Real Estate News

    • 5 Places to Add to Your Travel Bucket List

      21 October 2021

      There may be seven original wonders of the world, but as restrictions lift all over the globe and more Americans make plans to travel, globe-trotting experts suggest these five amazing international spots to add to your travel bucket list.

      Plitvice National Park, Croatia - This patchwork of 16 startlingly beautiful lakes halfway between Zagreb and Zadar is a sight to behold, connected by a series of waterfalls and cascades, surrounded by woodland and scenic trails. A top Croatia destination, it is best visited in the shoulder months of April-May or September-October.

      Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland - Known as Greenland’s iceberg capital, the town of Ilulissat lies on the edge of the remarkable Ilulissat Icefjord, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. The fjord is known for its astonishing icebergs, extraordinary ice sculptures and peaceful waters. Home to one of the world's most active glaciers, its spectacular natural scenery draws adventurers from across the globe. 

      Forbidden City (Palace Museum) Beijing - Spread over 250 acres, this complex of well-preserved buildings holds nearly 9,000 rooms containing objects and artifacts from thousands of years of Chinese history. For five centuries, under the Ming and Qing dynasties, ordinary Chinese people were banned from even approaching the palace, but the site has welcomed visitors since 1925 and is a sight to behold.

      Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand - Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world,’ this magical region with its soaring snow-capped mountains, dazzling waters and lush rainforest is deemed by many as one of the last unspoiled places on earth. 

      Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland - Reaching heights of up to 700 feet, these towering cliffs on the west coast of Ireland are some of the tallest in Europe and definitely the most majestic. Stretching along nearly five miles of County Clare’s coastline, against dramatic Irish skies and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the surreal region showcases some of the country’s most awe-inspiring scenery.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Support Adoption This Holiday Season

      21 October 2021

      (Family Features) In the United States, more than 120,000 children in the foster care system are waiting to be adopted. With no permanent family to call their own, the gift of secure, safe and loving forever homes is the goal for these children.

      While fostering or adopting a child can be one way to make more family moments possible, there are additional easy ways to support children waiting in foster care who need help.

      During the holiday season, consider these unique ways to give gifts that keep on giving.

      Donate to Wish Lists
      Whether you support a family working its way through the adoption process, give to a foster agency in need of supplies or find another way to give, your financial support can make a meaningful difference for children in foster care. Supporting organizations that fulfill foster wish lists is one way to help ensure these children feel loved and supported during the holiday season. Most agencies and adoption organizations have wish lists online if you prefer to donate items rather than cash.

      Enjoy a Treat While Giving Back
      Through Oct. 31, you can visit your local Wendy’s to purchase Boo! Books for $1 each, which contain five coupons for free Jr. Frosty treats that can be given to trick-or-treaters, family or friends. Proceeds support the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) and its mission to find forever families for children in foster care who are most often overlooked – teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.

      Offer Your Time and Talents
      Like other nonprofits, local adoption organizations are likely to run a lean staff and even leaner budget. Volunteering your time can make a meaningful difference. Easing the workload can help the organization’s staff dedicate more time to the ultimate goal of placing youth in permanent, loving homes. If you have skills or services that may benefit the organization, reach out to ask if you can help.

      Give a Gift That Keeps Giving
      Gift loved ones (or yourself) a simple present that continues to give rewards all year long. Benefiting the DTFA, Wendy’s Frosty Key Tags are available for $2 each throughout November and December, and allow the holder to receive a free Jr. Frosty every day for a year with any purchase.

      Provide Aid to Adoptive Families
      Families who have adopted a child may need additional support, even if they don’t ask for it. Reach out to a local agency to see if there are any families in your area you can assist. Some ideas for helping include delivering meals, assisting with household chores, such as yard work, or providing holiday gifts or decorations.

      Quench Your Thirst While Giving
      Supporting foster care adoption can be as easy as ordering a drink. Throughout November, when you use Wendy’s mobile app to redeem an offer for a free beverage of any size with purchase, Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper will donate up to $500,000 to the DTFA.

      Learn more about how you can support vulnerable youth in foster care by visiting wendys.com/adoption and davethomasfoundation.org.

      SOURCE: Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 Tips for Getting a Home Loan

      21 October 2021

      Need a loan to buy a house? There are many options out there to help you obtain a mortgage, and finding the best loan and lender for your particular situation can be confusing and difficult. To help you navigate the process, the American Bankers Association (ABA) offers the following tips:

      Know your own financial situation. Before you begin the home loan application process, determine what you can realistically afford. Take into consideration your credit score, how much debt you currently carry and what type of down payment you’re prepared to make.

      Have your documents ready. Although each lender may require different documentation, you may be required to furnish the following information depending on your employment and financial situation:

      • Pay stubs;
      • Tax returns;
      • Financial statements (one that is less than 60 days old);
      • Copies of additional monthly payments such as car loans, credit cards and student loans; and
      • Any other information (such as proof of additional income) that you think will help a lender evaluate your credit request positively.
      Review the basics. Knowing the fundamentals of the home loan process is an excellent way to prepare to choose the right mortgage. Make sure you are familiar with interest rates, loan terms and additional fees associated with buying a home.

      Compare quotes. Beyond the interest rates, there are closing fees and points and commissions. You’ll want to compare these for all the lenders on your list. There are several calculators available online that may help you determine which loan provides the best value, including ones offered by ABA.

      Choose a trusted lender. Get references from family and friends, and do your research. Check with your local Better Business Bureau, and find out if it has received any complaints about any of the lenders you’re considering.

      Read between the lines. Slick TV ads, telemarketers or door-to-door salespeople will often offer fast, easy loans for houses, cars and home repair, but not disclose all of the details. Read the fine print. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

      Ask questions. When in doubt, ask for clarification from your lender. Discuss how long the loan process will take, how you will communicate–by phone or email–and who will service your loan.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Celebrate Fall With Family Fun Activities

      20 October 2021

      Autumn is sometimes that overlooked period between the last of summer’s outdoor activities and hectic preparations for the holidays. But fall offers its own opportunities for rewarding family fun. Check out these leisurely ways to make some happy autumn memories.  

      Check Out the Foliage - In most areas of the country, you are no more than a couple hours drive away from some vibrant fall foliage. If you need ideas, get online to find out where you can best view the best of fall’s amazing colors. Pack a picnic and head out for an afternoon of splashing about the falling leaves.

      • Pick Pumpkins - ...but not from the local market. Look for a fall festival or farmer’s market where you can get your fill of fun activities and head home with the best of autumn’s harvest, including the perfect pumpkins.
      • Go Apple Picking - Apple picking season usually starts in August and peaks through September, but there's still time to squeeze in a trip to a nearby apple orchard during the first half of October. You can take photos, pick apples, eat cider doughnuts and stock up on homemade apple cider.
      • Enjoy Oktoberfest - Somewhere in your area, you can probably find a commercial or sponsored Oktoberfest celebration, featuring authentic German foods, a beer and/or cider garden, guides in German folk dress and a variety of games and shopping opportunities the whole family can enjoy.
      • Take a Haunted Road Trip - For a good, friendly scare, find a haunted house to explore during the month of October. If all else fails, tour a cemetery at night and make up your own ghost tales.
      • Make Costumes - Forget the commercially-made costumes at the store and brainstorm some ideas of your own. Find the fabrics and accessories you need and spend some happy family hours making your costume wishes come true.
      • Get Cooking - Spend some time in the kitchen together making pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin pies or even some pumpkin-based soup. You’ll be making memories your kids will remember all while enjoying the fruits of your labor.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • A Show-Stopping Strawberry Snack

      20 October 2021

      (Culinary.net) When you are craving something sweet, sometimes you just can’t get it off your mind until you have just one bite. You need something small, delicious and something that will ease your cravings. This recipe for Chocolate Coated Strawberry Treats is not only fun to make, but will give you that perfect little snack you have been longing for.

      The recipe begins with fresh strawberries and ends with a drizzle of mouthwatering peanut butter sauce. This is a great recipe for little ones looking to help out in the kitchen. These strawberries are fun to dip and even more enjoyable to devour.

      This snack can also be perfect for date night, a romantic date or just a picnic in the park with friends. They are easy to transport from place to place and don’t leave a huge mess behind to clean up afterwards.

      It’s also simple to just melt, whisk, dip and repeat. The red, ripe berries are bursting with color and the chocolate is glazed right across the top for the perfect bite.

      The best part is you can be creative and dip these strawberries into a number of your favorite ingredients you already have in your pantry at home. This includes, sprinkles, small candies, white chocolate drizzle and different kinds of nuts. The possibilities are endless.

      Next time you can’t get chocolate off your mind, enjoy something delightful, rich and a show-stopping snack.

      Find more snack recipes at Culinary.net.

      If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

      Chocolate Coated Strawberry Treats
      Servings: 5
       
      1 1/4 baking chocolate chips
      1/2 baking peanut butter chips
      3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
      1 pound fresh strawberries
      shredded coconut
      crushed almonds

      In a saucepan, add baking chocolate chips and two tablespoons of coconut oil. Melt on low to medium heat and whisk until smooth.

      In a small bowl, add baking peanut butter chips and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Whisk together until smooth.

      Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

      Dip all strawberries into melted chocolate. Then, dip 1/3 in coconut, 1/3 in almonds and 1/3 just chocolate and lay on the tray.

      Drizzle the melted peanut butter over the plain chocolate strawberries.

      Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until strawberry treats are chilled.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.