Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 7/28/2019

Generally, baby essentials can be quite expensive. Therefore, new parents should adopt saving techniques when purchasing baby gear. Baby gear is any item that is used to take care of all the needs of a baby. It consists of different kind of things such as clothing, diapers, strollers, play yards, and much more. Here are nine tricks that will help you save money when it comes to getting your baby gear:

1. Avoid buying unnecessary baby items. Unnecessary baby gear is anything that is not so essential, or you can replace with an equally good alternative. For example, a dishwasher can serve the same purpose as a bottle sterilizer. 

2. Structure your baby shopping. Buying your baby's layette is the first thing you should do. Your aim should be to obtain the basics, i.e., onesies, blankets, socks, hats, etc. before adding other things that are also important.

3. Free baby stuff and registry. It is crucial that you do plenty of research to know where to get the bargain quality baby items. There are numerous places a pregnant woman and mothers can get freebies, i.e., a registry is relevant because it ensures that you get help buying things you need for your baby.

4. Choose to use cloth diaper. Cloth diapers are cheap and have a high absorption rate. They are also quite durable. You can obtain cloth diapers samples from diaper companies and organizations such as Giving Hope and Giving Diapers.

5. Baby Formula. When buying baby formula, ensure to look out for the ones that are affordable and of high-quality. Some companies offer free baby formula to customers and new parents. If you're a nursing mother, you can also visit nearby hospitals for free formula samples. 

6. Classified and online swaps. You can locate a local swap group on Yahoo or Facebook. These groups create an excellent platform for mothers to sell baby items that they no longer use. Often, the price of such things is meager. An example of a website that offers such service is Craiglist’s baby + kid’s section.

7. Hit the sales and buy in bulk. You can always save up to 20 to 30 percent when you shop sale sections or use coupons. You can also buy diapers, baby formula, and other baby essentials in bulk from stores like Costco, Wal-Mart or Babies R Us.

8. Read Reviews. It is advisable to research reviews before you buy any baby gear. For instance, you can always ask a friend that uses similar items for opinions when buying goods like baby stroller and cribs.

9. Buy things that are versatile. These are items that are multi-use. Examples are breastfeeding pillows, three-in-one convertible car seats, and many others.

Prepping for your little one’s arrival should be an exciting experience; use these tricks to ensure you stay as stress-free as possible.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 7/14/2019

You know your child(ren) more than anyone when it comes to how they learn and the environment that works best for them. So, when it comes to your choosing a new school in a specific district, knowing what will and will not work for your student is essential.

Your student’s needs

Some questions to ask are:;

  • What kind of learning style does the classroom cater to?
  • Does the school have specialists available to give that extra support to students?
  • How do those specialists work? (For example, do they pull students out of the classroom to work individually or in groups?)
  • Are they able to come alongside the student during the classroom learning time?
  • What is the facility/student ratio?
  • How many students are in each classroom?
  • What is the graduation rate? How many graduates pursue a post-secondary? 

A scheduled school tour can answer all of these and any other questions you have to assess if your student’s learning style and that school environment could work well together. 

Priority on curriculum

Another thing to look into is curriculum focus. Many school districts implement various types of educational foci to ensure students attain a specific set of skills. Some examples of focused curricula are STEM, Fine Arts, Music, Honors, and AP courses. STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—has been a buzzword in school districts recently. Some programs now focus on the STEM curriculum from elementary through high school. Because of the advancement of technology, the job market in these areas is an ever-changing horizon. 

Additionally, fine arts and music can expand a student’s learning. Including a fine arts program can help students with fine-motor skills and develop creativity, among other things. Music education may develop parts of the brain that can help in other areas of study. The global landscape is becoming more competitive than ever. It is imperative that today's students are well prepared as they enter adulthood. Schools offering Honors and AP (Advanced Placement) classes can place your student in the position to take significant advantage of opportunities post-graduation.

Extra-curricular 

Schools, along with the items as mentioned above can enhance the educational experience by offering a variety of before and after-school activities. These can range from widely known sports such as football, basketball, and soccer to less-common sports like lacrosse, golf, and bowling. Clubs can give a great sense of belonging and develop leadership and team-building skill sets. Plus, service projects that improve the surrounding community provide students with the chance to network. Those networking relationships can parlay into opportunities later in life. Finally, with post-secondary schools becoming more competitive than ever, being able to submit an application with a superior balance of academic accomplishment and extracurricular activities can be an advantage.

For more insight on local schools in a potential new neighborhood, talk to the neighbors at the next open house you attend.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 9/3/2017

A house fire is a parent and home owner's worst fear. Many people see tragic house fires as a case of very bad luck, but in reality most house fires can be avoided by practicing good fire safety. To prevent house fires and to know what to do in case you have one, you'll need to learn and teach your children about the main causes of house fires, how to prevent them, and what to do when a fire occurs. We'll cover all of that in this article, plus give you some tips on making it easy and fun for kids to learn.

How do house fires happen?

The eight most common causes of house fires are:
  1. candles
  2. smoking
  3. electrical/lighting
  4. dryers and washing machines
  5. lightning
  6. kids playing with fire
  7. tree decorations
  8. kitchen/cooking

Play investigator

To prevent some of the causes of fire listed above, gather your children and put on your investigator hat. Make a checklist of the following and scour your house together to search for clues of fire hazards, taking care of them as you go along. Look for:
  • Overloaded power strips and damaged power cords
  • Dryer vents that are clogged up or dirty
  • Stove burners that are near flammable items like curtains
  • Smoke detectors checked
  • Extra batteries located
  • Escape route noted (see below)
  • Ensure kids know the rules about candles, cooking, playing with fire, etc.

Plan your escape

Teaching kids a fire escape route can be tricky. It might get confusing for them or they might forget or panic in case of an actual fire. Therefore the best way to teach kids a fire escape plan is to practice it often. Have monthly or bi-monthly fire safety checks with your kids and go over your escape plan and test your smoke detectors. Yearly, participate in fire safety week, which also covers escape plans and best practices but turns it into a weeklong series of activities you can do with your kids. When it comes to the actual fire escape plan, grab some graphing paper and colored pencils and sit down with your kids to create your home. Include in your plan the names and escape routes (2 minimum) of each room and the outdoor meeting place. Have kids draw their own (age appropriate) to help them understand the plan better and get them involved. Once you've drawn the plan, run through it a few times with your kids. If you have infants or very young children who can't get themselves out of the house, plan who will retrieve them from their room in case of a fire. Remember to tell the kids not to wait for others before getting outside, and to not try to take belongings with them.

Stick to your routine

The hardest part about fire safety is making it a habit. At school, your kids have mandatory fire drills. At home, however, parents get busy with work or forget and tend to ignore fire safety. So, you'll have to find ways to make sure you and your family stick to the plan. If you have a family calendar hanging in your home, make sure you pencil in your bi-monthly fire safety meeting. Similarly, anyone in your family who uses a calendar on their phone or computer should add it there as well and invite the other family members. Make sure the event is fun for everyone to ensure no one dreads it. You could make a plan to take the kids out to dinner or somewhere fun after to make it a night everyone looks forward to every couple of months.





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 8/14/2016

Out of all the rooms of a house, the children's room is the one that can be the most fun to decorate. Bright colors and creative decorations are fun to plan for a children's room whether you're an expecting parent or if you and your child want to change up their room a bit. A children's room is also the room in your house that will see the most change as your child ages. Sure, it will be sad when they tell you they're too old for baby decorations, but it just means you get to make more fun changes to their room together. You can be creative in decorating just about every area of a child's bedroom. So, here are some fun ideas, from the floor to the ceiling, that your kids will love.

Floors

A children's room floor sees a lot of wear and tear. Spilled drinks, crayons, and other forms of destruction are sure meet the floors of a child's play space. So you probably don't want to leave exposed expensive hardwood flooring; at least until they're older. There are, however, a number of creative ways to floor a children's room that are fun and kid-friendly. Foam puzzle tiles are a classic example. They are colorful and can be placed in any order you and your child decide. They're fun to build together, plus they're soft and squishy enough to help you avoid some crying fits when your child falls down. When one of them starts to get worn down or stained, just pop it out and replace it with another.

Walls

There are a lot more fun things to do with your kid's room's walls other than just painting them a fun color. Painting is a good place to start, though, so pick some bright, pastel colors that are fun but also easy on the eyes. You could stick with the same old pink and blue for girl and boy, but a more creative option is to go with green, orange, or purple hues. Plus you might get more use out of them if you have a second child who will eventually move in to that room. For other creative wall ideas you could...
  • Build a whiteboard or chalkboard into the wall
  • Make a super-hero changing station where you hang your child's costumes
  • Hang a wall-sized map to get them interested in learning
  • Paint or buy a tree decal that they can turn into a family tree
  • Paint the walls white or light blue and buy a sticker kit to make the room look like an aquarium

Ceiling

There's no need to stop the fun once you reach the ceiling in your children's room. It may seem like there's not much you can do to make the ceiling interesting but you might be surprised. You could...
  • Buy glow in the dark stickers like stars, moons, and space ships
  • Buy a projector that shoots lights onto the ceiling
  • Hang lights and fans that fit the theme of the room (like clouds, for example)
  • Paint the ceiling to be an extension of the scene on the wall
  Now that you have some ideas for your kids room, try to make them your own by adding something unique. Have fun!  




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