5 on Friday: Bass Pro Shop

I love Bass Pro Shop. It is a huge store decorated with dead animals (they must have a full time taxidermist). They sell lots of guns. Their website greets you with “Welcome, Outdoorsmen” (dude…what about the ladies?). It isn’t what you would think of when you think liberal shopping destination, but I love it.

5 things I love about Bass Pro:


Not only do they have a nice Santa, you get a free 5X7 photo. This week they were even giving away free frames. Their photo packages and digital packages are much cheaper than the mall. As a stay at home mom I don’t get to spend money on Christmas the way I would if I was working, and Bass Pro makes Santa photos affordable.

We got to Bass Pro around 2:30 and there was not a line at that time. Santa came out to talk to Audrey, and kept his distance to get her comfortable. An elf encouraged her to see if she could sit in Santa’s chair. She was hesitant, but she crawled up into the chair and we got a picture of her in the chair and Santa standing next to her holding Elliot. Maybe next year she will be up for sitting in his lap, but this year I was thrilled to get a picture of them both in the frame without her screaming.

After we took the picture Santa continued to talk to Audrey about his elves. It was so nice that he took the time to talk to her and make her comfortable instead of just taking a picture and moving along.

My Aunt Kathy always comes with me to help with Audrey. She is such a good help, holding Audrey’s hand and talking to her about Santa while I deal with Elliot. The staff acknowledged her help by giving me 2 frames and 2 photos so she could have one too.

Santa makes Audrey feel comfortable.

The Play Area

This is the first year that Audrey was big enough to play in the kids area. She liked playing in the ball pit. Next year she should be able to work the diggers in the ball pit. They also have a shooting game, Lincoln Log table, train table, and a remote control car to play with. It’s a bit of a drive over to Altoona to get to Bass Pro, so it’s nice that Audrey can run around and play while we are there.

She is serious about her love of the ball pit.

The Clothes

Bass Pro has a really nice clothing selection. Every time we are there Kathy and I spend a good half hour checking out their clothes. This time they had several drapey cardigans (part of my winter uniform) and cozy sweaters. They are not expensive, and I kicked myself for not looking there when I was looking for a new sweater.

In addition to nice clothes they sell rhinestone covered pink camouflage Bible covers. Kathy and I tease each other about needing those. We also muse about who we would like to give the Bible cover too (We usually settle on Claire). Making fun of those Bible covers never gets old.



The Fish

They have a huge fish tank. We stopped and looked at the fish for a long time. For the rest of our time at the store Audrey kept asking to go back and see the fish.

Not the best photo, but you can see Kathy smiling in the reflection, which makes me happy.


Aunt Kathy always buys me a piece of fudge when we are at Bass Pro. I should be buying it for her for all of her help, but she won’t let me. This time I got amaretto fudge. It was amazing. I shared some with John, even though he thinks fudge is “just OK.” I then got mad at John, because if you think something is “just OK” you really should leave it for me.

I don’t like to share.

Bass Pro is a fun way to spend an afternoon. They also have a bowling alley and restaurant. We didn’t stay to eat this time, but if we had, we could have used the coupon for a free kids meal that they include with the free Santa photo.

Have you been to Bass Pro? What do you love about it?

Hot Chocolate Hack – Nutella Cocoa

I am a big fan of hot cocoa. I like rich, decadent, coffee shop cocoa – the fancy pants stuff that is a special treat. The kind of drink that says “Hello winter! Let’s get cozy!”

It has suddenly gotten really cold in Des Moines. When it starts go get cold and I’m pulling out my winter gear I start craving cocoa. With two little kids it is hard to get out, so I am not able to pop out and get cocoa when the craving hits.  Last week I tried Nutella cocoa at Gateway Market and I decided I needed to recreate it at home. It turns out that decadent coffee shop cocoa is remarkably simple to make at home. It is so simple I took several photos just so it would seem more complicated.

This is a great recipe to break out when you have friends over and you want to impress them with your very special chocolate hazelnut cocoa that is super duper hard to make (yup, I’m advocating lying to your friends so you look like a culinary visionary). The best part is, you probably already have the 2 ingredients in your house. The only two things you need are nutella and milk.


Step 1: Choose your mug. How big is it? I picked a 10 oz mug.

Step 2: Measure out your milk. You will want a few ounces less of milk than will fit into the mug. I measured out 8 oz for my 10 oz mug.


Step 3: Pour your milk into a saucepan and start to heat it on medium low.dsc_0210

Step 4: Scoop out 2-3 tablespoons of Nutella. Try not flinch at the large amount of Nutella on your spoon. dsc_0216

Step 5: Stir the Nutella into the warming milk. Get so excited about the impending yummy you forget how gross your stove is (mental note: clean stove).dsc_0218

Step 6: Whisk the Nutella into the milk until it is smooth and the cocoa is hot. dsc_0224

Step 7: Pour it into a mug. Spill a little bit on your counter (optional).dsc_0227

Step 8: Drink it up. Marshmallows would be a great addition.dsc_0229

It is so delicious I almost wish it wasn’t so easy to make. With cold weather hitting most of the country this week it is probably a great time to try it. I would love to hear what you think of it.

Writing More and Guest 5 on Friday

I have missed blogging. Not so much the pressure of having semi-correct grammar or not using bad swear words in posts (I don’t give a damn about mild swears), but the act of writing. Getting thoughts out of my head and down on a page. As an introvert, I tend to keep my thoughts to myself, but blogging forces me to share more. It is a good thing.

Just because I’ve missed it doesn’t mean it has been easy to sit down and make the time to write. When I’m writing I could be knitting…or cooking..or talking to John…but mostly knitting. As it gets colder out it gets harder and harder to pull myself away from the wool on my needles. Especially when it is this beautiful.


Luckily I have a friend, JoAnna from She’s (mostly) harmless,  in the same boat. She’s my partner in the world’s smallest writing group. We’ve committed to meeting monthly to discuss writing and workshop ideas. It is nice to get out of the house, discuss ideas, and pound nutella hot chocolate like it’s my job (bless you, Gateway Market, for creating some delicious Type 2 Diabetes in a cup).


One of the fun things about having a writing group with someone is collaborating with them. Which leads me to this week’s 5 on Friday. It’s a guest post from JoAnna this week all about her. If you find her to be delightful, and trust me, you should, you can find her on her blog.

5 on Friday

  1. I’m an introvert – I hate people. It’s not personal, really. I would just rather be alone.
  2.  I like animals better than you. They’re just easier. See number 1.
  3. My hobbies include sewing, knitting, and baking.
  4. I’m an old soul trapped in a young(er) person’s body. See number 3.
  5. I’m sarcastic and I swear a lot. May also be a salty old sailor.                                           Note to self: see therapist re: multiple personality disorder.

Every Friday I share five things I think you should know about. Are there any Friday Fives you would like to hear about? Please share your ideas with me.