Happy Birthday Pam!

This past week has been a little crazy here at the Inn.  Meghan and I must have baked over  500 cookies and other assorted baked goods.  We made sugar cookie cutouts, gingerbread, oatmeal raisin, chocolate snowballs, chocolate chocolate chip, magic bars, peppermint biscotti, coffee cake and chocolate chip banana nut bread.  I think we did all of this in less than three days.  We really didn’t leave the kitchen and yet somehow, even though I did end one of the days with a severe sugar rush, we didn’t manage to eat that many – until my sister brought home Nutella No Bakes and then I went to town.  Doesn’t our colorful icing remind you of the imaginary food from the movie Hook?  We were pretty much yelling “Bangarang” all day!

Thankfully, we were able to enjoy some down time with the holidays. We had a full house at the Inn, but our guests were such lovely people and were nice enough to tell us to relax on Christmas and don’t worry about coming in to clean the rooms and make breakfast.  They all said they were full of food anyway.  So, my family enjoyed a festive Christmas Eve with my Dad’s very loud and very stereotypical Italian family.  I’ve been having this Christmas Eve dinner for as long as I can remember and every year, it gets crazier and crazier.  If you’ve been lucky enough to meet my dad’s side of the family or have an Italian family of your own, you know exactly what I mean.

Finally, this week ended with our company holiday lunch and my mom’s birthday.  She turned the ripe old age of 46 and she might kill me for telling you that.  :)  I say she’s still so young and the fact that people think she’s my sister just proves my point.  We had some great home cooking and Meghan and I made my mom a homemade “Everything But The” cake.  That’s my mom’s favorite ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s.

Ultimately, things are starting to slow down a little bit here at the Inn.  January and February are usually our slow months.  Mostly because not much business is coming into town with college being on break and not many people want to travel to Kutztown when its this cold outside.  If you do want to come see us, we lowered our rates for January and February to $115/night during the week and $135/night during the weekend for all rooms.  Hopefully you all got our Holiday Greetings via email.  If you didn’t hear from us and you want to, you can sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.  We’re going to start sending out a monthly newsletter because we have some new things set for 2012.  Can’t wait to get the ball rolling.

Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Years and I hope I get to meet many of you in 2012 or see some familiar faces again.

 

Until next year,

Shena

Perfect Presents for People who Procrastinate

If you are anything like me this year, you most likely waited until the last possible second to get gifts for people.  I tried to be better and bought all of the supplies for my DIY gifts, but here we are, four days away and I still have yet to finish any of the presents.  Not only that, but I still have to purchase for my parents and my mom’s birthday which just so happens to be conveniently 3 days after Christmas.  So, that being said, I am left with a kitchen table full of craft materials, a last-minute trip to AC Moore and a severe migraine (although that might be from the abundance of caffeine).  Maybe, just maybe, some of you are in the same boat as me, so, here are three of my favorite, you can not go wrong, last-minute gift giving ideas.

Living Social/Groupon/Try It Local

This one is one of my favorites, not just for Christmas, but for any gifts, any time of the year.  If you haven’t heard of these three sites yet, check them out at www.livingsocial.com, www.groupon.com or www.tryitlocal.com.  They are basically bargain group discount sites.  They post discounted…and I mean severely discounted – we are talking at least 50% here…get-a-ways, products, spa services, dinners, adventures, anything.  The idea is, you purchase the discount, but you are only charged and offered the discount if the minimum number of people purchase.  This helps you out, because the minimum number almost always purchase, and it allows the business owner to still make a profit or at least break even.  Living Social and Groupon are two of the biggest and I like living social for more social activities and groupon for more practical purchases.  Try It Local is an up and coming site, but deals are only offered on certain days of the week and it has fewer options and less localities to select from.  All three are great to search though and you can get weekly or daily emails sent to your inbox or download the mobile app.  I am considering purchasing a wine/beer pairing or a two night stay at another B&B for my parents this year.  Hopefully, my mom won’t read this before December 25th.

Local Vineyards Events

One thing I was not aware of, until I started working here at the Inn full-time, is how many events local vineyards have each month.  Just the few vineyards in this area alone have at least one event each week.  Some are repeats, but others are fun, new experiences that take a few hours out of your weekend and give you an exciting memory that you are sure to want to repeat.  The great thing about purchasing tickets for a local vineyard event is that as long as the individual is 21 or over, you can buy this for literally anyone!  Almost everyone enjoys a great glass of wine and food pairings are all the rave right now.  Plus, some vineyards have local breweries come in as well and you end up getting a two-for-one on a pairing.  I love getting tickets for my friends and then making a girls night out of the present.  Or, for parents, sisters, new grads, brides to be, bridal parties making a night of it, or anyone else.  The other great thing about this gift, is that you can purchase two tickets and take a friend.  It’s a gift that literally gives twice.  Once, when they “open” the present and the second time when they get to spend a night with you, some great wine, delicious food and enjoy light-hearted, fun conversation with new acquaintances.

Grab Bag/Mixed Collection of Items

Ok, in all honesty, this one takes slightly more time than the previous two, but not much more and very little effort.  My sister, Angela, has actually mastered the art of giving a mixed collection of items.  So, to be truthful, I sort of stole this last-minute gift idea from all of the amazing gifts she has given me over the years.  To start, get a neat looking container, basket, bag, anything that can hold all of the items and can be used for something else when empty.  Then, fill it with a bunch of small gifts that are convenient and easy to get, but that are perfect for the gift receiver or perfect in general.  Some ideas are lottery tickets, favorite candy, bottle of wine, favorite magazine or book, homemade cookies, coffee (k cups are great if they have that kind of coffee maker because you can give a bunch of different flavors and strengths), gloves/scarves/hat, candle and chapstick/lip gloss.  Or fill it with a bunch of small items that pertain to one theme.  For example, golf balls, golf tees, coupon for a driving range, golf coasters, etc. for a golfing buddy.  The great thing about this gift is that all of the items are easy to purchase at almost any one store near you and when put together, it looks like an elaborate, thoughtful gift and the person has 10 or so items to be excited about.  Honestly, this gift could literally be put together on the way to Christmas dinner if the stores are open.

You may have noticed that I didn’t say anything about gift certificates.  I, personally, am not a fan of giving gift certificates, but if you are, they really do make great last-minute gift options. Especially for those people you would like to buy gifts for, but don’t know their personal tastes that well.

So, good luck this year with your last-minute shopping and remember, since most of you know my mom and/or dad at this point, any suggestions you have for last-minute gifts for them are greatly appreciated!  Merry Christmas everyone!

~ Shena ~

Meghan’s Top 5 Holiday Cookie Recipes for 2011

There is nothing better than stepping into someone’s home during the holidays and instantly being overcome by something sweet baking in the oven.  Certain smells always seem to remind of different times of year and this time of year is no exception.  The scent of almond crescent cookies, gingerbread, peppermint chocolate, and a freshly peeled clementine always make me nostalgic for Christmas.  I can still remember my grandmother’s colorful cookie tins sitting on the kitchen counter overflowing with so many different cookies this time of year. And of course, each tin would have that slice of white bread in it to keep the cookies from getting stale.

Last year around this time at the Main Street Inn, I was baking up chocolate dipped shortbread, jam thumbprints, chocolate chip, cranberry pecan, and peanut butter cookies for our guests to enjoy here at the Inn.  This year, I will continue to make some of those yummy favorites along with a few new recipes I have been eyeing up.  I searched through a lot of recipes and the following are my favorites.  Enjoy!

  1. Mexican Wedding Cookies
  2. Chocolate Snowball Cookies
  3. Gingerbread Cookies
  4. Mocha Swirl Cookies
  5. Chocolate and Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Here are a few other recipes that look amazing too:

  1. Chewy Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies
  2. Peach Cookies
  3. Tropical Pacific Cookies
  4. Italian Almond Cookies

Happy Holidays!

Meghan