Dear Jack: Your New Pet Teddy Bear Hamster Named Alpha

9 years old.

Dear Jack,

Well, it happened. We did it.

Mommy and I let you get our family’s first ever pet.

You decided on a Teddy Bear Hamster who you named Alpha.

With this being our first week into it, as the nice helpful lady at Petco explained, it’s going to take several days for your hamster to get accustomed to our family.

So each day after school, as a family, we have been letting him out of his cage and so he can get used to us petting his back.

Hopefully soon, we’ll be at the point where you can easily pick him up and hold him.

I think this is a good thing for you!

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Holly: You Joined the Parking Lot Sword Fight at Your Brother’s Birthday Party

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend for the end of your brother’s birthday, we let him along with ten other 9 year-olds run around the cul-de-sac with inflatable snake-shaped swords.

It reminded me of the gang fight in the 1983 movie The Outsiders– just a never-ending, chaotic feud of violence.

Granted, it helped in our case that the only weapons were inflatable.

You were just in luck, because there happened to be one extra snake sword.

Without any prodding, you gladly joined the mass sword fight.

The funny thing is, none of the boys realized you were fighting them.

But the whole time, you were laughing mischievously as if you were secretly winning the fight!

Love,

Daddy

 

How to Make Funeral Arrangements at the Last Minute

Did your loved one unexpectedly pass away? Your next step is to plan a funeral on short notice. Discover how to make funeral arrangements quickly.

How often do you think about dying? Even if you don’t obsess about your own death, you might think about what might happen if someone you love dies.

What would you do if a family member, partner, or close friend died unexpectedly and you had the job of planning their funeral?

Unless you’ve made a career of it, or you’ve planned the funerals for other loved ones, you have no idea how to make funeral arrangements. You’re not alone, and shouldn’t be at a time like this.

We want to take a minute and help you prepare for this difficult event. Read this post, print it out or save it in your archives. You’ll have a step-by-step plan at your fingertips.

Work with a Checklist

In a perfect world, you’d have time to talk with your loved one ahead of time. If you’re dealing with an unexpected death, you won’t have the luxury of knowing what they wanted for their final goodbye.

Making a funeral checklist as soon as possible after the death will make the rest of the planning process go smoothly.

The checklist should come before you set the funeral budget. Get together with other immediate family members and ask for input. Funerals have a way of bringing even the most disconnected families together and you should take care to not leave anyone out.

Make an extra effort to include people who’ve committed to helping you pay for the funeral expenses. A funeral checklist should include the following details:

  • Funeral Venue
  • Size
  • Viewing
  • Funeral Officiant
  • Reception

These are the basics, but you and your family should feel free to modify the checklist to serve your unique needs.

Put Together the Funeral Budget

What a relief if your loved one put money aside for their funeral expenses! Sometimes that isn’t possible, and you’ll end up covering the costs. If that’s the case with your situation, it’s up to you and your family to determine how much you can spend.

Planning a funeral and doing it with a budget in mind, doesn’t have to divide the family.

Emotions usually run high when a family faces the death of a person they love. Each person deals with the loss in their own way. Sometimes that includes going overboard with extravagant funeral details.

Putting together a budget and sticking with it can help make the entire funeral planning process easier for everyone.

The Money Talk

In 2019, the average funeral cost is between $7,000 and $9,000. Buying the casket is often your highest expense. If you’ve decided on cremation, you may spend anywhere from $2000-$4000.

Paying for a funeral is difficult enough if you’re on your own and don’t have the money. If you have siblings or other family members who want to have a say in things, it’s even harder.

While you certainly can’t force anyone to contribute, you should present the budget and the funeral checklist so that everyone who needs to be involved gains an understanding of how much money you’ll need.

It’s easiest if each person can pay an equal amount towards the costs. Maybe you have family members who can’t afford to pay as much as the others. Whatever you do, don’t make them feel uncomfortable—encourage them to contribute what they can (if anything) financially.

You’ll have plenty of tasks you can divide up among the group. Allow people to share in that aspect of the funeral so that they feel like they’re contributing something even if it’s not money.

Is There a Life Insurance Policy?

Another blessing many people forget about when a loved one dies suddenly is a life insurance policy.

It’s great if you’re the beneficiary of a policy because it’s possible you can use the money for funeral expenses. Contact the insurance company for instructions about filing a claim. Keep in mind that you may need to cover the funeral initially while waiting for the claim processing.

Don’t rule out seeking help with funeral expenses from a church or other community group where your loved one had ties. Also, if they were a veteran, check with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for information on filing a claim.

Taking Care of the Body

No one wants to think about transporting a loved one’s body, but it’s a necessary part of the planning process.

Nursing homes and hospitals take care of moving the body to a funeral home. If the person dies at home or away from a healthcare facility, a coroner typically comes and officially pronounces the death.

Depending on your location, your state may require an autopsy. You’ll pay to transport the body to a morgue for the autopsy, and then to the funeral home.

Another part of taking care of your loved one’s remains deals with paperwork such as the Death Registration, Death Certificate, Burial Permit. Usually, you can get information on these forms from the Department of Health, also called the Department of Statistics in some counties.

Planning the Funeral Service

Now you can plan the funeral or memorial service for your loved one.

The traditional funeral service consists of 3 parts:

  • Visitation
  • Service
  • Burial

If you decide on a traditional funeral, you can hold the visitation and service at a funeral home. You can also hold the service at a place of worship. If you prefer a unique funeral service, consider any of the following locations:

  • A hotel
  • A boat
  • At home

People also hold funeral services in parks or natural areas. If your loved one enjoyed the ocean, consider a seaside service.

A viewing isn’t necessary, but do plan a service or memorial where people can come and say goodbye.

Now You Know How to Make Funeral Arrangements

Even though it’s not something any of us want to dwell on, it’s helpful to have a plan for the day a loved one dies.

Making a funeral checklist, putting together a budget, taking care of the business side of death, and finally planning the service is all part of knowing how to make funeral arrangements.

After reading this, hopefully, you feel more prepared for that day when it comes.

If you found this post helpful, continue reading through our archives. You’ll find articles on everything family. Thanks for reading!

 

Our Family Visited the “Down On The Farm” Pumpkin Patch in Rainsville, Alabama

The very next day after our family Jeep drive to Noccalula Falls for our son’s Fall Break, we took an even shorter drive from Fort Payne, Alabama; to the neighboring town of Rainsville to check out their “Down On The Farm” pumpkin patch.

While we indeed go to a pumpkin patch every fall as a family, there’s a chance this might have been our kids’ favorite.

I think this had a lot to do with how the whole place was pretty much one big fall-themed playground.

The highlight would certainly have to be what my kids referred to as the “corn swimming pool”. They enjoyed taking turns going down the slide… into a pool of corn. It was also fun to get buried in the cool pool, as well; similar to getting buried in the sand at the beach.

So check out these pictures of the fun our family had if you are considering visiting “Down On The Farm”. I have a feeling your family will have a great time too!

Dear Holly: These are the Good Ole Days!

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

Something I keep reminding myself is, “These are the good ole days.”

With Mommy and I both working full-time jobs, plus living and working in the always busy and congested Nashville area, it can be the default to not “live in the moment.”

But I think it helps that I take so many pictures of our family and write letters to you and your brother, as it causes me to sort of bookmark each phase of your life; as well as helping me remember recent memories- like when we went to Lake Tahoe this past summer.

I refuse to be so busy that I forget that these truly are the good ole days!

Love,

Daddy

7 Best Moving Tips You Must Know

Moving is not an easy task. A lot of hurdles and tiny little things come in when you are moving your things but a lot of Moving Professionals from different industries made this task so easy that everybody can now quickly and perfectly do it by just considering some tips in their mind which can help you to convert this stressful task into an easy job.

Make an Agenda:

Begin two months before you move, and utilize a week by week agenda to keep the procedure on track. Remaining on the calendar will assist you with avoiding a minute ago issues and cerebral pains. The steady work you’ve done marking off your errands already will help make moving day a breeze.

Create a Packing System:

Thinking of a packing system is an extraordinary association strategy for your effects, and can guarantee they end up in the correct room when you moved into your new home. One technique you can utilize is shading coding with markers, for example, blue for the kitchen, and so on.

At that point, on your moving day, draw a snappy sketch of the floor plan of your new home with each room marked and hang it someplace your moving organization can without much of a stretch see it.

Sell Away the Things You Don’t need:

If you have plenty of things in your home that is not upgrading your life, or you don’t feel will be vital in your new space, dont pack it just to toss it out or stuff it into capacity someplace later. There are numerous famous mess things that are deserving of abandoning, selling in a carport deal before your turn, or simply offering them to loved ones.

Purchase Necessary Things in Advance:

Maintain a strategic distance from potential difficulties, for example, coming up short on packing tape the morning of your move by buying every one of your provisions ahead of time. At a convenient time in your moving procedure, you should begin social affair supplies, including boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and so on.

You can likewise pack with materials you officially claim including bags and plastic compartments and utilizing pads, scarves, and towels to ensure delicate things. You can also employ proficient packers, which would drop much more weight from your shoulders!

Clear the Way for Movers:

You can help make your home move out prepared for Movers by unplugging machines and light installations on the off chance that they are accompanying you to your new home. Likewise, ensuring that the way from your home to the moving truck is clear.

Clean Your New Home Before You Shift:

While your new home is unfilled, it will be a lot simpler to clean, paint or make some other enhancements you have arranged. Before you move the majority of your furnishings and boxes inside, make sure to complete an exhaustive cleaning including vacuuming, tidying, and washing the floors before specific spaces are inaccessible.

Hire Professional Movers for Your Moving:

The best thing you can do is to hire professional movers if you yourself cannot do the job then movers will get the job done for you. They will charge you a little bit, but they will cleanly and carefully provide you moving services, and you will no more need to be in stress.

Our 11th Wedding Anniversary Staycation in Franklin, Tennessee at the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs Hotel

What’s the best way for you and your spouse to celebrate your 11th wedding anniversary? Clearly, with your two kids at the Hilton right next to the building where you work.

At least, that was the case for me.

So I was able to just leave my Jeep right there in the parking lot and walk over to the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs hotel to spend July 4th with my family for the holiday- and for my wife and I to officially celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary; which was actually on July 5th.

We also arranged for our close friends Mohamad and Lena, along with their daughter who is our own daughter’s age, to stay on the same hall.

When it came time to decide where to go out for dinner, there weren’t a whole lot of restaurants open on the July 4th holiday; so naturally, we chose House of India. My wife and I loved it so much we decided we will definitely go back when it is just the two of us.

As a 38 year-old man, I just don’t end up in a swimming pool much these days. However, on July 4th in Tennessee, it gets so hot that if you’re going to be outside for any reason, it better be because you’re in a swimming pool.

I forgot how much fun swimming in a pool can be, especially when you’re entertaining kids.

Adjacent to the Executive Lounge (where I ended up having breakfast the next morning), there is huge deck where you can see all the way to Nashville in one direction, and all the way to Spring Hill where we actually live, in the other.

So for our 4th of July fireworks show, we had quite the view!

Staying at the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs hotel was definitely the right call for us on July 4th!

And for our actual anniversary on July 5th, we made our way to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama; where my wife and I actually had a night out by ourselves.

Stay tuned for the other half of this story…