Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Kathy Foran on 7/19/2015

You have planted the garden and now you are starting to see the fruits and vegetables of your labor. So what do you do with all those veggies? Can them! That's right, canning is easy. Not only is canning a great way to enjoy your garden-fresh veggies all year but it is also economical and healthy. Home canned vegetables have absolutely no chemicals added. So, if you can boil water and tell time, you can can! Here are some tools of the trade you may want to have on hand.

  • lids
  • jars
  • wooden long handled spoon
  • canning funnel
  • jar lifter
  • measuring spoons
  • jar rings
Try canned tomatoes; they are an easy way to get started. Fill a large pot with water up to ¾ full and put on to boil. Fill a clean water bath canner ½ full and bring it to a boil, with the wire rack in place. Wash the jars in warm soapy water and rinse. Check each one for minute cracks and nicks in the rim. Leave the jars in the hot water until needed. Separate the lids and place them in a sauce pan of water. Bring to a boil, and then leave in the water until you need them. Wash sound, ripe, high-acid tomatoes and dip them in the boiling water of your large pot for about a minute or until the skins crack. Then place the tomatoes in cold water. This allows the skins to slip off easily. Core out the stem and discard. Leave the tomatoes whole or cut, depending on size and preference. Pack into jars and either mash down, so that the juice covers them, or cover with hot water leaving a ½-inch of space between the product and jar rim. Free trapped air bubbles by using a flat plastic or wood utensil. Slide it up and down around the inside edge. Screw the lids and rings on snugly, not too tight. Boil the jars and keep them covered with at least one inch of water. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts. Take the jars out of the water and let them cool overnight. Check each jar after it cools with one finger, being sure it is tightly indented; if it is not, it is not sealed, and must be redone or eaten soon. Store in a cool, dry place and enjoy your tomatoes for months to come.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 5/3/2015

If you are planning a home renovation you may be considering going green. By planning your design you can add sustainability features to your home, many at no extra cost. There are many benefits to a green renovation. A green renovation will make your home better for the environment, save on energy costs and boost the resale value. When planning a green renovation you will want to find a contractor experienced in green projects. To find a green contractor choose someone who has been designated a Master Builder by the Energy and Environmental Building Association, or has been certified by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry as a Certified Remodeler. Look for reclaimed materials like pine timbers and salvaged doors and cabinets. Reclaimed pieces are usually more affordable and they save on energy, materials, and resources. Make sure to avoid products that contain hazardous materials, such as formaldehyde or creosote from railroad ties and other wood-based goods. It is almost impossible to avoid using new materials in your renovation. When selecting new materials look for products that are durable, easy to maintain, and if possible contain a high percentage of recycled content. Try to avoid disposable products and products that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds).  VOCs are commonly found in paints and finishes. Look for products that are green friendly. Watch for Grean Seal products on for paints coatings and doors. Check for Energy Star, for appliances, windows and heating and cooling products; Forest Stewardship Council, for wood-based products; and Cradle to Cradle, for carpet, sheet goods and other products. For more information read Green Building: A Primer for Builders, Consumers, and Realtors, and the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Green Home Guide.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 3/29/2015

Nothing makes more of a statement about a home than the front door. The front door is the first thing people see when they go to your home. Since the front door is a key focal point when people go to your house it is important to make a good impression. Remember first impressions may end up being lasting impressions. According to the latest research, it takes just ten seconds to decide whether or not you will buy a house. Four of those ten seconds will be standing at the front door. According to designer Ceciia Neal, “Your front door reflects what you think about a house. A door can sell a property.” You never get a second chance to make a good impression, so why not get it right the first time? There are many ways to make a front door and entry way more appealing without breaking the bank. If you have an open porch, spruce it up, add seasonal decorations, a basket of flowers. Use window boxes or hanging baskets. Put down a new door mat, nothing to crazy. Make sure the front door is not in need of any repairs, and give it a good cleaning. Create a welcoming entrance leading to your front door with flower beds and big pots of flowers. Consider painting your front door to an eye catching color that makes a statement. Change your door knob, maybe try decorative hardware. You will be surprised how these few changes can transform your front door into an inviting entrance




Categories: Help Around the House  


Posted by Kathy Foran on 3/15/2015

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 Kathy Foran on 3/8/2015

Sooner or later after you bring your baby home it will be time to childproof your home.  There are five areas that you will want to pay particular attention to: cabinets, appliances, electrical outlets and bookshelves. Here are some tips on what to do about those potential trouble spots: 1. Cabinets often contain cleaning products and other hazardous materials and must be secured. Attach child safety latches to the doors and frames of any cabinets that you want to keep small children out of. 2. Bookcases may seem innocent enough but they can tip over and fall on a small child. Use an anchor harness to secure bookcases or any furniture that can tip over to the wall. They sell anchor harnesses in any store that sells childproofing materials. 3. Keep kids out of the fridge with an appliance latch. Childproof refrigerator latches mount to the fridge with adhesive tabs. 4. One of the most obvious child proofing details is to cover the electrical outlets. Insert plastic protectors into all sockets that are within reach of young children. 5. Baby gates are also a must to keep toddlers away from anything they shouldn't be exposed to. There are many different gates to choose from. You can buy gates for staircases, pressure mounted and even gates that have a walk through door. Do you have any other tips for childproofing your home?