CSVFD Annual Carnival

Next week is the Castle Shannon Volunteer Fire Department’s annual carnival.

Funnel cake 20040821 172200 1.1655x1275
Funnel cake is our favorite carnival food. What’s yours? Tell us in the comments below an share where in Pittsburgh you’ve had the best!

 

It’s not too late to get your $1 ticket for the car raffle and enter for your chance to win a Chevy, up to a $30,000 value.

The carnival starts at 7 p.m. each night and runs from Monday the 25th to Saturday the 30th. Closing times of the carnival will depend on attendance and the weather each night. The carnival takes place at the CSVFD, right off the Memorial Hall stop on the Blue Line of the “T”, and walking distance from Place Seville Apartments and Alvern Gardens Apartments.

Ride tickets can be bought for $2.50 at the ticket booth at the carnival. The typical carnival games of chance are also featured at the event, including poker tables and a duck pond.

There will be delicious carnival food: hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, hot sausage sandwiches, cheese sticks, french fries, funnel cake, ice cream, cotton candy, snow cones, and more.

This carnival is a key fundraiser for the Volunteer Fire Department, so we hope lots of people turn out to play games, ride rides, and enjoy tasty food. And, of course, one lucky visitor will drive home in a new Chevy!

Parking is free, but limited, so if you can take the “T” or walk, we don’t recommend driving to the carnival.

 

Phote by Lorax at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Pd THOR at en.wikipedia. (Taken by user Lorax and released under the GNU FDL) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

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Country Living’s tips for downsizing

We came across this Country Living article earlier this week and decided it’s a must-share. We’ve given lots of advice in the past about moving and how to make a smooth transition to a new home, but we’ve never shared anything about what to keep when you’re downsizing.

Alvern Gardens
Residents of Alvern Gardens have access to green space around the property for grilling, setting out patio furniture, and even planting their own small gardens, so moving here hardly feels like downsizing at all.

A fair number of our new residents are moving to apartments after living in houses for several years, and although they’re relieved that Alvern Gardens Apartments feature spacious layouts and included extra storage, there’s usually some stuff that has to go. Country Living advises putting special mementos, family heirlooms, and collections amassed over the years in storage rather than throwing them away. These are things that are important to you and your family, so they’re worth keeping in a safe space. For our part, we recommend buying plastic bins with tightly sealing lids to store those things securely. The article also notes the importance of wiping all personal information from electronics before getting rid of them, a key step that many people forget.

We also agree one hundred percent that important documents must be kept safe through a move. A small filing cabinet or even a filing box doesn’t take up much space and will help you keep your life organized.

Are you downsizing? Consider making Alvern Gardens your new home! We have a couple of three bedroom apartments available right now, and at 822 square feet with additional storage included in rent, we’re confident that you won’t have to compromise much on space. Call us at 412-561-4663 or email us at alverngardens@yahoo.com and be sure to ask about our move-in special.

Looking for a new home? Check out Alvern Gardens!

Alvern Gardens is currently offering a special on pet friendly three bedroom apartments: second month’s free rent and no pet fee! There are only a few three bedroom apartments available, so if you’re interested, call 412-561-4663 today for a tour.

Alvern Gardens
Residents of Alvern Gardens have access to green space around the property for planting their own small gardens.

The on-site leasing office is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fridays. Walk-ins are welcome during these hours. If you’d like to schedule a tour outside of these hours, agents are available by appointment on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings.

The rent for the 822 sq ft three bedrooms is $815/month plus electric, all other utilities are included in rent, including heat, cooking gas, and hot water. All apartments are cable and internet ready (Comcast is the provider).

The spacious layout features separate living and dining rooms, a coat closet by the front door, and a linen closet by the bathroom. The apartments are equipped with brand new wall-to-wall carpeting, a full-size gas stove and refrigerator, ample cabinet space in the kitchen, and a ceiling fan in the dining room. Additional storage is included with each apartment.

Residents have full control over the radiator heat and are welcome to install as many window air conditioning units as they desire. All windows come with screens, locks, and stays, and are designed for easy ac installation.

Coin-operated laundry facilities are located in the basement. Four apartments share one facility, and there is a change machine in the on-site leasing office for the convenience of our residents.

The on-site dog park is open to residents and their pups during daylight hours. Plus, with pool season fast approaching, it’s worth noting that Alvern Gardens has a pool.

pool

Parking is on street, first come, first serve, with permit-only off street parking included with certain units. Garages are available for rent for $55/month.

Alvern Gardens is situated just a five minute walk from the St. Anne’s T stop, where both the Red and Blue Lines stop every five to twenty minutes. This quiet residential neighborhood is just minutes from shopping, restaurants and recreational areas such as the Ice Castle skating rink and South Park.

If Alvern Gardens sounds like the place for you, please call us at 412-561-4663 to inquire about the application process.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living

We’ve been posting a lot about cats lately, so we decided it’s time to post something about dogs. Really, we’re shocked we’ve gone this long without offering a list of the best dogs for apartment living. So here’s our list. These dogs don’t get bigger than 40 lbs, so they’re all approved for Alvern Gardens Apartments, but they each have more traits than size alone that make them great apartment dwellers.

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Quiet, cuddly, and friendly, these dogs do well in small spaces. We know one who is a proper, lazy gentleman who won’t lift a paw if it’s above 78 degrees outside, and once round the block is plenty exercise for him, too.Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  2. Pug: Quiet, friendly, low energy, at home in small spaces, and highly adaptable, pugs are popular for a reason. We’ve met a pack of pugs who are devoted sailors, so you can bet a pug will adapt just fine to any environment, even the tight quarters of apartment life.
    pug
    By DodosD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  3. English and French Bulldogs: Low energy (read: lazy), gentle, quiet, and good in small spaces, French and English Bulldogs make lovely companions in apartment life.
  4. Dachshund: With proper training, these stubby legged and spunky little guys make friendly, loyal family pets. They need a little more exercise than the other breeds on the list, but their short legs make for slow, easy walks, and they can get their workout indoors as well.dog-1083690_1920
  5. Shih Tzu: A calm, friendly breed that does well in small spaces, shih tzus are a classic lapdog companion. Plus, the goofy bow in the fur is not a requirement.dog-220393_1280
  6. Chinese Crested: Yes, this is that weird naked dog, and a member of this breed has been crowed ugliest dog alive, but did you know there’s a furry version too? Whether you prefer your crested hairless or powder puff (yes, that’s what they’re called), he’ll be low energy, he’ll do well in a small home, and he’ll be happy to spend hours just laying around.
    Powderpuff_Chinese_Crested_1
    By DodosD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  7. Japanese Chin: This little fluff ball is surprisingly low maintenance in the grooming department, requiring just one weekly brushing (as opposed to the daily brushing many fancy lapdogs demand). This is also a breed that does well in small homes.dogs-956677_1920
  8. Toy and Miniature Poodles: As their names indicate, these are small dogs that do well in small spaces. Additionally, poodles are very intelligent and easy to train, making them well disciplined apartment dwellers.dog-706958_1920
  9. Mutt: Although we’ve just listed a bunch of fancy pure-bred dogs, we have to confess that we love a good mixed breed rescue. Most shelters will be able to give you a rough idea of what’s mixed in, and researching the component breeds will give you a good idea of size, energy levels, intelligence, ease of training, shedding and grooming needs, as well as overall temperament and whether a pup will be suited to apartment living. It’s always a good idea to give a dog an in-home test run if you have the option.Dogs welcome at Alvern Gardens Apartments

Preventive treatments against mold

We’ve posted a lot in the past about natural ways to keep your home clean, and we just came across this article on natural mold treatment and prevention methods. As it warms up (and gets more humid) here in the Pittsburgh area, we’d like to highlight a few of these preventive measures.

natural cleaning
These natural mold prevention methods will help you keep your bathroom (and the rest of your home) mold free.

The most important thing to remember about mold is that it thrives in moist environments, so keeping your home dry and ventilated is key. Opening windows when it’s nice out, drying the shower with a rag or squeegee after each use, and keeping your shower curtain closed to let it dry are simple steps to make habitual. In basements, crawl spaces, or other areas without proper ventilation, a dehumidifier might be in order. But there are other factors to keep in mind as well.

If you have a ventilation fan in your bathroom, kitchen, or elsewhere in your home, it’s important to clean it regularly. A clean fan is a functional fan. The same goes for air conditioners and heating/cooling ducts. If you rent your home, familiarize yourself with your lease and know who (you or your landlord) is responsible for maintaining whatever heating/cooling system you have.

An air purifier can calm your concerns about airborne mold spores. While some models are pricier than others, a little research will help you find the right unit for your space. They’re great for allergy sufferers and most don’t require much electricity to run. They can even help deodorize your home when it’s too cold out to open a window.

Now, we’ve already told you about how great vinegar can be for cleaning mold, but did you know it can help prevent mold as well? It can! Just spray it onto susceptible areas such as the grout around your bathtub, your bathroom ceiling, particularly moist corners of your basement, wherever, and let it dry. You’ll just have to deal with the smell for a little while, but that will fade. If the smell is too much, try diluted citrus seed extract instead. Whichever method you choose, you’ll need to reapply regularly. Luckily both of these preventive substances are natural and nontoxic.

If you find that you have a persistent problem area resistant to your every attack, it’s time to contact your landlord, or if you’re a homeowner, a mold specialist.

Related Posts:

Battling Mildew

How to clean your acrylic bathtub

Spring cleaning the natural way

Spring cleaning to protect your security deposit

How to keep your acrylic bathtub sparkling (and protect your security deposit)

We’ve posted in the past about security deposits, spring cleaning, and other tips for renters. This week, we’re going hyper focused: how to maintain an acrylic bathtub. Why? Because a lot of tubs are acrylic now, and keeping acrylic clean requires slightly different methods from porcelain or enamel. Plus, the return of a renter’s full security deposit depends largely on how clean the rental is after they vacate it, and the bathroom (along with the kitchen) is one of the places renters tend to lose most of their security deposit.

bathtub cleaning
Bathtubs can be hard to keep clean, but giving your acrylic weekly attention will make your move-out process much easier.

Our main point is prevention: the cleaner you keep your tub for the duration of your lease, the easier it will be to get it downright squeaky upon move-out. This is especially important if your tub is acrylic, a porous material that stains more easily than others but also requires gentler cleaning methods.

Tub Maintenance

Deposits from hard water and soap scum are the main culprits of tub stains. To prevent these from building up, rinse your tub with warm water after each use and have a squeegee or rag handy for wiping it dry. Bonus: this keeps grout clean and mold free, too.

Weekly cleanings are paramount to protecting your acrylic tub, but you don’t need heavy duty products. You could use dish soap, a mixture of vinegar and water, or even shampoo. Don’t use abrasive scrubbing pads, as this will scratch the acrylic. A plain old sponge will do just fine for regular cleanings. The final step of your weekly clean should always be a rinse with warm water followed by a wipe down with a rag or squeegee.

Be sure to include your tub surround—be it tile or acrylic—with all of the above maintenance measures.

For the Tough Stains

Comet, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, OxyClean, Scrubbing Bubbles, Lime-A-Way, CLR Cleaner, and the list of products goes on. Sure, these work great. But you know what else works? Vinegar, baking soda, borax, hydrogen peroxide, cream of tartar. Whether you’re making a paste from Comet powder or baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, consistency and duration are key. Paste should be thick enough to stay put on a stain for an hour or more. Another method is to soak a clean white cloth in vinegar and lay it on top of the stain. You could also fill the tub with a mixture of hot water and vinegar until the stain is submerged, let it sit for several hours, then drain and scrub the tub.

A quick Google search will bring up all sorts of odd methods: dissolve laundry detergent powder, dishwasher detergent, or even denture cleaner in your tub filled with hot water. Scrub rust stains with toilet bowl cleaner. The lesson: think outside the box.

When it comes to soaking away stains, be patient. Find something else to do for the hour or more that the cleaner needs to soak. If the stain is still there, repeat the process. Make sure to follow the directions to the letter and soak for the maximum length suggested. If you have to re-soak, soak it longer the second time.

Once your stain has soaked and you’re ready to apply elbow grease, use a soft sponge, nothing abrasive.

When You Move Out

So you’ve been maintaining your tub meticulously for the duration of your lease, and now you’re moving. You take the time to clean everything thoroughly, including your tub. How do you make sure you’ve done everything right? How do you protect yourself? First, consult any pictures you may (should) have taken of the vacant apartment when you first signed the lease. Compare the picture of the tub before you started using it to the picture of how it is now. Do they look the same? Perfect! You’re all set to turn in your keys. If your tub has stains that weren’t there when you moved in, take a little more time to get rid of them. If you notice them, you can bet your landlord will too and take the cost of cleaning out of your security deposit.

Once you’re confident that everything is how it was when you first moved in, take pictures of everything all over again. These will serve as evidence in the event that you have a dispute over the return of your deposit. If, however, you’ve followed all your landlord’s instructions and left everything as clean as how you found it, you shouldn’t have any problems.

What’s in a name? For Carbonara’s, it’s deliciousness

Fans of Italian food should do themselves a favor and visit Carbonara on Mt. Lebanon Blvd. in Castle Shannon. This restaurant and lounge is cozy and family friendly with a menu that features all the classics, but it’s the little touches that make it a truly nice restaurant.

The staff is genial and friendly from the moment you walk in the door. The booths are huge and

Carbonara Restaurant
If you love pasta, you owe it to yourself to visit Carbonara. Photo by gaku. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gaku/2730668353/in/photostream/

immaculately clean. The entire place is warmly lit. We ordered the pasta—the titular carbonara and a plate of spaghetti with meat sauce—which comes with either a tossed salad or a cup of soup as an appetizer and garlic bread as a side. We got two tossed salads, and boy were they tasty. The greens were lush (no ice berg lettuce here!), all the ingredients were crispy and fresh, and it was portioned just right. Our pasta was served in dishes that made the servings look deceptively small. It wasn’t until we twirled in with fork and spoon that we realized what we were in for. Everything was rib-stickingly rich and we barely made it through half of our plates. The rest, along with half of the baguette we received under the name “garlic bread,” (seriously, it was a lot of tasty, tasty garlic bread) went home in a doggie bag.

In cities, it can be hard to find a reasonably priced restaurant that serves food everyone in the party will like. But at Carbonara’s, not only is there free parking in a decently sized lot, there’s a varied Italian menu so tasty you’ll double check the receipt to make sure you weren’t under charged.

What to live close to tasty local eats like Carbonara’s? Contact Prudential Realty Company for our current availability at a variety of our Castle Shannon communities: Alvern Gardens, Place Seville, and Sleepy Hollow Townhouses and Apartments.