But What Do You DO All Day?

January is a quieter time at the Inn, giving us a chance to regroup and catch up on a few things. Guests and others are genuinely interested in the behind-the-scenes Inn life, and I love when they try to puzzle out what goes on around here when there is an open night. These are real questions from real people.

So, are you bored with all your free time?  Free time?

Have you thought of substitute teaching on your days off?  Oh, heck no!

Do you allow guests stay for free during the winter?  What?!

What do you do all day when nobody is here?

Black and white shot of Heddy Lamar, glamorously dressed old-time movie star with male actor.
See? That’s me dressed in finery reminiscing with a gentleman friend in front of one of the many fireplaces at Olde Square Inn.

The last is my favorite question. I want to say I dance and dine and relax in ball gowns with gentlemen friends and then languish while they feed me grapes and bonbons. The reality is that when we’ve finished the basics – laundry, bathrooms, beds – there are other household chores begging for attention. With seven bedrooms and baths, two common areas, two kitchens, a multitude of appliances, bills, mail, family and friends, we can keep ourselves pretty well entertained during our free time.

A white haired woman hangs laundry on her balcony wash line.
There’s nothing like fresh linens!

There are hundreds of yards of baseboards, window sills, and crown mouldings to clean, walls to paint, furniture to polish, floors to shine, curtains to wash, appliances to scrub, filters to freshen, and steam boilers to vent. The reality is more like this than the shot of Heddy Lamar, but you know I love every minute of it. I love that I can create a clean and refreshing space for guests to enjoy when they stay with us at the Inn. I love that they can enjoy my home as much as I do.

Then aside from the housekeeping which is fun for me, there is the business end of things with computers and Quickbooks and numbers, each of which brings along with it its own fresh level of angst. Not being a computer or numbers person, I’m terrorized daily of receiving an error message I can’t undo or of putting numbers in the wrong columns in the Intuit program. There is actually nothing intuitive about the bookkeeping program, which I am certain was created by the devil himself, and I pray continually for deliverance and hope it comes before April 15.

When housekeeping and bookkeeping are temporarily tucked away, it’s time for family and friends. Many of you have met my children and grandchildren when you’ve visited the Inn and often ask about them. The other day I got to take Parker to the toy store. I was excited. “Let’s go get a toy! Do you want a toy? You can pick one out! Nana will get you a toy! Do you want a toy?!”  He kept telling me no – ?!!

Toddler dragging a large box that holds Thomas the Train
Parker outsmarted his Nana and dragged the train set all the way to the cashier.

The store clerk finally came over and asked, “You don’t want a toy?!” He pointed to a huge train set and said, “YES! Chochoo”  Oh, man. I was hoping he’d pick a pinwheel like he did for Uncle Ed last year. I thought I had him outsmarted and made a deal. If he could carry it up to the front himself, he could have it.

Well, next time you’re here, check out the clean baseboards, enjoy the heat of the vented steam boiler, peek into the Antebellum and Charleston rooms, and come downstairs to play with Thomas the Train. I know Parker will be happy to share.

Hope February is a great month for you. Come see us soon.

It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding – or – What’d’ya Mean, There’s No Minister ?

It was the Storm of the Century, they said. Blizzard winds, they said, Stay off the roads, they said. Thirty inches of snow for sure. There was a parking ban. There was a driving ban. But didn’t they know there was also a wedding?! Our first wedding of 2016 had been in the works for a long time, and you don’t just not hold it due to a little blizzard. Right? You don’t reschedule? Right?!

(It’s blizzard day and one day before the wedding. It’s snowing like a…, um…, uhh…, like a blizzard. The bride-to-be, the calmest bride ever, is calling, just a touch concerned). Ring, ring, ring.

White roses, baby's breath, evergreens are wedding centerpieces.
White roses, pine cones and winter greenery were waiting in the wings.

Bride-to-Be: Nancy, I’m not sure what to do. There’s a blizzard, my fiancé is on crutches, our Best Man is on call plowing snow for the Borough, I have pneumonia, the place with my dress is closed, we can’t pick up the cake, I don’t know who’s going to be able to make it, my MeMe is snowed in at a hotel somewhere, and the wedding is tomorrow.

Me: Hmmm.

Bride-to-Be: Yeah, I know. And on top of that, the minister is in the National Guard and could get called away and might not be here to perform the ceremony. I’m not sure what to do.

Me: Hmmm. Well, what do you want to do? (I studied psychology as you can tell.)

Bride-to-Be: We already have the flowers and they’ll wilt and will be no good if we postpone, but what if the roads aren’t opened and nobody can make it?

Me: Well. If you want to postpone, I’ll help you reschedule, but if you want to go ahead, we’re ready. Call me tomorrow and we’ll do whatever you decide.

Bride-to-Be: Okay. Thanks for your help! Sounds good! I’ll call you in the morning.

 

See? Is she awesome, or what? Then, the next morning. Ring, ring, ring.

Bride-to-Be: Okay, we’re going to go ahead with the wedding, but there’s just one thing. I’m snowed in and can’t get out of my driveway, and I can’t get my hair done, and we have to get the dress, and do you think we would be able to postpone the ceremony a few hours until late afternoon?

Me: Sure.

Bride-to-Be: Really?!

Me: Really. We’re plowed out and ready. Don’t worry; everything will be amazing and you’ll have a great story to tell.

 

And she will have a great story to tell and beautiful pictures to go with it. I got a few, but to see all the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and wedding glory, you’ll have to talk to Niki and Todd. It all came together almost without a hitch. Nearly everyone made it including MeMe, and a few of them even walked from their nearby homes. Amazing Assistant Joan and I ushered in shivering guests, took coats, and chatted with Todd and Niki’s friends and family while the wedding party took care of their own last minute details.

As it turned out, the minister didn’t get called out to the National Guard, but rather called to say he couldn’t get out of his driveway. Luckily, the maid-of-honor knew a minister in the neighborhood who graciously came out at the last minute to unite and bless the relieved couple. It was a nice day for a white wedding. The only one missing was Billy Idol.

Congratulations Niki, Todd, and Gracelyn and best wishes for a wonderful life. It was a beautiful day.

Can’t wait to see how our February wedding unfolds! Stay tuned.

 

 

It’s Not Too Early To Book For Valentine’s Day

Champagne Toast with hearts
Enjoy a complimentary split of champagne when you book for Valentine’s Day at Olde Square Inn.

I know, we just had Christmas and New Years, which means that Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away. Not that you would know it by walking into any store – I think they’re showing September Back-To-School supplies now haha. (Sorry, teachers.)

You’ve worked hard to make the holidays happen, so it’s time to treat yourself and someone you love   to a romantic weekend away at Olde Square Inn. Relax in front of your fireplace with a complimentary split of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day.

As I chat with our guests, I usually ask what their plans are for their stay in case they need some help planning their time away from the kids, from work, from everyday pressures.  I would say nine times out of ten that they plan to do mostly nothing: watch a movie from our library, read a book, get something to eat, sleep without kids velcroed to them, enjoy the room and one another’s company. Sounds like a plan.

Spend the weekend indoors reconnecting or venture out to one of our great area restaurants. A short walk away is Mosby’s Pub, Harvey’s Barbecue, Bube’s Brewery, and Beanies Bar and Grill, or little Tres Hermanos Mexican Grill just down the street. If you want to take a drive, my favorites in Lancaster are The Belvedere,  J.Jeffries, and Annie Bailey’s Irish Pub. In York, you can’t go wrong with The Accomac Inn – totally worth the drive.

While you’re here, take advantage of Xquisite Day Spa a few doors down the street. Joyce and her team can do individual or couples’ massages and can often set up in your room at Olde Square Inn. Talk about service. But remember – the wisest women and the most romantic men plan in advance: availability will fill up quickly anywhere you choose to go for Valentine’s weekend. Make your plans in advance and enjoy the anticipation of a romantic time away.

You can reserve your room directly through our site, or if you prefer, you can phone me at 717.653.4525 or email me at nancy@oldesquareinn.com.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions or help with your plans!

I Don’t Know What You’re Standing About – and – Awesome Tom’s Baked Oatmeal Recipe

When my son Grahm was about four and I’d ask him to do something, at times he would look at me, confused, and say, “I don’t know what you’re standing about!”

Like all mothers ready to fill in the blanks for their kids, I’d clarify, “Oh, you don’t understand  what I’m talking about. Do you want me to explain it?” He’d say, “No, thanks,” and trot off. That’s what I think sometimes when I get phone calls from people who aren’t quite sure of what they want or where they’re going. I want to trot off. Late last night I took a call from a trucker.

Me: It’s a great evening at Olde Square Inn. This is Nancy; can I help you?

Guy: Yes. Are you the only motel in town? Where are you?

Me: Sir, we’re not a motel; we’re a Bed and Breakfast in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. Where are you?

Guy: I’m on your street with my 18-wheeler in front of your place. How much are your rooms?

Me: Sir, we are a Bed and Breakfast, not a motel, and our rates are blah, blah, blah.

Guy: I’m delivering cars. They said you were a motel. What’s for breakfast?

Me: Blueberry baked oatmeal, an asparagus and tomato frittata with cheese, crisp bacon, a warm croisssant with butter and jam, and a dark chocolate cupcake with chocolate fudge icing for dessert. If you don’t care for that, I’ll be happy to make you something else.

Guy: Dessert for breakfast?

Me: Yes, sir. If you would care to enjoy it.

Guy: I don’t eat breakfast.

Me: ……..Okay.

Guy: Do you have anything cheaper? I’m driving in the morning and I don’t eat breakfast.

Me: Those are our rates, sir. Maybe you want the Holiday Inn Express the next town over.

Guy: I don’t want no Express. They told me you were a motel.

Me: No, sir. There is no motel.

Guy: Well, how far is it? The Express. I need a place to park my truck. Is it cheaper?

Me: Here’s the address, sir, and I’m sure they have a parking lot. And yes, you can save $7.00.

Guy: Okay. I’ll stop at the McDonald’s for breakfast on the road with the $7.00.

Me (?! What the what?! With my years of training in education in being politically correct and kind at all times my fleeting thought was “Oh, he must be really tired.” Then the thought quickly rearranged itself into “Dude, are you maybe smokin’ something or are you just stupid?!”  Instead) : Great, sir. Thank you for considering us. Have a good evening.

Blueberry baked oatmeal in footed dish
Blueberry baked oatmeal is great on a cold winter morning!

I hardly knew what he was standing about, but you know, that’s just part of the fun. At any rate, I like our breakfasts better than any McGriddle, which is probably one of the reasons I own a B&B and not a fast-food franchise. Our guests this morning asked for our Baked Oatmeal recipe, and I’ve had several email requests, so I guess it’s time to post it. This recipe came from Awesome Tom who, as you may know, worked in my Middle School also and now fixes stuff around here.

Tom’s Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. quick oats
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1  – 1 1/2 c. fruit, sliced or cut up as necessary (optional)

Procedure:

  • In a large bowl stir together the first four ingredients.
  • In another bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, and melted butter, then stir into oat mixture until blended.
  • Gently fold in fruit.
  • Spoon into a 9″ square greased baking dish, and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 35 minutes or until set.
  • Serve warm with milk and brown sugar (optional).

And don’t tell Tom, but I changed his recipe a little bit – you know how I am like that. The original recipe had 1 c. packed brown sugar, but you see the switch I made, ha!

January is a great time to break away and renew after the holidays. Come on out and I’ll make breakfast for you while you are snuggled in buttery soft sheets and a cozy bed in front of your warm fireplace, tucked away for an extra hour of sleep. See you soon!

 

Share Your One Word at Olde Square Inn

Happy first Tuesday of the year! Hope it’s starting out well for you and I hope you had a chance to think about what your One Word  might be for  2016. In place of making New Year’s Resolutions, you choose a word that will be your guiding value for the year. The concept is Jon Gordon’s and he advises that you look in – what do you want to be or do, look up – how will God guide you, and look out – how can you live it?

I’m excited that many of my family and friends have embraced this idea, and I love hearing how it plays out in their lives. One of my sisters has chosen the word “Balance” with the thought of bringing a peace to all areas of her life,  while another has decided on “Challenge.” Friend Eileen has “Acceptance,” deciding not to get too worked up over life’s realities. Daughter Aimee has picked “Joy.”

One word checklist focuses the day
At the top of my checklist is One Word to help me keep focus in my day.

My word for the New Year is “Learn.” Here’s how I like to use it: When I wake up, I ask, “What will I learn from others today, and what do I want to focus on today?”  So now I’m open to what happens, and I also have a goal.

Next I go to my list. I’m a checklist person because with so much going on during the day, I can get overwhelmed with deciding what to do first and having a list lets me think less haha. At the top of my list I write my word Learn, then the first two or three things on my list would be the learning that I want to be sure to hit. Sometimes I set it up the night before so I have even less to think about when I start my day. Of course I cross things off as they’re accomplished – so exhilarating!

With the Inn, I want to learn how to bring even better experiences to my guests and have lots of ideas on how to do that. A friend said to me once, “Nance, you always have a lot of ideas, but you never carry out all of them.” No kidding! That’s why they’re call ideas and not edicts; they are a like treasure chest full of options from which you can choose. I love having lots of ideas floating around. Sometimes you just have to ignore people, know what I mean?

Anyway, the learning I have on my January list is to:

  • Learn how to create a monthly newsletter so I can keep all of you up-to-date on area happenings and offer discounts or packages
  • Learn what legalities I need in place to develop a cooking demonstration package. Wouldn’t that be a blast?! (Not the legalities part – barf – but the rest of it.)It’s so much fun to show others how easy it is to make and serve delicious food, and I think you would enjoy staying at the Inn, sampling some dishes, and taking home great recipes.
Cozy Fireplace at Olde Square Inn
Cozy up beside your in-room fireplace during your January retreat.

I’m looking forward to learning what you have chosen as your One Word. You can even take it a step further: Make your new reservation for January and email me at nancy@oldesquareinn.com with your word and what it means to you. Upon check out you’ll receive a 10% discount for one night, 15% for two nights, and 20% for three or more nights. How can you not love that?! Even if you haven’t decided on your One Word yet, come on out and think about. You still get credit for that!

 

New Year’s Resolution Fail-or-May The Forks Be With You

Wait. Isn't that "May the Force be with you"?
Wait. Isn’t that “May the Force be with you”?

Back in the day when I taught Middle School kids how to find their way around a kitchen, I had a hard time sleeping through the night. Falling  asleep was no problem. I was a champ at that. By the end of the evening I could close my eyes and hit the ZZZs whether I was standing, sitting, or bent in half in a yoga Downward Dog. Usually I was lucky enough to be prone when sleep hit and would be out so completely that almost nothing could get me up.

Then, like the 1980s Bangles hit, “it was 6 o’clock already, I was just in the middle of a dream,” I’d be awake. Only it wasn’t six a.m., it was always more like 3 a.m., or 4 a.m., or some inconvenient early hour where I’d wake up temporarily refreshed, but know I’d crash and burn right after lunch duty. Naturally it would be the afternoon of The Most Important Meeting (Lesson, Principal Evaluation – fill in the blank – always something) of My Career. I’d lie in bed, willing myself to re-sleep which, of course, never worked. How could sleep happen when I’m shouting in my head,  “It’s almost morning! Hurry up and rest!” Other times I’d congratulate myself on knowing I still had x number of hours of sleep until the alarm went off. Sure.

Anyway, as 2013 was coming to a close, I was thinking about how I could stop being a whiner and use my situations to my advantage to improve myself and the world, or some similar Miss-America-type idea. My New Year’s resolution was along the lines of “I’m going to use my waking hours fruitfully and thoughtfully, and take advantage of down time to refresh and relax.” A teacher with down time. So funny.

You’ve heard that most people break their New Year’s resolutions within 21 days after they’re made, so I thought I’d give it a dry run during Christmas break to work out the kinks before making it official.

Day One:

  • 3:42a.m. Get out of bed, review New Year’s resolution, do stretching exercises, have breakfast of coffee, yogurt, and granola. Do the laundry, wash the kitchen floor, answer emails.
  • 6:30a.m. Eat some bacon and an English muffin and work on new nutrition lesson for eighth graders. Clean the bathroom.
  • 9:30 a.m. Reward self with the leftover Christmas ham and a piece of cake with ice cream for accomplishing so much so early in the day. Tired. Fall asleep while meditating.
  • 11:30 a.m. Wake from meditation, read the newspaper, have second breakfast. Go to the store for cat litter. Come home, eat lunch. Read a book.
  • 2:00 p.m. Vacuum, dust living room, clean refrigerator, pay bills, organize office files, iron laundry from the morning. Taste the Chex Mix. It’s good, but it won’t stay in the bag so must consume all. Also am thirsty, so make  smoothie to go with Chex. Scrub basement floor.
  • 5:12 p.m. Pour glass of wine, order pizza, watch news, accidentally fall asleep while meditating after eating pizza.
  • 8:17 p.m. Wake up, have some leftover Christmas cookies and coffee to ready self for evening shift. Make Christmas card list for next year to ensure sending them out for real. Unload dishwasher. Have Cosmo with neighbor.
  • 10:55 p.m. Pretty tired. Take off makeup. Sleep.

Day Two:

  • 3:28 a.m. No worries! Get out of bed, review New Year’s resolution, do stretching exercises, have breakfast of coffee, yogurt, and granola. Paint trim in bathroom. Clean brushes. Expended much energy. Waffles and sausage  would be good way to refuel. Relax with book.
  • 7:00 a.m. Finish book. Organize closet. Throw out broken jewelry. Wipe down baseboards. Clean windows. Sew some new pillow shams to freshen bedroom. Good work. Finish off cake and remaining ice cream. Ham also. There’s potato salad, too. So tired. Meditate and/or nap.
  • 1:02 p.m. Where did morning go?! Meet friends for late lunch and beverage at Bonefish Grill. Pants hurt. Shop for shoes. Browse bookstore while sipping latte. Questioning fruitful use of time.
  • 6:39 p.m.  Put on stretchy pants. Pull out lesson plans to revise. Difficult to focus on school work. Have snack and watch movie instead.
  • 9:00 p.m. Refreshed! Pour glass of wine and pop some popcorn. Begin cleaning kitchen cupboards. Phone rings. Talk with friend, nix cupboards. Feel guilty because New Year’s resolution demands fruitful hours, so clean countertop with Clorox Wipes to placate the people who monitor New Year’s resolutions.
  • 10:22 p.m. Go to bed.

Day Three:

  • 4:55 a.m. Hurray! It’s almost like a normal wake-up time.  Get out of bed, review New Year’s resolution, do stretching exercises, have breakfast of coffee, yogurt, and granola and maybe some French toast for being such a good sleeper.
  • 5:25 a.m. Strip beds, wash sheets, wax floors, polish brushed nickel bathroom fixtures. Clean grout on all tiling.
  • 9:22 a.m. Grumpy and sick of doing stuff. Where’s the cake?
  • 9:23 a.m. What happened to the ham?
  • 9:25 a.m. Review dry run of New Year’s resolution.
  • 9:27 a.m. Review: Sleep deprivation is unattractive and is not cured by prolonged, intermittent meditating and/or napping. Productivity increased; house looks good, but increased fruitfulness has caused pants not to fit, making self unattractive. Forks were definitely with me.
  • 9:28 a.m. Conclusion: Can’t keep this resolution without buying new clothes every month. Also probably can’t nap in class when kids are making tacos. Need alternate solution to decreasing 3 a.m. stress.
  • 9:30 a.m. Solution: Evening aroma therapy and cup of decaf with Bailey’s Irish Cream?
  • 9:31 a.m. Solution: Retire at the end of the school year and become an Innkeeper? Which to choose? Which to choose!

Well, I think we know how this all turned out, and I think you’ve heard me talk about Jon Gordon’s powerful  One Word alternative to making New Year’s resolutions. I’ve chosen my word for 2016, and I can’t wait to share it with you in my next blog. We have some great plans we’re working on to make our guests’ stay even better in the upcoming year, and I’m looking forward to bringing those to life. In the mean time, check out the whole One Word idea and think about what your word could be. Join me for next Tuesday’s blog, or stop at the Inn yourself!  Enjoy the rest of the year. See you soon.

Guest Spotlight: We’re Your Home Away From Home

Three Swarovski Crystal ornaments shine on the Christmas tree at Olde Square Inn in Mount Joy
Swarovski Crystal Christmas tree ornaments glitter in the lights at Olde Squre Inn.

In the one year and one month I’ve had the honor of welcoming people into this beautiful home, I’ve had the added pleasure of opening my doors to many of them for a second or third stay. It’s very rewarding to know that your guests have enjoyed their time away and are comfortable enough in your home to want to return. One couple said, “We feel like we’re with family, but without the drama. AND, we don’t have to do anything.” Amen to that!

To me, it’s like seeing family or friends again, and it’s fun to catch up on what’s been going on since the last visit. With that said, I wanted to introduce you to guests Brenda and Judy who have become “top family members” with five visits to the Inn.

Brenda and Judy take in the front porch of Olde Square Inn
Brenda and Judy take in the Christmas decorations on the gracious front porch of Olde Square Inn.

From Mechanicsburg, the two have been friends for 23 years and enjoy day trips as a great way to relax and renew to better be able to meet the demands of their jobs. Judy is in ministry and works at a continuing care retirement community in Carlisle, while Brenda has been in nursing at Penn State Hershey Medical Center for 32 years. Thirty-two years! I haven’t done anything that long except breath maybe.

They both like the boutiques and varied experiences our area has to offer, including the out of the way places they can find on the  Best Kept Secrets Tour. Says Judy, “Lancaster County affords so many opportunities for a perfect get-away. You can drive out a road and feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, affording beautiful countryside scenery. But, aha, you come upon a small town with unique shops and locally made items….Olde Square Inn is the perfect getaway close to home!”

On one of their recent journeys, they stopped at Good Harvest Supply in Strasburg to purchase wreaths to take back to family and friends. Little did I know that I would be the recipient of one of these beautiful greens. They were very sneaky elves and hung it on the side porch; I didn’t find it for two days! Anyway, I thought it would look fantastic on the front door beside the sled and Christmas Tree, and it does, don’t you think?

Happy couple in the Elizabeth Anne at Olde Square Inn
On the second floor, the Elizabeth Ann is the room of choice for Bob and Sandy at Olde Square Inn.

I can’t leave this page without giving a shout out to Bob and Sandy, who were just here last month but decided they needed another little dose of Olde Square Inn comfort. Living  only 45 minutes away, they searched for a good excuse to spend the night away from home, then decided – what the heck – they’d just come out and throw in some shopping while they were here. (I think they’re on the path to trying out every room.) And guess how lucky I am?  Sandy creates Swarovski Crystal ornaments and I scored three! Love, love love!

Yesterday Cindy dropped by to pick up a gift certificate  for a her son and daughter-in-law. Cindy and Mark have stayed in several of our rooms and she knew that “the kids” who work so hard would really benefit by a little time away at the Inn.  Oh, and  from Cindy I received two more ornaments – this on top of a previous gift of depression glass earlier in the year. I feel like an elementary school teacher at Christmas time! I so appreciate the thoughtfulness of all my guests who have blessed me with their presence and their presents, and love the beautiful cards I receive in the mail every day.

On the other hand, I stink at addressing Christmas cards (and most other types of cards, in fact) and sending them out in the mail. I buy them, get the stamps, and even purchase a new pen to make it fun to write, and put the whole stack in a place where I can see them every day. You might know how this goes. I see them every day before Christmas, after Christmas, after New Years, and in February. Then I put them away. I still have an anniversary card ready to mail to Jo and Ed for their 20th anniversary. They’ve been married like 35 years.

I will work on improving my USPS skills, and in the meantime will wish you a Merry Christmas and joy in whatever holiday you celebrate this season. Enjoy your family and the gifts you’ve been blessed with in this wonderful life.

Quiche Recipe So Delicious Your Sister Will Accuse You of Buying It – or – Merry Christmas Breakfast & a Happy New Year Brunch

Cheese and Bacon Quiche and Spinach Quiche are a breakfast feature at Olde Square Inn.
Cheese and Bacon Quiche and Spinach Quiche are a breakfast feature at Olde Square Inn.

So this really happened. We have an amazing spinach quiche that we’ve been serving for breakfast since I became Innkeeper a year ago. Guests love it because it’s delicious and hot and cheesy and flavorful. I love it because it has three main ingredients and can be semi-assembled the night before. Ha! So easy.  You can even leave out the spinach (Rich, Tammy, Dave…I know) or can add bacon or mushrooms or whatever.

I had passed the Secret Recipe along to Jo, the sister who visits from Indiana to help me out at the Inn, and she had made it for our Little Hungarian Mother and our other sister Christine. Jo is a good cook and often takes food out to them because she’s nice like that. Anyway, The Girls – which is what we affectionately call our L.H.M. and Chris – are enjoying the quiche when Christine yells out, “Jo didn’t make this! It’s too good! She bought it at Butterfingers!” Well, let me tell you, sister, you won’t find this at Butterfingers Bakery in Indiana, but you can find it in your own home for Christmas or New Year’s brunch or whatever occasion or non-occasion you want, because I’m about to share the  Olde Square Inn Secret Quiche Recipe with you and you alone. It is so easy it should be a sin, but it’s not. Delicious convenience when applied to food is not a sin.

Olde Square Inn’s Secret Three-Ingredient Quiche Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 c. shredded cheddar cheese, or you can mix it up with some other types, but not with mozzarella
  • 1 c. Heluva Good onion dip (Don’t use a cheap imitation!)

Optional Ingredients

  • Add 1 box of frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed with the liquid squeezed out and/or
  • Add about 5-6 slices of crumbled, cooked bacon and/or
  • Add about 1/4 lb. sliced mushrooms that have been sautéed in butter (They have to be cooked to reduce the water content in them.) and/or
  • Add other interesting veggies, cooked if necessary

Procedure

Mix ingredients together (this can be mixed the night before and refrigerated until ready to use) and put into an 8-inch pie shell right before you bake it. Throw it in the oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Take it out let it set for about 5 minutes before you cut into it.  To make it even more special, top each piece with a tomato slice and shake on a little McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning and serve (6-8 servings).

 

That’s it! That is the whole thing! You can even keep it warm in a 200 degree oven (lay a piece of foil on top) if you need to wait for people, or you can enjoy it at room temperature. Do remember not to leave food out for more than two hours; we want you to stay viable this season. And here’s another thing – you can make your own pie crust or buy a ready-made one. Yeah, buy a crust – don’t kill yourself over it. Spend time with your company instead.

To help you enjoy your holidays, here’s my idea for your Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Enjoy-Your-Company breakfast buffet. All of these recipes can be found on my blog and made or assembled ahead of time, leaving you less stressed for the celebration. And don’t forget, when you do a buffet, people like to try a little bit of everything so you can make the portions smaller. They can always come back for more.

 

Delicious and Easy Breakfast Buffet

1. Olde Square Inn Quiche (Easy peasy, see above.)

2. Biscuits and Gravy (Make up to two days ahead. Serve in a crock pot.)

3. Baked French Toast (Assemble night before.)

4. Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake  (Bake ahead and freeze.)

5. Several dozen of the million Christmas cookies your family traditionally makes every year if you haven’t eaten them all by now. (Wish I had some. Hats off to the Wagners and Simics, former neighbors who use to bring me beautiful trays of treats.)

6. Fruit Trays from Costco or your local warehouse or grocery. (Really, give yourself a break.)

7.  Coffee, juice, and Mimosas

Along with grandkids Taylor, Parker, and Baby Easton our family wishes you a stress-free holiday!
Along with grandkids Taylor, Parker, and Baby Easton, our family wishes you a stress-free holiday!

There you go! I wouldn’t go too heavy on the Mimosas, because chances are you’re the one fixing the Christmas Dinner also, and you won’t have time for a nap. However, I have a work-around for that, too.

You know the Inn keeps me pretty busy, but I love having family over also, so this year I’m ordering my Christmas dinner from The Gathering Place in Mount Joy. It is an entire meal for eight people and for less than it would cost me to make it myself – all we do is pick it up and heat it. “Ooohh!” you might be saying, “What about Aunt Blanche’s famous green bean casserole!? We have it every year!” No problem, just have Aunt Blanche bring it to dinner and you have delicious convenience and delicious traditions all in one meal. Voila!

As the holidays approach in our 70-degree, record-breaking weather, we’re wishing you a blessed and calm approach as you prepare for family and friends in this beautiful season.

Top 5 Reasons to Get Away and Celebrate in December

Dazzling decorated Christmas tree is paired with an old-fashioned sled dressed with greens and ice skates. Santa's rocker is complete with a cozy quilt and Santa's cap.
Olde Square Inn in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, is a welcome respite during your busy holiday season.

Gift shopping, tree trimming, house cleaning – oh my! December is such a busy and hectic month for everyone, making it an ideal time to take a break. Don’t forget to take time to step away to relax, regroup, and reconnect before the relatives fall in for the holidays.

I was able to step away right after Thanksgiving to visit with my sisters and little mother in Indiana. (The real Indiana – home of the Hoosiers – not Indiana, PA, you know.) My little Hungarian mother, whose motto is Never Leave The House Without Your Lipstick, is 94 and was pretty happy about decorating the tree we set up. She piled all the ornaments on the tray of her walker, scooted across the room and had those things hung before I could even pour an eggnog. So precious! She said she wants to come out to see the Inn some time before she turns 100. Love it. Even she needs to get away.

You don’t have to wait until you’re 99 to take a little holiday. Stay with us and you’re greeted with a glass of wine to enjoy in front of our living room fireplace or cozied up beside your own in-room fireplace. Welcoming decor, ensuite baths, and  comfy beds dressed with luxury linens would make anyone want to stay in and not come out until breakfast. However, if that’s not enough to convince you to take a break, you might consider paring your stay with:

1.Shopping. In addition to our Main Street boutiques which are generally open Tuesdays through Saturdays, we are just a short drive from both Tanger and Rockvale Outlets (check the coupons on their websites) and historic downtown Lancaster. Get all your holiday shopping finished, then come back home to Olde Square Inn, pop in a movie, put your feet up, and r-e-l-a-x. If you were too caught up in your day and didn’t get a chance to get dinner, both Mosby’s Pub and Harvey’s Barbecue are just a two-minute walk away. Mosby’s is Cheers, where everybody knows your name. All the food is great, and if you like wings, order extra crispy – out of this world, while at Harvey’s you can be happy with any of their award-winning dishes. You can’t go wrong with either place, and you can eat there or bring it back.

2. Make Some Family Memories. Just a 28 minute drive from the Inn,  Hershey Christmas Candylane is open December 11 – 31 (but closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), and there you can enjoy over 4 million twinkling lights and this year can even ride one of four coasters that are operating. We used to go with the kids when they were little and would walk through the lighted villages and drink hot chocolate to ward off the chill. They didn’t have the roller coasters open back in the day; we probably would never have gotten the young’uns out of there. Good times! Young children are welcome in our Carriage House, while our Third Floor Suite with both king and queen sized beds is ideal for families with older children.

3. Enjoy a Holiday Show. Lancaster County is rich in live theater. Some of the offering during this holiday season include Elf, the Musical at the Fulton in downtown Lancaster, The Christmas Show at the American Music Theater (near the outlets, by the way), A Christmas Story at Dutch Apple – dinner AND a show –  in Centerville, or The Miracle of Christmas at Sight and Sound. Be sure you reserve your tickets in advance.

4. Reunite as a Couple. Get Nana to watch the kids while you take some time to appreciate one another. We have many, many couples who come here just to do nothing. When I ask what their plans are, they tell me they just want to sit, talk, watch the news, watch a movie, have dinner and sleep without children velcroed to them. I remember those days; getting away with your loved one makes you nicer when you get back. You might even want to plan a focus for the upcoming year. Some of you may have read my earlier blog about Jon Gordon and One Word where he talks about focusing on one word for the New Year rather than making resolutions that are broken within a few weeks. It’s a very powerful concept.

5. Celebrate New Year’s Eve. Don’t you know we’re just a 10-minute walk from Bube’s Brewery where they are planning two events for New Years?! One is a Deluxe Murder Mystery at 7pm for folks who like to have some fun then be back to celebrate, while the other is a New Year’s Eve Party that begins at 9pm. The best part? No driving involved! Bube’s is just straight-shot walk from the Inn, and if you are very directionally challenged, I can give you a bag of breadcrumbs to drop to help you find your way back.

You can make your reservations directly on our site, or can give me a call at 717-653-4525 if you have any questions. I’m looking forward to helping you enjoy your holiday.

Guests Delight in Goodies, Giveaways and Giddy Ups

For those of you who have ever phoned the Inn, you may be familiar with our greeting, “It’s a great day at Olde Square Inn!” Well, Sunday was a great day at Olde Square Inn. Many thanks to everyone who came out to take a peek into our guest rooms, enjoy a carriage ride, and spend time with us for our first-year anniversary celebration. The joint was packed!

I appreciated meeting so many area business owners and people from town who stopped in to introduce themselves, including our mayor Tim Bradley! TJ and Judy from Home Run Candies at the Corn Crib brought treats to share, as did Randy from Mount Joy Roofing (cheese and crackers, not tar and shingles, haha), while Jill with Floral Designs of Mount Joy sent over a beautiful flower arrangement. I’m sure I’m leaving out lots of gift givers, because I have a sense of having accepted many, many bottles of wine and other fine items.

Folks from my old ‘hood – the Wagner family and Keeley with Susquehanna Style Magazine – came over, and even my neighbors the Williams from my old, old neighborhood dropped in. Former fiances (okay, there’s only one), current grandkids and kids, former coworkers, former guests Bill and Jean Riggins, friends and friends’ families – they were all here! I didn’t know who to talk with next!

And again, you know I always say a girl can’t do it by herself.  Thank you to Jo and Ed, Tom and Kathy, Joan, Sherry, Aimee, Eileen, Tom, Wendy, Karen, and Kerry Meyers from the the Chamber of Commerce for all your support and hard work. I could cry a little thinking of all you’ve done for me. Sniff.

But instead, let’s announce the results of our drawing! Congratulations to our winners; we’ll let you know by email how you can obtain your gifts.

  • $20 Gift Certificate to Mayita’s Boutique: Dan Straszynski
  • $20 Gift Certificate to Lilys and Lace: Barb O’Neal
  • $20 Gift Certificate to Mosby’s Pub: Jeff Brinser
  • Massage with Joyce Bertschinger at TheGiftMobileSpa@Yahoo.com: Linda O’Connell
  • Phyllis Gamber Pottery: Joyce May
  • Grand Prize – One Night Stay for Two at Olde Square Inn: Gloria Heisey

Thank you again to everyone for helping to make our first year in Mount Joy a fantastic one. I’m looking forward to many more happy times in this great little town!