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Healthy Habits we can Teach Our Kids

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

As parents, our number one priority in life is for our kids to grow up happy and healthy. And one of the most important things we can teach them is how to achieve this themselves, how they can grow up to make good food choices and live an active life and have fun in the process. When they’re little we’re responsible for making these kinds of decisions for them, but by teaching them the value of a healthy life we can pave a good path for the future. Here are some worthwhile habits to teach our kids.

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Quick Guide To Looking After Your Plants In The Winter

Winter is most likely one of the easiest times of year that a houseplant struggles to thrive. The growing conditions that come with winters such as lower light levels, dry air, shorter days and chilly temperatures put a strain on houseplants and they can really depreciate. The answer to your problems when it comes to house plants surviving winter is to adjust their care routines and find alternative ways to nourish them. It’s all about the basics and adapting them to suit. 

Lighting 

In the winter months, the sun sits lower in the sky and light levels near windows can drop as much as half. This should be an area of priority if you want your plants to survive. 

In order to help your plants in the lower light you need to think about changing the way you care for them, some of the ways you can do this include:

  • Moving your plants closer to windows, or moving them around with the sun’s rotation throughout the day. 
  • Make sure your windows are clean, this allows for maximum light to enter your home. 
  • Change a plant’s location permanently through the winter if you know they’re going to get better light. 
  • Add artificial lighting such as a plant grow light. This ensures that your plants are getting exactly what they need. 
  • Make sure any dust is removed from plants. Yes, your plants can gather dust from sitting in your home. In order to achieve maximum lighting, it’s a good idea to give them a wipe over. 

Temperature

 

Although it’s important to make sure you’re having the temperature of your home for your comfort throughout the winter it’s best to be wary that houseplants are affected by the temperature of your home. Most houseplants are tropical and like warmer temperatures and like it to be cooler at night, this isn’t always possible with the really cold nights. Some of the things you can do in order to protect your plants with the right temperatures include: 

  • Stay away from drafts and direct heat sources (radiators) 
  • Make sure your plants are near a window but keep them several inches away, don’t allow them to touch. 
  • If you live in an area where it frosts overnight, moves your plants away from the windows around dusk. 
  • Use a heavy-duty shade to place between the plants and the window in the evenings to stop the damage from cooler weather. 

Humidity

During the winter months, your home is less than ideal when it comes to the humidity that houseplants like. They need a temperature of around forty to fifty percent whereas your home is only likely to offer five to ten percent in winter. You should look out for brown leaf tips, mites and spiders as these are signs of low humidity. 

Water

Often the most common problem with houseplants is that they get overwatered. Most houseplants (nintyfive percent) need to have their soil completely dry out before they require their next water. Only water when the root is dry. Remember that if you humidify your rooms in the winter the plants won’t need watering as often. Never let your plants sit in water that has collected in the drainer pot below. 

These are just a few ways that you can look after your house plants in the winter. Do you have any other methods that you can share in the comments section below? 

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4 Ways You Can Make Moving Day Much Smoother

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Moving house is one of the most significant things you’ll do. If you’re used to relocating, then it’ll come pretty easy to you, but moving all of the things (and your entire life) to an entirely new place isn’t something the average person does very often. If you’ve never done it before, then it might come as a big of a shock to you; it might be a pretty daunting build-up and something you worry about before, during, and after. Well, rest assured; it’s actually a pretty straightforward day – the fact that it’s pretty long and drawn-out tends to put people under a little pressure, but that’s about it. If it were so difficult; hardly anyone would do it. 

So, let’s say you’ve bought your new home, sold your current one, and moving day is looming over you. How can you make the day easier you everyone? Well, here are five ideas you for to think about:

Plan It All Out

You’ll probably have a little itinerary for the day, and that’s great, but you’ll probably need something a lot more detailed. It might seem like an unnecessary hassle, but you’re going to want to be chilled-out on the big day, and a real plan of action can help with that. If you write out what you intend to do months before it happens, then you have that structure in the bag early on, and your mind can be put at ease. Include all of the day’s events – from start to finish!  

Do Little Jobs Far In Advance

Instead of leaving absolutely everything until moving day, you might want to get a bunch of stuff sorted beforehand. Packing away different bits and pieces that need to be taken care of should be much effort. Move everything around and prepare it all for the work ahead. Organize who is going to do what. You can do all this in your free time leading up to moving day. 

Get Professional Help

There are companies around that literally specialize in getting you from A to B as conveniently as possible. You should probably get in touch with a moving company and see what they’ll be able to do for you. Traditionally, they’ll pack your items safely, deliver them to the new place, and help you put them away again. This would be a heck of a lot of help, and a big weight off your mind.  

Keep Your Energy Levels Up 

When the time comes, you’re probably going to be on your feet all day, and you’re probably going to need to be switched on mentally all day, too. In order for both of these to be functioning properly, you need to have a lot of energy. Make sure you have a big breakfast. Also be sure to prepare lots of snacks and packed lunches, just in case you’re away from a kitchen, a store, or a restaurant for a while. Sleep is also key – get lots of that in the days leading up!

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Where Should You Make Your Home?

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Most of us don’t really think about where we are making our homes in too much detail. It’s the kind of big decision we make on the fly, going with our instincts and usually picking the same safe option everyone else has gone for. It’s not really a surprise that so many people find themselves living in a cut-out house identical to next door and wondering what happened. 

But if you were to give your life choices a little more thought – what would you do? Would you choose to live somewhere else or would you nod quietly to yourself knowing that you have made the right decision? 

Lifestyle Choices

The lifestyle you lead is massively affected by where you choose to live. For example, let’s say you are thinking about moving to the UK. Are you ready for a British lifestyle and everything that entails from the drizzle that hangs around for most of the year to the almost unbelievable passion for tea and fish and chips? 

When you can choose to live anywhere in the world, it’s often a good idea to think about the kind of lifestyle you aspire to but you must also consider what is realistic for your family. So, before you write your moving checklist, you should think about the kind of lifestyle you are looking for and which areas would work well. Every city, town and village has a character and attracts a certain kind of person – figure out where your match is and that’s where you should make your home.

Of course, most families have to make a compromise somewhere and the suburbs rather suggest that the compromise is between the busy excitement of the city and the quiet homeliness of the country. Compromise is good, just make sure that you are still getting all the most important things on your list.

Family and Friends

Your network is really important, especially if you have young children. While moving far away might sound appealing on some days, the reality is that you’d really like to be able to meet up with friends for a spontaneous day out when you fancy it. And your family is a natural support network for everything you need. 

While you can make friends anywhere – and you should give yourself opportunities to make new friends all the time – leaving friends behind can be tough. Your friends often reflect your values and aspirations so they are natural motivators and it’s common for you to live similar lifestyles. But there’s one big exception. If your friends are drifting in a different direction and it’s one you can’t follow, it might be time to forge your own path and decide what you really want for yourself. 

The best place to make your home is the place that feels most like you. If you want excitement and people, the city will work. If you want quiet and isolated, you know where you need to be. You should make your home where you feel most happy and fulfilled, even if that’s a lot to ask from a few bricks! 

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Money-Making Side Hustle Ideas for Busy Working Mothers

Being a working mother is tiring and time-consuming. At times you may feel as though you don’t have any spare money too, but there are a few things that you can do to try and make things a little easier on yourself.

Love Dogs? Use it To Your Advantage

So many people go travelling every single year, and when they do, they are often stuck for a pet-sitter. If you love pets, then this is a fantastic way for you to make money as a side hustle. You can offer your services to anyone in your local area too, so you won’t have to travel far. There are so many sites that you can sign up with that will give you the chance to connect with other pet owners, so make sure that you take that into account when you consider investing in this idea.

Rent out Extra Space

Have an extra room in your home? Why not think about renting it out? You can easily sign up with AirBNB. The popularity of this website is soaring right now, and it is a fantastic way for you to get lumps of cash throughout the year.

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Teach

If you are a teacher, then there is a high chance that you have created tons of lesson plans over the years. You can use these to make a profit by selling them to other teachers. When you do, you will soon find that you are able to make way more money in the year and you also don’t have to take much time out of your schedule. Again, there are tons of sites out there that are devoted to this, so try and look into them.

Baking and Cooking

Do you love to bake or cook? If so, this is a fantastic way for you to make some extra cash. The best thing about it is that you can do it all in your spare time too. Simply prepare cookies and take them to bake fares, or even sell them at your child’s school when sporting events are being held. You can start out small and then grow your business over time, which is great if you don’t have too much time on your hands. If you do become serious about this then you might want to invest in chef-quality aprons from  Richard Haworth.

Become an IT Expert

A lot of people have problems with technology. If you are a bit of a computer whizz, then you can easily put your skills to the test. You can make money by setting up people’s printers, by connecting email addresses or even trying to find out why a computer is running slowly. The best thing about this side-hustle is that you can do it outside normal working hours.

Get Paid to Take Surveys

There are so many companies out there who will pay you to take surveys online. Each survey will only pay you a very small amount, but this can add up really quickly. If you want to get the best result out of your venture, then you need to sign up with a site that is reliable. If you’re not quite sure if the one you’ve chosen has a good reputation, then it is always a good idea for you to do your research and for you to look into user reviews before making your decision.

Shop for Others

As a working mother, you probably already know your local grocery store very well. For this reason, you should try and utilise this as a way for you to make some extra money. Offer to pick up a shopping list for someone in your area, or even try and run errands for people. If you have your own car then you can help a lot of people out simultaneously, giving you the chance to earn a lot of money in a very short period of time.

Monetise a Blog

You can find a lot of success as a blogger. If you have a blog already then why not try and monetise it? You can use it for affiliate marketing, or you can even try and get paid sponsorships for it too. The more niche you can make your blog, the better chances you have of making some serious money. The best thing about having a blog is that you can post at night, or even at the weekend. You can also work from your laptop in bed if you want, so there really is a lot of flexibility with this.

General

3 Wonderful Benefits Of Rural Living


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Many of us wish for an escape to the country as we hope to settle down and enjoy our family. Of course, living in the city is an active and exciting place, especially for young people who wish to stamp their mark on the world and see what these environments have to offer. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with either decision, nor to move where you wish to regardless of age. Aside from legal code, there’s hardly a rulebook as to how to live your life and where you should go.

However, it doesn’t hurt to get excited and follow your passions. Sometimes, heading in that direction might need just an extra encouraging tap on the shoulder. This is especially true if thinking about making that big decision, such as moving abroad or to a rural environment. As someone interested in this latter option, you may be concerned as to how unprepared you are and worried about making a mess of things. But there’s no need to worry. Like anything you adapt, overcome and learn, and what you may not know, Google can always answer.

But for now – some motivation. What follows is a wonderful list of three benefits you’ll experience when moving to the countryside:

Better Health

When living in the countryside, you’ll be enjoying some of the freshest air you could ever gain, miles above what may be available in a city environment. Additionally, walking your perimeter, going for runs, and generally enjoying the natural environment is much easier when fewer people are around. You no longer need to head to a specific approved park to walk your dog when you can just walk them anywhere nearby that isn’t private land. Additionally, long bicycle rides with your family can become a lovely Sunday activity. 

More Collaboration

A stronger sense of social cohesion can be a wonderful thing to experience, and as far as this is concerned, you are sure to experience it. After all, when less people are around, you are more careful to get to know your neighbor or those who live down the rural road. It’s the little things that make the difference. An introductory conversation about the septic tank services that are best to hire for your property can transform into talking about the histoy of the village, how the community takes part in a neighborhood watch scheme or events you may be invited to. It’s this social cohesion that can feel great to enjoy.

Life At Your Own Pace

When living in the city, life is often accelerated. In fact, researchers can measure how many people live in a city (within 10,000 people) based on how quickly people walk and how long their conversations last. In a rural environment, all of this artifice is gone. Suddenly, you are able to enjoy life more thoroughly at your own pace, and you can be sure that this makes a real difference as time moves on, restoring some semblance of peace you may have been missing.

With these benefits, you’re sure to consider rural living.

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Weather Proofing Your Home

Making sure your home is where the proof this winter is going to need to be on top of your priority list, many areas may be hit by storms soon, and as the weather changes, we need to make sure that everything is safe and secure in our homes. Of course, this depends on where you live precisely; however, it can’t hurt to ensure that your home is storm proofed.

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Outside walls

Are you outside walls might not seem like the first thing to consider when thinking about storm-proofing, but if your building isn’t made of solid brick construction, then you may want to consider fixing up your walls with siding, a siding company will be able to talk you through the options and make sure that whatever you choose will keep the rain and wind out for the season. Luckily some aesthetically pleasing choices will not only be practical but look good too.

Windows

If you aren’t here for your windows can be a weak spot when it comes to weatherproof in your home. If you have window covers of some kind, now is the time to check them and make sure they are secure. You really don’t want to see one of your window shutters flying passed you. Double-check everything so that when you need to batten down the hatches, you know everything is going to stay in place. It’s worth spending a bit more when you upgrade your windows and make sure the company works with know precisely what they are doing. Double glazed windows are a standard now; however, the quality of them in an area that may be hit by storms is quite essential, so don’t try to cut corners with this.

Roof

This is an investment that you really won’t want to avoid when the wind and rain really hit home, your roof staying intact is your number one priority. There’s nothing worse than having a leak coming through your ceiling while you’re in the middle of a thunderstorm. Sometimes it can’t be helped, but hiring a professional company to look after your roofing is always a better idea than you trying to do it yourself.

Place to hide 

If you know that the weather in your area is possibly going to be very severe, then having an emergency plan, and a place to hide when the worst hits are something you’ll be grateful for. Hiding some supplies there, some comforts, and making sure you’ve got plenty of water, it’s all you can do to prepare really. Don’t forget to pack up everything that you need to take if you do need to head out of the area.

At the end of the day, we all hope that the home we live in will withstand the most torrential rain poor, and won’t cause too much hassle. However, we don’t know what the future holds, so if you’re able to make slight adjustments to your home, do so now, and you won’t need to worry when the weatherman starts to talk about storms.

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3 Key Considerations Before Buying Your Next Home

Whether you are looking to buy your very first home or you are moving onto your tenth home, there are a few important points that you should always bear in mind when buying real estate. Today we want to share with you 3 key considerations before buying your next home as they should ensure that you make the right move. 

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Location, location, location

The location of your next home is absolutely crucial. Whilst many people do end up falling in love with a certain property, it does need to be the location that you consider first before falling under the spell of a beautiful home.

There will be several factors that help you to decide on your perfect location. It might be proximity to family and friends, or perhaps ease of your commute to work. You might be looking to move near to good schools or perhaps other local amenities. You might favor rural living over urban landscapes and the house prices and cost of living can drive your decision. 

Once you have narrowed down your search to a certain area, it is worth thinking more specifically about the location. You might be looking to live somewhere such as wigwam resort or perhaps you want a beachfront home. You might love busy neighborhoods, or you might long for solitude and peace and quiet. 

By thinking through all of these factors, you will manage to pin down your search area and can then start looking at properties that suit you.

Focus on the essentials

Everyone has their own personal list of what is essential to them in their next home. It might be important to you that it is a sustainable home or perhaps you work from home and require a separate work space. Some people must have a utility area, whilst others want a large backyard. We all have those lists, so the first thing that you must do is get yours drawn up.

Take the time to think through everything that you need in a home, before jotting down those things that you would like in a home. These are two separate lists, and if there is a compromise to be made, it should be on something from the second list. 

When you get in touch with real estate agents, ensure that they are clear on your essentials and search area, and you will be able to use them to add extra focus to your own property hunting. 

Any future plans

This is often the one that people overlook when property hunting. They can get caught up in the here and now, and fail to think ahead.

Unless you are happy to move around every couple of years, then you really need to consider any future plans when buying a home.

Your own future plans can impact a purchase, so think about any potential and likely changes in family life, whether your kids are growing up, any career moves or the need to be nearer to family.

You then need to look into potential changes in the future to your chosen area. It might be that there is a housing development due to be built nearby or a huge mall is being added a mile away. Perhaps transport links are developing or things are closing down. These can impact how you live in your home, its value and its saleability, so it is well worth doing your homework before buying

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Four Fall Maintenance Jobs You’ll Be Glad You Had Done

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Summer is a whirlwind of barbecues and backyard parties during which time you’re busy enjoying your home with your family, friends and loved ones.  Home maintenance may not have been at the top of your list as you got on with enjoy those precious times in the sunshine. With the season drawing to a close, however, it’s time to think about tackling some of the essential maintenance jobs that have been sitting on your list for a while. Taking steps now to get your home prepped for the winter months means you’re ahead of the game. It also helps to prevent small matters piling up and turning into bigger, costlier issues. For some things it’s easy to do it yourself, whereas at other times or for larger jobs you may want to call in a professional. So what should you be looking at in the home during fall?

Service Your Heating System

You may not be thinking of using your heating system just yet, but it’s the ideal time for a service and any necessary repair work before the winter rush. After all, you don’t want to find out there’s a problem after the mercury has dropped where you’ll be suffering the cold or long waiting times to get an engineer out. Have any furnaces tested, your central heating system serviced and any open chimneys cleaned so that you know you’ll be cosy and warm when winter bites.

Inspect Your Roof And Guttering

It’s essential to make sure that your home is watertight for the coming bad weather. With roofing, small issues are very easy and inexpensive to repair, but if left unattended they can quickly escalate and develop into serious problems that can cause a lot of damage. Have a professional check for any signs of wear – depending on the type of roof you have you may need cracked and damaged tiles replaced or new vinyl siding – and have someone clear out the gutters so there aren’t any blockages which causing overflows and leaking.

Fill In Cracks And Gaps

A tube of sealant could be the only thing standing between you and lower energy bills this winter. Tackle any little cracks in the walls or gaps between the window and door frames while it’s still fall. Using silicone caulking or weather stripping is easy to do, even as a DIY fix – there are plenty of YouTube tutorials on sealing window frame gaps. The less warm air that is allowed to escape, the more comfortable your living environment and the less money you have to spend on heating.

Test Out Your Sump Pump

If you don’t know how to test out your sump pump it’s definitely something that you should learn how to do, as a little basic maintenance can really help you to save money in the long term. Preventing a backup is crucial, especially if you have experienced a dry summer. Basic maintenance can be done and instructions are usually found in the owner’s manual, but you will need to seek professional assistance for any major repairs.

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Six Sustainable Home Improvement Ideas For Green Living

Over the past few years, society has become more aware of the impact we have on the planet. Deforestation, global warming, and other environmental concerns have become hot topics of conversation, with everyone asking how they can do better. When the time comes to freshen up your home, it makes sense to do so in a green way. Not only will this reduce your impact, but it’s healthy and cuts costs too. With that in mind, here are six sustainable home improvement ideas. 

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Paint The Right Way

Anyone wishing to make big changes to their decor usually start with the walls. However, before cracking out the paints, you must check that they won’t harm the interior environment. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals that are found in many paints. Using low or no VOC paints will lower the harmful emissions in your house, improving the overall air quality. 

Buy Pre-Loved Furniture

Shopping for furniture can be a lot of fun. But, you’ll find it much more enjoyable if you know your spending habits aren’t harming the planet.  When you purchase pre-loved furniture, you reduce the impact you have on the environment. This is because fewer resources are being used, and less waste is being dumped in landfills. There are many places to find second-hand bargains. 

Replace Those Old Appliances

While buying second-hand is usually better for the environment, that doesn’t always apply to appliances. Fridges, stoves, and dishwashers all become less efficient as they get older. Plus, older appliances weren’t built with efficiency in mind. Rather than waste energy needlessly, you should look into replacing your older kitchen essentials with newer, more efficient versions. 

Search For Reclaimed Materials

Whether you purchase new or pre-loved, you should search for furniture made from sustainable materials. Most rustic furniture is built with reclaimed wood, which is an environmentally sound choice but also looks handsome in a home. If you’re planning to replace your countertops, then you will save time, money, and energy by using sustainable materials for that too. 

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Let The Sunlight In

Using lamps during the day is expensive and inefficient. With the sun shining outside, there should be no reason to touch your light switches. If you don’t have enough natural light in your home, then look for ways to change that. Simply washing the windows and removing the blinds can make a huge difference. Adding skylights to your home can also be a great green project. 

Switch To Solar Panels

Even when the sun isn’t shining, you can still light up your home. Going solar allows you to harness the power of the sun and use it to power the house. Solar panels have come a long way and are much cheaper these days than when they were first invented. Nonetheless, they are still a significant investment, so make sure you have enough in the budget to cover the costs. 

With these sustainable home improvement ideas, you can adopt a green lifestyle while turning your home into a more comfortable and stylish place to live.

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How To Lower Your Home’s Energy Bills

We have realized, some decades later than we should have, that there are costs to using up as much energy as we’d like. The dangers of climate change are already being felt, and if the experts are to be believed — and why wouldn’t they be? — then it’s possible that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. And there’s another, more personal cost too: the more energy you use, the higher your energy bills, the more money you spend each month. Not ideal. But if you’re beginning to feel the financial strain of all that electricity and gas, then fear not, because there are ways you can reduce your consumption, almost immediately. We take a look at a few of the most effective methods below.

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Is it All Necessary? 

To begin, you’ll want to look at your current usage, and figure out how much if it is actually necessary. We’re living in a society that has encouraged liberal use for a long time, and part of reducing usage involves undoing that education. Take a look at all of your energy using devices in your home, and determine if there are any that can be reduced or abandoned altogether. Sometimes there are more economical alternatives available, or they’re just no longer needed. You could make big savings just by hitting the off switch.

Update the Infrastructure

Of course, there will be some things that you need or want to have in order to run a modern, comfortable home. But sometimes the energy we’re pumping around the house just isn’t used efficiently. Let’s take everything to do with your heating and cooling infrastructure, for instance. They’re two of the biggest energy-sappers, yet much of what they produce goes out of the windows, especially if they’re old. To keep more of the cold and hot air inside of your home, check out texashomeimprovement.com. There you’ll find more energy-efficient windows available. Once they’re installed, you’ll require less hot and cool air to keep your home at an agreeable temperature, which will mean reduced bills.

Your Appliances

As well as your general infrastructure, you’ll also want to review your appliances. You might think give too much thought to your fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, and so on, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the costs of running these machines can vary wildly. If they’re old, then they’ll be much less energy efficient than newer appliances. There are special sticks that you’ll find on more modern options that waste less energy.

Family-Wide Policies

Underlining every change you make will be your family. It’s all good and well putting the right pieces in place, but it’ll be your family and anyone else in your household that has the biggest influence. Lights off — indeed everything off — when they’re not in use and using energy responsibly will make a big difference. Make sure everyone knows what they should be doing, and why they should be doing it, too. Everyone will benefit from their efforts!