Air fryer: Is it worth buying?

Have you heard of the latest in a long line of countertop appliances? It is an air fryer nowadays! We have stoves, pots and pans, oven, microwave oven, oven toaster, deep fryer, and stovetop barbecue grill. Apparently, it is not enough. An air fryer is now a staple in most households. In our household, when something is broken, it gets fixed. We call an appliance repair specialist as soon as possible. Repair instead of immediately buying a replacement. But these days, we tend to add a new invention especially when almost everyone has and talks about it.

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So, what is an air fryer, anyway?

It is a countertop convection oven simulating deep frying without the need for cooking oil. A fan circulates hot air in high speed thereby cooking what is inside it. It is a “healthier” way of eating fried food because the food was not submerged in oil. That made most people get on board, especially the health buffs and those who are on a diet. Fried food is great! Who does not want a fried chicken? Or a fried porkchop with lots of gravy on it?

But, the question is, is it worth it? I mean, there is a real convection oven. There is also an oven toaster. Our office pantry has an air fryer so I went ahead and tested it. I bought a kilo of marinated pork belly which I normally cook in a deep fryer to make the pork skin and fatty meat crispy. First, the container basket is small. It can only fit at the very least three to four slices of pork belly, cut in two inches long and slightly more than an inch wide. It was a tight fit in it but I was able to make it work. Cooking time took about ten minutes, pausing in between to check if both sides were being fried properly. It was. The result? Tender, juicy pork belly slices. The pork skin was not crispy but tender, the same with the fatty parts of the pork. It was okay but I would have preferred for the skin to be crispy. It is healthy, though, so I forgave that result of the air fryer test.

I tested it again this time with baby back ribs. It was unsuccessful. The ribs became dry, the air fryer sucking out the juices from it. My sister cooked half of the baby back ribs using a slow cooker and it was a success! Juicy, fall-off-the-bones delicious!

Is it really worth adding to the number of countertop appliances at home? If you are into fried food, then, yes. Healthier way of frying, sure. If you already have an oven at home, I suggest not to buy an air fryer anymore. An oven will be so much better. Bigger, too. If you don’t have one, then go ahead and get one.

As for me, I think I’d stick with the big oven, our deep fryer, and the slow cooker.

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Simplicity is the key.

With all the clutter in our daily lives, most days we just want everything around us to be neat and minimal. Do you agree?

We can all I agree, I believe, that there is a very small guarantee of a clutter-free home in a house with more than two kids. There is a toy in every corner of the house. There is something you will inevitably step on especially on the staircase. Experience has taught us that the more you increase the number of storage spaces, the more clutter you will accumulate.

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Simplicity is the key.

The idea is to have a minimalist interior design for the house. Open-plan layout, with just key pieces for the living room, kitchen and dining area, starting with entrance doors up to closets and laundry room. The front door will be painted a striking color: red or blue. The dining area will have a large table with simple wooden chairs. Or it can be a kitchen with kitchen island counter seating. Perhaps a booth seating? The latter is great for small kids. Minimal kitchen cabinets but a pantry will compensate for the shortage in storage area. A living room or family room will have couches, a simple wooden center table, and a floor lamp. There is a laundry room directly after the mudroom. The bedrooms will have a bed, built-in cabinets. The bathrooms will have a shower stall, a toilet, built-in cabinets, too.

With the commercialization of almost every aspect of our lives, we tend to overspend on things we actually do not need. And this applies to our homes. We have too many of any single item especially dinnerware. I do believe majority of us is guilty of this, with the automatic reasoning that we are buying extra for guests.

If our goal is to have a clear mind inside our homes, even with kids, we need to downgrade. Again, simplicity. If we turn to minimalism, a clutter-free home will always be on the forefront of our minds. Our tendency to buy more, store more, will be gone, if not minimized. I would like to think that even kids will have less clutter because of the awareness of a neat home.

Transitioning from a traditional house to a minimalist will not be easy. Imagine the number of items you will have to get rid of when organizing your stuff. Do a garage sale. Give away to charity but only those items which are in good condition and will be of use to the recipients. It will be hard to part with some items but if you are really keen on a clutter-free home, sacrifices have to be made.

Again, simplicity is the key. It will have to start from a decision and everything else will follow. Of course, getting every family member on board the idea is a priority step. If one is not on board, there will be clashes along the way.

Your home is your haven. It needs to be a place where you can breathe and be at peace.

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2021 Investment Update By: Arthur Doglione

Raise your hand if you predicted 2020 would see a global pandemic, massive unemployment caused by
the first ever government mandated economic shut down in history, a highly contested election, and a
stock market recovery from the lows that was amongst the strongest in U.S. history, all in the same year?
Ok, put your hand down, there is always one in a crowd! While the calendar has turned all the pages of
2020, there are many differing opinions as to the current health of the U.S. economy and financial
markets, have they come too far too soon, what effects will government stimulus and economic
dislocations have on the financial markets in 2021 and beyond?

Widespread uncertainty in 2020 failed to dampen the outlook and recovery of equities in Q2 and Q3
2020, record low interest rates were certainly the fuel and spark the markets needed, however the markets
took a pause in early Q4 as election chaos gave investors pause, until positive vaccine news once again
provided the spark in November 2020. Stocks across the board have risen to new heights, awakening even
value stocks from their multiyear slumber. However, following such an impressive rise some on Wall
Street believe the rally has come too far too soon, prompting calls of a “bubble” in both stocks and bonds.

While it is our opinion that we are not currently experiencing a bubble in equities, we will grant that the
most striking characteristic of economic bubbles, the very thing that fuels their existence is our blindness
to them! Perhaps we should first define what a bubble is, one definition of a bubble is that an assets price
rises rapidly to the point of being disconnected from any reasonable measure of its inherent value. This is
typically caused by emotional inertia driving future expectations higher causing an implausible gap
between price and value, some might say Bitcoin! Just an observation largely based perhaps on an
inability to make a case for its value given many still can’t even determine if it’s a currency or a
commodity! If it’s a currency there is not, and cannot ever be enough in supply to serve this role, if it’s to
be viewed as a commodity similarly to gold or silver, I’ve yet to find anything that requires Bitcoin in its
manufacture. It may very well continue its explosive price ascent, but attempts to determine “what it’s
worth” have been difficult, if not futile.

One asset class where we believe weakness will continue is bonds; with rates at record lows and
significantly elevated federal spending to support the economy as well as fund party pledges, we are
aware the Fed’s desire is to keep short term rates at low levels, this does not preclude the free markets
from pulling the intermediate and long end of the yield curve higher. This realization may seem unsettling
to some investors, however, if the economy does start to show better growth in the second half of 2021 as
we expect it will, we will likely see rates rise and bond prices fall. Alpha Fiduciary has focused on bond
allocations largely supported by real assets or special circumstances which we believe are preferable to
own, relative to traditional fixed rate bonds, in rising rate environments.

Finally, earning season will likely provide support for stocks as we begin to see the world return to a
more normal operating environment, it would not surprise us to see at least a temporary surge in
economic growth before settling in to a more gradual and sustainable GDP growth in the 2.5% range as
pent-up demand is satisfied in 2021.

While we don’t think most longer-term investors should underweight stocks in this environment, we favor
a core/tactical approach to equities as we believe this presents an attractive upside capture while posed to
potentially reduce downside exposure should factors signal to reduce equity exposure in the event it’s
warranted.

There are many different approaches to the tactical management of equities, designed and employed with
the goal to gain exposure to asset classes when they are rising, and to reduce exposure to those asset
classes to limit or reduce downside capture.

If you would like to discover if Alpha Fiduciary’s wealth management approach can benefit you, please
visit Alphafiduciary.com, or call us at 480-505-4033.

Alpha Fiduciary is a SEC registered investment advisory firm. This blog is provided for informational
purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice and should not be
considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security or investment advisory service. Please refer to the
Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov) to review our Form ADV
Brochure for more information.

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Teaching kids to do chores at home.

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Studies show that letting kids take on chores at home is good for their health and well-being especially later on in life. The kids who do chores at home are most likely to fare better in life as they grow old.

Some parents are of the mind that kids should be allowed to be “just kids” and let them do the things that are for kids. There is a time for that, I do believe that, too. But I am of the mind that kids who are given tasks at home learn responsibility early on. Kids feel more competent when they know they can take on a given task like washing the dishes or sweeping the floor, or throwing the trash in the bins toronto at the back of the street alley, or even making their beds. The idea that when they do their given chores at home they contribute to the overall cleanliness and upkeep of the house is a great feeling for a kid of any age.

Here are a few suggestions on how to distribute chores to kids at home.

Give kids simple tasks to take on. Make the bed. Sweep the floor. Pick up the dirty clothes and put it in the laundry area, or even, in the hamper. For older kids: wash the dishes, take out the trash, mow the lawn, walk the dog.

There are many simple tasks that kids can do. The idea is to talk to them about the chore assignment, make sure that it is not in the way of school assignments, and that they know the goal of the tasks they are being given. Also, make sure that the tasks are age-appropriate.

Recognize a job well done. This is even if the task is not really that “well done” but given the kid’s age, you know the kid gave his best in doing his assignment. Recognize the effort. Give the kid a pat in the back. That way, the kid will feel proud of what he accomplished and will be motivated to do better next time.

Include the whole family in the assignments. This is something I feel strongly about. I love that the whole family will be involved in as simple as household chores. I am of the mind that the little ones at home will learn best from following the older ones’ examples. Walk the talk. If you want the kids to do their chores, make sure that the adults do theirs, too, and that the kids are aware of it.

Make the chores fun to do! Make the chores fun for the little ones. Give out stars for tasks done on time. Give them something to look forward to on weekends. Think of what will make the kids smile while doing their chores.

Lastly, do not scold your kid when he failed to do a chore the way you taught him how. He might have a better way of doing it in his mind.

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Budgeting for a residential construction.

Finding a place where you can build your forever home is not easy. It takes a lot of planning, trips to and from potential locations, discussions with family members. It is not just getting a building permit Mississauga. There are many aspects you need to take into consideration. The three that came to mind are location, size of the property, and budget.

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Location

The number one consideration for most families is location. Is there a school in the area? Is there a nearby hospital? What are the amenities that homeowners can enjoy when they live in the neighborhood? Are there parks where kids can play? Is it a safe place for families? Is it accessible to public commute?

Those are just some of the questions that come to mind when scouting for a place where you can build a house. The convenience of living in a great neighborhood is a big plus especially for families with growing kids. Security is also a paramount consideration when checking out a location. You do not want to live in an area where burglars lurk.

Size of the Property

How big do you want your house to be? How elaborate is the planned construction? If you already have the square footage in your mind, you can easily plan how much space your house will occupy on the property you have selected.

Front yard, backyard, car port or garage. Is there a swimming pool somewhere in the plan? Do you plan to have a landscaped lawn? How many rooms are being considered?

Will it be a bungalow or a 2-storey house? How big are the rooms? How many bathrooms are being considered?

Budget

The first two considerations, of course, will be for nothing if the budget is not yet set. How much is your budget? It is the biggest consideration because once you know how much you are willing to shell out to get your forever home constructed, you can easily pinpoint locations where your budget will be enough to purchase a property.

Based on experience, your budget should be twice the amount your architect and engineer tell you to set aside. Always have a big buffer because you do not want to find yourself short on budget when emergency arises. A pause on construction will mean a bigger cost.

So, set an amount you are comfortable to shell out. In that amount, 70% of it should go to the construction fund; 30% should be set aside as a buffer for emergencies.

There are other considerations but the three I have mentioned are the foremost on most families’ minds. I know because I have been there in the past. Our family has gone through the construction phase. And budget was the biggest mistake that we made. We did not set aside a buffer so when we met one hurdle after another, we found it difficult to move forward because our budget was not enough. Construction had to be suspended for a while until we saved enough to push through with it.

Plan the construction properly. Consult professionals. Write it all down. And when you are 101% ready, then that’s when you can push through with it.

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Online classes and meetings and IT experts.

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In this side of the world, there are three big internet companies that compete in providing citizens with the “best” of what they can offer. Their “best” is dependent on specific areas and subscriber usage. Internet provider One can be the best in this part of the city and the worst in another location of the same city. The same with internet provider Two and Three.

Imagine a number of kids in one home taking online classes using one internet connection. Or imagine the same but this time around with a number of adults participating in online meetings using one internet connection.

A lot of bad-tempered kids and adults in a given place!

One solution that I can think of is getting IT support. An IT expert can help find a solution to the problem of multiple users with a single internet connection. If there is an IT expert on standby, downtime can be minimized and a prevention to common troubles in internet usage can be anticipated.

Students in this part of the world learn through online classes. It is almost the same as to the traditional ones except instead of a blackboard, teachers use cameras and online materials to teach. I have been observing my nephew and my younger sister with their online classes. With my nephew who is in first grade, taking his classes online is effective. He is learning a lot from his teachers these days. But with my younger sister, who is already in high school, there are just so many distractions including social media which is open in her cellphone while taking classes.

There are pros and cons. Topmost pro of online classes is, of course, the safety of the students. Safe and sound at home, away from everyone who can pass on the virus to them. The topmost con, well, the stability of the internet connection.

The same goes for online meetings. Based on personal experience, being in the middle of a meeting with the boss and the internet connection going intermittent is not a very nice situation to be in.

So, here is what an IT professional, also a cousin, did to alleviate the internet situation at home.

He bought two wifi routers, one he put on the second floor of the house, another on the ground floor. The first two floors of the house are where we normally do our online work and meetings. He also got a wifi extender for my nephew’s room. He did some tinkering so that our internet connection will be enough even if there are four to six persons using at the same time. And it is working for us just fine.

Get an IT professional to help you sort your internet connection, either for online classes or meetings, or both. You need them to do some tinkering around. You need their expertise. It will help with all the online activities that we are participating in right now.

Unless you want chaos to rule when everyone is online?

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Security in these trying times.

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The unemployment rate has been down since the pandemic hit the world. It is not only confined to one part of any country. Jobless individuals are everywhere. From former rank and file workers to managers to executives. The blow on the economy took down numerous companies and with it, its workers.

Most of the time, an increase in unemployment is accompanied by an increase in crime rate. Individuals who are desperate will turn to desperate measures for them to put food on the table. Some who are on the brink of a mental breakdown would even resort to hurting whoever gets in their way.

In these trying times, it is important that we secure our homes, our families. First step is to call on locksmith markham, change the locks, and make sure that the door will do its job when everyone is at home and sleeping peacefully. An additional security would be to install a door sensor or a security door alarm.

A family was sleeping peacefully on a Saturday morning. It was broad daylight when two men entered their home through the back kitchen door. Maybe, a chemical that deepened their sleep was sprayed in the air. Maybe, their sleep was so deep and peaceful that they did not hear the two men who took appliances, gadgets, and bags with money, and other important stuff. It was a couple of minutes, at most, and it was a blessing that nobody woke up or who knew what those two men would do to whoever would stop them.

Secure every door inside your home. After the door, secure all the windows especially the ones in the bedrooms. There was a time when babies sleeping in the nursery went missing because someone took them breaking through the window. It was a scary period as I remember a dear friend went paranoid after giving birth to her firstborn. She had all windows of the nursery sealed shut. Well, nothing happened to her baby and her paranoia did not last. But can you blame a mother for making sure that her baby is safe?

It is better safe than sorry; we always hear that. And it is true. Better to take precautionary measures than be sorry later that we did not do what we must to double the security of our homes and those living in it.

Change locks. Choose the people to whom you will give the keys of the door to your home. Tell them to guard the keys fiercely. Check the windows. Seal it shut if you think it will become a way for burglars to enter your home. Change the window if you see a crack.

Security should be a priority in these trying times. We cannot see the end of this pandemic yet. It may be two years, three, or five as experts predict it to be. The end is so far out of reach. What we can do for now is make sure that we all safe and sound inside our homes.

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Turning to a healthy lifestyle.

Social media has given us glimpses of what it is like to be healthy and active. Numerous workout videos, nutritious and healthy recipes that we can easily replicate and cook, real results after religiously following a simple routine to lose weight. We see it every single day on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms.

Here are some lifestyle changes that I got online and will be trying out in the next couple of weeks.

Easy to Follow Home-Cooked Meals

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Get those appliance repair services as soon as possible! There are so many easy-to-cook meals out in the social media world that we can pick up and try at home. We need our oven and stove in good condition. We need our refrigerators cleaned and cleared of clutter. We need to do grocery shopping at least once a week. Meal planning is strongly advised.

Being able to choose the ingredients and being able to plan properly especially the cost of each meal are just two of the advantages of cooking at home.

A Five-Minute Simple Daily Workout

I have been picking up some five-minute workouts here and there, mostly from Instagram. The idea that five minutes of your day will become a habit once you commit to doing it every single day. No rest days for those who are deeply committed to losing weight and becoming healthy.

A woman I was following in Facebook has been documenting her journey to a healthier version of herself. It was not an easy journey. I have been how she struggled, and she was honest enough to tell everyone about it. It was from her that I got the idea of five minutes daily can become a habit.

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Ten seconds per type of workout. Planking will take getting used to but this has the best effect on our body, according to one fitness expert.

Minimizing the Carbon Footprint

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Just like with working out, minimizing our carbon footprint will need a stronghold commitment. We are used to single-use plastics when we are out. Admit it or not. If we reduce our use of materials that are harmful to the environment, if we reuse and recycle, then we are contributing to the health of the land around us.

Clean air. Clean water. Abundance in nature.

We can use bicycles to work or to go to places nearby. Bike more, drive less. If driving a car cannot be avoided, carpooling is a great way to encourage others to minimize their carbon footprints, too. Of course, walking is still the best option. Ten thousand footsteps a day can help drive away any kind of illness.

There are a lot of ways that we can turn to healthy living. The three I mentioned are just some of the ways that I picked up while browsing through my social media accounts. One thing that we need to keep in mind is that every way needs total commitment. It is committing to a better life every single day.

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Renovating the Office.

With this pandemic, and most places are on lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, people have more time to think and plan. The company manager thought that this is the best time to push through with the renovation of the office since majority of the workers work from home now and labor is down. This is also the best time to contact those experts on windows and doors north york. It is best to reinforce the security of the office especially as most days nobody is there to stay or check.

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There are three considerations which should be taken into account while planning the renovation.

Timeline and cost of labor

A couple of contractors were contacted and were asked to submit proposals. The whole office will be renovated, top to bottom. How many weeks will it take for the renovation to be completed? How many workers will it need for the renovation to be done on time? How much will it cost the company to have the office renovated in the timeline and number of workers the contractor has provided?

There was an instance in the past when the company had partitions installed. Timeline and cost were provided that were not followed simply because one worker did not go to work for two days and some partitions were not pre-cut as specified in the contract. The company did not pay for anything since it was not a fault on our part, but we were inconvenienced with an additional three days of on-site work.

This time around, the timeline should be followed strictly, and the cost of labor will also have to be followed to the last cent.

New office layout

Should we go back to having partitions or stay with the open concept that was adopted a few years ago?

Most offices have cubicles for workers to provide a semblance of privacy. There are also those provided with rooms of their own. But with limited floor area to plan with, cubicles will make an office look and feel tight and cramped. With open concept though, the privacy provided by cubicles will be gone.

A properly well-thought out layout will have to be drawn, discussed, and approved by management to ensure peace and harmony when everyone goes back to the office for work after this pandemic. Just imagine three people talking on the phone and every one on the floor can hear it. Chaos.

Options, Maintenance, Security

New shades of walls, brand new tables and chairs (or newly repainted), doors and windows, biometrics. These are just some of the additional considerations in renovating the office. Also, maintaining it once the renovation is done. Professionals should be called and hired for the doors and windows for security purposes. The same should be considered for biometrics.

Renovating an office takes ample time, planning and consideration, as well as money for it to be done properly and on time. Make sure professionals are consulted and contractors are asked to submit their proposals with the contracts secured and followed to the T.

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On the lookout for a new home.

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A favorite television show at home is HGTV. From fixer uppers to buying and selling to landscaping, you bet we watch every show there is. One thing that I learned from every show that we ever watched is to always make sure the house has a great curb appeal, most especially when you are checking out houses that will turn into a home for the family.

Landscaping plays a big factor in a house’s curb appeal. Imagine the house surrounded by beautiful plants, flowers, vines… It brings nature so close to us even when we are living in the city. We used to have a big house with landscaped grotto. I loved that side of the house when I was a little kid. Whenever I think about it, or would tell stories about it to my siblings, the desire to have the same grotto resurfaces. There are landscaping companies Toronto should you also feel that your house is in clear need of a great curb appeal. Our family will retain the services of one soon.

The front of the house also plays a big role in making sure that the house is appealing to potential homeowners. As for our family, aside from a landscaped grotto, we would love a wrap-around porch, planters surrounding it, cushy couches, even a small swing! I can already imagine us having cozy nights sitting at the porch, walking down memory lane while sipping hot coffee or tea.

A beautiful façade is just one of the items on our checklist now that the family is on the lookout for a new house. We want an open layout, a big backyard, a swimming pool (but can be changed to a basketball court for the boys), and a big garage.

An open layout, I believe, is particularly great for a big family like ours. A big family with kids, I should add. The adults can be cooking in the kitchen while still monitoring the kids playing. Or the guests and those who are prepping meals can still talk to each other and catch up. That’s the appeal of an open layout for me and the family. One where we can all be together even when we are doing our own things.

The big backyard is for the kids and for my sister who loves to plant. A big chunk of the backyard will be for her vegetables that she is so fond of growing. She has chili, calamansi, and tomatoes now. I can only imagine if she has a big yard to work on. The kids can also play outside even in this pandemic. A pool and a big garage are also on the checklist. My nephews are swimmers so the pool is for them. The big garage is for making sure we can secure our cars especially at night.

We have seen two potential houses so far but the curb appeal for both is missing. Landscaped front yard is one that we truly want to find. And we are hoping to find that house we can turn into a home. Or we can always turn to those landscaping companies Toronto.

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