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1. 2013 Florida Strawberry Festival in Photos

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2. Too Many Choices, Not Enough Time

The bad thing about putting together a monthly calendar about things to do and places to go is that it makes me want to do everything and go everywhere. Where have I been all these years not knowing what was going on in my own community? How much have I missed?

In the past week my husband and I have been to three movies as part of the Gateway Theater Classical Film Festival. We’ve seen Singing in the Rain, Some Like it Hot and yesterday we saw Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. I’m a huge Hitchcock fan. Every minute of that movie is riveting. And no matter how many special effects movie makers can make now and how advanced photography and film are now, no one can top those old movies in so many ways. The way people talked back then, their clothing, the interior decor of buildings used in stage sets, the cars and trains and just the charm of the actors and actresses are things that can’t be matched now for some reason.

As a journalist I get press releases announcing events all day long. After just finishing writing the October Events Calendar for Greater Ft. Lauderdale, I’m overwhelmed. The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival is starting, there are several excellent annual art festivals and craft shows coming up, some terrific concerts, and now I’ve come to find out there is a very large Chocolate Festival. There are hundreds of vendors and chocolate samples, pastries to purchase, chocolate bars, cakes, cookies and ice cream to eat and chocolate to drink. Are you kidding me? Like I can survive  chocolate festival like that? How much of that can you eat in one day before it kills you? What ever that amount may be, I will consume it. Are there doctors on hand at the event to help those who have overdosed? I truly wish I did not know about that Chocolate Festival. Keep me away! I’ll sick to non-eating events. Heck, after reading about all that Elmo’s going to be doing there, I even felt like I’d truly enjoy Sesame Street Live; my only child is 20 years old, but who cares?

And so it seems all I can do is mark up my calendar and get out to experience as much as I can with what’s going on around here. I just cannot bear to miss all the wonderful events in my community, now that I know they’re out there waiting to be enjoyed. Do you know all that’s happening in your neck of the woods?

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3. Top 10 Reasons to Really Clean Out Your Car in the Summer

  1. Find money
  2. Clear food away from ants
  3. Find tax deductible receipts (parking, tolls, food)
  4. Not have to look at/and or smell stains any more
  5. See out much clearer windows to make way for safer driving
  6. Take all things that rattle out of the doors
  7. Make room for more passengers
  8. No longer be embarrassed when passengers or valet parkers get in your car
  9. Locate your favorite pen between the seats
  10. Everything feels better when clean

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4. Photo Op – Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Coral Gables


Fairchild Tropical Gardens

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5. How to Make Time Slow Down

  • Go to bed at 10 pm.
  • Wake up at 3 am. because you are afraid you will oversleep and not hear the 4:30 am alarm.
  • Leave for the airport at 5:15.
  • Look at the clock thinking it is 10 am but discover it is only 6 am.
  • Hang out in a terminal at the airport for an hour and a half watching exhausted zombie-like people deplane.
  • Get on a 7:15 am flight from Fort Lauderdale to New York City.
  • Run around the city all morning with a 4 year old in the pouring rain.
  • Go to a birthday party for 15 5-year-olds.
  • Look at the clock thinking it is 11 pm, but it is only 7 pm.

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6. Take Advantage of the Arts in Your Community

Since I’ve been putting together Greater Fort Lauderdale Events Calendars every month for the past three for About.com, I’ve realized just how many wonderful (and affordable) performances there are in my own community. From free concerts to plays, and from charity benefit concerts to stand up, it’s truly overwhelming. Lately I’ve made an effort to take advantage of more shows and events. I recently saw Earth, Wind and Fire in concert at Seminole Hard Rock Live and attended Dancing Under the Stars on Hollywood Beach. We all need to do our part to support the arts, and the best way to do that is to attend local events on a regular basis.

During my recent family vacation in Guntersville, AL we tried to buy tickets for a live musical at the local theater, but the the shows were all sold out way in advance. It occurred to me that, since the town is small, that was the only live theater in the community. Residents get excited about the opportunity to see a live show, because there aren’t too many around. It made me appreciate the seemingly endless opportunities to explore the arts here in South Florida.

How do you support the art in your community?

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7. My Top 10 Holiday Annoyances – In No Particular Order

  1. Increase in terrible drivers (i.e. tourists, drinkers, old people who should not have licenses, impatient drivers, slow drivers)
  2. Stores that do not have enough cashiers during the holidays.
  3. Partial strands of Christmas lights that don’t work at my house and outside other people’s houses.
  4. Bad TV commercials.
  5. Obligations.
  6. Mean, grouchy, rude or otherwise unpleasant Scrooges in public places.
  7. Overeating.
  8. Long lines at the US Post Offices.
  9. Jacked up prices plus a sale = no bargains.
  10. Cheap stuff made in China.

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8. Weather Contrasts

rIt’s amazing how different weather can be on the same day in our great nation. Though the snow is beautiful, I know why I live here. It’s always a walk in the park!

Photos #1 & 2 – Forest City, IA white out. Thank you to Rene Arrowsmith for these photos!

Photos 3 & 4 – Marquette, MI white out and snow plow. Thank you to Tyler Tichelaar, PhD for these photos!

Photos 5, 6 & 7 – TY Park, Hollywood FL. Taken by me this afternoon.

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9. Inspiring Story of A Mountain Climber with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Please read my interview with Jeffrey Gottfurcht, the first person with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to attempt to climb Mount Everest. You are sure to be as inspired as I was when I heard his story! Jeff is the founder of the Jeffrey Gottfurcht Children’s Arthritis Foundation (JGCAF) and an amazing athlete.

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10. Teens – How to Get a Summer Job

It may only be mid-March, but now is the time for high school students to start looking for summer jobs. With the economy still sluggish, many jobs that students would normally take, may be filled by adults who are struggling financially.

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So how should you go about looking for summer work?

  1. Start Now. There’s a lot of competition for summer jobs, and the sooner you start looking, the more likely you are to find something.
  2. Make a List. List all the skills you have. Use your education, hobbies, volunteer and paid work to come up with your skills.
  3. Create a Resume. Even if you’ve never had a job before, you can make a one page resume and include your contact info, your education, any awards you’ve had, hobbies and any work or volunteer experience you’ve had.
  4. Use Your Contacts. The number way to success for most anything you will do in your life is by networking. Talk to your parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, volunteer contacts and anyone else you know who may be of help. You’ll have your resume handy to show just how serious you are about finding work.
  5. Think Local. Take a drive around your community and make a list of the different businesses nearby. Then see what you can find out about those businesses on the internet. Call the manager and ask if that business is hiring for the summer. Be ultra professional on the phone and polite. If that business is not hiring, the manager may make suggestions to you about other places that might have openings.
  6. Make Yourself Wanted. Practice a one sentence explanation of why a business should hire you. “I am very responsible and have 500 hours of volunteer experience at my church helping deliver food for the poor.”
  7. Be Neat. Be Prompt. If you are asked to come in to speak to a manager about a job, be on time. Do not show enter the workplace more than 5 minutes before your appointment, and by all means do not be late. Make sure you are properly dressed. If you are interviewing for a job at a plant nursery or a fast food restaurant, don’t show up in a suit. But do wear clean clothing and closed shoes. No flip flops! Have a pair of khaki pants, a polo shirt and loafers ready for interviews.
  8. Say thanks. Be sure to always be polite and say thank you when you speak to others on the phone or go on interviews. This may seem like a no-brainer – but trust me – not enough people have the courtesy to say thank you these days. And if you do say thanks, you will stand out in the crowd. If at any time, a person goes out of his or her way to help you, write a short note of thanks and stick it in the mail.
  9. Follow Up. People who own and manage businesses can get so busy that they forget to call. So don’t be shy about following up. It’s okay to call a person you spoke to or met with to remind them that you are still available. But be sure not to overdo it. If you do not hear back after one or two calls, you can assume there is no job opening for you.
  10. Create Your Own Income. If you cannot find work, you can create it. Pet sitting, dog walking, errand-running and tutoring are few of many ideas. You’ll need to create some business card and flyers on your computer and start letting your friends and neighbors know what you’re up to.
  11. Be responsible. Do what you say you are going to do. If you are fortunate enough o get

    1 Comments on Teens – How to Get a Summer Job, last added: 3/16/2011
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11. 10 Activities to Enjoy Spring with Your Kids

  1. Plant a garden together. Kids love to plan out a garden, buy seeds or plants and plant them in the garden or in pots. You can check books out from the library to help you get started.  Pick a theme – veggies, a flower garden or even a butterfly garden. The whole family can enjoy learning and caring for the garden together.
  2. Spring clean. Children may actually enjoy cleaning out a closet or organizing their toys and books. Make it fun. Play music and keep the task positive. This is a great way to teach your kids how to take care of their stuff and to be generous by donating items they no longer need to others who could really appreciate them.
  3. Take a nature hike. Collect leaves and flowers to press. See if you can identify plants and insect species.
  4. Make or decorate a birdhouse to put in a tree in your yard.
  5. Plan your summer vacation. Get the kids involved in the process and they’ll be much more excited about the trip. You can look at maps to see where you are going and look online for fun stuff to do when you get there.
  6. Take swimming lessons. Every person should know how to swim. Check out your local YMCA for classes. They’re fun to take too.
  7. Go thrifting or yard sale shopping. It’s a lot of fun to visit thrift stores or spend a Saturday morning mapping out and visiting yard sales. You don’t have to buy a lot of stuff, but it sure is fun to look!
  8. Do a craft together. Make a mobile of hanging insects, make a wreath of flowers for your front door or paint a wooden box with acrylic paints to store newfound treasures.
  9. Cook together. Plan out a great healthy dinner with lots of fresh veggies. Take your kids to the supermarket, an then cook together. The kids can have fun setting the table an decorating it with crafts you made together.
  10. Get moving! Dust off your tennis racquets, hop on your bikes or play softball in the park, even if the weather is not perfect!

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http://www.clipartandcrafts.com

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12. Keep Your Kids Healthy This Summer

Summer is here. Yeah! And after the brutal winter most of the US experienced this past year, now is the time to celebrate the sun! But with an increase in outdoor activities there often comes an increase in visits to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms. Here are tips to keep your kids safe and healthy outdoors:

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  • Having a sunburn is no fun and can even be dangerous. Apply sunscreen on your children liberally when they are outdoors, and repeat the application every few hours. Wearing a hat is always a good idea when playing outside for long periods of time. Know that you don’t have to live in the tropics to get a sunburn, and yes, you can indeed get a bad burn even on a cloudy day.
  • Dehydration often accompanies hot weather. Kids, like adults, need extra water when outdoors or exerting extra energy. Know the signs of dehydration.
  • Avoid head Injuries by making sure your child is wearing a properly fitted helmet when riding a bike.
  • Make sure your child knows how to swim. Drowning is the sixth leading cause of death among children, so never leave children of any age unattended for a minute while they are near a pool. Safety fences should be professionally installed around all pool where young children live or visit, and pool owners should consider getting certified in CPR.
  • Insect bites are uncomfortable, and bee and wasp stings in particular are painful and can cause serious allergic reactions. Be armed with Benedryl spray for skin irritations and the liquid oral form for allergic reactions. If your child has been stung and shows any sign of hives or breathing difficulties, get him to the ER immediately. Click here for more info.
  • Falls from playground equipment and trampolines are among the most common summer injuries. Playgrounds covered with mulch or recycled products, rather than concrete, often help protect children from injury. Overcrowded playgrounds are the least safe, and many injuries are sustained from kids who walk in front of moving swings.
  • Food borne illnesses can occur at any time of the year, but leaving food outside for extended periods of time can cause serious problems. It’s especially tricky to keep foods safe while hiking, camping and boating.

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13. Getting Into the Zone!

The Twilight Zone Marathon is just hours away on the ScyFy Channel! If you’ve never watched it, you’ll be hooked after one episode. Check out the schedule here. My family is addicted to this series, and we watch every July 4 and New Year’s day. The marathon is on for a 2 full days, and we try to watch as many episodes as possible. We know a lot of the dialogue by hear and have researched all the actors thoroughly! And I must admit I even made an episode index years ago that I refer to each time the marathon is on TV. Suffice it to say I’m obsessed!

 

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14. Why Should Children Practice Yoga? I’ll Tell Ya All About It!

I have become a major yoga lover over the past year. If you’ve never taken a yoga class, the only way to describe it would be to say that it is difficult, rewarding, relaxing and rejuvenating all at the same time. It’s about moving, stretching, breathing and being aware; it’s like a combination of pure fitness and meditation all in one. Holding tough poses for several breaths can be challenging at times, but the rewards are tremendous. It’s changed my outlook and helps me think clearer.

Children can benefit from yoga for the same reasons adults can, and they sure do love to practice yoga with their parents!

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Here are just some of the many benefits of yoga:

  • Increases flexibility (less injuries)
  • Increases strength
  • Improves balance
  • Relieves stress
  • Builds self esteem
  • Develops motivation
  • Improves concentration
  • Builds awareness
  • Facilitates calmness
  • Improves posture
  • Improves attitude
  • Promotes healthy living
  • Develops listening skills
  • Improves digestion
  • Improves coordination
  • Helps maintain an efficient metabolism

If these were not enough reasons to introduce your child to yoga, here are more:

  • Yoga is not competitive
  • It does not matter what level a child is at to reap the benefits
  • A child does not have to be athletic to practice
  • A child does not have to be flexible (flexibility improves with regular practice)
  • Yoga is something parents can do with their children.
  • Yoga is fun!

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15. Have a “Tailgate” Dinner in Your Own Driveway

For no reason at all, we had a tailgate dinner on our front driveway with our dog. Hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad and root beer. Our neighbors think we’re odd, but who cares!

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16. Nature Abounds at Treetops Park, Davie FL

Visit the Treetops Park Website for more info.

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17. 5 New Things

It’s been 23 days since we left our daughter at college, but who’s counting? Since that time, I have been extremely productive. I suppose that has to do, in part, with the desire to keep super busy so as not to be sad that we have an empty nest. (That’s not entirely true, because we have our beloved, 4-legged son, Darwin.) Here’s what I’ve been up to:

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Streamlined and reorganized

  1. Acupuncture – I have had 4 treatments in an effort to cure my painful plantar faciitis and perhaps improve my chronic allergies. No improvement on the foot yet, but I am sneezing a slight bit less. I and am more relaxed and am sleeping a heck of a lot better.
  2. Grains – I’ve cut way back on gluten in an effort to improve acid reflux. It’s actually helping. I’ve replaced regular pasta with Quinoa, and it’s not that bad! If you have acid reflux and cannot figure out what is causing it, try giving up gluten.
  3. Gardening – I’m well on my way to my organic S. FL winter veggie garden, with some new varieties of tomatoes and other new veggies I’ve never grown before.
  4. Decorating – I’ve completely redone the master bedroom. It is so clean and fresh and uplifting now.
  5. Purging – I promised I was going to get rid of a lot of “stuff” in the house, and I am keeping my promise. I have cleaned out and reorganized a huge armoire and trunk. There’s a lot more to do, but getting started feels great! I ain’t stoppin’ until every room has been cleaned out from top to bottom! There’s a anti-clutter bug you get when your kids move out of the house. I’m living proof!

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18. My Weekend in Pictures

22nd Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Dinner outside by the fire pit, followed by a game of Scrabble. Perfect Weather!

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Yellow and Green Market, Hollywood, FL

Checked out the new market near our house and brought home some organic veggies. Check out the 50 lb. bag of carrots!

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Planted my tomato, pea and eggplant seedlings in pots

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Cleaned out and reorganized master bedroom closets

7 giant Hefty bags of clothing are ready to be donated!

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19. Lilly Badilly to Attend Las Olas Art Fair on Oct 23

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My entire family will be at the Las Olas Art Festival on Saturday, October 23rd performing and selling books. Please stop and say hi! We will be sitting at a table right outside Flora Ottimer’s store at 713 East Las Olas Blvd. starting at 10 am.

32 years ago, I worked at Flora Ottimer, a beautiful children’s clothing store. They have been in business since 1945! Once you see this charming store, you’ll understand why. There’s no better place in South Florida to buy clothing for kids. I am returning to my favorite children’s clothing store after all these years to share my book with their loyal customers. To read my interview with the Flora Ottimer staff, click on the link below.

Click here to read the Flora Ottimer Interview and view a photo of me from 32 years ago!

We’ll see you there!

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20. Have You Carved Your Pumpin Yet?

Here’smMine with 3 different levels of light….

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21. Fantastic Day Off with Hubby Paddling on Whiskey Creek

We had a perfect day off today, paddling down Whiskey Creek in Dania Beach, FL in our inflatable boat. This narrow waterway, lined with mangroves, is just west of the beach and east of the Intracoastal. We did not paddle far enough north to see manatees, but we saw plenty of fast-swimming fish and beautiful birds. The serenity you get from the  water is unparalleled, especially when your husband tells you to stop paddling and chill out for  while.

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Expedition photo

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I’ve gotta have one too

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Getting ready to inflate the boat

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Almost done

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Graceful Egret

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Mangroves

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Open water down river

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Incredible pelican formation (50 birds!)

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22. Happy 1st Birthday to Darwin

We celebrated our baby’s first birthday today! It’s hard to imagine he was 9 lbs when we got him on January 19, 2010 and now On December 1st weighs 82.

Happy Birthday Darwin!

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Darwin knows it’s his birthday!

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Posing for the camera

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Bacon appetizer, not bad!

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Peanut Butter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

(Darwin’s favorite past-time is chasing lizards)

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Time to sing Happy Birthday!

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Blow out the candles

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Birthday kisses

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Time to eat cake

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A new toy – Rubber Chicken Man

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23. Make Gorgeous Glass Ornaments for Christmas

This is an easy and fun project, and the results are beautiful!

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Supplies

  • Clear glass ball ornaments (Craft store)
  • Acrylic craft paint sold in bottles in Christmas colors and metallic colors
  • Newspaper
  • Throw away plate or pan for draining paint

Take the metal top off the ornament. Squeeze some paint inside and swirl around. Add different colors to get the effect you like. Don’t over swirl or you’ll mix the colors too much. and they will look brown.When you’ve covered the inside with paint, you need to drain the excess by turning the ball upside down on newspaper. It is best if you can rig a way to prop the ball and leave it until it drains and dries all the way. This may take hours. When it’s dry, replace the metal top and hang it from the tree. You can add bows or ribbons if you want to dress it up.

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24. A Gorgeous Day for Being Outside in the Garden!

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Look at how HUGE my tomato plants are after 6 weeks!

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Pea pods coming along nicely!

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Huge flock of crows flew over my house

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Chased the dog through the yard

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Dog chased me through the yard!

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25. Update on Glass Christmas Ornaments

I made some more Christmas ornaments and wanted to share a discovery I made with you. After you drain the paint out of your ornaments, you can scoop up that excess paint and pour into a new glass ornament for a fantastic, mottled effect! Check this out!

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See all the paint that drained out, making interesting patterns?

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Don’t waste it! Put it in with a plastic spoon for a fantastic effect!

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