3 Things to Consider Before Installing Solar on Your Home


Solar can be a great way to save money for your home. It doesn’t happen overnight, however. There are several steps you need to take before you start saving money at your home. For some people, installing solar might not actually save you money. 


Here are a few steps to take to evaluate whether solar makes sense for your home. 


1. Find the Right Solar Installer

When you start thinking about installing solar, you should consult a few experts (not just one!) to evaluate what financing options you can obtain. For example, some solar installers will provide lease options, or you can pay for all the equipment upfront. 


In addition to evaluating the right solar installer and their financing options, you should understand the installers track record of placing solar. You don’t want to choose the cheapest option because that might end up causing more headache and frustration than anything. If you live in the mid-Atlantic, these are the best solar companies in Maryland to consider in your search.


2. Determine Your Cost of Energy

I believe that you should do this step after speaking with a solar installer. An installer will point you in the right direction for your home, but this gives you an opportunity to fact check their claims. You should know how much electricity a solar panel can produce before making your decision on installing solar. 


By knowing how much electricity you can get from your solar will determine how much you will potentially save or even earn from this investment. In addition, you should know the lifespan of a solar panel as the cash flows will determine how much you can save over the long-term.


3. Review Your Sun Positioning

Surprise! Solar panels rely on the sun. I’m sure you knew that already. However, you should consider if you can even install solar in advance of your decision. You can do that by simply looking on your roof to determine if there is any sun coverage during the daytime. 


If not, you might be completely out of luck of installing solar. That’s okay because you don’t always need solar to make the switch to a more sustainable lifestyle. There are other things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint such as reducing plastic usage, saving food, installing energy efficiency and so much more. 


Will you consider making the switch to solar? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.


Author BioGreen Coast is a renewable energy and green living community focused on helping others live a better, greener life. We believe that energy and green living has become far too complex, so we created a number of different guides to build a sustainable foundation. You can follow updates on Facebookand Twitter

 

Green Home Fixes That Pay For Themselves

One of the most frustrating parts of trying to live a greener lifestyle is often the cost. New technology is almost always cost-prohibitive, meaning families on a budget won't have the same access to all the newest eco-friendly ways to reduce their carbon footprint. However, some improvements have been shown to be more worthwhile than others. Some green fixes, as it turns out, end up paying for themselves the longer you use them. What fixes are worthwhile, and which are going to cost you?

Solar Energy


While many people see solar energy as too expensive to be worthwhile, you may want to reconsider. Solar energy does have a significant cost to pay upfront, but that cost is decreasing every year. As of mid-2017, the U.S. has a total solar power capacity of 47.1 gigawatts (GW), which is enough to power 9.1 million homes. Additionally, not only is solar energy getting more affordable; it ends up paying for itself in energy savings. Solar panel installation and use can ultimately recover the cost of installation via energy savings in as little as seven years, depending on where you live and solar energy availability.

Water-Saving Systems


Even if solar energy isn't a practical solution for your home, there are plenty of other ways to make an environmental impact that pays for itself over time. The right water-saving systems throughout your home can also decrease your home's utility bills, reducing regular spending to help cover the cost. Look for greywater systems and water-saving appliances, or even reach out to see what your local community does for wastewater treatment. Wastewater treatment facilities in the United States process approximately 34 billion gallons of wastewater every day. See what your options are for installing more efficient systems that recycle water; they might be expensive upfront, but they're well worth the cost.

Smart Landscaping


Not all green fixes rely on intensive home repair; some just take a green thumb and a bit of effort. The right landscaping designs can help you cut down on energy bills by making it easier to heat or cool your home depending on the season. Landscaping is also a great way to improve your home's value; the right landscaping can add as much as 14% to the resale value of your home. This will ultimately help offset the cost, especially if you eventually decide to sell the home later on.

Other Ways To Save


So what should you do if all of these options are still too expensive upfront to add to your home? In some areas, you might actually be able to receive grants and funding towards improving your home for the sake of energy efficiency. Look to your community associations and other similar local organizations as a starting point. U.S. homeowners paid approximately $88 billion in assessments toward community associations in 2016; sometimes, that money goes back towards homeowners looking to make environmentally-friendly improvements on their property. Every area is different, so be sure to check out resources near you before you start in on your next home improvement project.

Going green can sometimes have a barrier to entry due to the cost of many fixes associated with being eco-friendly. However, choosing the right fixes can help offset the overall cost over time, while also decreasing your home's carbon footprint. What affordable methods do you use to keep your lifestyle as green as possible? Have you found certain methods of going green more cost-effective than others?

3 Ways Stay at Home Moms Can Earn Money


As we all know, being a mom is a full-time job in and of itself, right? Cleaning dirty diapers, cooking meals, splitting up sibling fights, and generally occupying your little ones is a 24-hour job that never ends.

But just because we’re busy being moms doesn’t mean we should be denied the opportunity to contribute financially - and it doesn’t have to. 

Personally, I got tired of dad getting all the credit for bringing home the bacon, so I spent a few months trying to find ways I could earn money from home, around my regular mom-duties. Now, I’m earning as much as dad is without having to leave the house. Here’s how…
1. Start a Blog
You don’t need to be a professional writer to start a blog. If you can write at an eighth-grade level, that’s all you really need. Sharing your thoughts, ideas, and advice online through a blog might seem like more of a hobby than a job, but it can actually generate a huge income if you do it right. At least, it did for me.
There’s a lot of moms out there just like us who would probably be interested in reading what you have to say, whether that’s parenting tips, recipes, or just random thoughts! If you can build an audience for your blog, target the right keywords, and grow an email list, you’ll eventually be able to monetize it. Remember to look into how to protect your blog so your hard work is never in jeopardy of being, reported, lost or stolen.

You can make money from your blog via ads, sponsored posts, affiliate links, and more. There are many pros to starting a blog
2. Start Tutoring

The second way to earn money I stumbled on was online teaching and tutoring children. I figured I was already taking care of and teaching my own little ones from home, so why not do it for someone else’s too? 

If you’re from the US or any other native English-speaking nation, there are tons of online English tutoring companies just waiting to sign you up out there. Some of these are very flexible, which means you can earn money around your other duties.

Put the kids to bed, log on, and start earning!
3. Invest in Stocks
Stay-at-home moms make some of the best stock investors.  According to a 2007 article published in the New York Times, a huge portion of new stock traders in Japan were housewives who ventured into the world of trading after putting their kids to bed. These women had a massive economic effect on the market, proving that it isn’t only for men.

It’s important to remember, though, that investing in stocks isn’t a work-from-home job, it’s more of an economic activity. As such, you can lose money as easily as you can make it. To make sure you make money, you can’t treat it as gambling.

I’ve found that you really have to spend as much of your free time as you can researching stocks, performing market analysis, and calculating stocks in order to make sure you invest your money wisely. While the kids are at school or busy playinggames, you should be reading the latest investor column!

Author BioFinancial Wolves is a blog focused on helping you make more money to achieve financial freedom. After repaying student loans, I’ve shifted my focus to make more money from side hustles, real estate, freelancing and the online economy. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Anyone Else Ready For Back To School? Here’s How We Prepared!


Holy crap summer is almost over and I am literally planning my appreciation & Christmas gifts for my brave teachers taking on the madness of the school year! I absolutely love being a mom and running a daycare but this summer has been a long one. Seven kids all day five days a week, summer camps, beach trips, play dates, sleepovers, and the list goes on. I am thrilled to be back in routine and ready to rock the school year. 

Get back to sleeping schedules! We started our sleep schedule adjustment and are getting better at getting up early now. It is always a good idea to start waking up the kids a couple hours earlier a few weeks before school starts. This is especially true for parents who work from home like me, the kids have been trying to sleep in until 9/10 for the past two months. Either way your going to be dragging them out of bed to get moving but this way it’s not unexpected and gives them time to adjust. 

Packing lunches that fill those giant holes! My kids are growing so fast it’s hard to keep up sometimes. They eat non stop when given the opportunity but since I run a daycare they have been eating at set meal and snack times for years now except on the weekends and holidays. My oldest boy is now 11 and a bottomless pit so feeding him until he’s full usually requires lots of bread, noodles, and some sort of large shovel to pack it in his gaping yap! I have a great list of creative snack ideas you can use or inspiration! 

Getting a homework plan in place! My kids are generally good in school, besides the fact that both boys have ADHD so it’s hard to get them to sit still for longer than two seconds. They know homework must be done before anything fun happens and that is a very basic and easy rule to follow for any family. There’s so much stigma and pressure around kids and school work, they don’t need to be pushed like crazy and stressed out especially at younger ages. Read why recess is more important than homework!

Lots of praise for the teachers! These are the people that take the role in being the cheapest and most important child care providers for millions of kids around the globe! Much respect to all the teachers out there because as a child care provider I know how tiring and challenging teaching can be. Remember parents: parenting starts at home so don’t let your little vagina dumplings be disrespectful, teach them the rules, and ensure they know that their teacher is there to make their lives better and help them grow! 

Welcome back to the school hustle and bustle parents! Have fun and enjoy watching them grow, it doesn’t last long! Remember to follow me on Pinterest and Facebook to get more tips on how to handle the craziest job you will ever have! 

Tips to Select the Right Screw for DIY Woodworking


The type of screws you need for woodworking will depend on whether your project is for indoor or outdoor use, the size of your project, and the intensity of your project.

Here are some simple and practical tips that you can consider while selecting the right screw for your woodwork.

Indoor use
If you are working on an indoor project, the suitable screws are production screws, tapered steel screws and drywall screws.

Drywall screws are, however, easily breakable making them unsuitable for intense projects that require strong construction.

Production screws are one of the best indoor screws as they have sharp threads for excellent hold. You can use these screws in the hardest woods.

Outdoor use
Deck screws are one of the best screws for outdoor projects. These screws are plated to increase resistance to corrosion.

Screw materials
If you are looking for screws that have a strong resistance to rust and corrosion, look for screws made of stainless steel and silicon bronze.

Screw head
There are two basic styles – one that stays even with the wood surface, and the other that bulges out.


Bugle head and trim head screws are designed to stay even with the surface of the wood. But bugle head screws have stronger holding power. Trim head screws are suitable for moderate holding power, and they do not split delicate woods.

For stronger joint and completely hidden out-of-sight, as seen in SimplyHomeTips, it’s called for pocket screws. These screws often used to hold two panelboards at an angle through a connected deep pocket hole.

For screws that do not sit even with the wood surface, some screws can create their own recess. This is done through the presence of serrations on the underside of the screw heads. Some brands that provide this type of self-countersinking are Spax, GRK, and Quickscrew.

Some woodwork looks better with the screw head sitting on top of the wood surface. These screw heads are the pan head, cheese head (or fillister head) and the traditional round head. Small heads should not be used on softwood as it can crush the wood surface. For larger heads, you can also go for washer head screws.

Screw length
The screw must at least go through half the length of the opposing object. So, if you want to join two 2-inch planks of wood, your screw should be at 3 inches.

The other scenario is doing an L-shaped screwing if you’re working on a dining table, bed, or a chair. Say you’re screwing through a thickness of 2 inches against any length of wood with a thickness of 2 inches or more. For this, your screw length should be at least twice the thickness of your wood, which means 4 inches.

Screw drive type
The two popular drive styles are square and star. Two excellent qualities that are present in these types of screws are their ability to stick well to the drive bit and their resistance to cam out. TORX and Robertson produce these types of drive.

Apart from the above two, there is also a hybrid drive style that combines a Phillips and square drive.

Screw point and thread

Production and deck screws offer excellent points and threads with minimal splitting.

Free Fun for Your Family for Back to School



If your little ones haven't headed back to school yet, they'll be heading back soon. You're no doubt breathing a deep sigh of relief! But just because summer is ending, the constant cries of "I'm bored!" aren't going to disappear. 
So how can you keep the kiddos entertained on the cheap? It's easier than you think. Tons of companies and community organizations offer free fun for kids, and a bit of creativity takes care of the rest. Here are 10 ideas to get you started. 
1. Visit a Home Depot Workshop 
Do you have a budding young Bob the Builder at home? If so, enroll them in one of Home Depot's free workshops for kids. You'll occupy their hands and minds and provide them with the skills they'll need later in life. After all, they won't need to call in a carpenter to patch a small hole in the drywall if they know a little DIY. 
Home Depot also offers Do It Herself workshops for women, so consider picking up a new skill yourself while the little ones learn. Think how proud you'll be announcing to hubby that you fixed the leaky faucet yourself! 
2. Take a Trip to the Museum
Do you currently use Bank of America or manage credit or investments through Merrill Lynch? If so, you could score free admission to the museum for your kiddos. All you need is your current debit or credit card issued through one of the institutions, and you've got a free pass for 225 museums across the country. Take the entire family with you to enjoy a day of art, history and culture. 
3. Roller Skate for Free 
Roller skating builds your leg muscles, develops core strength and balance and improves your overall coordination — all while you're having a blast! But the cost of admittance and skates can add up. If you sign up for membership on Kids Skate Free, you can participate in free skating at rinks around the United States. 
Don't see your favorite local rink on the list? The website provides a printable template for a letter that'll inform them about this great program. 
4. Enjoy a Day of Bowling 
A day at the bowling alley is fun for everyone, regardless of age. With Kids Bowl Free, you can enjoy up to two free games all summer long to ease the pain of going back to class. Many local alleys offer all day passes on select Saturdays and Sundays so the rest of the family can get involved. You'll burn a few calories and help children develop their motor skills and upper body strength. 
5. Make a Movie at Apple Camp 
Apple hosts tons of free camps for the kids. If you've got a budding young Stephen Spielberg at home, help them learn how to direct their own movies at Apple Camp. This three-day camp for children will teach them how to use an iPad to shoot videos and combine them to create a movie trailer. 
6. Spend the Day at the Playground
Children need unstructured play to develop emotionally, building confidence and independence by applying their problem-solving skills in new situations. Taking your kids to the park helps foster their creativity as they make up new games and activities. Plus, it gets their bodies moving, making nap time a little easier. 
7. Drive Over to a National Park 
The National Park Foundations' Every Kid in a Park campaign strives to introduce all children to the wonders of the natural world. Spending time in nature helps relieve stress, alleviates mild depression and fosters a sense of environmental stewardship. Plus, you and your little ones will get some exercise as you explore the majesty of the outdoors. 
8. Earn Chucky Cheese Points by Reading 
When your kiddo proudly comes home waving a good report card, reward them with a trip to Chucky Cheese. They award children with 10 tokens for free as long as they show their report card with a food purchase. 
That said, you don't have to wait until the end of the grading period. If you visit the restaurant's website, you can sign up for various rewards, including one which provides tokens in exchange for reading. 
9. Hit Up a Community Concert 
Many parks and recreation departments host free concerts and family movie nights at local facilities. Why not get out the picnic basket, grab your favorite snacks and take advantage of these great deals with your kids? You can team up with neighbors who have children around the same ages and make it a group outing. 
10. Start Volunteering 
The best time to foster a sense of community in your children is when they're young. Luckily, you have a ton of options for involving the little ones in volunteer work. 
For example, helping out at a soup kitchen is a rewarding after-school activity every other week or so. You can also help out with back-to-school supply drives for families in need. If your children are older, participate in a community cleanup event together. 
Make Back to School More Fun 

Back-to-school time is something to celebrate, but you still need free ways to entertain the little ones. By following the ten suggestions above, you can keep kids active, learning and growing throughout the year. 

6 tips for taking your child to the dentist for the first time


Taking the trip to the dentist can be scary and quite nerve-wracking, not only for the little one but also
 for the parents. Parents truly do not know exactly what to expect when the child's first dental appointment comes up; also, how to make the appointment more enjoyable for the child without causing psychological trauma? Unfortunately, there has been a rise of tooth decay in Australian children in the last couple of years. Hence, it is important to schedule an appointment as early as possible and make sure that the child's pearly whites are healthy and beaming. Here are six clever
tips which will ensure the first dental appointment goes well.

1. Start early


The best way to teach the children to not be frightened by dental health care professionals is by starting with the appointment super early; some recommend taking the baby to the dentist as early as six months of catching a glimpse of the first tooth. Also, the dentist will not only inspect the child's oral health but also provide parents with important tips and techniques on how to brush correctly. Of course, before planning a visit to the dentist, examine the child at home to get him or her more comfortable with the situation. This way, the child will feel more at ease with someone inspecting their mouth area. A helpful tip (especially when dealing with infants) is to take a clean wet washcloth and wipe the gums after meals. This will also prepare the child for the dentist.

2. Choose a suitable dentist


After deciding on finally taking the child to a health care professional, it is important to find the right dentist to do the job. Of course, finding someone highly reliable, professional and kid-friendly is key to a successful dental appointment. Try consulting with friends and family members or browse the internet for the highest-rated professionals in your area. Australian citizens residing in New South Wales may consult with children's dentist in Central Coast. After picking someone, make sure to inspect the dental clinic and take special note of the atmosphere in the office. Most importantly, make sure that it is clean, child-friendly and welcoming.

3. Know what's in store


To combat stress and the feeling of anxiety before an appointment, make sure to know what to expect when visiting. Above all, a child's first trip to the dentist should be all about figuring out the basics for optimal oral health. During the first appointment, the health care professional will evaluate the child's mouth area, including the teeth, gums and the oral tissues. Next, the dentist will check whether there are any problems which may require further interventions. Furthermore, the dentist will give helpful tips on how to care for the child's dental health at home and provide parents with beneficial advice.

4. Be a good role-model


It is known that children try to imitate the people they look up to. In this case, the parent should set a good example at home and practice good oral hygiene as well. Make sure to always brush the teeth after meals and use a tongue scraper. Also, consider adding mouthwash to the oral care routine and accentuate the importance of always having healthy teeth. When these oral habits are implemented at a very young age, children are more likely to stick to them as they get older.

5. Make it fun


Children are all about fun, so make sure to add heaps of fun and enjoyment when going to the dentist. For example, introduce the child to an electric toothbrush, and tell him or her that it is the crazy brother of the regular plastic toothbrush. When driving to the dentist, play car games to promote communication skills and banish the fear of the appointment. For example, play "I spy" or another exciting child-friendly game. Also, take some electronic gadgets with you to the dentist's office and keep the child occupied while waiting for your turn.

6. Pick the right time

 

Finally, an excellent fool-proof way to prevent a meltdown and avoid temper tantrums at the dentist is by picking a time in your schedule which works for the child. Remember to get the appointment after a nap or a meal. Otherwise, if the child is sleepy or hungry, it is highly likely that he or she will not be tolerant and patient in the dentist's office. Some children are in a better mood early in the morning, whilst others do better in the afternoon hours. Make sure to consider your child's feelings and work something out.
In summary, a child’s first appointment at the dentist does not have to be a frightening experience. By following these tips, the appointment will be a success.

Make Beautiful Art To Keep or Sell With Chalk Couture

Create stylish and beautiful art pieces with the most simple to use products available! 

Chalk Couture is revolutionizing DIY and home d├ęcor with category-creating products like Chalkology Paste, Chalk Transfers, Couture Ink and exclusive Boards. Whether you want to build a business or simply chalk everything, find everything you need here!

Even if you’re not the most crafty and creative person you can create high quality pieces that you could sell as handmade art. Chalk Couture is for everyone of all ages and is so simple anyone can do it. The amount of different projects you can create is endless and it is so much fun. 

You can create wall hangings, message boards, pillows, shirts, aprons, decorative bottles, and so much more. There are countless colours to match every households design scheme and infinite designs to create for anyone. There is literally zero talent involved in making Chalk Couture products it is so simple a child can master it in no time at all.


I had so much fun testing out my Chalk Couture package I received from my local independent designer Annette Simpson who runs LitBitChalks  You can watch her make tons of different projects and even enter giveaways! She teaches you how to create and it’s all live so as she messes up and makes a mistake you can learn with her on how to fix it! Nothing better then learning with a real person! 


You can also become a Chalk Couture Independent Designer and start a rewarding career in sales and art! If you’re interested in learning more check out my friend Annette’s Facebook page and ask her about becoming a designer. She is so helpful and makes everything so easy, she can answer all your questions and guide you through the process. If you just want to start creating for fun she can help you with that as well! 

Start creating and have fun! 

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