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Are you ready to bring home your new bundle of joy? Homes are dangerous to babies and young children.  Children are constantly learning and are curious about the environment around them, but this can get them into some unintentional trouble. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 9 million children (ages 0-19) are seen in emergency departments for injuries and more than 9,000 children die as a result of being injured. Childproofing is a necessary step for preventing accidental injury or death to a little one in your home.

Be Aware of Falling Furniture
You know well enough as an adult not to hang or climb on heavy furniture, but your children do not. Especially if the furniture is unbalanced, it is a danger to your child. Anchor heavy furniture such as dressers, entertainment centers, bookcases, etc. to the wall using anti tip, earthquake proof straps. You also need to be aware of anything that is on top of desk that can potentially fall and injure your child. Televisions, lamps, and heavy books can easily be pushed or tugged off a table accidentally.

Utilize Locks and Height
Using childproof cabinet locks, be sure to lock up toxic cleaning products, sharp implements, and any medicine (your child might think its candy.)  .  For products, if you do not wish to purchase good locks (getting a pack of 7 for $3 are likely to break quickly. You should invest in good quality products), you should put them in a high location where children are unable to reach them. Toilets and any other places with water should be locked or children should be supervised. Children can drown in very little water.

Pay Attention to Potential Choking Hazards
Children tend to put things in their mouth and anything that can fit through a cardboard toilet paper roll is too small and can potentially be a choking hazard. This includes items such as removable caps, small pieces of toys, dice, plastic insets placed in unused electrical sockets, etc.

Use Gates When Appropriate
Gates can be used when you don’t want your child to have access to a certain area. Use a gate at the top or bottom of stairs if you don’t want them to accidentally fall down the stairs; use a fate at their bedroom door at night to prevent older toddlers and children from wandering around. If you have a pool, make sure to use good quality pool fencing to limit your child from accessing the pool area unattended.

Careful with Electricity and Cords
Electricity and shock is very dangerous to anyone, especially young children. Cover electrical outlets with sliding covers instead of plastic inserts (which can be pulled out and present a choking hazard.) Tuck exposed cords behind molding or use a tubing system, which will help prevent kids from chewing on them. Be sure to unplug hair dryers, straightening irons, etc. and put them on a high shelf. 


Whether you are moving to a new town in your state, or heading to a city hundreds of miles away, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know the area and don’t have friends and family in the location. Follow the tips below for getting settled and more acclimated in your new home town.

Find the local shops.
Drive around and find the nearest grocery store, CVS or Walgreens, coffee shop, movie theater, gym, etc. It’s always helpful to find them before you actually have a need to go.

Map your route to work.
Before your first day of work, make sure to map out your route and take a drive by to see exactly how long it would take you to get there. If possible, try going on a weekday, so you can see if you would be stuck behind busses or if there is a lot of traffic on a particular route.

Use your current connections.
Making friends in your new location is essential for social interaction and your overall happiness. Before you move, ask your current friends and connections if they know anybody who lives in the place you are moving to.  These people can be your first friends or at the very least, a good person to ask about things going on in town.

Introduce yourself to your new neighbors.
When you move into your new home, it’s best to get to know the locals in your neighborhood. They might not make the first move, as they don’t want to disturb you while you’re moving and trying to settle in. It’s up to you to say hello and wave when you see them outside and perhaps you can form a good relationship with them over time.  Going for walks around your neighborhood can also expose you to more people.

Join organized groups.
Another way to get active in your new neighborhood and make friends would be to join organized groups for your hobbies.  This can be a group fitness class at the gym that you join, something you find on a bulletin board at a coffee shop, a work related group, or even something you find online with the help of meetup.com or couchsurfing.

Be active in your children’s schools.
If you have young children in school, be sure to be active if possible. Go to PTA meetings, watch your kids in the school play, volunteer as a chaperone, etc. This will not only help your kids feel more comfortable in a new school system, this can also help you become more familiar with your kid’s teachers and friends.

Always say yes when invited.
Until you make a group of friends in your new location, you should always say yes whenever you are invited out somewhere. Even if the activity isn’t something that you’ve done before or something that you’re particularly that interested in, you may make some new friends by participating and maybe even get a good experience out of it too.


Your home should be a place where you and your family should feel safe. Burglars threaten that security, but there are things you can do to make sure that your home and family aren't being targeted. Check out these 13 tips below to help keep your home from being targeted by home intruders.

Always Make It Seem Like Someone Is Home
Whether you are on vacation for a week or simply going to the store and running errands for a few hours, you always want to make sure it seems like somebody is home, even if the house is empty. There are a few ways that you can portray this.

  1. Never let flyers, menus, and newspapers sit out. Always make sure to collect them or if you are on vacation, have a trusted neighbor come by and pick these ups each day.
  2. Pretend like you’re saying goodbye to someone when you’re leaving your home. This only works if you are visible (your car isn’t in a garage) but can fool someone that is watching you into thinking someone is still home.
  3. If you’re on vacation and it snows, have your neighbors make tracks in the snow. Untouched snow is an obvious tip for burglars to see nobody is home.

Think About Outside
The way you landscape your home or keep your yard can make you a target for someone that wants to break into your home.

  1. Always make sure that your landscaping is neat. Be aware of any places that burglars and intruders can lurk and hide. This means keeping bushes and shrubs away from any first floor windows.
  2. Don’t ever leave a ladder in your backyard. This makes it easier for burglars to reach an upstairs window that you may not have locked.
  3. Mow your lawn. If you’re on vacation and your lawn starts to grow out, this is an easy cue for someone to know you haven’t been around in a while. Have a friend or neighbor do it if you’ll be out of town for a long period of time.

Have Extra Security
Installing a home security system is a great idea; however, it can become a little costly. There are other things that you can do to intimidate them and stop them from targeting your home.

  1. Buy light timers for indoor and outdoor lights (be sure to use fluorescent bulbs to keep energy costs down.) Have them go on night, before you get home. This will make it seem like someone is home and provides you some safety when entering your home.
  2. Buy some fake alarm system decals.  Do this if you can’t afford or wouldn’t like to purchase an actual home security system. You can also purchase “beware of dog” signs. These signs may make a potential intruder choose what they think is an easier target instead.
  3. Reinforce door jams by installing long screws (4 inch) to replace the small screws that are most likely installed. This will make it harder for a burglar to kick the door in and the extra noise may prevent them from continuing on.
  4. For sliding doors or windows, use a wooden dowel or metal bar that fits into its track when it’s closed. This will prevent it from being pried open.

Other Tips

  1. Don’t leave electronics boxes on the curb. Instead, cut them up and conceal them in recycling bins. Having proof of your electronics on your curb will make you a target.
  2. Don’t leave status updates about being on vacation until AFTER you’re back from your trip. Posting them while on your trip alerts everyone that you’re not home and won’t be for a while.
  3. Have the post office hold your mail until you get back from vacation. 

If you are planning to move or simply want to have a house that others envy, it’s important that you pay attention to your homes curb appeal.  A home’s curb appeal is the first impression that onlookers will have on your home. Whether you are trying to sell your home or simply want to impress your guests, making sure that your home has a picturesque exterior is key.

Curb appeal is important as the overall appearance of your home from the street can make or break a sale or opinion on your home.  If you were looking to buy a home, you would likely do a drive by to see what the exterior of the home looks like. You are immediately judging the entirety of the home and it’s value based on what the outside looks like. This is why it is so important to make sure your home has curb appeal.

The way to give your property more curb appeal would be by making your home look picturesque and low maintenance. To make a good impression, you want to make it so anyone would be able to imagine themselves living there. Two main ways to achieve this is with landscaping and updating/upgrading.

Landscaping

  • Make sure your house looks clean and neat
  • Your lawn should be mowed & trimmed
  • Gardens should be weeded and have an edging on it (try to avoid plastic edging if possible)
  • Get rid of any clutter in the yard such as kids toys, bikes, and garden tools.
  • Add low-voltage landscape lighting to add safety & security

Update & Upgrade

  • Put a fresh coat of paint on the house & front door. (Make sure the front door complements your home’s exterior and landscape.)
  • Update an outdoor space such as a porch, deck, or garden by installing more furnishings to make it more of a living space.
  • Replace the house numbers to make it look fresh and new.

Updating your land to make it have more curb appeal doesn’t have to be an expensive activity. Just a little bit of effort can turn your home into one that has a “WOW” factor.


There are mixed reviews on whether or not joining a homeowners association, also known as HOA, is a good thing.  Some people like the rules and structure that goes along with it, while others detest being told that they can’t do something with their own property.  It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into when you decide to live somewhere that is part of a HOA.

The Basics

There are a few basic things you should know about HOAs that can be seen as a pro or a con, but are more based off one person’s opinion than a general consensus.

1. When you decide to buy a property such as a condo, townhouse, or a home that is part of a gated community, you are required to join that community’s HOA and pay monthly fees to maintain the upkeep of public areas.

2. HOAs set rules that all residents must follow. These rules are called CCRs or covenants, conditions, and restrictions.  Some of these rules can include what color your front door must be painted or the size and types of pets permitted.

3. The HOA is likely to enforce the rules. If you were to break them, you will likely be fined.

 

For a brief breakdown, here is a list of the pros and cons of living in a home that is part of a homeowners association.

Pros

  • HOAs maintain the quality of life for everyone that is part of it.
  • They protect property values for all owners.
  • HOAs provide amenities.
  • They reduce your home owning responsibilities.

Cons

  • There’s little you can do if you don’t like a rule.
  • If you choose not to follow a rule, you’ll likely be fined.
  • HOA dues can be raised at anytime.
  • An HOA can evict you or foreclose on your home if you repeatedly don’t pay your dues.

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