Michele Jones and Maggie
Michele Jones and Maggie
While they had initially planned to build a new house in the county, Ronnie and Michele Jones fell in love with one on Airpark Drive 18 years ago and after several remodeling phases, it is now uniquely their own.

The couple will open their home to the public on Sunday, Dec. 1 during the Philadelphia Home Arts Club's Christmas Tour of Homes. The tour will be from 1 to 4 p.m.

"I was always attracted to the outside of this house," Michele said.

The spacious five-bedroom, four-bath house includes a formal dining room and big kitchen, which provides an ideal setting for entertaining a large crowd.

The couple's latest project was the addition of a master bedroom and bath, which features a separate sitting area and walk-through closet.

"Ronnie and I collect antiques," Michele said, noting their new bed. "We absolutely love them."

Visitors to the Jones' home will also get to tour their pool/guest house which is utilized frequently for entertaining with its full kitchen.

There is also an outdoor kitchen near the pool, where the Jones family spends lots of time in the summer.

"We entertain out here so much," Michele said, noting they had previously hosted the formals for the city schools as well as numerous church gatherings.

Michele enjoys decorating her home, particularly around Christmas.

Visitors on the tour will see the pool house and its tree decorated in fun colors.

"I always love to decorate all out for the holidays," Michele said.

Among her favorite holiday collections is her resin Santas.

"They were painted by Barbara Willis," she said. "I probably have 150 of them. I love my Santas. They are all painted in the same red and green."

The family's main Christmas tree is always in the foyer where it is decorated in traditional colors.

There will also be a tree in the front bedroom upstairs.

The mantel in the den will don the family's Christmas stockings including ones for their pets: Maggie, a maltese; Macy Grace, a rescue dog; and Molly, their cat.

The scent of burning candles will fill the home during the holidays as will the aroma of freshly baked pastries and cakes and homemade candies.

Michele loves to bake in her spacious kitchen, which they totally remodeled soon after buying the house. It is a favorite gathering place when friends visit.

She and Ronnie extended an invitation to all our readers to visit their home during the tour.

Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance from any Home Arts Club member or at each of the homes during the tour.

Michele has shared several of her favorite holiday recipes.

Apple Dumplings

2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored

2 (10-ounce) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 (12-fluid ounce) can Mountain Dew

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Cut each apple into eight wedges and set aside. Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end. Pinch to seal and place in the baking dish. Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the apple dumplings. Pour Mountain Dew over the dumplings. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes in preheated oven or until golden brown.

Crockpot Potato Soup

30-ounce bag frozen hash-brown potatoes

3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 small chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

8-ounce package cream cheese

In crockpot, combine everything except cream cheese. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. One hour before serving, add cream cheese and keep heating until thoroughly melted. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, bacon bits and green onion.

Rotel Cups

3 packages mini phyllo shells (in the frozen aisle)

1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained

3 ounces Real bacon bits

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients. Spoon tomato mixture into phyllo pastry cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Stuffed French Loaf

1 large loaf French bread

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 small chopped onion

3/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cup bread crumbs, from loaf

1/4 cup dry mustard

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut French brad loaf in half lengthwise. Remove inside of bread. In a skillet, combine beef, onion, oregano, salt and pepper and brown. Remove from heat and drain. Add bread crumbs, mustard, parsley, egg and cheese; blend thoroughly. Fill bread shell with mixture and replace top. Brush with butter; wrap in aluminum foil. Bake 20-30 minutes.

Pecan Clusters

7-ounce jar marshmallow cream

3/4 pound chocolate kisses

2 1/2 cups sugar

6-ounce can evaporated milk

1/2 stick butter

2 cups pecan halves

Place marshmallow cream and kisses into a large bowl. Set aside. Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes. Pour over marshmallow and chocolate, stirring until well blended. Stir in pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper.

Peanut Butter Cheese Ball

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

3/4 cup peanut butter chips

Graham cracker sticks for dipping

Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl until blended. Spoon onto a large piece of plastic wrap; bring up all four corners and twist tightly to form a ball.

Freeze for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the cheese ball is firm enough to keep its shape. Place peanut butter and chocolate chips on a flat dish. Remove the plastic wrap from the ball and roll it into the chocolate and peanut butter chips to completely cover.

Serve with graham cracker sticks.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

1 box yellow cake mix

1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix

1/2 cup white sugar

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan. In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix, instant pudding and sugar. Add the water, oil, eggs, and sour cream, mix until well blended. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with confectioners' sugar before cutting and serving.