Tag Archives: fun

One Mom’s Guide to Visiting Santa’s Village: A New Hampshire Gem

One Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: A New Hampshire Gem! | Hardly A Goddess

So many of us are in full Holiday-mode, and gearing up for a memorable Christmas season. Well, this year, I was lucky enough to receive tickets to Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH in exchange for an honest review, and I was more that eager to share this great place with you all!

While Santa’s Village is open May-December, we always go in November, right after Thanksgiving. It is sort of our way to get ready for the holiday and enjoy the beautiful lights, and spirit of fun of the season. I have to say, I would LOVE to go in the summer though, as they have a whole section of summer-fun water slides that we never get to try! But for today, I will share my very wintry experience with you!

So before you go, I thought I could tell you some tips and more about the park, that might help make your visit extra great and easy too!

What to bring:

  • If you go in the winter, wear snow pants. The rides can be wet, and also cold, so prepare yourself and the kids by bringing snow-gear: hats, gloves, boots, snowpants, and maybe hand-warmers!
  • If you go in summer, don’t forget to pack: towel, flip-flops, sunscreen, bathing suits with a plastic bag to carry the wet suit in after, and hats.
  • Bring a little backpack. Items that you make, buy, or to hold gloves can go in here without worry about where you left them!

Once you arrive:

  • Go to the bathrooms 1st. With all the snow gear on, it is easier to just get it done now! But they do have very clean, spacious (great changing areas for babies) restrooms throughout the park!
  • Then go to Elf University 2nd. Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NHThe kids will get their Elfabet Game Cards, to use throughout the park. They wear it around their neck and then as you make your way through the park, there are Elves with names from A-Z like this: So then, the kids do a punch-card poke of the card until all the letters (elves) are found. When you are done, return to the University for an Elf Diploma and prize! Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NHThis is the best, most fun ever, and my kids love it- plus it motivates them to work their way around the park to the next elf. Genius.
  • If you need a Santa visit,  you may want to assess the line for that right after you visit the Elf University.
  • If you already saw Santa, or will see him somewhere else, then you can go left, or right once you enter the park. They give a map upon entry, and the total space of the park is small enough to cover close to all of the features in one day. Enjoy!

Special Tips

  • We stay an hour away, so we arrive at the opening time and usually stay until they close! You can do almost everything they offer, though you need to make sure to leave wait-time for 3 things: Santa’s Home visit, the YouTubing, and the Skyway Sleigh. While the lines are longer for these, they mostly move quickly and we’ve never waited too long. The park is small enough, that lines move along, which I love! On their website, they have dates that are less busy than the weekend of Thanksgiving, so you can plan your visit for when lines will be very short!

    Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

    Of course the boys had to race each other!

  • For extra value, if you buy a ticket during the final 3 hours of the day, you can get in for those 3 hours and also, the next day on the same ticket. I have never done this, and I think it would be great if you stayed at a place super close by. There are just a few motel-type places nearby that we’ve never tried, but if you check around, I am sure you could get reviews.

Eating:

We always eat there at either Nick’s Pizza Emporium or Dasher’s Delights, but unlike other parks, you can bring your own food in and eat! Such a bonus, right?! This is just so refreshing to go to an amusement area, where everything is priced very reasonably and you never get the sense that you are shelling out money all the time. Some parks are the exact opposite. My kids love the midway-type games at most parks and those games can bleed you dry! At Santa’s Village, the midway-games cost a dollar! Food is so inexpensive compared to other places we’ve been. In fact, they offer FREE strollers, and FREE parking, and a FREE pet-sitting area. Souveniers and gifts are available and also are very reasonably priced. I just love this.

What we did:

Everything! The park is small enough that you can do everything! I love that the rides are geared for little people, so nothing is too scary. The height requirements vary, but most are 42″ to ride alone, or under if with a parent.

An easy ride for little kids and tired parents is the Jinglebell Junction railroad which is adorable and a way to see the entire park:

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Making Gingerbread Men:

My boys loved decorating gingerbread men at the Sugar ‘n Spice Bake Shop, when it was time to get a little snack. My girls went to have cocoa and my husband, the homemade donuts (yum!) at the Doe-Nut Factory.

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Driving their own cars!

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Making Rings (Free!)

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

And visiting Santa’s Reindeer! And you can feed them too! It was fun to remember their names on the car ride up…actually we had to Google it! And then proceed to sing the Rudolph song for the next hour…memories… and Advil! Can you remember all the names in the song?

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Well, we didn’t do everything– we didn’t make our own gifts at the workshop, nor did we see the shows this year at the Jingle Jamboree or Polar Theater, but we have in the past, and to be honest, those are not to be missed when you need to get warmed up and the kids need a break.

When dusk comes, I love the lights and there were plenty of places to get some great family-fun shots that might be contenders for the Holiday card this year! This one is just okay- as my phone camera given to a stranger, only works so well. But you get the idea of how pretty it is at night and magical when the park is really at it’s best with the snow and colors!

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

I asked my kids what they like the most about Santa’s Village:

“The Rapid Rudy Transit Coaster, the Sleigh Ride, and driving the Antique cars (by themselves!).” And my kids are 6, 10 and 11 years old. We have gone the past 3 years, and they still love it!

I asked my husband what he likes the most about Santa’s Village:

“Just the overall atmosphere.”

Yes. A man of few words here, but the atmosphere really is the best part about Santa’s Village. As you can see, it is themed out in every conceivable way, and my kids just love it. We love it. It is holiday-awesomeness all year around! I hope you consider making a trip if you are anywhere near New Hampshire. From Boston it is about a 2-hour drive. There is so much to do in the surrounding area for families, you can totally make it a trip for a weekend! It is truly a trip that your kids will treasure for years to come~

If you want to know more about Santa’s Village check them out here:

Web (awesome website!): http://www.santasvillage.com/
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*While I was not financially compensated for this post, I received ticket compensation for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own as always, and based on my personal experience.For more information see my full disclosures page.

Purgatory Chasm: A Massachusetts Gem for Families

I have to post about this before the beautiful fall leaves are all fallen! This is peak season in the Northeast and the trees are amazingly beautiful!
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If you live in Massachusetts or within an hour drive, I highly recommend Purgatory Chasm as a park to not miss out on! I have known about it ever since I moved to Massachusetts- echemm- quite some time ago, and had never gone!  I pass this place almost every day on my way to work, and still had never gone…Until I did. And now I think I will go all the time.

purgatory chasm fun with kids

The chasm is a path with rocks and nooks and caves to scamper in and out and over. It is challenging enough for grown-ups and easy enough that with assistance, my 6 year old boys could do it. It is NOT for elderly or impaired walkers in any way. For those people, there are easier trails at the park as well as scenic areas to appreciate the view and walking.purgatory chasm fun with kids

We took the hike through all sorts of fun craggle and crevices. It then goes around a loop that winds over the chasm and you can see down into it. It is super fun and challenging too. After our hike, we had to give sustenance to the weary, by way of ice-cream. Of course. How do you think I got my kids to actually get in the car to go on a hike? I bribed them, just like you would have, faced with two tweens and twin 6 year olds. And literally, this is a quote, what my daughter, the queen-tween, said:

This is pretty fun mom. I thought when you said ‘hike’ it would be boring. But this place is fun.

Whaaat?! Ahhhh! Did you hear that?! Fun?! I felt that feeling, you get when all things are good and right. It was awesome. I am so going to take this kid hiking again. She was happy. And outside. And it’s free. All was well.purgatory chasm fun with kids

Of course the day of hiking, followed by ice cream also included mini-golf and animals and a jumpy house, of which we didn’t partake (the animals or mini-golf).  There is only so much fun one mom can take, and honestly none of it sounded as good as the hike and ice cream.purgatory chasm fun with kids

This is a great local spot that is worth a day trip if you can. Bring a picnic, and then go get ice-cream at the West End Creamery. And do it soon, before all the leaves have gone. I plan to go once more before the end of October to try the corn maze at the West End Creamery after our hike at the chasm….and of course more ice cream! Have fun!

 

 

Homemade Pretzels with Kids #SundaySupper

This is so fun! Not only do I get to celebrate Octoberfest with delicious beer, I also get to make these fun little homemade pretzels with my kiddos. Winning moments. Sigh. Sip.

Homemade pretzels with kids are so delicious and easy to make too!

Oktoberfest is the longest running beer festival and traveling fair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Cities all over the world celebrate Oktoberfest with German-inspired food, fun, and, of course, beer. It is a 16-18 day folk festival running from mid-September to the first weekend in October. Having been held every year, for 206 years, since its start in 1810, Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture (from the SundaySupper blog).

What better snack to go with beer, than pretzels? And how much is making pretzels, like playing with Playdoh? So perfect! And it is really, really, easy. Just add water to the yeast, salt and sugar. Add the flour and mix. Then knead.Making pretzels with kids is so fun! And delicious!

Done. There is no rising. No waiting. No worrying. And to top it all off, then you get to have fun:

Homemade pretzels with kids is so fun and delicious too!

Fun, and get your hands a bit dirty in the meantime:

Making pretzels with kids is so fun! And delicious!

Brush with egg-wash, sprinkle with coarse salt, and bake. Done in 15 minutes.

Making pretzels with kids is so fun! And delicious!

If you can’t tell, these are Octopuses(?) or Octopie (?)…or just 8 legged pretzel things. And a snake, and a snake baby. And our initials too of course:

Making pretzels with kids is so fun! And delicious!

Which became mustaches:

Making pretzels with kids is so fun! And delicious!

Because mustaches are funny. And delicious. Actually, they were! Surprisingly so, since this is so easy. Salt is key. I will say that.

Here’s the easiest, most delicious fun we’ve had in 30 minutes or less:

Homemade Baked Pretzels

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 5 large pretzels

This recipe was given to me from my friend Joan, who always made it for her kids. She found it in My Big Backyard Magazine, circa 1980. Thank you Joan!

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg beaten (reserve)
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 415*
  2. In a very large bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the water and stir gently.
  3. Stir in the flour.
  4. Knead on a floured table or board, until the dough is a smooth ball (3-5 minutes).
  5. Shape dough into desired shapes: mustaches, animals (snakes, octopus, fish, bear), or letters.
  6. Brush with the reserved beaten egg.
  7. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt (I use coarse sea salt).
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until light-brown.
  9. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Notes

Original recipe from My Big Backyard Magazine, circa 1980.

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Homemade pretzels with kids is so fun and delicious too!

Enjoy! If you want more snacks to help you celebrate Octoberfest in the most authentic ways, follow along with the rest of the Sunday Supper bloggers, who are making some great food (that may or may not go awesome with beer- just saying, it IS Octoberfest).

Appetizers (Vorspeisen)

Breakfast (Frühstück)

Condiments (Würze)

Dessert (Nachtisch)

Main Dish (Hauptgericht)

Side Dish (Beigabe)

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.