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RE/MAX 440
Janine VanLuvanee
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie  PA 18944
 Phone: 267-259-2810
Office Phone: 215-453-7653
Cell: 267-259-2810
Fax: 267-354-6259 
jvanluvanee@remax440.com
Janine VanLuvanee

My Blog

5 Freezer Hacks That Save Money

July 8, 2015 1:01 am

(Family Features) Did you know $165 billion in unconsumed food is wasted every year? A little planning – and these freezer hacks – can help lessen waste and save your hard-earned dollars, say the experts at Frigidaire. Here’s what you can do.

1. Make Room to Save More – Consumers annually save $750 on their food bill when buying in bulk. An additional freezer provides more storage space, giving you the flexibility to store larger quantities of food out of the way while you keep items for immediate use close by.

2. Designate a Meal Prep Day – You can ensure you always have healthy, home-cooked meals on hand by taking a few hours once a week to prep and cook your meals. Meals that you'll eat early in the week can be kept in the fridge until mealtime. Dishes you plan to eat later in the week can be placed in storage containers and frozen until use. After some practice, you'll be able to work efficiently and prep meals that work best for your family.

3. Prepare for the Unexpected
– Power outages can and do happen. Your freezer can be your biggest ally to combat food and money loss due to unexpected and uncontrollable events. To protect the investment you made in your family's meal plan, purchase a freezer with thicker walls that will keep foods frozen for an extended period of time.

4. Find a Bulk Buddy
– While you may not need a 10-pound bag of cheese, you probably have a friend or neighbor who would split the cost with you. Make it a date – buy in bulk together, then split the goods with the proper food storage containers.

5. End Freezer Burn – Reduce excess air in storage bags or containers, which toughens textures and worsens flavors. Note, however, that you'll need to leave space in containers that hold soup or sauce as liquid expands when frozen and could potentially crack your storage containers.

Source: Frigidaire

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Benefits of Log Home Living

July 8, 2015 1:01 am

The American household has a long and storied history of log home living, but today’s log home construction is far from that of past. According to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Log and Timber Homes Council (LTHC), log homes today boast features found in contemporary construction.

"Log homes vary in size and style from tiny cabins in the woods to grand, multi-million dollar estates. There are no limits to what log home construction can provide,” says Log and Timber Homes Council Chairman Mark Elliott of Coventry Log Homes in Woodsville, N.H.

There are numerous practical benefits of log homeownership, especially for those interested in a green home. The modern manufacturing process uses every portion of the log, resulting in far less waste on the job site than conventional construction. The waste that is created is typically turned into mulch or sawdust that then can be converted into fuel. There are also fewer manmade materials in a log home than a conventional one.

Log homes also can be highly energy-efficient due to the fact that the logs used are solid and uninterrupted, coupled with the modern sealant materials and building techniques. Logs absorb heat energy during the day and radiate it at night to even out the temperature. This principle, called “thermal mass,” can make occupants feel more comfortable while using less energy over the life of the home.

To ensure the highest quality log home, homebuyers should seek out companies that are members of the LTHC. These log home professionals abide by a strict code of ethics, provide free information to consumers, grade their logs and timbers by third party agencies to ensure structural integrity, provide detailed construction manuals to ensure correct construction techniques, and sponsor studies that advance log building technologies.

Source: NAHB

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to 'Gamify' Your Yard

July 7, 2015 1:00 am

Did you know that nearly half of U.S. homeowners host outdoor activities and games in their backyards? All that outdoor fun can wreak havoc on your grass or turf, say TruGreen experts. Here, TruGreen shares three ways you can ‘gamify’ your yard without sacrificing a lush lawn.

1. With plenty of inspiration online, personalized, DIY games are gaining popularity in American households. One way to do this is with a backyard bowling set made of empty soda or juice bottles, a little water and a soccer ball. If you happen to spill paint on your lawn while adding color to the bottles, rinse it off immediately before it seeps into the soil. Not doing so can deprive the leaf blade of precious sunlight.

2. From corn hole to volleyball, team-based games can foster fun and friendly competition among family, friends and neighbors. To boost that sense of team spirit in your neighborhood, host a classic kickball game with homemade scoreboards. If all that running and sliding disrupts your lawn, take care to re-seed those areas come springtime.

3. Water-based activities are a summer staple. Create your own wet zone in your backyard with a water balloon toss or sprinkler party. If your lawn becomes saturated during the fun, adjust your watering schedule and irrigation pattern to avoid the areas that are overly-wet.

Source: TruGreen

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Live in a Wildfire-Prone Area? 3 Insurance Tips

July 7, 2015 1:00 am

By their very nature, wildfires can inflict widespread destruction, often damaging property beyond repair. As such, homeowners in wildfire-prone states should purchase enough homeowners insurance coverage to completely rebuild their homes and replace all of their personal possessions, say the experts at the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

In a standard policy, “you are covered for damage to the structure of your home and your personal belongings, as well as for additional living expenses if your home is damaged to the point where you can no longer live in it,” explains I.I.I. Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Jeanne M. Salvatore.

Cars either damaged or destroyed by fire are also covered under the optional comprehensive coverage portion of an auto insurance policy.

Having an up-to-date home inventory - a detailed list of your personal possessions and their estimated values - can make filing a claim following a catastrophe such as a wildfire easier and more accurate.

Source: I.I.I.

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What Homeowners Don't Know about Energy Savings

July 7, 2015 1:00 am

According to a recent report, most homeowners participate in some kind of energy-saving activity at home, such as unplugging electronics when not in use, changing HVAC air filters and using a programmable thermostat. The report, conducted by HVAC provider Lennox, concludes that with these measures, homeowners score a ‘B’ in energy conservation. How can they do better?

“Saving energy does not have to be a daunting task,” says Lennox Energy Efficiency Expert Kyle Golden. “There are simple maintenance tasks and improvements homeowners can put into action around the house that can make a big impact on energy bills.”

One of the more common activities cited in the report is turning off the A/C system completely on hot days and the heating system on cold days. This can do more harm than good, explains Golden.

“While turning off your air conditioner system completely seems like an easy and effective way to conserve energy and save money during the summer, it is actually forcing the system to work overtime to get back to a comfortable temperature. Doing so uses more energy and can therefore cost more - not to mention the increased wear and tear on the equipment,” Golden says.

Rather than shutting the system off, Golden advises lowering or raising the temperature of the thermostat, or installing a smart thermostat to do it automatically.

According to the report, homeowners are willing to invest in energy-saving improvements, such as solar panels or appliances, energy-efficient windows, a high-efficiency furnace or air conditioner, insulation, a programmable thermostat, a high-efficiency water heater or a low-flow shower head.

Source: Lennox.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What's New in High-Tech Kitchen Appliances

July 6, 2015 1:57 am

Just when you think kitchen gadgets and appliances have reached the height of efficiency, a new generation proves you wrong. Design experts give us a close-up look at the newest high-tech kitchen gear:

Google-powered oven tablet
– Dacor’s Discovery IQ Oven goes way beyond convection options with a touch-screen control panel that is a Google-powered tablet. Coupled with the Dacor app, it will tell you when a dish is ready to serve, switch automatically to warming mode and send you smartphone notification. Cost? About $7,500.

A smarter coffeemaker
- Making your morning cup of Joe just got a whole lot easier. With the Mr. Coffee 10-Cup Optimal Brew Smart Coffeemaker with WeMo, you can schedule or adjust brew time from your smartphone. About $150.

Hand-held kitchen thermometer
– Now you can get a temperature read on your turkey without having to hang around the kitchen. The iDevices Kitchen Thermometer alerts your mobile phone when the bird is thoroughly cooked. An additional LED-screened device sits on the countertop or mounts magnetically to your oven, letting you monitor the temperature whenever you pass by. About $98.

Wi-Fi-enabled refrigerator
- Imagine a tablet secured to the front of your refrigerator! The Wi-Fi-enabled LCD screen on this Samsung model lets you watch TV, pull up recipes, and even make or answer calls through your fridge. It boasts counter-height drawers with adjustable temperatures and holds up to 28 cubic feet. About $3,600.

Slow cook from your phone
– Using the free WeMo app, you can control this slow cooker right from your phone. Shift from high to warm to off with the tap of your finger—even if you're miles from home—and dinner will be waiting for you when you arrive. About $130.

Smart bartending
– Mixing drinks is simple with the Perfect Drink scale and app. Compatible with Android and iOS, the scale comes loaded with recipes and walks you through each step for mixing anything from a single glass to a large pitcher of your favorite potent potable. Because the scale is so sensitive, there's no need to measure as you pour. Simply follow the directions on your app. About $40.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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9 Little Must-Haves for Baby's Room

July 6, 2015 1:57 am

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much ‘stuff’ is needed when preparing to welcome a newborn—and perhaps some of us overdo a bit in the name of, “Oh, that’s so cute!”

But parenting website whattoexpect.com lists 10 items parents-to-be will want to have on hand before they bring home their bundle of joy:

Odor-free diaper pail – Several types are available today, including one that uses baking soda cartridges to help banish nursery odors.

Rechargeable night light – These gadgets emit enough light to guide you on your way to those midnight feedings without disturbing baby’s sleep. A single charge will last for eight hours.

Wipe warmer – A cold wipe can be a jolt to your little one as he’s coming out of sleep. A warmer will hold up to 100 wipes and ensure even the first one is warm.

Crib night light – It isn’t necessary to turn on a light every time you peek in on your baby. A crib light emits soothing light and womb sounds that provide your snoozing newborn with both comfort and security.

Safety gate – No baby-proofing job is complete without a safety gate. Newly designed gates provide top-notch security as well as good looks anywhere in your home.

Closet organizer
– If closet space is scarce, a tiered, 6-shelf closet organizer will hold toys, onesies, diapers and more neatly and within easy reach.

Bottle warmer – Takes the guesswork out of heating baby’s milk or food to just the right temperature. Best of all, it helps prevent the loss of nutrition that can occur if you use a microwave as a warmer.

Portable changing pad
– Great for on-the-so diaper changes anywhere in the house. A non-skid bottom holds it in place while the safety strap and angles sides help keep your baby secure.

Portable diaper caddy – Holds wipes and other supplies as well as a supply of diapers. You can take with you for use wherever a diaper change may be needed.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Interior Housepainting Tips for Newbies

July 6, 2015 1:57 am

Anyone would agree that a fresh coat of paint is the easiest, most cost-effective way to give your home a clean, new look for spring – and even you’ve never wielded a paintbrush before, a few simple tips will help you get results you can be proud of.

From ELivingToday.com, here are nine tips that will have you painting like a pro:

Prep and patch
– Long before you pour the paint, be sure walls are clean and dust-free and use patching paste and a putty knife to patch and smooth any existing chips or nail holes. Use masking tape to mark off windows.

Pick your paint – Apart from choosing color(s), decide which type of paint to use. Latex-based paints are easy to clean with soap and water, but are not as durable. Oil-based paints require a bit more care, but are more durable for areas that get lots of wear and tear.

Pick your brushes – For oil-based paints, choose a brush with natural bristles. For latex-based paint, pick a brush made of synthetic material such as nylon.

Have all materials on hand –
In addition to those above, you will need: drop cloths, gloves, paint rollers and trays, a ladder, primer, stir sticks, paint thinner, and a ball cap to protect your head. Disposable roller tray liners will save some time and effort.

Prime first – Open the windows to let fresh air circulate. Then use primer to prime the walls before you paint – especially in older homes with lots of patched holes.

Mix the paint – For large areas, pour all the paint into one bucket and mix it together using a sturdy paint stick. This will ensure the color is consistent even if there are slight variations from can to can.

Paint in order – If you are painting the ceiling, paint it first before the walls, doors and trim. Just a few strokes of the roller on walls or ceiling will help you find the rhythm that works for you.

Clean brushes and tools – Remember to use water for latex-based paint brushes, paint thinner for oil-based.

Get rid of paint fumes – In addition to opening windows while priming and painting, try banishing paint fumes faster by pouring a little vinegar into a few bowls and setting them out throughout the painted room.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Fourth of July Travelers Number 40 Million-Plus

July 3, 2015 12:43 am

Rising income, driven by a strong employment market, is prompting over 40 million Americans to take a Fourth of July trip this year, according to recent AAA projections. Despite some seasonal increases, gas prices remain well below year-ago levels, which has also helped boost Americans' disposable income.

“Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday for this reason, and more Americans are planning a holiday getaway than any year since 2007,” says AAA President Marshall L. Doney.

The all-American road trip remains as popular as ever, with nearly 85 percent of travelers planning to drive to their destinations. Over 3 million travelers will travel by air, and another 3 million-plus will travel by cruise, train or bus, AAA estimates.

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers will encounter moderately higher lodging rates and airfares this Fourth of July weekend, with the average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel costing $145 and the average nightly stay in a Three Diamond hotel costing $195. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will also be higher at an average of $227.

Source: AAA

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Can You Guess the Most Popular Fourth of July Eats?

July 3, 2015 12:43 am

As we gear up to celebrate Independence Day, there’s one food item that will be on the majority of tables across America: hamburgers. According to a recent Instantly survey, hamburgers were named the top menu item for the Fourth of July, surpassing hotdogs by nearly 40 percent. The most popular side dishes will be potato salad, corn on the cob and baked beans, respectively.

When it comes to snack items, the overwhelming majority of Americans will reach for Frito-Lay brand chips, including KC Masterpiece, Kettle Chips and Doritos.

These classic food items uphold a longstanding tradition for many Americans, with 34 percent selecting these items based on historical preference. Nearly three-quarters of Americans who are dieting or watching what they eat consider the Fourth of July a “cheat” day.

Source: Instantly

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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