Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Light Displays Can Last a Lifetime by Adria Byers

Ever since I can remember, Christmas lights displays were one of my favorite things to do during the holidays. My favorite thing? Opening presents on Christmas morning! But light displays were a close second. I still have memories of my brother and I riding in the back of my mother's station wagon with our heads hanging out the opened back window (safety was not a big issue in those days). Luckily, I'm from south Florida, the weather allowed us to do that!

I'll never forget how exciting it was to see colorful lights carefully outlining the houses...every corner had a light, the roof, the garage doors, the windows, the doors and even the driveway! Now that I have a family of my own, I make sure my kids enjoy decorating our home with as many lights we can untangle and get to twinkle.

My kids get a big kick out of seeing cards drive slowly past our house to enjoy our lit up creation. And they too get to ride along as I drive and see other beautifully decorated homes...albeit buckled up in the back seat (safety first!).

The Ocala Star Banner recently compiled a list of Marion County homes that welcome visitors to drive by and admire their hard work. The article also details what each display has to offer and directions on how to get to them. Take your kids, grand kids and great grand kids for a festive drive that will create everlasting memories like the ones I have.

Adria Byers is an employee of On Top of the World Communities.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heartfelt and Heart Healthy Gift Ideas by Cammy Dennis

Want to give a holiday gift that is heartfelt and heart healthy? Why not share something that inspires health and wellness? With some help from WebMD, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Weil, a list of healthy holiday goodies that are sure to please and prevent disease was compiled. For the exercise enthusiast, or those who aspire to be, stuff a new gym bag with some great tools to motivate their workouts:
  • Upbeat music to keep workouts energized
  • A gift certificate for a session with a personal trainer.
  • A pedometer...this nifty tool keeps track of how many steps you take; the goal is 10,000 steps every day!
  • A fancy new BPA free water bottle (BPA stands for Bisphenol A, which is a chemical used in plastics) to stay hydrated, the bottles come in a variety of colors and styles.
For the intellectual in your life, fill a new book bag with items that support brain health:
  • Games like Boggle and Scrabble, crossword puzzles, Sudoku or word search. Studies prove mental exercises help ward off dementia, keep the brain active and also support social interaction.
  • A copy of the latest Master the Possibilities Education Center catalog. Choose from a vast selection of classes to engage in creative and intellectual pursuits.
  • A magazine subscription that reflects personal style or interest.

For the special someone seeking stress relief, fill a beauty basket with gifts that will help to calm the mind and sooth the soul:

  • Luxurious bubble bath.
  • Scented candles.
  • Music that inspires relaxation.
  • Aromatherapy oils.

For the gourmet in your life, fill a reusable grocery bag with healthy treats and ideas that support nutritious and delicious dining:

  • A new heart-smart cookbook. Eating healthy does not mean giving up favorite foods or skimping on flavor.
  • Good quality dark chocolate. make sure that the cocoa content is at least 70% for the best antioxidant quality.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. This oil has the "good fat" to help lower the bad cholestorol (LDL) and boost the good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Include some of your own healthy holiday recipe cards.

Cammy Dennis is the Director of Fitness Programming for On Top of the World Communities and The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa

Friday, December 9, 2011

Resident Club Showcase: On Top of the World RC Flyers

The On Top of The World RC Flyers and its members are affiliated with the Academy of Model Aeronautics, AMA which is a world-class association of modelers organized for the purpose of promotion, development, education, and the advancement of model aircraft activities. The On Top of The World RC Flyers and the Academy provide leadership, organization, competition, communication, protection, representation, recognition, education, and scientific/technical development to its members regarding remote control model aircraft.

The On Top of The World RC Flyers club first started in 1990 when a group of seven residents obtained permission to fly RC model aircraft in a field behind the residential area at On Top of the World Communities. Since then, the club has grown to over 100 members and has moved the field twice. The current location remains within the gated community and is situated on a fourteen-acre site with a 600 by 150 foot grass runway. This new flying site was completed and dedicated in November 2004. Details of the construction are published in Model Aviation Magazine in the May 2005 issue.

Most of the members both build and fly model aircraft and have come to live at On Top of the World Communities from various states across the country specifically because of the flying field. For new flyers, the club maintains a flight-training program. The club encourages the general public to visit the field by hosting three events: A fall Fly-in, a spring giant scale IMAA event and a spring SAM antique model Fly-in. When the weather cooperates, each morning you will find a friendly gathering of members at the new pavilion where they can enjoy friendly conversation and a beautiful pastoral scenic view while resting between flights. However, the greatest service that the club provides to its membership is the opportunity to have fun!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Food Drive

Over the past nine years, On Top of the World Communities in Ocala, FL has chosen to support Interfaith Emergency Services (IES), a non profit organization that provides emergency assistance to individuals and families in crisis. Residents and employees of On Top of the World have always been very generous in donating large amounts of nonperishable food items and various sundries to our annual food drive. With this in mind, we are asking again this year for any help and can lend. According to Karla Grimsley, Executive Director of Interfaith Emergency Services, the need has never been greater. "Today, there are over 16, 000 people in Marion County who are suffering due to unemployment. Many others have lost jobs and found employment but make significantly less than before. We are currently serving an average of 70 families per day and over 1,300 children over the weekends through our Food 4 Kids program. We are providing shelter to 31 residents (13 of those are children). We simply could not meet the need without the support of caring people like you!"

IES is in dire need of the following staple food and hygiene items:
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned beans
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Boxed dry pasta
  • Rice
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned soups
  • Canned meats (tuna, chicken)
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Razors
  • Feminine products

The 2011 On Top of the World food drive has already begun and will continue to accept donations through December 16th. Your donation of any of the above listed items would be of great help. Please place your item(s) in one of the collection boxes.

Thank you in advance for helping those less fortunate in our community. Happy Holidays!

This article was written by On Top of the World employee Patty Soriano.