Thursday, October 18, 2018

But It's Not November...

Last week we had temperatures in the 80s. It was still feeling quite a bit like summer. They told us on the TV weather that it was going to cool down, but I don't think we really paid that much attention. I mean, the weather forecast is pretty much always wrong...

    - Are you wearing a hoodie, pants, socks?
    - Is it November?
    - Do you pay the gas bill?
Or maybe we just expected it to be a bit cooler - not a lot colder.  But we've had quite an extreme temperature change, and it's really starting to feel like fall now. It's been cool enough when we crawl into bed at night that I've wished quite a few times that I had put some warmer sheets on the bed last time I changed them - maybe not the flannels yet, but perhaps the t-shirt material ones instead of the regular cotton sheets. But, it was 80° when I changed those sheets, and I wasn't ready for warmer sheets...

Jeffrey's also mentioned at least once that maybe we should think about turning the furnace on. It's not bad during the day - I've even been able to open up the door to the sunroom the last few days and let the cats out there - but climbing out of bed in the early morning (while it's still dark. WHY is it still dark?) is a bit chilly. A little heat might be nice, but it's not even November yet! Like a date on the calendar really makes a difference.

Honestly, the most important question on the thermostat in the pic is - "Are you wearing a hoodie, pants, and socks?" If you're not dressed properly, you really can't complain about being cold. Or hot, for that matter. There used to be a commercial showing a guy in jeans, socks, and a long sleeve flannel shirt always trying to adjust the thermostat to make the air conditioning colder. Seriously, buddy? Dress for the weather!  Apparently, you can save quite a bit on your energy bill just by adjusting your thermostat a couple degrees up or down (depending on season).

So, now that the weather has cooled down, we're wearing the long pants and putting on socks - and holding out for November. How about you? Have you turned on the heat yet?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Local Moving Company Can Take the Stress Out of Your Move

Moving is always a stressful experience, whether you're moving across the country or just across town. There are dozens of details to be taken care of before you even get to packing up all those boxes and transporting them to your new neighborhood. The process is especially complicated when you have pets and children. Fortunately, you can get help to make the move easier.

Most people don't even consider hiring movers when they're just relocating to a different neighborhood in the same city.  You may borrow a friend's pickup truck and recruit every available friend to help, but it still takes multiple trips back and forth and is a thoroughly exhausting process.

What if you could get the help you need without breaking the budget? Many smaller, local moving companies provide the same services as nationwide movers, but at a lower cost. You can get the help you need, while still staying within your budget, which alleviates much of the stress. This leaves you to take care of other concerns, like filing a change of address with the post office, switching utility services to your new home, and cleaning the property to prepare it for your family.

When you hire local movers in Clearwater, FL, be sure to check references, licenses, and insurance. This can help you ensure you're working with a respected and reputable business. Once you feel confident in the service and accept the estimate they offer, you can leave the rest in their hands. Simply make the arrangements and the movers will make sure your belongings get to their destination safely and on time.

Many local movers will also pack your boxes for you. If you've ever watched professional movers pack boxes, you know they can do it much faster and better than you or I ever could! The movers also label everything clearly so they know where each box goes when they get to your new house.

Even a short move means taking on a dozen tasks, while still dealing with the everyday aggravations of work, taking care of the family, and meeting other obligations. A local move can be even more emotionally draining than a long distance move. Hiring local movers with a good reputation can help alleviate some of those frustrations and make your move a little easier.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Oh, By the Way, They Have Books

I just finished reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean. I loved the book, which reminded me of how much I love the library. Sadly, I haven't been spending nearly as much time there as I used to...

While the book was primarily about the Los Angeles Public Library, it could also serve as a love letter to libraries everywhere. Yes, libraries are places where you can check out books - and who doesn't love taking home a whole stack of books? But libraries are so much more, always adapting and changing to meet the needs of their communities.

This morning on Good Morning America, one of those libraries was featured as a finalist in the Reader's Digest "Nicest Places in America" search.

I would have enjoyed the story anyway, but I just thought the timing was perfect, having just finished reading The Library Book yesterday. (which, by the way, was not a library book but an advance copy I got from NetGalley, which pretty much explains why I'm not in the library as much - ebooks!)

I'd like to believe that all libraries are among the nicest places in America...

and it's really time to get back into the habit of going regularly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Getting An Insurance Quote For Your Horse

Young girl and horses IVThere's a special attraction between little girls and horses. I almost said that all little girls want a horse, but that may not be entirely true. It's pretty close, though. If you have a little girl, you know what I mean. I was certainly one of those girls.

I was quite young when we had a horse and a pony, so the idea of needing insurance for the horse never crossed my mind. However, it really is a good idea. The question is - where do you find insurance for your horse? Here a couple places to start:

Call Your Insurance Provider - The first thing you can do is call your insurance provider. See if you can get an insurance quote for your horse as soon as possible. If your insurance company doesn't offer horse insurance, you can also contact several different insurance companies and try to request a quote from them. Sometimes, contacting multiple companies is better, enabling you to find the best deal.
little girl with grey mare
Look For Horse Insurance Companies - The next thing you can do is look for horse insurance companies. Sometimes these companies offer traditional insurance to people, but their main focus is to provide insurance for horses and other animals. You can find these types of companies online. Be sure to check the search engine ratings and customer reviews. A company with high ratings and good reviews is the Ark International Group. They promise to deliver a horse insurance quote within minutes, and they do their best to provide the country with the lowest insurance rates for horses.

You may not think having insurance for your horse is a big deal. However, your horse can get sick or even get hurt in a split-second. With no insurance, you may end up spending thousands of dollars, so even though you hope never to need it, you will be very happy to have it if something unforeseen happens.

Maybe even as happy as a little girl with her very own horse...

Monday, September 17, 2018

I Love This Idea!

I shared this video on Facebook 4 years ago. Thanks to Facebook memories, I was reminded again this morning. I loved it 4 years ago, and I love it just as much today! This is such an awesome idea. I really, really hope that this program is still going on and perhaps it has grown a bit.

What do you think? Great idea, isn't it?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Don't Let a Stinky Bathroom Drive Your Business Away

One Wrong Flush

As a business owner, you've likely come up with contingency plan after contingency plan to deal with arising problems. Staffing issues? You've got them handled. Power decides to go out? You have those backup generators. A rowdy customer? Security is just a call away. However, you may not have put thought into something that likely seems as though it could only occur in a comedy.

Imagine you're hosting at a restaurant. Everything, thus far, has been running smoothly and customers are pleased with their food and service. All seems well until you hear a few cries of terror and murmurs of distaste. The bathroom is flooding into the main dining room. It seems that because you chose to wait a little bit longer for someone to come and inspect the public restrooms of your business, one wrong flush ended up clogging the entire system making it back up. As such, you have sewage leaking over the polished hardwood and staining everything it touches.

As you can imagine, your customers will not be pleased. Not only is that money you're going to lose that night, but you're also going to lose even more to repair the damage those toilets have caused. Not just the porcelain thrones either. You'll have to hire cleaning crews to thoroughly wash the contaminated areas and potentially buy new furniture to replace the old. All while your business is closed - no customers, no income. It's a nightmare.

Have A Plan

To avoid this, you should come up with a plan of attack. One of the best ideas you can consider is having commercial plumbing Naperville IL services stop by regularly to perform maintenance on your toilets and sinks. Not only does this ensure the longevity of the toilets, but it could prevent an expensive problem from ruining your business. After all, you can imagine your reputation may suffer a bit from backed up toilets. Avoid the embarrassment and cost and have Courtesy Plumbing help you today.

(I was trying to find the appropriate picture for this post, but I think you probably had an even better one in your mind as you read it.)

3 Facts about Private Education

Every child must be educated. Most children attend a public school because it is free, readily available, and usually the easiest option available. Charter and private schools are also options, but since their costs are paid by the children's parents, fewer students attend. In some areas, the alternative options tend to be more sparse, too. While it is true that many private schools come with a sizable price tag, affordable private schools tampa florida exist, too. Some private schools offer payment plans, scholarships, and grants. In the case of religion-based schools, subsidized tuition fees are available because the affiliated congregation helps pay the costs.

Starting a Private SchoolHere are three facts about private education:
  1. All Grades are Under the Same Roof - Public education tends to separate children based on age due to the number of students who attend the school. For volume reasons, it is easier to divide the students into different schools like junior high and high school. Since the number of students who attend private school is considerably less, in this setting, a student will spend their entire educational career at the same school. The interaction between the younger and older students as well as in-between adds to the experience and develops another set of skills.
  2. Smaller Class Size - It is well-known that private schools have smaller class sizes. Again, this is simply due to the fact that fewer children go through this system. The benefits of smaller class sizes are also well-known. It is important to remember that the reduced class size is a result of parents paying the costs of their children's education. Since they are directly funding the institution, as opposed to taxpayers funding the education of everyone in their area, their expectations are higher.
  3. More Programs - Many parents would like to send their children to a private school because these institutions offer more opportunities and programs. While public schools are cutting extracurriculars like music and physical education, private schools maintain them. This is largely due to tuition fees.
Your local public school may be a good one, but if these sound like some benefits your child could benefit from, at least look into some of your local private schools. See if there are some scholarships, grants, or other ways to make it affordable for your family.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

An Alternative to Public Education

Teachers, principals, administrators, and parents everywhere know all too well that the United States' public education system has seriously declined over the past few decades. Despite the fact that the United States is home to the world's greatest economy, so many of its public schools are terrible.
It seems that less and less federal and state money is earmarked for education. School budgets are whittled down to the bare minimum making it harder and harder to maintain high standards, and the students pay the price.
Parents of students across all 50 states have enrolled their kids in Montessori schools more and more frequently over the years. But what is a Montessori school? What benefits do these alternative forms of education offer?

Montessori Schools Can Help Children Socialize

Traditional public schools in the United States - and across the globe, for that matter - have largely segregated students based on ages. Kids in any given grade are rarely one year older or younger than one another. As such, children only learn to communicate with their same-aged peers - not much of a growth opportunity there.

Montessori schools pack up to 30 students in one classroom; here's the catch - they're largely different ages. Such an environment can really help children of all ages mature more quickly and boost their communication skills.

These Systems Help Raise Free Thinkers

Unlike regular schools, Montessori programs encourage kids to think on their own - humming to the tune of everybody else's songs isn't necessarily a good thing. While this might not prepare students for close-knit traditional workplaces, Montessori graduates have been shown to be more entrepreneurial than their counterparts.

Montessori en famille, vie sensorielleStudents Are Happier

Far too many students aren't excited to go to school in today's world. However, the same can't be said about Montessori programs. Kids are allowed to be more free, independent, and do their own things.

With more than 2,000 of these schools spread across the United States, a quick search on your phone for "a Montessori preschool near me" should find one in your area.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Preparing for the Unexpected

No, this post is not about preparing for Hurrican Florence, though that would be pretty timely, wouldn't it? However, I've only been through one hurricane (sort of) when Nate came in while we were in Florida last fall. He mostly missed us, but we did get quite a bit of wind and rain, and those waves were the biggest I've ever seen in the Gulf.  But, I digress...

It would be an understatement to say that life is full of surprises. This is especially true if you are a parent. Whether there are one or more children in the house, life always seems to be interesting, to say the least. Those kids certainly know how to keep us on our toes.

readingNo, we can't predict the future, but there are a few things we can do to be prepared when the unexpected occurs.

Reading Material - No matter the age, parents are often chauffering children to various events for school and other extracurricular activities. Consider placing some special books in your vehicle that your children like to read or do not see very often. Although children may not appreciate a commute, they may like reading a book while on the go where they can learn about dinosaurs, big game skirted trolling lures, or other information that they find interesting. For younger children, be sure to include picture books on topics that they like, such as animals, colors or people.

Water BottleSnacks and Drinks - Children always seem to be hungry, and this seems especially true right after a meal. It's certainly true for my grandson Jason. How does he go from being 'so full' at dinner to being 'hungry' 5 minutes later? Regardless of whether the inquiries for a snack are genuine or not, it's a good idea for parents to have a few snacks readily available. Some prepackaged snacks are perfect for the ride home after a practice for band or a sport. Premade snacks are wonderful when at home and children need something immediately. When it comes to drinks, encourage your children to drink plenty of water. Juices and other bottled beverages can be fine, but be aware of the sugar content.

Although life is always surprising, a little preparation can help you be ready for whatever comes your way. Snacks and drinks can be ready for growing children. Commutes and other travels can be improved when a book is in the vehicle. The end result is that parents, family members, and friends are ready for the unexpected.

-- so I just read through this post, which was written for me; I just did some editing. Sometimes the sentences are just so awkward... Honestly, there is some good information here, but the basic premise is just wrong. Yes, we should be prepared, but, these things are not unexpected. Of course, kids are going to get bored in the car if they don't have anything to do, and of course, they always want something to eat. The only thing unexpected would be a parent who doesn't know that and has done nothing to be prepared...

Monday, September 10, 2018

Reading with Kids

My friend Ruth posted this updated list of Great Read-Aloud Recommendations for Kids this morning. If you've got kids in your life, be sure to check it out. There are some of my favorite books on the list, though I must admit that I didn't do much reading aloud with my kids after they were old enough to read for themselves. Maybe I'll do more of that with Jason when he's here. This summer we did quite a bit of reading together, where we'd take turns reading a few pages or a chapter in a book. That was quite fun. That boy's reading improved so much in the last few months of first grade!

Also included on Ruth's list are some interesting books I want to check out, and even one that I'm currently listening to - The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck. Audiobooks are kind of like read-aloud, right? I'd still rather actually read because the words get into my brain better when I actually see them, but I can't do that while I'm walking in the mornings. So I listen to audiobooks. I'm really enjoying this one and starting to think I should get an actual physical copy of the book so Jason and I can read it next summer. Possibly. He'll be 8 which is a little young for the book's target age, but he likes and understands a lot of things that I think he's too young for...

Now the little guy in this video? He isn't quite old enough to understand this book. Yet. But his granny is getting such a kick out of it, I dare you to watch this without laughing!

I predict this is going to be a regular thing with these two, and eventually the little guy will get just as big a kick out of it as his granny does.

The best thing about reading aloud to kids - besides all the great books - is that special time together.