Do you have a Gladys Kravitz – that neighbor who loves to know what’s going on?
Do you have a Gladys Kravitz – that neighbor who loves to know what’s going on?
Aimee and I were sitting in the kitchen last night when she asked, “What’s your blog post for tomorrow, mom? Did you pick your One Word yet?” Well, that was a pretty good guess on what you’d be reading today.
Some of you might know that One Word takes the place of New Year’s resolutions. Since I discovered this great idea, to focus on one guiding word rather than to feel bad about breaking resolutions, has allowed me to achieve lofty dreams and to help others.
The biggest take-away for me, as you will read, is that you don’t have to know HOW something will happen, you just have to know that it CAN. Think big for your new year!
Please enjoy my first One Word blog, originally published January 13, 2015:
No, they haven’t all stayed here – yet – but each has played a part in my becoming Innkeeper of this wonderful bed and breakfast.
It’s hard for me to believe that less than a year ago I was teaching 8th grade. Loved it, yet at the same time knew it was time for a change and wondered how and when I’d launch my second career. While I was home for break on New Year’s Day, I turned on the Today Show to find Jon Gordon, a motivational speaker, telling hosts Al Roker and Natalie Morales that 9 out of 10 people break their resolutions before the end of January.
What he and his family do instead of making resolutions is that each would “choose one word” as his or her focus for the year. He advised 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 chose the word INQUIRE, because it seemed to open a lot of doors without demanding an outcome. I didn’t have to perform or get results because I was just INQUIRING. No pressure! Here’s the short version of what happened.
The next day called my long-time realtor friend Mark Thudium and took a first look at inns for sale. Signed up for an Aspiring Innkeeper’s convention. Got a business mentor through SCORE. Found out how to get a commercial bank loan. Learned how to write a business plan and about the importance banks put on financial projections. Put offers in on three other b&bs and was under contract for one other. Retired. Sold my house (twice). Put in an offer for Olde Square Inn. Every single aspect of this was new to me, but came my way because I was able to just ASK how.
Here’s the miracle of the whole “one word.” About a week before closing my financing crumbled, leaving me almost $100,000 short. My word – my prayer – was “How do I make this happen?” I wasn’t afraid of asking anymore, so I put it out there. A friend of an acquaintance offered to lend me what I needed at a rate better than the banks, and we signed the papers November 11, 2014. Al, Jon, the good Lord, and many, many other people guided me to this lovely and beautiful inn.
Where does Jane Pauley come in? If you’re thinking about your second career read her book, Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life. It’s filled with stories about people like you and me who wonder what could happen next. I’d offer you my copy, but I’ve already given it to a guest!
Two final thoughts:
You don’t have to know HOW something will happen, just know that it CAN.
Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Jon Gordon, and Jane Pauley – your rooms are waiting for you, along with a chat and a glass of wine by the warm fire and a delicious breakfast in the morning. See you soon.
You can find out more about Jon Gordon’s One Word here. Can’t wait to hear what your One Word will be and see how it will change how you think!
Time to retreat! You know how hard it sometimes is to do paperwork or bills or writing (or anything that requires brainpower) in the luxury of your own home? Especially if you’re always working in the luxury of your own home? You can get sidetracked by the Keurig, the toast crumb under the table, the cat glued to your leg, the Christmas tree lights, the mail delivery – even the laundry…the list is as endless as your imagination.
I had some Important Long Term Planning I wanted to concentrate on and remembered how I used to go to a local coffee shop to grade papers back in my teacher days. I thought I might head off to Panera but was worried that their alluring beverages and sandwiches would keep me from accomplishing my tasks. I also thought I might check into a B&B for a little quietude, but I own one and somehow that didn’t seem quite right – kind of like going to a barbecue restaurant when you already do all the cooking at Harvey’s down the street. I decided to retreat to the peace and quiet of the library instead.
Well, who would believe that the library was a hoppin’ place at 1:00 on Monday afternoon? And it wasn’t just full of homeschoolers and retired people. It was like sample day at Costco; the place was a buzzing beehive. The Nice Me wanted to think, “Oh, how great that people are using the library,” but the Other Me thought, “Don’t you people have jobs?!” All I wanted was a Quiet Place to Work without being surrounded by snacks or cats or something I had to clean.
Looking around I saw that they had these little conference rooms with doors you shut for your Quiet Place to Work. There were people in almost all of them, but I found a little tiny one that was empty. It had big windows so you could look out at the rest of the joint and not feel that you were stuffed into a closet somewhere. You could maybe feel like you were one of those amphibians in the reptile house at the zoo, but I chose not to. Instead I slipped in, closed the door, turned on the light, sunk into a comfy chair and pulled out my work.
It was going on 3:00, and at that point I had watched video conferences, made notes, read manuals, organized my notebook – totally on fire. I was ready to watch the next conference when there was a knock on the window and I looked up to see two big faces scowling into my private conference room/reptile house. They knocked again. I got up and opened the door as if I was welcoming guests to an Inn or something.
Me: Hello, can I help you?
Them: You have to leave.
Me: Is there an emergency?!
Them: No. It’s time for you to leave.
Me: This is a library. You’re not closing at three, are you?
Me: Then how do you know what time I have to leave?
Them: Because you didn’t check this room out at the front desk.
Me: Oh, sorry. I didn’t know that, and anyway, nobody was at the front desk when I came in. Can I check it out now?
Them: No, and anyway we were busy helping other patrons that’s why you didn’t see us. You’re not allowed in here unless you sign out the room at the front desk. And look! Now it’s 3:00 and it’s reserved for someone else who signed it out with a library card. Do you even have a library card?
Me: Of course I have a library card!! What kind of person would just come in and use a conference room without a library card?
Them: It’s reserved for somebody else right now.
Me: Yes, you mentioned that.
Them (talking between themselves): Well, at least she has a library card….Yes, at least she has a library card, but it’s 3:00…whisper… whisper…
By that time I had my bag packed and my coat on.
Them: So you’re going?
Me: Well, yes! You said this room is reserved for someone else at 3:00.
Them (cheering considerably): Well, thank you for using your public library! Next time just stop at the front desk and we’ll be happy to help you!
I could have easily used another couple of hours to work during my tiny retreat, so I did head off to Panera after all. Didn’t get much done, but the sandwich was really good and I didn’t have to make it myself.
While I might be going online to reserve the Reptile House at the library for my next mini work session, I invite you to come out to the Inn for your next retreat – when you need to get away from the toast crumbs, the cat, the laundry, or when you just want a fun getaway or relaxing breather. And you don’t even need a library card – just click here to pick and reserve your favorite room. See you soon. I’ll be the one at the front desk haha!
Hope so! Out here in beautiful Lancaster County, the Inn was filled with great people all week who were out visiting family and friends for food, holiday shopping and just getting together. But wait, there’s more!
Isn’t it great that this awesome season is upon us? I love the decorating and the preparing and the cooking and the get-togethering – any day is is great for a quick party or something fun and festive.
1. Mount Joy Winterfest December 3, from 4-7 pm. Have dinner at one of our great downtown restaurants, enjoy live music, family activities and even pet a reindeer or visit Santa. Finish the evening with the tree lighting ceremony and caroling. Other than purchasing your dinner, it’s free!
2. Crafter Hours is offering a first-come, first-serve event to make your own snow globe ornament until it’s sold out. You can RSVP on the website to save your spot. The shop is just across the corner from the Inn and you can visit for a little bit of warmth and a whole lot of fun for this family friendly activity. Owner Karen will have all the supplies for you – for $5 each this is a no-brainer.
3. Hershey Sweet Lights offers two miles of beautiful Christmas lights that you can enjoy no matter what your religious practice might be. For a carload of people it’s about $19 and beats the price of a movie any day. They also sell tickets to visit Hershey Christmas Candylane and Dutch Wonderland which is great for the little ones.
4. American Music Theater has begun their 2016 Christmas Show, and they have matinees on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3pm and an evening show on Saturday at 7pm. All of our Inn guests who have attended have loved this show, and because it’s near Rockvale Outlets, they snuck in some Christmas shopping beforehand! Be sure you call in advance for your tickets.
5. Sit in front of the fire at Olde Square Inn and do your Christmas cards. Friends Brenda and Judy come out for a couple of days to get away from their jobs and just take a little time to regroup, address their cards and go through our Lancaster County Best Kept Secrets Christmas Tour. It’s a fun thing where for only $9 you get a list of 12 shops and 2 restaurants that are off the beaten path. When you visit each place you get a little treat and a chance to win a prize in addition to visiting some great shops. By the way, my friends had to cancel their reservation because Judy broke her ankle. So sad for Judy, but that means we have a spot for you. You can book today – just tell me you want Judy’s room. (Sorry Judy. I’ll have it ready for you when you’re better.)
I know a lot of people get jacked up over holiday events about what they’re going to buy and what they’re going to do, and how they have to talk to relatives they’re kind of mad at, but don’t forget that God’s always got your back. Don’t even worry about it, my friend. As they say, if He takes you to it, He’ll take you through it, so don’t sweat. Relax and enjoy all of these great gifts and experiences that are open to you. Merry start of the Christmas season. Love of love to all of you this holiday.
my sisters came from Indiana and Arizona to spend our 2nd anniversary with us. You already know that Jo has been here a million times; she and Ed and friend Gordon helped me set up the place when we moved in.
It was Susan’s first time to see the Inn and to meet the babies. Yeah, I know! Two years! She had already met Taylor who is now 12, but not Parker and Easton who are three and one. I understand how difficult it can be to make time to leave your life and connect with your friends and family. We’ve all been in that spot where we say, “I’ve got to stop in and see——-.” It’s money, it’s work, it’s organization. It’s a lot of things. But friends, waaaaay better to make the trip while they’re living and breathing.
So we did our own little version of holiday entertaining, and our gatherings always involve laughing, eating, talking, drinking, eating, laughing, snorting, drinking. It’s a lot of fun and always turns out to be worth the effort.
And when we get together we talk through our current dilemmas. Here’s what happened this round: Susan decided to sell her house, Jo had no pressing issues since Caralyn’s wedding planning is over, and I needed help with a class I’m doing at the Mount Joy Public Library on November 28, appropriately titled Holiday Entertaining. My question to my fam was, “If you were attending a class called Holiday Entertaining, what would you expect to learn?”
Taylor: How to set a table!
Nicole: What do you do for a centerpiece!
Grahm: No! No one cares about how to set a table! Tell them how to set up a bar!
Me: I’m in the library, Grahm.
Grahm: People who go to libraries drink! Or you could tell them how to set the food around in stations so the party doesn’t clump up in one corner like a feeding trough.
Aimee: You could show them how to set up a buffet!
Susan: Easy recipes for entertaining!
Jo: Who’s your audience?!
Me: I won’t know until they register!
But what I do know is that it will be a lot of fun, a lot of ideas, and a lot of food. You can register for the class and see what else is going on at the Milanoff-Schock library. Hope to see you there. I would love your feed back.
Thanks for the great response to last week’s Gift Certificate and Mug offer (I think I might have to order more mugs!), but that got me to thinking you really like the gift certificate idea.
So here is our Second Anniversary bonus offer. This week when you can take 20% off your $100 or $200 gift certificate order, and there is no limit to the number of gift certificates you can purchase! You can click here for the order form, or can email me at email@example.com or phone at 717.653.4525 if you need some help.
It’ll be great. You can enjoy your family this holiday, then send them to sleep somewhere else at the end of the day, and save some money. You’re a genius – perfect!
I’m looking forward to helping you entertain for the holidays, whether it’s at the library at the end of November, or whether it’s at the Inn when your family comes to visit. See you soon!
Hope you made some happy memories last night whether you were trick or treating with the kids, greeting superheroes at your door, or just reminiscing about your best Halloween costume ever. I know that once the candy wrappers are cleaned up and the kids come off their sugar high, your thoughts will turn to the holidays and the folks on your gift-giving list.
As I approach my second anniversary as Innkeeper, my thoughts turn to the wonderful guests who have walked through my door to spend time here. Their reasons for staying are as varied as the stars in the sky: they came to the Inn to escape their busy routines, to savor a relaxing dinner, to visit family and friends, to tour our beautiful Lancaster County, to enjoy some pampering, to celebrate a life event, to honeymoon, and even to be married in an intimate ceremony surrounded by those they love.
Whatever their reasons, I know they went home with some incredible memories of their time away that they’ll treasure and share for a long time. I am excited to help you become a great memory-maker this holiday season with some great offers I’m going to be sharing with you through the month of November.
Each week there will be a new surprise and a little extra something to make your gift of time away (for you or anyone else!) extra special. While you’re anticipating our first offer, your job is to draw up your Naughty and Nice list. I’m so looking forward to helping you give great memories and to welcoming your family and friends to spend some time with us.
And hey, be sure you’re on the list, too. You pick which side; we’re not here to judge whether you’re Naught or Nice haha!
Monday is the day I usually like to write my blog. I gather the thoughts that I’ve had all week and try to compose them into something coherent. But here’s the thing. I didn’t do it.
We had a great week with so many fun guests and a completely full weekend where I got to make a lot of breakfast for a lot of people, which is one of my very favorite things to do. After everyone had to go, we cleaned up a lot of rooms, another thing I like because I love looking around my own house. (I just really like where I live – makes me happy.) When everything was finished Sunday afternoon, the kids and grandkids came over and we played trains and played with the skeleton dog and played Yahztee and ate pizza and hung out, which also makes me happy.
Anyway, by the end of it, I was really tired and didn’t wake up Monday morning until 7:11. Pretty late for me but secretly fun, and with a clear schedule I felt as if I were playing hookey. I put on my fuzzy bathrobe and made some coffee and ate some of those tiny chocolate covered donuts that you get in a bag for $1.99 and decided that I didn’t feel like doing anything that day.
I read the paper, folded some laundry, unloaded the dishwasher and had some more coffee and tiny donuts. By 11:00 (I know, you’re thinking the same thing I did: when you wake up mid-morning and the productive part of the day is about over, what’s the point? Who cares. I was’t doing anything anyway, right?) I decided I’d take a drive a half hour out to Mother Tucker’s Antiques and see if I could score some Depression Glass plates. I just walked around the joint like I had all day and found some good stuff, then drove home thinking I’d have a few more of those donuts and another cup of coffee.
Before going home I stopped at the library and picked up some books so I could lay around and read since I was planning on just lying around anyway. But by then it was about dinnertime, and I threw some ingredients in a pan for fajitas and called Aimee over. We hung out and had dinner and watched the news and some reruns of Big Bang Theory. It was pretty relaxing, and all the work was waiting in the wings but I didn’t really care because I had decided early it was going to be a vacation day.
That is why you get no blog today that will tell you about the Top Ten Things To Do In Lancaster County This Weekend, or a story about How To Conquer Your Fears, or even The Best Recipe You Could Ever Make For Anyone. I took the day off and didn’t do anything except indulge myself, and I do thank you for taking the hit.
Here’s what I finally know. Just like you, I can work a lot and keep going and truly enjoy it, then suddenly it seems that I’m slowing down, or getting mad at everyone for no reason, or making bad decisions, or complaining about things I otherwise like to do.
Finally I know that it’s time for me to give myself some time off. You need to do that, too, even if you’re a mom with kids who won’t even let you go to the bathroom by yourself, or the dad whose job takes him away early in the day to return spent at night, or the teacher or office worker or barista or banker or whomever, whose efforts help to make a safe and happy place for someone else.
Allow yourself to schedule a break. It’s not selfish, but a very good recharge for you so you can continue to do the things you love and to take care of the people you love. Nobody likes a martyr, truly. The work will be there tomorrow, and you know that when you’re recharged you can be happy about the kids in the bathroom with you and the work and every other thing you have to tackle.
I had a great time not doing anything, everyone seems okay, and I felt pretty happy about not meeting any demands that day . Now here’s your call to non-action: take a break, even if it’s a short one. Everyone needs a little time off, including you. Go for it!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.