Gunning Daily News

Fresh Start: Innovative Organizational Tips

November 30, 2012 2:08 pm

BPT— Whether you're celebrating a new job, new house or new member of your family, fresh starts and major life events herald a time to rejoice. While you're feeling good about a positive change in your life, it's also a great time to get organized so you can focus on what's to come instead of worrying about where to find this or where to put that.

A large-scale reorganization of your home, office or life can seem like a tall order, but if you do it right, it can save you a lot of trouble down the line. And whether you're moving or doing some rearranging, it makes sense to take the opportunity to pre-organize to ensure a smooth transition.

One of the biggest organizing mistakes you can make is putting things away only to forget where you put them the next time you need them. Labeling as you go can help avoid future stress and messes that could lead you to reorganize everything all over again.

Here are a few labeling and organizing tips that will help you keep everything in order and avoid headaches down the line:

* Use expiration dates: If you're installing a new smoke alarm, place a label on it so you know when it's time to change the batteries. After you've cleaned and reorganized your refrigerator, make a habit of labeling leftovers to remind you when something's about to expire and help simplify things the next time you clean the fridge.
* If you're moving: One of the easiest ways to make sure boxes end up in the right place is to label them clearly with the proper destination. This is helpful whether you're hiring movers or doing it yourself. If you know the boxes will immediately go into storage, don't forget to label them and, if need be, keep a simple spreadsheet that tells where each box ended up so you know where to look for it.
* Seasonal shifts: Do you find yourself in a tizzy every time the weather takes a turn, tearing apart your closet or wherever you thought you put your hat and gloves? Dedicate a storage area for seasonal clothes and decorations, and place them in labeled containers to ease any stress caused by the shifting seasons.
* For new babies: Preparing for a new arrival is a joyous - yet busy - occasion. Labeling where you keep the clothes, diapers, bibs and other necessities can help sleep-deprived parents or visiting caretakers locate everything baby needs without having to dig through drawers and cabinets. If you use day care services, you can also label bottles and personal items to make things easy on your day care provider to avoid mix-ups.
* Eliminate cord confusion: When you peer behind your entertainment center and find a mass of cords, it can be a bit of a guessing game if you need to pick out the right one to move or disconnect. Save yourself some trouble and label each cord so you don't have to face this dilemma each time something needs to be unplugged.

Source: visit www.brother-usa.com.

Tips for Choosing a Health Insurance Plan

November 30, 2012 2:08 pm

Family Features—Over half of all Americans will need to make choices about their health insurance by 2014, and already, millions are making decisions about their Medicare drug or Medicare Advantage plans. But many people struggle with choosing the right plans for personal health care insurance, family plans, or deciding on behalf of a loved one.

Studies by Consumers Union have found that many people are overwhelmed with the number of health plan options there are, and they often don’t know where to begin. Many looking for health insurance also:

Dread shopping for health insurance.
Will take short cuts in order to just “get through” the process.
Are confused by jargon.

These difficulties can mean that too many people overpay for their health insurance and still don’t get the plan that’s best for them. In fact, many seniors are spending more than $500 extra per year on medication coverage because of the drug plan they selected. A major reason why Americans struggle with these choices is that they don’t have complete and easy-to-understand information about all the health plan choices available to them.

Know Your Options
Reliable information about health insurance options—what they cost and what they cover—is more critical than ever. So many people turn to online sites to help them compare different choices.

Existing health insurance decision tools often steer consumers only toward health plans that have paid to be listed. The basis for their evaluations is biased because they only represent some insurers. They also often require the user to share personally identifiable information.

Understand Plan Details
You need to understand the differences between the various plan features so you can make a fully informed decision. Before you make a final decision, be sure you are clear on what those benefits are.

Check the “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” forms for each plan you’re considering.

If you have any questions, speak directly with your plan’s representative and make sure you get a clear understanding of how the plan will work for you.

Your health care coverage is too important to ignore. Doing some homework now can save you time and money, and help you take better care of your loved ones in the future.

Source: www.HealthPocket.com.

Word of the Day

November 30, 2012 2:08 pm

Close. Act of finalizing a transaction in which all the concerned parties meet to transfer title to a property. Also, when real estate formally changes ownership.

Q: How Do I Find Government-Repossessed Properties?

November 30, 2012 2:08 pm

A: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acquires properties from lenders who foreclose on mortgages that it insures. These properties are then available for sale to potential homeowner-occupants and investors only through a licensed real estate broker. HUD will pay the broker's commission up to 6 percent of the sales price.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also acquires properties as a result of foreclosures on VA guaranteed loans. These acquired properties are marketed through a property management services contract with a federal bank that then lists them for sale with local real estate agents.

5 Things to Consider before Transferring a Credit Card Balance

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

If you have good credit but carry a credit card balance, you may receive offers to transfer your balance to a different card. If the APR you are paying is 15 percent or more, this may a good time to save a lot of money by transferring your balance to a card with an introductory 0 percent interest rate for a year or more.

If you currently have a balance of $5,000 and an APR of 15 percent, switching to a 0 percent rate for a year will save you $750 in interest payments, say the frugal folks at stretcher.com, a website devoted to the pursuit of saving money.

But there are several things consumer should consider before making the balance transfer:

  1. Is the balance transfer free? – Many cards come with a balance transfer fee, usually 3 or 4 percent of the total amount you transfer. Before applying for a balance transfer card, do the math to see if the amount of interest payments you save with the introductory offer is more than the balance transfer fee that has to be paid.
  2. What’s the long-term rate? – If you think you will be unable to pay off the entire balance during the introductory period, pay attention to the interest rate that kicks in when the introductory rate expires. A low APR for the long-term could be more important than what you save during the introductory period.
  3. Can you commit to paying on time? - If you transfer your balance, you must pay your bill on time every month. If you have one late payment, your introductory rate will likely end and you will pay the ongoing APR on the entire balance.
  4. Does the offer include new purchases? – The introductory rate may only apply to the balance amount you transferred. If you expect to use the new card for new purchases, check to see whether the same 0 percent rate applies to new purchases.
  5. When can I close the old account? - It takes about four weeks for the balance to be transferred. Make all required payments until you confirm that the balance transfers were made – and transferring a balance does not automatically close your old account. If you want to close that old account, contact the issuer directly.

Winter Workout Tips

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

(Family Features)—Just because the season has changed, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your workout routine. Here are a few winter workout tips from Aaron Ruth, strength and conditioning coach at St. Vincent’s Sports Performance in Indianapolis, which works with more than 300 professional and amateur athletes. You can stay fit no matter what the temperature is outside.

Don’t Skip the Warm Up – In colder weather, your muscles are tighter, making them more prone to muscle pulls and strains. Spend a little more time warming up your body to help you avoid injury.
Stay Hydrated – When it’s cooler outside, you generally drink less water – but when you exercise, you still sweat and lose fluids and electrolytes. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and during your workout to avoid dehydration.

Dress in Layers – Exercising generates body heat and sweat, and when sweat starts to dry in cold weather you can get chilled. Dress in layers that can be removed when you start to sweat. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material which will draw sweat away from your body. Then add a layer of fleece or wool, and top it all off with a waterproof and breathable outer layer.

Protect Your Extremities – When it’s cold outside, the body tends to concentrate blood flow to the core, which can leave your hands, feet and ears susceptible to frostbite. Wear gloves, warm socks and a hat or headband.

Have a Post-Workout Refueling Plan – What you put in your body after you work out is just as important, if not more, than what you put in it before. After exercising, refuel and rebuild your muscles with essential carbs and protein.

Wear Sunscreen – It might be cooler outside, but you can still get sunburned. Choose sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and has an SPF of at least 30. Don’t forget to protect your lips with a lip balm that has sunscreen.

Vary Your Routine – Beat the winter workout blues by changing up your routine – and by having fun. Get the whole family moving by doing things together such as building a snowman, going ice skating or sledding, making snow angels, and having a snowball fight.

Source: www.rockinrefuel.com.

Seven Ways to a Healthy Home: Make Wellness a Priority this Winter

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

(BPT) - During the winter months, it's important to take extra care of your home, your family and especially yourself. In addition to taking steps to prevent cold and flu viruses that are common at this time of year, you should also pause to relax and recharge, if only for a few minutes each day. -
Luckily, there are a number of simple, yet impactful ways to keep the entire household in good health. Here are seven examples to get you and your family on the right track toward winter wellness.

Pencil in cleaning

Routine household cleaning keeps clutter - and germs - at bay. Corral loose items into decorative bins and baskets, then use disinfecting wipes on common high-touch areas such as faucets, door knobs and light switches to reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria. Be sure to dust regularly, as dust particles often contain pet dander, chemicals or other irritants that have the potential to aggravate allergies. If you have any sensitivity to cleaning products, try a natural solution of equal parts water and distilled white vinegar to clean everything from windows to appliances.

The power of a shower
Installing a new showerhead can go a long way in improving your frame-of-mind, whether you use your shower to awaken your senses on a cold winter morning or relax at the end of a long day.

For the dogs
Pets are extensions of our families and should be treated as such - even when it comes to bathing. These four-legged friends have the tendency to bring many allergens into the home. To minimize this problem, dogs should be bathed regularly and wiped down with a damp cloth when they come in from outside. A handheld shower is perfect for bathing kids and pets alike.

Sweeping surprise
For years, we have counted on vacuums to get rid of dust and allergens in our homes. But, it turns out that the machines we rely on to clean our floors and furniture may actually be making them dirtier. A recent study by researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia found that many vacuums - especially older models - actually suspend harmful allergen particles in the air, increasing our exposure to them. If you have an older vacuum, consider upgrading to a new one with a HEPA (High-Efficiency-Particulate-Air) filter, which releases less dirt and bacteria into the air than a standard model. Regardless of the age or features of your vacuum, clean it regularly to ensure a healthier sweep.

Door etiquette

Dirt and pollen are often brought into a house on the shoes of guests and family members. Adding a door mat on both sides of a door and having everyone promptly remove their shoes upon entering can significantly cut back on what is being tracked inside. The Carpet and Rug Institute estimates that up to 80 percent of dirt and allergens can be caught with a washable door mat - keeping your family healthy and your floors clean.

Air it out
One area many homeowners might not consider when it comes to a healthier home is the mattress. Although changing your sheets weekly is an important ritual, delay putting on clean linens to allow time for mite-friendly moisture to evaporate. Now you'll have a clean mattress to go along with your clean sheets.

Winter workouts

The perfect prevention for winter illness - from cold and flu viruses to a case of the winter blues - is exercise. According to Neil Schachter, a professor of pulmonary and critical care at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, any kind of moderate daily exercise can improve lung and immune function by enhancing the ability of virus-attacking white blood cells to ramp up the immune response. If you can't get outdoors for a daily walk during the colder months, consider purchasing a treadmill or stationary bike, beef up your workout video library or pick up an active game, like Just Dance -or Dance Central, for your motion-activated gaming system to kick germs to the curb.

By following these helpful hints, you and your family will be better prepared during the long winter months - preventing the spread of germs and making wellness a top priority.

Source: Moen

Word of the Day

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

Caveat emptor. Latin for “Let the buyer beware.” Under this legal phrase, the buyer is expected to judge and evaluate property carefully before buying, or purchase at their own risk.

Q: What Are the Disadvantages of Buying Foreclosures?

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

A: Buying directly at a legal foreclosure sale is risky. Among the disadvantages:

There is no financing. You need cash and lots of it.

The title needs to be checked before the purchase. If not, you risk assuming a seriously deficient title.
It may not be possible to inspect the property’s interior before the sale. So you have no idea of the property’s condition.

Foreclosures are routinely purchased “as is,” which means you cannot go back to the seller for repairs.
Also, estate and foreclosure sales are the only property sales that are exempt from some state disclosure laws. In both instances, the law protects the seller – usually the heir or financial institution – who has recently acquired the property through adverse circumstances and may have little or no direct information about it.

Holiday Home Fire Safety Tips

November 28, 2012 3:40 pm

Decorate and entertain during the holiday season with caution and keep safety in mind. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, during Thanksgiving approximately 2,000 house fires happen with 69 percent of the fires caused by cooking. During the holidays, an estimated 128,700 fires and 1,650 injuries, along with 415 deaths occur with close to $25.5 million in property damage.

Review the following tips to make the holidays safe for you and your family.

Holiday Decorations: Be aware of toxic decorations which may be poisonous. Use non-combustible, flame-resistant materials. Never use lighted candles on a tree, evergreens or other flammable materials.

Lights:
Check for loose connections, broken or cracked sockets or frayed wires. Use UL approved lighting. Fasten lights to the tree and prevent bulbs from coming in contact with the needles or branches. Turn off all holiday lights when leaving home or retiring for the evening.

Trees
: Be sure a natural tree is fresh and less likely to become a fire hazard. Cut two inches off the trunk and place in a sturdy water stand, water daily. Keep the tree away from fireplaces, wall furnaces and other heat sources. Use 'fire resistant' artificial trees.

Portable space heaters: Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible and operate only when you are in the room. Never leave a space heater on overnight or near children and pets.

Cooking: Avoid wearing loose clothing which can be ignited by hot burners. Turn pot handles in. Don't store items on top of the stove, they can catch on fire. Turn off kitchen appliances after use. Turkey fryers should be used outdoors and away from buildings and flammable materials.

Fire Escape Plan: Know your escape routes. Have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen, laundry room, and garage. Never burn greens, papers, or other decorations in the fireplace. Working smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, test them monthly, replace batteries every six months.

Know who to call in case of an emergency: Keep contact numbers handy for the police and fire departments, doctors and the national poison help line. In case of emergency property damage, contact a licensed, professional fire damage clean up and restoration company.

Source: www.pdrfortworth.com.