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Since winter break is here, I have been asking people what they most enjoy doing over the vacation with their friends and family in the SCV. The following list includes some of the places and activities kids have recommended to me. Doing different crafts such as constructing gingerbread houses are a great way to have fun on a cold or rainy day. Let your artistic talents shine as you decorate your dream house with tons of candy. You can build by yourself, with a buddy or even have a group of friends over for a quick get-together.
It's the beginning of a new year and many of us will be taking a good, hard look at ourselves in the mirror and think... "Jeez, I need a makeover!" Whether it's droopy eyelids or saggy breasts, one too many wrinkles or a dull, unattractive smile, there are plenty affordable options for those looking for a quick pick me up and a little self-confidence boost. More than 10 million Americans opted for some type of cosmetic surgery last year. Lasers, microdermabrasion, Botox, veneers and implants are just some of the procedures that are now done safely without breaking the bank or requiring too much down time.

Click to view our experts "before" and "after" photos

It was a Christmas tradition. Every year, the Ewart family opened their home to the neighborhood and went all-out for the holiday. After last year's celebration, as the family settled upstairs into bed for the night, the flame from a still-burning candle started a house fire that left several members of the Ewart family severely burned and injured. Fifteen-year-old Michael Ewart suffered the most serious injuries with third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body. His father and 81-year-old grandfather also were burned and injured.
Several years ago, a friend at work gave me the soundtrack to "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It was a surprising Christmas gift, not because of what it was, but because of what it did. I popped the CD into my computer on the spot and was greeted by the soft minor chords of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, accompanied by Chuck, Linus, Lucy and the rest announcing that "Christmas Time Is Here." If you were born between 1960 and 1975, you know that song very well, regardless of your religious persuasion. Every year it found its way onto our television sets. It was the holiday anthem of our generation, announcing that soon we'd be seeing beloved family members, stuffing our faces and opening presents.
You know what I hate? I hate hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. My guess is that piped-in versions of "Silent Night" are supposed to inspire me to make early purchases and spend more. If you are a member of the marketing brigade that came up with this idiotic idea, let me tell you: The only thing your saccharine tunes inspire in me is gas and a craving for apple cider.
If you tell your mom you want an "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle" for Christmas, her response will probably be, "You'll shoot your eye out!" It's a good thing that nowadays most kids do not have that item on their list. A much better gift to ask for would be one of my all time favorite holiday movies, "A Christmas Story."
What better thing is there to do on Family Night than watch a movie? I know choosing a movie the entire family will like can be a challenge, but I have recently rediscovered the perfect choice, "The Princess Bride." This 1987 classic is a great movie that everyone will enjoy. No matter what age, girl or boy, you will want to watch it again and again!
She was pregnant with her second child when she discovered a lump. As with most pregnancies, it didn't seem unusual to have lumps and bumps over your body, but with a growing concern, she brought it to the attention of her obstetrician. For some reason, the doctors decided to "watch" it. As the as pregnancy progressed, the lump grew and subsequent tests revealed breast cancer. In her eighth month of pregnancy, the doctors induced labor and I was introduced to my new nephew. Shortly thereafter, my sister-in-law underwent a mastectomy.
Had I been watching the World Cup or something like it, my response last Wednesday afternoon would have been entirely justified. My favorite player had just taken a pass from a teammate, dribbled past a defender and kicked the ball into the goal - or at least that's what I saw through a pair of more-than-slightly biased eyes. That favorite player was in fact my 10-year-old daughter Darragh (like "Sarah" with a "D"). The pass? Well it was more of an accidental push of the ball in her general direction.
It seems like everyone knows about Martha. Every third grader who comes to Heritage Junction asks about her. Many have been seen waving up at the second floor window of the Newhall Ranch House, shouting "Hi Martha!" Martha is a spirit who resides (not lives) in the Newhall Ranch House. Soon after the house was moved to Heritage Junction in 1990, people started to report seeing a woman in the upstairs of the building, but no one was there.
In October comes one of the year's most fun holidays, Halloween! All kids look forward to dressing up, running around the neighborhood, eating tons of candy, and of course, going to the pumpkin patch! What better place to go to spend the day hunting for the perfect pumpkin than Santa Clarita's own Lombardi Ranch. A real family-owned and operated working farm, Lombardi Ranch dedicates the whole month of October to celebrating autumn.
Ahhh, the open road: The wind in your hair and your favorite tunes blasting from the stereo. There's nothing like the feeling of being behind the wheel of a car. It's a teenage dream. It signifies freedom and a chance to cut loose from mom and dad. Sophomore year? Forget the Algebra II; sign me up for Driver's Ed.
Ever picture yourself on stage performing in front of a live audience? With ESCAPE Theatre, you can turn this fantasy into a reality. ESCAPE stands for Experience Santa Clarita's Actor's Performing Ensemble. The goal of ESCAPE is to "educate children and young adults in the wonderful world of musical theatre."
Long before the mall, Olive Garden, Trader Joes and all of the other fantastic shopping and eateries graced our home here in Santa Clarita, Sunday mornings found the sides of Soledad Canyon Road lined with cars from the bowling alley all the way to Bouquet Canyon. We'd park and walk a half of a mile, if you arrived late, only to walk another mile or two looking for a good deal on anything from car accessories to furniture.
Mica Area High School was just like any other. Everything about MAHS could be described as average, until Stargirl showed up. There was nothing ordinary about her, from her personality, looks, and even her pet was unusual. Students didn't know what to do with her; she couldn't be compared with anyone they had ever seen before.
After a long afternoon of soccer, I always work up an enormous appetite. My favorite place to go after a game is Freshworks California Grill. The awesome food and casual atmosphere makes it a great place for a relaxed meal.
The noun "father" is used as a sign of respect, but the name Dad is being used as a verb like catch, hug and listen in a national advertising campaign. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, the idea is that a dad is not just something you are, it is something you do - like laughing, reading and playing.
Now that the weather has finally warmed up, people are looking for a fun activity they can do without having to worry about getting sunburn. Ice skating is one of the few summer outings that meets this requirement. However, if ice skating is not your "thing," why not try bumper cars on ice? That's right, Ice Station Valencia is now home to bumper cars on ice. The next time you want to do something cool with friends or family, head over to the Ice Station for a slippery bumper car ride.
In 1945 the California State Board of Education approved petitions from five elementary school districts - Newhall, Saugus, Castaic, Mint Canyon and Sulphur Springs - to start a new high school district. Voters approved a bond that same year to build the first high school in Newhall. It was suggested to name the high school and high school district after the Santa Clara River, but when the site was completed in 1946, it was decided to name both after cowboy actor and Newhall resident William S. Hart.
Is there a touchier subject than child rearing? It seems that from the moment a woman starts showing a pre-baby bump, vultures and self-described do-gooders come out of the woodwork to tell parents how they have it all wrong. At my most recent estrogen-charged informal meeting of gal pals, one member shared that she was chastised by a male passerby for breastfeeding in a mall. Supposedly the activity was "obscene," especially because it was done within eyesight of young children.
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