Friday, June 19, 2020

5 Trendy Living Room Styles

Are you sick of the same old furniture and design of your living room? It might be the right time to make a few changes and upgrades to your home. If you’re looking for a way to impress friends and elevate your alone time at home, here are five popular living room styles that may fit you.

1. Minimalistic
Create more space by decreasing the amount of furniture and accessories in your living room. Many people adore this unique style for its organized feel. Colors are subdued, décor is limited and the tidy atmosphere creates order and simplicity to the home.

2. Vintage
Miss the feel of more traditional decoration? Get into vintage designs. The furniture, colors and even the window coverings Newmarket can have a charming touch. This is a great style for those who want a formal feeling home or wish to bring back certain styles from different eras.

3. Rustic
 This style is ideal for nature lovers. This living room style can incorporate organic-looking material, earthy colors and wooden furniture. The colors create a homey feel and warm lighting is a popular trend.

4. Modern
Focus on striking colors and distinctive lines with the modern style. Modern living rooms use space effectively while incorporating straight lines and clean edges. Furniture should look modern or futuristic, and most materials in this type of room are polished and glossy.

5. Beach Style
 No matter where you live, your living room can create a chill beachy atmosphere with your sandy seashells and ocean décor. These types of rooms often sport ocean colors and vintage fishing equipment that helps guests feel like they are actually on the beach.

No matter which style best fits your taste, an upgrade can be exciting and fun. Find furniture that appeals to you and keep your budget in mind. Once you’ve renovated, invite friends over to enjoy the atmosphere you have created. 


Thursday, June 18, 2020

A Place To Call Your Own

It is every family's dream to own a house. Who wouldn't? Instead of paying rent, you could pay for the mortgage instead until you have completed it and in the end, you wouldn't need to worry because it will be finally yours. But owning a house or an apartment or a flat for that matter is not always easy. Banks or lending authorities tend to have high interest rates. Or the government doesn't have any programs supporting interested buyers.

In our case in Germany, the KfW and the Federal Ministry of the Interior offer funding for construction and home. This benefit is a subsidy to families, couples with children and single parents - with the aim of being able to build home owndership. They call it the Baukindergeld, literally translated to "construction child benefit."

The benefit is paid for a period of 10 years and valid for contracts of sale or building permits signed or dated between 01 January 2018 until 31 December 2020. This means that if you bought a house or planning to construct a new one, the contract of sale or the building permit must be dated within this period.

Prerequisites for the benefit include the following:
1. For families, partners or single parents with children below 18 years old
2. A total annual income of maximum €90.000 for families with 1 child, plus €15.000 for each succeeding child
3. The beneficiaries live in the house themselves and does not rent it out.
4. The property should be located in Germany. It does not matter which nationality you have as long as you are a resident here.

How Does it Work:
1. Move In - As soon as you have moved into your own home, you need to register at your district registration office. You will need the resident registration confirmation later on, as proof of your moving-in date.
 
2. Apply for Subsidy - Apply for the subsidy within 6 months from date of moving in. All members of the family should be registered with the registration at the time of online application.  If you still have an unborn child, then you can wait until the baby is there and exhaust the 6-month application period. The new member of the family can only be included in the application if he/she is already born.
 
3. Prove your Identity - Right after the online application, you will receive an application confirmation in the KfW-Subsidy portal under "Meine Zuschussanträge" (My Subsidy Applications). You can then prove your identity via video identification (recommended) or with the Post-Ident procedure in a Deutsche (German) Post branch.
 
4. Upload Documents for Verification - If your application for subsidy is confirmed, you now have 3 months' time to upload verification documents in the subsidy portal. Past this period and your application is invalid and you will not receive any subsidies. The documents that you need are: Einkommensteuerbescheide (income tax assessments), Meldebestätigung (resident registration confirmation), and the current Grundbuchauszug (land register).
 
5. Receive Subsidy - After successful verification of your documents, you will receive the subsidy directly credited to your nominated bank account. You will receive a payment confirmation from the KfW and can find it under "Meine Anträge" in the subsidy portal. On the payment confirmation you will see when the first payment will take place. You will receive the subsidy payment for a period of 10 years at €1.200 per child per year, as long as you live in the house that you registered for at the KfW. Should you move to another place or you have decided to rent your place out, you are obligated to inform the KfW about this. This is because you no longer conform to the prerequisites of the subsidy and you will no longer be receiving the subsidy payments.

Have you tried applying for this subsidy? What are your experiences? Please do leave me a comment, I would love to hear and learn more from you.


3 Helpful Tips for Planting and Maintaining Privacy Hedges

Looking to get some added privacy from your neighbors? In some cases, a natural, living screen or divider is appropriate for a particular area. A hedge makes an attractive and long-lasting screen; however, for a hedge to look good, it must be planted, maintained and clipped correctly. Here are three key tips to follow if you want to plant and use privacy hedges on your property.

1. Planting Hedges
If you’re creating your privacy barrier from scratch, it’s important to have a plan in mind as you go to plant your hedges. You’ll want to determine how dense you want your screen to be, and plant accordingly. For dense screens, plant hedges about two feet apart from one another. Consider concealing the sparse bases of your hedges by installing a trellis. A low trellis can hide a hedge if it’s too sparse or leggy. Position the trellis so that it screens only the bare base of a hedge. When digging holes to support the trellis, make sure that you avoid touching the roots of the hedge.

2. Trimming Hedges
Routine trimming is also necessary to keep hedges healthy. If you want your hedges to look formal, make sure you trim evenly and at a perfect angle. Use a taut piece of string tied between two upright posts to make sure that a hedge is level and use a template to shape the top. Always remember to put clippings to good use by incorporating them into a compost pile, but only if you know that the hedge is healthy and free from disease.

3. Caring for Hedges
Hedges need proper care in order to grow and thrive. Feed and water hedges regularly, since they are constantly clipped and grow rapidly, using up large amounts of energy. It’s also important to pay extra attention to roadside hedges. Before winter, place plastic screens around hedges that are planted near the road. This should prevent the roots from absorbing the de-icing salt and also will keep the foliage from being scorched. Caring for hedges can take a lot of time and effort. Take is easy on yourself and leave regular care to a professional provider of lawn maintenance Lakewood.

A healthy privacy hedge is a beautiful addition to any property. By following these tips, you’ll be able to plant, trim and care for your hedges, giving your home more privacy and some added curb appeal, as well!



The New Normal in School

Schools have opened once again for the non-graduating grades after the Pentecost break here in the Federal State of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Beginning last June 15, 2020, school children were allowed to go to school.

New Class Schedule
Most schools have however modified the class schedules, wherein only the core subjects will have classroom instruction. For the case of my daughter, she will only have Math, German, English, Latin, Biology and Visual Arts. I don't understand why they included Visual Arts in the schedule but anyway, they will only be required to come for a few hours a day, with the longest at around 4 hours and the shortest at 2,5 hours. To uphold the social distancing requirement, the school has reduced the number of students coming to class at a time by dividing them into two groups. One group will come during the Week A schedule and the 2nd group will come during the Week B schedule. Since there are only six weeks remaining before the summer break, that means that they would only need to come to school for a total of three weeks. On days when a child does not need to go to school, some minor subject teachers have opted to continue with online instruction.

Mandatory Wearing of Face Masks
The children will be required to wear face masks whenever they are not seated in their seats. This is for their own and others' protection since the enemy is invisible.

Mess Halls Are Closed
There will be no canteen service for the remaining 6 weeks in school for safety reasons, which would mean that the children will need to bring their own food for snacks and lunches. As parents, we should make sure that our children have enough to eat and drink when they go to school for this time period. I should make a menu with my daughter so that we prepare her food ahead of time and so that she will not go hungry at school.


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