Holliday, Winter Activities

Helvetia Christmas Tree Farm

Thanksgiving dinner- Check!
Nugget’s family birthday celebration- Check!
Clean up from Thanksgiving complete- Kind of!

So, as per family tradition, we were off to find our Christmas tree. Somehow we wind up at a different tree farm every year. Last year we found one we really liked, only for this year to be a re-grow year for them- pre-cut trees only. So, back to square one.

After a half-hearted Google search in the middle of the night after hosting Thanksgiving, I landed on Helvetia Christmas Tree Farm. We had never been there before, and it sounded fun. So a few hours later I guzzled my coffee and informed my husband that today was tree day. Somehow he “forgets” (i.e. blocks out) the fact that we do this Every. Single. Year.

We got there early afternoon and it wasn’t crowded in the least. I asked where we would be most likely to find Doug firs, which, according to my bleary eyed internet search had indicated were about half the price of the other trees, only to be told that most of the Doug firs were in their growing phase and we would be unlikely to find any. Plop. The guy was very nice and said if we wanted to grab a pre-cut tree he would give it to us for the price of a Doug fir. But tradition is tradition, so overpay for our tree we did.

So after we adjusted to how much we would be paying for our tree, we stopped and took in what there was to see. Which was a lot! There was a small area tucked between some trees where man made snow was falling. It had even formed a little patch of snow on the ground. The kids were thrilled!

Nugget spotted Santa in a sled in a little covered area. And there was no line! Nugget hopped right up there, said cheese, and galloped off with his newly acquired candy cane. Chicken passed, as usual.

And then the highlight. An open fire pit. With roasting sticks (wooden stick with a spot to insert a disposable chopstick). And free marshmallows. And s’mores kits for sale for $2. I don’t even know how many Nugget ate and I probably don’t want to. It was a lot.

Then it was finally time to get down to business. We traipsed through the mud in search of the perfect tree. I have to say, all of the trees were lovely. Nice color and good shape. It was a tough choice. After the decision was finally made, we (let’s be honest. Dad.) used the provided saw and ground cover to cut down a tree. A very nice man came by, tagged the tree, put it on this tractor thing, and carried it back up the hill where it was shaken and baled. Is that what you call it? They even helped tie it to the top of our car. And they wisely had a hose available to clean off all those muddy boots!

We decided to have a few more marshmallows, warm up by the fire, and check out the couple of farm animals that were out. Then we happily wandered back to the car, only to discover a flat tire. We made it to a gas station and got enough air in the tire to make it home before Dad took it to the tire shop. I’m guessing the kids’ and my rousing rendition of Christmas carols didn’t help. Pretty sure that next year when I say “ok! It’s Christmas tree day!” Dad will responded with “Huh? What’s Christmas tree day?.” Oh, well.

Overall, we had a great time. There was a gift shop we didn’t check out, and we were told there were train rides for the kids. We didn’t see it and the kids didn’t seem overly interested, but apparently it’s there if it’s up your kiddo’s alley.

So…

What it is: Family owned, well run, inviting, full of simple but fun activities (Snow!! And marshmallows!!), helpful staff, not overcrowded, apparently only open two weekends

What’s it’s not: Cheap. Mud Free. Tire friendly- but that’s probably just us.

Would we recommend it? Yes! As long as you are willing to fork out the cash for a tree, it was a really fun experience. Probably one of our favorite tree farms yet!

You can find more information here: http://www.helvetia-christmas-tree-farm.com/festival-activities

Holliday, Movies, Winter Activities

The Grinch (2018)

Chicken and Nugget had the day off from school today as teachers prepare report cards.  Yay!  We took advantage of the cold and lazy morning to go check out the new Grinch movie.

I have to confess something.  Something that may negatively impact our relationship.  But I feel it’s important to be honest.  I don’t like Dr. Seuss.  At all.  I find reading the books to be rather painful.  There.  I said it.  Such a weight has been lifted.  If I have to suffer through Dr. Seuss, I would choose How the Grinch Stole Christmas or The Lorax.  Begrudgingly.  So I went to this movie because Chicken really wanted to see it and I love her most of the time.  (I do feel obligated to note that I am a huge fan of Seussical the Musical, which took me way longer than it should have to go see due to said aversion to all things Seuss).

And I’m actually glad I did.  It’s a very cute, fun movie.  I haven’t made it through the other versions of the Grinch movies because I didn’t enjoy them and found myself distracted by things that needed done around the house.  Does that ever happen to you other moms and dads?  I’m sure it doesn’t.  But this one is well made, the characters are likeable, and it’s silly and funny without being obnoxious.  The Who children in the movie are relatable as modern day children, and the mom faces struggles familiar to many of us.  I particularly loved the kid who said “I can’t stay long.  My mom set a timer.  It’s new.”  The Grinch is as grinchy as they come, but somehow consistently shows a bit more heart throughout the movie than I have seen in his predecessors.

We saw the standard version of the movie because I couldn’t come up with any reason that it would need to be seen in 3-D.  I was probably wrong.  There were parts that were clearly done with the intent of being viewed in 3-D and I’m guessing it would be pretty fun.  So if you are into that kind of thing, it may be worth a shot.

So, to sum it up- I don’t like Dr. Seuss (I hope we can still be friends).  And yet I enjoyed this movie, as did Chicken and Nugget.  Chicken asked if we can get the DVD as we walked out of the theater, and she is surprisingly selective about which movies she wants to see again.  Except Mamma Mia movies.  She would watch those things every day.

Update: 11/28/18. Nugget is now the proud owner of a stuffed Grinch toy that he carries around all the time and sleeps with each night. He is also itching for Saturday to arrive so can open his Grinch calendar. And when I called him out on some mild rudeness, he said it was because his heart was three sizes to small. So he is definitely a fan!