Most Addictive Podcasts – Part 2

podcasts-2

 

My love for podcasts has not diminished since my first list of The Most Addictive Podcasts.  I exhaust the episodes pretty quick so I have expanded my list.  Here are some new or just new to me Podcasts that I have been enjoying recently.

  1. StartUp – Let me say first, that I am not a business or finance person at all!  But I gobble up every new episode of this podcast.  I loved the first season especially!  It follows a former producer from This American Life as he goes out on his own to start his own Media company.  I found it so honest and interesting. download
  2. Snap Judgment – If you like the polished storytelling style on a theme of This American Life, you will love Snap Judgement.  They describe themselves as “storytelling with a beat.”  The host is super engaging – you will love it!sj_logo_npr_cpb_prx
  3. Limetown – There is currently only one season of this fictional super creepy podcast.  It follows a journalist as she investigates the infamous disappearance of a doomed research facility.  Keeping my fingers crossed for a second season! download-2
  4. Reply All – Is simply a show about the internet.  The hosts delve into interesting areas like video games, craigslist and twitter.  I learn something new each episode.  download-3
  5. Slate’s Mom and Dad Are Fighting – I would say this is truly my new favorite podcast.  When a friend told me about it I went back to the first episode and listened to it all!  It is hosted by two parents.  They talk about their triumphs and fails in raising their own kids, interview people about interesting parenting issues and give awesome recommendations.  If you have kids – listen now!download-1
  6. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel – This is a fictional podcasts for kids!  How cool is that?!?  I would say this is good for 8 year olds and up.  My 10 year old and I listen every week and are hooked.  It is about a group of kids where strange things start happening.  
    download-4

Gilmore Girls – how to prepare!

gilmore-girls-3

If you have ever been a fan of the Gilmore Girls – you are well aware of the 4-part mini-series revival of the Gilmore Girls coming November 25th to Netflix.  I am so excited!  It will be interesting how they catch up with all the old characters, where we will find Rory and Lorelei and where they will leave them all at the end of the 4th mini-movie.  The original series ran from 2000-2007 so unless you are like my sister-in-law who just finished binge watching the whole series last year, my main suggestion is re-watch some of the “important episodes” to prepare.  I loved the series, but I realized most of it has not stuck around in my head.  I really want to enjoy the mini-series – so I don’t want to waste my time googling the characters and plot lines I forgot.  I was equally excited when the Veronica Mars Movie came out a few years ago.  Since there were only three seasons, I was able to watch them all.  I have consulted many lists to find the best quick binge map to prepare.

If you are short on time….

16 episodes to re-watch

If you have a little more time…

28 episodes to re-watch

If you have even more time….

50 episodes to re-watch

 

I wish I had the time to watch every episode – but I am busy binge watching other things!  So I combined all the lists into my mega list!

If you are crazy like me….

59  episodes to re-watch

Mega Gilmore Girls Episode List to Re-Watch

cf878715c576b9d9f0cc3dba5ec23d51f3160ab58c09558d6fb6746dd5e14b1f

I have combined many online lists to come up with my mega rewatch list that I am currently tackling before the start of the new 4 part mini-series coming at the end of November.  All 59 episodes are available on Netflix.

Season 1

1/  Pilot

2/  The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton

6/  Rory’s Birthday Parties

7/  Kiss and Tell

9/  Rory’s Dance

15/  Christopher Returns

16/  Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers

17/  The Breakup: Part 2

21/  Love, Daisies and Troubadours

Season 2

1/  Sadie, Sadie

3/  Red Light on the Wedding Night

5/  Nick & Nora/Sid & Nancy

10/  The Bracebridge Dinner

13/  A-Tisket, A-Tasket

16/  There’s the Rub

19/  Teach me Tonight

21/  Lorelai’s Graduation Day

22/  I Can’t Get Started

Season 3

1/  Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days

7/  They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?

8/  Let the Games Begin

16/  The Big One

17/  A Tale of Poes and Fire

19/  Keg! Max!

20/  Say Goodnight, Gracie

22/  Those Are Strings, Pinocchio

Season 4

1/  Ballrooms and Biscotti

2/  The Lorelais’ First Day at Yale

9/  Ted Koppel’s Big Night Out

18/  Tick, Tick, Tick, Boom!

19/  Afterboom

21/  Last Week Fights, This Week Tights

22/  Raincoats and Recipes

Season 5

1/  Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller

2/  A Messenger, Nothing More

3/  Written in the Stars

6/  Norman Mailer, I’m Pregnant!

7/  You Jump, I Jump, Jack

8/  The Party’s Over

13/  Wedding Bell Blues

14/  Say Something

18/  To Live and Let Diorama

21/  Blame Booze and Melville

22/  A House is Not a Home

Season 6

1/  The New and Improved Lorelai Gilmore

8/  Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out

9/  The Prodigal Daughter Returns

13/  Friday Night’s Alright for Fighting

18/  The Real Paul Anka

19/  I Get a Sidekick Out of You

21/  Driving Miss Gilmore

22/  Partings

Season 7

1/  The Long Morrow

7/  French Twist

12/  To Whom It May Concern

14/  Farewell, My Pet

16/  Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore?

21/  Unto the Breach

22/  Bon Voyage – SERIES FINALE

Kids-Rule Day!!!

Sara Colket Photography - Korn 2015 WATERMARKED-233

This post is 2 1/2 years in the making!  February 2013 Jerald was out of town on a business trip.  I was trying to move the boys along from dinner to bath to bed after being on my own for a couple of long days.  Justin, who was 5 at the time, looks at me, in a very sweet way, and says “how come you get to make all the rules?”  Well, that was an interesting question.  I explained to them, that I am the Mom, I know what is best for them, it is my job to keep them safe and healthy, etc…  Justin then asked if they could make the rules one day.  I thought about it, and it seemed like an interesting idea.  A day where the kids could really make all the rules.  What would that look like?  Chaos?  A giant mess for me to clean up?  Multiple trips to the hospital for injuries sustained while my three boys made the rules?  No – it couldn’t be that bad.  I almost said, “Ok – let’s pick a day soon and you guys will be in charge.”  Luckily, I thought for a second and came up with a plan.

Seth was in 1st grade at the time, and his teacher had a teddy bear jar.  When the kids did something good or nice, she would add one little teddy bear to the jar.  When the jar was filled up the class would get a really nice treat.  One time it was pajama day at school and another time it was fancy day with suits, dresses and little snacks.  I took this idea for my own and created “Kids-Rule Day!”  I found a cheap vase, tapped a little note on and bought some bouncy smiley balls to fill it with.  I introduced the idea the very next morning to the kids.  They were thrilled!

There were a few simple rules we put in place.  The kids could earn smiley balls in a lot of different ways.  Good behavior, being nice or kind to your family, or whenever else we felt that some good action should be rewarded.  Smiley balls were never taken away once they were in the jar.  Once they were earned that was it.  My parenting style definitely consists of time-outs and taking away privileges for bad behavior.  But for some reason, taking out hard earned smiley balls seemed to be too severe of a punishment and against the intent of the project.  Once the jar was full, the boys would have the whole day to make the rules.  We discussed that these “rules” could not be anything that would destroy the house or be dangerous.  There would be no writing on the walls of the house!  (that was actually Ezra’s first idea of what to do.)

When Jerald came home from his business trip, he was intrigued by the idea, but said he wanted to be at work when Kids-Rule Day finally came around.  I had no idea how long it would take to fill the jar.  There were times when they were earning multiple smiley balls in a week, and other times were weeks would go by with no smiley balls.  Sometimes it was because their behavior wasn’t up to the smiley ball standard.  Other times it was because no one was thinking about it – and it didn’t’ occur to us to give one.   It was something they were always working towards.  If there was a fit about sharing a toy – sometimes offering a smiley ball would help ease the situation.  If we were going out to a fancy dinner with family – the promise of three smiley balls would help focus them on their good behavior.  Even though the promise of Kids-Rule Day was so far in the future – they held on to their goal and worked together.

The summer of 2014 I had two weeks in a row with the three boys and what I call “Mommy Camp.”  I thought that one of those days would be a perfect day for Kids-Rule Day.  We booked our days so full that there was never enough time, and there was still too many balls needed to fill the jar.  The winter of 2014-2015 in Boston was beyond brutal.  We had over 100 inches of snow and my kids had 9 snow days!  The jar was near full, and I told Jerald that we should plan to have it full on a snow day.  He agreed – but for some reason we got busy with other snow activities and it never happened.  We finally got to the summer of 2015 and the jar was really almost full.  The time had come!  On a thursday morning, we scheduled our yearly family photo-shoot and we told the boys, if they behaved well they would each earn a smiley ball which would put them over the top and the rest of the day would be Kids-Rule Day.

After the photo-shoot each boy put their last ball in and you can see from the pictures our family photographer snapped, how excited they were!  Jerald and I had been discussing what would it actually be like when Kids-Rule Day came.  We thought they would watch a bunch of tv, eat some junk and then get bored and want to do something else.  We were wrong!

They all put on the pajamas, raided the pantry and started eating cookies and hershey kisses, and turned on the tv.  They watched tv for 10 and 1/2 hours straight!!!!  At one point, my cleaning lady was vacuuming the floor of the living room, so they took the ipad and all laid in one bed to continue watching tv.

 They ate pizza and ice cream for lunch and sushi for dinner.  By dinner time, they didn’t want anymore candy or sugar but they still wanted more tv.  If they had stopped at some point and asked to go to a toy store, a trampoline park, the pool – I would have taken them.  But all they wanted to do was watch movies and tv.  Such an interesting but scary experiement!

 After they went to sleep, I emptied all the smiley balls out and replaced the empty jar.  I was slightly worried about their reaction.  They said – ok let’s start earning smiley balls again and they began to make plans for the next Kids-Rule Day.

 

How to Throw a Kosher Superbowl Party

DSC00480

The first step in throwing an awesome Kosher Superbowl party is asking yourself the very important question:  Meat or Dairy?  Keeping kosher means that we do not mix meat and dairy foods together.  No chicken wings and sour cream dip at our parties!  One or the other.  For me it is an easy answer.  The answer is always CHEESE PLEASE!  My husband requires peanut M&M’s while watching football (M&M’s are dairy).  So we always go all in on the dairy.  Make sure that guests that are bringing food items – know that everything should be dairy or vegetarian.

Having a kosher dairy party is easy when it comes to chips and dips – but it is harder when thinking of the main course.  Many traditional Superbowl parties will have meat chili, chicken wings or other meat as a main dish.  We need to think a bit outside the box.  You could of course order veggie pizza’s – which is an easy solution.  For the kids, I usually make a ton of cheese quesidilla’s in the oven and keep them on the table covered with tin-foil to keep warm.  I find this to be less messy then a ton of saucy pizza slices around my house.  I have also stared boiling a box of pasta for the kids to carb load.

One year we decided it would be fun for the adults to have make your own veggie subs.  We got sub rolls, different kinds of sliced cheese, lettuce, tomato, sauces, grilled mushrooms, caramelized onions, and roasted red peppers for toppings.  People seemed to really like this option – but boy was it a ton of work!  I cut and cooked all the veggies myself.  Last year we decided to bring in falafel from our local falafel store.  This was also a huge hit and much easier on me.  We got a huge tray of falafel, hummus, pitta and israeli salad (cucumber, tomato and onion salad).  I really like this option because it is vegetarian meaning we can still have our cheese and sour cream dip but the chickpeas in the falafel also give some protein that will fill people up.

DSC02532

Food List

Tortilla Chips

Popcorn

Pita Chips

Crackers

Cheese Slices (we get the variety pack from costco that my kids love)

Cut up veggies

Onion Dip

Mississippi Sin Dip from Gonna Want Seconds (to make it kosher just omit the ham!)

7-layer Dip

Falafel

Pita

Hummus

Israeli Salad

Cheese Quesadilla’s

Plain pasta

Fruit Salad

Peanut M&M’s

Football Cookie Pizza

Lori’s Perfect Football Snack (Pretzel, hershey kiss, and M&M’s!)

Beer/Cider

Juice Boxes

DSCN0153

We also love to decorate for our big party.  In the past years Costco has carried these awesome football plates with matching napkins.  A couple of years ago I made our Superbowl table cloth.  I bought a piece of turf from Home Depot.  We cut it to fit our table then using white electrical tape we put the lines on our “field”  At the end of the party we shake it off, roll it up and store in our basement for the next year.  This is our third or fourth year using it – and it is holding up really nicely.

Finally, make sure you have lots of garbage cans or bags around the house and empty boxes for garbage and recycling.  Guests are more likely to help clean up if they know where to put things.

GO PATS!!!

Great Wolf Lodge – Massachusetts – Review and Packing List

DSCN4297

The three-day weekend was coming up and my family had no plans.  The week before, we made the last minute decision to check out Massachusetts newest indoor waterpark Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg, MA.  I looked around online to find reviews, tips/tricks and packing lists specific to the Massachusetts Great Wolf Lodge – but I didn’t find much.  I thought I would put our immediate thoughts down and our must have packing list.

Review & Tips:

Overall my family of five had a really enjoyable time.  We had a lot of smiles, fun moments and laughter.  It was easy to get to and with the tips we learned through our first stay we would definitely go back again sometime soon.  We definitely did not get the best value for our room.  We booked less than a week in advance over a holiday weekend.  If you are looking for maximum value – go mid-week if you can, try to find deals online (they are running a 20% discount for 2 or more night stays), and book in advance.  If you want to use the water park on the day you are checking out get the late check-out, which lets you stay until 2pm, allowing you to use the park for a half day and still shower/change in your room.  You can only get it gauranteed when you are booking online, but may be able to add it during check-in.  We did not buy any of the entertainment packages online.  If you change your mind, you can buy them when you are there.  We were not sure what kind of activities we would want to do – so didn’t think it was worth it.  The water park, ropes course, bedtime story, character meetings, are all included with no additional charge.

Check-In Early

You are able to check in online by midnight the day before your arrival.  This will save time if you are checking in during the early to mid-afternoon when it is most busy.  There still will be a line to get your wrist bands, and room assignment, but it should be shorter.  We were not organized enough and forgot to check-in online.  You are allowed to check-in starting at 1pm the day of your arrival and then you can begin to use the watermark.  We arrived at 12:15 to try to figure out lunch and to see if we could check in early.  From our experience, the front desk is not strict about 1pm.  We had one family on line in front of us and were able to check in at 12:15 and begin using the water park.  I would strongly recommend getting there well before 1.  While we were checking in, staff members were making free balloon swords in the lobby – which happily kept my three boys balloon sword fighting until we were ready to hit the water park.

If you are interested in eating in the one sit-down restaurant for dinner or for the breakfast buffet now is the time to make a reservation.  My kids love buffets so we got a reservation for 7:30am for the buffet.  I would not do this again – the buffet was nothing great – review of the restaurant is below.

Water park

We put on our bathing suits at home, with warm clothes over them.  I had our pool bag packed with goggles, cover-ups, robes and crocs.  We left our other luggage in the car and were able to go enjoy the water park even though our room wasn’t ready until 4pm.  You can rent a locker if you want to secure your belongings during this time when you do not have access to your room.  The locker rental is $10.  Every guest will get a wristband that you need to enter the water park.  For adults the wristband has a chip in it that acts as your room key and will also have your credit card on it (amazing!).  You can use this credit card to buy food, gifts and even coffee and dunkin donuts.  This is great because it allows you to leave your wallet in your room and bring nothing to the water park.

We all enjoyed the water parks.  There are two separate rooms – across a hallway.  The first one we went to had three different larger water slides – 2 with tubes, 1 without.  You need to be 48″ to ride alone or 42″ with an adult.  An indoor and outdoor hot spring (my favorite!).  A lazy river that you can go in with or without a tube.  A little water ropes course.  An area for water basketball and a huge climbing structure, with smaller slides for younger kids.  The other room also had three water slides.  These were more intense for older kids, with 2 of the 3 having a 48″ minimum height requirement.  One of the water slides, you stand upright in a tube and the floor gives way under your feet!  My 9 year old loved that one.  A wave pool and a shallow pool area with little structures and two little slides.  In each area there are some seats and some tables.  Most of these seemed to be taken.  I only needed 1 or 2 chairs to put our bag and towels on.  In the first room they have a full bar and a fast-food snack area.  Their policy is that you cannot bring coolers into the water park areas or your own food.  I saw plenty of people bringing in snacks and sandwiches.  The staff did not seem to notice or to care.  I think if you are not obviously bringing in a big cooler but bringing some snacks, drinks or sandwiches in your pool bag you will be fine.  They provide towels in both rooms.  The used towels need to stay in the water park so a cover-up or robes for the kids is really useful when walking back to your room since the water park is heated to 84 degrees but the rest of the hotel isn’t.  I felt like the water park areas were clean and the lifeguards were very attentive.  There are free life vests in both rooms for kids to wear if they want to.  This was very helpful for my 4 year old.  While he can swim, it was nice to give him the extra support.  The water is VERY chlorinated.  They recommend taking breaks from the water or rinsing off in the bathroom showers if you have sensitive skin – I would also recommend against shaving your legs the day you’re going (I speak from personal experience!).

Room

We spent two hours at the water park and then my kids were tired.  I got our room assignment, got our luggage from the car and we went to our room.  The layout was perfect for us.  There was a front room with a full size bed and a pull-out couch.  Every room has a mini-fridge and microwave.  We had one bathroom and through the bathroom was another room with a queen size bed.  All the furniture is “lodge” themed with wood log beds and bedside tables.  You can get rooms with little bunk beds which follow the theme more – but none were available for our visit.  Maybe next time?

Back in our room – our one toilet was clogged!  We called the front desk and they had someone fixing it within 5 minutes.  We had some questions as to how clean our room was.  There were some towels hanging on the back of the bathroom door, a hair in the shower.  When we found a drawer full of someone else’s clothes we decided it was time to say something.  A manager came right over to take the clothes and he said he would be talking to someone about the situation immediately.  Within 10 minutes we got a call from a manager who profusely apologized, asked if we wanted housekeeping to come and fix anything and offered to give us 50% off of our room.  While we were not happy with our clogged toilet and that our room wasn’t perfectly clean – we couldn’t have been more pleased with the staff and how fast they fixed our problem.

Dinner and Breakfast Options

The line for the restaurant and even the pizza place in the arcade were long and we were not interested.  We ordered from Uno’s and while my husband was bathing the kids I took a 9 minute drive to pick up pizza’s.  Near this complex is a Boston Market, 5 Guys Burger and a frozen yogurt place.  I picked up our food and our kids ate their deep dish pizza happily while watching a free science show in the lobby.  All the adults around us were asking where we got the yummy food.  This was one of our best decisions.  When I got back – I saw one of the local pizza place delivery cars out front – so that is another option.

Our original plan was to go back to the water park after dinner so it would be less crowded.  We were all water parked out at this point and we knew we had more time to enjoy the next day.  We went into the arcade where the kids got yummy ice cream and purchased some video game tokens for the kids to play.  After they each placed 3 games each – they were done for the night.

We got up early for our breakfast buffet – which in my opinion was not worth it!  There was a fine omelet bar, cold cereal and some hot options – but nothing was great.  The coffee was actually pretty terrible.  Our waiter was very nice and attentive – but it was not worth our time, money or effort.  I decided that I needed better coffee to deal with the rest of the day – and proceeded to wait on a 20+ minute line at the dunkin donuts in the hotel.  Next time – I will get up early and head straight down to dunkin donuts for my coffee.  I will either buy a bunch of donuts and juice for my family there for breakfast – or we could keep cold cereal and milk in our room for breakfast.  I saw some smart guests with starbucks who drove a couple of minutes away for their coffee avoiding the crazy long line.  I went back to the dunkin donuts around 1 to get a coffee for our drive home and there was no line then.  In general, try to bring your food or take the few minute drive rather than wait at the hotel for mediocre food.

MagiQuest

The other big attraction at the lodge is MagiQuest.  It is “an interactive live-action, role playing game where players embark on quests and adventures in an enchanted fantasy world using real magic wands to solve the mysteries of the game.”  You can’t miss the game as you will see kids young and old running around the hotel with wands.  You walk pass the screens of the games as you go around the hotel.  We had thought that with the water park we wouldn’t play the game this trip.  With our newly discounted room we decided to give it a try.  If you are going to play the game – you should start your first day there.  When you purchase the game it is good for 4 consecutive days or for the length of your stay.  You can start and stop as you like.  It serves as a nice break from the other activities in the hotel.  Depending on the other things you want to do during your stay you can look into the packages they offer.  We decided to buy one wand for each of my three boys ($17-$23) you can also buy toppers for the wands for additional money – thankfully I convinced my kids that can be a treat for next time.  Talking to a very nice worker in the MagicQuest store – right off the main lobby – we bought one game ($13.99) for my oldest son’s wand.  The other two wands would still do some “magic” – turn the magic lamp in the store on and make the animals in the lobby wake up.  My oldest son’s wand was the one that we would do the quests with and this turned out to be another good decision – in addition to only paying for one game, the younger ones never quite realized their wands weren’t controlling the game.  Plus, if all three were controlling the game then we would have had to repeat each step three times for it to register on each wand.  You receive a pretty extensive map that helps you on your journey.  There are different 10 different quests you can do – kind of like a scavenger hunt – to collect certain powers that then you use on three different adventures.  There are MagicQuest staff members walking around that can help you when you are confused.  What kid wouldn’t love their own wand?  My three boys all loved it!  I just wished we had started the game on our first day – so we could have used it more.  You get to keep your wands and on your next visit you can just buy the game to start again.  Too bad our progress couldn’t have been saved!

We hit the water park for another 2+ hours.  I made some sandwiches in our room for lunch and I was easily able to bring them into the park.  We had the late check-out so we were able to go back to our room, wash off all the chlorine pack-up and head home.
Packing List:
Pool bag
Pool shoes
Goggles (for kids with sensitive eyes)
Robe or cover up to walk back to the room from the waterpark
Underwater camera
2 bathing suits (so you don’t have to put a wet one back on)
Sneakers (you can only do the rope course if you are wearing sneakers)
Socks
Underwear
2 changes of seasonal clothes
Pajamas
Slippers (if you want to wear to the character story time at night)
Toiletries (the bathrooms are stocked with kid friendly shampoo, conditioner and body soap)
Ziplock bags for wet clothes to bring home
Water bottles
Snacks
Bread and toppings for sandwiches
Cold Cereal
Milk
Paper plates
Paper bowls
Plastic silverware

Book Club – our first 10 books!

HeartMy friend Erica and I live in different towns, with kids at different ages.  We were having trouble seeing each other on a regular basis so we thought a once monthly book club would be a good excuse to hang out.  After one false start (we only met once) we now have been meeting for over 6 months and going strong!  We just finished our first 10 books.  I thought I would share the books we have been reading with my personal ratings out of 5 *

1.  Shanghai Girls  by Lisa See – 5/5*

2.  The Language of the Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – 5/5*

3.  What Alice Forgot  by Liane Moriarity – 4/5*

4.  The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult – 4/5*

5.  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline – 5/5*

6.  The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – 5/5*

7.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – 4/5*

8.  I am having so much fun here without you by Courtney Maum – 2/5*

9.  One Plus One by Jojo Moyes – 4/5*

10.  The Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Stedman – 4/5*

 

NaBloPoMo November 2014

The Most Addictive Podcasts

Podcasts

Favorite Podcasts

I am in my car a lot – whether it is driving to and from NY to visit my family or even just driving my kids around town.  I need a distraction that music cannot fill.  Often, my boys are listening to a book on CD or watching a DVD so I am so thankful for my headphones and my iPhone.  Here are my current favorite podcasts that keep me occupied…

#1 This American Life – my all time favorite podcast.  I love it for its mix of stories – some happy, silly or sad.  But they are all well crafted and told.  I heart Ira Glass!

#2 Ask Me Another – when I am getting tired after a long drive I go straight for the quiz show Ask Me Another.  My husband gives me strange looks as I start yelling out answers.  Yesterday, on a long drive back from NYC he heard me yell “Gumby!” and just shook his head.
#3 Doctor Who Podshock – last year I started watching Doctor Who (“new who” starting with the 2005 reboot) and became a huge fan.  I have watched all the current episodes and now I am working my way through the original series starting in 1964.  I got so into it I had to find a place that analyzed each episode and this is the perfect place!
#4 Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me – This is an old favorite for me.  It is a fun news quiz show that I also love yelling the answers to.
#5 The Splendid Table – I love listening to the hosts smooth voice and how she explains recipes.  Makes me hungry!
#6 The Cultdom Collective – When Doctor Who Podshock went on a year hiatus due to Hurricane Sandy I had to find a fix and was happy to find this podcast.  Now anytime I have a new show obsession I can find a review from them.  I just listened to their take on the BBC Sherlock series (awesome!)
#6 Serial  – This is a brand new podcast from the creators of This American Life.  Once I heard that TAL was making their first spin-off I was of course going to start listening.  This podcast takes one story and tells it in pieces over the course of the season (12 weeks I think).  For their first season, they are investigating a murder from all sides.  I was hooked from the first episode.  They are only 8 episodes in.  I am slightly worried that the finale will be unsatisfying – but I am going along for the ride.
957738589813740066

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Getting Culture Into Your Kids

photo 3-1

Once upon a time, before I had kids, my husband and I would spend glorious weekends holed up in our apartment watching entire seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ordering take-out and staying in our pajamas.  They were wonderful times – but we were also missing out on the world and all that our wonderful city of Boston has to offer.  Kids has definitely changed my attitude.  Don’t get me wrong – if anyone wants to babysit some weekend my hubby and I would love to catch up on some episodes of Homeland!  On a regular Saturday during the year, it is so important that we have some sort of activity to get us out of the house and break up the day.  Bonus points if it adds some culture to our lives.

I start looking for my inspiration on bostoncentral.com  It has a great calendar that lists family friendly activities all throughout town.  It usually links to the specific event and provides info like what age the activity is for and how much it costs.

This morning I woke up and realized we had an entire free day today.  I jumped on bostoncentral and found this amazing production the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra was putting on.  An hour before the performance the kids could color, listen to demonstrations and even try out the instruments.  My kids loved the trombone!  We then saw a very professional and engaging performance of Peter and the Wolf.  We were out of the house on a cold November day, spent family time together, and got some culture in all of us!

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Special Time

Having more than one child makes everything busier.  As the kids get older there is homework, sports, music lessons, play-dates, birthday parties, field trips, parent teacher conferences…  times 3 for me!  I have been trying to find time to have special time with each child.  I am working on finding something that each one of my kids and I can do together that we both find enjoyable.  #2 and #3 are still on the younger side – so our special time is more like going for ice cream, reading a book, going for a walk.  #1 and I have found that we love to paint pottery together.  Today the stars aligned and we had a couple of hours for just the two of us.  We spent a really wonderful hour at the pottery place.  We thoughtfully picked out our pieces to paint, we concentrated on the primer, we consulted on our color choices, and gave constructive feedback on the finishing touches.  I loved spending an hour where I wasn’t nagging him to do his homework or to take a shower.  I loved that he wasn’t begging for a snack or for some iPad time.  I hope these are the times that our relationship deepens and grows.  I hope he remembers these times when he is a moody teenager.IMG_1228

NaBloPoMo November 2014