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Essential oils — typically distilled from aromatic plants like lavender, lemon, peppermint, bergamot and eucalyptus — have been around for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used them for embalming and mummification. Medical icon Hippocrates supposedly advised patients in ancient Greece “healing begins with an aromatic bath and daily massage,” and contemporary proponents believe essential oils relieve ailments that range from headaches to insomnia.

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EAST NORRITON — Even though the 18th annual Walk & 5K Run Through the Park will be a mask-wearing, socially distanced in-person event on June 5, organizers are confident they can recapture at least part of that pre-pandemic  feeling for everyone involved.

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When you hear the words “garden club,” what comes to mind? Do you picture a group of soft-spoken, white-haired women — à la Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple — who gather for meetings, sip tea out of fine China cups, and grow African violets?

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COLLEGEVILLE — Holy Cross Regional Catholic School student Khai Scavone is the proud winner of Artsonia’s Artist of the Week contest, a voting competition held on Artsonia.com, the world’s largest collection of student art portfolios exhibiting over 80 million pieces of student art.

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The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was passed in December 2014. On April 18, 2016, Pennsylvania enacted its own legislation on ABLE accounts and in 2017 the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury began allowing individuals to enroll and open ABLE accounts. Pennsylvania ABLE accounts allow eligible individuals with qualified disabilities to save tax-free for disability-related expenses without jeopardizing any means-based government benefits the individual may be receiving. Although the law has been around for over five years, many families are unaware of the benefits of ABLE accounts for individuals with a disability.

LOWER POTTSGROVE — The Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area is bringing the Paddling Film Festival to the region for the second year in a row as an outdoor and physically-distant drive-in theater experience at The SunnyBrook Ballroom on Thursday, May 6, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

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Did your mom always tell you to help others? Show her you were actually listening by getting her a mother's day gift from a local small business. Here are some gifts from local businesses that your mom will love as much as knowing that you took her lesson to heart and helped a local business owner.

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Good news for bargain hunters who care about personal grooming – the pandemic-shuttered beauty salon at Central Montco Technical High School reopened April 22 and is accepting clients through early June. A limited number of appointments are currently available Monday through Friday between 8 and 11 a.m. But June 29 through Aug. 5, the full-service shop will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Walk-ins are not permitted at either session.

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With summer camps around the corner and the likelihood of schools getting back on track in the fall, there’s a high likelihood that those of us who are parents will be working our way back to life as it once was pre-pandemic.

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Last year during the pandemic, sales of all things “bird”— bird feed, bird feeders, nesting boxes, and bird houses — spiked dramatically. This really isn’t surprising. We were all stuck at home, deprived of friends, family, and normalcy, while feeling immense stress and anxiety about COVID itself. Putting out feeders and seed, and seeing who comes to partake of the bounty, is fun and engaging in its own right. But research shows that people feel relaxed, and connected to nature, when they watch birds. For millions working and schooling from home, this stress reduction has been an unintended bonus to the basic delight of feeding the birds.

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NORRISTOWN — A virtual version of Corks & Forks on May 13 at 6 p.m. will tempt taste buds and hopefully raise funds to benefit The Senior Adult Activities Center of Montgomery County’s  two senior centers, inter-generational Art Center at Ambler and the all-important Meals on Wheels program.

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Now that spring is here, are you yearning to trade in Zoom for Zumba? Craving more downward- facing dog and less TV-facing with your dog? There are lots of outdoor exercise classes being offered this spring - in the city and the suburbs. Some classes are free, some donation-suggested and others charge admission. Most require registration.

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Good things come in small packages. Aesop supposedly said it first. But if the ancient Greek storyteller were around today, he’d get no argument from the folks at Whitemarsh Art Center. The WAC staffers are currently asking area creatives to donate original work for their May 22 “BIG Tiny Art Show” fundraiser, and although donations can range from paintings to ceramics and “everything in between,” they can’t be any larger than 6 x 6 inches.

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In honor of Earth Day this coming Thursday, I want to offer an excerpt from my book, “Big Life Lessons from Nature’s Little Secrets.” I wrote the book for young children, but parents and other adult readers have told me that they’ve gotten a lot of food for thought from it as well. Nature has so much to tell us!

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Finding out that you have been selected to be a family member’s Executor can be both an honor and a huge time commitment. Although each estate administration varies depending on the complexity and issues that may arise, there are certain duties of an Executor that are consistent regardless of those complexities and issues. It is important to understand that an Executor does not have any responsibilities before a death has occurred. Additionally, just because you are named as an Executor in a will does not mean that you have to accept that role. If you do not want to serve as the Executor you can sign a renunciation.

Music fans can once again look forward to a full slate of diverse concerts at the newly renovated Ardmore Music Hall. The venue is announcing an initial calendar of over 30 shows to kick off their fall calendar, highlighted by acts that include Del McCoury, Rebirth Brass Band, Los Amigos Invisibles, 10,000 Maniacs, Tommy Conwell, KRS-One, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Cabinet and many more.

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If you’ve ever direct-seeded lettuce, carrot, radishes, onions, or beets into your garden, you know how challenging it can be to handle those tiny seeds, and to get them only where you want them. This is why some seed companies offer these in seed tapes. Seed tapes are long strips of narrow-width paper, with seeds imbedded at the proper spacing for optimum growth out in the garden, whether you plant in-ground or in raised beds.

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WHITPAIN — Transitioning to adulthood can be a challenging time for students with autism and special needs as well as their families. Montgomery County Community College’s Bridging to the Future Conference can help connect students and families to the information, resources and strategies they need for successful transitions. The free online conference will be held on Saturday, May 1, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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“All we ever talk about are the same things,” said a friend. “It’s the pandemic, politics, gun violence, racism, culture wars, immigration -- none of it any fun. We used to have so many more things to talk about.”

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Seasonal flowers. Lush foliage. Garden Burgers. Frozen Mojitos with butterfly pea powder. And even Frozen Gritty Margaritas. With all this, you’ll undoubtedly grow to love the Pop Up Gardens springing up around Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is opening gardens in Manayunk and on South Street.

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The pandemic put a damper on many summer traditions in 2020, including camp. Meant to occupy kids in fun, creative and physical ways during the balmy summer months, camp also serves as a childcare solution for working parents. Additionally, camp is a place where memories are made and new friendships and experiences are had.

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A Durable Financial Power of Attorney is an extremely important estate planning document. This document allows a competent adult to appoint an agent to act in your place with regard to your financial affairs if you would become incapacitated or be incapable of managing your finances for any reason.

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When it comes to planting vegetables, gardeners have at least four options. First, there's the time-honored method of planting seeds directly in the ground. Second is to buy seedlings and transplant them into the garden. Third is to start seeds indoors, several weeks before the optimum outdoor planting time for each vegetable type. The fourth is a combination of two or all of these options.

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If the thought of preparing a Passover seder feels like one more plague this year. Or if cooking Easter brunch or supper seems too “eggs-travagant,” there are several area restaurants that will do the cooking for you. Here’s a list of meals to-go and a few in-person options for each holiday too.

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“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Most of us are probably familiar with this old adage. It’s an interesting, age-old piece of advice. But is it true? When I look around at (what many view as) God’s creation — this amazing planet of ours, plus all of the creatures on it — it looks like a mess to me!

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Referred to as “Filial Support,” Pennsylvania has a statute that creates liability for certain family members of an indigent person for their care (23 Pa. C.S.A. § 4603). The classification of family members under the law that can be held responsible include, a spouse, child, and a parent. For the law to apply, the individual must be indigent which simply means that the person lacks “sufficient means” to pay for their care and maintenance. It is important to understand that there is no requirement that the family member did something improper that resulted in the unpaid nursing home bill. Therefore, filial support can create liability regardless of whether the family member acted wrongfully.