Stockman Farrar Group's Blog
A family vacation is great! It's an ideal way for parents and their kids to feel fresh and have fun after the daily grind at the office and the school. A family vacation also creates beautiful memories and strengthens the bond of a family. However, before parents plan out a family vacation, some essential things must tag along with them and failing to pack these things can potentially ruin the whole holiday. Apart from the clothes, do you think you know any other essential things? Take a look below:
- Driving license or tickets for bus, train or plane
- Camera to capture the moments as well as its charger to power up the battery when it gets low
- Mobile phone and charger
- Toothbrushes and paste
- First aid kit
- Mosquito repellent
- Ice spray
- Passport and visa document
- EU adapters
- Proof of relationship in case your children have a different surname
- Insurance documents
- Sun hat
- Sunscreen lotion
- Sand toys
- Towel, and wipes
Do You Have a Toddler?
- A bag of snacks is always a great idea. As the saying goes, an apple a day will keep the doctor away. When going on a vacation with a toddler, it is advisable to bring the snacks because a bag full of snacks will keep your kid's boredom away. However, you need to be careful about the kind of meals you bring along. Avoid sugary snacks if you don't want them to have a stomach upset.
- Cartoons: While on vacation with kids, ensure you load up your smartphone with some kids’ cartoons like Dora the Explorer, Peppa Pig, Wonder pets, etc. Kids shows are a lifesaver and would give you some alone time to rest.
- Toys: Even if the vacation is just a couple of days, make sure you bring some toys if you don't want to hear any whining or see any displeased faces.
- Extra diapers: If your kid is still using diapers, ensure you take some extra with you. Just in case things get messy. Kids can get very cranky if their diapers get soiled.
- Extra wipes: It is second nature for babies and toddlers to drop spits. Get a rolled tissue for easy cleanup.
- Garbage bag: Kids are known for creating a mess. With that in mind, make sure you have a garbage bag with you to dispose of the mess your kids will make, for those moments you aren't close to one.
Think about your everyday needs and cross check that with your travel needs to ensure you have everything necessary.
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Buying a home may seem like a smart financial move. However, it may not always be the right time or the right move for you. While buying a home is a great investment, you may not be ready to buy a home of your own. The following questions should help you to determine whether or not you are fully ready to buy a house in the near future.
How Much Money Do You Make? How Much Have You Saved?
buying a home is a significant expense. First, you’ll need quite a large sum of money for a downpayment and closing costs on the home. Second, to get approved for a mortgage, the lender will look at every part of your finances from your income to your assets. Once the home is purchased, you’ll also need quite a bit of capital for expenses including insurance, taxes, HOA fees, emergency funds, utilities, and furniture. You don’t want to buy a home only to be overwhelmed with costs. You want enough of a financial cushion to enable you to furnish your home, decorate your home, and not have a completely empty bank account. That’s why you should make sure that you do make enough money to buy a home.
How Much Debt Do You Have?
If you have established that your income is enough to buy a home, the next thing that you need to establish is that your debt isn’t too high. Before you enter into the adventure of homeownership, you’ll need to make sure that your bills are under control. These expenses include things like car loans, student loans, and credit card bills. Your lender will put your debt into consideration as a part of your entire financial picture. Your debt (including your proposed mortgage payment) should be less than around 36% of your gross income. Before you take the leap into buying a home, you’ll need to make sure that your debt is under control. If you need to take a step back and pay your bills down before you start house hunting, you should as it will make buying a home easier for you.
Are You Seasoned At Your Job?
In order to secure a mortgage for a home, you’ll need to show that you have been at the same job for a certain period of time. Your average income will probably be calculated based on how long you have been at the company and your job history. You should be able to explain any income gaps, changes in positions or companies. Otherwise, you’ll appear to be an unstable person to lend to. Lenders want to know that you’ll have a steady, stable income.
How Is Your Credit?
In order to secure a mortgage, you’ll need to have a good credit score. Check on your credit report when you begin thinking about buying a home. If your credit is on the low side, you’ll want to work on bringing that score up.
If you want to enjoy a successful homebuying experience, it may be beneficial to hone your house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns. That way, you can speed up the process of finding and buying your dream residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your house search.
1. Review Your Short and Long-Term Goals
Consider your immediate and long-term goals. By doing so, you can focus on finding a home that falls in line with your aspirations.
For instance, if you want to work in the big city, you may want to search for residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you have children, you may want to explore houses near top schools and parks.
Be flexible as you consider homes in assorted cities and towns, too. If you are open to homebuying opportunities in different areas, you may be able to quickly find a great residence at a budget-friendly price.
2. Obtain a Mortgage
With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can narrow your home search to residences that correspond to your budget.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, and you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists, and these professionals can help you determine which type of mortgage will suit you perfectly.
Also, you may want to ask questions as you review your mortgage options. Home financing specialists at banks and credit unions are happy to reply to your mortgage questions, and ultimately, help you make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
Finding a home in a particular city or town may be tough, especially if you try to navigate the real estate market on your own. Conversely, if you hire an real estate agent, you can get the help you need to discover your dream house.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will go above and beyond the call of duty to transform your homeownership dream into a reality. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and budget. Next, a real estate agent will provide you with details about available homes in myriad cities and towns. A real estate agent then will help you kick off a home search so you can locate your ideal house.
Of course, once you discover your dream home, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence as well. And if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will devote the necessary time and resources to ensure you can immediately finalize your home purchase.
Take the guesswork out of finding your dream residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of acquiring a terrific house that you can enjoy both now and in the future.
Making your own candles is a fulfilling endeavor to take. You’ll learn about the art of candle-making, get the chance to make something for your home yourself, and reap the rewards once you get to burn it and diffuse whatever (if any) fragrances you choose to use.
Many people are surprised to learn that it isn’t all that hard to make a candle. However, to make one that will burn well and smell nice can be tricky.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to make your own candle for your home.
In the times when households weren’t yet powered by electricity, candle-making or “chandlery” wasn’t just a fun skill to have--it was downright useful.
Since the earliest times in recorded history humans have been making candles. First from tallow, or beef fat, and then of beeswax and other animal-produced substances.
Today, however, the most common candle wax base is paraffin, due to it being the cheapest base. As a petroleum byproduct, many people are concerned with potential health risks of paraffin and have elected to use alternatives. The two most common are beeswax and soybean oil.
The wax base you choose is up to you, but you’ll likely find that soy is a good middle ground between quality and price.
Gather your supplies
Once you’ve decided on a wax, you’ll need to think about a few other ingredients--namely your wick, container, and any oils you’d like to add for fragrance. You’ll also need a way to melt the wax, such as a double boiler.
When it comes to wicks, it’s easiest to buy them pre-assembled. However, you can buy a roll of braided rope and tabs to make and cut them yourself. When cutting your wick, leave an inch or two extra so that you can cut the wick to the proper size later on.
In terms of a container you have several options, some of which might be laying around in your house at this very moment. You could reuse an old candle container, use mason jars or coffee cups, and most other heat- and flame-resistant containers. If you plan on making several, buying a pack of candle tins of mason jars online is an economical way to go.
Finally, you’ll need to choose some fragrances if you want your candle to smell like anything. There are hundreds of essential oils to choose from. However, they don’t all go nicely together. It’s best to do a bit of research and find out which oils make good pairs. Some examples: Cedarwood and bergamot, lavender and rosemary, orange and lemongrass.
Making your candle
Put water in the bottom of your double boiler and add roughly ½ lb wax to the top pan. Heat slowly until the wax melts, stirring and chopping up the larger chunks throughout the process.
Once the wax is melted, take your wick and dip the tab into the wax, then carefully press the tab into the bottom of your container. Use a pen or other tool to do this to avoid burning yourself on the wax.
Next, add your essential oils to the double boiler. A pound of wax typically requires only an ounce of oil. Then, stir it for a minute or so to distribute the oil throughout the wax.
Then, pour the wax into your container with one hand. With your other hand, keep the wick held in the center of the container.
Finally, you’ll need to keep the wick in the center of the candle until the wax dries. You can do this by tying or taping the wick to a pen or pencil and resting the pencil on top of the container so that the wick stays in the center.