Kayleigh, Thomas, Pam, Reed and Zoee.
Kayleigh, Thomas, Pam, Reed and Zoee.
Area residents making the Philadelphia Home Arts Club's Christmas Tour of Homes are in for a treat when they visit the spacious home of Tommy and Pam McCool on Road 399 in the Arlington community.

The McCool home will serve as the tea house for the tour where visitors can enjoy an array of holiday foods.

The tour will be Sunday, Dec. 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available in advance from any club member and at each of the houses on the day of the tour.

With four busy children, the McCools built their five-bedroom house with them in mind.

"It's a big house but it's not fancy," said Pam. "The kids still play ball in the house!"

Their family also includes three labs and a German Shepherd.

"They love the flowerbeds and the cushions on the porch!" Pam said of their pets.

The McCools' three-story house includes a playroom/TV room, which is a popular gathering place for the kids since it has a pool table.

"I go days without going upstairs," Pam said.

Their big yard keeps both her and Tommy busy in the summer months.

"Cutting the yard is Tommy's relaxation time," she said. "Our yard is a work in progress with the flowerbeds."

Pam is looking forward to the tour as she loves to decorate for the holidays.

"When the kids were small, I'd decorate for Easter, Valentine's Day, etc. Christmas is my big one. I like to decorate at Christmas."

Pam collects nutcrackers and Santas.

Her daughters have collections of music boxes and the boys, Santas and snowmen. They are all gifts from Tommy's sister.

While the McCools have their main traditional tree in the den, Pam likes to put a small tree in each of the children's rooms.

There is also a special "Mary" tree on the second floor, named after a lady who cared for the kids when they were younger.

It will be trimmed with a collection of ornaments that Mary handmade for each of the children over the years.

With four active children, Pam and Tommy's free time revolves around their activities.

One tradition that has remained the same for many years is that the family goes to Pam's mother's house each Sunday night for supper.

"There are probably 20 to 30 people there each week," she said, of the family gathering.

Like her mother, Pam cooks every night for her family, with Tommy manning the grill.

She likes to cook in her crockpot, putting on a dish before work and letting it slow cook throughout the day.

"We don't eat hotdogs and sandwiches for supper," she said. "We like such things as spaghetti, chili and red beans and rice."

She has shared several of her favorite recipes.



SWEET POTATO

CASSEROLE

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 stick butter or margarine

3 eggs

4 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Pour into casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Cook covered with foil for 45 minutes on 350 degrees. Uncover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly browned. You can also add a topping the last 15 minutes.



Topping

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup pecans

Mix together and pour on top of potato mixture and bake 15 to 20 minutes.



NESHOBA COUNTY FAIR CINNAMON ROLLS

15 to 20 Rhodes frozen dinner rolls (set them out about 15 minutes ahead of preparation)

1 cup brown sugar

1 package instant butterscotch pudding mix

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup butter, melted

Spray bundt cake pan with cooking spray

Mix brown sugar, pudding and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut rolls in 1/4 pieces, melt butter then dip rolls in butter and roll in the dry mixture. Layer in bundt pan and add pecans as you layer.

Cover bundt pan with damp cloth and let it sit at room temperature overnight. In the morning bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn rolls out onto a plate. You can add a topping but they're great without it.



Topping

3-ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all together, pour over rolls while warm.



KIDS' FAVORITE

CHICKEN WRAP

4 to 5 boneless chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can Rotel, drained (I use hot)

1 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded cheese

onion to taste, sautéed

1 to 2 package of small tortillas

Mix all ingredients except tortillas.

Spread large spoonful of mixture on tortilla, roll up and place in a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake covered about 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Uncover.

Sprinkle cheese over tortillas and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve as is or with salsa on top.



EASY CROCKPOT

PORKCHOPS

3 to 4 cans black-eyed peas (I use the ones with jalapenos)

6 to 8 boneless porkchops

1 large onion, sliced in rounds

Pour black-eyed peas in crockpot and do not drain. Season pork chops to your taste and place on top of peas layering onions with porkchops.

Cook on low about eight hours or high for four hours.