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Some Advice On Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is obviously a very big step and there are a number of different things that you perhaps have to try and take into consideration so things go smoothly. There are different people who can give you advice but this is intended to just give you some things to think about so you should be as well organised as possible.
Of course you have to work out what you can afford first of all as this is going to really decide what kind of houses you are going to be able to look at. You can get a lot of information from going to talk to someone who deals with mortgages as, unless you are very rich, you shall require to get one in order to buy your home.
They look at what your income is and they shall be able to tell you the kind of level of mortgage that you would be able to qualify for and then you shall know the kind of things you are able to go and see. Once you have this information you then need to look at what is available and you can do this at home thanks to the internet.
There are a number of property websites available for you to look over and the good thing is they allow you to search according to various criteria. This means you can then look at houses according to price, location, type of house, and even number of bedrooms so you are then rather quickly looking at only those properties available that suit your requirements.
Although the internet is able to give you a good first impression of a potential home it is important that you go and see it in person. The good part is that due to you doing so much work at home and creating a potential short list you can arrange a full day of viewing with the different estate agents so you are not wasting too much time.
You have to make sure that the mortgage broker you use is fully certified to handle it and you should visit them at their office as this can tell you a lot about how professional they are to deal with. You can of course compare what they say with what another broker says so you know you are able to trust their advice as trust does play such an important role in all of this.
You must remember that they are going to be dealing with large sums of money for you as a good mortgage broker shall be handling every aspect on your behalf apart from adding your signature to paperwork. It can therefore be very useful to just get some references from people you know personally who have just bought a home and ask them not just who they used but how they felt they got on with their broker.
So you can see that buying your first home just involves the same things as someone buying one for the third or fourth time. As long as you do not rush things and get the correct advice from the best possible people then the entire process should go fine.…

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The Button Pushers – They Live With Us

I vividly remember a week I was feeling very irritable. Normally, I’m a fairly patient person, but that week I felt very edgy. I could have blamed the kids, my husband, hormones, work, the guy who cut me off on the highway or a plethora of other things. It seemed the more stress I felt, the less tolerant I was, especially with my family. Why is it we allow our family to upset us the most? Have you ever felt like they know exactly what buttons to push to make us furious? That week the affirmation I adopted was “Control emotions and have patience!”
That Sunday morning I was teaching 9th Grade Confirmation Class. I left the house early with my laptop, lesson tote, snack for the class and the much needed travel cup of coffee. There were three tables set up in the area for my class. As the kids came in and sat at the tables I realized that where I left my lesson plans was very crowded, so I moved to the end of the next table. Just then I saw a blurry image of a cup swish by me and smash into the wall divider. The lid popped off as the cup fell to the floor and black coffee was strewn everywhere. It was not only all over the floor but splattered on my beige canvas tote, laptop bag and coat.
My first thought was “Oh I needed that coffee today!” Yet somehow, I didn’t react. I can’t explain why. Just moments before patience was not an option for the day. The student who spilled my coffee obviously felt horrible and frazzled. She ran frantically to get paper towels yelling “I’m so very sorry!” Other students nervously said they would get paper towels too. For a brief moment I felt as though they were trying to get away from me. I calmly said “spills happen” and thanked them for helping to clean up the mess. When I lifted my beige coffee speckled canvas tote the leaning laptop case fell “splat” into the puddle of coffee. It was almost comical how it happened. What amazed me the most is I did not feel reactive or upset.
I was actually grateful that the coffee missed hitting me! Just five seconds earlier and I wouldn’t have been so fortunate. It was an accident. It wasn’t intentional. My student didn’t target me for this act. She actually felt worse than I did and was very embarrassed. In a very brief reminiscent moment I thought how painfully self-conscious teens can be. I thought, what is the kindest thing I could do in this situation? My answer was be patient. It would take just as much time and effort to clean up the mess if I yelled, got angry and made the young girl feel worse in front of her peers. Actually, it might have taken longer. Had I yelled, they wouldn’t have returned so quickly with the paper towels! No one would have offered to help clean up the mess. As it happened I didn’t need to clean it up at all and it was done quickly.
That class was one of the best that year. I don’t remember the lesson from the book being particularly interesting. However, the kids were attentive, everyone presented a portion of the lesson and there was an unusual sense of peace in that class of teens. Uncanny!
The student who spilled was grateful that I was understanding. She said “My Mom wouldn’t have been so nice. She would have yelled and told me I should have been more careful.” At that moment it occurred to me, and I said to her “I probably wouldn’t have been so kind to my kids, either.” We laughed about that comment and they went home.
Thinking back to what had happened it was not very responsible of me to leave my cup of coffee in front of her. If my teenage son had made such a mess I would not have been as kind and patient as I was to her. That truth broke my heart. Showing understanding and patience turned an ugly situation into a positive life lesson. It made a difference for her. I wasn’t able to make as much of a difference for my children as I did for my student. What caused me to lead by example for them and not for the ones I loved the most? We expect so much from our family. We want them to be the best for themselves and us. We want them to always know what we want and need before we tell them, and are disappointed when they fall short.
Parents everywhere want the same things for their children. We want them to become responsible, confident, and …

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How To Invest In The Real Estate Business

Real estate is one of the industries that can be ranked as a billion-dollar industry. More people are discovering the potential in this field and investing a great deal making the industry grow in leaps and bounds in recent years. However, just like when making an investment in any industry, it is of paramount important not to do so blindly. There are several important factors you will have to consider rather than just diving in and expecting things to work in your favour.
To start with, one will be required to come up with a detailed plan on how they are expecting to make money from their investment. Since this is a dynamic industry, your plan has to be one that will still be beneficial to you in a decade and more. Carry out some basic research and figure out the expected changes in the economy and how you will be able to prepare for them. Otherwise, you may come up with a very good plan that may unfortunately prove short lived.
Although one may get a professional to help them with all the details involved in investing in the industry, it is also important to familiarise yourself with how things work. One should carry out basis research in order to understand the language of this industry in terms of terms and even laws. A prospective investor needs to know about property appreciation and depreciation. The research will also help to shed light on the actual amount one must have to venture into this industry.
It is advisable to keep aside some money to provide stability for your investment to cater for unforeseen future problems and other small problems. However, it is also important to try and formulate a business or investment plan that may be able to cater for these kinds of emergencies and also sustain your investment. For example, one may invest in residential areas to be let out. In case there are any repairs or renovations to be done in the future, the investor should be prepared well in advance.
It is good to compare prices in case you are planning to buy a piece of property. A prospective investor needs to consider the location of the property they are intending to purchase. Depending on what kind of business they want to carry out on the property. If for example they are considering building a residential area, they cannot purchase land that is near a busy highway.
From their research, they will be able to find out the needs of people looking for residential areas in that particular city and work towards providing them with the same or better. Different markets have different needs depending on their location. For example, people in different cities have varied needs and wants.
Professional help is also very important. Although the prospective investor has already carried out some research, it is necessary that they employ the help of a professional agent. The professional agents normally have experience and may end up saving the prospective investor a lot of time and money.
The real estate agents normally already have their sources in the industries that can get them the best deals and even do them favors on your behalf. A good agent will be able to keep you up to date with the on-goings in the industry.…

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10 Habits of Highly Successful Mothers

“Success” is an ambiguous term to me. How does one measure success? How does one define it? Is success how much money we have in our bank account? Is it how much we have accomplished in our professional life? Perhaps success is the amount of education we earned? Or maybe success is how bright our future paths are…Being first and foremost a mother (in addition to the others duties of my life), the concept of success is one I measure (most of the time), by the happiness and achievements of my children and husband, rather than myself. Looking at success through this lens can be a slippery slope; what if, perhaps, one’s child goes through a naughty phase- does this make the mother unsuccessful? I think not.
But, when your primary energy, time and commitment are targeted toward the health and well-being of those around you, measuring yourself to their achievement is inevitable. I carefully study successful people. Women who are able to achieve motherly success (i.e. their children are super in school, sports, arts and wonderfully behaved), in addition to professional success and marital success are truly captivating to me. I wonder what they think when they meet me, “This woman is does she keep asking me questions….” Well, I am trying to learn learn learn. I love to listen to the little gold nuggets that people do not even know they possess. Little do they know that I grab each little nugget and keep it to review later…(Is that creepy?)
These are the top 10 Little Gold Nuggets of Success which I have carefully extracted from women all over the country:
1. Efficiency is key
There are only 24 hours in the day for all of us. So how is it that some people simply get more done than others? They don’t waste time doing things that someone else can do. When it’s appropriate and the budget allows for it, bring in the reinforcements to do your mundane tasks to give you more time. Successful women schedule carefully and say no to anything that doesn’t work in the schedule.
2. Plan Long-term
Successful women anticipate the needs of the children, their husbands, their jobs, and the school picnic. The most successful women I know have their calendars mapped out for the year.
3. Don’t sweat the drama
There is one thing that women from all generations and all parts of the world share, and that is drama. Sensitivity to everything that is said, goes on, and transpires will ruin even the most focused woman. Do not get involved in nonsense. (I even go so far as to avoid news during the workday so I am not distracted by natural disaster.)
4. Keep the children on the forefront
You can be wildly successful with your career, but if you come home to a crying child because you were the only mother who didn’t come for the Mother’s Day Music Show you have had it. Staying on top of your child’s basic needs and even the most trivial event is important. Schedule time with your child if you must. Create a day a week that is for your children and only them. Carve out time every day to spend real one-on-one time with them. Being in the same room doesn’t count!
5. Stay connected to your husband
If your marriage fails, your children’s life will fall apart. Period. End of story. I’m not suggesting that you can’t piece it back together again but it will take time and healing. Prevent it by staying focused on being connected to your spouse.
6. Don’t overspend, overeat, overdrink
Keep a check on health, on your spending, on your social life. Inventory it weekly. If life spirals out of control in one of these areas, your entire life will suffer.
7. Commit
When your child is on a basketball team and wants to stay home to play with his friends, tell him no and remind him of his commitment to his team. He can play with his friends when he gets home. Committing and staying committed is a key strength to anyone who is successful at anything. Success takes hard work, which can only be achieved through commitment.
8. Say No
People who say yes to everything create an impossible scenario for success. Do not volunteer to be the homeroom mom if you are working 60 hours a week; you will be unsuccessful at work, home and school. People who recognize when they are maxed out are always appreciated for their gracious “no I’m sorry I am over committed” statement. It’s a gift to everyone around you when you say no, and bow out.
9. Baby Steps
Every major achievement is preceded by a series of very small achievements. You cannot achieve success without …

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A Strategy to Transform Your Stepfamily in 30 Days

Blended and step families have more than their share of challenges; to stepparents and stepchildren alike, it seems that conflict and negativity are built in. What if I told you that I have a magic formula guaranteed to transform your family in 30 days to experiencing greater harmony and happiness? Well, I do! It’s called appreciation, and when practiced regularly and properly, it can work miracles.
There is a fairly new branch in the field of psychology called Positive Psychology. After more than a century of focus on the effects of trauma and negative experiences on personality and behavior, Positive Psychology turns it all around and instead focuses on what is right. There have now been scores of studies showing the profound effects of positive interactions on productivity, health and happiness. And on cooperation, I might add – a quality in high demand for stepfamilies!
Dr. Don Clifton, who has been dubbed the “father of Positive Psychology” had an extremely simple and powerful model for working with appreciation and recognition, which is described in his book “How Full is Your Bucket?”. He uses a metaphor that’s easy to visualize: each of us has an invisible bucket inside. When the bucket is full (of positive feelings), we feel great; we’re happy, generous, productive and feel connected. When the bucket is empty, we feel awful – our energy is sapped, productivity is lowered and we feel isolated from others. Each of us also has a dipper – we can use the dipper to dip out from others’ buckets (leaving us both in a more negative state), or to dip into others’ buckets, filling them with more positivity. When we fill others’ buckets, a funny thing happens – it fills our own bucket to overflowing.
This may seem overly simplistic, and it is basic – yet powerful. There are hundreds of turning points in a single day; even in mundane situations there is generally a positive or negative charge. And it’s all cumulative: the more negative interactions we have, the more our happiness is eroded. The more positive interactions, the greater our well-being. All of us need recognition, and we don’t get enough. Dr. Gottman, famous for his ability to predict marital success on the basis of the ratio of positive to negative interactions, has found that the “magic” ratio is 5 to 1. Married couples that have at or near that level of positive to negative interactions are highly likely to succeed – when the ratio goes toward 1 to 1, the chances of divorce skyrocket.
Think about your interactions with your spouse, your children, and stepchildren. We are often so focused on “fixing what’s wrong” that our attention, and conversations, tend to be fixated on the negative (“you’re making us late!”, “you didn’t pick up your towel”, “why weren’t you back home when you said you’d be?”, etc. etc. etc.) The world we live in is already a pretty negative place; each of us, including our children, tend to get “beat up” regularly. So why add to the demoralization, when we have a much better chance of getting our children’s cooperation by letting them know we care about them, and believe in them? Think of how you’d feel if someone were watching over you, waiting for you do do something wrong and then make note of it.
Whatever we focus on grows: when we begin to take notice instead of what’s right (even small, insignificant behaviors – “thanks for helping your sister with her backpack”, “I was happy to see you started your homework without being reminded”, “it makes me happy to see you smiling”, etc.) we start to get more positive behaviors. Both positivity and negativity are very contagious.
Here are a few tips for you to begin a practice of appreciation that will begin to change your family dramatically. I highly suggest keeping track of your efforts for 30 days, the time it takes to develop a new habit – it’s the regularity that produces miraculous results.
You must have a plan to make it a reality!
1. Focus on any positive behavior you see occurring, and express your appreciation in a specific way. Focus on progress, not perfection.
2. Be quick to notice small accomplishments, and focus on effort rather than outcome.
Focus on each child’s strengths and refrain from giving recognition that compares them to one another (the last thing you want to increase in a stepfamily is rivalry!)
3. Notice the first thing that comes out of your mouth: is it positive or negative? Are you providing a welcoming environment for the members of your family?
Prevent “bucket-dipping”. Ask yourself throughout the day: am I adding to or taking from that person’s bucket? Use a PAUSE button when you catch yourself “dipping”- and find something to …

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How to Make the Most of Your Family Vacations

Most of the time when you plan a family vacation, you are looking for a way for your family to get together and just enjoy themselves without the worries of every day life. Take the time to learn some of the various different ways that you can go about planning a family vacation that is going to make the most of your time together as a family. There are so many different things pulling families in every direction that it is often difficult to plan a vacation that will satisfy the whole family. Taking a few different steps will help you to make the most of it, for everyone involved.
While families can consist of young children, parents, teenagers, young married adults, grandchildren – the list goes on- you will see that it is important to find a way to bring them all together comfortably. This can reduce stress for everyone in the family. Take the time to find a time for your family vacation that will be good for everyone who plans to attend. There are a lot of different things that go on, between other vacations, school, sports, work, and holidays that pull families apart. Make sure that you talk to people in your family to find a time that will be just as convenient for one person as it is for another. Making sure that everyone is happy with the time that is set is the first way to make sure that you have a happy family vacation.
Plan to do some fun things while you are on vacation. There are definitely some things that cater to children more than adults, but the adults can often have just as much fun as the kids when they visit these places. Remember everyone when you are planning the places that you will visit on your trip. You should take the time to plan a few different things so that everyone is sure to do something that they will enjoy while on vacation. A vacation should be enjoyed by everyone involved.
Another way to ensure that you are able to make the most of your family vacation is by ensuring that you do not spend a ton of money on your trip. Financial hardships can often cause a lot of stress. If you take the time to find some of the best vacations at the most affordable rates, everyone will remain happy and stress free because they do not have to worry about the money that is being spent. There are many ways to find vacation deals that will meet the needs of any budget, be sure to find the one that is best for you and your family.
When you are planning the next family vacation, remember to take these things into consideration. If you do this, then you are sure to have the happiest and most productive family vacation you have ever had before. This will make sure that everyone enjoys the time that is spent together as a family.…

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3 Simple Tips to Make Family Time a Good Time in Your Hectic Life

Any working person’s life can become extremely hectic at times. The common suspects are: a busy schedule, loads of work, as well as faithfully keeping the promise to never put off until tomorrow any work that you can do today. As a consequence, you may be totally satisfied with your rapid career advancements. Yet, this imbalance is very bad for your family life, as it can make you lose the precious bond with your spouse and children.
If you suspect that you are losing touch with your family, you need to do your best to avoid making the matters worse. Here are three tips and tricks that could help you start spending more quality time with your family, even if you have an extremely hectic life:
1. Plan your day or week in advance. Scheduling your day or even a week in advance could take as little as 15-30 minutes, but it could truly make a difference for your family. Thus, you could start bringing your “family relationship improvement plan” to life without sacrificing what needs to be done at work.
2. Turn off your cell phone every now and then. When it comes to spending time with your family, a cell phone is one of the most disruptive devices. If you have scheduled a family outing, make sure that your cell phone will not disrupt it. Consider setting a new voice message that will state that you are currently unavailable.
3. Try to achieve a 50/50 work-family balance. Being a success at work and “failing at family” cannot do anyone any good. Try to be a success at both, home and at work.
Keep reminding yourself that your spouse and children are your first priority. Time spent with your family is invaluable, while time lost cannot be compensated.
Relationships take an effort to build, and yet it’s so easy to damage these bonds by constantly being busy, distant and unavailable. Being continuously distant can lead to a family relationship cool-down, which may be hard to warm up again.…