Life Lessons Learned As a Child May Affect Income As an Adult

hg4Poverty does not have one single cause. Its causes are intertwined with each other. Shipler, author of The Working Poor, stated that the ingredients of poverty are part financial and part psychological, part personal and part societal, part past and part present.

Whether we like it or not our past has a lot to do with our present. Children raised in poverty stricken homes are more likely to continue in poverty as adults. While researching poverty it is found that many adults living in poverty suffered a troubled childhood. This is a chilling revelation. These histories are both cause and effect: tangled together with a myriad of other difficulties such as money, housing, schooling, health, job, and neighborhoods that reinforce one another.

It is not easy to be an active parent when you’re tired and stressed. For example, it has been found that some parents never play with their children; these children grow up and never play with their children. Play is a child’s job. It is the means by which a child gets to explore the world around them. However, without their parents’ support and guidance they don’t get to venture too far.

It is not only play time being affected but also quality time. In a Baltimore malnutrition clinic a mother was observed with her son while he was supposed to be eating. His mother watches for a moment, then pulls out a magazine and reads. Nothing ever goes into his mouth, and she pays no attention. Even though this child has a problem with malnutrition, the mother still doesn’t give him the attention and guidance needed.

This lack of guidance can also led to problems in the soft skills needed by employers. Soft skills, such as initiative, punctuality, personal hygiene, and the ability to take orders, are imperative in retaining a job and increase the likelihood of promotion. These soft skills should be taught in the family as everyday life lessons.

Children living in poverty learn other lessons. Some lead to life skills such as being street smart, independent, and frugal. However, some of those lessons are not as positive and can keep the cycle of poverty going from generation to generation.

To break the cycle, it may be necessary for someone from the outside to step in. There are many great organizations that work with children living in poverty. Find one near you that you agree with and donate your time. Giving one day a month may be the ticket out of poverty for some child.

How to Live Simply As a Conscientious Consumer

Young Father Pouring Milk into Bowl of Cereal for Young Boy (6-8) --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Young Father Pouring Milk into Bowl of Cereal for Young Boy (6-8) — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Down a supermarket aisle, a frazzled mom pushes a cart full of disposable diapers, plastic water bottles, and screaming kids. Being a parent is hard enough. Modern conveniences like big-box stores, prepackaged snacks, and disposable tupperware seem make life easier. But do they? It’s not easy being green. But being a conscientious consumer just might make life simpler in the long run.

As parents, we want the best for our planet because our kids will inherit the earth. The extra effort we take to live more sustainably is our small gift to future generations. Being a conscientious consumer means we think about what we bring into our lives and how we use the items we already have. There are several schools of thought on the subject of minimal living (Project 333, The Minimalists, The KonMari Method, etc.). The main goal in all of these is to intentionally select a small number high-quality items to have in your life and let go of the rest. In this post, we will look at how to live simpler and be a conscientious consumer through: purchasing thoughtfully, minimizing responsibly, and managing resources wisely.

Purchase Thoughtfully

Make thoughtful selections when buying new products. The deliberate curation of durable clothes, kitchenware, and home goods combats the “throw-away culture” of modern society. When objects last longer, less goes to the landfill. When we reduce consumption overall, less stuff is manufactured and less packaging is used.

    • Avoid impulse purchases by making a list and sticking to it. If you see something you really want, add it to a future list. Later, research the product, ask yourself if you truly need it, and make an intentional decision.

 

    • Purchase second-hand or handmade. We can still get use out of products that others are finished with. Thrift shops and garage sales can be a fun treasure hunt. Websites like Etsy.com host handmade and vintage items.

 

    • Buy locally grown food and locally made products. This supports your local economy and reduces the carbon emissions used in transporting object to and from other countries.

 

    • Consider the packaging purchases come in. Avoid unnecessarily bulky packaging, and go for recyclable. When possible, buy things in bulk to reduce packaging consumption. Just make sure you will actually use the bulk items. Bring a reusable coffee mug or water bottle instead of buying a disposable one. Bring a reusable shopping bag.

 

    • Replace disposables with reusables. Bring along reusable items such as shopping bags, coffee mugs, and water bottles when going out. Cloths napkins and towels replace the paper variety. Go for cloth diapers rather than disposables. Reusable menstrual products are better for your body and the environment than disposable pads and tampons.

 

    • Share and borrow household items that are used infrequently. Do you only need a ladder once a year when hanging Christmas lights? Borrow one from a neighbor rather than buying one yourself.

 

    • Make it yourself. DIY all the things! When you take the time to make things at home, they have more meaning and value in your life because you understand the effort that went into their creation. You’ll probably take better care of them, too.

 

    • Opt for safer cleaning. A conscientious consumer considers what they are putting into their home though cleaning products, and what they are putting onto their body (and their children) with personal care and beauty products. A great big bottle of Castile Soap cleans almost anything-from the baby to the kitchen sink. Seriously, I wash my hair with it and mop the floor with it. Castile soap comes concentrated, so be sure to dilute, and it will last a long time.

 

  • Eat green. Making thoughtful dietary changes are healthier for your family and the environment. Buy local, in-season, food from the local farmer’s market or CSA to cook it at home. Buy fresh, whole, organic food and limit pre-packaged, processed food. Reduce the consumption of meat and eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Choose sustainably caught fish and seafood. And, of course, grow your own food. Even if you don’t have much yard space, garden towers are space-saving options.

Minimize Responsibly

Even when purchasing thoughtfully, there still comes a time to get rid of stuff. With this simple living principal in mind to “use what you have, and have what you use,” think about what you truly need, and let go of the rest. When minimizing clutter, do so responsibly. Try to limit stuff that winds up in a landfill. Remember that someone else may find value in the object your getting rid of. For example, our automatic coffee maker stopped working, and I listed it for free on our local Facebook “trading post.” Another mom came and got it because her son liked taking apart and tinkering with appliances. The coffee maker stopped being useful to me, but it still served a purpose for someone else.

    • Recycle. Take time to learn what can be recycled in your local area. Glass, paper, and plastic are the norm. See who will recycle clothing, electronics, home goods, etc.

 

    • Upcycle. Give old ‘garbage’ new life. An empty oatmeal container can be a toy drum for your kids. An old t-shirt can be your new reusable shopping bag. Repurpose wooden pallets into planter boxes. Basically the only limit is your own imagination.

 

    • Compost. Feed egg shells, yard waste, and kitchen scraps to a food digester, composter, or pile.

 

    • Donate. Find your local Goodwill or thrift shop. Your old items could still be useful to other people.

 

    • Have a garage sale. Why not make a little extra cash off the items you are no longer using?

 

  • Sell online. List items on eBay or Craigslist. Many areas even have a local Facebook group for selling and trading.

Manage Resources Wisely

Purchased items is only one form of consumption. Consider other resources we use such as transportation, energy, and water. How can individuals and families reduce their consumption of our planets valuable resources?

    • Find alternate transportation. Public transit availability varies wildly depending on location. Look into your area’s transit system. When possible, bike or walk to get where you need to go. For longer trip, where public transit isn’t available, try to find a carpool. Let’s say you do need a car, driving a well-maintained older car (especially one with decent gas mileage) generally a greener option than purchasing a new one. Consider the environmental costs of manufacturing a new automobile and adding old cars to the junk pile. Consider the energy efficiency of your vehicle-hybrid and electric cars are becoming cheaper and more readily available.

 

    • Reduce home energy consumption. If possible, look into getting an energy audit to find out how you can have a more energy efficient home. Some simple steps anyone can take include: unplugging or turn off your electronic devices when not in use, turning off the lights when you leave the room, switching to CFL or LED bulbs, hang-dry laundry, researching energy-efficient appliances, and properly sealing and insulating your home.

 

  • Reduce water waste at home. Take shorter showers and fewer baths. Never let the tap run while brushing teeth or shaving. Use energy efficient washing machines and dishwashers and run full loads. Repair leaky toilets and faucets. Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators and fix leaky toilets and faucet. Install a rain barrel. Use gray water for watering your garden.

3 Top Tips for Choosing Your Bathroom Sink Unit

hg2When it comes to selecting a cabinet or unit for your bathroom – whether this is to install your inset sink in or simply just for storage – there are many things to take into account. These include colours, size, shape, material, and the price of the product too. This can mean that people take a great deal of time thinking over their options before they make a final decision.

Although it is important to make an informed decision after considering several options, there are several tips that can be followed to make the process of making a choice much easier. Here are three pieces of advice that can help you narrow down your options to find the best sink units for you.

Firstly, bear in mind that many units actually come in standard sizes for many bathrooms, so you will not have too much to worry about in this regard. The best thing to do is to take measurements of your property and then consult a specialist retailer and see what they have in these sizes. Even if there is not one in the ideal size, they will likely have options just a little larger or smaller.

These sink units may be entirely suitable, and it helps to play around with a few possibilities to work out what will look best and what will suit your storage needs best too. However, sometimes you will need customised cabinets of certain heights, depths and widths, in which case it is important to ask your retailer where to you can go to source these items.

One of the good things about standard sizes is that they are designed to make sure that sink units and toilet units are not intrusive in your space. These items generally tend to be relatively minimal so that you will have a good amount of storage but will also have a lot more open space in your bathroom – which is good to avoid knocks and bumps.

The second thing to think about is the style of your units, and whether they match the overall theme of your bathroom. This can be hard to get right, especially as there are so many beautiful designs and models out there all vying for your attention.

It helps to decide whether you prefer a modern or a traditional looking bathroom, as this can help you define a few models of sink, units, toilets, showers, lighting and mirrors that will likely all work together. However, it certainly does not hurt to get the advice of a seasoned professional in this regard.

In many cases, retailers will be more than happy to suggest a few different models that will work with the theme that you have planned for your home and your bathroom, and for this reason it is a good idea to ask several vendors what they suggest that will fit in with your plans. You can then consider which models of the ones suggested will likely look best with your interior design scheme.

Thirdly and finally, remember that a unit for both your sink and your toilet is the best way to make use of your space in the bathroom, especially in more limited areas. This is because they increase storage as well as conceal pipe work, which gives a sleek and tidy finish to the room.

It is also worth noting that these options are often great as pipe work is easy to access when there is a problem, which is not necessarily the case when there are wall mounted sinks or toilets installed. This can make for a very practical and great-looking solution for the bathroom.

These are just three tips to bear in mind when looking for sink units for your bathroom. Not only are these a very practical choice, but with careful selection in regards to size and to style you are likely to find something that fits your interior design plans perfectly.

Does Your Siding Have Storm Damage

hg1Unless you are a very heavy sleeper, you certainly heard the volatile rainstorm that occurred in Central Indiana the other night. Although falling asleep to the soft drizzle of rain is relaxing, the thunder from our most recent storm was not something anyone could have easily slept through. But the surrounding community of homeowners are no longer losing sleep from thunder so much as they are losing sleep over the amount of storm damage to their home’s siding. The next day, did you see signs of storm damage on your siding? If so, it is important to have storm damages repaired properly, and within a speedy time frame, in order to protect your investment wisely.

Signs of Storm Damage

Heavy winds, rains, hail, and sleet can all occur during an aggressive rainstorm. These occurrences can all cause a wide spectrum of storm damage, especially to siding. Whether you have stucco, vinyl, aluminum, wood, or laminate siding, it can be vulnerable to storm damage. Examples of damages include holes in stucco, missing boards, broken clapboard tiles, cracks, dents, chips, abrasions, and more. But fortunately, all of these damages can be reversed with the help of a qualified general contracting company.

Signs of Storm-Damaged Siding:

  • Missing Clapboard Tiles
  • Broken Boards
  • Missing Sections
  • Chips
  • Dents
  • Holes
  • Dirt
  • Rips and Tears
  • Abrasions
  • Loose Siding
  • Structural Instability
  • And More

Although siding is designed to last decades, it is not entirely resistant to damages caused by heavy wind and rainstorms. Trees and other debris can be tossed into your yard and rip holes in your home during severe storms. Be sure your homeowners’ insurance policy covers storm damage in the case that a tree or large limb falls onto your home, or your siding is destroyed by wind and rain.

Get Professional Siding Repair

It is important to repair damages to your home’s siding in order to protect your investment. This is because siding damage causes exponential damages, like rust, fungal growth, pest infestations, insect infestations, water damage, and more. A licensed general contractor has the training, knowledge, and resources to provide outstanding siding repair, replacement, or installation in a convenient time frame. Always do your research, and choose a general contractor that has experience with siding installation and repair. Choosing to do it yourself can not only put you at risk of injury, it can jeopardize the structural integrity of your siding if done improperly, and even worse, it may cancel your siding’s warranty.