8 Small Ways To Honor Those Who Gave All This Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is set aside as a holiday in our country to honor those that gave their lives in the service of our country.download (6)

We all live busy lives and while we know Memorial Day is important, doing even little things to commemorate the day often alludes us.

Here is a list of some possibilities that might get you into the proper spirit to honor those that gave all so that we could just live our busy lives without much interruption.

 

  1. Fly our Red White and Blue Banner in pride. The colors are symbolic. The White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and the Blue above the stripes signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.
  1. Donate to a Charity that supports our Veterans.
  1. Buy a Poppy from a VFW member. Here is the story of How the Poppy Became the Symbol of Memorial Day
  1. Attend a Commemorative Service. If you are squeamish, skip this one. I want to paint you a picture. I would like to remind you of something I came to learn about our soldiers as they are laid to rest. They are buried in full dress uniform of the service branch they are a part. Irrespective of the condition of their body, imagine opening their casket and seeing the young man or women wearing the honor and pride of the country they served. Connect with this and it will help you better remember the significance of this day. They gave it all so we didn’t have to. We owe them so much, it could never be fully repaid. Their grave sites are not some unknown marker, these are real men and women, most often our finish youth, that lay there.
  1. Volunteer at a VA Hospital or a local USO branch. Volunteerism to help those that were willing to sacrifice their lives is a small price to pay. We all need to do more to make the lives of those that were saved in battle just a little less burdensome.
  1. On Memorial Day at 3:00PM, as a nation, we honor the sacrifice of the valiant men and women who gave all. Please take a minute at that exact time to honor them. As you do, hear the sound of the Taps played to symbolize “The day is done, Rest in Peace”.
  1. Go to a National Cemetery or even your own local cemetery and be a part of honoring the Veterans who grace these hallowed grounds.
  1. Teach you children. This might be one of the easiest tributes to do. Educate your children about this day and what it means to all of us as patriotic citizens of the United States of America. Help them keep the spirit of honor and sacrifice that these men and women made that our freedom and pride in our nation continues to grow and is not stifled by neglect. Freedom and Liberty will always have a price and it has been paid in blood by so many. It continues to cost the lives of those so eager and willing to pay for it. That cost must be honored lest we may each have to pay an equal price. 
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13 QUICK & EASY Tasks to Add Curb Appeal

  • Trim bushes and branches so they don’t block windows or architectural details.

  • Set a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch or front walkway.

  • Install new, matching locks and knobs on your front door.

  • Repair any cracks or holes in the driveway, and clean oil spots with degreaser and a steel brush.

  • Edge the grass around walkways and trees.

  • Stow your garden tools and hoses out of sight, and clear kids’ toys from the lawn. Same goes for the driveway…Don’t let it look like a junk yard!

  • Buy a new mailbox.

  • Upgrade your outdoor lighting.

  • Purchase a new doormat for outside your front door.

  • Clean your windows, inside and out.

  • Polish or replace your house numbers.

  • Mow your lawn.

  • Place a seasonal wreath on your door

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9 Things Robbers Look at When Canvassing Your Home

You’ve put heart, soul, and a lot of bucks into turning your house into a home. The last thing you want is for someone to break in and rob you. A home intruder is scary to even think about, but spending a few minutes of time recognizing and fixing ways your home is vulnerable can pay off big down the road.

Here are 9 ways you may be inadvertently making your home more attractive to thieves:

Rundown Front Door

Your front door is the first place burglars will look, and a dilapidated front door signals that your home is an easy target. A clean, painted front door gives the impression that the entire home is well-cared for and harder to breach.

Single Lock

Burglars look to see what kind of locks they’ll have to navigate to enter, and when they see only the standard cylinder lock they’re more likely to have a go than if there’s also a padlock visible. In short: doubling up on locks makes your door physically more difficult to break into and your home less appealing to burglars.

Enticing Trash

The discarded boxes and bags from all your big-ticket purchases are like advertisements to burglars of the valuables inside your home. Prevent thieves from getting as excited over your new flat screen TV box as you are with your new TV by keeping this type of garbage inside until trash pickup day.

Dark Exteriors

Burglars don’t like to risk being seen, so when you create a barrier of light around your home using motion sensor activated and basic exterior lights, you’re creating a barrier around your home through which they’re not likely to penetrate. Pay special attention to vulnerable areas like front and back doors and walkways.

Welcoming Landscaping

When planted beneath windows, bushes and shrubs are not only pretty, but they’re an obstacle to climbing into windows. Burglars are especially deterred by the kind of greenery that has thorns or makes loud snapping noises. For trees reaching up to second story windows, be sure to clean up lower branches so they can’t function as a ladder.

Overflowing Mailbox

Piles of mail are a sign that you’re out of town and primed for a robbery. If you’re going away for a while, use the USPS’s Request Hold Mail service to stop delivery while you’re gone. For shorter periods, a neighbor will likely be glad to pick up your deliveries.

Visible Interiors

You don’t want burglars to get a peek at all the goodies you have inside your home, so shut the curtains, pull the shades, put a giant houseplant in front of a street-facing window – do whatever you have to do to keep unwanted eyes out. Be especially mindful at night when the dark sky and lit interior combine to create a fishbowl effect in your home.

Empty House

Encountering the resident is way more than most burglars are bargaining for. If they think you’re in the house, they’re staying out of it, so make it look like someone’s home by turning on a light or two and even leaving on a TV or radio to make some noise. For prolonged periods away, you can use electronic timers to turn them on and off automatically.

Nonexistent Alarm System

They take a bit of financial investment, but a quality alarm system is a huge burglar deterrent, and a necessary one if you live in a high-crime neighborhood. Do your research and pick a reputable alarm company – thieves know the bad and bogus alarm system signs – and consider high-tech options, such as alarms with a camera that allow you to monitor your home from anywhere.

Source – http://www.popsugar.com/home/How-Burglarproof-Your-Home-39700287

 

The Two Ways a Mortgage Lender Judges You

If you are in the market for a mortgage you will need to know how a lender determines if you are a good candidate for a loan. When you apply for a mortgage or look to refinance your current mortgage there is a mortgage loan underwriter who who has the job of reviewing your loan application and all of the accompanying documents.

After you have completed all the paperwork on your end, you may be wondering what exactly is the underwriter looking for?

Typically, the underwriter is looking for two things: 1.) your general creditworthiness and 2.) your debt-to-income ratio.

How does an underwriter evaluate creditworthiness?

Your creditworthiness will give the lender an idea of your willingness to repay your debts. The most common way to determine creditworthiness is to use your credit score. The lender usually uses your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score. Your FICO score is based on an analysis of your various credit files by the three major credit repositories, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

How does the underwriter determine debt-to-income ratio?

The second thing the underwriter wants to determine is how the new mortgage payment will impact your ability to repay. The underwriter will use a calculation called debt-to-income ratio (DTI). When calculating DTI the underwriter compares your monthly gross income (before taxes) and your monthly debts. DTI requirements vary but typically the underwriter is looking to see if the ratio of debt to income— after the cost of your mortgage principal, interest, real estate taxes, insurance and any private mortgage insurance — is less than 40 percent.

There are many other factors that go into whether or not you will be able to obtain a mortgage but these are two of the biggest factors.

Its that time of year to get out to your gardens!

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Making gardening easier doesn’t mean there won’t always be something to do in the garden. Although most gardeners enjoy the time they spend working in their gardens, there comes a point when garden tasks can get ahead of you, making you can feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

Some of these tips are common sense and some may seem like more work in the short term, but they all really will make gardening easier for you.

And that way you’ll have time to create even more gardens!

  1. Feed the Soil You’ve heard it a thousand times, but do you do it? Start with great soil and you’ll wind up with great plants. Healthy plants get less diseases, attract less insect pestsand require less water. Plus you won’t have to remember to fertilizer every other week.Start with a good analysis of your existing soil. You can have all the essential nutrients tested or just the pH. Many nurseries provide this service as well as your localCooperative Extension Service. If your soil is deficient in any minerals or nutrients, amend the soil according to recommendations. Then keep adding organic matter, like compost, regularly.
  2. Slow release, organic fertilizers can help supplement deficient nutrients. But feeding plants with synthetic fertilizers can actually destroy the beneficial organisms and organic matter within soil and only provide a short fix. It’s like turning your garden into a drug addict. It will need regular doses of fertilizer and more and more to get the same effect.
  3. Group Plants by Their Needs I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Right plant for the right spot.” That’s the beginning of the equation. Of course you’re going to want to put sun lovers in the sun and ground covers where they can roam. But consider how efficient it would be if you put all your water hogs together so you could just turn on the sprinklers or drag the hose to one area and be done. The same goes for plants that require a lot of deadheading or vegetables that need to be harvested daily or hourly, like zucchini. You can still mix in different bloom times and variations in color, form and texture. It’s just the heavy maintenance chores that should be consolidated.
  4. Choose Lower Maintenance Perennials There will always be primadona plants you have to have (although probably less and less of them as you get older), but make the backbone of your garden perennial flowers that can take care of themselves. Plants likeAstilbes and Sedums, that look good all season and don’t need deadheading, pinching or staking. Here are even more low maintenance perennials.
  5. Raised Beds & Containers It’s much easier to control your garden if it has definite boundaries. Containers provide the ultimate in control. You control the soil, water, exposure and even limit the growth of the plants in the container. Raised beds separate the garden beds from their surroundings. Ideally, lift the beds up by 6 inches or more. You’ll have the benefits of controlling your borders and you’ll be saving your back from some bending
  6. Install Drip Irrigation This is one of those suggestions that sounds like it’s going to cost a fortune and require a professional to install – and it can. But it doesn’t have to. They’ve reduced drip irrigation to a tinker toy level. Believe me, if I can grasp it, so can you. There is an initial cost, although no where near what you might fear, and you will need to do some measuring. But unless you rely solely on rain to water your gardens, you will actually save money in the long run. Drip irrigation is far more efficient than any other type of watering. Plus it puts all the water right where your plants need it. Add an inexpensive timer and think of all the time you’ve saved yourself.
  7. Mulch Again, this is common sense and something you’ve been told a thousand times. Yet many gardeners only view mulch as decoration. Mulch does make a garden look more attractive, but it also keeps the soil and plant roots cool, retains moisture so you can water less often, prevents weed seeds from seeing the light of day and sprouting and feeds the soil. Right there you’ve cut down on watering, weeding and fertilizing time.
  8. Time Released Fertilizer and Water Polymers Container gardens are the exception to the Feed the Soil rule above. It’s not practical to use compost or garden soil in containers and so some supplemental feeding is necessary to keep the plants going. Containers also dry out more quickly than garden bed soil, especially if the bed is mulched.So start your container gardening season by adding some slow release fertilizer pellets and some polymer crystals that grab, hold and slowly release water to the plant roots. Add both at planting time. Both products are widely available at garden centers.
  9. Ergonomic Tools A lot of gardening is repetitive motion and can be very stressful on the joints, especially the wrists and back. Thankfully garden tool companies have been coming out with more and better tools that work with the body, taking some of the bending and squeezing out of garden work. Look around for ratchet pruners, bent rakes, cushioned handles and trowels that don’t require you to bend your wrist.
  10. Wheels Watch a child with a new wagon. They can’t find enough things to put in it or enough places to go. Now think about how long you’ve put off moving that cement bird bath or how many plants are still sitting in pots on your driveway because you didn’t want to make one more trip. This is why man invented the wheel. Get yourself at least one good garden cart or wheelbarrow and don’t go out into the garden without it.You can tote your tools, move plants, harvest, toss weeds right into it and glide down to the compost heap. No matter how small your plot is, you’ll get more done with wheels. If you have a very large plot, consider wheels with a motor.
  11. Child Labor Show your children and grandkids early in life how much fun and how exciting gardening is. They may never enjoy deadheading the petunias, I know I don’t, but planting, harvesting, learning what’s a weed, collecting insects – these are all activities that will get them out into the garden. All right, maybe it won’t lessen the work load, but good companionship can make it seem so.