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Piling the family in the car to go see Christmas lights is one of the oldest and happiest traditions around. Driving around your town is sure to reveal some over the top houses, but where do you go for the wow factor? I am sure you know of the most popular ones, but here is a list of some you may not be aware of.

Enchanted Village at the Cape Codder Resort – Hyannis

Located only minutes from the coast and the plethora of beaches Cape Cod has to offer is the relaxing Cape Codder Resort and Spa. Among the family holiday destinations in Massachusetts, the Cape Codder is at the top. During the month of December, they transform the courtyard and surrounding grounds into one of the best Christmas light displays.

Just like Edaville USA, the Cape Codder Resort lets visitors reminisce of the holidays long ago as they walk through the old fashioned Enchanted Village.

Starting at dusk each night in December, you'll be amazed by the glow of thousands of lights, festive animations, a 16 ft. 'Giving Tree', light sculptures, giant snowmen, twinkling trees and reindeer and more!

Dressed in festive costumes, carolers from the Barnstable High School Drama Club will walk among guests and spread the holiday spirit through song on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm and on Sundays from 5 pm to 7 pm. Santa will also be here until mid-December.

Food and beverages are available for purchase in the Heath 'n Kettle restaurant. Enjoy the majestic Cape Codder fire while the kids roast marshmallows and sing songs with the carolers.

Although the cost is free, donations of an unwrapped toy or non-perishable are much appreciated and will be given to the Independence House in Hyannis.

ZooLights at Stone Zoo – Stoneham

Once a year in winter, Stone Zoo in Stoneham transforms its tree lined paths into a brilliantly lit winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights.

Upon entering the zoo, you'll pass by the Yukon Creek section which houses bald eagles, black bears, Canadian lynx, Gray foxes, and reindeer. Although some of the animals at Stone Zoo need to be housed indoors and kept warm, other animals are adaptable to the colder weather and can still be visited during the day time hours.

What a great way to spend the day and then be able to experience the Christmas lights by night!

Opening on Thanksgiving and running to the end of December, Zoolights is one of the best Christmas light displays and family holiday destinations.

Make sure the children get to take pictures with Santa who will await their arrival in Santa's Castle. He'll be available for photos through December 23rd.

Carousel rides (along with Santa pictures) are also available for an additional fee.

Holly Days – Boylston

Holly Days, located in Boylston's Tower Hill Botanic Garden, pays homage to the multicultural holiday celebrations around the world.

Open daily from the end of November to the beginning of January, Holly Days invites visitors to enjoy the light filled decorations, trees, wreaths and swags beaming with hand-crafted ornaments created with natural materials reflecting the international theme.

Some of the fun activities include holiday music and dancing from around the world, holiday shopping and other garden accessories in the gift shop, floral interpretations of the Earth's many offerings and guided garden tours through the Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

Enjoy tasty ethnic appetizers by Pepper's Fine Foods Catering and find a huge selection of international desserts to sample from. Dine at the Twigs Cafe and sip on your favorite glass of wine or beer while overlooking the panoramic view of Mt. Wachusett and Wachusett Reservoir.

Christmas Festival of Lights at Edaville USA – Carver

Edaville USA brings visitors back to a time when life moved slower and the simple pleasures were something special. Located in South Carver, Edaville gets its name from the founder of the amusement park, Ellis D. Atwood.

The 5 and a half mile long railroad surrounding the park was once used to transport customers to view and sight-see his 1,800 acre plantation of cranberries.

The operation eventually evolved into a "Family Fun Park" with vintage carnival type rides and Christmas light displays with millions of bright lights.

Once a year in winter, Edaville USA features the Christmas Festival of Lights offering train rides through the magnificent Christmas light displays.

The light displays themselves are actually situated among the cranberry bogs; the heated train rides take approximately 20 minutes to go the full loop.

After the train ride, be sure to visit with Santa, he can be located daily through Christmas Eve and found in the Cran Central Junction (museum) building.

With 11 family-oriented amusement rides, a playground for the kids, and fireworks every Friday night, Edaville USA's Christmas Festival of Lights is a top pick for family holiday destinations.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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It has been all over the news…the polar vortex is set to arrive tonight and with it, freezing temps. Things are going to get really cold so today is a good day to button up all those loose ends around the house. I am talking below freezing with wind chills -10 to -20. It will be downright dangerous to go outside and if you have not already drained your hose lines/faucets, you need to do that today or you will most likely have frozen pipes. Most of us northerners know this, but it has been very mild and this fast switch to the deep freeze may have left us unprepared this year. Last year is was 50 degrees in late December still. So, if you have not started your winter checklist and are not sure where to start, here is a quick list of the top things you need to do and fast.

Drain any lines to your faucets outside. This included irrigation, any pool lines, and basic hoses. If you do not, any water sitting in those lines will freeze and expand causing all kinds of plumbing issues. Any exposed pipes in the basement should be covered with pipe insulation. It is very easy to install. It looks like a small pool noodle with a slit down the length so you can slip it over your pipes. It is a small cost to save your plumbing,

Image result for plumbing insulation

Next, you want to make sure all your gutters are clear of any last debris such as leaves, twigs, and muck. If these are built up water will not flow and you will have a big frozen mess up there. This could cause damage to your gutters and cause water damage to the house. Be careful up there as it will get icy quick.

Let's talk fireplaces. This is an often overlooked feature of the home. While fireplaces are simple to use, they have to be maintained. Each year they must be cleaned. Also it is a good time to clean out your wood stoves. Make sure the venting is clear and all of the burnt wood is discarded. You will want these in optimal shape if the power goes.

One of the best and cheapest ways to save on heat is simple weatherstrip. You would be shocked at how much heat you lose through your drafty doors and windows. Applying weatherstrip around your doors is very easy and will block all drafts. You can pick this stuff up at any store, but Home Depot will have the biggest selection.

Image result for weatherstripping

There are a few other things you can do too like wrap a water heater blanket around your water heater or buy or make weather door stops. You also need to stock up on salt for your walkways and make sure your shovels or snow blow machinery is in working order.

Be safe everyone!

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While there are plenty of beautiful ornaments available at any store, it is more fun to make them and it keeps your tree more personal. You will end up making your ornaments from items in your yard and home and you cannot get more personal than that! Plus it is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Put on some Christmas music, make a mug of coffee, and get gluing. You can of course make anything, but here are a few tips to get you started!

Snowball Yarn Ornaments – This one is really pretty and fun!

All you need is white yarn or colored if you like, glue, and some balloons.
Blow up a balloon to a round ball size and wrap your yarn around it. Next, brush on the glue with a small brush.
string2

Let it dry then pop the balloon! Out comes a pretty ball that you can easily tie a string to or display in a bowl Add ribbon for an extra touch.
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Remember ladies ribbon and glitter are everything.

Another really great one is the spool Christmas list. You can also change this up by adding names instead of gifts.
All you need is a spool, some string, glue, paint, and a piece of paper cut to size.
spool

How about wooden message signs. I LOVE these, all you need is some flat pieces of wood, you can even use paint stirrers from Home Depot. Paint them white and then stencil or paint on your favorite sayings, names, whatever you like. Punch or drill a hole to hang a string.
100-copya

Do you make ornaments? If so what do you make? Let us know in the comments!

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We are almost there – Black Friday 2016! While most of us are getting food ready today, many are thinking of their black Friday plan and how to score the best deals. It can be kind of tricky with all the ads saying when stores are open as we have the Blue Law here. The Blue Law means stores cannot open on Thanksgiving day. Don't worry,they open at the stroke of midnight or 1am. Also, where are the best deals? That is a bit harder to determine as everyone has different items they are chasing, but here is a quick guide that will surely help you on your day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Walmart:  1 a.m. (4 a.m. in Avon)

Best Buy: 1 a.m.

Target: 1 a.m. (6 a.m. in Salem)

Sears: 5 a.m. (Thanksgiving/Black Friday ad prices also apply on Wednesday in Mass.)

Macy’s: 12:30 a.m.

Kohl’s: 1 a.m.

Toys R Us: 1 a.m.

JCPenney: 12:30 a.m.

T.J.Maxx: 7 a.m.

Marshalls: 7 a.m.

Dick’s: 12:30 a.m.

Home Depot: 6 a.m.

Office Depot: 6 a.m.

Staples: 6 a.m.

GameStop: 5 a.m.

Bed Bath & Beyond: 6 a.m.

Kmart: 12 a.m.

Babies R Us: 8 a.m.

BJ’s: 7 a.m.

Sam’s Club: 7 a.m.

Costco: 9 a.m.

Also, one of the best things people do not realize is that all the same deals are available online. Sure, you can stand outside and freeze or you can boot up your laptop, under a blanket, and shop away.

Target. Target says all of its Black Friday deals will be available online with free shipping on Thanksgiving Day. Sale items include Powerbeats 2 Wireless Earphones for $89.99, regularly $199.99, and the Dyson V6 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum for $299.99, regularly $499.99.

And there will be plenty of Apple deals up for grabs, too. The Apple Watch Series 1 will start at $198, regularly starting at $269.99, and the iPad Air 2 will start at $274, down from $399.99.

Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart customers can shop the majority of the retailer’s Black Friday deals on Walmart.com beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thanksgiving morning. Then, Wal-Mart’s Black Friday event will begin in most stores at 6 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving Day.

Some of the standout Black Friday deals include TVs, toys, drones and connected home items. The DJI Phantom Standard 3 drone will be $369, amounting to $130 in savings. The PlayStation 4 Slim “Uncharted 4” 500GB bundle will be $249, a $50 savings, plus it comes with a $30 gift card. And a Samsung 50-inch Smart 4K TV will be $398, good for $230 in savings.

Kohl’s. Last year, Kohl’s limited its Black Friday doorbusters to in-store customers only, but not this year. Doorbusters for 2016 are available in store and online from 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day until 1 p.m. Black Friday, or while supplies last.

Deals include a Haier 49-inch Ultra HD 4K TV for $249.99, compared to the regular $349.99. You can also choose between a Sony PlayStation 4 500GB “Uncharted 4” console bundle or a Microsoft Xbox One S 500GB “Minecraft” favorites console bundle for $249.99, regularly $299.99 each.

Additionally, consumers can shop select Black Friday deals online all week. Through Black Friday, shoppers can earn $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent. It's redeemable Nov. 27 through Dec. 5.

Happy Shopping and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Regardless of your vote, Trump is the new president and he is not going anywhere. Things have calmed down a bit by now and instead of complaining people are now starting to wonder what his take on policy will be. Will he be like every other president elect and change his tune once he has power or will he follow through with all his promises? Seeing how he is not a "politician" maybe it is possible to finally have someone in office that will follow through.

Time will tell. Something we have all been hearing about is his stance on the Second Amendment. Us northerners value our right to bear arms and if Clinton was elected, that would have been severely hampered. So what is Trumps policy?

The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period. The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that belongs to all law-abiding Americans. The Constitution doesn't’t create that right. It ensures that the government can’t take it away. Our Founding Fathers knew, and our Supreme Court has upheld, that the Second Amendment’s purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families. This is about self-defense, plain and simple.

It’s been said that the Second Amendment is America’s first freedom. That’s because the Right to Keep and Bear Arms protects all our other rights. We are the only country in the world that has a Second Amendment.

I have to say I am impressed and surprised by his affirming stance. The right to bear arms is a right that should not be taken away. People have always had the right to protect themselves and that right will never cease no matter what government has to say. Nice to know though it is not going to be an issue in Trumps presidency.

Where do you stand on the right to bear arms? Let me know in the comments.

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Today is the day when we vote for the next president.

All we have heard for the past year and a half is Trump or Clinton. No one spends any real time talking about the ballot questions that will actually affect us. We've all seen the commercial spots that are for and against all of the ballot questions. For those heading to the polling stations, you will have more to vote on than just the presidential election. There are 4 big ballot questions that will be voted on and I am going to break them down for you and how much they will cost us.

Marijuana – Voting yes will allow the use and growing of this plant to people over 21 years of age. No one is doing it now so you can see how this is a big deal 🙂 There are many groups rallying behind this equal to the number against it. I do not myself smoke this, but honestly I am tired of hearing about the legality of what 80% of the population already does.

Slots – The next question is expanding the slot realm and add another slot parlor. the town of Revere is very opposed and is trying to battle off major support for this new parlor.

Schools – This is where we will be hit in the wallet. The state is looking to add up to 12 new charter schools. This will be a close contest I imagine as it is the only question that has a massive monetary effect.

Lastly Chickens – this question basically says that no one can sell animal meat or by products of animals that were treated cruel. If this does not pass, I will lose all faith in humanity.

So that's the scoop people. What way will you vote? We will all find out soon enough!

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A new study shows that people over 50, who engage in new activities, are less likely to develop dimentia and could live an average of 1.3 years longer. In other words, ditch the vitamins and get a pottery wheel! I think this is a fabulous idea and I know all of us have tons of things we'd love to learn and try. You've always thought about them, but never had the time. Well, now it is good for your health so get out there and get creative! To help you out, I have gathered a list of local classes and groups that I think are great! Know of another class not listed? Post it in the comments and let me know!

Learn an instrument – Rick's Music – Raynham
http://ricksmusic.com/music-lessons/
For over 30 years, Rick’s has introduced over 10,000 beginners to music. If you have the desire, we have the know-how. And if you need an instrument, Rick’s friendly staff will guide you in choosing the right instrument for you. Learn Guitar, Piano and much more.
Zumba! – All over Raynhamhttps://www.zumba.com/en-US/party?search=Raynham%2C+MA%2C+USZumba is a blast. I've gone many times and every time it feels like dancing rather than exercising. People of all shapes and sizes go so it is not awkward at all. If you have not tired it, it is a must.

Indian Cuisine Cooking Classes – Sandhya's Kitchen – Franklin, MA – (630) 864-0468
http://www.sandhyaskitchen.com/
Learn to cook all the flavors of Indian Cuisine. Master the techniques and then host an unforgettable dinner party.

Pottery and Clay – Just Claying Around – Bridgewater, MA
http://myjca.com/Just Claying Around is a creative space for all ages. Come in to have Fun and Create Memories! Whether your skill level is beginner or expert our amazing staff will guide you through your projects from start to finish.Our crafts include Pottery, Clay, Mosaics, Stuff-a-Plush and Glass Fusing.

Dancing – Revolution Performing Arts – Raynham, MA
http://www.revolutionpa.com/
Revolution Performing Arts is a cutting-edge studio for professional dance lessons in Raynham, MA. Our instructors are certified to teach by Dance Masters of America and The Dance Teacher's Club Of Boston and are excited to share their knowledge and experience with others. Voice lessons too!

What do you do to in your spare time? Let me know in the comments!

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Apple picking around here is an annual mandatory requirement for those of us in the southcoast. Once October hits, we all head out into the orchards and pick us a ton of applies, snap family photo's, and take our bounty home. Okay, but then what? If you are trooping a family out to the orchard, chances are you will now have a mountain of apples that seemed like a fabulous idea to pick at the time. Sure, you will snack on a few, but what about the other 100? I wanted to share some ideas with you on what you can do with this sweet and juicy fruit and give you a couple of recipes that are delish.

Apple Pie

Apple Crisp – oh yes

Apple Turnovers

Candy Apples – so yum

Baked Apples

Apple Jelly

Apple Juice

Dried Apples

Applesauce

Apple Butter

Apple Fritters

Cider Doughnuts

Apple Tarts

Oh, so much more…

Apple Tart –
1 whole sheet puffed pastry, cut in half

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

3 whole apples, cored, halved and sliced, but not peeled

Store-bought caramel sauce, for serving

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan that's been sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment paper. Add the sugar, salt and lemon juice to the apples. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
Arrange the apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the pan immediately and place on a serving platter. Serve with caramel sauce and chopped pecans.

Apple Crisp –

Apples

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced and chilled

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Crisp:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced and chilled

1/4 cup caramel candy squares, quartered

Vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the apples: In a large bowl, combine the apples with the brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, orange juice, diced butter and cinnamon and reserve.

For the crisp: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and, using your hands, rub the mixture until it resembles crumbs. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Pour the apple mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Sprinkle on the caramel squares and salt. Place the crisp mixture on top of the apples, scattering evenly without pressing it down. Bake until crispy and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

What do you bake? Tell me in the comments!

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This is by far and away the best reason to live in New England. I'm talking about Fall people! The pumpkins, the harvest, the falling leaves, picking apples, the smell of burning in the air, corn mazes and haunted houses, and of course Halloween! I could go on and on and so could you figuring out where to go and what to do. I decided to put together my list of the top places to see this season. Please make a point of going to at least one!

Sauchuk Farm Corn Maze- We go every year and every year it gets bigger and better. It is a blast. Each year they feature a new maze and this year is the 50th anniversary of "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown". You can get lost in the maze while solving the mystery, plays tons of games, eat great food, ride out to the pumpkin patch, and so much more. – http://www.sauchukfarm.com/Maze.html

Roger Williams Park Zoo – Join your family and friends for this amazing fall tradition: A nighttime display of 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns all along our beautiful Wetlands Trail, with well over 100 of the pumpkins carved into veritable works of art. It opens this weekend!

Great Pumpkin Fest – Held at Ecotarium. This Halloween event features over 1000 carved pumpkins, live entertainment, family fun with trick-or-treating, displays and more.

HONK Festival – Parade features six stages of live entertainment; dozens of international food vendors; street vendors selling artwork, jewelry and vintage clothing; neighborhood sidewalk sales and HONK! bands from around the country.

Sturbridge Harvest Festival – This popular festival takes place on the Town Common and at the Public House Historic Inn. Local crafters, artisans, food vendors, food from the harvest and a popular Scarecrow Contest.

Where will this fall take you? Comment below and let me know!

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WOW, what a show. That is really what it should be called, an entertaining show, not a debate. All night long both candidates skirted around questions and answered few with any real reply. Plenty of insults and self propagation was to be heard. Trump was most entertaining though with his eye rolling, facial expressions, and his "WRONG" commentary. Clinton was her usual political self saying everything but really saying nothing. It must be exhausting.

It really makes you wonder how this country chose these 2 individuals. They are going to lead our country after all and I am starting to see what people all over the world are seeing the US for. It is very sad. Our country is young, an infant compared to others, and we have already turned this nation into a joke. Solution? Let's make the brunt of the joke one of these two.

Right on cue, the Clinton campaign stepped up the ugly commercial game. Wow, there were some low blows even for her. Did any of you catch the teen girl montage one? Brutal.

This debate was the most watched debate in history and it was a gross display. There are still 2 more debates to go and Trump needs to step up his game if he has any shot. Honestly, he probably does not as Clinton was chosen long ago. Odd that he makes no mention of her recent odd fainting spells or the fact that her husband cheats. Makes you wonder…

What did you all think of the debate? Are you for Trump or Clinton or no one? Sound off in the comments!

 

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