Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmastime in Branson

We started a little tradition with my husband's family where we take a trip every year around Christmas. Last year we went to Disney World and this year we stayed much closer to home and headed to Branson. I posted about our Summer Trip to Branson last year and the city is so much different in the summer than it is in the winter. One of the main attractions in Branson is Silver Dollar City, and they do a huge Christmas celebration but we opted out this time since it's outdoors and temperatures were in the single digits. I'm so glad we decided not to it was so painfully cold.

J stayed behind to get a few work projects wrapped up and we definitely missed him. My mother in law, brother in law, and niece rode with me and the boys and it took us the full 4 hours due to some ice we had the day before we left. We also met up with J's aunt and uncle who drove up from Arkansas.

No trip to Branson is complete without a stop at Lamberts for lunch and while Jack enjoyed eating the hot thrown rolls, he was not a fan of catching them.

After lunch we made the short 30 minute trip from the restaurant to our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Green Mountain Drive which is right off hwy 76, the main road through town. I've stayed at several hotels in Branson over the years and this one is by far one of the best for the price and location. I love me a fancy hotel, but for a quick vacation with kids this hotel gets the job done. The pool area is especially awesome and there's a lounge area and sauna for those who don't want to swim. 

By the time we got checked in and unpacked it was already dark so we headed out to The Shepard of the Hills to see The Trail of Lights. We were so sad when we got there and they were closed due to weather :( We made the best of it and went to another drive thru light display and while driving back to the hotel we just happened to run into Santa himself and his trusty reindeer Vixen. 

Seven drummers drumming.

While talking with Santa it started to snow which was the perfect Christmas moment that we wrapped up quickly since it was 1 degree. Back at the hotel the kids swam and we ordered pizza for dinner. This was probably the kids favorite part and we joked that we could have stayed home and gone to the local rec center and they would have been just as happy. Go figure.

We woke up to about an inch of snow on Sunday morning and braved the steep, curvy roads up to the Chateau on the Lake to check out their famous gingerbread villages. The hotel itself was beautiful and like the name suggests, right on the lake. The kids loved that the hotel had a glass elevator and I think we'll have to stay here during our next visit.

Don't you just love Jack's excitement for life :)

Hotel lobby and if you look closely you'll notice the man in the red suit.

The gingerbread houses were enormous and so intricate. Lots of the houses used PopTarts for shingles on the roof and they definitely put our measly little gingerbread village at home to shame.

After lunch Ben went back to the hotel with his uncle and cousin to swim and Jack and I went with J's mom, aunt and uncle, to an antique mall and craft fair where I picked up this adorable buffalo checked infinity scarf.

Sunday evening we had tickets to Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede and instead of the usual show it was Christmas themed. Although the show is pretty cheesy, this is one of my favorite things to do in Branson and the food is delicious. Plus, it's fun to have to eat with only your hands.

Monday morning we said goodbye to J's aunt and uncle before heading to Wild World. My brother-in-law spotted this place and it was our first time going. It's definitely interesting and is an aquarium/zoo/mini golf/arcade. They had the most random assortment of animals from snakes to sharks to wolves. Overall the kids had fun, but it was pretty pricey and we probably wouldn't go back in the future.

After one final stop at Krispy Kreme to grab a dozen glazed for J, we made the trek home and I may or may not still have a few things that I haven't fully unpacked. We've been back 8 days. Whoops. 

Christmas recap coming at ya tomorrow.
Monday, December 12, 2016

Weekend Recap {A Visit With Santa}

This weekend we headed to Kansas City to check out the lights, take in the sights, and of course, visit Santa. If you've never been to the country club plaza at night during Christmastime you're seriously missing out. I read great reviews online about the Gingerbread Village & Santa at Crown Center so after lunch at Chuy's we made our way on over.

The line was definitely long and I think we ended up waiting about an hour although it didn't feel like it until the very end. Isn't that always how it goes? Jack had been talking about sitting on Santa's lap for weeks, but he also tends to be really shy around strangers. He's cried the past two years so I wasn't quite sure if he'd go through with it. Although he almost backed out at the last minute, he ended up sitting on the big guy's lap and told him what he wanted...the entire list :) 

When did my 7 year old start looking 17?! I'm dreading the day he stops believing in Santa and I think it may come sooner than later. (Bawling!)
Santa and his elves were so great. No one rushed us, Santa listened to every request, and they encouraged us to take lots of pictures with our own cameras even though they were selling their own. After you visit with Santa there is a little play area for kids to climb and run around and also a real gingerbread village complete with a train and miniature flying sled. If you live in KC, the Santa at Crown Center is a must do and something I think we may need to return for next year. 

Linking up with Biana for Weekending. 
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Bucket List 2016

I'm linking up with Annie to share our 2016 Christmas bucket list. Nothing like waiting until there's only 17 days left to post this, but thank goodness we've already been checking some of these things off the list.

1. Decorate the tree and let the kids each pick out an ornament to add to our collection
2. Build gingerbread houses
3. Donate to a family in need
4. Order and mail Christmas Cards
5. Have an indoor snowball fight 
6. Drive around and look at Christmas lights
7. Have a hot chocolate bar 
8. Order pizza and watch a Christmas movie in our pajamas
9. Bake cookies for Santa
10. Make gingerbread play dough
11. Go ice skating
12. Visit Santa
13. Read Twas the Night Before Christmas
14. Make reindeer food and deliver some to friends
15. View the lights at Shepard of the Hills in Branson
16. Read the story of Jesus' birth and bake him a birthday cake
17. Welcome our Elf on the Shelf back from the North Pole

What traditions do you do for the holidays? 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Weekend Recap

Oh Monday. You always come so fast. How's everyone doing? I didn't mean to take such a long break from blogging, but I'm back and linking up with Biana to bring you a recap from our weekend. 

Our Friday night was wild and crazy building a Gingerbread village. I've wised up over the years and now buy the village so everyone has their own house decorate which cuts down on the fighting. I normally get our kits from Walmart or Target but I picked up this one from Bed Bath & Beyond while buying some presents and it's the best kit we've had yet. Super easy to assemble, the icing actually held the houses together, and it tasted like Pillsbury frosting. 

I didn't order our groceries in enough time to have our local store deliver them to our house (first world problems) so I did Walmart's grocery pickup. Still beats having to actually go into the store to shop. My little bagel monster and I ate breakfast while we waited for them to bring the groceries to our car. If you haven't tried it yet you can use this code to get $10 OFF your first order.

After some laundry and a few rounds of playing Paw Patrol, I dropped the kids off at my MIL while the husband and I went to my family's annual adult only Christmas dinner. It's amazing what a shower and some makeup can do ;)
Dress-H&M//Necklace-Kendra Scott

Sunday we woke up to the first snow of the season which lasted approximately 3 minutes. But hey, at least it was something.

The rest of Sunday was pretty low key. We went to Mexican for dinner then changed the kids into their pjs for a drive to look at Christmas lights. Jack is fascinated by even the smallest of lights so seeing the houses like this blew his mind. Even though it was freezing, we cranked the heat up and let the kids roll down the window to see the lights better and they loved it.

Well I'm off to watch the newest Walking Dead followed by some Gilmore Girls. Anyone else starting from Season 1? 

Have a great Monday!