Don’t be Afraid to Have a Spooktacular Halloween ~ 5 Ways to Keep Kids Safe

Kids of All ages Love Halloween

But parents may be a bit more worried on the Spookiest night of the year.  We all want our children to have fun, but there are some steps we all should take to make sure it is a happy and safe night for all the little Ghosts and Goblins running around in the night.  After all who doesn’t want to dress up in a spooky costume and come home with a bunch of free candy?  But most moms and dads worry that hazards seem to be lurking around every corner during Halloween.  But if parents are proactive and prep their little witches and monsters they can all have a safe and enjoyable night of Trick or Treating  muaaahahahaaaaaaaa!

    1. Prevent costume catastrophes.

Minor bumps and bruises as well as more serious falls can be avoided with a bit of costume common sense. First, be sure they are flame retardant. Obviously we are not going to let the little critters carry any sort of actual fire or flames with them, but when  visiting various homes in the neighborhood, many people have lit candles or fire pits in their driveways or walk ways and our little ones may wander too near and have a terrible accident.  Secondly, make sure their costumes fit properly and are hemmed. Many of the little ones may already be a bit unstable or clumsy, so taking care to avoid tripping hazards is a good idea. Maybe there are “props” that go with the costume but this might make it a bit difficult for them to manage carrying and holding a treat bag, besides we all know who ends up carrying all the kids items, including the kids themselves by the end of the night, is mom or dad. Additionaly, you don’t want to let them go out with sharp or stiff objects with all the running around they or other kids tend to do, someone could accidentally run into your child, or they might fall down themselves, getting even more seriously hurt.  So take pictures with all the props before the trick or treating event starts, then leave some of the props at home.  Maybe use a face painted mask  instead of one that goes over their head or eyes, avoid ones that might obstruct their vision. And watch out for big or oversized shoes that could cause tumbles, wearing comfortable shoes /sneakers instead is a safe idea.

2. Make a plan for trick-or-treating.

If you are parent(s) with young children, say under 12 that you wouldn’t want out trick-or-treating unsupervised, and maybe you can’t divide and conquer so that someone can stay at home to hand out candy and besides they  don’t want to be left out of the fun.  If you have older siblings, they can pass out candy in the earlier part of the night when most of the young children head out, and then they can go unsupervised when mom and dad come home. Or hire a babysitter to either take your kids out, or they can stay at home being the candy giver. Another suggestion is taking turns with your neighbor friends each year and let the kids go out in a group, each year a different parent is in charge of the trick-or-treating group, a lot like the school car pooling. Parents, before you and your kids head out, have a conversation with them about boundaries and set expectations about curfew, behavior and safety. Stick to well-lit, familiar neighborhoods and stick with your groups.  Lastly, maybe feed the kids dinner before they head out. A lot of times it might be late before they return and then they end up without dinner, also this might help keep them from snacking on too much candy while out and about.

3. Check your child’s candy.

So the idea of feeding them, to help keep them from eating too much candy is only about trying to avoid the inevitable tummy ache.  But it also gives you a chance to check the candy before they indulge.  While cases of Halloween treats that have been tampered with are rare, it doesn’t hurt you to be cautious. Check over their candy and throw away any pieces that have holes or tears in the wrapper or other signs of damage like discoloration.  Try to pass on the homemade treats, they look yummy but it isn’t worth taking a chance.  Depending on the age of your “monster” you may need to remove items that could cause a choking hazard or an allergy.  An added bonus for you, you can snag some of your favorite pieces for yourself before it is all devoured.

4. Brush up on street smarts.

Having a plan and discussing the behaviors prior to trick-or-treating is all and good, but sometimes with all the excitement of Halloween, combined with sugar overload they might incur, can make even the most cautious kids forget to look both ways before crossing the street. Maybe you are accompanying them or they are on their own; either way,  review the safety skills before allowing them out for the night. Teach the children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Remind them to stay on the sidewalks and use cross walks rather than darting back and forth in the middle of the street. Obey traffic laws and use the pedestrian signal lights.  If your neighborhood doesn’t seem very safe, or it’s just in a much too busy part of town or maybe not a lot of the neighbors seem to be celebrating and handing out candy (You can use the “NEXTDOOR” app to get a map of which homes in your neighborhood is participating. And remember the courteousey, if the home does not have lights on its front porch/door. They are either not home, or not handing out candy, so move on to the next home.)  You can always go visit your local mall

mall-halloween  or a community haunted house offering spooky safe zones for the kids’ trick-or-treating.

5. Make sure your child is visible to drivers.

This was probably my number one fear when I took my kids out was fearing them being hit by a driver.  According to Safekids.org, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year.  It is a scary thought, but us parents being proactive prepping our little creatures of the night will help keep them safe.

All the kids should have some kind of light on them, a flashlight or a simple glow stick on a string around their necks (big and loose though).  These can be found at the $.99 store decorated just for Halloween.

halloween-glow-sticks

Try to discourage dark colors, but be sure to have some kind of reflective tape put on their costumes and bags. Having them travel in groups will make them more visible, especially now-a-days drivers are distracted with text messages and email alerts. But same with the kids, have them keep their phones in their pockets or bags and not be looking down while crossing streets. If everyone just stays a bit more vigilant and slows down this Halloween we can keep our kids safe.

referenced items from SitterCity and Garry Heaney

Stop The Vote!

 

stop-sign-clip-art-others-cleanclipart2-1024x1024

I know, I know ~ everyone says stay away from Politics and Religion unless you want to start chaos, but I think chaos has already started.  I am by no means a political expert. In fact, since I grew up on a island that is considered a U.S. Territory, I had very little exposure to the political world and we were not allowed to vote for the Presidency; so we really didn’t have a lot of family debates on those matters and what I learned about the political process and politics today is mostly from my life events.   I do know my father believed in being a Republican for his political views and I guess I grew up believing this was my preferred stance as well, “Less Government, more for the People.”  This was my upbringing in the 70’s and 80’s.

So I have been able to vote in the past 4 or 5 elections since I have been a resident in one of the contiguous states.  So for the times I did vote, generally I elected to stick with the Republican ticket.  Over the years, I have not always been a fan of the candidate that was chosen to represent our party, so I opted not to vote in those elections.  This is because I feel, as I am sure many others feel, we just don’t have a voice or either candidate just sucks and I choose neither.  Now early this year I was actually excited when I saw a Non-Career Politician was running for office, I said finally we are going to get to have some change up there in the Capital.  Sure I knew the TV version of Donald Trump from watching his Apprentice shows.  I knew he was very out spoken, intense, controlling, opinionated, a Real Estate Mogul, a Business man, etc., But what I was just really happy about is that he had not spent the last 20-30 years of his life on Capital Hill.  So I thought we had a shot to change up the elections this year!  Then “The Donald” began to speak, and all the crazy obnoxious things started to come out of his mouth.  I mean in the beginning the core of his ideas being different, outlandish, and making changes in the political world seemed fantastic.  But then the crazy Donald started to sprout.  I am not going to get into all the horrible things he is being accused of. We don’t have a lot of facts, just want the news media is printing and we know they are not as unbiased as they want us to believe, EVERYONE has an agenda nowadays; don’t be so naive.  I mean, I love how all these women are now coming out of the woodwork discussing the sexual exploits of Donald, but they happened years ago, and no one had anything to say then? Or the media bit with him and Billy Bush, just now comes to the surface??? And I am not taking his side. I am not excusing him, he is a pig no doubt.  But the point is, who I thought was going to finally shake up the political world, upset all the cronies on Capital Hill, get all the Lobbyist in an uproar (because we know they are the ones truly controlling the votes in Government ~ don’t get me started on that subject) has just turned out to be a complete ASS. And I am going to find it quite difficult to vote for him.  I am a republican by heart, but I just can’t see sending “The Donald” to the White House would be such a good idea for our Country.

OK then I thought; being a woman, I could change my political party and vote for the Democratic nomination of Hillary Clinton.  I think it is long overdue to have a female in the oval office, but what the hell???? I can’t even begin to say I believe in her. She has been gunning for political office since her parents stuck a pacifier in her mouth.  I truly believe everything she has done in her life was to get her to this point, which normally I would think was a great on her part. She has succeeded in being put on the ballot as our First female nominated Presidential candidate. But stop the Press!!! We really can’t be so blind and choose to elect Hillary Clinton to the White House just because she is a woman!  She is even more dangerous than “The Donald.”  She has lied to us.  She has been “in Bed” with the Political world for so long, I don’t think she really even knows what she stands for anymore. And to be honest, after she stood by her cheating ass, lying, scummy former President Bill Clinton husband just so she could keep her political career alive has made me a Hillary hater for a long time, besides; she is a Democrat, and I really couldn’t switch my political allegiance just because she is a woman.

So what do we do as Americans?  This is not what our forefathers envisioned for our government and the voting system. With all the checks and balances they thought they created so we would have a democratic process has gone in the shit hole.  We cannot stand by and let this vote just happen on November 8th.  Either Presidential Candidate is completely wrong for the United States, and if we were really smart WE WOULD STOP THE VOTE!  We stood up in 1870 with the 15th Amendment allowing African Americans to vote. Then again 1920 with the 19th Amendment    19th-amendment
and said Women had the right to vote. And again we called for a change with the Voting Act of 1965.  So we know it can be done, we can CHANGE the political world, we do not have to accept what the political process has dealt us so far. I believe the majority of Americans are not happy with the two choices we are being handed to vote for on November 8th. I don’t think most of us are undecided or confused. We are sad and upset that this is the best the system has to offer us. Every year it gets worse and worse who the parties send us to elect. And why because that is the way the system has worked for the past 2 centuries?  We have to STOP THE VOTE and make a change. This cannot be what was intended for us to do; to just sit back and take what they feed us. We are a country that stands for speaking our mind, for standing up to injustice, for rallying around what is right, not what is just meant to be.  I know this is not what is meant to be for us, so I know it is political suicide to take on a stance, but I knew I could not just let another voting year go by and stay quiet any longer. I only wish there was someone who could swoop in and save us from this madness, but no sane person wants to take on the debacle of the Presidency of the United States because they have made such a mockery of the system and all good persons would be destroyed in the process of trying to stand up for the people and trying to correct the wrong of our upcoming elections. Just sayin…

#stopthevote

What if Your Teenager Doesn’t Want to Move To Your New Arizona Home?

You’ve got a new job offer across the country and you are planning to pack your things, buy a Arizona home and make the big move. However, when you tell your 17 year old daughter your plans, she lets out a mournful wail and cries that it is not fair. How can you possibly take her away from all of her friends, her favorite hangout spots and the cute boy she just started seeing?

Moving house is a difficult transition and it is even more traumatic for teenagers. The teenage years are an important stage where young adults establish their individuality and independence and during this time their social circle is extremely important to them. Being removed from that against their will can make any teen feel sad, confused, angry and resentful. Also, fitting into a new social scene in a different location can be a challenge for a teen that might be singled out as the “new kid”.

How can you help your teen during this transition so that the experience will be easier on them?

How to Help Your Teen Move

Here are some tips that will make the experience of moving house a little bit easier on your teenager:

  • Give them as much notice as possible so that they have time to adjust to the idea of moving. They will feel like they have enough time to say goodbye to their friends and close a chapter of their lives.
  • Try to schedule the move around the school calendar, as moving in the summer is much less disruptive to your teen’s life than relocating in the middle of the school year.
  • Make sure that they have ample time to spend with their close friends before they leave and once you arrive, understand that they might go through a grieving process of missing their old pals.
  • When you get to your new home, make sure that your teen has plenty of ways to keep in touch with their old friends, such as an internet connection and a cell phone plan.
  • Encourage your teen to get involved in the community of your new hometown, such as joining sports clubs or attending events. This can help them to [make new friends][2].

Can They Stay Behind?

In some situations, the better option might be to let your teenager stay behind. If they are in their older teens, they will have finished high school, maybe have a job and be independent people of their own. Perhaps they could stay with a family member or parents of a friend for a while until they are old enough to move out on their own. This might make them a lot happier in the long run, rather than taking them along with you if they really don’t want to move.

For more advice on moving to your new Arizona home, feel free to contact me at jody.goodrich@century21.com or phone me at (623) 523-1410.

Links:

Angry: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/talk-angry-teen-5913.html

make new friends: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-to-make-a-bunch-of-new-friends-in-any-new-city.html

have a job: http://voices.yahoo.com/5-reasons-why-teenagers-after-school-331714.html?cat=25

[2]: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-to-make-a-bunch-of-new-friends-in-any-new- city.html

Back To School ~ Drivers be Careful

It is that time of year again here in Arizona, and more specifically in the West Valley in the Dysart school district.  But this obviously applies universally to any school area.  Our kids are most important to every parent, and I have been driving my kids to school for about 15 years, so I have seen a lot or crazy driver behavior out there.  Even if you don’t have children, and I think truly it is these drivers that may be a bit more careless; we all need to be conscientious and just plan thoughtful of everyone in our community.

So please take a moment this weekend to realize if you will be driving in or near a school zone on your way to or from work.  And if you are her are some suggestions”

1) Leave for work 10-15 minutes earlier

  • you may have to be held up by a school zone, where the speed is only 15 miles per hour
  • you may get stopped because of school bus loading or unloading children – remember – NO PASSING!
  • you may get stopped for the crossing guard at the crosswalk

2) Slow Down and Pay Attention

  • In general there are going to be more cars out there carrying kids
  • Kids will be walking and riding bikes and sometimes they make sudden moves or don’t always pay attention to the traffic, so we have to be watching for them

3) Brush up on the rules and driving laws

  • The fines for traffic violations in school zones are a lot more whenever they are violated
  • If everyone took a few minutes to know what they should and should not do, it would make it a lot smoother for all of us (especially the school’s drop off/pick up policy ~ don’t get me started on that one)

Below is some information I took directly from the City of Surprise Website, it is giving you the heads up about what the police will be doing starting Monday to watch for our children and some of the top complaints about back to school driving.

Police: Back to school, drivers watch for children
Surprise, AZ (July 31, 2014) Surprise Police will be enhancing enforcement in and around schools starting August 4. Traditionally, police receive numerous complaints regarding traffic and safety as children return to school after summer break. To ensure the safety of the children and parents, the Surprise Police Department would like to stress the importance of complying with traffic laws concerning, school zones, buses, crosswalks.

The school zone enforcement will be focused on the following concerns:

• Speeding in school zones
• Speeding near crosswalks
• Following to close behind school buses
• Passing school buses while loading or unloading
• Passing in school zones
• Not stopping when people are in the crosswalks

“Our officers will be highly visible around school zones,” said Sergeant Mike Ferrara. “We’re asking drivers to help us create a safe environment for our children by being alert and aware.”

So all in all we love our children and let’s help them have a safe and help them have happy school year.  We know they pretty much hate going to school as it is, let’s not scare the crap out of them trying to get there. Also remember to be courteous to our Crossing Guards.  They take a lot out of there personal time to help ensure our children make it to school safely morning and afternoon.  I know I wouldn’t be able to do this every day of the school year, so a special shout out to all of them and Thank You ~ Be safe EVERYONE!

Conventional Loans Allow Gift Money

I work as a Realtor with Century 21 Arizona Foothills and I have an awesome relationship with our Lending Partner, Lynn Gallett with Century 21 Mortgage.  Every Wednesday we have our office meetings which is a great opportunity for me to learn new things about the Real Estate and Mortgage Industry.

This week Lynn talked about some changes in their Conventional Loan Product.  One of the newest provisions that has been initiated is a change to the down payment allowances associated with obtaining a Conventional Loan.  The standard usually required a 5% or 20% down payment option to be paid by the Buyer obtaining the loan.  This money for the down payment has always been required to be the Buyer’s “own” money; otherwise, “gifting” was not allowed.  But Century 21 Mortgage is now allowing the Buyer to obtain a Conventional Loan, with a 5% down payment, that is gifted money, meaning a family member or friend can give the Buyer the down payment money as a gift ~ never to expect repayment of this money as a condition of the loan.  In addition, Century 21 Mortgage will consider Buyer’s with a credit score of 660 for this loan product.  Not ALL lending institutions will have this same loan guidelines, so it is very important that you “shop” your lending partner to be sure they are providing you with the best loan for your needs.

In my opinion, this change to the Conventional Loan guidelines will be huge to many buyers.  This gifting of down payment money has traditionally only be allowed with FHA buyers, but now we can include conventional loans in this process which will “open a lot of doors” for Buyers dreaming of buying a new home.

What we’ve been saying all along is true.

I just recently read this article from the LA Times, and although I live and work with real estate in Arizona, the story is exactly the same here.  I just had our weekly office meeting on Wednesday, and my peers in the office were just commenting on how the lack of available listings is hurting our reputation because potential buyers think we are lying to them.  Since I feel this article says it best, I am just going to attach the link for everyone to follow and read them selves.  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-inventory-20120610,0,1637144.story

After you have read the article, I would love to have your opion.