March 2007 Newsletter
We hope you'll take some time to snuggle up and enjoy the newsletter about love, life and marriage! We are excited to offer you this newsletter designed to help newlyweds with useful resources and advice and of course, we encourage you to keep dancing and romancing! We wish you a happily ever after! Sincerely, Mrs. Deborah Joy and Mr. Brian Block, Founders of The Wedding Dance Specialists
Marriage Maintenance: Coupons That Save More Than Money!
Coupons? What do coupons have to do with keeping the romance in your relationship? It’s simple really. This gift can be given without spending any money so it really saves! Create a gift for your loved one, by creating your own coupon book. Your coupons can range from an incredibly romantic evening, hugs and kisses, or even helping with chores you would really rather not do.
Here is a list of suggestions you may want to use for your own book!
- One hour massage on a night of your choice
- One half hour of listening without talking (this is especially useful and appreciated during an argument)
- One date of your choice (even if it’s a football game or a chick flick movie)
- One night wearing that teddy with the hose and garter etc (the one he really likes that is extremely uncomfortable for you!)
- One strip tease
List items that you are willing to do but may not do often or at all for your spouse. Just keep in mind that whatever you list, you need to follow through with and follow through with a great attitude. Your spouse will appreciate your coupon all the more!
Filling the Nest: Raising a Happy Child
We all want to have our children grow up and be happy but sometimes I don’t think we realize how much we have control of that. It is not unusual for psychologists to state that their patient’s issues have a foundation that stems from the experiences they had when they were little. Parents have an enormous responsibility to their children for their happiness.
Parents need to provide a supportive, positive environment for their children. This will set the tone for everything else you do with them. Your child needs to know that they can talk with you and express their feelings no matter what those feelings are. Connecting with your children helps provide this atmosphere and sets the tone on how you deal with your child.
The following list has suggestions on what you can do to get re-connected to your child:
- Encourage your child by allowing open communication. Set aside your mealtime or have frequent family meetings to encourage your child to express their opinions and feelings.
- Praise your child when they do something well or right and do it often. Build up their self-esteem and tell them how much you like the little things that they do. When you notice the small things, your child knows your paying attention and not just saying empty words.
- Establish limits. Your child needs to know what behaviors are acceptable and what aren’t. Make sure you outline and fully explain the boundaries before hand so that there is no misunderstanding or your rules and guidelines.
- Enjoy playing games and having fun with your child. If they know you are being silly just because they want you to act silly, they feel important. Encourage your child to play with other children who have some of the characteristics your child needs to learn. Many times they will learn to be cooperative and understand how to work with others through the lessons they learn during playtime. If there are issues with your child and other children while they are playing, interact and play with them. This helps encourage your child and will help them learn to play together. Positive supervised time allows your child to feel safe while learning to explore and play with their friends.
- Make sure your home is the safe haven your child needs. Your child should always feel safe and comfortable at home.
- Make sure you provided time for children to express themselves. Painting, dancing (we offer dance classes for children 6 and older) or other free forms that encourage self-expression are a great way for your child to figure out who they are and what they enjoy.
- Take time to listen to your child. So many times we answer their questions without really listening to what they are asking. Granted, there are times when they ask questions that are at extremely inconvenient times, but that’s when we usually fail as parents. If you aren’t focusing on their question, you may find yourself granting a grounded child permission to watch television just to be able to finish doing what ever it was that you were working on. Take the 5 minutes to listen to them and answer their questions. It will save you a lot of hassle later and show your child that they really are important to you!
Vendor Special Offers
We have done market research, pre-screened and personally used these vendors and negotiated these savings on your behalf to save you time, money and energy so you can focus on enjoying newlywed bliss! Click on the banners below to view their web sites.
Brian Block - Realtor, RE/MAX Allegiance - licensed in DC and Virginia
Now that you are about to merge your life with your fiance, you may be looking to sell or purchase real estate. Click the banner below to leisurely view DC Metro Area homes from the comfort of your home. Brian Block is a Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney. 703-626-0715. Present this coupon to receive:
1. Information about upcoming, local FREE Home buyer's Seminar with expert advice from a real estate professional and a mortgage lender. (value priceless)
Saturday, March 31st, 10:30 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m., Ellen Coolidge Burke Library located at 4701 Seminary RD, Alexandria, VA from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (complimentary lunch provided) RSVP 703-626-0715.
2. A FREE HOME APPRAISAL (value $350)
3. 2 FREE private ballroom dance lessons when you use his services for purchasing your home. (value $170)
Bob Prather- Certified Mortgage Planner, Nations Home Funding
"We trusted Bob to handle our first home purchase and refinance and were very pleased with his services. Since then, we have recommended him to many people over the years."- Brian and Deborah Joy Block
For over 20 years, Bob has assisted individuals and families with their financial decisions. He has years of experience in Management, Financial Counseling, Mortgage Finance Instruction and is a Certified Mortgage Planner. Bob is humbled by his responsibility to serve his family, clients and Creator with the highest level of integrity and stewardship. Nations Home Funding, Inc. provides full mortgage planning, mortgage financing, and mortgage management services. Being a lender and a broker, Nations Home Funding is able to competitively service a wide range of client needs. See his article below in "Dollars and Sense". Contact: 703-919-0288 Present this coupon and let him know The Wedding Dance Specialists referred you to receive a $500 lender credit when you close a loan using the services of Bob Prather.
Brian Block and Bob Prather are jointly hosting a FREE HOME BUYER'S SEMINAR (details above). See you there!
Check out the feedback from some past attendees:
"Brian and Bob presented excellent information in a very understandable way"
"I loved the good question and answer session and it was great that you guys were not pushy and trying to sell yourselves"
"Great seminar -- I'm so glad I attended. Very educational"
Dollars and Sense : Credit Tips to Score Lower Rates by Bob Prather, Certified Mortgage Planner, Nations Home Funding
A good credit score translates into lower interest rates for home-shopping borrowers. In a mortgage lender's eyes, the higher your score is, the less risk you are, and the more likely it is you will pay off your debt. For this reason, borrowers with lower scores usually end up paying higher interest rates on their loans. If this is you, don't panic. There are a number of things you can do to adjust your credit score to receive a favorable review from the underwriter. Here are a few suggestions:
Should I pay off all my past due balances and charge-offs?
This is usually a good idea, but you only need to worry about the past due balances and charge-offs that have occurred in the last two years. Items more than two years old have little effect on your current credit score. In fact, if you pay off delinquent items over two years old, it can actually bring your credit score down - something you don't want to do. Bringing that score up means you'll get a better interest rate on your loan.
Should I close existing credit card accounts that I don't use?
No. Part of your credit score is based upon credit history. If you have old credit cards that you don't use very much, you still have the benefit of the credit history they represent. Rather than trying to pay off all your credit cards, you can move part of the debt from one card to another to even out the distribution of debt. Try to keep balances as close to zero as possible, and definitely below 30% of the available credit limit when trying to purchase a home. Also, if your credit provider will increase your line of credit, the ratio of debt to available credit is automatically reduced.
When married couples have separate credit card accounts, the debt can be transferred from one spouse to another to clear up credit issues for the other spouse. That spouse with clean credit can be designated as the sole borrower on the loan, but ownership of the home can still go in both names.
What about errors on my credit report?
If you have items that are showing up on your credit report that you know you have already paid, request that these items be removed by the credit bureau. They are obligated to rectify this within 30 days. If there are items on your credit report that are less than two years old, send in your payment if possible and mark the back of the check with the following notation: "Accepting this check is evidence that the transaction is complete and this charge will be deleted from my credit record." If necessary, the cancelled check will be proof that this should be promptly removed from your credit report if it interferes with the closing of your loan.
Whatcha Cooking Good Looking? Pecan Crusted Salmon
4 (4- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter melted
1-½ tablespoons honey
¼ cup soft breadcrumbs
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
Garnish: fresh parsley springs, lemon slices
Sprinkle: salmon with salt and pepper. Place fillets, skin side down, in a lightly greased 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan. Combine Dijon mustard, butter, and honey; brush on fillets. Combine breadcrumbs, pecans, and parsley, spoon mixture evenly on top of each fillet. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Garnish if desired.
Everyday Etiquette: Live-In Help Reprinted in part from Letitia Baldrige’s Complete Guide to The New Manners.
Extended family support systems, Housekeepers and nannies are a familiar and common practice around the world. Due to the demanding high stress schedules of American couples and the lack of large family support structures, outsourcing daycare, errands, and housekeeping tasks has become increasingly popular in America. For busy couples juggling career, family, activities, social commitments, and the home these professionals become indispensable. If you are one of the many working families who have hired outsiders to help you with your housework or children, here is some simple etiquette reminders that most of us know, but still need to be reminded of:
- Treat them with the same respect as you would with anyone else. Treat them as if they are professionals who should have pride in their jobs.
- Outline their duties and fully explain what is expected of them. Ensure that they have the resources to do the job and that they are fully trained. It’s easy to forget that you may do something around your house different from someone else. Make sure your directions and specifics are written down.
- Make sure you are following the Department of Labor guidelines for number of hours worked and the amount of time off that is mandatory.
- Remember to say please and thank you and praise their efforts when they have done a good job. These three things are easily forgotten to those who are always on the run, but it makes a huge difference in creating a staff that is happy with their employer and their job.
- Remember, you do not own your employee just because you are paying them. If you treat your employee with respect when asking them to do work, they will respect you in return.
- Do not criticize any employee to others or in front of others. Once you open the door and talk down about another employee especially to other staff, you automatically make the person wonder what you are saying behind their back and trust you less. If one of your staff has done something wrong, take them aside privately and fully and calmly explain the problem and a future solution.
- If your cook or maid lives with you. Make sure they have private quarters. Do not let your children roam freely in their room.
- If there are birthdays or other major family holidays, it is a courtesy to invite your live in staff.
Great Vacations: Bangkok and Phuket, Thailand
Our big vacation of the year was an amazing 11 day trip to Thailand from November 28th through December 8th. After surviving the grueling 21 hours of flight time and getting a brief reprieve to enjoy an authentic sushi lunch at Tokyo airport during a layover, we finally arrived in Bangkok. In Bangkok we toured the wondrous temples and Grand Palace where we saw awe-inspiring golden and emerald Buddhas, We spent an entire day exploring and shopping at Chatuchak Weekend Market – 35 acres of the largest outdoor market in the world (selling everything from fine furniture to clothes, to artwork, to pets(!), to food, to pure junk!) We enjoyed sitting ringside at a Muay Thai fight (Thai Kick boxing), and toured the river and canals aboard a long tail boat driven by a 9 year old Thai kid smoking a cigarette! We then flew to Phuket and spent some time on one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever seen. We rode an elephant, had monkeys eat bananas from our hands, toured Phang Na Bay and James Bond Island, visited a floating Muslim fishing village, and went sea kayaking through numerous caves. While in Phuket we also had several suits and shirts custom tailored. Be prepared for very hot and humid weather and a lot of walking and allow yourself 14 days. It was such an exotic and romantic trip! We highly recommend it to everyone!