Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Lights at Copeland Christmas

I was finally able to get a few shots of the lights. They didn't turn out that good, but it's a start.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Toys For Tots Delivery

Here's the first load of toys we brought to the fairgrounds for the Toys For Tots campaign.

We were soooo happy to get a mini tour of the warehouses and system that the White Doves of Martin County uses for their distribution process.

Each and every toy is cataloged in an excel spreadsheet...I love it! It's so organized!
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A Bus and a Roast

The standing rib roast at Publix is half price right now. The cuts of meat are good, so I've bought a few over the past week. Here's my first practice. It turned out great, but I will adjust the recipe (at the bottom) for Christmas dinner.

John likes his prime rib rare to med-rare. This one turned out med-rare.

Here's the second load of toys that I took to the fairgrounds this weekend for the kids at Toys For Tots.

Here's the bus that showed up last Friday when the rain made our lights turn off. It really was a rare sight to see a huge bus in our little neighborhood. We scrambled to turn on all the lights, but 4 of 6 boxes would not work. The visitors still came inside to check out the inside and the garage, so I think they were happy anyway :)

Standing Rib Roast (Prime Rib)
5 lb roast (bone in, not tied)
4 packs baby portabella mushrooms
1 cup low sodium beef broth
Montreal Steak Seasoning

Allow roast to rest at room temp for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 500. Add broth and shrooms to deep baking dish. Generously season all sides of roast with seasoning. Cook roast 60 mins then turn oven off and keep door closed. Allow roast to remain in oven for 5 mins per pound (5x5=25).

Next time I make this roast, I am going to trust my internal thermometer. I will do 45 mins instead of 60 mins and I will take the roast out of the oven when the internal temp is 120...which may be less than the calculated 5 mins per pound.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

The lights are off tonight

The rain is too bad. lights tonight. Come tomorrow.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lots of International Traffic at

I received an email this morning from a woman in Sydney, Australia. She met my brother last month when he was on his way home to surprise us for Thanksgiving. He bought a boomerang from her gift shop and told her about our Christmas display. Apparently, she visited our website yesterday and has been emailing it around the other side of the world. Pretty cool.

So, then I was interested in recent international website I pulled up google analytics...

In the past 30 days, visitors ranked as follows:

1500 visits from USA
100 visits from Canada
8 visits from UK, Canada, Germany
6 visits from Australia
4 visits from New Zealand
...1 from Bahrain
...1 from Vietnam

The list goes on, but these are the highlights. Pretty cool.
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Toys For Tots Stash

We have entered the final 24 hours of Toys for Tots collection. More toys were just dropped off. I get drop offs at all hours of the's pretty cool. Here'a video of the Toys for Tots tree. I'm sure there are hundreds of toys but it's hard to tell from the video. More photos to come tomorrow...that's when I do my final shopping. So excited.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crazy Toys For Tots Donations

We've had soooo many pepole come out in droves to donate toys. I'd like to thank Mark (Navy) and Robin Stevenson for bringing a dozen bags of toys over last night! Also Caiden dropped off a donation that I will use to go shopping for more toys!

Here's Robin, me, and Mark in front of the Toys For Tots tree. The toys are covering the floor below.


Distribution begins Saturday, so if you have last minnute toys to drop off on Friday, bring them to the Martin County Fairgrounds.
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Resurrecting an Idea from Years Ago

A few years ago we took photos inside the Christmas store at one of the Disney parks in Orlando. That was the first year we did a gingerbread scene at the house. Anyway, I was just looking back through the photos and discovered a ginat gingerbread man that I believe I can carve out of styrofoam for next year's display.

From Copeland Christmas Blog

I don't know where the scene would go, but the little Annalee gingerbread guys could hang from lights like they did in the 07 display shown here.

The gingerbread is hanging from a blue icicle light in this's just hard to see. Maybe I could do a giant candy themed tree and have the gingerbread village under it and the large styrofoam pieces on the wall. Or...I can make oversized candy pieces for the tree!!!...this sounds good. Large swirl candies wrapped in cellofane...large gingerbread cookies carved from styro...gum drops dusted in pastel glitter and strung over LED lights...strands of popcorn. I just have to find a source for good thick styrofoam.

Toys For Tots Drive Did Great Lastnight

Lastnight, a great Palm City family pulled up in front of the house and asked John if he could drop off toys for our toy drive.

This generous family (The Cirels sp?) brought in bags upon bags of toys for the Toys For Tots toy drive. The kids had fun arranging the toys under the tree and the parents had fun watching the kids. I think it was a pretty cool experience for everyone.

I'd like to say hello to the folks from Italy...I was told by Kimberly that her family in Milan, Abruzzi, and Florence would all know about our house by morning. Chow!

I'd also like to say hello to all our friends from Monarch and Harbor Ridge again. And hello to the family from Australia and New Zealand!

Lastly, thanks to Mr Ridgely for the pizza!
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Videos from Copeland Christmas

We posted new videos!
2009 video from the local news
2008 video from the local news
2007 video from the local news
2006 video amateur recording

Here's a video from two years ago (2007) of the display

2007CopelandChristmasDisplay from danielle copeland on Vimeo.

Fixing the Lights

Each night we walk the yard just before sunset and make sure all the lights are working. We've been pretty lucky so far this year.

Last year, John replaced 1000 roof lights during the season. This year we haven't had to replace any! Here and there a few mini lights were replaced this year and a couple spot lights...can't complain at all!
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Done with Sequencing....For Real!

We FINALLY added Wizards in Winter to our show! Tonight is the first come on by. Here's a video of my laptop playing the final Wizards sequence that will be in tonight's show.

Here is a screen shot of the software that controls all the outdoor lights and the FM transmittter.

The 2009 show features 7 songs and lasts 20.7 minutes (a bit long in my opinion).
Tonight, we will have the following changes incporporated into our display:
- new intro script
- added the song Wizards in Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- added two short intermission voiceovers
- added Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas is You
- added a wrap up sequence that includes That's all folks by Porky Pig

The song Wizards in Winter was sequenced a few years ago by a homeowner for his Christmas lights. He posted a video on youtube and it went viral. Miller Lite used it in one of their commercials and this year, it's popping up again on commercials.

We have been reluctant to program this song for our house because of a few reasons...but this year, we decided to do it anyway. It really turned out great!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Copeland Christmas Porch Photos

We decorated the porch this year. Mom and Kathy really came up with the vision, then they helped set everything up.

Here's the pink trees...the big one is decorated with Princesses and the small ones are gingerbread.

Here are the Tinsel snowmen and the new penguin from John's parents!

I'll take photos of the other half of the porch and post them tonight.
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Toys For Tots Update...SUCCESS!

I just want to thank the dozen or so visitors this week that have supported our Toys For Tots campaign!!!!! THANK YOU! We have a tree full of toys and I am headed out this week to get more! I'd especially like to thank the Shambos, Browns, and other Harbor Ridge friends that come by each night.

We want to send a big shout out to Gunner (I'm calling u to help next yr), Jagger, Sean, and Thomas from Palm City. I want to say HI to the O'Donnel and Thiel families from PSL who also do Light-O-Rama light animation. Hello to the visitors from Hawaii, Vermont, NC, NJ, Lockport, Long Island, Princeton, Trinity, and Cheshire England! I've had the opportunity to meet all of you this year and I love hearing about where you are from!

Also, I want to say happy holidays to all our awesome FOX RUN neighbors. I've had sooooo many visitors gush about Fox Run and how wonderful the whole neighborhood has decorated their homes. Way to go! Here (above) are a few shots from this week. I'm headed out tonight to take more photos, so turn on those lights! Here's Fox Run photos from last fox run site
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

More Houses to Drive By in St Lucie

Less than 5 minutes from our house is the Thiel's house. Here's a video.

Christmas Light Show preview from Shawn Thiel on Vimeo.

They have a website which is and they have directions and a map posted. One cool thing about their house is that it's a corner lot, so all their lights whip around the house and seem to travel from one street to the other.  They are great people, support good charities, and get both of their kids involved in programming, development, and set-up.

2009 Video From this Week

We are open today, Sunday! No rain is gonna keep us closed tonight!

Here's a short video I took of the WPTV van outside the house. It was a fun night and I was tired, so when I finally sat down for a moment, I took a video from my vantage point, right in front of the garage.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Closed Due to Weather

What a bummer! The light sockets and extension cords are WET! We can't open tonight. Sorry. There's good news though...

Sassy and Missy just dropped off two awesome toys for Toys For Tots!!! At least this rain won't keep the kids from getting their toys this year. Here's a shot of our tree...this is where all the toys are kept until we bring them to the donation center. See you another night!

I'm off to record a radio blurb mentioning that the weather has put a damper on the lights tonight!
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The Rain Might Close Us Tonight

The rain today has been unrelenting and it will keep the lights off tonight...I think. It's 4pm now. I will have to make a call in the next hour...We'll see.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Three Danielles at Copeland Christmas

Our good neighbor Danielle comes over to Copeland Christmas each night and enjoys mingling with guests. She even helps with the decorations here at the house. Infact, here's a photo of Danielle helping tear down the Christmas lights in Jan 2008. Lastnight, Danielle and I were hanging out when another Danielle showed up! We thought it would be neat to take a photo.

I think tonight I'll take a walk over to big Danielle's house to photograph their lights. They even have homemade 8 ft candy canes in their yard!
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WPTV News Broadcast from Copeland Christmas

We had a few special visitors last night. A great local news crew found Copeland Christmas a few years ago by doing an internet search and they were here taping within a few days. Here's the link to lastnight's broadcast. It was a very fun night!

A quick side note...I'd like to thank many of my friends and family that has helped get the house camera-ready over the last few weeks.
  • Thanks to John for allowing, orchestrating, and executing this huge project
  • Thanks to the Roberts for support, hand-on-help, cool Christmas stuff
  • Thanks to the Copeland's for support, hands-on-help, cool Christmas stuff, and great ideas
  • Thanks to neighbors for hands-on-help, patience, and merry cheer (see below)

Check out this turkey that was brought over lastnight by an awesome neighbor.

I want to thank the following kids for helping with so much of the decorations:

Amanda Stevens Matthew Roberts
Mackenzie Stevens Allie Ridgely
Andrew Ridgely Danielle Dodge

Monday, November 30, 2009

Light Are Officially Working!

Well, lastnight's lighting was a bit touchy...tonight will be running smoothly! Here's a quick screen shot of one of the utilities that runs our display. We have our computer hooked up to electrical control boxes...the control boxes get hooked up to the lights and transmit the musical sequences from the computer to the lights...pretty cool.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tonight is the Night!

I think we're lighting up tonight! John's on the way home to get the last 4 palms done. I'm headed out to get the Christmas tree and some last minute supplies. Had someone email me this morning to say they drove by but nothing was lit up. I wonder how many people will be by tonight if we get everything lit up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Copeland Christmas Garage is nearly Done

I put some of the finishing touches on the garage tonight. I still need to install some spot lights so that the village scenes and large Clauses aren't too dark. The fence still needs to be done and we need to clean up the mess in the side yard...but I think we're getting there!!!

Here's a quick video of the garage...

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Got Some Lights up this Morning


I made some big gold bows to cover the hardware on the Copeland Christmas garage door sign. Then, I wrapped the door with purple lights and the windows with gold lights. The two front palms were wrapped with blue lights.


Now I’m trying to figure out how to make a picket fence along the garage.


I got these garden fence rails at Lowes for $20…good price, but now what do I do with them? A neighbor said I could drill holes into the driveway…I don’t think so. I could use the cinder blocks, but they are just so bulky and unfinished looking. Below is a photo from the 2008 garage display…they look great from a distance.


I will keep thinking.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Got about a Week Left to Decorate

I think we'll be ready to go the Sunday of Thanksgiving week. Yesterday, I finished the right side of the garage, got a curio cainet done, put out a cute new LED train...

I nearly finished the Snowman table. I just need to fix the white snow blankets under the table. Today I'm on the roof and up the 4 big palm trees with John.
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