Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kate's Creation: Ice Cream for a Cause

I know this is a little late because it's today and it starts at 5p but still. Go to your local Cold Stone Creamery, today from 5pm to 8pm and get a free 3 oz serving of Kate's Creation.

Who is Kate and why does she get an ice cream named after her?

All in the name of a great cause and Make-A-Wish.

Kate is an 11 year old girl from Tampa with a Life Threatening Spinal Cord Illness. Last year, the Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfilled her dream to have an ice cream named after her and through today's event the "World's largest Ice Cream social", her ice cream flavor, a concoction of caramel apple ice cream,graham cracker crust,chocolate shavings and apple pie filling, YUM, will be given away at Cold Stone Creameries across the country.

As part of the event, Make-A-Wish is encouraging customer's to give a donation to their foundation! Not bad!

Definitely a worthwhile cause!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Rules of the Railway.

Ever notice the wording on the ticket at the Strasburg Railway. 
Here are the General Conditions:

1. The Railway is not responsible for delays caused by livestock on the track.

2. Passengers are requested to refrain from spitting tobacco on the stoves.

3.  All pistols must be checked in with the conductor.

4.  Positively no shooting of pheasants or cattle from the train.

5. Games of chance permitted only in the luggage car.

6. All male passengers must assist crew in shoveling snow or pushing if necessary.

7. The conductor is authorized to collect tickets only, no produce or I.O.U.s

Lunch Lady.

This year my son entered full day kindergarten. His first experience at eating lunch at school and my first experience at making them. So far, I have made 3 full weeks of the same lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly on Whole Wheat, Goldfish Pretzels, fruit snacks and the occasional snack bag of baby carrots. I wish I had more variety to add to his lunch, but I also wish he was willing to try more. So in fear of becoming so accustomed to the same lunch that I could make it in my sleep and to keep my picky eater turning into a peanut butter and jelly, I searched for some fun, easy lunch options that would not scare my son from eating trying something new and give a little variety to something I have to do way more times than I can understand.

Here is what I found:

1. Ham and Cheese Swirl. Use a tortilla top it with mayo,ham and cheese, roll it and slice in half or quarters.

2. Apples slices with a side of peanut butter to dip. (Sprinkle the apple slices with a little bit of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown)

3. Baby Carrots with a side of low fat ranch dressing.

4. Create your own lunchables. Whole Wheat Ritz crackers, some cheese and lunch meat slices to top.

5. This one is basic, but we do this all the time. Use your cookie cutters to cut out sandwiches into fun shapes. This may be a way to get them to try a new one. Which leads me to number 6...

6. Try new sandwiches, Hummus on whole wheat, cream cheese and strawberries, peanut butter and honey or just something your child doesn't usually eat, like turkey and cheese.

7. One of my favorites, celery with peanut butter, or a wedge of cheese.

8. Nothing wrong with some of your child's favorite leftovers, pieces of chicken and a little bit of cheese mac.

9. If your child is old enough to handle it, pack their favorite soup in a Thermos.

10. My son is a Life Cereal addict so I know he would love this one, Cereal in a bow/Milk in a Thermos.

What are your favorite variations on the standard boring school lunch?

Monday, September 27, 2010

All About Train.

My son has been a train enthusiast since birth.

Steam engines, diesels, he loves them all. George and his cousin Thomas, who is the same age were drawn together over their love of trains. They would spend hours during visits talking, building and playing everything Thomas. So when we took them on their first trip to the Strasburg Railroad, to see Thomas the Train, you could only imagine their excitement.

This is George and I and George in October 2006, on his first trip on to the Strasburg Railroad.( I know the date says 2004, it's wrong.)

This is George with George and cousin Thomas in October 2007.

Thomas and George at Strasburg in October 2008.

And still today, even though they're almost 6, they still share a love of trains, of all kinds and The Strasburg Railroad. This weekend, we went on our first trip to ride the Strasburg Steam Engine this year.
Sophia, George and cousin Thomas at Strasburg in September 2010.

 The kids have as much fun there even when Thomas isn't making his special appearance, which runs a couple times a year. Yesterday, we boarded Strasburg's own Steam Engine and took a trip through the rolling farm hills of Amish land, passed the Red Caboose Motel, chugged past Cherry Crest Adventure Farm,

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.

 stopped to listen to the Ghost Train respond to the steam engines powerful whistle, and waited at Paradise Junction for the Engine to switch to the front and take the trip home.
Ticket ready!

John enjoying his first ride on the train.

The friendly conductor.

The kids had as much fun as the first time they ever rode the train. Strasburg never gets old for them or for us. I don't know if it's the look of excitement on their faces as they see the Steam Engine rolling into the station and blow it's powerful horn,
The Steam Engine switching sides at Paradise Junction.

                                      or the peaceful ride through the rolling farm hills

 but we love Starsburg just as much as our kids do. There is more to do at the Railroad than riding the trains, there are gift shops, restaurants, and plenty of stuff for kids to do.

Usually we would have hopped on over to the  Railroad Museum Pennsylvania, which is a must see and right across the street, but this time we ventured on to The Choo Choo Barn. 

Upon entering The Choo Choo barn,we had no idea what to expect, after all, we thought they just sold model trains. You enter into a gift area, and passing through the curtains you enter into the one of the most magical model train displays in the area.

A large room with an exquisite train display. The animals at the zoo, move their heads. The circus trapeze artist jumps on the trampoline and the fire display, highly recommended by the woman who greeted us upon entering, is not to be missed. She suggested we see the fire display two times and having no idea what she was talking about we walked quickly by, but my husband stood there to wait and see what would happen. "Hon! You have to see this.", he said. As I approached we saw a model house, catch on fire, a fire truck pulls out of the station and approaches it, and little firemen that appear to get out of the truck, put a ladder to the house, and spray the house with water. If you look close, a fireman in the front of the house seems to appear from the house, saving one of it's residents.

                        Every part of the train display, is intricately detailed and doesn't miss a beat.

A car accident scene.
In my husband's favorite scene, a baseball game,even the pitcher moves his head to look around.

A ski slope.

                      The children loved it, but as adults we appreciated the time and detail it contained.

Sophia, Thomas and George browsing the train display.

The Choo Choo Barn definitely a must see when you visit the Strasburg Railroad. Strasburg is a great place to make family memories that last a lifetime and I am sure we will be returning in the years to come.

For more information on the Strasburg Railroad, click here to visit there website. And for more information on the Choo Choo Barn, click here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Alas, It's Fun Friday!

Sorry for the long silence, but I'm back and hope you are back with me. I've had such a hard time finding my blogging space and time. I used to blog in the mornings but now that the mornings are a but chaotic, getting the kids to school, I am trying to find a new schedule. So stick with me and join me for Fun Friday.

Just because school is in doesn't mean the fun has to end on the weekends, of course after all the homework is done. Here are my top 5 picks for happenings around the area, in no particular order. Drum roll please......

1.If you haven'e been to the new Delaware Children's Museum, now is the time. And what could be more fun than Critter Cart. The Staff from the Delaware Museum of  Natural History bring a "live" critter to the children;s museum and kids can learn all about the animals habitats. While you are there enjoy the museums fun exhibits. Critter Cart fun starts at 9am.

2. Have a creative little one on your hands? Go to Philadelphia and enjoy Sculpture Saturdays on the Ben Franklin Parkway from 10am to 2 pm. Activities throughout the day will include something for everyone: 
  • Kids’ Sculpture Workshops: Each week, kids can stop by the PNC Arts Alive tent inAviator Park (20th and the Parkway) for artist-led sculpture-making activities inspired byPhiladelphia’s public art;
  • Outdoor Sculpture Fun Guide and Art Kits for Kids: Children will receive aprofessionally illustrated kids sculpture booklet and art kit to take home;
  • iPod Tours: Self-guided iPod tours of up to 15 people at a time will venture down theParkway and Kelly Drive. Participants can borrow an iPod Touch loaded with 35 audioprograms about the sculptures and will learn how to further engage with the artworksby using advanced iPod features, such as GPS mapping and messaging;
  • Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO: Public art “ambassadors” will be on hand todistribute Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO maps and to help guide participantsinterested in experiencing the program on their cell phones, smart phones, or mp3players.

3. This is the last couple days to take advantage of the Day Out with Thomas 

at the Strasburg Railroad, through September 19th. Take a 22 minute ride with 

Thomas the Train and have your picture taken with Sir Topham Hat. The 
activities don't end there, The event also includes access to the miniature steam train Cagney and hand-propelled Cranky Cars, Thomas storytelling, a viewing station for Thomas & Friends videos, temporary tattoos, and an Imagination Station with Lego bricks. Don't let your day end there. Make it all about Trains and visit the Choo Choo Barn, and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Train times for the Thomas trip run through out the day. Check their website for details!

4. Fall is almost here and I feel like dancing, so why not? Join Linvilla Orchard in their Johny Appleseed Arts And Music Festival Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm. The Festival welcomes select local artists  and craftspersons to gather and exhibit their work. It will be a great weekend bringing together music, woodcrafts, jewelry and much much more. While you are there, how about picking a pumpkin? Explore pumpkin land, take a hay ride and enjoy the scenery, and enjoy face painting, pony rides, mazes and much much more! Sounds like fun. Check out their website for more information.

5. Calling all Moms! This one is for you. Join the Please Touch Museum in their Healthy Mom Fair this Sunday from 11am to 3 pm. Get ready for baby and kids, by browsing through a wide range of products and services available to new, expectant and seasoned moms in the Philadelphia area. This event is Free with museum admission and will be held in Hamilton Hall. Hummm....are there diaper changers available, oh and someone to wake up in the middle of the night, expert potty trainers and Super Nanny? Asking to much am I? 

Have a great weekend. And join me on Sunday, this time for real, I promise, and I'll fill you in on stuff to do throughout the area for the week ahead.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Lansdale Farmers Market

Lansdale, Pennsylvania  has a great Farmer's Market. Small and intimate. With a great selection of fresh produce, all natural soaps and lotions, gourmet coffee, plants,traveling cupcakes, story time for kids and much more, there  is just enough of everything and something for everyone. Live in the area? The Lansdale Farmers Market takes place every Saturday through November from 9am to 1pm. Click here for more information.

I loved the gourmet soaps, Sophia not so much.

My mom, making a purchase of some great homemade all natural lotions including a couple toy
soaps for the kids in the shape of cars and ballerinas. If that doesn't get them to take a bath, I don't know what will.

My son, sampling the soaps.

Jimmies Cupcake Co. was a big hit with the kids....and adults alike.

This one woman traveling cupcake company comes to a party or events near you,
with homemade, little tasty cute cupcake goodness. And with names, like James T Kirk, Jimmy Neutron and Jim Carey, these cupcakes will not only make your tummy smile, but can satisfy even the "toughest" taster. And Yes! They come with Jimmies! My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Click here for more information. 

Of course, my children, train enthusiasts by heart, couldn't believe there were
train tracks at the Farmer's Market......

And were on the look out for a glimpse of the R7, traveling down the tracks.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Groupon Alert: Shutterfly

Looking for a gift or a great way to remember summer, birthdays and the first days of school?

How about a 20 page photo book from Shutterfly?!

It is easy to use, choose from many different styles, professionally bound and a great way to capture, those important events in your life!

And right now, Groupon is having a deal, get almost 70% off a 20 page book from Shutterfly. This $30 value is available now for just $10!! That's a $20 savings!!!

Click here to check out this deal!!

Easing the transition

George, last year on his first day at Pre-k.
This year my son makes a big transition, he goes from half day Pre-K to full day kindergarten. He is at school 4 more hours than he was last year. I know he loves school but until he gets used to it he will be exhausted, overwhelmed and out- of sorts.

It will take him some adjusting.To start, my son is a late sleeper and always takes a while to get going in the morning. He takes after my husband in the morning and they enjoy the quiet and take a while to get going. George has his routine, like clockwork, he watches Sprout, eats Life Cereal, gets his train or Speed Racer fix and then he's ready to get dressed and go . So about a week ago, I started putting him go to bed early and waking him up early, around the time he would have to get up to get ready for school, I thought this would help ease the transition, but that's all the tricks I have up my sleeve.

What else can I do to get him ready?

I found an article on Charolotte Parent online called Making the Transition to Full Day School. The author Katrina Cassel recommends some simple steps to help your child with the transition to full day school. Cassel suggests.

1-Discuss the Positive Changes. Talk about the changes that are about to take place and what will happen during the school year.

2. Visit the classroom and the teacher. Help your child become familiar with their new surroundings.

3.Help your child learn routines and readjust from your summer routines. Such as the new wake up and bed time routines.

4. Find a buddy. Find a child in your neighborhood or a previous school mate who will be in their new class.

5.Practice good nutrition. Start with a good breakfast and an energy packed lunch. Try to stay away from high sugar products.

6 Exercise. Take your child for a walk or make sure they get out and run around after school to help them unwind.

7. Make a morning checklist. Mornings will go more smoothly if you make and follow a routine.

8.Get Help. If you think your child is having trouble adjusting to the new school day, reach out to the teacher, see what they observe and what they suggest.

For my son, what usually works best it to prepare, inform and set expectations. Let him know he will go after breakfast, eat lunch there and be there longer than last year. He usually does best, if he goes into a new situation knowing what to expect.

Even though it will be a change having my son in school full day, I think it is perfect for him and he is more than ready. He is all about structure,routine, and organization, so let's hope things kick off smoothly for him and for me.

What did you do to help your child transition?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fun Friday

Once again, it's Friday, why not kick off the last weekend before school starts with a bang! And if the kids have already started school, time to celebrate for what was hopefully a smooth transition.

1. Let's start off with a great deal and a Labor Day Celebration at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. In celebration of Labor Day, enjoy FREE admission from Saturday, September 3rd through Monday September 6th from 10am to 3pm. Children can also make crafts such a patriotic hats as they say good bye to the summer in style. Nice. For more information, click here.

2. After the National Constitution Center you might want to hop on over to Franklin Square and join in on their Labor Day celebration. Their celebrations are fit for kids including a Sill Bandz trading event with special Philly Bandz, including the Liberty Bell, LOVE statue and many others. Also take a ride on the Lightning Bolt Express Train, a fun train around the square.

3.  Live entertainment, music, games, contests, international cuisine and much more? Sounds like a fun day at The Great Allentown Fair, in Allentown Pa.  Running from August 30th to September 6th the fair is fun for all ages. Celebrating its 158th year, the fair offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. Dedicated to supporting the achievements of farmers, gardeners and homemakers, the Fair enables children to learn where their food comes from while spending an exciting day riding rides, playing games and seeing shows. The young and young at heart will find tantalizing international cuisine, musical concerts, thrill shows, and the latest in gizmos and gadgets. For information on the fair, including events, admission directions and more, click here.

4.Desperate for more fireworks? Head on out to Longwood Gardens Sunday September 5th for their last Fireworks and Fountains display of the season. Get ready for a memorable evening of oohs and aahs as Longwood Gardens always puts on a spectacular show. Fireworks go off at 8:15pm. Click here for more information.

5. Get in gear for school with Backpack Attack at the Garden State Discovery Museum. Be the coolest kid in the class with these crafts! Learn fun ways to top your pencils,mark pages in your book, label your backpack and much much more. Backpack Attack runs Saturday, September 3rd through Monday September 6th from noon to 3pm.

6. You're getting ready for school, might as well celebrate the end of summer with fun at the  End of Summer Bash at the Elmwood Zoo.Saturday, September 4th from 11am to 3pm, say good bye to sumer with a cook out and special activities for kids, including a moon bounce. Check their website for more information.

*Don't forget, expecting a baby? Bring the big sister and/ or big brother by Michael's Craft stores nationwide to make a welcome canvas for the new addition. Call the store near you to confirm participation.

*Lakeshore Learning store Free Craft for kids on Saturday September 3rd from 11am to 3pm. This week, all about me pop up, filled with children's favorite things. Check their website for a location near you.

Know of anything family friendly going on around town I didn't mention? 
Leave a comment below!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Last Friday

I have been so unorganized lately, getting the kids ready for school, but no more, I'm organized and ready and more posts will be coming. So, for some of you school is already in full swing, and for some of you, this is the last weekend before the kids head off so, why not make the most of it and get some great things in this  weekend and get out of the house. You can join me tomorrow on Fun Friday for stuff to do around the area this weekend, but what about tomorrow?

Here are some things to keep you out and about on that last Friday before the school year kicks off!

1-This is the weekend of the Great Allentown Fair in Allentown, Pa. This annual even runs through Sunday and offers games, rides contests, and live entertainment, along with lots of international cuisine and agricultural exhibits. Lots of things to keep busy and entertained. For more information and a schedule of events, click here

2-What about a special celebratory beginning of school meal? In South Jersey, The Pop Shop and other restaurants are pairing with the SJ Culinary Events to offer 3 kid friendly courses for $9.99 (for children 12 and under) during Kid's Restaurant week. The Pop Shop is worth it no matter where you live, my parents come from Lansdale to go with us and my sister who lives in Philadelphia goes with her daughter too. Great place, great family atmosphere and great food. Yum. Kids' restaurant week runs until Friday, (sorry I'm behind). The other participating restaurants and more information can be found here.

3-Take the family to First Friday in Lansdale. Promoting cultural diversity First Friday has something for everyone. Bring your family on down to First Friday from 6pm-9pm, experience international cuisine, live entertainment, special performances and much more. Click here for more information.

4-Pop on over to Johnson's Farms and enjoy their, last Farm BBQ and Flea Market night of the season. Featuring live music, open night, BBQ Chicken and ribs from the frill and local artisans and vendors yard sale. Hayrides are Free and admission to the Discovery Barnyard and Animal Farm are just 1/2 price. Join Johnson's farms for this great family event! Fun starts at 5:00pm. Click  here for more information.

5-Ok. So this was supposed to be about kids, but what about baby on the way?. Micheal's Craft stores nationwide are offering a week's worth of in-store, baby, themes projects-including baby room decor, crafts, shower gifts, and keepsake time -capsules-while supplies last. On Saturday, kids ages three and up can create big brother/big sister welcome canvases. Now, that sounds cute.

Don't forget, join me tomorrow for Fun Friday and I'll fill you in on the to events happening around the area this weekend.