Thursday, February 1, 2018

Pool Safety Tips

10 Steps to Pool Safety


Summer will be here soon.  
Here are some great Pool Safety Tips:
Swimming is the number one summer activity, but safety needs to be your first priority. Sadly, drowning is the #1 cause of unintentional fatalities for children ages 1-4, with an average of 390 deaths per year according to the CDC. Protect your little ones this summer with this handy checklist.

Pool Safety Checklist


  1. Teach children how to swim as soon as they are old enough. When your baby is 6 months old, you can join a parent-child swimming class to familiarize them with water and can enroll in actual swimming lessons around age 3 or 4.
  2. Stay within arms reach at all times around children who are not pool safe.
  3. Designate someone to actively watch when children are in the pool. Limit things that may distract you when you’re on “duty”, such as your cell phone, socializing, and drinking.
  4. Ensure you have proper fencing around your pool. Use at least 4 foot tall fencing with self-closing gates.
  5. Place a safety cover on your pool or hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access.
  6. Use the buddy system. No one should swim alone.
  7. Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors around the pool, such as “no diving” and “walk, don’t run”.
  8. Make sure everyone wears swim-level appropriate safety items, such as a life jacket or floaties.
  9. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapment.
  10. Take a CPR class to be prepared in case of emergency.

(information from the First American Home Warranty Newsletter)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ten Ways To Save $$$$ Around Your House

10 Ways to Save Money around the House

Homeowners and renters across the country can save money around their homes using little time and effort. From DIY projects to changing certain habits, everyone can take advantage of some or all of these easy tips.

1. Smart Thermostats

You blast you’re A/C in the summer and crank your heat in the winter all in the name of achieving a comfortable temperature inside your home. A great way to save hundreds throughout the year is to invest in a smart thermostat – no more adjusting your thermostat throughout the day and wasting energy and money.

2. Low-Flow

Wasting water during baths and showers means your money is literally going down the drain. Replacing old and outdated showerheads with new low-flow models could shave upwards of $100 off your annual water bill. Don’t be fooled by the name – most low-flow shower heads still provide excellent water pressure!

3. More is Less

An easy tip that can save you thousands of dollars in the long run is to pay a little extra on your mortgage payment each month. Any additional money you spend above and beyond your normal monthly payment will go directly towards principle and save you tons of money in the long run in interest.

4. Unplug

Even when you’re not using your homes appliances and electronics they’re still using electricity. This phenomenon is known as “phantom power” and can cost you hundreds of dollars annually. By unplugging your appliances, you can save an estimated five to ten percent on your monthly electric bill. If you don’t want the hassle of unplugging, invest in a smart power strip to help reduce your usage.

5. Photosynthesis is your Friend

Some people spend hundreds of dollars on air purifiers to reduce allergens in their home when all they actually need to do is buy a plant. Not only do plants remove toxins from the air naturally, they also add a little extra color to a room and make it feel more warm and comfortable.

6. $15 can Save you 15% or More….

For about $15, you can purchase the supplies you need to weatherproof doors and windows and save up to 15 percent on heating and cooling costs. Products can include caulking, felt, and foam tape, so make sure you figure out what your specific home will need.

7. Home Warranty

A home warranty is a great way to save money and protect your budget. In the event one of your home’s major systems or appliances breaks down, a home warranty can help protect you by subsidizing some of the costs associated with getting it repaired or replaced. Learn more about what a home warranty is here.

8. Invest in Fans

Save money in the summer by decreasing your air conditioner usage and use your ceiling fan instead. On average, an air conditioner uses 3,500 watts of energy, while a ceiling fan only uses 60 watts of energy, costing only seven dollars per month to run. Ceiling fans can even be useful during the winter months! Set the fan to run in a clockwise direction which will push warm air down from the ceiling and keep your home warm.

9. Shop from Home

Before you buy new accessories to spruce up your home, look at what you already have and see if there are small tweaks you can make to give your home new life. Rearranging furniture and lighting is a quick and free way to recreate an entire room. Switching decorations between rooms is another free way to make two spaces feel new and different.

10. Washing Without Wasting

You can save money on your laundry by adopting some simple habits like washing clothes in cold water and not overfilling the dryer to save tons on your energy bills. When it is time to upgrade your washer and dryer, consider investing in energy-efficient units. Not only will they save you money on your bills, but they may qualify you for a tax credit.
(Article from the First American Title Home Warranty Newsletter) 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New Year's Resolutions for you Home

Here is some great information for getting 
your home in shape.
New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home
Instead of making resolutions you probably won’t keep, like losing weight, or running five miles a week, why not focus on your home and use the new year to accomplish your home’s to-do list. Find tasks that not only need to get done but will also enhance the pleasure of living in your home. Maybe you want to paint all of your bathrooms – easy enough. But perhaps you want to start a remodel. That takes a lot more effort in time and money.
Here are some ways to break it down so at the end of the year you can look back and see that you have actually accomplished quite a bit!
Start with making a list of everything you want to do this year. Don’t leave anything out. Include all the easy stuff and the hard stuff too. Once you have your list, go through it and separate the items into three categories: Easy, Medium, and Hard. Easy means you can do it yourself and it cost nothing or not much. Medium means you can probably do it all yourself and maybe you’ll need a little help with some of it. It also won"t cost too much but you might need to make a budget for it. Hard would mean you will probably need to bring it outside help for most of the work and it’s not cheap. You’ll either have to budget for it or start saving.
woman choosing colors for new cabinetry
Now that you have your three lists, take each item and break it down into micro tasks. Break out every step you’ll need to do to accomplish the task. Make a list of supplies you’ll need, create a budget too. Maybe start pulling ideas from magazines or start a Pinterest® board. Once you have all of your micro tasks completed, arrange each task from Easy to Hard. Easy might be starting the Pinterest board or gathering paint chip samples.
Now you’re ready to start. Begin with the low-hanging fruit – the easy items from each list that you can accomplish right now. If it helps, put each micro task on a calendar and start checking things off.


Before you know it, you’ll have most of your list done, and hopefully, within the first few months you’ll have your entire “Easy” list finished. And with a few things accomplished and your list pretty checked off, those Medium and Hard items won't seem so daunting and you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment. Don’t just sit there – get started!
(information from First American Home Warranty

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Winter Wine Festival January 27th



7th Annual Winter Wine Classic


The Winter Wine Classic will feature one of the largest gatherings of California’s ultra-elite winemaking masters. Taste nearly 100 classic California wines of legendary stature in addition to a wide variety of delectable wine-worthy gourmet morsels. The event will include famous names from the wine world like Bernardus, Charles Krug, Silver Oak, and Peju as well as artisan gold-medal producers such as Beckmen, Lieff and Tablas Creek who will pour their ultra-premium wines and delight of the hundreds of oenophiles in attendance.

Ticket Price includes commemorative crystal tasting glass, all wine and appetizers.

The Winter Wine Classic benefits the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Don’t miss this luxuriant wine and food celebration.
WINTER WINE CLASSIC TICKETS

(information from the Santa Barbara Independent)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

"I HAVE A DREAM....." MARTIN LUTHER KING

the following is Martin Luther King's famous speech, "I have a Dream..."  I still get goosebumps when I read this and I can "hear " Dr. King's voice as he made the speech to all of us....

Image result for speech of martin luther king

I have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr; August 28, 1963
Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressing crowd of demonstrators outside the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Santa Barbara Communities are still in Fire and Flood Recovery Mode

PHOTO: Emergency personnel evacuate local residents and their dogs after a mudslide in Montecito, Calif., Jan. 9, 2018.

Train is operating again from Oxnard to Goleta as of today January 11th.
Please forgive my lack of posting events until next week.  Our Communities are still recovering and grieving our losses.
Thank you, Carla Reeves
photo from keyt.  for more information go to:  www.keyt.com/news

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

History of the 12 Day of Christmas (one version...there are many)

 The 12 Days of Christmas 

Drawing of a Partridge in a Pear Tree - The 12 Days of Christmas
The 12 Days of Christmas are now most famous as a song about someone receiving lots of presents from their 'true love'. However, to get to the song there had to be the days to start with!
The 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and last until the evening of the 5th January - also known as Twelfth Night. The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the middle ages and were a time of celebration.
The 12 Days each traditionally celebrate a feast day for a saint and/or have different celebrations:
  • Day 1 (25th December): Christmas Day - celebrating the Birth of Jesus
  • Day 2 (26th December also known as Boxing Day): St Stephen’s Day. He was the first Christian martyr (someone who dies for their faith). It's also the day when the Christmas Carol 'Good King Wenceslas' takes place.
  • Day 3 (27th December): St John the Apostle (One of Jesus's Disciples and friends)
  • Day 4 (28th December): The Feast of the Holy Innocents - when people remember the baby boys which King Herod killed when he was trying to find and kill the Baby Jesus.
  • Day 5 (29th December): St Thomas Becket. He was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century and was murdered on 29th December 1170 for challenging the King’s authority over Church.
  • Day 6 (30th December): St Egwin of Worcester.
  • Day 7 (31st December): New Years Eve (known as Hogmanay in Scotland). Pope Sylvester I is traditionally celebrated on this day. He was one of the earliest popes (in the 4th Century). In many central and eastern European countries (including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland and Slovenia) New Years Eve is still sometimes called 'Silvester'. In the UK, New Years Eve was a traditional day for ‘games’ and sporting competitions. Archery was a very popular sport and during the middle ages it was the law that it had to be practised by all men between ages 17-60 on Sunday after Church! This was so the King had lots of very good archers ready in case he need to go to war!
  • Day 8 (1st January): 1st January - Mary, the Mother of Jesus
  • Day 9 (2nd January): St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, two important 4th century Christians.
  • Day 10 (3rd January): Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. This remembers when Jesus was officially 'named' in the Jewish Temple. It's celebrated by different churches on a wide number of different dates!
  • Day 11 (4th January): St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint, who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the past it also celebrated the feast of Saint Simon Stylites (who lives on a small platform on the top of a pillar for 37 years!).
  • Day 12 (5th January also known as Epiphany Eve): St. John Neumann who was the first Bishop in American. He lived in the 19th century.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night was a big time of celebration with people holding large parties. During these parties, often the roles in society were reversed with the servants being served by the rich people. This dated back to medieval and Tudor times when Twelfth Night marked the end of 'winter' which had started on 31st October with All Hallows Eve (Halloween).
At the start of Twelfth Night the Twelfth Night cake was eaten. This was a rich cake made with eggs and butter, fruit, nuts and spices. The modern Italian Panettone is the cake we currently have that's most like the old Twelfth Night cake.
A dried pea or bean was cooked in the cake. Whoever found it was the Lord (or Lady) of Misrule for night. The Lord of Misrule led the celebrations and was dressed like a King (or Queen). This tradition goes back to the Roman celebrations of Saturnalia. In later times, from about the Georgian period onwards, to make the Twelfth Night 'gentile', two tokens were put in the cake (one for a man and one for a women) and whoever found them became the the 'King' and 'Queen' of the Twelfth Night party.
In English Cathedrals during the middle ages there was the custom of the 'Boy Bishop' where a boy from the Cathedral or monastery school was elected as a Bishop on 6th December (St Nicholas Day) and had the authority of a Bishop (except to perform Mass) until 28th December. King Henry VIII banned the practise in 1542 although it came back briefly under Mary I in 1552 but Elizabeth I finally stopped it during her reign.

The first monday after Christmas feast has finished was known as ‘Plough Monday’ as this was when farming work would all begin again!During Twelfth Night it was traditional for different types of pipes to be played, especially bagpipes. Lots of games were played including ones with eggs. These included tossing an egg between two people moving further apart during each throw - drop it and you lose and passing an egg around on spoons. Another popular game was 'snapdragon' where you picked raisins or other dried fruit out of a tray of flaming brandy!
In many parts of the UK, people also went Wassailing on Twelfth Night.
Twelfth Night is also known as Epiphany Eve. In many countries it's traditional to put the figures of the Wise Men/Three Kings into the Nativity Scene on Epiphany Eve ready to celebrate Epiphany on the 6th January.
It's also traditional to take your Christmas decorations down following Twelfth Night.
Twelfth Night is also the name of a famous play written by William Shakespeare. It's thought it was written in 1601/1602 and was first performed at Candlemas in 1602, although it wasn't published until 1623.