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What Not To Miss at Knott's Merry Farm 2015 #MerryFarm

It's hard to believe that a year has passed since last year's Knott's Merry Farm event. It was soon after Merry Farm that our lives changed forever and Luke was diagnosed with cancer. This post is a little bittersweet to write. However, I am so so glad we were able to attend that event and create wonderful family memories. Knott's holds such a special place for our family and has since I was a little girl.

We are going to visit Knott's at Christmas time again this year and I am sharing what not to miss from our many years of experiencing Knott's Merry Farm. Knott's Berry Farm is a Southern California Theme Park that is steeped in history and hometown charm, and Christmastime is no exception. While thrill rides dot much of the park's landscape (and delight my children), the park also creates so many opportunities for family memories during the holiday season.

Knott's Merry Farm begins November 21st through January 3rd.

Here is some can't miss family fun at Knott's:

Snow in Ghost Town
Last year, Snow in Ghost Town debuted to a resounding success and it's back this year! Every hour, snow will fall in the streets of the iconic Knott's Berry Farm Ghost Town. The snow fall is timed to a holiday light and music show and you won't want to miss it! And unlike that other theme park in Orange County, the snow falling at Knott's happens every hour! Tons of Christmas photos ops with falling snow.

Christmas Cabin of Awesome 
Okay, that's not it's real name, but it might as well be. One of our favorite yearly traditions at Knott's is Santa's Christmas Cabin. Get in line for a picture with Old Saint Nick, savor holiday treats, or grown ups can even sit and sip on some beer or wine. 

Snoopy's Annual Ice Show - Merry Christmas, Snoopy. 
Another annual Knott's tradition is the Snoopy ice show that is equal parts charming, nostalgic and just plain fun. Professional ice skaters wow the audience every year with fantastic ice stunts and tricks. The Ice Show only runs on select dates, so if want to see it, be sure to visit the website before purchasing tickets. Definitely worth making time for.

Yummy Holiday Food
Try the warm roasted nuts in Santa's Christmas Cabin, the boysenberry funnel cake or the gourmet coffee and pastries in the Christmas Cabin.

Seriously, these are so good!

The Christmas Craft Village
Did you know The Ghost Town area originated out of a need to keeping guests waiting in line for Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant entertained? Almost every single building in that area of the park is an original old west building! No wonder it feels so authentic. Lining the streets from the school house past the glass blower's shop in the Christmas Craft Village. Last year, my daughter chose a beautiful glass blown swan from the craft fair to give me for Christmas. 

The glass blower in action

Vintage Christmas on Engine No. 41
The beautiful train that winds it's way around the theme park is deck out during the Christmas season and filled with characters that help spread Christmas joy. This is always a fun one and a really great way to take a break from the crowds.

Stay connected to the Knott's Berry Farm holiday fun online by following the #MerryFarm hashtag on the social media platform of your choice. 

Disclosure: I am attending Knott's #MerryFarm media event later this month, thanks to GiggaSavvy. I was not compensated for this post, all opinions are my own. 


6 Fun Ways to Celebrate Opening of the New Peanuts Movie!

Fans of the Peanuts Gang are eagerly awaiting this Friday, November 6th, when the Peanuts Movie hits theaters. The brand new Peanuts movie follows lovable Charlie Brown and his gaggle of pals through an all new big screen adventure. Blue Sky Studios helms the project, with the blessing of Charles Shulz's son Craig Shulz. Both the studio and Shulz have taken great care to preserve the elder Shulz's timeless legacy and bring the Peanuts Gang to the big screen. As a Peanuts fan goring up and still to this day, I can't wait to see the film.

Here are a few ways to get into the Peanuts spirit:

Get to Know the Cast
A talented group of actors voice the cast of the new Peanuts Movie. This past weekend, I got the chance to meet some of them.

Noah Schnapp plays the iconic main character Charlie. When Noah is not acting he likes playing basketball,riding his bike, and playing with his dog. Noah can also be seen Tom Hanks' son in the cold war thriller Bridge of Spies, which is currently showing in theaters.

Marliek Marmar Walker, who plays charlie's BFF Franklin, is no newbie to voice over work, he is also in the popular disney show Bubble Guppies among his many other acting credits. Mar Mar is a triple threat when it comes to entertainment - he can sing, dance and act. Mar Mar, along with his dad, even came up with a dance for the movie called the "Charlie Brown".

Francesca Capaldi Francesca voices the character of the little red haired girl. Francesca has been acting since the age of four and  may recognize her from her portrayal of Chloe on Disney's hit T.V. Show Dog with a Blog.

Alex Garfin He plays Linus, the blonde haired, blanket loving brother of Lucy. Alex has been acting since age 3 and enjoying acting, singing and playing the saxophone and trombone.

Practice your "Charlie Brown" Dance
Mar Mar ________ came up with this catchy and fun dance called the "Charlie Brown". He even has an instructional video to help your child (or you ;-) ) lean the steps. Mar Mar enlists the help of his whole family in the video and it's a treat to watch!

Mar Mar Charlie Brown Instuctional Video 1080 from marleik walker on Vimeo.

Peanutize Yourself
Wondering what it means to be "peanutized"? When you visit the Peanuts Movie Official Website, you can create your very own Peanuts Character!  Why stop there, go ahead and peanutize your entire family! You will love how your very own character turns out! Here's me with Snoopy - He's my favorite character. ;-)

Have fun with this free Peanuts activity page!
Our friends at Highlights Along the Way are sharing a free Peanuts activity page this week that is sure to get your in the movie watching mood! It would even be a great idea to bring one to do in the movie theater while you wait for the movie to start.

Visit Camp Snoopy
Camp Snoopy is a Peanuts themed play area in a number of Cedar Fair Parks including Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA.

Create a "Snoopy Selfie Collage"
If you have a stuffed Snoopy, take him along for a ride around town. Visit your city's attractions like the movie theater, library, park, beach, or special monuments and snap photos of Snoopy about town. See how many fun and creative places Snoopy can see. Preserve the fun by creating a collage on Pixlr of all the places you- ahem, I mean, he visited).

Will you be seeing The Peanuts Movie?


Easy No Carve Painted Pumpkin Idea

Pumpkin plus paint plus gold paint pen. It's that easy and fun. I found these small pumpkins at our local grocery store that were perfect for our painted pumpkins project. I really had no agenda, but I knew I wanted a "no carve" solution and I didn't want to paint a large pumpkin in case I royally messed it up. My daughter and I had fun painting little pumpkins. We tested out some fun geometric shapes and designs before settling on triangles and dots. :-)

 The white pumpkin (pictured above) is painted using white acrylic paint (paint several layers and let it dry before adding your designs in paint pen) and came out with a matte finish. The black one below is sprayed with spray paint and came out with a glossy finish.


Sweet and Tangy Boysenberry Baked Chicken

 This deliciously sweet and tangy boysenberry baked chicken recipe is adapted from a recipe that a friend gave to me more than twelve years ago and I think you are going to love it.

4-6 Chicken Breast
1 jar of Berry Market Boysenberry Jam (or your own homemade version)
1 jar of Catalina or French Salad Dressing (make your own catalina dressing with this homemade recipe from Allrecipes.com)
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced, or diced (or substitute with a 1 packet of onion soup mix)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Mix together the jam, 1/2 bottle of the catalina dressing and the diced onions, set it aside.
In a 13x9 pan, lay the chicken down and pour the jam and dressing mixture over the chicken.
Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, removing the aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes.

Serve over white rice and enjoy! Serves 4-6.


Easiest Pumpkin Muffins Ever

Our family loves this easy pumpkin muffins recipe. And they are so easy to make. Just two ingredients. I under cooked them a smidge because that's how I like them. I'd rather have them doughy than dry.
During Luke's treatment, I didn't have much time for baking or recipes... Near the end of his treatment, I felt like I could handle these easy pumpkin muffins. I'm not re-inventing the wheel here. These have been around for awhile. And so many other bloggers have posted about them that I hesitate to share...Maybe they will be a simple blessing for you as they were for me. I first found out about them from Kate at Highlights Along The Way. She makes them with a box of yellow cake mix and canned pumpkin pie mix. And that's it! So easy.
I chose spice cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree. But, last year, when I tried them after reading Kate's post, I made them with chocolate cake mix and pumpkin puree. Equally delish.

Don't like boxed cake mix? Make your own homemade version via food.com

You can also find the spice cake and pumpkin puree recipe at Sweet Verbena, who adapted it from The Big Red Kitchen.


I also maybe sprinkled them with sugar before they went into the oven. Because sugar of course.