FFXIV Recruit a Friend Campaign

FFXIV Recruit A Friend Blog Header

Are you curious about how to recruit a friend in FFXIV? I’m sharing all you need to know about the FFXIV recruit a friend campaign in this post!

As of late, I’ve become pretty obsessed with Final Fantasy 14, better known as FFXIV. What can I say? IYKYK!

Naturally, this new found obsession has me wanting to recruit friends to join me in game because it’s more fun with other people! That’s why I’m so excited to have learned about the FFXIV Recruit A Friend campaign.

Basically, the way it works, is you’re given an FFXIV recruit a friend code, and if your friend uses it you get perks, and they do too!

Recruit a Friend FFXIV Rewards – For You (The Recruiter)

At the time of this writing, you get different rewards based on the number of recruits.

  • First recruit rewards are: 5 Gold Chocobo Feathers and the emote “Fist Bump”
  • Rewards for subsequent recruits: 5 additional Gold Chocobo Feathers for each additional friend. This is capped at 5 friends, however meaning you can only get up to 25 additional feathers for newly recruited friends.

These two rewards are considered FFXIV free trial recruit a friend rewards because you as the recruiter can receive them while your new recruits are playing in the 30 day free trial.

Where the real fun comes in is when your newly recruited friends stick around after their free trial ends. When they pay for a subscription, you get more rewards.

  • At 30 days: If your friend stays subscribed for 30 days as a paid subscriber, you get a Friendship Circlet and an Aetheryte Pendulum. The Friendship Circlet gives you an additional 20% EXP if you’re level 25 or lower. The Aetheryte Pendulum allows you to teleport to the Aetheryte that is closest to “New Adventurers” you have on your friend list for free.
  • At 90 days (approx. 3 months): If your friend stays subscribed for 90 days as a paid subscriber, you get a “Draught Chocobo Whistle” that allows you to summon a Draught Chocobo which can hold you and an additional player that is in your party
FFXIV Recruit A Friend Draught Chocobo
Photo via FinalFantasyxiv.com
  • At 150 days (approx. 5 months): If your friend stays subscribed for 150 days as a paid subscriber, you get 5 additional Gold Chocobo Feathers
  • At 210 days (approx. 7 months): If your friend stays subscribed for 210 days as a paid subscriber, you get 5 more Gold Chocobo Feathers
  • At 270 days (approx. 9 months): If your friend stays subscribed for 270 days as a paid subscriber, you get your final set of 5 Gold Chocobo Feathers

What’s the Big Deal About FFXIV Gold Chocobo Feathers?

The reason everyone wants these Gold Chocobo Feathers so badly, is they can be traded in for items you can’t get anywhere else in the game. One of the most coveted items is the Twintania Neurolink Key which summons the Twintania mount. It’s bad ass, and why I’m trying to find recruits of my own. If you want to play as the game, please email me at famousashleygrant @ gmail.com (remove the spaces to access my actual email address) and in the subject line write FFXIV Recruit a Friend so that I know why you’re reaching out.

FFXIV Recruit A Friend Twintania Mount
Photo via FinalFantasyxiv.com

Other items you can exchange Gold Chocobo Feathers for are:

  • 10 Aetheryte tickets
  • Rare Dyes
  • Amber Draught Chocobo Whistle to summon a Draught Chocobo mount
  • Managarm Horn to summon a Managarm mount

Recruit a Friend FFXIV Rewards – For Your Friends

Your friend will need to purchase a paid 30 day subscriber to get the following rewards:

  • The Friendship Circlet which gives them an additional 20% EXP while they are level 25 or lower
  • 99 free Aetheryte tickets to travel anywhere in the game that is unlocked
  • The fist bump emote, and
  • 10 Silver Chocobo Feathers

How to Recruit a Friend FFXIV

There are two ways to recruit a friend that I have found – and both require you log into your Square Enix Account “Mog Station”. On the Account Services homepage, you will start by clicking the image that says “Recruit a Friend” which will then redirect you to the recruitment page where you’re given the two options. The first is to email your unique recruitment code, and the other is to send it through “Line.” You can only generate a recruitment code once every three hours, and each recruitment code can only be used once. Recruitment codes remain valid for 120 days once generated.

If you have a friend you want to recruit to the game, I would suggest copying your “FFXIV recruit a friend code” that is generated, and pasting and saving it in a safe place because you can not access it again if you leave the page. This actually happened to me when I was trying to generate a friend code. I couldn’t remember what it was, and tried to go back to the page, but received an error message that looks like this:

FFXIV Recruit A Friend Error Message

So, I had to wait three hours before I could generate a new code and invite them later. Three hours is a LONG time when all you want to do is get down to gaming!

Where to Add an FFXIV Recruit a Friend Code

When your friend is signing up, they will enter it in the Mog Station by clicking “Enter Recruitment Code” under the “Your Account Tab” in the “Registration Codes” section. Note, while you can enjoy the free trial without paying, you will not have access to many of the features that paid users have. For example, you won’t be able to use private messaging, shop at the in-game marketboard, hire retainers, join a Free Company, trade with players, and so on.

You might be wondering, with all the restrictions, why should you try the game for free? It’s a great way to try it before you buy it! There are a lot of games out there, and there’s nothing worse than spending $20, $30, or $60 only to find you don’t like how the game works. When you take advantage of the free trial, you can see how the game play feels, what the world looks like, and see if it’s the right game for you.

Want to try the game? I’d love for you to hit me up in the DMs on Twitter, and I will send you a recruitment code 😉

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Home Services: Which to Spend Money on, Which to Add to Your DIY List

By Lee Campbell

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Owning your own home is a major achievement on the stepladder of life. Maintaining this investment takes money and sweat equity because household chores won’t get done by themselves. Some tasks are relatively easy if you’re the do-it-yourself type, but when it comes to the more technical tasks, it is best to hire a professional. 

Which home services should you pay a pro to do, and what can you add to a DIY list?  Check these out.

$pend the Money

HVAC

Heating and air conditioning are nothing to fool with if you’re not professionally trained and certified. Technicians understand heating systems and know what to look for — and what NOT to touch. In furnaces, pipes transferring toxic gases may become rusted, causing them to leak. Duct systems gather dust and debris. The combustion chamber develops residue, which might cause a system to shut down. When it comes to furnaces, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you may cause more harm than good.

Same thing for central air conditioning systems. The AC’s coils, filters, and fins need regular checkups. Maintaining window air conditioners is a bit easier for DIYers, but for a central air system, certified HVAC techs will:

  • Test for refrigerant (and the correct amount of it)
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Inspect seal ducts for leakage
  • Make sure the heating and cooling systems work simultaneously
  • Clean and tighten electric terminals and connections
  • Lubricate motors and check belts for wear and tear
  • Adjust the thermostat.  

Don’t know what this stuff means? Hire a professional. Have the AC serviced in winter, so it’s ready for hot spring and summer weather.

Electrical Work

Electrical circuitry varies, especially in older homes that may use low and high-voltage systems.  Before hiring an electrician, get a cost estimate in writing. The actual job may be more or less, depending on what the electrician finds, but there are ways to save on the cost of labor.

  • Be specific as to what problems you’re finding so the tech can go right to the source.
  • Make sure the electrical panel box is easily accessible.
  • Be ready to pay the bill at the time of service (or make prior arrangements).
  • Get the final bill in writing.   

Plumbing

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Fixing a water faucet screen or toilet innards is a DIY job (for some people). But extensive plumbing issues like broken pipes, heavy clogs, no hot water, sewer smells, and water leaks are not a job for the weekend warrior fix-it crew. If you want to know when to hire a plumber, that time is now.  

Downspouts and Gutters  

Yeah, you could do this one yourself but climbing ladders and cleaning out gutters isn’t an easy job, especially for houses higher than one level. One solution? Purchase a protective system to keep fallen leaves and debris out of the gutter alleys. With various types of gutter products on the market, consider the costs and decide if they’re worth it. Otherwise, you can hire a handyman for the job. (Or, if you’d rather DIY, make sure your health and disability insurance is current — just in case).

Roof and Chimney Repair

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Unless you are a bonded and insured roofing professional, even the slightest tasks can be dangerous. Roof inspections include checking (and repairing) missing mortar, loose rubber, damaged flashing, and shingles. Hire a chimney sweep to clean soot and ash buildup.  

DIY

Depending on how big the property is, lawn and garden upkeep takes just a few hours to do on weekends. Yes, you can hire out for lawn care to enhance the property’s curb appeal, but save some money and DIY these tasks:

  • Weed flower beds. Prune trees and bushes
  • Plant trees, native shrubs, and flowers on your property
  • Paint or stain woodwork
  • Clean indoor carpets
  • Replace furnace filters (that’s one furnace task you can do by yourself)
  • Clean out the attic and crawlspace. (Check for bugs, mold, and leaks)
  • Inspect smoke and carbon dioxide detectors (change batteries twice per year)  
  • DIY with the design! Your home décor awaits.   

Organization

Keep track of all the projects you do. Good record-keeping is helpful for future maintenance needs and useful when it’s time to put the house on the sales market. Buy a couple of notebooks and an alphabetical accordion folder to store repair receipts, insurance documents, and other paperwork about your house. Having it all in one place is a convenient way to keep track of everything.

Lee Campbell is a house flipper, landlord, handyman, and freelance writer. He loves to remodel and refurbish older homes and, like most aspiring writers, is working on his novel.

Moving With Pets

This post is sponsored by Weston Moving and Storage, a family-owned and operated moving company that has been serving South Florida since 1999. Though I have been paid to write this post, all opinions below are my own.

Moving can be a stressful and arduous undertaking for us humans, never mind our animal companions. As people prepare for a move, they also need to think about their pets.

As people prepare for a move, they are generally concerned with things like packing boxes, hiring movers, and changing addresses. But another very important thing to consider is the well-being of your family pet. Moving from one home to another can be traumatic for a pet if not handled properly, and there are several important steps to take in order to make the transition an easy one.

Moving with Pets – Before the Move

Image courtesy of Weston Moving
  • Plan transport – Ensure that your pet becomes acclimated to the actual act of transportation during the move. If your dog or cat is not used to being in a carrier or a car, plan accordingly and expose it to several short trips before moving day. Place its toys or blankets in the carrier or car with it so that it is surrounded by familiar objects.
  • Pack a bag – Gather enough food and water for the duration of the trip, and some extra in case of emergency. Bring bowls for feeding, toys, treats, and blankets, and a disposable litter box for cats if needed. Also, it’s handy to have a pet first aid kit on hand.
  • Print paperwork – Print copies of your pet’s license and vaccination certificates, and ensure that your pet’s identification tags are up to date and show the correct contact information for your new address.

When I moved from Florida to Kentucky, I was so grateful we had gotten my doggos used to the car because it made them less afraid of driving with me. And, we had gone on several trips that were extended road trips – think 10-24 hours long, so they were completely okay with the long haul of 800 plus miles.

Had they not been used to car rides however, we would have spent time acclimating them to the conditions they were about to experience beforehand!

For our long trek to Kentucky, we packed a bag with enough food to last a couple of weeks because we didn’t know how long we’d be living out of boxes. We also packed toys, blankets, their flea and tick meds and shampoo and other essentials to keep them comfy for the trek and first couple of weeks in Kentucky. We arrived in January, so it was important to have plenty of blankets for them to avoid getting too cold.

Moving with Pets -During the Move

Image courtesy of Weston Moving
  • Provide space – On the day of the move, ensure that your pet is in a safe, secure place away from the heavy moving traffic. It’s best to leave it with a friend or sitter, but if you must have it at home during the time of the move, place it in a quiet room with its bedding. Ensure that others know not to leave the door open, as the animals may spook easily during this stressful time, and open doors can provide a quick exit for scared pets.
  • Monitor behavior – Check in on your pet often to see how it’s doing and to provide it with food and water. It is normal for your pet to be stressed by the move, and any comfort you can provide it with will go a long way.
  • Ensure safety – Once in transit, make sure that your pet is safely confined and restrained, and make frequent stops to allow it to go to the bathroom and provide it with food and water.

Moving with Pets -After the Move

  • Explore together – Walk around your new home with your pet to monitor its reaction to and comfort within its new surroundings, and be sure to keep it restrained when near any open doors or open fencing, as it may be tempted to run away if frightened.
  • Set up camp – Pick out a spot for your pet’s stationary belongings, such as the food and water bowls and bed, and try not to move them from that spot. Signs of stability are very important at this stage, and this will provide it with comfort if its belongings are in the same place consistently.

Moving with Pets – Don’t Make Our Big Mistake!

Unfortunately, my doggos didn’t have stability when we first moved in. Had we been smart about our move and chosen a reputable moving company like Weston Moving and Storage, all of our belongings would have arrived safely. Instead, we foolishly went with a bad company that made it impossible to have any stability for a while due to broken furniture and goods. This didn’t have to happen to us, and it doesn’t have to happen to you either.

Instead of a lovely bed, we slept on blankets on the floor for about 4 days:

We held them close to keep them and us warm, and to make them feel safe while we slept. We also gave them plenty of walks and assurances that everything would be okay. Other than the fact they acted like they weren’t potty trained for a couple of weeks, they finally settled down and settled in to our new home.

I’ve mentioned it several times on this blog, but I sincerely wish we had used a better moving company. Check out my posts A Survival Guide To Moving and my recent post, 10 Things to Look for In a Moving Company as you’re considering the moving company you will use to transport your belongings. Let my cautionary tale motivate you to do your homework and hire a professional rather than choosing based on cost alone!

About Weston Moving and Storage

Weston Movers has been proudly relocating families and businesses for almost 20 years now! Whether you are searching for residential moving, labor only, packing services, or even commercial movers in Broward County, Weston Moving and Storage has you covered. They like to say that they simplify moving, and after looking at everything they offer, I can see why.

Image courtesy of Weston Moving

I didn’t even know packing services was a thing moving companies offered! I always thought you had to get a personal concierge or assistant to do that! To learn more about their company, and the areas they service, click here.

Managing Your Dogs July 4th Fears

Many dog owners seek practical advice for managing their pets’ terrified reactions to Independence Day’s ear-piercing, often incessant sounds of neighborhood fireworks.

Many dogs find the extremely loud and unpredictable sound of fireworks an inevitable part of the American celebration of the July Fourth holiday. Here are some helpful hints.

Your dog’s hearing is acute, especially the highs that humans cannot hear. (Think high pitched dog whistles– or “Whistling Petes.”)

In this situation, you will truly realize the value of crate training. During the Fourth of July holiday weekend, your dog may appreciate a haven into which he or she can retreat– with a chewy toy or treat. Prevention really is best. If you can start when he or she is a puppy, then you won’t frantically look for ways to fix the problem.

Here’s a prescription for a serene and IQ-enhancing July Fourth for your canine pal:

Place your dog(s) in his/their respective crates in the room with stereo speakers. And play a continuous loop of CD of Mozart, including Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, excerpts from The Jupiter Symphony (Symphony No. 41 in C Major), and other assorted snippets from Wolfgang Amadeus.

Other possible choices:

 Brahms' Lullaby.
 Any John Phillip Sousa march, such as Stars and Stripes.
 Bach's Brandenburg Concerti. Any.
 Pachelbel's Canon in D Major -- It could have a hypnotic effect on your dog-- especially if played ad infinitum. If you aren't totally sick of it or haven't attended too many weddings lately, this may be the ticket.
 Wagner's operas should drown out any noise from outside.
 To complement the holiday's American theme, how about Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring or Billy, the Kid? Although the percussion in Fanfare for the Common Man can be as jarring as a firecracker, turning down the volume might work just fine.
 Anything by P.D.Q. Bach (Peter Schickele), except maybe for his "Safe" Sextet or Pervertimento for Bagpipes, Bicycle, and Balloons. (Okay. I am kidding.)

You can get streaming audio on your computer, so take advantage of that. Try to find a radio station that plays only classical music. This is the first level of staving off this problem.

When Music Doesn’t Cut It:

Some people have reported having had success with such over-the-counter homeopathic or Bach Flower remedies as Rescue Remedy or Pet Calm Forte or a number of other herbal products that claim to have a sedative effect on anxious pets, which you can buy online or at your local outlets for natural foods and herbs. Your local grocery store may even carry these products.

1. Benadryl may make your dog just drowsy enough. Figure a milligram per pound. One children's chewable is 12.5 mg-- perfect for a 12 or 13-pound dog.
2. In cases of truly wigged-out dogs, you may be able to obtain anti-anxiolytic medications. If prescribed by your vet, follow dosage carefully and administer before the onset of the "festive" noises.
3. There are C.D.s and books available that are supposed to assist you in treating your sound-phobic canine.
4. Sounds Scary is a preventative sound therapy CD and not a "crash course," so it's something to consider for your frightened friend's first-- or subsequent Fourth.
5. No-Brainer Advice: Keep your dog indoors after pottying him or her before the pyrotechnics begin in earnest. Close any curtains and windows.
6. Take your dog to bed with you, where both of you can hide under the covers.
7. Know that This Too Shall Pass.

Is It Safe To Give Dog Vaccinations At Home

Some dog owners save money on veterinary bills by giving their own dog shots, but vaccine reactions and side effects can be a risk.

In the present economic slump, many pet owners are looking for ways to cut back on expenses. Some are bartering with neighbors for dog sitting services, buying economy-sized dog food bags, and doing more home grooming. Others opt to give their own dog vaccinations at home, but there are a few risks and precautions they should be aware of before picking up the vaccine from a feed store and injecting it into their pet.

Vaccination Precautions

Rabies vaccinations are required by law in the US and must be given by a licensed veterinarian to be considered legal and valid.

Vaccinations that are not administered properly may not be effective or may cause a serious reaction.

Vaccinations should never be given to pregnant dogs or sick dogs. It should also be noted that Ridgebacks and Ridgeback crosses should never be vaccinated along the dorsal body near or within the ridge of hair as this can be the site of a pilonidal sinus connected to the spinal canal. Accidental injection into the pilonidal sinus can result in serious complications.

Vaccination requirements vary among individual dogs. Age, health condition, and risk factors must be taken into consideration. Dog owners considering giving their own vaccinations at home should first consult with a veterinarian as to which shots are needed and when and how to properly administer them.

Note that combination shots are more likely to cause a reaction than individual vaccines.

Needles and syringes must be properly disposed of as hazardous waste.

Proper Handling of Vaccines

In order to be most effective, vaccines must be kept at temperatures according to directions. Overnight shipping with ice packs and prompt refrigeration upon arrival is best. Vaccines should not be mixed or drawn up until the time of administration.

Proper Administration of Vaccines

Subcutaneous vaccines are injected with a syringe and needle just under the skin, while intranasal vaccines are usually given half in each nostril with a special syringe tip. Intramuscular vaccines must be injected into the muscle.

When injecting vaccines, care should be taken to make sure the needle is not in a blood vessel. After the needle is inserted, the syringe plunger should first be pulled back a tiny bit and observed for blood in the tip of the syringe. If no blood appears, the needle is not in a blood vessel. If blood appears, the needle should be withdrawn and reinserted at another site.

Again, it should be noted that vaccines that are not given properly may cause a serious reaction or may not be effective.

Side Effects and Serious Reactions of Vaccines

Occasionally, even vaccinations that are given properly can cause side effects or reactions including, but not limited to, swelling, lump at the injection site, soreness, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and even neurological or vision problems. Any physical or behavioral changes during the weeks following vaccination should be reported to the veterinarian to see whether treatment is needed and so that it can be recorded in the dog’s file for future reference.

The most dangerous reaction to vaccinations is an anaphylactic shock which occurs immediately or within hours of vaccination. The dog may collapse and experience dangerously low blood pressure and breathing difficulties. This is a rare allergic reaction but requires emergency treatment to save the life of the dog. A dog that is already in a medical setting has a much better chance of survival than one that is minutes away from professional treatment.

A Survival Guide To Moving

This post is sponsored by Infinite Moving, a moving company serving the central Florida counties of Polk, Orange, Lake, and Osceola. Though I have been paid to write this post, all opinions below are my own.

Anyone who has ever moved before can tell you that moving is hard enough to accomplish without all the little things that seem to go wrong at the worst moments. Luckily, there is hope. Below is a survival guide filled with advice that may help you have a less stressful transition from one space to another.

The “Pre-Move”

Far too many people seem to be under the impression that moving starts the day the mover trucks show up. However, if you start packing a couple of weeks (or even a couple of months) beforehand, when moving day rolls around, the stress of packing and transitioning from place to place can decrease immensely. One study documented that, on average, it takes a college student 4-5 hours to pack up an entire dorm room. This is a general guideline as most people intend to move their entire house, not just one room. So for a four bedroom home, you may want to give yourself as many as 20 hours to pack up those four bedrooms, and then an additional 4 to 5 hours for every additional room (i.e. kitchen, dining room, den, sun room, etc…)

It’s also a good idea is to pack a suitcase. In it you should include all the things needed for roughly three to five days after the move. That way, you won’t have to be digging through boxes when you need a change of clothes.

p.s. – for my recent move earlier this year we created a meal plan to use everything we possibly could in our fridge, freezer, and pantry prior to our departure. This way we had less to transport from place to place. The further you move, the more critical it is to avoid bringing things that need to stay refrigerated/frozen. In our case, we moved 800 plus miles, so bringing anything cold just wasn’t feasible.

Pro Tip: Try to make sure you don’t need immediate access to your kitchenware and utensils right away.

We created a box of essentials that included paper napkins and plates, as well as disposable cups and utensils. Our meals for the first few days were heat and eat meals or sandwiches so we wouldn’t need to scrounge the kitchen boxes looking for pots and pans and plates. Planning ahead for this saved us from a lot of expensive takeout food!

We also had a “As soon as we arrive” bag that had things like hand soap, toilet paper, and other essentials we knew we would need at the ready for immediate use. If you only read this far, you’ll thank me if you use these tips.

Packing

It is a good idea to clearly mark all your boxes to save yourself time and confusion. Aim for two “open me first” boxes per room in your new space. Like it sounds, these boxes will hold all the things you will most likely need first in your new home.

Padding – A good space saver idea (and one that is green to boot!) is to use all of your fluffy towels and pillows to cushion delicate and fragile items such as china, DVD players, and even computers. We even used shirts, shorts, and socks for extra padding because the stuff had to be moved anyway, and saved us serious coin on that overpriced styrofoam cushioning we could have used! Of course, whichever boxes have breakables should be labeled as “Fragile” and always put them on top when stacking with the heavier boxes on the bottom.

Weight – Try to keep each box below 30 pounds whenever possible. Heavier boxes have a tendency to get dropped, rip, and generally hurting the people trying to move them.

Electronics – If you have a lot of complicated electronics in your house, try taking a picture of how they are hooked up before moving them. Then when the time comes to re-hook them up, you only have to look at the picture, and voila!

Heavy items – If you have things like a pool table, piano, or other heavy and bulky items, do yourself a favor and choose a moving company that can help you with things like this! For example, if you need pool table moving in Polk County, it’s best to call in professionals like Infinite Moving that are trained in heavy lifting.

These items are not only heavy, but they typically come with a large price tag. And, if you don’t want them damaged, using pros is key. Besides, promising pizza and beer to your friends in exchange for helping move these items is not going to go over well when cousin John or neighbor Alice pulls a muscle or throws out their back helping you move something far too heavy for amateurs!

Labels – Never label your boxes with a pencil. Instead, use a thick black or dark-colored marker, and always label your boxes on top and bottom. If one gets turned upside down, you will still know what it is. We also labeled ours on the sides so we could leave them stacked and easily see what was where.

The Movers

Finding really great movers can be tough, but it is not impossible. If you choose to go with professional movers, don’t be afraid to look around and ask questions. Talk with friends who have used this company or that business. Research the companies that catch your interest and never trust one simply because it is the “easiest” or the cheapest. Feel free to vet these companies by logging on to the Better Business Bureau and US Department of Public Transportation websites.

Also – check out my recent post, 10 Things to Look for In a Moving Company as you’re making your decision.

Unpacking

Once you have survived the moving process, and you and all you hold dear is now safely located at your new house, take a deep breath and relax. Give yourself a moment before you get back up and start unpacking. Although your move is technical “over,” the unpacking process has just begun. Like with the packing process, you will need to have a plan before you begin.

Priorities First – Always concentrate on the “Open me first” boxes for the bathroom and kitchen. These are usually the items you will truly “need” soon if not sooner.

Timetable – Set a specific number of boxes to be opened each day, and don’t stop until you have accomplished the task. Do yourself a favor and take the boxes to the recycle bin as quickly as possible so you don’t have to deal with a bunch of clutter on top of trying to unpack the rest of your belongings.

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to have a plan for where everything will go before you unpack any boxes

Clean as you go – Trash bags should be kept on hand at all times for any newspaper, packing tape, and general trash. And, sanitize the area before you start filling it up.

A Few Tips To Make Moving Day Less Stressful

Having moved quite a few times myself, I know first hand how stressful moving can be. In my opinion, the packing and unpacking are the worst and most stressful.

Oftentimes, I would find myself standing in the middle of the room, spinning in circles while surveying the room, and wondering to myself, “Where do I begin?” That overwhelming feeling that comes over you when preparing for the big move can be daunting at times.

After the first few times I moved, I realized that I needed to become more organized. I had to find a better way to do it, and here’s what I came up with….

First of all, if you are planning on using a moving company such as Infinite Moving, or renting a moving truck to do it yourself, make your arrangements as soon as possible to reserve your time slot.

The easiest way I found to pack was to do it in “rounds.” What I mean by that is, start in one room and, doing each room individually, pack away the things you know for sure you will not need until after your move. This is round 1. Then, each week leading up to your move, do a sweep through of your house and pack away the things you know you can live without for the time being.

Not only will this help to lessen the stress of moving, but at this time, you can also decide to sell or give away the things you don’t ever use instead of moving them with you.

If you will be using cardboard boxes to pack your things, use a permanent marker and somewhere on the box, write the name of the room that the items in the box belong in. Then when you move, you can put the box in its designated room right away to make unpacking that much easier. If you are using plastic storage containers instead of boxes, pick up some cheap, easily removable labels to place on the containers and write the names of the rooms on the labels instead of writing it directly on the containers.

Another idea would be to mark each box with a number according to necessity. For instance, if the items in a box are personal toiletries, those would be something you would need to be unpacked right away, so you could mark that box with a “1” so you would know to unpack that box first. Then follow suit with the other boxes using the number “2” for items that you wouldn’t need to be unpacked right away but would need soon, and so on and so on.

If you have children, give them a box or two and have them pack up their own toys and personal belongings. This always works great with my kids. They love to help me out in any way they can, and they’re always so proud of what they’ve accomplished when they get their packing completed. Then when your move is over, and it’s time to unpack, the kids can then unpack and put away their own things.

Hopefully, the moving tips I’ve listed here will help to make your moving experience a little more pleasant, organized, and less stressful.

Cool Summer Workouts

Many people want to get more fit during the summer but find it hard to keep up with regular exercise in the heat. How can we stay cool and yet keep up the pace?

Summer is not the time to give up on exercise just because of the heat. Some people have no trouble sticking to their exercise routine no matter how hot it gets, but that’s not most people. There’s nothing to feel guilty about if you can’t take the heat, but it also does not mean that we forgo exercise until the weather gets cooler. The whole objective is to continue an active lifestyle for a lifetime, so we want to find ways to stay active throughout the year.

Where to Start Beating the Summer Heat

It’s best to let go of any expectations about exercise. There ought to be no rules about how, when, or where we should exercise and no rules about what type of exercise we should engage in. It doesn’t matter if running, walking, treadmills, or any other type of exercise is the latest rage. The important thing is that we move consistently. The body doesn’t care how we move – just that we move. It doesn’t even have to be considered exercise to be exercised. For example, playing with your kids or grandchildren in the pool may not be considered formal exercise, but, if kept at a steady pace, it can be.

Just because you walk the rest of the year doesn’t mean you have to walk in the summer. If you take such an all-or-nothing approach to exercise and you can’t take the heat of summer, you’ll probably do nothing when it’s hot. In addition, this type of thinking keeps you from being creative enough to find other activities that are good exercise and will keep you active all summer.

Six Steps to Finding the Right Exercise for Summer

Here are some steps to take in finding the right exercise for those “too hot” days:

  1. Make a list of places you can exercise that are cool enough for you. These may include shady areas, your house, the office, the mall, outside in the evening, and in water.
  2. Make a list of ways that you like to “move.” This list might include dancing, stepping, swimming, water aerobics, cleaning the house, jumping rope, gardening, using an exercise DVD, and so on.
  3. Review accurate information on how to exercise properly to get the results you wish to get. The objective here is to move at a pace that gets your heart rate up enough where your body needs to breathe deeply but not to the extent where you cannot have a conversation with someone while you’re exercising. We want to be breathing heavily but not to the point of pain.
  4. Decide which exercises on your list you would like to start with and how you will be able to make them “aerobic.”
  5. Set aside the time when you will engage in your summer exercise program. If you had a doctor’s appointment, you would make sure nothing interfered with that time. Your exercise time should be given the same priority. If anyone asks to see you during your exercise time, just say, “I’m sorry. I have a commitment then.”
  6. Nothing says that you have to do the same form of exercise all summer. The more you vary exercise, the more enjoyable it will be, and the more likely that you will want to continue it.

The summer heat doesn’t have to get in the way of your workouts as long as you know how to stay active and cool.

How To Make Spelling Easy And Fun

Different vowels often combine together to make similar sounds, and this can be tricky and challenging to spell. But it can also be fun if your child can learn a simple trick – say the word aloud, pay attention to the sound of the word, and look at word groups.

When two vowels combine together to form one sound, it is called a digraph. Here is a fun way to help your child understand and spell the long “e” sound.

The Long “E” Diagraph: Formed by “ee”, “ea” and “”i.e. Combinations

The long “E” sound is normally formed by “ee”, as in SEEN, “ea,” as in MEAN, or ” i.e., as in THIEF., We will work with “ee” and “ea” combinations now, as the ” i.e., a digraph is a little more complex and, “i.e., words are longer.

For the exercise, make two sets of five cards each, with words from the first two vowel combinations. Make each set visually different, so the cards can act as visual cues and memory aids to help your child remember.

Start with the “ee” combination; SEEN, KEEN, KEEP, WEEP, MEET. Notice that the words kind of lead one into another, with a replacement of one sound or with an additional sound. This will help your child understand how the sounds are made and make them more interesting.

For the “ea” combination, you could use MEAN, LEAN, MEAT, HEAT, BEAD. Notice how only some consonant endings take the long “e” sound. For now, avoid similarly spelled words that take the short “e” sound, like HEAD.

Keep a couple of blank cards handy in each set, so you can add any new words your kid identifies in the course of the exercise. In one card, which you keep separate, write out the word THIEF.

Begin the exercise with a Smiling “ee” Sound

Begin the exercise by stretching your mouth into a wide smile, making the long “ee” sound. Talk about smileys! Ask your child to do the same, and then ask him or her to try and spell the sound. Lead her into spotting the “e” and show how the long sound is actually a second additional sound. Explain those vowels like company and often work together with another vowel.

Encourage her to play around with the long “ee” sound. Once she is familiar with the sound, show her the “ee” cards one by one, saying the word aloud and spelling it with her. Act the words out together, or chant them. Make sure she makes the sound of the “ee” again and again. Then, ask her to tell you a couple of words that are spelled similarly. If she is hesitant, give her clues, make a game of it and let her guess the word. Make her write one or two words on the blank cards and add them to the stack.

Move on to “ea” Words

After a while, pick up the card with MEET, and ask her if she can think of another word that sounds the same but has a different meaning. If she doesn’t come up with MEAT, lead her into it with hints. Then explain how “e” also often (but not always) works with “a” to make the long “e” sound. Play around with the “ea” cards.

If she brings up words like HEAD, which take the short “e” sound, explain that some words are different, and lead her with hints to a long “e” word. Fill up a couple of cards with words of your child’s choice.

Once you’re done with the “ee” and the “ea” words, show your child the card with THIEF. Explain that ” i.e., also makes the long “e” sound. Ask him or her to think of other words that also make the same sound. Examples you could give would be FIELD, SHIELD. Do not get into spelling the “i.e., words.

Wrap Up with Mime

End the session with a quick mime of how “E” makes the long “e” sound; by working with another “e” to make “ee”, with an “a” to make “ea”, and with an “i” to make “i.e.. Repeat the game a couple of times using different word sets with the same “ee” and “ea” sounds. Then when your child is comfortable with the long “e,” it’s time for other vowel combinations like the long “a” sound, the long “o” digraph, and the long “i” sound.

How To Get Rid Of Doggie Odor

When people walk into a home with at least one dog, they usually can smell doggie odors. However, by proper house cleaning and checking Fido, odors can be reduced.

Although most dog owners love their pets, sometimes keeping their homes smelling fresh and clean can be a challenge. A doggie odor may be mild or smell so rank that it’s hard to stand the odor.

Worst Smelling Dogs

There aren’t certain breeds that smell worse than others. The only dog that doesn’t smell is a stuffed dog. Regardless if a dog is a purebred or mongrel, Chihuahua or Saint Bernard, it’s going to smell. However, the larger the dog is, the more odor. And, there are certain conditions that can intensify doggie odor.

Dogs with medical conditions – Medical conditions such as ear infections, dental disease, hot spots, and demodectic mange can cause bad odors.

Dogs with open wounds – Open wounds, especially with maggots, can cause foul odors.

Controlling Doggie Odor

Proper grooming – Besides regularly combing his coat, it’s important to regularly bathe a dog. Just as their mouths, dogs’ coats contain bacteria and germs, in addition to dander, loose hair, and other debris.

Clean your house – Start by sweeping and vacuuming floors and carpets. Also, clean all a dog’s possessions, including his mat where he sleeps and doggie dishes.

Wash blankets and bedding – Any item in the home that’s been contaminated with doggie odor should be washed.

Throw out filthy items – Unfortunately, there are some blankets and dirty items that are just too contaminated by a dog to clean.

Baking Soda for Doggie Odor

Baking soda is good not only for baking but also works in removing odors. By sprinkling baking soda on smelly carpeting and furniture and then vacuuming it the next day (after it sits overnight), smells can be eliminated. Add baking soda to laundry power for removing stubborn odors. When rinsing, add white vinegar to the rinse water for extra odor removal.

Checking Dog for Problem Causing Odors

Sometimes dogs have health problems connected to bad odors. For example, it’s important to clean and check a dog’s ears for smelly discharges or any strange discoloration indicating an ear infection that needs vet care. Fur problems could be another source of the odor as dogs with severe flea or tick problems can develop foul smells on their skin. When shampooing a dog, it’s important to use flea and tick shampoo as well as repellent.

Good Oral Hygiene for Dogs

Just like their owners, dogs can also develop bad breath when they don’t receive good oral hygiene. By brushing a dog’s teeth at least once weekly, owners can help remove mouth odors. Breath mints are also helpful. However, if odors persist, vet care may be needed. Often older dogs can have gum that grows over teeth, trapping food and bacteria. This usually requires surgery.

Establish Doggie Boundaries

Most dogs love to cuddle with their owners. Usually, this means jumping up onto a bed or sofa and sleeping there. However, if a dog is dirty and hasn’t had a bath, his odor can easily stick to fabric, contributing to a house’s foul odor.

That’s why it’s necessary to establish some boundaries on where Fido can sleep. At first, it’s hard, but owners need to clap their hands and shout a firm “No!” when their best friend tries to take over all the beds, chairs, and sofas. Also, if possible, confine a dog to the flooring as carpeting can quickly pick up doggie odor.

Besides being hard on human nostrils, dogs that aren’t groomed or checked for odors are unhealthy. For the sake of both owner and dog, it’s important to not ignore doggie odor but do something about it.

Finding The Right Dog For You

We all experience it. The time comes up, and the longing for a new puppy arises. How can it be an easy task to find the right dog? Planning helps before shopping around.

The initial step in considering dog ownership is choosing a dog that suits a particular lifestyle. Lifestyles that are super busy will not benefit from a dog or vice versa. A dog cannot be left alone without care for many hours, and if there is only one person to care for the dog, this typically will not work out well. If a person has a moderately busy lifestyle with time to care for a dog on a daily basis that consists of a routine, this is a more suitable option. Knowing the type of lifestyle that one is living and adapting a dog to suit that lifestyle is a good goal to begin choosing a forever dog.

Finances and Dogs

One major consideration before getting a dog is knowing if there are enough finances to support it. A dog requires shots, veterinary care, grooming, and many other expenses. Depending on the type of dog, breed, and personality, these costs may vary from dog to dog. In regards to finances, there are different ways to purchase a dog.

There is adoption, pet stores, and then there are breeders. How a person gets their dog is up to them. However, if one is adopting a dog, it is important to be mindful of the dog’s history and background. Rehomed dogs are also available and give a person the opportunity to get a dog for little or no expense. This is yet another option that may be more affordable than adoption.

Family and Children

Older children are a good choice for dog owners. They can take part in caring for the dog and can share in looking after the dog’s needs when others are busy (especially parents). Small children and babies could be more challenging for a new puppy in the house.

Two major areas to take into consideration are territory and attention; there may not be enough attention going to a dog in the house with a new baby. Certain breeds of dogs do very well with children. This is something to consider if there is a new family involved.

Atmosphere and Dogs

Depending on where a person resides and what their environment looks like, there is much to consider when choosing the right dog. A very active, inquisitive dog, for instance, may not fare well being cooped up in a one-bedroom apartment, while an older dog who does not like to run or play may not be appreciated by a group of children or owners who enjoy an atmosphere that is open and full of activities.

Research Pays Off

Before choosing a dog, consider doing months of research to learn about dogs, their needs, and personalities. There is information available online and in bookstores about different breeds. Choose resources carefully and read, read, read.