RE/MAX 440
Diane Minguez
dminguez@remax.net
Diane Minguez
1110 North Broad Street
Lansdale  PA 19446
PH: 267-575-6818
O: 215-362-2260
C: 267-575-6818
F: 267-354-6882 
Welcome Home from RE/MAX 440!

My Blog

Top Auto Care Tips for Fall Car Care Month

October 2, 2013 1:30 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

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Living with Diabetes? Watch your Mouth!

October 2, 2013 1:30 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 1:30 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 1:30 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

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Keep It Simple to Move Seniors Successfully

October 1, 2013 1:30 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

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Gluten and Food Labeling: FDA's New Regulation

September 30, 2013 1:27 am

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a regulation that defines the term "gluten-free" for food labeling. This new standard, which is voluntary for use by food manufacturers, provides consumers the assurance that "gluten-free" claims on food products are reliable and consistent across the food industry.

For those consumers seeking a gluten-free diet, the new regulation also eliminates uncertainty by providing a standardized tool for managing their health and dietary intake.

"Gluten-Free" Labeling is Critical for Some Consumers
What is Gluten? Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in wheat, rye, barley, and crossbreeds of these grains. Foods that typically contain gluten include breads, cakes, cereals, and pastas. Gluten is the ingredient that gives breads and other grain products their shape, strength, and texture. But for someone suffering from celiac disease, consuming gluten can have serious health consequences.

Celiac Disease is a Chronic Illness: As many as three million Americans may have celiac disease – an inherited, chronic, inflammatory auto-immune digestive disorder. It is often silent, latent or misdiagnosed. When someone afflicted with celiac disease consumes gluten, his/her body's natural defense system triggers the production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. This damage limits the ability to absorb nutrients and can lead to other very serious health problems.

Definition of "Gluten-Free": FDA has set a gluten limit of less than 20 parts per million (ppm) for foods that carry the label "gluten-free." This level is the lowest that can be reliably detected in foods, and most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten. The new regulation also applies to foods labeled with the terms "no gluten," "free of gluten," and "without gluten."

Timing for Label Compliance is One Year: Many foods that were labeled as "gluten-free" prior to the new regulation may already meet the federal definition. For those that do not yet comply, manufacturers have until August of 2014 to make whatever changes are needed in the formulation or labeling of the foods bearing a gluten-free claim in order to legally market them in the United States.

Source: US FDA

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Tips for Picking the Right Water Heater for Your Home

September 30, 2013 1:27 am

There are more than enough brands, shapes and sizes of water heaters around. The fuel types and energy ratings vary as well. There are also tank and tankless heaters. Review tips provided by top rated plumbers on how to find the most efficient water heater for you and your family or business.

Conventional Storage Tank Water Heaters
The first step is to understand the workings of an average water heater. Know the best kind of fuel source to use. The gas heater produces a flame and emits fumes through vents. It is a popular system because it heats water quickly and maintains heat for hours.

Natural Gas, LP Gas and Electrical Water Heaters
Due to the use of gas, this heater must contain safety features that prevent the ignition of flammable fumes. An electric water heater does not require vents and works as long as there is electricity.

Solar Water Heaters May Qualify for Rebates and Tax Incentives
A solar water heater may seem expensive, but it saves thousands of dollars in annual energy bills. This system draws in heat from sunlight that hits solar panels on the roof. For the greatest energy efficiency, use a solar heater along with a traditional gas or electric heater to reduce the utility bill. Overall, choose the right fuel source based on your location. If natural gas is easily available, use this source. Living in a hot, sunny area with little rain is ideal if you want to use a solar heater.

Tankless Water Heaters Provide Unlimited Amounts of Hot Water
A tankless water heater makes hot water as needed and does not have a storage tank that must be heated and reheated until there is a demand. There is either a point-of-use model that works attached to a sink or other fixture, or a whole-house model that heats water for the entire house. The point-of-use heater is small enough to appear under a sink cabinet.

The tankless heater has a number of advantages for the homeowner. Since it is more energy efficient than the tank model, look for tax savings. The tankless unit heats water continuously so that hot water never runs out. They are often warranted for more than a decade and with maintenance, can last more than 20 years.

To choose the right home water heater, the homeowner and plumber should analyze the hot water needs of you and everyone in the house. Compare the energy efficiency ratings and customer reviews. A tankless heater usually lasts longer than a tank one. Consider the size of the heater and where you plan to install it. Review all the choices you have when it comes to the modern water heater.

Source: Silverstate Plumbing

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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How To Winterize for Immediate Savings and Year-Round Efficiency

September 30, 2013 1:27 am

Fall is the ideal time to tackle home improvements, and the last chance to get your home ready for winter weather.

"Thanks to new technologies, a few projects can significantly improve home safety, efficiency and convenience," says Tom Kraeutler, home improvement expert and syndicated radio show host of The Money Pit.

Kraeutler and co-host Leslie Segrete recommend the following for winterizing and protecting any home.

Improve attic insulation
"Up to 70 percent of home energy is used for heating and cooling, so trim costs by heading up to your attic and installing Owens Corning AttiCat Expanding Blown-In Insulation," says Segrete. "Using the bagged insulation and blowing machine, you can reach into tight spots and insulate an entire attic in less than four hours." AttiCat won't settle, maintains its R-value, provides sound control, and produces less dust.
Illuminate for security

"Now that days are getting shorter, nighttime security lighting is a must," says Kraeutler. "The Heath Zenith Secure Home 240-Degree LED Motion-Activated Security Light gives you peace of mind and intruders nowhere to hide." Advanced Dual Zone technology provides blind-spot-free coverage, and the Dual Brite system offers energy-efficient illumination without annoying on-and-off.

Smarter garage access
"Ever been far from home and wondered if you left the garage door open? You don't have to worry with Chamberlain MyQ Garage," says Segrete. "It installs with your existing garage door opener, and the MyQ Home Control App allows you to connect and control via smartphone." MyQ Garage works with most garage doors manufactured after 1993, and its WiFi hub connects to your home's wireless router.

Generate standby power
"Power outages are inevitable in the season ahead, and a Kohler Automatic Standby Home Generator can protect your home and keep systems going in an emergency," says Kraeutler. "Unlike portable units, it's permanently installed and connects directly to your home's electrical system, starting automatically whenever there's an outage." The Kohler Automatic Standby Home Generator gets systems and appliances up and running in 10 seconds or less, and can be monitored remotely from a laptop.

Wireless network support
"Even with wireless internet access and all your data in the cloud, a power glitch can be a major inconvenience," says Segrete. "But if you add the APC Back-UPS Pro 500 to your home network, you'll stay connected through any outage." The Back-UPS Pro 500 monitors network connection and automatically cycles power to its Smart Outlets to reboot frozen devices. It's placed wherever gateway equipment is located, and may be controlled from a web-enabled wireless device.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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10 Ways to Freshen Up Household Odors

September 27, 2013 1:24 am

Little is more annoying than waking up to a house that smells like kitty litter or the remains of last night’s dinner. But there’s no need to run right out and load up on expensive deodorizers.

Home improvement guru Bob Vila suggests ten common household items that can help freshen and deodorize your home in record time:

• Green tea in the litter box – A box or two of dry green tea leaves sprinkled into the litter box will keep the cat john area smelling fresh.
• Dryer sheets in the trash bin – Stomp out persistently foul-smelling garbage bins with the same disposable dryer sheets you use in the laundry. Toss one or two in the bottom of the bin and the fresh scent will take over.
• Apple cider vinegar in the drains – Pour half a cupful into offending drains to get rid of yucky smells.
• Vanilla extract in the freezer – Freshen up the freezer by soaking a cotton ball in vanilla extract and wiping it around the inside.
• Lemon juice in the sink – Douse the odor in your sink or garbage disposal with a cup or two of lemon juice poured in. The disposal can take the lemon rinds, too.
• Onions in the basement – Musty smell in the basement after the rain? Believe it or not, a raw onion halved and left there overnight will banish any mold or mildew odor.
• Coffee grounds in the fridge – If your refrigerator tends to smell like spoiled food, fill a nylon stocking with fresh ground coffee and toss it in the back of the fridge,
• Baking soda for sneakers – sprinkle baking soda into foul-smelling sneakers to make them smell fresh and new again. Tap the powder out in the morning, and you and your shoes are ready to go.
• Salt and cinnamon for stovetop spills – If the soup’s boiled over, spatter a mixture of salt and cinnamon over the spill while it is still warm. Sponge off the residue after it’s cool, and no burnt smell will survive.
• House plants all around – To keep your home smelling fresh, let a few houseplants do the work. Scented geraniums and Arabian jasmines, in particular, can help banish household odors.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Tips and Tools to Stay Safe in the Face of Disaster

September 27, 2013 1:24 am

Over the last 12 years, natural disasters such as major storms, floods, earthquakes and fires have affected 2.9 billion people. With alarming stats like these, it is important to be amply prepared should disaster strike.

“Natural disasters can strike at any given moment and while it might seem difficult to prepare for the unknown, there are a number of standard supplies that should be easily accessible in the face of an emergency," said Sport Chalet’s Chris Burston.

To further help consumers navigate their survival gear needs, Burston has compiled the following top 10 tools to ensure preparedness:

1. Regardless of the emergency, storing a supply of safe drinking water is absolutely essential. Store water in 55 gallon (BPA free) drums, and always have a high capacity water filter, water purification tablets and/or a handheld UV water purifier.

2. When temperatures drop and shelter or heat is no longer available, survival blankets are a compact, lightweight way to keep body temperatures warm.

3. Food may be scarce. Dehydrated food buckets and #10 Cans are easy to store and have a shelf life of up to 25 years.

4. Since medical help is not always accessible, be sure to have a well-stocked first aid kit to keep loved ones safe and healthy. Adventure Medical Kits, a company started by actual explorers and doctors, offers the best quality first aid kits and survival items on the market, which include essentials such as bandages, wound cleanser, wound repair (Quik Clot), splint, pain reliever, scissors and more.

5. Storms and earthquakes can often leave homes without electricity for days, or even weeks. Always keep flashlights, headlamps or lanterns, along with plenty of batteries on hand, such as Princeton Tec Headlamps, which are lightweight and long-lasting, or Goal Zero products, which includes solar recharge kits and lighting.

6. The serious preppers know it's always good to have an evacuation bug out route, should a quick escape be necessary. To assist in an efficient getaway, keep a handheld GPS or compass handy to avoid taking a wrong turn.

7. Cellphones cannot always be relied on to call for help, so keep an emergency radio on hand, such as the Eton FRX 3 Radio, a solar and hand turbine powered AM/FM weather radio that glows in the dark and allows a 30-second emergency phone call.

8. When assembling a survival kit, don't forget about stocking an extra supply of personal needs, such as medicine, glasses, sunscreen, bug spray with DEET and any other daily essentials.

9. Many people overlook the fact that they might be caught without heat or gas, making food prep difficult. Fire starters, ready fuel and lightweight portable stoves alleviate this problem.

10. In extreme circumstances when proper shelter is lacking, there could be the possibility of confronting dangerous wildlife. Just in case, it's a good idea to have personal defense items on hand, such as Sabre bear spray.

Source: Sport Chalet

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