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Holiday 2012

A quarterly magazine for southwest Iowa parents

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Just minutes south of Omaha. For more info visit us at | 800-467-2779

1701 W. Broadway Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Come Visit one of our doctors


Marar, MD


Rabadi-Marar, MD

K. Neil

Sheppard, MD

or see one of our mid-level providers

Our r Health h Care e Services: • Family Medicine from Newborns to Elderly • Internal Medicine • Endocrinology • Diabetes • Women’s Health Care • On Site X-Ray, Dexa Scan & Vasectomies

Scheduled d Appointments: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Same day appointments available

Walk-In n Clinic: Monday-Thursday 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. • Saturday 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Please call

712-256-5600 to schedule an appointment


Wholesome fun 12 planned for Our First New Year’s Eve Christmas


DIY Gift Ideas

A quarterly magazine for southwest Iowa parents




Planning for Winter Travel

Courtney Brummer-Clark



{holiday2012} COMMUNITY

TEAR OUT: December Calendar Holiday events and activities in southwest Iowa What’s so great about January?

Wholesome fun planned for New Year’s Eve Helping hands mean more time for family

ENTERTAINMENT, TRAVEL & ARTS Preparing for winter weather conditions


The gift of being a family The evolution and many faces of Christmas December plays host to many religious holidays


Do-It-Yourself gift ideas TEAR OUT: Black Friday shopping check-list Help college students this holiday season Holiday giving for special needs children


Take holiday stress a day at a time


Apples: The perfect holiday food Holiday Recipes TEAR OUT: Holiday grocery shopping check-list


Lauren Campbell

PHOTOGRAPHER Erin Duerr 6 7 8

9 16 11

STAFF WRITERS Kim Bousquet Mike Brownlee Kirby Kaufman Chad Nation Tim Rohwer


Elaine Fenner Dr. Lucinda Klein-Lombardo


17 18 19 19

20 21 22 23


ADVERTISING ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Cindy Bunten, Advertising Manager Jennie Gittins Becky Johnson Marshelle Latner Janelle Prichard Gay Snyder

New Housing Programs! New Townhomes • 4 new townhome units • Units will be single level • 1100 to 1350 sq feet • 2 Bedrooms

New Single Family Homes • Single Family Homes • Downpayment Grants up to 25% of purchase price • Grant can be used to purchase any 1 of 5 Single Family Homes slated for construction

Construction of Townhomes and Single Family Homes will be on lots near AHST School district. Contact Clint Fichtner or City Hall for more information: (712) 343-2424 or check us out online at: Avoca, Iowa is conveniently located just 30 minutes East of Omaha/Council Bluffs.



Holiday Concert Collaboration 3:00pm at IWCC Arts Center Holiday Happening 4:00pm at Lauritzen Gardens Holly Jolly Night Hike at Hitchcock Nature Center

Bright Lights, Little City 4:30-8:30pm at Main Street Christmas, Woodbine

Holiday Happening 4:00pm at Lauritzen Gardens

“The Nutcracker” 8:00pm at Orpheum Theater Slosburg Hall

“The Nutcracker” 2:00pm and 8:00pm at Orpheum Theater Slosburg Hall

Christmas with the Symphony 8:00pm at Holland Performing Arts Center

Christmas with the Symphony 2:00pm and 8:00pm at Holland Performing Arts Center

Kindernature “Surprising Snowflakes” at Hitchcock Nature Center “The Nutcracker” 2:00pm at Orpheum Theater Slosburg Hall

National Poinsettia Day 9:00am-5:00pm at Lauritzen Gardens

Christmas with the Symphony 7:00pm at Holland Performing Arts Center

Christmas with the Symphony 2:00pm and 7:00pm at Holland Performing Arts Center

First Night 4:30pm at Bayliss Park


Ask Megan about reserving your Holiday Gift Card today! Now offering

Gift Cards!! Megan Prichard-Brabec | 1722 Madison Ave. | Council Bluffs, IA 51503 | 712-325-6769

{what’sgoingon?} NOVEMBER Through Dec. 23 – “A Christmas Carol,” Omaha Community Playhouse, Hawks Mainstage Theatre, Omaha. By Charles Dickens, adapted by Charles Jones, musical orchestration by John J. Bennett. Experience Omaha’s favorite holiday tradition as Ebenezer Scrooge takes us on a lifechanging journey filled with beautiful costumes, exquisite music, perfectly crafted sets and special effects second to none. Special shadow-interpreted performance for the deaf and hard-of-hearing audience will be held Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m. For ticket information, see or call (402) 345-0606 or toll-free (866) 434-8587. Nov. 23 – Christmas at Union Station, 47 p.m., The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St., Omaha. Lighting of the tree, Santa, holiday crafts, cookie decorating, jazz singer Michael Walker. Concert series Dec. 1-2, 8-9 and 15-16. Ethnic holiday trees, Nov. 23-Jan. 6. Ethnic Holiday Festival Nov. 30, 5-9 p.m. Nov. 23 – 6 p.m., Lighted Christmas Parade, Clarinda. Santa’s House open following in southwest corner of square, and again Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 23-24 – Christmas Antique Walk, Walnut. Merchants in Christmas finery will offer holiday treats and hot, spiced cider and coffee. Nov. 24 – 1-3 p.m., Atlantic City Park, Atlantic. Santa’s Cabin and carriage rides. Nov. 24 – Night the Lights Come On, Shenandoah. See 1,000 lights on 60-foot Christmas tree by city hall and lighted deer on corners. Stores open late. Nov. 25, Dec. 1, 2, 9, 15, 16 and 23 – Holiday Harmony, Lauritzen Gardens, First and Bancroft streets, Omaha. Join us for a series of festive performances to brighten the holiday season. Enjoy the sounds of different local groups each week as heartwarming seasonal music combines with the gorgeous backdrop of the holiday poinsettia show. Performers will include: Dec. 1, Southeast Nebraska Community Band, 3:30 p.m.; Dec. 2, A Ring of Flutes, 12:301:30 p.m.; Neal Davis, 2:30-4:30 p.m.; Dec. 9, Omaha Suzuki String Teacher Assoc., 11:30 a.m.; MasterSingers, 2:30-3:30 p.m.; Dec. 15, Tangier Shrine Chanters, 1-2 p.m.; Dec. 16, A Ring of Flutes, 12:30-1:30 p.m.; Lincoln Southeast Ars Nova, 2:30 p.m.; Dec. 23,The Voice of Gael, 1:30-2:30 p.m.; Salem Baptist Choir, 3-4 p.m. Included with regular garden admission. $6 for adults and $3 for children age 6 to 12. Garden members and children under the age of 6 are admitted to the garden free of charge. Nov. 30 – “The Nutcracker,” 8-10 p.m., Arts Center at Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Road. Ballet

Nebraska’s fresh, lively, and thoroughly entertaining production of the Nutcracker is sure to become a favorite in your family. Ballet Nebraska’s careful attention to clear storytelling and masterful balance of reality and fantasy effortlessly transports you into the enchanting world of a child’s beautiful dreams. Even the youngest theatergoer will identify with the young heroine, Clara, and follow eagerly as her lively imagination leads her on a wonderful journey filled with colorful characters: the hair-raising Rat Queen, dazzling dancers from many lands, the beautiful Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier… and, of course, the Nutcracker Prince! For ticket information, see or call (712) 3887140 or (800) 432-5852 ext. 7140.

DECEMBER Dec. 1 – Holiday Concert Collaboration, 3 p.m., Arts Center at IWCC. Holiday concert by Omaha Area Youth Orchestra and prepared reading of “The Nutcracker.” Free. Dec. 1-2 – Holiday Happening, noon to 4 p.m., Lauritzen Gardens. Take pictures with Santa Claus, listen to festive holiday carols from local performance groups, hear stories of the season, enjoy holiday treats in front of the crackling fireplace in the café and walk through the beautiful holiday poinsettia show. Complete your child’s holiday adventure with a craft to take home! A $3 program fee for all participating children is charged, along with paid garden admission of $6 for adults and $3 for children age 6-12. Garden members and children under the age of 6 are admitted free of charge. Dec. 7 – Bright Lights, Little City, 4:308:30 p.m., Main Street Christmas, Woodbine. Lighted Parade, chili cook-off, Santa and Mrs. Santa, $1,000 Woodbine Dollars giveaway. Dec. 7-9 – “The Nutcracker,” Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Orpheum Theater Slosburg Hall, 409 S. 16th St. Omaha, Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; Dec. 8, 2 and 8 p.m.; Dec. 9, 2 p.m. More than 60 dancers, actors and circus artists, including area youth, mixTchaikovsky’s traditional ballet with “astounding creativity.” For ticket information, see Dec. 12 – National Poinsettia Day, 9 a.m.5 p.m., Lauritzen Gardens. First 100 families will receive a free poinsettia (limit one per family). Guests can view the spectacular holiday poinsettia show. Dec. 13-16 – Christmas with the Symphony Dec. 13, 7 p.m.; Dec. 14, 8 p.m.; Dec. 15, 2 and 8 p.m.; Dec. 16, 2 and 7 p.m., Holland Performing Arts Center, 13th and Douglas, Omaha. The Dancing Santa’s return. For tickets, see or call (402) 342-3560.

HOLIDAY ATTRACTIONS Nov. 17-Dec. 31 – Gingerbread on Parade, daily from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Historical Kanesville Tabernacle, 222 E. Broadway. More than 100 gingerbread creations on display from area families. Live music Dec. 15 and 22, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 20-Dec. 30 – Christmas at the Dodge House, 605 Third St. See the Victorian mansion decked out for the holidays, with more than 20 Christmas trees decorated with unique ornaments by local organizations. Open Tuesdays-Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Family nights Dec. 6, 13 and 20, 6-8 p.m. Admission on Family Nights $10 per family (limit two adults and dependent children or grandchildren). See Santa free Dec. 6 in Beresheim House. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days and throughout the month of January. For more information, see or call (712) 322-2406. Nov. 23-Jan. 6 – Holiday Poinsettia Show, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Lauritzen Gardens, First and Bancroft, Omaha. Thousands of poinsettias bursting with rich, vibrant color

fill the floral display hall in a glowing tribute to the holidays. In the center, a magnificent and majestic 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree stands tall. Surrounded by a cascade of twinkling white lights, glittering ornaments and the whir and whistle of model garden trains. Admission is included with paid garden admission of $6 for adults and $3 for children age 6 to 12. Garden members and children under the age of 6 are admitted free of charge. Closed Christmas and New Year’s Day.

CHRISTMAS TREE FARMS Dappan Tree Farm, 20873 Greenview Road. Scotch and white pines, fir trees, wagon rides, hot chocolate, cookies, toys and coloring books. Open Nov. 23-25 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call (712) 325-8303. Sawtooth Farm, 52257 Brookside Ave., Glenwood. Call (712) 527-3397. Horse Creek Farm, 2048 Horse Creek Road, Sidney. See or call (712) 374-6098.

Price Includes: Ceramic or Armstrong Floor, Bath Tub and Surround, Tub and Shower Control, Toilet, Vanity, Faucet, Medicine Cabinet, Shut Offs, Waste & Supply Lines, New Trim & Paint

We also do all types of repairs! Registered & Insured

Schmidt Construction




What’s so great about January? By Dr. Lucinda Klein-Lombardo After the excitement of the holidays, you might dread January - weeks of cold weather, shoveling snow, ice, and staying inside. January can be a big let-down. Cabin fever can set in and it can be especially difficult for children. One way to tackle cabin fever is to celebrate special days. January has 31 days the whole family can celebrate. Below are the special January days and suggested books to read on each day (*all books listed below are in the Council Bluffs Public Library): January 1 – New Years Day *Read New Years Day by David E. Mars January 2 – Drinking Straw Day *Read Imaginative Inventions: The Who, What, Where, When, and Why of Roller Skates, Potato Chips, Marbles, Pie and More! By Charise Mericle Harper January 3 – Fruitcake Toss Day *Read Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson January 4 – Trivia Day *Read Ask Me Everything by Samone Bos January 5 – National Bird Day *Read Bring on the Birds by Susan Stockdale January 6 – Cuddle Up Day *Read The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown January 7 – Old Rock Day *Read Rocks, Rocks, Rocks by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace January 8 – Bubble Bath Day *Read For the Love of Bubbles by Steve Banks

January 9 – National Static Electricity Day *Read Exploring Electricity by Carol Ballard January 10 – Peculiar People Day *Read The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss January 11 – Milk Day *Read Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on One Family’s Farm by Michael J. Rosen January 12 – Work Harder Day *Read How Things Work: The Complete Illustrated Guide to the Amazing World of Technology by Chris Oxlade January 13 – Make Your Dreams Come True Day *Read On the Court with Michael Jordan by Matt Christopher January 14 – Dress Up Your Pet Day *Read Dogs Don’t Wear Sneakers by Laura Numeroff & Joe Mathieu January 15 – Super Bowl’s Birthday *Read Super Bowl: 40 Years of Championship History by Matt Christopher January 16 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day *Read Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by David F. Marx January 17 – Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday *Read Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barrette January 18 – Winnie the Pooh Day *Read The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne January 19 – Popcorn Day *Read The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola January 20 – Penguin Awareness Day

*Read Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater & Florence Atwater January 21 – Squirrel Appreciation Day *Read Squirrel’s World by Lisa Moser January 22 – National Blonde Brownie Day *Read Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes by Jane O’Connor January 23 – Measure Your Feet Day *Read The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss January 24 – Compliment Day *Read Good Manners are Contagious by Jodi Stoner & Lori Weiner January 25 – Opposite Day *Read This Book Is Not Good For You by Pseudonymous Bosch January 26 – Australia Day *Read Australia by David Hampton January 27 – Chocolate Cake Day *Read Pure Imagination: The Making of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory by Mel Stuart with Josh Young January 28- National Kazoo Day *Read How to Kazoo by Barbara Stewart January 29 – National Puzzle Day *Read Where’s Waldo? : In Hollywood by Martin Handford January 30 – Yodel for Your Neighbors Day *Read How to Yodel: Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils and Funnybone by Wylie Gustafson January 31 – Backwards Day *Read Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss •


We will open again on Memorial Day 2013! 1200 Canal St., Missouri Valley, IA




Wholesome fun planned for New Year’s Eve BY: TIM ROHWER


irst Night is about celebrating local talent, giving them a chance to perform to new audiences.

“Our goal is to bring something new each year,” said Inky Westfall, co-chair of this annual event. That certainly is the case this year, she said, as 16 local acts will be making their first-ever appearance at this year-end event, now in its sixth year. First Night will be held on Dec. 31 in the downtown Council Bluffs area with this year’s theme being “The “Spirit of Iowa Arts.” As in the past, it provides wholesome entertainment for the whole family as way to celebrate a new year in a fun and safe manner. Cost is just $10 and those 12 and younger are admitted free. The buttons needed to enter venues where the acts will be perform can be purchased at any Hy-Vee Food Store, No-Frills Food Store, the treasurer’s office in City Hall or on the First Night website, Westfall said. Events will take place at 14 venues, she said – First Congregational Church, First Baptist Church, Masonic Temple, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Refuge Bible Church, Bloomer Elementary School, Public Library, City Hall, Pottawattamie County Courthouse, Community Hall, YMCA, Bayliss Park, Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the Squirrel Cage Jail. A slight change this year is that the eating venue will move from City Hall to Community Hall for more room, Westfall said. Visual artists will set up their displays in City Hall. Like last year, the fourth-graders at Bloomer Elementary School with create and perform a drum act, Westfall said. Besides local acts, First Night will also features some national entertainers, she added. A returning act, Young Elvis, will feature an accompanying band unlike How to talk to your kids about building relationships It is almost the time of year where the kids will soon be on break from school. For most families this means more time together and more opportunities for conversation! Most people don’t think about it, but times like the holidays are great times to talk to your kids about healthy relationships. These conversations don’t have to be formal and stressful; they can be casual conversations over holiday baking! There are many resources available to help you get prepared, but an honest, spontaneous conversation will often work better than the carefully rehearsed. These conversations are important for all parents to have with their kids, but especially for parents who may have kids who will want to spend significant amount of their holiday break with people from school.

Here are some tips for talking to your kids about relationships: •Tell your kids about your successes and failures in the search for love. From your own first crush and the first time you got your heart broken. By all means edit the truly awful blind dates and insignificant relationships, but don’t shy away from all of the embarrassing mistakes you made. Not only will your kids find some of it funny, it can spark real conversation. •If you are married, tell them about what is it that drew them to you and what qualities you think have helped the two of you grow together. If you are not still in relationship with their other parent, then think back to what drew you initially to them and what some of the warning signs were that started at the beginning that you didn’t understand or ignored. If you are still looking for a healthy relationship in your life, don’t discourage your kids, but be realistic about the search. •Talk to your kids about jealousy and possessiveness as warning signs of abuse and insecurity. Assure them that most people are somewhat insecure, but what is important is how people cope with those feelings. •Challenge your kids to set their own limits (we call them “boundaries”) for texting, phone calls and computer use. •Talk to your kids about healthy intimacy. Make sure that the information they have comes from you – not their best friend or the internet. Tell them that the decisions they make about their bodies are important and that requiring others to respect their decisions will send a message that they respect themselves. •Encourage questions and curiosity. If you don’t know the answer, tell them so. Then go find it – together.

Catholic Charities Phoenix House Crisis line: 712-328-0266

File photo

Terry Evans stands with Karlee Singer, 3, while she pets Dancer the reindeer outside Bloomer Elementary at First Night 2012. last year, she said. Everything begins at 4:30 p.m. and climaxes with the fireworks show in Bayliss Park at 10 p.m. “This year, the fireworks will be synchronized with music, which is new for us,” said Westfall, who oversees the event along with City Recreation Supervisor Geoff Hubbard. It’s hoped this year’s event will surpass the 2011 attendance figure of 3,200, she said. “We’re very excited for our citizens to see all these new acts,” Westfall said. •



“Home of the Trojans”

“Committed to Maximizing Student Potential” Serving the families of Beebeetown, Minden, Neola, Persia and the Surrounding Area Since 1962


Tri-Center Middle School

Tri-Center Community Schools has the reputation for being one of the finest schools in Southwest Iowa. Tri-Center offers quality educational programs PK through 12, top-notch facilities, campus-wide state of the art technology, outstanding activities programs and a caring, certified faculty, staff and administration. Tri-Center serves nearly 800 students each year.

Here are just a few of the characteristics/opportunities extended to our students/families: • All buildings/facilities located on one 40-acre campus near I-80 and I-680 interchange • Rural setting that offers good, safe country living 30 minutes from the metro area • Elementary remodeled in 2007; Middle School constructed in 1996 • 3 sections per grade level for grades K-6 (small class sizes for more effective instruction) • Newly renovated High School and New High School addition completed in September 2010 • 14 daily bus routes to accommodate the transportation needs of students/families • All buildings air conditioned • Entire campus networked electronically • Five 20-station terminal services computer labs on campus • 15 wireless mobile PC laptop labs (20 per cart)

• 7 wireless iPad2 labs (20 per cart) • BYOD (Bring Your Own Device - laptop, iPad, Smartphone) on campus for grades 6-12 • Projection systems and document cameras in every classroom • Pre-School programs half day and full day • All day every day kindergarten • K-12 drug education, social skills and character education programs • Accelerated Reader/Accelerated Math for grades K-12 • Advanced Placement and college credit courses at the High School level • A greenhouse for Vocational Agriculture and Horticulture • Comprehensive academic, activity and athletic programs • Rigorous academic requirements with traditionally high testing scores • Excellent, comprehensive fine arts programs

• Athletic complex – features a football/soccer stadium and practice fields, softball complex, baseball complex and an eight lane all-weather track • 3 gyms, a multi-purpose building for wrestling/ baseball/softball/auxiliary groups and a large weight training/fitness facility • 98% average daily attendance and 99% graduation rate

CELEBRATING G OUR 50thh YEAR Tours of the buildings/facilities are always available upon request or simply by stopping in at one of the building offices.

Tri-Center High School

High School 712-485-2257 Middle School 712-485-2211 Elementary 712-485-2271



Preparing for winter weather conditions BY: CHAD NATION


orecasters are predicting a mild winter throughout the Midwest, but even if we escape a long, cold season, there will be at least one or two storms to test our metal. Winter driving conditions are something that people should think about now, before the white stuff hits the roads, according to Council Bluffs Police Special Operations Sgt. Jason Bailey. Rest assured, Council Bluffs police vehicles will be prepared. “We put winter tires on our cruisers and have access to chains if they are needed,” he said. “We also have four-wheel drive SUVs.” While you might not have access to winter tires, or even an SUV, there are things you can do to prepare for the coming weather challenges. Bailey said the first snow test of the year is always the worst, so be aware of conditions. “Along with the usual ‘drive carefully,’ I would say to pay close attention to the local news,” he said. “If they are calling for bad weather, we recommend staying home when possible.” When taking to the road during winter weather, AAA also reminds drivers to proceed with caution to help maintain your safety as well as that of passengers, fellow motorists and roadside workers. The Automobile Association also recommends the following tips for winter driving: • Before starting out in snowy weather, take time to remove the snow from the entire car so it doesn’t blow onto

your windshield or the windshields of other drivers. Make sure your mirrors and lights are clean. • Drive with your low-beam headlights illuminated. • Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even when the rest of the road seems to be in good condition. • Look farther ahead in traffic. Actions by other drivers will alert you to problems and give you extra seconds to react. • When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance than passenger vehicles to stop. • Don’t use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures. • Remember that four-wheel drive helps you to get going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any faster. • Apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal with anti-lock brakes. To keep your vehicle running at its peak during the winter months, AAA Nebraska advises to check the battery strength in your vehicle. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power. Park your car in the garage if you can. If you have no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds. To keep doors from freezing shut, place a plastic trash bag between the door and the frame. And always keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuelline freeze-up. The Iowa Department of Transportation reminds motorists to have a winter survival kit prepared in your vehicle in case you do run into trouble on icy roads. The kit should include: Booster cables, blankets or sleeping bags, candles, matches, a snow shovel, extra mittens, caps and coats, high-calorie snacks like canned nuts, sand and

Scott McMullen

Visit us for all of your automotive needs: • Sales • Service • Body Shop • Parts

A McMullen Ford service department employee pours antifreeze into a vehicle. strips of carpet for traction, a flashlight and batteries, a firstaid kit and bottled water. If you do become stranded, AAA says it is best to stay with the vehicle. If you can start your engine, run it only long enough to keep warm, and make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free. Bailey also reminds people that vehicles must be removed from the street if a snow emergency is declared. “If you live on an emergency snow route and a snow emergency is declared, you are required by law to move your vehicle off the route,” he said. “Your vehicle will be towed if you fail to comply with this.” While officers try to notify owners before towing, sometimes it is not possible. “It is your responsibility to be aware of the situation,” Bailey added. •

Dan McMullen

3401 South Expressway, Council Bluffs, IA Take the I-80 Lake Manawa Exit, Turn South

Store Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8am-9pm; Sat. 8am-6pm | 800-432-9837 | 712-366-0531

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Mindi and Pedro Vargas recently adopted twoyear-old Kellen (top center) who will spend his first Christmas as a Vargas with his new brothers nine-year-old Connor (bottom left) and six-year-old Logan.

The gift of being a family Vargas’ celebrate first ‘official’ Christmas BY: MIKE BROWNLEE This Christmas Kellen is a Vargas. As the Vargas family – Pedro, Mindi, Connor, 9, Logan, 6 and now Kellen, 2 – celebrates the holidays this year, they’ll know one thing for sure: Kellen is a part of the family. “This makes it more special,” said Mindi. “He’s ours. There’s no question about it, he’s part of our family. Nothing can change that.” At 6 months old, Kellen joined the youngsters at Mindi’s daycare in Council Bluffs, while around that time Pedro and Mindi were considering becoming foster parents. Shortly after Kellen joined the daycare, he was put into foster care. “When he was removed from his home, we knew it was time to do fos-

ter care,” Mindi said. “It was time to take him in.” The transition was smooth, as the youngster was already in the Vargas home five days per week. “He was already in the routine,” she said. “Everything was the same, except he was here longer.” After Kellen’s parents lost full rights to their son, the Vargas family started the adoption process. Kellen was officially in their foster care for a year. During that time, the family a trip to Missouri – a halfway point between Council Bluffs and Tennessee – to meet with Pedro’s family for Christmas. The child met Pedro’s family, though he was a bit skittish. And all the while the Vargas clan had fun, but there was doubt in the back of Pedro and Mindi’s minds. They knew that until the final word came down from the state, Kellen could be gone. “When you’re going through the adoption process, things could change at the last second,” Mindi said. In June, the family completed the adoption process. This December, they’ll head to Missouri again, a full-blown family of five. “It’ll set home that he’s a part of our family,” Pedro said. “And for him, it’s great, he’ll get to see extended family again, this will help the transition. He’ll get spoiled with hugs and kisses, have a great time.” The out-of-state family is excited as well, ready to see Kellen again. That includes Pedro’s daughters from a previous marriage, Fawn, 17, and Brenna, 15, both of whom live in Oregon. They’ll welcome their newest, youngest brother to the family over the holidays. For Mindi, “this year it’s definite,” there’ll be no worry on Christmas day. Only joy. “This makes it more special,” she said. Jill Stone with Iowa Kidsnet, a network of six organizations involved in foster care and adoption, said the transition from foster care to adoption is at times difficult. Foster parents have officials involved in the decision-making process, often helping determine what’s best for a child. “As a foster, you’re not expected to be the person making all the decisions and the responsible party,” she said. “As an adoptive parent, you’re the one making decisions when you’re a parent.” Another obstacle: The loss experienced by a child. “With any adoption there’s loss, especially with older children – the loss of their birth family,” Stone said. Kellen’s case is a little different, as he came to Mindi and Pedro at a young age. Stone said it’s important to have families like the Vargases stepping up to bring another child into their home. Adoption through foster care is crucial for children and teenagers who are coming from dire situations. “I’m glad,” said Connor Vargas at the family’s Council Bluffs home. Things were hectic, with the family scrambling to leave for Connor’s soccer game, just minutes after getting home from a doctor’s appointment for all three boys. Kellen smiled throughout, taking it all in without getting caught up in the craziness. The younger brother looks up to Connor and Logan, imitating what they say, taking interest in the sports and games they play. “He fits in here,” Connor said. At home and in Missouri, Kellen’s ready to unwrap soccer balls and hockey pucks, with his family laughing and smiling with him. He’s not going anywhere, except for outside to play with new with his brothers. “This Christmas, he’s a Vargas,” Mindi said. •



The evolution and many faces of Christmas


any people prepare for the arrival of Christmas months in advance. The first traces of wrapping paper and decorations arrive in stores as early as September, transforming the holiday into a much more secular celebration than its modest Christian beginnings. Despite Christmas being an important date in the lives of today’s Christians, the holiday failed to gain prominent status until relatively recently. Research indicates that as late as the 19th century, Christmas was not even a legal holiday requiring a day off from work. That’s why 19th century readers of the classic Christmas tale, “A Christmas Carol,” were not shocked at Bob Cratchit having to work on Christmas Day. The United States Congress used to meet on Christmas Day because it was not a national holiday. In 1836, Alabama became the first state to officially recognize Christmas, but it didn’t become a legal holiday across the country until June 26, 1970. Today’s Christmas celebrations include traditions from around the world. Some ascertain that it was the Church’s doing to schedule Christmas at a similar time to the pagan festivals, such as Saturnalia, that took place during the winter months. But many biblical scholars argue that this was not the case.

Some pagan influences, such as holly and mistletoe as well as the burning of a yule log, have long been a part of Christmas traditions. Santa Claus is one of the more recognizable symbols of Christmas. He is based on St. Nikolas of Myrna, an area that is part of modern-day Turkey. St. Nikolas is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint and is one of the saints most portrayed by artists. Early depictions of St. Nikolas show him as a stern man who delivered his share of discipline. Eventually, those depictions changed to show a figure more associated with generosity. Throughout history there have been characters from around the globe, such as the Viking deity Odin, who were precursors to Santa Claus. Myth states that Odin rode his eight-legged flying horse in the winter. Odin gave out gifts to well-behaved children and punishments to those who misbehaved. Children would fill boots or stockings with treats for the flying horse. Regardless of the origins of Christmas, today it is hard to deny that Christmas is a commercialized success. It is a national holiday not only in the United States but also in other areas of the world, and it is best known for the tradition of giving presents to others. In fact, many people head to the stores well in advance

of the Christmas holiday to purchase all of the presents on their shopping lists. The shopping season tradition may be traced back to the time of World War II, when it was necessary to mail gifts early to the troops serving in Europe so that they would be able to open them in time. Merchants realized that this concept could be used when gifting troops as well as private citizens, reminding shoppers to make their holiday purchases early so they could mail them to relatives near or far. As a result, the advanced shopping season was born. Although many people feel Christmas begins when the first bag of tinsel appears on a store shelf and ends when the last present is opened on December 25th, the true religious holiday does not coincide with merchant schedules. While most people are bustling to and from department stores and malls, Christians are participating in Advent, which was tradi-

tionally a solemn season of reflection and fasting. Christians are supposed to spend Advent preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ and the joy that ensues during the weeks leading up to December 25. Similarly, the joyous time of Christ’s birth is a day of celebration that does not end on December 26 but continues for 12 days until the Epiphany, also known as Little Christmas, when Magi were reported to have visited the infant Christ and give him gifts. Although the more traditional day for gift-giving would seem to be on the Epiphany, by the time that day arrives many people have already taken down their Christmas decorations. Christmas is a holiday steeped in many different traditions, and many people have their own ways of celebrating all through the month of December. •

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CHRISTMAS WALK EVENTS: FRIDAY the 23rd • Strolling Carolers and Goose Man. • Homemade Soups at American Legion, Country School Museum Open! • Festival of Trees at Welcome Center! • Wine Tastings.

SATURDAY the 24th • Goose Man • Soups again at American Legion, Santa Claus at Library from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. • Festival of Trees at Welcome Center. • Wine Tastings.

General Info: Christmas treats in all stores. Hours 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Come and see what Iowa’s Antique City has to offer!



December plays host to many religious holidays C

hristmas and Chanukah may get the bulk of the attention come December, but the final month of the year includes other religious holidays as well. The following are just a few of the religious celebrations taking place this holiday season. * Feast of Saint Nicholas: Typically falling on December 6, the Feast of Saint Nicholas, or Saint Nicholas Day, is a festival for children in many European countries. In commemoration of Saint Nicholas, gift-giving occurs in some countries on his feast day, while some countries’ celebrations are more low-key. Children are typically the recipients of gifts, and the legend of Saint Nicholas, whose reputation as a gift-giver was widely known during his lifetime, is said to have inspired the idea of Santa Claus.

* Bodhi Day: A holiday that commemorates the day Buddha received enlightenment, Bodhi Day is typically celebrated on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month. Bodhi Day is celebrated in many Buddhist countries and communities, and many celebrants choose to meditate in commemoration. * Feast of the Immaculate Conception: This feast, which is celebrated on December 8, celebrates the belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a celebration of the belief that Mary was kept free of original sin from the moment of her conception. The day is a Holy Day of Obligation within the Catholic Church. * Chanukah: Some may instantly associate Chanukah with exchanging gifts, but this wellknown December holiday is not a celebration

of giving and receiving gifts, but a commemoration of the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Chanukah is celebrated for eight nights and days, and in some years can begin in late November. * Christmas: Celebrated every year on December 25 (though some Orthodox Christians use a different calendar and celebrate on a different day), Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Traditions associated with Christmas include attending Christmas Mass, decorating for the holiday and exchanging gifts with family and friends. Once celebrated strictly by Christians, the holiday is now celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike and includes both religious and secular traditions. •



Cindy Keesee, team captain for Merry Maids in Council Bluffs, cleans a microwave with degreaser.

Helping hands mean more time for family BY: KIRBY KAUFMAN


amilies are turning to cleaning and catering services during the holiday season because it can be a frantic mess to keep the in-laws happy and still have enough time to take in the scenery. Barb Sequenzia, owner of Merry Maids in Council Bluffs, said its cleaning services provide peace of mind and security for families so they don’t miss any holiday happenings. “Some people really want to impress their family,” Sequenzia said. Merry Maids, located at 38 Benton St., specializes in home cleaning and other services, which include washing walls, ovens, refrigerators and windows. “There’s so many things going on during the holiday season,” Sequenzia said. “There’re a lot of things to get out and enjoy.” The company offers free home estimates because everyone has different needs. During the holidays, dining and guest rooms become the main beneficiaries of cleaning services. Cleaning requests are also common after guests leave to make sure things are back in shape.

“It’s one less thing to have to worry about,” Sequenzia said. “People enjoy cooking, baking and entertaining family. This just takes one thing off of their plates.” Services are geared toward families and also the elderly. The company has many repeat customers during the holidays. When it comes to dinner deception, families turn to professionals such as Katy’s Catering in Glenwood. Owner Katy Marvel runs the business out of her home on Highway 275 southeast of town. “People are busy with their jobs, kids and grandkids,” Marvel said. “People just don’t have the time like they used to.” Catering means no to-do lists, trips to the grocery store or fighting in the checkout line. Families also don’t have to worry about food preparation and cleaning, she said. Marvel was born into a family grocery and catering business, where she learned to cook from her father and grandmother. Her business has been open for three years. Meals cost about $10 to $15 per person, Marvel said, with dishes ranging from ham, brisket or even prime rib. Most catering orders are for dishes people don’t make on a regular basis. Marvel said business increases 40 percent between Thanksgiving and Christmas due to demand for holiday parties and family get-togethers. Marvel has also catered complete Thanksgiving meals and business parties. “No matter the holiday, I try to base it toward their event,” she said. Turn around for services is about 24 hours, but most customers order at least a week in advance, Marvel said. Dishes such as prime rib require 12 hours in a smoker before served. Food is picked up or delivered in disposable containers or customers can bring their own serving trays. “They pick it up, take it to their house and pretend they made it,” she said. •

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One Edmundson Place, Suite 500 • Council Bluffs, IA 712-323-5333



Do-It-Yourself gifts BY: KIM BOUSQUET

is the season to spend, shop and stuff. However, if you are looking to do gift-giving in a unique, more creative way, here are some great do-it-yourself options that might make your holly a little more jolly:


Gift for spouse – 12 Months of Dates This idea I found on You can surprise your spouse by planning out one date a month for the next year, or you can do what I did, split the duty and have your spouse plan half the year. It can be as elaborate or simple as you wish, just type up the date plans, put them in an envelope for each month and add any extras that might be needed. For some dates, everything was prepaid: Tickets were purchased, dinner reservations were made, and babysitters were lined up. Others were left open for better planning closer to the month, which you might want to do if you’re planning something like a picnic, camping or other outdoor adventures.

Gift for sister – Homemade foot scrub You can find variations on scrubs all over the Internet, but I used two for inspiration here: and This recipe will fill an 8-ounce jar or two 4-ounce jars.

Place 8 ounces of granulated sugar in a mixing bowl, then add 1 ounce vegetable oil, 1 ounce vegetable glycerin, 1 ounce liquid castile soup, ½ teaspoon of vitamin E oil (can be omitted, but it extends the scrub’s shelf life), ¼ teaspoon essential oil (some recommendations: patchouli, orange, spearmint, peppermint). Transfer the scrub to a cute container and you’re done!

Gift for friend – Rein Beer 6 pack Gift for teacher – Hot Decorate a six- Chocolate mix in a jar

pack of root beer or beer as a pack of reindeer. I came across several sites offering ideas, but this was one of the originals, Just glue on some googly eyes, a pompom for a nose and twist brown piper cleaner around the top to resemble antlers.

Find a good recipe for hot chocolate and prepare a large badge of it to give to your children’s teachers this year. I found this cute idea at In a mason jar, place a baggie of the mix and then add large marshmallows. You might want to decorate the marshmallows as snowmen, just buy some food pins to draw on the eyes, carrot nose and smile. Decorate the jar with some ribbon and a card. You could also add a mug to the gift.

Gift for neighbor – Cookie dough While premade cookies are nice, nothing beats freshout-of-theoven cookies. Give your neighbors the dough of your favorite cookie recipe so they can make cookies when they’re needed. Dress up the container with a label. The cute label on the cookie dough gift found at was ordered on Etsy.

Gift for kids – Personalized alphabet book Make your child his or her own alphabet book using pictures of items and people your child knows. I saw this idea on There are a number of sites online that you can use to create the book. Make sure you finish the book early enough for it to get shipped to you before Christmas. •










Help college students this holiday season College is a time when many students form friendships and make memories that last a lifetime. College is also a time when students learn to stretch a dollar, and the right gift come the holiday season can have a big impact on a college student’s life. The following are a few gift ideas that may help make your favorite student’s second semester a success. Books and supplies: Textbooks and supplies remain one of the biggest expenses for today’s college students. According to the College Board, a not-for-profit organization aimed at helping college students be successful, the average cost for books and supplies during the 2011-2012 school year was roughly $1,200. Such an expense can be daunting for college students, and relatives can help them out come the holidays by paying for a portion or all of their second semester textbooks and supplies. Such a gesture might not make the most sentimental holiday gift, but it’s a practical present that will go a long way toward helping a financially struggling student pay his or her bills. Travel: College students who want to study abroad or travel for spring break must bankroll those travels themselves. In addition, some students struggle to pay for their travel back home during the holiday season or during other breaks from class. Adults who want to lend a college student a helping hand this holiday season can offer to help pay those travel costs. Men and women who travel a lot for work might be able to use their airline miles to secure a free or low-cost ticket for the college student in their life. Computer accessories and programs: Of course, not all gifts need to be financially oriented. Practical gifts like computer accessories can also make a great gift for college students. Nowadays, many colleges and universities require incoming students to have their own desktop or laptop computers. Students with their own laptops might appreciate new laptop bags that make it easier to transport their computers to and from classes and the library. In addition, some majors, such as graphic design, require that students use ever-evolving and expensive computer software. These programs are often installed on computers in the university’s labs, but students may perform better in school if they install such programs on their own computers. Upgrading students’ computer software can save them money and help them do better in school. Gaming consoles: Another great gift for college students is the latest video gaming console. Though such a gift might not be as virtuous as new textbooks or computer programs, a gaming console can help students unwind from the stresses of schoolwork. Today’s college students grew up with gaming consoles and many are avid gamers, so a new gaming console can also be a great way for them to make new friends who share similar interests. •

Holiday giving for special needs children Everyone wants to get the perfect gifts for people on their holiday shopping lists. Shopping for a child with special needs can make gift-giving a bit more difficult. After all, buyers want to ensure the gift is practical as well as thoughtful. However, there are many great gift ideas for special needs children. Buying gifts for kids with a disability or other special needs make take a little more time, but shoppers who consider a child’s developmental readiness as well as personal interests can still find the perfect gift. Consult with parents and caregivers. Parents often know best when it comes to their own children and will make the most reliable source as to which gifts to buy for special needs children. Parents may have a list of items a therapist or teacher has suggested, and these learning tools could make good gifts, particularly if parents’ own budgets are stretched. If you’d like to make the gift a surprise for everyone involved, go directly to a therapist or teacher and ask for suggestions. There may be classroom aides that can be bought to continue the learning experience at home. Assess developmental level. When it comes to special needs children, age does not always dictate the proper developmental level. A pre-teen with special needs may not be on the same level academically and socially as his or her peers, while some special needs children may be more developed in a particular area than other special needs kids their age. Assess a child’s developmental level to help you select toys that he or she can play with. For example, a nonverbal child with autism who likes marine life may benefit from a colorful picture book where he or she can point to the animals. Think about interests. Most children gravitate to certain types of toys and have specific interests when it comes to play. A music lover may enjoy a learner’s guitar or keyboard. Those who like to build would probably like a Lego(R) or Mega Bloks(R) set that can be transformed into cars, trucks or even space stations. Most children benefit from art sets where they can explore their creativity and also master greater dexterity and imaginative thinking. Consider making a financial donation. Some children with special needs require the use of specialized equipment, such as braces or wheelchairs. Such equipment can be expensive, and the child’s family might benefit from a financial gift. A monetary gift to be put toward medical supplies, travel, gear, or even a charitable donation to an association would make fine gifts. Special needs children are just like others in that they look forward to the bounty of holiday gifts. Choosing presents that pertain to their interests, needs and developmental readiness can ensure that this holiday season is a happy one. •

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hawna Hedegaard knows how to keep her head above the water during the holiday season. The 34-year-old Missouri Valley mom said financial and shopping woes could make for an unwanted busy schedule. “I think for a lot of families these days money is definitely tight, and during the holidays it can escalate and be overwhelming,” Hedegaard said. “In addition to financial stress, having the time to go shopping without kids for gifts can be a challenge.” Hedegaard said online shopping is a great alternative to a busy schedule. “I love shopping online,” she said. “It beats standing in long lines and parking a mile away from the store, but I know that is what some people love about the holiday season.” When it comes to finding the right gift for little ones, Hedegaard said parents shouldn’t stress about getting the right gift. “My son is 2 so his expectations for Christmas presents are pretty low right now,” she said. “Last year he loved playing with the wrapping paper and empty boxes.” Other times, finding the right gift can become a very daunting task. “For some parents, I am sure there is pressure to purchase the right gift,” she said. Hedegaard and her family visit the in-laws in Underwood and during Christmas they stay in Missouri Valley. That doesn’t include the extra stops during the holiday season. “We normally have multiple Christmas parties to attend and making them all can be hectic,” she said. Between the shopping, gifts and parties, Hedegaard said it’s important to remember why people run around during the holidays: To keep family members happy and bring everyone together under one roof. “If we can simply remember why we celebrate the holidays, it helps to put things into perspective and suddenly the little details don’t seem so important,” she said. And if the sky comes crashing down, a simple solution is to slow things down. “Just take one day at a time,” she said. “It will all get done eventually.” For others, holiday stress can really pile up so they turn to spa and salon services to alleviate extra worries. Jami Sousa, co-owner of SunKiss’d Tanning in Council Bluffs, said people may suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which is caused by lack of sunlight. “The reason it’s a big stress reliever is you get there, and you turn on your music,” she said. “You just relax.” Other people walk into the salon just to stay warm during the colder months. Sousa said clients often stop in after work. “If it stays really cold and icky, they do come in here,” she said. •

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Apples: The perfect holiday food As I may have mentioned in the past, I really like fresh fruit. My husband says I am too much like “Howie Mandel”: I wash everything. I refuse to eat it until it is washed, and I worry when I go restaurants. I just know that some kid with pimples chopped my salad or sliced my lemon with an unclean knife. I can’t help it. Call me Howetta Mandeli. EATING WITH ELAINE I love to shop the produce section of the grocery store. I hanby Elaine Fenner dle everything, smell it, massage it, examine it. But if I handle it, I wonder how many other people do too. This just increases my germ phobia. So everything I bring home from the produce department, I wash with one-part vinegar and three-parts water. I bought a spray bottle from the dollar store and filled it with ¼ white vinegar and the remainder with water. I spray vegetable and leave this on for 2 minutes, then rinse with cold running water. Your can buy a readymade spray for about $4.95 (16 oz.), but why? I wash berries, all fruits and vegetables before storing. It’s apple season and apples top the list of the “Dirty Dozen” for herbicides and pesticides. So wash them thoroughly and remove the label of the origin sticker. I read that the glue used to place the sticker on fruit is edible (yum!). I found the perfect apple crisp recipe for the holidays. It is from my friend and neighbor, Marilyn Nadler. I’ve known Marilyn for years and she always gives me good advice. She has a degree as a home economist and is a good cook. When my kids were little, Marilyn and her late husband, Walter, would have a Christmas gathering for neighbors. The kids loved to go because Marilyn would have cookies made into holiday shapes. She would have the kids decorate them with evaporated milk and a little food coloring. Each child had a paintbrush, and would color their cookies and take them home. Marilyn was way ahead of her time in thinking about excess sugar in our diets. I can’t imagine having a holiday season in fall or winter without apples. Some food, at some time, has to be made with apples: Pies, turnover, cookies, salsa, crisps (even turkey dressing). Marilyn makes the best apple crisp. This recipe is so good that I may seve it with pork roast too, instead of applesauce. Marilyn served this apple crisp with gelato imported from Italy (HyVee brand in the frozen food section). If you make it, don’t serve it with “pretend” whipped topping and keep the amount to one-half cup. The gelato is so good it’s hard to keep it at one half but the apple crisp is so delicious, you really won’t need much adulteration.

Apple Crisp 5 pounds of apples, washed, peeled and sliced. (Use Honey Crisp, Yellow Delicious or any cooking apples) Add the zest and juice of 3 oranges and 2 lemons (use organic and then only scrape the citrus zest ONCE at each area on the citrus, do not allow the white pith to be part of the zest). Toss the juice and the zest with the apples and then add ½ cup sugar and mix well. Put the apples in a 9x13 inch glass pan. Topping for the crisp: 1stick of butter ¾ cup flour 6 tablespoons brown sugar 6 tablespoons white sugar ¼ teaspoon of salt 1 cup whole oats (NOT quick or instant) Mix with a mixer, adding the oats after the butter, flour and sugars are mealy-looking (Do NOT use a food processor). If you like lots of crispy topping, then double this part of the recipe. Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture and bake in 350 oven for 1 hour. I know you can do it. Remember to wash the apples and lemons. If you need other holiday dessert ideas, e-mail me at •



Peppermint Mocha Chip Cookies

Corn Bread Stuffing

(Makes 36 cookies)

1 cup butter (2 sticks) 1 cup onion, chopped 1 cup celery, chopped 1 ½ to 2 cups liquid or broth* 1 box Mrs. Cubbison’s Seasoned Corn Bread Stuffing

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 3 cups Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 3 teaspoons Nescafé Taster’s Choice House Blend 100% Pure Instant Coffee Granules 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 3 large eggs 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 12 soft peppermint candies, crushed

Oven Casserole Directions Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large saucepan, melt butter on medium heat, sauté vegetables until translucent. Combine stuffing mix; stir in liquid* gradually and blend lightly. Place stuffing in greased casserole dish, cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover last 15 minutes for crisper top.

Top-of-Stove Directions Prep Time: 10 minutes PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Grease or line baking sheet with Cook Time: 10 minutes parchment paper. In large saucepan, melt butter on medium heat, sauté vegetables MELT butter and 1 cup chocolate morsels in medium saucepan until translucent. over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Stir in liquid gradually and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover TRANSFER chocolate mixture into a large mixer bowl; add and reduce heat to simmer for 3 minutes. sugar and beat until combined. Add coffee granules, vanilla Turn off heat, add dressing mix and blend lightly. Cover and let extract and peppermint extract; beat just until combined. Beat in stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve. eggs. Add flour and baking powder, mixing until all is incorporated. Fold in remaining 2 cups chocolate morsels. SCOOP dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart, using a medium size cookie scoop. Sprinkle each cookie with a little of the crushed peppermint candies. BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set. Allow to cool for about 2 minutes on baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Fire Roasted Jalapeño Onion Dip Makes about 1-3/4 cups dip 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.



Holiday Grocery Shopping Check-list

Council Bluffs • 1141 N. Broadway • (712)322-8778 Pharmacy (712) 322-9019 • Floral (712) 242-1919

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South 1st & Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51501

WEEKLY SERVICES Sunday Worship: 8:00, 9:30 & 11:00 Spanish Service: 1:30 PM Sunday School: 9:30 AM


6905 S. 84th Street, La Vista, NE (On the corner of 84th & Harrison) M-F 9:30am-9pm, SAT 9am-6pm

Nursery Provided. Handicapped Accessible.

322-7741 • Bob Dean, Ruben Mendoza and Chris St. Clair, Pastors


A Place for You

SUNDAY SERVICES 9:00 a.m. Sunday School All Ages Welcome!

9:00 & 10:45 a.m. Worship

East Side


Christian Church 331 Bennett Avenue, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51501

Gethsemane Presbyterian Church 224 Wallace Ave. Council Bluffs, IA

20794 Highway 92 z Co. Bluffs, IA 51503

Sunday Services

8:00 a.m. - Heritage Chapel 9:15 a.m. - Worship Center 10:45 a.m. - Worship Center 7:00 a.m., M-F, KCRO 660 AM


New Horizon

Presbyterian Church Sunday Worship Services 8:00, 9:00 & 10:30AM

Weekly Services

366-2513 Handicapped Accessible

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Worship at 9:30 AM Sunday School at 9:30 AM

30 Valley View Drive • 712-323-7129


712-322-6655 Saturday Worship: 5:30 PM Sunday Worship: 10 AM

600 Bluff St. (1 block west of the Dodge House) Handicapped Accessible

(Coffee fellowship 11:15)

Sunday School: 8:45 AM Adult Bible Studies: Sunday 8:45 AM & 6:30 PM

14955 Somerset Ave

Council Bluffs

Worship: Sun. 8:00, 9:30 & 11:00AM (712) 366-1408

Saint John

Twin Cities

Lutheran Church

Christian Church

633 Willow Avenue 712-323-7173

Everyday People Serving God Every Day

Worship Services Saturday 5:30 PM Sunday 9:30 AM



4220 Gifford Rd., Council Bluffs, IA

Handicap Accessible

(712) 366-9112

SERVICES Sunday School 9:30 a.m. Sunday Worship 10:30 a.m. Weekly Bible Studies!


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Broadway United Methodist Church


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First Christian Church presents

A Family Christmas Celebration on December 15, at 6:30 PM and December 16, at 4:00 PM This Presentation is Free & Open to the Public!

Christmas Eve Services

4:00 PM ~ For young families 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00 PM ~ Candlelight Communion Services

20794 Hwy 92, Council Bluffs


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