Look at what Connor and I got to see unexpectedly this morning! We were headed somewhere else and were actually running behind schedule, but once we caught a glimpse of this hot air balloon, we decided to double-back, forget our always-too-tight schedule, and just enjoy this rare and beautiful sight! Hope everyone else is having a happy day as well!
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For those of you in the Boston area looking for something fun to do outdoors with the kids this weekend, Belkin Family Lookout Farm is hosting an open house on Saturday, May 4th and Sunday, May 5th (11:00 AM- 3:00 PM). For these two days only, the 180-acre farm in South Natick will open its gates for free admission for the entire family.
Take a ride through the orchards, visit the Children’s Play Area, take a turn in the moon bounce, and find your way through the burlap maze. Plus, there’ll be face painting and caterpillar rides for the kids.
We went to last year’s open house and our little guy had a blast! My post about it from last spring has some photos so you’ll know what to expect.
It’s a perfect way to spend a beautiful spring day! You’ll also have a chance to take advantage of a special discount offer on family season passes to the farm.
We bought a family season pass to Lookout Farm last year and spent practically every weekend there last Fall. We just couldn’t get enough of the place. I only wish that they would adopt a better, more modern system for keeping track of which families have purchased season passes so that we wouldn’t feel so anxious about losing our paper pass (I was told last year that if you lose your paper pass, you basically lose your season membership because they don’t keep your information in their computer system).
By the way, if you’re using your iPhone for directions, note that Lookout Farm is located at 89 Pleasant St. SOUTH. There is another Pleasant St. in Natick that Apple maps has tried to send our friends to in the past and you’ll end up in a residential area with no farm on it. Don’t make the same mistake our friends did!
Check out my latest Boston Mamas post, “12 Great Gifts for New Moms.”
These days it seems that baby announcements from friends roll in about one per week and I spend my weekends cuddling squishy newborn after squishy newborn (no complaints here!). I’ve realized that often we focus on gifts for the new baby and sometimes forget the person who has been through the most — the new mama! In today’s Boston Mamas post, I share some of my favorite gift ideas for new moms…
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Check out my latest Boston Mamas post, “8 Ways to Make Mom Friends.”
As a new working mom, one thing I struggled with was meeting other local moms with kids my son’s age. I either had local friends who weren’t moms or mom friends who weren’t local. I felt it was important that my little guy form childhood friendships and that I connect with local moms who shared similar interests. Unfortunately, my work schedule made it impossible for me to participate in weekday, daytime mommy & me classes and local playgroups. Over time, I found ways to forge friendships and offer some tips over on Boston Mamas.
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Check out my latest Boston Mamas post, “How to Reduce Anxiety around Doctor Visits.“
Visits to the pediatrician have become a nightmare since our little one has entered toddlerhood, a stage in which he’s old enough to remember past experiences (particularly painful ones like shots) yet still too young to comprehend everything and be reasoned with. From the moment we enter the waiting area until we leave the building, he is in hysterics, occasionally resulting in an incomplete exam. Anxiety over visiting the doctor is common for kids, but can become stressful and troublesome when it is so severe that it interferes with the doctor doing his/her job. In my post, I offer some tips we have found helpful to reduce anxiety around these visits.
Read the rest of the article on Boston Mamas.
This past Saturday, we attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening of Kidville in Wellesley. Our schedules have been jam-packed lately, but we decided to make it a priority to check this place out as we’ve been actively looking (surprisingly without much success) for fun, new, educational activities in our community to entertain our little guy. I’m so glad we went because this is precisely the type of local family-friendly venue that we have been searching for!
Their all-in-one resource facility is quite impressive and I’m pretty sure it was the most fun-filled morning of my almost-two-year-old son’s life thus far. Afterall, it’s not every day that he gets to climb a rock wall, swing from uneven bars, bounce on a massive trampoline, construct a giant soft block tower, and dance in the front row of a live Rockin’ Railroad concert!
As usual, we arrived a few minutes early and were officially the first family to visit Kidville Wellesley! Exciting! As we waited for the rest of the families to file in (and file in they did — there must have been hundreds of people there), we were warmly welcomed by one of the co-owners, Harvard Pan. And during the ribbon cutting ceremony, we were pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful shout out to Talking Thirty by co-owner, Cathy Tai.
So what exactly is Kidville? Kidville Wellesley is a new play and learning space in Wellesley Center (in the location of the former Rugged Bear store in Wellesley Center) geared towards serving families like ours with active little tikes. They offer a variety of classes in music, art and gym for babies, toddlers and kids newborn through 6-years old. They also offer a preschool alternative program (Kidville University – KVU) and summer camps.
The interior of Kidville Wellesley features high-ceilings and large open spaces tastefully decorated in bright, bold colors. It contains classrooms, a retail boutique, and an awesome indoor playspace that made my toddler shout “YAY!” upon first entry. There’s even a little salon there where the wee ones can get their hair cut while sitting in an adorable tiny red airplane. How cute is this?!
We’re always looking for new places to entertain C. Unfortunately, most of the children’s places we’ve been to lately from children’s museums to indoor playgrounds have been a bit old, run-down and just icky sticky. So, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Kidville’s facility is brand new, spacious, uncluttered, and immaculate. A germophobic mama’s dream! I really hope it stays this clean in the years to come.
We began the morning by enjoying some open gym time in the enormous indoor playspace. This place had just about everything — rock climbing wall, oversized trampoline, balance beam, uneven bars, basketball hoops, soft padded blocks, tumbling mats of all shapes and sizes, and swings hung by chains from the ceiling. My little guy was beyond thrilled to explore it all. I just wish it were socially acceptable for thirty-something adults to climb on, jump off, and swing from all the play structures, too!
By far, the highlight of our visit was the Rockin’ Railroad Concert. A live 4-piece children’s band led by a conductor and co-conductor enthusiastically played a set of upbeat toddler tunes, some familiar and some refreshingly new to us. To make it extra exciting, they even brought out a bubble maker and some special puppet friends during the show. The conductor’s genuine enthusiasm for the music and encouraging manner seemed to instill confidence in my very-shy-lil guy to get up and shake his baby booty! It was indeed a rockin’ musical adventure enjoyed by both children and parents alike.
It’s hard to find words to express our enthusiasm for this place. Let me just say this: When we got home, our normally-nap- resistant little man voluntarily took an EXTRA nap because he was just that exhausted from all the festivities. That’s HUGE and pretty much guarantees that we’ll be back for more.
All too often, we visit kids’ venues only to find that Connor is too young to participate in many of the activities. What I enjoyed about Kidville was that the environment, equipment, and activities were safe and engaging for even very young toddlers and babies.
I’ve already decided that we are just going to HAVE to have one of Connor’s birthday parties here someday. First, he just has to make some new little friends to invite. Maybe he’ll meet them at Kidville.
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post; however, I did receive a complimentary goody bag from Kidville/Koop Communications and a complimentary introductory semester of a Kidville class. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.
Hope everyone’s new year is off to a really great start!
Please check out my latest post on Boston Mamas, How to Encourage Shared Responsibility at Home.
Check out my latest post on Boston Mamas, 10 Ways to Green Your Holidays!
And since it seems I hardly ever have time to post these days, Happy Holidays and best wishes for a really fabulous 2013!
Now that we’re parents of a very active and vocal toddler, we find that we rarely go out to dinner anymore and we very rarely head into Boston. But a few weekends ago, we decided to venture out of the ‘burbs on a Saturday night for a family dinner in the Back Bay. After learning about their Kids Eat Free program, we ended up at Turner Fisheries Restaurant & Bar at the Westin Copley Place. Most locals would probably not consider Turners to be family-friendly, but we were pleasantly surprised by our experience there.
Immediately upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by a friendly bartender and were seated promptly by the hostess. We were particularly impressed with the courtesy and attentiveness of the restaurant manager, who brought over to our table a box of colored pencils and a little fish-themed toy for baby C and even showed him how to wear it on his finger. Later, after noticing that C had tired of those toys, she returned with a shiny toy truck, much to his delight!
Our waiter was a mild-mannered gentleman who occasionally entertained C with his smiles and waves from afar. Without us asking, he knew to move tall glasses, hot dishes, and flatware away from the baby’s reach. Since we didn’t have to bother with rearranging things on the table as we got settled in, we were able to focus on keeping the baby happy and maybe even relax a little ourselves (a rarity when dining out with a wee one).
As mentioned previously, kids (up to 12 years of age) eat free between 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Monday – Saturday, with the purchase of an adult entrée. We ordered C the Baked Haddock with rice and green beans. It was C’s first time having fish EVER and he’s become a rather finicky eater lately so we weren’t too optimistic that he’d actually eat it. But we ordered it anyway, and were frankly shocked when he DEVOURED it. Both Jack and I tried it and agreed that the haddock was subtly flavored, moist, and delicious. We also appreciated that without even requesting it, the baby’s food arrived very soon after we ordered (thank goodness because he was hungry and, like most toddlers, is still working on his patience!) and well before our own entrees arrived.
The adult food was also quite exceptional. In a nutshell: Fresh seafood, well-sized portions, and pleasing presentation.
One of the unexpected highlights of the evening was the delightful bread basket assortment which included a delicious walnut raisin bread. We tend to order calamari as an appetizer everywhere we go, and we were very pleased with their unique version of fried calamari. Quite different from the standard calamari served with marinara on the side, Turner’s Crispy Calamari, topped with peppadew peppers, capers, and roasted garlic aioli, was nicely flavored and not too oily or dry (as is often a problem with calamari).
Although our entrees were a bit saltier than we would have liked, both were excellent. I ordered the Seafood Risotta which included Maine lobster, bay scallops, Caribbean shrimp, littleneck clams, and mussels, and the hubby ordered the Orange Crusted Tuna with edamame succotash and ponzu glaze.
A few words about logistics. Street parking in the area can be hard to find. If you plan to visit, I’d recommend valet parking at the Westin Hotel. The restaurant will validate parking and it ends up only being $15. Also, just a heads up to those of you who bring your enormous strollers everywhere– we had to walk down two flights of stairs to get from the hotel lobby to the restaurant. Perhaps there is another entrance, but I thought that was worth mentioning to you mamas out there.
On our ride home, we realized that we both forgot to try their award-winning, gluten-free clam chowder! Guess this just means we’ll have to return to Turner Fisheries again soon!
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post; however, we did receive complimentary meals from Turner Fisheries/451 Marketing for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and I only feature products and services on Talking Thirty about which I am genuinely enthused.
Check out my latest post on Boston Mamas: “Speed Cleaning 101“