Google Dollops of Diane

Friday, September 9, 2016

King Richard's Faire 2016

The King and the kids!
Last weekend, we headed out for our annual trip to King Richard's Faire in Carver, MA. It has become a tradition that we really look forward to. The kids LOVE it! Haven't been before? You can check out this post I previously wrote entitled Things to Know Before Bringing Your Family to King Richard's Faire. It has lots of helpful information in it (if I do say so myself!). 

One of the reasons that the Faire is so great is that there is excitement and interaction around every corner. While the shops and "extras" can become pricey, there is PLENTY to do that is included with the general admission price. Simply strolling around you'll bump into princesses, knights, royalty and more who are all excited to talk with you and your family.

Isabelle and the princesses
While at the Faire, we always check out several shows. We usually like to see some "old" favorites and add a new show (or two!) each year. Performances run every half hour on many different stages so there are plenty of options. Grab a schedule by the main gate (or if you're like me you view ahead of time online!) to plan out your day.

Daniel, Duke of Danger is someone we like to check out each year

The shows (and Faire in general) are great because you can see things you wouldn't see elsewhere. Where else do you find fire juggling, dueling knights on horseback, tigers, and magic all in one spot?

All of the performances are always interesting, exciting, and interactive. You might just end up onstage and/or being part of the act.

You only get these kind of smiles when mud is around
King Richard's Faire is open weekends through October 23, 2016 (including Columbus Day) from 10:30am - 6pm. There are also a lot of special events that occur including Vow Renewals, Costume Parades, and more. You can check out the full schedule of themed weekends here. Don't forget to follow them on Facebook to see the latest happenings (which sometimes include ticket giveaways!).

*My family received complimentary tickets to King Richard's Faire. As always, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cape Codder Resort Water Park Review

Yesterday, the kids and I headed down to Hyannis to check out the recently renovated water park at the Cape Codder Resort and Spa. Although we had never seen the "before" version, we definitely loved the "after"!

They've added an additional 20,000 square feet to the facility with a clear, retractable roof which turns the indoors into the outdoors on nice days. It was really cool. Make sure you pack the sunblock though as it does get sunny in there.

They have 4 full enclosed tube slides (2 in each room) which the kids loved. My kids have really turned into water slide junkies this summer! They also have their version of a lazy river which is rightfully named the Stormy River since you'll definitely get wet under several sprayers! Pirate's Bay Kiddie Area is safe place for those younger kids to hang out and enjoy splashing with small slides. There's also a 10,000 square foot Wave Pool as well as a whirlpool and sauna. A little something for everyone!

The Water Park area has the Gazebo Cafe selling snacks, simple meals, desserts, and beverages. Changing areas with showers are available in the water park area as well. The park is open 9am - 9pm for guests of the Resort. Day passes are available for $40/person; $30 per child under 48." You can find out more information about the water park by clicking here.

We made a day of it by swimming/playing for a couple of hours and then stopping for lunch. We then headed back in for some more water fun before stopping for an ice cream treat. We then finished up with some time in the outdoor pool followed by dinner (in the hotel restaurant). Can you sense a theme here? Swim, eat, swim, eat, swim, eat.

We visited the outdoor pool at the end and it is pretty neat. It is a salt water pool located away from the water park area and get ready for this - it's open year round. Yup, an outdoor pool on the Cape that's open year round. So fun!

While we were at the Resort we were also able to check out a few of the guests rooms, the new family suites, and their Luxury Residences. The Resort also offers a lot of family fun with a daily schedule of live music, outdoor movies, reptile shows, bonfires, and more. You can check out upcoming special events here. You can also like them on Facebook here.

*Disclosure: My family received complimentary tickets to the Water Park and lunch. As always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Grilling Tips and Recipes from Stop and Shop

Summer is all about the grill. It's an easy, fast way to cook up dinner or the basis of a fun afternoon with friends and family. Although summer is more than half way through (NOOOOO!!!!), there's still plenty of time for you to get your grill on.  Stop & Shop's nutritionist, Julie Hersey, MS, RD, LD, offers some great tips (with links to recipes) for some added inspiration.

Grilling Tips –

1.       Use foil pouches for easy clean up - Grill in or on foil for less smoke and charring. You can find non-sticking aluminum foil coated specifically for grilling. Fold up the sides to create a packet where the inside cooks by steaming.  Try making a classic combination, steak and peppers.

2.       What’s the best way to grill produce? Invest in a grill basket - perfect for hard-to-handle items like asparagus, cherry tomatoes and grapes. Look for grilling options around your local store. Save some prep time at your next BBQ by buying pre-cut, grill-ready options in the produce department.

3.       Plank for seafood. Plank grilling takes the difficulty out of grilling whole fish or filets. The most common wood is cedar, but others like oak, maple, cherry or apple also work well. Stop & Shop offers planks in their seafood department, and all of Stop & Shop’s seafood offerings are 100% sustainably and responsibly sourced. For a dish that sounds gourmet but is easy to cook, try cooking a plank grilled salmon with lemon and herbs.

4.       To kabob or not to kabob? Pick up a set of metal or wooden skewers to thread a variety of colors using your favorite proteins, veggies and fruits. For even cooking, cut into equal sizes, leave a bit of room between pieces and thread one skewer with the same ingredient. To limit splinters and charring, soak wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes before using. Try giving your kabobs a citrus kick, using this lemon zest recipe.

5.       Take risks when layering the flavor. Use your favorite salad dressings, marinades, hummus and fresh citrus juice to lighten up the smoky flavor of the grill. Mix a quick creamy dressing with olive oil, citrus, hummus or guacamole and herbs to drizzle over meat and veggies just before serving. For an out-of-the-box way to dress up your dish, try this avocado-lime recipe.

*I received a complimentary cooler full of BBQ essentials from Stop and Shop. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Happy 6th Birthday, Daniel!

D turned the big SIX on Sunday! We gave him the option of a party or a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and there was never any real doubt over which he would choose. We had such a fun trip. The last time we went was 2 years ago so Daniel was still pretty young and not able to swim yet. Now that the kids are 8, 7, and 6 they can all swim and were all big enough to go on all the slides. They had a BLAST on the slides - time of their lives!

Each year I ask the kids a list of questions on their birthdays since it's always fun to see how the answers change (or stay the same!). Here are D's answers this year:

Daniel's 6th Birthday - July 31, 2016
Favorite Color: Orange
Favorite Show: Sponge Bob
Favorite Thing To Do Inside: Play with the mini basketball hoop
Favorite Thing To Do Outside: Play football
Favorite Snack: Cat Cookies (from Trader Joe's)
Favorite Meal: Tacos
Favorite Song: Shut Up and Dance with Me
Favorite Thing To Do With Dadda: Go out for ice cream
Favorite Thing To Do With Mamma: Go bowling
Favorite Thing To Do As A Family: Go out for dinner
When I Grow Up I Want To Be: A baker
If I Had Lots Of Money: I'd buy a pool

Want more D? You can check out his answers from when he turned five HERE, four HERE, three HERE, his first year in pictures HERE, and his birth story HERE!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hood: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day S'mores Campout Event

Hood® Takes Over City Hall Plaza 
for National Ice Cream Sandwich Day S’mores Campout Event 

This spring, Hood® Ice Cream announced the launch of its latest frozen novelty product: the Hood S’mores Ice Cream Sandwich. The newest addition to Hood’s popular line of ice cream sandwiches, the treats represent the brand’s cool twist on a campfire classic, one that’s sure to delight consumers all summer long. To celebrate, Hood is excited to invite the local community to participate in an exciting, campout themed event on National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

WHO: Hood, the number-one dairy brand in New England

WHAT: Hood S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches: sweet marshmallow-flavored ice cream with chocolate chips between two graham cracker wafers. Hood Ice Cream Sandwiches were recently named the #1 brand of Ice Cream Sandwiches! *

This event is to celebrate the official public launch of the new flavor, and will feature great visuals like thousands of free S’mores Ice Cream Sandwich samples, a vintage 1983 Airstream trailer, faux campfires, camping tents, a variety of outdoor games and a guitar player to set the campfire mood.

WHERE: City Hall Plaza, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02108

WHEN: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.

WHY: Camping and summer go hand-in-hand, and Hood wanted to celebrate the season by creating Hood’s fresh take on a favorite campfire treat: the s’more. What better way to celebrate the launch than bringing the local community together for a camping experience – with free S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches included –  right in the heart of the city?

SOCIAL: Planning on attending the event? Share your experience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #HoodSmoresCampout hashtag!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cross Sound Ferry's "Lights and Sights" Cruise

Yesterday, the kids and I had the opportunity to board Cross Sound Ferry's Sea Jet for the "Lights and Sights" Lighthouse Cruise. It was the perfect day for a boat ride!

We boarded in New London, CT and set sail to check out the lighthouses and attractions. The Sea Jet is a catamaran that cruises up to 35 mph that has both indoor and outdoor seating. The Jet has a small cafe that serves up everything from sandwiches, to bakery items, to snacks, to drinks, to cocktails! We enjoyed lunch inside at a booth by the window and then headed to the open roof level for maximum viewing. We loved being able to go in and out and up and down as we pleased.

Now, most people go on the tour to see the lighthouses but my family had an ulterior motive. We were really there to get a glimpse of Taylor Swift's ocean side mansion in Rhode Island. That was one of the highlights for us!

Not too shabby, Taylor!
I like to think she's waiving to us from her window ;)
So beyond being Taylor Swift groupies, we had an awesome time on the boat. On the two hour cruise, you see 8 lighthouses. We loved hearing the history of them and seeing how different they all looked.

New London Ledge Lighthouse

Latimer Reef Light
Race Rock Light
For us, in addition to the fun of the lighthouses, attractions, history, and food, really the appeal was a fun day out at sea. The kids loved being on the boat and it was fun to see the pure joy it brought for them.

It was definitely a day of family fun for us. Want to check it out for yourself? Cruises run from early April through late November. The cruise costs $28 adult, $14 child (ages 2-11), and children under 2 are free. Cruises depart at 12:30pm and last approx 2 hours. You can see the full tour schedule on their site HERE.

*We received complimentary tickets to the Lights and Sights tour. As always, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Wizard of Oz: Review and Discount Code!

Last night, Isabelle and I, along with our friend Laurie, attended opening night of The Wizard of Oz at the Citi Wang Theatre in Boston. We arrived early to be a part of the opening night festivities which included Dorothy and Toto arriving in an antique pick up truck for a yellow brick road (like a red carpet!) arrival. The Lollipop Guild greeted Dorothy and they talked with fans and signed autographs.

Isabelle was SO excited to meet them and have them sign her playbill. She was beaming from ear to ear. The arrival was just the start of the fun though because then it was on to the performance. 

The show was AWESOME! I've had the pleasure of attending quite a few live performances over the past few years and this one really stood out for me. It was a rather small cast (full of all the beloved characters that you remember) and they did an amazing job. They were all true to what you would expect them to be - the Scarecrow was silly and clumsy, the Lion was funny and cowardly, and the Wizard was grand yet feeble. The set was wonderful and the singing was incredible. The show definitely entertained audiences of all ages.

Photo Credit: The Wizard of Oz, Daniel A. Swalec©
The Wizard of Oz is playing now through April 24, 2016 which is perfect for April vacation. I highly recommend you check it out if you can! Here are the full details...

The Wizard of Oz plays at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre Tuesday, April 12 through Sunday, April 24 for 16 performances: Tuesday through Friday evenings at 7:00 pm; Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm; matinees at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, April 20 at 2:00 pm and on Saturdays; and on Sundays at 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm. Tickets start at $35.00; all prices include a $3.75 facility fee per ticket. Tickets are on sale at the Citi Center box office, through or by calling 800-982-ARTS (2787), or through Ticketmaster. Groups of 10 or more may reserve tickets now by contacting Citi Performing Arts Center Group Sales at (617) 532-1116 or 

Discount Code:
Save 25% on tickets to see The Wizard of Oz at the Citi Wang Theatre!  Visit and enter code OZMOM to buy your discounted tickets. Discount applies to select performances (4/12 7 pm, 4/13 7 pm, 4/14 7 pm, 4/15 7 pm, 4/17 6:30pm ) while supplies last. Valid on all levels, excluding Orchestra Pit.
*I received complimentary tickets to the show. As always, all opinions are my own.

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