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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Thursday, December 6, 2012

WESTERN MAINE

Cooking: A new twist on a holiday tradition Candy cane-covered cookies to share with your friends and family as found on Pinterest. years, friends and families have been getting together to share recipes, especially around the holiday season.

For

T h at ’s be c au s e you c a n post pic t u re s of your ba ked goods on t he site a nd see recipes, tips and creative ideas for making food craft projects.

Now, thanks to today’s technology, recipes that once were only shared by passing down family favorites on weathered recipe cards are just a click away.

The average “pinner” – someone who uploads or “pins” photos, recipes, and the like on Pinterest – makes some 2,708 pins and one in every eight is about food and drink.

There are several ways to celebrate the social aspect of sharing recipes. For instance, you can have a cookie party.

To help make the cookies you share more attractive and delicious, however you go about it, consider these tips:

At these, families and friends, neighbors and club members all make cookies together. Each one brings a favorite recipe and ingredients and everyone shares the results.

• Make sure all the ingredients are fresh – be sure everything rises with a new can of baking powder.

A similar get-together is the cookie exchange. In this case, you make dozens of cookies at home and bring them to the exchange at a designated time and place so all participants get to enjoy what each other has baked. With social media, such as Pinterest, recipe sharing can be easier and more widespread.

• Measure carefully. Cooking may be an art but baking is a science. • Check your oven. Some run hotter than others and you may need to adjust the temperature or cooking time.

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Add f lour mixture, ½ cup crushed candy canes and almonds. Beat on low speed until just blended. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 10x3-inch log; place each log on separate prepared cookie sheet. Bake each log 30 minutes or until center is firm to the touch. Cool 15 to 20 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into ½-inch slices. Place on cookie sheets. Bake 15 minutes; turn and bake 12 to 15 minutes longer or until edges are browned. Cool completely on wire racks. Dip each cookie halfway into melted chocolate.

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3½ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 1 cup butter, softened 2 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 2 large eggs 1 cup finely crushed candy canes ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted 4 squares white chocolate, melted

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Before chocolate solidifies, dip ends into remaining ½ cup crushed candy canes. Store in tightly covered container – and pin the picture of what you’ve created onto Pinterest for everyone to enjoy. You can find more tips and recipes at www.clabbergirl.com or go to http://pinterest.com/clabbergirl1850. (NAPSI)

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, December 6, 2012

Entertaining: The perfect party menu By Tresa Erickson Feature Writer

food allergies, for example, you will want to account for that in the menu.

The

When?

holiday season has arrived, and the to-do lists are stacking up. You’ve got decorating to do, gifts to buy and parties to plan. Better get a move on fast. Here are some factors to consider to help you plan the perfect party menu every time.

What? What kind of party are you having? A dinner party? A fondue party? A cocktail party? A formal dinner party for 12 will require a larger menu than a fondue or cocktail party for 15. You will need a full-course meal for the dinner party, whereas you may opt for a few hors-d’oeuvre trays for the fondue or cocktail party.

Why? Why are you having the party? To gather everyone together to celebrate the holidays? To celebrate the holidays and an anniversary, birthday, or some other special event? The more elaborate the occasion, the more elaborate the menu may need to be. A combo holiday-promotion celebration, for example, might call for a cake and champagne in addition to several hors d’oeuvres.

Who? Whom are you inviting to the party? Everyone you know? A select few? The more people you invite, the wider the menu selection should be to cater to a number of tastes. If you are inviting just a few friends, you should know their likes and dislikes and be able to cater your menu to that. Make sure you take any special dietary needs of your guests into accommodation. If someone is a vegetarian, diabetic, or has

W hen a re you hav ing t he pa r t y? Late morning? Midafternoon? Early evening? The time will dictate the type and amount of food you serve. A late morning party might call for a full brunch buffet, whereas a mid-afternoon tea party might call for a few pots of tea and a sheetcake.

Where? Where are you having the party? At home? Somewhere else? Home parties may require you to plan the menu, whereas a party elsewhere might limit the menu planning or eliminate it altogether. If you are having a get-together at the local bowling alley, for example, you might be able to order several pizzas for everyone to munch on and leave it at that.

How? How will the menu be prepared? Will you be doing all of the work yourself or bringing in someone to do it for you? Depending upon where the party is located, you may be able to save yourself some time and effort by having the food catered. It may cost you more, but it may permit you to have a bigger spread. You may serve whatever you want at your holiday party. Just make sure you take the factors above into consideration and your menu suits the tone of the party. While cookies and milk might satisfy a bunch of kids at a holiday party late in the afternoon, it won’t work for a table of adults looking forward to a late night holiday dinner.

Top entertaining gifts this season This holiday season, you can find a unique assortment of high-quality, brand-name designer gifts for the host or hostess on your list at unbelievable prices at every T.J.Maxx and every Marshalls store. From fine jewelry for ladies to the top-desired tech gear for men, it will be easy to check things off your shopping list with the most coveted holiday gifts. So prepare your list and let the savvy shopping begin! For the hostess: Standout gifts such as serveware from India or pottery from Portugal can help make her party the high-

light of the holiday season. If she loves to cook, try brandname cookware or kitchen gadgets. Gourmet foods such as Italian olive oils, exotic spices and decadent chocolates from around the world are also tasteful for her and her guests. If she loves to decorate, pick up unique home decor items such as beautiful candles and festive vases for her holiday tablescape. Learn more : To see what g reat g i f t s shopper s a re finding this holiday season, visit your local T.J.Maxx and Marshalls. (NAPSI)

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, December 6, 2012

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Hang the greens and light the candles, the holidays are here By Sharon Bouchard Feature Writer / Photographer

As

the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers get tucked to the back of the refrigerator and thoughts turn to Christmas, it is time to deck the halls with boughs of holly and hang the traditional wreath on the front door. The custom of hanging greens, which include holly, ivy, evergreens, and mistletoe dates back to pre-Christian times with the celebration of the winter solstice festival. It was believed that the greens would ward off the evil spirits. Churches traditionally celebrate the hanging of the greens as the start of the Advent season. Decorating with garlands of evergreens, kissing balls, Christmas trees, and wreaths in our homes add warmth and charm to the holiday season. Rather than warding off evil spirits, the greens and other decorations create a festive atmosphere. A wreath on the front door, which originated in Roman times as a symbol of victory or status, is now a welcome sight to holiday visitors. Working berries, dried flowers, and ribbon into the greenery can dress up the fireplace mantle and entry way, adding enchantment to your home.

Work in some white mini-lights that are available with battery packs and your home becomes a setting for Christmas magic. The poinsettia has been the traditional Christmas f lower in the United States since 1828 when Dr. Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico, brought the plant home with him one Christmas. Today the poinsettia is a welcome decoration to home and hearth. Mistletoe, often worked into garlands of green to enhance the decorative effect is probably better known for the custom of a couple kissing under a sprig of the yellow-green plant with white berries. Though embracing was part of mistletoe’s original custom, kissing was not. In second century B.C.

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The fireplace is decorated for the holidays at Littlefield's Flowers and Gifts in South Paris.

Britain, the Druids celebrated the start of winter by gathering mistletoe and burning it as a sacrifice to their gods. They also hung it in their homes to ensure a year’s good fortune and familiar harmony. Guests to the home were embraced under the mistletoe. Somewhere along the line embracing turned to kissing. If you want to hang mistletoe in your home to embrace or kiss under or work into the garland, the advice from Kelly Kiley, a floral designer at Littlefield’s Flowers and Gifts on Main Street, South Paris, is to order it early.

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“We don’t stock it,” said Kiley. “But we can certainly get it as well as just about anything else that is needed for holiday decorating.” Littlefield’s also carries holiday greens, fresh floral arrangements, wreaths, poinsettias, and unique gifts. Many other businesses in the Oxford Hills area can meet your decorating needs of fresh greens and Christmas trees such as Crystal Spring Farm, Route 26, Oxford, and Young’s Greenhouse, High Street, South Paris.

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gifts fit for the fitness aficionado H ol iday shoppi ng c a n be simpler when you suit the gift to the person.

Decorating for the holidays with primitives is easy with these ideas from The Secret Garden in Oxford. Candles are also another part of the decorative scheme for the season. Originally part of the winter solstice festival in ancient times, and in the middle ages were used to represent the star of Bethlehem, candles are now a basic part of holiday decorating. Candles of balsam or spice scents can fill the home with the smells of Christmas as well as adding a touch of warmth to a cold winter night. A large variety of scented candles can be found at The Secret Garden, 5 Fore Street, Oxford. With 120 vendors selling their Maine-made products at The Secret Garden, shoppers will find other decorative items such as primitive Santas and quilted holiday table runners. All type and manner of candles are also available at most department and specialty stores.

For example, is there an exercise enthusiast on your list? If so, it’s a good thing. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found streng t hening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of a ll ages, including t hose who a re not in perfect health. In fact, people w it h hea lt h concerns – including heart disease or arthritis – often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week. Strength training, particularly in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, ca n a lso help improve mental and emotional health. Regular training can even reduce the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, including: arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesit y, back pain, and depression.

Decorating for the holidays can be creative and a lot of fun. Magazines and websites, such as www.bhg.com/christmas/ indoor-decorations and w w w.marthastewart.com/274574/ christmas-decorating-ideas can provide you with a vast array of decorating ideas.

To promote all those benefits, you may care to consider these gift ideas:

If you need more reasons to shop local, according to consumer data from 2011, 87 percent of polled shoppers believe that small businesses are a critical component to economic health in the U.S. That 87 percent is spot-on. Small businesses employ nearly half of all private-sector workers and provide 42.9 percent of the private-sector payroll. In addition to generating jobs, thriving locally owned establishments raise real estate values and stimulate entire communities.

Dumbbells are an essential part of any fitness routine. They are versatile, easy to use, and compact, which makes them great for use in the home or at the gym.

1. Dumbbells

2. Airope Versatility and convenience make the Airope a great addition for working

Give someone you care for the gift of better health and fitness with quality gym equipment. out alone or as part of a group. It provides a cardio workout and core strength training for its users.

Stabilit y ba lls can be used in a variety of different ways at home, at the gym, and even in the office.

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6. Kettlebells

The VersaClub is a terrific tool for a whole-body workout, as it lets the user train in all three planes of mot ion to increase st reng t h, flexibility, and stamina.

Ask any trainer what piece of equipment he or she can’t live without and chances are “kettlebells” will be the answer. Kettlebells provide a full body workout – cardio and strength – and improve balance for the user.

4. Medicine Balls W het her work ing out a lone, in a group, or with a partner, medicine balls are excellent for any fitness routine. Using a medicine ball can help develop core st reng t h a nd i mprove coord i nat ion, ba la nce, and endurance.

5. Stability Balls Balance, strength, and coordination training are some of the best ways to get in shape, and a high-quality stability ball is the tool for the job.

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This advice comes from the experts at Power Systems, the sports and fitness equipment industry leader, committed to making a real difference in the health, fitness, and performance needs of people at every level of experience. For further information, check out w w w.powersystems.com or v isit your local fitness store. (NAPSI)

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, December 6, 2012

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With board games, everybody wins

B

oard games are on a roll again. That’s the word from experts who say this style of family and individual fun is hot once again and among the latest trends in games.

Extremely portable, with no batteries or assembly required, board games emphasize imagination and strategy on the part of the player. Plus, they’re affordable and hold the attention of children and parents alike. Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. (aka Dr. Toy), highly recommends board games as “an antidote to tech overload.” She suggests taking out games, playing as a family, putting the game and some popcorn on the table, and having fun together with plenty of laughter and conversation. “These are times children remember best,” she said. “Games help children learn to follow instructions, plan strategy, and handle playful competition.”

game that’s designed to combine the best of both card games and dice games. Called Square Shooters, the game comes with nine specially designed dice printed with a full deck of 52 cards plus two jokers – every playing-card face from a standard deck of cards. The game is a fast-action matching game: Flip a card that assigns a playing-card hand, then you have three rolls of the dice to try to match the hand. The dice are patented so they can be used to achieve “hands” ranging from four of a kind to royal flush. According to the game’s makers, it’s more like a game set than just one game. They say that with seven extra games included in the instructions, the play opportunities are practically endless.

No more “bored” games

Players can use the game to create a dice version of almost any card game, including Rummy, Poker, 21, and many more games.

Some of t he latest developments i n boa rd ga mes a re coming from Griddly Games, Inc. and Heartland Consumer Products. In the case of Heartland, it has introduced a new

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Another recent addition to the world of board games (this one from Griddly Games) is Wise Alec. This is a multi award-winning family game that different ages can play together. It combines trivia, tongue twisters, good manners, clever choices, and a little luck in an effort to find the wise alec.

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T h is compa ny a lso ma kes Oversig ht, a fou r-i n-a-row strateg y game that requires players to see every possible move to win. Play your piece or slide an entire row or column of the game board. You’ll need a lot of insight to see your way to a win at Oversight.

Fun and economical In addition to offering family fun that’s portable, entertaining and often educational, board games are thought by many to offer excellent value. For what amounts to, in many cases, less than the price of a pizza or a movie, families can have a great time, several times over. To learn more, visit www. squareshooters.com and www.griddlygames.com. (NAPSI)

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In these adaptations of the classic board games, you’ll definitely recognize your old favorites.

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And by adding a smart device to the mix, Hasbro hasn’t taken any of the fun away: The apps really enhance game play, making the games more smoothly playable, and adding fun extras such as videos, animations, and mini games. In case you’re concerned that players will focus on the screen and ignore each other, that didn’t happen when we played – there was just as much interaction, banter, and trash-talking as with traditional board games. Each game provides a standard game board and pieces to move around it; other game-play elements take place on the iOS device. Setup for both games was quite easy; you just download a free app, and the smart device then tells you what to do to get going. We tried these games using an iPad, which we thought to be a better size for play than iPhones or Touches. (ShopSmart)

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, December 6, 2012

Great gift ideas for kids to give B

etween family, friends, coaches, and teachers, some children give as many holiday presents as they receive. Helping your child pick out great gifts can be tricky and often times, impersonal. This year, encourage your child’s creativity with easy kids’ crafts they’ll give as gifts. Do-it-yourself handmade gifts are a growing trend, thanks to the popularity of sites like Etsy and Pinterest. “Unlike a store-bought present, a handmade present is a personalized treasure made by you!” said Meg Survil, general manager of the brand MakIt, which preserves children’s artwork on objects like plates and bowls.

Here are a few suggestions for thoughtful gifts kids can give this holiday:

Scrapbook Scrapbooks are a great way for children to show t heir appreciation for friends and siblings. They can create an interactive stroll down memory lane with pictures, cards, and other mementos.

Include shared interests and pictures of both the child and gift recipient together to truly personalize the present.

Art and photo projects Immortalizing your child’s artwork or an adorable photograph is a perfect keepsake from your child. For example, MakIt will embed your drawing or photo into everyday items such as plates and travel tumblers you can enjoy daily. The products are nontoxic, BPA-free, and made in the USA. Dishwashersafe, they are also break-resistant, so they can last forever. And don’t forget Fido! You can create gifts for your pets and from your pets as well. Learn more at www.MakIt.com or by calling 1-800-248-9443.

Themed gift baskets You and your child can have fun putting together gift baskets. Choose a theme to reflect the personality of the recipient. If the basket is for a beloved teacher, an educational theme would be great. If your child and grandparent love to play catch together, a sports-themed basket would be ideal. Use

How to pick the right gifts for gamers The holidays are back, and with them comes a host of new video games on store shelves. Picking out the right video game for your kids – or any other family member or friend – can feel like a daunting task. To help lighten the load, here are three tips to make your holiday video game search easier: Check out the rating. Nearly every video game found in stores has rating information from the Entertainment Software Rating Board on the box. This rating is similar to the Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings for movies. Check the front of the box for a rating icon representing one of the following Rating Categories: • E (Everyone) • E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) • T (Teen) or M (Mature), meaning 17 or older Flip the box to find Content Descriptors, which offer more detail as to why the game earned a particular rating (via phrases like “Suggestive Themes” and “Fantasy Violence”). The ESRB’s retail partners, such as GameStop, only sell ESRBrated games, giving you a head start toward finding ageappropriate titles. Go online. The ESRB website, www.ESRB.org, and their free mobile app offer game rating information along with more detailed Rating Summaries, which give a more in-depth explanation of the content that factored into the game’s rating. You can also visit www.RespectTheRatings.com for tips to help you be more aware of and involved in children’s gaming experiences. Tips include how to discuss gaming habits and online content, and how to activate game consoles’ parental controls. There is also a Gaming 101 section that explains video game terms like “FPS” (first person shooter) and “RPG” (roleplaying game).

Children’s artwork on plates and travel tumblers make great keepsakes.

Talk to experts. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 73 percent of all video games sold last year were rated E through T. Though the majority of titles are likely okay for most gamers, you may want to do additional research to find ones that best match your gamers’ particular interests and abilities.

your imagination when it comes to the theme and always make sure the basket is overflowing! With handmade gifts like these, your child is sure to have the perfect present for everyone. (StatePoint)

ask about Skylanders Giants or Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. And if physically active gaming is important to you, ask for more details on Kinect for the Xbox 360, or Nintendo’s new Wii U console. Searching for the right video game gift can not only be easy, but fun, too, for kids and parents alike. Ask to try out a particular game or console, and see what you like best. After all, one of the best ways to make sure your children have a safe, enriching video game experience is to play along with them. Learn more at www.gamestop.com. (Family Features)

This is where experts come in handy, and finding one can be surprisingly simple. For example, the Game Advisors at every GameStop are avid gamers who are educated on the latest titles and trends and often have first-hand experience with most games, whether having played them themselves or watched their children play. If your kids like creative fantasy,

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, December 6, 2012

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Holiday shopping strategies: Save time, save money

Luckily for shoppers, a bit of strateg y and planning can add ease to the daunting task of shopping. When you've got everyone's wish lists tallied, try these tips for making your holiday shopping merrier:

The

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In some cases, retailers bundle gift items to help shoppers get more for their money. Office Depot, for instance, will offer accessory bundles f or t ou c h s c r e e n d e v i c e s l i ke i Phones a nd A nd roid phones, as well as for Windows 8 and Android tablets – predicted to be some of the hottest gifts this holiday season. Bundles truly make it simple to save without sacrificing on the quality of the gifts you give.

Prioritize one-stop shopping Dashing from store to store can cost a lot in terms of time and hassle and gas, especially with the heavy traffic and crowded parking lots during the holidays. With a bit of planning and research, you can cut the waste by getting your shopping done in fewer locations – or, ideally, just one place. Whether you're shopping for a business-driven workaholic, a plugged-in teen, FREE Delivery•FREE Set-Up•FREE Haul-Off

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or family-focused grandparents, retailers are making the effort to help you cover all your bases in just one stop. Asking a store employee for assistance can also help save time, as they can point you to the right places and provide recommendations on products that might meet your needs better than others.

Don't forget that shipping is a factor The prospect of a trip to the post office during the holidays is daunting. If you can't get there during the middle of the workday, you'll be faced with long lines during peak traffic times – and that can eat up a lot of your valuable time. Instead of facing the wait, look for options that are kinder to your already hectic schedule. Shoppers at retailers like Office Depot can send gifts and packages without even leaving the store, as well as during weekends and late evenings once the Post Office is closed, at a full service shipDEVANEY DOAK & GARRETT ping desk, with both U.S. PostBOOKSELLERS INC. al Service and UPS options. 193 Broadway, Farmington • 778-3454

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There is a lot that goes into smart shopping, but if you can incorporate these tips during the year-end craze, you'll be on your way to a happier holiday. Follow these tips and you'll be happy with the time and money you save while holiday shopping this season. For more great gift ideas, visit www.officedepot.com. (BPT)

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, December 6, 2012


Western Maine HOLIDAY 12-6-12