Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas in the Village in Meadow Vista 2013

The Meadow Vista Merchants Association Presents

Santa and Goodies are presented and sponsored by the Lion's Club and Girl Scouts.

10 Ways to Kill Your Business in 2014

By Ashlei Jackson, Qlixite

The New Year is right around the corner and as a business owner, you might be reflecting on what you want to do differently next year. If you want to send your business into a downward spiral - follow these 10 surefire ways to kill your success. *Insert sarcasm*
#1 - Stop Advertising - Getting new customers to patronize your business is expensive. That’s the cold hard truth so instead of quitting your marketing - try something different or change your message. Find out what makes people RESPOND.
#2 - Stop Focusing on Customer Service - You and your staff are the face of your business. If you get lazy with how you treat your clients, it shows. The customer doesn’t have to always be “right” but they should always feel like buying from you was the “right” choice.
#3 - Stop Emailing Your Database - Email marketing is where the magic happens when it comes to developing and solidifying buying decisions. If you aren’t collecting emails and sending a note to clients at least once a month, you’re on the right track to killing your business.
#4 - Stop Looking Professional - Between the graphic design and your website and that pretty stationary...the dollars add up but before you decide to cancel, ask yourself if it’s helping your brand. If it is - like your website does - you might want to re-think letting it crash and burn.
#5 - Stop Planning 2-3 Months in Advance - A business that doesn’t think about the road ahead can get sidetracked at every pothole. Start thinking about promotions, events and marketing well ahead of schedule so you can properly plan and execute your strategy.
#6 - Stop Looking at the Competition - Knowing what “the other guys” are doing is important. If everyone else is charging $50 for something and you’re charging $30 and struggling to make ends meet...there’s a problem. It’s also good to see what type of customer they go after and the messages they use so you can make yourself stand out.
#7 - Stop Listening to Feedback - One or two unhappy clients or staff members is one thing but when a pattern starts to develop, you better take notice. Bad energy in your office can spread quickly so fix the problem fast. If you notice that your clients are unhappy or looking for something different than what you typically offer - LISTEN - and put actions in place to deliver what people want.
#8 - Stop Learning - If you went to school or studied for your profession, you were at the cutting edge of what was happening in your industry THEN. What are you still doing to stay the expert? Embrace extended education and personal learning to keep advancing your knowledge.
#9 - Stop Changing Your Mindset - What made your business successful last year or this year may not work in 2014. If you don’t stay on your toes and get with the times, they could leave you behind.
#10 - Stop Setting Goals - You’ll never know how successful or unsuccessful your strategy is if you don’t set a goal and track you progress. Once you have your strategy, be realistic with the time frame needed to achieve success.
As you might have noticed, this article was written with a tongue in cheek idea. No one wants to kill their business success but too many times we fall into bad habits and actually implement one of these 10 ways. So if you find that you aren’t emailing your clients and you stopped asking for feedback and you shut down your website - maybe 2014 is the perfect time to revive your business. Happy New Year!  

Get 2014 Tax Advice Now!

Loan Options for Buying a Home in 2014

By Toni Ryan, First Priority Financial

There are many home loan types to consider when seeking financing to purchase a home.  The loan you choose will have a long term effect on your financial picture so it is important that you understand your options before you commit.
• Fixed Rate Mortgages
Fixed rate mortgages are probably the most popular loan due to the fact that the payment stays the same throughout the life of the loan. Each monthly payment is comprised of a portion to pay the principle of the loan and the interest on that loan.  Many times the monthly payment can include the payment for the taxes and insurance due on the home.  The payments continue for a pre-determined time after which the home is paid off.  The most common terms are 30 year and 15 year.
• FHA Loans
An FHA loan is insured by the government so and additional insurance premium fee is included in the monthly payment and at the time of the loan funding.  These loans are attractive because the down payment requirement is 3.5% of the home value and the rates are often lower.
• FHA HECM (Reverse) Mortgages
FHA  also allows homes to be purchased using an FHA reverse mortgage as long as the borrowers are age 62 or older.  This loan allows the buyer to put approximately 30% down and have no monthly principle and interest payment as long as they live in the home as their primary residence.
• VA Loans
 These loans are like FHA in that they are insured by the government.  These programs are available to veterans who have served in the Armed Forces.  The key feature to this loan is that there is no down payment required.
• Adjustable Rate Mortgages
These loan options have a pre-determined period with a fixed interest and fixed monthly payment. These periods are usually 5, 7 or 10 years. At the end of this period, the interest can adjust based upon the market index that the loan is tied to and therefore the monthly payment can increase.  Borrowers must be cautious when entering into these loan programs but this option can be a useful tool to keep payments lower for a period of time, before which the buyer knows that they may be moving or selling.
This information is general in nature and only a licensed mortgage professional can give you the specifics that will fit your individual situation.  Knowing the options that are available is important to making one of the most important financial decisions easier.

Should You Take Your Home Off the Market for the Holidays?

Submitted by Fred Eichenhofer, Sierra Pacific Real Estate

Many people who are selling their homes often think that the holiday season is slow season and if they didn't sell their home before labor day they might as well take their home off the market.
Oh contraire. The holiday season is the perfect time to showcase your home and profit from this misconception. Here are 5 advantages! Listing your home for the holidays could gain you the buyer you've been looking for.
• Take Advantage of Reduced Inventory
“Slow” season in the real estate world means reduced inventory available in the market place. Just because it's slow doesn't mean people aren't still looking. So by keeping your home on the market during the holiday season you have a better chance of catching the attention of a would-be homeowner.
• Decorate to Impress
With cheery holiday decorations you create the perfect environment to help others envision them selves in your home. It really is the difference between a potential homebuyer seeing a house versus a home.
• Smells of Home
Home is where the nose is, with holiday baking you will help entice potential buyers into believing this too could be their home with those lovely cookies baking in the oven.
• Tax Advantages
Many people will look to close on a home before the tax year ends so that they can take advantage of some of the home ownership benefits out there for their tax returns.
• Corporate Relocation
Many corporations relocate or transfer their employees at the beginning of the year. This creates a sense of urgency for those transferees to find a house to call home during the holiday season.
Just by keeping these 5 factors in mind, you can create your own holiday luck. Listing your home during the holidays is the first step to getting it seen and on the potential holiday wish list for that lucky family.

2013 Oktoberfest Thank You's

Teeth and Your Quality of Life

By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning With Smiles

It doesn't take rocket science or super intelligence to figure out that teeth are important to quality of life. Eating some delicious bar-b-cue or a sumptuous crisp mixed green salad requires some stable teeth.  When residents of elder care facilities are polled to rate the value of having back something they have lost since their younger years, having their teeth back invariably is at the top of the list.
Are you aware that 28% of those over 50 years old have no teeth?  Of those who still have teeth, The average number left is 19; that is 9 less than when they were in high school!  Imagine eating with 9 gaps for missing teeth.
Yet Americans continue to make life style choices that put their health at risk. Diabetes rates are skyrocketing in our youth. Diabetes, which was primarily associated with the elderly, accounts for 18% of the tooth loss problem in those over 50. Why is it that people continue to eat simple carbohydrates (sugars) even when they know it is bad for them?
Addiction. "Doing something and continuing to do it even though we know it is bad for us" is the definition of addiction. What has been known in the scientific world over 40 years is that sugar is addictive, every bit as addictive as cocaine and other street drugs.   The evidence of it and the magnitude of its consequences has finally driven this knowledge to the surface and it is being acknowledged. In the face of the rising epidemic of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other maladies in our population, especially our youth, the contribution of sugar is being acknowledged.
Making choices early in life for the eating habits of your children will have enormous rewards for them when they are elderly and still enjoying all their food choices.

Beating the Holiday "Blues"

Submitted by the View Committee

It's holiday time! The 5 week period from Thanksgiving to New Years should be a time of happiness and harmony, yet often the anticipation and excitement can turn into feelings of depression - commonly known as the "Holiday Blues".  Symptoms can include uneasiness, anxiety, sadness, headaches and intestinal issues.
Often time these feelings are a result of common holiday activities.  Overeating, overdrinking, stressful events and fatigue are often a result of the demands of shopping, travel, cooking, houseguests,  parties and financial strain. Here are some tools to help you get through the holiday season happily and to prevent problems and misery.
1. Be Reasonable with your schedule - Do not overbook or over promise yourself and your time. Delegate the chores and responsibilities. Make a plan and organize what to do, plan or devote time to and let go of the less important activities and details.
2.  Do an Emotion Check-up - Remember that the holidays do not automatically take away feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, loneliness and fear. Recognize and confront how you are feeling and make the conscious decision to change and act accordingly. If you are sad, and you attend a party in this frame of mind, you will be miserable and make the people around you uncomfortable which will make you feel even worse.  Decide to put the sadness away.
3. Leave your grievances for another day - Resentments related to past occurrences or slights should be left to be discussed at another time.  Do not unburden yourself or let anyone else unburden on you - Simply state that this is not the time or place and excuse yourself if necessary.
4. Live in the Moment - Don't expect the holidays to be the same as when you were a child or even last year.  Embrace change!
5.Volunteer - If you are under-scheduled or feeling alone - volunteer to help the under privileged. Give and you will receive.
6. Be Reasonable with Food and Drink - If you drink, do not over indulge. If you are feeling depressed, stay away from drinking all together as alcohol is a depressant. Practice restraint in overeating or adding unusual foods to your diet because this adds to the symptoms of the “blues”.
7. Don’t be afraid to take a break - If your home is crowded with house guests - find a place to be alone and unwind.
If you find yourself feeling the "Holiday Blues" - stand back, take a deep breath and remember the choice of how you feel is yours. You can decide whether to face each day with hope or with fear.  Make the commitment to take control and have a better holiday.

Meadow Vista Community Center Update

Holiday Activities & Light Displays in Meadow Vista, Auburn, Nevada City, Grass Valley & Sacramento

Submitted by the View Committee

Fun for the family  light displays, crafts, tree lightings, caroling, bonfires and more..

  • Christmas in the Village - Meadow Vista. -  12.14.2013   Enjoy a scavenger hunt for goodies from 4 to 6 pm with the businesses in downtown Meadow Vista.  Santa arrives at 6:30 pm and the bon fire is lit while children express wishes to jolly St. Nick.
  • Old Town Auburn Country Christmas - Sat. Dec. 14 and 21st 5 to 9 pm  crafts, food and fun. www.oldtownauburnca.com
  • Grass Valley Cornish Christmas - Friday nights beginning Nov. 29th thru Dec. 20th - Enjoy the traditions of the earlier immigrants to this area from 6-9 pm
  • Nevada City Victorian Christmas - Wednesdays Dec. 4th thru 18th from 5-9pm and Sunday Dec 15 & 22 from 1:30-6pm -  Enjoy turn of the century theme with costumed merchants, caroling and much more. Visit nevadacountythingstodo.com/christmas for more info.
  • Sacramento Region - Check out the website for light displays in the surrounding area, then map your route and have fun.  The site adds new locations daily.   www.lightsofthevalley.com
  • Light Display in Walgra Meadows - Ryan Home - Starting December 1st thru 31st this home & yard is decorated with wooden figures including a Nativity, Santa & Nutcracker. Drive by & See!

Recipe: Cranberry Chicken

Oktoberfest 2013 Pictures

With over 500 people in attendance, the 8th Annual Oktoberfest event was a huge success and raised over $8,400 for the community center.  Meadow Vista residents & friends enjoyed good food, beer, a bonfire, live music and variety of other goodies throughout the evening. Special thanks to the 40 volunteers and numerous sponsors that made this year’s event possible. See you next year!

Getting Your Car Ready for Winter

Submitted by the View Committee

Below are key areas of your vehicle that need your attention as the season moves into Winter.

1. Under the hood - First it is all about making sure your battery is strong enough to handle the cold. Most newer batteries last up to 5 years so it is a good idea to check around year 3 or 4 to see that the battery is aging well and can run the electrical components of the car and withstand the cold weather.  The fluids under the hood are another area. Make sure oil, de-icer washer fluid and especially coolant, not just for hot summer driving, are all good. Don't forget the filters - Oil, fuel, transmission and air filters are important to keep your engine running well. Check your owner's manual to see how often they should be changed.
 2. Tires - If it's cold enough to see your breath it's time to check your tire or at a very minimum check your tread. If you don't have a tread gauge use a penny - see how much of Lincoln's head sticks out. A half penny is a good indicator - less than half and you need to look at purchasing new tires. Check your tire pressure monthly - For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, your tires can lose about 1 pound per square inch (PSI) of pressure. Monitor your tire pressure more closely during the winter time.
3. The Trunk - Now for the trunk. You should have an emergency roadside kit that includes jumper cables, extra gloves, blanket, flash light, and yes kitty litter. Kitty litter is a great tool when stuck on ice or in mud or snow. It provides the traction your tires need to move out of the spin.
4. Keep it Clean - Last but not least, keep your car washed - Keeping the exterior washed and waxed will protect your vehicle from the elements as the seasons change.
It is never a good time to be stranded but Winter brings more problems than most times. Planning ahead always saves frustration later. Be safe and enjoy the season.

Meadow Vista Christmas Basket Food Program 2013

By Etta Gross, MVFN

It’s Christmas Time!  The Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Club is gearing up for the annual Community Christmas Food and Toy Baskets to assist those that are less fortunate in Meadow Vista and those in the surrounding communities of Applegate, Clipper Gap, Christian Valley and Weimar.  This year will bring us new challenges since our donation from Campbell Soup in prior years of over a ton of canned goods will NOT be available.  Every year our community Christmas Basket Project budget increases at a higher pace than our donations.  Last year we helped 125 households with 73 families with children.  Monetary donations are always greatly appreciated and may be mailed to TMVFNC, (The Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Club) P.O. Box 764, Meadow Vista, CA  95722-0764.  Cash donations assist the club with allowing a greater buying power for food at the Placer Food Banks and other suppliers.  All donations are used in our community to help those in need.
Ornaments with a child's gender and age will be available after November 12, 2013 at Wells Fargo Bank in Meadow Vista.  Please return your wrapped present with an ornament attached to the package (Please reconfirm the gender and age are legible on the ornament).  This is tremendously helpful for Santa's elves to know and ensures children will be receiving the appropriate present for their ages and gender.
The Community's help is need on Friday, December 20, 2013, at Sierra Hills School, starting at 5 p.m., for the assembling the  Christmas Food boxes.  This event is so wonderful to watch all age groups in our community working together to help our community residents that need a helping hand during the Christmas Holidays.  This also gives those helping to assembly the food boxes the true Christmas spirit.  
Those that have strong backs and are willing to help with the physical labor of lifting heavy boxes, loading and unloading trucks and trailer we could use your assistance starting at 3:30 p.m. at Placer Hills School on December 20, 2013. Please trucks will be needed also for transporting the food to Sierra Hills School at 3:30 p.m. on December 20, 2013.    
Canned food donations are always greatly needed.  Sierra Hills and Weimar Hills Schools canned food drives will benefit this Christmas Food Basket program. Or you may call the people listed below for arrangements for pick up of donations.  
We are very fortune to live in a community that does care for their neighbors.  It shows through our annual community Christmas Basket Food and Toy program. Thank you everyone for your financial, physical assistance and your donations of canned foods and toys!  This community Christmas Basket Food and Toy program's success is due to the community support.  
Any questions, please contact Etta Gross at (530) 637-5359 or Gerry Hinkle at (530) 878-6117.We are a non-profit 501 c 3 organization and receipts for donations are available.  Please remember to consult your Tax Advisor for current tax deduction laws.

Obamacare Has Arrived - Are You Prepared?

By Richard L. Peatman, Pharm. D., Meadow Vista Pharmacy

As everyone knows, the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” will start January 1, 2014.  It is critical to plan now for your healthcare coverage in the coming year.
Obamacare is for individuals who are not yet covered by Medicare.  Where do you start?  If you are employed and are offered insurance, check out the offered plans.  If you have questions, speak to the human resource professional about your full range of benefits such as health, vision, dental, and life insurance.
If you need an individual policy, you should start by going to the Covered California website (coveredca.com).  At the website, you will be asked for your age, income and number of people in your family.  If your income is low (about $15,000 for an individual, or $31,000 for a family of four in 2013), you may qualify for Medi-Cal.
Medi-Cal is completely paid for by the government.  Subsided help with the cost for individual policies is available for those with higher incomes (up to $45,000 for an individual, or $94,000 for a family of four).
Here's more information to help the process go a bit more smoothly:
• Compare health plans. Carefully look over your options. That includes premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket limits. Know what a provider network is and what happens if your doctor is outside the network. If you are married, see how your spouse's plan compares with yours.
• Assess and adjust. Not every year is the same. Just had a baby? Then, life and disability insurance may be a higher priority than in the past.  Not been taking advantage of low-cost options, yet have been paying a higher regular premium? Then, you might be better off with a higher deductible plan.
• Consider an HRA. Health reimbursement accounts can be particularly helpful in a year when you know you'll have some extra expenses. With an HRA, you can set aside pre-tax money in a separate account to use for medical expenses. The tax benefits can really add up.
• Other Key Points to Remember.  There is a penalty of $95 if you elect not to get covered for 2014.  The amount of the penalty will increase each year after that. Do go to the Covered California website and check out your options. You may be surprised by how affordable coverage is.  If you have questions, Covered California has a toll-free number you can call for help.
Finally, remember if you get seriously ill or injured in 2014, medical expenses can add up quickly and jeopardize you financially.  A health policy offers a lot of peace of mind and for 2014, preventative doctor visits are free.

New Meadow Vista Merchants 2014 Officers

At our final meeting of the year - a new board was elected!

We are proudly serving you!

2014 Officers:
President: Ashlei Jackson 878-8778
Vice President: Mike Walker 878-8959
Secretary: Katherine Katches 878-5100
Treasurer: Toni Ryan 878-7616

2014 Committees:
View Magazine Chair: Toni Ryan 878-7616
View Editor: Ashlei Jackson 878-8778
Website Contact: Greg Luther 878-1236
Membership: Skye Toro 878-8830

The Meadow Vista Merchants Association holds  meetings quarterly. Please check out our calendar or our Facebook page for information about our meeting schedule.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

4 Reasons to Join In for Small Business Saturday

By Ashlei Ryan Jackson, Qlixite

Small Business Saturday 2013 is November 30th, less than 2 months away! If your a small business you might be teetering on the fence of whether you should participate in this annual "Shop Small" Extravaganza. Maybe you're a new entrepreneur. Perhaps you've heard rumors or noticed the television ads sponsored by American Express. The time to leap off the fence is here and we've got 5 Reasons you should throw your hat in on Small Business Saturday!
1. Be a part of a Nationwide Campaign
American Express sponsors Small Business Saturday which means (drumroll)....MONEY! This is a huge nationwide marketing campaign pushing consumers (ie: YOUR customers) to shop their local businesses on Saturday, November 30th (Why that Saturday? Black Friday is the day before and Cyber Monday is 2 days later). Think of how much it costs to run television ads, direct mail, run social media campaigns and spread the word - now imagine that ALL of that is being done for YOU. All you have to do is tell all of your customers and clients that you're participating and then be open for business that day.
2. FREE Marketing Resources to Help You Participate
The people who coordinate Small Business Saturday couldn't make it any easier to participate. And in fact they've even provided free professionally designed marketing materials, tools and resources. All of these great items can be found at www.shopsmall.com!
3. Get Exposure as a Participating Business on ShopSmall.com
As we get closer to Small Business Saturday, a really cool feature will be added to the ShopSmall website - a map showing people where to shop. If you're a business who accepts American Express (and I would advise that for this one day - figure out how to make that happen if you don't) then when you complete the form saying "Yes, my business is participating!" - your business will be listed on the map. This means when a local consumer looks for businesses to shop with on the site - you're there! Can you say more free advertisement????
4.  One Hundred Million Reasons
That's how many people shopped small businesses last year on Small Business Saturday. Don't you want a piece of that action? Yes? Start thinking about a special or incentivised deal that you can offer just to the people who buy from you on that day. This isn't the time to offer the "same old same old." Really think about something that will bring people in and make them want to buy from your business on November 30th. Once you get people in the door, they are more likely to buy more and buy later so this is a fabulous opportunity you cannot afford to miss out on.
Are you a local shopper?
Make sure you put Nov. 30th on your calendar too! Now is the time to support our local economy & shop small!

Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for Me?

Have you asked yourself this question? The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is FHA's reverse mortgage program. This plan enables a homeowner 62 years of age or older to withdraw some of the equity in their home.  The HECM is a safe plan that can give older Americans greater financial security. Many seniors use it to supplement Social Security, meet unexpected medical expenses, make home improvements or purchase a home with NO monthly payment. 
Basically, the equity that you built up over years of making mortgage payments can be paid to you.  However, unlike a traditional home equity loan or second mortgage, HECM borrowers do not have to repay the HECM loan until the borrowers no longer use the home as their principal residence or fail to meet the obligations of the mortgage.  You can also use a HECM to purchase a primary residence if you are able to use cash on hand to pay the difference between the HECM proceeds and the sales price plus closing costs for the property you are purchasing. This usually requires a 35 to 40% down payment but the senior will not have a monthly pinciple and interest payment and will not be tying up as much liquid cash as when they purchase a home for all cash.
      To be eligible for a FHA HECM, the FHA requires that you be a homeowner 62 years of age or older, own your home outright, or have a low mortgage balance that can be paid off with proceeds from the reverse loan, and you must live in the home.A big question for many borrowers is "Will we still have an estate to leave our heirs?"When the home is sold or no longer used as a primary residence, the cash, interest, and other HECM finance charges must be repaid.  All proceeds over the amount owed belong to your spouse or estate.  This means any remaining equity can be transferred to the heirs.  No debt is passed along to the estate or heirs.
It is important to note that your still retain ownership of your home and you can refinance out of a reverse mortgage as long as there is equity remaining in your home.
If you and your spouse are 62 or older and would like to access the equity in your home without an monthly payment for any reasons and be assured that you can remain in your home until you choose to move or do not meet the requirements which include home maintenance, and the ability to pay taxes and insurance, then the FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage is a positive option to consider. Contact a knowledgeable mortgage consultant to discuss all your options.

Contagious Cavities?

By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning With Smiles

Most people recognize that cavity problems seem to run in families. Most people also shrug and say "I have soft teeth, it runs in the family," as if they cannot do anything about it. That is wrong. Research has never demonstrated soft teeth. Research has definitely demonstrated the bacteria that cause cavities are contagious and we usually get ours from our caretakers when we are infants and first growing teeth.
If a family has aggressive cavity causing bacteria, they are typically traded to the infant at those cuddly slobbery spoon sharing times. But, please do not stop being cuddling nurturing parents. There is another way! The contagious disease is dose dependent. Research has shown that cleaning up mom and dad's oral health before baby is born, or at least before infant teeth show up, is an excellent way to reduce bacterial count and improve outcomes for baby. By the way, this includes improving odds for full-term pregnancy.
A good way to start would be a dental checkup. However, by "cleaning up oral health" I don't mean necessarily getting those expensive cavities filled, though that obviously helps too. Immediate and inexpensive, or even free things people can do are:
1. Become a truly effective tooth brusher. Use disclosing tools (tablets, solutions, or kitchen food color) to show you the bacteria. Then teach yourself how to thoroughly clean your teeth. Check yourself every couple weeks until you are confident you have figured it out. Most people find they can thoroughly clean their teeth in about half the time they used to.
2. Become a flosser. Between teeth is a place the toothbrush cannot reach. Getting the bacteria out each day will reduce the cavity causing bacteria significantly over time and improve the odds for your baby.
3. If you are a gum chewer or mint popper, choose gum and mints with Xylitol as the first ingredient and preferably the only sweetener. Xylitol inhibits the acid producing capacity of cavity causing bacteria. That helps you. By doing this it also reduces survival of these bacteria, leading to fewer of these type bacteria in your saliva. That helps your baby!
4. Stop sipping sodas and sweetened beverages between meals. Even the diet drinks which don't have sugar to feed bacteria do have high acid levels and cavity causing bacteria thrive in an acid environment.
5. Don't rinse the toothpaste off after you brush. Just spit. Giving the fluoride in that residual toothpaste taste more time will make stronger enamel faster. If you have unfilled cavities it will also be more effective in those holes resisting the growth of the cavities.
Caretakers with clean mouths and good oral health practices pass on fewer detrimental bacteria to their babies. If you are not taking care of your baby during the day, who is? Has your child's caretaker had a good dental checkup lately? What are your child's caretaker’s oral health habits?
Good oral health for your baby begins long before your baby has teeth. When your baby does have teeth, be sure to create a good relationship with a dental professional before cavities have a chance to begin. The first tooth deserves a dental home.

Should You Get a Flu Shot?

By Richard Peatman, Pharm D, Meadow Vista Pharmacy

The flu is a respiratory infection that's caused by many different viruses.  Up to one in five people get the flu in the U.S. each year.   It comes on suddenly, causes worse symptoms than the cold, and can be serious for some people. As you know, a few years ago, a new strain of flu was thrown into the mix. Called swine flu at first, then H1N1, it caused symptoms similar to regular flu, such as fever, cough, aches, chills, and fatigue.
Did you get a flu shot last year?  If you're someone who's always thought flu shots are just for your grandparents, think again. For the 2013/14 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that almost everyone get a flu shot. That is, everyone six months and older. These changes will simplify guidelines that have been confusing to many people.
Now, if you're pregnant, you may wonder if it is safe to get a flu shot. The short answer is, yes. However, this is not true if you have a severe allergy to eggs. That's because the ingredients for flu shots are grown inside eggs. Also, you should not get a vaccine if you have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past. If you're pregnant, request the flu shot, not the nasal spray vaccine. It is made from an inactivated virus. This makes it safe for you and your baby during pregnancy. Avoid trying to get pregnant for four weeks after a vaccination with a nasal spray vaccine.
So, when should you get a flu vaccine? Now is a good time to start thinking about it. Flu season runs from November to April. Most cases hit between the end of December and early March. The vaccine is available now and it's best to do it as early as possible so you can head off any infections "at the pass." Getting the flu shot early gives your body time to build up immunity. This means it will protect you better against the flu.

Prepare for Tax Season Now!

From the Meadow Vista Lions Club

Meadow Vista Area Lions Club will be selling Christmas See's Candies in front of Holiday Market on November 21-24, Dec 12-15, and 19-22.   Please come by to purchase your See's Candies Christmas locally.
Santa Claus has already made contact with the Meadow Vista Lions.  He is scheduled to come to Meadow Vista on December 14, 2013.  Rudolf said he will ensure Santa's safe arrival to Meadow Vista that night.  Weather permitting Santa will be in the field next to the Post Office shortly after dusk.  Should the weather be unbearable look for signs posted as to Santa's new location sheltered from the weather.
If you would like to find out more about Lions, or visit a meeting, we meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday starting at 7 p.m. in the Grange Hall.   You may contact Lion Club President Doug Olsen at 878-3637, or by email meadowvistalionsclub@gmail.com.  Look for our website starting soon at www.meadowvistalions.com.
Save the date  Our annual CRAB FEED tickets will go on sale in December, event date is February 1, 2014.  Tickets will be available at Meadow Electric or True Value Hardware.

Golf Tempo: Playing Through to Become Captain Hook

By Adam Jackson, Local avid golfer and blogger

The Scenario: You’re playing reasonably well and surprisingly quick golf.  Not only are you impressed at your speed of play but at the accuracy with which every putt is moving towards the hole.  You have played so quickly that the foursome ahead of you is waving you up.  I don’t know how that moment plays out for all of you but for me, it is as if I no longer know how to play the game of golf.  Hooks and slices have out of nowhere reestablishing themselves as the dominating forces over my game.
The Question: Why did that happen?  I was doing so well. A book I have come to love and highly recommend to everyone (Zen Golf by Dr. Joseph Parent) does a magnificent job of explaining why this phenomenon occurs.  In a nut shell when we try to play through, we speed up our tempo. Plus, if we’re playing well, the pressure to maintain our level of performance on the through shot seems to weigh extra heavy.  Unlike the holes previously conquered, you now have a gallery that in your subconscious mind continually chants “your feet aren’t lined up, your club is too closed, don’t cast your hands, don’t push, don’t hook, don’t slice, don’t choke…” and so on.
While playing a round at a local course the other day, this added pressure was doubled.  This pressure to change one’s tempo can also happen if the people behind you are playing quickly.  You can’t avoid these scenarios so how do you cope?
The way I see it is this, you paid the same amount to play and therefore those around you can wait (assuming you’re playing within a reasonable amount of time. If you take 5 minutes just to top the ball 50 to 100 yards over and over my suggestion to you is go back to the range and get your swing sorted out.)  However, if you’re playing at a decent tempo and people want to be rude and hit into you, don’t be afraid to let them play through.  Other players hitting into you doesn’t necessarily mean you’re slow, it could mean they are playing quickly.  Let them go on.  What will it hurt you?  If your mind is in the right spot then someone playing through won’t disturb your tempo. On the other side, if those in front of you are not playing the same speed you are and you feel the need to play through, don’t forget to breathe.  Before you hit that tee shot be sure that your body is feeling the same tempo you were just playing at.  There’s no need to speed up.  Just follow the same routine you have been and take deep breaths, this will slow down the blood pumping through your system.
Side note: if you feel like you’re nerves are going to get you because of pressure to play well, don’t be afraid to hit a club that you’re very comfortable with just to reassure your body and mind that you know what you’re doing.
The statements and opinions of this article are meant for inspiration and entertainment only. If you need help with your golf game, please seek your local golf professional for one on one instruction.

Prepare Your HCAC Unit for Winter

By Jeff Spoor, Spoor's Heating & AC

As winter approaches and temperatures drop, you’ll find that your utility bills will increase, mostly because of heating costs. However, if you prepare your HVAC system in advance and maintain it properly, you can cut your electricity usage and add to the life of your HVAC system.
1. Examine Your HVAC Unit
Many HVAC systems can last as long as 20 years before they need to be replaced. Examine your unit to see if it is still functioning efficiently and properly. If not, contact a professional HVAC contractor to replace it and provide you with an HVAC system fit for your home’s needs. While this may be a large initial cost, it will save you money in the long run and make your house warmer and safer. Be sure to check your HVAC system long before the onset of winter. If you only discover that you need to install a new unit during the winter, you may be stuck for a number of days in freezing weather, especially if you live in an area like Minneapolis.
2. Change Your Filter
Sometime the only repair that needs to be done is to replace an old filter. When purchasing a new one, consider a reusable filter. These can be rinsed and reused like new. Be sure to replace or clean your filter every month for optimal efficiency.
3. Update Your Thermostat
Older thermostats that use mercury can be very inaccurate. This means that you can set the temperature to what you think is adequate, but in reality the heat will exceed your desired temperature, causing you unnecessary usage of electricity. Consider updating your thermostat to a digital one to ensure accurate temperature levels. In addition, digital thermostats can be programmed so you can set your heating to go on before you wake up or return home, and automatically turned off when you leave to work so you don’t forget to turn it off.
4. Clean Your Heating Ducts
Your HVAC system’s heating ducts should be cleaned periodically to allow efficient heating and provide fresh, clean air. Be sure to routinely inspect your heating ducts to make sure there are no punctures, dents or disconnected parts. Damaged ducts can raise your heating bills by blowing wasted warm air. In addition, check to make sure the ducts are properly insulated so air won’t seep out of them. While you may be able to inspect your ducts on your own, if it’s difficult or you don’t know what to look for, consider contacting an HVAC contractor. In addition to your ducts, a professional can also inspect your heating system’s belts, motors and electrical switches, as well as thermostats and gas pressure.
Other Tips
One of the easiest ways to cut electricity costs is to make sure your home has proper insulation. In addition, ventilation is important as well. During the winter, if your home is not properly ventilated, moisture can build up. If it doesn’t have a way to escape, your roof can rot, and you’ll need to hire a roofing contractor to repair the damage.
Proper maintenance and inspection is the best way to keep your HVAC system operating as its best.

Recipe: Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Christmas Basket Program in 2013

It’s almost Christmas Time and the Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Club is preparing already.  This year will bring us new challenges since our donation from Campbell Soup in prior years of over a ton of canned goods will NOT be available.  We are starting early to seek new donations and secure those annual ones from our community too. Every year our community Christmas Basket Project budget increases at a higher pace than our donations.  Last year we helped 125 households with 73 families with children.  Monetary donations are always greatly appreciated and may be mailed to TMVFNC, (P.O. Box 764, Meadow Vista, CA  95722-0764.  Cash donations assist the club with allowing a greater buying power for food at the Placer Food Banks and other suppliers.  All donations are used in our community to help those in need.  Our community includes the surrounding towns of Applegate, Christian Valley, Clipper Gap and Weimar.
We will be hosting the annual Community Christmas Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at the Placer Hills School cafeteria, starting at 7:30 a.m. The Meadow Vista Lions will be cooking their delicious breakfast of eggs, sausage and pancakes.  And of course coffee, tea, hot chocolate and orange juice will be available too! Last year's breakfast proceeds help to purchase half of the shoe gift cards we present to the teenagers in need at the Christmas Toy Basket program.  Pre-ticket sales for breakfast will start in October. Look for us outside of Holiday Market mid-October.
Ornaments with a child's gender and age will be available after November 12, 2013 at Wells Fargo Bank in Meadow Vista.  Please return your wrapped present with an ornament attached to the package (Please confirm the gender and age are legible on the ornament). This is tremendously helpful for Santa's elves to know and ensures children will be receiving the appropriate present for their ages and gender.
On December 20, 2013, at Sierra Hills School, starting at 5 p.m., with the community's help the  assembling of the Christmas Food boxes for our community residents in need will begin.  This does give those helping to assembly the food boxes the true Christmas spirit.  Our goal is to have enough food to last for the two weeks of Christmas vacation from our local schools since some recipients' children are on the school lunch program.  
Sierra Hills and Weimar Hills Schools canned food drives will benefit this Christmas Food Basket program. We are very fortune to live in a community that does care for their neighbors. Thank you everyone for your financial, physical assistance and your donations of canned foods and toys!  This community Christmas Basket Food and Toy program's success is due to YOUR support.  
Any questions, please contact Etta Gross at (530) 637-5359 or Gerry Hinkle at (530) 878-6117.We are a non-profit 501 c 3 organization and receipts for donations are available.  Please remember to consult your Tax Advisor for current tax deduction laws.

Fall Craft - Gratitude Wreath

This year, find ways to feel grateful every day, starting with this easy-to-make paper wreath that can hold family members’ declarations of gratitude. All of these materials can be found at Michaels or your favorite craft store.

• 26 squares of 4" x 4" light brown construction paper
• 26 squares of 3" x 3" cream construction paper
• 26 squares of 3" x 3" dark brown construction paper
• 26 squares of 2" x 2" cream construction paper
• Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
• 14" metal wreath base
• 52 stalks of wheat
• Gold spray paint
• 26 gold painted wooden beads
• Strips of paper

1. Lay out 4" x 4" squares of light brown paper on a diagonal. With hot glue, glue 3" x 3" white squares into top corners of brown ones, lining up squares so a sliver of brown is visible. Mold squares into cone shapes; hot-glue at seams.
2. Repeat step 1 with 3" x 3" dark brown squares and 2" x 2" white squares.
3. Fold the very bottom of the larger cones up and over the metal wreath base and fasten in front with hot glue all along the perimeter.
4. Place smaller cones in the grooves between two larger cones. Tuck bottom corners over the ring, fastening with hot glue on the back of the wreath, until entire wreath is covered.
5. Cut off bottom of wheat stalks. Lay wheat tops on newspaper and spray gold. Let dry.
6. Hot-glue wheat tops into grooves between cones.
7. Hot-glue a gold ball below each wheat stalk around inner perimeter of wreath.
8. On Thanksgiving, pass out pieces of white paper, ask friends and family to write down what they’re thankful for and tuck the notes into the cones. Read them aloud over dinner.
Credit: Craft from WomansDay.com - Image by Lisa Hubbard

Placer Hills Education Foundation Fundraiser with SunPower

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Understanding Advertised Mortgage Rates

By Toni Ryan, First Priority Financial

Ads for home loan offerings are everywhere. Online, on TV, driving down the street, or listening to the radio, mortgage loans are probably the most common advertisement.
Banks and mortgage companies promise that they will do whatever they can to offer homeowners the lowest mortgage payment. It is important to understand the rate market and that it is constantly changing   daily and often hourly.  When you see an ad from a bank or mortgage lender that offers a lower rate, or gives you one solid payment figure based on a certain loan amount, you should be skeptical. In fact, most banks and lenders usually offer rates to just bring you in the door, though you may never actually be offered the advertised rate.
A mortgage program and it's subsequent payment is so complex that it is difficult to actually advertise one fixed mortgage rate or payment specific to a borrower without thoroughly interviewing the borrower. There are too many factors that will influence a homeowner's interest rate. The advertisements are examples based upon the highest credit score, low loan amounts, the home, etc.  
So what do you do?  Do your homework.  Ask family friends and co-workers who they used when they last refinanced or purchased a home.  Make calls and interview the loan officer to see if they listen to your needs and have your best interest in mind.  Do not let your credit be pulled but instead ask for the rates based upon a 680 credit score and a 740 score, loan amount versus value of your home and whether you are wanting cash out from the equity of your home.  These factors will allow you to compare options equally. Also ask for the lowest rate program and the lowest fee program based upon the above factors. The lowest rate may not be in your best interest so it is important to know all the facts.  A little time now can save you a lot of money and frustration later.
Rates are still low and equity in existing homes is rising so the time to evaluate your current mortgage or purchase a home is still great.  Connect with a lending professional who can guide you through the choices, educate you on the rate market trends and listen to your needs.  Your mortgage loan is a critical component in your financial picture so partner with a professional you can trust.

Business Website Calls to Action

By Ashlei Jackson, Qlixite

I recently reviewed a website for a potential client. She has beautiful site with tons of graphics. Her goal is to get customer emails or calls (leads) from her site but over the last 4 years - she’s gotten nothing. It took me less than 5 minutes to figure out her main problem...no call to action.
Many websites are made like visual resumes. There's usually plenty of text and maybe some pictures but then what? Why should I stick around? How do I get started? Ask yourself these questions when looking at your business' website (specifically your home page) and then think about what kind of elements would make your customer "click." You want people to engage with your business which requires an effective call to action. You have to tell them what you want!
A call to action is a feature on your website that demands a response from the visitor. It can be a button, linked text or a special graphic that is enticing. In a less-than-subtle way, it says "look at me" and in an equally overt manner it says "click here." Calls to action should not be hidden - they must stand out and grab attention in less than 5 seconds (that's usually how much time you get to make a web visitor take action.

Are You Prepared For Our Multiple Offer Market?

By Christine Schlittenhart, Sierra Pacific Real Estate

If you're an active Buyer right now, then I'm sure you know what a wild market we are experiencing.   Gone are the days of the “Low Ball Offers”. Today's Buyer needs to be quick, prepared, educated and pre-qualified to keep up with our current fast paced multi-offer market.  Not only are most of our listings getting multiple offers within the first week of being listed, they are selling at or above listing price.
• Quick Buyer:  Today's Buyer needs to be looking at the properties sent to them by their agent on a daily basis, if not multiple times a day.  When the right property comes on the market, you need to be at the front door with your Realtor ready to see it and ready to write an offer.
• Prepared Buyer:  Today's Prepared Buyer has already met with a lender and knows the purchase price they are qualified for and has a current pre-qualification letter in hand along with proof of any cash being used for the home purchase.
• Educated Buyer:  Today's educated Buyer has asked their Realtor what homes are selling for in their desired area and has asked their Realtor to run sold comparables on the home they are interested in.  Today's educated Buyer will write the highest and best offer from the start, limiting the amount of work and money to be handled/spent by the Seller. Also, today's educated Buyer does not rely on inaccurate sites such as Zillow, Trulia and Redfin, and relies on properties being sent to them by their Realtor through Metrolist.
In the last six months (as of 7/16/13), 83 properties sold within the boundaries of Christian Valley, Meadow Vista, Applegate and Weimar.  Out of those 83 properties, the average sold price versus listing price averaged out at 99%!!  The average days on market was 64 days, with 22 of the properties selling within 10 days or less.  Even though we are seeing a slight increase in available properties, we still have an abundance of Buyer's all competing for these properties.  
Call one of your local Meadow Vista Merchant Realtors today and become the Quick, Educated & Prepared Buyer that will get the home of their dreams!  (Data taken from Prospector.Metrolist on 7/16/13.)

Meadow Vista Community Center Update

Dental Health affects School Performance and Self-esteem

By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning With Smiles

A recent nationwide study published in Pediatrics demonstrated a significant correlation
with reductions in school performance and psychosocial well-being. Children with dental problems were more likely to have problems at school and to miss school, and were less likely to do all required homework. Dental problems were associated with shyness, unhappiness, feeling of worthlessness, and reduced friendliness. The effects of dental problems on unhappiness and feeling of worthlessness were largest for adolescents between 15 and 17 years.

Preventing and treating dental problems and improving dental health may benefit child academic achievement and cognitive and psychosocial development.

A reminder to start early.  The first tooth deserves a dental home.  If you are going to prevent tooth decay, you have to start before the decay starts.

Recipe: Summer Spaghetti