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Slurping, smiling and scavenging with Santa

Crandall's daughter, Megan, spends much of her time working in the stables because she likes being around horses. The Santa activities, though, give her a little extra joy.

"Their faces light up, it's really great. The kids sometimes don't even eat their pancakes because they're just staring at Santa, it's a cool thing to watch and a lot of fun," said Megan.

The goats and lamb that take center stage in Crandall's Christmas fantasy are actually more like family pets, she said.

"The goats have no idea they're farm animals; they'd be shocked if they heard," said Crandall.

The family rescued them as babies, less than a week old, and raised them in the house.

"They're really so domesticated. Ellie the lamb thinks my daughter is her mother because she always bottle fed her," said Crandall. "When Ellie hears her voice, she starts crying for her and if you call her name she'll run from wherever she is."

Rescuing animals is something of a trend at Schauber Stables, with at least nine of their 35 horses rescued from a slaughterhouse fate in Canada.

"We've given them a second chance at life. Both my children are animal lovers and they take it to heart; it's their passion," said Crandall.

Schauber Stables offers everything from camps to lessons to fun activities, and although Crandall manages the barn, she said she couldn't do it without her daughters' help.

"In real life I'm a full-time criminal defense attorney. This is just a hobby that's run amuck," said Crandall. "The kids work their tails off but it's a nice healthy balance."

For more information about the stable's offerings, visit www.schauberstables.com. Santa will be at the stables from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Present hunts are $10 and includes the hayride, a visit with Santa and a picture with Santa. Breakfast with Santa is the next two Sundays and reservations are required. Spaghetti with Santa is the next two Saturdays and reservations are also required. Anyone who comes with an unwrapped gift to be donated to kids in foster care will receive 50 percent off whatever activity they're there for.

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