Friday, March 12, 2021

Summer Bucket List in Connecticut

Lavender Pond Farm - I visited this spot when I was pregnant with Savannah and I would love to go back in peak season which is normally July. If you do end up visiting this amazing lavender farm and have children, I was amazed by the lavender bug spray they had!  It lasted an entire summer and was like $11 and all-natural.  It truly worked to repel bugs and we didn't have to worry about the harsh chemicals of a lot of the other bug sprays.

I love Ocean Beach for kids because it has fine, white sand and it's so big and rarely ever crowded on weekdays.  It also had some rides (they were closed last year due to COVID but may re-open this year) and a few waterslides, along with a long boardwalk with yummy icecream and some snacks for the kiddos.

My son's favorite part is the ankle-length water area where you can catch hermit crabs and snails in buckets.  Also, since the beach is located in New London, you can almost always spot a submarine which the kids LOVE.

If you + your fam have not visited Essex yet, be sure to put this on the top of your bucket list!  It's such a fun day trip and you can get a package to go on the boat and the train.  The store is adorable as well for the kids.. my son loves his little train whistle!  
They do a fantastic job and it's even fun for the adults so it's a win-win for the whole family!  Also, surrounding this spot, there are so many cute shops, restaurants, and scenic areas that you can explore before or after you experience the Steamboat and train!

This is such a fun spot and you don't even have to wait until summer to visit!  Located in the Trumbull Mall, this interactive aquarium has way more than just fish.  You can interact with an adorable sloth, swim with the sharks, and feed an enormous turtle.

The kids loved feeding the fish and they were entertained for hours.  I was pleasantly surprised at the prices in the gift shop.  Usually, I cringe at gift shop prices, but it was SO reasonable and the kids picked out adorable souvenirs and I didn't feel like I was robbed 😂😂


We almost always rent a house for a week on the CT shoreline, usually Old Lyme or Old Saybrook.  It's so fun to vacation in your own state because you explore things right in your backyard that you don't normally get to see!  
When we rent, we have our favorite spots but always try to find something new to try every year.

For lobster rolls, we love Lobster Landing!  They usually open for the season in April.  Are you team hot lobster roll or cold?  I am definitely a HOT BUTTERED lobstah-roll gal!

We always make a trip to Carousel at Soundview in Old Lyme.  I love it because it literally looks the same as when I was just a child so those nostalgic memories of beach days with my family bring my heart so much joy!  Not to mention, JJ Lawsen's Gourmet Icecream so so delicious with 32 flavors of ice-cream, sherbert, and yogurt. There is almost always live music on the weekends outside as well which adds for a fun backdrop on a beautiful beach day. 

Date night favorite for our "beach week" is always La Foresta in Killingworth. With homegrown ingredients and authentic Italian, La Foresta is my favorite date-night restaurant by far.  The owner is passionate and accommodating and the restaurant is beautiful and welcoming.  I've brought friends from all over the US here and they are equally impressed, especially the "foodies."  This is a true GEM in CT. 

The Connecticut Wine Trail is so beautiful in the summer and can be a day well spent with beautiful views of vineyards and sunsets.  I have yet to visit all of the vineyards in CT, but the ones that I have visited, have amazing wine and it's such a fun day for a picnic and to sip on some locally made wine!  I love supporting small businesses in CT so I always grab a few bottles to go as gifts and to have in my home for future dinners. 
Since I am in Southington, I am very close to Paradise Hills Vineyard which has incredible sunsets and even more incredible wine.  I love their Washington Trail Rosé in the summer since it's light and refreshing. 

I haven't been to the Southington Drive-in yet but am praying they open back up this summer!  I think my kids would LOVE it and I have heard nothing but great things about it.  Watching a movie on a huge screen, outside with lots of great snacks.. sounds like a perfect summer night to me!
Growing up, my favorite movie snack was Junior Mints & Sour Patch Kids. Oh the days where calorie-counting was not a thought in mind :) 


Last year was the first year since Gavin was 3 that we didn't get a season pass (due to COVID) and boy did we miss it!  The pass is 100% worth it and pays for itself after 2 trips.  We love the water park and love that we can go for a couple hours in the evening, hop on a few rides and get our energy out.  This will be the first year Savannah will really be able to enjoy it as well!

Ever After,

Friday, December 11, 2020

Gavin's First Sleepover: Not Your Average Slumber Party with Camp F.L.Y

I think I'm speaking for ALL the parents when I say it has been [ahem] creative coming up with ways to entertain the kids in 2020.  Confessing that I've relied on electronics in those dark days and have also gotten super-mom creative on other days.  Hey, it's a balance, right?

Summer was a little easier to navigate with outdoor playdates, beach trips, and pool time, but as we navigate these cold months it's certainly a constant challenge to keep the kids entertained.  What's more exciting than a classic (upgraded) slumber party for kids to bond?!

My son, Gavin, is SO in love with building forts and "camping."  When I found out about Camp FLY, I was SO excited to explore their sleepover parties for Gavin and his best friend.  It was absolutely way beyond my expectations.  Because it was Gavin's FIRST sleepover, it was a big deal and boy were the kids impressed.

Camp F.L.Y. has many different themes to choose from depending on the child's interest and age.  From princess slumber parties to Camping in the Woods, there is something for everyone.  They even do ADULT slumber parties which is such a fun alternative to going out these days, especially this year!

To check out their packages, take a peek at their options here.

I think ALL the Moms will agree the absolute best part of their service is NO set-up or clean-up.
They literally do everything for you.  Each child receives their very own teepee to sleep in with all the trimmings.  Camp F.L.Y. takes care of every detail--planning, setup, decor, pickup-- and provide an experience that your kids will never forget!

Don't forget to check them out on social media!! Here is their Insta!

They also have just a COUPLE spots left for their special Camp Fire Christmas setup! 

Three nights for the price of one!! $199 from December 23rd through December 26th. (local only)

3 spots left for Winter Wonderland theme 3 spots left for The Nightmare Before Christmas theme

Ever After,

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Moms of School-age Children: We Are Not OK.. But We Will Be

    As I prepared my 5-year old son for kindergarten earlier this year, I should have been excited about him entering a new stage of education and life.  It's bittersweet that he is going to "real" school and he will learn so much and grow up so much in one year.
Then, I think about everything, as moms and parents and grandparents that we have lingering over our minds when it comes to children going to school.  It's devastating to think about what my generation has witnessed happening to children. Sorry, millennial-haters.  This millennial-mom generation does not have it easy. 
    In my home state, Connecticut, an entire kindergarten class was killed during school in Sandy Hook which is generally a safe, beautiful place to live. When I was in elementary school, I remember doing fire drills and then going along my merry way straight to the playground.  It's sad that at 2 years old, my son was taught how to lock a door with a belt to protect the class from intruders.

It's also sad that my child may not be able to have lunch with his friends and has to constantly ask me, "Is the Virus gone yet?"

Every single decision we make, we know we have to think cautiously about the lives and well-being of our children and the health and safety of others.  We worry about their safety when we should feel at peace that they are safe in school.  We worry about our children's health from spreading viruses and about their mental health, which is increasingly rising among young children.  In fact, the current pre-teen/teen suicide has tripled since previous generations according to Psychology Today.  Studies show that the main stressors affecting children's mental health are triggered by events like school shootings, racial discrimination, and sexual assault.  I'm sure as we look back on 2020, we will see that medical pandemics have a huge effect on our children's mental health as well.

    With such easy access to any content, news, or media outlet it's almost impossible to keep children away from the news of these triggered events.
In addition, The New York Times reported that for smaller toddlers and babies, masks may be delaying their communication development since they cannot pick up on visual clues.  

“Masks are not a great thing for communication in young kids,” Dr. Lewkowicz said. On the other hand, he said, the time children spend at home with people who are not masked will give them a chance to practice picking up the visual cues.

As moms and caretakers in this generation, we are constantly hoping that we are making the best decision, calculating every risk factor whether it be physical health, mental well-being, and developmental progress.  As we continue to navigate these times, be respectful of each other's decisions and do not be quick to judge the kid without a mask (there may be a reason) or the Mom that never leaves the house.  Know that these decisions are never made lightly.

School shootings, viruses, addiction, mental health issues, and racial discrimination are all on my Mom-brain, however, it is important to not let our fears get too consuming.  Even if it's not in person, check on the people you love.  Help each other, be kind, and in the words of Danny Gokey: "Love God and Love People."

Ever After,