My house never seems to be warm enough and our heat bills seem to be increasing each month. We haven’t increased the number of times we shower a day or the amount that we use our gas stove to cook. What we seem to be adjusting each month or even each day is the temperature on our thermostat. I couldn’t take it anymore, both the cold breeze in our home and the rising prices on our monthly gas bill.

It turns out that our crawl space was the root of the problem and the cause of the cold air in our old colonial style brick home. We had specialists come out and take a look at our crawl space and we quickly learned that it was filthy since it was unprotected and had several unfinished surfaces. The dirt in our crawl space led to moisture, which was the cause of growing mold.

The air from our crawl space was leaking into the walls of our home, which was why it has been so chilly in our home the past couple of months. We are lucky that thankfully the air wasn’t too contaminated and did not cause anyone to get sick or anything.

We later learned that when you have a dirty crawl space with a lot of moisture it is an environment that insects, pests and wildlife gravitate towards. Our crawl space was clear of any wildlife or pests, which was truly a miracle.

The solution we chose to eliminate our crawl space issues was to install the CleanSpace Crawl Space Encapsulation System. The CleanSpace system essentially created a bubble in our crawl space, which works to keep the moisture out and locks in the heating and air conditioning. This bubble was installed on the floors and walls of our crawl space.

The system ensures that no moisture or toxic air is leaking through the walls into your home. Since we have installed the CleanSpace system we have watched our heat bills reduce by 20% a month, which definitely is nice to see. Now we can keep our thermostat at …

There are many people that are reviewing Yelp and FortuneBuilders not sure whether if they should buy a move in ready home or a fixer upper. Although, there are no easy answers to this question there are things to weigh when it comes to choosing what style of home that a person should purchase. A person should seriously weigh the pros and the cons for each option so that they can make an informed decision prior to being locked into a commitment to buy.
First, a “move in ready home” is just that; move in ready. There is very little work, if any, that needs to be completed in order for a family to move into it. There may be a little bit of painting or decorating that needs to be done, but that would be about it. There should be more major issues with the house that will need attention, and the price will reflect that. People that are not mechanically inclined should opt for this type of house since they would have to pay a contractor to do the work if they were to choose a “fixer upper”.
Next, a “fixer upper” home is a house that may need a substantial amount of work in order to make it habitable. Typically, it may need work done on the roof, plumbing, heating, electrical, or flooring and drywall. This is a great option for people that are looking to save money on their initial investment, and for those that are handy and know how to complete the work in order to make the house habitable. Many of these types of homes can be purchased for a lot less than a “move in ready” home; however, there may be a lot of work to be done on it. While some of the minor work can be done when a person is moved in, such as painting or minor plumbing work, the big jobs such as roofing, installing flooring, and re-wiring the house should be completed prior to moving in.
In conclusion, it is really up to the mechanical aptitude of the …


Baby-teeth jewelry and postpartum corsets were among the top parenting trends reported last year. Take a look at what moms are buzzing about this year on

The crowdfunded baby

Parents are starting Kickstarter or GoFundMe accounts for everything from first birthday parties to Christmas presents. “Two out of three moms are worried about having enough money to raise their kids – an 11 percent increase since 2013,” said Rebecca Michals, director of BabyCenter’s global community. “Crowdfunding may be moms’ way of trying to make it all work.”

Parents smoking pot

With the legalization of marijuana in several states, will more parents be indulging and, if so, what are the implications for families? “There are already several active BabyCenter groups about marijuana with nearly 1,500 members combined, and in 2014, conversations on this topic increased compared to the year before,” Michals said. “Many parents don’t think twice about having a glass or two of wine regularly to unwind, but we’re waiting to see if they will make the transition to marijuana.”

Germophobic parents

Some parents are changing the game when it comes to daily interactions with their children.Germophobic parents won’t allow their children to interact with anyone who’s not vaccinated, and they go above and beyond to keep their babies shielded from germs in general, usually by keeping them indoors and preventing friends and family from hugging or kissing their children.

– See more at:…

Cenergistic, formerly known as Energy Education, has done it again. They serve clients such as those in the health care industry, school districts, colleges, universities and churches. They help these organizations save energy so they can invest back into the lives they save.

This energy company has been able to create a module that will allow current structures to function better and save energy whether with the electric, gas or water. The company comes in does an evaluation on your spending in the areas of electricity, gas and water. Then it develops a plan that will allow that particular structure to use their module to save money over a series of years. They fee comes out as a percentage of the money saved.

One such structure that this module is being used for is the Mobile County school district. They are said to save over 75 million dollars over a 10 year span. If they can help this district save this much money, think of what they can do for you. With this module Cenergistic will be able to help this and other school districts be able to use the money they save on energy bills to develop educational programs to help their students succeed in their academic career.

Another area that Cenergistic is helping to lessen the amount paid in utilities is in the universities and colleges. These educational buildings have several buildings and campuses that need to be run. Some examples have been Hinds Community College and Jones Community College in Mississippi and Washington and Lee University in Virginia.

Health care facilities are another area that Cenergistic is revamping the utility cost. The University of Oklahoma has put this to use campus wise and has been able to reduce costs tremendously. The Presbyterian Communities and Service in Dallas Texas put this module into effect and showed results almost from the start

Churches use this module as well. They have been able to reduce costs that allow them to reinvest in their church to produce programs for parishioners and their congregation. Some examples are the Preston wood Baptist …

I used to think it was hard to find storage for all of my stuff, which is ironic since at the time I was only accountable for one person. Now having three kids and a husband, I have to organize not only all of my stuff, but the rest of my families as well. Storage seems to be the one limited feature in our home. When we moved into our new house two years ago, I was so excited to be in a bigger home, I didn’t care what our closets looked like. The longer we live here and the more stuff we seem to collect, the more space we seem to need.

We have decided to re-do a couple of the closets in our home in order to accommodate our somewhat chaotic lifestyle. Closet design is the perfect time to think about the needs of your family and what the best storage solutions are.

After assessing what areas of our home need the most organization, we narrowed it down to the mudroom and the master bedroom closet.

Currently in our mudroom we have one small closet, which has all of our coats jammed together, sports equipment and shoes all thrown along the floor. My vision for our new mudroom closet is to have individual spaces for each of my three kids, my husband and myself. These five cubbies will hopefully equate to the organization of my family. Each of the cubbies will have custom shelving for our shoes, coats, and hooks for more coats. My children will have baskets for their sports equipment, which will keep things far more organized than they are now.

As far as our master bedroom closet goes, there are so many intricate touches you can add to a walk-in closet today. I know that we for sure need hanging rods on both sides for our hanging clothes, shelving for sweaters and casual tops, and I wouldn’t mid shoe shelves. Actually that’s an understatement- I would be ecstatic to have shoe shelves in my closet where I can display all of my shoes. My husband …

As a mom of three children, five if you’re including my husband and our Golden Retriever Winston, simplicity is the key to my heart. Living in the East Coast definitely entails cold winters, rainy springs and unpredictable summers, but this fall and winter we just couldn’t seem to get our home warm enough.

After hearing my children constantly complain about how cold our home was and then seeing my husband walk around the kitchen with a scarf on, I decided to take matters into my own hands. From the beginning of October to the beginning of December our utilities bill was through the roof since our heat never seemed to be warm enough. A friend of mine suggested that I check our front door since she had a similar issue in her home, which resulted in the front door having cracks all along the sides of it.

I had a repair man come out and take a look and it turns out that my friend was right! Our main entry door had cracks all along its sides, which equated to the cool temperatures in my home. After researching the issue, I learned that front doors are one of the main places for air leakage in the home.

The solution to our issue was a storm door, which would create both a seal and protect the main entry door of our home. Main entry doors are very expensive to both repair and replace, but a storm door would provide this extra protection in addition to our main entry door.

Storm doors are made out of the highest quality materials, which can endure both time and weather conditions. Storm doors keep elements from outside from coming inside, which is exactly what I need.

I can’t begin to tell you the difference our storm door has made in our home. Now we have lower utility bills, less complaining, and a warmer atmosphere.…

As we are quickly approaching squirrel mating season, I felt that it was necessary to share with everyone my squirrel story from last winter.

Let me tell you, my daughter’s tap dancing shoes sound quite similar to the squirrels we had scurrying around in our attic. At first, I thought it was my daughter practicing for her dance recital on the mahogany hardwood floor, but then I realized my daughter wasn’t dancing and the noise was coming from the attic.

I was too scared to go in the attic and check out the situation alone, so I had my son go with me.  I saw something scurry across the wooden planks, and I just couldn’t believe we had squirrels in the attic.

My son screamed, “Mom, look!!” as a squirrel practically threw its body across the attic to be united with its other squirrel pals.

While researching for a pest control company, I stumbled upon some basic squirrel facts.

I learned that squirrels are around year round, but especially during mating season, which is coming up in February and March and then again in July and August. My encounter with squirrels took place in early February, which I later realized was mating season.

Squirrels can cause major damage to your home by chewing through your insulation and chewing through the siding of your house. In the fall, squirrels start to enter homes when it gets cooler in order to seek out a warm shelter and food.

When the pest control company came to my house they told me that squirrels like warm and dry places, which is why they are drawn towards attics where they can create large holes, which serve as squirrel entry ways.

The pest control company really did save the day. They did everything from remove the squirrels to prevent future squirrel encounters.…

This blog from the New York Times gives an opinion on “material parenting”:

As a parent and scholar who has studied materialism for much of her professional life, Marsha Richins had long pondered the following question: Does dangling goods in front of children as a reward for good behavior or yanking them away as a form of punishment contribute to materialism when those kids grow up?

After half a decade studying the matter as a marketing professor at the Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business at the University of Missouri, she says she believes that there’s a connection. Ms. Richins and Lan Nguyen Chaplin, an assistant professor of business administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago, are publishing a paper saying so in The Journal of Consumer Research in April.

Most of us get that materialism isn’t ideal, and research over the years has tied it to gambling, debt, marriage conflict and decreased happiness, among other things. So Ms. Richins was surprised to find that few people seemed to have looked into the potential drawbacks of what she and her colleague refer to as “material parenting.”

Plenty of research exists that shows that material rewards for things like good grades tend to reduce intrinsic motivation. But that shouldn’t be a reason not to study their use any further. “To me, it’s a big oversight, because parents reward kids all of the time,” Ms. Richins said. “You can’t just say that we’re not going to study it.”

And so she and Ms. Chaplin did, using retrospective surveys of adults answering questions about their current money habits and the tactics their parents used in rewarding and disciplining them.

Read the full post here

The winter time is approaching, and it is very important to do a little bit of window and window sill cleaning in homes. For those that have any replacement vinyl windows, small rectangular openings on the bottom of the window frame’s exterior may definitely be visible. These are known as weep holes. These weep holes actually allow any rainwater to drain out of the window while still allowing the window to be open for some fresh air. Windows can get pretty nasty over time with a lot of buildup from pollen, dirt, and ordinary debris. That’s why it’s important for some cleaning to take place.

Removing as much of the dirt as possible is one of the first steps one should take when cleaning the window sills. This should be done before any water gets added. If this is not done before, a muddy mess will be followed, making cleaning a lot more difficult. If the area is dried, using a paper towel or a shop vac is useful for removing any debris. If the windows sit on the first floor, this can be done from the outside, making the job a lot easier. Vertical tracks should also be paid attention to because these can get a lot of build up within them as well.

Rinsing with soapy water is the next step after removing any dirt and debris. Pipe cleaners can be used to clear any debris to the weep holes, making sure that they are free-flowing. A couple of rinses is necessary with plain water after the use of soapy water. White vinegar is definitely essential for the window tracks. It is very effective for cleaning. An old toothbrush may also come in handy for loosening any dirt within the crevices. For windows that are double hung, raising or lowering each sash to the entire length of the track is essential. Follow this by wiping the rest dry with a paper towel.

Once everything is cleaned, they should be kept this way. Applying a coat of floor wax is a trick that professionals use to keep them …

With the high cost of housing coupled with the stress of selling one’s home and looking for another place to reside one’s family has outgrown the home being resided in or the home is outdated and needs repairs, remodeling it makes sense as opposed to selling and finding a new home.

Most home owners when they remodel typically remodel the kitchen or one or more bathrooms. Since fall is here and winter will soon be upon us, a bathroom remodel as opposed to a kitchen remodel at this time of year makes more sense primarily due to the fact that most homes have more than one bathroom but only have one kitchen. Most importantly, with Thanksgiving in several weeks and Christmas and New Years the following month, remodeling the kitchen this time of year for most people particularly if you have a large family does not make a lot of sense.

Bathroom Remodels

Studies have shown that a bathroom remodel is dollar for dollar the most cost efficient way for a homeowner to increase the equity in his or her home. Most bathrooms with the exception of a master bathroom are typically no more than twelve (12) by ten (10) feet in size which is one-hundred and twenty (120) square feet.

Insulating the walls of the bathroom (if they are not insulated) and installing water saving featured toilets and sinks are several ways that a homeowner can be energy efficient.

In remodeling a bathroom a handy homeowner can do most of the entire operation himself or herself. New cabinets and a new toilet are typically ordered. The old cabinets, shower, toilet, and bath tub are removed. Assuming there will not be any repositioning of the old fixtures in the room, the existing water pipes will not need to be repositioned.

If the shower is a tile shower, the tile needs to be removed and new tile installed. Likewise, if the old flooring is linoleum, most homeowners remodel with tile flooring and have a water heating system on demand installed in place of the old standard water heater that either runs …