Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ways To Strengthen Your Immunity Against Colds & Flu

Don’t let a COLD or FLU get to YOU this season. The human body has many ways to naturally fight infection, but you need to give it all the help you can. Here’s how to boost your immunity and fight off those nasty germs:  Eat healthy food. Load up on fresh fruits and veggies like leafy greens. Avoid sugar because it can interfere with the enzymes you need to boost your immune system.  Supercharge your body. Your body can naturally kill a virus. So spring into action during the first 24 hours to combat illness. Once you feel a few symptoms, start drinking filtered water, broths, and soups with lots of garlic, onions, and spices. Take supplements like echinacea, vitamin C, and elderberry.  Breathe clean air. Avoid smoking, air pollutants, indoor dust, and ash from fireplaces that can irritate the lining of your nose and throat.  Avoid sick people. It sounds obvious, right? But it’s easy to forget. Try not to be in the same room, breathing the same air as someone ill for long. Wash your hands frequently and disinfect everything they touch.  Get a flu shot. The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention recommends that everyone who is at least 6 months old get the seasonal flu vaccine. It protects against 3 flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Great Time to Visit Wine Country in Woodinville

Wine country is a lot closer than you think. Woodinville has been on the map for a while with Ste. Michelle and Columbia but in the past few years it has exploded in popularity and is now a major tourist destination. Washington is the 2nd largest wine producer in the country with more than 800 wineries. Over 100 are represented in Woodinville! The Woodinville wineries have more 90+ rated vintages than any wine region in the world! When I was a kid my parents loved to take us to Ste. Michelle for the tour and we would have lunch on the lawns. As an adult I have enjoyed many concerts at the winery. This time of year the fall colors are beyond their peak but there are still some trees with foliage. Think about picking up a special bottle of wine for Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Could Owning a Pet Help You Live Longer?

What would you say if you could buy a medicine that lowered your blood pressure, improved your cardiovascular health, reduced your anxiety and stress, and made you happy...everyday. Would you buy it? We know how much love and affection pets can bring to our lives, but there’s more. Scientific studies have found that having a pet can significantly improve your health. Here are 5 ways a pet can help: 1. Heart Benefits. The American Journal of Cardiology reports pet owners are more likely to survive a heart attack than those who don’t own a pet. Another study found people who owned a dog were more likely to be alive one year after a heart attack. 2. Lower Blood Pressure. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that pets help lower blood pressure (and heart rates). An American study found men who owned a cat had a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure than men who didn’t own a cat. And after a stressful event, their blood pressure returned to normal more quickly. 3. Mood Elevator. People, particularly seniors, who own pets are less likely to be depressed and lonely. Pets can provide companionship, humor, and add playfulness to our daily lives. 4. Kids and Health. Research presented at the 10th International Conference on Human Animal Interaction 2014 found that children who have pets have fewer sick days. They also reported that children who had pets had higher levels of self-esteem and functioned better emotionally. Research studies also found that children with pets coped better with divorce. 5. An Exercise Buddy. Dogs need regular exercise, which also gets their owners walking. This can improve their overall health. As an added benefit people improve their social network as they socialize their pet.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Get Your Car Ready For Winter

This time of year it is good to remember we live in a climate that is generally mild but can turn nasty in a hurry. Seattle drivers and road crews are notoriously underprepared for majorweather events. In a major weather event you can not always count on road service and may be left to make your own way. Most of these items should be kept in your car year-round. •If you are planning to put new tires on your car in the next few months do it now so you have new tires this winter when you need them most. •A functional spare tire, make sure it is properly inflated. •A First Aid kit, flashlight and batteries, jumper cables, multi-purpose utility tool, cable ties, emergency whistle and duct tape. You can buy these separately or purchase an AAA Road Assistance Kit from Amazon.com for $25-$60. •Gloves, scarves, stocking cap, waterproof jacket, boots or sturdy shoes you could walk a couple of miles in a pinch. •Tire chains. Consider the Auto Sock which are light weight and don't take up much space in your trunk. •Fire extinguisher. Buy one specifically made for cars at a store like Home Depot or O'Reilly Auto Parts. •Blankets, non perishable snacks, and bottled water. •Emergency cash in small bills ($50). •At least a quarter tank of gas. •Foam tire sealant.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Motivate Yourself To Clean

Cleaning is one of those necessary evils that everyone has to tackle eventually. Don’t put this chore off for another day. Motivate yourself and get the job done! Spring is here, embrace it while it lasts. • Make a cleaning play list: Turn your dirty work into a dance party. Throw together tunes that encourage you to move and sing along to get your mind off the task at hand. Or, treat yourself to a TV show that you’re only allowed to watch while you clean. • Let the light in: Opening the blinds and curtains brightens up rooms – and your mood! In addition, it illuminates all the cruddy corners of your home, encouraging you to pull out that broom and dust rag. • Tackle a small job first: Make your bed or clear off the dining room table, then go from there. Both significantly help clean up a portion of a single room effectively and quickly, and once you’ve done these things, it’s easy to keep going. • Cash in: Use negative reinforcement to force yourself to clean. Using a website like www.stickk.com, set a goal to clean, and if the goal is not met, you’ll be forced to donate to a cause that is distasteful to you (such as to a political party you don’t align with). • Set aside time: Just as you would schedule a doctor’s appointment or haircut, specifically reserve time to clean. Treat this like any other important activity that deserves time in your day so there are no conflicts interfering with the chore.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Teaching Kids Life Skills

Teaching kids how to approach and solve life’s challenges is one of the biggest jobs parents face. Here are a few tips to help your children (or grandchildren) grow into self-sufficient and responsible adults: • Teach Kids To Look For Solutions. When kids are faced with a problem, have them identify several options and solutions. Then you can help them choose which solution works best. • Teach Kids Responsibility: Let kids know they are responsible for their actions. They have to do their homework, but you can offer them two “positive choice” options: Do you want to do it in 15 minutes or 30 minutes? Teach them how to organize, and give them the tools to stay organized (calendar, palm pilot, notebook). • Teach Kids How To Make Good Choices. Giving kids choices empowers them to make their own decisions. Have them weigh the pros and cons of their choice, and let them make the decisions. • Teach Kids How To Deal with Failure. Teach your children that failure is not personal, permanent, or pervasive (i.e. losing a soccer game doesn’t mean you’re bad at other things as well). Developing a positive explanatory style early in life will help your children live a happier, healthier and more successful adult life.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

What Tree is Right for Your Yard?

Trees are a major landscaping feature for your home, and a major investment as well. Choosing the right tree for your yard is about much more than just what looks pretty in the garden center. Consider these factors before you start planting this fall. What is the tree’s job? You might want property border definition, a privacy screen, shade, brilliant fall colors, or fruit growing in your yard. Narrow your search to trees that fulfill your needs. What trees are best suited to your location? Don’t invest in a beautiful tree if it won’t thrive in your climate or the soil in your yard. Also keep in mind how much extra watering a tree will need, and when. Trees generally need more water in the first two years before they’re established. What kind of maintenance is involved? Leaves that turn bright colors every fall may be a vibrant focal point for your garden, but those leaves will also need to be raked up. Find out what a tree will need in each season, including any pruning and disease prevention. How much space can the tree occupy? Be aware of how large a tree will get when it’s mature, and plant accordingly. Even if you won’t be in your house 20 or 50 years in the future, careful planting today means future occupants won’t need to uproot the tree.

Monday, November 4, 2019

7 Ways To Get Your Child Excited About Reading

Does your child spend too much time watching TV or playing video games and not enough time reading? Here are 7 quick tips to make reading fun and exciting: 1. Let your child choose books they’re personally interested in. This way they won’t get bored right away. If they can’t decide, help them by matching a book topic with one of their interests. 2. Encourage them to act out the book as a play. Kids love to perform for others, and this will help them remember more. 3. Ask your child to draw pictures of the characters. This gets them to really think about the details, plus it’s fun! 4. Read chapter books. These have more surprises and character development, which will help your child visualize the words more. 5. Take turns reading and let them ask questions. Also, have them read aloud to their siblings or friends. 6. Work with other parents to start a book club for kids. Here’s a video: www.howdini.com/howdini-video-14452277.html 7. Get your child an eReader. If you can’t get them away from video games, at least make their time in front of a screen more productive. If you have an iPAD, go to www.progressbythepage.com to find a reading app. It comes with a list of free eBooks, and ways to monitor their time spent reading.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

How To Make Your Emails More Effective

Estimates are that 269 billion emails are sent every day worldwide, many by professionals in a working environment. While you may know proper email etiquette, follow these tips to make sure your business emails aren’t deleted.  Use a concise, compelling subject line. “More information” and “new program” only ask the recipient to say “about what?” Better to say “Action Items On Project XYZ.” Say “urgent” if necessary.  Don’t use long lists of email addresses if the subject only pertains to some of them. Type the relevant addresses into the address line ("To" line) and use the BCC line for the others.  Keep your message to the point. Say why you’re writing within the first two lines and try to limit yourself to one topic. Using bullet points helps you organize your thoughts. Re-read or print your email out (if you have time) before you send it.  Be careful with humor and irony. Emails aren’t good at conveying emotions, and humor, inside jokes or over-used phrases don’t really build a dynamic business relationship. Avoid phrases like “can I pick your brain” (what are you offering in return?); or “please advise” (better to say “can we discuss this further?”).  Respect confidentiality. Should everyone read this?  As a recipient, do not “reply all” unless everyone needs to know. You know this but people still do it, sometimes accidentally.  Respond promptly. Don’t leave people hanging. Include your signature and phone number for follow-up.

Smart Charitable Giving

‘Tis the season when many people start thinking about charitable giving for the holidays. There are a lot of organizations clamoring for your hard-earned money. Use these handy tips to ensure you’re making the best decisions when it comes to doling out charitable gifts. □ Seek out an established charity. Especially in times of crisis or disasters, charities seem to pop up out of nowhere in response. A good check that an organization is established is that it has at least been approved for tax purposes as a non-profit. Ensure charities are registered as tax-exempt with 501(c)(3) status (check IRS.gov for “EO Select Check” to verify that an organization is registered as exempt). □ Research the charity in question. Consider your gift a financial investment and conduct due diligence before deciding how to invest it. Check out sites like charitynavigator.org and guidestar.org, which have done a lot of the work by vetting organizations based on criteria like financial stability, funding, transparency, and ethical practices. □ Give an unrestricted donation. Once you’ve established the organization handles its funds well, consider giving money that isn’t earmarked for a specific effort. This gives the charity freedom to decide how to use the gift (and lets it decide what is most helpful). □ Look for a matching gift. Find out if your place of employment, church, social club, or a neighborhood business is currently offering to match financial gifts to certain charities. Taking advantage of a matching effort helps the donation go even further. □ Consider tax benefits. Generally, donations of cash and property to qualified non-profit organizations equaling $250 or more are tax- deductible. These donations must be made no later than December 31 of the year in which the deduction is claimed.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

In Debt? Five Warning Signs You’re In Over Your Head!

Most of us carry some type of debt: mortgage, car payments, credit cards, or educational loans. How do you know when you’re carrying too much debt? Most people fall into debt trouble with impulse buying. Here are five warning signs that you may be in dangerous debt trouble, and what you can do about it: 1. You’re unable to pay more than the minimum payments on your credit cards. 2. You have more than three major credit cards and they’re near the credit limit. 3. You use your credit cards to pay other bills. 4. You hide your bills from your spouse. 5. You don’t have a savings account. If you answered “yes” to any of the above warning signs you may want examine your debt load and set up a realistic budget. If you are carrying credit card debt, begin by paying down the highest interest credit cards bills first. Resolve to not use credit cards unless you have the cash to pay your bill off when the bill arrives; otherwise, the first step to financial health is to remove the temptation and cut up your credit cards.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Selling Homes During The Holidays

Every year, at about this time, I am often asked by home owners if it is prudent to put their home on the market during the upcoming holiday season, or if they should wait until after the first of the year. My answer is that they should definitely consider putting their home on the market, because November and December offer a higher exposure ratio compared to other months. November and December have the best exposure ratio of any other months of the year. It’s true that February thru June produce the highest amount of home sales, but when you compare the percentage of sales to the total number of new properties that come onto the market, November and December prove to be extremely good months to sell your home. The key to this analysis is understanding the real estate definition for “new on the market”. New on the market refers only to the first thirty days that a home is on the market. It is commonly known that this period of time is the most crucial for any home sale. The reason for this is that new properties receive the most exposure during this time, so there is a greater chance of making a sale. A large part of what contributes to those high rates of exposure is that there are fewer homes listed during November and December, resulting in fewer “new on the market” properties. In other words, there is not as much competition for sales, so homes have the potential to receive much more exposure than it would during the spring and summer months when there are significantly more homes on the market, further increasing the exposure and potential sale for current listings. This year more than ever, I’m encouraging owners to consider selling due the very advantageous conditions, including low home inventory and very low interest rates. When you combine high exposure ratios for homes and the serge of buyers that continue to come into the market, this years holiday season is an advantageous time to consider selling. Selling your home is a big job and should not be left to chance. Expect nothing but the highest level of service when selecting professionals to represent your interests in the sale of your property. While there are many agents to choose from, it is important to recognize that there are varying degrees of knowledge, experience and commitment to meeting your real estate needs. Call today to schedule a FREE HOME MARKET ANALYSIS and go over Coldwell Bankers seller service guarantee and proven market strategies. If you are in the market to purchase a home the Frasch Team is here to represent you and your best interests as well.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Find Time to Watch the Movie Yesterday

I grew up listening to the Beatles, my dad loved their music and it rubbed off big time! I purchased every Beatles CD and still listen to them on a regular basis. The story is about a struggling musician who realizes he’s the only person who remembers their music after waking up in an alternate timeline after a global power outage. There are no big stars but I thought the acting was great and the characters were well developed. Of course I enjoyed the soundtrack but there were enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. I think it’s the right kind of movie to bring multiple generations together for a fun shared experience. I hope you will see it soon and let me know what you think. davidfrasch@msn.com

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Encouraging Young Readers

A lifelong love of reading starts early. Fostering that love means creating a home environment that encourages affection for the written word. There are some simple things parents can do to make sure reading is fun, easy, and enjoyable for children. Read aloud to your kids. Even if they can read on their own, reading aloud means kids hear language at a more advanced level than their own. Get older kids to read aloud to younger siblings. And yes, audio books count! Play audio books the whole family can enjoy on your next road trip. Mix up the media. Not only do audio books count as reading material, there are lots of other ways to incorporate reading into every day. Magazines, recipes, and game instructions are just a few of them. Put reading material where kids spend time. Having a well-stocked library in the den is great, but keeping a few books and magazines in the bathroom, car, or at the dinner table (when the kids are a captive audience!) ensures reading material is accessible whenever the mood strikes. Create cozy reading spaces. Kids love hidey holes, whether that’s an actual nook under the stairs or a simple blanket fort under the dining table. Make sure there’s good lighting, comfy pillows, and plenty of books. Read in front of your kids. Modeling your own love of reading is one of the best ways to get kids to love it, too. Instead of movie night, try a reading night when everyone lounges together to read for an hour or two.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Perfect Timing to Visit Kubota Gardens

Kubota Garden was started by Japanese emigrant Fujitaro Kubota in 1927. He was awarded the Order of Sacred Treasure in 1972 by the Japanese government and tended the garden until his death in 1973. Kubota Garden was protected and integrated into the park system in 1987. Located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood it is an exceptionally rich collection of unique and mature plantings, waterfalls, ponds, rock formations, and artworks. The 20-acre park is fun to visit any time of year but is especially beautiful in the spring and fall. Enjoy!! 9817 55th Ave S Seattle 98118 206-684-4075

Monday, October 21, 2019

Lowering Home Heating Bills

As temperatures drop, the heating bill rises. Before the shock of your first higher-than-average bill, here are some things you can do to your house to make sure you’re not wasting money. • Keep Heat Inside – Close the fireplace flue or damper tightly when you’re not using it. Replace worn weatherstripping around windows and doors. Add caulk or foam sealants around your electric outlet boxes. These small measures can add up. • Adjust Temperatures – Lowering the thermostat by only 2-3 degrees can make a big difference. Having a programmable thermostat is even better since you can set it to 10-15 degrees cooler when you’re not home or awake. Turn down the water heater to the “warm” setting – it’s still 120 F, plenty warm for a hot shower. • Give Your Furnace a Check-Up – Make sure your furnace is running as efficiently as possible and you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck. Electric and oil heaters should be serviced every year, while gas heaters should get a check-up every two years.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Smart Charitable Giving For Savvy Donors

‘Tis the season when many people start thinking about charitable giving for the holidays. There are a lot of organizations clamoring for your hard-earned money. Use these handy tips to ensure you’re making the best decisions when it comes to doling out charitable gifts. □ Seek out an established charity. Especially in times of crisis or disasters, charities seem to pop up out of nowhere in response. A good check that an organization is established is that it has at least been approved for tax purposes as a non-profit. Ensure charities are registered as tax-exempt with 501(c)(3) status (check IRS.gov for “EO Select Check” to verify that an organization is registered as exempt). □ Research the charity in question. Consider your gift a financial investment and conduct due diligence before deciding how to invest it. Check out sites like charitynavigator.org and guidestar.org, which have done a lot of the work by vetting organizations based on criteria like financial stability, funding, transparency, and ethical practices. □ Give an unrestricted donation. Once you’ve established the organization handles its funds well, consider giving money that isn’t earmarked for a specific effort. This gives the charity freedom to decide how to use the gift (and lets it decide what is most helpful). □ Look for a matching gift. Find out if your place of employment, church, social club, or a neighborhood business is currently offering to match financial gifts to certain charities. Taking advantage of a matching effort helps the donation go even further. □ Consider tax benefits. Generally, donations of cash and property to qualified non-profit organizations equaling $250 or more are tax- deductible. These donations must be made no later than December 31 of the year in which the deduction is claimed.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Find a Hidden Gem at Schmitz Preserve Park

Have you ever wondered what the Seattle forests looked like? Well the last of our untouched old growth forest is located in West Seattle! Former parks commissioner Ferdinand Schmitz was watching our forest rapidly disappear and decided to act. His 1908 donation allowed a small piece of it to remain as nature intended. Enjoy! 5551 SW Admiral Way West Seattle 98116 Open dawn to dusk

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

5 Foods That Fill You Up

If you’re watching your weight, you can eat more than salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These foods will help fill you up, not out: • Oatmeal (not instant). It’s a healthy carb with a high fiber content. • Eggs. Eat them for breakfast and you’ll have about 330 calories less than usual throughout the rest of the day. • Dark chocolate. Researchers say compounds in dark chocolate slow down digestion and make you feel full longer. But don’t eat the whole bar! • Soup. A Pennsylvania State study showed that people who had two servings of low-calorie soup daily lost 50 percent more weight than those who ate the same number of calories in snack foods. Choose broth or vegetables, not the creamy variety. • Pine nuts. They contain pinolenic acid, which stimulates hormones that suppress your appetite. Plus, your mouth likes the crunch.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Help Kids Build Healthy Habits

From choosing healthy meals to creating positive relationships, there are lots of little things adults can do every day to instill good habits in kids. Physical • Exercise regularly as a family, and make it fun! Go for evening walks in the park, take advantage of open swim days at the gym, and ride bikes together. • Eat a healthy diet. Start early with introducing a rainbow of produce and minimizing sugary snacks. Mental • Maintain – and reflect – a positive outlook. Kids mirror what they hear and see, so use positive reinforcement and praise appropriately. Celebrate your successes as well as theirs. • Keep screen time to a minimum. Sedentary behavior is known to increases risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease, and it’s not conducive to positive social or mental growth either. Set a daily limit for TV viewing, video games, and smartphone usage and stick to it. • Read every day. Incorporate this habit into playtime or bedtime routines to help build self-esteem and success later in life. Social • Encourage kids to explore a myriad of activities to find one (or more!) they really enjoy. Whether singing in a choir, playing soccer, taking language lessons, or volunteering with a youth group, kids will meet others with similar interests while also developing their self-identity. • Eat dinner as a family, and use this opportunity to maintain open lines of communication with everyone around the table.

3 Ideas For Happier Holidays

The holidays can get stressful in a hurry. Try these simple methods for celebrating the season – and make it easier for you and your family. 1. Focus on the act of giving, not the presents. Buy gifts for the kids, but get your kids involved in giving homemade gifts (cookies, picture books) to other family members. 2. Start a family gift exchange. One idea: have family members put books they’d enjoy on an Amazon.com wish list. Share those lists and choose the books you want to give them. 3. Participate in (or donate to) a charitable activity. Check out a site like www.volunteermatch.org, but start looking early to make sure you are matched with the organization you want. On a smaller scale, bake something special and deliver it to a fire station or senior citizens’ home. 4. To ease your own stress, remember to plan ahead. Use a calendar to set aside days for exercise and rest, and learn to say no if you have too many commitments.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Quotes To Live By…

“I truly believe in positive synergy, that your positive synergy gives you a more hopeful outlook.” –Russell Wilson “When we are battling with something, or struggles, or at our highest point as well we want somebody to be there for us and to say well done. That’s Jesus!” –Russell Wilson “My dad used to wake me up at 5:30 in the morning and hit me ground balls and tell me, don’t be afraid to excel. Don’t be afraid to be great.” –Russell Wilson “My thing is, and I’ve always been this way – to get to know as many people as I possibly can on a personal level, so that way, when you get on the football field, you’ve got your buddy right beside you and you’re ready to go.” -Russell Wilson

Monday, October 7, 2019

Extended Warranty: Worth It?

After you buy a laptop, phone, major appliance, or car, you often get an offer to purchase an extended warranty. How do you know if it’s worth the extra money? It depends on two main considerations: First, how likely will it break after the standard warranty? Does this type of product or brand have a history of breaking? If yes, you may want an extended warranty, but only if your credit card doesn’t already provide extra protection and it’s a large purchase. Second, what’s the cost of replacement or repair compared to the warranty cost? Could you easily pay to replace or repair this product? If so, it may not be worth it. However, if the cost of the extended warranty is reasonable, it may be a good idea if it protects you from a major financial burden. For example, a $10 warranty on a $100 external hard drive could be a waste, but a $100 warranty on a $1,000 laptop could be very helpful.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Fall Market Update

Every year about this time I get asked by home owners if it is prudent to put their home on the market this fall or if they should wait until after the first of the year into spring. I definitely think you should consider selling this time of year because these months offer higher exposure rates compared to other months. The housing market typically slows down by late November but before that there is a fall rush that lasts 4 to 8 weeks and there are traditionally fewer homes to pick from. This year more than ever, I’m encouraging owners to consider selling due to advantageous conditions brought on by extremely low interest rates. Mortgage Interest rates have been falling and are near historic lows again. With a strong economy, wage growth, low unemployment and high consumer confidence rates should be higher but the Federal Reserve is signaling more rate reductions. Consistent downward pressure over the late spring and summer months has really helped bring back the refinance market and has helped stabilize housing prices. Seattle home prices are basically flat over the last year but it is more a product of an unsustainable red-hot housing market from the previous couple of years. If you are in the market to buy a home the timing hasn’t been better for several years. Most homes are not receiving multiple offers so buyers can get the house they love and have a normal home inspection process. Buying a home right now feels a lot more conventional where you are not forced to make a quick decision then miss the house because there are six other offers on the table. Buying a home should be a fun experience and now it is! Both buyers and sellers will benefit from gaining insight into our local markets. The Frasch Team can be invaluable in this process. Whether buying or selling it is critical to get a Realtor who knows the market and has a proven track record. The Frasch Team has been serving our local community for over 19 years, and would love to go to work for you today! Call today to schedule a FREE no hassle market analysis and go over our company’s proven marketing strategy. Coldwell Banker since 1906!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Got Burn-Out? Take These Steps

Are you bummed by job burn-out? If quitting your job isn’t an option, take these five steps to improve your situation. • Identify stress factors and learn how to manage them. Be proactive rather than passive about workplace issues. Know the difference between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” If you have too much work and too little time, talk to your supervisor. • Reconnect with your core work. Maybe you’ve strayed from what you were originally hired to do. Focus on the work you enjoy doing. • Take care of yourself. Take time off to recharge your batteries. • Build new relationships. Make friends with people who might have fresh ideas and perspectives. Do something different – open a Twitter account. • Plan your next move. Outline what you’d have to do to change careers and start taking action. Many Americans have unused vacation time, sometimes months worth. Many Americans are cashing out their vacation time instead of taking the deserved time off. Even a stay at home vacation will allow you to reset your appreciation level. Employers who have a use or lose policy are becoming more common for this reason. Take your time off, you earned it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Save Money Now With This De-cluttering Tip…

Want to save at least a $1,000 a year? Clean out your self storage unit. Nearly 1 in 10 households in the U.S. currently rent one, and let’s face it, most are filled with stuff people probably forgot they had. Here’s what you should do: Don’t keep stuff “in case you need it.” You might as well make extra money by selling some of those items on eBay or Craigslist. If you don’t have time to clean it out yourself, hire a professional organizer. It’ll cost you less in the long run. If you must rent a unit, make sure it’s temporary. Many companies offer the first month’s rent free because they know you may stay indefinitely. Know what you’re storing and make sure you only keep the unit for a few months at most.

Monday, September 30, 2019

NW Resorts Offer Off-Season Rates

Fall is a great time to explore some of our states beautiful resort properties for a substantial discount. Summer is over but we can still get nice days and with fewer tourists you can appreciate these resorts without the big crowds. • Suncadia Resort – This time of year enjoy their walking trails, winery, drives to Salmon La Sac and explore historic Roslyn. • Semiahmoo Resort – This time of year walk the beaches, build a raging fire, on a nice day rent a boat, or day trip to Vancouver BC. • Sun Mountain Lodge – The fall colors will be amazing right now! Drive the North Cascade HWY before it closes for the winter. • Quinault Beach Resort – Ocean Shores is a nice place to be even if it rains. Enjoy a long walk or take a drive on the beach. • Bandon Dunes Golf Resort – Top golf resort in the nation. This time of year the winds usually slow down a little. I been there in the fall several times. There is not a bad time to be at Bandon!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

College Savings Errors to Avoid

Saving for your kids’ college education can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Learning the best ways to save can help you avoid costly mistakes – and increase your yield. Mistake #1 – Choosing a plain old savings account When you’re concerned about losing money on an investment, a standard savings account might feel safer. The interest on that account, however, won’t even keep up with inflation, let alone the rapidly rising cost of college.  The Fix – If an aggressive investment isn’t right for you, at least choose a 529 plan, specifically designed for college expenses. Money in a 529 plan grows tax-free until your child uses it to pay for school. And if you’re lucky enough to get lots of grants and scholarships, you can transfer a 529 to another child. Mistake #2 – Believing savings count against you Some parents choose not to save for their children to go to college because they (erroneously) believe a robust savings will hinder their ability to get financial aid.  The Fix – The truth is that it’s primarily what you’re earning – not saving – that colleges take into consideration when granting financial aid, so save away. Mistake #3 – Setting and forgetting it Everyone’s financial situation changes over time, as do tax laws and investment options. But too many people set up savings plans once and never revisit them.  The Fix – It’s important to review your investments on a regular basis, and that’s especially true if your goals are in the shorter term. College investments that get more conservative over time are preferable, as they reduce risk as the child gets closer to college age.

Monday, September 23, 2019

What You Should Know About Child Identity Theft

Guess who are the next victims of identity theft – children! It’s hard to believe but criminals are searching for dormant social security numbers (SSN) online and selling them to people (strangers or even their family members) who use them to establish phony credit. Victims may not know it’s happened until they are older and apply for financial aid or try to open a line of credit. While you can’t prevent identity theft, you can take steps to limit the opportunities for it to happen. Here’s what you can do and look for:  Safeguard your child’s SSN and only give it out on a “need to know” basis. School sports teams and doctors’ offices do not have to have the number. Be cautious about disclosing place and date of birth details, particularly online (cybercriminals can find SSNs based on that information). Teach your kids not to give out personal information, especially on social networks (have them use nick names or code names when filling out online profiles).  Watch for red flags like these: • You receive checks, pre-approved credit card offers or bank statements in your child’s name. Note: the pre-approved credit card offer may just be a marketing tool sent by an affiliate of your bank because you opened a college fund for your child. • You get calls from collection agencies. • Your teen is denied a driver’s license because another person has a license with that SSN. The imposter may even have accumulated tickets or citations in the child’s name  If you suspect anything, call Social Security and ask if any income has been reported with your child’s number. You can see if there’s a credit report for your child, but don’t do so unless you have a strong indication of theft (ordering a report unnecessarily opens the door to thieves). For more information, see sites such as www.idtheftcenter.org.

Friday, September 20, 2019

How do I know if my home is underinsured?

The Insurance Information Institute recommends the following: • It’s a good idea to insure your home for the cost of rebuilding it. Check your homeowners’ policy to see the maximum amount your insurance company would pay if it had to be rebuilt. • Find out what it would cost to rebuild your home. Your insurance agent can calculate rebuilding costs for you or you can hire an appraiser (call or email me for references). Make sure your insurance agent knows about all improvements you’ve made, such as a deck or larger kitchen. • Make sure the value of your policy is keeping up with increases in local building costs. Many policies include an inflation guard; if yours doesn’t, consider purchasing one. • Find out if you have a “replacement cost” policy for your house. If you own an older home, you may have a “modified replacement cost” policy. • For the contents of your home – find out whether you have “replacement cost” or “actual cash value” insurance. • Check the limits on certain personal possessions, such as jewelry. Consider buying an “endorsement” to insure valuables separately. If you have any questions, or need capable and trustworthy representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Leavenworth Oktoberfest

Leavenworth is a fun anytime of the year but consider making plans for a trip right now. Best Oktoberfest this side of Munich! They have 4 main venues with live music, family friendly entertainment and of course beer. Don’t miss the Keg Tapping Ceremony every Saturday at 1:00 as the Mayor leads a procession of German musicians, decorated horse drawn wagons, and villagers carrying American and German flags. There are lots of vendor booths with handmade crafts and unique Oktoberfest souvenirs. This is a very busy time of year so consider taking a bus or staying the night. Hotels in Wenatchee are offering shuttles into Leavenworth so you have an option to save a few dollars on lodging. Enjoy the crowds and soak in some culture and of course drink some good beer

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Seattle Area Pumpkin Patches

It is time to plan your family outings to local Pumpkin Patches. I love seeing all of the pictures on Facebook!  Carpinito Bros. Pumpkin Patch 27508 W Valley Hwy. Kent – 253-854-5692  Mosby Farms Pumpkin Patch 12754 SE Green Valley Rd. Auburn 253-939-7666  Serres Farm Pumpkin Patch 20306 NE 50th St. Redmond – 425-868-3017  Stocker Farms Pumpkin Patch 8705 Marsh Rd. Snohomish – 360-568-7391  Carleton Farms Pumpkin Patch 630 Sunnyside Blvd SE Lake Stevens - 425-334-2297

Monday, September 16, 2019

Easy Ways To Add Curb Appeal

The first impression of your house is from the street. If you want to sell or just add some new style, try these ideas: Focus on your front door with a new color, updated light fixtures and easy-to-read house numbers. For more charm, add window flower boxes or shutters around the windows. Learn to build a window box on YouTube.com. Clean out the clutter, and trim the overgrown bushes and trees (this also makes your home safer). For quick color, add container gardens. You can buy them pre-planted. Add lighting accents to trees or to illuminate the pathway (another safety feature). You can go solar to eliminate wires. Pressure-wash the exterior. If it doesn’t look better, consider new paint or siding. Don’t forget the garage door. Repair it, paint it or replace it to make your house look like new.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Consumer ALERT: Unwanted Medication Dangers

There’s a danger lurking out there that most of us don’t even know about — and it’s drugs in our groundwater. Dumping unused medications down the toilet is causing dangerous traces of medications in water samples from 30 states, according to authorities for the U.S. Geological Survey. Putting them in the trash is the better place to dispose of unwanted medications. Consider dropping off old / unused medications at your local pharmacy. Please do your part to protect our environment.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Eat These Superfish

Salmon is great for you but here are other fish that may also help your heart:  Rainbow trout – a 3 oz serving has 20 grams of protein and almost 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.  Catfish – provides 100% of the daily requirement for vitamin B12.  Mackerel – one of best sources of vitamin D (good for bone health).  Pollock – a serving provides 73% of the daily requirement of selenium, which may lower your risk of diabetes.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

How To Find More Free Time

Where does the time go? Even if you work a normal schedule and get a full night’s sleep, you still have about 50 free hours during the week – but most people say they still can’t find free time for hobbies and passions. Take these steps to find more time for YOU: 1. Map your current time use. First track how you use your time. Keep a log for a week or two to get a good representation of how you spend your time now. Try the app Chronos for Android and iPhone for an easy-to-use and comprehensive time log. 2. Create a list of things you really want to do. Try to come up with a list of 50-75 things. Make some of them easy one-day things (visit a museum) that you can quickly accomplish and others things you tend to put off (practicing guitar). 3. Cut out unnecessary time-wasters and replace with something from your list. Cut out the time spent watching TV, surfing the internet, or attending too many functions. Start a new schedule and prioritize things that make you happy instead of time-wasters.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

How To Make Your Neighborhood A Safer Place

Whether you’ve just moved in or you’ve been living in your home for years, you want your neighborhood to be safe from crime for you and your family. Take these actions to make it even safer.  Safety is a team effort, so get to know your neighbors. Who works during the day? Who has kids? Who is retired? Maintain a list of home/cell/work numbers so you can call each other if you see something suspicious. For example, some thieves pose as movers. If you see someone at your neighbor’s house putting flat screen TVs and computers in a truck, don’t assume it’s a legitimate activity. Call your neighbors to check, especially if they aren’t home.  Work with your police or sheriff’s office to launch a Neighborhood Watch Program. It unites law enforcement and citizens to reduce residential crime. To find an existing program or learn how to start one of your own, go to www.nnw.org.  Improve your neighborhood lighting. If you don’t have adequate street lighting, join with your neighbors in turning on your outside lights every night. An effective and inexpensive idea is to place sensor-activated lighting around the outside of your home, especially entry doors and garages ($20 – $80 at Home Depot or Amazon).  Talk to your neighbors about home security systems. Visit a site such as www.safewise.com for information on a variety of systems. You can get basic ADT monitoring, for example, for $37 a month plus $99 for installation. Some insurance providers offer a discount if you purchase a complete security system. The site also offers an excellent Home Security Checklist (click on Learn and Home Security Resources).

Monday, August 26, 2019

Leaving Home Tool Kit

When kids go off to college or start life on their own it’s nice to set them up with a few basic tools. When I moved out my grandfather gave me one of his tool boxes and filled it with tools I still use today. Even if you’re not a skilled handyman, it’s always a good idea to keep a well-rounded tool kit for quick and easy fixes to common problems. 1. Hammers – From minor repairs to home d├ęcor projects, a light hammer is essential and a medium or heavy hammer increases options. 2. Screwdriver set – With a set of 6 to 10 screwdrivers, you can tighten screws on furniture, install outlets, and pop open paint cans. At the very least, get both a Phillips head and flat head screwdriver. Get a small organizer and fill it with different size screws and nails. Add a small crescent wrench for light duty needs. 3. Tape measure – Make it easy to measure rooms, windows, or anything else with a tape measure that extends at least 25 feet. 4. Utility knife – Keep kitchen knives where they belong and invest in a utility knife with easy-to-replace blades to tackle any other slice-and-dice project around the house. Add a small wood saw for basic cutting needs.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Five EASY Memory Boosters!

Have you misplaced your keys again? If you’re like most people, it’s an occasional annoyance. But if it’s happening more frequently than you’d like to admit, maybe it’s time for some memory boosters to help strengthen your mind. Here are five easy tips to improve your memory power: 1. Keep Items Where You’ll Need Them. Keep your keys by the front door; eye glasses in the same place everyday, and wallet/purse in the same location. 2. Keep A Notebook With A Calendar. Keep names, phone numbers, important dates, medical information, to do lists, and a notepad. Carry it with you (or carry a small notepad), so you can jot down information as needed. 3. Minimize Distractions. Focus on one thing at a time. Turn off the TV or radio when you need to focus your attention on a task. 4. Exercise Your Mind. Read, do crossword puzzles, play cards, chess, or a musical instrument to keep your mind active. Watch television shows like Jeopardy. 5. Take Care Of Your Body. Go for a walk, swim, or bicycle. It’ll clear your mind. And remember to eat a balanced diet and get enough rest!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Is Microphilanthropy For You?

Charitable giving comes in many forms, but the latest trend is toward microphilanthropy, which involves direct interaction between individual donors and projects. This giving is popular because donors can give small amounts that make a big difference and choose where their money goes. Some examples include DonorsChoose.org, which funds specific project requests from teachers in U.S. public schools; GlobalGiving.org, a marketplace that connects donors to 1,000 pre-screened grassroots charity projects around the world; ModestNeeds.org, which assists families who are unable to pay their monthly bills; and Kiva.org, which is peer-to-peer micro-lending to the applicant of the donor’s choice. You can check out these organizations, get tips on setting your philanthropic goals for 2011 and research more than 5,500 other charities by visiting www.charitynavigator.org, an independent charity evaluator.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Sleep On it: Dreams May Help You Solve Problems

Did you know Paul McCartney composed “Yesterday” in a dream? Studies show that when you dream, you’re more open-minded and may see things from a different perspective. Here are two different approaches you might try to solve a problem or increase your creativity: 1. Clear your mind before you go to sleep. Read a book, talk about something else, go to sleep, and trust your subconscious. 2. Focus on the problem you want to resolve. Form it into a question (for example, “What should I say to have a successful meeting?”), write it down, and visualize a positive outcome. With either method, write down what you remember about your dreams when you wake up. They may be illogical, but the imagery or events could be a metaphor for a solution that relates to your problem. These techniques require a positive attitude and lots of practice, but they can help you! For further information, look up the work of dream psychologists, such as author Deirdre Barrett.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Preparing Pets To Move

Moving to a new home is hard enough, but it can be even more stressful for pets. Take note of these tips to make the move for critters easier:  If you’ll be moving overseas and/or flying to your new home, check on paperwork requirements early in the planning prep.  Meet with your vet to fill prescriptions, update vaccinations, and get a copy of your pet’s medical records.  Get your pet used to a carrier or riding in a car if these are new experiences. Maintain routines as much as possible.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Is it possible to purchase a home with a small down payment?

Lenders have always offered government backed FHA programs which allow lower credit scores, higher income to debt ratios with 3.5% down aimed at first time buyers. More lenders are also offering a 5% down conventional product with mortgage insurance premiums. Other ways to buy a home with little down include using local or federal government programs, using a tax refund, and asking a relative or friend for a financial gift. Before you do any of the above, consult a professional REALTOR® about your options. A REALTOR® also will provide you with direction and connections to a lender and help you avoid costly traps and pitfalls in the home-buying process. For more information on down-payment options, ask for my Free Consumer Report “4 Quick Ways To Buy A Home With Little Down.” I’ll send a copy right to you. My lender John Porter at Mortgage Masters is ready to go to work for you today. 206-954-8736 or john@mortgagemasterwa.com

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Thanks to all of my clients and friends who support my practice and graciously referred me to your friends and neighbors! Rather than pester people with unwanted calls and visits, I build my business based on the positive comments and referrals from people just like you. I couldn't do it without you! Your trust in me and Coldwell Banker will never be taken for granted and anyone you send my way will get nothing but the best in quality and personal representation. Outstanding service is how a good agent builds their business and from my first days in the business in 2000 I have strived to become an agent you are proud to recommend to others. Thanks again!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Inexpensive Pest Control

Before you call in a top-dollar professional to handle your pest invasion problem, try one of these cheaper options: • If you have ants, make a spray of vinegar and water (one part vinegar to one part water). Spray at their entrance into the house, whether it’s at a door, window, or baseboard. Spray their trail completely. • Make homemade ant bait with a mixture of Borax and sugar. Place the mix in small containers. If sugar doesn’t work, mix Borax with something fatty or oily. • If gnats are a problem, let soil in indoor plants dry out completely. This kills any larvae that are nested there.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Build An Emergency Fund

Everyone knows they should have an emergency fund, but how much should you actually save? Websites like practicalmoneyskills.com and bankrate.com have online calculators to help address your specific needs, but generally speaking: • Create a simple budget and sock away about six months of living expenses. • Be honest about your actual living expenses to avoid underestimating. • Don’t mindlessly toss extra money into an emergency fund. Overfunding an emergency fund takes money away from investments that could be earning a higher financial return.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Drive the North Cascades Hwy this Summer

Beautiful summer days are a great excuse to take road trips. If you have time and find a sunny day jump in the car and go for it! SR 20 closes every winter sometime in November depending on snow depth and does not generally reopen until May. The pass is 5,477 ft. above sea level! It is one of the state’s oldest highways; it was roughed out in 1897. Before that is was a well-used Native American trading route. It is the states northernmost route across the mountains and was the 1st designated National Scenic Highway in the United States. From Marblemount to Winthrop you will want to stop several times to take pictures. The most scenic drive starts in the North Cascades National Park and is absolutely spectacular past a turquoise Lake Diablo and crystal blue Ross Lake. I have taken the drive once and will not forget it! You will want to consider staying the night or plan on a full day. Winthrop offers many great restaurant and lodging options. Enjoy the trip!

Monday, July 29, 2019

What advantages does using a REALTOR® provide me in buying a home?

A skilled REALTOR® can save you thousands of dollars by serving as your “Buyer’s Representative,” who will help you write your offer and negotiate your deal. Here are four ways I can help you save time and money: 1. Help you analyze your needs and find the home you want at the right price. Coldwell Banker has been serving our community since 1906 and has a 24 point buyer service guarantee. 2. Give you direction and contacts to get pre-approved for a home loan. I suggest calling John Porter at Mortgage Masters. 206-954-8736 or email him at john@mortgagemasterwa.com 3. Help you avoid traps and pitfalls in negotiating the best deal with the sellers. I will share the recently sold comparable properties before suggesting an offer price. 4. Coordinate inspections, appraisals, escrow and title services with the best companies, ones I know and trust. Hiring the right inspection company is so important. You want to know what you are buying so there are no hidden surprises after you move in. I have been a full time agent at Coldwell Banker since 2000 and would love to go to work for you today!

Friday, July 26, 2019

How Good Posture Can Make You Happier

Have you noticed that you slump or hunch over when you’re feeling down and do just the opposite – stand up straight and tall – when you’re feeling good? Studies show that your mind (or mood) influences your body (posture) and vice versa – your body language influences your confidence and energy. Once you realize this, you can make it work to your advantage. Here’s what you should know:  How good posture looks and feels, and what you can do to improve yours this New Year. • Go to a site such as www.acatoday.org and search for “tips to maintain good posture.” • Exercise (stretching, walking, running, yoga) to improve your mobility and flexibility. Get away from “couch slouching.” • Watch Amy Cuddy’s popular 2012 TED Talk. Just search for “Amy Cuddy Ted Talk” on Youtube.com. She explains how doing certain “power poses” every day will actually change your hormone levels and relieve stress.  The benefits of avoiding “computer hunch.” Sitting at a computer or looking down at a phone causes a natural slump and ultimately fatigue. If you learn to sit properly, move your eyes away from the screen and take breaks from the computer and phone, you’re bound to clear your mind, and feel refreshed and more energetic.  “Fake it ‘til you make it” might just work. It sounds funny, but even if you’re not in a good mood, try adjusting your posture, holding your head up and projecting confidence. People will react to you accordingly, sending positive feelings to your brain.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Don’t Be Vitamin D-ficient

Do you get an “F” in vitamin D? Most of us don’t get enough of this nutrient that’s needed by all the tissues in the body. Studies show a vitamin D deficiency can raise your risk of developing cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoarthritis. Here’s how you can raise your grade: The main source of vitamin D is the sun’s ultraviolet rays. So, baking in the sun is bad, but a little sun is good. Try 15 minutes of sun exposure on sunscreen-free arms/legs a few times a week. Eat D-rich foods. Fatty fish, eggs and orange juice naturally contain it but many other food items are fortified with it. Read the labels. Ask your doctor for a vitamin D (blood) test. It’s particularly important if you are obese, elderly or have fair or dark skin and purposefully stay out of the sun. You also may be low if you live north of 35 degrees latitude (above Atlanta, GA) in winter, where the sun’s rays are less strong. Take D supplements (with your largest meal of the day). Aim for 1,000 IU a day; 1,200 if you’re over 60. Some people need more than 2,000 a day. Talk to your doctor for specific supplement doses.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Help Someone With Depression

Depression isn’t talked about often, but about 7% of adults in the United States (nearly 16 million people) have shown signs of being depressed in the past year. If you know someone who shows signs of depression, here are four tips to help your friend or loved one: 1. Recognize symptoms. Common signs include lack of interest in things the person used to enjoy, problems with sleeping, showing feelings of hopelessness, and withdrawal from daily activities and conversations. 2. Listen. Do not deny what the person has to say. Instead, validate their feelings. Keep in mind that speech may be slow and less coherent, so be patient. 3. Encourage them to find help. You can provide support and listen to their concerns, but a trained professional should assist with long-term care. Offer to help find information for mental health resources or make an appointment, if necessary. 4. Enlist help from others. If they are resistant, talk to other important people in their lives (such as family, clergy, or healthcare professionals) to ensure they get the help they need. If your loved one may be suicidal, don’t assume the situation will simply pass. Let them know you take their feelings seriously, and offer to accompany them to the hospital. Call their doctor or your own for advice if you need help deciding what to do. If it’s an emergency, call 911; responders are trained to deal with mental health crises. You can call the National Suicide Prevention hotline 24 hours a day for help and information at 800-273-TALK. You can also chat online with someone at: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Support Girls In Sports

Do you have a young, impressionable girl in your life — perhaps a daughter, niece, or cousin? Encouraging her to participate in sports is physically healthy, helps develop teamwork and goal-setting skills, and builds self-confidence. Show your support by:  Accommodating her interest and participation in a sport. Buy her decent equipment, drive her to practices, and watch her when she plays.  Carving time out of your schedule for one-on-one practice so she can improve her running, throwing, and kicking skills.  Proudly framing and displaying a photo of her playing her sport.  Participating in a sport or being active yourself. Active role models in a girl’s life increase the likelihood that she will also be active.  Focusing on fun. Let her try new sports until she finds one she enjoys.  Keeping an eye on confidence by avoiding comments about her body size or shape.  Encouraging her to seek out active female role models. Watch live sporting events and read books about female athletes.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Avoid Over-Eating

A paper published by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that participants eating with their non-dominant hand ate up to 30% less food.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Easy Ways To Add Curb Appeal

The first impression of your house is from the street. If you want to sell or just add some new style, try these ideas: Focus on your front door with a new color, updated light fixtures and easy-to-read house numbers. For more charm, add window flower boxes or shutters around the windows. Learn to build a window box on YouTube.com. Clean out the clutter, and trim the overgrown bushes and trees (this also makes your home safer). For quick color, add container gardens. You can buy them pre-planted. Add lighting accents to trees or to illuminate the pathway (another safety feature). You can go solar to eliminate wires. Pressure-wash the exterior. If it doesn’t look better, consider new paint or siding. Don’t forget the garage door. Repair it, paint it or replace it to make your house look like new.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Are You Prepared To Help Your Aging Parents?

Have you thought about how you would handle an emergency if your parent became injured or ill? Here are four ways to prepare: 1. Get access to important medical records and contacts. Your parents will rest easier knowing you have information on their medical history, doctors, pharmacies, medications, and insurance policies. 2. Automate deposits. Set up social security and any other retirement income to be automatically deposited into the bank. 3. Automate bills. Set up utilities to be automatically withdrawn each month, and keep a list of recurring charges to avoid late fees. 4. Assemble a care team. Enlist a team of people (including their friends and neighbors) who are willing to call you if anything happens. Talk to your parents’ health care providers to let them know you want to be involved in their care. 5. Ask for a list of passwords so you can access important information online or in their phone.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Save Money Exchanging Currency

Exchanging money when you travel abroad has the potential to be expensive because of hidden fees. Save money by doing the following: 1. Use your bank ATM card overseas at a partner bank that won’t charge a transaction fee. Find out what financial institutions your bank partners with before leaving home. Ask if your bank is part of the Global ATM Alliance. 2. Use credit cards that have low or no transaction fees. Chase (chase.com) and Capital One (capitalone.com) both have favorable cards available for frequent travelers.

Friday, June 21, 2019

College Savings Errors to Avoid

Saving for your kids’ college education can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Learning the best ways to save can help you avoid costly mistakes – and increase your yield. Mistake #1 – Choosing a plain old savings account When you’re concerned about losing money on an investment, a standard savings account might feel safer. The interest on that account, however, won’t even keep up with inflation, let alone the rapidly rising cost of college.  The Fix – If an aggressive investment isn’t right for you, at least choose a 529 plan, specifically designed for college expenses. Money in a 529 plan grows tax-free until your child uses it to pay for school. And if you’re lucky enough to get lots of grants and scholarships, you can transfer a 529 to another child. Mistake #2 – Believing savings count against you Some parents choose not to save for their children to go to college because they (erroneously) believe a robust savings will hinder their ability to get financial aid.  The Fix – The truth is that it’s primarily what you’re earning – not saving – that colleges take into consideration when granting financial aid, so save away. Mistake #3 – Setting and forgetting it Everyone’s financial situation changes over time, as do tax laws and investment options. But too many people set up savings plans once and never revisit them.  The Fix – It’s important to review your investments on a regular basis, and that’s especially true if your goals are in the shorter term. College investments that get more conservative over time are preferable, as they reduce risk as the child gets closer to college age.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Save Money On Dental Care

Even with health insurance, dental care costs can add up fast. Dentists will sometimes discount your bill if you ask (especially if you don’t have insurance), and if you’re over 55 there may be a senior discount program. Here are four more ideas to help you save: 1. Use a dental school. You can find accredited schools for most dental work, where a student will perform the work overseen by an experienced instructor. Find schools here: ADA.org/dentalschools 2. Consider a dental discount plan. Sometimes using a dental plan may save you more than actually having dental insurance. You generally pay a yearly fee to join a discount plan and use dentists that are members of the plan to get lowered rates on services. To find a plan available in your area visit: www.dentalplans.com or www.dentalcareadvantage.com 3. Choose a dentist with a payment plan. Many dentists will work with you to set up a payment arrangement if you don’t have insurance. There are also special credit accounts you can get just for dental and medical bills, which allow you to make payments instead of having to pay the sum in full before you can be treated – check with your bank or at: unitedmedicalcredit.com or carecredit.com 4. Low-income dental care options. For low-income patients, there are many options that vary by state. Find locations that provide free or low-cost health and dental care in the U.S. at the following website: FindAHealthCenter.HRSA.gov. Dental Lifeline at DentalLifeline.org provides free dental work to elderly and disabled patients who otherwise couldn’t afford to pay.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Getaway to Suncadia Resort!

Suncadia Resort was a huge gamble that has paid off! Suncadia is a 6300 acre planned resort community backing up to 2.2 million acres of National Forest land. It’s right off I90, just 90 miles from Seattle, yet worlds away. It was begun in 2002 and is now living up to expectations with 3 top rated golf courses, winter activities, hundreds of homes, water parks, amazing winery, spa, amphitheater, beautiful lodge and much more. I have played all of the courses including the new Rope Ryder and just love being up there and the I’m on vacation feeling you get. The restaurant in the lodge is high quality and has sweeping views of the valley and the private Tumble Creek course, everything is first class! Suncadia is worth checking out if you want a really nice family vacation spot! If you head up make sure to take a short drive to historic Roslyn. There are lots of restaurants and great shops plus the Heritage Distillery open for daily tasting samples and gifts. Stop in for a beer at Washington's oldest bar - The Brick Tavern. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Drive the North Cascades Hwy this Summer

Sunny spring and summer days are a great excuse to take road trips. If you have time and find a nice day jump in the car and go for it! SR 20 closes every winter sometime in November depending on snow depth and does not generally reopen until May. The pass is 5,477 ft. above sea level! It is one of the state’s oldest highways; it was roughed out in 1897. Before that is was a well-used Native American trading route. It is the states northernmost route across the mountains and was the 1st designated National Scenic Highway in the United States. From Marblemount to Winthrop you will want to stop several times to take pictures. The most scenic drive starts in the North Cascades National Park and is absolutely spectacular past a turquoise Lake Diablo and crystal blue Ross Lake. I have taken the drive once and will not forget it! You will want to consider staying the night or plan on a full day. Winthrop offers many great restaurant and lodging options. Enjoy the trip!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

How To Prevent Portion Distortion

Your mother’s old adage “finish your plate” isn’t the best advice anymore. Whether you eat out (restaurant portions are up 40 percent over the last 30 years) or eat in at home, portion sizes have grown out of proportion, causing many of us to consume extra calories and add unhealthy pounds. Here’s how to prevent portion distortion and help control your weight. Know your terms. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat for a meal. Big or small – the choice is up to you. A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or 8 ounces of milk. Read the Nutrition Facts Label. The Food and Drug Administration puts it there to tell you how many calories and how much fat, carbohydrate, sodium and other nutrients are in one serving of the product. You may think the 3-ounce bag of chips is one portion, but the label says it contains 3 servings. Gradually reduce your portions. Try relating one serving size to everyday objects such as these offered by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: 1 cup of cereal = a fist 2 tsp of peanut butter = a ping-pong ball 1/2 cup of ice cream = 1/2 baseball 1 medium fruit = 1 baseball 3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry = 1 deck of cards Use the “New American Plate” guide. The American Institute for Cancer Research says to look at your plate and aim for meals made of 2/3 (or more) of vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans, and 1/3 (or less) animal protein. Repackage products. Buying large-size bags or boxes may save you money, but divide the items into single serving packages when you get home. Don’t “supersize” at fast-food restaurants. It may sound like a good value but you know you’re eating more than you should. If you go for the larger-sized meal at any restaurant, be sure to share it with a friend or take half of it home for another meal.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Make Extra Income By Renting Your Home Or A Room

With thousands of hotel rooms available that offer the same amenities, many travelers now prefer a more personal experience – staying with a host by renting a room or an entire house through sites like AirBnB.com, Homeaway.com, and VRBO.com. As a host, you can make significant extra income by renting your space. Here are key questions you should ask if you are considering hosting: • Is it safe? Check with the site you might list with for specifics. AirBnB provides hosts with insurance and “Verified ID,” which means they have verified guests’ information. It’s wise to speak with your guests on the phone before you book the reservation. Plus, guests and hosts are both subject to reviews from other guests/hosts on most sites. • How much can you earn? Hosts who rent out a room make anywhere from $70 per night on AirBnB in a city like Houston, to over $100 in San Francisco. The most profitable locations are places with beaches like Miami and San Diego, mountain towns, or cities with summer festivals. HomeAway reports that homeowners charge an average weekly rate of $1,520 for an entire home. • How much time does it take? Hosts who are more hands-on have higher occupancy rates. Cleanliness, an accurate description and pictures of your property, and developing a relationship with your guests will help you book more often, and get you better reviews. HomeAway says its hosts spend an average of 9 hours per week marketing and managing their properties. • Can I do it in my neighborhood? Understand the laws in your town. Call your local zoning/planning office to make sure it’s legal to rent a room to short-term renters.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Causes and Cures of Pain

From aching joints to general fatigue, sometimes we’re plagued by symptoms, but we don’t know what the medical problem could be at the root of our pain. Here are a few health issues that could be causing your problems, and a few “quick tips” that may help. 1. Backaches – An old mattress can cause back pain, but you may want to have your doctor check your vitamin D levels – a deficiency can cause back and joint pain. A daily supplement can help if that’s the culprit. Weakened vertebrae, muscle fatigue, and back spasms may be eased with daily stretching, yoga, and hot and cold therapy applied via heating pads and ice packs (see your doctor for help with how to use this correctly). 2. Aching joints – Pain sensitivity is particularly acute for women who have gone through menopause. If you eat tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, dairy, and/or gluten, keep a food diary to see if food sensitivity is a culprit of your pain. 3. Lethargy and fatigue – Remaining alert and awake ensures you’re working at your highest levels of productivity. If you’re also suffering from sensitivity to cold and unexplained weight gain, hypothyroidism could be to blame. Of course, poor sleep could be at fault; get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day to increase levels of deep sleep. 4. Foot pain – Though gout affects joints throughout the body, the most common place for this painful condition to occur is the base of the big toe. Pain concentrated in the heel or arch of the foot may result from plantar fasciitis. Ditch the high heels and tight-fitting shoes, and lose excess weight to help decrease pain. Alcohol and stress can increase gout flare-ups. For a more comprehensive list of possible hidden causes and cures of pain, try this online tool: symptomchecker.isabelhealthcare.com

Monday, May 20, 2019

Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum

Located at Paine Field Paul Allen has focused the collection of important aircraft, tanks, and other military treasures from WWII in two working hangers. In 1998 he began acquiring and preserving vintage aircraft and opened to the public in 2004. This year they break ground on a 3rd hanger adding 30,000 ft. of exhibit space. Open 10:00am to 5:00pm Tue-Sun - $14. Adults – www.flyingheritage.com

Friday, May 17, 2019

Use These Strategies To Shop Smarter For Groceries

You can read plenty of articles on the internet about how to save money on groceries, but do you really have a grocery shopping strategy? Here are some supermarket tips and secrets that will make you a savvy shopper.  Approach grocery shopping like a job. You need to have a plan (take a list) and a budget to make the best use of your time and money.  Stick to a time schedule. Shop for what you need and get out. It is said that if you’re in the store more than 30 minutes, you’ll spend an extra 50 cents to $1 per minute as you walk the aisles.  Shop alone. Real Simple Magazine says parents will spend 10-40 percent more if they take their kids along. It might be worth it to hire a babysitter!  Only buy “food” at a grocery store. Generally, you’re better off buying toiletries, cleaning supplies and pet food at a big-box discount store.  Know the floor plan. Shop the perimeter first for fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and milk. You’ll find some good buys in the center aisles, but you’ll also be tempted by items like frozen convenience foods.  Don’t assume everything on sale is a bargain. Stores often display “sale” items at the end of the aisles. Manufacturers pay to have their products put there so they aren’t necessarily a good deal.  Check “price per unit.” Sometimes it’s cheaper per unit to buy two smaller items than it is to buy one supersize package.  Look high and low. Stores often place higher-priced items at eye level (brands pay for the space). Check prices on the top and bottom shelves.  Pay attention at checkout. Shoppers lose up to $3 billion a year on scanner mistakes (current sale prices not reflected).

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Surprise: Coffee Is Good For You

Studies show that black coffee – in moderation (no more than 5 cups a day) – can be good for your health. Here are four benefits you probably haven’t considered: 1. Coffee contains nutrients and antioxidants such as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin. These are all things your body needs to function well. 2. It also contains caffeine. Caffeine speeds up your metabolism and aids in fat burning. Health.com says it may protect brain cells from damage that contributes to the development of Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Avoid it, however, at least four hours before bedtime, or if you have caffeine sensitivity. 3. Drinking one or two cups per day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular and liver disease, as well as lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 4. Coffee may fight depression and make you happier. But, seriously, try to hold off on the venti white chocolate mocha lattes.

Monday, May 13, 2019

How to Be More Grateful

We would all rather be happy if given the choice. In some cases, our state of happiness can be a conscious choice we make to focus on the positive things in our lives. Learning to be grateful in your daily life is a surprisingly effective way to improve your health and overall happiness. The benefits of being grateful can be huge. Studies show that people who are more grateful sleep better, feel healthier, have higher self-esteem, have more energy, and experience less stress. Staying grateful isn’t always easy, but with all these physical and mental benefits it’s absolutely worth the investment of your time. Here are some easy ways to practice gratitude on a regular basis. Try out a few of them to see which suits you best. • Keep a “gratitude journal” to jot down 1-2 things you’re grateful for daily. • Actively work on cultivating positivity by looking for a bright side to negative situations. • Pay someone an unexpected complement each day. • Talk about 2-3 positive moments from the day during nightly dinner conversation. • Offer a heartfelt – not routine – “thank you” for a mundane task, such as someone holding a door open for you at the store. • Say out loud what you’re grateful for, even if you’re talking to yourself. • Put a picture of your family, or whatever you’re most thankful for, somewhere you’ll see it multiple times a day. • Donate your time to a favorite cause. Monetary donations are great, but donating your time is even more effective at making you feel grateful.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Don’t Be Vitamin D-ficient

Do you get an “F” in vitamin D? Most of us don’t get enough of this nutrient that’s needed by all the tissues in the body. Studies show a vitamin D deficiency can raise your risk of developing cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoarthritis. Here’s how you can raise your grade: The main source of vitamin D is the sun’s ultraviolet rays. So, baking in the sun is bad, but a little sun is good. Try 15 minutes of sun exposure on sunscreen-free arms/legs a few times a week. Eat D-rich foods. Fatty fish, eggs and orange juice naturally contain it but many other food items are fortified with it. Read the labels. Ask your doctor for a vitamin D (blood) test. It’s particularly important if you are obese, elderly or have fair or dark skin and purposefully stay out of the sun. You also may be low if you live north of 35 degrees latitude (above Atlanta, GA) in winter, where the sun’s rays are less strong. Take D supplements (with your largest meal of the day). Aim for 1,000 IU a day; 1,200 if you’re over 60. Some people need more than 2,000 a day. Talk to your doctor for specific supplement doses.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Home Soundproofing Tips

From loud electronics and kitchen equipment to noisy neighbors and street sounds, an otherwise serene home can easily become an unpleasant cacophony of disturbances. Keep the peace with a few simple soundproofing tips. • Install interior doors that aren’t hollow. Particleboard-core, composite-core, or solid-wood doors are all better options. • Add sound-dampening throw rugs and fill bookshelves in the most voluminous rooms. • Maintain appliances or invest in quieter ones when it’s time for replacements. • Keep external noise to a minimum by closing the garage door, installing triple-pane glass, and using curtains made from tightly woven fabric. • Add insulation to thin walls and ceilings. • Tighten squeaky floorboards. • Avoid inexpensive or poorly designed speaker systems.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Great Garage Sale Tips…

Ready to get rid of clutter? Use these tips to hold the best garage sale ever:  Plan ahead and publicize everywhere. Use CraigsList.org, word-of-mouth, emails to friends, and spend some time on legible signs that guide people to your home.  Get your kids to donate items and participate in the sale. Team up with neighbors so you’ll have more to offer.  Arrange items by category (books, clothes, etc.) and put some of your sure-to-sell items up front (in the driveway) to draw customers in.  Make sure every item is clean and reasonably priced. A rule of thumb is one-half to one-third of the original price, depending on the item. Be prepared to negotiate – everyone wants a bargain.  Get some music going (plus snacks) to keep things lively.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Comfortable Outdoor Living

Making the most of your outdoor living space gives you more space for relaxing and entertaining. Here are some ideas to create your own welcoming areas for outdoor living.  Add visual interest to an outdoor space with brightly-painted planters or colorful throw pillows. They’re easy to update when your favorite color changes, and small enough to add more whenever you like.  Dual-purpose furniture is useful in a small outdoor space. For instance, bench seating that’s also storage and a table that has a planter underneath reduce the furniture footprint without sacrificing utility.  Walkways invite exploration into a larger yard, and keep guests from accidentally stepping on seedlings. Curving walkways through trees or bushes can also create more intimate spaces for entertaining without overcrowding in one spot.  Your indoor fireplace is probably a focal point, so why not give your backyard a similar treatment? Digging a fire pit into your lawn is an inexpensive option. If you don’t want to give up that space in your yard permanently, there are also movable fire pit units you can buy, allowing you to store them when they’re not in use.  Creative outdoor lighting not only provides a warm glow, it also means you can use your outdoor space into the night. Simple DIY solutions include strings of outdoor globe string lights around the porch, small white fairy lights wrapped around tree trunks, or candles in Mason jars twinkling on tables. For an even bigger “wow” factor, wire a chandelier over an outdoor dining table.  Combine outdoor lighting and pest control in one. Fill mason jars with fresh rosemary sprigs, slices of limes or lemons, and about 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Add water and a floating candle to the top. Mosquitos don’t like the smell, but you will.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Many Uses for Lemons

Lemons might be the most useful – and inexpensive – ingredient you have at home! Here are just a few of the ways to use lemons that you might not know.  Get rid of garbage disposal odors by adding a couple of lemon chunks.  Polish stainless steel or banish ants with lemon juice.  Drink a little lemon juice to bump up your metabolism or relieve throat pain.  Keep apples and guacamole from turning brown with lemon juice.  Remove stains on fingernails by sticking your fingers in a lemon for a few minutes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How to Say No (Nicely)

Saying “no” to friends, family, and coworkers often means you get to say “yes” to your own needs. Doing so politely means people still like you! Here are ways to say no that won’t alienate others:  When your boss gives you a new assignment: “That project sounds interesting. I already have a lot on my plate, what should I put on the back burner to accommodate this?”  When you’re asked to give to a charity: “I’ve already donated my planned amount this month (or year), but tell me more about this charity for my next charitable round of giving.”  When you’re asked to lend your truck for a move: “I’m sorry, I don’t loan out my vehicle, but let’s talk about the date – maybe I can do the driving myself.”  When you’re asked to run the school bake sale – again: “You know, I think I’ve done the last two. Why don’t we see if someone else can take a turn?”

Monday, April 15, 2019

Road Safety: Defensive Driving

Being a safe driver is about more than just obeying the speed limit. There are skills known as “defensive driving tactics” that can help keep you out of trouble on the road. Here are a few defensive driving techniques anyone can do:  Pay Attention to Your Surroundings – You might think you already do this, but driving is something most of us do by motor memory (especially on a boring commute). It’s easy to get distracted by a song on the radio or a bird flying by. Stay alert and you’ll be more prepared if something appears in front of you on the road. This also means putting down the phone. If you need to take a call or send a text, pull over (please!).  The 2-Second Rule – In order to maintain a safe following distance behind the car in front of you, choose a roadside landmark (like a tree or a road sign). When the car in front of you passes it, start counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi.” It should take you two seconds or more to reach the same landmark. If you get there sooner, you’re following too closely.  Avoid Blind Spots – You probably know where the blind spots are in your own car, and you’re accustomed to compensating when you need to back up or change lanes. You can’t count on everyone else to do the same in their own cars, however, so to be on the safe side you should avoid driving in another car’s blind spots. If you can’t see the other car’s side mirrors, assume that they can’t see you.  Expect the Unexpected – Even when you have a green light, make sure there isn’t someone running a red coming the other way. Even if the car in front of you doesn’t have a blinker on, be prepared in case they make a sudden lane change. Even if you assume the car behind you will slow down as traffic is building, keep an eye on your rearview mirror just in case.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Five Warning Signs You’re In Over Your Head!

Most of us carry some type of debt: mortgage, car payments, credit cards, or educational loans. How do you know when you’re carrying too much debt? Most people fall into debt trouble with impulse buying. Here are five warning signs that you may be in dangerous debt trouble, and what you can do about it: 1. You’re unable to pay more than the minimum payments on your credit cards. 2. You have more than three major credit cards and they’re near the credit limit. 3. You use your credit cards to pay other bills. 4. You hide your bills from your spouse. 5. You don’t have a savings account. If you answered “yes” to any of the above warning signs you may want examine your debt load and set up a realistic budget. If you are carrying credit card debt, begin by paying down the highest interest credit cards bills first. Resolve to not use credit cards unless you have the cash to pay your bill off when the bill arrives; otherwise, the first step to financial health is to remove the temptation and cut up your credit cards.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Spring Day Trip - Whidbey Island

Looking for a fun outing this spring or have out of town guests you want to entertain? Whidbey is close enough you can see a lot and get back the same day. My dad has lived in Freeland for almost 20yrs so I have had a chance to explore a lot of the main sites. I like to drive up to see Deception Pass and then take the Clinton ferry back. Deception Pass is worth checking out! Take a short hike and snap a few pictures of the bridge. Driving south you can stop and see the Penn Cove Mussel farms. Make a quick detour to see Fort Casey State Park and Ebey’s Landing historic district. How about having lunch at Greenbank Farm! Greenbank Farm was once the world’s leading producer of Loganberry’s. Now they are a popular tourist stop and have a lot of local organic foods, local wines and several art galleries to enjoy. Freeland also has some nice shops and has a great waterfront park to relax at and take in beautiful Holmes Harbor. Double Bluff Beach isn’t far so you might as well head over there too. Next on the tour has to be a drive into Langley! Langley is a postcard perfect small town with amazing views overlooking Saratoga Passage. Makes for a full day but worth the effort!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Reduce Your Diabetes Risk

You may not be able to totally prevent type 2 diabetes, but there are steps you can take to lower your chances of getting the disease. • Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors, such as age, weight, cholesterol level, blood pressure and family history. Make a personal lifestyle plan. • Choose healthier foods. Add these foods to your diet: broccoli, fish, blueberries, olive oil, spinach, walnuts, and dairy. For details, search for “Top 10 Super-foods For Type 2 Diabetes” at www.webmd.com. • Avoid sugary beverages, including soda and energy drinks. One 12-ounce can of regular soda has 150 calories and 40 grams of carbs. That’s the same amount of carbs in 10 teaspoons of sugar! • Exercise every day. Everything counts: walking, swimming, gardening. Just keep moving.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Reading Bingo For Kids

Create a checklist of fun reading “assignments” on a bingo card and offer rewards for completing it. Here are a few ideas for the boxes: • Read something written the year you were born. • Read a poem. • Read every article in one magazine. • Read a few pages to your parents from your favorite book. • Read while wearing a swimsuit. • Read on the floor of your local library. Read something a favorite teacher read when he/she was your age

Monday, March 25, 2019

What You Eat Can Profoundly Affect Your Sleep!

Your daily diet can have a great impact on your night’s sleep. First, be sure you are getting enough calcium and magnesium. You can get it by eating milk, yogurt, beans, dark green vegetables, or a taking vitamin supplement (1,000 mg. to 1,300 mg. are recommended as a daily target for calcium consumption). Along with calcium, pay attention to consumption of these foods before bedtime:  Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Of course caffeine is a stimulant and even though alcohol is a relaxant, it will switch gears in the middle night and wake you up when it wears off.  Choose a good evening snack. These would be yogurt, bananas, figs, nuts, turkey, tuna, and whole-grain crackers. These foods are rich in trytophan, an amino acid the brain uses to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is critical for a normal night’s sleep.  Evening snacks you definitely should avoid. Bacon, cheese, chocolate, ham, potatoes, sugar, sausage, tomatoes, and wine are the foods to skip if you want a restful night’s sleep. They all contain high levels of tyramine, which increases release of the stimulant norepinephrine into the brain. If diet changes don’t work, try an occasional herbal sleep aid like Valerian or the excellent homeopathic sleep remedy Calms Forte – formulated from safe minerals and herbs.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Alternatives to Bottled Water

You’ve likely heard that bottled water has major environmental consequences, but how bad is the problem? Here are a few facts from thewaterproject.org that illustrate the severity of the situation: • Approximately 80% of single-use water bottles in the U.S. become “litter,” and one bottle takes more than 1,000 years to bio-degrade. • U.S. landfills have two million tons of discarded water bottles in them. • It takes three liters of water to package one liter of bottled water. In response to the bottled water problem, some cities and businesses have banned it, but what can you do? • Skip the single-use water bottle, and invest in a reusable water bottle. If you forget it, buy multiples to keep in vehicles, the office, and your gym bag. • Drink tap water. Several studies have been done to show municipal tap water is usually just as safe as bottled water. • Refrigerate water. Cooling tap water helps remove the chlorine taste many people feel is in tap water. • Boil water if you are concerned water might be contaminated.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Detecting “Unwanted” Visitors

Could you be sharing your home with uninvited visitors – like mice, squirrels, birds, or even termites? Pests are a common problem for everyone, so here are a few tips to spot them and what to do: Where you might find them. Look for animal droppings, signs of chewing, and odor in your kitchen, basement, closets, and attic. Check any moist areas like around air conditioning units. In the case of termites, look for “dirt tubes” around your home’s perimeter. What to do. You know how to trap mice in the kitchen. After you trap them, be sure to clean up crumbs and keep food sealed up. When it comes to larger animals, like squirrels, birds, or snakes, don’t try to remove them yourself. They can be dangerous when cornered. If you suspect you have the larger visitors or tiny bugs like termites, hire a professional animal catcher or pest control company.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Overcoming Retirement Financial Fears

You’ve worked tirelessly your entire life, and retirement is your time to finally and fully enjoy that hard-earned rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, not being able to afford retirement is a fear many people have. Get ahead of the game so you can rest easy.  Start saving now, at your current age. Establish a monthly budget that includes tucking money away for retirement.  Stick to the retirement plan. Do not withdraw money early for expenses if you have any other options.  Avoid borrowing money, and keep debt to a minimum.  Use a 401(k) plan to boost retirement savings. These plans allow funds to be invested directly from a paycheck before they’re subject to taxes.  Take advantage of company matching opportunities for retirement contributions.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Passport Facts

How much do you know about your passport? The International Civil Aviation Organization has outlined the following rules about these little books:  Made of a material that bends rather than creases.  Stable in temperatures between 14F-122F degrees.  Readable in humidity conditions between 5%-95%. However, there are no stipulations about typeface, type size, font, and cover color, yet all countries have chosen shades of red, blue, green, and black for cover colors.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Easy Ways To Add Curb Appeal

The first impression of your house is from the street. If you want to sell or just add some new style, try these ideas: Focus on your front door with a new color, updated light fixtures and easy-to-read house numbers. For more charm, add window flower boxes or shutters around the windows. Learn to build a window box on YouTube.com. Clean out the clutter, and trim the overgrown bushes and trees (this also makes your home safer). For quick color, add container gardens. You can buy them pre-planted. Add lighting accents to trees or to illuminate the pathway (another safety feature). You can go solar to eliminate wires. Pressure-wash the exterior. If it doesn’t look better, consider new paint or siding. Don’t forget the garage door. Repair it, paint it or replace it to make your house look like new.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

4 Tips When Booking a Cruise

Planning a cruise trip involves more research than you might think. Here are some important things to know before you book your cruise. 1. Pick the Right Cruise Line – Know which cruise lines have a party atmosphere, and which are more geared to peace and quiet. (Depending on your preference!) Try a site like www.cruisecritic.com to help you decide. 2. Read the Fine Print – It might be boring, but the fine print could have information about what’s non-refundable, what’s included in the beverage package, if your cabin is chosen for you, and more. 3. Choose the Right Cabin – An interior cabin might make you feel claustrophobic. A cabin next to a nightclub, an elevator shaft, or the anchor means noise at potentially odd hours. A cabin near the front or back of the ship, or higher up on the ship, are where seasickness is most likely. 4. Look at a Detailed Itinerary – Know how long you’ve got in each port, and how long it takes to get from the port to the areas you want to visit. Just because it indicates that you have “one day” in port doesn’t mean you’ve got 12 hours to explore.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Detergent Secret…

Detergent makers recommend that consumers use more of their product than necessary. Here’s a quick tip: Use only half as much detergent in your laundry and dishwasher. You’ll save money and your clothes and dishes will be just as clean – maybe even cleaner!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Help Your Pet Live A Long And Healthy Life

Most pet owners would say that pets are important members of the family. We welcome them into our lives knowing we’ll most likely outlive them- but we can help them have the best possible life. Here are some tips for giving your critter a long, happy life:  Maintain a healthy weight. Feed pets the proper type and amount of food. Avoid feeding fatty human foods to your furry friends.  Exercise regularly. Dogs need regular walks every day, and time to run around. Indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats, but they should have stimulating toys and room to play and exercise too.  Schedule regular vet visits. Regular health screenings (at least once a year for healthy adult animals) allow vets to detect and manage diseases early. Keep vaccinations updated.  Keep teeth clean. Tartar, gingivitis, plaque, and other problems with teeth and gums can lead to other health problems. Brush dogs’ teeth at least a couple times a week. Try making your own toothpaste with coconut oil and baking soda, and your dog will enjoy his brushing time. The Veterinary Oral Health Council publishes a list of accepted oral health products to help with dental care as well (http://www.vohc.org/accepted_products.htm).  Note behavioral changes. If pets aren’t following their normal routines, this may be a sign that something isn’t right. Don’t wait too long before checking with a vet about abnormal behavior.  Chill out. Even pets need time and space on their own, so make sure they have at least a couple hours a day to relax.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Sleep On it: Dreams May Help You Solve Problems

Did you know Paul McCartney composed “Yesterday” in a dream? Studies show that when you dream, you’re more open-minded and may see things from a different perspective. Here are two different approaches you might try to solve a problem or increase your creativity: 1. Clear your mind before you go to sleep. Read a book, talk about something else, go to sleep, and trust your subconscious. 2. Focus on the problem you want to resolve. Form it into a question (for example, “What should I say to have a successful meeting?”), write it down, and visualize a positive outcome. With either method, write down what you remember about your dreams when you wake up. They may be illogical, but the imagery or events could be a metaphor for a solution that relates to your problem. These techniques require a positive attitude and lots of practice, but they can help you! For further information, look up the work of dream psychologists, such as author Deirdre Barrett.

Monday, February 25, 2019

You Might Be Fitter Than You Think

Blame the media, Photoshop, the feats of professional athletes, or your own unrealistic expectations, but the truth is you’re probably not that out of shape. In fact, you may just be fitter than you think – and I can prove it! You stand and sit. Active people feel the need to get up and move around throughout the day. Getting in and out of a car involves basic squat movements, and you should be able to do this without pain. You constantly carry stuff. Whether you’re picking up and carrying children or shouldering a massive bag to and from work, those pounds add up to a healthy dose of weightlifting! You recover quickly. Take a short jog, try a few squat exercises, or just walk at a steady pace for a while. Are you tired and worn out, or could you endure a bit more? A healthy recovery time is a good indicator of physical fitness. You do household chores. Carrying laundry down the stairs requires balance. Navigating several tasks in the kitchen while avoiding dropping, burning, or falling is proof of coordination and dexterity. You take the stairs. If you can walk or run up and down stairs without feeling lightheaded or out of breath, you’re probably in decent aerobic shape. You crave healthy habits. It’s a good sign if you seek out exercise simply because it makes you feel good. Ditto if you prefer to eat healthily as well just because you want to not because you feel guilty.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Negotiating On The Job

Would you like to improve your job negotiation skills? A recent survey conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management and CareerJournal.com, found that both employees and HR specialists are willing to talk about salary, but they differ on other issues. Employees focus on bonuses, incentives, and time off, while HR specialists may be more willing to talk about flex schedules and relocation costs. (The survey indicated employees may have more negotiating power on non-salary issues.) Here are six valuable tips you can use for better negotiating on your job: • Make sure to show your enthusiasm for the job at hand. • Know your strengths and skills and explain why you’re the best person for the new job or raise. • Use the right words and cite facts, “I’ve done the research, and the market reflects this salary.” • Ask for what you want, and explain why you deserve it. • Be open to what is presented and remain objective. • Avoid talking about specific salary figures until the end the interview process; otherwise you may limit your options.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Teaching Kids Life Skills

Teaching kids how to approach and solve life’s challenges is one of the biggest jobs parents face. Here are a few tips to help your children (or grandchildren) grow into self-sufficient and responsible adults: • Teach Kids To Look For Solutions. When kids are faced with a problem, have them identify several options and solutions. Then you can help them choose which solution works best. • Teach Kids Responsibility: Let kids know they are responsible for their actions. They have to do their homework, but you can offer them two “positive choice” options: Do you want to do it in 15 minutes or 30 minutes? Teach them how to organize, and give them the tools to stay organized (calendar, palm pilot, notebook). • Teach Kids How To Make Good Choices. Giving kids choices empowers them to make their own decisions. Have them weigh the pros and cons of their choice, and let them make the decisions. • Teach Kids How To Deal with Failure. Teach your children that failure is not personal, permanent, or pervasive (i.e. losing a soccer game doesn’t mean you’re bad at other things as well). Developing a positive explanatory style early in life will help your children live a happier, healthier and more successful adult life.