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Holiday 2013

109 Holiday Specials 35 Junkin’ Gets Funky: Introducing the Funky Junk Trail 42 Remember to Shop Small, Shop Southern 109 Sock Monkey Village 114 All I Can Do is Pray


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49 Christmas Card Etiquette 55 Holiday Warmth: Hot Cocoa Bar 73 Holiday Fashion Finds 88 Cookie Swap Party 102 Holiday Flicks

Recipes 25 Thanksgiving Traditions 76 Santa’s Spiked Cider 94 Frosty’s Frothy Cocoa 97 Whimsical Holiday Treats 110 A Little Family Christmas





35 Holiday Decor 22 Decorating Without a Fireplace 45 Christmas Greens 63 Christmas Fragrances 79 Joys of Holiday Decorating


Crafts/ How To 17 Harvest DĂŠcor 32 The Power of a Simple Thank You 69 Subway Art 85 Make it a Banner Christmas 93 Serving with Style 100 Cardboard Canvases 105 Ornaments Uncorked


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We have a wonderful group of contributors for this ye and follow them on their websites visit www.Souther

Kelly Caldwell

Leisel Caldwell

Lavoy Caldwell

Amanda Causey

Editor & Owner Southern Holiday Life & Lake Wedowee Life

General Manager & Owner Southern Holiday Life & Lake Wedowee Life

Advertising Sales & Owner Southern Holiday Life & Lake Wedowee Life

Social Media Manager & Craft Blogger at Green Owl Crafts

Rob Drinkard

Elizabeth Hoskins

Julia Hoskins

Terry Hyde

Floral Designer at Jean’s Florist

Craft Blogger at Southern Color

Craft Blogger at Southern Color

Cookbook Author at Mama Katt’s Kitchen

Andy Petty

Dr. Cathy Randall

Debbie Reynolds

Amy Richardson

Movie Guru & Photographer

Alabama Academy of Honor Chairwoman

Blogger at OhSoShabby

Painter/Crafter at Artsy Amy

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ears Southern Holiday Life magazine. To see their complete profiles and click on ‘Our Contributors’ on the top left.

Lynn Amason

Tracy Carpenter

Anita Diaz

Morgan Drinkard

Creator of All This Shabby at Not Too Shabby

Home Cook & Baker of all things Awesome.

Home Décor Blogger at Far Above Rubies

Executive Director at Johnson Center for the Arts & Adjunct Instructor at TROY University

Stacey Little

Kaylee McCullough

Chris & Keesha McEwen

Holly McKenzie

Cookbook Author & Southern Food Blogger at Southern Bite

Fashion Blogger at Kaylee Daily

Reclaimed Furniture Designers at Reclaiming the McEwens

Invitation, Stationery & Personalized Gifts Designer at HollyDays

Deanna Talwalker

Jennifer West

Becca Bertotti

Party Stylist at Mirabelle Creations

Craft Blogger at Pink When

Décor Blogger at Adventures in Decorating

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On the Cover The wreath was made by Ginni G Florist in Trussville, Ala. We owe her a huge Thank You for making our vision a reality!



Writer/Photographer AMANDA CAUSEY

Advertising Manager LAVOY CALDWELL

Advertising Sales Jenny Adams, Sharon Bledsoe, Alicia Braswell, Patricia McArthur, Ann Stewart, Tammy Sweet

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877.959.LAKE (5253) 18285 Highway 431  Wedowee, AL Southern Holiday Life magazine is published annually by parent company Neighborhood Publishing which also produces Lake Wedowee Life and Friday Night Life magazines. All content in this publication is protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, or otherwise published without the prior written permission of Neighborhood Publishing. Š 2008-2013 Neighborhood Publishing


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Using Our Village to Accomplish Our Best Issue YET! Southern Holiday Life was born out of our love for the Holidays and all things Southern, however, if it were not for our sister publication Lake Wedowee Life, we wouldn't be here. Lake Wedowee Life, a family-owned magazine, launched in 2008 because my mom and dad believed in me. We knew next to nothing about magazine publishing, but with a combination of experience in sales and journalism, not to mention pure determination to succeed, we got to work. Lake Wedowee Life, the first lifestyle publication of its kind for the area is simply the little magazine that could. It's survived a drought, a terrible economy and rising gas prices to continue to succeed in a seasonal resort market. Southern Holiday Life evolved from the pages of Lake Wedowee Life into its own standalone publication in 2010. As it continues to grow from a small local magazine into a regional publication, we continue to learn what works and what doesn't. This year we took a huge leap of faith by expanding our focus. We enlisted the help of some truly great people to make our dream a reality. You will see their efforts not only in the editorial content but also in every advertisement throughout the magazine. As they say it takes a village to raise a child, well it took a village to publish this magazine. We reached out to new communities this season, and the outpouring of support has been exciting. We would love for our village of readers to return the favor to these fantastic advertisers that are part of the Southern Holiday Life family! Please remember to Shop Small and Shop Southern this Holiday Shopping Season. I know that it may some times be easier to shop at a “Big Box Store� but it will mean more to these small business owners if you shop with them first! This issue has been an adventure for my family and friends to say the least! I can't wait to see what challenge we conquer next.

Merry Christmas! Kelly Caldwell

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Holiday Crafts Story & Photos by Amanda Causey

glue and coat well. Does not have to be heavily saturated, just sticky/tacky. Measure a six inch piece of twine and set aside for later. Wrap the 14-inch piece of twine around the pencil in a spiral. This will be the “leaf.” Wrap the longer piece of twine around the glass covered in plastic wrap. Do not overlap but keep the spiral tights. Allow the twine to dry overnight. Slowly unwrap the twine. It should stay formed into a spiral shape. Take the smaller piece of twine you set aside earlier and loop through the center of the spirals and tie. Spray paint the small spiral green. Once tied and secure, I spread out the stiff twine loops evenly around the center to form a complete pumpkin. Add the cinnamon stick to the center. You can use hot glue if you’d like to secure it better. Then tuck in the green twine spiral. Again you can hot glue Pour white glue into a bowl. You will need about 5-6 this one too. tablespoons. Now on to the mason jar ring pumpkin. The supplies Measure about 3 feet of twine and cut. Measure about 14 inches of twine and cut. Place pieces into the Continued on Page 20

If you are a reader of our sister publication Lake Wedowee Life then you will know that 3 of my favorite things to craft with are burlap, twine and mason jars. If you are not a reader of Lake Wedowee Life then you need to subscribe online so you can enjoy our crafts, recipes and lake living. ( Back to the crafts...these three crafts were super easy to make and inexpensive. We will start with the twine pumpkin. The supplies you will need are: Twine Cinnamon stick White glue Green spray paint (optional) Plastic wrap Large glass and pencil/pen

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you will need for these are: 20-25 jar rings Small piece of Twine Cinnamon stick Small piece of burlap Orange & Green spray paint Spray your jar rings with orange spray paint. You can leave them natural colored if that will fit with your decorating scheme or use a different color altogether. Allow them to dry. Spray your piece of burlap. You could buy green burlap but I used what I had on hand. Allow that to dry. Once rings are drip loop twine through the center and secure tightly with a knot. Spread them out evenly. Add cinnamon stick to the center and tuck in your burlap leaf. Can be hot glued if necessary. The pumpkin wreath is pretty self explanatory. I purchased orange burlap on sale at my favorite craft store for 3.99. I used a small green wreath base that was purchased at a dollar store. Weave the burlap through the base. I used used industrial strength adhesive for the cinnamon stick stem and a piece of greenery from the yard for the leaf. To see video instructions on how to make a wreath with burlap visit our website and look for the menu titled ‘Crafts.’

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Decorating without a By Keesha McEwen

Creating a faux mantle without a fire place is a lot of fun. I like to create clean, fun, and colorful palettes. Candy corn is a great way to add a pop of color to a glass jar or vase of any kind. When creating a fun focal point, its important to search all rooms in your house for other pieces that can be used instead of running out and 22 Southern Holiday Life

purchasing new things. That is where the idea of using my fun suitcase table in the place of where fire logs would be. Since the focus of this mantle is that it has no fireplace, I used paper lanterns to create my own fire. The window above helps to unify this whole mantle, and along with a few handmade pumpkins and a simple M

letter helped create a clean and crisp focal piece for this season. The mantle itself was built out of scraps that were in my husbands woodworking shop. It took him a little while to piece together this style, but by leaving the bottom white and staining the top dark it really made it pop off our teal walls.


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Holiday Recipes by Tracy Carpenter Photos by Kelly Caldwell Southern Holiday Life 25

Well, here we are, Thanksgiving is upon us. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it’s a day we celebrate the most important aspects of our lives, God, our families, friends and family traditions. Then of course there’s the food. Every one of my favorite foods at one table. It must be magic. My three sons have always said Thanksgiving is all about the “Fs”. Football, Food, Family and Friends. Thanksgiving means something different for everyone. Whether it’s food, family, friends or traditions, no matter how much you attain in life, if it is not appreciated, it immediately loses value to you and everyone around you. We all have different experiences that teach us nothing is certain and nothing should be taken for granted. If we are wise, we will heed these lessons and pass those blessings and feelings of gratitude to another generation. For me, that is what Thanksgiving is all about. Being with those you love, showing them your gratitude and eating a lot of really great food. So loosen your belts a notch, sit back and get ready to dive in.

Corey’s favorite food group. So this is one of his favorite staples.

Everyone’s Favorite: Memaw’s Yeast Rolls 1 pack of dry yeast 2 cups very warm water 3/4 cups melted shortening 1/2 cup sugar 4-1/2 cups sifted self-rising flour

Macaroni And Cheese 1 lb elbow macaroni (cooked) 1/2 cup butter 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup flour 3 1/2 cups milk 8 oz Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes 8 oz shredded colby jack, cheddar or any other cheese extra shredded cheese for top bacon bits In a pan cook butter, salt, pepper and flour and stir until smooth. Remove from heat add milk, return to heat and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cheese, stir until melted. Pour over elbows, put in deep 9x13 pan top with extra cheese and bacon bits. Put in oven just long enough to melt cheese. Serve immediately. Cheese seems to be

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add melted shortening and sugar. Add flour one cup at a time. Mix well. Let sit in bowl for 1 hour. Once the dough has doubled in size, empty it onto a floured surface and knead about 15 times. Then roll dough to about 1/2” thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter and place on a greased or parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Let sit for 1 hr. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. These literally melt in your mouth if you are lucky enough to be around when they first come out of the oven. When eating these, Casey considers gravy a beverage. For over 20 years my mother in law never missed a Sunday, using this recipe, to make biscuits or cinnamon rolls for breakfast for us. Since his retirement, my father in law has taken over this job. He adds his twist to it by making it into a chocolate roll, which my youngest son, Austin loves and requests every chance he gets. Add your own twist and create some tasty memories for your family.


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Turkey Dressing 1 pan cornbread, cooled
 3 celery stalks, washed, trimmed, chopped
 6 cold biscuits salt and pepper to taste
 4 eggs
 2-3 teaspoons powdered sage
 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning 1 can cream of chicken soup
 2-3 shredded chicken breasts or a whole chicken-(this depends on how many men you will be serving) 1 medium onion, chopped
 chicken or turkey stock and pan drippings in which the chicken or turkey was cooked, or 2 to 3 cans commercial chicken stock

 Crumble cornbread and biscuits together. Add seasonings. Stir in eggs, chicken meat, onions, celery, and moisten with the chicken stock or drippings a little at a time so you don’t make it too soupy. If it is dry, add more chicken stock. Turn mixture into large, well-greased 9x13 roasting pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until top of dressing is golden brown.

Roasted Turkey Breast 1 turkey breast 1/2-1 stick of real butter 1 lemon Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herbs seasoning Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wash turkey breast off and place on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Slice lemon and put in breast cavity. Pat turkey dry with paper towel. Melt butter. Baste the breast with the melted butter. Sprinkle the Mrs. Dash Seasoning over the breast. You may also squeeze some lemon juice over the turkey if you’d like. Bake for 20 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature of the turkey breast reaches 160-170 degrees. Once it has reached the appropriate temperature lightly cover with foil and let the breast rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Blackberry Cranberry Salad 2 packs blackberry jello 1 can crushed pineapples, well drained 1 can whole cranberry sauce walnuts (optional) Mix jello according to the directions on the box. When

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partially set, mix in the pineapples, cranberry sauce and walnuts. Chill until firm.

Seasoned Green Beans 2 large cans green beans 1 large red onion, chopped 1-1/2 tablespoons coconut oil 1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder salt and pepper to taste Mix all ingredients together in a Crockpot. Cook on low over night about 6-8 hrs.

Praline Cheesecake Cake 5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature 2 cups sugar ¼ cup all-purpose flour ¼ teaspoon salt 5 large eggs 2 egg yolks 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract ¼ cup heavy cream

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Crust 1/4 cup butter melted 1 cup graham cracker crumbs 1/2 cup chopped pecans 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup milk chocolate toffee bits Sauce 1/4 cup butter 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream 1/4 cup light corn syrup 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips or baking chocolate squares 1 teaspoon vanilla Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil. Grease a 10-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. (I use a regular 10” cake pan.) Stir together all crust ingredients except 1/2 cup toffee bits in medium bowl. Press crumb mixture evenly on bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven; immediately sprinkle 1/2 cup toffee bits on the crust. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream. Pour mixture over crust and place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Place in the oven. Carefully fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes. Times will vary depending on your oven so you may need to bake longer. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and top with remaining toffee bits then cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight. When the cheesecake is cold and very firm remove from the pan and drizzle with sauce. 30 Southern Holiday Life

Using leftovers to create TV tribute By Kelly Caldwell My sisters and I love the television show “Friends” and we spent numerous Thanksgivings at my grandparents house upstairs watching it and laughing our heads off. So it only made sense last year to re-create “The Monica Sandwich” which on the show led to Ross almost losing his job at the university. Anyone can create his or her own version of the Monica with your own Thanksgiving leftovers. The sandwich above has macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, turkey, dressing and cranberry salad. (I thought about putting green beans on it, but decided that would be weird.) Anyway, as you plan your Thanksgiving meal be sure to give some thought on what to do with the leftovers. Get creative and let us hear from you. Go to our facebook page and tell us how you use your leftovers.


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The power of a simple

Holiday How To Story by Dr. Cathy Randall Photo by Holly McKenzie

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Arthur Ward Thank you. I must begin this article saying “Thank you” for the invitation from the publishers to write it and to you, the reader, for reading it. In this great country of ours, each of us is showered with blessings every day. Most blessings provide the opportunity for us to express our gratitude. Saying “Thank you” in person is always appropriate, but nothing means more in this day of electronic communication than a handwritten thank you note. Here are my Top Ten Tips for writing thoughtful thank you notes: Open your heart to share the gratitude that you feel. The more heartfelt the message, the more it will mean to the recipient. Use the finest paper you can afford. “A person is known by his or

her paper,” a wise professor once said. Using personalized paper in the heaviest affordable stock screams that you know not only how to do the right things…but how to do things right. To the extent that others’ impression of you matters, paper should be considered an investment in your future. Avoid using paper with anything on it, unless it is your personalization. Notes with “Thank you” pre-printed, for example, is far less impressive than plain blank paper, and personalized paper (printed, embossed, engraved) is the very best. Use a black ink (not ballpoint) pen. Write in cursive as legibly as possible. A letter that says, “I am in a hurry” defeats the purpose of honoring the recipient. Avoid starting any letter with “I.” Avoid using “Thanks again.” Surely, any gift or act worthy of a thank you note is worth three real

sentences: how kind they are, how wonderful the gift is, and how grateful you are. The sooner you write, the better, but it is never too late to write. To the extent that thank you notes are investments in your relationship with the recipient, referring to seeing them again keeps the communication/relationship going. Always begin with “Dear ____,” making sure to spell the name(s) correctly.

Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy. Jacques Maritain Dr. Cathy Randall is the chairwoman of the Alabama Academy of Honor, which was created by the state legislature to honor the 100 greatest living Alabamians. She has been honored by The University of Alabama as a Living Legend in 2007 and received Tuscaloosa's Lifetime Achievement Award for Women of Distinction in 2005.



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The Funky Junk Trail was created because my mom has instilled in us to be original. She has always encouraged our own creativity and that transcends into our shopping habits. My sisters and I grew up going to craft shows and we were dragged to antique stores all over the South whenever we were on a trip. Some people might call it "junkin'" but we have also noticed a regional if not national trend of repurposing "junk" into something one of a kind and functional. Sometimes we like to repurpose things ourselves, and other times we like to find that "diamond in the rough" that has already been polished by someone else. Last year, the girls of Southern Holiday Life went to a super cool antique market south of Atlanta. My mom introduced a little more fun to the trip. As the business manager Leisel gave us (Amanda and I) each $60 with the catch that we had to spend it on each other... And, that would be our Christmas presents to one another at our office Christmas party. Well let me tell you, the hunt was on. We searched and haggled until we each found the perfect presents for one another. This adventure was not like I remembered as a child. It was not filled with dusty antiques that had crazy price tags. It was all about "one man's trash is another man's treasure." There was a mix of old and new, traditional and eclectic. Once we got home, we realized we didn't have to go far to find our funky junk... There are stores that cater to our creativity all over the

not be disappointed!! The following eight stores were selected by Southern Holiday Life to be included on the trail because as we told each of them "Your shop is not your grandmother's antique store." We visited all eight stores in two days in early October, and I can't wait to do it again. You can jump on the trail at any point and my GPS got us there with no problems! The Boneyard 195 Ryamond Hill Newnan, Ga. Lisa Lytle and Jamie Price showcase local vendors selling an assortment of goodies. On our trip, Mama got a farmhouse style bathroom cabinet, but I am the one that lucked up. I got a storage cabinet made from a repurposed closet door, a scarf and three vintage bracelets. (YAY ME!!) Beyond the Door 30 Main Street Senoia, Ga. Is a super cool store owned by Ann Busey. The farm tables are custom made and as she says they have vintage everything. Mama got this funky glass container. I got soap, but it was the really good smelling kind hand made from good for you stuff.

area, but we needed a way to let more of our kind know about these unique shops. So we decided to launch the Funky Junk Trail, and let me tell you, fellow junkers...You will

The Checker Berry Shoppe 129 West College Street Bowdon, Ga. Jane Eason, owner of The Checker Berry Shoppe, offers an eclectic mix of old and new. On our trip, my mom bought metal buckets. I bought a bracelet made of vintage pins and earrings and my little sister is considering (still) an old kitchen cabinet.

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Lakeside Mercantile at Linda’s Greenhouse 8610 HWY 50 Dadeville, Ala. Noreen Hornsby and her sister-in-law Paula describe their store as a collective boutique mixing unique, local, handmade and repurposed furniture, jewelry, art and gifts. I bought an awesome piece of art on driftwood while my mom found the perfect pillow for her bedroom. The Nest 121 Bradley Street Carrollton, Ga. Donna Maner doesn’t meet strangers even if you visit only one time. She and her daughter Carla Duncan love turning one person’s trash into someone else’s treasure. They also carry vintage inspired lines like The Natural Life. I am in love with the Vintage Bee Creamed Honey they carry at the counter. It is flavored honey that is out of this world! Donna will give you a taste and you will be hooked too! My favorite is the cinnamon.

Resurrect Antiques 216 South 8th Street Opelika, Ala. Michelle Klima offers a funky mix of everything but the kitchen sink. You can find industrial lights, spools of twine or finished projects like vintage lace trimmed slips (which I loved and had to have!!). Mama is still thinking about a turquoise mirror made of wood scraps.

Parker House Antiques 18 N. Main Street Wedowee, Ala. Mike and Susan Hawkins have really embraced the local artists in their store. The yellow house in downtown Wedowee is a collective of vendors that showcases the local and lake life. They have the coolest hand-carved ornaments I have ever seen and these awesome vintage oil lamps with different colored glass globes. They also carry Southern Food brands and offer custom monogramming. Which is what every Southern Girl LOVES!!!

Two Guys & A Girl Attic to Antiques Highway 431 Roanoke, Ala. Frank Fetner, Mike Fisher and Beverly Hill are collectors from way back and decided to open a store to make room for other treasures. You never know what you will find there. I bought another vintage bangle bracelet while my mom bought a Christmas present for younger sister that I can’t talk about here… To learn more about the Funky Junk Trail visit us on your smart phone at

The Funky Junk Trail is ever changing, and we would love to see the treasures you find! Please share your finds at

Wreath I love a good Holiday wreath. I also love when I can create something different and unique. Last year at our Southern Holiday Life trip to the antique market south of Atlanta I got this as one of my gifts. I saw these skates as we were browsing and fawned over them Leisel surprised me by buying them as my gift from her. I instantly knew that I would turn them into a wreath and create this wreath alternative for SHL 2013. To see other wreath alternatives I have created you can visit our website and browse through our craft section under ‘Features.’

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by Amanda Causey


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Remember to By Leisel Caldwell Southern Holiday Life announces their Shop Small Shop Southern campaign with a new mobile website designed to promote small businesses, artists, crafters and events located in the South. We are all about supporting small business and southern brands. We are taking made in America one step further. Small business is definitely near and dear to the hearts of the Caldwell family, the publishers of Southern Holiday Life. “We are the definitive small business – family business”, said Kelly Caldwell editor of Lake Wedowee Life and Southern Holiday Life magazines. Just like us, “most successful small businesses are passionate about what they do, have a strong work ethic and do not judge their success by the amount of money they make, but in the quality of their products and services.” Another element a successful small business must consider today is “smart marketing”. Smart marketing revolves around the explosion of the smartphone and tablet users; it is how to put the information about a business, product or service in the hand of

the consumer. According to eMarketer, smartphones are the go everywhere, do anything device of choice for mothers in the U.S. This is why we are so excited to launch our new “mobile” website, www. An-

other tool to help our advertisers and small towns “be found”. Mobi means mobile and the website is optimized for the smartphone and tablet user. It is easy to read and navigate on a mobile device. The site features the following sections: Southern Shops to find those places that have the perfect gifts for everyone on your list; Dishes Diners and Dives, the best places to get a quick lunch or great dinner in East Alabama and West Georgia; Funky Junk Trail a map and information about some of the neatest stores that offer a mix of old and unique items for sale; Holiday Happenings up to date information on events and programs going on in East Alabama/West Georgia; Southern Holiday Life magazine the digital issue of our print magazine that can be read right on your phone and last but not least our Holiday Giveaways so you can register to win one of our fabulous contests this holiday season. This holiday please help us help them (small business) by Shopping Small and Shopping Southern. 42 Southern Holiday Life


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Story & Photos by Morgan Drinkard

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Decorating the threshold of your home may be less work than you imagined. Floral designer and decorator, Rob Drinkard of Troy, Alabama, begins decorating an entryway by searching for a variety of greenery. He recommends cutting greenery from your yard, or “borrowing” from a neighbor. Varieties such as leyland cypress, magnolia leaves, cedar and different types of berries add multiple dimensions to your decorations. After cutting the greenery, he frames the doorway with pieces of artificial greenery. The quality of the garland is not important, as it will only serve as a base for the piece. Using cut greenery, weave different pieces into the garland, using the wire garland to hold the pieces in place. Additional green floral wire can help secure the branches. Start with large greenery such as magnolia branches and end with berries or seeded 46 Southern Holiday Life

eucalyptus. After completing the garland, look for an attractive door hanger or wreath that will complement your entryway. Steer clear from heavy wreaths that will detract from the garland. Vine wreaths, wooden pieces or crosses are great additions to a door. Using any containers or benches that are already a part of

your entryway, fill them with poinsettias, fun pillows or small Christmas trees. Keeping real poinsettias alive can be difficult. Drinkard suggests finding some nice silk poinsettias for everyday use and replacing with real for special events. Drinkard suggests groupings of pillows, trees, or containers can often look better than single items. He says, “Don’t be afraid to add more-you can always take away.” Drinkard works with his family's floral business, Jean's Flowers, in Troy to design using three dimensional works. Drinkard has always had a passion for the holidays, special events and parties.



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Story & Photos by Holly McKenzie

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Before you rush to do your Christmas cards last minute while sitting in the car line at school, take a second to read over these quick tips to help you get your cards in the mailbox in plenty of time this year. Start with the desired arrival date- Have a general date in mind for when you want recipients to receive their card. Typical arrival is early to mid-December. Don’t wait until the week of Christmas to mail your cards. The USPS is already so overloaded by this time; shipping time may take a lot longer than usual. Order your cards at least 3 weeks prior- This ensures your card designer has enough time to process and ship your order, have about a week to address them and then 2-4 days shipping time to your recipients. (Just a little note on photo cards: Photos do not have to be from November or December to be put on a card. Have a great family photo from May? Go ahead, use it! This will avoid the holiday-photo50 Southern Holiday Life

stress-out-moment when everyone will not smile or look at the camera at the same time. Poor Mama, we understand!) Hand address- Yes, this is so thoughtful and the best way if you have time. Correct addressing – Make sure you have properly addressed your recipients, spelling out “Doctor” and other professional titles (not Mr., Mrs., Jr., etc.). Return address – your return address doesn’t have to have your name, just the address. Always include this, as some cards inevitably will be returned. Have this on the flap of the envelope, either printed, hand addressed or on a return address sticker. Helpful Addressing Tips: Use the numerical form for all house numbers


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except “one” should be spelled out completely (Example: One North Pole Avenue) Spell out the State. (Alabama, not “AL”) Avoid using the “&” for “and” Avoid abbreviating the street name (Street, Road, Avenue, Boulevard, Circle, etc.)

Excel spreadsheet format. (If you are familiar with Excel, this will be great because you could keep this year after year on your computer and change out the info as people move and as you add to your list!)

Holly McKenzie is owner of HollyDays, a paper goods and party boutique. She creates custom designs and personStart getting organized now Visit for a handy Address alized products to fit your style. Find her online at List that is available in a printable page format and an

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Holiday Holiday Entertaining Story & Photos Deanna Talwalker of Mirabelle Creations shares her recipes and Hot Cocoa Party ideas. You can find more recipes, party inspiration and purchase party dĂŠcor from her website


A hot cocoa bar is a simple way to spice up a comforting holiday drink. Setting out hot cocoa add-ins, like marshmallows, chocolate chips, and caramels will delight guests. However, if you want to make your hot cocoa bar feel a little grown up, then don’t forget some extra special add-ins, like Marshmallow Vodka and Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream Marshmallows. Hot cocoa night just got a little more exciting! Not for the Kiddos Hot Cocoa 1 1/2 cups sugar 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder 1 cup cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup hot water 1 gallon 2% milk 2 teaspoons vanilla Marshmallow Vodka Bailey’s Irish Cream Marshmallows In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, dark cocoa 56 Southern Holiday Life

powder, cocoa powder, salt, and water until sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Stir in milk. Bring to serving temperature, without boiling. Add vanilla before serving. Drink can be placed in a crock pot until serving. Serve with a shot of Marshmallow Vodka and homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream Marshmallows. These are not the marshmallows of your childhood. Like biting into little clouds, homemade marshmallows put to shame the store bought imitations. Homemade marshmallows are so heavenly, you’ll want to hide them from your kids. And, considering these are spiked with Bailey’s Irish Cream, you may just have to! Bailey’s Irish Cream Marshmallows 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin (about 2 tablespoons) 1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream


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1 3/4 cups sugar 3/4 cup light corn syrup 1/2 cup cool water 1/4 teaspoon salt Spray a 9x9 dish with spray cooking oil and set aside. Sprinkle a small amount of confectioners' sugar in dish, covering bottom and sides. Combine the gelatin and Bailey’s in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set aside. On the stove, over medium heat, add sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a small pan. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high. Continue cooking the mixture, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 250 degrees. This will take about 10-15 minutes and the mix will be boiling. After the syrup reaches 250 degrees, slowly pour it into the bowl of the electric mixer to combine with the gela58 Southern Holiday Life

tin and Bailey’s mixture. Mix on low speed until the syrup and gelatin mixture are combined. Increase the speed of the mixer until it is on maximum. Beat the mixture until it becomes beige in color and nearly triples in volume, about 15 minutes. Coat a rubber spatula with cooking spray. Using the spatula, spread the marshmallow mixture into the prepared dish. Lightly spray the cooking oil on your hand. Press the marshmallow into the corners of the pan. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and allow the marshmallow to set, uncovered, overnight. Using a knife, run the knife around the edges of the dish. Turn the dish over and release the marshmallows from the dish onto wax paper, covered with confectioners’ sugar. Using a knife, covered with confectioners’ sugar, cut the marshmallows into 2 inch squares. Roll the cut marshmallows in the confectioners’ sugar, until all sides are covered. Store in an air tight container.


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A light, buttery tasting cookie that holds its shape when baked is all a sugar cookie has to be. This sugar cookie recipe has it all; it’s the workhorse of cookies. Once you try it out, you’ll stop your search for the perfect sugar cookie.

No Fail Sugar Cookies 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 large egg 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg, and vanilla extract and mix until com-

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bined. Slowly add flour mixture, mixing on low. Mix until the flour is fully combined and comes together in a ball. Knead dough ball a couple of times. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours. When ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until about 1/3 inch thick. Using cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in freezer for 5 minutes (this helps cookies keep the shape). After 5 minutes, place cookie sheet in oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. To top with fondant: Roll out fondant into 1/4 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out desired shapes. Top cookies with favorite icing. Place fondant cutout on top of icing to adhere to cookie.




Story & Photos Anita Diaz

There is nothing better at Christmas time than the fresh scent of pine. Balsam, cypress, cedar and many other varieties welcome the holidays with their sweet fragrances. Even as many choose to use artificial trees inside, there are still ways to bring the fresh scent of Christmas to your house – inside and out. A rustic box filled with different kinds of pine and boxwood can be accented with vintage Shiny Brite ornaments, pine cones and candles. Gather small bunches of greenery and insert into a small vase tucked in between candles. Add water to the vases to keep the pine from drying out, and it will last throughout the season. The box can be finished off with moss to fill in gaps. 64 Southern Holiday Life

florist’s wire adding a simply-tied ribbon to complete this country look. A Dwarf Alberta Spruce is the perfect holiday accent on a tabletop or kitchen counter. Left natural or adorned with miniature ornaments, a small tree can be planted outside as soon as the ground has thawed and the danger of frost has passed. Use a vintage silverplated ice bucket for an elegant Another way to add holiday cheer with greenery is by tying bunches of fresh pine with festive ribbon. Perfect on doors, railings and fence posts, casual arrangements are easy to make. Layer white pine branches, cedar and boxwood, then wrap tightly with

touch. The easiest way to bring fresh greens into your home is simply by placing casually gathered arrangements in containers filed with water. Loosely placed in a vintage galvanized water pitcher, this arrangement fills an empty corner. A clay


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pot or urn is a wonderful option and can be used with florist’s foam to hold cedar branches. Finally, get the most impact by bringing in a live tree. A small tree is the perfect way to add Christmas cheer to a kitchen, bedroom or entry way. A galvanized wash tub is the perfect container for a live tree with a root ball, which can be planted later in the spring. Real greens are a wonderful way to accent your holiday home. If you do not have access to pine, many nurseries, garden stores and Christ66 Southern Holiday Life

mas tree lots give away cuttings from trees for free, so don’t be afraid to ask. After all, this is the season of giving.

Anita Diaz shares her love for reclaiming her family’s past as she makes her house a home with a budget of $0. Recipes, gardening and décor fill her blog Far Above Rubies. See more at


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Holiday Crafts Story & Photo by Jennifer West Southern Holiday Life 69

With the holidays coming up, some of the things that come to mind are family, food, snow, new beginnings, and JOY. I was really excited to be asked to be a part of the Southern Holiday Life magazine edition, and have this beautiful JOY Subway Art sign and tutorial to share with you. When I came up with this project, I wanted something that looked new, yet old, and also warm. I love subway art, and decided to share this project for my post with Southern Holiday Magazine. To make this project, you will need: 2’ x 10� wood board white paint red paint crackle medium white vinyl Step 1: Paint your board white and allow to dry. Paint a second coat and allow to dry. Step 2: Take your crackle medium and apply over

the board in a few steps. Take small sections, completely cover the area with the crackle medium and use as few strokes as possible. Once you have finished the entire board, allow to dry for 24 hours. Step 3: Take your red paint and in the same fashion as you applied the medium, apply paint in small areas, with as few strokes as possible. You should start seeing the crackle effect quickly. Step 4: Allow board to dry fully, and using a stencil or vinyl cutting machine, create your letters for your sign. I hope you give this JOY Subway Art a try. While it is made over several days due to allowing paint and medium to dry, it really takes no more than about 45 total minutes to create. Have a wonderful Holiday Season, and please stop in to for additional project ideas. Jennifer West is a blogger from Lousiana. Herblog, PinkWhen, offers DIY crafts, recipes and tips. To see more visit


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Finds I love the Holidays! October through December are my favorite months. The smells, the food, the decor, and of course the clothes! I love layering up with scarves, wearing fun tights, and dressing up for parties. I'm going to show you 3 simple outfits to wear to a holiday party.

Holiday Entertaining Story & Photos by Kaylee McCullough

Little Black Dress The little black dress. It is the perfect go to piece for almost any occasion. I like to dress mine up with a bold statement necklace and throw a cardigan on just in case it's chilly. I love adding color. Don't be afraid to add a unique piece to it. A black dress is like a blank canvas, and you can never go wrong with however you style it.

Gold & Glittery This look is my absolute favorite. I love sequins and anything that sparkles. It is so cheery and a great look for a Christmas party or even a New Year's Eve party. It's not very often you get to get all dolled up and go out to parties, so why

not make a statement everyone will remember? I dressed mine with some simple black heels, red lipstick, and a topknot. If you decide to go with another color of sequins, like silver, just stick with a good solid colored heel and a berry lip.

Hope you have a fun and happy holiday season! Don't be scared to step out of your comfort zone. You're going to look great!

Lady in Red Who doesn't look good in a red dress? I have had this one for a couple years now, and I wore it to our first Christmas party we threw as a married couple. I love the button detailing down the side. To me the color red is the perfect shade for a Christmas party. Red and green are the ultimate colors for Christmas, so it would only make sense to dress up in one of them. I like to pair my dress with fun tights.

You can follow the fashion adventures of Kaylee McCullough by visiting her blog at She is 25 and married to her best friend. They live in Macon, Ga. with their 3 dachshunds. She has a passion for Jesus, fashion, Nutella, baking, sequins, sweet tea, & pointed toe flats. 74 Southern Holiday Life



Santa’s Spiked

Recipe & Photos by Elizabeth Hoskins During the holiday season I enjoy gathering with friends and family; whether we're watching a Christmas movie, decorating gingerbread houses or just enjoying each other's company. For gatherings like this, I like to serve my guests a specialty cocktail. One of my favorite Christmas cocktails is "Santa's Spiked Cider". Being from the South, bourbon is always a popular drink choice and local apple cider pairs great with it. The North Georgia Mountains are known for some pretty spectacular apples so what better way to combine these two Southern staples than with a Spiked Cider. 76 Southern Holiday Life

Santa's Spiked Cider 2 parts apple cider, chilled 2 parts ginger ale, chilled 1 part bourbon Instructions Start by mixing your apple cider with the bourbon and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. I used North GA homemade apple cider, but you can use any store bought apple cider. I also prefer Maker's Mark or Woodford Reserve for the bourbon but any quality bourbon will work. Once the cider/bourbon mixture is chilled it's time to mix your drinks! I used stemless martini glasses rimmed with cinnamon & sugar (mixed equal parts). Pour the cider/bourbon mixture over ice into your cocktail glass, about 3/4 way full. Then top with chilled ginger ale (I used Canada Dry). Now garnish with an apple slice & enjoy!


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Joys of

Decorating Story & Photos Becca Bertotti

As a gal who has celebrated her *29th* birthday more times than I care to admit, I always feel like a little kid again as the yuletide seasons draws near, especially when it comes to decorating for the holidays! Yes, as soon as my husband and I pass out the last piece of candy on Halloween, we start pulling out our 9 Christmas trees and boxes and boxes of ornaments and garland to splash around our home! And, as I blow the layers of dust off our holiday bins, I crank up the festive tunes by Nat, Bing and Brenda Lee to get my creative juices flowing, especially since I like to change things up a bit year-after-year! The mantel in our great room knows that all too well, as that is one place that I like to switch things up a bit ‌ you never know if sparkly Nutcrackers, a faux mounted deer or Santa himself will take center stage. Our fireplace isn’t the only spot that stays in constant Christmas confusion, as I love to change my holiday color schemes, as well. Just a couple of years ago, our sitting room was dressed in a palette of gold, lime green and brown ornaments, only to be switched to colors of red, silver and white last year. Ahhh, the joys of holiday decorating! Admittedly, our kitchen has enjoyed the


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same Christmas décor for the last few years, filled with candy, cookies and gingerbread (all things that our 7 year old son loves)! Even our sweet Annalee holiday elves enjoy helping to place the finishing touches on our whimsical kitchen tree that is perched on our island! Do you have an island or kitchen counter that you don’t use too much? If so, why not add a small tree, filled with baking utensils, faux candy and gingerbread! My husband will gladly tell you that his favorite tree is this 82 Southern Holiday Life

one in his “man cave” dedicated to his favorite team, the NY Yankees! As a matter of fact, I think he’d be happy to have that tree up all year round! Are there any sports lovers in your home? If so, they just might need a Christmas tree celebrating their favorite team(s), too! Of course, holiday decorating isn’t only for inside … our front entry gets dressed up, too, with lights and lots and LOTS of mesh, whether it’s on small trees, garland surrounding our door or one of my custom designed mesh

wreaths that I love creating for other families, too! If you prefer simpler outside holiday décor, a classic wreath and traditional lights in the windows is always beautiful! Here’s to a wonderful yuletide season … filled with tradition, celebration and, of course, decorating! Becca Bertotti is the blogger behind Adventures in Decorating. Visit her website for more décor inspiration and to connect with her on social media.


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Make it a Banner Hi, I’m Elizabeth from Southern Color blog; my twin sister and I blog about DIY home décor projects. We love sharing tutorials with our readers and showing them how easy crafts can be. Our belief is that it doesn’t take a lot of money or time to have a great looking home. Please stop by our blog to see what we’re creating! For the holidays I enjoy mixing & matching decorations. I love us-

ing older pieces that my parent’s have passed down to me and newer pieces that I have either collected or created. Today I am sharing with you a Christmas banner that I created!

Holiday Crafts Story & Photos by Elizabeth Hoskins Decorating for the holidays should be fun and should showcase your style. I personally love the combination of metallic ornaments

& reindeer against the natural fabric of a burlap banner. This burlap banner was an easy project to create; all you need is a printer, burlap, scissors, hot glue and twine! The letters were created on a chalkboard background in bright white font; I really like how it pops against the dark background. I printed the letters in black & white ink then cut them into triangles. (You can download the letters at our website) Next cut out burlap triangles, they will need to be about an inch Southern Holiday Life 85


larger on all sides than the triangle letters. Burlap is a great product but it does have a tendency to unravel. To prevent this from happening we always spray our burlap with Mod Podge Acrylic Spray. You’ll want to complete this step before gluing on your Chalkboard Letters. The Mod Podge spray takes about 2 hours to dry. Now hot glue the letter triangles

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on to the burlap. You will want to center the letters on the triangle. Once those are set, poke two holes on each side of the top of the burlap triangle and string the twine through. I chose to do two strands for my banner, one with "Merry" and another with "Christmas�. Depending on how much space you have, you can do one or two strands for

your banner! I am so happy with how this banner turned out! It would look great hanging on your mantel, strung through your Christmas tree, or hanging in an entryway. Please stop by our blog, Southern Color, to read more about this project and all of our Christmas projects.



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Amanda’s Lemon Cookies

Leisel’s Sand Tarts

One of Southern Holiday Life’s traditions is to get together before Christmas and bake cookies. Last year we had the little ones help decorate as we did our own Cookie Swap Party. We had pretty boxes and packages to send off all the goodies we made. Enjoy our recipes for the cookies we made, as well as some cookie swap party tips from Deanna Talwalker of Mirabelle Creations. Visit our website to download our Cookie Swap Party invites, Recipe Cards and Decorations for free. Leisel’s Sand Tarts Ingredients 1 cup butter 5 tablespoon powdered sugar 2 cup flour 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond extract 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans Directions Cream butter and sugar. Work flour, vanilla, almond extract and nuts into creamed mixture. Form into small balls. Cook on ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and roll hot tarts in powdered sugar.

2 eggs 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup powdered sugar Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, eggs and oil. Put the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Drop spoonfuls of dough into the powdered sugar mixture, roll it around and form into a ball. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for about 6 minutes, watching closely and removing when the edges just begin to brown. Leave cookies on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Kelly’s Sugar Cookies

This recipe requires only four ingredients and very little time to make. These lemon cookies stay super moist for several days but be sure to store them in a plastic container to keep them fresh.

Ingredients 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter, softened 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar 2 egg yolks 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients 1 box Lemon Cake Mix

Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sift together the flour

Amanda’s Lemon Cookies

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A Recipe for a Sweet Holiday Cookie Swap The holidays are one of the best times of the year to host a party. Everyone is in a festive mood around Christmas. All the beautiful holiday decorations also mean you don’t have to gather special décor to spruce up your party. A cookie exchange party is a perfect casual holiday event to gather all of you favorite friends. Your cookie swap might even become the sweetest party of the holiday season! Send out invitations as early as possible. Christmas shopping, office parties, neighborhood gatherings, and family obligations all contribute to full December schedules. Sending out invitations early will help ensure guests are available. Also, invitations can specify how many cookies guests should bring. A good rule of thumb is about three dozen cookies per guest. Sending recipe cards with the invitations will also allow guests to arrive at the party with their recipe. You can then copy and distribute all the recipes to guests after the party.

Kelly’s Sugar Cookies and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients. Roll out dough and use cookie cutters to cut into shapes. ( I stick the dough in the fridge for a bit to firm up before rolling it out.) Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool and frost with your favorite frosting!

Encourage guests to bring a variety of cookies. Cookie exchanges work best when guests bring different types of cookies. Non-traditional sweets, like cake pops, cupcakes, brownies, and biscotti, all work great for a cookie swap. Not everyone loves to or has the time to bake, so reassure guests that store bought cookies will be just fine. Set out goodies for guests to nibble on. The goal of the cookie exchange is for guests to take home cookies, so you don’t want all of the beautiful sweet treats to be eaten before the party ends. Alternatives to cookies, like cakes, candy, and parfaits, will satisfy guests’ sweet tooth. Don’t forget to add festive cocktails and other drinks to your party. Plan activities for little ones. If kids will be on your guest list, make sure you have something to occupy them. Cookie decorating or gingerbread house decorating are always great ideas. You can also plan your cookie exchange as part of another holiday activity, such as caroling. A Christmas story or even a visit from Santa will also capture the kids’ attention. Have wrapping items on hand. Make sure you offer several items for guests to pack up their cookies. Items like plastic wrap, foil, baker’s twine, ribbon, paper sacks, inexpensive Chinese take-out style boxes, and other little boxes will all come in handy. You could also use recycled items such as old oatmeal boxes and gift boxes. By adding a little wrapping paper and lining them parchment paper, they can be reused for cookie boxes. Guests can also utilize the boxes they used to bring their cookies to the party.


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Holiday Crafts Story & Photos by Julia Hoskins

Serving with vorite Christmas Cocktail I created a Christmas Serving Tray. I love combining rustic pieces with metallic for the holiday season! The dark walnut stained tray looks really great with silver metallic! Plus it looks great with all of my silver metallic Christmas decorations.

Happy Holidays!! I am Julia from Southern Color where I blog with my twin sister. We blog about all things home related – DIY home décor, painted furniture, recipes, sewing projects – you name it, we probably blog about it. When I think of Christmas I think of snuggling next to the fire with a hot mug of hot chocolate in my hands. Better yet, I think of a

warm glass of Frosty’s Frothy Hot Cocoa (Adult Goodness that I have included at the end) in my hands. To help me serve my fa-

This tray works perfectly when serving cocktails and cookies at your holiday party. And when you’re not serving drinks, it Southern Holiday Life 93


works great as décor. Just place it on a plate rack and admire your awesome work. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, please stop by Southern Color for more project ideas and tutorials. Materials Needed: Wood (20in x 13in x 1/2in) Finishing Sand Paper Stain (Dark Walnut) Stencil Silver Paint 2 Drawer Handles Directions: Sand wood with finishing sand paper to smooth out any imperfections. Paint on stencil with silver paint. Adhere the stencil to the wood with tape before painting – this will ensure that your paint doesn’t bleed. Also, apply the paint lightly and brush away from the edges of the stencil towards the center. Sand the top of tray to distress the silver letters. Stain the wood (on both sides) with dark walnut stain (or any stain color of your choice).Screw on Drawer Handles (one on each side). 94 Southern Holiday Life


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Whimsical Holiday


Holiday Recipes By Terry Hyde Photos by Debbie Reynolds Southern Holiday Life 97


Fairy Fluff Christmas Trees Fairy Fluff Christmas Trees Ingredients 4 tablespoons butter 7 0z. jar marshmallow cream 1 small box Jello Pistachio instant pudding mix 6 cups Rice Crispies Cereal 2-3 drops green food coloring Cake decor sprinkles Instructions In large bowl melt butter and marshmallow cream in microwave, 30 seconds stir, 30 seconds stir, add food coloring and mix well. Add Pistachio pudding mix and stir well. Fold in cereal and mix. Press onto buttered cookie sheet. Cut with Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter. Top with sprinkles to decorate. 98 Southern Holiday Life

Cheese Ball Pine Cones Ingredients 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened 1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated 2/3 cup real bacon bits 1/2 cup Mayonnaise 1 pound natural almonds (skin on) Instructions Blend softened cream cheese and Mayonnaise until well blended. Add pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese and bacon bits, blend by hand. Shape into cones, cover with almonds overlapping to cover cheese. Garnish top with greenery.

Candy Mice Ingredients 1 jar Maraschino cherries with stem 1 bag Hershey Chocolate Kisses 1 package chocolate microwavable candy coating 1 small bag sliced almonds 1 small tube white decorating gel 1 small tube red decorating gel Instructions Melt chocolate candy coating in microwave 20 second, stir 20 second stir. Dip cherry into chocolate and cover well. (This is the body) Attach Hershey kiss while chocolate is still soft (This is the face) Attach two sliced almonds just behind the Hershey kiss (These are the ears) Dot Hershey kiss with white and red decorating gel for eyes. Dot red decorating gel for nose. Place each mouse in cupcake liner.

Terry Hyde is the face behind the Facebook page Mama Katt’s Kitchen. Her cookbook will be released sometime this winter. Visit to connect with her and get updates on her recipes.

Cheese Ball Pine Cones

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Story & Photo by Amy Richardson

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When my children were little, we were always looking for ways to keep them occupied in the frenzy that is the holiday season, especially once they got out for Christmas break. If you are like me this little craft is just what the Christmas Elves ordered! Most of us have a box or two around the house and it makes a perfect canvas for little hands to showcase their creativity!

Using a box cutter or scissors, prepare your cardboard by cutting it to a desired size. You can go as small (ornament size) or as large (wall hanging size) as you would like. Gather acrylic paints and paint brushes. Paint a brown oval for the head and half a brown oval for the body. Using a thin brush, paint the antlers next. After that, paint the winter blue sky. Use precious little fingertips to stamp snow. Use a thumbprint to stamp the

nose. Using a small thin brush, add eyes. Add a scarf with a wider large brush. Add stripes or doodles to decorate the scarf. For final touches, hot glue ribbon for hanging. Another option for hanging would be to punch holes for hanging and push ribbon through .

Amy Richardson of Artsy Amy teaches painting classes and creates one of a kind artwork on different mediums. Find her on Facebook. Southern Holiday Life 101

There is no better time to have movie night on the couch than at Christmas time. Whether you're on holiday in another town or in the comfort of your own home, films about Santa or reindeer or family are as traditional as it gets. Even Turner Broadcasting reminds you of that with the non-stop viewing for two of the most beloved American classics ever made in my lifetime, "A Christmas Story" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." While those two and a few others have become standard viewing every Christmas season, there are a few films that you may have missed or haven't seen in a long time that I would love to share with you. “Jingle All The Way” - I don't know about you, but Arnold Schwarzenegger can pull off comedy with a certain ease and charm that sets him apart from other actioneers. Whether he's playing a mis-matched twin or an undercover kindergarten teacher, or dare I say a pregnant man, the Terminator has comedic talent. I remember seeing this movie back in 1996 in a sold-out theatre auditorium and enjoying every single moment and the audience loved it too. Arnold plays a businessman who has neglected his family one too many times and to make up for his absence from his son's karate class, he promises to get the one thing every little boy in the

Flicks Holiday Entertaining by Andy Petty

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country wants for Christmas that year - Turbo Man. There's just one problem, it's been sold out for months and it's virtually impossible to find one, especially just days before Xmas Eve. Fighting terrorists or killer terminators is easy compared to determined holiday shoppers on a mission, and that is comedy gold. Produced by Chris Columbus who previously brought us "Home Alone" and "Home Alone 2: Lost In New York," two of the highest grossing Christmas films ever, and featuring a supporting cast with comedy greats Sinbad, Phil Hartman and James Belushi. A commentary on the commercialization of Christmas or is it simply a slapstick comedy about a father's love to make his son happy? I tend to think a little of both, and one thing is for sure, it's hilarious Holiday fun! “Ernest Saves Christmas” - I would love to know what our generation of kids thinks about the late Jim Varney's comedic character Ernest P. Worrell. Like the Old Spice commercials or the cavemen from Geico, Ernest started out as just a commercial character that later became a television series and then

went on to star in five theatrical feature films. The character faded in a six year span but Jim Varney went on to other roles including Jed Clampett in "The Beverly Hillbillies" remake and voiced the Slinky Dog for the first two "Toy Story" franchise. So here we are in 2013 and his films are still living on, but do you care to revisit a 1988 comedy that was a modest box office success and a critical disaster? I want to revisit the Ernest series personally and "Ernest Saves Christmas" brings a refreshing nostalgia that is perfect for any age. Worrell plays a taxi driver who picks up a man who resembles Santa and claims to be in town to pass the job on to a guy who lives in the area. Unfortunately, the man leaves the bag behind and it's up to the lovable Worrell to return it to his owner. With time running out before Christmas, the shenanigans and comedy flow in classic Ernest form. One thing that's guaranteed from this series is innocent laughter because they just don't make films like these anymore. If family dramedies are your thing, have I got three perfect choices for required Christmas viewing this year. "The Family Stone" - Families come in all shapes and sizes, however, drama is almost guaranteed to happen when we all gather during the holidays. In one of the most touching and enduring family dra-


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mas in decades, "The Family Stone" weaves together different stories and personalities under one roof when Everett (played by Dermot Mulroney) brings his uptight bride-to-be (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) home for Christmas. Unfortunately, his parents (played to perfection by Diane Keaton & Craig T. Nelson) disagree with his choice which in turn sets off a chain of events leading to family secrets that have yet to surface. "Love Actually" - I can't believe it's been 10 years since this ensemble comedy was released! Featuring ten different stories about love all woven together, this is one flick you must view more than a dozen times. Starring A-listers Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney & Liam Neeson, and featuring newcomers that have joined the A-list Hollywood ranks, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln (Rick from "The Walking Dead") and Chiwetel Ejiofer

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(Academy Award 2014 contender for "12 Years A Slave") and a handful of others in major to cameo roles. "This Christmas" - Drama ensues when the Whitfield family gathers for the first time in years for the Christmas holiday season. With one brother dodging loan sharks, another brother AWOL and a family business that is tearing the siblings apart, no one says going home is easy. One of, if not the first, African-American Christmas films to have achieved both critical and box office success, this has become another holiday favorite of mine that I enjoy seeing again and again. If family Christmas movies aren't your thing, just know that there are alternatives that can still put you in the mood. A great stylized thriller that I found expertly crafted is "P2" about a girl trapped in a parking garage after a Christmas party by a deranged security guard. You'll never feel the same way about those dark

concrete halls again. Oh, and action classics "Lethal Weapon" and "Die Hard" are the perfect pairing to revisit. If you're into the high definition experience on Blu-ray, they're excellent stocking stuffers, both films look so good that they could have been shot yesterday. And last but not least, "Bad Santa" was a sleeper success back in 2003 that has found an even bigger cult following today. It's rude, crude, raunchy and vulgar‌.and sweet and full of heart. Only actor Billy Bob Thornton can play the worst man to come across during the holiday season and still manage to warm our hearts. Andy Petty is a true cinephile, on a lifelong mission to see any and all films in no particular order and to know all things related to creating a motion picture that can change your life. He attended the New York Film Academy and discovered my ultimate passion in life is photography., which is what he does today.



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Story & Photos by Lynn Amason

What to do with a basketful of wine corks? First of all, I like the look of the corks just hanging out in that cute wire basket! I know I have seen numerous projects using wine corks but I thought I would get into the Christmas spirit and share with you a few ornament ideas to give your wine corks a new life. And, if you don’t have extra wine corks, invite your friends to bring over a bottle of wine and help you with your craft project! With only a few extra embellishments and some Christmas music in the background (the music is optional) you can turn your wine corks into great ornaments to love for years to come or to share as gifts.

Christmas Tree Supplies: 7 corks Twine A glue gun A sharp knife Cut one cork in half long ways, then cut again. This will be the trunk. Using your glue gun carefully glue the six remaining corks together. Three on the bottom, then two on top of that finishing with one on top to make the shape of a tree. Glue the “trunk” on the tree. After the glue has set, cut a length of the twine to wrap around the outside of the tree. It needs to be long enough to wrap around the tree and tie off in a knot at the top, then tie it again closer to the end of the twine to make your hanger. Another fun project will remind you of the Christmas classic “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” It has a little more cutting but still is a quick cute project.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Supplies: 3 Corks- I used the rubber kind for this project because the cut is cleaner. Pipe Cleaners Small jingle bell One small red pom pom Ribbon Small embellishment (optional) Glue gun Sharp knife Small eyelet screw Take one cork and cut it in half, then cut each piece in half again Take another cork and cut it in half, you will only need one half of it. Glue the half piece of cork to the whole cork allowing it to hang over the end. This is your reindeer head. Southern Holiday Life 107

with the ends of the wire you used to tie the bow with. Twist several times to secure. Now bend the wire so the ends are at the “top” of the bow.

Now glue the quartered pieces to the underside of the whole cork. These are your reindeer legs Cut your pipe cleaner so that you have a piece that is 4 inches long and one that is 2 inches long. Fold the 4 inch piece in half forming a “V” shape. Hot glue the “V” shape piece to the back of the reindeer’s head to form its antlers. Then take your 2 inch piece , fold in half and twist it together to form the tail. It’s easier to make a small hole with a pen or pencil where the tail will go , then apply a small amount of hot glue to the hole before trying to push the tail in. This will keep it in place. Finally apply the pom pom to make the nose and any embellishments. Attach the eyelet screw to the top of the body and thread with coordinating ribbon The last ornament is the most sentimental. It only uses one cork, so you could save that cork from your anniversary supper or special occasion.

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Make a small hole in the end of your cork. There might already be one from the corkscrew, if not carefully use a small screwdriver to make the hole. Now add a very small drop of hot glue and insert the wire in to the cork Measure a piece of wire the length you want the hanger to be and cut it allowing enough at the end to use as a hanger.

Remember the Date Ornament Supplies : One Cork Ribbon One large jingle bell Beads 20 gauge craft wire One corsage pin Hot glue gun Make a small bow and secure it with a length of wire, thread the bell onto the “bottom” of the bow

Select your beads and thread onto the piece of craft wire. Curl your wire up to secure the beads from coming off the wire. Take your corsage pin and push it through the curled up end of your wire and push into the cork.

Lynn Amason refurbishes furniture and turns them in to shabby chic designs. You can find her on Facebbok at Not Too Shabby or at Parker House Antiques & Gifts on Main Street in Wedowee, Alabama.

The Monkey Let us introduce y’all to Simon & Josephine! Two of the cutest sock monkeys we have ever seen! We contacted Alina Zavatsky of Daphne, Alabama and creator of The Monkey Village. We asked if she would let us feature her handmade monkeys in Southern Holiday Life this year so she sent us these guys to play with. The Monkey Village unites the cutest handmade Rockford Red Heel sock monkeys that are ready to be adopted! “I've been looking for the perfect sock monkey for years but could never find it,” Zavatsky said. “The

cheap mass-produced ones were obviously not made according to ages-old sock-monkey-making rules and completely lacked any uniqueness. “I personally make all the monkeys and other pets by hand without the use of a sewing machine this technique helps achieve truly unique, one-of-a-kind designs every time .” We more than agree, these sock monkeys are super soft and cuddly. “I use the original Rockford Red Heel socks in brown, blue and pink, in sizes small, medium, and large, to create my monkeys. All their

face features are handembroidered. The clothing and accessories are also designed and created by me,” she said. To see all of Alina’s custom handmade in the South sock monkeys visit her Etsy shop at or on Facebook at The Monkey Village by Alina Z. We will be sending Simon and Josephine to new homes this Holiday season, so be sure to like our Facebook page and sign up for our newsletter to find out how to win.

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A Little Family Holiday Recipes Story & Photos by Stacey Little

Mary Washington Balls Each year for as long as I can remember, my Mom and I have made time right before Christmas to do all of our Christmas baking and candy making together. I have such fond memories of this special time trying new recipes but being sure to include our family’s favorites. There’s just something special about homemade goodies around the holidays. I can’t think of a better little gift, just to show someone you care. If you like Almond Joy candy bars, you’ll love these Martha Washington Balls. And, no. I have no idea why they’re called that. BE SURE to check out my chocolate coating tips below the recipe to make coating these little babies even easier. Ingredients 2 cups shredded coconut 8 cups powdered sugar

1 stick butter, melted 1 can Eagle Brand milk (that’s sweetened condensed milk) 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 cups chopped pecans chocolate flavored almond bark Directions Combine first six ingredients well using hands. Roll into small balls and chill at least 30 minutes. Once thoroughly chilled, dip balls in melted chocolate flavored almond bark and allow to cool on wax paper. To achieve this look, I transferred some melted almond bark into a zip top bag, snipped the corner and drizzled chocolate over the candy, the sprinkled them with chopped coconut. Chocolate Dipping Tip: Take a large Crock Pot and fill it about half way with hot water. Turn the Crock Pot on high to keep the water hot. Find a smaller bowl that will fit into the crock pot. Melt your chocolate in the microwave and transfer it to the inner bowl.


Coca-Cola Cake Red Velvet Brownies These red velvet brownies are just about as good as they are easy. And for an over-the-top treat, just add some cream cheese icing to the top. Ingredients 1 box red velvet cake mix (18.25 oz) 12 oz bag white chocolate chips small box vanilla instant pudding (3.9 oz) 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 eggs 1 cup chopped pecans Instructions Combine ingredients in a large bowl and stir gently to combine. Spread mixture into a greased 9X13 baking dish. (I also added some whole pecans to the top to make them pretty.) Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until set to your liking. (We like ours fudgey so we bake them for about 30 minutes.) Cool completely before cutting and serving.

We Southerners love our Coke, and of course by Coke I mean any carbonated beverage – it’s what some folks call soda or pop or cola, you know Sprite, Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, etc. But down here, it’s all Coke. You just have to specify what kind of Coke you want. ~You know we can be kinda weird and cantankerous down her below the Mason Dixon line.~ I guess you could say my favorite kind of Coke is Dr. Pepper… and I’ve become real fond of that new Dr. Pepper 10. Anyway, us Southern folks are so proud of the fact that Coca -Cola is a Southern invented and made product, that we put Coke in all kinds of things – I’ve even heard you can clean your car battery connections with it… not sure what that says about what’s in it, but I digress. But my favorite, by far, is the ever popular Coca-Cola Cake. And every Southern cook has his or her own way of whipping up Coca-Cola cake, so here’s mine. This deliciously moist, dense cake is different from any other kind of cake that’s out there. You really need to try it if you haven’t. Even the icing has Coca-Cola in it!

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Ingredients 2 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup butter 1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows 1/4 cup cocoa 1 cup Coca-Cola 1/2 cup buttermilk 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla Icing 1/2 cup butter 1/3 cup Coca-Cola 3 tablespoons cocoa 4 cups powdered sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped Instructions In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Blend well. Stir in sugar. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup butter and and marshmallows. Cook over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa. Set aside. Add Coca-Cola, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Slowly add butter/marshmallow/cocoa mixture. Stir until combined. Pour into a greased 9X13 pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes. For icing, combine butter, Coca-Cola, and cocoa in a medium saucepan, heat until just boiling. Remove from heat and slowly stir in vanilla and sugar. Pour over warm cake. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

1/2 cup pecans, chopped 2 tablespoons pickle relish (you can use dill or sweet, I much prefer the dill) 2 teaspoons Creole mustard 1/2 cup mayonnaise salt and pepper to taste Creole mustard is SO important to the overall flavor of this recipe. Zatarain’s Creole Mustard has to be, by far, my favorite mustard. And to you mustard haters out there- yes, you can leave it out. But you’re missing out on LOTS of flavor. Even if you don’t like mustard, I bet you’ll like this recipe. Directions Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well. (Don’t you LOVE one step recipes!?!?!?) Enjoy! (okay, two steps!)

Pecan Chicken Salad

Shrimp and Grits

There are probably a billion different ways to make chicken salad, maybe a billion and one. But this is one of my favorite ways! Which also got me to wondering… do you like fruit in your chicken salad? Apples? Raisins? Or are you a chicken salad purist?

Shrimp and Grits is about as Southern as screen doors and sweet tea. The flavors of the dish range a bit depending on where you’re eating it, but it’s all good. This smoky, garlicky version is my favorite. Sometimes I add in 1 cup of sliced mushrooms for a little bit of a different flavor. This recipe will be featured in my upcoming cookbook ‘The Southern Bite Cookbook’ which is available for pre-order now through my website.

Ingredients 4 cups cooked chicken, chopped 2 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped 2 ribs celery, finely chopped 1/4 medium onion, finely chopped 112 Southern Holiday Life

Ingredients 4 slices bacon 16 ounces medium raw, peeled, and deveined shrimp 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 5 green onions, chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup chicken broth Dash of hot sauce Juice of 1 lemon Directions In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and crumble it when it has cooled. Add the chopped onions to the bacon grease in the skillet and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant. Sprinkle the shrimp with the salt and pepper and then add them to the skillet. Cook the shrimp until they are just starting to turn pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the flour into the broth. Pour the broth over the shrimp and bring just to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice and serve immediately over cheese grits.

My Secret Cheese Grits This recipe, as the name implies, offers up the secret to my famous cheese grits. These go great with the Grits and Gril-

lades, Shrimp and Grits, and are just wonderful by themselves for breakfast. The cream cheese gives them a smooth, velvety texture that can’t be beat. Ingredients 5 cups water 1 cup quick cooking grits 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 3 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes 2 tablespoons butter 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions In a medium sauce pan with a lid, bring the water to a boil and stir in the salt. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired tenderness and consistency. Grits should be smooth and creamy, not chewy.

Add more water if they begin to dry out. Just before serving, stir in the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and butter. Stir until melted and combined. Serve immediately. Stacey Little is a Southern Food Blogger at Southern Bite. His cookbook, The Southern Bite Cookbook, will be released early March of 2014. Visit his website for more amazing recipes and pre-orders.

All I Can Do Is

I recently lost a friend that suffered for over 12 months before God called her home. Many days as we chatted on the phone. I'd say to Susan, “I wish there was something I could do to ease your pain.” She would say, “Just pray for me, pray Debbie. “ I knew she was so ill, and I truly did not see anyway this could turn around. She needed a transplant and a match, something that would be almost impossible. But, I was reminded that nothing is impossible with God. I told her either way she was going to "shine." Over the past year, I prayed for her, for God to heal her body. It took me several times chatting with her to know that there was nothing I could do for my friend that could ever compare to prayer. For when we find ourselves saying, “All I can do is pray for you” we are truly saying the best thing we can do for you is pray for you. For God holds our every moment in his hands. So the next time you start to tell someone that the only thing you can do for them is to pray for them...know that you are doing the best thing ever, for them. Debbie Reynolds is the face behind Oh So Shabby. Her blog highlights her journey through life, recipes and décor inspiration. You can also find her on Facebook at Oh So Shabby by Debbie Reynolds. 114 Southern Holiday Life

By Debbie Reynolds

Southern Holiday Life 2013