Monday 24 December 2018

Requirements for Making Your Dream House

Whether you have been saving up for decades or you have worked hard for a number of years, it all pays off once you have enough money to build your dream house. People dream about the homes that they would turn into little family sanctuaries where they will spend many memorable hours and where their children will grow up. Needless to say, to turn such a dream into reality is no easy task, especially if we take the financial factor into consideration. Now, not every dream house has to be luxurious, but it should have all the features you have longed for. This might be something as simple as your own bookcase or a wardrobe for shoes. Once you have the funds ready, it is time to create a plan that would make all your fantasies come true. This is where you have to have in mind different aspects of building a house, as there are numerous requirements that you have to meet.

Start fresh or renovate?

First things first, you need to decide whether you are going to turn your old abode into a dream house or are you going to purchase a new property. This decision should be made based on the current state of our home. The cheaper option is to keep your current home, move into a hotel while it is being renovated and finally move into a spruced up house. However, if this makeover involves extensive construction work, like adding a whole floor or tearing down too many walls, then this option becomes too expensive to execute. If your vision is completely different from what you have right now, then it might be better to simply purchase a new property that already looks the way you imagined.

Finding the right contractor

No matter how handy you are and how much experience you have in the construction industry, don’t try to build the house on your own. The task beforehand is simply too extensive for one person, or even a team of laymen. That is why hiring contractors is the best way to go. This seems easy, just google them or to pick up a phonebook, but in reality, good and responsible contractors are hard to come by. Since you are not going to roll up your sleeves to work, make sure you search far and wide for a good contractor. Ask your friends and family if they can recommend someone, look into the contractor’s portfolio, and even search the comments section on their Facebook page. We cannot stress enough the importance of hiring a reliable contractor. Once you find your man, be sure to set everything you agree on paper.

Getting a home improvement loan

Like we stated numerous times before, building your dream house is going to need a huge budget. From the very start the contractor is going to ask for a down payment as high as 10% of the projected overall cost, so be ready to let go of thousands of dollars from day one. If you don’t want to borrow money from friends, complete the budget with a loan. You don’t have to go to a bank, as many enterprises offer home improvement loans at affordable interest rates. When it comes to the issue of money, its amount is not as important as securing that you won’t get ripped or that you will have insufficient funds for emergency costs that regularly pop up.


Once the building commences, you have to stay up to date with what is going on. Get to know the builder and exchange contacts so you can stay in touch. During the construction you have to communicate constantly with the people building your house. On one side, how will they know what you want if you don’t tell me? On the other side, they are experts so they can advise you on what is possible and what is simply impossible to execute. By conferring with them, you ensure that the finished house will be both safe and that it will match all your preferences.

Buy furniture online to save money

Your new house is going to need new furniture inside because a new house means a fresh start in life. Shopping at local stores might be the first thing that comes to your mind, but the online market offers better prices. There are sales online all the time, so you can save up to 50% if you order. To top it all, many of shopping platforms offer free shipping if you buy items over a certain amount. Since you are cashing out thousands of dollars, this applies to your case. Online wholesalers are better that retail, so make use of this factor. On the plus side, you can choose from more color patterns and models online as many pieces of furniture are actually custom-tailored to meet the needs of shoppers.

Furnish the house to your needs

A dream house is a new start in life, so make it count when it comes to furnishing it. Don’t be a creature of habit and instead make a list of the things you want to see installed inside. Hate doing the dishes? Buy the first dishwasher in our life. Don’t like curtains? Ditch them altogether and install shades in the color to your liking. These things might seem trivial, but the devil is in the detail. Small thing like these are what constitute a home.

Get hold of enough boxes

With all the money problems and organizational issues, many people forget that for a successful move they are going to need boxes, and a lot of them. Go to your local grocery store and ask for the shipping boxes they receive every day. They will be more than willing to let go of them. If this is still not enough, address the bigger supermarkets as they have tons of cardboard in their back parking lot. On average, any move will require at least 50 boxes of various sizes.
If you deserved to build your dream house, then don’t let such trivialities as dodgy contractors of ill-planned funds set you back. Meet all the requirements listed here, stick to the plan and in no time you will be able to relax in the comfort of your new fairy-tale home.

Friday 21 December 2018

Home Fixes And Renovations To Reduce Your Bills

Home renovations can be intimidating to get started on, if not for the amount of work necessary then for the sheer cost of fixing things around the house. It's easy to look at the mountain of work to be done and keep putting it off. However, some of these home renovations could actually save you money in the long run, even if it seems a bit expensive up front. Here are just a few home renovations that could help you reduce your bills and eventually pay for themselves.
Wise Water Use

One of the biggest drains on home resources is also one of the most notoriously annoying: leaky or inefficient faucets and fixtures. While a single tiny leak might not look like much, you'll want to get it fixed as soon as possible. Just one leaky faucet alone can waste 100 gallons of water every day. That cost can add up quickly when it comes to your water bill. Make sure you fix up any leaks you're aware of as soon as you find them, and if you're planning for larger changes to your home, swap out existing fixtures for low-flow options.
Once you've fixed up your faucets and fixtures, make sure to use them in the most cost-effective ways possible. Many people might have effective faucets and water fixtures, but often fail to use them as best they can; this includes things such as buying water bottles when tap water works just as well. Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour, contributing to an already overwhelming amount of plastic waste while also spending unnecessary money on a resource they already have access to. Skip the bottled water; use a reusable container for tap water instead.
Adding Insulation

This particular home fix is often skipped over because it may be a bit intimating for the average homeowner. However, this is one of the home improvement projects with the biggest bang for your buck. In fact, spray foam insulation can cut monthly AC and heating costs as much as 60%. Properly insulating your home can quickly pay for itself through its impact on your overall heating bills.
It's not just your heating and cooling that will be improved by insulation. Insulating hot water pipes can help you save on the long-term costs of hot water in your home. It might be a slightly more expensive project, but it has the potential to pay for itself in roughly just one year.
Technological Solutions

Using the right technology in your home can also help you reduce your overall expenses. Installing smart thermostats, LED lighting, and low-energy appliances are all effective ways of shrinking your energy bills. While these technologies might have a higher upfront cost, they're likely to cut down your spending over time.
Additionally, did you know that well-designed landscaping can reduce the need for air conditioning by up to 50%? There are a wide variety of types of home improvements you can make to help improve your home ownership expenses. Which of these fixes can you see yourself using to shrink your spending?

Thursday 20 December 2018

Weird But True! Books kids want to have!

Kids are constantly asking questions about everything and they continue to grow and absorb so much everyday! Having books around that answer kids burning questions about nature, the world, and everything in it is an excellent way to save your sanity. National Geographics Weird But True! series is an excellent way to fill those curious little minds with knowledge. 

There are ten Weird But True! books in the original series with fun facts about animals, food, Christmas, and much more! The series has published over 15,000 facts and has become a huge hit in bookstores across the globe! Over seven million copies have been sold around the world and there are 32 books to collect altogether. 

A portion of all the books help support National Geographic’s conservation, research, and education projects that help our planet.

Keep your kids learning unique facts and growing by getting them to check out this amazing series. One of the first facts ever published was: 99 percent of people can’t lick their elbows but 90% of people who read this will try... 

You tried didn’t you?

Get your kids to enter this awesome contest from Nat Geo: 

Kids ages 6–14 are invited to enter the Weird But True! Canada contest to submit their own verifiably weird facts about their hometown, province, or country at January 31, 2019.

Give them books to read until they can’t read anymore! 

You can find the series in Indigo, Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, Target, Walmart, Amazon, and almost anywhere books are sold for $7.99 in the US and $10.99 in Canada. 

Keeping your Sanity when you have Children

Children are a blessing. However, as a parent, you are probably wondering, amid the cries, screams, squabbling and non-stop questions, how to keep some sanity in your home, and your headIt is not always easy to stay centred, but it is possible. Here are a few suggestions that can help you get there.


Spend Time with Adults


Spend some time with adults. Meet with other parents and let the kids play together while you have a grown-up conversation. Being friends with parents who understand what you are going through can put things in perspective.


Stay in touch with old friends. Being a parent does not define who you are. Spend some time with people who knew you before. You will be better able to keep in tunewith yourself.


If you are a stay-at-home mom, go back to work, even if it is just a few hours a week. Dealing with adult matters in an adult world will help you regain a sense of normalcy.


Take a Break


Take breaks whenever you can, even if it is only for ten minutes. Baby is finally asleep; sit down, relax, read, drink some tea. The vacuum and dishes can wait. You will cherish those small quiet moments.


Make Time for Yourself


It might not be obvious, but make some time for yourself and your couple. Have a date night. If you cannot find a babysitter, spend quality time together after the kids are asleep. Have an at-home spa day, or buy something that makes you happy. Whether it be that cute little black dress you have been eyeing for a while, or treat yourself to an at-home facial treatment.

 You work hard. A mom’s job is never doneYou need to take care of yourself, and that means spending some time and money on yourself once in a while.


Go Outside


A change of scenery can be beneficial for you and your kids. Put the baby in his stroller and take a walk. When it seems like your kids are climbing up the walls, bring them outside to play. The fresh air will do you good, and thechildren can let their excess of energy out.


Laugh and Let Go


Laugh it out and let go. Your kids will get dirty, cry, scream, have a fit, break things and so on. You know what? You cannot control everything. Choose your fights and learn to tune out the rest. When the day ends, instead of being stressed, you will be content and sane.

How to Renovate on a Budget

Renovating your house can be fun and exciting, but it is easy to get carried away and end up with a bigger hole in your wallet than you had planned. How can you avoid this situation? Here are a few helpful tips.



The first step, list the renovations to do and analyze them. A leaky roof will have priority over new kitchen cabinets. Start by fixing anything urgent that might compromise the integrity of your house.


Shop Around

Once you know what urgent work you need to do, shop around for materials, go to warehouses and liquidation centres. Do not forget to look online. Evaluate the total cost of the work.


One Step at a Time

Do not go too fast. Save up for one phase and do it. If an emergency reno comes up, a line of credit or online loan  could do the trick. Do not build up too much debt. Do your renovations one step at the time, and finish paying each phase before starting the next one.


At all costs, avoid “As long as we are here, we might as well do this also.” Doing that will only dig your financial grave. Unless absolutely necessary, stick to your list, and your plan.


Your Goals

Once the urgent renovations are done, the fun part begins. Determine your goals. What are you hoping to achieve by renovating? Are you looking for more space, more light, more storage or a new look? Go through each room and make a list.



Start by decluttering the rooms you want to renovate. It will give you a better feel of your home, and you will see more clearly what needs to be done. Sometimes decluttering and finding creative ways to store your belongings can get you close to your goal. Clutter makes a room feel stuffy and makes it look smaller than it is.


Be Creative

While keeping your goals in mind, search for alternatives to your first idea. If you want new cabinets because you need more storage and want a fresh look, do you have to start from scratch? Is there a way you could revamp your cabinets and add a buffet or some shelves for extra storage? Look for ideas on the internet. You might be surprised at how many options you have.



Paint and Accessorize

If all you need is a new look, a fresh coat of paint will mostly do the trick. Add new accessories, some well-placed photo frames and paintings on the walls, and you can achieve that quality you are searching for.



With all the do-it-yourself videos online, it is easy to get your hands-on plans to do almost anything at little costs. From furniture to wall coverings, it is amazing what you can do with old wood pallets and some elbow grease.


These are just a few tips among many. Do some research and be creative. Renovating on a budget is easier than you think.

Monday 17 December 2018

Affordable Wedding Venue Ideas For Frugal Lovebirds

No matter which way you tie the knot, weddings are expensive. Between the flowers, formal wear, and decorations alone, getting married can cost a pretty penny. Factor in larger expenses, like the venue or the food, and you'll be even more tempted to just head to the courthouse.

Though choosing to skip a wedding celebration is probably the cheapest way to share last names, with a little frugal ingenuity, any couple can celebrate their marriage affordably. Since the wedding venue tends to cost the most, finding cheaper location alternatives is the best way to save your marriage funds.

If you want to get hitched, but don't want to be eyeballs-deep in wedding debt, try the following affordable venue alternatives for a fun and frugal wedding:

Money-Saving Tips for Choosing a Wedding Venue:

1. Choose A Single Location For The Ceremony and Reception

Traditionally, an American wedding might take place in a church, then move to a secondary banquet hall for the reception celebration. While this method is certainly tried and true, many modern couples choose to skip the church altogether to save time and cash on their big day. Only 68% of Americans claim to attend church occasionally, and even less attend regularly, so your guests likely won't be surprised if you forgo the chapel completely. If you and your partner don't feel particularly attached to a church, skip the extra venue fee and have both parts of your wedding in a single, non-denominational location.

2. Have a Backyard Bash

While many think of a wedding as a formal, black-tie affair, there's no rule stating that your celebration needs to consist of champagne and ball gowns! For a low-cost but wildly fun reception, consider throwing a backyard barbecue. Your guests will enjoy letting loose with delicious comfort food and an outdoor, summer party atmosphere. In fact, an estimated 23% of consumers feel that the grilling area is a place to relax, while 28% feel it's an entertainment space. For laid-back fun and a less-empty wallet, ask a friend or relative to loan their backyard for a very special weekend.

3. Book a Formal Venue on an Off-Peak Date

Finally, if you're set on a traditional wedding venue, try saving on the booking price by choosing an unusual date. June is the most popular month to get married, with 15% of all weddings occurring during a 30-day window. To skip the competition and high prices, try a winter weekend instead. You can even look for venues that will book weddings on weeknights or a Friday, which will further reduce the price of your reception venue.

Choosing a wedding venue is an exciting step for any couple. However, when a venue can cost upwards of $10,000, that excitement might sour to dread. If you and your partner are looking for ways to save on your celebration's location, try any of the options above. With a little frugal creativity, you can have the wedding of your dreams, at half the price!

frugal ingenuity

Sunday 16 December 2018

Winter-Wise Weather Tips for Pets

Manage outdoor activities. The safest, most comfortable place for your pets is where you are. When temperatures dip below freezing or during severe weather, it’s imperative you keep pets indoors with you and make trips outside shorter.

Offer a warm place for your pet to rest inside. A pet bed works perfectly, just make sure it stays clean and dry.

Don’t cut your dog’s fur in the wintertime. Your pet’s winter coat is a natural barrier from the harsh, cold elements.

Consider a canine coat. Dogs with lots of fur probably don’t need an extra layer to go on walks in the winter. But smaller dogs and those with shorter coats may be more comfortable in a dog sweater or jacket.

Check for frostbite. After bathroom breaks and walks, check your pet’s ears, paws and tail for any sign of frostbite or ice and snow build up in the paw pads.

Wipe down after walks. Keep a dry, clean towel handy to wipe down your pet’s legs, belly and paws after each outdoor excursion. Ice-melt chemicals can irritate their skin and cause serious illness if ingested.

Be careful with chemicals. Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet to pets, but it’s toxic to them. Quickly clean up any spills, and consider using a brand made from non-toxic propylene glycol instead.

Keep your pet hydrated. Ensure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink. Winter air is dry!

Clear a path. Use a snowthrower to make quick work of snow removal and create a path to your pet’s bathroom area. Always keep kids and pets away from the equipment.

Don’t leave your pet in a cold car. It’s just as dangerous to leave a pet in a cold car during winter months as it is to leave them in a hot car in the summertime.
To learn more about the benefits of “outsider life” for pets and people during all seasons, go to and

About TurfMutt
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation and has reached more than 68 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB. TurfMutt is an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat is featured in the 2017 and 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at

Tuesday 11 December 2018

5 Tips To Washing And Detailing Your Car

Your car is a valuable investment. This is why you should strive to protect it through regular maintenance. One of the best ways to maintain that glowing showroom look is by washing and detailing your car. A well-maintained vehicle will save you money by preventing costly repairs and will also attract a higher resale value.

How do you make your car look show worthy? Here are 5 tips to washing and detailing your car.

1.    Wash Your Car Regularly

The most important thing you can do for your car is to wash it regularly. Dirt, bird droppings, road gunk, and other contaminants can do great harm on your car’s paintwork if left for too long. Ensure that your car is cleaned at least once every week.

However, if you live in a very dusty area or you park your car under a tree ensure that you wash your car immediately you notice an obvious problem. Don’t wait too long to avert further problems.

2.    Avoid Scratches By All Means

Scratches are your paint job’s worst enemy. Not only are they unsightly, but scratches also open up the cars finishing thereby allowing contaminants to penetrate under the surface and create further damage. Always use soft materials when detailing your car.

Ideally, a microfiber cloth should be used since it is easy to wash, rinse and dry your vehicle without scratching or scrubbing. Remember to separate the wash and the dry clothes and also remove all labels and tags before using the cloths to avoid scratching.

Never attempt to remove a stain using steel wool, sandpaper or scouring pad. Take your car to a professional to have the stain removed.

3.    Clean The Top Of The Windows First

One simple tip to remember is to clean the very top part of the window. Excess product and water buildup on the window jamb can cause streaking and other unpleasant marks. To avoid this, wind down the window an inch or two and give it a thorough clean to ensure that all the debris, water, and product are removed.

4.    Keep A Good Coat Of Wax Or Sealant On Your Car

After you have washed your car clean, you can apply a sealant or wax to protect the paint finish. Remember to apply the wax when the car is cool. It is also easier to wax one section of the car at a time. Consumer reports recommend that you should wax your car every 2 to 3 months.

5.    Use The Right Products

Before you begin the detailing process, you will need to gather the right cleaning products. Use high-quality automotive formulas only. Avoid using dish soap or other home cleaning detergents as they could hurt the protective wax coating of your vehicle. Buy formulated cleaners and polishes, keep them simple and your car will have the best looks for a long time.


There you go; 5 tips to washing and detailing your car; Need more information on how to detail your car, product research and guides, and car modifications? Go to and learn so much more.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Discipline Tips that Really Work

Discipline is an important part of parenting but it often leaves parents wondering if they are doing things right. Children do need to be disciplined as this is the main way they learn how to behave before entering school and the adult world.

The key to effective discipline is for you and your child to have a close and understanding relationship. You know what they’re feeling and how they act with certain emotions and they know the same with you.
We, of course, want our children to achieve high in school and do the best that they can in life and this partly depends on their behavior and their response to the consequences of bad behavior. The way that we discipline children can influence that.

There is also the question of ethical discipline too, for example, what are acceptable boundaries and when can disciplining a child step over the line and become harmful?

For example, spanking was previously a common mode of discipline for parents but it has now become somewhat taboo. There’s evidence to suggest that spanking, shouting and shaming children for doing wrong has a negative impact on them and their behavior.

With that said, let’s look at some healthy child discipline tips that work well but are also fair and don’t cross ethical boundaries.

Set Expectations
For a child to be able to understand between correct and incorrect behaviour, you need to let them know what is expected of them. This means being concise and consistent at all times on what is right and what is wrong.

This may vary form age to age, some rules which you would expect a kindergartner to follow may differ from those of a toddler, so ensure that when you explain rules to them that it is age appropriate.  

Understandably, it can be slightly difficult to convey your expectations to children of toddler age and younger, as they may not fully understand what you mean. This is where the next tip comes in.

Explain and Demonstrate
Show them the correct way to behave through your own behavior. Even if they have done something wrong, speak to them in a calm manner to explain what it is that they have done wrong, and show them what they should have done instead.

This is a lot easier to do with toddlers as they are now at the age where they are starting to copy adults, build a vocabulary and improve their articulation. They particularly like to copy mom, dad or their primary caregivers and will respond well to being shown how to behave properly.

An example would be if it came to play time, they may have all their toys out over the floor, going from one to the other, as kids do. Don’t just expect them to tidy up after themselves, but don’t tidy up after them either. Position it as if you are helping them tidy up, showing how easy it is to do, and how better it is now that the place is tidy!

This way, they’ll not just learn to tidy up by themselves independently, but they’ll also be more likely to tidy as they go, instead of having a large mess to tidy up at the end.

Follow Through with Punishments
If your child still decides to break the rules after having them explained clearly, even if they have demonstrated that they understand, they need to know that there is a consequence for their decision.

If, for example, they outright refuse to tidy their toys up after themselves, you can let them know that the consequences for that decision, is to have their toys taken away from them for the next day or two.

It’s vital that if you do set a consequence that you follow through with it and don’t just give in if they protest. This can set a precedent for them to get away with receiving punishment from then on.

Attention Seeking
Sometimes a child will use bad behaviour deliberately as a means of getting attention, even if it’s bad attention. They usually do this when they are bored, or jealous.
It’s ok to ignore bad behaviour at times, especially if it’s something trivial, such as them acting up. Sometimes no attention is the best route of discipline, as long as it’s not something that causes harm or damage to property.

It can also be good to find your child something else to do rather than continual acting up because they are bored. Usually activities on tablets or smart phones keep children entertained, especially in periods when they are away from their usual activities.

Plenty of Praise
A great way to keep a child from acting up in order to get the attention from behaving badly is to make sure they get good attention and encouragement for good behaviour instead. This means recognizing when they have done something right or commendable and making them feels good that they have done it.

Things that you may sometimes overlook are also important, like tidying up after themselves, making their bed, being polite and brushing their teeth should all be regularly praised. However, don’t overdo it because the child might then expect the praise every single time and may stop behaving well when the praise stops.

Time-Out When Things Get Heated
Sometimes young children can get too much; they throw tantrums and refuse to cooperate no matter how calm you try to be! It sounds like a situation that calls for a time-out. Time-out can also be used as a punishment for breaking specific rules.

The aim is to take them away from what they are doing, to somewhere quiet, where they can’t access their toys. This gives you an opportunity to explain to them what they have done. Set a time for them to stay in time out and then they can leave once they have calmed down and thought about what they have done.
As they get older and a bit more responsible, you can ask them to leave time-out when they think they have calmed down and are ready to apologize. But if they use this as an excuse to keep breaking the rule knowing they can instantly leave time-out; it can lead to a cycle that you may wish to avoid by just using a set time.

Listen to Their Side
One of the most important traits to demonstrate as a parent, and also as a person is listening. And this means actually taking in what somebody tells you and coming up with an appropriate response.

If your child is not behaving correctly, due to being angry or sad about something, maybe they are not staying in bed. If you speak to them and ask them, you might find out why they feel the way they do or that they are scared to stay in bed and you can then find a solution to their problem.

By listening to them and trying to help them, instead of punishing them, you are demonstrating a trait that they would ideally develop themselves. On top of that, you are improving their conversational skills and ability to express their emotions in a positive manner which will go a long way to preventing bad behaviour in the future.

A strong willed child may seem like a nightmare right now but that strength will ensure an unbeatable force of nature as an adult! Stay strong parents, this to shall pass! 

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Give The Gift Of Daily Art!

In A Dangle A Day, Angela Porter will guide you through adding charms and embellishments to your hand lettering and artwork to create your own dangling masterpieces.

Dangles are a beautiful and whimsical art form for people who love coloring and tangles. A Dangle A Day features the artwork of Angela Porter, whom you may know as the author of the Color Me series. In this book, you will follow Angela's instructions to add charms and embellishments to letters and artwork.

A Dangle a Day features more than 120 pieces of art for you to look to as you add stunning patterns and color to dangles, personalize your dangles with charms that are unique to you, and create dangle words from a variety of highly detailed alphabets. Dangles are a perfect way to accentuate your stationery, invitations, lettering, scrapbook, journals and more; so if you like coloring, tangling, or lettering, you'll love to dangle!

The author

Angela Porter is a self-taught artist who finds inspiration in nature, especially ammonite and other fossils. Much of her work is abstract with flowing lines, shapes, and colors that create textured and detailed artworks. She works with technical drawing pens, watercolors, inks, colored pencils, and metallic paints and pens. She lives in South Wales.