Technology advances are constantly happening all around us and it can be hard to keep up. While you may be eyeing that new iPhone set to release, keep in mind that there is plenty of tech out there that can help make your day-to-day life so much easier. When it comes to kitchen tech, it seems like something new is being announced everywhere you turn. Here are some great new tech items that can make life in the kitchen just a little bit easier.
The Range Thermometer
Always checking temperatures when trying to make a big meal can become overwhelming. Avoid the headache and pick up a Range Thermometer. You can insert the thermometer portion into the deepest part of whatever you’re cooking, and from an app, you can set up an alert for whenever your meal reaches that temperature. Remove the guessing and find comfort in being able to leave the oven and actually enjoy the time while you have guests in the house.
Are you an avid tea drinker? If you feel like you’re wasting time waiting for your water to boil, the Smarter Kettle would be a great addition to your kitchen. With wi-fi capabilities, you can pick a temperature and turn your kettle on right from your phone, so you’ve got boiling water for tea whenever you need it!
Quirky Egg Minder
If eggs are a big part of your daily meals, this may be a great tool for you. This egg minder sends you notifications when you need to buy eggs, and it has LED lights to alert you when your eggs are going bag.
Taylor Digital Measuring Cup
Is baking one of your favorite activities? If so, precision is probably a big deal to you. This measuring cup will weigh your items while also indicating the volume and it can convert from ounces to grams for you!
After a few months of having your kids at home throughout the day, sometimes organization and order go out the window. On top of the other stresses that come with a new school year, a messy house adds just another kink in the transition from summer break to school time. Instead of trying to manage the chaos while school shopping and preparing for the new year, tackle these home organization steps now so that you can stress a little less when you drop them off on their first day back!
1. Clean out the fridge, clear it off, and restock!
Get your fridge ready for the new year. Instead of scrambling that first week back, clear out any expired foods now and get lunch supplies. Clear off all of the summer projects and invitations for events that have passed, and put any helpful information for the school year up on the fridge.
2. Inventory the kids’ closets.
Back-to-school shopping is often the best part of the process for your children. But before you head out, take an inventory of what they already have. Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit and see what they may need instead of guessing while you are out shopping. Once you’ve made room for new items, organize what is left so adding new clothes and finding that first day outfit will be a breeze.
3. Create your own mission control center.
Take advantage of that wall you’ve been struggling to decorate and create a mission control center for your family. Add a calendar, a folder for each child, notepads, writing tools, and anything else that will help keep your entire family on the same page.
4. Work on making a menu.
Even when lunches are handled, dinners can be overwhelming during the school year. Between sports, activities, and everything...
Winter is now just a memory, but the damage done to your lawn isn’t. If you’re in an area where temperatures drop severely and winter storms are constant, your lawn has probably suffered. Now that spring is in full swing and summer will be here before we know it, it is time to give your lawn a little TLC. Here are the steps to turn your lawn from an eyesore into a sight to see!
Rake to remove any dead grass or other winter debris. Make sure you invest in a durable rake to easily remove larger pieces like sticks and matted leaves. Raking will expose any patches that need attention and helps to begin preparing the soil for any reseeding that may need done.
A core aerator uses metal tines to pull out small soil plugs, promoting more soil drainage. This will help to increase the movement of water and allow for oxygen and nutrients to enter the ground easier. If your lawn sees a great deal of traffic or it spent the winter packed with snow, this is especially important to help alleviate soil compaction and promote new growth. If you don’t have an aerating tool, you could purchase a handheld tool for small yards or rent an aerating machine for large lawns.
Once you’ve seen what areas of your lawn need a little extra love, you’re ready to reseed. Take advantage of the spring weather, especially if you are in an area with frequent rain, and reseed during the warm and rainy season.
The goal is to keep your soil damp while waiting for those reseeded areas to grow. While reseeding during rainy seasons can be beneficial, be sure not to reseed before a major storm so that all of your hard work isn’t washed away.
Even if the weather isn’t cooperating quite yet - spring is on the way! Cheering up your home with some spring decor is the perfect way to prepare for warmer days and more sunshine. Here are some options to prepare your home for the next season!
ADD AN HERB GARDEN
While they may not last outdoors with the sporadic weather of spring, bringing potted herbs into your home and letting them soak up sunlight in a kitchen window is the perfect way to add life to your home and have access to fresh herbs while you’re cooking.
If you are all about DIY-ing, creating simple decorations can add a pop of seasonal color to your home. Take that pair of rain boots you don’t wear anymore and turn them into planters - add bright floral arrangements and use your new decor item as an inviting piece by your front door.
POPS OF COLOR
Neutral and sleek is all the rage right now, but adding a pop of color in your normal decor can add a cheerful touch to your home. Swap out your kitchen napkins or tablecloth with something a little bit more colorful, like soft blues or pinks. Small changes can do enough to make your home feel different without being overwhelming.
FLORALS ARE ALWAYS THE ANSWER
Whether or not you already include florals in your home decor, take the time to swap out or add something new that feels like spring. While fresh flowers are a great choice, consider picking up some faux florals for the majority of your decor and saving the fresh flowers for a centerpiece. Don’t be afraid to add pops of color, specifically yellows and pinks, to create a focal point for the room.
TOUCH UP TIME
Is there a room in your home that is just feeling drab? Maybe it is...
While you’re fussing over your bills, did you realize you’re making your landlord rich? Rentals are the most lucrative business to get into. It turns ordinary people into multi-millionaires. The next time you’re afraid of committing to a mortgage, keep in mind that you’ve already committed to paying off the mortgage of someone else - every single month you rent. The only time home buying doesn’t make sense is if you’re still living with your parents rent-free. Or you prefer to live out of an R.V. or tent. But if you prefer to live in a home, or a condo, it always makes the most sense to buy.
Stop making your landlord rich and start building your own net worth. You can still enjoy owning a home - even if you don’t intend to stay in an area for long. You can always resell your home, most often for more money than you put in, or turn it into a lucrative side business by hiring a property management company to rent it out on your behalf. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid of a mortgage commitment - you’re paying one regardless. Now ask yourself, do you want to make yourself money or make your landlord money?
Before you put your home up for sale, you'll want to ensure it's clean for all of the buyers that will come through. A dirty house isn't appealing, and you won't get a good offer, if you get one at all, if your home isn't in tip-top shape. Cleaning your home doesn't have to be overwhelming, below we've listed the top things to remember to clean for each room.
+ Clean the door and hardware.
+ Wipe off all fingerprints on windows/furniture.
+ Clean off scuff marks on floors and door.
+ Replace all light bulbs and ensure light fixtures are working.
+ Tidy/clean up the coat closet. People WILL look in there to see the size.
+ Wipe down all cabinets.
+ Clean all appliances, inside and out.
+ Clean stove hood, on top and bottom.
+ Clean behind the refrigerator, on top and bottom too.
+ Ensure the microwave is clean of food splatter.
+ Clean the space behind the sink.
+ Wipe down blinds/shades.
+ Wash any kitchen rugs, clean the floors and baseboards.
+ Store all of your pet food/food out of sight.
+ Clean behind toilet and under sink.
+ Only display absolute necessities, declutter.
+ Organize and clean under the vanity.
+ Scrub floors and clean grout lines.
+ Keep dirty clothes and towels off the floor.
+ Be sure to lock away any medication.
+ Clean the fan and make sure it's functioning.
+ Replace any dead lightbulbs.
+ Wash sheets, comforters, and blankets.
+ Clean the curtains and rugs.
+ Dust furniture.
+ Remove any obvious stains from fabrics.
+ Keep closets clean and organized.
+ Store away dirty clothes and personal photos.
Kitchen floors get put through quite a lot! Between all of the dropped utensils, the spills and drips; being one of the most used rooms in a home, your floors need to handle kitchen hazards and look good doing it. A large variety of floor materials won't be an ideal fit for the kitchen because of this. Below, I'm listing my favorite kitchen floors that help with maintaining low maintenance, and keeping a balance between style and functionality.
Ceramic tiles can be a great fit for the kitchen because they are resilient, hard, and impervious to stains and water. It also helps that they are resilient to heat and breakage, under normal conditions, that is. They came in a variety of colors and even faux finishes to add a beautiful, yet smart, addition to your kitchen.
Concrete is a great option for ground level kitchens and are a long lasting option for homeowners. Sometimes, concrete slabs may have already been placed beneath your existing flooring. The surface of it can then be polished or stained to provide a stylish look for your kitchen.
Natural stone is a hard rock that allows it to remain durable and long lasting. The only drawback to stone is that it is porous, which makes it susceptible to water and liquid stains. This can be avoided with an annual application of chemical stone sealer, which simply provides an invisible coat of protection.
Hardwood can be tough to work within a kitchen because the material is porous and relatively soft. However, if you like the look of hardwood in a kitchen, you'll just want to have it treated with a quality polyurethane-based finish. Keep in mind, it will, overtime, take on a more aged look. If you find character and personality in imperfections,...
Potential homebuyers are always cautioned to be aware of mortgage lending standards and the difficulty they might face when trying to obtain a mortgage. Credit availability is expanding, making it easier to get a mortgage now than it was a year ago. The market is still tight however, and homebuyers should be prepared to shop around until they find a lender who is offering something that will meet the needs of their family.
Mortgage lending companies have high standards so it is important to make sure you and anyone else who will be included on the mortgage have their credit in check. The mortgage market is strict because lenders do not want to be put in a situation where they are forced to repurchase loans that are not paid on. They also do not want to end up in a litigation situation due to loan issues.
What Has Happened to the Number of Mortgages?
Due to the strict nature and requirements of the lending companies, the number of mortgages given out has significantly dropped. A report by the Housing Financial Policy Center at the Urban Institute showed that about 6.3 million fewer mortgages were given out between 2009 and 2015. The reasons behind this statistic are strict regulations and policies. These mortgages would have been granted if the lending standards where more reasonable.
Mortgage companies rely on calculations to determine if a home buyer will become delinquent on their payment. They will not give you a loan if you are too much of a risk for them. Credit history has a huge impact on this decision since lenders can see how often you pay back your debts. The history they receive is extensive. This view into your financial past causes lenders to take less risk when lending to you for your mortgage.
The Effect on the Economy
The housing market...
It is easy to become overwhelmed when you enter the home buying market. Friends, family, colleagues, and even acquaintances will give you their opinions if you are a first time home buyer. While most of them are looking out for your best interest, they are not fully aware of what is happening in the housing market.
It is important for you to be prepared and have your own questions ready. No matter what other opinions you are getting, you are the one buying the home and your comfort level will help make your final decision. Here are three important questions to ask before you purchase a home.
1. Why am I Buying a Home?
Regardless of the finances, it is important to think about what made you want to buy a home in the first place. Usually the reasons don’t have to do with money. Instead, home buyers are focused on how the house will impact their family in the future. A study done by the Joint Center for House Studies at Harvard found there are four reasons people buy a home. Those reasons include schools for your children, a safe environment, more room for your family to grow, and control of your own space.
These factors are the most common reasons people look to buy a new home. When you ask yourself why you are looking to purchase a home, do any of those factors come up? Spend time with your spouse or family members who are involved in this decision and determine why you want a home in the first place. Creating this list will help when searching for a home and can help your real estate agent find the best home for your needs.
2. What is the Trend with Home Values?
Our current economy and housing market is strong. That means home values and mortgage rates are increasing. If you are looking to purchase a...
There has been some discussion recently on home prices in relation to mortgage rates. Some believe if there is a rapid rise of mortgage rates, home prices should decrease. Logically it makes the most sense for the price of the house to drop when interest rates are rising, but this is not always the case.
This theory of home prices decreasing is typically discussed by future home buyers. As a buyer you would like to think if you are paying higher rates on your mortgage, you should be able to see a decrease in cost somewhere else. Unfortunately, these rates are rising because the economy is in better shape. As the economy succeeds, incomes rise, rates go up, as well as the price of the home.
A recent study by the John Burns Real Estate Consulting found mortgage rates have very little impact on the cost of the home. The housing market and price increases are affected by things like job growth in the area and rising wages. Coincidentally, these same factors are causing the rise in the mortgage rates since people can afford to take out more.
As the economy progresses and strengthens, mortgage rates and home prices will fluctuate. It is a misconception as rates increase, home prices will decrease. Advances in the economy have shown that rates and home prices are more likely to increase together.
The season you sell your home can have an impact on how much you get for your home and how quickly it sells. The season that has the most success in selling homes is spring. This is a good time of year for families moving to new school districts and is also more convenient weather for moving. Because of this trend, most people will recommend waiting to list your home until after the winter is over. Avoiding the winter is a huge misconception in the housing industry and can cause homeowners to miss out on opportunities.
Selling in the winter can give you a few advantages. There will be fewer houses on the market since most people assume winter is a bad time to sell. This gives your home more attention. Potential buyers are always looking no matter the time of year. Keeping your house on the market in the winter might bring the right buyer to your door. Real estate agents also tend to be less busy during these months and commit more time to getting your home sold.
Studies have shown winter buyers are buying because they need to move right away either for a relocation or personal situation. They will want to close quickly and allow for a much smoother sale.
If you need to sell your home right away, or have some time but want to see what is out there, consider listing in the winter. Most homeowners who are going to sell will list their home in the spring, making for a competitive market. The winter allows buyers who are in a hurry to move consider your home and sell for more money than you would have in the spring.