Tag Archives: Holidays

Dutch WINTER Wonderland

My wife and I always set aside an evening during the holidays to take the boys over to Dutch Winter Wonderland.  Dutch Wonderland is such a special place for young children during the summer it’s easy to overlook they have special hours during the fall for Happy Hauntings, and then again over the holidays as well.

The main attraction for us is always the Royal Light Show.  DW literally has tens of thousands of lights strung up throughout the hub of the park all synched to a stirring holiday soundtrack.  Make sure to take the sky ride, or take a drive with the antique cars to either get a birdseye view of the show, or drive right through the heart of it.

Of course, many of our favorite rides are open in addition to the holiday specific attractions.  My 2-year-old is a fan of Duke’s Dozers (miniature bulldozers), the Off-Road Rally (nice and tame Monster Trucks!), and of course taking a tour of the light be-decked park on their miniature train, the Wonderland Special!  The older boys (6 and 9 respectively) ride the Twister, hit up the bumper cars, and take a swing on the Space Shuttle (a space-themed Viking ship type ride).

If you have any budding young female royalty in your family, you might want to check out Storytime with the Princess.

With so much to see and do and at a great price, Dutch Winter Wonderland is another budding holiday tradition for the Evans family right here in Lancaster County.

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!

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