Are Your Ready? Here It Comes!

2018Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!  2018!  Remember when we celebrated the start of a new millennium?  It seems like yesterday.  Time marches on, stops for nothing, and seems to move into double time.  So here we are facing the beginning of the end of two decades of the 21st century.  What are you planning for this year?  Have you decided on your resolutions, or do you skip that part of setting personal goals?  Hopefully, you will do some personal reflection and work on a better year for 2018.  Perhaps, that will include more travel, and we will be lucky enough to help you on that goal.

The James Manning House B&B has set some goals as well.  Early summer will mark our tenth year in business as a place of lodging for guests.  We have grown in our service to guests and enjoy opening our doors to many interesting visitors.  We appreciate all the people who walk through our doors and feel our repeat guests are gold.   (A fond reference to a song and inspiration from my years of scouting: “ Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold”)  So we hope that you will come back and be our guest in 2018, a year with many specials for our visitors as we celebrate 10 years. Watch our newsletters and website for these celebrations and specials:

January is Cabin Fever Month.
February is for Lovers.
March  – Madness reigns.
April brings Spring an “Egg” specially good time.
May is for Gardeners Get Dirty.
June is Anniversary Month.
July – Summer Playtime.
August – Explore Wayne County.
September – Adult Back to School Relaxation.
October brings out the Leaf Peepers.
November is for Homemade Holiday Preparation
December – Celebrate the Season.

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Aftermath

Oh the aftermath! Many of us have a whirlwind of a day on Christmas, family visiting, lots of cooking and kitchen clean-up. It’s wonderful and exhausting all at the same time. For us the family time is priceless. Then in the morning THE aftermath.  Wrapping paper piles, boxes, bows,  and boxes, all needing removal from the living spaces.  What is your mode for disposal?  It may take a little bit of time, but it sure helps to recycle the fiberboard, cardboard and non-foil wrapping paper.  We also reuse ribbon and some boxes making less of an impact on the landfill.  One of the good things that we managed to do for the last several years was create lists for what was wanted under the tree.  It may seem like a waste of time when creating that list, but it certainly saved time the day after, when among four families, there were only three returns and those for size and a toy that wasn’t working.  What are your traditions for gifts after Christmas?  Do you still stack them under the tree to show to visitors who stop by the house?  Times sure have changed!IMG_2846

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He is Born!

For Unto Us a Child is Born!nativity“Hark the Herald Angels Sing”angels on highSing we NOEL!noel

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You Know Who’s Coming!

fabric santaYou better watch out,

You better not cry,

You better not pout,

I’m telling you why,

Santa Claus is coming to town!santa shines

He sees you when you’re sleeping,

He knows when you’re awake,

he sees youHe knows if you been bad or good,

So be good for goodness sake!stylin santassitting big santaAnd just a few more…collection of santasBack in time…turn of centruy santa“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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The Wall says it All

magicWhen visitors look around at the inn, they will find that even the walls decide it’s the Christmas season.  There is cheer in the Gathering Room, asking you to “believe” in the magic.  There aresanta throw Christmas plates, fabric quiltings,  and a Santa tapestry.

plates

 

 

 

The kitchen boasts a collection of kitchen gadgets and other replicas of Santa.  kitchen wall

But some of our favorite seasonal wall decorating is accomplished with print material. If you have been to a wonderful Christmas attraction making a collage of photos can not only add Christmas spirit to your decorations, but you’ll also have your memories of that experience close to sight and heart.  These are some of our favorite photos from Longwood Gardens at Christmas time.  Longwood Gardens is open year round and is located near Philadelphia, PA.wall collageAnother favorite is a series of prints from an original 1950′s story book given to good little children who sat on Santa Claus’ lap in Pomeroy’s Department Store in Reading.  It is depicting “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.night beforeOf course there is always a unique treasure that we hold dear.  In our case it’s a picture made by our grandchildren, with those little hands and feet.child art

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A Wreath Upon the Door

There is no beginning, there is no end.  The wreath has significant meaning for the season. It’s circular shape represents eternity. From a Christian religious perspective, it represents an unending circle of life, eternity or life never ending.reflection

The evergreen, most frequently used in making wreathes, symbolizes growth and everlasting life.  A live wreathsimple wreath, greens and a bow.

Some believe that initially wreaths were hung on doors in Ancient Rome to represent victory.

In Christianity, the Christmas wreath was used to symbolize Christ. The circular shape, with no beginning or end.lighted wreath

fabricWreaths at the James Manning House can be found in a variety of materials.  Some favorites are homemade, fabric squares and cinnamon sticks, while another is a grapevine wreath wrapped in ribbon with a simple small embellishment, and another is a wreath made from bells to add a festive ring to the air.bellsgrapevine2

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O Christmas Tree Part 1

Santa treeSongs are written about the Christmas tree.  Decorating seems to be centered about the tree.  Most times it’s the first and maybe the only decoration in the living quarters.  The Christmas tree is often the topic of conversation around the holiday season. “Did you get your tree yet?”, “Did you put up your tree?”  Many traditions are centered around the tree; Santa Claus comes and decorates the tree, every year there is a different theme, the ornaments are all handmade, the youngest child puts the star on top, and on and on they go. I’m sure you have your tree traditions, and so does the James Manning House, starting with a decorated tree in every room.

Today we’ll start with a few of the themed trees, and the rule is decorated, size is immaterial.Let’s start our tour in the kitchen.  What is more appropriate in a kitchen that bakes over a thousand cookies for Christmas?  A tree decorated with cookie cutters and a Santa Claus or two.cookie cutter tree

Outside the windows the Christmas snow has fallen and the birds are busy flitting around the feeders.  Not much is red birdsmore beautiful than a bright red cardinal against the white snow, and what fun to watch the little chickadees flying in and out collecting one seed at a time.  The next tree brings the birds and snow inside adding warmth to the winter decor.

Our last tree to admire today is the Santa tree.  Adorned with over 75 Santa Claus ornaments this Alpine pencil tree is a favorite puzzle to search for all the classic and whimsical ways that the jolly elf can be created.  traditional santaCandy shaped, Santa on the beach, a star shaped Santa, Santa created from a brush, Santa gone fishing, Santa made from a star fish, and there are so many more.  You will have to visit just to find them all.candy santastar santabrush santa

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Great Christmas Light Fight – Not

We do like to see Christmas Villages, and lighted houses as we drive around the countryside, but with a 198 year old house, comein from the coldour outdoors will not be entered in the Great Christmas Light Fight.  Our front door is welcoming with wreath and greens.  The front is simply lit with flood lights, and the windows adorned with  ribbons and greens, much in the way of yesteryear.christmas sign

Bells and greens decorate the sign and lamps of entry, while Santa Claus flies nearby in his sleigh.flying santa Another whimsical sight guests see on arrival, is Santa giving Mrs. Claus a kiss underneath the mistletoe.  Mr & Mrs Claus

lighted treesChristmas trees from inside don’t have to retire at our B&B, they just become a member of the lighted grove around the driveway.  Although the trees are not real, the birds find window snowbeautycover and the cats enjoy a new playground among the lower branches.  When the December Christmas snows are falling, these trees create a winter wonderland.

Let us not forget the real reason for the season, our vintage Nativity reminds those passing by of The Wonderful Gift:The story

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Veggie and Herb Frittata

4 c. leftover home-fries
¼ c. corn flake crumbsSouthwestern Egg Bake
½ c. finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
½ c. chopped  mushrooms
½ c. finely chopped broccoli
6 eggs
¾ c. skim milk
¾ c. spinach and herb dip
1-1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. melted butter
1 c. small curd cottage cheese
¼ c. King Arthur gluten free flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 t. freshly ground pepper

Directions:  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread potatoes evenly in the bottom and slightly mash down.  Sprinkle the corn flake crumbs on top.  Sauté the onion until translucent.  Add broccoli and mushrooms and continue sautéing  until soft and cooked.  Spread this vegetable mixture on top of potato mixture.

In a large bowl, beat the six eggs.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  Pour the egg combination over the vegetables and potatoes and gently spread to the corners.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Take the frittata out of the refrigerator and let stand on counter for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for one hour or eggs are browned and solid.   Serves 12.

Variations can be made by changing vegetables; I like to use spinach or kale from the garden.

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Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

build a snowmanSpending time with grandchildren is always great. This past week my three-year-old granddaughter has been playing and singing Christmas songs all rolled together. She likes singing “Rudolph” the best, but asked me to help her to sing “Frosty the Snowman” which she did know with only a little help. Then we were watching Frozen, a favorite movie, with a favorite character, Olaf (a snowman for those not familiar with Disney). Children love snowmen! At the first flakes they cry, “Can we build a snowman?” Day three of decorating involves the lovable characters in a variety of styles: Snowmen!

snowfriends

One of my favorites is this beautiful painted gourd.  Created and purchased locally, this snowman is nestled in a hemlock cone forest of trees made by family.  This snowman graces our house all winter long.painted gourd snowman

Some of the snowmen have been with the family a long time and we have inherited a few more from other family members that had been used in the 40′s and 50′s, that vintage time of our parents.  I like to take a section of  the book shelves and create a little snow scene, such as pictured here.snowscene

 

Snowmen have become very popular in decorating and of course come in all sizes and shapes.  they are supporting favorite sports teams and added to collectors creations.  If you are interested in learning more about the frozen snowballs, author Bob Eckstein has written a book “The History of the Snowman” , available on Amazon or eBay. And say, “Let it snow, let it snow!”snowmanshelf

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