Archive | January, 2013

Saving Water at Home Using Your Plumbing

31 Jan

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Water conservation is very important. Not only does it help offset an overall growing demand, but it can also help reduce your energy costs. At home, water conservation can implemented simply by caring for ad maintaining your plumbing. Proper use and maintenance of your plumbing can help reduce water waste, whether it be in the way you use the toilet or faucet or how you maintain your pipes.

Below are some suggestions on how you can save more water when utilizing your plumbing:

  • Use low flow, dual flush toilets. These are a newer style of toilet that conserve water when being flushed. The flow of water happens at a slower pace, so more water is saved rather than flushed down the drain. In addition, dual flush will allow you to choose the amount of water that flows out of your toilet instead of using a consistent amount.
  • Use low flow showerheads and faucets. Both of these minimize the flow of water coming out, so more water is used and not wasted. Otherwise, with regular showerheads and faucets, if we wash our hands or take a bath, half of the water is wasted and not used properly.
  • Replace old washing machines and dishwashers. Old appliances take a lot of energy and resources just to work properly. Aside from the maintenance costs of using old appliances, you will also be paying more on your energy costs. Replacing old appliances with new ones will require an initial investment, but the overall savings on water and energy is worth it.
  • Find leaks and repair them. Even if leaks only drip a small amount of water for a few minutes, the accumulating of that can turn into a great amount of wasted water. If you notice that your water consumption is higher, try to find possible leaks. Then, repair them as soon as possible.
  • Limit your use of water. You can conserve more water if you use less water. Try to limit your use of water on less important things. In your regular use of water, think of the water flowing when not in use, like washing your hands, brushing your teeth or taking a bath, and reduce it by turning it off or down.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

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Oklahoma Senate Bill Gives Parents More Power Over Underperforming Schools

29 Jan

Oklahoma Senate Bill Gives Parents More Power Over Underperforming Schools

Parents will soon have the power to improve their children’s education with a new Senate bill being introduced by Senator David Holt and Senator Jabar Shumate. The Parent Empowerment Act will be considered in the 2013 legislative session and will enable parents to sign petitions for the transition of underperforming schools.

Underperforming schools are those that have received a “D” or “F” for the last three years under the new Oklahoma school grading system. Such low ratings may reflect the low performance of the faculty, the school administration, or the students. Given the lack of quality education that results, most parents don’t want their kids to attend these schools because their future is at stake.

Senate Bill 1001, or the Parent Empowerment Act, will give parents the authority to sign a petition that will transform a current underperforming school into a charter school. A charter school will encourage flexibility and unity among parents and teachers because they will be able to work together to improve student performance.  Once the school becomes a charter school, it will continue to serve all students who were previously in attendance, but parents will have the ability to choose to terminate administrators within their petition if they provide justifiable grounds for the school board to evaluate.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Cheaper Landscaping: Beautifying Your Yard Without Emptying Your Wallet

28 Jan

Cheaper Landscaping Beautifying Your Yard Without Emptying Your Wallet

Creating lovely landscaping in your front or back yard is a great way to brighten  your spirits every time you look out the window. Unfortunately, however, landscaping can be very expensive. It costs a lot of money to hire a professional landscape specialist, buy all necessary materials, and pay for the cost of labor. Fortunately, there are ways you can still have your perfect landscaping without paying so much.  It’s all about knowing the tricks:

  • Do the job yourself. Not only will it reduce the cost of hiring a professional and the daily labor cost to maintain it, but doing the landscaping yourself will also help ignite your creative mind and body. In addition, you can do exactly what you want without worrying about how to convey your ideas to someone else
  • Plan first before starting the project. Sometimes mistakes can be very costly if you end up having to buy more materials to redo something you already did. To avoid these types of mistakes, plan carefully what you want for your yard and envision how you will go about it. Write down your procedures and the materials you’ll need, so everything will be ready and organized once you get started.
  • Hire only if you need to. There may be times when you want a certain style in our yard that you cannot do yourself. In those instances, it makes sense to hire a professional. But, always make sure that you have the professional work only on the things that you need from them – not everything else – so you can keep your labor costs down.
  • Think of maintenance. Your work and money spent on your landscaping project do not end once you’ve created the perfect look for your yard. You still have to maintain it. Think about whether you or someone else will maintain your yard and factor in extra costs for water, fertilizer, labor, etc. Find ways to minimize these costs while still maintaining your yard.
  • Use what you have at home. Make use of your existing tools and avoid buying thhings that you will only be able to use on one project.  You should also explore borrowing from friends rather than buying.
  • Take advantage of freebies. Some cities offer free plants or trees. Watch out for these freebies so you can save on plant costs.
  • Encourage free help. If you have good friends and family members that would like to lend an extra hand, allow them. This will reduce your effort and time and enable you to have fun bonding with the ones you love while you work.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

No-Cost Decorating Ideas for Your Home

24 Jan

No-Cost Decorating Ideas for Your Home

Sprucing up a space in your house usually means spending money. But, for many people, an endless supply of money is not a reality. Fortunately, there are creative ideas everywhere that can help you improve the look of your home without having to spend money. All it takes is your creative mind, items in your home, and time to plan the needed face-lift.

Below are some smart, no-cost ideas for decorating your space:

  • Cover sofas and other furniture with loose drapes. Your bare furniture may not look as exciting as it was the first time you bought them. So, update it and enhance its look by covering it in old trapes. Printed drapes can transform the look of your furniture.
  • Add natural embellishments. Put fruit in your glass jars or fresh flowers in huge vases. Even these small things can add color and vibrancy to place.
  • Reuse small glass jars and containers as decorative items. You can paint them, add ribbons, or pile stones inside to display on your shelf or table.
  • Add eye-catching frames. If you have old frames at home, use them to put artistic pictures on your wall. Cut out beautiful pictures from magazines or create a collage of the places you have traveled to. Then, put these in your old frames and hang on empty walls.
  • Rearrange seats in your house. Swap your living room seats with the ones on your porch in order to create a fresh look. Just make sure that what you have swapped fits right in.
  • Dress your table. Whether it’s your dining table or your coffee table, dressing it up will enhance the look of your space. Add a table runner and spruce up your centerpiece with items you can take from your home. Use old candle holders and decorate with twigs, dried leaves, and stones.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Free Citizens Police Training for Edmond Residents

22 Jan

Free Citizens Police Training for Edmond Residents

Police officers help maintain the peace and order in a community, and because of the work that they do, a lot of crimes have been prevented and many lives have been saved.

Though police officers are visible, many residents often don’t fully understand the actions they take to stop crime. There are certain procedures police officers follow, and if residents understand more about them, it helps facilitate better cooperation in times of troubles.

To provide an opportunity for interested residents to do so, a free program is being offered in February by the Edmond Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy. It will be the 33rd CPA hosted by the Edmond Police Department.

The CPA program will be held for 13 weeks, and participants will meet every Tuesday at the Downtown Community Center from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Participants will develop a better perspective on what Edmond police officers do each day, as well as other important issues like emergency communications, crime and accident investigation, and the Joint Terrorist Task Force.

Participants will also have a chance to attend a viewing demonstration at the Edmond Police Department training center one Saturday during the program, where they will witness SWAT, K9 unit, and Bomb Squad demonstrations.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Removing Wallpaper the Proper Way

21 Jan

Removing Wallpaper the Proper Way

Hanging wallpaper can bring an interesting design element to your interior. But, what if you get tired of the same pattern? What if you want to remove it? If you want to update your wall, then gather your energy, put aside some time, and remove it from your walls the right way.

Removing wallpaper is usually a difficult task because it is glued to the wall and intended to stick. If you decide to peel off your wallpaper, it will take a lot of time and probably won’t result in a clean, polished result.  It’s better to remove it the right way and have all the tools you need ahead of time, so you don’t waste your time and energy going back and forth to the store and finding yourself with a low-quality result.

The tools you will need depend on the kind of technique you will use. Here are some examples of techniques you can use to remove wallpaper:

  • Steaming – This technique involves a steamer to add moisture to your wallpaper. Simply move the steamer all over your wallpaper to soak it and then peel it off according to the directions on your steamer. If some areas are still hard to peel off, steam them again.
  • Dry Stripping – You can use this technique if your wallpaper is easy to peel off. All you need to do is use a drywall knife to peel off the corner of the wallpaper and then gradually and carefully peel the rest until it is completely removed.
  • Wallpaper removal solution – There are wallpaper removal solutions available in stores these days that help you easily peel off your wallpaper by soaking it with the solution. You can use natural solutions like vinegar and water or ready-made solutions from hardware stores.

It is important to note that before you remove your wallpaper, proper preparation is needed to make sure that no damage or mess is created. Since you will likely be soaking your wallpaper, be sure to have rags on hand to protect your floor.

Once your wallpaper has been removed, clean the wall to remove remaining residue. Prior to installing new wallpaper or painting your walls, prepare your wall to be sure it is clean and smooth.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

How To Set Your Open Shelves Without the Hassle

15 Jan

How To Set Your Open Shelves Without the Hassle

Setting up your open shelves adds beauty to your kitchen, but is it worth the hassle of constantly arranging your kitchen essentials just to make sure your shelves look good?

If you organize your open shelves the right way from the beginning, you won’t have to worry about the way they look, even if when you take things out to use them. Here are a few tips:

  • Work with only one category per shelf. If you try to combine pots and pans with plates and saucers, then it will look cluttered and chaotic. Any time you would take out a pot, you would have to rearrange the plates just to keep the shelf looking good. Group things together in a way that will allow you to take one item out without worrying about what’s left.
  • Utilize uniform storage. For instance, use the same jar design when storing your cereals, sugar, and flour on your open shelf. You can label each jar to easily identify what’s inside, but the consistency of the appearance will make everything look much cleaner.
  • Add a background. Even if your leave your open shelves empty, there will still be more visual interest than if you just left the cabinet walls plain and white. Use a pretty wall paper to decorate your cabinet wall or perhaps some decorative plates.
  • Make it simple. If you have a simple display, then there will be less hassle in maintaining your open shelves. Establish a simple, yet elegant display, so you don’t have to spend time trying to rearrange the contents every time something is used.
  • Use pretty compartments. Why not use wicker baskets on your open shelves? Not only will they add visual interest, but they will double as storage compartments for smaller items.
  • Keep your display minimal The less you have on your open shelves, the less cluttered they will appear. Keep it to the essentials….it will look cleaner and also prevent you from accumulating unnecessary items.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031