Real Estate News

    • 5 Ways to Save Money Like Grandma Did

      2 August 2021

      Grandma didn’t have access to the array of processed foods, online shopping venues or financing options available to most of us today. What she did have, in most cases, was limited income and a need to make money stretch.

      Working parents today have more demands on their time and more complex family schedules. But economists say many of Grandma’s ploys are as relevant today as they were then. If you’re looking to pare the fat from your monthly spend, try doing some things the way she did.

      Plan Ahead - Food budgeting is easier if you plan meals ahead of time and grocery shop from a list. While a kid’s late practice or a late night at the office may occasionally scuttle the plan in favor of take-out, you’ll finish the month with more in your pocket if you make a plan and try to stick with it—and that means eating in more than going out.    

      Skip Pre-Cut and Processed - It’s no big deal to chop veggies yourself or to simmer a batch of soup, stew or pasta sauce in the evening, cooking enough for two or three meals. You’ll save by finding a few easy recipes and skipping pre-cut and processed foods.

      Pack Lunches - Eating out is expensive. You’ll save a bundle and control the calories by packing daily lunches for the family. Save more by packing a picnic lunch for a day trip with friends or family. It’s far cheaper than restaurant dining and a good way to stop and enjoy the scenery.

      Pay With Cash - Grandma did not shop with credit cards. Period. Go to the ATM and shop with cash. It’s a good way to keep from spending more than you had intended.

      Start Saving - ...and not just in your 401K. Grandma had a piggy bank or a coffee can where she stashed emergency money. Save your change. Pay yourself first out of every paycheck, automatically stashing five or ten percent of every paycheck into a separate account. Put aside all of the singles or five-dollar bills that wind up in your wallet. However you decide to save, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it adds up. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Add-ins for Refreshing Summer Drinks

      2 August 2021

      The summer sun may invite tons of fun, but it can also bring uncomfortable heat and dehydration. If you’re ready to enjoy those golden rays, try out one of these delicious water add-ins to ensure the most refreshing drinks possible this summer.

      Grapefruit or Lime
      A classic add-in, lemon’s citrus kick is a refreshing take on plain water. If you love the zesty flavor of lemon but want something different, try adding grapefruit or lime to your water for a delicious hint of flavor.

      Mint and Blueberry
      Muddled mint and blueberries make a delicious addition to mixed drinks, but they can also serve as an invigorating addition to your iced water. For a truly special kick, use carbonated water and a pinch of fresh-squeezed lime to create a healthy and alcohol-free version of a summertime blueberry mojito.

      Strawberry and Basil
      This combo reminiscent of a light and refreshing summer salad can make an excellent addition to your water. To ensure that your drink truly takes on the flavor of this combination, be sure to let the items infuse for 10-15 minutes before you plan to drink it. If you want the flavor to truly pack a punch, let the add-ins infuse longer.

      Blood Orange and Ginger
      For a hydrating drink that no one can call boring, thinly slice a blood orange and ginger to add into your water. For a lighter infusion, add it in directly before drinking. Ginger can be a particularly strong flavor, so be sure to add only a little alongside your blood orange slices.

      Cucumber
      If you’re in the mood for a classic and simple addition to your water, look no further than sliced cucumber. Cucumber water’s simplicity makes it ideal for serving guests or children who may not like the complex flavors of stronger infusions.

      Staying hydrated doesn’t have to be boring, these add-in options are perfect for sipping on your back porch or at an outdoor brunch. Whenever you choose to make them, you’ll be sure to enjoy quenching your thirst with these perfect additions for your summer drinks.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Signs That Your House May Have Termite Damage

      2 August 2021

      Termites can eat the wood in your house and cause major destruction. There are telltale signs of a termite infestation that you may be able to spot if you know what to look out for. If you notice any of them, contact a professional to have your home inspected and treated. It’s important to note that a termite infestation isn’t always obvious, which is why you should also have a professional conduct routine inspections.

      Physical Damage to Your House
      When termites chew through wood, they create long grooves that weaken the wood’s structure and leave it hollowed out. The damage may be located in places that you can’t see, such as behind walls and beneath floors, but wood that termites have chewed through can produce a hollow sound that indicates that your home has been infested.

      You may notice that drywall has small holes or that it’s drooping in places. You may see that paint is peeling and may think that it’s due to water damage, but it may actually be caused by termites. 

      Subterranean termites can damage the subfloor and cause blisters in wood flooring. If your wood floors look like they have water damage, that may also be a sign of a termite infestation. Floorboards may squeak when people walk on them, and wood or laminate floors that have suffered serious termite damage may buckle.

      Other Signs That Termites Have Invaded Your Home
      Subterranean termites live in underground nests and dig toward houses and other wood food sources. If you see mud tubes near your house, that’s a sign that termites have burrowed underground to get to a food source.

      After termites leave their nest to mate, they twist off and discard their wings. If you see a pile of wings that are all the same size and that resemble fish scales near a window or door, that indicates that there’s a swarm of termites nearby.

      You may see piles of termite waste in the form of pellets. The pellets may look like sawdust or coffee grounds.

      Have Your Home Inspected for Termites on a Regular Basis
      If your home has been invaded by termites, you may not see evidence until they have been there for months or years and have caused widespread destruction. That’s why it’s important to schedule routine termite inspections. If there is termite damage, a professional will be able to detect it so you can take care of the problem before it becomes serious and your home requires major structural repairs.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Diploma in Hand: Post-High School Guidance From Online School Graduates

      30 July 2021

      (Family Features) Before a global pandemic reshaped education across America, many students followed the “expected” path: complete primary education, earn a high school diploma and transition into a career or further learning. 

      Now, after an unexpected year (or more) of online learning, many students are embracing more nontraditional routes for their education and considering new options for life after high school graduation.
      A valuable first step for high schoolers is envisioning the future they want. 

      “Looking at different avenues and taking an interest inventory really help with the exploration process,” said Morgan Champion, head of counseling for Pearson Virtual Schools. “I recommend completing a career cluster interest survey, which are widely available online for free, to give guidance on which types of careers align to your interests and skills, such as a service-related or scientific field.”

      Next, consider these choices and tips for preparing for life after high school from alums of fully online K-12 schools Connections Academy and Reach Cyber Charter School.

      Keep Options Open for Different Paths
      Beyond the traditional four-year college degree, there are many ways students can progress toward a long-term goal or successful career. Community or two-year college is an option for some because it’s often closer to home and tuition can be more affordable. Others enroll in a trade school or secure suitable jobs and step directly into the workforce. Some graduates enlist for military service while others take some time off to figure out their next step before making a move.

      Keeping an open mind about all options is something graduate Angel Bennett supports fully. The flexibility of online learning allowed her to get a jump on her college education. She earned an associate of arts degree and associate of science degree through her local community college before graduating high school, giving her an edge in admission to her top choice four-year college. She now attends a private liberal arts college and is well on her way to a career fueled by a passion for clothing and inclusive fashion design.

      The ambitious pace served as inspiration to Bennett’s younger sister, as well; Amber completed her own associate of arts and associate of science degrees as a 14-year-old high schooler and will start attending a private four-year university at 15 as she simultaneously completes her diploma.

      Students should ask their high school about these types of dual-enrollment options.

      Don’t Be Afraid to Act on Your Dreams
      For some high school students, one of the most intimidating decisions to make is which colleges to apply to. However, law graduate Strider Kachelein, top of his undergrad class and top 4% in his law class at a prestigious institution, said to take that chance and apply to your dream school, even if you think you can’t afford the tuition. 

      Kachelein, who started online school in sixth grade, knows paying for college can be challenging for many high school students and their families. He recommends researching financial aid policies first and carefully. 

      “So many people believe they can’t get in and are shocked when they do,” Kachelein said. “Money can also be a big issue, but there are so many resources available, like the college match I applied to in high school. A key stat I also looked at while researching colleges was the school’s ‘percent of financial need met.’ There are a number of schools that will meet 100% of your determined financial need, which can make a world of difference. For example, at these schools, if your family is deemed unable to pay tuition, room or board then 100% of these expenses are covered by the school.”

      High schoolers can reach out to their school’s college counselors to help navigate the application process.

      Know It’s OK to Take a Break
      Pausing in the middle of one’s education is a practice that’s more common in other parts of the world, but is growing in the U.S. According to data from Pearson, nearly 17% of U.S. high schoolers were considering a gap year, which enables the graduate more time to evaluate options and priorities, save money and plan for the future. 

      COVID-19 heavily influenced 2020 graduate Stormy Kaiser’s decision to take a gap year between high school and college. Choosing to accelerate her online curriculum allowed Kaiser to complete high school graduation requirements a year early, so even after taking the year off to realign plans the pandemic disrupted, she’s on schedule to enroll in a four-year college with her peers.

      Take Advantage of Career-Related Coursework in High School
      Nontraditional school models often offer nontraditional curriculum options, like career and technical education courses, that students can put to work right away. For example, Amya Meekins, who also graduated high school a full year early, took business classes at her online school that helped her learn about contracts, finance and other elements to successfully start and run her own business. 

      She now runs a boutique in addition to being a performer and motivational speaker. She’s also nearing completion of her second book, all as a 19-year-old undergrad pursuing her first college degree.

      Consider Job Shadowing or Internships
      Flexible scheduling is one of the most commonly cited advantages of online school among enrolled students. The extra free time can have big implications for students planning their futures, especially if they use the time to explore career choices.

      That’s exactly what Becky Bressen did, shadowing a music therapist at the urging of her brother, who is a physical therapist. After initially feeling the career wasn’t for her and attending college with plans to become a music engineer and producer, a music therapy class made it into her course list, and it clicked for her. Right after college, she built a successful music therapy program from scratch at a hospice facility and finds her current role highly rewarding. 

      For more information about full-time online public schools, and tips for making post-graduation decisions, visit ConnectionsAcademy.com.

      The Benefits of a Gap Year
      When COVID-19 upended college plans for students across America, Stormy Kaiser knew she wasn’t alone. Even so, she never anticipated how using an unplanned year to regroup could benefit her future.

      Initially, Kaiser planned to start her pre-med journey at New York University, but after seeing the effects of the pandemic in urban areas, she shifted focus. A year of recharging and self-exploration, writing short stories and volunteering took her in a new direction. She now plans to attend Baylor University, where she’ll double major in chemistry and mathematics as a pre-med student.

      Due to her time management skills, personal diligence and involvement in volunteer opportunities, she was offered scholarships at many colleges and universities – a whopping $600,000 overall. She is now on her way toward becoming a neurosurgeon.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Add Powerful Pairings to Your Family‚Äôs Plates

      30 July 2021

      (Family Features) Joining loved ones at the family table is an important moment for many, both as a filling way to enjoy a meal and an emotionally satisfying way to catch up on all the day’s events. Make those moments count by combining nutritious ingredients and creating recipes that can quickly become favorites. 

      As part of the Powerful Pairings initiative – launched by the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, National Pork Board and USA Pulses – this recipe calls for pulses, which include lentils, chickpeas dry peas, and beans; sorghum, similar to rice or quinoa filled with nutrients, texture and taste; and pork, rich in flavor, versatile and sustainable with nutritious qualities. 

      Combined, these three ingredients can work together in sweet and savory dishes alike, and they shine with a multitude of herbs, spices and sauces from around the world. A powerhouse nutritional trio, they include foods from the protein, vegetable and grain groups outlined in MyPlate, a template for balance, variety and moderation. 

      Plus, the taste and versatility of these ingredients make it easier to achieve more family meals, which promotes cohesion, communication and relationships, helping loved ones celebrate simple joys together and be more prepared for uncertainty and difficult life moments. 

      Find more information, resources and recipes at powerfulpairings.com. 

      Sorghum Split Pea Soup
      Recipe courtesy of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, National Pork Board and USA Pulses
      Prep time: 20 minutes
      Cook time: 60 minutes
      Servings: 6 (1 1/4 cup each)

      • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 1 onion, chopped
      • 3/4 cup sliced carrots
      • 3/4 cup sliced celery
      • salt, to taste
      • pepper, to taste
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
      • 6 cups no-salt-added chicken stock 
      • 1 1/4 cups green split peas
      • 1 small ham bone
      • 2/3 cup chopped ham
      • 2/3 cup pearled sorghum
      • 4 sprigs thyme
      • 2 bay leaves
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
      • chopped fresh thyme (optional)
      • cracked black pepper (optional)
      In a 4-quart stock pot or large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10-12 minutes, or until onion is tender. Add chicken stock, split peas, ham bone, ham, sorghum, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 45-60 minutes, or until split peas are soft and sorghum is tender. 

      Remove ham bone, thyme sprigs and bay leaves from soup. Remove ham from bone, chop ham and return to pot. Discard bone, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Add Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

      Garnish with chopped fresh thyme and cracked black pepper, if desired.

      Nutritional information per serving: 336 calories; 8 g total fat (2 g saturated fat); 22 mg cholesterol; 573 mg sodium; 48 g total carbohydrates (12 g dietary fiber, 7 g sugars); 20 g protein; 3% vitamin D; 5% calcium; 17% iron; 19% potassium; 227 mg phosphorus (18%). 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.