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- Real Estate Update
- Buyers & Seller's Corner
- Home Improvement
- Trivia Challenge
- Health & Fitness
Upcoming Movie Releases
Recipe of the Month

- Cool/Free/Fun/Trendy
- Forward to a Friend

March 2008

3 -- National Anthem Day
9 -- Daylight Savings Time Begins
17 -- St. Patrick's Day
21 -- Full Moon Day
21 -- Good Friday
23 -- Easter

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow and may trouble avoid you wherever you go.
-- Popular Irish Blessing

 

 

Home Prices Show Increases in Many Markets

According to a mid-February report from the National Association of Realtors®, approximately half of metropolitan areas continued to show rising home prices in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Last quarter, 73 out of 150 metropolitan statistical areas showed increases in median existing single-family home prices from a year earlier, including 11 areas with double-digit annual gains and another 12 metros showing increases of 6 percent or more; 77 had price declines including 16 with double-digit drops.

NAR President Richard Gaylord said he is encouraged with plans to increase conventional loan limits. “Higher limits for FHA loans, which go into effect March 14, will be a big help to first-time buyers in high-cost markets. Higher limits for conventional loans purchased by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will take a bit longer – when they become available, high-income, creditworthy borrowers in high-cost areas will have access to affordable and safer financing, and that will help unleash pent-up demand,” he said.

Despite the annual decline in the fourth quarter median home price, the typical seller who purchased their home six years ago still saw a very healthy gain. The median increase in value for sellers who purchased that home in the fourth quarter of 2001 is 31.2 percent, and the median home equity accumulation is $49,000, the report said.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate on a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage fell to 6.23 percent in the fourth quarter from 6.55 percent in the third quarter. In recent weeks, Freddie Mac has been reporting the 30-year fixed rate to be under 5.7 percent.

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When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer "Present" or "Not guilty."
-- Theodore Roosevelt

 

 

Does Your Home Have Curb Appeal?

To make a good first impression, your home should be visually appealing and in good condition. The following checklist will help you attract more potential buyers and yield a quicker and higher sales price.

  • Your lawn, flowers and shrubs should be well maintained. Remember, a green lawn yields more green dollars.
  • Any cracks on the driveway or sidewalk should be repaired.
  • Oil and rust stains should be removed from the driveway and garage. If it's really bad, you should consider resurfacing it.
  • The garage door should be closed.
  • The gutters, chimney and walls should be in good repair. A power wash can do wonders.
  • The window casings, shutters, siding and doors should look good. Touch up any areas that are dirty, chipping or fading.
  • The garbage can should be out of sight (and smell), as well as the lawn mower, garden hose, bikes and toys.
  • There should be no sign of pets, of any kind, anywhere. Take down the "beware of dog" sign and be sure your yard doesn't have any evidence of pets.
  • Remove any newspapers or mail from the front entry.
  • Replace your mailbox if it's worn, put up new house numbers, and lay down a new welcome mat at the front door.

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When someone tells you something defies description, you can be pretty sure he's going to have a go at it anyway.
Clyde B. Aster

 

 

5 Tips for Electrical Home Improvement Projects

When it comes to home improvement projects, working with electricity ranks right up there with roofing, using a chainsaw and hooking up gas appliances as far as risk goes. Here are five tips to keep in mind to ensure a safe repair or installation.

  1. Make sure you have permission. Check with your homeowner association and local electrical authority. The laws regarding permits vary from state to state, so be sure to check whether you are required to have a permit.
  2. Turn off electrical power at the source, through a circuit breaker. Even if you flip a wall switch, the related appliance or socket will still be live. Keep in mind the diagram on the distribution panel may not be accurate, so the smart move is to turn off all power if possible. Check, and recheck, for yourself that the circuit is dead by using a voltage tester.
  3. Make sure your work area is completely dry. Put down a rubber mat to stand on if the area is damp or wet.
  4. Use tools with rubber- or plastic-coated handles and wear rubber-soled shoes.
  5. After you have finished your work, turn the circuit breaker back on to restore power. Most lighting, receptacles and appliances use 120 volts of electricity. Air conditioners, electric ovens, water heaters, dishwashers and many larger appliances require 240 volts. Most doorbells and telephones use a transformer that converts standard power to a lower voltage (6-12 volts) for safety.

Keep your eye open for an electrical workshop at your local home improvement center. You can learn a lot by asking the instructor about your upcoming project. Remember, if you have any doubt about your ability or the safety of the situation, call in a professional.

TOP

If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.
-- Lyndon B. Johnson

 

 

Trivia Challenge

Question 1.) A leprechaun is really an Irish what?
a.) Robber
b.) Shoemaker
c.) Magician
d.) Shop owner

Question 2.) A popular Irish dish made of shredded cabbage, minced onions, mashed potatoes and butter is known as?
a.) Shepherd's pie
b.) Colcannon
c.) Irish Stew
d.) Poorman's porridge

Question 3.) A whiskey made from potatoes is called what?
a.) Poteen
b.) Spudkey
c.) Dunken
d.) Potato ale

Question 4.) Kissing the Blarney Stone is supposed to give you what?
a.) The gift of being able to fabricate stories
b.) Longer life and more laughter
c.) Removes shyness and gives the gift of gab
d.) The ability to detect a lie

Question 5.) Harland and Wolf are famous in Ireland for what?
a.) Shipbuilders
b.) Explorers
c.) Folk singing
d.) Poetry

TOP | ANSWERS

The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.
-- Henry David Thoreau

8 Tips to Control Psychological Food Cravings

With so many good things to eat -- and so many of them bad for you -- it's sometimes difficult to eat healthy. One of the keys to staying fit is to know when your cravings are psychological, and not physiological. Following are some tips to help you beat those cravings.

  1. Eat Every Three Hours -- Eat something every few hours to keep your blood sugar levels steady.
  2. Drink Water Frequently -- Avoid dehydration and cravings by drinking a small glass of water every hour. This will keep you full and hydrated.
  3. Be Patient -- If you've been eating enough and drinking water, put off the decision to snack for 15 to 20 minutes. Then determine if you're really hungry.
  4. Find a Distraction -- Change whatever it was you were doing to something else. It's easy to mistake boredom for hunger.
  5. Get Some Exercise -- If your cravings are real, you won't be able to exercise; go get something healthy to eat. If it was a false alarm, you'll lose the cravings and enjoy the workout.
  6. Keep Healthy Snacks Around -- Have some fruit, vegetables, beef jerky or nuts. If you're still having cravings, it's totally psychological.
  7. Change Your Routine -- If you usually have chips and a soda while watching TV at night, try popcorn and tea. If you had a healthy dinner but feel cravings before bedtime, try reading as an alternative.
  8. Feed the Craving -- Sometimes you have to give in, but do it within reason. Think portion control. Instead of a bowl of ice cream, try just a scoop. Rather than having a bag of popcorn, try just a cup or two. Instead of eating a chocolate bar, have a small piece or two. It's OK to enjoy life, just don't give in to those psychological cravings to easily.

TOP

I don't take the movies seriously, and anyone who does is in for a headache.
-- Bette Davis

March Movie Releases

  • March 7
    • 10,000 B.C.
    • The Bank Job
    • College Road Trip
  • March 14
    • Doomsday
    • Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who
    • Never Back Down
  • March 21
    • Drillbit Taylor
    • Shutter
    • Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns
  • March 28
    • 21
    • Run, Fat Boy, Run
    • Stop Loss
    • Superhero Movie

*Wide releases only. Opening dates subject to change.

TOP

Don't wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty.
-- Lora Brody

Whiskey Glazed Ham

St. Patrick's Day often brings to mind traditional meals like corned beef and cabbage or Dublin coddle. Not a fan? Then try this other traditional Irish recipe the whole family will enjoy. Serve with a favorite side dish.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. ham
  • 1 large onion -- cut in half
  • 2 carrots -- washed and scraped
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1/2 wine glass cider vinegar
  • Cloves
  • Whiskey glaze
  • 5 tbs. Irish whiskey
  • 6 level tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 level tbs. colmans mustard

Directions

  1. Place the ham, skin-side down, in a large saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring very slowly to a boil, discard the water and cover once again with fresh water.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, sugar and vinegar. Bring back slowly to a boil and as soon as boiling point is reached, reduce to simmering. Cover and simmer until the ham is cooked.
  3. Remove ham from water and let cool. Strip the rind and score the fat in diamonds. Place a clove in each diamond and place the ham on a rack in a small roasting tin. Brush the ham all over with whiskey. Mix the sugar, mustard and remaining whiskey together and spread on scored fat.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees in a pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes, basting two or three times, until the glaze is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before carving.

Wine Pairing

  • Domaine Parent Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2005

TOP

Anything not worth doing is worth not doing well. Think about it.
-- Elias Schwartz

Cool/Free/Fun/Trendy: Cell Number Blocking

There could be a number of reasons why you would want to block your cell phone number -- either permanently -- or just for the one call. Here's how you do it.

  • Permanent Blocking -- To block your cell phone number to everyone, permanently, just call your carrier's customer service and request a "line block." Dial 611 from your cell phone to connect with them. If for some reason you want your number to show up, you'll need to dial *82 before dialing the number you are calling. By using this feature the number will show up just once for that specific call.
  • One-Time Blocking -- If, for some reason you want to block your cell phone number for just the one call, simply dial *67 before dialing the number (example: *67 (800) 123-4567).

Now you have more control over who sees your number. Be sure to check with your carrier, as some companies charge fees for this feature.

TOP

  Trivia Answers
#1. b.) Shoemaker; #2. b.) Colcannon; #3 a.) Poteen; #4. c.) Removes shyness and gives the gift of gab; #5. a.) Shipbuilders (they built the Titanic)

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This eNewsletter contains information, facts and opinions from various individuals and organizations. This eNewsletter is provided on an "as-is" basis without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. I/We are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Consult with your doctor, fitness consultant, attorney, accountant, or other professional advisor when necessary. © 2008 eNewsletterSolutions.

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