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Joanna Greenberg

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Most Versatile Cars for Multi-Taskers

Three multi-purpose commuter cars that are also great for road trips, with plenty of room for the family and all the gear they bring along.

Owning a car can be an expensive investment and not just the initial purchase price, but the continued costs of maintenance and insurance premiums as well. Which is exactly why most people would rather purchase just one that can do it all instead of having to purchase several; each with a different and specific use.

One versatile car is all you really need; a do-it-all vehicle that is easy on fuel, can be driven on a daily basis to and from work, and also has the capacity to champion the entire family on a long weekend trip. Some car manufacturers have heard your need, to purchase just one all-round vehicle, and we have listed our top three choices here.

  1.    2017 Kia Sportage

The 2017 Kia Sportage is a delightful all-around combination of quality, comfort, and great price. This vehicle is loaded with useful cargo and storage space to pack in all the family’s gear or groceries. It also has a hands-free rear hatch so you can access that gear with ease. Its second row seating has ample leg and headroom with armrests, rear air vents, and USB ports. It offers full-around air bags, a rear backup camera, stability control and many more additional options such as Blind Spot Detection, rear cross traffic alerts, lane changing assist, lane departure warning system, independent braking with pedestrian detection warning, and four-sectioned fog lights.

This luxurious and comfortable vehicle is the perfect family automobile, but also it is a wise choice as a commuter car due to its impressive Apple Car Play and Android Auto features paired to its infotainment system’s easy-to-operate touchscreen, which will keep you connected with the office no matter what traffic congestion may be on the road ahead.

Additionally, the Kia Sportage has two engine options: a 2.4 liter, four-cylinder offering 181 horsepower and a 2.0 liter, turbocharged engine which offers 240 horsepower. Each engine is a good choice, depending on your needs, and both power the six-speed automatic transmission with smooth ease.

The Kia Sportage has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price starting at $23,200.00 and boasts a mileage of 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

  1.    The 2017 Toyota Highlander

The 2017 Highlander is a fabulous combination of comfort, luxury, and function. Its smooth and impressive interior is matched by its stylish exterior design. Its large and inviting cabin area with seating for up to eight is as impressive and quiet as it is comfortable and accommodating for all your family. With its three-zone climate control every passenger’s comfort is considered. This vehicle has plenty of cargo space with large center console area to put all your gear in its place with simplicity. Its impressive second and third row seating can fold flat to create a large cargo bay for hauling most anything or even for an overnight camping space safely secured away from wildlife.

Additionally, this vehicle is a great car for daily commutes as it has several multi-media features including Toyota’s Entune System, a six-inch touchscreen infotainment, twelve quality speakers, rear-seat DVD and Blue-ray entertainment with a full-color, nine-inch monitor, and five USB ports.

This vehicle won a five star safety award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick+ ranking from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition to a backup camera, this vehicle’s other features include automatic pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam headlight control, and lane departure assist and alert.

One of our favorite options available on this vehicle is Driver Easy Speak, which gives the driver a microphone to easily speak to passengers in every area of the vehicle. A welcomed relief for every parent’s vocal cords and to children that often claim they didn’t clearly hear your instructions.

The Highlander has a 3.5 liter, 295 horsepower, V6 engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission and has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price at $30,630.00, this large-family vehicle is a nice bargain for your buck. Additionally, its impressive mileage ratings are an added bonus bragging at up to 21 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.

  1.    Kia Sedona L

The 2017 Kia Sedona L is among the top three contenders of versatile cars; a superb do-it-all vehicle, the Kia Sedona L offers plenty of spacious room with luxurious three-row seating, quiet cabin, and comfortable amounts of head and leg room. In addition, it offers a touchscreen infotainment system with satellite radio and Bluetooth capabilities. Impressive safety features include a backup camera, keyless entry and back seat air conditioning controls. With Slide-N-Stow second row seats and a hefty cargo space behind the third row seats, this vehicle allows you to take full advantage of every inch of space available and accommodate as much of its cargo room as possible for any occasion.

Its powerful 275 horsepower, V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission is no slacker on the road and will take you to any destination you desire as smooth as a whisper. Championing a Five Star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and gathering 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway, the Kia Sedona L gives you plenty in return in space, comfort, safety, and do-it-all abilities.

With many fabulous versatile vehicles available to meet all your commuting, hauling, and vacationing needs, there’s no longer the necessity to fill that two-car garage with two cars that only drain you of your funds and family fun times. Just one of these is sure to meet all your vehicle requirements.

5 Best Family Road Trip Cars Under $35,000

A family road trip has different requirements than a road trip did back before we became parents. Safety matters more than speed, and while we still want something stylish, we’re not willing to pack a car seat into a convertible coupe. Maybe you are, but good luck with that. When it comes to budgeting, we actually have one of those things now.

All that being said, don’t think for one minute that a family road trip can’t be a super fun experience with a stylish ride full of the latest features. Here are 5 vehicles that are perfect for taking on a family road trip and cost under $35,000. The best part about all of them is that after the road trip, they’ll be excellent additions to your family’s garage. Don’t forget to pack the essentials after you pick the perfect car.

Honda Accord

If you’re looking for a spacious, economical, and ultra-reliable sedan that will be perfect for cruising on a family road trip and also be an excellent family investment beyond your vacation, the Honda Accord is a winner. With a back seat that comfortably fits 2 adult passengers, or 3 kids, and about 30 miles per gallon on average, this car is a budget-friendly family favorite. Additional safety features like a collision warning system and automatic emergency braking will make your trip more safe. All that for just above $22,000 brand new means you’ll have enough money left over in your budget for a second family road trip this summer!

Dodge Durango

Take a trailer, boat or other toys along with the Durango’s towing capacity of 7,400 pounds. This is about 1,000 pounds more than other SUVs in its class. While your average mpg will drop when towing, you’ll start off at a more than fair average of about 26 mpg on the highway. Seating capacity can fluctuate between 5 or 7 additional passengers, or put the rear seats up for more cargo space. The 2017 model starts at just under $30,000. Traveling in an SUV means more room, comfort, and safety for your entire family, and the Durango is a top choice for thrifty travelers who don’t want to compromise on space and function.

Kia Sorento

For a smaller SUV, the Sorento is an excellent family road trip choice. You can still tow up to 5,000 pounds depending on the powertrain of the model you choose, and will get an average of 28 mpg on the highway (without towing anything). While seating may be more tight than other SUVs with an optional small third row, the seats that are there are comfortable and roomy, with contouring and padding in all the right places. With a starting cost of only $25,000, this is a smart and economic option for a family road trip SUV and general family vehicle with versatility of space.

Subaru Outback

If your family plans on hitting the trails and exploring off the main roads, you’re going to want something with all-wheel drive. The Subaru Outback is a safe and fun family vehicle for the outdoorsy family. A higher ground clearance will let you get over rocky terrain easily, while the AWD will keep you moving and able to explore further into the great wide open. Thoughtful safety features like anti-whiplash headrests and overhead airbags will keep your precious cargo safe. Speaking of cargo, you’ll get over 35 square feet of cargo space. For well under $35,000 you can get into an Outback and have plenty of gas money to drive it off into the outback. With an average 32 mpgs on the highway, you won’t even need that much!

Toyota Sienna

If a family road trip means to you that you and up to 8 of your family members, you’re going to need something big. The Sienna is a minivan with maximum perks for a family road trip vehicle. You’ll have an option to tow up to 3,500 pounds if you want to bring along some fun family toys. The just under 300 hp under the hood,will keep you moving and an average of 26 mpg’s on the highway will keep you saving money every mile. An available dual-view entertainment system with Blu-Ray will keep your kids and adults alike entertained while you travel along in comfort and space. Have room enough for everyone and never feel cramped for under $30,000 in the Sienna.

4 Ways to Use the Internet Productively

Haven’t we all been subject to frowns, disdain and general skepticism on our increased use of the internet – well, the generation Y to a huge extent. Since our elders belong to a simpler, and perhaps in their own words, a more profound, natural lifestyle. And maybe they’re right, too. It’s completely wrong to assume that more than a certain amount of time spent browsing the internet, and especially misuse of the internet has made a lot of lives dysfunctional. However, since it’s a wonderful source of a million things we find useful and necessary for our growth and lifestyle – and since everyone these days has access to internet plans for home and family – let’s discuss the most productive ways to use the internet, not just for the sake of it, but to actually learn, grow and prosper.

Shop smart

When you go shopping for something, how many areas can you check out in pursuit of the perfect purchase, and in the interest of making an educated decision? Not many. It also wastes time, effort, fuel and is usually unpleasant – for some people. Thank the gods of technology for online shopping. You have every top brand online today, and you can compare international brands before buying something online, which will be delivered to your doorstep in some time, considering where you buy from. A recent innovation in the world of online shopping is the concept of online coupons. Most of them are actually helpful in getting you some good deals and price-offs on products across certain websites. Try CupoNation for such privileges. Isn’t it amazing, sitting home and buying your essentials from the best, that too, at a discount using these coupons, instead of going out in the traffic and pollution and settling for mediocre. Who said internet can’t be beneficial and productive?

Start blogging

Like a digital “dear diary” concept, blogging for personal or professional use is another common and extremely productive way to spend time over the internet, and gain recognition. By regularly blogging about what you feel is important and by highlighting your opinion, you’re telling the world who you are. By enlightening the world with your personal views, concepts and thinking, owing to all the experiences that make you who you are, are surprisingly good for personal growth. With the recognition and confidence it brings to your personality, it is also extremely therapeutic and helpful in organizing your thoughts and lifestyle. It will also prompt you to read blog material by other inspiring writers on several different subjects, which will also contribute to your learning process. Well, write away for as many hours as you want, there’s nothing vain about that; on the contrary, it’s quite educational.

Start an E-commerce business

Since getting internet plans for home is nothing out of ordinary, there are tons of ways to make the most out of this facility – all productive and inspiring. One of the most significant would be starting your business online, also known as E-commerce. Since it’s virtual and takes up no space, it requires minimal investment as compared to a full-fledged outlet, for example. Make use of the internet to reach the LARGE target audience that’s looking for what you wish to manufacture, and become a hit by studying the online market, and establishing your online presence. When you start earning big bucks through the internet, no one will comment on its unproductivity.

Educate yourself

Last, and my absolute favorite. Some of us are not privileged enough to have a huge libraries we can live in. Since now every book ever written along with all information you could ever try to look for is online, book stores that hold a limited edition ALWAYS – which is usually an anticlimax – why not read online? Whether its leisure time for you or for learning any particular art, skill or subject, even to learn about the life history of your favorite public figure, it’s all there! From history to philosophy, to anything you could ever think of, search for it on your favorite browser and download soft copies. This I believe is a blessing, and truly what we call the abundance of knowledge. And it really isn’t a waste of time. As long as you’re learning something and getting something positive out of all the new facilities.

To be able to enjoy all this fun yet essential things offered on the internet, you must have credible internet plans for home that provide consistent and fast internet at reasonable prices without any glitches and issues, and www.cableninternet.com brings to you one of the best internet plans. Purchase from Charter Spectrum and get the most amazing and beneficial packages through charter cable TV and internet.

Simple tips to help get your family finances in order 2017

Getting your family finances in order is a great thing but most of us do not do it until we are forced to by a life event such as the birth of a baby, an upcoming wedding, financial audit, divorce or a natural disaster. You can see our family is productive because of tips like these. Fortunately, getting your family finances in order in 2017 is not a difficult task.

Here are simple tips to help you.

  • Commit yourself

The first thing that you should do is commit yourself to get your finances in order and follow through.

  • Request for a credit report

Most people are not concerned with their credit report until they are denied credit. Since your credit history plays a major role in so many areas, you should review your credit report at least once a year.

Upon receiving the report, thoroughly look for any mistakes and if there are contains any, contact the credit bureau to have them corrected. This way, you will qualify for a high limit when need be.

  • Create a budget and stick to it

Though difficult to stick to, having a budget is a vital step into getting your finances in order. In notebook, write down all your fixed monthly expenses as well as the non fixed expenses such as entertainment, meals out, clothing and other flexible purchases. This helps you to understand where your money goes and where you can cut back.

After making the budget, be sure to stick to it. Every time you purchase something, write it down including the cost then at the end of the month, compare your actual spending with your budget and see where you may have gotten off track.

  • Reduce your debt

Another difficult yet important step to getting your family finances in order is consolidating your debts and paying them. Transfer the balances to a single card with low annual percentage rate (APRs) to make it easy to track the debt. Destroy the other credit cards to prevent the temptation of using them and try to pay at least double the minimum amount plus the finances charge every month.

Use debit cards or cash to make all purchases and if you do not have money, then do not buy it.

  • Set Up an Emergency Fund

Before you begin worrying about investments and retirement plans, you should first have an emergency fund. The rule of thumb for savings is to have at least three months’ worth of cash for an emergency fund but with the tight economic times, it can be hard to do.

If you are short on cash, try setting aside every five dollar you get into box or even emptying all the change in ajar at the end of the day. Better yet, open a special account and write yourself a check of about $50 every time you get paid. The money will add up over time and will come in handy during emergencies.

  • Analyze your insurance coverage

Disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and fires can strike any time. Therefore, it is important to ensure you have renters insurance if you rent or homeowners insurance if you own a home.

Life insurance is also great as it ensures your debts are covered in case anything happens to you.

  • Find a financial mentor

Money management is challenging but a good financial mentor will guide you and help you make smart financial decisions.

He or she will analyse your budget and spot leaks where you are spending more money than you should, suggest the right financial steps to take such as how much of your income to invest, how to save for your child’s college education and how much you will need for retirement as well as inspire you.

A financial mentor should be doing well financially. Therefore, by looking at his finances, you will feel inspired and with his guidance, some day, you will be doing well financially as well.

  • Make a Will

Making a will is especially important if you have children. It helps to distribute your assets as well as prevent dispute if you pass on.

If not a will, you can draw up a list of all your physical properties including cars, home, jewelry and the non physical assets such as policies and bank accounts as well as debts then select a responsible administrator who will make all decisions on your behalf after you pass on.

McCalls 6948 modified.

My middle daughter was in need of a new Summer dress, and I jumped at the chance to sew one for her. She had a very specific picture in mind of what she wanted – a simple sundress with contrast yoke, waistband and hem.


She picked out the fabrics from our local fabric store, can you tell her favourite colour is blue?  The pattern I used is McCall’s 6948 – my modifications included piecing the bodice with the two fabrics, lining the bodice instead of using bias tape, made the skirt shorter, added the waistband, and added the contrast hem.  It was a quick sew and she’s excited that her design turned into a finished dress.

Rebecca

MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes

AUGUST 05, 2014

MODKID is a brand created by Patty Young. Her fabrics are bright and her patterns are fun. She has been hosting a sewalong on her blog for her Sun and Surf Tote, and since I love making bags, and could use a new beach tote – I jumped right in.  I ended up making two totes, and just cut out a third one today. This was a quick pattern, and I’m loving the results.

MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
For my first tote, I used up two orphan herringbone quilt blocks. I sashed and quilted them, and made them into the main panels.  The little floral fabric for the sides, trim, and lining is from Wholeport.com. The ribbon on the strap is from MODKID.
MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
The second tote used up some flowers from a panel I had in my craft room. I sashed it with one of Patty’s fabrics, quilted it, and found some other coordinating prints in my stash. This tote is being donated to a local charity auction.
MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
MODKID Quilted Sun and Surf Totes
The grommets were super-easy to install (they just snap together), and the buttons are fun. Both can be purchased from the MODKID Etsy shop.

Laptop Bag Tutorial…

SO excited that I get to share this now!  I was asked to do a tutorial for the Bear Creek Quilting Company blog, and they just posted it!

Laptop Bag Tutorial...

This laptop bag has a top zipper that opens up nice and wide, a zippered front pocket for your charger, back slip pocket with a hidden bottom zipper which allows it to be slipped onto the handle of your luggage, an interior slip pocket that can fit papers and files, a one-piece handle which makes it extra strong and secure and extra padding to protect your laptop.

Laptop Bag Tutorial...

Laptop Bag Tutorial…

The fabrics I used are from the Sweet Harmony and Joyful Blooms lines – and can be found in their shop.  If you’d like to check out the tutorial, you can find it here.

 

Laptop Bag Tutorial...

Life this week and doll sewing…

Life this week and doll sewing...
Life this week and doll sewing…

Things have been busy with the end of the school year approaching – Sports Day, fieldtrips, my baby going to kindergarten day, and lots of sunshine to enjoy. I did sew up a quick raincoat for one of my girls’ 18″ dolls and need to order some more laminate prints to make some for my other girls still.

Life this week and doll sewing...

I’ve also been working on a sewing tutorial for the Bear Creek Quilting Company blog with these two beautiful fabric collections, can’t wait to share it!

Life this week and doll sewing...

Serendipity Studio Tara Tank Dress…

A few weeks ago, I came across a post from Kay Whitt announcing the first dress in her new Spring sewing patterns collection, the Tara Tank Dress. It really appealed to me, and Kay generously sent me a copy of the pattern to sew one up for myself!

Serendipity Studio Tara Tank Dress...
Serendipity Studio Tara Tank Dress…

All of her patterns are hard copies, which I prefer when it comes to sewing clothing. She does a great job with detail in her explanations, and the pattern was easy to follow. This dress in particular is a really quick sew because there are no buttons or zippers, just a drawstring tie in the waistband that cinches up. There are a bunch of different length and hem options included in the pattern, a pleated bodice, high waist, and you can choose to go with a full skirt or narrow (I chose narrow).

Serendipity Studio Tara Tank Dress...
Serendipity Studio Tara Tank Dress…

The fabric I used is a cotton blend from my local fabric store. It appealed to me because of the border print, and it’s super light, but not thin enough that it needed lining. I’m looking forward to our rain being replaced with some sunshine so I can sew up a few more of these for the Summer months.

Serendipity Studio Tara Tank Dress...
Serendipity Studio Tara Tank Dress…

If you’d like to purchase this pattern, you can find it here.