Winter Wander Winners!

Winter Wander Winners!

Congratulations to Terri C. of West Seattle! She, her husband and daughter did a great job of solving 13 Winter Wander clues and won the drawing for $200 in gift cards from local merchants. The businesses they chose are Northwest Art and Frame, Paper Boat Booksellers, Coastal Surf Boutique.

We had 12 groups submit a total of 193 selfies for the contest, and countless other groups who played just for fun!

Many thanks to the 15 neighborhood businesses and institutions who agreed to participate as solutions to our clues. We hope you will pay each of them a visit and express your gratitude as well. They are:

Wildwood Markethttps://wildwoodwestseattle.com/

The Birdhouse

Seattle Fish Company

Cherry Consignment

A la Mode

Curious Kidstuff

Capers

Wing Stop

Indu!ge

Vatsana’s Thai Restaurant

Leaps and Bounds

Paper Boat Books

Peel and Press

BedHead Coffee

Highland Park Improvement Club

Desmond Hansen Artwork

Seattle Fire Department Station #11

Mark your calendar now for the SECOND annual Winter Wander, which will take place Dec. 4-12, 2021.

Special thanks, as well, to The West Seattle Blog, for helping us promote this free, community event, sponsored by Alice Kuder, REALTOR® and Preparedness Coach with Just in Case.

4700 42nd Ave SW, Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98116

Hey, Winter Wanderers: Need another clue?

Hey, Winter Wanderers: Need another clue?

If you’ve been participating in the Winter Wander Scavenger Hunt, but need a second clue for some of the tougher ones, there’s good news! We are now offering just that (upon request). Just call/text/email me and tell me which clues have you stumped and I’ll provide another hint. (See the flyer below for contact info.)

Meanwhile, here are some more photos of fellow Wanderers.

Winter Wanderers pose outside The Birdhouse coffee shop
First stop!
Wanderer poses near Santa Homer Simpson
Ho-Ho-Homer
Wanderer poses near a row of candy canes
Candy canes galore!
details about West Seattle scavenger hunt
Winter Wander is free and open to all West Seattle residents.
Winter Wanderers have a blast!

Winter Wanderers have a blast!

Here are the first selfies submitted by Winter Wander scavengers.

Send yours to WinterWander2020@gmail.com by Dec. 13th to be entered into a drawing for a $200 gift certificate to West Seattle businesses of your choice!

Remember, you have until 7PM, Sunday, Dec. 13th to keep hunting and submit your selfies to WinterWander2020@gmail.com

Winter Wanderers Vanessa and son
Winter Wanderers!
Wanderers spot Olaf
Two young women pose in front of a wreathed door.
More Wanderers!
Join the West Seattle “Winter Wander” Scavenger Hunt

Join the West Seattle “Winter Wander” Scavenger Hunt

Hey, West Seattle, let’s start a new holiday tradition. Winter Wander is a free, neighborhood scavenger hunt and everyone is invited.

It will run from 5PM, Friday, December 4, 2020 until 7PM, Sunday, December 13, 2020.

Download the details about how to join the Winter Wander here.

Download the official clue sheet here.

Download the clue map here.

Sponsored by Alice Kuder, REALTOR®, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate, AND Just in Case: Disaster Preparedness Services.

details about West Seattle scavenger hunt
Winter Wander is free and open to all West Seattle residents.
Get Tips Galore at Ready Freddy Workshop

Get Tips Galore at Ready Freddy Workshop

The Ready Freddy Workshop, sponsored by Just in Case, makes getting prepared for emergencies fun!

Are you ready to dip your toes in the pool of information about emergency preparedness, but not ready to dive into the deep end? Join the fun on Sunday, March 1st, 2020 for a 30-minute presentation to learn about small steps you can take to get yourself and your home ready in case “The Big One” hits. There will be plenty of time and opportunity for Q & A at the end, so plan to stay longer.

At our Ready Freddy Workshop, Alice Kuder, founder of Just in Case, will share all kinds of useful information, including supply checklists, instruction sheets and “Help/OK” signs for you to take home. 

The workshop is limited to 15 participants and costs just $8/group (bring friends, family, co-workers) if you pre-register, or $10 at the door. The presentation is appropriate for all ages. To register, go to: bit.ly/3-1-20.

Everyone who attends will receive a stainless steel, multi-purpose tool. All attendees qualify to win a “Go Kit” duffle bag full of emergency supplies!

Date/time: 3PM, Sunday, March 1st, 2020

Location: West Seattle Coworking, 6040 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98136

Stainless steel, multi-purpose tool
Duffle bag with emergency supplies
Should you buy a Home Warranty?

Should you buy a Home Warranty?

If you haven’t purchased a home in the last 10 years (or even if you have), you may never have heard of a Home Warranty.

According to marketing literature published by 2-10 Home Warranty, there is a 68% chance that major systems or appliances in a home will fail in any given year. So, if you have older appliances, a home warranty may be worth examining.

A Home Warranty is similar to an insurance policy, but is actually a service plan. The cost of the plan, paid monthly or annually, covers the cost of repair or replacement of major systems and appliances such as HVAC, water heater, refrigerator, etc. Most companies have several plans to choose from, with fees as low as $30/month. You should expect to pay between $400-$500/year for a worthwhile plan. There is also a service call fee, which is typically about $75 per incident.

For example, let’s say that you have a service agreement in place and your oven goes out. You call the warranty company, pay the $75-ish service call fee, and they send out a qualified technician to assess the situation. Assuming the oven’s failure was due to every-day wear-and-tear, the warranty company will replace the existing oven with a new one of comparable quality at no additional cost to you. Figuring the average cost of a major appliance to be anywhere from $500 and up, you can see the potential savings.

It’s worth noting that not all home warranty companies are equally dependable when it comes to paying out claims, and consumer complaints are not uncommon. Consumer Reports offers some sound advice about searching out good companies and also some alternatives to buying a warranty.

Do not confuse a home warranty with homeowner’s insurance, which your mortgage lender likely required when you took out your home loan. Homeowner’s insurance covers the loss of your house from incidents (hazards) such as fire, storms or vandalism.

To add another wrinkle, the terms “homeowner’s insurance” and “hazard insurance” are sometimes used interchangeably. In reality, hazard insurance covers the loss of the structure, whereas homeowner’s insurance covers the loss of the structure AND your personal possessions and liability. The two are typically sold together and should be reviewed every few years to make sure that your coverage limits are keeping up with inflation. Your insurance broker will be happy to help you.

Brain Hacks For Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Brain Hacks For Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Can you use brain hacks for keeping your New Year’s Resolutions  (aka, goals)? Absolutely!  You will be more successful if you put yourself in the right frame of mind.

Even if you skip the whole New Year’s resolution tradition, you may still want to read this article since the information applies equally to other goals, both personal and professional. (“A rose by any other name…”)

Choose wisely: Limit yourself to one significant goal/resolution that is truly important to you. If you’re having trouble choosing, writing out a list of pros/cons for each may help.

Commit publicly: Consult others who know you well and ask them to help you choose a resolution you have a good shot at keeping. Then enlist their support. Distance yourself from any nay-sayers, and monitor your negative self-talk.

Break it down: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It’s the same with goals. They need to be whittled down to manageable steps.

Measure your progress: Check items off a list or cross out days on the calendar or any other way you want to keep track. A sense of accomplishment will keep you motivated and lead to taking yet another positive step forward.

Visualize your success: Create a vision board, create an appropriate screen saver, post sticky-notes on your bathroom mirror, etc.  Whatever it takes to keep your goal in your line of vision and on your mind. Check out DesignWizard.com which has all kinds of ideas for helping you create an online vision board.

Celebrate your success: Be careful, however, that your celebration doesn’t entail anything that will sabotage your goal. E.g. rewarding yourself with a cookie may not be the best way to celebrate if you’re trying to shed pounds.

Be kind to yourself: In the words of St. Teresa of Avila, “Today, may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.”

Here’s a suggestion. Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to be, “get prepared for disasters“!

Wishing you a peaceful and prosperous 2020!

What Goes Where? The Recycling Conundrum

What Goes Where? The Recycling Conundrum

What Goes Where? The Recycling Conundrum

We all know recycling is good for our environment and our communities, but it can get confusing. How do you know what can be recycled? And how should you recycle it? Check out the recycling tips and website links below to answer these questions.

Paper: Paper is recyclable. Include mail, office paper and envelopes, booklets and magazines cardboard (free of food waste), cake, cracker and cereal boxes (remove the insert that held the food and flatten the box to save space). Paper you cannot recycle includes carbon paper, wax paper and tissue paper.

Plastic: Plastics with a 1 or 2 on the bottom of the container are usually recyclable. These include beverage bottles*, shampoo bottles, cleaning bottles, and some food containers. Plastics not usually recyclable include margarine and yogurt type containers and plastic cutlery.

Aluminum: Recycle soda and juice cans, aluminum foil, pie tins, bottle caps, and other aluminum items. To recycle cans, rinse them and remove any labels. Crushing them will create more space for storage.

Glass: Glass bottles and jars may be recycled once the lids and caps are removed. No need to remove labels. Typically, treated glass (like broken plates and colored glass), window glass and incandescent light bulbs are not accepted.

Cell Phones: Recycle your used cell phones by taking them to your service provider or a store such as Staples or Best Buy, which has a drop bin for phones. You could also find a local charity that takes used cell phone donations. Either way, make sure you clear all personal data and information from the phone before recycling it.

What about composting? If you live in the CIty of Seattle, put all your food scraps, moldy leftovers, greasy pizza boxes and dirty napkins in your Food & Yard waste cart. It gets turned into rich compost, which closes the loop – feeding the soil to help grow more food and support the environment.

Still confused? (You’re not alone.) Check out the SPU website search set up to help you figure out Where It Goes.

Still have questions? The Seattle Public Utilities website has more answers.

If you prefer mobile apps, “Recycle it” is a smartphone and tablet app that offers Seattle Public Utilities solid waste customers convenient access to information about their recycling, compost, and garbage services. Customers can find their collection day, get answers to common recycling questions, and report some service issues.  iPhone users can download the app from the App Store and Android users can download the app from the Google Play Store. You can also search either store for “Seattle Garbage and Recycling.”  

Thanks for doing your part!

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Now that Fall is officially here and a chill will soon be in the air, we naturally spend more time indoors and less in the fresh air. There are a few simple things we can do to improve the indoor air quality in our homes.

1) Change your air filters.

If you have an HVAC unit, you have air filters. These hardworking filters sift out impurities in the air so that they don’t wind up in your lungs. If you’re super sensitive and live with furry friends, replace your air filters every month or two. If you don’t use the heating and cooling system often, you can stretch that to twice per year. You could also purchase air purifiers for your home to keep pollutants down.

2) Dust and vacuum often.

Dust doesn’t just look bad, it’s made of pet dander, human skin cells, dirt, grime, pollen and a lot more unpleasant stuff that causes all sorts of health issues. Suck it up!

3) Inspect for Mold.

Mold spores are everywhere, but when living in your house, they can trigger pesky allergies and make you miserable. To ensure your home doesn’t have any dangerous mold growth, do a walk-through and know where to look. Mold loves humid, damp areas. This means your bathroom, washing machine, kitchen, attic and basement are prime real estate for all types of mold. If you spot a suspicious area, use an at-home mold testing kit to determine if it’s harmful. You can treat most molds with a bleach solution, proper drainage and a dehumidifier. Very few types of mold are actually harmful, but it’s best to be on the lookout to keep your home comfortable.

4) Install a Smart Thermostat.

Smart thermostats do so much for your home. Not only do they help you save money on energy, but they can also monitor your air quality.  They can even send air quality alerts to your phone.

As always, if you want to know more, contact me at 206-708-9800 and/or Alice@AliceKuder.com. I’m here to help!

Alexa, change your name

Alexa, change your name

How to be More Secure in your Smart Home

Smart home devices are all the rage. Raise your hand if you bought or received one (or more) this past holiday season.

From virtual voice assistants to thermostats to keyless door locks, life at home is getting easier, but is it more secure, or less secure?It depends, in part, on how secure your home Wi-Fi system is.

Here are some TIPS on how to help ensure your privacy while enjoying those devices.

1) Consider changing your virtual voice assistant’s name so strangers can’t control her.

2) Install a Smart Home Cybersecurity Hub to protect your internet-connected devices from malware, stolen passwords, identity theft and spying.

3) Read (yes, actually read) the privacy policies for each of your smart devices and call the manufacturers, if necessary, to find out if they use end-to-end encryption, so no third parties can decipher the data being communicated or stored.

Sigh. If only hackers would use their powers for good instead of evil…