Linda Ballard

Linda Ballard

During this time of hustle and bustle, some of the smallest pleasures can be overlooked. If it is a moment of peace and calm that you are seeking, as well as being surrounded with the aesthetic beauty of the architecture and the decorations, head to the Kilgore Public Library. Step through the doors and breathe in the magic of wonderland and friendly librarians ready to help you on any adventure you are willing to take through books, periodicals and tapes. If you missed their Christmas open house, do not fret, they will gladly take you on the tour and fill you in on the many activities they are offering the children.

Candy Land can be found in the children’s department and so can Marilyn Kitchens, librarian. Always ready to spread joy, Marilyn said, “The funniest thing happened today. In the foyer, we have letters to Santa that the children can fill out. A mother was explaining the letter to her three-year- old and when she got to one part, the mom asked, ‘Owen, have you been naughty or nice?’ Owen said, ‘both.’”

THEN, Marilyn showed me what I was looking for, which was a whole display of gingerbread houses made by the locals for a contest held last week. First place winner for the Songs of Christmas category was Casey Moehring and family with their entry “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer.” Sure enough, there was gingerbread grandma lying flat on the ground outside of her gingerbread house! Guaranteed to make you laugh as all grandmas can relate to that feeling after the holidays, the ingenuity of the house and walkway was equally fascinating.

Casey said, “It’s a family thing. We have been doing the gingerbread houses for the library about three years now.

My two little ones, six-year-old Max and four-year-old Milo and I do most of the actual construction of the house. I do forget every year how hard it is to get the structure to stand so that is my part and the boys help decorate with the candy. Max really liked the candy Legos that made up the walkway this year and the roof was made from long sour strips that I cut into shingles.”

Her husband Mitch owns Mitch Moehring Strings in downtown Kilgore and stays busy building and repairing instruments. However, he finds the time to help with the ideas of creating the scenes, according to Casey.

She said, “We do most of the other stuff, but it is definitely a group effort. I was worried about grandma being too dark of a subject for Christmas, but evidently, her getting ran over was a likable thing.”

Casey used the recipe for the gingerbread house found on the back of the book called Gingerbread Mouse by Katy Bratun found at the Kilgore Library, naturally. She said, “We really love the library and their tons of activities.”

Kilgore Public library has a month long schedule of activities you can check out on their Facebook and among other things will be holding a drawing for a magnificent gift basket. If it is peace and calm you are after, drop by before or after activities.

GINGERBREAD MOUSE’S COOKIE RECIPE

2 -2/3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 3/4 sticks (14 T.) butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Sift dry ingredients together. Beat butter and brown sugar together until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract; beat until blended. Stir in flour mixture and mix well. Refrigerate dough until firm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out a portion of chilled dough on floured board until it is 3/8 inch thick. Cut cookie shapes with knife or cutter. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet for approx. 9 minutes. Cool cookies on wire rack. Decorate with icing and candies.

WHEN BETTY BAKER heard I was looking for a gingerbread story, she chased me down to give me a full-size bib apron she had made. The apron was covered in gingerbread men. She said, “This is to give you incentive while you type.” Sure enough, I am sitting here wearing the apron while typing. It has added laughter to the day and everyone that has seen it so far has loved it, including me! To top it off, the apron is reversible so I will be looking for snowflake stories next week! Thank you, Betty.

A CHRISTMAS tour at Janice Cameron’s house took place last Thursday evening. Along with the help of Elizabeth Tullar, the pair fully decorated 11 Christmas trees displayed throughout her home and decorated every available inch of tabletop, shelves and mantle with an array of figurines, garlands and lights to the glee of her friends. Refreshments included Ree Drummond’s seven — can soup and an apple-spice dump cake. Janice said, “It was an evening of good fun, food and friends and it couldn’t have been any better.”

SATURDAY evening winds up Forest Home’s Christmas in the Woods Outdoor Nativity. The drive-through nativity begins with hot chocolate and Christmas music from the choir and the drive around leads you from modern day to biblical times. Something new is usually added each year. If you have not yet been, don’t let time pass by. It starts at 6 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. this evening and offers a family outing with no charge for entry.

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes throughout the Week. We may be reached at chitchatlinda@aol.com or 903-984-2593.

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