cat (see the next point) or when you discover you have forgotten to pack something vital. You will have more time to breathe, and when it comes to your stress levels, that can only be a good thing.


#2: Re-house your children and pets for the day


Especially when you have young children, you might find it best to re-house them for the day. By which we mean finding them a childminder, as you will then have one less thing to worry about when you're getting ready for the move. The same applies to your pets. Your goldfish will be perfectly fine, but if you have cats and dogs that love to go wandering, you might want to hire a pet sitter to look after them to ensure they don't get lost before the move. You will have more peace of mind when your kids and pets are being looked after, so consider the option.


Check out our other essential tips for moving with kids.


#3: Enlist as much help as you can


Other than finding a pet sitter and childminder, there are other tasks that you might seek help with. These include house cleaning, the packing and moving of boxes, and any last-minute repair tasks that need to be completed before you shut the doors of your old home for good. Enlist your family, friends, and neighbors if you think they will be willing to help. And when looking for a removal service, opt for a company that will help you pack too. Allied Van Lines is just one example. Many hands make light work, or so the saying goes, and your day will certainly be an easier one if you have that extra help.


#4: Think positively


Despite taking steps to make life easier for yourself, you might still experience worry. You might start to wonder if you're doing the right thing by moving, and you might start to feel emotional at the prospect of leaving your old home. These feelings are normal, but to reduce your emotional stress, think positively. Remember why you're moving and list the benefits in your head, as you should then feel excited and glad instead of anxious and sad!



We hope these tips were useful to you, but let us know what you think. And if you have any other stress-busting tips for our readers, be sure to share them in our comments below.

What Are The Biggest Threats To Your Home?

 Your home is an investment. After all, they’re not cheap; a significant portion of your income will be used to pay for your home. As such, it’s important that you ensure the property’s value is moving in the right direction. This isn’t difficult, necessarily. It’s all about being aware of the threats to your property, and taking steps to nullify those threats. It’s about more than the home’s value, though. Making sure your house is watertight will also make it more comfortable and enjoyable overall, too.


Here are the threats to your home you need to be aware of.


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A Lack of TLC 


It’ll be in your interests to learn the basics of home DIY. They’re much easier to learn than you might think! And once you have those skills, you’ll find that it’s much easier to keep your home in tip-top condition. It doesn’t matter how old your home is; they’ll always be issues that need addressing. While you should leave the big jobs to the professionals, you can handle the small tasks yourself. The issue with these small jobs is that homeowners can often overlook them, because they believe they’re no big deal -- but if you have many small issues, then you’ll soon have one big issue. 


Creepy Crawlies


You’ll want the only guests in your home to be the ones that you have personally invited. Not the ones who take up space in your home without being welcomed through the front door. Yet that sometimes happens. We’re talking about pests. Insects and rodents can find they’re way into your home if you invite them in other ways (for example, not plugging up any gaps or leaving food out). The good news is that freeing your home of pests is pretty straightforward, but you will want to do it as soon as possible, since there could be structural damage if the problem goes on too long.


Water Damage


If there’s one thing that can cause problems in the house, it’s water. This can be responsible for a whole host of issues, including mold and structural problems. So it’s recommended to periodically check that your property is as watertight as it should be. One particular area to check is your home’s crawl space; this can be a magnet for water! If you need a little help to seal it up, then check out the products available from the Crawlspace Depot. The only water in your house should be the water that comes out of your taps.


Mother Nature


Depending on where you live, you might find that one of the biggest threats to your property is mother nature. The instances of extreme weather have been on the rise in recent years. Areas that were previously fine are seeing flooding and increasingly stormy weather, which can cause a lot of damage to properties. While you may not yet have been affected, it’s important that you’re aware of potential threats, and that you take steps to protect your house while you can. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Can You Claim Spousal Maintenance After a Separation?

Sometimes known as alimony, spousal maintenance is paid by one spouse to another after a divorce. However, you don’t have to formerly dissolve your marriage in order to be able to claim spousal maintenance. If you are legally separated, as opposed to divorced, you could be entitled to maintenance.

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If the separation is amicable, both parties may be able to come to an agreement regarding the division of property and the amount of spousal maintenance to be paid. However, it’s important to seek legal advice before you agree to any arrangements.

In most instances, separating couples ask the court to decide how much should be paid to whom and for how long. When calculating spousal maintenance, divorce laws state that various things should be considered, such as:

1. The Length of the Marriage

How long you’ve been married will affect the divorce settlement. If one party came to the marriage with significant assets and the other didn’t, for example, a short marriage will not necessarily equate to both parties receiving similar settlements. In general, the longer you’ve been married, the more likely you are to be awarded spousal maintenance. Additionally, the amount of maintenance you’re awarded is typically higher if you have been married for a long period of time.

2. Earning Capacity

Each party’s earning capacity will be taken into account when spousal maintenance is addressed by the court. It’s important to note that your current income is not the same as your earning capacity. Voluntarily giving up your job to lower your income prior to divorce won’t be viewed positively by the court and your earning capacity will remain relevant.

There are various factors that can impact your earning capacity, including your education, prior job roles, your health and wellbeing, as well as whether you’ve given up work in order to support your spouse and/or your children.

As this area of law is complex, you’ll want to seek advice prior to submitting your earning capacity to the court. By consulting a law firm which specializes in divorce law, such as M. Sue Wilson Law Offices, you can access the advice and representation you need. What’s more – getting legal representation will ensure your rights are protected throughout the separation or divorce process.

3. Contribution to Marital Estate

The contribution each spouse has made to the marital estate will also affect a spousal maintenance award. However, it is not only financial contributions which are taken into account. If one person gave up their career to be a stay at home parent, for example, their contribution would not be ignored simply because they were not generating financial income.

Understanding Your Rights

Divorce laws in the U.S. are notoriously complicated, which is why it’s essential to understand your rights before agreeing to a settlement. Furthermore, an acrimonious separation can mean that one or both parties are unwilling to divulge critical information. By obtaining legal advice and representation, you can ensure that your claim for spousal maintenance is dealt with appropriately and efficiently.





7 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for the Fall

 


The Colorado landscape is gorgeous this time of year, and it's no secret that more folks will want to spend more time enjoying the season. With more time being spent at home this year, it's important to ensure the safety and comfort of your fall guests by performing fall maintenance tasks. You can get your home ready for pumpkin spice season with these seven handy tips from Mountain Insurance.

1. Inspect your fireplace, dryer vent, and outdoor firepit.

It’s a good time to get your fireplace ready now that chilly nights are here. A local chimney sweep can clean and repair any cracks.  Assure your damper, gas lines, and hookups are clean and operating smoothly. They can check your dryer vent and outdoor firepit, too.

2. Check out your driveway, walkways, and railings.

After summer heat and busy outdoor activities, these areas around your home can show wear and tear. Seal up cracks and holes. That will prevent water from freezing and crumbling the concrete. It’s a good idea to tighten the railings while you’re at it. Crossing the driveway and walkway is a different story in the ice and snow!

3. Don’t forget to drain the outdoor faucets and water lines.

This is easy prevention. Who wants to come home to frozen faucets that burst and poured running water all over the house? Drain the lines. Turn off all faucets. Remove sprinklers and garden hoses and put them indoors.

4. Unclog the gutters and repair the downspouts.

It’s a good time to clean out the gutters once the colorful Colorado autumn leaves have fallen. You’ll want to be sure to tend to the downspouts, too. Any clogs can be the source of water spilling over and causing roof or siding damage.

5. Service your Furnace or Boiler.

Is your furnace or boiler making odd sounds? Now is the time to have a certified professional service for your unit. And make repairs to water leaks, pressure build-up, and other working parts in your heating system. A heating system that’s running smoothly will keep you and your family cozy and warm when the temperatures drop. And help lower energy costs.

6. Put new batteries in your safety detectors.

As the saying goes, “When you change your clock, change your batteries.” Check to see that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are in working order. Put a fresh set of batteries in all of the units. While you’re at it, check the expiration date on all fire extinguishers. Replace any extinguisher that shows signs of damage, corrosion, or leaks. Make sure it’s fully charged.

7. Now’s a good time to check your home for radon.

Windows and doors tend to be closed more in the cooler season. It’s a good time of year to test for hidden levels of radon that may build up in your home. Use a certified contractor to test for radon levels according to EPA standards. The contractor can mitigate and remedy detected problems if any.

Preparations for a safe and comfortable home makes for an enjoyable fall season!

4 Fun Ways To Keep The Kids Entertained At Home

Baking with kids is a blast!

(Originally posted 6/11/2019, but with the COVID situation, I thought I'd give it an update and repost)

With the school summer vacation looming comes the tricky task of how to keep your kids entertained for weeks on end. The weather isn’t always on your side, and you might face many wet and dreary days stuck in the house together (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because who can say no to some quality family time?).


Keeping everyone busy and entertained doesn’t have to break the bank – the more creative you get with it, the more fun things you can come up with which may not even cost a dime.

Of course, there are also some cool investments you can make, too, if there comes a point when you’d rather the kids entertain themselves with a piece of tech because you need to get on with the laundry and your own tasks for the day.


Take a look at some of these tips to get your creative fun-loving gears whirring. 


Build an Awesome Fort

If your kids are still young enough to appreciate the power of imagination, it only takes a minute’s work to transform a pile of empty boxes, cushions and sheets into a fairy tale castle, fort or fun-filled maze. 


The great thing is you won’t need to spend any money: just pull the bed sheets right off the bed, lay them on the back of the couch and get creating your dream fort!


Bake Something Yummy Together

Because there’s nothing better than tasty treats and snacks while enjoying a cozy day home with the family – and what kid is going to say no to the concept of whipping up some delicious home-baking


Get creative with food coloring, fun stencils or weird flavors. This is also great for teaching your kids elements of cooking and making their way around the kitchen, as well as showing them what great products can come from using the kitchen at home. It may get messy, but that just means you’ve done it right. 


Invest in Audio and Video Products

In this day and age, there’s only so long you can keep a child away from a screen. Obviously the goal is to get your kids away from the TV or tablet long enough to enjoy family time and fresh air, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing for you and the kids to enjoy a movie together, cartoons or a bit of fun music. 


Companies like The Wires Zone offer free shipping on pieces of tech, and even same-day shipping if you’ve woken up just realizing you promised the kids you’d watch a home movie today. They offer items like Blu-Ray players and surround-sound speakers to make sure your family movie day is done right.  


Practice Face Painting

Make use of cheap skin-friendly paints to transform your kids into little tigers or their favorite superhero – and let them have fun doing the same to you! Get the artistic juices flowing.


Just don’t forget to check the mirror before you go answering the door to any unexpected callers!

Need more ideas? Check out these Top 18 Ideas for a Perfect Night In!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Moving Long-Distance? Take These Steps First

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When it comes to moving house, some of us choose to move just a couple of streets across, possibly

to find a bigger home or be closer to family. Some of us, however, tend only to move in big chunks,

taking us from one city to another, or potentially even another state or country. You may be in the latter

group if you have a job that requires you to travel, or happen to experience wanderlust.


However, any one of us can end up moving more or less across the country for one reason or another.

Maybe our job demands it, or maybe we have to move to help family during a tough time. Either way,

it is important to be aware of what such a long distance move entails, and how to make sure that you

take all the necessary precautions before you make it.


Read up on state/regional/national law where you’re going


Outside of a vague sense that we’re always operating on the right side of the law, many of us do not

have in-depth legal knowledge, and specifically do not know the difference between the laws where

we are, and law elsewhere. However, if you are moving within the USA, you may need to brush up

on state law in the place you’re moving to. Even neighboring states can have vastly different laws on

issues such as drinking alcohol, gun ownership and driving. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, so make

sure to learn what you need to know.


Heavy weight makes any trip tougher


Though many of us decide to travel light and save money by turning our house move into a road trip,

driving across the country with most of your possessions may well be a false economy; it will definitely

slow your drive, and will lead to more frequent refuelling stops. Assigning this part of the job to the likes

of North American Van Lines is a smart move - then you can move at your leisure, potentially even

flying to save the exhaustion and expense that comes from a long, multi-day drive and several motel

stops. Moving is a tough process, why make it any harder than it needs to be?


Switch over your utilities


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No matter how you’ve traveled, nor how long it has taken, when you arrive at the other end of a

long-haul move you are going to be tired. You will also be the very opposite of fresh, and won’t much

be in the mood for anything beyond flaking out and beginning to relax into your new home. So make

sure that you have alerted your utilities provider in the old home to switch off your service on moving

day, and spoken to your new provider to make sure your supply is on. You will want to shower, and you

are not going to want to do it in the dark, so it’s worth a check-up call a few days before the move to

ensure everything is on target.



A long-distance move can be exciting and filled with learning opportunities, but it is also testing at every

turn, so make sure you’ve got the essentials covered before you move.

Avoiding Debt During the Pandemic

Image Source


2020 has been a difficult year in many ways. The coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic has impacted

pretty much all of us in some way or another, some of us to a greater extent than others. This virus has

posed a serious threat to our health and wellbeing, but this isn’t where its chaos has ended. Instead, in

a bid to slow the spread of the virus and save lives, governments around the world have implemented

social isolation and social distancing measures, which have made businesses of all shapes and sizes

struggle to operate. With people unable to go to work or shop as usual for so many months, many

companies have begun to collapse. Many of us have lost our jobs. Many of us are operating on

reduced hours. Many of us have had to accept reduced pay packets as a means of simply holding

onto our positions. This, unsurprisingly, means that many of us have been struggling with debt as a

result. While debt may be inevitable for some of us right now, there are steps you can take to try to

help yourself as best possible. Here are a few to take into consideration.


Contact Lenders


If you have credit card bills, loan payments, financial agreements or other forms of arranged debt that

you’re trying to deal with and may not be able to meet with your reduced income, it is essential that

you contact the lenders you’re engaging with as soon as possible. Why? Well, many lenders are well

aware that people are struggling right now. Many are offering agreements where they will pause

interest, delay interest or provide payment holidays until you are back on your feet. This can help you

to avoid further fees, fines or marks on your credit record. A simple call can make a huge difference.


Create a New Budget


Creating a new budget is essential if your income has changed. After all, you need to make sure that

all of your essentials and necessary payments are able to be met. This may mean cutting down on

luxury or non-essential spending. To create a new budget, figure out your latest take home pay (your

salary minus tax payments and other necessary legal payments). Then deduct absolutely essential

payments like rent or mortgage payments, food, electricity, etc.  Whatever is left over is what you have

to spend. Even if it isn’t much, you mustn’t exceed it, as you will end up digging yourself into debt. A

professional in financial planning will be able to help you with this if you are struggling.


Consider Extra Means of Making Money


There are different ways you can attempt to make up extra money if there’s a shortfall on any of your

essential purchases:


  • Check out government help schemes such as grants

  • Take on freelance work or a second job

  • Sell belongings you do not need



These really are hard times for many of us, so hopefully, some of the above advice and guidance

might help you to keep on your feet until things begin to return to normal!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Do You Know What Buyers Want From Your Home?

 Are you thinking about selling your home? Even if you’re not planning an immediate future sale, it’s still worth exploring how you can change your home the right way to make it more appealing, such as adding vinyl windows. Ultimately, you need to get into the buyer mindset here and ensure that you offer them exactly what they want. This could be different than what you might presume. So, let’s take a look at some of the options that are most sought after by modern buyers. 

4 Health Hacks For Working Out During Pregnancy

 

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Just because you have a baby brewing in your tummy doesn’t mean you’re ready to stop exercising. Not only have you worked hard to get your body, but you want to remain as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. After hearing all the horror stories, it’s smart to try and stay as comfortable as possible!


Sure, you’re happy to admit there will be a point where you have to wind down - we see you, third trimester - but even then, you can continue to exercise. All you need to remember are the hacks to do it, which are outlined underneath.


Maintain, Don’t Gain


There are plenty of myths surrounding working out while pregnant, and they’re scary. However, pretty much every expert worth their salt is in agreement about one thing - you can maintain your routine in the first trimester. That means, if you used to jog a couple of miles a day, there’s nothing wrong with keeping up with your regime. The trade-off is that you shouldn’t ratchet up the intensity once you find out you’re with child. For example, it’s not healthy to train for a marathon if you’re used to completing a 10k. The same goes for lifting. CrossFit fanatics can lift the same volume, yet you should avoid barbells if you mainly focus on cardio!


Try Pilates


Probably the biggest change when you find out you’re pregnant is to your energy levels. You may not show straight away, but the internal changes will happen very quickly. As a result, it’s hard to find the motivation to work out, which is where a Pilates session comes into play. Firstly, online Pilates classes mean you can do it remotely without putting anybody’s health at risk. Secondly, since it’s a non-impact exercise, it’s ideal for pregnant women to build flexibility, strength, and muscle tone because it trains your core.


Create A Solid Foundation


Your stomach is only going to expand, and it will ruin your posture. You’ll find that there is an ungodly amount of pressure on your back, which is crippling. Something as straightforward as bending over is tough in the third trimester. Thankfully, you can prepare your body from the beginning by building a strong foundation now that you can maintain in the future. Although intense, deadlifting strengthens your back, legs, and glutes through resistance training to ensure your back is ready for the grind when your center of gravity changes.


Use The Talk Test


When your energy levels feel normal, you’ll want to take advantage and there’s nothing wrong with the logic. If anything, it’s encouraged as lots of women miss out on working out in the first trimester due to morning sickness. One thing to keep in mind is the talk test. Holding a conversation while exercising shows that the intensity level is low enough that the heart can pump blood around your and your baby’s body. If you’re out of breath, it’s safer to drop back.


How do you plan on exercising now you have a bun in the oven?!


Thursday, September 24, 2020

What is HUD and What Does it Do?

 


You’ve probably heard of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. However, like many government programs and agencies, you may be unclear about what role it plays, and what actions it has the power to undertake. Let’s look at what HUD is, and what it can do for members of the American public. 

Provide and Subsidize Public Housing

HUD is a federal agency overseen by a cabinet-level Secretary. Its primary function is to provide housing to people who might otherwise go without, who are eligible under HUD screening criteria. This often comes in the form of housing projects, or public housing, but it also includes Section 8 subsidizing of rent for low-income individuals or families. 

Insure Mortgage Loans

HUD also oversees the Federal Housing Administration, which insures mortgage loans. In essence, a series of grants and loans, like the Ginnie Mae program, makes it possible for people on fixed incomes, or those with low earning ability, to make down payments and secure home loans. 

Monitor Public Education in At-Risk Neighborhoods

The “development” portion of HUD’s charter includes making sure that children in higher-risk neighborhoods receive adequate public education. This is done by monitoring and evaluating standardized test scores and other variables, for statistical purposes and to determine if any appropriate actions or interventions need to be taken. 

Homelessness Relief

While many social services help to alleviate homelessness in major U.S. cities, HUD serves a unique role in helping place homeless people in housing. They oversee several programs from emergency placements to education, rehabilitation, and subsidization efforts that can help get people “off the streets” and onto a better path.

Poverty and homelessness are major issues in America. HUD’s goal is to work to make them less dominant, giving millions of citizens hope and the ability to have safe, secure housing.

3 Most Valuable Items To Sell at a Convenience Store

                


Convenience stores may not be as extensive as supermarkets and larger shops, but they provide essentials to travelers who need them. The operators think carefully about stocking the most valuable and useful articles to attract these specific clients. The following items are some of the most popular products that successful convenience stores often sell.   

1. Fresh Food

Because most convenience stores are located by gas stations or tourist-friendly destinations, many clients are travelers who have not stopped for rest and food. They may also be in too much of a hurry to wait for something to eat. Most stores have small kitchens where they prepare simple portable snacks such as pizza slices, fries and sandwiches. They also assemble cold foods, including salads and wraps, and place them in cool displays. Grateful travelers can just grab these coveted meals and enjoy them on the go. 

2. Beverages and Alcohol

Drinks are easier to transport and consume than food, so they are also a priority for consumers. They may want juice or soda to accompany their meal or need coffee to survive a long workday. Shop owners keep a supply of bottled and canned beverages, vending items and coffee makers filled with Michigan locally roasted coffee. Sometimes they also provide beer and liquor for those who do not want to travel far for alcohol. Employees must ask for proper identification before the purchase is processed. 

3. Car Supplies 

Drivers do not always have the time and resources to go to a dedicated auto parts store for a simple accessory. In addition to gas and car wash services, many convenience stores help customers out with affordable and accessible automobile supplies. Many of these items, such as pressure gauges, lubricants and jumper cables, are essential for people who need to perform speedy, on-the-spot car maintenance. 

Just like every business, convenience stores provide useful products and services to thrive. Smart operators sell these high-demand items to fully satisfy their customers. 

5 Ideas To Keep Your Kids Happy On Car Journeys

 

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Let’s face it car journeys with the kids can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare! If you don’t keep your kids happy and entertained in the car, they’ll quickly distract you and cause a scene! Thankfully you’ve got plenty of options to keep them happy and relaxed on car rides. Why not give these five a try on your next family car trip?


1 . Watch a movie


Before you head off on your next car ride with your children, download a movie on your Ipad. A fun kids' movie will have your little ones glued to the screen so that you are free to focus on the roads. To make things a bit more fun, provide popcorn and choose a movie with plenty of sing-a-long songs! When the movie is over you can always let your children play on some apps for kids.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Securing Your Family’s Financial Future

There’s a lot of things we need if we’re going to be happy and thriving as a family. We’ll need everyone to be healthy, we’ll need strong communication, and, yes, we’ll need to ensure the family’s finances are in order. This may not be the most exciting thing in the world, sure, but it is important -- after all, having a healthy financial landscape will provide the platform that allows you and your loved ones to lead the best life possible. 

Having a sound financial future isn’t easy, necessarily, but it’s not impossible either. In this blog, we’ll look at a few useful tips that’ll push you in the right direction.

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Job Security

Everything might be all well and good right now, but what about the future? It’s worthwhile taking a second look at your job security, because it’s possible that your position isn’t quite as secure as you thought it was. The next decade is going to see drastic changes in the workplace. The rise of automation and AI will cut around 40% of positions, it is estimated. There’s not much you can do to prevent that, but you can at least ensure that you’re not taken by surprise.

Invest In Yourself

And what do you do if you think your job might be at risk? You can invest in yourself. Sometimes, you can have to spend more to make money. Taking courses that’ll allow you to apply for the better-paying jobs is one of the best moves you can make, even if your job isn’t under threat. Studies have shown that there’s a strong correlation between a person’s level of education and the amount of money they earn. You could study for a master’s degree, or simply top-up with a course. If your job is under threat, then you could even retrain for an entirely new career. Don’t forget: you’re never too old to do something new. 

Get What’s yours

There’s a lot of money out there in the world, and one of the best ways to secure your family’s financial future is to simply get what’s rightfully yours. Are you leaving money on the table somewhere? If you’ve been involved in an accident, then personal injury attorneys can ensure you get compensation. Or it could be that you haven’t received a salary increase in years, in which case, isn’t it about time that you speak to your boss? There could also be tax breaks and other benefits that you’re not making the most of, either.

Investing

While it’s important to save money, it’s important that you’re not just leaving your money sitting in the bank all the time. You can put your money to work. What about investing, for example? This is a way to get your money to increase over time. Of course, this isn’t something that you should just jump into. Things may go wrong if you do that. Read up on what you’re investing in, or put it in the hands of an auto investor service.

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