How to flip a house using project managers

With framing subcontractors coming in as scheduled, I all of a sudden realized that the floor that they would be framing over had some very serious issues.

Pounding on my cell phone to find someone… Anyone to help me on literally zero notice, I realized the only person I had that could do it… Was me.

So I dusted off the flooring toolbox, started pulling out the old flooring tools and began ripping up floorboards with my trusty Wonderbar.

Not having done this kind of work in a few years, one of the boards I ripped up broke loose and smashed me square in the jaw.
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Can your child’s after-school program lead to a STEM career?

(BPT) – Learning doesn’t only happen in a classroom. Each year, millions of American children participate in after-school programs that mix education with a healthy dose of fun. And while there’s always room for more programs that help kids love learning, the plethora of what’s already available can be overwhelming for parents trying to choose the right programs for their children.

“Multiple studies show that children who take part in quality after-school programs have better attendance, grades and behavior, and do better on tests compared to their peers who went home alone to an empty house,” says Dan O’Donnell, vice president of the Bricks 4 Kidz after-school program. “Parents can help their children get a jump-start on life, and learn to love learning, by enrolling them in high-quality after-school programs.”

It’s important for parents to assess after-school programs with a critical eye, and consider how successfully a program combines learning with fun and basic care. While many programs are effective at keeping kids safely occupied after school ends but before parents are done with work, not all emphasize educational material. Programs that stimulate a child’s interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects can be particularly valuable – possibly even inspiring an interest in a high-demand STEM career.

“We must prepare all students … to be proficient in STEM subjects,” the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) writes in a report to President Obama. “And we must inspire all students to learn STEM and, in the process, motivate many of them to pursue STEM careers.”

An after-school program with a STEM emphasis can fulfill both the need to educate children and inspire a lifelong love of STEM subjects, experts agree. Parents seeking a STEM program for their children should look for one that:

* Offers creative and engaging activities that are as fun and motivational as they are educational.

* Encourages curiosity and creativity, which are building blocks of independent thinking.

* Draws on the real-life expertise of people working in STEM fields. For example, engineers and architects designed Bricks 4 Kidz modules.

* Uses familiar, loved learning tools, like LEGO (R) bricks, to provide hands-on, interactive STEM lessons.

“It’s also important for a program’s lessons to be age-appropriate,” O’Donnell notes. “Children need STEM lessons at every age, which is why we offer programs for children ages 3 through 13. We use themed-based project kits to motivate children by reinforcing STEM principles, and at the same time boost self-esteem, improve fine motor-skills, and teach organization and how to follow directions. And we do it in such a way that kids have so much fun they don’t think of what they’re doing as work.”

To find a Bricks 4 Kidz program in your area, visit the interactive map at www.bricks4kidz.com/locations. You can learn more about the programs and search for a location by state or ZIP code.

“STEM education is most successful when students develop personal connections with the ideas and excitement of STEM fields,” according to the President’s Council report. “This can occur not only in the classroom, but also through individualized and group experiences outside the classroom ….”

Courtesy of BPT

Using renewable energy for your business


Using%20Renewable%20Energy%20for%20Your%20Business
All it takes is for cost of a barrel of oil to spike up, and once again everyone starts talking about renewable energy. Then just as fast as whatever it was that caused the price spike goes away, the conversation dies down. It really is all ridiculous too because the future is coming and it is renewable energy.

Now the fact is that the hardware for assembling your own renewable energy system became cost effective years ago and its growing even more as time moves on. That is that it the cost of putting together, say a solar system is about 30% less than the value of the power it produces over its service life.

The big problem though, is that while the power that comes off your power grid does cost more, it’s on an easy payment plan. You simply get your bill once a month, pay it, and that’s it. Simple and easy and this is what has so many people hooked. It’s just easier that way.

However, for you as a business person, there is the public relations aspect that you have to take into consideration. That is that it’s just good for business for you to be seen as a conservationist by your clients or customers and this trend in PR is only expected to grow.

By far the easiest type of system to set up is a photovoltaic solar system that uses solar panels. Now while they are quick to install and get online, they do none the less have a few shortcomings that you will have to contend with.

The first is that they only generate power in the daytime and electricity is expensive to store in batteries, but it can be done. The option that most people take though is to direct excess production back into the grid during the day, get credited for it and then draw it back out at night.

Now if your business is in an area where you have a steady supply of wind, then you need to know that a lot of progress has been made in wind turbines. New off the shelf, high tech turbines that can be generating energy for you in about the same time as it takes to set up solar panels.

The nice thing about wind turbines is that they operate 24 hours a day, just as long as the wind is blowing. Also if you have enough wind and buy a big enough turbine system, you can generate a very large amount of power.

One issue to consider with wind turbines though, is that they do tend to be a bit costly, and it’s not just the cost of the turbine that can run up your bill. It’s the tower, because good towers can be expensive and that particularly holds true for larger towers that you would mount a large turbine on.

Courtesy of BPT

Upgrading to the house of your dreams


Upgrading%20to%20the%20house%20of%20your%20dreams
The real estate market has many homeowners staying in place and looking for ways to make their current abode the most comfortable it can be. Because they’re not selling, homeowners are looking at remodeling rooms, changing out decorating schemes and in some cases, even adding on to the home.

 
Incorporating a new look into the home – whether it’s in the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom – can really change the feel of the house. Upgrading a bathroom is a great place to start, because it’s a smaller room and is used by both occupants and guests.  A remodel can also help you save money on your utility bills. With a new bathroom adding a spa-like feel to your home, you may even rethink your desire to move when the housing economy turns around.

 
Here are some tips to changing the bathroom of your home into a beautiful and comfortable space:

 
* Vanity: Used for hand washing, preening in the mirror and brushing teeth, the vanity is one item in the bathroom that is the center of activity. Add an artistic – and economical – touch to your vanity with TOTO’s Wyeth Faucet, characterized by its refined good looks. When on, this budget-friendly, universal design faucet runs a mere 1.5 gallons of water per minute, earning it the green WaterSense label. In addition to the faucet, consider upgrading your mirror with a model that combines beauty and elegance in the room.

 
* Walls: A fresh coat of paint can go a long way in changing the look and feel of a room. Don’t forget about the ceiling. Even if you only give it a new white coat, the fresh look can make all the difference. Choose a paint that handles high humidity well to give your upgrade a longer lifespan.

 
* Toilet: The toilet tends to be the largest water consumption appliance in homes. But replacing your older toilet with TOTO’s 1G, a one-gallon per flush ultra high-efficiency toilet, can really affect your utility bills. This gravity-fed toilet uses Double Cyclone Flushing technology to provide excellent performance and exceptional bowl cleansing action to create a green, clean flushing system that saves you money, water and time cleaning the toilet, always a thankless task.

 
As you upgrade your toilet, don’t stop with just installing a high-efficiency, self-cleansing toilet. Bring the spa to your own home and consider upgrading your toilet with TOTO’s Washlet S350e or S300e, which turns a toilet into a warm-water personal cleansing unit. These new additions to the Washlet family use eWater+ technology, which is applied after each flush and once every eight hours when the unit is not in use, disinfect the bowl, reducing the need for harsh chemicals during cleaning, which saves money and is better for the environment.

 
* Flooring: High humidity often found in bathrooms can quickly age the flooring, causing peeling and even cracking of dated linoleum. Plus, modern flooring products are much higher quality, and are built to withstand more traffic and high humidity environments. Consider using ceramic, clay or stone tiles, or laminate in stone or wood styles to modernize the look of your bathroom.

 
Upgrading a bathroom will transform your entire house with a new look and feel. And if you love the change enough, you might decide to continue the upgrade to another room, like the kitchen or master bedroom, turning your home into the beautiful house of your dreams.

Courtesy of BPT