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

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

 

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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Christmas Light Searches! Part 1

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you’re enjoying your holiday season! Can you  believe its only 2 weeks until Christmas Eve!????!!!

During the month of December our family loves to do so many fun things. One of traditions include looking for the best christmas lights around in the Massachusetts area!  Last night we went to a house in Sutton, Ma that was simply amazing!  His company L & R Lighting does a fantastic job! The lights light up with the music! My kids had such a blast last night watching this family’s house! He has his own radio station to go along with the lights and even better he is collecting donations for the Jimmy Fund!

I always explain to my kids that this holiday season is not just about receiving gifts from people and like any child they do enjoy that part! But they totally understand and enjoy this time of giving as well!

So the house is on a 4 way stop intersection and its a very busy street. What most of the cars do is they pull to the side of the and wait in a line. Generally after each song a car will put out and everyone moves up!  So if you’re in the area look this house up! It is a must see on our Christmas light adventure!

Check out the link below on our You tube Page to see the show!  And if your in the area make a donation to the Jimmy Fund in his donation box!!!!

L & R Lighting Christmas Lights

XOXO Mommy Alicia

Dreaming of vacation!

Anyone who knows me, knows my big thing in life is to travel! I almost feel as though I would rather shower my kids with life’s adventures than spoiling them all year long with toys… ( which btw I definitely do not do!) As a kid, my parents loved to travel, mainly outside the US to tropical places, but it became such a  huge part in my life.

Before my husband and I got married, we had said we would do a big vacation every few years and small trips every year. At the time we of course had no idea how having one child after the next would slightly alter those plans. And then even more so as they entered school. Now the only time for us to travel is school breaks or summer. Before our eldest was in kindergarten we loved being able to have the freedom to just go away during the week. We would often travel to New Hampshire in the fall and every place would be empty. Ah, those were the days!

I feel lucky though. I have to admit many people would say that traveling with more than 2 children is quite taxing. I actually quite enjoy it! I look forward to watching them enjoy the same things and places as, ask questions, and their facial expressions.

Alas, as the cold weather approaches I can only dream of a get away. We went to Disney world this past January. Oh, I know! What am I complaining about?! well, im not! I am just dreaming.  I actually count down the days until my husband says those words ” Let’s plan Disney again!” or ” how about a nice long beach vacation!”

As our 2016 year ends and we are getting ready to ring in the new year, we have decided we would try to save up. We would love to take the kids to Hershey Park this year, and try out the Cape Codder resort in Cape Cod!  I hope to do a review on those if we can make it out there! We also decided to get our youngest a passport! We want to take them up to Canada again and experience Niagara falls on the Canadian side!

One Vacation I would love to try to get to is Hawks Cay in the Florida Keys.  They have a small water area for the kids with a pirate ship, and a beautiful lagoon they can swim in and snorkel. As far as I could tell, I did not see much of a beach area aside of the lagoon. I also noticed they had dolphin encounters. My husband is not a huge fan of the tropics, so this is probably the best we will get until the kids are older!

Where is your dream vacation?!

Until then let’s keep dreaming!

 

XoXo Mama Alicia

Family Pictures and our Rushed Yankee Candle trip!

Saturday was a very slow day. I’m not entirely sure if it was just the weather or being up all night with 2 boys who decided not to sleep through the night. Our goal initially for the day was to close the pool so that we could then work on my car for brakes and such. That did not happen. We were slow-moving up until about 11 am and then hubs put some winterizing chemicals in the pool and we randomly decided to head  out to Yankee Candle in Deerfield!

We generally take this trip twice a year in the fall season, but we really just wanted a nice day trip. We dressed our kids in their fall clothes to take our pictures, which was probably not the best idea seeing as it was rather warm that day.  Alas off we went, kids in tow , snacks and drinks and movies for the ride. We arrived at our little photo area that we go to each and every year and took some pictures.  Apparently everyone else had the same idea!

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After some exploration time and pictures we were off to Yankee Candle. We lost track of time and arrived there around 5pm. Once in the store and bathroom breaks done we went to walk around for a bit. Every time we go here we could spend hours. There is so much to see.  around 545 pm over the loud-speaker we were told that the store was closing at 6! 6!!!! Are you kidding me? It’s a saturday and you’re not open until 9?  We drove 1.5 hours to come here.  I had to get in line with my coupons and candles ( early christmas shopping) while my husband rushed the kids through the store to see the lighted villages and toy shop.  The kiddos were sad to have left so soon but we promised we would come back again.

 

It was a wonderful day out and even though rushed there was never a dull moment!

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Have a great weekend!

XOXO Mommy Alicia

A visit to North Conway, NH

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Hubby and I decided we wanted to take our little family on a trip to New Hampshire. We generally would prefer going in October but now that our middle child will be in Kindergarten full day taking time away from school gets a little harder.

Last time we came was a few years ago we had gone the weekend before Columbus weekend in October which made accommodations pretty cheap.  This time we had planned for a fun summer outing… little did we know we would have to readjust our plans due to the full arm cast you can see on my son’s arm.  (That’s a whole other story in itself)

So our plan consisted of leaving an afternoon after my daughter’s birthday party which was also readjusted to getting the cast on my son. We waited a few days and headed up North to Kennebunkport, Maine staying over night to break up the drive. Then next morning headed out to North Conway.

 

So let’s review this place …shall we?

Rooms: We had a double queen and sofa bed as well so we could fit all of us in the room. Guess what???? The bed’s were AMAZINGLY comfy!  It was a 350 sq ft room and newly renovated!

The entire hotel itself has so many things to do for kids! There is a small arcade and an indoor pool and hot tub, two outdoor pools with fountains…one of them being zero entry and are all heated with a hot tub. The outdoor section of the pool area also has a fire pit for at night. There is kid sized chess games, and ping-pong tables as well as a fenced in playground area which my kids absolutely loved.  inside the hotel they have times that movies are shown in their theater and ice cream social and crafts and games. The only thing i have to say is I was not a fan of the craft room, probably because no one was there. There were not any other kids there most were at the pool.

If you love to shop like myself, you’ll be happy to know that a walk across the parking lot is a shopping outlet called Settler’s Green. It’s not entirely huge but has a great selection of stores to choose from.

Food:

So we decided to order food from the hotel restaurant the mountainside restaurant for dinner and eat in our room. The boys munched on a hot dog and fries and Lex had some pasta.Of course she didn’t want much of it because it was fettucine and she wasn’t a fan. I was excited to have a gluten-free 4 cheese pasta. They had an array list fo gluten-free options, and I wish i had taken a picture of the menu. The staff was very nice about having celiac.

For breakfast the next morning my daughter and I ventured down to the same restaurant and had a girls morning. This time I did take a picture of the food. They had a pretty basic menu but if you have celiac I recommend asking things to be made separately instead of using the buffet. Breakfast was super cheap. I think all you can eat buffet for a child was $3. I honestly though i read the price wrong. They had a hot and cold buffet and make your own waffles with a waffle iron. Heres the thing that does concern me is that this is not just a gluten allergy, most people do not understand its an autoimmune disorder that eats away at your digestive system, but that’s a vent for another story. I did risk eating the buffet and I ended up fine with no reaction. Bad idea on my part.

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Stay tuned for more adventures!

xoxo Mommy Alicia

 

Disney World Part 2

I honestly do not know where to begin. Our family stayed From a saturday night to a saturday morning at The Port Orleans Riverside. So I’m not going to blog every detail of our little trip but I will sum a few things up.

Weather:

  •  We had hoped for slightly warmer weather and thank heavens I packed hats and gloves for the kids. The morning weather was a low of 45 degrees! I literally came from that up north and was praying to be comfortable in shorts. Every day started out that way and I do not believe that any day was warmer than 65. One of the cast members in Animal Kingdom told us that this was the coldest winter Florida had seen.  One of the mornings to Epcot was actually colder than 45 and we were up early to make our reservations. We ended up having one night of swimming which prompted us into the hot tub at Port Orleans French Quarter which was probably a bad idea…I’ll get back into that later!

Meals

  •  We LOVE character meals…but man they can be so pricey. Our first meal which has always been a must do was at Crystal Palace with Pooh and friends. That one is my husband’s favorite. I love the food there and seeing as  I have a major food allergy having celiac Disney in general is the most AMAZING place that can accommodate that!  My 2-year-old was a little leery about seeing the character but the other two jumped right in.
  • We also did a buffet at the wonderful Cape May restaurant at the Beach Club Resort. This by far my favorite and a must do each time we go. We went for dinner which ended up being late and the kids were running out of fuel. The variety of stations were wonderful. My husband has a shellfish allergy and I with celiac but once again Disney made sure we had everything we needed.  I love the idea of buffets …makes timing move quite quickly especially because we like to soak up every moment in the parks as possible.
  • On Animal Kingdom Day we tried a new place and had breakfast at Tusker House.  So here is my ho nest review I did love the dancing and character interaction. My daughter loved jumping on in with the character action. The food was pretty good nothing special for breakfast just your basics. They had limited for gluten-free items at the time. The only thing that overwhelmed me was the chaos. The characters were out going around then stopped to dance then go around again but cast members were all over the place and i saw a few people trip from time to time.
  • Our last character meal was the princess breakfast in Norway, Epcot. My husband stayed back with the books and took his time meeting us and our friends there. It was nice to have a little girl time! I loved their basic breakfast plates as did my daughter. As she is slowly growing out of the princess stage I was glad to see she still enjoyed this. I would totally od this one next time as well. Mostly because if you have someone who loves the princesses you can get to see most of them rather than standing in line and focus more on ride time!

So as for the parks. Going in January was a great idea because the wait times were soooo small. My kids must have gone on Everest at least 3 times in a row with no wait!  A few attractions were closed at the time for refurbishment, Like buzz light year and kali rapids but none the less the kids had a great time.  Shawn and Alexis I have found out were the real thrill seekers. Every roller coaster had time spent on it with the exception of Rockin Roller Coaster …just 3 inches too short.

So remember that hot tub and swimming moment? This was a thursday night and our last full day we had planned was on that friday! I had booked the BBB and Pirates League for that friday morning and was hoping to spend the entire day in Magic Kingdom and hit up a parade at night. ( That friday mind you was also my birthday)  Little did I know what was in store for us. So we all went swimming in Port Orleans French Quarter and went into the hot tub to warm up. Very few people were swimming and that was actually the warmest day of the week.

Middle of the night my poo daughter wakes sick as a dog. I was honestly keeping hope that it was something she had eaten that night.  Morning came and she was still sick. So my very patient husband ventured off to Magic kingdom with the two boys in tow, but came back a few short hours later because he was not feeling well.  We ended up all taking a nap and sleeping the friday day away. Oh well….saturday we had to go and leave and my poor daughter was still sick…this was such an awful bug and we had that plane ride home.

Our plane ride home was nothing short of an adventure to say the least. The TV’s at least were working. My 2-year-old son fell asleep for most of the plane ride but my daughter was still sick. The pilot let us know that we could not land at our destination due to wind and snow and were being rerouted to another airport about an hours drive away.  About 30 minutes prior to landing my spunky little 2-year-old Nathan decided he’s going to start throwing up. Now I have 3 people in my family not feeling well and a stewardess screaming at us to put him in the seat. Once landed not one flight member offered to help us and we were left on the plane to clean up the mess . We ended up missing the bus to our home airport because we were cleaning up the kids and getting our bags and last off the plane and all we got was a taxi home which we prayed to God that no one else got sick.  Luckily my other son and I did not get sick until the next day or 2 after our trip.  So next time we will drive and take our time and save the money to go a warmer time of the year.

During this trip we saw many characters and endured many rides and attractions. My daughter lost her first tooth, and got sick on the last day. We did face painting and saw shows. We indulged in wonderful food and rode the thrill rides until mommy and daddy couldn’t ride any more. We are a non stop family which next time …I hope to extend my stay longer and take maybe 2 days as a low-key break day. Disney has so much to offer that I felt like one week was hardly enough.

Thanks for reading about our trip! Be sure to subscribe to our Youtube page  https://www.youtube.com/c/MomLife30

It’s currently a work in progress!  Oh and one more thing. If your gluten-free I highly recommend heading over to the food court at French Quarter and ask the chef for some gluten free beignets!

xoxo Alicia

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Our trip to Disney World Part 1

So those who know me personally know that if I could travel to Disney World once a year I totally would. Growing up my parents took me once at the age of 3 so I have always said when I have kids I wold love to go as often as possible. So this was our second trip. Our first trip was in 2013 before my son turned 3. This time around our cast members were Alexis (age 6) Shawn (age 5) and Nathan (age 2) I always love going before the youngest child turns 3 because the cost just goes up.

This time around we decided to go in January when the children had a few days off of school due to Martin Luther King day and a catholic school day. So here were some positives:

Positives:

  • Cheaper pricing for hotels
  • Less crowds and ride attraction wait times
  • Flights are cheaper
  • great deals on rooms

Negatives:

  • You never know what the weather will throw at you
  • no real swimming time

So we got a great deal on a moderate resort. Last time we went in 2013 we stayed in Art of Animation when it first opened and loved that. This time we got a royal room on the ground floor in Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside.  The room itself wasnt overly spacious with the 5 of us. The two older kids slept in one bed and us in another and we had requested a pack and play for Nathan.

This was also the first time we took a plane ride with our little ones.  The kids were beyond excited for this but it made for along flight when we got onto the airplane around dinner and found out the TVs on the airplane were not working. This made for a long flight (granted it was only 3 hours but with 2-year-old who refused to sit still it was long. ) Alas we arrived to catch the magical express and by time we got checked into our room it was nearly midnight and we had reservations for the morning at Crystal Palace.