Use Your Gutters to Harvest Fresh Rainwater

Do you have the guttering on your property cleaned regularly? Perhaps you hire professional gutter cleaners to carry out this task. If you do and they are working properly, all the water that falls onto your roof will be redirected safely away from your home. However, have you ever given much thought as to how you could make use of all that rainwater? If you have, you’ve come to the right place. In the following post we are going to discuss how you can harvest rainwater to use it for everything from cleaning to irrigation and landscaping.

What is Rainwater Harvesting and How is it Done?

Rainwater harvesting is name given to the process of collecting and storing water for various practical purposes around the home, as outlined at the outset. Most setups are simple and feature either a cistern or a large barrel connected directly to the guttering at the downspouts so that the rain is collected as it runs off your roof.

There are some people who make use of rainwater they have harvested as an alternative and cost-effective source of a fresh water supply. Furthermore, there are some people who simply like to collect and store water for emergency situations such as the drier months of the year and when there’s droughts. Rainwater harvesting can be particularly useful in areas with hosepipe and watering bans in place.

Different Options for Storing Water

As noted, cisterns and tanks tend to be the storage option of choice for rainwater harvesters as they can be positioned on the ground in a way that means you can use the water without the need for a pump. There are several underground systems, that may suit you if you don’t want a water tank ruining the aesthetics of your property’s exterior or simply, if you live somewhere that suffers from below freezing temperatures.

Rather than storing the water, some property owners have a system in place that directs the water flowing from the gutters into a water feature in their garden or yard. Although this means that they can’t really use the water for irrigation or cleaning purposes, it does mean that their ponds or fountains will always have enough water.

May Involve Making Changes to Your Gutters

As you can probably guess, if you are interested in having a system in place to harvest rainwater means that you may have to make some changes to your current guttering system. In most cases, at the very least, you’d need to attach the collection point for the water to a downspout. This may involve removing a section of it or removing it completely or even installing a more flexible one in its place. Ideally, whatever you do, you’ll want to ensure that none of the water is lost and can be put to good use.

Rather than trying to tinker with your guttering by yourself and causing costly problems, it could be worth hiring either a professional tradesman or gutter expert to help you.

Tips for Choosing a Good Quality Roofing Contractor

If you need work carried out on the roof of your property, you may be considering your options. Although you may want to give it a go yourself, roofing work is complicated and dangerous and is often best left to the professionals. However, as there are so many professional roofing companies out there who all claim to offer a high-quality service, you may be at a loss as to how to pick one that is as good as it says it is. In the following post we aim to take a lot of the guess work out of this decision-making process and give you some tips for looking for roofers Atlanta-based or otherwise.

Never Look Solely at the Price

You should never choose a roofing contractor just based on the price they offer for their work. Although you’ll evidently have a budget in mind for the work that you’ll want to stay within, you should avoid just hiring a company because they offer an extremely low quote. Sometimes low quotes are not great value for money and are just representative of the bad workmanship of the company. Look for what you get for the quote – the experience, the expertise and testimonials of other customers.

Always Opt for Local Contractors

It’s always a good idea to look to a local company to hire. We don’t just mean one that offers their services in your local area and community. You should look for a contractor that is based in your local area and has a good reputation for the work they provide. If you don’t, you may be putting the work you need completed in the hands of a company you know nothing about. If they’re not local and offer you a warranty, for instance, how will you know if the warranty is worth anything? If though, they are based locally to you, you can meet up with the voices at the end of the telephone and make sure they are a legit company that can make such promises.

Insurance is Crucial

We can’t stress how important this tip is. It’s vital that when you are looking to hire a roofing contractor that you ensure they are adequately insured. Make sure that they have compensation and liability insurance. Rather than just taking their word for it, ask for evidence and to see their certification of this coverage. You could also go one better and speak to their insurer’s directly to ensure that the information they have given is up-to-date and valid.

Get Everything in Writing

Before signing any contract, make sure that you and the contractor both agree on what you are paying for and that it is all in writing. Never just pay money for anything that is agreed upon just verbally. Make sure that when they offer a contact that all the details are correct and that their prices are clear and transparent. The last thing you want is to be stung by additional charges or fees that the company added to the initial quote once the work is complete.

Great Benefits of Enlisting the Help of a Property Management Company

Do you consider yourself to be a landlord whose hands-on or would you like to just get the benefit of having an investment property without having to deal with maintenance and repairs calls at the weekend or the monthly expense and income management? Would you prefer having someone else help you deal with the finer details and all the management involved in owning a rental property? You may want to enlist the help of an experienced and professional rental property management.

If you’re still not sure, then here are five benefits that may convince you.

Screen for Problem Tenants to Avoid

Having experienced property management on your side, means that you get years and years of experiencing in dealing with thousands and thousands of tenant applications. Having those trained eyes on that can make the process of screening tenants easier, as they will know the prospective issues and red flags to look out for when looking at applicant’s information. Overall, this will ensure you’ve got the best chance of gaining reliable tenants.

Port of Call For when Tenants Have Issues

If something gets damaged at your rental property, it may not always be possible or convenient to drive out and check it out by yourself. Especially if your rental property is not in the same place as your home. Havin a property manager in place though, means that your tenants have a port of call that they can contact to field issues and report damages and repairs, regardless of the houses of day. They can also take responsibility for arranging suitable inspections, repairs and replacements.

Furthermore, if you have tenants that always seem to complain, property managers become your ears meaning you don’t have to deal with listening to their moans and groans.

Reducing Turnover of Tenants

Experienced property managers have extensive experience in ensuring that tenants are kept happy and satisfied. They know how to be responsible, proactive in dealing with issues and always available. When your renters are happy, they’re far less likely to look elsewhere for a different property to rent.

Making Sure Rent is Always Paid on time

As the fees for property management teams tend to be taken from monthly rental payments, they are motivated to ensure those payments keep coming in regularly. Rent collection can be one of the biggest bug bears and headaches for newbie landlords. By handing the responsibility over to an experience team, you not only can ensure that your rent is paid on time, but that you don’t have to deal with tenants who refuse to or who have any multitude of excuses for why they can’t. Property management teams have the relevant expertise for dealing with these situations and are even well-versed in how to handle eviction notices when necessary.

Although you may want to do it all and reduce the outgoings on your rental property, we hope you can see the real benefit of investing in the help of a team that knows exactly what they are doing.

Calculate the Costs of Retiring the Way You Want

How much does it cost to live the kind of retirement lifestyle you’re planning? Retirement planning when you’re still working can look a lot different than retirement planning as you become an older senior with changing needs.

There are several lifestyles you may want to consider as you become an older senior. One of the most important factors to consider as you evaluate your options and calculate your costs is the level of care you need now and that you will need in the future.

Staying at Home

Staying at home is a popular option among many seniors, but it can also prove to be an expensive one. There are several costs to consider if you want to stay at home:

  • Upkeep such as necessary repairs, as well as lawn care and snow removal
  • ● Senior-friendly renovations that use universal design, such as non-slip flooring, walk-in tubs, lever door handles, and step-free entrances
  • Costs of home care if you need assisted living or nursing care

Depending on your financial situation, you may also have to keep up with mortgage or rent payments.

Downsizing

Downsizing is a smart strategy for many seniors who no longer need to live in a large home. By moving from a large home into a condo or apartment, you can also minimize the necessary renovations by living somewhere with stairs.

Downsizing can also help you cover the ongoing costs of your later retirement. This sheet can help you calculate the proceeds of selling a home and how it can fund your later retirement and any care you might need.

Retirement Residences

An alternative way of downsizing is moving into a retirement residence or community. Rather than handle the upkeep, costs, and responsibilities of your own smaller condo or apartment, you could move into a suite in a retirement community where you won’t have to worry about housekeeping or cooking for yourself.

Retirement residences can also offer flexible care. As you age, your needs change. A progressive illness such as Alzheimer’s will also mean that your care needs can evolve rapidly. A retirement residence is one of the easiest ways to get care that matches changing requirements without having to move again.

Care costs are often the most expensive part of your later retirement. Use resources online to compare the costs of assisted living with more intensive care such as memory care.

Assisted living in retirement residences such as All Seniors Care Living Centres can assist you with many of the Activities of Daily Living. These are activities that some older seniors may struggle with due to disability or mobility issues. They include bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, and transferring. The most common issues among retirement community residents are bathing and dressing.

If you’re going to have an evolving need for care, find a long term care facility near you and ask how they can meet your unique needs.

From assisted living to memory care, a retirement residence can often provide superior care more affordably and give your family more peace of mind. Consider all your options for the later part of your retirement.

Buying a Remote Home: What You Need to Know

While some people are completely unable to cope without the advantages of the big city, there are others who dream of living far away from the hustle and bustle. Increasingly, more people than ever are looking at the benefits of a more remote existence, and the increase in connectivity afforded by the internet means that losing out on some of the big city benefits is largely minimized. From lower costs to making sure that you have adequate supplies, here’s everything that you need to know if you dream of living far away from the frantic demands of chaotic city living.

Lower Costs

Not only will your rental costs be lower the further away from the city you get, your cost of living will drop as well. Paying to live in a metropolis is very expensive, and even local amenities can charge more. You can spend less per month if you live more remotely, and you can use that money to improve your quality of life in a variety of ways. When looking at potential properties that appeal to you, make sure that you get some professional advice. Remember to Compare Conveyancing Quotes to ensure that you know exactly what your overall costs are going to be, and you could end up with a much better home than you ever imagined.

More Space

If there’s one thing that most people miss when they live in a city, it’s space. If you live somewhere more remote, not only will you be paying less rent, you’ll be getting more space for your money as well. How you use that space is up to you, but more people are turning their hand to growing their own food, and you could be lowering your food bill more than you think by doing the same. Growing your own food also means that you will have to rely less on long trips to get supplies, so it might be worth putting the work in to save travel costs.

Connection Effort

One of the biggest problems with any move is making sure that you remain connected to people. While conversations over social media or email are useful for keeping in touch, there’s nothing quite like meeting up in person. One of the potential issues that you face if you move somewhere more remote is that making arrangements to meet up can be very complicated. Travel itself may even become an issue, with airports and public transport links much harder to get to.

Better Quality of Life

You might not have a Starbucks within easy reach, but there are some great advantages to living far away from the city centre. These include:

  • More privacy – You can’t take a step in a city without bumping into someone. Live remotely, and you may not see another human being for days or even weeks.
  • Better mental health – Research has shown that being in the great outdoors is very beneficial for boosting mental health.
  • Clean air – Cars and buses do not make the air very pleasant in a city. Being distanced from all of that traffic will work wonders on your health, and you will breathe much easier as a result.
  • Lower crime rates – Cities can be dangerous, and almost everyone who lives in one has been the victim of a crime of some kind. Fewer people means less crime, and rural crime rates are much lower than those of a big city.

It may not be for everyone, but living in a more remote location has many benefits. There are downsides, so if you’re considering a move, make sure that those downsides are not going to be ones that overly affect you. Take your time to find the perfect remote home, and you might wonder why you ever tolerated the fast and stressful pace of city living.

5 Hobbies for Stay-At-Home Moms

All moms need a break from the grind and routine of raising children and managing a family. It’s a lot of work!

Sometimes, we need to unwind and have some time to ourselves, whether that’s by reading a book in a quiet corner or watching a show on Netflix.

Of course, if you want something more satisfying and long-term, there are many hobbies to enjoy.

Here are 5 of the best hobbies for stay-at-home moms that will help you stay out of a rut!

Blogging

Mommy bloggers have become very popular in the last decade, and it’s no surprise why. Most moms have a lot to say and share!

The mommy blogger community is very welcoming of new bloggers, and building friendships is a large part of the fun of blogging.

Of course, there are also other positive aspects. For one, it’s a great way to keep a journal of your experiences, thoughts, trips and practically anything you want to share on the blog.

Friends & family can stay up-to-date by following your posts and photos.

Additionally, it requires a combination of many skills, which also improve with practice such as writing, photographing, photo editing and even marketing.

A successful blog requires dedication, time and work and may even reach a point of being profitable.

This makes it more than just a great hobby – it could be a solid way to gain a side income.

Drawing

Drawing is a wonderful way to express your inner creativity.

Many people use it as a path toward meditation, when your focus is completely on the paper and the pen.

It offers a way to stay focused on the now and keep your mind distracted from responsibilities and the exhaustion that come with being a parent.

Like most hobbies or skills, this one takes practice and learning. A smart way to improve your drawing skills is to use a drawing light board. This way, you can trace your own drawings (or even other drawings) and improve upon them.

Photography

Picking up photography as a hobby is both practical and fun.

On the practical end, you can learn to develop stunning photos of your family and especially of your kids. These photos will be treasured forever and can also be a great keepsake for grandparents.

Great photography is a skill that must be honed and improved through practice and increased knowledge.

Sure, you can use your mobile phone to photograph a few sessions and they’ll look good. But to really create beautiful photos, you will need to learn the tricks and tips behind the complex world of photography.

Of course, with practice and improvement, mommies can use this valuable skill-set for work as well.

Walking and jogging

As a busy mom, it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and your own health… It seems like everyone else’s needs are a higher priority.

It’s important for stay-at-home moms to stay active outside the home. Activity is always important for health, but so are fresh air and some quiet time alone with your thoughts.

Walking and jogging is also a great way to reduce stress. Plus, it happens to be a completely free hobby!

Take advantage of the time your kids are in school or at a sports practice to take a walk or jog. Even short ones will do wonders for your physical and mental health!

Cooking

It may feel like moms are in the kitchen too long to begin with, but there’s a difference between cooking for fun and for chore.

Forget the chicken nuggets and spaghetti – what do you want to cook for yourself? Was there a delicious-looking recipe on Pinterest that you would love to try?

Learn about new flavors, try different techniques and even give a go at baking.

Doing so can make cooking so much more exciting – especially when it’s focused on you rather than everyone else.

How To Look After Your Kids When You’re Gone

It’s vitally important that you are honest with your children and to encourage two-way open communication, but we all know that some of the most important topics can be the hardest to discuss: the birds and the bees talk comes to mind, of course.There is one topic that’s even more important to those you love, and many of us find it difficult to think about. I’m talking about your passing, and how you can still help those you leave behind. It’s an emotive concept, but it pays to think about it when you’re in good health, for early planning can ensure you’re still looking after your children at what will be the most difficult time.

Preparing Your Will

Preparing your will is one of the most important things you’ll ever do, and it becomes even more essential when you’re a parent. Dying intestate (without a will) can cause stress for your loved ones at a time when they least need it, so it pays to take advantage of the estate planning services offered by experts such as The FinityLaw Firm. They’ll help you write your will, so that you can be sure your money and assets will be distributed exactly as you want them to be. They can also help you navigate complex estate laws, meaning that you’ll be able to maximize the legacy that you leave to those you love.

Planning Your Funeral

There can be few things worse in life than having to plan the funeral of a parent or loved one, so why not protect your children from that pain by planning it well in advance? Pre-planning your funeral may sound morbid, but it’s something everyone should do, as it means that you can have a funeral that perfectly meets the requirements and wishes of you and your family. It also means that you can spread the cost of a funeral into affordable installments, and this ensures that your offspring won’t have to find the money themselves at a time when they’re coping with a bereavement.

Leave A Personal Message

When we lose a loved one, we often naturally wish that they could speak to us one more time. That’s why a personal video message to be played at or after your funeral can be such a great idea. There’s a lot of things you’ll probably want to say, but the crux of the message is how much you love those you’ve left behind and how proud you are of them. It’s an incredibly powerful message, and an incredibly moving one, and whilst it may bring tears to the listeners, it will also fill their hearts with love and be greatly prized. There is an increasing number of companies offering this service now across the United States.

There’s never been a better time to speak to expert solicitors about your estate, write your will, plan your funeral or think about a final message. Our passing is the only inevitable event in our lives, but we can take action today to make it as smooth as possible for those we leave behind. We can’t stop their tears, but we can leave our children a legacy that will help them have as happy a life as possible in the years ahead.

Move Over Minivan: The Pickup is the New Family Vehicle of Choice

For the longest time, the unofficial vehicle of the soccer mom was the minivan. Three rows of seats, plenty of space in the back and decent gas mileage made these rides the default vehicle of choice for families going places across town. But things have changed.

These days, trucks and SUVs get better gas mileage, more families are taking adventures in the great outdoors, and larger vehicles can do more to cater to family lifestyles. Of all the options you have — and there are plenty — here’s why a quality, dependable truck should be your next family vehicle.

Sports Gear

A full-size pickup can carry a lot of stuff. Hockey sticks, soccer balls, football pads, baseball bats — you name it. Your kids could play every sport on the map and your truck bed will likely be able to hold every piece of gear for it. And if this sounds like an organizational mess, truck beds are perfectly modular for these situations.

You can pick up all sorts of dividers and cargo nets that will keep your kids’ gear in order. But since truck beds are open and vulnerable against theft, a good tonneau cover will keep it all locked up and safe from criminals in the parking lot.

Outdoors Adventures

Thanks to social media, outdoor recreation has grown tremendously in the last 10 years. But getting out in the wilderness is where the minivan falls short. While most national and state parks offer paved roads for passenger vehicles, the places you really want to go are only accessible by choppy dirt roads.

Now, you don’t need a Jeep Wrangler to access these spots, but a dependable pickup with high clearance (as most now feature) and four-wheel drive will get you to virtually any campsite you desire. Slap a solid pair of all-terrain tires on your vehicle, and you and the whole family will be ready to conquer the great outdoors.

Cabin Space

The older trucks of yesteryear used to serve as single-row utility vehicles, with room for two or maybe three people. Even trucks with back seats could barely fit a family comfortably for a short drive, let alone a long road trip. But today’s pickups have all the room of full-size, two-row SUVs, plus all that room for gear in the bed. No, there is no third row in a pickup, but if you’re only driving four to five people, this really is a non-issue.

Safety Features

Here’s a common misconception: Trucks aren’t as safe as other vehicles. Maybe that was true in decades past, but the roomy cabins inside pickups are now just as safe, if not more, than other passenger vehicles.

Newer versions of the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado and Toyota Tundra come packed with airbags and other added safety features that will protect you and your family in a collision. And since they’re so much larger than other vehicles on the road, it adds an extra layer of protection in the event of a crash.

Fun Factor

Soccer moms, dads and parents all around: Let’s just admit what we always know — minivans aren’t necessarily cool. We buy them because they check the boxes we need for hauling our kids across town, with plenty of room to store their stuff in the back. But deep down we wish we were behind the wheel of something else.

The truck fixes all of that, especially if you’re a family who loves the outdoors. Indeed, there’s nothing better than a full-size, double-cab pickup to kick up some mud with the whole family inside. Let’s see a minivan do any of that.

Choosing an Original Wedding Gift

Wedding gifts tend to follow a set trend, and it can get very repetitive. Even if you try to find an original gift you are going to come across some that are simply not original at all: photo frames, for example, come up time and time again and are, well, boring! What can you do if you want to buy someone a truly original wedding gift? Let’s have a look at a few ideas!

Fun Gift Ideas

If you are buying for a couple with a good sense of humour, why not get them something that is fun and frivolous? After all, you can leave the practical things to others, and indulge in a bit of fun! There are some great gift ideas out there that take the photograph idea, that we mentioned above, and make it something very different. His and Hers pillows, for example, with their portrait on, or a chair cover or cushions in similar. Or what about personalised cups or mugs for a cheap and cheerful laugh? All of this can be done on a budget and makes for a great gift idea.

Delicious Gift Ideas

Food is always a welcome gift, but why not take it a step further and get the lucky couple a gift voucher for their favourite restaurant or bar? You could even add a round of drinks to make it more enjoyable! If you want, you could even make it personal, and actually take them out for dinner somewhere nice. There are many different ideas about meals, and some come with some sensible discounts and additional features, so shop around locally for the best options.

Wonderful Gift Baskets

One of the best wedding gifts ideas we came across was that of gift baskets, and the sheer choice of options is quite brilliant. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and with many different ingredients and components, and make for an excellent, original gift at what can only be described as a sensible price. There is bound to be something to make every couple smile among these, so check them out carefully for the best deals.

A Day Out

Why not expand the meal idea, and take your friends on a fun and exciting day out as a wedding gift? Do something different that you will all enjoy – perhaps take them to an amusement park, or a concert or show – and have a day together that you will all remember? Once again, this is an idea that brings to the table so many options and adds something special to your memories, and there are some really great deals out there if you take a look around.

The above are just a few of the great ideas we found for original wedding gifts, and there are many more possibilities that you could choose. Why not have a look around for more gift ideas, and see if you can come up with some original ideas of your own?

Try Gymnastics This Summer

 

 

Almost every child spends the whole year looking forward to the summer. They are tired of waking up early and spending the whole day in the school building with their books and teachers. They are ready to sleep in again and to spend the whole day playing with their friends. Unfortunately, as much as every kid builds it up in their heads, summer is not always the constant fun that children expect it to be. After about two weeks of sleeping in and playing all day long, the child will likely utter the words, “I am bored.”

Without the busy schedule of school and extracurriculars, many children find way more time on their hands than they wanted. Therefore, the summer is the perfect time to get a child started in gymnastics at Trix Acro Gym. When you register your child for gymnastics, you and the child will both soon see that this program is exactly what the summer needed for multiple reasons.

Provides Something to Do

As mentioned before, after a week or two of all-day play, your child is going to be looking to leave the house and enjoy other activities. Gymnastics is the perfect outlet for this. It puts a day and time on every calendar that the child can look forward to. This provides an outlet so that the child to escape their day-to-day life and try something new and exciting.

Keeps Them Active

Statistics show that children are significantly lazier during the summer months than the children were years ago. Now, with the option of streaming tv shows and endless video games, children spend more and more of their precious summer days indoors in front of a screen. Research shows that in these weeks lacking proper activity, students can lose all fitness achievements that they might have gained during the school year through mediums such as recess and physical education classes. Gymnastics is a wonderful option for keeping your child active and in shape during these summer months. It combines cardio, strength training, and flexibility to provide a well-rounded workout. The days spent at the gym should more than make up for the recess and physical educations classes that your child is missing over the summer months.

Provides Social Interaction

One of the things that some students are deprived of the most during summer months is social interaction. There are days when a child only talks to their parents and siblings. This is a huge adjustment from what the child might be used to, as they interact with many other children throughout the day at school. Gymnastics not only provides an option for students to interact with other kids over the summer, but it is also an opportunity for children to further develop social skills in a new arena and develop important life skills. No matter the age of the child, they can improve social interaction skills during their time at the gym.

If you have been considering signing your child up for gymnastics lessons, this summer could be the perfect chance to do so.