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I’ll admit, this title may be a little misleading.  Just know this–Branson, Missouri, does Christmas in a big way.  Branson at Christmas time is a Christmas-lover’s paradise.  But if you’re not feeling it yet and you need a little Christmas, Branson will make any Grinch’s heart grow ten sizes.  Here are the my favorite ways to embrace the holidays in Branson. 1. An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City If you only have time for one attraction in Branson during the Christmas season, you should choose An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City.  This 1880s theme park transforms into a magical Christmas town complete with over 6.5 million Christmas lights.  Merry and bright, indeed. Silver Dollar City has so much to offer during Christmas time.  The comfort food is abundant, and you’ll have so many entertainment options that you won’t be able to see everything in one day. …

If you’re looking for a special place to get into the Christmas spirit, look no further than Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.  Every year during November and December, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland with Christmas touches in every nook and cranny.  My family has been coming to Silver Dollar City at Christmas time for fourteen years, and we often go more than once.  I’d like to share some of the details that make An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City so special while giving you my best tips for making it a memorable trip instead of a miserable one.  Sometimes crowds can dampen even the jolliest of elves’ Christmas joy, so I’ll share with you what I’ve learned through a lot of trial and error. Get to Silver Dollar City Before Opening This really is so helpful in getting the most out of your experience. …

One of my favorite Walt Disney World memories is when Kristin became a princess at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  I have been asked about this experience, so I thought I would share this memory with you.  Kristin was four years old at the time, and she was a huge Frozen fan.  I asked her if she would like to look like Elsa at Disney World, and she was so excited.  For us, four years old was the perfect age to try out Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.   We like to plan a trip for every other year, and as she’s gotten older, she has been just a little less into looking like the princesses.  She was at the height of her love of Disney princesses for this trip. Planning Our Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Experience I admit that I am a planner when it comes to trips–especially Disney trips.  I don’t want to miss anything simply…

I have been a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan since I began reading her books in elementary school.  I also loved watching the TV show, even though it is pretty loosely based on the books.  As an adult, I’ve wanted to learn more about her life, so I have started taking my family to her homes across the Midwest.  We are lucky to live near to two of those homes–The Little House on the Prairie near Independence, Kansas, and Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield, Missouri. Heading to Rocky Ridge Farm I was pretty excited to bring Kristin to Laura’s homes.  She is starting to learn more about her, although currently Jack the bulldog is her favorite character, not Laura. What can I say?  The girl loves animals.  We’ve also stayed a night in De Smet, South Dakota, at the Ingalls Homestead.  That was an amazing experience.  If you’d like to read…

If you are looking for a great way to meet Disney princesses without waiting in long lines or using your FastPasses, then you should consider booking a character meal like the one at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway Pavillion at Epcot.  This is also a cheaper option if you don’t want to spend the extra money or use two dining credits at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle at the Magic Kingdom.  Cinderella’s Royal Table is an amazing experience that I think everyone should try once, though. Click here to read about our experience there.  Anyway, we decided to try Akershus for our daughter’s first princess character meal, and I am so glad we did!  We have some wonderful pictures and memories now. Getting to Akershus Royal Banquet Hall We decided to do breakfast for our meal at Akershus, and we opted to go at opening so that the…

If you’ve ever wondered what life would have been like for the first English colonists who made America their permanent home, then you simply must stop at the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia.  We made the Jamestown Settlement part of our road trip to historic sites in the eastern part of the United States. Jamestown is one-third of what is known as Virginia’s Historic Triangle.  Just to be clear–this is not the actual site of what is now called Historic Jamestowne.  If you want to visit the actual site of the colony and see archeologists in action, then you’ll want to go to the site that is run by the National Park Service.  If we’d had more time, we probably would’ve checked that area out, too. In the end, we decided to visit the reenactment attraction, the Jamestown Settlement, because we thought that Kristin would learn more there. If you are…

Have you ever wondered what the American Revolution would have been like for the average family in the late 1700s?  Just like today, most people were not wealthy; many had small farms and were just trying to survive and maybe even thrive in the colonies.  Our history books tend to focus on the Founding Fathers and their service to our new country, and they absolutely should. But there is more to the story.  While Colonial Williamsburg demonstrates what life would be like in a city or town during the early years of our nation, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown aims to teach us more about rural life during this time period.  The indoor galleries do provide a timeline of the events leading up to the revolution, the war itself, and a little about the new nation.  The Siege of Yorktown is also highlighted, and the lives and actions of…

If you were anywhere near the path of totality for Monday’s solar eclipse, you could feel the sense of suspense as people prepared for an event that hasn’t occurred in the U.S. in the continuous 48 states in over 30 years, and even then a total eclipse was only visible in the northwest part of the country.  In 1991, parts of Hawaii were able to see a total solar eclipse.  But this was different.  For about two minutes, a swath across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina would be known as the Path of Totality.  With this eclipse being available to so many people across the country, it was inevitable that excitement of the eclipse would grow over the weeks leading up to August 21. To be honest, I wasn’t planning to write about the eclipse.  I was excited to see it, but I didn’t think it would become…

When you think of Norfolk, Virginia, one thing comes to mind–the United States Naval Base.  Norfolk and the Navy just go hand-in-hand.  On our road trip this summer, we planned two nights at Virginia Beach.  As we planned this part of our trip, we soon realized how close we were to Norfolk.  We also discovered the Nauticus, a museum that commemorates shipping in every regard–commercial, scientific, and defensive. Adding to our excitement, we learned that you could take a two-hour cruise of the Navy ships nearby.  In fact, you could buy a combo-ticket to the museum and the cruise.  It was a no-brainer!  We had to do it! After our first night at Virginia Beach, we woke up early enough to head over to Norfolk to be at the museum before opening.  It is about a 30-40 minute drive, depending on traffic.  We also wanted to be early enough to…

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