Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger - RE/MAX Executive Realty



Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 12/2/2015

Bringing home baby can be stressful but making sure your home is safe for baby is a part of being a new parent. You may think that there isn't much a newborn can do or get into but before you know it your tiny little baby will be toddling around and getting into everything. Here are some quick baby proofing tips to get you started: -Check the crib slats and make sure they are no further than 2 3/8th inches apart. -No soft bedding, blankets or toys in the cribs which can cause suffocation. -Remove hanging cords and secure them from window blinds and treatments. -Plug all electrical outlets. -Set the water heater to no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. -Install locking lids on all toilets. -Store poisons, including medications in a high cabinet. All medications and toxic chemicals should also have safety lids. -Use foam corners to soften all the hard and sharp corners of tables, the hearth etc. -Install baby proof locks on drawers and cabinets. -Door locks and hinge protectors are also good ideas for doors to rooms and closets. These are just a few tips for baby proofing your home. You can find more information on how to keep kids safe from the American Academy of Pediatrics at HealthyChildren.org.





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 11/25/2015

Everywhere you turn people are saying "go green". More and more people are looking for alternatives to heat and power their homes. One alternative is solar energy. There are both benefits and pitfalls to solar energy. The Benefits •Solar power is predictable. It is easy to predict how much electricity your system will produce because the amount of sunlight that hits your roof doesn't vary that much. This means it is also easy to predict how much you will save in electric bills. •Solar power will lower your electric bill. Solar power will offset the usage of conventional electricity especially in places where the price for grid power is high — like California, Hawaii and much of the northeast. •Solar power is safe and clean. Solar energy systems produce emissions-free electricity. •Installing solar panels may also help you qualify for a tax credit. For more information on energy tax credits click here. The Pitfalls •Solar power can be predictable but it is also variable. In other words, it can be predicted on a long term basis but not on a daily or even weekly basis. For example, solar panels won’t produce electricity at night. •Solar power can be a more expensive alternative in the short term. The price of solar panels continue to fall but there are many aggressive financing options. If your state has no tax incentives and electricity prices are relatively low solar would be an expensive option for you. •Some homes just don't work. The roof must be in good condition with an unobstructed southern exposure. If the house is surrounded by trees and tall buildings solar panels will probably not work. A ground-mounted system is an option only if you have sufficient space in your yard.





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 11/11/2015

Having a baby often makes new parents more aware of the chemicals we are exposed to every day. A natural place to start making your home as eco-friendly as possible is the baby's bedroom; here are a few ways to start creating an organic nursery: Use low- or no-VOC paints One of the first things new parents do is paint the nursery but many paints contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are toxic fumes that off-gas from common household items such as paint or a new vinyl shower curtain. When painting the nursery use low- or no-VOC paints. Don't use carpet Keep the baby's room carpet free. Carpets can trap mold, dust mites, and more. Because carpets need replacing they also add to landfills so they are not a good green option. If carpet is a must choose one made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton, hemp or jute. New synthetic carpets also give off-gas VOCs. Use a green mattress Where baby sleeps can be another place to go green. Many mattresses are treated with chemical fire retardants or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). That may seems like a good thing but PBDEs have been known to accumulate in our bodies and affect the endocrine and nervous systems. Look for organic cotton or natural wool mattresses. Avoid stain resistant treated products Other items that may end up in a child's nursery that have VOCs are furniture and pressed wood products with resins and glues. Look for furniture made from certified sustainable wood or reclaimed materials. You should also try to avoid plastic as it is made from petroleum. Plastic items also usually end up in a landfill. Go green with diapers Reduce the dioxin pollution by using cloth or chlorine free diapers. Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals this is not something most parents want next to baby's sensitive skin. Choose nontoxic toys Babies put everything in their mouths, so look for toxin free toys. Look for soft organic cotton toys or toys made from wood that comes from FSC-certified forests. Toys made from PVC, contain phthalates, an ingredient in plastic that can affect reproductive and developmental health. Making these small changes for your baby are easy and healthy. It may take a a little more time and effort but you will have peace of mind you are starting your baby's life off the right way.





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 10/14/2015

Fall is the perfect time for planting. Cooler temperatures and sunny days provide just the right recipe for planting a new lawn. Getting a good start will determine the quality of your lawn for many years to come. Here are some tips that will help to keep a great lawn for many years to come. Condition the Soil The most important element to a healthy lawn is the soil condition.  Before you begin you will want to know the condition of the soil.  Soil testing is the process of analyzing the nutrients present in a soil sample to determine the type and amount of fertilizer needed. You can purchase a soil test kit at your local garden center. Once you know the results of your soil test you can mix fertilizer into the top four to six inches of your soil. Your soil should be tilled thoroughly.  If the tilth of the soil is very heavy or sandy, organic material such as peat moss, compost, sludge or even sawdust should be added. Choose the Right Seed Before selecting seed you will need to determine how you will use your lawn and how much maintenance you're willing to provide. Seed types are formulated for different needs and different climates. Some seed mixtures have tough and durable grasses designed for play areas while others have fine bladed grasses for a lush lawn. You may also need to buy seed designed for sun or shade. Read the seed bag before you buy, to make certain it is the right mix for your needs. Plant The best time to seed lawns is from late summer until early fall. At this time of year the soil is still warm, watering is not as much as a problem as it is mid-summer, and there will be fewer weed problems. This gives the lawn a better chance of getting established. For the best results use a hand crank operated seed spreader. Sow ¼ of your seed (at ¼ the recommended rate) to the entire lawn area. Repeat this process three more times, each in a different direction. Then roll the entire lawn surface with an empty lawn roller to set the seed in the soil. Water the entire area thoroughly with a fine mist. Keep the new seeds evenly moist until germination. After the seeds germinate, water about one inch of water per week. When the grass is 2 1/2-3 inches tall mow to about 2 to 2 1/2 inches tall. Getting your lawn off to a good start will ensure you have a green, healthy and beautiful looking lawn for years to come.    





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 10/7/2015

Are you are looking to bring new life to old furniture or complete a do-it-yourself project? If so, you are probably thinking of heading to the big box store for some commercial stain. Many of these products are expensive and contain synthetic chemicals and pesticides. Their smell and toxic fumes may also deter you. Did you know staining wood has been a practice for thousands of years? Long ago, they didn't have hardware stores with cans of synthetic stains. People relied on things around their home and garden such as fruit, vegetables and plants to color their wood and furniture. Best of all these all natural items did not contain chemicals and unsafe fumes. Here are a few hints when using all natural stains: Always test the stain first on a scrap piece of wood. Wait several days before applying a sealant over the stain. Here are a few things you can use to stain wood: Plants-The juice of fruits, vegetables or plants, give off great color. Try things like beets, blueberries, carrots and turnip greens. You may want to add some alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) to your stain to help the colors hold. Alum is used in pickling and can be found in the spice section of your local supermarket. Try 1 teaspoon of alum per gallon of juice. Metal-Take those old rusty nails, a jar of pennies or even steel wool and soak them in white vinegar. Let them sit for four days in the brine and you will have an extremely effective stain. You may want to let the pennies sit for longer (even a few weeks) to achieve your desired color. Beverages-This is quite popular for fabric but can be used on wood too. Coffee and tea will give you a nice tone that will deepen with multiple coats. Nuts and Spices-There is a reason so many of the commercial stain has names like walnut and turmeric. Soak walnut hulls in water for a week to yield a rich, dark stain. Just a tablespoon of turmeric added to 2 cups of water produces a yellowish stain. Have you tried any natural stains? What is your favorite?