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Today's Features

  • Mixing sour cream with one of those dry onion soup mix envelopes was a staple at parties at our house a decade or so ago. It was a cheap and easy way to make a pretty yummy dip. And, with a bag of nacho chips and a bottle of wine, the dip would make the occasion festive.

    Then one day, I read the label on the onion soup mix envelope. The company suggested mixing their onion soup with ground beef for an onion meat loaf. It really added some zest to it. I decided to ask some friends what they used it in.

  • For those of you suffering from an overdose of family, friends and holiday cheer, there’s another way to warm up on the short, chilly days of December. Get out and play in the dirt.

    Purists (and soil science professors) bristle at the mention of “dirt,” but “playing in the soil” doesn’t roll off the tongue. The stuff we grow plants in is soil. Once it’s under your fingernails or you track it into the house, it’s dirt.

  • If a lovely North Carolina Christmas tree is part of your home’s decorations this season, we have some tips to keep it looking its best:

    1) Keep the Christmas tree and all holiday plants watered and protected from hot or cold drafts. Christmas trees may take up lots of water the first day or two so keep a close eye on them. Christmas trees are not dangerous as long as they are green and pliable. If they dry out, they become dangerous.

  • As a continuation of last week’s column, following are other factors to consider in caring for indoor plants:

    Humidity

    In a moderate humidity range of 20-40 percent, it is possible to grow a variety of plants; however, cacti and other succulents do well in a humidity range of 5-15 percent.

  • All that one hears these days is a doom and gloom tale of woe, from Wall Street to Main Street and back again.

    The market is dropping, sales are down, money is scarce, foreclosures are rampant, and retirement funds are racing downward. Crisis is the word of the day and the power that fuels nightmares. Henny Penny is having a field day.

    As a result, some choose the path of avoidance and denial. They sit before a television set watching football games or soap operas, or “reality shows” that have little to do with the reality around them.

  •  Staff Report

    Get in the holiday spirit with an array of festive events planned this weekend and in the coming week in Brunswick County.

    The roundup of upcoming holiday happenings includes:

  • You walk down any aisle of a grocery store and you will see products labeled “no cholesterol” or “low cholesterol.” What does this mean?

    In some respects, it is a marketing gimmick. In fact, stores could put a sign above the entire produce section that says, “Cholesterol Free” because cholesterol is only found in products that originate from animals. Plant-based products have no cholesterol.

  • You survived Thanksgiving with all of the food and relatives. Brave souls may have even ventured into the chaos that is shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving. If all of this holiday hustle and bustle has you popping Lexapro like baby aspirin, take a break and go play in the garden. Believe or not, there are some garden chores that need to be done right now.

  • Just after Thanksgiving and for the next two weekends, it will be the busiest time to purchase a Christmas tree. Early shoppers will pick from the best available trees on lots or in fields.

    Locally, it is difficult to find a choose and cut operation. For our area, it usually means going to a tree lot to select a tree that has already been cut and shipped into our area.

  • Almost any indoor environment is more pleasant and attractive when living plants are part of the setting. In apartments, condominiums, and single-family residences, plants add warmth, personality, and year-round beauty.

    There are other uses for indoor plants that include: enclosing space into separate areas, reducing glare and reflection from artificial lights or sunlight entering through a window and screening to block out undesirable views or to create privacy. Also, plants provide oxygen for our environment.