by Anna

Is The Ice Bucket Challenge Going Too Far?

August 20, 2014 in Learning by Anna

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, you are seeing more and more of your friends and family taking what’s known as the Ice Bucket Challenge. But, is the #icebucketchallenge going too far?

Is the Ice Bucket Challenge Going Too Far? - Learn Like A Mom!…-going-too-far/ #icebucketchallenge #ALS #ALSA #fundraising #parenting

I get it…It’s all for a good cause. Although to many it may come as a surprise that the effort to raise money came as an afterthought to dumping ice cold water on your head. Afterall, you don’t need an ice bucket to donate money to any cause.

On top of that, I’m not really learning much about ALS by watching people waste water and ice. (I do, however, wonder how many of my ice bucket challenge supporters also ironically speak out about wasting water and how spoiled America is to the rest of the world to be able to play a game like this.)

And, not that it’s any of my business, but some might not even be donating money. They may simply view the challenge as a challenge to dump ice water on their heads and post it to social media rather than a challenge to raise money and awareness.

Those that accept the “challenge” are supposed to either donate $100 to the fight against ALS or dump water on themselves. So, am I to assume that a person posting a video hasn’t donated anything?

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. It’s hard to decipher what one has to do with the other, or how either one of these tasks is really a challenge. To top it off, people are changing the challenge. Some say donate $10 and dump water on your head.

It is safe to say that a significant amount of money has been raised for the ALS Association through this trending phenomenon, but I wonder how many people watching these videos even know what the acronym stands for, let alone, what the money is used for.

Seeing this take place day after day on my social media feed makes me wonder if we’re not taking things too far?

Although it is a much safer physical challenge to post, my first thought was that of the fire challenge, in which several teens challenged one another to light themselves on fire. Needless to say, death can occur from such nonsense.

On some level, I feel like the ice bucket challenge is the grown-up version of this, granted…with good intentions attached, and much, much safer.

So…what do I mean when I say it may go too far?

I see something wrong with having to challenge others in a public format to pony up dough to a cause or do something physical to themselves as a sort of penance for not donating.

I wonder why we are giving each other accolades for behavior that is unrelated to the supposed focus of the challenge.

I question why we are a society that has developed an innate need for public praise and adoration.

What happened to doing the right thing just because it’s the right thing to do?

What happened to doing this regardless of who notices?

This entire thing leaves me pondering three things.

What will other organizations have to come up with to get people to notice them and donate to their cause?

Will anyone ever post a challenge on a public format that will spread so quickly for so long that simply challenges people to be more considerate of those around them? No money and no ice water involved?

And finally, Will my own children always expect public praise for doing (or possibly not doing) things because that’s just how it was when they were growing up?

What do you think of the Ice Bucket Challenge?

by Anna

Target Gift Card Giveaway!

August 10, 2014 in Reviews by Anna

ANO Blog and Friends $100 Target Gift Card Giveaway! - Learn Like A Mom! #target #giftcard #giveaway


Welcome to the A Night Owl August Group Giveaway!

Hi friends! Today the friends of A Night Owl are joining up to bring you an amazing $100 Target Gift Card Giveaway! And we all KNOW you love Target, so what are you waiting for? Enter today via the Rafflecopter form below!

Open in the USA and Canada.

Ends at 11:59pm EST on Sunday, August 17th, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS: this giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents ages 18 and over and ends at 11:59pm EST on August 17th, 2014. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. Number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Approximate retail value is $100.00. One winner will be selected. This is a giveaway sponsored as a group buy, which means the bloggers pooled their money together to purchase this product for you. All liabilities and responsibilities with product is directly responsible by Target. Winner will drawn by from all verified entries, contacted by email provided, and announced on this page at the end of the contest. Winner has 48 hours to respond or prize will be redrawn. Entrant is responsible for the email address they provide, whether through typing it directly or through the Facebook entry method. A Night Owl is not responsible for lost or misdirected emails. All prizes will be awarded. No prize substitutions allowed. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook and we hereby release Facebook of any liability. Information is provided to A Night Owl, not to Facebook and your information is never sold or shared. Facebook and Target are not a sponsor of this giveaway. Prize is mailed or emailed directly by Kimberly Sneed of A Night Owl and requires confirmation of delivery. Protected tweets do not count as an entry method for tweeting. Tweets must come from a public account. Bloggers in this group giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

by Anna

Interview Real Estate Agents

July 9, 2014 in Family by Anna

Today, I want to share why I think you should interview real estate agents before hiring one.

Interview Real Estate Agents from Learn Like A Mom! Here's why you should interview real estate agents and not feel guilty doing so! #moving #realestate #realtor #realestateagent

Why You Should Interview Real Estate Agents

Truth be told, I have only purchased one house and I’m in the process of selling it. My husband and I thought long and hard about whether we would try to sell our property on our own or hire someone to represent us. In the end, we chose the latter.

If you have ever shared with friends or family that you’re looking for a home or thinking of selling your own, most everyone says something along the lines of, “Oh! I know a realtor I can recommend!” Many of you may know a real estate agent personally as well.

I still think it makes sense to interview any prospective agents because they are being paid by you. When you hire someone to do work on your home, you get estimates and gather information about how and when the work will be done. When you are looking for babysitters, you meet them and see how they’ll interact with your child. When you’re an employer, you interview any potential employees.

Don’t Take The Easy Route with Previous Agents and Friends

Just because a friend is a realtor, doesn’t mean they’ll be the best real estate agent for you. Just because a friend recommends their realtor to you, doesn’t mean you have to hire him/her. It’s business and nobody should take it personally.

Interviewing real estate agents just makes sense.

Oftentimes, people don’t.

Why not just use the realtor that sold you the house you’re currently in? Well, you can. But do you know how that realtor handles business when they are the listing agent versus the buyer’s agent? Do you know if they’ll want to pursue the option to be a dual agent (and double their commission)? Why not interview them while interviewing others? It won’t hurt.

We did not choose to hire the agent that sold us our home because we never saw her after our transaction. I don’t mean that we expected to hang out or anything. I mean…we never saw her face or name appear on any signs in our area. To me, this meant she wouldn’t have known this area too well anyway, so how could she sell someone on it?

We also recommended her to a friend when they were interested in looking around the area and she was weak with her follow-through. When we purchased through her, she was actually a dual agent, representing the builder and us. At the time, we just wanted to purchase the house and didn’t think about having an agent that represented our interests in the transaction.

Stay Focused on What You Need

When you are purchasing or selling a home, you want someone to represent your interests. Hiring a real estate agent can do that. But you want to make sure you sign a contract with someone you feel comfortable with, you trust, you can contact at any time, and you like their communication style. You also want someone that is good at their job.

Sounds like a marriage in some ways, doesn’t it? Well…it sort of is. You are going to share things with this person and expect them not to share the information with the buyer or buyer’s agent. This is one of the main reasons I did not want to hire someone as a dual agent…Walking that line can be hard for people and I wanted someone to earn their money by representing me and selling my house.

It is always important to ask, “Is ‘Your’ Agent Working For You?”

This Working With Real Estate Agents pamphlet (PDF) does a pretty good job of explaining the three roles a realtor can take. This article explain why you should sign it.

There Needs to be Trust in Every Relationship

Trust is a big part of this. Not only do you trust them with your specific situation, timeline, financial picture, and access to your home, but you also have to trust their advice as the professional in the field. If you don’t trust their input on the market and where things stand with your property or the timeline it may take to sell your house, you are going to want to anull this relationship rather quickly.

This brings me to another point. I interviewed five realtors before selecting one. We had feedback about our house that spanned all the way from, “you’re house isn’t worth more than X and I suggest you rent it for a year and try again after that” to “I would list your house at Y right now.” There was a difference of $50,000 between X and Y and we didn’t trust either one of those responses. Don’t go with the first person you speak to! Play the field a bit. (Now it sounds like dating before marriage!)

Someone who suggests that your house might benefit from a pre-market appraisal is likely suggesting your house is worth more than what comparibles are showing. We were told by 3 out of 5 of those realtors that we should do a pre-market appraisal. (We followed their advice.)

Someone that is good at their job (which can be seen in numbers like houses sold in the past year, average days on market, list price vs. sell price) should give you a clear picture of what your house can sell for and how they can negotiate for the best-case scenario on your behalf.

Communication is Key

The way someone communicates with you can give you a glimpse as to how well they will communicate and negotiate on your behalf. Are they sweating and nervous? Are they condescending? Are they strong, but respectful? Do they sound confident in themselves and the subject matter.

How they prefer to communicate will be quite significant when you’re juggling showings, feedback, responses to potential buyers, and just questions like, “Why isn’t my house showing?!?” “The house next to me just went on the market!!! What should we do now?!?” You will want answers, so you’ll want to know if they like email, phone calls, texts, or Facebook messages the best. Don’t put yourself in the situation where you want to go bang on their office door. Ask before you sign on the line!

Skip The Hunt

If you are having to track down a realtor to interview them…You may not want to hire them. If they aren’t responding to you now, why do you think they’ll reply in a timely manner later? They should be wanting your business. If they don’t, great for them! But, don’t waste your time.

I contacted an acquaintance that we had really thought we would hire whenever we moved. I hesitated to contact her because we witnessed how long it took for our mutual friend’s house to sell. But I did anyway. I got an initial reply and then nothing. I didn’t bother to follow-up. It’s not my job and she didn’t need my business. Plain and simple.

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