RE/MAX 440
Patty Jo Anzivine
pattyjovine@gmail.com
Patty Jo Anzivine
4550 W. Tilghman Street
Allentown  PA 18104
PH: 610-390-0415
O: 610-398-8111
F: 267-354-6902 
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7 Kinds of Toys to Avoid This Holiday Season

November 10, 2014 3:01 am

As leaves begin to turn and pumpkin patches spring up on every corner, it is a clear sign the holidays are approaching—and with them, the annual predictions of toys that will be ‘hot’ this season.

But full-time Mommy April McCormick, who blogs on parenting for first-time Moms and Dads, suggests (with tongue only slightly in cheek) that certain types of toys should be strictly avoided if you wish to maintain a peaceful household:

Toys that make annoying noises—Kids love them, but the police car or fire truck that belts out screeching sirens on command may have a hidden agenda designed to send parents to the loony bin.

Toys with sensors that go off when you walk by—Try sneaking out of your child’s room after a marathon effort to get him to sleep when some watchful robot in the corner of the room senses your footsteps and bleeps him back into wakefulness.

Toys with teeny tiny parts—If they don’t end up in your child’s mouth or in the dog’s mouth, they will surely turn up to inflict mighty pain every time you step on them barefoot.

Toys that are part of a set or collection—Warning: you will then have to buy every style, color and special release in the collection and then look out for the next hot set of collectibles.

Ride-on toys your kid can’t manage alone—Do not buy a trike or bike until she’s old enough to ride it on her own. Otherwise, you risk major back pain from leaning over for hours at a time until she is able to master it.

Children’s books you do not love—Better pick one you won’t tire of. If it becomes his favorite, you will be asked to read it a minimum of 10,000 times.

Toys that require assembly of more than three parts—(Think Barbie’s Dream House and related.) Three pages of instructions you can’t make sense of is enough to drive you to drink. Sometimes the empty carton the thing came in is more fun than the toy, anyway.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Five Steps to Finding Your Philanthrophy

November 10, 2014 3:01 am

(Family Features)—Whether it's the busy mother who spends her weekend volunteering at a local women's shelter or the young girl raising money for hungry children thousands of miles away with her lemonade stand - women who do good deeds are everywhere.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women continue to volunteer more often than men across every age group and educational level. With so many devoting their time and energy to giving back, it's easy to find and learn from the many female mentors hard at work in your own community.

While the enormous generosity of an accomplished philanthropist may seem inconceivable in your own life, there are countless ways to give back. Here are a few ways to offer your time and talents for the good of your community and beyond.

Start small
Taking on a volunteering opportunity can be daunting - especially with so many charitable groups to choose from. While other obligations may keep you from giving as much time as you'd like, remember that every hour you can give is appreciated by everyone involved.

Look locally

A great place to start the search for volunteer opportunities is in your own back yard. From the animal shelter down the street to the local food pantry, helping out in your area strengthens community involvement and also helps you meet others and build contacts that could help you down the line. Check out the many online resources available that fit potential volunteers with opportunities that exist in their areas, such as volunteermatch.org, volunteer.gov and serve.gov, as well as many others.

Find meaningful jobs
Be sure to take some time to think about your own personal interests and hobbies before searching for volunteer opportunities. Do you have any social issues that you feel passionately about? While your daytime job may not allow you to pursue such passions, a volunteer position may be the ticket.

Make it a group effort
Do you have friends and family members who share the same interests and willingness to help others? If you do, gather them up for one of the many opportunities that exist for groups. This not only allows each member to experience the gift of volunteer work, it also builds camaraderie among the group.

Balance your obligations
While you may wish to jump into your new endeavor right away, be sure to review your schedule carefully before overcommitting yourself. Many organizations will allow you to work a limited schedule and gradually build more hours over time until you are more comfortable or available.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Ways to Keep Tires Safe during Wet Fall Weather

November 10, 2014 3:01 am

In order to stay safe during stormy weather this fall, here are 3 safety tips for driving on wet roads:

Reduce speed - When roads are slick, stopping distances are longer than usual. In fact, stopping on a wet road can take up to four times longer than on a dry road. So, to keep yourself and your passengers safe, take your foot off the gas when the rain is coming down.

Keep a thick tire tread - Wear on a tire or poor drainage on the road will lead to an inability to move water out of the way fast enough, often causing a loss of control when steering. In fact, the primary function of tread on a tire is to divert water from beneath the tire to improve traction and avoid hydroplaning. Tires become unsafe when the tread is worn down to 1/16th of an inch. When tread is worn down, it can also make a tire more susceptible to a puncture caused by debris and road hazards.

Invest in a tire protection system - A tire is most reliable when it is properly pressurized and protected from punctures. One of the best ways to ensure this is through tire sealant. In addition to its ability to prevent flats by coating the inside of tires with a gel-like coating that's six times stronger than steel, the tire protection system helps to maintain tire pressure. The product lowers tire operating temperature, thereby helping tires to keep their set-point pressures by eliminating porosity air loss.

Source: www.ride-on.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Best Ways to Stay Healthy when Flying

November 7, 2014 3:36 am

Ebola cropping up on American shores has spawned a wave of fear and concern. But as health experts remind us, the dread disease can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is symptomatic. As such, Ebola need not be of great concern to the average airline traveler.

But picking up cold and flu germs on an airplane is a commonplace complaint.  Yahoo! Travel experts provide these tips for staying healthy when you fly:

Wipe your seat with antibacterial wipes – Bacteria hides, and chances are the flight crew did little more before you boarded than get rid of the trash from the last flight. Ignore the funny looks you get and use those wipes on your seat, arm rests, and backrest.

Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty of fluids in-flight helps prevent a chain reaction that leaves you prone to catching something nasty in the very dry air on planes.

Don’t trust the restroom water – Not even to wash your hands. Planes fill up their water tanks wherever they are serviced, and since you don’t know where that might have been, stick to antibacterial wipes and bottled drinking water.

Use only packaged blankets and pillows – Who knows what germs might be lingering in blankets and pillows used by previous passengers? Those that have been laundered are wrapped in plastic, so if the ones you are offered are not wrapped, use your sweater or jacket instead.

Get your travel shots well in advance – It takes seven to 10 days for a shot – whether it’s a simple flu shot or a hepatitis A vaccine for third world travel – to build immunity. Don’t wait till the last minute to be inoculated.

Don’t touch – The more surfaces you touch on a plane, the more likely you will pick up germs. Keep your hands to yourself – or invest in some thin cotton gloves.

Think about wearing a surgical mask – If you’re not in Asia, this could be a tough sell, but wearing one could dramatically reduce your chances of picking up germs from the passenger next to or around you.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Five Ways a Power Outage Can Cost You Money

November 7, 2014 3:36 am

Despite increases in their frequency and severity, many people who have never experienced a power outage still view outages as merely inconvenient. But they are more than inconvenient; they leave homeowners unable to live life as normal. Research shows that in any given month millions of Americans could be without power, with or without a major storm.

Beyond disrupting everyday life, a power outage lasting just a day or two could cost a homeowner several thousand dollars.

Extended power outages can impact your checkbook in many ways:

Lost refrigerated and frozen goods. The USDA recommends throwing away refrigerated foods stored for more than two hours at over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, because refrigerators and freezers can't stay cold without electricity. For a family with a full-stocked freezer and fridge, that means a loss of at least $200 in tossed food.

Damage to your home.
Without power, sump pumps can't run, putting homes at risk for flooding, and fans and dehumidifiers can't operate to help dry out a wet basement. A power outage during a severe storm can destroy basements and pose significant hazards to homeowners. Basic costs to pump out and thoroughly dry a basement lightly flooded with clean water can start between $500-$1,500 and increase to $2,000-$10,000. But a flooded basement can be prevented, even during the most severe storms, with a home backup generator.

Expenses from staying at a hotel or eating out. If you don't have heat or running water, you might have to move the family into a hotel for a night or two. Add restaurant tabs to that and you've lost another couple hundred dollars.

Additional costs for short-term goods. If you choose to remain in your home, you will need to invest in batteries for radios and flashlights, coolers to store food, and ice to keep that food cold. Incidental costs can range from $200 to $500.

Loss of income. Depending upon the impact on your home and family, you might have to spend a few days away from work. If you work from home, you stand to potentially lose your entire income during a power outage.

Having an automatic home backup power system can help to avoid these costs, and other costs, related to power outages.

A few essential precautions you should take in preparation for severe weather is to stock up on items, like food and water, and make necessary fixes, like boarding windows. Listen to a NOAA battery-operated weather radio for critical information from the National Weather Service. Also, avoid using electrical equipment and telephones. You should use battery powered TVs and radios instead.

Source: www.generac.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Know When to Hold or Pitch Common Household Items

November 7, 2014 3:36 am

Every few weeks, I question whether it's time to pitch out certain household items. While many things we use around the home including most food items have expiration dates, are they really a valid indicator that the item in question is obsolete?

A recent post at grandparents.com responds to that concern with a list of the top 10 household items you should replace. So if you are wondering if it's time to pitch or hold onto certain things around the house, consider these particular items:

Sponges - Filled with bacteria and mold, they're the top source of germs in your home, according to WebMD. To prevent your sponges and scrubbers from becoming encrusted with microscopic filth, swap them out every month or as soon as they begin to have a bad odor. Preserve them on a daily basis by throwing them in the dishwasher - the heat will kill germs and keep your family healthier.

Herbs & Spices - Old bottles of dried herbs and spices won't hurt you, says nutrition expert Janet Brill, there are no health concerns, they simply lose their potency. Seasoning purveyor McCormick these guidelines for shelf life:
  • Ground spices: 3 to 4 years
  • Whole spices: 4 years
  • Leafy herbs: 1 to 3 years
  • Bottled seasoning blends: 1 to 2 years
Faded color and loss of aroma are two other ways to identify old herbs and spices.

OTC Meds - Follow the "spring cleaning" rule, says Marjorie Phillips, Pharmacy Coordinator for Georgia Regents Medical Center and member of the FDA Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. Once a year, around the same time, throw out all expired prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

Expiration dates guarantee that, with proper storage in a cool, dry place, the drug will retain 90 percent of its original potency until that date, she says. Afterward, the medication may have degraded enough to lose potency or, even worse, contain harmful degradation-related byproducts.

Tetracycline is one drug whose byproducts can cause injury if it's been sitting around for too long, but Phillips recommends checking with a pharmacist about individual meds. Medication doesn't magically stop working on the expiration date; it's just safest to follow that guideline according to Phillips.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Simple Swaps for Healthier Holidays

November 6, 2014 3:48 am

(Family Features) Rich, decadent, calorie-laden foods go hand-in-hand with the holidays. By choosing better-for-you snacks and swapping ingredients in some of your favorite recipes, you can keep the pounds from creeping up as you celebrate this season.

You can satisfy your cravings and stay full by consuming high-quality, protein-rich foods with fewer calories and lower saturated fat. Exchanging sugary treats and unhealthy ingredients for flavorful, more nutritious options will let you still enjoy your holiday treats without the guilt (or added weight) when the festivities have passed.

Stay on track for healthier, happier holidays this year with these tips:
  • Plan ahead before you hit the party buffet table by eating a protein and fiber-rich light meal or snack beforehand.
  • Limit your alcohol and intake of sweetened drinks; flush your system with water.
  • In place of candy and sweets, keep healthy nibbles on hand, such fruits, nuts and steamed or dried edamame. Individual packages of these nutritious snacking options also make excellent stocking stuffers.
  • For sweet, rich, baked goods such as cookies, soft-yeast breads and quick breads, swap some of the traditional flour with soy flour, which will substitute for up to 30 percent of the wheat or rye flour.
  • Modify your favorite recipes to reduce saturated fat, sugar and salt. Vegetable oil, cinnamon or nutmeg and herbs and spices deliver mouth-pleasing flavors that eliminate the less healthy alternatives.
Source: Soyfoods Association of North America

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Retiring Soon? Last-Minute Strategies to Consider

November 6, 2014 3:48 am

Despite continuing economic recovery, many older Americans do not have sufficient funds to sustain their lifestyles in retirement. If you’re preparing to retire soon, consider augmenting your savings with these strategies.

1. Max out your contributions. The IRS sets higher limits for those aged 50 and older, so take advantage of it by cutting expenses and putting those savings into your retirement accounts.

2. Relocate to a less expensive area. With many soon-to-be retirees building significant equity in their homes, it may be worthwhile to sell and move to a location that accommodates a lower cost of living.

3. Become a part-timer. Supplement your savings with part-time employment. Many retirees find this to be not only a productive use of time, but also an opportunity to explore interests they could not pursue while working full-time.

4. Test your retirement lifestyle. For those who are uncertain they can live on their retirement savings, financial experts recommend spending two years before retirement living within those means.

5. Postpone retirement. If your savings fall short, consider delaying retirement altogether. When you do retire, you’ll receive higher Social Security payments than you would have if you collected earlier.

Those nearing retirement should consult a financial advisor or tax professional before making changes to their investment strategies.

Source: Bankrate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Top Kitchen Design Tips

November 6, 2014 3:48 am

Kitchens remain a top remodeling project in 2014, according to the Member Profile Study done by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Eighty-two percent of NARI members identify kitchens as its No. 1 service.

“Consumers want practical, comfortable kitchens that are efficient to use and easy to live in.” says Tom O’Grady, CR, CKBR, chairman of NARI’s Strategic Planning. “Bigger isn’t better, but homeowners still want a feeling of space, and open concept and islands are still part of kitchen trends in 2014.”

Improving the overall look and feel of the kitchen was most often cited as the main motivating factor by homeowners for remodeling, followed by improving function.

Lighting:
The continuing trend of fewer upper cabinets in the kitchen creates more space for decorative task lighting, often on adjustable arms that gives the option to have the light directed where it is needed most. Decorative task fixtures in black, iron and aged brass finishes make a statement. Other trends include:

  • Pendant lights over kitchen islands continue to be a great opportunity to bring style into the mix.
  • Chandeliers in kitchens add a pretty and an unexpected sparkle and can soften up the hard lines and smooth surfaces of appliances and countertops below.
  • An oversized lightening fixture becomes a focal point in an otherwise plain room.
  • Under cabinet lights, controlled by a dimmer, provide ambiance.

Built-in cabinetry that looks like furniture

Mixing and layering finishes and woods to create a custom look is another key trend, as is built-in accent cabinets that act as framework for the rest of the cabinetry.  These cabinets, often designed tall and narrow with glass fronts provide the look of a built-in china cabinet to showcase collectables. In general, upper cabinets are less popular because they stop the line of sight, especially to backyard garden views.

  • Appliances are subtly hidden behind the cabinetry for a clean, streamlined appearance.
  • Colorful kitchen cabinetry has made a big comeback. Palettes using and mixing blues,
  • orange, browns or greens countering neutral white, wood or dark finishes are providing
  • kitchen flair.
  • Dramatic contrasts of light cabinets and dark countertops provide visual impact.

Wine storage

  • With the explosion in the wine market over the past few decades, wine is becoming more of a lifestyle choice and factoring into kitchen designs.
  • Dedicated “butler” areas for entertaining, sampling and sharing wine with guests are very popular, allowing the cook the opportunity to socialize while doing food prep.
  • Integrated wine coolers, an answer to tight kitchen spaces, are nestled into cabinetry along with wine racks to showcase a homeowners’ collection.

If you're planning a home renovation project this year, consider incorporating some of these trends to update your kitchen. Before construction gets under way, consult with a professional remodeler about the renovation projects you have planned.

Source: NARI

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Make Holiday Travel Hassle-Free with These 5 Tips

November 5, 2014 4:00 am

During the 2014 holiday season, millions of passengers will be traveling through U.S. airports. This translates into long lines, congested traffic and stress, particularly for those traveling with small children. The travel experts at The GO Group recommend:

Checking your flight before you leave for the airport – Nothing is worse than arriving at the airport and discovering that your flight has been delayed or cancelled. To ensure this won't happen, have your airline notify you about flight status via text or email, or phone your airline before you leave.

Avoiding rush hour – Try to avoid departing during rush hours, which are 6:45 to 9:30 a.m. and 3:45 to 6:30 p.m. Both the traffic to and at the airport will slow you down.

Arriving early – Domestic and international passengers should arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure during the holidays when crowds and security are greatest. Be prepared for even longer times in the event of inclement weather and increased security during unforeseen crises or security threats.

Skipping the boarding pass line – If your airline has the option, print your boarding pass before you get to the airport so you do not have to wait in line. Even easier, store your boarding pass in your phone which can be scanned at the airport.

Bypassing lengthy TSA screening – The holidays draw people who don't travel frequently and aren't familiar with the screening process. Traveling with children always takes more time, too. Avoid the aggravation by applying for The TSA Precheck which, for a fee, allows low-risk travelers to experience expedited security screening at 300 participating U.S. airport checkpoints.

Follow these tips for safe, stress free and happy travels!

Source: The GO Group

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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