RE/MAX 440
Cheryl Goedeke
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie, PA   18944
Phone: 267-664-2288
Office Phone: 215-453-7653
Fax: 267-354-6833
email: cheryl@remax440.com
Cheryl Goedeke

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12 Tips for a Healthy Holiday

December 10, 2013 4:24 am

The holiday season is a joyous time of year, but it can also be stressful, exhausting and dangerous to your health. All the cooking, cleaning, shopping, decorating and entertaining can impact an individual's physical and emotional well-being and lead to injury or illness.

To maximize the joys of the holidays and minimize the risks of illness and injury, clinical experts from Kessler Institute, a leader in the field of medical rehabilitation, offer the following tips:

Don't Shop 'til You Drop

Holiday shopping can hurt more than your wallet, says Mark Brinn, P.T., director of Kessler's outpatient rehabilitation services. "Lifting and carrying all those packages can easily lead to aches, pains and strains of the shoulder, neck and upper and lower back."

  • Distribute the weight of shopping bags between both hands. Pick up heavier packages by bending your knees and lifting with your legs, not your back.
  • Take advantage of package holding areas, home delivery and other customer services stores may offer … or consider shopping online.
  • Shopping is a "sport," so be sure to stretch before you hit the mall or market, take breaks and stay hydrated.

Find Some Elves to Help

Falls account for 12 percent of seasonal emergency room visits, and 43 percent are related to falls from ladders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "In the rush to get everything done, people take short-cuts or try to do too much by themselves," says Brinn. "The best advice is to ask for help."

  • Don't move furniture, large boxes or other heavy items by yourself. Enlist family, friends or neighbors to lend a hand.
  • Use a sturdy ladder when reaching for high shelves or the top of the tree and have someone hold it in place.
  • Remove clutter, including toys, pet supplies and throw rugs; tape down wires; and wipe spills and wet floors immediately to help avoid slips, trips and falls.

Indulge in Moderation

Whether entertaining at home or going to holiday parties, it's hard to avoid the many treats and temptations of the season. Jackie Waldron, a registered dietitian at Kessler, says that by planning ahead and following some basic nutritional guidelines, you can maintain a healthier diet and prevent weight gain.

  • Limit salt, sugar and alcohol intake. Consider serving nuts and dried fruit or hummus and pita bread instead of candy, chips and dips. Substitute honey, agave nectar or a little bit of sugar substitute for white sugars. Use citrus or fresh herbs, like thyme or cilantro, or spices to add flavor without adding salt to savory dishes.
  • Watch portion size and eat slowly to avoid overeating. Don't skip meals as you'll likely wind up eating more or grabbing fast foods.
  • Allow yourself a small splurge or two, so you won't feel deprived.

Stay Connected

While the holiday season may be the favorite time of year for many people, others find it emotionally overwhelming. According to Kessler psychologist Monique Tremaine, Ph.D., "Many people put too much pressure on themselves, trying to find the perfect gift or host the perfect party. In addition, the holidays can evoke memories and feelings of loss and loneliness, which can lead to a lack of interest in seasonal activities, mood swings, changes in sleeping and eating habits and depression."

  • Be realistic; no one can do everything. Set reasonable goals and expectations for yourself and others. Enlist the help of family, friends and neighbors.
  • Have a sense of purpose. Plan to spend time with family or friends if possible, or consider volunteering at a shelter, food bank or other community organization.
  • Acknowledge your emotions, talk about them with close family or friends, and seek professional help if these feelings of sadness or depression persist.

One final recommendation from the experts at Kessler Institute: Get some exercise! Whether you take a walk, go to the gym, or even go dancing, exercise is an excellent way to relieve tension, re-energize your spirit and help to burn some of those extra calories from holiday sweets.

Source: Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Cautious Consumers Stalling Housing Momentum

December 10, 2013 4:24 am

Positive momentum in the housing market continues to lose steam as Americans remain cautious about their personal finances and the state of the economy, according to Fannie Mae's November National Housing Survey results. Among those surveyed, nearly two-thirds believe the economy is on the wrong track while the share expecting their personal finances to worsen during the next year has increased during the past few months to 22 percent. Meanwhile, consumers' home price expectations have declined steadily since summer. The share who say prices are going to increase within the next 12 months fell to 45 percent and the average home price change expectation dipped to 2.5 percent from 2.9 percent. In addition, the share of those who expect mortgage rates to climb in the next 12 months has remained at an elevated level since it spiked in June.

"We continue to see caution as the defining feature of Americans' attitudes toward the economy and their personal financial situation. In this environment, the housing recovery is likely to improve, but only at a gradual pace," said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "As the economy continues to improve and household balance sheets for most Americans are slow to repair, we continue to see the transition to a full housing recovery as a slow process. Upcoming fiscal policy discussions and labor market developments may also lead to some bumps along the way."

Other survey highlights include:

  • At 2.5 percent, the average 12-month home price change expectation continued to fall, decreasing 0.4 percent from last month.
  • The share of people who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months fell slightly to 45 percent, and those who say home prices will go down decreased to 9 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months increased by 2 percentage points to 59 percent.
  • Fifty percent of respondents said it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, an increase of 4 percentage points from last month.
  • The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move decreased slightly, to 68 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track increased to 32 percent but remains low compared to earlier this year.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to get worse in the next 12 months held steady at 22 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly lower than it was 12 months ago increased slightly to 17 percent.
  • At 33 percent, the share of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago fell slightly from last month.

Source: Fannie Mae National Housing Survey

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Is Your Retirement at Risk?

December 10, 2013 4:24 am

Around 70 percent of pre-retirees plan to work longer in retirement, while only 37 percent of retirees took this approach to address retirement risks. These findings are one of several retirement planning issues covered in the Society of Actuaries (SOA) new research report, "2013 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey." The report provides insights on how Americans decide to retire and how they manage resources in retirement.

The online survey of retirees and pre-retirees from ages 45 to 80 provides a glimpse into individuals' financial approaches for retirement and it identifies gaps in retirement preparations. The biggest issues of concern for retirees include inflation, paying for health care and the risk of depleting savings. The survey findings include:

  • Thirty-eight percent of pre-retirees expect to retire by ages 65 to 67 and 15 percent of pre-retirees do not expect to retire. Of the surveyed retirees, nearly 30 percent retired under the age of 55 and another 24 percent retired between ages 55 to 59.
  • Forty-one percent of pre-retirees plan to stop working for pay all at once, compared with 78 percent of retirees who stopped working for pay all at once. Another 35 percent of pre-retirees plan to work for pay part-time or periodically.
  • Health problems would be the primary reason for an early retirement, according to 42 percent of the surveyed pre-retirees.
  • One-quarter of both pre-retirees (25 percent) and retirees (27 percent) said disability or no longer being able to cope with the physical demands of the job would lead to an early retirement.
  • Both the surveyed retirees and pre-retirees plan to reduce spending, increase savings and reduce debt to manage retirement risks. More than 90 percent of both pre-retirees and retirees plan to eliminate all of their consumer debt. A majority of pre-retirees (93 percent) plan to save as much money as possible and 88 percent of pre-retirees plan to cut back on spending to manage risks.
  • Both retirees and pre-retirees have a median planning horizon of 10 years. Around 45 percent of pre-retirees think it is very possible to plan for day-to-day expenses, though they are less likely to plan for other issues in retirements.

Only 36 percent of the surveyed pre-retirees have a financial plan, compared with 67 percent of retirees who have a financial plan.

Source: Society of Actuaries

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Are Workers Naughty or Nice When it Comes to Office Holiday Gift Giving?

December 9, 2013 4:24 am

As workers are dashing through the stores to buy gifts for their loved ones, they are also making a list – and checking it twice – for what to buy their colleagues. According to a national holiday survey commissioned by leading staffing company Spherion, the majority of American workers (52 percent) plan to give gifts to their co-workers. Yet, more than half (55 percent) don't expect to receive anything in return.

Primarily, workers plan to give to peers at their level (36 percent) and to their bosses (27 percent). And when it comes to gifts for bosses, the desire to get ahead and outshine other colleagues are factors in making this decision. In fact, a majority of employees (58 percent) think that most employees give gifts to their bosses in order to get ahead. Roughly one-in-10 workers (11 percent) who have purchased a gift for their boss have spent more than their co-workers in order to outshine them. Just 9 percent of employees plan to give a gift to those who report to them.

The survey also queried what workers would prefer to receive as a gift from their boss, if they received one. Nearly all workers (93 percent) would rather receive non-typical gifts, with a cash bonus being the overwhelming preference (selected by 74 percent of employees). Others would be happy with an extra day off (29 percent), a handwritten thank-you card (12 percent) or a lavish company holiday party (9 percent).

"Although this is the holiday season, these results uncover how workers want to be treated in the office all year long," said Sandy Mazur, Spherion's division president. "Workers want to show respect and appreciation for others, but they also want to receive gratitude from their co-workers and bosses, and not just in the form of gifts. There are many other ways to give thanks besides a traditional holiday gift."

Other survey findings include:

Money:
• Two-in-five employees who have given gifts to co-workers (44 percent) have spent, at most, $20.
• At the higher end, almost the same proportion (42 percent) has spent $26 or more.
• Twenty-two percent of workers believe holiday gifts purchased by people in the workplace should be a reflection of how much money they make.

Shopping/Gifting Behaviors:
• Thirty-seven percent of workers agree that buying gifts for co-workers stresses them out just as much as buying gifts for others on their shopping list.
• Among those purchasing gifts for multiple co-workers, 41 percent plan to purchase the same holiday gift for each of them.
• Sixty percent of workers give presents to co-workers because they want to, not because they feel they have to.
• The majority of employees report they don't feel any pressure to give holiday gifts to their co-workers (59 percent), boss (56 percent) or anyone who reports to them (51 percent).
• Of the 73 percent of workers who have ever received a holiday gift, one-in-four (25 percent) of them have at least sometimes returned their gifts.

Gender Differences:
• Women are more likely than men to report that they expect to give (58 percent vs. 47 percent, respectively) and receive (52 percent vs. 40 percent, respectively) gifts.
• On the other hand, men who have purchased a gift for a boss are nearly three times as likely as their female counterparts (15 percent and 6 percent, respectively) to have spent more on their bosses to outshine their co-workers.

Office Events:

• Only 16 percent of companies host a formal gift-giving event, and 83 percent of those offices set a limit on how much to spend on the gift.
• Fifty-one percent of workers take cultural/religious differences into consideration when purchasing gifts for others in the workplace during the holiday season.

Source: Spherion

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Lagers Lead with Beer Drinkers, According to New Survey

December 9, 2013 4:24 am

This National Lager Day, Dec. 10, Anheuser-Busch will raise a toast to America's most preferred style of beer, and for good reason. With ever-increasing interest in beers and brewing, adults still say that lager is their favorite type of beer, according to a new survey conducted by the brewer and KRC Research.

The findings show a preference for lager by a wide margin over ales with the majority citing lager's crisp flavor as the reason.

Beer drinkers have long loved lagers, and the style still reigns supreme. American lagers make up the large majority (75 percent) of today's overall beer category.

The National Lager Day survey of more than 600 beer-drinking Americans age 21 and older affirms a prevailing preference for lagers and reveals more about how they are enjoyed. Key findings include:

• Beer drinkers prefer lagers 2-to-1 over pale ales and 3-to-1 over IPAs and stouts.
• Two-thirds of beer drinkers like the crisp flavor of lager more than beers with bitter, sweet or fruity flavors.
• When it comes to serving style, respondents say enjoying beer in a glass bottle is best (38 percent), followed closely by beer on draught (32 percent).

Source: Anheuser-Busch

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Are Your Pots Past Their Prime?

December 9, 2013 4:24 am

(Family Features)—Mealtime can be a daily challenge no matter the size of your household. Part of that challenge can be having the right cookware. More than simply tools in the kitchen, cookware is a way to enjoy the process of cooking and bring family and friends together. The notion of upgrading your cookware may be far from mind, but having the right pot or pan will keep family and friends coming back for more.

A recent survey concludes that most Americans own a piece of cookware that is approximately 17 years old. This survey also reveals that three out of 10 Americans admits to not knowing how to properly gauge the wear and tear of their cookware. When you know how to properly evaluate your cookware, you’ll have confidence in your supplies, making the process of cooking even more rewarding.

Step One: Check Your Cookware

Look at your pots and pans to assess the wear and tear of each. Check for signs of chipping, rusting, or warping that may affect the performance. Flip it over and look at the bottom to see if it is burned, which could affect how the pot or pan heats. Also, check the handles and lids to see if they are bent or missing.

Step Two: Test It Out

Once you’ve checked the condition of your cookware, it’s time to test it out. Chipping, rusting, and warping can affect the cooking or cleanup performance of your pots and pans. Be sure to test your cookware to ensure these flaws are only cosmetic. If your cookware is nonstick, a good test is to fry an egg – if it sticks to your pan then it is likely time to buy yourself a replacement.

Step Three: Reevaluate Your Needs

Once you’ve reviewed and tested your cookware, you can decide what you should keep, what to reinvest in and what you need to recycle. Start by asking yourself how often you cook, how much do you cook, and do you find yourself needing different sizes and shapes of pans while cooking?

A good rule of thumb when looking for new cookware is to look for pots and pans that are branded by manufacturers with a long track record, such as those which carry the DuPont™ Teflon® brand logo.

Finally, it’s important to feel the cookware in your own hands. Visit your local retail store and pick them up. Find out if the handles feel comfortable, the weight is good – and if you love the color and style. Most of your favorite retail stores have great selections to meet your needs.

Source: www.NothingMessesWithIt.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Liven Up Your Home with Color

December 6, 2013 4:24 am

(Family Features) The summer months are all about color. From flowers in bloom to vibrant beach towels and colorful dresses, summer brings with it a multitude of hues.

If you feel that your home is in need of an update, adding a little pop of color can help. Start by thinking about the colors you want to add, where color can make the most impact and just how much you need to give your home a fresh look.

Here are a few tips to get you started on your adventure in color:

Explore Color
Begin by visiting your favorite clothing boutique, stopping into a paint store or flipping through home design magazines for inspiration. Choose the looks you are most drawn to or the colors that evoke a feeling of happiness or calmness. These colors reflect your personal style and will make you feel most comfortable in your home.

Start Small
After picking a color palette, don’t go out and paint your whole house with it; start small. Just changing your accent pillows, throws, lampshades or accessories can make a big impact when you are introducing a new color. Remember to make sure the color flows well throughout the entire space, especially if your home has an open floor plan with rooms easily visible from one to another.

Accent with Artwork
Another easy way to bring color to your home is by updating artwork and wall decor. Simply moving artwork from one room to another can give your home a refreshed look. Adding some newly purchased pieces can also breathe new life into your home!

Be Brave
If you’re ready to go all out with color, it’s fine to make a dramatic change. The kitchen is a great place to go big with color and it’s usually the gathering place in the home. To bring bold color in the kitchen, and to set the tone for your entire home, update your cabinetry.

Source: KraftMaid

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5 Tech Toys You Can Find at the Dollar Store

December 6, 2013 4:24 am

It’s easy to break your budget at holiday time. But blogger Marc Saltzman, whose Digital Crave seeks out bargains for stingy shoppers, has discovered a handful of tech toys regularly found and sold way below retail at dollar stores including Dollar Tree, Dollar King, Family Dollar, National Dollar and others.

Check your local store for these techie bargains that are worth putting under your tree:

• LED book light - This clamp-on, a steal for a buck, does the same thing as the $20 version at your local book store, illuminating a book for reading in low-light. Available at Dollar Tree locations, the slender, silver book light attaches to a soft- or hardcover books. Includes three AG13 watch batteries.

• Retractable Mouse – If you need a spare computer mouse, look for a retractable USB Mouse from Tech-1, available in white or black for less than two bucks. Plugs into an available USB port on your PC or Mac – no drivers needed – and you can pull on the cord to give yourself as much space as you need. It’s not wireless, but this small and affordable accessory could be an invaluable travel companion.

• Maplock GPS anti-theft device – If you have a standalone GPS navigation device, you know it can attract thieves. Instead of spending up to $30 elsewhere, you can pick up the Maplock for a couple of dollars. It clamps onto your GPS, locks it down and tethers it to your steering wheel via a security cable. Be sure to buy the correct Maplock to fit your specific GPS model.

• Double headphone adapter – If you’re hitting the road for the holidays, siblings might want to listen to the same music, movie or game in the backseat – without disturbing you. Whether using a smartphone, portable media player, tablet, laptop or gaming system, they can split the enjoyment with the HRS-Global Double Adaptor ($1). On one end is a male 3.5mm jack to snap into your device. On the other end are two female ports to plug in earbuds or headphones.

• Tilt Top Calculator (Studio) – A solar-powered Tilt Top Calculator from Studio ($1.50), has an easy to read, adjustable display. Scientific calculators were also offered at some dollar stores.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Six Ways to Eco-Deck the Halls without Sacrificing Tradition

December 6, 2013 4:24 am

Heralded as the most wonderful time of year, the holidays are filled with traditions that many anticipate year round: social gatherings, cozy fires, festive music, and tasty treats. Decorating homes, packages and cards to set the mood is a big priority throughout the celebratory season.

Because eco-friendly habits can fall off to-do lists during the holidays, think green when celebrating, without forgoing tradition, delight or style. It is easy to reduce energy, minimize waste and improve neighborhood air quality by taking a few simple steps to deck the halls:

• Cleaner, Greener Fires – Try a fire log instead of firewood for your festive fire. Duraflame's fire logs are manufactured using recycled wood and agricultural fibers, saving valuable natural resources. A fire log produces 80 percent less emissions than a similar duration wood fire, providing a cozy fire with less impact on neighborhood air quality. A number of fire logs and firestarters carry the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified 100 percent biobased label that distinguishes products composed of renewable materials.

• LED Lights – Swap out conventional incandescent lights for ENERGY STAR–qualified LED lights that consume 65 to 90 percent less energy. Using a timer for lights is another way to create additional energy savings.

• Smart Wrapping – In lieu of shiny, new paper, wrap gifts with reusable bags, decorative storage boxes, scarves, maps or kids' coloring pages. Tie packages with reusable colored raffia and ribbons.

• Backyard Greenery
– Fill tables and mantles with materials from the yard: pinecones and fresh greens, or anything from the available local fauna.

• Reusable Dishware – Trade disposable dishes and flatware for options you can use all season long. Pick up mix and match colored dishes and cups at thrift stores. Add stripes, dots or other designs to plain dishes using permanent porcelain paint markers.

• EnviroCards – Send season's greetings by creating custom digital greeting cards through free online services. If standard mail is a priority, use old holiday cards, magazines or books to create new cards. When opting for purchased cards, look for recycled paper and soy-based inks.

Source: Duraflame

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Last-Minute Decorating Ideas to Turn Your Home into A Winter Wonderland

December 5, 2013 4:24 am

The holidays are right around the corner, and they're bringing a house full of guests with them. Lighten your load and impress your guests with last-minute decorating ideas at values worth celebrating.

Put on a Holiday Light Show

Few things make your home feel more like the holidays than a spectacular display of lights. Outdoor lights will help make yours the most festive house on the block. They'll brighten your mood and provide a warm welcome to visiting friends and family.

Insider tip: A good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every foot and a half of tree or shrub you want to cover. Of course, if you love lights and want to brighten the block, you might want to double that amount.

Start a new holiday tradition by adding some fun and color to your porch or yard with a GE 5-ft Brown Winter Berry Branch Tree, GE Super Bright LED Sugar Plum Light Set or a set of LED Acrylic Gift Boxes.

To round out the display, line a staircase with potted poinsettias. Use a mix of different-color plants for a lush look. Poinsettias come in a variety of sizes (4- to 10-inch pots) and start as low as $6.

Deck the Halls

Fill guests with holiday spirit as soon as they walk into your home by embellishing the foyer. Start by grouping scented candles or votives on a side table for some soft lighting and cheer. String holiday cards or ornaments around a mirror or tuck them in a frame. Fill glass vases, jars or lamps, such as the Portfolio 19-in Clear Fillable Lamp Base, with ornaments or pinecones and faux snow for a wintery feel. Lastly, set up miniature Christmas trees in the front hall, such as the allen + roth 5-ft Pre-Decorated Tree.

In your main living area, simply find the focal point and decorate around it. Frame the hearth with two pre-lit artificial or live Christmas trees and hang a wreath above the mantel.

Insider tip: For live Christmas trees, water the tree daily and make sure the trunk is always submerged in water. Use a tree stand that fits your tree, so you don't have to whittle down the trunk. Cover your tree stand with aluminum foil to prevent your pets from drinking out of it. Tree sap and water can be a lethal combination. Decorate with LED lights; they stay cool to the touch.

Source: Lowes

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