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Eat healthy even while on the go Stay healthy despite all the hustle and bustle.

Handmade gifts are the ultimate holiday decor Dress your home for the season with affordable decor handmade by you.

Unique gift ideas from your hands, heart Looking for a special gift this season? Look no further than your own heart.

Add life, color to your winter landsape Learn how to attract wild birds in your backyard.

How to dodge or deal with winter aches, pains Helpful tips.

Staying safe throughout the holiday season Learn how to keep yourself healthy and safe.

Editor’s note I just love handmade items. I love making them as gifts and receiving them as gifts. They’re usually affordable and can bring the greatest joy. This holiday season, why not save a little money and give a few gifts that come from your own two hands? The cover feature is all about making gift items, gives you suggestions on what you can make and some helpful Web resources. Also, while you’re in the spirit of making things, check out the article on homemade decor items. This is the season of giving and Creative Living wouldn’t be complete this month without our annual Unique Gift Guide. Check out what local businesses have to offer you this holiday season. You won’t be disappointed. Happy holidays!

Specialty Publications Editor

Contact Creative Living is a monthly advertising-sponsored magazine published by the Specialty Publications Department of The Community Press/The Community Recorder.

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Topics & Fitness 3 Health Mind • Body • Spirit

Fun 12 Winter Indoor • Outdoor

5 At Home

13 Senior Living

Decor • Repair

8 Unique Gift Guide Specialty shops

Apartments • Care

Questions and comments can be sent to Editor Melissa Hayden c/o The Community Press/394 Wards Corner/Loveland, OH 45140 or e-mail mhayden@communitypress.com. For advertising call 248-7685.


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Diabetic foot care

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he podiatrists at Centers for Foot and Ankle Care (CFAC) are dedicated to providing you the highest level of foot care. If you have diabetes, it is critical that you seek immediate treatment for any foot problems. Because diabetes increases the chances for foot problems, even minor infections or friction

injuries can quickly lead to amputation and serious complications. CFAC podiatrists have the experience and elite education to effectively treat diabetic patients. CFAC podiatrists specialize in providing preventative diabetic foot care, Medicare-approved diabetic shoes, wound care, and focus on limbsaving treatments.

Share your healthy eating habits with friends.

Eat healthy – even while on the go usy schedules and holiday activities can keep you on the run, making it hard to eat healthy at this time of year. There are times when you miss a meal and overindulge at a later hour, but with a little snack preparation, you can stay on schedule and on track with healthful eating habits. Tips include:

Back to Nature’s Seed and Herb Crackers. Available in three flavors – Poppy Thyme, Sesame Tarragon and Sunflower Basil – these crackers contain no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors and contain no cholesterol or trans fat. If you're feeling creative, pair any variety of these crackers with a low fat spread or cheese.

Start your day with breakfast

Carry on-the-go snacks

Eat a healthy breakfast every morning to get your day started off right. Toast with fruit jams, yogurt, oatmeal, a vegetable omelet or wholegrain cereal all are fantastic healthy options to get your day started on a good note.

Travel with a light and healthy snack that you can fit into your purse. A bag of nuts, handful of granola, a snack bar or even an apple can help you keep those hunger cravings at bay while you're shopping, picking your children up after school or running errands around town.

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Snack responsibly Keep a variety of healthy snacks on hand that aren't too large in portion but are easy to grab throughout the day. Try crackers that are made with real, but simple ingredients, such as

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Maintain a meal schedule Try to eat at the same time every day. This can be difficult to control with multiple family schedules, but by eating meals at a consistent time every day,

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your body won't send you hunger pains from a delayed meal.

Share your healthy habits Serve healthy snacks that not only look good, but taste good too at parties. Great options include cookies that contain real chunks of fruit and nuts such as those from Back to Nature. Try Back to Nature Granola Cookies in Cranberry Pecan and Honey Nut that are sweetened naturally with cane juice, fruit juice and honey. If you're looking for something sweeter, opt for Back to Nature's Chocolate Chunk cookies that contain Rainforest Alliance-certified chocolate. Combine the cookies with fruit slices or a mixed fruit salad and you'll have the perfect party snack mix. By keeping yourself healthy while on the go, you can enjoy life and accomplish more activities. But don't keep these secrets to yourself – share some of your great-tasting snacks with friends.

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Excessive daytime sleepiness could be a sign of untreated sleep apnea

Tired of being tired? Dr. Kitzmiller has a solution

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o you wake up in the morning feeling like you never went to sleep? Do you feel sleepy throughout the day? Excessive daytime sleepiness could be a symptom of one of the most widely undiagnosed conditions known as obstructive sleep apnea. An estimated 20 million Americans have sleep apnea, a condition where the airway collapses during sleep, causing the person to often snore, stop breathing and awaken multiple times every hour with a gasp. Sleep apnea is a lifethreatening sleep disorder that left undiagnosed and untreated can shorten your lifespan up to 18 years! Treatment options include surgery, oral

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appliance therapy, and CPAP. While CPAP is the gold standard of sleep apnea treatment, many people can’t tolerate the masks and pressure. An oral appliance is an FDA approved CPAP alternative that fits over your teeth and holds the lower jaw forward, keeping your airway from collapsing. Every day patients experience the benefits of Dr. Kitzmiller’s oral appliance therapy and rave about their new daytime alertness. “I was so tired of being tired! I went to Dr. Kitzmiller and have been thrilled with the results from using my oral appliance. I saw improvement in just a few days and now I wake up rested, without that exhausted

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Not sure if you have sleep apnea? Take a quick quiz at www. cincisleep.com to see if you are at risk. feeling. This is an easy and uncomplicated solution to managing my sleep apnea.” – Jan Want to see what a difference oral appliance therapy can be to treat your snoring or sleep apnea? Give Dr. Kitzmiller a call at 248-8848 to schedule your complimentary consultation. Dr. Kitzmiller and his team can coordinate your entire care process, including scheduling your diagnostic sleep study, treatment visits, insurance and follow up. Just go to www.cinci sleep.com to learn more!

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Lasting Impressions… Santa-in-the-City/Hosea Sharing House

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hat a wonderful time to visit Lasting Impressions and Santa-inthe-City/Hosea Sharing House at 241 Grandview in Bellevue! If you want to get that “old fashioned Christmas spirit,” it is well worth your time to visit this winter wonderland full of holiday decorating ideas and unique holiday merchandise. The Christmas merchandise line includes “Santa’s Own” trees, which are as authentic looking as any tree you will find on the market. Does your home need a bit of “sprucing up” for the holiday? This is definitely the

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Lasting Impression’s Santa Tree.

place you will want to visit to find that spectacular centerpiece for your dining room table or that little piece for a special corner in your kitchen or bathroom.

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The fragrance of luscious candles fills the room as you enter the Lasting Impressions showroom. The wonderful scents of Candleberry candles in the newest

Christmas fragrances make it a difficult decision as you choose just the right one for your home … Bourbon Roasted Pecans … Santa’s Cookies … Hollyberry Spiced Toddy … Vanilla Dipped Cinnacrisp … and many more! You won’t find any other brand of candle that will fill your home with a more inviting aroma to please your family and guests. • Christmas open house – Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27-28 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday, Nov. 29 (1 p.m.-5 p.m.) • Holiday hours – Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays,

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December 3, 10, and 13 • Life-size Christmas village on the fourth floor (18,000 square feet) Santa in the City/ Hosea Sharing House • Gorgeous holiday floral arrangements • Beautifully decorated trees • Candleberry candles featuring the newest holiday fragrances • Unique Christmas ornaments and gifts • Unique home accessories • Furniture, area rugs, window treatments • Ashton picture gallery at www.ashtoncompany.com

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Lasting see page 7

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Is your home dying? A

prominent Huff Realtor called Rooftime last week to request a siding estimate on her newest listing. She wondered if Rooftime could come and investigate why the newly applied paint was peeling on the wood siding of a 100-year-old vintage home; why painters were not able to keep any paint adhered to the wood siding for any extended period of time; and how much a new siding job would cost the homeowners. The estimators from Rooftime suspected the true problem, even before they arrived onto the site! Another sick and suffocating home; dying from what roofers call, “the plastic bag” effect. Adults constantly warn children about the dangers of placing their head into a tightly wrapped plastic bag; after all, more than 3,300 children are

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killed every year this way, due to the lack of air flow in and out of their bodies. A house is no different! Homes must be able to breath. Cut off the air flowing in and out of their attics and they suffocate and die, (the plastic bag effect), just like us. Peeling paint is just one of the most easily recognized signs of a sick home! Homeowners often get frustrated with a recurring paint problem and call on a contractor to install an expensive, vinyl siding job. This will only make a bad situation worse! The newly sided home, now really does have a plastic bag wrapped around its neck, and it will die even faster. New siding, Tyvek wrap and insulation board are not the problem per se, but can mask the fact that major problems still exist

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but are going on, unnoticed. What little air-flow that may have been occurring through old cracks and crevices, has now been completely sealed off by the installation of new siding. Now you really have an unhealthy home; prone to accelerated mold growth, a build up of interior pollutants, and higher utility bills due to inefficient economies of heating and air conditioning. Is your home sick? Most older homes are! Have you just installed new siding because of peeling paint, too? Then you may still have problems. Just as a suffocating person can be saved by adding oxygen, so can a dying home be made to recover by adding air flow. Roofing professionals, shingle manufacturers, and DIY-gurus, all stress

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“The good news for the old home the Realtor called about, was that Rooftime installed a new, properly balanced ventilation system, for less than one-third the cost of new vinyl siding, and the home was saved.” the importance of proper roof - attic ventilation in relationship to life expectancies of shingle roofs, formation of ice dams and excessive utility consumption. Homes must breathe. How do professional roofers help a home to breathe?

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By installing a balanced ventilation system at the Soffit (overhang) areas of a home, which allows air to come into a home and flow upward through the attic area. And, by installing functional outlet vents, at the peak or gable ends of a home, which allows bad air to exit the home, venting excessive heat in the summer and humidity in the winter. The good news for the old home the Realtor called about, was that Rooftime installed a new, properly balanced ventilation system, for less than one-third the cost of new vinyl siding, and the home was saved. Have your home professionally inspected and receive a free copy of a DVD or CD-ROM that completely demonstrates the keys to proper roof ventilation by calling on A New Rooftime at 513-753TIME, or in Northern Kentucky at 859-344TIME, or by visiting, www.newrooftime.com.

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Handmade crafts are the ultimate customized holiday decor

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ere’s another silver lining to the dark economic clouds still on the horizon this holiday season: handmade holiday decorations are not only less costly, they’re perceived as more meaningful as well. From spending more time with loved ones to an improvement in our overall health, stories abound on the positive side effects of the shaky economy. Increased enthusiasm for handmade items may well be the latest good by-product of troubled economic times. So how do you decide what handmade decorations will enhance your home’s holiday decor? Here are a few pointers: • Choose craft items that complement your home’s overall theme. For example, if you love clean, contemporary modern lines, make items that mimic that look. Crafts that incorporate reflective surfaces and metallic looks will fit well with contemporary themes. Softer fabrics and materials will mesh with a country theme. • Make crafts that will endure and be durable for seasons to come. “You’ll invest your time and a bit of yourself in every item you make,” Skinner says. “Opt for items that will be easy to care for and that will appeal to

• Get kids involved. When you create crafts with your children, you’re not just making decorations, you’re making memories that will stay with them throughout their lives. Plus, making crafts together will make each item feel that much more meaningful when you use it to decorate your home.

A Country Birdhouse Designed by Connie Glennon-Hall

Country bird house.

your sense of the holidays not just this year, but next year and the year after that as well.” • Give yourself plenty of time and space in which to create. You’re not rushing the season if you start working on your holiday crafts in early November or even late October. You’re just giving yourself plenty of time to accomplish everything you want to do. Also, dedicate a specific area of your home to your crafting and keep all your projects in one place - this way you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.

Supplies and tools 1 wood birdhouse 1 can Rust-Oleum multicolored texture spray paint, autumn brown 1 each acrylic paints in dark brown, green and ivory wooden picket fence Deco Art Snow Writer 1 piece, 12 inches by 12 inches, brown cardstock 1 piece, 10 inches by 4 inches, Homespun fabric Xyron 510 machine with adhesive cartridge Tacky glue and glue stick 1 ⁄2-inch flat paintbrush 1 ⁄2-inch detail paintbrush wire cutters scissors paper trimmer ruler sandpaper

Assembly instructions 1. Sand the birdhouse hole openings to remove rough edges. 2. Paint the entire birdhouse with dark brown acrylic paint. When dry, spray with autumn brown multicolored textured paint. When dry, paint ivory lines with the detail brush. 3. Cut a rectangle of cardstock slightly smaller than the bottom of birdhouse. Glue cardstock to bottom of birdhouse using glue stick. 4. With wire cutters, cut a nine- to 10-picket length from the fence. Dilute green paint and apply a wash coating over fence. When dry, glue to the front of house, along the front base. 5. Measure the three sections of the roof and cut brown cardstock to fit. Run the cardstock through the Xyron machine. Press the sticky side of the cardstock onto the homespun fabric, 1 aligning plaids and allowing ⁄4 inch margin around each piece. 6. Trim around roof panels 1 keeping the ⁄4 inch margin of fabric – and fray the edges by pulling out threads. Glue the three panels to the birdhouse roof, allowing fringe to remain exposed. 7. Decorate the house base, fence, perch, openings and fabric roof with Snow Writer. Courtesy of ARAcontent

Lasting from page 5 In addition to the exquisite Christmas decorations and trees in the Lasting Impressions showroom, you will want to visit the 18,000 square foot Santa-in-the-City showroom on the fourth floor. Wow! How can we adequately describe the life-size Christmas village you will find as you enter through the archway that leads to the brick and stone corner building, little white church, row

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houses, Santa in his sleigh with reindeer, tons of decorated trees, the Plum Pudding area, the Naughty-or-Nice tree … and so much more. You have to see it to believe it! The Hosea Sharing House is also located on this floor and individuals are invited to contribute canned goods and take advantage of the many donated items that are available in this area. All canned goods will go to the Henry Hosea

House in Newport, which serves meals to needy individuals daily. All visitors to Santa-inthe-City are invited to contribute canned fruits and vegetables for this worthy cause. A children’s area has been provided in this area to allow children to trade canned goods for a gift for mom and/or dad. The Hosea Sharing House is a great way for your local group or organization to raise money

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through donations of items from your group. 1. Your organization collects donations such as furniture, household items, miscellaneous household goods, etc. (no bedding or clothing). 2. Contact Linda (859655-8189) to arrange for pickup of items. 3. The items are sold at auction in the Sharing House (designated date and time). 4. Your organization receives 50 percent of the

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sale of the items. 5. The Henry Hosea House receives 25 percent of the sale of the items. 6. The other 25 percent is used for administrative costs. Call Linda at 859-6558189 or 859-462-2006 for more information about how you as an individual or your organization can participate in the Sharing House. Donations to the Sharing House are tax deductible.

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Unique gift ideas from your hands, heart Compiled by Melissa Hayden • Editor

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ooking for a special gift? Just search your heart. Sometimes the best gifts come straight from your own hands. These are inexpensive and are often the most favored. Here’s some ideas to get you started this holiday season.

Bird house Give the gift of spring early with this unique and personalized gift to the bird lover in your life.

Materials Wooden boxes (sold at craft stores) Fine-grain sandpaper Latex wood primer Acrylic paints and paintbrushes Acrylic varnish Felt Hot glue gun Assorted items, such as costume jewelry, foreign coins, or golf tees

What’s inside the pretty box? A special gift from the heart.

Instructions 1. To prepare the box for painting, lightly sand the wood and then brush a coat of primer on all its surfaces. Once the sealer dries, lightly sand the box once more. 2. Paint the box. This will have to be done in stages (the inside first, the bottom next, and the top and sides last), allowing the paint to dry each time. 3.To paint multicolored stripes, as shown on the pencil box, apply strips of Easy Mask KleenEdge tape (sold in most craft or paint stores) in a parallel pattern and paint between them. When the paint dries, remove the tape (it won’t peel off the paint), tape over the freshly painted areas and paint new stripes between them. Once the paint dries, apply a coat of acrylic varnish to protect and enhance the colors and let it dry completely. 4. Next, glue a felt liner to the inside of the box. Then glue decorative items that reflect the recipient’s interests onto the top. With items that are hard to stick, try gluing bits of felt to the bottoms and then gluing the felt to the box.

Materials Gourd Spoon (to hollow out Gourd) Drill 1 1 ⁄2” diam. drill bit (for entrance) Drill bit matching the diameter of your perch smaller drill bit (for hanging hole) small twig or branch for perch (optional) Twine, leather, or wire (for hanging) glue No VOC paint Instructions 1 1. Using your 1 ⁄2” dril bit, drill a hole in the middle of your gourd. 2. Using your spoon or other tool, scoop out the gourd interior. (you can skip this step by purchasing a ready-made Gourd from your craft store). 3. Allow to dry 4. Measure the diameter of your perch material, using the same/similar diameter drill bit, drill a hole one inch below your entry hole. 5. With the smallest drill bit, drill a 1 hole in the top ⁄2” on the gourd. This will be for your hanging wire. 6. If you so choose, paint your gourd (exterior only), and allow to dry. 7. Once dry, glue your perch into it’s hole. 8. Thread your wire (or other material) through the top holes

Family tree This family tree will fit into most standard scrapbook albums. You can also purchase a 12 x 12 scrapbook frame to hang it on a wall. Materials 12 x 12 inch recycled card stock - 1 piece Paper scraps - see suggestions above Photos of baby, parents, and grandparents Circle Cutter or scissors Pencil Glue Optional: Leaf Paper Punch, Decorative Label, Charcopaper or carbon transfer paper

Hobby box Great for the kid who likes to collect marbles or coins or for the crafter who needs help organizing.

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Instructions 1. Cut various size circles from scrap paper. If

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you don’t have a circle cutter, trace a few different sizes of round objects (cup, paint bottle, bottle cap, etc.) onto paper and then cut them out carefully with scissors. Recommended sizes: 1-3 3 large circle for baby, at least 6 - 2 3 circles for parents and grandparents, 12-15 - 1 3 circles, 121 15 - ⁄2 3 circles for filling in between larger circles 2. Arrange circles on 12 3 x 12 3 recycled card stock. Use photo above as a guide for placement or make up your own pattern. Largest circle should be near center with second largest circles radiating from it. Use smaller circles to fill in gaps. 3. Once you find a layout you like, use a pencil to sketch a tree trunk below the circles. I used a dark graphite pencil to sketch my trunk. 4. Glue scrap paper circles in place. 1 5. Cut out faces of family members about ⁄2 3 smaller diameter than the scrap paper circles they will be placed on. Cut out baby to be 2.5 3 in diameter. Cut parents and grandparents to be 1.5 3 in diameter. 6. Glue family pictures onto appropriate circles. Glue baby on largest circle. Glue parents on two circles closest to baby. Glue maternal grandparents on two circles closest to mom. Glue paternal grandparents on two circles closest to dad. 7. OPTIONAL: Add leaves to your tree. Use a leaf paper punch to cut leaf shapes from additional scrap paper. 8. OPTIONAL: Apply a decorative label on the tree trunk to serve as a name plaque. 9. OPTIONAL: Name your tree.

Wine glass charms A charming gift for the wine collector in your family. Materials Various Colored Beads Base Metal (or Sterling Silver) Earring Hoops (found in the jewelry-making section of your craft store) needle nosed pliers small tin or container Instructions 1. Slip one bead onto your earring hoop. If making 4 charms (or 8, or 12), make sure each bead is a different color. 2. Using your needle-nosed pliers bend the female end of the earring hoop so that it’s a 90 degree angle (see images below) 3. package in a small tin or container Sources: http://100handmadegifts.blogspot.com, http://familyfun.go.com, http://craftingagreenworld.com

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Markus Jewelers celebrates 20th anniversary A lot has changed for Markus Jewelers in 20 years. Thanks to the support of the community, this small jewelry store has greatly grown. It has never lost, however, its personable small business charm. Markus Jewelers is Anderson Township's only full-service jewelry store. Two experienced jewelers are on the premises. During the months of November and December they will be hosting a store-wide anniversary

sale. You won’t want to miss it! Their large selection of color gemstones can be found in rings, pendant and earrings. Markus Jewelers carries many necklaces, charms and bracelets in gold and silver. A large selection of designer pieces like Steelx, Hot Diamonds, Bentelli and Designs by Denae can be found there as well. Growing from 480 to 1,000 square feet and one show case to eight dazzling showcases, Markus Jewelers can fulfill all your jewelry needs.

Whether you’re looking for a uniquely handpicked or custommade piece or hoping for a new look for a piece you already own, Markus Jewelers is the place to go. The jewelers at Markus are also experts in repair work, carefully mending a broken piece with skilled craftsmanship.

Customers from all over the tristate are taking

All the employees at Markus Jewelers can help

“All the employees at Markus Jewelers can help with a total of 152 years of experience.” advantage of the on-site repair services including chain repair, ring sizing, and restringing. Watch bands and batteries done as you wait.

with a total of 152 years of experience. Come Visit Markus Jewelers, at 2022 Eight Mile Road. Their phone number is 474-4950.

To advertise in CreativeLiving call 248-7685.

To advertise in CreativeLiving call 248-7685.

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A relationship that will last a lifetime at Christopher George Salon

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very major milestone in life is marked by a trip to the salon. It’s a unique relationship that can last a lifetime. Your stylist is there to make sure you look your best for everything from a promising first date to a trip down the aisle. They are often the first trip out after a new baby, and cut those new baby curls a few short months later. They share in the joy of the many happy occasions and the sorrow and grief of the sad ones. The average person sees their stylist about every four to six weeks. Sometimes more often than they see their family! It’s a special relationship that the stylists of Christopher George Salon don’t take for granted. Every visit is a special one. They’ve been building relation-

ships in Milford for seven years.With their many talented stylists to choose from, you’re sure to find one that is a perfect fit. This year instead of giving more “things,” why not give a great experience that won’t soon be forgotten? A fantastic new color and cut, a style you’ve been admiring, or maybe just a couple of hours with new magazines and a sympathetic ear. It could be the beginning of a beautiful new relationship! Christopher George Salon is located at 1085 Suite A, Highway 28 in Milford. They are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Their phone number is 8310508. For more information, check out the Web site www. christophergeorgesalon.com.

Christopher George Salon is located at 1085 Suite A on Highway 28 in Milford.

Preview Productions presents latest winter doll fashions

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azzle up your favorite 18-inch doll with a sparkling ruby, burgundy, emerald green, or gold Christmas gown, and a sumptuous velvet, furtrimmed cape. Or keep her warm and cozy with a lovely furlined jacket. All this and more can be found at Preview Productions in Newtown. Owner Joyce Rosselot and her assistants Susan Lehr and Sarah Watters have been busy as elves designing, sewing, and stocking the doll clothing boutique with the latest in holiday and winter fashions.

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They have everything for special occasions and everyday winter wear, some outfits even come with matching boots. With such reasonable prices, this season is the perfect time to add several of the latest ready-towear fashions to your favorite someone’s doll collection. Preview Production is now showing their highly

anticipated Christmas dresses, as well as a full

“Preview Production is now showing their highly anticipated Christmas dresses …”

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complement of doll shoes, hats, scarves, skates, and many other accessories. The best selection is always in the store, located at 6720 Main Street in Newtown. Call 271-2524 for details.

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Add life, color to your winter landscape: Attract wild birds to your backyard

through the winter, so they – like you – will be ready to enjoy spring when it arrives. Getting started is simple: • Offer a feeding station that consists of a birdfeeder filled with a quality seed mix. Choose a blend that is specially formulated to attract a variety of birds. Ingredients should include bird favorites like black oil sunflower, thistle and peanuts, which are attractive to a wide range of birds including cardinals, chickadees, finches, native sparrows and more. Feeding a premium wild bird food like Scotts Songbird Selections ensures birds will get adequate energy and nutrition to help weather the winter. Visit www.scottswildbirdfood.com to learn more about feeding wild birds.

and suet is the high-energy snack that can help keep them going through the tough times. Rich in calories because it’s primarily made of fat, suet attracts woodpeckers, chickadees and many other species. Some suet, like Scotts Songbird Selections MultiBird Suet with Fruit and Nuts, is embedded with other treats birds love, such as seeds, nuts or dried fruit. Present the suet in a wire cage. The birds will cling to the cage and peck at the suet through the gaps. Other tips for winter feeding: • If you live in a region that receives significant snow accumulation, make sure feeders are raised high enough off the ground to escape the snow buildup.

Attract wild birds to add beautiful color to your backyard.

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eeding wild birds is an easy way to add a splash of color and song to your outdoor living space this winter, plus help the birds thrive through the toughest season for them. Attracting birds to your backyard is as easy as setting out bird feeders filled with quality food. In fact, winter is a perfect time to feed wild birds, as a variety of species, including dark-eyed juncos and native sparrows, migrate south. Other species such as cardinals, woodpeckers and goldfinches will stay around through the winter and will be eager to frequent feeders where they find a ready, steady supply of food. Feeding wild birds not only brings a little life to your backyard during the cooler months, but also helps the birds thrive

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• Choose a feeder appropriate for the type of seed blend you are feeding. Common types include covered or open platforms for any size seed blend, cylinders or tubes for small seeds, and a hopper or “house” style to hold larger seeds like sunflower. You can easily make your own bird feeder, or purchase one of the many types available in home improvement, hardware and other mass retail stores. To attract even more birds: • Offer more than one feeder with different foods to give birds with varying feeding preferences options and ensure you attract a variety of species. • In addition to a variety of quality seed blends, consider offering suet as well. Birds use a lot of energy, especially in the winter,

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Place feeders close to the house in locations with a good view from a favorite window. If possible, keep feeders a short bird’s flight from the cover of protective trees, to help birds feel more secure when feeding. • Wild birds have a particularly hard time finding fresh water in the winter. Consider adding a few heated birdbaths to your backyard landscape. Heated baths, many with thermostatic controls, are available in most home improvement, hardware and bird specialty stores. • If you’re worried about squirrels raiding and damaging your feeder, consider feeding them too. Offer something the squirrels will find even more enticing than bird food - like corn - and they’ll be less inclined to visit your birdfeeder. Courtesy of ARAcontent

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How to dodge or deal with winter aches, pains

Healthy exercise is a good way to avoid winter aches.

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appy holidays, time with friends and family, the freshness of a new year there are many things to look forward to with the arrival of winter. If you're among the millions of Americans, however, who suffer from chronic pain, winter can bring on a whole new set of problems and pains. Whether you suffer from chronic ailments like arthritis or fibromyalgia, or simply experience the aches, pains and stiffness associated with past injuries or with aging, winter's cold and dampness can exacer-

bate these problems. Plus, there's the potential to suffer painful injuries from winter activities like shoveling snow or hazards like slipping on icy ground. Here is some simple advice to minimize winter's impact on chronic pain and avoid new pains from injuries:

Arthritis and fibromyalgia While both conditions can cause excruciating pain, both also respond well to positive influences like exercise, diet and hot/cold therapy. To help minimize winter's impact on these two chronic ailments, be sure to stay active and maintain prescribed medications and therapies. Dress warmly when going outdoors, wearing layers that help trap heat near your body. Turn to hot and cold therapy to soothe sore muscles and aching joints. You don't need to resort to a hot water bottle or an ice pack to get hot/cold therapy relief. The IMAK Therapy Wrap is a 38-inch wrap that fits virtually any part of the body. Insertable gel packs can be heated or chilled, depending on what works for your pain. Breathable cotton Lycra fabric keeps the wrap comfortable against the skin. Visit www.IMAKproducts.com to learn more. Hot and cold therapy had also proven useful in treating normal aches and pains associated with aging, and with pain resulting from injury. To avoid common winter injuries from

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shoveling snow or slips and falls, follow this advice: • Stretch before you start, just as you would if engaging in a workout. • Shovel while it's still snowing and shovel repeatedly throughout the snowfall. That way, you're not trying to move a large amount of heavy, wet snow when the snowfall is over and the accumulation greater. • Use a small shovel - a large one may tempt you to overdo it - and let the stronger muscles of your legs do most of the lifting and pushing work. Bend at the knees to avoid excess strain on your back. If you do overdo it and wind up with some aches and pains, turn to hot and cold therapy to soothe sore muscles.

Other outdoor dangers Raking leaves, shoveling snow, even sitting for long hours in the cold on stadium bleachers watching a football game - all can put undue strain on your neck and shoulders. When performing outdoor physical activity that could strain your neck, be sure to take regular

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breaks, and let your strong leg muscles do as much of the work as possible. If you're sitting for long periods in the cold, dress warmly in layers and be sure to protect your neck with a warm scarf. Shift position often, standing up when possible, bending forward and gently stretching your neck, arm and shoulder muscles to avoid stiffness. Hot and cold therapy can also help alleviate neck pain if you do end up straining muscles. IMAK's Hot/Cold Neck Support allows you to put the therapeutic effects of heat or cold directly on sore neck muscles. A microwave-safe gel pack can be heated or chilled as needed. Finally, be aware of the risk and dangers of inclement winter weather. Slips on ice and frostbite from snow send thousands to emergency rooms every winter. If you must walk on ice, take measures to ensure your footing is good, such as using special cleats that attach to your shoes or wearing thick-soled snow boots. Never shovel snow, play in snow or spend time outdoors in snow unless you are appropriately dressed in warm layers, including hat, gloves and warm boots. With a few precautions and the right therapy, you can enjoy winter months free of the aches and pains associated with colder weather.

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Stay safe this winter.

Tips for staying safe through the holiday season

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ven if you’re not driving through a blizzard, the effects of winter weather pose a mobility challenge for everyone, whether it’s the possibility of slipping on the sidewalk or delayed flights due to icy runways. Cold temperatures only add to the frustration of winter travel. It’s little wonder that some people forgo the fun of holiday gatherings to stay home. For seniors, in particular, the ice and snow of winter is more than a discomfort – it’s a hazard. It’s so easy to slip and fall that many choose to stay inside, rather than take the risk of an injury from falling. Going outside to simply get the mail can seem like a chance they don’t want to take. The best way to face down winter and all its challenges is to think ahead and be prepared. A few simple solutions will make winter much safer - and more enjoyable - for you and any guests you might invite over. • Get the right gear – Clothing has to go to the next level in winter and serve a real purpose. Not only do you need added warmth, you have to have traction gear for ice and material that will keep out the dampness of snow, sleet and rain. Clothing technology has come a long way in helping us deal with winter. New, lighterweight fabrics fend off sub-zero cold and all kinds of precipitation without adding bulk, which is great for everyone, but particularly for professionals who need to maintain dress standards at work. Most shoes just aren’t able to stand up to the conditions of winter, and become hazardous when the world is glazed with ice. Innovative products like Stabilicers, ice cleats from 32 North, make any shoes into ground-grip-

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ping wonders. A variety of Stabilicers models are available. The Stabilicers Lite is adaptable to a wide variety of casual shoes and can be put on using only one hand. Plus, they’re small and easy to stash, so you can easily carry them with you when you travel. • Prepare your car – Winter driving poses its own unique challenges and needs. First, make sure your car is ready by checking that its fluids are temperature-appropriate and up to the correct levels, its wheels are in good

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alignment, its tire treads are in good condition, and that its battery, belts and hoses are in good shape. Whether you’re driving long distances to visit the family or just heading to work, it’s a good idea to keep an up-to-date emergency kit in the vehicle in case you become stranded. Include good jumper cables – if the ones you have are getting worn, spring for a new pair because if you get caught in the cold with a dead car, they will be your ticket home. Also include blankets, a flashlight, flares, a first aid kit, a small shovel, a window scraper and a bag of something that will help you gain traction, like kitty litter, sand or salt. Extra hats and gloves can be handy, too, as can small, non-perishable snacks like energy bars or granola bars. • Pay attention to your property – It’s important to keep a close eye on your gutters, steps and sidewalks, even when you’re not in the middle of a snow or ice storm. Make sure that icicles aren’t forming, or if they have, knock them down (carefully) to avoid damage to your home and to prevent them from falling on anyone. If ice forms on your walkways, keep ice melt, sand or salt near the door so you can easily distribute it and prevent slips and falls. When the snow starts to fall, be sure to shovel regularly. If you’re a city dweller, your neighbors will thank you. If you’re not, you’re taking steps to protect yourself and any visiting guests. The Stabilicer ice cleats can also come in handy while you’re doing these chores, giving you better traction to make the job quicker, so you can get back in out of the cold. Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Senior living: Staying healthy

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he weather is definitely changing and it brings with it different challenges for staying well. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to stay healthy this winter and to keep those around you healthy too!

Keeping germs at bay It is inevitable. The damp, chilly days bring with them the coughs and sneeze of those around you. How do you keep from getting it? Believe it or not, the simplest way is the best and that is good, old-fashioned hand washing. When you wash your hands properly, you prevent the spread of many germs. Properly means soaping for 30 seconds and then rinsing thoroughly. How do you know if it is 30 seconds? Some people sing two choruses of “Happy Birthday” to themselves. Others use the “A, B, C” song. Whatever works for you, make sure you spend the time to keep those germs away. And when you leave a public restroom, don’t grab the door handle with your nice, clean hand. Use

a paper towel to create a barrier and then dispose of that towel properly.

Fight the flu We’re all reading about H1N1 and the dangers in the current flu season. Well, turns out that the regular seasonal flu is just as dangerous and, for seniors, even more so. If you have no medical reason not to, a flu shot is the most important thing that you can do. And flu

local malls open their doors early so that you can walk. You might even find a congenial group of mall walkers to join! If you can’t get out, walk in place in front of your television; add an extra flight or two of stair climbing; turn on an exercise show and follow along. The worst thing you can do is just sit-so don’t just sit there, do something!

“...Keep your head covered, keep your feet dry and you can avoid a lot of winter-related health issues.” shots are very available, both at your doctor’s office and in many other locations. It is a small step to take for very powerful prevention.

Stay Warm

If the weather is inclement, dress properly for it. Keep your head covered, keep your feet dry and you can avoid a lot of winter-related Keep moving health issues. If the ground is wet or It’s a small thing to do slippery, it makes it diffibut protecting yourself cult to go out and exerfrom the elements was cise-even though we good advice to give your know how important it is children and it’s good to do that. There are a lot advice to follow yourself. of reasons that you need A few simple acts can to keep moving. It’s good make winter a healthier for your heart, your season for you and all of weight, your joints and those around you. your overall state of mind. Take care of yourself as What can you do? Many 2009 winds to a close!

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