Consumer Real Estate News

    • Easy-Care Houseplants You’ll Find Tough to Kill

      21 September 2021

      A bit of healthy greenery is a cheery accent for almost any home. But the keyword is healthy, because there are few things sadder than a dead, bedraggled houseplant. If you fear your brown thumb may keep houseplants from thriving, take a tip from the experts on some low-maintenance types that may be willing to take a chance on you.

      • Jade Plant - If your home has a patch of bright sunlight, this broad-leafed succulent will take it. It does pretty well with infrequent watering and will even reward your spotty care with pink or white flowers in the spring.  
      • Cast-Iron Plant (Aspidistra) - One of the easiest plants to care for, the cast-iron plant tolerates low light and infrequent watering—hence its name! In fact, this one doesn’t like lots of sunshine, and its glossy, green leaves will grow up to two feet tall.
      • Snake Plant - Although the snake plant prefers bright light, it will endure in low light and can live in just about any room of the house. A little accidental neglect in watering will not kill it, and despite being named for a viper, this West African native is an air-cleaning dynamo that is easy on the eyes. 
      • Peace Lily - Peace lilies require little sunlight and don’t require frequent watering. Put them in a large pot and they will reward you with flowers in spite of your spotty care.
      • Watermelon Peperomia - The green and silver stripes on this beauty’s leaves will remind you of watermelon, plus the plant doesn’t require much direct sunlight or watering. Native to South America, the watermelon peperomia grows tiny, green flowers in the spring.
      • Chinese Evergreen - Happy even in dry environments and partially shady locations, the Chinese evergreen doesn’t often flower indoors, but the unique patterns of pale and dark green on its broad leaves make for a stunning display.
      • Oregano - Not just a flavorful herb, oregano makes for a great houseplant. It has great drought tolerance, doesn’t mind a bit of shade, and if you’re of a mind to, you can pluck a few stems and use them as a tasty flavoring in soups or stews.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What to Look for in a Daycare

      21 September 2021

      (Family Features) For first-time parents or even families with multiple children, the decision to place your little bundle of joy in someone else’s care can be a difficult one. However, the benefits of daycare can be significant, especially for children who start a program as infants.

      A high-quality early childhood program not only promotes children’s safety and well-being, but also supports their growth and development at a critical time in life as children’s brains develop more rapidly from birth to age 5 than any other time in their lives.

      “The pressure on families to do what’s best for their children while balancing the need to safely return to consistent routines is immense,” said Dr. Elanna Yalow, chief academic officer of KinderCare Learning Centers. “Many families have concerns about possible health risks to their children. At the same time, there is extensive data that demonstrates children are actually safer and better off developmentally when they are around other children. It’s no wonder so many families feel conflicted. Rigorous safety protocols give families confidence they can count on our programs to protect their children and help them thrive.”

      Consider these things when seeking care for your infant:

      Safety First
      Ensure the providers you’re considering follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics and local health department guidelines. Beyond COVID-19 protocols, look for a program with teachers and staff that take pride in keeping children safe, particularly when it comes to safe sleep. Confirm the provider has external validation of their program’s quality, like national accreditation.

      Responsive Teachers Who Care for Your Baby Like You Do
      Caring for young children requires a unique set of skills. Understanding what children need at each age and stage in life comes with expertise and an ability to build relationships with them. It should be clear right away your baby will be in a warm, nurturing environment and supervised by teachers who will respond promptly to your baby’s every coo, gurgle, smile and cry with kindness and compassion.

      Strong Communication
      You’ll know you’ve landed in the right place when your child’s teacher and day care staff feel like an extension of your family. To help start things on the right foot, share expectations and preferences with your potential provider early. It’s important the caregiver knows how often you want updates and what kind of information is most meaningful to you – whether that includes videos and photos, phone calls or texts, or short notes about the things your child is doing.

      They should also be available to answer your questions and ask their own in return to ensure they’re supporting your baby in the best way possible while also encouraging your child to develop at his or her own pace. It’s important for teachers to understand key milestones and how to support your baby’s ongoing growth and development.

      When parents know their babies are safe, happy and loved, they can focus on all the other things they need to do. For more information, and tips for finding the right child care, visit

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What to Do If You Think Your Home Renovation Contractor Made a Mistake

      21 September 2021

      Renovating your home can be stressful even under the best of circumstances. A contractor’s mistake can add to your frustration and cause unforeseen delays. There are several ways to address the situation, depending on the specifics.

      Try to Resolve the Issue
      If you believe a mistake was made, address it immediately with the person leading the team. Refer to the details in the contract describing how the work was supposed to be completed to support your position. Stay calm and be polite, but make it clear that the error is unacceptable and needs to be corrected.

      If you believe it was an honest mistake and are confident that the team can fix it themselves, you can give them an opportunity to do so and set a deadline. There should be no additional cost to you. In some states, a homeowner who believes a contractor made a mistake and who doesn’t trust the company to fix it can hire a different contractor to correct mistakes made by the original contractor.

      You should always make sure a contractor has adequate liability insurance coverage and is bonded before you sign a contract. Liability insurance and/or a bond can pay for damage caused by workers’ mistakes.

      If the contractor is unwilling to fix the error or says it will take an unreasonable amount of time, you can withhold payment until repairs have been made. You may also decide to fire the company.

      When to Seek Outside Help
      If you believe the contractor is dishonest or performing substandard work, you can file a complaint with the body that licensed the company. Sometimes just threatening to file a complaint is enough to motivate contractors to fix their mistakes. You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

      Some states collect fees when contractors obtain licenses. That money goes into a fund to compensate homeowners who suffered damage due to contractors’ mistakes. Find out if your state has such a fund.

      Home remodeling contracts sometimes contain a mandatory arbitration clause. In that case, you may be able to have the issue addressed without hiring an attorney.

      You might also consider suing the contractor in small claims court. Limits on dollar amounts for small claims cases vary by state. If your damages fall below that threshold, you can sue the contractor yourself. For a case with a larger financial loss, you may need to hire an attorney. The contractor might be willing to agree to a settlement to avoid a lawsuit.

      Choose the Best Solution for Your Case
      Sometimes contractors make honest mistakes, but in other cases, they cut corners and take advantage of people who placed their trust in them. If you believe a contractor made an error, understand all your options and seek professional advice.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Here’s What’s Hot in Autumn Home Decor

      20 September 2021

      As summer gives way to shorter days and cooler evenings, there is a universal yen to cozy up, hunker down and look for comfy pieces and deeper hues for your home. Decorators offer a palette of ideas for doing a little autumn re-shuffling.

      • Bauhaus Retro - Paying homage to the Bauhaus, a German design school that boomed during the 1920s, this warming look brings in geometric shapes and bold block color. Think bedroom and family room accents of royal blue, mustard yellow and slate gray hues for this contemporary update.
      • Ramp Up the Reds - No colors in the spectrum are as warming as carmines, scarlets and crimsons as we head into cold nights. Go for a riot of red tones to turn up the heat in your bedroom. Mix plain and patterned designs in your decorative cushions and throw blankets. 
      • Bring in Rustic Touches - Now’s the time to change out your sideboard and shelving displays, grouping together assortments of baskets, wooden pieces and rustic handcrafted trinkets. Plus, macrame is back, so bring out those hanging pots, too!
      • Introduce Texture - Like the return of macrame, styles from the ‘70s like rattan, cane and bamboo are making a comeback, but in a modern, minimalistic way, with curved shapes, tapered legs and clear, defined lines. Introducing these natural textures in a warming color palette will make a living or family room feel cozy. 
      • Top Up the Tableware - Fall is a good time to treat yourself to a new pottery teapot and more. Bring in rough-hewn earthenware mugs and cereal bowls in warming earth tones. Simply add some hot chocolate or a hot stew and you’re good to go.
      • Try a Two-Tone Effect - To instantly warm up a bedroom or living room, paint one wall in a jewel-tone fall color, such as warm caramel, loden green, a soothing blue, even ruby red or amethyst.
      • Enrich With Velvet - This soft-to-the-touch material is the perfect fabric for curling up with or on, so if you don’t want to invest in a new sofa or chairs, just deck out the ones you have with velvet pillows to make an evening by the fireplace even more relaxing. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Simple, Sweet Energy Bites

      20 September 2021

      ( Having enough energy and fuel to make it through a long day can be challenging. No matter if you’re a stay-at-home parent, corporate worker or small business owner, having a high energy level that lasts throughout the day is important for both you and those around you.

      Having enough energy helps you stay alert and attentive to what is going on around you, whether that’s cleaning up after your little ones or filing a report your boss asked for.

      When it comes to snacking during the day, these delicious, mouth-watering Energy Bites can give you the boost you need. They are made with creamy peanut butter and honey to curb your sweet cravings but still provide plenty of texture with shredded coconut and raw oats.

      They are a perfect snack time nosh, rolled into simple balls, that can help you finish the  task at hand.  

      Not only can they be that 2 p.m. pick-me-up, they are also simple to make and simply delightful to eat. You can store them in the refrigerator in a container for anytime snacking. Plus, the recipe makes 20 servings, which means it’s easy to prep your snacks for the entire week ahead of time.  

      Stop settling at snack time for stale crackers or high-calorie dips. Eating something that can make your body feel good and energize you for the rest of the day keeps you prepared for what’s to come.

      Find more snack recipes at

      If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

      Energy Bites
      Servings: 20

      • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
      • 1/3 cup honey
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 cup raw oats
      • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
      • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
      • 6 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

      In a medium mixing bowl, stir peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract until combined.

      Add oats, coconut, flaxseed meal and chocolate chips. Mix until combined.

      Shape into 1-inch balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.