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Around North Hagerstown

January 10, 2006|By JANE SCHMIDT

Good afternoon!

Now that the holidays are recent memories, it's time to get the new year rolling along! Hopefully by the time you are reading this column, my indoor Christmas decorations - including our family's Christmas tree - will once again be tucked away for their yearly slumber in the attic until next year's wave of holiday festivities begin yet again.

So far, my resolution to reorganize my home - or better stated, to finally organize my home - is coming along, although ever so slowly. I managed to go through my kitchen and bathroom cupboards and hate to admit that I found some unusually interesting items - including an eyedropper used to give the girls infant pain reliever, five corkscrews (does a family of four really require five of these things?), and scores of empty light bulb boxes (must be a new collecting fad among mechanical engineers!)

My next adventures into the realm of home organization include tackling the dreaded hall closet (who knows what's lurking among the snowpants stuffed into those dark and mysterious corners - the nervous anticipation is nearly enough to make me call in Ty Pennington and his Extreme Home Makeover gurus!) and the dark mysteries eerily ensconced in my unfinished laundryroom, where socks have been known to vanish instantly - without the aid of the washing machine or dryer, mind you!

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Hopefully as the year progresses, the battle of the Schmidt family vs. their as-of-now unorganized stuff will yield an organized, peaceful truce. I'll keep you posted if those empty light bulb boxes gather forces with the other stuff and begin a takeover of the Schmidt family household and its disorganized human foursome!

Thanks, Louise!

I'd like to send out a heartfelt thank you to Louise Martin for keeping an "eye" on me -- your genuine concern and knowledgable advice (which I heeded) is - and was - very greatly appreciated!

Baking a real treat!

My daughter Tori and I had fun baking some cookies together over the holidays (once our kitchen was organized!) - she developed this recipe which was a real hit with the Schmidt family "cookie monsters" - enjoy!

Tori's Twirls

Oven temperature: 350 degrees

Bake time: 8 to 10 minutes

Yield: About 52 one-inch cookies

Ingredients:

One cup butter, softened

One and one-quarter cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

Two-thirds cup unsweetened baking cocoa

Three-fourths teaspoon baking soda

One-fourth teaspoon salt

2 cups swirled chocolate chips

Mixture: Preheat oven. Mix together in medium bowl all dry ingredients - flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set aside. In larger mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add mixed dry ingredients to butter mixture and stir until incorporated. Stir in chips. Use small one-inch scoop to drop batter onto ungreased cookie sheet - space dough 2-inches apart. Bake until cookies are set, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from sheet. Cool cookies on wire rack. Cool completely before storing in air-tight container. Yields four and one-half dozen cookies. Variations: You can substitute any type of baking chips - peanut butter, butterscotch, mint, milk or semi-sweet chocolate. You can also add one-half cup of chopped nuts if you like - either by themselves or in combination with your favorite baking chips.

Blood drive

The holiday season is a great time to take account of all of our blessings. And while we are grateful that our loved ones are healthy and safe, we should be mindful of those not so fortunate. Every two seconds, someone needs blood - and the need continues to grow. Almost 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, but only 5 percent donate. By giving to the American Red Cross through blood donations, donors can save up to three lives.

Cub Scout Pack 54 from Fountaindale Elementary School, sponsored by Christ's Reformed Church, will hold an American Red Cross Blood Drive on Saturday, Jan. 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The blood drive will be held at the church, at 130 W. Franklin St. in the Social Hall. Donor appointments can be made by calling Sherri at 240-675-9359.

Library events

There are many fun and interesting activities planned at the Washington County Free Library, at 100 S. Potomac St. that are sure to help you and your family through the winter doldrums.

This evening, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m., local historian and author Roger Keller presents "General Otho Holland Williams: Revolutionary War Hero." This presentation is part of the library's Robert McCauley Lecture Series. Free admission tickets are available at the library's reference desk.

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