was the perfect way to spend the morning with my kids. Today they had a day off from school because it was an inservice day for teachers. I love when the school tacks on an extra day to a long weekend, especially when it’s a Tuesday, because we get to do something and avoid the crowds of the weekend. We were so lucky today because not only did they have a day off, but it was sunny and 80 degrees!!
If you haven’t noticed already I really enjoy being outside and being able to disconnect for a while and Blue Hills Reservation is the perfect place to do that. When I first took the kids a few years ago I have to say I was a bit overwhelmed. The place is enormous! I covers 6,000 acres spanning the towns of Quincy, Milton, Braintree, Canton, Randolph, and Dedham. So the first thing I did was print out a map. You can click on the link below for that.
I also look to tripadvisor for a lot of tips and reviews of trails. So far, our favorite trails have been Skyline, and Coon Hollow Path. Depending on where we want to start, that determines what hikes we will do. Coon Hollow Path starts at the Trailside museum and is a great hike I’ll tell you about another day. Today we parked at Houghton’s Pond and started up Breezy Hill and hit Skyline and headed over Tucker Hill to Tucker Hill Path and back down Breezy Hill. The hike took about an hour with my kids who are 11 and 9 and my two nieces ages 7 and 5. I would say it’s one of the more challenging trails and the kids loved climbing up rocks to reach the top of Skyline where we stopped for a snack and water break. The trails are well marked and you can follow along on your map. There is a beautiful view of the Blue Hills Observatory Science Center from one point on the trail.
When we got to the bottom we hit Jenna’s Place and got some slushies to cool off, the kids played in the playground, and then we walked along Houghton’s Pond. In a few more weeks I’m sure it will beautiful when the leave change colors. I’m hoping in the next year to two to get the kids up to Mt. Monadnock in NH, but for now Blue Hills is a perfect hiking spot only 30 minute drive from our house. Where are your favorite hiking spots? If you have any special tips about Blue Hills I’d love to hear them.
is a word I do not like my children to use. The word “hate” makes me cringe. It’s a word I almost always regret saying and try hard not to use. The word “hate” makes me angry, makes me sad, makes me feel like there is no hope. Maybe it’s because the word “hate” means that something is so intensely disliked that there no good in it.
There is always good. There is always another way to look at something. There is always hope. So in this world that sometimes makes you want to “hate”, take that intense passionate dislike of something and force yourself to “love” something just as passionately. Do not focus on what you hate. Focus on what you love. Love your children, love your spouse, love your family and your friends. Love life. Tell me about something that you love.
Like I’ve said before, we literally live in this place where you never can tell what the weather is going to be like. Day by day, or even hour by hour, it’s as unpredictable as your two year old or tween’s mood. It’s inevitable that we have a week or two in the summer that is rainy and dreary and pretty darn chilly. That was this past week. And for those of you that took that week off from work hoping for a sunny, beach filled week, I am so sorry. Sometimes I think it’s Gods way of protecting our New England skin. You and I know that we were out there just a few days ago in the heat of the July 4th week burning the crap out of our skin, and now we’re back to sweaters and jeans. Only to repeat the process next week. . . . Burn, peel, repeat.
Anyway, back to the main point of this post, and that is, what to do with the kiddos when the weather isn’t so hot in the summer, and better yet how to do that and not go broke. There are a couple of things I do at the beginning of summer and one of them is to stockpile a list of cheap indoor things to do with the kids when the weather isn’t cooperating. I use my little notes section of my phone and label it “Summer fun list”. Every time I come across an email or Facebook post, or someone tells me about a deal or adventure that sounds good I jot it down on the list. Then when the rain sets in I consult the list. Here’s a few things I’ve come up with.
Kidsbowlfree.com If you haven’t already signed up you need to. There is no catch. All kids 15 and under can bowl two strings every single day during the summer for free, all you need to do is rent shoes. We’ve signed up for this program for the past 2 years and it’s so easy. All you do is sign up, print the vouchers, and head to the bowling alley. You can check the kidsbowlfree website to see if the bowling alley near you participates. There are 19 just in Massachusetts.
https://www.regmovies.com/movies/summer-movie-express Take them to the discounted movies. Many movie theaters offer discounted movie tickets during the week for movies that were released a few months prior. For my kids they really don’t care what the movie is, they love the experience of going to the movies. Regal Cinemas in Kingston, MA offers $1 movie tickets for the 10:00 shows on Tuesday and Wednesday. They offer two different choices each day. We went this past Tuesday and saw Monster Truck. With a quick stop at Target for candy it cost me $5.00 for candy and 3 movie passes, and when we got out the Sun was shining again. I believe many other theaters in the area do similar discounted days just check their websites.
https://hmnh.harvard.edu/home One that is on our bucket list that we haven’t tried yet is the Harvard Museum of Natural History. A friend of ours told about this museum and how much her kids loved it so I looked into and put it on my “Summer fun list” Its not super expensive at $12 for adults and $8 for kids but Sunday mornings during the summer from 9am-12pm it’s free admission.
http://www.highlandstreet.org/programs/free-fun-fridays With over 85 different museums and cultural events available for free every Friday during the summer it would be crazy not to take advantage of this opportunity. Whether it’s a rainy day or you just need to get out of the sun checking some of these places out is also on our “Summer fun list.”
Where do you go when the sun hides for a few days. Do you stay in and watch movies? Do you have a favorite thing that you love doing with the kids? Let me know. I’m always looking to add to the “List.”
Thank you for reading, and as always “The sun will come out tomorrow.” – Heather
As I sat down to finally write about all of the fun stuff we’ve already done in the first few days of summer, or maybe all the fun things that we plan on doing, I came to a conclusion. I am good at being part-time at things. I’ve never really been good at the all- or-nothing approach. I’m better at being ok at something and not great at it, better at not putting to much time into one thing, because being ok at something actually makes me happier and it’s way less pressure.
I really wanted to be a great blogger, and I had ideas of writing at least once a week but that hasn’t happened and probably never will. Sometimes I might write two or three times a week and then not write again for a month or two, who knows, but life gets in the way and I’d rather do other stuff and have other priorities at different times.
I really love running, but I’ll never run a marathon. I used to go out for a run thinking I needed to run fast and be competitive but I actually prefer running at a slower pace and only three miles because honestly it’s comfortable and I enjoy it. I’m much better suited for a part-time job too. Enough to get me out of the house, using my brain and doing something that brings me satisfaction but not so much that I feel overwhelmed. I’m also better at being a part introvert, part extrovert. Sometimes I really want to be social and go out, but I know that if I over do it I get sick and run down so I need to balance the dinners and drinks with being tucked in bed at eight o’clock. Balance for me is being a little bit good at a lot of things. Taking my rocks and making sure none of them is too big or my statue might fall.
So take it or leave it, I’m a part time blogger. I’ll do it when I have time. I will definitely be writing about some pretty fun adventures and things to do in New England this summer, I just don’t exactly know when.
What type of personality are you? All or nothing, go big or go home, or are you a part-timer? It takes all kinds.
Enjoy the beginning of summer. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
When you live in New England you need a winter or early spring vacation, am I right? Something to look forward to after the dark days. . . someplace warm. . . some good old vitamin D. New Englanders in general are known to be hard workers but everyone needs a vacation to recharge and be more productive. They say it’s good for your health, that it reduces stress levels, strengthens relationships, and can give you new perspective, among countless other benefits. I don’t know about you, but having something to look forward to makes me happy. The other main reason is that one of my parenting goals is: less stuff, more experiences. Spend time with the people you love in really cool places. Make memories.
Because I work and so does my husband we need to plan days off well in advance but that doesn’t necessarily mean we plan out our vacations right away. I usually plan out one major family vacation every year, sometimes up to a year in advance, but I tend to be more of the spontaneous, last-minute, kind-of figure it out as you go type of vacation planner. Sometimes it works out well sometimes not so much. Sometimes I don’t plan where we are going until the day before. I think that freaks a lot of people out but I think it’s fun to be spontaneous and go with the flow.
Last week the kids and I were both off for April vacation. I was thinking originally that I would take vacation time to do some day trips and stay home with the kids since traveling can get pretty pricey during school vacations. Then we were were offered some stand-by tickets from a relative a few weeks before vacation, meaning we weren’t guaranteed seats on a plane but they would be a deep discount from regular tickets. We decided we would try to go to Florida to visit my inlaws and my parents. We are fortunate to have relatives that have condos in warm places. It would be my first trip with the kids without Jon but the kids are at ages that I felt I could handle it. Having stand-by tickets was a good lesson in- hope for the best, expect the worst. Lucky for us we got on our plane without any trouble. Before we left, I didn’t google any restaurants or things to do, we each packed a single carry on bag, and I just figured we would wing it and I can honestly say it was a great vacation.
So what I’m saying is that if you have a friend or relative that offers you a place to stay go for it. Spend time with your friends and family who live in another state or country. When someone asks you to go on a vacation with them, go. What I’ve found is that people love to share their homes and are usually generally excited to show you around their cities and towns. Take the vacation of your dreams, or trip to the next town, it doesn’t matter as long as you have something to look forward to it’s worth it.
What type of traveler are you? Are you a pre-planner or spontaneous vacation goer? Do you like traveling in groups or just your immediate family? Where are you taking your next vacation? Most importantly though, never regret taking a vacation.
if you grew up on the South Shore you went to Edaville Railroad as a kid and maybe your parents even went as kids. When you think if Edaville you probably get a little nostalgic remembering riding the train during the Christmas season, looking at the lights they had strung up along the 250 acre property. Today, Edaville has a lot more going on. Not only do they continue to have the Christmas Festival of Lights but they now have many new attractions. There is Thomas Land, for your little train lover, Dino Land for those that love dinosaurs, and there are different themes almost every weekend. With over 90 rides and attractions its a great place to spend the day.
Located in Carver, MA it is a small, locally owned, family theme park that is perfect for younger kids and the young at heart. I thought maybe my kids were outgrowing Edaville but when I asked them the other day if they would want to go back there wasn’t a second of hesitation when they both said yes. I got an email the other day saying that there was a BOGO promotion going on where you can buy one anyday ticket and get one free so I went ahead and bought them. As you can tell from my previous posts, I’m not a big fan of paying full price! The park will be open from April-January and I’m sure we will find a day that we can go. The theme park has a great website www.edaville.com where you can get all the information you need, but the BOGO deal is only running until 3/31 so if you are thinking of gong this year buy tickets now!
Maybe we’ll try something new and go for the “Pumpkins Aglow” event in October, or maybe we’ll stick with our tradition of going for the Christmas lights. Comment below if you have been to any of the the other Edaville events or plan on going. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Is there a song that pops into your head that reminds you of your kids? Is there a song that comes on the radio when you’re in the car driving that leaves you with tears streaming down your face; One where you have to catch your breath because you’re afraid your kids are growing up so fast that your going to miss something, because I do.
I’ve never never been much of a country music fan, but I am now. It’s all I listen to, the words mean something, I don’t need to change the station because the lyrics aren’t appropriate for my kids. I challenge you to listen to this song and not feel something. If I can teach my kids something it will be this. . . Be Humble & Kind.
Wachusett, Wachusett Mountain, mountain skiing minutes away. I know you’re singing that song in your head right now thinking about that one last ski trip of the season. I’m going to tell you to just do it, pack up for a last-minute day or night trip and enjoy. Why not?
Only about an hour drive from Boston (1 1/2 hrs. from my house) Wachusett made for the perfect day trip for my kids and I yesterday. Just past Worcester it was an easy drive up 495. Lucky for us they had a half day at school, it was a Friday, and St. Patrick’s Day. We were on the slopes by 2pm. The night before I purchased tickets online for a 1/2 day super ticket for each of us. The super ticket meant that we could ski from the time we got there until 10pm if we wanted to (we only made it to 8pm). Buying tickets online is definitely the way to go. The total cost was $83.00 for the three of us. If you have AAA you can save a few dollars with a coupon code.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about our experience. Wachusett, although a smaller mountain in comparison to many New England ski mountains, had plenty of trails for my 8 & 10 year old, and also my 5 & 7 year old nieces that were with us. They were completely comfortable skiing every trail. The kids enjoyed a waffle from the waffle cabin shortly after we got there and they were psyched.
The conditions were great since they had over a foot of snow drop during the middle of the week. One of the great things about Wachusett that makes it stand out from other mountains is that they have great night skiing. Most mountains that offer night skiing only offer a few lighted trails after the sun goes down. Wachusett on the other hand has 18 trails open for night skiing. Also, many other mountains close down in-between their day and night ski hours but not at Wachusett. They remain open and only close the trails that they are grooming one at a time. They groomed many of the trails for the night skiing and that made for some smooth skiing after dark.
We stopped in the lodge a few times to grab food and drinks. I was very impressed with the cafe food court, it was clean and not only had the usual ski lodge fare of burgers and chili but they offered lots of healthy options too. They even that sushi that looked amazing. Although we didn’t stop in to the Coppertop Lounge, it was packed for St. Patrick’s day and looked like a blast. The fireplace was blazing all day long to warm up those cold hands and feet.
When you go, you must hit the Bullock Lodge Cider House as well. It is an adorable little stone hut that dates back to 1930. It’s run by the local Red Apple Farm. The cider donuts and warm apple cider were a perfect snack to keep the kids going.
I would have to say we will definitely go back, especially for the night skiing. I can’t wait until the kids are older and can hang a bit more at night but I’m not sure my legs would have made it past 8pm anyway. Let me know if you end up at Wachusett Mountain!
Snow Days. . . It’s one thing when there is actual snow to play in, but what about days like today? Again, two things I can’t control, New England weather and the fact that they cancelled school based on the weather predictions (I’m not even going to go there). Today we had a “rain day.” There would be no snowman making and sledding outside, just twelve hours of me and my kids hanging out blissfully inside. It’s not that I don’t love my kids and want to spend time with them, but twelve hours is a long time. I’ve said it before but when you can’t change what’s going on around you change your attitude toward it.
Something I’ve learned in my ten years as a parent is that when my kids have structure in their day things go much smoother. It seems that when I let them just try to figure it out on their own there is a lot more whining and complaining and definitely a lot more IPAD use. So we sat down in the morning to plan out the day. Homework in the morning, then a workout video to get the blood flowing, some iPad and phone time, lunch, and then we would invite the neighborhood kids over for bingo, Lego’s, minute to win it games, and to watch Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Sometimes is good to just get back to the basics.
What did you all do today? I love getting ideas.
Hope you enjoyed your day inside, and if not there’s always wine.