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Florida Fun Holiday Escapes

Wish you’d planned a brief holiday day trip or getaway for the family? No worries! We’ve found some fun Christmas-related places to visit for a day or longer. We’re got wonderful holiday weather in Florida so there’s no need to spend the holidays inside.

Tripping.com has done the leg work for us and posted a list of fun Florida Christmas places for the entire family to enjoy, regardless of age. We’ve picked out our favorites for you. For a full list, go to www.tripping.com.

  1. Disney World is famous for decking out all of their theme parks in Christmas cheer from decorated trees, lights, and parades like the famous “Once Upon a Christmas Parade” on Main St. U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom park. Have fun photos taken with Disney characters in all of the parks decked out in their holiday attire!
  2. Santa Sightings all over! Florida Gulf Cost Railroad’s annual Christmas Trains in Parrish is a favorite “ride” of Santa’s. Hop on the North Pole Express which departs from Parrish for the North Pole on select afternoons and evenings in December. If you’re in the Miami area, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is packed full of themed displays, holiday lights, and a 92-foot tall Christmas tree. It’s the world’s largest holiday theme park featuring over 100 rides, shows, games & attractions and open through January 7, 2018.
  3. Lakeland’s LEGOLAND has a “Christmas Bricktacular” celebration which includes decorating trees, meeting Santa, holiday-themed scavenger hunts and a spectacular fireworks display. Marvel at the 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree outside Market Restaurant, which lights up several times each evening with synchronized lights and holiday music, plus an occasional snow flurry!
  4. Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee creates an unforgettable experience with close to two million pounds of carved ice. It’s a walk-through attraction of colorful ice sculptures, five ice slides, and snow tubing. The 3D sculptures are party of an interactive, larger-than-life experience. But, dress warm as the temperature is a nippy nine degrees!

Pack the family into the car and try one of these fun Christmas escapes!

Holiday Fire Safety

The Holidays are filled with celebrations that can quickly turn into a tragedy. Keep your home safe by following these helpful tips from the Sarasota County Fire Department. They are common sense tips that we should pay attention to year-round.

Battery-operated flameless candles. The new breed of flameless candles look and smell like real candles and are a great alternative. If you must use real candles, be sure they are placed in candle holders or dishes that are stable and won’t tip over. Never leave them unattended and place them a good distance away from anything flammable.

The National Fire Protection Association says that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and injuries. Stay safe by keeping an up-to-date fire extinguisher and smoke alarm close by.

 

Don’t buy a Christmas tree that is already shedding needles. Opt for a really fresh one and cut the trunk at an angle and place in a large, deep, no-tip stand. Place the tree away from fireplaces, heat sources and exits. Be sure to keep the stand filled with water to keep the tree hydrated. Throw away old light strings that show any signs of damage and always unplug the lights before retiring for the evening. Don’t use indoor light outside or outside lights inside!

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Get Moving on New Year Resolutions

What’s the most popular New Year Resolution? Fitness. Why not get a jump on this and plan on a family fitness plan that’s fun? Spending time with your family and getting fit at the same time is a win-win situation. Don’t wait for the New Year, start a fun family fit routine now. Here are some ideas:

Parks or Beaches: Family walks in the park or beach; flying kites; throwing Frisbees.

Family Outings: Bike rides; hikes through nature trails; go-kart parks; paddle boating.

Chores: Add movement to everyday chores. Add allowance incentives to children by having them walk the dog, wash the car or house windows; rake leaves.

The “get moving” options are endless. By engaging the family in activities (other than watching TV or video games) will add magic to family fun with the end result being fitness!

Lighter Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium shallots, in their skins
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, stemmed, and halved
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400o
  • In a small baking dish, roast the shallots (30 minutes). When cooled, peel and chop.
  • Boil water in a medium pot. Add kosher salt.  Add green beans and blanch about 3 minutes (until crisp and bright green).  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • In the medium pot, heat the oil over medium. Add mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt.  Stir occasionally until browned.  Add the mushrooms to the green beans.
  • Make a blond roux: Melt the butter in the pot. Using a wooden spoon, add the flour until browned.
  • Slowly whisk in the broth. Increase heat to high and boil.  Add the chopped shallots, 1 teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon salt.  Reduce heat, simmer until thickened (5 minutes).  Pour mixture over mushrooms and green beans.
  • Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the vegetable mixture.
  • Add the rest of the thyme to the bread crumbs. Cover the vegetable mixture with the bread crumb mixture.
  • Bake uncovered until bubbly and the crumb browns. (20 minutes)

This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your your off-road vehicle insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance.  We are here to help.