On the Sixth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Reminder that Writing & Receiving Letters is Still Meaningful

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Reminder that Writing & Receiving Letters is Still Meaningful…

“Should I ask Santa how he’s doing first,” my daughter asked as she was poised with her pen in her hand ready to share her Christmas wishes. “Definitely! You don’t want to just say what you want. It’s good to ask Santa how he’s doing” I reassured her. When we went to Strasburg railroad for our ride with Santa, one of the activities was a meet and greet with Mrs. Claus and then writing a letter to Santa and mailing it to the North Pole.

My first grader knew the importance of including a greeting and printed nice and neat to make sure Santa oils read her letter with no problem. I was very impressed that she didn’t end the assistance of her father nor me to spell any words like she did last year, and she even decided, without me suggesting, that she would just include her top three items that she wants for Christmas.

I can vividly recall writing a letter to Santa, but I actually never received a letter back, but after Quinn dropped her sealed letter in the special red mailbox, she received back a letter in just a couple of weeks. When In came in the mail, she was so excited and could read it all by herself. What really impressed me was that the letter was personalized and contained her name.

I then thought to myself, writing a letter to Santa and then receiving one back to read is a wonderful way to encourage a child to read and write. Knowing that my six year old eagerly participated in this activity was a proud moment for me.

All the best,


On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun Times with Santa on the Christmas Train

On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun Times with Santa on the Christmas Train!

If you live near Ronks, PA or are willing to drive, Strasburg Railroad is a must-do attraction for the family. For the past few years, my family has made the hour and a half trek for some memorable holiday moments. Though it it’s a totally different experience than my six year old had riding the regional rail train into the city for the first time last week, it’s definitely something we all look forward to, and this year was no different.

They have train rides with Santa, train rides to select your own Christmas tree and train rides for “The Night Before Christmas” where children are even encouraged to wear their pajamas. We always opt for the train ride where we get greeted Santa as we check out the local sites on the steam locomotive. This year, the weather was perfect: not to warm and not too cold. We were able to dine at then railroad restaurant, went to the shops and did some of the activities before our train departed.

Quinn loves getting a seat next to the window to take in the sites during our 45 minute train ride, but all eyes were on Santa as he made his way up the aisle stopping for pictures and giving each child a Strasburg Railroad ornament gift. I too was eager to take our annual train ride photo with Santa. There’s just something so magical about that train ride. I truly do love this tine of year as we enjoy each other’s company.

All the best,


On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Family Fun Time on a Christmas Train Ride

On the third day of Christmas, my daughter gave to me…family fun time on a Christmas train ride. Last year, my daughter, husband, mother and I had such a fun time on the train ride with Santa at Strasburg Railroad, so it was on the top of our list for fun activities this year. On December 1st, we traveled to Ronks, PA, a little over an hour commute from our home, to board Santa’s Paradise Express to Paradise, PA and back. There was a bit of a chill in the air, so we were bundled up and ready to enjoy ourselves.

Before boarding the train, we were able to have a tasty lunch at the restaurant located at the station. Then we headed down to the boarding platform. “Here it comes, Mommy!” My five year old shouted as the train came down the track for us to board. I quickly snapped a picture of my family, and we eagerly hopped aboard and claimed our plush seats. The ride is 45 minutes, and within that time we met Santa, who gave Quinn a special wooden Strasburg Railroad ornament for our tree, enjoyed people caroling and playing instruments and just taking in the sights along the way.

The fun didn’t stop after our train ride. We were able to do some of the fun activities, such as meeting Mrs. Claus, writing a letter to Santa, and doing some of the riding activities. Luckily, we were able to squeeze in everything because it started to rain in the later part of the afternoon.

“I can’t wait to go on the train ride with Santa again next year,” Quinn told me. Actually, I can’t wait either!

All the best,


On the Seventh Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Sweet Smile Seeing the Letter Santa Sent

On the seventh day of Christmas, my daughter gave to me…a sweet smile seeing the letter Santa sent. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been eagerly checking the mail looking for a special read envelope that contained a letter from Santa. Yesterday, it finally arrived! When we went on a train ride with Santa on the Strasburg Railroad, and one of the activities was writing and mailing a letter to be delivered to the North Pole for Santa. He would then mail back a response.

Though my four year old is still learning to read, she quickly recognized her name and then saw the name and picture at the bottom. “It’s a letter from Santa, Mommy! Can you read it to me?” As I read the letter to her, and looked at her facial expression, her eyes lit up, and she said, “I can’t wait to show Daddy my letter from Santa when he gets home from work!”

I really love how the letter ended, “Quinn, remember to treat others kindly, and always try to do your best…” As I read this part, she shook her head in agreement and said, “Santa said the same thing you always say, Mommy.” “He sure did,” I responded.

All the best,


A Fun Day Out With Thomas the Tank Engine

“Look, Mommy! It’s Thomas! He’s pulling into the train station!” my daughter excitedly informed me. I must admit that I was just as eager as she was to hop aboard and take a train ride on Thomas the Tank Engine. Yesterday, my husband and I took my little three year old along with my mom to the Strasburg Railroad Station in Gap, PA (not too far from Lancaster, PA) for this all day adventure.

It was a lovely, sunny day, and there were so many happy children wearing their Thomas shirts and cute little conductor hats. Since I had the feeling that Quinn would thoroughly enjoy the train ride, I opted for the $32 package that included a ride on Thomas (about a 18 minute ride), his best friend Percy (about a ten minute ride), the tour train (about a 45 minute ride) along with many free activities and photo opportunities with the Thomas and Percy as well as Sir Topham Hatt.

I was pleased with how well-organized the event was. There was on-site and off-site parking with adequate shuttle buses that ran quite frequently. There was one waiting when we arrived and one waiting when we were ready to go back to our car, and there was no fee for this service. Also, there were plenty of restrooms available, some standard and some port-o-potty with outdoor stations for hand washing. I also found the food to be tasty and reasonably priced considering how much they usually cost at these type of events. The kids meal, for $6.99, came with either chicken or a hotdog, fries, a juice, apple sauce and a whoopee pie for dessert. Even better, we were permitted to bring our own little lunch bag with snacks and drinks to save a little money.

While were were in line waiting to get on Percy, my mother and I were conversing with the family behind us. The grandmother was telling us that she’s been bringing her grandson every year since he was a year old. Now he’s six. This event is a wonderful tradition for both kids and families alike.

Though Quinn was all tuckered out from all of the fun and activities and dozed off on our third train ride, she had a ton of fun and was so excited when she saw Thomas and Percy actually talking (Yes, they actually talk!) She even said, “I can’t wait to come back!” Now that I know Thomas and Percy will be visiting again in late August through September then again in November, we just might have to have another Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine very soon.

All the best,