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Back to School Tips

by Linnea Lavell

As summer draws to and end it is time to start thinking about getting the kids ready for going back to school.  There are so many things to think about, it can get overwhelming so here are few tips to help make the transition from summer break to school a little easier for both the parents and the kids.

  • Update medical records.  Most schools will let you know if medical records are out of date.  This is a good time to review and make sure everything is current and if the kids will be participating in sports get the physicals out of the way.   Make sure to address any medical concerns and provide a list of allergies to staff and administrators at the school.  Also make sure that all medical emergency information is up to date.
  • Get to know your children’s new teachers.  Try to reach out to the new teacher outside of orientations, open houses and other school events so you have some one on one time with the teachers.   At the very lease send an introductory email that includes finding out things you can do throughout the year to help regardless of how big or small. 
  • Ask your kids about their concerns.  Starting school can be exciting but there can also be some anxiety associated with the “unknown” of a new grade or a new school.  Take some time and discuss what their concerns are, what they are looking forward to and what things might be worrying them.  Give them a forum to discuss their concerns and help them work through any worries in advance to help them avoid a rough start to a new school year.
  • Talk to your kids about bullying.  We have a serious problem with bullying as reports show one in three kids will be bullied at some time while they attend school and with the increase in social media it only seems to be getting worse.  Talk to your kids about how to speak with and treat peers as well as when to speak up if they see someone getting bullied.  Also make sure they know when to come to you if they feel they are being bullied.
  • Set up bed time and wake up routines in advance.   During the summer months you may have gotten a little lenient about sleep schedules.  If you can, start establishing bed times and wake up times a few weeks prior to the actual start of school.  The kids may not like it but it will help them have their routine in place and be fresh for the beginning of school.
  • Get school supplies.  Many local stores will have a list of school supplies needed.  You can also get a list from the teacher or school.  Do some research online to find out where the best deals are then take one day and get it done.
  • Organize clothes.  This is a great time to go through closets and donate items that don’t fit any more or are not wanted.  Once you have purged these items, go shopping to get  articles of clothing that will needed for the new school year.  Make sure to organize the closets and dressers so everything is neatly arranged for when school begins.
  • Plan healthy lunches and snacks.  Take time to plan healthy choices for your kids that include high protein, low fat foods, include fruits and vegetables and other healthy items.  These items will make sure the kids have the energy and brain power to make it through the day.
  • Set up an area for backpacks and school articles.   By having a staging area, it will be easier to find things in when you are leaving for school.  Make sure to have a calendar in the area so you can write down important events and family schedules.  Have your kids help you keep this area stocked with items needed for school and free of clutter that is not related to school.  Be creative and have some fun with this.

 

Don’t forget Texas Tax Free Weekend begins Aug. 5, 2016 and ends Aug. 7, 2016.  Most school supplies, backpacks, footwear and clothing priced under $100 will exempt from taxes during that time giving families an 8% savings.

 

 

Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Yard

by Linnea Lavell

Many people enjoy having hummingbirds around their yard and garden.  The delicate little birds are fun to watch flit here and there and enjoy a drink of nectar from a flower or feeder.

If you are putting out a new feeders or are having issues attracting hummingbirds to an existing feeder, here are some tips that may help.

  • Hummingbirds are attracted to red which is why many feeders you purchase are red and it is recommended to color the nectar you use to feed them red.  If the feeder you are using does not have red on it, simply tie some red ribbons on the wire that it is hanging to and they will find it.
  • Hummingbirds like a clean feeder.  They will quickly abandon a neglected feeder for a cleaner alternative.  The nectar can spoil in as little as 2-5 days depending on outside temperatures causing fermentation and mold.  Keep feeders in shaded areas when it is extremely warm out and offer quantities of nectar that can be consumed in a few days.  When you refill your feeder, make sure to thoroughly clean it with hot, soapy water and rinse before refilling it.
  • Diffuse territorial behavior.  Hummingbirds, especially males, often display territorial or aggressive behavior around nectar.  Offering multiple feeders may squelch this behavior and provide a source of nectar for all in the area.
  • Add a mister to your yard.  Hummingbirds love to bathe.
  • Hummingbirds spend most of their day perched in trees or shrubs.  However, to maintain their high metabolism, they must feed every 10-15 minutes.  If you provide perches for hummingbirds, they are more likely to stay in your yard.
  • Attract hummingbirds to your yard with by planting flowers that attract them.  Hummingbirds have no sense of smell so scentless flowers that are tubular and bright in color such as orange, red or yellow are good choices.   Columbines, fuchsias or hollyhocks are some options.

The best simple recipe for making hummingbird nectar is 4 parts water and 1 part sugar.   Simply boil for two minutes to remove impurities in the water and sugar, cool and fill your feeder.  It is not recommended to add red food coloring, itmay be harmful to the birds.  Make sure not to boil the nectar longer than two minutes as evaporation will cause the solution to be stronger which can be bad for the birds.  Any left-over solution can be refrigerated to use another day.

It could take hours or even weeks to attract your first hummingbird but if you are patient and follow these steps, you could be rewarded with hummingbirds visiting your yard throughout the season.

 

 

 

 

Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day

by Linnea Lavell

Thursday July 28, 2016 is Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day.  On Miracle Treat Day, $1 or more from each Blizzard Treat sold at participating U.S. DQ locations will be donated to local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. 

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals is a non-profit organization that raises money for children's hospitals, medical research and community awareness for children's health issues.  Each year Children's Miracle Network Hospitals raises more than $250 million and provide care for $10 million children.  Some of the children are battling cancer, some traumatic injuries and others are born too early or with a genetic disease.  Whatever the need, Children's Miracle Hospital Network always have their doors open for the kids. 

Through it's partnerships with corporations such as Dairy Queen, Walmart, RE/MAX, Costco, Love's Travel Networks and more than 80 others; funds are raised that directly to the 170 hospitals in the network.

On July 28, take a break from the heat and enjoy a cool Blizzard treat at Dairy Queen.

Through the RE/MAX partnership with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, for every home sale I participate in, a donation is made for my client to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

 

Donate Today

 

 

Tips on Relocating with Younger Children

by Linnea Lavell

Relocating to a new city can be both exciting and stressful.  Especially for younger children.  Kids are concerned about leaving their familiar surroundings, friends, schools, home and everything they are used to.  Will they be able to make new friends? Will they like the area?  What will there be to do in the new city?  All of these are concerns that children have when relocating to a new home.  You can help minimize the concerns and make the transition smoother by following some simple tips.

  • Talk to your children about the new location. Build some excitement. Show them information about the new location such as parks, schools, fun activities and sporting events in the new location.  Have your children help you do research on the internet and show them pictures or articles about the new location.  Show them on the map where you are moving.  If they excel at sports, music or a special activity, find out what your new city has to offer in regards to these activities and encourage them to get involved right away with activities and groups so they are making new friends.
  • Create special note cards or stationary for your children and their friends in the location your will be moving from.  Encourage them to stay in touch with notes or cards to each other.  Your children can tell their friends all about the new location and stay in touch with their existing friends. Make it a project and let your children help design the stationary.  Maybe use the outline of the state they are moving to as a watermark on the stationary.
  • Keep the lines of communication open and let you children know you want to know their thoughts and concerns about the move then go over the information to put them at ease.
  • Don't forget that moving is a good time to purge items you no longer use or may not need in your new location.  Take time to go through closets, drawers, etc. with your children and have them be part of the process.  If they have outgrown some of their clothes or have toys they don't play with any more suggest that they be donated to a charity so other children will be able to get some use o
  • When packing for your relocation, select a few special toys or stuffed animals for your children to take with them while you travel.  Let your children pack some of the non-breakable toys they will not be able to take and either color on the moving box or place special stickers on the box so they can easily identify those boxes as theirs when they arrive at your new home.
  • When you arrive at your new city, take time to do some exploring with the kids.  Even if it is just driving around to figure out where everything is located in town make sure the kids are involved and add a fun activity such as going to the park or playground.  This will also give them an opportunity to make new friends right away.
  • Talk to other parents in your new neighborhood and find out where their kids enjoy about the area. See if you can arrange a play date with neighbor kids of similar ages as quickly as you are comfortable making those arrangements. 
  • Many cities have special activities for the kids during the summer.  Find out what those activities are and where they are having them, then get your kids involved. 

These are just a few tips that may help make your move a little easier for your children and yourself.

If you need information on the cities in Dallas-Ft. Worth area or help finding a new home in this area, see our communities section of our website or contact our office.  We can also provide you with a free relocation guide for the area.

 

City of Plano

City of McKinney

City of Frisco

Town of Little Elm

City of The Colony

City of Allen

 

 

Clear the Shelters

by Linnea Lavell

If you are considering adopting a pet, mark July 23 on your calendar for this years Clear the Shelters adoption event .  This event brings cities, counties and nonprofit organizations together to form a unified campaign to get pets in local shelters adopted into loving homes.  Adoption fees will be waived.* However other shelter fees may still apply.  

Thousands of animals in our area need to find forever homes.  The pets available range from cute kittens and puppies to snuggly adult dogs and cats. 

In 2015, nearly 20,000 pets found forever homes nationwide and in the State of Texas this year there are more than 60 shelters participating.  Finding homes for these adorable pets during the summer months is more critical as the population in shelters swells due to abandoned and surrendered pets after the spring births. 

The ultimate goal of this event is to help as many pets as possible find a perfect match.  Sharing your home with a four legged friend can be one of life's greatest joys.  It is also a great responsibility so do your homework before adopting a pet.  Research temperaments of breeds, activity levels, expense of care, time commitment required and so forth.  A younger pet is going to require more energy and training so maybe a more mature pet will be a perfect match for you.  Ask questions about the pets past situation.  While some shelters may not have information on the pets previous situation, some may have the information and will share it with you.  Some pets may have special needs so if you are able to take care of those needs, look into adopting those pets.

Pets are great companions and can even reduce your stress levels.   They give you someone to talk to, laugh at or snuggle up with on a stormy night.  I have adopted several shelter pets throughout the years and they are fabulous. My current fur baby, Boomer, even tries talking to me on occasion (usually when I am on the phone and he wants my attention).

The Clear the Shelters event is July 23, 2016 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.  Click here for a list of participating shelters in North Texas.

For tips on keeping your pet cool in the summer and safe in the winter, visit my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Other fees and shelter times may vary.

Upcoming Events at Union Park

by Linnea Lavell

There are always fun events happening at Union Park.  

  • July 18 UP & Out  - Crafts at the Little Elm Library 4 p.m.
  • July 20 National Lollipop Day - stop by the HUB for a lollipop!
  • July 21 What's UP with Chelsea?  Welcome party for your new lifestyle manager 6-8 p.m. at the Hall. RSVP.
  • July 23 New Homeowners Pool Day.  The Cove
  • July 23 Ruthie's Rolling Cafe 12-3  p.m. at The Kitch
  • ​July 23 Dive In Movie 8:30 p.m. at The Cove
  • July 24 Ruthie's Rolling Cafe 12-3 p.m. at the Kitch
  • July 24 UP & Out family story time 2 p.m. at the Little Elm Library
  • July 26 Kids Pizza and Movie at 12:00 p.m. RSVP
  • July 27 UP & Out Toddler program 10:15 a.m. at the Little Elm Library
  • July 28 UP & Out Lego Club 4:30 p.m. at the Little Elm Library
  • July 29 National Chicken Wing Day - Adult Happy Hour 5:30-7 p.m. at the Porch RSVP
  • July 30 Wake UP Breakfast 9-10:30 a.m. at the Porch RSVP
  • July 30 Ruthie's Rolling Cafe 12-3 p.m. at the Kitch
  • ​July 31 Ruthie's Rolling Cafe 12-3 p.m. at the Kitch.

​​Events in blue are HOA sponsored and only for homeowners.  RSVP to UPLifestyle@fsresidential.com

Events in purple are the Town of Little Elm.  Little Elm Public Library 100 West Eldorado Pkwy.

 

For more information on Union Park or to view homes for sale in Union Park contact us.

 

 

Do You Use All Your Vacation and Paid Leave?

by Linnea Lavell

We have busy, crazy lives and according to statistics, the majority of us do not take the time we are allotted from work for paid leave.  According to an article in Fortune, paid leave whether sick days, vacation days or paid hours off is rarely used and makes up and makes up nearly 7% of total compensation in private industry as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  On average workers fail to use nearly five vacation days annually.

 It is important to take some time for yourself to allow your body to unwind, de-stress, relax and let your mind/body heal.   Something as simple as making a picnic lunch for you or your family while enjoying an afternoon at a local park can go a long way in rejuvenating your body and soul.  

There are many ways you can utilize your paid time off from work. Some of them cost little or no money while others can cost a considerable amount.  It is up to you to figure out what your budget is and start enjoying your paid time off.

Here are some ideas that run from simple to elaborate. 
  • Go for a drive to your favorite lake or beach. If it fits into your budget, rent a hotel and make it an overnight adventure.
  • Take a blanket, a book and a packed lunch to the park.   You can enjoy being outdoors and get your daily dose of vitamin D.
  • If you like camping or have an RV, plan a weekend trip.  Get away from civilization and spend time with your family roasting marshmallows or hot dogs while having fun in the great outdoors.
  • Plan a trip to a city you have always wanted to visit.  You can drive or fly depending on how far it is from your home.  Visit local restaurants, art galleries, go shopping or just learn about the history of the city.
  • Enjoy fishing?  Plan a fishing trip.   Those of us that fish, find it a relaxing way to spend the day even if you don’t catch anything.
  •  Go on a cruise.   You can cruise to the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Hawaii and various other locations.  You have many options of locations and length of cruises so do your research and set sail for the port of your dreams.
  • Maybe an international trip is more of what you are looking for to use those vacation days. Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, France, Italy and many more destinations wait for you.
  • Look into all-inclusive vacations to destinations such as Mexico, Jamaica, The Virgin Island or other tropical.
  • Visit a vineyard.  Learn how wine is made and taste some of the local wines for the area. You might find a new favorite.

Life is too short to spend it working all the time.  Pack your bags, grab a fruity drink, be adventurous and get out there to explore this great big world but most important of all relax and have some fun!

Bon Voyage and safe travels.

 

Information on Cruises

Information on Hotels, Airfare, Car Rentals

How to apply for a passport

Travel alerts and warnings

 

If you want resort-style living all year long, why not purchase a home in Savannah, Texas?

 

 

 

 

 

Water Safety

by Linnea Lavell

Summer is here and the most popular summer activity is swimming.  If your summer plans to beat the heat include being around water, make sure you do everything possible to keep your family safe.

According to the CDC annually in the United States there are 3,536 unintentional drownings (non-boat related) which relates to about ten deaths every day.   An additional 332 people died each year from boat related incidents.  Nearly 80% of the people who drown are males.  Children between the ages of 1-4 have the highest drowning rate.

The best thing to do to help keep your family safe around is to enroll in age appropriate swim lessons.  Knowing how to handle yourself in water will make it a safer, more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Tips on Making Water Safety a Priority

  • Swim only in designated areas that have a lifeguard.
  • Never swim alone.  Always had a buddy with you even at a public pool or life guarded beach. Use the buddy system.
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim.  The American Red Cross offers age appropriate water orientation courses.
  • Never leave small children alone by water and do not trust your child’s life to another child.  Make sure to teach your child to ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket.   Do not rely on the life jacket alone.  You must still supervise them while in or near the water.
  • Establish family rules for being around water and enforce them. 
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be careful around water sources.   Currents, cold temperatures and underwater hazards can make a fall into the water very dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket.
  • Avoid the use of alcohol.   Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination.   It also reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or spa.   Pool covers, gates and alarms should be added as an additional layer of protection.
  • Make sure home pool barriers encompass the entire pool area and are at least 4 feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward away from the pool.  The latch should be high enough to be out of the reach of a small child’s reach.
  • On above ground or inflatable pools, remove portable ladders and secure with a safety cover when not in use.
  • Remove any structure such as outdoor furniture, trees, decorative walls or play equipment that allow access to the pool area.
  • Keep toys that are not being used out of sight.  Toys can attract children to pool areas.
  • Actively supervise children around water even if there is a lifeguard on duty.  Designate a responsible adult to supervise.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
  • If you own a home pool or spa, make sure you have the property equipment such as reaching or throwing equipment, life jackets, cell phone and a first aid kit near the area.
  • Learn CPR and know how to respond or prevent a water related emergency

By following these tips, you and your family can keep cool and stay safe this summer.

Click here for information about parks in and around Lake Lewisville.

 

 

 

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

Contact Information

Photo of Linnea Lavell Real Estate
Linnea Lavell
Lavell Realty, LLC
P.O. Box 1243
Little Elm TX 75068
214-280-5900
214-810-5906
Fax: 877-488-1740