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It’s Almost Halloween – Carve A Pumpkin!

Scary jack-o-lantern with frowny face

Spook up a new craft project!

Fall is officially here and with it comes the changing of the leaves, sunny autumn days, and most importantly Halloween! Below are some tips for fun and safe pumpkin carving.

  • Draw your design on the pumpkin with a water-based marker beforehand. Mistakes are easily erased with a damp sponge.
  • Cut the top and any large areas with a sharp, straight-edged knife. A dull blade is not a safe alternative.
  • Carve away from yourself and remember – children should carve only under adult supervision.
  • Cut the lid at an angle so the outside diameter is larger than the inside. This prevents the top from falling into the pumpkin when it shrinks.
  • Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh with a large spoon or ice cream scooper. Remember to save the seeds! Wash them, then toast them in the oven for a delicious, healthy snack!
  • Carve the facial features closest to the center first and work outward. Cut out the larger features in sections.
  • Use an X-Acto knife for details and utilize the tip of a potato peeler to make small circles and curves.
  • Reattach a section that is accidentally removed by using a toothpick to pin it back in place.
  • Flatten a spot in the base of the pumpkin for the candle but avoid digging too deep because the pumpkin becomes prone to rot.
  • To prolong the life of your new Jack-O-Lantern, seal in moisture by coating all the surfaces with a petroleum jelly or vegetable oil, or cover it with a damp towel when not on display.

You can find more fun craft-type ideas and tips at Disney’s Family Fun web site, including some great design ideas for your next Jack-O-Latern project.

Until next time, Peace!



Arlington, MA Drinking Water Report

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and the Arlington Department of Public Works have released their annual Water Quality report for 2008, as mandated by the EPA. The results are excellent – we’ve got some of the best drinking water in the nation! For the 120 contaminants that are tested for, utilizing thousands of samples every week, every EPA standard was met and the lead test results show that MWRA has exceeded the federal Lead Action Level standards.

There are a couple of highlights I’d like to share with you from the report, pertinent to being “green” and all…

“As water travels eastward through tunnels from the Quabbin and Wachusett Revervoirs, clean hydro-electric energy is produced. The electricity generated is used to reduce MWRA’s energy demands. Also, the clean, fresh water is delivered straight to your home without the fuel consumption of trucking or the waste left behind by plastic bottles.”

And speaking of bottled water –

“Even though tap and bottled water must meet the same standards, bottled water costs hundreds of times more – a penny for tap compared to $1 to $8 a gallon for bottled. Tap water must meet more intensive Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing requirements than bottled water, which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

So before heading to the gym next time, consider filling up your reusable drinking container with some fresh tap water – you’ll be going green and saving money at the same time!

If you didn’t receive a copy of “Your Drinking Water Report 2008,” or live out of the area and are thinking of moving to Arlington and you’d like a copy of the report, contact the MWRA at 617-242-5323 or visit their web site at


How to deepen relationships with a TweetUp

How to deepen relationships with a TweetUp

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Buyer should beware of new appraisal law |

The Union – Buyer’s Should Beware of New Appraisal Law
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Making More On Your Home Sale By Going Green

Today I have just a quick tip for home sellers who may be reading this. According to Realty Times, going green can actually help you sell your home for more! Read the article here: CyberGreenRealty News Links.

Arlington, MA Market Trends – May 2009

Click one of the following links to see the Market Trend report:

So what’s the “heavy” on Lead Paint?

Did you know that most homes built in the United States before 1978 contain lead? And not just on the walls….

Of course, the walls and window sills are probably your biggest sources of lead in your house, but elevated levels of lead may also be found in:

  1. Lead dust (that paint that’s peeling on your window sills breaks down into dust and can be more easily breathed in);
  2. Drinking water;
  3. Older painted toys and furniture (remember that mantle from your grandmother’s house you loved and incorporated into your living room? It just might contain lead paint!);
  4. Certain hobbies can expose you to lead – such as stained-glass making or pottery (glazes)

Here are the actual levels that are considered dangerous by the EPA:

  1. Paint: Equal to or greater than 1.0 mg/sq. centimeter or .5% weight
  2. Floor space: Equal to or greater than 40 micrograms/square foot
  3. Window sills: Equal to or greater than 250 micrograms/square foot

How should you check for lead? Hire a trained, certified professional to do the testing. They will first perform a paint inspection by taking flakes from certain areas and testing them. Then a risk assessment will be performed, including any possible lead dust from your windows, etc.

What do you do if you find lead present? You need to perform a lead abatement – meaning you need to call a qualified, trained professional who has special training in removing or sealing the areas containing lead. Also, I suggest checking out the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) web site at:

Remember! Sellers MUST disclose any known lead issues to future buyers and buyers MUST be given the opportunity to test for lead, if they so desire. The normal protocol is for the lead inspection to take place during the customary 10 day inspection period, so it’s vital that you use a qualified, trained professional to do the testing and receive the results in time.

If you have any questions or, if you happen to live in the Arlington, Mass area, feel free to check out my web site at for further information and listings of local resources.