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Monica Hammond's

Monica Hammond Direct: 480-244-6347 Office: 480-767-6900

Dear Friends,

Bored of the same vacation spots year after year? Is the choice between public or private school making you want to pull your hair out? Is the your lawn looking brown and very dead, but you just can't figure out how to resurrect it? Take a deep calming breath and get ready for some fresh ideas!! This month in Welcome Home magazine discover the more unusual vacation choices that just might might make this year's vacation your best ever. Read up on the pluses of Private Schools and learn how to be the perfect rental guest. Finally figure out the best sprinkler system for your lawn and discover how to maximize your vacation time for the most fun. Last but not least, demystify Home owners insurance once and for all! This and much, much more awaits you in our pages, so get to reading and make your vacation month the best ever! Please enjoy this issue of the magazine! Have an amazing August, and as always, Welcome Home!

Monica Hammond

480-244-6347 480-767-6900

Welcome Home! Table of Contents 4

Recipe And Design A tasty recipe and a stylish home design how to.

5 Unusual Vacations? Find that perfect vacation most suited to you.


8 - 11

12 - 14

What Is Home Owner’s Insurance? And why do you need it?

Vacations Rental Etiquette

How to be the perfect guest and make the most of your time.

Maximize Your Vacation! Planning ahead for the most fun.

15 - 17 Why Private School? A look at the potential benefits of enrolling your child in a Private School.

18 - 19

How To Choose An Irrigation Sprinkler System Picking the perfect watering system for your lawn.

20 - 21 Products To Love! Hot trends, technological wonders of tomorrow and so much more!

22 City Spotlight Anchorage, AK. Wild beauty and adventure galore.

23 Businesses That Make A Difference Hershey, a sweet company with a long history of kindness.

Welcome Home is for entertainment purposes only. This magazine is not intended to solicit other brokersʼ listings. If you are currently working with another broker, please disregard this information. All pictures courtesy of unless otherwise noted. Thanks to Wikipedia for Random Fact information and aid.

Editor in Chief - Phly Jambor The information provided in this publication of Welcome Home or on any website maintained by U.S. Cybertek, Inc. or any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees (collectively Publisher) is intended as a general guide illustrating common methods of common practices, and the publisher makes no warranty or guarantee whatsoever of the safety, effectiveness, or other characteristic of any methods or products described herein. Neither does the Publisher assume any liability for information published in any website or other publication to which reference may be made herein. Readers are cautioned to review and comply with all written instructions, safety bulletins, and other materials provided in connection with any of the products mentioned herein and all products used in connection with any of the methods described. Neither Published nor any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees shall in any case be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury or any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special punitive or similar damages arising out of your use of or failure to use any of the methods and/ or products described in this publication or any other publication or websites to which reference may be made herein. Publisher disclaims all warranties, and any warranty or guarantee of safety, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose lies solely with the manufacture(s) of any product described or recommended or used used in connection with any methods described or recommended.

Recipe and Design Greek Turkey Burgers

Make-It-Yourself Artwork

Total time: 25 minutes, makes 4 servings.

Need some artwork for your walls? Let us show you three simple steps to stunning art pieces you can make yourself.

To make the cucumber ribbons shown in the photo, use a Yshaped vegetable peeler to cut thin slices of cucumber lengthwise. If you're in a hurry, cut the cucumber into thin, round slices.

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 1/3  pounds  ground turkey breast 1  (4-oz.) package crumbled feta cheese 1/4  cup  finely chopped red onion 1  teaspoon  dried oregano 1  teaspoon  lemon zest 1/2  teaspoon  salt Vegetable cooking spray 1/2  cup  grated English cucumber 1  (6-oz.) container fat-free Greek yogurt 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh mint 1/2  teaspoon  salt 4  French hamburger buns, split and toasted Toppings: lettuce leaves, tomato slices, thinly sliced cucumber Garnish: pepperoncini salad peppers

Preparation: 1. Stir together first 6 ingredients. Shape mixture into 4 (1/2-inchthick) patties. 2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat grill pan with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. 3. Stir together cucumber, yogurt, mint, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Serve burgers on buns with cucumber sauce and desired toppings. Garnish, if desired. David Bonom, Southern Living, JULY 2010

What You Need: • • • • •

Stretched art canvas Acrylic paint in three colors Paint roller Bucket and foam cup Polyurethane

Instructions: Step 1: Pick your paint colors. For a subtle look, choose a deep color for the background and two slightly more vibrant colors for the circles. Use a small paint roller to coat the canvas, including the sides. Add a second coat if needed. Let dry. Step 2: Rim the edge of the bucket with paint. Turn the bucket over and press the rim on the canvas. Don't worry about drips as they add to the effect. Re-coat the bucket and continue making circles. Step 3: Use a foam cup and another color to add smaller circles. Let dry. Seal with polyurethane. Courtesy of Better Homes and

Unusual Vacations The word ʝVacation' is synonymous to sunbathing on sandy beaches with sparkling blue water, touring dusty yet awe inspiring museums and monuments, easing the stressors of daily routine at spas and finding adventure by taking a safari or going camping. If you are looking for more, for a vacation beyond the norm, here are a few unusual vacation ideas that might catch your fancy: If history or war is your passion, then you can relive the often forgotten past by becoming a part of it. Join a reenactment groups and bring history to life. There are numerous groups, so you can pick your battle – become a fierce Roman warrior or soldier marching of against the south. If Captain Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean is more your scene, you can dive to explore shipwrecks. There are numerous companies that offer shipwreck diving for beginning, intermediate and expert divers. Some shipwrecks sites that you can explore are the RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands, the Zenobia in Cyprus and the many shipwrecks off the Isles of Scilly in England. If you are looking for a rush without any actual danger, consider a cross country or a world tour of the best amusement parks. Take a covered wagon tour of the U.S. and old west. Explore the ghost towns filled with memories of long ago gold rush days and settlers traveling in search of new lands and homes. The gold rush, Gold prospecting vacations in the western U.S. and Alaska are a possibility as well. If you feeling philanthropist, spend your vacation as volunteer, planting trees in the Amazon, building houses for poor or even teaching English or some other subject in a foreign country. Take a guided expedition or exploration outing. There are scientific outings that welcome guest participants, though you will still have to pay your way. But, perhaps you would like to study whales or wolves. Maybe you'd like to sail the oceans and study various ocean life. Explore the ancient ruins of North and South America. There are true treasures in the ancient native ruins to be found in the U.S. Southwest and in South America, in places that once housed the Anasazi, Incas, Mayans and other ancient peoples. See and learn how they lived. Gain a new perspective and respect for these ancient people and for what they contributed even to our present culture. Take a wine-tasting tour. You can do this in the United States, in numerous locations, or you could take an international trip and enjoy the tastes you might not be able to find at home. You might even want to scour the world in search of world "monsters" while you're in the vicinity. What about a search for Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, or how about Europe's snowy version of the U.S. Bigfoot? Go to a coast and swim with dolphins, whales or even sharks. Yes, there are even services which specialize in providing customers the opportunity to swim with wild sharks. You might prefer, however, the more docile dolphins as swimming companions, though there are even hazards there. Learn dolphin etiquette and you should do well. Written by Annu Datt. Courtesy of

What is Home Owner’s Insurance?

Home owner insurance is protection you buy from an insurer to protect your house in the unlikely event it is damaged or destroyed. It allows you to transfer the risk associated with owning a home to the insurance provider and give you peace of mind that your most valuable asset is, your home, is protected. Choosing an Insurance Company Before choosing for a specific home owner insurance plan or some company, it's wise for the buyer to do a little research whether on the internet or with the help of a specialist. A few cost saving hints include taking the time to conduct comparison shopping, having one insurance company that meets all your insurance needs and improving the security of your home. One of the most popular ways to find discount home owner insurance is to purchase multiple insurance policies from the same company. You may be able to purchase home owner insurance, as well as auto insurance and even life insurance from the same insurance company.  If your current insurance company does not offer such discounts, you may want to consider shopping around for an insurance company that does. Insurance Policy Coverage's It is possible to own a home without having home owner insurance coverage if you do not have a mortgage, but many people see this as too big of a risk. Be sure to get the coverage you need, changing it after an emergency happens will not cover that emergency. For example, if an individual does not have earthquake coverage, and an earthquake strikes the area, the policy cannot be changed to include earthquake damage that has already occurred, but they can change the policy to prevent any further damage caused by earthquakes.  Read through your policy carefully to see what is and isn't

And Why Do You Need It?

covered.  Remember, most policies don't cover floods though, so if you need this type of home owner insurance, you'll need to buy a separate policy. Premiums for home insurance policies will vary from state to state and also depend on the coverage that is offered.  Different states also have different laws on the books that affect the types of coverage's you are required to get which can also affect the cost.  Before you decide on the amount of coverage that you need, you should know the value of your home and personal possessions. Home Owners Insurance Quotes Before going and accepting the 1st offer which comes around, it's smarter to search around for a number of different insurance coverage firms and find out which coverage policy is best for you, because the various firms will present various policy plans and variable promotions. Quotes are offered free of cost by different insurance companies, and through these quotes you can choose the policy and coverage that works best for your situation.  Obviously, the best thing about getting home owner insurance quotes from online sites is that you will get numerous quotes all by filling out one application.  Not to mention the fact that when you get several home owner insurance quotes you can then compare them for the best price. As you can see, picking home owner insurance is not as hard as you may think. The best home owner insurance is a policy that offers a wide range of coverage options.  You will want to take the time to understand what home owner insurance is all about before you purchase a new policy. Written by Andrew Bicknell. Courtesy of

Vacation Rental Etiquette

I received an email from a couple who were recent vacation rental guests at a rental I have.  Here's what they had to say: "We loved the house & had the best vacation ever...We did our best to leave the house as we found it. We did not need to use the A/C, the washer & dryer, or the 2nd bedroom. You did a great job with that house & we respect that. We were out & about most of the time any how...Thanks again, we look forward to going back soon." Now wouldn't it be great in a perfect world if every guest was like this!  These are the type of guests I would welcome back anytime.  Most Vacation Renters are pretty good (and I'm sure there's another future article that can be written about  "Owner Etiquette"), but due to my experience in the rental business over the past several years, I've come across some good tips I can recommend for Vacation Renters to follow that will make for a Happy Owner:

Don't misrepresent the number of people in your group.  This will not make the Owner or Property Manager happy from the start.  Capacity limits are provided for a reason (local ordinances and the extra strain on the home and utilities).  The same goes for pets.  Make sure you get permission from the Owner before bringing a pet.  Parties and weddings at a home should also be ruled out unless prior permission was granted.

Don't smoke inside the house. 

Let the property manager know in advance if you are going arrive early or later than expected.  Most owners or managers are accommodating if they have advance notice and availability.  If your airplane is late, be sure to give the Owner a quick call to let them know so that the Owner is not waiting around for you to give you the keys, etc.

If the Owners have supplies out for their guests, try not to be greedy  and either replace or save something for the following guests.  Many guests are generous and will leave a good book behind that they've already read for the next guest.

Try to leave the vacation home in the same condition as received. You are on vacation and not expected to do a lot of work; however, if you have several dirty towels, you may want to help the cleaning person out and start the laundry.  This is particularly important if there is a turn-around guest (another guest arriving later that day), because it is the laundry that takes the most time for them.  If you are at the beach all day, make sure you hose off the sand outside before tracking it in.  Try not to get food or drink stains on the carpet or the living room furniture.  If tipping is customary at your vacation place, or if you feel your housekeeper or Caretaker did an excellent job, feel free to leave them a tip for a job well done. Make sure your children are closely supervised-that they are not doing things such as hopping on the beds and furniture. If you break something in the home, don't try to hide it.  Let the Owner or Manager know so that they can try to replace it, or you may offer to take care of it yourself.  Many Owners live a distance away from the rental home so it may not be as easy to replace something.  If it's a small item, many Owners will not ask for compensation, but will appreciate the honesty.   Make sure you bring equipment you take outdoors such as all of the towels, chairs, and snorkel equipment back inside from the beach or wherever you went for the day.

Don't let a maintenance issue go.  If there is a plumbing issue, etc. notify the Owner or Manager immediately so they can take care of it before it gets to be a bigger problem.  On the same token, be sure to take care with Owner's equipment such as being careful not to overload the washer, and to clean the lint out of the dryer.

Be respectful of any surrounding neighbors by not being too noisy. Don't nitpick and fuss at every little detail about the home if it is clean and adequate.  Your decorating and furnishing ideas may be different than the Owners.  You are there to relax and enjoy yourself and to have a good time with the area and attractions that you have chosen. Do not rearrange the furniture.  Vacation renters are renting short-term and it is difficult to move the furniture back. Do not park on the lawn or pick the flowers. Finally, treat the home as your own.  Owners tend to have a lot of pride in their homes and enjoy sharing their home with others.  They like to see their guests have just as much fun as they do.  Owners appreciate it when guests send them pictures of their trip and give them positive reviews for future guests.  The biggest compliment you can give them is a repeat booking.

Be sure to secure the house and lock up while you are out for the day. Be aware of the utility consumption in the rental property.  Electric for A/C can be expensive if run fullblast all the time or if the windows are left open. Written by Tamara Camden. Courtesy of


I'm one who likes to plan out my vacation days in advance to maximize the stay and have the ultimate vacation experience.  I want time for excursions, souvenir shopping, and have a bite to eat at some great local restaurants.   I want to learn as much as possible about the local culture. An advanced vacation planning schedule is a great way of knowing what you can do when you arrive to your destination so that you don't waste precious time trying to figure everything out when you get there.  A schedule will also give you an idea of how much time you can spend on each activity.  When I'm on vacation, I want to relax and not have to think about arranging tours and what to do next.

One way to plan ahead is to figure the number of days you are staying.  Google your destination on the web, and look for the attractions and types of excursions available for your vacation spot.  For example, if you want to go on a day sailing trip or snorkel adventure, many times you can book these excursions in advance.  I try to make a variety schedule, and include something that's going to make everyone traveling with me happy and that we've agreed upon ahead of time.  I think it's nice to combine a few adventure days such as a beach outing or boat ride, with perhaps a lower key day of city tour and shopping. is a good vacation planning website that can assist you with recommendations from other travelers.  You can borrow another traveler's trip itinerary if you want and build upon it. Here's a basic Trip Planning Checklist: Passports:  Confirm if passports are needed for your destination.  If you don't have a passport, or yours is about to expire, here's the US government passport site. Form of Money:  Plan ahead for the type of currency you will need (particularly if traveling to a foreign country).  Travelex is a company where you can buy foreign currency on the web.  Credit cards for international travel can be useful.  However, if you are traveling to an out-island in the Bahamas, such as Eleuthera, many places there do not accept credit cards--in this case you will need to think about cash and traveler's checks.  American money is interchangeable with Bahamian dollars when making purchases on the island. Maps:  For directions on how to arrive to your location, Mapquest may be helpful, or there may be printable maps elsewhere on the web for the area you are staying in. Transportation:  How are you going to arrive to your destination (Plane, Auto, Boat?)   Upon destination arrival, determine how will you get to your vacation home--will you need transportation during your stay to get around to attractions in the area (taxis, car rentals, golf cart rentals, boat rentals, bike rentals, or just walk?).  If you need transportation arranged, it's a good idea to get an advance reservation if possible. Excursions/Attractions:  Examples are city tours, zoos, museums, beach parks, snorkel, sailing, fishing boat tours, horseback riding, aquariums, rainforest and botanical garden tours, shopping etc.  Local Chambers of Commerce are also excellent sources of information and many have online websites. You may also check into recreational rentals such as

boat rentals, kayak rentals, and jet skis for something to do. Medical/Facilities:  It's a good idea in advance to have an address list and phone contact of a local hospital and/ or medical care center for anything that comes up, and a pharmacy in case you need to get prescriptions.  Don't forget to bring your necessary prescriptions with you for your trip and your medical insurance ID card in the event of an emergency. Clothing:  Most vacations involve casual wear unless you need to pack a dressier outfit or two for something more formal or a special evening out.  If you are going to a beach destination, of course you will want to remember the swimwear.  If you are a sports enthusiast, you will need to pack the appropriate sporting gear.  It's good to know what is appropriate attire for your travel spot. Groceries/Restaurants:  If you plan on eating in at your vacation home, you may want to scope out how far the nearest grocery store is from your rental.  I would also google the restaurants and try to find the names and locations ahead of time of my favorite picks.  I prefer to eat at unique or local authentic restaurants where I cannot get the same type of food back home.  Children:  Bring something entertaining so that your children do not get bored during the traveling process.  Also bring any necessities for infants, such as the diaper bag, bottles and supplies.  Baby rental equipment

vendors are located in many resort communities, and they will often deliver larger equipment such as a baby crib, pack-n-play, and high chair to your vacation home.   With airlines restrictions on weight, baby rental equipment is a real convenience for parents. Pets:  If you have pets, you will need to determine whether to bring them with you, or board them.   There are some vacation rentals that are pet-friendly.  You would also need to check with the airlines if flying for any pet restrictions. Extra Considerations: Umbrella (for rainy days) Cap & Jacket for colder or windier days. Sunglasses, Sunblock, Caps, Water Shoes, Beach Towels for the beach A good book to read First Aid Kit Fishing, Diving or Snorkel Equipment (for those that want to use their own equipment) Watch-so you make it to your excursions on time Digital or Video Cameras to take memorable pictures. Written by Tamara Camden. Courtesy of,

WHY PRIVATE SCHOOL? A Look at the Potential Benefits

The question of how to educate a child is one of the most important a parent can ask. A basic choice that many parents struggle with is that of public vs. private school. Parents do not want to take on unnecessary expenses if they will not ultimately benefit their child. After all, many public schools do an excellent job of educating students. But while it is true that public schools do not have tuition costs (and a private school can run, on average from 12,000 to 30,000 dollars a year), the benefits of a private education can still far outweigh the costs depending on the local options parents may face. Students who attend private schools can be more academically challenged, exposed to clearer value systems, given greater access to teachers, and may simply feel safer than local public school options. If you do decide to pursue private schooling for your child, start the research process early. Admission to private schools can be competitive, and finding a school that is a perfect fit for your child where he or she will be also be accepted, may take some time. A Higher Bar: A major advantage to private education is that your child will likely be challenged to a higher academic standard. Private schools can be more academically rigorous than public schools, and private school students may have to meet more criteria to keep up their grade point averages. According to The Condition of Education 2001, from the National Center for Education Statistics, Private high schools typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools. Compared with public schools, private schools required more coursework (in 4-year high school programs). More can be expected of private school students in terms of quality of work, course workload, and special requirements such as community service or Arts participation. In some schools, what would normally be considered extracurricular activities, are prerequisites for graduation, which ultimately round out students' high school experience. The push to meet this higher standard often results in a greater level of student performance. In a recent NAEP report it was found that, 'Students in private schools scored significantly above the national average in grades four, eight, and twelve. As the report put it, 'Performance results in 2002 show that, at all three grades, students who attended nonpublic schools had higher average writing scores than students who attended public schools.' In general, a student given the opportunity to attend a private school will most likely reach a higher level of academic achievement. Student Teacher Ratio: Private schools also tend to focus on controlling their class sizes. The NCES Schools and Staffing Survey found that, 'Private high schools on average are less than half the size of public schools. In central cities, for example, the average size of a private high school is 398, compared to 1,083 for a public school.' Students of private schools may have more opportunities to form relationships with their teachers, which can lead them to greater academic success. In such cases, a student is given help for his or her specific academic problems, which can allow the issue to be resolved quickly and correctly. Once any issues inhibiting a student's progress have been addressed, the child can go on to achieve at his or her highest level. In The Condition of Education 2002, it was found that, 'Placing students in small groups tends to foster close working relationships between teachers and students, thus enhancing learning, particularly among at-risk students and those in the early grades.' Also, small classes allow the teachers to have a better sense of who your child is, and what his or her specific strengths and weaknesses are. Your child will also have more opportunities to speak up and participate in class discussions. In addition, students may be offered office hours during which the teacher will be available. Students who have worked closely with their teachers are less likely to feel intimidated about using such time to actively seek help from their teachers directly.

Exposure to the Arts: Private schools have the ability to create their own curriculum. Although, they must ultimately prepare students with the same basic course as any other school, private schools also have the option to add various elements to their programs. Private school administrators often develop programs that emphasize the Arts, perhaps more so than local public schooling options. Schools may choose to produce elaborate plays and musicals, giving students unique opportunities to explore their talents and express themselves. Government regulations on public schools prevent them from spending more than a certain percentage of school funds on the Arts. Private schools, however, are not subject to the same regulations, and they have more freedom to develop and expand these programs as they wish. Some private schools may even offer filmmaking or video production courses which are opportunities normally reserved for college students. Potentially More Funds: The tuition that you and the other parents of a private school contribute often will go toward developing and funding special programs that would be restricted in public schools. The school may be able to offer other activities such as special field trips that reinforce the school's curriculum. Such trips can give your child opportunities to form close friendships and build independence. The school may have more funds available to provide supplies to student-run clubs. The school also may create programs that better tie the arts or sciences into the overall general curriculum. A Push Towards College: Private high schools can instill their students with the expectation of attending college. Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, 'Fourth Follow-up' (NELS: 1988/2000) show that, 'Students who had attended private school in 8th grade were twice as likely as those who had attended public school to have completed a bachelor's or higher degree by their mid-20s (52 versus 26 percent) and far less likely to have had no post-secondary education.' With college as a focus, students can be more goal oriented, and often elements of the schools curriculum will be specifically aimed at preparing your child for college. Many private schools are even referred to as 'college preparatory.' Private schools often encourage their students to take an active role in their own college admission process. Students may be given more access to information about college options, and they may be made more aware of the requirements they must fulfill to qualify for a specific school. Community Service and a Sense of Values: Private schools often put a major emphasis on personal values. When choosing a private school for your child, it is possible to find a school that incorporates a great deal of your own values into its everyday curriculum. Private schools often have honor codes and stricter behavioral standards that help students develop into mature adults. According to The Condition of Education 2001 from the National Center for Education Statistics, 'At private schools, a greater percentage of children had parents who were very satisfied with order and discipline than with the school or teachers in 1999.' Parents are often given greater say in school policies at private schools. Many private schools require that their students complete a mandatory number of community service hours. This not only provides the obvious benefit of instilling a sense of respect for the community and the importance of making a contribution to society, but it also happens to be something colleges especially favor. Students may also find possible career options while fulfilling this service requirement such as political involvement to aid the community or counseling for endangered teens. Community service experiences teach students that education goes beyond the walls of the school, and that it sometimes requires action and initiative. Discipline and Safety: Beyond the fact that smaller classrooms are by their very nature easier to control, most private schools put special emphasis on discipline. Even if your child does not have discipline problems, disruptive peers could take away from your child's valuable learning time. The Condition of Education 2002 states that, 'Private school teachers were more likely than public school teachers to say that they had a lot of influence on setting student performance standards (63 versus 38 percent) and on student discipline policy (48 versus 30 percent).' The push for discipline in private schools teaches children self control, which will ultimately be a requirement in college where the student will be far more responsible for his or her own attendance, and achievement. Also, stricter disciplinary policies mean that any major problems will be handled and eradicated quickly. Typical crimes that plague public schools are less common at private schools. The School Crime and Safety Report found that, 'Students in public schools (37.3 percent) were more apt to see haterelated graffiti at school than their counterparts in private schools (16.8 percent).' A Word About Teachers: Because teachers at private schools are not required to earn the same certifications as public school teachers, some parents worry that the teachers are not as qualified. This is not necessarily true. Private schools must maintain their reputations and create positive word of mouth to survive. Toward this end, private schools are generally very selective about who they place in front of their students, and they choose educators with training specific to the subject they will be teaching.

A Community in Itself: When you decide to enroll your child in a private school, your family becomes part of a network of families with the same goals. Parents at private schools are more involved in the lives of the students and various school events. As a parent, you may have the opportunity to connect with other parents to discuss the lives of your children. Such relationships allow parents to learn from each other and support each other. The students also benefit from the community atmosphere of private schools. The very specific personalities of private schools often lead the students to have a strong sense of pride and loyalty to the school and its community. The student may also benefit from affiliation to the school far beyond graduation day. Many private schools have alumni mentoring programs that connect older alumni with newer ones. Recent graduates may find internship opportunities with alumni who have been working in their field of interest. Every Family is Different: Despite the numerous benefits of private schooling, it must be said that private school is not for every child. Some children would benefit from the diversity a public school can offer. Some parents would prefer their children to be more focused on the core subjects rather than the arts and extracurricular interests. And, of course, the financial burden that a private school brings is considerable. No student is exactly the same as another, and only a parent can know what the best option is for his or her child. Any child, whether in private or public school, will need the active participation of his or her parents in order to achieve true success. School Choice: The major advantage of private schooling is choice. Rather than sending your child to a public school that is required based on geography, now you have opened up a selection of several schools that may have very different educational styles and emphases, simply because you are deciding on private education. Every private school has a unique personality, and with a little research, certain schools will emerge from the pool as having more features than that will benefit your child. Perhaps the school is affiliated with your family's religious faith, and your child can be given a religious education along with his or her core studies. Perhaps the school emphasizes writing, or it pushes self-expression. With the vast variety of private schools available, it is easy to select a school that will help your child to shine and develop the values you find most important. Conclusion: No choice can guarantee that your child's formative years will go smoothly. Parents should always remain highly active participants in the education of their children. Still, in the interest of giving a student the most advantages and opportunities possible private school can be an attractive option. Private schools can reduce worries about safety, increase a child's exposure to discipline, offer reduced class sizes, and offer a good environment for high academic achievement. In many cases, a private school can prove to be much more than that, providing a community environment for your family and special opportunities that your child would not have otherwise. Written by Javier Colayco. Courtesy of,

DYI Home Improvement

How to Choose an Irrigation Sprinkler System Did you know that studies have shown that homeowners can expect a 7-18% increase in property value with the addition of a sprinkler system? Experts agree that the increase in property value is not a direct result of the sprinkler system but the curb appeal that the sprinkler system creates. Green grass sells homes for more money. If you are thinking of installing a sprinkler system for your home or business, you may hesitate if you have seen how many offers and products are on the market now. How are you going to choose the right irrigation sprinkler system for your needs? In this article I will try to answer at some questions which arise when you are thinking to install an irrigation system. Aren’t all sprinkler systems the same?

With any product or service there are always different brands of quality. Be careful, there are a lot of consumer grade products on the market. Thinking that you would like to not repair your irrigation system very often you should think at high quality products, as Hunter for example. Hunter Industries is the world’s leading manufacturer of residential and commercial irrigation equipment, their products being known worldwide for their exceptional features and performance. Rainbird, Nelson, Toro, Weathermatic are other brands well known for their quality too. All these products are latest technology, and this is what you are looking for. But keep in mind that no matter how awesome the technology is, it should be used as part of a complete solution in order to be effective. Be sure that you know the right installation procedures proven to ensure reliable and efficient performance.

Shall I install an irrigation sprinkler by myself? Yes and ‌ no. If you do it yourself you will enjoy it (100% sure), you will understand the system very well and it will be cheaper BUT it will take longer time than if a contractor will do it for you, it will require hard work and most probably you will not design and set up the system as well as a long time experience contractor. How long will it take to install a sprinkler system? Depending on the system size and type, soil condition, time of the year, the area type (hills area or with a lot of trees) it can take few hours up 2 days. A residential area usually takes 1 day. Should I think at the maintenance from the beginning?

Annually you will need to winterize your system against freezing. Look for a company which provides this kind of services, which includes blowing out the lines in the fall and then restarting the system in the spring and any other necessary adjustments. Will the installing procedures damage my lawn? How long it will take for it to recover? Depending on the technology you use to install the sprinkler, your lawn can be less or more damage. You will not need to worry about the mess and the inconvenience caused by PVC pipe placement if you choose to have a sprinkler system installed through trench-less technology. How much a sprinkler system costs? The irrigation sprinkler system’s cost depends on few factors:

- The size of the yard - if you have a larger garden or a grass lawn, you'll definitely need a good quality spray nozzle or sprinkler. For small areas, the most efficient is rotary sprinkler that waters the lawn from the tips of few spray arms that spin. - The source of the water – wells or water city, local ponds or rivers, all of them could be used as water source for an irrigation system. You need to know the water pressure and flow rate; these are measured in a different way for different water source. - The concept of the system – depending on the zones of the sprinkler, your system can be less or more expensive. For some yards it is impossible to water all the area with the same sprinkler. The entire area should be divided in zones in this case, and a pipe network should be used.

- The type of the sprinkler system needed – it can be a low cost sprinkler system (as little as $20) or a high price one. Of course you get what you pay for. A low cost sprinkler usually wastes a lot of water; require turning the water on/ off manually and moving the sprinkler around the yard to guarantee that entire area is properly watered. On the other side, an automatic underground lawn sprinkler system costs more, but it is completely programmable; what you have to do is to set up the timings and the system will turn on/ off the system at certain times. There are a lot of companies ready to customize the irrigation system for your needs. If you do not have a lot of experience in this field, it’s wise to request a quote from a sprinkler company.

Written by Jason Cecil. Courtesy of

Products To Love In August Of all the chocolate in all the world, this is one of my favorites! There is just something about dark chocolate that makes it so much better than the rest. The Hershey Special Dark Chocolate Bar is smoother than many and does not have an unpleasant aftertaste like some that I tried. It始s velvety smooth texture and deliciously rich flavor make this an all around winner. The only question now: How do I get my hands on some more? Please click here for more information.






Reviewed by Rural Jungle Testing

So you need that perfect hat for your vacation? Done! The Outback Tea Stained Straw Hat is a must have for adventure! Featuring a 3 1/2 wide shapeable brim with wire lining and a 5 deep crown with inner sweat band, this hat promises to keep you feeling cool and dry regardless of what activity you may be pursuing. Accented with a thick wooden bead hat band, this uber fashionable hat has that exotic and dangerous look of a timeless classic. Made of 100 % Straw. One size fits most with Elastic Sweat Band inside(up to XL). Please click here for more information.

Road Trip. . . with the kids! Uh-oh! Well, we found the perfect antidote to "Are we there yet???" Origami on the Go: 40 Paper-Folding Projects for Kids Who Love to Travel is the ultimate way to keep your kids entertained, with watching Nemo 50 times. Once kids get their hands on the travelinspired projects hours will fly by faster than you could have imagined. Paper for the projects is included in the the book: 100 sheets of colorful, custom-designed origami pages, plus two pages of stickers. Please click here for more information.

Products To Love In August Ladies, banish the fear of losing your luggage on vacation forever! This 3 Piece Zebra Print Suitcase Set Luggage with Hot Pink Trim is super cute and anything but ordinary! With all the boring black bags being used by everyone today luggage mix-ups are common place. So make a statement, and keep your clothes safe from people who don始t check luggage tags! Please click here for more information.

Tired of watering your sidewalk instead of your yard? Sick of setting up hoses so the hard to reach places get hit too? Find your love of lawn again with the Noodlehead N111C Flexible Lawn & Garden Sprinkler. This super cool looking sprinkler gets the water just where you want it. With flexible noodles that stay bent where you point them you will never have to worry about watering your lawn. Please click here for more information.

One of the most important things on your vacation is safety, but who has the extra space to haul around a huge kit? The Coleman Base Camp First Aid Kit is the perfect fit. It fulfills your needs, without taking up your whole pack. The kit includes: a compact carry case, sterile bandages in various sizes, scissors, tweezers, latex gloves, sponges, applicators, moleskin, tape, and alcohol prep pads and even safety pins! The entire package is 49-pieces and weighs less than a pound. Please click here for more information.

City Spotlight

Anchorage, AK Anchorage, the largest city in Americaʼs 49th State, was founded in 1914 to provide the railhead for the Pacific Railway to, Fairbanks. With a population of approximately 260,000 it houses 42% of Alaskaʼs population. This expansive city nestles at the base of the scenic Chugach Mountains and embraces the Pacific Ocean as it laps inshore in the Cook Inlet. Itʼs hard to believe that this spacious city, in the largest of all US States, covers approximately the same area as that of the smallest state, Delaware. Anchorage is the transport hub for the state and offers air connections to the Continental US as well as Hawaii. For those airlines using the Trans polar routes it also offers a convenient stopping off point for flights linking Europe and Asia. Moreover it provides flight and other transportation links to the rest of the State of Alaska. Some labor under the delusion that Alaska is smitten with almost

perpetual darkness in winter and never ending light in the summer. This is not true. It enjoys about six hours of daylight, much of it sunny, during the winter and 13 hour of light in the warm summers. Another myth is the temperatures. Sure, Alaska is pretty far north but winter temperatures in Anchorage work out at approximately 25 F. That is 7 degrees below freezing point. The sort of temperature you would enjoy if you were spending a relaxing winter sports holiday in an Alpine resort and summer temperatures average out to something similar to northern California. Anchorage is the point of entry into some of the worldʼs finest an most unspoiled scenery. If time is limited a trip to Anchorage gives you a delicious taste of life in this unique area. In winter mile upon mile of untrammeled snow offer a winter sportʼs paradise. There are opportunities for Nordic skiing, sledding, trips by snow mobile and much more. The very same area

redoubles as a hikerʼs heaven during the summer months. Tranquil lakes abound which offer catches galore for the fisherman or an opportunity for just plain contemplation of the beautiful and unspoiled scenery. The area provides a birdwatcherʼs paradise and an unparalleled opportunity to observe wildlife in a natural setting. It also boasts the clear skies and northern latitudes to provide crystal clear sightings of the northern lights. Thatʼs not all of course. Anchorage boasts fine restaurants offering a plethora of sea food. The king crab is a very special delicacy, which cannot be missed during a visit to this very special city. Oh, yes there is also a multi-storied Texan Bar offering a more lively eveningʼs entertainment for the more energetic visitor. Tempted…? Well then why not go somewhere different and awesomely beautiful and the way to get there is through the city of Anchorage? Written by Alister Bredee, courtesy of

Businesses That Make A Difference

At The Hershey Company, they are committed to making a difference in the communities where we live, work and do business. This commitment dates to the

earliest years of the company and is a vital part of both their heritage and of they are today. More than a century ago, our founder, Milton S. Hershey, broke ground for what was to become the world's largest chocolate factory. Mr. Hershey was truly unique. Not only did he transform the business of making chocolate, he established an enduring model of responsible community stewardship. Milton Hershey School, founded by Milton and Catherine Hershey and is administered today by the Hershey Trust, our largest shareholder, remains the

farmers and their families in West Africa, Asia and the Americas. Hershey supports programs that help improve farmer incomes, responsible labor practices,

primary beneficiary of our business. Nearly 2,000 disadvantaged boys and girls who attend Milton Hershey School annually, and more than 8,000 graduates, have benefitted from Mr. Hershey's generosity. Hershey supports hundreds of community agencies that deliver services and support to those most in need. Their philanthropy reaches around the world, including working with the Children's Miracle Network, Family Health International and a children's burn center in Guadalajara, Mexico. They are a leader in working to enhance the lives of cocoa

opportunities for children and youth, and community health. They practice environmental stewardship by supporting environmentally sound cocoa farming, implementing ongoing recycling, clean air and water management programs, improving the environmental sustainability of our packaging and working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and our use of natural resources. Check out to find out more.

My Featured Listings

Beds: 4 Baths: 5 Acres: 0 Square Feet: 6565 Description:

Half Baths: 0

OPULENCE! ORIGINALLY ON MKT @ $3,995,000! This SPECTACULAR home is a showcase of fine hand finishes & unique architectural elements. Builder's prvt residence. Amazing Master; sitting room, Cantera stone fireplc & rich wood floors. Luxurious Master Bath w/ spa-jet tub, steam shwr w/ color fiber-optic rainhead, Cantera fireplc & separate his/hers vanities. Gourmet ki...

Listing 4502971 If you are thinking of selling your home/property, know that I utilize the internet and social networking more than the typical agent. If you list your home with me, I can put it on my personal website, on Facebook, on Twitter, on my Blog, and feature it on the back cover of this Welcome Home Active eZine magazine which has buyers all across the country who read it. I can also put your listing on several major real estate search engines such as Trulia, Zillow, and FrontDoor. To find out more about what I can do to get your home/property sold, please give me a call. Thank you.

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About Monica Hammond Monica Hammond has lived in the Valley of the Sun for over 35 years. She attended Arizona State University on a Regents Academic Scholarship, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, having achieved concentration in the areas of Marketing, Personal Selling, and International Marketing. She worked in the field of luxury homes and real estate for 15 years, facilitating the building of luxury homes and the development of boutique custom home communities in North Scottsdale. She has been licensed as a real estate agent for the last 6 years, and is a Certified Scottsdale Real Estate Specialist.

Call Me For All Of Your Real Estate Needs: 480-244-6347