December 31, 2010

Light a Luminary 2010

Thank you to everyone who helped make the 24th annual Light a Luminary Project a huge success! THANK YOU to the 2010 Light a Luminary sponsors, volunteers, street captains, neighborhood captains and the many residents of our community who brightened their homes in honor of RMH families.

We are working on getting an official count of how many kits were sold this year and will keep you posted. In the meantime, I hope you will take a look at some beautiful photos of the luminaries in front of the House on Christmas Eve. Thank you to House volunteer Lois Miller for taking these gorgeous pictures!

December 25, 2010

Merry & Bright

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

With love,

Watson, Peanut and the Staff of the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem

December 14, 2010

Howl, Howl, Howl!

Watson Claus here.

I have been working overtime to make sure all of the RMH families have a very Merry Christmas this year. You see, the red-suited one sent word that he needed a little help to make sure all of our families had presents under the tree this year! Of course, I was more than happy to help out my old pal from the North Pole. He and I go way back.

Speaking of elves, my team of RMH elves from Temple Emanuel and First Presbyterian Church have been helping alot too.

They are busy wrapping all kinds of fun gifts for RMH kids donated by wonderful people from all over!

Peanut, who is terrified of elves, boxes, wrapping paper rolls and scotch tape (long story...) has even gotten caught up in the spirit of things! In fact, just the other day while I was investigating my way through the basement to make sure the community room fridge was, um, secure, I caught her in the playroom admiring this toy themed tree donated by the Heart of Carolina Street Rodders.

Alright, I'm off to oversee the RMH gift wrapping department and investigate a few Christmas cookies.

Howl, Howl, Howl!


December 7, 2010

A Tale of Two (make that six) Snow Villages

I watched quietly from across the room as JoAnn Morgan carefully added one final snow drift along the foundation of the North Pole Flight Tower. Peggy Kiger smiled as she unpacked a 4-inch tall fir tree from its storage box. "Families need all the cheer they can get, especially at Christmas," she said as she plopped the tree down on a table with 25 other trees creating a small forest in the middle of the living room. Standing next to me, Rose Simmons nodded her head in agreement. "For some families this is about all of the Christmas they get. I hope it helps to make their day."

The holidays can be a very hard time of year for the families here at the Ronald McDonald House. Not only are they are worried about their child and missing love ones at home, they are also missing out on many of their own special holiday traditions. Thankfully, a small army of Christmas-time volunteers work together each year to bring joy to the big House on the corner of Hawthorne and Queen.

Beginning at the end of November, the House gradually transforms into a winter wonderland full of Christmas trees, garland, stockings and blinking lights. Since the House first opened 26 years ago, friends and volunteers have lovingly decorated it for the holidays as if it was their own. But it wasn't until the mid 1990's that the elaborate displays of tiny snow towns joined the annual transformation.

It all began in 1996 when the holiday collectible maker Department 56 got together with Olympic ice skater Dorothy Hamill to help deck the halls of America's Ronald McDonald Houses. They donated several pieces from their whimsical North Pole Series to many Houses around the country including our House here in Winston-Salem.

A story about this donation featured in that year's Department 56 catalog caught the attention of JoAnn Morgan, a local collector and member of the Pfafftown Baptist Church Baptist Women Mission. As the owner of five snow villages, JoAnn knew the intricacies and time involved in setting up these tiny towns. So JoAnn gathered her friends from the Mission and offered to set up the new North Pole Village for the House.

14 years later, JoAnn and the lovely ladies of Pfafftown Baptist have become a holiday institution here at the Ronald McDonald House. On the week of Thanksgiving each year, they spend several hours unpacking and carefully placing miniature taverns, stores and homes with glowing windows on blankets of cotton snow throughout the House. They make sure that each of the six RMH village scenes are correctly assembled down to the smallest detail, from the tiny trees and mini park benches to the pint-sized elves at work outside Mrs. Claus' greenhouse.

The "Snow Village Ladies" as they are fondly called around the House remember with pride one particular structure in the 36 piece collection, the miniature "House that Love Built." In 1998 the House received a special gift from Department 56-- a Ronald McDonald House built especially for the tiny townspeople of the North Pole. Much like the life sized Ronald McDonald House, this miniature replica is the centerpiece of the bustling town, glowing brightly and warmly welcoming in families in need.

As the ladies finished up JoAnn dusted a few loose snow flakes from the roof of the Santa's Flight Tower and called back to me over her shoulder. "To me seeing a village is very enjoyable, these families need that. That's why we do it and that's why will we continue to do it every year."

Thank you to our "Snow Village Ladies" JoAnn Morgan, Rose Simmons, Loretta Lyalls, Betty Sizemore, Julie Sizemore, Peggy Kiger and Norine Lee!


December 3, 2010


...and the winner is #6 Suzanne!

Suzanne said her favorite holiday dessert is peppermint ice cream! I've never had that since I'm lactose intolerant (which, b t dub, is the only real minus to being a dog...) I bet it is really tasty!

Suzanne, send Laura an email at and she will get your free cake square coupon book to you. :)

And don't forget that you can always come by the House and pick up your own Dewey's cake square coupon book for just $5. They make great stocking stuffers and 100% of the proceeds benefit the House!

Well, I'm off to investigate some lunch. Thank you for participating in my very first blog giveaway!


PS. Whoops! Not only am I lactose intolerant but I'm also not the best at math (another minus to being a dog.) Sarah, who loves pumpkin, left comment #6. I love pumpkin too Sarah! Since I messed up my counting, you and Suzanne will both be getting cake square coupon books! Email Laura and she will get those books to you.

December 1, 2010


Watson here.

I bet you didn't know that December is my favorite month? Well it is! And to kick off my favorite month, I have decided to giveaway 20 free cake squares from Dewey's Bakery!

Leave a comment telling me what your favorite holiday dessert is (mine is bacon!) and I'll pick a winner on Friday, December 3rd at noon using

If you don't win, you can always come by the House and pick up your own Dewey's cake square coupon books. They make great stocking stuffers! For only $5 you get 20 coupons for free cake squares from any of Dewey's three Winston-Salem locations. That's a lot of cake people. And the best part is that 100% of the proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House. 100%!!!

If you win you only have to share one cake square with me. Just kidding! You don't have to share. But it would be nice. After all, this is the season of giving... :)


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