The Ghost(s) of Christmas Past

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Do you believe in ghosts? I know if you asked my family what I thought about ghosts, they’d say that I certainly believed in them because every time we pass a place that looks like it is over ten years old I loudly proclaim that it’s most definitely “haunted”! I love touring old antebellum homes because I feel they are filled with history and of course…a bit of mystery where the people who once lived in them are concerned. However, when you usually tour antebellum homes it tends to be in the middle of the day and you don’t get to go very far into the more secluded parts of the house.

The book club at Long Branch has changed all that. Our most recent visit for December’s book club meeting may have even changed my Mom’s opinion on whether or not places are haunted. Ironically enough, out of the four of us at Book Club on that foggy December night…I’m the only one who never heard a thing.

Decorated for a celebration of Christmas Past….

We arrived at Book Club on that foggy Tuesday night and soon discovered that it would just be me, my Mom and the two girls that run the Book Club – Lizzie and Cassie. They also work at Long Branch and are both founts of information where the house and it’s history are concerned. The four of us settled in to discuss the book for December – A Christmas Carol. When we got to the portion where we were discussing the different spirits that visited Ebenezer Scrooge, I looked at Lizzie and Cassie and told them to level with me; I knew places like Long Branch didn’t always like to make it known that they are haunted but truly, had they ever had anything weird happen. The girls said that an employee who had recently left had some “encounters” – one in specific where he’d heard footsteps walk right up to his desk, stop and then walk away – even though there was no one there. They both assured us that they’d never had anything weird happen and we got back to discussing fictional ghosts….and that’s when things started to get weird.

Nothing spooky about this…right?

We were seated around a table in the dining room and my Mom was sitting across the table from me. As we talked about the book, she suddenly made a startled face (seriously – startled does not even begin to describe it…complete shock and disbelief is probably more like it) and said “what was that???” I jerked around to look and see what she meant but I didn’t see anything. She said she’d sworn she heard a man’s voice talking…which seemed impossible since the only people in the house were us four women. I thought she was being goofy and told her to behave; she laughed and said maybe she was just imagining things. We went back to our discussion but only a few minutes later, Lizzie; who was seated next to me, looked around and said “okay…now I heard something” and my Mom said “I knew it – I kept hearing things but I didn’t want to say anything…but then I saw your face!” Apparently they were alternately hearing what sounded like footsteps and a male voice. Cassie and I still hadn’t heard anything, but that was about to change.

An old WWII uniform – maybe it brought some spirits with it?

We tried to hunker down and keep talking about our book but then Cassie’s eyes got wide and she announced that she had heard it too – and didn’t I hear any of this? You guys, I never heard a thing! I was a little disappointed but watching the three of them flip out was pretty creepy in itself. Once Cassie announced that she had heard it, Lizzie decided to investigate. She thought that maybe the maintenance guy had come into the basement and just not told anyone and so she disappeared around the corner to check it out (which – she is far braver than I, I would never had headed into the basement alone). Β When she came back, her face was white as a sheet and she looked…well…like she’d seen a ghost. She said there was no one in the basement but she’d heard the man’s voice again…and it always sounded like it was moving away from her, always just a little ways ahead of her. Once she sat down again, they all three kept looking around and saying they heard footsteps and didn’t I hear anything?? I didn’t.

A photo op all the way from the top of the house…

Lizzie and I walked into the foyer because she knew I’d be able to hear the footsteps – they seemed to be coming from that area. I still couldn’t hear anything but apparently they all could. The girls seemed unsure about having to close up the house and cut off all the lights alone, so we decided we’d stay with them while they did it. Cassie then announced with a sign that someone would have to go all the way to the attic to turn off the Christmas lights – it had seemed like a good idea to run the lights into the attic earlier in the day, but now in the dark of night with things going bump – well, it wasn’t such a great thought. I decided to tag along up to the attic because people don’t normally get to go to the third floor of the house…and I still hadn’t heard anything. I trooped along behind Lizzie up the spiral staircase to the third floor and as she crept toward the open door of the attic, she said “when I flip this switch, it’s going to get crazy dark in here”. I positioned myself at the top of the stairs, ready to run for it and she flipped the switch and ran toward the top of the stairs. As we clattered down, my Mom hollered “don’t y’all trip and fall down those stairs” and Lizzie hollered back “if we fall, we’ll get down faster!”

Lanterns in the alcoves on the spiral staircase.

We survived the race from the attic and it was time to head out. Of course, to compliment the eerie night the fog had rolled in as thick as pea soup and added another element of spine tingle to the evening. We said our farewells and headed to our car. All the way home my Mom and I discussed what had happened – and we couldn’t really believe it. When we returned on Sunday night for the Christmas Reception, Cassie told us that the maintenance man hadn’t been anywhere on the property on our freaky Tuesday night…so they still had no idea whose voice we had heard. Suffice it to say, I’ll be intrigued to see if anything interesting happens at our next book club meeting. Are those ghosts always there or were they just inspired by our discussion of the ghost of Christmas past?

Weekly Recap – Christmas Edition!

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Another Christmas has come and gone – I for one cannot even believe it. I swear, time just passes faster and faster! The week of Christmas seems like it passed in an absolute whirlwind; most likely because I spent a huge chunk of the week working retail…and folks, I don’t plan to do that ever again. Yikes! Anyway, a look back at the past blur of a week!

Monday night run to Georgetown…in the misty, blurry, chilly air.

I worked from 7:30 to 4 on Monday (and Tuesday) and as soon as I came home on Monday, I changed and we all piled into the car to drive into Georgetown to make a visit to Jack Will’s. We had planned to visit the DC Holiday Market as well, but the weather all day was rainy and crummy…and no one really wants to wander an open air market in the rain. I mean – no one in my family does. I was sad we missed the Holiday Market but glad we got home by 10 because I had to be back at work at 7:30 the next day…and in the midst of last week, I developed some serious back issues. I don’t know if something got pulled in my car wreck and is just now showing itself or if the extended hours standing on my feet/running all over the place in flimsy shoes on floors that are basically concrete caused it….regardless, I was struggling.

Cue the Icy Hot – the days I worked before Christmas, I smelled less festive and more like a walking nursing home. But hey, it sure helped my back not to hurt so much. Cheers to that!

Weapons in the war against back pain….I LOVE the smell of Icy Hot.

Watson absolutely loves Lindsey – she is the first person he goes to in the morning.

Red Velvet Cheesecake – a delicious leftover from our Monday night venture into Georgetown.

Lindsey & Watson trying to wake up on Christmas Eve morning….

Christmas Eve felt like such a whirlwind. I had to work from 12 till the mall closed at 6. I stupidly thought that there wouldn’t be that many people out shopping on Christmas Eve but I was quickly proved wrong. I had plans to be at my church’s Candlelight Service; which started at 7. The mall closed at 6 and I figured I’d have plenty of time…but I was silly to think that, since all the merchandise and sale signs had to be put out before we all went home on Christmas Eve. Suffice it to say that I didn’t make it to the church service (I’m sure Lindsey sang beautifully…I’ll never know) but because the Assistant Manager is a wonderful person, at 7:15 she said we weren’t staying any longer on Christmas Eve and so I finally rolled up at home shortly before 8.

A side note that I would like to make – everyone should have to work retail at Christmas just once in their life. People can be unusually cruel about the strangest things and on the flip side you have people who can be incredibly kind…although unfortunately the former seems to outweigh the latter. We did have customers who came into the store when out gate was halfway down – signifying we had closed – and then proceeded to spend almost twenty minutes slowly shopping, which means we were open almost thirty minutes passed closing time on Christmas Eve….a time when (in my humble opinion) people shouldn’t be shopping anyway, they should be with their families. One woman even expressed complete distaste that the mall would not be open on Christmas Day – because I suppose people who work retail are meant to not live their own lives but be at the beck and call of other people’s shopping whims. Either way – I survived retail at Christmas and lived to tell the tale.

Spoon Square on Christmas Eve – all is calm, all is bright.
The face of someone who somehow managed to survive Christmas retail. PTL.
Our annual Christmas Eve feast….always followed by the tradition of…

Watching White Christmas – it never fully feels like Christmas Eve until this is playing on the TV.

Santa Paws left quite the load of goodies for Mr. Watson.Β 

Our Christmas Day celebrations were spread out through the day on the 25th. My Dad had to work on Christmas morning and so we let Watson sniff and explore his things when we got up and Lindsey and I inspected our stockings. We watched “Elf” while having breakfast and then my Mom cooked up a delicious Christmas meal. When my Dad came in at 2, we had a late (and absolutely delicious) Christmas dinner together! Lindsey and I took Watson on a Christmas walk so “Santa” could come and then we looked over our gifts from Santa and exchanged presents. The night was ended watching some Christmas classics – A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It was a lovely Christmas all around and a wonderful day indeed.

Lindsey helps Watson inspect his new things….

Watson waiting for Santa in his Christmas pajamas….

Santa was very nice indeed – awesome new Dooney & Bourke purses; easily the nicest purse I’ve ever owned. I love it.

Side note – I’ve been wanting a new purse since I moved to Virginia but I’ve been holding out until I really found something I loved. I was beyond thrilled when I saw my amazing blue Dooney and Bourke purse on Christmas – it is absolutely lovely and I am in love with it. I must confess, I might love it a little too much because when we went to Target last night and it was misting rain, I wrapped my purse in my rain coat….not myself…

Coats! I absolutely love my Eggplant Poof! I’ll be plenty toasty from now on!

Presents, presents for everyone!

Mom & Dad with their new frame – courtesy of Lindsey & I.

One of the gifts I gave Lindsey – I knew she’d love it & I was so excited for her to finally open it!

All my Christmas goodies, laid out on the bed to look over. I’m a lucky girl indeed.

Lindsey gave me Ugg slippers….& let me just tell you, I’m in love!

My Aunt, Uncle and cousins Jodi and Colton came to visit for the weekend – they arrived on Friday night and stayed with us through Sunday afternoon. We took them on a whirlwind tour of DC on Saturday…which I’ll dedicate another post to. It was nice to get to see some of our family so close to Christmas and we all had a good time catching up and roaming all over DC on Saturday. They headed into West Virginia to ski on Sunday afternoon and we Summerlins spent the evening relaxing: reading books, doing a puzzle (well, not this Summerlin – puzzles drive me nuts) and just generally being bums. It was the perfect way to end the week.

Saturday morning sunrise…I love all the color.

Christmas lights on a Sunday night drive through Front Royal.

Merry Christmas to all….& to all a good night!

Christmas Fun: Part Three

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Well – as promised, here we are – part three of the Christmas Fun posts. This one has even more fun because it has the added bonus of having Lindsey added into the mix. I absolutely love my little sister and I might have been more excited about her coming home for two weeks than about the whole other Christmas business itself, ha-ha! What can I say – my little sister is my best friend and I am so glad that I got to experience these Christmas activities with her! And of course, my sweet parents, ha-ha!

I worked bright and early on Saturday morning but that left the whole afternoon and evening open to do things. As soon as I got home from work, I changed and we went about fifteen minutes up the road to Sky Meadows State Park to tour the Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm there that had each room set up as Christmas through the years. There weren’t too many people around, so we had our own personal tour and got to learn about the house and the people that lived there, as well as seeing some typical Christmas decorations for all different time periods.

The Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm – all decorated for Christmas!

The table set for Christmas dinner in the dining room.

The parlor – check out all those presents!

Just a quick peek at the poinsettias in the parlor!

There was mistletoe – and who can resist a quick peck?

Up the stairs we go….

Talk about a room with a view – so lovely to look at these mountains each day!

Out in the backyard – again, I love this view.

A tree from the late 1800’s – living on the edge with those candles on the tree….

A hiding spot in the attic for Mosby’s Rangers…this is some Civil War era business right here…

The view from the backyard…again…because it’s pretty.

Trying to take a picture of the house & of course this nut just jumps into the frame…

The other little Christmas adventure we went on was this past Sunday night and we went to Long Branch’s annual Christmas reception – it has a theme each year and this year was no exception; the theme was Christmas on the Homefront, a 1940’s Christmas. Lindsey and I had big plans to fix our hair in the traditional style of the 1940’s – victory rolls. I got an extra thirty minutes of work added onto my schedule, so I ended up just meeting the family at Long Branch…sadly, that meant I had no victory rolls, but Lindsey’s hair looked awesome!

Dad & Lindsey in their 1940’s best!

Posing with one of the decorated mantles in the house – so gorgeous!

A wee tree with bubble lights in the horse room.

Some decorations & delicious food in the dining room!

The mantle in the parlor – this might have been my favorite of all the mantles.

Our book club meets once a month at Long Branch and so we’d seen the start of the decorations earlier in the week but the finished product was so amazing; the place looked gorgeous. There were even two WWII era jeeps parked on the front lawn and delightful big band Christmas music swelling through the house. The two girls that run the book club (and also pretty much run Long Branch) were both dressed perfectly to the era and I wish I’d thought to get a picture with the two of them – Lizzie and Cassie looked awesome and were perfects hosts. I’m so glad when they mentioned the reception almost two months ago I told Mom I wanted to go – it was such a neat experience and the night ended in the coolest (both literally and figuratively) way possible – we got a ride around the property in a restored WWII jeep! Lindsey even provided some war sound effects to make the ride more authentic!

Having a little Chardonnay in the awesome Long Branch stemware!

Christmas in the 1940’s!

A look at the foyer – the entrance to the house looked amazing.

Lindsey looked amazing too – like she’d stepped right out of the pages of a history book!

Looking up…up….up into the center of the house.

The mantle in the upstairs bedroom – I love all the greenery!

Of course, the mantle in the Horse Room. I love it!

Peeking in the front windows, all decorated up.Β 

We salute you!

The entrance to the house – it looked amazing!

The jeep we got to take a ride in – it was so cool!

Good-bye Long Branch – thanks for the awesome evening!

So – there you have it! Some of the best things we did over the days counting down to Christmas. I hope you’ve had a wonderful time counting down to Christmas and I hope you have the merriest of them all!

Christmas Fun: Part Two

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The Christmas fun continued this past week – on Monday evening we went to Rosemont Plantation for Christmas at Rosemont. I’m telling you, there are so many plantations around here – it’s amazing. I’m such a history nerd and being able to wander through all these old houses and take in the history, well I’m just in heaven. Rosemont was no exception. The house is absolutely beautiful and has SO much history.

It was the home of one of one of Virginia’s most prolific governors – Harry T. Byrd – and while he lived in the house he entertained politicians, heads of state and even movie stars. There are twelve (I think) rooms in the house and each one is named for the person that stayed there. Some of the rooms are: The Roosevelt Room, the Churchill Room, the Lindbergh Room, the Nixon Room, the Kennedy Room, the Eisenhower Room and the Einstein Room. I’m pretty sure that I’ve left someone out but oh well. The Byrds also entertained the likes of John Wayne and Elizabeth Taylor…so see, so much history! It’s now a major wedding venue here in the area and does tours on a pretty routine basis. It also hosts teas and serves as a bed and breakfast!

The Foyer of Rosemont – absolutely beautiful.

All of the decorations were absolutely beautiful!

The lounge (now a bar & check-in spot for guests) was my favorite – the wood molding was beautiful!

The tree in the front parlor where tea is held….

The Rosemont Room – can you guess why it’s called that/painted that color?

So many gorgeous trees!

Making my way to the second floor & all the bedrooms!

Peering out to the front lawn from a second floor balcony!

One of the amazing hand carved mirrors in one of the bathrooms – so amazing.

You’re going to shut me in this safe with the wine? Okay…sure. πŸ™‚

The tree in the barn/carriage house. Where we ended our night with cider & cookies.

Thursday night was filled with more Christmas fun – we had our “framily” over for supper and present exchanging. Our framily (that’s a word I coined myself – they’re our friend family) is made up of our friend Jennie and her son Jimmy and our friends Doug and Jen and their daughters Emily and Amelia. My parents consider Jimmy, Emily and Amelia their adopted grandkids and so I suppose that makes them my nieces and nephew – and that’s perfectly fine with me because I love them to pieces! I’m also really good friends with Jennie, Jen and Doug since they are my age!

So – we had delicious pizza (have y’all had pretzel pizza from Little Ceasers? If not, you need to get on that because it is delicious!) and then we all swapped presents. Kids always make opening presents more fun and while Jimmy and Emily were hilarious; the funniest one to watch was Amelia. It’s her first Christmas and she’s not even six months old but she was pretty sure of what to do with her presents – she was trying so hard to tear into them. So funny!

Presents are the best!

Amelia says “are these for me??”Β 

Jimmy got a Smurf game from Emily!

Emily got a Frozen game from Jimmy!

I gave the kids ornaments because…well, if you know where I’ve been working this holiday season then you know why I got them ornaments. If you don’t know where I’ve been working, don’t worry. I might write a tell-all one day, ha-ha!

I managed to snag an Olaf for Emily…

And it was a big hit!

Amelia isn’t sure if she’s interested in opening her present….

On the Night You Were Born – I think she liked it!

Jimmy got Hiccup & Toothless because we saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 together! It was a hit!

Jimmy wearing his Nintendo hoodie that my parents gave him…I don’t know very much about boy things…

Jennie was maybe a little too excited about her New Kids on the Block CD & book…hahaha!

Watson just chilling out in his Christmas pajamas!

So – there is part two of the Christmas fun. And you guys, brace yourself because there is a part three. You can’t even handle the excitement…I know, right? Less than 24 hours! πŸ™‚Β 

I am Falling Behind in my Blogging because Retail at Christmas…it’s Making my Head Hurt…

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Well…Christmas is less than two days away and I should have posted this on Monday but I have the joy (read – misfortune) of working in retail at Christmas time and Lord knows that is probably about as close to the seventh circle of Hell as it can get. If I can only survive till tomorrow night then maybe there are better things on the horizon. I have my fingers and toes and arms and legs and maybe even my eyes crossed…I’m praying for a Christmas miracle y’all!

Anyway – pictures from the past week – the month of December feels like it has gone by in a blur!

Christmas at Rosemont on Monday night – so beautiful!

Why yes, you can lock me into this wine cellar – that will be 100% fine.

Watson is getting quite a lot of begging practice in with all the Christmas treats that are all of a sudden available…

Tuesday morning snuggles by the tree.

The mall has been opening especially early this week because it has extra festive hours – which should really be called all the extra hours that you want to run screaming. I was opening this week because I had to be able to ride with my Mom because I was without a car for a part of the week while we waited for all my insurance things to process. Let me tell you something – there is no one shopping at 7 AM on any morning. At all. It was good I was working in the morning though because each night this past week had some kind of Christmas activity – the schedule looked something like this:

Monday – work and Christmas at Rosemont after supper.
Tuesday – work and book club at Long Branch Plantation
Wednesday – work and Ladies Bible Study
Thursday – work, Kitchen of Hope and Framily Christmas/supper
Friday – work and pick up Lindsey from the airport
Saturday – work and do the Christmas through the Years tour at Sky Meadows
I feel tired just recapping all of that in a list….

A look at a couple of the Christmas trees at our house – so pretty!

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts – my Mom and I attend a book club at a nearby plantation house – Long Branch.Β We had our December meeting on Tuesday night and I don’t know if the fog or the closeness to Christmas or the fact that the original meeting had been moved back two weeks – maybe it was all three combined – the only people there were me, my Mom and the two girls that work at Long Branch – Cassie and Lizzie.

Let me tell you that I am the first to believe that every single place that is over twenty years old is probably haunted from cellar to attic – I have no trouble believing Long Branch is haunted either – and Tuesday night was interesting to say the least. I’ll leave it at that for now, but I’ll write more on that subject in another post. Stay tuned!

Long Branch was decorated for a 1940’s Christmas in preparation for the Open House & Reception on Sunday night.

I wandered all over the house taking pictures…

Oh baths…they are lovely…

The biggest news this week is that I got a new car – yahoo for mobility again! After a Saturday spent whirling around town looking at all kinds of cars, my Dad pointed out a Kia Optima that was for sale at the Kia place and I was pretty in love with it. I returned later in the week and took it for a test drive and I knew for sure that it was the car for me. Luckily enough, everything worked out and now it actually is the car for me – because it’s parked outside the house as I type this! I absolutely love it and I cannot believe how much more room there is in this car! Since it’s an Optima, my little sister christened it Optimus Prime. I can’t wait to see if it transforms! πŸ˜‰

The new car – with a big shiny bow on the top!

A look at the car from all angles – so shiny & white.

And a couple interior shots…

The church we attend here participates in something called Kitchen of Hope – a program where every third Thursday of the month we provide a meal for the homeless in the area at a local church. It’s divided up between four area churches and this past Thursday night was our night to feed some folks some food. Once we fed the homeless some supper, we all returned to our house and had supper and Christmas with our “Framily” …our family that is made up of our friends. Watching Emily and Jimmy and especially Amelia open their presents was so much fun; I certainly love the sweet little people in my life!

Kitchen of Hope with these three goofballs.

Opening their Christmas ornaments – gifts from me!

So excited about their pile of presents – they are a mess!

Amelia says “hey – give me this present!”

Friday night we all piled into the car and went to Dulles to get Lindsey and we were all finally reunited for Christmas! After an early Saturday at work (I had to be there at 6:30 y’all…6:30) I came home and went with the family to a nearby state park called Sky Meadows and we toured a house on the property that was decorated with Christmas through the years. We rounded out the evening by making our traditional batch of Christmas cookies.

A kiss under the mistletoe…

You can’t ever get Lindsey to behave…

Christmas cookies – aren’t they lovely?

I made Bumble!

Lindsey bouncing Amelia to the Christmas music on Sunday morning…

At the Long Branch Christmas reception – check out those victory rolls on Lindsey’s head!

One of the decorated mantles at Long Branch.

Well – that’s all I’ve got for now. Even writing this recap has made me tired, ha-ha!

Christmas Fun: Part One

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I thought I’d share just a few of the photos from some of the Christmas activities we’ve been going to throughout the month – I have so many pictures that they really warrant their own post(s)so here is the first.

One of the initial Christmas activities we did was go to Clearbrook Park to see the Christmas lights. This park is around 55 acres, which means there is plenty of space for lights! I haven’t actually been to the park any time besides Christmas but I do suppose Watson and I will have to check it out at some point; I’m sure he’d absolutely love it. Who am I kidding – Watson loves outdoor anything!

The lights cover all 55 acres of the park and there is even a section that has lights set to music. My family went last year and enjoyed it; especially the hot chocolate and the toasty fire that you can sit around. This year our friend Jennie and her son Jimmy went with us and Jimmy certainly provided us with plenty of laughter. One of the light set-ups is the Twelve Days of Christmas and the biggest laugh we got all night was Jimmy’s rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Enjoy the photos and keep reading for the special edition of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Even the water tower is all lit up for the Christmas season.

A little skiing on the lake perhaps?

Jimmy & I ready to look at some lights.

While you’re warming your hands by the fire, you’d better keep an eye out for those bears!

Is this hat on right?

SANTA! I KNOW HIM!

All bundled up for a walk in a Winter wonderland!

All smiles with Santa Claus!

Who can resist a photo op as Santa & Mrs. Claus?

Apparently not these two!

Posing with the Air Force flag – and yes, he posed like this all by himself.

My kind of walkway!
Jimmy’s Twelve Days of Christmas
One – Bird…um, a bird in a tree?
Two – Ugh…birds. Again.
Three – Three….CHIIIICCCKKKENS! (sang in perfect tune to three French Hens)
Four – More Birds singing?
Five – Golden coins?
Six – Geese! Those are geese. (Apparently telling him they were “laying eggs” was hilarious)
Seven – What are those? Swans? Oh geez….
Eight – Cows! Those are cows! With uh…girls getting milk!
Nine – Nine SCAAARECROOOWS! (sang in perfect tune to Nine Ladies Dancing)
Ten – Ugh….
Eleven – Lepers playing flutes! He later let us know that he meant leprechauns…
Twelve – Drummers playing drums!
The second Christmas outing we went to was Follow the Star, a huge outdoor live Nativity put on by a local church. It is set on the Kernstown Battlefield and that might be just one of the many reasons why my Dad loves it so much. Once you get to the front of the line (and whoa what a line…) then you get on a hay ride and are taken to the start of the experience. You follow your guide through the story of the birth of Jesus and when the journey is done, there are cookies and hot chocolate with Christmas carols.Β 
I was pretty impressed by this – they even had a live camel! And at the end of the night, as you left to head back to your car they took your picture with either a sheep or a donkey. Our friend Jennie and her son Jimmy joined us on this adventure too and so I had Jimmy hop in the picture with me and I actually got my picture today! I’d definitely go see this again next year too – so neat and tells the true story of Christmas in such a lovely way.
Waiting in line for our hay ride to the Nativity!

So…the flash doesn’t really work on selfies…but Jimmy & I on the hay ride!

The first scene, really just setting the stage for the rest of the “show”

An Angel visits Mary…

An Angel visits Joseph in a dream…

Shepherds & sheep! Got to love it!

Joseph tells us all about the new baby Jesus…

A five month old camel…too cute!

The Three wisemen…

Jimmy choosing which cookies he wants from the long table of choices….

Christmas carols…tra la la!

So – those are just a few of the things we’ve been doing over the past couple weeks. Stay tuned, there is at least one more post….we’ve been out and about quite a bit!

Beth Moore Chili

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Yes – as in the Christian speaker, Beth Moore. Our ladies church group has been doing a Beth Moore Bible Study recently (Stepping Up:A Journey through the Psalms of Ascent) and a couple weeks ago I stumbled upon a retweet or something along those lines…regardless; it was for a white chili recipe. I have searched high and low and tried many a white chili recipe and I have always struggled to find one I really liked. I had confidence in this one though…Beth Moore knows the word of God, maybe she knows the word of the kitchen too!

All the ingredients…nom, nom, nom…I can feel that this will be good.

Throw it all in the pot – I love how those chilis add such a pop of color!

Ingredients

1 tbsp. oil
1 clove of garlic; minced
1 onion; chopped
1 tbsp. cumin
2 cans of white meat chicken (or 3 small chicken breasts; shredded)
2 cans of white beans
1 can of white corn, about 12 oz.
1 can of creamed corn, about 12 oz.
1 can of chopped green chilies, about 4 oz.
2 cups of chicken stock
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 can diced tomatoes, about 15 oz.
Garnishes can include sour cream, tortilla chips, shredded cheese…really whatever floats your boat!

Cooking away….

The delicious finished product!

Make It

– Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft.
-Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir, mixing well. Cook on medium heat for about thirty minutes to allow all the flavors to mix together.
-Serve with garnishes and enjoy!
So – I think I’ve found a winner with this recipe and I’ll definitely add it to the rotation. We have leftovers in the fridge and I think they are calling my name for lunch tomorrow. Try this one out – you won’t regret it and it’s just super easy! Beth Moore obviously knows the kitchen just like she knows Jesus – well!Β