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Todd Bishop

Todd Bishop
701 W. Market Street  Perkasie  PA 18944
Phone:  215-257-7302
Office:  215-453-7653
Fax:  267-354-6919

My Blog

Five Ways to Help Your Plants Survive Winter

September 12, 2014 12:03 am

During the fall cool-down, it’s important to take time to prepare your plants for impending winter weather. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Polar Vortex is on track to return in 2014, with temperatures plummeting during winter months. Homeowners with gardens must protect their plantings early this fall to avoid the harsh effects of cold weather to come.

Below are five of the most common garden varieties, and ways to prepare them for the first frost:

1. Hydrangeas: To keep them safe this winter, start by tracking the weather. When temperatures will be consistently below freezing, cover the crown of your hydrangea with mulch, leaves or straw before snow arrives. Snow insulates the crown and keeps it alive.

If you don’t have snow, be sure the crown is fully protected by covering the plant with a garbage bag full of leaves. Alternatively, you can plant a re-blooming hydrangea that blooms on previous year's growth and new growth. That means that even if a cold winter kills buds on last season's growth, you will still see blooms on new growth in late spring and summer.

2. Roses:
Roses can mean apprehension for many gardeners, especially when it comes to cold winter hardiness in the northern part of the United States. Cover new plantings with mulch, oak leaves or marsh hay in an 8-inch mound from the crown once temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the plant has gone completely dormant. An added tip: keep the plants disease-free throughout winter and spring by raking away fallen leaves and petals before mulching or snowfall.

3. Evergreens: To prevent winter burn, plant varieties of evergreen that are extremely cold-tolerant and will survive even the worst of winters. If you have a collector plant or two that tends to struggle in the winter, cover it with burlap or other material for the coldest and windiest days. If you have heavy snow and notice branches breaking under the weight, brush snow off the weakest limbs.

4. Trees: If your trees are starting to change color earlier than normal, especially in these first weeks of September, it may be a sign of stress. This can be caused by poor soil conditions, too much or too little water, or if the tree is planted too deeply. You can either transplant the tree, switch to weekly watering of your lawn, or grade the soil so that the root flare (where the trunk flares out to the root system) is even with the soil level.

5. Container Plantings: As you prepare for winter, there are a few options for homeowners to protect container plants: treat them like annuals, tossing the plants away and start fresh the next spring; plant in the ground to over-winter the shrubs; or keep the containers and protect them from the winter cold.

Looking ahead to another colder-than-average winter may seem discouraging, but with a few extra preparations, homeowners and gardeners can set the stage for a beautiful and blooming spring.

Source: Bailey Nurseries

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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10 Things to Consider When Adding on to Your Home

September 11, 2014 1:30 am

A home addition is a complicated task requiring a great deal of planning and, sometimes, a great deal of money. In order to save time, stress, and dollars, consider the following checklist before embarking on your home improvement plan.
  1. Develop a comprehensive plan and budget
  2. Figure out how to fund the project
  3. Determine the size and scope of the addition
  4. Select the location
  5. Analyze heating and cooling requirements
  6. Evaluate electrical and plumbing requirements
  7. Decide on design elements and amenities
  8. Select a proven remodeling company
  9. Establish the final budget and schedule
  10. Prepare for inconvenience during the construction phase
Source: Republic West Remodeling

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How Financial Cleaning Can Lead to a Richer Long-Term Outlook

September 11, 2014 1:30 am

One lesson the average American should have learned from the recent financial crisis and gradual recovery is that putting more money into savings is, in general, good, says veteran financial expert Jeff Gorton.

“When things are fine, most of us are prone to commit less of our money to savings; when the economy is down, however, we realize that having money is far more important than spending it on things we don’t need,” says Gorton, a veteran Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner™, and head of Gorton Financial Group.

The personal savings rate in July 2005 hit an all-time low at just 2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in May 2009, near the beginning of the recession, the average American’s savings rate hit a high of 8 percent.

“That rate dwindled as the economy recovered, which is unfortunate because you can do more with accumulated money, including benefit from investments yielding compound interest, which means that interest also earns interest in an investment,” says Gorton, who suggests practical ways to trim spending in the short term in order to get your financial house in order and accumulate more money in the long term.

• Car buying says plenty about how a consumer views their money. For most Americans, the question is whether to buy new or used. The moment you drive a brand new car off the lot after the purchase, the car’s value drastically drops. Many of the benefits you may enjoy in buying a new car can be had with a certified pre-owned car: low miles, good-as-new functionality and, usually, that new-car smell. And, a given model will have a history, so you can avoid cars that have been recalled. Buying a certified pre-owned car will save you several thousands of dollars versus buying new.

Summer vacation is an important lifestyle enhancer for many couples, but consider replacing the $400-per-night hotel with a condo rented through a private owner, especially if your vacation will last for an extended period. A condo rental should cost you in the ballpark of $200 per night, which totals $2,800 savings for two weeks.

Your home is probably your most significant asset if you’re like most Americans. But with that grand house on the hill comes plenty of costs, many of which you may not need. As with a luxury car, rethinking the amount of luxury for a home can save you big on taxes, insurance and maintenance. The cost of maintaining a large home can be put toward lifestyle activities, such as travel and hobbies.

“Of course, these are all simply suggestions; money plays a major role in how we achieve happiness, and I’ve found through years of working with clients, a few tweaks here and there frequently yields greater satisfaction with their money,” Gorton says. “You don’t have to be on autopilot with your expenses.”

Source: www.gortonfinancialgroup.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Surviving Hurricane Season: Prep for Older Americans

September 11, 2014 1:30 am

Hurricane season is upon us, and just two years after Sandy, AARP is reminding older residents, their families and friends to get ready early this hurricane season. While Sandy claimed victims as young as toddlers, it was crueler to the city's elderly, with 27 New Yorkers aged 65 or older perishing in the storm.

For older individuals who often times have limited mobility, delayed reaction, and reliance on prescriptions for their health, prepping in advance for extreme weather can mean the difference between life and death.

That's why AARP is now offering key tips on how you can ensure the safety of elderly loved ones in the wake of disaster.

"Don't wait for the threat of a storm to start thinking about getting prepared. When power goes out, the elevator goes out, and many elderly are unable to make it down a flight of stairs in the dark to go grocery shopping for needed items, and when they run out of a prescription, it can become life threatening," said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York. "The simple act of checking in on the elderly can go a long way to helping them stay safe in times of a disaster such as Sandy, and in some instances may even save a life."

Before the first big storm of summer hits, AARP offers the following tips and resources for older residents:
  • Check on Rx supplies: If they are running low, most pharmacies will provide a three-day supply (bring verification of prescription, such as bottle or script from doctor, if available). To find out a pharmacy's status, check here: http://www.rxopen.org.
  • Groceries: Offer to assist with any grocery shopping. Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Meals: If the individual in need of meals is at least 60 years old, Meals on Wheels can be contacted here: http://www.mowaa.org/findameal.
  • Medical Emergency: Call 911. Medicare patients in New York can also now receive non-emergency care at a nursing home without a prior three-day hospital stay.
  • Personal Care Assistance: If an elderly loved one receives assistance from a home healthcare agency, find out how they respond to an emergency. Designate backup or alternative providers that you can contact in an emergency.
  • Assist with Home Preparations: Bring inside loose, lightweight objects such as lawn furniture and garbage cans, anchor objects that will be unsafe to bring inside, like gas grills or propane tanks, close windows and outside doors securely and move valuable items to the upper floors.
  • Update your Evacuation Kit: Your Evacuation kit should include an ID or Driver's License, birth certificate; clothes, food and water (for at least three days); cash and traveler's checks; maps of the evacuation route, alternate routes and a way to get to local shelters; and your car keys along with a full tank of gas.
  • Have a Supply Kit ready: Your Supply kit should include a flashlight, first aid kit, batteries, food, water and any medications you may need for at least three days.
  • Plan for Pets: If a hurricane requires you to leave your home and you cannot shelter pets at a kennel or with friends or relatives outside the evacuation area, pets are allowed at all city evacuation centers.
Source: AARP

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Moving Out of State? 3 Estate-Planning Consequences to Consider

September 10, 2014 12:54 am

Moving to another state can be a stressful process. The last thing you want is to add the headache of estate law problems to your growing list of worries. But America is constantly moving. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that almost 36 million U.S. residents moved between 2012 and 2013.

Give yourself a moment, put down the boxes, and read about three estate consequences of an out-of-state move that you may not have considered:

1. State Rules about Out-of-State Executors

With your family and your old life back in your old state, it's pretty likely that your estate executors are out-of-state executors, which might be a problem.

Some states, like Ohio, require that out-of-state executors be related by blood or marriage to the estate holder, or at least reside in a state where non-relations can be named as executors. Your chosen executor may also need to travel to the state where you have died in order to administer your estate, so it may be necessary to keep travel ability in mind.

Other states, like New York, may also make it difficult for an out-of-state executor to take your property back to his or her home state. Before you move, you'll want to check the executor rules in both your current and future home states (or ask an estate planning attorney).

2. Moving Into (or Out of) a Community Property State


Some of the most populous states in the country are community property states, and whether you're moving into one or moving away from one, you need to consider the effect on your estate plan. A married couple who moves from Texas to New York may be unaware of how much the difference in inheritance and marital property laws will affect the final distribution of property.

This can be even further complicated if the married couple is same-sex and moving to a state which does not recognize the union as legal.

3. Different Rules About Living Wills/Advance Medical Directives

Living wills, also known as advance medical directives or advance health directives, are creatures of state law. Why risk having your wishes relating to life support hang on a technicality between state laws? For example, if you're a woman, you may wish to know if your new state will allow life support to be removed in the event you are pregnant.

An experienced estate planning attorney in either your old or new state should be able to clear up these and other estate consequences of moving to another state.

Source: FindLaw.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Turn a New Leaf with a Fall Family Road Trip

September 10, 2014 12:54 am

(BPT) - With the cooler temperatures of autumn flowing in, many Americans will be hitting the road to discover the natural beauty that the season brings. Whether they crave adventure, want to see the fall foliage or are just getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday, families need to be prepared to ensure they are getting the most out of this travel season.

"When it comes to fall travel, there is no experience quite like the autumn day drive - it's your last taste of crisp air and warm colors before the blanket of winter hibernation sets in," says Editor in Chief of "Road & Travel Magazine," Courtney Caldwell. "The keys to a successful road trip lay within the amount of preparation you do for your family and vehicle before you put either into motion."

Nothing puts a damper on a weekend getaway like car issues that could have easily been prevented by simple maintenance.

The American Petroleum Institute's (API) Motor Oil Matters (MOM) program has been established to provide information to consumers on the importance of using high quality motor oils, and verifying the oils are properly identified on invoices and receipts. Oil-change locations and motor oil distributors that share MOM's commitment - and submit to independent, third-party auditing - have the opportunity to be recognized by MOM through the Motor Oil Matters distributor and installer licensing programs.

MOM and Caldwell recommend fall travelers arm themselves with a simple plan of action and preparation to help get to their destination:

Don't fall behind on your vehicle maintenance


Change that oil: Motor oil is the lifeblood of your engine. One of the simplest steps you can take to ensure your vehicle is maintained is to change your motor oil with an API-licensed motor oil that meets your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations. Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true, and make sure your value-priced oil change includes high quality motor oil. MOM has put together a checklist for consumers, to ensure they are confident when going into a shop. To download this checklist, please visit www.motoroilmatters.org.

Breathe free
: Replacing a dirty air filter can increase a vehicle's life expectancy and fuel efficiency by reducing the strain on the engine, especially during warmer months.

Check your tires: Pay attention to your tire pressure and tread depth, as they are essential for increased automotive safety and optimum driving performance. The lower the tread depth is on your tires, the less traction you will have on wet and dry roads, and the greater the distance you will need to stop.

Enjoy more than the season

Keeping everyone happy: Write out a packing list for each family member. Store these lists on your computer so you can adjust them for different seasons and trips. Kids can be easily entertained during long car rides in the backseat with trivia, coloring books, games, books, assorted toys and stuffed animals.

Stop and pop: Bathroom breaks are always a good thing. They force you to get out of the car and talk with locals. A 10-minute break every two hours also increases alertness and adds to the overall sight-seeing experience.

Expect the unexpected
: Always have a car-safety kit packed for you and your family. It should contain: an auto escape tool, blankets, cell phone charger, cleaning items, flashlight, jumper cables, matches, pencil and notepad, warning lights or road flares, bottled water, non-perishable items and drinks, extra (hidden) cash, and a well-equipped first aid kit.

Keep it clean: Save and bring a handful of plastic grocery bags in the car to use for trash, damp clothes, or a "sick" bag for any car-sick passengers.

Source: www.roadandtravel.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Simple Things You Can Do Today to Feel Better Tomorrow

September 10, 2014 12:54 am

“Imagine you’re a spider with just one leg,” says Dr. Frank King.

“You put forth immense effort to try to haul yourself around and not only does it wear you out, it’s frustrating and you don’t get far.” King is a chiropractor and doctor of naturopathy specializing in homeopathic remedies, and author of The Healing Revolution (www.kingbio.com).

“It gets a bit easier with two legs and easier still with four legs. But it’s not till you have all eight legs that you can really dance.”

Dr. King explains that the eight legs represent Eight Essentials we need for optimum mental, physical and spiritual health: Empowering your human spirit; Water; Nutrition; Fitness; Sleep; Nature; Relationships; and Hands On Techniques (touch).

“It would be overwhelming and self-defeating to look at all eight areas and think, ‘I have to make significant changes in every area immediately!” Dr. King says. “You don’t have to and who could? I know from my experience with countless patients and friends, and even in my own life, that you can see immediate results by making a few small changes at a time.”

Dr. King describes three that are easy to make and will have you feeling better quickly.

Drink half your body weight in ounces of spring or well water every day. If you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 75 ounces of water (about 9 cups).

“Many of us walk around dehydrated without realizing it and that can have a significant effect on our health and how we feel,” Dr. King says. Dehydrated bodies trap toxins and encourage water retention – a natural defense against the chronic “drought.”

“Our bodies need the steady flow of pure, spring or well water. If you don’t like the taste, try mixing up to a teaspoon of sea salt into a quart of water,” he says.

A simple test for dehydration: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and hold for three seconds. When you release, if the ridge from the pinch remains for more than a second, you’re probably dehydrated.

Take at least a few minutes every day to connect with nature. Nature brings perpetual revitalization and ongoing renewal, especially when experienced through multiple senses: the smell of freshly turned earth or evergreens in the woods; the touch of cool stream water on your face or feet; the sight of birds on the wing and budding blooms.

“These are not just pleasant little gifts to experience—we need them for restoration, renewal, revival and rehabilitation,” Dr. King says. “The more disconnected we become from the Earth, the more we inhibit our body’s natural ability to heal.”

Take a brisk, 10- to 20-minute walk every day. Walking is the simplest, most natural form of exercise. You might walk a nature trail, walk to the store instead of driving or take your pet for a stroll.

“Three brisk 10-minute walks a day are as effective at lowering blood pressure as one 30-minute walk,” Dr. King says, citing an Arizona State University study.

“Outdoor walking is preferable to walking on a treadmill or other machine, since the uneven surfaces and changing directions of natural walking will engage more muscles and tendons.”

Swing each arm in synchronization with the opposite foot to strengthen your cross-crawl functionality and mind-body balance.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Get More Out of Household Items with Double-Duty Tips

September 9, 2014 2:21 am

From removing stains to shining shoes, you can do more than think with common household items. Here are a dozen ideas from Good Housekeeping Magazine just to get you started:
  • Mayo for water rings – Water rings on the table? Dab on mayonnaise (not the lite kind), let sit for a few hours and wipe away the mayo and the water ring.
  • Eyeglass case – When packing for your next vacation, use a spare eyeglass case for safely stowing jewelry, ear buds, chargers or other small items.
  • Kitchen tongs – Use them to help you grab something from a high closet shelf or something that fell behind the washer or dryer.
  • Liquid laundry pre-treater – Use it to loosen labels on washable hard surfaces or that annoying adhesive left by price stickers.
  • Emery boards – Use them to gently buff away stains on your suede handbags or shoes.
  • Table spoon – After chopping onions or garlic, neutralize your smelly hands by rubbing them on a stainless steel spoon under running water.
  • Kneadable art eraser – It does a fine job of removing scuffmarks from tile or wooden floors.
  • Drinking straws – Making a bouquet or floral centerpiece? Firm up the stems of tulips, daffodils and other flowers by inserting each stem into a drinking straw before adding it to a vase or bowl. Cut straws to size if you need to.
  • Newspaper – Spiff up dark colored shoes in a pinch by rubbing them with a balled-up sheet of black and white newspaper. (No polish needed.)
  • Cooking spray – Spritz a little on a squeaky door hinge, then swing the door back and forth a few times until the squeaking stops.
  • Rubber gloves – Grab one from under the sink and use to help you open a tight or stuck jar lid.
  • Kitchen colander – The old pasta drainer provides a wring-proof way to get the water out of hand-washed delicates. Push the water out, let drip for a bit and lay flat to dry.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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First Aid Basics Every Kid Should Know

September 9, 2014 2:21 am

Kids love summer. They have more time for fun with friends and, in many cases, more freedom to explore their surroundings without adult supervision. But accidents happen, and kids old enough to play outdoors should know some first aid basics.

Before your children run out into the great summer outdoors, consider arming them with a cell phone so they can call home or 911 in an emergency - and be sure they are familiar with these first aid tips for common childhood injuries:

Nosebleed – Have the person sit up straight and lean forward slightly. (Don’t tilt the head backward.) With thumb and index finger, firmly pinch the nose just below the bone up against the face. Apply pressure for five minutes. If bleeding continues, repeat the process.

Bee or wasp sting – If the person has a history of severe reaction to stings – or if they have trouble breathing, feel faint or dizzy, or have a swollen tongue – call 911 immediately. Otherwise, scrape the area with a fingernail and try to remove the stinger. Elevate the affected arm or leg and apply something cold if available. Unless the pain, dizziness or other symptoms dramatically lessen, get the person home as soon as possible.

Sprain – It may not be easy to know at once if the injury is a sprain or a broken bone. Have the injured person rest for a few minutes, apply ice if available, then compress the injury by wrapping the arm or leg not too tightly in a towel or a rolled up shirt. If the person can walk or limp, take him or her home. If not, call parents or 911. The injury should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible to determine if there is a break.

Severe sunburn – If the burned skin begins to blister, it’s a sign of serious sunburn. Rehydrate the victim with water, juice or sports drink. Soothe the burn by bathing with lukewarm water or applying cool compresses. Apply aloe or moisturizing lotion, keep the person out of the sun, and get him or her home to rest.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Run Your Home More Like a CEO

September 9, 2014 2:21 am

All successful CEOs have one thing in common: They’re able to maintain a big-picture perspective. It’s also something successful moms have in common, says Zenovia Andrews, a business strategist, speaker, author and mom who coaches entrepreneurs and CEOs on time and budget management.

“In business, CEOs implement a process that achieves efficient time and resource management in the most cost-effective way; sounds a lot like a mom, doesn’t it?” says Andrews, founder and CEO of The MaxOut Group, a company devoted to empowering and teaching entrepreneurs development strategies to increase profits.

“If every mom were a CEO, America would rule the world!”

Andrews, author of the new book “All Systems Go – A Solid Blueprint to Build Business and Maximize Cash Flow,” (www.zenoviaandrews.com), suggests the following tips for moms to better manage money and time.

CEOs utilize apps, and so should CEO Moms. When a CEO’s personal assistant isn’t around or, if it’s a small business and she doesn’t have one, then apps do nicely. There are several apps for moms, including Bank of Mom – an easy way to keep track of your kids' allowances. Set up an account for each child and track any money they earn for chores or allowance. The app also allows you to track their computer and TV time as well as other activities.

Measurement is the key to knowledge, control and improvement. CEOs have goals for their businesses and Moms have goals for their family members. In either case, the best way to achieve a big-picture goal is to identify action steps and objectives and a system for measuring progress. Want to improve your kids’ test scores, help your husband lose weight or – gasp – free some time for yourself? There are four phases to help track progress: planning, or establishing goals; collection, or conducting research on your current process; analysis – comparing information from existing processes with the new one; and adapting, or implementing the new process.

Understand your home’s “workforce.” A good CEO helps her employees grow and develop, not only for the company’s benefit, but for the employee’s as well. Most people are happiest when they feel they’re learning and growing, working toward a goal, which may be promotion within the company or something beyond it. When they feel the CEO is helping with that, they’re happier, more productive, more loyal employees. Likewise, CEO Moms need to help their children gain the skills and knowledge they need not only to succeed in general but to achieve their individual dreams.

A well-running household is a community effort; consider “automated” systems. In business, automated systems tend to be as clinical as they sound, typically involving technology. Yet, there’s also a human resource element. Automated systems are a must for CEO Moms, and they tend to take the form of scheduling at home. Whose night is it for the dishes, or trash? One child may be helpful in the kitchen, whereas another may be better at cleaning the pool.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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