Your Guide To June

Welcome summer!

 

 

World Oceans Day

More than 70% of the Earth is covered by ocean. Pledge to do your bit for ocean conservation today!

 

 

 

Flag Day

 It’s the birthday of Old Glory — 242 years old this year. Check the official rules for displaying the Stars and Stripes.

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day

Anyone can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad. Thank you to dads everywhere!

 

 

 

 

Juneteenth

 

Also known as Freedom Day, this important holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.

 

  

 

First Day of Summer

Get ready for surf, sun, and sand. Summer is here again!

 

 

 

  

United Nations Public Service Day

Since 2003, this day has honored those who selflessly work to promote public service throughout the world.

 

 

 

 

The main reason people give for not buying a home is that they believe they can’t afford it[2]. But there are low- and no-down payment programs that may be able to help make buying a home a real possibility! Talk to your lender to learn more.

 

Sources
[1] Census.gov
[2] National Association of REALTORS®
[3] Zillow
[4] U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Celebrate Earth Day!

It’s Earth Day, and while every day is technically a day to be kind to the planet, this is a day to show appreciation and get into new habits if needed. There are so many little things you can do to celebrate and help save the Earth, and I have some super easy ideas below!


Plant something

Trees not only cool things down (collectively, they can help decrease a city’s temperature by up to 10 degrees) but they also clean the air and give off more oxygen, among a ton of other benefits. Plant one in your yard (it’s been proven that trees can increase your property value by 15%). Another option is to plant your own fruits and veggies which will benefit your health and reduce the amount of fossil fuel emissions by not having to transport the food to stores.


Ride your bike or walk

If you live close enough to your work, ditch the car and ride a bike or walk to and from. It not only reduces your carbon footprint but it’s also great for your body. And if you aren’t nearby or don’t have a bike, carpool or take public transportation. The fewer cars on the road mean less gas such as carbon dioxide in the air that can contribute to global warming.


Clean up an area

Organize a cleanup, pick an area and remove as much litter as possible! Join Billerica’s Clean up, Green up Day on May 4th!


Buy reusable bags

It’s been estimated that Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, and just the production alone for those requires about 12 million earth day 2019barrels of oil. Not to mention, they take up lots of space in landfills and cause major problems for marine wildlife. Instead, buy some super cute reusable bags to use when you go to the grocery store. You’ll not only be stylish but eco-friendly as well! OR ask me about some free canvas bag giveaways!

 

Use a refillable water bottle

Just because you’re tossing your plastic water bottles into the recycling bin doesn’t mean they’re not hurting the environment. Besides the fact that it takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture all of those bottles each year, there are still over two million tons of water bottles that have ended up in U.S. landfills. Buy a reusable bottle!


Get produce from a local farmer’s market

Besides supporting area businesses, you’ll also be helping the Earth by buying your fruits and veggies local. That’s because food in the grocery stores travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to you, and all that shipping can cause pollution plus an increase of fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions. When you buy locally, it’s transported in shorter distances.

Your Guide to March

Onward, March!

 


 

Mardi Gras

Join with fellow revelers across the
globe and let the good times roll!

 

 

 


 

Daylight Saving Begins

 Trade an hour of sleep for an extra hour of daylight. Clocks turn forward at 2 a.m.

 


National Pi Day

How many reasons do you need to eat
pie on Pi Day? 3.141592653589793238462643383 …

 

 


 

St. Patrick’s Day

Originally a religious holiday, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture and heritage. Wear green or get pinched!

 

 


 

First Day of Spring

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party’.” — Robin Williams.

 

 


It’s a good thing Basketball Madness falls during the luckiest monthof the year. The odds of filling out a perfect bracket are about 1 in 9.2 quintillion, so you’ll need all the luck you can get.

Did you know the average American farmer helps to feed 165 people annually? National Agriculture Week, observed March 10-16, is a great opportunity to learn more about the food supply and recognize the essential role that agriculture plays in our world.

March is Red Cross Month — a time to honor the heroic efforts and contributions that the American Red Cross makes to people in need. Discover ways you can be a hero, too, at RedCross.org.

Your Guide to February

Love and luck mark this month. 

 

 

Chinese New Year

 

It’s the Year of the Pig. People born under this sign are said to be seekers of status who enjoy life and have good luck.

 


 

Home Warranty Day

 

Take time today to learn more about this special insurance coverage for the appliances and systems inside your home.

 


 

Valentine’s Day

 

Whether you go for chocolates and flowers or dinner and diamonds, love is love, no matter how you show it!

 

 


 

 

Presidents’ Day

 

Add Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays together and you get Presidents’ Day, honoring our country’s leaders.

 


 

 

National Love Your Pet Day

 

It’s a great day to volunteer at your local shelter or to consider adopting a new fur baby into a forever home.

 


 

 

The Oscars®

 

The 91st Annual Academy Awards is a great excuse to dress in your red carpet best and throw an Oscar-themed party.

 


 

 

February is the only month that can have no full moon.

February 1911 saw the first use of fingerprints to convict a criminal.

St. Valentine was thought to be a Roman priest in the 3rd century who secretly married couples against the orders of the Emperor.

February is the birth month of Nathan Lane, George Romero, Thomas Edison, and Rosa Parks.

Warm for the Winter: How to Heat Your Home While Saving Energy and Money

Do you get chills just thinking about your utility bills during wintertime? If your answer to a drafty home is to simply crank up the furnace, you’ll not only pay for it, but you could also be wasting energy and depleting more natural resources in the process. Instead of making your heater work overtime, here are ways you can reduce your energy consumption and still keep your home warm and toasty this winter.

  

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heating accounts for 45% of energy use in homes and pumps out 292 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. The more CO2 we release into the atmosphere, the more we hinder the earth’s ability to maintain balance, which has a variety of negative implications. That’s why, the less energy you use to heat your home, the better it is for Mother Nature (and your wallet!).

 

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

 

Seal Drafty Areas

Air leaks are the primary culprit for excess energy consumption. If air is able to escape out or in, your furnace will just keep pumping out heat relentlessly. Get to the root of the problem by sealing these areas.

  • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows, including your attic, basement, and garage access doors.

  • Caulk openings around plumbing, ductwork, and electrical wiring.

  • Apply foam sealant on larger gaps around windows and baseboards, and place foam gaskets behind outlet covers.

  • Add baffles around recessed lights if yours are not airtight.

  • Install double-pane windows or cover single-pane windows with storm windows. For a cheaper option, purchase a plastic film insulation kit.

  • Seal gaps around the fireplace with sheet metal/sheetrock and a high-temperature silicone caulk. Also, ensure your flue is closed when  not in use.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends getting a professional blower door test to detect the source of air leaks, but in the interest of saving money, they also provide tips on how to identify air leaks yourself.

  

 

Check Your Insulation

 

According to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), 90% of U.S. homes are under-insulated. This is especially true for older homes, but it can even apply to newer ones. The EPA estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs by sealing air leaks and adding insulation in attics, crawl spaces, and basement rim joists. VisitEnergyStar.gov to learn how to perform a DIY insulation check for your walls and attic and to find out which insulation levels are recommended for your region and climate. If you’re not comfortable with the DIY route, hire a professional to assess your insulation needs.

  

 

Let the Light In

 

Using the sun’s natural light is an easy, environmentally conscious (and completely free!) way to heat up your house. As the sun beams down on your windows, it produces a greenhouse effect that traps heat inside. This works in your favor during the winter months, so be sure to open your curtains each morning to let the sun work its magic. On the flip side, remember to close your curtains at night (consider thermal drapes) to keep the warmth in.

 

 

Turn Down the Thermostat

 

As you begin implementing the energy-saving tips provided above, your home should start to warm up and retain heat more efficiently. That means you shouldn’t need to keep your thermostat set super high. During the cooler months, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests setting your thermostat to 68°F while you’re at home and awake, and setting it lower when you’re asleep or away. By turning your thermostat back by 7°-10°F from its normal setting for eight hours a day, you can save around 10% per year on heating and cooling costs.

 

 

Program Your Thermostat

 

In addition to choosing the right temperature, a smart or programmable thermostat can make a big impact on your home’s energy efficiency. You can program your thermostat for time-of-day usage, so you don’t have to remember to turn the temperature down when you’re gone or up when you get home from work. More advanced heating systems may even be configured to only heat rooms that you use, or to kick on or off when you enter or leave a room.

 

 

 

Decreasing your energy consumption is an important first step in minimizing the impact that heating has on the environment, and in reducing your energy costs. But we shouldn’t stop there. Rather than relying on fossil fuels (like natural gas) to heat our homes, adopting renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal, and biomass technologies can even further reduce your home’s environmental footprint. While they may not entirely replace your current heating methods, these technologies can easily integrate with your existing system and supplement its heat production.

 

 Learn more about renewable heating options and their costs at EPA.gov.

By taking steps to reduce the amount of energy you use this winter and adopting renewable heating alternatives, you’ll save money, improve the comfort of your home, and make a positive impact on the planet. Those benefits alone are enough to make you feel warm on the inside, as well as the outside!

Your Guide to October

 

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
— L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

   

 

 World Teachers’ Day

 

Celebrates teachers all over the world and recognizes the unique issues they face each day.

  

 

 

Columbus Day

 

Commemorates the voyage and landing of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in the New World in 1492.

 

 

 

 

 Leif Erikson Day

 

Honors Norwegian explorer Leif Erikson, believed to be the first European to come to North America.

 

 

  

National Dessert Day

 

The sweetest day of the year!

 

 

 

 

World Food Day

 

Events in over 150 countries honor the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. #ZeroHunger

 

 

 

National Fossil Day

 

Held during Earth Science Week (Oct 14-20), this day underscores the importance of fossils in relation to our understanding of our world.

 

 

 

National Get Smart About Credit Day

 

Every October, volunteer bankers visit local classrooms to teach students about credit and finances.

 

 

Halloween

 

“Darkness falls across the land/ The midnight hour is close at hand/ Creatures crawl in search of blood/ To terrorize y’all’s neighborhood”

 

— Rob Temperton, “Thriller”

 

  

 

 

 

More U.S. presidents have been born in October than any other month.

Oktoberfest (officially held in Munich, Germany) isn’t just about beer and pretzels. It originated as a wedding reception for Bavarian royalty in 1810 and has since evolved into one of the largest annual festivals in the world.

Though it’s the 10th month of the year, the name October comes from the Latin word octo, which means “eight.” It was originally the eighth month on the Roman calendar. 

The World Series, which kicked off in 1903, is usually played in October.

Halloween has its roots in an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, and many of today’s Halloween traditions, like dressing in costumes, can be traced back to the Celts.

 

 

Have a wonderful October!

Your Guide to September

Looking for things to do this September? Mark your calendars, because this month’s theme is all about giving back, and there’s no shortage of opportunities to get involved.

September 7 — National Food Bank Day

Did you know 41 million people in the U.S. struggle with hunger? Chances are, you know someone — a neighbor, a coworker, a classmate — who faces hunger every day. Food banks across the country play a pivotal role in providing meals to families in need, and they rely on people like you and me to help. On National Food Bank Day, do your part to help close the food gap in your community by donating food, time, or money to your local food bank. Visit FeedingAmerica.org to find a food bank near you.

 

 

 

September 11 — Patriot Day 

 

One of the best ways we can honor the victims, survivors, and responders of the 9/11 attacks is by sharing kindness and spreading hope to those around us. On this National Day of Service and Remembrance, join with your fellow Americans to pay it forward by taking part in a volunteer activity. Head to NationalService.gov to discover how you can get involved.

 

 

 

September 16 — National Working Parents Day

 

Along with meetings, deadlines, and navigating career growth, working parents are also tasked with being home chef, chauffeur, housekeeper, boo-boo fixer, and much more. Every day, these unsung heroes go above and beyond to provide for their families, and it goes without saying that they deserve a little recognition. Think of ways you can lighten the load for the working parents in your life, and if you’re one of them, give yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work you do!

 

 

 

September 17 — Constitution Day and Citizenship Day 

 

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day commemorates the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and recognizes all people who were born as or have become American citizens. Think you could pass the test to become a naturalized citizen today? Take the civics practice test to check your knowledge of U.S. government and history.

 

 

 

September 22 — National Public Lands Day/First Day of Fall

 

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or not, we all benefit when our natural resources and public lands remain safe, resilient, and cared for. National Public Lands Day is the perfect opportunity to connect with your community through environmental stewardship, and it just so happens to fall on the first day of autumn! With activities such as trail refurbishing, tree planting, and trash removal, you can help keep our recreational areas, wildlife refuges, and national parks thriving for years to come. Find a volunteer opportunity  at neefusa.org.