RE/MAX 440
Dale Joy
dalejoy1@verizon.net
Dale Joy
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880
Skippack  PA 19474
PH: 610-584-1160
O: 610-584-1160
C: 215-460-5153
F: 267-354-6852 
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Look for Signs of Early Aging to Combat Mid-life Crisis in Cats

July 9, 2013 4:56 am

While humans age visibly throughout their lives, cats typically do not begin to show visible signs of aging until well into maturity. By the age of seven though, a cat enters its mid-life stage — a critical timeframe for preventing diseases to help a cat age gracefully.

"Different aged adult cats may essentially look the same on the outside, but around seven years old a lot of changes start happening that may not be noticeable," says Dr. Sara Ritzie, Veterinarian and Manager of Scientific Communications at Royal Canin Canada. "The differences between a young kitten and a one-year-old cat are obvious, but the invisible and subtle differences that occur as cats progress through adulthood are just as important. The mid-life stage starts much earlier than many people may expect."

Cats exhibit three very distinct levels of aging as they mature. Invisible symptoms of the slow aging process in cats actually begin as early as seven years old, as cells age and energy needs decrease. Accelerated visible symptoms begin to take shape during the mid-life stage and can include joint sensitivities and fur changes, such as dandruff, decreased grooming and greasy coat.

At the second stage of aging, kidney disease becomes more prevalent, affecting nearly 33 per cent of cats over 12 years old. At this stage other diseases start to manifest but may not be visible until much later in life, including cognitive disorders in 28 to 50 per cent of cats, and joint sensitivities that affect nearly 90 per cent of the cat population.

"It is critical to look at preventative options at the mid-life stage for cats to prevent these diseases and typical signs of aging from taking hold early," says Dr. Ritzie. "Like for humans, nutrition plays a key role in helping cats maintain a healthy lifestyle as they mature with the right combination of nutrients for each stage of life."

Look for a food formulation that provides specific nutrients for each stage of maturity:

• Vitamins E and C - Adult cats require antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C to protect against cell damage that occurs naturally due to environmental factors, injuries and illness, and day-to-day activities.

• Antioxidants - When a cat reaches age seven, antioxidant needs increase. Adding lutein and taurine provides a broader spectrum of protection against free-radical damage that can cause disease.

• Lycopene - Cats aged 12 and over exhibit the highest amount of free-radical production and benefit from potent antioxidant protection from super-nutrients like lycopene. Because kidney disease is so common in aging cats, a decreased phosphorous level is also important to help support renal function in older felines.

"These nutrients are important building blocks to help your cat age gracefully," says Dr. Ritzie.

Source: Royal Canin

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Consumer Mortgage Rate Expectations Spike

July 9, 2013 4:56 am

Potential homebuyers may enter the purchase market sooner rather than later as more Americans expect mortgage rates and home prices to climb, according to results from Fannie Mae’s June 2013 National Housing Survey. The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up during the next 12 months jumped 11 percentage points to 57 percent, the highest level in the survey’s three-year history. Meanwhile, consumers’ home price expectations have stayed strong in the face of rising mortgage rates. The share of respondents who believe home prices will go up in the next year also hit a survey high of 57 percent, while those who say prices will go down stayed steady at 7 percent.

Although sentiment toward both the current home buying and selling environments retreated slightly, it remains near the survey highs of last month, with 72 percent saying it is a good time to buy and 36 percent saying it is a good time to sell.

“The spike in mortgage rate expectations this month seems to have had an impact on a number of the survey’s indicators and may increase housing activity in the near term by driving urgency to buy,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Consumers may recognize that today’s still favorable mortgage rates and homeownership affordability levels will recede over time. Given rising home and rental price expectations and improving personal financial attitudes, more prospective homebuyers may be deciding that now is the time to get off the fence.”

Among those surveyed, 56 percent say rental prices will go up during the next year – an 8 percentage point increase and the highest level since the survey’s inception – and the average 12-month rental price change expectation jumped 1.2 percent to 4.6 percent. Americans’ outlook on their personal finances also increased significantly in June. The share who expect their personal financial situation to improve during the next year climbed to 46 percent, the highest level since June 2010. The share who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago jumped 6 percentage points to a survey high 26 percent.

Homeownership and Renting

• At 3.8 percent, the average 12-month home price change expectation fell slightly from last month’s survey high.
• The share of people who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months hit a survey high 57 percent, while those who say home prices will go down held steady at the survey low 7 percent.
• The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up increased 11 percentage points to 57 percent, the highest level since the survey’s inception.
• At 72 percent and 36 percent, respectively, the shares who say it is a good time to buy a house and who say it is a good time to sell a house both fell 4 percentage points from May’s survey highs.
• The average 12-month rental price expectation jumped to 4.6 percent, a 1.2 percent increase over last month.
• Increasing 8 percentage points from May and reaching a survey high, 56 percent of those surveyed say home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months.
• Forty-seven percent of respondents think it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, a slight increase over last month.
• The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move decreased slightly to 65 percent.

The Economy and Household Finances

• At 38 percent, the share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track decreased 2 percentage points from May.
• The percentage of people who expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next 12 months jumped to 46 percent, the highest level since June 2010.
• The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 6 percentage points to a survey high 26 percent.
• The percentage of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago rose to 36 percent.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Poll Reveals Consumers Confused Over Purpose of a Budget

July 9, 2013 4:56 am

A recent poll on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website revealed that 57 percent of respondents misunderstand the purpose of a budget, viewing it as a restriction on their spending, when in fact, just the opposite is true.

“A budget actually provides the structure through which a person can be in charge of his or her spending, directing the dollars to their best use,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “Spending should be a reflection of a person’s priorities, but without a plan, the priorities often get pushed aside in favor of the tyranny of the urgent.”

The reluctance to construct a budget suggests that people may be afraid to face the financial facts, choosing instead to allow the most pressing need or want of the moment to make the decision for them. Instead, the NFCC reminds consumers that a spending plan includes the following benefits:

• Creates a thoughtful awareness of spending
• Relieves financial stress
• Increases financial security
• Helps structure a plan for the future
• Allows planning for large purchases
• Assists in meeting financial goals
• Frees up money to designate for savings
• Uncovers money available to invest
• Allows preparation for emergencies
• Avoids late payments through scheduling timely payments
• Finds hidden money for debt repayment
• Potentially raises the credit score

Instead of being restrictive, a budget often creates more money due to smart spending choices. If financial freedom is the goal, a spending plan is the tool that starts the process.

“It’s a shame that budgeting has a negative connotation. Everyone needs a spending plan, but when times are tough, a budget is even more critical,” continued Cunningham. “When every penny counts, it’s important to count every penny.”

The first step to being in charge of your money is to track spending for at least one month. To get started, the NFCC offers a free budget worksheet which is available at http://www.nfcc.org/FinancialEducation/monthlyincome.cfm.

For professional help creating a customized budget, reach out to a trained and certified counselor at an NFCC Member Agency. To find the agency closest to you, call (800) 388-2227, or go online to www.DebtAdvice.org. For assistance in Español call (800) 682-9832.

The actual poll question and answer results are below:
I consider a monthly budget to be…
A. A restriction on how I choose to spend my money = 57%
B. A freedom allowing me to spend my money as I have chosen = 43%

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The Top 10 Termite Mistakes

July 8, 2013 4:56 am

Termites. They're hungry. And to them, your house is food. Is there anything you can do to stop them? Can you make your home less appetizing? More than 100 termite experts say these are the top 10 mistakes homeowners make when it comes to termites:

Number 10: Repairing utilities on the property; disrupting the termite soil treatment. If your lawn gets dug up for plumbing, gas or electrical work, chances are good you've compromised your termite treatment if your home has been treated with a liquid termiticide.

Number 9: Piling excessive mulch around the home. Termites love mulch. Too much up against your home holds soil moisture and can be an easy food source for hungry termites.

"The mulch typically used around homes is often a soft wood-like pine, which is a great food source for termites," says Jonathan Schoppe of Dial Pest Control in Roseland, N.J. "I've personally seen termites foraging in and around the mulch just one inch deep. If the mulch is piled very high up on the foundation of a structure, it makes a natural bridge the termites can use to enter the structure."

Number 8: Digging around the home's foundation; disrupting a termite treatment. Liquid termite treatments around your foundation are effective only if left undisturbed. So if you dig around your house to plant a new rosebush, you might have opened a hole for termites to crawl through. If your home is protected by a baiting product such as the Sentricon® System, digging around your foundation isn't a concern as long as the stations stay in place.

Number 7: Leaving old tree stumps in the yard. Dead trees are desirable to termites ─ almost as desirable as your house. Stumps in your yard can serve as a launch pad for an attack on your home.

Number 6: Stacking firewood near the home. If you put firewood up against your house, you might as well also leave out a welcome mat for the termites. They can burrow into the woodpile and then right into your house.

Number 5: Using Do-it-Yourself (DIY) products to try to control termites themselves. Termite control is not like fixing a leaky faucet. Fail to do it right and you and your home will most likely pay the price. This is one time you should leave it to the professionals.

Number 4: Having untreated wooden materials next to the home. Yes, that new fence will keep Fido in your yard, but that untreated wood up against your house also may let termites in. It is best to use treated wood or vinyl fencing, or at least leave a gap between the fence and your home.

Number 3: Constructing additions to the home without expanding termite protection. If you've added a sunroom, expanded your kitchen or poured a new patio, that addition needs to be protected from termites, too. Don't offer up that beautiful new addition as a termite's next meal.

Number 2: Not fixing earth-to-ground structural contact. If a portion of your porch is touching soil, you're asking for termites. Soil + wood contact = termites.

And the No. 1 mistake homeowners make when it comes to termites is: Not getting a professional termite inspection. Termites are not easy to detect, and failing to do so can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Trained professional termite inspectors know termite behavior ─ where they like to hide, what their damage looks like, what they leave behind as evidence. You don't. Leave this one up to the professionals.

Source: Dow AgroSciences

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Secrets to a Foolproof Vacation

July 8, 2013 4:56 am

(Family Features)--Vacations should be filled with worry-free days and endless fun, whether you're zip-lining through the jungle or sunbathing on the beach. Navigating unknown territories, however, can cause unwarranted stress if you're not prepared. As you embark on your perfect getaway, consider these quick tips to ensure that it's a trip to remember, for the right reasons.

Stay Energized. Don't let the journey to your destination dampen the experience and start your dream trip on the wrong foot. Avoid fatigue caused by early flights and long drives by getting at least eight hours of sleep the night before your departure and don't succumb to stress-ridden packing procrastination. While traveling, easy access to sensible snacks, such as string cheese and nuts can keep your energy levels up. For long flights and hotel stays, consider sticking ear plugs and a sleep mask in your bag to help combat distracting noises and bright lights that may detract from a restful sleep.

Stay Connected. Your smartphone, tablet and other portable devices keep you connected and make it easier to engage with the culture and exciting attractions that come with a new destination. Whether you're scouting the hottest restaurants, sourcing directions back to your hotel or keeping up with loved ones at home, being able to access your trusted devices is a must. Don't waste precious sightseeing time searching for outlets. Instead, recharge your devices on-the-go with a tool like the Motorola P4000 Universal Portable Power Pack. Such lightweight and slim devices fit easily into a pocket or purse. It provides up to two full phone charges, plus it's compatible with phones by all manufacturers.

Stay Organized. Avoid spending aimless time digging through your belongings looking for your favorite bathing suit, when you could be enjoying the waves and a beautiful sunset. To stay organized while living out of your luggage, consider investing in a suitcase or duffel bag with multiple zipped compartments designed to house small, hard-to-locate items. Clear toiletry bags are also convenient, and allow you to quickly find your everyday necessities while on the road.

Stay Focused on Fun. It's easy to run out of time when you're exploring a new place. Carve out time for your top priorities by making a pre-trip list of must-do activities. Utilize your hotel concierge, resort guide books and online trip planning websites to help create your perfect itinerary and ensure you get the chance to enjoy it all.

Regardless of your destination, with some planning and essential tools, your vacation will be everything you dreamed of and leave you yearning for your next journey.

Source: www.motorola.com

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Looking for a Greener Way to Clean your Pool?

July 8, 2013 4:56 am

(BPT) - There's no better way to enjoy the summer than by lounging by the pool. Unfortunately, this backyard family oasis requires regular maintenance throughout the summer that can include expensive and sometimes unhealthy chemicals. Have you ever wished there was an easier way you could clean your pool, that was also more eco-friendly?

Just as there are now "greener" choices for many consumer products, there are now some great alternatives for keeping your pool clean that are easier and actually help minimize chemicals and additives. Technology has come a long way, and consumers can now choose from a variety of affordable and more environmentally friendly ways to maintain their backyard pool.

But how do you choose the right one? Here are some of the best pool-cleaning options available today, along with their pluses and minuses:

Manual pole cleaning: For years this was the standard. Lots of sweat, a hose attached to the skimmer basket on one end, a long vacuum pole on the other and a lot of slow pushing as you try not to disturb the debris before you suck it up into the skimmer and filtration system. This method is cheap and "somewhat green" but involves a lot of effort, and it is not highly effective at reducing your chemical usage.

Suction side pool cleaning: The suction side method is similar to the mechanics of manual pole cleaning except that the cleaner is self-propelled in a random pattern by a suction hose attached to the skimmer system. A completely clean pool is not always achieved due to the random nature of the system.

The pluses: low cost and satisfactory results.
The minuses: the method lacks optimal pool floor and wall scrubbing and does minimal water mixing, leaving stagnant water areas that actually demand more chemicals to stay clean. Suction side cleaners also use more energy as they require your pool's filter pump to run during their cleaning cycle.

Pressure side pool cleaning: These units require an independent booster pump and water jet outlet found on some in-ground pools. Note: This is the only option not available for above-ground pools. Pressure cleaners are propelled by water and are often confused with robotic cleaners, but the differences are important. Pressure cleaners do a good job of cleaning but are costly to buy and run.

The pluses: cleaning capabilities and better water-mixing capabilities than suction side cleaners.
The minuses: pressure cleaners are costly to buy and operate and they use the most energy due to the added booster pump.

Robotic pool cleaning: Advances in robotic pool cleaners are transforming the pool-cleaning industry. Robotic technology has advanced, bringing the price in reach of almost all pool owners. Robotic units can scrub and vacuum pool floors, walls and the waterline and remove more and finer debris (down to two microns in size) to help keep your pool cleaner. Robotic units cost only about 5 cents per hour to run and they provide superior water mixing (up to 85 GPM), substantially reducing the amount of chemicals needed.

The pluses: Just plug the bot into the power supply, place the cleaner in the water and press a button.
The minuses: There are almost too many robotic cleaners to choose from and they are not all alike. One of the most innovative is Aquabot, made by the company that introduced the first robotic cleaner in 1982.

Keeping your pool sparkling clean doesn't have to mean long afternoons of work or extra unnecessary chemicals. Now that there are safer and easier cleaning methods, you'll be able to maintain and enjoy your backyard retreat, and take care of the environment at the same time.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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How to Choose a Plastic Surgeon

July 3, 2013 4:30 am

One of the most important things you should do when choosing a plastic surgeon is do your research. There are different reasons why one chooses to have plastic surgery. One reason could be to improve your health; another reason could be to improve your self-esteem. Whatever your reason may be to have plastic surgery, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. In choosing a plastic surgeon to perform very risky operations, one should be educated in the background of the chosen physician.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking the right questions will guarantee you the best treatment, and therefore the best outcome. The first question to ask is: "Are you board certified, and with which board?"

You want to make sure that your surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Once you find out the proper qualifications for your chosen surgeon, use personal references through friends and family. This will give you another great insight into the plastic surgeon's reputation throughout his or her community.

Also ask what happens in case of an emergency. Your plastic surgeon should always have a backup plan in case an emergency arises. A board certified plastic surgeon will tell his or her patients about the risks and complications that may occur during surgery. They will make you aware of what happens when they occur. Your surgeon should have a good standing with the emergency hospital, or hospitals, that are nearest to the medical facility where the surgery is taking place. You can check the surgeon's credentials with the alternative hospital or hospitals. It is also important to make sure that the medical facility where the surgeon operates is accredited.

Lastly, view before and after pictures of patients that were operated on by the chosen surgeon. Every doctor should be proud of his or her work. Plastic surgeons want to prove to you that they are the best. They want to prove that you are the most important person to them, from the moment you meet with them for a consultation, until you leave their office at your six week check-up.

Source: Optimizeup.com

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American Dermatologists Reveal Top 10 Sunscreen Brands

July 3, 2013 4:30 am

Coolibar, a sun protective clothing manufacturer, conducted a survey to reveal the top 10 dermatologist recommended sunscreen brands. The survey was conducted at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) from March 1-5, 2013 in Miami Beach, Fla. Neutrogena and Aveeno top the list as perennial favorites followed by La Roche-Posay, Elta and Vanicream in the top five.

A record number of 1,572 dermatologists weighed in on the most reliable sunscreens recommended to patients as part of their sun safety education.

A mix of mass-market sunscreens combined with specialty brands are listed in order of the frequency with which they are recommended to patients:

1. Neutrogena
2. Aveeno
3. La Roche-Posay
4. Elta
5. Vanicream
6. Coppertone
7. Blue Lizard
8. Eucerin
9. Solbar
10. Fallene

Source: Coolibar

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Easy Home Improvements to Benefit Indoor Air Quality

July 3, 2013 4:30 am

(Family Features) Runny nose, itchy eyes and headache. These are just a few ailments suffered by homeowners with poor indoor air quality, potentially as a result of smoke, odors, dust or other contaminants. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, where air quality can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside.

While asthma and allergy sufferers, children and the elderly are particularly sensitive to indoor air quality, everyone is impacted by it. Fortunately, a few simple and affordable home improvements can go a long way to benefit your home’s air.

Skip synthetic fragrances

Despite their fresh scents, air fresheners and laundry products can emit dozens of chemicals. For truly fresh air, look for fragrance-free or natural products and skip aerosol sprays. Keep rooms ventilated by opening windows and add a fern or aloe vera plant to help purify your air.

Use paint that reduces some indoor odors and pollutants
Using the right paint can reduce common indoor odors like those from cooking and smoke. Promote better indoor air quality by reducing some indoor air pollutants from potential sources like insulation, carpet, cabinets and fabrics.

Clean up dust-grabbing décor
Household dust can trap chemicals and allergens. Some objects are prone to dust, such as rugs, upholstered furniture and infrequently moved accessories. Opt for easy-to-clean or washable items to avoid dust getting trapped in your space.

Dehumidify moist spaces
Moisture can attract dust mites, mildew and mold, so keep your rooms at a safe 30 to 50 percent humidity level. An inexpensive indoor humidity monitor will check your home’s levels, and a basic dehumidifier can solve many moisture challenges.

Clean floors regularly
Use a vacuum cleaner that is equipped with a HEPA filter (a high-quality, dense type of filter) and rotating brushes to remove dust and dirt from floors, and vacuum weekly, especially in high-traffic areas. A good vacuum will not blow dust or dirt out in the exhaust. Twice a month, use a microfiber mop on hard floors, skipping any chemical cleaning solutions in favor of warm water or a natural product.

Source: Sherwin-Williams

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Barbecue Bliss: Keeping Bacteria at Bay

July 2, 2013 4:30 am

Summer brings out barbecue grills—and bacteria, which multiply in food faster in warm weather and can cause foodborne illness (also known as food poisoning). Following a few simple guidelines can prevent an unpleasant experience.

Wash your hands
Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. If you're eating where there’s no source of clean water, bring water, soap and paper towels or have disposable wipes/hand sanitizer available.

Marinate food in the refrigerator
Don’t marinate on the counter—marinate in the refrigerator. If you want to use marinade as a sauce on cooked food, save a separate portion in the refrigerator. Do not reuse marinade that contacted raw meat, poultry, or seafood on cooked food unless you bring it to a boil first.

Keep raw food separate
Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood in a separate cooler or securely wrapped at the bottom of a cooler so their juices won’t contaminate already prepared foods or raw produce. Don't use a plate or utensils that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for anything else unless you wash them first in hot, soapy water. Have a clean platter and utensils ready at grill-side for serving.

Cook food thoroughly
Use a food thermometer to make sure food is cooked thoroughly to destroy harmful bacteria. Partial precooking in the microwave oven or on the stove is a good way to reduce grilling time—just make sure the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to finish cooking.

Keep hot food hot and cold food cold
Keep hot food at 140°F or above until served. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill, or wrap well and place in an insulated container.

Keep cold food at 40°F or below until served. Keep cold perishable food in a cooler until serving time. Keep coolers out of direct sun and avoid opening the lid often.

Cold foods can be placed directly on ice or in a shallow container set in a pan of ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.
Don’t let hot or cold perishables sit out for longer than two hours, or one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90°F. When reheating fully cooked meats, grill to 165°F or until steaming hot.

Transport food in the passenger compartment of the car where it’s cooler—not in the trunk.

Put these items on your list:
These non-food items are indispensable for a safe barbecue.
• food thermometer
• several coolers: one for beverages (which will be opened frequently), one for raw meats, poultry, and seafood, and another for cooked foods and raw produce
• ice or frozen gel packs for coolers
• jug of water, soap, and paper towels for washing hands
• enough plates and utensils to keep raw and cooked foods separate
• foil or other wrap for leftovers

Source: www.fda.gov

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