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Holiday Home Safety WINTER 2016 5 8 16 20 05


Healthy Alternatives to Your Holiday Favorites


Christmas Recipes


Celebration Decorations


Holiday Crafts and Activities


Essentials for a Celebration


Holiday Travel Survival Guide


Inspirational Quote

MY HOME LIFE - 3 - Winter 2015

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Desirae Franco Director of Communications & PR Dwyer Group®, Inc. Megan Boyd Communications Manager Dwyer Group , Inc. ART / PRODUCTION Michael McCullough Creative Manager Dwyer Group , Inc. Desiree Jones Graphic Designer Dwyer Group , Inc.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kayla Farr Dwyer Group , Inc. Mary-Cate Scroggins Dwyer Group , Inc. @MyHomeLifeMag

MY HOME LIFE - 4 - SUMMER 2016 I - 4 - WINT 2 1

Keep your lights on timers If you are going out of town, keep your lights on a timer. Doing so will make it look like someone is home and a thief is less likely to approach. With different lights on and off at different times throughout the day, it will help to keep your home looking as lived in as possible. Package deliveries If you are at work during the day, ask your delivery company to put your packages in the back of your home. Boxes on your doorstep are easy targets. Thieves tend to steal packages left on doorsteps during the holiday season, and it lets them know when someone isn’t home. Watch what you toss During the holidays, large boxes like those used for items like televisions or big appliances are targets for thieves - especially in the days following Christmas. Try to break down the large boxes so they can fit into your trash so those looking to steal will not give your home a second glance. Social media Sites like Facebook and Instagram are a great way to let your friends know what you have been up to; however, they can be a way for thieves to see that you are out of town. If you are traveling, wait until you get home to post. Don’t open the door In addition to keeping your doors locked at all times, make sure that you only open the door for people you know. Thieves can pose as a door-to-door salesperson or delivery employee, then force their way into your home once you open the door. Decorations and lighting Cracking a window to run an extension cord into your home is an easy way for thieves to break in. Make sure to plug your lights in outside; buying an extra extension cord to run to the nearest outlet is a lot less expensive than having to replace the items stolen from your home. T he holidays are a bright and merry time to enjoy with friends and family; however, there is a dark side. Every year, peoples’ homes or cars get broken into due to thieves cashing in on everyone else’s big spending. Keeping your home and car locked up is just a start. Here are some tips to ensure that your family is as safe as possible this holiday season: Holiday Safety Tips

by Kayla Farr

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MY HOME LIFE - 6 - Winter 2015

by Mary Cate Scroggins Quick Tips: HEALTHY A L T E R N A T I V E S TO YOUR HOLIDAY FAVORITES W hen you think about celebrating, you think about food. The holiday season is notorious for its over-supply of decadent treats. Everyone has a favorite recipe or beverage that makes its annual appearance, maybe even more than once. I don’t know about you, but most of my favorites are not be the healthiest of choices. With that being said, creating an equally delicious product while incorporating healthier alternatives is worth the try. It’s time to celebrate a long, healthy life this season! Here are some foods that can be easily swapped without sacrificing the taste:

Full-Fat Dips Yogurt-Based Dips These dips can be found at just about any party’s appetizer table. It’s easy to get caught up in the assortment of bite-sized foods, but remind yourself there’s still the entire meal to enjoy. Heavy, cream based dips add up in calories quickly, even when served with vegetables. Substitute regular sour cream with nonfat plain Greek yogurt to cut the caloric intake by more than half.

Casseroles Fresh Whole Ingredients Baked casseroles are popular comfort foods, especially during the holidays. However, large amounts of butter, oil and sugar are incorporated within these recipes, which tend to leave a stomach ache behind. Instead of cooking a sweet potato or green bean casserole for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, save one of the holidays for the healthier options. Prepare whole cut vegetables rather than combining them with flavors that distract their natural flavor. If you still wish to prepare a casserole, use lower sodium and non-fat ingredients.

Pecan Pie Pumpkin Pie Okay yes, this may appear a bit misleading. Holidays are all about celebration, so we can’t ditch the splurging all together! If you had to decide between the two, pumpkin pie tends to fall on the healthier side. Most pumpkin pie recipes are significantly less in calories, fat and sugar. Plus, they are a great source of Vitamin A, Calcium and Iron. Don’t get too carried away though comparing these two legends; a slice of pie during the holidays is always good for the soul!


Christmas Cookie Bark This is a play on the classic, yet delicious, Christmas cookie. The bark includes all of the best parts of the yummy treat and combines them to be a quick dessert. You can even wrap them in decorative bags to be given out as gifts or party favors this holiday season. Ingredients • 14 crème filled chocolate cookies, broken up into halves or quarters • 1 ½ cups of broken (not crushed) pretzels • 1 cup of candy coated chocolates (Christmas colors) • 1 pound of almond bark or white chocolate • Christmas sprinkles Directions 1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Put the crème filled cookies, pretzels and ¾ cup of M&Ms on the sheet and spread them out. 2. Microwave the bark for about 1-½ minutes, or until melted. If using white chocolate, break it up into smaller pieces and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted. 3. Drizzle over the mixture and add sprinkles. 4. Allow the bark to solidify at room temperature or in the refrigerator. is with family or friends, here are some delectable recipes to help make your party one to remember. All of these recipes take less than an hour to prepare so you can spend more time celebrating and less time in the kitchen. Christmas Recipes T he holidays are all about celebrating and one of the best parts is the delicious food. Whether your party

Pineapple Honey Glazed Ham This is a ham that everyone will enjoy. The pineapple flavors in the glaze will add a unique touch to this dish that is best served as a main course. One of the best parts about this dish is that it is easy to make and works best with a 9-10 pound ham. Ingredients • 9-10 pound spiral ham • 2 cups of 100% pineapple juice • ¼ cup of honey • 2 tablespoon of sugar • 2 tablespoon stone ground mustard Directions 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place ham in a large baking dish and cover with foil. Cook ham for 10-12 minutes per pound. 2. In a small saucepan, cook pineapple juice for 25 minutes at medium heat. Then, add the honey, sugar and mustard. 3. Cook the glaze for 5-8 minutes and stir often. Once it reaches a syrup consistency, remove from the heat. 4. Glaze the ham 20 minutes before it is to come out of the oven.

Ingredients • 1 quart peppermint ice cream • 1 quart dairy (or caned) eggnog • 1 or 2 (10 ounce) bottles of ginger ale, chilled • Peppermint sticks or candy canes Directions 1. Place ice cream in a chilled bowl and stir until softened. Slowly stir in the eggnog. (If you would like to make this an adult beverage, we recommend adding 1 cup of rum.) 2. Transfer to a punch bowl and add desired amount of ginger ale. Add peppermint sticks or candy canes when serving.

Peppermint Eggnog Punch This delicious eggnog punch is great for any celebration; since it is alcohol free, the whole family will be able to enjoy this tasty drink. This drink actually tastes like Christmas in a cup and only takes about 15 minutes to prepare 18 servings.


Italian Breakfast Casserole This simple breakfast is easy to make if you have a lot of guests in for the holidays. It’s even something you can whip up quickly on Christmas morning. This dish bakes for only 30 minutes, so you can spend more time celebrating with your loved ones. Ingredients • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 2 cups chopped bell peppers and onions • 8 ounce tube of crescent rolls • 8 slices of ham • 15 slices of salami • 8 eggs • 1 cup of shredded cheese (we recommend mozzarella) Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. 2. Add the olive oil to a skillet over high heat. When it is hot, cook the bell peppers and onions, stirring occasionally, until they are soft. Set these aside. 3. In the baking dish, layer crescent rolls, ham and salami. Mix the eggs, salt and pepper in a separate bowl and pour on top. Finish the dish with peppers,

Pepperoni Roll-Ups This delicious appetizer is sure to leave your guests wanting more. They roll-ups are a clean way to enjoy a yummy pizza treat. Best served as hors d’oeuvres with marinara or ranch. Ingredients • 1 (8 ounce) tube of crescent rolls • 16 slices of pepperoni, cut into quarters • 2 pieces of string cheese, sliced into quarters • ¾ teaspoon of Italian seasoning • ¼ teaspoon of garlic salt Directions 1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll crescent dough and separate them into 8 triangles. 2. Put 8 pepperoni quarters and a piece of string cheese on the short side of each triangle. Sprinkle some Italian seasoning on each. 3. Roll up each and pinch the sides to seal the pepperoni rolls. 4. Sprinkle with garlic salt and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

onions and cheese. 4. Bake for 30 minutes.


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by Mary Cate Scroggins

D uring the holiday season, it’s always exciting to see everyone’s personal style expressed through decorations in and out of the house. Christmas and New Year’s is a special time of celebration-one in which you celebrate your past achievements, current progressions and have optimism for what lies ahead. Although there’s a deeper meaning to why these days are so prominent, they wouldn’t be the same without lights and sparkles galore! Before hosting your family and friends during this joyous time of year, deck the halls of your home with the most festive decorations!

MY HOME LIFE - 12 - WINTER 2016 I I 1

Light Up the Street Dowsing Christmas lights along homes and landscapes has been an ongoing tradition for years. It’s even become a friendly competition for neighborhoods to take part in; extravagance is often the focus. Whether you’re up for this over-the-top frenzy, or interested in a simpler design, incorporating lights into your holiday home décor is a must. To achieve a welcoming look for a fraction of the time, string lights around a long strand of garland and drape around the perimeter of your front door. To complete the look, add artificial red berries or miniature bows throughout.

Feast-Worthy Centerpiece Keep your table looking party-ready this winter before and after the holidays! For an everyday look, buy a rectangular wooden planter box from a local craft store. Evenly place three small mason jars inside of the box with a white candle in each of the jars. Surround with different sized pinecones and dried floral stems to your preference.

Christmas Ornaments Every year, try to buy a new ornament for each person in the family. This is a great way to celebrate the years that have gone by and reminisce on happy memories. Year after year, your tree will be covered in unique ornaments from that specific point of time in life. If your tree is more formal and already has a strict design, find a different space to display your annual ornaments.

Family Photos Sending out family photos is a common tradition during the holiday season. A great way to enjoy the portraits sent your way is to display them throughout your home. All you need to do is hang a thin piece of string along a wall and attach the photos with clothespins. This easy do-it-yourself project is a great way to celebrate the lives of your dearest loved ones. Also, your houseguests will love to look at them! If your family has a collection of annual holiday photos, display those in a group to see the transformation over the years!


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MY HOME LIFE - 14 - WINTER 2016 Independently owned and operated franchise.

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by Mary Cate Scroggins Activities Holiday Crafts C elebrating the holidays isn’t complete without spirited activities! Whether you enjoy playing games or getting crafty, there’s plenty of fun ideas for everyone. Take time in December to try something new with your family and friends. You should even take time to partake in your family’s traditions as well!

Candy Canes This is a holiday version of the game “Spoons.” It’s easy to catch on to and great for all ages to participate! What you need: • Deck of cards • Candy Canes Here’s how you play: To begin, place one candy less than the number of people playing in a pile or small circle. Select a dealer to continuously pass out cards. The objective of this game is to be the first to get four-of-a-kind of any cards in the deck. The first person to do so reaches for a candy cane as quickly as possible. After the first person reaches to take one, it’s a race for everyone else to take a candy cane. Whoever doesn’t receive one is eliminated from the next round. The process is repeated until there’s an ultimate winner.

Hot Chocolate Jar There’s no better way to celebrate than with giving! Everyone loves homemade gifts; they are meaningful and easily customizable depending on the person. This is a great craft to make with kids, and it will be hard to resist sampling after it’s made! What you need: • Glass mason jar with lid • Red/holiday ribbon • Recipe card

• 1 ¾ cup of non-fat dry milk powder • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder • 3.4 cup powdered sugar

• Milk chocolate chips • Crushed candy canes • Mini Marshmallows Here’s how you make it:

Layer the ingredients inside the jar in the order listed above. Fasten the jar with the lid and tie the ribbon in a bow around it. Attach the recipe card on the front of the jar with the ribbon. Use as much creativity as desired!

Pine Cone Garland Celebrate nature by bringing it indoors during the winter season! These strands of pinecones look beautiful hanging across the fireplace mantle during Christmas, and can even be left out for decoration after the New Year. This is a quick and simple craft that will be the perfect holiday addition to any home! If you don’t have a fireplace, hanging the garland along your Christmas tree will work as well. What you need: • Pinecones • Yarn/ribbon Here’s how you make it: Lightly dip the pinecones in the paint and set them out on parchment paper to dry. After

• White acrylic paint • Parchment paper

they dry, cut a strand of yarn or ribbon to fit the length of your

mantle and knot around the top of each pinecone. Make sure to evenly space the pinecones as you’re knotting them on.


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T he holidays are for celebrating, so why not throw a party to commemorate the end of the year or your loved ones coming into town? Whether it is a dinner party or just a few friends getting together, every celebration has a few necessities.


Here are 10 that we think are a must-have for any celebration: A plan Make sure to plan your gathering at a specific time and place. Let your guests know at least 2-3 weeks in advance so they can put it on their calendar. Loved ones A party without your friends and family isn’t a party at all. Invite as many people as you’d like; don’t forget to ensure that all guests have someone to talk to. We recommend making a guest list (and checking it twice)! Savory eats While you are spending time with your favorite people, don’t forget to enjoy some great food; this is a special occasion, after all. We have the perfect recipe Great food + great people = a great time. Sweet treats It is the holidays; don’t forget those yummy treats. There are many Christmas recipes on Pinterest and delicious pastries in bakeries around this time of the year. Decorations Whether it is just stringing up a couple of strands of Christmas lights or decking the halls, every party needs a little something to remind guests why they are celebrating. Holiday music The winter holidays are the ones with the most music, so don’t forget to drag out your old CDs or put your holiday playlist on shuffle before your guests arrive. Place for pictures Letting your guests document their night through photos is a fun way to capture those memories forever. If you are meeting at a restaurant, the entrance or lobby is a great place to snap a picture together. If you are hosting a celebration in your home, make a quick backdrop to so you can take a snapshot of the memories. Party games Don’t forget, guests will want something to do while they are at your gathering. Fun holiday themed games or a Christmas movie trivia competition are great ideas, especially if kids will be attending too. Laughter and smiles Holiday celebrations are happy times, spent with your favorite people, don’t forget to bring the smiles and laughter along too. If a dish comes out wrong or you are running late, let it roll off your back; everyone will still have fun.



Holiday Travel Survival Guide W hen the time comes to celebrate the holidays, traveling is a common theme in many people’s plans. hether your family is taking an extensive vacation, or trekking a short day-trip drive, it all involves movement. When everyone seems to be moving in multiple directions things can get hectic; don’t let the travel frenzy trump your festive spirit!


Here are some tips on how to survive the holiday travel rush and prepare accordingly:


Research Alternate Routes If you get easily stressed about backed-up traffic while driving, planning an alternate route could be the your best option. Although the scenic route is often further from a mileage standpoint, it’s likely a time-saver during the holiday season. In addition, any window-watchers you have in the car will be greatly appreciative! Download Smart Phone Apps Many airlines have rolled out apps for smartphones as a communication platform regarding flight delays and other important information. Downloading any necessary apps will offer a great deal of convenience, and keep you well aware throughout your travel experience. Essentials Only ”Over-packers” know the struggles of traveling during the holidays; don’t let yourself be one of them. Airlines enforce their baggage weight limit regulations, and over-packing will leave you desperately trying to repack in the middle of the airport, or paying a large sum of money for the overage costs. To avoid these issues, buy a portable luggage scale to weigh your bag ahead of time. If you’re feeling extra confident, try to narrow down the necessities and leave the rest at home. Pack Snacks Whether you’re driving or flying, don’t let yourself get too hungry. Bringing snacks in the car will help the driver stay focused on the road and keep the passengers content. If you have a lengthy flight, buy some snacks after the security point so they don’t get tossed or misplaced beforehand. Use Your Calendar Traveling the day before Thanksgiving or on Christmas Eve is an automatic stress generator. If possible, travelling a few days before, or the early morning of the holiday will prove to be the least busy (and even less expensive). Leave Room for Errors There’s nothing worse than missing your connecting flight due to a previous flight delay. But if you leave some time for unexpected events, there’s a less likely chance of this happening. Also, if you have an important event to attend, try to schedule an extra travel day in between to avoid other mishaps like lost luggage. Organize Vehicle Cleaning out your car the day before a trip will make the drive more peaceful. Having a lot of people in one car can feel cramped, especially with all of the luggage. Removing any lingering objects will make the area feel more spacious, especially on those long drives. Pack Earplugs/Ear Phones These items make the travelling experience much more pleasant. Whether you plan to sleep on the ride or listen to music, don’t forget these essentials. Extra Phone Charger Access to road maps, friends and family members and just about everything in between is located on our cellular devices. If your charger gets lost or happens to break, carrying a backup is necessary. Emergency Toiletry Kit Packing a little bag of basic bathroom items is helpful to have during a flight layover or traffic. Freshening up after several hours of waiting or sleeping will boost your energy.

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