Teaching Your Kids Fire Safety

A house fire is a parent and home owner’s worst fear. Many people see tragic house fires as a case of very bad luck, but in reality most house fires can be avoided by practicing good fire safety.

To prevent house fires and to know what to do in case you have one, you’ll need to learn and teach your children about the main causes of house fires, how to prevent them, and what to do when a fire occurs. We’ll cover all of that in this article, plus give you some tips on making it easy and fun for kids to learn.

How do house fires happen?

The eight most common causes of house fires are:

  1. candles
  2. smoking
  3. electrical/lighting
  4. dryers and washing machines
  5. lightning
  6. kids playing with fire
  7. tree decorations
  8. kitchen/cooking

Play investigator

To prevent some of the causes of fire listed above, gather your children and put on your investigator hat. Make a checklist of the following and scour your house together to search for clues of fire hazards, taking care of them as you go along. Look for:

  • Overloaded power strips and damaged power cords
  • Dryer vents that are clogged up or dirty
  • Stove burners that are near flammable items like curtains
  • Smoke detectors checked
  • Extra batteries located
  • Escape route noted (see below)
  • Ensure kids know the rules about candles, cooking, playing with fire, etc.

Plan your escape

Teaching kids a fire escape route can be tricky. It might get confusing for them or they might forget or panic in case of an actual fire. Therefore the best way to teach kids a fire escape plan is to practice it often.

Have monthly or bi-monthly fire safety checks with your kids and go over your escape plan and test your smoke detectors. Yearly, participate in fire safety week, which also covers escape plans and best practices but turns it into a weeklong series of activities you can do with your kids.

When it comes to the actual fire escape plan, grab some graphing paper and colored pencils and sit down with your kids to create your home.

Include in your plan the names and escape routes (2 minimum) of each room and the outdoor meeting place. Have kids draw their own (age appropriate) to help them understand the plan better and get them involved. Once you’ve drawn the plan, run through it a few times with your kids.

If you have infants or very young children who can’t get themselves out of the house, plan who will retrieve them from their room in case of a fire. Remember to tell the kids not to wait for others before getting outside, and to not try to take belongings with them.

Stick to your routine

The hardest part about fire safety is making it a habit. At school, your kids have mandatory fire drills. At home, however, parents get busy with work or forget and tend to ignore fire safety. So, you’ll have to find ways to make sure you and your family stick to the plan.

If you have a family calendar hanging in your home, make sure you pencil in your bi-monthly fire safety meeting. Similarly, anyone in your family who uses a calendar on their phone or computer should add it there as well and invite the other family members. Make sure the event is fun for everyone to ensure no one dreads it. You could make a plan to take the kids out to dinner or somewhere fun after to make it a night everyone looks forward to every couple of months.

Growing Hydrangeas

Long lasting and exceptionally beautiful, hydrangeas are a festive addition to most any home landscape. Not only do hydrangeas make a dramatic and colorful statement in the garden, the blooms of these unique plants can be easily dried for indoor arrangements.

The coloration of several varities of hydrangea flowers can be changed or controlled by regulating the acidity of your garden soil in which the hydrangeas are planted. The majority of hydrangea varieties show a variation in the color of the flowers as the plant matures. White varieties tend to stay white, however blue and pink varieties can be manipulated to change or intensify their color via the pH of the soil.

If hydrangeas in your garden currently produce blue flowers, enhancing the soil to make it more alkaline will slowly change blue flowers to pink. Hydrangeas planted next to a sidewalk or concrete foundation often turn pink from the lime that leaches into the soil from the concrete.

Conversely, if you increase the acidity of the soil, your pink hydrangeas will turn blue. Aluminum sulfate, available online or from local home and garden centers can be incorporated into the soil around the base of the hydrangea bush to increase acidity. Follow package direction for accurate application as over application may burn roots and damage or stunt the growth of your plants.
Hydrangeas are also excellent as potted plants to added color and greenery to the patio, terrace or balcony.

United States Hardiness Zones For Hydrangeas
Over the past decade, horticulturists have developed several varieties of “ever-blooming” hydrangeas. Commonly known as “mop head hydrangeas”, these plants will flourish and bloom much further north than before. Ever-blooming varieties such as “Blushing Bride” and “Endless Summer” blooms multiple times a year and so well in southern climates as well. “Annabelle”, “Oakleaf” and “Peewee” are other varieties that do well in both northern and southern location. Hydrangeas thrive in United States Hardiness Zones 4 through 11.

While the majority of varieties of hydrangeas grow best in a shaded area, there are several that prefer a sunny spot in the garden. Hydrangeas present large, showy blooms in shades of white, pink, blue and lavender. The spectacular blooms typically fade to shades of burgundy, red, or pink before drying to beige. In many parts of the country, the blooms will dry in place on the plant and remain attractive through the winter.

Hydrangeas prefer moist, well-drained, nutrient rich soil. To produce the best flowers possible, enhance the soil around the base of the plant will a generous application of well-aged herbivore manure (cow, horse, lama, mule, sheep, or goat.)

Trim your hydrangea blooms as they fade, keeping in mind that the hydrangea plant only blooms on new growth.

Tips for Establishing a Homebuying Budget

Buying your dream home should be simple. Unfortunately, challenges may arise during the homebuying journey, particularly for those who fail to budget accordingly.

Establishing a budget before you begin your home search is paramount. With a budget in place, you can explore houses that fall within your price range and move closer to finding a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.

Ultimately, creating a homebuying budget can be easy – here are three tips to help homebuyers establish budgets.

1. Consider your utility costs.

Although you may be able to get pre-approved for a mortgage and determine exactly how much you’ll need to pay for a house, you’ll still need to account for utility expenses month after month.

Electricity, heat and other utility costs can add up quickly. However, a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble estimating his or her monthly utility fees.

Examining your current utility expenses can help you understand how much you may wind up paying in utility charges at your new address. Also, don’t forget to consult with your real estate agent, as this professional may be able to provide details about the average utility costs associated with a particular residence.

2. Manage your debt.

If you decide to purchase a “fixer-upper,” i.e. a home that requires extensive home repairs, you’ll likely need to commit substantial time and resources to complete home renovation projects. Thus, you’ll want to consider any home repair tasks that you may need to complete at a new address and budget for them before you make an offer on a house.

In addition, knowing your credit score can help you understand your debt. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), and each report will provide information about any outstanding debt. That way, you can learn about your debt and find ways to minimize it prior to purchasing a residence.

3. Account for closing costs and miscellaneous expenses.

Home closing costs will include your loan origination, title insurance and appraisal fees and often range between 3 percent and 7 percent of your total loan amount. You’ll want to account for these expenses as you establish a homebuying budget to ensure you can secure your dream house without delay.

Spend some time learning about all of the expenses that may impact your monthly home expenses too. For example, if you purchase a condo, you may face monthly homeowners association fees in addition to your mortgage costs. Or, if you plan to have a baby in the near future, you’ll want to consider how the costs of raising a child may impact your ability to cover your mortgage expenses.

If you ever have concerns or questions about establishing a homebuying budget, be sure to consult with your real estate agent. Remember, your real estate agent is available to help you in any way possible and will do what it takes to ensure you can establish the right homebuying budget.

Open house on 2/4/2017 at 3 Surrey Way Franklin, MA 02038

Date: 02/04/2017 Time: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM  
For Directions: feel free to contact me.  
For more information: click here for the full details  

Truly nothing to do but move in and enjoy this fantastic home that is situated on a premier lot abutting conservation in desirable, conveniently located Franklin Woods. This inviting 10 room home is the perfect for entertaining during any season. A spacious granite kitchen flows comfortably into a sun splashed cathedral ceiling family room with gas fireplace offering warmth and ambiance. First floor finds formal living, great sized dining room and office/bonus room. All 4 bedrooms are generous in size. Baths are updated. Laundry options on first floor & basement! At the back of the house you’ll find a screen porch, sun deck and patio that overlook a meticulous yard w/ heated (by natural gas) in-ground pool. Still plenty of space to throw a ball around and plant a garden! 2 systems for natural gas heat & air, windows have all been replaced for energy efficiency. Roof is under 5 years. Driveway, garage doors, pool liner, pump also recent. Don’t wait!