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    9 things for shoppers to watch this holiday season


    Halloween? That’s done. Now the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear. So, what’s hot this year? And what changes should shoppers expect during the busiest time of the year? Here are nine things to watch:

    Will shopping on Thanksgiving creep into late afternoon this year? Most retailers held off until 6 p.m. or later last year, but with Macy’s opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year, some others may edge up to 5 p.m. or even 4 p.m.

    Nearly one-third of shoppers ventured out on Thanksgiving evening last year, according to the National Retail Federation.


Joyful journey to health


Editor’s note: Jamie Morgan, 38, of Pleasant Prairie, has lost 210 pounds over a four-year period and recently competed in a figure competition. We asked her to share her story by answering some questions for Focus on Fitness.

After spending almost 30 years overweight or obese, I fell into a depression after the sudden loss of my mother in 2004. It compounded several emotional issues from my past that were never addressed. Before I knew it, I was deep within an endless cycle of private binge eating coupled with a socially reclusive and sedentary existence. So, after someone close to me asked me to seek counseling, I began my journey to health.

Six months into counseling, I realized I wanted to do something about my lifestyle. I began to educate myself on food and exercise and their effects on the human body — good and bad. A year after I started counseling, I was ready to accept the truths about successful long-term weight management and began seeing a registered dietician who gave me the tools I needed to address my eating. The truths are that there are no magic pills, diets or quick fixes, just small, sustainable changes.


Fresh sides: New ways to fix stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries


Let’s be clear about something... When making stuffing, it’s always better to slice and dry your own bread cubes. Hands down, the taste and texture are better.

But let’s also be realistic. In the chaos of getting the many components of Thanksgiving dinner on the table in a timely manner, many of us won’t have the time to make that happen. It’s all good. Truth is, you can make a pretty respectable stuffing using those bagged stuffing mixes.

It all comes down to how you doctor it (in other words, what you add to it). If all you do is follow the package directions — which usually amount to not much more than adding broth and an onion — you’re doomed to dull stuffing. But if you’re willing to toss in some more exciting ingredients, you can have a great stuffing nobody will guess started in a bag.

Your Home

    Beware hot air! Debunking heating myths to stay warm, save money


    Advice about saving money on home heating costs abounds this time of year, but some of it is oversimplified, marketing hype or just plain wrong, while some long-standing myths persist about keeping warm on the cheap.

    For example, programmable thermostats are not the holy grail of home heating, cranking up the furnace does nothing to heat a chilly house faster and fireplaces used as heating sources literally suck — suck paid-for warm air up the chimney.

    Duct tape? Not good for sealing ducts.


    House of Worship: Journey Church


    Church name: Journey Church

    Location: 10700 75th St., Kenosha


    As the leaf turns ...


    Another leaf has turned.

    Fall is now behind us and winter is upon us; if the plummeting temperatures did not clue you in, the arrival of winter sports should.

    Bradford High School boys hoping to make the basketball team were rushing around head coach Greg Leech in a blur, going through drills and hoping that their dedication to the team showed as sweat poured out of them during the first day of practice on Monday.


    Books tell the tale of the night of the monsters’ creation


    It was a dark and stormy night in the unseasonably cold summer of 1816 when five young bohemians sat up late in a crumbling Swiss villa making up ghost stories.

    In attendance were the infamous and flamboyant Lord George Gordon Byron, his personal physician John Polidori, and the young couple Mary Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had recently fled from England to marry abroad against her father’s wishes. They were accompanied by Mary’s stepsister Claire Claremont.

    Two group biographies tell the story of this night and its consequences, emphasizing the “curse” that seemed to befall each member: Andrew McConnell Stott’s, “The Poet and the Vampyre: the Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature’s Greatest Monsters” (2014), and “The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein” (2006), by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler.


    Destination cooking


    With colder weather comes the inclination to cook more, if for no other reason than to add warmth to the kitchen. This new trio of cookbooks, each associated with a destination to visit, just might add ideas for holiday gift lists or inspiration to your own recipe repertoire.

    Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. recently published “The Old Rittenhouse Inn Cookbook: Meals and Memories from the Historic Bayfield B&B” ($24.95), which shares dozens of recipes from the Queen Anne Victorian estate that has been open to overnight guests since 1975.

    The Rittenhouse was the state’s first bed and breakfast inn. The Bayfield mansion in 1892 became a summer home for Allen and Mary Fuller; he was a Civil War adjutant general.

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