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A Different Way of Living: How Technology is Changing our Homes

The sort of properties we live in today might share some of the same basic amenities that previous generations also enjoyed but the similarity ends there when you consider the technology now widely available to enhance our safety and enjoyment in the space we call home.

Here is a look at some of that technology and how it is being used in our homes and what it can do to transform so many aspects of your daily life, including a way to take greater control of your energy use, how to control your home from your smartphone, and a modern approach to going to the toilet.

Smart Home

Energy use is a big issue

Every home uses energy and the cost of providing the heating and lighting that we need on a daily basis is something that should concern anyone, especially when there is a growing awareness of the need for greater fuel efficiency and to reduce our carbon footprint.

Modern homes can now be equipped with a home energy management program, like the one designed by Powerhouse Dynamics, for example.

The energy management system monitors your energy use and costs 24/7 and lets you know the sort of details that can make a difference to your costs and appliance repair bills, by telling you when your fridge isn’t working properly or needs defrosting, and why it thinks your energy usage is spiking.

This is all closely related to the general idea behind the Internet of Things (IoT), where all your devices are connected to the internet and use the chips in them to collect and communicate the sort of data that can help improve efficiency and enhance your safety and enjoyment of your own home.

The power of your phone

Smartphones are taken for granted now as an everyday item but they do offer you access to the sort of home technology that can make a difference to how you enjoy and use your home.

You can now use apps to control the lighting and heating in your home even when you are not there and if you want to you can even switch the kettle on remotely so that you can arrive home and brew up some coffee straight away.

There are so many different useful apps, like a real-time weather app, you can get it on Google Play, that lets you know how the temperatures are going to affect your home.

A lot of the devices you get for your home come with an app that you can download on your smartphone, giving you the power to monitor and change many different aspects beyond heating and lighting.

Even your toilet can be transformed by technology

There seems to be no aspect of living that can be touched by technology and even the toilet in your home can get an upgrade that could prove to be more useful than you might think.

There are already a number of “smart” toilets that have been developed, which are capable of taking a urine or stool sample when you pay a visit and checking for any abnormalities or issues that could suggest you have a medical problem which needs further investigation.

There is no doubt that the rapid growth of IoT and smart technology in our homes is creating a different way of living and who knows what the house of the future is going to offer?

 

4 Practical Tips That Can Help Sell Your Home Fast!

There are lots of reasons why people wanted to sell their property fast and one of those reasons is the need to relocate ASAP. Some even lowers their property’s price drastically just to get it sold before they move out.

If you are one of the money who wanted to get their property sold as soon as possible, here are few tips and advice that could help you out.  With these tips, you won’t need to lower your house’s price value just to attract buyers around.

Home For Sale Pixabay

Meet and greet all type of buyers

Always maintain a happy, welcoming and pleasant personality when talking with potential buyers, even with those who don’t look so serious in buying your property. Be patient enough and give them a good tour around your house. Even they don’t end up buying your home; they might recommend it to their friends who are serious in buying a property. So being nice with them could help you land a good, potential buyer.

Maintain the cleanliness around your house

Once you put up your house on the real estate market, potential buyers might come at anytime of the day. So always prepare yourself and your house by maintaining its cleanliness. Organize everything that’s visible to the naked eye. Don’t forget the lawn or garden as it can add curb appeal to your house. Doors and windows must be properly kept too as they can easily attract the attention of people passing by.

Add color to your home

Adding colors to your home gives it an attractive, lively and vibrant look. You don’t need to paint your wall or ceiling to attain this. You can use a good arrangement of flowers at your living room and kitchen. The color of the curtains, carpet and rugs can also help. Couch pillows and lighting fixtures can surely help as well.

Deal with property buying firms

There are firms out there that can buy your property in an instant. The catch is, it’s either they buy it in a very low price or they’ll get a huge chunk of your selling price once they successfully sold it on the market. If you are a busy person and you just wanted to sell the house fast, this is a good option for you. With this, all you need to do is sign all the legal papers needed and the rest will be taken care of by the firm you trusted your property with.

6 Awesome Corn Mazes In Michigan

Corn mazes are quite popular in Michigan. The thrill and excitement it can give is what makes most people spend a lot of time into it especially during the fall season.

And unlike other corn mazes from the other state, the corn mazes in Michigan are truly beautiful and amazing. They are pretty big too and features different kind of design and adventure each and every year.

Below are some of the most popular corn mazes in Michigan that you might want to visit sometime soon.

Crane Orchards – Fennville, MI

This 20-acre Corn Maze changes its design yearly, offering its guests and visitors a lot of excitement and fun! According to its webpage: “a lot of creative energy and a huge amount of work goes into this project every year to make it the best corn maze anywhere so our customers can enjoy even more family fun during their visit to Crane Orchards”. For more info, you can visit their website – Corn Maze Crane Orchards.

2016 Crane Orchards Corn Maze

DeBuck’s Corn Maze – Belleville, MI

DeBuck’s Corn Maze offers some of the best fall fun in the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area. It has more than 13 acres of twisting and winding trails and their Giant Corn Maze is composed of 3 mazes with varying degrees of difficulty, with a total of more than 5 miles of trails. They also offer Night Maze experience for added excitement and fun. For more info, visit DeBuck’s Corn Maze website.

DeBuck's Corn Maze

Frankenmuth Corn Maze – Frankenmuth, MI

Although not as big compared to its counterparts, this corn maze is absolutely full of excitement and fun. It offers a mystery theme and provides clues that are hidden along the maze’s path. Check this place at Frankenmuth Corn Maze website.

Frankenmuth Corn Maze

Bestmaze Corn Maze – Williamston, MI

This is one of the most popular and oldest corn mazes in Michigan. It’s been serving the people for almost 17 years and counting. The corn maze also features a separated haunted maze called the Trail of Terror, perfect for adult thrill seekers and alike. Check out their website – BestMaze.

Bestmaze Corn Maze

The Blast Corn Maze – Dexter, MI

Located not far from Ann Arbor, Michigan, this corn maze offers a huge 10 acre field of corn with 3 1/2 miles of corn maze trails. It has 3 exits – short, medium, and full corn maze exits in order to accommodate various skill levels of corn maze fans & enthusiasts. You can check more of this maze at their official website.

Blast Corn Maze

Jacob’s Corn Maze – Traverse City, MI

Jacob’s Corn Maze features a world class computer designed 10 acre corn maze. Every year, it features different, out of this world designs that kids and adults will surely enjoy. One of their most recent creations is the “Everest Expedition” which is a big hit for their visitors. You can check them out at their official website – Jacob’s Corn Maze.

Jacob’s Corn Maze

These amazing corn mazes offer lots of excitement and fun for the whole family. If you wanted to relax and unwind, visit one of them soon!!

Crime on the Rise: Home Security Strategies for Concerned Homeowners

You can sometimes read the latest crime statistics and feel like they don’t really affect you but the figures can soon become very real when your home is targeted by burglars and crime casts a shadow and creates feelings of insecurity.

Even quiet and respectable neighborhoods are witnessing a rise in crime, so you need to adopt some sensible strategies to protect your family and your home if you are concerned that you might be vulnerable.

Here are some tips to help keep your home secure, including an insight into how to identify weak spots that thieves could target, how to strengthen windows and doors, plus a suggestion to be social media savvy.

Secured Door

Pinpoint vulnerabilities

About two million homes are burgled throughout the country every year which equates to someone’s property being violated every sixteen seconds or so, so there is no room for complacency or misplaced belief that your property is safe from this threat.

A good way of giving yourself some extra peace of mind is to choose the right security system for your home in order to give you good options in terms of monitoring activity 24/7.

In addition, you can take some simple steps to deter burglars by identifying potential vulnerabilities, such as an entry point in a blind spot, and then taking action to improve security in these areas.

Burglars don’t like to be seen, so installing outside security lighting is a no-brainer for dissuading thieves who prefer to work under the cover of dark.

Take a walk around your home and try to adopt the mindset of a burglar to see how you might break in with the minimum of fuss. If you find some vulnerability you can be sure that an intruder will do so too.

Review the strength of your doors and windows

Burglars will often target properties where they can make a quick and easy entry and be in and out in a matter of minutes.

One of the ways they do this is to look for doors and windows that have minimal security resistance. A poor quality back door won’t offer much defense against a sharp blow to force it open and the same applies to a window that doesn’t have any lock on it.

Any exterior doors should ideally have deadbolt locks of at least one-inch thickness or more. A cheaper spring latch lock doesn’t provide the same level of security protection and it is always worth spending a bit extra on a better quality deadbolt system.

Even a deadbolt mechanism is not guaranteed to prevent a determined intruder from forcing their way into your home, as some heavy well-aimed blows cold shatter doorjambs and even split the door itself.

As an extra precaution, you might want to use some strategically placed metal bars to prevent a forced entry.

Keep a low profile

Many of us have a social media profile and we often share news of an upcoming event like a vacation, but be wary of your privacy settings as burglars trawl these sites for clues on who might be away from their home.

If you leave too much information around in a public place there is every chance that this could be used to target your home.

Be careful about who you tell your holiday plans to and try not to leave any obvious signs at home, by canceling any deliveries that might sit on the porch while you are away.

 

5 Home Remodeling Don’ts Every Homeowner Must Know

Home renovation and remodeling doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right planning and adequate preparation, it can be done without too much fuzz or trouble.

Hiring a contractor is the best way to go when it comes to home remodeling. With a contractor, you can be sure that your home will get the fix it needs and deserves. And for them to get the job done in a timely and efficient manner, you, the homeowner, must follow the following rules and tips until renovation is finished.

Home Remodeling 1

Don’t delay important decisions.

Your contractor won’t do anything until it gets your approval. Decision making is very important if you want your remodeling project to go well. So make sure that all stuff that needs your approval is taken care of before handing them your house.

Don’t buy your own materials.

If you think that if you buy your own materials instead of getting them through your contractor could save money, think again. Yes, they might mark it up a bit but in the long run, you’ll save more if you buy through them. Why? A contractor knows where to get quality materials for a good price. Let them know your budget and surely, they’ll come up with an idea or two on where or how to get your much needed materials.

Don’t work without contingency fund.

Aside from the project budget, it’s also best to set a contingency fund. You’ll never know what needs to be bought or to be paid while renovation is on the way. If you have a good contractor, they can surely give you a good idea on how much contingency fund you must set up.

Home Remodeling 2

 Don’t let kids and pets get in the way.

It’s best to keep your kids and your pets away while home renovation and remodeling is underway. If you can let a relative or a good neighbor take care of them until project is finished, much better. Aside from not being safe for them to be around while contractors are working, they can also cause some unexpected delay onto the project.

Don’t be a distraction.

Let the contractors do their job. As much as possible, don’t interrupt them and if you have to say something or wanted them to do something, best to talk with the man in charge. But as much as possible, don’t distract them at all. This is also why tip number 1 is very important.

Following these tips and tricks can surely make your home remodeling project fast, easy and worry-free!

6 Exciting May Festivals and Events in Michigan That You Should See!

If you are looking for fun things to do and events to attend in Michigan, this list is just what you need! Below are some of the most amazing occasions and events in Michigan that will happen this month of May. From musical shows and festivities up to food tasting events and gatherings, we have it all at this list. Check them out!

Festival Concert

May 5, 2017 – Detroit Music Awards

This is an annual event or celebration that honors the work, contribution and achievements of Michigan born/based musicians. This is open to all artists of all genres and past award recipients includes Stevie Wonder, Eminem, Iggy Pop and the White Stripes. Visit http://www.detroitmusicawards.com/ for more info and further updates.

May 6 – 14, 2017 – Tulip Time Festival

This is probably one of the most talked about and popular festivals in Michigan. Although tulip festivals are held in many cities around the US that were founded or largely inhabited by Dutch settlers, nothing beats Holland, Michigan. Activities normally includes three parades, fireworks, a Dutch Market, various shows and concerts, a craft fair, klompen dancing, and street scrubbing. There will be thousands upon thousands of tulips lining the streets all throughout the city during the festivities. The Tulip Time Festival has been named as the best small town festival by Reader’s Digest and ranked as the third-largest town festival. Visit http://www.tuliptime.com/ for more details.+

May 12-14, 2017 – Mesick Mushroom Festival

Mesick, Michigan is known as the mushroom capital of the United States. The Mesick Mushroom Festival showcases the city’s best and finest mushrooms that you can’t taste anywhere else. Aside from the amazing 3 days of mushroom picking, you’ll also enjoy tons of activities like live concerts, baseball, a grand parade, a blessing of the Jeeps, a flea market and more! Visit the festival website at http://www.mesick-mushroomfest.org/ for more info.

May 18-20, 2017 – Michigan Youth Arts Festival

This is an annual festival in Michigan wherein over 900 students participate in showcases, workshops, and concerts in any of the represented disciplines which includes Creative Writing, Dance, Film, Vocal and Instrumental Music, visual art and theater.  The 55th Annual Michigan Youth Arts Festival will be held at Western Michigan University. Visit https://www.michiganyoutharts.org/ for more info.

May 19-21, 2017 – Motor City Comic Con

The Motor City Comic Con is known as the state’s largest event of its kind. This year’s event will be held in Novi, Michigan. There will be vast array of memorabilia, collectibles and comic books. You can also mingle with fellow comic con followers and enthusiasts. The event will also feature over 250 comic writers, artists and creators who will be on site to take pictures and sign autographs. The event’s official website is http://motorcitycomiccon.com/.

May 27 – 29, 2017 – Detroit Electronic Music Festival

The Detroit Electronic Music Festival happens during Memorial Day weekend or late May. This year, it will take place on May 27th up to 29th in the city of Detroit. This annual electronic dance music event started way back 2006.  This year’s festival, which is also known as the Movement Electronic Music Festival, will be held at Hart Plaza. For more information, you can visit this website: http://movement.us/.

Among these festivals, which one (or two) is (are) your top pick(s)?

5 Home Improvement Projects You Shouldn’t DIY

There are lots of home improvement projects that anyone can do by themselves. Simple projects like re-painting the wall and ceiling, changing carpet and area rugs, changing the lighting fixtures and hanging new set of wall art can be done by anyone in an instant.

DIY TOOL

However, there are also home improvement projects that are best left to the professionals. These projects need special skills, tools and experience that only the pros have.  Some of them are as follows:

Electrical works and projects

Electrical repairs and upgrades must be done by a licensed and experienced technician. Yes, replacing a light fixture can be DIY but repairing or upgrading a circuit board is best left to the professionals. Aside from saving yourself from electric shock and harm, you can be sure that there will be no faulty wires and lines around your house.

Major plumbing work

Fixing a leaky faucet is as easy as 1-2-3 but any troubles beyond that must be fixed by master plumber. Don’t attempt to fix your plumbing unless you are truly knowledgeable with it. If you wanted to renovate your bathroom or kitchen (where major plumbing is installed), better call a plumbing pro to help you out.

Changes in home structure

Don’t knock down a wall or a part of your home unless you know it’s really safe to do so. It’s highly recommended that you hire a professional when it comes to changing a home’s structure. This way, you can be sure that everything is safe and in perfect condition.

Window replacements

Replacing windows is not an easy feat. Although you can do it yourself, it’s way better to hire professional help for this project. This way, you can be sure that it’s perfectly placed and sealed thus improving the energy efficient of your home.

Roof replacement

Repairing a roof can be DIY as long as it’s just a small repair job. But when it comes to bigger problems that needs a complete roof replacement, better hire the professionals. The pros know what kind of roof is perfect for your house. They know the proper and easy way to install it. They got the right tools and equipment that suits for the task.

Although it’s quite tempting to DIY some home improvement projects, better think about the results that you’ll get especially if you little or no knowledge about it.

 

4 Best Bathroom Accessories For Seniors

Bathrooms are the most accident prone places in the entire house for every person, especially the seniors. Water, slippery floors, hard ceramic fixtures and increased mobility in the bathroom enhance the risk of falls and injuries, and also require proper cleaning. To improve bathroom safety for elder lies, a variety of products are available in the market. These products can be installed easily without major remodeling of the bathroom and can be purchased online at sites like ABL Tile Center.

Bathroom Accessories

The range of products includes:

Grab Rails

Available in different sizes, these comfort bars provide a stable surface to hold for increased stability. They can be strategically installed in high risk areas of the bathroom like near the toilet seat or bathtub. Grab bars can be installed permanently or you can use suction rails. These versatile and inexpensive bars are a good protective measure to alleviate bathroom injuries.

Toilet Seats

Toilet seats come in three varieties; elevated seats, seats with backrest and seats with arm rests. Elevated toilet seats make toilets higher and more convenient to get on and off. These are ideal for old people or those with restricted movement. They come with integrated, detachable or foldable arm rests for further ease.

Shower Seats

Bathtubs are most susceptible to accidents due to their slick surface. Besides installing grab rails near them, shower seats can also be used to minimize the risk of falls. They allow you to sit comfortably in the bathtub. Moreover, they are a perfect solution to the people who have balance issues or those who cannot stand for long and get tired easily. The different varieties among shower seats include shower stool (without back), shower chair (with back), foldable shower chair (to save space) NS shower board. Each type serves its own purpose, so buy the one that suits your requirements.

Hand Held Shower Heads For Elderly

In old age, simple tasks like taking bath can get tiring because of constant movement, bending and stretching. In such cases, hand held shower heads can prove to be a blessing. With extendible shower hose and adjustable height features, you can easily wash yourself without any assistance. These hand held shower heads with temperature adjustment can be installed at home with minimum effort and time. They also come with messaging feature, especially for people with stiff muscles.

Every year thousands of senior citizens get injured or die due to tripping in the bathroom If you have senior persons in your home, it’s wise to install the right bathroom safety accessories to prevent accidents.

7 Handyman Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

Having a good set of handyman tools is very important for homeowners. These can be very useful in times of emergency or when there’s something that needs to be repaired immediately.

Below are some of the most basic yet very important tools that each and every homeowner must have at home.

Handyman Tools

Hammers

One hammer is good but if you can get two, much better. Get one heavyweight hammer and one lightweight hammer. The heavier one can be used for outside repairs and maintenance while the lighter one can be used for light materials such as pins an tacks.

Drill and Drill Bits

A multipurpose, battery operated drill can be really useful for a number of tasks. Just buy a set of drill bits with a selection of Philips-head, square-drive and slotted that comes in different sizes and you are good to go.

Screwdrivers

Even if you already have a batter powered drill and driver, a manual set of screwdrivers can be also useful. You can use it for simple tasks that don’t require much time and effort. You can either buy a variety of different types of screwdrivers (flathead, Phillips, slotted) or just get one with interchangeable heads.

Adjustable Crescent Wrench

An adjustable crescent wrench can work wonders. And because it can be adjusted to fit any size of nuts and bolts, you’ll only need one at home. There are also crescent wrenches available nowadays that can adjust automatically to the size of the bolt.

Extension Cord

This might not be considered as a real handyman tool but it can serve a lot of purpose. Extension cords can be used for portable lights that you might need when you worn on dark areas or corners of your house. You can also use it when you are working outside your home.

Tape Measure

This one is a total must have for homeowners. You can use it when there’s a need to measure your window, doors, furniture and other stuff around your home. You will surely find a simple tape  measure truly useful around your home.

Pliers

But a set of pliers that comes in different sizes and types. Locking pliers are for multipurpose gripping, channel-lock pliers for pipes and vales and long nose pliers for tiny spaces and corners. You can also include the electrician’s pliers at your tools for stripping and cutting wires.

These simple tools can surely help you a lot in case of emergency or trouble! So check your toolbox now and see if you already have them all.

7 Amazing Things to Do and Places to Visit in Flint, Michigan

Despite the water crisis and bad publicity, Flint is still considered as one of the must visit cities in Michigan by many. People still considers the city as one of Michigan’s gem in terms of destinations and attractions.

There are plenty of things to do and places to see in Flint. Below are some of the best ones that you might want to check out.

City of Flint Michigan

Buick Automotive Gallery – 303 Walnut St, Flint, MI 48503

Sloan Museum’s Buick Automotive Gallery features over 25 classic and concept Buicks, Chevrolets and other automobiles built in Flint. Regular feature cars exhibited include our five concept cars designed by Buick: 1951 XP-300, 1954 Wildcat II, 1956 Centurion, 1963 Silver Arrow I and 1977 Phantom. A Hellcat Tank Destroyer built by Buick during World War II is also on display. Source.

Age is a thing of beauty. • • • Visiting the Buick Automotive Gallery in Flint, Mi. #shebuyscars @raisingdickjane

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Stepping Stone Falls – 5161 Branch Road Flint, MI 48506

This beautiful manmade falls holds back the Flint River, creating the 600-acre Mott Lake. A pleasant, easy walk takes visitors to the falls and a series of overlooks. Underwater lights illuminate the falls at night. The Genesee Belle Riverboat departs from the falls Sunday evenings for a 45-minute cruise.  Source.

Such a restful place. Perfect place to read. #pureflint #puremichigan

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Flint Children’s Museum – 1602 W. University Ave. Flint, MI 48504

Today, the FCM serves more than 40,000 children and families each year. Through the support of generous donors and community partners, the FCM provides unique educational experience to the youngest and most at-risk youth – and always attempting to expand our reach into the community to serve as many children as possible. For nearly 35 years, the FCM has enjoyed supporting the development of every child through hands-on learning experiences and is dedicated to continuing to serve as many children and families as possible. Source.

Fun day with my loves ???

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Longway Planetarium – 1310 E Kearsley St, Flint, MI 48503

Featuring 129 seats under an impressive 52 1/2-foot dome, the Longway Planetarium is Michigan’s largest planetarium. For more than half a century, Flint’s Longway Planetarium has been a major resource of science education for students and families. The largest planetarium in the state, it has brought the stars to more than 2.5 million people since its opening on June 26, 1958.

Publicity still for the 1961 Buick Special with the Longway Planetarium located in Flint, Michigan as the backdrop. #mcmdaily #buick #buickspecial #longwayplanetarium #usa?? mcmdaily.com

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Sloan Museum – 1221 E. Kearsley Street. Flint, Michigan 48503

Regional history, historic automobiles and hands-on science are major features of the Sloan Museum. Dramatic settings, video programs and hundreds of artifacts and photographs portray the area’s tumultuous 20th century history in the Flint and the American Dream exhibit.

Titanic exhibit and Flint, MI history

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Flint Institute of Arts – 1120 E Kearsley St, Flint, MI 48503

Known as the second largest museum in Michigan, the Flint Institute of Arts features over 8,000 historical objects and artifacts, some of which back to over 5,000 years ago. The place also serves as a campus for around 2000 students and an event place for diverse lineup of special events, occasions and exhibits.

Today marks the beginning of a new season! The weather is finally changing and we are all looking forward to the coming warmer days and the new growth that comes with it. Here is a beautiful painting by Jan van Kessel to help celebrate the official beginning of Spring! http://ow.ly/3GEs30a5K0Z #flintarts #artsflint #springhassprung #spring #painting #flemishpainting #janvankessel From the FIA’s collection: Jan Van Kessel, Flemish, 1626–1679, Air, ca. 1647, Oil on copper, 30 x 39 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Richards through the Viola E. Bray Charitable Trust Fund, 1965.33

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Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad – 6140 Bray Road, Flint, MI 48505

If you love history and wanted to have a taste of life from years ago, then visit the Crossroads Village. The village is a collection of restored 19th century buildings, amusement rides and authentic narrow-gauge railroad. Here you’ll see what life “way back when” was all about. From the smithing of the iron to the churning of the butter to the pressing of the cider and more!

You can also take a 40-minute journey at Huckleberry Railroad while riding their authentic steam locomotive that takes you along the shores of Mott Lake, down a stretch of the historic Pere Marquette roadbed and back into the heart of Crossroads Village.

#christmas #huckleberryrailroad #crossroadsvillage #traditions #michigan #familyfunday

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This list of Flint attractions and destinations are just few of the many. For more of Flint, Michigan, visit this webpage at Michigan.Org.

Featured image credit: Michigan Municipal League