Convert Your Driveway Into a Roller Skating Rink!

I love raising my family in the same town as where I grew up. One of the benefits is sharing places that hold a special place in my heart from my youth. With that said, I don’t think there is another place in the area that bring more childhood memories than roller skating at United Skates of America in Seaford.

Roller Skating Rink Nostalgia

From the yellow postcard inviting me to a roller skating birthday party in the 90’s to the “Skateasaurus” to the square piece of pizza and skating around the rink to a favorite request (“Shout” by Tears for Fears) there are so many memories that pop into my head.

Second Generation Roller Skating Obsession

When my daughter attended her first birthday party at the skating rink, four years ago, I could not believe that the place was exactly the same! I felt like I walked into a time warp from my youth. The skating bug officially bit my daughter – and she never looked back. She got roller skates for the holidays that year, followed by in-line skates for her birthday a few months later. Then, we started giving out skates to her friends as birthday presents. Living in a cul-de-sac helped her hone her skills. On most days you can find her outside skating in circles.

When it was time to plan her birthday party that year, the was no question where she wanted to have it. Luckily, she has an equally skating obsessed best friend. Together, we rented out the rink for a private birthday party and had the whole place to ourselves! It was ah-maaaazing!

The Mint Chip Mama - Convert Your Driveway Into a Roller Skating Rink!

This little sk8r grl is now in 4th grade, the last grade of elementary school in our district. The end of this year culminates with celebrations discussed for all of elementary school. As you can imagine, with Covid-19 halting all of these school functions, she was pretty bummed. Enter United Skates of America.

Community Involvement and Bringing the Roller Skating Rink to You!

As a fan, I have been on its email list for years. It has been my pleasure to share United Skates’ community-oriented programs on my Facebook page, helping spread its tremendously generous programs – including free passes for teacher and first-responders. Then, I got the email of all emails —since you can not go to them right now, they will come to you. Yep! You can now rent a skating floor (and all the accouterments) for your home – right on your very own driveway or patio.

The moment I read this I knew a private, home skating party, would blow any sadness out of her mind from missing her 4th grade festivities. Luckily, I was 10,000,000% correct!

It was a breeze working with United Skates of America to set this up. They arrived with all the items needed and set up the custom skating rink in about an hour. Since they have interlocking floor pieces they were able to customize it to fit my driveway exactly. Then they set up all of the skates (including the Fisher Price over the shoe ones for my four-year-old), the Skate Mates, and a WiFi enabled sound system with a pre-loaded three hour playlist. All of this is yours for five full hours!

The Mint Chip Mama - Convert Your Driveway Into a Roller Skating Rink!

The miracle of the day was that my kids played in the basement the entire time they were setting up the floor. They had no idea what has coming! With bubbling excitement, I called them outside. Their faces were priceless when they saw it. My daughter announced it was “the coolest thing they have ever seen”.

The Mint Chip Mama - Convert Your Driveway Into a Roller Skating Rink!

It Was “The Best Day Ever”

It was an absolutely fantastic day. The kids skated, and skated, and skated. Broke for dinner, and skated a little more as the sun set. As I watched I thought how cool it would be for an “after dark” rink set up with glow sticks – thank goodness they have that on the horizon (no pun intended).

As they came to collect the floor, my daughter skated to “The Last Dance” by Donna Summer (because I’m hilarious). I thanked the United Skates staff profusely for thinking outside of the box, for helping parents properly celebrate milestones right now, and for being creative.

Breaking down the floor took much less time and my kids looked forlornly as the workers drove away. My daughter turned to me and said “I don’t think there is anything you could have done for me that would have been cooler than that. Thank you SO SO SO much.” Above all, as a parent, that is the best thing to hear. I was so happy. Not to mention it was an ENTIRE day of an activity for all three of them that kept them interested for five hours straight! Roller skating to the rescue!

A Whole Menu of “At Home” Roller Skate Experiences!

Luckily, the party continued a week later for her as two elementary schools in our district came together to offer the graduating 4th graders an end of year Virtual Glow Dance Party. For this zoom dance party – United Skates of America had an MC and DJ and song dedications from the teachers. Plus, all kind of things that light up and flash! I am so grateful to them for putting this together and once again thinking of a creative way to celebrate these kids. The whole family had a blast dancing on the driveway a we projected it onto the fence. If you ask my children, they would say I had the most fun.

Likewise, United Skates of America stepped up and created several at-home options. These include Curbside Pick-up with LOL Dolls and Minions, 4th of July Glow to Go, and their Glow Dance Party.

For more information on any of the things above, please reach out to Jen at jsimonettiskate@gmail.com and be sure to tell her The Mint Chip Mama sent you!

The Mint Chip Mama - Convert Your Driveway Into a Roller Skating Rink!

**Giveaway**

Win a Family 4-Pack of FREE Admission Passes to United Skates of America!

To win, please comment below with your favorite rollerskating memory!

Winner will be chosen Friday, July 3rd at 1pm.

Recreational Vehicles – The Luxury “Out of the Box” Summer Travel of 2020

Now is the time to think outside the box and be creative with our time and family. I am lucky to have many friends who are experts in their fields. To spice things up, I’ve decided to launch series of guest bloggers for The Mint Chip Mama!  

Summer 2020 is going to look different. Since one of my passions is seeing the world in unique ways, I thought it would be fun to kick off this series with Wanderology on #TravelTuesday.

If YOU have something unique to say – or a fun idea for this summer – and want to be a guest blogger, please feel free to get in touch with me at themintchipmama@gmail.com!

————

With many COVID-19 restrictions still in place, it is easy to feel cooped up sitting at home. A record number of planes continue to be grounded, cancelling summer plans around the world. The face of travel is like we have never seen it before. International flights may be off the agenda, but the good news is that there is an easy solution to traveling with your family in a safe and socially distanced way. A luxury solution that comes with concierge assistance and a 24/7 medical travel pod.

RVs, or recreational vehicles, offer a fantastic opportunity to see your home country in a whole new light. They allow you to get away from the everyday grind and hit the open road in your very own hotel-on-wheels. While you may have never considered it before, it may surprise you how flexible and rewarding RV travel can be for you and your family.

The Options Are Endless

There is an RV to suit every budget. From basic models with all creature comforts to deluxe motorhomes with amenities rivaling the most modern hotels. Yes, the variety of options may seem overwhelming, but a travel professional can help you sort through finding the best and most reliable option for your family. Plus, we can guarantee you will be getting a new model motorhome from some of the world’s leading manufacturers like Coachmen and Thor. With some RVs sleeping up to 7 people, it is also a great chance to get the whole family together to spend some quality time in style.

Comfortable as they may be, you needn’t feel confined to your RV during your trip. You can tie in stops for overnight camping, where you and your family can sleep under the stars in some of the country’s best and most picturesque campgrounds. Alternatively, if you would like some nights away from the great outdoors, we can arrange bookings in a host of luxurious lodges and five-star hideaways, where you can kick back and relax after a day on the road. If the mood suddenly strikes for a last-minute stay, we can easily arrange for overnight accommodation and are always just one phone call away.

The Mint Chip Mama - Recreational Vehicles - The Luxury Out of the Box Summer Travel of 2020

Leave The Planning To Us

If planning your route feels a little overwhelming, we can also provide customized itineraries to ensure that your family has a trip that perfectly suits you. Whether it is hiking some of the country’s most dramatic landscapes or immersing yourself in Navajo heritage, you can enjoy the benefits of a personally tailored trip and activities organized down to the very last detail. Our itineraries take away all the guesswork, leaving you to simply follow the route and freeing up more time for you to spend on the things that matter most. 

RVs allow you to travel some of the world’s most awe-inspiring roads, taking in the wealth of sights and attractions that are waiting to be discovered along the way. But we know that road trips can be daunting, especially if it is your first time. Wanderology can provide a whole host of services to make your journey as seamless and stress-free as possible – including initial grocery packs and bespoke music playlists to make even the longest of drives more fun. 

Your Safety Comes First

With all that is currently going on in the world, the health and safety of your family is our number one concern. RV travel is an obvious choice for its ease of abiding by social distancing guidelines. Wanderology goes the extra mile to give you peace of mind. Each RV is deep-cleaned before you arrive, with an optional daily cleaning service available to keep your vehicle spick and span.

The Mint Chip Mama - Recreational Vehicles - The Luxury Out of the Box Summer Travel of 2020

When it comes to navigation, we make sure there is no room for error with remote road guided assistance and even auto weather rerouting. Guaranteeing that you will never be left high and dry, there will be a concierge field agent accessible throughout your whole trip, and 24/7 medical travel pod assistance on the off chance you should need it. It is these small details that make a big difference, ensuring that your next RV vacation is one that you and your family will never forget.

The Mint Chip Mama - Recreational Vehicles - The Luxury Out of the Box Summer Travel of 2020

So, what are you waiting for? If you’d like to find out more about traveling by RV this summer, get in touch with Wanderology by emailing rebecca@wanderology.com or calling 516-636-TRIP (8747). Plus, be sure to follow us on Instagram for travel tips and inspiration from around the globe. 

*Giveaway*

Our friends at Thames & Kosmos and Bicycle Playing Cards want to make your summer travel even better!

Enter to win a summer family fun pack of a My Discovery Telescope and deck of Bicycle Playing Cards!

Just imagine playing a heated game of Spit as you cruise Route 66 before stopping to stargaze at the end of the night. Sounds like perfection to me!

To win, comment below on The Mint Chip Mama’s blog post what your dream plan is for the Summer of 2020.

Winner will be picked on Tuesday, June 23rd at 1pm.

Today My Last Three Year Old Turns Four

I have one hour left of having my last three-year-old. Tomorrow – my third child, my Benjamin, will wake up four years old.

The Transition From Age Three to Age Four

The transition from age three to age four struck me hard each time it happened. Since the beginning of the month it hit me – this is my last three-year-old. This is the last time I will watch one my babies turn four.

I started thinking about why the change from three to four is so monumental. Then I realized that SO much happens in those 365 days it is one of the biggest and most life changing times in a child’s life.

Everything I Needed to Learn, I Learned as a Toddler

Between the ages of three and four my kids began school, they became potty trained, they learned how to dress themselves and put their shoes on themselves, they learned how to write their names, they learned how to read their names, they learned the alphabet, they learned how to count, they dropped their naps and could stay up without going ballistic, they learned how to feed themselves, they transitioned out of the crib and into a bed, they could finally pump on a swing, they learned how to put on a DVD, and they learned how to use the TV remote. That’s A LOT!

In short – they learned how to be self-sufficient, self-entertaining little humans.

I know there is a famous line about learning everything one needs to know in kindergarten, but besides driving a car (which he can as long as it’s powered by a 12v battery) he’s got it all down pat – at three feet tall.

Even Big Shots Need Their Mommy’s Help

Three is a funny age – it is an age of “I can do it myself” and an age of “please stay with me and hold my hand.” It is an age that begins with changing a little tush multiple times a day to an age where you’re told to leave the bathroom because they need privacy (often as the bathroom door closes in your face).

It’s an age where you leave this little person who was attached literally and figuratively at your hip and/or to your breast – moments before – in the care of strangers to “learn” whatever a three-year-old learns in school (and also when they come home with THE BEST art projects).

It’s an age where they want to snuggle and snuggle and snuggle and then tell you while grunting (like you’re an idiot) that they only like to eat cereal on Tuesdays with an attitude so strong you don’t want to point out yesterday was – in fact – Thursday. Or that they ate cereal every day last week.

A Four Year Old is a Real Little Person

At this age they can tell delicious elaborate imaginative stories and make up (not at all) funny jokes. They have genuine interest in things and places and can remember stuff you did with them. The relationship evolves from “omg I have to keep this thing alive” to “its fun hanging out with this little person, he likes ducks, I found a cool lake to visit that he will love”.

At this age, my son can finally hold his own against his older brother and sister and become more of a playmate than a burden – or whatever the nicer word for “little brother” is in this realm.

But really – they become a little person. They evolve so much and finish off the year as a little person. When I look at my son, I think of being pregnant. Being pregnant and not at all prepared to welcome another child into my home.

Breathe in the Moments

I think of the difficult days of juggling three kids in the beginning and how hard it all was for me. I think about how he was such a good baby and so chill and like a little accessory being carried around wherever I had to go. I think of how nursing him was so special each time because I knew he was my last and it could end at any moment. I think of how sneaking away with him in those moments were just ours and stolen fractions of calm in the storm of our lives.

I think of the funny little boy who tried desperately to jump for so long until one day he was airborne. Or how proud he was the first time he went to the bathroom himself (and how sometimes I still catch him giving himself a chocolate chip and congratulatory speech).

I think about how he has the most warm, sweet smile and lights up a room. I think about his laugh and how he talks like an 85-year-old man or how he mispronounces words and then giggles when we laugh at him.

I think of how he insists on sitting and reading books with his siblings and making up elaborate stories he swears to be reading – that are as far from the text as possible. I think about the hugs he used to give me when I would pick him up from school (remember when kids went to school?) like he had just returned from the war.

But mostly I think of his unlimited hugs and kisses, how he is the best snuggler around, and how he sometimes puts on a watch for the sole purpose of him being able to tell me when it’s “snuggle time”.

We Were Smart to Have a Third Kid Instead of Getting A Dog

People often debate between having a third child or getting a dog. As I mentioned to someone the other day – my third child sits all snuggled up in my lap while I pet his head, loves taking walks AND is potty trained! I am pretty sure I won that argument.

The Mint Chip Mama - My Last Three Year Old

Well, the clock has struck midnight, I now have a four-year-old. Before bed last night, he asked if he would wake up and have really long legs. I cannot wait to find out. Happy 4th birthday, my little Benj.

The Mint Chip Mama - My Last Three Year Old

Summering In Place: How to Make Your Backyard A Wicked Fun Summer Cocoon.

As we continue to shelter-in-place because of Covid-19, everyone is trying to pack their backyard with as much summer fun as possible. We all have the common goal to keep our kids busy. With the schools now closed through the end of the year and camp a distant long shot, the time has come to buck up. We can do this together. We can make our backyards a haven to summer in place.

Every summer I research the new and fun things out there and have amassed quite a collection! Here is a list of the highlights that have been repeat guests each year. Also included are some recent additions that have yet to be put down since they’ve arrived on our doorstep.

Also a quick thank you to all the front line workers who are caring for those in need, allowing us to safely shelter-in-place at home.

The Mint Chip Mama - Summering In Place

Water Fun

Banzai Wiggling Water Sprinkler

Bestway H2O GO! Art Blobz

Intex Surf ’N Slide Shark

Bonzai Splash Mat

Intex Quick-Fill AC Electric Air Pump

Swingset Fun

PlayMonster Super Duper Spinner Swing & its little sister, Super Spinner Swing

Creative Playthings Stand N Swing 

Trapeze Bar

General All Around Backyard Fun

Jumbo Connect 4 Game Set

Arcshell Long Range Two Way Radios with Earpiece

Razor Spark Ultra Kick Scooter

Stepping Stones Kit

ECOXGEAR EcoDrift Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

Aladdin Classic Mason Cups 16oz

Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt / Ice Cream Maker

Miss Bernard is a Wild Card – The My Weird School Game

Mini Phone Tripod

The Mint Chip Mama - Summering In Place

Sports Equipment

Joola Midsized Table Tennis Table & Joola paddles & balls

Franklin Sports Pop Up Soccer Goals

Boulder Portable Pickelball/Badminton/Volleyball NetAmazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddle & Ball Set

Coolaroo Isabella Gazebo-10′ X 12′

Night Fun

Mini Movie Projector

Fire Pit & Light N Go Log

Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Machine Popper & Franklin’s Gourmet Popcorn Pre-measured Packs

Air Sofa

The Mint Chip Mama - Summering In Place

What are some of your favorite backyard summer fun items?

What do your kids love to play with in the front of the house?

 
All items are very much loved by my kids. Some we bought, some were sent by the brands. The links above are affiliate links. 

How to Sew a Simple Cloth Face Mask

As Covid-19 spreads it’s important that we are protecting ourselves from contact. Many people in the medical profession are near, but not close enough to get the highly coveted, low inventory medical grade face masks.

We wanted to help those in our community who need masks but can’t get them right now. This includes staff in nursing homes, the elderly, etc. For them, these masks will help, but of course we understand nothing replaces an actual medical grade mask if needed.

We also enacted our made up “Eva’s Law” – like New York Governor Cuomo’s Matilda’s Law – in honor of my mom – Eva. We will make a mask for anyone in our community who is over 70 or with a compromised immune system in our fantastic flannel “I Love Grandma” fabric! We will also happily drop off the mask right into their mailbox.

There’s a very generous woman in our town who shared in a Facebook group that she is creating “kits” and donating to anyone who knows how to sew. She is then collecting them back and distributing them to people requesting them in our community (all steps are being done outside on her stoop with minimal contact between humans). JoAnn Fabrics is also creating kits for sewers and then distributing completed masks to local hospitals.

I don’t like videos so I’m making an easy easy basic pictorial guide on how to make a mask. If you can make a pillow you can make a mask.

Here we go!

Supplies:

2 pieces of fabric: 6″ x 9″

2 pieces of elastic: 6.5″ (1/4″ or smaller)

Pins

If you don’t have a sewing machine you can sew by hand as well!

This is a team effort! I highly suggest setting up an assembly line if you have another helper in your house or town. The “kits” are our first step. Then I’m pinning the masks while my 10 year old daughter sews them.

The Mint Chip Mama - How to Sew a Simple Face Mask

Step 1: Put each piece of elastic diagonally on opposite corners of material piece A (blue)

Step 2: Cover piece A with piece B (Olaf).

*Remember to put material “inside out” so when you flip it (in Step 9) the correct sides are on the outside (like when you make a pillow).

Step 3: Line up piece A, B and elastic in corner and pin together on a diagonal

Step 4: Repeat on opposite corner

Step 5: Take elastic from top corner and make a “U” shape to the other side. (This will be the ear strap)

Step 6: Line up piece A, B and elastic in corner and pin together (same as Step 3)

Step 7: Repeat on bottom corner

Now all 4 corners are pinned with elastic.

You are ready to sew!

Step 8: Start on one of the long sides in the middle, double back (I sew 5 stitches, reverse for 5 stitches, and sew another 5 stitches) and then go around the whole rectangle until you get back to the original side. Double back again about 2″ from where you started leaving a gap big enough to flip the piece inside out – or right side out.

You can double back on each corner as you go around to reinforce the elastic in each corner.

The Mint Chip Mama - How to Sew a Simple Face Mask

Now my daughter’s favorite part!

Step 9: Flip your mask so it’s right side & elastic out! It will now start to look like a mask!

Much like when you make a pillow, there will be a 2″ gap where you didn’t sew on the long side of the rectangle.

She is sewing and flipping all of these and then passing them back to me for the next wave of the assembly line.

Step 10: Vertically pin the gap.

*Update: After making more masks, I’ve changed this a bit to speed things up. Now, I’m  pinning the gap as well as pinning the pleats at the same time and then sewing around it all twice. This was hard for my daughter to do so I was taking it over after Step 9. For kids – continue below. For Adults – use this for a bit more efficiency.*

Step 11: Sew all the way around (as close to the edges as you can) to reinforce your stitching and make the mask flat.

You’re almost done!

The Mint Chip Mama - How to Sew a Simple Face Mask

She is sewing all of these and then passing them back to me for the next wave of the assembly line.

Home stretch!

This is the last and hardest part but is still super easy.

Step 12: Fold the material to make pleats (there is much discussion on having 1, 2 or 3 pleats. It’s up to you. I used 2) and pin each side vertically. Make sure all pleats are facing the same direction.

I eyeballed the pleats each time. I found it easier to lay the mask out flat, make the pleat, poke one pin in standing up on each side (so the pleat was even) and then go back and put each pin in through all the material.

Step 13: Sew all around the mask one more time securing the pleats.

I’ve been lining the foot up with my original stitches (from Step 11) while I go around the rectangle.

YOU ARE NOW DONE!!

Voila! You have a mask!

You have helped the world! 🙂

The Mint Chip Mama - How to Sew a Simple Face Mask

We hope this helps!

Please be sure to follow The Mint Chip Mama on Facebook, Instagram and right here on my blog. Please also enjoy the list I’ve created of all the free live steaming classes while we’re all (hopefully) staying home and social distancing!

 

 

 

Free Facebook Live/Zoom/Instagram/Twitter Classes During the Corona Virus Staycation of 2020 (Updated Daily)

I’ve compiling a list of free Facebook Live/Zoom/Instagram events throughout the country while we’re all (hopefully) Coronostaycationing. Please share & if you know of any, please advise. List will be updated throughout the day by The Mint Chip Mama. Please email me at themintchipmama@gmail.com. 

All daily “classes” are listed in chronological order for each day.

Please note – I’m not sure if all the “daily” classes are still running. If you go on one of them, please lmk! I’m updating as I see them pop up.*

One off classes are listed by time & date.

If you’re looking to sew an easy face mask, please check out our tutorial.

Please follow The Mint Chip Mama blog (https://themintchipmama.wordpress.com), on Facebook (https://facebook.com/TheMintChipMama) & on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/themintchipmama/) THANK YOU! 🙂 Happy Staying Home!! 🌈

*All times listed below are assumed EST, but please confirm with the specific links.
*All subject to change per the offering party.
*The Mint Chip Mama has no affiliation with any of the above parties
*Thank you to everyone who is tagging me & sharing links to include! I’m updating regularly. If you don’t see what you sent me I may have missed it, please email me the link at themintchipmama@gmail.com.

*Apologies if the formatting is wonky, I’m updating from different devices.

FREE DAILY FB LIVE/IG/TWITTER PROGRAMS:

Sing a Long with Joanie Leeds
9am, daily
https://www.facebook.com/joanieleedsmusic/

*******

Lincoln Center

POP Up Classrooms

10am, weekdays

https://facebook.com/LincolnCenterNYC

*******

Laurie Berkner

10am, most weekdays

https://m.facebook.com/LaurieBerknerBand/

*******

Miss Michaela’s Online Story & Craft

10am, daily

https://facebook.com/events/s/miss-michaelas-online-story-ti/201298474479778/?ti=icl

*******

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy
Story Hour

10am, daily

https://www.facebook.com/atlanticwhiteshark/

*******

Music Monkey Jungle

Music Class

10am, daily

https://www.facebook.com/musicmonkeyjungle/

*******

Jamestown Settlement & the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

History is Fun Classes

10am, 11am, 12pm, Tuesdays & Thursdays

https://www.historyisfun.org/webcasts/

*******

Wonderspark Puppets

Daily DIY Puppet Making

10am Weekends

https://m.facebook.com/WonderSparkPuppets/

*******

Storytime:

*******

Mike Messer Music 

10:30am, daily

https://www.facebook.com/MesserMusic/videos

(One of our favorites!)

*******

Mr. John’s Music for Kids

10:30am, daily

https://facebook.com/events/s/mr-johns-music-for-kids-via-fa/637532507047710/?ti=icl

*******

Flamingo Rampant
Story Hour

10:30am, daily

https://www.facebook.com/FlamingoRampant/

*******

Edinboro Family Martial Arts Center

11am, daily

https://www.facebook.com/EdinboroKarate/

*******

Cosmic Fit Club

Yoga

11am, Saturdays

https://instagram.com/cosmicfitclub

*******

Wonderspark Puppets

Puppet Show

11am, Fridays

https://m.facebook.com/WonderSparkPuppets/

*******

Children’s Museum of the East End

Baby & Me

11:30am, Tuesdays

https://m.facebook.com/ChildrensMuseumOfTheEastEnd/

*******

Tuesdays with Tinkergarten

11:30am, Tuesdays

https://facebook.com/events/s/tuesdays-with-tinkergarten-fre/962194417571724/?ti=icl

*******

Brooklyn Game Lab LIVE

Games, stories, etc.

All day! Beginning at 11am, Weds – Sundays

https://brooklyngamelab.com

*******

Lisa Loeb & Crayola

Color & Song Along with LL & Crayola

12pm, Mondays, Weds & Fridays

https://facebook.com/events/s/color-sing-along-with-lisa-loe/1154583631540289/?ti=icl

*******

Levar Burton Reads

12pm, daily for Children

https://mobile.twitter.com/levarburton

*******

Pete the Cat

Storytime

12pm, daily

https://instagram.com/petethecatofficial

*******

Work out with the Rockettes

12pm, Tuesdays

https://instagram.com/therockettes

*******

Broadway Utica

Feel Good Fridays Dance Class

12pm, Fridays

https://www.facebook.com/broadwayutica/

*******

The Met Museum

Digital Storytime

12pm, Thursdays

https://www.facebook.com/metmuseum/

*******

The BeatBuds

12:30pm, M, W, F

https://m.youtube.com/user/thebeatbuds

*******

Poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Notebooking Videos

1pm, daily

http://www.sharingournotebooks.amylv.com/2020/03/keeping-notebooktogether.html?m=1

*******

Lucky Diaz and The Family Jam Band

1pm, Daily

https://m.youtube.com/user/LuckyDiazTV

*******

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Lunch Doodle with Mo Willems

1pm, weekdays

https://bit.ly/38UdaWH

(One of our favorites!)

*******

At Home with Emily Arrow
Music, Stories & Mindfulness
1pm, Daily
https://m.facebook.com/helloemilyarrow/

*******

Mindfulness Schools

Mindfulness Class for Kids

1pm, Tues, Weds & Thurs

https://www.mindfulschools.org/free-online-mindfulness-class-for-kids/

*******

Delish

Parent & Me Cooking Classes

1pm, daily

https://instagram.com/delish

*******

New York State Museum

Behind the scenes of exhibits & fun facts about NY.

1pm, T, W & Th

https://m.facebook.com/nysmuseum/

*******

Storytime
1-1:30pm, Tuesdays & Thursdays
Preschool picture
******* Ralph Fletcher

Writing with Ralph

1pm, Mon, Wed & Fri

https://m.facebook.com/Ralph-Fletcher-795453693800820/

*******

Dan Gutman

Reading chapters from his books

2pm, daily

https://www.facebook.com/Dan-Gutman

*******

Oliver Jeffers

Storytime

2pm, daily

https://instagram.com/oliverjeffers?igshid=um7n21qa1k6q

*******

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Draw Everyday with JJK

2pm, daily

*******

Mossimo Bottura

Chef patron of Osteria Francescana

2pm, daily

*******

Gymnastics Class

2pm, daily

https://m.facebook.com/gothamgymnastics/

*******

Stars in the House

Conversations with Stars of Stage & Screen

2pm Daily

https://www.starsinthehouse.com/copy-of-gallery/

#starsinthehouse

*******

Cooking Matters

2pm, Thursdays

https://www.facebook.com/cookingmatters.national/

*******

Andrew Lloyd Weber

The Show Must Go On!

2pm, Fridays

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCdmPjhKMaXNNeCr1FjuMva

*******

Hosted by SOULSHINE and Sponsored by Carefully

Weekly Storytime & Art Project

2pm, Thursdays

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83519469471?pwd=NG9RMzY4WUQ5QTNxYjZNSHFhRXVsUT09

*******

Sage & Honey Supper Club

Quarantine Cooking Class

2:30pm, Thurs

https://www.facebook.com/sagehoneyslo/

*******

Chosen Foods

Quarantine Cooking with Chef Maria

3pm, Fridays

https://www.instagram.com/chosenfoods/

*******

Wonderspark Puppets

Daily DIY Puppet Making

4pm Monday-Friday

https://m.facebook.com/WonderSparkPuppets/

*******

Children’s Museum of the East End

Mondays with Mac

4pm, Mondays

https://www.cmee.org/events/family-trivia-night/

*******

Cooking with Julie

5pm, Mon, Wed & Fri

https://www.facebook.com/CookingwJulie/

*******

Afterschool Village

Learn to Write with Eric Kaplan of The Big Bang Theory

6pm, Mondays

https://www.afterschoolvillage.com/kids-learn-to-write-with-eric-kaplan

*******

The Old Globe Arts

Behind the Curtain Theater Arts Classes

6pm, Wednesdays

Playwriting Program

6pm, Tues & Thurs

https://www.facebook.com/TOGArtsEngagement/

*******

Children’s Museum of the East End

Family Trivia Night

6pm, Wednesdays

https://www.cmee.org/events/family-trivia-night/

*******

Children’s Museum of the East End

Crafting with Kevin

6pm, Thursdays

https://www.cmee.org/events/family-trivia-night/

*******

Children’s Museum of the East End

Pizza & Pajamas

6pm, Fridays

https://m.facebook.com/ChildrensMuseumOfTheEastEnd/

#cmee

*******

Levar Burton Reads

6pm, daily for YA

https://mobile.twitter.com/levarburton

*******

Afterschool Village

Storytime with Miyam Bialik

7pm, Mondays

https://www.afterschoolvillage.com/storytime-with-mayim

*******

Boston By Foot

Virtual Tuesdays: Armchair Tours & Book Talks

7pm, Tuesdays

https://bostonbyfoot.org/virtual-tuesdays-armchair-tours-book-talks

*******

Cosmic Fit Club

Yoga

7:30pm, Mondays

https://m.facebook.com/cosmicfitclub/

*******

Laura Mastriano presents: Nightly Themed Family Bingo!

7:30pm, daily

https://m.facebook.com/LAProdsEvents

*******

Stars in the House

Conversations with Stars of Stage & Screen

8pm Daily

https://www.starsinthehouse.com/copy-of-gallery/

#starsinthehouse

*******

South Street Seaport Museum at Home
Fridays

#SeaportMuseumAtHome #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #WhereNewYorkBegins @SouthStreetSeaportMuseum @seaportmuseum

https://www.facebook.com/SouthStreetSeaportMuseum/

*******

Gallery North

Adventures at Home

Daily

https://m.facebook.com/GalleryNorthLI/

*******

Julie Andrews

Julie’s Library: Practically Perfect Book podcast

Wednesdays

https://www.facebook.com/JuliesLibraryShow/

*******

The Afterschool Village

Weekly Classes

https://www.afterschoolvillage.com/shelter-in-place

*******

FREE ONE OFF PROGRAMS:

CONCERTS:

The Met Museum

Balcony Bar Live From Home

5pm, Fridays

https://www.facebook.com/metmuseum/

*******

TodayTix

The Intermission Mission (Broadway stars singing)

6pm, Daily

https://instagram.com/todaytix

*******

6pm, daily

*******

Feinstein’s/54 Below

#54BELOWATHOME

6:30pm, daily

For schedule check: 54below.com

youtube.com/54Below

*******

Indigo Girls

7pm, Thursdays

https://www.facebook.com/theindigogirls/

*******

Death Cab for Cutie

7pm, daily

https://m.facebook.com/deathcabforcutie/

*******

DJ Kopec

Live Dj Dance Party!

7pm, Saturdays

https://www.facebook.com/DJ-Kopec-251296750552/

*******

Live Concerts

9pm, daily

https://www.facebook.com/BoomerProductionsInc/

*******

Levar Burton Reads

9pm, daily for Adults

https://mobile.twitter.com/levarburton

*******

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Daily Concert (not sure what time)

https://m.facebook.com/michaelfranti/

*******

NPR

Tiny Desk Series Comcerts

https://www.npr.org/series/tiny-desk-concerts/

*******

Various Daily Concerts

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/together-at-home-chris-martin-coronavirus-concert/

*******

Various Streaming Live Concerts

https://m.facebook.com/streamingconcerts/

*******

Rufus Wainwright

Daily Song Live (not sure what time)

https://www.facebook.com/rufuswainwrightofficial/

*******

Many Live Concerts for Days

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/17/816504058/a-list-of-live-virtual-concerts-to-watch-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown

*******

More Live Streaming Concerts

https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/npr/npr-story/816504058

*******

Live Nation Live Streaming Concerts

https://www.livenation.com/livefromhome

*******

Billboard Concerts

https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/9335531/coronavirus-quarantine-music-events-online-streams

*******

AXS Tv

Tons of concerts and Q & As

https://www.facebook.com/AXSTV/

*******

Sofar Sounds

Concerts from Emerging Artists

https://www.sofarsounds.com/v/listeningroom

BROADER ONLINE LEARNING FOR KIDS & ADULTS:

Scholastic
https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

*******

The Teacher’s Corner
Word Search Creator
https://worksheets.theteacherscorner.net/make-your-own/word-search/

*******

Fluency & Fitness
Free 21 Days of Lessons
https://bit.ly/38UdaWH

*******

Mills Virtual Tutoring Academy
Various math classes at various times
https://m.facebook.com/millsvirtualtutoring/

*******

Virtual Field Trips
Various
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SvIdgTx9djKO6SjyvPDsoGlkgE3iExmi3qh2KRRku_w/mobilebasic

*******

Education Companies Offering a Variety of Free Classes
Various
http://www.amazingeducationalresources.com/

*******

Google Classrooms Tutorial for Parents & Kids
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xfgqtCi7hdo&feature=youtu.be

*******

Learning in the Time of Corona
Various
https://www.facebook.com/groups/LearninginCorona/

*******

Museums with Virtual Tours with Travel + Leisure
Various
https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

*******

Kahn Academy
SAT Prep
https://www.khanacademy.org/sat

*******

e-learningforkids
Math Help
https://en.e-learningforkids.org/math/

*******

Open Culture
Art, Culture, etc
http://www.openculture.com/

*******

Broadway Goes Viral
Broadway Stars Performing!
https://m.facebook.com/broadwaygoesviral/

*******

Live Streaming Music Classes & Daily Shows
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cUldDMYYhMy-gBDChEmuWZzxI2TyKp3lYrkEsSKcPqs/htmlview?usp=sharing&sle=true

*******

Virtual Music Museums
https://tinyurl.com/

*******

NY Family Media Resources
https://www.newyorkfamily.com/free-resources-and-subscriptions-for-remote-learning-and-home-schooling-due-to-coronavirus/

*******

Brain Pop

https://www.brainpop.com/

*******

Mystery Science

https://mysteryscience.com/lessons/seasonal/current-events

*******

California Academy of Sciences

https://www.calacademy.org/educators/virtual-programs

*******

Mystery Doug

Science Classes

https://mysterydoug.com/

*******

92nd St Y

Video Archives

https://www.92y.org/archives

*******

Download Free E-Books

*******

Netflix

Watch a movie & group comment with your friends

https://www.netflixparty.com

*******

Live Dance Performances

https://www.dancemagazine.com/dance-performances-online-2645501079.html?rebelltitem=16#rebelltitem16

*******

The New Victory Theater

Percussion Lessons

https://newvictory.org/new-victory-arts-break-percussion-week/

*******

Virtual Field Trip

Dairy Farms, Cool Place, etc

https://redtri.com/virtual-field-trip

*******

Mommy Poppins

Tons of Virtual Programs

https://mommypoppins.com/events/118/new-york-city/all/tag/all/age/all/all/deals/0/near/0/0/Virtual

*******

Culinary Institute of America

Cooking & technique classes

https://join.ciafoodies.com/p028?

*******

Zooniverse

Volunteer to help on a virtual Zoo Project!

https://www.zooniverse.org/projects

*******

Library of Congress

By the People Project- virtually transcribing historical documents

https://crowd.loc.gov/help-center/how-to-transcribe/

*******

Virtual Tours of National Parks

https://totallythebomb.com/heres-33-national-park-tours-you-can-take-virtually-from-the-comfort-of-your-home

*******

Storyline Online

Famous people reading stories

https://www.storylineonline.net/library/

*******

Audible

Free while school is out!

https://stories.audible.com/start-listen

*******

Broadway Plays in HD

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7qr4wz

*******

Cradle of Aviation Museum

Virtual Museum Tours

https://www.cradleofaviation.org/plan_your_visit/virtual-museum/home.html

*******

NY Historical Society Online

Lessons for Students of All Ages

https:// http://www.nyhistory.org/education/history-home

*******

21 Virtual Tours (museums, shows, zoos)

https://www.smartertravel.com/virtual-tours-live-streams/

*******

Lincoln Center at Home

http://lincolncenter.org/lincoln-center-at-home

*******

The Toy Insider

Great list of homeschooling resources, virtual tours, etc.

#FunAtHomeChallenge

https://www.thetoyinsider.com/online-homeschooling-resources/

*******

SXSW 2020 Official Short Film Selections

https://mailchimp.com/presents/sxsw/

*******

Pearachute Kids

Lots of virtual classes

https://www.pearachutekids.com/schedules/virtual-classes

*******

Children’s authors reading from their books

https://www.weareteachers.com/virtual-author-activities/

*******

Gorilla Forest Corridor

Live Gorilla Cam!

https://explore.org/livecams/grace-gorillas/gorilla-forest-corridor

*******

Explore.org

Live animal cameras all over the world

https://explore.org/livecams

*******

A Fine a Parent

110 Resources at Home

https://afineparent.com/coronavirus-support/free-resources-for-kids.html

*******

Harry Potter at Home!

https://www.wizardingworld.com

*******

Red Tricycle

Huge list of live events

https://redtri.com/events/new-york/creativity-corner-ca-1585656000000/20200404

*******

Smart Travel

7 Soothing Video Train Rides

https://www.smartertravel.com/7-soothing-train-ride-videos-to-ease-your-mind/

*******

Virtual Zoo & Aquarium Tours

https://www.mommynearest.com/article/8-virtual-zoo-and-aquarium-tours-to-take-right-now

*******

Travel & Leisure

Virtual Tours or European Palaces & Castles

https://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/architecture-design/google-arts-culture-app-europe-castles

*******

Akire Bubar

Paper dinosaur kit 

https://www.patreon.com/posts/paper-dinosaur-35869319

*******

Broadway Podcast Network

https://broadwaypodcastnetwork.com

*******

But Why?

Podcast for Curious Kida

https://www.npr.org/podcasts/474377890/but-why-a-podcast-for-curious-kids

*******

Becka Watkins

Art tutorials for kids & adults

https://www.beckawatkinsart.com/free-art-tutorials

*******

Plan C from Maker Space

Make Magazine

Lots of fun ideas & a weekly magician maker camp

https://m.facebook.com/makemagazine

*******

YogiBeans Yoga

Multiple Yoga Classes (all levels)

https://yogibeans.com/livestream

*******

Blue Buffalo Yoga

Daily Yoga

https://www.facebook.com/bluebuffaloyoga/

*******

Ballet Nova Center For Dance

Assorted Dance Classes for all ages including Ballet, Tap, Theater, Yoga

Several classes a day all week, please check below for schedule

https://m.facebook.com/BalletNovaCenterForDance/

*******

LuTube

Various Exercise Classes

https://www.facebook.com/groups/529771177940774/?ref=share

*******

Save With Stories

Celebrities Read Their Fav Books

https://instagram.com/savewithstories

#SaveWithStories

*******

CLASSES / ACTIVITIES FOR ADULTS:

Trivia, Ad

Various Subject Trivia Programs (Tiger King, Clueless, Saved By The Bell, Star Wars, Friends, Harry Potter, etc)

https://www.facebook.com/TriviaAd/ & https://instagram.com/triviaaddotcom

*******

Cohen Children’s Medical Center 

FREE VIRTUAL BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT GROUP
7pm, Tuesdays

Thursdays:

Spanish: 10am-11am 
English: 11am-12pm

*******

Cohen Children’s Medical Center 

Cirtual prenatal class for expectant mothers and their families Thursday June 4th from 10 am – 12 pm on Microsoft Teams.

https://bit.ly/bfreebabycafe

*******

Northwell Health

“Morning Milk,” a breastfeeding education webinar series

11am, Fridays

https://zoom.us/j/93211213508

*******

Chef Mario Asaro & Theme Night Wines

Virtual Game Night & Cooking Class (recipes included)

8pm, Thursdays

https://www.facebook.com/themenightwines/

*******

My Mom Crew

Various Parenting Lectures

https://www.mymomcrew.com/events

*******

Allied Health Foundation

Free breastfeeding support: 1-866-211-0404. The lactation professionals will be able to respond to any questions within 24 hours.

*******

Online Mah Jong Resources (very important in this time of crisis. We miss our games!!😂) from Modern Mahjong
Growing List…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/mahjongcommunity/permalink/878728959213855/

And wine. 🍷

Lots and lots 🍸

and lots of wine. 🍹

😜

X My Daughter is 10! X

A decade.

A decade has passed since I felt the excitement of the unknown of becoming a mom.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama
A decade filled with turning over, first steps, first words, sleepless nights.

A decade of passing along clothes too small that I never thought would fit you.

A decade of not knowing if I’d ever sleep again to having to wake you up for school in the morning.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama
A decade of having you grow inside of me, being attached to my chest, attached to my hip, holding my hand, going off to school, waving to you on a bus, sleeping at a friend’s house, to going to sleep away camp for a week.

A decade of Music Together class, ballet class, gymnastic class, acting class, art class, piano and violin lessons.

A decade of wearing you, holding you, pushing you in a stroller, strapping you into your car seat, sitting in a 3rd row in someone else’s car.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama
A decade of you in an infant carrier, rear facing seat, front facing seat, high back booster, backless booster, nothing at all.

A decade of a bassinet, crib, toddler bed, big girl bed, top bunk bed, sleeping bag at someone else’s house.

A decade of some of the same exact friends because we are very, very lucky.

A decade of Dora, Doc McStuffins, Ninja Turtles, Harry Potter and Hamilton.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama
A decade of no teeth, some teeth, falling out teeth, a palate expander, impending braces.

A decade of me dressing you, me helping you dress you, you coming down to breakfast dressed on your own with a great sense of style.

A decade of feeding you custom made milk, to baby food, to finger food, to solid food, to take out food, to the guacamole you now make for me.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama
A decade of putting circle stickers in a line to sewing on a machine unsupervised and giving handmade gifts to family and friends.

A decade of you taking your first step, first jump to roller blading and riding your bicycle around our court.

A decade of reading books to you and you reading the books you’ve written to me.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama
A decade of brushing your beautiful bleach blond hair to dark blond hair to dirty blond hair.

A decade of laundry folded with the sizes progressively getting bigger until it reached a size that fits both of us.

A decade of museum & library visits and beach vacations.

A decade of filling our days with activities with endless hours to spare to rushing to after school activities in the little time we have now.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama
A decade.
A decade!

A decade of snuggling and cuddling.
A decade of laughing and crying.
A decade of talking and talking and talking and talking.
A decade of special moments we shared.
A decade of boo-boos kissed.
A decade of secret handshakes.
A decade of waiting on lines together for roller coasters.
A decade of making art together.
A decade of walks together.
A decade of going out to dinner together.
A decade of Mommy – Daughter Day’s together.
A decade of you trying to stay up “5 minutes more”.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama
A decade of absolute shining pride at the person you are and the person you’re becoming
every.
single.
day.

Five years ago I wrote a piece to you on your fifth birthday. I said five was the turning point from being a little kid to becoming a big kid. I couldn’t believe you were five. Now I can’t believe you are TEN!

TEN!

DOUBLE DIGITS!

If five was a big kid what is 10? Don’t make me say a “tween”.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama
You had promise then.
You have now officially evolved into the dream I always had for a daughter.
The partner in crime always up for anything.
The companion who I can drag anywhere, at any time, to do and try anything.

At five I feared the things for you I knew were coming. They came. They’re here. They suck. But you hold your head high and you act like a lady, which is all we could ask. You know how to behave and how to laugh at absurdity. You know who is a real friend and who is not. You are simply amazing.

You encourage me to be a better person. You cheerlead everyone in our family. You are kind and funny and sweet and smart as a whip. You have a busier social life than most adults I know. You are the person that I – and everyone – wants to be with because you are you.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mam’s
You asked us if you could stay home today to celebrate your birthday with us. You presented us with a petition that you wrangled three dozen classmates, plus parents & teachers to sign. You cracked us up. But this is you. You give 150%. You put your mind to something, and you get what you want. We joked you needed to get it notarized, and I have no doubt – if we were serious – you’d find a way. Little did you know there was no way we’d let you be anywhere today except with us celebrating YOU and the decade we’ve had together.

You want to spend today, your birthday, in Manhattan (your first home) doing all the things we used to do when you were small and we lived here. You remember. It was all worth it.

I couldn’t believe how quickly the first five year went. I can’t believe how quickly the last five years went.

10.

10.

TEN!!!

Happy birthday Becca Bear.

Happy birthday to my baby girl – who people used to think was a preemie boy.

Happy birthday to my girl who hates pink and dolls and loves reading and sports.

Happy birthday to my girl who – for her 10th birthday – is donating her hair today because she wants to be someone who helps repair the world. We’re doing it together at the place I donated my hair when I was pregnant with you ten years ago.

Happy 10th birthday to my daughter Rebecca who has made each and every day in the last decade worth getting out of bed in the morning.

X My Daughter is 10! X - The Mint Chip Mama

My love for you continues to grow as I see what you do, who you are, what you stand for and what you believe in. When you laugh from your belly or help one of your brothers. When a teacher calls to say you are funny and smart. When I see your art work, hear you play the violin or piano, or listen to a story or poem you wrote.

Thank you for the last decade.
Thank you for picking me to be your mom.

The Mint Chip Mama’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide!

 

It’s that time of year again, holiday shopping time! Here at The Mint Chip Mama (please follow my Blog, and Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram pages) we attend awesome events all year long so we can present new items to you that are pretty fetch.

Below are some of my favorites from this year, some repeat items (indicated with an “*”), and some funny ones to give to the adult who has everything.

As always, some of my favorite gifts are experiential. Remember – classes and memberships are great presents that you don’t have to fit in your closet!

*As I come across more fun stuff this holiday season I’ll be updating, so visit regularly!*

For Girls

The Mint Chip Mama - 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Lucky Fortune Blind Collectible Bracelets

Blinger Deluxe Set

Pound Puppies

Little Live Rainglow Unicorn Vet Set

Alex Spa Hair Color Gel

Stufft Pets

RSDubs Ribbons Hair Accessories*

For Boys

The Mint Chip Mama - 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Avengers Hero Inventor Kit

Magformers Police Building Set

Klutz Lego Gadgets Science & Activity Kit

Geomag Magnetic Construction Set

PLUS PLUS – Construction Building Toy

Air Force One Play Set

Wooden Train Crazy Track

Wooden Railway Block Platform & Platform Cross

Hot Wheels Throwback Sto & Go Playset

Lego’s Pick & Build

Sports Illustrated for Kids

ZOOM TUBES Car Trax*

Unisex Gifts

The Mint Chip Mama - 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

smART Pixelator

Learn to Read with Bob Books and VersaTiles

VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2

Tech Will Save Us Solar Thirsty Plant Kit

Klutz Rocks, Gems & Geodes Maker Lab

Rubik’s Build It Solve It Building Kit

Tech Will Save Us Light Racer Kit

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero DVD

The Dirty Sock Funtime Band DVD

Owleez Flying Baby Owl

Juno My Baby Elephant

Speak & Spell

PlayMonster Super Duper Spinner*

Razor Spark Ultra Kick Scooter*

Mabels Labels*

For Babies & Toddlers

The Mint Chip Mama - 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Oilogic Essential Oils

Pura Stainless Steel Straw Bottle with Silicone Straw

Sesame Street Socks with Grippers

Popular Playthings Mix or Match Vehicle

Geomag Magicube Mix & Match

Swim Lessons

Family Games

The Mint Chip Mama - 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Trapper Keeper Board Game

Ingenious

Ms.Monopoly Board Game

Mancala

Telestrations

Sequence

Match-O-Rama

Chickapig

Exit: The Sunken Treasure. A Card-Based at-Home Escape Room

KODAK Premium Puzzles

For the Harry Potter Obsessed Fan

The Mint Chip Mama - 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak

Hogwarts Castle Tree Topper / Night Light

Wizarding World Harry Potter K-Bling

Harry Potter Uno

Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set

Experiential

The Mint Chip Mama - 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Circus Lessons in Long Island City

Glassblowing Lessons in Brooklyn

Aerial Yoga Classes in Massapequa

Derren Brown’s Secret in Manhattan

Tootsie the Musical in Manhattan

Gulliver’s Gate in Manhattan

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery Membership in Cold Spring Harbor

Annual Subscription to Amazon Prime

Annual Audible Membership

Diggerland in West Berlin, NJ*

Wildlife Conservation Society Membership in New York City*

Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ

The Ride Manhattan Tour*

NYBG Holiday Train Show in Bronx, NY*

Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA*

For an Adult

The Mint Chip Mama - 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Golden Girls Foldable Car Window Sunshade

MunchPak Snacks from Around the World

Nintendo NES Controller Power Banks

Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

Go F*ck Yourself, I’m Coloring: Swear Word Coloring Book

Shinesty‘s absolutely amazing Chanukah & Christmas outfits

Instant Ace Plus Cooking & Beverage Blender

Squishable Avocado Toast Pillow

Jumbo 4-to-Score Giant Backyard Game Set

Apple AirPods

Üllo Wine Purifier*

Happy shopping and as always – let me know what you think!

The Mint Chip Mama - 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Many of these items above contain Amazon or Target Associate links for you convenience. Many items were also received in exchange for an honest review. All items listed above on The Mint Chip Mama’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide are items I genuinely think are cool and are things that I think you’d like too. Happy holidays!

Huzzah! Boston – The Perfect Family Vacation

Boston is not only a family friendly walking city but one filled with delicious restaurants and beautiful parks. It’s the epitome of the perfect family destination.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family VacationThe Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

My love of Boston began as a teenager when I visited the city with camp. I remember many of the things we did but my favorite memory was of the Boston Duck Tours. It was not an accident that this was our first stop (opting for the 9:30am tour to take advantage of their Early Duck Discount)!

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

These amphibious city tours introduce you to the history and layout of Boston from a witty costumed ConDUCKtor. But the highlight comes when you suddenly find your vehicle driving into the Charles River! The tour continues afloat giving you a completely different perspective of the city. Even cooler – once coasting along evenly, you can take a turn steering the boat! It’s not hard to see why this tour has remained one of Boston’s most popular attractions since 1994. As an added bonus, with each purchased ticket you get some great city wide discounts.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

Our next stop was the Boston Tea Party Museum. This single historic event sparked my son’s interest so much that it was the impetus for this trip. Know what? It was awesome. The tour began with a very spirited reenactment of the events that led up to dumping 340 cases of tea into Boston Harbor in 1773. Next, we stormed the British ships and had a chance to throw “tea” overboard ourselves while hollering revolutionary fighting words (a big hit with my kids). The tour concluded with a multi-media presentation about the aftermath. We finished in the gift shop which was correctly described on their website as curated for a history buff.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

The crown jewel of the Boston Tea Party Museum was her cafe – Abigail’s Tea Room. Besides serving lunch and the tea blends from 1773 (to drink, not throw) there were period dressed staff chatting with guests and teaching kids how to play old time games. But my favorite part was the terrace and her view of Boston Harbor.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

Our next stop was the Boston Children’s Museum – big enough to fill a few hours but not too big that it felt overwhelming. My boys absolutely loved it. For them – the highlight was the very interactive Construction Zone. But for me it was the KidStage Live improv show which were hysterical. We loved the first one so much we went back for the second one! This museum is great for kids eight and below.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

With its harbor side location, it’s no surprise that Boston has an award winning aquarium. From the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, to the sprawling penguin exhibit, to the Animal Encounters, to the 200 gallon Giant Ocean Tank, The New England Aquarium is not to be missed. My personal favorite was Myrtle, the GIANT sea turtle.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

I love visiting cities because their indoor attractions are usually coupled with an equal amount of fantastic outdoor attractions. Since Boston has the oldest park in the country – Boston Common, I knew we would be pleased.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

With so much history in one place, a walking tour of The Freedom Trail must be part of your itinerary. With three young kids, I wanted to find one that would appeal to them and ward off boredom. My research brought me to Boston By Little Feet, a daily tour geared to the 6-11 crowd. It was perfect.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

Next up was my daughter’s choice and naturally as an overachieving first child she chose a tour of Harvard. Our fun, fact filled Hahvahd Walking Tour was led by a current student who taught us the history of the school, debunked some popular myths, and led us in the footsteps of some famous alumni. We loved walking around the beautiful campus and popping in to all the little stores in Harvard Yard. There is something so special about a college town. Ah, the memories… Naturally my daughter chose a “future freshman” shirt as her souvenir. 

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

We also visited Martin’s Park at The Smith Family Waterfront located next to the Boston Children’s Museum. Perfectly located near some great dining, my kids burnt off their pre-dinner energy while my husband and I enjoyed a much needed sit. No one even noticed we were waiting for a table (#efficient).

The

No Boston conversation would be complete without the beautiful Swan Boats and a visit to Boston Public Garden. This was a great relaxing stop that provided a beautiful view and some prime picture taking. Also located here is the famous bench where Robin Williams talks to Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

When visiting a city, a centrally located hotel is pivotal to me. The Boxer Hotel was the perfect choice. This boutique hotel was walking distance to everything, had an incredibly helpful staff, a car valet, and one of the most delicious hotel breakfasts I’ve had in recent years. I would return there in a heartbeat. A note about our journey from Long Island to Boston: Since we like water more than traffic, we decided to take the Cross Sound Ferry from Orient Point to Bridgeport, Connecticut. This was a wonderful way to travel. We then stopped at the Edaville Family Theme Park, home of the famous Thomas the Tank Engine amusement park, enroute to Boston. While not the most direct route North, it was a great way to add a few more fun things into our trip and break up the car ride. I highly recommend all of it.

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

This trip was just fabulous. The weather was beautiful, the kids were engaged, there was plenty of walking, but also plenty of sitting. Delicious food, a nice hotel, and big fat smiles, what else does one need?

The Mint Chip Mama - Huzzah! Boston - The Perfect Family Vacation

Complimentary or discounted admission was given to several of the attractions listed above in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Edaville Family Theme Park, Home of Thomas Land!

If you have a “Thomas the Tank Engine” fiend in your house (like I do – a deux), you must go – right now – to the Edaville Family Theme Park in Carver, MA.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

My two boys can sit and play with trains for hours. I see it as not only a bonding activity (when they’re not hitting each other with a train…) but a way to strengthen their creativity by building and rebuilding intricate cities made of tracks. They get so proud. It is so cute.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

I encourage my pint size ferroequinologists any way that I can (yes, there’s a word for someone who studies trains). We’ve visited Thomas on his “Day Out”, we’ve taken a ride on a Thomas steamer, we visit the NY Botanical Gardens train show annually, and my playroom looks like – well, you can just imagine. So, naturally as soon as I heard there was an amusement park dedicated to Thomas, we immediately got in the car.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

We headed up to the Edaville Family Theme Park  enroute to our family vacation to Boston. From Long Island, we took the Cross Sound Ferry (which was so much fun) into New London, CT. From there, the park was a short 90 minute drive (and for later only 60 minutes to Boston).

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

Before I go into all the Thomas attractions, I want to mention the Edaville Family Theme Park also includes a walk through Dino Land.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

The super fun Edaville Diesel Excursion Train (obviously pulled by Mr. train no. 1 himself – Thomas) – which couples a beautiful view, a full property tour (including the old cranberry bogs), and my favorite – a big old bag of sitting down.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

Finally – no amusement park would be complete without a giant ferris wheel, scrambler, and carousel. In Cran Central  you will find all of these rides and more.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

OK – on to the main event. I will set the scene…. You see the arch, you see the font, your brain cues the theme song – “They’re two they’re four they’re six and eight, Shunting trucks and hauling freight…” and suddenly – just like that – you enter… the Island of SODOR… otherwise know, as Thomas Land!

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

I know I’m a grown woman, and this is a lot of excitement, but after nine years of watching this show and hearing these songs, it was pretty cool to have it all in front of me as well. You can admit you agree, it will be our secret.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

Behold – Thomas! James! Percy! Gordon! Emily! Henry! Harold! The trains come to life in the form of eleven themed rides perfectly geared to the younger crowd.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

But wait – choo, choo… I hear something… choo choo… full sized versions of Gordon, James, Emily and Percy have arrived at Tidmouth Sheds and they are putting on a show!

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

But that’s not all, it has been announced… HE is on his way. You know who I mean, the man of the hour… and then, out walks, Sir Topham Hatt himself – ready to take pictures with your family. I think the smile here speaks for itself.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

All of the themed rides were great. All three of my kids loved Flynn’s Firefighter Adventure (they got to shoot real water at a fake fire) and Harold’s Lift Off.

My nine-year-old daughter (who is a roller coaster addict) loved the Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster and happily went several times while my boys fan boy-ed out around the park.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

My five-year-old loved Cranky’s Crane Drop but for some reason found the Peg People absolutely hilarious and insisted on hugging each of them.

My three-year-old loved the Winston’s Skyline Express. This elevated ride was one part monorail, one part antique car and all parts awesome.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

I cannot tell you how happy I am that we visited the Edaville Family Theme Park. My boys were so happy to see their little train world come to life and it was just so much fun to watch them. If you have Thomas fans as well, you also must go.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

The Edaville Family Theme Park has tons to offer all year long including Edaville’s Not So Spooky Halloween celebrations in October and the Festival of Lights in November.

The Mint Chip Mama - Edaville Family Theme Park

I promise you, visiting the Edaville Family Theme Park will make you as happy as when Percy pulls the mail on time!

***Giveaway***

Sir Topham Hatt told me he wants a picture with YOU!

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to visit the Edaville Family Theme Park in October or November!

To win, please answer in the comment section below:

What’s your favorite movie to watch for Halloween and why?

Winner will be choo-choo-chosen at 5pm on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019.

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