Although she doesn't have a partridge or a pear tree, the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" may come to mind when you hear Michele Muirhead's list of well-cared for, well-loved pets.
The list of animals housed on their 3 acres on Carlson Road includes Chester the golden retriever, Skye the cat, three pet goats, 12 laying hens and a varying number of Netherland dwarf rabbits, including a chestnut-colored champion. She breeds and raises the rabbits; therefore that number changes on a regular basis.
A woman of varied interests may be an appropriate description of Mickie, as she prefers to be called, but may not quite say it well enough, as she coordinates a singles group, directs a women's shooting group and runs her own business. She has a passion for helping others, not just this time of year in the Christmas spirit, but year-round.
Michele Muirhead is shown. Muirhead coordinates a singles group, directs a women’s shooting group and runs her own business. She has a passion for helping others, not just this time of year in the Christmas spirit, but year-round.
Photo by Beverly Kehe-Rowland
After receiving a degree in social work and marrying a teacher in 2003, she decided to take the summer off with her new husband. Soon after her friend, who cleaned houses for a living, broke her arm and asked the new bride for help doing her work. This is when the new Mrs. Muirhead decided she liked cleaning houses and took on several clients of her own.
"I really loved cleaning houses and was so busy I helped others with their cleaning (businesses)," she said. "I would have elderly people ask me if I knew anyone who painted, drove for appointments or ran errands. I realized there was a need and decided to start a referral agency."
This is when HireTheHelp.com was born.
"It is very rewarding to help people," she said. "Another rewarding thing is to be able to help people who are unemployed or underemployed. I've been able to incorporate my training by just helping people better their lives and helping people make money in this down economy. I get a warm feeling inside when I can send someone home with extra dollars in their pocket."
"The way I think of HireTheHelp.com is a win-win situation," she said. "The person who needs the service gets the service from a reliable, trustworthy, friendly, caring professional and the person providing the service gets compensated."
As people call for a need, she looks for a qualified provider and said she can help with almost any service imaginable. She proved this when a client called asking for clean-up of pet droppings in her yard after the snow had melted; she has since added that to the list of nearly 50 services offered.
For those looking to buy American-made gifts, in need of something unique or just wanting to support the mom-and-pop businesses, gift certificates can be purchased for nearly any service of which one can think. Snow and ice removal, meals for new moms-to-be or someone returning from hospital care, car detailing, and wood splitting and stacking services are a few one of a kind gift-giving ideas.
Some very useful holiday services available are housecleaning, top to bottom or just a few rooms, or painting before the guests arrive. Others include sewing or alterations of party clothes or party platters, hors d'oeuvres or any party food, and serving at a party or dinner, enabling the host to enjoy the event. Massage therapy for the stressed Christmas shopper or babysitting services to accommodate that shopper can be arranged. Holiday pet sitting, a necessity to all pet owners who cannot take their pets to Aunt Martha's and realize the local kennels are full, is one more offering. Photography services are offered, where the client's pets are a welcome addition.
She is married to Brian Muirhead, who has taught science at Southwestern for the last 19 years.
"Brian and I buy a Christmas ornament for each other that represents something we did together that year, something new, a trip, etc.," she said of their Christmas tradition. Another annual happening is the PF Singles Christmas party, held the Saturday after Christmas each year.
She is a member of The Greater Jamestown AM Rotary and of Praise Fellowship Church, where she directs and coordinates Praise Fellowship Singles Ministry, which she founded in 2001. She is the co-director of Jamestown Area Women's Shooters (JAWS), where she directs shooting classes for women of all ages and skill levels. She belongs to WIN Chautauqua, a networking group for women in business.
Many of these recipes are designed to be given as gifts or taken to a holiday buffet or tureen dinner.
HireTheHelp.com can be reached by calling 665-1266 or at Help@HireTheHelp.com.
STRAIGHT FROM THE KITCHEN
Award Winning Peanut Butter Fudge
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 T. butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup marshmallow cream
Cook sugar, milk and butter to boiling point. Boil until soft ball stage (110 degrees for about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and beat in marshmallow and peanut butter. Pour into greased 9X9 pan.
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 2/3 cups flaked coconut
Beat egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks (tips stand up). Fold in coconut. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoons (2 inches apart) onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly brown. Transfer to wire rack or wax paper and let cool. Enjoy.
Chicken/Turkey Stuffing Casserole
4 cups cooked chopped chicken or turkey
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 can evaporated milk
1 box stuffing mix
Mix first four ingredients together and place in 13X9 dish
Mix stuffing according to directions, and place on top of chicken mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Butter Bundt Cake Supreme
1 (18.25 ounce) package butter cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T. brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 T. milk
1/4 cup water
Combine the 2 tablespoons of cake mix, cinnamon, brown sugar, and pecans; set aside.
In a large bowl, blend cake mix, sour cream, oil, water, eggs and sugar. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
Pour 2/3 of batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture in the center of this and spread remaining batter evenly over this.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 45-55 minutes. Cool in pan for 25 minutes. Remove from pan.
To make glaze: Blend powdered sugar and milk together. Drizzle over cooled cake. Enjoy.
Gramma's Baked Bean Casserole
3 lb ground beef
3 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 small chopped green bell pepper
1 1/2 T. chopped garlic
2 beef bouillon cubes
2/3 cup boiling water
3 T. yellow mustard
1 1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 - 29 oz. cans of molasses-style baked beans
1/2 lb bacon
Fry bacon crisp, set aside. Fry beef, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and drain. Dissolve bouillon in water.
Mix all ingredients together. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
The Best Molasses Cookies
1 1/2 cup Crisco
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground clove
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
5 cups flour
Cream together: Crisco, sugar, eggs, molasses. Add remaining ingredients. Roll into balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheet. Do not press down. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes
1/2 cup butter-flavored popcorn oil
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
1 T. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
10 cups mini pretzels
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Stir the popcorn oil, ranch dressing mix, dill weed, garlic powder, lemon pepper and cayenne pepper in a large bowl; add the pretzels and stir to coat evenly. Spread the mixture onto two jelly roll pans.
Bake in the preheated oven, stirring once, until lightly toasted, 15-20 minutes. Transfer mixture to a flat surface lined with waxed paper to cool.
Onion Ring Dip
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup chili sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of one fresh lemon
8 oz. sour cream
1 can cream corn
1can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 box corn muffin mix (dry)
1 small chopped onion
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup butter melted
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (into the batter)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (place on top of casserole halfway through baking)
Mix all ingredients and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese together, pour into greased 13X9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese onto casserole and continue baking for 20 more minutes.
12-18 eggs boiled and peeled
2 cans sliced beets (drain and reserve liquid)
1 onion sliced
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground clove
2 bay leaves
Layer eggs, onions, beets in large sealable container. Set aside. In medium sauce pan, heat together reserved liquid from beets, sugar, vinegar, salt, clove, and bay leaves until sugar dissolves. Pour over eggs. Refrigerate for 4 days for best flavor. Serve.
Leftover holiday stuffing
Cooked and crumble sausage or bacon
Shredded cheddar cheese
Spray or grease and fill cupcake tin halfway with leftover stuffing. Press stuffing into cupcake tin to form a "cup." Break open and place one small raw egg into each "cup." Sprinkle cooked crumbled sausage or bacon on top. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until egg is done.
24 oz. cream cheese
15 oz. Cheez Whiz
2-3 T. horseradish
1 tsp garlic powder
5 cloves of garlic or 1 small sweet onion
Combine first 5 ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat until melted. Add garlic or onion. Let cool.
Amazing Body Butter
3 jars Dollar General vitamin E cream
2 bottles baby lotion
1 jar Vaseline
Microwave the Vaseline for a few minutes to soften. Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer until fluffy and creamy.
Spoon into a large Ziploc bag, cut at bottom corner and squeeze into lotion bottles.
Liquid Laundry Detergent
2 quarts water
1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
1 1/2 cup Super Washing Soda
1 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
2 quarts hot water
Mix grated Fels Naptha laundry bar soap in a large saucepan with 2 quarts of hot water and heat on the stove over low until dissolved. Do not allow to boil. Stir in Super Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to 5-gallon bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill up bucket with additional hot water, leaving a few inches at the top, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Store in reused empty laundry soap bottles.
Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.
Humming Bird Feeder Nectar
The hummingbird food recipe is made up of 1 part white granulated table sugar and 4 parts of regular tap water. This 1-to-4 ratio of sugar to water will closely resemble the nectar that hummingbirds get from flower blossoms. Bring water to boil, turn off heat, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Fill feeder after nectar has cooled. No need to add color. The red dye is actually not good for them.
Good Morning Sunshine Bran Muffins
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups bran cereal (such as Kellogg's All-Bran Original Cereal)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
2 apples, cored and shredded
2 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup honey
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper cupcake liners. Cover raisins with water in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on high for 1 minute to plump. Drain the raisins, and set aside. Beat the egg with milk in a bowl, and mix in the bran cereal. Let the mixture stand until the cereal absorbs the liquid, about 5 minutes. Gently mix in the plumped raisins, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, melted butter, shredded apple, mashed banana, and honey, and stir a few times to mix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Hot Cocoa Mix
1 pound box of Nesquik
7 cups of dry powdered milk
1- 6 oz jar of Coffee Mate
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Mix and store in air-tight container. Use about 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot water.
Crock Pot Apple Butter
If you've got a slow cooker, I've got a terrific recipe. You'll need 5 1/2 pounds of apples like Gala or Fuji, peeled, cored and finely chopped. Place chopped apples in the slow cooker. In a medium bowl mix together 2 cups white sugar, 2 cups light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour the mixture over the apples in the cooker and mix well.
Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook 9-11 hours, stirring occasionally or until the mixture is thickened and dark brown. Uncover and continue cooking on low for 1 hour longer to thicken. The finished product will be slightly chunky. If you want a smoother apple butter, stir with a whisk, or puree in a blender. Remove to sterile containers, and refrigerate or freeze. Note: This makes a very sweet apple butter. You can reduce sugars to taste, but you need at least 3 cups total sugar to reach desired consistency.