Yes, it is really true....Christmas Day is only 10 days away. I still love the magic of the season, but now that I am a parent, it's a tad more stressful -- because now I am the one who is MAKING the magic in our home. But it's worth it when you see your kids loving it all.
We have created some traditions with our little family that P and T look forward to every year. Sometimes we can do all of them, and sometimes we have to leave a few out depending on our schedule.
Part I - CHRISTMAS IN PHILLY
Since we're only an hour from the City of Brotherly Love, we often make the trek up for different events. We usually go to the Thanksgiving Day Parade (unless it's 18 degrees out, like it was this year). We love Phillies games. Sometimes the hubby and I do Date Night up there. But we always pick an evening right before Christmas to go up and see the "real" Santa with the kids.
You know how you suddenly get that FEELING of Christmas? It seeps into your soul and (almost) every moment you just emanate Christmas Spirit? I usually get that about a week before the big day and I get it because of our evening in Philly. We go during the week so that it is A LOT less crowded.
Armed with a car-friendly snack, we pick the kids up from school and start the drive up to Philly. Sometimes the traffic is a bit hairy, but often we can make it by 4:45. If we are lucky, we will park in a lot directly in front of Macy's on Market Street. We then walk a few blocks down to the Hard Rock Cafe for an early dinner. Although it's not my favorite place, we chose it back when P was little because it was loud enough to mask her screams/whining if she got fussy. Now it is a tradition. Besides, their mac n cheese is top-notch -- and I don't even like mac n cheese.
Once dinner is over, we head to Macy's for the Light Show and Dickens' Village. On the weekends, the attraction is packed (I've seen the pictures). So far we've been really lucky. Some years are more crowded than others, but we have NEVER had to wait in a line until we get to Santa -- and even that line is only 3-5 minutes.
The Dickens Village is amazing. It depicts the classic story of Scrooge with a 6,000 square foot vintage animatronic display. You can leisurely stroll through looking at scenes of Ebeneezer, Tiny Tim's family, and the three ghosts. The details are impressive.
Once Scrooge becomes a changed man, visitors come face-to-face with Santa's helpers. Those who wish to speak to the big man get in line; others can proceed through to the - surprise, surprise - gift shop. Every year they hand out a pin to commemorate your visit. We now have 12 pins (somewhere).
My kids always believed that this is the only "real" Santa. The others in the malls are just his helpers.
As you can see, P is thrilled. HOWEVER, she won't take a chance and NOT sit with him. Let's see how it goes this year now that she is 12. T, who we call "Buddy the Elf", will probably still visit Santa when he's in his 60s. He loves Christmas.
Once we leave Santa, we find a spot on the main floor to watch the light show. Narrated by Julie Andrews, this is when I am completely into Christmas. At the end of the show, the organ plays and the entire wall of lights (more than 100,000 of them) light up to show all of the Christmas stories.
It is THAT MOMENT when I am ready for Christmas.
Part II - A CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS (coming tomorrow)
I am excited to be the new Social Media and Event Coordinator for the Delaware chapter of HITC. Everything about this position excites me: blogging, social media, connecting with women, visiting local businesses, and helping charities. As a lifelong Delaware resident, this small state has a very special place in my heart. While traveling to new places is one of my passions, I am always happy to come back home to the charm and peacefulness of Delaware.
Because I am terrible at talking about myself, I decided to answer a few questions that will hopefully help you know me better....and feel free to ask anything you want! I am an open book.
1. What was the best vacation you ever took? My daughter and I just took a trip to London and Paris in June, thanks to the hubby. We had an AMAZING time. I'll admit, I was scared to death to travel to two different countries with just the two of us -- but we did it! Now I am looking to go to Ireland and Switzerland. Bucket list items!!!
2. What are your hobbies? I have played tennis since I was 13. I don't get to play as much as I want to, but it's one of my absolutely favorite things to do. I was rated pretty highly once upon a time. I took a break to have kids and am now only one level lower than I was before. My goal for 2019 is to move back up...and to not tear another achilles! I also read a lot. My "dream" is to write a novel, but that hasn't happened. Instead, I read tons of chick-lit. It allows me to escape everyday life.
3. Would you say you’re more of an extrovert or an introvert? A few years ago I would've said an introvert. Now, I would say I am a mix. Apparently that is called an "ambivert". I definitely prefer quieter settings, but I can acclimate pretty well to anything.
4. What is your definition of success? I have learned over the years that success is defined differently by everyone. I used to think it just meant you made a lot of money. To me, success is: having a healthy, happy family; a life that makes me excited to get up each day; and knowing that I gave back to others in some way.
5. If you could do anything, besides what you're doing now, what would you do? I would most definitely want to be a successful writer (think Elin Hilderbrand). I'd write chick-lit books that make women laugh and escape life for a while. I also think it would be very cool to do book tours and sign autographs. Silly? Yes. True? Totally.
6. If you could go back to anytime in history, where would you go? I love, love, love the Colonial Period. Williamsburg is one of my favorite places to visit because I can pretend I am actually living in the 1700s. Our state is steeped in colonial history, which probably sparked my interest in the era. My favorite movie is (don't laugh) "1776". Yes, the musical. I always make my family watch it on July 4th. Let's just say that they don't share my passion for the movie.
7. How can someone win a gold star with you? I am huge on punctuality, manners, and being "real". Don't be late, don't be rude, and don't tell me what you think I want to hear. That's it. Oh, and be grammatically correct. I was an English teacher, after all.
8. What’s your guilty pleasure? Bravo TV, without a doubt. I watch every episode of "Housewives", with NYC and Beverly Hills being my favorites. I also love "Vanderpump Rules", "Southern Charm", and "Flipping Out". And you will probably learn that I have a slightly unhealthy love for anything Bradley Cooper. My husband knows. It's ok.
9. Where is your happy place? Ever since I was born, I have gone to Maine for 1-2 weeks in the summer. It is where my grandparents honeymooned and then vacationed with their family, my mom and her two sisters. I continue that tradition with my own husband and kids now. We usually get a place on a lake and then take day trips to the ocean and the mountains. It is the one place where I feel completely at peace and content. The air is cleaner, cooler, and fresher. The accents are great. The lobster is cheap(er). And we are ALL TOGETHER AS A FAMILY with very few everyday distractions. I love it.
10. If you could invite 3 people, dead or alive, to a dinner party, who would they be, and why? Bradley Cooper, Adam Levine, and Chase Utley. I mean, come on. Just me and three gorgeous guys at a dinner party??? What's there to explain? I know I should say something like Ghandi and Mother Teresa....but I didn't.
It was a fun night at the Main Event. The venue supplied us with logo boxes to insert our swag goodies.
We had Eileen with India Hicks Holiday designs. If you want to sparkle, India Hicks has something for you.
Rachel displaying and describing Young Living oils. Essential oils is a natural way to maintain your health.
A fun vendor, and new item for me, was the Quillowman. These handy items are both a pillow and quilt in one. Great way to keep warm at a sporting event in the cold.
Fun inexpensive jewelry display, Paparazzi Jewelry. Everything is $5. How can one go wrong?
Aida from Pure Romance was there collecting names for home parties. Imagine how much fun those parties are to attend!
Renee with Rodan and Fields was there to educate us on how to care for our skin.
Lovely Laura Corridi from Seven Owls was there with her crochet work. She has hats that have exchangeable puffs. She can perform magic with her needle. I have seen it.
There were large screens with sports, playing in the background, for the interested parties. Small bites and laughs.
Always a fun time at the Delaware Housewives in the City.
If you need or want travel information, please go to my web site and dream before contacting me to book. DianneKTravel.agentstudio.com
Have a fabulous life!
A town of many faces and many facets, Washington, DC is much more than just the place you went to on middle school class trips. The nation’s capital offers tourists not only an abundance of American history and awe-inspiring governmental monuments, but a powerful emerging restaurant scene, as well as a variety of museums, parks and exhilarating nightlife hotspots. With a mix of people so eclectic and diverse, it’s hard not to consider DC one of the true great cosmopolitan cities of the United States.
The city is split up into four main districts. The Downtown area is home to the National Mall, the White House, the Smithsonian (one of many museums), business and theater districts as well as many fine dining venues. This area is the most popular tourist area for obvious reasons. North Central has some of the trendiest and most diverse neighborhoods in the DC area. Dupont Circle has an eclectic collection of cafés, bars, nightclubs shops and galleries, as well as Embassy Row. DC West consists of a group of upscale neighborhoods, including historic Georgetown, and boasts attractions including the National Cathedral and zoo. DC East is where you’ll find Capitol Hill and the Library of Congress. Though it’s the main bureaucratic headquarters of town, this section also offers bohemian nightlife in the Atlas District and a Roman Catholic area called “Little Vatican”.
With the number of sites and museums seeming to outnumber the people, there are a few places to hit up that might not be on all the typical must-see-in-DC lists. The International Spy Museum is like peering into James Bond’s toy chest. This fascinating museum highlights high-tech gadgetry, notorious spy cases and gives visitors complicated mysteries to solve. The National Zoological Park, known as the DC Zoo, is one of the nation’s most-visited zoos which includes an extensive panda habitat and live gorilla cams. For the quintessential adventure through history, the downtown area is home to tourist-friendly attractions like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, the Air and Space Museum and the Vietnam Memorial.
In recent years, Washington DC has become a gastronomic tour de force. For a fine dining French bistro with a casual atmosphere and moderate prices, check out Café du Parc, which is located next to the Willard InterContinental Hotel. For a raucous night of blues and southern cooking, head over to Madam’s Organ Blues Bar and Soul Food. The nightly live music and down home bar fare can be found nowhere else in the city. For cheap eats, try a chili dog and thick shake at Ben’s Chili Bowl, or a Middle Eastern late night bite at the Falafel Shop in the Adams Morgan section of town. For award-winning mussels and over 50 different Belgian ales, check out the laidback gastropub, Granville Moore’s.
The Washington DC area is served by three major airports. Ronald Regan Washington National Airport (DCA) is located in Arlington, Virginia, (10 minutes south of the city) and is the closest and most convenient choice for Washington DC travel. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), located 26 miles outside the city in Dulles, Virginia, is another option for both domestic and international major airline carriers. There are several modes of ground transportation to DC -- the most convenient being the Washington Flyer coach which operates every half-hour and costs $10 one-way or $18 round trip. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is located in 30 miles northeast of the city in Baltimore, Maryland. Though most commonly used for Baltimore travel, this airport is an alternative for those in the Maryland suburbs of Washington.
The public transportation system in Washington DC is one of the best in the county. The city’s subway system, called the Metro, is a clean and efficient way to navigate around the grid of DC. There are five intersecting rail lines which stop in all major neighborhoods, as well as multiple downtown locations. The lines are color-coded and tickets can be purchased by way of Metro farecards, which are located in all terminal stations. The bus system is a good choice for locations within the city that the Metro does not efficiently reach. As in most major cities, taxis are quite accessible, although they are one of the most expensive modes of transportation.
For more information regarding a vacation in Washington DC, click on this link
When you say, “Albuquerque,” some people may think of Bugs Bunny’s famous line (“I knew I should’ve turned left in Albuquerque!) and others likely think of the TV shows Breaking Bad, In Plain Sight or Better Call Saul. But for many, this charming New Mexico metropolis may be most famous for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held each October—for almost 50 years now!
This year’s celebration takes place from October 6-14, and more than 500 balloons are expected to participate.
The main event takes place at the city’s Balloon Fiesta Park—the expanse is an incredible 365 acres, 78 of which is dedicated as the launch field. It also claims to be the most photographed event in the world.
Visitors can watch mass ascensions on several different mornings, as well as championship flying events, fireworks, chainsaw carving demonstrations, the Glowdeo, and a special “shapes flight,” where uniquely shaped hot air balloons take to the skies.
On our summer family vacation, we stopped in Albuquerque and checked out the fascinating and interactive Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, located near the park grounds. The museum features a sweeping, arched roof that evokes the shape of a balloon and allows for an enormous bank of windows, providing excellent light inside. The atrium is filled with balloons and replicas from many eras, suspended from the ceiling.
The exhibits were much more engrossing than I imagined they’d be. I learned about the earliest balloons that took humans aloft. I was fascinated to discover that balloons loaded with explosives were floated toward the United States by Japan, but the plan largely failed.
However, four kids and two adults were killed in rural Oregon in 1945 when they discovered one of the so-called “fire balloons.” (Strangely, they were the only World War II U.S. combat casualties in the contiguous 48 states.)
There was also an excellent interactive portion of the museum that dealt with weather—from winds to storms and sunshine to clouds. Weather plays an important role in safely operating a hot air balloon, and you’ll learn why Albuquerque has some of the best weather for this activity.
Since we were in town, we couldn’t pass up the chance to take a ride up over the city ourselves. We woke before dawn on our last morning in town and drove north to the offices of Rainbow Ryders. The company offers a variety of options, including a sunrise balloon ride, dawn patrol ride, sunset ride, and even private rides and weddings. We opted for the sunrise ride.
Once checked in, our family of four piled in a van with seven other riders, and we were soon at a local park where the three company representatives unfurled the massive balloon and affixed it to the basket. My partner and I volunteered to hold parts of the balloon’s mouth while giant fans blew air into it. Once it was sufficiently filled (about 10 minutes), the pilot fired up the liquid propane burners, causing the whole envelope to slowly rise off its side and stand upright.
Our pilot, Dean, quickly got us onboard and before we knew it, we were gently lifting off the ground. We quickly elevated to more than a thousand feet, giving us a stunning view of the entire Albuquerque area, including the gorgeous Sandia Mountains to the east.
According to Dean, the balloon itself, referred to as the envelope, generally lasts about 800-900 hours before it needs to be replaced. Our ride only had about 390 hours on it, and he had piloted most of those hours. The baskets, in contrast, “will last forever if you take care of them,” he said.
We stayed aloft for a little more than an hour, as we had some issues with getting the wind to take us to a proper landing spot. But the eventual landing was smooth as silk, and we enjoyed a nice mimosa to celebrate being back on solid ground. Upon returning to the Rainbow Ryders office, we enjoyed a nice breakfast before heading back to our hotel.
Taken, mostly, from my website DianneKTravel.agentstudio.
Finally, it was great weather for a patio party. We could not have chosen a better venue.
Brian from Ted's Montana Grill was amiable to work with and had the patio set up for mingling and meeting new friends. There was bison bites and onion rings along with cookies and chips for our small bites.
The pictures were taken by Kimberly Renee Photography. There were many wonderful photos that captured the camaraderie of the night.
People were happy to see Lisa from Kozy Acres Honey there again and with new products.
Locally grown and sourced honey is always best. Remember, Kozy Acres has a Christmas Tree farm in NJ. If you look on their Facebook page, you can find their address.
We were happy to have Kathy Miller from Kokoon Clothing there to help us update our Autumn wardrobe. I personally like the slip aspect to wear under see-through clothes. That opens up a whole new world for me.
Marilyn Sarno was there representing Apriori Beauty products. We all can Hydrate and Glow.
You can find everyone on Facebook if you would like to learn more about them and possibly make an order.
As for Dianne K Travel, you can follow the link and discover new journeys for me to book.
See you all next month at The Main Event.
Hi. My name is Kelley Cole and I am the new Social Media and Event Coordinator for Delaware Housewives in the City. I am a mom to two amazing kids. My daughter (P) is 12 and my son (T) is 8. My husband works for a local education association and also serves on Dover's City Council. I was a high school English teacher for 16 years before leaving the classroom to work part-time as a trainer for an educational software company. I make sure I reserve time to play tennis, read chick lit, travel, and enjoy the small things in life (like wine and chocolate).