It’s important to remember that children under 10 are still at risk for potential holiday hazards. Parents must be very careful when purchasing holiday items and toys that they are safe items to have at home. Please read each label and check consumer reports or websites such as the American Academy of Pediatrics when considering holiday safety tips.
If you are celebrating Christmas, and want to purchase a tree which is artificial, make sure it is labeled “fire resistant.” A real Christmas tree must be fresh, but the needles may break and can be hazardous to a young child placing things in their mouth. Keep your tree away from radiators, portable heaters, or fireplaces and out of the way of any type of doorways or anywhere with high family traffic. Wrapping paper burns quickly and violently in a fireplace so be sure you remember to throw it away immediately. You may also want to block off the tree if you have young children so it may not fall on top of them or they don’t break anything or put dangerous things in their mouth.
If you are choosing to use tree lights, make sure all the bulbs work, no frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. Turn off all lights when going to bed or leaving your house so it could not start a fire. With a metallic tree, never use electric lights on it because a person could be electrocuted. Keep small batteries and magnets away from young children. Button batteries are also found in many toys, cards, hearing aids and electronics, and a young child can swallow them easily.
Young children under 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before you give them to your child. Toys that have strings that are longer than 12 inches can strangle a baby or preschool aged child. Keep older children’s toys, such as electronics, games, and other products with small parts, separate from younger children’s toys.
If you are travelling, just remember this can be stressful for both you or your young children. Try as much as possible, whether staying at a hotel or family members home, to set up a usual routine, a sleeping routine, an eating routine, napping, so that it can reduce stress within the family and among relatives or friends. Try not to overdo too many visitations, shopping, museums, and parks in one day. Spread it out.
During a holiday visitation with other friends or relatives, make sure you assign an adult or older teen to watch a baby or toddler at all times. Do not leave leftover food such as alcohol, nuts, grapes, hotdogs, peanut butter, tobacco or any choking hazards around on tables where they can reach or ingest them. You must childproof the home ahead of time.
Women’s purses, cleaning products, stairways, hot radiators, unlocked cabinets are hazards to young children during parties. Make sure you have numbers in case of emergency of police, fire departments, doctors, hospitals, or poison controls and your insurance card if an accident were to happen.
Make sure that young children do not have access to light strands, tinsel, or other ornaments that may contain lead or other poisonous materials. If you have a pool, make sure the gate is locked so the child has no access to getting inside a pool area or an aquarium. Do not leave doors unlocked where young children can open them or runaway.
We hope these suggestions will guide you and prevent any accidents to your family members. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season filled with joy, love, peace, and friendship.
Up until recent years, buying, owning, and retaining a home for adults who were born post-1980 was out of the question. The past years of unemployment rates, foreclosures, and bad loans had deferred many millennials from thoughts of home ownership. However, with the market shift, and rates that are at all-time lows, many are ready to become first time home-buyers. In fact, 65 percent of renters ages 18-34 with an annual income of at least $50,000 have indicated their intent to buy a home has strengthened significantly within the past year
College graduates today are continuing to wise up when it comes to planning out their next chapter in life. Building a financial portfolio at a young age is becoming increasingly important. The millennials are learning from the patterns of the past and attempting to avoid them by beginning to save early.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median sales price of a home is $184,300. The mortgage payment, including principal and interest would be $661.89 per month putting at least 20% down payment at a 3.5% interest rate. In comparison, the median rent asking price is $717 per month. Now which option seems more beneficial and logical to a first time buyer?
The way I see it, instead of paying someone else to provide for you, you could provide for yourself. When weighing out the decision between renting vs. owning, you want to take a look at your current finances and get pre-qualified to determine what price point of a home you can afford. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development even has a page specifically for new-home buyers which can help answer most financial questions on the subject.
The majority of millennials, 76 percent, will buy first with their spouse, and 22 percent will end up purchasing with a roommate. As a couple, the benefit of home ownership includes saving money on your monthly payment, as opposed to a rent situation, and owning a home will also help in building equity for your future.
As an individual, the benefits of owning a home include avoiding the over-payment of rent, but also the possibility of charging a roommate or two monthly rent. With the help of a decent price point, the combined rent money will cover your monthly mortgage, and maybe even place a bit extra back in your wallet.
Both scenarios will enable the homeowner to take advantage of many tax benefits. With a 30 year mortgage fix, your housing expenses will remain the same till the end of the loan. But as for renting housing expenses, the pattern is continuing to rise.
As millennials continue to look forward to a bright, successful future, home ownership seems to be at the top of their list. With the market consistently improving, now is the time, for everyone, to consider making the smart investment in home ownership.
It’s that time of the year again…unscrupulous security companies send “marketing representatives” into neighborhoods claiming:
* They represent the manufacturer of your security equipment.
* Your current monitoring company isn’t actually monitoring your system or that it needs repairs.
* Your current monitoring company has sent them to inspect, adjust or replace your system.
* Their company has bought your current monitoring company.
* Your current monitoring company has gone out of business.
* Their company offers newer technology than your current monitoring company does.
The goal of these companies is simple. They want you to sign ANOTHER monitoring agreement! This one will probably be for 5 YEARS! Don’t fall for these lies and false promises. If you do, you’ll soon be receiving 2 bills for your monitoring: one from your current provider and one from your “new company.”
Once you discover the truth about what you have signed, you will spend hours trying to get them to cancel the agreement. That very seldom happens. The companies that operate these types of schemes have been fined hundred of thousands of dollars in multiple states for these practices. Yet, they continue to do so because they know most people will ‘give up’ and pay or they’ll send them to collections and get some compensation.
If someone knocks on your door making these or similar claims, don’t let them in and call your current monitoring company immediately. If you let them in, you may want to leave the door open so the dishonest representative doesn’t tear it off the hinges trying to get out of your home and avoid facing the truth!
When video surveillance systems were first introduced the primary applications were in banks, retail stores and high-security government facilities. Like all technology, though, prices have decreased and quality and applications have increased. Today video surveillance cameras have many uses and applications, even in our homes.
We received a call from a couple who wanted to discuss the options and costs of installing a video surveillance system in their home. In talking with the couple we discovered the driving force behind their interest in video surveillance was because they were first time parents.
Mom hated the idea of going back to work, leaving her son with a nanny and not being able to see her son until she got home each night. We also discovered that the nanny was a young lady and that she would be at the couples home each day alone with their son.
Our recommendation was to have 4 cameras and a DVR installed. We also recommended a microphone be installed so mom and dad could not only see their son, but hear him and how the nanny was interacting with him. This is what we installed for this family:
* One camera was installed at the front door. This allows the nanny to see who is at the door without having to open the door.
* One camera was installed on the back of the house allowing a view of the backyard and pool. This was done to provide a view for the nanny in the event there was someone in the backyard; again without having to open a door or go outside.
* One camera and a microphone were installed in the nursery. This allows the nanny, mom and dad the ability to see and hear the baby when he’s sleeping.
* One camera and microphone were installed in the family room. This allows mom and dad to see and hear their son and how the nanny interacts with him.
* The DVR was installed in the master bedroom. The DVR records and stores the video recordings. The DVR is also remotely accessible by mom and dad from their computers, phones and tablets. Mom and dad can check in on their son and the nanny anytime they like, as well as review video from days or weeks ago.
* The cameras are also connected to the big screen TV in the family room. The nanny can quickly see who is at the front door or in the backyard, as well as see and hear the baby in the nursery.
Video surveillance isn’t just for the ‘big boys’ any more. Video surveillance in your home provides an additional level of safety and security, as well as peace of mind knowing your loved ones are safe, even when you aren’t home.
SmartFem is dedicated to working with local Phoenix female friendly companies that operate with the highest integrity. I recently had a new dishwasher that was installed incorrectly and needed a plumber in Phoenix to correct the problem. My experience with Plumbing Masters was phenomenal. The company called to set up the time and then let me know that they would be sending a picture of the technician who would be coming to my house so I would be able to recognize him when he arrived.
What really impressed me was the fact that the owner and founder of Plumbing Masters, Patrick Cosgrove, does a thorough background check on all of his employees. They are all very well dressed and polite. They wear booties when they enter your house and put a mat down on your clean floor before they begin work.
They left me with a beautiful folder with their company information and a complete detailed description of everything that they did on the service call. Very professional.
About an hour later someone called to ask how everything went and thanked me for my business and told me to have a great day.
As a southerner I grew up around companies that embraced hospitality and customer service, it is so refreshing to know that SmartFem can whole-heartedly recommend Plumbing Masters as our SmartFem Plumbing Expert. I am thrilled to know that our readers have a safe and reliable plumbing service in Phoenix to call.
By Lea Haben, Publisher
Recently I had the pleasant experience of enjoying professional maid service and housekeeping from Maids to Order. As a busy professional women who is always dashing off from one meeting to the next I can’t tell you how important it is to me to come home to relax. I am one of those people who cannot function if anything is out of place and finding time to organize is always a challenge. My days and most evenings are filled with meetings and events so on the weekends I need my down time. The last thing I want to do is clean house.
As publisher of SmartFem I’ve had the opportunity to personally work with some of the best companies in Phoenix but have also had some not so great experiences as well which was the case with an earlier cleaning service I used. I was reluctant to hire another maid service as I had previously paid extra for the initial “heavy duty cleaning” and was really disappointed with the results. The blinds and baseboards were never done and when I called the owner I never received a return phone call.
This was not the case with Maids to Order and I worked with local owner Gail Staples directly. My experience with this maid service was completely different. It was so wonderful to come home to a beautiful sparkling home in which EVERYTHING was done. Plant shelves, blinds, window seals, silk plants etc… I was taken aback as I inspected my beautiful clean home to find a hand written “Thank You” note along with a beautiful candle. This kind of personal touch is what I grew up with in the South and it was a wonderful first experience with Maids to Order. In addition, Gail called me personally to make sure that everything was done to my liking.
I am so proud that now Gail and her Maids to Order team are part of the SmartFem recommended companies. Ladies we all have impossible schedules and so many commitments to occupy our time. Treat yourself to a beautiful clean home with the help of professional and personalized housekeeping service by Maids to Order, you will be glad you did…I know I am. A clean home is a happy home.
You have decided to have a security system installed in your home or business. Before you make your decision on which security company you’ll do business with, there are important questions to get answered. The answers to these questions will determine just how much protection and peace of mind you’ll have with your security system and monitoring company.
- Does your company do thorough background checks on all employees and sub-contractors? The company you decide to do business with will have your name, address, date of birth, social security number and payment information. This information can be used for identity theft and fraud. In addition, you should know that the installer that is coming in to your home or business does not have a criminal record, drug use or credit problems.
- Is your company licensed, bonded and insured? There are many companies that ‘open their doors’ that are not registered or licensed with the Registrar of Contractors and who do not carry any insurance coverage to protect you or your premises in the event of damage or injury to you or them. Be sure you are protected from losses or lawsuits from the security company.
- How can I be sure that the coverage and protection I want from my security system is the coverage I’m going to get? There are many security companies that advertise ‘Free Security System’. Read the fine print and know exactly what is being offered, and exactly what is not included. Be sure you ask what the additional costs will be for the types and quantities of sensors your premises needs to provide you the protection and peace of mind you deserve.
- Who will be monitoring the security system and what qualifications and ratings do they have? There is a difference in monitoring companies! Look for a monitoring company that is a 5 Diamond Rated monitoring company. These companies are rated within the industry for the highest level of customer service, highly trained emergency response agents and work to minimize false alarms.
- What type of warranty or guarantees does the system come with, and who is providing them? Any guarantee or warranty should come from the manufacturer of the equipment and the monitoring company. Warranty should include replacement or repair due to equipment manufacturing defects. Guarantees should include Quality Installation, Theft Protection and Relocation.
- Are you an Authorized Dealer for the monitoring company? Many security companies contract with local monitoring companies to provide service for their installed systems. However, there is no contractual commitment or guarantees extended to the customer. In the event the monitoring company does not respond to an alarm or emergency, you have no legal recourse against the monitoring company.
- Do I own the equipment or is this a lease agreement? Many security companies offer ‘Free Systems’ with low cost installation because they are leasing you the equipment. If you move, the equipment stays with the premises. If you own the equipment, you can have it moved to your new location and continue your monitoring agreement at the new location.
- Am I getting the newest and most up to date equipment? Be sure you are getting the newest equipment; some companies install those ‘Free Systems’ with used equipment. Security systems use technology to detect and protect your premises. It’s important to have new equipment with the most up to date software and firmware versions.
- Does the system include all of the necessary features and points of protection for my premises? Each residence and business is unique and you have specific needs and concerns. Therefore, it is important to do business with a security company that provides you with information and options to provide you with the best security solution possible, not just a pre-packaged ‘Free System’.
- What additional fees or charges will I need to pay to have a security system? The answer to this question is really a two-part answer: 1) There are potentially additional fees associated with having a security system. Depending on the city or municipality, there may be an annual Alarm Permit required and a fee associated. These fees are determined by the city or municipality and should be paid directly to them, not the security company. Additionally, false alarms also result in fines from the city or municipality. As indicated, these fees and fines come from the city or municipality of your premises. 2) Some monitoring agreements allow for future fee increases. So, that ‘Free System’ with a low monthly monitoring fee can and will increase. Be sure you know what kind of monitoring agreement you are entering into.
Coming home to find that you have been burglarized is one of the worst feelings in the world. There is a strong feeling of being violated if you know an intruder has been in your home. FBI statistics indicate 1 in 6 homes will be burglarized. Chances are you will be one of the five not burglarized, however, FBI statistics also indicate homes without home alarm systems are 3 times more likely to be burglarized. Preventing a burglary is certainly the best option. By installing a home alarm system with alarm monitoring and placing the sign in the yard, as well as putting the stickers on your windows go a long way to letting potential burglars know you and your home are protected.
Unfortunately though, home burglaries do happen, even with a home security system installed. Why? Because we are forgetful, get distracted or become over-confident when we have a security system. Criminals know that most people forget to set the alarm when they leave and that they don’t set them at night. The key to preventing a home burglary is to consistently use the home alarm system.
So, in spite of your best efforts and consistent use of your home alarm system, or, if you still elect not to have a home security system installed, what do you do if your home is burglarized?
◦ Police – If you have a monitored home security system, the monitoring company will contact you in the event of an alarm. If you’re not home and they reach you, you can have the police dispatched. If the company can’t reach you, they will dispatch the police.
◦ Insurance – Contact your insurance company. You will need to talk with your agent or a claims representative to file a claim. They will need to know exactly that was taken from your home and they can tell you if the loss of each item is covered by your insurance policy.
◦ Security System – If you have been burglarized and you don’t have a home alarm system, you should strongly consider having a security system installed. If you do not have video surveillance cameras installed now, strongly consider installing them. With video cameras, you can access your system from a smart phone or computer to see what is happening at home. Video cameras capture images and help the authorities apprehend and prosecute burglars.
◦ Repairs – Breaking in to your home will undoubtedly cause damage to your home. Take pictures of the damage and have all the damaged areas repaired as quickly as possible, especially exterior doors and windows. If a criminal knows they can get into your house they may be more likely to strike again.
◦ Doors – Make sure you update the locks on all the exterior doors in your house. Install deadbolt locks with keys on both sides. Installing secure door jam and hinge plates greatly reduce the chances of doors being kicked in. If you have sliding doors, install a patio door lock in the frame to keep the door from being lifted up and out of the track.
◦ Counseling – If you or your family experience any emotional trauma as the result of a burglary, seek professional counseling to help you deal with the issues. Installing a home security system and taking steps to enhance your home safety may help regain the stolen sense of safety and your peace of mind.
The most important aspect of home security is working to deter and prevent burglaries from happening. But, in the event that it does happen, knowing how to react is critically important.
As an apartment broker who has been selling apartments in the Metropolitan Phoenix are for the last 20 years, I can think of all the standard answers to why probably 95 percent of my clients have been men. For example, a few contributors might be that it seems apartments are a lot of work as an investment, it is too time consuming, it is too hard; but, being an apartment broker in the Phoenix area, I know that none of those things are true. After I thought about this some more, I realized that I cannot really come up with a true “why” to the fact that a majority of my clients are male.
Apartments can be anything from a duplex or four-plex up to several hundred units at one location in one property. Basically, apartments bring in monthly income from rent and miscellaneous other fees. From this income, the owner/landlord pays the bills for the apartment and the difference, simplified, is profit. The second part of the “apartment as an investment” equation is that where values are rising, like what is currently happening in metro Phoenix, the value of the apartments will increase, offering the investor/landlord, a profit when the property is sold. So, not only does apartment investing bring in monthly income; but also the potential for appreciation when it is sold.
I have many clients in Phoenix that started out buying a small property and through buying and selling and using their profits to buy larger properties, now have several hundred units and strong monthly income. It takes a while, yes, but with the help of an apartment broker and some patience, in the end it is worth the wait.
Self esteem is vital to our development in order to feel confident, healthy, and successful in life.
Having a healthy and secure attachment to a caregiver from birth to two years is critical. According to research by psychologist Eric Erickson, a loving, caring, and attentive caregiver can help create a trusting relationship with a child. These are the building blocks for the child’s perspective of the world in terms of having a healthy bond and a secure relationship instead of insecure.
Trustworthy and secure relationships extend to how our parent also mirrored us. Mirroring is the way they smiled, said positive words, kissed us, hugged us, praised our accomplishments no matter how small, and helped us believe that we are worthy and special.
Parenting is a key role that impacts a child’s self esteem. If our parents were too strict and very militant this can make a child feel afraid of the parent and they may not want to make a mistake or share feelings. If a parent is too permissive and wants to be a friend and not guide a child, then he or she might not respect authority.
If a parent implements rules that are age-appropriate with love, then a child feels safe and can talk to their parent in a healthy way. Loving a child and offering choices are important parts of parenting. Loving unconditionally is the key to success.
What are some ways to help build a child’s self esteem?
- Try not to criticize your child if they do something wrong by putting them down. Use constructive criticism instead of destructive criticism, i.e. If a child spills their milk, a parent might say “Oh you accidently spilled your milk,” instead of saying, “ You are so clumsy.”
- Spend time playing together such as a fun time in the park, a board game, a hike, etc.
- Instead of always talking, learn to be a good listener.
- Reward your child. Give stickers, verbal praise or hi-fives for helping at home, school success, babysitting, good manners, listening, being kind, sports, and anything they do that is positive.
- Talk about a time when you as a parent you made a mistake or poor choice growing up. This is important so your child can come to you and share their mistake. You must help them learn to problem solve.
- When you give a “time out” or a discipline your child, do not attack their character. Talk about the behavior such as not listening, hurting a sibling, not turning in their work etc.
- Put their art work on the walls or anything they do well in as a reminder that you are very proud of them.
- Stop nagging, instead have a white board that is a schedule for chores or assignments as a reminder to look at and check off.
- Invite their friends over so you get to know who they are playing with and the influence they have on them.
- Encourage your child to feel comfortable opening up and discussing things with you, by listening instead of judging.
- Allow your child to learn from valuable lessons. Read books to them that contain life lessons and family values.
All parents make mistakes if they are stressed out. Apologize to your child if you lost your temper and try some of these helpful suggestions to create a home environment that is kind, loving, secure, honest, and supportive. Good Luck!