Dec 172014
 

**Disclosure: I received a pair of tickets to see The Nutcracker at no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

When I was in the 4th grade, my class took a field trip into Boston to see a matinee performance of Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker.  Being nine years old at the time, I basically had no appreciation for what I was watching.  Fast forward to the present when I had a chance to go see this years production of The Nutcracker at The Boston Opera House and got a second chance to take in the show – as a “grown up” with a whole different outlook on the show.  My husband, Chris, had never even seen The Nutcracker before, so I knew he was going to be in for a real treat.

Boston Ballet The Nutcracker

“Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker is based on the libretto by Alexandre Dumas père titled The Tale of the Nutcracker, which is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”  

The show itself was absolutely breath taking.  All of the dancers were so graceful and they all did such a great job of telling the story through dance.  Chris and I sat there in awe throughout the entire show.

More than 300 dancers will perform in the new production and each performance has approximately 150 dancers involved. There are 250 children in the performance, making up three or four casts (classical ballet students from the Boston, Newton and North Shore studios). Continue reading »

Oct 012014
 

I admit it, I have a slight zombie obsession, so naturally when I heard there was an an interactive tactical live-action zombie experience right in Abington, MA, I was all over it. Interactive you say? Yes, interactive!  During the interactive experience you get to travel through a small city infested with zombies.  Don’t worry, you will have the help of a guide and you’ll get a shotgun to shoot with to ensure you survive.

There are two areas of the city to be cleared at Boston Zombie Apocalypse. Chem Zone 44 contains slower Zombies and is a shorter experience. If you are nervous at all or are accompanying young people (no one under 8 allowed), then Chem Zone 44 is for you.  Z-Swarm 617 is a longer battle through a larger more intense part of the city.  You can do one or both.

Here’s the thing.  I went last year and had a pretty bad experience.  It was very poorly organized and I ended up waiting outside for over two hours in the cold.  Once I was inside the building, it literally took less than five minutes to run through the experience and boom, we were done.  I left there last year feeling very disappointed that I waited for that long to get in and it was over in just a few minutes.

But guess what, Boston Zombie Apocalypse has new owners this year.  They really listened to all the feedback about people’s experiences last year and greatly improved things this year.  Instead of having to stand in an extremely long line to wait for tickets, they are selling a limited number of tickets by the half hour to the two different zombie fields. That will ensure that you will enter your sector in a timely fashion without having to wait.

Chris and I were there this past weekend and were so happy that the whole process was streamlined.  Our tickets were for 7:45 pm and we only had to arrive about 20 minutes early.  It was so much better this year, so if you were turned off by your experience there last year, trust me – it’s not like that this year.  Oh, and did I mention that they have a food truck there this year now, too.  Last year while we waited for over two hours everyone in line kept saying that snacks would have been nice while we were waiting.  See, the new owners listened!

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Anyway, once it was our time to go in to the live action experience, we entered the building in a small group (about 8 people) and were met by a military guard who showed us how to use our shotguns and let us all have a practice shot at a target. Once we all got that, we met our guide who would be taking us through the city.  He led us through the field and we defended our territory by shooting the zombies that came at us alongside the rest of our team. Continue reading »

Sep 282014
 

**My husband, Chris, and I received a complimentary paint lesson at The Paint Bar in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

I had been telling my husband for ages that I wanted to go to The Paint Bar and since he didn’t seem to be getting the hint, I took matters into my own hands and booked us a lesson at the Newtonville location.

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You see, I come from a family of artists, but somehow that artistic gene seemed to have skipped me.  Both my mother and sister graduated from the Mass College of Art and here I am barely able to draw a stick figure that even remotely resembles a human being.  That is why The Paint Bar intrigued me.  At The Paint Bar, the instructor helps everyone in the class create a masterpiece by teaching the class how to recreate one specific painting step by step – and I knew that would be perfect for a “beginner” me.

At The Paint Bar, you can call or make reservations online and because space is limited, reservations are suggested.  I made our reservations online and when you book online, you can see which paintings are going to be featured on which night, so can you choose based on that if you’re looking for something specific to paint – which is what I did.

Chris had no idea what we were going to be painting, but as soon as we walked in, they had the painting that the class was going to be working on displayed.  It is called “Moonlit Boston”. Continue reading »

Sep 192014
 

Thanks to my husband, Chris, for his take on what it’s like to be married to a blogger.

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10 Ways to know that you're married to a blogger

Top Ten Ways to Know that You’re Married to a Blogger:

10.  For every meal, snack and/or drink, a picture must be taken and posted to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter before one bite/sip is taken.

9.  You have been to so many kid events/activities that not only do you forget what a beer tastes like, but you can barely remember if the Patriots play in the NFL, NBA or are a soccer team.

8.  When they get writers block  or don’t have time to write a blog post, you have to write them a guest post (case in point here).

7.  They call themselves Social Media Consultants.

6.  They have 100 blogger friends, but only have met two in person.

5.  When you hear them cursing, you know someone is not commenting on their blog post.

4.  You get free tickets to a Baseball game, but you have to spend the whole time taking pictures of everything.

3.  They are on their phone so much, they have to recharge it every hour.

2. When they take a Selfie,  it is never good enough the first try.  There is a minimum of 100 attempts to get the right angle and lightning before it can be posted to all social media sites.

1. And the number reason you know you are married to a blogger: they make you drive 2 hours out of your way to get a picture of LITERALLY a fork in the road.

Jun 272014
 

While we were in San Diego in April, we had a chance to make a stop at the The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, which features more than 100 interactive science exhibits.  My boys love that sort of thing and I wanted to take them if we ended up having a little extra time, which we did.

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When I initially told my sister in law, who lives in San Diego, that I wanted to take my boys there, the first thing she said was that the Museum of Science in Boston was much better.  So, I actually read a few reviews about this place before we went because her statement had a me a little worried.

Many of the reviews that I read were by adults that went to the museum and didn’t enjoy it because it was geared towards children. Well, duh.  That sort of museum is intended for children, so those had me a little baffled.  And there were quite a few of them, which also made me scratch my head. But anyways, all the reviews that I read by adults that were also parents said that the Fleet Science Center was awesome, so we went. Continue reading »

Jun 242014
 

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Remember when I told you about our visit to the La Jolla tidepools when we were in California in April?  Well, while we were still in San Diego, my brother in law told us about another tide pool in the area that might be worth a visit and he was definitely right.  They were called the  Cabrillo tidepools and they are located on Point Loma in San Diego, which was even a little closer to our hotel than the tidepools in La Jolla.  Score.

In case you are unfamiliar, during periods of low tide, pools form along this shore in rocky depressions and you can see a  myriad of sea creatures in them.

The Cabrillo tidepools were definitley different than the ones in La Jolla simply because of the fact that there were lots and lots of cliffs there, so we really needed to keep an eye on the kiddos until we were able to make our way down to the bottom of the cliffs.  They weren’t like Roadrunner cliffs, but they were steep enough that if you fell off, you would most definitley be injured.

Not to mention that  there are no hand rails at all and the rocks/cliff can get slippery, especially when wet – so we were very careful.

cabrillo1 Continue reading »

Jun 192014
 

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On our recent trip to California, we squeezed in a visit to the tidepools located in La Jolla Cove. The tidepools are part of shell beach, which is actually just south of the cove (under the cliffs of Coast Boulevard Park).

The tidepool is made up of all sorts of really cool rock formations and it’s definitley something we don’t see much over here on the upper east coast.  We spent several hours there because we got there right before low tide and I feel like I snapped a million pictures because none of us had ever seen anything like it and it was just so cool to see.

Although the rocks were a little slippery – especially that green stuff you can see in some of my pictures, my kids had a blast searching for sea creatures. They found a ton of hermit crabs, an anemone or two and a bunch of crabs.

Here are a few of the million pictures I took while we were there:

la jolla tidepool collage 2 Continue reading »

Jun 162014
 

Over Memorial Day weekend, we woke the boys up early and told them we were going on a mystery trip.  I had been jonesing to to get back to New York City and since the weather was supposed to be perfect, it seemed like a good time to take a bit of a day trip.

NYC Mystery trip

It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get there, which wasn’t too bad.  There was no traffic, so the entire ride was smooth sailing.  Once we were in the city, we found a place to park and walked to our first stop -The Empire State Building!

I had two NYC CityPASS ticket books, which included one-time admission tickets, detailed attraction information, coupons and a map for 6 of the best attractions in New York City (including the Empire State Building).   When we arrived at the Empire State Building, it was about 11 am and there was already a 2-3 hour wait to buy tickets to get into to the observation level (the 86th floor) of the building.  With our CityPASS tickets, we were able to skip to the head of the line which was really nice and definitely something I would recommend doing because honestly, who wants to stand in line for hours for tickets to something like this when you can easily purchase something like a CityPASS booklet and blow past the line? Continue reading »

Jun 152014
 

One of the best features about the hotel we stayed at in San Diego was the pool They had the most gorgeous pool and we spent many of our afternoons poolside. The thing that I liked the most was that the boys were always having fun and spending quality time together while they were out in the pool.

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Here is the gruesome twosome doing cannonballs: Continue reading »

Jun 122014
 

One of the things we did while were at the the San Diego Zoo Safari Park back in April was to take a ride on the Africa Tram. The Africa Tram tour brings visitors out into the “Savanna” to see wildlife from different parts of Africa.

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We saw so many animals while we were out on the 40 minute tour, but we are regulars on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride at The Animal Kingdom in Disney World because we go there so often – and because of that we weren’t as impressed as we probably should have been on this tour.

It did cost extra to go on the tram, but there are different ticket options at the park, so you can get a pass that includes the tram when you first buy your tickets for the park when you arrive. If you have never experienced African animals out in their natural habitat, this is definitley something you would want to check out if you are planning on spending time at the safari park. Continue reading »

Jun 112014
 

During our trip to California in April, we went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  Last year when we went to California, we visited the San Diego Zoo, but this year we decided that we’d do something we hadn’t done before and headed to the Safari Park – which is a separate park from the zoo.

safari park

My awesome sister in law, who lives in the outskirts of San Diego managed to score the four of us free passes to the park, which was so cool.  My SIL/BIL and nephew have a membership to the San Diego Zoo, which includes the safari park & they planned to meet us there that day.  As it turned out, my sister in law got the flu, so just my brother in law and nephew ended up joining us.

Before my in laws arrived, my boys just had to make pennies.  If you read my post about making pennies last year when we went to Disney World, you probably already know that I travel with a bag of quarters and shiny pennies in case we run into those machines.  And we always do. Continue reading »

Jun 062014
 

While we were in San Diego recently, Chris and I decided to go on the San Diego Ghost Tour in Old Town.  Chris’s brother & his family live in the area and they were kind enough to watch the gruesome twosome one of the nights so that Chris and I could go out sans kids.  They did the same thing for us last year and we wanted to go on the ghost tour while we were in  Old Town, but it ended up raining that night, so we never got to go.  This year the weather cooperated and we got to take the tour.

If you don’t know this already, I love ghost tours.  I have been on many of the tours here in New England and when I get the chance to go on one in a different city, I am all over it.

The tour left from Old Town at 9 pm and our first stop  was the El Campo Santo Cemetery.

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Continue reading »

May 282014
 

**Masshole Mommy and her family received complimentary admission to LEGOLAND® California in order to experience the park and provide an honest opinion.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

During our recent trip to California, we got to spend an entire day at LEGOLAND®.  It was something that I have always wanted my kids to experience and I was so happy that I had the opportunity to take them.  We went with my sister in law, brother and law & nephew who live in San Diego and it was even better going to the park knowing that we got to spend the day with family!

We actually went on Easter Sunday and I am glad that we chose that day because the park was not as crowded as it probably normally would have been on any other Sunday. In case you are unfamiliar, LEGOLAND® California is a 128-acre family theme park located in Carlsbad, a seaside community 30 miles north of downtown San Diego and one hour south of Anaheim.

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As soon as we got there, the kids  couldn’t wait to get on some rides.  Explore Village was our first stop and the Safari Trek was our first ride. Continue reading »

May 202014
 

The Hollywood Walk of Fame
When we were in California recently, we made the two hour drive up from San Diego to spend a few hours in Hollywood.  Aside from seeing the famous Hollywood Sign, the other thing we really wanted to do was to see some of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In my mind I pictured the stars all neatly lined up in corded off section of the sidewalk, but the stars were literally part of the sidewalk that all the foot traffic/tourists used.  The stars are spread all up and down the sidewalk on both sides of Hollywood Blvd for about 15 blocks or so, but we just walked up a few blocks.  Here are some of the pictures I took while we were checking out the stars.

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Continue reading »

May 192014
 

One of the things that we knew we wanted to do when we visited Hollywood was to get a map of the star’s homes and go out & stalk a few of them.  Chris saw this along the side of the road as we were walking and bought one:

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After we had lunch and walked around looking at the walk of fame, we sat down to look at the map and see whose house was located nearby to where we were.  Once we had a plan, off we went to take a ride though the Hollywood Hills to see some celebrity homes. Continue reading »

May 042014
 

A little over a week ago, my family returned from a week in San Diego.  Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing some of our experiences in the Golden State and today I wanted to tell you about our accommodations for the week.  When we went out west last year, we stayed in a “regular” hotel, but on this trip, we stayed at the Navy Lodge, which is located on the Naval Base in Coronado. Chris is a military retiree, and because of that, he is eligible to stay with his immediate family at hotels located on any military base worldwide.  The Naval Air Station North Island is located at the north end of the Coronado peninsula on San Diego Bay.

Chris and I are regulars at the Navy Lodge in Newport, RI, but since we had never stayed at another Navy Lodge, we were excited to see what the one in Coronado was like.  I love that they offer complimentary breakfast and free Wi-Fi at Navy Lodges, plus, room rates on the average are 45% less than civilian hotels.  It’s just one of the perks of being a military retiree! Score.

The Navy Lodge North Island is only about 12 miles from the San Diego International Airport, so it only took us about 15 minutes to get there after we picked up our rental car.

We were SO excited when we saw that the hotel was literally located right on the beach.  It was a private beach, too, because it was located on the Navy base, so there was hardly anyone there.

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The boys loved playing on the playground, which was only a few yards outside of our room. Continue reading »

Apr 232014
 

Last Friday I told you about how my site crashed while I was in San Diego last year and that I lost a years worth of posts (heavy sigh).  One of the posts that I lost during that mishap was a post that Chris had written about taking the train to & from work.  He works in Boston and takes the train in and out of the city every day because it’s cheaper and much easier than driving.  I still had the email with the post that he sent me last year, so I wanted to share his post again because I thought it was really good.

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Hello Masshole Mommy readers!  This is Chris here again for another guest post. I recently started to take the train to work instead of having to deal with a one hour commute in traffic. I have to say that I’ve put down my foot and decided that from now on I will only take a job that is a 15 minute walk or less from the train station.

I LOVE taking the train because I love to read. I am now reading 2-3 books a month and relaxing on the train ride while all those other people are stuck in traffic

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That being said, I have some tips on things that I have learned since I became a trainy (not tranny – get your mind out of the gutter). Continue reading »

Apr 152014
 

Earlier this year, I told you how my husband, Chris, decided that he wanted to run for the Finance Committee in our little town.  The Finance Committee takes care of all matters involving the finances and financial procedures in town & since Chris is an accountant, he thought the Finance Committee would be a good way for him to get started in town politics.

If you missed it, you can read about his first step in the process here.  A couple of weeks ago, he took his second step in the process of running for the position when he participated in a public forum in which he got the opportunity to introduce himself to the voters and state why he’d be a good candidate for the job (you can watch a video of his speech here).

The week following his speech, he had a blurb written about him in the local town newspaper:

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Finally on April 5th, it was election day.  He and I both went to our local high school to cast our votes. Continue reading »

Apr 092014
 

In case you didn’t know this, my husband Chris is a retired Air Force veteran.  He retired after having served for 20 years in October of 2013. It was suggested to Chris, by one of his brothers, that he write down his experience going from Air Force life into the “real” world.  And here is what he had to say:
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The transition from military life to civilian life after 20 years in the military can be a strange and weird experience for most military personnel.  Here are a few things that I learned  throughout my own personal process.

I joined the military right after high school and was in for 20 years as a Firefighter in the United States Air force.  Along the way I received my bachelor’s degree in Accounting and knew that I wanted to work in the business world when I got out of the military.  When I went from active duty to being a reservist, I went to work for a private software company as an Accountant.

With the military, you have be very sharply dressed at all times because your supervisors and coworkers will look you over every morning and you know when there will be a uniform inspection. If we were caught being poorly dressed, we were punished by having to do push-ups.  That was not so in my civilian job.  No one really cared what I wore and in fact, when I showed up wearing a shirt and tie  on my first day of work there,  I was told to lose the tie and wear a t-shirt the following day.  The culture of the software company where I worked was very laid back and their way of thinking was basically to let us wear what ever made us feel comfortable.  Of course, that was an easy adjustment to make.  Plus, it cut about 10 minutes from my morning ritual when I went from polishing my boots to just wearing sneakers every day. Continue reading »

Apr 062014
 

It may have been 40 degrees out a couple of weekends ago, but to us, it was a great day to head to the zoo.  We have memberships to two local zoos and one of them is reciprocal with the Capron Park Zoo in Attleboro, MA, so we took a ride over there.  The zoo is only about 20 minutes from my house and it’s quite possibly the smallest zoo of all time, but they have a nice playground, so that kind of makes it worth going.

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Continue reading »