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Mar 24, 2017

My Water Bill Was Sky High And Here Is Why

Last year we noticed a HUGE spike in our water and sewer bills. Unfortunately, we get billed separately for each service since they are from two different companies. Let's back up to 5 years ago. Our bills ran us about $60-$70. Last year it starting going into the $100-$150 range which seemed like a lot. Then suddenly it went all the way to a whopping $250 for the water and $300 for sewer. That was for ONE month per service. We knew something was wrong for sure. We had a licensed plumber come in and determine that we had a water pressure problem from the meter. Basically, way too much water was surging into our home and that wore out our plumbing fixtures. So not matter how often we changed out the toilet tank parts or washers in the faucets, they would blow out from the high water pressure.


This lead to the rubber parts causing leaks, which added to the high water bills. We ended up having a water pressure regulator installed a couple feet away from the city water meter and it took the pressure down from over 100 psi to below 70 where it should be. The plumber pointed out the fact that they meter was "spinning" 24/7 which meant water was being used non-stop, even if were weren't actually using it. 😑 Even after getting the regulator installed, we still had to get all new toilet parts replaced to make the meter stop spinning. Needless to say, it was a costly visit that took 5 hours to complete.

Thankfully our city water and sewer companies worked with us to adjust our bills since we proved we had the leaks fixed. Although it wasn't a super big amount they took off, we were still grateful to get some sort of discount. We saw a big price difference already on the first bill after the repairs were made, at around $100. I got the latest bill yesterday and we are now back in the $55 range. This makes me so happy! I think about how much we overpaid in the last year and it makes my head hurt. Oh well, glad we have it fixed and can have a little peace of mind now.

One thing about home ownership is that you will forever have work and projects going on. It is so important to stay on top of things when you see your bills go up unusually high. Have you had any homeowner debacles or projects lately?
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Mar 23, 2017

Don't Let Someone Else Drag Your Health Down!

Everyone wants to take care of themselves right? Surely it only makes sense that, since we only get one body, that every single person would want to take as much care of their health as possible. Sadly this isn't the case. As strange as it might sound, but there are a lot of people out there who simply aren't that interested in keeping themselves healthy. It's probably not something that they're doing intentionally, a lot of the time people's unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors come from a lack of awareness of the impact it's having on their body. It's a shame that it's happening but if that's what they want to do then you can't really stop them, the major problem is when other people's poor decision making starts to have a negative impact on your life. With that in mind, here are some situations where other people's behavior could damage your health, and how to stop that from happening.

Accidents on the road
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You might be the safest driver in the world, but there's still a chance that something could happen. This is because, for every careful, considerate driver on the road, there's another one who has no interest in their own safety or the safety of anyone else. The best way to deal with these kinds of drivers is something called "defensive driving." Defensive driving is essentially a method of driving where you're constantly aware of and predicting potential hazards. That way you're in a much better position to avoid them. Of course, you won't be able to avoid everything, especially if someone is determined to drive like a maniac. If you are in an accident, then you should hire a personal injury lawyer so that you can make sure that the other person's lack of responsibility doesn't need to have more of a negative impact on your life than it already has. 

Your partner's diet
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It's hard enough taking care of your own diet, let alone having to think about someone else's. It's surprisingly common that one person in a relationship will be much more conscious of their health than the other. It can be surprisingly difficult to eat healthily and stay active when your partner is constantly buying greasy, unhealthy food. For one thing, having to work around two diets can be pretty expensive, not only that but it's often very tempting to go for a quick, unhealthy fix instead of something healthier after a long day at work. Make sure that you talk to your partner and try to get them to support your attempts to become healthier, for your benefit and theirs.

Your friend's lifestyle
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Everyone likes to have a good time now, and then. There's nothing wrong with that! But we all have that one friend who just seems determined to take it too far. They seem to want to go out every single night, and when they do, they behave as if they've never heard the word moderation in their life! Even if you choose not to drink as much as they do, the late nights and lack of sleep that come with this kind of lifestyle are going to catch up with you eventually. Talk to your friend, and if they're not willing to try to quieter nights in every so often, it might be a good idea to spend some time apart so that you can take care of your health.

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Age Old Solutions

Caring for an elderly relative can sometimes be a bit tricky. Not only is it difficult to see an elderly loved one’s health decline, but it can put you in an awkward position. Where you have the added responsibility of caring for someone that used to be perfectly capable of caring for themselves. But to help you out, check out the guide below provides solutions to the most common issues you may face when caring for an older relative.

Ensuring they eat well

One of the biggest issues that you may come across when caring for an elderly relative that their eating can become erratic. This can be due to things such as catching a virus like the flu. As older folks' immune systems are weaker than ours.

Or it could be due to other issues that affect the appetite, such as diabetes that isn't being managed properly. Or it may even, be symptomatic of depression caused by chronic pain, losing a long term partner, or living alone.

But what can you do for them if you have noticed that they are eating less and less? Well, firstly it's important that you get them checked over by the doctors to see whether there is an underlying medical condition that needs to be treated.

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It's can also help to go round to their house, or invite them over to yours and make a hearty home cooked meal to tempt them into eating something. It's likely that the company will help them with this as well. 

Ensuring their medical needs are met 

Of course, a very important aspect of caring for an elderly relative is ensuring that their medical needs are met. 
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This might be something as simple as helping them to sort their pills into the right compartments for the rights days each week. 

Or it could be more involved, doing things likes organizing a palliative nurse for end of life care. Or being an advocate for them with the medical profession. 

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But whatever you have to do, be sure that you listen to their wishes as much as possible and engage them in the process. As no one likes to feel as if they are out of control of their life, no matter what their age. 

Getting them out and about 

Something else that you need to consider when caring for older relatives is giving them a chance to get out of the house occasionally. It can be pretty grim to be stuck indoors all of the time, and it isn't likely to help them feel their best. 
Obviously, mobility is an issue for many older folks so you will need to consider this before you plan out any trips. 

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Consider your destination carefully and make sure that it does not include too much walking or difficult terrain. 

Also, you can use disabled parking stickers so you can park closer to the store, or attraction that you take them to. Or consider using a wheelchair, or motorized scooter for those whose mobility is severely inhibited. 
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Mar 21, 2017

How to decorate a Southwest Styled House - Guest Post

What does a Southwest Style House look like?
A Southwest-styled house is specially made to give an inviting and gorgeous look to guests and visitors. You can recognize a Southwest-styled house with some prominent features such as flat roofs, its covered porches, stoned pillars and walls, smaller windows, large wooden doors and lower roof when viewed from inside. It has patterned tile work creating a cool environment. Another feature which is noticeable is the use of stucco walls.

Stucco walls are made by applying thick layer which hardens when dried. These houses are usually found in single story homes. Such houses are commonly found in Southwestern areas of America (like Phoenix, Las Vegas, California, etc.). These houses have also embraced current trends in decoration along with old traditional wooden style.


History
Southwest Style house plans have a historical background after which it was known all over the world. In earlier times, Southwest style houses were also known as Pueblo Revival Style. This design was taken up from Spanish mission in New Mexico. Its popularity increased during the 1920s and 1930s. The main features of such houses at that time included the use of bricks and concrete on walls and flat roofs. This style was very famous in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado in earlier times.

Tips to decorate your Southwest Style house

  • As you will start decorating your house, you will also color its walls. Southwestern styled houses are painted with bright and vibrant colors (including yellows and oranges). On the other hand, those colors should not be extra bright that it irritates your eye. The color chosen should be warm. Shades of yellow, orange, golden and blue are in tradition with this style. Paints denote natural colors of the sky.
  • Use of wood should be easily seen. Using different kinds of wood such as pine, oak, maple, birch, etc. can indicate Southwestern style. Bold wooden furniture is also encouraged. New Mexico was famous for more use of wood.
  • If you do not feel like using more wood in your house, you can go for metalwork. Furniture made from metal is also found in Southwestern styled house. You can set up wrought iron tables and chairs or railings.
  • Add creativity to your walls by either making it with stones or stucco. Textured walls are more liked in such houses. You can enhance the interior by putting spiritual content on the walls.
  • Every house has pillars inside it. Making it out of stonework will look more inspiring. It will then look more like a Southwestern styled house.
  • Simple wooden flooring will not sound like a house of such category. Therefore, adding art will help you. You can either use stones or rough planks and brick. To add beauty, you can also place rugs all over the floor with different designs. Southwest house designs have variety, so you could also add mosaic tiles on the floor.
  • Include more of Spanish decoration. Guests should find more Spanish details. Pottery of different shapes and sizes are promoted.

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Mar 20, 2017

The School Of Success!

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Parenting involves countless difficult decisions. One of the first, and most fundamental, is which school to send your kiddo to. Finding the right school is important for many reasons. What your child learns in their early years could impact every decision they make from then on. Plus, you need to know they’re happy. The best school could have an atmosphere that your child just doesn’t get along with. So, no pressure! The good news is, taking your time to choose will ensure you can find the right school. And, remember, you can change later down the line if you need to! Here are a few of the considerations you’ll need to make.

YOUR CHILD COMES FIRST

Your child is the most important factor in this decision. As such, you should consider their needs throughout your decision process. Asking them which school they want to go to may not work. But, there’s nothing wrong with taking them to see a few and asking which they preferred. Make sure to talk through their decision, though. Children can have strange reasoning. If their choice is based on a display, or a coat they saw someone wearing, you may have to explain things a little more. It’s also important to take into account what you know of your child’s personality. Some children are better suited to homeschool, while others thrive in a school environment.

THE EXTRA MILE

With a bit of luck, you’ll have a good selection of schools in your catchment area. If not, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. You could even get the movers in if you aren’t happy with your choices. But, bear in mind that primary schools don’t vary all that much. Make sure you’re certain before you do anything drastic. A good way to judge is to pay visits to the schools in question. If a local school has a bad reputation, a visit could show you that it’s unfounded. Plus, you don’t want to move closer to another school, only to find out that’s not right either.

TEST SCORES AREN’T EVERYTHING

The task of choosing can be overwhelming. Many parents turn to test results to help with their decision. In truth, though, test scores aren’t a sign of much. They certainly shouldn’t be what you base your decision on. Often, tests results aren’t an accurate reflection of the teaching itself. Tests only cover around a third of the curriculum. Schools that score well are often guilty of focusing on this third. Sometimes, that means neglecting everything else. Look for a friendly environment over a high score.
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TEACHERS ARE EVERYTHING!

But, teachers most definitely are everything. The best teacher can help your child flourish. For proof, look back at your school years. Wasn’t it those teachers you had a connection with that got the best results? The same will be true for your child. During your visits to each school, pay particular attention to each teacher. Pay attention, too, to how your child acts around them.
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