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Christmas checklist

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To avoid holiday mayhem, you need to remain organized in the days and weeks leading up to the main event. Here’s a checklist that will help you keep track of everything that needs to be done before Christmas.

Entertaining
• Choose a theme for your party if you’re having one

• Make reservations (caterer, event space, restaurant, cleaning crew, Santa Claus)
• Send out invitations
• Decide on a menu (don’t forget to consider your guests’ allergies and dietary restrictions)
• Make separate grocery lists for what can be purchased weeks in advance and what must be bought in the days before
• Start cooking (make dishes in advance and freeze them)
• Make a seating plan and choose the table decorations
• Obtain any extra dishes, napkins or chairs you need
• Choose the music and plan party games
• Clean the house from top to bottom
• Prepare a room for overnight guests
• Make sure your driveway and walk¬way are clear

Buying gifts
• Organize a gift exchange
• Start shopping early to avoid crowds
• Make note of what to buy for each person on your list
• Write Christmas cards and send them out early to ensure they arrive before the holiday
• Help your kids write their letters to Santa and send them off
• Buy wrapping paper, ribbons and bows
• Wrap gifts as you buy them to avoid doing it all at once, and hide them until the big day

Decorating the house
• Go through your decorations and throw out and replace anything that’s broken
• Hang outdoor decorations before the cold weather arrives
• Decorate the inside of your house
• Don’t set up your natural Christmas tree until a week or two before the day (or it will be dry by the time Santa arrives)

Getting yourself ready
• Make your appointments early (hair, esthetics, makeup, nails) to be sure you get the time slot you need
• Shop for your party clothes and visit the tailor if adjustments are needed

Keep this checklist handy to make sure you don’t forget anything this season.

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3 signs it’s time to turn your side hustle into your main gig

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Are you thinking about making your side hustle your full-time job? Trading regular work for the thrill of pursuing your passion can be rewarding, but it’s definitely a step that requires careful deliberation. Are you ready to make the leap? Here are three signs that suggest you are.

1. Demand is skyrocketing
If you have more clients than you can handle and you’re sending some of them to the competition, it’s likely a good time to focus exclusively on your business. Just make sure the uptick in demand isn’t temporary. Consider talking with your customers to get an idea of whether their needs are short- or long-term.

2. Your revenue is increasing

If your profits have been steadily climbing for a few years, it may be time to make your side hustle your full-time gig. However, it’s important to build up substantial savings first, just in case things don’t go as planned.

3. You’ve been at it for a while
If you’ve worked your side gig for a number of years, you likely have a pretty good idea of whether it suits your personality and lifestyle. Being well acquainted with the ins and outs of your side hustle first will ensure you can cope with the demands of the business.

Not everyone has the discipline and skill set required to be an entrepreneur. Think carefully before you make a decision.

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Virtual funerals: a new reality to consider

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The coronavirus pandemic made large gatherings hazardous and led to government restrictions. As a result, many businesses had to adapt their practices, including funeral homes. Consequently, these essential service providers have started helping the bereaved host virtual funerals, an immersive and personal way to mark the passing of a loved one. This is fortunate, as it allows seniors and immunosuppressed individuals to safely participate in end-of-life ceremonies they would otherwise have to avoid.

An online homage
Many funeral homes are willing to assist families in hosting their ceremonies online. Funerals can be live-streamed either on social media or over a video conference platform. This type of service accommodates many of the features of an in-person event. Loved ones can read eulogies, music can be played and prayers can be delivered. Being able to carry out traditional rituals, even from afar, can help the bereaved process their grief.

While these services might sound impersonal, they’re part of a new reality and an effective way to safely pay tribute to a loved one. Plus, a virtual funeral can allow people to participate who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend, whether because they live far away or have reduced mobility.

Using various technologies, you can organize a safe, personalized funeral that avoids all physical contact. Consult the funeral homes in your region to find out what services they offer.

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5 things to know about kids and drug use

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Every year, the National Family Partnership (NFP) runs Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign aimed at educating and encouraging the public to participate in drug prevention activities. The theme for this year’s event, which takes place from October 23 to 31, is Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug-Free. Here are five things to remember about kids and drug use.

1. They need information
It can be awkward to discuss drug use, but phrases like “be smart” are vague. Clearly explain your values and expectations so your child knows why they should avoid drug use.

2. They have questions

Kids are curious, and chances are your child will want to know more about drugs. Answering their questions is likely to make them feel heard. Lecturing them, however, might make them less willing to open up in the future.

3. They have their reasons
Children of all ages use drugs for different reasons. Peer pressure is one, but anxiety, depression, and other stressful situations can also trigger substance use.

4. They’ll remember
Parents often think of teens when it comes to drug prevention. However, explaining to young children how their vitamins and medications work and how to use them responsibly is just as important. Early conversations of this nature will set a precedent for discussing and understanding drug use later on.

5. They may struggle
If there’s a history of substance abuse in the family, discuss it with your children. This can prevent them from feeling ashamed later on if they struggle with substance abuse. It will also help you create a space where they feel comfortable talking to you.

Preventing drug abuse starts early and taking steps to ensure open communication is crucial.

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Candy sales expected to remain steady during COVID-19 Halloween

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Americans haven’t been shy about stocking their quarantine pantries with candy — sales were up 6.3 percent during the 17-week period ending at the end of June.

But what will happen with the huge eight-week selling season for Halloween?

The Hershey Company expects a reasonably good season, though they have prepared for a dip.

The Halloween season accounts for 10 percent of the candy business, with Americans purchasing about 600 million pounds for the spooky days. About 90 million pounds of that is chocolate.

Candy makers aren’t that worried about Halloween, since they believe families will find ways to celebrate even if quarantine orders are in place. After all, kids can always wear, you know, masks. In addition, there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus survives on the packaging.

At Hershey, the company has decided to make fewer Halloween-specific packages, but continue making packages of bite-sized treats.

According to Hershey, about 55 percent of their Halloween sales are for the home or office candy bowls.

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3 things you need to pour a concrete slab

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Concrete is a durable and affordable material that can be used to build a patio or walkway on your property. Here’s what you need to successfully pour a concrete slab.

1. A stable base
Excavate a hole that’s the right dimensions for your project, then add a layer of compacted gravel that’s at least four inches deep. This facilitates soil drainage and will help prevent the slab from shifting and cracking when the ground freezes and thaws.

2. A strong form

A form is a framework that holds the liquid concrete in place to ensure it hardens in the desired shape. For best results, use straight wood planks to build the form and firmly brace the sides. You should also reinforce the concrete with rebar to strengthen the slab and prevent cracking.

3. A steady hand
When you pour the concrete, make sure it seeps into every crevice. Once the form is filled, you’ll need to remove air bubbles and smooth out the surface of the slab with a bull float and trowel. Allow the concrete to harden overnight before you carefully remove the form.

Keep in mind that pouring concrete can be a challenge, particularly for large-scale projects like a garage floor. To ensure the job is done correctly, leave it to the professionals.

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A renewed look at the future of energy

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As the scientific community urges global leaders to rapidly and drastically scale back their reliance on fossil fuels, it’s worth taking a closer look at renewable energy. Here’s what you should know.

What is it?
Energy is considered renewable when it’s obtained from resources that are inexhaustible or at least replenished as fast as they’re consumed. There are five common types of renewable energy:

1. Solar (the use of radiant light and heat from the sun)

2. Wind (the use of wind turbines to generate electricity)
3. Hydro (the use of flowing water to produce electricity)
4. Geothermal (the use of thermal heat generated and stored in the Earth)
5. Biomass (the use of organic matter to generate energy)

It should be noted that biomass energy is only considered renewable if its source isn’t consumed faster than it can be regenerated.

What can you do?
While widespread systemic change is necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change, there are steps you can take at home to reduce your reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Here are a few ways to make your household more sustainable:

• Replace your natural gas or oil furnace with a hydroelectric system
• Choose a geothermal heat pump for a new home
• Install solar panels on the roof to heat your pool
• Trade in your gas-powered car for an electric vehicle

In addition to helping protect the environment, you may be able to benefit from government-issued rebates when you make the switch to clean energy.

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Upcoming Events

Oct
19
Mon
all-day WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
Oct 19 – Nov 12 all-day
WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
Please show your support by purchasing fresh fruit for you, your family and friends to enjoy over the holidays! To place your order online, simply click here. Navel, Grapefruit, Juice Oranges — Whole Box $40, Half[...]
Oct
30
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Oct 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Oct 30 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Love Revival - FREE Monthly Community Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Free Community Dinner for everyone! Come enjoy a hot meal on the last Friday of every month at Love Revival Ministry Center.
Oct
31
Sat
10:00 am Halloween on Main Street @ White Picket Fence
Halloween on Main Street @ White Picket Fence
Oct 31 @ 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Halloween on Main Street @ White Picket Fence
10-11 am: Dog Costume Parade and judging 1-2 pm: Wedding on the Gazebo 4 pm: Children’s Costume Parade with judging and prizes 5 pm: Trick or Treat on Main Street. Merchants and County Businesses will[...]
10:00 am Skyline Middle School Food Drive @ C&C Frozen Treats
Skyline Middle School Food Drive @ C&C Frozen Treats
Oct 31 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Skyline Middle School Food Drive @ C&C Frozen Treats
Skyline Middle School kicks off its 38th Annual Food Drive Saturday, October 31, 10 am-3 pm, at C&C Frozen Treats. Please bring nonperishable food.
5:00 pm Halloween Glow Throw @ Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co
Halloween Glow Throw @ Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co
Oct 31 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Halloween Glow Throw @ Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co
Bring your best costumes and GLOW throw with us! Trick or treat, throw axes and have an amazing Halloween with SVAXETHROWINGCO! KID friendly! Make your reservation today, spots will fill up fast: www.svaxethrowingco.com Fill out[...]
Nov
1
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Nov 1 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
Nov
4
Wed
6:00 pm Annual Meeting of St. Luke Commu... @ Online Event
Annual Meeting of St. Luke Commu... @ Online Event
Nov 4 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Annual Meeting of St. Luke Community Clinic @ Online Event
St. Luke Community Clinic, Inc., of Front Royal, will hold its Annual Meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, by ZOOM. All members (those who donate $35 annually or volunteer at the clinic) are[...]
Nov
5
Thu
6:00 pm Fashion Show Fundraiser benefitt... @ West Oaks Farm Market Event Venue
Fashion Show Fundraiser benefitt... @ West Oaks Farm Market Event Venue
Nov 5 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Fashion Show Fundraiser benefitting Boy Scouts @ West Oaks Farm Market Event Venue
Fashion Show Fundraiser benefitting Shenandoah Area Council Boy Scouts Fashion, food, cash bar, silent auction, raffle, door prizes, vendors on-site. Sponsored by Anna Quinn Jewelers, Grove’s Winchester Harley Davidson and Firenza Pizza. Showcasing clothing by[...]
Nov
7
Sat
all-day Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Nov 7 all-day
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Why should Small Business Saturday just be celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Buy Local – Shop Local – Eat Local – Support Front Royal’s Small Business Community and stay local! Small Business Saturdays –[...]