Friday, May 31, 2019

Water Safety Reminders

Summer fun almost always includes water – sprinklers, splash pad, lakes or pools. As much fun as water activities are it’s important to talk to your kids about water safety and always be aware of where your children are and what they are doing.
Here are a few reminders on pool/water safety:
-        Always wear sunscreen and reapply often
-        Children on boats should always wear personal flotation devices or life jackets
-        Don’t let children swim alone  - use the buddy system
-        Actively supervise children when in or near the water
-        Stay within arm reach of young children
-        No running or pushing around bodies of water
-        If you have a pool in your backyard consider safety fencing
As soon as possible introduce your children to water safety and basic swim safety. Swim lessons can begin as young as babies and introduces concepts such as floating and self rescue. Don’t rely on floaties or rafts to keep your children safe.  Lifeguards can provide a false sense of safety so make sure you are responsible for knowing where your child is at all times.

Friday, May 17, 2019

How to Use Your Spring Cleaning to Help Others

Spring Cleaning – whether you do much or a little, provides the opportunity to clean up your home and give to others. Your unwanted furniture, clothes or kids toys can be used by a multitude or organizations in a way that will positively affect those in your community.  Here are a few ways to give back.
1.     Assess Your Donations

It’s a good idea to go through your donations and decide what would really benefit someone and what needs to be thrown away.  Some items can’t be donated for safety or health reasons such as household chemicals and mattresses. Fragrances and cosmetics are often not accepted by thrift stores for sanitary reasons as well. Call ahead before donating bulky appliances as they may be too difficult for thrift stores to handle.

Baby items such as cribs, car seats and strollers can only be donated if they meet the current safety standards and are not subject to a recall.  Call ahead before donating these items.

2.     Figure Out Where to Donate
Goodwill and The Salvation Army are national organizations that take used items and use them to benefit the community through thrift store sales or donations. For larger items you can contact them and arrange a time for a pick up.
Habitat for Humanity ReStores sell new and gently used furniture, décor and appliances at discounted prices.
You can also contact organizations like homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and pregnancy centers to see if they have specific needs.

Check and recheck your donations before dropping them off to be sure no unintended items are included.  

Friday, May 10, 2019

Protect Your Garden From The Heat

You’ve planted and pruned, weeded and worked, now the sun is beating down and your plants seem to be wilting under the rays.  What can you do?  Turns out - a lot!  Here are a few steps to take to protect your garden from the heat.

1. Protect your plants with mulch. Mulch will help keep the moisture in the soil and suppress the growth of weeds.
2. Pull the weeds that show up in your garden - they are stealing the moisture and nutrients your plants need.
3. Water in the morning before the heat of the day. This is better than in the evening when the moisture could cause fungus to take hold.
4. Keep your grass taller - it will cast longer shadows and its healthier for your lawn during the summer months.
5. Utilize irrigation hoses and soakers to slowly deliver water to the plant’s roots.

What do you do to protect your garden from the heat?  

Friday, May 3, 2019

How to Invest Your Tax Refund Back Into Your Home

Was Uncle Sam good to you this year and now you have a tax refund to spend? If you’re looking to invest in your new home there are several ways you can make the most of your additional cash.
Curb Appeal
-        Enhance the look of your home from the outdoors with some new shrubbery, porch furniture or an updated front door.
-        Build up a homeowner maintenance stash of light bulbs, air filters, and batteries. Build a tool kit from small projects around the house.
-        Improve the overall home environment with an air purification system.
Energy Savings
-        Spend money to save money by upgrading to Energy Star appliances, add blinds or window treatments, change out your thermostat for a programmable type.
Outdoor Living
-        Create an outdoor living space or add furniture to make your current outdoor space more appealing.
-        Need to free up some time? Consider a lawn service or cleaning help.  Enjoy your home and family more if you can afford to pay for these services.
How do you plan on using your tax refund?