13 Spook-Free Safety Tips to Keep Your Kids & Pets Safe this Halloween

Halloween is full of tricks, treats, ghoulish games, frightening frocks, cute costumes, glowing Jack O’ Lanterns, pumpkin packed parties, and of course spookiness! Unfortunately, all of the frightening fun has dangers lurking behind them. Whether you are a parent of two-legged loved ones or four-legged furry loved ones, it is critical to be aware of the true spookiness that is hiding behind all the ghostly fun. So I called upon two experts that have simple tips for a safe, scare-free Halloween to keep your children and pets safe.

First up are the experts in keeping your little pumpkins safe. They may have “boo” in their name, but there is nothing scary about Boo Boo Busters. As a leading professional childproofing service they know a thing or two about keeping your kids safe. Following, are Halloween safety tips for your pets from Dr. Anthony George, doctor of veterinary medicine and certified veterinary acupuncturist. He has been taking care of all kinds of pets for over 20 years and his tips are sure to keep you furry friends from howling at the moon.

Kid Halloween Safety Tips

1) Choking Hazards

As a good rule of thumb, a choking hazard could be considered as anything that can pass through a cardboard toilet paper roll holder unobstructed. So, taking that into consideration, look closely at all the items that you are putting out to display. From bats and ghosts to pumpkins you roast. Hazards lurk everywhere!

2) Flashlights

Child safe flashlights should have a child safe battery door on them that is secured by a screw to prevent removal of the battery, thus preventing a choking hazard. Use flashlights or electric candles to light up your pumpkin too, flames and kids don’t mix.

3) Halloween Lights

Look for Halloween light strings that have tamper resistant bulbs that can’t be removed easily and remember cords pose a strangulation hazard. All cords should be kept short and tight. Consider taking the excess that you might leave hanging and bind it up with a zip tie.

4) Pumpkin Carving

Remember to only use child safe cutting tools while carving pumpkins, even as an adult. Kids learn by watching you, so if you use real knives you must know that they will want to do the same. As soon as you turn around to grab something you forgot… little hands wander.

5) Costumes

As a kid it’s mandatory to dress up. Our job is to make sure dress up is safe. Costumes should never obstruct movement, never cause visual impairment and never pose a trip hazard. Stick to material that is form fitting. If it’s loose, baggy or long it could create a trip hazard. Avoid masks that can impair vision. Face painting is the safest mask.

6) Glow at Night

Make sure your child’s costume is visible or is is equipped with something that makes them visible. Glow sticks are great and kids love them, but remember, never hang anything around their little necks unless you are using a child safe breakaway lanyard. A couple glow sticks secured to shoes can be seen from a long way away. Flashlights are a good addition as well.

7) Halloween Treats

Remember to make sure you go through and check all the candy that you are keeping. The candy should be in name brand with sealed packages. For candy bars, be sure you cut them into small pieces that are easy to chew. This also helps to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. Unfortunately, ghouls are sometimes disguised as regular people.

Pet Halloween Safety Tips

1) Pet Costumes

Yes, your pet looks absolutely adorable in that costume! Keep in mind, your fuzzy family member might not be as thrilled with the outfit. Feel free to get that amazing photo, but respect the fact that your pet may want to get out of those duds as soon as possible. Make sure the outfit is comfortable, and pay special attention to straps that may impinge upon the neck and areas where the extremities meet the body. Never leave a pet unaccompanied in a costume to avoid any “wardrobe malfunctions!”

2) NO chocolate

Most people know chocolate is toxic to their pets. Chocolate contains methyl xanthine, which can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from stomach upset to tremors, hyperthermia and seizures. At high doses, chocolate can lead to collapse and even death. Generally speaking, the darker and more concentrated the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be. There are helpful charts available (for instance, petMD.com) that can tell you what doses are dangerous for your pooch. If in doubt, always best to contact your veterinarian to see if treatment is indicated.

3) Sugar Free Danger

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found commonly in sugar-free gum as well as other products, can be extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested, it can cause a significant release of insulin, which can lead to extremely low blood sugars. At high doses, it can also lead to liver failure. If your pup has ingested this substance, always best to contact your veterinarian as your pet may likely need treatment and supportive care.

4) Healthy Treat Dangers

If you’re offering healthy alternatives this Halloween, keep in mind that grapes and raisins can be extremely toxic to dogs. Some pets are more sensitive than others. In some animals, the toxin can lead to stomach upset initially, followed by kidney failure within 24 hours. It is always prudent to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested these substances.

5) Burning Jack O’ Lanterns

Flames and Fur don’t mix. Just as you do for kids safety, consider replacing that Jack-O-Lantern candle with a flickering LED light.

6) Trick-or-Treating

During trick-or-treating it is best to keep your pet inside, safe from all of the scary costumes, noises and lights that might frighten your pooch or feline. You might even want to consider locking your sweet little pal in a room so they don’t get spooked and run out the door when your trick or treaters arrive.

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com

Image via http://unityanimalhospital.com

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Unique DIY Headboard Ideas That Are Downright Dreamy

Want to update the look of your bed without spending a fortune on a new headboard? Here are three easy, affordable and unique ideas:

Two Doors Make One Beautiful (And Affordable) Headboard

Learn how to DIY here: http://bit.ly/1ygBx9r

 

Change Up The Look Of Your Headboard On The Fly With a Chalkboard

Learn more about this look here: http://bit.ly/1x5KGjY

Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles Are A Surprisingly Sweet Headboard Material

Learn how to DIY here: http://bit.ly/1CRDwlk

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We’d Like to Propose A Toast to This $1,000 Kitchen Appliance

When was the last time you heard about a “game changer” in the toaster category? Yup, that’s what I thought. Well my friends, the time has come, Bugatti (not affiliated with the car company) has finally done it! They have revolutionized the toaster as we know it.

The Bugatti Noun is a ceramic glass toaster that not only produces the perfect piece of toast but can also cook steak, shrimp and many other types of food that you normally might throw on the grill.

Take a look:

When I first saw the price tag I thought ya right, no way would anyone spend a grand on a toaster. However, after watching the video and learning about the Bugatti Noun’s technology and its other cooking capabilites it makes the price tag a bit easier to swallow.

This product will be avaible in the US in 2015.

Cover Photo www.ibtimes.co.uk

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Welcome Fall! What You Need to Know about the September Housing Numbers

This past September proved to be a successful month for existing-home sales. After a slight decline in August, sales reached their highest pace of the year in September, according to the National Association of Realtors September Existing-Home Sales Report. With steady price gains and continued low interest rates, sales have been able to carry their spring momentum into the fall. The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $209,700, 5.6 percent above September 2013. Last month marked the 31st consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

Only 14 percent of homes purchased last month were purchased by investors, down from 19 percent in September 2013. This is good news for traditional buyers as they face a less competitive market with low interest rates and steady price gains. Buyers looking to purchase a home this fall should be aware of tight inventory that generally occurs during the winter months.

With exception of the Midwest, all major regions of the country experienced gains this September. See below for a breakdown of the median price of homes sold in each region this past month. As we experience more and more crisp autumn days, check out the following listings currently on the market. All of which include beautiful fireplaces, perfect for curling up on the couch with a good book.

 

Northeast median sales price: $249,800

84 Grove Ave, Leominster, MA 01453

 $300,000 for a 5 bedroom, 2.5 bath home (3,379 sq. ft.)

Midwest median sales price: $165,100

1550 E Irving Pl, Milwaukee, WI 53202

 $197,000 for a 4 bedroom, 1.5 bath home (2,536 sq. ft.)

South median sales price: $180,900

30 Glascow Way, Hampton, VA 23669

$149,999 for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home (1,607 sq. ft.)

West median sales price: $294,200

4868 Deerfield Place, Mukilteo, WA 98275

$299,950 for a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home (1,484 sq. ft.)

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Why Are People Putting Teal Pumpkins Out for Halloween?

Halloween is one of the most anticipated events of the year for children. However, for those children with food allergies, trick or treating can be frustrating and even dangerous. In an effort to make Halloween more enjoyable and safer Food Alergy & Education (FARE) is encouraging communities to start a new tradition called Teal Pumpkin Project.

“This campaign encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies by providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and painting a pumpkin teal – the color of food allergy awareness – to place in front of their house along with a free printable sign from FARE to indicate they have non-food treats available.” (FARE)

I am absolutely thrilled to learn about such a great campaign for children with allergies and can really relate in my neighborhood. When I moved into my new home last October I was so excited to meet all of our neighbors. While introducing ourselves to the neighbors to the right, I noticed their daughter was wearing an allergy bracelet. I was informed that Danielle has severe allergies to latex and dairy. Being so close to Halloween I knew I wanted to make trick or treating special for Danielle so I found out her favorite non-dairy candies and had them all ready for her on Halloween night. I started thinking about how difficult it must be for children with food allergies to go trick or treating and was thrilled this year to learn about The Teal Pumpkin Project that is sweeping the country.

Love this campaign as well and want to spread the word? FARE created these great social graphics:

You can even change your profile picture or add this graphic to your blog:

Need some ideas for trick or treaters looking to participate in this new tradition? FARE suggests the following creative ideas:

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
  • Bubbles
  • Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
  • Mini Slinkies
  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Finger puppets or novelty toys
  • Coins
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire fangs
  • Mini notepads
  • Playing cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers
  • Stencils

Do you plan on participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year?

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Miami’s Most Expensive Property — 6.9 Waterfront Acres in Coconut Grove

By Jennifer McGuire

He’s done it again. Last month, William P.D. Pierce listed America’s most expensive property at $139 million, and today he’s listed Miami-Dade’s most expensive property on the market. At $65 million, La Brisa is a rare 6.9-acre tract of waterfront land in the heart of Coconut Grove that has not been subdivided since it was created in 1886, with fully restored and renovated 1920s era mansion. In a town where waterfront property has been snatched up and developed for decades, a property of this size with more than 200-feet of bay-front is extremely rare. The truth is: properties like this just don’t exist.

It’s located in one of Miami’s coolest parts of town, Coconut Grove, which has attracted business tycoons, artists, novelists and celebrities since the late 1800s. Today, it’s is a laid-back enclave of sidewalk cafes, bars, boutiques, art galleries, lush parks and picturesque streets. But as you pass through the gates of La Brisa, all of that disappears and it feels like you’ve traveled back in time.

The mansion sits on an ancient coral reef 23 feet above sea level, and features 13,803 square feet “under air” plus an additional 3,338 square feet of outdoor living space, for a total square footage of 17,141. Nearly every room flows into an outdoor space, whether it’s one of the many balconies or walkways, or through direct access to the pool patio.  Not too shabby.

Reportedly, the outdoor space alone easily fits 250 for a poolside party, which is an important selling point in a party town like Miami.

The mansion was designed by famed Miami architects Kiehnel and Elliott, known for their Mediterranean Revival style using pastel stucco walls, red-tile roofs, wrought iron details and elaborate accents along entryways, rooflines and windows. The team produced some of Miami’s most notable buildings including El Jardin and the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

It’s a stunning building, but the grounds are what’s really impressive. The property is dotted with mature trees including towering centenary Canarian Date Palms, royal palms, royal poincianas, mahogany, oak and gumbo limbo trees, some which are nearly as old as the house itself, some much older, as well as a stately banyan tree that straddles the property and a hidden cobblestone path.

A huge lawn stretches down to a protected 536-foot long canal bordering the northern side of the property, which includes a private port to accommodate your 70-foot yacht. The waterfront is protected by a copse of mangroves, with an elevated walkway leading to an octagonal viewing deck over the bay.

Even beyond its relaxed beauty, La Brisa boasts a colorful history that dates back to the early settlers of Miami. The land was first deeded in 1886 to Kirk Munroe, a noted author of children’s adventure novels and books about Florida, and his wife Mary Barr Munroe.  Munroe played a big role in the area’s history: He introduced the first legislation in Florida to protect an animal after an injured manatee washed onto the property, built South Florida’s first tennis court and hosted the first game of tennis in 1892, and founded the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club. During the Spanish-American War, he supplied water from La Brisa’s spring – which still exists today and feeds a natural pool – was transported 120 miles south for the American troops anchored in Key West. Reportedly, a box of Florida orange blossoms from the Munroe property that was shipped to Henry Flagler convinced him to bring his railroad south to Miami.

History buffs and billionaires alike will be clamoring to see this truly spectacular property. See more of this property at coldwellbanker.com.

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5 Ideas That Will Make Your Front Porch Shine

With fall in full swing, your front porch needs to transition to attract buyers. Luckily it’s easy to make a few changes so it blends in for the season. Here are five front porch design ideas to make your home stand out:

via  Tiger’s Testing ServiceDesignMine

#1 Clean out debris with a power washer.

The first step is cleaning out the debris from summer. You could use old-fashioned equipment like a broom, mop, washcloth and elbow grease or hire a professional pressure washing service to clean away stubborn debris so your porch looks like new. Dirt and grime in the floor and on the siding can be dusted off quickly by a pressure washer, which will save you time and effort otherwise spent hand washing your porch.

#2 Add a new coat of paint.

A new coat of paint is a great way to revitalize the front porch, whether it’s touching up the trim, railings and banisters, or repainting the front door. It is also an opportunity to add a bright new color as part of your front porch design. Painting is a good DIY project on the weekend, or if you intend to do a complete overhaul, you might need to get a painter to help. Make sure the color will complement the rest of the house. You could always paint the porch a neutral tone and then cover the door in a bright color so it stands out as buyers walk up.

#3 Revitalize the front door.

Once you start getting the porch fixed up, it’s time to turn your focus to the door as it will be the first area buyers see. If the door is scratched, scraped or muddy, it won’t seem welcoming to potential homebuyers. Start by cleaning off any dirt and grime with the power washer or with a washcloth covered in vinegar and water. Then you can add on decorations like wreaths, a new door knob made of brass or steel, window dressings and more. That way it will look brand new without having to install a new door for hundreds of dollars.

#4 Imbue the porch with the natural landscape.

To make your porch blend in with the landscape, consider adding potted plants with seasonal flowers. They are inexpensive, add a splash of color and can be either standing or hanging in baskets throughout your porch. They will also help to create a welcoming atmosphere on the front porch. You should coordinate the colors of the plants to match the front door or the landscape so they stand out against the porch and blend with the yard.

#5 Brighten the porch with fixtures and new decor.

If the house numbers and mailbox are showing signs of age, you might need to spend a few hours or hire a handyman to revitalize them. You should also install light fixtures to make those house numbers easy to see at night or on rainy days. Light fixtures are also good for illuminating front porch decor like chairs, rockers, swings, dining chairs and tables. If you have night showings at your home, they will be useful for giving the porch a warm feel at all hours.

Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free. Connect with Andrea on Google+

See more of the beautiful Chatham, NJ  home in the cover photo here.

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Pinterest Home Mythbusters #2: Removing Couch Stains

In case you missed it, I have pledged to finally take on some of my favorite Pinterest pins that have been collecting virtual dust with a new Pinterest Mythbusters series documenting wins, fails and discoveries. In post one I tackled a Vanilla, Rosemary and Lemon simmer that is said to make your home smell heavenly!

Sticking with the “Sunday cleaning” theme I decided to finally tackle a pin about removing stains from my microfiber couch.

Project #2 Mission Get Stain Out A Microfiber Couch

A few months ago I noticed a stain on my couch after having friends over. I have no idea what type of food or drink it was from but it is a beast of a stain. (Super difficult to get out!) I went to my go-to for cleaning solutions, Pinterest, and found a solution from blogger Julia of 551 East.

Instructions

Supplies: White sponge, white bristle brush, spray bottle and rubbing alcohol

Before going any further note Julia explains that is is important to work fast as rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly. She also suggests trying a test section (which I 100% agree with)

Julia’s instructions

  1. Pour the rubbing alcohol into the spray bottle and saturate the stained area.
  2. Take your sponge and scrub the area (don’t be afraid to put a little muscle into it) If sponge starts to get really dirty use a new once so you don’t transfer dirt back onto your couch.
  3. Let the area dry. Once it dries use the white bristle brush to refluff the areas you cleaned.

Easy enough but even after successfully testing a small area on the back of my couch I was concerned about saturating such a noticeable area on my couch. Instead of using a spray bottle and sponge I dipped a toothbrush into the alcohol bottle and got to work.

The Result

Win! Woo Hoo! This worked like magic and my couch was back to looking brand new in less than 20 minutes (including dry time). Definitely adding this trick to my cleaning arsenal!

This method also works for removing pen stains. Even the king of the house, our kitty Rory, was impressed with the restoration of his throne.

 

Have you been wondering about a pin you saw? Leave a link in the comments and I might choose it for my next blog post!

 

 

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Has Gen Y Gone to the Burbs?

Gen Y…”They Know What They Want and They Want It Now!” But what is it that this up and coming group of buyers are attracted to? Elise Ramer, Senior Public Relations Specialist with NRT Florida teamed up with Felise Eber to provide some insight.

Felise Eber, a prominent team member of The Jills, the #1 Coldwell Banker team worldwide (and sister to Jill Eber), first spotted an emerging trend that could be a gamechanger in Miami and other real estate hot spots.

Miami Beach is a bastion for young singles, who flock to South Beach for its white sandy beaches, trendy night clubs, international flavor and sleek modern condos.  But the trend toward high-tech condos with stunning beach views is taking a surprising shift – Gen Y buyers are beginning to move toward traditional single family homes.

Felise has closed five Alton Road properties in the past year, and increasingly these are sold by Baby Boomers and being snatched up by Gen Y buyers.

What is driving these younger affluent buyers to more traditional properties?

Location, location, location

A recent report from the National Association of Realtors revealed Gen Y places the highest preference compared to other generations on convenience to jobs. As buyers start to have children in school, the quality of school districts and convenience to schools starts to have a larger importance.

“These Alton Road homes are centrally located to everything,” said Eber. “You are blocks from Lincoln Road, close to the up and across the street from the Miami Beach Golf Club. Buyers can ride bikes to the beach and just drive across the causeway to the new Miami Design District.”

Felise has noticed an increase in showings of her properties to families with children. The proximity to wonderful schools like North Beach Elementary and ample childcare facilities make Alton Road extremely desirable to affluent younger couples who are just starting their families.

Historical Homes in Need of Love

Many of the gorgeous 1920’s homes on Alton Road have been lovingly cared for and had the same owner for decades. But as their owner’s grow older, the desire and energy to maintain these gems dwindle.

“Today’s younger buyers were brought up watching renovation shows on HGTV, so they’re scooping up several Alton Road properties in need of some TLC,” says Eber. “They see these properties as a good investment and enjoy putting their own personal stamp on them.”

Eber points to a beautiful Alton Road property that underwent a complete renovation and exemplifies old Miami glamour with modern luxuries.

Counseling Alton Road Sellers

Eber has become an expert on working with multigenerational buyers and sellers.

“Often the sellers are older couples who are moving on to the next chapter in their lives. They’re usually downsizing and looking for something with less maintenance,” said Eber. “It’s almost like the buyers and sellers are switching places. We’re seeing more mature sellers flock to the condos that used to be dominated by younger buyers, who are now looking more and more to traditional homes. Of course, Gen Y still loves the condos, too!”

 

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Coldwell Banker’s Thomson Sisters Debut on Season 25 of “The Amazing Race”

Meet Lisa and Michelle Thomson of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate’s Thomson Team of Pinecrest, Florida. Lisa, 28, and Michelle, 22, are very competitive and talented Realtors® who have sold more than 2,000 single family homes and condominiums in Miami-Dade to date. No strangers to a competitive marketplace, Lisa and Michelle decided it was time to take their winning edge on the road, or in this case, on CBS’ The Amazing Race.

Amazing Race Season 25 Cast

“It has been so exciting to spend quality time with my sister, Michelle. We put in a tremendous amount of hard work, time and energy into our business, so actually having the time to step back and focus on each other was a gift,” said Lisa Thomson, who recently wed to sports agent Drew Rosenhaus.

The brand new season of The Amazing Race debuts this Friday, September 26 at 8 p.m. To follow the Thomson sisters on their journey or to join in the conversation on twitter, use the hashtag #miamirealtors.

Amazing Race Season 25 Episode 1

“My sister is my best friend and she is the best possible partner to have on the show.  We work so well together in our real estate business, and aren’t strangers to competition. Together, we can do anything,” said Michelle Thomson.

Watch the video below as the Thomson Sisters tell us all about why they decided to audition for The Amazing Race and what it means to compete on the show as sisters.

Amazing Race Miami Sisters

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