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Mary Mastroeni

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Word of the Day

July 17, 2012 5:42 pm

Mortgagee. Party or institution that lends money; the creditor.

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Q: Do I Need an Attorney to Sell a Home?

July 17, 2012 5:42 pm

A: Although most sellers can handle routine real estate purchase contracts, some experts say it is a good idea to be represented by an attorney, particularly if you are selling on your own. You should choose one with expertise in real estate transactions. Before hiring someone discuss all the details of the transaction, including all legal costs you will incur. A good attorney can assist you.

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7 Simple Ways to Boost Your Health

July 16, 2012 5:38 pm

Most adults today are beginning to get the message: eat better and exercise more to be at your best and live longer. But, according to studies published recently by the editors of Men’s Health, there are a few simple – and very specific – measures we can take that are shown to boost health tack years onto our life span.

Health editors suggest starting with these seven tips:

1. Pack in the raw veggies – Italian researchers have found that eating a cup of raw vegetables daily can add up to two years to your life. So skip the soup and have a raw veggie salad for lunch – or pack a baggie full of cut-up veggies to munch on throughout the day.
2. Water, water – Scientists at Loma Linda University found that men who drink five 8-ounce glasses of water daily are 54 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack than those who drink two glasses or less.
3. Nuts to you – Loma Linda researchers also found that people who munched on two ounces of mixed nuts daily earned an extra 2.9 years on the planet. (Be sure the mix contains walnuts, which are sometimes left out of popular nut mixes.)
4. Burger one, cheese zero – The burger may not be so bad, researchers have found. But leave off the melting cheese – and steer clear of other fatty add-ons like mayonnaise, goopy sauces and full-fat salad dressings.
5. Be a pedal pusher – Not every city is blessed with lots of bike lanes – but look for them wherever you live. Danish studies claim that biking, hiking or jogging the running trails – even for as little as an hour a week – can add up to 6.2 years to your life.
6. Phone a friend – In a study of seventy-somethings, Australian researchers found that those with the largest network of friends, and those with the busiest social lifestyles, lived more than seven years longer than the more sedentary loners.
7. Plan for retirement - And not just financially! A Yale University study of older adults found that those with plans for retirement and a positive attitude lived more than seven years longer those who felt doomed to aging. Volunteering, especially, was seen as a healthy and gratifying distraction from getting older.

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Six Summer Sleeping Tips That Keep Kids Well-Rested

July 16, 2012 5:38 pm

From family road trips and backyard BBQs, to sun-filled days spent splashing in the pool -- summer is the time for fun. But with all the increased activity, sometimes things like kids' bedtimes and regular schedules go out the window.

"Sleep experts estimate that school-age kids need at least nine hours of sleep per night to stay healthy and active," says Ben Thorud, Senior Vice President of Ashley Sleep. "When school is out during the summertime, children's bedtimes, diets and routines often change dramatically compared to the rest of the year. All of these factors can lead to sleep deprivation, which can result in personality changes, temper tantrums and lower energy levels."

So how can you keep children well-rested, energized and ready to seize their day until Fall rolls around again? Below are six easy-to-follow tips for better sleep:
1. Don't Overschedule. While it's important to keep kids engaged and active over the summer, it's also important to leave some unstructured free time for playing and exploring. Overscheduling your children can lead to stress and lack of sleep.
2. Keep the Summer Heat Outside. For optimal sleeping, bedroom temperatures should be somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees. To keep A/C bills under control, supplement with ceiling fans or other forms of ventilation. A cool shower or bath before bedtime can also help lower body temperature, for a more restful night's sleep.
3. Block out the Light. In the summertime, the sun comes up bright and early, causing kids to wake up before they're ready. Try using blackout shades to keep the room dark.
4. Set a Realistic Bedtime. Consider your lifestyle changes over the summer and come up with a bedtime you can actually follow. Once you find one that works for your family, stick to it.
5. Keep Summer Vacations in Check. Sometimes eating and sleeping habits fall to the wayside during summer trips. While it can be challenging, try to stick with your regular schedule as closely as possible during vacations to avoid sleepy, irritable children.
6. Say "No" to Too Much Sugar/Caffeine. From caffeine-laden chocolate and soda pop to other sugary treats, kids' diets can easily get out of hand if you're not careful. Try to limit the types of snacks that tend to wreak havoc at bedtime.
Source: AshleySleep.com.

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Keep Clean: Tips to Battle Stains

July 16, 2012 5:38 pm

Nothing ruins a new outfit or clean carpet faster than a stain. But between eating on the fly, entertaining friends and taking care of the family, well, life gets messy!

“It’s no accident that July honors one of our most fun but also messiest foods,” Bob Kearn, president and CEO of COIT, said, noting that July is National Ice Cream Month. “Between ice cream spills and beverage stains, picnics and parties, it’s no wonder many of our customers are turning to us for help.”

For the best chance at preventing permanent carpet staining, it’s important in most cases to act quickly when a spill occurs and not to allow stains to dry. Test the following suggested solutions in an inconspicuous area first and always use clean, white towels to blot. Some of the most common summer carpeting spills and their quick remedies include:

Ice cream: Create an ammonia solution that includes one tablespoon of clear ammonia for each half cup of water and a dish detergent solution that includes one teaspoon of mild dish detergent for every cup of water. Apply warm water or soda water to the stain and blot. Apply the dish detergent solution and blot. Apply the ammonia solution and blot again. Finally, rinse with tap water and blot dry.

Chocolate: Use the same ammonia and dish detergent solutions as you would use for an ice cream stain. In addition, you will need a white vinegar solution made by mixing one-third of a cup of white distilled vinegar with two-thirds of a cup of water. Apply the cool dish detergent solution and blot. Next, apply the ammonia solution and blot. Rinse with tap water and blot again, and then apply the white vinegar solution. Rinse with tap water and blot dry.

Alcohol, including beer and whiskey: Squirt the stain with warm tap water or soda water, and then blot dry (carpet shampoo might also be effective).

Coffee, tea, or cola: Mix one third of a cup of white distilled vinegar with two-thirds of a cup of water. Flush the stain first with cold tap water or soda water, then apply the white vinegar solution and blot. Rinse with water and blot dry.

Mud: Mix a solution that includes one teaspoon of mild dish detergent to one cup of water. Mud is one of the few stains that you should first allow to dry before cleaning. Brush, scrape or vacuum off as much of the dried dirt as possible. Apply the dish detergent solution, and then rinse with tap water and blot dry.

Gravy, ketchup, and mustard: These stains can be tackled with either a dish detergent solution or a laundry detergent solution. In either case, use one teaspoon of mild detergent for every cup of water. You can also create a white vinegar solution by mixing one-third of a cup of white distilled vinegar for every two-thirds cup water. Apply the solution you’re using to the stain and blot. Rinse with tap water and blot dry.

Fruit, juice, jelly, soda, and artificial colors: To remove these common summer stains, follow the same directions as for gravy, ketchup, and mustard above.

Source: www.coit.com.

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Do-It Yourself: Deck Staining

July 16, 2012 5:38 pm

(ARA) - Most deck owners know that one of the keys to keeping their decks looking good is staining it every few years. However, while deck staining is a process that most homeowners are capable of doing themselves, finding the time to do it can be difficult. With the right approach and the right products, you can get everything done in just one day and spend the rest of the year enjoying your newly stained deck.

By perfecting your process, you can take staining from something that you dread to a simple one-day process. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting your deck looking good in a day:

First, choose the look you want to project on your deck. Do you want a clear, semi-transparent or solid finish? Do some research to see which type of wood stain would look best on your deck. Clear finish generally looks better on newer wood, while a solid finish might be used on older decks to hide imperfections. If you are looking for the solution that will allow you to accomplish your project in one day, you'll need to choose a product which can be applied within a few hours of cleaning the surface.

Always know your deck's square footage before heading to the store to buy stain. Don't estimate, because nothing is more frustrating than having to stop your project because you ran out of stain. Make sure you also have all the necessary supplies before leaving the store.

Before the day you stain, examine your deck to see if there are any necessary repairs that should be done. If your deck is squeaky, it's likely due to loose nails. Replace loose or missing nails with deck screws, as hammering a nail into the same spot won't fix the problem.

Once you have all the supplies, check the weather report and pick a day that's good for staining. Temperatures should range between 50 and 90 F, and there should be at least 48 hours without a threat of rain.

Remove everything from your deck and use a wood cleaner to clean and prepare your surface. Decks that are in good condition can simply be cleaned before staining. But if your deck is peeling, has mildew growth or experiencing other surface irregularities, it's best to strip it before staining.

If you're using a one coat waterproofing finish, you can begin staining a few hours after you prepped the surface. Quick tip: If you're using multiple cans of stain, mix them together for color consistency and continue to stir throughout the process.

Work the entire length of each board and make sure you are applying evenly throughout. If you are working on a vertical surface, start at the bottom and work up to avoid streaking.

Take your time to do a thorough job, but make sure you use only as much stain as the directions call for. Especially when working with oil products, using too much can ruin the look of your deck.

It's important to note that for larger decks, or decks that pose unique challenges such as numerous hard-to-reach areas, the process could take longer than a day. But by following these steps, you'll ensure that your deck will be looking great in less time and with less hassle.

Once you've finished staining, dispose of any extra stain or cleaner as directed by the instructions on the can and let the deck dry for the prescribed amount of time before walking or placing items on it. In no time, you'll be enjoying your deck for the seasons to come.

Source: www.flood.com.

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Word of the Day

July 16, 2012 5:38 pm

Mortgage company or mortgage banker. Financial intermediary that offers mortgages to borrowers, and then resells them to various lending institutions, government agencies, or private investors.

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Q: What Are Some Costs Associated with Buying a New Home?

July 16, 2012 5:38 pm

A: Basically, the costs are no different from when you purchased your existing home. They include moving expenses, loan costs, the down payment, a home inspection, title work and policy, and paying for a new hazard insurance policy. Your lender can give you a disclosure of estimated costs when you apply to be pre-approved for a home loan.

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History Lesson in Hammocks

July 13, 2012 5:36 pm

Recently I wrote about the idea of adding a hammock to the porch, deck, or anywhere on your property where it might be appropriate to occasionally lean back and enjoy an old-fashioned siesta.

So when we went looking for some fine detail about these little hanging beauties, I found a goldmine of information at kwhammocks.com. According to KW's hammock historians, some people believe that the hammock was first invented in Athens by the statesman Alcibiades (c.450-404 BC), a student of the famous Greek philosopher Socrates.

However, KW says the use of hammocks for sleeping in was not widely adopted by the ancient Greek culture. In fact it was the indigenous tribes of the Caribbean Islands and Central America that were the first to incorporate the Hammock as essential item in their day to day life over 1,000 years ago.

Although the folks at KW are unsure of exactly which tribe or cultural group did invent the hammock history reveals that the device was rapidly adopted by every culture from Southern Mexico all the way down to Northern Brazil and has been an integral part of their life style ever since.

For anyone who has visited this region it quickly became apparent why the hammock is an excellent choice for sleeping during the night and relaxing away the day, being suspended off the ground provides better air circulation keeping the body cool and dry in a hot tropical environment - and it has the added benefit of protection from insects, scorpions, spiders and snakes.

These traditional style hammocks were first introduced to Europeans when Christopher Columbus returned to Spain from a Caribbean voyage in the 1400s. And it did not take long for those early seafaring explorers to discover the benefits of using hammocks on board ships.

Even today it is not unusual to see hammocks hung between the mast and the forestay on recreational sailboats. Most recently the trend in hammocks has been a retreat from hard ropes and a return to the uncompromised comfort of the Caribbean, Mayan, Brazilian, Columbian or Nicaraguan hammocks.

If you have limited space, or just one small shade tree to suspend your new relaxation station, consider a Caribbean hammock chair. These beauties are hand-woven from miles of weather resistant polyester cord that has been soft-spun to provide a softer than cotton feel.

The models at KWHammocks.com even offer a wider 47-inch hardwood spreader bar for more shoulder room. So what are you waiting for? Get swinging!



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Money Saving Laundry Tips

July 13, 2012 5:36 pm

Laundry may have been one of the first things you learned to do when you moved out of your parent’s place. But even seasoned launderers can still learn a few new tricks in savvy sudsing.

“Laundry detergent can be expensive and it’s a product just about everyone values,” says Anderson, president of Country Save Corp, maker of all-natural laundry and dish detergents.

Almost every brand of detergent has a declaration of loads per box on its packaging, he says. And for almost every brand, the number on the box does not match the scooper size provided in the box.
Anderson, whose environmentally safe Country Save laundry detergent is also distributed by the Department of Defense to all soldiers in the field, offers these facts about using your detergent prudently and economically.

• Don’t just fill up the scoop and dump it in the washer.
“You definitely won’t get the maximum number of loads from the box,” Anderson says. “For instance, if you use Ultra Tide’s 40-load box and fill the scoop for every load, you’ll get just 15 scoops per box.” Instead, he says, put on your glasses, if necessary, and look at the lines on the side of the scoop. The top line, for a full load, is usually well below the lip of the scoop. Highlight the lines with a dark-colored marker to help you avoid the problem in the future. If you have soft water, using half the recommended amount is sufficient.

• Too much soap causes clothes to fade faster.
Over-use of detergent is actually the leading cause of fading. Clothing may also acquire a thin, filmy layer of soap because your washer can’t thoroughly rinse the fabric. Do you tend to be itchy? It could be you’re wearing your detergent!

• Too much soap’s not good for your washing machine, either. Excess soap can gum up the works as soap deposits and lint form in your washing machine. These can contribute to mold – and its accompanying stench; they can plug up filters and other openings; and they can lead to mechanical breakdowns. In some machines, you may also end up wasting (and spending more for) water as the machine spins into extended cycles in an effort to remove the soap.

• Run a test load to see if you’re over-soaping. Run a load with clothes only – no detergent. Do you see suds? That’s an indication of how much detergent you are wearing.

• Reduce pollutants by using an all-natural detergent. While Country Save had the first phosphate-free detergent on the market back in 1977, many companies have now removed the additive because of its harmful effects on rivers, lakes and other fresh water. However, most companies continue to use other additives, such as optic brighteners, fragrances and dyes, Anderson says. “The more often consumers choose the most natural products, the better off our environment will be – even if some people still use too much!

Source: www.countrysave.com

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