Halloween happenings

costumes-for-blog
Dress up! Go wild!

The Halloween fun starts tonight, ghouls and guys! Here’s a partial list of some of the goings-on close to us here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary.

FRIDAY – TONIGHT!

  • Haunted Sanford Historical Ghost Walk A spooktacular, family-friendly tour of downtown Sanford and its ghostly history. Registration or RSVP required. Friday, 8:30-9:30 pm: Sanford Homebrew Shop, 115 S. Magnolia Ave., Sanford; $15; 407-732-6931; sanfordhomebrewshop.com.
  • Night of Fright: Scary Ghost Stories Join master storyteller “Country Joe” Rosier for an evening of spooky ghost stories. All ages performance at 7 pm and performance for ages 14 and up at 9 pm. Friday, 7-8 pm & 9-10 pm: Seminole State College Planetarium, 100 Weldon Blvd., Sanford; $6; 407-708-2360; seminolestate.edu.
  • Wizards & Witches Ball: Halloween-themed gala with a costume contest. 7 p.m. Friday, Seminole Harley-Davidson, 620 Hickman Circle, Sanford, $25, orlandowcr.com.

SATURDAY

  • ZOO Boo Bash: The Halloween event will include an animal-themed, non-animal themed and a group costume contest at 1 p.m., trick-or-treating, face painting and a hay ride. 9 a.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. Sunday, Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, 3755 N.W. U.S. Highway 17-92, Sanford, $14.95 adults, $12.95 seniors 60 and older, $10.95 ages 3-12, free ages 2 and under, 407-323-4450,centralfloridazoo.org.
  • Trick or Treat Safe Zone: Family-friendly Halloween event featuring a special Halloween show on the Library’s main stage at 1pm. Saturday, 10:30 am-3 pm: Orlando Public Library, 101 E. Central Blvd.; free; 407-835-7323; ocls.info.
  • Halloween Scaraoke Party: Halloween karaoke party with a contest for best karaoke in costume. Saturday, 9 pm-2 am: Little Fish Huge Pond, 401 S. Sanford Ave., Sanford; free; 407-221-1499.
  • Mr. Richard & the Pound Hounds Halloween Concert: scary song sing-along. 1 p.m. Saturday, Orlando Repertory Theatre, 1001 E. Princeton St., Orlando, $5.
  • Spooky Skate: Ice skating, trick-or-treating, a costume contest, candy and fun for the whole family. Saturday, 2-4:45 pm: RDV Sportsplex, 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd.; $11.25; 407-916-2550; RDVSportsplex.com.
  • Haunted Hike: A Halloween-themed hike. 5 p.m. Saturday, Gateway Park, 860 N. U.S. Highway 17-92, DeBary, $5, 386-668-5553,gatewaycenterforthearts.org.
  • Ghost Walk: local storytellers lead walkers on a trail of haunted history. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Lake Mary Historical Museum, 158 N. Country Club Road, Lake Mary, $6
  • Halloween Costume contest: prizes for best costume, scariest costume, best pet costume and a surprise category. Ellen’s Wine Room, 44o S. Sanford Ave., Sanford, 9 p.m., free. ellenswineroom.com
  • Wop’s Hops Brewing Halloween Party: Music with DJ Leelani and DJ Sisco, costume contest, giveaways and more. Saturday, 7 pm-2 am: Wop’s Hops, 419 S. Sanford Ave., Sanford; free; 407-878-7819.
  • Wekiva Island Halloween Party: come dressed in the funniest or scariest costume for a chance to win up to $1,000 in cash and gift cards, plus a Chill Chamber filled with beer. There will be food and music. Costumes strongly encouraged, but not required to attend. 7-10 p.m., Wekiva Island, wekivaisland.com

SUNDAY

  • Trick-or-Treat Safe Zone: candy for kids in costumes. 1 p.m. Sunday, Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, free, 407-836-7010, thehistorycenter.org.
  • Haunted America: Tour the most haunted locations of Central Florida and beyond with TnT’s Paranormal Investigators. Sunday, 3:30-4:30 pm: Maitland Public Library, 501 S. Maitland Ave., Maitland; free; 407-647-7700; maitlandpubliclibrary.org.

MONDAY – HALLOWEEN!

  • Trick-or-Treat: kids in costumes can pick up treats throughout the mall. 6 p.m. Oct. 31, Seminole Towne Center Mall, 200 Towne Center Circle, Sanford, free.
  • Halloween at Cranes Roost Park Family Halloween event with trick-or-treating, costume contests, kids activities, live performances and more. Monday, 5-9 pm: Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs; free; 407-571-8863; altamonte.org.

SATURDAY, NOV. 5

  • Geneva Cemetery tour: The Geneva Historical Society will lead its fifth lantern-guided tour through the Geneva Cemetery. Meet past residents of Geneva and hear their stories told by costumed speakers. . Bring a flashlight. 6:30 p.m., Geneva Cemetery, 240 1st St., Geneva, free, but a small donation to GHS is appreciated, 407-349-5697.

Boo to you!

boo-for-blog-2Halloween is near – time for all ghouls, monsters and villain to come out to play.

This year’s most popular costume (according to everybody and then some) is Harley Quinn, villain extraordinaire and star of the movie Suicide Squad.harleyquinnposter

Other top dress-up ideas this year, for adults and kids, include Batman, Wonder Woman, Pokemon, both major presidential candidates, Game of Thrones characters and, of course, clowns.

Costumes are readily available, or you could DIY it. Here’s how to do Harley.

Want to see which costumes are most poplar, and where? Google can help with that. There’s even a map!

Now if only you had someplace to wear that cool costume… We’ll look at that in tomorrow’s post.

Early voting has begun!

The polls are open for early voting in Seminole County!

voted stickerHere’s all the info from the Supervisor of Elections Office:

Early voting for the November 8 General Election will take place October 24-November 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

The Seminole County Early Voting Centers are located at:

  • Central Branch Library (busiest location)
    215 N. Oxford Rd., Casselberry
  • East Branch Library
    310 Division St., Oviedo
  • North Branch Library
    150 N. Palmetto Ave., Sanford
  • Northwest Branch Library
    580 Greenway Blvd., Lake Mary
  • West Branch Library
    245 N. Hunt Club Blvd., Longwood
  • Old Longwood Elementary (least busy location)
    840 Orange Ave., Longwood
  • Oviedo Aquatic Center
    148 Oviedo Blvd., Oviedo
  • Elections Office
    1500 E. Airport Blvd., Sanford
    407-585-VOTE (8683)

Voters may participate in early voting at any location, regardless of where they live in the county.

Shortest lines are in Sanford and Old Longwood Elementary in Longwood. Longest lines are at the Central Branch Library in Casselberry and the Lake Mary and Longwood library locations.

Any questions, contact the SOE’s office at 407-585-VOTE (8683).

Are you ready to vote?

We have an election coming up on Nov. 8 – are you ready to participate?vote graphic for blog

If you need to update your address: You can do it online.

If you recently changed your name, want to change parties or need a replacement voter card: Call the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Office at 407-708-7705. The deadline to make changes is looming and the nice folks there can walk you through the process.

If you are already a registered voter and want to vote by mail: Fill out this form online. You have until six days before the Nov. 8 election to request a mail-in ballot. And do you love those “I voted” stickers? We do too! Now we can print out own – they’re on the link!

NOTE: The Seminole SOE’s Office asks that we put postage on the envelope when we mail them back in – 47 cents, or one “forever” stamp. However, the postal service WILL deliver ballots without a stamp. Better idea: take them to one of the early voting locations or the SOE’s office and turn it in in person.

Early voting starts next week – Oct. 24. Here’s what you need to know about voting early, plus a list of early-vote locations.

If you prefer to vote on Election Day –  Tuesday, Nov. 8 – you must do so at your home precinct. Your precinct number is printed on your voter information card and on your sample ballot. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. More info is here, or you can call the SOE’s office at 407-708-7705.

Preparing for Matthew

matthew-track-wed-am
Courtesy of Mike’s Weather Page: http://www.spaghettimodels.com/

All of Central Florida is under hurricane or tropical storm watch now.

This storm is coming and while Lake Mary is not in the cross hairs, we will feel more of the effects than originally predicted. If you have not already prepared, here is what you should do:

  • Stock up on food and personal items for at least three days – and don’t wait until the last minute because the shelves could be bare.
  • Stock up on water. You’ll need a gallon per person per day for three to five days.
  • Fill the gas tank on your vehicle(s) – pumps won’t work without power.
  • Go to the ATM now – if the power goes out, those won’t work either.
  • Make sure you have enough food and water for your pets.
  • Charge your phones – or go high-tech and get solar-powered phone chargers, flashlights, radios and even fans.
  • If you or a family member takes prescription medicine, make sure you have enough to get through the aftermath of a storm.
  • Fill the tub with water for toilet flushing.
  • Turn the fridge down to the lowest setting. Open it as little as possible if the you are without power. You also can freeze containers of water and put them in the fridge to keep food cold if the power goes out.
  • Pay attention to the weather reports.

FOR YOUR PETS: Identify a pet-friendly shelter or hotel in advance. If you plan to weather the storm away from your apartment here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary, do this now — you don’t have much time, and shelters (what few there are that allow pets) and hotels fill up fast.

Tips for keeping your pet safe from the Orlando Sentinel and Ready.gov.

The Sentinel also has some great info today about apps, social media and other online ways to stay informed and connected as the storm approaches.

Be prepared, be safe.

Matthew is coming

hurricane-matthew-cr-0517_1090abcfc45fe31e5b9f0e73c31f9a90-nbcnews-ux-2880-1000
Projection as of 5:11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4. Map courtesy of NBC News.

 

Hurricane Matthew is coming and he looks like a doozy. Gov. Scott has already declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida.

Now it the time to prepare.

Matthew is a Category 4 storm due to hit Haiti today and forecasters are calling it “potentially catastrophic,” producing up to 49 inches of rain in some spots. That’s the height of your average 6-year-old.

What the storm will do after passing over Haiti is uncertain, but Floridians should be on alert. The storm track has been moving gradually westward and we in Central Florida and here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary could see some effects on Thursday.

Here’s how you can be prepared:

  • Stock up on food and personal items for at least three days – and don’t wait until the last minute because the shelves could be bare.
  • Stock up on water. You’ll need a gallon per person per day for three to five days.
  • Fill the gas tank on your vehicle(s) – pumps won’t work without power.
  • Go to the ATM now – if the power goes out, those won’t work either.
  • Make sure you have enough food and water for your pets.
  • Charge your phones – or go high-tech and get solar-powered phone chargers, flashlights, radios and even fans.
  • If you or a family member takes prescription medicine, make sure you have enough to get through the aftermath of a storm.
  • Fill the tub with water for toilet flushing.
  • Turn the fridge down to the lowest setting. Open it as little as possible if the you are without power. You also can freeze containers of water and put them in the fridge to keep food cold if the power goes out.
  • Pay attention to the weather reports.

Also be sure to have:

  • Basic first aid kit and insect repellant
  • Important papers should be in a waterproof (plastic) bag where you can find them
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlights, battery operated radio and extra batteries

 

Sunflower season

lake-jesup-sunflowers

Have you seen them? The fantastic swamp sunflowers, that is – Helianthus angustifolius, for the most part. They come out every year around this time near Lake Jesup, Puzzle Lake and Lake Harney.

 They’re not far from us here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary. If you drive over the 417 or anywhere near the lakes, you can frequently just park on the side of the road and hop out for a quick look at this amazing phenomenon.

You know what’s better? Seeing them up close – and for that, you need your hiking boots.

Florida hiking expert and award-winning author Sandra Friend writes about the best places to see swamp flowers on her blog, Florida Hikes!

The Florida HIkes! link has all the details – complete with internal links to all locations mentioned, plus the ever-important directions, plus stunning photos – but here are some highlights:

  • Cameron Tract, Lake Jesup Conservation AreaEasy to get to – just off Lake Mary Boulevard near Sanford International Airport.
  • Marl Bed Flats, Lake Jesup Conservation Area – A loop train at this little-known site leads right to the edge of the lake and expansive views of the sunflowers.
  • Lake Jesup Wilderness – By far the best place to see sunflowers (Sandra’s words, not ours – and she should know). Very accessible and popular.
  • Lake Harney Wilderness – Follow the loop trail from the far end of the parking lot.
  • Puzzle Lake – Great place to see the sunflowers from your car, especially between the SR 46 bridge (near Jolly Gator Fish Camp) and the trailhead for the Little Big Econ State Forest.

Thanks, Sandra, for letting us share this great info!

 

Protect against identity theft

Did you know that Florida is number 1 in the nation for identity theft complaints?

Protect yourself. If you have financial records, credit card statements, pay stubs or any other kind of personal documents that you no longer need, bring them to the Shred-a-thon at the Lake Mary branch of CFE Federal Credit Union, 1000 Primera Blvd., Lake Mary, on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — not far from us here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary.

Shredding your personal information is the best way to prevent identity theft.shred-for-blog

CFE is partnering with Iron Mountain and Orlando Recycles Inc. to shred your unwanted paper – and electronics – for free. Any document with personal and confidential information will be shredded onsite to protect your identity.

Shred containers of paper should weigh no more than 35 pounds and should be free of metal or foreign objects.

Electronic items that can be recycled at the event include:

  • Batteries
  • Cell phones and PDAs
  • Electronic/electrical parts (keyboards, hard drives, wires, cables, etc.)
  • Computers (desktops and laptops)
  • Flat-screen monitors (NO CRT monitors or tube-style TVs will be accepted)
  • Hand and power tools
  • Medical equipment
  • Office phones and handsets
  • Printers and copiers
  • Test equipment
  • Video/audio equipment

More info can be found on CFE’s Shred-a-thon page.

Welcome, Autumn!

Guess what happens on Thursday! It’s the autumnal equinox! The changing of the seasons – at least according to the calendar. Our forecast here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary still calls for thunderstorms and highs in the low 90s – typical summer weather, at least for a while longer.

One of the joys of the season is the changing of the leaves. You don’t have to stare at that perpetually green palm tree unless you want to. fall_color_asheville_nc_mountainsGrab a pumpkin latte and let’s see where we can enjoy some fall colors.

The Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains reign supreme. Trees blanket the hills and colors are intense. Best you can do is stand in awe. Asheville is always a favorite. Here’s the local prediction for this year – plus tips for how to “do” leaf viewing. Biggest piece of advice: book your room early. You’ll have lots of company up in the hills.

Here’s a guide to the Blue Ridge and one for the Great Smokies.

Looking farther afield? Or need more time to plan? Try this national fall-color map. Use the slider below the map to see when colors will be at their peak.

leaves-3-for-blogThe Farmers’ Almanac also has a state-by-state list here.

Fall color in Florida is more subtle. We lack the drop in temperatures that bring on the really vivid colors, but from late October to mid-November, we can still enjoy some seasonal variations. Best locales are Torreya State Park in the Panhandle, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park south of Tallahassee and the Ormond Scenic Loop Road north of Daytona Beach, where, if you’re lucky, you can see dolphins, whales, manatees and colorful leaves all at the same time.

Be kind to your garbage disposal

Management here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary has asked us to kindly be kind to our garbage disposals. When you put things down the disposal that you shouldn’t, maintenance has to fix it. What a mess.

So let’s review.disposal-for-blog

Things that you SHOULD NOT put down the disposal include:

  • Non-food items. It’s easy to lose sight of a fork or two when dishes pile up in the sink. Always clear everything out of the sink and make sure nothing has fallen in before turning on the disposal.
  • Grease. When it cools, it solidifies and clogs the drain. Yuck.
  • Fibrous foods. Do not put celery, asparagus, artichokes, chard, kale, lettuce, potato peelings or onion skins in the disposal. They can entangle the blades and cause the unit to jam.
  • Pasta and rice. Uncooked pasta and rice expand when exposed to water. If you put a sizable amount of either one into the disposal, you’ll have a backed-up drain in no time.
  • Coffee grounds. They get caught in the drain trap.
  • Fruit pits or seeds or apple cores. They are too solid for the unit to process and tend to get caught in the drain trap. Need to toss these in the trash can.
  • Eggshells. The membrane inside the shell can wrap around the blades of the grinder. Put them in the trash instead.
  • Bones. Fish bones may be an exception, but other types of bones can be a challenge for even industrial-strength disposals. As with fruit pits and eggshells, bones belong in the garbage can.

Things you CAN put in the disposal include:

  • Cold water. Always run cold water through the unit for 20 to 30 seconds before and after you put stuff down the disposal. This ensures that everything is ground up and flushed down the drain. Decaying scraps in the bottom of the unit can stink up the sink.
  • Liquids and soft foods. If a baby can eat it, the disposal can generally handle it. For more solid foods, be sure to chop them up first before putting them into the unit.
  • Dish soap. This helps clean your disposal.
  • Ice cubes. Throw a few in occasionally to help knock built-up food residue off the blades. You could freeze some ice cubes with lemon or vinegar in water to help freshen up the disposal. Or you could make these easy DIY disposal cleaner tables that we found on this great website, Mom4Real.com.

The recipe involves baking soda, salt, distilled water, Castile soap and some lemon essential oil. Oh, and an ice cube tray or silicone mold.

For step-by-step instructions – with pictures – visit the Mom4Real website.

And just to make things easy to remember, we found this super informational chart at PlumbingSupply.com (too bad they’re in California. But thanks for letting us borrow your chart!).

garbage-disposal-care-infographic