Author Archives: Carrie
Buying a new construction home has plenty of perks: you will be the only owners of the home, you can customize it to the look and feel you want, and you can truly make it your own and know that everything on/in the home is new. Plus, it means you won’t need to worry about home renovation projects for a while, which is a saver to your budget. However, while there are many benefits, building a new construction home isn’t always easy. If you are currently waiting for land to break, here are the six tips to know for building a house.
- Know your budget.
Before you even start to shop around and find builders and land, it’s important to know your budget. Take a good, hard look at your finances and determine exactly what you can afford, not just in monthly mortgage payments, but also in terms of a down payment and all the fees and utilities associated with the new house. Once you have that in place, you need to add more money as a “fluff fund”. This fluff fund will serve as money you will need to pay for unexpected expenses, such as a change in a design, an unknown permit, etc. If you have extra money set aside for the unexpected, it can help keep your new construction home on budget.
- Choose your builder wisely.
Depending on where you want to build, you may be forced to use a specific builder. However, if you have the ability to choose who builds your home, be sure to do thorough research and find out who would be the best option for you. Not only should you meet with builders to see portfolios of their work, but ask for a list of references and talk with them. Find out what they truly think about the builder and if they would recommend them to others. The more you know about a potential builder, the better chance you’ll have of being comfortable with the build and knowing your home will be done on time.
- Understand upgrades.
When it comes to new construction, it’s important to know that the homes are typically “builder-grade” and any other changes are considered an upgrade. This could be for something major, such as adding a deck or patio onto the house, and it can even be something small, such as changing the brand of fixtures. When you understand upgrades and how they work, you can better plan for your new construction home within your budget. According to Whitewater Kitchen and Bath, “A home’s finishes say a lot about the style and quality of the home, so understanding what specific upgrades you want in a new construction home can help keep your project running on time.”
- Keep constant communication.
When having a home built, it’s very important you stay in constant communication with your builder and your finance broker. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding financing and timeline, and it will help you better understand if any issues should arise. If you find that your builder seems to be dodging your communication efforts, be sure to visit the jobsite in person to stay in communication. The more on top of your new home build you can be, the better it will be for everyone involved.
- Do your finance research.
You should have your financing secure before you start to build a new home, but you should also do your finance research too. Not only does this mean finding the right lender—specifically a company that works with new construction financing—but it also means grants. For instance, if your new home is being built with eco-friendly finishes and technologies, you may be eligible for government grants or rebates. The more you know about what financing offers are available, the more affordable your new home construction could be.
- Hire an outside inspector.
In most cases, the builder will hire an inspector to do the final inspection of your home, and while this is okay, it’s still important for you to get an outside inspector with no relation to the builder. With the money you are spending on this new home, it’s important that everything is done properly and safely. Having someone else come in and put their eyes on it will ensure you’re not being cheated and that the home is safe for you and your family once you move in.
Building a new home can be extremely exciting, but it also requires a lot of work. If you have new construction taking place, be sure to use these tips to keep everything running properly.
While you are getting ready to make your big move to go to your new home located in the South from your home in the Northwest, you may find that the moving process is a lot more stressful than it would be if you were to move just right down the road. Starting a new life in the South can be an exciting process, but it is also an extremely hectic and stressful time. There are a lot of factors that go into play when you are getting ready to make a move, and there are a lot of problems that could occur as you are trying to settle in, as you are getting ready to find or start a new job, and getting all of your things moved into your new home or apartment with as much efficiency and organization as possible. You want to do everything you can to make the process as easy, efficient, organized, and the least stressful that it can be. A moving checklist is the key component that will make your move easier and walk you through the relocation process step by step.
What is a checklist for moving day?
A moving checklist is where you will write down every little detail that needs to be done in order to get through your move with little to no stress at all. When you are going through a move, your mind is in a thousand different places trying to get everything done, so you need to have a list that tells you exactly what needs to be done so that you don’t have a chance to forget anything. This list can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be based on how detailed of a person you are and how much help you need to remember things when you are under a great deal of stress.
How to start a moving checklist
There are so many factors to consider when making a checklist, which means there are seemingly endless ways to start one out. The first thing you need to do is look at your timeline and consider how much time you have to get things done before moving day gets there. Start your list with the most time-consuming projects and work your way down to things that can be done last minute or on the actual moving day.
The actual writing down of a moving checklist
Once you have written down your timeline and figured out what needs to be done and how long you have to do it, you are now ready to start filling in the gaps and writing down your actual moving checklist. There are some basic things to do that every move requires and other items on your list that you may not have thought of!
1.) Every time you move you should begin with this step first, and that is to sort through all of your belongings and get rid of things that you do not want or will not need when you move. Start simply by putting things into piles of keep, give away, or sell. Next, purge your home of the items you won’t need. This makes packing easier and keeps you from taking any clutter with you to your new home.
2.) Finding a moving company like Allied Van Lines will help keep your stress levels down. If you plan ahead and find a reputable moving company that can take you as short or far of a distance as you need to go, then you can rest in the knowledge that you will have help on moving day. This means that you will not have to move everything on your own and your possessions will be well taken care of throughout the moving process.
3.) Go to a package store and start buying things you will need to pack like sturdy boxes, tape, scissors, markers, bubble wrap, etc.
4.) Now it is time to start packing the boxes up. As you pack, you may want to enlist help from as many friends and family as possible so it is not completely overwhelming trying to accomplish it on your own. Any help that you have needs to know to label boxes in as detailed a way as they can so that you and the movers can put the boxes down in the respective rooms which will make unpacking a much faster and easier process.
If you follow these tips, plan your move ahead of time, recruit the help of movers and family and friends, and write a checklist to keep you as organized as possible, then your move will go much more smoothly and you can settle into your new southern home in no time.
Selling your home is stressful. Modern home buyers aren’t easy to please. They want properties that are visually stunning as well as comfortable. If you want to get the maximum price for your home, you need to prepare for the sale.
If you work with a realtor, there’s a good chance that they’ll take care of this work for you. If not, it’s easy to do yourself.
Here are a few tips.
Make sure your home is spic and span before you have potential homebuyers take a look. A filthy, grimy environment will make even the most valuable properties look cheap. People won’t be able to get past the muck, it’s too distracting.
If cleaning your entire house yourself seems daunting, hire a professional cleaning crew. Depending on the size of your home, you should be able to work at an affordable rate for a single deep clean.
Any looming major repairs will have a big effect on your asking price. People may still buy the property but they’re going to deduct the cost of the repair. Often, they deduct more than it would cost you to fix the problem yourself.
For example, your kitchen remodeling project can actually end up making you money in the end. As the best cabinet maker in Tacoma notes: “Well organized kitchen cabinets improve your daily life by making your routine tasks efficient and effortless.” Homebuyers understand this and are willing to pay extra for the convenience.
Remove Personal Items
To become attached to a property, you have to be able to visualize yourself living there. You need to be able to feel like the place could be yours. The easiest way to foster that environment is to remove all of your personal touches like family photos and knickknacks.
For the same reason, you should tame any outlandish elements. Your unique style works for you but it can be off-putting for potential home buyers. The goal is to make your home appeal to as many people as possible.
Fix Your Yard
An ugly yard is distracting. Dead grass might seem like a minor problem but it changes the vibe of your home. Buying property isn’t an exact science. A lot of what attracts people to one home over another is a gut feeling. That’s why curb appeal is so important.
If you have grass or other greenery, make sure that it looks healthy and fresh. Your lawn should be mowed neatly. It takes a lot of work if you live on a big property. If you’re not in the mood to do it yourself, you can probably find a neighborhood teenager willing to help you out for a small fee.
Tour the Neighborhood
The best way to figure out how to price your home is to learn how much other homes in your neighborhood are selling for. The same strategy applies to your curb appeal. If your house is the worst-looking one on the block, it’s going to affect how buyers see the property.
You don’t have to worry about trying to outdo your neighbors. That’s not the point. Instead, you’re trying to make sure your home is on par.
Find a Realtor
In the modern age, people wonder if they still need a realtor. You can list your home yourself and save yourself the trouble and expense.
While this strategy works out for some, there are many benefits to working with a professional realtor. They have access to a wider set of buyers. They also know how to set up your home so it looks amazing.
Only work with someone who you enjoy being around. If you think the realtor is obnoxious, there’s a strong chance that potential buyers will as well.
You never know who’s in the market for a new home. When you decide to sell yours, it’s a good idea to tell everyone in your social network. Even if they’re not interested themselves, it’s possible that they know someone who is.
There’s no need to take out a billboard, but you can announce your plans on social media.
Take tons of pictures of your home. You can attract a buyer online now. A lot of people have smartphones with sophisticated cameras. These are good enough for the type of pictures that you need. Use strong lighting, good props, etc. There are quick modern photography guides that you can look up online if you need inspiration.
Studying for a degree in healthcare administration is a great choice for anyone looking for a long, stable, challenging, and rewarding career. However, what you may not be aware of is that the career also offers a great deal of choice and variety. While hospital administration is one of the most well-known, there is a wide range of career choices which are outside of the hospitals setting. It’s a continually evolving field with plenty of opportunities for progression. Achieving a Master’s in Health Administration will greatly increase your employment opportunities as the skills you acquire in a health administration degree program will equip you for a wide range of careers.
Take a look at these potential career choices which would be available to you after graduation.
Home Healthcare Administrator
When patients require healthcare in their own home, the nurses or healthcare workers providing the care are supervised by a home healthcare administrator. This includes the training and development of staff as well as ensuring adequate funding and standards of care are met.
Nursing Home or Hospice Administrator
A nursing home or hospice administrator manages the operation and finances of a long-term care facility from staff recruitment, training, and development to the organization of medical care, supplies, and the upkeep of facilities.
Health Information Manager
A health information manager is responsible for managing medical records of patients. This means they need to be comfortable with IT systems and software to comply with federal standards for storing patient information. Through effective and efficient information management and processing, a health information manager can enhance the quality of the facility’s care.
A clinic administrator is also known as a clinic supervisor or manager. They manage, supervise, and optimize the operation of a medical clinic. This includes the clinic’s care procedures, staff training, and recruitment, billing, and marketing.
Completing an online Master of Healthcare Administration could also give you the opportunity to become an insurance underwriter. This involves checking and reviewing applications for insurance and deciding whether or not the claim should be accepted or not. The role requires the analysis of financial data to determine the level of risk involved in accepting a claim before communicating this to healthcare professionals on behalf of the insurance company.
Social Welfare Administrator
Social welfare administrators provide support to social welfare programs. This involves supporting individuals and clients with referrals such as resolving complaints and evaluating the level of need in each case. The role also requires a high level of collaboration with other organizations to ensure the programs working effectively and efficiently, and the needs of the community are met.
Consulting Health Care Administrator
You don’t have to take a position at a single facility if you choose to be a consulting healthcare administrator. In this role, you would travel to different facilities and advise them on how to improve their procedures and quality of care. This could be by introducing new systems or training or identifying inefficiencies.
Every homeowner has a list of home improvement projects they’d love to complete if they were whisked onto HGTV. However, barring a sudden influx of resources, a lot of items on the list are idle wishes. Sure, you wouldn’t mind if your attic was clean, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend your free time organizing a dusty room.
There are a few renovation projects that need to be performed immediately. You can’t afford to put them off.
Here’s what they are.
Flooding can cause significant damage if left unchecked. Your entire home’s foundation is at risk. Your electrical system can be harmed as well, forcing you to hire a professional.
According to a group of Oklahoma City electrical contractors: “Many residential and commercial property owners think of calling an electrician only when they’re constructing something new. However, if you need any kind of electrical repairs at your property, it’s always recommended to call an electrician. Doing electrical work by yourself can be dangerous. How much risk are you willing to take to save a few dollars?”
The second you realize part of your property has been flooded it’s time to leap into action.
Broken windows might seem like a minor problem but they’ll quickly turn into a major hassle if you ignore them. Allowing a draft to enter your home messes with your energy bill. It costs you money to heat and cool your home.
It’s also dangerous. A thief who spots the broken pane of glass might be tempted to break in. After all, you’re advertising your faulty security system. Human interlopers aren’t the only risks. Bugs and animals will creep into broken windows as well.
If you smell a gas leak, leave your home immediately. It’s potentially a very dangerous situation. You can’t hesitate even for a moment.
Other foul smells need to be investigated as well, but the sense of urgency isn’t as extreme. Still, you obviously don’t want to pretend it’s not happening. If the smell comes from rotting food, it could lead to mold and other health problems.
Taking care of a serious mold infestation is a very expensive problem, It’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to keep your house clean.
The state of your appliances plays a big role in your overall happiness with your property. A broken stove or oven, for example, will severely cripple your ability to enjoy a meal in your kitchen. Who wants to live in a home where you can’t use your kitchen?
A broken toilet is even more inconvenient. You don’t have to make these repairs for safety reasons. You need to think about your own comfort level. There are certain conveniences that modern people have grown used to. Living without them is possible, but you probably have no desire to enter that lifestyle.
Minor scrapes on your hardwood floors or stains on your carpet are visually unappealing but there’s no pressing need to fix the problem. However, if your floors are severely damaged, it could easily spiral out of control.
You could also hurt yourself. Terrible floors put you at risk for falling or cutting your feet. It’s true that replacing your floors is often very expensive. However, it’s also true that you might be able to recoup your losses when you sell your property. Potential buyers will appreciate your new floors.
In books and movies, characters often jump over missing steps like it’s no big deal. It’s actually very dangerous. One thoughtless moment and you could fall in the crack and break your leg. Your staircase can be one of the grandest parts of your home if you take care of it. The moment you notice that one of the stairs feels weak, it’s time to fix it.
Renovating your home can be a huge project. It’s not surprising that so many homeowners like to chop the work up into manageable pieces. However, that means it’s easy to get into the habit of letting things slide. This is a huge problem when it comes to certain issues.
Being a homeowner comes with responsibilities. If you don’t want to think about replacing the water heater, be a renter. You’ll pay more for your accommodations but you won’t have to worry about property upkeep.
If you still desire the benefits of home ownership, you have to factor in the financial and time commitment you owe to your property.
Before She Was Found
by Heather Gudenkauf
A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town
For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.
Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora—and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted—not even those closest to Cora.
Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe—even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.
When the very first pages of a book describe a 12 year old girl being brutally assaulted, it’s easy to get sucked in fast! Before She Was Found is a page turner, for sure…but is the payoff great?
The story centers around the aftermath of an attack on Cora Landry. Her middle school “friends” Violet and Jordyn, have gotten wrapped up in the mystery of a local urban legend that tells of a man named Joseph Wither who murders girls. Cora finds herself especially close to the heart of the story, and she takes it far enough that she gets seriously injured.
As I said, this book was indeed a page turner. I think the main thing that bothered me was the heavy foreshadowing that seemed to not really amount to what it should have.
The story rotates between points of view, including Jordyn and Violet’s guardians, diary entries from Cora, and notes from a psychiatrist involved in the case. I think this was not a bad decision, but in my opinion there was maybe one too many POV changes.
We also learn more about how the girls ended up in the position they were in through flashbacks of the school year leading up to the attack. I found it very sad to read through Cora’s diary entries and see how mean kids were to her, Jordyn especially. I wish I would have found out more reasoning behind the way Jordyn was so spiteful.
I thought I had figured out “whodunit” but I was proven wrong, and I believe you will be too. I could not have seen the end coming, and I’m still trying to decide if that was a good or a bad thing. I think for sure, it seems quite out of left field.
This book is billed as an adult mystery suspense but it could almost pass for YA so be aware of that. I thought it was good for an early summer read.
About the Author
Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound. Heather lives in Iowa with her family.
Connect with Heather
How to Make Friends with the Dark
by Kathleen Glasgow
Here is what happens when your mother dies.
It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart.
That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone.
Here is how you learn to make friends with the dark.
About the Author
– 2 Winners will receive a Copy of HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE DARK by Kathleen Glasgow.
Through this first year of teaching I have learned so much about myself. I have discovered parts of my personality that I didn’t even know I had, and developed other parts that needed strengthening. Though no one is ever perfect, I have largely learned to embrace my flaws.
All my life, I have been told that I was too sensitive. I have easily cried before at the drop of a hat, and of course at times when I needed to be strong. Truth be told, I have cried this year at work!
I’ve always been made to feel that my immense emotions were a negative thing; I was regularly told as a child to “toughen up,” “stop crying so much,” “get over it” and the like. But what I have come to realize is that my compassion is a gift in my line of work–children need understanding and emotional attachment to their teacher.
Although some might say I’m not tough enough, I believe I am the ideal blend of gentle and tough on my second graders. They know I will follow through when I need to discipline, but that I am always there to talk through an issue and make them feel validated with what they need to tell me. And that is how a weakness turned into a strength.
Looking for a film that will allow your kids to know perfect isn’t always best?
UGLYDOLLS is an animated adventure in which the free-spirited UglyDolls confront what it means to be different, struggle with a desire to be loved, and ultimately discover who you truly are is what matters most.
The film stars Kelly Clarkson (American Idol, The Star), Nick Jonas (Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Janelle Monáe (Rio 2, Hidden Figures), and Blake Shelton (Pitch Perfect 2, The Angry Birds Movie).
In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special and beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye. Here, the free-spirited Moxy and her UglyDoll friends live every day in a whirlwind of bliss, letting their freak flags fly in a celebration of life and its endless possibilities. The endearingly unique residents of Uglyville occasionally look to the sky above the town, where a new UglyDoll will appear and be embraced by the community.
Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) loves her square-peg life in this round-hole town, but her curiosity about all things leads her to wonder if there’s something – anything – on the other side of the mountain which nestles Uglyville. Moxy gathers a group of her closest friends and sets off to find what’s on the other side. They discover another world – Perfection – a town where more conventional dolls are trained in protocols before they graduate and are sent to the “real” world to find the love of a child.
In Perfection, Moxy and her crew are subject to the manipulations of Lou (Nick Jonas), the perfect doll in charge of training recruits. Here, the UglyDolls will confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing because who you truly are is what matters most.
As Lent is coming to a close and we have started Holy Week, I thought it would be a good time to take a moment to share some quotes that have been close to my heart during this particular Lenten season.
So much has changed in my life since this time last year, and that means the way I pray has changed as well. I like to read a quote or meditation, think about how it applies to my life, and then try to reflect on what I have read throughout the day.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
My interpretation of this quote is that if we first seek God and the kingdom of Heaven in the way we live our lives, all other things that we have need of will come by virtue of radiating Christ’s light,
Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
The Lord is listening when we pray! Even if we think we have asked too many times; our prayers are futile; our God hears us! Continue to speak to him.
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.
Things that are important in your life may not be the same things that are important to others. So you must make sure what you treasure is worthy of all your love.
Holy Week also means the end of the fantastic series Jesus: His Life that has been airing on The History Channel. Have you been watching? If not, now is the time to catch up! Here is some more information.
“Jesus: His Life” explores the story of Jesus Christ through a unique lens: the people in his life who were closest to him. Each of the eight chapters is told from the perspective of different biblical figures, all of whom played a pivotal role in Jesus’ life including Joseph, John the Baptist, Mary Mother of Jesus, Caiaphas, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Mary Magdalene and Peter.
Each figure takes a turn guiding viewers through the emotional and epic story of the most famous man in history, through his birth, death and resurrection, all conveyed through a combination of scripted drama and interviews with prominent religious and historical experts. Utilizing some of the world’s most respected Biblical scholars, historians, faith leaders and theologians, the series weaves together the canonical Gospels, historical sources and cultural context to create a complete portrait of Jesus – the man and the Messiah. The series finale airs this Monday, April 15 on The History Channel at 8pm ET/PT.
I’ll Be Watching You
by Courtney Evan Tate
IT’S EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE…BUT ONE SHE WILL NOT ACCEPT
In an unthinkable flash, Emmy Fisher’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Leah, seemingly drowns close to shore one summer night—at least that is what the police report says.
In deep grief, Emmy needs time and courage before she can enter Leah’s bedroom. But when she does, she finds something at first bewildering, then unspeakable, as she begins to understand the full implications…
She uncovers evidence that Leah had been secretly involved with someone, someone perhaps older, someone with dark appetites.
Bit by bit, the last few months of Leah’s life unfold in a terrifying way that Emmy can hardly imagine.
All she knows is that she has to find the person who took her sweet daughter’s innocence. No matter the cost.
The truth will set her free. Or bury her.
3 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Leah Fisher is 15 years old, pretty, popular, and living her best life as the daughter of an innkeeper on an island off of Florida. So when she disappears into the ocean on the night before starting her sophomore year, it’s a shock to everyone–no one more so than her mother, Emmy. As Emmy deals with her grief in the passing weeks, she slowly uncovers the things that her young daughter was hiding, and begins to think that maybe Leah wasn’t the victim of a shark attack after all.
I read this book pretty quickly, and it was intriguing in that the traumatic event of Leah’s death happens very quickly in the beginning. As it continued though, I found the plot to be kind of formulaic and the characters lacking a lot of depth.
Because the loss of Leah happens after only a few pages, we don’t really get any insight into her relationship with her mother and what their day to day life was like. The background we get is that Leah’s parents were divorced, and that her mom worked in the inn constantly and therefore Leah felt like she didn’t have anyone to talk to. Leah ends up being not so perfect after all, and gets involved in a situation she can’t get out of that quickly becomes dangerous.
There are a few red herrings and dead ends that the author leads you down. I didn’t find the end to be a complete shock, but the reasons behind the plot were very out of left field for me.
The chapters alternate between Emmy in present day, and flashbacks of Leah’s last weeks. There are also some times where the point of view switches for seemingly no reason between first and third person, and this was kind of annoying.
Overall I thought this was a fine quick beach read, but don’t go here looking for too much of a deviation from the standard mystery/thriller tropes.
About the Author
Courtney Evan Tate is the nom de plume for New York Times bestselling author, Courtney Cole. Courtney Evan Tate is her darker side… the side that explores shadowy places.
Courtney lives in Florida with her husband and kids. She has a passion for raising drug addiction awareness, the Marine Corp (her middle son is a Marine) and being introspective on the human condition.
Connect with Courtney