Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mystery Walks - Anything Could Happen!

I've had the link to an event listing on my list of Things to Write About since I read it last spring, and figured if there was ever going to be a time to share it, Halloween week was that time.

It was an event listing in the local calendar, with the headline: Mystery Walk.

Then this text:

Take a risk and come learn something new! Each walk will be different and will focus on either horticulture, agro-ecology, wildlife ecology, sustainability, or cultural legacy, but you won’t know until you get to the farm!

Wow. I don't know about you, but I'm not sure those are the kinds of risks I'd be willing to take, or frankly, to let my kids take. What if I promised them they were going to be learning about agro-ecology but instead (gasp!) the guide was like, "sorry honey, no agro-ecology for you! You are on the wildlife ecology walk! What's that? You want to switch to a different walk? NO! No trading! It's a mystery walk. You knew the risks when you came here today."

For me, life has enough uncertainty. I'm not going to add to it by not even knowing which of these exactly the same sounding walks I might be going on until I got there. 

Now tell me, what choices would you have if you created mystery walks?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

METAMORPHOSIS from the Big Apple Circus is a Great Show for Kids of All Ages

Last weekend my family and I saw the all-new show from Big Apple CircusMETAMORPHOSIS, at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park. We all loved it and it truly is a perfect performance for the whole family, with plenty to keep adults entertained as well as older kids and tweens. My three kids, ages 10, 9 and 5, all loved the show , which is especially meaningful coming from my five-year-old son who can be a little picky about what holds his attention when it comes to live performances. The performance runs a little under 2 hours with one 15 minute intermission.

Some of the big hits with my kids were the trapeze act, the animal tricks, including an unbelievable one that had dogs riding on horses, and the Quick Change, which was a series of costume changes performed in a blink of an eye. (I still have no idea how the performers did it!)

We were seated about 10 rows from the stage, and could see everything perfectly. Even if we had been further back there really are no bad seats under the big top as no seat is more than 50 feet from ringside.

I highly recommend the show for a super-fun and memorable outing for the whole family. The Big Apple Circus is in New York City from now through January 11, so make sure you get there before it's too late. You can see the full New York City performance schedule here, and to find out where the circus is traveling to next, click here.

There are some fantastic deals you can take advantage of when booking your tickets to select shows.

This Friday, October 31 the 6:30 performance will be a special Halloween Show with goody bags, photo ops with performance, and free cotton candy for kids in costume. Save up to $25 per ticket by using the promo code SPOOOKY.

There are also special deals for midweek performances on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

When you Purchase tickets use the Promo Code BIGAPPLE and save up to $25 per ticket! Please note: this offer has limited availability and is only good on select seats and shows. Other conditions apply. Children under 3 are free when on the lap of a paid adults, one child per lap.

Thank you to the Big Apple Circus for providing tickets for my family to see the show. We all enjoyed it and opinions here are my own. No other compensation was received.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Five Halloween Hacks for Parents

I've been celebrating Halloween with kids for about a decade now, and as a result, I've got a few Halloween hacks to share.

1. Go to the pumpkin patch early. Some might take this advice a step further and skip heading out to the farm entirely, but not me. Those fall pumpkin pics with the kids are just too amazing to miss. But go early. Most farms are pretty empty the first weekend in October, but not so much as you get closer to Halloween.

Pro tip: Hitting the pumpkin patch early in the day also helps to avoid crowds.

That's right, no one else but us here!
2. You don't have to give out candy to the trick or treaters. My husband disagrees strongly with me about this one, but I'm a committed no-fun, no-candy parent. After a few misses over the years with the non-candy alternatives, I've finally found something the kids will not complain about: glow sticks. Trust me, give these out and no one will ask you where the candy is.

Pro tip: Save a glow stick to put in your own Jack O'Lantern, it will give off a perfectly eerie light, and you won't have to worry about the live candle flame causing burns or house fires.

Best Trick or Treat offering ever.
3. A fabulous Jack O'Lantern does not have to be carved. After years of trying to cut pumpkins with youngsters, I've given it up in favor of other decorative ways to create a Halloween pumpkin that is a work of art. Googly eyes. A little paint. Maybe a sticky mustache. Really, anything goes.

Pro tip: Cover the pumpkin with hairspray before setting it outdoors so that no little critters take a bite out of your masterpiece.

Sperm ghosts make the completed pumpkin extra fun!
4. Your home decoration can be minimal as long as you visit the neighbors with the good ones. I used to succumb to my kids' pressure to decorate our home all out for Halloween. But now, I put up a ghost or two, take them on a fun drive to see the over-the-top decorations of the neighbors, and it's all good.

Pro tip: Get some cider and donuts for the ride and make a big deal out of the car tour of the neighborhood decorations.

These neighbors put up a pirate ship so you don't have to.
5. The best homemade costume is the one you bought. Homemade costumes are over-rated, trust me. I used to try and put the DIY in do-it-yourself costumes, but now I leave that to the professionals. Whether they are mass producing in China or hand-sewing in New England, my children's costumes are made by someone else. Unless you are very talented, or really enjoy spending hours creating something your kids will say is not what they wanted at all, the costume creation really needs to be outsourced.

Pro tip: Purchased costumes can easily be re-purposed for use multiple years. Last year's vampire can become this year's witch with just a few adjustments.

Even better than a store-bought costume is one you get two Halloweens out of!
So there you have it, my five Halloween hacks for parents. What are yours?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Big Apple Circus is coming to New York City - Enter to Win a Pair of Tickets to See The New METAMORPHOSIS Show! {Giveaway Closed}

The Big Apple Circus will be returning to its hometown of New York City from October 17 to January 11 for it's annual engagement at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park. This year will feature the all-new show, METAMORPHOSIS.

My kids and I love attending the Big Apple Circus, and it really is a performance that is perfect for all ages. The Big Tent is designed so that no seat is more than 50 feet from ringside, so you never have to worry about getting a bad seat. The show runs about 2 hours, including intermission. Favorite parts of the show in our family are the flying trapeze and the animal acts, especially the amazing horse and dog performances. I can't wait to see what new and exciting surprises are in store with the new METAMORPHOSIS show!

See the show!
Purchase tickets using the Promo Code BIGAPPLE and save up to $25 per ticket! Please note: this offer has limited availability and is only good on select seats and shows. Other conditions apply. Children under 3 are free when on the lap of a paid adults, one child per lap.

Enter to win tickets!
The Big Apple Circus is generously offering one lucky winner a pair of tickets to the 12:30 pm Saturday, October 18 performance of METAMORPHOSIS.

Giveaway is now closed.

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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