Check Out These Fascinating Halloween Traditions From Around the World

Here in America, we enjoy dressing up in silly costumes and going trick-or-treating on Halloween, but have you ever wondered how cultures around the world celebrate their own versions of Halloween? Here are a few fascinating Halloween festivities from countries near and far!

  • In Ireland, Halloween is observed in much the same way as it is in America: with fun costumes, trick-or-treating, and the addition of bonfires in the more rural areas.
  • In Austria, people welcome souls into their homes by leaving bread, water and a lit lamp on a table before going to bed for the night.
  • In Belgium, people honor their dead relatives by lighting candles on Halloween.
  • In China, Buddhist temples fashion "boats of the law" out of paper and burn them in the evening hours to free spirits and welcome them into Heaven.
  • In England, children used to carve designs into "punkies," or large beets, and parade them through the streets while singing the "Punkie Night Song" and marching door to door asking for money. Later, Halloween became Guy Fawkes Night and moved a few days later.

Check Out These Fascinating Halloween Traditions From Around the World

Here in America, we enjoy dressing up in silly costumes and going trick-or-treating on Halloween, but have you ever wondered how cultures around the world celebrate their own versions of Halloween? Here are a few fascinating Halloween festivities from countries near and far!

  • In Ireland, Halloween is observed in much the same way as it is in America: with fun costumes, trick-or-treating, and the addition of bonfires in the more rural areas.
  • In Austria, people welcome souls into their homes by leaving bread, water and a lit lamp on a table before going to bed for the night.
  • In Belgium, people honor their dead relatives by lighting candles on Halloween.
  • In China, Buddhist temples fashion "boats of the law" out of paper and burn them in the evening hours to free spirits and welcome them into Heaven.
  • In England, children used to carve designs into "punkies," or large beets, and parade them through the streets while singing the "Punkie Night Song" and marching door to door asking for money. Later, Halloween became Guy Fawkes Night and moved a few days later.

Check Out These Fascinating Halloween Traditions From Around the World

Here in America, we enjoy dressing up in silly costumes and going trick-or-treating on Halloween, but have you ever wondered how cultures around the world celebrate their own versions of Halloween? Here are a few fascinating Halloween festivities from countries near and far!

  • In Ireland, Halloween is observed in much the same way as it is in America: with fun costumes, trick-or-treating, and the addition of bonfires in the more rural areas.
  • In Austria, people welcome souls into their homes by leaving bread, water and a lit lamp on a table before going to bed for the night.
  • In Belgium, people honor their dead relatives by lighting candles on Halloween.
  • In China, Buddhist temples fashion "boats of the law" out of paper and burn them in the evening hours to free spirits and welcome them into Heaven.
  • In England, children used to carve designs into "punkies," or large beets, and parade them through the streets while singing the "Punkie Night Song" and marching door to door asking for money. Later, Halloween became Guy Fawkes Night and moved a few days later.

Want to Score the Deepest Discounts This Black Friday, Dahlgren? Here’s How!

Love it or hate it, there are serious deals to be had on Black Friday — but only if you know how and where to look. Below, find three tips to help you better (and more safely!) navigate Black Friday discounts this November 27!

1) Plan ahead.
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, compare and contrast Black Friday ads as they're released by retailers. That way, you'll know where to find the best deal on, say, a big-screen TV or a certain tech device. But remember: Black Friday is no longer just a one-day event. Many retailers offer deep discounts all throughout the holiday season, including Cyber Monday (Nov. 30).

2) Make a list — and check it twice.
Think of what happens when you grocery shop on an empty stomach. You depart the supermarket with an overloaded cart, right? That's why it's important to make a list of items you're shopping for — and then stick to that list! That way, you won't get sucked in to the fun and excitement of doorbuster deals, and you'll be more likely to stick to a budget.

3) Be aware of your surroundings.
If you're shopping online, be sure that you have a secure connection, which is signified by https (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) in the website's URL. This ensures that personal information, such as your credit card number, is encrypted during your transaction. Similarly, be aware of your surroundings when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. Have your car keys ready when departing a shop, keep your handbag closed and close to your body, and don't hesitate to request that an employee escort you to your car in a dark parking lot.

Want more tips about Black Friday shopping, Dahlgren? Check out the links below!

7 Shopping Tips for Black Friday Deals [allyou.com]
Black Friday Shopping Tips [blackfriday.com]
Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips [consumerreports.org]

Kids Heading Back to School, Dahlgren? Read These Back-to-School Saving Tips!

Back-to-school time means the return of something other than homework and report cards: more frequent partings with our hard-earned cash! Because between the new clothes, gym shoes, and school supplies, bank accounts can really take a hit ($670 per child, according to Bankrate!). Below, find a few saving tips to help you start the new school year on a frugal foot!

1) Host a clothing and supplies swap at Dahlgren. This is especially effective if you have a network of friends and family with kids of different ages and genders!. Invite everyone to bring over a set amount of their kids' unused, unwanted, or outgrown items. From last year's calculators and art supplies to too-small backpacks and unwanted sports equipment, the swap will be like a savings treasure hunt!

2) Set a budget. Read over your kids' lists of required school supplies, then reference your bank or credit card statements from the last back-to-school season to get an idea of how much you'll be spending. Create a budget, giving first priority to the items on the list. If your kids are old enough to shop alone, consider giving them their budgeted amount in cash. That way, they'll be forced to spend wisely.

3) Keep an eye out for sales. Don't hesitate to comparison-shop or to request retailers to match competitors' coupons. If you come across a really great bargain on something essential (e.g. pens or notebooks), consider stocking up for next school year, too!

For more ways to save, check out the links below:

10 Back-To-School Shopping Tips that Save Money [Parenting]
6 tips for frugal back-to-school savings [Bankrate]
7 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping [Family Circle]
10 tips for smart back-to-school shopping [GreatSchools]

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes and High Heating Bills in Your Dahlgren Rental Home

Daylight Saving Time is upon us, but we're not quite through winter yet. That means we need to remain mindful of ways that cold temperatures can affect our homes — and our wallets! Here are a few tips to help you prevent frozen pipes and high heating bills until spring finally arrives.

1) Turn down the heat. This one's a no-brainer, but it's easier said than done when the mercury plummets. Still, lowering the thermostat by even a few degrees can help you save on your heating bill — up to 10 percent! Bundle up in layers, pull on some warm socks, and use the chill as an excuse to snuggle with your friends and family. (A mug of hot cocoa or hot tea certainly won't hurt, either!) Don't go any lower than 55 degrees, though, or you'll run the risk of frozen pipes.

2) Insulate your windows. For less than $10, you can purchase temporary insulation for your windows at Dahlgren. This clear cling film adheres to the inside of windows and is easily removable come spring. It will help prevent drafts, keeping the heat where it belongs: indoors! This will also help prevent freezing pipes.

3) Open your cabinets. Open any bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors that enclose pipes. This will allow the warm air from the rest of your rental home to reach the pipes and prevent them from freezing. (If you have children, temporarily relocate any cleaning products to a place out of their reach.)

4) Let it flow. If the temperature outside is especially cold, allow your faucets to drip with lukewarm water. Just a trickle is enough to help prevent your pipes from freezing.

For more information, click the links below!
How Can I Prepare for a Frozen Pipe Disaster? [AllState]
Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes [Red Cross]
10 tricks for reducing your heating bill [Today Money]
9 Sneaky Ways to Cut Your Home Heating Bills [Popular Mechanics]

Don’t Let Your Health Fall by the Wayside, Dahlgren Residents! Read These Health and Fitness Tips for Busy People!

Whether you're a busy professional, parent, caregiver, student—or all of the above!—you probably have more than a few reasons to put your health on the back burner. It's important, however, to eat right and maintain an active lifestyle, and, as difficult as it might be, this requires prioritizing your own needs every now and then! Keep reading to learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, despite life's pressures.

1) Get moving.
Yes, you've heard it all before: take the stairs, bike to work, hit the gym during your lunch break… But did you know that you don't necessarily have to complete your daily exercise routine in one fell swoop? If you're pressed for time, you can break up your workouts into smaller, less time-consuming acts. For example, you could stop and do a set of push-ups before or after a bathroom break. You could take a walk during that conference call instead of sitting at your desk. As long as you're moving, the workout counts!

2) Get enough sleep.
Fatigue can lead to a host of health problems, from stress to weight gain. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Tuck yourself into your bed at Dahlgren at the same time each evening. This will help your body establish a regular awake-sleep pattern, which wards off insomnia.

3) See your doctor and dentist regularly.
Make—and don't break—regular medical appointments. The simple act of receiving a clean bill of health will likely give you a fresh outlook.

10 Health and Fitness Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs from Jillian Michaels [Forbes]
10 health and fitness tips for busy people [Realbuzz]
10 Fitness Tips for Busy Professionals [Fitday]

How to Get Your Dahlgren Rental Home Squeaky-Clean in Just 30 Minutes a Week

Is better housekeeping on your list of New Year's resolutions for 2015? What if we told you it's possible to get your Dahlgren rental home spic-and-span in just minutes per week—and no, it doesn't require hiring a housekeeper!

The blog The Country Chic Cottage has devised a plan that breaks those time-consuming household chores into more manageable 30-minute tasks. Each 30-minute chore is completed once per week, so that by the end of the year, it's ensured that no household nook or cranny has been overlooked! For instance, the first week of the plan entails dusting and cleaning all window blinds. Week 18 of the plan instructs you to deep-clean the oven, while weeks 28 and 29 tackle the job of cleaning the upholstered furniture.

Want the full list? Read 30 Minutes Per Week House Cleaning Schedule at The Country Chic Cottage!

Unconventional New Year’s Eve Fun at Dahlgren: Family Craft Ideas!

Looking for some unconventional fun to ring in the New Year at Dahlgren? These three sites offer a number of fun craft ideas to delight the whole family during a New Year's Eve craft party:

18 New Year's Eve Countdown Activities for Kids [Soho Sonnet]
This list includes 18 fun crafty ideas, including making a clock from a paper plate, creating a wishing tree to help plan for the new year, and putting together a time capsule.

10 New Year's Eve Crafts for Kids [The Crafty Crow]
The Crafty Crow's list gathers even more fun ideas, such as party favors, glittery headbands, festive hats, and more!

New Years Crafts [Freekidscrafts.com]
From decorations to party hats and noisemakers, you'll find an number of fun ideas on this website. One of the site's most clever projects might be a tambourine made from paper plates.

Do you have any other craft project ideas?

Curious to Learn Santa’s Take on the Holiday Spirit? Read His Thoughts Here, Dahlgren Residents!

The tree is trimmed, the presents are wrapped, and as we take a moment to reflect on the holiday season, we can't help but wonder: What is the holiday spirit all about, anyway? Is it about Black Friday sales and parties? Or perhaps something a little more poignant? There's only one person we'd trust with the answer, so we wrote a letter to Santa Claus, mailed it to the North Pole, and when it came back, this is what it said:

Dear Dahlgren residents and staff,

Santa Claus here. My postmaster elf just handed me your letter, and while your note is just one of billions I've received this season, I decided yours was worthy of an immediate reply. The reason why, you see, is due to the very nature of your letter. Instead of unfurling yet another wish list, I was delighted to read a letter pertaining to a topic very near and dear to me: the true meaning of the holiday season.

I'm sitting here in my favorite chair by the roaring fireplace, thinking about your question, but even after three helpings of cookies and milk from Mrs. Claus, I'm afraid I don't have a simple answer for you. That's because the holiday spirit is different to everyone, and take it from someone who knows, there are a lot of people in this world. For one person, the spirit of the season might be about recreating Grandma's holiday sugar cookie recipe and reminiscing about days past, while someone else might find joy in donating to the less fortunate. I'd imagine that for military families living at Dahlgren, the season might be about spending as much time as possible with loved ones. In other words, the true holiday spirit is whatever warms your heart, Dahlgren residents and staff, but it's up to you to decide just what that might be. Hopefully you'll find that whatever "it" is, it can't be unwrapped.

Ho ho ho,

Santa Claus

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