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Gail Hoover
4789 Route 309
Center Valley  PA 18034
 Phone: 610-791-4400
Office Phone: 610-791-4400
Cell: 610-217-8136
Fax: 267-354-6890 
gailhoover@aol.com
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Gail Hoover

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4 Ways to Beat the Post-Labor Day Struggle

September 8, 2015 1:46 am

In not-so-surprising news, two-fifths of participants in a recent Mars Drinks study were dreading the return to work after Labor Day weekend.

“Labor Day symbolizes the unofficial end of the summer season and for many of us, a return to a busier daily routine at home and increased activity at work,” says Mars Drinks’ Global President Xavier Unkovic. “However, back to work doesn't have to be a stressful time. Business leaders and employees can implement small changes to their workday routines that help reduce stress and make life at work better.”

Unkovic offers the following suggestions for employees stuck in a post-Labor Day slump:

• Get inspired. Maintain the activities that energize you outside of your work. Find a way to keep attending that yoga class even though the summer is over. Savor your morning coffee while reading an inspirational article before diving into your email.

• Get organized. Clean out your email inbox. If you have non-critical items you haven't gotten to, pitch them and get a clean start. Reduce stress at work by organizing yourself the night before.

• Manage your time. Schedule time for short breaks throughout the day. Even taking time for a cup of coffee between meetings will help you to relax and refresh. Keep a longer term calendar of your projects so that when new requests emerge, you can determine what's possible and communicate.

• Stay connected. You still have a few days of sunshine – take meetings outdoors if possible. And keep up the volunteering. It's a great way to stay connected to the things you love the most outside of work.

Source: Mars Drinks

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Safely Power Your Household Gadgets

September 8, 2015 1:46 am

Overloaded circuits and improper power cord use at home are hazards that should be eliminated, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). The ESFI recommends the following tips for homeowners:

• Be sure you are not overloading the circuit. Know the capacity of the circuit and the power requirements of all the electrical items plugged into the power strip and into all the other outlets on the circuit, as well as the light fixtures on the circuit.

• A heavy reliance power strip is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have additional outlets installed where you need them.

• Understand that surge suppressors only protect the items plugged into it, not back along the circuit into which it is connected.

• Multiple plug outlets must be plugged directly into mounted electrical receptacles; they cannot be chained together.

• Ensure that all power strips and extension cords are certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL, CSA, or ETL, and read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

• Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis. Unplug and safely store them after every use.

• Do not place power cords and extension cords in high traffic areas or under carpets, rugs or furniture, and never nail or staple them to the wall or baseboard.

• Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-prong outlet.

• Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance or tool being used.

• All electrical items and extension cords should be kept in good condition. If damage is discovered, repair the item or dispose of it.

Source: ESFI

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Storm Watch: Severe Weather Tips for Homeowners

September 8, 2015 1:46 am

Severe weather has the potential to impact property more at this time of year than during any other season. “September is the ideal month to address proper storm preparedness,” says Generac Power Systems Senior VP of Marketing Clement Feng. “At the same time homeowners begin preparing for winter storm season, the potential threat from hurricanes becomes more apparent, all while many parts of the country are still experiencing summer heat threats. The timing is truly an influx of extreme weather.”

Homeowners who may feel overwhelmed should break down winter preparedness projects into manageable tasks they can tackle a bit at a time. Taking the time to seal a window or have the heating system serviced will pay off in the cooler months with energy savings and a toasty inside temperature, helping keep families comfortable despite what's happening outside.

Sealing the envelope of the home has become one of the most important tasks for homeowners in terms of energy efficiency. A few simple steps homeowners can take to keep the warm air in and the cold air out with the change of seasons include:

• Sealing drafty or single-pane windows with a DIY insulating roll-on kit
• Making doors airtight with weather stripping and draft seals
• Having a professional check for leaks in ductwork and service the heating system

In addition, homeowners should prepare for outages this winter. The increasingly unpredictable nature of weather patterns and threats to our infrastructure pose a hefty warning to our electrical power systems. Consider purchasing an automatic home backup generator to remain with power in the event of an outage.

Source: Generac Power Systems

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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4 Ways Parents Can Promote Positive Behavior in School

September 7, 2015 1:46 am

Word arrives from school that the parent’s child is in trouble. Maybe it was a minor offense and the student simply faced a trip to the office. But maybe a suspension or expulsion is in the near future, leaving the parents wondering whether they could have done something before the situation became so dire.

Before parents beat themselves up too much, though, they should remember that student discipline isn’t always a clear-cut thing, says Renae Azziz, founder and director of Virtuoso Education Consulting, which provides professional development training to teachers and school district leaders.

“The reasons students are sent to the office are not always well defined,” says Azziz, a school psychologist. “So-called problem behaviors are often too subjective, which leads to different teachers having different perceptions and definitions of what a problem behavior is.”

The situation can be especially frustrating for the parents of these students. When there is a mismatch between what the teacher sees as acceptable behavior and the student’s view, problems can surface.

Teachers can learn to account for those cultural differences through explicit and ongoing training focused on culture. But there are also steps all parents can take that will go a long way in helping their children understand the school’s expectations, Azziz says.

She offers these tips:

• Educate yourself.
Parents should read the school’s discipline handbook and become familiar with the expectations for behavior in their child’s school. That way parents will have a clearer understanding of the rules and can discuss them with the child. Handbooks lay out all kinds of information, such as what constitutes bullying or how unexcused absences affect participation in extracurricular activities. “Knowing and talking about the rules can help you head off problems,” Azziz says.

• Offer positive reinforcement at home. Parents can set up positive ways to acknowledge their student for doing the right thing at home that connect to the behavior expectations at school. Children usually respond better to positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement, so praise at home for correct behavior can translate into good behavior in the classroom.

• Learn the rules face to face.
Early in the school year, parents should meet with their child’s teacher and principal to define and clarify behavior expectations and discuss how you will communicate with each other. Often, email is a good way to communicate with teachers because they can read and respond to the correspondence after class is over for the day. But find out what the teacher prefers. Good communication can help the parent and the teacher work together to make sure behavior expectations are understood and followed.

• Champion the child. A parent should be the child’s advocate. “After all, if you aren’t in your child’s corner, who is?” she asks. But that doesn’t mean taking the attitude: My child is always right. “You will need to be fair and balanced,” Azziz says.

Source: VirtuosoEd.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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10 Tips for Fall Entertaining

September 7, 2015 1:46 am

Looking for some ways to spice up your fall fetes? Then feast your eyes on these 10 great entertaining tips from Carla McDonald, the hostess with the mostest behind The Salonniere, the leading dedicated source of party tips from entertaining experts. As McDonald likes to say, "I feel a party coming on."

Choose a stellar date. There's nothing more festive than an autumn moon, so hold your party on or around an evening when the moon is full and bright. Full moon dates this fall are October 8th and November 6th.

Harvest your guest list. Select your guest list carefully. Have a look through your social media feeds to see who had interesting experiences over the summer that you think others might enjoy hearing about.

Spice things up with a signature cocktail. Welcome your guests with a drink that puts them in the mood for the cool, crisp days of autumn. Try a Spiced Pear Collins, which is made with gin, pear puree and rosemary.

Prepare a seasonal feast. Serve warm, earthy nibbles with fennel, figs and other fall flavors. Butternut squash soup topped with sage and served in shot glasses is a classic autumnal touch that looks beautiful passed on trays. Garnish your dishes with edible fall leaves.

Fill the air with the sounds of autumn. Create a seasonal playlist. Songs to consider are "Autumn Leaves" by Nat King Cole, "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire and "Forever Autumn" by the Moody Blues.

Bring food to your flowers. Reflect the bounty of fall with floral arrangements that include seasonal vegetables and herbs like chard, beets and purple artichokes.

Sprinkle seasonal touches into your decor. Serve your nibbles on leaf-shaped platters and choose linens in autumnal shades like gold and pumpkin.

Stoke the embers of friendship. Place votive candles in groups on tables to draw people together as though they're gathering around a hearth.

Gather the leaves. As each guest leaves the party, send them home with a thermos filled with warm cider or a classic caramel apple. Nostalgic touches make people smile.

Chill. Remember to relax. If you don't have fun at your autumn fete, your guests won't either.

Source: The Salonniere

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Home Maintenance for New Homeowners

September 7, 2015 1:46 am

If you live in a cold weather climate, fall is when you put in the storm windows. If you live in a warm climate, summer is when you step up the pool maintenance. No matter where you live, however, checking on – and maintaining – 10 areas of your home each year is one good way to ensure your home stays in peak condition.

From the home maintenance consultants at Home Depot, here is where – and how – to begin:

Roof
– In early fall, check around vents, skylights and chimneys for cracks or leaks and repair or replace tiles as necessary.

Gutters
– Clean gutters so leaves won’t clog them, and be sure they drain away from the house.

Fireplace – Clean out any leftover ashes. If heavily used in winter, you may want the chimney professionally cleaned. Make sure the damper is closed tightly.

Filters – clean or replace furnace filters once every month or as needed. Check and clean the dryer vent, air conditioner, stove hood and room fans regularly.

Safety Equipment
– Be sure smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working condition. Replace batteries twice a year.

Air Conditioner – In cold climates, put on waterproof covers when you cover or remove outdoor furniture.

Refrigerator
– Test door seals once or twice a year to be sure they are airtight. Test by closing the door over a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, the seal may need to be replaced. If you have a coil-back fridge, the coils should be vacuumed twice a year.

Faucets – Check for leaks in kitchen and bathrooms and replace washers as necessary.

Windows and Doors – Replace seals as necessary to keep heat in and drafts out. If you added up all the tiny cracks where heating and cooling escapes, it could be the same as having a window open.

Siding and Paint
– Look for cracks or peeling areas. Repaint or replace caulk as necessary.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Social Media Safety Tips for Teens

September 4, 2015 1:37 am

With most of their everyday happenings documented through social media, teens and tweens may not understand that sharing can compromise safety. “Conversations about social media are never easy because kids often view posts as casual and delete-able,” says Social Sentinel President and CEO Gary Margolis. “Parents need to help their children make smart decisions about what and where they post, explain the potential risks linked with oversharing and encourage their children to speak up if they run across concerning content.”

Margolis recommends parents impart the following safety tips to their children:

1. Make your profile private.
A public profile may lead to more likes, comments and shares – from people you may not know. Strangers can easily gather a lot of information from public posts, including where you live or go to school, what type of car you drive, who your closest friends are and more.

Be sure to log out of all your social media profiles and Google yourself to see how much information pops up. If you don’t like what you see, change your privacy settings.

2. Don’t add anyone that you haven’t met in person.

Online predators often fake profiles to talk with potential victims, but they will make it seem like they’re just making new friends (i.e., “catfishing”).

Go through your friend or follower list and remove anyone you don’t recognize. If you can’t identify where you met a person in real life, they probably aren’t a “friend.”

3. Disable “Check-In” and geo-tagging features.
These features can let online predators know your exact location, down to the street address. Click on the location symbol on your Instagram profile and zoom in – you may be shocked at how accurate it is.

4. Think before you post.
While some apps claim to be anonymous, or that shared content will disappear after a certain amount of time, remember that anything posted online can be screenshot and shared.

Always assume that what you post online will be permanently accessible. Ask yourself: Would I be okay with a parent, teacher or boss eventually seeing this? Am I sharing sensitive information? Scan your profile to see if your posts pass this question test.

5. Speak up if you see something concerning.
Posts about violence, threats, bullying, suicide and abuse are serious. Tell a parent, teacher or other trusted adult if you think someone in your network needs help or may be in trouble.

Source: Social Sentinel

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Just Say No to Used Furniture

September 4, 2015 1:37 am

For college students, the temptation to re-use another’s furniture is considerable – it’s free! But bringing used furniture into your apartment can also invite unwanted guests: bed bugs.

According to Jonathan Boyar, owner of pest management firm Ecologic Entomology, all used furniture is suspect and should be avoided. Bugs can hide in crevices deep inside the furniture that are not easily inspected.

Store-bought insecticides and home remedies, Boyar says, almost never eliminate bed bug infestations in the home or on infested furniture. Those products can actually make the problem worse by spreading the bugs out into areas where they don’t normally exist, making the eventual remedial process even more difficult.

If you suspect a problem in your apartment, contact your landlord as soon as possible to have the issue assessed, advises Boyar. The problem may not be limited to just one apartment and the landlord may need to inspect all abutting units or every unit in the building. Pest control companies need the consent of the property owner to perform treatments in their building.

Source: Ecologic Entomology

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Mortgage Rates Remain Below 4 Percent

September 4, 2015 1:37 am

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) recently averaged 3.89 percent with an average 0.6 point, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The rate, a slight nose up, comes amid volatile market activity and “essentially no new information,” says Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti.

“The 30-year mortgage rate increased 5 basis points, but don’t read too much into that,” Becketti says. “The Fed took great pains at the Jackson Hole conference to keep all their options open and to avoid talking too much – or too little – of the situation in China and the volatility in global equity markets.”

The 15-year FRM averaged 3.09 percent with an average 0.6 point. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.93 percent with an average 0.4 point, and the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.62 percent with an average 0.3 point.

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Travel Trends to Expect This Labor Day

September 3, 2015 1:37 am

Leave it to the last minute. According to a recent Expedia.com® report, one-fifth of Labor Day travelers this year booked travel accommodations in July – late by most booking standards. In addition, many travelers, late bookers or not, are headed overseas for a last-weekend-of-summer getaway.

International hot spots for Labor Day include:

• London
• Barcelona
• Florence
• Paris
• Rome

"The favorable exchange rates we've seen this summer are a welcome relief for travelers looking to experience Europe," says Expedia Senior Editor Ingrid Belobradic. "Coupled with the already great promotions available, we're seeing opportunities for strong savings this Labor Day across international and domestic destinations."

Source: Expedia.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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