Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museum & Gardens 2017
My family and I had the opportunity again to go check out Gardens Aglow at Heritage Gardens as complimentary visitors in return for an unbiased review. Gardens Aglow is at Heritage Gardens in Sandwich on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm from November 24 – December 17. Friday, Dec 22; Friday, December 22; Friday, December 29, and Saturday, December 30. Tickets cost Member Adults (12+): $15 Member Youth (3-18 years): $5 Non-Member Adults (12+): $18 Non-Member Youth (3-11 years): $7 Children ages 2 and under are free. This is a great event for the whole family just make sure to dress in layers as it is cold outside but warm inside.
We arrived on Sunday night a little before 4:30 as to have time to bundle up. There was plenty of parking and no lines to get in. The kids were excited about the reindeer scavenger hunt which is a great way to motivate kids to make it through the whole light setup. So the first thing we did was pick up the scavenger hunt cards from in front of the Auto Museum and went searching for the first of the nine reindeer while enjoying the various light displays. As we worked our way across the grounds finding the reindeer we stopped in the Special Exhibits Gallery to see the elaborate model train setup, see Ms. Clause in her mock kitchen and play with the giant LiteBrite (also to find a reindeer). We ended our reindeer hunt at the Carousel that my kids so love for a couple rides on the kids favorite horses. The Carousel looks quite festive all decorated and lite up for the holidays. We then headed back out across the grounds to marshmallow roasting at Magnolia Cafe which we saved to the end knowing it would help motivate the kids up the big hill and toward the exit (you can also buy treats, hot drinks and food at the cafe). The kids thoroughly enjoyed roasting and enjoying a few marshmallows before getting their prize for completing the scavenger hunt (a temporary tattoo) and visiting the car museum where you can get your picture taken with Santa in the Ford Model T (my kids are not into seeing Santa…). My husband and I enjoyed taking in the beautiful light displays while strolling along with the kids as they found the reindeer. Some nights there is music and on Dec 1-3 and Dec 29-30 cuddly baby goats, micropigs, silkie chickens and chicks, bunnies, and more will be available for petting. Gardens Aglow makes for a lovely yearly holiday tradition and I would highly recommend checking it out.
Have you been to Gardens Aglow? What is your favorite part?
Dr. Seuss Museum
This past Sunday my family and I had the opportunity to head out to Springfield, MA for a complimentary visit in return for an unbiased review of the museum. The Dr. Seuss Museum is part of the Springfield Museums which are open Tuesday–Saturday: 10–5 Sunday: 11–5 Monday: Closed and are located at 21 Edwards Street Springfield, MA 01103. There is a small free parking lot by the entrance to the visitors center. Admission is as follows Adults: $25, Seniors (60+): $16.50, Youth 3–17: $13, Children Under 3: Free and Students: $16.50 which gets you into all the Springfield Museums.
We arrived at the museum at 10:30 so the kids could play in the sculpture garden before the museums opened. They had a great time running around the Horton Court sculpture and looking at the Grinch and Lorax sculptures. At 11am we entered the Dr. Suess Museum where we spent 90 minutes. We started in the Fairfield Street room (where Seuss grew up) where the kids liked ringing the bell to hear the zoo animals and checking out the Howard Street Armory. In Young Ted in Springfield you can play in a bakery like Ted did in his grandparent's bakery as a child. You can also create your own virtual fish, and build your own zoo out of Duplos. In Readingville you can build a turtle tower, play ABC games of a computer, do Green Eggs and Ham word play, and make your own story with story blocks. On really neat feature that can be found in the Oh the Places You Will Go is you can write down a goal, desire or what you want to be when you grow up and place it in the Things You Can Wish wishing boxes. The last room on the first floor is the pet shop where you can watch old animated Dr. Seuss stories and play with lots of stuffed animals in the pet bed, cat climbing structure, animal carriers and put hats of them.
In the basement you can enjoy reading all different Dr. Seuss books, do crafts, and play games. The basement is setup much the way a preschool classroom might be with an easel that has a sign that tells what the three activities are that day. On Sunday the actives were an apple craft, Fall tangram puzzles, and apple matching game. My seven year old's favorite part was the apple craft and she would have spent lots of time making lots of different apples if we had stayed at the craft room for an hour.
The second floor is less interesting for young children as it is mostly history and artifacts from/about Ted Geisel’s life plus information about the making of the sculpture garden. I didn’t really get an opportunity to look at because the kids were done with being in the museum and wanted lunch. But my husband said there were lots of interesting information and artifacts to look at.
You could definitely make a day at the museums. I would recommend going to the Luxe Burger Bar that is 6/10s of a mile from the museum and has something for everyone from vegan to carnivore.
Have you been to the Springfield Museums? What was your favorite exhibit?
Ever since I discover the amazing vegan donuts at Cafe Gratitude in California I have had an eye out for them in Massachusetts. It resonantly came to my attention that Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge has vegan donuts but only on the weekends and there is only a very limited number of the two different flavors that change weekly. The donuts are available starting at 9AM when they open to dine-in guest, takeout or special order via email until they sell out. You can see what the flavors are via their social media.
Lucky for me they had donuts on Columbus Day and due to my husbands travelling we were in Cambridge Monday morning. The kids and I arrived a little before 9AM and were the first in line for donuts. On Saturday morning the apple cider donuts sold out in seven minutes! We ordered two apple cider donuts and two pumpkin donuts to go. I tried the pumpkin donut first it was a raised donut with pumpkin frosting and I found it very disappointing it was chewy and bland with an off pumpkin taste. The apple cider donut was better but too dense and not worth $3; it was a cake donut with cinnamon sugar on the outside. My kids said they were not very good donuts and the apple cider one was better than the pumpkin. The donuts at Cafe Gratitude were very delicious and definitely worth the cost and calorie consumption but the Veggie Galaxy donuts were very disappointing and I would not recommend them. If you do find yourself and Veggie Galaxy I do recommend the Taza Brownie Sundae and I want to try the Buckeye Brownie.
Do you have a favorite donut place (I do love Hole In One’s sour cream donut)? Or a great place to get vegan goodies?
Jane Muum 2016 Premium Stroller Review
A few months back the Jane Muum 2016 Premium Stroller was available on Amazon for a really amazing price and since I didn’t save my Bugaboo Cameleon when I went to a double stroller I decided to give it a try. I decided to get it in teal and order a bassinet attachment to use with it. Unfortunately the car seat adapter that was suppose to come with the stroller was discontinued and I can’t find one for sale anywhere.
The stroller itself weighs about 25lbs and can be fold with or without the seat attached and is definitely a bit of a beast if you are going to be doing a lot of loading and unloading from your car trunk, that being said most strollers of this type are beasts. The detachable seat can face parent or face the world and has three seating positions; almost flat to almost upright allowing it to be used from birth to 50lbs. It also has an adjustable foot rest. With an adjustable handlebar that can range from 31.5”-43” high it can be adjust for most height parent. The maneuverability of the stroller is pretty good although not as good as my Bugaboo but as the Jane was also on sale for about ¼ of the price of a Bugaboo it may not be a fair comparison. Operating the brake is fast and easy it is a flip flop friendly foot brake that just requires a tap of the foot to engage and disengage. The canopy and storage baskets are both decent sizes and the stroller includes a belly bar, seat liner, rain cover and cup holder. With high density tires you never have to worry about a flat and suspension in each wheel allows for a smoother ride. The stroller fabric is machine washable allowing for easy cleaning. Overall I am happy with the stroller for the price I paid. The bassinet which I added onto the stroller does not seems as sturdy as the Uppababy or Bugaboo bassinet and I would not use to for overnight sleeping but I should work well for on the go napping.
What is your favorite stroller and why?
Drool Baby Expo
I had the opportunity to attend the Drool Baby Expo last week and see how much baby gear has changed since having my 5 year old son. I arrived early knowing from past experience if you really want to be able to take the bigger items for a test drive or spend a significant time talking products with the sales representative you have to get in before it gets to busy. I had a chance to look at most of the tables below are the ones I found noteworthy.
I had a Chameleon stroller 7 years ago when I first had my daughter. I loved the bassinet option and the toddler seat and used the stroller daily until I found out I was expecting a second and sold the stroller while I could get a good return on the second hand market. My biggest issue with the old Chameleon was when I pulled the stroller up the stairs the handle bar would pull out to its tallest high an issue that has now been fixed on the newer models. The Chameleon retails for $1,149. The Bugaboo stroller that I was most interested in was the Runner which starts at $815. It pushes like a dream while running with it (yes I ran between the tables at the expo at 25 weeks pregnant). The fixed wheel was not an issue for maneuverability. The seat can face out or you (the only jogging stroller I know of that you can run with while the child is facing you) and has three seat recline levels. I has a full handle bar length handbrake plus a wheel break. The handle bar has three different high adjustments. I would highly recommend the Bugaboo Runner if you are looking for a serious running stroller. Bugaboo also makes the Bee a more compact stroller starting at $739, the Buffalo an all terrain stroller starting at $1239 and the Donkey their single to double stroller which starts at $1,329.
I got to try out the new Nuna Pipa Lite which when empty without base only weighs 5.3lbs; which is really light. The seat accommodates an infant from 4-32lbs and retails for $349.95.
I love their Tripp Trapp chair which can be used with accessories from birth through adulthood: I have been known to sit in ours and my parents still have the ones from when I was a kid. The basic Tripp Trapp chair retails for $249. The Stokke product that I fell in love with was the Sleepi Mini which is an oval bassinet that can be converted into a crib, toddler bed and then a bed with available conversion sets. The Mini Sleepi starts at $599.
The really like my pre Britax BOB Revolution so much I bought an infant car seat that I can use with it this time around. That being said the newer BOB strollers are not as good quality. Both my 5 and almost 7 year old ride still harnesses in Frontier 90 seats that have Clicktight (a panel that closes down on the belt or latch for tight installation) which makes installation a breeze so I took a look at the convertible car seats now available with Click Tight (Marathon, Advocate and Boulevard).
Silver Cross is new to the US market but has been in the UK for a long time and is known for its pram. Only one stroller is available in the US it is called the Wave. The Wave can go from a single stroller to a double (with an add on seat). For $1,299 you get the chassis, carrycot, seat, rain covers, mosquito nets, cup holders, adapters and it accommodates Maxi-Cosi Mico AP, Mico 30, Mico Max 30, the Nuna Pipa and Cybex Aton, Aton 2, Aton Q no adapters necessary.
The Thule Urban Glide jogging stroller was not available/made 7 years ago when I got my BOB but it is definitely a BOB competitor now. If I didn’t already have a jogging stroller I would definitely consider it. The Urban Glide has a swivel wheel that can be locked and set precisely straight with a knob, it has an almost flat recline, folds compactly, one hand fold, adjustable handle car, pushes smoothly and you can get a universal carseat adapter for it. New the stroller costs $399.95.
Love to Dream:
Love to Dream has a swaddle sack like nothing I have seen before. Instead of the babies arms being hugged to their sides the hands are snuggled up by their heads since that is how babies like to be. The swaddle sack is recommended from 0-4 months and costs around $30. Then there is the transition sack that allows for a slow transition with zip off “sleeves” $35. They also make sleep sacks.
Greentom is the greenest stroller available and the stroller frames are plastic. The plastic frames make the strollers light and have a natural suspension. Greentom makes two strollers one with a carrycot and reversible seat and the Classic. Both strollers come with 10 different colors for fabric choices. You can get both the classic stroller and carrycot/reversible stroller (two chassis, forward facing seat, carry cot, and bassinet) called the Greentom 3-in-1 for $699.
Magic Beans Popup shop:
In the Magic Beans Popup shop you could order all the wonderful products I wrote about above, the thousands of other products displayed at Drool and buy lots of products Magic Beans carries all at a discount!
There were also lots of other companies there plus businesses that offer services like baby pictures. The Drool VIP ticket also included a deluxe gift bag! In my bag was a $25 gift certificate to Magic Beans which I look forward to using, Smarty Pant Women's Vitamin 120 count, Premama Digestive Aid, Chews, Vanilla Caramel Flavored - 28 chews, lotion and potion samples, 3 pack of NUK baby bottles, Lollaland glass baby bottle, Chicco Naturalfit baby bottle, Diono Buggy Tech Tote, Nixi Snack Bags 3 pack, Babyganics Eczema care 3 oz, Waterwipes 60 count, Skip Hop Wet/dry bag, Green Sprouts Wood Cage Rattle and two baby hats.
Have you been to a Drool Expo? What baby products should I checkout?
My summer flew by and I had little opportunity to Blog. I spent most of my summer with my kids in Orleans taking part in the Rec swim lessons at the lake, going to library programs, spending time at the beach, crafting and doing summer reading. Now it is back to school for the kids; my daughter started first grade today and my son starts junior kindergarten on Thursday. It will take me most of September to organize and put the house back together again but with both kids in school I will have time. I am looking forward to going to The Drool Baby Expo next week! So look for my Blog posts in the next few weeks about Drool and organizing tips and progress. Also please use my code MHUBNER5 for $5 off your ticket to Drool Baby Expo!
How was your summer? What do you plan to do now the kids are back in school?
Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge 2017
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