Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blankets with a Blessing Delivery

First Lady Dianne Bentley Delivers “Blankets with a Blessing” to SafeHouse of Shelby County

COLUMBIANA—First Lady Dianne Bentley donate fifty-five blankets to the SafeHouse of Shelby County as part of her “Blankets with a Blessing” initiative to provide new quilts and blankets to homeless and displaced families during the holiday season. “Blankets with a Blessing” has provided thousands of blankets since the initiative began in 2004.

An avid quilter herself, Mrs. Bentley donated a handmade blanket to the cause.

“It was heartwarming again, to see the response from Alabamians as we came together to reach out to care for one another. The blankets will serve as a source of comfort for those living in SafeHouse,” said First Lady Dianne Bentley. “The ladies at the center were so appreciative for the blankets and were honored that the people in their care could be the recipients of such a loving gift. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to use my position as First Lady to help those in need and I hope in the years to come I will be able to further help the people of Alabama.”

Located in Columbiana, Alabama, SafeHouse of Shelby County is a full-service domestic violence and sexual assault center that provides emergency shelter while empowering victims of abuse through support and advocacy. Through the initiative, Mrs. Bentley was able to provide a blanket for every woman and child currently housed in SafeHouse.

Kathy Wells, Executive Director said that the blankets will remind the women and children of the blessing they received at SafeHouse.

“We are so grateful for Mrs. Bentley’s donation of blankets through the Blankets with a Blessing Program. These blankets truly are a blessing. They not only keep the women and children warm physically but also provide the warmth of knowing that someone cares. The blankets often go home with the women and children as a reminder that they found safety and unconditional care at SafeHouse,” said Kathy Wells, Executive Director.

Christmas Tours

Last night concluded the Christmas Candlelight Tours at the Alabama Governor's Mansion for the 2011 year. Guests were welcomed by the Chilton County Queens, volunteers from the Governor's office, and docents as they toured the historic home. The Bentley's were honored to continue the tradition of open house tours and hope that everyone will join them again next Christmas season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A New Christmas Tradition

First Lady Dianne Bentley has a tradition of cooking during the holiday season and no exception was to be made during her first Christmas at the Governor's Mansion. She worked alongside Chef Jim Smith, the winner of this year's Great American Seafood Cook-off, to help prepare the food served at each Mansion event. Staff members commented that it was refreshing to spend such long and enjoyable afternoons with Alabama's First Lady, and each will take away special memories from this Christmas season with her.

The First Lady has many recipes that are popular during Christmas but one of the most savory is the recipe for bread pudding. The instructions to make it are below.

Bread Pudding

16 slices of white bread torn into pieces
9x13 pan sprayed with Pam

1 stick of margarine, melted
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 quart regular milk

Spread bread pieces evenly into the bottom of a 9x13 pan that has been coated with Pam. Mix the above ingredients and pour over the bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon if so desired. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

White Chocolate Sauce

12 ounce bag of white chocolate chips (you will only use half the bag)
1 stick of margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Melt half the bag of chips with margarine in the microwave, about 2 minutes.
Add 1 Cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and 6 teaspoons of water. Beat until smooth and creamy. Pour over the hot bread pudding and let rest about 5 or 10 minutes before serving.

Governor and Mrs. Bentley wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Candle Signing

Last week, First Lady Dianne Bentley sat in the Governor's Mansion Gift Shop to sign candles from the new Mansion candle line. The First Lady is happy to promote the candles because they are poured and produced in Alabama. There are five scents offered and they can all be purchased in the shop located on 30 Finley Avenue. The First Lady, The Mansion, Chef Jim's Gingerbread House, The State Flower, and The State Fruit are on display, everyone is welcome to stop by and pick their favorite.

Governor and Mrs. Bentley like to support Alabama products and people however they can. As the holidays get closer and people are buying gifts, they encourage people to support their state and buy local. The Governor's Mansion Gift Shop and the Goat Hill Gift Shop in Montgomery both offer a great selection of Alabama products.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Candlelight Tours

Last night was the first of three Christmas Candlelight Tours at the Alabama Governor's Mansion. A special thanks to Joel Gregory and the Montgomery Youth Chorale for helping us celebrate through carols in the Hill House. The voices of children are so precious and every tour guest was in awe of their talent.

This year designers from around the state were asked to come in and decorate for a traditional Christmas. Each person captured a different sense of tradition and every room is breathtaking. Scot Wedgeworth, who will be starring in an upcoming reality TV show on the Food Network called Bama Glama, was responsible for the Garden Room. He captured the spirit of Alabama and used all Alabama products. He used bales of cotton, apples, live garland, a live tree, and red ornaments to design his space. He said he wanted to show every visitor how "fabulous" Alabama is. He is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Jerry Thrash from Rosemont Gardens in Montgomery, Alabama, designed the Music Room. He wanted to showcase the natural history of the room and placed the live tree in between the infinity mirrors that are original to the Mansion. He used various shades of gold and silver in his space which enhance the natural beauty of the room. The tree is from Wadsworth Christmas Tree Farms in Wetumpka and is a twelve foot Murray Cyprus.

Vesta Taylor of Vesta Taylor Interiors in Greenville, Alabama, decorated the First Lady's Parlor. Her goal was to give her room a more feminine and light feel. She chose the colors blue, silver, and white. Her room also includes a nativity scene to remind guests of the true meaning of Christmas.

The dining room was done by the designers at Belle Bouquet Florist and Gifts in Saraland, Alabama. They decorated with the reds, greens, and gold of the Christmas season. They highlighted the mantels and buffet with poinsettias and decorated every chair with a wreath. It was important to leave the dining room functional as well as beautiful for all events at the Mansion during the season.

Every room has a different sense of style and every person that came into the Mansion has their own favorite space. The Governor and First Lady hope that many more people will come through during the next two weeks to see the Mansion and pick out their own favorite room.

Tickets are complimentary and can be picked up at the Mansion Gift Shop on 30 Finley Avenue in Montgomery. Tours are for the Hill House and for the Governor's Mansion and will be on December 12th and 19th from 5:30PM- 7:30PM.