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Monthly Archives: November 2017

Consigning made simple at Once Upon a Child

What to do with out-grown clothes?

Every Mom knows that children outgrow clothes and shoes very quickly. As a working mom of two boys, it is a constant struggle to make sure that both boys have clothes that fit!  I learned very

quickly that children go through sizes so quickly that many clothes hardly get any wear before the are too small!  Since the clothes get very little wear, they still have lots of life and could be used by other children. With clothing costs on the rise, families must be cost conscious, which makes consigning clothes a great fit for busy moms. Rocket City is fortunate to have several seasonal children’s consignment sales.  These are great if you have time to prepare and tag the clothing for the specific sales.  Each sale has different tagging and preparation instructions. Another drawback is that these are seasonal and aren’t available year-round.  Once upon a child is taking advantage of these limitations and providing an easy solution to your children’s clothing needs.

What to do with out-grown clothes?

Every Mom knows that children outgrow clothes and shoes very quickly. As a working mom of two boys, it is a constant struggle to make sure that both boys have clothes that fit!  I learned very quickly that children go through sizes so quickly that many clothes hardly get any wear before the are too small!  Since the clothes get very little wear, they still have lots of life and could be used by other children. With clothing costs on the rise, families must be cost conscious, which makes consigning clothes a great fit for busy moms. Rocket City is fortunate to have several seasonal children’s consignment sales.  These are great if you have time to prepare and tag the clothing for the specific sales.  Each sale has different tagging and preparation instructions. Another drawback is that these are seasonal and aren’t available year-round.  Once upon a child is taking advantage of these limitations and providing an easy solution to your children’s clothing needs.

What to do with out-grown clothes?

Every Mom knows that children outgrow clothes and shoes very quickly. As a working mom of two boys, it is a constant struggle to make sure that both boys have clothes that fit!  I learned very 

quickly that children go through sizes so quickly that many clothes hardly get any wear before the are too small!  Since the clothes get very little wear, they still have lots of life and could be used by other children. With clothing costs on the rise, families must be cost conscious, which makes consigning clothes a great fit for busy moms. Rocket City is fortunate to have several seasonal children’s consignment sales.  These are great if you have time to prepare and tag the clothing for the specific sales.  Each sale has different tagging and preparation instructions. Another drawback is that these are seasonal 

and aren’t available year-round.  Once upon a child is taking advantage of these limitations and providing an easy solution to your children’s clothing needs.

Get Cash for your kid’s clothes!
Once upon a Child has recently opened in Madison and is a great year-round consigning option. Once upon a Child is located at 8030 Hwy 72 West in Madison.  Once upon a Child is different than a consignment sale.  With a consignment sale, you tag all your clothing drop it off, wait for it to sell, then get a percentage of the sales after the seasonal sale is over.  Then when it is over, you get a check and have the option to pick up or donate the items that didn’t sell.   Once upon a Child is less complicated, which is a huge plus for busy working moms.  At Once upon a Child, you bring in your clean clothing, shoes, toys, and baby gear, no tagging required.  There are some limitations to items they will buy, for example they do not take car seats. The staff will review your clothing and then give you a cash offer for the items that meet their requirements. This is a huge time saver and available anytime.  Typically, the staff will review your items the same day, but there can be a 1-2 day wait during the busy seasons.

Shop for the clothes and items you need.

After selling the clothes that your children have outgrown, you will have a little cash to shop for the sizes that you currently need.  The store is organized by size, sex, and even color!  This makes is super easy to find the kind of clothing that you are looking for!  Unlike other stores, they also break out the sleepwear from the other clothing.  All the clothing was clearly labeled with price tags.  Prices were much less than retail and would allow your money to go much farther.  This along with the fact that you don’t have to tag your clothing or wait for payment, makes Once upon a Child a must shop place for your children’s item needs!


By: Brooke Hyde

Brooke Hyde is an IT professional and mompreneur who likes using technology to improve businesses.  She currently works for a defense con​​​​tract in Huntsville, and runs her small business The Automated Mompreneur. When she is not working with technology to help government and momprenuers be more efficient, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys, and two dogs in the family you-pick vineyard, Hyde's Harvest Vineyard.  

Five Gifts for Him at Parkway Place Mall

Oh, What to Buy? What to Buy?

Let’s say you’re like me and you are looking for something to get that special guy in your life. Maybe your husband, dad, brother, or boyfriend has a bunch of tools and you don’t know a socket wrench from a ratchet.  Or—are those the same thing??? I don’t know about you, but my guy has a bewildering jungle of metal equipment in his tool box.  I usually just don’t go there unless I need a hammer or a tape measure. At the same time, I really want to get my husband something special.

Parkway Place Mall to the Rescue!

Molly Mitchell is the Marketing Director at Parkway Place Mall.  She gave me the name of 5 stores to try, three of them local to Huntsville. Out of all the 97 stores in Parkway Place Mall, you are certain to find something for your guy.

Sports Mania

Jeanie Buffaloe functions as the assistant manager of Sports Mania.  She gave me a quick tour of the store, which has been locally owned for three generations!  They’ve got you covered for your Alabama and Auburn team apparel and paraphernalia.  Their Auburn/Alabama watches are really nice.  I may have to come back to buy my guy one of these!

Leaf in Creek Earthpedition 

Leaf in Creek is the place to go for outdoor fashion and technical adventure gear.  They have a nice selection of kayaks (in the 

store!!) for the guy who enjoys navigating the local waterways like the Flint River. If you’re looking for a stocking-stuffer, try the water-wicking socks.  One of the guys who works at Leaf in Creek says they really do work well.  Leaf in Creek is also locally owned. Contact: (256) 886-5323

Leaf in Creek Earthpedition 

Leaf in Creek is the place to go for outdoor fashion and technical adventure gear.  They have a nice selection of kayaks (in the store!!) for the guy who enjoys navigating the local waterways like the Flint River. If you’re looking for a stocking-stuffer, try the water-wicking socks.  One of the guys who works at Leaf in Creek says they really do work well.  Leaf in Creek is also locally owned. Contact: (256) 886-5323

St. Nick’s Knives 

St. Nick’s Knives is one of the more unique locally-owned stores at Parkway Place Mall.  They sell all sorts of knives, shaving and grooming supplies, Yeti Coolers, Zippo hand-

warmers, swords, and more. St. Nick’s Knives has locations Athens, Florence, Foley, and Huntsville.  Order online, and the shipping is free.  Whether you’re looking to buy kitchen knives or fantasy swords, St. Nick’s Knives has them, and they will be happy to add laser engraving for that extra-special touch.

St. Nick’s Knives 

St. Nick’s Knives is one of the more unique locally-owned stores at Parkway Place Mall.  They sell all sorts of knives, shaving and grooming supplies, Yeti Coolers, Zippo hand-warmers, swords, and more. St. Nick’s Knives has locations Athens, Florence, Foley, and Huntsville.  Order online, and the shipping is free.  Whether you’re looking to buy kitchen knives or fantasy swords, St. Nick’s Knives has them, and they will be happy to add laser engraving for that extra-special touch.

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn has several beautiful home accessories that he is sure to love!  Pottery Barn has that perfect plaid accessory to appeal to fashionable men.  The sales associates are trained to help you put together an ensemble like these leather jewelry cases and distinguished clocks.  My favorite is this little plaid reindeer and the guy-centric Christmas ornaments! Contact: (256) 519-6429

Williams Sonoma

Got a griller in your family?  How about an All-Clad BBQ Tool Set or an All-Clad Stainless-Steel Outdoor Cookware Set from Williams Sonoma?  The store sells a delicious variety of Bar-BQ rubs and spices.  Their pop-corn makers range from $39.99-$299.95, and you’ll find all of this and more! Contact: (256) 534-2008

These are just a few suggestions from Parkway Place Mall.  Be sure to talk to any of the friendly sales associates for more Christmas ideas that will put a smile on your guy’s face this season!


By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Stephanie L. Robertson is a writer and editor who maintains a southern lifestyle blog at www.SweetgumLife.com. A busy Christian wife and mom, Stephanie and her husband of 19 years live in the Huntsville area with their teenage daughter. Stephanie has a self-published short suspense story on Amazon and is working on adding a novel.  When not immersed in mom/wife life, she enjoys photography, Pinterest projects, coffee with family and friends, and immersing herself in a good suspense novel.

String of Christmas Lights

Top 9 Ideas for Your White Elephant Gift Exchange

A holiday tradition among some friend groups is the dastardly game that is as much about taking as giving. Whether you call it Dirty Santa, Yankee Swap or White Elephant nothing is better than getting your grinch on during the holidays and stealing a gift from a friend. One of the problems with these types of games is that you have to find the perfect gift for the group. The trick is knowing that each group of people is going to require a different type of gift, sometimes funny sometimes practical. With that in mind, let’s check out some cool gift ideas and let the thievery begin!

A holiday tradition among some friend groups is the dastardly game that is as much about taking as giving. Whether you call it Dirty Santa, Yankee Swap or White Elephant nothing is better than getting your grinch on during the holidays and stealing a gift from a friend. One of the problems with these types of games is that you have to find the perfect gift for the group. The trick is knowing that each group of people is going to require a

different type of gift, sometimes funny sometimes practical. With that in mind, let’s check out some cool gift ideas and let the thievery begin!

USB Electric Lap Blanket

This is the perfect gift for that one friend that is always cold. They’ll play it off like “oh, haha yeah I guess I’ll take the blanket” but they’re really thinking 

“aww yisss, no more freezing at the office.” This is one of those gifts that is just ridiculous enough that no one would buy it for themselves, but it’s actually a fairly practical and useful item, so it’s perfect for these types of games.

USB Electric Lap Blanket

This is the perfect gift for that one friend that is always cold. They’ll play it off like “oh, haha yeah I guess I’ll take the blanket” but they’re really thinking “aww yisss, no more freezing at the office.” This is one of those gifts that is just ridiculous enough that no one would buy it for themselves, but it’s actually a fairly practical and useful item, so it’s perfect for these types of games.

2lbs of any Starburst Flavor

Let’s face it, orange is the worst. Everyone knows that. How great would Starbursts be if you didn’t have to pilfer through the pack like it’s trail mix and you only want the M&Ms? It’s candy all the way down! Pick up a couple pounds of pink Starbursts for the gift-exchange and your friends will love you forever.

Make Your Own Neon Sign Kit

Now, this requires a little work and is more just a cool product than a funny one. It’s a kit that enables you to make your own neon sign. Depending on the age and interests of your friends this could be a really good gift. Any tinkerers in your life would love this.

Hangry Kit

I don’t know why it’s not called a “snacky packy” but it’s still a good gift. It’s chocked full of snacks for those moments when you 

just need something small to get you to lunch. This gift is great for that one friend that gets a little crazy if they’ve been hungry for .5 seconds. With it being food it’s appropriate for any group in any context.

Hangry Kit

I don’t know why it’s not called a “snacky packy” but it’s still a good gift. It’s chocked full of snacks for those moments when you just need something small to get you to lunch. This gift is great for that one friend that gets a little crazy if they’ve been hungry for .5 seconds. With it being food it’s appropriate for any group in any context.

The One Ring To Rule Them All

For us nerds there are few dreams bigger than getting hold of the ring… you know the one. Any friends that are into fantasy or nerd culture of any kind will love this gift. This is another one that is actually pretty nice, but that could also be because I’m definitely the target demographic…

HANPURE Bluetooth Gloves

Do you ever answer your phone and think, “man, I wish this was less intuitive?” Well do I have the gift for you! These bluetooth gloves make it possible to answer the phone and talk into your hand like it’s a phone. While that is a bit ridiculous, the gloves also allow the wearer to navigate a touchscreen while keeping your hands warm.

Bob Ross Mug

The one and only Bob Ross on a cup. You probably already own one of these so there’s no need for me to explain it to you. Everyone will love this, 

if they don’t why are you even hanging out with that kind of person? You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

Bob Ross Mug

The one and only Bob Ross on a cup. You probably already own one of these so there’s no need for me to explain it to you. Everyone will love this, and if they don’t why are you even hanging out with that kind of person? You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

Color Change Umbrella

This is a really cool idea. The ink on the umbrella changes colors when it gets wet, so when it rains you’ll be holding a hydrophobic rainbow. This is another one that is both unique and practical. It’s perfect for college students or people who walk or bike to work.

Jeff Goldblum Shower Curtain

Wow. Just wow. What you do is say that your gift is “the chance to take a shower with national treasure, Jeff Goldblum” and watch the battle 

ensue. Be prepared for the entire group to be after this bad boy. It is, after all, the height of good taste.

And there you have it. You should be able to find a gift that matches your price-point and fits the sensibilities of your friend group. So get out there and snag yourself an awesome gift this year. And remember, if you can’t manage to keep the Goldblum goodness or the Bob Ross mug during the swap you can always buy two just to be safe.

Jeff Goldblum Shower Curtain

Wow. Just wow. What you do is say that your gift is “the chance to take a shower with national treasure, Jeff Goldblum” and watch the battle ensue. Be prepared for the entire group to be after this bad boy. It is, after all, the height of good taste.

And there you have it. You should be able to find a gift that 

matches your price-point and fits the sensibilities of your friend group. So get out there and snag yourself an awesome gift this year. And remember, if you can’t manage to keep the Goldblum goodness or the Bob Ross mug during the swap you can always buy two just to be safe.


By: Josh Holland

Josh Holland is a writer who currently studies writing and literature at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Previously, Josh attended the University of North Alabama in Florence where he also studied writing. While attending UNA, Josh had articles published in both SET Magazine and The Flor-Ala. Josh was also published in the UNA Lights and Shadows Literary Arts Magazine, which focuses on fiction. Josh has experience as a video editor, and often writes scripts for online, text-based video content.

Red Gifts

Five Gifts for Her She Will Love from Parkway Place

It’s that time of year again…. Christmas shopping for family, friends, co-workers, and countless others on the “list”.  No doubt, that you don’t have a lovely woman on that list.  So, what do you get HER?  Well, if you don’t know…Check out my helpful guide – Gifts for Her. I decided, what better place than Parkway Place Mall that has such a huge variety of stores to find a gift for those women close to our hearts.

Smell Good Candles, Fragrances, & Perfumes…. Oh My!  We love our smell goods!!! There is nothing better than finding that perfect scent. So, go to the one place with tons of options – Bath & Body Works. You can get candles, perfume, fragrant sprays, soaps, sanitizers, diffusion sets, body wash and more.  There is something here for every woman to love!!!

Smell Good Candles, Fragrances, & Perfumes…. Oh My!  We love our smell goods!!! There is nothing 

better than finding that perfect scent. So, go to the one place with tons of options – Bath & Body Works. You can get candles, perfume, fragrant sprays, soaps, sanitizers, diffusion sets, body wash and more.  There is something here for every woman to love!!!

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend…but a good accessory is her soul mateThat joy of finding that perfect necklace, earrings, scarf, purse or even socks to make your outfit complete. Charming Charlie is the place to go to find all this and more!!! This “charming” jewelry, accessories, and more store has loads of options to present that amazing accessory to make the perfect ensemble.

Knick Knacks, Soft Throws, & More…Please!!!  Home décor presents can seem a little tricky to pick out.  Pottery Barn has solved that problem! This store has such a wide variety of magnificent home décor items, you may come out with a few gifts for you.

Pamper Us. There is nothing better than the gift of relaxation.  No doubt the “her” you’re shopping for may need some stress relief. Aveda is the place to go to destress, relax, and enjoy some pampering. The Aveda Experience Center offers a variety of stress relieving techniques, skin care consultation, make-up tutorials and more.

A Gift of Sentiment. A sentimental gift can pull at the heart strings, make us laugh, or bring up a loving memory. Amy’s Hallmark is widely known for their keepsakes that will do just that. We all love gifts that tug at our emotions during the holiday season.


By: Rheni Johnson

I’ve been writing ever since I could put pencil to paper. I love writing about my passions and interests and sharing them with the world. I enjoy engaging my readers with inspiring and encouraging articles, fun things to do, the best place for a fantastic meal and other interesting local flares. It’s my hope that you are inspired, encouraged, and enlightened.

December Events in Rocket City

Did someone say they were bored? No way! December in the Rocket City provides ample opportunities to infuse holiday cheer, whether it’s to shop, to get the kids out of the house or to entertain visiting guests. Here is a list of some local activities in chronological order.

Santa’s Village at Alabama Constitution Village
The North Pole is open in Huntsville! Santa’s Village at Alabama Constitution Village, 109 Gates Ave., is open 5 p.m.-9 p.m. nightly through Dec. 23. Santa, reindeer, elves and singing trees fill the site, along with the aroma of sugar cookies ready for decorating. A professional photographer will snap photos of children with Santa. Tickets are $5 and are available at the gate, at EarlyWorks, Santa’s Village Gift Shoppe, Huntsville Depot Museum, all Star Market locations or online. Click here for more details.
Tinsel Trail at Big Spring Park
Through Jan. 2, Big Spring Park will sparkle, glitter and shine with approximately 300 trees along the Tinsel Trail. Groups, corporations, schools and families sponsor and decorate live 

trees with their own theme. Walking the trail, you likely will see the names of businesses and people you know. The free Trail is open morning to midnight, with trees coming aglow at dusk. In its seventh year, Tinsel Trail is a project of Downtown Huntsville Inc. More about Tinsel Trail here.

Tinsel Trail at Big Spring Park
Through Jan. 2, Big Spring Park will sparkle, glitter and shine with approximately 300 trees along the Tinsel Trail. Groups, corporations, schools and families sponsor and decorate live trees with their own theme. Walking the trail, you likely will see the names of businesses and people you know. The free Trail is open morning to midnight, with trees coming aglow at dusk. In its seventh year, Tinsel Trail is a project of Downtown Huntsville Inc. More about Tinsel Trail here.
Ice Skating in the Park
A fundraiser for the Huntsville Museum of Art, Skating in the Park is open through Jan. 7 at the rink set up behind the museum in Big Spring Park. Enjoy holiday music and hot chocolate as you skate outdoors. Hours are 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-Midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-Midnight Saturday, Noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for ages 10 & up, $5 for under 10, $8 for groups, $5 for skate rental, $5 for scooter rental. More about Skating in the Park here.
Yule Y’all at Lowe Mill
Described as a European Christmas Market with a Southern twist, Yule Y’all Christmas Market and Whiskey Tasting offers shopping, sipping and contests from 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. Contests include speed-wrapping and baddest Santa. Be on the lookout for Krampus. Admission for the event at Lowe Mill, 2211 Seminole Drive, is $10 in advance, $15 day of. Visit the Web site here.

Santa Snaps with the Dogs

Are your fur-babies eager to share their wish list with Santa? Bring your dog(s) and your camera to Bridge Street from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 2 for pet photos with Santa by the Christmas tree. There will be free treats while supplies last. See the announcement here. 

Holiday Magic Dinner at Burritt on the Mountain

For a night you won’t forget, reserve a seat for a Holiday Magic Dinner, served in the historic buildings at Burritt on the Mountain. Catered meals will be served Dec. 7-9 in this fundraiser for the park. For reservations, call Stephanie Timberlake, (256) 512-0141. For more details, click here.

Sanders Family Christmas play
This funny, family-friendly play set in North Carolina on Christmas Eve 1941 will keep you in stitches. The sequel to “Smoke on the Mountain” is a joint offering of Renaissance Theatre and Burritt on the Mountain. Shows will be in the Old Country Church with tickets at $20. Dec. 13-18,Order tickets here.
Yule Y’all at Lowe Mill
Described as a European Christmas Market with a Southern twist, Yule Y’all Christmas Market and Whiskey Tasting offers shopping, sipping and contests from 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. Contests include speed-

wrapping and baddest Santa. Be on the lookout for Krampus. Admission for the event at Lowe Mill, 2211 Seminole Drive, is $10 in advance, $15 day of. Visit the Web site here.

Menorah Lighting at Bridge Street

Celebrate the start of Hanukkah Dec. 14 when Rabbi Moshe Cohen lights a Menorah at Bridge Street (near the Apple store). The event from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. is presented by Chabad of Huntsville.

Menorah Lighting at Bridge Street

Celebrate the start of Hanukkah Dec. 14 when Rabbi Moshe Cohen lights a Menorah at Bridge 

Street (near the Apple store). The event from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. is presented by Chabad of Huntsville.

Brian Setzer Rocks Christmas
Get on your Christmas groove Dec. 2 when the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 14th Annual Christmas Rocks Tour comes to the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall at the Von Braun Center. Tickets for the 8 p.m. event are $46.50, $56.50 and $66.50. Look here for tickets.

Huntsville Christmas Parade
“The Carols of Christmas” is the theme of this year’s parade, set for Dec. 5 in downtown Huntsville. The march, including Santa Claus and bands from around North Alabama, starts at 6 p.m. See the anouncement here.

‘The Nutcracker’ ballet
Huntsville Ballet Company presents four performances of “The Nutcracker.” Evening shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 9. Matinees are 2 p.m. Dec. 9 and 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Tickets are $34-$39 and can be purchased at the box office, through Ticketmaster, or by phone, (256) 539-0961. Go to the Web site here.

‘The Nutcracker’ ballet
Huntsville Ballet Company presents four performances of “The Nutcracker.” Evening shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday, 

Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 9. Matinees are 2 p.m. Dec. 9 and 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Tickets are $34-$39 and can be purchased at the box office, through Ticketmaster, or by phone, (256) 539-0961. Go to the Web site here.

German-flavored Christmas

Campus No. 805 puts a heritage spin on the holiday with Christkindlmarket Huntsville 2017. From 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 9, the venue at 2620 Clinton Ave. W. will feature cuisine and shopping inspired by the markets in Germany. There will be street food and mulled wine from Hildegard’s Biergarten, European treats, Christmas crafts, live music and Santa Claus. The U.S. Marine Corps will collect Toys for Tots. The outdoor event will be at Butler Green park between Yellowhammer Brewing and Straight to Ale Brewing. See more on the event here.

Madison Community Band Christmas Concert

Bridge Street Town Centre is the setting for the Madison Community Band’s Dec. 9 outdoor sing-along performance of Christmas classics and carols harking to the American West, Victorian England and Bethlehem. The music will start at 1 p.m. on the plaza by Monaco Pictures. See the full announcement here.  

Madison Christmas Parade
The Madison Christmas Parade will step off at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9 from Plaza Drive and Hughes Road and make its way to downtown Madison. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served at the Roundhouse by the Madison Rotary Club. See the announcement here.
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ at IMAX
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center will present the feature film in the 70mm IMAX format Dec. 14-Jan. 8. Several showings a day are scheduled, with tickets $12 for adults, $10 for children. Go here to  order tickets.
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ at IMAX
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center will present the feature film in the 70mm IMAX format Dec. 14-Jan. 

8. Several showings a day are scheduled, with tickets $12 for adults, $10 for children. Go here to  order tickets.

Lowe Mill features Madison artist 

Madison native Adam Landingham will be the featured artist for Lowe Mill’s Art After Hours reception and sale Dec. 16, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. The free event will be in the First Floor Ramp Gallery at Lowe Mill, 2211 Seminole Drive SW. Landingham is an art teacher with Huntsville City Schools. See more details here.

Christmas in Dixie with an Elvis twist

The Christmas in Dixie Concert featuring Elvis tribute artists Shawn Klush and Cody Ray Slaughter is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Von Braun Center’s Mark C. Smith Concert Hall. Tickets are $43, $53 or $83 at the VBC Box Office, on Ticketmaster or by phone, 1-800-745-3000. See the announcement here.

New Year’s Eve Mars Masquerade

Dance 2017 away in the company of a Saturn V rocket at the Mars Masquerade. The event is set for 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s Davidson Center for Space Exploration. “The Flashbacks Dance Band” will entertain and there will be heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets are $130 per couple, $65 for single through Dec. 23. Prices change to $150 and $75 beginning Dec. 24. For more details and to order tickets, click here.


By: Deborah Bennick

Deborah Bennick is a freelance writer and editor in Huntsville whose journalism career spans 25 years in four states. She enjoys cooking, reading, volunteering, outdoor activities, watching her kids play sports and being involved with education.

Christmas Season

Five Ways to Spread Local Christmas Cheer

If you’re interested in volunteering or charitable events to spread holiday warmth and compassion in the Huntsville community, look no further for a handful of options for sharing and caring this Christmas in the Rocket City.

1.) Join the Alabama Kidney Foundation for a Stocking Stuffer event on December 5. Good for groups and kids ages 12+, the volunteer work will consist of bundling blankets with brochures and assisting in loading these into cars. For more information and to sign up to help, visit Volunteer Match.

2.) United Way of Madison County Holidays in the Valley Benefit Concert at Trinity United Methodist Church. See Alyssa Slocum, Ricky Miller & the Shift and others perform a holiday show on December 2 to benefit local conservatories. For details, go to The Volunteer Center of Madison County.

1.) Join the Alabama Kidney Foundation for a Stocking Stuffer event on December 5. Good for groups and kids ages 12+, the volunteer work will consist of bundling blankets with brochures and assisting in loading these into cars. For more information and to sign up to help, visit Volunteer Match.

2.) United Way of Madison County Holidays in the Valley Benefit Concert at Trinity United Methodist Church. See Alyssa Slocum, Ricky Miller & the Shift and others perform a holiday show on December 2 to benefit local conservatories. For details, go to The Volunteer Center of Madison County.

3.) Deliver food, clothing, and other necessities to shut-in seniors for CASA of Madison County. If you have a driver’s license, any time’s a good time to help take dry goods, blankets, heaters and the like to the elderly. Some even stay for a chat. “Grab your keys and get ready to deliver! CASA needs volunteers to deliver items such as food or heaters to our elderly clients' homes. Volunteers will pick up these items at the CASA office and drop them off at our clients' homes. Because of their age or health, these clients have no other way to get these essential items. If you wish, you can extend your delivery into a visit; many clients live alone and would love the company.” To volunteer for CASA of Madison County, check out their listing on Volunteer Match.

4.) Donate some time to Huntsville Animal Services by volunteering or fostering an animal. Animal lovers can feel good about helping in

whatever ways they feel comfortable. There’s work to do both in direct contact with the animals, and not in direct contact. From walking dogs and cleaning cages to adoption counseling and special event assistance, your help is always appreciated by our local animal shelters and rescues. To learn more, check out The Huntsville City Volunteer Page

4.) Donate some time to Huntsville Animal Services by volunteering or fostering an animal. Animal lovers can feel good about helping in whatever ways they feel comfortable. There’s work to do both in direct contact with the animals, and not in direct contact. From walking dogs and cleaning cages to adoption counseling and special event assistance, your help is always appreciated by our local animal shelters and rescues. To learn more, check out The Huntsville City Volunteer Page

5.) Volunteer to be Mrs. Claus or a Santa’s helper at Constitution Village. If there’s a performer in your heart, you might have a blast with this opportunity. Read books and tell stories, sell hot cocoa, greet visitors, and craft or decorate cookies. Every night from now until Christmas Eve, volunteers will be needed to play Mrs. Claus and Santa’s helpers. Costume and books will be provided. Contact volunteer coordinator Stacey Hain for more information: stacey.hain@huntsvilleal.gov.


By: Stephen Locke

Stephen Locke grew up in north Alabama, and returned to find a beautiful wife and East Limestone mutt to call family, after years of toil and revelry afar, and having absorbed the lesson, "Don'tcha think, sometime's it's wise not to grow up?" His true loves include waterfalls, houseplants, architecture, photography, basketball, and whistling along to his favorite guitar solos. 

Mom’s Day Out Programs in Madison

Quality Programs

Sometimes we moms just need a break! We can get so much done without our littles in tow, and Madison has several excellent Mom’s Day Out programs. We live in a highly-educated town and hold our child care facilities to high standards.  Therefore, I believe our Rocket City child care programs are the best in our state!

Here is a list of 3 local Mom’s Day Out programs to get you started.  Even if the programs are full, you can always get on a wait list.  If you need a program in a hurry, the director will be glad  to make a recommendation for you.

Mother’s Morning Out (Madison Church of Christ)
I sent my daughter to this MMO from age 1 - 4.  As a family studies/education major, I can tell you that this program rates high because of their hands-on Bible-based learning program, fun educational activities, music class, and their outstanding teachers 
who truly love the kids.  I still pin my daughter’s seasonal artwork on my refrigerator, and I remember so fondly the musical programs they would put on.  Angie McClure serves as Director of the program.  Loving and firm, “Mrs. Angie” runs a tight ship.  The kids love her, and the turnover rate of teachers is minimal—many of those dedicated teachers have been there for years.  I miss them so much!

Contact Director, Angie McClure: www.madisonchurch.org/mmo-2/ | (256) 772-3911

I sent my daughter to this MMO from age 1 - 4.  As a family studies/education major, I can tell you that this program rates high because of their hands-on Bible-based learning program, fun educational activities, music class, and their outstanding teachers who truly love the kids.  I still pin my daughter’s seasonal artwork on my refrigerator, and I remember so fondly the musical programs they would put on. Angie McClure serves as Director of the program. Loving and firm, “Mrs. Angie” runs a tight ship.  The kids love her, and the turnover rate of teachers is minimal—many of those dedicated teachers have been there for years.  I miss them so much!

Contact Director, Angie McClure: www.madisonchurch.org/mmo-2/ | (256) 772-3911

Trinity Baptist Church’s Weekday Preschool Ministry

One of my closest friends from college (an education major who taught Kindergarten and Preschool) sends her daughter to this program.  Her young daughter loves it, and Trinity gives my friend the much-needed break to get chores done. Trinity Baptist Church’s strong development program includes Bible teaching in a loving environment. According to their website, the program “…nurture[s] the spiritual, mental, physical, emotional and social development of children.”

Contact Director, Nancy Foster: www.trinitymadison.com/preschool(256) 837-9891

Wall Highway Baptist Church Mother’s Day Out

Another friend sent her now-grown daughter to this Mother’s Day Out.  My friend’s sister-in-law is the Director, Paula Ortner.  This friend said, “They were very loving and the teachers were very friendly.” According to their web site, this Mother’s Day Out program focuses on “…learning [in a] Christian atmosphere that is safe and fun! Our activities include arts and crafts, Bible stories, music, indoor and outdoor play, social development, and a weekly lesson unit.”

Contact Director, Paula Ortner: www.wallhighway.com/ministry/childrens-ministry/mothers-day-out(256) 837-0934

These are only a few of the quality programs that are local to Madison.  There are so many others in our amazing town!


By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Stephanie L. Robertson is a writer and editor who maintains a southern lifestyle blog at www.SweetgumLife.com. A busy Christian wife and mom, Stephanie and her husband of 19 years live in the Huntsville area with their teenage daughter. Stephanie has a self-published short suspense story on Amazon and is working on adding a novel.  When not immersed in mom/wife life, she enjoys photography, Pinterest projects, coffee with family and friends, and immersing herself in a good suspense novel.

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