RE/MAX 440
Sandy Hershey

Sandy Hershey
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880  Skippack  PA 19474
Phone:  610-909-2929
Office:  610-584-1160
Fax:  267-354-6987

My Blog

Tips and Tools to Stay Safe in the Face of Disaster

September 27, 2013 12:06 am

Over the last 12 years, natural disasters such as major storms, floods, earthquakes and fires have affected 2.9 billion people. With alarming stats like these, it is important to be amply prepared should disaster strike.

“Natural disasters can strike at any given moment and while it might seem difficult to prepare for the unknown, there are a number of standard supplies that should be easily accessible in the face of an emergency," said Sport Chalet’s Chris Burston.

To further help consumers navigate their survival gear needs, Burston has compiled the following top 10 tools to ensure preparedness:

1. Regardless of the emergency, storing a supply of safe drinking water is absolutely essential. Store water in 55 gallon (BPA free) drums, and always have a high capacity water filter, water purification tablets and/or a handheld UV water purifier.

2. When temperatures drop and shelter or heat is no longer available, survival blankets are a compact, lightweight way to keep body temperatures warm.

3. Food may be scarce. Dehydrated food buckets and #10 Cans are easy to store and have a shelf life of up to 25 years.

4. Since medical help is not always accessible, be sure to have a well-stocked first aid kit to keep loved ones safe and healthy. Adventure Medical Kits, a company started by actual explorers and doctors, offers the best quality first aid kits and survival items on the market, which include essentials such as bandages, wound cleanser, wound repair (Quik Clot), splint, pain reliever, scissors and more.

5. Storms and earthquakes can often leave homes without electricity for days, or even weeks. Always keep flashlights, headlamps or lanterns, along with plenty of batteries on hand, such as Princeton Tec Headlamps, which are lightweight and long-lasting, or Goal Zero products, which includes solar recharge kits and lighting.

6. The serious preppers know it's always good to have an evacuation bug out route, should a quick escape be necessary. To assist in an efficient getaway, keep a handheld GPS or compass handy to avoid taking a wrong turn.

7. Cellphones cannot always be relied on to call for help, so keep an emergency radio on hand, such as the Eton FRX 3 Radio, a solar and hand turbine powered AM/FM weather radio that glows in the dark and allows a 30-second emergency phone call.

8. When assembling a survival kit, don't forget about stocking an extra supply of personal needs, such as medicine, glasses, sunscreen, bug spray with DEET and any other daily essentials.

9. Many people overlook the fact that they might be caught without heat or gas, making food prep difficult. Fire starters, ready fuel and lightweight portable stoves alleviate this problem.

10. In extreme circumstances when proper shelter is lacking, there could be the possibility of confronting dangerous wildlife. Just in case, it's a good idea to have personal defense items on hand, such as Sabre bear spray.

Source: Sport Chalet

Published with permission from RISMedia.


New Survey Finds Small Decor Changes in Your Home Can Affect Your Mood

September 27, 2013 12:06 am

A new survey released by HomeGoods found that the décor in your home can impact your mood. According to the survey findings, 93 percent of Americans felt a room’s décor can positively or negatively affect someone’s mood, of which 77 percent had at least one room in their home that needed attention.

Released in time for fall decorating and holiday entertaining, the survey found that boosting your mood doesn’t have to come at a price; great news for the 54 percent of Americans who haven’t made the décor changes they want because it’s too expensive. In fact, nearly all (99 percent) of people surveyed felt that simple décor updates – improved lighting, stylish organizational solutions, decorative accents – could make them feel happier without breaking the bank.

Through these survey insights, HomeGoods has created six happy home resolutions to demonstrate easy and affordable ways to incorporate small changes that can boost your mood.

Happy Home Resolutions:

• Incorporate Personal touches: Half (50 percent) of Americans surveyed said they had at least one room in their home that felt unfinished even though it is fully furnished. Choosing décor touches that reflect your personal style will help create a finished look that will make you smile every time you walk into the space.

• Bedrooms can benefit most from small changes: The bedroom most negatively impacts people’s moods. Nearly half (48 percent) of survey participants who’d like to improve their décor felt that the bedroom would benefit most from small changes. Think about easy updates that don’t involve excessive amounts of time or money. Refreshing your bedding, changing lighting or just adding some colorful pillows can help make your room a happier place without breaking the bank.

• Better lighting makes a big difference: Of those Americans who have a room that negatively affects their mood, nearly half (46 percent) felt that better lighting could improve their moods. With shorter fall days and daylight savings time, the right lighting is key, so choose lamps with personality and style to boost your mood.

• Decorative accents can provide a boost of happy: Thirty-seven percent of those with a room that negatively affects their mood felt that adding decorative accessories would have a positive impact on their mood. Each room of your home is an opportunity to create a unique space – bring in bold decorative accessories that are unique and surprising to make a room feel fresh.

• Pops of color can boost happiness: Among those who have a room that negatively affects their mood, 39 percent felt that updating a color palette would have a positive impact on their mood. Instead of painting, adding color though pillows, glassware, wall art and accent furniture are simple and affordable ways to make a room feel cheerful.

• Stylish solutions to organizing your home: Among the 22 percent of survey participants who thought updates to décor would have a positive impact on their mood, the survey found that organizational solutions would have the greatest positive impact. Fashionable and functional storage solutions can lift your mood while making a significant style statement.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Seasonal Changes Can Bring Sleep Problems

September 26, 2013 12:03 am

Golden autumn afternoons, fall foliage and cooler temperatures are a welcome change for most people after a long hot summer, but families should be watchful that the change in seasons could lead to sleep problems and other behavioral troubles for adults, teens and children.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects an estimated six percent of the population. A person with SAD can experience unexplained fatigue as daylight hours grow shorter into the fall and winter months. Other symptoms could include increased irritability, increased daytime sleepiness (as opposed to most other forms of depression, which can cause insomnia), difficulty concentrating, and craving carbohydrates and sugary foods, so-called “comfort foods.”

“For some folks, autumn clearly presents something much more than just ‘great sleeping weather,’” says Dan Schecter, creator of “If families suspect they are affected by SAD, they should seek a proper diagnosis from a physician or mental health professional.”

Schecter said families can also take steps on their own to encourage healthy sleep patterns as the seasons change:

• Make seasonal adjustments, if necessary, but set regular sleeping and waking times and stick with the schedule, even on weekends.
• Get plenty of exercise, outdoors if at all possible, to maximize exposure to daylight.
• Ensure your home sleeping environment and bedding are clean and appropriate to the season.
• Eat a well-balanced diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Five Ways to Build a Better Shower

September 26, 2013 12:03 am

(BPT)—The shower is a place to unwind from a stressful day, where you can forget your worries and pamper yourself. Remodeling the shower is extremely popular because it allows homeowners to create a spa-like experience in their own home, not to mention it's a good investment and can increase resale value. Before you start your remodel, here are five ways to create a shower that will give you some well-deserved peace and quiet.

1. Spacious shower

If you're gutting your bathroom, think about opening up the space to expand the size of your shower. Typically, showers are 36 inches wide by 36 inches deep; but now, luxury-style showers measure at least 48 inches by 96 inches. You can also create more shower space by selecting certain types of shower doors. Sliding glass doors can be a hassle to clean, as dirt can get into every little crevice. Hinged, glass doors, or if you have the space, a larger opening with no shower door at all, are better options for creating a modern, streamlined look.

2. Bring in the light

Do you have a small bathroom and don't have room for a spacious shower? Not to worry - make the shower look bigger with lighting. Adding a skylight above the shower will make it feel larger in size and give a sense of being in a high-end resort. The materials you use on the door can also brighten things up. Choosing a glass door lets more light fill the space while showing off a fancy showerhead or tile. The glass can be frosted for added privacy.

3. Showerheads in all shapes and sizes
Showerheads come in a wide variety of styles to add the desired look - and functionality - to your bathroom. From rainshowers to traditional showerheads and body sprays, the combinations are almost endless.

No matter what style or the number of sprays you choose, make sure to include a hand shower. It makes cleaning the shower a breeze, will help with washing the family pet, and gets all those hard to reach places during your daily shower.

4. A place to sit and relax
Shower benches and seats are becoming an essential component for rest and relaxation. It's a great way to add a spa-like element to your shower but also provides extra safety for your family. You can build a bench into the shower or attach one that folds up against the wall. Different styles and materials are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Teak is a popular choice in the shower as it withstands different temperatures, is resistant to bugs and humidity and is also easy to clean.

5. Storage in the shower

Finally, build niches in the shower wall to fit all the bottles used on a daily basis. Creating several built-in areas will eliminate reaching for bottles on the shower floor and make it easier for the family to stay organized. Make sure the shelves slope toward the shower to keep the areas from getting moldy or full of soap scum. If you aren't putting in new shower walls, you can also create more storage with a sturdy, corner shelf. Choose one with at least three shelves so Mom, Dad and the kids can each have their own shelf.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


9 Out of 10 Children Not Getting Enough Fiber in Their Diet

September 26, 2013 12:03 am

Moms know that fiber is an important part of their children's healthy diets, but what they don't realize is that few kids actually get the daily fiber they need. Nine out of 10 children do not get enough fiber in their diet, which could contribute to occasional constipation. Occasional constipation is reportedly the cause for almost 5 percent of all pediatric outpatient visits. Making sure your child has enough fiber in their diets may keep their stomachs happy by helping keep everything moving through their digestive systems. And kicking off each morning with a breakfast with fiber helps start kids on their way to getting the recommended amount of fiber, every day.

"Fiber plays a key role in maintaining good health," says registered dietitian Sylvia Melendez-Klinger. "Many people are not getting enough of it and don't realize just how easy it can be to add fiber to the diet. To receive the greatest health benefits, eat a wide variety of fiber foods – cereal can be a great breakfast to start your morning and get you on your way to the recommended daily amount of fiber."

Melendez-Klinger has provided a few tips to help Mom add fiber to her children's diet:

Fiber First: Breakfast is the perfect time to sneak fiber into the kids' diets – breakfast cereals are an excellent source of fiber that kids already love eating. Try adding in a few blueberries on top for that extra fiber punch.

Increase Hydration: While fiber is a great way to help keep everything moving through the digestive system, it is important to also increase water intake. By increasing your fiber intake gradually and drinking more water you will allow your body to adapt.

Make Tasty Treats: Fiber can also help prevent kids from snacking needlessly, filling up on empty calories. When looking for a tasty snack, include foods with a good source of fiber, such as a handful of almonds and dried fruit, to increase fiber intake.

Keep It Simple: When shopping for fiber foods that your kids will eat, focus on four main groups – bread, pasta, cereals, fruits and veggies – and try to incorporate a few into every meal. Foods vary in nutrient content so be sure to check the label for fiber content and look for at least three grams – a good source.

Source: Kellogg

Published with permission from RISMedia.


World's First Study on Food Addiction Concludes Addiction Contributes to Obesity

September 25, 2013 12:00 am

A new paper by Ph.D. student Pardis Pedram from the laboratory of Dr. Guang Sun, professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, shows that food addiction is an important contributing factor in the development of obesity.

"Our findings are the first of their kind in the world," said Dr. Sun, the senior author. "We have shown that food addiction is an important contributing factor in the development of the common form of obesity in the general population. The prevalence of food addiction was 5.4 percent in the entire study and increased concomitantly with obesity status defined by either body mass index (BMI) or body fat percentage."

This is the first scientific study of food addiction at the population level. A total of 652 adults from the Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador - 415 women and 237 men - participated in this study. Food addiction was assessed using the Yale Food Addiction Scale and the macronutrient intake was determined from the Willet Food Frequency Questionnaire.

Furthermore the study found that the clinical symptom count(s) of food addiction (similar to the measurement of fasting blood sugar concentration in diabetic patients) is strongly associated with the severity of obesity. The study also revealed that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with food addiction than men.

"More remarkably, the food addiction scores are proportionally associated with adiposity measurements in non-food addicted people, or the remaining 94.6 per cent of the population," said Dr. Sun. "For some individuals not clinically diagnosed as food addicts, food addiction is potentially part of the cause of excessive body fat."

The findings of food addiction in the development of human obesity are a big factor for physicians, insurance companies and governments to consider in treatment method, insurance and government policy-making, similar to the history of smoking on human health, said Dr. Sun.

Source: Memorial University of Newfoundland

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Top Six Kitchen Dangers

September 25, 2013 12:00 am

Absent-minded mistakes in the kitchen cause many cuts, burns, and other injuries. The October 2013 issue of ShopSmart, from Consumer Reports, identifies the kitchen products that cause the most harm and simple ways to avoid them.

"It's easy to make a mistake in the kitchen when you're in a rush or in a post-workday haze," said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. "But there are simple things you can do to avoid landing in the hospital."

ShopSmart ranked the kitchen products that send the most people to the emergency room. In descending order, they are: knives, ranges, cookware, slicers and choppers, microwaves and blenders. Below are some simple ways to avoid getting hurt when using these products and appliances. Importantly: Always keep a fire extinguisher with a minimum 5-B:C rating on hand.

Knives. Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones, so keep knives sharpened and stored in a block. Use a cutting board that doesn't have a slippery surface, and place a damp towel under it to keep it from moving.

Ovens. Install an anti-tip bracket to secure the unit in place. Never place heavy roasts and other food on an open oven door.

Cookware. Always use oven mitts to pick up hot pots and pans. If a grease fire starts, smother the flames with a cookie sheet or lid for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure the fire is out.

Slicers and Choppers. Don't leave motorized models on for a long time; they can overheat. Never reach into a slicer or chopper. Because many parts, including blades, are dishwasher safe, don't handwash them.

Microwaves. Be careful when removing a wrapper or cover from microwaved food; steam can escape and cause a nasty burn. Let food cool a minute or two before removing it from the microwave. Boil water on the stove; water heated in a microwave can become super-heated and erupt violently without warning.

Blenders. Most blenders don't have safety interlocks, so don't reach inside, especially if it is plugged in. To clean blades without touching them, add hot water and a bit of dishwashing liquid to the blender container and let it run on high for a minute, then rinse. If the blender has a container that disassembles, wash the parts in the dishwasher, as the rubber gasket can harbor bacteria.

Source: ShopSmart

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Create a Fully Loaded Laundry Room

September 25, 2013 12:00 am

(Family Features) Today’s technology makes those pesky tasks of washing, drying and folding your beloved garments easier than ever before. Gain inspiration for a laundry room update with cutting-edge solutions that work hard to get your clothes squeaky clean and may even make the chore fun.

Laundry room meets entertainment center
Newly constructed homes are starting to include laundry rooms with all the bells and whistles. For those wanting to be entertained while folding their garb, mounted flat screen televisions will ensure you don’t miss a minute of your favorite show. Other ornate laundry facilities include a space for your laptop for the most serious multitasking individuals.

High-efficiency topload washers
The traditional topload washer has received a well-deserved makeover. New technology has enabled that familiar washer you grew up with to be considered high-efficiency (HE) and is the fastest growing category in home laundry appliances. Though HE models typically cost more upfront, consumers can save money over the life of the product because they use less energy and water. These washers spin clothes at a higher speed, thus removing more moisture. This cuts down on time and energy used with a dryer.

Gone are the days of dull laundry rooms and washers and dryers only available in white. The laundry room is much more colorful today as appliance manufacturers roll out bright and cheerful appliances, such as ruby red and champagne. The home trend of grey has also hit the laundry room as more subdued and classic shades, such as metallic carbon, are gaining popularity.

Dispensing and stain removal advancements
High-tech features, such as GE SmartDispense, dole out the right amount of detergent based on soil level, fabric and cycle type. The feature can even store up to a two-month supply of laundry detergent and softener inside of the washer. A built-in stain removal guide tackles common clothing stains, such as oil, grass and dirt, while a steam option relaxes fabric and helps loosen set-in stains.

Sophisticated sinks
Utility sinks are a must for laundry rooms of larger families or for those outdoorsy individuals who tend to get a little dirty. Many new sinks offer soap dispensers, while higher-end versions offer a hands-free option for both the dispenser and the faucet. Some models even include spa-type water jets with special settings that blast stains and debris from garments based on the nature of the fabric.

Source: GE

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Is Organic Coffee Worth the Price?

September 24, 2013 1:54 am

If you choose to eat organic foods you might be lucky enough to avoid ingesting the many pesticide residues so common to farming. It also means you're likely avoiding those "Franken-foods" that result from genetically engineered seeds.

Yet, with the price of organic produce typically higher than non-organic the question remains—can you pick and choose foods based on your budget, yet still come out on the healthier side? For example, bananas or avocados, thanks to their firm skins are less affected by pesticides than celery or strawberries.

But what about coffee?

Since coffee for many of us is our preferred "fuel" representing not only the start of our day but often also our afternoon pick-me up, do organic beans really matter?

Rohan Marley, chairman of Jammin' Java says it sure does. Having grown up in Jamaica, Rohan, the son of legendary musician Bob Marley, says: "The benefits of organic coffee are significant, as chemical free soil is good soil. This extends to healthy trees which result in good beans with greater antioxidants and less chemical residues."

Get Rohan Marley talking and he'll tell you how the benefits of organic farming begin with the benefits to the farm workers who are able to fulfill their jobs without the adverse health impact of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Taking it further, the farm's neighbors aren't exposed to potentially harmful chemicals in the air as well. Then, less fossil fuel is converted into fertilizers. All this is good for the environment.

"It's a life-cycle," according to Marley. "Naturally healthy soil can sustain coffee crops for generations to come. All of this contributes to the quality of the bean."

To avoid the impact of lax pesticide regulations on coffee farmers, Marley advises consumers to look for the USDA Organic label to ensure we're not buying beans that have been grown or processed with the use of potentially harmful chemicals.

And if you really want to do something good for your body and the world, when you seek to sip your java, look for Sustainably Grown and Ethically Farmed on the labels to ensure that your purchase supports farmers with fair pay and work environments.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Are You Ready to Care for Your Pet When Emergency Strikes?

September 24, 2013 1:54 am

Whether it is a tornado in Kansas, a hurricane in Louisiana, a wildfire in California, an earthquake, a nuclear plant failure, floods, blizzards or a family emergency, you know you need to be prepared for yourself and your children. Dean of the Becker College School of Animal Studies, Dr. Richard French, encourages pet owners to consider that other family member: the dog, the cat or even the fish.

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, more than 250,000 pets — from cats and dogs to parrots and fish — were left stranded by the storm's destruction. Many owners who expected to return within a few days left food and water for their pets. But days turned into weeks, and the pets had to struggle to survive.

For pet owners, saving their beloved animals from approaching disaster can be as important as caring for themselves. Not many years after Katrina, some 15 million dogs, 14 million cats, and 1.5 million horses were in the path of Hurricane Sandy, according to the American Humane Association. Many people believe first responders will care for their pets, but their obligation is to people. Few have training in animal rescue and handling, and that is not the priority in an emergency. In fact, pets can be an obstacle for first responders, hindering their ability to perform their jobs. The best thing you can do is to have a plan and all the equipment and supplies you might need to protect your pets in an emergency before disaster strikes.

Since 2004, National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has been observed every September. Now is the time to create a plan and explore the services in your area. A good place to start is with your veterinarian, your state veterinary office, or the regional ASPCA. Here are some additional steps you can take:

• Get a Rescue Alert sticker for your home, identifying your pets.
• Make sure your pet's veterinary care and vaccination records are available.
• Arrange a safe haven in case you must leave your home.
• Build an emergency supplies and traveling kit.
• Choose designated caregivers.
• Prepare your family and pets for possible evacuation.
• Keep in mind some pets, such as birds, reptiles, and small animals, have special needs that may include medications and diet.

You can also create an Evacuation Kit and have it on hand. Some of the items to include are:

• A pet first-aid kit and guide book; ask your vet what to include in the kit
• Three to seven days' worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food
• Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
• Litter or paper towels
• Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
• Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
• Non-breakable pet feeding dishes
• An extra collar or harness, as well as an extra leash
• Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember to refresh those supplies so they don't go bad before an emergency.)
• Bottled water; at least seven days' worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
• A traveling bag, crate, or sturdy carrier; ideally, one for each pet
• Flashlight and backup batteries
• Blanket for scooping up a fearful pet
• Recent photos of your pets, in case you are separated and need to make "Lost" posters
• Especially for cats: a pillowcase or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter
• Especially for dogs: an extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week's worth of cage liner

You can make this a family project so that everyone in the family knows what's in the kit and where it is in the event of an emergency. Taking these measures now can give both you and your family peace of mind. And your pet, though always giving unconditional love, will love you for it.

Source: Becker College

Published with permission from RISMedia.