How to pay a baby sitter


    Finding a new baby sitter is stressful enough, with combing through applicants, interviews and background checks. Then there’s figuring out how to pay one.

    “It’s nerve-wracking to hand the child over to somebody and make sure (the way you’re bringing up the child) remains consistent,” said Melissa Marchwick, executive vice president of brand marketing and communications at Sittercity, a national online matchmaker for sitters, nannies and parents.

    Setting a competitive rate is important for quality care, but, Marchwick says, don’t pay too much. The standard hourly rate varies, depending on the region of the country, from $10.25 to $16 per hour. (Nannies, who usually care for children on a weekly basis, are generally paid a flat rate per day or given additional benefits.)


Lift the weight off


Local fitness instructors and trainers say that adding weights to an exercise regimen can be the best thing for losing weight, firming up and adding definition and strength. Cardio alone won’t do it.

“You can go on a treadmill and walk and walk and walk, and eat better, and you’ll burn calories and fat, but you’ll start burning any muscle,” said Aaron Pankau, fitness director at the RecPlex. “When you include strength training, you’re going to build muscle. Adding in the right nutrition, you can start seeing results in the first month though it might not be on the scale. What I’d look at is inches versus scale weight. Muscle weighs more than fat.”

“Lifting weights will stoke your metabolism,” added Kat Howard, certified personal trainer and owner of Fit Tech, who used to weigh over 300 pounds and now competes as a power lifter. “When you begin lifting weights and build muscle you increase your basal metabolic rate, the base amount of calories everyone burns. They say only 1 percent of people who lose over 100 pounds keep it off. You won’t get there without lifting weights.”


Celebrate grilling (and baseball) season with some hot dog ‘etiquette’


Baseball is not just about the game, it’s about the food, too.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates that fans will eat a whopping 21,357,316 hot dogs and 5,508,887 sausages during the 2014 Major League season — enough to stretch from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to Wrigley Field in Chicago.

That’s a lot of hot dogs. When it comes to hot dog-consuming cities, Los Angeles is No. 1, based on total retail sales for the 2012 calendar year. Hot dogs, according to the council, also have an official season. Memorial Day to Labor Day is when Americans consume the most — about 7 billion hot dogs.

Your Home

    Variations on the vase


    We’ve been picking flowers and sticking them in containers for thousands of years.

    The early Egyptians did it, as did the Chinese: Feng Shui guidelines for creating harmony in a home suggest placing vases of fresh-cut flowers throughout the dwelling to relieve stress, and increase productivity and creativity. Ikebana, the 600-year-old art of Japanese flower arranging, became a craft of high regard, with a spiritual element.

    Today, artisans, designers and even florists continue to dream up interesting new vessels.


    Dance ministry relays God’s message


    Every third Sunday of the month, designated as Youth Sunday, members of the Followers of Jesus Dance Ministry gracefully move up the aisle of the Coleman Chapel AME Church in a dance of praise.

    Dancers communicate messages of hope and the unceasing love of God though movement, utilizing gestures that give meaning to gospel music lyrics.

    “The most important thing about our dancing is that we dance for God and it’s not really for our own applause: it’s for God’s glory,” Lakeisha (Chatman) Hurd, the group’s creative director, said.


    Boating season returns at Southport Marina


    Crews at Southport Marina last week began the process of moving boats from the storage building to the water.

    It takes a crew of five or six people to move a boat from the building to the marina. They begin by turning the boat around on a flatbed in a tight parking lot. Then the boat is hoisted by straps onto a traveler lift and lowered into the water.

    The weather affects when boats are put in the water. Cold weather can have an impact on the water pipes connected to the docks. If there’s any chance of the pipes freezing, Southport Marina pushes the launch date.



    Horsing around in Kentucky


    When the first Saturday in May arrives, at least 150,000 spectators fill Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, long referred to as the “greatest two minutes in sports” because that’s about how long the marquee horse race lasts. This year marks the 140th run.

    Mint juleps, the event’s signature cocktail, arrive in frosted souvenir glasses all over Louisville. Lots of ladies swank it up, wearing cocktail dresses and big, beautiful hats to the racetrack. It is customary to arrive hours before race time.

    Attending the Kentucky Derby also means paying premium rates for a hotel and jockeying for elbow room at area restaurants, bourbon bars and tourist attractions. Derby admission this year is $698 ($799 for covered seating); the two-day ticket includes Kentucky Oaks racing on Friday.

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