Apricot Foldovers

apricot foldoversPastry
!/2 c. butter
4 oz. finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (1 cup)
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur)
2 T. water

Filling
1 c. dried apricots
2 ½ c.  hot water
1 c. granulated sugar

Chop the dried apricots by hand into ¼ inch pieces.  Place in a medium saucepan and cover with the hot water.  Allow to soak for about an hour.

Cream the butter and cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Blend in the flour. Add the water and mix well.  Roll into a ball and flatten to a six inch disc.  Wrap disc in plastic wrap and chill for 4-5 hours.

Meanwhile, cook the apricots and water over medium heat.  When the mixture is boiling, turn the heat down, continue to simmer and stir frequently for about 30-45 minutes.  Apricots should be soft and mushy, and the sauce thick.  Add the sugar and continue to stew stirring constantly for another 5-10 minutes until very thick. Remove from heat and cool.

Divide the chilled dough into quarters.  On a lightly floured board, roll one quarter of dough into a 6” x 8” rectangle.  Cut the rectangle into 2” squares.  Place ½ teaspoon of filling on each square; fold over and seal.  Bake the cookies on a parchment lined sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven for 8-10 minute, or until lightly browned on the edges.  Makes 4 dozen cookies.

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Laugh and be Jolly

Christmas signDeck the hall!  Put up the holly, laugh and be jolly!  It’s time to start the celebration!  It’s just the perfect way to start the holiday season.  It’s time for the annual Holiday Open House at the James Manning House B&B!

Every year in the beginning of December our little historic community provides holiday spirit for visitors, the greater community and friends of Bethany with an event we call “Christmas in the Village”.  This year the event is scheduled for December 1, from 2-4, and is a free event.  Many of the area organizations plan special events for everyone to 019enjoy.  The library invites Mrs. Claus to come and help children write letters to Santa Claus.  She and a helper read stories to the children.  The librarian offers cookies and hot chocolate as well.  Bethany United Methodist Church is offering a “Keepsake Christmas for Families”, which includes a hands on craft for inspiration.  The Bethany Historical Society has an open house with cookies and punch.  They are also planning a surprise display, which reminds us of a great part of our country’s history.  Bethany Village, senior living, invites all to their tree lighting and Tricky Tray.IMG_3695

The two historic B&B’s, E. Kellogg House and the James Manning House will be hosting open houses.  Enjoy the Christmas decorations and see the beauty of these two lodging inns.  There will be seasonal treats at both.  Perhaps you’ll have to clear the doorway for the Victorian Strollers to pass with their hoop skirts much in the same way the residents of these fine houses did 150 years past.

The James Manning House is pleased to present the Honesdale High School Chamber Choir singing Christmas carols and seasonal songs.  This talented group of young people will delight all who stop to listen.  Here at the inn we are preparing dozens of cookies and treats to tempt your palette.  Enjoy seeing the Santa Claus collection and decorated trees of various themes.  We dare you to count the Santa Claus collection, numbering above 350!  (hint: count the snowmen instead, far less of those, for now!!) Maybe you need some unique Christmas gifts, our little gift shop, is ready to help fill the need.  Gift certificates are also available for holiday giving.

The evening finishes with “A Journey Through Bethlehem” a living nativity presented by the Bethany Presbyterian Church.  The story of Jesus’ birth told through living story and live animals. The living nativity runs from 4:30-6:30, December 1 and December 2.

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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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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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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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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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Deck the Halls and the Pots

On the second day of decorating take a look at some of the boughs of green.  I like to add the special touch of live greens both inside and outside. Have you ever thought about what to do with “too heavy” to move planters layered potwhen the summer flowers have long faded and froze?  Brighten the outdoor holiday decor with cut greens and a fresh bow. Christmas dusty miller You can use almost any type of evergreen to make these outdoor gardens, whatever is available.  The branches can be cut to create different heights.  Push them into the dirt in the pot and if the soil is dry water well, when the ground freezes it preserves the greens to look nice all winter.  I also look at some of the other available plant leftovers that might make nice alternate textures.  The tissle weed seed heads hydrangaeare beautiful when spray painted, and this year I tried some spray paint on the hydrangea heads that had dried in the hanging basketfall.  Even the hanging baskets make good winter gardens.  Mine were also brightened with some water proof Fairy Lights which look like magic after dark.

 

Inside tucked among the Santa Claus decorations, on the hall table, in the guest rooms, poinsettiasand assorted other places it’s very easy to brighten the house with poinsettia plants. They come in so many colors and varieties from the greenhouse I like to place two or three together.  Cut greens are also filling empty crocks to add that wonderful Christmas aroma to the sitting rooms.  Again, a variety of cut evergreen boughs pushed into some floral foam will keep the greens through the holiday season.greens in crock

And don’t forget to spruce up your houseplants with some whimsical, glittery embellishments from the Christmas decorations spiced peace lilydepartment of your favorite store.  I will splurge on a centerpiece from a very artistic florist for the dining room table.  Each year Kathryn’s  creations from Fox Hill Farms astound me, and instead of getting sad when the fresh flowers fade, I pull them one by one and replace with some silk flowers.  The greens last a long time and only I know the arrangement didn’t come that way!  This is the original creation, isn’t it stunning?centerpiece

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