The kiddo got a special phone call this year from Santa himself. He later confided that he thought it was his uncle playing a trick until he realized that Santa knew things that his uncle would not know! Hope Santa visits your home tonight!
Every year for the past four years we have been going to Hershey at Christmastime. We stay at the same hotel, the Comfort Inn at the Park, and add a new activity to our schedule each year. This year we went for a weekend and had a blast! Between the chocolate, the fun with friends and the snow, it was a memory in the making. We probably went on the Chocolate World ride five times over the weekend, as the kiddo loves it (and the free chocolate candy sample at the end!)
Our buddies met us on Friday night at the park for some Candy Lane fun! The kids loved riding the train together and my son LOVED driving us around in a classic car. It was really cold, but we were prepared with layers of warmth and hot cocoa waiting for us at the hotel.
Because we knew it was going to snow on Saturday, we planned our night at the park on Friday and spend the day at the Hershey Story on Chocolate Avenue. I wasn't sure how well that visit would go over with the kid, but he loved it. He learned all about the history of Milton Hershey and the town of Hershey, along with how to make chocolate. We even had the chance to visit the Chocolate Lab there and make our own chocolate bars.
We enjoyed a good lunch at Cafe Zooka in the Hershey Story, including dessert! (Peanut Butter Pie to share!) The kiddo couldn't wait to taste his newly crafted chocolate bar from the Chocolate Lab.
We enjoyed a ride through Hershey on on the Hershey Trolley Works, complete with a visit with Santa! They were offering trolley rides through the Hershey Sweet Lights, which we had planned to do, but due to the snow it was cancelled. We will have to do it next year! The Christmas ride we took was fun, featuring actors portraying the history of Milton Hershey and some Christmas fun. Santa knew all the names of the kids on the trolley and gave each of them a special ornament to hang on their tree at home.
The hotel we stay at is about two miles from the park and has our duck friends, as we like to call them. This year we brought some bread to share with them and they were very appreciative!
We brought home some sweet treats and had a fun family weekend!
Recently I received a copy of the coolest designed alphabet board book I've ever seen: ALPHABLOCK by Christopher Franceschelli, art by Peskimo. This huge and chunky board book features brightly illustrated pages that contain die-cut letters with corresponding words and pictures to help children identify the English alphabet.
My son is in kindergarten and learning to write and read. While this book is probably best for a preschool aged child or younger, he still appreciated it and had fun exploring the pages. The cut out letters and the peek-a-boo game with the words makes reading ALPHABLOCK fun. The illustrations were created by a husband and wife design team from the UK. This is their first children's book, but hopefully not their last. It was created with such a fun energy!
The author, Chrsitopher Franceschelli, has created many colorful children's books and this one certainly is entertaining while also being educational. I think ALPHABLOCK would be a great gift book!
My favorite page is the "L" page as those glasses of lemonade look so refreshing! My son thinks the "U" is for Underwear is hysterical! The letters on each page pop out of the book with lots of bold color. This is definitely not a traditional baby-ish alphabet book full of pastels and muted colors. This is a book that is visually and texturally appealing, to kids and their parents! It is no surprise that it made the Parent's Best Children's Books list for 2013. This book is just fun to read and explore.
Disclosure: I received one copy of this book for the purposes of this review. No financial compensation was received, nor was I required to post a review. Opinions expressed here are honest and my own (and my son's!)
It snowed on Sunday, unexpected snow. We expected rain and maybe a little messy snow, but it was plowable snow! We spent the day watching the Eagles snow game and decorating the tree. More snow is expected for Tuesday. What a mess!
Menu plan for dinners this week:
Monday: Salmon burgers, salads
Tuesday: Homemade Tomato Soup (made over the summer with CSA tomatoes!) and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Wednesday: spaghetti and meatballs, broccoli, salad
Recently I had the chance to try out the new Limited Edition Moisture Plus Lip Balm line from Carmex as a member of their blog squad. This collection of fun and stylish designs wraps up the Carmex Moisture Plus Lip Balm that I've been using for years. They asked me to take their Uniquely You Personality Quiz to see which of the new designs matched my style. There are four new limited edition designs this season, Adventurous, Whimsical, Chic and Fab! I took the quiz and my results were Chic! The Chic stick is inspired by Audrey, the modern girl with classic taste. Want to stay fashionable while protecting your lips from the harsh wintery weather? Take the Carmex Uniquely You Personality Quiz to match your style to one of the new, limited edition Moisture Plus Collection of lip balms.
I've been using the Carmex line of lip balms for a few years now and have always found that their protection works for me. I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a lip balm addict, never passing up a chance to try a new one. Carmex has been a consistent staple in my lip balm "collection" for years. I like it especially in the winter, as it has a bit of a tingle to it that makes me feel like it really is healing chapped lips. I like their Moisture Plus line, as it glides on easily and comes in a nice sized tube. These new patterns on the tubes are fun and cute. I don't really have a favorite design, as I think they are all pretty, although as you can see the first design I tried was the leopard print Adventurous one!
Disclosure: I received one four pack of lip balms from Carmex as a member of their blog squad. No monetary compensation was recieved. Opinions expressed here are honest and my own.
A few weeks ago I planted three amaryllis bulbs and a pot of paper whites. One amaryllis has bloomed and the other two are slowly growing. But today I notice that I have a bloom on the paper whites! I love to have flowers indoors during the holidays. It makes winter a bit easier to tolerate! I still need to pick up a few poinsettia plants soon.
Recently I received this new hand sanitizer product, CleanSmart, to try out and review. With a kid in school exposed to lots of germs, as well as my own weekly volunteer job in his elementary school, I use a lot of hand sanitizer. I spend one afternoon each week in the elementary school's library, handling the books kids take home. We sanitize the books when they are returned and I sanitize my hands constantly while there. My hands dry out fast, especially in the winter months, so the alcohol in the traditional hand gels do not help. CleanSmart is supposed to be different and work just as well as alcohol based sanitizers.
I received two types of CleanSmart to try, a bottle of hand sanitizer in a gel consistency and a spray bottle of a liquid version. I keep the spray bottle in my car to use on the go. I like that it dries fast and is not quite as messy as the gel sanitizer I had been using, which I often somehow "drop" the gel while trying to use it. So far the CleanSmart sanitizer has not dried out my skin and I feel comfortable letting my son use it. The company claims that the product is "naturally moisturizing." The bottle hasn't leaked either, something that I was concerned about initially.
CleanSmart contains replicated Hypochlorous acid, "the only non-toxic germ killer that destroys the viruses, bacteria and pathogens that can harm your family." I am not a scientist with access to a lab to test out the company's claims, but I did look up Hypochlorous acid online to learn that it is formed when adding chlorine to water and is oftne used in sanitiation related to food/kitchens. There is no alcohol listed on the ingredient list, whereas the regular hand sanitizer gel I use contains 68% alcohol. If you are looking for an alcohol free product, then this is good for you.
The CleanSmart product is not scented but immediately out of the bottle smells lightly like chlorine or a pool. The scent seemed to fade immediately and did not leave my hands scented. I liked that as some scents set off my allergies! Here's hoping to have few colds and no flu this winter! I'll be sharing the extra samples sent with some of my mom-friends so they can be protected too.
CleanSmart won't be available in stores until next year, but in the mean time can be purchased online at CleanSmartHome.com.
Disclosure: I received samples of the product to initiate this editorial review. No monetary compensation was receieved. The opinions shared here are mine.
Do you have a favorite Christmas or holiday book from your childhood? I have many! I've been collecting children's Christmas picture books forever and have amassed quite a collection that I've now passed on to my son. Each year we pull out the books from a big box in storage to re-read favorites as well as one or two new ones that I add. This year I am borrowing an idea from Hillary of My Scraps. I wrapped 24 of our holiday books, one for each night leading up to Christmas. I told my son that he gets to unwrap one book a night to read, but we can always re-read any of the opened ones throughout the month.
I purchased two rolls of wrapping paper at the dollar store and spent an evening wrapping up all the books. I showed my son the stack tonight and explained the process. He was very excited about getting to unwrap a book each day, even though they are not new books. Tonight he happened to pick out one of my favorites, illustrated by a favorite artist/illustrator of mine, Mary Engelbriet.
My son's only request was that we re-read this one on Christmas Eve. Not a problem!