My daughter has moved from writing her alphabet to full words and phrases, and evidence of her recent practice explosion has been popping up everywhere. It all started as a desperate attempt to communicate her Christmas wish list to Santa.
After finally exhausting all Christmas wants and desires, she continued her momentum with a barrage of notes addressed to our pets. We found notes left for the animals on their food bowls.
It’s been fun finding notes all over our house, but by far my favorite note is the very last one I found while tucking myself into bed after a looong day.
Although my family had just been to Chocolate World for Hershey’s S’mores Campfire Party, December brings the Christmas candy house, yet another incentive to visit the sweetest place on earth.
Believe it or not, I wasn’t initially blown away when I first spotted the house. I’ve been blown away year after year by candy masterpieces, and at first glance, this design appeared much simpler than in previous years. It appeared to be basically a big rectangular box without columns or dormers.
It wasn’t until I got much closer that I noticed all of the intricate details, and when I began inspecting it up close I realized that the inside was fully decorated!The windows are not very large, so it is really impressive and sneaky that they made the effort to fully deck out the interior.
Some of my favorite details include Santa’s mailbox, the candy walkway, and the front door made from panels of huge chocolate bars. Oh, and if you like Twizzlers, expect to be tickled pink.
You really have to get up close to truly appreciate all of the details and work that went into this chocolate home, so visit Hershey’s Chocolate World and see for yourself! Admission into Chocolate World and Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour is free.
Looking for a truly unique holiday gift for dads? Then check out Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities, which is available for pre-order on Amazon, shipping just in time for Christmas (12/17 according to Amazon, although the author expects preorders to ship in the first week of December). Inspired by the Whole Earth Catalog, the contents of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities include a curated list from ten years of user reviewed tools, gadgets, and more featured on the Cool Tools website. Cool tools are described as “the best, the cheapest, or the only thing that works.” I can’t wait to get my own copy, which is precisely why I’ve already preordered it as an early Christmas gift to myself! I’m dreaming about perusing it with my kids on my lap, imagining all of the possibilities for future projects, and the adventures that will ensue.
This past weekend we stopped by Bass Pro Shops (the kids call it the “fishy store”) on a whim and were pleasantly surprised to find Santa’s Wonderland open for business. This seasonal event wasn’t on our radar when we decided to stop in, so it was a bonus for the kids. Santa’s Wonderland is an activity-packed event located inside Bass Pro Shops. It’s open now through December 24th, AND, it’s free!
Some of the activities featured at our location included:
- Carousel rides
- Daisy air rifle shooting gallery (don’t worry parents, it’s electronic, so your kids can’t shoot their eyes out).
- Model trains
- R/C truck obstacle course
- Crafts and carnival games
- Letter to Santa station (One of the nice things about the letter to Santa station is that we finally learned what my daughter wants for Christmas)
- Free studio-quality photo with Santa!
The only thing we didn’t have time for was the photo with Santa. The line was long, and we felt it a bit early in the season for a Santa photo, and most importantly, it gives us a reason to come back again soon.
For more information and participating locations, visit the Bass Pro Santa’s Wonderland online.
Enjoy the seasonal sounds of my kids meow meow meowing in the car to the tune of Jingle Bells. Happy Holidays everyone!
When I was a little, I adored Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, the Jim Henson Christmas movie from 1977. I loved it so much that I wanted to build my own washtub bass. Unfortunately for me, Ma and Pa wouldn’t let me anywhere near the old washtub. I can vividly remember my Dad watching this with me every Christmas season, and I can just as clearly recall him singing (poorly) along with it.
While in a nostalgic Christmas mood several years ago, I tried to purchase a DVD copy off the internet. They must have been out of print at the time because they were going for over a hundred dollars on eBay! I thought I’d never see the Riverbottom Boys again (they were the coolest villainous rock band – my favorite!).
Well, it looks like Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas has not only been back in print for some time, but it’s seemed to have reach overstock status. I found one in a bargain bin for $5 and snatched it right up. I’m really glad I waited a few years and didn’t fork over a hundred bucks!
The other night I eagerly popped it into the Blu-ray player for the kids to enjoy, and, to my surprise, they had zero interest in watching it! It looks like Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas will NOT become one of Secret Dad’s Christmas traditions, at least not yet. I’ll still be giving it a go next year, and maybe again the year after that. If nothing else, it will become a tradition of untraditions.
Tell us about one of your failed family traditions!
…COULD put Buzz Lightyear together again.
Previously: Man Down!!!
My family hits the local farmer’s market on an almost weekly basis, and whenever we’re there, I always stop in at the candy booth to pick up a few black licorice pipes.
I always found black licorice to be gross when I was growing up, with the exception being these ‘ol fashioned black licorice pipes. They’re so soft and delicious! I have all good intentions of channeling some Popeye as I unwrap each pipe, and yet it never fails that before a single “I am what I am” can escape my lips, I’ve already bitten off the end. They’re a classic nostalgic treat that would make great stocking stuffers for anyone, especially dads.
I offered these up to some friends recently when I remembered that I had several stashed away in my inside coat pocket, and they just gobbled them right up. Now, every time I’m at the market, I seem to end up buying more than the last time. Luckily I’ve found a cheap source where they are two for a dollar! I know that’s a pretty good price because I’ve seen them in candy stores for $1.50 a piece!
You’re always sure to get a smile when you offer a licorice pipe to someone, and they seem to fit in especially well during the holiday season. It makes sense, too, because I can totally imagine Santa munching on some of these babies. Yes, indeed, black licorice pipes get the Secret Dad Society official seal of approval. The next time you are shopping and you see some of these tasty pipes, remember to pick up a few, and give one to the next friend or deserving dad that you encounter. It will make their day!