‘Tis the season to “Trim up the tree with Christmas stuff, Like bingle balls, and whofoo fluff. Trim up the town with goowho gums and bizillbix and wum” (as it says in Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas). If you’re wanting some family friendly events, you’ve come to the right place (i.e. this blog post and Indianapolis), as the city is brimming with beautiful sights this time of year.
Check out the following for some festive lights and holiday displays:
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument/Monument Circle is draped with lights, as are the many shops and restaurants near the circle. The beloved holiday city centerpiece features 4,784 lights and 52 garland strands which are used to create the 242-foot display. Toy soldiers and peppermint sticks encircle the Monument. Cost is FREE!
The Indianapolis Zoo is celebrating its 45th year of Christmas at the Zoo, where they bring together the best of the holiday season with a “wild” twist! Stop by to see Santa, or hear from some of the carolers. The attraction is open until December 30 (with the exception of December 24 and 25) from 5:00-9:00 p.m. Zoo admission is $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for seniors and children.
Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure is open at the Eiteljorg until January 19, 2014. You’ll enter a locomotive wonderland with nearly 1,200 feet of track, 13 overhead walk-under bridges, and more (like Indianapolis’ own Lucas Oil Stadium)! Members are free; Adults are $10; Seniors are $9; Youth 5-17 are $6; Children 4 and under are free.
Christmas at the Lilly House at the Indianapolis Museum of Art is celebrating its 100th anniversary of Oldfields. Holiday decor for the house is inspired from ideas and trends during the second decade of the 20th century, when the estate was constructed. Cost is FREE, and the event is open until January 5, 2014.
The Indiana State Museum lights up this time of year with Celebration Crossing. "Sleigh bells ring, snow glistens, and Santa's elves are as abundant as bright lights on a holiday tree." With a description like that, who can resist? Open until December 31, the exhibit is free to members, $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, and 5.50 for children.
Looking for more? The Indianapolis Star has put together an interactive map of neighborhood displays.
Whatever your destination, we hope your holidays are merry and bright!
As part of our "Moving to Indianapolis" series, I wanted to reach out to a prominent children's optometrist in the Indianapolis area. Dr. Katherine Schuetz in Carmel, Indiana came highly recommended and she was gracious enough to answer some of my questions about caring for children's vision. Of course, if you are already living in Carmel or around Indy and looking for a good optometrist for your child this post is for you too!
(image credit: littleyes.com)
Active in the American Optometric Association, the Indiana Optometric Association, and the Central Society of the IOA, Dr. Schuetz stays aware of the latest issues in optometry and how to provide the best patient care.
These days Dr. Schuetz spends the majority of her day at Little Eyes, a brand new pediatric eye care practice located in Carmel, Indiana and created by RevolutionEyes.
Paula Henry: What is the earliest age that parents should start watching out for vision problems in their kids?
Dr. Schuetz: The earliest age parents should start watching for vision problems is Day One!
The eyes undergo a significant amount of development in the first 6 months of life, which is why we typically don't recommend an eye exam for your child until 6 months. However, if pupils are different sizes or the pupils don't look equally red in photos, that is a reason to bring your baby in right away, regardless of age.
Most babies and toddlers are farsighted, which is a normal part of eye development. When we see 3 year olds with no prescription, we know they are most likely going to be nearsighted as they grow! So a little farsightedness is a great thing in the early years. Young children can be very farsighted as well, which will often have no symptoms except an occasional eye turn, which is sure to alert the parents. High amounts of farsightedness cause a great deal of eyestrain, so most kids learn to only focus as much as they have to get by, but they won't be seeing clearly since it takes too much effort for their eyes. Those kids will be able to pick up a plane in the sky by really turning their focusing muscles into high-gear for a moment, but that is not how they typically see.
Paula Henry: When do you recommend a child's first eye exam?
Dr. Schuetz: I recommend a child's first exam around age 3 so we can rule out significant farsightedness and give you an idea if we expect your child to need glasses for nearsightedness at an early age.
Many parents wonder how we can check for prescription in a baby or unruly toddler. The answer is: quickly! We use an instrument called a retinoscope that allows me to measure the prescription without the child having to respond in any way. Between videos and toys, I can keep the child's attention on what I need so I can check the health of both the inside and outside of the eyes, eye muscle capabilities, and glasses prescription in just a few minutes.
Paula Henry: What are some warning signs that your child might need glasses?
Dr. Schuetz: Warning signs to look for would be squinting, frequent headaches, avoidance of near work like reading, a head turn or tilt, or sitting overly close to the TV.
Paula Henry: Are there any ways that parents can help promote good eyesight and/or healthy eyes in their kids?
Dr. Schuetz: Help promote healthy eyes by encouraging good light for reading and doing homework, and by wearing sunglasses. Most parents are fantastic about sunscreen for their kids, so don't forget the eyes! A hat with a good brim or sunglasses will keep harmful UV out. But the most important thing parents can do to promote good vision is to get their children's eyes checked every year. Kids often don't know what they're missing, so they don't know to complain. Kids grow and develop so fast, and their visual systems change quickly as well. Just because your child passed a vision screening in kindergarten doesn't mean they'll never need glasses! To make sure they're seeing clearly, be sure to have their eyes checked yearly.
About Katherine Schuetz:
Dr. Katherine Schuetz attended Indiana University School of Optometry, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her B.S. from Indiana University as well, after completing the majority of her undergraduate education at Millikin University in Decatur, IL.
Dr. Schuetz has been practicing in central Indiana for the past 8 years. She was one of the first several optometrists in central Indiana to be part of the InfantSee program, a free vision and ocular health evaluation for infants 6-12 months. Dr. Schuetz takes great pride in her role as a pediatric optometrist, and enjoys making a difference for kids through their vision.
Dr. Schuetz spends the majority of her day at Little Eyes, a brand new pediatric eye care practice located in Carmel, Indiana and created by RevolutionEyes.
The housing market is certainly better now than it was a few years or even a few months ago, but many homeowners are still struggling.
If you are facing foreclosure and can no longer afford your home, you may qualify for a Short Sale—even if you don’t think you qualify or haven't been able to sell your home. Before we discuss foreclosure options, let's take a step back and understand why avoiding foreclosure is best.
Why should I avoid foreclosure?
If your home is valued lower than what you owe, walking away from your home voluntarily may seem like the best and easiest solution. However, foreclosure has serious financial consequences for your future. In some states, you may be required to pay a portion of your mortgage debt even after the home has entered foreclosure. Also, the impact to your credit may make it difficult to rent or purchase a home in the future. It may be best to explore other options to foreclosure with your mortgage company before making a decision to leave your home.
Keep in mind, your mortgage company doesn’t want to foreclose on your home. Just like there are consequences for you, the foreclosure process is time-consuming and expensive for them. They want to work with you to resolve the situation. However, some homeowners simply don’t take advantage of the help available and foreclosure becomes the only option.
For example, foreclosure could result in you:
owing the mortgage company the deficiency balance of your mortgage (the deficiency balance is the remaining total mortgage balance after the sale price of the home)
lengthening the time you could receive a Fannie Mae mortgage to purchase your next home to at least 7 years
What is a Short Sale?
A Short Sale, also known as a pre-foreclosure sale, is when you sell your home for less than the balance remaining on your mortgage. If your mortgage company agrees to a Short Sale, you can sell your home and pay off all (or a portion of) your mortgage balance with the proceeds.
A Short Sale is an alternative to foreclosure and may be an option if:
You are ineligible to refinance or modify your mortgage
You are facing a long-term hardship
You are behind on your mortgage payments
You owe more on your home than it’s worth
You have not been able to sell your home at a price that covers what you still owe on your mortgage
You can no longer afford your home and are ready or need to leave
Fannie Mae's Program - HAFA II
Fannie Mae’s program is called Short Sale/HAFA II. HAFA stands for Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives.
HAFA provides two options for transitioning out of your mortgage: a short sale or a Deed-in-Lieu (DIL) of foreclosure. In a short sale, the mortgage company lets you sell your house for an amount that falls "short" of the amount you still owe. In a DIL, the mortgage company lets you give the title back, transferring ownership back to them.
What are the benefits of the HAFA program?
You can get free advice from HUD-approved housing counselors and licensed real estate professionals.
Unlike conventional short sales, a HAFA short sale completely releases you from your mortgage debt after selling the property. This means you will no longer be responsible for the amount that falls "short" of the amount you still owe. The deficiency is guaranteed to be waived by the servicer.
In a HAFA short sale, your mortgage company works with you to determine an acceptable sale price.
HAFA has a less negative effect on your credit score than foreclosure or conventional short sales.
When you close, HAFA may provide $3,000 in relocation assistance.
What is the downside of selling my home in a Short Sale?
The short sale option can help a troubled homeowner but it does carry some risk.
In some states, the lender can obtain deficiency judgments after a short sale. That means your bank or mortgage company can take you to court to get a monetary award. The lien amount is determined by the difference between the balance of the mortgage loan and the price the home sold for. You may also be liable for taxes, per the IRS, on the amount of the mortgage balance the lender forgave in the sale.
Foreclosures and short sales are both damaging to the borrower's credit history, but a short sale can have a lesser negative impact if reported to the bureau properly. The homeowner can ask for a clause in the short sale contract that stipulates the lender will not report the short sale as a charged-off account to the credit bureaus.
The homeowner has to list the home for sale and find a buyer to do a short sale. Some lenders require a real estate agent be used in the sale. The short sale application involves the seller providing the lender with solid documentation, such as the borrower's pay stubs and proof of hardship. A seller with a high-paying job or assets may have a harder time doing a short sale with the lender.
Your real estate agent is here to help
Understanding your options in the event of default and possible foreclosure is very important. Your experienced real estate agent can help you navigate these difficult waters, whether you are thinking of selling in a short sale, or whether you are a buyer considering purchasing in a short sale.
Black Friday is a strange, uniquely American sort of holiday. A celebration of ... shopping? There has been a growing backlash against Black Friday over the past few years. Some say the day is an empty idealization of consumerism and materialism, fraught with horror stories of tramplings and sad lines of people waiting for the big box store to open at midnight so they can grab a $20 DVD player.
For some, though, it's a fun time to get up early and get a head start on the holiday shopping. What better way to beat Black Friday mega-store madness than by going local and supporting small businesses in Indianapolis? I say, let the shopping begin!
Indy Reads Books
This is no ordinary bookstore. Indy Reads is an independent bookstore (a rare thing indeed), and they're the only traditional bookstore operating in the downtown Indianapolis area. You'll find a superb selection of mostly used and some new books for adults and children. According to their website, what really makes them extraordinary is their reason for being:
"Our bookstore is a source of revenue for the not-for-profit organization Indy Reads whose mission is to improve the literacy skills of adults in central Indiana who currently read at or below the sixth grade level. One out of five adults can’t read the content on this website. The profits from Indy Reads Books go directly toward improving literacy in our community through Indy Reads." Wow, support a great cause and get some awesome gifts on Black Friday. It's a win-win!
With locations on the Circle, Castleton, and the west side, you'll find an enthusiastic group of comic book and pop culture enthusiasts ready to help you find the perfect series for the special people in your life. Downtown Comics is Indianapolis's largest comic book retailer and has been in business for more than 20 years! Support the local comic scene and check out their fun events on their Facebook page.
You may not think of Antique shopping on Black Friday, but if reusing, re-purposing and recycling appeals to you, then these stellar Indy antique shops might be the perfect spots to add to your list.
The Southport Antique Mall
This is one of the finest antique malls in the Midwest. Here you'll find an abundance of antique and vintage history, luxury, creativity, and fun. From furniture to clothing and accessories, vinyls to electronics, collectibles to brand new items, the mall's more than 200 booths offer an array of different items that allow you to explore for hours with something new around every corner.
Midland Arts & Antique Market
Located near the center of downtown Indianapolis in an old warehouse, Midland Arts & Antique Market has been a destination for over 16 years and also been voted "Best Antique Store" many years running. Midland has over 200 independent art and antique dealers from around the Mid-West in their expansive four-story brick warehouse.
Find something unique for the children in your life. Avoid the mundane super stores, as well as the crowds, with these fun and quirky local shops that specialize in the perfect gifts for kids. Call ahead to see if they have any Black Friday sales or special hours.
4 Kids Books & Toys
Located on the north side, this family owned book shop carries a great selection of children's books, toys, and more. They're known for their expertise and events. Check their Facebook page for upcoming appearances at community events, where they may bring a fun activity for everyone to enjoy. They also host story times, activities, and birthday parties in their Zionsville store.
Mass Ave Toys
Voted #1 children's store on Indy A List, Mass Ave Toys is THE premier toy shop in Indy. This storefront, located in the middle of Massachusetts Avenue, offers plenty of floor models for children to play with while you shop. Need help picking out the right gift? The friendly staff will point you in the right direction.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Plan a trip to the world's biggest and best children's museum, right here in Indianapolis, and be ready to shop for imaginative gifts, stuffed animals, toys, books, Legos, and games. Don't have time for a visit? You can shop online! Right now they're running an online special offer on purchases of $40 or more.
My Toy Garden
This garden-themed shop in Carmel is a relaxing stop on your list of Black Friday destinations. You'll find a secret garden with pathways of wonder to explore when you visit My Toy Garden. Wind your way through seven unique areas designed to help you and the learners in your life discover their interests and talents.
Some Indy neighborhoods are known for their local shopping districts. Find a small café and check out these special spots for chic shopping.
Just southeast of downtown, this funky Indianapolis neighborhood has vintage and antique shops, a world of restaurants, working artists and a vibrant arts scene, live music and performance, and one-of-a-kind stores that sell comics, musical instruments, home decor, fresh flowers, and so much more. Visit Fountain Square any time of the day or night.
Known affectionately as Mass Ave, this five-block area is ripe with theaters, restaurants, art galleries and, most attractively for shoppers, a number of eclectic, independent boutiques. Don't miss the highlights, including Stout's Shoes (the nation's oldest shoe store, established in 1886), Silver In The City/At Home In The City (offering silver jewelry and unique gift items), and The Best Chocolate In Town.
DRINKS & TREATS
Load up on hand-crafted delectables and local vintages at these shops that are sure to please any palate.
Mallow Run Winery
If you're ready to get away from the crowds and the city on Black Friday, but still want to get a few things for the holiday season, the perfect retreat on the south side. Located in Bargersville, south of Greenwood, Mallow Run is a family-owned farm and winery with a rich history and was recently voted the #1 winery on Indy A List. Mallow Run is a stream whose waters wind their way through this family farm and flow past the winery on the way to the White River. Its namesake, George Mallow, settled this farm in 1835 and some time after built the barn where the tasting room is now located. Seven generations later, his family still lives on the farm and wishes to share their corner of the world with you! Ahhh, now that sounds like my kind of Black Friday.
The Best Chocolate in Town
The name just says it all. The Best Chocolate In Town was founded by Elizabeth Garber, who brought her fine arts background and my love of chocolate together to create this specialty chocolate company. All of their chocolates are hand-made and hand-packed at their commercial kitchen and retail space on Mass Ave in Indianapolis. You can visit the retail space or shop online for gifts.
What are your favorite local places to shop around Indianapolis? Add your go-to spots to our list in the comments below!
There really are so many fun, free things to do in Indianapolis but it is especially true around the holidays. We've compiled a short list of the top 5 free events in Indianapolis that you don't want to miss.
1. Children's Museum of Indianapolis - Target Free Family Night
Sponsored generously by Target, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis opens free of charge from 4 to 8 p.m. once per month. The museum has recently remodeled Playscape, the area for kids under 5. It's a stunning interactive playland for little ones. Jolly Days at the museum are just around the corner. The next Target Free Family Night is December 5. From the website: "Learn about winter traditions from all over the world, the people who celebrate them, and the toys that help to make them special."
Another free event coming up is Santa's Big Arrival: NOV. 29, 8:30-10 A.M.
"Ladies and gentlemen, Santa and elves ... start your engines! Santa is arriving at the museum in a Dallara IndyCar! A special police and elf escort will lead the way for his racing sleigh when it arrives the day after Thanksgiving. Then join The Chorduroys for a special sing-along to welcome Santa before he takes his annual trip down the Yule Slide. The rest of the museum opens at 10 a.m."
FREE youth admission with paid adult when you arrive before 10 a.m.
Museum Store open—30% off all merchandise
Special activities, including holiday face painting and Jolly Days photo booth
2. Story Time at Indy Reads Books
Indy Reads Books is an independent book store that hosts a free Kid’s Story Time on Saturdays at 11:30 am. Stop in for story time, donate some books, and get a great deal on used children's books while you're there. All donated children's books are just $1, so it's a great way to build your personal storybook library at home.
3. Christmas at Lilly House 2013
Plan a trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art for Christmas at Lilly House. The event will be the culmination of the year’s observance of the 100th anniversary of Oldfields. Holiday decor for the house will take inspiration from ideas and trends current during the second decade of the 20thcentury, when the estate was constructed. Although commercialism and mass-produced decorations were certainly part of the scene at this time, most American homes were not as lavishly decorated as they would become later in the century, and older traditions of using natural materials and blooming plants still held strong. Greenery cut and shipped from southern woodlands, such as palms and magnolia, augmented local materials and greenhouse-grown flowers to provide a wide variety of decorative choices. Christmas at Lilly House 2013 will evoke these early 20th-century traditions, providing a glimpse at how holidays looked when Oldfields was new.
November 16, 2013 - January 5, 2014. Free Admission.
4. Circle of Lights
For 51 years, thousands of spectators have gathered Downtown at Monument Circle to see the most spectacular holiday display illuminate. Generations of families are drawn to this beautiful centerpiece each year. Indy’s most beloved holiday tradition features 4,784 lights and 52 garland strands which are used to create the 242-foot display. The magic continues with toy soldiers and peppermint sticks encircling the Monument and many more lights to enjoy. This year's display, presented by the Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers of IBEW 481, features 26 giant toy soldiers and sailors and 26 peppermint sticks surrounding the Circle, as well as 56,700 twinkle lights in the trees illuminating the area's walkways.
The actual light-up will occur at approximately 7:45 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29. Fireworks will follow. Live entertainment begins at 6 p.m. with the 7-8 p.m. portion televised.
Lights will be displayed from November 29 through January 6, 2014.
5. See Indianapolis From the Tallest Buildings
While you're cruising around downtown, sight-seeing and window shopping, take an elevator ride to the top of one of these buildings to see the city from above:
What are your favorite free things to do in Indianapolis? Share them in the comments below!
Do the holiday feasts stress you out with all that working, shopping, baking, and bustling?
Living in Central Indiana, we have access to some amazing local eateries, wineries, breweries, bakeries, meateries, and pâtisseries. That is to say, we have fine local establishments in the Indianapolis area who are making delicious things to eat! Why not let the expert craftsmen do some of your holiday preparations for you? You can feel good about your purchases knowing you're getting the best quality food and supporting local small businesses at the same time.
Here are 10 ways to give your holiday dinners a little dash of Indianapolis Flavor!
WINE & SPIRITS
Try mead for a unique and tasty start to your dinner party. New Day Meadery, located in Fountain Square, offers a sophisticated selection of meads and hard cider. Brett and Tia, the owners, use fresh, locally grown fruit and honey. They handcraft all limited edition batches, from the fruit and honey selection to finished product, and it is this level of care that ensures a high quality mead.
Located in Bargersville, south of Greenwood, Mallow Run is a family-owned farm and winery with a rich history and was recently voted the #1 winery on Indy A List. Mallow Run is a stream whose waters wind their way through this family farm and flow past the winery on the way to the White River. Its namesake, George Mallow, settled this farm in 1835 and some time after built the barn where the tasting room is now located. Seven generations later, his family still lives on the farm and wishes to share their corner of the world with you! Relax in the tasting room and take a moment to be thankful for all of the beautiful wine bottles that surround you. Ask the friendly owners for their recommendations on the perfect wine for your holiday table.
If you have more of a craft beer kind of crowd, stop in before the holidays for a growler fill of frothy goodness. Black Acre in the historic Irvington neighborhood of downtown Indy has a good selection of world class artisinal beer that they make in small batches. Check in before the holidays to see what's on tap, as their selection is always changing.
Cheese, Coffee & Ice Cream
Traders Point Creamery, Indiana's only organic dairy farm, has its own restaurant and shop,
and is located just 25 minutes from downtown on the north side in Zionsville. Order delicious greek yogurts, aged cheeses, creamy milk (the chocolate milk is to die for) and do not forget the ice cream. Your holiday guests will be thankful for a scoop of Traders Point vanilla with their pumpkin pie!
Stock up on coffee and tea to please your guests (and yourself) through the holidays. Established in 1991, local roasters Hubbard & Cravens Coffee Company custom-roasts more than 30 high quality coffees and imports over 20 of the finest classic and rare teas from the East. All locations are currently serving delicious Fall Drinks: Hot Indiana Apple Caramel Cider, and Spiced Pumpkin Pie Latte (it’s made with REAL pumpkin, yum!)
Their website states that they have high standards: "By focusing exclusively on offering the finest whole bean Arabic coffees and the best quality teas, we've developed very loyal customers among the most discriminating coffee and tea consumers."
Don't wait to order your turkey from one of these local farms.
From an article on locally raised turkey in Nuvo:
"The taste and quality are absolutely amazing," says Darby Simpson of Simpson Family Farm in Martinsville. Because the animals live and eat in natural conditions and eat grasses as well as grains, which are often organically grown or custom blended by the farmer, their meat has more flavor. And because the animals actually get to move around and use their muscles, the meat is tender but firm. Simpson says that the turkey, of all animals, demonstrates the starkest difference between "an industrially-raised animal and a pastured local animal."
You can order your Turkey now, but you better do it fast! Not a fan of the bird? Check out their other meat selections. Schacht Farm raises free-range chickens for eggs and meat, free-range turkeys, pastured hogs and grassfed (and finished) cattle in south-central Indiana. Both the land and the animals are managed naturally, without the use of chemicals of any kind. Animals are raised outdoors in their natural environment.
This world-class deli in downtown Indianapolis carries some of the best food you can find. Order your turkey (they source from nearby Gunthorp Farms) and pick up from the market right before Turkey Day. Chef Chris even has a video tutorial on how to make a delicious turkey (with recipe) on their website.
(Image: from Goose the Market's Facebook page)
If you don't have time to whip up pumpkin pies, fresh bread or rolls, then you should feel not one speck of guilt when you stop in at Long's Bakery. This family bakery was started by Carl Long in 1955 and all of their delicious goodies are made daily from scratch. They start baking early in the morning and continue to bake all day long. Thanksgiving is about homemade comfort food and Long's can live up to that tradition. Their cakes, cookies, pastries and pies contain no preservatives. They've been at their 16th street location for over 50 years and the Southport lcoation for 20 years.
The Best Chocolate In Town, Inc. was founded in 1998 by Elizabeth Garber. Elizabeth brought her fine arts background and her love of chocolate together to create this specialty chocolate company. She and her staff promise to bring you premium quality chocolates as well as friendly service. All chocolates are hand-made and hand-packed at their commercial kitchen and retail space on Mass Ave in Indianapolis.
Bonus: Pogues Run Grocer/Indy Food Co-Op - This community-owned market just east of downtown Indianapolis brings local, organic, fresh produce to shoppers at reasonable prices. In addition to food, you can also purchase personal care items, local pet products and more. All products are intended to support a healthier lifestyle. The grocer also hosts budget cooking and nutrition classes as well as other neighborhood events.
Many of our Indianapolis clients who are first-time homebuyers are starting a family. There are so many things to consider when you have a growing family--preschools and childcare facilities, school systems, parks and playgrounds and neighborhoods. All of these things factor into one of the biggest decisions a family can make.
Along with those other major decisions like picking a great Indianapolis community and school comes the more minor, but just as important, decisions about childcare, like babysitters. Every parent needs a night out or a weekend away from the kids occasionally, and it's best to have trusted babysitters on hand when those times arise. Not everyone has the luxury to call a family member or close friend to watch the kids for a few hours, and even those who do still need a backup plan when family members are busy.
When looking for babysitters in Indianapolis, it is always best to follow a clear routine to ensure that nothing is forgotten. If you have a large network of friends and family, hiring a qualified and trusted babysitter might be easy. If you're struggling to find good childcare, you can turn to online services like Sittercity.com.
Sittercity recommends following a clear routine with the suggestions of the following steps:
1. Post your job
Post your job on Sittercity, or a message to friends and family on Facebook. List clear expectations and needs for your family. Ask for references.
2. Pick your top 5-10
If you get a lot of responses, go through and make a list of your top picks.
3. Initial screening
If you use a service like Sittercity, you can check online feedback on the sitter. If you're using more casual methods of searching like Facebook and email, send messages to the candidates references asking for feedback. This will save you a lot of time since you probably won't want to interview all of your top 10 candidates.
4. Phone interview
This steps is optional. You could go straight to an in-person interview, but if you still have a good sized list and you'd like to save some time, a phone interview is a good start. You can tell a lot about someone's personality by their tone of voice: do they sound cheerful, happy, or negative and unenthusiastic? Listen to your instincts and if something doesn't feel right, don't pursue next steps with that person.
5. In-person interview
Use the checklist below to conduct an in-person interview with each person from your remaining list of candidates. Don't be afriad to get the whole family involved; watch the candidate with your children, pets, spouse and see how they interact together.
6. Final reference check
You might have collected more references, or didn't get all the references checked before the interviews. Candidates on Sittercity list at least one reference on their profiles, so call or email them and ask questions about the candidates personality traits (flexible, mature, energetic, timely?) and how she was with the children, if the children liked her, and if they would hire her again. Listen to tone of voice, hesitations, and enthusiasm-level of the person giving the reference.
7. Select your top 3
Pick your favorite of the three and use that person as your primary sitter. The other two babysitters can be part of the backup team. You can never have too many options when it comes to babysitters.
8. Run a background check
Sittercity recommends running a background check on your babysitter before finally hiring her, which can you do through their partner for 14.99. Definitely worth the peace of mind.
Parent-Babysitter Interview Checklist
Be prepared for the interview with an extensive list of questions. You may not need them all or you may decide to really put the candidate through the ringer. It's up to you!
Do your research, search for information on a potential candidate on news sites, Internet search engines and social media.
- What is it that you like about babysitting?
- What do you look for in an employer/family?
- What is your rate?
- Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime?
- Are you OK if a job runs later than planned?
- Do you have a backup ride home in case we cannot drive you?
- How soon will you let us know if you can't do a job?
Background and Experience
- How many years have you been working with children?
- What child care roles have you done in the past? Sitter, nanny, coach, etc.?
- How many families have you cared for and how old were the children?
- Do you have experience in bathing children?
- Do you live nearby? How can you get to jobs with us? Car, etc.?
- What is your course of study in school or what is your full time job?
- Do you have any allergies to cats, dogs or other pets?
- Are you uncomfortable around or scared of any particular pets?
- Do you have any particular religious affiliation that might affect the way you care for our children?
- (For nannies) Do you plan on taking any time off in the next six months?
Training and Safety
- Do you know First Aid?
- Do you know CPR?
- Are you familiar with the Heimlich maneuver?
- Can you swim?
- Are you familiar with emergency numbers?
- Can you drive in an emergency?
- Tell me about a time where you faced a crisis on the job. How did you handle it?
- What would you do with the kids on a day like today?
- What do you do when a child refuses to go to sleep?
- What do you think is the best way to handle tantrums?
- What is your proudest moment in babysitting and why?
- What was your worst experience in child care, and how did you resolve it?
- What kinds of discipline have you implemented in the past Spanking, etc.? Are you willing to change if we ask?
Responsibilities and Tasks
- How do you feel about play dates for my kids? Can you help arrange these?
- Can you care for more kids if we have a play date in the house?
- Are you OK assisting with homework, possibly making dinner and/or doing light housework?
- Are you comfortable watching my child as a mother's helper if I decide to stay home during a job?
- Are you willing to help with overnight care if needed?
- Can you travel with my family if we need you to?
If Newborns are Involved
- Are you comfortable sitting for newborns?
- Can you change a diaper?
- Do you know infant CPR?
- Can you properly carry and pick up a newborn?
- Do you know about SIDS and how to prevent it?
- Can you prepare and heat formula correctly?
- Are you familiar with Shaken Baby Syndrome?
- Do you know the proper size for baby chewables and how to prevent choking?
- Can you tell if a room is childproofed?
If the Sitter will be Driving
- Are you comfortable driving children in the car?
- May I see your driver's license?
- How many years have you been driving?
- Do you have any marks against your driving record (speeding or accidents)?
Having a clear, step-by-step plan for hiring a great babysitter in Indianapolis will help make the process smooth sailing. Good luck and happy evenings out!
If you're new to Indianapolis, moving to Indianapolis, or just looking for something new to do in Indy, you can't go wrong with the First Friday Art Tour.
The event is organized by the Indianapolis Downtown Artists & Dealers Association (IDADA), a non-profit membership-based organization of studio artists, art galleries and arts-related businesses within the 20 block square of the center of Indianapolis.
First Friday Art Tour is a self-guided tour around the Indianapolis downtown area that is free and open to the public, and it is always new and changing (they have a neat interactive Google Map here so you can see what is featured on the tour).
Most venues open their doors around 6pm and close around 9pm, or later in some locations. It's an open do-it-yourself tour, so there's no specific start location or end location—you're free to wander into whichever galleries and studios you want to visit.
Top Spots to Visit on the First Friday Arts Tour for November 1:
You are in for a First Friday treat at Gallery 924. Opening in November is the new exhibition, Robert Horvath: New is Better. A large collection of the artist's new porcelain sculptures at Gallery 924 have never been seen before outside of his studio.
924 N. Pennsylvania St
November 1, 6-9pm
About the exhibition: Horvath is primarily known for his high-gloss and refined, large-scale oil paintings that represent our cultural obsession with the appearance of luxury, celebrity, and consumption. In his practice, he begins with an abstract, almost other-worldly sculpture that then serves as inspiration for the resulting highly polished and detailed painting, often mistaken for a digital image. His most recent body of work explores these sculptures with greater depth and detail. Horvath has now escalated his practice of creating a preliminary sculpture by using more substantial materials. Through the use of porcelain, his sculptures have become more permanent and thus represent works in their own right instead of simply a preliminary work or reflection of the grander oil painting.
Heartland Truly Moving Pictures
Stop in for a free showing of the 2013 Heartland Film Festival Best Premiere-winning short film, "My Guide" at the Heartland office in Fountain Square!
Heartland Truly Moving Pictures
1043 Virginia Ave., Ste. 2
November 1, 7-10pm
They'll have Sun King Brewing Company cans on hand, as well as popcorn, soda, wine and candy. Screenings are every 15 minutes throughout the night.
Fountain Square Brewery
While you're in the Fountain Square area and feeling the fun party vibe, check out Fountain Square Brewery. RAW Indianapolis Artists and Fountain Square Brewery are hosting a Halloween extravaganza for First Friday, with an Art-Music-Fashion exhibition.
Fountain Square Brewery
1301 Barth Ave Indianapolis, IN 46203
November 1, 6p-11p (Visual) /8p-12a (Fashion/Music)
21+, FREE event!
Featured Artists/ Wendi Hall, Wayne Cogswell, Sherry Polley, Samm Wilson, Rhonda Clark, Rebecca Robinson, Paul D. Best, Kevin West, Melissa Cain, Matt Panfil, Mandykae Blair, Mallory Hodgkins, Kaylyn Perkins, Julie Young, Holly Harper, Gabriel Lehmen, Eli Hart, Christina Hollering, Chris Greene, Brinton Farrand and Amy Ward.
Featured 'Day of the Dead' Runway by/ Brad Burnell
Featured Musicians/ Carrie & the Clams, and The Chicago Typewriters, The Farewell Audition, and Audiodacity
Harrison Center for the Arts
If a rock 'n' roll Halloween First Friday does not sound like your cup of tea, then check out Harrison Center for the Arts on the north side of downtown, voted one of the top five art galleries on Indy A-List. The gallery and Historic Indianapolis present “Circa.”
Harrison Center for the Arts
1505 North Delaware Street
November 1, 6-9pm
In the Harrison Gallery – Enchanters – new work by Kyle Ragsdale.
In Gallery No. 2 and Hank & Dolly’s – The Reunion Project, work by Herron School of Art & Design graduates, past and present.
In City Gallery – Layers – new work by Aaron Thornburg.
Stutz Art Gallery
The Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery was voted Best Indy Art Gallery "Runner Up" for 2013 in the Nuvo Reader's Choice award. They have a reception for a new exhibition opening on November 1, titled "Rooted."
The Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery
212 W. 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
November 1, 5-9pm
About this exhibition: "Nature and environment as inspiration is a very prevalent theme in contemporary art, especially when it comes to sculpture, which has an inherently direct relationship to space and surroundings.The sculpture-only show will display how artists address themes of nature and human interaction to landscape and environment. All the artists are Indianapolis-based in order to show what is going on in the field of sculpture locally; therefore the work is "Rooted" in our very own landscape of Midwestern existence."
You can check out many of these exhibitions throughout the month of November, even if you can't make it to First Friday.
Moving is a monumental task for any family. Having a week-by-week game plan will bring you one step closer to maintaining sanity during the big move.
When it's time to move, whether you are thinking of moving to Indianapolis for a new job, moving to a different community across town, or downsizing to a condo, print these handy tips to keep you organized and on schedule for moving day!
4 Weeks Ahead
- Decide on a mover. Indianapolis has several great moving companies, including Two Men and a Truck and Master Movers.
- Start sorting through your things to decide what to keep and what to throw out. If you're going to have your mover pack your belongings, arrange to have it done 1 or 2 days prior to your move. If you decide to pack yourself, start this week. Make packing easy on yourself. Pack gradually. Pack items not being used; as in closets, attics, lofts, rafters, etc. well ahead of time. If you pack a little each day for 30 days, meeting your packing deadline will not be as exhausting or time consuming prior to your move.
- Fill out Post Office change-of-address cards.
- Start notifying businesses, relatives and friends of your move.
- Don't forget to notify credit card companies, publications subscribed to and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
3 Weeks Ahead
- Hold a garage sale.
- Arrange to have gas, electricity, and cable TV disconnected in your present home and connected in your new home the day after move day.
- If drapes, clothes, rugs, etc. are to be stored for over 90 days, send them out for cleaning prior to being stored.
- Arrange to have phone service disconnected no earlier than half way through the move day in case your movers need to reach you that morning. Make sure they have your mobile phone number as a back-up.
- Make plans for childcare on move day. Last-minute childcare options in Indianapolis include Sitters to the Rescue. Here's a great list of Indianapolis childcare options on Indy's Child.
2 Weeks Ahead
- Make sure the house will be ready at the other end. Decide where you want the movers to place the furniture.
- Begin to use food up instead of moving it.
- If necessary, reserve apartment elevator for pick-up/delivery.
1 Week Ahead
- Arrange for newspaper and other delivery services to be halted.
- Close or transfer bank accounts if necessary.
- Dispose of flammable items. Drain fuel from power tools. Return any borrowed items to neighbors.
- Pick up items at the cleaners.
3 Days Ahead
- Remove anything from drawers that might spill, break or stain.
- Have an ice chest or box ready to hold food from the refrigerator on move day. Movers will advise you when to start packing it.
- Make sure you keep all medications needed in a safe accessible spot during packing.
- Set aside valuable items you are taking with you.
- Relax - You're doing fine!
2 Days Ahead
- Movers can't accept personal checks, so make sure to have cash, or buy your cashier's check, traveler's checks or money order and have extra cash on hand.
- Make up a box of things you'll need immediately at the new house. Include light bulbs, garbage bags, hammer & nails, soap, paper towels, cups, bathroom tissue, canned soup, crackers, and any other snacks your family might like. Write Load Last Unload First on the box.
- If you're moving plants, don't water them again until after they're moved.
1 Day Ahead
- Pack all of your personal belongings.
- Arrange to have dogs tied up and out of the way on move day. If you have cats or other small animals, a crate might be a good idea.
- Make careful inspection of the entire house. Check everywhere for forgotten odds and ends.
- Arrange to be at home for the entire move. The movers will need your instructions.
- Before the loaded truck leaves, make sure nothing has been left behind
- If your delivery is another day, give the driver a phone number where you can be reached in the meantime.
- Meet the movers at the new house to supervise unloading; they will place the furniture exactly as you want it.
- Make sure you receive a copy of the work order from the driver.
Wishing you lots of luck on your big moving day!
"I want to sell my house fast!" It's a common plea we hear from our sellers. What factors into making a home sell more quickly?
First impressions are one of the most powerful sales tools. Emotion plays a tremendous part in creating an interest in your home from a potential buyer. Make certain your home puts its best foot forward and that you follow these time tested tips for selling your home fast.
1. Focus on Curb Appeal
The outside of your home, lawn, and grounds are the first thing a potential homebuyer sees...the most important first impression. What areas around the outside of your home need the most attention? What simple fixes can you make to increase the curb appeal of your house immediately? Focus on these areas:
- Invest in landscaping where it can be seen at first sight. A well manicured lawn, neatly clipped shrubs and clean walks create a good first impression.
- An extra shot of fertilizer, in season, will make your grass look lush and green.
- Cut back overgrown shrubbery that looks scraggly and keeps light out of your house.
- Paint your house if necessary. This can probably do more for sales appeal than any other factor. If you decide against painting, at least consider painting front shutters or window and door trim.
- Walks should be free of leaves, weeds, dirt and debris.
- Inspect the roof and gutters, and replace any missing shingles.
- Consider pulling flowers outside the front door.
- Repaint or stain the front door.
- Put a bright coat of paint on your mailbox (or replace it).
- Put a new doormat out front.
2. Freshen up the kitchen
This is the most important room in the house. Make it bright and attractive with these simple fixes:
- Clean your cabinets inside and out.
- Hang new wallpaper.
- Clean the vent hood, the range/oven and the sink.
- Scrub the kitchen floor.
- Remove any extra appliances and/or knickknacks on the counters that you dont use every day.
3. Bathroom basics
Unsightly bathrooms can be a real showstopper for many prospective homebuyers. Do some basic maintenance and simple tweaks to make your bathrooms sparkle.
- Repair any dripping faucets; they discolor sinks and suggest faulty plumbing.
- Keep fresh towels in the bathroom.
- Scrub the toilet, shower, tub and caulk if necessary.
- Recaulk where needed.
- Use drain opener to unclog any slow drains.
4. Stage the living areas
Staging involves deeply cleaning, decluttering, depersonalizing and arranging furnishings to make your house as appealing as possible. According to a survey by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals and StagedHomes.com, 95% of staged homes sell in 23 days or less, on average. The goal is to make the home look ready for a professional magazine-style photo shoot.
- Have all drywall in good shape. Cracks and nail holes are easy to fix.
- Check ceiling and ceiling fans for dirt.
- When painting or redecorating, stick to conventional colors.
- Replace faded curtains or bedspreads.
- If you have a fireplace, clean it out and lay some logs inside.
- Wash your windows inside and out.
- Replace any broken windows.
- Replace or fix any torn screens.
- Make sure all windows open and close easily.
- Check all light bulbs and replace if necessary.
- Check light switches and plugs to make sure they work.
- Make sure all floors are clean.
- Straighten all closets; well ordered closets show space is ample.
- For sliding doors that stick, rub paraffin wax in the tracks.
- Clean the air return vents and put in new filters.
- Declutter children's play areas
5. Don't forget the garage, attic and driveway
Don't neglect the hidden utility areas of your home.
- Clean and organize the garage and attic and dispose of anything you will not take with you.
- Repair any major cracks with ready mix concrete.
- Clean any oil stains.
- Check garage door and oil if necessary.
6. When your house is shown
- Keep shades open to let in light; this makes your rooms look larger.
- Have your home well-lit and interior doors open for showing.
- At night, turn on porch light and any exterior lighting.
- Make sure all beds are made and rooms cleaned daily.
- Make sure all dirty dishes are in the dishwasher, not in the sink or on the counters.
- Keep toys in the kids room.
- Keep radio/stereo/TV off.
- Try to run some errands when the house is being shown.
- If you are home, do not negotiate directly with the buyers.
- Refer any inquiries about your home to your Realtor.
- Take your pets for a walk when your house is being shown.
- Let the Realtor show your house and do not tag along.
What have you done to help get your home ready to sell quickly? Share your tips with us in the comments!