Shark Birthday Pool Party

Shark Birthday - Pool Party

Shark Birthday – Pool Party


After posting pictures from Connor’s 2nd birthday party last week, I realized that I never got around to posting any photos of Connor’s 1st birthday party last summer. It was a shark-themed pool party, with a shark cake (those are supposed to be fins around the cake border) and gummy sharks as favors.


Thomas the Train Birthday Party

Thomas the Train Birthday Party

Thomas the Train Birthday Party


As usual, I’m a little late in posting these, but just wanted to share some photos from Connor’s 2nd Birthday Party. We just did a small family party this year because he was a little (okay, a lot) overwhelmed by all of the (fabulous) people at his 1st birthday party last year and I wanted this celebration to be about him and the people and things that he loves the most. I think it was a success!

I had so much fun making the cake that I’m considering signing up for a cake decorating class (you know, with all my free time and what not).

Thomas the Train Birthday Cake

Thomas the Train Birthday Cake


Thomas the Train Birthday Cake with Birthday Thomas

Thomas the Train Birthday Cake with Birthday Thomas


My mother-in-law bought Connor an adorable Birthday Thomas train which features Thomas wearing a colorful party hat and streamers. It comes with a cargo car carrying a cake that plays the Thomas theme song when you press it! He loved it! So we ended up using that as the cake topper at the last minute instead of the standard Thomas.

A special thank you to Lisa of ExpandNg who shared her Thomas decorations and graphics from her own son’s Thomas-themed party! She even personalized the graphics with Connor’s name. So sweet and generous with her time and talents! I used them to decorate the party tables, but foolishly forgot to photograph them.

Hope everyone is having a great summer and staying cool in this crazy heat wave! It reached 100 in Boston yesterday! Eeks!

Upper Cape with Kids

Check out my latest post on Boston Mamas, “14 Awesome Things to Do On Upper Cape Cod.”

Upper Cape Cod with Kids

Upper Cape Cod with Kids

I have such fond childhood memories of spending summers on Cape Cod. Even after 30-some years, I haven’t tired of going there summer after summer. And now that I’m a mom, I’m eager to share the experience with my son and introduce him to all that the Upper Cape (Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, Sandwich, and Barnstable) has to offer. I particularly love the Upper Cape because it’s closer to Boston — handy when traveling with kids who may not tolerate long car rides, and wonderful for day trips if overnight lodging is out of budget. In the post, I offer several suggestions for family-friendly activities in the area.

Read the rest of the article on Boston Mamas.


10 Fun Activities for Grandparents + Kids

Check out my latest Boston Mamas post, “10 Fun Activities for Grandparents + Kids.”

Grandparents + Kids - Intergenerational bonds

Many of us have plans to bring our kids to visit their grandparents sometime during the summer. Sometimes it can be challenging to bridge the generation gap and figure out what to do together, particularly if the two generations haven’t had much face time, whether due to distance or other factors. In this post, I offer 10 activities to help break the ice and help grandparents and kids enjoy quality time together and develop strong intergenerational bonds. Read the rest of the article on Boston Mamas.

Happy Day

Hot Air Balloon

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!

Belkin Family Lookout Farm Open House

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!


Belkin Family Lookout Farm

Belkin Family Lookout Farm

12 Great Gifts for New Moms

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…

Read the rest of the article on Boston Mamas: 12 Great Gifts for New Moms.


8 Ways to Make Mom Friends

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.

Read the rest of the article on Boston Mamas.

And the winner is…

Thanks to all those who entered our New Balance/ChopChop giveaway! The winner has been notified via email. Congratulations Crista!

Run the Rainbow, Eat the Rainbow (and a Giveaway!)

This spring, ChopChop Magazine, a fun cooking magazine for families, and Boston-based New Balance, have teamed up to promote healthy lifestyles for children through their “Run the Rainbow, Eat the Rainbow” campaign which emphasizes the importance of an active lifestyle, exercise, and balanced nutrition.

Because different colors in produce are associated with different nutrients, “Eat the Rainbow” highlights the importance of eating a healthy diet which features a wide variety of fruits and veggies. The campaign also encourages children to “Run the Rainbow” in the colorful brand-new 890v3 Rainbow shoe by New Balance. Check out these vibrant sneaks!

890v3 Rainbow shoe by New Balance

890v3 Rainbow shoe by New Balance


As part of this campaign and in celebration of healthy kids and New Balance’s Rainbow shoe, ChopChop and New Balance invite you to enter a contest for a chance to win a monthly prize pack, including a pair of Rainbow shoes, a one-year subscription to ChopChop magazine, and a grand prize of a $400 gift card to a local grocery store. Woo hoo! Who wouldn’t want all that? Visit to enter! The contest is live now and will run through May 31, 2013. You can enter once per day.

Since Connor is about to outgrow his only pair of sneakers, I jumped at the chance for him to try out these new shoes. On the day that these arrived on our doorstep, C was miserably sick with yet another cold (this winter has just been brutal!). He was sprawled out on the living room floor, visibly depressed from having been stuck inside getting his nose wiped raw all week. A budding Clinton Kelly, he perked right up when he caught sight of these stylish, brightly colored kicks. Glassy-eyed and with snot streaming down his face, he stroked the shoe and said, “Niiiice.”

I have to say I agree. These sneakers are simply adorable. They feature synthetic/mesh upper, a solid rubber outsole, ABZORB® cushioning in the midfoot for shock absorption, and C-CAP® midsole for cushioning and support.

890v3 Rainbow shoe by New Balance

890v3 Rainbow shoe by New Balance


I love the bright, bold colors (Connor’s are grey and bright orange, just like Daddy’s– a big plus) and the fact that they are truly lightweight. Over the past few days, C has put these shoes to the test, wearing them while engaging in all of his favorite toddler activities including puddle jumping, tricycle riding, and tiptoeing!

Toddler New Balance 890v3 Rainbow Sneaker

Toddler New Balance 890v3 Rainbow Sneaker


They appear to offer a lot of support and structure, but at the same time are well-cushioned and soft enough for a toddler. Unlike many toddler sneakers, these are a true running shoe, which is great since Connor has been taking off into all-out sprints these days and we want to make sure the feet of our future all-star are well-supported. J

With his old sneakers, a big problem we had was that the back part of the shoe near the heel permanently crumpled within days of use from the way C jams his feet into them when he tries to put them on himself. I’m pleased to report that he has been exclusively wearing these NB sneakers for a while now without this becoming an issue.

The only part of the shoe that I’m not that enthusiastic about is the “laces”. As you’ll see in the photos, instead of your standard velcro straps, this shoe has a single strap that zig-zags down the tongue of the shoe and closes on one side with a small piece of Velcro. Sure, they look neat, but they aren’t so hot from a functional perspective. I wish the laces were longer because they just barely reach the Velcro closure and pop open quite frequently when C is running.  If your child has a wide foot, I would recommend trying the W and XW sizes.

Interested in winning a pair of New Balance 890v3 Rainbow sneakers for the little one in your life? The nice folks over at New Balance and ChopChop (via Regan Communications Group) have offered to give away a pair of New Balance 890v3 Rainbow sneakers and a one-year ChopChop subscription to one lucky Talking Thirty reader!

Here’s how to enter:

For your first entry (mandatory), “like” Talking Thirty on Facebook and leave a comment on this post that you’ve done so. If you already “like” Talking Thirty on FB, just leave a comment on this post explaining that.

For additional entries (optional):

  • Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter and provide the URL to the tweet as a separate comment on this post.
  • Share a link to this giveaway on Facebook and provide the URL to your profile as a separate comment on this post.

US entrants ages 18+ are welcome to enter (Sorry, Canadian friends).

Entry period closes at noon EST, April 12, 2013.

One lucky winner drawn randomly will receive a pair of New Balance 890v3 Rainbow sneakers and a one-year ChopChop magazine subscription. Winner can  choose from available children’s sizes. The winner will be notified directly via e-mail and listed on this blog using first name and last initial only.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post; however, I did receive two complimentary pairs of 890v3 Rainbow shoes by New Balance for the purpose of this review and a one-year subscription to ChopChop Magazine from New Balance and ChopChop Magazine (via Regan Communications Group). All images, thoughts, and opinions in this post are my own and I only feature products on Talking Thirty about which I am genuinely enthused.