​Living at 2000 Haflinger


Coffee, coffee, and treats

Cheesecake Cafe, Irwin

If you are looking for break from the crazy day or need to celebrate with a custom made treat , this is the place. This coffee shop has a great selection of hot coffees and steamed varieties of the soothing lattes and more. As the name also suggest , they have cheesecakes, cheesecakes, and more cheesecakes ! My favorite one is the triple chocolate cheesecake! The really nice treat of the cafe’ is it is hosted in a Victorian parlor like room and if the weather allows, there is outdoor seating !

Peace, Love, and Little Donuts, Irwin

One of the newer shops in the area but has been around the Pittsburgh area for awhile. When you get bored with the regular circled breakfast treats, you can have a donut that has toppings as unique as you. My favorite donut is the maple bacon donut followed by the coffeecake donut. So good! All of this joy is followed up by a fresh cup of coffee and we are talking a love fest! This center of the peace and love of donut perfection is located on Rt. 30 in the Irwin Plaza. I can only end this stop with , Peace Out!

White Rabbit Cafe, Downtown Greensburg

This has become my new hangout in Downtown Greensburg! This cafe is located on Main Street and up from the courthouse . It is a more of a homey cafe with different sized and made tables with unmatched chairs. Enough about of the furniture! The baked goods are out of this world! I am a simple person so when I bit into the half inch thick , warm chocolate cookie, I felt like I fell into a hole surrounded by chocolate and friendship . My vanilla cappacino was so crafted! It wasn’t squirted out of a machine or hot water and mix. You won’t be treated to that. No, no, no! It was brought to life! And it was a first for me, my cup of art had a leaf design in the foam . So cool! Just wish I could get there more often !

Colonial Grille, Downtown Irwin

“The Grille” is the reason why I live in the Irwin area. My first trip to the area brought me to Downtown Irwin and just wanted to grab a quick but non-wrapper breakfast . It looked like a place that I used to go to in my hometown in Illinois. The short story is that I sat at the counter on a swivel stool and had a ‘Rasher” of bacon, dippy eggs, home fries, and rye toast. I caught up with the local politics and I believe the man next to me was the mayor! I have already mentioned my favorite breakfast which I have enjoyed for the last 27 years, but. if you come for lunch or dinner, you have to try the brosted chicken meal. You may not be able to have chicken anywhere else. The also have a Taproom in the back and watch for the nights they have Jazz Nights !

The Manor Grill,  Manor

This gem of Manor on Harrison City-Manor Road is the place for breakfast and coffee. If you walk away hungry from here, you forgot to open your mouth! So good! And if you are looking for a lenten place for fish, my mom-in-law used to say that they must have gotten confused and fried a whale! That says it all. Another reason to support this wonderful place, The owner and staff supply Thanksgiving dinners to people who can not have one due to need. It is a great thing they do! Enjoy this gem!

Hermine Diner, Downtown Hermine

I am including the Herminie Diner even though I have not been here yet. I have had lots of business recently in the Riltton and Herminie area and I ask where is a good place for coffee and breakfast. The only place I get told is this diner. I have found out that the breakfast are under the control of a local lady who has had a much missed breakfast place across the street.Then I found out that the owner is one of the associates of the legendary ANDROS of White Oak. That means high quality of service and mouth demanding gyros! I can’t wait to make it there and enjoy some time filling up on the specials ! I’ll let you know how it goes .

Do you have a favorite? Let me know where and what I should try.

Thanks again for reading

Breaking the Lead for Fun

I came across a new web site that made it easier to enjoy time with your furry family members. And I am not talking about Uncle Harry! The name of the web site is www.Bringfido.com and if you would like to travel with your pet, the hotel reviews and pricing are easy to find. I am going to mention to a couple friends who have pet centered businesses to jump on. Seems like a great site! The following is just a small sample of the information that can be found there.

Are you and your canine support getting tired of walking around the same side of the street, around the same blocks, seeing the same pet friends. Well, it is time to break out and see the world from a different view. Our Pittsburgh area has a great selection of Dog Parks so you can make new friends and so can your human friends! Make sure you remind them to bring a snack and cool water for the both of you. With all the fun you are going to have, it will make you thirsty and builds an appetite! 

Here are just a few of the local parks just for you!

Riverview Dog Park, Pittsburgh

Hartwood Acres County Dog Park, Pittsburgh

Frick Park Off the Leach Exercise Area, Pittsburgh

White Oak Park, White Oak Pa

Penn Hills Dog Park, Penn Hills Pa

Penn Township Municpal Dog Park


Need to get away!

Tired of being tied up in the house in the house and need to get out to the big city!

I have found a couple of local places to travel with your provider and give them a day off or two with you. The following are highly rated pet friendly and human convienent hotels! Most are not to far from home so you won’t have to beg for a bathroom break on the side of the road. Enjoy!!!

Here are the hotels in the area with readers reviews

Hampton Inn Pittsburgh Greentree, Rated five bones out of five

The Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh , Rated five bones out of five

Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown, Rated five bones out of five

Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, Rated five bones out of five

Residence Inn Pittsburgh Monroeville, Rated five bones out of five

The main advice is to call ahead to see what the policy is for the hotel that you want to stay at. Many hotels have no fee for a pet but some require an additional fee for your furry family member to travel with you. 

If you have any more pet articles you would like me to check into or have comments, please leave a comment or a like. That would be like giving me a bone and keep me going. Thanks and have a dog gon good day!

Thanks for reading!

Historical buildings in the Norwin area

The following properties are located in the Irwin area and are priceless treasures of our roots living here. The treasures are also homes to private residences so don’t trespass on the properties!

John Irwin House

The John Irwin House on the corner of Main Street and Pennsylvania Ave was built in 1836 by John Irwin. He was the nephew of the Colonel John Irwin who gained notarity while fight along General George Washington The brick home served as a stagecoach inn for weary travelers on the Greensburg to Pittsburgh run. In case you noticed, he has the same last name as the town. He was the person who laid out the plan for the land from his place to the railroad tracks of the Penssyvania Railroad. 

Brush Hill House

The house was the home to John Scull and his wife Polly. Mrs. Polly Scull was the daughter of the known local American Revolutionary veteran Col. John Irwin. To help with some of the confusion which I had, he was the nephew John Irwin that set up the town of Irwin. The home is not the original Brush Hill home that was built there. The first one was burnt down by the local Indians. They rebuilt to only have the home it by lighting. So, when he rebuilt again, he built it with fieldstone so it could stand up the weather and man!

The Brush Creek Church

This historic building is located in the Hempfield area. This church was originally built for the Reformed Church. The church started to be built in 1816 and was completed in 1820. It is a two story building with a gabled roof and has a second floor gallery. 

Fullerton Inn

There has been a couple of names for this building but the Fullerton Inn as stayed for this historic North Huntingdon place. It is located on Old Trail Road and was built in 1798. The Inn which also operated as the Jacktown Inn, Jacksonville Hotel, and the Fullerton-Sverdup House operated as an Inn into the late 19th century. The building was constructed as a Federalist style stone building. 

Andrew and Jennie McFarlane House

aka The Larimer Mansion

This wonderful home is located on Maus Drive in North Huntingdon. The home of the McFarlanes and the Larimers is a 2 1/2 story “L” shaped dwelling with a log and frame built with cedar siding. The original log home was built from 1790 and 1798. The rear wood section was added on in 1870 as a wood frame construction. As the addition was put on, the home was remodeled in the Italianate style. The Italianate was considered to be a 19th century phase of Classical architecture.

 For more information on the historic areas and buildings, either contact the Norwin Historical Society at 724-000-000 or the Larimer Mansion for a tour in the summer of the Larimer History Room at 724-863-9150. 

Cold weather tips

Us Northerners or should I say, most of us Northerners have a hate relationship with the “Cold Miser” and have some tolerances of the Heat Miser. We want to wish away the winter months. That is like three months of our life to give back to Father Time because of Mother Nature. So, I m here to help you through the winter months with some tricks and hacks on how to gain back time!

One of my favorite places to go to thaw out during the dark cloudy days is the Phipps Conservatory in Schenley Park.

First, it is warm in there to keep the vegetation living year round! It feels so warm in the summer but perfect in the winter. All the lush plants, flowers of every type are blooming with bright and cheery colors. It is Springtime 365 days a year. Then they also have special programs going on through the year to keep it new.

Another fun thing is to learn to cook a new dinner entre that requires the oven or stove top. I prefer the oven. That way it also heats up your home and the food you’re cooking is the aromatherapy for your stomach! My favorite right now is taking a pork roast or a beef roast and cooking it slowly with either Campbell’s Tavern Beef Slow Cooker sauce or Pulled Pork sauce. I use them interchange. The aroma is out of this world and the taste takes you farther than that! Some sandwich rolls and Mac and Cheese will carry you to Spring.

My last fun idea is to just bundle up and get outside for a walk in the neighborhood or a walking trail. Not only is it good to get some exercise but it also gets you out of the house. take in some new air. The house has been closed up for months now and it is getting a little stale. Another good reason is the walking with start working the serotonin. It is a fancy word for that good feeling from working out. It stimulates you brain and helps to keep the winter blues away.

If you have any other ideas that you use during these winter months, please share them. Also, if you have any suggestions, please add them too!

Thanks and have a great day! 

10 Anti-Burglary Tips for Your Sellers

When your clients are opening their doors to the public for showings, they need to take extra precautions. Share these suggestions to help them keep their belongings safe.

  December 2016 | By Tracey Hawkins
After Christmas, many people put the empty boxes their expensive gifts came in out on the curb. What do you think that says to potential burglars? It screams, “I just got a brand-new TV! Come and rob me!”
That’s just one example of some unwise habits homeowners have. If those owners are sellers opening their doors to the public for showings, habits such as these put them in even greater danger. The above example is a good warning to give to your clients now, since we’re in the holiday season. But use it as a jumping-off point to have a deeper conversation about safety — and to show that your safety knowledge is an asset to sellers.
Consider using this checklist (you can request it as a customer handout on my website) during listing appointments to better prepare prospective sellers and show your value as a real estate professional. We spend a lot of time telling sellers how we’ll market their home, and while that is obviously important, we rarely address their true concern: how to keep their home safe while it’s open to the public. Touch on these 10 anti-burglary tips so your clients will know that you have their best interest at heart.
National Snapshot of Burglaries

A burglary is committed every 20 seconds, with nearly 1.6 million such crimes nationwide annually, according to the FBI’s 2015 Crime in the United States report. That’s down 7.8 percent from 2014. Total property crime, which includes arson, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft, reached nearly 8 million instances in 2015, down 2.6 percent from 2014.
– Maintain your property. Especially in the wintertime, many people stay indoors and neglect issues such as peeling trim or an overgrown yard. But if the home looks unkempt, thieves may think it’s abandoned and, therefore, an easy target. Shoveling your walkways to clear them of snow and debris and removing holiday decorations and fallen tree branches in a timely manner will signal that the home is occupied.
– Know your neighbors. Many people don’t really know their neighbors; it’s more than just saying hi and being friendly. Invite them over to see your home before it goes on the market, and introduce them to the people they may see regularly stopping by during this time (especially your agent). Then they’ll know who is and isn’t supposed to be at your home and can better assess when there may be a threat while you’re gone.
– Assess your home’s vulnerability. Walk to the curb and face your house. Ask yourself, “How would I get in if I were locked out?” The first thing you think of, whether it’s the window with a broken lock or the door that won’t shut all the way, is exactly how a thief will get in. Think like a burglar, and then address the issues that come to mind.
– Respect the power of lighting. Criminals are cowards, and they don’t want to be seen. The house that is well-lit at night provides a deterrent because thieves don’t want the attention and the potential to be caught by witnesses. It’s wise to invest in tools that make nighttime light automation easy. That includes dusk-to-dawn adapters that go into existing light fixtures and motion detectors. But beware of leaving your exterior lights on at all times, which signifies the occupant is gone for an extended period of time.
– Use technology to make your home look occupied. In addition to lighting, smart-home technology has made it easier to make it appear like people are home, even when they’re not. Systems that remotely control lighting, music, and appliances such as a thermostat can help you achieve this. Though not considered smart-home tech, simple lamp timing devices available at hardware stores are also good for this purpose.
– Yes, it has to be said: Lock your doors. It’s amazing how many people think they live in a safe-enough neighborhood not to have to lock their doors when they leave. Some facts sellers should know: In 30 percent of burglaries, the criminals access the home through an unlocked door or window; 34 percent of burglars use the front door to get inside; and 22 percent use the back door, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
– Reinforce your locks. A good door lock is nothing without a solid frame. Invest in a solid door jam and strike plate first, and then invest in good locks. Know the difference between a single-cylinder and a double-cylinder deadbolt. Double-cylinder deadbolts are recommended because they require a key to get in and out. For safety and emergency escape purposes, you must leave the key in when you are home. But double-cylinder locks are against regulations in some places, so check with your local police department’s crime prevention office.
– Blare the sirens. Burglars are usually in and out in less than five minutes, and they know police can’t respond to an alarm that quickly. Their bigger concern is witnesses to their crime. For that reason, an external siren is invaluable, whether as part of a monitored security system or a DIY alarm. Even if you don’t have an alarm, it’s not a bad idea to invest in fake security signs and post them near doors.
– Consider surveillance cameras. The Los Angeles Police Department started a program encouraging homeowners to install a device called Ring, a doorbell with video surveillance capability that allows homeowners to view what’s outside their door on their smartphone, in a neighborhood that was a target for burglaries. After Ring was installed in hundreds of homes, the burglary rate dropped by 55 percent, according to reports. Most state and local regulations require posting a warning that people are being recorded. (But again, this can be effective even if you don’t actually have the cameras installed!)
– Mark your valuables and record details. Use invisible-ink pens or engravers to mark identifying information (driver’s license or state ID numbers) on items. Log serial numbers and take photos of your belongings. Check to see if your police department participates in the Operation Identification program. They will have stickers for you to place on doors or windows warning would-be thieves that your items are marked. These steps may prevent them from pawning or selling stolen items and can help you reclaim recovered belongings.
Tracey Hawkins

Tracey Hawkins, founder and CEO of Safety and Security Source, is a former real estate agent who, for 21 years, has been a national speaker and educator on real estate safety issues. She has created the country’s only real estate safety designation, the Consumer Safety and Security Specialist (CSSS) program.

Gardening 101: Beginner’s Guide to Protecting Your Garden from Critters

Jennifer Coloma, July 15, 2016

Now that you have a few of the basics down with our Intro to Gardening: Beginner’s Guidelines, you may be wondering: how do you protect your garden from dogs, cats, birds, raccoons, and all the wildlife that lives in your neighborhood? If you own pets, you may even be wondering how to protect your garden from them while still keeping them engaged in the yard. At Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, we’ve done the research and compiled this handy guideline so you can spend less time guessing and conducting trial-and-error processes and more time enjoying your critter-free garden!


Dogs may be “man’s best friend,” but they can also be a “garden’s worst enemy.” Similarly, while cats are wonderful creatures and great hunters, they can also be a bit overly friendly with the plants – sometimes eating, trampling, or rubbing against them too affectionately. Here are some ways to keep your pets happy and your garden safe:

  1. Spicy & Bitter Plant-Based Repellents: Both dogs and cats, along with many other animals, dislike bitter and spicy plants. Use this natural repellent to protect your garden by either sprinkling it into the dirt or turning it into a liquid solution and spraying it on your plants. There are a variety of different combinations, from crushed dried peppers mixed with powdered mustard to coffee grounds with bitter orange or straight up chili pepper with water. Keep in mind that when taste-based repellents are sprayed on plants, they have to be reapplied after rain, and that they will affect the taste of food. So if you’re growing a vegetable garden and are allergic to peppers, avoid this tactic. Additionally, be careful when creating pepper-based sprays as pepper products are known to irritate eyes, skin, and your nose. Protip: coffee grounds not only repel dogs, but are also a great fertilizer!
  2. Pungent Plants: Some plants smell so terrible to animals that they don’t want to go anywhere near them. Plectranthus caninus (also called Coleus canina) is a mint-based herb that many call the “Scaredy Cat Plant” due to its ability to deter cats. No scientific research exists to back up the claim though, and a side-effect of the plant is that cats will often avoid the plant and go straight to more pleasant areas in your yard – such as your garden. Tall-growing varieties of lavender are reportedly more effective than the Scaredy Cat Plant and additionally have the benefit of smelling wonderful. If you’re aiming to experiment with different plants for one that repels cats or dogs, keep in mind that some plants are actually quite toxic and dangerous to your pet’s health. For some plants to avoid, check out this Houzz.com article featuring 22 different plants that you should keep away from your pets.
  3. Built-in Paths: Instinctually, dogs perform periodic patrols around the edges of their territory, trampling through your unfenced vegetable garden or gallivanting across the flowerbed, to ensure that their territory is safe and well protected. Instead of scolding them for trying to protect you, build a designated path around the perimeter of your yard that they can use for patrolling. If you’re using mulch as part of the path, take into consideration your dog’s fur coat, as finer mulch will cling to long-haired dogs and end up in your house or on your furniture. Protip: cedar chips are great ground cover to protect your dogs and cats from fleas!
  4. Catnip: For the overtly affection cat rubbing against all your plants, or the cat digging up your seedlings, provide them with catnip in an area away from your garden. The overpowering scent will attract them to this plant, as opposed to your garden, and they’ll spend their energies there. If you want to be sure your cat spreads their scent around your garden so wild animals won’t be enticed by the defenseless plants, then build a short fence around your garden and place the catnip outside of that fence.
  5. Digging Deterrents: Dogs dig. When addressing digging, first try to determine your dog’s end game: is it trying to cool off, to escape, to bury a toy, or to be distracted? As with building a path around your yard, you can be proactive and provide your dog with a designated digging spot to bury items and frolic, similar to a sandbox. Encourage your dog to use the sandbox by putting toys in there and praising them when they use it. For cooling off, provide a shady place to hide or a miniature pool to climb into. For escape artists, adding boards or chicken wire at or below the soil line is another good deterrent. Some people recommend planting periodic wooden stakes throughout your garden to make digging unpleasant; just be sure these are visible so they don’t harm your dog. For cats, placing obstacles such as bricks underneath the dirt and around your garden is an option.
  6. Designated Bathrooms: Some dogs just need a place to relieve themselves, or an item to mark as their own. Providing dogs with a specific part of the yard to call their own is a good way to keep your grass green and your plants from dying off. If you don’t want to deal with keeping the grass green in this designated spot, use gravel instead. It’s not only easy to wash off, but dogs also tend to prefer gravel to grass!

Wild Animals

The easiest way to get rid of many animals is to own cats or dogs and let them roam your yard freely. This isn’t always possible or the most animal-friendly option though, so here are some other methods of protecting your garden from wild animals:

  1. Egg Shells: Many animals, such as squirrels, raccoons, and rabbits, will dig up and eat plant seeds or eat the plants when they’re still small seedlings. At this stage, sprinkling broken egg shells on top of your garden and mixing them into the dirt is not only extremely effective at making digging an unpleasant activity but also a great fertilizer for those little seedlings.
  2. Fencing: Although not always attractive, often one of the best and most-effective ways of keeping all animals, including deer and birds, out of your garden is to build a tall fence around the entirety of it and to cover your plants with bird netting or chicken-wire cages. Raccoons are capable of digging but also dislike having anything stick to their paws, so draping bird netting on the ground is an effective countermeasure. Building the fence out of a material that animals cannot see through and attaching noise-makers to the fencing also work well.
  3. Removing Habitats: One of the simplest solutions is to make your yard unappealing to the average animal by removing the groundcover in which they would naturally hide or nest. For rabbits, this means removing low-growing shrubs, tall grass, and rock and brush piles from the immediate area around your garden. For groundhogs, be sure to block the area beneath any deck, porch, or shed. Otherwise, they’ll make themselves a cozy home.
  4. Predator Urine: If you don’t own a cat or dog and natural predators aren’t abundant in your area, then predator urine, such as coyote urine, is a good way to frighten off animals invading your yard. The predator urine will make them think it’s unsafe to inhabit your yard as a predator already lives there. Unfortunately, predator urine needs to be re-applied weekly and especially after rain. With large yards, pouring the liquid urine can get expensive. An alternative is hanging liquid urine dispensers; these only need monthly refills.
  5. Predator Decoys: In place of predator urine, another tactic is to place predator decoys around your garden. Owl statues frighten off raccoons and predator lights scare most other animals, from bunnies to dogs. The Solar-Powered Nite Guard, which costs $24 on Amazon, is waterproof and charged by sunlight. It automatically turns on at night and begins to emit a periodic flash of red light that frightens off many animals. For engineers, an alternative is to build and program your own solar-powered, motion-activated predator light with red LED lights and a Raspberry Pi. Just be sure to make your equipment water-proof in the event of rain.
  6. Electronic Repellents: Other electronic repellents, such as motion-activated sprinklers and timer-based vibrators, are great at targeting skittish groundhogs, moles, and chipmunks.
  7. Designating An Animal Garden: If you’re growing a vegetable or fruit garden, try blocking off your garden with a fence or caging and then creating a smaller, open and accessible garden in another area of the yard that is specifically for animals. Having this second garden will make attempting to get into your actual garden especially unappealing, as there is an easy food source in the same vicinity.

If all else fails, there’s always the option of moving all the plants indoors or hosting your own greenhouse vegetable garden! Having potted plants throughout the house has been known to drastically decrease stress and enliven the indoor environment. Just keep in mind that if your food garden has been moved inside, some plants need to be pollinated by wind or bees to produce vegetables or fruit, and so will need to be hand-pollinated.

If you have tips or techniques on keeping wild animals or pets out of your garden, we’d love to hear about them in the comment section below!

Tips from Howard Hanna: How to Keep Your Home Sparkling Clean

Jennifer Coloma, May 11, 2016

Keeping a home clean can be challenging, especially on a day-to-day basis. To make the process easier, we’ve compiled the following list on what parts of the home you should focus on cleaning each day, week, month, and season!


  • Take out the garbage and the recycling.
  • Sweep the floors.
  • Wipe down surfaces in the kitchen, including the counter tops and the sink.
  • If you have a dishwasher, be sure to rinse dishes and store them in the dishwasher by the end of the day. The next morning, you can multitask with the dishwasher by running it while you’re out of the house. If you don’t have a dishwasher but have dishes coated with something hard-to-scrub, fill them with warm water and soap and let them sit overnight. It’ll make cleaning the dishes much easier the next day!


  • Clean the floors thoroughly by mopping, sweeping, or vacuuming, and vacuum upholstery.
  • Wash the laundry: the clothes, the towels, the bedsheets, etc.
  • Change the bedsheets.
  • Scrub bathroom fixtures: the toilets, the tubs, the sinks, and the showers.
    • Tip: If you have multiple bathrooms, let a cleaning agent work its magic in the toilets and on the showers while you clean the sinks and counters. When you’re done with them, it’ll make scrubbing the toilets and the showers much easier and faster!
  • Clean the mirrors.
  • Dust surfaces, objects, and shelves.
  • Wipe down appliances in the kitchen.
  • Throw out expired food from the refrigerator and check the expiration on anything that you don’t plan to eat soon: if it’s close to expiration, toss it out as well to prevent unwanted mold.


  • Clean both the microwave and the oven.
    • Tip: Use a cleaning spray that needs to soak for a few minutes to optimize cleaning. Let it sit and soak while you work on other items. When it’s done soaking, it’s much easier to clean as you won’t need to scrub as much, just wipe!
  • Wipe down all the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
  • Get the details: wipe down the doorknobs, the lamps, and the light switches.
  • Wipe down the baseboards and vacuum the vents as well.
  • Disinfect and clean all the garbage cans.


  • Air out the rooms and the draperies.
  • Clean the pantry and get rid of anything that’s expired.
  • Wash the pillows, the throw blankets, the comforters, and the duvets.
  • Sort through the closets and organize items into four piles: keep, donate, clean or repair, and store for the season.
  • Wash the windows and dust the windowsills.

Download the complete checklist here.

​Tips for Moving with Children

Jennifer Coloma
Moving with children is never easy. The act of moving by itself is no walk in the park, with finding a home, planning the relocation, packing all the items, making sure finances are cleared, ensuring friends and family are aware, and so forth—adding children to the mixture can make moving appear impossible.
But with the right planning and the right interactions, you can make moving with your beloved children a thousand times easier. The following is a guide on how to move with children of all ages.
Suggest Moving
Although it seems odd to suggest moving to your child, it will actually make the act of informing them of the upcoming move much easier if you’ve already planted the idea in their brain. Doing this will also make the child feel as though they are part of the decision to move, which is crucial. As soon as you know there is a move in the future but don’t yet have the exact details, begin talking to your children about the concept of moving. Be sure to emphasize all the wonderful aspects of moving: getting a new and better room, painting their room a certain color, a bigger yard, a neighborhood with more children or playgrounds and sports fields, a nicer school, etc.
For example, if you have multiple children, maybe the benefit is that each child gets their own room; if you live in the city or an apartment and don’t currently have a yard, maybe the benefit is that you will have a yard with the next home; if you live in a school district that doesn’t offer recess time, maybe the benefit is that the new school district mandates recess; etc. For high school-age children, some benefits could be: a larger selection of electives, the opportunity to join a sports team, a school closer to home and therefore a shorter bus ride, etc.
With suggesting moving, the primary goals are to get your child to A) express what they would want out of a move and B) express excitement for the prospect of a potential move. By knowing what they want from a move in advance, you can then coordinate the upcoming move such that their wants/needs are met as closely as possible, further making the move easier. With older children, keep in mind that one of the hardest parts of a move is staying in touch with friends. Today’s technology makes staying in touch much easier than before, but it’s always good to bring up the various possibilities, from Skyping and texting friends to using social media. When possible, the ability to visit old friends is always a great item to bring up.
Inform Your Child of the Move
Once the move is certain, break the news to your child with a family meeting. Be sure to draw from earlier conversations and emphasize all the wonderful new parts of the move. If your move is a military relocation, then depending on the age of your child, they may be concerned that this isn’t a move but actually a deployment. In this event, clarify the difference between a move and a deployment and be sure to reassure them that you are staying.
Give Your Child Control
Ideally, at this stage, you’ve already given your child a sense of control by having them contribute their thoughts on what the new home should have to meet their particular needs. Once the move is underway, additional ways to give your child control include:
Assigning them a specific task to do on moving day, such as packing a special bag to take with them in the car, on the plane, on the train, etc. This will help keep them preoccupied while you’re packing and moving furniture. Children often have favorite toys that they’re particularly concerned about losing or prefer not to be without, so having them pack a special bag will help give them peace of mind and ensure those toys are safe during the move.

If traveling by car, include some of your child’s favorite snacks to help make the move an adventure. If you’re driving across the country, take it a step further and plan out a few stops at interesting places (museums, monuments, etc.) and rest stops where your child can get out and run around, such as playgrounds. Giving your child the chance to stretch their legs will help decrease the likelihood of an outburst from being cooped up in a car, and help tire them out so they’re more likely to nap through the drive.

Determining what their future room should look like by drawing it. Not everything can be incorporated, but this will tell you more about what your child is hoping to get out of the move, how to help them achieve it, and provide your child with a sense of control in the move.

Have your child create a pre-moving-day checklist of which items are especially important to pack, which should stay with them during the move, and so forth.

Have your child maintain a moving journal, such as the one we provide below, and document their journey from their old home to their new home. This journal will give them another outlet through which to express their emotions.

Getting Your Child to Pack
The child who has a lot of dolls, stuffed animals, action figures, or army men may not want to pack their toys for fear of the toy being frightened or injured. In this event, tell them that their toys need to go to sleep by being packed away during the move, otherwise they will be frightened and they may injure themselves in their fear. Once you’ve reached the new house, you can wake the toys up together by unpacking them; the toys will then be excited about being in a new home. This tactic works best on children under ten years old.
Listen to Your Child
Even very young children are capable of voicing their fears and concerns in some way. Be sure to listen to these concerns and answer any questions they have: acknowledging their worries will go a long way to alleviating them. As is the case with adults, children just want to be heard.
Maintain Your Child’s Routine
As challenging as this may seem during something so uncommon as moving, it’s important to maintain as much of your child’s typical routine as possible throughout the move and to reestablish it once in the new home. For example, if you have a ritual for going to sleep, maintain it even when the house has been mostly boxed up. If you eat a particular type of food on a certain day of the week, be sure to keep doing that as well. These routines will help ground your child and make the move appear less foreign and frightening, and more natural and exciting.
Be Prepared for Regression
Moving is just as stressful for your child as it is for you. As such, be prepared for your child to regress temporarily, especially if they’ve only recently been potty-trained. Regression may even occur after you’ve moved and as your child is adjusting to the new environment.
Enjoy the New Home Together
Home may be where the heart is, but it doesn’t always feel like that right away. It takes some work to make a house feel like a home. Even though there will be a lot of unpacking to do, take it slowly and unpack the items that make you and your children feel most comfortable and at home first. These small touches, such as favorite family photos and throw blankets, will help bring the house to life. In addition, a great way to welcome your children to their new home is to have a housewarming present waiting for them in their room, bathroom, or closet. If it’s a toy, you can encourage your child to show the toy their new home and go on a tour through the house – this will also help ease the transition for your child and give them an outlet to deal with any nervousness from the move.
Remember, children pick up very easily on emotional cues from their parents. If you’re nervous or agitated about the move, then your children will be similarly nervous and agitated. But if you’re excited about the move, then your children are much more likely to enjoy the move or at least handle it well.

Vacation Safety: Protect Your Home While You’re Away

Jennifer Coloma, July 7, 2016

With the start of the summer comes the start of traveling season. Traveling around the world can be a simultaneously exciting and worrying experience. What about your home? How do you keep it safe without doing something costly like installing a solar-powered alarm system or live-streaming cameras? At Howard Hanna Insurance Services, we’ve done some sleuthing to uncover tips on how to ensure that your home remains safe in a cost-effective way while you enjoy traveling.

Protecting your home from potential unwanted attention, such as burglary, can be broken down into three simple steps: limiting your home’s vulnerability, maintaining the impression that you are still home, and refraining from announcing to the world that you will be away from home.

Limit Your Home’s Vulnerability

  1. Spare Keys: Thinking of leaving a spare key under the rug so your neighbor can get in to water the plants? Instead, just give your neighbor the spare key. Under the rug, in the pots, or on top of the doorframe – these are all places that a burglar will look first for a spare key and an easy way to get into your house. By removing this spare key, you’re taking a major step towards protecting your home.
  2. Lock the Windows and Doors: In the chaos of those last few minutes where everything must be packed and everyone ushered out of the house, it’s easy to forget the simple things. Make sure all your windows and doors are firmly closed, sealed, and locked. This includes the door to the yard, the door to the deck, the door to the garage, and especially the garage door to the outside world. In the case of sliding glass doors and windows, put a stick in the groove where the door or window would normally slide to ensure it remains shut, even if the lock is picked.
  3. Close the Curtains: By closing the curtains, you limit a stranger’s ability to see inside your home and determine what valuables may be available to steal. You also make it difficult for a potential burglar to determine whether or not you’re home.

Maintain the Impression That You Are Still Home

  1. Mail and Packages: If you’re expecting large packages to arrive while you’re away, call your local delivery system and ask whether they can hold onto the packages until you return. If they can’t, ask a neighbor, friend, or family member if they can pick up the packages and hold onto them until you’re back. Having packages, mail, and newspapers stack up in your yard is a clear and obvious sign that you’re away. For mail, call your post office and ask them to hold onto all of your mail while you’re on vacation.
  2. House Sitter: In a typical week, what do you usually do? Check your mail, mow the grass, weed the garden, pick your fruits and vegetables, water the plants, take out the garbage, walk your dog, turn your lights on and off, and more? A creative way to deter burglars is to make it seem as though your weekly routine is still going on. One way to do this is to ask a neighbor, friend, or hire a trusted teenager to come by each day and check your mail, water your plants, turn the lights on and off, etc. You can take it a step further by asking them to come watch television, listen to music, or open and close the curtains for a few hours. If you have a pet, hiring a pet-sitter to stay at your house will achieve the same result—and keep your pet relaxed in a familiar environment!

Refrain From Announcing to the World That You Will Be Away From Home

  1. Social Media: While it may be tempting to share every intimate moment of traveling, from the moment you board that flight to the moment you touch down in another state or country, this is the fastest and easiest way to alert potential robbers of your home’s vulnerability. The easiest way to protect your home is to just not share that you are traveling on social media. A less-effective alternative would be to keep your trip vague. Don’t share the exact date you’ll be home. Share a picture of your pets or plants or another part of your house while you’re on vacation to make it seem like you’re back at home, and don’t explicitly state the date of your return.
  2. Turn Off Public Settings: If you really want to share all the details of your trip, share them only with close friends and family, not the entire world, by using the group setting or by completely turning off your public visibility while you’re away.

With a few simple tips and tricks, some creativity, and a bit of ingenuity, you can enjoy traveling around the world while still protecting your home. We hope this guide helps give you peace of mind while you’re traveling, and that you have safe travels!