Author Archives: Michael Flahaven


St. Cloud, Florida – Tips to Finding Your Local Realtor

Buying a house is challenging. If you’re just beginning your search, you might not even know exactly where you and your family want your new home to be. Your St. Cloud realtor will be able to help you narrow down your choices between neighborhoods and also find the perfect school for your family. If you’re looking for more information on schools in St. Cloud, that can be found by clicking here. Below you’ll find some important steps that you should take with your St. Cloud realtor to get ready for the journey of buying a home.

  1. Determine how much you can afford to spend on a new home. The first step in any significant investment is determining your budget and being comfortable with the money involved in buying a house. Your St. Cloud realtor can help you figure this budget out, as well as find homes that work within that budget. Buying a home should be a pleasant experience so we won’t push you. Along with the budget, you’ll want to get prequalified for a mortgage, this will make the process a lot easier when it comes to putting in an offer.
  2. Shop around with your St. Cloud realtor and find a home you love. You’ll want to make lists of pros and cons, and weigh all of the options. Do you want to do renovations inside before you move in or shortly after? Or do you want something move-in-ready? Is the home close to schools and parks? What about entertainment? These are things you’re going to want to keep in mind and tell your St. Cloud realtor about.
  3. Once you and your realtor in St Cloud find the right home for you and your family, it is time to put an offer in on the home. This is the intimidating part because, in many cases, you’re left waiting for a bit while the paperwork is shuffled around. Being preapproved will help you here.
  4. If the offer goes through, you and your St. Cloud realtor will sign all of the documents and all you have to do now is pack and move into your new home on closing day!

Buying a home doesn’t have to be a scary process. With the right St. Cloud realtor, the process will be challenging, but will end in a new home for you and your family! For further reading, you can visit your realtor website and read some news about the current market and find more advice on the process here. Or call your St. Cloud realtor for more personalized information and guidance.

paint your home to sell smarter senior seminar downsizing made easy michael flahaven

Paint Your Home Right to Get it Sold!

Many people who are trying to sell their homes don’t realize how important the color of the walls is. Learn the importance of choosing to paint to sell here.

It seems like the most minute detail that most people will probably change when they purchase the house, but it is one of the main things they use to determine how they feel about the house, whether they realize it or not. It’s important to paint to sell because buyers want to picture themselves in your home. Regarding price, it might cost a few hundred dollars to paint to sell and take and a day or two to finish the job, but this usually guarantees a 100% (if not more) return on the investment. People will feel like the home is more put-together and well taken care of when there is a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

The rule of thumb when painting your house before putting it on the market is to stick with neutral colors. You want to start with a mostly clean plate as well, so when you are getting ready to sell it’s usually best if you move most of the “clutter” out of your home so potential home buyers aren’t overwhelmed with some things in the home. To paint to sell, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Are bright green walls something that you want to come into? Of course not. It makes it easier for them to be able only to focus on the things that are important to them, such as the structures and layout of the home, rather than be smothered by a brightly colored room or a gallery wall of the things your kids have painted for you in school. Blank neutral walls usually help them envision what the house will look like with their things in it and their photos on the wall.

A common mistake that is often made is painting the entire house white. This is not a neutral color and is considered a “bright” color, harsh on the eyes. The best colors to go with include colors like the typical “eggshell” or anything similar to that. Off white colors or tans are always the best and safest bet. It’s never a good idea to go with a darker color on the walls because it makes the room seem darker, which is the opposite of what you want to do when trying to sell your home. Your rooms should feel light, airy, and full of space.

When it comes to renovating your house before you sell painting is one of the easiest things you can do in your home. Whether every room in the house needs a fresh coat or just the rooms that are more “lived in” it is one of the easiest ways to get potential buyers more interested. It will be one less job for them to worry about when they buy and it will allow them to move in and enjoy the house faster. I would highly recommend taking the time to paint to sell your home.

Spring Cleaning Tips Smarter Senior Seminar Series Downsizing Made Easy

3 Helpful Spring Cleaning Tips!

Don’t let annual spring cleaning sneak up on you! These tips will help you get closer to relaxing and enjoying St. Cloud in no time.

With February here we’re all thinking about the month filled love and Valentine’s. But there’s something else that some people might already be dreading… Spring cleaning. Let’s plan ahead and make this year’s edition of spring cleaning the best one yet. According to Groundhog Day, we’re going to be experiencing an early Spring which is great for us non-Winter people, but bad for the people procrastinating your Spring cleaning. And while we haven’t experienced a whole lot of Winter in St. Cloud we’re just looking forward to getting our 80-degree weather back. Whether you’re in St. Cloud, Florida or New York City, these simple tips will make spring cleaning a breeze so that you can go out and enjoy the breeze.

  1. Plan ahead. Take a walk around your house and outside to soak up the St. Cloud winter, but grab a notepad and a pen. Write things down that you know you want to clean, reorganize or get rid of. That way, when the weather in St. Cloud starts to warm up, you won’t be thinking “So, where do I start?”
  2. Make it fun. Take a vacation day and enjoy the morning alone. Make a nice breakfast and ease into spring cleaning. Take a walk around your beautiful St. Cloud neighborhood. By making it an enjoyable day without being rushed, it’ll feel more like a mental health day than a spring cleaning nightmare.
  3. Work smarter not harder. By planning ahead and taking a vacation day from work, you’ll already have saved so much time. But, your realtor and trusted source in St. Cloud is here to tell you that you don’t have to move every bit of furniture you have. Take care of the stains that have been bothering you for month, invest in a vacuum or sweeper that rotates almost flat so that you can get into spaces underneath furniture without having to move them. Use an all-purpose cleaning solution so that you don’t have to keep switching back and forth. Incentivise spring cleaning for your family too, so they’ll be more excited to help.

These tips are just the beginning, but will really make a difference if you’re trying to cut down the time spent cleaning and increase your time spent outside in St. Cloud.


April Newsletter

April 2020 Newsletter (1)
Coronavirus Makes Orlando library suspends home delivery

Orlando Library Suspends Home Delivery

Here at YourFloridaHaven and Smarter Senior Seminar Series works hard to keep you updated about all that’s new and critical to YOU!

Today we learned the following and wanted you to know right away, especially if you a bibliophile like we are!

The library suspended home delivery service after Thursday afternoon, March 26. As a result, some requested materials were not processed for delivery. We apologize for the inconvenience.

While the library regrets having to make this difficult decision, we must do our part in following Orange County, Florida Government’s directive to halt all non-essential services and to protect the health and well-being of our staff.

If you have a question about the status of an item you placed on hold, the best indicator is that if it has been checked out to you, it is in route to be delivered. If the item has not been checked out to you, delivery for that item has been suspended.

At this time, you can continue placing new requests online and once the library resumes normal business, the new and suspended requests will be processed and delivered.

During this time, our call center is closed. If you need any assistance, please Any person requiring special accommodations to participate in any class or program due to a disability may arrange for accommodations by contacting the location at which the event is held at least seven days prior to the event.

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone at 407-835-7323 or by writing to: 101 E. Central Blvd. Orlando, FL 32801.

Copyright © 2020 Orange County Library System, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Orange County Library System

101 E Central Blvd 

Orlando, Fl 32801

Sign up for newsletters from Orlando Public Library:

View our privacy policy (PDF) | Donate to the library 


Beware of criminals pretending to be who world health organization michael flahaven smarter senior seminar downsizing for senirors orlando florida 2020

Coronavirus Scam Alert for Seniors

Hello Everyone! This Coronavirus Scam alert is coming straight from the World Health Organization.

The Scam

Beware of criminals pretending to be WHO

Criminals are disguising themselves as WHO to steal money or sensitive information.  If you are contacted by a person or organization that appears to be from WHO, verify their authenticity before responding.

The World Health Organization will:

  • never ask for your username or password to access safety information
  • never email attachments you didn’t ask for
  • never ask you to visit a link outside of 
  • never charge money to apply for a job, register for a conference, or reserve a hotel
  • never conduct lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through email.


The only call for donations WHO has issued is the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which is linked to below.  Any other appeal for funding or donations that appears to be from WHO is a scam.  


Beware that criminals use email, websites, phone calls, text messages, and even fax messages for their scams.

You can verify if communication is legit by contacting WHO directly.


Phishing: malicious emails appearing to be from WHO

WHO is aware of suspicious email messages attempting to take advantage of the COVID-19 emergency. This fraudulent action is called phishing.
These “Phishing” emails appear to be from WHO, and will ask you to:
  • give sensitive information, such as usernames or passwords
  • click a malicious link
  • open a malicious attachment.
Using this method, criminals can install malware or steal sensitive information.

How to prevent phishing:

  1. Verify the sender by checking their email address.  

    Make sure the sender has an email address such as ‘’ If there is anything other than ‘’ after the ‘@’ symbol, this sender is not from WHO.  

    For example, WHO does not send email from addresses ending in ‘’ , ‘’ or ‘’.

  2. Check the link before you click.  

    Make sure the link starts with ‘’.  Better still, navigate to the WHO website directly, by typing ‘’ into your browser.

  3. Be careful when providing personal information. 

    Always consider why someone wants your information and if it is appropriate. There is no reason someone would need your username & password to access public information.

  4. Do not rush or feel under pressure. 

    Cybercriminals use emergencies such as 2019-nCov to get people to make decisions quickly. Always take time to think about a request for your personal information, and whether the request is appropriate.

  5. If you gave sensitive information, don’t panic.  

    If you believe you have given data such as your username or passwords to cybercriminals, immediately change your credentials on each site where you have used them.

  6. If you see a scam, report it.  

    If you see a scam, tell us about it.  

What Do You Need?

During this hard time, we know we are dealing with something we have never dealt with before. We also know Seniors, and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk.

Please leave us a message to let us know… How can we help you?

Contact Me

St. Patricks Day How Did Corned Beef and Cabbage Become the Meal of the Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Why do Irish Americans love corned beef and cabbage so much? Here’s the story behind the traditional recipe.

Growing up Irish in America meant two things. Attending mass was done on both St. Patrick’s Day itself and the Sunday before the holiday. When St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated on a Monday, you still went to mass on Sunday.

The other was eating a traditional meal with family.

Visit Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day just 10 years ago and you’d see few places or families eating corned beef. Traditional meals for the holiday are usually a dish of bacon or ham with potatoes or Irish Stew with vegetables and homemade soda bread.

Corned Beef Meets St. Patrick’s Day

How did corned beef and cabbage become the meal associated with St. Patrick’s Day?

Answering that require a trip back in time to early 1900’s New York City.

During the time of the Irish immigration to the U.S., the first generation of Irish-Americans were in search of the comforting tastes of their homeland. Irish immigrants were too poor to afford the high price of pork and bacon products.

Instead, they turned to the cheapest cut of meat available: beef brisket. Given that New York City was a melting pot for immigrants from around the world, rather than boil the beef, the Irish adopted cooking methods from other cultures.

Brining was a technique of the Eastern Europeans, which is a way of salt-curing meat. And the corn? Well, “corned” has nothing to do with corn but instead refers to the corn-sized salt crystals used during the brining process.

Corned beef is sometimes referred to as “pickled beef,” as you are quite literally pickling brisket with this particular brining process. The corned beef was paired with cabbage, as it was one of the cheapest vegetables available to the Irish immigrants.

A recipe for ‘Corned Beef and Cabbage’ from

New York City corned beef and cabbage recipe


One 3-pound corned beef brisket (uncooked), in brine
16 cups cold water
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 whole allspice berries
2 whole cloves
½ large head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), cut into 8 thick wedges
8 small new potatoes (about 1¼ pounds), halved
Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Place the corned beef in a colander in the sink and rinse well under cold running water.

Place the corned beef in a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid; add the water, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice, and cloves. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Cover and transfer pan to the oven, and braise until very tender, about 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and cover tightly with foil to keep warm. Add the cabbage and potatoes to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender about 20 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a large platter. Slice the corned beef across the grain of the meat into thin slices. Lay the slices over the cabbage and surround it with the potatoes. Ladle some of the hot cooking liquid over the corned beef and season with pepper. Serve immediately with mustard or horseradish sauce.

An Irish Blessing:

May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door

March 2020 Newsletter Smarter Senior Seminar Series Downsizing Made Easy Orlando Public Library

March Newsletter

Help End Senior Hunger in Orlando – Volunteer Opportunities

As more and more adults are reaching retirement (SENIORS) age—giving back to the Community especially to this Group is needed more than ever to HELP end senior hunger.

The SENIORS First of ORLANDO ( Meals on Wheels ) Program located at 5395 L.B. McLeod Road to help end senior hunger in Orlando offers great opportunities for the following to VOLUNTEER: Individuals, Church Groups, Fraternal Organizations, Small Businesses along with Corporate Companies.

1) Did you know that over 1000 meals both HOT & COLD are delivered to SENIORS Monday thru Friday every week of the year to help end senior hunger?

2) Did you also know that there are over another 1000 Seniors currently on the waiting list and more are added monthly?

I personally have been delivering HOT & COLD MEALS for Seniors First to help end senior hunger since mid January of this year. I have a set route that on every Friday morning I pick up 10-12 meals and deliver. It takes me all of an hour an half to deliver these much appreciated meals to the Senior Population. They are so thankful that I am taking out a part of my day to HELP provide them with a nourishing meal and to partake in some social interaction which most are deprived of on a daily basis. We become the eyes and ears to insure that they are being taken care of.

You can contact me at and I will share how you can get involved. Not only do I volunteer for SENIORS FIRST I assist in getting more people involved. I hope you’ll join me to help end senior hunger.

Importance of Senior to Stay Informed

In today’s environment when Seniors and Active Adults are living longer it is imperative that we are able to share or become that RESOURCE outlet. As we all age there are so many options for us to make when we become Active Adults and Seniors. There are options that we need exposure with to safeguard are health, our finances and most of all our legacies. It is my initiative to become that RESOURCE outlet for the senior and ACTIVE ADULT Community.

My desire in becoming that TRUSTED—seniors/ACTIVE ADULT RESOURCE PROFESSIONAL is to network and learn about all the different options available to this growing population. Did you know that over 70% of people 65 or older will need some type of assistance with their daily living activities. Activities like eating, transportation, bathing, laundry, scheduling doctor appointments, shopping, organizing their daily/monthly bills along with their medical bills and social interaction.

By writing a weekly blog it is my intention to reach out to the seniors/ACTIVE ADULT Community and their Caretakers so that they have a Resource outlet to follow weekly. Also available is a website that offers a SENIOR and ACTIVE ADULT RESOURCE tab along with providing upcoming information with SENIOR AND ACTIVE ADULT FAIRS, Expo’s or Senior related Opportunities. It is all about Creating Awareness!

Plan on attending THE FIRST ANNUAL ORLANDO SENIORS RESOURCE FAIR at LAKE EOLA Amphitheater in Downtown ORLANDO on Saturday the 17th of MAY, 2014 from 10:30-1:30. There will be over 30 local providers of Senior Care Info and Services. Music, games, face painting and raffle prizes will be available along with Massages, blood pressure and vital checks. This FAIR is Presented by NEWPORT SENIOR LINK which is a FREE SERVICE available to SENIORS and their CARETAKERS. NEWPORT SENIOR LINK works closely with over 300 Assisted Living and Independent Communities throughout the Central Orlando area Helping with finding the very best home.

BECOME a FOLLOWER and Share my Website at  and my Blog at for up to date SENIOR RESOURCE INFORMATION.

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