Google Dollops of Diane

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Happy 9th Birthday, Isabelle!

Today's the big day - Isabelle is NINE! Crazy town.

In lieu of a birthday party, she and I celebrated a special day just us last Saturday. We started at the American Girl store in Natick which she had never been to. We then walked through the mall going in every store that she wanted to. We followed that up by going out to dinner. It was a really great day to share with her. She also picked out a couple of new things at the American Girl store that she LOVES for her doll Kit.

Each year I ask the kids the same questions on their birthday. We love to see how their answers change (or stay the same!) each year. These are Isabelle's 9 year old answers...

Isabelle's 9th Birthday - 10/27/16
Favorite Color: Pink
Favorite Show: Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Favorite Thing to do Inside: Play with Kit, Piggy Poo-Poo, and Mr. Cow
Favorite Thing to do Outside: Go on the flip bar
Favorite Snack: Chocolate Teddy Grahams and Cheez Its
Favorite Meal: Pizza
Favorite Song: Shake It Off (Taylor Swift) and What Do You Mean? (Justin Bieber)
Favorite Thing to do with Dadda: Make the garden
Favorite Thing to do with Mamma: Go to the American Girl doll store
Favorite Thing to do as a Family: Go to Friendly's
When I Grow Up I Want to be a: Baker and a Teacher
If I Had Lots of Money: I'd buy a house for Kit, Piggy Poo-Poo, and Mr. Cow that I could go in, too.

*Note: Kit is her American Girl doll. Piggy Poo-Poo and Mr. Cow are stuffed animals that go everywhere with us :)

Want to check out her answers from years past? Here's when she turned EIGHT, SEVEN, and SIX. When she turned FIVE I put up pictures through the years. Oh, my baby!! It really does go by so fast.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Lunch Packing Tips from Stop and Shop

Packing 3 lunches in the mornings for the kids sometimes feels like torture. I feel like it takes up a ridiculous amount of time each morning for me. Which kid likes this? Who doesn't like this? WHERE IS HENRY'S WATER BOTTLE?? I do try to get things ready the night before as much as possible but with activities at night and my recent commitment to re-watching every episode of Ally McBeal, I only have so much time :)

Therefore, I'm always on the hunt for ways to make packing lunches easier. Stop and Shop Nutritionist, Julie Hersey, recently shared these lunch packing tips:

  1. Create a personalized lunch shopping list. Take a trip to the grocery store or simply begin the conversation about building their own lunch. Get your child's input. What foods do they like? What new foods do they want to try this year? 
  2.  Stock up on accessories for a smooth assembly. Gather all the non-food items needed for the year like an insulated lunchbox, ice packs, small containers and a reusable water bottle. Store in an easy to reach place. 
  3.  Go kiddie-sized. Avoid food waste by reaching for portioned tubes of yogurt, boxes of milk, packaged nuts, fruit cups, or simply use snack sized bags.
  4.  Make it easy to eat. Kids have limited lunch time so save every minute by washing, peeling, and cutting foods into smaller pieces. Also limit hard to open packages.
  5.  Plan and pack around a theme. Together brainstorm themes for different days of the week - food on a stick, breakfast for lunch, rainbow colors, etc.
  6.  Pack together. Start packing a week of lunches with your child until they pick up on the routine, then slowly limit your guidance. This is a great time to start packing lunch for yourself too!
 As a mom and as a Preschool Teacher I think number 4 is SUPER important. Kids don't have a lot of time for snack or lunch so I definitely try to make it as easy as possible on them. If I sent Henry in with an unpeeled mandarin orange it would literally take him the entire lunch period just to unpeel it!

What great lunch packing tips do you have to share? You can also check out Stop and Shop's Healthy Kid Ideas for all kinds of wellness tips, recipes, and resources. Click HERE for more info!

*Stop and Shop sent me a package of lunchtime essentials. As always, all opinions are my own. If you're ever looking for me, check my local Stop and Shop. I'm there at least 3 times a week (maybe more picking up something!

Friday, September 30, 2016

King Richard's Faire: Ticket Giveaway!

I recently wrote about how much fun my family had at King Richard's Faire. Missed that post? No worries, you can find it HERE!

Now is YOUR chance to get in on the fun. One lucky Dollops reader will win a family four pack of tickets to attend the Faire yourself.  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. Already been to the Faire? Well they'd love to have you back again!

King Richard's Faire is open weekends through October 23, 2016 (including Columbus Day) from 10:30am - 6pm. There are lots of special events that occur each weekend and you can check out the full schedule of themed weekends here. Also, don't forget to follow them on Facebook to see the latest happenings and news.

Enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below. It's a quick giveaway so enter now. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...