Archive for October, 2010

Easy Homemade Halloween Party Treats

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Looking for some fun new Halloween party treats? How about a little something sweet and a little something salty…

Halloween Web Crawlers

2 cups chocolate chips
2 tsp. corn oil
60 mini marshmallows
5 thin black licorice whips
20 tiny red hot candies

Makes 10 spiders

Take 6 mini marshmallows and squish them into a round ball. Place on a sheet of wax paper. Repeat until you’ve made a total of 10 balls.

Cut the licorice into 2-inch-long strips; you will end up with 80 strips.

Cut licorice into 80 2-inch-long strips.

Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the chips are melted. Add oil to the melted chocolate chips and mix well.

Dip each ball into the melted chocolate.

Stick 8 licorice legs into the chocolate body – 4 on each side.

Add 2 red dot candies as eyes on each spider.

Halloween Web Crawlers

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Salty Bones

One 11oz tube of refrigerated breadstick dough
Coarse salt

Makes 12 bones

Open the tube of refrigerated breadstick dough and separate it into its rectangular pieces.

Stretch each rectangle to lengthen it a little. Use a knife to cut a slit 1 ½ inches in length in the center of each end of the rectangle.

Roll each of the four flaps you have created into knobs as to look like the ends of a bone.

Place each bone on an ungreased baking sheet, sprinkling a small amount of coarse salt on each one.

Bake the bones at the temperature indicated on the dough tube until they are light golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Salty Bones

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Jon Stewart Voted Most Influential Man By AskMen.com Readers

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

A pole conducted by AskMen.com places President Obama in the No. 21 spot of “most influential man” – one rank below Matthew Weiner the creator of “Mad Men” and one above Chef Ferran Adria.

The Number One spot went to the “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, who topped the list of 49 prominent men from entertainment, philanthropy, politics, sports, and technology. The votes came from more than half a million AskMen.com readers, along with the site’s staff.

AskMen claims that “Daily Show” is “our youths’ most trusted source of information and its host the most trusted man in America.”

Stewart is expecting more than 100,000 Americans at his Rally to Restore Sanity, which is set for Saturday in Washington D.C. A satellite rally also will take place in Los Angeles.

Stewart’s fellow Comedy Central late-night host, Stephen Colbert, came in at No. 11.

Rounding out the top five were Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Steve Jobs, and rapper Kanye West.

Other notable men on the list are:

7. James Franco
12. Conan O’Brien
13. Jay-Z
18. George Clooney
23. Tom Ford
24. Eminem
25. Ben Affleck
29. Zach Galifianakis
30. Isaiah Mustafa
33. Justin Timberlake
36. Hugh Jackman
39. David Letterman
40. Christopher Nolan
43. Leonardo DiCaprio
48. Steven Slater
49. Russell Brand

“These are the men history will remember as having defined 2010,” according to AskMen.

jon stewart most influential man

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3 Bed 2 Bath Home For Rent In Tracy California

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

If you like what you see, call me today! Tony Martin (209) 610-3431.

This 3 bed, 2 bath home is 1,661 square feet and located in the sought-after area of Tennis Village. It has been recently painted inside, boasts a roomy kitchen with stainless-steel refrigerator and black dishwasher. There is a nice dining room area, plus a fireplace in the living room. Both yards are fully landscaped with a covered patio in the back.

Available now for $1,550.00 per month.

51 N Hickory Ave Tracy

If you like what you see, call me today! Tony Martin (209) 610-3431.

Halloween Decorations Ideas – Homemade Halloween Decorations

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Money may be tight this time of year, but you can still have a great Halloween. It’s easy to decorate on a budget when you know how to do it.

Start by searching your house and yards for various odds and ends, like scraps of fabric, old clothing, yarn, and cardboard.

Stuff your old clothes with newspaper and use the scraps of fabric to make a life size scarecrow or monster. Old masks can be used to create a face, or carve a pumpkin to create the head.

Cut up your smaller pieces of cardboard to create bats and ghosts. Use markers or paint to add color and hang them with fishing wire, dental floss, or string.

Cardboard can also be used to make tombstones for your front yard or windows. Simply cut out the shape you want and paint it gray. Once it’s dry write R.I.P. on the tombstones, along with spooky names and sayings.

Yarn can easily be used to make giant spider webs for your windows or front porch. If you have it, crepe paper works well too.

Jazz up your front doorway for the trick-or-treaters even more with a black light instead of your normal porch light, and a tape or CD of scary noises like witches laughing and doors creaking.

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If you’re not the most creative or artistic person in the world, many stores drastically discount their decorations the week before Halloween. You can often find cheap Halloween decorations at stores like CVS, RiteAid, Big Lots, and even the Dollar Tree.

halloween decorations on a budget

Houston Homeowner Says CitiMortgage Tricked Him Into Foreclosure

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Last March Ray Coleman, Jr. of Missouri City, TX lost his IT management job with BMC Software. He and his wife decided they would be able to still afford their mortgage payments with his unemployment and the income from her job as a counselor, if they could get a reduction in their monthly mortgage payment amount.

Ray Coleman, Jr. called his lender, CitiMortgage, and asked about how he could apply for the Federal Making Home Affordable program. Coleman says the bank told him he had to be at least 30 to 90 days behind in his payments.

Coleman and his wife fell behind on their payments and then applied for help. And that’s when, according to Coleman, things got shady. He said CitiMortgage repeatedly asked him for the same paperwork again and again.

“But then, just out of the clear-blue sky, I get a letter from them telling me they’re foreclosing on me Sept. 7,” said Coleman.

He said he was shocked because he believed he qualified for a loan modification and wonders if CitiMortgage ever really reviewed the documents he said he sent them.

Coleman decided to fight back and first contacted Mediation Centers of America in the Galleria area.

“Banks string them along so they won’t go to an attorney,“ said the Terry Parks, with Mediation Centers of America. His advice to Coleman was, in fact, to get a lawyer.

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Celebrities Face Bankruptcy And Foreclosure Too

Monday, October 18th, 2010

You’d think celebrities would be able to pay their bills, but alas, it seems hard times have even hit the rich and famous.

Below are five very well known, and seemingly very rich, people who have recently faced hard financial times including bankruptcy and foreclosure.

From GoBankingRates.com:

Mel Gibson
As of September 2010, the movie star best known for his roles in Braveheart and Lethal Weapons 1-4 reportedly owed $212,000 for three homes in Malibu, Calif., as well as his multimillion dollar Holy Family Catholic Church. Some say this is payback for initiating a child custody tug of war with his baby momma and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Ed McMahon
The legendary Tonight Show sidekick faced a difficult foreclosure before his death in 2009, owing $4.8 million for his 7,000-square ft. mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif. Though Donald Trump offered to purchase McMahon’s home in 2008 to help him avoid foreclosure, McMahon was able to find a private buyer to relieve him of his near-$650k debt before he died.

Evander Holyfield
In 2009, former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield was on the hook for back payments due on his 109-room mansion. In addition to the child support payments owed to the mother of one of his 11 children and being sued by a consulting company for not repaying a loan, Holyfield owed upwards of $10 million.

Michael Jackson
The King of Pop unfortunately faced one of the largest and most expensive foreclosures ever before his untimely passing in 2009. The incredible Neverland Ranch was part-mansion, part-amusement park, part-zoo and totally in debt. Worth millions, Jackson sold a portion of the ranch for $35 million. However, being the king that he was, he was able to keep some of the ranch in his name after the foreclosure.

Veronica Hearst
Veronica Hearst, the widow of publisher Randolph Hearst, lost her massive property in 2008 when she discovered she owed a whopping $45 million in unpaid mortgages. To bail herself out, she auctioned off her property for $22 million then later sold two of her New York apartments as well as some of her art and jewelry.

celebrity bankruptcy
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Four Upgrades To Avoid When Preparing Your Home For Sale

Friday, October 15th, 2010

If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market and want to stand apart from all the other homes for sale in your neighborhood, there are a few things you can do; remodeling a bathroom or kitchen is always good. But be careful to stay away from certain pitfalls that could derail your chances for a quick sale at a price you like.

While making improvements is always good, you don’t want to overdo it. If you spend a ton of money remodeling, you’ll probably never recoup your investment. Plus, with the economy the way it is these days, you most likely don’t have a bunch of extra money to throw into a house you’re leaving.

Real Estate experts agree that small things like new countertops and appliances in the kitchen, simple bathroom remodels, and energy-saving improvements will pay off in the long term. However, they also agree there are several upgrades that aren’t worth your time – or money.

Below are four upgrades experts say to stay away from when it comes time to prepare your house for sale.

From Investopedia:

1. Over-the-Top Improvements
Before you invest tons of money in an elaborate full-house renovation project, consider what the competing properties in your neighborhood have to offer. While you want your house to stand out from the competition, you shouldn’t make unwarranted upgrades that greatly exceed other properties in the area. Not only will you end up losing money, but you may even scare off potential buyers.

Find out how similarly priced homes in your neighborhood measure up, and make improvements based on your specific marketplace

2. A Swimming Pool
Believe it or not, a swimming pool rarely adds value to a home in this day and age. First of all, it usually costs a small fortune to have an in-ground swimming pool installed. Secondly, you’re probably not going to recoup your investment. Why? Because many homebuyers view an in-ground swimming pool as a high-maintenance hassle and safety hazard.

3. Replacing A Popular Feature
Before you consider making a major home change, such as converting your garage into a game room, take a look around. If every other home in your neighborhood boasts a two-car garage, you should probably think twice. Do you really want to be the only house in the area with no garage? Most homebuyers would prefer to have a sheltered place to park their car than a room to play ping pong and darts.

4. Daring Design
We all want to design and decorate our home so that it reflects our unique style. However, if you’re trying to sell your home, now is not the time to incorporate bold design choices into the décor. If your home already beams with your eclectic tastes, try to tone it down before you plant that “For Sale” sign in the front yard. Homebuyers should be able to imagine themselves living in your home.

Upgrades To Avoid When Selling

How To Quickly And Efficiently Rake Autumn Leaves

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

“Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”
Humbert Wolfe
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Watching the trees change color is one of the best things about the beginning of Autumn. But then those beautiful orange and yellow leaves fall from their branches and clutter up the lawn.

While having a yard covered in colorful leaves may be pleasing to the eye, it can actually cause trouble for your lawn, that’s why it’s always a good idea to rake up the leaves as often as needed. If you stay on top of it, it won’t be such a daunting job.

Here’s an easy and efficient way to rake your leaves:

What You’ll Need:
Wide Rake
Large Tarp
Somewhere safe to dispose of the leaves (like a compost pile).

Start by spreading the tarp on the ground next to the area you’re going to be raking. Then use the rake to pull the leaves onto the tarp, using a throwing sweep to lift the leaves over the edge of the tarp.

When there is a pile of leaves on the tarp a couple of feet high, gather the four corners together and drag the tarp to your place of disposal to empty it out.

Repeat the process by placing the tarp on different areas until the yard is free of leaves.

Until the next time the wind comes up, that is.

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raking autumn leaves

Keeping Your Children Safely Away From Sexual Predators

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

When you are moving to a new location, it might be prudent to give some consideration to the possibility of sexual predators in the neighborhood. If you have children or if you plan to have children at some later point, or have children visit, you need to know they will not be subjected to the threat of this particular kind of peril.

The law requires convicted sexual offenders to register with the local law enforcement agency and keep them informed of changes in location. While it sometimes happens that a convicted offender will avoid registering, this system is the most reliable means of identifying the location of convicted sexual predators.

Regardless of whether you have children or not, when you are thinking about buying a home, it is certainly in your best interest to know about the presence of convicted sex offenders in a neighborhood before you decide to enter into a sales contract. Once you sign your name on the contract, you have no leeway to get cold feet and will forfeit the deposit that you might have made if you decide to back out of the purchase because of becoming informed of sex offenders in the neighborhood.

A great deal of information about convicted sex offenders is available on the Internet. In the state of California, as an example, the sex offender registry is published at www.meganslaw.ca.gov/. You can learn about sex offenders in any given neighborhood. The published information gives the individual’s name, address when registered, date of conviction, offenses, and when the offender registered. In some jurisdictions it will provide information on how serious the offense is and whether it involved someone in stated age groups and so on. Although the law was initially intended to protect children, requiring sex offenders identify themselves in this manner helps protect more of the population from these kinds of acts of violence toward both adults and children.

Some people prefer to make face to face contact instead of using their computer. If that’s your inclination, you can start your search with the local police in the area where you are thinking about buying your new home. Each area may have a slightly different way to get the information, but if you check with the police department, they can either give you the list directly, or advise you where you need to go.

Research Paired with Sound Judgment is the Key

If you have various potential areas in mind, you may want to check on all of them, so you can make a decision about the one that may be the safest. It is possible that you might not find a neighborhood that is completely free of convicted sexual predators; in that case you may need to find out the specific charges before deciding the best action.

When you ever have a need to investigate Louisville CO real estate for sale, it’s easy to Search Colorado real estate at AutomatedHomefinder.com.

Keeping Your Children Safely Away From Sexual Predators
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Back On Rental Market! Gorgeous 5 Bed / 4 Bath Home In Tracy, CA

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Call today for a private showing! Tony Martin (209) 610-3431.

Available now for $2,300/month.

Located in a prestigious and well-established neighborhood in Tracy, California; close to schools, shopping, and easy freeway access.

With 5 bedrooms and 4 full bathrooms, this 3,200 sq. ft. single family home is the perfect place for a family to settle.

The interior of the home boasts two-stories, newer paint, kitchen pantry, vaulted ceilings, a fireplace, double sinks, and a spacious Master Suite with jetted tub. Plus so much more!

Both yards are fully landscaped, with a covered spa in the back.

Call today for a private showing! Tony Martin (209) 610-3431.

1571 Riverview Ave For Rent Tracy CA