Jib-Jab's 2009 sendoff

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!
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NY: A Love Story

I'm all about what's going on, and I'm all about the people who blog about the places I live and love.

Daily Candy's super short video love-letter to NYC is a must-share:

Why we love New York
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Mead Johnson, Maker of Enfamil, Loses Multi-Million Dollar False Advertising Case Against Store-Brand

This is a sponsored guest post written by a Press Release on behalf of PBM Products. Post powered by Sponzai.

GORDONSVILLE, VA., December 2 , 2009PBM Products, LLC, a leading infant formula company that supplies store-brand infant formulas to Walmart, Sam's Club, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, and other retailers, has received a favorable jury verdict and a $13.5 million damages award in its false advertising lawsuit against Mead Johnson & Co., the operating subsidiary of Mead Johnson Nutrition Company (NYSE: MJN) (“Mead Johnson”), the makers of the national-brand Enfamil® LIPIL® Infant Formula. Mead Johnson is 83 percent-owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb.



PBM’s lawsuit claimed that Mead Johnson engaged in false and misleading campaigns against PBM’s competing store-brand of infant formulas, suggesting they do not provide the same nutrition as Mead Johnson’s brands. PBM’s store-brand infant formulas cost up to 50 percent less than Enfamil® LIPIL®. The $13.5 million in damages awarded by the jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is one of the largest damages awards ever for a false advertising case.



“This decision by a jury of the people confirms that Mead Johnson’s ads have been false in suggesting that there is a nutritional difference between our store-brand formula products and their products, when in fact the only major difference is price,” said PBM CEO Paul B. Manning. “Despite Mead Johnson’s scare tactics, parents are assured that PBM’s formula products are as high quality and nutritious as Mead Johnson’s.”



U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer issued his written rulings yesterday following the November 10th jury verdict. Judge Spencer’s written rulings permanently enjoined Mead Johnson from making any false statements concerning PBM's infant formula, including the claims Mead Johnson previously made in Enfamil advertising that "It may be tempting to try a less expensive store brand, but only Enfamil LIPIL is clinically proven to improve brain and eye development," and "there are plenty of other ways to save on baby expenses without cutting back on nutrition." The Court also ordered Mead Johnson to retrieve from the public domain all advertising or promotional materials containing these or any other false claims about PBM's store brand infant formula.


The details of the decision and the complaint are posted online in full at:



· http://www.pbmproducts.com/docs/Order_Laches.pdf


· http://www.pbmproducts.com/docs/PBM_Complaint_MJ_III_LIPIL.pdf



The nutritional supplements under examination in the case are two fats, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid), which Mead Johnson calls “LIPIL®” solely for marketing purposes and touts as promoting infant brain and eye development. PBM’s claim focused on Mead Johnson’s direct mailing to more than 1.6 million parents of an alarming blurry picture of a child’s cartoon duck next to a clear picture of the same image which suggested that anything other than the Enfamil LIPIL® blend of ingredients is inferior and will result in poor eye and brain development. Other parts of the false advertising campaign consist of statements that only Enfamil LIPIL has been proven to confer visual and mental benefits on infants, and store-brand formulas are a “cut-back in nutrition” compared to Enfamil.



PBM successfully argued that these advertisements were false and misleading especially since PBM store- brand infant formulas have the same nutrients at the same levels as Enfamil. PBM infant formulas are formulated to contain DHA and ARA, and are sourced from the same supplier in amounts which equal or exceed the DHA and ARA in Mead Johnson’s Enfamil LIPIL®.



This decision marks the third time PBM Products has sued Mead Johnson for false advertising claims. On the prior occasions Mead Johnson admitted that it made false claims about PBM’s products. It is also the first false advertising case to focus on the issue of DHA and ARA nutritional ingredients in formula, which were introduced into the market in 2003 and have become a staple in recent years by many brands as key components for infant development.



“This jury verdict should send a significant and clear message to Mead Johnson about the way it conducts marketing and advertising for its brands,” said Manning. “This lawsuit also demonstrates our complete commitment to defending our products and the valuable brands of our retail partners.”



“As a parent and supporter of children’s medical research, I take a personal responsibility in assuring our customers that the products we produce are healthy and nutritionally equivalent to brand names like Enfamil® LIPIL®. It is important, especially now, for parents to know that there are lower priced yet highly nutritious store-brand formulas that will provide the same benefit to their children as any national brand name formula product,” Manning added.



The U.S. infant formula market is estimated at $3.4 billion and the global market is estimated at $7.9 billion.



All of PBM’s formulas, and for that matter all of U.S. infant formulas, are subject to the exacting standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pursuant to the Infant Formula Act of 1980. This legislation vested FDA with the authority to ensure that all infant formula products sold in the United States provide the necessary levels of identified nutrients required for the growth of healthy babies. For more information, visit this FDA link.



PBM Products was represented by the law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP. Partners from the firm’s advertising practice, Harold P. Weinberger and Jonathan M. Wagner in New York, led the team.



About PBM


PBM is privately owned and based in Gordonsville, VA. PBM companies specialize in manufacturing, distributing, and marketing consumer food, nutritional, and pharmaceutical products. For more information, visit www.pbmproducts.com.



Enfamil® LIPIL® are registered trademarks of Mead Johnson & Co.



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The Sherriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis Book Review

Woo-Hoo! Two in a row!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Sheriff’s Surrender

Barbour Books (December 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Publishing for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Award-winning author Susan Page Davis is a mother of six who lives in Maine with her husband, Jim. She worked as a newspaper correspondent for more than twenty-five years in addition to home-schooling her children. She writes historical romances and cozy mysteries and is a member of ACFW. Visit her Web site at

Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (December 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602605629
ISBN-13: 978-1602605626

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Fergus, Idaho

May 1885


Gert Dooley aimed at the scrap of red calico and squeezed the trigger. The Spencer rifle she held cracked, and the red cloth fifty yards away shivered.

“I’d say your shooting piece is in fine order.” She lowered the rifle and passed it to the owner, Cyrus Fennel. She didn’t particularly like Fennel, but he always paid her brother, the only gunsmith in Fergus, with hard money.

He nodded. “Thank you, Miss Dooley.” He shoved his hand into his pocket.

Gert knew he was fishing out a coin. This was the part her brother hated most—taking payment for his work. She turned away. Hiram would be embarrassed enough without her watching. She picked up the shawl she had let fall to the grass a few minutes earlier.

“That’s mighty fine shooting, Gert,” said Hiram’s friend, rancher Ethan Chapman. He’d come by earlier to see if Hiram would help him string a fence the next day. When Cyrus Fennel had arrived to pick up his repaired rifle, Ethan had sat down on the chopping block to watch Gert demonstrate the gun.

“Thank you kindly.” Gert accepted praise for shooting as a matter of course. Now, if Ethan had remarked that she looked fine today or some such pretty thing, she’d have been flustered. But he would never say anything like that. And shooting was just work.

Fennel levered the rifle’s action open and peered at the firing pin. “Looks good as new. I should be able to pick off those rats that are getting in my grain bins.”

“That’s quite a cannon for shooting rats,” Gert said.

Ethan stood and rested one foot on the chopping block, leaning forward with one arm on his knee. “You ought to hire Gert to shoot them for you.”

Gert scowled. “Why’d I want to do that? He can shoot his own rats.”

Hiram, who had pocketed his pay as quickly as possible, moved the straw he chewed from one side of his mouth to the other. He never talked much. Men brought him their firearms to fix. Hiram listened to them tell him what the trouble was while eyeing the piece keenly. Then he’d look at Gert. She would tell them, “Come back next week.” Hiram would nod, and that was the extent of the conversation. Since his wife, Violet, had died eight years ago, the only person Hiram seemed to talk to much was Ethan.

Fennel turned toward her with a condescending smile. “Folks say you’re the best shot in Fergus, Miss Dooley.”

Gert shrugged. It wasn’t worth debating. She had sharp eyes, and she’d fired so many guns for Hiram to make sure they were in working order that she’d gotten good at it, that was all.

Ethan’s features, however, sprang to life. “Ain’t it the truth? Why, Gert can shoot the tail feathers off a jay at a hundred yards with a gun like that. Mighty fine rifle.” He nodded at Fennel’s Spencer, wincing as though he regretted not having a gun as fine.

“Well, now, I’m a fair shot myself,” Fennel said. “I could maybe hit that rag, too.”

“Let’s see you do it,” Ethan said.

Fennel jacked a cartridge into the Spencer, smiling as he did. The rag still hung limp from a notched stick and was silhouetted against the distant dirt bank across the field. He put his left foot forward and swung the butt of the stock up to his shoulder, paused motionless for a second, and pulled the trigger.

Gert watched the cloth, not the shooter. The stick shattered just at the bottom of the rag. She frowned. She’d have to find another stick next time. At least when she tested a gun, she clipped the edge of the cloth so her stand could be used again.

Hiram took the straw out of his mouth and threw it on the ground. Without a word, he strode to where the tattered red cloth lay a couple of yards from the splintered stick and brought the scrap back. He stooped for a piece of firewood from the pile he’d made before Fennel showed up. The stick he chose had split raggedly, and Hiram slid the bit of cloth into a crack.

Ethan stood beside Gert as they watched Hiram walk across the field, all the way to the dirt bank, and set the piece of firewood on end.

“Hmm.” Fennel cleared his throat and loaded several cartridges into the magazine. When Hiram was back beside them, he raised the gun again, held for a second, and fired. The stick with the bit of red stood unwavering.

“Let Gert try,” Ethan said.

“No need,” she said, looking down at her worn shoe tips peeping out beneath the hem of her skirt.

“Oh, come on.” Ethan’s coaxing smile tempted her.

Fennel held the rifle out. “Be my guest.”

Gert looked to her brother. Hiram gave the slightest nod then looked up at the sky, tracking the late afternoon sun as it slipped behind a cloud. She could do it, of course. She’d been firing guns for Hiram for ten years—since she came to Fergus and found him grieving the loss of his wife and baby. Folks had brought him more work than he could handle. They felt sorry for him, she supposed, and wanted to give him a distraction. Gert had begun test firing the guns as fast as he could fix them. She found it satisfying, and she’d kept doing it ever since. Thousands upon thousands of rounds she’d fired, from every type of small firearm, unintentionally building herself a reputation of sorts.

She didn’t usually make a show of her shooting prowess, but Fennel rubbed her the wrong way. She knew he wasn’t Hiram’s favorite patron either. He ran the Wells Fargo office now, but back when he ran the assay office, he’d bought up a lot of failed mines and grassland cheap. He owned a great deal of land around Fergus, including the spread Hiram had hoped to buy when he first came to Idaho. Distracted by his wife’s illness, Hiram hadn’t moved quickly enough to file claim on the land and had missed out. Instead of the ranch he’d wanted, he lived on his small lot in town and got by on his sporadic pay as a gunsmith.

Gert let her shawl slip from her fingers to the grass once more and took the rifle. As she focused on the distant stick of firewood, she thought, That junk of wood is you, Mr. Rich Land Stealer. And that little piece of cloth is one of your rats.

She squeezed gently. The rifle recoiled against her shoulder, and the far stick of firewood jumped into the air then fell to earth, minus the red cloth.

“Well, I’ll be.” Fennel stared at her. “Are you always this accurate?”

“You ain’t seen nothing,” Ethan assured him.

Hiram actually cracked a smile, and Gert felt the blood rush to her cheeks even though Ethan hadn’t directly complimented her. She loved to see Hiram smile, something he seldom did.

“Mind sharing your secret, Miss Dooley?” Fennel asked.

Ethan chuckled. “I’ll tell you what it is. Every time she shoots, she pretends she’s aiming at something she really hates.”

“Aha.” Fennel smiled, too. “Might I ask what you were thinking of that time, ma’am?”

Gert’s mouth went dry. Never had she been so sorely tempted to tell a lie.

“Likely it was that coyote that kilt her rooster last month,” Hiram said.

Gert stared at him. He’d actually spoken. She knew when their eyes met that her brother had known exactly what she’d been thinking.

Ethan and Fennel both chuckled.

Of course, I wouldn’t really think of killing him, Gert thought, even though he stole the land right out from under my grieving brother. The Good Book says don’t kill and don’t hate. Determined to heap coals of fire on her adversary’s head, she handed the Spencer back to him. “You’re not too bad a shot yourself, Mr. Fennel.”

His posture relaxed, and he opened his mouth all smiley, like he might say something pleasant back, but suddenly he stiffened. His eyes focused beyond Gert, toward the dirt street. “Who is that?”

Gert swung around to look as Ethan answered. “That’s Millicent Peart.”

“Don’t think I’ve seen her since last fall.” Fennel shook his head. “She sure is showing her age.”

“I don’t think Milzie came into town much over the winter,” Gert said.

For a moment, they watched the stooped figure hobble along the dirt street toward the emporium. Engulfed in a shapeless old coat, Milzie Peart leaned on a stick with each step. Her mouth worked as though she were talking to someone, but no one accompanied her.

“How long since her man passed on?” Ethan asked.

“Long time,” Gert said. “Ten years, maybe. She still lives at their cabin out Mountain Road.”

Fennel grimaced as the next house hid the retreating figure from view. “Pitiful.”

Ethan shrugged. “She’s kinda crazy, but I reckon she likes living on their homestead.”

Gert wondered how Milzie got by. It must be lonesome to have no one, not even a nearly silent brother, to talk to out there in the foothills.

“Supper in half an hour.” She turned away from the men and headed for the back porch of the little house she shared with Hiram. She hoped Fennel would take the hint and leave. And she hoped Ethan would stay for supper, but of course she would never say so.


In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of The Sherriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis to read by FIRST Wild Card in exchange for a fair and objective review. I did not take payment from the publisher or author of this book beyond a copy of the book in question. Disclosure Policy
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Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Wisdom Hunter

Multnomah Books (September 20, 2003)

***Special thanks to Staci Carmichael of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Randall Arthur is the bestselling author of Jordan’s Crossing and Brotherhood of Betrayal. He and his wife have served as missionaries to Europe for over thirty years. From 1976 till 1998, he lived in Norway and Germany as a church planter. Since 2000, he has taken numerous missions teams from the United States on trips all over Europe. Arthur is also the founder of the AOK (Acts of Kindness) Bikers’ Fellowship, a group of men who enjoy the sport of motorcycling. He and his family live in Atlanta, Georgia.


Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books (September 20, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590522591
ISBN-13: 978-1590522592

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


PART 1: 1971-1972


Jason cleared his throat. His wife knew what was coming next, and the pain within her rose again. At every evening meal for the last five hundred and fifteen days he had prayed aloud for their daughter, always working his way slowly through the prayer, emphasizing each word as if to prove his sincerity.


"0 God," he said tonight, "wherever Hannah might be right now, we ask that she'll know your protection. Thank you for watching over her. And thank you even more that one day you'll honor our faith and bring her home."


He paused, as if to arrest the Almighty's attention, then continued with a faltering voice. "Just-just make it soon. We miss her... "



LYING ON THE living room couch, Hannah Freedman proudly realized once again that she was the reason Cody had emerged from his loneliness. He was absolutely consumed by her-and the thought was enthralling. Admiring her diamond-studded wedding band, she gratified herself with the reminder that Cody always treated her like a princess, as if by royal decree she had somehow granted him a new life.

At this very moment, alone in their suburban Miami home, she could feel his infatuation. It lingered in every room, echoing in the easy recall of Cody's loving words and embraces.

Hannah turned heavily upon her side, the baby in her womb preventing her from rolling all the way over onto her stomach. She smiled. It was like a fairy tale. She and Cody had met only ten months ago-she a runaway, not yet eighteen; and he a well-bred, 25 year-old professional. Now they were together forever. How could it be real? How could they have it so good?

She reached over her head, retrieving from behind her a framed photograph of Cody that sat alone on the end table. The picture had been taken only weeks before she met him. It was the same handsome face, the same green-eyed, ash-blond man who was now her husband-but he had been so different then. There was a smile on the face, but it was hiding a sense of loss that had governed his life ever since the death of his parents in a plane crash two years earlier. From that seemingly unshakable disorientation, she had rescued him. Likewise, Cody had taken her from a miserable existence and placed her on a lofty pedestal of fulfillment beyond her wildest dreams.

Her spirit soared with gratefulness as she pressed the photograph to her chest. Lost in blissful thoughts, she relived for the thousandth time the nonstop passion of the last ten months. First, the explosive romance-the instant chemistry, like gunpowder contacting fire. Then came the unplanned but welcomed pregnancy, followed by the exchange of wedding vows seven and a half months ago. Every day had been glorious. If she could live all of it over, she would not change a single detail.

A wall clock across the room began to chime the hour, and Hannah closed her eyes and stilled her thoughts to listen: Four o'clock. It was four o'clock, Friday afternoon, December 15th. The "Christmas spirit" with its commercialism was in full swing-and she, Hannah Freedman, had everything in life a woman ever dreamed of: a large and beautiful home, a flaming love life, and emotional security. In only forty minutes her lover would be home from a day's work at his veterinary clinic, ready for their usual early and intimate dinner together. And in only fourteen days, according to the doctor's calculations, she and Cody would cuddle their first child.

She lifted the photograph and contentedly stared through tears at Cody's picture. For the first time in her eighteen years, she knew what it was to live and to love.

She slowly reached over her head and carefully returned the photograph to its place. She contemplated getting up from the couch. But due to an early morning burst of energy she had already put in a full day of cleaning house and baking Christmas cookies, and the work had left her exhausted. Her small frame, now carrying an extra twenty-six pounds, simply refused to rise.


AT 4:40, CODY came in the back door. He slipped quickly through the kitchen, moving his six-foot-three, 170-pound athletic body with the fluidity of a cat, and began singing: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to live with a blue-eyed Georgia girl, hey!"

On the living room couch Hannah awoke from her light sleep, and broke into a smile as Cody continued singing heartily off-key: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to love my blue-eyed Georgia girl!"

When Cody poked his head around the corner, Hannah was applauding. "Coe," she said, extending tired but inviting arms, "you can love this blue-eyed Georgia girl anytime you want to."

Like a moth to a flame, Cody was drawn into her arms. Kneeling on the plush gray carpet beside her, he kissed her full, moist lips as if he had been starving for her for weeks. When he finally withdrew, he looked into her eyes and said with intensity, "Hannah, you're so beautiful-even when you're tired"

So often before he had told her she was beautiful-and had never stopped, even after her pregnancy began showing. Spreading her arms playfully like wings, Hannah nodded toward her body. "You like it, huh?"

Cody smiled his reply, then ran his fingers slowly through her long, thick auburn hair. "Hannah," he moaned in earnest, "I'm missing you, bad."

"How much?" she asked with delight.

"You really want to know?"

"Yeah."

Cody grinned. "Well, I'll tell you. I accidentally gave overdoses of antibiotics to four different dogs today and killed them all," he joked, "simply because I couldn't get my mind off you. All I've done today is dream about being with you."

Feeling aroused, Hannah slowly pulled him into another fiery kiss.

It took every ounce of self-control Cody could muster to keep from going further. When Hannah finally released him, he fell reluctantly to the floor and stretched out on his back. "Just you wait," he said with gusto, "till we're able to be together again. I'm going to make it unforgettable."

Hannah laughed seductively. "Are you sure you can hold out until then?"

With surprise, she watched Cody's mood turn sober. He rose to kneel beside her again, and took her hands in his. "Hannah, if I had to, I'd be willing to wait the rest of my life for you."

There was no doubt in Hannah's mind that he meant every word. She felt his sincerity as certainly as if it were rain pouring down on her. Instinctively she pulled him into another tight embrace.

“Cody,” she confided in his ear, “this will be the best Christmas I've ever had. And the reason is you…”


AFTER DINNER Cody raved as Hannah placed the tray of Christmas cookies on the dining room table beside him. "Better looking than Mother's used to be," he said. Taking a bite, he nodded, "And every bit as good!"

An LP of instrumental Christmas music was playing softly in the background. Hannah sat down to hear Cody finish telling her about his day: setting a German shepherd's broken leg, diagnosing an old tomcat that was refusing to eat, bobtailing a four-day old boxer, and giving an array of shots.

"And Mrs. Gravitt brought in her Dalmatian again," he said, then paused.

"And?" Hannah asked.

"And it should be the last time!" he smiled with satisfaction. "He's fully recovered, and Mrs. Gravitt is as happy as any client I've ever had."

"She should be," Hannah reassured him. "That dog was nearly dead two months ago when she first brought him to you. It was a miracle anyone could save him. But what can I say? You're the best!"

"Well, maybe not the best… But..."Cody tucked his thumbs beneath imaginary suspenders, in a mocking pose of greatness. They both erupted into laughter.

"Say," he said after finishing another cookie, "I called Reed's Travel Agency this morning. They promised they could reserve the cabin-"

Before he could complete the sentence, he saw Hannah suddenly gasp for breath, tense in her chair, then let out a low groan. Cody was immediately face to face with her, gripping her shoulders. "Are you all right?" he demanded.

She finally began breathing, then looked him in the eye and gave the most surprisingly beautiful smile he had ever seen. "I think so... I... uh... yeah, I'm okay," she answered. "My water just broke." She could feel the warm fluid puddling around her buttocks and running down her leg. For a moment she was embarrassed, but the feeling was quickly overcome by an acute surge of pain.

Still trying to figure out what to do, Cody saw Hannah tense again. He gripped her hand in silence, stunned by the piercing hurt locked on her face.

Several seconds later, Hannah relaxed and took a deep breath. "I'm not positive," she said, "but if that was my first contraction, we may be mommy and daddy two weeks earlier than we thought."

Elated, Cody held her in a big hug and said, "Can you believe it?" He started dancing around the table. "We're going to be a family!" he shouted, as Hannah laughed.


THEIR CELEBRATION was soon tempered by the quickly recurring pains, and the rush to leave for the hospital. Within twenty-five minutes from the time Hannah's water had broken, she was seated beside Cody in their Ford station wagon. He was timing her contractions, which now came at less than three-minute intervals. The quickly paced labor pains, coming so soon, made Cody nervous. He tried to relax, but it was all so new. And this was his wife, his baby.

This is happening too fast, he thought, calculating that the trip to the hospital would normally take twenty-five to thirty minutes. This time, he decided, it would have to be less than twenty. No stranger to speeding, he was confident he could meet the challenge.

He glanced at his wristwatch-5:51-just as they were leaving their residential area and approaching the nearest main road. One look ahead quickly confirmed a rising worry: It was rush hour. Traffic on the main road was packed, moving at only a fraction of the normal speed.

For the first time, Cody felt panic. To hide it, he forced a grin and said to Hannah, “I love adventure, but this is a little too much of the good stuff.”

She smiled briefly, before yielding to the start of yet another contraction.

Soon the eruptions of pain were less than two minutes apart. Hannah bravely fought back. Everything's under control, she kept telling herself. Be strong, be strong. Impossible as it seemed, each contraction hurt worse than the last, worse than anything she had ever felt in her life.

"Just hang in there, babe," Cody said. "I'll get you there."

The line of cars crept forward to an intersection which he realized was approximately their halfway point to the hospital. The flow of traffic halted again as he saw the same set of stoplights change to red for the second time. With mounting fear he looked at his watch: 6:16.

Suddenly, Hannah leaned forward, grabbed the dashboard with both hands, and screamed. Cody reached out and touched her shoulder. He was now almost beside himself with panic. "Are you going to make it?"

When her pain had passed its peak, she found her breath and shot back, "I don't know... Just hurry!"

He knew then what he had to do. And on impulse, as if the adrenaline surging through him had switched on a machine, he did it.

Trying to take charge of this desperate situation, he lurched the station wagon out of their traffic lane. Sounding his horn and flashing his headlights, he charged through the intersection and down the avenue, straddling the middle line.

Hannah did little more than flinch. The thought of how crazy it all seemed flashed in and out of her mind.

"I'll get you there," she heard Cody say again.



This book was something of an emotional ride. I was fascinated by the idea of a writer taking a legalistic pastor and having him transform into an altogether different kind of Christian. I had absolutely no idea that the story was going to take so many shocking and sometimes brutal turns on the way there.

I believe that for those people whose faith is rocked consistently by what can seem to be very unchristian actions and attitudes by their pew-mates, I would suggest reading Wisdom Hunter. For the kind of people who can't handle it when store-clerks wish them a Happy Holiday, I say pass. You'll only be offended.


In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur to read by FIRST Wild Card in exchange for a fair and objective review. I did not take payment from the publisher or author of this book beyond a copy of the book in question. Disclosure Policy
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Jesus vs. Santa

I'm straight down the middle on the whole Jesus vs. Santa debate. I'm not altogether certain why there even is a debate.

If, as a parent and a Christian, Santa and his retinue of tiny, red-cloaked, pointy-eared, cookie eating, cider*-sniffing, uber-industrious imps makes you contemplate the fact that Santa is an (switching two letters barely qualifies!!!) anagram for Satan, well... all I have to say is that you are completely out of your fool mind.

The legend of Santa Claus is based on a Bishop!!!!!! named Nicholas. A man who dedicated his life to helping people IN THE NAME OF GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

If as a parent and a Christian, you are concerned about the greedy souls of your children, and the crass materialism that the holiday season seems to represent... I make this small, tiny, really-quite-flipping-obvious suggestion. Turn off the television. Take your kids to a shelter and let them see what "need" really looks like.

Dedicate yourselves to living closer to Jesus' message about love and giving, like - oh! Santa Claus. Talk about the Christmas story. And then talk about His life. And then talk about His death. And then talk about what it all means in this modern world of ours.

In other words, if you do your job right, you don't need to kill Santa in order to make room for Jesus. But a self-righteous stance is offensive to our lord.
Matthew 23:13 (New International Version)"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."

Oh, and thanks to Stuff Christians Like author Jon Acuff for inspiring this post. Sorry I ripped off your idea, Jon.



*Why cider and not cocoa? Cider just seems burlier.
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Whirlwind by Robert Liparulo Book Review


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Whirlwind

Thomas Nelson (December 29, 2009)

by

Robert Liparulo



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. His first novel, Comes a Horseman, released to critical acclaim. Each of his subsequent thrillers—Germ, Deadfall, and Deadlock—secured his place as one of today’s most popular and daring thriller writers.

He is known for investing deep research and chillingly accurate predictions of near-future scenarios into his stories. In fact, his thorough, journalistic approach to research has resulted in his becoming an expert on the various topics he explores in his fiction, and he has appeared on such media outlets as CNN and ABC Radio.

Liparulo’s visual style of writing has caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman. were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted last year with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers, released in January, and number four, Timescape, in July. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series, Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”

With the next two Dreamhouse books “in the can,” he is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects supernatural elements into his brand of gun-blazing storytelling. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on his acclaimed short story, which appeared in James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.

Visit Robert Liparulo's Facebook Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/LiparuloFans


ABOUT THE BOOK

Which door do you go through to save the world?

David, Xander, and Toria King never know where the mysterious portals in their house will take them: past, present, or future. They have battled gladiators and the German army, dodged soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, and jumped from the sinking Titanic. They've also seen the stark future that awaits if they can't do something to change it--a destroyed city filled with mutant creatures.

And they've still got to find a way to bring Mom back and keep Taksidian from getting them out of the house. The dangers are hitting them like a whirlwind . . . but the answers are becoming apparent as well.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Whirlwind, go HERE

************************************updated********************************************


I am a HUGE fan of Robert Liporulo's Dream House Kings series. As in, I was literally (and used correctly here, mighty I add) jumping up and down when I saw that I might have the chance to review this book. Unfortunately there was some kind of mix-up and I received it super-duper late.

But it was totally worth the wait! Whirlwind does not disappoint. Like the earlier entries in the series, the King family searches desperately for their mother, jumping into eras and worlds so very different and yet chillingly similar to our own. The cliffhanger ending practically had me chewing my nails off, and now I'll have to wait until May for Frenzy, the final book in the series.


In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of Whirlwind by Robert Liparulo to read by Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for a fair and objective review. I did not take payment from the publisher or author of this book beyond a copy of the book in question. Disclosure Policy
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Mom Central's Holiday Gift Guide

Good gracious! I can't believe that it's already time for another Mom Central Gift Guide. This year flew by! (Seriously.)

The folks over at Mom Central are always up for a challenge and this year they wanted to help give time-crunched Mommas some help in the gift-choice department. (Now I'll admit that I'm pretty much done already, but not all of you are as ahead of the game as me. Okay, just kidding!)

Here is a preview of some of the items on the list. Oh... and did I mention the part where they're giving away all of them? Yup. Just head over to Mom Central and register, then comment on each item to be entered in a drawing to win that item. Sweet!

Pandora Bracelet: These versatile bracelets allow you to customize your look through numerous charms that you can add or change to match your outfit. Create a tradition with family and friends by giving charms for different celebrations and milestones after presenting the bracelet as the original gift this holiday season.



Daisy Rock: Debutante Electric Guitar Starter Set:
A starter kit for young girls who aspire to be rock stars! The set includes all she will need to begin her musical adventure: an "atomic pink" guitar, 10 watt amplifier, electronic tuner, guitar strap, picks, string winder, polish cloth, and an instructional DVD.



Cuisinart Rice-Plus Multi Cooker: Perfect for the cook in the family, this new kitchen appliance from Cuisinart makes much more than just rice! Ideal for homemade soups, oatmeal, steaming veggies, and slow-cooking, the Multi Cooker will make preparing those hearty winter meals easier than ever. Fun features include pre-programmed menu options, a programmable finish time and an automatic "keep warm" setting that activates after your cooking is completed.


I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central. Mom Central entered my name in a random drawing to win a gift to thank me for taking the time to participate.
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December's Around Town NYC



Friday December 4
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche now on display for the holiday season (through January 6) featuring daily lighting ceremonies.
  • Noshes and Nibbles in the West Village and SoHo - (10am–1pm) Taste delectable artisan treats, fresh mozzarella, sublime chocolate, Sicilian rice balls and homemade cannoli. End the tour with a glass of award-winning wine from a local winery. Meet outside Amy's Bread, 250 Bleecker Street at Leroy Street.
  • Target Free Fridays at MoMA - Admission is free for all visitors during Target Free Friday Nights, sponsored by Target, every Friday evening, 4:00–8:00 p.m. Tickets for Target Free Friday Nights are not available in advance. The line for Target Free Friday Night tickets can be long, so consider arriving after 6:00 p.m. Includes free film screenings.

Saturday December 5

  • Mustaches for Kids presents: 'Stache Bash 2009 - $20 7:30–10:30pm The Bash is both a party to celebrate a month worth of fundraising for DonorsChoose.org, a charity which improves underfunded NYC public schools, and also a terrifying Thunderdome-style competition; one which mercilessly pits one Mustache against the other - friend against friend, brother against brother -- until only the Sweetest 'Stache remains. This sole survivor will be crowned the Mustache King of New York. $20 includes FREE wine and beer until 9:30PM. Galapagos Art Space 16 Main St DUMBO, Brooklyn 718.222.8500 Directions: A/C to High St-Brooklyn Bridge | F to York Street.

Sunday December 6

  • BUST Holiday Craftacular - $2 10am–7:30pm BUST magazine's annual Craftacular is an all-day shop-o-rama boasting more than 200 vendors hawking their spectacular handmade goods, from knitwear, jewelry, and home décor to vintage clothing. And if you want a really good gift, take home one of the adorable and adoptable pets from Animal Care and Control NYC, who are in attendance. FYI: Craftacular 2008 saw over 6,000 shoppers, so get there early; as an added kick in the morning pants, the first 500 attendees get a goodie bag BUST-ing with treats. Metropolitan Pavilion 125 W 18th St. 212.463.0071
  • Country Christmas with Cooper Boone and Angela Kaset - $15 2–3:30pm. Joe's Pub 425 Lafayette St. 212.967.7555 for tickets 212.539.8778 for table reservations

Thursday December 10

  • Peter & the Wolf - $30, $25 members, $10 students Thu – Mon 4 and 5:30 pm. Isaac Mizrahi and the Juilliard Ensemble, conducted by New York City Opera’s George Manahan, bring Sergei Prokofiev’s charming children’s classic to life with a new installation of sculptures by the renowned New Orleans–based art collective YA/YA (Young Aspirations/Young Artists). Recommended for children ages 5 and older. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 5th Ave 212 423 3500 Directions: Subway: 4, 5, or 6 train to 86th St; Bus: M1, M2, M3, or M4 to Madison or 5th Ave

Saturday December 12

  • NY Theater Ballet Company: The Nutcracker Ballet – $36 Sat & Sun, 11am–noon, 1–2pm & 3:30–4:30pm Florence Gould Hall 55 E 59th St.

Sunday December 13

  • Baby Loves Disco: Dance For a Cause - $15 12pm 5% of ticket sales will benefit the National Down Syndrome Society. (Le) Poisson Rouge 158 Bleecker St 212.505.3474

Sunday December 20

  • Free Holiday Concert at the Guggenheim – Sun – Mon 6pm Celebrate the season with the joyous sound of holiday music in the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright–designed rotunda in what has become a revered annual tradition. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 5th Ave. 212 423 3500 Directions: Subway: 4, 5, or 6 train to 86th St; Bus: M1, M2, M3, or M4 to Madison or 5th Ave.
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The Christmas Kitchen by Tammy Maltby Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Christmas Kitchen

Howard Books (October 6, 2009)

***Special thanks to Jennifer Willingham of Simon and Schuster for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Tammy Maltby is a writer, speaker, and media personality. For eight years, she was the co-host of the Emmy Award-winning television talk show, Aspiring Women. She serves on the board of the National Women’s Ministry Association, Christian Women in Media and Arts, and Women of Courage International. She and her family live in Colorado Springs, CO.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 132 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (October 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416587659
ISBN-13: 978-1416587651

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Press this picture to browse inside the entire book:


I wish I could accurately explain how much I loved this little book o'cheer. Tammy Maltby may actually love both food and Christmas more than I do. I love that she emphasizes the importance of a kitchen in the home, and especially around the holidays. I love that she always brings it back to pleasing God, and reveling in the joy of family. I actually flagged about 15 pages in The Christmas Kitchen (I never, ever do that!) so that I'll know which of the many recipes and ideas I'll be rolling out this season.

Ladies (and gentlemen, too!) I hope you purchase this book, I really do. I hope it inspires you to reach out to your loved ones. I hope it reminds you of why we celebrate Christmas. Merry Christmas and God Bless to you all!

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of The Christmas Kitchen by Tammy Maltby to read by FIRST Wild Card in exchange for a fair and objective review. I did not take payment from the publisher or author of this book beyond a copy of the book in question. Disclosure Policy
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December's Around Town Staten Island


Friday, December 4
  • Grand Illumination. Traditional colonial holiday kick off. Snacks. Free. Outdoor event. 7-8pm. The Conference House, 718 984-6046
  • Doodlebug 1 - FunTime. Storytelling, music & crafts. Ages 18mos - 4yrs w/caregiver. 1pm. Blue Heron Park, 718-227-8839
  • Health Plus Kidz Cook. Different recipe each week. 1:30, 2:30 & 3:30 pm. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060
  • Celebrate Eid: Eid Pancakes. An Arabic festivitiy, celebration, recurring happiness and a feast. Call for times. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060
  • Health Plus Kidz Cook. Different recipe each week. 1:30, 2:30 & 3:30 pm. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060.
  • St. George Holiday Ball 7:00–11:00pm. A party with dance music and special guest performers. Cash Bar with food donated by local eateries. Staten Island Museum, 75 Stuyvesant Place. Free admission.

Saturday, December 5
  • Breakfast with Santa Claus to benefit SI's Children's Campaign Charitable Trust. 8:30-10am. Applebee's SI Mall. Call 718 889-3029 to preregister.
  • Breakfast with Santa. 10am-noon. Prereg. Seaview Auxiliary, Colony Hall, 718 317-3349
  • Kids Workshop: Wagon. Do-it-yourself skills & tool safety. 9am-noon . Ages 5-12. Free at Home Depot. www.siparent.com
  • Holiday Nature Crafts. How to use pinecones, evergreens & other natural materials. 1pm. Blue Heron Park, UPR, 718 967-3542
  • Music for the Cure. Benefit concert for young cancer survivors by pianist and brain cancer survivor, Matthew Zachary. 7pm at Veterans Memorial Hall, Snug Harbor, www.musicforthecure.org
  • Kids & Kritters: Birds of Winter. Learn about winter birds & make a treat. Ages 5-7 w/caregiver. 11am-12:30pm. Blue Heron Park, 917 751-0071
  • Workshop: Indoor Composting with Worms. Construct an indoor compost bin with the help of red wriggler worms. 12-2pm. Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Gdn, 718 425-3557
  • Krafty Kids: Decorate For The Animals. Make a Lenape craft. Ages 4-10 w/caregiver. 1-2pm. Prereg. Blue Heron Park,917-751-0071
  • Kettle Ponds. Explore Long Pond Park. 1pm. UPR, 718 967-3542
  • Target First Saturday: Light Up the Season. Free night of music, dance & art-making classes that celebrate the seasonal festivals of light from around the world. 5-11pm. The Brooklyn Museum, 718 638-5000
  • Saturday's Tots. Singing, creating & sharing adventures.11 am. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060
  • Kids Workshop. Different project every weekend. 1, 2 & 3pm. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-206
  • Tavern Concert. 7:30 & 9:30pm. Historic Richmond Town, 718 351-1611
  • Holiday Stroll and Culture Shop - 10:00am - 5:00pm. Throughout New Brighton, search for unique and special holiday gifts at this one day only festival that will bring you to some of Staten Islands churches and cultural institutions.

Sunday, December 6
  • Christmas in Richmondtown. Hear Carolers sing holiday songs, take a tour. Home-made goodies available. 10am-5pm. Historic Richmond Town, 718-351-1611
  • Tree Lighting Celebration. Meet Santa Claus & follow Caroler's Parade to the Tree Lighting Ceremony. 5pm. Historic Richmond Town, 718 351-1611
  • Herbal Holiday Decorations. Make easy table & gift decorations & more. 1-2:30pm. Prereg. Blue Heron Park, 718 356-9235
  • Owl Prowl. 5:30pm. Long Pond Park. Protectors, 718 313-8591
  • Knot for Nothing. Learn & practice some of the most basic & practical knots. 1pm. Blue Heron Park, UPR. 718 967-3542
  • Natural Science Club: Natural Plastics. Make your own samples of plastics from other organic sources such as milk, gelatin & guar gum. Ages 8-12. 2-3:30pm. Blue Heron Park, 718 967-3542
  • A Concert of Love & Hope: Inspirational & Holiday Music for the benefit of the Global Medical Relief Fund (www.globmed.org). 3-5:30pm at The Church of the Ascension, 1 Kingsley Ave, 718 442-4187
  • (update) Jacob Marley's "A Christmas Carol" Presented by Snug Harbor and Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre, 2:00pm. Call 866 967-8167 or visit www.sistny.org
  • (update) 12th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony5-7pm at the Carl Grillo Glasshouse, Snug Harbor. Live performances from Wagner College Theatre and St. Roch School's Children's Choir, sing-a-longs. RSVP 718 425-3516
  • Reading. Participatory reading from "The Hobbit." Come dressed as your favorite Tolkien character. 3pm. Prereg. Staten Island OutLOUD. Greenbelt Nature Center., 718-351-3450
  • Celebrate Eid: Eid Pancakes. An Arabic festivitiy, celebration, recurring happiness and a feast. Call for times. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060
  • Hockey Clinic. Free ice hockey & ice skating instruction for S.I. boys & girls ages 4-17 from 7-8am (except 12/27). S.I. Ice Hockey Association at the S.I. Skating Pavillion. 718-966-8708 or www.SIIHA.com
  • Kids Workshop. Different project every weekend. 1, 2 & 3pm. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060
  • The Gifts of St. Nicolas with Richmond Choral Society. Featured works include Benjamin Britten’s St.Nicolas (Op.42), and Sancte Sancte Nicolas (a
    Latin carol composed by RCS Musical Director, Marina Alexander.) Info: www.richmondchoral.com. St. Peter’s Church, 53 St. Marks Place.

Monday, December 7
  • 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Inspired by the timeless poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas," Clement Moore & his family learn the true miracle of Christmas. Center for the Arts at CSI. Enrichment Through the Arts, 718 982-5678
  • Pet Photo Night with Santa. Santa welcomes dogs and cats only. 6-10pm. SI Mall, 718-761-6666
  • Kid's Night. Tommy's Costume Characters. 917 658-5654

Tuesday, December 8
  • The Magic of Science. Magic tricks & circus skills help explain atoms, molecules, the elements, compounds, solutions, magnetism & static electricity. 9:45 & 11:30am. Center for the Arts at CSI. Enrichment Through the Arts, 718 982-5678
  • Tots Time Plus. Artwork, sing-along & more. Parent/child. 11am.SI Child's Museum, 718-273-2060
  • Read Aloud. All ages. 4pm. South Beach Library, 718-816-5836
  • Kid's Night. Tommy's Costume Characters, 917 658-5654

Wednesday, December 9
  • Story Museum. Ages 3-6. Adult Free. 2-3pm. Historic Richmond Town, 718 351-1611
  • Alice in Winterland. Costumed characters & giant 9 ft. tall puppets. 9:45 & 11:30am. Center for the Arts at CSI. Enrichment Through the Arts, 718 982-5678
  • Kid's Night. Tommy's Costume Characters. 917 658-5654
  • Greenbelt Tree Tots. Hands-on activities, games & more. Ages 2 & 3 w/caregiver. 9:30-10:15am. Prereg. Greenbelt Nature Center, 718-351-3450
  • Clay Day. Sculpt. 1:30 pm. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060
  • Poca a Poco: Play, crafts, storytelling and more in Spanish. 10am. SI Children's Museum, 718 273-2060

Thursday, December 10
  • Tots Time Plus. Artwork, singing along & more. Parent/child. 11am. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060
  • Thrilling Thursdays. Read aloud and craft. Ages 3+. 4pm. Dongan Hills Library, 718-351-1444
  • Paint Day. Picasso may have started this way. 1:30pm. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060

Friday, December 11
  • Annual Chanukah Dinner. 6pm. Prereg. by 12/4. Temple Israel Reform Cong., 718 727-2231
  • Doodlebug 2 - FunTime. Storytelling, music & crafts. Ages 18mos - 4yrs w/caregiver. 1pm. Blue Heron Park, 718-227-8839
  • Preschool Story Time. Ages 3-5. 10:30am. Prereg. South Beach Library, 718-816-5836
  • Lanyard Fun. 3:30pm. St. George Library,718 442-8560
  • The Nutcracker. A perfect introduction to ballet for kids 3-12. Only one-hour. 10am. New York Ballet Theatre, 212 355-6160
  • (update) Jacob Marley's "A Christmas Carol" Presented by Snug Harbor and Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre, 8:00pm. Call 866 967-8167 or visit www.sistny.org
  • Holiday Show: "Making Spirits Bright." Fri at 8pm; Sat. 2pm & 8pm. Moore Catholic High School, 718 761-9200
  • Hanukkah Treats: Potato Latkes. Participate in making gourmet latkes. Call for times. SI Children's Museum, 718 273-2060
  • Health Plus Kidz Cook. Different recipe each week. 1:30, 2:30 & 3:30 pm. SI Children's Museum, 718-273-2060

Saturday, December 12th
  • Historic Richmond Town Candelight Tour and Wassail Bowl Reception - $22.00, $20.00 for members of SIHS, $10.00 for children under 12. Celebrate the holiday season on a festive Candlelight Tour. You will discover how holiday traditions changed during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Delight in fireplace warmth, candle and oil lamp glow, games of days gone by and timeless songs, hymns and carols. Taste freshly prepared holiday sweets and treats on a ninety-minute visit to the past. For more information please call 718-351-1611
  • Dickens of a Christmas - $10 for members and $13 for non members 5:30-8:30pm. Included is one free photo (per family) with Santa ($5.00 for additional photos), a hot beverage, a sweet treat and a free Staten Island Zoo Grocery Bag and lots to explore and visit including trees decorated for the season by local school children. Be greeted by folks in costume of Christmases past, meet Santa, and sing along with a chorus. Join the "Party Crew" costume characters and Patrick Raftery with a children's sing-along. Experience flavors and participate in crafts and activities that are traditional for the holiday season in China, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Australia, Russia and Spain. Meet the Kwanzaa lady, learn about Three Kings Day (Dia de Los Reyes) and Hanukah traditions as well. The Christmas Tree will be lit at 6:30pm and there will be a reading of A Christmas Carol. This event is sure to get you in the holiday mood! Before you leave, take a star off the enrichment tree that gives suggestions for “treats” for the Zoo animals that can be purchased at your local pet store. Bring it back to the Zoo on your next visit. For further information contact the SI Zoo at 718-442-3174.

Tuesday, December 15
  • Victorian Tree Ornament Making Workshop - $25 11:00am. In addition to the decorated tree, the tradition of making paper holiday ornaments was brought to this country by German immigrants in the 1860’s and 1870’s and continued through the turn of the century. The ornaments were made out of paper using die-cut chromolithographs referred to as “scraps”, gold embossed paper known as “Dresdens”, crepe paper and glazed paper, tinsel, cotton batting, lace and feathers. The designs we will be making in the workshop are facsimiles of those ornaments made by our foremothers in the Victorian era. The materials we will use will replicate as closely as possible the materials used in the originals.Limited seating, registration required. Materials supplied but you need to bring scissors, refreshments served at the Alice Austen House.

Friday, December 18
  • St. George Theatre's Christmas Show - $10 - $40 7:30pm. The Christmas Show is a family tradition for Staten Islanders. Celebrating its sixth season, this extravagant show will star Santa and feature the St. George Theatre Chorus, it's very own Richmondettes, ragdolls, elves, lifesize toys and aerialists as they come alive on the SGT stage! Scenes from Central Park and the Rainbow Room are favorites too! Meet and greet Santa and cast at the end of the show... bring your camera! For more information please call 718-442-2900

Saturday, December 19
  • Breakfast with the Beasts: Holiday Breakfast - 8:30-10:00am. Our most popular Breakfast with the Beast will return. (Shhh!! Because our animals have been so good this year Santa will visit.) We will look at a number of outdoor Zoo critters and see how they deal with winter including our very special seasonal visitors – reindeer! Ages 5 and up. A paying adult must accompany a paying child. Please no younger siblings. Staten Island Zoo.

Monday, December 28
  • Dinosaurs and More featuring Richie Mirissis – 1:30-3:30pm Join dinosaur enthusiast, Richie Mirissis, as he presents some amazing fossils, three- dimensional models, and memorabilia from his vast collection. Take home a special craft that you make! Free with regular admission – DONATION REQUESTED. Pre-registration not required.

Wednesday, December 30
  • Richmond Town Doll & Teddy Bear Party - $8.00/child, $4.00/adult. 1:30 p.m. Bring your favorite doll or teddy bear to meet other special friends at our Victorian Christmas Tree. Lively, interactive story-telling makes the occasion special, holiday treats round out the fun. Prepaid reservations required. For more information please call (718) 351-1611
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Saints Roost by Terry Burns Book Review



In Terry Burns' new novel, Saint's Roost , available from Treble Heart Books, a young pastor's widow heads out into the Wild West to turn heathens into believers. Along the way she meets colorful characters, and learns invaluable lessons by the very folk she sought to teach.

Saint's Roost is a slow-paced, sweet novel set in America's uncivilized frontier days. Cowboys and Indians, drunkards and prostitutes each have an opportunity to display God's grace, and the entire town of Saint's Roost, founded on Christian values, have hard lessons to learn about just what it means to fully live in Christ's love.

For a peek at the first chapter go here.

I enjoyed this book. I especially liked the way Terry Burns took some very modern/ancient concepts and couched them in the broad tones of the midwestern cowboy. Check it out at Treble Heart Books. I hope you pick up Saint's Roost if only for the glimpse into our American past.

Want to know what others think? Check out the rest of the blogtour over at CFBA.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of Saints Roost by Terry Burns to read by Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for a fair and objective review. I did not take payment from the publisher or author of this book beyond a copy of the book in question. Disclosure Policy
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