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December 2016

Volume 4 | Issue 5



On the Cover:

First Baptist Roswell


Lucky 13 An Adoption Adventure


Loco for Cocoa Hot Chocolate Recipes


[17] 2

North Fulton Family Life | december 2016


.......................... Perspective


............................. Calendar


....................... Business Life


................... Senator Speaks


.................... Mayor’s Minute


........................ Book Review


......................... Taste of Life


......................... Artist Profile


................... Ribbon Cuttings



Publisher’s Perspective


s they learn to walk, toddlers are known to “toddle,” clumsily propelling themselves forward, often on the verge of taking a spill. No one is born with all the necessary abilities and skills needed to take one step at time when learning to walk. Many of us still struggle with this concept in other areas of our lives. As we grow, we learn that balance is key, not only for walking, but for many of life’s obstacles. Over time, we come to understand that there will be challenges placed before us, and in the long run, it is our responsibility to muster the drive to overcome them.

“God’s trials are meant to customize us and help us become the person we are intended to be,” said Dr. George Anderson. Faith is what we need more of each day. Faith in the realization that if we try our best, if we believe, if we focus, that whatever the sum of our struggles may be, we will be better in the end.

Jack Tuszynski, Publisher


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

SALES Janet Ponichtera CONTRIBUTING WRITERS State Senator John Albers, Michael Buckner, Rick Cheney, Rajayne Cordery, Michael Consoli, Natalie del Valle, Lisa Ethridge, Annell Gerson, Kevin Head, Amanda Kossick, Mayor Joe Lockwood, Robbie Matiak, Vishant Nath, Christy Noll, Mark Tolbert, Keely Woodford

Family Life Publishing Group, Inc. 150 North Street, Suite A Canton, GA 30114

770-213-7095 Family Life publications have the largest monthly circulation of direct-mailed community magazines in our area. North Fulton Family Life is a monthly community magazine with a total print count of 25,000, direct mailing over 23,000 copies to Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton. The viewpoints of the advertisers, columnists and submissions are not necessarily those of the editor/publisher, and the publisher makes no claims as to the validity of any charitable organizations mentioned. North Fulton Family Life magazine is not responsible for errors or omissions. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. Subscriptions are available for $25 per year. Please contact us for payment options. © 2016 All rights reserved.



e r ec y c le

Find resolve; develop a backbone. The understanding that success comes from within us is vital to accepting what is placed before us.

Laurie Litke


Recently, I was fortunate to hear a message from a pastor about two boys and their attempt to set a scarecrow upright. They would prop the scarecrow up, and it would fall. They would straighten it up, and it would slouch forward; this happened again and again. One of the youngsters soon realized

Often, it is our technique that handicaps us, so let us concentrate on the game instead of the other players. Set a goal for your next step, not your final step, and push ahead. We may grow weary and need to temporarily push aside whatever we are struggling with to lean on a friend, our family, and most importantly, our faith to regain the strength and the diligence to persevere.

ART Candice Williams


that the scarecrow needed something “inside of him” to hold him upright. We need that, too. We each need “something inside” that keeps us on task and moving forward.

EDITORIAL Julie Senger

m ag a zi


~ Lucille Ball



“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”

It’s That Time of Year! By Keely Woodford

LIFESTYLE Our families will soon be coming together to share the holidays, so here’s a few suggestions to give your home a cozy, festive glow:

• The foyer deserves special attention because it’s where first impressions are made. It needs good lighting and perhaps a holiday arrangement on the hall table. Mirrors and candlelight will brighten a foyer nicely. An Oriental rug can add a luxurious touch. • Since folks usually settle into the living or family room, careful attention should be paid to furniture arrangement. Make sure the furniture is grouped for conversation and that there’s plenty of room to traverse the area. •The dining room should be a stimulating and fun. For an enchanting combination, cover your table with two table cloths-a richly colored, solid base cloth, topped with a beautiful sheer cloth, sprinkled with “sparkly things.” The centerpiece

should be low-profiled; you don’t want it to impede conversation. Candlesticks are perfect. Mixing and matching your china and silver pieces can be a charming and eclectic way to enjoy special heirlooms. •If your family likes to gather in the kitchen, make sure there are attractive accessories such as bowls of fruits, candies, pastries or flowers in view. • Make overnight guests feel welcome by enhancing the guest room with fresh flowers or potpourri. Holiday-themed throw pillows, a good reading light and a water carafe by the bed are thoughtful touches. Remember to put out plush towels and extra toiletries for your guests. L

Keely Woodford is a franchise owner of Decorating Den Interiors. 770-926-0383.



Calendar december December Barrington Hall Christmas — Barrington Hall is decorated for the holidays with the theme: - Janurary 2 “Here Comes Santa Claus.” 2017 Enjoy visiting and exploring the changes in Santa’s image over the years. Monday-Saturday, 10:00 am- 3:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, Barrington Hall, 535 Barrington Drive, Roswell. 770-6403855.



Synergy: The BrushWork Society’s 2016 Exhibition This is a sale and show of paintings by the Society’s 13 founding members. Paintings represent a wide range of subjects, including landscape, still life and figurative work. All paintings are for sale and make wonderful holiday gifts. 5:00 pm, Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forest Street, Roswell.


Bulloch Hall Holiday Tours Self-guided tours of the house decorated for the holidays, with an emphasis on the life of President Theodore Roosevelt and the national parks. Monday-Saturday 10:00 am-4:00 pm, Sunday 1:00-4 pm, Bulloch Hall, 180 Bulloch Avenue, Roswell. 770-992-1731.


Christmas at Roswell Visitors Center — Santa is holding court, as the Visitors Center salutes the North Pole with an oldfashioned tree, featuring bubble lights, tinsel, icicles and many vintage Santas from days-gone-by. Stop by for a family photo! FREE! 6:00-7:00 pm, Roswell Visitors Center, 617 S Atlanta Street, Roswell. 770-640-3253. VisitRoswellGa. com


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016


Managing Holiday Stress — Holidays can be stressful for anyone, but family caregivers might experience added holiday stress due to changes in the care recipient’s condition or lack of understanding among family members who only visit during the holidays. If holiday stress is sapping some joy out of the season, then come for insightful tips and strategies to allow for a more meaningful holiday. 11:00 am, Aloha to Aging, Inc. 4608 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta. 770-722-7641. AlohaToAging. org


Miracle on 34th Street — A holiday classic, presented by ACT1 Theater. 8:00 pm, ACT1 Theater, 180 Academy Street, Alpharetta. 770-6638989.


Milton Fire Department Pancake Breakfast with Santa — This free event will feature Santa, pancakes cooked and served by City of Milton firemen and fire station tours. Unwrapped toys for North Fulton Community Charities’ Santa Toy Drive will be accepted. 8:00-10:00 am, Station 43, 750 Hickory Flat Road, Milton. 678-242-2533.


Christmas at Smith Plantation: Images of Christmas — Images of Christmas includes reminders of Christmas traditions from years gone by. There will be exquisite floral displays throughout the house. Downstairs will represent the c.1845 through the 1940s era. Upstairs will be elegantly decorated from the 1950s to current year. Monday-Saturday 10:00 am-3:00 pm, Sunday 1:00-3:00 pm. Smith Plantation, 935 Alpharetta Highway, Roswell. 770-641-3978. smithplantation


December Avalon on Ice — Tis’ the season to lace up your skates and glide into the holiday - Janurary 22 spirit at Avalon on Ice. Their 2017 monumental Rockefellerinspired ice skating rink is back. MondayFriday 3:00-10:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am10:00 pm, Sunday 12:00-7:00 pm, Avalon, 2200 Avalon Boulevard, Alpharetta. 770765-1000.



Alpharetta Y Christmas Tree Lighting Come for some quality family time as the season is celebrated with the annual tree lighting. Sing Christmas carols; enjoy hot chocolate and a visit with Santa. 6:00 pm, Ed Isakson/Alpharetta Family YMCA, 3655 Preston Ridge Road. Alpharetta.


Santa Fun Run — This variety fundraising event embraces the holiday spirit to help raise money for sick, disadvantaged and special needs children. It’s an international race in which thousands participate.

9:00 am, Newtown Park, 3150 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek. 678-9944210. distance-running-races/the-santa-run-5k2016?int


Special Needs Lunch with Santa You are invited to lunch with Santa! Come for food, music and fun! Santa will be available for photographs. (Parents: please bring your own camera). This is for families who have an individual with a disability or special needs. 12:00 pm, Park Place at Newtown School, 3125 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek. 678-5123200.


Heritage Tour — Come for a tour through the Autrey Mill Heritage Village, and learn what life would have been like for the farm families at the turn of the 18th century in Johns Creek. 2:00 pm, Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center, 9770 Autrey Mill Road, Johns Creek. 678-366-3511.

disease or dementia, it’s time to learn the facts. This program provides information on detection, causes and risk factors, stages of the disease, treatment and much more. 11:00 am, Aloha to Aging, Inc. 4608 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta. 770722-7641.


Annual Senior Festival of Lights Luncheon — Enjoy the Roswell Ramblers’ Festival of Lights luncheon, catered by Outback Steakhouse. Enjoy a delicious meal while the Roswell New Horizons Band performs holiday music. All area active seniors are invited to attend. Reservations are required. 12:00-3:00 pm, Roswell Adult Recreation Center, 830 Grimes Bridge Road, Roswell. 770-6413950.


First Baptist Roswell Instrumental Music Service Come listen to the musical delights of the season! 7:00 pm, First Baptist Roswell, 710 Mimosa Boulevard, Roswell. 770-5876980.

Therapeutic Recreation Holiday Dance — This is designed for participants with developmental and/or physical disabilities. Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic & Cultural Affairs Department will be hosting the annual holiday dance with music and a special visit from the North Pole. This is for 18+. Dinner is provided. FREE! 5:30-8:00 pm, Roswell Adult Recreation Center, 830 Grimes Bridge Road, Roswell. 770-6413950.




Reindeer Day — The 6th annual Reindeer Day is sure to be a holiday highlight for you and your family. Live reindeer join the other animals at CNC to help you get in the holiday spirit. There will also be crafts and face painting, food truck(s), marshmallow roasting, trail hikes and a creature feature. 12:00 pm, Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. 770-992-2055.


Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Lunch and Learn — Jenny Heuer of the Alzheimer’s Association will be presenting along with questions and answers. If you or someone you know is affected by Alzheimer’s

Roswell Winter Puppet Series: Santa’s Missing Mail — Ominous Crook and his sidekick, Skellmutt, are two dastardly bad-guys who are out to stop Christmas by stealing Santa’s mail. Thursday 4:00 pm, Friday 10:00 am, Saturday 10:00 am and 1:00 pm, Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest Street, Roswell. 770-594-6232.


Holiday Exhibition and Open House — The Roswell Visual Arts Center is proud to present its annual holiday show. It’s a fun time with lots of holiday spirit and great artwork on display from the Center’s artists. Free entry plus cash prizes, door

prizes and delicious food! 7:00-9:00 pm, Roswell Visual Arts Center, 10495 Woodstock Road, Roswell. 770-594-6122.


Cookies with Mrs. Claus — During this workshop, children will write letters to Santa, while Mrs. Claus shares some holiday stories. With assistance from Mrs. Claus and her helpers, children will decorate holiday cookies. The workshop will end with a visit from a very special postman to pick up the letters to Santa. Reservations are required, ages 4+. 10:00 am and 12:00 pm, Barrington Hall, 535 Barrington Drive, Roswell. 770-640-3855.


Wreaths Across America Ceremony — Christmas wreaths will be placed on the graves of veterans to honor them. 12:00-5:00 pm, Roswell Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Hwy 9/S. Atlanta Street and Oak Street, Roswell.


11th Annual Christmas Gala Holiday Pops Concert — Featuring the Christmas Gala Chorus, Johns Creek Chorale, Jeremy Rush, Organist, and special Guest Host Russ Spencer, TV News anchor for FOX 5 Atlanta, all under the baton of Maestro J. Wayne Baughman. 8:00 pm, Johns Creek United Methodist, 11180 Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek. 770-497-8215.


LIVE! in Roswell and ATL Collective Present Beach Boys Christmas — This will be a special holiday performance of The Beach Boys Christmas Album. With loving detail, this concert takes audience members, song by song, through the Beach Boys’ 1964 charttopping Christmas album! It’s a nostalgic and rockin’ walk down memory lane. 8:00-11:30 pm, Roswell United Methodist Church, 814 Mimosa Boulevard, Roswell. 770-993-6218. continued on


8 7

Library Events Alpharetta

Boot Camp with André December 9 & 17, 3:30 pm, Milton Let’s work out! Bring your mat, water bottle and a towel. It’s Winter! Storytime & Craft December 10, 11:00 am, Milton Come enjoy a story all about winter, with a fun craft to take home! This is for ages 3-5.

10 Park Plaza, Alpharetta, 770-740-2425

Astronomy Club December 14, 6:00 pm, Milton Move a bit outside of the normal into extrasolar planets. Join Jeff Thompson for the end-of-the-year gathering and something incredible. Holiday Magic Art Program December 14, 6:00 pm, Ocee Come for a very creative holiday art program with Johns Creek Art Center. This is for grades 2-5 only. No younger siblings please. This is limited to the first 20 students. It’s a free program, but pre-registration is required. Register at, or call 770-623-8448. Dates may be subject to change or cancellation. Out of the Box Art Studio: Winter Cityscape December 19, 4:00 pm, East Roswell Students will create a winter scene using canvas with acrylics and mixed media. It may get messy, so please dress children accordingly. This is for ages 6-11. Registration is required. Break It & Make It Workshop December 20, 3:30 pm, East Roswell Has your child ever asked how a toaster, telephone or an alarm clock works? Have they asked to see the inside of household appliances? Equipped with screwdrivers and pliers, children will have the chance to take apart common household appliances and electronics to learn how they work. This is for ages 6-11. Registration is required.


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

continued from page 7


855 Mayfield Road, Milton, 404-613-4402

Northeast/Spruill Oaks 9560 Spruill Road, Johns Creek, 770-360-8820


5090 Abbotts Bridge Road, Johns Creek, 770-360-8897


115 Norcross Street, Roswell, 770-640-3075

Spotlight Teen Talent December 10, 12:00-5:00 pm, Milton Calling all comedians, singers, musicians and performance artists. Come celebrate the rising stars of Milton. Talent must register in advance; email This is for ages 12+.


east roswell

2301 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell, 404-613-4050

Mumferd’s Safety Tales December 20, 10:30 am, Milton Mumferd has a cold and must learn not to spread those yucky germs. The children can see how germs spread by touching a pretend “germ” bag and seeing the germs with the use of a black light. The workshop includes finding out how far germs travel when we sneeze and discovering how germs are spread from person to person. This is for ages 3-7. Noonday Nosh Book Club December 20, 12:00 pm, Roswell This meeting’s book is A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote. Mystery Readers’ Book Club December 20, 6:30 pm, Roswell This meeting’s book is A Decent Interval, by Simon Brett. LEGO Play December 21 & 22, 3:30 pm, East Roswell LEGO fans are invited to the library to build, create and have fun. The library provides the LEGOs; you provide the know-how. This is a self-guided activity, and caregivers must stay in the room. This is for ages 4-12. Let it Snow! Holiday Storytime and Painting Class December 21, 10:15 am, Northeast/Spruill Oaks It’s a winter wonderland at the library! Read a book celebrating the season, and create your own winter wonderland painting with Splash on Literacy Kids Art Studio. This class is limited to the first 20 registrants; registration is required. It is for ages 3+.


Gingerbread Jubilee Teen Center Lobby — Bring the kids, and enjoy gingerbread-house decorating, gingerbread crafts and plate decorating, while parents get to enjoy some cookies and cocoa. 12:00-2:00 pm, Ed Isakson YMCA, 3655 Preston Ridge Road, Alpharetta. 770-6641220. Alpharetta


First Baptist Roswell “Let There Be Christmas” Program — Come enjoy this holiday delight! 7:00 pm, First Baptist Roswell, 710 Mimosa Boulevard, Roswell. 770-5876980.


Atlanta Wind Symphony — Come and enjoy an evening of beautiful music performed by the Atlanta Wind Symphony. 3:00 pm, Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forest Street, Roswell. 404733-1280.


Roswell Winter Puppet Series: Trouble in Toyland — Oh no! It’s Christmas Eve, but the toys aren’t finished, the elves are on strike, Santa has lost his laugh, and Rudolph has a runny nose! Will we have to cancel Christmas? Of course not! This show brings hilarious holiday hijinks to the stage. Thursday 4:00 pm, Friday 10:00 am, Saturday 10:00 am and 1:00 pm, Roswell United Methodist, 814 Mimosa Boulevard, Roswell. 770-993-6218.

24 & 25

First Baptist Roswell Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services — All services will be held in the sanctuary. Family Christmas Eve service is at 5:00 pm, Candlelight Christmas Eve Service is at 11:00 pm, and Christmas Day Service is at 10:30 am, First Baptist Roswell, 710 Mimosa Boulevard, Roswell. 770-5876980.

Family Holiday Traditions By Christy Noll

Family traditions over the holidays make memories more special and personal. Traditions can start at any time, and maybe, you even skip a year. But overall, you do your best to be consistent with the memory-maker you start with your family. The day after Thanksgiving, many families go out to select their Christmas tree. Hunter’s Tree Farm in Milton carries beautiful Leyland Cyprus trees. They always create a fun, family experience by providing a calm atmosphere of hayrides, Santa visits (on weekends), wood ornament decorating and hot chocolate with marshmallows. There are also helpful volunteers on-hand to assist you in picking out the perfect tree. As Christmas approaches, children will often get excited about decorating the house. Older children can assist with outdoor lights, while younger children love to help put the ornaments on the tree. Decorating a gingerbread house

can be a fun challenge, as it can be a comical experience trying to get the icing and candy to stay in place! Visiting Stone Mountain Christmas or Lanier Islands Holiday of Lights each year can be other options for making lasting memories with your family. You may also elect to celebrate the true meaning of this giving season with your children by selecting a less-fortunate child or family to buy gifts for; Act Together Ministries is one organization that allows you to deliver gift donations to their drop-off location. Additionally, there are many local charities that allow you to volunteer in various capacities with your children. So, make the holidays memorable through family traditions that last a lifetime. Whether it’s making the kids’ favorite meal, visiting your favorite restaurant/venue, shopping and wrapping gifts together or donating your time or other resources to those in need, these experiences become traditions your family will look forward to each year.

Christy Noll is founder of, a resource that connects North Fulton families with community organizations, programs and events.



Business Internal Medicine Specialists of Roswell has opened its

East Roswell Veterinary Hospital, located at 1570 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 110,

doors under the leadership of Dr. Alexander Voljavec. Dr. Voljavec,

is the culmination of three

board-certified physician in internal medicine, brings more than

decades of experience in

twenty years of practice experience to the Roswell community.

the veterinary field. Kimberly

His practice is located at 11685 Alpharetta Highway, Suite 270 in

Kasmer van Beuren, D.V.M.


began working as a kennel technician before becoming

Dr. Voljavec assists in chronic disease management, acute illness

a veterinary nurse for ten

care and preventative care. He also brings extensive experience

years. Then, in 1995, she

treating complicated hypertension and kidney disease. In addition,

graduated from the University

he provides comprehensive physical exams, hypertension and high

of Florida and immediately

cholesterol management, diabetes

pursued specialized surgical training with an intent to become

and thyroid disease treatment as well

a boarded surgeon. Her love for animal rescue and surgery

as expertise in insulin resistance,

then led to years of work as a spay-neuter surgeon and shelter

primary care of kidney disease, primary

veterinarian. She built two successful veterinary practices

care sports medicine, comprehensive

in Florida before coming to Georgia. East Roswell Veterinary

women’s services, osteoporosis and

Hospital is the manifestation of her dream finally coming true!

bone densitometry. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 770New patients may call 770-619-5100 to schedule an appointment, or visit for more information.


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016


The Chandlery is having a retirement sale! Something special is

Mary Anne and Jim Johnson are celebrating their

coming to Roswell just

retirement after almost forty years. The sale will

in time for the holidays!

progress through the end of the year, including all

Sanford Estates Gracious Retirement Living for the active,

merchandise and fixtures. Mary Anne and Jim Johnson opened The

independent senior is

Chandlery in 1977 in a 400-sq.-ft., clapboard

opening this month,

building at the Roswell Square on S. Atlanta

featuring studio, one and

Street. In 1990, The Chandlery moved to Canton

two bedroom apartments,

Street and provided collectible houses, French

starting at $2195 per

linens, Christmas decor, fine china, tabletop,

month. Experience the

children’s gifts, local artists’ wares and much

warmth of the luxurious,

more. The Chandlery has been a retail pillar to

all-inclusive lifestyle, with no long-term leases or expensive buy-ins. Stay a month,

the city of Roswell, and the Johnson Family is so

or stay a while to enjoy unparalleled services and endless opportunities.

thankful to the Roswell community for its support. They are also grateful to have been able to give

Private tours are being held daily at 500 Walton Way in Roswell, east of GA

to hundreds of charities and non-profits along the

400, at the corner of Holcomb Bridge Road and Scott Road, nestled in one

way, as that is what makes a community such as

of Roswell’s tree-lined communities. Please contact Cynthia Giubardo or Lynn

Roswell special. For more information, please

Barbee to schedule your visit today at 770-649-7452, or for more information,

call 770-891-6630. The Chandlery is located at


950 Canton Street in Roswell.




Senator Speaks


he first Patriot Flight was founded in 2016 by the Roswell Rotary. The Patriot Flight brought our first responders— fire, police and EMS, to visit the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Thank you to all who helped along the way, from sponsors to volunteers. The trip was an overwhelming success and will be replicated by others.

By Senator John Albers

First responders from Roswell and surrounding communities were honored with an all-expense paid trip to the memorial site. Their visit demonstrated sincere thanks to these brave men and women who serve the community every day, keeping our citizens safe and healthy. Modeled after the successful Honor Air Program, which takes thousands of American veterans to visit historical and war memorial sites in the nation’s capital, the Patriot Flight was set up to recognize and thank our present-day first responders. The day began with a police escort from Roswell to the Atlanta Airport and another escort from the LaGuardia Airport to lower Manhattan by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). The plane received a “water salute” and wet down from the Atlanta Fire Department. Once in New York City, the first responders were taken up the Freedom Tower for a VIP tour of the 9/11 Memorial. They met fellow first responders from New York City, including members of the New York City Fire Department and members of the New York City and Port Authority Police. Lunch was held at Suspenders, which is owned by a former NYC firefighter, and it was a triage location during 9/11/01. Following the museum, the group met at O’Hara’s and toasted to those who lost their lives and those who continue to serve. First responders brought patches from their department to proudly place on the wall with others from across the nation. The Roswell community participated in the event, as well, with an early morning


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

“hero’s send-off” and then a “welcome back” celebration at Roswell Area Park upon their return. The Patriot Flight was organized by the Roswell Rotary, its president, Jeff McCoy and myself. As a fourth-generation firefighter, this was a dream come true. I was so proud to help lead this effort and to bring along my father, Bill Albers, who served as a firefighter and chief. For more

information about the Patriot Flight, visit the L

Sen. John Albers serves as Chairman of the State and Local Government Operations Committee. He represents the 56th Senate District, which includes portions of North Fulton and Cherokee counties. 404-463-8055. John.Albers@Senate.Ga.Gov.

Is Your Electrical System Ready for the Holidays? With the holiday season rapidly approaching, it’s an important time to make sure that your home electrical system is up for the challenge. You should begin by making sure to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. It’s recommended that you change the batteries in your smoke detectors once every six months. Coincidentally, many people don’t realize that the smoke detectors themselves may need replacing. The U.S. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issued the following guidelines: “Replace all smoke alarms, including those that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are ten years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.” It’s important to check your smoke detectors, and determine when they were installed or last replaced. Most smoke alarms will have a date on them, so you can verify

By Rick Cheney

when they were manufactured. If you’re unsure of your smoke detector’s age, call a qualified electrical company to come out and check. Smoke detectors are typically hard-wired straight into your home’s electrical system, using a nine-volt battery for backup in case of a power outage. It’s best to have a qualified electrician change out your smoke detectors, so you know they are safely connected to your electrical system. Many people will decorate their homes this holiday season. Using extension cords or pulling too much power from any electrical receptacle could cause unsafe conditions for your family. A qualified electrician can assist you in making your holiday lights safer and more convenient. By adding a weatherproof receptacle outside, you can eliminate the need to

run extension cords through doors or windows. You could also eliminate the need to lay an extension cord across the floor to plug in your tree by adding a receptacle right behind your favorite tree location. By calling a qualified electrician in your area for assistance, you can be sure your home is safe for the holidays.

Rick Cheney is in the purchasing department at H&H Electric and Security, LLC. 770-735-1136.



Community Feature

The Arts Council Announces its 2017 Signature Series Formerly known as the Pearce Series, the Signature Series offers unique opportunities to witness nationally and internationally famed performers. The concerts this season include Artrageous on January 17th at 7:30 pm (Pearce Auditorium); The Joe Grandsden Big


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

Band, featuring guest vocalist Annie Sellick on June 3rd at 8:00 pm (The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center Lawn), and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, featuring guest vocalist Robert Cantrell on June 16th at 8:00 pm (The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center Lawn). Artrageous is a one-of-a-kind artistic spectacular that showcases mindboggling

visual art, music, theater, puppetry, singing, dancing and comedy‌all on one stage for the entire family! The Joe Gransden Big Band is a seventeen-piece ensemble that hearkens back to an era when the Great American Songbook, swing music and the big-band sound was all the rage. And the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is a 27-time, GrammyŽ Award-winning orchestra for which audiences globally cheer! The orchestra burns with focused fire from its very first, lurid notes. Series tickets are only $85 per person and include all three performances. Individual performance tickets are also available. All tickets are subject to 7% tax. For more information or for tickets, call 770-534-2787, or visit

Little Helpers Donate to Trevor’s Toes & Tushies Socks & Underwear Drive A child may appear well dressed on the outside, but lack clean garments. The family volunteer group Little Helpers tried to fill a gap left by regular clothing drives. Members collected 300 new, packaged socks and underwear for needy children in the area. Trevor’s Toes & Tushies Socks & Underwear Drive benefited MUST Ministries, a non-profit organization that addresses the basic needs of families. The drive was held in honor of Little Helpers member Trevor George, of Penfield, NY, who passed away suddenly from a virus at the age of 6. Trevor came to every community service project with a smile on his face and a desire to make others happy. His signature look included superhero outfits and mismatched socks, so that’s what members wore as they made their delivery to MUST Ministries. The group also received a tour of the donation warehouse, where volunteers are always needed to help sort items. If you’d like to volunteer at MUST Ministries, email, or call 770-427-9862.

Roswell Launches “SeeClickFix” App for Residents SeeClickFix is a popular citizen reporting tool being used in many cities across Georgia. This mobile app will allow Roswell’s residents to report non-emergency issues to the City of Roswell and track their resolution. Residents can use the app to report issues such as a pothole, tall grass, missed garbage pickup, broken streetlight and more. Users will be asked to drop a location marker on the map where they notice a concern, answer a few questions to help understand the issue and even send a photo of the problem. Residents are encouraged to download and begin using the app, which is available for Android and iPhone.



Community Feature Fulton’s Graduation Rate Highest Among Metro Atlanta’s Large School Systems The results of the 2016 graduation scores show that Fulton, again, has the distinction of having the highest graduation rate in the metro Atlanta area. Fulton’s 2016 graduation rate is 86.6% – a 1.3% increase over the 2015 rate of 85.3%. The Class of 2016 data shows that nine Fulton high schools had increases from the previous year, and three of those schools increased their rates by more than 5%. Most notable are the significant increases made over a five-year period. From 2011 to 2016, Fulton’s graduation rate increased 16.5%. While nearly all schools have shown gains, ten of the district’s eighteen high schools reported double-digit increases.




Fulton County Graduation Rates

86.6% 70.1%

“The work that our schools are doing to increase students’ graduation opportunities is amazing and inspiring. Five years ago, some of our schools had stagnant progress in their graduation rates,” said Superintendent Jeff Rose, Ed.D. “Now, these schools have increased 20-30% in getting students to graduate on time. At a 2016 rate of 86.6%, we continue to be on track for meeting our strategic plan goal of 90% of all students graduating by 2017.”

2011 2016

North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

Centennial HS’s Award-Winning, All-Female JROTC For the first time in its history, Centennial High School has enough women in its JROTC program to make up an all-female team. Recently, the team earned third place overall, out of six female teams, at the North Forsyth Raider Meet. The all-female team also won trophies for placing first, second or third in three of the six event categories. The Raider Meet combined a series of mentally and physically demanding events, such as the cross-country rescue (first aid skills and the litter carry), one-rope bridge, map reading, ammo-can relay, tire flip, Humvee pull, obstacle course and team runs.

Metro Atlanta’s Taylor Road MS Music Teacher is in the Semifinals for a Grammy Award Nicole Thompson, a music teacher at Taylor Road Middle School, is one of 25 semifinalists for the 2017 Music Educator Award, which is sponsored by the Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation. Thompson is one of two semifinalists from Georgia and among 25 candidates across sixteen states. The lucky winner will be flown to Los Angeles to be recognized during Grammy Week, and will attend the 59th Grammy Awards ceremony as well as other Grammy Foundation events. A list of ten finalists will be announced this month. Nine of them will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all ten finalists will receive matching grants.


arried for over thirty years, Bob and Julie Carter have chosen an exceptional path for their lives. In addition to raising five biological children, they have legally adopted eight youngsters over the past sixteen years, now ranging in age from 3-16. Before moving to Georgia twelve years ago, their incredible journey began in Missouri. Their story is a testament to the abiding love and selfless generosity of the nurturing human spirit.

Their tremendous parenting adventure began 29 years ago with the birth of their first child. Seven years later, they decided to become foster parents while they still had five of their own children at home. Initially, the Carters did not intend to adopt. The foster program’s goal is reunification. Realizing that a little girl they were caring for was not going to be reunited, they decided to adopt her. Now 16 years old, she is the eldest of the eight adopted children in their wonderful family. The couple explains, “They have the same growing needs as our biological kids, honestly. All kids want the safety of a nice family atmosphere and someone they can rely and depend on.”

A typical day begins at 6:00 am. A hearty, traditional breakfast is served at the table, and usually, most everyone is in attendance. After dressing and getting ready for the school day, Bob takes the children to the school bus stop, where he waits with them every morning. The children know their responsibilities, whether it’s folding laundry or setting the table. “This is not a TV show or a movie with Steve Martin. It’s real life. It’s sitting down for dinner every night, someone loading the dishwasher and someone cleaning up.” He adds, laughingly, “It’s a group-

participation sport.” Asked if it doesn’t become overwhelming, the couple explains, “It’s what we’re used to, and we’ve been doing this for almost 30 years. It’s our routine.” They wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Both Bob and Julie have full-time professions. How do they manage to juggle the schedules and be such responsible and caring parents of such a large group of children with varied activities and needs? “We split up and conquer a lot,” Bob grins, as he explains that Julie is very organized, and they do their very best to make as many events as they can on the children’s calendars. Julie keeps them all in view. They explain that there is an “A” and a

By Rajayne Cordery “B” list, and they do everything in their power to participate in all items on the “A” list.

Finding time for each other is all about how one defines that. They explain that a lot of their time together is spent on the children’s activities. “We’ve carved out a lot of our togetherness with that,” Bob says. And they spend one night a week out, just the two of them, exclusively in each other’s company. “It’s a very traditional, family-based life. It’s not out of the ordinary for us. We have always made our family our

priority. It just so happens that we have thirteen kids!” Bob exclaims. Christmas morning in the Carter household is an all-day celebration. It begins very early in the morning. The children each open a gift, one at a time, while the others watch. They take a break, clean up and keep going. They eat breakfast and continue unwrapping individually, taking time to play with their toys in between. Bob smiles, “It’s a very traditional, family-around-theChristmas-tree type of celebration.”

Blending a family has been a highly rewarding experience for all of the Carters. Speaking of the benefits to the children, Bob says, “It’s helpful to give them a little different perspective on life. They see a whole different side of it, growing up with different entities unlike a traditional family would have. It has been a great experience for everyone.”

The Carters’ philosophy on life is grounded in the importance of teaching their children to become more wellrounded, empathetic people through their family experience. They attest, “The benefits reach out in ways, generationally, that you can’t really calculate. The incredible mark you are going to make on young people is almost immeasurable. You can’t fathom how far down stream it’s going to impact other people’s lives.”

When asked to offer advice to couples considering adoption, Bob and Julie say, “Adoption should be entered into with eyes wide open, heart wide open; there is a lot to be shared.” With an open and adventurous spirit such as this, it would seem that thirteen is a very lucky number, indeed.



for Long-Term Care By Debra Robinson spent on the Medicaid recipient’s care from the exempt assets. Nursing home fees are so high that many families find themselves struggling to pay for care. Without the resources to pay, they turn to Medicaid, the government program that provides financial assistance for long-term care for the elderly.

To discourage giving assets away in order to get down to the asset limits, there is a five-year look-back period. Assets given away during the five years before applying for Medicaid must be disclosed and will result in a penalty period.

To qualify for Medicaid for long-term care in Georgia, an individual is allowed to have $2,000 in assets. A married couple can have an additional $119,270. Certain assets are exempt while the recipient and spouse are alive, but after the Medicaid recipient and spouse both die, Georgia will implement “estate recovery” to get paid back what it has

Although you can’t predict what will happen to your health in the next five years, and you can’t know if you’ll ever need nursing-home care, there are 108 nursing homes in the metropolitan Atlanta area, and it’s likely the owners of those nursing homes are predicting their beds will continue to be filled by future residents. Though most people don’t


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

look forward to moving to a nursing home, it would be foolish to fail to plan for what may eventually happen. It’s possible and practical to plan ahead to preserve assets and still be able to receive Medicaid. Most of the people who plan over five years before needing nursing-home care are not multi-millionaires. They are middleclass people who have worked hard all their lives, been responsible citizens and accumulated a nest egg. But they know what they have isn’t enough to pay $10,000 a month for nursing-home care for an ill spouse and still provide a decent lifestyle for the healthy spouse. They don’t want to lose everything they’ve worked for, and they don’t want to become a burden to their children.

Debra Robinson is an attorney in Johns Creek. 770-817-4999,

Mayor’s Minute

Celebrating the City of Milton!

The City of Milton officially incorporated on December 1, 2006; it’s hard to believe we’re celebrating a decade. They say, “time flies when you’re having fun,” and it’s certainly been an incredible ten years! We have so much to be proud of; yet, there’s so much more we can accomplish by working together. Celebrating our residents and our accomplishments will be a key focus this month and during the new year. Milton is rich in its heritage and tradition, so it’s no surprise that we’ll celebrate our anniversary with several cherished annual events and a few unique celebrations.

By Mayor Joe Lockwood We recently held the annual tree lighting on the corner of Webb Road. We look forward to 2017 when Milton’s annual tree lighting officially moves to its new home at Broadwell Pavilion. Stay tuned for updates as staff works to secure a new tree with support from community volunteers. Until then, we hope you will join us for the following December events: • December 1 & 10 — Anniversary Celebration at Broadwell Pavilion – The public is invited to join state and local officials, along with City staff, as we celebrate our accomplishments and our renewed sense of excitement at what we can accomplish during Milton’s second decade. We will also celebrate those committed officials and citizens who played such an integral part in forming our great city because this historic moment wouldn’t be possible without them. • December 3 — Christmas in Crabapple – This annual holiday tradition, hosted in partnership with the Crabapple Community Association, is always filled with loads of family fun and serves as a shining example of what’s possible when a community works together. It’s just one of several Milton events showcasing an area that has become a community gathering spot and a thriving downtown. • December 10 — Milton Fire Department’s Pancake Breakfast with Santa is another cherished annual event; the breakfast is free to the public and features great food, fire trucks and Santa. It also provides a way for the community to come together and help those less fortunate by contributing to the North Fulton Community Charities’ Santa Toy Drive. Visit the Milton website calendar,, for complete event details. As 2016 comes to an end, we reflect on the last ten years and look ahead to the new year when we will officially open Milton’s new City Hall in March 2017. Residents are invited to join us on April 29, 2017 for a gala celebration to honor a decade of City accomplishments including the opening of a premier City facility in the heart of downtown Crabapple. More details regarding the City Hall move and additional ten-year festivities will be provided on the Milton website, its social media accounts and via Milton’s e-newsletter as the information becomes available.

Joe Lockwood is the mayor of the city of Milton. 678-242-2484.



COVER STORY By Cyndi Braun


f you look within the walls of First Baptist Roswell, you’ll see a church that resembles other historic churches in the area. Step inside the church on a Sunday morning, and you’ll see Senior Pastor Dr. Kevin Head leading the congregation in a traditional worship with a contemporary message.

Haiti, Kenya and Appalachia through church-organized mission trips. “I see what happens when people use their gifts to serve others,” said Dr. Head. “Their faith has a sense of purpose. Their lives have a bigger sense of meaning. Serving others gives us a renewed sense of meaning, faith and purpose in life.” Serving others is so important that

can’t go on those trips. They can’t take time to travel, or they don’t have medical or construction skills.” Recognizing the importance of missions and the needs of individuals within the community of Roswell itself, a church-steering committee began planning a special mission day that benefits local people and charities. All projects

But if you look beyond those walls, you’ll see just what makes this

church different. Besides attending worship services in the church, First Baptist members are committed to serving others in the community and beyond. “Missions are important because it’s our calling and purpose as a church. Jesus commissioned us to go and share God’s grace and love with other people,” said Dr. Head. Church members participate in service projects throughout the year. Many also serve those in need in 20

North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

Dr. Head decided to take the church’s service-oriented focus one step further – by creating a mission day to benefit the community of Roswell. Beyond Our Walls to Help the Community “Our church is involved in a lot of missions. Kenya is a medical mission; Haiti is a youth mission. Appalachia is a trip where we rebuild homes and do construction work,” said Dr. Head. “A lot of our folks

will begin and end on Saturday, February 11th, making the service projects appealing to those with busy schedules. Jeff Jennings, head of the steering committee said: There are a number of wonderful charities right here in Roswell that could use our help. We’ve got members who are already engaged with those nonprofits. We got input from members on the specific types of projects they

“Jesus drew near and said to them…‘Go, then, to all peoples everywhere, and make them my disciples; baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age’”

“Serve one another, humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).

(Matthew 28:18-20).

would like to do then approached the charities prior to finalizing our list of service activities. Since projects vary in type, Dr. Head believes everyone in the church will be able to help in some way, no matter what their age, skills or background might be. “All of our members will have the chance to use whatever giftedness God has given them to serve our community,” said Dr. Head.

After input from the membership, the steering committee chose the name “Beyond Our Walls” to identify the special day of service and rally members and guests to give back to the Roswell community each year. The name “Beyond Our Walls” indicates that the calling and purpose of a church extends beyond the walls of the building itself. By reaching beyond its walls, First Baptist Roswell will be able to help

many in need in the community. “Our mission field is not just in Appalachia or Haiti, but in our own backyard,” said Jennings. “Beyond Our Walls is a great opportunity for people who can’t go on other mission trips. We are creating opportunities locally for people to serve and give back to the community.” Jennings said that they envision 300 continued on


22 21

continued from


people spread out all over Roswell doing good things for the community. Some projects will be off-site, while others will be at the church.

Service opportunities will include:

• The City of Roswell • The Drake House

An organization that provides short-term crisis housing, education and empowerment programs for homeless mothers and their children • Foster Care Support Foundation An organization that provides free clothing, infant equipment and developmental toys to thousands of children in foster and relative care • The North Fulton Child Development Association A day care center for low- income working families • Other charities around Roswell • Special ways to show appreciation to police officers and firefighters Prior to February 11th, members will sign up for specific activities. Friends, neighbors and anyone interested in helping are welcome to sign up as well. Service activity coordinators will make sure each project is properly staffed with volunteers. Dr. Head said: I am very excited about Beyond Our Walls. I think that part of the church’s responsibility is to give people opportunities to use the gifts God has given them in meaningful ways. I think people really want to serve. I think people really want to use their gifts. But they don’t always know how to do that, so we are planning this day to give our members the opportunity to use their gifts.

710 Mimosa Boulevard Roswell, Georgia 30075 22

North Fulton Family Life | november 2016

First Baptist Roswell Kenya, Haiti, Appalachia – Our church has led some amazing mission efforts. Now, we’re introducing a new annual mission event that will allow everyone at First Baptist Roswell to make a positive impact right here in our own backyard. It’s a great day of service. Regardless of your talents, age or skills, you can help. Whether you use a pen or a paintbrush, share a story or just a smile, prepare a meal or simply deliver it, we can work together to make a tremendous impact in our hometown.



Glamorous Peninsula

First-Ever Crystal AirCruise Now Open for Booking LIFESTYLE Crystal announced a new partnership with the Peninsula Hotels for the maiden journey of Crystal AirCruise’s ultra-luxury Boeing 777-200LR jet, taking off on August 31, 2017.

The 27-day Peninsula Grand Inaugural Crystal AirCruise flies from New York to Paris, stopping in ten glamorous cities. Remarkable Peninsula-curated events that depict the authentic spirit of each destination await guests, including four special galas, beginning with a rooftop cocktail reception with the New York skyline as the glittering backdrop; a private party and dinner on the Great Wall of China in Beijing; an over-the-top dinner reminiscent of the glamour of “Old Shanghai” at the Peninsula Shanghai, and a special Loy Krathong “Festival of Lights” celebration at the Peninsula Bangkok. Additionally, in Tokyo, guests will enjoy a private performance of the ancient art of Kabuki, while the conclusion of the program in Paris takes guests on a behind-the-scenes journey and private lunch at a famed Champagne house. In each destination, guests will be treated to the Peninsula’s famous afternoon tea experience.

Travelers aboard the inaugural journey will be treated to truly immersive destination experiences, as each Peninsula Hotel visited boasts authentic, cultural atmosphere and heritage of its location. Destinations and Peninsula Hotels set to enhance this journey of rare privilege include: • • • • • • • • • •

The Peninsula New York The Peninsula Chicago The Peninsula, Beverly Hills The Peninsula Tokyo The Peninsula Beijing The Peninsula Shanghai The Peninsula Hong Kong The Peninsula Manila The Peninsula Bangkok The Peninsula Paris

The grand finale of the journey in Paris is an architectural masterpiece, as the hotel’s rooftop affords a 360-degree perspective of the city. Surprise events showcasing the romance, history and culinary arts will conclude the guests’ journey. As an introduction to each city, The Peninsula will arrange for a special welcome cocktail reception, hosted by a local insider who will share their first-hand knowledge of the city’s cultural heartbeat.

By Michael Consoli The luxury hotel group’s famed Peninsula Academy programs will also integrate into the itineraries across all ten cities, from dumpling-making class in Beijing to Chinese tea appreciation with The Peninsula’s tea master, each program is masterfully arranged. The dramatically redesigned aircraft is larger and newer than any global, jet-tour travel option, appointed with features rarely found in even the most luxurious private jets. The Crystal Exclusive Class seats are designed for maximum personal space and ergonomic comfort and convert to 180-degree, lie-flat beds. The expansive social lounge, with stand-up bar and dedicated table seating, fosters friendly camaraderie among luxury travelers. Cuisine will be prepared by a dedicated executive chef, in two state-of-the-art galleys, and paired with an elegant, premium wine list. L

Michael Consoli is a professional travel and cruise specialist and owner of Cruise Planners. 770-650-7667.



Book Review By annell gerson

Bandit — A Daughter’s Memoir, by Atlanta author and poet Molly Brodak, has been described as “raw, poetic, profoundly honest, provocative and gut-punching.” Four pages in, readers quickly learn the facts: Brodak is thirteen when her father is arrested for robbing eleven Detroit banks. He serves seven years in prison, gets released, lives seven years back in society and then robs banks again. How does a kid make sense of a childhood shadowed by such a father? Brodak writes, “My family has changed, and I’m so glad for them, having evolved past him, past even his invisible reach that hung over everyone but me. And now, it is everyone but me who is finished with him.” So she writes from memories, letters, pictures, conversations with family members and research into her father’s past; she tells his story, and in so doing, she tells her story. In short, insightful, slices, both present and past, she lets the reader piece together the complicated physical and emotional picture of her life, perhaps making sense of things herself along the way. We learn Joseph Brodak was born in a German refugee camp established for liberated Nazi camp survivors. Joseph’s father aimed to relocate his family to Australia, but several months before departing, he died. His widow and six children would end up in America, settling in Detroit. For the rest of his life, Joseph would reference that change in course, assured his life would’ve been different in Australia had his father lived. Instead, he grew up in Detroit, served in Vietnam, married and had a child. While still married, he begins dating Brodak’s mother. It isn’t until Brodak’s mother visits the same doctor Joseph’s family sees that she learns he’s already married. Joseph’s deceptions continue to build from there...leading up to his bank robberies and his inevitable capture. But now, the consequences of his actions not only affect him; they have already and will continue to color the experiences, the thoughts and the futures of his children...forever.

Annell Gerson is co-owner of Bookmiser bookstore, with locations in Roswell and East Cobb. 770-993-1555.


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016




w ¼ cup creamy soy dressing* w ¼ cup cucumber salsa** w ¼ cup tandoori spice w 1, 4 oz. piece of ahi tuna

Procedure - Rub the tuna liberally with tandoori spice. - Place the tuna on a hot grill, and sear it for 1-2 minutes on each side. - Slice the tuna, and shingle it on a plate with the creamy soy dressing. - Top with cucumber salsa, and serve.

Creamy Soy Dressing* w 2 cups mayonnaise w 1 cup sweet chili sauce w 1 cup soy sauce w ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Procedure - Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth.

Cucumber Salsa**

w 1 cup cucumber, diced w ½ cup red onion, diced w 2 tablespoons poblano peppers, diced w 1 tablespoon dill, chopped w 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar w 2 teaspoons olive oil w ½ teaspoon kosher salt w ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar

Procedure - Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and mix until the sugar is dissolved.


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: By Lisa Ethridge Show Your Plants Some Love Cooler temperatures and fewer hours of sunlight throughout the fall initiate the cold-acclimation process, which enables plants to withstand winter temperatures. The best way to prevent cold damage is to select plants that can tolerate temperatures where you live. Georgia has different climatic zones, so it’s important to select plants that meet the minimum cold-hardy requirements for our area. For North Fulton, that’s zone 7B. Cold temperatures and wind can damage all parts of the plant including fruit, stems, leaves, trunk and roots. Carefully selected plants

can survive a freeze but may not survive a prolonged period of belowfreezing temperatures. Healthy plants have a better chance of surviving cold weather. A soil sample is the best method to determine what nutrients plants need. Contact the UGA extension agent to get information about soil testing. Pruning and/or fertilizing in late summer or early fall encourages new growth, which leaves plants vulnerable to freezing temps. Check publications B961 and B1065 for information about feeding and pruning ornamental plants. Mulch is important, too. It reduces the soil’s heat loss, retains moisture and

protects the plant’s roots. Covering plants with sheets, blankets or cardboard boxes helps protect them from low-temperature injury. Plastic sheeting isn’t recommended; temperatures under the plastic rise quickly, which can result in burned leaves or worse. Remove the cover during daylight hours to provide ventilation, and allow the release of trapped heat. Lisa Ethridge is a certified master gardener with North Fulton Master Gardeners, part of the UGA Cooperative Extension Service. 404-613-7670.



The race has now officially begun. By the time you receive this magazine, the holiday season will be well underway. You may still be full from Thanksgiving’s turkey and dressing, and you’re possibly already exhausted from several days of shopping for Christmas. This time of year is indeed a busy, stressful time, and it’s now upon us all in full force, as we have started the race to Christmas.

then instead of “going” during this time of the year, we are actually called upon to spend our time “waiting.”

It would seem, then, that the title of this article should be “On your mark . . . get set . . . GO!” But for Christians, this season of the year has a different theme. We have just begun the season of Advent, which is focused on waiting. If we are true to our faith and heritage during the Advent season,

Latin word, which literally means “arrival.” For Christians, the season of Advent is the period of four Sundays before Christmas, and these weeks are times of expectancy, preparation and waiting. We prepare and await the coming of the Christ child during the days of Advent.

The word “advent” comes from a

On Your Mark . . . Get Set . . .


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016


By Kevin Head, Ph.D.

So what will you do during these days of Advent— “go” or “wait”? The real question is a matter of how we spend our time. Lloyd Cory reminds us, “Time is significant because it is so rare. Time is completely irretrievable. You can never repeat it or relive it. Time travels alongside us every day, yet it has eternity wrapped up in it. The great use of life is to spend time for something that will outlast it.” During the Advent season, hopefully we can spend some of our time expecting and preparing for the coming of Christ. Or, in other words, “On your mark . . . get set . . . WAIT!” Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Dr. Kevin Head is senior pastor of First Baptist Roswell. 770-587-6980,

Voice Control For years, I’ve been trying to control electronics with my voice. It started in 1999 with my first Samsung cell phone. At that time, I had to go through each contact and record myself saying the names, and it would call them. To be honest, not much has improved since that time. I have Siri at my fingertips, and my friends have Google Assistant, but truthfully, both services leave much to be desired. From my iPhone, I still cannot say, “Play Pandora, Sevendust Radio.” Until recently, voice recognition has stunk. Enter the Amazon Echo. Now, everything has changed in a huge way.

“Alexa, play Pandora, Sevendust Radio.” To start, the first thing I did after setting Amazon Echo up was say, “Alexa, play Pandora, Sevendust Radio,” and it immediately started playing my favorite rock band. I then asked it for things like, “Give me the local weather;” “set my alarm for 6:00 am tomorrow,” and everything worked flawlessly. But as a home automation guy, I wasn’t ready for what happened next. It appears that with the Alexa, Amazon has been sending out their info to thirdparty manufacturers like Samsung, Control4 and many other automation companies. The result is that minutes after setup, I can now say things like, “Close the garage door;” “lock the front door;” “turn up the lights;” “change the temperature to seventy degrees,”

and so much more. In fact, the number of phrases I can tell Alexa is almost limitless. I can also write my own custom phrases like, “Turn on family room Netflix,” and the living room will come alive and do everything needed to get me all the way into the Netflix menu inside my TV. Normally, with new products, I say things like, “With time, this will be an incredible technology.” Now, with the Amazon Echo, I can truly say that this technology has blown me away right out of the gate, and it’ll only get better with time.

Michael Buckner is owner of Audio Intersection, a provider of audio and video in Georgia. 770-479-1000.



By Julie Senger


s the unpredictable Georgia temperatures seemingly go from “Summer Nights” to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with little

warning, here are some hot, smooth, chocolaty (or not-so-chocolaty) cocoa recipes for you to try with your family and friends this winter season. So, stock up on firewood, and grab some blankets to cozy up with one or more of these comforting concoctions. You are bound

to be crazy about one or more of these recipes!


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

Traditional Hot Cocoa ¼ cup cocoa powder ½ cup sugar ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ cup water 3 ½ cups whole milk ½ cup evaporated milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Whipped cream or marshmallows (optional)

(serves 4)

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add cocoa, 2. 3. 4. 5.

sugar, salt and water, and bring to boil. Allow the mixture to boil for 3 minutes. Add the whole milk and the evaporated milk, and continue stirring. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, careful not to let it come to a boil. Pour into your favorite mugs, and add whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired.

Nutella Crock-Pot Cocoa for a Crowd (serves 10)

10 cups whole milk 1 cup Hershey’s cocoa 1 cup Nutella 1 cup sugar 2 cups hot water

1. In a large pot, combine cocoa, sugar, Nutella and hot water.

White Christmas Cocoa (serves 3-4)

4 cups whole milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped Whipped cream or marshmallows (optional)

1. In a saucepan over medium2. 3.

low heat, add the milk, white chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a simmer, careful not to let it come to a boil. Pour the mixture into your favorite mugs, and add whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired.

New Year’s Resolution Cocoa (serves 2; 35 calories per

serving, vegan, gluten and sugar-free) 2 cups unsweetened cashew or almond milk 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 12 drops Stevia, or to taste (you may

1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat,

2. 3.

add all the ingredients, and whisk until the cocoa powder is mostly incorporated. Continue whisking frequently for 3-5 minutes or until warmed through. Pour the mixture into your favorite mugs, and enjoy, guilt-free!

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cocoa (serves 1)

1 ½ cups whole milk 1 cup of your favorite red wine ₁⁄₃ cup dark chocolate chunks Marshmallows or whipped cream (optional)

1 cup whole milk ¼ cup half and half ¼ cup milk chocolate chips 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter Whipped cream or marshmallows (optional)

1. In a saucepan over medium heat,

2. 3.

combine the milk and chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted. Add the wine, and stir until it’s hot. Pour the mixture into your favorite mugs, and top with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired.

gentle boil.

3. Transfer the mixture to a crockpot; add the milk, and stir well.

4. Cook on high for 2 hours, or low for 4 hours, until hot.

5. Pour the mixture into your favorite mugs, and top with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired.

substitute your favorite zero-calorie sweetener)

New Year’s Eve Wine-O-Cocoa

(serves 2, over-21 cocoa lovers)

2. Stir the mixture, and bring it to

Mexican Hot Chocolate (serves 2)

2, 3.5 oz. bars high quality, bittersweet chocolate 2 cinnamon sticks ½ cup water 2 cups whole milk 1 cup heavy cream ½ tsp chili powder (optional) ½ tablespoon light brown sugar (optional) Pinch of nutmeg Whipped cream (optional)

1. In a saucepan over medium-high 2.

1. In a saucepan over medium-low

2. 3. 4.

heat, add the milk and half and half and bring to a simmer, careful not to let it come to a boil. Add chocolate, stirring until it melts. Add peanut butter, and stir until just melted. Pour into your favorite mug, and top with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired.

3. 4.

heat, melt the chocolate with the water and cinnamon sticks. Once the chocolate is melted, add the milk, heavy cream, chili powder and sugar (if using) and the nutmeg. Stir until everything is blended, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let it simmer until it thickens a bit (about 5 minutes). Remove the cinnamon sticks and pour the mixture into your favorite mugs, and add whipped cream, if desired.



Placing the Crown By Amanda Kossick, D.M.D. What does a crown involve? In some practices and scenarios, the permanent crown can be placed in one appointment. However, typically, crowns take two appointments: 1. The tooth is prepared for a crown and temporized. 2. The seating of the lab-fabricated crown. At the first appointment, your dentist will numb the affected tooth. Even if the tooth is root canal treated, the tooth will still be numbed to alleviate any discomfort in the surrounding gums. Typically, an impression is taken before the tooth is altered, so there is a mold for the temporary crown fabrication. Once the tooth is thoroughly numb, old filling material is removed as well as any cracks or decay. The tooth is trimmed to allow enough room for the crown material to be strong and resistant to breakage. If there is a large portion of the tooth structure missing outside of the parameters of an ideal crown prep, a buildup (or filling) may be necessary to restore more surface area to allow for a better crown grip. Once the tooth is ideally shaped, the gums are pushed back to allow for a very


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

detailed impression. After the tissue is clear of the “prep,� an impression is made with a tray and polyvinyl siloxane impression material. When the impression is completed and captures everything needed, the temporary crown is then glued down with temporary cement. About two weeks later, the temporary crown is removed, and the new crown is placed. The contacts between the teeth are verified; contacts to the teeth opposing the crown are adjusted to your comfort, and the margin of the crown is checked to ensure a good fit and seal to the tooth. Once everything has been verified, the crown is adhered with a permanent cement. You now have a healthier, stronger tooth to help you chew your wonderful holiday meal!

Dr. Amanda Kossick is a dentist with DeMercy Dental in Roswell. 770-641-8010.

How to Study for Tests By Mark Tolbert

Studying for tests is a skill. For struggling students, it’s a mystery. “Unsuccessful test takers don’t know where the questions come from,” says Jim Burke, a California high school English teacher and the author of several books about teaching and learning. “The kids who don’t succeed tend to think the others are lucky.” Parents can help their children manage their time and attention, which means “turning off the cell phone, the TV and the iPod,” says Burke. Rereading isn’t the same as learning. Reviewing alone is not enough. Successful students think about potential questions as they read textbooks. They take notes then make questions from their notes. When studying for math, they usually work out the challenging math problems. This helps with learning

how to apply the material to avoid blanking out on tests. A big problem when studying math and science is spending a lot of time memorizing vocabulary, or simply filling out worksheets, but not applying the concepts. Each day, rework the most challenging problems from previous homework assignments. There are other ways your student can practice this kind of active learning — highlighting notes, using Postits to mark key textbook passages, making study cards and mapping and diagramming concepts. Sometimes, we just have to memorize. Mnemonics are great study aids. My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas is an easy way to

remember the order of the planets. Inventing your own silly mnemonic is powerful and makes studying more fun. Help your child make the most of down time. Bring study material everywhere you go. Turn sitting in the doctor’s waiting room or being stuck in a traffic jam into productive study time. Study skills are actually critical thinking skills. Successful students have developed powerful critical thinking skills. They are able to vacuum information from a textbook, read between the lines and understand the unwritten connections in the information.

Mark Tolbert is executive director of Huntington Learning Center in Alpharetta. 678-240-9221.



Taste of by chef Paul Bodrogi

Ingredients 3 oz. cream 7 oz. milk 2 oz. sugar

3 ea. egg yolks 5 oz. chocolate

Preparation 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Bring the cream to a boil. Combine the milk, yolks and sugar in a separate saucepan. Whisk the boiling cream into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Cook it on low-medium heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon but not until its boiling. Remove the mixture from the heat, and stir in the chocolate immediately. Pour the mixture into the bowl of your choice, and let it set. Serve with fresh raspberries and your favorite cookie.

Paul Bodrogi is a pastry chef, Pastry Live event producer and instructor at Chattahoochee Technical College.


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

th Whitenin o g To

in ns Chi e e ldren and T By Vishant Nath, D.M.D. There are several options available for whitening teeth. These range from whitening toothpaste, to whitening strips, to at-home or in-office bleaching procedures. With each option, there are advantages and disadvantages of which to be aware.

remove the surface stains. However, this product should not be used long term, and parents should be on the lookout for signs of sensitivity to teeth and gums. Other options to remove surface stains are baking soda and charcoal. There are recipes online for creating your own “natural” toothpaste. These options should also only be used short term, as these abrasive substances can remove tooth enamel over time. If your child is thirteen or older, there are more intensive whitening options. •

• Whitening toothpaste can help to remove surface stains, but will not be as impactful on staining caused by injury, medication or certain foods. If your children are ages 6-12, whitening toothpaste can be used to

Tooth whitening strips are popular due to their ease of use, relative comfort and effectiveness. The strips are worn for multiple days in a row to get the desired effect. In-home bleaching kits are a bit more intensive because the whitening component is held in place by a plastic mold that is slipped over the teeth. In some cases, the mold is custom-made via an impression, so

it will exactly match the individual’s teeth. The effect of this option is seen after multiple uses. In-office bleaching is the most intense option of the three. It usually takes about an hour at your dentist office, and the effect is immediate.

It’s important to remember, with all three of these options, there are potential side effects. The most typical side effect is tooth or gum sensitivity. And with the whitening strips and in-home bleaching options, it’s very important to follow all directions exactly to avoid any discomfort or issues. Whiter teeth are within reach! Consult your pediatric dentist to determine what is best for your child!

Dr. Vishant Nath is the owner of Canton/Alpharetta/Roswell Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. 678-352-1090.



Welcome to the 21st Century!


Control Your Home’s Temperature From Your Smartphone

More home devices and systems are designed to work together than ever before, largely due to an increasing homeowner demand for connectivity. Honeywell’s Lyric™ product line is perfect for families who have busy, unpredictable schedules. This product is designed to offer easy installation and set-up, and it allows homeowners to control their home’s comfort and remain aware of their home’s environment by providing alerts about any concerns related to possible water issues. The Lyric Round™ Wi-Fi Thermostat is designed to function and operate based on real-time conditions. There are no programs, schedules or complex menus to navigate with the Lyric Round™. The Lyric Round™ thermostat’s function is to simply provide homeowners comfort when they are home and savings when they are away from home. Control on the go, when using the Lyric™ mobile app, gives homeowners location-based temperature control by utilizing their smartphone’s location to adjust temperature settings in their home. By establishing location parameters, they can arrive home to

By Robbie Matiak their customized temperature setting, and their home will be more energyefficient because their system will not be running when they are outside their home-location parameters. The Lyric Round™ Wi-Fi Thermostat will also send maintenance notifications and alerts about extreme conditions in the home to help maintain efficiency and extend the life of HVAC equipment. In addition to the Lyric Round™ Wi-Fi Thermostat, homeowners can also utilize the Lyric™ Wi-Fi Leak and Freeze Detector. Leaks and frozen pipes can cause serious damage to a home. According to the American Insurance Association, the average water leak causes approximately $7,000 in damages for homeowners. The Lyric™ Wi-Fi Leak and Freeze Detector provides peace of mind with a water sensor and can also detect temperatures that could freeze pipes as well as humidity that could damage valuables. The detectors are placed near potential trouble spots such as water heaters, washing machines and underneath sinks. They are battery-operated, lasting up to three years before needing to install new batteries. Each detector links directly to your home’s wi-fi, with no need for hubs or gateways. Each detector comes with a four-foot sensor cable, and additional cables can be joined for up to 500 feet of coverage. The entire

“As we continue to lead fuller and more enriched lives, sacrificing our family’s comfort doesn’t have to be an option.” 36

North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

cable is water-sensing. Homeowners would receive alerts regardless of where they were, via the Lyric™ mobile app, allowing them time for action while the problem is still measured in drops instead of inches of water. As we continue to lead fuller and more enriched lives, sacrificing our family’s comfort doesn’t have to be an option. Honeywell’s Lyric Round™ Wi-Fi Thermostat and Lyric™ Wi-Fi Leak and Freeze Detector allow homeowners the ability to remain connected and manage their home’s comfort, without the hassle of programs, while providing peace of mind for those with active lifestyles. Robbie Matiak is a project coordinator at R & D Mechanical Services, Inc. 770-917-1795.





Silhouette cutting has stood the test of time since it first by natalie del valle began in the mid-1700s. Its unique, vintage-style appearance makes it very popular today, although the art form has lost much of its authenticity since the invention of machines that cut precise images in a matter of seconds. There are only a few silhouette artists who still cut by hand, using nothing but a pair of scissors and a keen eye. Clay Rice is one of them, and he takes pride in his uncommon ability. “I can look at a child’s profile one time and have it in my head exactly what he or she looks like. I’ve been doing this for so long; it literally takes me a minute to cut the child’s profile out,” Clay says. As the third generation in his family to cut silhouettes, Clay’s talent is no surprise. The art has been in his family for 86 years. Clay’s grandfather first started cutting silhouettes in 1930. When Clay was a young boy, the art form was passed down to him. “I started cutting silhouettes at six years old. My grandfather taught me. I learned basic shapes, and I eventually advanced into making more detailed landscapes and profiles,” Clay says. Now, he’s been making silhouettes professionally for the past 35 years, and he uses some of his work to illustrate his children’s stories. Although it only takes Clay a minute to cut out a profile of a child, it takes much longer to create the beautiful scenes and landscapes like those seen in his children’s books. “Some of my more intricate work can take hundreds of hours to do, and they sell extremely well. My landscape artwork sells so fast that I hardly have time to create enough silhouettes to do a show,” Clay says. While Clay doesn’t sell the children’s silhouette illustrations, he does cut profiles of children while traveling to showcase his stories. “Not only can I do the children’s silhouettes that hang on the wall, each child can have their silhouette cut out and mounted inside their copy of one of my books to personalize it,” Clay says. This fall, Clay had 96 events, in 35 states. “I live out of a suitcase for about half of the year,” he proclaims. As a songwriter-turned-author and an artist, Clay has a lot of talent to offer to the world. “My children’s stories have won several awards. The Lonely Shadow won the Moonbeam Award in 2009, and a gold medal in the 2010 IPPY Awards. I also won the Benjamin Franklin Award for my story The Stick in 2015,” Clay says. Between the poetic and musical rhythm of Clay’s story lines, and his unique illustrations, his children’s books are well-loved and widely received. It’s obvious this is Clay’s passion. “This is all I have ever done for the past 35 years of my life. It is my life.”


North Fulton Family Life | december 2016

Grand Openings & Ribbon Cuttings

11605 Haynes Bridge Road, Suite 100, Alpharetta, 30009 , 770-993-8806

Pedicare Plus

Barnes Risk Management Group

Kumon Math & Reading Center

Georgia Ensemble Theatre & Conservatory

11770 Haynes Bridge Road Alpharetta 678-626-7334 Nail Salon

8420 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 260 Roswell 470-336-3226 Educational Tutoring

11138 State Bridge Road, Suite 100 Johns Creek 770-744-5324 Insurance Consulting

950 Forrest Street Roswell 770-641-1260 Performing Arts

Business After Hours This is an informal and fun networking opportunity in a relaxed setting, hosted by GNFCC members in their place of business. Locations include some of the hottest restaurants and entertainment venues across greater North Fulton. These events are typically held the second Thursday of each month. Check the GNFCC Calendar of Events for dates and locations by visiting WWW. FAMILYLIFE PUBLICATIONS.COM


Advertiser Index Audio Intersection The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill Cruise Planners

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Internal Medical Specialists of Roswell

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LGE Community Credit Union


La Vida


Law Offices of J. Christopher Miller, PC


May River Dermatology, LLC


Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails


Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church


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Pete’s Plumbing, Inc.

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R & D Mechanical Services, Inc.

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Singleton Law Firm


Technical Resource Solutions


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Debra Robinson Law Group

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Stone Mountain, GA

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North Fulton Family Life 12-16