Driving around town looking at twinkling Christmas lights brings back warm childhood memories for me. The lights are so magical at night as they reflect on the snow. We continue that tradition with our family and then return home to thaw out by drinking hot cocoa with marshmallows.
Lisa and Scott Blischke go all out at Christmas time to decorate. When asked why they sacrificed the warmth to put lights and decorations up in cold weather she said, "We like to see the expressions on kid's faces. It's all about the kids. People kind of forget what Christmas is all about and don't take the time to decorate any more."
Some years they've had up to 22 balloon figures, from large snow globes and carousels to Santa and his airplane on their roof and in their yard, plus lights and other decorations. This year, they've scaled down a bit but still have some of their favorites.
Their 7-year-old daughter Shayla's favorite is the towering Scooby Doo, Hailey, 4, likes the balloon blow up Santa and his elves with reindeer. Scott's favorite is the Grinch. When asked what her favorite was Lisa said, "Oh, I just like it all. I love Christmas, it's my favorite time of year."
The Chamber of Commerce is encouraging everyone to participate in the Christmas decorating contest for commercial and residential decorating and Christmas light displays. You can nominate yourself or your neighbors. For more information call 262-9814.
A great way to get that "Christmas Feeling" is to give to others and the holiday kindness program at Redoubt Elementary School offers an opportunity for everyone. The PTA is asking for contributions of funds, food, or gift cards to help families in need. Gift baskets with a turkey dinner will be made for each family and each child will receive a gift of clothes and toys to brighten their Christmas. Last year, 22 families and 55 children were helped. This year, more needs are anticipated. If you would like to drop off non-perishable food at the school do so by Wednesday, or funds or gift cards, do so by Friday, or you can call Monica Frost at 260-5849.
The Soldotna Senior Citizens Center is having a no-host dinner at The Bear's Den at 3 p.m. Saturday. Call the center to make a reservation at 262-2322.
A happy birthday to Fredrick Bennett on Dec. 4.
You can make a difference and help stop hunger on the Kenai Peninsula by donating funds directly to the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank at your local bank, or donating nonperishable food for the food barrels. Visit these local financial institutions in December: First National Bank Alaska, Key Bank and Wells Fargo. Donated funds help hungry peninsula residents from Homer to Seward. Call the food bank for more information at 262-3111.
Other Soldotna news
Spinka becomes a Marine
Marine Corps Pvt. Mitchell J. Spinka completed basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif.
Spinka began training at 5 a.m. each day by running three miles and performing calisthenics. In addition to the physical conditioning program, he spent numerous hours in classroom and field assignments which included learning first aid, uniform regulations, combat water survival, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and assorted weapons training.
Spinka also received instruction on the Marine Corps' core values honor, courage and commitment, and what the core values mean in guiding personal and professional conduct.
He is the son of Cara R. Mitchell of Highland, Calif., and John D. Spinka of Soldotna.
Pingpong is available to play for free from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays through mid-December at Redoubt Elementary School on West Redoubt Avenue next to Soldotna Middle School. Adults and children (at least 6 years old) and of any skill level are welcome.
Tables and equipment are provided by the Boys and Girls Club and the school. Players are asked to bring a paddle if they have one. Supplies may be limited.
For more information, call Ron Levy at 262-7899 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Play group set to entertain
Funny River Players will perform "The Plane Truth" at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Funny River Community Center, at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Kenai Municipal Airport; and at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 the Triumvirate Theater at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna. The musical is set at the Chicago O'Hare Airport where everyone gets stuck for the holidays. For more information, call Jill Tyler at 262-6148.
The group for kids meets Monday nights, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Community Center in Funny River. The program will run for the school year, and qualifies for a credit in the arts through the home-school program.
Fundraiser makes sweet offer
Soroptimist International of the Kenai Peninsula annual See's candy fundraiser has begun. The group will have tables set up from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna through Christmas.
For more information or to place an order, call Lyn at 262-9253.
Gardeners to gather
The Central Peninsula Garden Club will meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Building on Kalifornsky Beach Road near the Bridge Access Road intersection.
The featured speaker will be Rita Jo Shoultz of Fritz Creek Gardens in Homer.
Meetings are open to the public. Annual club membership dues are $20.
For more information, call Marion Nelson at 283 4632.
Raffle fundraiser continues
A raffle fundraiser for a laptop computer, 32-inch flat screen TV or digital handycam to benefit Jack and Sharee Martin has begun. Tickets cost $10 each and are available at Ron's Rent It Center, Ron's Honda, Country Foods and Sweeney's. The drawing will be held Dec. 21.
For more information, call Jack or Cindy at 262-4187 or 398-4475.
SoHi Class of '88 seeks info
Reunion organizers for the Soldotna High School Class of 1988 are seeking information from classmates.
For more information or to check in call, Shelly Endsley at 262-5361 or visit www.alumniclass.com/soldotna.
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