Things to Consider Before Remodeling

Right now, my husband and I are planning this next year’s projects for our home. We need to replace our garage door, which currently our cats can run through because a panel is missing. We need to replace all of our basement windows, as they leak when it rains, and we’re losing a lot of heat through them. We also need to repaint our outside trim and adjust the gutters so that water doesn’t leak down into our foundation.

As we plan these projects, we’re trying to take everything into account so we don’t have to re-do things in 3 years. Below are some things we’ve learned during our research. Read the rest of this entry

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Building Your Community

Today’s voting day everyone! I know it can be difficult to find information about your local elections sometimes, but it’s totally worth the effort to know what’s being done in your community and where it fits in the grander scheme of things. My local paper actually had a pretty informative voter’s guide this year, so that made things easier.

Please vote in your local elections! But if you can’t or do choose not to, there are other ways to be involved in improving your community! Here’s an article about doing so through entrepreneurship, particularly for women!

How do you help build up your community? Share in the comments!

Can Solar Energy Really Save You Money?

Ads and campaigns for solar panel companies and alternative energy initiatives boast all the financial benefits of adopting solar energy. Personally, I feel like the financial motivation should be secondary to reducing your carbon footprint and finding clean energy sources for the future, but I also know that these energy methods need to be financially accessible in order to be adopted. I personally have not installed solar panels on my house because I’ve seen conflicting reports about the actual affordability.

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Reclaiming Your Spirituality

This article has been contributed by freelance writer, Sally Perkins.

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Spirituality is exactly what it says on the tin; focusing on your own human spirit. Spirituality isn’t necessarily religion, and an increasing amount of Americans describe themselves as spiritual as opposed to religious. So, what is spirituality? How can you ‘gain’ it, what’s it good for? Basically, what is it that these people describing themselves as spiritual and involving themselves in spiritual practices see?

Spirituality And Your Health

Spirituality is an esoteric concept but, really, it only means anything when you consider it as a person, yourself.

One major positive impact that spirituality can have on your life is in relation to your health. Physicians for thousands of years have paired mental wellbeing and spirituality. Western medicine has arguably reduced the emphasis on spirituality and mental well-being ahead of physical ailments, but it’s very important to focus on your mind. Research has shown a link between improved mental health and spirituality and then a further link showing better mental health means better overall treatment.

How To Find Spirituality

Spirituality, at its base, has typically been about interpreting the world around us. Curious children might wonder how on earth plants, rocks, landscapes and animals just came to be – who created them, who designed them. This is often where religion steps in, but in that sense it’s really just an extension of spirituality. 

It follows, then, that a great way to regain your spirituality is to try and connect with nature. There has been a swell of interest for these types of breaks in America, with the Appalachian Trails boasting spiritual pedigree. If you opt for these sorts of trips yourself, just relax in the environment and consider the seen and unseen; view nature as a whole, and consider your part in it.

Developing Spirituality

Going to nature to find spirituality is well and good but most of us aren’t equipped to remain permanently in a rural wilderness. This means that spirituality often takes a back seat as we take up the fast-paced and difficult nature of modern life, with constant interruptions from work, responsibilities and digital distractions.

The way to spirituality in your day-to-day life is through your everyday actions. Slow down, primarily; take note of every action in your day-to-day life, control your emotions as you see fit and spend plenty of time acting introspectively. A lot of these techniques are found in THE concepts advocated for by mindfulness, a helpful spiritual tool.

More people than ever are describing themselves as spiritual, and there has never been a better time with our lives and health often hard-pressed by the responsibilities swirling around us. It’s accessible, easy, and can be cost-free; and can get you a wonderful connection with nature in the process.

Stairs and Home Safety

Two years ago, my husband and I went to San Jose for a couple of days and visited the Winchester Mystery House. The owner of the house, the wife of the founder of Winchester Guns was told that her house was being haunted by the ghosts of people killed by her husband’s guns. She did non-stop construction on the house to appease and confuse the spirits. There are doorways that lead to drop-offs outside, or just open to solid walls. Floors between rooms are at different heights. Everything is very disjointed.

What stuck out to me most though, were the stairs. Sarah Winchester had arthritis and hip problems, so she had very small steps installed so she didn’t have to lift her legs very high. The steps weren’t even an inch apart in distance. Our tour group kept bumping their toes into steps and mismeasuring where the next step would be because they were so unexpected. While most people don’t have these problems in their home, they should still be thinking about stair safety.

Stairs are one of the leading causes of home accidents, particularly for the elderly. Walking safely up and down stairs is something many of us take for granted, but it does take a certain level of coordination and depth perception. Stairs are also one of the recommended areas to check for safety before attempting to sell your home. Below are some measures you can take to make the stairs in your home safer for everyone.

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Building Strong Financial Habits After Acquiring Large Debt

I’ve talked before about how I dislike much of the financial advice out there because it assumes that your debt is the result of irresponsible spending. Most people I know are in debt because of two things: education and home ownership. We are in a world where these things are touted as important status symbols and steps toward success, but they are not accessible for most people. Read the rest of this entry

Idaho’s Gaps in Early Education

A few weeks ago, I attended Activate! an event at Payette Brewing to connect people with local activist organizations. I talked with a guy from Idaho’s Association for the Education of Young Children. This led to me doing some research about the state of early childhood education in Idaho. You can read about what I found on Idaho’s Promise, in my article: Setting Our Kids Up for Failure: The Lack of Early Childhood Education in Idaho

 

Some Nuances of Online Education

Today, it’s possible to learn the basics of almost any subject online. Some universities even offer free courses, helping increase accessibility to learning content online from valid sources. Online learning isn’t limited to self-education, however. In the last two decades, more and more universities have started offering online degree programs. As with any change, there are people who love the idea, and people who hate it. Below are some of the issues surrounding online education. Read the rest of this entry

Planning a Thrifty Dinner Party

I love to host dinner parties and brunches with my friends. Lots of us are on budgets, so we have lots of experience keeping costs low while making the meal something that doesn’t seem “cheap”. Check out my tips at the iShopthrifty Blog!

The Many Ways to Keep your Family Healthy

Everyone’s family is different, so keeping your family healthy will be an individual journey no one can spell out for you. But I’ve got some fun tips to help out at pantry paratus! Check it out!