Category Archives: Holiday

Ready, set, go – the joy of Easter egg hunting

Looking at the numerous options for our three boys ( Ages 1, 5, and 8 ) to hunt Easter Eggs in the area, we decided to head out to Strasburg to Village Greens Miniature Golf. The folks over at Village Greens do such a great job maintaining their grounds, especially the gold course with its amazing landscaping in the summer time, we were sure they would bring that kind of care and attention to the Easter Egg hunt.

We weren’t disappointed. Besides having three separate hunts for three different age groups (fitting our sons’ ages perfectly) with lots of prizes, they had a bunch of different activities for the kids to participate in while they were waiting for the hunts to start. The boys got to visit with the Easter Bunny, pet a real bunny and chick, get their faces painted, chalk the sidewalks, putt for free game, and fish for prizes in a small duck pond.

You could really tell the employees and volunteers at the hunt were truly enjoying themselves and were excited to see how excited and happy the children were. It’s fun local events like this that are run by small-businesses that truly enhance the fabric of our community in Lancaster County, and make it a special place to live and visit.

Village Greens has always been one of our favorite place to go miniature golfing (ever since my wife and I started dating, in fact), and their annual Easter Egg hunt has only solidified that position in our hearts. The boys had a great time, and we’ll be sure to come back soon to hit the links.

Some Amish neighbors enjoying the spoils of the egg hunt.

Mom introducing Emerson to the Easter Bunny

The hunt is on!


Christmas cookie tips from Lancaster

Baking cookies is something that I grew up doing around Christmas time – it’s still one of my favorite things to do! As a child, I’m sure my mother practiced lots of patience with us, but my very favorite kind of cookie to make was, of course, sugar cookies. We could decorate them. When I was little, we would just sprinkle the jimmies (or sprinkles, as some people call them) all over the cookie. As I got a little older, I started taking my time with the jimmies, and putting patterns on the cookies.

Here are my top five tips for baking cookies:

1. Get to know your oven. My oven is a hot one, if the recipe calls for me to set the oven on 350 degrees, I know that I should just set it on 325, otherwise it will burn. If you’re not sure about yours, invest in an oven thermometer, you can get one for about 5 or 10 bucks.

The Gingerbread Man2. Use good cookie sheets. If you just have thin ones, the cookies are more likely to burn on the bottom, but to help, you can add a layer of wax paper or tin foil. Also, some of the non-stick pans that are dark get hotter, and also can burn the bottoms of the cookies faster, so it’s best to use a good silver shiny one.

3. Wax paper is your friend. When rolling the dough for cut out cookies, instead of using flour, and more flour, and MORE flour to keep it from sticking to the table and to your rolling pin, put the dough between wax paper and roll it out. It won’t stick, and your dough won’t be as tough from working it so much!

4. Use non-traditional decorations! We all know that chocolate makes everything better, so drizzle some melted chocolate on cookies, mix white & dark chocolate drizzles together. You can also use some icing if you’d like, or you can paint the cookies before you bake them by mixing a few drops of food coloring with an egg yolk. This will give them a glazed look and tint them to be that color!

Springerle5. If you’re not a cooking baking kind of gal or guy, there are some really great places to buy all types of cookies. Head to the Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop or Willow Valley Bakery for some fresh homemade goodies, for gourmet desserts, you can hit up La Dolce Vita Courthouse Bakery in Downtown  Lancaster – they carry fresh baked Italian desserts. For a more traditional German cookie, head to the Springerle House Cookie & Tea Cafe, where they specialize in the traditional German “picture cookies,” and they’ve also made some into ornaments!

A Christmas Tip from Lancaster County, PA: Decorating Ideas

It’s that time of year, when everyone is pulling out their holiday decorations! Some people (like me) love decorating and breeze right through it, but it can be a daunting task, so we’ve come up with a few tips to help you out.

1. Choose a theme.
Sometimes, when you plan around a theme, it’s easier to figure out which decorations to use, and everything looks like it goes together, instead of looking like you just hung the decorations willy-nilly. Some themes to consider are a Victorian Christmas, a Charlie Brown Christmas (this one worked great when I was first married and living in a small apartment), Santa and his elves and reindeer, the Nutcracker, I’m sure you can think of plenty. You can also choose a color scheme, I have a friend who decorates only with greens, reds, and golds.

A bird ornament at Bonbonniere2. Get some inspiration from shop windows.
I must say, this is a wonderful thing to do if you’re drawing a blank, or feel like you just can’t get the decorations to go quite right or just want to do something different. Downtown Lancaster has some wonderfully decorates shop windows that gave me some great ideas. You can see some more of the ideas that I got from the windows of Bonbonniere, Details, and the Heritage Center Museum Store by clicking here for photos.

The Fulton Theatre Limited Edition Ornament3. Start collecting ornaments from places that mean something to you.

Although almost any kind of ornament is nice on a tree, it’s even better when you’re unpacking the ornaments, and you really think about the sentimental value of them, instead of just thinking, “yup, these are the red and green Christmas balls that I bought at Target last year.” This year, I will be picking up a limited edition ornament of the Fulton Opera House, it was created by an organization called LEADS, and they do a lot of cool things for Downtown Lancaster, such as the hanging flower baskets that are so beautiful throughout the year. Anyways, the Fulton Theatre is a place that I love – so next year when I pull out that ornament, I’ll think of all the shows I’ve seen there, and the good times I’ve had with family and friends.

Hopefully these tips help your holiday decorating to be a little less stressful this year! Check back again next week for your next tip, on Christmas cookie baking!

Yummie’s Giant Easter Egg Hunt at Kitchen Kettle Village

The Boys with Yummy at KKVI was able to take the boys over to Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse yesterday morning for Yummie’s Annual Giant Easter Egg Hunt.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t Yummie that 6 foot tall anthropomorphic Gingerbread Man that regularly strolls down Pepper Lane?”


The good folks over at Kitchen Kettle had plenty of free things for the kids to do leading up to the hunt. The boys got some balloon animals made for them, they made their own custom Easter egg and pencil toppers, and they even got to hold some baby chicks. Of course, when I’m at the Village I always have to pick up a gi-normous bag of Kettle Corn. Yes, it was 10 o’clock in the morning, but I was hungry and I love that stuff. Don’t judge me.

Noah handles a PeepAnyway, the skydiver they had on tap was delayed due to a pesky low cloud cover so they got right to the main event.  Kids and parents were broken up into separate age groups and hunted for eggs throughout the village. My wife went off with my 6-year-old and I escorted Jacob, my 3-year-old, next to the Village Quilts shop to make sure he extracted his allotted amount of eggs (to make sure everyone got a fair share).

Turns out Jacob luckily procured himself one of the special prize eggs that entitled him to a chocolate-covered treat over at Pepper Lane Fudge & Sweets shop. His mother (ol’ sweet tooth as we like to call her) was especially pleased about this particular instance of eggshell serendipity.

After a quick stop at the Canning Kitchen to pick up an Easter gift for my father-in-law (an extra large jar of Pepper Jelly, his favorite) we were off, but not before one last photo-op with the cookie man himself. All in all, it was a pretty great way to start our Easter weekend in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

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