Adventures in ThomasLand!!

Every year I try to do something special with each one of my kids. A special day they can enjoy all their own. have been meaning to post about our trip that took place in October 2016!

I have always wanted to take my little one, Mr. Nathan to Thomas Land. He is OBSESSED with everything that has to do with Thomas and his trains…In fact any train really is his obsession. For over a month prior to our arrival I sought out opinions.

First of all as for his review, Nathan thought it was the best adventure yet. Leading up to our day trip, my concern was paying the price of $29 for him and $34 for myself was a  bit too pricey. I don’t know, maybe its just me but most admissions to places under the age of 3 are free. My only thought was this park is geared towards the 2-year-old obsessed children that can ride the majority of rides so they have reason to charge the price they do. My other concern was the height restrictions for rides. Luckily enough as I researched each ride for the parks, I found he could indeed ride most rides with the exception of  one roller coaster.

After looking at the calendar we decided to go in october during a friday while the older two were at school.  The hours were listed as 10 am to 8 pm originally, but this year the park’s website said 1pm – 8pm. We live about 1.5 hours from the park give or take with traffic, and with 2 other kids in school I had to arrange for a babysitter at 3pm until my husband could get out of work and bring them home.

We could have easily spent the entire day just riding the Thomas themed rides over and over again. There were other rides in the other section of edaville, but a lot at the time were out-of-order.  There was another section of the park as well, called Dino Land. This part honestly is a waste of time. There was one ride and it was shut down. All this section entailed was walking along a pathway looking at Dino sculptures. At the time it was decorated in a Halloween theme, with fog and broken skeletons and halloween themed music. Still was not worth the walk around.

Within Thomas Land, they had a great indoor play area for kids. A maze, ball bit and slides and bathrooms! Thank heavens! There is also a show that goes on by Tidman’s Shed with the trains a few times a day. They get the kids involved which is nice.  Right near the entrance to Thomas Land there is a wonderful gift shop! Word of advice: do not go in there if you have to be out by a certain time!  My son had to look at every single train item close up!

As much as we enjoyed it, and I know my son will be going back this year, I don’t believe i would ever take a child older than 4 to this park, unless they made some rides for older children.

I recently made a movie to sum up our day trip to Thomas Land! Be sure to check it out.

XOXO Mommy Alicia

Our Adventure in Thomas Land

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Dance Competition season has begun….

I used to feel that may through December just fly by between summer trips and holidays….but now as time goes on it’s all of sudden a whirlwind with kids activities. My son is still busy with Karate but he ends basketball in one more week. Spring soccer will begin in 2 months and in the meantime, I’ll be traveling to dance competitions with my daughter.  I really shouldn’t complain! I LOVE dance. I spent 15 years dancing myself as well as some teaching on the side.

So it has begun… the dance season. I have to admit, I was on the edge of my seat and almost sick to my stomach. Why??? Well because this is the first year my 7-year-old was going to do a solo. I was so nervous she would run off stage, panic or forget her routine and then be upset. I always prep talk her beforehand to just dance for yourself…no one else. If you make a mistake keep going, you’re the only one who knows the dance. Winning isn’t everything because it’s about being a team player and supporting others.

On that note, I anxiously sat in the audience, chewing my gum while she waited back stage. I have been anticipating this dance since last summer. First of the all the song is beautiful. It was one of my mother’s favorites… “The Prayer” but it was a cover song.

For never having done a solo before I thought she looked and did amazing. She did not come in on any overalls but received a gold adjudicated award.  I was so proud of her. I could tell she was nervous, and she kept looking down during the dance but just getting up there takes courage and I couldn’t be more happy!  With that I want to wish every dance studio and their teams out there , the best competition season and good luck! All of the dancers we danced with were so wonderfully talented!

Here are some pictures I received from her competition! Enjoy!

XOXO Mommy Alicia

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Our trip to the Ice Castles

Located in Lincoln, New Hampshire stand beautiful, manmade ice castles.  A few months back, I had seen many friends on my facebook feed talking about how awesome this place was and that they were planning to do a return trip again this year. Soooo, I wanted to see what these ice castles had to offer.  I have a few tips if your planning to embark on this adventure:

  • Purchase tickets in advance online! Our trip was pretty last-minute. I originally wanted to go around 4pm or later so that we could see the castles all lit up at night but seeing as we were only heading out for a day trip, we made the decision to buy tickets for 12 noon when it opened.  The people who pre bought tickets online entered in first as the ones who did not wait in stand by line to get in.
  • Dress warmly folks! This is an obvious one! Your are literally surrounded by ice!  I did not wear the proper snow boots.
  • They suggest bringing a sled if you have any little ones. I brought one but left it in the car. Let’s face it, my almost three-year old was not going to be sitting in a sled. I think the sled idea is great but geared towards kids under 2.
  • We also chose to go on the weekend because our kids are in school. If your able to though I would suggest going during the week. It’s not only cheaper but less crowded. For us the crowd was not at all bad at 12 noon. When we left however, around 2pm the crowds started to pack in.
  • If your driving over 2 hours to come, it’s probably best to stay over night. If my daughter did not have ccd the next morning for her first communion ..you can bet we would have found a place to stay for the weekend.
  • Be knowledgeable about reentry. Once your inside if you leave you may not re-enter!

So how was it!?? My children had the best time. I have to admit when we first drove up, I looked at the outside of everything and thought… this was it??? As we entered in the detail of the sculptures, the tunnels and fountain were all wonderful. My little ones couldn’t contain themselves. We also came across a tunnel slide that the kids all went down multiple times.  One suggestion I have for you all, is that if you go right when this opens…head straight to the slide and go down as many times as possible. Once people realize its there…the line gets long. We also saw three girls who were portraying Elsa, Anna, and cinderella.  My daughter had told me she knew those were not the real ones because the real ones live in Disney World. The two girls who were Anna and Cinderella almost seemed like they were 12 years old. They have pictures you can take with the Ice Princess when your first walk in or a picture with your family in front of the entrance.

If your feeling a little chilly, you can check out their little shack that has hot chocolate! And they have a small gift shop as you exit. It isn’t anything spectacular but it is warm!

These Ice castles are up depending on the season. As I called to speak to someone about buying tickets they told me it goes a week to week depending on the weather and how cold it may be. Generally they run from December through February. There are also other locations you may travel too if you’re not in the New England area. They are hosting Ice castles this year in Midway, UT, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They will also be arriving in  Stillwater, MN and Wisconsin Dells, WI.

If your interested in visiting these beautiful Ice Castles here is the link to check them out!

Ice Castles

 

Also be sure to check out our pictures from this ice adventure! A video will be posted soon!

XOXO MOmmy Alicia

 

Gluten Free Sausage Meatballs

So my mother in law recently made a wonderful recipe! Being a person who has celiac disease I am often trying to find new gluten free meals for myself that don’t take up a lot of time.

So I wanted to share her recipe!

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I unfortunately did not take any pictures of the process or the outcome but let me assure you these taste amazing!!!!!  Make sure you note as making these the bisqiuck is the gluten free kind.  Hope you all enjoy!

 

XOXO Mommy Alicia

Updates on setbacks and planning..

I know, I know I had fallen off the earth for a bit. So a few weeks back our computer broke that had all our pictures and videos on it etc. I’ve been patiently waiting for my husband to fix it so I can add more blog posts. I have made sooo many great gluten-free recipes that i have wanted to share with pictures and steps.

So in the meantime, I have been busy planning out a few things. We are going to plan a day trip coming up in February to Lincoln, NH to see the famous Ice Castles I keep hearing about. I’ll be sure to take many pictures and post. I originally wanted to stay over but its only a 2.5 hour drive so our current plan is to head out early grab breakfast on the go, and just spend the day out there, and have dinner after the ice castles and head home.  Fingers crossed my kids will be as patient about it as possible.

I am also in the process of planning a trip to Hershey, PA. Hershey has been on my mind for a while….what vacation hasn’t?!  It’s about a 6 hour drive, but let me tell you those hotels are not cheap. Back in the beginning of December I saw a few cabins from the Hershey campground cabins open for the week we wanted to book. The deluxe cabin had full showers and toilets so we wouldn’t have to share. Mind you i have nothing against shared community showers and bathrooms…having a private one is better for us because we have a sleepwalker who gets up often to use the bathroom. Unfortunately once i logged back onto the website those cabins were sold.

So we started looking into the other Hershey hotels and that is a pretty penny to stay there. Over $300 a night, and because our smallest will be 3 even though he is the size of a tiny 2-year-old, the hotel wants us to use two rooms. In fact all the area hotels are saying that. I guess that’s what you get for having more than two kids now a days!  I figured honestly we could get away with one room since he is so small still but apparently not.  We will see how this all works out. Our plan isn’t to go there until June when the kids are done with school. I will keep you all posted with any deals I might find.

Of course as I’ve been sitting here planning that my kids and I are dying to head back to our favorite place…DISNEY!  I tell you though that is getting to be very expensive. I am currently hoping to go sometime during the summer in 2018. It seems so far away but comes so incredibly fast. My husband isn’t sold on going back so soon yet. 😦  I also found out if we wait until 2019 and go back then that my daughter will be charged as an adult…who knew at age 10 your considered an adult! I swear they should raise the limit to 13.

So as I’m in the process of just checking out prices. I keep comparing the Disney world site to the DVC rental store. I heard about them that their prices are great for families with more than 5 people in it. Their prices are still higher than i would like to admit spending, however for a family of 5 you can stay in a studio or villa for cheaper than booking straight through Disney. The only downside is that the tickets are not included.  We also decided we would drive down next time. As much as I would love to just fly if we drive we can extend our stay a little bit and be able to have relax pool days.  So far my top three places are Animal Kingdom Lodge 1 bedroom or studio, beach club studio, or Polynesian studio!  I’ll delve into this more in another post.

In other non travel news here are a few family updates. We decided this year in 2017 our main focus would be our living room update, and all outside projects.  We are gearing up for some very busy weekends. My son just took his karate test and passed, and received his orange belt. My daughter is getting ready for her first ever solo dance competition this coming weekend. Her and I are both nervous nellies. I will be spending my birthday on Sunday watching her dance.  I’m hoping my husband doesn’t get stuck working the weekend so we can celebrate my birthday with some take out from Wright’s chicken farm!

So that’s my update for now! I’m hoping int he next few days I can put together some awesome new recipes we tried out!

Time to get the kids ready for school! (We have a 2 hour delay)

 

Xoxo Mommy Alicia

Happy New Years!

I have been doing a lot of thinking about resolutions. Every year I tend to make some sort of resolution but you know what? Why bother?? I would rather make plans or goals to focus on certain things. I want to try not say this is it..this is what we are doing and that’s that!

So 2016 was not a bad year for us. Everyone has their ups and downs especially myself. This year I have struggled with my weight, gaining about 15 pounds since last june, watching my little two-year old go in and out of hospitals for 6 months with ear infection, one after the next and finally getting tube surgery. I however had so many more ups than downs! We were able to take a trip to disney in january (even though the kids got a stomach bug), we had many short few day vacations to great wolf lodge, Caonobie lake park and north Conway ,NH, and Kennebunkport ma. My kids are excelling in school and have many friends. I am truly blessed and grateful!

2017 lets bring it!  My tentative plan is to pray and hope that god blesses us with another healthy child. If it is not his plan that I shall continue to focus on my weight. I do not need to be toned or have hard rock abs! I would love however if it is not gods will for more children that I am able to work on losing weight the healthy way and finding the time to eat right and work out as best as I can. I would ideally love to lose 30 lbs but that’s definitely a hard goal!

Another thing I would like to do is focus on myself. I want to focus on what will and can make me happy. I have spent the past wonderful 7 years focusing on everything for my kids, and I promise to continue to do so. I would also love to focus on writing… my children’s books, my recipes for celiac purposes as well as our endless  lists of house projects. I am a pinterest addict! It has given me so much inspiration. Anything little to improve the house would be amazing.

I hope to spend less time worrying about nonsense and things that are not preventable. (im sort of worry wart!) Life is so short that you never know what card will be dealt your way.  As I focus on myself, I hope to plan more fun day tips with my kids and just enjoy the year as it is. Time certainly does fly by.

So with that little new year vent, I wish you all  safe and happy new years!

XOXO Mommy Alicia

Happy New Year’s Eve, Eve!

Oh how I remember the days .. pre kids…always had some sort of new years plan that included staying at a hotel somewhere, or going to dinner or a party. HA

Post kids- Lets just say it has died way down. Generally I make chocolate covered strawberries for the hubby and kids. We end up either doing take out for gluten-free pizza, Chinese food or the famous Wrights Chicken Farm ( which i highly recommend if you’re in the Rhode island or Massachusetts area)  Once dinner is done, the kids get showered up and pjs on. We tend to let them stay up a little later than normal. We will put some new years eve show on tv with music and play a few board games! The kids are looking forward to the new ones this year…googly eyes and secret life f pet. I’ll update you and let you know how that is. Finally its off to bed for me! there is no way i end up staying up until midnight!

At this point all I’m hoping for are my taste buds back to enjoy our new years eve dinner take out! I plan on taking the kids in the morning though to see the movie sing and then I promised that we attempt to make gluten-free doughnuts.

So with that I shall say good night. This mama needs some cough drops and NyQuil!

#momsdonttakeickdays

XOXO MOmmy Alicia

My Christmas Coma and Recovery!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!  For the first time in a few years, my daughter did not get sick the day after christmas. I however, caught a nasty cold that just will not go away!

So how was your holiday? Did you all travel or just stay in?  I felt like the christmas break just went by so incredibly fast. I have to say the kids seem to have a wonderful christmas. I entered into a Christmas coma and now currently on my way through recovery! HA

We started out on christmas eve day, cooking and baking for that night. once all the that was done, the kids and I prepared for christmas mass and then headed to my husband’s side of the family. generally on christmas eve we go to a hall beneath a church and eat dinner, dance and the kids wait for santa to arrive. this year it was nothing less than hectic. there are currently more than 20 great-grandchildren that go every year under the age of 10.

As the night progressed I was more than anxious for santa to arrive so that we could pack the kids up and get them home, showered and into bed. ironically the night actually flew by and before we knew it everyone was heading out!
Once we arrived home, my son ran to the computer to check the Santa Tracker to check his status. (If your kids are into that sort of thing, I recommend visiting the norad santa tracker page.) Milk, and cookie brownies were placed out by the fireplace and we shuffled the kids into bed. I think by then I was completely exhausted.

10:30 pm – Mommy and daddy still had to be on watch and put out gifts. I took the first shift watching the stair case as my husband brought up all the gifts from our basement. I then took second shift displaying everything, and filling the stockings.

This year, the kids had such a variety on their lists. My daughter asked for descendants dolls and “american girl” furniture. ( I say that because she thinks our generation brand from target is the same as american girl, and for that it makes it much cheaper to afford.) My son, Shawn begged for a ninja turtle house, bloxels and Nintendo ds. ( Pretty pricey don’t you think!?) Nathan, my little one, I’m pretty sure he would be happy with anything. Nathan asked for trucks, trains and a paw patrol airplane.

Oh to be young again and believe in all of this! It was so exciting placing these gifts out, but I have to be honest…I was way more anxious to wake up and watch my husband open his gifts!

I felt as though the night was dragging on. I must have finally fallen asleep at 2 am, and was awake by 530 am. Do you want to know what time my children woke????? 730 AM….!!!!!! ON CHRISTMAS!!!!! The anticipation was killing me!

After the kids finally woke, they raced downstairs and each of the them opened a gift at a time. Their faces were wonderful! My husband, and I always wait until the end of the kids gifts for us to open ours. I was beaming with excitement!!! My husband opened each gift and said thanks but then I sent him on a little hunt around the house. He found his last gift which was floor seats to the Boston Celtics! He certainly didn’t see that one coming.

After all the gifts were opened, living room cleaned up and stuff everywhere, the kids played from morning until night with their toys without ever turning on a tv!  It actually continued that way for the next 2 days!

I absolutely love christmas and the spirit of it all. My kids and I did our 25 days of christmas where we gave and bough for others, donated items to those in need and made things for people. And then we celebrated with gifts from Santa. I alway like to make sure the kids understand that Christmas is not just about getting toys and gifts of all sorts but what we do for those who need it.  My daughter ha already decided next year she wants to help donate items to a Pet shelter. I couldn’t be more proud.

All in all it was a perfect christmas for us. I hope you all were able to travel, see family and enjoy the spirit of the holidays! I also hope your children are not driving you up the wall during this school break!

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XOXO Mommy Alicia

Snots, coughs, and bugs ! OH MY!!!

Tis the season….for the dreaded stomach bugs ! Ugh!!! So let me just tell you this has been a crazy week… when is it not? I mean really, never a dull moment. So last week my kid’s school attended a holiday concert at another school. Shortly after they arrived back students started getting sick. Not many but a few here and there. We heard rumors of a few who got sick in the school yard and some in the bust line….. in my mind nothing much worrying about….

Until…….

Thursday morning of last week. I woke up and got the kids ready as we normally do. Then I started seeing online and getting phone calls about so many kids being sick. WHAT!? everyone a the same time?!?!?!  My nieces and nephews all spent the night with their heads over buckets…OMG I hate the puke bug!

Driving to school I dropped my kids off and noticed another child sick , head over a trash bin… umm okay maybe ill just take them home. NO , my husband insisted they go. My paranoia then set in, and as i opened the drop off door i lectured the children on hand washing and covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze. i also stated if for any particular reason have he teacher call immediately. I was also trying to explain to my kindergartener that if he feels like he’s going to get sick run to the trash.

“but mommy it’s against the rules!” I calmly explained the teacher would be utterly grateful if he got sick in the trash than on the floor. Fast forward through out the day and OMG over 101 students and 5 teachers went home?! And that didn’t include those who called out.

I spent the day with Lysol and Clorox wiping everything touchable , washing sheets, shoes etc.  I know most of you must think I’m nuts for even sending my kids. At t his point the Christmas countdown was on, a little over a week to go and if my kids were going to get sick …let’s get it done and over with. All weekend long I heard the horror stories of this inevitable bug.  It was moving through every family I knew in the school! It shall hit us soon!

The weekend went by and nothing! REALLY!!?? How could that be. Sunday night comes and our computer had a mini spark fire melt down type of thing. Nothing major but the smell went through the entire house. By monday morning, my kindergarten son exclaimed he had a headache and his tummy hurt. I chose to keep him home anyway. He went back to sleep till 1030 am and once he woke. Let me tell you…the child raised hell around the house….hours of playing and non stop eating. No fever, no puking no nothing. Tuesday morning ,he was great off to school the children went…..

Tuesday afternoon the school nurse calls with the news of my son puking in school! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!? I rush to the school with my 2-year-old and get him bucket ready and gloves. He gets in the car and says, “mommy  I don’t need a bucket! I’m fine”

Now mind you since 130 pm Tuesday through all day today my son did not get sick once! He played in the snow, ran around playing soccer, legos and eating up a storm. Nothing!! Still no fever either.  I just didn’t get it, but I couldnt risk sending him off to school. I then asked him what he ate at school. Well this sums it up, two cups of hot cocoa, chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes for their xmas party…then his healthy snack and lunch… I am feeling sick just thinking about eating all that junk. ICK!

So here we are just waiting. I’m assuming that if it is this dreaded bug that’s creeping its way throughout the school then my other two should be getting it just in time for the weekend if not sooner! If it’s just the junk food overdone then I’m just plain happy!

In the meantime I will wait it out and hope for the best! I am praying you all have a healthy holiday season and a healthy year next year! These things are never fun when its your kids!

XOXO Mommy Alicia

Christmas Adventures Part 2!

This past weekend our family ventured off for more Christmas adventures. We headed out late afternoon to Yankee Candle out in Deerfield. It was a very hectic afternoon. We once again didn’t realize what time they were closing, so we rushed through. The deals were great! I ended up buying two large tumbler candles, and getting 2 free!

I truly love visiting during this time of the year! Everything is so festive. The kids enjoyed smelling the different candles and their favorite room was the snow room. It “snows” every 4 minutes. The kids also love looking at the department 56 houses that are all lit up.

Out in the food court area, Santa and Mrs Claus was there taking pictures. I actually suggest going to visit Yankee Candle about 2-3 hours prior to closing on a sunday!  The crowd level was very low.

After some snack time and candle shopping, we hopped in the car and headed to our next christmas destination! Bright nights at Forest Park in Springfield MA!!!
During the holiday season, bright nights open 7 day a week. There is a coupon for $3 off per car.

I have to forewarn though, that many people have waited in a line that was hours long. What mot people don’t know is that if you go past the long line in the through traffic line and drive by bright nights and turn around they let you right in. I wish we knew that ahead of time because we went one mile in 1 hour.  The children were getting restless!
Once we got in though it was a beautiful site. We let the kids come sit closer to the window and tuned in to the christmas station. The kids lit up with excitement and joy. Half way through we stopped for a stretch and bathroom break. There were two rides the kids could go on and a cabin with santa for photos. After our little break we hopped back in and continued on our journey.

This is such a fun time! Ihope those of you who are local get the chance to check it o ut if you haven’t already!

XOXO Mommy Alicia

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