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Stage of Life® is a free blogging community for homeowners.  Get involved with our educational mission:  Share your experiences about home ownership, remodeling advice, DIY projects, gardening tips or memories and personal stories about the homes you've lived in throughout your life.  Or...take some time to explore our home ownership resources, such as homeowner etiquette, quotes about home ownership, statistics about home ownership, videos for homeowners, or save money with coupons for homeowners.  Whether you're renting, buying, remodeling or simply living in your home, we look forward to reading your essays about and helping you save money on home ownership.  Get started now...

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Recent Writing Contest Winners

Winning Essay WritersWinning Writing Contest EssaysBefore you scroll down to read the essays, stories, and blogs being submitted to StageofLife.com, let's celebrate the recent writing contest winners.  We select one essay each month from across all of the non-student life stages to win our monthly blogging contests

Basically...these winning essays are selected from all of you "grown-ups" out there writing on Stage of Life...

Past Writing Contest Winners

Homeowner Stories

I have two cousins (a father and a son) stay with me for four months while they did a work project. I didn't ask for them to pay rent or anything. The only thing I asked is for any increases in the utilities to be paid. They bought their own groceries, but never replenished any of the items (dish/laundry detergent, paper towels, etc) in the house. They did use regular items (spices, etc) for cooking. They never offered to help with anything financially. They only assisted whi...
Falling In love all over agan The holidays to me are the ones best enjoyed during the fall season. When you live in a big city like chicago , being surrounded by Deep Dish Pizza, Hot Dogs , Popcorn and cheesecake, and you cant afford to travel. Nonthing feels better than awaiting the star studded nights, Fall weather, colorful leaves, crisp air, beautiful cloudy days, and most of all comfort foods. The hots days of Chicago can be intense. But the Days of the fall, are ...
I told my kids I wanted a bag of nuts for Christmas this year. Not just any nuts—Almonds. Cocoa dust covered almonds. My children looked at me like I was a nut. I told them when I was a little girl my father would receive a small container of peanuts from his mother-in-law each Christmas. I remembered thinking, “Poor Dad. The only thing Grandma gets him for Christmas is a can of nuts.” Now that I am older I understand how great a gift this actually was. Nuts are versat...
A year ago, my family moved from the city to a more provincial town a few miles north. Our new street was full of pricey homes with extravagant landscaping. The neighborhood lived up to the name Oak Tree, and was full of mature trees. Coming from a less "gardened" section of Oklahoma City, my husband and I were uncertain how to pep up our new yard. Following suggestions, we called a landscaper.The man presented a complicated set of drawings. His eyes shone bright and I ...
Becoming a homeowner not only gave me the feeling of adult responsibility and independence, it revealed an unexpected side of myself and infused in me a passion that occupied all my free time. At first, I worked in the yard to avoid housework and to tame the previous owner’s overgrown hodgepodge of random vegetation. Once I had removed the weeds, the garden looked empty. So, I went to the garden center and picked up something pretty that was on sale. It promptly died fr...
It all depends on how you look at life. In June my family and I moved from our cozy little home in Pennsylvania to an idyllic community in Illinois about an hour outside of Chicago. When we lived in Pennsylvania my husband’s constant travel schedule back and forth to his job in Illinois prompted us to take a look at our “family together time” and re-prioritize what’s the most important aspects of our lives. We left so much behind - familiarity, our families, our co...
So you plan to relocate to a new place - you're either moving out of the neighborhood because the family needs a bigger home, or you're moving to a different city for professional reasons. There could be a million reasons why the house that you own and currently live in, could be put on the market for resale. One of the things that you're likely to be looking at is Chicago moving companies to help you with your packing and relocation. H...
The sound of burgers sizzling on the grill and the wonderful aroma wafting through the air churns up memories for most anyone. Myself in particular, it reminds me of late summer days as our lives make the transition from laid back vacation time to the hectic schedules of school and work. The backyard begins to rebound from the constant trampling of children running and playing through its grass. The toys that have spent the summer strewn across the yard have been collected...
Ok this page is coming again and again So I ask this- Ok How to share a story on stageoflife.com?...
Home owners are quick to come up with big and bold ideas when they are considering remodeling their homes, but before the most unique of ideas are put into motion, home owners need to be aware of how those changes will effect a possible future sale. Even if home owners do not plan on moving, one reason they choose to remodel is to raise the value of their homes. Home owners need to understand that sometimes the most extravagant of ideas only diminish home value. Forbes giv...
Ritu was born to a middle class family from India. In her arrival into this world, her mother cried, her dad refused to see her and her relatives stayed away as if she had an incurable disease. Her grandmother abused her mother for giving birth to another girl. Her elder sister looked helplessly at the mother and the new arrival with sadness in her eyes and wondered what was wrong.After much adieu, she was brought home from the hospital but the drama did not end there. Fe...
Some people renovate their homes to rectify damage, others do so to make the home into their own, still others renovate in order to make it more easy to sell. Whatever your reason, it’s important to be aware of how renovations impact home value and what to expect from your post-renovation home appraisal. The Appraisal Foundation has come up with a few tips to help you maximize your appraisal.Value doesn’t equal home value plus reno costIf you thought appraising a home’s p...
The tricks for maximizing your lithium-ion battery’s useful lifespan—that is, the number of times you can recharge it before it no longer accepts a charge—are pretty basic. Three things will prematurely age a lithium-ion battery: consistently draining it to the automatic shutdown point, exposing it to heat, and overcharging/overvoltage-charging. That last practice is actually dangerous and can lead to fire or even an explosion.The most obvious battery-draining component t...
March Madness: David and Goliath A rapid knock on the door. An unexpected phone call. A siren heard in the distance. A tragedy on the news. These things have all caused a sense of panic in various ways over the years. Madness and mental illness are such horrific twins; companions conjoined in the dark. Yet, I wonder will it always be so? Mental illness is no laughing matter to those who have witnessed the cycles of a bipolar...
How do I start..we moved into a rental in 2011 nice view of the lake, the homes are a little closer together than we wanted or are used to, we have an elderly couple next door the husband in his late 60's wife early 80's she is getting dementia and wanders, we are always friendly and help them when they ask here and there and we even borrow a tool at times from them, we are a very busy family with work, sports, and projects, they always seem to come over to talk just as I pul...
The Olympic Spirit: Go for the Gold "How many can I miss and pass?” screamed a rambunctious fourth-grader as the class hunkered down to take a four hour writing assessment early one Monday morning. Those words, unbeknownst to the nine-year old, were like an arrow that pierced my heart; words no teacher desires to hear. In that moment, the spirit of an Olympian rose up in me as I stopped the test and gave the class what I like to call “a little pep talk” o...
You want the interior of your home to reflect your taste, your style, your personality — but you may not be able to find the right furnishings at a major department store. With a little bit of effort, though, you can hand-craft items that will make your home uniquely you.Following are some items you can make that will help you personalize your space.CurtainsAn easy way to add personality to your living space is to make your own curtains. Head to your local ...
How are you at making decisions? I’m big on intuition (ask Myers or her mother, Briggs); but I’m kind of wishy-washy if I don’t have a mountain of information and the results of surveying at least half the people on the East Coast. Retired, I’m having a terrible time deciding what to do first. Life was so much easier before I retired. Go to work early, come home late, do what I could in the evening and on weekends, feel content. Now, by the end of the day, it’s what I cou...
I have something to admit. I am addicted to watching HGTV shows like House Hunters, My First Place, Property Brothers, and Love It or List It. I’m a junkie, and I could spend hours watching people decide their house futures. I love to see renovations in an hour. I love to see people weigh pros and cons of a potential home. I often find myself yelling at the television, “Go for the cute bungalow on the tree lined street” or “How could you choose that boring, beige, coo...
When you buy a house you always have a fear behind you. At least I did. When I was young, only 20, I ended up buying my first house. It was not the most pleasant of experiences. Not only did I have no idea what to look for in buying a home I was also in a time crunch. I was trying to find a home for my family in a desperate situation and we needed to move as soon as possible. Why didn’t we just rent? Well, for one the price to rent at the time was far more than to buy a house...
My boyfriends brother and his wife come to visit us a few weeks ago. We live in a resort area, so they wanted to stay at our house, so my boyfriend told them yes. Well the first day was fine, until the next day I went to work, a few hours later my boyfriend called and said his brother fell over the dog fence and he was taking him to the hospital. I asked my boyfriend how did he do that, he replied that he told his brother to open the gate and not to step over it several of ti...
Does your backyard patio need some attention? There’s a lot you can do to make your outdoor space feel more inviting and livable — and many upgrades are relatively inexpensive.Following are some ways you can make your patio a place you want to be.Use colorIf you have a gray or brown patio and wood furniture with neutral cushions, the overall look can be a little uninspiring. One quick and affordable way to make your space stand out is to add pops of color....
The right tools can make any project easier, but how do you know which tools are the right ones? Staple guns are a fantastic way to make fast work of everything from craft projects to home improvement tasks, but first you have to know which staple gun is the best one for the job. Following are a few details on the different types of staple guns and their various uses.Manual staple gunsManual staple guns are just what they sound like: They’re powered by hand, ra...
Whenever I think of people moving two things always pop into my head. 1) Based on the location of the house (city, spread-out town, farmland, middle-of-nowhere, etc.) how do the children in the area go about their trick-or-treating on Halloween? 2) Is a piece of advice I heard from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun which basically says that with all the chaos involved in moving from one home to another it is important to create one room that is all your own where you can go when...
Today’s financial climate being what it is, many home owners are forced into distress selling or constrained to accept a price that is not commensurate with the real value of their property. In many ways, today is a buyer’s market. But it doesn’t have to be so. Here are some tips that will help you get the best possible price for your property:Understand what your property is really worthYou may have a number in mind – but is that number realistic? What you hav...
Many of us enjoy a little gambling now and then. It may be because the easy extra money we can make from it or because of the rush we get from taking that risk. Whatever the reason, as long as it does not become a serious addiction, we all enjoy it. And with the entry of the internet in every sphere of our lives, the gambling zone has not gone untouched. There are a number of sites which provide the online gambling on various games and events, e.g. horse racing, college footb...
Unfinished wood furniture is, as the name suggests, unfinished. Typically the furniture would be made from solid wood such as pine, maple, teak, oak, beech and so on, but it would be unfinished in terms of its stain, polish, varnish, paint or glaze. This would then be completed by the purchaser to get the look and effect desired.Is unfinished furniture the right choice for you?If you are the do it yourself type of person, unfinished furniture is ...
London is huge, with one of the largest and densest populations in the Western World. Traffic jams are commonplace, the London Underground is often more crowded than it probably should be allowed to be, and just walking down some streets (*cough*Oxford Street*cough*) can prove a mission in itself. Jobs are hard to come by, yet still demand never fails to outstrip supply, and Londoners always have to deal with waiting – whether it's waiting for a coffee in the morning or waiti...
One year ago, I posted an editor’s welcome on this life stage, suggesting that emergencies would be an outstanding topic for homeowners or others to write about for Stage of Life. You didn’t see it, did you? You may be new to the website, maybe you weren’t a homeowner, you might have been on vacation; maybe you had an emergency. Since it’s such an important subject and a rich idea-popper for writers, I’m going to repeat and expand on what I wrote earlier. ...
Homeowners’ Associations (HOA) are organized by real estate developers who build community subdivisions of single-family homes, condominiums or townhomes. Typically, membership in an HOA is a condition of purchase although some HOAs offer voluntary membership. In a voluntary association the owner can choose not to join and pay dues. HOAs all have a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R) which applies to all homeowners whether they are members of the ...

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