June Croissette
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RE/MAX 440   June Croissette
440 South West End Blvd, RT 309  Quakertown, PA  18951
Office Phone: 215-538-4400    Phone: 215-538-4400 Ext. 1210  Fax: 267-354-6834  Cell: 215-872-4966

My Blog

7 Weird Ways to Clean Up Kitchen Messes

November 27, 2015 2:48 am

Everyone seems to gather in the kitchen, and that may be one reason why it’s ground zero for major messes. You may already rely on vinegar and water to wipe down countertops and other areas, but, notes home projects guru Bob Vila, there is a world of other and more surprising cleaning options out there just perfect for making KP duty a snap:

Ketchup Magic – The acid in tomatoes does a great job of cleaning brass knobs or copper pot bottoms. Squeeze a dollop of ketchup onto a cloth and buff, then rinse with plain water and dry. For baked-on grime on stainless steel pots and pans, apply ketchup with steel wool and a little elbow grease.

The Glass Sandwich – When a glass tumbler hits the floor, soft, spongy packaged bread works like a magnet to pick up even the smallest slivers of glass. Place a slice or two over the accident area and press lightly, then discard. (But be careful: splinters can really travel.)

Soda, Please – Help restore a scuffed stainless steel sink to its former luster with plain club soda. Moisten a cloth with the bubbly or pour it directly on dingy spots – then buff with a cloth and rinse with plain water. Club soda will also loosen cooked-on crud from a cast iron skillet.

Spritz Away Stained Containers – Want to store leftover spaghetti sauce in a plastic container, but don’t want red residue to stain the plastic? Spritz a little cooking spray into the container before filling it, and there will no tell-tale stain later.

Rub-a-dub Rhubarb – If pots and pans are looking shabby, rub a rhubarb leaf over the exterior to bring back the shine. To banish burn marks inside your cookware, add some cut-up stalks to water and boil for just a few minutes.

Draw the Line on Ants – Ants in the kitchen? Find the point of entry and draw a line with chalk or talcum powder. Once a few ants cross over the chemical compound (calcium carbonate), their brothers will turn tail and run the other way.

Fresh, Clean Fridge – A box of baking soda in the fridge helps keep it smelling fresh. For a sweet refresher, pour a bit of vanilla on a sponge and keep that at the back of a shelf.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Struggling to Get out of the House? Make a Launching Pad!

November 27, 2015 2:48 am

I envy individuals who seem to just flow through each day with everything they need for home, family and work magically located exactly where they need it, when they need it.

But it wasn't until a blog from Taylor Flanery at home-storage-solutions-101.com defined how to overcome one of the most frustrating difficulties many of us have - simply getting ourselves out of the house on time every morning.

One way to solve this dilemma, Flanery says, is to create a launching pad for each family member. A launch pad is a designated space close enough to the door to keep the daily stuff you and your family members will need when they leave the house.

Examples of common items frequently included in a school kids' launching pad include:

• Backpacks (Get these off the floor where you're prone to tripping over them by having them hang on hooks or from a rack.)
• Lunch box and/or snacks, drinks
• Permission slips and other papers to return to school
• Books, including library books
• Sports equipment, or other hobby equipment needed for school or after school activities
• Coats and other winter or weather gear

For an adult's launching pad, consider including:

• Keys
• Mobile or smart phone (Make sure it is charged by keeping a charging station nearby.)
• Mail, such as in your home mail organizer
• Purses and briefcases, and/or diaper bag
• Coat and other weather gear (gloves, hat, umbrella, etc.)
• Packed lunch for work
• Items to return, or for errands
• Dry cleaning

Create a space for all these items around the exit to your home using cubbies, hooks and pegs, baskets, or whatever else you can think of that can compartmentalize each launch pad.

Finally, as with most organizational systems, Flanary says a launching pad won't actually help in the mornings if you don't use it. So get yourself and your family members into the habit of actually placing their stuff in this space as they come in the door, and taking it with them when they leave the house.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


8 Mistakes that Decrease Your Home's Value

November 27, 2015 2:48 am

Keeping up your home’s curb appeal shows more than pride of ownership. It shows respect for your neighbors – and when or if you decide to sell, a well-maintained home means it will sell faster and likely for top dollar. Similarly, maintaining your home’s interior is likely to pay off in the end.

Real estate experts told House Beautiful Magazine these eight missteps could cost you in the long run:

Landscaping without thinking ahead – Trees planted too close to the house or driveway without much thought about how big they will get can cause major problems later – like roots causing breaks in the pavement or interfering with sewer or water lines.

Letting the entryway languish - Unkempt shrubbery around the front entry, or a door that needs updating makes people wonder what else has been let go inside.

Choosing funky paint colors - Don’t choose an exterior paint color that is too far afield of neighbor homes – and stay away from contrasting trim colors that distract instead of attract the eye.

Neglecting the small stuff – Watch out for dirty windows, torn screens or broken light fixtures that show a distinct lack of care.

Hanging on to old appliances – Pay attention to the age and quality of your kitchen appliances. A stovetop too old and scratched to be cleaned properly is a turn-off – and appliances that aren’t energy-savers are costing too much money to run.

Skipping a deep clean – Details matter when it comes to home care. Look out for dirt in the window tracks, dirty grout in the tile or badly stained carpets.

Thinking too small – A small bathroom will seem smaller tiled with small tiles than with larger ones. Peruse décor magazines for ideas that help to open your space.

Neglecting wood floors – Water and vinegar dulls them over time. If you can’t afford to refinish them, have them buffed every few years.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Don't Let These Financial Blunders Leave Your Wallet Empty

November 26, 2015 2:45 am

To err is human, but when mistakes affect your pocketbook, it’s not exactly divine.

Don’t feel alone if you’ve committed a financial blunder, though. Two-thirds of Americans have made a significant money mistake somewhere along the way, says Jim Chilton, founder and chief executive officer of the non-profit Society for Financial Awareness (www.sofausa.org).

“One thing I always tell people is that you can’t let your emotions get in the way when you are trying to meet your financial goals,” Chilton says. “When it comes to finances, there is always going to be at least a little uncertainty.”

He says people can go a long way toward financial stability if they avoid these common blunders:

•  Living without a ‘net.’ Bad things happen in life, even to the best people who are trying to do the right things. That’s why you need to set aside savings that will serve as an emergency fund in case you suddenly have major medical problems or lose your job, Chilton says. He recommends a six to 12-month cushion that would cover your mortgage, groceries, utilities and the other necessities of day-to-day living.

•  Failing to check credit reports. More than 70 percent of credit reports contain some sort of error, Chilton says. Meanwhile, identity theft is on the rise. You should check your credit reports annually to make sure you are not a victim.

•  Giving little thought to retirement. Many people fail to properly prepare for retirement. If you think Social Security will take care of you, think again. Social Security is designed as supplemental income, not something that can replace your entire paycheck, Chilton says. You need to plan and save to make sure you can lead the lifestyle you want in your later years.

•  Racking up credit card debt. Credit seems to rule, but cash should be your real king, Chilton says. Americans are carrying more than $800 billion in credit card debt, he says. Making a conscious effort to use cash will help wean you off your reliance on plastic. “If you are struggling with credit card debt, you need to start making a plan to get rid of that debt,” he says.

•  Seeking advice in the wrong places. Uncle Felix may mean well, but he’s not necessarily the ideal person to offer you advice on the stock market. A trained professional is your best bet, Chilton says. Sure, word of mouth can be helpful, but it can be equally hurtful. Before you pick someone to help you with investments, do your homework because you want someone with a good reputation, Chilton says. Check with the Better Business Bureau and do a Google search to see what else you can learn.

•  Trying to do too much, too quickly. Financial problems that took years to create aren’t going to be fixed overnight, Chilton says. So ease into your new financial plan. Instead of a dramatic overhaul that could leave you frustrated, try to make small changes that will lead to larger commitments.

“Even as we get older and presumably know more, we are still bound to make a misstep here or there,” Chilton says. “We simply can’t know it all, especially when it comes to our finances. But if we realize our limitations, we can at least learn to make fewer mistakes and do a better job of setting and meeting the goals we have for our money.”

Published with permission from RISMedia.


6 Plumbing Tips for Turkey Day

November 26, 2015 2:45 am

The day after Thanksgiving is the single busiest of the year for many plumbers. Big holiday meal preparation and cleanup can lead to a lot of unwanted waste in the kitchen drain and garbage disposal. Also, holiday house guests who require additional clothes washing, showers and toilet flushes put a strain on household plumbing.

"Often, the case is that a house already has partially clogged drains that go unnoticed, until holiday guests arrive and overwhelm the system," said Paul Abrams, Roto-Rooter representative. Hectic houses full of people and frantic hosts quickly and easily lead to plumbing problems throughout the holiday season. "Even more problematic is that virtually every traditional Thanksgiving dish is a supreme drain clog culprit," Abrams continued.

Thanksgiving hosts can avoid a visit from their plumber over the holiday weekend by following these clog-preventing tips:

• Never pour fats or cooking oils down drains. They solidify in pipes. Instead, wipe grease from pots with paper towels and throw in trash.

• Avoid putting stringy, fibrous or starchy waste in the garbage disposal. Poultry skins, celery, fruit & potato peels, for example, cannot be sufficiently broken down.

• Make sure the disposal is running when you put food into it. Don't wait until it's full to turn it on.

• For homes hosting weekend guests, it's a good idea to wait ten minutes between showers so slow drains have time to do their job.

• Never flush cotton balls, swabs, hair or wet wipes down a toilet. They don't dissolve and will cause clogs.

• Try to address any plumbing problems before the holiday and before guests arrive. However, in holiday emergencies, don't hesitate to ask up front about extra holiday service fees. As always, know your DIY limits. Often, minor plumbing problems turn into plumbing catastrophes if not handled properly.

Source: Roto-Rooter

Published with permission from RISMedia.


How to Safely Prepare a Thanksgiving Meal

November 26, 2015 2:45 am

(Family Features) One of the most memorable moments at any holiday dinner is when the turkey is brought to the table. Make sure your holiday meal is a special one by following these simple tips for preparing your turkey safely.

• Don’t unwrap a frozen turkey before thawing.

• Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours per 5 pounds in weight. For example, a 20-pound bird takes four days to thaw. Thaw it faster by covering with cold water in the sink and changing the water every half hour per pound of turkey.

• Refrigerate the turkey as soon as it has thawed or cook it immediately.

• Lay a tent of foil loosely over the turkey to prevent over-browning.

• Never partially cook a turkey. Always cook it completely once started.

• The turkey is done when the meat thermometer is 180 degrees Fahrenheit and the stuffing is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a meat thermometer, look for the red stem to go up on the pop-up timer. Press a thumb and forefinger into the thick part of the drumstick to see if it feels soft or wiggle a drumstick to see if it moves easily.

• For easier carving, let the turkey stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

Source: Rhodes Bake-N-Serv

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Solutions for One-Room Living

November 25, 2015 2:45 am

(BPT)—The desire for small-space living—even one-room living—seems more attractive than ever. But whether you're ready to join the tiny house movement or just want to get the most out of a compact space in your home, there are simple steps you can take to make a small space look, feel and function like a larger one.

"There's no need to sacrifice great design if you live in a small space,” says Jackie Jordan, director of Color Marketing with Sherwin-Williams. “A few simple changes are all you need to make it feel bigger, more beautiful and a reflection of your personality.”

Jordan’s recommendations include:

Overhead and Underfoot – Consider using every conceivable space to please the eye—even the ceiling. "I love the idea of reflecting the shape of your dining room table with a bold accent color on the ceiling above it," says Jordan. Another idea: define a space at the floor level with an area rug beneath a couch and side table.

Lofty Ambitions – Consider creating a sleeping loft. It's not only cozy, but leaves extra living space below. A Murphy bed that folds up discretely into the wall is another space saver.

Focal Point – Find a focal point. It can make a space feel larger. Try painting a corner, such as a reading nook, in a bright, bold color for a mini-room effect. Or paint a piece of furniture or picture frame and elevate it to something special.

Creative Cabinetry – Take advantage of cabinetry with built-in storage features, from pullout racks that create added pantry space, to bathroom cabinets equipped with laundry hampers, hairdryer hooks and bins for grooming items.

Multitasking Solutions – If you're always multitasking, your furniture can do the same. Place an ottoman with a hidden storage compartment or flip-top serving tray beside a comfy chair. Move a twin bed next to the wall and add big patterned pillows to create seating space by day, and sleeping space by night. The pillows can also provide extra floor seating for entertaining.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


The List: Black Friday Sale Predictions

November 25, 2015 2:45 am

Black Friday sales may have expanded to include early bird specials and Cyber Monday deals, but most shoppers still expect the deepest discounts on Black Friday itself. And according to a recent report by FatWallet.com, this year’s Black Friday day sales will not disappoint. Among their list of predictions and price points:

Under $100

• 40-inch LED TVs
• Laptop “doorbuster” deals
• Amazon Fire HD 7
• Beats Solo 2
• T-Mobile family plans (per month)

Under $200

• 50-inch LED TVs
• Touchscreen laptops
• Wii U bundles

Under $300

• 50-inch 4K TVs
• 2-in-1 hybrid laptops
• Xbox One bundles

Under $400

• 60-inch LED TVs
• PS4 bundles
Source: FatWallet 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Think the Meal Is the Best Part about Thanksgiving? Think Again

November 25, 2015 2:45 am

What do you love most about Thanksgiving? If your answer is “the food,” you’re in line with the majority of respondents (nearly 80 percent) to a recent Harris Poll, who peg leftovers as their favorite part of the holiday. This might also explain why just over 70 percent of respondents would rather cook Thanksgiving dinner than go out to a restaurant, according to results from the poll.

And when it comes to what’s on the table, the turkey rules the roost. Almost 40 percent of respondents to the poll look forward to turkey the most, followed by stuffing (23 percent), pumpkin pie (12 percent), mashed potatoes (9 percent), sweet potatoes (6 percent) and cranberry sauce (3 percent).
But although the turkey remains a Thanksgiving staple, its preparation may vary. According to the poll, 52 percent of respondents show an interest in grilling turkey, and 49 percent show an interest in deep-frying. Nearly 30 percent are interested in trying a turducken—a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey—this year.

Source: The Harris Poll®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Installing a Standby Generator? 5 Questions to Ask

November 24, 2015 2:45 am

Standby generators, backup electrical systems that automatically operate after a power outage, can aid homeowners tremendously in the wake of a severe storm. Considering installing a standby generator in your home? Consult a professional dealer first—and ask them these five questions before purchasing—say the experts at Briggs & Stratton.

1. What size generator is right for my home?
The best generator size for a home depends on what the homeowner is hoping to power when the utility power is knocked offline. Generator sizing calculators, like the one at www.powernow.com, can help give homeowners an idea of the best size for their home before meeting with the installer.

2. Where should the standby generator be installed?
A homeowner's dealer will help determine where on the property the generator's placement will be, and whether any custom installation work will need to be done. That could include burying wires underground or adding a concrete pad on which the standby generator will be installed.

3. What installation and permit requirements does the home need prior to installation?
To start the home generator installation process, your local dealer will conduct an on-site visit to determine your home's specific installation needs and what local permits are needed before starting.

4. What kind of fuel do standby generators run on?
The dealer will also discuss which fuel option—natural gas or liquid propane—is available and will work best for your home's generator system. In almost all instances, the generator will use the fuel option that is already being used in the home.

5. What financing options are available?
Financing deals like zero monthly interest or low APR and fixed monthly payments are available through the dealer from the manufacturer. This gives homeowners immediate access to backup power without needing to save to make a larger one-time payment. The installer will know the latest financing options available for the unit being purchased.

Source: Briggs & Stratton

Published with permission from RISMedia.