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Getting Ahead
2nd Quarter 2018

In this issue:

7 Spring-Cleaning Tips

Free (or Almost Free) Things to Do With Kids This Summer

8 Reasons to Invest in a Home Solar System in 2018

7 Spring- Cleaning Tips

CleaningIf spring is in the air, don't let a musty house spoil it. Here are seven tips for giving the season the welcome it deserves.

  • The best refrigerator cleaner is a combination of salt and soda water. The bubbling action of the soda water combines with the abrasive texture of the salt to make a great cleaner.
  • The best way to get rid of lime buildup around the faucet it is to lay paper towels over the fixture, soak it with vinegar and let it set for an hour. The deposits will soften and become easier to remove.
  • Clean screens with a scrap of carpeting. It makes a powerful brush that removes all the dirt.
  • Clean windows with a rag and soapy water, and then dry them with another rag. You can also go to an auto-parts store and buy a windshield squeegee, which cleans very well.
  • If drapes are looking drab, take them out of the window, remove the hooks and run them through the air-fluff cycle in the dryer along with a wet towel (to draw off the dust) for 15 minutes. Hang them back in the windows immediately.
  • Clean the blades of a ceiling fan by covering them with a coat of furniture polish. Wipe off the excess and lightly buff.
  • Sometimes comforters, blankets and pillows don't need to be cleaned, but they do need to be aired out after a long winter in your closed-up home. Take them outside and hang them on a clothesline for a day.
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Free (or Almost Free) Things to Do With Kids This Summer

Remember when you were a kid and summer seemed endless - in a good way?

Funny how things change.

Now it's just a matter of time before your kids start saying, "I'm bored," to you or to your nanny. This summer, get ready to banish that phrase from their vocabulary with this list of free or low-cost summer activity ideas. KidsFor more ideas, read up on 101 Fun Things to Do with Kids This Summer.

  1. Go to the Library
    Most libraries around the country offer free summer reading programs that encourage kids of all ages to read, and they often host other activities like, parties, music and puppet shows. Check out libraries in neighboring towns too - they might offer something your regular branch doesn't. Visit to find local libraries.
  2. Tour a Local Business
    You may not have to look further than your favorite pizzeria to find an afternoon activity. Local restaurants are often open to giving kids a behind-the-scenes look at a working kitchen during slow times if you stay for lunch. Or, do you have an interesting factory (candy? toys?) in your area? Many factories offer tours, which can come with freebies to take home.
  3. Seek Out Free Art and Culture
    Some museums and cultural institutions, like botanical gardens, children's museums, zoos, aquariums and observatories, are always free. Those we love! But even the ones that charge admission often offer free or reduced-rate days or hours weekly or monthly. Grab a calendar and map out those times so you'll know instantly on a rainy Tuesday where to find refuge. While you're at it, check their calendars for special summer activities - many offer classes, concerts and tours just for kids.
  4. Check Out Chain Stores
    Scores of national retailers are now offering free or inexpensive children's activities or classes. (Note: We love this trend, but be careful not to overspend at the store while you're waiting for the kids to finish.)
    • IKEA has supervised playrooms for potty-trained kids. Just drop and shop. (Sounds dreamy!)
    • Home Depot and Lowe's run free weekend project workshops for kids (ages 5-12 for Home Depot). You needed new bookshelves, right?
    • Crafts stores, such as Michaels, hold free project demos t that will keep creative kids happy, ages are craft-specific but can start at 3.
    • For the budding tech-engineer, Apple stores run free three- day Apple Camps where kids ages 8-12 learn how to make films.And the list goes on. Whole Foods and other grocery stores offer cooking classes, bookstores like Barnes & Noble offer free storytime. Check with stores in your area to see what they have planned.
  5. Visit a Farm
    Whether they're petting animals or picking fruit, kids love farms. Check with farms in your area to see if they offer tours, activities or are open to a few hours of help with real farm chores from your pint-size volunteers.
  6. Volunteer to Help
    While the kids are in the volunteering mood, look for places in your community that could use their help. Whether it's cleaning up a local park, walking dogs at an animal shelter or visiting residents at a nursing home, summer is a great time to introduce children to the joys of giving back. Search for opportunities in your area at Volunteer Match, 1800Volunteer or and read our article on 6 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Volunteer.
  7. Catch a Movie
    During the dog days of summer, sometimes you just need to escape to somewhere - anywhere - with great air-conditioning. Luckily, several movie theater chains open their screens to little ones for little prices during summer months. Regal Cinemas' Summer Movie Express is offering $1 movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings this summer, and Cinemark is showing kids' flicks for as little as 50 cents as part of their Summer Movie Clubhouse. Check theaters in your area for similar deals.
  8. Take a Hike
    The great outdoors is always open and waiting for little explorers. Make hikes at nature reserves and parks in your area even more fun with REI's free Kids' Adventure Journal, where young hikers (ages 6-12) can log notes and draw pictures about their experiences.
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8 Reasons to Invest in a Home Solar System in 2018

SolarIf you've been thinking about getting a home solar system, 2018 is the year to do it. There are many great reasons to invest in solar, and there has never been a better time. Here are just a few reasons to make 2018 the year you install a home solar system.

Save Money
Above all else, installing a home solar system should be a financially responsible decision. In sunny states such as Nevada, where temperatures rise and electricity usage can be high, solar can be a significant money saver. Homeowners can save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the system.

Reduce Your Footprint
As we become more attuned to limited natural resources, installing a home solar system can be a great way to help reduce our consumption and focus on renewable energy. The average home solar system offsets about 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in 20 years, which is the equivalent of driving a car 100,000 miles.

Tax Incentives
Between the federal Investment Tax Credit, which allows you to claim 30 percent of your home solar system installation and equipment costs on your federal taxes, and state rebates and net metering credits, there are a variety of tax incentives. But they won't last forever, so it's worth installing a home solar system while the rebates and credits are still available.

Add Value to Your Home
Solar panels translate to money savings, so home buyers looking for energy efficiency are more attracted to a house with a home solar system. In fact, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels sell 20 percent faster and for 17 percent more money.

Long Term Investment
With a lifespan of over 25 years, your solar investment is secure and will pay for itself over and over. Additionally, with utility rates fluctuating and trending upward, solar provides more stable costs that can be calculated out for decades.

Support Energy Independence
The U.S. relies heavily on foreign energy, particularly from petroleum. Moreover, there is a finite quantity of coal, oil, and natural gas. Installing a home solar system provides an additional step toward our country's energy independence.

Improve Your Community
Not only does a home solar system help reduce harmful chemicals from our environment that are currently released by traditional energy streams, but solar is also a large economy driver, resulting in a 25 percent increase in jobs from 2015 to 2016.

Solar Is Easy
Today, installation of a home solar system is easier than ever. With quality products, fast installation, and full-service assistance with all necessary paperwork to qualify for tax credits and rebates, Sol-Up USA makes the process a breeze.

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