Google Dollops of Diane: 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Happy 8th Birthday, Henry!

Happy 8th Birthday to our always kind and sweet, Henry!

Today he spent the day with my husband, Tim, at Build A Bear Workshop creating "Smokey Paw" thanks to a gift card from Uncle Dan. They also picked up a Jurassic Park Lego set and went out for lunch. He had a great day and felt really special. He's rounding out his day now at piano lessons because life goes on even on your birthday!


Here are his answers to our yearly questions:

Henry's 8th Birthday - 12/27/2016
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Show/Movie: American Ninja Warrior
Favorite Thing to do Inside: Color and draw comics
Favorite Thing to do Outside: Ride bikes
Favorite Snack: Pirate's Booty
Favorite Meal: Pancakes
Favorite Song: "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake
Favorite Thing to do with Dadda: Go to Build A Bear
Favorite Thing to do with Mamma: Go to the beach
Favorite Thing to do as a Family: Go to a hotel
When I grow up I want to be: an actor in commercials
If I had lots of money, I would: buy a mansion and a limo.

Looking for more Henry? Check out his answers when he was seven HERE, six HERE, and five HERE. You can also check out his birth story HERE.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween 2016!

A fireman, a cake, and a police officer
 We've been partying, carving pumpkins, and eating candy like it's nobody's business for the last couple of weeks. We're looking forward to a great night trick or treating with friends tonight, too. Man it's a good time to be a kid (or mom)!

Travel down Memory Lane with these Halloween posts from the past:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pie in the Sky

http://pieinthesky.org/event/pies/seller.cfm?ID=9107

Have you heard of Community Servings' Pie in the Sky? Community Servings provides medically-tailored meals to 1,525 sick people a day in 20 communities throughout Massachusetts. For $30, you can have a delicious Apple, Sweet Potato, Pecan, or Pumpkin pie baked from one of Greater Boston's best bakers (who donate their time to this cause!). You then pick up your pie on Wednesday, November 23rd (the day before Thanksgiving) at one of 80 convenient pick up sites throughout Greater Boston. For those local to Foxboro, there are locations in Sharon, Walpole, Canton, and Dedham. No matter where you live in the greater Boston area there is most likely a location near you. You can check out their Pick Up Site Locator HERE.

Wait...wait...you haven't even heard the best part yet. Each pie that is sold provides one week's worth of nutritious, made from scratch, home delivered meals to someone who is too sick to shop or cook for themselves and their family. $0.93 of every $1 raised goes directly to individuals in need so you can rest assured that your money is going directly to good use.

This year when you sit down to eat pie on Thanksgiving you can feel extra awesome because your good deed is helping someone else enjoy their Thanksgiving as well. Don't like pie (is that possible?) or you wont be around for the holiday? You can still purchase a pie and it will be donated to a Community Servings' client to enjoy.

Ready to buy? Click HERE to be directed to my personal page. Thanks for your consideration!

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!

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 www.citicenter.org 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 groups@citicenter.org 

Discount Code:
Save 25% on tickets to see The Wizard of Oz at the Citi Wang Theatre!  Visit http://citicenter.org/buy/show-listing/wizard-of-oz 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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Wizard of Oz Live: Ticket Giveaway and Discount Code (Boston)


The Wizard of Oz is coming to Boston!

The Wizard of Oz will play a 2-week engagement at Boston’s Citi Wang Theatre, running April 12-24, 2016. This new production is an enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic, totally reconceived for the stage. Developed from the ever popular MGM screenplay, this production contains the beloved songs from the Oscar®-winning movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. 

The Wizard of Oz had its world premiere at The London Palladium Theatre in March of 2011. After a successful West End run, the production had its North American premiere in Toronto in December of 2012, and then embarked on a U.S. tour beginning September 2013.




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 www.citicenter.org 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 groups@citicenter.org 

Discount Code:
Save 25% on tickets to see The Wizard of Oz at the Citi Wang Theatre!  Visit http://citicenter.org/buy/show-listing/wizard-of-oz 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.

Win It:
One lucky Dollops' reader will win a four pack of tickets to the opening night performance on April 13, 2016 at 7pm in Boston. This is a Wednesday night so please make sure you can attend before entering the contest. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 *I received complimentary tickets to the show. As always, all opinions are my own. All photos courtesy of The Wizard of Oz and Daniel A. Swalec©   

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Big Apple Circus: The Grand Tour Review

My family had the pleasure of going to see The Big Apple Circus this past weekend and it was AMAZING. Seriously, this show never disappoints and I swear it gets better each year. It definitely is captivating for audiences of all ages.


Whether you are looking for acrobats, animals, clowns, jugglers, or people straight up doing things you would never even DREAM of, The Big Apple Circus has what you're looking for. There also isn't a bad seat in the house (aka tent)!

We all just sat and marveled at the performers' skills. I loved looking over at the kids during the acts. The awe on their faces were priceless. We spent the entire ride home (and the days to come!) talking about the different performers and how funny, interesting, and amazing they were. The talent really is incredible.


I (clearly!) can't say enough good things about the show. Why not go check it out for yourself?

Playing under the Big Top at City Hall Plaza, Boston, the show runs from March 24-May 8, 2016 with tickets starting at $25. The Grand Tour transports audiences to the Roaring 1920s, the advent of the modern travel era, when the most adventuresome began touring the world in ships, planes, trains, and automobiles. With every seat less than 50 feet from the stage, audiences will be awed by the world-class entertainers as they perform breathtaking acts from the four corners of the globe. Clowns, jugglers, acrobats, and aerialists from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America appear with ponies, puppies and more; the troupe sets off on a whirlwind adventure, accompanied by the live, seven-piece Big Apple Circus Band at each performance.


You can find tickets HERE and enter the discount code BIGAPPLE to save 20% on select performances!

*My family received complimentary tickets to the circus. As always, all opinions are my own.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...