cookies, cookies, cookies

Last December I stopped by St. Peter's Church in Lebanon to take pictures of their their 18th annual Christmas cookie sale.

When I arrived the Friday before the sale, volunteers were finishing up the last few batches of cookies and candy while also making sure everything was organized for the following morning. 

Knowing that they had been baking the past week and even some weekends prior, I knew there would be a lot of cookies. However, it wasn't until I saw all the boxes in the back that I realized how many cookies there really were.

Although it was tempting to sneak a cookie on my way out the door that night, I refrained. 

The next morning I returned and even though the sale didn't start until 8:00 am, many people were already there to secure a good spot in line. Once the sale started people made their way around the tables filled with cookies and added a variety of treats to their containers. 

Many people stayed afterwards to check out the craft fair and to have something to eat [besides all the cookies they just bought!]. As not to be outdone by all the varieties of cookies, there were about 20 soups to choose from. 

If you haven't stopped by this cookie sale in the past, keep it in mind for this coming year! 

santa cruz, part 2

Looking back at our two full days in Santa Cruz last December, I realized we did A LOT on the first day. I last wrote and shared pictures from the first half of the day. Picking up where I left off, we were at the Natural Bridges State Beach and from there walked to the butterfly preserve. We happened to be there at a great time to view the monarchs since this is one of the spots many of them migrate to for the winter due to the eucalyptus groves in the park.

At first we didn't see much, but after a while we could see little specks of movement. Those where the monarchs way up in the trees! Although you can't see the specks in the picture below, that was the view looking up. 

Inside the learning center there were a few monarch chrysalis to view up close. It's amazing how intricate they are and how they are formed. We also got to see a monarch that had hatched just moments before we got there. 

After viewing the butterflies we headed back down West Cliff Drive to the main surfing area which is known as Steamer Lane.  There were a bunch of surfers out and they were a lot of fun to watch. 

From here we traveled downtown to eat lunch at Lulu Carpenters. After walking around and checking out a few stores, we stopped at The Penny Ice Creamery and shared a scoop of delicious apple crisp ice cream. 

And because we can't sit still we then headed to Capitola. Eric knows me so well that he knew I'd love to take pictures of the colorful beach homes. And of course I did. 

As it had been off and on the whole day, it was no surprise it started to rain again. Although this time, it was not letting up. We tried to figure out where we could go and we remembered - THE BIGFOOT DISCOVERY MUSEUM! If you are ever in the area, it's a must see. It's too hard to explain all my feelings and thoughts on it, but I will leave you with my three favorite things I shared on Twitter about the place: 

After the Bigfoot fun, we found the perfect bar down the road where we stopped to have a drink and play cribbage. The bar was Monty's Log Cabin and it had an up north Wisconsin, small bar feel. No one was really there together, but yet they all knew each other. We felt like outsiders, although it was fun to people watch. 

For supper that night we stopped at Redwood Pizzeria in Felton before heading back to Santa Cruz for one last amazing stop before the end of the night. 

THE CHRISTMAS HOUSE. I'm sure locals may have another name for it, but that's the best I could come up with. We first drove by it during the day and knew we'd have to come back once it was dark.

We weren't the only ones who had stopped to take a closer look and take pictures. Eric even got to talk to the owner for a bit. 

I also want to mention it was weird to be in a warmer climate so close to Christmas. It's one thing to see decorations here in Wisconsin and even if there's no snow on the ground, it's at least freezing. Here in California, it seemed wrong to see things like decorative flags that have a penguin on a snow covered hill. You guys don't know what Christmas weather feels like! 

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the Christmas House. It was a cheery ending to our very busy day.