Christmas Spirit! That’s what this concert is all about. This time around what better way to get you in the holiday spirit than singing!! The Susanville Symphony Holiday concert will be introducing the newly formed Susanville Choral Society directed by Liudmila Mullin. The Symphony musicians and the Choral vocalists will join together to take you on a journey from ancient Christmas carols that used to be sung by candlelight to American Indians version of the Christmas Story. And of course, more current versions of holiday music like a suite from the movie “Home Alone” and a special reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. And what a better way to ring in the holiday than to have a Hand Bell Choir perform. Don’t miss the concerts on Friday, December 7th at 7:00pm and Sunday, December 9th at 2:30pm. With a special Student Admission ticket discount of $10.00 for the Sunday performance. Both concerts held at the Susanville Assembly of God Church. Tickets may be purchased at Leslie’s Jewelry in Susanville or by calling 530-257-2920.
Use thick, red, pink or white cloth napkins to make your poinsettias.
Press napkins flat. Lay flat and smooth out on clean, flat surface. Fold each corner in to the center and smooth so you see a square with an X quartering it.
Now, fold all four new corners to the center-point of the napkin again, to create another square, quartered by an X.
Secure the center on the top and bottom using both hands, while you flip the napkin upside down. Smooth flat. Now, looking at the back, fold the four corners to the center-point once again, to again create an even smaller square, again, quartered by an X.
Reach underneath one corner of the square. Pull up a fold flap from the center of the underneath side of the napkin and gently tug it out to form the petal. Repeat with the other 3 corners.
Now reach under to pull out a point between each petal.
Place large bead, pine cone, artificial berry cluster or small shiny ornament in the center to show off the poinsettia, if desired.
• Four 12 oz. Clear Glass Jar(s) (Canning jars from the hardware store work well). Use your jars to measure:
• 3 jarfuls Epson salt • 3/4 jarful sea salt
• 1/4-cup ground old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick-cook)
• Start with 1/2 tsp. per jar = 2 tsp. Mandarin Orange essential oil (add more drops if needed for desired scent)
• 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. glycerin • (Optional: 1-3 drops each: Red and Yellow food coloring
• Optional: Orange print fabric – less than 1/8 yard to cover recycled jar lids
• One 12″ orange ribbon or twine for each jar (48″ or 1 1/4 yards)
• Invisible craft glue
• Labels (free labels attached to article) Clean, dry and (remove any labels if you are recycling jars). Grind oatmeal in food processor, blender or grinder. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Mix essential oil with glycerin (and food coloring if used). Add to dry ingredients and mix vigorously until well distributed. Spoon into jars. If using recycled jars, glue on a fabric circle cut 1/2 ” wider than jar lid. If available, use pinking shears to cut the circles. Glue on center. Tie an orange ribbon around the edge of jar lid, adding drops of glue in a few spots to secure. Tie a bow.
By Melissa Wynn
The holidays mean great times with friends and family, lots of company and all kinds of new toys, trinkets and clothes to put away once the gifts have been unwrapped. Are you ready for all that? I’m not either, so now it’s time to clear the clutter.
Sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving I like to rearrange my living room to get rid of the old and make room for the new. This is also the time we decide where the fresh cut Christmas tree will stand and where the wreaths and our hand sewn stockings will hang. My last chore in the living room is to put fresh bedding on the sofa sleeper for this years mystery guest. Welcome to our holiday home.
The next area on my holiday clean up list is the bedrooms. I start with the closets, donate the old coats to my local coat drive, then decide which bathrobe to retire. It will soon be replaced by the new one that I’ll get from Grandma. Remember to leave the empty hangers and some space on one end in the guest room for incoming loved ones. Wrapping it up, I sort through the dresser drawers, bags in hand for the things that will be going to my local thrift store. Consolidating things in the guest room dressers again leaves storage space for my company. Fresh bedding and some yummy flannel sheets and the bedrooms are good to go.
Its that time of year again. This time I’m going to be ready so I too can relax and enjoy the festivities.
By Melissa Wynn
Cutting the family Christmas tree is a mountain valley tradition that has stood the test of time for generations. Here is our family recipe for making a smooth and festive adventure of this age old holiday task.
You will need
1 Christmas Tree cutting permit from your local Forest Service office for each tree you plan to cut.
1 map of your cutting area to ensure a safe return home.
1 hand or chain saw for cutting.
1 sled, cart or large tarp for dragging the tree back to the truck without damaging the branches.
1 thermos of homemade hot cocoa for each adventure member. (recipe included in this issue)
1 picnic lunch and several hearty snacks in case the day gets away from you while searching for the perfect pine.
1 first aid kit in case of emergency.
1 complete warm outfit including waterproof gloves (in case of snow), warm hat, heavy coat and snow boots for each tree seeker.
As many friends and family members as you can gather to help build this years priceless memory.
1 4 wheel drive truck to battle any snowy road between you and the perfect Christmas conifer.
1 CD of Christmas music by your favorite artist.
Once you have decided which neck of the woods to explore, take the first nine ingredients and load them with care into the 4 wheel drive. Turn the CD up to encourage the traditional sing along that will last until you reach your destination, ( louder if those in the vehicle lack skills in harmony.)
Now its time to find the tree that best fits you and your home. Be careful not to cut a tree that is to tall for your ceiling. Carefully cut your tree down, load it on your sled or tarp and drag it back to the truck. Take your time, enjoy your lunch and cocoa and soak in the wonders of wandering the forest.
Take tree home and decorate to taste.
To give, to decorate or to mail to loved ones far away…
What you will need:
• Hand pruners
• Pine, and/or: fir, cedar, juniper, redwood, or oak trees
(Cut assorted greens, as available in 6-8″ lengths.)
• floral tape
• #24 floral wire in a roll (2 rolls makes it simpler)
• Choose your favorite accents or use some of these:
PRE-WIRE any that will not wire into the project easily:
pine cones • silk flowers • fresh flowers (red and white carnations look great and last well – especially when capped individually with ends filled with water, available at a floral supply. Otherwise, choose silk or remove flowers as they wilt.) • fresh herbs like rosemary • mini ornaments • artificial berry clusters • baby’s breath •
Note: IF YOU HAVE ONLY 1 ROLL OF WIRE: PRE-WIRE PINE CONES AND ANY OTHER ORNAMENTS BEFORE STARTING PROJECT AS YOU DO NOT WANT TO CUT THE WIRE DURING WIRE-WRAPPING PROCESS.
Fill a wheelbarrow with greenery if you want a big 8 – 10 ft. garland. Ours is 4 feet. Cut branches diagonally to minimize excess pitch. Wrap ends of each stem with floral tape to further protect furnishings from the dripping sap.
Start with a nice long piece of twine, twice the size you want your garland to be.
1. Lay out the twine and lay the adornments out to the side of the the twine in the places you want them to be. For example, if you have 8 flowers, you may want them evenly placed.
2. Make a loop and tie it about a foot in from beginning of roll of wire, leaving about a foot of wire at the end, before the loop.
3. Tie the end of the roll of floral wire to the loop and tighten. Roll up the excess wire as it will be used for hanging the garland later.
KEEP THE ENTIRE ROLL OF WIRE CONNECTED THROUGHOUT THE PROJECT.
4. Place your first bundle of foliage on the twine with stems pointing away from the loop, and close to the loop.
5. Wrap the wire around 2 – 3 times starting at stem and wrapping about 1/2 way up the stems, pulling tight.
6. When you add the next bunch of foliage, lay it so the stems point in the same direction and as you place them. overlap the about half the length of the prior one, positioned to cover the cut stems and wire. Continue adding bunches, making sure you keep connecting the wire to the string throughout the wire-weaving process and covering the string along the way.
7. Weave in color and pre-selected adornments intermittently as pre-planned. Repeat process adding greenery on both sides of the twine until desired length is reached. Then securely tie off the twine, tying it to the wire.
Note: A 4 – 5 foot garland will go nicely over the top of a door.
Sweet and Salty Candied Popcorn
Sweet and Salty Good!
GIVING AS GIFTS?
Try inexpensive plastic, color-tinted treat bags. Fill, add a bow and tie on a cute ornament for a fast and friendly gift.
18 cups popped popcorn
4 cups salted peanuts
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
¾ cup corn syrup
¼ cup butter
½ tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 250º. Grease a large roasting pan and pour in the popcorn. In a large saucepan. mix brown sugar, corn syrup and butter. Stir almost constantly while bringing to a boil and continue to stir while boiling 6 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly add soda and vanilla. Mixture will become light and foamy. Pour immediately over the popcorn and mix it with 2 large wooden spoons or large utensils until well coated (careful, it will be hot). Bake for 1 hour, stirring well every 15 minutes. Cool completely before bagging, or serve warm in a bowl.
Toffee Almond Crunch
1 cup walnuts, chopped well
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sprinkle walnuts on bottom of a greased 9×9 inch pan.
Combine sugar and butter in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and boil for 7 minutes, stirring constantly.
Spread over nuts.
Sprinkle chips on top of hot sugar mix and nuts.
Spread melted chocolate with a knife to cover the top.
Refrigerate to set.
Cut into pieces before it is completely chilled. Or when set, it will crack apart as well.
Fun to Make Origami Advent Calendar
You will need:
• 24 – 3 ½ ” X 3 ½ ” squares of sturdy, patterned paper, like wall paper, heavy, gift wrap or patterned printer paper. Choose several coordinating patterns to make your project fit your holiday décor.
• 1 piece of cardboard approx. 18-20” high by 14-16” wide, covered in small print pattern or plainer pattern, such as foil paper, parchment, etc.
• Double-sided tape and/or glue (Spray glue is helpful in covering the backboard.)
• 24 – 1/2“ to ¾” circle stickers
• Optional felt for back of board 16” X 20”
Cover backboard with wrap by lightly covering cardboard with glue. (spray glue works well), then affixing paper carefully on board. Trim any excess paper leaving about 2” around the perimeter. Fold corners like you would sheets or gift wrap and glue down the excess paper on the back of the board. If you would like to cover the back of the board, you can glue a piece of felt or more paper on the back to cover the edges.
How to make an Origami for each pocket:
1. Turn the paper square upside down on table so pattern faces down.
Now fold the square in half so the bottom corner now evenly reaches the top corner, pattern showing.
2. Looking at triangle with point side up, fold down front top corner to just the bottom edge, and make a crease. Then unfold this flap, so you can see crease mark.
3. Fold bottom right corner up to the crease shown from the previous step. Line up the edge of the paper perfectly along the crease.
4. Repeat same fold with bottom left corner to form octagon shape with “basket”. Secure these two flaps with glue or the circle sticker. (Note: neatly number circle stickers from 1 – 24.
Glue or tape each “basket” onto the paper covered board, 5 baskets wide by 5 baskets high, except the bottom row, which only holds 4 baskets. Arrange in order from 24 (top left) to 1 (bottom right. In the spot where the 5th basket would go on the bottom row, neatly print on plain or colored paper “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
By Melissa Wynn
Everyone knows the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is the most popular day to get up at the crack of dawn and get your holiday shop on. In recent years, employers shake their heads as the following Monday, now known as Cyber Monday, finds the employees at their computers during the lunch hour filling their online shopping carts. No crowds, no traffic.
Last year American Express dubbed the Saturday in between “Small Business Saturday”. What an amazing way to support our local smaller businesses this holiday season! Whether you make a day of it out and about or shop online you are sure to find the perfect gift for that someone special right in your own back yard. Who knows you better than your own local neighbors?
Small business owners can find excellent tips on ways to optimize on this special shopping day by visiting americanexpress.com. Take advantage of their ” Tools To Make Your Day Even Bigger.” American Express would like you to know “As a small business owner,you’re automatically part of Small Business Saturday. As an American Express® small merchant, you’re part of the day PLUS have access to exclusive benefits to help you make the most of Small Business Saturday.”
- “American Express will again be driving qualifying Cardmembers to small businesses like yours on 11/24 with a $25 statement credit offer.
- We are helping customers find you by placing all American Express small merchants on an online map so they can shop small at your business.
- You can download customizable marketing materials to promote the day and the $25 Cardmember offer to your customers.”
No early Black Friday for us this year. We will be supporting our local economy with a leisurly day of shopping our local small businesses. Come join the fun!
Hot Buttered Rum Mix
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted real butter, cut into chunks and softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
a pinch of ground dried clove
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Put all of the ingredients in the bowl and mix well or use a food processor and mix until everything has blended together.
Transfer the mixture to a jar (or jars) and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it or give as gifts.
If you are giving as gifts, print the recipe below or copy and cut it out to include with your gift.
Making Hot Buttered Rum:
1 1/2 ounces of rum (Some may prefer Bourbon Whiskey)
Hot buttered rum mix
Pour the rum into a mug. Add a heaping tablespoon full of the hot buttered rum mix to the glass and pour the heated water on top of it. Stir and enjoy.
By Lorraine Shoemaker
On a recent trip to Reno with my sister, Melissa, we had the pleasure of staying the night at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino. Along with the first rate room on the 21st floor of the Concierge Tower, we had access to the opulent Spa Atlantis- which has so many treatments available that it’s nearly impossible to chose just one. Fortunately we didn’t have to! With the purchase of one treatment each we were treated to an entire day of luxurious pampering.
Melissa chose the Signature Physiodermi Facial as her treatment and her Facial Technician, Charlene lead her to a candlelit room with calming music. Melissa was in a semi reclining position on an elegantly draped massage table . Charlene first placed a warm towel on Melissa’s’ face to open the pores and relax the facial muscles. Next, a gentle cleansing and exfoliation using botanical extracts-most noticeably papaya enzyme- the aroma was heavenly! A very gentle extraction of impurities was followed by another warm towel. Rich moisturizer was applied and a final spritzing. Charlene also shaped Melissa’s’ eyebrows and waxed her upper lip as well as massaging her shoulders, neck and hands.
My treatment was The Hot Rock Massage. The intimate candlelit room with soothing music and delicate aroma made me feel relaxed and I wasn’t even on the massage table yet! I started by laying facedown on the soft, warm table and felt my shoulders ease. It was so serene. My Massage Therapist, Nickie, eased quietly into the room and began preparing to do magic. Using wondrously warm cream and a gentle touch, Nickie massaged my neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, feet and hands. About the time I was dozing, Nickie began using the hot rocks up and down my back. What a luxury. The rocks used are river rocks, specially selected for several qualities: size for different parts of the body, color for heat retention (black absorbs more heat -white less) and shape and smoothness.
At the end of my massage I melted into the table for a few minutes before getting up. As I stood up my legs were so rubbery I felt intoxicated. I, sadly, bide farewell to Nickie-an excellent Massage Therapist. Next time you’re in Reno, give yourself an indulgent treat- visit Spa Atlantis and experience the magic. For a full menu of amenities contact Atlantiscasino.com
[media-credit name="Bigstockphoto.com" align="alignleft" width="100"][/media-credit]By Lorraine Shoemaker
Holly has been celebrated as a Christmas plant for centuries, but it actually began it’s fame as an important tradition of pagan celebration. Originally holly was presented as a sacred offering to the God Saturn by the Romans. They celebrated a winter Solstice feast known as Saturnalia where holly was exchanged as a symbol of goodwill. Ancient Druids believed holly to be the Sun’s most favored plant and wore it in ceremonial headgear when going into the forest.. Holly became widely used inside European homes to ward off witchcraft and evil spirits.
As Christianity established a foothold in the Roman Empire, Saturnalia gave way to Christmas and the practice of reverence to holly was forbidden. Regardless, holly began to be incorporated in Christian decorations, art, and celebrations. Holly was hung on doors to ward off unforeseeable misfortune and persecution (hence the birth of the Christmas wreath). Today holly, whose pagan origin has been long disregarded, has become the symbol of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus when on the cross; The prickly leaves pierced His forehead and the red berries represent drops of blood. In German legend the holly berries were originally yellow but were stained red from Christ’s blood during the crucifixion and that holly grew in His footsteps.
The reverence of holly was not limited to Christians, many cultures around the world – as far spread as China, Africa and Japan- incorporated holly to adorn their homes with wreaths, their bodies and hair with berries and their alters with garlands . Some Native Americans used holly medicinally to cleanse internally before sacred rituals and to alleviate pain in childbirth.
It’s easy to understand why the world loves the noble holly plant. As an evergreen it’s shiny green serrated leaves and it’s lush red berries make a welcome splash of color in an otherwise drab winter landscape.
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By Lorraine Shoemaker
Holly has long been associated with Christmas, its deep green and vivid red are the traditional colors of Christmas. Make an old-fashioned holly wreath to adorn your door this holiday season!
What You Need:
Wire wreath form
Florist wire, 24 gauge
Gather or purchase a large shopping bag full of holly in 6-inch-long trimmings.
Use a wire wreath frame or make your own frame from a wire coat hanger (Simply unbend it and shape into a circle).
Attach number-24 floral wire to the wire wreath frame.
Select several stems of the 6-inch holly pieces and place them together in a bunch (Thicker bundles make fuller wreaths).
Place a stem with berries on top of the bundle of holly. Place the bundle on top of the frame where the floral wire is connected.
Hold the bundle in place and wrap the floral wire around the bundle and frame. Wrap the floral wire around the bundle a second time and then pull it tight. Make sure to leave the wire attached to the frame – you’re not finished!
Gather another bundle of holly and place it so that the leaves overlap the first bunch and cover the stems. Make sure that the stems on both bunches face the same direction.
Continue overlapping the bunches of foliage and wiring them to the frame until you complete the circle.
Lift the first bundle and tuck the last one under it. Twist the wire tightly around the last bundle. Knot the wire onto the frame, leaving 1 inch of wire for hanger.
Add our own personal touches, such as clusters of small pine cones, bows, small ornaments, or stand a figurine (deer, angel, santa) in the bottom center of the wreath and attach with wire or hot glue. Have a fun and happy holly-day!
By Melissa Wynn
It is time once again for my favorite winter outing, cutting the family Christmas tree. I know it would be easier to go buy one from a lot or ,heaven forbid, put up an artificial tree. What fun is there in that? In our neck of the woods Christmas tree cutting means the last picnic of the year. Instead of cold chicken and iced tea like the summer picnic we like to pack a basket of thermoses filled with delights like a spicy chili and hot chocolate. The children love helping choose a tree and a picnic is much more fun than a ride in the car to choose a tree all bound with twine that you can’t really see until you have it home, paid for and unwrapped. Boring! Bundle up, grab the saw, fill your thermoses and have an adventure. After all, that is why we choose to live Mountain Valley Living style.
Tree cutting permits cost a mere ten dollars and can be purchased at many locations including
- Beckwourth Ranger Station
23 Mohawk Road in Blairsden
- Hallelujah Junction General Store
Highway 395/Highway 70
- Williams House Museum/
Portola Visitor Center
424 E Sierra Avenue in Portola
- River Pines Resort
Hwy 89, 1/4 mile N of Graeagle
- Mt. Hough Ranger District
39696 Hwy. 70
3 miles north of Quincy
- Greenville Forest Service
Information & Work Center
128 Hot Springs Rd in Greenville
- Almanor Ranger District
900 East Hwy 36
- Eagle Lake Ranger District
477-050 Eagle Lake Rd
Permits are also available by mailing a self addressed stamped envelope along with your ten dollar payment to
Lassen National Forest Headquarters
Christmas Tree Permit
2550 Riverside Drive
Susanville, Ca 96130
Plumas National Forest
Christmas Tree Permit
P.O. Box 11500
Quincy, CA 95971
Remember, winter weather in the Sierra is unpredictable so dress in layers and be prepared. Your tree cutting adventure awaits!
Every family has its own traditional way of celebrating holidays. And nearly always it involves a special holiday meal, a chance for everyone to gather around one table. For our family it used to be “going to Grandma’s” but now it’s at my daughter’s home. Besides the planning and shopping that goes into this feast, she will be up by 5:00 in the morning preparing her share of the dinner “from scratch. ” But that’s the way she wants it! There will be twenty five of us, family and friends. Those who live close by will bring their special dishes, but there are others who must travel to be here on that day.
Regardless of the weather, we will take a break before cutting into the pies. We’ll help the little ones into sweaters and coats and take a brisk walk. Then back into the warm house for coffee and dessert! The holiday programs on TV are not high on our family’s agenda; we are too busy catching up with each other’s lives.
I count myself among the very lucky seniors who have a close family –close emotionally as well as physically. Sadly, it is not true for many of us, so what are the alternatives? I know what I would do if I could no longer travel. I would have a “non-traditional holiday” meal at my house. I’d invite a lonely friend, perhaps a newly widowed acquaintance, or that young couple and their kids who recently moved nearby, for a non-traditional Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter meal. Non-traditional because instead of my doing all the cooking I’d let the market do most of the work. I might not cook and stuff a turkey and all the fixing if it was Thanksgiving, or a standing rib roast at Christmas, or a traditional Easter ham. I know I would be exhausted if I tried to do what my daughter does — and then the day wouldn’t be much fun for me or my guests.
But my dinner would be traditional with a pretty tablecloth and a fruit bowl or floral arrangement appropriate for the season. We’d have plenty to eat, of course, but the main thing would be getting together, enjoying the talk, the warmth, the ease of friendship.
And maybe that would start a tradition of its own!
By Melissa Wynn
It’s time once again for the age old question of what to get the mountain men in our lives for Christmas. Their toolboxes are full, the flannel shirt bit ran its course years ago and neckties are just not an option. I say let them play as hard as they work. Who ever dies with the most toys wins right? With all the online auctions, local shopping choices and catalogs, the possibilities are endless. Men from the mountains love to play outdoors so feed the passion. How do your mountain men like to play?
Fishermen can never have too much tackle and nothing makes them shine like a new rod and reel. Maybe a gift certificate from a local merchant for next years fishing license as a stocking stuffer. Fly tying kits and fishing art are also great for the serious angler.
Hunters are among the easiest to shop for, especially if the hunt a variety of seasons. Extra quiver and arrows for the bow hunters. Decoys, camouflage or maybe even a bird dog puppy for the bird hunters. Big game hunters may like a good sharp buck knife, rifle case, new scope or a buck cart for bringing out his trophy.
Snowmobilers and dirt bikers alike can always use more protective gear and of course any of the latest bells and whistles for their favorite off road toys. There are also several books available that list areas all over the country designated for these high speed sports.
Hikers and backpackers like to be prepared but also travel light so be on the lookout for compact versions of camping equipment such as cookware, tent, bedroll and good footwear is a must.
No matter what their favorite sport may be all outdoors men need a complete first-aid kit and a good GPS to find their way back to the truck.
Our mountain men work hard all year, let this Christmas be all about the play!
WHITE ELEPHANT CHRISTMAS PARTY It is a fun idea, whether it is an office party or party with friends or family, this is fun. Maybe you have a really large family and it is hard for everyone to buy gifts. If so, this is a great way to really share the holiday spirit. without breaking the bank.
Announcing it as a White Elephant Gift Exchange, will sum it up for many but you may want to include in the invite, a little instruction: Bring a White Elephant gift for the gift exchange. Wrap something that you do not use but that just the right person may love. Have fun with it! I have seen guests bring everything from board games and decorator items to a new bar sink and a $5 chip from a casino, all hot items as I recall.
It works out especially well if you plan for a double exchange. After everyone chooses a wrapped gift, they are then allowed to trade. It can be that casual, or more fun if you ask guests who may be willing to trade, to stand in one spot with their items. You’d be surprised how much fun trading can be. If kids are involved, have each child pick an item from their room that they are willing to give up, but is still “cool” for somebody. Adults are usually willing to trade with kids when they get a toy and everything works out great.
A careful hostess may have a few extra white elephants stashed for kids just in case one child does get stuck with a wall mirror.
By Lorraine Shoemaker
You’ve just spent the better part of Thanksgiving day in the kitchen while family and friends enjoy themselves in the other room. You can’t help feeling just a wee bit left out, and you still have to fret over setting the table properly. How was it that Great Aunt Edna used to set the table? Oh yes!
Use your Thanksgiving (or nicest) tablecloth.
Get out the linen napkins (please no paper! What would Aunt Edna think?).
Set out the appropriate number of service plates.
Now set the dinner plates on top of the service plates, the dessert plates on dinner plates.
On the left of the plate will go the forks; next to the plate goes the dinner fork, then the salad fork.
On the right side of the plate will go the spoons; soup spoon next to the plate, teaspoon next to the soup spoon.
Place the butter knife on the top rim of the diner plate.
Above the plate, place the cake fork facing right and above that the dessert spoon facing left.
Place your nicely folded napkin on the top plate.
On the right side of the plate above the spoons go the glasses; the wine glass closest to the plate, the water glass above and slightly to the left of the wine glass.
Knowing the proper way to set your table saves time and energy. It doesn’t take fancy china or silverware to make a pleasing dinner presentation; be as casual or formal as you desire. If you don’t have enough of one pattern or style of dishes, be creative and have fun mixing and matching what you have. It’s the small touches such as real cloth napkins and service plates that make your table setting look great and your family and guests feel special. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
1. Set a Christmas budget in advance. Before the frenzy of Christmas time descends, work out how much you’re able and prepared to spend on Christmas festivities, gifts, and catering. The amount will depend on how much you’ve already saved, how much you can set aside from current funds, and how much you can spare in the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you start early enough, you’ll have more leeway to save a bit more.
• Work out how much you want to spend on people for presents and include decorations, food, and whatever else you think you will need.
• Stick to your budget – it’s the indicator of what you can and cannot afford.
• Consider starting a budget straight after Christmas for future years. Start saving early, put money into a savings account each month or week and stick to it. Doing this will give you a lump sum to spend in December rather than scraping together money. Budget well – this should include food, decorations, presents and anything else you may buy at Christmas.
2.Talk to family about the costs and gifts. Sit down and make decisions about limits on gifts. This is especially important in large families where the costs of buying a gift for every member of the family can soon add up. Seek agreement that you’ll only spend so much per person.
• If you’re really strapped, a decision to only give gifts to the children can sometimes ease budget constraints.
• One way to spend less on presents is to have each family member bring one present and then to play “Goofy Gift Exchange” or “Secret Santa’”
• Remind everyone that thoughtfully chosen gifts are more important than expensive ones.
3. Hold a “catch-up” Christmas. If your family overdid the spending last Christmas and your budget is still really stretched, consider not spending for one Christmas. One non-spending Christmas will ensure that your budget catches up. There are still a lot of things you can do to celebrate Christmas without spending money:
• Make a nice meal, not an expensive one. Look at old cookbook recipes for thrifty Christmas cooking.
• Make homemade gifts from recycled and inexpensive items.
• Don’t buy any new decorations and either use a live tree in a planter from your garden, or an artificial tree kept in your storage.
4. Take advantage of sales during the year. Sales closer to Christmas can be worth marking on your calendar, such as end-of-summer sales, sales after Thanksgiving, etc.
• Take advantage of the post-Christmas sales to start buying gifts, cards, wrapping paper, decorations, tableware, etc., for next Christmas. Be sure to put these somewhere that they’re easier to find and use when Christmas comes around.
• Keep a list of whose gifts you’ve already purchased, so that you don’t double up on gifts.
• Keep an eye on auction sites and overstocked goods sites for bargains during the lead-up to Christmas. And use price comparison websites to make sure you are paying at the best price.
• Use any rebates, coupons, discounts, or promotions that you have access to. If you’re not sure, ask.
5. Make your own cards. Recycle last year’s cards and turn them into this year’s cards. Simply cut out the decorative part of the card and attach it to plain cardboard. Use markers to decorate. Do the same for gift tags.
• Make your own wrapping paper. Use brown paper and stamp Christmas designs on it using stamps or cut stamp designs out of potatoes. Use simple gold, red, green, silver, and white ribbon to add color if wished.
• Make your own labels. Printable gift labels on the internet or making you own and printing them off can save pounds or dollars on gift tags.
6. Cut out unnecessary items. There are a lot of items that aren’t needed and are unnecessary waste at Christmas time. Save your money and finite resources by not including them in your Christmas celebrations. Examples include:
• Ribbons, bows, fancy tape, stickers, etc., are usually tossed away.
• Plastic tablecloths with Christmas designs. Either use plain colored tablecloths from your linen cupboard, or go without.
• Don’t spend massive amounts of money on outside lights, keep it to a minimum and inside lights should be left off at all times when no-one is in the room, this saves on energy bills.
By Melissa Wynn
Happy Holidays to our Mountain Valley neighbors! ‘Tis once again the season to put up the family Christmas tree. My favorite part is tree cutting day. Hot chocolate, snowball fights, and the hunt for the perfect tree are all part of the tradition. If your family wants to get in on the fun, there are plenty of trees out there to choose from. Cutting permits are currently on sale for $10, limit 2 per household, and include a map of designated cutting areas. Tree cutters are required to attach the permit to the tree before leaving the cutting area to avoid penalties. Mountain weather is unpredictable this time of year, so be sure to dress appropriately and be ready for ice and snow. It is also a great idea to bring along a tarp. It will protect the branches while dragging the tree and also keep the stray pine needles contained for easy clean up. Less work = more fun. Save the trimmed branches for wreath making on decorating day. Nothing says “Christmas is coming” like the smell of fresh cut pine. For recorded information on Christmas tree permits, call 530-836-7177 or 530-283-7869. You can purchase a permit at your local Forest Service office or Ranger Station. Permits are also on sale at the following businesses and locations:
- Doyle Payless
- Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce – Blairsden
- Graeagle Outpost
- Hallelujah Junction General Store
- Sierraville Service
- Williams House Museum – Portola
Quincy/Meadow Valley Area
- Blue Sky Chevron
- One Stop
- Plumas County Visitor Center
- 76 Unocal
Lassen National Forest Supervisor’s Office
2550 Riverside Drive
Susanville, CA 96130
Almanor Ranger District
900 E. Hwy 36, P.O. Box 767
Chester, CA 96020
Eagle Lake Ranger District
477-050 Eagle Lake Road
Susanville, CA 96130
The Very First Christmas
As told in the holy scriptures:
Luke:2:1-20, Matthew 1:18-25, Isaiah 7:14
© Eileen Majors _ Permission granted to reprint story in it’s entirity to use or to give away, not for resale.
The Big News Arrived
Once upon a time long, long ago lived a young woman named Mary. One day, an angel of the Lord appeared before Mary. “Do not be afraid”, said the angel. “You have been chosen by God. You will have a baby son and you are to give him the name Jesus. Meanwhile, Mary was pledged to be married to a carpenter named Joseph. An angel also appeared to Joseph saying, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife because the baby conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit of God. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Immanuel, because he will save people from their sins.”
Oh how Joseph knew it was good news, for many years earlier, Isaiah, a prophet of God, had told of such a child who would be born to such a woman as Mary. It was already written in the holy scriptures. (Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14)
Months later, King Caesar Agustus issued an order that everyone in the Roman world must be counted. Each man would bring his family to his own home town to register there. So Joseph, with Mary riding on a donkey, traveled to Bethlehem, The City of David, because he belonged to the House of David. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary’s baby to be born.
Joseph stopped at an inn hoping to find a comfortable bed for Mary who was ready to have her baby. “I’m sorry”, said the innkeeper, “we have no room for you. The inn is full.” What was Joseph to do? A baby was going to be born! There was only a barn where he could take Mary, and so he did. The cows and sheep moved aside as Joseph comforted Mary who gave birth to a baby boy. She wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a manger.
At another place in the east, the shepherds were busy taking care of their sheep. In those days, a flock of sheep had a shepherd to watch over them. He would keep them safe and rescue them when they got into trouble. As the shepherds worked their fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to them. The bright Glory of the Lord shone around them, and quite frankly, the shepherds were terrified at first. “Do not be afraid,” said the angel. “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the City of David a Saviour has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.” Certainly those shepherds must have been astounded. Good news, great joy, a baby lying in a manger, even Christ the Lord! After all, a manger belongs in a barn, for cows to eat from. When the angels had left, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that the Lord has told us about.”
The Wise Men
Wise men traveling in from the East were also drawn. They stopped to talk to the king. “Where is this one who has been born King of the Jews?” they asked. “We have seen his star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
King Herod called together his priests and teachers and asked them where the Christ child was to be born according to the holy scriptures. “Bethlehem,” he was told, so he sent the wise men on their way. They continued to follow the star they had seen in the East as it went ahead of them. Suddenly, it stopped… right over the place where the baby Jesus lay.
When the wise men saw that the star had stopped, they were overjoyed. They went inside and found the baby Jesus with his mother. The shepherds, too, had rushed to see this glorious thing that had happened. The wise men opened their treasures and gave the baby presents of gold, incense and myrrh.
After this, the shepherds began spreading the word, telling many people of what the angel had said and how they indeed found the newborn baby, even Christ the Lord, lying in a manger.
Everyone who heard it was amazed. But Mary treasured up all these things in her heart. How happy she must have felt to be chosen by God to be the mother of the baby Jesus, even Christ The Lord.
MOUNTAIN VALLEY LIVING HOME & FAMILY
Take up Your Shield!!!
By Chrystal deMartimprey
‘Tis the season of sale fliers, radio ads and TV bargains. They fly at us like arrows from the most skillful archers. Unless we are armed and ready to do battle we will be pierced with debt and regrets. What shield could possibly withstand such a tempest, and cover head to toe?
Forge a shield of thankful contentment, the perfect piece of shopping armor. Let’s not scrape our attitude of Thanksgiving out with the turkey leftovers. Rather let’s daily train our minds to be thankful for our blessings. I want, can I have and why not arrows pierce deeply into unprotected heartstrings. But if we arm ourselves with thankfulness for life’s joys such as family, friends, home, beauty, safety, pleasure, hope, love, laughter and yes, even sweat and tears; we will be well prepared for the shopping trip. It is these gifts of God that offer lifelong contentment. When these are ours and increasing, we will likely stay within the limits of our budgets and offer Christmas gifts and memories that will linger long after the holiday ends.
For many, Christmas is a most joyous event, others struggle through it with difficulty. Regardless of our past experiences we can all benefit from generous doses of thankfulness. So, when the catalogues pile up in the mailbox, the exciting voices entice over the radio waves and the TV flashes images of happy people with new stuff, we can pull up our shield and begin shouting our battle cry of thanks.
May your Christmas be filled with beauty, joy and an abundance of Thanksgiving.
With thanks to Juliana Mark of J’s Rents & Events, formerly known as J’s Feather River Rental located in Portola.
With budgets down and company coming, one should remember you do not have to go on a major shopping spree to put out a beautiful holiday spread. We live in a wonderland of color where clippings, pine cones and cedar wings will make for a snappy centerpiece. Our cover shot is proof that it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or trouble to put together a festive table. We picked fresh fall branches on the way to the photo shoot and most all the dishes tableware we used were “yard sale finds”!
Clearing the Space:
If space is limited, eliminate clutter for a smoother celebration. Clear off any buffets, countertops or usable space for your Thanksgiving dishes. Gather up a few boxes of stuff you could live without to offer more space for all the food, diners and decorations to come. Pack them safely and stash them in a closet somewhere. Leave a spot open for beverage service, whether it is coffee and punch or wine, beer and soft drinks, place them where there is space to serve guests or let them serve themselves.
A Quick Centerpiece:
I like to use a sturdy standing glass vase or jar that is not too tall, but taller than wide. Space is precious on a crowded Thanksgiving table. If it is a jar, you can often hide that fact with a wide festive ribbon tied around the brim. Drop in some clippings of manzanita or fresh pine along with a couple of pine cones. Then stand a simple bouquet of pine bows or other native greenery with a few sprigs of fresh fall leaves if they’re still available. I like to buy at least a few fresh flowers from the florist to add to the mix. Another option is to find a few startling cuttings of outstanding foliage. You are bound to find some real eye-catchers if you are willing to take a fall walk. Sometimes if necessary due to snow, I go to a lower elevation to take that walk.
Finding the Right Pieces:
If you do not have enough matching dishes for your guests, you may wish to rent them. The cost is around ???? per person for a dinner plate, water goblet and flatware. Cloth napkins can also be rented for ??? apiece. Another good idea is to search local consignment stores and thrift shops for some new, favorite dishes. I have been collecting crystal and silver pieces for years, ranging from 25¢ to $25.00. Sometimes I have used two different colors of dishes, alternating them around the table, or by using two tables, one for each color of dishes.
Putting It All Together
Early is the key for me. There are many things that will need to be done on the big day so anything you can pull off early will be a help, especially if you are also doing the cooking. I like to iron tablecloths and clear spaces the day before. The centerpiece can be made the day before and placed along with candles, napkins and serving dishes. I often set the whole table the night before. Look around your home for any additional furniture needed before you arrange seating for guests and places for the food. Tables can also be rented for ??? and chairs at ??? each. A tablecloth to cover an 8 foot table is ??? If you have your serving dishes ready to go, the sink and dishwasher empty, and the table is set, things will go smoothly.
It is that time of year when the holidays come alive with the flavors and savoring scents of Thanksgiving. It is a time when families come together in thankfulness for all they have and for each other. Special feasts are planned throughout the nation to honor the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving.
Looking back to the actual United States of America Thanksgiving Proclamations written and read by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, you would think it might sound more like a church service outlining the holiday rather than the official proclaiming of a national holiday. Check out the proclamations in their entirety for an interesting piece of history to read with the family.
“Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many single favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Excerpt from George Washington, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1795 by George Washington. Read it all at http://www.pilgrimhall.org/ThanxProc1789.htm
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Abraham Lincoln
(Excerpt from a proclamation from the President of the United States, Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863) Read it all at http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends (and often TV) and plans for shopping, too.
Football and Thanksgiving just go together for many families in the United States. Professional games are traditionally held on Thanksgiving Day.
Fond memories remain of the smell of turkey cooking and the beautiful floats on TV Thanksgiving morning. Treasured by many as a signal of an old fashioned holiday to come is the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Check your local listings for this nostalgic event.
SHOPPING BLACK FRIDAY
The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday because of the heavy shopping traffic on that day. The term ‘Black Friday’ comes from the fact that many stores reach sales figures that take them out of the red and (hopefully) keep them in the black for the rest of the fiscal year. According to Wikipedia, Black Friday has been considered to be the start of the Christmas shopping season since at least the 1930s.
By Melissa Wynn
We all know that April 1st is the day set aside for Tom foolery and practical jokes but this fun filled holiday itself may be the best joke of all. I intended to tell the historic origins of April Fools Day, instead I found myself giggling about the fact that no one really seems to know. Ironic, no? There is a theory that the naughtiness began in 1582 Rome when the Gregorian Calendar we use today replaced the old Julian Calendar. The old calendar began each new year on or near April 1st and the new called for that to change to January 1st. Some people refused to observe the change and continued to celebrate their New Year on April 1st. Those ready to roll with the changes began to make fun of the traditionalists by sending them on “fool’s errands” and tricking them into believing harmless falsehoods. The fun has been spreading ever since. Many dispute this theory saying that the Gregorian Calendar wasn’t adopted in England until 1752 but April 1st mischief was practiced there long before the calendar change. HMMMM.
Another explanation of the origins of April Fools’ Day came from Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman Emperor that they could do a better job of running his empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event. “In a way,” explained Prof. Boskin, “it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor.” This explanation was brought to the public’s attention in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they’d been victims of an April Fools’ joke themselves.
So I guess we may never know how the whole thing got started. I’m just glad that it did. Everyone can use a good laugh at someone else’s expense and blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we never fail to be amused.
info courtesy of www.infoplease.com
photo from bigstockphoto.com
CHRISTMAS BOOK HOW TO:
To make a mini book that will hang on the tree, YOU WILL NEED:
1/2 SHEET CONSTRUCTION PAPER • GLUE STICK • THIN RIBBON 4″ LONG • STAPLER • CLOTH TAPE OR DUCT TAPE
HANG THIS MINIATURE BOOK AS AN ORNAMENT ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE TO READ EACH YEAR.
Looking at it tall so it is taller than wide, cut and use the top half of construction paper, now wider than tall. Fold the page down in half, to make two equal rows. Now, looking at the folded paper wide and short, fold the left side to the right side, folding it in half. Cut it in two where you just folded it in half. Now open up both folded pages and cut each on the folded lines, leaving four cut rectangles. Looking at them short and wide, all in a stack, fold them in half all at once from left to right. Open to center and staple twice for book binding with sharp side of the staples to face inside on book binding. Now cut a ribbon about three times the height of the book. Loop the ribbon in half, leaving loop above book, tape the cut ends into the center of the book using a thin piece of tape the same height as the book binding. This strip of tape ribbon onto the inside center binding so it will cover the sharp staples. If it still feels sharp, place another strip of tape over the first one. Now cut between the pages on the white lines leaving page 2&3 as one cut out. Now paste the pages onto your book, starting with the first page as the cover. Enjoy! Merry Christmas From Mountain Valley Living Magazine. Free WEB book
Story Of The Very First Christmas Fold-and-Make Book
Written by Eileen Majors©. Not for resale, photos & art: BigStock Photo, Dreamstime.
by Jan Cox
Each year, as winter sets in, our days and evenings are brightened by the many festivities that take place between Thanksgiving and New Years. This year is no exception. Beginning in late November there are many venues that bring holiday cheer, no matter where you live. Here are just a few to pick from.
In Eastern Plumas County, The Mohawk Artist’s Guild Christmas Faire will be held on Friday Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 28, beginning at 10 am. The purpose of this guild is to raise funds to support art and music in the schools. A large variety of vendors will be selling their arts and crafts at the Community Resource Center at the corner of Hwys 70 and 89 by Graeagle. Refreshments will be served. There will be a raffle with prizes. Proceeds from this juried show and from the spring show go to Quincy and Portola High Schools, Carmichael Elementary and the pre-schools in Graeagle and Portola as well as Plumas Charter School for their art and music programs. The guild and its members also support Plumas Arts. For more information call Marian Haid at 530-836-1399.
In Susanville, the public is invited to the Lassen County Fair, Christmas Craft Fair on Friday, December 4 from 5-9 PM and Saturday, December 5 from 10-3. Last year this craft fair attracted over 2,000 people and was held in three separate buildings on the fairgrounds. Visitors were shuttled up and down the midway to the different buildings. A local group will be running a food concession stand for visitors and crafters to enjoy. For those who would like to participate in the craft fair, applications may be downloaded at www.lassencountyfair.org/CRAFTFAIR.asp and returned to them by Nov. 20th, 2009. Or call 530-251-8900 for more information.
In Chester, The Bailey Creek Boutiquers will be holding their annual craft
fair at the Elks Lodge on Main Street in Chester on Saturday, November 28. This was my favorite fair last year for several reasons. Twelve women from Bailey Creek, who love to make crafts, decided that they wanted a project that was fun for themselves and that would also benefit the community. As a result, they have kept prices low and included many articles that children can buy for their parents for Christmas, starting at 50 cents. They also give a percentage of the profits to the Angel Tree Program which collects money and provides baskets of food, clothing, and toys for those in need. Articles for sale include holiday gifts, cards, delicious homemade baked goods and candy with samples available, jewelry, hand knitted scarves and hats and artwork. Suzanne Newman will also have a makeup and skin care booth with demonstrations.
Susanville, CA is the site of the “Magical Country Christmas Parade” in Historic Uptown Susanville. On December 5, local musical talent will begin the evening followed by the lighted Christmas parade ending at the Elks Lodge at the top of Main Street. Here Santa will light the town Christmas Tree followed by a fireworks display. The parade begins at 5:30 sharp with tree lighting at 6 p.m. For more information you may call the Chamber of Commerce at 530-257-4323 or log onto www.lassencountychamber.org
The Susanville Symphony will bring the Christmas spirit alive with this year’s world premier of Maestro Benjamin Wade’s original arrangement of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”. Other traditional favorites include Winter Wonderland, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Overture to the Miracle on 34th Street and other seasonal favorites. Tickets may be purchased for performances on either Friday, Dec. 11, at 7 PM or Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2:30 PM at Susanville Assembly of God Church. Information on all performances by the symphony can be found at www.susanvillesymphony.com.
In Chester, CA, the Chester Community Chorus will be performing their annual Christmas concert on Dec. 4, 5 and 6 entitled “We Wish You a Merry Madrigal”. The repertoire for this concert will include a mixture of light madrigal music, traditional music with a new touch, and some new pieces. Some of the music will be sung in other languages including Pasko Na Naman, a Filipino song from Director Elsie Wesley’s native country that reflects a holiday spirit filled with excitement and anticipation . The performing groups include the Chorus, Chorale, Kindred Spirits, NEWGEN, Handbell Ensemble, and special performances of solo flute with piano, a vocal solo and interpretive dance. The Friday and Saturday concerts begin at 7 PM and Sunday matinee begins at 3 PM. There is no charge for the concerts but donations are always appreciated. Come early for a good seat.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Santa keeps very busy here in the mountains. Not only will he be at Susanville for the lighting of the tree and the Magical Country Christmas Parade on December 5 but he will also be at the following places.
Chester, CA will celebrate Santa’s return on November 27 with their annual Merchants Night and Light Parade. This is holiday fun for friends and families. Merchants stay open with holiday goodies and sales. There will be bonfires, caroling, Christmas tree lighting and a light parade. Festivities take place between 5 and 9 pm. The whole family will enjoy coming out to welcome in the holiday season. Call Chester/Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce for further info at (530) 258-2426.
Westwood, CA will see Santa on December 5 at the Community Center on Ash Street. After the tree lighting, visitors will have a chance to welcome Santa, have some hot chocolate and cookies while the Westwood Family Resource Center gifts each child with a new children’s book. To find out more, call Westwood Chamber of Commerce at (530) 256-2456.
If you visit downtown Graegle, CA between 1 and 5 PM on December 5, you will have a chance to visit the little red houses, have your picture taken with Santa and also ride through town in the horse-drawn trolley. For more information call (530) 836-2712.
Portola, CA will have a festive tree lighting ceremony and bonfire on Commercial Street on December 4 and on December 5 you can visit with Santa at the Portola Railroad Museum and have some hot chocolate and other refreshments. If you miss Santa on December 5, he will return here on December 12! For more information on the Santa Train, call (530) 832-4141.
Be sure and check out the Calendar of Events in the back of this magazine for further information on all the festivities in this area including Chico, Redding, and Reno. Happy Holidays!