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Life and Style in Central Texas


OctOber 2013 tex AppeAl

November 2017







BLACK FRIDAY BARGAINS Temple shopper seeks savings

Any Black Friday shopping veteran can tell you the experience is not for the faint of heart. Yet amid the expected chaos is time for fun and camaraderie with friends and family. Melissa Peloquin, a caseworker with MHMR originally from the El Paso area but a Temple resident for 10 years, has been braving Black Friday since her high school days. By EMILY HILLEY-SIERZCHULA


SHARING THANKSGIVING A Soldier’s Hospitality House welcomes Fort Hood troops



Holidays with the Hildenbrands Christmas dinner is anything but traditional at Micah Hildenbrand’s home. Instead of turkey with dressing, ham and all the trimmings, the entrée is more along the lines of macaroni and cheese, chicken legs, pizza, Brussels sprouts, apple pie, chocolate mousse and even cinnamon toast crunch — a new menu idea created by her three children, Chase, 8, Callen, 7, Finley, 5, and her husband, Eric. By CATHERINE HOSMAN 4


This month Ben and Melody Bloker and five their children will open the doors of their home to welcome soldiers to share a Thanksgiving dinner. Service members from Fort Hood will arrive solo, with a friend or in groups to celebrate the holiday away from post, in a family-friendly environment, at A Soldier’s Hospitality House. The Blokers home is set at the end of a long gravel driveway on Chapparal Road in Killeen and is surrounded by 16 acres of open land dotted with recreational activities that include a 1.1 mile jogging trail, a disc golf course, basketball court, soccer field, gazebo and pavilion. From the road, the home looks like a private residence. But when you enter, you realize its true purpose. By CATHERINE HOSMAN



When AWARE Central Texas celebrates Christmas on the Farm next month, it will be an affordable familyfriendly event for the entire community. Kids of all ages will enjoy face painting, hay rides, hay mazes, stick horse races and more. By CATHERINE HOSMAN

To advertise, call 254-778-4444 in Temple or 254-501-7500 in Killeen

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PUB: T CONTA Liz Jac lizj@td 254-77





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TexTalk NEIGHBORS Melissa Peloquin on Black Friday shopping


TexTalk FLAVOURS Holiday recipes from Tex Appeal staff


TexTalk SCENE Temple Rotary Club South fundraiser Sirena Fest in Salado


TexTalk CALENDAR Upcoming events in November December holiday happenings


TexTalk WELL-FED HEAD “Turning Your Scars into Stars” by Sue Hamby, Ph.D.

Life & Style in Central Texas

Life and Style in Central Texas

November 2017



9 Tex Appeal Magazine



CONTRIBUTORS November 2017 1

OctOber 2013 tex AppeAl

ON the COVER Misty Biddick of AWARE Central Texas. 49 Photograph by JULIE NABOURS







TexESSAY Celebrating Friendsgiving


TexHEALTH Cooking safety tips


TexADVENTURES Explore Jourdan Bachman Pioneer Farms in Austin



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



From the Editor

Tex Appeal Life & Style in Central Texas

Dear Readers, It’s hard to believe another year has passed and the holiday season is upon us. While searching for this month’s stories, we found a variety of topics that shed light on Central Texas’ holiday season. From a Black Friday shopper to a family who opens the doors of A Soldier’s Hospitality House each year to share Thanksgiving dinner with soldiers who are far away from family; Christmas on the Farm is in its 10th year of fun with a purpose as it brings awareness to the epidemic of family violence; and a family that decided a traditional holiday meal was out and their own traditions were in. Neighbor Melissa Peloquin is one of those brave souls that tackles the crowds on Black Friday. She’s been an avid Black Friday shopper since her high school days and even admitted to camping out the night before the big sale to be first in line for the right deal, Page 12. Blended with our regular calendar page is a preview of holiday events coming to Central Texas in December. From Christmas on the Chisholm Trail in Belton, to the Carol of Lights in Lampasas, these are just some of the fun things families can look forward to next month, Page 22. Do you ever get tired of spending hours making a big holiday meal for your family? Have you ever wished for something simpler? Meet the Hildenbrand family. After creating a labor-intensive traditional holiday dinner for her young family and seeing the disinterest of her children in eating a turkey with all the trimmings, the Hildenbrands created their own tradition, Page 36. After a big meal, what can be more enticing than those yearly holiday treats made from scratch or by hand that everyone waits the whole year to eat? Get a taste of some of Tex Appeal’s staff favorite recipes, Page 17. Whatever you decide to cook, keep in mind safe handling, cooking and storing of your fresh foods. A little caution can prevent tummy problems later, Page 54. Sometimes the holidays can be uncomfortable for people who have lost a loved one or are going through personal struggles. In her book, “Turning Your Scars into Stars,” Dr. Sue Hamby takes us on a journey through her own grief to guide us to that other side where stars take the place of scars,” Page 27. If you are looking for a kid-friendly day trip during the holiday season, look no further than East Austin and take a step back in time at the Jourdan Bachman Pioneer Farm where you can experience a 19th century Prairie Christmas, Page 57. Wherever you are in your busy day, take a break, pour a cup of your favorite warm beverage and cozy up with this month’s issue of Tex Appeal Magazine.

Catherine Hosman

Tex Appeal Editor 254-774-5234 8


Published by FRANK MAYBORN ENTERPRISES, INC. KILLEEN DAILY HERALD 1809 Florence Rd., Killeen, TX 76540

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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You can read back issues of Tex Appeal Magazine at Log on today to find the current issue and older editions of Tex Appeal. You also can connect with us on Facebook.


Email a letter to Please include your name and a phone number for verification. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Contributors MIKE BARTOSZEK was born in Las Vegas, Nev., and traveled to various Army installations, including tours in Germany; his family finally settled in Killeen. Growing up, Mike had a passion for concert production working on such shows as ZZ Top, Korn and Ted Nugent. He pursues a career in video production and photography and has since worked for various entertainment companies such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and KNCT. He enjoys a life of travel, adventure and outdoor photography.

SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE is a full-time freelance writer in Central Texas. A few of her favorite things include traveling, hiking, camping, reading, cats, classic rock music and cheese. As a kid, Sally Grace could never figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up — astronaut, Celtic dancer, entomologist, Egyptologist — everything was interesting and she couldn’t decide on just one world to immerse herself in and study, so she became a journalist. She learns new things every day.

EMILY HILLEY- SIERZCHULA 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.

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 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.

JOIN THE TEX APPEAL TEAM Tex Appeal Magazine is looking for photographers and freelance writers in Central Texas with experience working for a newspaper or magazine. Candidates must be detail- and deadlineoriented and good storytellers, and must be familiar with AP style. Ability for writers to take photos is a plus, but not required. Interested candidates may send resumes and three to five recent stories and/or photographs for consideration to 10


neighbors 12

flavours 17

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Black Friday bargains

Melissa Peloquin keeps an eye out for Black Friday bargains at local stores.



TexTalk neighbors

Shopper seeks savings

Temple resident makes the most of Black Friday offerings Story by EMILY HILLEY-SIERZCHULA Photos by JULIE NABOURS


ny Black Friday shopping veteran can tell you the experience is not for the faint of heart. Yet amid the expected chaos is time for fun and camaraderie with friends and family. Melissa Peloquin, a caseworker with MHMR originally from the El Paso area but a Temple resident for 10 years, has been braving Black Friday since her high school days. “We’d camp out to get ready for the stores opening at midnight and my mom would make me stand in line,” she recalled. “We were just teenagers keeping the place in line for Mom and Dad.” Then they would have a grand ole time wandering around the stores while their parents shopped. Things definitely have changed since her teenage years, especially in terms of planning. “Now that I’m an adult I have to do all the legwork, such as look for parking and lines at the register.” Plenty of times she’s been lured online because of the convenience — no parking required. “However, if I do have some things to get, my adult daughter and I plan out our Black Friday shopping by store and we know what deals we must buy.”

Melissa Peloquin checks out a digital camera. 12


IS IT WORTH IT? Everyone has seen news footage of Black Friday chaos, people bowling each other over for the last TV. Peloquin has sustained only one minor injury. She

It can get crazy, with people pushing and shoving, having arguments. You’re trying to do a good deed, getting Christmas presents for your family, and there’s people getting arrested. I’m thinking, ‘Why would you fight for a TV?’” – Melissa Peloquin was kneeling down looking at an item, a crush of humanity surrounding her, when a lady with a cart full of toys ran into her. “She was just trying to make it through, but there were so many people

around us she didn’t see me,” Peloquin said. “It can get crazy, with people pushing and shoving, having arguments. You’re trying to do a good deed, getting Christmas presents for your family, and there’s people getting arrested. I’m

thinking, ‘Why would you fight for a TV?’” As far as deals, Peloquin has won some and lost some. A few years ago, she and friends were ready for the midnight madness at a department store, attempting to buy some cute boots. “The crowds were so big everything was gone before we even got to the shoe department,” Peloquin said, laughing. All that was left were brown boots for the tiniest of feet. “We got some jewelry on sale, and also saw some people being arrested for shoplifting.” Most of her recollections of Black Friday are positive, and good deals, Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


especially on electronics, keep her going back into the store instead of in a virtual store at home. “I wouldn’t normally pay full price for many of the items I can get on sale during Black Friday,” she said. “I’m looking for half off, or as much as I can get away with.” She is also trying to beat pre-Black Friday sales, with her Christmas list in mind. A FEW PRO TIPS Pay attention to when sales are announced, often the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Peloquin advised. “From there I’ll decide whether to tackle the crowds or not,” she said. Ideally, she wants to have to visit just one store. “The parking lots can be crazy, just ridiculous.” Peloquin keeps a low profile by taking a minimum of cards, just a debit card and ID, and her phone. “I usually carry a big purse but this I way I have my hands free.” She no longer camps out for the door-buster deals, but she suggests arriving an hour early even if it means a stint in line. Maybe you’ll even meet some new friends. Denise Dasse, general manager at the Killeen Mall, would not commit to



being labeled a Black Friday shopper. However, she’s always on the lookout for good deals. “I’m at the mall every day,” Dasse said. “But during Black Friday there’s always something that entices me.” Dasse reminds people the huge

storefront signs can’t tell it all. “You have to go inside and keep your eyes peeled for those deals.” FRIENDS AND FAMILY Black Friday is about more than searching for sales: It’s also a time for camaraderie. Dasse sees the family atmosphere during Black Friday shopping at the mall. “People are in a good mood, out visiting with each other.” Online shopping can’t compare when it comes to ambiance. “Everything is decorated, we have music playing and seasonal events,” Dasse said. The Black Friday opening time is to be determined, but in the past the mall has opened at 7 a.m., with many stores open on Thanksgiving. “We’ve had lines outside, no matter the weather.” For the Peloquin family, the evening starts out with coffee and buying snacks for the wait in line with friends or neighbors. Sometimes they’ll

Melissa Peloquin checks out television displays, coffee makers and headphones as she searches for Christmas gifts.

DID YOU KNOW? According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail sales in November and December are expected to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion last year (excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants), citing a high degree of consumer confidence and a healthy economy as reasons for the expected growth.

be energized on a hot breakfast before heading out to the stores. Make no mistake: The in-store strategy requires more than one shopper. “One person might go get the item we’re after while another friend waits in line to pay, because that’s also usually a

long line,” Peloquin said. After a few hours of shopping they’ll visit an all-night restaurant for more coffee and to relax. “We’re usually

pretty pumped up afterward.” What’s the best part? “Hiding the purchases for wrapping later,” Peloquin said. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM




flavours TexTalk

Tastes like tradition

Special Italian cookies spice up Christmas season Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photo by RICHARD CREED


grew up in a large extended Italian family. My mom and dad each had five siblings. Count in their spouses and the kids and we had to rent a hall for family events. The holidays were especially a big deal in our family. Oftentimes members of both sides would gather for backyard barbecues on the Fourth of July, Easter dinners, religious holidays, wherever there was an occasion, the family would gather. And the women would cook. My aunts and mother were all gourmet cooks. Everything was made by hand: from pasta to gravy to bread and pastries. Each holiday had its special recipe, that one thing we always looked forward to. On Easter it was the homemade sweet bread — thick braids of orange-hued bread wrapped around an egg that cooked during the baking process. I can still taste that bread, fresh out of the oven; I can see my dad cutting a slice of the still-steaming loaf and spreading fresh butter on it before taking a bite. I tried making that bread once. It didn’t taste the same. Too yeasty. I didn’t realize how labor intensive it was. My mother and aunts made cooking look so easy. From minimal ingredients came feasts to remember. But of all the holiday treats, my favorite has always been the Christmas Italian Spice Cookies. They were first introduced to our family by one of my maternal aunts. They were these light clouds of chocolate laced with just enough spices and fused with dark cocoa to give every chocolate lover their fix. The problem with these cookies was that there were never enough. As soon as the plate was placed on the sweet table, those cookies were the first to disappear. Dozens of these cookies were prepared and set out almost ration-like. Everyone in the family loved the cookies and all the women wanted the recipe.

One year my mom asked for the recipe and when she made the cookies, something was missing. She studied that recipe, making several batches to figure out what went wrong, only to discover that a crucial ingredient was “accidentally” left out. Once the ingredient was identified, the cookies were a success. Many years later I was thinking about those childhood Christmases and wishing I could taste those spice cookies again. I called a cousin but she didn’t have the recipe. I went through all the family recipes my 98-year old Aunt Clara sent me, but couldn’t find it. So I did what any modern woman living in the digital age would do — I Googled it. I found the exact recipe online but made a minor alteration to it, adding what I call my secret ingredient. I must admit, the cookies I made for this issue turned out a little bigger than they should have. The recipe makes three dozen, I got two. Plus, the temptation of these cookies coming out of the oven was too much for my willpower and I ate most of the second dozen. Try them yourself and you will see what I mean. Hot or at room temperature, drizzled with frosting or plain, one cookie will not be enough. Enjoy.

CATHERINE’S FAMILY CHRISTMAS ITALIAN SPICE COOKIES Makes about 3 dozen, depending on size of cookie and how many you eat before they make it to the plate. It takes about 40 minutes to prepare. Preheat oven to 375°F. 3 cups all purpose flour (I used organic) 1 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ cup unsweetened baking cocoa 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground cloves Secret ingredient: A pinch of nutmeg. 1 cup butter (2 sticks) 2 eggs

½ cup strong coffee, cooled 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ cup walnuts or pine nuts (not optional but can be left out if you have an allergy) Powdered sugar drizzle (see below) Step 1: Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves and the optional pinch of nutmeg. Add softened butter. Using a pastry blender (or improvise if you don’t have one), cut into butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well into the center of the flour mixture. Step 2: In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cooled coffee, and vanilla. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in nuts. For easy handling, cover and chill dough for one to two hours. Step 3: Shape the dough into walnutsize balls, (about 1¼ inches in diameter). Place balls about 2 inches apart on lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Cookies may appear soft. Don’t overbake or they get too hard. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Drizzle with icing. Let icing dry. Cookies can be stored frosted or unfrosted. Layer frosted cookies between wax paper in an airtight container and cover and store at room temperature for up to three days. Freeze unfrosted cookies for up to three months. Thaw before frosting.

ICING 1 cup of powdered sugar 1-2 tablespoons of milk In a small bowl, stir powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Using a tablespoon, drizzle icing over each cookie. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Great-grandma’s shortbread served on thistle china Story by SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE Photo by RICHARD CREED


have thistle china and a shortbread recipe from my Great-Grandma Armstrong, all from Glasgow, Scotland. When my grandmother and namesake, Sally Ann, married into the Armstrong family at age 18, she happily agreed to carry on the tradition of making shortbread for Christmas. “It doesn’t taste the same as mum’s,” my grandfather told her the first time she made it. Sally Ann consulted Great-Grandma Armstrong, who told her it was all in the kneading — you have to knead the dough just right and allow the warmth from your hands to melt the butter. Sally Ann tried again, and still her husband insisted it was different. “Can I make the shortbread alongside you to see exactly how you knead it?” my grandmother asked my great-grandmother. The pair made the desert cookie together, and as they mixed, Great-Grandma Armstrong suddenly reached up into the cabinet, grabbed a tin, took out a handful of something and tossed it into the bowl. “What was that?” asked Sally Ann. “Rice flour,” Great-Grandma

Armstrong replied absently. Incredulous, Sally Ann looked at her mother-in-law and told her she had no idea one put rice flour in shortbread. “Ach,” Great-Grandma Armstrong said in her thick Scottish brogue. “Everyone knows you put rice flour in shortbread.” And that’s the secret recipe. My own mother grew up knowing the special ingredient and the story that went with it. Throughout her childhood and mine, piles of shortbread dominated the cookie trays at Christmas time. When my mom married my dad, she made shortbread for their first Christmas together. She handed him a plate full of the rich cookies, assuming he’d take a few. “He ate them like popcorn,” is how she tells the story now. Dad did not feel great that night, however, he still loves shortbread and his intake must be monitored to this day. This year, I’ll be making my family’s Scottish shortbread for my Filipino fiance, even though he’s the chef of the house. We’ll eat it off Great-Grandma Armstrong’s thistle china and we’ll make some bonnie new stories of our own.

GREAT-GRANDMA ARMSTRONG’S SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD COOKIES 2 cups flour 1 cup softened quality salted butter ½ cup fine (bar) sugar 5 tablespoons rice flour Cream butter by hand until smooth. Add in sugar and combine with butter. Add both flours to the mixture. Turn dough onto a hard surface and knead until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed (about 2 to 3 minutes). Spread ½-inch thick on ungreased cookie sheet. Prick with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes (watch closely). Cut into 1-inch squares and serve. Tips: Use quality salted butter, it makes a difference. The sugar has to be fine sugar, which is usually sold as bar sugar in the grocery store. Make sure the rice flour is white rice flour, not brown rice flour. Use white flour as the regular flour. Always mix with your clean hands.

Share your favorite family recipe with Tex Appeal for possible inclusion in the December issue. See page 64 for more information. 18


Magic and memories with Christmas Eve snacks Story and photo by M. CLARE HAEFNER


hristmas Eve has always been my favorite day of the holiday season. It always seemed magical, from decorating the Christmas tree to opening one present each to contain our excitement before my three younger siblings and I piled into the same bed to await Santa’s arrival after returning home from midnight Mass. Mixed with the decorations, church carols and family gatherings are some of my favorite finger foods. I don’t remember the exact year the tradition started, but for as long as I can remember, we’ve celebrated Christmas Eve with snacks instead of a big holiday meal. As Christmas carols played on the radio and hot apple cider simmered on the stove, we’d work together to set up a buffet filled with mini bagel or English muffin cheese and pepperoni pizzas, sausage party pizzas on rye, pigs in a blanket (coined “mo’ wieners” by my siblings), potato skins stuffed with bacon and cheese, dill pickles, carrot sticks, apple and orange slices, cheese slices and crackers, frosted sugar cookies, fudge, gingerbread and all the other treats we’ve received from family and friends. We’d fill our plates and watch the lights twinkle on the tree while we tried to guess what gifts we’d unwrap the next day. I always looked forward to preparing the food. It was the only time of year my mom and I fixed sausage party pizzas, which made them my favorite treat. The sizzling sausage blending with the savory sweet garlic and oregano smells and tastes like Christmas to me. And since my siblings preferred the bagel pizzas, potato skins and mo’ wieners, there were always leftover sausage pizza squares to snack on into the New Year. One year, I even hid a few in the back of the freezer so I could enjoy them on my birthday. As we’ve grown older and two of my siblings have started their own families, our holiday tradition has changed. We don’t all sleep at the same house (much less the same bed) or start Christmas morning together, but we continue to gather Christmas Eve for a smorgasbord of snacks. We’ve added tamales for

my brother-in-law and spring rolls for my sister-in-law, and now serve fewer indulgent desserts, but the Haefner family tradition remains sweet. I can’t wait to see how it evolves as my nieces grow older and add their favorite finger foods to the mix. But no matter how it changes, I’m certain Christmas Eve will remain my favorite day of the holiday season, filled with magic, memories and the people I love most.

SAUSAGE PARTY PIZZAS 1 pound ground Italian sausage (Note: I prefer mild, but any variety is OK) 1 pound Velveeta cheese 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic (can substitute ½ teaspoon garlic powder) 1½ teaspoons dried oregano 1 package cocktail rye bread

Note: Cocktail bread is not always available at local grocery stores. You can use a regular-sized loaf of rye, pumpernickel or a swirled blend, but cut each slice into 4 pieces for appetizers. Brown sausage in skillet over medium heat, drain the fat and return sausage to the skillet. Cut cheese into cubes and add to sausage. Stir in garlic and oregano (add more to taste). Stir until cheese is melted. Spread on rye bread. (If making ahead of time, freeze before baking for up to one month.) When ready to serve, bake at 400°F until brown and bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes. Note: The spread also makes a great dip for parties. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


TexTalk scene


Temple Rotary Club South holds casino night fundraiser 2


1. Mike and Shelley Boley lead the live auction as a woman makes a bid during the Temple Rotary Club fundraiser. 2. From left, Kyle and Mary Loftin with Karen and Rany Hawley. 3. From left, Kirk and Leanna Bond with Breya and Manuel Pazmino. 4. From left, Ken and Pat Johnson, Shelly and Mike Boley, Dan and Mary-Ann Jones, and Debbie and Mike Brockway.

5. Mike and Joanna Howell 6. Austin and Abbigale Tyson 7. Sharon Tomlinson and Sylvia Winkler 8. Dana Eckhart and Daryl Reigel 9. Amanda and Mark Bradley 10. Jessica and William Cain Photos by MIKE BARTOSZEK



scene TexTalk










TexTalk scene


Salado celebrates mermaid legend at first Sirena Fest 2


1. Sirena Fest Founder Tiffany Schreiner Humphrey walks in the Mermaid Parade with Imagineer Arts Academy students in Salado. 2. Travis, Christine and Lilymay Daniels from Killeen. 3. Salado artist Troy Kelley receives a plaque during a Sirena Fest reception. 4. KD Hill and Cierra Washington. 5. Laci Gunter, dressed as a mermaid, with Lawsen, Carmichael and Benning 22


Rose Cain at the Sirena Fest reception. 6. Allison of the Sugar Shack. 7. Salado playwright Jackie Mills, sitting with her husband, Denver Mills, was honored during the inaugural Sirena Fest in Salado. 8. Teresa of TKO Puppeteers. 9. Wolfgang and Marjorie Gillmeister with Brandy and Luca Warren. 10. Lawsen and Benning Rose Cain. Photos by JULIE NABOURS

scene TexTalk










TexTalk calendar

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. Main Street, downtown Temple Call 254-298-5378 for more information. Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden Now 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 American and Canadian railroads. Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum 315 W. Avenue B,Temple Call 254-298-5172 or visit www.rrhm. org for more information. Belton Senior Center Country Western Dances Nov. 2, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Shorty Grisham & Friends Nov. 16, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Bobby Dean Participants are encouraged to bring a snack dish to share. Potluck Supper Nov. 27, 5:30 p.m. potluck with Freddie Fuller, the Singing Cowboy performing 842 Mitchell St., Belton Call 254-939-1170 for more information. Ladies of Charity of Harker Heights Annual Holiday Bazaar Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 7: 30 p.m. Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. There will be a variety of items for sale including homemade crafts, baked good, books, jewelry, plants, fabric, Christmas items, religious gifts and many 24


other items along with the big holiday raffle. St. Paul’s Parish Center 2412 Stillhouse Road, Harker Heights Call Jane Barr at 254-690-8255 for more information.

St. Luke’s Catholic Church Women’s Society 24th Craft Festival Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free admission. Door prizes every 30 minutes. Browse more than 35 vendors selling holiday gift items, woodcrafts, stain glass, floral, candles, gift baskets, jewelry, kitchenware, fashion accessories, quilts, garden art and wide variety of other items. Pies, cakes, breads and treats of all varieties available for purchase in the Gourmet Booth along with frozen King Ranch, chicken spaghetti, and Mexican beef casseroles. All food items are homemade by the ladies of St Luke. Raffle drawing at the close of the craft show at 3 p.m. You do not need to be present to win. Raffle tickets available at the door: $1 each or six for $5. Lunch of homemade chicken salad sandwiches or a chicken salad plate with fruit, and soup will be available for purchase. St Luke Church 2807 Oakdale, Temple Call 254-773-1561 for more information. Salado United Methodist Church Garden Guild 22nd Annual Style Show and Luncheon Nov. 4, 12:30 p.m. $25 Ladies are invited to enjoy food and fashion provided by Salado merchants. Proceeds provide funds to maintain the flower gardens surrounding the historical chapel and to provide funds to other community groups such as Salado Fire Department and Bell County Aware. Salado United Methodist Church 650 Royal Street, Salado. Call 254-947-5482 for more information or to make reservations. Immanuel Lutheran Church Holiday Craft Bazaar Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Join us for our annual bazaar of unique holiday gift items from vendors

calendar TexTalk

Chres Laureta, left, and Andrea Bumagat look at a table cloth to purchase from the Ladies of Charity 20th annual Holiday Bazaar at St. Paul Chong Hasang in Harker Heights.

specializing in handmade items, jewelry, paper goods, cards, plants, quilts, blankets, baby items, photographs, decorations and stocking-stuffers. Enjoy our popular sweet shop of delicious goodies plus soup, sandwiches and drinks. Items from the different vendors will be raffled at the event. 3801 Cunningham Road, Killeen (on the corner of Elms and Cunningham) Call 254-680-5258 or visit or on Facebook for more information.

Holiday Craft Bazaar Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Join us for the sixth annual Holiday Craft Bazaar. Purchase unique, handmade holiday dĂŠcor and Christmas gifts. The bazaar is free for shoppers. Door prizes drawn hourly. Gober Party House 1516 W. Avenue H, Temple Call 254-298-5733 or visit for more information.

The Contemporaries of the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center Annual Holiday BOW-tique Nov. 7 & 8 The Contemporaries kick off the holiday season with their annual craft bazaar benefiting the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center. This holiday event features creative and talented artists, authors, craftsmen, small businesses and specialty food vendors and offers shoppers a fun and unique shopping experience. Continued



TexTalk calendar Door prizes will be given throughout both days, courtesy of the vendors. Nov. 7, 4 to 8 p.m. Holiday Bowtique Happy Hour and Shopping Nov. 8, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mom’s Morning Out, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Temple Children’s Museum will provide activities for children; Santa makes a visit in the morning; enjoy Christmas music and carols from local choirs. Lunch and dinner, beer and wine are available for purchase from Nathan Paul’s Rations with 20 percent of food proceeds donated to The Contemporaries. Holly Jolly Holiday Nov. 8, 1 to 7 p.m. Enjoy Christmas music and carols from local choirs; informal modeling throughout afternoon. Cultural Activities Center’s Strasburger Hall 3011 N. Third St., Temple Call Ami Hooper at 254-913-5666 or Debbie Potts at 254-913-6675 for more information.

2017 Veterans Ceremony Nov. 9, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Harker Heights Recreation Center, 307 Miller’s Crossing Call 254-953-5465 or email for more information. 56th Scottish Gathering and Highland Games Nov. 10 to 12 Salado Civic Center Heralding all things Scottish, this landmark event is the oldest Scottish festival in Texas and has been sponsored by the Salado Museum continuously since 1961. The three-day event includes bagpipe bands, Scottish athletics, Highland dancing, Celtic music, Clans ‘n Bands Parade, Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan, pet parade, Texas Tattoo, Tartan Dinner, shopping, food and fun. One of the event’s main features is the Clan Village, the largest gathering of Scottish Clan tents in Texas where Clan members share information about Scottish history and family genealogy. For a full schedule and prices, go to 26


Duncan Mccallum competes in the hammer throw event during the Scottish Gathering in Salado.

Get Fit Temple Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot Nov. 23, 8 a.m. Preregistration closes Nov. 12 Race day registration available at additional fee Call 254-298-5582 or visit racetemple. com. Four Winds Intertribal Society 25th Annual Powwow Nov. 25 Noon and 6 p.m. Gourd Dancing 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Grand Entry $4 general admission $3 students (6 -12 years) Free for children 5 and under Assembly Hall Bell County Expo Center 301 S. Loop 121, Belton Call 254-493-6326, visit them on Facebook or at for more information.

Main Street Market and Food Truck Frenzy Nov. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy arts and crafts dealers, vintage finds, nursery and greenhouse booths, live music, food, and free yoga on the lawn. 2 N. Main Street, Temple Downtown behind the Municipal Building. Call 254-298-5378 for more information. St. May’s Catholic Church Small Business Saturday Holiday Bazaar Nov 25, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. No admission fee Get all you holiday shopping done in one place! St. Mary’s Catholic Church Parish Hall 1018 S. Seventh St.,Temple For more information, email dcayce@

calendar TexTalk

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area 21st Annual Nature in Lights Nov. 17-Jan. 7, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Santa’s Village Nov. 17, 18, 19 5:30 to 11 p.m. Nov. 23 to Dec. 10, Thurs – Sun, Dec. 14 to the 24, Nightly Santa’s Depot 5:30 to 11 p.m. Fri-Sun: Nov. 17, 18, 19 Nov. 23 to Dec.10 Thursday through Sunday Dec. 14 to 25, nightly Outdoor Theater Holiday Cartoons on select nights. 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’ x 300’ 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,

Thousands of lights greet visitors to BLORA’s 21st annual Nature in Lights.

Tuesday & 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.

Christmas on the Creek Nov. 23 through Jan. 2. Join us for our 5th 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 purchase from food trucks. W.M. Brook Parka 310 U.S. 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 Email, visit, or visit them on Facebook for more information. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


TexTalk calendar

Families enjoy the “snowfall” during the city of Harker Heights 13th annual Frost Fest at Market Heights. This year’s event is Dec. 8 and includes a farmers market.

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 the night of the performance. Tickets also available in advance at For group tickets (20 or more), call 254-947-9205. 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. 28


Call 254-9333-5860 or visit www. for more information.

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 254-298-5900, or email for more information. City of 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,

Wreath Decorating Contest, 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. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and prizes will be awarded. In addition, the Harker Heights Fire Department will have a drop off area where the public can bring new unwrapped toys for their Santa Pal program. Market Heights Shopping Center 201 E. Central Texas Expressway Call 254-953-5465 or email for more information. Holiday happenings will repeat next month. Email your holiday happenings to by Nov. 1 for inclusion in the December issue.

well-fed head TexTalk

Turning her scars into stars

Lessons in grief, forgiveness, gratitude and faith By CATHERINE HOSMAN


n her book, “Turning Your Scars into Stars: A Journey from Mourning to Joy” (Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.), Dr. Sue Hamby sheds her skin and opens a vein to share the pain, grief and sorrow following the murder of her son, Russ, four years ago. Hamby started her tome at a time in her life when she was experiencing the end of her marriage and the loss of her business. Initially, the book was to be a guide for others who are experiencing grief and sorrow in their lives to help them come through the dark and back out into the light through faith. She had no idea that her book would become her own therapeutic journey. “I started the chapter on grief the day before Russ died. I was writing about the different internal scars I had like the scar of unforgiveness. I was asking God how to find forgiveness, how to turn my scars into stars and journey from mourning to joy.” Hamby’s book is a roadmap for anyone suffering a loss. She takes the reader on a journey from the moment she found Russ sitting on his sofa in his living room, a single bullet to his head, to the moment she gained clarity as she walked through the dark tunnel of a mother’s worst nightmare. And she spares no detail. “It (the book) is not just about losing a child. It could be divorce, the death of a relationship. I saw so many people struggling. I knew if I could get through this, someone else could get through a divorce. I had to share with them how to get through it,” Hamby said. Hamby said she found her way back into the light through her faith in God, scripture and sharing. She learned how to “let go and let God,” and turn her scars into stars with compassionate grace, and guide others through the maze of grief and loss in their lives. This book does not stop where Russ’s life ends. Hamby also openly discusses the personal disappointments in her own life. It’s all there, but none could be as heart wrenching as a mother walking into her house to find her only son murdered. Through her own words, scriptures and prayers, Hamby speaks about her internal scars of self-centeredness, pride and too much self-confidence. “When you are full of yourself with pride and self-confidence, He empties you out and you become a broken vessel,” she said. “You are completely empty, no energy. Then He refills you with His spirit, His love, His mercy and instills in you a love for others. “It was different after losing Russ,” she continued. “God changes your priorities. My priority was to get up the ladder of success, but I realized my ladder was up against the wrong wall.” Hamby said God instilled in her a new purpose in life. “I should have been climbing up the Lord’s ladder, not my ladder,” she said. “Now I say Lord, I’m reporting for duty.” Gratitude is another lesson Hamby learned. “Just being able to get out of bed by yourself, that is something to be thankful for,”

she said. “I learned how to incorporate the loss of my son into my life. We learn how to incorporate grief into our lives and can still find joy despite all the trauma.” Today, Hamby spreads her compassion and love to others. She is a world traveler and works with Neema House in Tanzania, Africa, founded by Michael and Dorris Fortson. She has visited Neema House several times to volunteer and now supports a child called Rusty, named after her son. She also co-founded a local branch of Compassionate Friends, a support group that helps families who have lost a child, and she works with homeless organizations. “There is a sense of satisfaction knowing your life has purpose,” she said. “I had no purpose for awhile.” Hamby said she is more grateful now than ever. “One of the things I really understand from this, of the many lessons I learned, is that you can still consider it joy when you encounter trials. I incorporated that into my life. I learned how to incorporate the loss of my son into my life.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Sharing Thanksgiving A Soldier’s Hospitality House welcomes troops


his month Ben and Melody Bloker and five their children will open the doors of their home to welcome soldiers to share a Thanksgiving dinner. Service members from Fort Hood will arrive solo, with a friend or in groups to celebrate the holiday away from post, in a family-friendly environment, at A Soldier’s Hospitality House. The Blokers home is set at the end of a long gravel driveway on Chapparal Road in Killeen and is surrounded by 16 acres of open land dotted with recreational activities that include a 1.1 mile jogging trail, a disc golf course, basketball court, soccer field, gazebo and pavilion. From the road, the home looks like a private residence. But when you enter, you realize its true purpose. A Soldier’s Hospitality House is a place where soldiers from Fort Hood can go to for a respite from their daily reality of Army life. For a few hours, or a night, it provides a safe place to enjoy Christian fellowship with a family and other soldiers, outdoor recreation, a quiet evening of watching TV, and a good home-cooked meal. The home is open to soldiers six days a week (except Monday). Every Sunday, the Blokers, who are missionaries with Cadence International, and other volunteers serve Sunday dinner to 60 soldiers. Thursday evenings are reserved for dinner and Bible study. Soldiers sometimes trickle in during other nights of the week, but on Thanksgiving, Continued 30


Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by ERIC J. SHELTON and contributed by BEN BLOKER

“Wherever we lived we opened our house to soldiers like a hospitality house opened their doors to us. We love our meetings. Soldiers come into our house and are part of the family. The kids look at them as big brothers and sisters. When someone new comes in, they feel loved and welcome.” – Melody Bloker

The Bloker family, from left, Ben, Katy, Hope, Jessica, Grace, Melody and Ian, welcome soldiers into their home at A Soldier’s Hospitality House in Killeen. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


ABOVE: Soldiers play soccer in the yard. BELOW: Ben Bloker prays with soldiers before enjoying a Thanksgiving meal in 2016.

A Soldier’s Hospitality House is packed with troops for what has become an annual event. “We took over the house in July 2015 and had our first Thanksgiving gathering that first year. We had 15 to 20 people. In 2016, 80 people came. This year we expect 80 people, some with kids,” Ben said. Guests will dine on turkey, ham and all the sides and desserts they can eat. Food is prepared by volunteers and family. There is a big-screen TV in the great room, a corner filled with musical instruments and plenty of space outdoors for after Thanksgiving dinner recreation. Visitors to A Soldier’s Hospitality House are intentional, Ben said. “People just don’t show up. They come through word of mouth, fliers they read in the base reception room, and through connections with the chaplain serving in the system. 32


“This is a safe place where people can come,” he continued. “Our hearts are for the single soldier.” Meals, sports, music and fellowship

aren’t the only activities at the House. There are monthly outreach day trips, like a paddle board day last month on Lady Bird Lake in Austin. These days,

Soldiers play cards while others eat and enjoy a holiday gathering at A Soldier’s Hospitality House in Killeen.

Ben and a volunteer crew travel to Houston to help with the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Harvey. A LIFE OF SHARING Opening their doors to soldiers is not a new concept for Melody and Ben Bloker, who met at a hospitality house near Ramstein Air Base in Germany in 1995. Melody is a self-proclaimed Air Force brat. Her dad’s last assignment was at Ramstein from 1988 to 1990. During that time she became involved with the youth ministry group of Cadence and felt a call to serve. When her father’s tour was finished and the family returned to the states, Melody enrolled at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and completed her degree before returning to Germany in 1995 to

serve with the youth ministry group. Ben was a young photojournalist serving in the Air Force and received a second assignment to Ramstein Air Base in 1995. His career fulfilled his dreams of being around military aircraft and adventure, and won him awards and accolades for his work. But despite his recognition something was missing from his life. One day he walked into a hospitality house in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where he met Melody. She was a youth ministry leader and he volunteered for the hospitality group. “For five years I went to the hospitality house,” Ben said. “I grew up Christian but never owned my faith. The house director taught me how to lead a Bible study, play music. Those five years were the most transformative

for me. I lived with people who had all things in common. It was a community and it made a difference. That moment transformed my trajectory.” He began working in the Cadence youth group community where he ministered to children with Melody. But he was still at a crossroads in his life. Ben recognized that working as a missionary with Cadence International was his true “call to life.” “Do I believe or do I just walk away,” he said, speaking of his impassioned faith through Cadence. He began to envision himself working in ministry with Cadence International. But he needed 30 hours of Bible study to supplement his bachelor degree. He decided to attend Bible school and go back out with the Cadence Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


ABOVE: Many hands help prepare meals at A Soldier’s Hospitality House on Chaparral Road in Killeen. BELOW: The outdoor space includes a gazebo.

Youth Ministry when he finished. Melody and Ben married in 1996 in Germany, where three of their children were born. His last military assignment before retiring was in Utah, where he worked as a DOC Flight Superintendent 2nd Combat Camera and later as Superintendent 2nd Combat Camera before retiring from the Air Force in 2014 after a 24-year career. During that last year, Cadence International contacted the Blokers to see if they would be a good fit as on-site missionaries at A Soldier’s Hospitality House in Killeen. “It was a weeklong interview process,” Ben said. “I had to teach a Bible study, meet with counselors, and was vetted to see if I was a good fit for the mission and if the mission was a 34


good fit for me.” It also had to be a good fit for their growing family. “We considered if this was what we wanted to take on,” Ben said. “It was one the biggest military communities. We were honored to be asked to come

here at this higher capacity ministry.” “We were willing to go where we were needed,” Melody said. Cadence extended the position to Ben and Melody and in 2015, after a year of fundraising, they moved into the hospitality house, bringing

ABOVE: Soldiers prepare to eat a Thanksgiving meal in 2016 at A Soldier’s Hospitality House on Chaparral Road in Killeen. BELOW: There’s also lots of space to gather outside.

their own furniture and creating an environment that welcomes all who step inside. “I knew this was what I wanted to do,” Ben added. “That five-year period (with Cadence at Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany) was the richest, most significant time.” “Wherever we lived we opened our house to soldiers like a hospitality house opened their doors to us,” Melody said, speaking of the many places they lived while in the military. “We love our meetings. Soldiers come into our house and are part of the family. The kids look at them as big brothers and sisters. When someone new comes in, they feel loved and welcome.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Creating new traditions

Hildenbrand family builds excitement for Christmas Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN | Photos by MICAH Hildenbrand 36


Chase, Allen and Finley Hildenbrand make snowflake cookies.


hristmas dinner is anything but traditional at Micah Hildenbrand’s home. Instead of turkey with dressing, ham and all the trimmings, the entrée is more along the lines of macaroni and cheese, chicken legs, pizza, Brussels sprouts, apple pie, chocolate mousse and even cinnamon

toast crunch — a new menu idea created by her three children, Chase, 8, Callen, 7, Finley, 5, and her husband, Eric. “I grew up with traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner,” said Micah, who is originally from Guymon, Oklahoma, where she was surrounded by an extended family that included her siblings, grandparents,

aunts, uncles and cousins. Christmas in her family’s home began as soon as Thanksgiving ended. Her mom gathered all of the cooking pans and utensils and began the annual rite of making different candies, including homemade fudge, and baking cookies, usually more than once. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Callen rolls out cookie dough, and below, he ices a snowflake cookie.

“Mom was an amazing baker and cook. The recipes in her cookbook were dog-eared,” said Micah, adding that she loved seeing her mother’s handwritten notes in the cookbook. One of Micah’s favorite holiday events growing up in Guymon, was driving through town to see all the Christmas lights. Strings of lights hung from homes and businesses, illuminating the town of 10,000 residents. “I loved looking at Christmas lights,” she said. Every Christmas Eve, Micah, her parents and siblings gathered at her maternal grandmother’s house. “We lived close to mom’s family. Christmas Eve was great.” That evening, Micah and her two brothers got to open one gift. “It was always matching pajamas,” she said. “Very convenient.” Christmas Day was spent at home with her parents and siblings, the children wearing their new PJs from the night before. “My older brother, Matt, could win an award for impatience. The night before big events, he didn’t sleep,” Micah said. Matt would wake up the family even before the sun came up, announcing that Santa had been there. “He filled stocking. Everyone got one big present from Santa,” she said. Before long, Micah and her two were ripping open their presents under the tree. “I didn’t know there was a way to do it, where you took turns opening one present at a time. We just ripped into them, tearing them apart, playing with the toys. IN HER MOM’S FOOTSTEPS Micah wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and pass on the traditions she enjoyed to her children from looking at lights, to the gift of new matching pajamas for the kids on Christmas Eve, to the elaborate holiday dinner of turkey, ham and all the trimmings. “Growing up the whole Christmas season was something special.



Everyone in the family gets to pick two of their favorite foods for Christmas dinner. Mac & cheese, cereal, bacon, chocolate milk and ribs are some of their choices.

“I spent hours cooking a traditional Christmas dinner. When we sat down and I put a little bit of everything on the kids plates, they only ate the rolls.” – Micah Hildenbrand Christmas Day was the accumulation of everything. I wanted my children to have memories of not just Christmas morning, but of baking cookies, drinking cocoa out of gingerbread mugs. “There is always one more thing to try and something different to do every day,” she said. One of the things they do is go and look at lights, drive

through BLORA, and go see their kids in the church Christmas pageant. “We do a lot of things, building excitement for Christmas.” Like her mom, Micah starts getting ready for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, prepping and baking Christmas cookies. “My favorite cookies are snowflake cookies,” said daughter, Finley. “We

put blue sprinkles on it. Icing and sprinkles.” Ginger cookies are Callen’s favorite. REDEFINING DINNER The Hildenbrands moved to Temple three years ago for Eric’s job as a general counsel attorney for the food division of McLane Company, Inc. The kids were small. Chase was 5, Callen was 4 and Finley was just 1. They relocated from Southlake, a suburb of Dallas, and just a short drive from her parents’ home in Oklahoma City, where they would spend Christmas. They moved into their new home on Christmas Eve. There was a lot of Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM




ABOVE: Finley, Chase and Callen make snowflake cookies. OPPOSITE PAGE: The Hildenbrand family gets ready for a nontraditional Christmas dinner.

unpacking to do, but the first thing Micah did was to find all of her decorations, cooking and baking pans and utensils to get ready to emulate the holiday she remembered as a child. This was their first year celebrating Christmas away from her family and she was looking forward to preparing her family’s feast. She baked cookies, more than once, and created a dinner of turkey, ham, corn bread dressing and all the trimmings. “I spent hours cooking a traditional Christmas dinner. When we sat down and I put a little bit of everything on the kids plates, they only ate the rolls.” “I wasn’t ready to be a carnivore yet,” 8-year-old Chase said. “I wasn’t in the mood,” added 5-year-old Finley.

Callen, 7, who is the family’s picky eater and prefers separating his food on the plate chimed in, “I liked the ginger cookies.” “I decided right then that I would never spend so much time on a meal that would not be eaten,” Micah said. “I should have spent time making all their favorite foods.” The kids unanimously decided turkey and all the fixings were out for Christmas dinner. In were ginger cookies and cake, bacon and steak, macaroni and cheese and chocolate milk, along with all the homemade goodies including Monkey Cake that Micah bakes on Christmas morning while everyone opens their gifts. Everyone in the family gets to pick two of their favorite foods for

Christmas dinner. This year Eric chose smoked salmon and ribs; Callen asked for Frosted Mini-Wheats and ginger cookies; Chase wants bacon and steak; Finley opted for mac & cheese and chocolate milk, and mom decided on steak and wine. Setting the dinner table is a family affair and each child has a specific job to do. Finley brings the plates, Callen sets the forks and knives and Chase brings in glasses of water. “I can eat something I actually like,” said Chase, of their creative menu choice. “There are a ton of leftovers, but we eat what is left.” “Bacon,” Callen said in a low voice. “You just get to pick it and have whatever you want,” Finley chimed in. “Even cake.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


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

Callie’s Boutique

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

Upscale Tattoo Atmosphere 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.

Precisely Veiled Tattoo

4100 Mesa Dr., Killeen 254-213-9896



Jewelry Making Classes & Parties Hang out and make jewelry in a friendly atmosphere. Classes include silver smithing, lapidary, chain maille, glass fusing, and more. We’re a full service bead store and can commission custom pieces. Gift certificates available.

Just Because Bead Boutique

1704 West Avenue M, Temple 254-231-3442

Spicy gifts We have everything to fullfill your gift giving needs, from stocking stuffers to bountiful gift baskets. You’ll love our fresh, high quality dip and salsa mixes!

Emporium Spice

23208 SE H.K. Dodgen Loop, Temple 254-774-9098

Hidden surprises in every candle

Barrington Gifts

Make your home smell lovely and surprise her with a hidden jewel or cash! Each candle’s surpise could be valued up to $2,000!

Large Selection, Order now for Christmas!

My Giving Tree Gift Shop & Gallery

121 N. East Street, Downtown Belton 254-939-8733


1401 S. 31st St., Ste I, Temple 254-770-0940

Sparkle wherever you go! The Swarovski crystals that adorn Brighton jewelry are hand-set, one by one, by master artisans. Reina, Infinity Sparkle, Eternity Knot and Meridian Collections

The Shoe Box

3111 S. 31st St., Ste 3195 Temple Mall | 254-773-4560

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

Tabletop Trimmings

Give the gift of travel

Adorn your winter table with this beautiful, sophisticated Evergreen Sprigs Runner and Die-Cut Santa Placemat. Both are an instant hit at any holiday gathering.

Gifts of travel make lifetime memories! Not sure where to start? We have 30+ years of experience and can help you along your way. Ask about River Cruising!


Your Travel Agent

1401 S. 31st St., Ste C, Temple Pecan Plaza | 254-773-8331

2423 N. Main St., Belton 254-939-0731 TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


unique women’s clothing

The Round Top Collection

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

These festive wood and metal pieces, created by Roxanne Spradlin, make beautiful additions to your Christmas decor.

Susan Marie’s

1401 S. 31st St., Ste C, Temple Pecan Plaza | 254-773-8331

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


Also visit us at The HUB in downtown Temple.

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

Spicy gifts We have everything to fullfill your gift giving needs, from stocking stuffers to bountiful gift baskets. Fresh high quality spices handled carefully in small batches.

Emporium Spice

23208 SE H.K. Dodgen Loop, Temple 254-774-9098

Love to be unique

Holiday beauty

Let us help you be Unique. Our family owned business offers custom embroidery, laser engraving, T-shirts, and awards for every occasion.

Welcome the season joyfully with Merle Norman’s essential shades for Winter. Natural beauty comes to light with twinkling eyes. . . Look your holiday prettiest and don’t miss out on our limited-edition shades.

Unique Creations

2219 S. 57th St., Temple Denese Sims - 254-421-7451 44


Merle Norman Cosmetics

3411 Market Loop, Temple 254-771-0679

Michael, Luke, Sally Grace, Garrick, Sam, Marie and Laura celebrate Friendsgiving.

Our first Friendsgiving

Gathering old and new friends to celebrate Thanksgiving A personal essay and photo by SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE


was a modern day pilgrim. That’s what I fancied myself when I stuffed what would fit into my beat-up Toyota Corolla and took off for Texas in August 2015 from Washington, D.C. My fiancé, Garrick, met me down here three months later and by Thanksgiving we had our own home (humongous by our former city standards), but no nearby family members to fill it and feast with. Returning to the homeland for

Thanksgiving was out of the question; we didn’t have enough time off work to make flying to D.C. and back worth it. Besides, we had just rescued a puppy that was afraid of puddles, depth change, the dark and our kitten. “I’ll visit you,” our friend Marie announced on a whim, the year we moved. Originally from France, Marie’s family wasn’t terribly worried about adhering to a strict Thanksgiving tradition — those people eat elaborate meals with nice wine regularly. We picked Marie up from the airport early Thanksgiving morning 2015, took a hike to revel in the November Texas air,

then passed the rest of the day in the kitchen. We went all out. Garrick fussed over the turkey and gravy and baked his favorite rolls from childhood Thanksgiving. Marie made mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and other sides, and I was put in charge of pie and cocktails. Typically, Garrick is the cook of our household and I am the entertainment. But I’m an American. I was born capable of making apple pie, right? Wrong. My pie turned out to be more of a strudel, and we had to slurp it with a spoon. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


For the fancy, grown up (calling into a Brita filter and served it that way. something grown up makes it more The pie — apple and pumpkin — was adult, right?) cocktail, I bought a large delicious, because I bought it from some glass mason jar with a spigot and made high school students. But that’s a secret. a fizzy cranberry concoction. Tossing in After dinner we had a bonfire in a few handfuls of raw cranberries would the backyard, played games, turned up make it pretty and festive, right? Wrong. the music and danced. The hard berries got stuck in the spout The same crew will return this year, and blocked any liquid from coming along with the addition of at least two. out, so we just poured our champagne I don’t have any more animals because from the bottle. Garrick has decreed three enough, but We set the table, lit some candles, I’m working on it. said cheers and behold, the first As millennials, our lives are Friendsgiving was formed. It must have fluid. Since last Thanksgiving, Sam sounded fun enough, because in 2016 moved to Pennsylvania, Luke moved four more friends joined us. to Washington state and Laura has Luke flew in from Los Angeles — as changed jobs and apartments. Each one of seven kids, he Thanksgiving, three needed Friendsgiving years in a row now, I The chatter of before the wildness have had a different job that was Christmas and Marie has been in seven people, at home. Laura was love with someone new. clinking spoons, and We are in our mid-20s, dealing with legal drama and understood and all we really know background music is that there is a lot we that sometimes friends are the family you filled my home and don’t know yet. select for yourself. Perhaps 10 years Sam had recently from now I’ll have some heart. Every inch moved back in with his kids and a gravy boat. of the table was parents and needed Twenty years from now to go un-home for the probably have an covered by a plate or I’ll holidays. Marie liked idea of what my next Texas so much when platter heaping with decade of Thanksgivings she’d visited us the year will look like. I’ll know something delicious. what house I’ll be before that she moved here, and was happily and what job I’ll More friends and more in situated in Austin by probably still have year the time Friendsgiving food — we wanted after year, and I suspect round two came about. I’ll be a bit nostalgic for for naught. Michael was a local, the days when I had no new friend quickly idea what I was doing. becoming a best friend. Oh, and we’d Friendsgiving started because one gained one more cat. time, we had no family members to The chatter of seven people, celebrate with. clinking spoons, and background music Someday Garrick and I will live filled my home and heart. Every inch close to our parents again, and we’ll of the table was covered by a plate have started a family of our own, or platter heaping with something and my children will know the term delicious. More friends and more food Friendsgiving. Anyone in need of food — we wanted for naught. and fellowship will be welcome at our Once again I was in charge of pie table, whether they are the same friends and cocktails. I remembered not to put or new friends. anything solid in my mason jar, and Whatever our future gatherings then promptly shattered it right before hold, may we dance in the living room, everyone arrived. I dumped the contents late into the night, for the rest of them. 46


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3/8/2017 1:43:56 PM



Harriet Brodie and Misty Biddick of AWARE Central Texas. 48


Christmas on the Farm

Holiday celebration brings awareness Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by JULIE NABOURS and MICHAEL MILLER and courtesy of AWARE Central Texas


hen AWARE Central Texas celebrates Christmas on the Farm next month, it will be an affordable family-friendly event for the entire community. Kids of all ages will enjoy face painting, hay rides, hay mazes, stick horse races and more. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand all day and so will the Grinch, who tries to steal Christmas. “It’s really cool,” said Harriet Brodie, director of development for AWARE Central Texas. “There really is something for everybody with more than 40 activities for the kids. Santa and Mrs. Claus stay with us all day long.” This is the 10th year for Christmas on the Farm, and underlying all of these festivities is another message, a message of awareness and understanding about family violence and child abuse. “Family violence is a silent crime that crosses all socioeconomic layers of society, races and faiths,” said Executive Director Misty Biddick. “The message of AWARE is for child abuse and family violence prevention,” said Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis. “It’s a mission that is needed, and anytime you can create a fun environment to bring people together to open lines of communication, the best way to get out that word is through fun events like Christmas on the Farm.” Continued

The Grinch that tries to steal Christmas snuggles up to a volunteer at Christmas on the Farm. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Christmas on the Farm is filled with fun, information and inspiration for families.

Kiseña Anderson and her two daughters have gone every single year, “and loved it.” Now they go as volunteers. “It’s more work than play,” said Anderson, a survivor of domestic abuse. “I’m a big advocate of women and don’t ever want to see anyone in that type of situation. I got out and eventually it made me a stronger person because I survived it.” HER CALLING Biddick was named executive director in January. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Texas A&M University-Central Texas and an MS in applied criminology from Lamar University. She was a 22-year-old on active duty with the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Irwin, California, and working with the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program when a young woman walked into her office to sign up as a volunteer at a local family violence shelter in 50


“At the end of the day home is supposed to be a safe place. You go home. Be safe. For many people it’s not the case.” – Misty Biddick Barstow, California, a 40-minute drive from base. It piqued Biddick’s interest and she decided to volunteer. “We saw a combination of women who didn’t know how to write a check, women whose husbands took away their wives drivers licenses and wouldn’t let them drive, and men being abused by women as well, and so ashamed to step forward, afraid of ridicule,” she said. That experience influenced her direction when she was discharged from the Army. While working on her bachelor degree in criminal justice at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, she took a job as the Coryell County crime victims’ coordinator. She left that position to work as an officer with Bell County Adult Probation.

“As a first-time probation officer I was well versed in family violence and child abuse,” she said. She developed a working relationship with offenders, supervising those on probation by monitoring their activity in the community instead of them serving prison time. She also worked closely working rehab with community members or the criminal justice system. Now she teaches at the Bell County Police Academy, on the campus of Central Texas College in Killeen, working with cadets to teach them the art of interaction with victims of crime. “At the end of the day home is supposed to be a safe place. You go home. Be safe. For many people it’s not the case.”

IF YOU GO Christmas on the Farm Dec. 3, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bell County Expo Center 301 W Loop 121, Belton Admission 50 cents for an individual, $2 for a family; activity ticket prices are 50 cents each; concessions separate. HOW TO GET HELP AWARE Central Texas is a nonprofit organization with an annual budget of $600,000, funded through the generosity of individuals, business and grants. Christmas on the Farm raises, on average, $30,000 annually toward that amount. For more information on programs and classes visit www. If you or anyone you know is experiencing family violence, call their hotline at 254-813-0968. The line is available 24 hours a day and is anonymous. AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION Several years ago the Belton Police Department partnered with AWARE Central Texas to create a Family Violence Unit. In 2016, the Family Violence Unit of Bell County served 5,204 people in Bell, Coryell, and Milam counties. Anticipating a problem before it happens, rather than trying to fix it afterward, is the mission of AWARE Central Texas, “to prevent child abuse and domestic violence through education, training, and mentoring of high risk populations. AWARE is dedicated to working with community agencies.� Family violence is an equal opportunity crime, and in some areas, such as Bell County, Biddick said they see an increase in calls during the Continued

Misty Biddick is the executive director of AWARE Central Texas. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


holiday season. “This can be due to financial stressors of the holidays, increased expectations that individuals have during the holidays, it can be attributed to a lot of things,” she said. “The bottom line is family violence is an issue of power and control of the perpetrator.

ABOVE: Get your face painted at Christmas on the Farm. BELOW: Kids can find their favorite book at the cowboy bookstore at Christmas on the Farm.

STAYING SAFE Another goal of AWARE Central Texas is to break the cycle of abuse. “We provide parenting classes and anger management classes,” Biddick said. “We work with offenders at the probation department to make it easily accessible to the offender. We want the offender to receive help to make it safe for the victim.” “The goal is to provide resource information to individuals quickly after being a victim of family violence” said Ellis. “We team with AWARE to make contacts for the victim and become an advocate for them. The victim is facing a crisis while the significant other is probably in jail, begging for forgiveness. An advocate will be there and go through the process with the victim emotionally and with the legal process that will happen. “Victims will go back and the violence will escalate and be fatal in some relationships,” Ellis continued. “Intervention that leads to the prevention of further family violence is important.” WARNING SIGNS Biddick said family violence happens over time. “It begins in small ways with control and power before escalating into physical violence, financial violence, intimidations or embarrassment in front of other people. In a new relationship everything is great at first, and then a cycle begins. ‘Who were you talking to on the phone?’ You are forbidden to talk with friends. By the time an abuser hits someone for the



ABOVE: Harriet Brodie is the director of development for AWARE Central Texas. BELOW: Christmas on the Farm is a day of fun and family awareness for Central Texas.

first time their self esteem is already undone. The victim doesn’t want to believe that someone they love would do that.” There are happy outcomes and Biddick said her favorite part is seeing someone they helped exit an abusive relationship. “They’ll contact me later. Their kids are back in school, they’ve settled in, they have gone back to school part-time, and getting stronger every day. They were able to break away. Or I run into people at stores and they tell me their child is graduating high school, and they have found full-time work. It makes you want to get up and go back to work the next day.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



Kitchen cleanliness

How to safely handle, cook and store Thanksgiving dinner


hether you are preparing your first or 10th holiday meal, food safety in the kitchen is something all cooks should be mindful of at all times. By making certain you know the safest ways to thaw, prepare, stuff and cook a Thanksgiving meal you can assure friends and family enjoy amazing food and leave full of memories instead of stomachaches. This Thanksgiving commit to knowing proper food safety principles to prevent foodborne illnesses from overrunning your holiday season. THAWING A frozen turkey is a “safe” turkey, however, as soon as the turkey begins to thaw, bacteria perhaps present before freezing, can begin to grow again. The danger zone is the temperature range of 40 °F and 140 °F. In this range food borne bacteria grow most rapidly and can double in as little as 20 minutes. When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator allow about 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. Most importantly, place the turkey in a container or on a tray, breast up, to prevent dripping juices from contaminating other foods while thawing. If using the cold water thawing method, submerge the unopened turkey in enough water to cover it completely, changing the water every 30 minutes. Plan a minimum thaw time of 30 minutes per pound and cook the turkey immediately after it has thawed. Avoid thawing your turkey at room temperature as this encourages 54


PREPPING Cross-contamination refers to the spread of bacteria when juices from raw meats touch cooked foods or food preparation surfaces. Bacteria present on the uncooked turkey can contaminate hands, cooking utensils and work surfaces when the turkey is prepared for cooking. Designate one area of the kitchen for specifically prepping the turkey along with utensils and cutting boards or plates; make it a priority to immediately clean the area and all items used (including hands) with soap and hot water. Antibacterial kitchen cleaners can be used on counters to ensure bacteria are no longer present.

it gets below the danger zone. Bacteria, which are present, multiply rampantly in this condition. Even when the stuffing is out of the danger zone, the bacteria will not die but rather stop multiplying as quickly. When the turkey goes into the oven, the cold stuffing takes a while to heat up due to the cooking position in the internal cavity of the turkey, which puts the stuffing in the danger zone for hours. Best bet? Cook stuffing outside the bird. Most turkeys come equipped with a pop-up thermometer; however, best practice is to avoid relying on this thermometer and to use a meat thermometer to ensure the most accurate temperature. The magic temperature for a cooked turkey is 165°F as bacteria cannot survive above this temperature. Use the meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey of the breast, thigh and wing joint and should you choose to stuff the bird, the stuffing must also reach a temperature of 165 °F. If the turkey is removed and consumed before reaching 165 °F, the risk of salmonella exists and can be passed on to the holiday guests. Symptoms of salmonella typically develop 12 to 72 hours after eating and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever, which can last four to seven days.

COOKING Stuffing your bird ahead of time is risky business. Food borne bacteria grow rapidly because the warm, moist stuffing sits inside the turkey (inside the refrigerator) for many hours before

STORING To minimize the time Thanksgiving foods stay in the danger zone (40°F to 140°F) store leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours after cooking. Foods which stay at room temperature

BY CAREY STITES the growth of harmful bacteria in the danger zone.

By making certain you know the safest ways to thaw, prepare, stuff and cook a Thanksgiving meal you can assure friends and family enjoy amazing food and leave full of memories instead of stomachaches. for more than two hours should be discarded. Divide large amounts of hot foods, such as stuffing and mashed potatoes, into smaller portions to facilitate the cooling process; carve the turkey into small pieces before refrigerating. Be sure to store leftovers in shallow airtight storage containers to keep bacteria away and to prevent your leftovers from drying out. When it is time to eat the leftovers, reheat items to an internal temperature

of 165 °F to kill any possible bacteria. Soups and gravies need to be reheated to a boil and if microwaving stir the food halfway through to be sure the heat is distributed. Typically leftovers can be kept safely for three to four days in the refrigerator. HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family and friends to gather together for good food and fun. One of the most

important elements of this holiday is keeping in mind food safety issues involved in serving an amazing meal. By following these food safety tips you can keep your friends and family free from food borne illnesses. Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 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





Leave the 21st century behind at Jourdan Bachman Pioneer Farms Story by SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE Contributed photos


he Jourdan Bachman Pioneer Farms outside east Austin is enchanting with its stories of 19th century Texas life. This large portion of pristine country is surprising: one moment you’re driving through a busy North Austin suburb and the next you’re kicking up dust as you step through time into a village depicting Texas in 1899. The living history museum allows visitors to immerse themselves in five functioning, fully restored homesteads. The sites include the village, an 1868 German emigrant farm with a oneroom log cabin; an 1873 Texian farm commemorating the settlers who migrated from the Eastern states, and an 1886 cotton planters farm. There is also an 1841 Tonkawa Indian site, which is set atop land where the Native Americans kept camp for many years. There are chickens, horses, and cows at each site along with various gardens. Visitors can march straight up the front porches or crouch beneath teepee flaps to enter the homes. They are encouraged to engage all of their senses in understanding the past. If you need any further reason to visit, an assortment of holiday events and activities takes place at the farm this season, taking visitors back in time to a 19th century Christmas. “During the day time we’ll have Prairie Christmas,” Chairman of the Board Mike Ward said. “There are crafts, hayrides and horse-drawn Continued

A woman spins yarn during “A Prairie Christmas” at the Jourdan Bachman Pioneer Farms. An assortment of holiday events and activities take place at the farm in November and December, taking visitors back in time to a 19th century Christmas. On opposite page, clockwise from top left: The farm includes a working forge. This teepee represents the life of the Tonkawa tribe that was native to Central Texas. A horse-drawn wagon carries visitors through the town of Sprinkle Corner. The Jourdan family’s original homestead built in the 1850s is still standing. Period pieces like this tea set add to the 19th century appeal at the farm. An 1880s eclipse windmill is part of the Scarborough Barn. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


carriage rides, depending on the day. We generally have an 1800’s Santa Claus people can take pictures with, and we tell them about the history of Santa.” At night there is a live, progressive theater play, Ward continued. Visitors don’t just watch--they participate in the Texas adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, complete with special effects. HOW TO LIVE IN THE 19TH CENTURY Pioneer Farms offers unique ways to celebrate and learn about every holiday. They also offer a variety of 58


“We also have a lot of people show up because they’re curious. They want to know how you take one of the hardest known substances and turn it into tools and ornamental pieces and things that are beautiful.” – Mike Ward specialty programs throughout the year — so many that if you took them all and then woke up in the 1800s one day, you would probably be fine. There

are textile and spinning wheel classes, leather working classes, Dutch oven cooking, cheese and sausage making Continued

Actors portray the Cratchit family in a scene from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

IF YOU GO Take Interstate 35 south to exit 243 toward Braker Lane. Continue onto the I-35 north frontage road. Turn left onto east Braker Lane. Stay in the left two lanes to turn left onto Dessau Road; follow Dessau Road back to East Braker Lane, turn right. Continue to Pioneer Farms Drive, turn right. Hours Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last admission daily at 4 p.m.

Gates close at 5 p.m. Admission $8 for visitors ages 13 and over $6 for children ages 3-12; children 2 and under are free. Admission for groups of 20 or more is $5 each. Admission prices for special and nighttime events, such as Halloween and Christmas shows and Austin Family Music Festival, are higher. Pay admission in the General Store by the front gate. Cash, checks with proper identification, and major credit cards accepted. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


classes, and other heritage trades, from flint making to basketry. There are classes for the 21st century pioneer, as well. Ward teaches urban farming and a “keeping backyard chickens” class, among others. The most popular heritage trade class is blacksmithing. When Lead Blacksmith Jesse Stamper started working at the farm in 2014, there were 19 students enrolled in the program. Last year 159 people underwent blacksmith training, and that number is expected to be exceeded once again at the end of this year. “People live a life that is very divorced from what we used to think of as reality,” Stamper explained regarding the draw of blacksmithing. “They live in their warm apartments, they follow their rabbit trails to and from work, and they have their little restaurants they go to. Everything is taken care of for them. That leads to a sense of not quite feeling like you have control of your life.” When people start learning how to do the trades for themselves, even if they don’t need to do them, the knowledge and understanding of how to do them provides a sense of comfort and strength, according to Stamper. He said a lot of his students work in the computer or sales industry — people who don’t work with their hands and feel like they’re missing something. “We also have a lot of people show up because they’re curious,” he said. “They want to know how you take one of the hardest known substances and turn it into tools and ornamental pieces and things that are beautiful.” The farm also offers opportunities for kids seeking community service hours, whether they need them for the National Honors Society or because they got into trouble. “There is a curriculum that goes with the program,” Ward said of the former type of student worker. “It teaches these kids about architecture 60


ABOVE: This is the kind a wagon a pioneer family in the 1800s would drive to town to get supplies. AT RIGHT: Actors portray Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit during a holiday performance of “A Christmas Carol.” TOP: This 1880s eclipse windmill is part of the Scarborough Barn. OPPOSITE PAGE: The Krueger cabin circa 1840s or 1850s is the centerpiece of the German emigrant farm.

and history and other stuff while they’re out there working off their community service hours for shooting their mouth off to a teacher or fighting. We’ve had some amazing results.”

One teenage girl began her time at the farm with “a major attitude,” as Ward put it. But something connected and she began to take an interest in the old buildings on the site. “After completing her required

hours, she came back out here with her mom and they volunteered on and off until she graduated from high school,” Ward said. “She recently visited and told us that she became so interested in Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


ABOVE: Actors portray characters from “A Christmas Carol” during a holiday performance at the farm. BELOW: A tin cup, kerosene lantern, and a forged cast-iron pan were kitchen necessities for a family of cotton farmers. AT RIGHT: This is the original homestead for the site owned by the Jourdan family and dates back to the 1850s.

architecture during her time here that she’s now enrolled in college and wants to eventually transfer to UT’s school of architecture.” Another young man came to the farm with 60 hours of sanctioned community service and no desire to complete it. But his time at the farm changed him, and according to Ward he has since “cleaned up his act” and is working on a history major. “He says he wants to run a museum like this someday,” Ward said. “It’s little teachable moments — that’s 62


what the whole place is about.” Kids come to Pioneer farm, see a chicken stand up in the hen house and go, “Oh, eggs come from chickens, not the grocery store,” Ward said of the variety of teachable moments he witnesses daily. There’s a disconnect between people, and knowing where a lot of stuff comes from nowadays, considering most people don’t live on farms like they did in the 1800s, Ward added. The “ah ha” moments are not

limited to children. Learning about the people that inhabited Central Texas, while smelling and touching the houses they occupied, helps connect the dots of history in ways a textbook never could. As you stand along the creek bank, with teepees and a 600-year-old oak tree behind you, it’s easy to picture the Tonkawa women discussing where to lead their people next. The Tonkawas were a matrilineal society and the women decided where their group was going and when.

“It was a maternal clan,” Ward said. “So if I married a Tonkawa woman, I would join her family in a clan that was moving from one place to another.” Most groups had 30 to 50 people who lived a nomadic existence in pursuit of the game. Why did they believe the women should lead the groups? “That’s how the buffalo herds worked,” Ward said. “The female buffalo determined when they would move and where. In some respects, this

was telegraphed through a lot of the plains Indian tribes.” To remember more powerful women, poke around the German emigrant farm and imagine the wives working alongside their husbands in the fields and chopping down trees. “The Texian ladies thought that was abhorrent when they first started assimilating,” Ward said. “But after 10 or 15 years they started getting into the fields and working, too. All the cultures came together.” The Spanish used the Tonkawa

trails that passed through the farm’s site as the northern branch of the Camino Real, and the Chisholm Trail also went right through the property. “This is the crossroads of a lot of history that happened in this area and in Texas in the 1800s,” Ward said. “You can walk around these sites from one period to the next and see how Texas history has progressed over the years. The cultural stuff is fascinating — you get a picture of why Texas is the way it is today by walking around these sites.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


ADVERTISERS INDEX Atmos........................................................................................... 5 Bell County Museum................................................................... 5 Blends Wine Bar........................................................................46 Callie’s Boutique..................................................................42,44 Cook Residential Designs............................................................ 3 Crotty Funeral Home................................................................ 10 Devereaux’s Jewelers..................................................................65 DL Unique Creations................................................................44 Document Solutions.................................................................. 24 Dr. Philip Davis Jr., DDS............................................................. 9 Ellis Air......................................................................................25 Emporium Spice Co............................................................42, 44 English Maids............................................................................65 Extraco Bank — Temple................................................Back cover Just Because Bead Boutique...................................................... 42 Killeen Vision Source................................................................ 10 Lastovica Jewelers......................................................................... 7 Lone Star Ag Credit................................................................... 47 Metroplex Hospital...................................................................... 2 My Giving Tree..........................................................................43

What’s your family’s favorite holiday recipe? Whether its a decadent dessert, a savory side dish or a main course, Tex Appeal would like to share your favorite holiday recipe with our readers. For consideration, submit your favorite family recipe with a photo to by Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Please include your name, phone number, address and no more than 500 words about why the recipe is your favorite.

Nikki’s Hair Studio....................................................................44 Paperdoodles.........................................................................43,44 Pazmino Dentistry....................................................................... 3 Precisely Veiled Tattoo...............................................................42 Smile at the World Orthodontics............................................. 14 Susan Marie’s.......................................................................44, 59 Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum...................................... 46 The Shoe Box.............................................................................43 Union State Bank........................................................................ 7 United Way of Central Texas.................................................... 65 Wally’s Party Emporium.............................................................. 3 Whimsies...................................................................................43 Your Travel Agent......................................................................43 Z Medical Aesthetics..................................................................59

We’ll select a few recipes for publication in the December issue and share more at 64


Zooty’s........................................................................................43 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.

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Tex Appeal Magazine | November 2017  

The November issue is all about traditions.