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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: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 5:56 AM
Updated: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 5:35 AM
OSAKA, Japan — A massive 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck outside Osaka Monday morning, leaving at least three dead and 300 injured.
According to The Associated Press, the dead included two elderly men and a 9-year-old girl killed at school when a wall fell.
The quake registered around 8 a.m. with an initial strength of 5.9, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
PM Abe stresses rescuing lives is of utmost importance. He tells reporters at 0859 local time an hour after the big earthquake in Osaka.He says the government is trying to gather information on damage, prepare for rescue and relief, and inform the latest to the public— michiyo ishida (@MichiyoCNA) June 18, 2018
There was no tsunami threat however morning commutes were disrupted as trains were not running and power was out to many homes, according to the Japan Times.
Kansai Electric Power Co. said nuclear plants in Fukui Prefecture were operating normally.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 6:19 AM
ATTLEBORO, Mass. — An Attleboro, Massachusetts, couple recently realized the ladder designed to keep their 2-year-old boy from accidentally drowning in the swimming pool didn’t work.
So I’m posting this video after I found my 2 year old Cody trying to climb our pool ladder when it was closed and lockedPosted by Keith Wyman on Friday, June 15, 2018
Keith and Tonya Wyman share the fear any parent would experience after what could have been a tragic accident.
“If I turned my back for a minute, he would have been right in,” Tonya said.
Their son, Cody, was easily able to scale the locked ladder, which the Wymans believe is an essential flaw in the design of the ladder. Kids at that age can climb and the slats that are in the door should be more solid, they said.
The Wymans wanted to spread the word so other parents can take caution before trusting safety ladders.
“We grabbed him right there. He was no more than four feet away from us at that time. So I said to my wife, Tonya, we need to do this again and video it,” Keith said. “People need to be aware of this.”
Keith thought that the video he posted to Facebook would serve as a local warning to pool owners lulled into thinking safety ladders are equipped with complete protection.
But the clip of Cody scaling the locked ladder has gotten international attention, racking up more than 14 million views. It has been shared 465,000 times.
Both parents say there is no substitute for keeping an eye on kids, but the fact that Cody was able to climb so quickly proves even little distractions can lead to major accidents.
"You get a message. You turn your head for a second. And you're too involved in reading that. In the meantime he could be in the pool," Keith said.
The Wymans let the swimming pool store know about the faulty ladder and the store offered to give them any other ladder in exchange. But all of the ladders had essentially the same design, the Wymans found.
The couple will be talking to the manufacturer Monday, hoping they can initiate a design change.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 5:41 AM
WASHINGTON — Two first ladies are weighing in on the separation of immigrant children and parents at the United States' border with Mexico.
Former first lady Laura Bush criticized the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration as "cruel" in a Washington Post op-ed Sunday.
"I live in a border state," Bush wrote. "I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart."
According to The Associated Press, the policy, which started last month, "sought to maximize criminal prosecutions of people caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally," leading to more adults in jail, separated from their children.
"Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso," Bush continued. "These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history."
She added: "In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis? I, for one, believe we can."
First lady Melania Trump also shared her thoughts on the issue Sunday.
"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," said her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, according to CNN. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 8:20 AM
— A child’s accident that broke a piece of art may cost a family in Kansas City $132,000.
Sarah Goodman and her husband and child were at a wedding reception at Overland Park’s Tomahawk Ridge Community Center. Sarah told the Kansas City Star her family was getting ready to leave and was saying goodbye to the bride’s father and they heard a noise on May 19.
When they went to investigate, a glass sculpture was on the ground.
Goodman told The Star, “He probably hugged it. Maybe my son hugged a torso because he’s a loving, sweet nice boy who just graduated from preschool.”
The parents may be paying the bill for that hug. Goodman said she received a letter from Travelers insurance that stated:
“This loss occurred when your son was in a closed area of the property and toppled a glass sculpture. Under common law in Kansas, you are responsible for the supervision of a minor child and your failure to monitor them during this loss could be considered negligent,” The Star reported.
In surveillance video however, people are seen in the same room where the sculpture was located.
The letter then asked the Goodmans for their insurance information.
Goodman says that while she is working with her home owners insurance company, KSHB reported, she shouldn’t have to pay the bill because the sculpture was not marked do not touch. It was also not roped off from visitors or secured in her opinion.
“It’s in the main walkway. Not a separate room. No Plexiglass. Not protected. Not held down,” Goodman told KSHB. “There was no border around it. There wasn’t even a sign around it that said, ‘Do not touch.’”
A spokesperson for Overland Park says that the sculpture was on loan and that the city is responsible to protect it, but added that it was not to be touched.
“There’s a societal responsibility that you may not interact with it if it’s not designated for interaction,” Sean Reilly told KSHB.
Goodman said she has not figured out how she will pay the value of the glass sculpture and she’s upset that no one from the city has shown concern for her son after the accident.
“He’s honestly been having bad dreams every night,” Goodman told KSHB. “None of these people have ever once said, ‘How is Troy? how is your son holding up? Is his face OK?’”
Goodman told police, who were called to the scene because of a disturbance, that her son had injuries to his face, but police said it was a civil matter, The Star reported.