LRMC announces 2013 Stars over Longview
Nika Sloan reads â€œA Story of Hopeâ€?
Michael Bolton at the Belcher Hooked on Dance Happy Holiday Entertaining and more www.infinitieplus.com
Martin House Giving children hope for the holidays and beyond
Letter from the Publishers istory shows that in spite of the forward and philo-
sophical thinking of the city-state of Athens, women were not included in the official society. Athenian women had no place in the government of the state, were not considered citizens, were not allowed to participate in sports and were not privy to an education. Rather, Athenian women were considered the property of their husbands and kept in the home, responsible for domestic duties such as weaving and spinning. In contrast, the Spartans allowed their women considerable freedom, being given citizenship by right. The Spartans allowed girls to be educated in reading, writing and sports based on the notion that fit healthy women would produce healthy offspring ideal for military purposes. The comparison of the philosophies of these ancient cities-states appropriates the contemporary dichotomy of progressive and conservative conflicting thinking of our world. Athens through history is known as the father of democracy due to the form of government common in the city-state during the 5th century. On the other hand, Sparta was a government inline with oligarchic sculpt. These two anti-parallel legacies of government cannot be divorced from today’s argument of women issue between the conservative and progressive thinking. What is proven is that a community becomes more productive when every individual regardless of race, beliefs or gender is allowed the inalienable right to pursue happiness in positive ways for common goal of improvement.
That is why with the spirit of Christ’s love during this Christmas season, we are saluting the women in our community who rise to the occasion – the “Stars over Longview.” IP also appreciates Longview Regional Medical Center for recognizing women in our community who go above and beyond the call of duty thereby add to improved quality of life in our city. We also congratulate Jack and Nelda Strong, 2012 Advocate Award honorees for their exceptional work with the Child Advocacy Center of Gregg and Harrison counties. A trillion thanks to Pat George Mitchell whose art has put our city and local students on the international scene. IP and its readers join you in celebrating 40 great years of hard work and accomplishments. Also in this issue, IP money talk page brings the reader advice on finding on-line bargains. As usual, we appreciate all the readers and advertisers. Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year to Everyone!
The Publisher welcomes input from the public.. You may write or email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volume 1 | Number 12
The Martin House: Giving Children Hope for the Holidays and Beyond.............. 4-6 Star StatusLRMC Recognizes Local Heriones......8, 9 Hooked on Dance...........................10, 11 Rock Icon Bolton to the Belcher...........12 The Beauty Buzz for Holiday Style...14, 15 Online Shopping...............................16, 17
The magazine for living life beyond...
Taiwan: Chinese Culture, Commerce and Natural Beauty......................... 20-22
The Wrap on Wellness......................24, 25 Accord Restored..............................26, 27
Publishers/Editors Robert Fadojutimi Joycelyne Fadojutimi
Happy Holiday Entertaining..................28 The Courage to Change
Creative Director/Design Therese Shearer Office Manager Diane Perkins Photographer Jim King
Holiday Gift-giving.................................30 Just for Chuckles....................................31
Contributing Writers Kelly Bell Distribution Teddy Larose
Advertising Information Joycelyne Fadojutimi at 903.236.0406 or email@example.com Diane Perkins at 903.236.0406 or firstname.lastname@example.org 517 Mobberly Avenue Longview, Texas 75602 903.236.0406 www.infinitieplus.com OUR MISSION
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You may write or email your comments to email@example.com. infinitieplus magazine is not responsible for any discrepancies or changes since the publishing of this issue. At the time of publication, to the best of our knowledge, all information was accurate though not guaranteed. The entire contents of infinitieplus magazine are copyrighted 2012. Any reproduction or use in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. infinitieplus reserves the right to edit and make appropriate modifications. The opinions published by contributing writers do not necessarily reflect the views of infinitieplus or its advertisers.
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from the cover During this holiday season, while spending time with family and friends, remember how blessed you truly are. For those less fortunate, such as the children who have been exposed to abuse, Martin House is there for them. Learn the shocking facts and statistics of child abuse, as well as the services Martin House provides, the wonderful people who make it possible, including Nika Sloan (pictured on the cover sidebar), Alicia Nolte with daughter Ella (shown above) along with many others, and how you can help on pages 5-7. The stars at night are big and bright... and these women shine brightest of all! Find out which women are receiving the honor of being named Stars over Longview on pages 8 and 9. Take a break from the holiday hustle and bustle. Give yourself an early Christmas gift by attending the phenomenal performance by musician Michael Bolton at the Belcher Center. See page 12.
w w w . i n f i n i t i ep l us .com
Martin House Giving children hope for the holidays and beyond
By Joycelyne Fadojutimi firstname.lastname@example.org
This yearâ€™s CAC Advocate Award recipients, Jack and Nelda Strong.
Roxanne Stevenson, Executive Director of Martin House, along with last yearâ€™s CAC Advocate Award recipient, Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt, and many others attended to show their support.
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he modern campaign against child abuse is no longer a new thing, but those who pursue it are still learning and getting better at what they do. At one time youthful victims had to endure multiple, painful interviews on their cases by representatives of agencies that had not yet learned to cooperate efficiently. Being repeatedly questioned by police officers, medical personnel, social workers, lawyers and others about the miserable experiences they had endured was sheer torture for these children. In the early 1980s Huntsville, Alabama District Attorney Bud Cramer realized many child abuse cases were falling through the cracks before reaching him. The inefficient, overly complicated process for persecuting offenders was not only too hard on the children, but allowed many perpetrators to get off unpunished. Cramer set about creating a new system in which a single, child-friendly apparatus was used in which victims were interviewed just once, and by a specially trained individual who works with agencies that collaborate effectively as a team. When the first Childrenâ€™s Advocacy Center
(CAC) opened in Huntsville in 1985, abused children immediately began to benefit. The Martin House Children’s Advocacy Center for Gregg and Harrison counties is one of more than 700 such facilities (66 in Texas) operating nationwide. In this cheerful, brightly decorated compound compassionate, extremely competent CAC counselors conduct recorded forensic interviews with victimized children, providing lawyers with courtroom-acceptable testimony obtained via gentle, non-leading questioning under discreet observation by investigators in adjacent rooms, reducing the number of times children must repeat their painful accounts. Both the children and their non-offending caregivers are assisted by law enforcement, medical professionals, receive mental health counseling, crime victims’ compensation, referral information and follow-up advocacy and support. Close, effective cooperation between all the agencies working on the cases insures the victims’ needs are met so prosecutors can build strong cases against offenders. Establishing the reality of these cases is crucial because even though one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before reaching age 18, only one in ten will report it. Abused children who do not receive treatment and counseling are prone to grow into adults with substance abuse problems, mental health issues, criminal tendencies or become child abusers themselves. Since being established in 2009 the Martin House has provided a ray of hope for those who might otherwise suffer the effects of child abuse for the rest of their lives. Last year 426 unfortunate youngsters aged 3 to 17 passed through its healing doors. In 2011, Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt received the CAC Advocate Award for his tireless work on behalf of children. He has been on the bench since 2003, but a Longview resident for more than 40 years. He came here after his 1971 graduation from Georgia State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Wife Suzanne still teaches in the Longview Independent School District, and daughter Cameron practices veterinary medicine in Bryan, College Station. His family believes in making positive contributions to others. The 2012 Advocate award went to Jack and Nelda Strong, whose love and compassion for our city has set them apart. Part of Nelda’s 15 years of furthering local education was assisting in opening the Sylvan Learning Center back in 1984. Governor Ann Richards crucially
appointed her to the East Texas State University Board of Trustees that was instrumental in forming a partnership with the Texas A&M system. Furthermore, she has been an active member of Longview’s Junior League, and although she worships at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church she spent four years as a volunteer for “Terrific Tuesday” at Wesley-McCabe Methodist Church. Her list of credits continues. In addition, Nelda served on the advisory committee of Margaret’s House Hospice, with Martin’s House Children’s Advocacy Center, and chaired the 2012 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and the Friends of Alzheimer’s Dinner, and is currently a member of the governing board of the Alzheimer’s Association of the Greater Dallas Area. Yet her main concern is being full-time caregiver for husband Jack Strong. Jack worked as a lawyer, state senator, independent lobbyist, hotel developer and volunteer for various worthy causes such as the State Board of Education and the Board of Educational Research. He also sat on the boards of Special Health Resources of East Texas, Margaret’s House Hospice, and the Texas Oil and Gas Board.
“Child abuse knows no boundaries: it can happen to any child of any age, race, gender, nationality, religion, ethnic group, or socioeconomic background.” Roxanne Stevenson, Executive Director Martin House.
Keith Honey, vice-chairman of CAC, and wife, Diane
Friends and supportors of the Strongs, Jim and Julia Baron
He worked with the East Texas Housing Authority, sat on the board of directors of H.D. Vest, as a volunteer for Longview Community Ministries, the East Texas Literary Council, and has tutored students at Longview High School. Last year he preceded his wife as chair for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, but is most proud of receiving last February the Longview Race Relations Committee’s Unity Award. The Strongs have been married 23 years, and somehow find time to spend with their six children, 12 grandchildren and many other family members and close friends. Anybody willing to volunteer with the facility and/or make a financial contribution will be doing it to help this area’s children. For more information on the Martin House, please call 903.807.0189.
David Willard, Longview City Manager, and wife, Cindy
Child abuse follows the person into adulthood: • 14% of all men in prison in the USA were abused as children. • 36% of all women in prison were abused as children. • Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime. • Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy. • Abused teens are less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs. • In Texas the child population is 6,584,709 with • 264,342 initial intakes alleging abuse/neglect • 1863 CPS Caseworkers - responsible for investigation • 66,897 confirmed victims • 23% of calls to hotline • 280 child abuse/neglect related fatalities • 288,075 Alleged Victims • Children Removed 16,347
Donna Blalock and Judge Fort 6
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Roxanne Stevenson, Executive Director of Martin House says that: • 1 of 4 girls and 1 of 6 boys will be sexually abused before reaching age 18 and sadly only 1 out of 10 children will tell. • 426 children were interviewed at The Martin House Children’s Advocacy Center in FY2012 (Sept. 1, 2011-Aug. 31, 2012), an 11% increase over the previous year. • 239 (56%) were from Gregg County; 172 (40%) were from Harrison County; 15 (4%) were from other counties. • The median age of all sexual abuse victims is 9 years old.
Trinity School of Texas Children’s Choir sang at the 2012 Advocate Award Banquet
ChildHelp, a non-profit organization, states that: • • • •
A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds More than five children die every day as a result of child abuse. Approximately 80% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4. It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. • More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. • Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. • About 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder. For more information please visit www.chhildhelp.org www.infinitieplus.com
By Kelly Bell ongview Regional Medical Center (LRMC) has released its 2013 list of the 12 ladies selected as Stars Over Longview. They will be honored in person at the upcoming Women Who Rise to the Occasion awards ceremony and luncheon. LRMC Chief Executive Officer Jim Kendrick outlined the attributes for which these sterling matrons are noted. “Through the Stars Over Longview Awards Ceremony and Luncheon our hospital is able to recognize and celebrate women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, talents and accomplishments within our community,” he said.
This year’s Stars Over Longview are: February Star Over Longview Terre Dunn March Star Over Longview Sue McGarvey April Star Over Longview Kelly Hall May Star Over Longview Nelda Strong Terre Dunn
Linda Ryan Thomas
June Star Over Longview Linda Ryan Thomas
July Star Over Longview Diann Greifenkamp August Star Over Longview Judy Burlison September Star Over Longview Reverend Jennene Laurinec October Star Over Longview Vicky Green November Star Over Longview Carolyn Ramirez December Star Over Longview Dr. Moyne Kornman, MD
Nelda Strong 8
Sue McGarvey december 2012
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January 2014 Star Over Longview Kelly Chambliss
“Nominations were received throughout the month of August, and were carefully selected by our Womens’ Advisory Council,” said LRMC Marketing Director Libby Bryson. “It truly is amazing to see so many wonderful nominations pour in year after year for so many deserving women.” Bryson went further in her description of the significance of this event and the women who are the reason for it. “The 2013 Stars Over Longview Awards Ceremony is just one way the hospital and the Womens’ Advisory Council, together, are able to recognize and give thanks to these women and all of their good will efforts,” she said. The hospital’s Women Advisory Council is a panel of 18 area businesswomen, community volunteers and sundry activists. They work towards making the selection process as accurate and fair as possible in order to adequately recognize significant local ladies who make Longview a better place. “The Women Advisory Council
Reverend Jennene Laurinec
Dr. Moyne Kornman, MD
reviews many nominations for such commendable women in our community,” said LRMC Chief Operating Officer Jill Bayless Berney. “The 12 extraordinary women who were chosen to be honored demonstrate unequivocal service and selfless dedication. These women make a difference toward improving the lives of Longview’s citizens and the community as a whole.” This year’s (the 13th) awards ceremony will start at 11:30 a.m. on January 8, 2013 at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Complex. Mistress of Ceremonies will be news anchor Jennifer Kielman from KETK Channel 56. Tickets are $25 apiece, or $200 for a table for eight and are available
at the LRMC business office at 448 East Loop 281. Catering will be provided by Lori’s Eats and Sweets, and there will be valet parking. Keynote speaker will be author, speaker and radio personality River Jordan who will also sell and sign copies of her book Praying For Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit, which was released in April 2011. For more information on Jordan, visit www. RiverJordan.us. For more information on the awards banquet, call 903-381-7238, or visit www.LongviewRegional.com.
Arts and Culture
e c n a
Pat George Mitchell celebrates 40 years of accomplishments when Captain Hook returns to the stage By Kelly Bell 10
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or Pat George Mitchell dancing is her life. It is her avenue to success and fulfillment. “Do not give up,” she stresses. “Keep perfecting your act and soon all your dreams will come true.” Her students are taking her advice. Young Amanda Edge started out as a part-time pupil, studying under Mitchell only during the summers when she came to Carthage to visit her grandparents. She felt her calling and became steadily more serious about her work on the dance floor. Her work with Mitchell led to her moving on to advanced studies at the North Carolina School of Arts and the School of American Ballet. From these institutions of higher learning she advanced to the New York City Ballet. She now credits her girlhood apprenticeship under Mitchell with the success she now enjoys. They still collaborate. Their first joint effort came just four months after the 9/11 terror attacks. With all the guests artists being residents of New York it was an emotional, intense time in which the people there needed positive distraction from their sorrow and anger. Their audiences were delighted with the patriotic productions, which led to a series of equally successful presentations on which the two women worked together. Edge eventually returned to East Texas and became Associate Artistic Director for the Longview Ballet Theatre (LBT.) She has also created a sequel to Peter Pan. It is called Peter Pan II: Hook Returns and features a cast of 60. Because everyone associated with the production lives, dines and shops in Longview during
the performances, the shows are an economic, as well as cultural, boon to the city. Edge is presently still in New York, starring in Phantom of the Opera. It seems the diabolical Captain Hook survived the hungry crocodile that had him in its jaws, and he has spent the last few decades scheming to take his revenge on the ever-youthful Peter Pan. Unless the faithful Tinker Bell can find and warn Peter in time, Hook may succeed. The production will be performed December 7, 8 and 9 at the S.E. Belcher Chapel. “My 40 years with Longview Ballet theatre have been much like this production, exciting, suspenseful, joyful and challenging,” said Mitchell. “Last year 7000 people saw Peter Pan. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate 40 years than to fill those seats with audiences eager to see what Peter Pan and Captain Hook do next.” So far this year the LBT has worked with more than 2000 students from 19 regional schools.
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
For more information please call (903) 233-3080 or visit www.belchercenter.com.
Arts and Culture
By Kelly Bell Music master-to-be Michael Bolton got his start when he was born February 26, 1953. At that time he was called Michael Bolotin, but took on the new name as his career gained momentum. He was 22 when he started recording, and got off to a fast start as he initially concentrated on hard rock. He and his band Blackjack once toured with heavy rocker Ozzy Osbourne, but Bolton’s first major hit was the sweet ballad How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?, recorded by Laura Branigan in 1983. The song made it to the top of the Adult Contemporary Chart. His next song I Found Someone was only a modest success when released by Branigan, but when superstar Cher sang it, the tune achieved widespread notice. Bolton produced a string of successful releases during the 1980s and 1990s as his melodies rode high on the adult contemporary/easy listening charts. Still, his versatility came through as he resurrected such classics as New York, New York, When a Man Loves a Woman, Georgia on My Mind 12
and the late Otis Redding’s Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay. His ability and eagerness to work with other artists has been a blessing to his and their careers as he has collaborated with Lucia Aliberti, Patti LaBelle, José Carreras, Tony Cetinski, Ray Charles, Celine Dion, Placido Domingo, Renée, Wynonna Judd, B.B. King, Lonely Island, Luciano Pavarotti, Percy Sledge and Zucchero. His latest Top 40 single in the U.S. was Go the Distance from the animated movie Hercules. In 2001, Bolton released his album Only a Woman Like You. At the 2008 Sanremo Music Festival he sang Il Mio Amico as a duet with Italian singer Anna Tatangelo, He released his album One World One Love in 2009. In 2011 he sang as a guest vocalist on the group Lonely Island’s Turtleneck and Chain albums. He has even dabbled in acting and has dated Desperate Housewives actresses Nicollette Sheridan and Teri Hatcher. Yet his concern for the lessfortunate is a driving force in his career. He has raised money for children’s hospices, i n finitie plus
and established Michael Bolton Charities to assist women and children victimized by poverty and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. This foundation has raised more than $3.7 million in funding for its worthy causes. He is honorary chair for Prevent Child Abuse America, national chair for This Close for Cancer Research, board member for the National Mentoring Partnership, and for the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. He has lobbied for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Bolton has received the Lewis Hine Award from the National Child Labor Committee, the Martin Luther King Award from the Congress of Racial Equality, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. He has earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to music and charity. Bolton will be performing at the LeTourneau University Belcher Center on Dec. 16. For information, call 903-233-3080 or visit www.BelcherCenter.
Holiday Style By Sharon Mosley Whether you’ve got a new little black dress or not, just putting on a new face and hairstyle is a great way to add some glamour to your holiday soirees. Let’s face it — a new red lipstick can do wonders for a great party pout! Here are some tips from the pros at beautypress.com to get the party started with makeup and hair advice:
Start by going bold Bring out your favorite shade of red lipstick. There are plenty of shades that can compliment any skin tone; if you’re more fair skinned, look for a bluebased red (which will make your teeth look super white), and if your skin is more yellow in tone, look for warmer shades of red to bring out your exotic complexion. If you do choose to rock a red lip, be sure to keep the rest of your makeup minimal so your mouth will be the focal point. Too much bold color is not a good thing when it comes to makeup ... even at holiday time. Save it for next Halloween.
Fire up a smokey eye
Every eye color can be complemented with brown shadows. Just think lid, crease and V. Add a light “skin tone” shade to your lid and brow bone, take a medium shade brown, and add it to your crease. At the end, take a black or dark brown (depending on your preference) and add it to your outer V (the outer corner of the eye), and blend out all the harsh lines. Add some eyeliner, mascara and false lashes if needed.
Glitter and go
For even more glamour, you may want to try a smudge of sparkly shadow smoothed across your eye lid. Peruse the cosmetic counters for the latest gold, silver and purple palettes this holiday season. 14
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When packing your evening clutch for a night of holiday celebrations, make sure to keep the following on hand:
Pressed powder 'Tis the season for taking photos- make sure you're camera-ready and shine-free with a compact of pressed powder for quick touch-ups.
You likely don't wear your dressy shoes every day. Make sure to pack some bandages in case you develop a blister from those fancy heels.
Ensure your breath is fresh and clean by packing a mini, single-use toothbrush- perfectly sized for clutch purses or pockets for quick use following dinner or drinks.
Give your locks a once-over to re-set your style part-way through the evening.
Concealer and lipstick
Your makeup shouldn't require any further touchups than a quick concealer and some color to your lips.
Nail it with shine The holidays are also the perfect time to add some glimmer to your nails. There are lots of variations on the glitter theme with nail polishes this year. Check them out at your favorite salon or do-it-yourself at home.
The cat-eye look is another way to achieve party “purr-fect” makeup. Just use a creamy liquid liner to make sure you get the smoothest look. Experiment with using a cobalt liquid liner on lower lids to get what makeup artists are calling the new “peacock” effect.
Pinch your cheeks
Rosy cheeks are another way to brighten up your holiday makeup. Look for a cream blush in a natural pink rosy color and add it to the apples of your cheeks. Apply foundation and powder lightly over the cream blush to give the illusion of an inner glow. Add a highlight to your cheekbones to make them pop.
Curl up with style
Curls are hot this year. The ‘40s retro look is making a big statement. Get the look by blowdrying your hair with a large round brush and set your hair in pin curls all over your head. Spray all over with a strong hairspray and then brush to create this glamour style.
Step to the side
Another major glamour ‘do is the elegant side ponytail or bun. This is a quick fix for party hair. Then you’ll definitely be ready to dance “Gangnam Style.” Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.
Online Shopping Best Benefit is Price Comparison
he t t u o b a l g al n i r a e h p able I kee l i a v a s n i arga b y a d i l o h et. n r e t n I e h w o h n over t o e c dvi a r u o y s ’ What ins? a g r a b e s o to find th
By Terry Savage
Here’s the thing about holiday shopping online. What you don’t get is the sensory and enticing experience of walking through a store and being “struck” by the “perfect gift.” What you do get is a disciplined way to shop for the best price on something you already have decided should be the perfect gift. And since you’re likely not to pay local sales taxes when you order online (unless the merchant has a retail presence in your location), there is a huge incentive to avoid the crowds and order online. Online holiday shopping is expected to increase 17 percent from $46.63 billion in 2011 to $54.47 billion in 2012. But the real benefit of online shopping is instant price comparison. Many websites scurry around the Internet finding all the best bargains on the products you are most likely to want. When you click through from their website, you get the low price guarantee — and they get a small fee per click-through from the store.
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PriceGrabber.com is one of the top shopping comparison websites. You can ?go to the site and compare prices of more than 80 million different products and read merchant reviews. Shoppers can also download the PriceGrabber App which gives them the ability to compare prices on the go by browsing or using the barcode scanner. It’s instant information. You can compare by product category — i.e., top three 40-inch LCD televisions, or find the lowest price sellers of the product you decide upon.
PriceBlink.com is another free tool that saves you money by doing all the searching for you for coupons, free shipping and more. If you can purchase that very same product on another site for less or if the site you’re on offers any coupon codes, free shipping or any other deals, PriceBlink will let you know. Priceblink also just released a free companion iPhone App, called BuyorNot, which helps shoppers when they’re in the store to quickly see how an item is rated by other shoppers simply by scanning the barcode of any product to search more than 45 million reviews. JustDeals.com is a daily discount site that offers savings of up to 95 percent off original pricing on deals ranging from electronics to home goods and housewares, to jewelry. JustDeals.com offers four deeply discounted daily deals with limited quantities that go live every night at 11 p.m for a 24-hour period, or while supplies last as products quickly sell out. For today, Thursday, the deals include an HP digital camera, a camcorder, a set of carpet mats and a kung fu food processor!
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Bankruptcies Asset Protection Mergers & Acquisitions Accounting Services Audits, Reviews & Compilations Bookkeeping/Write-up c e rt i f i e d p u b l i c a c c o u n ta n t s Forensic Accounting a p r o f e s s i o n a l c o r p o r at i o n Financial Statements “Professionalism in the accounting profession Financial Forecasts & Projections Cash Flow & Budget Analysis means integrity, objectivity, independence, Tax Planning & Preparation adherence to professional standards, and a IRS Representation demonstrated will to maintain and improve Payroll Services the quality of professional services.” Sales Tax Services Estate & Trust Tax Preparation Consulting Services Accounting Software Selectio n & Implementation Business Succession Planning Business Valuations Buying & Selling a Business Estate Planning Financial Planning Retirement Planning Management Advisory Services Business Consulting Pension & Profit Sharing Plan s Investment Review Debt & Financing Services 1223 Judson Road | Longview Business Entity Selection Employee Benefit Plans Expert Witness Services
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RetailMeNot.com, CouponSherpa.com, and eBay.com: These and many others have tools to help you search the best online deals, save money and fill your holiday stocking with gifts for everyone. But I just can’t resist adding my traditional advice about not overspending. Remember a bargain isn’t a bargain if you’re paying interest on it for the next six months! And that’s the Savage Truth.
Terry Savage is a registered investment adviser and is on the board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. She appears weekly on WMAQ-Channel 5’s 4:30 p.m. newscast, and can be reached at www.terrysavage.com. She is the author of the new book, “The New Savage Number: How Much Money Do You Really Need to Retire?”
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Travel and Adventure By Robert Selwitz
mong the world’s economic powers, Taiwan must be one of the least understood. Officially called the Republic of China, it is actually the transplanted continuation of the government that ended China’s royal rule in 1912. Roughly 140 miles east of the Communist-led People’s Republic of China, this is a dynamic nation that has moved from initial government repression to present-day democracy. Infrastructure is topnotch, cleanliness is a mandate and English is much more widely spoken than on the mainland. A mere 245 miles long and roughly 90 miles across at its widest point, Taiwan is home to just over 23 million people. Divided by formidable northsouth mountains, most of the population lives in the relatively flat west. Long the home to indigenous peoples, during the 17th century Taiwan was initially explored by the Portuguese and the Spanish and then successfully settled by the Dutch. Their tenure proved short-lived as the island was conquered by Chinese forces that ruled for more than 200 years. Japan gained control in 1895 and dominated the island until their 1945 defeat in World War II. Four years later the ROC — retreating from their civil war loss to the PRC — took control of Taiwan. ROC leader Chiang Kai-Shek ran a very tight ship and brooked little or no dissent. But after his death in 1975, controls gradually loosened. Today, Taiwan relishes freedom of speech, encourages capitalism and generally offers an interesting counterpoint to the Communist-ruled mainland. Taipei is Taiwan’s commercial and cultural hub. With 2.6 million residents (nearly 7 million if you count adjoining metropolitan areas) it is where trade is primarily conducted and public services are at their best. An outstanding example is the 16-year-old MRT subway system, which is scrupulously clean, with restrooms equivalent to those in luxury hotels. Food is banned on station platforms and trains, and signs are in both Chinese and English. Taipei’s MRT could be the model for mass-transit systems around the world. Taipei’s No. 1 draw for visitors is the National Palace Museum. One of the world’s greatest repositories of Chinese art, it displays changing examples of nearly 700,000 works — including bronzes, rare scrolls, lacquer ware, jade, calligraphy and statuary — much of which was removed from mainland China to Taiwan before the ROC broke with the mainland. Much of the art came from Beijing’s Forbidden City, the former residence of China’s royalty. The treasures were stored for decades after arriving in Taiwan, and the museum built to house them opened in 1965. It is impossible to see everything in one visit, but one good strategy is to visit as early in the day as possible in order to avoid waves of mainland China tourists. From midday on, crowding can make comfortable viewing a formidable challenge. The move to Taipei was probably one of the greatest inadvertent acts of preservation in art history. What was safe in Taiwan was not within reach of zealots who, during the 1966-’76 Cultural Revolution, destroyed vast quantities of priceless art under their interpretation of Mao Zedong’s orders to purge China of any and all capitalist influences. A quieter home for fine art is the less-crowded Museum of History. Fabulous bronzes and vibrant Tang dynasty statues are must-sees here. Taipei also boasts fascinating temples that include the Confucius, Ba’on and Longshan temples. A true taste of the city can be had at a night market. The best and wildest of these is the Shilin Night Market, Taipei’s largest and most famous. Its food stands offer strips of grilled meat wrapped around scallions as well as oyster omelets. Other highlights include the massive Chiang Kai-Shek memorial filled
Taiwan Chinese Culture, Commerce and Natural Beauty
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival 20
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Steamed dumplings at Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
Shilin Night Market with remembrances of his career, the more modest and human-scale Sun Yat Sen Memorial and the 2-28 Memorial Peace Park. This commemorates victims of a 1947 massacre when dozens of peaceful tax protestors were killed by government troops. A stroll down Yongkang Street reveals a refreshingly narrow mile-long byway stuffed with restaurants, small shops and antique stores. Taipei 101, currently the world’s second-tallest building, is visible from here. Taiwan’s impressive infrastructure is not limited to Taipei. Its high-speed rail line, operating between Taipei and the southern port city of Kaohsiung, runs as frequently as every 18 minutes at speeds of up to 186 miles per hour. It is quiet, punctual and offers a very smooth ride. Covering the 161 miles between Taipei and Tainan in an hour and 41 minutes, one quickly arrives in Taiwan’s most historic city. It was settled by 17th-century Dutch traders, and remnants of their two main forts are mustsees. What started life as Fort Provintia was renamed Chihkan Towers after its capture by Chinese warrior Koxinga in 1661 and contains remnants of the original Dutch fortification, impressive temples, stone tablets in the shape of tortoises and a reconstructed multitier tower with varied exhibits. As the tower is in the heart of Tainan, it’s a great starting point for walking and wending through often serpentine streets, byways filled with all manner of temples, food, shops and commerce. Fort Zeelandia, also called Anping Fort, was the original Dutch fortification in Tainan. www.infinitieplus.com
Fireworks at Taipei 101 infinitie plus
Travel and Adventure Remnants are mainly of walls, but nearby Anping Fort Museum offers a good explanation of the complex history of early settlements and conflicts. Just steps away lies Yanping Old Street, one of the city’s oldest. Now a raucous, family-friendly jam-packed market street, it parallels calmer lanes that give a sense of traditional lifestyles. Also nearby is the bizarre Anping Treehouse. This is the remnant of an abandoned 19th-century merchant warehouse that has been untouched by human hands for decades. The everspreading ground and aerial roots of a massive banyan tree have almost literally swallowed the building. Other Tainan highlights include the stately and sober Confucius Temple and its opposite, the wildly ornate Grand Mazu Temple, which is festooned with representations of demons and deities. Eastern Taiwan’s most appealing city is Hualien, a 2 1/2-hour standard rail ride from Taipei. While commerce bustles here virtually non-stop, its night markets are particularly lively. A major center for Asian marble production, the city’s Hualien County Stone Sculpture Museum features examples of area marbles as well as traditional and contemporary stone sculptures. Hualien is also the closest sizable city to Taroko National Park, where the primary appeal is the 19-mile-long Taroko Gorge, an example of the sculpting nature can accomplish over millions of years. Stunning hills surrounds the gorge, and there are plenty of trails to match all levels of physical challenge. This is probably the best place to head for anyone interested in the natural side of multifaceted Taiwan.
Baiyang Waterfall Trail in Taroko National Park
Robert Selwitz is a freelance travel writer.
WHEN YOU GO Taiwan National Tourism is an excellent source for travel guides and guidance: www.go2taiwan.net. Grand Hyatt Hotel, Taipei, is a five-star luxury accommodation in a central location, a short walk from Taipei 101: www.taipei.grand.hyatt.com. Far East Plaza Hotel, Taipei, is operated by Shangri La Hotels in a quiet neighborhood with plenty of shops and restaurants: www.shangri-la.com/taipei. People Restaurant is a trendy fusion eatery with fascinating dishes across the street from Taipei’s Shangri-La. Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, Taipei, offers dumplings in a wildly popular restaurant chain with three Taipei locations: www.dintaifung.com.tw. Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Tainan, is Shangri-La run and boasts a great location and helpful staff: www.shangri-la.com/tainan. Silks Hotel is the best upscale hotel in Taroko Gorge at 18 Tian Hsyang Road, Taroko Gorge, Xiulin, Hualien County, 970 Taiwan.
National Palace Museum 22
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Getting to know s and friends,
Dear community familie
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John Kirk, M.D. OB/GYN
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unity to become We would love the opport dental home. your family’s medical and best!
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what we do your family’s health is Taking care of you and e of our three on at ay come visit us tod Call 903.758.2610 or Gilmer. Longview, Kilgore, and convenient locations in n and passion that ica with the same ded tio ily fam r you for e car Let us for more than 20 years. er community families we have provided to oth do. nity families is what we Caring for our commu
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Visit us online at www.wellnesspointe.org
Marcy Hall, FNPC
Donna Davis, M.D.
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Rikki Sandvik, WHCNP
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Pediatrics www.infinitieplus.com Nurse MaNaGer
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Donna Britton, FNPC Pediatrics
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december Pediatrics 2012
Body, Mind, and Soul
The Wrap on
Gift Yourself with Healthy Choices
By Marilynn Preston ’m not suggesting that you call off Christmas or cancel Hanukkah and retreat into selfishness. No way. Santa forbid. I’m just saying that if you don’t pay extra special attention to your own health and wellness this time of year — inhaling joy, exhaling tension — you’ll burn out trying to care for others. Give, give, give. That’s what the December holiday season can feel like. So let me give you permission to take, take, take some time for yourself to realize your own deep desire to be healthier and happier, more active, less stressed. It begins with your acknowledgment that you — not your doctor, your mate, your employer — are responsible for your health. Your wellness isn’t the result of a five-star medical plan or even good genes, though that helps. Yes, sickness and disease can get in the way and push us off course. But that doesn’t change the essential truth that, for the most part, you’re in charge: The exercise you get, the foods you eat, the stupid TV shows you don’t watch, the anger you let go of — these are the conscious moves that dance you down the path to being the joyful, active, well-rested and easily loved person you long to be. Last week, we talked about giving gifts to others. I suggested that less stuff and more gratitude was the way to go. This week, I want to suggest five gifts you might give yourself this holiday season. Ok, I confess I’ve mentioned these things a zillion times before: exercise more, eat smarter, stress less, blah-blah-blah. The fact is, like Rudolph’s hoofs on your roof, you can’t hear this stuff enough. It’s like yoga. You have to keep coming back to the same basic postures time after time, discovering something meaningful every time, until eventually it all sinks in and you wake up to your freedom to make smarter choices. When that happens, the struggle is over, the spirit is engaged, and suddenly you’ve joined a gym, lost 10 pounds and given up diet colas forever.
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GIFT NO. 1: GET MOVING.
GIFT NO. 3: RELISH REAL FOOD.
There is no substitute for moving your body, challenging your heart, juicing your joints. You can’t fake exercise, you can’t hire someone to do it for you, you can’t avoid the bad-health consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. The trick is to find activities you enjoy and do them often enough so that NOT doing them feels bad. Then you’re hooked. When you’re hooked on regular exercise, life is very sweet.
You can’t fool Mother Nature. She despises fake foods, processed foods, foods with additives and pesticides, foods that are genetically modified or artificially sweetened. It’s everywhere, and it’s toxic, and it’s your job to read labels and resist. There is plenty of wholesome, delicious, real food out there. Find it, eat it in modest portions, and support the conscious people who grow it.
GIFT NO. 2: DAZZLE YOUR DENDRITES.
GIFT NO. 4: STRETCH.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste on Twitter and “Desperate Housewives.” To keep your body vital, you must churn your brain with challenging activities. Do puzzles. Study a foreign language. Tutor a child. Play bridge. Take a course in bicycle repair. When you stop learning, your brain goes to sleep, and the next thing you know, you’re dead.
As you age, your body grows tighter, less flexible. The good news is it’s never too late to unlock a tense body and experience less pain and more energy. Give yourself the gift of s-t-r-e-t-c-hing any way and anywhere you can: at your desk, in your kitchen, at the gym. Don’t say you’ll try. As Yoda teaches, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
GIFT NO. 5: THINK IT, DO IT, BE IT.
The most important thing to remember is this: to be ready at any moment, to give up what you are, for what you might become.” W.E.B. DuBois
Your thoughts influence your health to a remarkable degree. Negative thinking — I’m too fat, too lazy, too klutzy — gets in the way of making positive change. So do anger, jealousy, intolerance. Happiness is a choice. Hallelujah! You can learn to live your life with kindness and compassion. That’s why yoga was invented. Meditate on that, not your flabby thighs, and awaken this holiday season to your body’s natural desire to be healthy, strong and Cinnabon-free.
Marilynn Preston’s website, is marilynnpreston.com. She always welcomes reader’s questions at MyEnergyExpress@aol.com.
Accord Restored Honda’s New Sedan Reclaims Innovation, Refinement, Style By Mark Maynard There are no laurels to rest upon in the midsize sedan segment this year. 2013 will be a cutthroat year of competition with the top four-doors stepping out as new or recently new. The choices include the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and today’s test car, the 2013 Honda Accord I’ve driven all except the Mazda, and the Accord muscles its way to the front of the segment with an invigorating redesign and obsessive attention to detail. It is a well thought-out package of new engines, interior refinement like never before and driver-assist technologies that motorists will value. The new Accord is a little smaller on the outside -- 3.5 inches shorter on a wheelbase that is less than an inch shorter -- but roomier inside with more trunk space. The exterior styling isn’t as dramatic as the Ford Fusion, but all angles are good and lean. There’s also more creative design inside. And the interior plastics and fabrics are superior with assembly that will silence nitpickers. There are five trim levels (all front-wheel drive) with four-cylinder or V-6 engines and three transmissions. (A plug-in hybrid Accord launches in early 2013 followed by a dual-mode hybrid next summer.) Starting prices range from $22,470 with sixspeed manual transmission to about $35,000 for the loaded V-6 with six-speed automatic transmission. Prices include the $790 freight charge from Marysville, Ohio. 26
I tested the midrange EX-L with navigation system, which includes all of the latest technologies, for a reasonable $30,785. This is a curb-to-50 car. It looks good up close and takes just 50 feet of a test drive to know that it isn’t the same old thing. The electric steering is a standout for its precise touch and highway stability. Credit the stiffer chassis for that, which benefits everything attached to it, particularly the suspension. Ride quality is smooth and tender with mostly graceful transitions but head-toss can be noticeable when fording speed bumps or angled driveways. The cabin is also quieter than ever before, in part to the solid foundation but also to Active Noise Control and Active Sound Control. Microphones and a processor use the audio speakers to counteract engine noise and sweeten the highrpm engine sound. The driver area has been toned down and is less overwhelming with fewer buttons. Sightlines are good over the hood and shoulders, with increased awareness from the standard back-up camera with guidance lines. The back seat area is raised and relaxing with doors that open wide. Trunk space looks enormous (15.5 cubic feet) with a wide opening. The fabric headliner, soft leather and flowing design elements have a tidy, tailored finish. There is a full suite of standard safety features on the EX, with advanced technologies, such as forward collision warning and lane departure warning, standard on the EX-L. But the slickest i n finitie plus
awareness trick is the Lane Watch camera in the passenger-side mirror. Looking to the rear, it activates whenever the turn signal is used and gives a broad view of the lane. Cars, motorcycles and bicyclists are no longer in a blind spot. The camera also can be manually switched on for an ongoing rear side view. These cameras are real-world safety features that are better than eyes in the back of the driver’s head. Fuel economy is also improved with a new direct-injection, 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, and a significantly updated 3.5-liter V-6. The four-cylinder is paired with a sixspeed manual or continuously variable automatic with a Sport mode. The 2.4 gives lively response and has strong cruising power with mileage ratings of 27 city, 36 highway and 30 combined. The onboard computer claimed I was getting 23 mpg combined using Sport mode. There is also an Eco mode that blunts acceleration and fun. The 278-hp V-6 with six-speed automatic (up from a five-speed last year) has fuel economy of 21/34 mpg city/highway and 25 combined. Midsize sedans are like chocolate-chip cookies. There are no bad ones, but some are better than others. The Accord, which shares some foundational elements with the Acura TL, feels as if it were built to luxury standards. And no matter the vehicle, it’s always better to start with luxury than build up to it. Mark Maynard is driving in cyberspace at email@example.com. Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage.
2013 Honda Accord EX-L Navi
Base price $30,785, including $790 freight charge Body style midsize, five-passenger, front-wheel-drive sedan Engine aluminum, 185-horse-power, DOHC, direct-injection 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Transmission CVT Fuel economy 27/36 mpg city/highway; 87 octane Fuel tank 17.2 gallons Trunk space 15.5 cubic feet Front head/leg/shoulder room 37.6*/42.5/58.6 inches *with moonroof Rear head/leg/shoulder room 37/38.5/56.5 inches Length/wheelbase 191.4/109.3 inches Curb weight 3,254 pounds Turning circle 38.1 feet
Standard equipment includes intelligent key lock/unlock and push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power adjustable driver seat with two memory settings, heated front seats, leathertrimmed upholstery, voice-recognition navigation system with rear multi-view camera, 7-speaker CD-digital audio system, leather wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, Bluetooth phone and radio interface, text-messaging response, Lane Watch, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, lighted visor mirrors, cruise control, floor mats, power moonroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, LED taillights, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals Safety features include Six air bags, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, stability and traction controls, brake assist, ABS, brakeforce distribution, 4-wheel disc brakes (vented front rotors, solid rear) Options on test vehicle none Where assembled Marysville, OH Warranty 3-years/36,000-miles bumper to bumper; 5-years/60,000miles powertrain
Eggnog Hot Chocolate
Host a holiday party that’s simple and festive with a combination of pre-made and homemade delights from the celebration experts at Wilton. For starters, a cookie pan does double duty for holiday-shaped homemade Crispy Cheese Crackers. Serve these aromatic rosemary treats, made into Christmas trees, snowmen and stockings, alongside a colorful assortment of fresh vegetables and made-from-scratch fire-roasted jalapeño dip. “Guests will think you spent hours baking in the kitchen when you wow them with a seasonal selection of hand-decorated gingerbreads,” says Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs at Wilton. Easy to assemble with all the trimmings included, there’s a ready-to-decorate gingerbread kit to fit any yuletide gathering. Complete with pre-baked gingerbread, each kit contains decorating accessories like candies and icings to personalize your own mini vil-
lage, Christmas tree, gingerpop cookies and more. For another fun twist on a traditional gingerbread house, Siler recommends involving the kids. They’ll love the marshmallow-y Holiday House Treat made of cinnamon toasted oats cereal. Once the house is built, watch the kids decorate their creation with a variety of gumdrops, licorice, icings and candies. To cater to a more sophisticated palate, Siler suggests Salted Caramel Bacon Cordial Cups. A lavish blend of vanilla pudding, crisp-cooked bacon and whipped cream is flavored with caramel ice cream topping and piped into edible, dark cocoa Candy Melt cordial cups. They’re bite-sized holiday bliss. Don’t forget eggnog. This year, give your favorite prepared eggnog a chocolate kick and serve Eggnog Hot Chocolate garnished with peppermint Candy Curls. For more holiday ideas, or to purchase gingerbread kits, visit www.wilton.com.
Holiday House Treat
Fire Roasted Jalapeño Onion Dip
6 cups cinnamon-flavored toasted oats cereal 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter 1 bag (10 ounces) mini marshmallows 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon Assorted Tube Icing, Decorating Gel, Sprinkles, Colored Sugars, Icing Decorations and other favorite candy Prepare Wilton Stand-Up House Pan with vegetable pan spray. Place cereal in large bowl. In large saucepan, melt butter; add marshmallows, ginger and cinnamon. Cook and stir constantly until melted. Pour over cereal and mix well. Spread cereal mixture into prepared pan. When cool to touch, remove from pan; secure to foil-wrapped cake board with icing. Decorate as desired with icing, sprinkles, sugars, icing decorations and candy. Makes about 12 servings.
4 jalapeño peppers 1 package (5.7 ounces) onion soup mix 1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup mayonnaise Preheat broiler. Place peppers on non-stick cookie pan; broil, turning at least once, 6 to 7 minutes or until blackened. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove stem and seeds; coarsely chop. In large bowl, stir together onion soup mix, sour cream and mayonnaise. Fold in peppers. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with cucumber and zucchini slices, celery, carrot sticks, sliced bell peppers and other favorite vegetables. Note: For spicier dip, include seeds from peppers. Makes about 1-3/4 cups dip.
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2 cups milk 2 cups prepared eggnog 1 cup Dark Cocoa Candy Melts Candy 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Whipped cream Candy Curls In large saucepan, cook milk and eggnog on medium heat until the mixture is hot; turn off heat. Whisk in Candy Melts candy and vanilla extract. Continue whisking until candy is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into mugs; garnish with Candy Curls. Makes about 4 servings.
Crispy Cheese Crackers 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup (about 2 ounces) finely grated Asiago cheese 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) toasted pine nuts, finely chopped 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare Holiday Cookie Pan with vegetable pan spray. In medium bowl, beat butter, cheese, pine nuts, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper with electric mixer until creamy and well combined. Add flour; beat until mixture looks sandy and holds together when squeezed in your hand. Press into prepared pan, filling cavities 1/2 full. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. Makes 16 to 20 crackers.
Salted Caramel Bacon Cordial Cups 1-1/2 cups Dark Cocoa Candy Melts Candy 3 containers (3.2 ounces each) vanilla prepared pudding 1/2 cup finely chopped crisp-cooked bacon 1 tablespoon caramel ice cream topping plus additional for drizzling 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped Sea salt Fill cordial cup candy mold 1/3 full with melted candy. Using a decorator brush, paint the candy up the sides of each mold to the top edge. Coat mold so that no light can be seen through the shell. Refrigerate until firm, about 5 minutes. Repeat if needed. Carefully remove shells from mold. In medium bowl, combine pudding, bacon and 1 tablespoon ice cream topping; mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Using tip #33, pipe filling into candy cordial cups. Drizzle with additional ice cream topping and sprinkle with sea salt. Makes about 24 filled cordial cups.
The Courage to Change
By Mary Hunt
here is no way I can list all of the various family situations and dynamics that come into play around the holidays. But a common family angst springs out of the matter of gift-giving. We are faced with unreasonable expectations, guilt and hurt feelings. The solution? Courage. Courage to give as you want to give, not out of
guilt or expectation; courage to spend what you are able, not what others say you must. Courage to get creative and to try something new. My family has a tradition that has been going on for more than thirty-five years. When our boys were toddlers, we and our best friends—who have three children about the same ages as our boys, decided to have a family Christmas party early in December. We had such a great time we decided to make it an annual event. Things have changed over the years. That first year there were a few gifts, mostly small gifts for the children. The kids are grown, many have children of their own, and grandparents have died. Still, we party and every year the problem arises: what to do about gifts? We switch hosting every year, and sev-
eral years ago instructions were mailed for how adults would exchange gifts that year. The host drew names for everyone and the instructions stated that we were to shop and “buy” for that person as if we had all the money in the world. How? Find a picture or other visual representation of the object. I got a call from my mother-in-law, Gwen. She was livid! “What on earth is this all about?” she queried. “Has Kathleen lost her mind?” She was happy with the person’s name she drew, but not happy with this ridiculous non-gift way of giving. The night of the party there was an air of cautious anticipation, but no one was more visibly excited than my mother-in-law. As people opened their gifts, the fun began. A flying enthusiast got a new jet, framed with a complete list of amenities. Others received beautiful new homes, golf courses, domestic staff—the sky truly was the limit. And then Wendy opened her gift from Grandma (my mother-in-law). To my surprise, Gwen had spent days preparing a small scrapbook filled with beautiful pictures she’d found in magazines and catalogs, carefully selected just for Wendy. It was a moment to remember as Grandma gave Wendy all the things she knew she would love. I learned something important that night. Buying a gift is way too easy. Creating a gift—even if it is cut from the pages of a magazine—requires the giver to think about the recipient and open his or her heart to that person. What a memorable exchange it was. No one overspent and no one went into debt. There was no guilt, or unmet expectations. And no one enjoyed it more than my mother-in-law, whom all agreed was the best gift-giver of all. Mary Hunt, award winning and bestselling author, syndicated columnist and sought-after motivational speaker, has created a global platform that is making strides to help men and women battle the epidemic impact of consumer debt. Mary is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a highly regarded organization, a monthly newsletter, a daily syndicated column and hundreds of thousands of loyal followers. For more, visit www.everydaycheapskate.com
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Just for Chuckles