Saturday, 27 August 2016

Smart Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption at Home

It’s safe to assume that most of us are concerned about energy consumption at home for several reasons. The more selfish ones are the electricity bill and our appliances, whose life greatly depends on the amount of time and the way they are used. An almost selfless reason is the wish to preserve energy, thus contributing to environment protection.
Whatever the ratio between self- and Earth-centered reasons, saving energy is a win-win situation and we should be doing everything we can not to use more than we actually need. This can be achieved by changing our behavior, replacing our appliances and installing systems powered by renewable energy.

Apart from turning off lights when we’re away from home or room, there are so many more things we can do. For example, loading washing machines and dishwasher efficiently and up to the capacity stated in the manual helps save energy and money. Also, unless really necessary, you don’t need to dry your clothes or dishes in the appliance. Instead, take them out, wipe them off or hang out to dry.
Speaking of appliances, while some that you don’t need at night (computer, TV, etc.) can be unplugged, that time of day is actually the best for running washing machines and dishwashers for two reasons. The first one is that electricity is cheaper at night, while the other applies to people living in hot climate. Namely, if you run appliances that generate heat during daylight, you’re also raising the temperature inside. That means your air-conditioner needs to work more in order to cool down the house.
“If you’re afraid you’ll forget to switch your home appliances on or off, consider installing thermostats or a system that can be regulated by a computer “, advises a reputed Canterbury & Bankstown electrician.

Most of us find it unnecessary to replace a device or even a light bulb until it stops working and that is perfectly understandable. Why would you spend money when you don’t need to? However, when the time comes, there is a very important aspect to consider when purchasing a new one. How much energy does it use? Most modern appliances are now quite energy-efficient, but in case you’re still a bit in the dark about the energy efficiency ratings and labels, have a look at this site.
Still, there is another kind of replacement closely related to saving energy and money, and this time we’re talking about doors and windows. If your doors and windows are not doing a good job of providing protection from outer elements for any reason (age, quality, poor installation, etc.), you’d need to replace them. Again, most new doors and windows provide good insulation from both weather and noise coming from the outside. Still, do consult an expert, who’ll advise you about the type of products you need.

One of the major benefits brought about by various technological breakthroughs is the fact that some very useful equipment has become quite affordable. This is the case with solar panels, for example. People living in areas with lots of sunshine are turning to this type of renewable source of energy to provide for their everyday needs. Most simple systems are used to power lights, heat water (even in swimming pools). Solar energy is just the tip of the iceberg. There are ways to use wind, water and waste, to name but a few, to help you save. If you’re interested, you can find a lot of useful information here.

Naturally, you can combine any of these measures, but that depends on your budget and willingness to commit to the idea that, though your savings might be too small to justify any possible investment money-wise, you can’t put a price on preserving the planet. And even if you’re cash-strapped, just by (not) doing something you’re actually making a difference.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Swago Shopping Edition

It's time for another round of SWAGO! What is SWAGO you ask? It's a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site. This particular round of SWAGO is all about online shopping.
Here’s what you need to know to get your 200 SB Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):
  • Shop Swago will begin on Monday, August 29th at 1pm PDT/3pm EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Monday, September 5th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Smart Tactics for Making School Supplies More Affordable

Many children are now back at school after their summer break. While you might already have bought back to school supplies, there can often be many more things needed throughout the year. Various expenses can pop up that you have to meet. They range from new clothes when old ones have been outgrown to money to take on field trips. These expenses can add up so that you end up forking out a lot of money over the school year. This can be an annoyance for some parents but for others it can mean a struggle to take care of other costs. If you need to stock up on school supplies, try these tips to make it more manageable.

Find Ways to Fund Larger Expenses

There can be a few school expenses that result in spending a large chunk of money at once. You won't always have that money available, even if you've been trying to save. Many times the issue is that money has been tight for that particular month. You know that if you can wait until next month, you'll have the cash you need. This can happen for unexpected school costs, in particular. One of the options when this happens is to try a solution like Personal Money Store. You can search for short-term loans that are suitable for your purposes. You can usually borrow as little as $100, and you can pay it back on payday.

See How the School Can Help

If the cost of school supplies seems too high, you might want to see how your child's school can help. Not every school will be able to provide assistance. However, many make an effort to ensure that all their students get the supplies they need for their education. For example, some schools will try to offer more affordable supplies to purchase. Others might subsidize the cost of various items. Your school might also be able to refer you to a supply drive that could help you get the things you need. Sometimes, teachers even dip into their own pockets to ensure that pupils have the supplies they need for the classroom.

Look for Discounts and Inexpensive Options

If you need to save money, it's always best to start looking for cheap options. The cost of many school supplies has risen in recent years. However, it's still, fortunately, easy to find many cheaper options. Costs can add up and come to a larger amount, but you can reduce the expense if you buy carefully. The first thing to do is scrutinize back to school sales carefully. Make sure that you're actually getting a good deal and not just falling for something because it's in a sale. There might be a better option that's cheap all year and is similar in quality.

Reuse and Mend

Every year calls for new school supplies, but remember that you won't always have to replace everything. Some things could be a must, like certain clothes and shoes or stationery. But there are things you can use again, repair or recycle into something new. For example, is your child's pencil case from last year still in good condition? While a new one for the new year might be fun, perhaps it can keep going for a bit longer. Hand-me-down clothes have long been a way to save money when you have multiple children. If you can fix something instead of throwing it away, it can save you some money.

Separate Must-haves from Nice-to-haves

Children are often given a list of supplies they have to have for school. They may be expected to have everything on this list, and there's no getting around it. But there are still ways to ensure you only spend money on essentials and not on unnecessary items. Firstly, if your child has a list from school, check to see what is necessary and what is just a suggestion. Secondly, consider other school supplies that aren't on the list. Which of them does your child need and what might just be nice to have? This includes exactly which products you choose to buy. For example, it might be fun for your child to have a Frozen backpack. But if a plain bag is cheaper and sturdier, it may be a better purchase. Sometimes, you might have to compromise, and it could mean cutting out the extra niceties. Focus on making your kids happy in other ways to avoid making it all about the things you buy them.

You can't avoid the need for school supplies, but you can find ways to make them more affordable. Throughout the school year, look for methods to reduce the expense.

Monday, 22 August 2016

5 Indoor activities for kids: Rainy Days

No matter how much we hope and pray for a perfect summer full of beautiful blue skies and warm weather, we have to face the fact that we live in the UK and the weather is (very) unpredictable. With this in mind it can be difficult to plan days out to keep kids active and occupied. Some of the best indoor activities for kids combine fitness, fun, family and friends.

Shark attack
Make your way to one of the many aquariums across the UK for a day of exploring the underwater world, pretend you are mermaids for the day, or that you are kings of the ocean (fancy dress optional).
To do list:
Take a list of colours and see how many you can tick off as you go around the aquarium.
See how close you can get to a shark.
Find Nemo or Dory!

An event called Kids Week has just been extended until September 7th, and allows one child under the age of 16 to choose from a selection of London theatre shows for free, when accompanied by a full paying adult (2 additional children can also join for half price). There is a variety of child friendly performances from The Railway Children to The Gruffalo, a great way to make some lasting memories.
To do list:
Take a selfie in front of the theatre.
Learn the words to one of the songs so you can sing along.
Travel to the location by bus, try to get a seat on the top deck and take in the sights of London as you go.

Jump In
If you have woken up to a Duracell bunny and no end of activities seem to be wearing them out, why not take them to a place where they can actually bounce off the walls. Trampoline parks draw in kids of all ages with a range of different activities including dodgeball, basketball and fitness classes. There are also dedicated sessions for teens and children who are 5 and under. Also some centres are now offering trampoline summer holiday camps if your kids really get the jumping bug!
To do list:
Have a competition to see who can jump the highest.
Try and flip into the huge foam pit.
Swing on the rope swings and pretend you are Tarzan.

You do not have to focus solely on physical exercise over the summer holidays. A trip to the library is always a great way to exercise your child’s inquisitive brain. Whether they choose one book or six, if you are reading to them or they are hidden in a self-made pillow fort, reading is an excellent way to pass the time over the summer. Try engaging with your kids about the books and ask them questions about the story and the characters, or you could go one step further and put on a play of the story to be performed in front of friends or family.
To do list:
Write a book report on the book to recommend it to a friend.
Drink hot chocolate whilst you are reading.
Don’t forget to put on silly voices when you are reading the character speech!

Indoor play
This is always a winner with both kids and adults and there is and endless variety of options to choose from. One of the more unique venues is Treehouse Family Play in Bournemouth which offers a metal and plastic free play frame and indoor garden, alongside a coffee house with all locally sourced products.
To do list:
Play hide and seek.
Find the highest point and time how long it takes to get to the top.
Pretend that the play frame is your spaceship and you are travelling to another planet.


Get your wellies on!
If you really just need to get out, why not try a new craze such as Geocaching, advertised as ‘the world’s largest treasure hunt’. Wrap up in waterproofs and go hunting with your kids for some hidden gems, don’t forget to climb a few trees and splash in as many puddles as possible whilst you are on the hunt!

Author Bio:
Ian Alam is a blogger & writer from UK who specializes in writing about health & Fitness topics. He works with Go Jump In, which is counted among one of the Best Trampoline Park London, UK.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Five Tips On How A Nanny Can Help Kids Get Back Into The School Routine

Skill Sets
Prepare the kids for whatever skill sets they will be required to abide by in school. For example, if potty training is a skill children are required to have before entering the classroom, this is a great place for a nanny to be involved in the preparation.
Healthy eating
Nannies can assist children in getting children's nutrition on track, which will ultimately help their attention and energy levels in school.
Picking out outfits
Kids love to be involved in back to school shopping! With the parents consent, nannies can plan a fun day with the kids for back to school shopping and school supplies. This gives them a chance to individualize their look, and also find control in a situation that can be a sometimes challenge or anxiety-inducing transition.
Homework preparation:
Nannies can help prepare children for the upcoming curriculum in the classroom by developing fun, interactive games that will start stimulating their minds.
Last hoorah!
Have a final, summer day with the kids - pool, ice cream, playground, zoo, etc .... all things they will soon miss, but can enjoy one last time before the school year begins. Make it exciting and special; and also use the opportunity to get the KIDS pumped up for the memories to follow in the coming year.
Florence Ann Romano, Nanny Magic ( ), is a dedicated philanthropist and former nanny who has always had a special place in her heart for children. Romano worked for over 15 years as a nanny, beginning as a 'Mommy's helper' at the age of 11. She shares her experiences in Nanny and Me (Mascot Books, May 2015), her beautifully illustrated debut book for children making the transition from being cared for solely by their parents to having a nanny in their home.
Born and raised just outside Chicago, Romano earned a degree in performance theatre at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. She is the owner of Trinity, LLC - a 100% woman owned and new family company that runs the Original Six Media production company. Romano also serves as President and Founder of a junior board for young professionals that support Autism awareness for children and adults.