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Fun + Festive: Our Favorite Things to do during the Holidays in the Philadelphia Area with Kids

The holidays are in full swing. About 2 weeks until Christmas and I don’t know about you, but I am in complete OVERLOAD with all the festive things to do with the kids! There is always so much going on, all over the place and I don’t want to miss out {#FOMO} but I also don’t want to overdo it – because as fun as it is to see and do it all, the holidays are a beautiful thing done slow and enjoying each moment – especially through the eyes of the kiddos.

I’ve sort of made it my personal mission over my years living in the city and now as a new resident in the Philadelphia ‘burbs to see, do and explore it all – especially with my kids. I love to encourage them to try new things, experience different places and have all the fun.

If you are like me, looking for another thing or two to add to you holiday to do list with the family, I thought it would be fun {and possibly helpful} to compile a list of our favorites this winter season!

Here’s a look at our holiday favorite that we hit up every year:

First up, Dutch Winter Wonderland.

DW does an incredible job each season and its the perfect park for younger kids. It’s always so clean and not far from Philly – my boys love enjoying the rides at night when they are all lit up, checking out the holiday trains and the Dinosaur Walk {where the Dinos get festive!} There is also a magical train ride and a light up holiday show.

We love it here in the Summer with all the water fun, for Halloween and the Trick or Treat adventures and the Winter Wonderland is always magical! Definitely worth checking out!

Next up – Longwood Gardens.

This tradition sort of happened by accident – my parents are members and love going and we just started taking the boys each year – now they are old enough to enjoy it more and love everything festive. The light + water shows are beautiful and the decor is unreal!

This year was our first time going to a Christmas Tree Farm – picking a tree + chopping it down on our own. The boys LOVED it and I really enjoyed it too. Yeagers Farm + Market in Phoenixville is where we went this year, next year we are going to try another new spot – but it was a lot of fun and worth thinking about – especially if you don’t have a tree yet!

Can’t continue on with this post without a little love for Hershey. I did a entire post about our visit to Christmas Candyland + Sweet Lights – if you are looking for a great holiday time with family, this is it!

Next Up – Home Depot!

If you aren’t signing up for the monthly {FREE} Kids Workshops, you are missing out. They do extra ones around the holiday season and they are so much fun, my boys love them. Definitely add to your list to check out.

Brunch with Santa! We’ve done a few of these over the years and they are always so lovely. This year it was the only time our boys were going to get to visit with Santa, so it was extra special to see them give their lists and chat. They are EVERYWHERE and much more fun than a mall visit – definitely do some online searching to find one near you, they are happening all over!

Now for a little focus on the city in Philadelphia. After living there for so many years, we definitely had our holiday schedules down pat. A few of our favorites would always be the ice skating + markets around City Hall, along with the Holiday Light Show at the Comcast Building {a classic!}

We also LOVED to hit up the Macy’s Tree Lighting Show and Dicken’s Village. I hope to get down there this year to see this as its another holiday classic in Philadelphia. Reading Terminal Market also always has a great train display too!

And can’t forget about Scuba Santa! The underwater Christmas tree and all the Holiday Fun at the Camden Aquarium is a fabulous way to spend the day.

This year, new to the Philadelphia area for the holiday season is the Zoo Lights! We haven’t been yet, but I hope to get down for it sometime soon, its supposed to be so much fun!

DIY Christmas Tree Wooden Stand Box – The Home Depot Workshop

I’m so excited to finally share with you this DIY I started working on last month! If you’ve been following along my IG for a while, you will know that we religiously go to the Home Depot Kids Workshops. If you aren’t familiar with them – you should DEFINITELY check them out. I share a little more about our experiences at them in this post, but they are the first Saturday of EVERY MONTH from 9-12 at every Home Depot, nationwide. You can sign up + register in advance, or just show up – but the entire thing is free.

Side Note: This is not sponsored in any way. I’m just obsessed and want to share the love!

So my boys have been going for well over a year at this point. They do seasonal workshop activities every month and it’s a great experience for them – making something from scratch, using tools, painting – the whole thing. I love it, and let’s be honest – we usually have a Home Depot errand to run at least once a month anyways.

BUT while I’ve been frequenting the Kids workshops monthly, I had absolutely NO IDEA they do adult workshops too. I was registering the boys for the November + December workshops when I randomly stumbled upon the ones for adults.

HELLOOOO! Where have you been all my life?! I love a good craft and since we’ve recently purchased our new home, I’d love any opportunity to get more crafty and DIY focused. So I signed myself up for the two holiday adult workshops and away I went.

I’ve made two DIY creations from the workshops in the past few weeks and will share the second one next week. Today, since we finally got our tree up – is the debut of our new Christmas tree stand box!

Isn’t she a beaut?!

So before I gawk into how incredible she turned out, let me walk you though the workshop I participated in, because this is something you can TOTALLY do yourself at home – all you need is the two tools, which if you don’t have, I am totally confident you can find someone to borrow them from, or better yet – swing by Home Depot and ask to use a set!

First up – here’s what I had to work with – wood!

If you are interested in DIY-ing this, here are the dimensions for the wood. They will cut it for you for free at any HD – and the pieces were pretty simple to put together, once cut.

I lined everything up and then I was ready for my first power tool.

This nail gun was legit.

You can totally nail everything in with a hammer, would take a lot longer and you would be able to see the nails, but definitely do-able if you cannot get your hands on a nail gun.

Once the three sides all hand their wood pieces lined up and nailed in, it was time to connect everything. If you are wondering, this stand box only has 3 sides so you can slide it into the tree, with the open side facing the wall – so you can easily get into water it and such.

Power Drill time. We used corner brackets to connect the pieces. This makes it easy to take a part the stand into 3 flat pieces if you like for easy storage during the year!

Here’s the stand! And I measured my actual stand before starting this project, so I was sure everything would fit perfectly.

Here’s the DIT project guide if you want to take a better look to do it yourself! I personally felt like it looked harder than it actually was – once everything was broken down into steps, it was pretty quick and easy!

A proud DIY-er!

We had the option to stain the stand at the store, but I didn’t want to deal with that mess in my car so I did it at home. I did a few coats to make it all dark, even and luscious – let it dry and I am IN LOVE with how it turned out!

I seriously am so happy with it! This Christmas Tree stand is something I am so proud to have under my tree and its so much more meaningful in that it’s something that I made. I think it looks great with our decor, with our amazing wood floors and I can’t say enough good things about the workshop.

I will definitely be signing up for more and I can’t wait to share with you what else I made. Stay tuned next week for that!

Here’s a look at the whole tree + finished product – What do you think? Did you know about the DIY Home Depot adult workshops? What about the ones for kids? I’d love to know if you’ve made anything super fun that you love! Thanks for following along + Happy Holidays!

24 hours in Hershey, PA for the Holidays – Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, Sweet Lights, Hershey Lodge, Water Works and Chocolate World!

The weekend before Thanksgiving the boys and I packed up the car for a quick + festive visit to Hershey, PA for this Holiday season. With turkey day being so late this year, there were less weekends before Christmas and scheduling things during this time is always a challenge – but I am SO HAPPY we were able to sneak away for a weekend and start out the Holidays with a BANG in the Sweetest Place on Earth!

This post is all about sharing with you just HOW MUCH you can squeeze into a super fun 24 hours away in Hershey, PA – especially during the Holidays, there is SO MUCH going on!

We drove from our house on Saturday morning after an easy morning, made a quick stop at Troeg’s for an early lunch {as we always do} and then hit up Hersheypark at 12:00 just as they opened for their Christmas Candylane fun!

Christmas at Hershey is THE MOST MAGICAL! It’s super festive and the park is lit up like crazy – it’s so beautiful to be able to see and walk around the park this time of year.

My absolute favorite part of Hersheypark during the Holidays is that Santa and his 9 reindeer come to visit. Stopping by Santa’s Stables inside the park is incredible – the live reindeer are there for everyone to see, including Rudolph.

Side Note Pro Tip: Come for Christmas Candyland and make sure you get the refillable hot chocolate mug! It’s $12 for this mug and you get unlimited refills while you are there. It was such a nice treat to have a warm drink while we were at the park in the cold – plus the Hershey hot cocoa is INCREDIBLE! For me it has a incredible hint of toasted marshmallow and that’s just my absolute favorite. I think we refilled this 4 times during our visit + the kids and I shared. It was such a good deal, not to mention the artwork on each cup is drawn by a local kiddo & a portion from each cup sale is donated to Children’s Miracle Network in Hershey!

And aside from the Holiday decor and unlimited hot chocolate, there are so many rides open for the kids {and adults!} to enjoy. We are always so surprised with how much is open and how much we get to do inside the park during the November/December months.

Making Memories with my boys.

It’s so nice to walk around the park as it starts to get dark and you can really enjoy everything that is lit up and all the decor. I like to get there as close to park opening as possible so the boys can enjoy all the rides they want and then as it starts to get later we can chill and bit, cozy up in the stroller with a blanket and enjoy the lights! They couldn’t get enough of Santa + his reindeer on the roller coaster track – ha!

Then as it really starts to get dark you can really enjoy the over 4 million lights inside the park!

When we finished enjoying Christmas Candylane, it was time to hit up Sweet Lights! Another reason I like to hit up the park early, so we can make sure everyone’s awake and happy for my favorite light show.

After a long afternoon in the park, it’s always nice to get warmed up in the car and enjoy the 600+ illuminated and animated light displays. It’s the most perfect way to kick off the holiday season for sure, you get to listen to holiday music from your radio, timed to the lights through a 2 mile drive – its very magical and festive ! A incredible way to end a sweet day in Hershey!

This trip the fun wasn’t over for us yet, we had a room waiting for us a the Hershey Lodge and I had made dinner reservations at Fire & Grain {another favorite!} – being able to spend the night and continue the Hershey fun the next day is always such a treat.

Not to mention, the all of the Hershey properties do a fantastic job at decorating for the holidays. We were able to sleep in and wake up to a snowy day in Hershey the next morning, so you know what that means?!

Time to hit the Water Works!

If you stay overnight at the Hershey Lodge you can take advantage of using their indoor waterpark facilities, which we always do – especially during any winter stays! They have water slides, fun obstacles for the kids and a great splash area for younger kiddos. Definitely a great way to start or end any weekend away!

After spending an entire morning at the Water Works, we checked out of the hotel and made our way over to Chocolate World. We usually start or end our Hershey visit here – depending on timing this week it worked out best for us to hit it up on our way home, which was perfect. We kept it short and sweet with a Chocolate World ride, a snack and {in the holiday spirit!} letting the boys pick out a small treat – they went with a small Hershey + Reese’s Hot Wheel car, which I was totally fine with adding to our collection.

All in all, it was a quick but amazing 24 hours in Hershey. As you can see we did a TON and of course we didn’t even do it all. Staying in a Hersheypark resort hotel you get complimentary tickets to the Hershey Gardens and the Hershey Story Museum – which we always intend to use but time always gets away from us at the end! If you’ve got older kids, its definitely worth checking out at some point!

If you are interested, I did another whole post on the benefits + perks of staying in a Hershey Hotel! You can check out that post here.

Thanks so much for following along our Chocolate Covered adventures this holiday season! I’d love to know if you have plans to hit up Hershey soon or in the coming year – let me know!

Video: An Iceland Road Trip from Reykjavík to Vík : Kerið Crator, Gullfoss, Seljandsfoss and Skogafoss Waterfalls, Geysir + Strokkur, Solheimajokull Glacier and more!

Hello! How are ya? Today I wanted to pop on because I have so much to share from our recent Iceland trip, I just had to get another video together for you. I know so many people have their eyes on Iceland for possible upcoming trips, so I want to share as much as I can about our incredible visit to this beautiful country.

After sharing our Day 1 in Iceland – which features our visit to The Blue Lagoon, Brimketill Lava Rock Pools, Gunnuhuver Geothermal area, Reykjanes Peninsula Edge + The Bridge Between Two Continents {yes, we did that all in one day} we spent a few days enjoying the main city + capital of Iceland, Reykjavik.

We had our sights set on the Golden Circle – there is so much to see and do along this famous route and we knew we wanted to make our way towards the other side of the country as well. We followed a similar itinerary from a family member who had been recently and couldn’t have been more pleased with how our road trip turned out!

We woke up before the sun in Reykjavik and had our sights set on Vik. This is normally a 2.5 hour drive or so – but we managed to turn it into a 11+ hour day with 10 stops along the way. I only documented 7 of them in the video, so you get a few extra in this blog post, if you are planning a similar trip!

Heres a look at the video of our Road Trip Day. Check it out and let me know what you think:

As you can see from the video, we saw A TON and really took our time making our way to Vik. In this post, I wanted to give a little more color of all the things we got to see!

Our first stop – Ingólfsfjall – happened sort of by accident. It’s a bit of a pit stop on the side of the road, but after driving our of Reykjavik we were coming out of a ton of fog and rain. Once everything lifted we pulled over and got to see the start of the sunrise. It was a really nice little surprise and a beautiful way to start the day.

We were chasing the sunrise as we approached stop #2 – Kerið Crator. This was not far from our first stop but a beautiful little gem to enjoy along the way. The water was SO blue and it was incredible to see as the sun was coming up over the horizon.

It was really interesting to see the caldera, which is composed of a red (rather than black) volcanic rock. It is also one of the most recognizable volcanic craters in the area at approximately 3,000 years old.

Onto Stop #3 – a visit to Geysir + Strokkur geyser!

Geysir is the one all the other geysers are named after. It’s highest eruption was 400 ft – and is the second highest erupting geyser in history. 
Strokkur geyser {the one erupting in my pictures} is the most active geyser in Iceland and erupts naturally every 4-10 minutes, it can erupt up to 40 ft! The hot spring area here was super active – so much fun to see!

Check out this video on my IG account to see Strokkur in action! She was a beauty to see and it was so cool to see her go off so consistantly- I didn’t want to leave!

Stop #4 and Waterfall #1 of the day – Gullfoss – it’s one of the top 10 waterfalls in the world and one of the 3 main landmarks of the Golden Circle. This waterfall was a beast – so powerful! And the two cascading points made it even more fun to enjoy the spray.

This area of the waterfall was MASSIVE. It covered so much ground and we got to see the waterfalls from so many angles – including pretty up close and personal. Definitely a must see along the Golden Circle!

Stop #5 – Lunch at Fridheimar Greenhouse! This was such an incredible experience – lunch in a greenhouse was one of the coolest things ever! Here they grow four kinds of tomatoes and cucumbers – they are one of the largest supplier of tomatoes in Iceland.

The meal was out of this world – my favorite, the tomato soup was to die for – complete with cut your own basil, sour cream and the worlds most insane bread. We had a fantastic lunch. I know I’ll be dreaming about this one for a while.

Definitely worth the trip if you are in the area, but you have to make reservations if you want to eat here, so be sure to plan ahead. And if you go, bring me back some of that tomato soup, because it was complete heaven.

Another quick one – Stop #6 –  The Secret Lagoon!

There’s absolutely no comparing the Blue + Secret Lagoons, they are so completely different and both so wonderful. Much smaller, but secluded and in the middle of nowhere, the Secret Lagoon is a serious gem.  

If you can spare an hour or so on your travels, this is most definitely worth it!

Stop #7 – Waterfalls #2+ #3 of the day – Seljandsfoss + Gljúfrabúi waterfalls. Two waterfalls in one glorious stop, and this stop one we got a little wet.

We got to get up close and personal with Seljandsfoss going behind it, which was neat. This waterfall is breathtaking from the road, being able to get so close to it was really wild!

We had to wade through a bit of water and cross a creek behind massive boulders to get to Gljúfrabúi – it was secluded and a sight to see. If you are planning to see these falls, be sure to pack waterproof shoes and your rain jacket, because you are going to need it – but definitely stop here and enjoy!

Stop #8 – Waterfall #4 for the day – Skogafoss. We hiked to the top for incredible views and then got to enjoy the falls + the spray, along with a great rainbow, from the bottom. This is one of Iceland’s most elegant waterfalls – with a 25 m cascade and 60 m drop – a true beauty in a fantastic setting. 

Not going to lie, the hike up the stairs to the top is steep + no joke, but that might have been my 3 month pregnant self being extra sensitive – and frankly tired at this point in the day. But definitely worth being able to see the beautiful falls from the two different vantage points and the views from the top are incredible.

A Rainbow at the bottom was a bonus little treat we got to enjoy!

Stop #9 – our last {outdoor} stop on our road trip day from Reykjavík to Vík. A 2.5 hour trip that we turned into an 11 hour day with tons of stops, incredible sights and lots of fun. We were pretty done by this point in the day but wanted to get our first look at one of the glaciers in the area. Solheimajokull Glacier was big, beautiful and not much of a hike for us to get a little peek of it, at the end of a long day.

We didn’t plan on stopping here, but it was nice to do at the end of our trip into Vik.

Stop #10 – Smiðjan Brugghús – After that long day we were hungry and tired and the hubs had researched a local craft brew pub that was right around the corner from the hotel we were staying at. It was a really cool little spot, worth checking out for sure if you are in Vik!

So there you have it – our first leg of travel on the Golden Circle from Reykjavik to Vik. It was a busy day, but I’m so glad we didn’t everything we did because it was all so incredible to see!

Thanks for following along on this looooong post, but I’d love to know what you think of our trip so far! And if you’ve been or are planning to go to Iceland – I’d love to know your favorite spots or what’s on your list!

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