Sunday, July 3, 2016

3 Pets That Have Small Carbon Footprints

Dogs are actually bad for the environment, according to the latest research by two New Zealand scientists . Their book claims these pets have a carbon footprint that is about twice the size of an SUV, which are some of the biggest gas guzzlers on the planet. This is bad news for us dog owners. Does this mean you should get rid of poor ol’ Fido? Of course not. But if you are concerned about getting a pet that has a small carbon footprint, perhaps you will consider one of these three.

Pets That Have Small Carbon Footprints: Birds
A bird’s carbon footprint is as small as its own feet. The impact of processing and shipping fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds is significantly smaller than that of a fifty-pound bag of dog food. This is especially true if you grow your bird’s food yourself or chop up leftover vegetables for your friendly family fowl. Use a stainless steel cage, rather than a plastic one, and give your pet a real, wooden perch. You can use yesterday’s paper as a liner, instead of buying actual liners. While a bird may not be as cuddly as a kitten, it is just as entertaining and has a much smaller carbon footprint.

Pets That Have Small Carbon Footprints: Goldfish
Goldfish aren’t quite as environmentally friendly as a bird, but they have a much smaller footprint than a dog. They actually don’t have feet at all, for that matter. But as far as carbon footprints go, these little critters have one comparable to the size of two cell phones (and a memory span of up to three seconds). While they do take up a valuable natural resource–water–they usually don’t need to eat much more than a few flakes of fish food. If you want to use less of this resource, put an algae eating fish in the tank to keep it clean.

Pets That Have Small Carbon Footprints: Hamsters
They may be small, but two hamsters have the same footprint as a plasma television. However, while they are worse than birds and fish when it comes to saving the planet, hamsters are much more eco-friendly than a dog or a cat. Fortunately, they don’t eat much, and you can keep them in a wire cage, rather than a plastic one. Plus, you can line the cage with either recycled paper pellets or wood shavings. So what’s it going to be: a bird, a goldfish, or a hamster?

Source: Authors Claim Pets are More Damaging to Environment Than SUVs

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3 Reasons to Add Orange Juice to Your Day

Orange juice is pretty and sweet, but it is also an easy yet powerful tool to ease into a healthier lifestyle.

Orange juice is loaded with vitamin C. This is the most common reason we drink mass quantities. When you feel a cold coming on, you slug the OJ. The vitamin C helps fight infections. The vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron, which can ward off an iron deficiency.

Orange juice is invigorating and improves moods. The odor of citrus triggers a cognitive effect that lifts our moods. You can find the same benefit with grapefruit. As a matter of fact, grapefruit essential oil is a nice addition to a warm bath during the blahs or doldrums. Again, a better mood translates into better health.

Orange juice is an antioxidant that attacks free radicals in the body. Free radicals are linked to cancer or heart disease. Orange juice also has potassium and folate. The potassium is an essential nutrient. The FDA actually approved an orange juice company’s claim in 2000 that the potassium in orange juice helps reduce risks of high blood pressure and stroke. The folate helps the body heal itself and generate new cells.

Naturally, there are loads of fruits and vegetables that are good for you and bring all sorts of health benefits. We should be eating a colorful diet every single day. However, in the rush of life it is easy to go through the day without much of anything that is fresh either because of the time it takes to prepare or purchase.

This is simply a nudge to put some orange juice in the refrigerator at work or at home. When that 3 p.m. slump hits and you typically reach for a soda or a candy bar, pour a glass of orange juice. You’ll find you feel better physically and psychologically because you’ve made a conscious decision that is better for you. Orange juice can be a simple way to continue to turn good health into better health. It is also more satisfying than a chemical-filled soda.

As great as orange juice is, we need to acknowledge that there is an environmental toll to all the orange juice consumed by Americans. And, people interested in better health are also often interested in caring for the environment. There are a lot of resources that go into the growing, processing and packaging of orange juice. So, when possible, buy local and eat organic on your path to better health.

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3 Quick Tips on Losing the Snooze Button in Your Online Presentation

Online presentations have to be more interesting, entertaining and value-packed than live presentations, because all the listener has to do is click “Close” or the little “X” in the corner if they aren’t fully engaged. One click, that’s it. Don’t, however, let that discourage you. Your audience wants to hear what you have to say — you hooked them with the title and a brief summary of the presentation’s content. Creating a compelling, attention-keeping presentation is an art form that anybody can learn. Here are 5 quick tips to help you lose the snooze button in your online presentation:

Tip #1: Don’t drone on and on
For many presenters, it’s tempting to keep talking on and on to fill up space, but that immediately puts the listener into sleep mode. According to a recent study at University of North Texas, the ideal length of a presentation is roughly 20 minutes. I’ve also heard that the average timespan to consume online video is somewhere in the 5 minute range. I think that these are more guidelines than hard and fast rules. You can have an online presentation lasting five minutes or 60 minutes depending on the purpose of the presentation and your intended audience, but the point is that you want to deliver your content in short, relevant and manageable chunks. If your presentation is a bit on the long side, you can determine if there are natural points where you can divide it into multiple shorter presentations. Droning on and on while delivering a presentation may have killed our nation’s ninth president.

Tip #2: Don’t just have text & bullet points on your slides
An abundance of text on a slide won’t keep your audience entertained and focused. Using images such as graphs, tables, photos and even sketches can add character, personality, and impact to the presentation. Statistics can add credibility and persuasive power to your presentation. A good rule of thumb to remember is that less is more on a presentation slide.

Tip #3: Don’t read from the slides
Your audience can read. They don’t want you to repeat what they can see. Craft a narrative (Rule #3 in “8 Rules for Exceptional Slide Presentations” from SEOMoz) or a list of talking points that you can follow as you are delivering your presentation. You can use the same basic outline as your presentation and adapt it into a script or series of talking points, but don’t just read what’s on your slides. This wouldn’t be a problem if you follow tip #2 and use imagery on your slides to make your point. Remember, you want to speak to your slides rather than read from them.

Recording of “How To Be An Online Presentation God” Webinar

Here is a recording of a webinar that we offered last week on giving online presentations. It was presented by a presentation expert and consultant, and he offered a TON of great tips on how to be a better presenter, which can be applied to both a live and on demand presentation scenario. It’s available for you to view for free, so check it out!

Use Knoodle At No Cost Until 2013

Also, we were offering a code that will let you use Knoodle for free until 2013 as part of a special promotion for the webinar. This promotion was originally only valid through October 31st, but due to popular demand by people located in the east coast who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, we’re extending the offer until the end of the day tomorrow, November 2nd, 2012. If you’re interested, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Sign up for a free trial account (or login if you already have one).
  2. Click the Buy/Upgrade button in the top left corner of the page.
  3. Select one of our flexible monthly subscription plans – you will not be charged for the plan selected until January of 2013, and if you cancel any time before that then you will not be charged.
  4. Then enter in the code PRESENTATIONGOD upon checkout.

We hope that the quick tips offered here, the recording of the webinar above, and the ability to use Knoodle for free through the end of 2012 will help you deliver better online presentations — whether they’re for product demos & tutorials, sales & marketing presentations, new employee onboarding, compliance & safety training, or collaborative learning. We would also love to hear any other quick tips you may have on how to lose the snooze button for your online presentations…share them in the comments below!

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3 Questions You Need to Ask During a Babysitter Interview

Parents need time to themselves to enjoy a date night, a weekend getaway for their wedding anniversary or to attend to a doctor’s appointment without having to take all their children along with them. What questions should you ask during a babysitter interview?

What Would You Do in an Emergency?

It is vitally important to ask this question during an interview. No one wants to plan for an asthma attack or an epileptic seizure, but these emergencies can occur while parents are absent. They need to feel confident that their babysitter has the ability to cope well under stress during an emergency that might come up. Does the babysitter have CPR and basic First Aid certification? If not, would they be willing to obtain the necessary training?

Prospective babysitters who ask for emergency numbers to contact you, doctors or anyone else are just the kind of people you want caring for your children, as they have already thought ahead to what needs to be done during an emergency.

How Do You Resolve Conflicts Between Children?

This is not meant to be a trick question! Parents have a right to know how their next babysitter will cope if their son and daughter get into a fight, requiring the intervention of the babysitter. Will she listen to both sides of the argument? How does she feel about taking the parents’ lead in administering appropriate discipline?

If the babysitter seems at a loss for what to say, she may not have considered what to do during fights between siblings. While this in itself is not worrying, the fact is that a babysitter who does not feel confident about dealing with conflicts may be either too harsh or too lenient with your children.

How Do You Plan to Entertain My Children?

If a candidate’s idea of entertainment includes letting your children fend for themselves out back while they play video games, or watch a video, you need to keep looking. Teenagers may have gained years of babysitting experience for caring for younger brothers and sisters, but that does not always make them the best candidates for the job, especially if they just got into the habit of putting their siblings to bed while they had their boyfriends stay over.

Ask for specific games and activities that they plan to use if they are hired for the job. This can help weed out candidates who put on an elaborate show in front of the parents, but are careless in discharging their duties once they are left alone with the children. Checking references from satisfied parents and children they have worked with in the past can help back them up as they apply for this babysitting job.

Parents who are searching for just the right babysitter for their children need to be armed with a list of questions that they plan on asking during the interview. The right babysitter will know what to do in an emergency, stay calm under pressure, deal confidently and maturely with conflict and plan how they will entertain children if they are hired. Do not settle for anything but the very best. You owe it to your children to hire a babysitter who will put their interests and well-being first.

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3 Productive Activities You Can Do While Watching Television

Television is a wonderful time waster, but there are actually productive activities that you can do while watching television. These activities will allow you to watch guilt-free and actually save time. Although most people cannot do tasks that involve great mental concentration while they watch their favorite shows, we all have low-attention tasks that can be combined with television. Here are a few:

Productive TV Activity #1: Personal Planning. If you keep a day planner (in print or on a computer), you probably have daily organizational work to do. At a minimum, you need to check off the tasks you accomplished for the day and plan what needs to be done in the morning. This is a great activity to do while watching television in the evening. In fact, the sort of mundane organizational work a planning system requires can seem like a time waster itself if done in isolation. Combine that tedious activity with television watching, and you’ll feel good about both tasks.

Productive TV Activity #2: Cooking. If you have a TV in the kitchen, this is a no-brainer. But even if you watch TV in some other part of the house, you can cook and watch at the same time. Combine your ingredients in the kitchen, then do the monotonous hand mixing while watching television. Instead of wasting time, you’ll make a delicious something for dinner.

Productive TV Activity #3: Exercising. If the TV is in an exercise room, this is also a no-brainer. But even if the TV is in a rec room or some other part of the house, you can get a good workout while watching television. All you need is a couple of dumbbells. In fact, you don’t even need that if you are happy doing push-ups and sit-ups. Instead of wasting your time, TV can actual ensure that you keep on an exercise program. If you watch a show at 7 PM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, it should be easy to exercise three days a week.

Those are my three top picks for productive activities you can do while watching television, but there are plenty more. Do you want to keep a journal? Write in it every night while watching the news. Do you have some old boxes of junk to sort through? Haul them into the TV room. Be creative, and make it a priority to do something worthwhile while watching your shows. If you follow that simple advice, you will turn a colossal time waster into a helpful time saver.

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3 Problems Facebook Changes Were Meant to Fix, Why People Don’t 'Like' Them

Even the most dedicated Facebook fans probably experienced confusion when they logged on to their Facebook pages over the past few days. The changes to the site have been almost universal. Almost every feature of the site has changed, including the Friends list and News Streams. Almost no portion of the site feels comforting or familiar, and users have complained vociferously. Some have even switched to Google+, a rival social network service that recently opened its doors to all comers.

Many fans of the site can probably agree that the problem is probably not the changes themselves, but the pace at which Facebook implemented them. Rather than rolling out changes one by one, Facebook may have overwhelmed users with a flood of changes within the space of a week.

Never fear: Here’s a simple guide to the Facebook changes, and why some of them probably actually make the site better and easier to use.

Facebook Change #1: Help Keep People from Missing Important Posts

For many users, the most visible and irritating change is the old “News Feed” has been replaced with a confusing “Top Story” and “Recent Stories” section. Before the recent Facebook changes, users saw a simple chronological list of their friends’ posts. Now, users see a list of “Top Stories” that seem to be in no particular order followed by a list of “Recent Stories.”

Facebook changed the News Feed to prevent users from missing important posts. The idea was simple: Facebook would put any important update users might have missed since they last logged on at the top of their news feed. This section is called “Top Stories.” Following these important posts, users find the old news feed under the title “Recent Stories.”

In short, when you log on to Facebook, it now checks to see if you’ve missed important posts. If you have, it places those posts on top of your old news feed.

Facebook Change #2: Speed Up the News Feed

Many people were surprised to log on to Facebook and see a list of items scrolling down the upper right section of their screen. This is the new Facebook ticker. It’s designed to let users see things that are happening in real time.

Sometimes my friends will post a status update that says, “I’ll be in Los Angeles tonight, who wants to get together?” Often by the time I see these types of posts it’s too late to respond. This problem was the reason for one of the most significant Facebook changes: the Facebook Ticker. The ticker contains a stream of real-time updates. It contains up-to-the-second activity by your friends, allowing you to see everything that has occurred in the last few moments.

Facebook announced and implemented the ticker and news feed at the same time, leaving users feeling the site had changed beyond recognition. But both are useful changes that users will come to appreciate over time.

Facebook Change #3: Create Levels of Friendship

In the old Facebook, you could either be someone’s friend or not. There was no intermediate status. And before you could be someone’s friend, they had to agree to be your friend as well. Thus, many people who wanted to follow a celebrity or political figure on Facebook had to become the celebrity’s “friend.”

On Sept. 14, Facebook made it possible to “subscribe.” Now you can see other people’s posts without adding them as friends. This means you can simply subscribe to the webpage of your favorite musician or athlete; you don’t need to add each other as friends. Conversely, if you allow it, people can subscribe to your profile, meaning they aren’t your Facebook friend but can still see your updates. This, in effect, creates two levels of association between Facebook users. You can be someone’s friend, or you can merely subscribe to one another’s updates.

REFERENCES

“Join Google+”, Google

Vic Gundotra,”Google+: 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99… 100″, The Official Google Blog

Mark Tonkelowitz, “Interesting News, Any Time You Visit,” The Facebook Blog

Zach Rait, “Introducing the Subscribe Button”, The Facebook Blog

Tags:3 Problems Facebook Changes Were Meant to Fix, Why People Don’t ‘Like’ Them

3 Popular Winter Wedding Favors for 2008

Want to know what wedding favors will be hot this winter? Metallic wedding favors are huge in 2008 and winter wedding favors are no exception. Combine metallics with nature to get the hottest wedding favors for your winter 2008 wedding favors.

Here are three hot winter wedding favors perfect as a small reminder for your guest about how much their presence means to you and your groom:

Popular Winter Wedding Favors #1: Metallic Snowflake Ornaments

To get started you need to buy those plastic or wooden snowflake ornaments form the craft store. Lay them out on a sheet of newspaper.

Spray each snowflake with a coat of metric silver spray paint. Let this dry and repeat on the back side.

Once alls the metallic paint dries on the wedding favors you want to string each on a ribbon. Look for sheer silver ribbon at the craft store.

Place the metallic wedding favors in a basket by the door and each wedding gets can take one as a memento from your wedding.

Tip: Gold or antique gold is also a fun look for this metallic wedding favor.

Popular Winter Wedding Favors #2: Traditional Metallic

Ok, so there are so many traditional wedding favors tat can be easily turned metallic. Try using metallic organize bags in place of sheer while. If you are going with candles f your wedding favors, then try metallic gold or silver candles. They are easy to find and so elegant.

Chocolate can be wrapped in silver foil or gold foil. Hershey kisses are the easiest example of this. You can use silver wrappers on those custom Hershey’s bars as well and Godiva already packages their chocolate sin metallic gold boxes!

Popular Winter Wedding Favors #3: Metallic Flower Petals

To create metallic flower petals you have a few options My favorite is to use silk flower petals. Take the back off of a silk rose to free the petals. Lay them out on sheets of newspaper.

Spray them lightly with a misting of silver or gold metallic spray paint. Let this dry and prĂȘt on the back.

Tip: Try sprinkling gold or silver glitter on the petals while they are wet. This will stick and add some more sparkle to the metric rose petals.

You can also use real petals, but they may wilt and dry before the wedding, so stick with the silk rose petals for hits metallic wedding favor.

These can be handed out by the hand full to wedding guest to toss on the bride and groom as they leave the wedding reception.

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3 Quick Ways to Pull Laser-Targeted Traffic from Across the Internet

Many Internet Marketers are already using these methods to dominate their respective markets. Frankly, you should be too. Below are just 3 of the methods I personally use without fail every time I’m on the lookout for that much-needed TRAFFIC.

1.Forum Marketing.

A while ago a very good friend of mine introduced me to Forum Marketing and I’ve never looked back ever since. It’s amazing how many people hang out at forums looking for information on a certain topic of interest.

First of all, depending on which niche you’re in, do a Google search and find out about any forum catering to that group. Chances are, you’ll find more than one forum on that topic. Be sure to participate and get a ‘feel’ of the type of community around that particular forum, make meaningful contributions and introduce yourself at first.

Where possible ask questions on a related subject and always, and I mean always, make sure you add a link to your site in the signature files. This will no doubt bring you a very good trickle of visitors to your site.

To further increase your traffic, also ANSWER questions put forth by members of the forum. This will also make you out to be an authority on the subject. This one is a sure-fire way of getting your site to go viral too.

2. Article Distribution.

I find people always complaining that writing articles is a tedious affair. Well, what I say to them is this; Article writing is like speaking to your word processor using your hands to type down the words, as simple as that. If you can speak it, at least in your mind, then you certainly can write articles about it. That being said, let’s take a look at this method to drive traffic to your site.

The Internet is about information, and most of it is in the written format right? Sure.

There are many sites that will accept well written articles for free, these are called article directories. These guys will publish your article and feature it in their highly trafficked sites totaling a PR7 or sometimes 8. Again, a Google search will yield thousands of these sites. Similar to our Forum marketing strategy, a signature file will be the main tool to drive targeted traffic to your site.

3. Blogging.

Blogging remains one of the most important weapons any Internet Marketer can have in their toolset.

This is so because blogging encompasses a whole lot of intelligent tools to enable even the newest member to dominate any niche within a very short space of time. These include RSS for instance, which allows you to have the Search Engines placing you high up in their SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages) for that added benefit of getting ahead of your competition.

The most important thing however is test, test and test some more.

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3 Quick and Easy Ways to Build a Profitable Opt-In List

Once you finally come to the realization that you need to have a good opt-in list, there are some things that you should do in order to build your list. Of course, you have probably reached this realization once you have read numerous articles and talked to many experts, so you already know what the list should include and how you should use it. Maybe you have even tried doing all of these things yourself and still were unable to create the profitable opt-in list that you want. In fact, your list may even be causing you to lose money. This does happen if you occur such expenses as hiring writers to help you out. Of course, this is a great way in which to create a big list, but maybe only a small percentage of your list actually purchases anything from you. Thus, after watching your statistics and sales figures, you may still be losing money.

Now you are wondering what you could have done wrong. Why have other people been able to succeed doing the same things that have led you to fail? The most common mistake is diving straight straight into working on your list with a topic that you thought would be very popular and actually earn you money. However, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, just because you have sent mail to those people on your list does not mean that they are going to instantly buy something from you.

Here are 3 quick and easy ways in which you can rejuvenate your failed opt-in list:

1. Do things that will encourage your customers to trust you and your products. Simply launching an opt-in list is not going to make you a believable expert. Therefore, you are going to need to put many articles about your chosen topic into your opt-in list first. In order to ensure that this is what your customers want and need to know, you will need to create a forum where your clients can tell you these things. Of course, you can also join other forums to learn from other experts. These forum members will then come to know you and then you can ask them to join your list. After all, friends always make good customers. So, go ahead and put a link to your site in your signature.

2. Make sure that you are offering a product or service that people want and need. While this may not be something that you are good at, you can read, research and become good at it. This investment of your your time, effort and money will be well spent in this case. Of course, it is always best to sell something that you are interested in, but if there is not a lot of people who have the same interest as you, then you should try selling something else that is popular and profitable. The only way that you will know what is popular and profitable is by doing your research.

3. You need to form friendships with other successful opt-in list users since these people have experience that they can pass onto you. While many articles can be found online for you to use, nothing is better than getting a first hand account from someone that you trust. They can tell you what you should and should not do because they have already done these things themselves. Of course, different situations occur for different people, but the general concept is still very helpful. Furthermore, these people will also be able to tell you what you should avoid doing.

As you can see, building a profitable opt-in list is not going to happen overnight. It will take a lot of work and effort to build your opt-in list from scratch. You will also need to organize and manage your list as it continues to grow. If you need some help, make sure that you hire it so that you can keep your subscribers happy and satisfied. They will then be willing to purchase whatever it is that you are trying to sell them.

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3 Reasons Kids Should Bring Cell Phones to High School

My kids are bookended in high school — one freshman, one senior, and each of them has a cell phone. We were slower than most families to embrace the idea of kids with cell phones, so by the time our children did get their first phones they understood two things: a cell phone is a privilege; we trust them to be mature enough to assume this responsibility.

Guidelines
The school policy allows for electronic devices to be used before and after school, during brunch, lunch and passing periods, or at the discretion of the teacher. This gives us ample time for communication, which we use as needed and almost always by text message. Our kids are involved in various sports and activities, so a good part of the time I get messages with updates on schedules and location. Knowing what’s going on in advance gives me time to adjust my schedule and make the best use of my time. For the record, if students are found using their phones during class they have to turn them into the office to be picked up by a parent, while repeat offenders face disciplinary action. So far, we have never had to pick up a phone at any school office and hope to keep it that way.

Peace of Mind
By the time kids are in high school, they’re doing quite a bit on their own. They take the bus, walk longer distances, drive to school and spend more and more time away from home. Although a phone isn’t foolproof by any means, it does give them, and you, a way to stay in touch, providing both the independence they crave and a measure of security. If my kids are out and about after school, I’ll send a periodic “marco” text message to verify their current location. It’s a quick, unobtrusive way of keeping in touch and has worked well for us. Likewise, I might get a “please pick me up” message much sooner than expected if their plans have deteriorated.

Growing Up
For better, or worse, teenagers are learning to manage their own schedules. Many of the adults in their lives, from coaches to teachers to employers, insist that the student handle their own affairs. If my daughter is going to be late for practice because she needs to make up a quiz, the coach does not want to hear from mom! Those cell phones come in handy even across campus and will save her from a punishing workout when she does make it to the field.

Costs
We have a basic family plan with unlimited text messaging and pay only $10 a month for each additional line. The phones themselves, with qwerty keyboards, cost $50 each with a two year contract. To prevent unintended charges the kids do not have data connections enabled on their phones. They have music and games on iPods and can access the internet anywhere they can get a Wi-Fi connection. This seemed like a good, cost-effective compromise versus a $30 a month data plan for each phone. For $5 more a month per phone we could add parental controls to our wireless plan, but I refuse to do this out of principle. My iMac and Macbook did not come with an extra charges for parental controls and neither should my wireless plan.

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3 Reasons Your Dog Shouldn't Drink Lake Water

In the warm weather months of spring and summer, many families like to visit local parks with lakes. A park with a lake can provide endless hours of fun for every member of family, including the family dog. Of course, bringing your dog adds extra responsibility to your trip. I have always worried about my dog’s safety while at the park, and have been afraid to let her drink from the lakes we visit. My husband used to assure me it was okay until our dog had an incident that changed his mind. Here are some reasons you shouldn’t allow your dog to drink from a lake.

Fishing tackle dangers

If you’ve been to a public park with a lake that is fished regularly, you have no doubt ran across discarded fishing tackle. This can be anything from fishing line to rusty fishing hooks. I’ve always worried my dog would swallow a rusty hook, which would be both painful and costly. Luckily, it hasn’t happened, but she has swallowed some fishing line. Once while getting a drink from the lake she swallowed some line, and as she went to walk away she started to panic. She was stuck because the line was tangled in the water, and was in her stomach. In a moment of panic, my husband pulled the line from her mouth, which was terrifying, gross, and dangerous. From then on, I’ve insisted on carrying bottled water for her to drink.

Dangerous chemicals

There are any number of chemicals that could be present in lake water that you cannot see. I have seen people spilling gasoline in the water while trying to fuel their boats. I’ve also found motor oil containers floating near the banks of more than a few lakes. If your dog drinks from water that is contaminated with toxic chemicals, it will get sick at best, and at worse it could kill them. Fortunately, I don’t personally know of any dog that has been poisoned from drinking tainted lake water, but knowing that it could happen is enough to warrant caution.

Parasites

Most people are aware that it can be dangerous to drink fresh water from lakes because of parasites. However, these same people often believe dogs are able to fight off all the nasty things humans can’t, but that isn’t always the case. Some parasites that are commonly found in water like “Giardia” can make your dog sick. A friend of mine learned the hard way about the dangers of parasites found in lake water. Her dog got so sick she had to take it to the veterinarian for IV fluids and medication.

While letting your dog drink from the lake at a park is better than not providing water at all, it should be a last resort. You need make it a habit to carry fresh water for your dog, just like you would for yourself or your children. This will help eliminate any risk your dog might face.

More from this contributor:
Celebrating Easter with Your Dog
Living with a Dog in Your Bed
Why Your Dog Should Know Its Body Parts

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3 Reasons to Use the Countrywide Foreclosure List

The Countrywide foreclosure list is a popular tool for real estate investors and home buyers. Before the banking crisis, Countrywide was the largest independent mortgage service provider in the United States. In 2008, Bank of America purchased Countrywide for a staggering $4.1 billion and assumed their ‘toxic assets’ portfolio consisting of thousands of foreclosure properties.

The Countrywide foreclosure list is presented to the public via the Bank of America website. Home buyers and investors can use the list at no charge to locate family residences, newly constructed homes, commercial real estate, and vacant land.

Countrywide / BOA real estate consists of foreclosure homes, bank owned properties, and short sale real estate. On any given day, buyers can access more than 15,000 discounted properties and cheap homes for sale. Countrywide properties are listed through local realtors or managed by Bank of America’s loss mitigation department.

In order to place an offer on Countrywide homes, buyers must first obtain bank prequalification. Although prequalification does not guarantee buyers’ will qualify for a mortgage loan, it does allow them to know exactly how much they can afford. Once the offer is accepted, buyers undergo the same type of lending process they would if buying property listed through a real estate agent or homeowner.

Individuals who purchase Countrywide foreclosure properties can obtain additional savings through the federal housing tax credit and first time home buyer programs. The home buyer tax credit allows a deduction of $8000 for first time buyers and $6500 for homeowners who buy a more expensive home. In order to receive the tax credit, homeowners must have resided in their primary residence for at least five years. Borrowers must obtain loan approval prior to June 30, 2010 to take advantage of the federal housing tax credit

Properties sold through the Countrywide foreclosure list consist of properties which did not sell through public auctions and now belong to the bank. Also referenced as bank owned or real estate owned (REO), these properties are sold in “as is” condition and typically require some level of repair.

The main difference with foreclosure vs. bank owned homes is when lenders regain ownership they remove creditor and tax liens and sell the house with a clean title. This is particularly helpful for first time home buyers and individuals unfamiliar with bidding on properties through foreclosure auctions.

Real estate investors often purchase repossessed homes for use as rental properties. Investors using the Countrywide foreclosure list to locate investment property should take time to become familiar with the area of prospective homes.

Tenants with school-age children typically want to live in areas with exceptional schools. Single tenants often prefer easy access to interstates, shopping malls and restaurants. Businessmen and women want easy access to the office or nearby airport. Knowing the area allows investors to find appropriate properties to attract the type of tenant they are seeking.

Buying repo homes does not always equate to substantial savings. Lenders suffer a loss during the foreclosure process and generally do not leave much room for price negotiation. However, many properties on the Countrywide foreclosure list are priced well below market value. If you are looking for a home or investment property, the Countrywide list should be a top priority.

Tags:3 Reasons to Use the Countrywide Foreclosure List

3 Reasons to Buy a Modular Home Over a Stick-built

The word “Modular Home” seems to bring an ugly picture into many people’s minds. This could be for many reasons. Some people remember the modular homes built in the 1970’s and how poor the quality was. Other people think modular homes are mere mobile homes with a fancier name. I am here to show you that if you find a legitimate Modular Home company that builds to state codes, there are several reasons to buy over a stick-built home.

Price
For many families, price is the main consideration in the construction of a house. Modular homes are comparatively cheaper than stick-built homes. On average, a modular home costs between $70-$80 per square foot to build. This includes the plumbing and foundation work. A stick built home costs around $100 per square foot to build. Modular homes are able to keep costs down for a couple of reasons. Homes are built in a factory on a factory line. This means the construction is very efficient and much less time consuming than stick-built homes. Also, Modular Home companies produce so many houses per year, they tend to get bulk pricing on their materials. This is somewhere Stick-built contractors find hard to compete.

Quality
If you find a reputable Modular Home company that builds to state codes, the quality is unmatched. Modular homes are built to drive down the highway at 60 miles per hour to be delivered to your building site. They are built in a weather controlled environment without the effects of rain and snow. Modular Homes meet or exceed the quality of most stick-built homes. For example, many modular homes build with 8″ sidewalls. Try to find 8″ sidewalls in any stick-built home. I would be surprised if you could find one.

Time
The time it takes to build and deliver a modular home is unmatched by any stick-built home. It can take as little as 1 month to as much as 4 months to receive a livable modular home. Most stick-built homes will take a minimum of 6 months, and some go over the 1 year mark to build. Not only is this more convenient for the buyer, but it also saves money. The less time it takes you to build a house, the less money in interest you will spend on a construction loan.

As more and more people become aware of the price, quality, and time benefits of modular homes, more and more of them pop up all over the country. If you find a reputable Modular home company, I can think of no reason to build any other type of home. Modular homes are the homes of the future.

Tags:3 Reasons to Buy a Modular Home Over a Stick-built

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