The idea of camping is vastly different to each of us. If you have spent time camping as a child, it can have a Christmas/holiday type excitement. Then, as you start to drift back down from reminiscing, logic and reality spark. How many diapers do we need? Did we pack toys? When should we leave so that nap is not interrupted? Do we have enough room? Will we be warm or too cold? The list goes on…
When camping with kids it’s always easier and more fun to go with other friends who have kids because it takes a village..lol This will allow the kids to have a blast while entertaining each other, creating memories and exploring nature. It will also give you the time needed to unplug from the trenches of parenthood and drink a beer with your fellow soldiers.
This was our first camping trip as a family and we decided to rent an RV. We used RV rental outlet in Mesa AZ. They were awesome and very easy to deal with. Most of our friends have pop-up campers. We realized, after renting an RV, that it’s nice to be able to disconnect from the pop-up and have a vehicle to go into town and or explore some trails. We later purchased a pop-up because of this and a few other reasons.
Where to go? Are you trying to escape the heat? It was helpful to check the weather in the area that you are thinking of visiting.
In AZ you usually want to be above 6,000 feet in elevation to get 70/80s when its 105+ in valley. Most of lower lying areas like Payson and Prescott still hit 100s during the day in the summer. This can make things the opposite of fun quickly.
We decided to go to a campground, Yavapi Campground to be exact, that requires reservations, has bathrooms, is closer in proximity to town and is 3 hours or less from Phoenix. Keep in mind that cell service can be non-existent in some of these areas. If you have a job that requires checking in, this could make or break your true relaxation. Research the options for connecting to ensure that you can connect when needed but still enjoy the feeling of being disconnected. Verizon service was the strongest and existent in many areas while AT&T had no service anywhere at the campground.
When to go? Make sure to check availability especially if traveling on a holiday. Campsites fill up quickly and most are reserved for holidays 30+ days in advance.
The drive up to Yavapai was super simple from Phoenix. Mostly I17. Consider the traffic going north on Fridays and south on Sundays. It’s best to hit the road before 3pm or after 6pm.
Yavapai Campground is 10 minutes from downtown Prescott, food & supplies. It is less than 1.5 miles from Lynx Lake. It’s within walking distance to the campground but beware, it’s downhill to the lake but uphill all the way back. It might be best to take the car if you have little littles.
The next thing we did was make a “to do” list a few days in advance, listing all supplies from clothes (be sure to include warm clothes for nighttime) to household supplies like dish soap, paper towels and garbage bags. We planned to make and eat most of our meals at the campground so the list continued with cooking supplies, food, snacks, cookware and storage supplies. Of course, we could not forget the most important part, S’mores supplies!! We did work out a “meal share” plan with our friends which basically means each family is in charge of one meal feeding the entire clan. We each took our turn and it worked out great!
We had a great time and would fully recommend this campground to anyone looking for family friendly Prescottcamping areas.
Matt Lambert is a local Realtor, super Dad and lover of the great outdoors. Find out more about Matt at EvoAZ.com.
Want to live close to the great outdoors but still be close to the freeway system and work? Located at Val Vista and McKellips, this 4 bedroom home is not only affordable but in a great location, just a quick drive to the lake or mountains! Details here or call 480-250-0023.
Why does Lou need to “learn to adult”? This sounds like a silly question, and it probably is, but by answering it you’ll get to know more about me, where I’m coming from and why I need to learn how to adult at this age.
I was born a very long time ago in a small town in Ontario, Canada. My cousin, JP, was my best friend. We were born 40 days apart. He’s older. We even went to kindergarten together. And then we left that town and my best friend behind because my birth father, or “sperm donor” as I call him, was not a very good person. My Mom, older sister, younger brother and I moved a province over to a slightly bigger, small town in Manitoba, Canada.
I went to a Catholic elementary school for grades 1-6. I made many good friends and was quite happy. Then my Mom met my Dad (Step Dad technically, but he adopted us and raised us, so he’s my real Dad). Again, we packed up everything we knew and moved to a city a couple hours away. Keep in mind, computers hadn’t really been invented yet, so I didn’t get to keep in touch with all my friends on social media.
I had a sister join the family when I was 14 years old. She will never live down the fact that every time I babysat her, and told her to do something she would utter, “You’re not the boss of me”. Surprisingly, I still like her.
I struggled starting Middle School in a new city and a new school that happened to be several times bigger than I was used to, and I not so gradually took a wrong turn. It just got worse in High School. I made bad decisions and ended up dropping out of High School in my last year.
Luckily, a few years later, my Aunt went back to get her GED and I decided to join her. It turns out that I graduated from the same High School as The Man, in the same year. We just didn’t know each other yet. My GED classes were at night. And I was “significantly” older.
I got the odd job, mostly retail, and I actually enjoyed working with people. Even though a healthy portion of them did not play well with others. I had no desire to continue my education formally. At that moment. I lived with my then boyfriend and our cats. After my seven and a half year relationship ended when I was 25, I kinda crashed for a bit. But then I started to learn how to be alone, how to do things for myself.
Early the following year, I met my knight in shining armor, The Man, and he wanted to take care of me from our very first date. I had no problem letting him. It was hard to be an adult and I felt that six months of it was enough for me. We got married a year and a half after meeting (on a date that I had picked out three months after meeting). I went to college for “Studies in Special Needs Child Care” because I was passionate about those sweet souls. A few months later, The Man got a job offer in Oregon. We had to take the chance for an adventure.
An adventure it was….
I was a “Stay at Home Wife” for the first three years of living in Oregon. I didn’t have permission from the Government to work. Since it was the Government telling me that, I didn’t want to risk it, so I didn’t really do much work around the house either. And then I became a “Stay at Home Mom” and had a different excuse to not do much around the house.
Fast forward to twenty-two years later, and I’m wondering why I can’t do much for myself. This is not to blame The Man at all. He took care of me out of love and I let him out of laziness.
Maybe there’s something about seeing the big 5-0 looming in the not-so-distant future that makes one think, “What am I doing with my life?” It could be the fact that the kids are getting older and I want them to do more around the house. Or maybe it’s the constant arguing about someone not being able to rely on the other someone with important matters. Maybe. We may never know.
Let’s start with a topic that is very personal to me. Talking on the phone. I absolutely hate talking on the phone. Hate! At one point, the voicemail on my cell phone said, “Hi, it’s Lou. Are you sure you can’t just text me?” I hate calling my family just as much as I hate calling the IRS. No offense to them, but my family is crazy.
I think part of the reason is that I have a bad memory, so any time I talk on the phone, there is no record of it that I can refer back to. Another reason, and one that explains why I like to write instead of talk, is that I can’t think quickly on my feet. I need time to digest what was said to me and how I want to respond. I need to be able to edit my thoughts, and doing that while on the phone just leaves awkward silences. But, in order to be a grown-up I need to do this, so I will practice. Before I make a call, I’m going to practice what I want to say. I may even make notes.
Once you get up the courage to make a call, what are some ways to do it properly?
For example, if you are calling a business about a job that you just applied for, try this; “Hello, my name is Adam Adult. I’m calling to speak to the manager about an application I submitted” Sounds way better than, “Ummm, can I, like, talk to the manager”.
Another pointer, that I have to mention to my kids constantly, is how to answer a phone. Say, “Hello”. Could it get any easier? Even a quick, “Hi” would suffice. Stop picking up the phone (and for those in this century, pressing the button to answer the phone) without saying something!
Next up we should discuss communicating with people face to face. That tends to happen in real life, too. You need to make a good first impression when meeting someone new. When speaking with someone in person, do your best to look them in the eye. I know for some people it’s hard to do, but it’ll get easier the more you do it. Use a firm grip when you’re shaking someone’s hand. There’s nothing worse than limp hand. So gross. And stand up, for Pete’s sake. When they are speaking, listen. Don’t listen to interrupt and respond. Listen to hear what they’re saying. This actually goes for every time a person is speaking to you. When you’re with someone, a nice thing to do is to ask them questions about themselves. It’s not all about you. No one wants to sit there and listen to you talking non-stop. Trust me.
Now that you’ve practiced speaking to a real human in real life, the obvious next step is to speak in public. Yes, in front of a group of real humans. This is going to take a lot of practice for some people. Some people just have a natural ability to speak in public. Those people must be wizards. It’s just not normal. But we’re learning.
Step one, and I think the most important, for speaking in public would have to be knowing something. Please educate yourself on the subject. And then maybe learn a bit more, just to be safe. Practice what you know until you’re confident on the subject matter and what you want to say.
Hooray! You’ve survived your speech, now what? I’m sure you’ll be surrounded by many adoring fans. If you don’t know them, you can introduce yourself. It’s true. Look ‘em in the eye and say, “Hi, I’m Gloria Grown-up, it’s nice to meet you”.
What happens if you have two people that you know, but they don’t know each other? Don’t panic! Introduce them. There’s no stopping you now. They say that you’re supposed to speak to the “more important” person first. So, you’d have to say, “More Important Person, I’d like you to meet Other Person. Other Person, this is More Important Person”. But, that sounds so archaic. Maybe just pick the person you know the best or have known the longest and do it that way.
Now get out there and be a good grown-up!!
Moving? Visit EvoAZ.com for current and upcoming homes for sale, perks for sellers, local info and more.
Before you know it, fall will be upon us. That means that you have to prep your home’s air conditioning for this cooler season. Check out these tips from Armer Air Heating & Air Conditioning LLC:
Invest in draft snakes to prevent warm air from seeping out and vice versa.
Re-caulk gaps and repair weather-stripping on windows, piping, and foundation to save money on heating.
Change the air filter to alleviate autumn allergens and pathogens.
Call an expert to clean vents.
Run fans clockwise to reduce heating costs.
Lower temperature of water heater to around 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
Schedule an HVAC maintenance check-up. To avoid emergencies and costly, unexpected repairs and replacements, this phone call should be made seasonally (every 3 to 4 months). For the fall, a professional should perform the following tasks on the central system:
Clean air ducts.
Check for correct amount of refrigerant.
Test for and seal leaks in ducts.
Measure evaporator coil’s airflow.
Verify correct electric control sequence.
Inspect electric terminals, and clean and tighten connections.
Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear.
Check thermostat’s accuracy.
Change your thermostat settings. When you change your clocks, change the temperature settings on your air conditioner’s thermostat, too. With cooler temperatures, you should increase or decrease the temperature based on your comfort.
Run the heat. The first time you turn on the heat for the fall, it’ll smell. Usually, that burnt smell is dust that’s settled on the heating components over the last few months of being stagnant. It’ll go away quickly and, if the heat doesn’t come on, call an HVAC professional.
Clean or replace your air conditioning unit’s air filter. Regularly clean and/or replace your air conditioning unit’s air filters about once a month (and always during the change of season). This routine cuts down on allergens and pathogens in your home and reduces your energy bill between 5 and 15 percent.
Remove natural debris from around the condenser unit. By the end of summer, dirt, grime, weeds, and leaves build up around the condenser unit. This can potentially disrupt clean airflow and hinder the efficiency of your HVAC system during cold weather.
Use a hose to remove all natural debris and clip overgrown grass. You should also rake any grass clippings, leaves, or weeds.
Clean your unit’s coils. The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over the summer months from your lawnmower (and through the fall as the leaves change). This dirt reduces airflow and can cause your A/C unit to absorb heat. Clean the exterior area around the coils and remove any debris.
Shut off the unit’s power. Shutting off the unit’s power averts any risk of condenser damage if someone accidentally switches the thermostat setting to “cool” during the fall. Look for a shut-off box on the exterior wall near your condenser unit and flip the switch inside.
Tip: Next spring, don’t forget to turn the power back on 24 hours prior to using the A/C unit.
Add extra insulation. Use foam pipe covers around the air conditioning unit’s exposed pipes and wiring, particularly those that go into your home. You can also use duct tape to keep the foam insulation in place and to stop pipes from freezing and cracking.
When looking to buy a home, there are a lot of things to consider: how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, 2-story, 1-story, Pool or no Pool. Deciding on the best loan program isn’t usually the first thing that is considered, but it’s very important in the home buying process. Some of the main questions to consider:
What programs are available with my credit score?
Which program requires the least amount of down payment?
What program will give me the lowest payment?
Do I have to pay mortgage insurance?
No two home buyers are the same, so the best loan for one buyer is likely unsuitable – or even unavailable – to another. You’ll want to make sure you find a good loan officer to help you make a final decision.
The main loan programs available are:
FHA loans are very popular with First Time Home Buyers. The popularity is understandable. With a small down payment requirement, lenient credit score standards, and flexible income guides, the FHA mortgage is making homeownership available to a many people who have been stuck renting for years. The benefits of an FHA loan:
3.5% down payment required
Credit scores as low as a 580
Past derogatory debt (like Bankruptcies and Foreclosures) require shorter waiting periods
Lenient income qualification
Is insured and guaranteed by the federal government
VA loans are for those who served in the military. VA loans play an important role in helping those who serve and have served to buy a home because no down payment is required. Other benefits of the VA loan:
Mortgage rates are typically lower than Conventional Loans
No monthly mortgage insurance required
You can reuse your VA loan benefit
You don’t have to be a first-time home buyer
VA is very lenient on past derogatory credit. You only need to wait two years after a Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, or Short Sale to qualify.
Is insured and guaranteed by the federal government
A USDA home loan is a zero-down payment mortgage for eligible rural and suburban homebuyers. The program is designed to “improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.” Key Benefits of the USDA Loan:
No down payment required
Low monthly mortgage insurance fees
Lenient credit scores and income limits
Applicants must meet income limits of the program
Buyer must purchase a home within USDA-eligible areas
Is insured and guaranteed by the federal government
A Conventional mortgage is a home loan that isn’t guaranteed or insurance by the federal government (like FHA, VA, and USDA are). This program offers flexible down payment options (as little as 3% down) but requires higher credit scores and is stricter on income and past derogatory credit. It’s a great option for buyers with higher credit scores and larger down payments because rates tend to be lower than and mortgage insurance is cheaper. Key benefits of a Conventional Loan:
Down Payment as low as 3%
No upfront mortgage insurance (like FHA, VA, and USDA)
No monthly mortgage insurance with 20% down
Loan amount up to $453,100
Unlike FHA, mortgage insurance is cancelable with 20% equity.
Senior Mortgage Banker Ryan Gilliam is a lifelong Arizona resident. He attended Dobson High School in Mesa and graduated from Arizona State University with a Business degree. He’s been in the mortgage industry since 2004 and has always been committed to client education and helping them through the entire mortgage process.
Traveling to new destinations is so much fun, but the question is how to get there. Yes, you can drive, but that only gets you so far and it can take a long time. As a family we love to fly, it’s fast and simple once you know what you are doing.
First, figure out the logistics of the trip:
When to Fly: When choosing your flight consider length of the flight, age of your child, time zone changes, and price of the ticket. When Ethan was 5 months old, we did a red eye from Honolulu to Phoenix. The timing worked well because he was small enough to sleep anywhere and we all slept for most of the flight. That being said, we have found that generally the kids are not going to sleep on the flight for a nap. There’s just too much noise and activity. If they do fall asleep, it’s at the very end of the flight when they have to be still for landing. We shoot for a midmorning or evening flight and just know that the kids won’t sleep well during the day and will need to go to bed early. Midmorning is nice because you don’t have to wake up early to leave, but you aren’t rushed by the end of the day.
Where to Sit: We always sit about 2/3 of the way to the back of the plane. We like to be closer to the bathroom (but not too close), but also not in the front where all the serious people sit. It does take a little longer to get off the plane, but we don’t mind because we typically end up waiting for our luggage at baggage claim anyway.
Next, here are some great tips for navigating airplane travel with little ones:
Show up early: Kids are slow. It’s much easier to navigate the airport, manage security, and find your game without stressing about time.
Check your Car Seat with the Luggage and Your Stroller at the Gate: When the kids were smaller, we didn’t put them in car seats on the plane. If you do, then you can take it through security and buckle it in when you board. We always chose to check the car seat but bring the stroller into the airport. The stroller is an amazing tool to have in the airport especially if you have more than one kid or your kids are runners.You can use the stroller to hold the kids or the luggage and you can check it right at the gate. Just make sure to get a tag before boarding.
Have a Plan to Get Through Security: When we go through security, I manage the kids and Victor manages the luggage. This is the most efficient way to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. If it’s just me and the kids, I make sure our luggage is through security and then the kids and I go through.
Board with Family Boarding: Many airlines offer family boarding. Take advantage of this. You can possibly board before your ticketed zone, find overhead storage for your bags, and settle the kids.
Meet the Pilot: Many pilots are happy to meet the kids before the flight. My kids started doing this at about age 3 and love to meet the pilot on every flight.
Go potty: Before you land, make sure anyone who is potty trained and might have to go, goes to the restroom. Ethan has a habit of telling us he needs to go potty when we land and it’s nearly impossible to get to the front or the back of the plane while everyone is waiting to get off.
Pick up Your Luggage: After we get off the plane, we had over to the baggage claim. We let the kids stretch their legs, go potty if needed, and take our time. By the time we get there, we hope that our bags are ready and we can continue our adventure!
Use these tips to navigate airline travel like a pro! What’s your best tip for traveling with kids? Please leave us a comment! We’d love to hear from you.
There will be volunteers to help, but waiting for them costs delicious time!
Bring food rather relying on school lunch, at least the first couple of days. Waiting in line takes time! Wait until your child is familiar with the cafeteria and with the time allotted before trying out the cafeteria offerings.
Pack a lunch that your child can easily open. Consider practicing at home a few times to make sure!
Provide foods that can be eaten efficiently. Cut your fruits and veggies. Halve or quarter your sandwiches.
Have kids help with the packing process. They will know what’s in their lunch box and can develop a plan of attack!
Make sure you’re packing something that will look just as nice after being banged around a bit! A beautiful, nutritious lunch in the morning might not be so Pinterest worthy by lunchtime!
Well school has started. Time to get back into a school year rhythm. Back to getting things accomplished around the house. Or maybe time to get your own head back on straight with a nice bath and Netflix binge.
It’s also time to start packing lunches for your kids.
Sure, you could browse Pinterest, which will initially provide inspiration, but will eventually leave you feeling a little… less than. I mean who can keep up with this craziness?
Obviously, this is awesome, but who can come up with these ideas, never mind actually execute them, on a daily basis?
There is absolutely no need to get so elaborate. It adds pressure in an already difficult job. Of course, if you want to take advantage of an extra pot of coffee every so often and get really creative, I won’t stop you.
The good news is that you don’t have to. There are a few things you’re looking for when packing your child’s lunch. You want a mix of nutrients in order to cover your nutrition needs and keep your child’s little belly satisfied the whole day. Learning creates such an appetite!
You want to send your child with a colorful lunch. It’s beautiful, which means it’s more appetizing. Colors represent different nutrients, which means that by giving carrots, kiwis, and grape tomatoes, you’re hitting different micronutrients. This will also help protect them against all those nasty bugs that always accompany the back to school season.
Protein is important for building those muscles as they grow, but it also helps cue the brain into that fullness signal and helps keep your child going throughout the day.
Fat also signals the brain that you’re full. But fat also helps build up the nervous system, which impacts development of fine and gross motor skills. In essence, it helps build the brain!
Carbohydrates get a bad rap these days, but the truth is that the body uses carbohydrates for fuel. Our bodies take fuel that we provide as food and turns it into the only efficient form of energy that can actually be used in the body, glucose. Grains provide fiber and micronutrients that are very helpful to a hungry belly and growing body. The fiber in whole grains helps keep kids regular. The B vitamins help to release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
But, as I explain in this Nap Time Nutrition segment, it can be too easy to make all meals grain-based. They are quick to prepare, travel well, store well, freeze well, and are readily accepted by even the most selective eaters. So, it’s important to plan your day of meals (or week, or month if you’re way more on top of this than I am) so you can have an easy visual of the variety in your nutrition.
Variety is key. In this info graphic, I have broken down school meal options into major nutrient categories to help ensure variety while keeping it simple.
And if you do really want to spice it up and you’re looking for a middle of the road type of creativity, add a note, maybe a sparkly note. Draw a cute picture to add in your kid’s lunch. Or even hit up Amazon for some Kid Pick Forks or Eyeball Toothpicks.
Kindergarten…it’s a hot topic amongst Moms in Arizona. We start school here SO early compared to parts of the country. Growing up in New Jersey, we started after labor day so the cut-off dates were different. My Mom also told me that Kindergarten wasn’t as rigorous when I was young.
In Arizona, the cutoff to enter Kindergarten is generally August 31st. Your child would have to be 5 years old by the cutoff date to enter Kindergarten without having to take an early entrance test. However, there is an option in most districts to test in for children whose birthdays fall between September 1st and December 31st. But, is it a good idea?
When speaking with some of the 5,000+ Moms in the MOMnationAZ Facebook Group, it’s a pretty common theme that most would rather have their boys wait to start so they will be older than many other kids in the class. Generally, boys mature at a slower pace than girls and benefit from being older. Girls are more favorable for early entrance because they are usually more mature and advanced. One Mom said, in California the cutoff is December 31st. She mentioned one of her kids that she thought would do great, ended up struggling and the other ended up thriving. It was still recommended to hold them back when they moved to AZ because the school they chose was more rigorous. A few teachers that chimed in said they can definitely see the maturity difference in the kids who are younger vs older. Still, kids will be kids and each are different! Many Moms commented that their kids tested in early and are still thriving years later!
A few things to think about if you want to test your child in early:
Have they gone to preschool in a classroom setting? This helped our daughter tremendously with her knowledge and social encounters. She was reading by the age of 4 and knows all of the topics that are on the list of what they will learn in Kindergarten. She also learned sharing and working with others.
Do they know the items on the Kindergarten readiness sheet? It’s not all just academic. A few of the items are:
Can they put on their jacket or backpack themselves?
Do they separate well from their parents?
Can they open their own snacks and lunch?
Can they wipe their own butt? HAHA. Mine is still learning!
3) Think about the future:
They will be the last to drive in their grade. Since you can get your license at 16 in Arizona, I considered this a non-issue. She will still be able to drive almost 2 years in High School.
Boys may be smaller than others in their class and have a disadvantage in sports.
Girls would be entering high school at 13 years old which is not comforting to some parents, especially their Dads.
You’re probably wondering what to do if you want to test your child in early. Here’s the process that we went through. Each school district may be different so do your research! I would start planning at least a year ahead to prepare your child. Start researching schools and their policies and talk to other parents with kids in that school.
I called the school district office in March to ask when they would be doing the early testing. The lady put me on the list and called me in April to schedule the test.
Send in payment for the testing (if applicable). It was $30 in our district.
The day of testing (in June), we checked in in the library and they had coloring sheets for the kids. Our group was mostly girls and one little boy. When it was time to go back, the teacher had them line up and go to a different room. They observed who separated well and who listened to directions.
My Daughter’s Review of What They Did in Testing (Varies by District)
They were instructed to draw a circle and write their name inside the circle. Then, they had to place a sticker above their name and then cut out the circle.
She said they did some practice with identifying letters, but didn’t fully explain.
The teacher read them a book and I’m guessing that she was watching to see how they sit still and listen.
Afterwards they colored a caterpillar and started to cut it out.
She specifically told me that she listened when the teacher said to push in their chairs.
About a week and a half later we got the letter that she was accepted into Kindergarten! The teacher does evaluate each early entrance child at 30 days to determine if Kindergarten is a good fit.
Our district does a 3 day Kinder Camp type of program to get them used to the classroom setting. I highly recommend this if your district offers it! My daughter loved Kinder Camp! I feel this made her first day of real Kindergarten so much easier especially being a little fish in a big sea!
Meanwhile, I’m over here about to cry my eyes out because my baby moved from her wonderful Preschool into Kindergarten!
Jen Duncan, super MOMmy of one special little lady, fearlessly guiding local MOMs and Dads through the real estate process with extra ninja prowess in new construction. SEARCH new homes here!
It’s a loaded question for many. I mean, in this group, we are all moms. So that means we sometimes lose our identity in the shuffle of caring for everyone else. Being a MOM is the most challenging yet rewarding adventure in the world! That being said, mommas still need their own identity. Finding what they love, where their passion is, and how they want to spend their time. So where do you start? How do you figure out what you want to be when you grow up?
Well it turns out that there are actually counselors who do just that! They talk with you, learn about you interests, needs and wants. Then work to partner with you to find a degree program to meet your personalized needs. So cool right! Best part is that some of these counselors have worked in the education industry for years and actually help you navigate to resources you may not have known about prior. So if you are considering finding yourself and what you want to do, get in touch with an experienced counselor today!
That’s not all, did you know some school counselors help you with not only the figuring your life part out, but also with everything else. From figuring out your finances, scholarships, and other funding sources you may not be aware of. To preparing for success within your program. Heck the good ones even show you resources about what potential job outcomes you can earn with your degree, salary ranges, etc.
AWESOME home for sale in Ahwatukee brought to you by EvoAZ.com! Here’s Katie Halle Lambert presenting this amazing opportunity on Cox Cable broadcasted in California and other parts of Arizona. MORE INFO and PICS here
TIPS TO REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION WITH CENTRAL AC USE
Home heating and/or cooling, depending on where you live, are your largest home energy consumption activities. Here in Arizona it is certainly home cooling. Here is our extensive list of tips to greatly reduce your energy consumption via central air conditioning. You may not be able to use all these tips but you could certainly employ a number of them.
A house that is slightly cooler than the outside feels far more comfortable than you might think. Relative temperatures can go a long way. So when it’s 100 degrees outside there is no need to try to create a 60 degree environment inside. 77 or 78 degrees Fahrenheit is only slightly above ideal room temperature and can be plenty comfortable when it’s far hotter outside. Your AC system will not need to work as hard to maintain that kind of temperature.
Use Digital Thermostats – they are more accurate and can be programmable to set different temperatures for certain times of the day.
Dial down your thermometer a couple degrees at night – cooler evening temps make for a better sleeping environment and it easier for your system to bring temperatures down a bit more in the cool night air.
Dial it up a few more degrees for times of the day when there is usually nobody home. A cold house does not keep you cool if you’re not there.
Don’t position heat-producing appliances, such as televisions or lamps, near the thermostat. The added heat can fool your thermostat, causing the unit to run longer than necessary.
CRANKING YOUR THERMOSTAT WAY DOWN DOES NOT SPEED UP HOW FAST YOUR HOUSE COOLS DOWN!!
Don’t do this. It does not work. AC units only have two settings – off and on. When your thermostat detects your house has warmed too far past your setting the AC unit kicks in and will run until the thermostat detects the house has cooled enough. Cranking it farther than usual means it just runs the same but probably for longer since you’ll have a tendency to forget to turn it back up, meaning you’ve let it run too long and consumed more energy than you needed too.
CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING MAINTENANCE
The central AC unit is the largest energy draw. Old and poorly maintained equipment draws far more energy.
Replace old air conditioners with a modern high efficiency Energy Star unit – they use a lot less energy (up to 40%)
Choose the right size air conditioner – too small a unit will struggle to keep up and run constantly, too large a unit will cool your home too fast and frequently be turning off and on while not doing enough to reduce humidity.
Check the air filters on your AC system – replace them on schedule. Dirty and clogged filters cause the system to work harder, using more energy.
Schedule a yearly maintenance with your HVAC contractor to ensure your units are running at peak efficiency.
Install window tinting on sun facing windows – residential tint film is designed to cut UV rays substantially
Plant trees and shrubs around your house – their shade will help keep the house cooler
Paint your house a lighter color – darker colors absorb solar energy, lighter colors reflect it away
Make sure your attic is properly ventilated, your roof absorbs a lot of heat. Vents in the eaves allows hot air to escape. Consider adding a ridge vent or attic fan.
REDUCE OTHER INTERNAL HEAT GAINS
Besides the sun there are many things and activities around the home that produce heat.
Turn off pilot lights on gas furnaces and fire places – you don’t need them during the summer
Cook outside – It’s summer, enjoy the BBQ as much as possible on hot days
Install compact florescent bulbs, they produce a lot less heat than incandescent bulbs
Turn off appliances – even unplug them. Many TV’s, CD players, satellite TV receivers, stereos, cell phone chargers and other electronic devices draw power and give off heat even when turned off.
Keep your fridge and freezer full – more food in your fridge and freezer means it won’t warm up as fast when the door is open. Also all that thermal mass stays cooler longer and the fridge does not have to work as hard to keep it cool. When the cooling system is running on your fridge it is producing warm air in your home.
Take shorter showers and vent off the warm moist air – open a window while showering.
Reduce clothing dryer use – hang clothing outside if you can. Don’t use the dryer during peak daytime temperatures, instead use it early morning or in the evening. And keep that lint trap clean!
Don’t use the dryer setting on your dishwasher. Instead open the door and let them air dry.
DIVIDE YOUR HOUSE INTO ZONES
Large buildings employ zoning to more efficiently manage cooling and heating. You can do the same in your home. Most modern central air systems will employ automated zone control systems. Some home systems may employ two or three different central ac units each cooling a single floor of the house. If your system does not have these sorts of zone controls built in you can try these tips.
Have your HVAC contractor install zone dampers into your air duct system.
Close off empty and unused rooms – close doors, windows, curtains and vents. There is no need to cool this space as much as the rest of your home.
If your central AC uses separate thermostats for different floors (or zones) of your house, adjust temperatures according to usage patterns in those parts of your house.
Use small room AC units in your more lived in areas (living room, bedroom). You can let the rest of the house remain a few degrees warmer, reducing central a/c use which can offset the costs of the extra unit.
KEEP THE AIR FLOWING
Use fans – they circulate the air around and moving air help your bodies natural air conditioning (evapo-transpiration) work better.
Turn fans off when you’re not in the room. Moving air cools your skin, moving air with no skin nearby cools nothing, it just eats electricity, and the fans’ motor is producing a little bit of heat.
Re-Arrange your furniture – make sure chairs and sofa’s are not blocking air flow from your HVAC vents.
REDUCE HUMIDITY IN YOUR HOME
Ridding your house of excess humidity will help make your family feel more comfortable. You may even be able to set your air conditioner above 78 degrees when using a dehumidifier combined with fans. Your body can stand a couple extra degrees if the air is drier and moving around.
Use a dehumidifier to take water out of the air- turn it on when the temperature rises.
As mentioned above (reduce internal heat gains), minimize showers, baths and boiling water while cooking to reduce humidity inputs into your home.
INSULATE AND PLUG AIR LEAKS AROUND YOUR HOME
Trap cold air inside as much as possible. Letting it leak outdoors mean you have to cool more of it to replace those cold air losses.
Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.
Seal air ducts – leaky ducts mean you push less cool air to where you need it. Have your AC contractor test and seal your duct work.
Increase attic insulation – insulate your attic to at least R-30.
Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans sparingly – you’re pumping out your cool air.
WATCH OUT FOR THE “REBOUND EFFECT”
If you follow many of the tips in this article you will certainly reduce your energy consumption and save money. Depending on where you live and the size of your home those savings could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. A nice chunk of change for most anybody. Be careful though not to simply use the money you save to buy more energy consuming devices or turn your AC down a few degrees thinking you can now be cooler while spending the same as you did before. In energy and conservation economics this is known as the rebound effect.
Your life is probably just as busy as mine. There’s work…and maybe you run a business or two. Kids, pets and significant others appointments, school and other activities. Then there’s laundry, keeping the house tidy and well stocked, groceries, bill paying, vehicle maintentance and meal prep. Someone’s got to make sure the bills are paid, the insurance is current and prescriptions are filled. The landscaping, home maintenance and pest control needs to be kept up. Every year the taxes have to be filed and maybe, just maybe this is the year you are buying or selling your home.
Phew… I’m tired just thinking about it. Are you?
Are you feeling defeated? Like there isn’t any balance? Either your house is clean or you get to spend time with your kids? Either you eat healthy meals or the laundry and landscaping get done. Doesn’t it get a little stressful around tax time when turbo tax isn’t working right or you aren’t sure about the deductions? Then there’s the house… did you disclose appropriately to keep your butt out of court in the future? Did you price the house right? Stage it appropriately? Do you know where to market and how to market? Is that stranger really interested in your house or are they casing the joint and seeing what you have for a security system so they can rob you blind later?
Now I’m not only tired, I’m super stressed.
Back in the day, it was cool to DIY. Your parents probably changed their own oil, did the landscaping and taxes, etc. Most likely they were always sick, tired and really grouchy. Do you find yourself following in their footsteps thinking this is just “life”.
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Everyone has the same 24 hours and you aren’t going to get it all done. It’s just impossible. The key to balance is leverage and the key to leverage is mindset. Change your mindset, change your life. You don’t have to follow in your parents footsteps.
Automate everything that you possibly can. Set up automatic bill payment online, get on auto ship programs for the products you love (I LOVE Melaleuca auto ship), add recurring events to your calendar and set it to remind you for things like vehicle registrations, call the AC guy for the yearly tune-up, oil change reminders, etc.
Pay experienced professionals what they are worth to handle some of the things you just aren’t experienced in, good at or the things that just don’t please you to have to do.
Hire a landscaper, a house cleaner, a professional tax preparer, a mechanic, a pest control person, a handyman and a professional real estate Broker. Hire a professional that preps meals or at least gets your groceries delivered to your door. Hire a kid from the neighborhood to walk the dog. Pay these people what they are worth. You get what you pay for here…do not forget that old saying. I cringe when I see people make the mistake of hiring the least expensive person. THEY ALWAYS wish they had hired a true professional in the end. It ALWAYS costs you more when you go cheap.
Trust me, you do have the money. Budget for this. You’ll be more happy. You’ll have more time. You’ll be more productive at work or in your business. Life all around will be more enjoyable. You’ll spend more time with your family. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoyment. Stop doing the things you hate to do and are not good at and kills your time. Leave it to the pros that do it every day. You’ll thank me and yourself later.