Jeff Shauger, Associate Broker, ABR, CDPE, CRS, ePRO, GRI , SRES, SRS
 
Jeff Shauger, Associate Broker, ABR, CDPE, CRS, ePRO, GRI , SRES, SRS

Jeff's Blog

Make Your Home Safer for Your Family

October 4, 2013 2:48 am

(Family Features)—Filled with mesmerizing trinkets and gadgets—your home is a new and exciting world for your small child to explore. But this new world can introduce serious and sometimes surprising safety issues that many parents do not realize are risks.

Hidden concerns in common household devices

As your children happily toddle around your home, they may come in contact with unknown safety issues scattered throughout. One issue you may not have considered is coin lithium batteries, about the size of a nickel, which can be found around most homes in everyday items like remote controls, keyless entry devices for your car, sound-enabled books and a variety of health and fitness devices. Because many of these devices are not regulated as children’s toys, the battery compartments often are very easy to open. Children are naturally drawn to these devices, as many include buttons that are fun to play with and push.

The danger of these batteries is very real. If a coin-sized lithium battery is swallowed by a small child, it can get caught in the esophagus. The battery can react with saliva and cause a chemical reaction that can lead to severe injuries in as little as two hours. Unfortunately, many parents do not know about the issue. In fact, a recent survey showed 62 percent of parents reported being unaware of the risk associated with coin lithium batteries.

Spread the word

In an effort to help keep children safe, Energizer and the National Safety Council are working together to educate parents and caregivers on the steps they can take to help prevent these injuries.

“We know parents and caregivers are constantly thinking about their children’s safety, but we want to bring awareness to an issue still unknown to many families,” said Amy Heinzen, Program Manager of Grants and Strategic Initiatives for the National Safety Council. “Coin lithium battery safety needs to be top of mind and we hope parents will take the time to learn about the issue with these four simple steps to help children be safe.”

In case of emergency

If it is suspected a child has swallowed a coin lithium battery, it is important to go to the emergency department immediately.

For more information on child safety and coin lithium battery safety, visit nsc.org, www.energizer.com, www.TheBatteryControlled.com and www.poison.org/battery.

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Easy-to-Install Window Trim Options

October 4, 2013 2:48 am

On the “what’s in and what’s out” list for homeowners, naked window exteriors are definitely out. Easy-to-install decorative accents like mouldings, window crossheads and shutters are now trending for homeowners across the country.

“With so many options for enhancing window exteriors using lightweight polyurethane products, even the most novice do-it-yourselfer can change a window exterior from boring to beautiful in a short time,” says Niki Decker with Fypon. “If you can use a tape measure, a hammer and a caulk gun, you can transform your window exteriors!”

Options for homeowners to use include:

Crossheads – Decorative crossheads sit on the top of a window and add a regal look. They can be plain or detailed with keystones in the center to draw attention or detail trim along the length of the crosshead to suit traditional home styles. There are also crosshead arches and eyebrow crossheads that provide a softer, curved look when installed above a window.

Pediments – Stylish and eye-catching, pediments also sit above windows. From curved and peaked sunbursts to triangular peaked caps, acorn and rams head styles, pediments are the most dramatic way to draw attention to your window exteriors.

Pilasters – Not all window enhancements sit on top of the window unit. Usually intended to flank the sides of entry doors, pilasters can also be cut down to run vertically up the sides of windows. Pilasters can be smooth and plain, or have a “fluted” recessed design. They generally have plinths at the top and bottom to balance out the window design and add style to the window surround.

Mouldings - Perhaps the easiest way to surround a window is with flat or decorative trim and plinth blocks. This quick project requires no miter cuts because the plinth blocks are put in all four corners of the window exterior and butt up to straight cuts of smooth, paintable trim pieces. Many homeowners use this technique as a “starting point” and then add in other elements such as pediments and shutters to create their own personal window statement.

Shutters – Another popular way to draw attention to the sides of windows is to add a set of decorative shutters. Available in louvered and raised panel styles that are smooth and paintable, shutters provide the perfect way to carry an accent color throughout the exterior of your home. Or, timber shutters in board, plank and louvered styles can be stained to imitate the look of wood on a home without all the maintenance hassles of real wood.

Window Panels – To add depth to the look of a window, flat and raised panels can be added below the window unit and then enclosed entirely with trim. Window panels tend to fill in space between the bottom of the window and the ground, helping the windows gain more presence and focus on a home exterior.

Pot Shelves – Available in both timber and stone styles, a pot shelf is placed below the bottom window sill. Oftentimes they’re used to balance out an entire window surround with a finished look.

Source: Fypon, LLC

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Busy Schedule? Tips for Staying Healthy When Things Get Hectic

October 3, 2013 2:42 am

(Family Features)--Life can sometimes feel a little too jam-packed with work, errands, carpools, cooking dinner and more. When that happens, healthy habits often fall by the wayside in favor of convenience. Fast food can replace home-cooked meals and exercise makes way for the television.

Registered dietitians and authors Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, who are also known as "The Nutrition Twins," have advice for feeling good and staying healthy despite a busy schedule.

Drink up: People often mistake thirst for hunger, prompting them to overeat. Keep seltzer, iced green tea or water with lime in the fridge. The next time you want a nosh between meals, drink a glass first and see what happens.

Sneak in exercise: If it feels like too much of a task to get to the gym each day, sneak in exercise wherever you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work or push your kids on the swings for an arm workout. Even if you walk around the neighborhood for 15 minutes, it counts. Just get moving!

Bite into some energy: You might think a sugary candy bar from the office vending machine will perk you up, but a healthy, balanced snack will keep you on your toes longer. Make sure your snack has a quality, high-fiber carbohydrate, like fresh fruit, oatmeal or whole-grain crispbread, for long-lasting energy and a lean protein, such as a hardboiled egg or Greek yogurt, to help you feel satisfied. The two will work together to keep your energy up and your desire to visit the snack machine down.

Sleep tight: Sleep deprivation slows your metabolism down and negatively affects your immune system. When you're busy, that's the last thing you need. Set yourself a bedtime that's eight hours before you have to wake up and start getting ready for bed 30 minutes prior to that. The last step is tough, but don't bring your phone or computer to bed with you.

Source: www.Vitamints.com

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Survey Finds Adults are Just as Excited for the Fun this Halloween Season

October 3, 2013 2:42 am

This Halloween, fun never grows old. In fact, 65 percent of American adults are looking forward to enjoying a Halloween treat this year, with one in three adults planning to dress up in a costume. As families prepare for Halloween fun, other survey results revealed:

• Parents Get Into the Halloween Spirit: According to the survey, parents are more likely than non-parents to spook their friends, play a trick and host a haunted house.

• Home is the Halloween Hot Spot: With 41 percent of adults planning to watch a scary movie and almost one-third of all adults planning to host their own parties, Halloween is a great reason for a fun night in.

• Men Enjoy Tricks Over Treats: Men are even more excited to celebrate, with one in three men planning to spook their friends and/or play a trick on someone this Halloween.

Source: Cheetos

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Seasonal Maintenance Tips and Tricks for Consumers this Fall

October 3, 2013 2:42 am

Earth-Kind is offering simple fall home maintenance tips as part of its First Saturday initiative. The quarterly campaign provides expert tips and reminders about what can be done to prevent or repair damage and keep everything running in tip-top shape for the coming season.
Whether you live in the heart of the city or the heartland, there are simple, yet effective ways to prepare for the seasonal changeover. Earth-Kind founder and farmer-in-charge Kari Warberg Block offers the following tips to ensure that everything from pets to smoke detectors are prepared.

• Urbanites: As the season changes, so should your wardrobe. Bring out your sweatshirts, boots and long sleeves, and pack away your bathing suits until next year.

• Small Town Life: As you bundle up for the fall, be sure to test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Be sure to stock your medicine cabinets with first aid kits and dispose of expired medicines.

• Rural Review: If you live on a large piece of property, do lawn maintenance to prepare your property for the cold. Trim grass and shrubbery and dispose of leaf piles. After cleaning farm equipment, use a rodent repellent such as Fresh Cab to protect from damage during the off season.

As the weather cools, rodents will begin to look for a warm place to stay this season. In fact, 50 percent of the world's population struggles with rodents. Protecting your home, car, RV, boat and even farming equipment from mice and other rodents requires just a few easy steps:

• Check area for gaps, and fill small openings with steel wool and caulk.
• Make sure grass is cut short and shrubbery within 100 feet of the home is well trimmed.
• Buy rodent-proof containers such as garbage cans and recycling bins.
• Prevent problems before they start with an all natural repellent option like Fresh Cab, an EPA-certified, long-lasting botanical rodent repellent which is 100 percent guaranteed, safe for humans, pets and the earth.

Source: Earth-Kind, Inc.

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Top Auto Care Tips for Fall Car Care Month

October 2, 2013 2:39 am

At the beginning of the summer, savvy travelers visited their trusted automotive service professionals for a car care check-up. Now that the summer travel season is over, it's time to take another look under the hood. Firestone Complete Auto Care offers five tips to help drivers keep their cars running newer and longer.

1. Check your tire pressure monthly – Tires can lose one psi (pound per square inch) per month under normal conditions. Lower pressure increases heat, which results in tire wear and damage.

2. Rotate your tires as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer or every 5,000 miles – For maximum mileage from your tires, stick to a rotation schedule.

3. Keep your car washed – Keep the exterior washed and waxed to protect your vehicle from the elements as the seasons change.

4. Don't forget the filters – Oil, fuel, transmission and air filters are important to keep your engine running well. Check your owner's manual to see how often they should be changed.

5. Drive smart – Maintain good driving habits. They not only affect how long your car will last, but improve fuel economy. Place less stress on your vehicle by avoiding sudden acceleration and braking.

Source: Bridgestone Retail

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Living with Diabetes? Watch your Mouth!

October 2, 2013 2:39 am

(Family Features) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease. In fact, about one-third of people with diabetes have severe gum disease.

Why are those with diabetes more vulnerable to gum disease? High blood glucose levels impair the body’s ability to heal from oral infections and uncontrolled diabetes can make treating gum disease more difficult, according to the American Diabetes Association. The Association is joining with Colgate to launch a new “Watch Your Mouth!” campaign to help raise awareness surrounding the often over-looked link between oral health and diabetes. Here are some tips to help you live well with diabetes:

• Watch your mouth! Begin to develop healthy oral care habits, like brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly. Research shows that brushing twice a day can help improve gum health in as little as four weeks.

• Don’t miss out on your favorite foods. Just eat healthier versions that everyone in your family can enjoy. Making simple substitutions to most dishes can help increase nutritional value, while not sacrificing on taste.

• Use the right tools. Stay organized with a journal large enough to keep your diet, exercise goals and health information together. Keep a week’s worth of prescriptions in one place with a handy pill case.

• Know your risks. The American Diabetes Association lists the common risk factors for diabetes as being 45 or older, being overweight, not exercising regularly, having high blood pressure and being a part of certain racial and ethnic groups.

• Visit your dentist. While your doctor and certified diabetes educator play an important role in helping with your diabetes, so does your dentist. If you don’t see a private-practice dentist, you can visit dental schools that provide services at a fraction of the cost to help you keep your mouth healthy.

For more expert tips and information, visit www.OralHealthAndDiabetes.com.

Source: Colgate Total

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Survey Uncovers Surprising Bathroom Habits

October 1, 2013 2:39 am

Americans are spending more time checking emails, posting updates or surfing the Web – all while on their home toilet – according to a recent survey commissioned by Delta Faucet. With nearly half of respondents admitting to dedicating at least five minutes at a time to their bathroom business and ninety percent to multitasking while they "go", it's fortunate that today's newer toilets are designed to offer a more comfortable experience for bottoms and a homeowner's bottom line.

According to expert craftsman Chip Wade, host of HGTV's hit show "Elbow Room," installing a new toilet is one of the simplest updates a homeowner can do on their own to ensure the bathroom is a comfort-driven retreat.

"In most homes, the bathroom serves as one of the most frequently visited rooms, so functionality is just as important as design when considering new fixtures like a toilet," said Wade.

According to the survey, other reasons to consider installing a more comfort-friendly toilet include:

Master Multi-taskers. Nearly half of respondents admitted to setting aside five minutes or more to catch up on reading, answering emails or playing their favorite video game while sitting on their toilets.

Posting on the Go. Furthermore, nearly one third of Americans say they update or check their social status while using the pot.

Sticking to Stereotypes. Men admit to spending more time on the toilet; of survey respondents who reported they spent – on average – more than 10 minutes "going" while at home, 75 percent were male.

Age Matters. People ages 25-34 are nearly twice as likely to spend upwards of 10 minutes on the throne compared to respondents 45 and older.

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College Success Tips for 'Later in Life' Students

October 1, 2013 2:39 am

It's back-to-school time. In the old days, that meant that many high school graduates packed up their VW buses and headed for college, depending on mom and dad to pay the bills for four steady years of campus life.

But today, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 75 percent of college students are older than age 24, work part or full time, commute to school, pay for their own college expenses and even juggle family life.

According to Jesse Hafen, company director of admissions for Stevens-Henager College, a nonprofit college dedicated to providing higher education for these "new-traditional" students, the path to getting a college degree can be stressful for many, and may even prevent some from finishing their degrees.

"The longer it takes to get a degree, the more life gets in the way of success," said Hafen. "Research shows that more than half of full-time students who enroll in a traditional four-year university take five to six years to graduate, but institutions such as Stevens-Henager offer many bachelor's degrees in three years, associate’s degrees in 20 months and master's degrees in 15 months."

To help today's new-traditional college students shorten the time to graduation, Hafen offers the following tips:

Find a college that caters to your needs with flexible class schedules, frequent enrollment periods (such as monthly), accelerated course formats, and a large selection of on-campus and online courses.

Find a program: You know you want to get an education in order to make a good living, but if you aren't sure what career you want to pursue, find a school with free online aptitude assessments and counseling to help you choose.

Find a schedule: Most four-year universities require students to plan their own class schedules each semester, but some colleges actually map out a full course of study for each student, figure costs and identify scholarship and financial aid options for those who qualify — all up front.

Find and use campus counseling and student services as a resource. Schools that cater to "new-traditional" students will provide information on jobs, transportation, housing, child care and more.

Seek a college with instructors with real-world experience who offer practical coursework during class, and one-on-one tutoring to help guide you.

Get a career: Before you start your job search after graduation, work with a career counselor to learn how to write a professional resume, dress professionally and interview well. A counselor will also help place you in a job in your field.

"My final recommendation for the new-traditional student is to take the time to thoroughly research the schools you are considering. It's free and well worth your time," added Hafen. "In my career, I've seen students who are single moms, working heads of households and more, who have graduated and gone on to have wonderful careers because they've put these kinds of strategies into play."

Source: www.stevenshenager.edu

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Keep It Simple to Move Seniors Successfully

October 1, 2013 2:39 am

According to experts, from 2000 until 2011, senior citizens 65 years and older grew nearly 18 percent, up to 41.4 million. Nearly 81 percent of that age group owned homes at the end of 2011.

Children and families of the Baby Boomer generation — people born between 1946 and 1960 — will soon find themselves helping elderly loved ones move.

Moving a senior family member is challenging. No one wants to upset that person, and everyone wants the move to go as smoothly as possible. This can sometimes seem like an impossible task.

The important thing to remember when moving a senior is to stay organized and calm throughout the move, say the experts at Two Men and a Truck®. When moving a senior into a living facility, consider contacting management to find out what can be brought onto the campus, what are appropriate moving hours, and do they have any best practices for the move.

Remember:

Start packing several weeks in advance. Pack early to avoid being overwhelmed as moving day draws near.

Wrap small items in colored paper. This prevents items such as knick-knacks from becoming lost or thrown out.

Label boxes on top and sides. Mark the top and sides of boxes as they're packed. Make sure to label boxes containing breakable or sentimental items with "fragile."

Pack all electronic equipment in original boxes. Otherwise use low-static bubble wrap when packing these items.

Always use packing paper. When wrapping fine china and precious items, the ink from printed newsprint may bleed onto valuables.
Sealing all boxes with packing tape. This makes it easier to stack and protect belongings.

Use boxes designed for the items you are packing. Use dish pack boxes for dishes and wardrobe boxes for clothing.

Source: Two Men and a Truck

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