Monday, August 27, 2007

News You Can Use... Foreclosure Crisis

From the Kansas City Parade, August 19, 2007

As the foreclosure rates peak to what seems to be an all time high, they are trending 30% greater than last year alone- with an expectation of 1,000,000 homes facing foreclosure. Tips to help avoid foreclosure and scams:

1. Contact your lender as soon as you have a problem paying. Most of them want to help you keep your house!

2. Respond to all mail from your lender. Early letters often include options that let you avoid foreclosure, while later ones are legal notices.

3. Know your rights. Read your loan papers and find out about foreclosure laws in your state.

4. Prioritize your spending. After health care, keeping your home should be your top priority, over and above all other debts.

5. Avoid foreclosure-prevention companies and scams. You don't have to pay fees for foreclosure help. Don't sign a document from somehone claiming to stop a foreclosure. In a scam called "equity skimming," a "buyer" offers to repay the mortgage if you sign over your deed and move out. You're left with the debt and no house.

6. Get help from HUD. The Department of Housing and Urban Development offers free or low-cost counselors (call 1-800-569-4287 to find one) and informaiton on avoiding foreclosure at

Monday, August 20, 2007

Beyond Real Estate

It's so funny how every transaction is completely different in Real Estate and how each one poses a new challenge or interesting story....from challenges with credit, the un-cooperative lenders, overcoming inspections and negotiations, recently- a lot of dealings with short sales and foreclosures and the hurdles with the banks.... but who would have thought that in this "buyers market," I'd have the issue of presenting THREE offers to my sellers after being on the market for FIVE days and do this while four kids are there all under the age of 6 and running around like crazy maniacs; we'd have to deal with the excitement of fire engines and rescue heroes right next door?! Yes, in the midst of everything and after talk of the smell of what we thought were fireworks going on in the neighborhood, the next door neighbor had called the fire department after thinking his furnace was on fire.... fortunately everyone was able to get out of the house ok and the pets were safe, it turned out to be a small, contained electrical fire that started at the meter and was found in between two studs within the master bath. The kids were intrigued and watched closely as the firemen set to work with axes, chainsaws, fans and firehoses. Needless to say, it turned out to be a late night, so we continued discussing the offers on Saturday. Now as we get this contract wrapped up, it will be time to start negotiations on a new home!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

First Day of School

Anthony's First Day of Kindergarten!!

Oh my goodness! What an exciting day it was for not only Anthony, but the whole family! Anthony started his first day of kindergarten today at Martin Luther Academy! He was perfect! I don't know who was more excited, him or me?! I even had a hard time sleeping, checking the clock every hour to see if it was time to get up!! Too funny. I wonder how he slept! And then at 6:30am, I heard him yell from his room, "Mommy, get up now!" I knew he couldn't wait!! So, we got ready for school and ate breakfast and loaded up the van and we all took him to school this morning and started the day at "Chapel." What a great way to start a new year and a new school! I couldn't feel better or more sure about our decision!! And Anthony's teachers are all so wonderful too. Hard to believe that I think Bella had the hardest time with this transition than anyone. She wasn't sure about us leaving him there and especially NOT all day!! And then she was adamit (sp?) that she was NOT going to go back to Olivia's House to school then either. Oh boy! Fortunately, she was over it once we started our "special day" together today with a movie, lunch with daddy and pedicures!! Such the princess! The teary part for me was picking him up from school today and sitting in the pick up lane waiting for the students to be individually taken to their car by their teachers and seeing my baby standing there with his back pack, next to his teacher, all grown up and waiting. He looked so big! And that's when it hit..... and then, before I had a chance to get to emotional he got in the car and before he could even tell me about his day, asked for a drink, downed a bottle of water and then quickly corrected the fact that I did not include a drink for him for snack time! And as soon as we got home, it was more like, what's there to eat, I'm starving! And I knew my baby was back!! It was just like his first few days/months at preschool... that boy came home STARVING! I had to learn quick to have dinner on the table when he walked through the door! And then tonight, I think he was even excited to go to bed so that he could wake up and do it all again! I think it's going to be a great year and I can't wait to share it all with him!

Friday, August 10, 2007

"How Old Is This House?"

"There are several ways to determine when a house was built. The simplest is to look on the seller's disclosure or other similar paperwork, if available. If not, with a little work you can usually narrow it down pretty well. If you think the house is wihin 10 or 15 years from its original date you may be able to find a model number, serial number or date of manufacture for one or more of the major appliances such as the water heater which will tell you when the appliance was manufactured. Toilet tank covers are often dated on the underside which will give you an idea of when the bathroom fixtures may have been installed. Windows, especially thermal pane ones, may have a date to suggest approximately when the windows were installed. Sometimes you can date the neighborhood, if not hte house, by dated manholes, curbs or sidewalks. In many urisdictions building and remodeling permits are online and accessible. Neighbors are another good source of information."

From House Notes, A Newsletter from Your Friends at The Inspection Company
August 2007, Volume 3 Issue 8

Friday, August 03, 2007

Great Household Tips



1. Reheat Pizza Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove , setheat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. Nosoggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it reallyworks.

2. Easy Deviled Eggs Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal , mash till they are allbroken up. Add remainder of ingredients , reseal , keep mashing it upmixing thoroughly , cut the tip of the baggy , squeeze mixture into egg.Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

3. Expanding Frosting When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store , whip it withyour mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get tofrost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugarand calories per serving.

4. Reheating refrigerated bread To warm biscuits , pancakes , or muffins that were refrigerated , placethem in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture willkeep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

5. Newspaper weeds away Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wetnewspapers put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover withmulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

6. Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glassyou can't see easily.

7. No More Mosquitoes Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

8. Squirrel Away! To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants withcayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and thesquirrels won't come near it.

9. Flexible vacuum To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add anempty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can bebent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

10. Reducing Static Cling Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have aclingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling whenwearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and -- ta da! -- staticis gone.

11. Measuring Cups Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hotwater. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add youringredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes rightout.

12. Foggy Windshield? Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in theglove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Worksbetter than a cloth!

13. Reopening envelope If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to includesomething inside , just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for anhour or two. Viola! It unseals easily

14. Conditioner Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's a lot cheaper thanshaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great wayto use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried itin your hair...

15. Goodbye Fruit Flies To get rid of pesky fruit flies , take a small glass fill it 1/2" withApple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid , mix well. Youwill find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

16. Get Rid of Ants Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it , take it"home", can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so,especially if it rains , but it works & you don't have the worry aboutpets or small children being harmed!

The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes thingsaround the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something andhe went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean.(I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) Hetold us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over tothe sink, ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a meshmaterial - I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like.WELL...the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go throughit at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that meshthat's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film , butit's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes softand static free - that nice fragrance t oo, you know how they can feelwaxy when you take them out of the box, well this stuff builds up onyour clothes and on your lint screen This is also what causes dryerunits to catch fire & potentially burn your house down with it! Hesaid the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (& tokeep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out & wash it withhot soapy water & an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every sixmonths. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long!How about that!?! Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn't knowdryer sheets would do that. So , I thought I'd share! Note: I went to my dryer & tested my screen by running water on it. Thewater ran through a little bit but mostly collected all the water in themesh screen. I washed it with warm soapy water & a nylon brush & I hadit done in 30 seconds. Then when I rinsed it the water ran ri ght Thruthe screen! There wasn't any puddling at all! That repairman knew whathe was talking about!


This was sent to me in an email and is not my own personal testimonial. However, the bit about the dryer screen, I have also heard from a close friend that she was told by her own in-home repair man! Small world, eh?!

Important Updates!

The Fisher Price Recall:

Here is a list of all the recalls, with photos of all the toys.

The Dollhouse:

Ok, so I know it isn't perfect and that things aren't level and smooth in all areas and that some of the seams show and the grout is a little much, but this side is just about done!! I still have to add the "exterior" trim and then I think it's ready for play!!! That will make it half way done anyway.... Woo hoo!