Jun 072015
 

10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer #Travel

If you’re heading to Boston this summer, here is a list of 10 things you can do in the city for free.  Yes, I said free.

1.  Cool off at Frog Pond

Spend the day letting the kids splash around in the giant wading pool and cool off under the 30-foot spray flume at Frog Pond.  It’s open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 1st through Labor Day. Lockers are available for $1.

The Frog Pond is located on the Boston Common, off the Park Street stop on the Red or Green line.

2.   Walk the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile, red-lined (brick or painted red line) urban walking trail that leads you to 16 historically significant sites that bring the history of the American Revolution, as it began in Boston, to life.  Along the route you will see such places as the site of Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s house, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House and the Bunker Hill Monument.

10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer Freedom Trail

You can start your Freedom Trail tour at the beginning, middle, or end and here’s a map of the route in case you want to walk the walk. Continue reading »

Jun 052015
 

**This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

Let your kids get muddy! At BattleFrog they have races for any age – It is a fun and challenging course for everyone in the family.

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TadPole Dash: The TadPole dash is for 4-8 year olds. The course has 8+ obstacles, through 400 meters, and is guaranteed to deliver a new experience of self-discovery. Children will learn they can take on these new and exciting challenges, while becoming “Fit for the Future”, getting totally muddy and having the time of their lives. Continue reading »

Jun 042015
 

**Disclosure: Product was received at no charge in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Taking a long, hot shower at the end of the work day is one of life’s many little luxuries. I for one don’t take a great shower for granted, which is why I am always looking for ways to make my shower a more pleasant and enjoyable experience.  As you can imagine, I was thrilled when I recently had the chance to try out and review a luxury shower head by Aroma Sense, a new and innovative shower head that is sure to make your next shower anything but average.

showerhead2

Most shower heads deliver water to your shower and that is about where they stop. The luxury shower head by Aroma Sense is different, in the sense that it does so much more than deliver water. It works so much harder than that by delivering a pleasant citrus aroma, chlorine reduction, vitamin c, pressure boosting, and negative ions in each and every use. It makes each shower more of an experience and health benefit, instead of a simple cleansing routine. Continue reading »

Jun 032015
 

10 Things To Do With Kids In Newport

When it comes to visiting Newport, there is something for everyone.  Known as ‘The City by the Sea,’ whether you are visiting Newport for business, a romantic couples getaway or a family vacation, this seaside community will not let you down. From shopping, to sightseeing, to visiting museums to great restaurants – Newport has it all.  I have visited Newport many times with my husband alone (we’re regulars at the Firehouse Theater for the Friday night Bits Players show), but we recently took the kids with us for a weekend in this lovely beach resort town.

Before we left, I went armed with a plan.  I wanted to make sure that I planned lots of fun activities to keep our family busy while we were there.  If you’re planning a trip to Newport with the kiddos, here are some things you may want to check out while you’re there.

1.  Tour the Newport Mansions

The Newport Mansions

As you drive down Bellevue Ave,  you will pass by some of the extravagant mansions from Newport’s gilded age. While many of these houses are still private property, nine of them are open to the public for guided tours. The stunning “summer cottages” were built by families such as the Vanderbilts and Berwinds, who spent quite a bit of their hard earned money on these fabulous homes that they used only in the summer months every year. Continue reading »

Jun 022015
 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DadsMyHero #CollectiveBias

What Makes My Husband An Amazing Stepdad #DadsMyHero #CollectiveBias

A lot of people don’t realize this, but Chris is not my boys father.  It’s a very long story, but I ended up divorcing the boys dad shortly after my second son was born.  After doing the solo thing (to a newborn and a three year old) for a while, I decided that it was time start dating again and in the process, also find a potential step father for my boys.  My little one was only about six months old when I started dating Chris, so he’s been part of my boys lives since they were very young.   It just so happens that I met and married the first guy and “potential step father” I met.

I knew pretty early on that he was a keeper and when he finally met my children about six months after we started dating, I knew immediately that he was the one.  From the very first time he met them, he treated my boys like they were his own.  Being a step parent is definitely not easy, but for someone to come in and treat kids the way that Chris treats mine is a rare thing. He is the most amazing stepdad I could ever have hoped for.

Yes, the boys real dad is a very active part of their lives, so I don’t want to make it sound like Chris is the only male role-model the kids have, but Chris has definitely taught my boys a thing or two in all the years he’s been with us. Continue reading »

Jun 012015
 

Peanut Butter & Banana Bites

I am not exaggerating when I say that my boys are always hungry.  Some days they completely eat me out of house and home.  I swear that they would just sit there and eat all day if I would let them – but I don’t.  So when I do feed them snacks, I look for ones that are not only going to fill their tummies, but are healthy as well.  Enter Peanut Butter & Banana Bites!  They fit both bills and the best part is that you only need two ingredients!  Plus you can whip these up in just a few minutes, so it’s a win-win in the snack category if you ask me.

Ingredients:

• Banana, sliced

• Peanut Butter

pb&b bites

Directions:

1. Peel your banana and slice into round pieces. Continue reading »

May 312015
 

Hotel Viking Newport RI

With summer in full swing here in New England, families may want to consider a trip to Newport, RI.  Amongst fabulous Gilded Age mansions, you will find that Newport is filled with many family-friendly attractions.  My husband and I are not strangers to Newport, but we had never brought the kids along with us – until recently.  Over Memorial Day weekend, the four of us had a lovely weekend in Newport and loved our stay at the Hotel Viking, which is located at One Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island.

At Hotel Viking you’ll find that they offer valet parking (for a small fee), a delightful on-site restaurant, a full-service spa, a fitness center, two ballrooms, boardrooms, private meeting spaces, an indoor pool, the historic Newport Kay Chapel and 209 guest rooms. The room we stayed in room had two queen beds and the four of us were comfortable there for our two night stay. The room includes a gourmet honor basket filled with a variety of snacks , a mini fridge (stocked with an honor bar and also including items such as water and soda), a Flat screen LCD TV, Keurig coffee maker with a variety of coffees, an iron & ironing board, an in-room safe, hairdryer, and desk.  There is free wi-fi available at Hotel Viking and you can get the password from the folks at the front desk.

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Our weekend getaway was part of the “We are Family” package.  The “We are Family” package was designed to encourage families to put the mobile devices down and turn up the fun – and that is exactly what we did while we were in Newport. The package, which starts at $189 per night ($409 in the summer), includes the following: Continue reading »

May 282015
 

Showing Nana she is special on Mother’s Day is easy! However, when it comes to the “birthday” it can be a bit harder to come up with a way to honor her. I love my mom and appreciate everything she has done for me, which is why I wanted to find several ways to honor her for her upcoming birthday. Here are some ways you too can honor your Nana on her upcoming birthday.

Give her a call.

I know it’s so old fashioned, but giving Nana a call on her birthday is one smart move. She loves to hear your voice and may not even be expecting such an awesome gift. Tell her how much you love and appreciate her.

Give her a visit.

It may be 2015, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give Nana a visit when it’s her birthday. Grab a bouquet of flowers and enjoy the time you’ll spend with her.

Gratitude Grandmother Charm Bracelet

This year, we decided to get a little more personal in my family. This gorgeous Gratitude Grandmother Charm Bracelet from SOUFEEL foots the bill for how we wanted to show “Nana” that we love her!
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The charms are from SOUFEEL and they are 925 sterling silver.  I love that they can fit Pandora and Chamilia bracelets and will surely make a unique and memorable gift for that special person in your life – all while saving you a little money, too! Continue reading »

May 272015
 

**My family received tickets to see the New England Revolution at no charge in exchange for this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Recently, my family got the chance to head over to Gillette Stadium to watch the New England Revolution take on Toronto FC.  We were all really excited, especially since this was our first Revs game ever.

In case you’re unfamiliar with who the “Revs” are, the New England Revolution are our professional soccer team.  They play at Gillette Stadium, which is the same stadium that the New England Patriots play at.

My family was hosted by Santander Bank and we got to watch the game from the Santander Bank suite – along with a few other Boston area bloggers and their families.  The Revs mascot, Slyde, even stopped by to say hi to us during the first half of the game.

NE Revolution Game in Santander Bank Suite

Before the game started, we got to go down to the field and watch the players warm up before the game. Continue reading »

May 262015
 

**This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

the briefcase

There is a new reality show from The Biggest Loser creator/executive producer Dave Broome premiering on CBS tomorrow night called THE BRIEFCASE. The show features hard-working American families experiencing financial setbacks who are presented with a briefcase containing a large sum of money – but there is a twist.  Each of the families will be facing a potentially life-altering decision: they can keep all of the money for themselves, or give all or part of it to another family in need.

Each week, two families have 72 hours to learn details about each other’s challenging circumstances and make the weighty decision of what to do with $101,000.  However, what they don’t know is that the family with whom they are considering sharing this financial windfall received an identical briefcase with the same instructions. Throughout their journeys, relationships within both families will be tested and beliefs questioned as they find out what really matters most in their lives, and how much importance they place on values such as love, generosity, compassion and faith. Continue reading »

May 262015
 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhereFunBegins #CollectiveBias

Bouncy House Safety Tips

Here in Massachusetts we only get about three months of summer, so when that warm weather finally comes around, our family likes to take full advantage of it.  I’m talking beach days, trips to the zoo, picnics, playground play dates – you name it and there is a good chance we’ll be doing it come summer. Another thing I love about summer is that both of my boys were born during the summer. So every year I throw a huge joint birthday party for the boys and what outdoor summer birthday party would be complete without a bouncy house?

As much fun as bouncy houses are at a summer party, things can go awry really quickly if your kids do not know the rules or safety tips of using a bounce house. Check out these 5 bounce house safety tips to keep in mind this summer.

Bouncy House

#1. Feet First Continue reading »

May 222015
 

**Disclosure: Product was received at no charge in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

If your family deals with allergies, then you know how big of a pain it can be. The sniffling, sneezing, congestion and whatever else you’re dealing with can be just too much. My entire family has seasonal allergies, which means we all have to find a way to deal. Check out how our family deals with allergies.

House Cleaning Time

Yes, our house has forced hot air, which means tons of dust is always all over the house. Dust and seasonal allergies do not help the situation at all. We’ve found that doing basic cleaning on a daily basis helps our allergies a ton. We vacuum and dust as we can to help eliminate the extra particles floating around.

We Use the Airfree Onix p300 Air Purifier

air purifier1

When you have allergies, like my family does, you have to be proactive about it. Which is why the Airfree Onix p300 Air Purifier has become a permanent fixture in our home. Here are some of the main reasons we love this air purifier: Continue reading »

May 212015
 

Families. We’ve all got one, but these days they’re starting to look less like The Cleavers. Am I right? The once traditional “nuclear” family has evolved into a kaleidoscope of possibilities.  Start with parents (maybe two dads, a single mom, or a stay at home dad…), add a dash of half/step/full/adopted siblings, a side of grandparents, a pinch of aunts, uncles, cousins, a splash of pets, topped off with close friends (and all the combinations thereof). Now you’ve got a modern family — each uniquely quirky — yet picture perfect in its own way.

Most of you already know this, but my family is blended.  I am divorced from my boys father & when I married Christian five years ago, I gained a bonus son (who actually just turned 18 and is heading off to college in September).  We have lots of great memories as a family unit and it makes my heart happy that everyone in the house gets along.  For the most part…..

The five of us may not have been together for that long, but we have some awesome memories together. Sometimes we even get a little silly, and those are my favorite times.

zombie family photo

Speaking of blended families, Grace and Frankie, Netflix’s new funny and fearless original comedy featuring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, is a perfect example of how today’s families can shift, rearrange and blend in unexpected ways. When Grace and Frankie’s husbands leave them after 20 years of marriage—to be with each other—the women find themselves facing a change that they never expected, but they shift their perspective to get through it together with the support of their new blended family and, of course, a sense of humor. Continue reading »

May 202015
 

5 Ways to Celebrate Dad This Father's Day Without Breaking the Bank! Need an idea? Maybe two? Check out this great list of 5 easy, budget friendly from the heart ideas! - massholemommy.comYep! It’s already time to discuss Father’s Day! It’s right around the corner.

I have a hard time figuring out what to get my husband for Father’s Day. He’s picky, but also doesn’t use much so it’s hard to figure out just what to get him!

Here are 5 Ways to Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day Without Breaking the Bank:

Homemade From the Heart:
Pictures are always a great way to the heart of dad. Recycle an old picture frame, print off a great photo of the kids and create or find a heartfelt saying to add to the frame. This can be displayed in his office, or living room and remind dad how much his minis truly do love and appreciate him!

Make him his Favorite dish With the kids:
Surprise him with his favorite dish. Main or dessert. Get the kids to help as much as possible, or even just supervise them doing it all! Take photos too! Continue reading »

May 192015
 

7 Best Food Finding Apps

Did you know that May was National Hamburger Month?  Consider yourself informed. Cheeseburgers are pretty much my favorite meal and although I have my favorite places (Wahlburgers), sometimes I like to try burgers from other places.  Ok,  that is a total lie. I am obsessed with Donnie Wahlberg Wahlburgers burgers, but since I am not all that close to the restaurant (it’s about 40 minutes from my house), I am forced to get my burger fix elsewhere on occasion.

Love me some Wahlburgers!

Love me some Wahlburgers!

There are lots of restaurants around my neck of the woods, but if I am not having a Wahlburger, chances are that I want to find someplace new to eat.  Or what if I happen to be away from my home turf — how the heck would I know what restaurants are good where ever I happen to be?  Today, I am going to solve that problem and tell you the 7 best apps I have come across to help you find whatever kind of food you’re looking for. Continue reading »

May 182015
 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #NudgeThemBack #CollectiveBias

Rescuing Milo Our Adoption Story

Almost since the time they could talk, my boys had been asking for a dog.  They were pretty consistent about it, too.  I would say that on average, at least one of them would ask me about getting a dog at least once a week.  Sometimes they would even double team me, which was even more fun.  After about five years of their persistent nagging reminders that they wanted a dog, I decided that it was time.

I wasn’t sure where to begin my search, but I knew one thing for sure – whatever dog we decided to make a part of our family, he or she had to be a rescue.  There are so many shelter animals out there in need of loving homes and there is no way I wasn’t going the adoption route.

So, I started searching for shelters in my area to see what the process was and what dogs were available.  Since my house isn’t all that big, I narrowed down my search to small dogs and before long, I found a picture of this cute little dog named Milo who looked like he’s fit right in with our family. Continue reading »

May 172015
 

5 Frugal Travel Tips for Families

If you think that family travel has to cost a fortune, you are wrong! While you may not be able to take a luxury, around the world vacation for $1000, there are plenty of ways to have a memorable, fun trip to a great destination without having to break the bank. It is possible with some planning. Here are some frugal tips for family travel that you can use to plan that vacation you have been putting off:

1.  Do your homework. The best way to spend too much on your trip is to impulsively pick a destination and accommodations. By doing some extra research you can find better deals, places you hadn’t thought of, and free or discounted activities you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

2.  Airfare is a major expense, and often a roadblock to distance travel.  However, there are ways to take the sting out of this expense. There are many websites that you can visit for the latest advice on “travel hacking” your way to anywhere in the world. Continue reading »

May 142015
 

11 Hidden Disney Secrets

Are you a self-proclaimed Disney nut? There are so many secrets and tips to learn that you could never know them all. Before your trip to Disney Land in California or Disney World in Orlando, brush up on your Disney knowledge.

1. There are two lanterns in the window of the Hall of Presidents. These lanterns reference Paul Revere’s Ride, a poem about how the revolutionaries lit two lanterns if the British came by sea.

2. Want a behind-the-scenes peek of the park? There are underground and backstage tours that you can book. You can even check out Epcot Gardens, where hybrid fruits and veggies are grown, some in the shape of Mickey Mouse.

3. Wonder how staff members and the Disney cast get around the park without being spotted? There are underground tunnels that they use to move between different areas of the park. Otherwise, characters from Tomorrowland would have to pass through Frontier Land!

4. There are Smellitizers throughout Disney, which are machines that emit smells that are perfect for the specific area. For example, Main Street always smells like vanilla and baked cookies. The Pirates of the Caribbean line always smells salty, like water. Continue reading »

May 132015
 

I received compensation from Recovery Unplugged for this sponsored post, any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience.

Drug addiction and Alcoholism.  Chances are that you have personally known someone that has been affected by one or the other.  I have a close family member who has struggled on and off with heroin addiction for years. That someone is my brother and I am happy to say that he have been clean for four years now, but there were a lot of ups and downs along the way.

The thing is, when someone close to you is an addict, it affects everyone around them – and one thing I learned, the hard way, is that if an addict doesn’t want help then rehab will not work. Sure, it might work for a while, but if they are not ready to tackle their addiction, there is a chance that they will slip back into their old habits.   I am speaking from experience here.  My brother was in and out of rehab facilities several times before he decided that he finally wanted to get clean and stay clean.  And that’s when rehab finally worked for him.

recovery-unplugged-logo

But when they are ready, the first step to recovery is going to a drug treatment center. Did you know that using music can be a catalyst to break down defenses to help facilitate, motivate and inspire the change necessary for long-term recovery and sobriety?  Recovery Unplugged can be an amazing experience for addicts who are afraid to go into rehab!  And for the families affected, how awesome would it be to see our loved ones replace the drugs or alcohol with music? Continue reading »

May 122015
 

I received compensation from McDonald’s in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions my own.

A few weeks back, I was invited, along with a few other area bloggers, to an exclusive behind-the-counter look at McDonald’s food quality.  At the “Open Door Tour” event,  I was given an in-depth restaurant and kitchen tour, a food demonstration, and had a chance to hear John Cisna, McDonald’s Brand Ambassador speak about making nutrition-minded food choices at McDonald’s and the importance of choosing balanced meals (he’s got a great story, too, so stay tuned).

mcdonalds1

I have to admit that I was really excited when I got this invitation.  I have never worked in the fast food industry, so I was really looking forward to seeing some of the behind the scenes kitchen operations.  On the tour, we spent some time at the McCafe station learning about the coffee, how they make their beverages and a few of my fellow bloggers got the chance to make their own smoothies.

Here’s a fun fact that I learned that day – did you know that once the bag of coffee is opened, it only has a 30 minute shelf life?  So when you get your coffee at McDonald’s, you can be guaranteed that it’s fresh.

We also got to see the grill area, the assembly line and a few of the employees exhibited how they use fresh ingredients when preparing menu items in a few food demonstrations. All of their produce and eggs are purchased locally and are the freshest of the fresh. Continue reading »