No matter how well things are going, sometimes things just don’t work out as well as we’d like. If your marriage is crumbling and you’ve done what you can to save it without success, it might just be time to cut your losses and consider divorce. You can work with a lawyer to file for divorce or you can use do it yourself divorce papers to file quickly and with less expense.
The first step to filing for divorce is not to trot down to the county courthouse. Instead you need to trot over to the filing cabinet and organize all of your records. You need records of your home ownership, bank accounts, debt and assets. If you’re suspicious, or feel like checking for your own good, dig around to be sure your spouse hasn’t hidden any funds or assets from you that he or she might be sheltering from pending divorce proceedings.
Find the Right Documents
If you work with a lawyer, she’ll arrange documents on your behalf making the process as simple as reviewing standard paperwork and signing on the dotted line. Doing your own divorce paperwork isn’t much more complicated, but you’ll need to double check that you have everything you need and take care of the filing and data entry on your own.
Divorce criteria and documents vary by state. California divorce papers and terms are very different from New York divorce papers – especially as California is a community property state and New York is not. (Community property states are those that treat income earned and assets acquired during the marriage as the property of both parties, regardless of who earned more.) You’ll need to be sure you have all of the right forms and follow the rules of your state.
Complete the Paperwork
If you’re divorcing amicably, work with your spouse to set the terms of the divorce and complete paperwork together if possible. Ironing out agreements pleasantly is far less stressful and takes less time than legal battles. Otherwise, fill out the paperwork according to the terms set by the state. A lawyer can be helpful at this point, especially if you have many assets and children.
The more special situations in a relationship, the more likely it will be that you’ll need assistance – child custody and alimony are especially tricky in a do-it-yourself situation. But if you and your spouse are both employed with no children or complicated asset distribution, a do-it-yourself divorce is not much trickier than a break-up.
File and Document
A divorce, even the simplest one, takes time and money. Filing for divorce costs anywhere from $100 to $350 depending on where you live. The lawyer fees will be much more, but these might be covered by your spouse – especially if you file a fault divorce. The forms and documents might incur additional costs as well.
While you work through the proceedings, be sure you document everything in writing. Take notes of every phone call and get every promise made by your spouse in writing. Keep meticulous records as divorce can turn nasty or just get complicated, and you’ll need evidence to support your claims and statements.
Nobody seeks a divorce when they marry, but sometimes the break-up just seems inevitable. It takes time and will drain you of energy both physically and emotionally, but a finalized divorce might just be the fresh start you need to find a better life.
Video games are still a popular hobby by many people across the world of all ages. It’s just as common for the older generation to play video games as well as the younger generation, many people tend to exclude the older age group from playing which can make you loose a huge percentage of buyers if the producer targets a specific age group.
There are many ways in which people can get into the video game scene, some of the common reasons are due to friends and family playing them on a regular basis. If a close friend or family member recommends a good game they think you will like, more times then not you will try it out to see what the fuss is about. They can be very addictive and after one test run, you could be hooked onto that specific series of games and will buy all future releases. Many children nowadays are not very outdoor and sociable, another alternative to watching TV is video games, they provide hours of entertainment which will make the parents happy as they know where they are, what their getting up to and most of all that they are staying safe.
In today’s market there are plenty of different genres of games in which people can play. Not every genre will be suitable for every gamer, the common genres are:
- 1st person shooters
- 3rd person shooters
- Role playing game
That’s just a few top level categories, many of these expand out into sub genres giving even more choice for the gamer. As you can see from the list above, you can guarantee that you will find a suitable genre that you enjoy and become a big fan.
With the increase of technology the gaming industry will only get better as technology improves, the main downside is the price, the later consoles can cost around $500 and above which each game varying from $60+ depending on the age of the game. You can easily spend thousands of dollars on video games in a few months, especially if you play various genres to give you a change depending on your mood.
You can guarantee that if you’re into video games then you will have a hobby for life, new and improved consoles are always due to be released as it make millions of dollars profit for the manufacturers to keep the clientele satisfied with new games and sequels to preceding world famous games.
Another common way of people getting into video games is by playing online, if you spend a fair amount online you will of more then likely played little online flash games which can be terribly addictive as you waste many hours per week trying to beat them. The benefit of these online games is the fact they are available to play free of charge and require no downloads so it’s quick and easy.
There is another variation of online games which entice many people into playing, these are games that have the single player option to play on your own against the artificial intelligence and also include a multi player mode in which you can sign onto the internet and play against human players.
This is very popular amongst the 1st person shooters and role playing games (RPG) such as counter strike, unreal tournament, battlefield, Diablo and many more. These types of games are free to play online once you have bought the game for the desired console. There are certain online games that require you to buy the game itself and install it, and then if you want to play online you have to pay a fee per month. An example of this type of game is World of Warcraft which is one of the biggest online multi player games available to date with well over 8 million users playing on a daily basis. These can be quite common as gamers around the world don’t mind paying a fee to play per month if the game play will be unique and keep them entertained for hours.
As seen on TV, physical games and activities can help to keep children healthy and fit. Hide and seek is a classic game that uses both creativity and physical ability to play. It will also keep your children entertained for hours. There are many versions of hide and seek, but here’s how to play the most basic.
Establish the Players
The first step in hide and seek is to determine the players. You must know who will be hiding and who will be seeking. There is one “it” or seeker, and the rest of the players will be hiding in the designated area. A homebase should be determined such as tree or banister, and the perimeters of the play area can be outlined for all players as well.
Count to 100
“It” hides his eyes on the home base and begins a slow and loud count. You can have the seeker count as low as ten or as high as one hundred, but twenty-five or thirty ought to do it. While he’s counting, the rest of the players are running to find hiding places. They hide themselves and wait for the next phase of the game.
Hide and Seek!
The seeker reaches the magical number and begins looking for the hiders. While he is seeking, the hiders are looking for an opportunity to race past him back to the home base. If the seeker finds you while you are hiding (or racing back to base) you are the new “it.” If all the players make it back to base before the seeker can find them, he must hide his eyes again and play another round as “it.” The game continues indefinitely.
A butterfly garden is a flower garden specifically planted to attract butterflies. Whether you take on this project alone or with your children, you will watch in wonder as butterflies come flocking to the garden you planted.
Before you start planting, be sure you have all the materials you will need. Your garden will need flowering plants or seeds (see below for specific types of blooms), a clean, empty, plastic milk jug, large flat stones, and gardening tools.
Choose a Location
You will want to locate your butterfly garden in a sunny spot with good soil. Try to find a place that not only gets direct sunlight, but that is visible from your patio or windows so you can watch the butterflies enjoy your garden. Also, make sure your garden is in a location that will not be damaged by other pets or children playing.
Choose Your Flowers
Butterflies are attracted to fragrant flowers that have large petals or blossoms that grow in direct sunlight. Consider flowers such as giant swallowtail, prickly ash, swallowtail ash, violets, pansy, pearl crescent, asters, milkweed, ageratum, bee balm, bougainvillea, calendula, coneflower, dahlia, daylily, geranium, hibiscus, marigold, milkweed, snapdragon, yellow sage, and zinnia. These types of flowers provide easy access to the nectar that butterflies love to eat.
Plant Seeds or Seedlings
Once you have your spot picked out, prepare the soil, making sure it is moist, and plant your seeds or seedlings. If you are planting seeds, be certain to follow the instructions on the seed packet. Remember that butterflies tend to migrate to groups of flowers, so plant your flowers in bunches.
Add Other Elements
Your garden will not just consist of flowers. Provide places for the butterflies to rest and bask in the sunlight and socialize. Place some flat stones near the flowers where the butterflies to land. Also, dig a small hole and place the milk jug inside the shallow hole after you have cut off the top of the jug. You may choose to lay some stones over the edge of the jug to keep it from blowing away and to give the butterflies more sunny spots to perch. Fill the jug with fresh water. This puddle will give the butterflies drinking water and a place to socialize.
Decorate Your Garden
The extra elements in your garden don’t have to just be for the butterflies. You may choose to decorate your garden to make it more pleasing to the humans that visit it. Add a small fountain or garden arbors to enhance the look of your butterfly garden. Once you have finished putting everything together, watch and wait for the butterflies to come!
The Christmas Tree is the central decoration for the season. Decorating that tree can be intimidating, especially if you’re trying to work around your existing décor or creating a design that any professional would be proud of. Here’s how to decorate a Christmas Tree.
Create a Theme
The first step in decorating a Christmas Tree is to decided on the theme of your decorations. You may opt for the basic cheerful multicolored balls and lights, or challenge yourself with something more ornate such as finding a theme that incorporates golden decorations and lights into your living room’s existing apple décor. There are many ways to do this.
Shop Around the Theme
Once your theme is determined, begin your quest for decorations. Simple decorations such as bright glass balls and tinsel can be found everywhere, including local drug stores. Golden apples may require a trip to a decorating warehouse or specialty shop. You can also make ornaments using parts from craft stores or have your kids create fun ornaments from any number of household items.
Assemble the Tree
To decorate your tree you’ll need the following:
- A Christmas Tree – The tree can be real or artificial. Both options have pros and cons.
- Christmas Tree Stand – If you’re using a real tree, invest in a good tree stand. Also be sure to water the tree regularly to prevent the needles from drying up and falling off. Stand up the Tree and position it correctly.
- Tree Skirt – A tree skirt can be simple or ornate. It keeps the floor a bit cleaner, provides some extra color and decoration, and hides the tree stand or base of the artificial tree.
- Lights – If your tree is not prelit, and only a few artificial trees are, buy strands of lights. White solid lights are most common, but you can also buy colored lights, blinking or chasing lights, or even specialty lights such as snowflakes or chili peppers for your tree.
Put the lights on your tree before any other decorations. Try to hide the strands in the branches so that only the lights show, not dangling wires.
- A Tree Topper – The tree topper can go first or last, but every tree should have one. If you’re using an angel or star, especially one that is lit, it should probably go on first to be sure you have it hooked into the lights correctly. A large bow should go after the rest of the decorations so that it is line with the rest of the garlands.
- Ornaments – After the lights and possibly the tree topper, hang your ornaments. You may opt to use a collection of ornaments in multiple colors that simply appeal to you or that your children have made. You might use only gold and red decorations to continue with a specific theme such as the apple theme mentioned above.
If you’re going for a more casual look, hang a variety of ornaments including glass balls of every color and include ornaments that are fun and meaningful to you. Be sure to cover the tree evenly from top to bottom and side to side. Hang the ornaments from the tips of the branches in front of the lights.
- Garlands – The final stage of tree decoration is to place any garlands on the tree. Garlands can be strands of tinsel or beads. They may also be long strands of ribbon. Tinsel and beads usually are draped around the tree horizontally.
Ribbons can be horizontal or can be twisted and run from the top of the tree to the bottom. This looks especially nice if the tree topper is a very large bow of the same ribbon. Ribbons go on top of all decorations, but smaller garlands, especially those with beads may be hung following the lights.
When Thanksgiving rolls around, your children can help create a fun Thanksgiving Centerpiece. Thanksgiving is often the first holiday that really reflects the fall and changing weather, and certain style of accessories, such as pinecone decorations are traditional at this time of year. This Thanksgiving, let your children help you create the perfect pinecone Thanksgiving centerpiece.
The changing weather of the fall often causes many pinecones to fall in yards or nearby wooded areas. Send your children with a basket out into the yard to gather pinecones. If you live in an area without pine trees, you can also buy pinecones from various stores. Try to find unscented pinecones if you elect to buy your own.
Your next step is to gather supplies for your centerpiece project. You’ll need a large candle, a wide ribbon, a strip of cardboard, tape, hot glue and glue gun, and your pinecones.
Create the Ring
Your Thanksgiving centerpiece will be a pinecone candle ring, so you’ll first create the ring using the strip of stiff cardboard. Wrap the strip of cardboard into a circle and secure it tightly with tape. Then, use the hot glue to affix the pinecones around the ring careful to cover the cardboard completely. When the pinecone circle is complete, glue the ribbon flat around the outside edge to give you pinecone ring a bit of extra color. For extra flair, twist the ribbon as you glue it in place or affix a large bow with the ends arranged as a runner along the table top.
Place the Candle
Place the centerpiece on the table and put the candle in the center. Light the candle, and enjoy one of the best family holidays.
The flooring in a home is arguably the most important style element. Deciding what type of flooring to install should not be done rashly or without considering all of your options. Each kind of flooring material is suitable for a multitude of different purposes, so before you install something you’ll regret a year from now, be sure you know how to select flooring.
Use of Space
The first thing you need to consider is how you will use the space. A bedroom might call for a different flooring option than a kitchen, although some options such as laminate flooring make sense for both. Is the room large and spacious or small and dark? Light, airy rooms can easily handle dark flooring, whole small spaces benefit from lighter flooring options.
Next consider the amount of traffic that passes through the room. Bedrooms receive relatively small amounts of foot traffic while entryways and family rooms receive plenty. Carpet in rooms with heavy foot traffic will become worn down quickly and need to be replaced. Heavier choices such as Pergo flooring or tile will last for decades without showing signs of wear or tear. Save carpet for rooms with little traffic, or at the very least, consider leaving a stretch of tile or hardwood where most walking occurs and carpet in the space where more sitting occurs.
Your lifestyle should be a third consideration. Pets and small children can wreak havoc on hardwood and carpet. But carpet is more comfortable for playing on the floor with young children. If you are looking for easy flooring, avoid hardwoods as they require more maintenance than laminate, tile or marble. If you entertain frequently, those same options are great for cleaning up spills and keeping mess to a minimum.
Flooring Aesthetic and Comfort
Once you know your basic needs and style, consider the aesthetic and comfort of the various options. Hardwood flooring is beautiful. It can warm up any room, but you must be willing to work to keep it looking that way. Carpet soften a room and makes it feel cozy, but will need to be replaced in about five years to keep it looking at its best. If you spend time playing on the floor with children or pets, carpet is a nice option, but if you prefer a cleaner, more modern look consider hardwood, laminate, or even stained concrete flooring.
Finally, consider cost. There are options for most flooring choices in every price range. Some, such as hardwood and bamboo flooring, will be more expensive as a whole than basic carpet or laminate. Your cost should be figured over the number of years the product will last as well as any potential impact in home value. Home values are positively impacted by quality flooring choices, so it might make sense to maximize an investment.
Carpet will need to be replaced and hardwoods must be refinished periodically which can impact cost calculations as well. Once you have a rough idea of how much to spend per square foot and a material you like, invite a professional over to give you an estimate or speak with a supplier about installing flooring yourself. Once you’ve made your decision and had your new flooring installed – celebrate your home’s new, refined look.
Read a home decorating magazine or watch a cable-TV home improvement show, and you might easily conclude that any upgrade will pay off when you sell. This is simply not so because even in good times, not all projects have widespread appeal. You’ll earn back virtually your entire investment in a kitchen or deck, but less than 75 cents on the dollar if you add a home office or sunroom, according to "Remodeling" magazine’s annual cost vs. value survey.
What’s worse, some renovations can even hurt you in the eyes of home buyers, a costly problem if you hope to sell in a softening market like today’s.
The Swimming Pool:
In some areas, especially hot-weather spots like Arizona and Florida, a pool is a must-have. In the Southwest, adding one boosts your home’s value by 11 percent on average, according to a National Association of Realtors study. But elsewhere it can just as easily turn off buyers, who worry about affording the upkeep and insurance. And if the most likely buyer of your home is a family with small children, think long and hard before installing a pool.
"People with younger children may be leery of houses with pools for safety reasons," says Barry Graziano, a real estate agent with Prudential Rand Realty in White Plains, N. Y. "I’ve had families walk away. A pool can cut down on the number of people who will want to buy your house."
You’ve thought about how that great room and master bedroom wing will let the family spread out. But what you probably haven’t considered is what the space will look like from the outside.
"A badly designed addition can kill your resale value," says Sal Alfano, the editorial director of Remodeling. "People focus on the floor plan and the flow, but not on how it fits into the neighborhood or even the house itself."
Watch out for boxy, poorly detailed additions and be careful of a style that will look dated when you throw your open house. Spotting the trend that’s on its way out is trickier than you think. While it is easy to assume that sleek red European kitchen cabinetry is tomorrow’s harvest gold fridge, other design staples that seem like sure bets can quickly drift into obscurity too.
That’s what Mark Johnson, a Whirlpool design manager, says is happening to stainless-steel appliances. "For a period of time, people aspired to a commercial kitchen" he says. "What I am seeing is more interest in warmer finishes."
You want a design trend with legs. Johnson says custom panels that dress appliances in maple or mahogany finishes are likely to remain popular for several years. Also, think about the materials for hardware like hinges and light fixtures. Polished brass or anything shiny is out. Brushed nickel is a better option. Johnson is betting that oiled-bronze finishes will take off next.
The elaborate master bath is okay, but the big circular tub with 15 jets that can pulse or massage is risky.
According to Holly Slaughter, brand manager at RealEstate.com, you’re better off with an oversize shower that has a rain showerhead and multiple jets (think of it as a car wash for humans).
Baby boomers have little time to spend hanging out in the bathtub, and parents with small kids prefer a conventional tub. Ultimately, don’t expect a future buyer to pay up for the luxury you considered an essential.
A perfect activity to bring children together with their parents or grandparents, or a relaxing way to connect with nature, building a birdhouse can be easy! Whether you plan to use your finished product as an indoor decoration, a garden garnish, or a functional home for your winged backyard friends, your birdhouse will show your craftsmanship and remind you of the fun time you had making it.
Make a Plan
First, decide whether your birdhouse will be purely functional or decorative. While colorful and decorative birdhouses are a joy to look at, birds prefer to make their homes in more natural, plain and weathered unpainted houses. If you are serious about attracting birds to your finished product, do some research on the types of birds you are interested in. Otherwise, you might consider the size and color you want your birdhouse to be.
Once you have a plan, gather your materials. You will need enough wood for the floor, four walls, and roof of your birdhouse. In addition to wood, you’ll need galvanized screws, nails, sandpaper, wood glue, paint, polyurethane finish, and a dowel to serve as a perch at the door of your little house. In addition to your materials, you’ll need tools. While constructing your birdhouse will be easier with the assistance of power tools, many people find satisfaction in using hand tools to put a more personal touch into their creation. Whether powered by electricity or human labor, you’ll need a saw (either hand, band, table, or scroll), a drill, a hammer, a tape measure, a carpenter square, a screwdriver, and a paintbrush. Gather your materials before you begin construction to ensure you have everything you need.
While it’s important for everyone attempting this crafty endeavor to consider safety, those working with children need to be especially aware of the safety precautions. This is a great opportunity to discuss the importance of tool safety with your children or grandchildren. Work in a well ventilated area, and be sure to wear protective equipment such as gloves, goggles or safety glasses, and closed-toe shoes. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing. Be particularly conscious of safety around the power tools and/or handsaw. With a few precautions, this activity will be safe and enjoyable for everyone.
Cut & Assemble
Once you have your plan, your materials, and your wits about you, begin construction. First, measure your wood and use your carpenter square to ensure right angles. Mark your birdhouse’s dimensions on the wood. Be sure to measure twice so you only have to cut once. Once everything is measured out, cut your pieces. Before attaching any of the pieces together, go ahead and cut the hole for the bird entrance and the little perch just beneath it. Use the wood glue and nails to assemble the pieces. Don’t forget to leave the bottom unglued for easy removal for cleaning between seasons. Sand the birdhouse, then decorate according to your predetermined plan. Congratulations! You’ve built a birdhouse!
Most parents consider the family doctor of the utmost importance, and he certainly is. You wouldn’t trust your children’s health to just anyone. But many parents fail to plan ahead regarding their children’s dentistry. Often, it is not until you need an emergency dentist that you even consider who might be best to do oral surgery on your toddler’s mouth or if you trust the dentist who cleans your teeth to do an invasive root canal.
Consider Your Dental Insurance
The first step to finding a family dentist may be your dental insurance. Some dental plans require you use a certain provider or give you a list of preferred providers. If this is the case with your dental insurance, you have much less investigation to do. If you dislike your preferred dentists, you might consider changing insurance packages or buying independent dental insurance.
Make an Appointment
Your next step is to make an appointment. You can make an appointment to meet and discuss your family’s needs, or you can just ahead and make an appointment for a cleaning. The dentist’s chair side manner is most telling about his services, so you’ll want to take him for a test drive before taking your child to see him.
While the gentleness of the procedures is important, so are the type of office environment and attitudes of the employees. Most children are hesitant if not down right terrified of the dentist so you want you dentist to be understanding of this concern and even to have planned for it with a basket of toys or magazines geared directly at children.
Test Drive the Dentist
If you were comfortable during your own appointment, go ahead and make an appointment for a consultation for your child. If your child seems comfortable, you may go ahead with a routine cleaning just to let her experience and familiarize herself with the dentist, or if you sense the dentist is a bad fit for your children, you can end the consultation and move on to the next possibility.
With so many dentists available, your best bet to finding a good family dentist may be to ask friends and families to recommend a dentist their family is comfortable with. Then, armed with a few recommendations, give each dentist an interview or let him do a cleaning to see if you agree that he is the dentist for your family.