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Published: Monday, November 13, 2017 @ 11:39 AM
— It’s the most wonderful time of the year ...
That’s how the song goes, right? The lights are twinkling. The tables are set. The kids are excited and counting down the days. There is joy and revelry in the air everywhere you go.
It truly is the most wonderful time of the year -- but it’s also the most expensive.
1. Make a plan
It doesn’t have to be a 20-page spreadsheet -– just take a look at your finances, set the absolute number you can spend and stick to it. Hide credit cards until after the holidays, so you aren’t tempted to use them.
2. Do some preemptive cutbacks
While having family around the dinner table is a tradition during the holidays, it’s as much if not more of a tradition to end up eating out.
Try cutting back on these trips during the holiday season to preserve your holiday spending fun. Eat out of your pantry for a week, and if you do go out, drink water instead of alcohol.
3. Cut back on your gift list
While wanting to give all the things to all the people is a sign of a kind and generous soul, it can also be very expensive very quickly.
Try writing your gift list down and prioritizing them: Who really should get a gift, and who will be just as touched by a card?
4. Be creative with your gifts
You don’t have to shop for everyone -- you can create some DIY gifts. One example is a little candy bag, tied up in a bag from a craft store. Another -- if you have photography skills -- is getting the best photo you made this year printed out and insert it into cards.
5. Get the kids to edit their lists
If there’s anyone you want to give all the presents to, it’s your kids. But that can quickly run up some big bills.
Ask your kids to focus their Christmas list to one or two items that they really want. This will help them reduce their greediness and you reduce your debt load.
6. Give back
The holidays are a good time to help teach your kids about people who aren’t able to give or get presents and what can be done to help them. Go through their unused or old toys and donate them to a shelter or gift drive.
7. Focus the decorations
Decorating your home is a fun part of the season that can involve the whole family.
Keep the decorations focused on certain areas to avoid clutter and buying lots of things you don’t need. Think about the front door, the living room and the dining room table, for starters.
8. Cut your own tree
Getting a Christmas tree is one of the highlights of the season -- and it can also be one of the bigger bills.
If you live near a wooded area that isn’t posted for trespassing, look at cutting one down yourself. Go to a cut-your-own tree farm for a fresher, cheaper tree and a fun family outing.
9. Potluck parties
If you’re hosting the holiday party, think about having it be a potluck affair. Everyone’s gift to each other can be what they bring for food. Or, if you all live near each other, you can have each course at a different house.
10. Find free holiday activities
Driving or walking around your neighborhood to see the holiday lights is a great way to get in the holiday spirit. If you live near a city or town, go see what their decorations look like.
A group outdoor ice skating adventure is another fun way to play outside.
If you want to stay in, try some DIY ornament projects.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 5:16 PM
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is in excellent health and likely to finish his term in office without any medical issues, a presidential doctor said Tuesday at a news conference, four days after the president underwent a physical exam.
“The president's overall health is excellent," White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson said Tuesday.
Here are six things to know about the results of the president’s physical:
Jackson: ‘He had great findings across the board’
Trump is in “very, very good health,” Jackson said Tuesday.
“(I have) no concerns for his heart health,” the presidential physician said. “There are many good things that came from his exam, I think he had great findings across the board. “
Jackson said Trump’s good health is likely to last through “the remainder of this tern, and even for the remainder of another term, if he’s elected.” He said he based his assessment on the president’s cardiac results.
“He falls into a category that portends years of event-free living,” Jackson said. “He has incredibly good genes, and that’s just the way God made him.”
White House doctor says despite President Trump's fast food habit and lack of exercise, he's in "excellent" condition; "He has incredibly good genes, and it's just the way God made him" https://t.co/fpNP3Hpnco pic.twitter.com/VGoTFSgp7C— CNN (@CNN) January 16, 2018
Cognitive screening showed no issues
Jackson said he conducted a cognitive screening on Trump at the president’s request, although he felt the test was unnecessary.
“I’ve spent almost every day in the president’s presence,” said Jackson, whose office is near Trump’s. “I’ve got to know him pretty well and I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability or neurological functions.”
He said that in all his conversations with Trump, the president has been “very articulate.”
“I’ve never known him to repeat himself around me,” Jackson said. “He says what he wants to say and speaks his mind.”
Infamous slurred speech incident might have been caused by medication
A December incident in which the president sounded as though he was slurring his speech while announcing a policy shift in Israel was probably due to a medication, Jackson said.
“We evaluated him, we checked everything out and everything was normal,” Jackson said, adding that the incident was likely caused because the president needed water.
He said prior to the Dec. 7 incident, he gave Trump Sudafed, which might have “inadvertently dried up his secretions.”
Trump working to lose 10-15 pounds
At 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, the president has a body mass index of 29.9, just under the number that would designate him as obese, according to information released Tuesday.
“The president, he and I talked and... I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so is (to lose) 10 or 15 pounds,” Jackson said, adding that a nutritionist would be meeting with White House chefs in the coming weeks and that Trump would be put on an exercise routine.
“He’s more enthusiastic about the diet,” Jackson said.
Jackson not concerned about Trump’s stress levels
Despite concerns from the public and reports that have painted a chaotic White House, Jackson said that he has no concerns about the president’s stress levels.
“I talk to him sometimes about stress just because I think it’s my job as his physician to bring it up on occasion,” he said. “I’ve never seen the president stressed out too much. ... He has a unique ability to push the reset button and he just gets up and he starts a new day. (I think it’s) made him healthier from a stress standpoint.”
Jackson did not test Trump’s hearing
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 10:45 AM
SEATTLE — A freight train hit and killed a pedestrian near the King Street Station in Seattle shortly before 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:57 AM
WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to testify before a grand jury as part of the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to the Trump campaign, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
SCOOP: Mueller has subpoenaed Steve Bannon to testify before a grand jury as part of the ongoing Russia investigation. First person in Trump's inner circle known to have received a grand jury subpoena. https://t.co/dbKWuDjdMp— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) January 16, 2018
Published: Friday, December 29, 2017 @ 1:55 PM
— As temperatures dip across the country, you may want to check your state laws to find out if it is illegal to start your car and let it warm-up.
Several states, including Ohio, Texas and Georgia, have laws on the books that prohibit drivers from letting cars idle in a driveway or on a street, WYFF reported.
Law enforcement agencies and insurance companies have been warning drivers for nearly a decade that allowing cars to warm up, unattended, idling outside, as drivers wait inside, is an invitation for thieves to take the vehicles.
If your car is stolen while you let it warm up, whether it would be covered by your insurance, depends on the company and your policy.
If you want to warm the car, legally, while staying warm yourself, one community in Colorado suggests investing in a remote starter. That way, the keys stay safely with you and the car remains locked but running.
How can you find out if idling vehicles are illegal in your state? You can start by checking with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The laws differ by state, and even by municipality. There are laws in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, for example, that say how long a certain types of vehicles can idle and at what temperature.
Even if it is legal to warm up your car, do you really need to let the car run before heading out on the road?
Mechanics say no.
The idea of letting a car warm up comes from old engines that had carburetors. Now, most vehicles don’t have the part that mixes gas and air to make vaporized fuel. Instead, the majority of vehicles built after the 1980s have fuel injection, Business Insider reported.
Experts said that idling a car wastes fuel and wears on the engine.