Friday, March 31, 2017

Countryside, Coast, City: Where To Move?


Moving is part of life, albeit a stressful part. Part of the stress of moving lies in the difficult decision-making process of where to live. The countryside or the coast, city center or suburb? What works for you depends on the reasons for your move and what stage of life you're at. Here are some top tips and suggestion for where to move and when…

When To Move?

The motivations for moving vary from person to person. Getting a new job in a new area is a big reason that people move. Moving closer to friends and family, wanting a different pace of life, retiring, are also all reasons that it might be time to make the move.

Why Live By The Coast?


Coastal towns and cities are hugely popular for people looking to relocate. The main appeal is the quality of life that these places can offer. Whilst they are outside of the hustle and bustle of a central business district, they have their own charm. Check out Brighton Real Estate to see some coastal properties that enjoy the best of both worlds. They’re quieter than a city, but because of tourism, they usually have a good amount of shops, bars, and restaurants too. Again, because of the influx of visitors, coastal locations often have great transport links too.

Another reason to move to the coast is the number of outdoor activities on offer. From sailing and yachting to paddle-boarding and kayaking, if watersports are your thing the coast is a good idea. It’s a great place to move if you want a slower pace of life, but not miss out on any of the action. Plus there’s usually some great seafood on offer!

Why Live In The Countryside?


The rolling hills and lush lands that define the countryside are popular for those who want the antithesis to their busy city lives. It’s also popular amongst couples looking to start a family away from the city. The quality of life can improve for some who live in the countryside, and a respect for nature is important for most inhabitants. Moving to the country is also a good use of money. It’s often far cheaper to get a larger house here than it is in the city.

Another reason people move to the country is that they have retired and want to live somewhere quieter. The countryside is a great place to pursue hobbies and the community spirit is far greater than in a city.

Why Live In The City?


The city is the perfect place to live if you love a cosmopolitan way of life. Those looking to find work and climb the career ladder usually choose to live in a city because of the number of opportunities. Whilst throughout the week cities bustle with workers the weekend is equally as busy. Some of the best restaurants can be found in cities and there’s usually lots to entertain.

Where would you choose to live if given the choice?

How To Add Style To Your Breakfast

Let’s face it, breakfast often doesn’t feel like the best meal of the day. We’ve all heard a million times over that it’s the most important meal, that we need to make sure we eat before we go off to school and work, but when it comes down to it, for some of us it’s all that we can do to slosh some cereal in a bowl and hope for the best. Brunch, however, is a different story. The number one meal for anyone who likes to sit outside in the sun while drinking coffee or tea and eating pancakes (so that’s all of us), it makes breakfast food cool and fun. Here are some tips on how to make your breakfast a little more stylish.


Switch Up The Traditional Food


Orange Juice on a Glass
Image source


A lot of us go for either toast or cereal for breakfast, but it’s time to change that a little. There’s no point in steering away from your old favourites entirely but why not make them a little more interesting? If you love peanut butter on your toast then you can add a layer of sliced banana as well for extra potassium and energy, and if you want to go full hipster then you can always go for smashed avocado - simply mash it up with a little citrus juice, salt and chilli and you’re good to go. If you’re a cereal fan then why not add some fresh berries to the top of your oatmeal or granola? They’ll brighten it up and give you a few extra vitamins to get you through the morning.


Update Your Beverages


Coffee time sentence, cup of coffee and Chemex
Image source


If you’re tired of that lukewarm swill that you call caffeine it’s time to go for some gourmet coffee instead. And what is gourmet coffee, I hear you ask? Simply put, it’s coffee that’s of a higher quality so not only will it taste a lot more palatable but it’ll also make you appreciate the depth and richness of the flavour of the coffee you’re drinking, instead of reducing it to something that’s intended to help you stay awake through the first meeting of the day. If you want something a little more fruity then why not make your own juice or smoothie? All you need is a blender or juicer along with a selection of your favourite fruits. If you want to treat yourself, go for traditional banana and strawberry, but if you want to push the boat out you could always go for a green juice with green apple and kale in it.


Have A Friday Special


Close-up of Food on Table
Image source


Finally, it’s time to start acknowledging special days, whatever that entails in your family, whether that’s pancakes to make Monday better, bacon because you want to celebrate Friday, or croissants and pastries to enjoy during a long, leisurely brunch on a Sunday morning along with the weekend newspapers. Remember that food shouldn’t just be about fuelling your body to get through the next few hours - it should be something that should be cherished and enjoyed, particularly if you’re eating with your family.

What do you do to make a breakfast more festive or special?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Let's Make Your Yard The Perfect Play Area!

Summer isn’t as far off as you think. In fact, if you happen to live near Phoenix, you’ll know that the weather is already starting to turn. There are some stifling hot days ahead of us, and that means we’ll be out in the garden, getting a tan and letting our kids run free. Or at least we should be, but more and more parents are finding it difficult to convince their kids to go outside, even when the weather is picture perfect. No matter how hot it is outside, some kids want to stay indoors on the computer, playing games or chatting with their friends. So, maybe it’s time we changed that by making the outdoors a little more exciting for our children. I’m talking about turning your yard into a summer play area for kids.

There’s another benefit of doing this as well. It’s possible that you don’t have enough money in the budget this year to afford that family holiday. This can be disheartening for you and your kids. But, if you make the back yard exciting and interesting enough for them, they’re not going to want to go anywhere else. So, what things can you add to your yard to make sure that it is the perfect place for them to play?

Sporty Fun


Depending on how big your garden is, you might be able to add some fun exercise activities that your kids are going to love. For instance, you can think about getting a trampoline for your yard. They come in all different shapes and sizes from ten to sixteen-foot versions which we think you’ll agree is pretty cool. But you might, like many other parents be worried about the dangers of these trampolines. Perhaps you’ve heard of the many, many, many accidents that they have caused. Well, there’s good news because now there are springless trampolines. It’s the edge of the trampolines that cause the painful injuries. Without the springs, there’s no danger. The Parenting Pod has a lot of information on these springless wonders. Or, alternatively, you can get a ground trampoline. Since these fit into the ground, there’s no danger of falling off which is great.

Alternatively, you can think about getting miniature goals for your backyard. These are fantastic if you have two or more kids that love sports. Even if you have one child, they can invite their friend around for a game or two. It could keep them entertained for at least a couple of hours. These are just a couple of the sports possibilities for your backyard. Let’s move on to something a little more exciting.

Wet N Wild

Wet N Wild actually closed down last year so why not bring the aqua fun to your home instead. For instance, you can buy a swimming pool. You don’t have to build a pool to have water fun in the sun. There are inflatable ones or even wooden pools that are exactly the same. You just need to think about where you’re going to set up the pool. Don’t forget it will soak the ground underneath it so you may not want to set it up on grass. Patio would be your best option. It is also possible to buy above ground pools that are big enough to swim in, but these are very expensive. They can cost anything up to a few thousand.

You can get more than just a swimming pool, though. You can also think about purchasing a slip and slide. This is basically just a thin layer of plastic. A quick spray with the hose though and some washing liquid it becomes a slippery dream come true for kids. They can jet down it. You just need to make sure there’s nothing at the bottom they could crash into. You might also want to think about purchasing some water guns for the kids to fool around with and maybe even water bombs if you’re brave enough. Be careful though because chances are they’ll find a way to get you involved in the fun.

Hide Out In The Trees


Last but not least if you have a large enough tree in your backyard, you can think about building a treehouse for the kids. Believe it or not, there are instructions and even kits online that you can use for this if you don’t have much DIY skill. You can even think about building one without the tree. Have a look at a few different kits to see what I mean.

What have you done to make your backyard more fun for the kids?  We have tetherball, volleyball, and we recently added a dog agility set!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What Does a Ninja Do?

Hi neighbors!!

You may be wondering what a Ninja does.  Well, I am here to tell you she silently can cause mass destruction!! LOL!

Here is what my living room looked like when I left my Ninja unattended for a brief period of time.  She was so proud of herself!!



We gave her a bath today, so I put her hair up out of her eyes after she dried.  She is my laugh for the day.  She hardly ever sits still, and yet she is extremely quiet.  Hence the name Ninja.  I think I have heard her try to bark once.  Otherwise she just makes little chirping type noises when she is excited.





Look for more stories coming up soon!


Are You Saving For Retirement?

Hey neighbors!

I have a confession here.  My husband and I are both over 50!  Now, I say that to bring up the subject of saving for retirement.  I have to honestly admit, that is something we did not even consider until recently.  Isn't that awful?  Somehow when you are younger it just doesn't seem that important.  Then, all of the sudden it hits you, what are we going to survive on when retirement hits!



There are so many different methods of saving for retirement.  You do not need to be an expert, and many of you may have someone go to for financial advice.  If you are not aware of all the benefits and drawbacks to different types of savings plans, be sure to check with an advisor.  Some plans make work better for different individuals too, or you may just know already what you want to do.

A 401K or a 403 (charitable organization, church, public school eligible) are pretty comparable.  The percentage on the money invested varies by a few percentage points.  You also have the option of bonds and CDs or IRAs.  Each of these has it's own benefits.  A savings account is another option, although the interest earned is of course based on the banking institution and the type of account.

Another thing to think about is whether you want to pay your taxes on the account now or later.  Pre-Tax Investments vs. Post-Tax Investments.  No matter which route you take, be sure it is the one that will work best for you and your family.  If you are not knowledgeable regarding the different choices be sure to have an advisor look over your plans and goals.  Better to do this now, then to find out later, that something else would have worked better for you.



Have an opinion on the subject?  Be sure to share that in the comments.  See you soon!

How Does Your Favorite Fast Food Restaurant Rank?

Hey neighbors!!

We have quickly become such a fast paced society, that sometimes we just have to eat out.  We spent 10 years full time on the road traveling, and I can not even give an educated guess at how many times we had to have a meal at a fast food restaurant.  I am just wondering how many of us have stopped to consider just how the different chains compare calorie wise?



I am diabetic, so I try to watch carbs while eating out, but my husband has recently taken an interest in calories, as he is trying to lose weight.  So, out of the major chains out there, who do you think has a decent lower calorie meal?  I would probably choose Chick-fil-a as my first choice before seeing charts, but I was surprised to find out, that Subway ranks right up there too.  Generally I am not a big fan of fast food burgers and fries.  I eat the burgers minus the bun, so I know what the burgers themselves taste like, and the amount of grease with them.  I enjoy the Chick-fil-a grilled chicken items and I often enjoy a 6 inch sub from Subway.

Also, when people think diet, they often think salads, but you still have to be careful there.  Many salads have more calories than you think.  Most restaurants have a calorie chart available if you ask.  Just look at the percentage of menu items under 500 calories at some of the largest fast food restaurants.

What is your opinion?  Would you have chosen the lower calorie restaurant before seeing the charts?  Not that calories are the end all of diet, and it won't hurt you to occasionally splurge, but if you are trying to diet or eat healthier, take some time to educate yourself on the menu items of your favorite fast food stop.

Thanks for stopping by!!

The Home Issues That Are Best Left To The Professionals

Look - a lot can go wrong in the home. It's amazing that you want to be proactive, grab a toolbox and get your hands dirty in fixing one of the many home maintenance issues that can plague the home, but sometimes it is just going to be not only out of your skillset - but it could be dangerous. Professionals exist for a reason, so just call one up!

Finding a professional to fix issues in the home is easier than ever before thanks to the internet. Search engines act as the modern day phone book - and thankfully are nowhere near as big, and heavy. If you want to find someone to fix a certain issue - you only need to type it up and the number will be right there. What type of issues do you want to stay away from? Well - it's circumstantial. If you've got a number of allergies - you probably want to stay away from more issues than someone who doesn't have those allergies. If you're short, or your house is tall - you won't want to get up a long ladder. It all depends on what the issue is and the environment of the issue. Also - if you've got no idea how to fix something and the issue is of urgency, you're better off calling in the professionals.

What are the main issues you should leave to a professional though?

Firstly, it might not seem like something you should stay away from, but garage door repairs are not to be trifled with. There have been many reports of catastrophic injuries resulting from garage door repair mishaps. Automatic doors (and even old fashioned doors) have caused fatalities. Super powered hinges, springs and hooks can kill. Automatic doors can also crush. These are truly scary things, even though you wouldn't think it. If you want to tackle a garage door repair but don't have the knowledge, don’t.  It's not worth the risk - ever. Leave it to people like garagedoorrepairchandleraz.net - and this goes for any heavy duty machinery issues in the home. If you don’t have the skillset, don’t take the risk.
Brickwork and tiling issues can result in simple fixes, but if you don’t have the right tools, you could ruin entire rooms and walls with one simple mistake. It’s worth calling in someone and spending money rather than spending to fix problems caused by an untrained hand here.

Mold and rot also need professional attention. There are plenty of products out there that allow anyone to tackle basic patches and damp - that’s ok. When mold is large, sinister and seeping - stay away from it and call in the pros - it can be a huge health hazard! Rot follows on from leaks and damp. It can cause serious structural issues and absolutely needs to be assessed by someone experienced with rot issues. If you tackle rot, you could bring your house down.
All is not out of your hands though! Never tackle serious issues - but allow yourself to be educated about them so you can learn to prevent them. Then you’ll never need professional help!

Home Improvement Hacks Improve Your Health


Most of us are more health conscious than ever. It’s no wonder that the healthy option is considered whenever we have a choice. Home improvements should be no different. If you’re going to invest money and time into renovations to better your home, then that project should offer better health for all your family too. Here are just a few home improvements you might be considering, and how they can improve your lifestyle too!

Garage Conversion

The garage is one of the best places to develop extra living space that all the family can enjoy. Before you start clearing it out and hiring contractors, consider what else you might be able to use that space for. Could you install a small home gym in there? Perhaps a quiet corner for meditation or Yoga would provide great health benefits for you? If you’re looking for a way to cut the stress of office life and commuting, perhaps this space could become a relaxing home office?


New Kitchen

Stripping out the old kitchen may reveal some of the mucky spots that are hard to keep clean. This should give you some hints and tips on how to design the space a little better. Consider a fully fitted kitchen to avoid gaps and spaces where food debris can fall. These days there is a huge range of kitchen sinks to choose from. You might want to pick one with a second rinse sink to avoid raw foods mixing with your cleaning area. Perhaps you want a dishwasher installed so plates and cups can be cleaned more hygienically than by hand? If you have pets or children, consider knobs with safety features to avoid accidents.


Home Extension

Creating more space means you will feel less cramped and have more places to store your belongings neatly. Clutter can have a negative effect on your mental well-being. While a minimalist style may not suit a busy family home, having the space to tidy and organize the kids’ toys and your books will help improve your mood. It will also cut down the time it takes to tidy and clean if everything has its place! Best of all, you can enjoy reading in a quiet corner while the kids play at the other end of the room.

Bathroom Upgrade

Investing a little more into your bathroom could be just the thing to improve your physical and mental health. Consider a tub with a jacuzzi spa. The bubbles are not only cleansing. They also massage away aches and pains and improve the circulation to muscles and skin. A little ‘me’ time certainly works wonders when you’re feeling the pressures of a busy life!


Garden Set

Investing in your outdoor spaces is also good for your health. Fresh air and activity in the garden can improve your mood, your quality of sleep, and your heart health. It’s fun for the kids too. Consider al fresco dining or a family sized trampoline. Add a few flower beds for a beautiful view wherever you sit.  

Feel free to share some of your own ideas in the comments! See you soon!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Our New Dog Toys From GoDog

Hey neighbors!!

Maybe your spring cleaning routine includes throwing away old, damaged, pet toys.  If so, take a look at these new toys from GoDog, that you can replace those old toys with.


We literally have a wooden box of dog toys that is in one corner of our living room.  All toys the dogs are allowed to play with are stored there.  Honor can empty the box in minutes.  She loves toys.  Our little Ninja on the other hand is much slower at pulling out the toys, even though she enjoys dragging the larger ones around.  She prances across the floor dragging whichever one has most recently caught her attention.  And Little Bit (one of our Shelties) stayed on the couch out of reach playing with a toy.


GoDog has some of the very best toys I have encountered.  Honor has the ability to totally destroy your average dog toy.  I love that they create toys that are able to withstand Honor's rough and tumble play.  She loves to grab a toy and give it a good shake or two.  Occasionally it goes flying across the room.  Here you see Honor playing with a FurBallz.  This wonderfully fluffy toy is lined with Chew Guard Technology.  The larger FurBallz grunt, while the smaller FurBallz have squeakers.




The gloBounce tennis ball type toys are another favorite as Honor loves to play chase and fetch.  She gladly brings the toy back to you, as long as you throw it again.  Ninja will also play fetch, but you have to use smaller toys.  As you can see in the picture below, this is perfect for her to chew on.  And yes, it does glow in the dark!




The Crazy Tugs Monkey quickly became our tug of war toy.  She is very good about letting go when told to "drop it", so I don't mind the occasional tug of war.  This is actually one of Ninja's favorite toys.  For some reason she likes dragging it around the room by an arm or leg.  The arms and legs slide back and forth through the body of the monkey.







The Rhino Play, Vexo, has to be my favorite toy for chewing and fetch.  It is a nice firm "stick" that Honor is able to sink her teeth into.  It feels almost hard, yet you can tell there is some give to it.  These are made of a durable foam.  It is lightweight and will float.  There is also the Cirq, basically a ring made of the same material.









The screwBallz is fun, because of it's shape.  It bounces, but not the way a normal ball would bounce.  It bounces in a crazy fashion in random directions.





Can you tell she likes the sound this toy makes?  She finds the squeaker/noisemaker and sits there and bites down on it so it will make noise.  This Gators has a grunter in it.  The smaller version of the Gator has a squeaker.






The giraffe is one of the Hear Doggy line.  They are called Flats. These are perfect for when you have a dog who likes to hear the squeaker.  They have a squeaker, but it is not audible to human ears.  As are many of the dog toys on the GoDog website, it is made with Chew Guard Technology.  This means there is a tough liner built in to this toy, to give it a longer life.




I do want to say a little more about the Chew Guard Technology.  Honor is a serious chewer and often destroys plush toys, along with other toys.  Thus far she has not damaged any of the GoDog  toys with the Chew Guard Technology.  These toys actually have a guarantee to outlast other standard plush dog toys.  Be sure to check out the GoDog line of toys.

Follow them on their social media, so you will receive up to date information on new toys and products.
Twitter - HERE
Facebook - HERE
Pinterest - HERE

Thanks for stopping by!!  Be sure to come back soon!!