Keep Your Kids (2 legged and 4) safe this holiday season with these 10 tips from Northstar Moving Company!
NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm
There is no ignoring it now. The twinkling trees, tinsel and….attractive trouble are all around. Whether you are singing “Feliz Navidad” or “Dradle Dradle Dradle,” we can all agree this is one of the greatest times of the year, BUT it’s also filled with hidden dangers for your children and pets. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous times of the year for your dog Dasher, your cat Blitzen and your two legged crawlers. So, don’t let all the sparkle distract you, be sure to keep an eye out for festive trouble.
That’s why I called upon two experts to guide us through all of the dangers our holiday décor and holiday foods can create for our little loved ones. First, the child safety experts at Boo Boo Busters talk Santa safety with five key tips to keep your children safe:
- The Christmas Tree: We are all conscious of hanging the fragile or sharp ornaments up top to keep them out of reach of those curious hands, but have you thought about where you place your tree? Positioning is always important, think: fire safety. Keep your tree more than 48 inches away from any open flame (that includes candles and the menorah.). When decorating your perfectly chosen greenery, it’s best to use plastic hooks instead of metal. Lastly, KEEP IT WATERED! A dry tree is a dangerous tree. Follow the instructions for watering the tree so it can last as long as your holiday season lasts. Also, consider buying a real live growing tree in a pot, it’s a greener earth-friendly solution and the tree can become part of your family traditions.
- Frosty’s Scarves : A strangulation hazard is anything that can be made into a loop and placed around a child’s neck, this includes scarves. Since your little elves need to stay warm, let’s take scarves off the strangulation list by making them safe by simply tucking the ends inside your child’s jacket. Oh so fashion forward and the scarf can’t get caught on anything. Whew, problem solved.
- Miniature Décor: Choking hazards are everywhere this time of year; they disguise themselves as decorations and holiday cheer. A good rule of thumb: a choking hazard is anything that can pass through a toilet paper roll holder unobstructed. Now is the time to scan the environment to see what’s around each and every corner. Remember, it’s not always just your house that needs your safety check. Visiting the grandparents, other family and friends who might be inadvertently unaware of what is or isn’t safe for your kids. Say Ho Ho NO! to decorations within your child’s reach. Snow villages, nativity scenes, and light up and display decorations with lots of small pieces, electrical cords and even batteries can easily be pulled out and end up in your cherub’s mouth. Lighted garland adorning the staircase or the mantle where the stockings will be hung with care, can also create dangerous scenarios. Bowls of candies, nuts and little yummy things are often put out for grazing. Even though they are edible, it doesn’t make it safe for a baby or small child. Place these delicious favorites higher than a child can reach. Lastly, although it may not be a choking hazard, put mistletoe on your priority watch list. This pretty little smooch maker may have fun motives but everything else about it says keep away. It’s about as toxic as a plant can get, berries, leaves and all. No one knows what your kids can get into better than you do. So, put your Grinch hat on before the kids see the decorations, then you can put the Santa hat on once the wide-eyed wonder-filled kiddos with busy little fingers enter the scene!
- All That Glows: We all have that part of us that wants to light the house up like Clark Griswald, but let’s try to keep those little admirers in mind when powering up. Secure lights in place with clips, not left dangling where a child can reach. Using staples to attach lights can also be dangerous: they can cut through the cord without you even knowing it and cause a short or spark leading to a potential fire. Take extra care when using extension cords to power up those giant blow-up dradles or reindeer dancing in the front yard. Secure them with stakes so they can’t create a potential tripping hazard. Put the lights on a timer so they turn on when you want them to and turn off around bedtime. Mother earth and your neighbors will both thank you. Nothing like a silent glow-free night.
- Ringing in the New Year: Last but not least, New Year’s Eve! Party favors, noisemakers and poppers are fun (and equally annoying) but can also be very dangerous. Check when purchasing noisemakers and party favors to see if they could be potential choking hazards. Poppers and silly string should be used with adult supervision. Poppers should never be popped in the vicinity of someone’s face and silly string should never be used near an open flame.
Next, Dr. Anthony George, doctor of veterinary medicine and certified veterinary acupuncturist, says to keep these five jolly activities away from your pooches or felines and they will be as merry as you are all holiday season:
- Holiday Foods: Many people like to include their furry friend in the festivities by giving them a ‘sample platter’ of the holiday’s bounty. This act, unfortunately, can introduce a variety of potential risks to pets. Eating fatty and rich foods can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. In some dogs, the elderly in particular, calorie dense foods can potentially lead to inflammation of the pancreas. Chocolate contains methylxanthine, which can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from stomach upset to tremors, hyperthermia and seizures. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it can be. Grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are also extremely toxic to dogs. And, if you’re taking acetaminophen for pre and post celebratory aches and pains, bear in mind this medication can pose a tremendous risk to your pets. Commonly found in name brands such as Tylenol and Excedrin, along with many generic cold and allergy remedies, acetaminophen can change the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. If your pet ingests any of these substances, it’s always a good idea to contact your local veterinarian. So keep your pets safe by having them celebrate with their regular diets.
- Festive Plants: Plants and flowers transform any room into a holiday showcase, but also an unforeseen room of danger for curious pets. The usual suspects, poinsettiasand American mistletoe, have been considered potentially toxic to pets in the past. However, today it’s generally considered unlikely that either one would cause significant ill effects unless ingested in great quantity. Lilies, on the other hand, pose a significant risk to cats. These lovely flowers can dress up any holiday flower arrangement, but all parts of the plant are toxic to cats and can lead to kidney failure. Ingesting even a small amount of the leaves, petals, or even pollen can result in severe illness and possibly death. Warning signs include an increase in salivation, depression, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Stay clear of these beauties if you have a feline friend.
- Ribbon: If your dog or cat loves to help you wrap the presents or loves to un-wrap their own present, make sure they don’t run off with the ribbon. These colorful strands can wreak havoc if ingested. Once ingested, the intestines can bunch up on the ribbon in an attempt to pass it. If you should happen to see part of the ribbon ‘exiting’ from the hind end, never pull it out, as this can cause it to cut through the intestines. Absolutely, consult with your veterinarian to aid in its removal, whether it’s through endoscopy, surgically or manually.
- The Many Dangerous Layers of the Tree: The Christmas tree is the centerpiece of many holiday homes. However, if you have a cat you may want to lay off the tinsel as it poses the same threat as ribbon does. Electrical cords from the Christmas lights, as well as other holiday decorations, can be an enticing chew toy for a pup or cat. This playful act can lead to severe mouth burns. The electrical conduction of their heart can even be altered, resulting in the accumulation of fluid in the lungsand difficulty breathing. Take measures to prevent your pet from coming into contact with these electrical temptations. Many trees are also fitted with water containers to keep them fresh. This water could contain fertilizer or become stagnant over time. Prevent your pet from drinking from the tree to avoid potential complications.
- The Impulse Buy: Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles make sure the entire family actually wants a pet before you present one as a holiday present. Please make sure everyone understands that a pet is a gift for life not just for the holidays. Everyone must be ready for the full-time job of getting the pet acclimated to it’s new home. If you’re planning on adding a four legged family member: puppies and kittens aren’t the only way to go. Remember to rescue and adopt any age and/or any breed. Many lovable pets looking for a good home can be found on www.petfinder.com. Avoid adopting exotic pets, primates and reindeer. Make a pet’s life happy this holiday season too by finding it a forever home.
Keep your head above the twinkle and remember this simple checklist. Santa’s basic yule tide rule of thumb: if it looks like it could be trouble then put it on the naughty list and hide it away. Wishing you and your family a wonderful memorable holiday season and an amazing New Year full of safe and happy smiles!
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals weigh in on what you need to know when navigating the real estate process.
Here are a few big-picture renovations you can make in surprisingly little time, whether you do it yourself or hire help.
Guest Post by Lauren White
Remodeling projects can seem like a distant fantasy when days off are usually consumed by errands and chores. What can you accomplish with the slim hours you have to spare? Here are a few big-picture renovations you can make in surprisingly little time, whether you do it yourself or hire help.
Time: 4-6 hours
Outdoor spaces are deceptively quick and affordable to make. If you have a half-day to spare, you can turn a patch of yard into a gorgeous patio before sundown. The processwill involve digging and leveling the area you need, preparing a base for proper drainage and laying your stones. Once the project is complete, you will have a relaxing outdoor living space to enjoy.
Keep your time down by choosing pavers or bricks that don’t need to be cut. Interlocking patio pavers come in many variations and they eliminate the dilemma of fitting awkward pieces together.
Time: 2-8 hours
It only takes a few hours to install a new kitchen backsplash, but it could take less time depending on the material you choose. If you paint the backsplash, it will take mere hours of preparation and application. Painting costs as little as $30. If you use peel-and-stick ceramic tiles or rolls of faux metal, it will take roughly the same amount of time.
If you have more than a few hours, make a stand-out backsplash using an adhesive tile mat and individual tiles. The adhesive mat will ensure that heavy tile materials don’t fall off, and requires less curing time than traditional, wet adhesive. Explore your tile options in HomeAdvisor’s resource center.
Weekend Window Replacement
Time: 2-3 days
High-efficiency windows are a strong investment, whether you are planning to sell or stay. These windows save homeowners anywhere from 10% to 30% in home energy costs. Efficiency is a top priority for today’s buyers, and this project has over 70% return on investment.
Removing old windows, installing heavy panes and finishing up with framing is a complex process. Professionals can do it in a matter of days, where it might take you much longer. Hiring a pro is worth it, because this renovation will put money back in your pocket when it is done right.
Time: 1-3 days
In most cases, you’ll want to hire a professional to replace your countertops. Installation and cutting needs to be very precise, and most counter slabs weigh up to and over 400 lbs! With the right amount of muscle, you can finish this job in 1-3 days. Some materials and pre-fabricated pieces can even be installed in 3-7 hours.
Upgrading your countertops can do wonders to improve your kitchen and raise your home value. Granite, for example, can handle a lot of wear-and-tear. If your kitchen is like the Union Station of your house, this low-maintenance, high-resistance material is perfect for your counters.
For the adventurous weekend warrior, check out these countertops you can make yourself.
Two-Week Hardwood Floor Refinishing
Time: 2-14 days
Flooring has a big impact on the appearance and value of your home. If your hardwood floors are in bad shape, you’ve probably already thought of refinishing them. Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, you’re going to need at least two days.In fact, you may need as many as fourteen.
You will need one day for sanding and one day per layer of polyurethane finish. Each layer will need 24 hours to dry. Two to three layers of finish are recommended. If you’re going to stain the wood, add another day for that between sanding and finishing.
This project may take longer, but the results are worth it. Refinishing seals the wood against rot and moisture, and adds appeal for homebuyers. They will be more impressed by a glossy shine than rough, exposed wood. If you’re not sure it’s the right time for your floors, check out these answers to common questions to help you decide.
Investing in your property can mean a faster sale, or will at least give you a few extra luxuries to enjoy. See what you can accomplish with an afternoon or your next three-day weekend, and format your budget using these helpful cost guides.
Lauren White is a freelance writer who enjoys reading, hiking and traveling. She can usually be found on an outdoor adventure with her boyfriend and little sister on the weekends.
So, it’s been a month since you moved into your new home. The empty boxes are stacked in corners like miniature Leaning Towers of Pisas and you are missing some key pieces of mail. The moving checklist guided you day by day, but now that the moving storm has subsided, how do you complete the settling in process?
Ready for the best news ever!? Unlike your two-month long moving-in check list, there is a short list of tasks that will not only ensure you don’t miss the next People magazine, but will also help Mother Earth and others in need. Too good to be true? You can thank me later. Follow these five steps and you will forget you ever moved.
1. Boxes! Boxes!
To truly feel moved in, the first task is to get rid of all the empty moving boxes. So many of us are guilty of just leaving the empty boxes in the garage or attic to gather dust. Instead be green and save green by asking your moving company if they have a box return program. For instance, NorthStar Moving Company will give you back 25% of the original cost of their boxes if you return them.
Other ways to reuse boxes is to flatten them and put them out on recycling day or use them for storage of keepsakes, holiday décor and other items you only need on occasion. The most creative and inspirational way to reuse moving boxes is to join the Global Cardboard Challenge to celebrate child creativity!
2. Mail Yourself
Does your mailbox seem light? While you may be thankful to not be getting all of your bills you certainly don’t want to miss a due date. Check in with the post office to make sure they have your mail forwarding service set up correctly. Then send a friendly postcard to yourself, address it to you at your old address and wait and see if it gets forwarded to your new address.
3. Update Your Driver’s License & Consider Becoming a Donor
No one enjoys visiting the DMV and the good news is you don’t have to! You can change your address online. You must report your new address within 30 days of your move to the Department of Transportation Registry of Motor Vehicles.
This is also an opportunity to revisit being an organ donor. You can register to become an organ donor on your state’s DMV website as well. The number of donors willing to make organ donations are not growing as quickly as the number of people who need them. 20 people in the United States die each day while waiting for organ and tissue transplants. The number of patients in the U.S. waiting for transplants is currently over 116,000 people. Even more are waiting for much-needed tissue transplants.
While you are on the subject, consider a program to donate your whole body. The organ donor symbol on the back of a driver’s license is different from body donation, they are completely separate programs with entirely different consenting processes. Only 1% of organs donors specify to donate their whole body. There is a great need. You could potentially make a difference in the lives of many people.
4. Survey Your Stuff
After a month of living in your new home you now know what furniture, kitchen tools, artwork and even clothes fit into your new place. Rather than stumbling over the stuff that you don’t need, give it to someone that does need it and will give it a good home.
Create two labels: “donate” and “give to friends & family.” Donate clothing and household items that don’t have sentimental value to your local favorite charity such as Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for someone else to enjoy.
For the items that are sentimental, keep them in the family by giving them to loved ones. But, don’t just hand it to them, throw a party, a reverse housewarming party! Instead of having your friends bring a housewarming gift, ask them to pick one (or more) of your items and take it home with them. This is a great way to reunite with old friends and meet new friends after your move. Your unneeded things will be in a home where you can visit them often.
There is no “debate” that every American needs to cast their ballot, so it is vital to register to vote. Your voter registration does not move with you. If you move within your existing county, you must complete a new voter registration form to update your new address. If you move to a different county or state, you must re-register with your new county and/or state.
Visit the EAC website to download and print the National Mail Voter Registration Form. Once you have completed the registration form, mail it to the address listed under your state in the “State Instructions.”
See, in just five steps you are now clear of moving remnants and clutter, sipping coffee with your New York Times and are the shining example of being a responsible citizen. Enjoy your new life!
We have organized the guide into three sections: Before the Move, Moving In and Baby Proofing.
By NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm
On the move with a little mover in tow? Every parent knows having a baby at home is an adventure. Take that everyday baby voyage and mix in moving your home, now your adventure is more like a hike up Mt. Everest! Here’s the good news, if you plan ahead and take simple steps that trek will become a walk in the park (well maybe not, but a manageable stroll up hill.) Before you pack up and gear up for the baby + move exploration, check out this complete guide for parents moving with a baby to ease the stress and enjoy the transition.
We have organized the guide into three sections: Before the Move, Moving In and Baby Proofing. You can think of it like pregnancy, nesting and then labor!
Before the Move
Stick to Routine: Baby’s love and need their routine. Don’t let the moving to-do list and packing get in the way of your regular daily routine. Instead of pulling an all-nighter to pack, try to pack over a long period of time. Use naptime and baby’s early bedtime to get packing done in bits. Baby & parents need their sleep!
Create a Moving Calendar: To keep your head from spinning, it is best to plan your move 8 weeks out. Here is a Moving Day Count Down Calendar to copy, print and hang it up where you can easily refer to it while feeding the little one. This way you can take it day-by-day and get the satisfaction of checking off moving to-dos!
Use Childcare: During the actual moving day, when boxes and furniture are being moved, little ones should be somewhere else. Ask a trusted babysitter, friend or family member to take your bundle of joy for the day. It is also ideal to use childcare for days leading up to your move so that you can get more done on your moving calendar. There are great nanny and babysitting services that help you find qualified childcare.
Talk To Your Current Pediatrician: Your pediatrician is a great resource. If you are traveling long distance, ask them for tips for keeping your baby happy on a plane or long car ride. If you need to find a new pediatrician, make sure you get a copy of all of your child’s medical records to give to your new pediatrician. Get copies of all your child’s prescriptions and have them called into a pharmacy near your new home. Ask your current pediatrician for recommendations on how to find a new pediatrician close to your new home. When finding a new doc, it is recommended to set up a meet and greet appointment as soon as you move.
Pack a Baby Bag: You know the daily drill; pack half the nursery to carry with you wherever you go. Well, this time the baby bag (box or small suitcase) should include all of your needs for three days (if you’re moving a long distance, you may want at least one month of supplies with you rather than on the moving truck). Once you move into your new place, you may not have easy access to diapers, baby food, pacifiers and the important squeaky toy. So be sure to pack everything you need for three days (or more) in one place that you keep by your side for easy access on moving day and the first few days after.
Unpack the Nursery First: When moving in you should set up the nursery first. This will allow you to change your baby and easily put them to sleep on the first night in your new home. Arrange the nursery as closely as possible to your previous nursery. The familiarity will help you and your baby in the transition.
Setting Up The Crib: All new cribs on the market today meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). When setting up a new crib or reassembling your crib look for the following suffocation and strangulation hazards:
- Sharp or jagged edges
- Missing, broken or loose parts
- Loose hardware
- Cut out designs in the headboard or footboard
- Crib slats more than 2 3/8 inches apart (width of a soda can)
- Corner post extension over 1/16 of an inch high
- Gaps larger than 2 fingers width between the sides of the crib and the mattress
- Drop side latches that could be easily released by your baby
Use Safe Bedding: Soft bedding can suffocate a baby, blocking the baby’s airway during sleep. Babies can suffocate when their faces become wedged against or buried in a mattress, pillow or other soft object. Use a safe crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress covered with a crib sheet and nothing else in it. To keep your baby warm, use a sleep sack (wearable blanket).
Baby Proofing the New Home
I turned to the uber knowledgeable folks at Safe Kids Worldwide for a Baby Safety Checklist:
Crawl Through Your Home: The first step to a safe home, say the experts at Safe Kids, is to look at the world through your baby’s eyes. See what looks interesting and what can be reached. And I mean it literally – get down on your hands and knees in your new home and check for small things your baby can choke on. You will be amazed at what you discover! If you question if an item is a choking hazard, take an empty toilet paper roll and put the small object in it. If it fits completely into the roll, don’t let children under 3 play with it.
Test Alarms: Have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors inside all bedrooms, outside all sleeping areas and on every level of your new home. Test alarms monthly and change batteries once a year.
Install Gates: Install stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Stair gates at the top must be attached to the wall with hardware.
Secure Furniture: Secure furniture to the wall to avoid tip overs.
Check Windows: When decorating your new place, be sure to use cordless window coverings.
Mindful Unpacking: When unpacking, be sure to lock up medicines, vitamins, cleaning products, pet food, alcohol, poisonous plants, and chemicals (like paint, gasoline, etc.) and store them high out of your baby’s reach.
Your baby’s arrival was certainly the most blissful and incredible life change. Now you get to start the next chapter together in your new home. A home that is safe for your little one to play, grow and explore!
Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com
The power of the Coldwell Banker brand – in one customizable video (and downloadable eCards). View the brand anthem video and get your very own now.
From the CB Zap platform, award-winning CBx Listing Experience App, smart home initiative and record breaking ad campaigns, Coldwell Banker Real Estate has the resources that can help you lead your market and exceed your goals.
Watch above as we show exactly why Coldwell Banker is the real estate brand with real advantages. And the best part is you can customize this video and download an eCard for promotional use in your local market!
The Coldwell Banker network is filled with trailblazers, trendsetters and doers. By affiliating with the brand, your business demonstrates a power, reach and recognition of a global brand where we make a difference in the lives of others.
Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blig