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!
3. Get Exposure as a Participating Business on
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  Look for our website starting soon at
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 - Image by Lisa Hubbard

Placer Hills Education Foundation Fundraiser with SunPower