Monday, March 30, 2015

Big Apple Circus Metamorphosis: Review and Discount Code!

Isabelle, Daniel, and I headed to Boston yesterday to see the Big Apple Circus. It was supposed to be a fun, entire family trip but poor Henry has been sick since Thursday night and wasn't up for the big show. Luckily, Henry was able to go all by himself with me last year and the kids and I brought him home a souvenir this year to help soften the blow.
Camel Clown
Neither Isabelle nor Daniel had been to the circus before so they were beyond excited when I broke the news to them in the car. They were thrilled to enter the tent and take in all the magic and excitement. Before heading to our seats, I picked them each up a box of popcorn from the concession stand. One of the things that I like about the Big Apple Circus is that the food, concessions, and even (some of) the souvenirs are not as outrageously priced as at other big events. Boxes of popcorn (which are plenty big enough to share except I was having them eat it in lieu of dinner!) were $4/each. Not nearly as bad as some other shows (or even the movies!). 

We then headed to our seats and Isabelle nearly died when we realized that they were in the front row. We couldn't have been closer to the action if we tried! No matter where you are though, you are not far from the show. Each seat under the tent is no more than 50 feet from the ring. It is close and intimate! Daniel (age 4) was a little nervous about Francesco the Clown because he was doing silly things with people in the audience and bringing some people (including my friend Sharon's family members!) into the ring. I assured Daniel that I wouldn't let the clown touch him or bring him in the ring and that seemed to be enough for him.

The whole show was amazing though. Isabelle said her favorite act were the Anastasini Brothers when they foot juggled EACH OTHER. Yes, why juggling bowling pins when you can juggle your own brother on your feet?

Daniel's favorite act was when the Aniskin Troupe did twists and turns at ridiculous heights on the trampoline. They were also the same guys who did the trapeze act. Seriously, no fear of heights (or falls! with them!

My favorite act this year was probably Vladimir and Olga Smirnov who did a crazy costume change act. Although it doesn't sound like much, Olga seriously changed costumes in the blink of an eye. She must have had at least 15 different outfits on in a 5 minute time period and changed them all right in front of us! How did she do it? Where were all the costumes hidden? More importantly, can I teach my kids to get changed that fast?!

Oh, and the animals this year! So, so many! I am pretty sure last night was the closest I will ever be to a camel in my life. At one point when a horse was running around the ring, he stuck his head out and Daniel and I both jumped back in our seats because he was so close. We then both burst out laughing. Really, I think that's what the whole circus is about - unexpected moments and lots of laughter!

Big Apple Circus presents METAMORPHOSIS in its annual Boston engagement at City Hall Plaza from Tuesday, March 24 through Sunday, May 10, 2015Save 20% per order for select performances, use the code APPLE* when buying tickets online at  or by phone at  888-541-3750, and at the box office.

  *Limited availability. Offer good on select seats and shows. Other conditions apply. Children under 3 are free on the lap of a paid adult, one child per lap.

**Disclaimer: My family was provided complimentary tickets to the show to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Boston Ballet's Shades Of Sound Review!

Last week, I had the opportunity to head out to opening night of Shades of Sound performed by the Boston Ballet. The show consisted of three different works featuring Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, George Balanchine’s Episodes, and Hans van Manen’s Black Cake that were all amazing in their own right.  It was my first trip to the ballet (ever!) and a great night out. 

Here are some pictures of just some of the amazing moves that we saw...

Black Cake
You can check out my full review of the show HERE over at the Family Friendly Boston website. Shades of Sound will perform at the Boston Opera House until March 29th. Get your tickets HERE!

*I received complimentary tickets in order to facilitate the review for Family Friendly Boston. As always, all opinions are my own. Photos courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor and the Boston Ballet.

Stonyfield OP: Where Have You Been All My Life?

I recently tried a new Stonyfield product called Stonyfield OP (Organic Protein) Smoothie and I am in love.

I've said before how I generally eat breakfast on the go and often pop a bar in my bag to devour along the way. Now I'm excited that I found a quick and easy alternative to add some variety to my routine. Plus, I love smoothies but don't love the mess and time that they take to make so this is a great alternative for me.

Off to preschool drop off!
Stonyfield OP comes in Vanilla (my favorite!), Chocolate, and Strawberry and are the perfect size to grab and go. I usually have one for breakfast but you can drink one whenever you need a snack or boost. They have no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, or artificial sweeteners. Each bottle also contains 15 grams of protein (30% of your daily value!) so it gives you the long standing energy that you need. There's nothing worse than having a small meal or snack only to feel hungry an hour later.

You can find Stonyfield OP at your local Whole Foods and/or some grocery stores. 

I was able to find Stonyfield OP on sale last week at Stop and Shop for $1.69 (regular price $1.99) per bottle. Yes, per bottle. They are not necessarily cheap but I think they're worth it. Plus, if you're using it as a meal replacement then it doesn't seem as bad. If I buy power bars that will keep me satisfied all morning I usually pay in that ballpark for them as well. Given the ease, portability, and yumminess of Stonyfield OP, it's a no brainer!

*Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Stonyfield. As a YoGetter Ambassador, at times I receive free product and/or compensation. As always, all opinions are my own. Seriously, I really love this product!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stop and Shop's World Menu: Gift Card Giveaway!

Looking for an easy dinner tonight? Stop & Shop is offering its customers a new take on take out with the launch of its brand new World Menu product line. These internationally, inspired items feature quality ingredients and bold flavors, including many Italian and Asian favorites. Found throughout the store with a large variety in the frozen department, World Menu products bring the tastes from around the world to your kitchen for quick and easy meals in just minutes. What's not to love about that?

Meals include ricotta and spinach tortellini paired with broccoli rabe & smoked provolone - yum! Asian varieties include chicken pot stickers with sweet & sour chicken and shanghai-inspired sesame stir fry.

Enter to win a $25 gift card below to Stop and Shop so that you and your family can try out some of the new items for yourselves!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
 *Disclaimer: I received a Stop and Shop gift card so that my family can try out the new World Menu. I'm hoping to run into the Maven of Savin at the checkout like I did last week and have her save me lots of moola on my order.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Five Picture Friday: Week 5

It's Friday so it must be time for some pictures! Here are the last five pictures from my phone's camera roll. Enjoy!

Picture #1: Dragon Armed Henry

Henry was wearing these puppets on his hands non stop earlier this week. The night before this picture, he had gone to bed with them on and then came down the next morning still wearing them. They even helped him eat his breakfast (Note to self: Wash the puppets).

Picture #2: Basement Clean Up

We had a gorgeous day this week where temps were around 50 degrees. The break from the cold and wintry weather we've had was so very welcome. However, the mountains of snow only have so many places to melt so some of it joined our basement. It's unfinished though so more of a pain in the butt than a major inconvenience. Luckily, I had a helper with the wet vac.

Picture #3: More Cleaning

Yesterday morning I decided to clean the living room which turned into a hard core, crazy clean. First I was going to vacuum. Then I realized I hadn't cleaned under the couches in while. Once I got the toys out, I realized how dusty it was under them. So then I swept under the couches. Doing that revealed the floors were still dirty, so then I moved EVERY piece of furniture in the room so I could fully mop the floors. Once you do that you realize how dirty the base boards are...and the list goes on, and on. Luckily, my helper was available this day as well.

Picture #4: Delicious Cookies

This morning, I met some friends at Brothers Marketplace (if you missed my previous post about how awesome it is there, check it out HERE) to chat over food and coffee. These are the glorious things I sometimes get to do on mornings when all kids are in school! Anywho, I saw these Crispy Caramel Salted Cookies and I thought my husband would like them so I bought them. I then proceeded to share them with my friends and eat a couple myself. At this point, Tim will be lucky if there's one left for him when he gets home. They are crisp and delicious with little bits of heaven mixed in.
Picture #5: New Storage Containers

I arrived home this afternoon to find a package at my door from UncommonGoods which contained goodies including these food storage containers. I am super excited to try to get some organization to our out of control tupperware and missing lids situation that we've got going on here.

There you go, folks, another week in the books! Have a great weekend!

*Disclaimer: I am partnering with UncommonGoods as part of an upcoming post. Be sure to check back in the near future to see my review of the Nest Storage System and to see what other cool item I received!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ships A Hoy: Indoor Water Sprayground! (Norwood, MA)

Daniel and I headed out this morning to meet some friends at Ships A Hoy located inside Rama Athletic Club in Norwood, MA. One of my friend's son had attended a birthday party there but beyond that no one else, including me, had ever heard of it. Let me tell you - you want to know about this place!

Oh.My.God. Maybe it's just the fact that Daniel was able to have water fun after this horrible winter but man was it A-mazing. How did I not know about this place? How has this been kept such a secret? Besides our group there were only 4 other kids there. Daniel played for hours and had a total blast. Locals, you should totally check it out!

Things to know about Ships A Hoy:

  • Open 7 days a week at 920 Washington Street, Norwood:
8am-12pm Monday - Friday
4pm-8pm Monday - Thursday
5pm-8pm Friday
8am- 12pm Saturday and Sunday
  • Cost is $10 per child (credit cards accepted)
  • Grown ups don't need to wear bathing suits(!!). You can just hang out along the side and watch the magic happen. I wore sneakers and it was fine but you might be better off in flip flops or rainboots (especially if your children are younger and you need to help them in the park)
  • It's warm inside the splashpark. The temp is great for kids in the water but grown ups should dress appropriately for the warmer climate. I'd definitely suggest short sleeves.
  •  Towels are provided
  • There are two changing stalls located within the splashpark
  • There's a small kid table inside the splashpark where some kids sat to have snack
  •  They host birthday parties! Call the club at 781-349-8580 for rates and availability
 *Daniel and I paid for our visit today, enjoyed it, and are sharing with you. As always, all opinions are my own.

While you're here, check out some other great family spots that we've checked out!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Big Apple Circus (Boston): Giveaway!

Hurry, hurry! — Fly away to the magical ring, to the circus — to the Big Apple Circus! — where an All-New ShowMETAMORPHOSIS — with astonishing acts and startling transformations will transport you to a realm of enchantment under the Big Top!
PHOTO CREDIT: Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus
For its 37th Season, Big Apple Circus soars on wings of artifice and illusion, to a dreamscape domain where no one sits more than 50 feet from the ring, and nothing is impossible! 

PHOTO CREDIT: Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus
Big Apple Circus presents METAMORPHOSIS in its annual Boston engagement at City Hall Plaza from Tuesday, March 24 through Sunday, May 10, 2015.

PHOTO CREDIT: Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus
To save 20% per order for select performances, use the code APPLE* when buying tickets online at  or by phone at  888-541-3750, and at the box office.

One lucky  Dollops reader will win a family four pack to the March 29th performance at 4:30pm. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  *Limited availability. Offer good on select seats and shows. Other conditions apply. Children under 3 are free on the lap of a paid adult, one child per lap.

**Disclosure: My family will be attending the Big Apple Circus at no charge. As always, all opinions are my own.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Five Picture Friday: Week 4

Like every Friday (except for last week when I totally skipped it!), I'm showing off the last 5 pictures from my phone's camera roll. Happy Friday, y'all!

Picture #1: Daniel Bowling 

Daniel and I headed out for some bowling fun while the big kids were at school this week. We capped off our morning out with a little lunch date at Panera. I feel like the days are fading fast that I'll be able to do stuff like this with him since he'll start full day kindergarten in the fall. Oh, and I'd like to say that I beat him by more than just 3 points while BUMPER bowling but that would be a lie.

His style is throw the ball, sit back, and watch the magic happen
Picture #2: Daniel whipping up some guacamole

Daniel LOVES guacamole which is funny since he basically hates every other food on the planet. Here he is helping to make some while we waited for the kids to get off the bus.
Mr. Guac
Picture #3: Henry and his lost tooth
Henry lost his 5th tooth on Wednesday. He went to bed the night before with it really wiggly so we knew it would be coming out soon. He was so excited that he woke up at 4:20am that morning in anticipation of the big day. He gave it its final tug at school so he got to go to the nurse and then wear it around his neck in a little tooth container for the rest of the day. Not creepy at all, right?

You can't actually see the lost tooth in this picture - details, details.
Picture #4: Daniel

Sometimes I look at Daniel and just marvel at how cute and amazing he is. Now I say sometimes, because he's always been my most challenging child. Shortly after this photo was taken he screamed for a solid 25 minutes about the injustices in his four year old life. In this picture though? He's perfect.
Picture #5: Lot O' Vitamin C

I've been going through the mom stages of a cold this week. Stage 1: Denial. No, my ear isn't hurting. I don't care that all the kids in the house have a cold. I do NOT have a cold. I'm just sneezing from allergies. I do NOT have a cold. Stage 2: Acceptance. Okay, okay, maybe I have a LITTLE cold. It won't stop me from living my life. I've got stuff to do! Stage 3: Reality. I'm sick. This is not a minor cold. I'm a sneezing, blowing my nose, sore throat mess. Stage 4: Recovery. I'm on the mend but not feeling as fabulous as I would like. Tomorrow though, TOMORROW is the day I will be ALL better (Back to stage 1?).
This might as well be a placebo but it makes me feel like I'm doing something
Hope everyone has a happy and healthy weekend!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls: Yum!

If you're a regular reader or know me in real life, then you know that I have a major sweet tooth. I try my hardest to balance a LOVE of sugary treats with enough exercise and healthy choices to stay moderately fit. Some days are easier than others! Given my love of sweets and desire to fit into my jeans after this LONG winter (they're getting tight!), I was excited to try new Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls. The pearls are scoops of Stonyfield delicious, organic frozen yogurt wrapped in an all natural fruit coating. So what does that mean for you? It means you can pop these yummy bites right in your mouth without even needing a spoon!

Stonyfield is always working to reduce packaging and striving towards a truly sustainable package. Thanks to WikiPearl Science, this dream is now that much more attainable. WikiPearl and Stonyfield were named as one of TIME Magazine's Top 25 Inventions of 2014!

 The Frozen Yogurt Pearls come in 4 decadent flavors:
  • Strawberry and Vanilla
  • Strawberry and Chocolate
  • Coconut and Chocolate
  • Peach and Vanilla
The kids and I gladly sampled the strawberry and peach flavors. We saved the coconut for my husband since coconut is one of the few flavors that I can just never get behind. The consensus was thumbs up all around.

I liked that they were tasty and easy to eat. Coming in at just around 20 calories per Pearl you won't feel bad about eating them. They give you the fix you need without destroying the hard work you've been doing to stay (or become!) healthy.

Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls are available across New England at Whole Foods Markets in the freezer section.

You can click HERE to print a coupon to get two packs of Pearls for $6.

*Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Stonyfield. As a YoGetter Ambassador,
 at times I receive free product and/or compensation. As always, all opinions are my own. Photos courtesy of Stonyfield.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Life Is Never The Same Once Your Mom Dies

Six years ago today, my mom passed away. I think of her frequently, although honestly, probably not as much as I used to. Time passes and life moves on. You start living a new life where you remember that she's gone. You don't immediately think it's her anymore when your phone rings - You know it can't be. No matter what though, life is never the same once your mom dies.

Your home is not the same. They say home is where the heart is but really I think it's home is where your mom is. Although, you might visit her home after she's gone it's never the same. There is an emptiness that exists that seems to be jumping out from the walls. 

The birth of your final baby is not the same. As you hold him in the hospital minutes after his birth, all you will wish for is that your mom could be there to meet him. His first crawl and his first steps wont be the same either because she'll never be there to see them.

Your children's concerts, plays, and graduations are not the same. As you sit watching them you will see all the other grandparents in attendance and wish so much that your mom could be there to see them. You know she would beam with pride at her grandchildren - If only she had gotten the chance to see them grow.

Your birthday is not the same. Although you may be surrounded by friends and family that you love, you'll think of her. You'll think of her XX years ago sitting in her own hospital bed holding you. You'll wish that you could tell her what a great mom she was and how you are the person you are today because of her.

Holidays are not the same. She won't be there to see your children search for Easter Eggs. She won't be there to hand out Halloween candy with you. She won't be there to open your Christmas present. All of those things won't go unnoticed.

Television and movies are not the same. You'll see movies you watched together and wish you could watch them one more time with her. You'll see shows that she loved and you couldn't stand. You'll wish that you gave in more frequently and watched them with her because spending more time with you was all she really wanted.

Food is never the same. Your favorite meals will remind you of the times you shared them with her - and how you never will again. You'll never be able to eat her favorite snacks without a flood of thoughts about her.

These reminders of your mom are often welcomed. They might make you smile or laugh. However, some days they just make you ache. They remind you of the hole in your heart that will never be filled.

Six years ago today my mom died and life has never been the same.

My mom and Isabelle (Easter 2008)
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