Tiffany Pesonen - RE/MAX Regal | San Ardo, CA Real Estate


Parenting is a full-time job. Unfortunately, most parents have other full-time jobs as well, making it difficult to spend as much time as they would like raising their children. Part of the cultural doctrine around being a good parent is helping your child with their homework. In a fairy-tale world, your child arrives home from school, eats a healthy snack, and sits down at the kitchen table eagerly awaiting you to help them with their homework. You join them and the two of you gleefully accomplish math problems, history trivia, and grammatical conundrums. In real life, we know that this situation plays out a lot differently. Most kids aren't in a rush to do their homework and most parents don't have the time to spend hours helping with it, or--as their kids age--the knowledge to explain the work. Fortunately, there are better ways to help your kids succeed. These ways involve taking a less active role, and being more of a guiding hand for your child as they navigate their way through school.

You're not the teacher...

And you shouldn't pretend to be. You may notice, when your child is as young as seven or eight, that they are learning things differently than you did. This isn't a bad thing. Learning evolves with our society as we discover more practical ways to teach kids. When your child comes home from school and gets ready to do their homework, make sure you're not undoing the work their teachers do all day by trying to teach them a different way of solving the problems. If your child is struggling, seek out extra help from the school or the teacher who will be able to find the best way to help your child succeed.

Setting up the homework environment

The place where your child does homework should be relatively distraction free. Choose a well-lit room with the TV off. Make sure your child has eaten before homework time and make sure they take breaks as needed. If your child is struggling with homework, don't get upset with them. Try to be understanding and to work together to find a way to help them complete the assignments. Just like you have the occasional bad day at work, your child will have the same experiences with their homework.

Don't be a dictator, be a helper...

Setting extremely strict rules about homework has been shown to make a child dread school even more. Find a schedule that your child works best with and follow that schedule. If your child needs to play outside or watch a favorite show after school, give them this time to unwind. If they react better to getting homework out of the way as soon as they get home, choose this route. Either way, you'll need to have a discussion with your kids about setting a homework schedule that you are both happy with. When it comes to being actively involved with teachers, PTAs, field trips, college prep, or choosing high school courses, have a discussion with your child about how much of a role they want you to play. Research shows that different students have different preferences when it comes to how active a role their parents play in their education. And studies have shown that being very active doesn't mean your child will do better in school. Your role should be to help as much as your child would like you to, otherwise the best way you can help is to point them toward resources like their advisors and school guidance counselors.

It's the early years of home ownership that can make buying a house challenging. Closing costs, interest, property fees and home repairs are among the major challenges.Many people prefer to take on these challenges during their early adult years. Vigor and a fresh approach to home ownership aid with roofing, landscaping, flooring and appliance maintenance work.

Buying a house during your middle years could work

Buying a house during early adult years also gives you more time to pay off a mortgage. Take on a mortgage later in life, and you could end up making higher monthly mortgage installments. Plainly put, buying a house near retirement could cost you big, financially and physically. It could also help you to save on monthly housing costs.

You could save money on monthly housing costs because owning a home might:

  • Eliminate your need to make monthly housing payments. For example, you won't have to pay monthly rent. Pay your mortgage off early, and you could eliminate monthly mortgage payments from your budget.
  • Offer you the space and legal rights to rent out one or more rooms at your home.
  • Position you to receive tax advantages, money that you could use to add to your house's value or invest in your personal retirement.

Because lenders are not allowed to discriminate, you could be approved for a mortgage. Ask your mortgage broker or realtor about mortgage amortization schedules, homeowners association fees and property taxes. Also, find out how much houses in areas you're thinking about buying a house in are worth and how the property values have lowered or risen over the last several decades.

Property value trends in areas you want to buy a house in are important

Buy a house that has value that matches or exceeds what you pay for the house and you could earn a profit should you decide to sell the property 10 to 15 years later. Go with a 30 year mortgage and you could be responsible for paying lower monthly mortgage installments.

Just because you took out a 30 year mortgage, doesn't mean that you have to make payments for 30 years. You could pay your mortgage off in 20 years or less. That could put you in a position to reside in a house with only utilities, general maintenance and property taxes to pay.

Open to the idea of taking in renters and you could generate enough rent to cover the entire costs of your mortgage. Vet all potential renters thoroughly before you pursue this option. As it regards renters, you could also rent out one or more rooms at your house to your grandchildren while they attend college or after they graduate. Rent out the space at a lower rate than apartments rent and your grandchildren could appreciate the deal.

Above all, make sure that you can readily afford to take on a monthly mortgage. Don't just ensure that you can cover a monthly mortgage. Also, ensure that you can continue to invest in your retirement.


Buying a house is only the beginning when it comes to spending money on a residence. Buy the wrong house and you could incur heightening costs that you hadn’t planned or budgeted for. One of the best ways to avoid stepping into a house financial minefield is to avoid buying a house based solely on emotion.

Start saving on housing costs early

For this reason, a first step to save on housing costs starts during the house hunting process. While you are house hunting pay attention to more than just the square footage, layout and design of a house. Ask to see the furnace, boiler and air conditioning unit, whichever utility type the house operates off of.

If you’re not knowledgeable about appliances, bring someone who is appliance savvy house hunting with you. The same goes for the roof, flooring and walls. The right construction knowledge could prevent you from investing in a house that has termites, roaches or other creepy crawly pests hidden in the walls.

Don’t let realtors or housing agencies only show you the model if you’re buying a house that’s in the process of being built. Make sure that you get it in writing that you can stop by and check on the home while it’s being built. Bring someone you trust who knows the ins and outs of a home, including the best way to build and wire a house, when you visit the property.

Keeping housing costs down is an ongoing effort

After you buy the right house, develop a schedule that highlights when you will perform certain types of maintenance on your new home. For example, decide whether you will mow the lawn on a Wednesday or a Saturday.

Applying a fresh coat of paint to your house or washing down the siding are other items to add to your house maintenance schedule. De-weeding your lawn, painting the interior of your home, replacing floor tiles as needed and inspecting the insulation and appliances are other maintenance activities.

You also have to clean your gutters and inspect your roof. Again, if you don’t know what to look for during a roofing inspection , consider hiring a professional to do this work for you. In addition to performing regular maintenance on your home, practice safety habits.

Make sure that there is a properly functioning fire extinguisher in your house, preferably at least one extinguisher on each floor of your home. Smoke alarms are another must. Avoid floor or space heaters, as these devices can become afire hazard. Also, clean out fireplaces.

Each of these steps helps to maintain and protect your home. It’s also important to buy and keep payments current on your homeowner’s insurance. Get enough homeowner’s insurance coverage to protect your house from natural events that occur in the area where you live.

For example, if you live in California, you may want to get coverage for mud slide damage.In Florida, you may want coverage for hurricanes and floods. Even if the additional coverage raises your monthly homeowner’s insurance premiums, the added protection could be worth it.


Hectic mornings can make for messy, disorganized bathrooms. Between the mad dash of getting the kids ready for school and ensuring you look presentable for the office who has time to put the toothpaste or hairspray back nevermind neatly so? If you’re dreaming of a clean, organized space to get ready for the day keep reading for some easy to implement tips. 

Begin your project with a clean slate by tossing out any outdated products or items you simply don’t use. Check how long to keep an item for by the image of an open container with a number followed by a capital m inside of it. This indicates how many months to keep a product for after opening. If you can’t even remember when you bought a product it's safe to assume its time for a replacement.

Take a tip from the minimalists and keep only what you truly use. After all, the less you have the less you will have to dig through to find what you are looking for. Common culprits are hair products, spa-like bath products and piles of towels. If an item is really something you can’t let go of but don’t use often consider moving it to a nearby linen or storage closet.

Once you’ve decided what stays it’s time to put your items away. But before you start shoving everything back into drawers and cabinets take a few minutes to draw up a plan that gives each and every item a “home”. When everything has a dedicated space it belongs in it makes cleanup a breeze, especially on those hectic mornings.

Keep items off the countertops for an uncluttered magazine worthy countertop. Instead, place your families’ go-to items inside the medicine cabinet or top drawers. Try to keep everything in neat organized lines where you won't have to reach behind products to get the one you are looking for. An orderly lineup prevents chaos and products spilling down each time you reach to the back.

Installing clever organizers for small spaces helps to make the most of tiny bathroom spaces. Think more shelves, lazy susans, drawer organizers and roll out trays to get more out of cabinet spaces. A heat tool corral keeps pesky hairdryers and irons neatly organized and at arms-length.

Maximize empty and therefore unused space throughout the room such as over the toilet by installing shelving. You may also consider adding more hooks if you need them to hang up towels and keep them off of the floor.

It may seem like there isn’t any time for keeping an orderly bathroom when you’re just trying to get out the door in the morning. However, with a thorough cleanout and thoughtful organization your bathroom could be even more tidy than you first imagined. It just takes a little time and creativity to make the most of your unique bathroom space. Happy organizing!


If you've read the news in the last few years you've likely heard about the alarming decline of the bee population. In our daily lives, most of us think of bees only when they're buzzing uncomfortably close to our picnic table. What we don't often realize is the vital role that bees play in pollenating our food supply.

Large farms throughout the country (and throughout the world) hire beekeepers to bring in their colonies for pollination. Without those bees there would be a drastic drop in food production. While drops in bee populations are naturally occurring and fluctuate from year to year, recent years have seen some of the worst declines to date.

Starting to feel bad about swatting at the bees in your backyard?

First you should understand that these declines aren't your fault because you've killed a few bees in your life. Among the stresses that the bee population faces are viruses, mites, climate change, and habitat reduction. It would take a massive culture shift to address all of those issues. But, there are a few things you can do right in your backyard that will lend a small hand in helping out your local bee population.

Know your bees (and what's not a bee)

Many people treat bees, wasps and hornets as interchangeable. Bees are fuzzy pollinators that can sting only once. Common bees include honey bees, bumble bees, and carpenter bees.

Wasps are not fuzzy, and therefore not as effective as pollinators. They prey on insects and can be more aggressive than bees. The only wasps that sting are females, but they can sting multiple times.

Hornets are a sub-species of wasp native to North America. They too can sting multiple times and are known for being the most aggressive of the three. Again, they are not the most effective pollinators.

Bees, wasps, and your backyard

If you've noticed an uptick in the number of bees or wasps on you property it's not necessarily a bad thing. If their numbers are low and you're not concerned about anyone's safety you may decide to leave them be. The bees and wasps will help you by pollinating your flowers, eating surplus insects, and leaving you well alone.

Some ways you can keep your backyard bees healthy include not using pesticides on your lawn or garden. You could also plant more flowers and let your wildflowers grow freely to provide an extra nectar source for the local bees.

Too much of a good thing

If the bees in your yard have grown high in number, are becoming aggressive, or you are worried for the safety of your family (bee sting allergies can be life-threatening) then it might be time to take action.

To avoid becoming part of the problem of declining populations, call in a professional. Some pest control companies still use killing the bees as a solution. But there are companies that are more proactive and attempt to coax away bees and relocate them. Seek out no-kill pest control companies for help.

Your local beekeeper is also an unexpendable resource when it comes to learning what to do about bees. Many beekeepers will even relocate the bees to commercial honey-making hives.

With a bit of research and careful behavior, cohabiting with bees can be beneficial for us and for the little bugs that make our honey.




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