Game Plan

If you’re thinking about putting on an addition to your home this year, you should begin planning now. Your vision for how the new space will look is important, but there are a few things you must consider before getting started on new construction.


Keep careful notes on quotes from contractors and compare those to how much you’re willing to spend. Good advice would suggest that your budget include more than originally planned to account for emergencies. As always, don’t go overboard—only plan for an addition that you can comfortably afford, and ask your contractor for ideas on how to cut back in case costs exceed the amount expected.

Zoning & Paperwork

Before breaking ground, review all paperwork and local laws to ensure your construction project is compliant. Make sure you have the proper insurance policies in place in the event something goes wrong. Having knowledge of all aspects of the addition will help you prevent incurring fines or having to adjust plans.

Space Planning

Bigger is not always better when adding rooms to your home. Think about how you plan to use the room—how many people you want to fit in it comfortably, what activities will be done there, etc. Remember, an efficient space is more ideal than simply adding square footage.

Interior Preparation

Large construction projects can cause dust and potential damage. Make sure you’ve moved items away from the area you plan to renovate or consider putting some furniture or other items in storage. You may be excited about getting a new space, but you don’t want to ruin anything in your house. Bigger is not always better when adding rooms to your home. Think about how you plan to use the room—how many people you want to fit in it comfortably, what activities will be done there, etc. Remember, an efficient space is more ideal than simply adding square footage.

Proper Shoveling Advice

One of the most dreaded activities for homeowners every winter is keeping a property clear of snow and ice. Not only is it a safety hazard, but excess snow left in place can damage the structure of your home, outdoor features, or landscaping. Learn how to tackle this chore in a safe and efficient manner.

Safety First

Make sure your body is able to physically handle the task by stretching before and after you shovel. Since this can be a long chore and you may break a sweat, bundle up to protect yourself from the cold temperatures. And always make sure to take breaks. Extensive physical activity in the cold can lead to breathing or heart issues.

Proper Technique

Never lift any heavy object with your backbend at the knees and lift with your legs to prevent any muscle strains. Also, keep the blade of the shovel close to your body to prevent reaching too far with a heavy load. Switch between using your left and right arms for shoveling to diversify your muscle use, and every so often, change up your grip (palm-under vs. palm-over).

Consider your Landscaping

Don’t forget to clear off any heavy snow hanging from your shrubs or bushes to prevent branches from snapping. If you use salt on your driveway to help melt the ice, make sure not to toss this material at the base of any of your landscaping, as many plants can’t process the chemicals that seep in through the roots. Consider creating a windbreak by building a wall of snow with your tosses or by throwing shoveled snow against a standing object or fence. This can shield some of your shrubs from wind damage during the cold months.

Is a Snowblower the Best Option?

While using a snowblower is definitely less demanding physically for clearing snow, consider these questions before making a purchase:

Does your area get enough snowfall to warrant a purchase? 

Do you have extensive driveway/walkway areas on your property? Do you have storage space for it?

Are you OK with the loud noises it creates? 

Are you willing to buy and store the fuel for it?

Appliance Matinence & Replacement

It’s hard to know exactly when is the best time to replace a home appliance. Homeowners aren’t always experts in the technology or machinery involved in some of the most mindless tasks the appliances help with. Here are a few tips on how to identify a machine that may need repair or replacing.


13-year lifespan

Issues to look for: 

  • Food spoiling prematurely 
  • Visible condensation on inside or outside 
  •  Frost buildup in the freezer 
  • Back of refrigerator hot to the touch
  •  Excessive noise


13-year lifespan

Issues to look for:

  • Burning smell
  • Fire or signs of fire
  • Clothes still wet after the cycle is complete
  • Excessive noise during the cycle

Washing Machine

10-year lifespan

Issues to look for:

  • Water not filling the wash drum
  • Leaks
  • Excessive noise during the cycle
  • Violent shaking during the cycle


9-year lifespan

Issues to look for:

  • Broken down latch
  • Cracks or dents to the exterior
  • Signs of rust
  • Leaks
  • Water not at the correct temperature

Garbage Disposal

12-year lifespan

Issues to look for:

  • Abnormal clogging
  • consistent bad smell
  • Power switch failure
  • Excessive noise
  • Leaks under sink

Tales from the Twins

2020 is officially over which means we graduate this year! We are both so excited to be done with high school. I've been thinking a lot about whether I want to do the Air National Guard or go to college. I was accepted to my top three school choices (MSU, SUU, and CWU) so now we are taking tours. Kenzie was chosen as the Ferris Spokane Lilac Fesitval candidate and she couldn't be more excited! She's been attending the trainings and getting to know the other girls. Here's to 2021!

~ Carson (& Kenzie)

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