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holidays

Kid-Friendly, Reviews, Staycation, Teens, Things To Do, Tweens, Vegas Life

Christmas Town For a Fun Family NightFeatured

We love finding places around the Valley to celebrate Christmas and the end of the year holidays. Following a short break after Halloweenville, Wet N Wild now hosts another off season family fun center – This time, Las Vegas Christmas Town! They are open thru New Year’s Eve and will only be closed 12/24 & 12/25 in observance of Christmas Eve and Day. 

The second you step in, you are immersed in a winter wonderland with festive music, tons of colorful lights and all things that evoke Christmas and the holidays. You can even catch a few of your favorite winter characters like Olaf, elves and even Santa himself! Santa has a cottage so you can visit and take photos with him. There is no charge to use your own phone for photos, but professional photos are available for purchase. Tons of photo opportunities throughout the park with thousands of lights, a 40 person train ride, a 40 foot tree and synchronized lights and music. There is even a life-sized nativity scene! I just wish it was lit properly because it was pretty cool…

A few things to remember before your visit:

The ticket window opens at 5p. If you purchase a Groupon ($15 vs the full $20) You should be able to go straight to the entrance. Bags are subject to security search upon entry.

It is getting colder and colder as the year comes to a close so please dress warmly, including hats and gloves as this entire experience is outdoors.

They have face painting included with your admission and the artist that night did such a great job with my son’s snowman and wreath. I liked it so much I was inspired to tip her.

 

We did not enjoy the skating rink since it is not real ice, it is about the size of half of a basketball court, so it got crowded  and we could not get used to the ill-fitting skates! We tried about three different pairs on my son, including some that looked similar to roller blades. He did not like any of them. We only went around one time, but we enjoyed watching others try it out!

The lines for the rides can take a little while so just be patient, everyone else is here to have fun too, and at least you can look around and appreciate all the decorations and of course, the music!

Frosty’s Snow Ball Fun is a hybrid bounce house-ball pit of all snowballs. So cute…The kids always love the bounce houses and we could have spent the entire night just there, but I am glad we didn’t miss out on a number of other attractions.

The only thing we wanted from the concession stand was hot chocolate and the seasonal funnel cake: mint chocolate chip. The gigantic, drizzled in chocolate marshmallows in my hot chocolate were perfect. Making the kids ice cream and funnel cake induced sugar high was probably not the best idea, but it kept them warm and fueled to run through the obstacle courses for about an hour.

The Jingle Bell Sledding Hill is super steep and extremely fast, which my son does not like, so we did not try it, but the music is always on point there and from all the squealing and giggles, you know everyone is having a blast!

Right beside the inner tube sledding, there is a walk-through 3D experience that was really cute. The little kids liked it so much (or wanted to put the 3D glasses on repeatedly) that we went through several times since there is no line. As you exit the short two-room attraction, you can see the snow falls right by there!

My favorite was Rudolph’s Save Christmas Shoot Out, the paintball gallery. We almost forgot to try it and just before closing, we spent the last 30 min there. This requires purchase of paintballs, the best value being $20 for 200 paintballs. I will gladly buy them the next time we go – I want to shoot too! My son used all 100 paintballs himself and had a blast with every shot. The shooting gallery has Christmas trees lined up with ornaments to shoot and a well-padded (I hope) character creeping and laughing as you attempt to shoot him or her. 

Ornament and cookie decorating requires additional purchase of ornaments and cookies, but all the decorating tools are available on tables beside the concession stand. I did not feel like standing in line for cookies so we tried the ornament decorating ($3). It is so cold out that it was hard to dry the glitter glue so I had to hold them all night – a terrible idea for the beginning of the night! They are cute little wood board ornaments, but we would likely skip that next time. We love the Tiny Tim train that is most suitable for five years and younger, but adults can squeeze in too. 

The wave pool is so pretty and still, like a winter lake view. I loved the cabanas decorated in spooky, horror scenes for Halloweenville and I was really hoping they would have made a little winter wonderland near the pool too. I kept thinking it would be similar to the Macy’s department store windows in NYC. 

As for the price point, I thought $20 per person seemed expensive (depending on how many people in your family) so I was glad to hear Groupon was available for $15. It did sell out that night we went so plan ahead! Overall, it is a great place if you love bounce houses, trains, holiday music and tons of lights. The rest is gravy! 

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The Big Game Is Upon Us

This Sunday is the The Big Game. It is called that by everyone who is not officially associated with the NFL. The real name is trademarked so unless you want to infringe, just don’t use it! This is the number one day that people will be found in front of a TV (Read: Best deals on TVs!). Behind Thanksgiving, it is the second biggest eating day of the year! Traditionally, the menu is bar food like hot wings and pizza, but in recent years quite a few gourmet meals have made there way onto the buffet line up.

***Feel free to check out Pinterest board for ways to class it up or keep it traditional!***

SB49_superbowl-2015-katy-perryThe Big Game is literally THE day for advertising, hence the multi-million dollar minutes of local and national spots you will see. Budweiser is the always among the top ads if not THE top advertiser to watch. They have made an art form of this annual tradition and they set the bar extremely high for themselves and their competition. Even if you just watch the commercials all day – it will be a well-spent day in front of the boob tube! You will see a ton of celebrities in attendance and I am sure even our President will comment on the game as it is one of the greatest American Traditions right alongside baseball and apple pie. What I’m saying is: this is a BIG day! The men in your life will appreciate you making an effort to enjoy one of their favorite holidays…In Las Vegas, the greatest attraction to this weekend is, you guessed it! GAMBLING!!!
Not only can you bet on the standard straight win, point spread, or over-under, there are more prop bets than you could ever imagine! Such as, Will Katy Perry will have cleavage showing or Will Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch after scoring a touchdown. In 2014, the Super Game set a record $119 million in bets at Nevada casinos. This is a VERY BIG weekend for us locals!

Here are some actual prop bets listed HERE!

A lot of fun facts will be mentioned all throughout the game as records are broken and because guys just plain love random statistics, and now you can too…READ THIS!

***Football Newbies: Read “TMI About Football & the Big Game”***

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Holiday Traditions With Extended Family

I love the holidays! I have some of the best memories of my childhood involve Christmas Barkada (“The Group”) parties…I look forward to sharing these with my son along with the other third generation Bakada babies.

circa 1979

circa 1979

When my mother was pregnant with my brother, my dad invited some coworkers to the baby shower. Who knew this would turn into a friendship of forty five years and counting…There were more friends of friends added to the circle, more babies and thus, more reasons to celebrate and see each other. Eight families getting together for a day (that sometimes turned to night!) of family fun. Dads played mahjong in the garage while the moms cooked and chatted in the kitchen. Sometimes perms, dyes and new haircuts emerged after our time together. The boys played video games or card games and the girls played dressing up. Our teenage years meant group trips to the mall or bowling alley. We even got disciplined together! We took turns hosting at each family home, about an hour’s drive away. I grew up with seven extra aunties and uncles and about twenty bonus cousins! I was a teenager by the time I realized we are not related by blood.

That’s me in the front row! Check out the boys: matching shirts and hairstyles too! Hahaha…

Christmas was especially fun. We always had certain dishes that were mainstays on the potluck menu. As we got older, we started requesting things like, Auntie Tita’s lemon bars, Uncle Lino’s lasagna, and even the kids started to share their creations: Cousin Cheryl’s crème puffs!!! Aside from the amazing food we shared, my favorite Christmas memory is the gift exchange. Even as a big group, the kids each got a gift from each of the families.

Matching gifts as adults.

Matching gifts as adults.

Twenty kids across eight families and we are all pretty close in age. From my brother to the youngest there is about 13 years separating us, but in between there are several years of more than one birth. One Christmas, one grandmother made the girls matching dresses. It was so awesome and cheesy, we loved being the same. We have grown to be such a big family that we eventually had to adopt a gift exchange. We had one uncle dress up as Santa every year. We are officially on the second generation Santa now…

The most recent Barkada wedding was Aug 2014.

What a gift to be part of a family of friends who have been there for each other for everything: From potlucks, house hunting, and cherry picking to life’s biggest events of weddings, graduations, European vacations, births, deaths, cancer battles, weddings, baptisms, EVERYTHING! Currently we are focusing on our dear cousin beating cancer. It has been a rough road, but having a prayer tree this big means automatically having a massive collective positive energy healing her. {We Love You Lyn, KICK CANCER’S BEHIND!}

I am blessed to carry on this tradition with my son and he is blessed to be born into a loving extended family who loves him unconditionally. They say it takes a village to raise one child. I am so lucky I have a village built in! Now more than ever, I crave time with my family and want my relatives to be a part of our lives as often as possible – even if it’s a Skype session!
The oldest of the 3rd generation is still a baby to me! J with his cousins. 

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Our Hanukkah Traditons

dreidel, Hanukkah, Jewish, traditions, holidays, religious, games, gifts, festival of lights, feast of dedicationHanukkah is a totally new thing for me! I grew up celebrating Christmas and knowing very little about Hanukkah . When I married a Jewish man I knew it was time to learn about my husband’s traditions and incorporate them into our children’s lives. I am very thankful that my husband has done the same and embarrassed all of my Christian holidays. Hanukkah is a celebration of God providing enough oil for eight nights when there was only enough oil for one night. So one very cool thing is we get to make a lot of oily foods! I mean who doesn’t love greasy foods? Some of the foods we will be eating is latkas and jelly donuts. Since there is no way I am letting my kids dine on donuts for eight nights we have our first night of Hanukkah be our night we celebrate with all of the delicious fried foods. Also every night we light the candles and my husband or one of the children say the prayer. The part the kids love the most is every night after the prayer they each get a gift. This part is actually awesome and so much fun. For eight days they get the excitement of getting a gift.

  

They end up enjoying that gift so much more than their birthdays or Christmas because they are not just ripping through them to get to the next one. One of the more difficult tasks for me is making Hanukkah just as special to my kids as Christmas.

There not as many decorations or fun songs like for there are for Christmas, so I am always on the hunt for things that can make this holiday just as fun. This year I was able to find a little stuffed guy called The Mensch on a Bench! He is very similar to Elf on the Shelf and comes with a great story to help teach the kids the importance of being good people.  I am hoping as the years go by I can collect more and more fun Hanukkah decorations.

  

So even though this is very new for me I am loving that my children can learn and celebrate both of their parents’ traditions. I love that they are able to see that it is possible to have a healthy happy home that consist of two different religions. I feel this is a good lesson for them that will benefit them for the rest of their lives .

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