Home Is Where The Heart Is: Securing Your First Home
Everyone wants a home. That much is likely true. A home offers a haven from the stresses of life and it’s a great place to start, or grow, your family. After all, home is where the heart is.
But, how do you even get one?
It’s not easy, and it’s a long path – but it’s not impossible.
Firstly, you can choose the option of renting. Renting can give you instant access to a number of amazing properties. This is an incredible and sometimes cheap option for you, and you shouldn’t turn your nose at it, but buying is better. Why? Well, buying a home ensures the payments secure your future. Each monthly payment towards a home is leading you towards the goal of ownership. It’s almost like a savings account you can live in. Renting is seen as dead money by most.
Now, to buy a home, you need to secure a mortgage from the bank. A mortgage is a gigantic loan offered to you to secure your desired house. It’s likely going to number in the tens of thousands, if not the hundreds. You’re looking at big money here, and you’re going to owe it, so ensure it can be paid off. Each bank will offer a different mortgage rate to you, so do your research and use sites like Lending Tree to accurately calculate what you can borrow and what your eventual monthly repayments will be. Remember your credit rating here, if you’re thinking of eventually buying a house, check it right now and if it’s bad, try and fix that. Don’t miss monthly repayments from this point forward. That’s not the only cost, though, as you’ll need to get the property appraised and inspected to ensure you’re not buying a deathtrap, not only that, but your estate agents and solicitors will also have fees. Most costs can be rolled into the mortgage, but not all.
The mortgage is usually offset with a down payment, or deposit. The bigger your down payment, the less you’re going to have to pay back to the bank. This is key. The best way to get a large deposit is to save, so it’s time to enjoy a frugal lifestyle. It’s going to be hard, but you’ll have a home at the end of it.
Find areas of your lifestyle you can cut back in. Don’t always eat out and go for expensive clothing options. It’s time to live on the cheap so you can secure your home. Plan and cook meals with cheap ingredients and save leftovers for later in the week. It’s really easy to get started here.
There are steps to owning a home: save, buy, live. It doesn’t seem that simple, but it is. Start saving now if you’ve got plans of becoming a future homeowner and you’ll make life a lot easier for yourself.
Top 10 Cooking Techniques for Everyday Cooking
When it comes to making a delicious meal, having the right technique is key. In order to become a better cook, there are some everyday cooking skills that you will need to master. To help you get started, here are the top 10 techniques for everyday cooking.
1. Basic Knife Skills
All knives are not created equally. Learning the various types of knives and how to use them is a huge step towards becoming more proficient in the kitchen. Skills like shearing, scoring and fine slicing may take a while to learn, but they will have a big impact on your success in the kitchen. If you find it hard to learn knife skills by yourself, don’t worry! You are not alone and there are even classes for that. In many cities, you will find some knife skills classes on Cozymeal’s website, a national provider of cooking classes.
2. Chopping an Onion
Onions are a key ingredient in many dishes. Mastering the technique of chopping an onion can dramatically reduce your meal prep time.
3. How to Cook Pasta
Believe it or not, there is a right way to cook pasta. In Italy, pasta is served â€˜al denteâ€™. This means that it has been boiled until softened, but still retains its firmness. This style is considered the standard in kitchens around the world. While mastering this technique, keep in mind that different types of pasta will have different cooking times. For best results, be sure to read the instructions on the packaging label.
4. Boiling an Egg
Boiling an egg is one of those skills that seems simple in theory, but can prove difficult to execute. The difference between a messy runny yolk and a firm one can be a matter of minutes. Determining the right amount of time to boil an egg will depend on the starting temperature of the egg and the level of firmness you hope to achieve. For a soft-boiled egg, a room-temperature egg will need to cook approximately three to five minutes. On the other hand, a hard-boiled egg will need to cook for seven to 10 minutes. Remember that the longer the egg cooks, the firmer it will be.
5. Making an Omelette
An omelette is one of those versatile meals that is perfect for an early breakfast or a tasty lunch. Start by whisking the eggs in a small bowl until they are thoroughly blended. Then pour the eggs into a buttered frying pan and top it with your fillings. For a fluffier result, add a small amount of milk or sour cream to the egg batter before adding it to the pan.
6. Baking a Potato
A baked potato can quickly transform from an ordinary vegetable into a hearty meal. For best results, thoroughly clean the skin of your potato and sprinkle it with a little olive oil and salt before baking it. The result will be a potato that is crispy on the outside while soft and fluffy on the inside.
7. Making Gravy
The robust flavor of homemade gravy is so much better than any store-bought alternative. After roasting the meat that you intend to serve the gravy with, use some of the drippings from the roasting plan to create a rich, flavorful gravy.
8. The Art of Cooking Rice
For many new cooks, rice can be one of the most frustrating dishes to make. While using a rice cooker is a great way to get perfect rice every time, this dish can easily be prepared without one. All it takes is water, rice and a little bit of salt to make soft, fluffy rice each time.
9. Kneading Dough
Bread is a staple of most diets. While store-bought bread is convenient, it pales in comparison to fresh-baked, hot-out-the-oven bread that you can easily make yourself. In a large mixing bowl, start by gently mixing flour and water. The mixing motion activates the gluten which is what gives your dough its elasticity. Once the dough has risen, clear a flat, clean surface and dust it with powder. Use your fisted hands to mash the dough until it develops into a smaller ball. With the heel of your hand, stretch and squish the dough for three to five minutes. Fold the dough and repeat this kneading and turning motion as indicated in the recipe.
10. Browning Meat
The key to keeping slow-cooked meats tender and juicy once cooked, is learning how to properly seal them first. Browning meat is a simple technique that involves frying it in a pan until the outside becomes brown. Especially useful for pot-roasts or stews, this technique gives the meat a rich flavor while keeping it tender for additional cooking.
Learning how to become a better cook takes lots of practice and patience. Mastering each of these simple techniques will put you well on your way to becoming a more seasoned cook.
Smart Ways to Plan for Sudden Family Financial Emergencies
It can happen without warning. One day, life is calm and everyone’s happy. The next, chaos ensues, all because of something you never expected. It could be an unexpected bill, a natural disaster, or some bad news at the doctor. Regardless of the specifics, there are a few things you can do to proactively prepare for life’s curveballs.
Put Money Into Savings When Possible
Maybe you regularly live from paycheck to paycheck. That’s a common scenario that makes it very hard to save money. However, if you can, work out a feasible way to gradually put money aside.
Consider researching the best high interest savings accounts, because then your balance grows even without making deposits. You may also want to see if your employer can give you a direct deposit form that allows you to designate that a certain amount of money should go straight to your savings account for each pay period. If you never see the money hit your main bank account, it’s harder to miss it.
Get Rid of Things You Don’t Need
If regularly putting money into savings isn’t possible because you don’t earn very much, do an inventory of all the things in your home that might be worth money and appeal to someone else. There’s a good chance some things you no longer want or need could be sold for top dollar. Organizing everything and getting it ready for sale is often a little overwhelming, but your hard work could pay off in the form of cold, hard cash.
Plus, shedding some of your possessions could be beneficial if your house always seems cluttered. Without unnecessary items taking up space, you may be amazed how much more open your home’s floor plan, closets, and garage look. Once you earn income from the sold items, immediately put it into savings so it’s available if you have an emergency that requires extra financial resources.
Meet With an Insurance Agent
Insurance for your residence, car, or home-based business could provide welcome peace of mind when it feels like life has turned everything upside down. Ideally, plan an in-person meeting with an insurance expert and get their advice about the best kinds of insurance for your family’s needs. Whether you need an insurance agency in Sacramento or one based in Manhattan, options are available all over the United States.
If cost is a concern, mention that to your insurance agent quickly and with frankness. You may be able to pay less by adjusting your deductible amount, or get set up on a periodic payment plan that splits your premium cost into manageable monthly or weekly segments so it’s easier to fit into your budget.
Although you may never need to make an insurance claim, the fact that the option’s available in case of an emergency should help you feel more at ease. Being insured relieves you from the burden of having to be solely responsible for eligible costs incurred during unplanned circumstances.
Hopefully, these three tips make it easier for your family to figure out how to work towards greater financial security. The unexpected inevitably happens, but you can prepare for it in practical ways.
The Evolution Of Growing Up
Growing up isn’t easy to do. But it is something that we all have to go through. Thankfully, there are ways that you can give your kids a helping hand in getting older. To help your kids grow up into responsible and successful adults, you should try and give them the best possible start in life. Here is what you should do.
Get Them Into A Good School
Everyone needs a good education. Once you get the grades, you can go on to college and study for your dream job. Once you have your education, no one can take it away from you. Plus, you will have a better chance of getting high-paying jobs. What’s the best way to try and help your kids get a good education? You should try and get them into a good school. The only way you can guarantee a place in a good school is to live close to it. If you want to try to move close to a great school in your area, you can find properties for sale and news from Bridgfords here.
Discuss Big Issues
Don’t go through life protecting your kids in cotton wool. Be open with them and discuss big issues in life. If there is a current political turmoil, don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about it if they have questions. You should also discuss religion with them too even if you aren’t particularly religious. One of the most important things is that your kids experience different opinions and views on big issues. That way, they are in a better position to make up their own minds.
Encourage Them To Explore Hobbies
One way we develop and grow is by learning who we are through hobbies and pastimes. Hobbies are a great way to relax and spend time, but they are also super important for children. They can help them to develop certain skill sets that they could use in their adult life. For example, if your child gets into drama and acting, he or she could grow into a very confident and sociable person. Something that is their hobby throughout childhood could stay with them and develop into a successful career.
Teach Them Responsibilities
If your kids are going to succeed in the adult world, they will need to know the importance of leading a responsible life. And that means being responsible with their finances and in their work and home lives. So make sure they understand the value of money from a young age. You can teach them this by giving them pocket money and encouraging them to save up. Also, try and teach them the importance of family life by spending as much time as possible with all your relatives.
Ultimately, the best way you can set up your kids for their adult life is to show them as much love as possible. Let them know that you will always be there to support them and offer them help whenever possible. That, along with all these tips, can help to set your kids up for life.
Your Guide To A Fun And Practical Kid’s Room
If you’re into interior design, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy working on a kid’s room. This is where you can forget all the rules and conventions tied to other rooms, and go a little crazy. There isn’t anywhere else where you can really use a giant animal plushie as a focal point after all! While I’m sure you’re bursting with ideas already, it’s important to prioritise practicality, storage and so forth when you’re designing a kid’s room. Don’t worry, it can still be cheerful enough your little treasure! Here’s a guide to creating a kid’s room that’s both practical and fun.
We’ll start with the basics. At the very least, a bedroom needs a bed. Otherwise it would be… well, just a room! Like yours, bed in your kid’s room is going to have a huge impact on the overall mien of the room. I’m sure you don’t want to splash out on a double bed for such a small person, so we’ve got that out of the way already! What’s great about kid’s bed frames is that they range from some of the simplest designs to some really elaborate ones. You may want to go with a nice, minimal model with an upholstered headboard, something themed or even a full four-poster. Just make sure your kid doesn’t get a hold of the catalogue and get fixed on the most expensive model there is! If you know your kid loves having sleepovers, then you may want to get a set of twin beds instead of just the one. A lot of these can be zipped or joined together to make a king sized bed. This will make the room a lot more versatile when your kids are a little older. The Frozen duvet may have to go though! When your kids are growing, it’s important to choose the right mattress for their developing spines. Don’t rush through this part of your shopping trip! You can find some handy information on this from mattress-guides.net.
Once you’ve got the bed out of the way, it’s time to start adding layers and a little more character to the room. Before anything, you should try to settle on a colour scheme which goes well with the bed you’ve chosen. Generally, you’ll only need a neutral base and a couple of accent colours. The next big feature after the bed should probably be a rug. Rugs are a fantastic base layer for adding layers to a child’s room. When it comes to designs, I’d go with something fairly minimalist. With all the toys, posters and so forth, there’s going to be quite a lot going on in other areas of the room. A nice, simple pattern can really balance out a sense of chaos. We all know what kids can be like, so try to find a rug that’s fairly durable and easy to clean. Basically, anything synthetic. You might even be able to find a nice outdoor rug which served the purpose. Another big thing to think about is the window treatments. Your choice here will also have a pretty profound effect on the feel of the bedroom. Fortunately, there are some pretty simple ways to achieve that colourful, carefree look that kids like so much. If the walls around the window are neutral, then I’d recommend using some bold, bright colour or at least a fun pattern. If you’ve already got some showy, colourful wallpaper or a feature wall, then I’d go with something a little more subdued. Remember that subdued doesn’t necessarily mean boring! Bold, extravagant designs are eye-catching, but a tone-on-tone scheme can often be just as interesting and playful.
Your next step should be throwing in one or two features to make your kids room that much more kiddy! Remember how I said that the great thing about kid’s rooms is that you can break your usual parameters? Well, this is where it all happens! Provided you’ve got a good few years before you hit the teenage years, there are a lot of great features you can try adding to a kid’s room. They may have some ideas already, but if not I can give you a couple. One feature I’m seeing a lot of on design blogs is indoor play tepees or wigwams. These are easy to set up and collapse, and I’m sure your kid will get hours of play time out of it. Even in this age of tablets and consoles, dens still totally hold up! My only warning is to make absolutely sure you’re happy with the colour scheme before ordering one of these. You can find a handy buyer’s guide at gokidsplay.com. Another great thing to do is paint a whole wall in chalkboard paint. This may sound like a lot of effort, especially if you’ve already painted most of the room. However, the result is really striking, and encourages your kids to write and draw. You may even be able to get them on board with maths if the numbers are almost as big as them. Seen as you’ll be coming and going quite a lot, you can even use it to write little reminders to yourself. Just make sure that your kid knows which walls are for chalk and which ones aren’t! At the very least, I think there should be some large art feature in the room. Seen as it’s for a child, you can really have some fun here. Model sailing ships or planes make a lovely touch, albeit a little archaic. Then of course there’s all kinds of canvases with their favourite characters. Basically anything without a creepy clown will do!
The next phase in your design should be storage. Practical and good-looking storage is pretty important in any room of the house. However, with the sheer amount of stuff a kid accumulates, it’s even more important here! One simple yet very effective solution is to use open shelving and a few boxes that fit in the spaces. This means that you can hide away all the toys and clutter, and still keep your kid’s favourite toys and possessions out in the open. There are a lot of different open shelving units out there, but whatever you pick I’d recommend making sure you have the dimensions for a nice book section. We all want to get our kids reading more, and keeping their favourite stories within reach is a fantastic way to encourage it. When it comes to more permanent storage, it’s important to keep the future of the room in mind. For example, you may have the choice between a squat, narrow cabinet that’s easy on the budget and is just big enough for Mr Bunny to sit in. However, you may be able to pay a little more to get a larger cabinet, where you can mount a TV once your kid gets into their adolescence. Another practical feature you should be thinking about is a desk. When your kids are young, this may not seem like the most urgent thing in the world. However, in a few years they’ll need their own place to study and work on assignments. I’m sure they already like drawing pictures enough! If you get one that’s large enough, you may even be able to get use out of it much further down the line. When your kids leave home, you may want to redecorate and turn it into a study for yourself.
By this point, your blank canvas should be looking a little more like a child’s bedroom. However, if it feels like it’s lacking something, there may be room for a few more finishing touches. You’ve probably been El Capitano so far, so now’s the time to get your kid on the committee. After all, it’s their bedroom. Between you, I’m sure you can come up with some manageable décor theme. Pirates, fairies, dinosaurs are all big ones, but I’m sure your child will give you very specific instructions about what they want. I remember seeing one nautical-themed room with a compass clock, and a map of the world pasted onto a large sliding wardrobe door. With a dinosaur-themed room, you could throw in some nice artificial plants and wrap a timeline around the upper walls. Even if you can’t pick out a specific theme, I’m sure you can find some bean bags, throw pillows and so forth that go with the colour scheme. These are pretty effective as finishing touches, as well as being cheap and pretty expendable. When your kid inevitably wants to make a change to their room, it won’t be too hard to see these things go!
So, there you have it. If you started reading this in some big panic about how you were going to redecorate your child’s room, I hope that you’re now full of ideas and ready to go. For my final piece of advice, I’ll recommend that you relax about how it turns out! No one’s expecting a child’s bedroom to be stunning, and your kid will be pretty quick to fill it with toys and clutter anyway!