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Letter from the Editor


Grow Tower gardens and rows of above-ground pots yeilding tastier, organic produce are popular alternatives to store-bought veggies.

By Mary Stein Hurst


Apropos of Nothing Beckett lets us in on a little secret... he hears voices. But these voices in his head are from his past — and are endearing ones at that.

By Jamie Beckett


Enlighten At local retreats, women find common ground, form friendships, and bond knowing they are not alone in their personal plights.

By Andrea Cruz


The Games We Play The benefits of homeschoolers playing on team sports are many, including cameraderie and learning how to work well with others.

By Merlisa Lawrence Corbett


Laugh It’s a laugh a minute at the shows of two improv groups. Performing family-friendly shows, these funny people are tickling funny bones without ever having rehearsed.


Cover: Treasure From England to Lakeland, the city’s swans have graced the local lakes for nearly 60 years. Read about their history and lineage.

By James Coulter


Non-Profit Spotlight Polk Training Center in Lake Alfred.


April 2014

From the Editor


pring is officially here (thank goodness) and new growth is all around us. My own green thumb has been slow to develop but it’s getting there. I am not one of those who can squeeze a tomato and have a plant grow where the seeds dropped. That magical touch belongs to my husband. At least I don’t kill (too many) plants. That’s something. Right? Growing a garden can be a creative process. It’s a science, really, knowing when to plant, where it’ll do best, etc. The containers sometimes make all the difference, too. Vertical tower gardens are growing in popularity. Read about those and other planting methods that take gardening to the next level on page 5. Internal growth is something more people are focusing on as it is becoming more apparent in the busy tick-tock of daily life that self-care should be more of a priority. Retreats exist that help women bring the focus back on what’s truly important, helping them to exchange their “to do” lists for “to be” lists. Page 8 has that story. Animals only know how to “just be.” The tranquil and majestic swans that represent the City of Lakeland have given residents and visitors enjoyment for nearly 60 years. Read about their royal heritage beginning on page 12. Enjoying team sports, both as a spectator and a player, is a right to be had by all. There’s often a misconception that homeschooled kids miss out on team sports. Luckily, Florida’s laws allow homeschooled kids participation on public school teams. Page 9 has all the details about this fair play option and the benefits of playing on a team. A quick shout out to The 863 Magazine’s funny guy, Jamie Beckett. We appreciate your monthly helpings of humor, insights, reflections, and sprinkles of sarcasm. Thanks for the smiles. You’ll always find Jamie’s words of wisdom disguised as a comedic column on page 6. Our non-profit spotlight on page 18 is the Polk Training Center in Lake Alfred, a wonder ful organization that is both a local plant nursery and educational institution for adults with disabilities. - Andrea Cruz |

Publisher | SERGIO CRUZ Editor | ANDREA CRUZ Contributors | JAMIE BECKETT


Head Photographer | JODI L. FOSTER Cover Designer | DEBORAH COKER Ad Sales Rep | SERGIO CRUZ 863-258-3561

Cover photo: The gorgeous swans that grace Lakeland’s lakes and represent the ciy have a royal history. Story page 12. Photo credit: The 863 Magazine is independently owned and produced in Winter Haven, Florida. For more info:


April 2014

Gardening Outside the Box

Story and photos by Mary Stein Hurst


here is a Chinese proverb quoted often during times of economic difficulty: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Winter Haven resident, Linda Bayko, and Lake Wales residents, Lynn and Faye Greenfield, have applied the same concept to gardening. While Bayko grows organic vegetables in hydroponic towers, the Greenfields prefer to grow a myriad of fresh produce from seed in containers. Either way, they are helping others to eat better and learn how to propagate food — skills to last a lifetime. Not only has Bayko taught herself to garden but she’s sharing the wealth with The Mission in Winter Haven, a nonprofit agency that feeds between 300 and 400 hungry people daily. They also provide food to hospice patients with special dietary. A year ago, she bought

herself a tower garden, a hydroponic system accommodating 20 plants. After harvesting her first crop of lettuce leaves in two weeks, she says she realized that the $45 per week she spent on buying organic produce from the supermarket could, in time, easily pay for the $525 each tower costs. “Not only are the vegetables fresh, but they taste so much better,” she says. “Now, whenever I get near them, I just chow down. I can’t help it.” Her first tower gardening experience convinced her and a friend to make the same investment for a cause they’ve supported — feeding the hungry at The Mission. They donated six towers initially to the nonprofit. Father David Berry Jr., The Mission’s executive director, is glad they did. Now, the towers number 23 at The Mission on East Central Avenue. The Mission’s gardening Continued on page 14

Tower gardens at The Mission of Winter Haven are devoted solely to different varieties of lettuce to help feed the hungry at the nonprofit agency’s Central Avenue headquarters. In other parts of the garden, strawberries, squash, kale, broccoli and other vegetables grow rapidly in the hydroponic garden system.


Apropos ofNothing

An Editorial by Jamie Beckett


here are voices in my head. Good voices. They entertain me and make me laugh. I’m not embarrassed about it a bit, either. In fact, I hope they never go away. I should be so lucky. You see, my kids are growing up and becoming independent. The little rodent people who used to crawl on my floor, spill drinks on the dinner table, and wake me from a sound sleep more often than not – well, they’re all grown up now. The youngest is in high school. The oldest is older than I was when he was born. He’s gone now, living in the wilds of New York City. He’s got a career and his own apartment and everything. Go figure. The middle one will probably move out sooner rather than later, too. And the youngest won’t be here for more than a couple more years. The actual people they belong to are moving on, but the voices will stay. My wife and I are going to be empty nesters


April 2014

soon. It’s about time! Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. All three of ‘em are fantastic examples of what you can do with some random DNA, a bit of baby formula, plenty of time-outs, and a lot of hugs. They’re functional human beings who to this point haven’t held up a bank, bilked the local gentry out of their life savings, or hidden a body in the backyard under the shed. At least not as far as I know. Sometimes, they look at me funny, though. So you never can tell really. They’re kids. And as anyone with kids can tell you, expect the unexpected. Seriously. Kids are just plain weird. The weirdness doesn’t matter. The important thing is the voices in my head. They’re getting louder, which is good, because if they were quiet and dainty I wouldn’t be able to hear them over the ringing in my ears. But I can hear them fine, because they shout with exuberance. They laugh like they just heard the funniest joke in the world. They shriek and squeal and run rampant through my head all day and all night. I love it. Those voices represent the memories of my kids, which I hold in my cranium as priceless treasures. Their voices are as high-pitched, clear, and innocent as they ever were. Like a favorite movie in my library, I run through the things they said and the laughs that erupted from deep in their little bellies over and over again. They’re not alone in there, either. My head’s not just filled with childlike nonsense and knock-knock jokes that were stupid the first time around and just

get dumber every time they’re retold. Nope, there’s a few old guys in there, too. One in particular brings me a special joy. It’s my granddad, an old guy from the really old days, before electricity, indoor plumbing, or automobiles. When I was just a little guy I’d lay in his big four poster bed on bright sunny mornings as he sang, Blow the Man Down. His croaky old man voice is still in my noggin’ every bit as real as it was half a century ago. You can’t get cool stuff like this at the app store. It won’t play on your iPhone. You’ve got to be a little crazy to tune in to these stations. Thank goodness I am afflicted as I am. Someday, if I get really lucky, maybe my granddad and my kids will meet up in my brainpan. The chorus of voices would do me good, I’m sure. I can just imagine my youngest telling my granddad with glee how cool it is that she was born 100 years after he was. And there I am as the lynchpin linking the two of them together, knowing that she’ll be telling stories about good ol’ granddad — stories I told her, two hundred years after he came into this world. Yep, being a little crazy is good. But then, I have kids. Being a little crazy is a requirement of the job. Jamie Beckett appears to be an average, everyday guy who just happens to hail from Arizona, Connecticut, New York City, and Central Florida. He wears many hats — pilot, mechanic, writer, politician, musician, stayat-home dad — often an odd combination of all those things. Frankly, we don’t care. At The 863 Magazine we just keep him around because we think he’s funny. That’s that.

Thank You Sponsors of the 4th Saturday Market in Downtown Winter Haven!

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And a very special thank you to the City of Winter Haven! Next Market is April 26! See ad on page 4 for full details. See you there!

Women’s Retreats: Creating a “To Be” List Photos & Story by Andrea Cruz


haring one’s innermost thoughts is emotionally intimidating for most, and mustering the courage to lay it all out there, not only to others but often to one’s own self, can be tough. However, doing so in order to grow as a person is often necessary. Connection with others facing similar issues can be key to easing the discomfort of exposing personal truths. Local retreats for women providing that connection and outlet exist, and are led by visionary women who’ve felt the need to share their strengths in facilitating emotional growth. Two such visionaries are Kelly Andrews and Maria Martinez. The Lakeland residents met through the downtown Lakeland chapter of American Business Women’s Association (ABWA). Both agree that their initial meeting and ensuing friendship has been magical – they share the same passions and ideals of wanting to help women reach their full potential. Andrews, a yoga instructor and assistant dean of wellness at Florida Southern College, says she and Martinez felt compelled to offer something different to area women. She says at the time they met in 2011 there were an abundance of places offering yoga, business networking, or individual life coaching.


April 2014

“You from the Inside Out” offers quarterly retreats throughout the year in Lakeland. Women gather for a day of meditation, yoga, and group coaching on a themed topic.

“But there wasn’t really a place for like-minded women to connect as a group and support each other,” Andrews says. “This is more than a networking group, it’s about self-care.” Andrews and Martinez, a certified life coach, held their first retreat within a few months of meeting. They’ve since held their daylong retreats, “You From the Inside Out,” just about once every quarter. Each retreat is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on a Saturday in the Lakeland home of Andrews. A large, wooden space used for yoga during the week has picture windows overlooking a lush, manicured golf course. The tranquil setting is ideal, inviting and a “safe” space for women to open up and give themselves the gift of putting themselves first. “As I work with individuals I realize that we all need somewhere where we can land, feel safe, and be heard,” Martinez says. “If we put ourselves first and feel good, then we can be even better as mothers, as wives, as business owners.” In addition to group coaching, the retreats always include meditation and restorative yoga. Andrews says the yoga practiced is always complementary to whatever the focus is for the specific retreat. “For instance, when we did love and gratitude I did all chest openers to

open the heart center, so there’s more awareness around that space and bringing love and having gratitude and appreciation into your life,” she says. Individual retreats have focused on topics such as positive living, confidence, bliss, energy, creating a vision, intention, being playful, and many others. No matter the topic, helping women to be “authentic” is always a goal at each retreat. Andrews says sharing in a group setting isn’t as scary as it sounds. Many of the attendees have been to multiple retreats and are accustomed to opening up first, which then makes it easier for the newbies to share. Whether they are women in the workforce, stay-at-home moms, or retirees, most of these attendees have found that, for whatever reason, this is the work they need to do at this point in their lives, Andrews says. She adds that no two attendees are alike, and their reasons for attending a retreat run the gamut. Some are trying to overcome a major trauma they’ve experienced, while others are just busy, and are seeking ways to make friends and connect. Lakeland resident Chrissanne Long has attended five or six retreats, and says that rarely has she felt so connected and comfortable in a room full of women. Continued on page 16

Sports In

The Games We Play: The 863 By Merlisa Lawrence Corbett Photos by Sergio Cruz

Homeschoolers and Team Sports:

Equal Opportunities W

waiting for government approval. These sports. hen hundreds of high school parents have built coalitions and started Research conducted by Michigan baseball players descend on organizations to create an infrastructure State’s Institute for the Study of Youth Auburndale in late April for the for their homeschooled children to reap Sports revealed that participation in Homeschool World Series Association the benefits of playing on a team. sports helps with maturation and self(HWSA) tournament, they will partake The HSWA was started in 2000 in esteem. According to the Women’s Sports in one of America’s oldest pastimes. Austin, Texas, by parents who wanted Foundation, girls who participate in sports Meanwhile, they belong to a relatively their sons to play organized team sports. are less likely to become pregnant as new group of high school students — That year they got six teams together to teenagers and less likely to suffer from the homeschooled athlete who plays play in Nashville. depression. organized team sports. Chuck Hendricks, President of HSWA, Many parents who homeschool The tournament runs from April 27 is like so many parents who in supporting their children recognize the value of to May 3 at Lake Myrtle Park. Players their children wind up as coaches, participation in sports, especially team will represent towns from Indiana, North umpires or organizers. Hendricks, who also sports. Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, coached a team, says the tournament Those in states that allow Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Texas, Mississippi bounced around before it settled on Lake participation on public school teams and Missouri. Myrtle Park. are grateful. Those who live in states There will be no teams from Polk Continued on page 15 that deny access aren’t sitting around County, the host of the tournament since 2010. That’s mainly because in Florida homeschooled children are allowed to play on the public school teams in the districts where they live. That’s not the case for most of the states represented in this tournament. Florida is among 22 states that grant homeschooled kids permission to play on public school teams. Proponents of allowing homeschooled kids access to public school teams have pushed to pass “Tim Tebow laws” in several states. Such laws were named after the former Florida Gators quarterback who was homeschooled but played for a public high school team. While state legislators around the country debate whether homeschooled kids should have equal access to public school teams, one thing is certain, all kids Barrett O’Neil, a dad who homeschools, is also a soccer coach of Winter Haven Kicks, a travel team. His boys are among the benefit from participating in

homeschooled kids on the team. Teammates pictured, from left: Ryan O’Neill, Miles O’Neil, Noah Miller, and Jon Paul Dobratz.


Polk County’s 2014 Relay for Life Dates



id you know? Florida’s avocado trees are under threat. Many have died in the past year due to the affects of a tiny creature called the Ambrosia Beetle. In an effort to create awareness of this phenomenon, protect, and hopefully save this precious superfood — the Florida avocado — the “My Florida Avocado” page was created on Facebook by Winter Haven’s Guacamole Guy. You can help! Read about what you can do to help our local resource - please visit and like the page:

he American Cancer Society announces its dates for its 2014 Relay for Life events in Polk County. Relay for Life is an annual, volunteer-driven, nationwide event benefitting the American Cancer Society. Each event lasts 18 or 24 hours, is typically held outdoors, and includes opening ceremonies, survivors lap and celebration, care-givers lap, luminaria ceremony, fight back ceremony and closing ceremonies. Relay for Life events are organized, overnight community fundraising activities. Teams of people camp around a walking track. Members of each team take turns walking around a track, to simulate cancer survivors, who are awake and walking all night. Events feature food, games, activities and entertainment. There is no admission to relays, and the purpose of the events are to fundraise and raise awareness in the fight against cancer. Last year, Florida-based Relay For Life events raised approximately $19 million for the American Cancer Society. For more information on the American Cancer Society and the programs and research it funds, visit or call 1-800-ACS-2345. For any info on the events listed below, contact Caellan Curtis at 863-6882326, ext. 5508. What: Relay for Life of Fort Meade and Frostproof When: 5 p.m., April 4-5 Where: Ft. Meade Middle-Senior High School What: Relay for Life of Winter Haven When: 5 p.m., April 11-12 Where: Lake Region High School What: Relay for Life of Auburndale When: 6 p.m., April 11-12 Where: Auburndale High School What: Relay for Life of Mulberry When: 6 p.m., April 25-26 Where: Mulberry High School What: Relay for Life of Bartow and Lake Wales When: 5 p.m., May 2-3 Where: Bartow High School What: Relay for Life of Lakeland When: 6 p.m., May 2-3 Where: Lakeland High School What: Relay for Life of Haines City and Davenport When: 6 p.m., May 9-10 Where: Haines City High School


April 2014

Making it up as they go... Squeaky clean family fun is a laughing matter. These funny guys and gals make it their business to make sure you laugh until you cry — or at least until your ribs hurt. Either way, they’re doing their best to improvise ways to make you smile.



UT OF THE BOX, a fun and exciting improvisational comedy troupe based in Winter Haven, features performers Rob Fritz, Matt Sunealitis, John Menard, Dylan Holley, and Monty Ray Davidson. These funny guys create improvised comedy sketches as audience members offer suggestions for each scene while being called onstage to participate in the fun. Performances on the second and fourth Saturday of each month at the Bean and Grape Café, 1133 1st Street South, Winter Haven. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and have free admission. Upcoming performances are: April 12 – “The Caffeine and Comedy” Show April 26 – “The Competition Show” May 10 – “The Caffeine and Comedy Show” May 24 – “The Chinese Menu Show” June 14 – “The Caffeine and Comedy Show” June 28 – “Comedy Survivor” For more information regarding OUT OF THE BOX, visit or contact Rob Fritz at or 863-521–4818.

ome laugh with the ImprovAddicts, Lakeland’s premier improv comedy group. Want to experience improv comedy at its finest? Then don’t miss the ImprovAddict’s shows every first Friday of the month at 9 p.m. at various Lakeland venues; exact locations are always posted on the Facebook page. The next show is April 4 at Mitchell’s Coffee House, located at 235 N Kentucky Ave. in downtown Lakeland. And on every third Friday they perform at 8:00 p.m. at Just Dance, located at 124 S. Kentucky Ave. in downtown Lakeland. The ImprovAddicts, a local comedy troupe specializing in family-friendly fun, performs improv comedy, meaning they make everything up right there on the spot. That’s right — you’ll never see the same show twice! For just $5 per person, you and your family can enjoy an evening of rib-tickling, clean, original comedy. You’ll experience games such as Post-It Notes, Change of Emotions, Mr. Know-It-All, and — a fan favorite — The Eliminator! Who knows — you may even make it up on stage! For more information, please visit ImprovAddicts or email


Lakeland’s Swans:

Representing the City for Nearly 60 Years

Story by James Coulter Photos by Foster’s Photography


wans are to Lakeland what pigeons are to New York City. These avian mascots appear everywhere, from the city’s logo to the downtown sculptures. But the most famous and real-life swans are those that live at Lake Morton and the surrounding lakes. Having graced Downtown Lakeland for more than 90 years, the earliest swan sightings were in 1923, when wealthy lakefront residents often owned them as pets and later released them into the wild. By the 1930s, there were at least 20 swans residing in Lakeland. Sadly, their numbers dwindled as they fell prey to predators and disease. By the 1950s, there were only a handful of swans left. The last one was eaten by an alligator in 1954. The death of the very last swan saddened many residents. One in particular, Mrs. Robert Pickhardt, who was then residing in England, desired to see the swans return once more to Lakeland.

enough to handle the swans. For him, the most fun part about his She wrote to Queen Elizabeth II The day of the roundup starts bright job is the annual roundup in October. requesting that she donate a few swans and early at the crack of dawn. Platt and It begins with proper preparation owned by the Royal Family that flock his men start early when the weather is days before the big day. Platt and his along the Thames River. Of those Thames cooler to make the roundup less taxing on men gather the necessary equipment River swans, the very first pair were offered the swans. they need for that day, including nets to King Richard the Lionhearted as a Continued on page 19 and pens, and ensure that they are safe reward for his efforts in the Crusades. The progeny of that first pair have since remained along the Thames River for generations. Pickhardt received an official reply informing her that the Queen would gladly donate a pair of swans if they received $300 in compensation for their trapping and shipping costs. One generous Lakeland visitor, wanting to see the return of the swans once more, gladly made the donation. Not long after, a pair of White Mute swans were shipped from Britain and released on Lake Morton in 1957. Nearly 60 years later, the descendants of these two swans have continued living along lakes Morton, Mirror, Hollingsworth, and Wire. Currently, there are 80 swans residing in Downtown Lakeland. To ensure that these swans remain for future generations, the City of Lakeland takes special precautions to ensure their health and safety. Their wings are clipped to prevent them from straying too far from the lakes, and the Parks and Recreation department keeps a close eye on them. Despite these precautions, a few problems have befallen the swans. In 2012, thieves pilfered more than 40 of their eggs. Swan eggs are considered a rare delicacy and sell for high prices on the black market. Though security has since been heightened in response to these thefts, the stolen eggs resulted in no offspring for that year. For the past 34 years, the swans have been herded up every October and sent to the veterinarian for their annual check-up. Steve Platt, parks and recreation supervisor for the downtown area, has worked with the city for 17 years, 15 of which he has spent overseeing the swans. Though his job is no longer as hands-on as it used to be, he supervises the two employees who oversee Lake Morton. Their job entails feeding the swans four times a week and responding to emergency calls. Platt is always the first to respond to a problem concerning the swans. He and his men arrive on the scene and inspect the reported swan for any abnormalities. If they find any, they transport it to the animal hospital to Opposite page: One of Lakeland’s many white swans appears to have a tiara of water droplets on it’s head. Above: A pair of swans swim in Lake Morton, the Lakeland lake with the largest population of the resident mascots. receive proper care.


Gardening, cont. from pg. 5

dishes, which include a wild game food bank. Hunters donate a variety of meats. “We get ground venison, wild board, duck, and gator meat,” he says. “We also got four hogs donated by the Polk County Youth Fair that was turned into Italian sausage.” Bayko says she’s just pleased to be able to help a cause she feels so strongly about. “My passion is helping The Mission. This is a way for families to learn how to eat properly, grow Above: Lynn, left, and Faye Greenfield grow organic their own food and that will fulfill vegetables on their Lake Wales property. Below: that need for a lifetime,” she says. Containers with two kale varieties, green peppers, The Greenfields, married 43 years, beets, tomatoes and okra are just a few among many types of vegetables grown by the Greenfields, who bring their fresh produce to the Lake sell their produce at the Lake Wales Farmer’s Market. Wales Farmer’s Market twice a month. But they’ll happily share their gardening secrets with anyone who wants to learn. Lynn Greenfield grew up on an Iowa farm. While he says he didn’t want to be a farmer initially, that’s exactly where his life has ended up. The two met while students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 1960s. Lynn studied business administration. Faye was a research assistant. After working in the business world for a while, they decided to move to their Lake Wales property when Faye’s relatives offered them the chance to take over the family citrus groves in the 1970s. While they have retired from citrus farming, Lynn decided to use some of acreage for planting more than 20 kinds of fresh fruits, produce and herbs. They, too, only grow organic seed — some heirloom varieties. “It’s a hobby farm run amuck,” he says. Lynn Greenfield’s insecticide is pinching pesky bugs off his plants with his fingers. If that doesn’t work, he destroys the crop and plants something else. “The only way we are not 100 percent organic is the fertilizer I used,” he coming to visit their home to buy organic says. “It’s a 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer food for her special needs son. Now, they I used growing citrus. And say, she’s growing her own. really, the plants don’t Like Bayko, Greenfield also loves to know the difference.” share the wealth. “We sell our vegetables He mixes his own soil and the neighbors are sometimes the mix with peat moss and recipients of the excess,” he says. vermiculite, a soil filler “I have four passions,” Lynn that allows aeration and Greenfield says. “She,” pointing to his wife, drainage. After doing “is No. 1. Then there is this beautiful piece it by hand for years, he of property, the garden, and fishing. We purchased an electric are well-educated, simple people — but soil mixer a couple years we eat really, really, really well.” ago. Years of working the Though he says he’s working as hard orange groves took its toll as he ever did, the couple took time to on Lynn Greenfield’s back smell the roses, travel and did what they and joints. wanted to while they were younger. The Greenfields say “We have a reverse retirement,” Lynn they love their lifestyle — Greenfield says. “We’re sentenced to a tending to gardens and Linda Bayko, left, and Father David Berry Jr,, The Mission’s executive life of hard labor in paradise.” teaching others to do the director, stand among the non-profit’s tower gardens. The fresh veggies and herbs grown feed hundreds of needy people and families each day. same. One woman began endeavor has been named “The Daniel Project,” after the biblical book of Daniel, the scripture of which says that men who ate only vegetables were healthier and stronger. The plants in the towers are cared for and harvested by Mission staff and clients. Not only are clients eating fresh vegetables and fruits, Berry says the agency saves $200 a week on their grocery bill. The prolific gardening system has also added a wealth of opportunities, not only in nutritional meals, but now families coming to The Mission will be able to adopt the care and feeding of a tower garden to learn life skills, and take the fruits of their labor home to cook for their families. Bayko was so enthused with the tower gardens, distributed by Juice Plus, she became a distributor herself. Though it is a business, she says all the commissions she earns from selling the systems goes toward purchasing more towers for The Mission. That plan has mushroomed. Berry says not only have his clients learned to appreciate the fresh food, his own children now have learned to love smoothies made from the garden’s harvests. He has also received inquiries about juice bars and restaurants purchasing The Mission’s fresh produce, which directly supports the nonprofit’s operations. Each hydroponic tower uses 20 gallons of water circulated with an electric pump. The organic seeds are placed in spun lava rock resembling light foam rubber, and watered by a nutrient solution of earth minerals pumped up through the center of the tower, which then drip down. “I figured our electric bill would go up,” Berry says. “But the bill went up only about 50 cents a week.” Berry says The Mission’s kitchen staff has used the herbs and fresh vegetables for salads and to accompany the main


April 2014

Homeschoolers on Team Sports, cont. from pg. 9

it’s going to be your teammate’s day. You to stifle self-gratification to achieve group “This is the fifth year in Polk County. need to celebrate their day, too. That’s goals. It will remain in Polk County for the part of being on a team… I think it’s great David Lovell is coach of the Dallas foreseeable future,” says Hendricks. these boys have this opportunity.” Angels, the defending champions of the “The facilities at Lake Myrtle Park, we’ve HSWA. His son, who is homeschooled, not seen anything like that in any other plays for his team. He says he’s aware place in country. It works great for us. We of how team sports provide a vehicle to rarely have a new team that comes that Merlisa Lawrence Corbett is a freelance drive home lessons in life. doesn’t come back. The number of family writer who lives in Winter Haven. A “Probably at least half of these members per player, my sense, has gone former reporter for Sports Illustrated, players will end up working for someone, up a little bit each year.” she is a featured columnist for Bleacher in a company, on a team, where people Hendricks is aware of attempts to Report. Follow her on Twitter: @merlisa are depending on them to get the job pass Tim Tebow laws in Texas. He’s unsure or visit Have an idea for done,” says Lovell. “I tell them sometimes of how that might impact his league, a local sports story? Email Merlisa@ it’s not going to be your day. Sometimes especially because the majority of the teams come from Texas. Until then, the HSWA, like many homeschool sports associations, provides players with all the camaraderie and spirit that comes with team sports. Team sports are important. Corporate culture is built upon team concepts. Terms such as team building, teamwork and strategy, are as common in boardrooms as in ballgames. For the homeschooled athlete, participation in team sports also dispels the misconception that they are somehow isolated from society. “That’s probably the biggest thing that I get asked,” says Laura Dobratz, whose son and daughter are homeschooled but participate in team sports at Winter Haven High School. Her daughter, a senior, played volleyball at WHHS and her son plays Jon Paul Dobratz, 15, center, practices with his Winter Haven Kicks soccer travel team. In addition to Kicks, Dobratz, a homevarsity soccer with WHHS, schooler, participates on varsity soccer at Winter Haven High School and also on a city-sponsored soccer league in the spring. and also with Winter Haven Kicks, a local travel team. In the spring, he plays soccer on a citysponsored league. “It’s kind of funny, my kids do just as much with other kids as kids that go to public school. It’s just that I have a little bit more control over those groups,” says Dobratz. “Sports keeps kids motivated, keeps them focused. It helps them to understand how important their bodies are…When they play on a school team, it gives them a perspective that they don’t get if they were just involved in homeschooling only.” Team sports also offer children coping and problem solving skills they can’t get from individual sports. These include collaboration and learning how


Women’s Retreats, cont. from pg. 8

“Maria and Kelly have created a space I didn’t know my soul was craving. I look forward to these retreats and always come away feeling refreshed. I almost wish they could be held monthly,” Long says. Fellow Lakeland resident, Sylvia Colbert, echoes Long’s sentiments. Having attended all but three of the retreats, Colbert says that the safe place created by Andrews and Martinez is comfortable and sacred. She also appreciates her fellow attendees. “The women who attend are powerful and intuitive,” Colbert says. “To have a group like this in Lakeland is amazing and I would suggest any woman who needs a day of relaxation and refocusing should attend. We all need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others, our family and community.” “You from the Inside Out” day retreats are $50, and lunch is provided. The next event, “Letting Go,” is April 12. The retreat on July 12 will be “Balance,” and October’s retreat will be on “Alignment.” For more info visit YouFromTheInsideOut or call Kelly Andrews at 863-670-1717 or Maria Martinez at 863899-2272. Community focus has always been a top priority for Jane Waters Thomas, executive director for the Arts Ensemble Education Foundation in Winter Haven. A certified educator, personal trainer, and life and wellness coach, Waters Thomas has provided training and women’s outreach programming in Winter Haven and around Polk County for more than 10 years. Her own journey began in Taking It Back in fitness and weight-loss. She lost a considerable amount of weight and gained a self-confidence and inner strength that empowered her to want to pay it forward to as many women as

possible. “I do a lot of workshop and retreat programming throughout the year in both Arts Ensemble and Boxing for Life (her fitness company),” Waters Thomas says. “My purpose and intention in every program is to provide strength, direction, and solution to the challenges and desires that individuals have in life. I specifically target women and teen girls as I am convinced that one woman working on self or in community can do a lot, but that when many come together they can do anything.” Over the years, Waters Thomas has been witness to several life transformations. “Several (women) have lost more than 100 pounds after workshop and life mapping, and others that have totally transformed their lives professionally and in community,” she says. Retreats coordinated by Waters Thomas are offered for women in one, two, and three day sessions. They are done in small group sessions and focus on individual growth. A small group typically consists of 15 to 20 participants. All workshop sessions are done in community, while three and seven day retreats are held in beautiful, secluded locations in Florida and North Carolina. Retreat themes have included “Centered and Healing,” which is designed to bring balance by practicing meditation, art, and journaling. “Turning Point” is meant to assist women in search of personal growth and life mapping for success. Others include “Community Outreach Leadership,” “Living Well,” and “Taking it Back.” “‘Taking It Back’ is one of my favorite retreats and is only done in small group ‘get away’ format. We leave home for Continued on page 17

Life coach and consultant Emily Rogers uses her family’s property on Crooked Lake near Babson Park to host weekend retreats for women. Photo provide to The 863 Magazine.


April 2014

Women’s Retreats, cont. from pg. 16 three to seven days and build personal strength by working out together, doing art together, and reaching deep within ourselves to map out direction for the next twelve months of life,” Waters Thomas says. Her personal favorite part of the ‘get away’ retreats are later in the evenings, around the table, when the women share what they were really thinking during the discussions – or quiet times – throughout the day. “Often in these retreats there are areas of personal growth and discovery when the entire group is totally quiet and I’m always thinking, ‘I wonder what’s going on in the heads and hearts right now?’” she says. “The moments when someone’s eyes fill with tears and it just isn’t the time to ask what’s happening because you know that they just experienced who they are or who they most desire to become.” The 2014 retreat topics facilitated by Jane Waters Thomas will focus on Centered and Healing, Turning Points, Community Outreach Leadership, Taking It Back, and Living Well. For more info contact Jane Waters Thomas at 863-2722258. Becoming – or just being – are goals of the retreats of Bartow life coach and consultant Emily Rogers. Helping her clients find and live in alignment with their purpose is her passion. Through her own coaches, Rogers herself found that a change was needed in her own life as a busy executive in the corporate domain. She started her own home-based life coaching and consulting business in January 2013. While many of her clients include businesses and individuals of both genders, Rogers facilitates twiceyearly weekend retreats for women at her family’s property on Crooked Lake near Babson Park. “It’s always been a refuge for me, a place to unwind,” Rogers says. She believes that connecting with nature is key to getting back to that un-busy place that women crave. The 3-day retreats are intimate with a maximum capacity of five guests, and have an agenda and framework, but not a specific theme. Rogers says that she prefers to find out what the commonalities are among the women who attend and go from there, focusing on what the collective needs for all of them are. “We’ve explored things like looking at your wheel of life and is that in balance,” she says. “Also the bigger game board, and where are you in that game board and what your next move is.” Rogers, whose personal motto is “busyness is overrated,” has been witness to many “aha” moments at her

much as they are from her. retreats. She relishes when women allow Weekend retreats are as low as $475 themselves me-time for the weekend. if paid early. The May 2014 retreat is sold “We all get so consumed by our ‘to out but Rogers says the October (17th– do’ list and the things we’ve said yes to,” 19th) retreat has availability. For more info she says. “We just need to take more time visit or call Emily Rogers like this to ‘just be.’ So, instead of creating at 863-860-6036. these mile-long ‘to do’ lists, why don’t we create a simple ‘to be’ list?” Each guest gets her own private room either in the property’s bungalow or cottage. The all-inclusive retreats include group coaching, restorative yoga, reflection sessions, inspirational readings, massage, and “experiential” meals. Rogers says she is inspired each retreat by the energy of the women who’ve attended and the beautiful things they’ve shared. “You From the Inside Out” coordinators, Kelly Andrews, left, and Maria Martinez She says she’s share a high five at a retreat. The gatherings are meant to empower women and learning from give them tools to live their lives to the fullest and maximize their potential. them just as


Non-Profit Spotlight


olk Training Center for Handicapped Citizens, Inc. (PTC) was started in 1986 by a group of parents who were concerned about their sons and daughters not having a meaningful life after graduating. An adult school for developmentally disabled adults with 16 students and two teachers was established as a training center and nursery on the grounds of the school. In the early 1990s several grants allowed the purchase of property on Highway 557, just north of Lake Alfred, where the current nursery and Polk Training Center is located, at 111 Creek Rd., Lake Alfred. We currently have 26 current students and two teachers. The nursery is open to the public from Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays We are closed Sunday and Monday Hundreds of plants and trees are available for purchase, including annuals, bedding plants, perennials, vines, hedges, shrubs, shade and flowering trees, and citrus and other fruit trees. Gardening supplies are also available. PTC also supports itself by providing landscape design, installation, and

Get Growing Community Garden Grand Opening: Spring Plant Sale and Fundraiser Date: Saturday, April 5, 2014 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Location: Polk Training Center for Handicapped Citizens 111 Creek Road in Lake Alfred Phone: 863-956-1620 SPECIAL COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT


all it a version of the Warrior Dash with a mental challenge. The Polk State College women’s volleyball team presents the wacky Obstacles for Opportunity on May 3 on the grounds of the Winter Haven campus. In a first-time, partner event, competitors will participate in a timed competition while meeting 18 objectives across the college campus. Events include eating crackers and whistling, a water-bucket relay, cornhole golf, water balloon battle, balloon pop, charades, making a paper airplane and hitting a target, buddy carry, threelegged race and putting together a puzzle among others. Two-person teams are divided into male, female, father-daughter (16-and-


April 2014

refurbishment services. A Florida-friendly demonstration garden on our property is one of 15 in the county, maintained by Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program. The Center’s board of directors, along with the executive director, has adopted a new initiative in a newly created and organized strategic plan that is proving successful. We have restructured our board with new goals and processes for an improved future. With new business and generous donations these initiatives are proving most effective the last two years with small, but positive income balance. We continue to expand our business as well as help others. Currently, we have reached out to help the Polk County School System. We jointly developed a current Transition Program housed and supported at our facility. This partnership vastly increases the training for high school students, thus furthering their skills and abilities for future job opportunities. “Get Growing!” Community Garden, our newest venture, will operate under the direction of Polk Training Center’s endeavor to help give back to the community. This will be open to all community members who want to have the opportunity to grow produce and/ or flowers while growing relationships with others. PTC cultivates individual growth and neighborhood unity in training adults who are developmentally disabled, and through public business with a Garden Center, Nursery, and Landscaping. As our community has helped us, we want to lend a hand back to our community in gardening and education through a

under/17-and-over), mother-son (16-andunder/17-and-over) and open coed. There’s also a stroller division where parents can take their children (age 4-and-under) on an adventuresome ride. Depending on the path competitors choose, they could cover somewhere between two to four miles during the race. Put on your running shoes and your thinking cap. Registration is $50 per team before April 19. Late registration is $60, including the day of the event. Proceeds benefit the

community garden. Polk Training Center has an open enrollment for those adults who meet the criteria of the organization. Students are given life skill instruction and trained to work in a plant nursery and landscaping. They also earn wages while working. If you are aware of a student with development disabilities interested in attending a Transition Class or our organization onsite in Lake Alfred, please contact us at 863-956-1620. For more info visit

Tell Us

About a Non-Profit

Polk volleyball team. The competition begins at 8:30 a.m. To register, visit Obstacles. Parking is free. There is no admission for spectators. Sponsorships are available, for further information please contact Chris Williams, Women’s Asst Volleyball Coach at Polk State College at 863-510-7499 or

Lakeland’s Swans, cont. from pg. 13

“It’s stressful enough as it is already in the first place, but the heat adds even more stress, so we try to do it as quick as we can first thing,” Platt says. Around 6 a.m., Platt and two other park employees arrive at the lake with nets in hand, three times the size of an average fishing net. They board the boat with Platt standing at the stern, net in hand, ready to catch swans, while another employee mans the boat. For the past 12 years, Platt has worked with the same employee with the same roles, which enables them have the roundup down to a fine science. As the motorboat skims the lake, they approach the birds and swoop them up into the net and place them into the crate. When they have caught at least two or three, they return to the holding pen to deposit the birds before going back onto the lake to continue the same process until all of the swans have been caught. The swans, having the same experience every year, rarely give chase or fight back, Platt says, but rather, willingly get caught.

“They know what we are doing that day,” he says. “They don’t try to get away from us. They just give up.” Once all the swans have been caught, they are fed and remain in their holding pen for the night. Dr. Patricia Mattson of the Companion Animal Hospital in Lakeland has been responsible for overseeing the swans’ health since 2011. Every year, she gives the swans their annual checkup when they are weighed, inspected, and vaccinated. Each of the swans are implanted with microchips to better aid in their identification and the monitoring of their health. Overall, the swans have remained in good health for as long as Dr. Mattson has worked with them. Their nutrition has been a major concern. Though the swans are properly fed by the city, they also receive extra food, mostly bread, from park visitors. “Bread is not very nutritious for us, and it is also not very nutritious for them,” Dr. Mattson says. “It has a lot of empty calories, and when they consume a lot of empty calories, they don’t eat the regular food that they should.”

She wants to inform the public that they do not have to feed the swans in order to enjoy them. They can simply watch the swans and leave their feeding to the city. Dr. Mattson says if spectators wish to feed the swans, healthier food such as lettuce is best. Another main concern has been with their reproduction. To ensure that the swans remain for future generations, they must maintain healthy offspring each year. Last year saw the birth of 16 healthy cygnets, but the year prior, due to the egg thefts, only two were born, and neither of them survived. Otherwise, the swans remain in good health and are expected to continue giving enjoyment to Lakeland residents for many years. “They are a beautiful asset to the city,” Dr. Mattson says. “Lakeland is a lovely small town, and I think it’s one of the nice things that we have with nice parks and such a beautiful bird for everyone to enjoy. It’s one of the reasons I donated my time taking care of them.”



Berry Good Finger

o delish! Fresh Florida blueberries are in season right now. Pick some up and know that you’re eating one of nature’s best superfoods. With just 80 calories per cup (about a handful), the little blue delights are low in fat and loaded with fiber, which keeps bellies fuller longer. Fiber also helps keep the body regular. Blueberries get their blue color from anthocyanins, which are the antioxidants that add to its benefit of keeping the heart healthy. In addition, the anthocyanins interact with bile acids to lower cholesterol in the body. An excellent source of manganese, blueberries also support bone development and the conversion of proteins and carbohydrates — turning it all into energy. Shall we go on? Okay, we will. Blueberries have also been shown to reduce the bad cholesterol, promote cardiovascular health, lower the risk of strokes, improve brain health, and reduce the risk of cancer. Hold on, we’re not done yet... Like cranberries, blueberries also fight urinary


April 2014


Florida-grown blueberries are in season and provide a myriad of health benefits. Photo by Andrea Cruz

tract infections. The phytonutrients have properties that are anti-inflammatory, which helps ease some of the discomfort an individual may experience while having an infection.

A serving also provides 25 percent of the daily vitamin C requirements, enhancing the immune system. So, grab a handful of this guilt-free berry good -Compiled by The 863 Magazine finger food.

Mention or Check-In! Tell ‘Em The 863 Sent You and Support Local Business!


ave money at these businesses by either mentioning you saw them on The 863’s No-Cut Coupon page, or use your smart phone to check in to the location on a social media website like Facebook or Foursquare. Restrictions may apply. No-Cut Coupons from this issue expire April 30, 2014.

Foster’s Photography 525 Ave B NW Winter Haven 863-206-2983 $10 Off Any Session

John Walldorf, LMT MA#63506 407-283-2423 BOGO Massage: Two one hour appts for $60

Four Purls Yarn Shop 331 3rd Street NW Winter Haven 863-662-8288 Free Knitting or Crochet Class

Pizza and Pasta 3615 S. Florida Ave. Lakeland 863-607-6030 Free Cannoli w/ 2 entrees

Sal’s Garage 101 E. Central Ave., Winter Haven 863-875-8930 Free Tire Rotation w/ Oil Change for Only $17.95 (Castrol Oil)

Rupertan Richard’s Fine Coffees Lawn Care & Landscaping 330 Avenue A NW, Winter Haven Design - Build - Maintenance 863-291-3082 863-206-7047 Free 12 oz. coffee w/ purch. of Free estimate any breakfast sandwich Sal’s Pizza 4660 E County Road 540A, Lakeland Highlands 863-816-5825 Free Bread, Salad, and Dessert w/ Purch. of Two Dinners

Thompson’s Printing 190 2nd St. SW, Winter Haven 863-299-8216 1,000 full color biz cards, 1 sided, $45 + tax from your print-ready file.(reg. 60.00)

S&W Cabinets 3951 Dundee Rd, Winter Haven 863-325-8255 FREE 36” Vanity ($750 value) w/ min. purchase. Call for details.

Mariposa Fused Glass Winter Haven Make Jewelry! $75 for Glass Fusing Classes

City Barber Shop 160 Second St SW Winter Haven, FL.33880 863-293-8720 Reg. haircut $12

1:1 Tutoring Innovative Academic Solutions. Onsite available in most parts of Polk County. 863-660-3432 $10 off First Session

Tyler Floral Shoppe 225 East Lime St., Lakeland 1-800-643-5693 Free Monthly Bouquet for 12 Months w/ Purch. of $50 Flower Club Card

Interested in a No-Cut Coupon? Contact Sergio Cruz today! 863-258-3561 or


Explore :: April’s Happenings in the 863 FApril 1-6: 40th Annual Sun ‘N Fun International Fly-In and Expo attended by hundreds of thousands of aviation enthusiasts each year. 4175 Medulla Rd., Lakeland. Info: FApril 4: First Friday – An evening of free family-friendly entertainment, activities, live music, art receptions, a car show, and more. From 6-9 p.m. in downtown Lakeland. FApril 4: Pickin’ in the Park – Join in a fun time of music in downtown Winter Haven’s Central Park at this free community singalong with music by local musicians. 6:30 - 8 p.m. For details call Nat West at 863297-9387. FApril 5: Antiques, Arts & Oddities Downtown Lake Wales, in Market Square between Park and Stuart Avenues. 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Info: 863-412-6960. FApril 5: Child Safety Awareness Day Fear2FreedomLIFE Project, Inc. is holding the first annual Child Safety Awareness Day. Polk County Sheriff’s Office Main Operations Center from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Fun activities, face painting, bounce houses, games, raffles, bake sales. 1891 Jim Keene Blvd. in Winter Haven. More info: FApril 5: All-American Show Ski Tournament - Come enjoy the show taking place on Lake Silver in Winter Haven. Bring a chair or blanket and watch as athletes compete in swivel, doubles, freestyle jump, and barefoot. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. More info: Mark Voisard 863-521-2808 or email FApril 5: Family Fun & Fitness at the Fountain – Wellness instructors lead fitness exercises. New to exercise or already fit, instruction for all levels. Downtown Winter Haven 9 – 10 a.m. FApril 5: True Blue Winery Blueberry Festival – Annual Blueberry Festival will feature 40 + local vendors, a kids zone, live music, cajun & southern-style cuisine. 604 Pink Apartment Rd. in Davenport. Info: 863-419-4400 or FApril 5: Cruisin’ Winter Haven – A car show and music from the 50s and 60s. A


April 2014

cruising display of all the cars at the end of the evening. Downtown Winter Haven 4 - 9 p.m. Info: 863-291-5656. FApril 10: Thursday Squared Food Truck Rally – Around Munn Park, downtown Lakeland, 6–9 p.m. Info: 863-510-9723 or visit FApril 11 & 12: Wingin’ It Festival – A chicken wing cook-off benefit for Bryce’s Buddies Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Live music, food, vendors, carnival rides and more. Friday hours: 4 - 11 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 11 p.m. Winter Haven Airport, Gilbert Field, 2073 US Highway 92 W., Winter Haven. Info: WinginItFestival. com. FApril 12: Dixieland Spring Art Fest The 3rd annual Spring Art Fest in the heart of Lakeland’s Dixieland Historic Neighborhood. Local artists, food and music. Free to attend and free parking. Activities for kids. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 1035 S Florida Ave., Lakeland. Info: 863-688-1211. FApril 12: Good Ol’ Days Festival Celebrate the history of Florida’s pioneer culture. Live music, first person interpertations, hands-on kid crafts, craft demos, victorian tea, and pioneer games. Free admission/parking. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Homeland Heritage Park, 249 Church Ave. in Homeland. 863-534-3766. FApril 12: Celebrate Jesus Parade & Gospel Concert - Parade departs from E. Main St. & N. 1st Ave. in Bartow at 10 a.m., travels through downtown, ends at Mosaic Park, located at 2250 S. Floral Ave. Parade ends at concert already in progress. Admission is free. So come enjoy the parade, music, food, fun & fellowship. Info: 863-661-4512 or 863-559-9596. FApril 12 & 13: 2nd Annual Florida Ice Cream Festival – An original, old fashioned neighborhood event. Vendors, activities, performances by area Christian Bands. 10:00 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sun ‘N Fun Fairgrounds, 4175 Medulla Rd. in Lakeland. Info: FApril 18: Dulcimer Night – Play the dulcimer or just want to listen? Dulcimer players are welcome to join in and

everyone is welcome to listen to this beautiful music. Participation is free. Downtown Winter Haven 5:30 - 7 p.m. Info: Nat West at 863-297-9387. FApril 19: 3rd Saturday Market in Downtown Bartow – Vendors, including produce, local artisans, live music & more. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Fort Blount Park, West Davidson Street, Bartow. Info: 863258-3561. FApril 19: Hoppin’ Hunt – The City of Winter Haven will offer its annual egg hunt at MLK, Jr., Park on Lake Silver in Winter Haven. Children will be separated by age. First hunt begins at 10 a.m. Bring your basket. Includes bounce houses, cake walk, kiddie train, crafts, games and a D.J. The Easter Bunny will visit. 10 a.m. noon. Info: 863-291-5870. FApril 19: Haines City Easter Egg Hunt Ages 2-10, starts at 10 a.m. Appearance by the Easter Bunny. Bring your basket. Fun, candy, prizes. Larry Parrish Baseball Complex, 2401 East Johnson Ave., Haines City. Info: 863-421-3700. FApril 25: Lakeland Derby – Ten beautiful hand-crafted swan paddleboats racing to the finish line on beautiful Lake Mirror in Lakeland. Live entertainment, kids activities, a hat contest, fun, food vendors, and fireworks. A fundraiser, food and drinks purchased from vendors helps raise money for medical care to working uninsured of Polk County. 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. FApril 26: 4th Saturday Market in Downtown Winter Haven – Vendors, including produce, local artisans, live music & more. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Across from city library. Info: 863-258-3561. FApril 26: Bark in the Park – A familyfriendly event, pets included! Pet-related vendors, music, wiener dog race and pet adoptions by the Humane Society. Great fun for the whole family. Please leash your dogs. Noon – 6 p.m. Downtown Winter Haven. Info: 863-295-9422.

Send Your Community Event to

Chalkpaint :: Because We Can

Chalking It Up at the Rustic Rooster! Items Needed:

- Stir Stick - Paint Brush - 1/2 cup Acrylic Paint (solid or mix two colors together) - Hair Dryer - Mason Jar - 1 Tablespoon Non-Sanded Grout - 150 Grit Sand Paper - Surface to Paint






Learn More:

Make sure you are in an area with good ventilation. A.)Prepare your desired paint color, perhaps mixing two colors together. B.) Measure your paint and grout. C.) Stir grout and paint until all the lumps are gone. Paint hardens once it is mixed, so make sure you make only enough to cover the desired surface. D.) Paint your surface. Three coats in different directions gives you the best coverage. E.) Using a hair dryer, make sure coat is fully dry before placing the next coat. Once surface is fully dry, lightly sand surface using 150 grit sand paper. F.) Slate surface (lightly rub chalk along the surface and lightly rub off with a damp towel.) For best results wait 24 hours before writing on surface. And like magic, you are ready to use your chalkboard surface! - Amanda Shelby, Owner of The Rustic Rooster in Winter Haven, pictured right.

May 3: Learn how to make Milk Paint! The Rustic Rooster will be doing a tulip painting using acrylic on canvas and as a bonus, students will get a sneak peek on how to make milk paint. The class is $45 and includes all materials, wine and snacks. Everyone that attends will get a 20% discount off their purchase that night. To reserve your spot contact The Rustic Rooster is located at 6358 Cypress Gardens Blvd. in Winter Haven. It specializes in vintage furnishings and home decor. More info:



Are You a Creator? Let us know!


The 863 Magazine - April 2014  

Lakeland Swans: Representing for Nearly 60 Years; Homeschoolers in Sports; Gardening Out of the Box; Women's Retreats: Creating a "To Be" Li...

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