Green Spring Cleaning Solutions

Natural Cleaning Ideas

The sun is shining and Spring is almost here!  With Spring often times comes the feeling to spruce things up around the house. But, don’t rush out and buy all the kitchen and bathroom cleaning chemicals you can find. You might be surprised to learn that you have many ingredients you could use to clean already in your pantry. Below are some green cleaning solution mixtures to help you keep your home sparkling clean.

 Floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.

Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.

Counter tops and bathroom tile: Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour, and wipe away.

Wood furniture: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive and oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.

– Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet clean with straight vinegar.

– Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 3 cups hot water, and 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle. Wipe clean.

– Mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.

– Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball, and stash it in a corner of the room. If you have kids, make sure it is out of their reach as essential oils are very strong and could irritate their skin. Lavender is a relaxing scent that is great for bedrooms, and cinnamon, clove, and citrus oils are great for the rest of the house. You can stash a few in the car too—try peppermint, which may help you to stay alert.

Source: Lisa Barnes

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What Difference Does an Hour Make?


Difference an Hour makes

Some Highlights:

  • Don’t forget to set your clocks forward this Sunday, March 11th at 2:00 AM EST in observance of Daylight Saving Time.
  • Unless of course, you are a resident of Arizona or Hawaii!
  • Every hour in the United States: 614 homes are sold, 81 homes regain

Want to make your hours count for your real estate deals? We are here to help! 

Is Now a Good Time to Rent?

Rent pic 1

People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home, but nobody ever asks when it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their 2017 fourth quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

Rent pic 2

As you can see, rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether or not you should renew your lease, you might be pleasantly surprised at your ability to buy a home of your own instead.
Bottom Line

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy. The first step is to contact a lender. We have  a great database of experienced local lenders to choose from. Call us today for a lender reference and to get the ball rolling at 1-888-713-3056.

Burrrrrrr! How to Weather The Winter in an Older Home


Burrrrrrrrrr! It’s cold outside today in Bellingham and around Western Washington!

Many Bellingham and Whatcom County were homes built  in the early 1900 and even late 1800’s. Weathering the cold and dark winter months is a challenge for anyone, but can be especially difficult if you live in an older home. Older homes carry a lot of appeal but older homes also come with problems and a lot of them are brought to light in cold winters. These are common issues that should be addressed and corrected so that your focus is on friends, family and holidays, and not with home repairs.

Many older homes come with beautiful glass work but unfortunately, these drafty, single-pane windows allow heat to escape, wasting energy and money. Replacement windows can be expensive but they are often the most effective way to increase energy efficiency and comfort.

Insulation overall can be a problem in older homes, and inadequate insulation should be supplemented with additional insulation, particularly in attics. In order to ascertain how much insulation you need, check with local sources to determine if minimum insulation ratings (R-values) are required in your area for new homes and then meet or exceed those levels in your older home if you can.

Outdated water pipes can cause huge problems if cold temperatures cause them to freeze or burst. Older pipes made of galvanized steel, iron, or lead may need to be replaced if they are not in good condition. Good replacement options include copper or CPVC.
Early sunsets can make the winter seem dreary and long, so simple steps to brighten the interior of your home can go a long way to lifting those winter blues. Add bright color to any room with pillow covers, flowers, or indoor plants. Likewise, giving a small space like a powder or laundry room a fresh coat of paint in a cheerful color can help brighten an indoor space without becoming a major project. If you’ve got a green thumb, you can also take this time to plan out your spring garden, reminding yourself of sunnier, longer days to come.

Thanks you to Jefferson Livingston with Pillar to Post Home Inspections for sharing this great information with us!  Stay warm everyone!

Reindeer Cookies, a Fun Festive Holiday Treat!

Reindeer cookiesChristmas week is here! Are you doing holiday baking?  These fun and festive peanut butter cookies are great to make with kids and taste delicious too! To make the reindeer cookies for your self follow the recipe below.

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Mini Brown M&Ms or chocolate chips
  • 1.2 cup shortening
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Regular sized M&M’s

Combine first four ingredients in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until blended. Lightly beat in egg. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add creamed mixture at low speed. Mix until just blended. Form dough into 1 inch balls. To make reindeer shape pinch the bottom of the ball slightly to form a point and gently flatten with your hand. Space cookies approx 2 inches apart and bake for 7 to 8 min in oven preheated to 375 degrees.

Remove from oven and immediately press two mini chocolate covered pretzels in to the tops of the cookies to form antlers, two mini brown M&M’s for the eyes and one red M&M for the nose. Allow to cool for a few minutes on cookie tray before transferring to wire rack.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

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Rich and Lylene Celebrate 50 Years of Marriage!

Over the weekend on Rich and Lylene celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.   Rich sent this heartfelt message to his clients via email, and it was too good not to share here as well.
Rich Lylene

Dec 16th, holds a special meaning for Lylene & I.  What might not be so obvious from the photo is that it was taken 50 years ago today.  On that day, two very young people pledged themselves to each other.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that, under her breath, Lylene also pledged to work on smoothing over some of the rough edges on the guy standing next to her.  So after 50 years, while, in my opinion, she has me next to being perfect, I am still subject to what we call “Lylene’s Tutorials”.  I can always tell when it’s going to happen because she has a tendency to stand up really straight, tuck her chin down & commence with  the subject at hand.  I used to be able to blame the indiscretion on the kids while they were still at home and then the dog but after she passed I was the only culprit left. I’d like to tell you that for the past 50 years the wind has been to our backs & the path ahead has been nothing but rosy.  Fact is, we have known sadness & happiness, grief & hope, sickness & health, success & failure but that’s “Life” isn’t it. No guarantees but a pledge to work through the ups & downs so as we come out on the other side of 50 years, we do it with a smile on our face, hope for the future & a song in our heart.  Truth be told, if I had a chance to get on the “Merry Go Round called Life” another time, I’d wait for the lady in the photo..


From our house to your house, we wish you & yours the happiest of Christmas Seasons!!

Christmas Lighting Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

Can you believe that Christmas is less than 10 days away? My how the time around the holidays flies by. If you are like many than you plan on decorating your home for the holidays. While decorating your home it’s important to take safety and not just “looks” into consideration. Hundreds of homes are damaged by holiday decoration electrical mishaps every year.

-Avoid using the larger seven-volt light bulbs. Sure, they are bigger and brighter, but they also burn much hotter than mini Christmas lights. One of the most common causes of holiday-time house fires results from these bulbs being too close to gutters filled with dried out leaves.

– Make sure that the strings of lights you are using outside have built-in fuses on the lines. Sometimes, these fuses are located in the actual plug.

– Make sure to use Christmas lights that are designated for outdoor use only. If you use indoor-rated lights, they may not be able to withstand the weather conditions which will cause them to break down much faster.

– You should only use Christmas lights and electric equipment that has been tested and verified by a reliable testing laboratory. Two reputable laboratories are UL and ETL. Any equipment or lights that have been tested safe will have one of their logos on the packaging. If it doesn’t have it, don’t use it!

– If you have a string of lights with a blown bulb, be sure to replace it with a bulb of the exact same wattage.

– Never tap into your home’s feeder line to power your outdoor Christmas lights or hang decorations on the line.

– Avoid using nails, tacks or metal staples to secure your outdoor Christmas lights. Use insulated hooks instead, and be sure your lights are strung tightly to avoid damage from the wind.

– Use only outdoor rated extension cords. Plus, avoid connecting more than three strings of lights to a single extension cord.

– All plugs should be plugged into a GFCI protected outlet when used outside.

– When it comes time to take your Christmas decorations and lights, never remove the strings of lights by pulling on the wires. This causes the wires to break free from the sockets and the bulbs to break.


The Holiday Season is here! It’s Wassail time!

WassailThanksgiving is next week and with that comes the food and beverages of the holiday season.

No matter what holiday you embrace and choose to celebrate there always is some sort of tradition that symbolizes the holiday season to you. For The Johnson Team the holiday tradition Lylene making her famous “wassail”.” Those that do not know what Wassail is, it is a wonderful holiday drink that is a combination of fruit juices and spiced that will keep you home smelling like the holidays and provide a cup of cheer for all ages.

If you would like to try making Wassail for yourself or your next holiday party follow the recipe below:

  • 1 can frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1/2 can orange/pineapple juice concentrate
  • 3 1/2 cans water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 10-12 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

Make in a pot on the stove, a crock pot or a coffee maker used solely for wassail. Enjoy!

Halloween Home Saftey Tips

Bellingham HalloweenHalloween is creeping up on us fast and so are some potential dangers to your home as a result of the fun holiday.  Below are some tips to help keep your home and family safe this Halloween:

– Be careful when placing candles in your carved jack-o-lanterns and keep them far away from any furnishings, drapes or Halloween decor that may be flammable and never leave them burning unattended.

– Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or movable decorative objects.

– Be sure and take time to check around our porch or sidewalk for any garden hoses, low lying tree limbs or decorations that might prove to be a tripping hazard for young children trick or treating at your home.

Hope you have a safe and happy Halloween!

Non-Profit Moving Truck User of the Quarter, ReSources

Your referrals let us provide help to Whatcom County non-profit organizations who benefit our community. Please think of us when a friend or relative talks about moving – and tell your favorite non-profit to give us a call when they need a truck! Our non-profit moving truck user of  this quarter is ReSources.

We promote sustainable communities and protect the health of northwestern Washington people and ecosystems through application of science, education, advocacy and action. Our vision is to see people living satisfying lives in accord with the ecosystem we depend on – generation after generation

“RE Sources stands ready to take action on issues that threaten our community or that advance its sustainability. By maintaining integrity and trust, RE Sources can stand ready to respond to unforeseen threats to our community, or opportunities to advance its sustainability, “
Re Sources

For more information on the moving truck please visit our website or call 1-888-713-3056 to learn more!