Archive | November, 2011

November / December 2011 Issue

November / December 2011 Issue

Inside this issue:

Turn Your Hectic Holiday into a Happy Holiday

Black Friday: Hit the Stores Early for the Best Deals

Bibles for Babes: Helping Denton County Foster Children

Download the current issue here

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Just Say Ahh…

Just Say Ahh…

by Taryn McColpin

Ahh, November…’Tis the season of thanks and giving. It is no coincidence that our national day of gratitude is a few short weeks from Christmas, the day for showing our friendship and love with gifts from the heart. These two days have been linked together, time-wise, since the Revolutionary War, and for good reason.

After all, the November holiday is not called “Thanksgetting.” Many see Turkey Day as the official start of the holidays, and some see the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday? What a name!) as the beginning of Christmas shopping season. And who are we shopping for? Not ourselves.

What better way to start the season of gifts, parties, those irresistible hors d’oeuvre platters, turkey and roast beef dinners, and scrumptious desserts than a big family feast? (With football as an added bonus!) We all give thanks, even if silently, for health, happiness, friends, and family, not to mention for living in one of the most prosperous countries in the world.

Even those less fortunate still are grateful, if for nothing more than waking up on the right side of the dirt that morning. Because that is the one thing we are all thankful for – our lives, to be able to live for another day, even if we must struggle through it.

And what of those who wonder what fresh hell the new day will bring? What of those who wake to pain and suffering? What of those with no bed of their own to awaken in? What of those who find little to be thankful for, whose biggest concern this time of year is how to feed their children, how to provide even the smallest Christmas?

There is something we can do for those “What ofs.” We can give. We can give our time to soup kitchens and nursing homes, we can give our contributions to charities benefitting the ill and homeless, we can give our helping hands to those who need them. We can give.

And in the big picture of things, giving is good for YOU, as well. The fastest way to receive is to give, because giving starts the reciprocal action of receiving. We all receive according to how much we give. Give the best of you, everywhere you go. Give a smile. Give kindness. Give love. Your giving should be a giving without expectation of return – a giving for the sheer joy of it. But it all comes back to you, in one way or another. The old cliché “What goes around, comes around” is not an old cliché for nothing. It is true.

Denton County gives every year. The Salvation Army, the Denton County Toy Store, the Shop With A Cop program, the various Community Food Banks, all benefit from your generosity. Hundreds of families and thousands of children celebrate a true Thanksgiving and an actual merry Christmas because of you, and your giving hearts.

Denton ABATE, your local Motorcyclists’ Rights Organization, is sponsoring its annual Memorial Toy Run and Food Drive on November 19th.  Along with the Asbury Methodist Church and the Lake Dallas American Legion Post 88, toys for the Denton County Toy Store, monies for Shop With A Cop, and food for the Lake Cities Community Food Pantry will be collected. Everyone is welcome; you can come in your car, your truck, your airplane, your sleigh…or ride your motorcycle. If you can’t make it, collection boxes are at all Denton County offices and many businesses, and all proceeds go to these charities. So give. And have a Happy Thanksgiving, and the Happiest of Holidays.

Taryn McColpin is Newsletter Editor for Denton ABATE. For more information on the Toy Run, or on joining Denton ABATE, please call 940-595-1144 or email tarynwithat@hotmail.com.

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Ladder Up Fellas

by Owen Strand

Whether you are planning a full home-lit wonderland or just the front porch twinkling in holiday splashes of merriment, it is the time to start thinking about the “how to’s” and get it all planned out.  You can’t wait until the weather gets icy, the winds start to blow or snow is on the ground to get your internal clock boasting holiday spirit.  Planning now will keep the job safe and sane.

First thoughts are always so innocent, “Let’s hang a few lights, join the holiday cheer.”  You buy three or four strings of the twinkling, blinking bulbs and throw them to the utility room to wait for the next Saturday morning.  But Saturday rolls around and you find that you should have measured the length of the area you had planned to light, you need a plan for getting electricity to the areas, and somehow you will need to get those strings to stick to something and hold them in place.  Ahhh…those small details.

Make your plan now.  Measure the area that you want to light. Popular spacing between bulbs is 12 to 15 inches for the roof.  Bulbs spaced too close together can cause the lights to blend too much.  Choose clips for the project.  There is a large selection that will include those specific for gutters, flat roof tops, high peaks, siding, brick or paint.   There are also all-in-one clips that may be your best option.

You will need power cords to get the electricity to the area you will display and a timer will make your holiday display is less of a nuisance as those cold nights come around and you find yourself nestled, all snug in your bed with the lights still on outside.  Power Stakes are a great tool and good investment to bring power closer to the display area so cords are not running all over your front yard.  Look for stakes that implement timers and/or remote controls for extra convenience.  Save the energy and make sure the lights go off between bedtime and midnight.

Almost finished.  Be sure to take some photos of your job well done, and these photos will help for next year when remembering what you did that you loved, and also what you would like to change.

Now put that ladder away, but for only a few weeks.  Taking the twinkling bulbs down in a TIMELY manner is as important as the initial decorating.

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The Weather Outside is Frightful

The Weather Outside is Frightful

by Lauren McKelvey

But Your Clothes are So Delightful

With cooler days and chilly nights in the near future, coats and jackets are a must this holiday season.  This season it’s all about variety when it comes to outerwear.  The fashion world has been flooded with all sorts of choices in lengths, textures, fabrics, and styles of different coats and jackets.

From trench coats to cropped and fur lined jackets, there is a stylish outerwear option for all tastes this winter season.  Ponchos have returned once again in the form of warm winter coats.  These ponchos are often fur-lined or quilted and range from below the waist to knee length.  Quilted jackets are a must not only for the function but also for the aesthetic.  We are still seeing a huge military influence in outerwear as well as influences from the 1960s and the 1970s.  The 1960s bring us the cropped trench coat and a trend in dropped shoulders on jackets.

You should also be prepared to dress your man in the latest fashions in outerwear.  The bubble coat, or puffer jacket, has made a comeback this season for men in a wide array of color choices.  Other styles for men include the fur-lined, hooded parka, the bomber jacket, military coat, and longer, belted trench coat styles.

Remember, your perfectly stylish outfit will be incomplete this holiday season without the ultimate choices in cold-weather gear.  All of these fashionable options to keep you warm this winter season can be purchased at a variety of places: department stores, boutiques, you name it!

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Organizing 101

The Children’s Room

by Debbie Monahan

Tip #1
Children like to collect, allow them one area to put their favorite things on display, this could be the dresser, night stand or you could install a shelf around their entire room, close to the ceiling, above the door jams.

Tip #2
For school work memories, create a 3 ring binder with sheet protectors and tabbed grade level dividers to hold special papers, awards, report cards, and photos.  Fill it up with their most memorable treasures. Remember when the binder is full it’s time to acquit. Label the outside of the binder with the child’s name and grade.

Tip #3
For a child to clean up their room, you must first lead by example. Is your room picked up? Also, setting a system for their room, and other rooms will help. Consider bringing in a pro, like myself, that will help eliminate a melt down between family members.

Tip #4
Put a daily check list on the bathroom mirror for each child to complete before his/her head hits the pillow at night, or leaves out the door in the morning.

Tip #5
If you have clothes fitting too big for the child, put them in a plastic box labeled ‘winter too big’ or ‘summer too big’ and when that season comes around again, have the child try on the clothes. Remember to keep the boxes high in the closet, as not to confuse with clothes worn this season.

Tip #6
Every child’s room should have a laundry basket, a trash basket, and a box of Kleenex.

Tip #7
Everything should be categorized into themes, and then sorted into boxes. Example: army men, Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, art supplies, sports gear, etc.  Once toys or crafts are separated into individual boxes, your child will have a better understanding of how to organize.

Debbie Monahan is the owner and founder of Organizing 101.com, for corporate and residential organizing. You can email her at organizing101@msn.com.

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Cupcake Revolution

Cupcake Revolution

by Cait Landon

The world watched in mouth-watering envy, as Carrie Bradshaw bit into the perfect and enticing little cake on Sex and the City, licking the fluffy pink frosting off her upper lip. And in that moment we were all transformed. Just like being thrown into a time machine I myself was remembering the days of ole when my Mom would walk into my elementary classroom on my birthday.  In her hand she carried a plate that was covered with chocolate cupcakes hosting a luscious creamy blob of chocolate frosting on top.  There was a sweet and creamy little mound for every classmate; ahh the days where there were so few things as simply satisfying.

In later years, as birthdays marked by cupcakes in the classroom switched over to co-ed parties in junior high, then alcohol-fueled parties in young adulthood, cupcakes faded into the distant past.

That is, until the last couple of years.

Exquisitely frosted fondants appeared on streets around the world. What is it about these pretty little cakes that has taken us back to our young love and added the glamour that we need to make it feel right once again?  They are sweet, portable and require no cutlery. They are just large enough to be satisfying but small enough to be guilt-free.

And there are endless options to what you can do with cupcakes.  Whether planning a wedding, your golden anniversary, a corporate event or a sweet sixteen spectacular cupcakes are the emerging trend today instead of a traditional cake.  They offer better versatility and are celebratory and sophisticated along with their delicious nature, cute packaging and decorative toppings. They are in vogue! They might be the perfect menu for a sugar enhanced children’s party, but these lavish confections are driving a sweet-coated revolution. Where Carrie Bradshaw led, the rest are following and following in groves.

You know what they say about good things and small packages? These scrumptious cakes are no exception. The mouthwatering morsels are back, and they are dreamier than ever.

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