West Georgia TM
Babbie Mason Voice of an Angel
Gifts That Give Back 1
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Whatâ€™s inside... 10
Voice of an Angel
Safe at Home?
You Asked and We Answered
Eat Mindfully, Not Mindlessly During the Holiday Season
Hands of Hope: Extending a Hand to the Homeless
Happiness vs. Joy
Gifts That Give Back
In Every Issue:
Celebrate Her Success
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A Year of Memories What a year this has been! As I look back on 2016, I have much to be thankful for: my wonderful and supportive friends and family, the fabulous West Georgia Woman staff, all of our dedicated editorial contributors and our steadfast and loyal advertisers. I am also very thankful for you, our readers. This past year has been one full of sadness for me as I have spent the year trying to navigate through the intense pain and emotions from the loss of my precious nephew Tristan. I don't know if this pain, emptiness and sadness will ever ease up as I would like, but I do hope it will one day. I'm writing this letter just a few days before Thanksgiving, and all I can think about is that one place at the table that I wish so much could be filled again with Tristan's physical presence. Another Thanksgiving, and soon, another Christmas without him. I also learned that an old friend from high school lost her husband in a terrible accident last week. My heart aches for her and their three young children. Their wedding anniversary is this week, as well as Thanksgiving, and Christmas is just around the corner. I just don't understand all of the senseless suffering in this world. Hold on tight to your loved ones this holiday season, and if you can, try to make amends with those you may be angry with. Life is too short to waste a single day being angry with one another. Spend quality time with those you love and make these moments matter. You never know when that one moment may be your last together. In This Issue I am so pleased to have Babbie Mason as our cover feature this month. She is such an amazing and talented woman, and an award-winning singer and songwriter who inspires others every day with her lovely music. She is also a fantastic person, very down-to-earth and has a great sense of humor. I really enjoyed getting to know her. During the photo shoot for this issue, I had the pleasure of hearing her sing in person, and her beautiful voice brought tears to my eyes. Read about Babbie on page 10. We also featured the lovely Sidra McWhorter, owner of Sweet Pea's Boutique in Carrollton, Ga. Women have been shopping at Sweet Pea's for 30 years, and Sidra has been there taking care of them for 27! Please celebrate Sidra's incredible success with her on page 44. Thank you for reading! As always, I ask that you please stop in and visit our valuable advertisers who are included in this publication, and let them know you saw their ad in West Georgia Woman magazine. Without the support of our advertisers, we would not be able to share the stories of these fabulous women in West Georgia with you. If you can't stop by for a visit, please give them a call and tell them "thank you" for helping to provide this valuable resource to the women of West Georgia every month. I wish all of you, our dear readers, a beautiful Christmas filled with peace, joy and happiness. See you next year,
Finding our voice. Knowing our value. Making a difference. TM
West Georgia Woman is a voice for and about the women who live and work in West Georgia. Our mission is to engage, inspire, and cultivate a cohesive community for all women in West Georgia by sharing our hopes, our dreams and our lives. This magazine would not be possible without the inclusion of our advertisers. Please be sure to show your support by doing business with these VIP’s (very important partners) so we will be able to continue to share with you our stories about amazing West Georgia Women! Please be sure to tell them we sent you! Inspiring women wanted. Do you know an interesting woman who should be on the cover of West Georgia Woman? Is there a special project or organization you would like us to feature in our magazine? Let us know! Email your suggestions to: email@example.com Share your special events. Send your upcoming events to: firstname.lastname@example.org Send us your photos! We welcome your local event and wedding photos.
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Volume 2 • Issue 2 December 2016
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Angela Brooks Dailey, publisher of West Georgia Woman magazine, has lived in West Georgia most of her life and has a deep love and appreciation for the area. She received her B.B.A in management from The University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga., and is a Civil and Domestic Relations mediator and arbitrator registered with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. She lives in Carrollton, and has two wonderful children, Zachary and Sydney Dailey. Angela enjoys reading, spending time with her children and extended family and loves to watch Sydney play soccer.
Photos by Keith May 10
Voice of an Angel 11
Babbie Mason Shepherds Others on a Journey of Success
umble and kind, Babbie Mason has turned her love for music into something of an empire. It’s a quiet empire, based out of the farm she and her husband, Charles, own in Carroll County, Ga. Babbie is an award-winning Christian singer and songwriter, author, TV host, radio producer, conference leader and more. After spending more than two decades living in Marietta, where they
By Shala Hainer
raised their sons Jerry and Chaz, they found a weekend oasis in West Georgia, away from the hustle and bustle of the Metro Atlanta area. The Carroll County property helped the couple recharge from their busy lives through activities such as fishing, hunting, stargazing and farming. “After the children were up and out of the house, Charles and I built our home here and moved to Carroll County in 2003,” says Babbie. “Charles is basically retired after working with me as my road manager,” she relates. “Charles loves to farm. He grows fantastic vegetables and has a beautiful muscadine vineyard.”
Sounds Of Success As a singer and songwriter, Babbie has had the privilege of seeing new places and performing with some amazing groups and in front of influential people. She’s performed with Women of Faith, the largest Christian women’s conference. She has also performed for many Billy Graham Crusades in the U.S. and around the world. “I’ve sung for presidents and for dignitaries at the United Nations,” she recalls. “But I think one of the most memorable opportunities ever was to sing before Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf spoke at an event. It was shortly after the Gulf War had ended, so the arena was packed with thousands of people who were excited to hear him speak. Before he spoke, I stepped to the podium to sing ‘I’m Proud To Be An American (God Bless the USA).’ The audience rose to their feet to sing along. When the song was finished, Gen. Schwarzkopf, with tears in his eyes, gave me the biggest bear hug to show his appreciation.” Babbie graciously speaks about how it feels when she hears other people sing songs she has written, saying hearing people perform her songs is the highest form of validation.
Babbie in her recording studio.
“My songs are like my children in a way of speaking,” she explains. “So when someone sings something I’ve written, it’s like they are saying, ‘Babbie, your babies are beautiful.’ In my heart, I believe that I was born to write songs and sing them. But when someone records one of my songs or even tells me how one of my songs blesses them, that affirms that I am doing what I’m called to do – that I am on the right road.” Babbie plans to release her 27th project this month: “Hymns and Blessings.” She shares her favorite classic hymns along with some of her personal work. “With so much negativity in the world, I wanted to lift people up with beautiful music and encouraging words,” she says. Music isn’t the only piece in her career puzzle. She is a renowned author, having published four books to date. Her latest work is “I Am a Daughter of the Most High King.” She wrote a recent book, “Embraced By God,” after what she considers a major epiphany in her journey with God. “Designed as a 21-day reflective journal, this life-affirming book equips readers to release a hold on those myths and lies that
whisper ‘not good enough,’ to lead the reader on a scripture-filled journey to the path of truth,” she says. “One Sunday, our pastor mentioned in his sermon that we were God’s favorite,” she explains. “I’ve been a Christian most of my life as a preacher’s kid, but I had never heard God’s love defined on those terms and I wondered what that meant. Could God actually consider me a favorite in spite of the mistakes I’ve made in life? I discovered the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in John 17 where Jesus prays that we would know that God loves us just as much as He loves His Son, Jesus. That revelatory truth has transformed my life and inspired the book, ‘Embraced By God,’ the woman’s Bible study by the same name and a music CD called ‘Embrace.’ ‘Embraced By God: Celebrating Who And Whose You Are,’ is a powerful journey to understanding and receiving God’s amazing love for us.” Babbie also shares her message as the host of “Babbie’s House,” a television talk show filmed in Atlanta. She interviews a variety of people such as authors, actors and singers. Some of her guests include Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins of Left Behind fame, Tamela and David Mann “Meet the Browns,”
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and singing sensations like Mary Mary, Israel Houghton and Micah Stampley. “I’ve been hosting the show for almost 20 years, and before the end of 2016, we’ll celebrate recording our 1,000th episode,” she says. “I sing in just about every show. I really enjoy hosting the show because I know so many people are encouraged by watching our upbeat and encouraging guests. All kinds of people watch ‘Babbie’s House,’ but I also get so many comments from those who are homebound, hospitalized, incarcerated, in a hotel room or sitting in a doctor’s office. The impact of the show is amazing.” The show airs on WATC TV57 weekdays at 4 p.m., and it’s available through many cable providers. It’s also available on the NRB Network, channel 378 on DirecTV, and it can be streamed from www.watc.tv. With her internet radio station at www.babbiemasonradio.com, Babbie shares encouraging messages, some of her own music as well as music from other Christian and gospel artists, including independent artists. “I am dedicated to equipping the next generation of communication champions, those singers, songwriters and authors who desire to use their gifts
to glorify God and encourage others,” she says. “On the station, you'll hear your favorite music from mainstream Christian and gospel artists. But we celebrate the music of the independent artist and the books of the independent author. You’ll hear beautiful music and encouraging words around the clock.” If she doesn’t sound busy enough, she also hosts a music conference called The Inner Circle. “It equips singers and songwriters to write and record their own music and promote their music and message on the Internet,” she explains. “Many who have attended our conference are realizing their dreams as recording artists and authors.” The next conference is April 21-22, 2017, in Carrollton, Ga. Attendees can expect to learn the tools and techniques to write better songs. “The writer, who is often a singer, can record his or her song and share that music live in concert or share their music on the Internet to a global audience,” Babbie says. “We also teach attendees how to use the Internet to promote their music endeavors, share their stories and maybe even develop a stream of income.” Interested participants can register online at www.babbie.com.
Babbie now owns the same piano from her father's church that she played as choir director at the age of 9.
“Right after we moved to Atlanta in 1980, my husband suggested that we go by the Mount Paran Church of God in Atlanta to see if they might invite me to sing there at their church,” she recalls. “We went to the pastor’s office to see if we could meet with him that day. The church secretary said we’d need to make an appointment and the pastor would not be able to see us for several weeks.” After asking to meet with several other church leaders, the secretary suggested the couple meet with the singles pastor. Babbie felt a little uncomfortable being so forward, but Charles was determined, and they finally got in to see the singles pastor. “I told the singles pastor my story,” she says. “I gave him a copy of my recently recorded album, recorded when I was in college in 1978. The singles pastor was very kind and cordial but didn’t extend an invite to sing. We left our bio and album with him and headed toward the door.” As they started to leave, Babbie saw a piano in the meeting room, and she asked if she could play it and sing a song. The pastor agreed. “I sat down and sang one song,” she remembers. “The pastor, Mike Adkins, came out of his office and
The Beginning Babbie believes she was born into the life of music. “We had an old upright piano,” she remembers. “My dad thought the piano would ruin the hardwood floors in our home so the old upright ended up in the garage. As I became more interested in music as a 5- or 6-year-old, I used to go to the garage and play that old upright piano – even during the dead of Michigan winters. “Once my school friends and our neighbors started coming to the garage to hear me sing and play the piano, my parents realized the love I had for music. It wasn’t long after that my parents bought a spinet – a smaller piano that fit nicely in our family den – and I started taking piano lessons. I started playing piano for my father’s church full-time by age 9.” Her father was a Baptist pastor in Jackson, Mich. A love of music isn’t necessarily enough to turn music into a career, or to become famous because of your talent. Several pieces aligned for Babbie, and she had the wit and drive to capitalize on the breaks she was given.
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One of many church hymnals that include Babbie's hymns.
said, ‘What are you doing tomorrow night?’ I said, ‘Nothing.’ He invited me on the spot to sing for the singles meeting.” That moment began opening doors for Babbie. There was a man there who heard her sing, and he invited her to sing at his coffee house that Saturday night. Another pastor who heard her share her talent that night invited her to sing the next morning at church. As more people heard her perform, she received more and more invitations until she was finally able to quit her job as a teacher in 1984 and focus full-time on sharing her talents. Although singing came naturally to her at a young age, her love of songwriting was something of a surprise. “I have always enjoyed creative writing,” she says. “I've always been an avid reader. Writing songs would seem to be a natural course. But I never dreamed of becoming a songwriter.” Her gift for songwriting has led her to 32 years as a professional songwriter and a songwriter instructor at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Her songs have been included in church hymnals and featured in movies such as Denzel Washington’s “Déjà Vu” and television shows such as “Showtime at the Apollo.” Her songs have been recorded by mainstream artists and translated into 25 languages. She recognizes that she hasn’t traveled this journey alone. Her husband, family and friends have supported her through the good times and bad, traveling with her and volunteering to help her so she could take her career to the next level. “Charles has traveled with me all over the world where I have sung for all kinds of audiences,” she
says. “My parents, both deceased now, were always supportive. My mother even recorded with me and made special appearances with me.” Although her children are grown and powerful successes in their own right, Babbie remembers the struggle of balancing family and a blossoming career. “Early on, we limited travel to a certain number of days per month,” she explains. “We were home for birthdays, holidays and school events. But best of all, we involved our kids in what we were doing onstage. Both of our sons are great musicians and honed their skills on stage with me. We’ve written songs together and worked in the studio on the creative end of things. They are so gifted they are now teaching me!” Her son Chaz is an accomplished singersongwriter and performer. Although he’s a talented musician, her son Jerry works as an electrical engineer.
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Accolades Babbie’s hard work has been recognized in many ways, and she’s earned some of the most prestigious awards in her industry. “I have been blessed to win numerous awards,” she says. “Even to be nominated really is quite an honor. But I suppose that the two Dove Awards I received is a pretty cool thing.” The Dove Award is the highest award in Christian music, comparable to the Grammy. She won a Dove Award for Musical of the Year for “Make Us One,” and for Song of the Year for “Stop by the Church.” She’s been nominated for 11 Dove Awards, Grammy and Stellar Awards, including nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. She received the Thomas Dorsey Award from the Atlanta Gospel Choice Awards and the Mainstream Female Vocalist of the Year from the Christian Music Hall of Fame. That’s not the only feather in her cap from the Christian Music Hall of Fame – she was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2010. “It’s nice to know that someone beside my mother
Just a few of Babbie's many awards.
thinks I’m good at what I do! I’ve won other awards as well. They are all important and meaningful,” she says.
Encouraging Others Babbie believes women can look inside, find their talents and use those talents to create happiness. “Every woman – and every person – has a remarkable gift that is uniquely theirs. Discover what that gift is then use your talents to create moments of joy for yourself and others,” she advises. “Use what you have to make others happy. Who knows? A hobby could grow into a small business opportunity. But you’ll never know that if you don’t take the first step. “If you want to get better, take a class or read about it online. Ask others for help when you have questions. Don’t allow setbacks to set you back. A setback is only a set up to a comeback. Don’t worry if it’s hard or if you make mistakes. Consider mistakes a part of your education. Where there’s a will there’s a way. You just have to find it.” WGW
Photo by Keith May Photo courtesy of www.babbie.com
Photo by Keith May
To find out more about Babbie or to purchase any of her albums, books or greeting cards, or to sign up for one of her workshops, visit her website at www.babbie.com 21
You Asked, and We Answered.
Hello, West Georgia Woman readers! As we’ve been out in our communities distributing West Georgia Woman, people have asked us several questions we want to address in our publication with a frequently asked questions page. As always, please call or email us if you have any questions or comments – we love and appreciate your feedback!
Do you charge the people you feature in West Georgia Woman?
WGW: Absolutely not. The stories we write about the women in our communities are always provided free of charge. We feature women we find interesting and who we believe add value to the publication from the cover feature to the business owner. We all have a story, and we want to share these stories with the women in our communities. The wonderful thing about our publication is a woman does not have to be a high-profile person to be included in the magazine. You never know who we might feature next – your mother, daughter, sister, co-worker, your neighbor or even you! If you have a story about an inspiring woman, a fabulous local business owner or an amazing female student athlete or coach, please let us know. Email us at email@example.com, and you may see them in the magazine one day!
Where do you get your material for the magazine?
WGW: Simply put, from you! Our readers provide stories about local women in our communities making a difference or who have an inspiring story. We are always searching for good stories about fabulous women in the community. West Georgia Woman prides ourselves on never using purchased editorial, or stock, content for our written articles. All of our articles are written by our staff so we can provide interesting content to our most important clients – our readers.
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WGW: West Georgia Woman magazine is a monthly publication. If you just found us and would like to see past issues, visit our website at www.westgeorgiawoman.com to find links to previous issues. You can also sign up for a digital subscription there. Getting West Georgia Woman in your email inbox means you’ll never miss an issue.
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WGW: West Georgia Woman is free to the public. When you are out and about and you see the magazine, feel free to pick it up and take it home with you. West Georgia Woman is completely supported by our VIP’s (Very Important Partners), our advertisers. That is why it is extremely important to please let our advertisers know you saw their ad in the magazine when you do business with them so we can continue to provide this wonderful resource to you.
Q&A I love West Georgia Woman! Where can I pick up a copy?
WGW: Our magazines are distributed in over 500 locations throughout West Georgia such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, banks, beauty salons and nail salons. Often, women see the magazine and take it home with them because they love reading it, and it can be harder to find them toward the end of the month in the offices and salons. We always have racks inside the foyers of Publix and Kroger in Carrollton, Southern Home and Ranch on North Park Street, A Plus Size Consignment store on South Park Street and Food Depot and Texaco on Maple Street in Carrollton. We also have some at the Publix at Mirror Lake in Villa Rica and on a rack at Piggly Wiggly in Bowdon. We are adding more locations daily. Hurry and get your copy before they’re gone!
The quality of your magazine is outstanding, from the beautiful, thick pages, to the wonderful articles, to the outstanding color quality. Is it really expensive to advertise in your magazine?
WGW: Our advertising rates are very inexpensive considering the premium quality product we provide at no charge to the women of West Georgia every month. In fact, our rates are often lower than many other local glossy magazine publications. We provide a beautiful, high-quality, premium product that our readers enjoy holding and reading from cover to cover. We provide interesting and valuable content our readers often share with others time and time again, and most important, your ad won’t get lost in a busy jumble of ads and boring editorial in West Georgia Woman magazine. We have many sizes of advertising that will fit your budget, and you can rest assured we operate with the utmost transparency and integrity within our industry. We would love to work with you. Give us a call today at 404.502.0251, or email us and we will provide customized advertising for your business: firstname.lastname@example.org. WGW
Do you have a question you’d like to see us answer in future issues of West Georgia Woman? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com. We’ll answer your question personally, but we’ll keep it on file to potentially share with our readers as well. Thank you for reading West Georgia Woman! 23
Extending a Hand to the Homeless in West Georgia
ands of Hope, an outreach program for the homeless in West Georgia, is committed to helping the poor, homeless and the elderly in West Georgia by offering services and referrals to anyone in need. Sandy Newell, founder of Hands of Hope, created the outreach four years ago, initially with the vision of putting sleeping bags and food in the back of her van and going out to find homeless people in the woods. She realized early on what a challenge that was. Many times, the people who are living in the woods or in their cars don't want to be found because they are afraid of being arrested, afraid of having to abandon their pets or afraid of having to move all of their belongings. Although Sandy has two small children and a fulltime job outside of Hands of Hope, she is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Carroll County's homeless. "It's been a total learning experience for me for the last four years because you can't find these people if they don't want to be found," she shares. "Sometimes it's been so challenging that I thought about not doing this anymore, but God laid this on my heart and said 'this is your mission.' This really is my passion. It has been my dream for four years to actually find a building and be able to serve the homeless in Carroll County." Finding and helping the homeless is challenging, but not impossible. Sandy has partnered with members of the Carrollton City Police Department who will call on Sandy when they find someone who needs her assistance. There are currently 18 to 25 homeless living in their cars or in the woods in Carroll County that Sandy personally
has a relationship with, and she suspects there are probably more than she knows about who are living in their cars. Sandy has developed strong relationships with many of the county's homeless over the last four years, and she shares that having these strong bonds with the homeless is very meaningful to her, and to them. "That's a big part of it for me. I'm the hands and feet on the ground. It's not just about helping someone get out of their situation, it's more about building that relationship and trust with people and bringing them up out of wherever they are, because when they're there, a lot of people don't even have hope any more. One of the biggest things they need is to have someone to talk to and to know that someone really cares for them." Sandy's vision has always been to create a community center in Carrollton, Ga. for displaced individuals and families (moms, dads and children), where Hands of Hope can provide training and assist these people in obtaining the tools and resources needed to be self-sufficient, and her dream to find a building to help the homeless has finally become a reality for her. Hands of Hope has recently partnered with Recovery and Restoration Ministries Inc. to lease a 5,000-square-foot building that will be used as a community center to provide temporary housing for men, women and children in need. This building will provide for those in the community who have emergency cold weather needs, as well as be able to house 12 people for up to 30 days at a time. The new building has five rooms for families or individuals and a common room that can hold 12 extra cots. Families will have their own rooms, but
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two single men or women may be required to room together depending on capacity. The difference between this community center and others who help the homeless is this will be a longer term solution, and no one is denied access to the community center. Other places often require the temperature to be below freezing before the homeless can have a place to stay, but Sandy says there will be no weather restrictions here. "It doesn't matter if it's 18, 45 or 105 degrees, all will be welcome here if they need a place to stay." The only exception to this open door policy is sex offenders will not be allowed due to children staying in the center. There will be an initial screening process to account for these types of situations. What Sandy hopes to do for the homeless in the community center is bring people in, help them get a job, help them with transportation and obtaining the documentation they need such as Social Security cards and drivers licenses, and help them on their way to becoming self-sufficient. Once they get a job, they will be taught how to manage their money so they can save up to have a first month's rent and deposit for a home of their own. "We're trying to get them back into society and
help them all the way around," she says. "Not just give them a place to sleep at night, but help them figure out how to get a job, manage their money or learn how to create a résumé." Many homeless in Carroll County also need help for mental illness, they need to be medicated and off of recreational drugs. For the last four years, Sandy's only option to help the homeless has been to put them up in hotels when possible, which is not always the best environment for children or adults due to the extensive drug use that goes on. "Having this community center means giving our homeless a clean, controlled environment to do what we need to do for them," she shares. Because Hands of Hope is now leasing a building for displaced individuals and families, they are in need of long-term monetary commitments from donors, as well as financial donations of any amount, grocery and meal gift cards and paper products to help those struggling who need the basic necessities of life that many of us take for granted. The cost of the new community center for Hands of Hope will be around $3,000 a month. Volunteers are also needed to get the building ready to begin housing people and to help with the day-to-day operation of the facility, as well as volunteers who would be willing to help care for the children living in the center. Hands of Hope is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which means your donations are tax deductible. The end of the year is the perfect time to donate large items for tax deductions such as vehicles, furniture, household items such as microwaves and small refrigerators, as well as construction materials like ceiling tiles, paint, exterior doors and windows and carpet. Sandy says action and commitment from the West Georgia communities are what's needed. "Cash donations and volunteers – without these two things, this will not happen. Unfortunately, having a clean and controlled living space for the homeless is not free, I have searched for something at no charge for four years," she shares. "We live in a great community, and usually when you put it out there that you need it, it happens." "People are passionate about this, they just need direction on what to do to help. We are in great need of cash donations, volunteers, paper products and toiletries. Whether you give $1, $10 or $10,000 it doesn't matter, every dollar will help us do what we need to do for the homeless in West Georgia. No donation is too small. I know our community will come together to help make this happen." WGW
How Can You Help Hands of Hope Help the Homeless in West Georgia? • Make cash donations: One time or monthly long-term commitments of any amount are greatly appreciated • Volunteer to help with the day-to-day operations • Volunteer to help babysit the children while parents are searching for jobs or working (background check required) • Donate paper products and toiletries: Please consider donating toilet tissue, napkins, paper plates, paper towels, trash bags, feminine hygiene products and tissues • Donate cots, blankets and sleeping bags • Donate paint and painting supplies • Donate 2-foot-by-2-foot ceiling tiles
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Gifts That Give Back T
he holidays are all about tradition and spending precious time with your loved ones. For many of us who celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, we celebrate these special holidays by giving and receiving gifts. This holiday season, why not think about giving a little more of yourself to those less fortunate here in West Georgia? Whether it's volunteering at a food pantry or shelter, or giving tangible gifts such as money, meals, clothing or toys, giving of your time, talents and treasure will be sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Also, if you have children, giving to others who are less fortunate can teach them valuable lessons about love, charity, empathy and kindness that will last a lifetime. There are many non-profits in need of assistance this year, and we have highlighted just a few for you to consider. Of course, it doesn't matter where you give as long as you give, so choose a special organization that has significant meaning to you, or choose to help a single person or family who may have a need in your own community.
'The Heart That Gives Bracelet' or the Hands of Hope t-shirt. Their 'Heart That Gives' Bracelet was inspired by a quote from Marianne Moore: 'The heart that gives, gathers.' Hands of Hope began selling these bracelets last year as a fund raiser to help their organization help the homeless in West Georgia. Each adjustable metal bracelet carries a genuine U.S. minted penny or nickel with either a heart, an angel or a cross die stamped in the center. Ninety-five percent of each bracelet purchase goes directly to meet the needs of the Carroll county
homeless. At only $12 each, this is the perfect gift for friends, family, co-workers, your children's teachers or school friends, and these bracelets are truly a gift you can give others that also helps people directly in West Georgia.
dark grey t-shirt. This wonderfully comfortable shirt will help spread the message about homelessness and the solutions Hands of Hope can help provide to the homeless in West Georgia. At only $15, this amazingly soft shirt is a steal. Publisher's note: My daughter Sydney loves the soft, comfy material and the beautiful and colorful logo on this t-shirt. Purchase the bracelets at Sweet Pea's (they will gift wrap it for you), The Sous Chef or Results! Spa in Carrollton or you may purchase the bracelets or the t-shirts online at www.handsofhopega.org/shop.
The Hands of Hope crew neck t-shirt is screen printed on the back and on the front pocket area with the Hands of Hope logo in full color. It is available as a premium light weight, slightly fitted
970 Hays Mill Rd., Carrollton, Georgia 678.664.0610 Monday-Saturday: 10 AM-8 PM Sunday 1-6 PM
Men And Womenâ€™s Clothing,Gift Cards And More 29
Each year, to brighten the holidays for children in West Georgia, Southwire collects toys for the local Toys for Tots chapter. In the beginning, Southwire conducted internal toy drives with the employees only that netted several hundred toys each year. Then, in 2005, Southwire implemented a day-long collection drive that allowed community members to donate toys as well. The toy drive has now evolved into a two-day marathon drive open to the community, with Southwire implementing a new toy collection goal every year. Volunteers also give of their time during the week-long distribution process to assist Toys for Tots in reaching their goal of providing a toy for every single child. Last year, with the help of their sponsors, more than 50 Southwire volunteers and members of the community, volunteers collected more than 5,000 toys for children in West Georgia. Toys from this year's drive will be focused primarily in Carroll County. Toys are collected for children ages 0-14, but there is always a great need for toys that fall within the baby age group or toys for older children ages 12-14. "Southwire's employees are committed to
making the communities in which we work better places to live," says Project GIFT Coordinator Kristian Crowe Whittington. "By giving our time through volunteering, we create positive impacts in the places we call home. Collectively we call our efforts Project GIFT (Giving Inspiration for Tomorrow). Today, more than 850 employees across all of Southwire's facilities volunteer regularly through Project GIFT. We have nearly 275 active Project GIFT volunteers or 'Blackshirts' in West Georgia that participate in many community events throughout the year, such as Relay for Life, the Special Olympics, Electronics Recycling with Keep Carroll Beautiful and more." This year's toy drive will be on Dec. 8 and 9 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Southwire located at One Southwire Drive in Carrollton. For more information on the toy drive, call the Project GIFT hotline at (770) 832-4729. To speak with a Toys for tots representative, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Uncorked on Main's Annual Charity Drive for 2016 will benefit Carroll County CASA. Purchase an empty bottle at Uncorked in Villa Rica, decorate it then add your business card or decorate it as an individual, and place it on their tree. There are paint and supplies at Uncorked or you can decorate the bottle at home. Bottles are $10 to $25 and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Carroll County CASA. The mission of Carroll County CASA, Inc. is to provide carefully screened, trained and supervised volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in juvenile court until a safe,
permanent home is assured. This is a great advertising opportunity for local businesses as the trees are on display in Uncorked on Main's large windows on Main Street in Villa Rica. WGW
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Encourages all WOMEN to INVEST IN YOURSELVES! Tips for Avoiding Stress and Depression During the Holidays:
• Ask family and friends for help with holiday tasks. • Maintain healthy habits such as exercising and eating properly. • Learn to say no if your schedule is full. • Create a holiday budget and stick to it. • Volunteer to help others or someone in need. • Be realistic and accept that everything may not be perfect. • Reach out to others if you are feeling lonely or depressed. • No one is worth more than you. When you are at your best, then you can be better for those around you.
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Safe at Home? The Role Domestic Violence Plays in the Cycle of Homelessness
his past October marked another year where we took some time to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence. In some towns, we had vigils, proclamations, and other special events. Throughout one of these events, I struggled with some behind-the-scenes information I have garnered while sitting in my office listening to women who had attempted to move on after the aftermath of domestic violence. I experienced great sadness as I recalled time and again those children I met whose lives were disrupted by domestic violence. The behind-the-scenes information I struggled with was the homelessness among survivors of domestic violence. Make no mistake, the causes and faces of homelessness are as diverse as those who have experienced it. Survivors struggle daily with securing a viable option of gaining housing stability and moving on with their lives. Before we begin to look at the different options available to alleviate homelessness amongst the survivors of domestic violence, let us talk about what got them there in the first place.
Lack of Resources According to the Department of Housing and
By Cheryl Francis
Urban Development (HUD), â€œon a single night in 2014, more than 578,000 people, including 136,000 children, experienced homelessness. Of those people, more than 177,000 were unsheltered.â€? HUD reported that of those who experienced homelessness in 2014, almost 20 percent were chronically homeless (living more than a year in homelessness or have experienced four different periods of homelessness within three years). This data did not specify the percentage of domestic violence survivors. However, we know that domestic violence is an immediate cause of homelessness, especially for women. Individuals who experience domestic violence leave their homes in fear of their lives. They are wanting to just stay alive. Those who are lucky enough to survive have been intentionally isolated from support networks. They frequently receive limited, if any, financial support from their abusers. The isolation and lack of financial support place survivors at risk and are significant factors contributing to them becoming a part of the homeless population. Their credit history, if there is one, is quite likely poor. More often than not, they do not have a desirable landlord reference. Landlords will
sometimes evict if there is consistent occurrence of violence on the property. At times, landlords are less likely to rent to someone who may have an order of protection. Some landlords may be hesitant to rent their homes to families with children who may likely place markings on walls and contribute to a perceived increased wear and tear on the property.
safe, appropriate and stable housing. Survivors are not mentally motivated to get up and fight to secure housing on a daily basis when they are depressed. All they see is the reality of where they are – overwhelmed with sudden changes – coupled with emotions they are not able to control. This lack of sound cognitive processing from untreated mental illness contributes to the cycle of homelessness for survivors. According to The National Coalition for the Innocent Victims Homeless, approximately 16 percent of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of “severe In many instances, survivors are leaving their homes with more than the “2.5 standard” children. and persistent mental illness.” In this significant percentage are survivors who have endured domestic They struggle with finding appropriate and violence. available childcare. Due to sole dependence on Survivors gain a sense of security through stable their partners, survivors may not have a job or housing. This in turn provides a source of healing and a means to secure income as many have been hope. the primary caretaker of the home. The women who are courageous enough to leave the abusive environment must secure employment to survive. Poverty Plays A Role With limited skills, many take low-skilled employment or work hours that are not compatible Poverty and homelessness are highly correlated. with available childcare. If and when they do A 1997 report from the Institute for Women's Policy secure employment, it is usually minimum wage Research, identified that of the “… states that have at best. These women now have to factor how to looked at domestic violence and welfare receipt, most secure housing, pay for costly childcare, feed their report that approximately 50 to 60 percent of current children and maintain an appropriate lifestyle, all recipients say that they have experienced violence from on a minimum wage salary. a current or former male partner.” When survivors overcome the challenges of After attempting to leave and feeling as if little securing housing, they struggle with how to progress is being made, a survivor struggles with how manage financially. Usually, housing is last on to continue moving forward. With all the challenges the list, and survivors eventually find themselves contributing to the cycle of homelessness, a survivor homeless. more often than not thinks of the home of the abuser Along with all the challenges, and the lack as a viable option of return. The option to go back of resources mentioned, survivors may also to the abuser is magnified because the survivor is be experiencing some type of mental health experiencing difficulty in securing stable housing. challenge. Be it depressed mood, anxiety Research shows that it takes about eight attempts at disorders or substance abuse, survivors are having leaving before an individual finally leaves the abuser. to function with some type of mental impairment. As mentioned before, as survivors go out to secure The mental illness sometimes precipitates the employment, some for the first time, it is frequently domestic violence, but more often than not, the assumed that they will likely not secure highly skilled mental illness may stem from the trauma brought paying positions. Therefore, they will not be able to on by the abuse. afford stable housing and support themselves and their families with the income earned. This contributes Imagine for a moment trying to save your to the cycle of poverty and the relationship with life and manage an untreated mental illness homelessness. simultaneously. How do you really cope? If Although domestic violence does not discriminate someone is experiencing a mental illness without appropriate treatment, could this be a reason they based on income levels, survivors who are poor are stay in a domestic violence situation? If they leave, more likely to experience homelessness. So how do we begin to address the homelessness will they struggle to secure stable housing? faced by survivors of domestic violence? We begin Cognitively, individuals who struggle with by protecting them from housing discrimination and untreated mental illness are unlikely to create provide access to appropriate resources. Numerous effective plans to support themselves in securing
reports have been substantiated on survivors being refused housing due to known history of domestic abuse. Understandably so. Some survivors were reportedly given lease terms that were very unfavorable due to their domestic violence history. It is of utmost importance that domestic violence survivors are provided dignified resources to support them in leaving their homes to safe and stable housing. Landlords, and those providing services to these survivors need to recognize that these survivors have been living in a state of manipulation and fear brought on by their abusers. Along with this, they struggle with making quality decisions regarding housing, because they have lost a sense of confidence. Those who attempt to provide housing must recognize that survivors of domestic violence may be experiencing some type of mental illness including trauma. Adequate and applicable resources such as mental health counseling, will need to be provided to facilitate a smooth transition to normalcy. I would go as far as saying, if a landlord is looking at an applicant and recognizes that the individual is a survivor of domestic violence, instead of discrimination, it is okay to ask whether this individual has had any type of support to manage the experiences they have gone through and encourage the survivor to seek support. Notice I did not say therapy, but support. Most survivors are open to talking about support because they recognize that this is something they need. I would also recommend individuals be trained in Mental Health First Aid so they will know how to ask and refer someone to appropriate help. We need to create access to homes specifically designed to meet the needs of those who may be struggling with mental illness. These homes would be beneficial if they include staff who are able to hold these individuals accountable in taking their medication, offering group support, provide budgeting classes, all to assist survivors in returning to stability. As a society, we need to provide applicable resources to domestic violence survivors. There is a significant need for supportive services such as medical and dental care. Lack of affordable and available childcare has been one of the major factors contributing to homelessness. Mothers are unable to work without appropriate childcare. Lack of transportation, including public transportation in some areas, contributes to this
as well. With no personal transportation and lack of access to public transportation, women are unable to get to work. This prevents them from having funds to access a home. Trainings on budgeting, childcare management and even career paths need to be provided to alleviate the cycle of homelessness. Providing these services will empower survivors and aid them in never having to make the choice between staying with or leaving an abuser. When they do leave an abusive situation they will never need to make the choice of whether to eat or to pay the lease. Although shelters provide immediate safe housing for survivors, they are limited in number, and space inside the shelters are limited as well. There has to be an urgency to increase funding for affordable safe housing and shelters. Access to monies for additional shelters will benefit survivors in the homeless population. There has to be a push for an increase in wages for these survivors. It has been much researched and proven that poverty is the single most powerful barrier to housing for people emerging from homelessness. Historically, women earn less than their male counterparts regardless of education level. Think of a woman who has limited skills, possibly a limited education and who possibly has never worked outside the home. What level of income will she achieve short term? What income bracket will this individual be in while running from an abuser? What kind of employment will this individual be able to gain? Poverty limits the choices of a domestic violence survivor. It limits access to stable, safe and affordable housing. Domestic violence is not only devastating and costly, it disrupts a familyâ€™s functioning and wellbeing and is a contributing factor to some of societal woes among our families. It is a major contributor to our homeless population, and our women and children suffer as a result. WGW Cheryl A. Francis, Licensed Professional Counselor, is the owner of The Heart Matters Wellness Services LLC, a fullservice counseling agency. She is certified as a Mental Health First Aid Adult trainer and regularly provides seminars and trainings to the community on various mental health issues. She currently works as a school-based mental health counselor, and has partnered with the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy to train individuals in the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. Visit heartmatterswellness.com for more information about Cheryl and her work.
Daily Fare ”Adapt these recipes to your tastes and your lifestyle. That’s what I want you to feel the freedom to do with my recipes. You are more talented and creative than you give yourself credit for!” Julie Culpepper
Julie Culpepper is a Georgia native who lived in Carrollton for 26 years with her husband Alan and their adult children. She and Alan recently became residents of Wedowee, Ala. Julie became a personal chef after graduating culinary school in 2012 and loves working with two companies that she incorporates into her style of cooking – Branch and Vine in Newnan, and Doterra, an online source for essential oils located in Utah. For further information about contacting Julie or these companies, please feel free to contact her at : email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
or go online to: branchandvineonline.org
Brighten up your Holiday Meals this Christmas Maple Sweet Potato
Photos by Michelle Horsley
This delicious Maple Sweet Potato Bourbon Cake garnished with sugared cranberries is the perfect holiday cake because it is filled with rich, holiday flavors. It also has some substance and nutrition, which is an added plus where dessert is being considered. It is better to bake these cakes in small pans and do not overfill. This is a dense cake and will not set well in the middle if the pan is large. You can make this cake a day ahead if desired because it is even better and more moist the second day! Just store cakes in a tightly covered container and keep in a cool, dry place. This cake makes wonderful gifts to give away, or to share with friends and family. The beautiful Holiday Pinwheels on the next page are a visually appealing, timesaving appetizer or side dish that incorporates flawlessly into the busy holiday season. Feel free to create your own medley of flavors into the neutral cream cheese base. This recipe can be made ahead of time when you have to bring food to holiday events.
Bourbon Cake with Sugared Cranberries Ingredients
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp. baking powder
Âž tsp cinnamon powder Âź tsp. salt
1 cup sweet potato puree (about 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes) 2 eggs
2/3 cups half and half
1 tbs. maple balsamic vinegar or maple syrup ½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup white sugar and ½ cup brown sugar ¼ cup mild extra virgin olive oil 3/8 cups Greek yogurt
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup fresh cranberries, chopped; plus a handful whole, fresh for garnish Powdered sugar for garnish
For the bourbon sauce: 1 tbsp. Butter
3 tbsp. Bourbon
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup maple syrup or reduced maple balsamic vinegar
Instructions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the inside of small bundt pans or loaf pans with nonstick spray. In a small bowl stir together the first four ingredients. In another large bowl, combine the wet ingredients, including sugar, and stir well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine until smooth. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts. Transfer the batter to bundt pans, filling about ½ full each. Bake about 45 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile, make the bourbon sauce by melting
the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over the cakes when they have cooled. Garnish with extra whole cranberries and powdered sugar.
4 large spinach flour tortillas ½ cup dried cranberries 1 8 ounce package cream cheese ½ cup feta cheese ½ cup chopped green onion ¼ cup ricotta cheese
½ cup chopped turkey pepperoni ½ cup chopped black olives Season salt or spicy seasoning blend for garnish (I used Dragon’s Breath Blend found at Branch and Vine) Instructions Soften the cream cheese at room temperature about 15 minutes in a medium bowl. Add all ingredients except tortillas and mix well. Divide the mixture into four equal parts and spread onto the tortillas covering to the edge. Rollup each tortilla tightly and wrap in plastic wrap, sealing the ends with twist ties. Refrigerate at least an hour or until ready to slice and serve. To serve, cut into about 12 slices each and arrange onto a platter. Sprinkle lightly with seasoning blend and enjoy! WGW
Let Sweet Pea's Boutique make her Christmas
"Merry and Brighton"
Eat Mindfully, not Mindlessly during the Holiday Season
By Dr. Habiba N. Shaw
t seems most of us somehow lose control of our eating during the holidays. We jump at the excuse of "It's Christmas time" and go all-out, sampling the variety of delicious holiday fare, thinking, "I will start fresh at the New Year.” Sadly, holiday fares are usually rich foods and high in calories, saturated fats and trans-fat, and our dear body doesn’t understand the excuse “It’s Christmas.” When we eat excess Fruit Cake is calories, our body stores healthy right? I mean, it has fruit and nuts in it. It's got to be good for me!
the energy as glycogen or fat to use at a later time. These compounds get stored in our liver, muscles and fat cells. Over time, continually eating excess calories causes our body fat stores to expand, resulting in weight gain. Consuming excess calories means we're eating more than our body burns off in a day. First, some excess calories we consume from carbohydrates are converted to and stored as glycogen in our body. According to Iowa State University, a healthy adult can store roughly 400 grams of carbohydrate in skeletal muscles. The liver stores 90 to 110 grams of glycogen and our blood circulates roughly 25 grams as glucose. Since men have more muscles then women, they are capable of storing more glycogen. Muscle glycogen is used for energy during prolonged strenuous activity. Once our glycogen stores are full, our body stores excess calories from carbohydrate as fat. Excess calories from fat and protein intake get stored as fat in the body as well. Fat cells, store the extra calories in the form of triglycerides, a type of fatty acid. Most of these fat cells are found between our skin and muscle while others surround our organs, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Everyone has a different number of fat cells, but it's the size of the cells that
matters more. Eating an excess of about 3,500 calories contributes to a weight gain of roughly 1 pound of body weight. So, during this holiday, plan now to help prevent overeating. From my years of experience as a nutrition and health specialist in the South, some of the favorite southern Christmas feast consist of eggnog, pecan pie with whipped cream, roasted turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, cornbread, green bean casserole, collard greens, deviled eggs, candied sweet potatoes, biscuits and gravy, bread pudding, Christmas cookies, candies and alcohol.
Consider the Calories and Fat Before You Eat Too Much of These Traditional Foods A Eggnog: 1 cup (8 ounces) holds 344 calories or more A Pecan pie with whipped cream: 1/8 of 9-inch pie has a minimum of 503 calories A Roasted turkey leg: 4-ounce serving contains 192 calories A Prepared stuffing: Little less than 1 cup (7.1 ounces) gives 356 calories A Cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray): ¼ cup has 110 calories. You'd need to walk 29 minutes to burn 110 calories A Cornbread: 2 ounces of cornbread bears 188 calories A Green bean casserole: a 1 cup serving carries 142 calories and 8 grams of fat, and is high in salt – and that's without second helpings! A Homemade southern collard greens with ham hocks or pork: 1/2 cup has 165 calories. It is also high in sodium A Deviled eggs, large: 1/2 egg contains 64 calories. It is low in calories compared with others. But who eats just one?
A Homemade candied sweet potatoes: 1 cup (8 ounces) consists of 320 calories A Southern biscuits and gravy: 1 biscuit contributes 415 calories and 30 grams of fat. A Bread pudding: There are 306 calories in 1 cup (8 ounces) of bread pudding A Christmas cookies and candies: There are 72 calories in 1 Sugar Cookie (Includes Vanilla). It also has 39% fat, 57% carbs. One Candy Cane has 50 calories A Alcohol: It's all too easy to overdo it with alcohol calories in the holiday season. We all know desserts are fattening. But when it comes to alcoholic drinks, sometimes the calories don't register. A survey of 2,000 young adults commissioned by Cancer Research UK in 2014, revealed that some young adults consumed as much as 4,000 extra calories in alcohol alone at Christmas parties. People were also oblivious when it came to the amount of calories in beer with more than nine out of 10 not knowing how many calories there were in a standard pint of beer, the survey found.
Please note that alcoholic beverages primarily consist of water, alcohol (ethanol), and different amounts of sugar. The calories come from the alcohol and sugar and are considered "empty calories" because of the lack of the other essential nutrients.
Signature Events Art Fest
3rd Saturday in April
West Georgia Jazz Festival 4th Saturday in April Thomas A. Dorsey Festival 4th Weekend in June Summer Concert Series June, July & August Gold Rush 5K
Saturday after Labor Day
Gold Rush Festival
Saturday after Labor Day
Reindeer Run 5K
1st Saturday in December
Villa Rica's Hometown Pharmacy. Stop by today and experience the difference in service from your chain drug store. 222 W. Wilson Street Villa Rica, Georgia 30180 (770) 456-4663
104 S. Carroll Road Villa Rica, GA 30180 (770) 459-3060
214 W. Montgomery St. Villa Rica, Georgia 30180 678.952.6500 | www.2sew4uemb.com
Uncorked on Main serves Georgia Wine, Craft Beer and local cheeses. Uncorked features monthly art exhibits and cultural events.
129 Main Street Villa Rica, GA 30180 (678) 941-3699
Thursday 5:00-9:00 Friday 1:00-9:00 Saturday 1:00-9:00
Private Event Rentals Available
Real Living Georgia Life Realty "Real Estate for Real Life"
211 Main Street Villa Rica, GA 30180 770-456-2600 GeorgiaLifeRealty.com
113 Main Street Villa Rica, GA 30180 (770) 456-2291
Cooking: • Use vegetable oils such as olive oil instead of butter. • Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of butter and salt. • Use whole-grain breads and pastas instead of white. • Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying. • Instead of whole milk or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or fat-free/ skim milk.
Make Your Holiday Traditions Healthy Baking:
Beverages: • Instead of alcohol in mixed drinks, use club soda. • Instead of adding sugar to mixed drinks, mix 100-percent juice with water or use freshly squeezed juice, like lime. • Instead of using heavy cream or whole milk in dairy-based drinks, use low-fat or skim milk. • Instead of using sugar to sweeten cider, use spices and fruit, like cinnamon, cloves and cranberries.
• Instead of butter, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored, no-sugar-added applesauce. • Instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie sugar substitute. • Instead of whole or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or skim milk. • Instead of using only white flour, use half white Finally, this holiday season, please eat mindfully, and half whole-wheat flour. not mindlessly. Avoid the blues and love your body! • Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, For more information on celebrating your holidays use dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries. safely and tips for cutting back, visit: • Use extracts like vanilla, almond and www.RethinkingDrinking.niaaa.nih.gov. WGW peppermint to add flavor, instead of sugar or butter. Dr. Habiba Shaw was a member of the National Speaker’s Association, Alabama Chapter, and is regarded as an expert in healthy lifestyles. Dr. Shaw has a Doctorate Degree in Health Care Education from Nova Southeastern University and a Master’s Degree in Food and Nutrition. Habiba, a former university health and nutrition specialist, specialized in working with medical professionals and organizations that are concerned with general health and obesity. During her thirty plus year career, Dr. Shaw wrote health and nutrition related articles for newspapers, scientific magazines, and brochures, and presented seminars to major universities and colleges in Alabama. She also appeared on local television programs in her role as a nutrition expert.
Celebrate HER SUCCESS A 27-Year Success Story
he sign on the door of Sweet Pea's Boutique welcomes all who stop by to, "Come in, we're open and awesome," and that they are. Sidra McWhorter, owner of Sweet Pea's, knows a thing or two about being awesome. For the last 20 years, Sidra has accomplished a feat not many people can say they have. She has successfully run her own clothing boutique in Carrollton, Ga.
The Beginning Sidra grew up in Newnan, Ga., and was a very social teenager, participating in every club available, and was a cheerleader. She graduated from Newnan High School in 1987. After graduation, owning her own business wasn't even on her radar. Instead, Sidra attended college at the University of West Georgia, then known as West Georgia College, to pursue a degree in business. Once she realized she didn't care for accounting
too much, Sidra switched her major over to early childhood education. "I worked at The Learning Tree in Carrollton and Newnan, and found out very quickly I really didn't just love everyone else's kids so much," she laughs. "So I decided I wanted to be like Barbara Walters and be on TV." While she was working toward her degree, Sidra began working for Pam Uglum, the original owner of Sweet Peas, in 1989 as a sales associate. Once Sidra graduated college with a Mass Communications degree, she immediately got a job working at CNN. When she began working for CNN she realized it wasn't as glamorous as she thought, and the pay scale left much to be desired. Sidra says the salary was so low she couldn't even afford to live in Atlanta, and she was very sad about her dream being shattered so quickly. In 1992, she came back home and began working for Pam again, this time as manager of Sweet Pea's. Sidra was the manager of the store from 19921996 and married her husband Johnny, who she met earlier while attending West Georgia College, during that time. "He is so supportive of me," she shares with a warm smile. "I would be nothing without Johnny. Even early on when I bought the store, he would watch our girls when they were little on Saturdays when I had to work, and he never once complained." Together they have three beautiful girls, Madison, 23, who will graduate Dec. 11 from the University of West Georgia with a degree in psychology, Savannah, 18, who is attending the University of Georgia to become a doctor and Abigail, 16, is a junior at Central High School.
Local Clothing Boutique Owner Sidra McWhorter Shares Her Secret to Success
Photos by Keith May 45
They also have two dogs, S.A.M., a miniature Dachshund named for the first initials of each of their daughters, and Molly, who Sidra affectionately describes as a 100-pound lab mix mutt. "Johnny is way outnumbered – even the dog is a girl," she laughs, "but he's a great guy. He puts up with my crazy and is so supportive, I couldn't have asked for anyone better in my life." In her spare time, Sidra loves to play bunco, a popular game played with nine dice, and she's been playing in the same group for 18 years. Six of the charter members are still active in the group. She loves going to dinner, hanging out with friends, what she describes as "junking" and antiquing, and loves to shop.
A Leap Of Faith In 1996, Pam decided to sell Sweet Pea's and knew the person who needed to be the new owner of the store was Sidra. Sidra says Pam was kind enough to owner-finance the store for her, and even stayed on as a consultant for a while during the first few years. Sidra was able to pay off the loan within a period of five years. "There was never a question of whether I would succeed or not," she says. "I am motivated and driven to succeed. There is no failure because failure is not an option. I've been with Sweet Pea's for a total of 27 years and I have owned
There was never a question of whether I would succeed or not. I am motivated and driven to succeed. There is no failure, because failure is not an o ption.
Hard Times Life is not always easy for a small business owner, and Sidra knows that as well as anyone else. She recalls a time back in 2009 when things were particularly difficult for Sweet Pea's. "The economy was terrible, people were losing their jobs and everyone was afraid of having no money, especially expendable money," she relates. "It was really a struggle for me. I minded my P's and Q's and cut back hours, but I never let anyone go. Small expenditures were cut, I was very mindful of my budget and I didn't over-buy. I also bought closer to season that year." Close to this time, Sidra had a health scare that made her think a little more about her mortality as well. "I had neck surgery seven or eight years ago and they found a benign hemangioma (a noncancerous tumor made up of blood vessels), in my throat that could have blocked my airway at any time and I had to have it removed," she shares. "That kind of thing really makes you realize how important things are in your life. I am prayerful and faith-filled and it got me through it. I don’t know how people deal with any kind of adversity if they don’t have faith in God." Sidra says her greatest challenge as an owner of a clothing boutique is enticing people to make them want to come in the door. She says everyone's schedule is so packed that no one really has time to shop, so she always tries to think of new and interesting ideas to bring people into the store."We've been very blessed because we've grown every single year," she shares.
the store for 20 years." Sidra credits her success to having a passion for fashion and making a difference in people’s lives. She says owning a clothing boutique is more than about just dressing people or making a sale; it’s also about developing relationships with her customers and touching people's lives in different ways. She truly loves people and feels blessed to have met so many wonderful clients over the last 27 years.
Helping Others Sidra understands that with success comes a responsibility to give back to her community, and she goes above and beyond to help others in West Georgia.
dedication to the community and will be presented to Sidra on Dec. 2 at their Night in Lights event.
Her Advice With over 20 years of experience operating her own successful clothing boutique, Sidra shares why she believes she has achieved so much success in her business. "The main thing is having a direct plan and goals," she explains. "So many people go into a business thinking that everyone is going to come. Start small and grow. "For me, in my business it was important that I be present. If you want to own your own business, you have to be willing to work for it. Living it, eating it, breathing it, sleeping it. You have to be present. Some business owners want to own a business but they donâ€™t want to work hard. "You also have to genuinely love what you do. It's not a job, it's a passion. You must have long and short-term goals. What can I do immediately, right now, to grow and what can I do long-term that She says she is extremely passionate about women's issues and does everything she can to help people in her community. "I feel when people are down, you need to help them back up," she says. Sidra sells the Hands of Hope bracelets for the homeless in her store and gives every penny back to that organization, she is very involved with the Rape Crisis Center and their Night in Lights event, where she helps get people to donate Christmas trees and wreaths to raise funds for the organization. She also decorates a big tree every year and donates it to them to sell for profit. She gives back to the Carroll County Women's Shelter by sponsoring a handbag trade-in, then she donates all of the handbags to the shelter for the women, and during Sweet Pea's open house every year, Sidra gives patrons 20 percent off their purchase in the store if they bring in a new toy. She then divides the toys equally and donates them to the Carroll County Empty Stocking Fund and the women's shelter. Her open house event brings in hundreds of toys every year for the two organizations. The first weekend of December, Sidra will be the recipient of the Dr. N. Jane McCandless Community Leadership Award through the Prevention & Advocacy Resource Center (PARC). This award recognizes tireless leadership and
makes me different and makes me stand out?" Sidra also believes in the personal touch. She says she and her staff pay attention to detail, genuinely care about their customers, and share the human experience with them, which she believes makes them more relatable. Sidra and her staff still sit down every week and write thank you notes to their customers, and they write an average of 10 thank you notes a week. They also send sympathy cards to customers, and maintain a community events calendar for her and her staff to attend community events. "The thing about retail right now is you can shop in your pajamas for clothes on the Internet," she relates. "There are lots of great curated websites that are beautiful and enticing, but there is no human contact with that, and I feel like that is what makes us different and sets us apart from other retail stores. "Of course I want our store well curated, merchandised and have the right items to draw people in, but it's also about the human aspect of their experience. Our customers are our friends. We love our customers." Sidra says the most important thing to her is to treat every single person as if they are a guest in your home. "This is not negotiable for me," she says. "It is so important to me to be a nice person and for me and my staff to be nice to our customers. I think that gets lost a lot in the larger retail stores today." When it comes to competition, Sidra's advice is simple: Don't worry. "Competition doesn't scare me at all," she relates. "I think competition is healthy. I believe the more places we have in a small town to shop, it keeps people in town. My philosophy is not to worry. We just have to do what we do and be the best that we can be. If we do the best job that we possibly can, then they will come."
Sidra also credits the community in Carrollton for her success. "We live in a fabulous community who wraps their arms around smaller businesses and supports us," she smiles. "Our community is such an enigma to me. They rally around other people. We live in such a caring place, it’s not fake, it’s a 'real, small town, I care about my neighbor' kind of community, and that’s what I like the most about it. I think being right here in Carrollton has been a huge part of our success." She says if she could sit down and talk with young Sidra in the beginning of her journey, she wouldn't tell her to do anything differently, that it's all been a little bit of trial and error, but she believes everything has unfolded exactly as it was meant to.
It's All About Fashion (and Fun) Sweet Pea's merchandise is mostly composed of clothing and accessories, a wide variety of gifts, footwear, jewelry and handbags – Brighton and Hobo are the two main lines she carries, and BED|STÜ handbags and shoes. They also carry some
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bridal, baby and home interior items, and Alex and Ani jewelry. Sidra stays on top of the latest fashions by attending every single Atlanta market. She attends gift shows and shows in New York or Los Angeles at least once a year. All of the items in Sweet Pea's are hand-picked and curated for their customers, and are put together and presented in a certain way that makes every customer's shopping experience significant and above the rest. Sidra compares the shopping experience in her store with that of a trip to a museum or art gallery that manages exclusive collection pieces or valuable works of art. "I am very big on training my staff to be stylists, each one of them really are stylists," she shares. "We always stay current with the latest fashion trends." Sidra says she and her staff are similar to museum curators. The hand-picked items in Sweet Pea's are like works of art to them, and each one of those items have a purpose. She says that purpose is to make their customers look and feel their best, and she and her staff know exactly how to help their customers feel great about themselves. The staff loves helping their customers look beautiful and well put together. Just like a museum arranges their works of art with the aim of informing and educating the public, they arrange their works
of art – Sweet Pea's clothing, jewelry, handbags and accessories to help their customers accentuate the beauty that is already inside them. Sidra wants women to know that Sweet Pea's clothing boutique is for everyone who wants a positive, fun and helpful shopping experience. She says the thing that would probably surprise women the most is how affordable Sweet Pea's can be. "A boutique is kind of a daunting word," she relates. "Many people tend to think that if you own a boutique that you are super high-end and snotty, and I think women who come into our store for the first time would be surprised at how real and downto-earth we are, and affordable. We have items in our store anywhere from $8.99 to hundreds of dollars." Sidra also says no matter what you buy at Sweet Pea's, you will get the same quality curated service every time you walk into her store. "Most women don’t know until they come in that we don’t just have high-end clothing. You can get things to wear even from $40. We have really become more priceconscious over the years. I work very hard to get quality goods in, but I don't sell disposable clothing. I don't want you to buy something and have you only be able to wear it once. Quality is a big thing with me and we stand behind our products." Another thing that sets Sweet Pea's apart from other boutiques are the fun events she holds several times a year for her customers. "I'm very eventdriven in my business. We love to have events. We think it's a great time to have a party every day," she laughs. "We like to have fun. Our store is definitely a fun store."
Her Support Sidra is lucky to have wonderful friends and family
who have supported her through her 20-year journey as a business owner. She says former owner of Sweet Pea's, Pam Uglum, has had the most impact on her professional life and she could never have done this without Pam's guidance. "Pam is my biggest mentor as far as bouncing ideas off of. She is a rock. She has so many brilliant ideas, I definitely wouldn't have made it in this business without her. I think she is proud of me," she laughs. "At least I hope so!" The person Sidra says has had the most impact on her personal life is her husband Johnny. "Johnny is steadfast and true. He thinks that I am the best thing since sliced bread and God love him for that,"
she says with a warm smile. "He’s always steady and there, and I don’t know how I would have succeeded in business or personally without him. I kind of fly by the seat of my pants and he does not. He helps to ground me. We've been married 24 years on Nov. 7, and he is just a really great guy." Sidra has a huge network of support from her girl friends as well. She says her friends always come to all of her events to show their support for her, and she says she is really lucky to have a really close-knit girls' group. She also says she wouldn't be successful without the support of her wonderful staff. "I am nobody without them," she relates. "You’re just as good as the people that work with you, and I can’t do it all myself. I really rely on my people, and I have the best team ever. This team really gets it."
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Sidra says when it comes to her biggest fan, it's a tie between her dad Rodger Smith (who still lives in Carrollton with his wife Betty Sue Smith) and Johnny. "They both love me unconditionally, and are so proud of my successes and supportive through my failures," she relates. She also shares how her three daughters feel about her success. "They are extremely proud of their mother," she shares. "I really have driven the hard work ethic into them and the notion that they can do anything. I think they’ll all be really successful and work hard. I want to provide the best life possible for my children and I want to succeed for my family."
Looking Ahead Sidra says in five years she sees herself in Sweet Pea's selling you a cute new outfit with accessories and a handbag, at least until she retires one day, and then she says she's going to go live in a beach house somewhere, because working in retail is hard work physically. But for now, she will continue to provide all of her customers with the quality curated service that they've all come to appreciate at Sweet Pea's Boutique. Some other services she provides to her valued customers are easy wish lists for women to register for gifts, free gift wrapping, and Joann Rogers from Bowdon does all of Sweet Pea's alterations. Sidra also does personal shopping appointments and curated wardrobe consultations at an hourly rate, to help her clients learn what key items they are missing from their wardrobes. Sidra takes pride in providing the personal touch for her clients,
and as a personal favor to her clients' husbands or significant others, she will call them up personally and tell them exactly what their wives really want for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. With complimentary gift wrapping and one less trip to the doghouse, what's not to like about that? Sweet Pea's Boutique is located at 941 Maple St. in Carrollton, Ga., in the Westover Square Shopping Center. Their business hours are Monday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and, during December only, they are open on Sundays from 1-4 p.m. For more information, call 770.836.8864 or visit them in person. As for Sidra, she can't wait to meet you, and invites you to come visit Sweet Pea's Boutique very soon. "We’re super excited about the holiday season, we would love for people to come in and give us a shot and see what they think," she says excitedly. "We love what we do and we’re here to help. My staff and I want to help you look your very best by offering you a perfectly curated wardrobe. All of our items are hand-picked with your personal style in mind, and that is what makes us stand out above the rest. We want to make you happy and build a relationship with you that will last a lifetime!" WGW
Inspiring quotes by extraordinary women “I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was 6. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked me for my autograph.”
state of mind.”
– Shirley Temple
– Mary Ellen
“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a
Chase "There's nothing sadder in this world than to awaken Christmas morning and not be a child.” – Erma Bombeck
“The only real blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart.” – Helen Keller
"Even the most harried workdays become tolerable when you know a day of holy peace is shortly arriving. The days succeeding the day of rest become days of light too. They shimmer with the afterglow of a revived spirit.”
– Naomi Levy 53
Finding Gratitude During Stressful Times
ould striving for happiness actually be making us less happy in the long run? We spend a lot of our time working toward things that we think will make us happy: pursuing a better-paying job, searching for an ideal spouse, saving up for that dream trip to Europe or a number of other experiences and material objects. However, once we achieve those things, the feeling of happiness we experience is often shortlived, and not as satisfying as we expected. Even winning the lottery, something nearly everyone has fantasized about at one point or another, will not make you as happy as you might think. A classic 1978 experiment by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Massachusetts asked people of two very different groups, recent lottery winners and recent victims of catastrophic accidents, to rate the level of pleasure they received from simple, yet enjoyable moments in life such as receiving a compliment or laughing at a joke. Surprisingly, both sets of people reported
By Lisa King Smith
similar levels of happiness, with the paraplegic accident victims actually reporting slightly higher levels of happiness. Sure, the lottery winners probably experienced very high levels of happiness when they first heard their winning numbers announced, but happiness, like all human emotions, is temporary and eventually fades away. Some psychologists have attributed this phenomenon to something called hedonistic adaptation, which suggests that everyone has their own individual baseline level of happiness. When something good or exciting happens, our happiness level increases, but only for a short time before reverting back to our baseline. It’s why we have a tendency to get tired of things that once made us happy, such as a new house or car, and desire to reach that same level of happiness again, by moving to an even bigger house or buying an even newer car. This pursuit of happiness is like being stuck in a hamster wheel. We’re constantly moving toward the next thing that will make us happy and never actually reaching a place where we can stop moving and say “I’ve made it! I’m happy!”
would likely bring you a great sense of joy. That’s one of the best things about joy: it can be shared, and often becomes more powerful when shared with another. “Carrollton’s Prescription Headquarters”
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That’s exactly why we should stop striving for happiness and strive for joy instead.
What’s the difference between happiness and joy? Though they seem similar, there are some profound differences between these concepts. Perhaps the most significant difference between the two feelings is where they come from. Happiness is external. It is brought on by things such as outside experiences, wordly pleasure and material objects. Joy, on the other hand, is internal. It’s a state of mind. Joy has elements of many pleasant feelings, including happiness, but also contentment, hope and peace. Joy is happiness on a much deeper and more meaningful level. While happiness brings a smile to the face, joy brings warmth to the heart. Imagine coming into a large sum of money by chance, such as winning the lottery. How would you feel? Probably pretty happy! Now imagine that you just earned that same amount of money after working hard to start your own business doing what you love. You would feel joy. The end result is the same (the money), but it’s the way you get there that determines the final emotion you experience. As mentioned earlier, happiness is a temporary emotion, whereas joy tends to last much longer and have a deeper impact. You are likely to remember moments of joy more vividly than moments of happiness. A delicious meal at a restaurant will make you happy, but having the exact same meal prepared for you at home by someone very special to you will bring you joy, and you would likely remember the moment for much longer. Joy does not always come from our own experiences, but the positive experiences of others as well. Seeing your child smile and laugh for the first time, or hearing a loved one’s exciting news
How do we find joy during difficult times? Life doesn’t always seem sunny and bright. There will inevitably be stormy days, and happiness is not always present amidst these life “storms” but joy can be. So what’s the key to finding joy in less than ideal circumstances? Practicing gratitude. Sometimes being joyful means committing to having a positive outlook on life and an appreciation for the moment, despite the circumstances. Making a conscious effort to focus on what you have to be grateful for in life instead of what’s going wrong can actually increase that baseline level of happiness mentioned earlier and bring feelings of lasting joy. Next time you’re stressed or unhappy with
the day and try to find things to be grateful for even in annoying or less than ideal circumstances. For example, you may think “I really don’t want to go to the DMV to renew my car registration, but I’m grateful to have a car and to be healthy enough to drive it.” Some people find that keeping a gratitude journal helps them stay positive and increases feelings of joy over time. Not only does this give you a chance to routinely acknowledge things you are grateful for, but you will have a collection of these things to look back on when you are feeling stressed or unhappy. Next, move on to exterior gratitude, or the act of giving thanks publicly. Take time to let your loved ones, friends and colleagues know that you are thankful for them and the impact they have on your something in your life, stop and take a moment to life. Even go out of your way to thank someone you think of three things you’re grateful for. Too often, may see regularly but not normally speak to, such as we take things like health, a home, employment, your mail carrier, your doorman or the custodian that family or friends for granted and neglect to cleans your office building. Not only is expressing appreciate them when they matter most. To find joy your gratitude for others good for your own wellin the midst of a life storm, it’s important not to lose being, you may bring unexpected joy to someone sight of the many great things we have going for us. else’s life too! Even take a moment to be grateful for the Just because happiness is a temporary emotion challenges you are facing because every challenge doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still pursue it. Doing the is a lesson that will allow you to grow. It can be things that make us happy can help us live more joyful difficult, but try to see challenges as opportunities and fulfilling lives. We should always be celebrating to learn and build a better life. the moments in life that make us happy, even the Practicing gratitude can help you live a more small ones that may not be as profound as our big joyful life even when you aren’t going through moments of joy. What’s important is not letting difficult times. It’s easy to get jealous of what our happiness become our ultimate goal because we peers have, especially in today’s social media age will only get stuck in the hamster wheel. Instead, we when we are constantly scrolling through streams should strive to practice gratitude as often as we can, of other people’s accomplishments. Remember so that our outlook on life is one of positivity and joy. that what you see on Instagram or Facebook is just WGW the highlight reel of other people’s lives. You don’t Lisa King Smith, Ed.S., LPC is a Licensed Professional know what challenges your neighbor who’s posting Counselor providing Psychotherapy in private practice in beautiful photos from her Caribbean cruise could Carrollton, Georgia. A graduate of the University of West be facing behind the scenes. There will always be Georgia’s Psychology & Counselor Education programs, those who have more than us, but it’s important to her specialties include anxiety, depression, substance remember that there will also always be those who abuse, life transitions, selfhave less. harm and trauma, as well as
How can we practice gratitude in our daily lives? Start by practicing interior gratitude, which is the act of giving thanks internally. Make mental notes about small things you’re grateful for throughout
working with teen girls and young adult women. For the past four years, she has also served on the Board of Directors for the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Ga. as Western District Chair.
IT’S NOT A HOME.
IT’S A LIFESTYLE.
Put your trust in a Realtor who listens to ensure you find the house that fits you today and grows with you into the future.
Shala Hainer, Realtor Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers Office: 404.843.2500 Direct: 770.842.8500 www.metrobrokers.com Better Homes and Gardens® is a registered trademark of Meredith Corporation licensed to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Equal Opportunity Company. Each Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Franchise is Independently Owned and Operated. If your property is currently listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers.
Healers and Helpers Wellness Group
This group meets the last Saturday of every month in Douglasville or Austell. For more information, contact Cheryl at email@example.com or 678-754-5840. Learn more at www.heartmatterswellness.com. December meeting: Join Okovie Ulukpo, LPC and Cheryl Francis, LPC as they host a Mini Mindfulness Self-Care Retreat focused on managing holiday stressors. Dec. 10, 2016, at 7 p.m. Location: 5000 Austell Powder Springs Rd., Austell, Ga. 30106.
Hope For The Journey This group meets the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the board 58
room at the Tracy Stallings Community Center at 118 South White St. in Carrollton.
These events are free to breast cancer survivors or those currently battling breast cancer. No one should have to face breast cancer alone.
Need It Most – Mommy’s Day Out Each Mommy’s Day Out event is from 6 to 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. Locations vary. Please contact Jwyanda at 678.739.1740 or Jwyanda@icloud.com for more information. These are free events for new mothers, mothers with children 0-12 months and mothers suffering from postpartum depression. www.needitmost.wordpress.com
The Michael and Andrea Stone Visiting Artist Series
Photos by Keith May
Featured Dawn Dininger, a University of West Georgia Alumna and award-winning special effects artist on Oct. 13, 2016, at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center
Photo on left: Dawn answers questions from the audience as Brad Darvas, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Design and Chad Davidson, Director, School of the Arts at the University of West Georgia look on. Right: Dawn takes time after the program to chat with young fans. Dawn's film credits include Aliens, Alien VS. Predator, Jurassic Park 3, A.I., The Chronicles of Narnia, Spiderman, Snow White and the Huntsman and many more.
Kidz Korner By Charlene Brooks and Sydney Dailey
Cocoa Mugs T
hese yummy Christmas cocoa mugs are sure to be a hit with your little ones. They are super easy to make and even more fun to eat! After you make them, snuggle up in front of the fire place and pretend you're having a nice cup of hot cocoa together.
Ingredients Flower-shaped cookies Large marshmallows Candy canes White and milk chocolate bark Christmas candy decorations Instructions Melt the white and milk chocolate bark in separate bowls. Break off the curved top of the candy canes. Stick the ends of the curved candy cane into the side of the marshmallows for handles. Spread the white chocolate bark on top of the flower cookie. Place marshmallow on top of the cookies. Spread milk chocolate bark on top of the marshmallows. Cut small pieces off of a marshmallow to place on top of the chocolate. Decorate cup and cookie as desired using the melted white chocolate as glue.
Snowmen on a Stick
hese tasty snowmen on a stick are a snap to make using the materials you already have for the Christmas cocoa mugs, and they make delicious treats that can be taken to school parties or just enjoyed at home. Ingredients Marshmallows Candy canes
Instructions Break off the curved top of the candy canes and set aside. Stick the rest of the candy cane through three marshmallows. Melt the white chocolate bark. Pull off one piece of the pull-apart candy string and tie around the bottom of the top marshmallow for a scarf. Dab a small amount of white chocolate bark on three of the milk chocolate candies. Stick candies on marshmallows for buttons. Cut small piece of pull-apart candy string to use for nose. Attach with white chocolate bark. Melt milk chocolate bark and dab on marshmallow for eyes. Dab milk chocolate bark on top of marshmallow then attach bell-shaped candy for hat. WGW
Pull-apart candy strings Milk chocolate bellshaped candy White and milk chocolate bark Milk chocolate candies
Merry Christmas Word Search
Word Bank Nativity Yule Log Santa's Workshop Wise Men Christmas Tree Gifts Jesus Family Santa Claus Christmas Caroling Snow Manger Elves
Word search created at puzzle-maker.com
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