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Archives for 2017
It can be hard to get all of the family to participate in family nights out and activities – especially if there are children involved or some of you live far away from each other. But, family nights are the times you will all remember fondly if you get them right and ones that you should make more effort with. So, how can you get everyone to take part in family events and actually look forward it? Well, the key is in planning the right activities, ones which encourage you to embrace the moment.
Here are five things you should be doing for your next family night out.
This is the perfect bonding opportunity and it doesn’t have to cost you much at all. Find the perfect campsite in an area easily accessible for all of you. Make sure you have a tent, sleeping bags, enough food and some board games and you’ll be all set for the perfect little trip away. Spend the evening sitting around a campfire telling stories and get everyone involved in identifying animals, collecting materials from the woods or a spot of stargazing.
Go to the movies or the theatre
Watch a movie or a show together as a family. This is a great way to keep yourselves entertained and it’ll be a shared experience that you can talk about afterwards. If you’re doing something as a family and there are children involved, then the cinema is your best option as you can choose from many different family-friendly films. If it’s a night out with just adults in your family take a trip to the theatre and watch a West End musical or a play.
Ice skating is a great treat for all. What could be more fun than gliding around the ice with your family, whilst listening to music in the background and having a laugh. The best part about this is most of the best rinks are open all year round, so it doesn’t have to be a seasonal treat.
Have a picnic
If it’s a nice day, pack a good picnic, head down to the closest park and play some outdoor games too such as rounders, relay or frisbee. This can be really cheap too, especially if you get each family member to bring some kind of food along. Go all out and make a full day of it, you could even go for a bike ride. If you don’t fancy heading down to the park why not do it in a garden? This way you could always cook a barbecue. If its winter, you can still get some paper cups, utensils etc. and have a fun indoor picnic. During the colder months, you can complete this with blankets so you fell snug as well as entertained.
There are plenty of local festivals that you could choose from that will satisfy everyone, from the people watcher in the family to the cultural enthusiast. Checking local listings for country events, food fairs and music festivals – all of which provide plenty of fun.
So, get your family members together and get planning your next night out. Your family is precious to you and the time you spend with them can create long-lasting memories to cherish.
It’s so easy to overspend on groceries that there are plenty of ways to cut back. However, you’ll want to pace yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed — try one of the following savings tips at a time. [Read more…]
Online casinos are gaining popularity and have revolutionized the way people gamble. It is an easy way to spend time, have fun, it is accessible and you can try your luck and win a lot if you decide to play with real money.
If you know how to make the right strategy in playing online games, this could also boost your cash at the comfort of your very own home. Even though it’s a great form of entertainment, it is still a game of chance and you need to have the proper knowledge and a bit of experience to beat the odds.
Here are a few tips on how you can enjoy playing online casino games:
Choose just one or two games to play with
Don’t jump from one game to another – as much as there are thousands of games that you can play from an online casino website, be very careful on what you choose to play with. Make sure that there is evidence of secured transactions with independent audits by checking for any accreditation icons that are displayed on the site.
Always take advantages of the bonuses available, especially when you just signed up
Online casinos also regularly posts offers, promos and even gifts so don’t hesitate to take those offers. There’s no catch, plus it’s a free shot at the jackpot prize for you.
Discover your own strategy
If you are just starting out, you can always play without money yet to see if the game is for you or not. If you are focusing on two games, choose one that has a high jackpot and another that has a low jackpot to even out the odds and create a balance for those big cash-outs and smaller prizes. That way, your bank account will weigh out equally. It’s best to work out the strategy for each game by calculating the odds so that you can be aware how much you should deposit for real money to win the game.
Know when to stop
Having your own strategy works well with online casino games but there are just sometimes when you are having a bad day. If that happens, luck may not be on your side at that time. You can always just play for another day and try again. Decide how much you are willing to put in. Set a limit for yourself, both with play time and your finances.
Quit even if you are on a winning streak
This is one of the mistakes a lot of people do with online casinos. Winning streaks can make you want to push for more, hoping that you will continue on winning but there is a chance that you will just gamble away the money you’ve won. Bet wisely and keep your winnings instead of attempting to make another round of the game.
Playing online can be tons of fun. Gamble responsibly and focus on the games you know best.
What type of online casino game are you willing to try?
Bullying is an epidemic in the U.S. and a huge problem for vulnerable children and their parents. Children as young as preschool age sometimes develop patterns of bullying behavior and intimidate or even hurt less aggressive children. Bullies can be very good at hiding their antics from teachers and parents and will often wait to harass their victims in less supervised environments like bathrooms, school buses, and bus stops.
Children who are being bullied often don’t report the problem to their parents or teachers. The bully may have threatened to harm them if they tell, or the child may feel deep shame about the bully’s words and actions and fear that they’ll lose the love of the adults around them if they share what’s happened. That’s why parents need to be alert and learn what signs and clues to watch for if they suspect bullying. A child who is being victimized might pretend to be sick to miss school or might try to find a way to avoid riding the school bus. If your child’s property is disappearing or being damaged, you might suspect that a more aggressive child is to blame. If your child seems anxious or moody, ask them if they’re being picked on.
After you’ve talked to your child, report the situation to the school. School administrators, teachers, and social workers are often trained in dealing with bullies and should be your allies. Click here to take this quiz to see how much you understand about dealing with bullies and to learn more on Health IQ.
About Health IQ
HealthIQ’s mission is to improve the health of the world. In pursuit of this mission, they’ve created over 2,000 quizzes and worked with innovative insurance companies to create financial rewards for health conscious people. To date, Health IQ has helped thousand triathletes, vegans, runners, and other health conscious people secure billions in life insurance coverage, and they hope to expand to other financial rewards in the near future.
There are lots of tips out there on the simple ways to keep your home insulated and save money on the bills. But most of the time, the advice only touches the surface of the problem. There are other, less obvious ways your home is losing heat. Here are a few of them.
While insulating the walls and ceilings of your home is a no-brainer, people don’t always think of the floors as something that needs insulation. This is a problem because heat tends to rise. Few people want to spend all of their time in the attic, the only room in the house that can keep heat in. If a particular level of your house is especially cool, you might have a problem with floor insulation.
Recessed Lighting Fixtures
Lighting fixtures set in the ceiling are a nice decorative touch, but they can also be a problem area for heat loss. If they are in the roof, they may represent an insulation dead space that allows cold air to flow in and hot air to float out. Most of this problem has to do with how expertly you or the previous homeowner installed the fixture in the first place. To correct the issue, make sure the fixture is insulation rated and cover the top of it carefully with insulation materials. If you don’t know how to do this, be sure to get help.
Pet Doors and Mail Slots
Pet doors and mail slots are nice conveniences. A mail slot lets you get your correspondence without walking to the mailbox through rainy or cold weather, and a pet door lets your animal friend exit and enter the home without your help. The problem is, poorly insulated pet doors and mail slots are just holes in the side of your home.
Placing bits of insulation around the hole helps make sure that when the door is closed, no heat gets out. Also, make sure that your pet door or mail slot has a good, solid closing and locking mechanism. It will keep your pet from wandering out at a bad time and keep you and your family safe.
Most people know that windows are a common site for heat loss through cracked walls and joins or from being accidentally left open. What fewer people think about is how important proper window treatments are. Heavier curtains and drapes are a great insulator, keeping heat inside your house whatever the weather.
Having said that, using curtains to contain heat is not just a matter of putting them up and leaving them closed. It’s also important to open the curtains when the sun is shining directly through them to let in natural light and heat, helping save your heater some effort.
All homeowners live in fear of the same doomsday situation: a major appliance in your home malfunctions. When the repair tech gives you an estimate, you realize that you’ll have to pay thousands of dollars for a replacement. You can avoid that scenario if you’re proactive. Here’s how to invest in maintenance and avoid repairs.
Lock Your Kitchen Cabinets
Some of your cabinets serve a secondary purpose. They don’t just add storage space. They also hide electrical outlets and plumbing valves. Should a child or pet get into your cabinets, they could damage the pipes or sockets that you need for your appliances to work. A kitchen sink replacement could cost as much as $455.
You can avoid that future expense with a simple strategy. Add locks to your cabinets! A magnetic latch costs as little as a dollar and is easy to install. When you take the time to do this project, you make sure that nobody gets into your cabinets by accident. You don’t have to worry about broken kitchen appliances!
Check Your HVAC Unit
The HVAC unit is one of the most expensive appliances in your home. When yours breaks, you’ll have to pay $3,500 or more to replace it. Nicer units are at least twice that price, which means you’re out $7,000 when your HVAC unit breaks. You’ll also suffer in hot or cold weather while you wait for installation of the new device, and that could take weeks!
A service technician charges $150 or less to do maintenance on an HVAC unit. For that price, the worker will change your air filter and check your ventilation system for troublesome issues. Those could include pests and rodents in the shafts, dust allergens clogging the ducts, and malfunctioning hardware. A service technician will fix your problems for a fraction of what you’ll pay if your HVAC unit fails. Regular maintenance is a smart investment.
Clean the Gutters
Nobody loves the idea of climbing up to the roof of their home. It’s an aggravating process that requires a ladder. It’s also scary for anyone at least somewhat frightened of heights. Despite these concerns, you should clean your gutters quarterly.
Dirty gutters are one of the most frequent causes of a leaky roof. Should you have to replace your roof, you’ll pay at least $7,500. Rather than waste so much money, do some proactive maintenance. Cleaning your gutters only takes a half hour, and you should do it once a quarter. That’s a total of two hours of cleaning a year to save $7,500. Don’t think of this job as work. Think of it as a job that pays thousands of dollars an hour!
Clean the Dryer Exhaust
Your dryer can catch fire. If that happens, you’ll lose everything that you own. That’s a scary thought, but you can avoid the most likely cause. Clean your dryer exhaust. All you need to do is remove the clumps of lint inside the connected tubing. It only takes a couple of minutes and protects your home from catastrophe.
Many of the most expensive repairs in your home are avoidable. Follow the four tips listed here to save your house from disaster.
Have you been putting off an upgrade to your air conditioning or heating equipment? It’s easy to forget how vital these systems are to your family’s daily comfort — until something goes wrong. An inadequate or aging system will waste money, fail to keep you warm in winter or cool in summer, impact your indoor air quality, and eventually fail you completely. Generally, it’s a good idea to upgrade your equipment before it breaks down. Here are some clues that it’s time to upgrade your system.
Your Systems Are Out Of Date
Older, out-of-date equipment is likely to be far less efficient than newer systems. If you replace your 10-year-old heat pump or air conditioner with a high-efficiency unit that carries an Energy Star label, you could save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs. Energy Star recommends replacing your heat pump or air conditioner every 10 years and your furnace or boiler every 15 years.
Upgrading your systems will improve not just your energy efficiency but also your family’s comfort. A newer system with a programmable thermostat, for instance, can warm up your home just before everyone arrives home from school or work. Ask your HVAC technician to look over your current system and let you know what a newer system could do for your home.
The Unit Needs Frequent Repairs
Just like a car that keeps having problems and needing repair work, your HVAC equipment will let you know it’s getting tired by breaking down often and needing frequent repairs. Another clue that your equipment is wearing down is that it will operate less efficiently and your power bills will increase dramatically.
Your System Isn’t Working Well
If your furnace is constantly running but your house isn’t getting warm, something is wrong. If some rooms in your home are too hot and others too cold, you have a problem. The same is true of air conditioning that just doesn’t cool your house properly. If your HVAC system is creating a lot of noise, that could also be an indicator that it’s no longer up to the task at hand.
Your Home Is Dusty, Humid, Dry, Or Uncomfortable
Excessive dust is an indicator of leaky ductwork that is drawing debris from your attic, basement, or crawl space into your home. Air that is overly dry or too moist could also be a sign of leaky ductwork or poorly operating equipment. If you just can’t seem to get comfortable in your home, that might be a sign that your system is no longer running well or is inadequate for your family’s needs.
Replacing or upgrading your HVAC system is an investment that will increase your home’s value, improve your family’s comfort and health, and improve the energy efficiency of your house. Prevent an emergency by taking care of the upgrade as soon as your old systems starts showing its age rather than waiting until your family is without heat or air conditioning.
Remodeling your home has two primary benefits: one, you and your family get to enjoy the upgrades while you live there – which can include having more space, greater aesthetic appeal and fostering a sense of newness. Two, it raises the value of the home in case you decide to put it up for sale. In particular, the kitchen and bathroom areas, when upgraded, fetch a much better price.
Remodeling The Bathroom
This will be one of the highlights of your remodeling project. With a bathroom, there are little changes here and there that lead to big effects. For starters, replacing the wide sink with a free-floating pedestal creates more storage room, and placing a full-length mirror on a free wall opens up the space.
Before you make any big changes to the bathroom, it is imperative that you get the plumbing checked for any leaks. Plumbing Fix is just such a company, and they focus on residential and commercial plumbing problems. Get your drains cleared and pipes fixed before attempting any renovations in these areas.
Additionally, pay careful attention when doing any work that may require displacing some of the plumbing; this is very costly as it sometimes adheres to a city plan. If absolutely necessary, make sure to hire a contractor.
Many homeowners use the driveway leading to their garage to store their cars; it’s a convenient solution to mornings when you’re running late for work – but it only works in regions of the country where the weather doesn’t get very bad. The West Coast is such a region, and if you live there, you might do well to convert your garage into an office.
Many garages have water heaters, and it’s wise to have the place checked for water-related damage. The experts at Restoration Elite in your city are well-versed in all the methods of mold remediation and rectifying the water spots that lead to further damage. If your home has any signs of these, have them taken care of professionally before stripping the walls and construction addendums in your remodeling project.
The kitchen is all about functionality and visual appeal – it’s one of the first rooms that prospective homeowners look at when house hunting. Some of the upgrades that can make your kitchen more enticing involve lighting and cabinetry. You can play with lighting using a pendant light, casting an arresting glow about the place.
With cabinetry; you’ve got to be careful – as it’s easy to spend a bunch on the finest cherry-oak. If you’re doing the remodeling yourself, measure everything thrice before you order the replacement shelves, as it is costly having to send stuff back and re-order.
Other upgrades that make a substantial difference to the kitchen space include the addition of an island, granite countertops (or a different material to cut down on costs), and the addition of stainless steel appliances. Even if you don’t change the cabinetry entirely, the addition of new pulls and handles will make a marked difference.
As for the rest of the house, upgrading the living room and bedrooms is wholly dependent on your budget. Usually, new furniture is the most decisive remodeling change; but a fresh coat of paint on the walls and the rearrangement of the current furniture are cheaper alternatives. In fact, using slipcovers or fabric on sofas and chairs works wonders for renewed visual appeal. New blinds for the windows, as well as curtains where applicable, will change the play of light on surfaces in the room.
It’s no secret that charity events are limited by their budget, making it crucial to maximize every cent if you want to pull off a spectacular occasion. You don’t have to throw a sub-par event just because funds are limited, however.
The key to a successful charity event is to maintain quality while ensuring every guest is well attended to, while at the same time cutting out any unnecessary costs so the majority of your funds go to those who need it the most. This is going to require some creativity, quick thinking, and a solid plan. Here’s how you can host the ultimate charity event even on the smallest of budgets.
Make A Detailed Plan
Micro-managing every aspect of your event is crucial. Take the time to write out a detailed list of all possible outgoings while including hidden costs. This will give you a good idea of your breakeven point, which will let you know how many tickets you need to sell to make a profit.
Afterwards, make notes of every expense to provide full detail as what your costs will be. Once everything is in order, you can begin to see what fits into your budget and what does not.
Pick The Right Venue
Give yourself the time to research and visit plenty of event venues so you can choose the cheapest option that is still in accordance to your plans. It is also wise to give them a few different dates for the event, so that you find the most affordable option.
You should also ask about what is included in the cost. Often times, venues include things like technicians, AV equipment, and PA systems. If there is anything in their package you absolutely do not need, see if they can lower the price by removing it.
If you’re already cutting things too close with just the venue, then you may want to seek out additional funding. Using a site like Plumfund is an excellent way to spread awareness about your cause and receive fundraising for your event from people who may not have otherwise heard of it. All you will need to do is create the event’s page, explain what this charity is for in detail, and allow individuals to contribute.
Buy In Bulk
Food and catering can be one of the most expensive aspects of any event. Maybe you plan on serving cheese and cracker hoderves, or using food trays from a catering company. On the other hand, you could keep things simple and cheap with tasty snacks or an assortment of finer delights.
Whatever it is you plan on serving at your event, buy it in bulk. For instance, you could choose to buy bulk candy for a colorful and exciting table. The fact is that you need a large quantity of food anyway, so why not save some money by purchasing it all at once from the same place?
Volunteers Make All The Difference
If you can enlist the help of volunteers, then you’ll be doing your budget one of the largest favors possible. There are plenty of enthusiastic people who are more than happy to share their time and skills to make your charity a success.
Whether they can offer helping hands in getting things set up, live entertainment, or even act as waiters, they’ll save you money as opposed to those requiring a paycheck for their services. Enlisting is as simple as running a campaign on social media to let the world know you need some extra help for a good cause.