Skiing in North Carolina – via Allen Tate Realtors


Now that the holiday season has come and gone… finally feels like winter in the Carolinas!!! So what is there to do in the cold, and potentially snowy, climate for the next couple of months?

Allen Tate Realtors’ blog has recently put together a fantastic list of the best skiing around! Take your pick from the plethora of options, and make some memories before spring hits us!


Most people think of Colorado, Utah or even Wyoming when they think about great places to ski— completely overlooking the peaks in North Carolina as a potential ski destination. Contrary to popular thought, North Carolina is actually home to the highest elevations in the South. Ready to explore the ski slopes in the south? Here’s…

via Skiing in North Carolina — Allen Tate Realtors

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

From the Desk of Nancy Kapp, REALTOR®

Part of the struggle of moving is where to dispose of things.  As we prepare for our move, we have found all kinds of things that we no longer need or no longer work.  I have a hard time just throwing things in the trash, especially when I worry about the environment.  We found old computers, smart devices that had seen better days.  We realized some things can’t just go in the trash.  What to do with all that stuff?

And then there’s the fact we need to be good stewards of the Earth.  Most of us deeply care about the environment and think about keeping it as nice as possible for our children and our children’s children as possible. Some people say this problem is too big; that one person can’t make a difference.  I disagree.  A lot of people doing a lot of small things will add up.  It’s important to be conscientious about how we dispose of things.

Old Junk.  Perhaps you have an old mattress, sofa, computers, exercise machine, etc. that you no longer use and don’t know what to do with them.  There are several nonprofits that will take some of this stuff.  And if they won’t take them, there are companies you can pay to dispose of many items.

  • Goodwill is a for profit company that trains, employs and offers support services to the community.  It has been in business for 100 years and it’s mission has changed over the years.  In 2018 they recycled 4.7 million pounds of electronics and kept 165.8 million pounds of materials out of landfills.  It has an extensive list of items they will take.  They also have a list of items they can’t accept.  The list is available at:
  • Kidney Foundation provides information, support and service to persons afflicted with kidney and urinary tract diseases.  Furniture donation pick up is available from National Kidney Services (NKS). Residents throughout Charlotte, High Point, Winston-Salem, and the surrounding areas turn to us when they want to contribute to a worthy charitable organization by donating used furniture, clothes, and other household items.  Their website is:
  • CVAN provides safety, shelter and support for battered women.  They take donations of men, women and children’s clothing, household items, housewares, accessories such as shoes, jewelery, purses and belts, books, DVD’s, CD’s and linens.  They don’t take TV’s, large appliances, mattresses, cribs, car seats, computers, building materials and magazines.   For more information go to  
  • Salvation Army.  The Salvation Army assesses a community’s needs and then creates programs to better serve that population.  The Salvation Army also has an extensive list of items it accepts and information about donating and pick-ups.  For detailed info go to:
  • Junk King.  You’ll pay to have them remove your unwanted items.  They advertise themselves as “North America’s Greenest Junk Removal Service.”  According to their website, they recycle 60% of what they take away.  That is very appealing to me. They dispose of furniture, televisions, yard waste, appliances, mattresses, refrigerators, and a lot more.  They have an estimator you can use.  I used it to get a cost for two televisions (one large, one small), a mattress, a sofa, an exercise machine and a computer.  The estimate that came up was $288-$338.

Old Electronics.  Electronic devices are ingrained in our lives.  It’s rare look around and don’t see an electronic device — tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc. — being used somewhere.  Electronic devices cannot be thrown in the trash because they contain several toxic substances, such as mercury, cadmium and lead.  And before you recycle any electronic device you need to wipe it clean of your personal data.  Consumer reports gives detailed information on how to do this at the website:  They also have information about how to recycle your old electronics on their main page:

Batteries.  For years I saved our old alkaline batteries and then periodically took them to the Cabarrus Recycling Center.  Their hazardous waste collection is twice a month and I dutifully took my small bag of used batteries to them during one of those days.  I had a huge surprise recently.  As I returned my batteries, the gentleman at the Center asked if any of them were rechargeable batteries.  When I said, “No,” he let me know that they no longer recycle alkaline batteries — they just go to the landfill.  Alkaline batteries used to contain a small amount of mercury which is why they were considered hazardous.  They are no longer made with mercury, so they are safe to throw away in the trash.  I am still having a hard time doing this, but it’s where they will end up even if you turn them in to a recycling center.

Rechargeable batteries are still considered hazardous, so they need to be recycled, as do lithium batteries.

Recycling in Your Neighborhood. Many cities and counties have recycling programs and can give you specifics about what is acceptable to place in your recycling bin.  There are so many different plastics, it can be confusing.  Look for the symbol on the bottom of the container.  If there’s no symbol, it’s probably not recyclable.  Some plastics are more easily recycled than others, so just be aware of your community’s regulations.

blog recycling 2

Light Bulbs.  Not all light bulbs belong in the trash bin.  Some must be recycled.

  • Incandescent light bulbs.  These can be disposed of in the trash.  The tiny wires inside the light bulb make them too expensive to recycle.
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs.  These do not belong in the trash.  They contain small amounts of mercury. While it is not dangerous to the user, they must be recycled to keep the mercury out of the environment.  These are accepted at the Cabarrus County Hazardous Waste Facility.  They have two drop-off days scheduled during each month.
  • Halogen light bulbs.  The can also be disposed of in the trash. They are also too cost prohibitive the recycle because of the tiny wires.
  • LED’s.  These do not contain any harmful materials and depending on the equipment they are incorporated in may be recyclable or may not.  The package that these LED’s come in will have the specifics for their disposal.
  • Fluorescent light bulbs.  These are similar to thee compact fluorescent light bulbs.  They also contain small amounts of mercury.  They also must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility.

Shopping bags.  The plastic bags you get from the grocery store or other merchants are usually not acceptable to put in the recycling bins your municipality provides.  Oftentimes you will see a container at your local grocery store that accepts these bags.  This is where I recycle my bags if I haven’t reused them.  Using reusable bags will keep you from having to dispose of plastic grocery bags.  When I first began to do this, they were often left in the car as I walked into the grocery store.  It takes a little getting used to but it does get easier to remember to bring them with you with time.  I subscribe to Craftsy (now Blueprint) and found a pattern to make my own merchant bag.

blog shopping bag




Ice cubes & Hot Dogs: The Dog Days of Summer

From the desk of Alisa McCulloch, REALTOR®

In Charlotte, the Dog Days have arrived. Already. We had over a week straight of 90+ degree weather & high humidity. Air conditioning units all over the town were humming one minute and breaking down the next. As humans, we do what we can to stay cool [not saying we don’t complain]… take a trip to the movie theater…go to the mall… head to the neighborhood pool… escape to the shade… run through the sprinkler.

But what about our furry 4-legged pals?? They need to stay cool, too!


My favorite [and only] fur-baby, Becks, is a 3-year old maltese-shih tzu mix, and he does his best to cool off.

He loves lying on hard floors, & he’s famous for quitting his walks early in favor of burying his nose in a neighbor’s cool, shady grass.



Well those methods both work fine. Here’s a list of some other ways to keep your fur babies cool in the HEAT!!

  • Take walks in the early morning or later evening, after the sun sets
  • Put ice cubes in their water bowls (or offer ice as a treat!)
  • Black asphalt is extremely hot on their paws, so walk on the sidewalks or grass
  • Put a kiddie pool in the yard for your pups to swim in [need ideas? Look here!]
  • Make sure your pets have access to shade
  • Always give access to water on walks/exercise time [how about a collapsible water bowl??]
  • Give your baby a wet-towel massage, or offer a cool pack to lay on
  • Offer your pets a frozen treat! You can make your own: fun for the kids AND the animals!  [Here are some amazing DIY treat options by The Dog People, powered by]

So remember folks, it’s always a good idea to mix ice cubes with your hot dogs & make sure everyone is having a cool time in the hot weather!!


From the Desk of Nancy Kapp, REALTOR

The first impression anyone has of your home is the front door.  Recently my husband and I put our home on the market.  When we looked at our home through “buyers’ eyes” we realized our front porch lights were dated and tarnished.  The handle to the storm door had become tarnished as well.  We replaced both and it was amazing how much more inviting our home became.

That got me to thinking about what else I could do to make my front door more welcoming.  I went to Pinterest, my (and everyone else on the planet’s) “go to” place for ideas, and found some adorable door hangers.  Of course they were a little pricey, so I decided to go the DIY route — because of price and because I love painting.  Since summer is on our doorstep, bright and friendly summer designs caught my eye.  There are a bazillion possibilities.  And that’s always the problem — paring down the ideas.

To make these door hangars is really simple, but which one to make?   There were many designs on Pinterest that I really loved.  I finally settled on three — a watermelon design, the letter “K,” and a cute sweet tea design.

I’m fortunate that I have a scroll saw, which saves a lot of money for projects like this. If you have never used one, they are super simple to use — I’ve taught both my grandsons how to use them for school projects.  I also use my Dremel tool to drill the holes for the wire.   For my projects I used 1/4″ birch.

You can also find some cutouts at local craft stores.  I found the letter K at Hobby Lobby.  Another great source for cut-outs is Etsy.  One source I found is “TheWhattShop.”  What’s really great about their designs is that you can specify the size.  For example, they have a cute mason jar cut-out, for which there were lots of options for painting on Pinterest.  And the vendor has them available from 12-32 inches.  The size I usually make my door hangars is 18 inches, but how great is it that you can customize! Their 18-inch mason jar cut-out is just $11.  I’ll probably cut mine out, but it’s good to know that there’s another option available.

To make the watermelon hanger I needed a large circle to trace.  I found the base for a huge planter I have was just perfect.  I traced the circle, just halfway around, onto posterboard and then drew a straight line connecting the two ends of the half circle.  Then I drew out the bite.  I cut out the pattern on the posterboard, traced around it onto the wood and cut it out using my scroll saw. Painting was simple — I took some ideas from the pictures on Pinterest and added my own touches.  I always finish the projects with a water-based satin coat.  When I make this again, I’ll definitely make the “hello” a little thicker and darker and probably enlarge the watermelon seeds, but I’m still happy with the way it turned out.

blog watermelon

I also learned to make the bow from viewing a video by Priscilla Jones. It shows how to make a simple bow like the one I attached to my watermelon.  The link is below.  I couldn’t find the 2 1/2″ wired ribbon like she suggests, but the 1 1/2″ worked fine.

My inspiration for the letter K came from Pinterest as well.  I just loved the idea of adding the paw prints, fish and mouse on the design.  The inspiration and my version:


Right now I’m really into the color blue … I liked the red, but it’s a brighter color and more difficult to paint on top of.  I had fun adding my own touches to the design and using the colors I had so I didn’t have to buy any more paint.

The one that was the most challenging to make was the iced tea glass.  With the other two I had a little more freedom to change as I wanted, I just really liked the design and wanted it to look very similar.  The inspiration and my final product:


The first step was to create the pattern on posterboard.  For this I used what I learned about ratios in math class.  I wanted the width to be proportionate to the height.  I usually make my hangers about 18 inches tall, so that is the height I used for this project.  I measured the picture and found that the height of the pictured iced-tea glass with lemon was 5.5 inches and the width was 3.75 inches.  I knew I wanted the final project to be 18 inches tall, so to find the width it should be I used ratios. Yes, some of the math you learned is really helpful in real life!:

blog math

I’m a little OCD so this works for me.  I used this math on all the measurements to keep it proportionate.  I could compare anything to the 18 inches.  For example, the lemon’s diameter in the picture was 1 3/4 inches, so using this method I calculated the diameter of the lemon part of the wood cut-out should be 5 3/4 inches.

IF you have a good eye, you don’t need to do this.  You can “eyeball” it.  When you look at the picture, it looks like the width is about  2/3 of the height which is about 12 inches.  Approximating a lot of designs is fine and makes it your own.

However you personally like to figure out the dimensions,  you’ll still need to make a pattern on posterboard to trace around the border on to the wood.  I also added the painting detail to the posterboard pattern so I could trace it onto tracing paper.  Using carbon paper I can then trace the detail onto the wood.  I have both black and white carbon paper that I use to transfer designs.

blog summer sippin pattern.jpeg

For this project, I painted the iced tea area first, let it dry and then traced the ice cubes.  I painted them, let them dry, traced the words and then painted them.  I didn’t need to trace anything for letter K hangers — I freehanded it.   I did use the tracing paper to add the words to the watermelon, but that was the only thing I needed to trace.

Time wise, the letter K took about and hour and a half, the watermelon took a total of two hours (not counting the bow) and the iced tea glass took about three hours from creating the pattern to finish.

I’m excited to have three different hangers for the summer!


Link to TheWhattShop:

Link to Priscilla Jones “Easy Bow Tutorial — Door Hanger”


From the Desktop of Nancy Kapp, Realtor

A few years ago I was driving up to my house one day when I noticed black streaks on my roof.  They’d probably been there for a while, but on that particular day I just happened to notice them.  My neighbors have a huge Fourth of July fireworks display every year.  It is very impressive for a neighborhood display and I thought to myself (since I’m right behind the house where they’re shot off) that it’s from the ashes of those annual fireworks displays.  WRONG!


I found out that the black streaks on my roof are a form of algae, probably gloeocapsa magma, also known as blue green algae.  So how did they get there?  Algae spores are airborne, so if there are any in the neighborhood they will spread.

They are most commonly found in warm, humid environments.  That pretty much describes North Carolina.  The black streaks come from the protective layer that the algae forms to protect itself from damaging UV rays — kind of like a suntan.  You’ll also probably notice, if you have the black streaks, that they are only on one side of the roof — usually the north side.

Roof algae is more common today than it was 20 years ago.  That’s because asphalt shingles got their name from what they were made of — mainly asphalt.  Nowadays it’s more cost effective to add fillers, such as fiberglass and crushed limestone. Limestone is a food source for the algae.  Who knew?  I have a feeling this was an unintended consequence.

The good news is that they are not harmful or dangerous.  The bad news is that over time they can cause your roof’s protective UV granules to come off.

Roof algae is easily removed by a simple roof cleaning.  A few words of caution — if you decide to do this yourself, be sure to check your roof warranty or homeowner insurance policies.  And never use a pressure washer, even on the lowest setting.  Using a power washer will definitely void any roof warranties.

As I have a little bit of height anxiety, I’m not climbing on my roof, but for the more adventurous of you, the website at the end of this post has information on how to do it yourself.  There are professional roof cleaning services for those of you who are like me.

Once you have had the roof algae growing on your roof, if you have it cleaned, they are likely to return.  They are airborne and our climate seems to support their growth.  With that said, there are a few things you can do to slow the growth or keep it at a minimum.  The reason the algae grows on the north side is because it doesn’t get as much sun.  If you have tree branches that shade your roof, keeping them trimmed will help.

You can also install copper strips close to the peak of your roof because copper kills the algae.  Whenever it rains, the water will wash down the roof and kill any algae that may be lurking there because the water will have algae-killing molecules from the metal.  I’m not certain which is less expensive — installing the copper strips or occasionally having the roof cleaned, but they are both options.  Finally, should you have to get your roof replaced for whatever reason, they now have copper-infused shingles.


Information and photo taken from:


Thirsty Thursday. On WordPress Wednesday.

From the desk of Alisa McCulloch, Realtor®

What’s your go-to thirst quencher?

Water. Sparkling water. Flavored water. Energy water. So many options!

I have not always been a fan of  water other than regular old water or… (let’s leave the jokes about water brewed with hops and barley for another post.) Bottled water, fine. Tap water with tons of ice, great. Anything else to me was so pointless! Bubbly water with not much flavor??? Why?? And “energy” drinks…my energy comes from a) waking up early to get the day rolling and b) coffee. My daily workout helps immensely as well, but I can’t always get that in first thing.IMG-1102

Queue the random new year resolution, well into the new year.  [Call it a nutrition goal.] I recently decided to start drinking more water.  Not for any particular reason, other than it’s important to stay hydrated & I don’t like the feeling of “end of day bloat.” That said, I quickly realized it is super boring drinking plain water all the time. I know it’s good for you and all that. But sometimes I just want something bubbly & crisp!

Enter bubbly sparkling water. (Admittedly I got hooked on this by mixing it with other things. Again let’s save that for another post.) I quite enjoy pouring a sparkly flavored water into my Yeti with ice. I feel refreshed, happy; it’s a lovely pick-me-up. My go-to flavors are blueberry/pomegranate by Kroger;


Waterloo’s Watermelon & Polar Seltzer Vanilla Orange.  Black Cherry is OK but sometimes can taste like Robitussin if you get a weird brand.


Moving on. Other days, when I’m feeling a bit sluggish, I need a bit of a boost.  But–I don’t like to drink coffee in the afternoon.  Coffee for me is my morning ritual. A cuppa joe, a quiet chair. The dog in my lap. These are my mornings. I need something different later on. Enter BANG! My favorite “energy” drink. I despise high-sugar energy drinks… they keep you buzzing for 10 minutes and then you crash… no thanks!! I prefer Bang as it’s loaded with BCAAs, which I love to drink during/after my workouts; plus it has zero everything… no calories, no carbs, no sugar, nothing except caffeine, creatine, some vitamins and aminos to keep me focused and energized! Bang-Full-Label-slider1400x900

And along the same lines– I discovered REIGN total body fuel recently as well, and it’s a superb option when Bang isn’t available. Reign also has lots of electrolytes, so this one is a great choice for my post-workout drink!! 7B792817-E362-44AE-A838-89D560987DAF

I will say that in my journey to increase my water intake, it has helped tremendously to have additional choices besides just regular water. I feel it’s an added bonus too, because my taste buds aren’t bored & I feel like my mind/body are getting more “fun” fuel now than they were previously.  (Note: I’m not suggesting I only drink these kinds of energy drinks & water instead of eating food for fuel. I eat a ton of food. Once again let’s save that for another post. ) If you’re like me, and you’re considering upping your water intake, I highly recommend taking a few of these products into consideration. Let me know what you think. Bottoms up!!


A Clean Sweep

From the Desktop of Nancy Kapp

No one has every accused me of being a neat freak, but I’ll be honest, when I am stressed or overwhelmed, I really like cleaning.  I thought there must be something wrong with me, so I was glad to find I’m not alone in this feeling.  In fact, according to a survey done by Offerup, “70% of Americans say tidying their home offers them a feeling of accomplishment, 61% say it makes them feel “destressed,” and 54% say they experience relaxation.”  Okay, it’s not like a glass of wine, but for some reason I really do feel better after spending a little time cleaning.

I have learned a few tricks along the way, mostly by asking excellent housekeepers how they keep their homes so clean.  Years ago an article in the October 2009 Womans Day magazine gave me the routine that I try to follow.  Key word, “try.”

In that magazine the article, “Countdown to Clean” by Susan Sulich, gives these suggestions:

Your gear:  spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner, spray bottle of glass cleaner, can of furniture polish, dust wand with adjustable handle, 3-4 microfiber cloths, small scrub brush, vacuum, mop, bucket.  I have a container that makes it easy to carry this room-to-room.  Note:  Many people are switching to more chemical-free products.  That’s my goal as well and so my list has been changing recently because of the Norwex products. This is recent and I’m slowing working on changing my habits.  More about that later.

15 Minutes a Day.  It’s called the “Daily Hotel Clean.”

Step 1.  Make the beds.

Step 2.  Make sure dirty clothes are all in hampers.  Do a quick room-by-room pickup, putting items back in place.

Step 3.  Wipe dirty counters in the bathroom and kitchen.

Step 4.  Put away all dishes.

Step 5.  Sweep the kitchen floor.

Weekly Clean Sleep.  Either set aside a 2- to 3-hour chunk of time, or work in 15-minute increments throughout the week.  The basic formula:  clean top to bottom and left to right, and only go around a room once (not including floors).

Step 1.  Bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms.  If you have a two-story home, start upstairs.  For one floor, begin in the area farthest away from the front of the house.  First, go through all the rooms and empty wastebaskets.  Then go back into the first room and start at the top, removing any cobwebs with your dust wand and working your way down, dusting ceiling fans, door frames, moldings, picture frames and lamps.  Switch to the furniture spray and a microfiber cloth to clean dressers and tables.  Remove knickknacks first.  Clean mirrors with the glass cleaner and a fresh cloth.  When you’ve finished all these rooms on a floor, vacuum, staring farthest from the door in each room and vacuuming your way out.

Step 2.  Bathrooms.  The pros have a special way to clean bathrooms.  First, spsray cleanser on the shower doors and walls, tub and sink, and in the toilet to start loosening dirt.  Then use the same top-to-bottom, left-to-right system.  Remember to wipe the towel racks and toilet paper holder.  Clean the toilet inside, outside and behind the bowl.  Vacuum, then mop.

Step 3.  Kitchen.  Starting from the top, wipe cabinet fronts and work your way down.  Empty the toaster’s crumb tray and clean inside the microwave.  Unlike your daily counter wipe, now is the time to get behind canisters, mixers and other counter dwellers.  Do the kitchen sink last, then sweep and mop the floor.  Don’t foreget the vent at the bottom of the refrigerator.

Tackle Monthly.  Pick a Saturday to do all eight, or add a few to each weekly session.

  1. Use paper towels or a cloth to thoroughly clean the tracks of sliding glass and shower doors.
  2. Run ½ cup of vinegar mixed in a full pot of water through your coffeemaker (or follow our coffeemaker’s directions).
  3. Wash down the shelves and veggie bins in the refrigerator.
  4. Clean stove hood vents.
  5. Vacuum under couch cushions. A handheld vac makes quick work of this chore.
  6. Clean the top of the refrigerator.
  7. Wash insides of garbage cans and baskets.

A Few 60-Second Quick Fixes.  These simple changes will make your house tidier – no elbow grease required!

  • Place a mat at the front door and enforce a strict no-shoes-inside rule.  You’ll eliminate 70% to 90% of the dirt entering your home.
  • Last person to shower squeegees the shower door to cut down on mineral depositis left behind when the water dries – less scrubbing time for you.
  • When you see it, clean it.  Spills on the counter, a towel on the floor … a few seconds as you pass through a room saves many minutes later.
  • Switch to microfiber cloths.  They speed cleaning by trapping and picking up dust, not just moving it around.  Wash and hang to dry after use.

And the Annual List.  Twelve annual chores, one for each month:

January:  Clean medicine cabinets; toss expired meds.

February:  Clean all the hard-to-reach places:  behind the stove, refrigerator, washer/dryer, sofas and under beds.

March:  Steam-clean carpets.

April:  Wash windows and screens.

May:  Organize the pantry and kitchen cabinets.

June:  Wash duvets, blankets, comforters, spreads, pillows.  I actually do this twice a year.

July:  Clean and organize the garage.

August:  Clean out drawers and closets.  Donate usable clothing and items to charity.

September:  Clean out the linen closet(s).

October:  Defrost (hopefully you have a frost-free fridge, but some of the older ones still need this done) and clean freezer, refrigerator, stove, oven.

November:  Polish silver, wash china, dust inside the china cabinet.

December:  Turn mattresses.


About Norwex products. I found out about these products from a Norwex party I attended.  They are perfect for people who want to begin to eliminate chemicals from their home.  The ones I love the most are the window cloth and the dust mitt.  While I have not been able to eliminate all the chemicals from my cleaning, I have begun to have fewer and fewer.  It’s a work in progress.  If you’re interested in these products, try to attend a party — that’s how I got started.  Their website  is



MUST-HAVE TOOLS for homeowners

Ah, homeownership: gone are the days of calling the landlord when you have a leaky faucet or a faulty light switch.

When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, [cue the Handy Manny theme song.] [Wait am I the only parent who remembers Playhouse Disney in the mid 2000’s?], you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects. *Note: THIS LIST EXCLUDES THE 2 MOST IMPORTANT HOMEOWNER-TOOL ITEMS: CLOROX WIPES & DUCT TAPE.* (And ps, we are assuming that you already have some sort of  bin that includes a few screwdrivers & a hammer. Perhaps a measuring tape. This tool list is a sort of motley crew “off-the-beaten-path” tool list, if you will.

  1. Cordless drill. A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month.
  2. Drain cleaners. Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.
  3. Shop-vac. No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.
  4. Loppers. Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.
  5. Flashlight. You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace!



From the desktop of Nancy Kapp, REALTOR

Technology is great … when it works and especially when it’s charged!  And those darn cubes!  They always seem to be hiding when I need them the most.  One solution to the problem of the missing cube is to install duplex USB chargers at one or more of your regular household receptacles.  In this post, we’ll show you how simple it is to do this.  Thanks, Noelle Donovan, for demonstrating the easy steps to installing.

From this:


To this:


  1.  Safety first, always!  Disconnect the power to the receptacle where you are installing the USB charger by turning off the circuit breaker.  Be sure to double check that the power is no longer running to the outlet.  If you have a circuit tester, that’s great.  If not, just plug in a small electrical appliance to make sure power is no longer running to the outlet. USB2
  2. Gather your materials — the USB charger, a new cover plate and a screwdriver.
  3. Remove the wall plate and pull the device from the box.
  4. Label the wires that are connected to the existing device and then disconnect the existing device.USB8
  5. Use the diagram from the device that you purchased.  Noelle noted that they aren’t all exactly the same so look at the diagram for your device.  The picture below is for the “legrand Pass & Seymour radiant Duplex USB Charger 3.1A.”
  6. Using a screwdriver, attach the wires according to the diagram for your device. USB11
  7. Mount the device to the wall box and attach the wall plate.  Restore the power. 

    You’re ready to use your new USB charger!