Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Moving, Homes, and Mortgages

 Hey, everybody! It's been a bit since I posted, due to both the holidays and because I was out of town for three weeks at my seasonal job in Kentucky. My sister and I both travel to Kentucky three to five times a year for a seasonal job, working at a place we love. The idea has been tossed around about us moving to Kentucky, either full-time or at least for the majority of the year. One obvious and important item we've been looking into is where to live. We currently rent a small apartment from a friend, but if we did move, we would definitely need something more permanent, more our own space, where I'd be able to bring my dog, and where we would have all the appliances and furniture needed for permanent living. Not to mention, since I love the job there, the friends, and the location, I'd be much more interested in purchasing a home rather than continuing to rent. Because I would be a first-time homeowner, I've been looking for helpful and reliable information online. For example, I was surprised to find out that last year, many first-time homeowners are turning to their parents for financial help rather than getting a loan (according to this article from Wall Street Journal).

Unfortunately, the part of Kentucky we would be looking to move to isn't the cheapest part of the state. It's a great area, and real estate is slightly pricier than we were hoping when moving was first mentioned. I have been able to do some browsing online of homes for sale and realized that one thing we definitely needed to look into was a mortgage calculator so we could figure out the basic requirements such as what we could afford, the minimum income we would each need to be able to afford a downpayment and monthly payments, et cetera. I actually found a calculator that not only calculates the home-related payments, but allows you to input your other monthly costs (car, car insurance, credit cards, bills, et cetera) to give you a clear picture of what you can afford. Super helpful for sure!

Needless to say, this certainly is not a decision we will be making quickly. Moving and buying a home are both huge commitments and we will be pondering, praying, and seeking advice before making any decisions. I'm 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Get Outside This Winter With These 4 Family-Friendly Cold Weather Activities

 There are so many reasons to get the whole family outside, even in cooler weather. Nature is known for its ability to encourage healing and reduce stress. It also helps reduce illnesses and boosts the immune system. If those aren't enough reasons, there are also some really cool outdoor things to do as a family in the winter. Instead of sitting inside staring at your screens, go ahead and give one of these four family-friendly activities a try this winter. 

1. Take a Nature Walk

The majesty of nature is not diminished in the winter. In many ways, it is even more remarkable as the landscape quiets down and prepares for a rebirth in the spring. That makes the winter a great time to get out and enjoy that beauty on a nature walk at a local park.  

2. Try Cross-Country Skiing

If you don't want to walk, cross country skiing is an excellent form of exercise and a good way to cover long distances rather quickly. For safety purposes, it is a good idea to take a lesson or go with an experienced skier before setting out on your own. For those who prefer a more adrenaline-inducing experience, RAP snowmobile tours may be just the ticket. 

3. Experience Ice Fishing

Most people think of fishing as a fun, relaxing summer pursuit, but it is actually quite enjoyable even in the ice and snow. Many outdoor shops around northern lake areas can help you learn what you need to get started with ice fishing, plus get you suited up with the right gear. 

4. Create Snow Art

You don't have to go further than your own backyard for this fun family activity. Let loose and create some magical snow art with squezable food coloring bottles. Then, head inside for some warm cocoa and cookies as you gaze through the windows at your creations.  

No matter what winter outdoor pursuit you choose, be sure to take general cold-weather safety precautions like wearing layers and carrying emergency supplies. This way, everyone gets to have fun and stay safe.