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Stuff children’s stockings with these Books do make great gifts, and even better memories

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HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

Find more events in the online calendar at pal-item.com Santa Claus Limited train rides, 10 a.m., Nov. 29, Whitewater Valley Railroad, 455 Market St., Connersville, Ind. Board the train at Grand Central Station in Connersville to pick up Santa Claus along the way. Train departs at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for ages 2 and up and are available at whitewatervalleyrr.org or (765) 825-2054. Christmas Festival, Nov. 29-Dec. 15, Wayne County Historical Museum, 1150 N. A St., Richmond. Hours: Mondays-Fridays 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays 1 - 4 p.m. Visit the museum while it is decorated for the holiday season. Bid on some of the donated trees, decorations and gift baskets to take home. (765) 962-5756 or waynecountyhistoricalmuseum.com Metamora Holiday Special train, departures from Whitewater Valley Railroad, 455 Market St., Connersville, Ind., at 4 p.m. Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 7 and 14 with 3 hour, 15 minute layover. Reservations must be made in advance and these trains usually sell out. Adults: $27, children 2-12: $16. Tickets: whitewatervalleyrr.org or (765) 825-2054. White Christmas, Nov. 29, downtown Eaton, Ohio. The annual White Christmas celebration will take place at the courthouse plaza. Eaton High School Band, East Elementary second-graders as well as the Eaton Area Community Chorus will perform. Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit. A Community Christmas, Union City, Ind., with a parade at 6 p.m. Nov. 29 from downtown to Harter Park where the annual display of more than 3 million lights will be turned on. The lights will remain on nightly from 6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Santa and Mrs. Claus make appearances and there is a gift shop. Donations accepted. (765) 964-6080 Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Richmond Municipal Building, 50 N. Fifth St. Vendors of local products and information booths from non-profits. Polymer clay ornament class, 10 a.m.-noon, Nov. 30, Golay Community Center, 1007 E. Main St., Cambridge City, Ind. Create ornaments for yourself or for gift giving. 2 HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013

Holiday Event Calendar $20 members, $25 non-members. Preregistration was requested by Nov. 22. (765) 478-5565

Park lighting, 6-8 p.m., Dec. 1, Lewisburg Community Park, Lewisburg, Ohio. (937) 962-4377

Cambridge City Winter Wonderland, 5-9 p.m., Nov. 30, Creitz Park and Main Street, Cambridge City. The tree lighting will be at 6 p.m. in Creitz Park with a parade at 8 p.m. The Christmas Wonderland will offer antiques and unique crafts and collectibles, a lighted parade, strolling carolers, a double-decker bus, craft bazaar, and carriage rides. Santa will meet kids that night at the Boy Scout cabin. Sponsored by Cambridge City Chamber of Commerce. Celebration of Lights in Creitz Park every weekend in December. Details and schedule: cambridgecityindiana.org or (765) 478-5352

Richmond Community Orchestra holiday concert, 3:30 p.m. Dec. 1, Earlham College, 801 National Road W., Richmond. In Carpenter Hall’s Goddard Auditorium. Free and open to the public. rcoindiana.org

Lights display, 6-9 p.m., Nov. 30, Harter Park, Union City, Ind. Annual display of more than 3 million lights. The lights will remain on nightly from 6-9 p.m. SundayThursday and 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Santa and Mrs. Claus make appearances and there is a gift shop. Donations accepted. (765) 964-6080 Whispering Christmas lights display, Dec. 1-31, Fort St. Clair Park, 122 W. Main St., Eaton, Ohio. Holiday Art Mart, Dec. 1-18, Richmond Art Museum, 350 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond. Small art works are for sale at Richmond Art Museum for $250 or less. The opening reception and artist meet-andgreet is from 1-4 p.m. Dec. 1. Gaar House decorated for holidays, Sundays in December Gaar House & Farm Museum, 2593 Pleasant View Road, Richmond. The 1876 mansion will be decorated for the holidays. Guided tours are at 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. on Sundays (Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22.) Admission is $5 per adult and $2 for ages 5-18. Most of the decorations will be available for sale with proceeds going to the Gaar Foundation. In addition, Becky Cranor of Rebecca’s Creative Design will have unique heirloom items and purses for sale. Those who have inherited hankies, doilies, linen towels and table toppers can learn how she has added updated touches to those items. Learn more about the home at thegaarhouse.com or call (765) 966-1262.

Carol Lou Woodward concert, 7 p.m. Dec. 3, Gennett Mansion, 1829 E. Main St., Richmond. A benefit for the Starr-Gennett Foundation. Free admission. The Richmond pianist will play a few songs from her new CD called “Rags to Richmond,” a tribute to ragtime music and Richmond’s historic Starr Piano Company. She might work in a couple of the songs from her seasonal album, “Christmas with Carol Lou,” which will also be sold to benefit Starr-Gennett. (765) 962-2860 “Christmas Walk,” 5-9 p.m. Dec. 3, downtown business district, Historic Farmland, Ind. A town-wide celebration of the holiday season will include decorations, strolling carolers, horse and carriage rides, a living Nativity, artisan booths, unique food vendors, professional pictures with Santa, a Christmas Cake Walk, a sneak peek at the new Farmland Center and live musical entertainment. Tree lighting at 6 p.m. Local businesses will also stay open late. Entertainment will include a live performance by cast members from “G.I. Holiday Jukebox” and jazz vocalist Linda Gilchrist. Free and open to the public. (765) 468-7631. Old Fashioned Christmas Festival, 5-9 p.m., Dec. 3, 10 and 17, Historic Depot District, Fort Wayne Avenue area, Richmond. Parking and admission are free. Lights, luminarias, carriage and double-decker bus rides, Santa and Mrs. Claus, live reindeer, a train display, face painting, balloon art and more are planned. Entertainers in Richmond Furniture Gallery are expected to include Earlham College Jazz Ensemble and Trey Rogers on Dec. 3, Claudia Anderson on Dec. 10, and the Richmond High School Brass Ensemble and Steel Band on Dec. 17. On Dec. 17, a special ice carving display is planned, plus jugglers and stilt-walkers from the Cincinnati Circus Company. In addition, the Model T Ford Museum will also be open, with free

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admission, featuring staff in historical costumes. (765) 939-3325 or richmondfurnituregallery.com. Pet Photos with Santa, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Dec. 4, Richmond Square Mall, 3801 National Road E., Richmond. (765) 966-4479 Salvation Army Show, 6-10 p.m., Dec. 4, Indiana University East, 2325 Chester Blvd., Richmond. Local singers will perform for the annual fundraiser that will be aired on WCTV and WKBV 1490 AM, or go watch at Vivian Auditorium in Whitewater Hall. Pledges can be called in during the program. Holiday Open House, 4:30-6 p.m., Dec. 5, Wayne County Foundation and Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, 33 S. Seventh St., Richmond. (765) 962-1638 or waynecountyfoundation.org A Christmas Victorian Dinner, 6 p.m., Dec. 5, Quaker Hill Conference Center, 10 Quaker Hill Drive, Richmond. Jen Ferrell wll be seving a five-course authentic Victorian dinner. The staff will be dressed in period attire and the building will be decorated for the Christmas Season. Cost is $40 and space is limited to 40 guests. (765) 962-5741 orqhcc.org Metamora Christmas Walk, Noon-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays from Nov. 29-Dec. 22, Historic Metamora, Ind. The historic village in Franklin County, a canal town founded in 1838, offers its 30th year Christmas Walk. Celebration of Lights, weekend nights in December, Creitz Park, Cambridge City, Ind. Santa will meet kids at the cabin. Last year’s fee was $5 per car. cambridgecityindiana.org or call (765) 478-5352. Christmas Open House, Dec. 6-8, Warm Glow Candle Co. Store, 2131 N. Centerville Road, Centerville, Ind. Toys for Tots location, music, gourmet food and wine tasting, local artisans, live trees, free photos with Santa and more. (765) 855-2000 Country Christmas Dinner, 6:30 p.m., Dec. 6-8, Preble County Historical Society, 7693 Swartsel Road, Eaton. Holiday dinners are


HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

Holiday Event Calendar being served at the historical center, 7693 Swartsel Road, which is six miles southeast of Eaton, Ohio. Bagpipes and folk music will greet guests along the lantern-lit driveway. Appetizers, a meal, dessert and coffee, tea and water are included for $55 per person for members and $65 for non-members. A wine selection and after-dinner liqueurs are an extra fee. For reservations and the menu, call (937) 787-4256 or see preblecountyhistoricalsociety.com. “The Sound of Music,” Richmond Civic Theatre, 1003 E. Main St., Richmond. Presented at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays Dec. 6-8 and 13-15. Tickets: Adult, $15; seniors (65-plus) and students with ID, $12. Tickets: (765) 962-1816 or gorct.org Christmas Bazaar Craft and Bake Sale, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 7, Pentecostal Tabernacle, 480 W. Eaton Pike, Richmond. Homemade baked goods, handcrafted collectibles, soup, sandwiches and door prizes. Sponsored by Ladies Auxiliary of the Pentecostal Tabernacle. (765) 962-1847 White Tailed Wonders, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Dec. 7, Allen & Adaline Garber Nature Center, 9691 Ohio 503 N., Lewisburg, Ohio. Make a deer puppet and search our woods to find deer tracks! This children’s program is free with supplies provided. Donations welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. RSVPs appreciated, but not required at (937) 962-5561. Arts and crafts show, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 7, Druids Lodge, 123 S. Eighth St., Richmond. Free admission. Tables are available to rent for $10. Open to the public. Items will include woodcrafts, jewelry, baking, slippers, gloves and miscellaneous. (765) 967-3010 Packing Party and Drop-off Zone, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Dec. 7, First Church of God, 601 E. Lexington Road, Eaton, Ohio. Local Blue Star Mothers chapter (which serves Wayne, Preble, Darke and Butler counties) is in need of volunteers to help package and sort all donations for troops. Items needed include individual servings of snacks, just-add-water foods and proteins, travel-size personal care products and stocking stuffers. Most boxes go to soldiers

the group has never met. It’s a 501(c) (3) IRS designated non-profit organization. Donations may be sent to Blue Star Mothers of America, Chapter 11, Echo 1 P.O Box 272, Eaton, Ohio 45320. Call (937) 456-0115 to find out what items may be sent. Train Rides and Model Train Display, Noon-5 p.m., Dec. 7 and 21, Richmond Furniture Gallery, 180 Fort Wayne Ave., Richmond. Trains run first and third weekend of each month from noon-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Free vintage kiddie train rides. (765) 939-3325 or www. richmondfurnituregallery.com Alternative Gift Fair, Noon-3 p.m., Dec. 7, Morrisson-Reeves Library, 80 N. Sixth St., Richmond. Not sure what to buy the person who has everything? Donations can be made starting at $10 to one of 20 local charities. Recipients will get a reusable box or a mail-ready envelope with a certificate showing what a gift purchased (educational materials for a child, food for animal, etc.) If you can’t attend the main event, pre-sale events are offered from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 3 at Centerville Library and 5-7 p.m. Dec. 5 at Morrisson-Reeves. myalternativegiftfair.org or (765) 993-0381. Breakfast With Santa, 9 a.m. Dec. 7, Twin Valley South School Commons, West Alexandria, Ohio. Tickets are $4.75 at Roselius Insurance, Eaton National Bank or Twin Valley Bank. (937) 839-5722 Doll Tea, Noon, Dec. 7, Wayne County Historical Museum, 1150 N. A St., Richmond. All attendees are asked to bring and share their favorite doll. An afternoon of “girly fun” as we share tea and finger sandwiches. The cost for non-members is $10 for adults and $4 for children. Reservations needed. Call (765) 962-5756. 24th Annual Holiday Parade, 4 p.m., Dec. 7, downtown Richmond. Free to spectators and participants. Santa will appear. The parade steps off at the intersection of Sixth and East Main streets and travels west toward the parking lot at the Richmond Civic Theatre and 10th and East Main. Organized by Center City Development Corporation. (765) 962-8151 or dawnnb@ mycentercity.com. Rosemary Weigel Frostbite 5K run/walk, 5

p.m., Dec. 7, Glen Miller Park, 2200 E. Main St. Richmond. The race begins at 5 p.m. Luminarias, holiday music throughout the race, hot chocolate and performances throughout the event. Downloadable form located at: www.richmondindiana.gov/ Our_Government/Departments/Parks_ and_Recreation.htm Celebration of Lights, 6-9 p.m., Dec. 7, Glen Miller Park, 2200 block East Main Street, Richmond. The traditional luminarias display will delight the whole family. In addition, there will be carriage rides, entertainment, a candy cane hunt for the kids, a bonfire and concessions. Santa will be there, so bring your camera. (765) 983-7425 Candlelight Open House, 6-10 p.m., Dec. 7, Bear’s Mill, 6450 Arcanum Bearsmill Road, Greenville, Ohio. Contact: Merri Niekamp at (937) 548-5112 or bearsmill.com. Christmas with the Bowmans, 7 p.m. Dec. 5, New Creations Chapel, 6400 National Road E., Richmond. Featuring Blaine Bowman & HIS good time band, which offers music, comedy and worship. (765) 935-2790 Christmas Craft Show, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 7 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 8, Expo Center, Preble County Fairgrounds, 722 S. Franklin St., Eaton, Ohio. Free admission and free parking. Crafts, bake sale, food, music. Free photos with Santa for kids, families and pets. (937) 475-6741. Eric Loy Concert, 7-9 p.m., Dec. 7, Allen & Adaline Garber Nature Center, 9691 Ohio 503 N., Lewisburg, Ohio. Enjoy a concert by local guitarist Eric Loy inside the farmhouse. Along with the guitar, he also plays banjo, piano, harmonica and Harp Guitar. Seating is limited. Donations are welcome. Earlham Fall Jazz and Percussion Jam , 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Dec. 7, Earlham College, 801 National Road W., Richmond. This evening’s concert jam features dynamic music from around the globe by Earlham’s Hand Drum Ensemble, Rhythm Project, Salsa Band and Big Band Jazz Ensemble. Riders in the Sky, 8 p.m., Dec. 7, Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, Greenville, Ohio.

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Find more events in the online calendar at pal-item.com Experience Christmas the cowboy way with music and humor. Tickets are $25. A free public outreach program will take place before the show. Call (937) 547-0908 or buy online at centerforarts.net . Tour of homes, 1-5 p.m., Dec. 8, Lewisburg, Ohio. Residents will offer the tour of homes. The cost is $7 for adults and $3 for children. Profits will go toward building a community center in Lewisburg. Call (937) 962-2190 for details on Lewisburg events. Tickets can be purchased at the Toll Road House on the corner of U.S. 40 and Ohio 503 the day of the event or in advance at Judy’s Hair Salon or the Country Charm Craft Store. Richmond Symphony: Pops Potpourri, 3-5 p.m., Dec. 8, Civic Hall Performing Arts Center, 380 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond. Guy Bordo leads the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in a rich array of short pieces, from folk dances of “Swan Lake” to “The Essential Ellington,” with a little Sousa along the way! The young artist competition winner adds to the fun. $15 adult, $20 box, children are free West Alexandria holiday events, 4-8 p.m., Dec. 8, throughout West Alexandria, Ohio. Parade, Santa and more are planned. (937) 839-4168 Lynn & Friends Christmas Special, 7 p.m., Dec. 8, First Presbyterian Church, 100 N. 10th St., Richmond. A free Christmas show is planned. All are welcome. (765) 966-2234. Earlham Christmas Candlelight Service, 8-10 p.m., Dec. 9, Earlham College, 801 National Road W., Richmond. A combination of scripture readings, congregational carols and Concert Choir selections. Following the service, everyone is invited to Earlham Hall lobby for cookies and hot chocolate. Music by Sweet Surrender, Noon, Dec. 10, Forest Hills Country Club, 2169 South 23rd St., Richmond. Sweet Surrender with Gill Miller is a family-oriented band playing gospel, classic pop, country and folk music. The Woman’s Club of Richmond program will feature Christmas carols and new music Guests are always welcome to attend for $4 plus $13 for the luncheon. Program begins at 1:15 p.m. (765) 277-9359

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013 3


HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

Stuff children’s Christmas stockings with these

Entertaining Books

Books do make great gifts, and even better memories BY CARLA CARLTON | THE COURIER-JOURNAL This year, for the first time since I started compiling this annual list, I no longer have children whose age can be expressed in single digits. I even have a teenager. Does that mean books are no longer relevant at our house? Not at all. I’m on my third reading of the Harry Potter series, this time with my son. My teenager and I may not read aloud together anymore, but we do compare notes on books after we’ve both finished them. And I was happy to see that she has several bookson her Christmas wish list. Books do make great gifts, and even better memories. Here are some recommendations for the readers on your list. SEASONAL BOOKS The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood (ages 4 and up, 32 pp., Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $12.99). Christmas with kids is often boisterous and giddy, but there are also magical moments of stillness, and this book filled with sweet, fuzzy animals captures them all, from “searching for presents quiet” and “getting caught quiet” to “listening for sleigh bells quiet” and “trying to stay awake quiet.” Read this with your favorite child. Quietly. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin (ages 4 and up, 40 pp., HarperCollins, $17.99). Pete is one cool cat. When Santa falls ill right before Christmas, Pete agrees to fill in, hitching his minibus to the team of reindeer. “Then the minibus flew, just like in a movie/Pete the Cat cried, ‘This is totally groovy!’ “ Although his heavy-lidded expression never changes, Pete fully embraces the theme of the book, that “at Christmas we give, so give it your all.” You can download an MP3 of the book, with musical accompaniments, at www. harpercollinschildrens.com/petethecat.

4 HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko (ages 5-8, 32 pp., Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16.99). Author and illustrator Selina Alko grew up celebrating Hanukkah; her husband celebrated Christmas. When they started a family, they integrated traditions from each, just like the happily blended family in this book. Mama scatters golden gelt under the tree while Daddy hooks candy canes on the menorah branches. And what’s sure to catch every child’s eye? “Mountains of gifts are placed under the tree for eight nights of Hanukkah, plus Christmas Day. How lucky am I?” Christmas Wombat by Jackie French (ages 4 and up, 32 pp., Clarion Books, $16.99). I picked this up for the title alone. Who doesn’t want to read a holiday book about a wombat? These Australian animals that look like small bears spend most of their time digging, sleeping and eating — and they love carrots. This wombat traces the smell of carrots on Christmas Eve to a faceoff with some strange creatures — Santa’s reindeer — then finds a nice place to nap on the sleigh, leading to a tour of carrots around the world. The expressive eyes of the characters, particularly the reindeer, tell much of the story. PICTURE BOOKS Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins (ages 3 and up, 40 pp., Schwartz & Wade, $16.99). Pauline and John-John have an unusual idea for beating winter boredom: They’ll set up a lemonade stand! Ignoring their parents’ admonition that no one will want cold drinks with snow on the ground, they count out quarters to buy the ingredients and whip up lemonade, limeade and lemon-limeade. When business is slow, they try entertainment, advertising and then a discount, all the while keeping track of their sales. On a page in the back, Pauline explains money to John-John: “Nickels are

PICTURE BOOKS PERFECT FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

the most confusing of the coins. They kind of look like quarters, but they’re not. I wish they were purple or something. It would be easier.” I Like Old Clothes by Mary Ann Hoberman (ages 4 and up, 32 pp., Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16.99). In this sweet book about hand-me-downs, a little girl and her brother celebrate their new-old clothes — “clothes with a history, clothes with a mystery” — and imagine the lives of those who wore them before. “I like to wonder what they’ve done,” the little girl says; “what games they’ve played/And if they won/And if the parties turned out fun.” The book itself is sort of recycled: Patrice Barton has added gorgeous new illustrations to a text originally published in 1976. Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates (ages 4 and up, 32 pp., Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16.99). Two years ago, we learned that Dog Loves Books — so much so that he opened a bookshop. One morning, a new book arrives, but it’s blank inside. It’s a sketchbook from Aunt Dora, who hopes Dog’s drawings will “open a door to some wonderful adventures.” So Dog sharpens his pencils, draws a door and steps through it, to a blank page where he draws a stickman and other friends; and then a train; and then a boat. As the story progresses, the drawings become more and more fully realized. This book, which evokes

The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood

Cold Snap by Eileen Spinelli

Harold and the Purple Crayon, will be enjoyed equally by young artists and readers with great imaginations. Kate and Nate Are Running Late! by Kate Egan (ages 4 and up, 36 pp., Feiwel & Friends, $16.99). In a situation that will be all too familiar to many families, Nate, his mother, Kate, and his big sister, Maddie, are running late, and tensions are running high. “ ‘I think we’ll make it,’ Kate tells Nate.

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The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis


HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

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HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013 5


HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

‘Please get dressed and brush your teeth.’/ Nate’s not hearing, only playing. ‘Time to move!’ says Kate. ‘Good grief!’ “ In a flurry, they scoop up homework, backpacks, coats and mittens and make it to school just in time. But where is everyone else? Oops: It’s Saturday! The rhyming text is fun to read aloud, and children will relish a story where the parent is the one who makes a mistake. This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (ages 4 and up, 40 pp., Candlewick, $15.99). Perhaps the darkest picture book of the year. “This hat is not mine,” the little fish wearing a bowler hat says on the first page. “I just stole it.” The victim? A very BIG fish. But the big fish was asleep, the little fish reasons, and so he is probably in the clear. Probably. Except the big fish wakes up, and the crab who promised he wouldn’t reveal the little fish’s whereabouts proves to be unreliable. There is very little text; the plot advances mostly through the characters’ eye movements, and the ending is somewhat ambiguous. The big fish gets his hat back, and the little fish is probably OK. Probably. The very tenderhearted may be distressed, but most kids, with their highly developed sense of fairness, will enjoy discussing the outcome. Cold Snap by Eileen Spinelli (ages 5 and up, 40 pp., Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99). The town of Toby Mills is caught in the grip of a deep freeze. At first it’s fun. Kids make snow angels, go sledding and drink hot chocolate, and the Sullivan sisters

knit mittens. But as the days pass and the temperature keeps dropping, marked by the lengthening icicle on the nose of the statue of town founder General Toby, people start to worry. Then the mayor has a bright idea. The watercolor illustrations are packed with detail — notice that the town’s theater is showing “Long Hot Summer” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” (If you don’t want glitter all over your house, ditch the book jacket.) Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? And Other Notorious Nursery Tale Mysteries by David Levinthal and John Nickle (ages 4 and up, 40 pp., Schwartz & Wade, $17.99). “A strand of blond hair, an empty porridge bowl, blue cloth on a broken chair, and a rumpled quilt. I’d heard that story before. It could only be one dame: Goldilocks!” Fractured fairy tales have been fun since “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.” In this new collection, Police Officer Binky, a toad in a fedora, reveals the real story behind five classics. Case closed! Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird by Stephanie Spinner (ages 8-12, 48 pp., Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99). In the 1970s, most scientists thought that because birds had fairly small brains, they couldn’t be very smart. But Irene Pepperberg, a graduate student at Purdue University, disagreed. To test her theory, she bought an African grey parrot that she named Alex — short for Avian Learning Experiment. Over the next several decades, Alex learned hundreds of words — including a favorite,

“No!” He learned to add and subtract. He was so intelligent that when Irene got another African grey to train, Alex expressed his displeasure by telling the new kid, “Say better!” This true story of a real bird brain will fascinate animal lovers and budding scientists. Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (ages 7 and up, 96 pp., Knopf Books for Young Readers, $6.99). Lunch Lady is back for her eighth adventure in this quick-reading comic that would make a good stocking stuffer. It’s School Picture Day at Thompson Brook School, and students are suffering an acne epidemic! But no worries: The photographer can touch up the photos for just $15 extra. Could she be causing the breakouts? Armed with gadgets like a serving-spoon crowbar, Lunch Lady and her sidekick, Betty, are determined to find the proof (pun intended). CHAPTER BOOKS Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, by Barbara Park (ages 6 and up, 96 pp., Random House Books for Young Readers, $14.99). You are in for a treat if you haven’t yet met Junie B. Jones (“The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don’t like Beatrice. I just like B and that’s all”). Junie B. is almost 6, and in this reissue of her very first book she is off to kindergarten, where she meets her teacher, Mrs. (she can’t remember the rest of it), a potential friend named Lucille

and “that Jim I hate.” The other thing she doesn’t much like is the stupid smelly bus of the title. And so when it’s time to catch it home, she hides! Much like Beverly Cleary’s Ramona, Junie B. is appealing because she isn’t always perfect. Plus also there are 29 other Junie B. Jones books, which should fill your gift-giving needs for a long, long time. Wonder by R.J. Palacio (ages 8 and up, 320 pp., Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.99). August Pullman was born with facial deformities so extreme (“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse”) that he’s had 27 surgeries and has never attended a real school. But now his parents have decided to send him to Beecher Prep for fifth grade. The principal recruits three students to show him the ropes, and one of them, Jack Will, seems to be a real friend — until Auggie overhears him saying something mean. Will people ever be able to look past his appearance and see that he’s just an ordinary kid? Meanwhile, Auggie’s older sister, Via, is enjoying life in a new high school, where no one knows about the brother she’s always fiercely defended — when she’s not feeling guilty about enjoying it. Told in first person by alternating characters, this ultimately uplifting story will resonate with anyone who has ever been “the new kid” or felt different — or who has ever mistakenly judged someone simply by appearances.

4.5 Stars, Amazon

4.5 Stars, Amazon

5 Stars, Amazon

4.5 Stars, Amazon

Ungifted by Gorden Korman

Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

6 HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013

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HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

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HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

The Best of Tech Holiday gift guide on shopping for America’s favorite gadgets BY THE TIMES | BEAVER NEWSPAPERS, INC. just like a printed page and can be read in bright light or sunlight. However, the pages appear in black and white and cannot be read in the dark.

When shopping for tech gifts this holiday season, purchasing quality, highlyrated products will help ensure your gifts will be enjoyed. But even the perfect gadget can present issues. The experts at The Savvy Shopper Blog (thesavvyshopperblog.com) suggest researching in advance and purchasing service plans to protect your tech gifts. Here are their tips for a variety of popular items on the 2013 holiday checklist: E-BOOK READERS AND TABLETS Consider your loved one’s preferences; do they wish to primarily read, play games, access email or social networking sites? Or would they prefer a device that can do all that and more? Tablets and e-readers 8 HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013

typically access the Internet via Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G networks, or a combination of Wi-Fi and a network. While e-reader models are offering more capabilities, tablets still reign supreme in terms of multi-functioning devices. When determining whether you wish to gift a tablet or an e-reader, consider the price. Tablets typically run from several hundred dollars to $1,000, while e-readers start at less than $100 and run to several hundred. For e-readers, consider either an e-ink or an LCD screen. E-ink screens mimic the appearance of printed ink on paper, while LCD screens use liquid crystals to display colors. • E-ink: The e-ink screen image appears

capacity.

• LCD screens: Bright and colorful, these lit screens can be read at night, difficult to read in bright light or sunlight, and some consumers believe the screens can tire or strain the eyes. For tablets, keep in mind that most tech lovers have a preferred operating system, such as Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. Also remember that storage size is important — if your loved one saves a great deal of photos and music files electronically, they will require more storage

LAPTOPS Size, weight, speed and storage are the most important elements to keep in mind when purchasing a laptop. For ample photo and music storage, purchase a computer with plenty of gigabytes. If your loved one streams videos, you’ll need a fast processor and good speakers. Likewise, for video game use, make sure you have a quality graphics card. While light-weight and small screen laptops are more portable, larger screens are better for video and gaming use. Models with built-in cameras and microphones are great for video chatting

2013 Palladium-Item Media Group • Pal-Item.com

too. FLAT SCREEN TVS Today, there are many options beyond size and picture, such as 3D technology and Wi-Fi capabilities. To get started, consider the following: • Plasma screens: Plasma screens display a wide range of colors and a cleaner picture with fewer instances of motion blur while retaining faster refresh rates. However, the screens are made from glass and therefore reflect more light. When purchasing a plasma screen, look for a model with an anti-glare filter. • LCD screens: These screens are lighter weight and come in a variety of sizes compared to plasma. They use less power and some models also feature LEDs, which illuminate the display and deepen blacks. But with the LCD, picture quality can be inferior, with slower refresh rates as well. VIDEO GAMING SYSTEMS Each year, manufacturers continue to improve upon video gaming platforms. With so many games and accessories, it can be difficult to choose between gaming systems. Here are the top three: Xbox 360: This gaming system features high-definition graphics and also plays DVDs and CDs, but users are required to subscribe and pay for online gaming. PS4: With high definition graphics, this system also plays DVDs, CDs and Blurays as well, but it’s priced higher than the Xbox, and if a user wishes to play PSOne or PS2 games, they must purchase an adapter.  Nintendo Wii: While the graphics aren’t as sharp and the system doesn’t play DVDs, users can get up and move while virtually playing tennis, golf and other games, making this system much more interactive. In addition, this system is compatible with the GameCube.


HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

Chef shares tips for gluten-free holiday desserts Have your cake and feel good, too, says award-winning baker COURTESY OF GINNY GRIMSLEY | NEWS AND EXPERTS If there’s one downside to fabulous, food-filled holiday celebrations, it’s the gurgles and groans of post-feasting indigestion. “We assume it’s because we overate, but for a lot of people, that pain and sick feeling may not be about how much you ate but what you ate,” says Kyra Bussanich, (kyrasbakeshop.com), two-time winner of The Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and author of a just-released recipe book, “Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle” “About 2 million Americans have celiac disease – an auto-immune reaction to gluten, the protein in wheat,” says Bussanich, whose painful symptoms became life-threatening before she was finally diagnosed with the illness. “Most of those people aren’t diagnosed though, because the symptoms look like so many other intestinal ailments.” People with celiac disease must completely avoid gluten, which is also in rye, and barley, to avoid a case of painful and gut-damaging indigestion. But, as Harvard Medical School reported earlier this year, avoiding gluten also appears to help people with less serious digestive

issues. “It really does seem to provide some improvement in gastrointestinal problems for a segment of the population,” says Harvard assistant professor Dr. Daniel Leffler. For Bussanich, a chef, there was no choice: One speck of gluten would make her ill. But she refused to give up pastries, cakes and other treats, so she perfected gluten-free varieties. Her award-winning desserts left their flour-based competition in crumbs on “Cupcakes Wars” in 2011 and 2012, and she was a runner-up on the show’s “Cupcake Champion.” Bussanich offers these tips for whipping up gluten-free baked goods this holiday season: • If you’re following a recipe, don’t substitute the listed flour or starch with another type unless you’re familiar with its properties. There are many different types of gluten-free flours and starches, including millet, sorghum and sweet white rice flour, and potato and tapioca starches. Each has its own idiosyncrasies. For example, millet flour has a slightly nutty flavor and is well-suited for goods with a hearty texture. Sweet white rice flour holds

moisture well and is good for recipes that have a slight gumminess to them. Potato starch is light and good for fluffy cakes. • Use eggs and butter at room temperature. Eggs are often used as a binder, the protein that substitutes for the missing gluten. Eggs and butter are both easier to work with when used at room temperature, and room-temperature egg whites whip up fluffier. If you forget to pull the butter out of the refrigerator beforehand, heat it for 7 to 12 seconds in the microwave. Put cold eggs in warm (not hot) water for 30 to 60 seconds. • Don’t overwork batter and dough with xanthan gum in it. Corn-based xanthan gum is often used as a stabilizer and thickener in gluten-free baked goods, sauces, dressings and soups. Once this ingredient is added, overworking the dough can give it a slimy, gummy texture, and cause it to lose flavor. (A good substitute for xanthan gum is ground psyllium seed husk.) • Heat higher, cream longer for lighter cakes. One complaint people sometimes have about gluten-free baked goods is that they’re too dense. To prevent this, try setting the oven temperature 25 degrees

2013 Palladium-Item Media Group • Pal-Item.com

warmer than you would for flour. This will cause the butter in the recipe to release its water as steam, which helps the cake rise quickly. Also, cream eggs and butter together longer – about 10 minutes – than you would for flour cakes. Try some gluten-free desserts and maybe your holidays will be indigestionfree this year, Bussanich says. “If your recipe doesn’t turn out wonderfully the first time, don’t give up,” she says. “I promise you, anyone can make delicious gluten-free desserts. It just may take a little practice.” About Kyra Bussanich Kyra Bussanich is a two-time winner of The Food Network’s hit show, “Cupcake Wars.” She graduated with honors from Le Cordon Bleu and opened her awardwinning bakery, Kyra’s Bake Shop, which features gourmet, gluten-free sweets. She has branched beyond desserts to other gluten-free goods in order to help those with celiac and other autoimmune diseases enjoy quality treats.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013 9


HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

Crowd-Pleasing Holiday Recipes Get inspired with these sweet and savory recipes that will have family and friends raving throughout the holiday season. RECIPES BY SOMETHINGSWANKY.COM, SHUGARYSWEETS.COM, MARTHASTEWART.COM AND KITCHENDAILY.COM

shugarysweets.com

somethingswanky.com

SOMETHING SWANK Y BLOG:

Peppermint Crumble Bars 2 cups flour 1 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup sugar 2 cups white chocolate peppermint

candy (like Andes peppermint bits) 1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 2. Use a pastry cutter or a fork to cut the butter, sugar, and flour together until crumbly 3. Press a little more than half of the crumble misture into the bottom of a 9x13 line baking dish 4. In a medium saucepan over low heat, mix 1 cup of the white chocolate peppermint candy and the sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Pour over the crumb crust in the dish. 5. Sprinkle the remaining crumble and white chocolate peppermint candy evenly over the top. 6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges begin to just barely brown. 7. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

somethingswanky.com

SHUGARY SWEETS BLOG:

Morning Egg Nog Muffins For the Muffins:

2 eggs 1 cup eggnog

3 cups AP flour 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tsp kosher salt 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 cup granulated sugar 2/3 cup butter-flavored Crisco

For the Glaze: 1/2 cup eggnog 1/4 tsp nutmeg 3 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 2. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon together. Set aside 3. In a mixing bowl, mix Crisco with granulated sugar until blended. Add eggs. Slowly add in flour mixture and eggnog. 4. Lightly spray mini muffin cup pan with baking spray. Fill muffin cups 1/2 full and bake for 13-15 minutes. Makes 72 mini muffins. Cool completely. 5. Whisk together eggnog, nutmeg and powdered sugar. Dip tops of muffins into glaze and allow to set.

shugarysweets.com 10 HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013

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HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS 2013: GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

MARTHA STEWART BLOG:

Broccolini and Feta Galette 2 cups AP flour (spooned & leveled) 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil Coarse salt and ground pepper 2 bunches Broccolini

1/4 cup grated Parmesan 2/3 cup crumbled feta 1/4 tsp red-pepper flakes 1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/3 cup cold water. With a fork, stir to combine. Knead dough 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes. 2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in lower third. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook Broccoli until bright green, 1 minute. With tongs, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. 3. Roll out dough to a 14-inch round; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle dough with Parmesan and top with Broccoli, leaving a 21/2 inch border. Top with feta and red-pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Fold dough over filling and brush with egg. Bake until crust is golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

marthastewart.com

marthastewart.com

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Home for the Holidays 2013