Healthy Home Maintenance: 5 Repairs You Shouldn’t Neglect

Maintaining your home properly throughout the years can contribute to the health and wellness of your family. Keeping up with these simple tasks can be cost-effective in the long run for your property. They can also be easy to accomplish with the following tips:

Mold and Mildew

Whether you’ve experienced a flood or you have periodic bouts of water seeping into your foundation, you need to get this repaired immediately. Mold and mildew can be dangerous and may fill the air in your home with toxic fumes that can often go undetected. A licensed company can properly seal in any gaps where the water is leaking. They can also remove any mold or mildew that has already permeated your existing dwelling and rid the area of these dangerous allergens. Another area that can be easily fixed on your own is leaky faucets and fixtures. This can contribute to standing water in the home if left unrepaired. New hardware can be purchased inexpensively at your local hardware store.


Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer, and since it can’t be detected without the help of a machine, it can often go unnoticed. A radon company can easily perform a series of tests that can detect and remove the radon from the home. You can also purchase a machine from your nearest home improvement establishment and test the area on your own. The amount of radon can be measured easily with professional instruments.

Good Air Quality

Proper air quality comes from properly maintained and installed heating and cooling units. Your units should be serviced yearly by a professional and experienced company who performs a series of tests and tune ups to the equipment. This can alleviate allergens and poor quality to your home’s air systems. If you have a chimney and use it frequently throughout the winter months, you should also get it inspected each year. Unwanted pollutants and gases can be dangerous to the air your family breathes.

Windows and Doors

Weather stripping can come loose on your windows and doors as the years go by. This can cause your utility costs to rise and make your home difficult to heat and cool. Weather stripping is easy to add and can prevent air from escaping or entering in through your doors and windows. If your windows seal have been broken, you may need to replace them. You’ll find a number of energy efficient models that are kind to the environment and can save you money on your utility expenses.

Paint Safety

While today’s paint is environmentally safe and kind to Mother Nature, some homes still contain lead and toxic paint in them, especially in dwellings older than 1978. If the lead paint is in excellent condition, you can simply paint or wall paper over the existing material. However, if the lead paint is chipping, you will have to carefully remove it, apply a paint stripper and wash the walls before repainting.

There’s a lot that goes into the upkeep and general maintenance to ensure that your home is safe and toxic-free for your family. A search for a licensed contractor such as should be considered for replacing or fixing features of your home which need to meet specific regulations. The above money saving techniques can contribute to the longevity of your home and also help to keep the environment safe and clean.

Bad Driving Habits You Need to Change As a Family

Bad driving habits have always caused issues on the road, but the increasing availability of mobile technology is causing drivers to become more distracted than ever before. In a world that is constantly connected, it is important for drivers to pay attention to the road and to the bad driving habits of everyone else around them. The following five issues are among the most prevalent of the bad driving habits that cause accidents.

1) Texting – Sending and reading text messages while driving has become so popular that many states have made it illegal. This does not mean that other drivers will be following the law, however, so it is especially important to watch out for this type of distracted driver. Some states, such as Florida, have not passed anti-texting while driving laws yet, but it is only a matter of time according to a source at In fact, a recent poll shows that 71 percent of Florida residents want a texting ban to be put in place. Approximately 200,000 accidents are caused annually by texting while driving.

2) Phone Calls – Making a phone call while driving causes the driver to become distracted in multiple ways. First, unless they are using a hands-free device, they must interact with their phone to make or receive a call, and this causes them to take their eyes off of the road. Perhaps the bigger danger, however, comes from holding the phone and talking while driving. A lot of drivers become very distracted by this type of multitasking, and it causes approximately 1.4 million car accidents every year.

3) Portable Video Game Systems – Although the vast majority of drivers would not go so far as to play a video game while they are driving, there are many parents whose children will be playing these games while they are on the road. This can lead to distractions if the child encounters a difficult level or drops their portable game system.

4) iPods – There has always been a certain level of distraction associated with listening to music, but an iPod had the tendency to cause more of a distraction than listening to CDs or the radio. The reason for this is that the iPod has a scroll wheel that requires a driver to take one of their hands and their eyes off of the road while they are looking for something to listen to. There are no firm statistics on the number of accidents that iPod usage has caused, but it is best to select music while you are sitting at a red light

5) GPS – Navigational systems have become such a staple that many new cars ship with a unit already included. The ability to get directions to anywhere at any time makes GPS units a highly useful piece of technology, but some people are unable to utilize them properly without driving in an erratic manner. It is important for drivers to pay close attention to the road and the GPS to ensure that they do not end up swerving across several lanes to take an exit at the last second.

Whether you live in a state that has banned some of these issues or a state that has not legislated any of them yet, you need to remember the importance of focusing on the road instead of technology. Also, be sure to always keep an eye on the drivers that are closest to you. Even if you are avoiding the main bad driving habits, they might be distracted enough to cause an accident at any second.

Anthony Joseph is a researcher and freelance writer, and a contributing author for Being injured in an accident can be one of the worst things you can ever go through, especially when it’s at the hands of someone else. The way you can fight back is to make sure you have the right attorney to defend your case!

Top 5 Most Important Hygiene Steps to Teach Your Children

Many parents struggle with the idea of teaching their children personal hygiene. This is understandable; building a solid routine is no simple task. Here are a few of the most important tasks you need to focus on with your children, building long-lasting habits.

1. Showering and Bathing

One of the most important habits you will ever teach your child is to bathe regularly. The best way to teach this lesson is to make bath time fun. Turn a boring, plain bath into a bubble bath.

2. Washing and Brushing Hair

Some people have naturally oily hair that they must wash every day whereas others have hair that can go a few days between washes. Many children worry they will get soap in their eyes. Take away the anxiety by purchasing a special ‘no tears’ shampoo.

3. Managing Illness

One of the biggest problems parents experience is in teaching children to be aware of illness. Children who do not learn to blow their noses will go to school with runny noses. It is also important to teach children the importance of keeping their hands clean while they are sick or around others who are sick.

4. Hand Washing

No parent should overlook the benefits of proper hand washing techniques, especially from the very beginning. Hand washing can be taught in conjunction with potty training. Children should be washing their hands multiple times each day, especially after using the restroom and before eating. Make this fun by encouraging them to sing a song, like “Happy Birthday,” as they wash.

5. Brushing Teeth

One of the best ways to ensure that your child is spending enough time brushing and flossing is to buy a fun timer your child can set each time they begin their routine. Use a fun flavor of toothpaste or mouthwash and a soft tooth brush that your child will look forward to using. It is never too late to teach your child to brush regularly, discouraging cavity growth. While it is not possible to create a completely new smile in one day, each day is one step forward.

Ultimately, the children will only learn what you take the time to teach them. You should set an example by demonstrating good hygiene in front of your child. Wash your hands every time you eat or use the restroom. Blow your nose regularly and shower daily. Your child will pick up on these important habits in an attempt to emulate you.

April Labarron is a native of Southern California,  has her BA in English Literature from MSJC in Menifee, Ca. She views her freelance writing, not only as a career, but as her passion. Other areas of interest include; movies, food, singing, soccer, traveling, shopping and a continuous desire for learning.


How to Protect Your Family from an Invisible Killer

In 1984, Stanley Watras, a nuclear engineer at the new Limerick Nuclear Power Plant in Pottstown, PA, was leaving work on what seemed to be another routine day. Imagine his surprise as he stepped through radiation monitors at the exit doors of the plant, as all workers were required to do, and the alarms went off.

When no sign of a radiation leak was found in the plant, safety officials decided to investigate Watras’ home in Boyertow, PA. The radiation levels found in his home were measured at more than 100,000 times the normal background level! The health risks associated with breathing the air in his house were estimated to be equivalent to smoking 135 packs of cigarettes every day. Apparently, a natural radon ‘vent’ located below his house was pumping massive amounts of radon into the basement.

Smokers and Radon

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, killing about 21,000 people per year. About 2900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. The Surgeon General ranks radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking. A smoker who is also exposed to elevated radon levels has a much higher risk of lung cancer. In fact, smokers exposed to radon are 10 times more likely to die of lung cancer compared to people who have never smoked.

What is Radon?

Radon is an odorless and invisible radioactive gas that is formed by the decay of radium.. Radon is naturally emitted from the ground all over the world. It tends to accumulate in basements but can easily be found in other living areas as well. It can enter through cracks in the floor, or be emitted from the building materials of a house, such as stone, concrete, wallboard, and even wood. In certain geographical areas, the water supply itself can be a big contributor to the presence of radon.

Deep wells can draw radon from the ground into water that is used for bathing, cooking and cleaning. Even water from public systems may contain low levels of radon. Although radon problems are found in every state, in Indiana, close to 1 in 4 homes tested found elevated radon levels according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Testing for Radon

Protecting yourself and your family starts with radon testing. Low-cost, ‘do-it-yourself’ kits can be purchased online, as well as in various retail outlets, including hardware stores. Look for kits that display the phrase, “Meets EPA Requirements.” You can call 1-800-LUNGUSA to find out where to buy a kit. Testing can also be performed by a contractor who has been certified by either the National Radon Safety Board ( or by the National Environmental Health Association (

Testing is generally performed through short-term or long-term tests. Short-term testing is the quickest way to determine radon levels in a home. A short-term test will remain in a home for 2 to 90 days, depending on the detection device (e.g., charcoal canisters, “alpha track”, and “continuous monitors” among others). Because radon levels can vary from day to day, and from season to season, the results of short-term tests are less likely than long-term tests to be able to paint an accurate picture of a home’s average radon level throughout the year.. The average indoor level is estimated to be around 1.3 pCi/L compared to an average outdoor level of 0.4 pCi/L. Action should be taken if test results indicate an average annual level of 4 pCi/L or higher.

Various methods can be used to reduce indoor radon levels. These methods involve the sealing of floor and wall cracks, the changing of air flow into the home, depressurization (fans beneath a foundation draw air away from the concrete slab), and the use of pipes to remove radon gas from beneath concrete floor and foundation before it can enter a home. But because radon level reduction requires specialized knowledge, a contractor who has passed the EPA’s Radon Contractor proficiency Program (RCP) test should be used. Check with your local American Lung Association or state radon office for the names of EPA-qualified or state-certified radon contractors in your area.

Author Mike Woods is a part-time writer and real estate broker servicing the Indianapolis real estate market.

Keeping Your Family Cooler This Summer

Keeping Your Family Cooler This Summer

Summertime is typically filled with barbecues, swimming and other forms of outside entertainment, but this can be difficult when the temperature begins to soar. Fortunately, there are options that will allow you to continue comfortably entertaining outside, regardless of heat or even an unexpected rain storm.

For example, Australian residents have been using Sea Shell Patio Awnings to make sure that their outside events never need to be cancelled. As an added bonus, they also reduce a homeowner’s electric bill because they do such an excellent job of providing protection from the sun.

How Does a Sea Shell Awning Work?

The innovative radial design can fit into almost any area, and it can also be collapsed as needed. The awning was created with patios in mind, and it is large enough to offer a shady area for any outside entertainment. As an added bonus, Seashell Awnings are waterproof, so you will not need to send the party indoors if it starts raining. These awnings are also created from extremely durable materials, and this means that you will not have to worry about dealing with wind damage. In fact, if the wind does become too strong, the Seashell Awning will self-retract to keep itself safe!

What Impact Will a Seashell Awning have On My Home?

They provide obvious benefits for outside entertaining, but they can also help you dramatically reduce your electric bill. With even one strategically placed awning, you will experience an interior heat reduction of up to 15 degrees. When you consider how hard your air conditioning unit has to work in order to keep up with the hottest summer days, you will easily be able to understand how useful one would be.

What are My Options?

Seashell Awnings are stocked in a wide variety of sizes and angles, and they can also be custom-made to fit almost any space. In other words, any homeowner will be able to protect their patio, pool area and windows from sun exposure. Fortunately, there are also many different color options to make it easy for homeowners to find the right fit for their property.

Additional Benefits of Using an Awning

Patio furniture can easily become bleached by the sun, but you can avoid this frustrating problem by placing it underneath an awning. The protection this offers when it is near a window will also extend to all of the items that are inside your home. In other words, if you have furniture or art that you want to protect from the sun, you should definitely install awnings over each applicable window.

Although this kind of cover does require an initial investment, it will easily pay for itself by reducing your energy bill and protecting your belongings from sun damage. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to install at least one on your property, and you should also consider putting a patio awning over your pool deck and any other area where you do a lot of outside entertaining.

Affordable Ways Your Family Can Use a Shipping Container

Shipping containers typically have a short lived expectancy and their freighting usefulness can be outlived within a six year period. These large structures can expect to sit abandoned and taking up valuable space at the various shipyards for years and years.

Fortunately, businesses, builders and homeowners have found a variety of uses for the recycled containers, and they’ve gained recognition for their stacking abilities, efficiency and low-cost. The possibilities have been endless, and their uses have now included everything from homes, museums, hotels and so much more. Homeowners are also getting in on the action and realizing how versatile and convenient they can be. The following are five household uses for recycled shipping containers:


Not every home is set up with the comforts of a garage or shed and a recycled shipping container is the ideal storage setting for your lawn, garden and other household equipment. A storage container is durable, long-lasting and can withstand the elements to protect the gear that you don’t have room for in your home. You can also insulate the area and add shelving units and compartments to keep things organized and tidy. They are also roomy and spacious and can hold lawn mowers, snow blowers and other large items that you would normally put in a garage.


If you’re looking to enjoy hydroponic gardening at home, a shipping container is an inexpensive option. Hydroponic gardening has been around for ages and uses floating rafts covered in dirt to grow flowers, plants and food. The containers can be easily designed to store the plants and crops that you wish to grow, and you can restructure the doors and walls to allow enough light and sunshine into your space. You can also arrange the containers accordingly to fit the number of plants that you wish to house there. This cozy environment is sure to flourish and encourage your green thumb.


Shipping containers have been used to construct hotels, homes, museums and even a mall. If your home is short on space, and you’re fortunate to run your business from the comfort of your home, a shipping container is the ideal space for your office setting. By adding walls, paint, furnishing and flooring, you have the perfect home office environment to make your business a success. At you can actually rent retrofitted containers, already made into offices.


When it comes to recycled shipping containers, their uses have currently become endless. If you have a hobby you feel passionate about and are delegated to the basement or garage, a shipping container is the ideal spot to house your art studio, writing den or wood working shop. Simply add the finishing touches such as a fine desk, painting easel, work bench and more, and you have the makings of a creative escape.

Man Cave

Most guys want a room in their house where they can house their collectibles and hobbies. Shipping containers are the perfect place for men to escape for a little “me” time. Here you can design and decorate your space to fit your personality without hearing any complaints. You even have room to add a pool table and comfortable chair. Add a refrigerator and T.V. and you have the makings for a great place to watch the game.

Many individuals are conscious about the environment and worried about what happens to our precious land space. Shipping containers have limited use for their intended purpose, but many are taking notice and finding valuable uses for their afterlife.

Author Jonathan Billings is an avid entrepreneur with a passion for all things environmentally sound, and offers this post to raise awareness to the many uses for shipping containers. At you can rent or purchase a storage container for your next project – there are truly unlimited ways to recycle these durable structures!


Marijuana Laws, Your Teen, and DUI

Medicinal marijuana is currently legal in Washington, D.C. and 18 states. However, this does not mean that a person who has a prescription for marijuana is allowed to smoke it whenever they would like. In fact, because it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle when you are under the influence of a prescription medication that can slow your response time, it is still possible to get a DUI conviction even if you have been smoking marijuana legally. Therefore, it is important to fully understand how DUI laws work so that you can avoid dealing with any legal issues.

How do DUI Laws Work?

Every state has its own specific DUI laws, but the basics remain the same throughout the country. If you are pulled over because a police officer believes that you are driving in an erratic manner, you might be asked to take a field sobriety test. Even if you have not had anything to drink, you can still fail the test if you happen to be on any prescription medications that dull your response time. This can happen from a wide variety of drugs, so it is imperative to ensure that you follow the directions to minimize your legal risk.

Unfortunately, even if you or your teenager has a legal prescription to use marijuana, you could still end up with a DUI conviction. However, you do not have to be high at the time that you are pulled over to end up in legal trouble. If you are swerving or exhibiting any other suspicious behavior that causes you to be pulled over, it is possible that the officer will order a blood or urine test to check for illegal narcotics and certain prescription medications. Anyone who uses marijuana on a regular basis for medicinal purposes is most likely going to fail this test because the THC stays in your system for a minimum of two days. Depending on your height, weight and the frequency or use, you could even have THC residue in your system for as long as two weeks.

DUI Laws and Medicinal Marijuana

Your best bet is to ensure that no one who is using medicinal marijuana gets in the driver’s seat at any point if they are feeling even slightly high. Although they are still at risk when they are sober, the odds are much better that they will not be stopped by a police officer. After all, if they are sober, they should not be driving in an erratic manner. However, if you or a member of your family is arrested for a DUI related to medicinal marijuana, it is vital that you immediately contact an attorney who has experience with DUI cases.

Another strong consideration is the location of your DUI arrest or charges. After being charged with a DUI of any kind, you will want to hire local legal representation, such as a Hillsborough County DUI attorney if you live in southern Florida – as they will have the knowledge and experience to keep your legal situation from getting worse.

How Will a DUI Impact a Teenager?

DUI laws are much stricter for individuals who are under the age of 21. In fact, regardless of whether or not your teen is convicted of a DUI for alcohol or a prescription medication, they are likely to lose their license for up to a year.

Because it is risky to use medicinal marijuana and then drive, you should consider abstaining from driving if you are currently using it on a regular basis. If your teenager has a prescription, it is a good idea to give them rides as often as possible to help minimize their risk of getting a life-altering DUI.

Anthony Joseph likes to write articles that offer information to the public regarding DUI and related laws. Hillsborough County DUI attorney David Katz is only one of three board certified DUI defense experts in the entire state of Florida. Hiring the right attorney matters and can make the difference in protecting your right to drive.

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate End of a Great School Year

The school year is a time for hard work, extracurricular activities and evenings filled doing homework. It can also be a challenge for many to wake up early, catch the bus or walk to school. Closing the chapter on the finish of another session should be an exciting adventure for your children. The following are five fun ways to celebrate the end of a great year of education.


You can congratulate your children for a year filled with hard work, dedication and excellent grades with a banner. The banners can be placed on your front lawn, against your entryway, or inside the home. You can also display the words of congratulations along with their names. Your children will feel like movie stars when they see their names emblazoned on the banner in large print and a vibrant design.

Host a Party

If your child has finished strong by making the honor roll, you can host a party in their honor. Invite the other children in the neighborhood and have food, beverages and cake. If you have a pool in the backyard, you can make it an outdoor barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs and marshmallow S’mores. You can also enlist the help of other mom’s and dad’s in the area and make it group celebration.

Take to the Road

A weekend getaway or vacation is an excellent way for the family to celebrate. Whether you go somewhere over the long weekend or decide on something longer, your children will be excited with the prospect of traveling somewhere beyond their home and school. There are just as many places to visit nearby if the family can’t get away. Day trips are as enjoyable, and you’re bound to find interesting things to see and do locally, at water and amusement parks, museums, picnic areas, and the park district.

Learn Something New

Just because school is no longer in session doesn’t mean your children have to stop learning. Summer vacation is the optimum time for fun-filled educational activities. If your kids love to eat, teach them the basics of cooking by preparing a simple meal or decadent treat together. This is also a great time for kids to find a new hobby such as painting, playing a musical instrument, or baseball.

Make a Plan

Now that the summer is on its way, and there’s more freedom to do what you want over the course of the next few months, it’s a great time to implement a plan. It should include fun and educational activities that will keep the kids busy over the course of the summer. Signing up for day camp, reading and storytelling, creating artistic projects and sporting activities can fill up the summer calendar.

The close of the school year is a time for celebration, and finding fun and exciting ways for you and your children can be a rewarding experience for them. It’s also a great way to congratulate them on a job well-done.

Ieda Vincent is an educator and knows the importance of celebrating milestones and accomplishments such as the end of a great time of learning.  Why not celebrate your loved ones with banners from Signazon, a reputable online source. They have a wonderful inventory to choose from, along with free patterns, to allow you to be as original as you like in creating an eye catching sign that will impress your family.

The Environment Baby Needs to Ensure A Happy Health Lifestyle

Having your baby grow into a happy and healthy adult takes more than just feeding them the right foods and making sure they get enough exercise. It is about creating an environment for them that helps them grow into a well-rounded individual. It is about teaching them from an early age that they are important, that they are good, and that they are loved.

Right from the start, parents should strive to create an environment for their baby that is:

Truly Safe

Safe means more than just installing all the right safety equipment around the house. A baby also needs to feel safe in a way that they know their parents are always available to them. Thus, areas that are safe within the home are a must. A baby play yard is an item that can prove to successful for those who need their babies to feel secure and safe secure. Babies need to know that if they are happy, sad, scared, hurt or even angry that their parents will be there to comfort and reassure them. Safety is also about emotional security. 

You do not need to over stimulate your baby with countless toys, but you do need to provide them things that will peak their curiosity. Take the time to let them explore on a play blanket or place learning toys in their play yard. Let them listen to classical music. Give them pots and pans to bang around in the kitchen while you wash dishes. These simple things lead to greater curiosity about other things as they grow. This will create a desire to learn and that will help them throughout life.
Your baby needs to know that everything they try was good. Even if they do not perform the task right, they should be encouraged to try again. Not only does this promote good self-esteem, it creates character in your baby. If they feel they must quit trying something due to criticism, they will never learn to try anything new.
Babies need to be hugged and held and cuddled. There is something very reassuring for them to be held against you. It gives them comfort and a sense of love. It is also very nice for the parents. Never be afraid to hug your baby or rock them to sleep. The physical closeness that you share will create a bond that lasts a lifetime.
Has Boundaries
As much as we want our babies to grow and blossom, parents also must learn to say “no” and mean it. Babies that learn that “no means no” from an early age are less likely to have social problems when they are older because when they say “no” they also mean it. Having restrictions will also protect your baby and allow them to learn that their best interest is always your first interest.

Of course, these are not the only things that will ensure that your baby will grow to be a happy and healthy adult, but they are a great start. Everything you do with your baby will matter. You are their role model and their guide. They will learn so much from you. Setting a good example by using these guidelines will help them grow to be wonderful adults.

Writer and mother of two Nickey Williams uses these measures that lead to a happy heath lifestyle in children. Baby industry leader, InGenuity manufactures a washable baby play yard that fabrics zip off. Just toss it in the washing machine and easily zip it back on when clean and dry. It even comes equipped with a soothing sounds station that has five melodies and 3 nature sounds which will comfort most babies.

The Importance of Teaching Your Kids Emergency Preparedness

You never know when an emergency may strike. It may be a small life threatening situation or it could be a major natural disaster that involves the entire family. The earlier your child is involved in family planning, for various types of situations, the better their chance of reacting properly will be. 

Getting Started on Emergency Preparedness

One excellent reason for getting started on this type of training is that you may discover some areas for emergency preparedness that the entire family is not ready for. The reaction of your children could save the life of a friend, a family member or even yourself.

Your first step should be helping your child know the difference between day to day problems and situations that require the attention of a parent or adult. As you start this training process, you will notice your child start reporting events to you for action. Once this happens it’s time to start asking them, “What would you do if Dad or Mom had not been here?” This is the time to explain the use of the 911 call, emergency system.

Family Emergency Preparedness Plan

Your family should have its own emergency preparedness plan. This plan should be developed with the involvement of everyone in the family. Only portions of the plan that involve planning and storage of protective weapons should be done without the involvement of younger children.

Start your family emergency planning with discussion of how, where and when to evacuate the home in a safe manner. This will train and prepare your children on how to get out of the home if a fire was detected. Part of this training is to explain to your child that upon acting on the realization that evacuation is necessary, no effort should be made to stop and get favorite items. Your child needs to know that things can be replaced but family members cannot.

Timing of Training Topics

As your child gets older, more and more areas of emergency preparedness should be taught. The family should discuss first aid techniques and the types of natural disasters your geographical area might be involved in. Role playing and practicing for each of these possible events is an important part of emergency preparedness training.

Training should also include survival outside the home, if total evacuation became necessary. This should include topics like making fires, filtration of water, making of shelters and other activities, getting more complex as the training continues.

Throughout this process your children should be reassured that this training is for the benefit and protection of the entire family. They need to understand that emergency preparedness is not done because a specific situation is going to happen soon.

Author Bio: Annette Hazard is a freelance writer that is currently promoting disaster preparedness with items such as freeze dried food. She usually blogs about family issues and is a mother of one.