Consumer Real Estate News

    • Sending Holiday Thanks to the Military

      26 November 2020

      As the first snow blankets our mountains, Americans everywhere begin to think about the holidays. While most of us will spend this time at home surrounded by loved ones, thousands of U.S. military personnel are still deployed to foreign countries, remote sites, and ships and subs all over the world.

      If you’d like to reach out this holiday season to express your thanks, there are several things you might like to know:

      There is no longer a national Holiday Mail for Heroes P.O. Box to which cards or letters may be sent. Instead, the program, sponsored by the American Red Cross, is being conducted on a community level. Check with your nearest Red Cross office to get more detailed information and to learn about this and other opportunities to get involved in the effort to thank our troops.

      You can email your thanks via email through - This program matches registered service members with civilians who may correspond with them via email. The program also operates support projects that include the option to send care packages overseas. 

      Send care packages to random service members through - The service members involved in this effort are military volunteers stationed overseas. You send your support (letters and/or packages) addressed to them and when they see "Attn: Any Soldier” in the address, they put your letters and packages into the hands of military members of all branches who don't get much or any mail. The site includes a section providing suggestions on what to include in your package. 

      Full Circle Home gives deployed service members a chance to send a gift box to their wives back home. Gift boxes contain pampering items, such as lotions, bubble baths and spa socks, as well as a handwritten note from the sending serviceman.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What to Look for in an Infant Day Care

      26 November 2020

      (Family Features) It can be challenging to raise a baby even in the best of times, but many parents need additional support for the education and care of their young children amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, both parents work in nearly two-thirds of families with children. The number of working single parents is even higher.

      However, as long as teachers and staff follow rigorous health and safety practices, day care centers are among the safest places for children right now.

      “More than ever before, families are struggling with balancing the need to return to consistent routines with concerns about the possible health risks to their children,” said Dr. Elanna Yalow, chief academic officer of KinderCare Learning Centers. “Our rigorous safety protocols give families confidence they can count on our programs when traditional support systems may not be available.”

      Although the decision to place your baby in someone else’s care can be difficult, the benefits of day care can be significant, especially for children who start a program as babies. Consider these important factors when choosing an infant day care.

      Exceeding Recommended Guidelines
      Parents will want to make sure their day care center follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics and local health department guidelines. These include masks and social distancing, restricted access to classrooms, consistent grouping of children, health screenings upon entry, handwashing throughout the day and frequent cleaning and sanitizing. In addition to knowing the steps teachers and staff are taking to keep children safe, ask about staff training and the checks and balances the center has in place to make sure written policies translate into best practices in classrooms.

      Teachers Who See Each Baby as an Individual
      Responsive, caring teachers tend to each baby’s specific needs. From the moment you meet them, they’ll ask what your baby enjoys, what comforts him or her, what milestones your baby is working on and so forth. The best teachers see each baby as a unique person and work to meet your child wherever he or she is, whether that’s watching for signs of tiredness and holding him or her or responding to your baby’s babbling and coos as signs of early language development.

      Strong Communication
      Trusting someone else to look after your bundle of joy is a tremendous leap of faith for many parents, particularly as safety-conscious providers are limiting access to their classrooms and parents may not be able to go any further than the front door. That leap is easier if you know you’ll receive updates about your child throughout the day. Whether you want videos and photos, phone calls or texts, or short notes about the things your child is doing while you’re at work, talk with your potential provider about how often you want updates and what kind of information is most meaningful to you. While it’s natural to feel a twinge of nervousness when you get a phone call from your child’s day care, you should also be contacted with good news and friendly reminders.

      For many parents, the most important thing is that their baby is safe, happy and flourishing in a loving, caring and engaging environment. Once they find this, they can rest assured they made the best decision for their family. Find more information and tips to find the right center at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Signs of an Insect Problem That Are Easily Missed

      26 November 2020

      Insects can cause serious damage to your home, affect your family’s health and make life unbearable. If you think your home has an insect infestation, look for these tell-tale signs.

      How to Spot a Possible Insect Problem Inside a House
      Take a look in places where insects tend to search for food, such as inside kitchen cabinets. If you see droppings, the house may be infested with insects.

      Some pests leave behind a distinctive odor that can clue you in to their presence. If you notice an unusual smell and you can’t identify the source, there may be a pest problem. 

      You may hear large insects moving, even if you can’t see them. If you hear banging sounds coming from inside the walls, there may be a termite infestation. 

      Termites can damage the wood structures of a house, as well as furniture inside it. You may notice holes or sagging in the floors. You may hear a hollow sound when you tap on wood, or paint may be cracked, peeling or bubbling because of moisture that termites left behind. Another sign of a termite problem is a pile of wings that have been shed, resembling fish scales. 

      Spiders and ladybugs eat insects. If you notice large numbers of spiders or ladybugs inside a house, that may point to a serious insect problem. 

      How to Detect Signs of an Infestation Outdoors
      To protect the colony, termites create tubes of mud on outdoor walls leading to and from food sources. If you see one or more of those tubes, the house may already have serious termite damage.

      Ants pile dirt in mounds with a hole on top. You may notice an anthill near a crack in the driveway or walkway or near a fence.

      Carpenter bees and carpenter ants create round holes in wooden parts of a house, such as window frames, doors and decks. You may also see piles of sawdust.

      Stagnant water can attract mosquitoes, especially in warmer weather. If there is a pond or lake nearby, the water may be a breeding ground for mosquitoes that could spread disease.

      Insects eat plants and may leave evidence of their presence. You may notice that the edges of leaves and blades of grass have been chewed, or the grass may be uneven in length or have discolored patches. 

      Look for Evidence of a Pest Problem
      An insect infestation can cause major damage to a home and it’s easy to miss the signs. If you notice any of these hallmarks of a possible insect infestation, contact an exterminator. Hiring a home inspector to check for pests might cost you more money up front, but it could help you avoid making a home purchase that you would regret.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Simple Family Activities to Promote Healthy Living

      25 November 2020

      Keeping your family healthy is a top priority, but with everything we have to juggle in modern-day life, that’s easier said than done. Luckily, there are simple activities your whole family can enjoy that will promote a health-focused lifestyle in adults and children alike.

      Visit a U-Pick Farm
      Young children will especially enjoy visiting a local farm, but teens and adults alike can enjoy seeing where food is sourced. Visit a U-pick farm and gather some of your favorite fresh fruits and veggies. Not only is this activity more fun than a plain grocery trip, but you’re also likely to save money when buying in bulk.

      Find Active Hobbies
      Keeping your family active and healthy doesn’t mean everyone has to sign up for a sport or gym membership. Think of fun activities the whole family can enjoy that aren’t exercise-focused. Kite flying, paper boat racing, walking the family dog and picking wildflowers can all be fun hobbies that encourage movement without feeling like a chore.

      Look for Tech Tools
      For tech-loving families, there are a plethora of options to stay active without feeling like you’ve traveled to the stone ages. Try geocaching, having a step-count contest or play a movement-focused video game.

      Cook Together
      The best way to please a picky eater? Get them involved in the process. Cooking together can be a fun and messy experience that kids will enjoy. Get the whole family involved with age-appropriate tasks and try a new recipe together. Get chef hats and aprons to make it a novel experience. Just be sure to leave plenty of time and plan for delays if you are working with younger children.

      Incorporate these simple habits that your whole family will benefit from, all while having fun.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Hidden Pet Dangers That May be Lurking in Your Home

      25 November 2020

      You love your pets like they are part of the family. You have done your research on the best food for their needs and know all their favorite toys. Still, there may be hidden dangers in your home that you don’t know about. Keep your pets safe by removing these dangers from your home.

      Makeshift Pet Toys
      You may picture a classic scene of a kitten playing with a ball of yarn, but this seemingly-cute makeshift toy could pose danger to your feline friend. Household items like string, yarn, floss and coins—among other items—are easy to swallow. These can pose a choking risk, intestinal blockages or strangulations. Opt instead, for a vet-approved pet toy of your choice.

      Store medication and supplements safely out of reach. Just as humans can face harmful side effects when consuming medication not prescribed for them, your pet could be at a similar risk. Even vitamins and mineral supplements can contain doses or ingredients unsafe for your pet. 

      Your Diet Food
      While consuming imitation sweeteners may seem like a good idea if you are watching your waistline, you must keep your sugar-free items away from your pets. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener often found in sugar-free gums, which acts as a toxin to your furry friend. In dogs, small doses can result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or death.

      Cleaning Products
      Your pet may be at risk when in the presence of cleaning products. Chemical fumes pose an obvious threat, but even your natural cleaners can contain essential oils or other ingredients that act as toxins to your animals. Be sure your cleaning products are pet safe.

      Ensure your home is just a little safer for man’s best friend by removing or hiding these household dangers.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.