Sunday, June 18, 2017

Keep Pests Away Naturally

Enjoying the outdoors doesn't mean having to learn to coexist with bugs and pests. It also doesn't have to mean spraying your home with expensive and potentially harmful chemicals.

Check out these natural ways to keep bugs at bay.

1. Choose your plants wisely. Many plants are known for their bug repelling qualities such as:

  • Peppermint - Spiders, Mosquitoes and Ants
  • Basil - Mosquitoes and Flies
  • Lavender - Moths, Flies, Fleas
  • Lemongrass  - Mosquitoes, Ticks
2.  Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a bowl of vinegar and dish soap.

3.  Create a wasp trap by filling a jar with 6 oz of vinegar, 2 tbs of sugar and 1 tsp of salt.

4. Keep mosquitoes away by cutting a lime in half and placing cloves all over the soft surface. Cut the bottom of the limes to keep them standing up straight.

5.  Spray ants with water and salt to keep them away.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Safety in the Summer Sun

The sun just seems to shine a little hotter in the south. While that makes for great front porch sweet tea, it can be hard on the rest of us.

Enjoy the outdoors but keep these tips in mind to protect yourself from the sun's rays.

The sun is strongest during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  If you find yourself outside during these hours make sure to use protective sunscreen and take plenty of breaks indoors.

Look for a sunscreen above 30 SPF that protects against UVA and UVB rays - also known as broad spectrum.

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly. Follow the directions especially after swimming or strenuous exercise.

Consider wearing lightweight clothing with UV protection built in. Hats are important to keep the sun off your face and neck.

Create your own shade when necessary. Bring along umbrellas or a pop-up tent.

Don't forget to protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses and encourage children to do the same.

Infants are especially vulnerable to sun exposure so make sure they are fully dressed in protective clothing and out of the sun whenever possible.

UV rays are present even on cloudy days so don't let the lack of sunshine fool you! Keep up your sun smart protection.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Time to Buy!

Home buying isn't a decision to be entered into lightly. But, if you've done your research, looked at your budget and decided that now is the time - don't miss out by waiting too long!  The current housing market has limited inventory and rising prices. The faster you act the more house you'll get for your money.

According to the recent research from, low inventory and high demand have pushed housing prices up 10% from last May - with no signs of stopping.

Javier Vivas, manager of economic research at says this is the "fastest-moving spring housing market in decades".

His research shows that homes are selling 5 days faster than this time last year and 2 days faster than last month.

So what does that mean for you?

If you've found a house you like and don't want to lose - act now. Contact the builder and begin the process of writing a contract and qualifying for a loan. Having a pre-qualification letter already in place from a lender will make your offer quickly rise to the top in a competitive market.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Enjoying Your Outdoor Space

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and now is the time to enjoy your outdoor space! No matter how large or small, the following tips can help you build a usable entertainment space for those warm summer nights.

1.  Create a focal point in your outdoor space. This may be a table and chairs, fire pit or water feature. Choose a focal point to build your space around.

2.  Provide ample seating for guests. This may be in chairs, benches or porch swings!

3.  Add touches of color from potted plants, outdoor rugs or accent decorations.

4.  If you plan on using your outdoor space for dining, have easy access to the indoors for back and forth to the kitchen.  Have table space and counter space for serving ware and dishes.

5.  Think about lighting.  Take advantage of the cooler evenings with the right lighting - string lights, lanterns or torches.  Candles to keep bugs away is another big plus!

If you don't have a large outdoor space - don't let this get you down! You can make the space feel larger by utilizing your whole yard in different areas for different reasons.  There can be a space for dining, a space for games and a space for lounging.

For great ideas check out the following websites:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Beating the Heat

Temperatures are rising and so are those monthly utility bills. While living in the South pretty much makes air conditioning a necessity - there are ways to supplement your a/c with less expensive or free cooling options.  Here are a few to try:

1.  Cover up your windows with blinds or drapes to keep the sun and warmth out.

2.  Close doors to rooms that aren't used often to keep the A/C where it is most needed.

3.  Use ceiling fans or box fans to supplement the cool air flow.

4.  When cooking - always use the exhaust fan to get hot air out of the room quicker. Try grilling for less indoor heat!

5.  Switch sheets and blankets to cotton - a cooler material that will make sleeping easier.

There are many more drastic ways to keep cool. From putting your bedsheets in the freezer to sleeping in a hammock.  While this may not be the way you want to go during the summer, there are ways to lessen the load on your air conditioning
while staying cool and comfortable at home.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay cool?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mother's Day Craft Ideas

Get right to Mom's heart this Mother's Day with these cute and thoughtful crafts.  Having the kids involved will make the day even more special.

1. Paint an old mason jar to use as a vase. Have the kids add their own special touches with paint, stickers or glitter.  Then fill with a beautiful display of flowers.

2.  Use family photos to create a Mother's Day scrapbook. Have the little ones sign their name or if they are older, write a sweet message to Mom.

3.  Bake Mom's favorite dessert! It can be something simple like pudding with cool whip and sprinkles. Just make sure there's no clean up!

4. Go on a nature walk and put together a treasure box of all your favorite finds! Rocks, leaves or sticks transform when a child tells Mom about them.

5. Have each child make a coupon for a free hug, kiss, or for making the bed. Something age appropriate and fun that Mom can cash in weeks later.

No matter how you choose to celebrate the Mom's in your life - make sure the gesture is heart felt and genuine. There's no better gift!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tips for Fixing Your Credit

A strong credit score is a vital part of achieving financing on your new home.  The better your credit score, the better your interest rate and loan terms.  So what does this mean if you're credit score is less than perfect?

Don't let your credit score hold you back from buying the home of your dreams. There are things you can do to improve your credit score starting today!

1. Pull a copy of your credit report and look for errors. There can be errors on your report that can change the way your credit score is calculated.  Look for incorrect late payments or incorrect debt amounts owed.

2.  Continue to pay your bills on time. Set up reminders if you need to. Don't miss a payment or send in payments late.

3.  Begin to pay down debts whenever possible. Start with debts that have the highest interest rates first.

4.  Don't open too many new accounts or close inactive accounts.  Show stability in how your credit is maintained.

5. Keep your credit card balances low and pay them off each month as possible. Don't use too many credit cards. Just increase the credit rate on the current cards you used.

Improving your credit score will take time. It's not an instant fix but if you take the steps above you'll show banks that you are less of a risk and more likely to pay back your mortgage on time and in full.