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How to throw a Halloween party for all ages

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Dressed as jewel thieves with pillowcases of costume jewelry slung over their shoulders, mom, dad, and daughter are ready to host a Halloween party.

Who are the guests? The families of the children they invited. Two parties going on side-by-side make Halloween family-friendly and safe. This new alternative bypasses going door-to-door trick or treating while keeping the evening festively and fun.

How do you throw a party that includes adults and children?

Start with the invitations. Choose something witchy or monstrous, indicate the time and place, and make sure to encourage everyone to wear costumes. Send a separate invitation for kids.


Decorate simply. Place drinks in a witch’s cauldron and add ice cubes with gummy bears suspended inside. Color a few of the cubes red, orange, and black. Scatter skeletons, black balloons, and plastic spiders and bats around the house and on the porch.

Ask families to bring one treat for each child. When a siren wails, the children can assemble with their loot bags and each family will distribute a treat.

You could have scary movies playing in two places — one suitable for children and another with scares for adults.

Darken one room for an eerie effect. Disguise the walls with black trash bags and make a playlist of scary Halloween sounds. Glow-in-the-dark stars can decorate the ceiling. Hire a couple of neighborhood teenagers to help supervise the children so the adults can mingle and have fun too.

You could have two buffet tables so children and adults can enjoy their own fare. Don’t forget to include deviled eggs, chicken strips (or are they witch’s fingers?), and red or black tortilla chips.

With a little planning, you can throw a party that’s spooky and fun–a family affair to remember.

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How to cat-proof your Christmas tree

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Are you worried your feline friend might get hurt playing in your Christmas tree? If so, here are a few tips to help you avoid a holiday mishap.

• Secure your tree to a solid base to prevent it from tipping over and falling on your pet.

• Leave your tree undecorated for a few days to let your cat get used to it.

• Use decorations made of plastic or other durable materials. Firmly attach them to the branches, so they don’t fall off easily. Avoid edible ornaments.


• Fill a spray bottle with water and gently spritz your cat if it gets too close to the tree. This will let them know the behavior is prohibited.

• Spray your tree with store-bought cat repellent.

Be patient to ensure you get the results you want.

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Five great gifts for seniors

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Are you looking for a Christmas present for the senior in your life? If so, here are five great gift ideas to show you care.

1. A book
Whether your loved one likes gardening, history, or science, there’s sure to be a book or audiobook that suits their interests. If you need advice, ask a bookstore employee what they recommend.

2. A game
Consider offering a fun puzzle, board game, card game, or memory game. You may also want to consider a video game for the tech-savvy senior in your life.

3. A kitchen gadget
Electric can openers and pepper grinders are perfect for elderly people who want to remain independent but lack strength and dexterity in their hands.


4. Photos
Purchase a picture frame or album, including photos of family members and friends. If there’s enough space, add one or more handwritten notes.

5. A cozy accessory
Give the gift of relaxation with an electric blanket, a pair of non-slip slippers, a soft scarf, or an essential oil diffuser.

For more great ideas, visit your local stores.

 

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Winter home updates: do’s and don’ts

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Everything has its right time and place, including home renovations. If you want to update your home this winter, here’s a look at some recommended do’s and don’ts.

Do
Regardless of the weather, you can take care of these interior jobs:

• Paint the walls inside your home
• Renovate a whole room, such as a kitchen, bathroom, or living room
• Upgrade your electrical system
• Update your plumbing system
• Install new flooring
• Complete the addition you built in the summer
• Add insulation to interior walls and the foundation

Don’t
The following jobs shouldn’t be completed in winter because the outdoor temperature and seasonal storms could create complications. It’s best to avoid the following:


• Yard improvements
• Roof renovations
• Siding repairs
• Exterior paint jobs
• Garage replacements
• Addition installations

Do you have a renovation project in mind? To develop your plan, work out the right timing and get the job done right, and meet with a contractor in your area.

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Give the gift of an unforgettable experience

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Instead of wrapping presents this year, consider providing your friends and family members with memorable experiences. This is an especially good idea for loved ones who already have everything they need and want. Plus, an outing will offer an opportunity for the person to take a break from their daily grind. Here are a few suggestions:

• A relaxing afternoon at the spa
• Dinner at a gourmet restaurant
• A theater, music, comedy, or circus performance
• Tickets to a ski hill or winter festival
• An introductory course to something exciting like dog sledding or wine tasting
• A weekend at a hotel

To find experiences your loved ones won’t soon forget, research the various activities offered where they live.

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How to keep your home rodent free

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As winter approaches, various pests will start looking for a cozy place to spend the season. Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent rodents from moving in with you. Here’s what you should do.

Eliminate points of entry
Mice can pass through openings as small as a dime, so close off every small hole you can find. Seal cracks in your foundation, place weatherstrip under your doors, and install backdraft dampers in your ducts. You should also screen off dryer outlets, fans, air intake vents, and roof vents. Finally, add caulking around windows and pipes as needed.

Tidy the kitchen
Take care to keep your counters clean. Store all dry food in sealed containers to avoid creating a buffet for unwanted critters. This includes your pets’ kibble.

Clean your yard
Remove anything cluttering up your property that may serve as shelter for pests. In addition, keep your firewood at a reasonable distance from the house and about one foot above the ground. You should also trim tall grass and plants growing near your home’s foundation. Furthermore, be sure to supply garbage and compost bins with tight-fitting lids and place your compost on wire mesh to prevent rodents from burrowing up from underneath.


If, despite your best efforts, unwanted critters infiltrate your home, call an exterminator in your area to get rid of them once and for all.

 

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Useful gifts for practical people

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If you’re not sure what to buy your loved ones for Christmas, you may want to consider giving them something practical. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.

• A gas station gift card
• A firewood sling
• Reusable containers, food wrap, or sandwich bags
• A set of quality bed sheets
• A portable cell phone charger
• A bathtub tray
• A gardening tote
• Heated gloves
• A bike repair kit
• Car storage accessories like a trunk or seat organizer
• Compact camping dishes such as a pot with a folding handle
• Warm socks

Visit your local retailers to find a host of gifts that will make your loved ones’ lives easier.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

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Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

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Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

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Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

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Cool Techs Heating and Air

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Downtown Market

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Explore Art & Clay

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First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

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No Doubt Accounting

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Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

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Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Dec
10
Sat
10:00 am 10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 10 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment during the holidays. Interact with the 10th VA Infantry, also known as the Valley Guards,[...]
Dec
14
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 14 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
17
Sat
1:00 pm The Nutcracker 2022 @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker 2022 @ Skyline High School
Dec 17 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Nutcracker 2022 @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts is pleased to announce its own student production of the seasonal ballet The Nutcracker, to be presented in Front Royal, VA, on Saturday December 17th 2022. Tickets: $35 and $25 Under 16:[...]
Dec
21
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 21 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
28
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 28 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Jan
1
Sun
5:30 am First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jan 1 @ 5:30 am – 3:00 pm
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. While the American tradition of celebrating the New Year occurs at midnight on New Year’s Eve, other cultures celebrate by enjoying the sunrise on New Year’s Day. As part of the continuing American[...]
Jan
4
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jan 4 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]