Category Archives: For the Home

Always “Room” at Home for Love

(Photo Source: Google Image)

(Photo Source: Google Image)

It’s true –  home is where the heart is. It’s a place where we retire for the evening after a long day of work or school. It’s a place that’s safe, comfortable, and familiar. It also serves the purpose of providing a lifestyle and within its walls you’ll find love and purpose in each room.  One could say that home ownership is a sensible investment as it provides many opportunities to come together as a family.

Welcome Home

The Foyer.  We greet our loved ones at the door with a smile.  Welcome home from your day – from school, work, or that long list of errands.  Come inside, take a load off, hang your jacket here on this stand, and leave the worries of the world behind. Here – all the comforts of home await you and the rest of the world – behind you.

“Let us always meet each other with love, for the smile is the beginning of love.” ~Mother Teresa

Let’s Eat and Be Merry

The Kitchen. Known as the hearth of the home, perhaps the kitchen is most important.  At the kitchen table, we gather our families together for three meals per day.  And it’s during that time, we get to know one another a little better.  We connect as a family by sharing our goals for the day or events that have transpired during our meanderings away from home.  Not only do we share great meals, but we share stories that add to our character.

“A meal is about civilizing children. It’s about teaching them to be a member of their culture.” ~Robin Fox, Anthropologist, Rutgers University

It’s Family Time

The Family Room.  Family movie nights, board games, homework time, and the big football game can bring parents and children together for much-needed quality time.  Most of my family’s time here is spent doing homework and watching movies.  It has good lighting, offers a variety of  books and magazines, and provides comfortable seating.   This room has been blessed with lots of laughter, tears, memories, and good lessons that will follow us far into our futures.

“Youth who communicate, do activities and have close relationships with their parents are less likely to engage in violence.” ~Chris Knoester, Sociology, Ohio State University

Sweet Dreams

The Bedrooms.  It’s the end of the day!  But before the day quickly fades, we read bedtime stories, say nightly prayers, remove the boogie man from the closet, and tuck our children in for the evening.  This time is perhaps the perfect time to reflect on your child’s day and soothe away their fears of tomorrow.

  “Families who tell stories report higher levels of happiness, closeness and adaptability.” ~Jody Kellas, Ph.D, Family Communications, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Responsibility and Financial Literacy at Home


(Photo credit: Tax Credits)

Parenthood is such a privilege! I don’t think it’s possible for anyone else to be closer to your heart than your children (and your spouse, of course). With that privilege of being a parent, comes responsibilities – many of them, which include love, support, food, clothing, shelter, discipline, and so on.

Responsibility (noun): Taking care of your duty.

When we are blessed with things, it becomes our responsibility to provide continual care and maintenance. This applies to everything we acquire, but with this post, I would like to focus on the relationships of parent-child, family-home, and family-money.

Not only is parenthood a privilege with many responsibilities, but so is home ownership. Taking care of a home has its responsibilities as well, and even more so – a home with children. As parents we lead by example and teach our kids to help with household chores like cleaning their rooms, taking out trash, sweeping, clearing the table, etc. Those are life lessons that will follow children into their adulthood.

In my home my husband and I make sure chores are completed before some privileges. (It comes with battles just like everyone else’s home!) Sometimes, depending on the layout of the day and events, we help our children come up with a schedule to complete their chores and still have their pleasurable activities that allow for fun to come before work. The goal with this is to teach responsibility, self-discipline, and time management. It doesn’t work smoothly or perfectly every time, but it is preparing them for adulthood – if they like it or not.

Financial Literacy (concept): The skill sets needed to make smart financial decisions.

What about teaching financial responsibility? It is just as important. Along with chores, children need to be financially literate as well. Teach them to make smart decisions on spending and saving money. This could be as simple as teaching your kids to compare prices when shopping, letting them help clip coupons, and through allowances. All these instances allow for you and your child to start a dialogue about money-management. Also, understanding credit and credit card use is definitely a big topic that needs to be discussed and its foundation set in all households. My husband is great with this in our home!

Another big lesson in money-management (perhaps the biggest of all) comes from setting a budget for your family and involve your children in learning what will and will not fit into your budget. This is great for teaching decision-making skills, problem-solving, and determining what priorities are. You’ll be rewarded by teaching your children these values of responsibility and money management. The reward is raising responsible citizens.

Decking the Halls Safely

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the passing of Thanksgiving, it’s now time for us to focus on Christmastime.  In my home we’re putting up the Christmas tree and decorating, getting into the Christmas spirit.

I always love how our home looks and feels after all the decorations are put up.  However, it’s quite a hassle to bring everything down from the attic, check, untangle and test the lights, sort the bulbs, and plan where to put the tree and other decor.  But to protect my investments (family and home), it’s worth it.

Also, with all the twinkling lights, ladder-climbing, cords, and extensions everywhere, we must always keep safety in mind.   During the holidays thousands of people are treated at hospitals and other emergency facilities for cuts, shock, and falls from hanging lights, and insurance companies report millions of dollars in property loss due to fires involving Christmas trees.

How Can We Reduce the Risk?

Here are a few tips that will reduce and minimize emergencies in our homes.  When purchasing an artificial tree, make sure that it is flame resistant (won’t burn easily) and keep extinguishers nearby just in case.  If you are purchasing a live tree, look for a fresh, green tree that won’t lose many of its needles.  Also, location of the tree is very important.  Keep them away from radiators, fireplaces, and avoid blocking exits.

Lighting, such as Christmas lights and candles, can pose problems as well.  Strung lights that have loose or frayed cords or broken bulbs should be thrown away.  If you’re not at home or going to bed for the night, all lights need to be turned off and candles blown out.  It’s very important to note that all lighters or matches should not be within in reach (or sight) of children.  Not only should we secure our lighting, but our ladders as well.  Use a hefty, sturdy ladder and have a spotter nearby for added safety.

While doing all these things, have a good time with family and make memories to laugh and smile over.  Avoid making memories that leave us with regret.

Fireworks Safety for Independence Day!

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Wash...

Image via Wikipedia

“Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.” ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Happy Fourth of July!

Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is a highly celebrated occasion (federal holiday) in the United States. It’s America’s birthday, which is when America received her independence from Great Britain. Our forefathers adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Oh, do we love to celebrate this great day! Not only do we grill out, go on vacation, and hit the beaches during this time, but we also light up the sky with colorful fireworks. Fireworks are a great way to celebrate, and can also be dangerous during the scorching heat of summer.

Fireworks Safety Measures

If you plan to buy and use them, please use precaution and take several safety measures! It’s best to go to a local event that’s displaying fireworks. They should have the local fire department on-site. However, in the event you decide to use fireworks, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure they’re legal first.
  2. Before they are used, they should be stored in a very cool and dry place.
  3. Please keep them away from children’s reach. Please!
  4. An adult needs to be present at ALL times.
  5. Select an open area. Do not light fireworks near grass, straw, twigs or anything flammable. This can cause a fire of a different nature. 😦
  6. Have a fire extinguisher and/or water hose nearby. Make sure that either one is working correctly beforehand.
  7. Douse used fireworks with water to make sure that they are completely burned out and then dispose.

Be safe and have fun! Happy Birthday, America!

Selling Your Home? How to Prepare:

Are you looking to sell your home now or in the future?  Most people ask me where to start or should I sell?  Those are very good and important questions if you’re thinking of putting your home on the market.  Well, whether to sell or not depends on different factors:  your needs and financial situation, just to name a few.  If all signs are a go to sell, then here’s what to do!

Contact a real estate agent!

 A real estate agent is an invaluable source to any real estate transaction.  They help you in many ways such as creating a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), advertising and marketing your home, market research, negotiating, networking, home maintenance and preparation tips, and so on.  They also provide great resources – financial partners, contractors, inspectors, builders,  etc.  They are chockfull of information and I’m not just saying that!  Here’s how your agent will help:

      1. Discuss agency (the relationship between agent and seller), which includes the agent’s role, loyalty,  and duties.
      2. Research the market in and around your area and pull comparable properties that are similar to your home.  I use pending properties to gauge at what buyers are willing to pay for now.  Using closed properties as comps help me to determine what buyers paid in specific time in the past.  I try to go 3 to 6 months back.
      3. Complete a seller’s net worksheet with you to help clearly define your financial ramifications of selling your property.
      4. Make sure you are prepared well for the experience – inspection, survey, staging tips, professional photography.  Also they are very knowledgeable and have established relationships with great contractors, financial institutions, and other pertinent resources.
      5. Make sure you have the appropriate documents to facilitate a smooth as can be transaction such as copies of deed, bank payoff statement,  tax information, utilities, survey, floorplan,  restrictive convenants, etc.
      6. A big factor is the marketing plans.  Real estate agents market and advertise your property in the appropriate and various forms of media – newspaper, internet, MLS, you tube, craigslist, social media, personal listing websites, etc.

You can see the value we add already!  This is just the short list of services we provide!

Happy Father’s Day


Image via Wikipedia

This weekend we honor fathers!  My children, my sisters, and I are excited to be honoring my husband, Danny Bland, and my father, Gene Thurman.  Both are such good men with big hearts and great impacts on a lot of lives.

My husband and father are and have been involved heavily in education in North Carolina on all levels.  I can say firsthand that they have truly affected the lives of so many students in this great state.  Happy Father’s Day to you both!

Anyway….how did it all start?  (Father’s Day, that is).  Well, I posted a blog last month about the origin of Mother’s Day so it’s only fitting to do the same for all the terrific fathers out there.

Father’s Day is every third Sunday in June and is a complement to Mother’s Day.  This day is set aside to glorify and honor fathers and paternal bonds.  The very first observance of Father’s Day took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908.

It was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to celebrate the lives of the 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monongah Mining disaster several months earlier in Monongah, West Virginia, on December 6, 1907. It is possible that Clayton was influenced by the first celebration of Mother’s Day that same year, just a few miles away. Clayton chose the Sunday nearest to the birthday of her recently deceased father.  Unfortunately, the day was overshadowed by other events in the city, West Virginia did not officially register the holiday, and it was not celebrated again. Instead, credit for Father’s Day went to Sonora Dodd from Spokane, who invented independently her own celebration of Father’s Day just two years later, also influenced by Jarvis’ Mother’s Day.   However, Fairmont is now promoted as the “Home of the First Father’s Day Service”.

Please take time today to give reverence to all the fathers and father-figures in your life. Parenting is quite a challenging task and is by far the least recognized position you’ll ever have (if you become a parent).  Sometimes, we take those we love for granted and don’t speak often enough of our love, support, and gratitude.  Today, treat dads like the kings they are!  I know I will.  Thanks for reading.  🙂

Happy Father’s Day!

Grilling without Burning Your Food and Home!

Beef and Corn on a Charcoal BBQ grill

Image via Wikipedia

Ok.. so… I just wrote a blog on keeping your home cool on the inside to cut your utility bill.  Grilling outside to avoid using your oven is certainly a great way to reduce the internal heat in your home.  Well, the comments received from that post gave me a bright idea and one that you’ll find helpful, I hope.

Take my word for it, I’m no pro at grilling and rarely do I touch the grill.  I give my wonderful husband, Danny, all the credit for cooking on the grill to perfection.  He does an amazing job!  I’m more of an indoors person when nature’s thermometer is over 80 degrees. No heat or flies for me!

Anyway, here are a few tips.  Feel free to add any to the list!

  • Always keep a spray bottle handy.  If there are flare-ups you can immediately get to it by putting out the fire quickly.
  • Vegetables and fruits cook a lot faster than meat so remember to put them on later to keep them crunchy and fresh until when it’s time to serve.
  • The cut of the meat is also important.  Obviously, the smaller the cut the faster it will cook.  Thinner cut meats will also facilitate faster cooking.
  • If you’re going to add sauces to your food, try to do so later in the game.  Sauces that contain brown sugar tends to burn very quickly!
  • Remember that the other side of the burger or the meat cooks faster than the first side. Therefore, it’s important to shorten the cooking time of the other side to avoid burning.
  • Make sure you grill a good, reasonable distance away from your home.
  • Grilling in grass is probably not a good idea!  Avoid grilling near straw as well.
  • Ok.. here’s a great tip for your safety:  Do not wear loose clothing or aprons for obvious reasons. 😦  A good way to keep your garments protected from going aflame is by using long utensils.
Of course there are lots of more tips to keep your food, your home, and yourself safe during grilling season.  These are just a few…  Feel free to add to this list.  Hope you’ve found it helpful.

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