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Life and Style in Central Texas


OctOber 2013 tex AppeAl

December 2017



Be a part of the largest Bridal Show in Central Texas!




Hurry! Space is limited! Reserve your booth today! Call 254.501.7500 2






CROSSING CULTURES Students from around the world break bread

Yvette Shackelford, area representative for the ASSE International Exchange Student Program has been placing foreign students in Texas homes since 2012. She started placing students at the Central Texas Christian School when she was the director of admissions. By CATHERINE HOSMAN



Operation Christmas Child supports children worldwide



Palmers welcome Chinese teen Christmas usually comes early at the Palmer house. Decorations start going up a week before Thanksgiving. But this year, Temple resident Laura Palmer started a little earlier to help introduce Joyner Chen, her exchange student from Wuhan, China, to the Texas way of celebrating. By CATHERINE HOSMAN 4


Christmas is traditionally a time of giving, often centered on family, with plenty of presents under the tree for the kids and a plate of cookies for Santa. But for some folks Christmas is more: It's a chance to share the spirit of kindness to impoverished children all around the world through Operation Christmas Child, a partnership with the Franklin Graham Ministry and Samaritan's Purse. It’s a way to care for others, whether in an African orphanage or a village in Central America. Volunteers with Operation Christmas Child fill plastic containers with small presents and send them to children in need. By EMILY HILLEY-SIERZCHULA



Spanish student spending a year with Belton family Paula Martinez Gomez of Valladolid, Spain, will get a peek into Texas holiday customs this year. The high school exchange student is living with Belton residents Ben and Rachelle Byroad and their three children. By CATHERINE HOSMAN

Come dine with us, shop with us and travel with us. The journey will be amazing.

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TexTalk NEIGHBORS Barbara Burtchell leads the Santa Pal program for the Temple Kiwanis Club


TexTalk READER RECIPE Hilde Cort shares her cranberry salad


TexTalk FLAVOURS The Oscar Store in Temple


TexTalk SCENE Metroplex Health System's Gold Star Gala


TexTalk CALENDAR Upcoming events in December

Life & Style in Central Texas

Life and Style in Central Texas

December 2017


"Gristmills of Central Texas" by Charlene Ochsner Carson



Tex Appeal Magazine


CONTRIBUTORS December 2017 OctOber 2013 tex AppeAl


Laura Palmer and her daughter, McKenzie, are hosting Joyner Chen of China this year. 40 Photograph by JULIE NABOURS 6










TexHEALTH Holiday dining survival guide


TexADVENTURES Texas Hill Country towns light up for the holidays





From the Editor

Tex Appeal Life & Style in Central Texas

Dear Readers,

Published by

Every year when Christmas comes around we hear the message that this is the season of giving, of sharing and of joy; three values that seem to never go out of style in Bell County no matter what time of the year it is. During the last three years that I’ve been editor of Tex Appeal Magazine, I’ve met many people who practice those values all year round. Their sense of giving extends beyond monetary or in-kind donations. Temple Kiwanis Club member Barbara Burtchell is one of those people. A member of Kiwanis since 1991, she has been the chair of Santa Pal since 1999. With the help of her committee and volunteers and the H.E.L.P. Center of Temple, she coordinates the collection of gifts for hundreds of children in Temple who might otherwise not have a Christmas, Page 12. Following along those lines is Linda Crowder, of Lakeview Baptist Church. Her husband, Bob, is the pastor. Each year volunteers spend hours packing boxes with just the right gifts for the region of the world they are destined with Operation Christmas Child, a partnership with the Franklin Graham Ministry and Samaritan's Purse, Page 30. Being thousands of miles away from home during the holidays could be lonely for anyone. But for the exchange students from the ASSE Foreign Exchange Student Program many will be sharing their culture and customs with host families throughout Bell County. Students living with local host families for this school year represent China, Italy and Spain, Page 34. If you are looking for a day trip or two out of the area consider cruising the Central Texas Hill Country Regional Light Trail. Eleven Central Texas towns light up for Christmas, from Boerne to Wimberley. Visit one or more of these close-by towns and enjoy a day of sightseeing and a night of lights, Page 56. Hungry for some good old-fashioned Texas comfort food? Head to the Oscar Store in East Temple. Enjoy homemade, hand-crafted foods and desserts in a rustic setting, Page 16. Whatever you decide to do, or wherever you decide to go, take a few moments for yourself and pour a glass or cup of your favorite holiday beverage and enjoy the December issue of Tex Appeal Magazine. We wish you a safe and peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Catherine Hosman

Tex Appeal Editor 254-774-5234 8



TEMPLE DAILY TELEGRAM 10 S. Third St., Temple, TX 76501

Publisher SUE MAYBORN Editor CATHERINE HOSMAN Photographers/Graphic Designers


Tex Appeal Magazine is published monthly by Frank Mayborn Enterprises, Inc. 10 S. Third St., Temple, TX 76501. The cover and content of Tex Appeal Magazine is fully protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced in any manner without prior permission. SUBSCRIPTIONS: For the United States, $24 per year, 12 issues. Mail check to P.O. Box 6114, Temple, TX 76503-6114.

Questions about subscriptions, call 254-778-4444.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Tex Appeal Magazine, P.O. Box 6114, Temple, TX 76503-6114. HOW TO CONTACT US: Advertising: Call 254-778-4444 or 254-501-7500. Editorial: Contact Catherine Hosman at 254-774-5234 or email

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has not changed much since age 6. Whether turning over rocks or peering into bushes, she’s always been looking for something. As an archaeologist for 11 years she dug in the dirt looking for artifacts and learning about human prehistory. As a journalist and photographer she’s still learning about people, and finding the present is just as interesting as the past Emily has a degree in archaeology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a journalism degree from the University of Arkansas. She has a husband and two young sons, all of whom like getting dirty.

is a registered and licensed dietitian working for Wellstone Health Partners in Harker Heights. Carey has been a practicing dietitian since 2001, with experience in both outpatient and inpatient medical nutrition therapy and sports nutrition. Carey also is an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer. She has promoted health and wellness through presentations, classes, writing and cooking demonstrations all across Texas.

is a native Texan who began raising her family in Central Texas over 15 years ago. She studied journalism and photography in Austin before moving to Temple in 2013 and starting Jenna Summa Photography. With a great love for her community, she enjoys meeting new people and capturing the area's growing culture through photojournalism.



neighbors 12

reader recipe 15

flavours 16

scene 20


calendar 23

well-fed head 29

Santa's helpers

With the help of many social organizations, Santa Pal stretches across Bell County to provide Christmas gifts for children. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM




neighbors TexTalk

Santa’s Pals give children a Merry Christmas Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by JULIE NABOURS and JOSH QUINN


very year Christmas is a little brighter for the underserved children of Bell County thanks to Santa Pal. Founded by Frank W. Mayborn 84 years ago, Santa Pal stretches across the county to serve children, with the help of many social organizations including the Temple Kiwanis Club and the H.E.L.P. Centers in Killeen and Temple. Santa Pal organizers look for children up to age 12, who most need the help. “Some kids get nothing. This helps the children to enjoy a Christmas,” said Barbara Burtchell, a member of the Temple Kiwanis Club since 1991 and the Santa Pal Chair since 1999. Families fill out applications at the H.E.L.P. Center in their community and can list their needs, wishes and wants on the form. For some it’s a matter of socks and clothes. Others might need school supplies. Girls want dolls that look like them and boys want trucks, cars and video games. “People tell you their stories on their applications,” she said. “They tell you the hardships they are going through. Some need car repairs, others need help to pay bills, or there is no daddy.” For one woman, it was a matter of life and death. “Two years ago a grandmother came in,” Burtchell recalled, tears welling in her eyes. “Her daughter had been killed in a car wreck and she was taking care of her granddaughter. She wanted her little Continued

Barbara Burtchell, who is chairman of the Santa Pal program, has been heading up the event since the Temple Kiwanis Club took it over 18 years ago. OPPOSITE PAGE: Volunteer Cecilia Curtis, left, and Burtchell sort through a large amount of toys to be given to the less fortunate children of Temple so they can have a happy Christmas. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


granddaughter to have something. I was blessed when she came in, and I hugged her. I wanted her little granddaughter to have something.” “I love helping others,” said Charlene Thompson of the Temple H.E.L.P. Center who has worked side by side with Burtchell on Santa Pal. “When it comes to helping children, I am a great advocate for children. I reach out to parents, single parents, parents with two paychecks who still can’t afford to buy their children things.” Applicants are reviewed on a firstcome, first-serve basis and Kiwanis members make sure that all the kids get the gifts they want and need. Through monetary donations and gift drop boxes placed around town, volunteers try to fulfill the wishes listed on the families’ applications. Drop box donations continue through Dec. 16. Burtchell picks up applications weekly from the H.E.L.P. beginning in early November. “Depending on funds we are limited to how many people we can supply,” Burtchell said.

FULFILLING WISHES But that hasn’t stopped the Kiwanians and volunteers from doing everything they can to fulfill the wishes of every applicant, whether there is one child or multiple children in the family. Volunteer shoppers choose a family, then receive a $30 gift card for each child. Using money left over from last year, Burtchell bought 150 gift cards for a total of $4,500. Although gifts are limited to $30 per child, on occasion, a Kiwanis member will open his or her pocketbook and sponsor an entire family to include a tree, decorations, gifts for the family to put under the tree and food for a holiday meal. Volunteers often come with their own children to help pass out the numbered bags of gifts. Burtchell said their kids realize how much they have and how little others get. 14


Dean Winkler, Barbara Burtchell and Suellen Moore shop for kids during the annual Temple Kiwanis Club Santa Pal.

“It’s rewarding to serve and see the smiles. Some of the people have nothing. They work hard but humble themselves to put themselves in the system,” Burtchell said. In 2016, 113 families and 244 children applied for help with Christmas gifts. This year Burtchell is hoping to serve 200 families and double the number of children, depending monetary donations and toys. Although she is affectionately referred to as Ms. Santa Pal, Burtchell is quick to point out that the program is a group effort that enlists the help of Kiwanians and their families, the H.E.L.P Center and volunteers that offer their assistance to shop, sort, and hand out the bags of gifts to families when they come into pick them up at a Santa Pal Headquarters. Some parents speak their gratitude, and others are speechless, Burtchell said. “They cry, we cry.” “When a family is not able to pick

up the gifts they bring them here (to the H.E.L.P. Center),” Thompson said. “It’s a delight to see the parents, the kids, they are so thankful. Parents hug you and cry. They are so humble and grateful. People are really grateful.” Burtchell said the committee, club members and volunteers try to bring smiles to the faces of the children and parents. One year the club was able to give away repurposed bicycles. Each child that had an application on file received a bike. One family with six children received an equal amount of bicycles. For Burtchell and her helpers, the reward comes when the applicant families come to pick up their children’s toys. “Christmas is all about giving — giving of yourself, helping others. Especially for those of us who are fortunate (to give),” she said. “As long as there is a need, and Temple has deep pockets, we will be there.”

reader recipe TexTalk

Cranberry salad brings holiday cheer Temple resident Hilde Cort shared her favorite holiday recipe with Tex Appeal.


his delicious cranberry salad has been a favorite of ours for about 20 years. My mother-in-law gave me the recipe after she moved here from California. After I served it for my family’s Christmas dinner that first year, I got special requests to bring it to all of our holiday gatherings, including Thanksgiving. This year for Thanksgiving, it headed to Georgetown to my niece’s family gathering. I also started taking it to my club’s Christmas get-togethers, and I end up getting requests for the recipe. Everyone just loves it! The first time I made the recipe, I headed to the grocery store for the ingredients. The store had no fresh or frozen cranberries. I was so upset and talked to the produce manager about it. He said, “Why don’t you use a can of whole berry cranberry sauce?” I explained that it only called for fresh or frozen and not canned. I never knew how to substitute, so this threw me for a loop! If you can’t find fresh or frozen, you can use one 16 ounce can of whole berry cranberry sauce. It works just fine. HILDE’S CRANBERRY SALAD 1 3-ounce box lemon flavored gelatin 1 3-ounce box cherry flavored gelatin 2 cups boiling water 2 cups sugar 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple (do not drain)

2 apples peeled and diced (I like the red tart ones) 1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped 1 cup chopped pecans Dissolve gelatins in water.

Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Stir in pineapple. Chill until thickened. Add remaining ingredients; chill until firm. Serve chilled. Makes 15 servings. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM




flavours TexTalk

Homestyle fare at the Oscar Store Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by JULIE NABOURS


ewcomers looking for a great family restaurant can take a drive out to East Temple to visit the Oscar Store. The restaurant is recreated on the same property where the original Oscar Store burned down after a lightning strike in 2005. The only thing remaining is the original landmark sign outside. Thomas Maddux bought the property and reopened the store in 2009. He brought it back to life, rebuilding from the ground up, using materials he reclaimed from a demolition job he worked. The building, it’s larger inside than it looks from the outside, is rebuilt from repurposed rustic materials. When you walk in, you know you are in a true Texas country restaurant. Thomas and Lorianne welcome all with true Texas hospitality and good home cooking. A hint: It’s time for Thomas’ stew, but call ahead. It sells out fast. The Oscar Store can seat up to 120 folks in the dining room. Adjacent party rooms can hold up to 100 people in each room. The menu is comfort food, highlighted by Lorianne’s homemade desserts. She also lends her decorator’s touch to the Christmas decor and trims her trees with relics from the past. You will need to look close as many of the items are hidden among the lights, ribbons and branches. Chicken fried steak is the specialty at Oscar’s. Thomas cuts and tenderizes his own meat. The steak is so tender you can cut it with a fork. The Thomas Burger isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a double meat patty Continued

Owner Thomas Maddux rebuilt the Oscar Store with reclaimed materials. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM




IF YOU GO 8133 Oscar Spur, Temple 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Sunday closes at 3 p.m. topped with jalapeño, pepper jack cheese and grilled onions. All the hamburgers are freshly ground and hand-formed. Chicken fried chicken, my favorite, is served hot with twice-baked potatoes and green beans. Lorianne’s cherry cream cheese pie is light and fluffy and made a perfect end-of-meal dessert. Originally, the Oscar Store was an East Bell County beer joint. “When people come to Oscar’s they come in a car, on horseback, in a buggy, on motorcycles, in a limousine and occasionally, a helicopter,” Lorianne said. It is uniquely family-oriented, and all the wait staff and cooks are considered part of the Maddux family. Thomas and Lorianne have seven children between them and Thomas said they have all worked at the restaurant in some capacity. The store is a favorite of the older set and Thomas said he has already hosted five 100-year-old parties, and quite a few 98- and 99-year-old birthdays. “People want to come here to celebrate their birthdays,” he said. “We had two Temple High School reunions a week apart, one for 1956 another for 1962.” The Oscar Store caters off property for up to 500 people. It offers dine in and carry out. Thomas and Lorianne Maddux shared their recipes for chicken fried chicken, twice baked potatoes and cherry cream cheese pie with Tex Appeal.

CHICKEN FRIED CHICKEN Serves four. 8 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast Lightly sprinkle lemon pepper Lightly sprinkle fajita seasonings Pinch of granulated garlic Marinate for 24 hours in refrigerator. 1 cup of flour 1 pint of buttermilk 1 teaspoon Lowery’s seasoning salt Pinch of ground black pepper Mix seasonings in the flour. Double dip the chicken breast in buttermilk and seasoned flour. Deep fry at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. If you don’t have a deep fryer at home, fry in pan for 5 minutes on each side.

TWICE BAKED POTATOES Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Makes four servings. 5 large white potatoes ¾ cups sour cream ½ stick of butter, softened Chopped green onions to taste ½ cup cheddar cheese 2-3 tablespoons bacon, crumbled Salt and pepper to taste Boil or bake potatoes. Remove cooled potatoes from the shell. Mix and mash potatoes with sour cream and butter. Place mixture in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Spread the cheddar cheese, bacon bits and green onions on top. Serve warm.

HOLIDAY CREAM CHEESE PIE "When the holiday season is busy and everyone is rushing around, this is a great dessert that is fast, easy and delicious and has been in our family for years," Thomas Maddux said. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling, chilled 9-inch graham cracker crust (see recipe below or use a store-bought crust) In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk; beat on low until mixed well, scraping the bowl between mixing. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into prepared graham cracker crust and refrigerate for two to three hours. Add chilled cherry pie filling to the top and decorate with remaining graham cracker crust.

GRAHAM CRACKER PIE CRUST 8 whole graham crackers crushed ¼ cup sugar 1/3 cup melted butter Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients until well blended in a bowl. Press firmly onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


TexTalk scene


Gold Star Gala raises funds for Metroplex 3




scene TexTalk







1. Brandi Boarders, Dr. Phillip Day, Tammy Fortney, Saebom Carvajal, Christine Kutzke attend the 23rd annual Metroplex Gold Star Gala to raise funds for the Killeen hospital. 2. Metroplex CEO Carlyle Walton and his wife, Astrid 3. Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra and his wife, Laura 4. Jessica and Eddie Ganceres

5. Ross Gaetano and Stefanie Sheppard 6. Linda and Les Ledger 7. Mi-ok and Dr. John Doranski 8. Becky and Dr. Phillip Day 9. Erin Houston and Jerome Ganaway Photos by JENNA SUMMA




TexTalk scene




10. Larry Linder, chairman of the Metroplex Health System Foundation Board of Trustees, presents a check for $125,000 to Metroplex CEO Carlyle Walton during the Gold Star Gala. 11. Denice and Randy Kemp 12. Charmaine and Roosevelt Huggins 13. Jim and Linda Foster with Pat and Elayne Kaufman Photos by JENNA SUMMA




calendar TexTalk Harlem in 1969. It has since grown into a multicultural dance institution. 201 N. Main St., Belton Call 254-933-5243 for more information.

Bell County Museum Dance Theatre of Harlem: Forty Years of Firsts Through Feb. 3 Tuesday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The Dance Theatre of Harlem has been creating beautiful work for over 40 years. This special exhibit features over 20 costumes and accessories, set pieces, photographs, tour posters, and four staged ballets iconic to the company: "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Creole Giselle," "Dougla" and "Firebird." Dispelling the belief that ballet could not be performed by those of African descent, Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook founded the Dance Theatre of

Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden Through Dec. 9 "Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden," on loan from the Center for Railroad Photography and Art in Madison, Wisconsin, features 30 meticulously crafted black and white photographs all taken by Plowden who is widely acknowledged as one of America's great landscape and industrial photographers. "Requiem for Steam" is his tribute to the end of the steam era on railroads. 315 W. Avenue B, Temple Call 254-298-5172 or visit www. for more information.

First Fridays Stay Out Late Downtown 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. First Friday of every month historic downtown Temple is transformed into a giant party. Join us for street music and performances, great drinks, amazing food and after hours shopping. First Friday offers something special for everyone. Come explore downtown Temple. Main Street Call 254-298-5378 for more information.

Belton Senior Center Country Western Dance Dec. 7, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Old Friends Band Dec. 21, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., (Christmas Dance) Good Ol’ Boys Band Participants are encouraged to bring a snack dish to share. Potluck Supper Dec. 18, 5:30 p.m. Quinton Locklin performs. 842 Mitchell St., Belton For more information, call 254-9391170. Continued




BELTON Christmas on the Chisholm Trail Dec. 2, noon to 7 p.m. Parade starts at 6 p.m. A Christmas celebration filled with family fun, festive music, food, vendors, Santa Claus and a Christmas parade in downtown Belton. Kids can enjoy carnival games, visit with first responders and hop onto a fire truck, and meet with Santa Claus at the Courthouse. Parade rain date is Dec. 9. Call 254-9333-5860 or visit www. for more information.

COPPERAS COVE Tree Lighting Ceremony Dec. 1, 5 to 9 p.m. Get in the spirit of the Christmas season at the Copperas Cove tree lighting ceremony. Take your picture with Santa, enter the Snow Globe Competition and enjoy music as you take in the ambiance. City Park Complex 1206 W. Avenue B, Copperas Cove

2017 Copperas Cove Christmas Parade “Christmas at Whoville” and Krist Kindl Markt Dec. 1, 4 to 10 p.m. Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 2, 3 p.m., parade Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce puts the market on every year in the area of Avenue E and Main Street, with room for more than 100 arts and crafts and food vendors. Krist Kindl Markt is a festival that generates the Christmas spirit for the greater community. Enjoy Christmas decorations, Christmas lights, performances from school groups, a Christmas parade and other holiday festivities. Call the chamber at 254-547-7571 for more information. 24


Find holiday decor, gifts and more at the Krist Kindl Markt on Dec. 1-3 in Copperas Cove.

FORT HOOD Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area 21st Annual Nature in Lights Through Jan. 7, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Open Thursday through Sunday through Dec. 10, then nightly Dec. 14-24. With Nature in Lights, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation turns BLORA into a winter wonderland for kids and kids at heart. This event is open to the public and visitors can drive through the 800 plus-acre park nightly and enjoy five and one half miles of illuminated displays, many computer animated, and ranging in size from a single strand to scenes spanning 40 feet by 300-feet wide, as well as architectural and foliage lighting. Guests can shop for gifts, take photographs with Santa, concessions will be available at Santa’s Village, located in the park’s enclosed and heated Live Oak pavilion. Visitors can also stop at Santa’s Depot, located at BLORA’s Marina parking lot, and hop

aboard the train for a ride through an exclusive trail of lights, enjoy concessions under the stars, ride a pony, shop for glow-in-the-dark toys, or just stretch their legs on a playground before the ride home. Tickets for the trail of lights may be purchased the night of visit at the park’s main gates. Train and pony ride tickets can be bought at Santa’s Depot. Rates follow: $15/car, mini-van and pick-up $30/15-passenger van, limo or RV $50 /24-passenger van $75/47-plus passenger bus Train: $5 adults; $3 children 11 and under (lap children ride free) Pony: $5 Come early and receive a commemorative ornament on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, while supplies last! For more information, directions and weather related status call the Park Reservation Office at 254-287-2523; for directions visit directions/htm.

calendar TexTalk HARKER HEIGHTS 14th Annual Frost Fest and 7th Annual Holiday Farmers Market Dec. 8, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Kick off the Christmas holiday season with free hot chocolate and cookies, a visit from Santa, snow, Holiday Farmers Market and more. At this year’s Frost Fest visitors can shop for those unique holiday gifts at the Holiday Farmers Market, play in the snow, and listen to Christmas music. Crafters can get involved by entering the Wreath Decorating Contest. The public will view and vote for their favorite entry at Frost Fest. The Harker Heights Fire Department will have a drop off area for new, unwrapped toys for the Santa Pal program. Market Heights Shopping Center 201 E. Central Texas Expressway Call 254-953-5465 or email for more information.

KILLEEN Holiday Under the Stars and Tree Lighting Dec. 1, 6 p.m.; tree lighting 7 p.m. 8 p.m., Movie Dec. 2, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free Santa Claus is headed south

Santa Claus will be in Killeen for Holiday Under the Stars on Dec. 1. He'll also make stops in other Central Texas towns.

from the North Pole to Killeen. The community is invited to join him as he lights the holiday tree at Holiday Under the Stars. After the tree lighting kids can take pictures with Santa. Other activities include live entertainment, cupcake decorating, arts and crafts. At 8 p.m., watch a family-friendly holiday movie on the big screen under the stars, so bring blankets to cuddle up for the festive film.

Breakfast with Santa Dec. 2, 8 to 10 a.m. Kids and kids at heart can enjoy a full pancake breakfast for $5 then share wish lists and take photos with Santa at the annual Breakfast in Toyland. Killeen Community Center 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. Call 501-8880 for more information. Continued


Steve Conner Michael Noatch

Peggy Rush



David Rush • 306 E. 6th Avenue • Belton, TX 76513 • 254.939.3065 TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


TexTalk calendar

Walk through Bethlehem as First United Methodist Church in Killeen presents a living nativity Dec. 3, Dec. 9 and Dec. 10.

First United Methodist Church Walk through Bethlehem Dec. 2, 6 to 8 p.m. The Living Nativity Dec, 3, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec, 10, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Take a Walk through Bethlehem on the night before Christ was born. There will be 11 stations to visit including a Jewish home, Synagogue, Potter’s Shop, Market, and an empty manger. On Dec. 3, 9, and 10, witness the birth of Jesus Christ at the Living Nativity. 3501 East Elms Road, Killeen Call 254-634-6363 for more information.

at the Community Center or Family Recreation Center. Killeen’s elves will make sure it gets to the North Pole. Letters should be addressed to: Santa Claus c/o The North Pole. Don’t forget to include your return address so Santa can write back!

The series offers more than a dozen races throughout the year. Resolve to compete in 2018. Killeen Community Center 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. Call 501-8880 for more information.

Killeen Community Center 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. Call 501-8880 for more information.

55th Annual Killeen Christmas Parade The Magic of Christmas

Family Recreation Center 1700 E. Stan Schlueter Call 501-6390 for more information.

Letters to Santa

Jingle Bell Dash

Now through Dec. 15 Santa’s Helpers are collecting letters from boys and girls in Killeen. Just drop your child’s letter in the box

Dec. 2, 8 a.m. Go to to register or for more information on this and upcoming Cen-Tex Series races.



Dec. 10, 4:30 p.m. Historic Downtown Killeen comes to life with floats, costumes and talents. The parade route begins at Avenue D and College Street then turns on Gray Street, Sprott Avenue, Second Street and ends on Avenue B. A route map is available online. Spectators should come early to secure the best spots for parking and viewing this Killeen tradition. Call Volunteer Services at 254-5017878 for more information.

calendar TexTalk 10th Annual Feast of Sharing Dec. 12, 4 to 8 p.m. The City of Killeen and H-E-B invite the community to a Feast of Sharing. This event is free and open to everyone. Enjoy a delicious holiday meal, live entertainment, and fun activities. Killeen Convention and Conference Center 3601 S. W.S. Young Drive, Killeen Volunteers and participants are welcome. Call Volunteer Services at 254-501-7878 for more information.

LAMPASAS Christmas on the Creek Through Jan. 2 Join us for our fifth Christmas on the Creek at W.M. Brook Park. Stroll or drive to enjoy the thousands of lights draped from trees, the pedestrian suspension bridge and the historical hostess house. Our displays have been newly designed for the 12 Days of Christmas. Visit Santa’s village where kids can move their names from the naughty to nice list, see Santa’s workshop and home. On Dec. 9, there will be music, hot chocolate and food and beverage for

Volunteers are needed for H-E-B's 10th annual Feast of Sharing on Dec. 12 at the Killeen Special Events Center.

purchase from food trucks. W.M. Brook Park 310 U.S. Highway 281, Lampasas Visit LampasasChristmas/ for updated information.

Carol of Lights, Lampasas Lighted Christmas Parade Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parade 6:30 p.m. Admission $1 to enter Courthouse Some fees for grown-up activities Everything is free for children. Carol of Lights is an all-day Christmas event that kicks off in the Lampasas County Courthouse filled

with boutique vendors. Santa Claus will be on hand to visit with children, and Mrs. Claus will read stories and has gifts for the youngsters. The Lighted Christmas Parade will have a lot of floats. Watch for Santa, Mrs. Claus and an elf in the grand finale of the parade. Courthouse admission benefits the Town and Country Study Club Scholarship Fund. Courthouse Square 409 S Pecan St., Lampasas Visit, or visit them on Facebook for more information. Continued



TexTalk calendar SALADO 25th annual performance of A Christmas Carol at Table Rock Dec. 1, 2 and Dec. 8, 9 Concessions open at 6:30 p.m. Show begins 7 p.m. $10 adults, $5 Students, $3 children 12 and younger Adapted for the stage by Harry Sweet, Dickens’ Yuletide play will put you in the right holiday spirit. Tickets sold at the gate before each show. Tickets also available in advance at For group tickets (20 or more), call 254-947-9205.

Salado Tour of Homes Dec. 1, 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 3, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $20 On the tour this year is St. Joseph's Episcopal Church, Salado Methodist Church, The Salado Masonic Lodge, Lively home, Seiler Home, Starcher Home & Baines House Museum. Tickets can be purchased at the Salado Visitor Center at 423 S. Main and at each tour location during tour hours. Go to www.saladohistoricalsociety. com for more information.

TEMPLE Temple Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Annual Santa Fest Holiday Market Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission Get in the spirit of the season and enjoy arts & crafts vendors, food trucks, and great deals from local merchants. Admission to the market is free; however, merchandise and food are purchased on your own. Frank W. Mayborn Civic & Convention Center 3303 N. Third St., Temple Call Sennett Farias at 254-2985900, or email for more information. 28


Fernando Flores, dressed as Santa, gets a head start during a previous Jingle Bun Run in Temple.

71st Annual Temple Christmas Parade “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree” Dec. 4 6:15 p.m. Tree Lighting 6:30 p.m. Christmas Parade Beginning at the intersection of East Adams Avenue and Eighth Street, the parade proceeds west along Adams Avenue, in front of the Municipal Building, up to North 23rd Street before turning north and disbanding at Temple High School. Bands, floats, decorated automobiles and walking groups are all part of the fun. Special awards will be given to entries that best depict the Christmas Spirit and theme. Call 254-298-5440 for information.

Get Fit Temple presents the 17th Annual Schlotzsky’s Jingle Bun Run Dec. 9 9 a.m. 5K 10:30 a.m. 1K Family Fun Run West Temple Park 121 Montpark Road, Temple Call 254-298-5582 for information.

Bend of the River Christmas Dec. 16, 3 to 8 p.m. $6 advance, $8 at door Children 2 and under are free Enjoy arts and crafts, a snow slide, caroling, riding a mechanical reindeer,

and wagon rides. All activities are included in the ticket price. All sales are final. No refunds. Call 254-298-5774 or visit www. to purchase tickets or for more information.

Texas Country Gentlemen Chorus Christmas Concert Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m. $15 adults, $10 students and seniors 65+ A singing Santa Claus may appear at this year’s Christmas concert presented by the Texas Country Gentlemen Chorus. Special guest is “Vocal Point,” an auditioned group of 18 music students from Temple College and Texas A&M Central Texas directed by Dr. Sara Harris Baker. From the Chorus, the award winning quartet “hmmm” will also appear. Proceeds help to support the Music Program at Temple College and the Central Texas Charity, Wreaths for Vets. Tickets may be purchased online at, from a Chorus member, or at the Cultural Activities Center. 3011 N. Third St., Temple Call 254-773-9926 for information. Email upcoming events to editor@

well-fed head TexTalk

Gristmills of Central Texas

A conversation with Salado author Charlene Ochsner Carson By CATHERINE HOSMAN

Texas in the 1800s before photography was in common use. We feel fortunate that we were able to find photos of the 54 different mills represented in the book.


rive through any back road country or town and historic markers seem to pop up all over. There are historic markers and landmarks in all 254 counties. Many of the early historical buildings these markers may refer to have disappeared, but there are still ruins of structures that once dotted the Texas landscape. Some of those early historical treasures are off the beaten path. In her book, the “Gristmills of Central Texas,” Salado author Charlene Ochsner Carson takes us on a guided tour of gristmills from the missions of San Antonio to the Salado River in Bell County. She travels back in time along the rivers that fed the mills. She takes readers to the San Antonio, Guadalupe, Colorado, Brazos and Salado rivers. Black-and-white illustrations, some from her own collection, give the reader a look at the mills that once stood along the riverbanks. “The rivers of Texas were hosts to hundreds of gristmills,” she writes. “When settlers were looking for a mill site, they often looked at the springs and the streams that branched from the rivers. Springs usually provided a more reliable source or water, even in the dry times of summer.” Most of the mills are gone now, but several have been purchased and turned into private homes or renovated to working condition and now stand as functioning landmarks of history. Why did you decide to write about Gristmills? I became interested in writing about gristmills when I learned that at one time the Salado River (as it was referred to in early writings) had eight working mills within nine miles of each other — more

than any other river in Texas. Initially, I was going to just write about those eight mills, but I soon realized it would be impossible to get at least 200 photos of eight mills when most of them never had their photograph made in the first place. I knew then that I had to expand my topic so that is the reason I decided to research and write about the gristmills of Central Texas. Plus, with my farm-girl background it seemed like a natural topic. How long did it take you to travel to all of these sites and collect information? My husband, Maurice, and I spent about a year traveling the back roads of Texas searching for mills that we could photograph. Meanwhile, we also went to several libraries and other types of research centers looking for photographs of mills that we could use. When you publish with Arcadia, you need at least 200 photographs of the subject you are writing about. It was difficult to find that many photos of something that was in

Do you have a favorite gristmill? As I worked on this project, each gristmill became my favorite. Even though a gristmill is an inanimate object, it has a personality. The John Teeter Mill at Homestead Heritage Village near Waco has a distinct personality and is an excellent example of the way all gristmills worked when they were working mills. Also, when you walk into the building, you are surrounded by the sounds and the smells of a working mill. Being at this mill gives you a sense of what it must have been like to visit a mill of the 1800s. My husband and I visited this mill in February 2015 and the miller gave us a thorough tour and explained how it worked. Which gristmill seemed the most interesting to you? I think the most interesting mill is the San Jose Mill at the San Jose Mission in San Antonio. It is also the most historic mill. Established in 1720, the San Jose Mill probably had more of an impact on people than any other mill established in Texas. The Indians who came to live within the walls of the mission did not realize that they were going to be driven to live in a more civilized way. Also, the work of setting up and running a mill was a foreign concept to them. The mill also changed the Indian inhabitants’ diet when orders were given to cultivate wheat in addition to corn. The native inhabitants had a difficult time adjusting to the new order of things. Copies of Carson's book are on sale at the Bell County Museum in Belton and at the Salado Museum. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM




Spirit of giving

Operation Christmas Child supports children around the world By EMILY HILLEY-SIERZCHULA Contributed photos


hristmas is traditionally a time of giving, often centered on family, with plenty of presents under the tree for the kids and a plate of cookies for Santa. But For some folks Christmas is more: It's a chance to share the spirit of kindness to impoverished children all around the world through Operation Christmas Child, a partnership with the Franklin Graham Ministry and Samaritan's Purse. It’s a way to care for others, whether in an African orphanage or a village in Central America. Volunteers with Operation Christmas Child fill plastic containers with small presents and send them to children in need. "It's unbelievable what some of these children have to go through," said Linda Crowder of Lakeview Baptist Church. Her husband, Bob, became Lakeview's pastor on Oct. 1. She recalled stories about children in India who helped their families survive by spending their days rummaging through heaps of garbage at the local dump. No education and little hope for the future. "Even our poorest kids are rich in comparison," Crowder said. Lakeview Baptist Church in Belton and Immanuel Baptist Church in Temple are on the front lines of Operation Christmas Child for the second year. "It's close to my heart," Crowder said. "I have grandkids, and I think about how any one of those

Even the smallest gift can make a difference in a child's life. Children from the Dominican Republic, above, and Uganda, opposite page, receive a shoebox of love from local volunteers through Samaritan's Purse. | Photos courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

children could be my grandkid." Crowder also is sympathetic to the cause because she understands hardship. "I was raised by a single mom and if people hadn't helped us through the church we would have had nothing," she said. Crowder said 135 million boxes have been sent around the world, with no two boxes exactly the same. The Gospel, translated into local languages, is included and missionaries follow up with recipients. "Whole families have been changed," she said. The experience of childhood is dramatically different from underdeveloped and developed countries. "Our kids get antsy if they don't have a cellphone or iPad, while these

children are happy to get a toothbrush or a bar of soap," Crowder said. One little girl in an orphanage was thrilled beyond belief to get a toothbrush in her box, Crowder explained. She had been sharing one with nine other children. Crowder believes God works in mysterious ways. One child in the deserts of Africa received a pair of winter gloves in his box. Why would a child in the deserts of Africa need with the winter gloves? It just so happened that the child had serious burn injuries on his hands, and wearing the gloves allowed him to experience the world through touch. Crowder also sees the hand of God even in slight miscalculations. All the children in a Central American village had been handed boxes except for a set Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


of twins — and only one box remained. "The missionary in charge was brokenhearted, until they opened the box and there was two of everything," she said. "That's how God has blessed this."

A HEARTFELT MISSION The main purpose of Operation Christmas Child is to send love rippling across the globe. Jerri Tyler, of Belton, packs boxes for Operation Christmas Child every year in memory of her mother. "It was one of her passions and I'm just continuing her legacy." After her mom passed away, Tyler discovered her mom already had carefully packed a box for the next year’s Christmas child. "It helps children feel worthy, loved, and they know that someone is thinking about them," Tyler said. In the box Tyler packed this year she included a note for the child along with gifts of craft and health items, a journal, books and writing implements. Tyler and her now grown daughters were involved in the operation for many years. She said her daughters felt excited when they helped pack boxes to be sent to children more in need than they could even imagine. "We take a lot of things for granted," Tyler said. "When the Sunday school teachers told them all the things we take for granted, even being able to comb our clean hair, it had a real impact on my daughters." The packing parties at the church, such as what happens at Immanuel Baptist Church, was "a time for food and fellowship." The impact on the children receiving presents can last a lifetime. "One of the greatest things I remember is listening to a woman who had gotten a box as a child, and now she lives in the U.S. and travels to churches telling her story," Tyler said. "It was amazing to meet someone who had been so touched. You just never know what kind 32


Volunteers from Lakeview Baptist Church pack shoeboxes with items for poor children around the world.

of difference you can make."

LESSONS LEARNED THROUGH GIVING Laurie Bailey, media coordinator with Operation Christmas Child, MidTexas region, sees Operation Christmas Child as a way to help others but also to impart lessons on her own kids. Her children watched from strollers as their mom packed boxes, eventually

taking up the task themselves. Now her 14-year-old daughter is interested in becoming a member of the organization. "It's so exciting to see it multiply," said Bailey, who has been involved with the charity for 13 years. "It teaches kids to accept responsibility and to learn the value of volunteering to help others. They're more likely to be involved in

their communities later in their life. "It demonstrates God’s love in a tangible way," she continued. "For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is their first gift ever received. I hear over and over again from the stories the children write that they become full of hope and are suddenly aware of God's love." Samaritan's Purse is aiming to reach 12 million children in 100 countries this year, with 17,000 boxes coming from the Mid-Texas region alone, Bailey said. Samaritan's Purse is the missionary organization that decides where the boxes will be sent, based on the input of local governments and missionaries.

HOW YOU CAN HELP To make a difference you don't have to attend a packing party or go pick up a box, pack it and bring it back to the church. Donations are accepted, allowing the organizations to fill the box for them. The organization also appreciates donations of $9 per box to

help cover shipping and other expenses, Bailey said. For those who enjoy packing their own boxes, a list of acceptable items is listed on the Operation Christmas Child-Samaritan's Purse website ( operation-christmas-child/), along with drop-off locations and suggestions for the various age groups from 2 to 14 years old. School supplies are a good idea because not having a pencil and paper can keep a child from going to school, affecting their entire future. Flipflops, clothes and toys are also popular choices. Bailey said tools are in demand: hammers, screwdrivers, flashlights, fishing and sewing kits can all help a child supplement their family's income. People can spend as much or as little to fill their boxes, but it averages around $20. "For the same cost of going out to lunch with friends you can change a child's life forever," Crowder said. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Back row, from left, Shangyang (Sayerm) Min, China; Frederica Perelli, Italy; Sifan (Emily) Tao, China; Paula Martinez, Spain; Xingyu (Tonia) Lin, China; Zhixuan (Joyner) Chen, China; and Lorenzo Macchini, Italy. Front row, from right, Lucia Casquete Fernandez and Marta Mohedano Jurado, both from Spain.

Crossing cultures

Students from around the world break bread Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN | Contributed photos



From left, Zhixuan (Joyner) Chen of China and Lucia Casquete Fernandez of Spain help themselves to some of the international foods served at a recent etiquette dinner for local exchange students sponsored by Yvette Shackelford, right, of the ASSE student exchange program.


vette Shackelford, area representative for the ASSE International Exchange Student Program has been placing foreign students in Texas homes since 2012. She started placing students at the Central Texas Christian School when she was the director of admissions. “At first I did this as a way to bring diversity and culture into the

school, and also to enrich the lives of the students that we would be hosting through the many wonderful opportunities at CTCS,” Shackelford said. When she left the Central Texas Christian School she became the area representative for ASSE and continues to place students at the school and other Central Texas schools within a 120-mile radius of Belton.

“My life was greatly enriched through the lives of these students, more so than I expected,” she said. “It is such a joy to see the host families invite a complete stranger into their home and build a lifelong friendship.” To help students acclimate to American culture, Shackelford hosts an etiquette dinner at the home of one of the host families. Continued



Foreground: Host parents Jennifer and Tim Watson; Wyatt Watson, kneeling. Playing piggyback are Lorenzo Macchini with Dominick Watson; Josh Watson with Syrinna Watson; TJ Watson with Xingyu (Tonia) Liu.

“I go over the Etiquette Dinner and Manners Program, which I used a combination of the National League of Junior Cotillion and United States Dining curriculum,” she said. Four of the students are from regions of China, one student is from Italy, three students from Spain, and a guest student from Rome. This year’s dinner was held at the home of Dawn and Will Sears. Nine international students, and guests, attended and shared a cultural dish.



“The students felt like American table manners were interesting, strict, but easy to follow,” said Dawn Sears, whose family is hosting Lucia Casquete Fernandez from Spain. “They learned about things like putting a napkin in your lap, engaging in conversation, waiting for everyone to be served before you start eating, and always passing items to your right," Sears added. Ethnic dishes shared by the students included Spanish cookies, Chinese rice

with veggies, Spanish tortilla, Chinese wings, Pasta All’Arrabiata, tofu with cooked lettuce and potatoes with sausage. “This was a great opportunity to hang out with the students from so many countries,” said Sears, “It was also a great opportunity to try foods from different countries and cultures. Each student brought a dish that represented their culture.” Jennifer Watson, whose family is Continued

International exchange students attending the Central Texas Christian School prepare dinner at the home of Dawn and Will Sears.

Clockwise from left: Paula Martinez Gomez, Joyner (Zhixuan) Chen, Marta Mohedano Jurado, Yvette Shackelford, area representative for ASSE, and Frederica Perelli discuss table etiquette.

“The students felt like American table manners were interesting, strict, but easy to follow. They learned about things like putting a napkin in your lap, engaging in conversation, waiting for everyone to be served before you start eating, and always passing items to your right.” — Dawn Sears, whose family is hosting Lucia Casquete Fernandez



Sifan (Emily) Tao, 16, enjoys her first Halloween in Texas with the Bowman sisters, Payton, 6, Madigan, 9, and Lilly 7. They dressed as Super Girl, Wonder Woman and Bat Girl.

hosting Xingyu (Tonia) Liu from China and Lorenzo Macchini from Italy, said “These kids are brave to leave their country and native language and family to come to a foreign place. Jennifer and her husband, Timothy, have five children ranging in age from 7 to 19, so her family has grown to nine people around their dinner table. “There have been so many laughs as they have worked to figure things out, as well as a few upset moments. I have learned to love and accept children that



I am not related to and welcome them into my tribe.”

BROADER PERSPECTIVE Alexandra Bowman and her husband, Jonathan, are parents to three daughters ranging in age from 6 to 9. This is her first time hosting an exchange student. “We were inspired to host an exchange student because we wanted to be able to broaden our family’s perspective on the world and welcome

a student from another country to teach us their culture, as well as vice versa,” said Bowman. “We were inspired to be able to minister, to love and to provide an opportunity to a student.” Bowman said hosting a foreign exchange student has brought “another dynamic to our family of girls.” “She has treated our daughters as her own sisters and she has taught them all about her country,” Bowman said. “We have learned how to be more patient and understanding and our

The Bowman sisters, from left, Payton, Madigan an Lilly, welcome Sifan (Emily) Tao to Texas and the United States. Tao is spending the year in Belton with the Bowman family through the ASSE International Student Exchange Programs.

home has been filled with more joy from the experience then we could have imagined.” Leaving home for an extended visit or trip abroad can be daunting for the most seasoned traveler, but can be more challenging for young students. “They are very young when they leave the comfort of their own home, and I admire the fact that they leave

what is comfortable to go and learn from other people, other cultures,” Shackelford said. “I love learning from these students, investing in their lives and watching the friendships form and grow. It is priceless.” Shackelford said her ultimate goal is for the students to return to their native country with nothing but great things to say about the United States.

“I want to introduce American traditions and values,” Shackelford said. “Being from Texas, we have great pride in our state, and getting to share that with our students, and seeing them adopt us and love our great state is awesome.” For more information on becoming a host family, visit about_asse/.

"We were inspired to be able to minister, to love and to provide an opportunity to a student." — Alexandra Bowman



McKenzie and Laura Palmer with their exchange student, Joyner Chen from China.



Feeling like part of their family Palmers welcome Chinese teenager into their home for the school year Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by JULIE NABOURS


hristmas usually comes early at the Palmer house. Decorations start going up a week before Thanksgiving. But this year, Temple resident Laura Palmer started a little earlier to help Joyner Chen, her exchange student from Wuhan, China, attending Central Texas Christian School, get familiar with the Texas way of celebrating Christmas. “Christmas decorations in the house make me feel happy,” Palmer said. “There is something about the season, celebrating Jesus’s birth. Something about it brings so much happiness. It just feels good. I love it.” Palmer was a bit reluctant to bring in another teenager to live with her and her daughter, McKenzie, 16, but their mutual desire to experience other cultures outweighed any concerns. “At first didn’t want to bring in another student then decided I wanted to do it. I’m excited,” said Laura Palmer, who was inspired by a friend who hosted a student. “It’s a little scary, bringing another teenager into your

home. I was a little hesitant at first and thought a lot about it.” Her friend’s student was from the ASSE program instead of the program offered by CTCS. Palmer said foreign students have a choice of where they want to go and what family to stay with. Host families also choose their student from a country that interests them. Students come from all over the world to experience life in the United States. Exchange students spend a full school year with their host family, attending classes and school events, learning about their host state and Texas hospitality. So this year Palmer grew her family to include one more teenager. “We wanted experience about other cultures, so why not open our doors? We have the space. Why not give opportunity for a kid to have a fun experience and to learn about them,” McKenzie said. The Palmers chose to host a Chinese student, because of China's familial culture. “It was my understanding their culture is very friendly and respectful and it seemed like an interesting culture Continued



“She doesn’t know what to expect for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I want Joyner to help me and my mom cook to experience the full Thanksgiving. On Christmas, she will make something of her own.” — Laura Palmer to learn about,” Laura Palmer said. “I heard good things about the Chinese culture,” McKenzie added. Chen, 16, likes America. She speaks some English and is learning more every day. If she gets a stuck on a word, she refers to a translation app on her smartphone. With the push of a button she is able to take an English word and have it pop up in her native language. When you ask her what her favorite thing about Texas is, she is quick to respond, “The sky. It’s so low, big.” She also enjoyed her first visit to a Target store. “Wow, wow, wow,” were the words she said standing in the store, looking at all the selections. She is also amazed at the buildings around Central Texas, not the skyscraping apartment towers most people live in back home in Wuhan, China. And she was taken in by the wide open spaces and lower buildings. “Not so crowded,” she said. Wuhan is the capital of China's Hubei Province. It is 3,280 square miles with a population of 10.6 million people, mostly living vertically. In contrast, Bell County is 1,088 square miles with a population of 334,941 people.

TEXAS-SIZE FUN Chen arrived in Austin on Aug. 20 at 5 a.m. Her flight was delayed and she stayed awake for 24 hours, watching



from the sky as her plane descended on Texas, her first trip to the United States. Up to now, adventures have been minimal, staying in Central Texas, and included a trip to Palmer’s favorite cupcake bakery in Georgetown; a drive to the Domain in Austin, and Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels. Not long after she arrived, she celebrated her birthday, Texas style, when Palmer threw her a party at a local park with 30 of her new friends. In her culture, she said birthdays are quiet and spent with immediate family at a special dinner. “I’m blown away at how supportive Central Texas Christian School is,” Palmer said. “Two exchange students came to support her.” Palmer said since she has had time to know Chen, how quiet and shy she is, she couldn’t imagine her going into a big public school. “A small private school is not as intimidating, scary,” she said. Despite her growing knowledge of English, Chen said it is still difficult to keep up with lessons taught in a foreign language. “Some things hard. Speaker talks a little fast,” she said. She gets help from her friend, another Chinese exchange student, and, Lindsay, an American student ambassador who helps her with her classes. The ambassador takes notes

and gives them to Chen to translate. “Every exchange student has a kid assigned to them,” Palmer said.

CHRISTMAS IN WUHAN Christmas is not the primary holiday in Wuhan, and it isn’t based on any religious factor. Trees are not allowed in the home and gifts are placed

Joyner Chen likes learning about life in Texas, but says she misses home in China, especially the food.

inside of a Christmas stocking. Chen said Spring Festival is China’s main holiday and is a time of celebration, seeing relatives and friends and “eat dumplings.” “I’d like to take Joyner to experience a bunch of different stuff, take her places to experience,” Palmer said. “Before she leaves in spring, I want

to take her camping. I like taking her to different places to experience stuff. See her reaction.” Chen is happy to be experiencing Texas, but like most travelers, she admits to being a little homesick. “I miss Chinese food the most,” she said. “Rice with fried dough.” Some of her favorite regional foods are beef with

coriander and caraway and sweet bean pudding. But she is looking forward to tasting American food. “She doesn’t know what to expect for Thanksgiving or Christmas,” Palmer said. “I want Joyner to help me and my mom cook to experience the full Thanksgiving. On Christmas, she will make something of her own.”



Family sharing Texas traditions

Spanish exchange student spends year in Belton Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Contributed photos


aula Martinez Gomez of Valladolid, Spain, will get a peek into Texas holiday customs this year. The high school exchange student is living with Belton residents Ben and Rachelle Byroad and their three children: Kadi, 14; Ben, 10; and Emily 7, for a school year. She attends Belton High School with Kadi. Although some holiday customs are universal — the Christmas tree, cookies waiting for Santa, cheerfully wrapped gifts, good food — it’s the little things that make a family’s Christmas traditions. For the Byroad family, it’s ornaments. “We each get a new ornament that represents our year,” Rachelle said. “Ben and I have been doing this since

we first got married; every year, from the first Christmas, when we had one ornament on the tree. Now we have tons of ornaments on the tree. On Christmas Eve, we open a family gift like a board game or video game and we all play that.” Two of Paula’s Christmas traditions are roscon de reyes, or Three Kings Cake, with whipped cream and the 12 grapes. On New Year’s Eve in Spain, family members eat 12 grapes, one for each strike of the clock. This Spanish tradition is supposed to ensure good luck for the rest of the year. Christmas dinner will be a combination of American and European flavors. Paula plans to make her Spanish tortilla, think egg/potato frittata. “Paula and my husband have worked hard to perfect it,” Rachelle said. Paula is the youngest in her family.

Her older brother now lives on his own so living in a house with two younger siblings will be a different experience, she said. She wants to have a good time with her host family and said, “I hope I don’t miss my family and my friends too much.” Thanks to 21st century technology, she stays connected to her friends and family in Spain via FaceTime. “I think it’s really fun because I finally get someone as old as me to hang around,” Kadi said. “It’s cool because it’s my first year of high school and I kind of get to experience it with someone else who has never been to the school.”

CHOOSING AND EXCHANGE STUDENT Ben and Rachelle Byroad just moved into their new Belton home Continued

“Mostly, life here is so different from what I am used to. In Spain, we walk a lot. Here you have to drive everywhere.” — Paula Martinez Gomez



Rachelle and Kadi Byroad welcome their exchange student from Spain to Austin. From left are Paula Martinez Gomez, Kadi and Rachelle Byroad.



Paula Martinez Gomez, left, of Spain has become friends with other exchange students living in Belton this year, including Joyner Chen of China.

when they noticed their neighbor throwing a party. It was an international celebration welcoming their foreign exchange student. This gave Rachelle an idea. Her daughter Kadi was about to begin her freshman year at Belton High School when Rachelle thought it would be a “nice to bring in a student.” She worked with Yvette Shackelford, area representative the ASSE International Exchange Student Program. “They send you a list of all the students and then you can read a letter



they write,” Rachelle said. “It gives you their interests and likes. We knew we wanted someone from Europe and narrowed down our search. We read their letters and found Paula very personable.” The Byroads were interested in the European lifestyle and learning the differences between Europe and the United States. “They speak a lot of English in Spain and their school is a lot harder. Children start learning English as a second language starting in their equivalency of our kindergarten,” Rachelle said.

This is Paula’s first time in the United States and she is hoping to improve her English skills by immersing herself into the American culture. But the cultural gap is almost as big as Texas itself. “Mostly, life here is so different from what I am used to,” she said. “In Spain, we walk a lot. Here you have to drive everywhere.” Another difference is the social life of teenagers. She said it isn’t unusual for her to venture out on her own in her hometown, and when she calls a friend, they walk to the closest café to hang out. Continued

Tex Appeal is looking for Central Texas-based photographers and freelance writers with experience working for a newspaper or magazine. Candidates must be detail- and deadline-oriented and good storytellers, and must be familiar with AP style. Interested candidates may send their resumes and three to five recent stories and/ or photographs for consideration to editor@



Paula Martinez Gomez from Spain is ready for her first day at Belton High School. BELOW: She gets to know her host family's calico cat.



“When you ask friends here, they just want to hang out at home,” she said. Another noticeable difference is the food. “Food is not as healthy here as it is in Spain,” she said. “We eat a lot of fish.” She also said school in the U.S. is not as challenging as her school in Spain, which she said is very difficult. “We just go to school,” she said. “We sit and listen to a teacher for six hours and we stay in the same classroom the whole day. School is easy here. I don’t really need to study. In Spain, you need to study a lot. Here you have a lot of homework and assignments to do. It balances out.” Another significant difference is the lack of team sports in her school back home. Any sporting event, such as soccer, is an off-school activity. “They don’t take sports as seriously as we do,” Rachelle said. “Soccer is the main sport but I don’t play so good,” Paula added. “Also, it’s very hot here, compared to Spain.” Paula’s plane arrived in Austin at midnight on Aug. 18. It was late. But despite the delay in arrival, it was easy for Paula to spot her host family by the sign they held up. Driving home from the airport, Paula noticed all the neon signs and billboards and “not enough streets to walk on.” It was 2 a.m. before they made it back to Temple. “Texas is a very big place. There is a lot of stuff to do here,” Paula remarked. Since she arrived her host family has taken her to the Renaissance Faire, Build a Bear, Inner Springs Cavern, on a boating trip and to a football game. Before she leaves she would like to visit NASA in Houston.

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Holiday decor and fashion Whimsies has everything for your little elves this Christmas! New location early November: 408 Lake Road, Belton

Whimsies Boutique

2776 Riverside Trail, Temple 254-933-7024

Unique Women’s Clothing Specializing in women’s clothing and accessories. Bring in this advertisement to enjoy 10% off of your purchase through December 24, 2017

Susan Marie’s Boutique

201 N. Main, Salado 254-947-5239 Open Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-4

A Farmhouse Chic Boutique in Salado We offer baby to ladies apparel, jewelry, gifts, home decor, candles and more

Sage Hill Market

680 N. Main Street, Salado 254-947-9700 Mon-Sat 10-5, Sunday 12-4

Gifts that are right up your alley

Visions of sugar plums . . .

•Texas wines •Wine tastings •FABRICS •Notions •Local handcrafted items and much more!!

Precious holiday fashions from Mudpie, Serendipity, and Tea Collection for your little “sugar plum.”

Rosebud’s Artisan Alley

421 Main Street, Ste B, Rosebud 254-583-0050 50


Callie’s Boutique

1401 S. 31st St., Ste A, Temple 254-770-0511

Little Yellow House The Little Yellow House with lots of charm! Women’s apparel, gifts, Lizzy James jewelry.

The Mustard Seed Butik 642 N. Main Street, Salado 254-308-2227

Homemade Goodness

Made-to-Order Pies Frozen Casseroles Assorted Buftka Apple Strudel Kolaches and Cinnamon Rolls & Two locations in Temple!

Kolache Kitchen

23108 SE HK Dodgen Loop 254-778-5202 Kolache Kitchen #2 115 W. French Ave 254-239-5485

Bee-To-Bottle Since 1930 Open seven days a week, the Walker Honey Farm Store is full of great gift ideas: plenty of local raw honeys, handcrafted soaps, wines, and candies. Ask us about our monthly tours, Trivia Nights, and camping!

Walker Honey Farm

8060 E. US HWY 190, Rogers 254-983-2899

Holiday beauty This holiday season, outdo Santa by giving pampering, affordable beauty gifts. You’re sure to make everyone’s spirit bright when you do all your holiday shopping at Merle Norman Cosmetics.

Merle Norman Cosmetics

3411 Market Loop, Temple 254-771-0679

The drive is so worth it Ladies Boutique sizes SM-3XL Antiques & Farmhouse Décor Jewelry & Gifts

Vis-Á-Vis Galleria

3 W. Mesquite Avenue, Rogers 254-642-0005 Monday-Saturday 10am-5:30pm TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Don’t Get Behind on Your Shopping! Let the girls at Zootys help you with your gift giving list!

Monogram deadline is Friday, December 8.


1401 S. 31st St., Ste I, Temple 254-770-0904

Gifts Galore Douglas and Jellycat stuffed animals, Capri Blue candles, and fun accessories are perfect gifts for the holiday season.

Callie’s Boutique

1401 S. 31st St., Ste A, Temple 254-770-0511

Treats for Santa that make YOU look good!


1401 S. 31st St., Ste C, Temple Pecan Plaza | 254-773-8331 Also visit us at The HUB in downtown Temple.

Gingerbread, Gift Baskets & More

Make the Holidays sweeter! Frosted sugar cookies, decorated gingerbread & other treats perfect for Secret Santas & Holiday parties. We also offer custom party trays and gift baskets of all sizes.

Cookie Addiction

716 Indian Trl, Ste 170, Harker Heights 254-698-4800 52


This Holiday You Deserve

Upscale Tattoo Atmosphere

A Soothing Touch massage therapy by Joni Kelly, LMT (MT022739). Twice voted One of the Best in Central Texas by the Daily Herald’s Readers’ Poll. 25% off one (1) massage with this ad, see website below for more specials.

Specializing in 100% custom tattoos including realism, sacred geometry, pointillism, traditional, new school, portraits, cover-ups, watercolor styles. Free consultations the first Wednesday of every month. Gift Cards Available.

254-368-1695 | Nolanville

4100 Mesa Dr., Killeen 254-213-9896

Diamond Stud Earrings

Jewelry, Beads and Findings

Starting as low as $199, while supplies last!

Beads, stones, components, and everything in between. Handmade jewelry by Texas artist. Fashion Jewelry | Rings | Watches

A Soothing Touch Massage Therapy

15% off Military Discount 50% off selected rings

Joseph Anthony Jewelry

1801 South W S Young Drive, Killeen outside the Killeen Mall (254) 423-3505

Come see us at The Red Cactus

Precisely Veiled Tattoo

Tues - Sat 10-5 | Closed Sun-Mon

SophistiKatz Bead Emporium

600 N Main Street, Salado 254-947-0883


...May Be The Solution!

We have the latest Trendy Clothes for Women of all sizes, Fashion Jewelry & Accessories. We also carry Circle E Candles.

Stop Smoking/Tobacco Use, Concentration, Memory Recall, Test Anxiety, and more! Bonnie Conway, Certified Hypnotist, Member of International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association.

The Red Cactus

Bell-Tex Hypnosis

602 Old Town Rd #9, Salado 254-947-0303





Holiday dining survival guide

How to plan and prepare for healthy meals during busy season


ovember through January boasts a plethora of holidays, most of which are well known and celebrated all over. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s typically involve parties and gatherings that oftentimes take us away from our own dinner table. Everyone, even family, tends to celebrate differently, however, with a little thought and planning, you can rejoice in the season, regardless of the venue and the menu.

TIP NO. 1 Forgo saving yourself for that special holiday meal Skipping meals before the holiday feast with the intent to save calories typically results in consuming more food at the celebration. When you are starving it becomes difficult to make healthy choices and the body craves sugar and fat to instantly suppress the hunger pangs. Smaller, more frequent meals enhance metabolism and curb binging on holiday treats. A great plan of action is to begin the day by eating a healthy breakfast complete with protein and complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal with almonds or hard boiled eggs and fruit. About one to two hours before the gathering, have a light snack along with a bottle of water to take the edge off your appetite and keep your blood sugar in check.

TIP NO. 2 Offer to bring a healthy dish to parties When appropriate, ask the party host ahead of time if you can bring a dish. The selection of unhealthy 54


Another solution, which may have been common in your childhood, is to move your food around your plate and eat the dish you can enjoy first. Then, consolidate the foods you dislike onto one side so your plate does not look full.

TIP NO. 4 Drink often, eat slowly and talk regularly BY CAREY STITES foods served can be irresistible and by bringing a healthy dish, you can plan to be worry-free at the gathering knowing there is something wholesome available to eat. Additionally, the party host will likely appreciate the kind act. Ideas include a vegetable platter with hummus, seasonal fruit salad or baked tortilla chips and salsa.

TIP NO. 3 Have a plate plan Before filling your plate, devise a plan of attack. Begin by taking a smaller plate (if available) and scout out your favorite dishes. Browse the food selection to find out what you really want and what you can pass up without feeling deprived. Fill your small plate to the rim if you desire — you will have to dish up less per serving. Additionally, try to follow the tablespoon rule and only serve up about a tablespoon of your favorite holiday splurge dishes onto your plate. For buffet style holiday meals, avoid the temptation of returning for seconds by sitting as far away from your favorite foods as possible.

Occasionally, the main holiday dish might be a food you plain dislike, is unhealthy or relentlessly overcooked. The trick? Before putting food into your mouth, take a sip of your drink. Then right after eating take another drink to aid in the swallowing process. Not only does the liquid help dissipate the flavor and help the overcooked dish go down, drinking while eating tends to encourage the feeling of fullness, which means you eat less. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese people tend to chew their food less than lean people do, regardless of the food or bite size. The study found when people chewed their meals more than usual, the hormones regulating satiety and fullness increased. Overall, researchers concluded increasing chewing activity could become a valuable tool to reducing caloric intake and weight loss. Be chatty. Catch up with relatives and friends who you have not seen in while. Begin with the familiar ice breaker of “how have you been?” and tune in to the life stories you have missed over the year. Likewise, think of two important events which summarize your year and share those as well. By the

Begin by taking a smaller plate (if available) and scout out your favorite dishes. Browse the food selection to find out what you really want and what you can pass up without feeling deprived. time the conversation concludes, dinner may be over and you can avoid ingesting too many calories.

TIP NO. 5 Schedule your exercise and make holiday fitness fun. Admit it. Your schedule will be hectic this time of year. Schedule your workouts as you would any other important appointment. Be flexible and think ahead, especially during a busy week or days out of town; change up your fitness routine by trying something new.

Commit to a holiday race by signing up for a “Winter Walk” or “Jingle Bell Jog.” These fun, family-friendly events will keep you motivated and moving during the holidays and best of all, the proceeds often benefit charities.

ENJOY THE SEASON Making healthy choices is definitely possible during the holiday season with a little planning and preparation. Having a game plan for these events can ensure you take pleasure in everything special about the holidays — from the delicious drinks, foods and desserts to

your cherished family and friends. CAREY STITES, MS, RD, LD, CPT, is a registered and licensed dietitian working for Wellstone Health Partners in Harker Heights. Carey has been a practicing dietitian since 2001, with experience in both outpatient and inpatient medical nutrition therapy and sports nutrition. Carey is also an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer; She has promoted health and wellness through presentations, classes, writing and cooking demonstrations all over Texas. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM





Light up the holidays 11 CAN'T-MISS TEXAS HILL COUNTRY TOWNS



Eleven towns in the heart of the Texas Hill Country are gearing up to greet visitors. Main streets, historic buildings and more will be decked for the holidays with thousands of lights and other décor through December. The towns also have parades, markets and other events planned during the holiday season. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find along the historic Hill Country Trail.


First Baptist Church turns Burnet turns into Bethlehem on Dec. 1-3 and Dec. 8-10 from 6 to 9 p.m., weather permitting. Walk through gates of costumed townspeople tending to animals, making bread and view the live nativity scene to see what life was like in the ancient city at Christ’s birth. Admission is free, though donations are accepted. Free cookies and hot chocolate are served at the exit. No pets are allowed, except certified service dogs. For more information, go to www. or call 512-756-4481. On Dec. 9, enjoy Christmas on the Square from noon to 9 p.m. Events include a parade with a visit from Santa, a bicycle giveaway, and the lighting of the Burnet County Courthouse, along with arts and crafts booths and live entertainment along the Historic Courthouse Square at 229 S. Pierce St. For more information, call the Burnet Chamber of Commerce at 512-7564297. 58


More than 200 volunteers from First Baptist Church in Burnet, as well as other churches in the community, will bring the 25th annual Walk through Bethlehem to life in December. Photos by John Hallowell

More than 2 million lights and 400 sculptures will delight visitors who stroll through Lakeside Park in Marble Falls for the city’s 27th annual Walkway of Lights.. | Photos courtesy of the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce and CVB

Dripping Springs

Historical Mercer Street gets in the holiday spirit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2 for the 13th annual Christmas on Mercer Street. The festivities include arts and crafts booths, children’s activities, a petting zoo, photos with Santa from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., live entertainment and food vendors. Visitors also can explore local shops and stay for the D.S. Lions Christmas Tree lighting in the Triangle at U.S. Highway 290 and Mercer Street at dusk (about 6:15 p.m.). Admission is free. For more information, email or call Dripping Springs City Hall at 512-858-4725.


You won’t want to miss the 2017 Weinachts Fest Parade that lights up the Boerne Historic District and kicks off the Christmas season. In its 31st year, this year’s theme is a Lonestar Christmas. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance during the parade, which has up to 100 entries and winds along Main Street from Frederick Street to River Road. It starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 2, with a bad-weather makeup day on Dec. 3. For more information, call 830-249-9511 or go to

Marble Falls

More than 2 million lights and 400 sculptures will delight visitors who stroll through Lakeside Park in Marble Falls for the city’s 27th annual Walkway of Lights. The display is open from 6 to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 1. Admission is free, but visitors can purchase concessions or take photos with Santa to support various nonprofit organizations. Pets are not allowed, and the display will be closed for rain or other bad weather. For more information, go to events/2017/walkway-of-lights or call 888-MF-LIGHTS. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Johnson City

The “twinkliest town in the Hill Country” celebrates the holidays with its 28th annual Lights Spectacular, which kicked off Nov. 24 with the lighting of the Courthouse, City Park and three city blocks with more than 1 million lights. Bring your kids and pets to tour the city’s lights through Jan. 1. Other holiday events include the Living Story of Christmas from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. the first two weekends in December at the First United Methodist Church. Or tour President Lyndon B. Johnson’s boyhood home by lamplight from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23. The Dec. 2 celebration includes Christmas through the Years with live music, a chuck wagon demonstration and cowboy poetry. For more information, go to www. html or call 830-868-7684.

The courthouse in Johnson City is decked for the holidays as is City Park and three city blocks. More than 1 million lights make Johnson City the "twinkliest town in Texas." | Photos courtesy of the Johnson City Visitors Center and Chamber of Commerce 60


Fredericksburg The Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce ushers in the holiday season with the Light the Night Christmas Parade at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1. More than 130 entries, including bands, floats, animals and Santa are expected to delight those who gather along Main Street, between Washington and Bowie, beneath the glow of twinkling lights. The parade is free, but limited, reserved bleacher seats are available for $17 at http://lightthenightchristmasparade. com. Before and after the parade, enjoy AfterGlow activities from 3 to 9 p.m. There’s food, local wines, holiday shopping, family entertainment, and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 8 to 10 p.m. in the Marktplatz. For more information, call 830-997-5000. On Dec. 2, visitors can explore the 60th annual Holiday Home Tour and Market. Seven homes in and around Fredericksburg open their doors for self-guided tours. The market, which has 22 boutique vendors, is located in the GCHS Sanctuary and Social Hall at 312 W. Main St. The home tour is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the market is from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the market is

$5 at the door. Home tour tickets are available online at html and include admission to the market. Maps will be available at the Pioneer Museum, 325 W. Main St. For more information, call 830-990-8441.


Cowboy Kris Kringle comes to town on horseback Dec. 2 and lights Gruene for the holidays about 6 p.m. Before the annual town lighting, take pictures with Kris Kringle from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. near the Gruene General Store. Cowboy Kris Kringle also will be available for photos from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 9, Dec. 16, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, and from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 3, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17. For more information, go to kringlephotos.php. On Dec. 2-3 find holiday gifts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Old Gruene Market Days (http://www. Admission is free and there’s live entertainment to enjoy as you browse and shop in historic Gruene. When you’re in the area, take a short detour to view the Christmas lights in nearby downtown New Braunfels. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



Enjoy the Starry Starry Nights Lighted Christmas Park in Llano from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31 at Badu Park, 300 Legion Drive. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Santa is available for photos from 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 23. Before you enjoy the light display, stop through town to explore local shops with Christmas on the Llano. The chamber of commerce plans special drawings each Saturday in December. The city also has a lighted Christmas parade down Ford Street and around the Llano Courthouse starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 2. On Dec. 9, Llano plans a Snow Day from 1 to 9 p.m. Sled down 35,000 pounds of shaved ice. Wristbands are required for sledding and are $10 each or two for $15. For more information, go to or call 325-247-5354.

Goldthwaite's annual Christmas parade is Dec. 2. Photo courtesy of the Mills County Chamber of Commerce


Holiday lights will twinkle for visitors who stop in Goldthwaite to explore local shops through Dec. 25. The city’s 23rd annual Parade of Lights on Dec. 2 brings “Sparkles and Spurs: A Texas Christmas” to downtown. Floats begin their march at dusk, around 6 p.m., but visitors can take photos with Santa from 4 to 5 p.m. at the welcome center at the corner of U.S. Highway 183 and Second Street. There will be hot chocolate and cookies at the welcome center. For more information, call the Mills County Chamber of Commerce at 325-648-6319. 62


Stroll through the EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens in Wimberley.

The Starry Starry Nights Lighted Christmas Park in Llano is all aglow until Dec. 31. | Photo by Briley Mitchell, Llano Chamber of Commerce


The Old Blanco County Courthouse, at 300 Main St., and historic downtown square are lit up for the holidays. On Dec. 9, explore vendor booths and local shops from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. before the lighted Christmas parade at 6 p.m. After the parade, stroll through the park to view the lights. For more information, go to or call 830-833-5101.


Photo courtesy of Scot Brinkley

More than 100 light displays created by businesses, school groups, organizations and families fill a walking path for the 20th annual Trail of Lights at the EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens in Wimberley, 1101 Farm-to-Market 2325. Walk along the trail from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6 to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday through Dec. 28, weather permitting, then warm up by the Yule log and enjoy live entertainment. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Concessions are available, and pets and alcohol are prohibited. Santa will visit on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as nightly Dec. 15-23. For more information, go to TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



NEW YEAR, NEW YOU! Tex Appeal kicks off 2018 with an issue focused on health and fitness — everything you need to get in shape and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Tex Appeal Life and Style in Central Texas

Interested in advertising? Call 254-778-4444 (Temple) or 254-501-7500 (Killeen) Visit us online:



A Soothing Touch Massage Therapy............................................... 53 Bell County Museum....................................................................... 47 Bell-Tex Hypnosis.............................................................................53 Blends Wine Bar.............................................................................. 10 Callie's Boutique........................................................................50, 52 Central Texas Expo..........................................................................65 Cookie Addiction............................................................................52 Crotty Funeral Home...................................................................... 37 Curtis Cook Designs....................................................................... 47 Devereaux's Jewelers......................................................................... 10 Document Solutions........................................................................25 Ellis Air Systems...............................................................................23 Emporium Spice..............................................................................49 English Maids.................................................................................. 10 Extraco Banks.....................................................................Back cover Joseph Anthony Jewelry...................................................................53 KDH Bridal Showcase....................................................................... 2 Killeen Vision Source......................................................................65 Kolache Kitchen............................................................................... 51 Lastovica Jewelers............................................................................... 7 Merle Norman................................................................................. 51 Metroplex Hospital............................................................................ 3 My Giving Tree................................................................................50 Nikki's Hair Studio..........................................................................49 Paperdoodles....................................................................................52 Precisely Veiled Tattoo.....................................................................53 Purifoy Insurance Co.......................................................................33 Rosebud's Artisan Alley...................................................................50 Sage Hill Market..............................................................................50 Shoe Box..........................................................................................49 Smile at the World Orthodontics..................................................... 5 SophistiKatz Bead Emporium......................................................... 53 Susan Marie's Boutique.............................................................33, 50 TDT Day for Women........................................................................ 9 Temple Heat & Air.......................................................................... 27 Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum............................................ 65 The Mustard Seed Butik.................................................................. 51 The Red Cactus...............................................................................53 Total Retirements Wealth Management Firm................................... 5 Union State Bank.............................................................................. 7 Vis-Á-Vis Galleria............................................................................. 51 Visiting Angels................................................................................... 7 Walker Honey Farm......................................................................... 51 Whimsies Boutique.........................................................................50 Your Travel Agent............................................................................49 Z-Medical Aesthetics........................................................................ 37 Zooty's..............................................................................................52 The Advertisers Index is published for reader convenience. Every effort is made to list information correctly. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.




Let there be peace on Earth 66


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Tex Appeal Magazine | December 2017  
Tex Appeal Magazine | December 2017