Tour of homes benefits Fayette Humane Society

Christmas Tour of Homes benefits Fayette Humane Society.
Christmas Tour of Homes benefits Fayette Humane Society.

Christmas Tour of Homes benefits Fayette Humane Society.

Harry Norman Realtors will present the inaugural Fayette Humane Society Christmas Tour of Homes on Sunday, Dec, 7, 2014 from 1 to 5 p.m., showcasing five homes in Fayette County. Homes to be showcased are located in Interlochen, Saranac Park, Maple Shade, The Estates and North Cove subdivisions.

Tickets will go on sale Oct. 1 at a cost of $25 and will be available at the Harry Norman Realtor office, 120 Peachtree East Shopping Center in Peachtree City, Ga. All proceeds will go to provide food, shelter and medical attention for the animals.

Leah Thomson, fundraising chairman, could not be more excited about this event and the willingness of the community to get involved.

“I have received so much positive response to this event,” Leah said. “It is a win/win situation for our area and all the animals that need our help.”

Each of these homes will be decorated by local professional decorators and local musicians will provide music in each home and local restaurants will display their food and products.

“The decorators we have on board are enthusiastic and fabulous at what they do, and can’t wait to get started,” Leah said. “Ticket holders will be very pleased with the local businesses that are involved, and we are very fortunate to have so many talented local musicians in our area that have stepped up to provide us with some wonderful music.”

For more information on the event visit the Fayette Humane Society’s website at, the Fayette Humane Socitety Christmas Tour of Homes Facebook page, or stop by the office of Harry Norman Realtors.


The Fayette Humane Society is the oldest humane society in the area and last year alone provided assistance to over 600 dogs and cats, either through adoption or through various spay and neuter programs. With your help in supporting fundraising events such as this, we will continue to do so.

Dragging Last Year’s Baggage Out the Door

Ornaments ready to be packed up

Taking down the Christmas Tree~


Ornaments sorted on the table and waiting to be boxed.

I love my Christmas tree and it is with great pomp and circumstance that I decorate it every year.  We drag the boxes out and I lovingly unpack the decorations reminiscing about each and every one. The decorating ritual starts with everyone in the family helping me… but it ends up with me alone because I become a bit sentimental for my crowd and they tire quickly of the story behind each and every ornament.  Once the tree is up I love sitting by it in the evening, when the lights and tinsel sparkle the most, with a cup of coffee.  There is just something very peaceful about it.  But all good things must come to an end and life must get back to normal. The tree must come down.
Taking down of the tree is a ritual of its own. Each ornament comes down with lots of love and care. They are sorted and placed on the table.  I have a log of the ornaments that is arrange by the year they were added to the collection. After they come down, bows are stuffed with tissue and each ornament is wrapped and packed… all in effort to keep the ornaments safe in the old cardboard boxes until next year. It is sad but at the same time symbolizes the start of an exciting New Year full of unlimited fresh possibility. Not to mention the fact that vacuuming is required to pick up the stray tinsel and dried needles.  Probably the best cleaning the room gets all year.
Our tree comes down before midnight on December 31.  I always heard it was bad luck to leave it up into the New Year. I really just wanted help getting it out the door and toting the boxes to storage before everyone went back to work and school.    I am not superstitious but back in the late 1990’s the hubby and I were sick and didn’t get the tree down.  At 12:01 on January 1, we heard a crash only to find our beautiful tree on it’s side. It wasn’t really fun being sick and bringing in the New Year by mopping the stinky month of stagnant tree water off the hard wood floors. Amazingly only one ornament broke in the great crash and I was able to glue it together. I took that as a warning. From that year on, I have been a little more determined that the tree be down by the 31st… just to be safe.

Beautifully colored Chrismas balls

Mercury balls, new to the collection this year.

When do you take down your tree?  There are several traditional dates for taking down the tree and decorations. I did a little research and here are the most common traditions:

•Take down the decorations before midnight on Dec. 31 so you don’t drag the baggage from the old year into the new year.

•Take the tree down on Jan 5th- the twelfth day after Christmas… remember the song?  This tradition celebrates the tree during the 12 days following Christmas and then puts closure to the holiday.

•Take down the tree on Jan 6th for the Epiphany also know  as the 3 Kings Day.  Epiphany celebrates the fact that God had taken human form in Jesus.

Tradition aside, the Christmas tree association and UL Labs research recommend not leaving a live tree up for more than 4 weeks.  Even if watered the entire time it has been in your house, after 4 weeks the tree is considered to be more of a fire hazard.  So, when the tree comes down should be directly related to the date it went up. Of course there are some of us that need to take it down when we have the time or are on break for the holidays.

Checking around on the internet I found several polls asking the question about taking down the tree.   17% take the the tree down before the New Year starts. The majority, 64  take the tree down by Jan 6th – for Epiphany.  15%  take the tree down during the week following the epiphany and the rest …well I guess some people just keep the tree up.

Santa Ornaments

Santas ready to be stored until next year.

If you have a live tree and want to recycle it, there are several options.  You can find a local “Bring One in for the Chipper” location close to you by going to website and using the Earth911 locator. You can also apply for free mulch from the trees on their site.  Other options include using it to create fish and bird habitats or chipping/cutting it yourself for use as mulch in your own yard.  I did read of one tradition of saving branches from the tree to burn on Shrove Tuesday  to help the pancakes along.  Shrove Tuesday(Fat Tuesday) is the last day of feasting before lent.  It falls on February 12th this year. It wasn’t clear about where or how the branches are burned and by Shrove Tuesday the branches will be really dry and go fast so use caution.
Do you have your own tradition or do you follow one of these? Whenever you take down your tree I hope it is the end of a great holiday season and the start of a happy New Year.  Welcome 2013!

Kate Larson’s Under the Mistletoe Snickerdoodle Shortbread Cookies

Snickerdoodle Shortbread with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Under the Mistletoe Snickerdoodle Shortbread Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting were Kate Larson’s entry in the 2012 Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by Fayette Woman Magazine and the Peachtree City Farmers Market.  “These cookies take their name from a holiday tradition because, like a good holiday smooch, they are sweet and homey, but with a little spice.”  says Kate.

Snickerdoodle Shortbread with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Snickerdoodle Shortbread with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Under the MistletoeSnickerdoodle Shortbread CookiesWith Vanilla Buttercream
Cookie ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 sticks butter, salted

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. all spice

1/2 tsp. cinnamon (in batter)

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed.Add baking powder, salt, vanilla, allspice and cinnamon. Mix until combined.
With mixer on low, add 1 cup flour, then egg, then second cup of flour. Mix well to combine.
Place dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets; a small ice cream scoop works great.
Sprinkle cinnamon on dough
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until edges just turn golden. Allow time to cool before frosting.

Kate Larson

Kate Larson

Classic Buttercream Frosting

“Mine is a little different but is a family secret.”

1 cup butter, softened

3 1/2 cups 10x sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

3-4 Tbsp. milk or heavy cream

FROSTING:Combine butter and vanilla. Beat on medium about 1 minute.Turn mixer to low and add 10x sugar slowly, 1/2 cup at a time. Add 1 Tbsp. milk or cream as mixture thickens.Once mixture is mostly combined, increase to high speed until stiff.

Bonnie Latham’s Christmas Joy Cookies

Christmas Joy Cookies

Bonnie Latham’s delightful Christmas Joy Cookies were the People’s Choice winner at the 2012 Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by Fayette Woman magazine and the Peachtree City Farmer’s Market.

Christmas Joy Cookies

Christmas Joy Cookies

Bonnie Latham

2 cups, plus 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

12 Tbsp. nsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 whole egg plus one egg yolk

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup flaked sweetened / colored coconut

1 cup almond slivers


Preheat oven to 325. In a medium-size bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.

In a large bowl, blend the butter and sugars until creamy. Ad the egg, yolk and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the large bowl and stir to combine. Then mix in chips, colored coconut, and almond slivers.

Grease a cookie sheet. Place dough by spoonfuls 3 inches apart.

Bake about 14 minutes, until cookies are lightly golden. The edges will harden but centers will be puffy. Cool on a rack for 20 minutes.



Bobbie Dickerson’s Classic No Fail Sugar Cookies


Bobbie Dickerson’s beautiful and delicious Classic No Fail Sugar Cookies earned an honorable mention at the 2012 Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by Peachtree City Farmer’s Market and Fayette Woman. Enjoy!

Classic No Fail Sugar Cookies


Classic No Fail Sugar Cookies

Bobbie Dickerson

6 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups butter

3 tsp baking powder

3 eggs

1 tsp. salt


Cream sugar and butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and flavoring. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to butter mixture. Mix well.

Chill dough and roll out between two sheets of parchment paper and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 350º for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and decorate as desired.


Royal Icing

Whisk 5 Tbsp. meringue powder with 3/4 cup warm water until frothy, about 30 seconds. Whisk in 1 tsp. cream of tartar. Add 2 pounds plus 1 cup powdered sugar and mix on lowest speed in mixer for 10 minutes. Thin to desired consistence for decorating purposes. May add 1 tsp. clear vanilla or almond flavoring.



Patsy’s Cranberry Orange White Chocolate Cookies

Cranberry Orange White Chocolate Cookies

Patsy Burnette prepared these Grand Prize-winning cookies for the 2012 Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by Peachtree City Farmer’s Market and Fayette Woman.

Patsy Burnette Won The Grand Prize at our 2012 Holiday Cookie Contest


Cranberry Orange White Chocolate Cookies

4 cups White Lily flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup Crisco shortening

1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 tsp. of vanilla extract

Zest of 3 large oranges

3 cups Ghirardelli white chocolate chips

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup roasted and chopped walnuts


Prize-Winning Cranberry Orange White Chocolate Cookie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sift together dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, crisco, and sugars

Stir in eggs and dry ingredients alternating one and then the other.

Add vanilla and orange zest

Stir in white chocolte, cranberries and walnuts.


Using an ice cream scoop scoop dough on to an ungreased cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake 14 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Make 4 dozen large cookies!


Kim Hanson’s Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kim Hanson's Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kim Hanson entered these delicious treats in the 2012 Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by the Peachtree City Farmers’ Market and Fayette Woman Nov. 17. Thanks Kim for sharing!

Kim Hanson's Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wet ingredients

Kim Hanson and granddaughter, Maddie

2 cups butter (4 sticks)

1 1/2 cups pure cane sugar

2 cups light brown sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla


Dry ingredients

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 cups bread flour

3 cups blended oatmeal (either old-fashioned or instant ground in blender)

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda


Chips and nuts

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups milk chocolate chips

2 cups white chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts


Kim and Maddie Hanson with their favorite magazine

With mixer, cream the butter and both sugars, then add eggs and vanilla.

In large bowl with wire whisk, mix together flours, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.

Add chips and walnuts and mix well.

Refrigerate dough overnight.

Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls.

Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place 12 balls to a sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-13 minutes.


Atlanta Botanical Garden Lights Up the Skyline for the Holidays

Atlanta skyline at dusk viewed from Atlanta Botanical Garden

It’s time to start a new holiday tradition and bring your whole family to Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Garden Lights – Holiday Nights, where you can wander through a 30-acre fantasy land of over a million lights. The light show runs through January 5th and will get more crowded as we get closer to Christmas.

My daughter, Lisen, and I enjoyed the spectacle on an off-peak Monday evening. We arrived right at 5:00 p.m. when the gates opened so we could view the garden at dusk and watch as the light display grow in brilliance as dark settled on the city. Bring your camera for some amazing shots of the Atlanta skyline framing the light display.

Atlanta skyline at dusk viewed from Atlanta Botanical Garden

Along the winding pathways, you’ll enjoy small groups of holiday carolers, fire pits where you can roast marshmallows and model trains that will delight the kids. The Great Lawn is a focal point featuring “Orchestral Orbs” – a light show choreographed to music. Don’t miss the stunning poinsettia tree in the conservatory. When it’s time for a hot chocolate or a light meal, stop at the café for a nice selection of soup and sandwiches. For more information, go to Atlanta Botanical Garden .

Enjoy the "Orchestral Orbs" choreographed light and music production on the Great Lawn.


Take a lovely stroll through this arbor of lights.


Roast some marshmallows at the fire pit.


Don't miss the fabulous poinsettia tree and orchid display in the conservatory. My daughter, Lisen, and I loved the flowers.

Prize Winning Holiday Cheery Cookies

Cathleen McKernan with Holiday Cheery Cookies

Cathleen McKernan won an honorable mention in the 2012 Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by Fayette Woman and the Peachtree City Farmers’ Market with this delightful recipe.

Holiday Cheery Cookie

Cathleen McKernan with Holiday Cheery Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup oats
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup Cointreau



Holiday Cheery Cookies

3 oz. Neufenchetul

3 oz. Greek yogurt

2 Tablespoons softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon orange zest

2 Tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed

1 ½ c. Confectioner’s sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine the cherries and booze in your smallest saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is happily sloshed. You know they are ready when there is no liquid left in the pan and the cherries are plump and drunk. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. In a larger bowl beat the butter, honey and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, zest and the extracts until well blended. Add the quinoa, oats, and cherries and stir to combine, then add the flour until it is fully incorporated. Scoop into heaping tablespoons and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly brown.


Whip all ingredients together until well combined. Add more powdered sugar, to taste. Make another cookie that needs frosting because I made waay too much icing.

Honorable Mention Winner Cathleen McKernan

Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookies Prepared by Stacy Farrill

Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookies Prepared by Stacy Farrill

Stacy Farrill entered these scrumptious delights in the 2012 Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by the Peachtree City Farmers’ Market and Fayette Woman Nov. 17. Thanks Stacy for sharing!


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Stacy Farrill

1/2 cup sugar plus 2 Tbsp. for sprinkling on top

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

pinch salt

2 1/4 oz. toasted pecan halves

2 drops almond extract

3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla for 3-4 minutes. Add flour, salt, pecans, cranberries and almond flavoring. Mix unitl pecans break up. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour. Remove dough. Roll out 1/4″ thick and cut out cookies. Sprinkle tops of cookies with sugar.

Bake at 325º for 15 minutes.

Garnished for the contest with white chocolate and white star glitter.

Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Cookies prepared by Joanna Toussaint


Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Cookies prepared by Joanna Toussaint

These gorgeous and oh-so-edible cookies were at hit at the Peachtree City Farmer’s Market and Fayette Woman 2012 Holiday Cookie Contest.




1/2 cup sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

Cheesecake Filling:

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

8 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

A few drops of red food coloring

Chocolate Drizzle:

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 tsp. shortening


Joanna Toussaint

Heat oven to 375º F (if using dark or nonstick cookie sheet, heat oven to 350º F). In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in egg yolk until smooth. Beat in flour and cocoa.

Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls. On greased cookie sheet, place balls 1 inch apart. With index finger or thumb, make indentation in center of each ball.

Bake 9 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In small bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and food coloring until smooth. Spread evenly over cookies.

In saucepan, melt chocolate chips and shortening on stove over low heat, stirring constantly. Transfer to small food-storage plastic bag. Cut off a small corner of the bag. Drizzle chocolate over cookies. Garnish with white chocolate star or other festive shape.


5 Holiday Tips to Keep Your Waistline


Five tricks for celebrating the holidays with smart and satisfying choices

(ARA) – Celebrating with friends and family over the holidays can lead to one too many glasses of eggnog and slices of pumpkin pie. But just because the holidays include decadent indulgences, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the celebrations and treats you love.

There is a way to dive into the holidays with smart and satisfying choices, says Lisa Lillien, New York Times bestselling author and creator of

As you head into the holiday season here are Lillien’s top five tips and tricks to keep your taste buds rejoicing and your holidays delightful:

* Say yes to the right passed hors d’œuvres: Is your company party looming and you’re already dreading the platters of mini quiches and pigs in a blanket? Don’t worry; just zero on in on the lean protein and veggies. Look for crudite with salsa and shrimp cocktail. These low-calorie yet filling appetizers will take the edge off your hunger without weighing you down.

* Happy hour done right: Eggnog is delicious, but a single cup without alcohol has around 400 calories. For something seasonal yet sensible, try a mixed drink made with one shot of fruity flavored vodka, club soda and a splash of cranberry juice. Wine and champagne are also good options.

* Cuckoo for chocolate: Everywhere you look chocolate candies and pastries tempt your taste buds, but those come with a high-calorie price tag. Luckily, you can have your candy and eat it too. When a chocolate craving hits, look for lower-calorie options, such as a piece of candy.

* Don’t deprive yourself of seasonal favorites: From pumpkin and apple pie a la mode to stuffing and holiday ham, tons of special treats show up during the holidays. You can still enjoy them, just in moderation. Instead of scooping a huge pile of stuffing on your plate, put just enough to satisfy a craving; then fill your plate with veggies and lean meat. For dessert, skip the “a la mode” and just have a few bites of your favorite sweet indulgence.

* Snack attack: If you allow yourself to get super-hungry before the big meal, there’s a good chance that you’re going to overdo it when dinner is served. Have a satisfying snack beforehand, like an apple, a container of fat-free yogurt, or a stick of light string cheese. Then you can focus on making smart decisions and enjoying the holiday festivities.

If you keep to these tips this holiday season, you won’t need that “undo the holiday damage” resolution this January.


Courtesy of ARA Content/ Skinny Cow Candy