Friday, December 14, 2012

Stephanie Burkhart and Christmas in California

KAREN: Stephanie Burkhart is a multi-published author of romantic and paranormal tales. She's here to give us a glimpse at her California Christmas with her family. Let's give her a warm welcome.

***Contest: She's giving away a PDF copy of the 2012 Christmas Collection to one lucky commenter. Read on to find out how you may be the winner. Good Luck!!

Psst...When you're through here, don't forget to pop on over to Steph's Blog where I'm visiting and chatting about Christmas in California, too!! See you there!

Christmas in California By Stephaine Burkhart

Growing up in New Hampshire, I could always be certain of one thing – there would always be snow for Christmas. I was a kid. I loved it. I could play in the snow for hours. Knit cap? Check. Snowsuit? Check. Boots? Check. Scarf and mitties? Check. I loved making snow angels, snow forts, snowmen and having snowball fights.

Then I married a guy who lived in California – southern California. There's snow in the mountains, but I'm not driving 2 hours to make a snowman with my boys.

Christmas in California is green. But it's still fun. My husband takes immense pride putting up the lights on the house. My kids love placing ornaments on the tree. Everyone bakes cookies for Santa. I get "in the spirit" by burning the Christmas scents from Yankee Candle.

This year, the boys and I visited Solvang, CA for Christmas. Solvang is about 2 hours of our house, past Santa Barbara, about 20 miles east of Vandenberg AFB.

What I love about Solvang is that it's a Danish themed village. It's cool to find a little bit of Denmark in California, especially since my husband and I were married in Denmark.

During December, Solvang has "Julefest." There's an official tree lightning ceremony and a parade. Sadly, the boys and I missed the activities, but we had a blast walking around, poking through the shops, buying gifts, eating pastries, and geocashing.

Yes – geocashing. The boys found 3 geocashes. They couldn't help themselves – give them a GPS and they were off.

The town also plays host to a nativity pageant on 15 DEC and a tree decorating contest. If I lived closer, I'd be there every weekend.

We arrived around 1230 and the first shop I found was the Santa Ynez Olive Oil store. I love dipping bread in olive oil so I raided them for a bottle of basil, garlic, and rosemary.

The boys had to visit the Santa Ynez Mission and found a geocash. Then we peeked into the shops and admired the Christmas trees that were in front of the businesses in the town.  We found the "Jule Haus" where it's Christmas all year round. I bought several novelty ornaments and candles for our family's German Christmas pyramid.

The boys found another geocash in the bus stop then we visited the coffee and chocolate shop. I spilt an ├ęclair with my husband along with a coffee. Andrew had a butter cream bomb and Joe at a chocolate cookie.

The boys found a 3rd geocash and I bought some gifts to ship back east. Joe was staring to poop out so we hoped in the car around 4.

Now I know where Santa's elves hang out during summer vacation.

***Contest: Question for you: Who loves dipping bread in Olive Oil? Leave a comment and an email address and I'll pick one lucky winner to receive a print of the 2012 Christmas Collection featuring my short story, "Gifts."

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She always puts a star on her Christmas tree and loves to bake cookies for Santa with her boys. Her short, "Gifts," is a sweet international Christmas story that will take you to the Netherlands for the holidays.

BLURB:  Will Christian and Famke's attraction interfere with them earning a spot on the Netherlands Olympic pairs skating team?

Short Excerpt:

Stephen turned onto a street in the Noord district of Amsterdam where he lived. The apartment buildings were about five stories tall, but weren't very wide. Stephen drove his compact car into a parking structure near his building. "We're here."

"I need a nice long bath and a bite to eat." Famke stepped out and shut her door.

"Chris, can you take her to the apartment? I'll run to the store for some food."

"Sure." Chris opened the trunk and grabbed her bag.

"I can take it." She gestured for the bag, but Chris waved her off.

"I've got it." He paused. "I always insist on carrying a lady's bags."

"But, Chris—"

"And you are a lady," he said.

Smiling, Famke nodded, discovering a small dimple in his cheek when
he smiled so warmly.




Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your Christmas with the family!

I've had a chance to read the 2012 Christmas Collection and like always I enjoyed your tale. :) Love your werewolf and witch series, too.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said... Best Blogger Tips

Stephanie loves dipping in flavored oil.

Thanks for sharing the international bits about what can be found in Solvang. Years have passed since I visited but it sounds like a great field trip.

desitheblonde said... Best Blogger Tips

wow i r ember solvang and then the pic remind me of working on the base and going there for the holidays.we sued to go to the pretzel place there well it look great and hope you guys have great time it not snow her ein o but i wish it would be

StephB said... Best Blogger Tips

Karen, thank you so much for having me here today! It's great to visit. I love all your stories. I haven't tackled the 2012 Christmas Collection yet, but I know I'm going to enjoy your story. :) I enjoy your writing. If you write it, I'm there. :)

Linda, Ymm... flavored oil. Do you have a favorite? Solvang is a great day trip.

Pretzels, yum. My son Joe loves a good pretzel.


Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Steph--I think I told you another time when you wrote about Solvang--we had lunch there. We were on a tour of the West Coast of California. Such a fun trip all the way around. The Christmas with your boys in Solvang sounds like a "Steph Burkhart Special." You do the greatest things with you boys.
Merry Christmas, my sweet friend.

Cathy said... Best Blogger Tips

I love Solvang. It has been a while since we visited, but we liked to look at all the shops.

Sounds like you and boys had lots of fun.

katsrus said... Best Blogger Tips

Pretty pictures. I have no tried bread dipped in olive oil. I live in the midwest and would miss the snow at Christmas. Thanks for the giveaway.
Sue B

Cheryl Pierson said... Best Blogger Tips

Steph, you always do so many interesting things with your boys. I don't know how you manage to find the time--I truly admire you! Solvang looks like a wonderful place--what a cool adventure to go tour it! Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

The author likes to dip bread in olive oil and so do I. Looks like a nice place to visit.


pc said... Best Blogger Tips

I love dipping bread in olive oil...especially in different flavored olive oils or adding flavored balsamic vinegars-- yum!

StephB said... Best Blogger Tips

Celia, it's always fun to take the boys to Solvang because of the ambience. The boys really get into it and now we've got a second reason - geocashing. LOL!!

Cathy, I love the shops but there. They're "homey" and have a lot of ambience.

Katrus, I do miss snow at Christmas but there's little love at my house for the snow. I think the boys are spoiled by the mild California weather. Well, Joe, my 6 year old has a "hearty" NE attitude so he may get into it. LOL!

I love dipping oil. The Santa Ynez Olive Oil has an online website as well as another place I like, Olive Hill in Los Olivios CA.

The holidays are always a challenging to me. I have no time. Trust me, I don't. LOL!! I still have to wrap up some gifts.

bn100 - do you have a favorite brand of dipping oil or a novelity like garlic olive oil?

PC - yes! You're a girl after my own heart. Next time you're in CA let me know. We'll make a day out of it. heheh

Smiles to all. I've got to run off to work now but next time I visit I'll announce my winner.

Smiles to all and Happy Holidays

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Stephanie, you are such a wonderful parent. You come up with the most novel tings to do. I also like fresh crusty bread dipped in seasoned olive oil. Delicious.
A delightful blog.

StephB said... Best Blogger Tips

Congrats to PC! I drew your name out of the hat to receive a PDF copy of the 2012 Christmas Collection! Thanks to everyone who visited. It was great hanging out with you and Michelle in Solvang.