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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Twelve Days of Decorating

snowy snowmanToday Mother Nature gave me the best starting point for twelve days of Christmas decorating.  You can’t beat the real thing, and now that the ground is covered, lights twinkle brighter, beauty glows stronger, and spirits are happier.  It is December and winter is here; “Let It SNOW!”christmas sign

 

Our open house has come and gone, but not everyone had a chance to stop by.  Some live to far, lives are busy this time of year, and we understand all the interruptions, so I thought I’d take some time to give you a peak around our Holiday House.  Each day I’ll pick a different theme and an explanation about the decorating “James Manning House” style.  Follow along and I hope it helps to get you or keep you in the holiday spirit.

comein from the coldDay One, and the snow keeps falling, so here’s a few more images with a pretty, fluffy white blanket of the season.  It’s the best decoration of them all, making everything so wonderfully Christmas.snow goose

 

 

 

country church

window snowbeauty

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Small Town America visits the Holidays

oldfashioned Christmas reRemember back to the days of your youth?  Holidays were a time that we simply loved.  What made it so endearing? I think it was the memories we created, the warm and fuzzy feeling deep inside.  Are we taking time to recreate those memories, and make new ones for our children and grandchildren?  Living in a small town, I think my family is lucky to have the opportunity to slow down and have the experience of old fashioned holiday spirit.

Our town, Honesdale,  has a wonderful weekend they like to call “Honesdale for the Holidays”.   Stores are decked out in their holiday spirit and many stores and businesses will host “Open Houses” with seasonal warmth for their shoppers and visitors.  Christmas music rings from the town pavilion making the shopping merry as vendors dot the sidewalks with their wares.  The high school choir and Victorian strollers walk main street for all to enjoy.  ticketsresAll the while the Stourbridge Line train will be blowing its whistle inviting young and old to hop on the train and take a ride with Santa and some elves, trains and Christmas it doesn’t get any better.  As the sun sets and the decorations light up the streets the sidewalks crowd as the little ones get ready for Santa to come to town.  What a festive spirit as the parade marches by, ending with the “big guy” himself.  The people follow the parade into Honesdale’s Central Park and activities continue.  Led by Rudolph and Frosty songs are sung and the star on Irving Cliff brightens the horizon for another holiday season.  Children visit with Santa and everyone enjoys hot chocolate and a wonderful small town America.  For more information: http://www.visithonesdalepa.com/honesdale-event/1526/

We, at the James Manning House, love to keep this Holiday Americana feeling going, and that’s why we invite everyone to a Holiday Open House.  This spirit spills out into our little village of Bethany in another event we call “Christmas in the Village”.  This year we are celebrating, Saturday, December 2, from 2-4 PM.  At the inn we will have the Honesdale High School Chamber Choir delighting us with Christmas songs and carols.  13cookiesOur friend and author of three books, Will Wyckoff, will be here signing books and chatting with visitors.  The house will shine in all its holiday splendor and we delight in showing visitors all around and share with holiday cheer.  Of course, the kitchen has been busy for days ahead of this event and a huge platter of homemade cookies will be available for tasting.  Bethany Public Library joins in the fun with an appearance of Mrs. Claus who helps children write letters to Santa.  They enjoy stories and hot chocolate, too.  Bethany Methodist Church will also be hosting visitors in the holiday spirit.  Bethany Village invites everyone to stop by for their tree lighting and a Tricky Tray raffle. For more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1499957440086260/

We hope that you can take some time and visit us to enjoy the little things that make us appreciate the wonders of the season.  But most of all start some of your own traditions and sweet memories will be yours.Antiquecollage

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Anniversary Flashbacks

How many times have you used the old clichés to mark the passing of time; ‘Where did the time go?’, ‘My how time flies!’, ‘I don’t remember when time seemed to past so quickly’, and so many more?  This summer marked our ninth year as a Bed and Breakfast, and it sure did pass quickly.  As I work my way through the daily chores in each room I try to think back to when we first opened the doors for our guests.

Wayne RoomThere have been improvements to our guest rooms.  In an old house wiring needs to be upgraded and in the beginning we didn’t realize what would happen when three hairdryers were all used at one time!  Bathroom fixtures have been upgraded, oh yes, and a bathroom added since we’ve opened our doors.  Bedding has been improved for guest comfort, and we are using ultra soft Comphy sheets for better sleeping.  Next on the upgrade list in guest rooms will be improved HD cable features.

There have been changes to the common rooms as well.  If any of you remember, or if you haven’t been here, you will notice we like to “collect” things, particularly unique antique and vintage items.  And, of course, these items are artfully displayed, changed for the seasons, and at times replaced with newer old décor.  When I look back at photos of the rooms from the nine years of hosting, I notice that furniture in the beginning was sparse, and now the rooms have a more comfortable, relaxing feeling.  Just this week guests walked through the door and said, “We’re Home!”  That saying never gets old when we hear that feeling expressed by our guests, we hope to make guests feel comfortable.

Our kitchen, where the food magic happens has seen multiple changes.  Some years back, Warren built a new island with an oak butcher block top.  This was the final phase of remodeling without destruction of the character of the original kitchen.  How did we ever work together in the kitchen, and plate the dishes without this?  But our favorite, and pride and joy is the stove purchased two years ago. stove Six burners, convection oven, and wow, we’ll never cook on electric again!  So much for our favorites in the kitchen, our guests just love all the new recipes I try and keep adding to the repertoire. (Who else gives a thumbs-up for Pintrest? wink, wink)

Eleven years ago I was asked to allow my gardens to be a part of the Secret Garden Tour, what??  What a chore, we really hustled to make the property presentable, after construction and getting ready for a bed and breakfast bulldozed about two-thirds of our acre.  Since then I found out that gardens are constantly being changed, and weeds sometimes get the best of us.   We’ve added fruit trees, berry bushes, and herbs hoping to be able to offer fresh, in season food for breakfast.  Last summer’s addition of a waterfall feature is absolutely my favorite change to the property.  Although, it took a year to complete the pergola and landscape around the waterfall, it is already an oasis for guests to relax and enjoy.waterfallre

I don’t think I’ve even begun to recall all the changes during the last nine years, and I can only imagine what the next nine years will bring.  The best part of running a bed and breakfast business those years are the wonderful people we’ve met.  There are no regrets and we hope you will visit us again soon.group away

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Imagine Spring

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Now, this Second Day of February, Two Thousand and Seventeen, the One Hundred and Thirty First Annual Trek of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club….

Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of All Prognosticators, was awakened from his burrow to the cheers of his thousands of faithful followers….

And, of course, he saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter. Are you about as ready as I am to strangle the little rascal? First, we get nailed with “The Blizzard of 2017” and 30 inches of snow, and now four days later, insult to injury, I’m looking out my window watching it snow some more. The Spring equinox arrives Monday!! I was watching my daffodils poke their heads through the ground, now it will be weeks for this to melt. So not to get too depressed, I thought I’d share some pictures from the Philadelphia flower show and imagine the Spring to come.

 

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Mad for March

marchm

What does the month of March signal in your mind?  Is it wind, the advent of spring, muddy paw prints, the sun glaringly showing the streaks in the windows, or daylight savings?  Do you think of Julius Caesar, the Ides of March and his feeling of Doom?  How about some March Madness?  Just what is the madness?

According to the gurus at Basketball.org (http://www.basketball.org/march-madness-history/), the term March Madness is a registered trademark held jointly by the NCAA and the Illinois High School Association.  The term itself was coined by a writer and essayist named H. V. Porter, who published an essay named March Madness in 1939.

Around here the college basketball tournament has always been a popular sports series on the television (glad I can record the shows I want to see).  blizzard2017reThis year it appears some of the madness of March has come in the form of the revenge of Mother Nature and a record breaking 30 “ of snow in less than 24 hours.  Sheesh!

 

Traditionally at the James Manning House it has also meant some great special for you slamdunkour guests!  This year is no exception!!  We survived “the big one” and the doors are open for guests to enjoy some R&R and forget their own March madness.  We are offering a three night stay for $150.  Here’s the deal, starting now through April 9; a cozy, comfortable getaway, 3 nights and breakfast for only $150.   When making reservations, the nights need to be consecutive and you must mention March madness.  Previous reservations are excluded from this special, it is designed for those of us going mad with the return of winter and the doldrums of March.free march clip art free clipart images for march   clipartfest

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Priveledge

Election Day 2016!  vote

Finally, coming to an end of this crazy year of campaign.  I’m very glad we live in a country where we have a choice.  I am not interested in how you vote or how you voted.  The important concept is that you have a right to learn the values, ideas and beliefs of the candidates and decide for yourself who you feel will be the best person to serve you.

I look at this election, and think about the past.  I think about the great leaders of our country and how they fought for what they thought was the best for me, my parents and my neighbors and coworkers.  I think how this country has made democracy work and how we accepted others who were oppressed from other countries and they blended into our country and how they too can choose the leaders for this democracy.

Then I look at this election and think about my grandchildren, the children of my friends and the youth, the future of our country. What kind of leader do we want and need for our country?  We need to think about who will provide the best  for their education, for their health care, their environment, their work conditions and above all their right to continue to have the right to make their own choices.

VOTE! It matters!

 

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Observance, Mother Earth

loveearthEarth Day isn’t one of those splashy holidays.  It is nationally recognized, as an observance.  The movement has also grown to include over 192 countries.   It’s listed on all calendars, including the electronic one on your cell phone.  Since I’ve retired from the classroom, I no longer celebrate with the children in school.  There was always some personal joy to the excitement a teacher could create with little ones.  Earth Day was one time to be sure to be outside planting and inside creating beautiful artwork, a fun day loaded with learning.  Now it is a time when I try to reconnect with the outdoors, and make a personal plan to change something in my efforts to protect our planet.

Personally, today I recycled paper, aluminum cans, plastic containers, and press board.  I collected trash on my walk with Lui.  Although it wasn’t an easy challenge, I completed the challenge to remove 40 items from my closet and give them to the Salvation Army for reuse.  I remembered and reduced my use of plastic bags by having enough reusable bags with me at the grocery store.  Today I also planted 10 tree saplings, of varieties native to the area, hoping someday to transplant nice young trees to final homes around my family’s properties. plant-trees

Here at the inn we try to have a green side to hosting guests.  We use as many non-incandescent light bulbs as possible, many CFL’s and now switching over to LED.  (On a side note: we are lucky to be able to recycle those CFL’s at our local library.)  Heat and hot water tanks are turned off or turned down when guests are not using them.  Vegetable and fruit peelings, coffee grounds and egg shells are all composted.  We provide containers and encourage guests to recycle, and have subscribed to single stream recycling.  Our appliances and furnaces have been replaced with energy efficient units.  We are proud to tell our guests that $2 of their stay is donated through the Green Lodging Program to the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, helping to protect the wild and scenic Delaware River and Bald Eagle Habitat.  This year our plan to improve our footprint as an inn, is to encourage our guests to use our alternative sources for fresh water, rather than small plastic bottles.

All that reflecting on a personal goal to observe Earth Day, as I think we all should, improving and reducing our private impact on the earth.  Still, the most interesting event that I participated in happened last night.  The library director and I organized a new program meeting at the library, “The Greater Wayne Herb Guild”.  We had a nice turn out of interested people who have the common interest to increase our knowledge in the growing, harvesting, cooking and using herbs. It was fun to create and bake the snack of Lemon Lavender Muffins and mint tea.   Hopefully, when you visit the inn soon, you will be enjoying some savory new recipe!  2016-04-21 20.07.002016-04-21 20.07.23

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Are You Mad for March?

march madnessWhat is March Madness?  We think it is, “the ability to think anything can happen!”  We’re hoping for some craziness around here and want you to be a part of that March Madness.  Here it is:  Make a new reservation for weekday stay (Sunday through Thursday) in the month of March, two nights and your second night is FREE!  For all other stays, one night or weekend all rooms are 20% off!  Discounts are for new reservations, and only one discount applies.  Remember March madness lasts from March 1 through March 31 when availability allows.

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Most Important – A Girlfriend Getaway!

three-girlfriendsWomen.  We really hold so much together, ourselves, our families, our households, our jobs, our volunteer groups, etc. etc.  Our lives are frantic, hectic, frustrating, loving, joyful, worrisome and downright exhausting!  Time to get away!

Taking a vacation with the family is very nice, it can be relaxing, but most of the time we’re busy making memories with our loved ones and want that trip to be grand, and special. We can’t let our guard down and need to keep it together while worrying that everything will be just right and everyone will stay safe.  Taking a trip with girlfriends is a whole different event.

Enjoying a getaway with girlfriends includes talking, and eating, thinking about our own needs, and talking. Did I mention talking?  Girlfriends share so much of themselves when they get away.  Girlfriends together share thoughts about the family and hash out ideas about the kids, the pets, the husbands, and how they dealt with a coworker.  Girlfriends can giggle about a dress with green and pink polka dots when shopping, or notice that they like a pillow fabric, and girlfriends can discuss why they don’t like the same shoes.  It’s all about sharing ideas, understanding and compassion for one another.  Girlfriends on getaways don’t compete, they listen.

Girlfriends away will shop, and give honest opinions of necklines, and hemlines, and give ideas of coordinating accessories.   Girlfriends will treasure hunt, they’ll look in the gift shop, and in the second hand shop.  They’ll understand the need for checking every rack or shelf for just the right treasure.  Girlfriends never say they’ll “wait outside on the bench”, so the others will feel they can only look for five minutes.

Girlfriends like to eat.  They will try the French restaurant or tapas bar, a quiche & tea buffet.  They’ll take their time to chat over a glass of wine.  It’s not the food, it’s the experience, the conversation and most of all the social bonding while eating.

Once girlfriends are back at home, after a thousand topics were discussed, their minds are clear. Relaxed, de-stressed a woman can see the solution to that problem of how to answer a teen why they can’t attend the party, or how to get more storage in the laundry room, which color drapes go in the newly painted living room, etc. Start a new tradition.  Girlfriends need to get away, plan your getaway today!

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