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First Time Home Buyers Tips

Buying a house can be a daunting task especially for first-time home buyers. You can be easily overwhelmed by the processes involved as well as the current state of the market. That is one reason why many would-be buyers end up renting instead. But buying a house does not have to be that difficult. Here are some simple tips that you can follow as a first-time home buyer:

1. Set your budget.

Before you go shopping for a home, you should first know how much your budget is. It seems to be like a no-brainer, but you may be surprised that many interested buyers don’t set their budget first before showing up during open house. By failing to do this simple step, you may end up wasting your time checking on houses that are out of your price range. And it can be frustrating finally identifying your dream house only to realize that it is way out of your budget.

Tips To Get Approved For a Mortgage

A house is the most basic need of every family. Many people are looking for an opportunity to get a house of their own especially since house rentals even for a small space is at an all-time high now. And when your personal finances do not allow you to buy a house with spot cash, your best option would be to get it on a mortgage. If you still find it difficult to get approved for a mortgage, here are some tips that could help you:

1. Keep track of your finances.

Starting January of 2014, new mortgage regulations take effect when it comes to underwriting home loans. These new regulations require lenders to verify the capacity of each borrower to repay his or her loans. Borrowers who are more diligent in keeping track of their finances have the greatest chance of getting approved. For tracking purposes, keep a complete record of your bank statements, W-2s, income tax returns and other assets you may have. If there are any unusual deposits in your bank accounts, be ready to also justify them.

Basics on Low Carb Fruits and Vegetables

While I always try to keep myself abreast with the latest trends in the real estate business, I also closely keep an eye on my health, particularly on my weight. I was aware that many diseases can develop if a person is overweight. And that includes ear problems, liver problems and high blood pressure among others.

When a person desires to maintain a healthy weight or is trying to lose weight, it is advisable for that person to watch the intake of carbohydrates and calories to a certain amount. This is one of the reasons why people who are on a weight loss program usually take in more low carb vegetables and low carb fruits than other types of food. However, it is important to note that both carbohydrates and calories should not be totally eliminated in the diet as they also provide nutritional value which the body needs.

low carb fruits

Carbohydrates versus Calories

Carbohydrate is an organic compound that is made up of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. Calorie, on the other hand, refers to a unit of energy and is commonly used for showing the amount of energy a particular food contains. Additionally, carbs refer to foods that are high in starch or sugar. These foods always contain calories. However, calories do not always indicate carbs.

Low Carbohydrate Vegetables

Low carbohydrate vegetables are generally high in nutrients, dietary fiber and vitamins but low in calories, making them a healthy choice for people who are watching their weight. This food includes spinach, cabbage, tomato, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, brussel sprouts and celery. In contrast, vegetables to be avoided include starchy vegetables such as potatoes, beans, corn and peas, since they contain between 24 and 74 grams of carbohydrates per one cup serving.

Low Carbohydrate Fruits

Fruits are also rich is dietary fibers as well as vitamins and minerals which are needed by the body. However, compared to vegetables, fruits tend to contain higher amounts of carbohydrates especially the dried ones because of their high concentration of sugar. Moreover, there is still a wide selection of fruits with low carbohydrate content such as most of berries including strawberries and blackberries. Honeydew, cherries, apples, pears, grapes, peaches, apricots and figs are also among the fruits with low carbohydrates. In contrast, high carbohydrate fruits include bananas, mangoes, melons and pineapple, so consume them in limited amounts.

Important Note

Aside from carbohydrate and calorie content, one important factor to consider when choosing a fruit or vegetable is the fiber content. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that slows down digestion, keeping you feeling full for a longer period of time. It also aids in passing out stools and in the prevention of certain diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. If you are on a low carb diet, choose fruits and vegetables that are low in carbohydrates but high in dietary fiber.

At first, it may be difficult to keep track of the foods to eat and not to eat when you are on a low carb diet. Keep a list of low carb foods especially fruits and vegetables so that you can easily refer to it anytime.

Age is not just a Number

I just received a call from my brother that our mom had a torn labrum hip an hour ago, similarly describe by the professionals at I asked him about what happened because our mom was not that sporty to begin with. I know that such injuries occur on repetitive motions and then causes a tear in the cartilage. Our mom just spends her day shopping, hanging out with her friends and sometimes, she helps our dad with chores around the house. My brother asked me to come down to the hospital as soon as possible because our mom wanted to see me. I asked him if my dad was there because I wanted to talk to him, but he told me that he is currently outside talking to our mom’s doctor.

I told my business partner, Dave, what happened to my mom and that I needed to go to the hospital now. He understood and he told me that he wishes that my mom well. I got to the hospital as fast as I could. It took me just fifteen minutes to drive through the busy streets of Lawrence and I was glad that there were no cops around. I parked in the nearest slot possible to the entrance of the hospital and rushed to my mom’s room. I knocked and my dad opened the door for me. I saw my mom lying comfortably on her bed. I asked them what happened to her. My dad told me that our mom was having a groin pain for the last month and she just ignored it. She was just raking leaves earlier in their backyard and she just heard a clicking snap on her hips. She got out of balance and fell over the grass. She called for help and luckily, our dad was going out to help our mom to rake, so he rushed to help her and called 911. I was relieved that she just fell over the grass rather than the cement driveway. I asked our mom how she was and she told me that it hurts earlier, but the doctor gave her a cortisone shot and now, she does not feel a thing.

Our dad told me that she also had an x-ray and an MRI and the results were fine. Dr. Miller advised our mom to rest for at least two weeks to allow the inflammation to settle down to alleviate her pain and maybe allow her to return to her usual routines gradually. She was also prescribed to take pain relievers, two times a day as needed. She could also acquire the services of a good physical therapist to improve her hip functions by strengthening and balancing her muscles around her hip joint.

The doctor also reminded our mom to exercise proper anterior hip precautions because she does not want it to happen to herself again. He added that she cannot do the things that she used to do when she was younger, because she now have more fragile and brittle bones and it always comes with age. He suggested that she stretch every day to keep her body flexible and for better blood flow.


We have a four year old Bullboxer Pit named Rocky and we are so fond of him because he is so sweet and loyal, but at the same time, he is very protective of us especially our youngest child, Chelsea. She is the one who mostly feeds and cares for him because all of us are practically busy with work and chores around the house. I am glad that Chelsea does not mind because she loves him so much. She even wanted to go for a walk alone with him at the park, but I did not give her a permission because Rocky can easily pull her because she is still not strong enough. I promised my daughter that every Sunday that I would try to accompany them with their walks and she was so excited about it.

It was a Saturday night and I find Chelsea so adorable and funny because she was making a survey about what is the best leash to use on Rocky for tomorrow’s walk. She made us choose between three leashes. I joked that I was not going to accompany them and she became sad. My wife, Susan told her that I was just kidding and she hugged both of us. I told her that she should eat dinner first, so she would be strong enough to handle Rocky’s walk tomorrow.

The next day, Chelsea woke up very early at 5am. She knocked on our door and I knew that it was her. I told her that it was too early to walk outside because it is still dark. I told her she should sleep again and I will wake her up if it is already bright outside. I am glad that she understood me so she slept in her room. I woke her up at 6:30am and she was still excited about our walk. I asked her to eat breakfast first before we can go outside with Rocky. She was so adorable as her face lit up with excitement the whole time that we were walking. We decided to rest at the park and let the dog drink some water.

dog ear infectionRocky was also tired, so he sat between Chelsea and me. I noticed that he smelled funny. I checked his paws and body, but there were no wounds or lesions. Then I checked his ears and it was so dirty. I asked Chelsea about when was the last time that he had his ears cleaned and she does not have an idea about it. When we got home, I asked my wife about it and she also told me the same thing. I cleaned the dog’s ears, but I cannot take them all off because some are further down his ears. I decided to bring him to the nearby veterinarian’s clinic to let the professionals do their thing. I told Chelsea about it and she wanted to come with me. The veterinarian had a peek with Rocky’s ears and he told us that it looked like that he have a dog ear infection. He took care of it in less than an hour and the dirt was all out. He reminded me to always clean his ears every week and as much as possible, prevent water getting inside his ears when bathing him. He also prescribed him an ear medication to be used daily.

Wrong Hunch

toddler constipationI have observed for days that our daughter, Chelsea was not fond of drinking water. She prefers to drink sodas and milk. I also noticed that she does not finish her vegetables on her plate and that is a cause of concern for me because I do not want her to experience toddler constipation. I told my wife about it and she told me that she did not know what happened to her because she used to eat veggies. I asked my wife about what to do with Chelsea and she told me that I should just take care of it because I am better with this kind of stuff and I agreed. I told her that I am going to talk to her this weekend to have a more relaxed time for our kid.

It was a weekend and I told Chelsea that I needed to talk to her. She was worried that she had done something wrong, so she was scared. I told her that she did not do anything wrong. It was just because her mom and I were worried about her, as we noticed that she was not eating healthy like she used to. I pinpointed that she does not drink as much water as she used to. I also told her that she always leaves her veggies on her plate. She was quiet and trying to gather her thoughts. After a few seconds, she blurted out the real reason on why she was not eating well. She told me that her best friend and classmate, Charlotte, had a worse case of diarrhea in toddlers and she made a mess in school. Almost all students at school knew what happened because she was seen in the hallway and she reeked of foul odor.

Since then, Charlotte is teased every day because of what happened. She asked her what caused her diarrhea. Her doctor told her that she consumed lots of water and fibrous foods, so my daughter tried to stay away from them, as she was thinking, that it could also lead her to Charlotte’s condition. I now understood that Chelsea was thinking. I told her that she would not suffer the same as her best friend’s because we are just feeding her enough. I am sure that her best friend consumed more than enough so she suffered what happened to her.

I told Chelsea that in life, it is always vital to know how to balance things. I told her about the saying that Water is Life, but if you consumed lots of it, you will feel so bad and bloated. It would even make you vomit. Chelsea laughed and I am glad that she understood what I was trying to say. She told me that she missed eating veggies because they are one of her favorite foods ever. I told her to ask her mom to cook veggies for dinner and she agreed. She also thanked me that I enlightened her about what happened to Charlotte. I reminded her that when she has a problem, she doesn’t need to hesitate to ask me or her mom because we are always ready to listen to her.

Joys of Being a Realtor

I recently sold a 2,332 sq ft big condominium unit here in Lawrence, Kansas a month ago. It has four bedrooms and three bathrooms in a low rise building and it’s is located near the Delaware area. The unit has an impeccable location for the morning sun and the sunset, perfect for a couple like them. Their unit also has an access to a special elevator which only a number of units can use so waiting time for elevators isn’t going to be a problem.

The couple that bought it paid cash in full thus getting large amount of discounts. They told me that they inherited a large sum of money from their parents and they planned to make investments out of it rather than just splurging on buying luxury cars which depreciates its value every year. It was also a dream of them to buy a unit and start a family where they all have easy access to all sorts of things like hospitals, schools, malls, restaurants, etc.

The unit that they bought is a reasonable unit for them because they are just starting out to have a family. For now, they only have a kid who loves pets which is perfect because he has a big room. They also told me that they prefer only two kids but they may have frequent visitors so they can use one room as a guest room, two rooms for their kids and one as the Master’s bedroom. They also asked about the rules and regulations for the building about pets if they allow hedgehogs as pets. They added that it would be secured on hedgehog cages so there wouldn’t be a potential for the pet to roam around across other units. I told them that I’d ask the building owner and the unit owners association about their query and I’ll get back to them with an answer. I also accompanied them to survey at daytime and night time to be sure that the area they’re buying at is safe and free from any criminal activities

Honestly, I don’t think that there’s any problem with the quiet hedgehogs as they allow dogs who bark a lot inside the building. I just don’t want to give them a shaky and skeptical answer. I reminded them that before signing anything that they should hire a lawyer to read all the legalities to make sure that the contracts are all clean. They still haven’t told me on when they will move in. The wife hinted that there might be minor constructions to be done to make it more liveable for them. I just love my job not just because of the money that I make but also it’s about the job’s flexibility and independence. Lastly, the best of being a realtor is the fulfillment and the satisfaction. It’s the fulfillment and the satisfaction that I get whenever the buyer thanks me for being the instrument to enable them to get the best possible deal that they can get with their money.

Common Skin Allergic Reaction to Tattooing

I frequently see tattoos everywhere. Some of my friends, clients and even close relatives have them. Many popular celebrities and public personalities have them. The person selling hotdogs in the sidewalk have them. Nowadays, tattooing has become a common thing to many people from all walks of life, regardless of gender.

Personally, I have nothing for and against the practice of inking your skin. It is a personal choice of the person. One important thing though is that deciding to have a tattoo or not is a very important decision that needs much thinking. Having a tattoo or two can have a big impact on the person’s life, particularly in job prospects, relationships and most importantly health.

I know of some people who have suffered from skin problems such as having a skin tear or tattoo scabbing after getting a tattoo. And based on one of the articles I read online, there are a number of skin allergic reactions to tattooing because of the needle or ink used. This list is worth considering if you are still deciding whether to get a tattoo or not:

  • Acute inflammatory reaction. This type of allergic reaction is pretty common. It is when the tattooed area becomes red, irritated and swollen. It may cause pain and discomfort but will normally subside in two or three weeks.
  • Contact Dermatitis. This allergic reaction is a skin inflammation characterized by having red and itchy rashes on the skin. It is not contagious but can cause discomfort. More often, this tattoo allergic reaction is caused by the mercury sulfide present in red tattoo ink.
  • Lichenoid reaction. Although it is a rare allergic reaction, it may still occur on anyone who just got a tattoo, especially one that uses red ink. If your skin develops this kind of reaction, you will notice some small bumps in your skin.
  • Photosensitivity. The tattooed skin may also become sensitive to the sun and develop allergic reaction when exposed. This is especially true for tattoos that use red or yellow pigments.
  • Pseudolymphomatous reaction. It is a type of skin inflammation that does not normally occur after getting a tattoo but months or years after. Red, blue and green tattoo inks are more often the culprit of this condition.
  • Granulomas. They are small bumps that can appear around the tattooed area. In most cases, they are caused by the blue, purple and green inks.

These are just some of the skin allergic reactions that you may get from tattooing. I have not listed here HIV and hepatitis which are also common health risks when getting a tattoo, as they are more than just allergic reactions but a more serious health condition.

If you see any signs of allergic reaction around the tattoo site, see a dermatologist immediately. Don’t try to take care of the problem yourself as it may worsen the symptoms. If there are signs of infection, your doctor may recommend taking antibiotic. In some cases, you may need to have your tattoo removed to treat the problem.

5 Ways to Prevent Gum Problems

Recently, I have read in an article online that more than 35 percent of American adults suffer from periodontal or gum disease. That really surprised me because I rarely know of a person who suffers from this kind of disease, yet it is one of the most common oral problems that people suffer from. What I know of is that many people suffer from teeth problem. In fact, one of the most popular health searches online is about tooth pain relief because many people are really suffering from it.

One of the leading causes of gum disease is the lack of proper dental hygiene. Aside from plaques on the teeth, bacteria in the mouth can also cause gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums characterized by swollen, red or bleeding gums. In many cases of gingivitis, the inflammation is not painful. That is one of the reasons why sufferers also neglect their condition. It is important that gingivitis be treated as early as possible to reverse the condition or it could worsen and lead to tooth loss.

A gum disease can be detected with the following symptoms:

  • Changes in the fitting together of teeth when biting
  • Deep pockets in the gums and between teeth
  • Bleeding gums during and after brushing
  • Shifting teeth or having a loose tooth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Tender or swollen gums
  • Gum pain

If you don’ have yet the symptoms mentioned above, then you don’t belong to the 35 percent of people who have gum disease. That is a good thing for you. The next step is to observe the following tips to prevent gum disease:

1. Brush your teeth properly. If you are not sure about proper brushing techniques, ask your dentist or hygienist for a quick lesson. Also, be sure to brush your teeth at least two times daily.

2. Floss your teeth. Flossing your teeth is also an important part of proper oral hygiene. It is helpful to remove small particles that get stuck in between teeth. It will only take a few minutes each time.

3. Drink more water after meals. Drinking water will not only aid in digestion but also in washing off food particles from the mouth. It also helps keep your mouth cleaner and less likely to be infected with gum-damaging bacteria.

4. Take adequate vitamin C. Include in your diet foods that are rich in vitamin C such as green leafy vegetables, berries and citrus fruits among others. Vitamin C is helpful in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

5. No smoking. Cigarettes and tobacco are very destructive to your teeth and gums.

6. Visit your dentist regularly. Even if you don’t feel like you have any tooth or gum problems, it is important that you have an appointment with your dentist at least twice every year.

When you think about dental health, it is not just about keeping your teeth healthy and preventing cavities. The same attention should also be given to gums. If you have doubts about your gum condition, see your dentist immediately. The key to treating and reversing gum problems is early detection and treatment.

Tips to Prevent Asthma Attacks in Kids

A number of my clients looking for a new home are parents who already have small or grownup children. Sometimes, I would hear them complain about the challenges they encounter with having sick children at home. Most notably, I have one client who shared his story about having an asthmatic child and the challenge he encounters from time to time because of that condition. Although he just mentioned his story in passing, his story got etched into my mind. This is because I also have several friends and relatives who have to deal with the same problem.

I had the chance to research more about asthma in kids and I would like to share some of the things I learned about it. In particular, I would like to share some tips on how to deal with asthma in kids.

Asthma is a chronic disease affecting the airways in the lungs. The airways in the lungs become irritated when exposed to allergens and other triggers, resulting to fluid in lungs, read more at Patients who are suffering from asthma attacks will have difficulty breathing and might experience other asthma symptoms. Asthma is one of the most common conditions affecting children. In fact, in 2010, statistics show that over 7 million children suffer from this condition. It is also the top reason why many children miss out on school, which accounts for over 10 million school days in a year.

While it is not yet clear on what really causes asthma, asthma attacks are possibly caused by different triggers and differ from patient to patient. In children, most common triggers include dust, pollen, smoke, fatigue, and weather condition. Some children might outgrow their triggers, while others might be affected by the same triggers until adulthood.

There is no cure for asthma at this time but there are ways on how you can prevent asthma attacks:

  • Identify the specific trigger. If you are not yet sure on what triggers an asthma attack in your child, you could work with your child’s doctor or with a specialist doctor called allergist to identify the triggers.
  • Keep your child’s room clean and dust-free as much as possible. This can be done by regular vacuuming and by getting rid of stuffed animals.
  • Bed sheets must be washed in hot water for at least once a week.
  • Get rid of rugs and carpets as they collect dust which is a common asthma trigger.
  • Keep your child away from pets as much as possible.
  • Learn how to use some of the most common home remedies for asthma, which include ginger, garlic, eucalyptus oil, figs, honey and onion among others. Many of these remedies can be administered daily to avoid future asthma attacks.
  • Talk with your doctor if any medication is needed for your child.

It can be a challenge for parents to have an asthmatic child. But the tips mentioned here can greatly help your kid prevent future asthma attacks. They might not be a guarantee that your child will no longer suffer from future asthma attacks but these tips will surely help lessen the chances.

5 Simple Ways to Protect your Liver

I personally believe in the saying that health is wealth. A person may own a nice fancy house and car but if his health is failing, they all amount to nothing. Having a serious health condition can drain a person physically, emotionally and financially. You may not be able to do your regular routine anymore or go to work and maintain a healthy relationship with your family and other people.

In my circle of friends, I have known of a few who have suffered from serious health problems. In particular, I have friends who have suffered from liver problems because of the kind of lifestyle they have. The liver is considered to be one of the most important organs in our body. It is responsible for filtering and processing of the blood that circulates throughout our body. It also detoxifies the body from harmful substances, metabolizes nutrients, and performs many other important functions.

When the liver stops its normal functioning for various reasons, your survival will be at risk. It is not the kind of problem like fleas on humans that you could simply ignore. It is a serious problem that needs medical attention. But to prevent yourself from reaching that point, here are some ways on how you can protect your liver.

1. Drink alcohol moderately. One of the most common causes of liver damage is alcohol abuse. In fact, liver problem is one of the most common health problems among alcoholics. Moderation means taking alcoholic beverages no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink for women.

2. Don’t do illegal drugs and unsafe tattooing and body piercing. Illegal drugs and tattooing are known to destroy the liver.

3. Take medications wisely. Take only prescription or over-the counter medicines when needed and only take the recommended dosage. Also don’t take medicines and drink alcohol; you could not mix both. If you decide to take herbal supplement along with your medication, talk to your doctor about it first.

4. Avoid toxic chemicals. Commercial cleaners, pesticides, insecticides, paint and other products that contain toxic ingredients are known to cause liver problems if you are continuously exposed to them. Use natural home cleaners as much as possible. But if you have to use the commercial one, make sure that the area you are cleaning is well-ventilated and that you are wearing a mask when cleaning. Most importantly, find alternative non-toxic products to the toxic product you are now currently using.

5. Observe a healthy diet. Be sure to include a wide range of fruits and vegetables in your diet and limit foods that are high in fats. This will not only help maintain a healthy weight but also avoid serious liver problems such as fatty liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver.

Aside from protecting your liver, you should also be watchful about the condition of your liver. Liver pain, discoloration of skin and eyes, constant abdominal pain, dark urine and loss of appetite are just among the signs of serious liver problems. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact you doctor immediately.


Up Close: Common Newborn Illnesses

After all the excitement that you enjoy starting from the time when you have to think about pregnancy announcement ideas, what follows next after child birth are some challenges on how to care for the newborn baby. It is the ups and downs of parenthood. But I know it can be a very fulfilling undertaking. You don’t have to be a married man to know for sure. I have many friends who are happily married and are happy parents.

Caring for newborn babies can put too much stress especially for inexperienced parents. In some instances, clients would call me to cancel appointments because of problems with their baby or children.

Newborns are prone to illnesses that are less serious but can be challenging to deal with. They also suffer from certain problems like newborn hiccups which are not really an illness but something that parents have to deal with as hiccups cause discomfort and disrupted sleep. The key to properly dealing with newborn illnesses is to get to know and understand these illnesses.


Newborn babies are more prone to colds than adults especially during their first year. Symptoms for this illness include low-grade fever, sneezing, runny nose, fast breathing, wheezing and coughing, which normally interfere with normal eating and sleeping patterns. Colds are caused by virus and it will normally go away without giving your child any medication. But if your child is having trouble breathing, a nasal aspirator may help. If your child is under three months old, you should see the doctor immediately as soon as these symptoms are noticed.


As soon as babies start receiving solid foods, they may experience difficulty is passing stool and become constipated. Hard and firm stool can be painful to pass and may cause your baby to cry in pain every time he will have to do it. Traces of blood in the diaper may also be noted. To treat this problem, you should avoid feeding your child with foods that are known to cause constipation, such as rice cereals and bananas. Instead, give your baby more liquids and high-fiber foods.


Many newborn babies also suffer from diarrhea which is the exact opposite of constipation. It is characterized by more frequent bowel movement involving watery stool. Diarrhea in itself is not serious but it may cause dehydration which is one of the common causes of infant death. Diarrhea will just go away on its own but if your baby is suffering from bloody diarrhea with high fever, vomiting and increasing abdominal pain, get medical attention immediately.

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER)

Newborns also suffer from GER in varying degrees during the first few months. More often, this condition is misdiagnosed as colic but it is a different thing. Symptoms include frequent spitting, vomiting or wet burps and gagging noises among others. If your baby has these symptoms, make feeding more frequent but in smaller amounts. Call your doctor in case the GER is already causing pain and interrupting sleep on your baby.

Parenthood can be more enjoyable if you know how to deal with some of the most common newborn illnesses. Aside from those listed here, you may also want to research on other illnesses that may affect newborns and infants so that you would know what to do if they are affecting your child.