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holidays

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The fourth annual Merry Copa festival drew a crowd to Copper Sky on Saturday. See the growing gallery of photos (and send in your own at News@InMaricopa.com). A zone for kids included the snow slide and skating rink, ornament decorating and cookie decorating. Gingerbread houses were judged, and scores participated in the one-mile Santa Run around the lake.

Cheryl Johnston of Maricopa shows off one of the Bug-A-Boo baby blankets she made. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Community Church hosted its annual Fall Fling Arts and Crafts event Saturday. Vendors offered holiday hand-made gift-giving ideas and nonprofit organizations like the Salvation Army and Blue Star Mothers took the opportunity to explain their services.

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Alliance (c)

With the holidays now upon us, Cenpatico Integrated Care (Cenpatico IC) is offering advice to handle the stress of the season.

While this is usually considered a happy time for most people, the season can be extremely difficult for some. It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed because there is so much to do. For others, this can be a challenging time due to economic problems, the recent loss of a loved one or other issues. This time can lead to feelings of sadness, loneliness or depression.

Here are some steps that can be taken to help overcome the “holiday blues.”

• Take time for yourself – While you’re trying to get so much done for everyone else this holiday season, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Spend an evening with a good book or quiet music instead of watching television, and give yourself a break from the hustle of the holiday season.
• Don’t worry about how things should be – Comparing yourself to an ideal version of a perfect family or perfect holiday is not realistic. People from all walks of life have stressors to manage.
• Avoid overindulging – Overindulging in sweets and alcohol, will add to your stress and guilt. Try having a healthy snack before your next holiday party, remember to get plenty of sleep and incorporate regular physical activity.
• Volunteer – Many social service programs need volunteers during the busy holiday season. Participating, even if only for a few hours, can be a good way out of the doldrums. Helping people who are in need can be a rewarding experience.
• Budgets are helpful – Plan ahead and make a list before you go shopping for gifts or food. Decide how much you can afford to spend, and then stick to your budget.
• Seek help – If feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression persist, make an appointment to see your doctor; you could be experiencing a seasonal pattern, or a biological or psychological challenge.  This time of year can be difficult for many, so be kind to yourself.

Cenpatico IC representatives are available at 1-866-495-6735 to speak with callers about their fears and concerns that may be related to a crisis situation. Crisis services are available to anyone in the community at no cost, regardless of insurance or other factors.

The local contracted provider is Arizona Counseling and Treatment Services at 20046 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 106-A.

Chef Joe Bedell's pumpkin pie uses dark rum.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Room Chef Joe Bedell shares a quick way to make a pumpkin pie from scratch for the holidays – with a special ingredient.

The ingredients used by Bedell were measured out to make four pies. However, since not everyone needs to make that much pie filling, the ingredients below are broken down for a single pie.

Pumpkin Pie, by Chef Joe Bedell

6 oz. brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 can pumpkin puree
1/16 cup dark molasses
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground All Spice
¼ tsp. salt
1 ¼ cup Half and Half
1/8 cup dark rum

1 pie shell

*Measurements make one pie!

Pour the brown sugar and eggs into a bowl. Whisk the contents of the bowl until the sugar begins to dissolve. Then, add the pumpkin puree, molasses, all-spice and salt into the bowl. Whisk the contents of the bowl again until the ingredients combine.

Lastly, add the half and half and the rum. Whisk the contents again.

Pour the ingredients into a pre-made pie shell. Bake the pie at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the contents set in the middle.