Consumer Real Estate News

    • Building Children’s Emotional Resilience Amid Uncertainty

      30 October 2020

      (Family Features) For parents facing uncertain school schedules, new ways of working and concerns about the health and safety of their families, life in a pandemic is stressful enough. Add in the potential for children to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with the unfamiliar and many families feel they are in no-win situations.

      Keeping children home can help minimize potential exposure to COVID-19, but limits their contact with friends and teachers. On the other hand, sending kids to a center or school to learn and socialize with others can lead to concerns about exposure to COVID-19.

      Parents can breathe easier knowing that child care programs with proper safety practices in place do not spread COVID-19, according to a Yale University study that surveyed 57,000 providers nationwide.

      “Families have much to consider when it comes to making a decision about what is best for them,” said Dr. Elanna Yalow, chief academic officer of KinderCare Learning Centers. “Fortunately, their fears quickly turn to relief once they see our health and safety protocols, the success we have had keeping our children and staff safe and how excited their children are to be with friends and classmates. Once you move past the difficult decision, the rewards are profound.”

      When it comes to selecting the best option for your family, keep these considerations in mind:

      Putting safety first. When considering a center or school, make sure it’s not only following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health department guidelines when it comes to masks and social distancing, but look for additional safety measures such as restricted access to classrooms, health screenings upon entry, handwashing throughout the day and frequent cleaning and sanitizing. Knowing the steps teachers and staff take to keep children safe can help confirm you’re making the best choice for your family.

      The social and emotional benefits to returning to school or child care. According to a ParentsTogether study, nearly half of parents surveyed said their child is struggling with mental health or behavioral problems because of the pandemic. Children typically thrive with social stimulation and outlets for strong emotions, two things that are challenging for many families to offer right now. School can provide children with a safe place to continue their social, emotional and academic development, enhanced by the opportunity for social interaction with people outside of their immediate families.

      “When COVID first started, my sweet, carefree child was upset and frustrated with life,” said Kristine Hall, a parent of an 8-year-old who attends KinderCare. “As we prepared for third grade, it became clear we needed an ally in navigating this new abnormal. After enrolling in a KinderCare center, Connor now has friends to talk about and activities and crafts to show me. He feels normal again.”

      Making the transition easier. “Routines can be comforting to children,” Dr. Yalow said. “Just think about how excited they are to rejoin their friends and teachers after a typical summer break. We have seen that enthusiasm magnified this year as children have returned to our programs.”

      Once children settle into a more typical routine, parents can feel a sense of relief seeing them engaged in learning and interacting with their peers and teachers.

      When it comes to sending your child to school or a child care program during the pandemic, every family has to make the decision that feels best for it. When you’re ready, there are safe and engaging programs available for your child.

      For more information about customized learning programs for infants through grades K-6, visit

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Get Personal With Your Workplace Benefits

      30 October 2020

      (Family Features) Choosing employee benefits during annual enrollment is often one of the most important financial decisions you make each year. 

      If your company is like most, it offers benefits to protect you and your family physically, emotionally and financially. In fact, 9 out of 10 employers in a Dynata survey on behalf of Colonial Life and Unum said they have no plans to eliminate or reduce employer-paid insurance benefits. Some employers even plan to boost comprehensive coverage, increasing benefit options or adding telehealth coverage. 

      Before you enroll, understand your needs and the different coverages available, especially supplemental benefits you can usually pay for through payroll deduction.

      Supplemental Benefits Add Coverage and Financial Protection
      Supplemental benefits allow you to customize your benefits package with coverage most important to you and your family. Because you sign up through work, it’s usually more affordable than buying coverage on your own. It can also be easier to qualify for coverage as part of a workplace group, often without answering any health questions.

       The major types of supplemental benefits include:

      • Life insurance provides financial protection for your family should anything happen to you. It can help loved ones pay for living expenses, debts, medical bills and funeral costs in addition to future needs such as college tuition or retirement. Even if your employer provides life insurance, it may not be enough for your family’s long-term needs.
      • Disability insurance is designed to pay a portion of your income if you’re sick or injured and unable to work. It can be offered as short-term – typically 3-6 months – or long-term coverage that can last several years or until retirement.
      • Dental insurance helps reduce out-of-pocket costs for common dental procedures like cleanings, fillings, crowns, dentures, oral surgery, orthodontia and other treatments. 
      • Vision insurance helps cover costs for exams, glasses and contact lenses, and may include access to discounted materials and services through a network of vision service providers.
      • Accident insurance offers a lump sum financial benefit if you have an accident or injury. It helps pay out-of-pocket expenses such as doctor bills, co-pays or emergency room fees.
      • Hospital insurance helps pay for hospital stays and, on some plans, outpatient surgery and diagnostic procedures.
      • Critical illness insurance provides a lump sum financial benefit if you’re diagnosed with conditions such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, organ failure, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS and more.
      • Cancer insurance provides more specific coverage for the costs of treating cancer. It can also provide additional benefits for treatments and services such as ambulance transportation, hospital confinement, radiation, chemotherapy, medications and surgery.

      Why You Might Need Supplemental Benefits
      Even the best medical insurance likely won’t cover all your out-of-pocket costs for illnesses and injuries. The average health care deductible for single coverage was nearly $1,500 last year and almost double for family coverage, according to a report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Add in co-pays, coinsurance and other noncovered costs and an average family may have more than $4,700 in out-of-pocket medical costs each year not counting health insurance premiums. 

      Supplemental benefits can help bridge the financial gap. You can use your benefits for uncovered medical costs such as deductibles and copayments or nonmedical expenses such as travel for treatment or child care during recovery. You also don’t have to be sick or injured to take advantage of some supplemental coverage. Many plans include a wellness benefit that can pay a set amount for preventive screenings or diagnostic tests.
      Visit to learn more about common insurance benefits.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why Eating a Nutritious Breakfast Is So Important

      30 October 2020

      You have probably read or been told that eating a healthy breakfast is important. Many people don’t eat in the morning because they are in a hurry or they grab something that is convenient, but not nutritious. If you don’t usually have a healthy breakfast, eating something nutritious before your day gets into full swing can provide numerous benefits.

      Reasons to Eat Breakfast
      Eating in the morning can help your body burn calories throughout the day. You fast while you are asleep and wake up with low blood sugar. If you eat breakfast, your body gets a signal that there will be enough calories coming throughout the day and that it should burn those calories. That gets your metabolism going. If you don’t eat breakfast, your body thinks it might not get enough calories and, therefore, conserves them.

      Eating breakfast may help you control your weight. If you don’t eat in the morning, when you get hungry later, you may choose foods that are high in fat and sugar. Studies have found that people who lose weight and keep it off tend to eat breakfast every day. People who eat breakfast also generally have a lower body mass index than people who don’t.

      Your body needs a variety of vitamins and nutrients to perform essential functions. Eating breakfast helps you get some of them early so you can get everything your body needs by the end of the day. People who eat breakfast tend to consume more essential vitamins and nutrients and less fat throughout the day than people who skip a morning meal.

      Eating breakfast can help your physical and cognitive performance. If you don’t eat breakfast, you may not have enough energy to work and complete other tasks. You may also find it difficult to concentrate.

      Breakfast is important for growing kids since they need nutrients to provide energy and to help keep them focused. They can become restless and irritable if they don’t get the nutrition they need. Kids who don’t eat breakfast are also more likely to eat unhealthy snacks and to be more overweight than those who eat in the morning.

      What to Have for Breakfast
      Choose foods that contain a combination of protein, healthy fats, fiber and carbohydrates. High-fiber cereal, toast and bagels; low-fat milk and yogurt; and fresh fruit are all good options. 

      If you don’t eat breakfast because you are rushed in the morning, buy or prepare breakfast foods in advance so you can grab something on the go. When shopping for processed breakfast foods, check the labels so you don’t buy foods that contain too much sugar. If you don’t want to have a large breakfast or don’t want to eat right away, try to eat something small within an hour of the time when you wake up.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Incorporate More Fruits and Vegetables Into Your Diet

      29 October 2020

      Many people don’t eat as many servings of fruits and vegetables as they should. Consuming a variety of produce every day can help you get all the nutrients you need for good health and may lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and other serious medical problems. There are a lot of simple ways to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

      Add fruits and vegetables to things you ordinarily eat in the morning. For example, if you eat cereal for breakfast, toss in some berries or banana slices. If you usually have plain eggs, cut up some vegetables and make an omelet. You can also make a breakfast smoothie with a variety of colorful foods to get your morning off to a healthy start. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients.

      Put lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables on a sandwich or have a vegetable or fruit salad. If you like soup, buy or make some that contains a variety of vegetables. If you make soup from scratch, prepare a large amount and store the leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer so you can have several healthy meals. 

      For dinner, you can have a vegetable or salad as a side dish or incorporate vegetables and fruit into the main course. Try pasta and rice dishes with a variety of vegetables. You may also find creative ways to use fresh fruit to add some sweetness to your evening meal.

      Instead of cookies or chips, have some fresh or dried fruit or raw vegetables as snacks. Put a fruit bowl on the kitchen table or counter so you will see it when you’re hungry and reach for a nutritious snack. If you like sliced veggies, prepare some ahead of time so they will be available when you need something to hold you over until your next meal.

      If you typically choose desserts filled with sugar, look for healthy alternatives, such as fruit salad. If you’re craving ice cream, find a brand that is low in sugar and serve it with a homemade fruit sauce.

      Look for Creative Ideas
      If you aren’t sure how to work more fruits and vegetables into meals, look for recipes in cookbooks or online. You will easily find many that combine familiar foods in unexpected ways. You may even be inspired to try some foods you have never had before and find that you love them. 

      Shopping Tips
      Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually as nutritious as fresh ones. If you buy canned or dried fruits and vegetables, soups and other prepackaged foods, check the labels to avoid products with a lot of sodium and preservatives.

      Fruit and vegetable juices can be good sources of nutrients, but be sure to read the labels so you don’t buy products with large amounts of sugar. Don’t try to get all your fruits and vegetables from juice. Fresh produce has fiber, which is important for maintaining a healthy immune system.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Celebrate the Best of the Season

      29 October 2020

      (Family Features) If it seems like your grocery store’s apple section is more abundant than it has been in the past, you’d be correct. With new apple varieties coming onto the scene every few years, gone are the days of choosing between simply red or green. 

      Instead, choosing the right apple is similar to selecting the perfect wine. Apples can range from tart to sugary sweet, so finding the right balance for your palate is key. Scent can also influence taste, especially when you have a balanced sweetness with an uplifting, fresh aroma. 

      When it comes to apples, a satisfying texture is as important as taste. Consider an option like the Envy apple, which has been referred to as “the ultimate apple experience” for its consistently balanced, delightful sweetness coupled with a crisp, elegant crunch. They are an easy snack when eaten fresh out of hand and are perfect for pairing with cheese, charcuterie boards, chocolate and nut butters. 

      Easy to spot with their crimson red skin over a golden background that practically glows, Envy apples are naturally descended from Braeburn and Royal Gala apple varieties, bred by farmers who use time-honored plant-breeding methods. Plus, the apples’ bright white flesh is naturally slow to brown when sliced, so they stay fresher longer.

      For more information, including recipes and entertaining tips, visit

      Creating the Ultimate Charcuterie Board
      Stick to the basics this holiday season to create a perfect charcuterie board:

      The board: Select a board big enough for your gathering but not too big as you want there to be overlap and crowding.

      The cheeses: Select three different cheeses that complement the other items. Brie is a solid soft cheese choice while blue fills the need for a stronger, more pungent cheese. Try an aged cheddar or smoky gouda to round out the trio.

      The meats: Something salty with a little fat, like prosciutto or speck, provides a flavorful addition to the board. 

      The produce: Choose fruits that not only taste great, but are also beautiful to display such as Envy apple slices, which stay whiter longer, making them ideal for any entertaining occasion. Plus their balanced sweetness pairs well with any item on the board.

      The crackers: Variety is key with crackers, and like the cheeses, three types is typically the magic formula. Think water crackers, multi-grain wafers and breadsticks.

      The snacks: Sweet and salty are king when it comes to snacks, so a mix of chocolate and nuts works for many charcuterie boards.

      Home for the Holidays
      Traveling to visit friends and loved ones will likely be limited this year, so make this holiday season a time for cherishing traditions in new, different ways. Consider these ways to make apples part of the celebration:
      Break out the webcam and challenge your siblings to a cross-country apple pie bake off. 

      Give a relish tray an upgrade with a sophisticated charcuterie board stacked with creamy gorgonzola cheese, salty caramel sauce, crunchy mixed nuts and crisp apple slices. Entertaining tip: Envy apples are a perfect addition to any holiday spread as their white flesh stays naturally whiter longer and resists the browning that sometimes shows with other apples. 

      Visit Alaska, Austria or nearly any other location from the comfort of your couch by watching one of Hallmark Channel’s 40 new holiday movies, munching on apples as your movietime snack.

      Share the scents of the holidays with neighbors by crafting pomanders, which are fresh apples studded with whole cloves.

      Fill decorative bowls with festive Envy apples, enclose in cellophane and gift them to friends and family members.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.