Senior Living

It is a tough decision to put someone in an assisted living center, but not everyone is capable of giving their loved one the kind of attention that is required as they grow older. A lot of people, no matter how old they get, still fear the wrath of an angry parent and that only adds to the burden of how to tell them that they are going to be moving to an assisted care facility. It is not only anger that most people want to avoid, but also the sense of betrayal a person can feel when he or she is being shipped off to an “old folks home”. Some choose to have a loved one live with them, but for those who can’t, it can be a really hard process to get started. The first step, as with so many of these big commitment processes, it to do your research. About.com has an excellent article to help get you started. (http://seniorliving.about.com/od/housingoptions/a/assistedliving.htm) It gives you questions that you need to ask yourself and is an excellent tool to use as a guideline for this delicate process.

Here are some more articles that I found that could be useful:

http://www.goldenyearschanges.com/

http://retirementforseniors.com/living-in-retirement/senior-living/

http://www.agingcare.com/Assisted-Living/Discussions-1

http://www.caring.com/articles/planning-move-to-assisted-living

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Summer Camps

Living in a state where the winters are harsh and unyielding gives most Minnesotan’s an appreciation for summer time and warm weather that is vastly different from those found in southern states. I can clearly remember walking outside on that first relatively warm day in spring and seeing that all the snow is gone. That excited feeling you get when you can finally smell the grass and flowers starting to bloom.

While there is an unlimited list of nice things about this time of year, there are also parts that weigh on parents. Those with younger kids now have to find ways to keep them busy or find a daycare service that can take them. There are many different options but which one is most affordable? What if your kids don’t want to go? How can I know that they are in good hands? The list of questions is endless and the best way to find out the answers is to research, research, RESEARCH. Have the kids be a part of the process. Find out what other parents are doing and see if you can make up a carpool schedule. Most programs run through schools are a good choice and the kids might have friends willing to join in.

The first few days may be a little rocky, especially for those with shy children, but a camp or daily drop off camp is a great way for them to meet people and make friends. Summercamp.org posted a great article (http://www.summercamp.org/guidance/pamphlet.html) that gives a lot of good tips for parents.

Remember, you want this to be a positive experience for your child, not something they wind up needing a therapist for. Making the right choice is a process that should involve the child’s opinion also. When selecting a camp, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and let the kids ask questions also. A good camp will always be eager to give you any information you require.

It’s Getting Hot, Hot, Hot!

The Twin Cities is a place of extremes and nothing illustrates this like the weather does. I was planning on blogging about senior housing or deciding what kind of pet to get but I couldn’t even think straight with all this heat and humidity. When I walked outside to get something from my car, and was assaulted by weather that was a RECORD BREAKING 103 degrees F. It was the 6th hottest MSP temp. since 1871. Come on, that is just gross. There is nothing like walking into the office for a day of work feeling like you just trekked through a hot tub…fully clothed. It’s not even the heat that is bothersome to me, it’s the constant sticky layer that coats my skin and makes my clothes cling to me. If I wanted to feel sweaty all the time, I would have been a professional athlete or at least join a gym.

I even broke out the ugly AC unit that has all the tubes sticking out the window. I usually try to refrain from using ‘The Beast‘ because it the least aesthetically pleasing thing I have ever beheld, but yesterday I just couldn’t take it no mo’. People walking outside may look up at my bedroom window and think “Oh, gross. Look at all those ugly tubes coming out the window”, and at first, that might bother me. But then I would stop and remember not to put value on the words of someone crazy enough to be going for a walk in 103 degree weather.

My house is a historic home and does not have central air conditioning so I have to use ‘The Beast’ and you know what? I’m fine with that. She does a great job of keeping me cool in the summer and from what I can tell, this summer I’m gonna need it. For all those out there that are in the boat with me and have to use portable AC units or window units, fret not. If you aren’t trying to sell your house, it’s not worth baking alive in your own home. If you are trying to sell your house, just put the units in the areas that aren’t as visible from the road or driveway. You can also invest in an AC unit that doesn’t have to be in a window. These can be kind of pricey though, so whatever you want to spend.

For now, some words of wisdom:

Buckle up Twin Cities, it’s going to be a long, hot summer.

Moving

Moving can be an intimidating process. For a lot of people, it can be overwhelming to look around their home and try to find a place to start packing. A usual comment from people that have recently moved is “I didn’t know I had this much stuff”. It is tough enough for those who live alone to have to pack up all of their boxes, but for parents with small children it can be a nightmare.

While the whole process is a daunting one, Movers-Edge.com has a great article (http://www.movers-edge.com/101-Best-Moving-Tips-s/29.htm) that gives readers 101 tips for moving. This list can help anyone get organized enough to have a successful moving experience. There are tips on the list like pack a suitcase for each member of the family like you’re going on a 3 day trip, or create ‘open me first’ boxes. It includes things that can generally get overlooked by people that are trying to organize their thoughts between houses.

As someone who has recently moved, I wish that I would have had this piece of invaluable information. I am so glad that someone took the time to write this stuff down. I can’t even believe that somebody thought to take pictures of the computer wiring and past it to the outside of the box so you would know how to hook it up. I hope this list helps those of you out there that are trying to move and keeps the process as simple as possible for you.

What Big Eyes You Have…Home Security

Most modern houses today are equipped with security systems designed to keep you and your family safe. They are designed to alert you if there is poisonous gas, a fire or an intruder. From what I have gathered, the Minneapolis and St. Paul area’s police force are pretty open with the public on what is going on. For those out there that believe they aren’t doing enough, you must understand that for some cases (I’m assuming the really bad ones) the police department can’t just give out the details willy nilly. There are a lot of variables in a crime and if they shared some of the more intimate ones with the public and let them become common knowledge, it wouldn’t help in the solving of the crimes.

A home security system not only is a sound investment, it also gives a home owner peace of mind to know that when they leave for work or go out of town, their belongings and livelihood are safe. Another good idea for those who want don’t want to be a victim of a burglary, is the things you can do to the outside of your house. http://www.providerofchoice.net/ some examples of precautions you can take. They state that you need to:

“Think like a burglar: 

First drive by your home checking for visibility of doors and windows. Second walk around the home looking for possible ways a burglar might break in. Burglars like areas that would conceal them from neighbors and passing vehicles. Make notes of areas you find that are potentials for making your home vulnerable to a burglary. Look at these areas from a burglars point of view and take the required steps to solve the security problem.”

They also give a link to ways you can improve your home security without spending more money than you would like. That link can be found here:

http://www.providerofchoice.net/secure-your-home.htm

About.com has a great article on Twin Cities neighborhoods and how to find out how safe yours is. Their article can be found by following this link:

http://minneapolis.about.com/od/househome/tp/neighborhoodsafety.-0FZ.htm

I’m a fan of hiding my stuff like some sort of OCD squirrel, so anyone who ever wanted to break into my place had better have a long time to look around. They might also find some unpleasant surprises waiting for them…booby-trapping should have been on the list. Hire a war veteran to secure your house and yard. I like that idea. Anyways, I hope this has helped anyone out there with questions on home security and for those people out there who want to keep the bad guys out for the price of two grains of rice and a chicken, just get a fake security sticker and some motion sensing lights for outside the house…burglars hate that.

Cabin Fever

Minnesota is a state where cabins are extremely popular. There are thousands of them located all over the state. They can be found on serene lakes, tucked away in the beautiful scenery of a Minnesota landscape, or in a sleepy town surrounded by miles of lush green forest.

One of the reasons I missed my last two blogs was because I was at my family’s cabin over the holiday weekend. I went up there stressed about life and work, and came back home with a complete second wind. Up north, I was surrounded by wildlife and acres upon acres of trees that were homes to some of the most curious (and daring) deer I have ever seen in my life. It was a completely relaxing experience that was very affordable.

Today, a lot of people all over the country are trying to save money. Those who were once able to spend freely are now having to learn to budget and save. Everyone has taken at least a few hits, if not more and for some, a vacation seems out of the question. I mean come on, you would have to buy plane tickets and hotel rooms, there are rental cars and dinners. And what if there were kids involved? Not everyone has the budget for a get away like that. That is the great thing about a cabin. Most of them in Minnesota are within driving distance and they are reasonably priced.

Cabins can be great for family trips because of all the activities that come along with the territory. There is fishing, hunting, boating, swimming, tubing, waterskiing, campfires (with S’MORES), hiking, exploring, shopping and all sorts of other activities that everyone can enjoy.

So the next time you want to plan a family vacation or a relaxing retreat, try renting a cabin for a week and exploring the opportunities that come with it.

If you want to check out some of the ones I found, here’s the list of websites:

http://www.minnesota-resort.com/rates.html

http://www.hungryjacklodge.com/winter-cabin-rentals-resort-mn.htm

http://www.fishrushlake.com/2012_cabin_rental_openings.html

http://www.fishrushlake.com/cottageprices.html

http://www.daycabin.com/

First Time Home Buyers

Buying a home for the first time can be a very daunting task. It’s easy for prospective purchasers to feel overwhelmed and not even know where to start. Sometimes, the entire process feels much like standing at the base of a mountain and being told you have to climb it on your hands. While the economy is still tough, there are programs out there for first time buyers that help keep costs low and mortgage payments affordable.
Most people looking to purchase for the first time start out on the internet. The Web has become one of, if not THE most powerful search tool within our grasp today. One of the biggest attractions for those using the internet is the privacy. There isn’t any pressure from agents of loan officers and you can browse at your own pace. This is great for general searches and there are sites out there that are extremely helpful with home buyers looking for specific criteria. One of these search engines is HBM, or Home Buyers Marketing. You do need an agent to get you a login ID and password, but you have access to the latest houses on the market and unlimited search options all the way from price range to near by kickboxing classes and everything in between. Personally, I think that this is the best option for first time home buyers because you get the expertise of the realtors with the privacy of searching from your own home.
HUD.gov gives a list of the steps that a home buyer should go through in the purchasing process. They are as follows:
1. Figure out how much you can afford
2. Know your rights
3. Shop for a loan
4. Learn about homebuying programs
5. Shop for a home
6. Make an offer
7. Get a home inspection
8. Shop for homeowners insurance
9. Sign papers

I found this to be very helpful for two reasons. Reason one is that it lists the steps in between defining a price range and shopping for a house, and two is that the list was pre-made so it saved me a lot of time. The first reason is more important, of course, and I feel that it is good that people know that there are certain steps in between steps 1 and 5…3 steps to be exact, and it’s good that they are mentioned because they are important, especially for those who have never bought a home before.

I guess that the one piece of advice I can give for those who are trying to buy a house for the first time is to research, research, RESEARCH! Buying a home is an investment, so make sure you research, ask questions, and choose wisely!
Side note:
If you are interested in HBM please email jimboo@teamboo.com and he will answer any questions you may have.
Helpful websites for people with questions:
http://www.realtor.org/library/library/fg209
http://www.hud.gov/buying/comq.cfm
http://homebuying.about.com/od/buyingahome/bb/shopping1sttime.htm
http://portal.hud.gov:80/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/buying_a_home