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HomeTown Holidays

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Page 1: HomeTown Holidays
Page 2: HomeTown Holidays

Page �- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

HOLIDAY DINING SALE!Prepare Now for Those Holiday Guests!

Savings at 40% OFF Regular Prices!

We have a Large Selection of Styles.Traditional, Transitional, Contemporary, Formal or Not So Formal

And Remember...There is Never a Finance or Delivery Charge at Home Furniture!

We CarryGE, Hotpoint

& CrosleyAppliances

HOURS:MON-THURS

8:30-5:00FRI 8:30-7:00

SAT 8:30-5

QUALITY, SELECTION, SERVICE - It’s not a slogan. It’s the way we do business.

Home Furniture L.L.C.“No Monkey Business”

FREE Financing...FREE Delivery...Always!125 E. Main Street • Collinsville, IL • 344-5123

‘Tis the season at the Missouri Botanical Garden! A host of holiday activities await visitors between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Experience the annual “Gardenland Express” holiday flower and train show, commemorating “150 Years of the Garden.” Celebrate Chanukah, Kwanzaa and Christmas traditions. Enjoy seasonal décor, from adorned trees to festive wreaths to sweet-smelling garlands. Take a class to brush up on your cookie-decorating and greeting-card-making skills.

Stop by the Garden Gate Shop and Little Shop Around the Corner for unique gift-giving ideas, and more! Visit www.mobot.org for details on all of the holiday happen-ings.

Don’t miss the Garden’s final sesquicentennial celebra-tory event of 2009! The vibrant “Gardenland Express” hol-iday flower and train show chugs into town Wednesday, Nov. 25, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday, Jan. 3 (closes at 4 p.m. Dec. 24 and 31; closed Dec. 25). Watch as eight G-scale model garden trains travel along 800 feet of railway track in the Orthwein Floral Display Hall, through a bold, colorful palette of orange, purple, red, white and lime green botanicals.

Look for several Garden landmarks in miniature, includ-ing the historic Linnean House conservatory, Museum Building, Chinese Garden pagoda, Piper Observatory

and Tower Grove House (founder Henry Shaw’s original country estate). Archival images highlighting the insti-tution’s 150-year history will line the walls in a tribute timeline.

The 2009 “Gardenland Express” holiday flower and train show is sponsored by CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann, P.C.; Central States Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Miss Marian L. Herr; Hobby Station; and Mr. and Mrs. William R. Orthwein, Jr. Admission to “Gardenland Express” is $5 for ages three and over, in addition to general Garden admission; Garden members are free.

Seasonal décor decks the halls of the Ridgway Visitor Center, Tower Grove House and Kemper Center for Home Gardening. Nov. 21 through Jan. 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., view the annual Holiday Wreath Exhibition, fea-turing unique creations by some of the area’s finest floral designers.

All wreaths are sold by silent auction bidding, with proceeds benefiting the Garden. Nov. 25 through Jan. 3, experience a Victorian Christmas at Tower Grove House. The country residence of Garden founder Henry Shaw is decked with wreaths, garlands, floral centerpieces, green-ery and holiday trees.

Young visitors can enjoy storytelling on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and a special Seek-and-Find activity.

See "MoBOT" on Page 6

MoBot plans for holidays

Page 3: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page 3

Getting A NEW CarFor Christmas?

www.shelterinsurance.com Seek Shelter Today!

CallDean Fortner

Agent618.288.2912

Anita M. Reising, D. C.

Holidays have such great meaning for family and friends, but with the holidays comes the stress of all the preparation of family gatherings, meals and shopping. Stress overtaxes and drains one mentally, physically and emotionally. Negative stress can initiate and contribute to many disease processes and aggravate current ones. It is important to recognize how we handle our stress, how we take it on and how we release it.

Meditation, exercises, music, walks, well-balanced diet, good sleep, sunshine and laughter are some of the ways of relieving stress and being in control of innermost thoughts and our actions.

Relax with a cup of herbal tea while you enjoy these recipes. May your holidays be full of joy, peace and hope!

HOLIDAY DINING SALE!Prepare Now for Those Holiday Guests!

Savings at 40% OFF Regular Prices!

We have a Large Selection of Styles.Traditional, Transitional, Contemporary, Formal or Not So Formal

And Remember...There is Never a Finance or Delivery Charge at Home Furniture!

We CarryGE, Hotpoint

& CrosleyAppliances

HOURS:MON-THURS

8:30-5:00FRI 8:30-7:00

SAT 8:30-5

QUALITY, SELECTION, SERVICE - It’s not a slogan. It’s the way we do business.

Home Furniture L.L.C.“No Monkey Business”

FREE Financing...FREE Delivery...Always!125 E. Main Street • Collinsville, IL • 344-5123

Find holiday gifts for everyone on your list at the Saint Louis Zoo this year. Proceeds from all sales ben-efit the animals and programs of the Zoo. For more information, visit www.stlzoo.org.

Holiday ZootiqueShop Holiday Zootique for gifts you won’t find at the

mall, including animal and nature-themed ornaments, plush animals, hand-painted African pottery, clothing, puzzles, books, toys, vases, picture frames, candles and many items only available at the Saint Louis Zoo. Holiday Zootique is open November 12 through December 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gift shops are also open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. during U.S. Bank Wild Lights on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, November 27 to December 13, and nightly from December 18 to 23 and December 26 to 30, 2009. Admission charge applies for Wild Lights.

Exclusive Zoo OrnamentCollect the Zoo’s limited edition, exclusive orna-

ment featuring the Amur tiger from the Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel. The glass ornament is sold gift-boxed for $15. Purchase ornaments at Zootique, online at www.stlzoo.org or by phone at (314) 781-0900, ext. 4779.

Holiday CardThe box of 12 cards features four different wildlife

illustrations by students in Tanzania as part of an art exchange with fourth grade students in St. Louis. The exchange was facilitated through the Zoo’s WildCare Institute Center for Cheetah Conservation in Africa. The greeting reads: ‘Tis the season to celebrate the world and all of its creatures. Cards are available for $10 at Zootique or by phone at (314) 781-0900, ext. 4779. For more information, visit www.stlzoo.org.

Zoo Parents Holiday AdoptionGo ape this holiday! Adopt a gorilla for someone

on your list. Each proud Zoo Parent will receive a cuddly plush gorilla (while supplies last), personal-ized adoption certificate, color photo and fact sheet, car decal and T-shirt transfer, invitation to the annual Zoo Parents Picnic and the recipient’s name on the Zoo Parents Kiosk for one year. Holiday adoptions are $35 by November 30 and $40 after November 30. Orders include shipping and handling to anywhere in the United States. Order adoptions online at www.stlzoo.org, by phone at (314) 646-4771 or in person at Zoo Welcome Desks. Place orders by December 15 for delivery by December 24.

Zoo Friends Holiday MembershipA Saint Louis Zoo Friends gift membership includes

presents big and small and can be used all year long! See "ZOO" on Page 7

Zoo offers unique gifts

Page 4: HomeTown Holidays

Page �- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

(ARA) - Here’s another silver lining to the dark economic clouds still on the horizon this holiday season: handmade holiday deco-rations are not only less costly, they’re perceived as more mean-ingful as well.

From spending more time with loved ones to an improvement in our overall health, stories abound on the positive side effects of the shaky economy. Increased enthu-siasm for handmade items may well be the latest good by-product of troubled economic times.

“Social science experts tell us that tough economic times realign people’s priorities, and we’re cer-tainly seeing that all around us,” says Riddi Kline, vice president, marketing of Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, a leading craft sup-plies retailer. “People are placing greater emphasis not just on cost-savings but on the meaningfulness of a decoration or gift. Nothing is more personal and customizable than something you make your-self. And this year, you can find craft ideas to fit every holiday decorating theme.”

So how do you decide what handmade decorations will enhance your home’s holiday décor? Margaret Skinner, director of customer education of Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores offers a few pointers:

• Choose craft items that com-plement your home’s overall theme. For example, if you love clean, contemporary modern lines, make items that mimic that look. Crafts that incorporate reflective surfaces and metallic looks will fit well with contemporary themes. Softer fabrics and materials will mesh with a country theme.

• Make crafts that will endure and be durable for seasons to come. “You’ll invest your time and a bit of yourself in every item you make,” Skinner says. “Opt for items that will be easy to care for and that will appeal to your sense of the holidays not just this year, but next year and the year after

that as well.”• Give yourself plenty of time

and space in which to create. You’re not rushing the season if you start working on your holiday crafts in early November or even late October. You’re just giving yourself plenty of time to accom-plish everything you want to do. Also, dedicate a specific area of your home to your crafting and keep all your projects in one place – this way you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.

• Get kids involved. When you create crafts with your children, you’re not just making decora-tions, you’re making memories that will stay with them through-out their lives. Plus, making crafts together will make each item feel that much more meaningful when you use it to decorate your home.

• Shop smart when shopping for craft supplies. Jo-Ann Fabrics is a leading seller of supplies for virtually every type of crafting activity. You can find craft ideas and directions to fit every type of holiday décor at www.joann.com.

Try this creative craft – a hand-crafted birdhouse – that can be customized to fit with either a city or country theme:

A Country BirdhouseDesigned by Connie Glennon-

HallSupplies and tools1 wood birdhouse1 can Rust-Oleum multicol-

ored texture spray paint, autumn

brown1 each acrylic paints in dark

brown, green and ivorywooden picket fenceDeco Art Snow Writer1 piece, 12 inches by 12 inches,

brown cardstock1 piece, 10 inches by 4 inches,

Homespun fabricXyron 510 machine with adhe-

sive cartridgeTacky glue and glue stick1/2-inch flat paintbrush1/2-inch detail paintbrushwire cuttersscissorspaper trimmerrulersandpaperAssembly instructions:1. Sand the birdhouse hole open-

ings to remove rough edges.2. Paint the entire birdhouse

with dark brown acrylic paint. When dry, spray with autumn brown multicolored textured paint. When dry, paint ivory lines with the detail brush.

3. Cut a rectangle of cardstock slightly smaller than the bottom of birdhouse. Glue cardstock to bottom of birdhouse using glue stick.

4. With wire cutters, cut a nine- to 10-picket length from the fence. Dilute green paint and apply a wash coating over fence. When dry, glue to the front of house, along the front base.

5. Measure the three sections of the roof and cut brown card-stock to fit. Run the cardstock through the Xyron machine. Press the sticky side of the cardstock onto the homespun fabric, align-ing plaids and allowing 1/4 inch margin around each piece.

6. Trim around roof panels – keeping the 1/4 inch margin of fab-ric – and fray the edges by pulling out threads. Glue the three panels to the birdhouse roof, allowing fringe to remain exposed.

7. Decorate the house base, fence, perch, openings and fabric roof with Snow Writer.

See "CRAFTS" on Page 5

Crafts add to holiday decor

Page 5: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page 5

Th inking About A JOHN DEER GIFT For Th e Holidays?

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Mowers For Every Need

Has Gifts For Everyone On Your List!

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Visit Your Hometown Store:

9425 St. Rt. 140 • Hamel, IL618-633-2626

7 am - 5 pm Weekdays • 7 am - 12 pm Saturdays

Continued from Page 4 Uptown (City) BirdhouseSupplies and toolsWood birdhouseRust-Oleum textured paint, desert bisqueDeco Art Dazzling Metallics acrylic paint, Champagne

gold1 piece, 12 by 12 inches, tan or gold cardstock1 piece, 4 inches by 9 inches, Glitter Organza 5/8-inch

ribbonDeco Art Snow WriterXyron 510 machine with adhesive cartridgetacky glue and glue stickdouble-sided tapescissorspaper trimmerrulersandpaperpaintbrushbeaded trimAssembly instructions:1. Sand the birdhouse hole openings to remove rough

edges.2. Spray birdhouse with desert bisque textured paint to

obscure wood grain. When dry, paint entire house with champagne gold acrylic paint.

3. Cut a rectangle of cardstock slightly smaller than the bottom of birdhouse. Glue cardstock to the underside of birdhouse using glue stick.

4. Attach beaded trim to the side edges of the upper roof using tacky glue.

5. Measure and cut a piece of ribbon slightly longer than the length of lower roof. Put a strip of double-sided tape on one side of ribbon. Squeeze a thin line of tacky glue over the lower roof and then apply the ribbon strip over that. When dry, trim ribbon ends.

6. Measure the two sections of the large roof and cut two pieces of cardstock to fit.

7. Run the cardstock through the Xyron machine. Position the cardstock on work surface with adhesive side up. Cover adhesive side with five overlapping strips of ribbon. Repeat for both roof pieces. Trim ribbon edges.

8. Place the two roof sections, peak to peak and ribbon side down, over the wrong side of the sheer fabric; cut the sheer fabric 3/4-inch larger all around the roof shape. Create a “hinge” between the two roof pieces (wrong side) with a strip of tape. Apply two more pieces of tape along the bot-tom edges of the wrong sides of the roof sections. Fold the sheer fabric over both long edges of the hinged roof, sticking the fabric to the three strips of tape. Add bits of tape to the bottom roof corners and fold raw fabric edges in, as though wrapping a gift. Secure the roof to the birdhouse with tacky glue. Glue only one roof plane at a time; tip the birdhouse over and weight it down, until glue is dry. Then, repeat for the other roof plane.

9. Decorate the house with Snow Writer, covering up the raw fabric edges between fabric and wood roof.

Crafts

Page 6: HomeTown Holidays

Page �- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

Markel L. Owens, M.D., Christina L. Midkiff , M.D.,Shawna Swinigan, PA-C, Sarah Pringle, CNP

Maryville Offi ce2023 Vadalabene Drive, Suite 200

Maryville, IL 62062

Accepting New PatientsCall 618-288-7408

O’Fallon Offi ce734 Cambridge Blvd., Suite 200

O’Fallon, IL 62269

Dr. Christina Midkiff , Obstetrics & Gynecologyis pleased to announce the addition of

Dr. Markel Owens

Continued from Page 2

Tower Grove House is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. (closed Mondays). Dec. 5 through Jan. 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Jan. 1), enjoy “Inspired by the Garden” Holiday Trimmings at the Kemper Center, featuring a 15-foot bal-sam fir tree decorated with over 50 “gourdaments” and gourd birdhouses to celebrate the Garden’s 150th anniver-sary. New this year, vote for the “visitor’s choice” award for your favorite gourd! All decorated gourds are sold by silent auction bidding.

Join the traditional Jewish holiday celebration, “Chanukah: Festival of Lights” on Sunday, Dec. 6 from noon to 4 p.m. Enjoy festive Israeli music and dance, a menorah-lighting ceremony, and a traditional “shuk,” or marketplace.

Listen to holiday carols, whisper wishes to Santa in his sleigh and smell chestnuts roasting on an open fire during “Christmas Carols in the Garden,” Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13 from 1 to 5 p.m. Experience the contem-porary African-American holiday “Kwanzaa: Festival of the First Fruits” on Wednesday, Dec. 30 from noon to 4 p.m. Enjoy an afternoon of storytelling, craft and jewelry displays, and authentic African drumming and music, centered around the feast table of the harvest.

Several seasonal classes tap into the holiday spirit. Create a Decorative Scented Wreath on Nov. 17 or join a Holiday Wreath Making Workshop on Dec. 5 or 12. Try your hand at making a 3-D Papercutting Ornament on Dec. 3 or 8, or create DIY: Christmas Cards on Dec 9. Decorate a deli-cious Gingerbread Cottage on Dec. 2, and prepare stun-ning sweets with Holiday Cookies and Cookie Decorating classes on Dec. 6 and 8, respectively. Seniors, enhance your Garden visit therapeutically with a Botanical Wreath program on Dec. 9 or Holiday Cookie Recipes on Dec. 11. Youngsters ages four and five can also celebrate the sea-son alongside an adult during Garden Buds: Evergreen: A Special Tree for Me! on Nov. 19 or 22. Advance registration is required for all classes; visiwww.mobot.orgfor a com-plete list of program times and prices, or to register.

Shop the Garden Gate Shop for unique gifts, includ-ing candy cane, cupcake and cardinal-inspired goodies. Browse an array of holiday greeting cards, “green” items made from recycled materials, tropical-themed ornaments, books, decor and more.

The Shop is located in the lower level of the Ridgway Visitor Center and is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; visitw-wwgardengateshop.org Head down the street to the Little Shop Around the Corner for one-of-a-kind finds, including vintage jewelry, artwork, accent furnishings, garden décor and more. The Little Shop is located at 4474 Castleman Ave. (at the corner of Shaw and Vandeventer) and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed January); visit www.littleshop.org.

See "MoBOT" on Page 7

MoBOT

Page 7: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page 7

Markel L. Owens, M.D., Christina L. Midkiff , M.D.,Shawna Swinigan, PA-C, Sarah Pringle, CNP

Maryville Offi ce2023 Vadalabene Drive, Suite 200

Maryville, IL 62062

Accepting New PatientsCall 618-288-7408

O’Fallon Offi ce734 Cambridge Blvd., Suite 200

O’Fallon, IL 62269

Dr. Christina Midkiff , Obstetrics & Gynecologyis pleased to announce the addition of

Dr. Markel Owens

All Gifts Available at the Fox Box Office314-534-1111 metrotix.com

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Continued from Page 3

A $60 membership includes six free parking passes, free passes for the Zooline Railroad, Children’s Zoo and Sea Lion Show, as well as Zoo discounts, stlzoo member magazine, e-newsletter and more. The member-ship includes a collectible ornament available only with holiday gift mem-berships (while supplies last). Order memberships online at www.stlzoo.org, by phone at (314) 646-4771 or in person at Zoo Welcome Desks. Place orders by December 15 for delivery by December 24.

New Book: Animals Always – 100

Years at the Saint Louis ZooOverflowing with stories, photo-

graphs, and fascinating sidebars, this captivating coffee-table book covers the Zoo’s rich history and its emer-gence as a modern-day center of research and conservation. Available for $29.95 at Zootique, online at www.stlzoo.org, or by phone at (314) 781-0900, ext. 4779.

Behind-the-Scenes Tours Gift Certificates

Have you ever met a penguin, fed a giant tortoise, scratched a leg-less lizard? For the person who has everything, give a gift certificate for a behind-the-scenes tour at the Zoo. Tours include Gentle Giants (giraffes), Leaping Lemurs, Snakes Alive, Penguin Encounter, Tour de Tortoise, Playful Primates, Tiger Tales, Sea

Lion Encounter, Chirping Cheetahs, Family Safari, Rhino Ramble, Creepy Crawlies and After School Zookeeper. Tours vary in price and have some restrictions. For tour gift certificates and reservations, call (314) 781-0900, ext. 4840.

Engineer for a Day Gift CertificatesCome aboard and learn to be an

Engineer for a Day! Ages 7-97 can work alongside an engineer and get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be a part of the Zooline Railroad at the Saint Louis Zoo. Participants will receive a nametag, Zoo bandana, engi-neer cap, certificate and lunch with a Zooline Railroad engineer. Prices are $125 for Zoo Friends members and $135 for non-members. For engineer gift certificates and reservations, call (314) 646-4771.

Zoo

Continued from Page 6

Give the gift of the Garden this season! A Missouri Botanical Garden membership includes free general admis-sion for two adults and children ages 12 and under to the

Garden, Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, Shaw Nature Reserve and EarthWays Center, along with special discounts and invitations to members-only events.

A regular level membership costs $65 ($60 for seniors age 65 and over). Purchase a new or gift membership Nov. 4 through 8 or Dec. 2 through 6 and receive 20-percent off (on-site sales only).

For more information, visit www.mobot.org/member-ship

MoBOT

Page 8: HomeTown Holidays

Page �- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

Have a Merry and Musical Christmas!www.mojosmusic.com

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• Quality, custom designed electric guitar and amp packages

starting at $249• Good looking, nice playing, complete acoustic guitar packages

starting at $99• Beautiful entry-level drum kits, complete with drum, hardware

cymbals and throne from $399Great Gift Ideas: Electronic Tuners, Guitar and Bass

Effects Pedals, Congas, Bongos, Cymbals, Drum Sticks,Stick Bags, Music Books, Music Stands,

Guitar Stands and Straps

AllPackagesIncludeFREELessons!

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood loves money. So does Ebenezer Scrooge. So what better way to launch the holiday season than putting the old money-grubber at the head of the line to separate movie-goers from their cash?

The latest version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” features Jim Carrey as Scrooge. Coming on Ebenezer’s coattails will be everything from vampire romance (“The Twilight Saga: New Moon”) and end-of-the-world stories (”2012,” “The Road”) to epic science fiction (“Avatar”) and a new incarnation of the world’s greatest detective (“Sherlock Holmes”).

Presented in 3-D, “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” is the lat-est from Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”), who presents Dickens’ London with the same performance-capture technology he used on “The Polar Express” and “Beowulf.”

Carrey and such co-stars as Gary Oldman, Robin Wright Penn, Colin Firth and Bob Hoskins worked on a bare sound-stage, their bodies covered with sensors so digital cameras

could record their performances in 360 degrees. Sets, cos-tumes and other details were filled in later by computer animation.

The process allowed actors to take on multiple roles, with Carrey playing Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come that teach him the meaning of the season.

While Zemeckis loves Alastair Sim’s 1951 “A Christmas Carol,” he said previous adaptations never captured the full impact of Dickens’ surreal images. As he made “Beowulf,” Zemeckis realized he now had the tools to bring “A Christmas Carol” to the screen the way he imagined it on the page.

“It was the idea of being able to actually recreate London and not have any limitations whatsoever. Anything that existed at the time we could present,” Zemeckis said. “Then the idea that Jim could play Scrooge in all the different ages, and the ghosts, they could be his alter-ego, and he could play those. Everything just fell into place.”

See "FILMS" on Page 9

Hollywood serves up treats for the holidays

Page 9: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page 9

Warm Holiday WishesTo All...

From the Residents and Staffof Edwardsville Nursing and

Rehabilitation Center

Edwardsville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center401 St. Mary Drive, Edwardsville, IL 62025

(618) 692-1330“Where Outstanding Care and Caring Staff Combine!”

Continued from Page 8

With “Sherlock Holmes,” Robert Downey Jr. and direc-tor Guy Ritchie also recreate old London while reinvent-ing Arthur Conan Doyle’s brainy, monkish detective as an action hero, verbal quipster — and even a bit of a lover.

Downey’s Holmes fights with fists, clubs, pistols and ham-mers, trades odd-couple banter with best buddy and room-mate Watson (Jude Law), and shares romantic moments with the only woman (Rachel McAdams) who ever got the better of him.

It was a nice change of pace for Downey after he leaped to the box-office A-list with last year’s comic-book blockbuster “Iron Man.”

“It was such a radical departure,” Downey said. “A period piece. A very, very established kind of iconic image comes to mind when you think of Sherlock Holmes. Whereas Iron Man was a relatively unknown quote-unquote second tier superhero ... until last year.”

Another series that jumped to blockbuster status last year was Hollywood’s take on author Stephenie Meyer’s love story between a sensitive schoolgirl (Kristen Stewart) and her immortal vampire boy toy (Robert Pattinson).

The second installment, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” is a lesson in teen heartache as Pattinson’s Edward dumps Stewart’s Bella, realizing the danger he represents to his human girlfriend.

The brooding Bella finds solace with a school chum (Taylor Lautner) and his werewolf gang and eventually winds up pulling Edward out of a jam.

“Edward breaks up with Bella for her own protection, but Bella believes it’s because he doesn’t love her any more, and she goes into a terrible depression,” said “New Moon” director Chris Weitz. “In the end, there’s kind of a lovely turnaround whereby Bella has to go and save Edward, hav-ing been saved by him throughout their past.”

Also in the fantasy realm, James Cameron is back with his first fictional film since 1997’s “Titanic” swamped Hollywood to become king of the Oscars and the biggest modern blockbuster. “Avatar” also marks Cameron’s return to his science-fiction roots and a reunion with “Aliens” star Sigourney Weaver, who joins Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana among the cast of the filmmaker’s 3-D epic about humans taking on the form of extraterrestrials as they explore a distant world.

“What we have on the screen right now is 150 percent of what I imagined. The other 50 percent is the part I could not have imagined without having the actors there, without working with a team of artists who come up with all these amazing, outlandish designs,” Cameron said. “My job was really kind of herding the cats, getting the artists to kind of be cohesive about the aesthetic decision, so it was all one world, so it seemed like part of an evolutionary or ecologi-cal system.”

Hollywood has dozens of other films, big and small, coming before year’s end. Here’s the lowdown on some highlights:

See "FILMS" on Page 10

Films

Page 10: HomeTown Holidays

Page 10- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

Continued from Page 9

HUSBANDS, WIVES AND LOVERS:“Chicago” director Rob Marshall orchestrates his latest

musical with “Nine,” based on the Broadway adaptation of Federico Fellini’s foreign-language classic “8 1/2.”

It’s the story of a filmmaker (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his many, many women: His wife (Marion Cotillard), his mis-tress (Penelope Cruz), his mom (Sophia Loren), his film star (Nicole Kidman), his costume designer (Judi Dench), a lover from his youth (Stacy Ferguson), and a fashion journalist (Kate Hudson).

Singing in a recording studio was a new challenge for some of the cast, including Cruz.

“You feel very vulnerable, because you can’t hide any-thing,” Cruz said at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. “But it was so much fun. After you are there and you start singing and everything starts to come together, if you can really be in the moment and enjoy it, it’s an amazing experience.”

Also in the mood for love:“Did You Hear About the Morgans?” — A Manhattan

couple (Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant) in a rocky marriage find new twists in their relationship after they see a murder and are hustled into witness protection.

“It’s Complicated” — A messy love triangle develops among a bakery and restaurant owner (Meryl Streep), her ex-hubby (Alec Baldwin) and an architect (Steve Martin) in the latest from director Nancy Meyers (“Something’s Gotta Give”).

FOXES, FROGS AND RODENTS:Meryl Streep also joins George Clooney and Bill Murray

among the voice cast of Wes Anderson’s animated comedy “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” the tale of a wily fox waging war with human farmers.

Anderson gave his voice actors a taste of rustic life by tak-ing them to a real farm to record the vocals.

“It was like going to camp,” Clooney said at October’s London Film Festival, where “Fantastic Mr. Fox” was the opening-night movie. “We were out in the middle of nowhere on people’s farms, doing sound effects and rolling around in the fields.”

Also among the menagerie:“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” — The fol-

lowup to the family hit about critter crooners Alvin, Simon and Theodore has the threesome finding their hearts and singing talents tested in a battle of the bands against a trio of female chipmunks.

“The Princess and the Frog” — Disney animation goes old-school as the studio releases its first hand-drawn cartoon in five years with this update of “The Frog Prince” fairy tale, set on the jazzy Louisiana bayou.

THE END OF THE WORLD:The Mayan calendar predicted an end of days in 2012.Director Roland Emmerich makes good on that proph-

ecy with his latest doomsday story “2012,” featuring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and Danny Glover in a tale of a world devastated by cata-clysm and struggling with a terrible quandary: Who do you

choose when you can save only a fraction of humanity?“It’s like a Noah’s Ark story in a way,” Cusack said. “It mir-

rors a few of the ethical dilemmas that are posed by asking the question of who gets to go and who doesn’t.”

Also on the apocalypse front:“The Road” — Author Cormac McCarthy’s starkly poetic

vision of doom comes to the screen in this adaptation starring Viggo Mortensen as a father on a desperate road trip across the wreckage of America, seeking some hope of a future for his young son.

INSPIRATION ON THE PLAYING FIELD:Clint Eastwood taps “Million Dollar Baby” and

“Unforgiven” co-star Morgan Freeman to play Nelson Mandela in “Invictus,” a post-apartheid drama about the South African president rallying black and white behind his country’s rugby team during an underdog run in the 1995 World Cup.

Matt Damon, who co-stars as the captain of South Africa’s rugby squad, said Freeman was the only choice to play Mandela.

“Someone would have been keelhauled if he hadn’t played that role,” Damon said.

Also from the wide world of sports:“The Blind Side” — Just in time for his rookie season

with the Baltimore Ravens comes this real-life drama about Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a black youth surviving on his own who gets a shot at a better life after he’s adopted by a white couple (Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw).

FAMILY AFFAIRS:“Lord of the Rings” mastermind Peter Jackson turns to the

homefront while keeping a foot in otherworldly realms with “The Lovely Bones,” an adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel about a slain girl (Saoirse Ronan) watching over her family from heaven.

The cast includes Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci.

Jackson said he cried when he read the novel.“If the things that I was imagining that made me cry could

be put on screen, I thought this would be really amazing,” Jackson said. “Because I think the book is an incredible book, but it’s very personal. And I think what you get out of that book depends a lot on what experience you’ve had in your life and what experience of death that you’ve had, and losing loved ones.”

Also in a family way:“Up in the Air” — Happily living life without connec-

tions, a corporate hatchet man (George Clooney) travels the country aiming for a 10 million-mile frequent-flyer milestone only to discover that family bonds might be the greater value, after all.

“Old Dogs” — A divorced guy (Robin Williams) enlists his womanizing best buddy and business partner (John Travolta) to help care for the twin kids he never knew he had.

“Brothers” — Jim Sheridan directs this reversal-of-roles drama about siblings (Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal), one a Marine presumed dead in Afghanistan, the other a black sheep who becomes man of the house for his brother’s wife (Natalie Portman).

“Everybody’s Fine” — Robert De Niro co-stars with Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell in the story of a widower who sets off to reconnect with his grown kids in this remake of the Italian original from Giuseppe Tornatore.

Films

Page 11: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page 11

2009 HolidaysAlton, Godfrey, Hartford, Bethalto, Grafton

� Christmas WonderlandNovember 27 thru December 27[M-F: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Sa & Su: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.]Rock Spring ParkCollege Ave.,Alton, ILDrive through Rock Spring Park to see more than 2.5 million lights adorning trees and lighting displays. Visitors are sure to be captivated by the holiday spirit.Admission charge. (800) 258-6645

� Snowfl ake FestivalDecember 4 [6 p.m. - 8 p.m.]Glazebrook Park1401 Stamper Lane,Godfrey, ILVisit beautiful Glazebrook Park lit up with twinkling lights and snowfl akes to celebrate the season. This old-fashioned festival will feature carolers, hot cocoa, carriage rides and pictures with Santa.Free admission. (618) 466-1483

� Taste of ChocolateDecember 5 [Noon – 3:00 p.m.]Grafton Winery & Brewhaus 300 W. Main StreetGrafton, ILTaste the chocolates of Grafton! Enjoy a plate of homemade chocolate desserts donated by different businesses and restaurants in Grafton. Admission charge. (618) 786-7000

� Olde Alton Arts & Crafts FairDecember 5 & 6 [Sa: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Su: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.]Alton High School4200 Humbert Rd.,Alton, ILThe annual Olde Alton Arts & Crafts Fair is a crafters dream come true with over 200 booths of crafters selling their best wares.Admission charge. (618) 259-5660

� Pride Inc. Holiday Home TourDecember 6 [2 p.m. – 6 p.m.]Alton & GodfreyBeautifully decorated homes in Alton and Godfrey will be aglow as visitors are invited inside to view various decorating styles and Christmas collections. Optional trolley transportation offers an opportunity to

� Lewis & Clark Arrival DayDecember 12 & 13 [10 a.m. – 4 p.m.]Lewis & Clark State Historic SiteOne Lewis & Clark TrailHartford, ILCome celebratet the arrival of Lewis & Clark at Camp River Dubois. The event will include members of the detachment portraying military life, re-enactors recreating the civilian population and demonstrators.Free admission. (618) 251-5811www.campdubois.com

� Alton Symphony Orchestra: Holiday with Tchaikovsky

December 12 [8 p.m.]Alton High School Auditorm

4200 Humbert Road Alton, IL

Tchaikovsky’s 1st Symphony, “Winter Daydreams,” is a natural selection to include with ever-popular holiday concert. Enjoy this classic arrangement with an array of your favority holiday melodies.

Admission charge. (618) 467-2326

� Bethalto Spirit of Christmas WalkDecember 13 [4 p.m. – 7 p.m.] Prairie St. & Central St.Bethalto, ILStroll candlelit streets, climb aboard a horse-drawn carriage and experience the life in a small Victorian village. Bell choirs and strolling musicians add to the fl air. Visit Father Christmas and enjoy wassail, roasted chestnuts and many holidays treats.

Free admission. (618) 377-0767

� First Night River BendDecember 31 [6:30 p.m. – midnight]Lewis & Clark Community College5800 Godfrey Rd.Godfrey, ILRing in 2010 at the First Night River Bend New Year’s Eve celebration of the arts. This family-oriented event is alcohol-free and features more than 40 artists displaying their talents. Music, dance, visual arts, hat making, children’s interactive activities and more.Admission charge. (618) 468-5001www.fnrblc.com

� Wreaths Across AmericaDecember 12 [11 a.m.]Alton National Cemetery

600 Pearl StreetAlton, ILThis National program began some 15 years ago in an effort to Remember the fallen , Honor those who serve, and Teach our children the value of freedom. All 530 veterans graves in the Alton National Cemetery will be decorated with balsam wreaths for the holiday season. Take part in an emotional ceremony sure to bring both pride and joy to those in attendance.(618) 474-2005

Fun For ALL!

Enjoy The

Season!

Treasures Galore!

Sounds

of the

Season!

* Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau

Page 12: HomeTown Holidays

Page 1�- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

(ARA) - You’ve made your holiday list and checked it twice, but what happens when the salesperson help-ing you is naughty, not nice? Crowded stores, long lines, low inventory and cranky shoppers rushing to find that perfect holiday gift can often lead to a “per-fect storm” of bad service.

That’s why many retailers are ensuring that they have service quality systems in place to avoid the typical holiday mishaps between shoppers and service staff, according to ASQ (American Society for Quality, www.asq.org), which provides service quality training for many industries, including retail.

“The top four causes of customer dissatisfaction are out of stock items, discontinued items, returns and shipping charges,” says John Goodman, ASQ cus-tomer service expert and vice chairman of TARP, the world’s premier customer experience agency. “These are issues that are easily resolvable if sales staff have the right tools and training.”

Bath & Body Works, for example, provides its staff with training to handle these kinds of complaints. Its sales staff takes steps such as maintaining eye contact with customers during every step of the sale. They are also trained in how to detect and respond to unspo-ken needs and are told to “treat a return like a sale” because a properly handled return will often move the customer to buy something else.

To avoid out of stock issues, Bath & Body Works also carries a bigger inventory of merchandise than other similar retailers and when they do run into issues with a discontinued product, staff can provide cus-tomers with an “I’m sorry for your disappointment” gift card.

Best Buy, a popular shopping destination for elec-tronic gifts, is ranked highest in customer satisfaction among national and multi-regional major appliance retailers, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates.

One key reason is that they make customer service training a priority.

In addition to a rigorous certification process, employees are well-educated on complicated products and solutions, enabling them to better help customers, says Mike Fisher, senior director of Lean Six Sigma for Best Buy’s corporate campus in Richfield, Minn., which includes an ASQ member store.

The store’s TRUST model ensures that employees thank consumers for coming into the store, respect their opinions, understand their needs, solve chal-lenges together and thank and support the ongoing consumer relationship.

“Our goal is to put more sales staff or ‘blue shirts’ on the sales floor instead of handling paper work and other duties,” Fisher says. “That way they are imme-

diately available to assist consumers with their ques-tions and needs.”

While many retailers will make an extra effort to ensure excellent customer service this holiday season, Goodman suggests that customers take these steps to help ensure a positive sales experience:

• Get to know the sales clerks at your favorite stores. This ensures that you will be in the loop regarding stores sales and events. A salesperson who knows you may also be more apt to help if a problem does arise.

• Research store policies before you buy. Being aware of policies regarding cash refunds or sale merchandise returns can help you avoid problems later on.

So what happens when you run into a problem? Goodman offers these tips for successfully handling service complaints.

• Take three deep breaths - when you are upset you may not think clearly and therefore often don’t pres-ent your case logically.

• Tell the company rep that you know that the prob-lem is not their fault - this reduces their defensive-ness.

• After outlining the facts, state exactly what you want the rep to do for you - if you don’t they might go off in the wrong direction in developing a response.

• Don’t ask for cash compensation for your time - companies can almost never do that, but they can give you credit toward your bill.

• Never use profanity - most reps are authorized to hang up on you if you do - and it is not fair to the rep who did not cause the problem.

• If you have been a long-term customer, point that out but don’t exaggerate - employees can often access your actual purchase history.

The simplest and most important thing you can do is to recognize good service when you receive it by remembering to say thank you and even letting the sales person’s supervisor know.

Tips for getting better service while shopping for the holidays

Page 13: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page 13

WINTERCONCERTS

November 13thFIDDLEBACK

Featuring Students from the St. Louis Fiddle Ensemble

FRIDAY EVENINGSLEWIS & CLARK COLLEGE

N.O. NELSON COMPLEX600 Troy Road, Edwardsville, IL

Doors Open 6:00 p.m. ~ Showtime 7:00 p.m.Free Appetizers catered by Bella Milano served at 6:30 p.m. Cash Bar Available.

Tickets available for a suggested donation of $7.00 per ticket (limit 8 tickets per person).

Tickets can be purchased at City Hall or the Edwardsville Public Library during regular business hours.

For more information call the Park Offi ce at 692-7538

SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCESDecember 11th

Great Rivers Choral Society & Upper Alton

Handbell ChoirJanuary 22ndJIVE & WAIL

Dueling Pianos

February 19thDIZZY ATMOSPHERE

March 19thKIM MASSIE

& The Solid Senders

Page 14: HomeTown Holidays

Page 1�- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

(ARA) - The holiday season is a time to spend with friends and family, but is very often characterized by the need for a lot of multi-tasking. Here are four easy-to-follow tips to help you smooth out your to-do list and make the most out of the holidays this year.

1. Home decorating in a snap. To make decorating easy, purchase decorations that are prelit, easy to hang and require little-to-no assembly. When the holidays are over, be sure to neatly organize all of the decorations in weather-proof stor-age containers. This will guarantee all of your decorations remain intact, orderly and accessible for next year.

2. Dress to impress. Instead of taking time out of your schedule to bring clothes to the dry cleaner, press clothes at home by using a quality product such as the Rowenta Pressure Iron and Steamer. Its versatility and simple-to-use design allows you to use stronger steam for heavy materials or a lighter touch for those delicate household items. The iron delivers professional steaming results so you can quickly press your holiday linens and formalwear just in time for the party.

“By using high-quality products, it’s easy for your clothes and linens to look like they’ve been professionally cleaned and pressed without having to take them to the cleaners,” says “The Queen of Steam,” Barbara Zagnoni. “When you

need to save time and money, the best way to care for your linens is to take care of them at home.”

For immaculate ironing down to the smallest detail, there is the Rowenta Steamium, which features a new Piezo pump system that forces steam into fabrics with a focused steam burst. The result is professional-looking results with minimal effort, every time.

3. Shop with ease. There are often many gifts to purchase and little time to shop. This year, take your holiday shopping online and have the gifts delivered right to your door. For the hard-to-buy-for person on your list, eliminate time spent wrapping and opt for gift cards you can customize with friendly and seasonal gift card holders available at your local convenience store.

4. Meal preparation. For a spin on the traditional dinner, ask guests to bring one food item – preferably something they are known for making really well. Then, invest in some easy-to-prepare appetizers or desserts at the grocery store. Spend an hour the night before the party prepping your dish and you’ll find yourself with more time to put the finishing touches on your family and home.

The holidays should be about quality time with friends and family and less about your to-do list. By following these sim-ple tips, you can get the most out of your holiday season.

Time-saving tips for an enjoyable holiday season

Page 15: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page 15

Brought to you by: City of Troy, The Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob Chamber of

Commerce and The Tri-Township ParkCall 667-8769 or visit www.troycoc.com for more information

Santa rides through Troy on the Fire Truck ending at Tri-Township Park from 7:30 am until

Noon on Saturday, December 12. Be there to welcome him!santa’s houRS

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12 SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13 MONDAY, DECEMBER 14 (Pictures with Santa, a sleigh and reindeer) TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18 SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19(Pets can visit Santa from Noon until 3:00 P.M.)SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20MONDAY, DECEMBER 21TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22

NOON UNTIL 3:00 P.M.NOON UNTIL 3:00 P.M.5:00 P.M. UNTIL 7:30 P.M.

5:00 P.M. UNTIL 7:30 P.M.5:00 P.M. UNTIL 7:30 P.M.5:00 P.M. UNTIL 7:30 P.M.5:00 P.M. UNTIL 7:30 P.M.9:00 A.M. UNTIL 3:00 P.M.

NOON. UNTIL 3:00 P.M.5:00 P.M. UNTIL 7:30 P.M.5:00 P.M. UNTIL 7:30 P.M.

Live reindeer will be on had from December 14 through December 22.There will be a picture opportunity with Santa, a sleigh and reindeer on Monday, December 14.

The cost is $6 for a photo or no charge to bring your own camera.

Page 16: HomeTown Holidays

Page 1�- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

SantaHouse

at City ParkSanta & his elf arrive on Saturday,

November 28 at 1:00 p.m. Santa will be in his house on Saturdays

from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. and Wednesday evenings from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Pic-

tures are available for each.$2.00

(ARA) - Even if you’re not driving through a blizzard, the effects of win-ter weather pose a mobility challenge for everyone, whether it’s the pos-sibility of slipping on the sidewalk or delayed flights due to icy runways.

Cold temperatures only add to the frustration of winter travel. It’s little wonder that some people forgo the fun of holiday gatherings to stay home. For seniors, in particular, the ice and snow of winter is more than a dis-comfort - it’s a hazard. It’s so easy to slip and fall that many choose to stay inside, rather than take the risk of an injury from falling. Going outside to simply get the mail can seem like a chance they don’t want to take.

The best way to face down winter and all its challenges is to think ahead and be prepared. A few simple solu-tions will make winter much safer - and more enjoyable - for you and any guests you might invite over.

• Get the right gear - Clothing has to go to the next level in winter and serve a real purpose. Not only do you need added warmth, you have to have traction gear for ice and material that will keep out the dampness of snow, sleet and rain. Clothing technology has come a long way in helping us deal with winter. New, lighter-weight fabrics fend off sub-zero cold and all

kinds of precipitation without add-ing bulk, which is great for everyone, but particularly for professionals who need to maintain dress standards at work.

Most shoes just aren’t able to stand up to the conditions of winter, and become hazardous when the world is glazed with ice. Innovative products like Stabilicers, ice cleats from 32 North, make any shoes into ground-gripping wonders. A variety of Stabilicers mod-els are available. The Stabilicers Lite is adaptable to a wide variety of casual shoes and can be put on using only one hand. Plus, they’re small and easy to stash, so you can easily carry them with you when you travel.

• Prepare your car - Winter driving poses its own unique challenges and needs. First, make sure your car is ready by checking that its fluids are temperature-appropriate and up to the correct levels, its wheels are in good alignment, its tire treads are in good condition, and that its battery, belts and hoses are in good shape.

Whether you’re driving long dis-tances to visit the family or just head-ing to work, it’s a good idea to keep an up-to-date emergency kit in the vehicle in case you become strand-ed. Include good jumper cables - if the ones you have are getting worn,

spring for a new pair because if you get caught in the cold with a dead car, they will be your ticket home. Also include blankets, a flashlight, flares, a first aid kit, a small shovel, a win-dow scraper and a bag of something that will help you gain traction, like kitty litter, sand or salt. Extra hats and gloves can be handy, too, as can small, non-perishable snacks like energy bars or granola bars.

• Pay attention to your property - It’s important to keep a close eye on your gutters, steps and sidewalks, even when you’re not in the middle of a snow or ice storm. Make sure that icicles aren’t forming, or if they have, knock them down (carefully) to avoid damage to your home and to prevent them from falling on anyone.

If ice forms on your walkways, keep ice melt, sand or salt near the door so you can easily distribute it and prevent slips and falls. When the snow starts to fall, be sure to shovel regularly. If you’re a city dweller, your neighbors will thank you. If you’re not, you’re taking steps to pro-tect yourself and any visiting guests. The Stabilicer ice cleats can also come in handy while you’re doing these chores, giving you better traction to make the job quicker, so you can get back in out of the cold.

Don't let an accident spoil your holiday season

Recycle this

newspaper

Page 17: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page 17

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(ARA) – When you’re busy it seems like the best place to meet up with friends is for dinner at a local restaurant. But these days, with everyone on a budget, eating out isn’t in the cards. Always having a few items on hand makes it easy to entertain, no matter how much (or little) time you have to prepare.

Quick and easy entertaining depends on preparation. Having these items on hand at all times will prepare you for an intimate meal for four or a boisterous gathering of 10.

1. MusicOdds are you’ve got hours and hours of music stored in

your MP3 player. So create and keep a dinner party playlist with your music. An mp3 dock with speakers makes it easy to play music at a low level in the background for instant atmosphere.

2. CandlesKeep a bundle of unscented tea light or votive candles in

a drawer for added ambience, no matter what your decor. Unscented candles are a must, as strong scents can bother guests and compete with the delicious aromas of your food. The more candles you scatter around the table, the warmer the atmosphere.

3. FoodLet’s face it, dinner parties are primarily about the food.

But you don’t need to be a professional chef to create a restaurant-quality meal that will wow your guests. When it’s time for dinner, you can enjoy quick, easy and afford-able restaurant-quality meals steamed in their own bag. Contessa MicroSteam meals require no pots, no pans, no mess and, because of innovative steam technology, your elegant dinner will be healthy as well as delicious. Your guests will never believe it came from a microwave. With recipes like Italian Sausage Rigatoni, Balsamic Glazed Shrimp and Chicken Marsala you’ll have a delicious variety of entertaining secrets that will take the anxiety out of meal preparation.

4. BeveragesKeep a few bottles of wine around and even spending

an evening at home watching movies can become a festive occasion. Shiraz or Chianti go well with red meat, a bright and flowery Pinot Grigio complements shrimp and seafood and dusky Pinot Noir or Merlot pairs well with poultry dishes. Make sure to have appealing non-alcoholic options, as well, such as sparkling water or soda.

Four must-have items for holiday entertaining

Page 18: HomeTown Holidays

Page 1�- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

NEW YORK (AP) - The sour economy has done wonders for improving home cooking skills, prompting many of us to cook from scratch to save a little scratch. But for a big holiday meal such as Thanksgiving, doing it yourself isn’t always the most practical or cost effective way to go.

For one thing, says cookbook author Barbara Kafka, there is only so much oven and stovetop space in most kitchens, which makes it difficult to prepare the whole meal without creating a traffic jam.

Also, while some holiday dishes undoubtedly are better made from scratch, the quality and cost of many ready-made items has improved, says Kate Merker, associate food editor for Real Simple magazine.

The trick of balancing economy and good taste is know-ing what to do and what to buy.

When in comes to the turkey, Kafka says she always roasts her own because it’s relatively easy to do, it’s generally inex-pensive, and the meat is more likely to be moist so long as no reheating is involved.

Merker feels the same about the gravy.“Store-bought gravy just doesn’t quite cut it for my family

and me,” she says. “There is something about using all of the pan drippings that really ties everything together.”

But there are many parts of the meal that can be bought inexpensively and that you would be hard-pressed to do better on your own.

Baking is one thing that you can definitely leave to the professionals, says Kafka, especially since there’s so much good bread out there. Baking also is time consuming and easier to mess up.

If you do want to bake, Kafka recommends cornbread. It’s easy, fast, inexpensive and stays moist even when made ahead.

Merker adds that for dessert, purchased pies can be quite good. Plus a trip into town certainly beats chilling and rolling out pie crust. Or for semi-homemade feel, pick up frozen pie crust.

An apple pie can be made with a five or six large apples, a little butter and a few spices, all of which are pretty inexpensive, especially if you buy bagged apples, which usually cost consider-ably less than those sold by the pound.

Pumpkin pie is easy as well if you use a pre-made crust and buy pre-seasoned canned pump-kin pie mix.

For some of the other dishes in the Thanksgiving meal, Merker suggests using inexpensive and con-venient store-bought items as a starting point, then fixing them up with fresh ingredients at home.

Stuffing mixes, which usually go on sale around Thanksgiving, are perfect for doctoring up.

“They’re not all that bad,” Merker said. “Extra sauteed onions and a whole lot of chopped fresh herbs can lift up many packaged varieties. And if

you have dried fruit, such as apricots or cranberries, already in the house, those are great additions as well.”

Kate Hays, chef and owner of Dish Catering in Burlington, Vt., says that while vegetable sides are inexpensive, quick and easy to prepare at home, she loves sprucing up pre-pared items by adding a few key ingredients.

Frozen vegetables are excellent quality and usually much cheaper (and quicker to cook) than fresh.

Hays likes to elevate thawed, frozen Brussels sprouts by sauteing them in butter until heated through, then tossing them with crushed fennel seeds and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper just before serving.

And heavy cream, says Hays, can perform miracles on most frozen vegetables.

To make an easy and luxurious creamed corn, add reduced heavy cream to thawed corn niblets, then season with salt and pepper, top with shredded cheddar or pepper Jack cheese, and broil until golden-brown and bubbling.

As for starchy vegetable sides, Merker says she would always vote for making them from scratch.

Potatoes are inexpensive and can go a long way. Plus, she says, for convenience, mashed potatoes can be made ahead and reheated.

See "FEAST" on Page 19

Edwardsville YMCA

HOLIDAY HELPERS PARENTS’ NIGHT OUTSaturday, December 5: 4pm-10pm

AT THE MEYER CENTER 7348 Goshen Road • Edwardsville • 655-1460

Do you need to fi nish (or start) your Holiday Shopping?Let the kids enjoy a night of fun fi lled “Holiday” events &

activities while you do some Holiday Shopping.Deadline to pre-register: December 4

Cost per child registered by the deadline:Members – $20 • Non-members – $30

Walk-in Registration:Members – $25 • Non-members – $35

Discount per child for siblings:$5 off any of the above listed rates

Even in a tough economy, a real feast is possible

Page 19: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page 19

200 South Station Road • Glen Carbon, Illinois 62034 • 618-288-5014 • www.edenvillage.org

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Continued from Page 18

Roasted potatoes usually are just as good at room tem-perature.

As for cranberry sauce, though it’s easy to make, Kafka says forget about it.

“Ninety-five percent of Americans were brought up on canned, and in my family, they won’t accept anything else!”

• • •Traditional cranberry sauce alongside the turkey is a must

at Thanksgiving. But that doesn’t mean you can’t offer other condiments, as well. Caramelized onions with thyme are made mostly from simple ingredients you’re likely to have on hand. For a big meal like Thanksgiving, buy bagged onions, which generally cost less per pound than if you buy them loose.

CARAMELIZED ONIONS WITH THYMEStart to finish: 40 minutesServings: 82 tablespoons olive oil6 yellow onions, sliced1 teaspoon kosher salt1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper1/2 cup dry white wine1 tablespoon white wine vinegar1 tablespoon fresh thyme

In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onions, salt and pepper, then cook, covered, stirring often, until soft, about 15 minutes. Uncover, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a rich golden brown, about another 12 to 15 minutes.

Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and thyme. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 77 calories; 32 calories from fat; 4 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 243 mg sodium.

(Recipe from the November 2009 issue of Real Simple magazine)

• • •A blend of buttermilk and honey make these easy-to-

prep corn muffins exceptionally sweet and tender. The muffins can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Use any leftover buttermilk to make creamy dressings, fluffy pancakes or even a tangy smoothie.

HONEY CORN MUFFINSStart to finish: 45 minutes (10 minutes active)Servings: 121 1/4 cups all-purpose flour3/4 cup cornmeal1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon kosher salt1/2 teaspoon baking soda2 large eggs

See "FEAST" on Page 21

Feast

Page 20: HomeTown Holidays

Page �0- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

(ARA) - Jam thumbprints, peanut butter blossoms, sugar cookies decorated with colored sugars and icings and gin-gerbread cookies - just the images of them in your mind can conjure up the smells of yummy Christmas cookies baking in the oven.

It is the season to be making Christmas cookies. Whether they’re for your family, a cookie exchange, treats for the office or a gift, cookies of all shapes, sizes, and flavors are always a hit. If you haven’t started your baking yet this year, here are some tips from the folks at Gold Medal Flour to help make your cookie baking a success.

• Assemble ingredients and equipment before you start. Read through the entire recipe to make sure you have enough time for all of the directions. Also, bring your short-ening and butter to room temperature, which could take about a half hour for refrigerated items.

• Use accurate measurements. Liquid measuring cups - usually made from glass or clear plastic with a pouring spout - are great for liquid ingredients, but graduated dry measuring cups give you the most accurate amount for flour or sugar. Use a spoon to add your Gold Medal flour to the cup, and level it off with the straight edge of a knife.

• Try chilling the cookie dough before rolling out and cutting shapes. Chilled dough is a bit stiffer - holding its shape better so you can trans-fer the cut shapes to your cookie sheet. This also works for cookies that are dropped on pans in rolled balls or spoonfuls. They won’t spread as much during baking.

• Keep the size of your cookies uniform. Whether rolling balls or spooning dough onto the cookie sheet, make sure that all cookies are the same size to ensure uniform baking. And make sure your cookie sheets are at least 2 inches narrower than your oven to allow the heat to circulate.

• Decorating cookies is easier with the right tools. If you have a decorating bag, adding frost-ing and icing to cookies is very easy. You can create your own by cutting off a tiny corner of a heavy plastic freezer bag to make a writing tip. Fill the bag with your icing and gently squeeze the icing down toward the hole.

• Store any uneaten cookies so that they last longer. Crisp and thin cookies store well in a con-tainer with a loose-fitting cover. And if humidity does soften them, crisp them up again in a 300 F. oven for three to five minutes. Soft cookies should be stored in a tightly covered container with a slice of bread to keep them soft.

For some great holiday baking recipes, visit GoldMedalFlour.com or BettyCrocker.com. And try this family favorite cookie recipe for Russian Tea Cakes from Betty Crocker at your next holiday

event.Russian Tea CakesMakes four dozen cookiesIngredients:1 cup butter or margarine, softened1/2 cup powdered sugar1 teaspoon vanilla1 1/4 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour3/4 cup finely chopped nuts1/4 teaspoon saltPowdered sugarDirections:Heat oven to 400 F. Mix butter, powdered sugar and

vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, nuts and sugar until the dough holds together. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until set, but not brown. Remove from the cookie sheet and cool slightly on a wire rack. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar, let cool. Roll in powdered sugar again.

SANTA & MRS. CLAUS will be visiting the Glen Carbon Centennial Library on Saturday,

December 5th, Noon to 3 pm.

Call the Youth Dept. at 288-1212 for reservations or for more information.

Holiday crafts, decorating sugar cookies and Culver’s Frozen yogurt.

Sponsored by the Glen Carbon Library, Friends of the Glen Carbon Library, & the Glen Carbon Kiwanis Club.

STORY TIMEDecember 7, 8 and 9

“The Best Gift is Giving”Mon., & Tues., 10 am, Wed., 6:30 pm.

December 21, 22 and 23“Happy Holidays”

Mon., & Tues., 10 am, Wed., 6:30 pm.

Suggestions for making your holiday baking flow smoothly

Page 21: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page �1

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Devil’s Food Cookies¼ cup fat-free margarine, softened½ cup fat-free buttermilk1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract2 egg whites, whipped1-½ cups unbleached fl our½ cup cocoa powder, sifted²⁄³ cup sugar substitute1 teaspoon baking soda¼ teaspoon salt2 teaspoons powdered sugar, sifted

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets with cooking spray, set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine margarine, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and egg whites. In another mixing bowl, combine fl our, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients just until moistened. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls, 2” apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7 minutes. Sprinkle with powered sugar and enjoy!

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Continued from Page 19

1 cup buttermilk1/3 cup honey4 tablespoons unsalted butter, meltedHeat the oven to 375 F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin

with cooking spray.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, corn-

meal, baking powder, salt and baking soda.In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter-

milk, honey and melted butter.Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake

until golden brown and a toothpick inserted at the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.

(Recipe from the November 2009 issue of Real Simple)

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 150 calories; 43 calories from fat; 5 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 41 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 4 g pro-tein; 1 g fiber; 342 mg sodium.

• • •Green beans are a tradition at many Thanksgiving

tables, so many grocers price them competitively

during the holidays. Here they are given a sophis-ticated twist with butter-toasted hazelnuts and melted Gorgonzola cheese.

If you like, substitute any blue cheese you like.GREEN BEANS WITH HAZELNUTS AND

GORGONZOLAStart to finish: 30 minutes (15 minutes active)Servings: 82 pounds green beans, trimmed1 1/2 tablespoons butter1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheeseSalt and ground black pepper, to tasteBring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.

Add the green beans, return to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until bright green and crisp. Drain well and set aside.

Return the pot to medium-high.Add the butter and hazelnuts and stir until the

nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green beans and stir until heated through.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese and toss until melted.

Season with salt and pepper.Nutrition information per serving (values are

rounded to the nearest whole number): 122 calories; 76 calories from fat; 9 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 12 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 4 g pro-tein; 4 g fiber; 363 mg sodium.

Feast

Page 22: HomeTown Holidays

Page ��- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

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(ARA) - With school in session, weekends become the best opportunity for quality time with your kids. Whether you’re taking your family to the park or spending a day around the house, you can easily fill the time by planning several simple, budget-friendly, do-it-yourself activities. Ideal for indoor or outdoor time, these activities go a long way in creating memories without doing a number on your budget.

Theme dayThe cost to take the family to a baseball game, amuse-

ment park or museum adds up quickly. Think thrifty and save on the admission fees by organizing a craft day around the theme of your favorite family outing (think aquarium, ballpark and carnival). For example, bringing the enjoyment of America’s favorite pastime to your liv-ing room or backyard is easy when you buy several plain cotton baseball caps, tube socks (they only cost a dollar or two each) and T-shirt paint.

Use the materials to let your kids personalize baseball apparel and then suit-up, grab some peanuts and gather the group to play catch in the backyard, for an impromp-tu tournament on your favorite gaming system or to catch a double-header on the tube. It’s a ballpark outing for a fraction of the cost.

Have your candy and craft with it tooMost families make weekly (if not more frequent) trips

to the grocery store, so turn your next routine trip into the beginning of a new project by strolling down the candy aisle. “The grocer’s candy aisle has a collection of candy in virtually every color and shape, which means endless crafting possibilities,” explains candy expert Beth Kimmerle. “Candy is tasty and fun for kids of all ages, and is an affordable tool for crafting.”

Start by making candy jewelry. It is a perfect activity for your princess, but also trendy for your prince given the popularity of sports necklaces and bracelets for boys and girls. Gather an assortment of brightly colored Life Savers Gummies, tie a knot in a piece of ribbon to keep your candy from slipping, and thread your “jewels” onto the necklace. Once you have a full string, adjust the candy so there are equal amounts of ribbon on each side. Tie knots on each end to finish and voila, you’ve got the trendiest kid on the block. While you are lending a hand, don’t forget that gummy candy is a yummy treat while crafting. Who knew jewelry could be so inexpensive and tasty?

Treasure your trashNext time you start to throw away packaging, leftover

candy or craft items, stop and envision these items as your next treasure and creatively think of ways to reuse them. Re-using the items helps you to be less wasteful, while also saving you money and giving you “gems” to finish your crafts with a unique touch.

If your kids love trucks, drum-up some fun on a week-end and help them create something fabulous on four

wheels from common items found around the house. Try the following simple exercise and in no time you’ll be watching your kids proudly race their handmade cre-ations across the kitchen floor or back porch.

To make a truck you will need:Egg cartonBerry basketCraft paint and paintbrushScissors or craft knifeTwineGlueCardboardColored paperGum foil4 Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape packages5 Hubba Bubba Glop packages2 Life Savers candies4 Altoids mintsInstructionsNote: Cutting with sharp implements should only be

done by adults.See "CANDY" on Page 23

Candy crafts – a sweet way to spend family time

Page 23: HomeTown Holidays

Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009 - Page �3

JUST IN Time For The HOLIDAYS!

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Using an Exacto blade or sharp scissors, cut a 3-inch by 2-inch front window area from the berry box. Paint the egg carton orange to use as a truck body and paint the berry box white to use as a truck cab.

While those parts are drying, paint your four empty Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape packages black for truck wheels.

Cut a 6-inch by 4-inch piece of cardboard and glue the same size piece of orange craft paper to the top. Next, to make the truck’s load, stack the six empty Hubba Bubba Glop packages and glue them onto the orange board. Tie twine around the board as straps, tightly securing twine at the bottom of the board. Now, glue the finished load onto the back of the egg box.

Glue Life Savers candies for lights below the front win-dow area of the white-painted berry box and glue the finished cab to the front of the egg box. When the wheels are dry, glue 2-inch silver circles with smaller red 1/8-inch foil circles on top of the painted Hubba Bubba Sour Gummi Tape packages and glue Altoids in the middle to finish the wheels.

Finally, glue the wheels evenly to the bottom of the egg carton truck. Let them dry completely and then go have fun.

Candy

Page 24: HomeTown Holidays

Page ��- Hometown Holidays - November 13, �009

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