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  •   House Bound

    | The Buying a House Toolkit | The Mining Company |
    | The Keystroke Information Planner |
    | | Inez Ramsey's Kids' Sites | Little Explorers |
    | Kids' Web Digital Library | Kids' Magazines Online | Dr. P's Dog Training | Pet Cat | How to Toilet-Train Your Cat | FAQ on Litter-Training |

    Buying a House
    The Buying a House Toolkit: This subset of the ZDNet Software Library offers a handful of free downloads, including the Loan Calculator, the Mortgage Designer and the Debt Analyzer, the last of which assesses your current obligations and offers suggestions on how you can dig yourself out – so you can get right back in with a big mortgage.

    The Mining Company Washington, D.C., and Baltimore Real Estate: A handy, annotated compendium of links to real-estate sites focused on the D.C.-Baltimore area, including neighborhood-info pages, online house listings, mortgage help and more.

    The Keystroke Information Planner: There's a little something for everyone here, including a calculator to determine if you prequalify for a loan and databases to help you get the loan that's right for you. There are also dozens of other helpful tidbits, such as ideas on how to save money (through no-cash-out refinancing) and building equity in your house. Hit this site – an online version of the Multiple Listing Service real estate agents use – to get an idea of what's available in the state, city, county and Zip code of your choice. But be patient; more than 1 million houses are for sale in the U.S., and the site can seem like it's tromping through all of them.

    – Hope Katz Gibbs

    Fun Stuff for Kids
    Inez Ramsey's Kids' Sites: Articles and games, alphabet books and interviews with famous children's book writers pack this Web site. There are dozens of links, offering something for kids 2 to 20 (or in my case, 33). Some of the best are the links to science sites – for instance, the National Wildlife Foundation, NASA and Volcano World.

    Little Explorers: This educational site provides a handful of playful games to teach toddlers about numbers, letters and science; my daughter's favorite is the colorful dinosaurs page, which gives a humorous history lesson.

    Kids' Web Digital Library: A resource for homework and school projects, this site is filled with interesting links, games and basic information. You can learn about everything from the CIA to Busch Gardens.

    Kids' Magazines Online: Don't want to dish out dollars to buy your kids the latest newsstand versions of teen magazines? Tell them to log onto this Web site, which links them to stories in Time magazine for kids, the Smithsonian's Muse and Canada's kid-science magazine, Yes.

    – Hope Katz Gibbs

    Pet HouseTraining
    Pet enthusiasts can be oddly fond of telling their pooch's potty-training tales on the Web; these stand out among the pack.

    Dr. P's Dog Training: The appropriately-named Dr. P (a dog breeder and a well-pedigreed professor with expertise in animal learning and behavior) put together this 18-link library of housetraining hints (follow one for a zealous poodle owner's step-by-step instructions on how to train your pooch to use a litter box).

    Pet Cat: The Ultimate Web Site About Cats and Cat Care: New kitten owners should consult Pet Cat for the ins and outs of scooping a good litter tray. It explains where to put it and how to best avoid accidents.

    How to Toilet-Train Your Cat: Although you might think this site is a joke, toilet-training cats is a relatively common phenomenon, and this site explains how to (gradually) do it.

    The House Rabbit Society's FAQ on Litter-Training: Yes, you can prevent Peter Cottontail from leaving a bunnytrail: The House Rabbit Society's site teaches how to train that wascally wabbit to use a litter box, with tips on things like the importance of using multiple boxes within the rabbit's cage.

    – Shayla Thiel

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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