Seller Profile: Denise Glickler

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Does Your Pet Get Enough Attention?

Deciding to buy or adopt a pet brings with it certain responsibilities, not unlike having a child. You should choose a pet that will match the amount of attention and time you have available to give it. Luckily, different pets have different needs and you have a wide choice.

Dogs

Dogs are very sociable animals and need to live in a pack. Leaving a dog on its own for long periods of time will result in behavioral problems such as destructive behavior, howling/whining, dominant behavior or excessive urination.

Many dogs are returned to dog pounds or kicked out of the house because they have chewed shoes, carpets, doors; or they have started to bark excessively or whine; or perhaps they urinate indoors even though they are housebroken. All these problems can usually be solved by a change in the owner’s behavior.

Take time to exercise and groom your dog. Engage with him at feeding time. This will reinforce your position as pack leader and he will grow to respect you.

Cats

Although cats do not need to be exercised like dogs, they still need your love and attention. Cats like to be stroked each day and will love to hear the sound of your voice as you potter around with them by your side. They like to sit at your feet or in your lap while you read or watch TV.

Grooming is very important is long-haired cats. Many cats end up with skin infections or painful matting because the owner failed to take into account the grooming time needed.

Birds

Birds too need different degrees of attention. Some birds, like canaries, want very little attention, but other breeds such as parrots need a lot if interaction to be happy. Some breeds of parrots will mimic your voice and words. They will listen intently when you speak close to them and will come to you if you reward them with treats such as nuts or seeds.

Reptiles

While not known as affectionate creatures, if you plan on keeping reptiles it is a good idea to get them used to human handling during feeding and cleaning time. The only way to familiarize them with the human touch is to do so often. You will also find that handling your pet will be more enriching as an experience, always within the limits of safety.

Well-Meant Casual Promises of the New Year

Hey! It’s New Year’s Day! First day of the new year, first day to make things better, first day to embark upon those well-meant casual promises you made to yourself that you’re under no legal obligation to fulfill!

But where did the tradition of setting New Year’s Resolutions come from? How did it all start?

It is said that the ancient Babylonians were the ones who started this tradition. While this was in mid-March, when the crops were being planted, they celebrated a festival called Akitu. This is when they made promises to pay their debts and return objects they borrowed at the same time they crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king.

After Julius Caesar changed the calendar and set January 1st as the beginning of the new year, the Romans joined that practice. January is named for Janus, the two-faced god whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches. They believed he looked both back into the previous year and forward into the next…so they made promises to this deity of good conduct.

Early Christians made the first day of the new year the traditional occasion for thinking about past mistakes and resolving to do better in the future. In 1740, the English clergyman John Wesley, who founded the Methodist church, created a service for this: the Covenant Renewal Service.

Yet, despite the religious roots of New Year’s resolutions, it’s now mostly a secular practice. Instead of promising to do better to the gods, we’re promising ourselves. We usually focus on self-improvement – which might be why it’s hard to follow through on them. Did you know that as many as 54 percent of Americans make resolutions, but only 8 percent of us actually manage to achieve those goals? Don’t feel bad when you don’t fulfill that well-meant promise! We’re with you! Some of us have even adjusted our resolutions to be more attainable:

  • Lose weight or my temper. Whichever comes first.
  • Stop procrastinating. Starting tomorrow.
  • Get in shape. I choose round.
  • Stop drinking orange juice after I’ve brushed my teeth.
  • Lose weight by hiding it somewhere I’ll never find.
  • Lower my bills by digging a hole to put them in.

What NOT to Wear at an Interview

First impressions are important. The decision to hire an applicant can be made in the first few seconds of meeting you. You will be judged by your appearance to determine if you are neat, concerned with details, understated or dramatic. An employer will even look at your clothing to determine if you understand the type of work you will be doing.

Rule #1: Dress the Part

The most important thing is to dress the part. Imagine you are going to a casting call for movie extras. And whether they pick you for a role is based on how good your costume is.  If the scene is set in the winter, you wouldn’t show up in shorts.

You should look like everyone else who already works there. However, you should not look like everyone else who is applying. What you want to show your future employer that you already “fit.” Dress as though they will hire you on the spot as long as you don’t have to go home to change.

Shorts and Flip Flops

Unless you are applying to be a lifeguard or summer camp counselor, shorts are out. Pants should be clean with no rips. If the company uniform is khaki pants, that’s what you wear. For ladies, skirts should be a comfortable length, pretty close to the knee, with no tugging required.

Shoes should be comfortable and meet any OSHA guidelines for the job. Does this factory floor require non-slip or steel toes? You should know that and dress accordingly.

Tight Fitting Clothes

Find a shirt that fits. You are about to be asked tons of questions about your work ethic and job experience. Do you really want to think all that up while holding your breath? Comfortable clothes give comfortable answers.  So put away the guns, Muscle Man.

Hats

Look around the job site. Does everyone have their own hard hat? So should you. The rest of the crew is wearing hair nets? Where is yours? All the other truckers have hats? Get one fast!

At most jobs, no one wears a hat. Neither should you. A hat says you have something to hide — hat head, baldness, or white hair with green streaks. Be honest about who you are by removing the hat. Hair style should be well-kept and boring, unless you are applying to a hair salon.

Gobs of Make Up and Suffocating Perfume

Light and natural are the way to go. Don’t “cake on” the make up or “stink up” the office. Strong perfumes, aftershave or colognes often give hiring managers headaches. You don’t want the interviewer to remember you as “the one that gave me the asthma attack.”

Cell Phones and Accessories

Leave the cell phone in the car. The interviewer is taking time away from their job responsibilities. Do not interrupt your time with them to answer calls or glance at TXTs.

Purses should be small and understated. Portfolios and briefcases should be easily operated.

Never chew gum. Instead, chew up a mint just before arrival. Don’t carry a rattling container of them.

Noisy jewelry, lots of piercings, and colorful tattoos distract employers from why you are the best applicant. Reduce these distractions and help them see the real you.

The Complete Kitchen: Gadgets for Greatness

Do you have a foodie in your life and you want to find the perfect Holiday gift for them? Or maybe you love to cook and the gift is for you? There are many wonderful kitchen gadgets you should explore! Here are just a few:

8-in-1 Kitchen Tool Bottle

This nifty tool combines multiple needs: 300ml measuring cup, two funnels, citrus squeezer, jar opener cheese grater spice grater, egg separator, and egg masher. It stacks up to form a cool and colorful wine bottle and is easy to keep clean!

Reusable Straws

These come in silicone or in stainless steel and are a wonderful way to sip and protect the environment. It’s great for keeping your lipstick in place!

Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner

This is a cute and funny design which looks like the mother who’s angry that her microwave was left dirty. She easily cleans the crud in minutes, steam cleaning your microwave with vinegar and water. The steam comes out of Mama’s head and softens the microwave stains to make it easier to clean.

Butter Spreader Knife

This knife curls your cold butter to make it softer and easier to spread. No more shredding bread! It can also be used with peanut butter! It’s dishwasher friendly and will not scratch easily.

Silicone Devil Oven and Toaster Rack Puller

No more oven burns! This devil stick pulls hot bakeware and oven racks closer, protecting you. It’s like a hand extension which hooks on the edges of baking dishes and the oven rack. This one looks like a devil…because who better to withstand the heat?

Whisk Cleaner

If you love whisks but hate trying to get the insides de-gooped and clean, this is the tool for you! It wipes the wisk in seconds, returns all of it to the bowl, and catches drips! Some even come with the whisk.

And for those who hate to cook but can never decide what’s for dinner…

Take Out Dice

If you’re always arguing about what to get for take out, this die will help you settle the argument! Each side as a different delectable dinner option, and depending on the type you get…they can be different things. The set pictured, for example, offers seafood, breakfast, Chinese, pizza, hamburgers, or tacos. Yummy food is just a roll away!

Ho Ho Holidays: Little Known Holiday Traditions

‘Tis the season for celebrating, and we’re pulling out our tinsel and plastic Santas. The lights adorn our houses, or in some cases, a menorah is placed in the window, ready for December 10th to come around for the first night of Chanukah.

We’re saying “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy Chanukah,” or “Happy Holidays,” or “Season’s Greetings” and almost every radio station has been taken over with Christmas Carols.

We’re in the mood for giving, for loving, for peace on Earth and goodwill towards man.

What are some traditions for these holidays? Let’s take a peek:

One of the common threads in the Jewish tradition of Chanukah is eating fried foods. Because many of the countries on our tour involve the food, let’s start by explaining why fried foods are important.

Chanukah is the “Festival of Lights.” It is a celebration of freedom of religion, where the Jewish people, having been pushed out of their homes and temples by a polytheistic King who tried to get them to worship him, refused. They took to the mountains and hid. Eventually, they formed a rebellion, won their lands and temple back, and began the recovery. In the temple there is an Eternal Flame. It is said that when the flame goes out, the Temple in Jerusalem will fall…so it’s important to keep it lit. Sadly, when they began their recovery, they discovered only enough oil to last for one day. They used this oil to light the flame and began preparing more oil, but they knew it took eight days for this to be ready. A miracle happened though, and the oil kept the flame lit for eight days! This is why Jewish people across the world eat fried foods on Chanukah.

And now, our tour begins in South America.

Jewish people in Columbia have added a new fried food to their menu: Patacones, which is plantain slices fried in oil.

Meanwhile, Christians celebrating Christmas have a few unusual traditions. In Venezuela, for example, roads are closed to let people roller skate to early morning Christmas Mass. On their way, skaters will tug on the ends of long pieces of string tied by children to their big toes and dangled out of windows. Why was this tradition begun? Nobody knows…but guesses are that it is the tropical Venezuela’s alternative to sledding.

Mexicans perform the “posadas” which is a series of nine processions to re-enact the part of the Christmas story where Joseph and Mary go in search of somewhere to stay. This ends in a Church service with food, games, and fireworks.

Moving our tour on to Africa, we come to Yemen and North Africa, where the seventh day of Chanukah is all about celebrating the heroines of the story. These communities mark this with Chag Ha’Banot, the Daughter’s Festival and celebrate Hannah and Judith, who fought against the oppression from the Assyrians. In Morocco, Jewish people also have a “Sfenj,” which is a fried jelly donut with juice and the zest of an orange.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, Christians enjoy their “tasty” Christmas treats of emperor moth caterpillars that are either sun-dried or deep fried. They say the bugs have a similar flavor to tea.

Continuing on to the Middle East, we have a few interesting traditions. In Israel, sufagniyot, round jelly donuts fried in oil, are enjoyed and menorah lights are burned and displayed for all to see them burning. In Istanbul, Turkey, Jewish people often sing a song in honor of the eight candles called “Ocho Candelas” and munch on fritters known as “burmelos.”

In Syria, Christians have its own local legend about the Nativity. Christmas presents are delivered, not by Father Christmas, but by the youngest of the camels that carried the three wise men to Bethlehem. Instead of a carrot for Rudolph, children leave water and hay outside their homes for this hard-working camel, and the load comes on New Year’s Eve instead of Christmas Eve.

Popping over to the Mediterranean, we can visit Jewish households chowing down on Precipizi, which is a fried pastry that involves a lightly sweetened, olive oil infused honey-covered treat.

Portugal’s Christian children eat a meal called a Consoada in the early hours of Christmas Day. They set extra places for “alminhas a penar…” the souls of the dead. Some believe that this is in hopes that the dead will provide a bountiful harvest.

There are many, many more Holiday traditions: Indian Jews dip wicks in coconut oil to light their menorahs, while Christian children there have Christmas banana trees or mango trees to light up instead of the Pine trees they lack.

Christmas brings more fun and funny traditions as well: In the Czech Republic, single Czech women stand with their backs to the front door on Christmas Eve and remove a shoe. They hurl it over their shoulder towards the door and how it lands predicts their romantic prospects for a year. If the toe faces the door, the thrower is destined to marry…sadly, the heel to the door is the opposite.

Whatever way you celebrate, and whichever holidays you observe, we wish you all an amazing Holiday Season!

What “Clear Title” Means

Simply put, ‘clear title’ means that ownership of the property (movable and immovable) in question is free from any outstanding legal claims or procedures. In simple terms, the items are yours. Alternative terms for the same meaning are good title, just title, or free and clear.

Another term you may come across in connection with titles is ‘lien.’ This means that the home or car in question has been used as security for a loan, in other words someone has given authority for the item to be taken if payments on the loan are not made. While a lien is in place, the item cannot be sold or transferred to other persons without being satisfied.

Car Title

Having a clear car title means there are no outstanding payments to be made on the car, and ownership is therefore clear and established. Conversely, if you are still paying off a loan for the purchase of your car, you do not fully own that car yet and do not have clear title. A clear title on a car is also known as a ‘pink slip’.

If you are buying a car, check the car’s history at carfax.com. Repossessed cars do not show up on the title, but they do show up on the car’s history. You will need to go to your local DMV to remove any names still holding title over the car.

Property Title

If you are buying a property you need to make sure there are no liens in place. The way to do this is to hire a company to research public documents for you and establish if the seller has clear title and is free to sell. If you pay for a property that was not rightfully the seller’s, then you have wasted your money and own nothing for your trouble.

Not having a clear title on your property may actually mean that you pay less tax and may be advantageous to you. This is because the interest payments you make on a home loan are deductible from your income for tax purposes. Owning your home free and clear will mean you pay higher taxes. If you have finished paying for your home, you could remortgage it for part of the equity value to carry out improvements and raise the value of the property.

Holiday Pets: Pet Care When Visiting

Many pets, especially young puppies and kittens, seem to be at the center of any holiday disaster. Pulling down the decorations, marking presents under a tree, and nipping the one person who is a afraid of puppies. Even in the movie A Christmas Story, a pack of hounds destroy the Christmas turkey.

If this is your furry friend’s first Christmas with you, your pet may not know how to behave. Since your little friend is relatively new to your home, and maybe to holidays too, you need to be extra careful with his care and safety. Here are simple tips to ensure he survives with his good name intact.

Staying Home for the Holidays

  • Chewing: keep anything dangerous and chewable, such as ornaments, ribbons and wires, out of reach. Furthermore, do not let your pet chew on a real or artificial Christmas tree. Many holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly and poinsettia are also toxic if eaten by your pet.
  • Well–meaning guests can feed your pet tidbits that will make them sick, so make clear rules at the start of the visit. Chocolate and caffeine are big no-no’s where pets are concerned.  Sharp pieces of bones eaten by your pet may cause an intestinal bleed so it’s best to avoid giving bones.
  • Escape: Doors left open by distracted guests are also a means of escape so make sure your pet has an identification tag and you have a recent photo. Unusual activity in the house can confuse the pet, it may be better to close them in a quiet safe area until the visit is over. The same rule applies for New Year’s fireworks and noisy parades, these stress the pet so it is better to plan ahead ways of keeping them calm and happy.
  • Water should be available for your pet at all times; it is easy for them to get dehydrated. Do not let your pet ingest ice melt or antifreeze as they are potentially lethal. This is especially important when visiting friends and family during the holidays.

Visiting Someone for the Holidays

It’s important to be considerate towards other people and their homes, and remember that not everyone loves pets as much as you do.

  • Do not take the pet along if he might snap or bite at a stranger.
  • Do not let the pet bother other people with physical contact they may not want. Be tactful and let them ask to touch the pet rather than dumping the pet into their lap without being invited.
  • Do not let your pet run around breaking valuable items, or dropping hair on beds and clothes, or you will not be very popular with the host. Eliminating inside the home should not be allowed to happen either. All these behaviors can be avoided with some forethought and a crate suited to your pet.

Leaving Your New Pet Behind

Sometimes it is just not convenient to travel for the holidays with your pet. Someone in the family may be allergic, not have the space, be scared of pets and a variety of  reasons why you may have to leave you pet home. You may decide to leave your pet with a sitter or send them to an appropriate shelter for the period you’ll be away.

Pet Boarding Center

Make sure you visit the place and ask questions. The facility should look clean and welcoming. Do the pets look happy and well-cared for? Are the staff friendly to humans and pets?

Check with your vet. They may also board pets for the holidays.

There’s also some websites that can hook you up with people willing to board your pet in their home. This allows you to choose someone who might only have a couple of pets at a time, which gives your fur-baby more personalized attention.

Pet Sitter

Introduce your pet to the person (who may be an animal-loving friend or a professional sitter) a few times so that they already know each other and feel comfortable. Your sitter will need a list of emergency numbers to call as well as some information about your pet’s diet and exercise.

Lastly, leave your pet with a calm, confident goodbye to avoid upsetting them unduly.

5 Most Important Things when Buying a Car for Your Teen

As a parent, there are many ‘firsts’ you look forward to in your child’s life. First word. First steps. First day of school. First car. (Gulp!)

While a first car may be every teenager’s dream, it means sleepless nights for most parents. To help make the process of buying your teen their first car easier, there are several pieces

What’s the best car for teenagers?

of homework to do in advance. Insurance on teen drivers is significantly higher, especially during their first several years of driving, because of the high risk for crashes with young drivers. Now is a good time to evaluate your insurance coverage and make sure you can get discounts if your child makes good grades, takes driver’s education or goes crash free for a period of time. Insurance rates also vary based on the type of car your teen will be driving, so be sure to check whether a class of vehicle will get a lower rate.

Taking your teen to a car lot before you have set expectations and limitations may lead to disappointment and frustrations. To your teen, a car represents freedom and social status.Your concern is safety. So it’s a good idea to evaluate several considerations and discuss them before ever stepping foot out the door. AAA offers valuable information on buying your teen a vehicle through their dedicated teen driver education program, Keys2Drive . Beyond resources on insurance, licensing and shopping tips, the site offers tips and suggestions for keeping teens safe behind the wheel.

5 Things to Consider

There are five categories to consider: vehicle type, safety features, reliability, affordability and familiarity.

  1. Vehicle typeties back in to your insurance classifications – sports car, SUV, sedan, van. While your teen may covet a sports car or SUV, you may be concerned about the temptation to speed or roll-over risks and prefer a sedan.
  2. Safety features are fairly standard on recent model vehicles, but if buying an older model , you’ll want a checklist of the features you find most important: anti-lock brakes, airbags, automatic lights, etc.
  3. Reliability could become a factor when buying used vehicles. Perhaps you want to inquire about optional warranties, roadside assistance programs, check vehicle reports and make sure you get the vehicle privately inspected before purchase.
  4. Affordability is a big factor in most vehicle buying decisions, and in most cases, the cost of insurance, maintenance and gas mileage of that vehicle should also be included.
  5. Familiarity is an important category often overlooked. Is the vehicle you are buying your teen similar to what they learned to drive? If not, they need to learn to drive the new vehicle before being released onto the open road. Experienced drivers know how to adjust to different vehicles in terms of power, size and features, but new drivers do not have those skills yet.

By establishing expectations and guidelines, buying your teenager’s first car will be a shopping experience you both can enjoy. Visit the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles Web site to make sure you know all the rules and limitations on teen driving in the state, so your teen can enjoy their new car within the law. Once your teen has proven themselves, you can begin to enjoy not having to chauffeur them everywhere.

4 Ways to Make Extra Money for the Holidays

Everyone feels the cash crunch at the end of the year. Just as in the lesson of the ant and the grasshopper, the winter months often need a little extra, especially for celebrating the holidays. Here are 4 ways to bring in the green.

1. Get a Job

Many retailers and shipping companies are looking for extra help during Christmas. Mall stores and big box retailers often hire temporary seasonal employees. Merry gentlemen can don the Santa suit, and elves that can get kids to smile for a photo are always in demand. Sometimes these seasonal jobs can lead to permanent employment, but usually the position is eliminated after ReGiftmas has ended.

2. Start a Business

If the weather cooperated, you could shovel snow. Many a seasonal business has started by doing similar work. Some seasonal business ideas include:

  • Hanging Christmas lights
  • Cleaning gutters and downspouts
  • Making and selling gift baskets
  • Sleigh rides or carriage rides
  • Selling yule logs, mistletoe, or Christmas trees

3. Sell Your Stuff in the Classifieds

Take a look in the garage, check all the closets, and clean out the kid’s rooms.  Sell old stuff and buy new gifts with it. Help someone stretch their holiday dollar by selling your used items in the classifieds.

Some people worry about when they can sell the item they are replacing. The answer is sell the old one as soon as possible. Let’s say you are getting a new washer and dryer. Selling your current set won’t “ruin the surprise” or leave unable to do laundry for more than a day or two. The best time to sell will be before the holidays.

4. Spend Time Not Money

Most people can remember a handful of gifts from their childhood. But we can remember all the people we shared those moments with.  Make sure that all the extra time and effort you put into the holidays give your family what they really want — time spent with you.

Save Money by Insulating Your Home

When you install good quality insulation for your home, you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. Insulation can be applied around doors and windows, ceilings and outer walls, and floors. Before starting out, conducting an insulation audit is a good idea. You can hire someone to make a thorough check or decide to do it yourself. Compare the thicknesses of insulation you find against the U.S. Department of Energy’s online fact sheet to determine the quality of the insulation you have.

Insulate as Much as You Can

Properly installed insulation can reduce your electric bill.

There is little risk that you will insulate too much, especially in an older home. Air leaks and drafts should be eliminated with spray foam, caulk or weather stripping. If you are worried about air quality, you can hire a technician to check your combustible appliances for emissions. This means that you can have peace of mind that your appliances are not leaking harmful carbon monoxide into your home.

Insulation types

Various types of insulation are available, each better-suited for application to a particular area. You can find out what should be applied by asking at the home improvement store or getting an installer to do it. The following are some types of insulation:

  • Fiberglass Insulation– Fits between joists in walls and attics.
  • Blown In Insulation– Fills in gaps and voids creating a seamless thermal blanket of protection
  • Rigid Foam Board Insulation– Used in the building of the exterior walls. Also used to insulate garage doors.
  • Spray Foam– This expanding foam fills cracks and gaps around doors, windows and pipes.
  • Reflective Insulation– This foil bubble wrap used to insulate walls, roof, and water heaters.

Understanding R-Value

Insulation is measured using the R-value, which indicates its ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. You can find the R-value printed on the insulation. When calculating the R-value of a multi-layered installation, add the R-values of the individual layers. Keep in mind, the insulation must be properly installed to achieve its maximum R-value.

Different flow values are recommended depending on the climate where you live. You can find detailed online guides for your state.

Attics and ducts merit special attention. About 20% of air circulating in the ducts used for heating or cooling is lost, resulting in higher electricity bills. Where the duct is exposed, seal leaks with sealant and check all the connections at registers and vents. Most duct work is in the attic or under the floorboards. If possible, hire a qualified contractor to do the job for you.

An easy way to improve the insulation in your home is to check the attic. As a guideline, your attic insulation should be above the joists. The recommended level for most attics is R-38 or about 12-15 inches of insulation. R-49 may be recommended for very cold climates.

Is Your Child’s Crib Safe?

When thinking about crib safety, the focus is to prevent accidents and SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, for your baby. Being alert to the possible dangers will help you avert problems before they arise.

6 Ways to Make a Crib Safer

You can make a crib safer by being alert to potential problems.

The basic requirements of crib safety are:

  1. A firm tight-fitting mattress so the baby cannot get trapped between frame and mattress. Most mattresses have adjustable heights which you will need to lower when the baby can stand.
  2. No loose screws or other pieces that the baby can swallow.
  3. The slats should be close enough that the baby cannot slip through.
  4. No corner posts for the baby’s clothing to catch on.
  5. No places that the baby’s head can get trapped in the headboard or footboard.
  6. Keep any cords from nursery mobiles or nearby blinds out of the way.

Has This Crib Been Recalled?

If you want to make sure the crib has been tested for safety and quality, look for Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association certification. To learn if a crib has been recalled, check BabyCenter Product Recall Finder.

Safety Standards Have Changed

From 2011, drop-side cribs have been banned because the drop side can come loose or detach itself, trapping the baby or allowing her to fall out. Be aware of this issue if you are buying an older model crib.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now advises against crib bumpers or sleep positioners. The extra padding could potentially cover a baby’s airway and increase the risk of SIDS.   Continue to stay abreast of new developments and latest advice regarding the safety of your baby.

If buying an old crib, make sure there are none of the following:

  • Sharp edges
  • Peeling paint
  • Lead paint
  • Discontinued features
  • Missing/broken slats

Remove Dangers and Monitor Crib Activity

Make sure bedding fits the mattress properly and cannot come loose as there is a risk of suffocation. Do not overdo the amount of bedding as babies quickly overheat.

Sleepwear should not have ribbons or buttons which can be swallowed. Avoid drawstrings on clothing and toys, or baby gyms, as these present a hazard.

For added safety, do not leave your child unattended in a crib with a feeding bottle. Small pieces of rubber from the teat present a potential choking hazard. Put the baby to sleep on his back and consider getting a baby intercom, which will allow you to monitor your child even while he is asleep or playing in the crib.

Don’t forget a rested mom is an alert mom. Grab a quick nap every time your baby dozes off.

Five Nature Parks to Visit in Ocala

One of the best points of Ocala (besides Tasty-O’s) is its natural beauty. And while there may be some trees or even forest in your neighborhood, nothing beats going out into it and taking a hike! Here are some nature parks for you to enjoy.

Ocala National Forest

Ocala National Forest is in Florida, north of Orlando. It’s known for its large areas of sand pine scrub forest. The Juniper Springs, Alexander Springs and Salt Springs recreation areas have natural pools and canoe runs. Hundreds of lakes and ponds include Lake Kerr and the enormous Lake George. One of many trails, the Yearling Trail winds past a sinkhole and the remains of 19th-century homesteads.

Sholom Park

Sholom Park is a non-profit privately owned, 44-acre botanical garden in Ocala, Florida. Opened in 2004, the park features over 2 miles of paved trails and more than 250 species of plants and trees.

Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs State Park, formerly known as Silver River State Park, is a Florida state park located on the Silver River in Marion County. The park contains Silver Springs, Florida’s first tourist attraction. The Silver Springs attraction dates to the 1870s.

Jervey Gantt Park

This park offers children play area with equipment, Dog Park, Geocaching, Tennis courts, Volleyball, Baseball and Football Fields. It is a paved Loop trail with many entrances and starting points. Along the trail is moderate workout equipment and little seating. The rear of the trail offers a great trek in the woods with a decrease in elevation.

Baseline Road Trailhead Park

The Baseline Road Trailhead features a 5-mile, paved multi-use trail situated along former pastures that are being restored to the original longleaf pine, sandhill community. This trailhead, managed by Marion County Parks and Recreation, offers parking and amenities and, thanks to the generosity of the Felburn Foundation, a barrier-free Boundless Playground, designed to enable children of all abilities to learn and play freely together.

Classy Camping: What to Know When Buying a Used RV

Ready to buy an RV but you want to save money? Knowing the pros and cons of buying a used RV is the best way to make sure you buy a vehicle that is perfect for your needs.

Pros

  • You save a significant amount of money. Deprecation on an RV is immediate and substantial.
  • Can opt to rebuild, redecorate and restore the RV to your liking. Customization is easier when you start from used.
  • The RV you want might not be made anymore. This is the best way to find it.
  • Insurance will be cheaper for a used RV.

Cons

  • You never know what might be wrong with the RV: It might not be visible, so make sure you take extra precautions.
  • You may not be aware of how depreciated the RV is in value.
  • Often the manufacturer’s warranty has run out.
  • Can spend a considerable amount of money on upgrades.

Ten ways to improve your chances of getting a good used RV:

  1. Check it out. Make sure you do a walk-through before you buy the RV.
  2. Look very carefully for signs of mold. Even if you don’t see any water damage in the usual spots, sometimes there’s mold on the interior which can be signs of leaks or other water problems. Check the corners of ceilings and floors, the walls, and the corners and caulk in the bathroom around the fixtures. Don’t hesitate to check cabinets and closets. If they feel warmer than the rest of the RV, that may be a sign of mold. Bring a flashlight!
  3. Go over every inch of the ceiling. Look for brown spots, whether it’s bowed, or even coming down. Yes, a damaged ceiling can be repaired, but there’s a chance that’s a sign of more substantial problems being hidden.
  4. Do a close inspection of all the floors. The floors should be stable and sturdy. Too much give can indicate rotting.
  5. Look under the exterior trim and check the screws. Visible corrosion or rust could indicate water is getting in. If the screws still look clean and painted, the RV is probably in good shape.
  6. Open up and look inside all the exterior panels. Everything should look clean and dry.
  7. Test the walls. If you push with a fair amount of force and there isn’t too much give, you’re doing fine!
  8. Give the roof a thorough inspection. Look at all of the caulking to make sure everything is sealed. Check around the skylight and vent as well as the entire perimeter. You’re looking for old, blackened, crumbling or moldy caulk.
  9. Check that the roof is stable. Walk around the roof and make sure it feels sturdy and stable beneath your feet. This way, you can tell if there’s rot.
  10. Check the engine. Make sure it doesn’t smell burnt. Even if the oil has been changed, this is a way to tell if it’s been overheated to an extreme degree.

Halloween Stories, Snacks, and the Spooky Origins

Halloween is coming, so now’s the time to have some hauntingly good fun!

This year, we present: The origins of Halloween, a nice little Florida ghost story, and a fun and easy treat to make!

The Origins of Halloween

Before Halloween became the holiday we know, it was an old Celtic festival called Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. This superstition was passed down from generation to generation until the eighth century, when Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as the time to honor all saints. Soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain, and the evening before became known as All Hallow’s Eve…and this eventually turned into Halloween.

Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, and of course, costumes. Oh. And candy. We mustn’t forget the candy! Did you know that one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the United States is bought for Halloween? Naturally, it’s one of a child’s favorite holidays!

And For the “Scary” Story

If you travel to St. Augustine, you might get a chance to meet the ghost that haunts Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grill.

The building was constructed somewhere around 1745 and was home to Juana and Fransisco de Porras and their nine children. One of their youngest children was Catalina.

In 1770, when Catalina was about 18, she married Xavier Ponce de Leon. At this point, the house was owned by the British, who had used it as a storage barn. In 1783, the Spanish regained Florida from the British and they returned to St. Augustine. She found the house and she and her husband asked the governor to return it to her. They regained ownership in 1789, but she didn’t get to enjoy the house for long.

In 1785, a mere six years after being back in her childhood home, Catalina passed away. This all was pretty normal, and not much happened until about 1887 when the house was destroyed by a big fire that swept through St. Augustine. Thankfully, there were drawings of the house made in 1840, so a year later, the house was rebuilt on its original foundation to look just the way it had when Catalina had lived there.

There isn’t any particular story of why this house seems haunted, although there are two possible ghosts: Some believe the ghost may be Catalina, but others claim the ghost is a woman named Bridget who appears in a wedding dress. They say it’s a fleeting glimpse: Here and gone in a moment. Most of these sightings happen around the ladies room.

Some people have even caught a scent of the perfume. Of course, sometimes the aroma of the delicious food being cooked at the restaurant do cover that.

And they are not the only ghosts! There’s also supposedly a man in a black suit and hat who has been seen. As two men did die in the building: one in the 1887 fire and the other of illness in 1900.

Breathe easily, though! These ghosts don’t cause harm, and are believed to be friendly. You might get the feeling that someone is watching you, and the lights might flicker…but maybe, just maybe, they just want to enjoy a good meal with you?

Speaking of Food…

Do you like Devilled Eggs? Well…here’s a fun twist…

Devilled Egg Eyeballs!

First, hard-boil eggs and then peel the shells off. Want to make the perfect hard-boiled eggs? Click here to find out how!

Next, cut them in half and scoop out the yolk.

Combine the yolks with pesto, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise and mix until it’s smooth and creamy, then set it aside.

Here’s where the fun comes in: Dip a toothpick into red food dye and draw “veins” on the flat part of the whites.

Fill the holes with the yolk mixture then put a round dab of mayo in the center.

Stick a sliced olive in the middle of the whites, and there you go! A yummy Devilled Egg Eyeball!

Discovery Center: Astronaut Academy Exhibit Opens Saturday with a Special Viewing of a NASA Moon Rock

The Discovery Center’s newest exhibit, Astronaut Academy will be on display Oct. 3, 2020 through Jan. 2, 2021 at the Discovery Center, 701 NE Sanchez Ave. A special grand opening event will be held Saturday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature individual hands-on experiments in the STEAM Saturday program.

Astronaut Academy is a hands-on exhibit with activities that introduce kids to space travel and experiments. Visitors will navigate their way through a space station module, control a remote Mars rover, build and launch their own rockets, view an authentic moon rock (courtesy of NASA) and more. Discovery Center partnered with National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE), NASA, and Lockheed Martin to showcase the ideas, engineering and even the art that goes into the study and exploration of space.

The exhibit is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Updated sessions will be posted on the Discovery Center website. General admission to the Discovery Center is $8.00 per person or $28.00 for a family of four. Annual memberships are also available for individuals and families. Star Lab Planetarium shows are held Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. by group reservation only due to COVID-19.

Discovery Center staff will be implementing increased cleaning protocols for the facility. Hands-on manipulatives will be sanitized with appropriate cleaners during periods of high traffic and following each two-hour session. The Discovery Center will close at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 4:30 p.m. throughout the week to undergo deep cleaning. Use of UV light will be implemented to sanitize the planetarium, and UV sanitization has been installed in Discovery Center air handlers.   Items that are not easily sanitized have been removed or replaced. Hand sanitizer stations are available in all areas of the facility.

Astronaut Academy is sponsored by Ocala Electric Utility, Discovery Center Foundation, Marion Rotary Duck Derby, with special thanks to Lockheed Martin and NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

For more information, please call 352-401-3900 or visit www.mydiscoverycenter.org.

Ocala/Marion Day of Giving with the Marion County Children’s Alliance

The Marion County Children’s Alliance is excited to be a part of the first Ocala/Marion’s day of giving hosted by the Community Foundation of Ocala/Marion.  This special giving day is an opportunity to unite our community around causes in which we truly believe and help nonprofit organizations connect to the larger community.

The Children’s Alliance needs your help! Please join our campaign and help us reach our goal of $10,000! We need you to tell your friends and family members about the important work we do and ask them to join us in helping to make a difference.

Get ready to give! On October 20, starting at October 20, 2020 10 AM, visit https://www.give4marion.org and make a donation to us and/or to any of the great participating nonprofit organizations in Ocala/Marion. You will have 24 hours to make your donation, and all giving will end at October 21, 2020 10 AM.

“Hinterlands” Opening Exhibit

The opening for Megan Welch’s, Hinterlands, will begin Monday, Oct. 19, 9 a.m. at City Hall, 110 SE Watula Ave. Due to ongoing Covid-19 health and safety concerns, there will be no opening reception. This art exhibit will be on display October 19, 2020 through January 8, 2021, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This exhibit is free and open to the public.

Megan Welch is a portrait painter and educator residing in Northeast Florida. Welch recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design with an MFA in Painting. She is also a graduate of the University of North Florida, receiving her BFA in Fine Art with a concentration on painting and drawing.

Welch has been represented in the World of Wonder Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, and Holly Blanton Art Studio &

Gallery in Atlantic Beach, FL. Most recently, she exhibited her MFA Thesis: Stay Where I Can See You, at Holly Blanton Art Studio & Gallery in Atlantic Beach, FL, and was featured in the latest edition of the publication For Women Who Roar (Issue 2). Welch is currently an educator at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra in the Fine Arts Department.

Hinterlands is an exhibit of portraits in oil and graphite. A hinterland is a geographical term for uncharted areas beyond a coastal area or riverbank. They portray what is beyond the visible and known.  Most people measure their lives in terms of past and present, as in who they were before and who they become as a result.  This body of work tells the stories of those navigating the temporal nature of life, the unknown and the human condition.

To learn more about artist Megan Welch, visit www.meganwelchartworks.com.

For more information about this exhibit, please contact the City of Ocala Cultural Arts Office at 352-629-8447 or [email protected].

City of Ocala to Host a Tire Amnesty Day

The City of Ocala is providing residents with free tire disposal Saturday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Disposal locations will be at the corner of NE 14th Street and NE Eighth Avenue and the Hampton Aquatic Fun Center located at 255 NW Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Tires generated by businesses will not be accepted and there is a limit of 10 tires per resident. This service is for residents living within the city limits. A driver’s license listing a city address may be requested.

For more information, please contact the City of Ocala Residential Sanitation Division at 352-351-6697.

Opening for Dan McCarthy’s, Florida: Explored

The opening for Dan McCarthy’s, Florida: Explored, will begin Friday, Oct. 23, 9 a.m. at the Recreation and Parks Administration, 828 NE Eighth Ave. Due to ongoing Covid-19 health and safety concerns, there will be no opening reception. This art exhibit will be on display Oct. 23, 2020 through Jan. 15, 2021, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This exhibit is free and open to the public.

Dan McCarthy is an Ocala, Florida artist who focuses on capturing the essence of nature’s wild spaces. McCarthy is currently represented in local galleries and businesses such as Gallery B, Brick City Center for the Arts Gallery, Symmetry Coffee and Crepes and Big Hammock Brewery & Bites.

Exploration, wonder and the experience of being there are themes that can be found in

McCarthy’s work. His goal is to capture the mood and feeling of a place to transport the viewer on a journey. Through varying techniques, both in the field and in the studio, every piece is created to accurately reflect the essence and emotional impact of the scene.

Florida: Explored is an exhibit of select pieces created during his exploration of a hidden gem in Marion County – Indian Lake State Forest. The forest has many personalities. Foggy mornings lend an air of mystery that begs to be captured and translated to print. The rising and setting sun cast deep shadows in the folds of a cypress tree’s bark. Water levels rise and fall, exposing new elements of the environment with every passing day. Every visit is a new adventure, a new experience waiting to be discovered and translated into his work.

To learn more about artist Dan McCarthy, visitvisionsbydanmccarthy.com

For more information about this exhibit, please contact the City of Ocala Cultural Arts Office at 352-629-8447 or [email protected]

Come Visit the BRAND NEW Fort King Archaeological Resource Center!

We will be opening the Fort King Archaeological Resource Center to the public Friday and Saturday (October 2-3) from 12:00pm-5:00pm.

Please stop by and see what staff and the archaeological team have been working on!

The ARC Center will be open to the public every Friday and Saturday from 12-5pm same as the Visitor Center.

We are so excited to have this new addition to Fort King, and look forward to telling the story of Fort King’s archaeology to the public.

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