Home Sweet Home…

We are home!  Actually we’ve been home for two days now but I’ve been so busy getting settled that I’m just getting a chance to write a post now.

This last trip was one of our busiest, non-stop vacations ever.  It was also a very emotional vacation too.

As you know, we started our vacation in Hershey PA, then we headed to Cincinnati OH and wrapped it up with an unexpected detour to Canada – 2 weeks has never felt so long.

Tonight I want to write about Hershey…specifically Chocolate World .

Chocolate World is located right next to Hershey Park and offers various attractions to see, all of them revolve around…you guessed it – Chocolate!

Most of the attractions cost money but prices for each are fairly reasonable and they offer packages that give little discounts.  All the attractions end with a taste of chocolate because after all what kind of world would Chocolate World be if you didn’t actually get to try the chocolate!

Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour is free – I think we can all agree that free is good!

It’s a little ride that explains how Hershey makes their chocolate and it’s super cute.  It has singing cows, a roasting oven you ride through and the scent of chocolate permeating the warm air, while a catchy tune plays in the background.

Yes, I’m singing it right now as I write this…

“It’s the milk chocolate…moo, moo, moo…

Hershey’s Milk chocolate…moo, moo, moo…”

cw 5

cw 7

cw 2

cw 6

cw 8

At the end of the ride as you exit they give you a fun size chocolate bar to eat.  If you go when it’s not busy like we did, they let you stay on the ride, but if your children are as cunning as mine they will politely refuse, claiming they don’t mind getting back in line.  They weren’t fooling anyone!

We also did the Hershey’s Create Your Own Candy Bar.  That was surprisingly fun and really interesting, even kept the Monkey attention…most of the time.  All three children took it really seriously.

cw 9

First we were given hair nets and aprons because it’s a factory atmosphere.  Everyone has to wear them or you aren’t allowed to go in.  They had both adult and children’s size.

The children designed their chocolate bars by selecting various options like white, dark or milk chocolate and sprinkles, butter crisps, pretzels and many other fillings, on a computer screen.  Then we watched as the bars were created going down the assemble line.

cw 10

cw 4

cw 12 cw 11

cw 13 cw 17

Then as the bars went through the cooler we went into a side room and created the covers for the tin box that the bars were going to be placed in.

cw 14

It was around this time the Monkey started to get restless – after all, there’s only so long chocolate needs to cool!  One of our tour guides was kind enough to distract him with her hard hat and that was all it took!

cw 16

cw 18

The kids loved the tin box with their custom packaging.  They were very proud of themselves.

cw 3

We also took in the Hershey’s Great Chocolate Mystery in 4D movie which was also really entertaining.  They even personalized our experience by letting us text info to them so they could add it into the beginning of the movie.  The Professor, Princess and Monkey were completely caught off guard when Hershey Milk Chocolate (the character) singled them out and began talking to them.  Apparently I was the only one who knew how to text.  They were even more surprised when it turned into a conversation!  And of course, there was chocolate handed out at the end.

Chocolate World also offers chocolate tasting classes and trolley tours but we were pretty chocolated out by that point.  We just barely managed to drag ourselves back to the shuttle bus and spill out onto our stop.

It was the end of the Chocolate World for us!

90 Years…

grandpa

 

Today I had the honor of celebrating my Grandfather’s 90th birthday with him.  I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my Grandpa these days now that we live so far apart, so it was extra special to be able to be with him for such a great milestone.

Even though today was his actual birthday we had already celebrated previously this weekend with all of our extended family congregating in Cincinnati Ohio – where my grandpa lives – to throw a big party for him.  It was wonderful to get together with everyone and spend the time.  It was more than just a birthday party, it was a much needed family reunion.

Sadly, everyone else left at the end of the weekend.  The campground became quieter and quieter while we waved to each car load of loved ones as they drove off.  The Professor and the Princess would tell us how much they missed each person a few minutes after the car was out of site.  They especially enjoyed hanging out with their cousins and even though they were sad to say good bye, they were glad we were staying a couple more days.

As a child I never really appreciated my grandpa like I do now.  Back then I didn’t seem to have time to listen to all he had to say, but now I cherish every word he speaks.  He is full of wisdom and experience and stories of the past.  He is kind and thoughtful and he has a wonderful sense of humour.  He is also extremely talented when it comes to playing the piano.  I have fond memories of listening to him play for us and tonight it was like stepping back in time as I listened to him play once again.

I would love to be able to do it all again next year!

 

The Sweetest Place on Earth…

It has been 2 weeks since I posted last.  We’ve been busy!

We arrived in Hershey PA on Saturday and stayed at the Hershey Park Camping Resort.   We had planned to get a good nights sleep since we were all so exhausted from the long drive but instead found ourselves in possession of “preview passes” to Hershey Park.  We couldn’t possibly pass up an opportunity to have two and a half extra hours of park time.

Staying at a Hershey Resort offered a lot of the same benefits as staying at a Disney Resort – free transportation to the park, a guest only extra park hour and various discounts.

At the bus stop there was a sign that assigned us a chocolate name according to our height and every ride at Hershey Park had a similar sign in front of it indicating which group of “chocolates” are permitted to ride.

The Monkey was a Miniatures…

HP

the Princess was a Reese…

HP 2

and the Professor was a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate.HP 3

There were a lot of rides all three could go on, but the Professor found himself pretty bored on most of those.  Still he was willing to take his little brother on them so that he could enjoy himself too.  I was so proud of how kind and thoughtful he was!

HP 4

The spinning cups made for a good lesson in cooperation, something I made sure to point out to my little ones.  The Princess and the Professor realized that if they wanted to spin fast, they had to agree on the direction to turn the wheel – not an easy thing when both are so strong willed.  If that wasn’t enough, Daddy went on to explain a little physics to them.

HP 5

The preview hours flew by fast but we weren’t too disappointed since we knew we’d be back first thing in the morning.

HP 6

We made it back the next morning bright and early and we all had rides picked out that we couldn’t wait to get on.

HP 7

For Daddy it was Skyrush…

HP 8

for the Princess it was the Sooper Dooper Looper, which was her first upside down roller coaster.   It was a first for the Professor also.  I think it was harder for me to let them do it, than it was for them to go on.  They were so excited but I was very apprehensive.  Sometimes it’s hard to let go and let my little ones grow up but I’m glad I did because they both loved it.  In fact, the Professor decided to take it a step further and tackle an upside down roller coaster that went forwards and then backwards.  He didn’t like that one as much, but I’m glad he was brave enough to try it.

HP 9

HP 10

The Princess cried and cried as she watched her brother walk down the queue.  She was so upset he was tall enough to ride but she wasn’t.  It just wasn’t fair!

She wasn’t the only one upset about not being able to ride the more intense rides…

HP 11

The Monkey was pretty disappointed everyone else got to ride the bigger rides while he had to wait in his stroller!  Again, it just wasn’t fair!

There’s always next year!