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Miracle Mansion hosts Christmas Boutique, starts bakery

The Rev. Carol Carroll and her son, Russell Staton Jr., are hosting the first-ever Christmas Boutique at the Miracle Mansion in Wadena.

The Miracle Mansion in Wadena is hosting its first-ever Christmas Boutique featuring home decorating products and homemade baked goods this weekend.

"I want them to walk in here and just feel like something wraps around them," the Rev. Carol Carroll said. "I always want people to feel very at home in here."

Carroll's son, Russell Staton Jr., will welcome people at the door. The event started Friday and continues through Sunday. Coffee and treats are available and high tea is at 3 p.m. The boutique features Celebrating Home products. Alaskan homestead honey is for sale. Breads, cookies, candies and pies are also for sale and people can place Christmas orders. Samples are out for people to taste before they order.

Visitors can also purchase goodies off a cookie tree laden with ginger bread and sugar cookies.

"This will be our first one and we're going to continue it every year and expect it to grow every year," Carroll said.

The Christmas Boutique runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The mansion is located on the corner of Colfax Avenue and Second Street Southwest.

The boutique is also a start-up for the bakery Carroll plans to run out of the Miracle Mansion, she said. She hopes to run the bakery by orders only, but she may open the mansion two or three days a week.

"We'll see what happens," she said. "We're just going to test it ... and see what people want here."

Carroll has owned two small bakeries in Concrete, Wash. The first one was a drive-through and the second was a bakery and deli.

"Everything was homemade and that is exactly what we're going to do here," she said.

She was in her 20s when she started her bakery career, Carroll said. She's also worked with Winchell's Donuts, Albertsons grocery store and SuperOne.

She left baking for a career in sewing.

"But I always had a love for the baking part of it," she said.

Carroll found her original recipe for Noufie Bread that she used when she started in baking 40 years ago, she said. She uses it for all kinds of breads. She made cream cheese coffee cake with it Monday night. She's testing recipes, she said.

"When you love something and you get back to it, it just feels good," Carroll said.

She's bought a commercial mixer, butcher block for bread making and a stainless steel table. As soon as Christmas is over she will set up the bakery kitchen either in the Miracle Mansion or in the garage, Carroll said. She expects 2010 will be a big year for the mansion. Carroll wants to work on the tea room and the bed and breakfast, she said.

Carroll took over the mansion six years ago and has worked to remodel the historic home that was abandoned and fire-damaged. Wadena's Merickel family once called the mansion home.

She still has plans for ministry within the mansion, she said. She doesn't want to pastor a church, but she loves to evangelize. Carroll established Under His Wings ministry when she arrived. She has a heart for singles and children, she said.

"Somewhere down the line the Lord will bring all these things together," she said.

For now, Carroll is very excited about the boutique and the holiday season.

"The one big event that I'm going to do every year is Christmas," she said. "That's going to be the mansion's thing is Christmas, because I love it."