Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mom's Random Thoughts

Inspired by the UnMom and Carrin...

• Do you think Lennon envisioned his image on dumpsters even 30 years after his death?
• I love NPR, or specifically, NHPR. I get to listen to them every morning as I work from 4 to 7 and it really gets my day going. I can even ignore the fact that the 4am-5am time slot is from the BBC (and Lord knows, I can NOT stand British accents!) They have a great show called the Strand that takes you on a worldwide journey through arts, culture and entertainment. They have introduced me to many great new magicians, movies, artist, etc. I usually run home from work and jump right online to find out more info on whatever artist/entertainer I heard about that morning. It's great!
• I just finished reading Annie Leibovitz at Work. It was a great book. If you like pop culture and photography, you should really go to the library and check it out.
• I have developed an affinity for cute half aprons. Especially vintage ones... more on that on a later post....
• Check out this site for a super simple tutorial for an adorable skirt.
• For someone who is a photography fanatic, I am not on Flickr. I don't know why, I really should be.
• Shopper arrested for dropping F bomb at Wal*mart. Seriously, have you ever shopped at Wal*Mart? If you start arresting all the profanity spewing, chain smoking, sweat pant wearing patrons, they'll be out of business!
• Ozzy Osbourne is the ultimate anti drug spokesman for my kids.

SAVE INK: Day 4 of the Earth Hour to Earth Day Challenge

Try this font as a means to save ink. It cuts little holes out of the letters, which isn't really apparent to the naked eye, but it will save lots of ink. It is a cool concept that is free to download and free to use. What have you got to lose? Just try it!

Phone Books Be Gone

Did you know that Americans receive more than 540 million unsolicited phoned books every year. That's 660,000 tons of trash per year! If you are like our household, you don't even use a phonebook anymore. We just jump onto superpages.com or 1-800-Goog411. So, why even get these phonebooks? Just log on to yellowpagesgoesgreen.org, enter your info and let them do the work on getting you off the phonebook database.

Try it! Your environment and your children will thank you for it.

Cleaning Au Naturel

Late this fall I was cleaning my bathroom with some sort of noxious cleaner and I started to feel dizzy. Anyone who regularly cleans their house knows this feeling. I started to think, if it makes me feel like this, what could it possibly be doing to my children???

That was a couple of months, many hours of research and 1 shopping trip ago. As I walked into the house with gallons of white vinegar, pounds of baking soda and Borax, Colby questioned what sort of science experiment I was conducting. No science experiment, just safer, healthier, cheaper and more environmentally conscious cleaning habits.

I have discovered the benefits of tea tree oil which is a natural antiseptic & fungicide. It has many uses from clearing up diaper rash to a sunburn reliever. It is a great ingredient to add as a disinfectant.

I have switched over almost exclusively to all natural ingredients in everything from cleaning my toilets to my carpets. And, so far, I am very happy with the results. We spill at least one cup of coffee and one beer on our carpet every week, and with just some vinegar added to my steamer, it cleans just as well as the horrid smelling bottle of chemicals I used to use. I typically would have around 7 bottles of different cleaners in my house at any given time! Just think of how many chemicals that I have exposed my family to. Just think of all those plastic bottles that have ended up in a landfill! Yuck!!!

Here is a quick cheat sheet on some of the things I have learned about cleaning 'au naturel'.

Way safer. No toxic chemicals hanging around for children or animals to get into.
Saves a lot of waste, not buying those plastic bottles over and over.
Saves a lot of money, avoiding the advertising pressure and not filling your cart with unnecessary supplies.

My Cleaning Arsenal: White Vinegar (approx. $2 per gallon)
Baking soda (approx. $3 per 4 lb. box)

Borax (approx $3.50 per 5 lb. box)

Tea tree oil
(approx $6.75 per oz.)
Palmolive Pure & Clear Dish Soap (approx $2 for 20 oz.) (Need to buy some castile soap) lemon juice
essential oil for a nice smell


1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit.

1/2 teaspoon borax
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water
Couple drops Tea Tree oil

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the borax has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

Pour 1 cup of borax into the toilet before going to bed. In the morning, scrub and flush. For an extra-strength cleaner, add 1/4 cup vinegar to the borax. For disinfecting power, add a couple drops tea tree oil.

To reduce the amount of laundry detergent you need to use, add baking soda or washing soda. These minerals soften the water, which increases the detergent's power. For liquid detergent, add 1/2 cup of soda at the beginning of the wash. For powdered detergent, add 1/2 cup of soda during the rinse cycle.

Pour baking soda on a damp kitchen sink. Let it sit a few minutes and then scrub with a wet rag. This will take slightly more elbow grease than standard bleach, but I end up with a sparkling white sink. (This also works great in the tub.)

Add about 1 cup vinegar to the reservoir, fill with hot water and add a few drops our favorite essential oil. You might smell the vinegar as you clean, but the smell quickly dissipates as it dries.

To make, fill a 16 oz trigger spray bottle almost to the top with water. Use purified or distilled water for the best results. Add 3 Tbls of castile soap (or Palmolive) and 20-30 drops of tea tree oil to the water. Shake to mix.

The only cleaner I have not figured a way to get away from is my laundry stain remover. With kids who constantly have grass stains, chocolate stains, etc... I need an effective way to get remove these. As I hand some of the clothes down through 3 girls, it is important to keep them looking as clean as possible. I have reconciled with myself that using that little stain stick & keeping all those clothes out of the landfill will have to be a wash. If you have found an effective, natural stain remover, please share it with me.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Party Like a Rock Star

Colby and I started our journey of dates with a +Live+ concert this weekend. They played at the House of Blues in Boston. Smaller venues are always so great to see shows in, they just feel so much more personal. This was a double date with some great friends and we also had dinner at Beer Works (right across from Fenway) which has outstanding beer! It was a really fun evening which got us home at about 2am... when I was getting up at 6am to get Ariana ready for dance competition, I was questioning my ability to hang with the cool kids anymore???

Let me go off on a tangent here... I, like many other women, have a real affinity for a hot guy on stage in any sort of musical endeavor. I like anyone from Eddie Vedder to Ray Lamontagne. But, at my ripe old age, I would like to share something with these rock idols... While you could take your shirt off and dance around and elicit an excited feeling in my 'special spot' when we (you- the rock star, me- the fan) were in out teens or 20's... you have to recognize that there is a certain point where you (the rock star) need to keep your clothes on and preserve that sexy image that resides in my head. Right, Mick Jagger?

DONATE TO STAY GREEN: Day 3 of the Earth Hour 2 Earth Day Challenge
There are tons of ways to keep your junk out of landfills. One of the best ways is to donate it. We all know the standard donation ideas, but here are some more unique ones:

• Donate old glasses at One Sight: drop off old prescription or nonprescription glasses at your local Lions Club, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears, Target, or BJ's Optical store (they'll give you a receipt for taxes), or mail them in (and request a receipt)
Donate an old car rather than let it end up in a junk yard. This can be a great tax write-off.
• Donate sneakers in ok condition at Soles4Souls. Soles4Souls facilitates the donations of shoes to aid the hurting worldwide. They coordinated relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, netting over 1 Million pairs donated for these disasters.
• You can also donate sneakers that are not suitable for wearing to Nike's Reuse a Shoe Program. The Reuse-A-Shoe program takes your worn-out kicks and turns them into Nike Grind, a material used in sports surfaces, playgrounds and even new Nike products.
Donate your wedding dress to a metastatic breast cancer patient who will be a bride herself.
Almost anything you have can be donated to a local church or charity and will keep tons of garbage out of our landfills while also saving all the resources of creating a new product.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mom Can Compost

Here is my second post for my Earth Hour to Earth Day challenge. This year I am dedicated to starting to compost. I have never done it but I know it is fairly easy and will reap huge rewards for our impending veggie garden. I have researched a couple of sites and found some great ideas. The first site is my favorite since it only uses a cheap garbage pail from the hardware store. I will start with this before I make any big investments and see how we do with it. I will post pictures when we actually make it so you can all see how it goes.

SimpleMom composter tutorial
EHow composter tutorial
ThriftyFun composter tutorial
Organic Gardening composter tutorial

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour to Earth Day Challenge

Tonight at 8:30pm is Earth Hour. What is it? Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. The goal this year is 1 billion people participating!

We will be shutting off our household for one hour. Thankfully, my girls think it is fun to hang out in the dark with candles, so we will have fun while we do it.

As part of Earth Hour and Earth Day, I am taking the Earth hour to Earth Day Challenge. I will have an eco-friendly tip at the bottom of my posts every single day from now until April 22. I will be giving family-friendly, low cost tips that any regular Joe Schmo can use. If you have ideas for me, please email me so I can add your idea or your link.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Me: Annika, you can't get out of the tubby. You haven't washed your bum yet.
Annika, turning to bend over and moon me: Yes I did, Mommy. Smell it.

People without children never have the joy of having another person bend over and tell you to smell their bum! As if cleaning crap out of it isn't enough!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not this Mom!

Cindy Crawford is posing in Allure in all her 43-year-old beauty. Come on, Cindy! You are setting the bar WAY to high for the rest of us. Eat some cookies, damn it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday in New England

I love New England barns, especially with a gorgeous sunset like this behind it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mommy's Picks


Since I am now the proud Mom of 3 beautiful girls, I think I have earned the title of 'Expert Mom'. And with that title, I thought I would impart some of my sage knowledge of all things baby with you. I have gathered some of my fave things for a baby. Feel free to pass this list on to a new mom or be the cool friend and use this list as ideas for baby shower gifts...

I recently got Acadia some sweet socks from Nix. They are really cute retro style, and the kicker is... they stay on her! I love them.

I love, love, love my Magic Bullet. I had to use a big, clunky regular blender when Ariana was young to make her baby food. So, when Annika was born, I decided to go with the Magic Bullet. What a great investment. I have been using it for 4 years now and wouldn't trade it for anything. It's great because I can make a quick batch of baby food and then throw in a little honey & berries and have a smoothie ready for the other 2. You can now get these for a reasonable price at Target.

If you have ever held a baby, you know there is that stage where they are trying to grab everything and put it in their mouth; glasses, necklace, hair... you name it. Well, the appropriately name website, SmartMom, came up with teething bling. This is jewelry that a baby can knaw on! It is stylish, non-toxic, phthalate, BPA, PVC and lead free. This would make an awesome shower gift for a young, funky mom.

Something I didn't have, but would have loved was a Hooter Hider. It covers the baby while you are nursing, yet lets you still look down at her. The name alone is worth buying it!

Something essential for any parent is baby music that isn't baby music. I have seen all 3 of my children really fall in love with music from early on. And while there is a place for Mary Had a Little Lamb and Wheels on the Bus, you really need some music the whole family will enjoy and won't drive you insane as you listen to it for the 12,789th time. We love anything by Dane Zanes and have recently discovered That Baby CD and DVD. Check these 2 artists out. These are gifts I usually give my friends when they are having babies, knowing I am saving them from ripping their hair out from listening to the incessant Barney music.

I really suggest some sort of baby sling. I use a HotShots sling, which is a HUGE help when you have a 3 year old to chase around. I have Acadia in her sling when I take Annika to the indoor gym so that I can keep up with Annika as she is running about. I probably wouldn't get the HotSling again until they start going green later this year. But there are many alternatives. Maya Wrap is a popular one that has been around for a long time and comes in an organic version.

Last, but not least, avoid battery operated noise making plastic junk at all costs! Buy some nice, wooden toys that will last through multiple children, save the environment from oodles of batteries and not drive you nuts with the blinking lights and repetitious noise! Buy from a New England toymaker here
or try these toys. Trust me, it's worth it.

This is clearly just a few out of thousands of gifts out there... but since I am the expert, you can trust these are really kick-ass products.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh Happy Day

You know, it is the small things in life that make me happy. Like when it is almost April and my neighbors down the road finally take their 6' Santa off their front step... and the garland off their chain link fence (we'll address the fact that they even have a chain link fence in another post!) I can now drive by without gritting my teeth and answering my 3-year-old's question about when Christmas is. Oh, happy spring!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things Every Day

Me: Pretty soon Acadia will be up running around with you and talking to you.
Annika: How can she talk with such a small head?

Man, if you don't have kids, you should borrow some for a little comic relief. It just makes you wonder what the heck goes through their heads!

Throw Mom a Bone

I drove through Portland on my way home last night. As I was flipping channels, I heard the station call-out for a radio station I had never heard of. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure they were not in Maine when I lived there. I mean, who could forget a name like... "The BONE"?

The Bone? Are you kidding me? I am almost positive that there was not a woman in that brainstorming meeting. What the hell kind of name is that... for anything?
"Hey. Let's start up a new radio station. What should we call it? How about the Bone???
Heh heh eh heh heh." (I can hear Beavis and Butthead in my mind.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New England Spring

This is what it looks like in NH when it will be spring in 3 days... still at least a foot of snow. Although it makes for some beautiful photos, I'd rather be taking photos of flowers, gardens, green grass.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Thudguard?

Ok, I am all for child proofing and child safety. Although I am not always successful, I'd say my 3 kids have done pretty well so far. We have outlet covers, a gate at the stairs for babies and they wear their helmets on the bike. You know, the usual.

Recently, I came across a product for babies, pictured here. It is called a Thudguard. It is a product for babies to wear... around the house. While... crawling around. You can probably see where I am going here.

What has the world come to??? Do we really need to make our poor kids wear helmets all day??? Are you kidding me? I am not that old and I remember sitting in my parents car with no seat belt... while they were smoking cigarettes! So, some things have changed for the better, but this is too far. If you have a kid crawling around who can always hit his head on stuff and it doesn't hurt, what's he going to do when you finally take the helmet off? Or do you just send him to school in it?

I had a friend (who is a first time mom) tell me recently how her son hit his head once on their concrete floor and since then has been very careful about protecting his head when he falls. She was intrigued by his natural instinct and resilience. Do you think a kid who walks around in bubble wrap is going to develop this resilience?

Friends of mine, be forewarned... If I come to your house and see your baby in this, I will be making fun of you!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mommy's Got No Grammar

Do you know my biggest fear in writing this blog? What makes me write, rewrite, read, reread, rewrite... ? What makes me pause every time I hit the 'Publish Post' button?

Grammar Nazis!

I hate the thought of people reading my blog and correcting me or thinking "Is this chick a moron?" This stems from me being a grammar nazi myself. I have so many pet peeves when it comes to grammar these day... loss of punctuation and capitals, loss of words all together to be replaced by acronyms (SAHM)... You get the point.

I actually got my husband the book, "Literally the Best Language Book Ever" since he is also a grammar nazi. I had to thumb through it to make sure I wasn't breaking any cardinal rules and I seem to be ok. But I also try to write more like I would speak, which doesn't lend itself to perfect punctuation or grammar, but it sounds more like me and less like a roboblogger.

You should have seen the rigamorole I went through before naming this blog. I knew 'Mommy's' was possesive so it should be spelled as such. But I could not get 'Mommies' out of my head! It's just me here, so plural mommies is not correct. But what if I name my blog, get the custom domain and then someone tells me that someone changed the rules since I last took an English class (MANY years ago)??? Would every one be looking at my blog and pointing and laughing?

Yes, these are the my biggest stresses in life. Life is good.

Grammar Tip of the Day:
'A lot' is not spelled 'Alot'. This is my biggest grammar pet peeve since my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Glenn, gave me gruff about it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Only in New England

I saw this in the Sunday paper today and I had to stop and reread this sign a few times. It is wrong on so many levels, not the least of which is that the store owner can not even spell 'pack'.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mommy's Body

So, in looking at my Google analytics for my blog... somebody got here by searching for "body pictures after 3 babies."

Ummm, hope you weren't too disappointed????

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mommy's Little Angel

Let's take a moment... Just look at that precious smile. She is so freakin' cute! Couldn't you just eat her up?

On to the important stuff... She is sitting up like a big girl now. Of course, I still keep the boppy behind her for the 'hey-mom-watch-me-throw-myself-at-the-floor' moments. She just seems so big sitting there playing with her toys. Also (drum roll please) she is saying "Mumum"! Now she might not necessarily mean Mommy yet, but when she is ready, she can say it! Although, she was sitting in my lap yesterday, she looked up, put her baby fingers on my face and said "mumum" and of course I teared up like the big sap I am. But, after all, she is my last baby and every 'first' will be the last. I am so blessed to be able to be here every single day and see every bit of it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yummy Mommy Made it Big

Wow, I have made the big time... I have been quoted in an article on SheKnows.com. Check out this list and see my earth shattering tip for a kitchen must have coming in at #9. Man, why didn't my favorite NanaSaver make the list???

Anyhow, I will be home all day if you want to stop by and get an autograph. Just let me know if you're coming since I might even shower for the event!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Well, almost wordless....

It seems as though Rite Aid only sells the finest fake eyelashes. No crappy American hair here, only soft and fine European hair will do.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mom's Jeans

Well, I certainly got some replies to yesterday's post on my new jeans. I'd say I came out the winner here. However, in Colb's defense, I really have no male readers, so that would certainly slant the scale a little.

One thing that strikes me about my post, though, is the anonymous commenter. I don't get this concept. If you are my friend, you don't mind telling me I suck. If you are my enemy, why the hell are you wasting your time reading my blog? If you just randomly came upon my awesome blog, do you care that much what I think of you? I don't mind at all when people have different opinions than me (I wouldn't still be married if I did.) and I don't understand why people think if they have something contradictory to say, they have to hide. Tell me like it is... I can take it... and give it back.

Oh, and Anonymous, my ass looks phenomenal in my new jeans. Thank you very much.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Designer Jeans

This is a post requested by my husband, so please bear with me, as it might get a little long. However, I need an opinion at the end, so read on.

Last week was my birthday and Colby & I typically spend a couple of hundred dollars on each other on our birthdays. I was thinking in February about what I should ask for. I usually will ask for something for the house... a new vacuum, new molding or a carpet.. something like that. But this year I have been feeling a little too "Mommyish" after having 3 kids and staying with them 24/7, so I wanted to pamper myself a bit. I also wanted to celebrate losing a good portion of the baby weight. Long story short, I decided on designer jeans. I have had a huge dilemma the last few years trying to find jeans that fit me and are not 50% spandex (who the hell decided woman suddenly all wanted skin tight, stretchy jeans???) I have jeans that I wore pre-Ariana (9 years ago!) but have struggled since then to find any jeans that I love.

So this would be my gift and Colby sent me out on my journey (without kids... yay!) to find the perfect jeans. I had to travel half an hour to get to the only store in New Hampshire that sells all the big name designer jeans. When I got there, I was pleased at the selection and decided to try on a pair from each designer, since I had no idea which would fit or what I would like best. I also decided not to even look at the price tags... that is until I noticed a tag that said $320! Holy cow! That is a whole wardrobe for a year for all 3 kids!

I settled on a gorgeous pair of 7 For All Mankind. (Side note: I am 5'9" tall and every pair was at least 2 inches too long for me... is it only 6' supermodels who wear these jeans?) When I got home, I promptly put them on to model for the family. I was psyched; they fit very well, were soft and comfy and I had a special gift just for me. Colby had me do the runway walk (of course spin to see the tush) and agreed they looked good... however... thought they looked like any other pair of jeans I owned (which I have never paid over $40 for). He then asked the question. "How much were they?"
"For jeans?"
"Yup, I told you I wanted designer jeans."
"That's just crazy. I can't even believe they make jeans that cost that much. Holy crap. You need to blog about this so I can see everyone tell you how crazy you are."

So, am I crazy?

Just a little back story before you decide... I would have received a gift for this value, whether it was a KitchenAid mixer or a new bathroom sink. And I NEVER splurge like this. I am the superthrift of the household... using inordinate amounts of coupons, buying stuff at thrift stores, never going to a salon for haircuts or colors, driving a 10 year old car etc. I budget so carefully on our 1.25 incomes that we are able to contribute to three college accounts and two 401k accounts every paycheck. My new jeans in no way threatened our financial stability as a family and Colby doesn't care that I got a $186 gift for my birthday (he probably would have spent more if he chose the gift himself.) He just think $186 jeans are crazy.

We'll leave it to the court of public opinion.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Best Wife Award

From the files of "Best Wife Ever".... I finally had to go get the keg myself. As we were headed into week 4 of operation empty kegerator, I headed to the beer store and purchased the elusive keg of Miller High Life. (AND I had to help carry it into the house! Mind you, the thing weighs 800 pounds!) Yup, Miller High Life. Which means I will have no trouble with not drinking beer to keep the beer belly away.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things Part 1 Million and One

As Ariana went out to the bus this morning, Annika shouted out the door after her...
"Be careful, it's swippery out dere. Don't go in the road. Have a good day at schoow. Don't run. Be good. Be careful. I wuv you!"

Do I really sound that ridiculous????

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things Part 1 Million

Annika: "My mudder..."
Daddy: "You need to say mother."
Annika:' "Uhh, my mudder..."
Daddy: "Annika, it's mother."
Annika: "Yeah, I said my mudder..."
Daddy: "Sweetie, it's pronounced mottthhher."
Annika: "My mommy..."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Forever my Friends

My 14 days is over. My resolve to drink more water didn't go so well... although I did drink more water it was not as much as I wanted. I did replace my debit card as a tool to better track my finances. But my biggest success by far was my face time with girlfriends. In these 2 weeks I got to hang out with 4 fun, fabulous ladies, which is more than the last 6 months combined!

I had my friends Danielle and Ali over for lots of chatting and lots of snacking. It was really nice to commiserate with people who had a vocabulary that is more advanced than that of a third grader.

I also had my friend, Tiff, over for lunch. Although we both are basically stay-at-home moms and only live 45 minutes apart, we had to plan this date 6 weeks ahead to make it happen. The visit was far too short because Tiff & I have not seen each other much in the last 15 years and we have so much to catch up on. I always love chatting with her because her & I have had quite varied experiences in life and it makes conversation very interesting.

My last face time was yesterday with Kelly. We actually got to hang out and be productive. We made 4 different dinners to freeze for our families. I am hoping we can make a habit of this because it is sooo nice to just open the freezer on a hectic evening and pop a casserole in the oven. Kelly is a newer friend in my life and it's great because we have a lot to learn about each other and I can learn something new about her every time we get together, plus she's just a cool chick all around!

So, I am feeling quite optimistic about getting back in the saddle with my girlfriends. However, all three of these dates did include all three of my children. Should I just expect this for the next few years or are there actually moms out there who get free time without children???

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kid Friendly

Just a tip for parents in the area...

Here are some places I have taken my children and a few details....

Mackworth Island Fairy Houses, Mackworth Island, Maine. A great hike along the island shore, where you can stop and take a dip or have a picnic. There are dozens of hidden 'fairy houses' built by the visitors of the island. It is perfect for 2-10 year old girls.

Chucksters, Contoocook, NH. A great mini golf course and batting cages. It can get very busy, so watch out if your kids are impatient. Probably not good for anyone under 5 or 6.

Kaleidoscope Children's Museum, Concord, NH. Great little activity center for children ages 2-6. It keeps my daughters entertained for a couple of hours on a rainy day. It is pretty small, so not so much fun for older children. (*Update: Kaleidoscope has since moved to Manchester and we have not visited their new location.)

Discovery Stop, Londonderry, NH. A little bigger than Kaleidcope, so it keeps older children entertained. It has a great climbing gym.

Franklin Theater, Franklin, NH. Although I am not a big fan of the town, this theater usually had some great kids performances. We saw Beauty and the Beast and Ariana loved it.

Palace Theater, Manchester, NH. They have very good productions here. Ariana & I saw A Christmas Carol. The actors were wonderful and the whole performance was very professionally done.

Papermill Theater, Lincoln, NH. A summer theater in the North Country.

Capitol Center for the Arts, Concord, NH. Great local theater for us. They offer children's programs year round and a wide variety of musicians, comics and plays.

Santa's Village, Jefferson, NH. I'd say the age is 2-7. I think it would be too young for Ariana now, although she would still enjoy it, I'm sure. You can only go once every couple of years, since nothing ever changes and the kids might bore of it.

Storyland, Glen, NH. Great for ages 3-7. Much older than that and it might be a little boring.

America's Stonehenge, Salem, NH. Don't waste your money. It was basically a hiking trail that was unkept and trashy. Oh, and I locked my keys.... and Annika in my car while I was here!!!

Daisy Beach, Concord, NH. Our secret beach that we found while canoeing. You can only get there by boat or hiking. It's a cute little sandy beach on a river with a fun rope swing. We LOVE this spot!

You're Fired, Concord, NH. We love this pottery shop. It is good for kids 5 and over. Not good for younger kids since everything is breakable and you need lots of patience to sit and paint your pottery. It is a little expensive, but go on Mini Mondays when the studio fee is half off for children. They also host birthday parties, which kids love.

York's Wild Animal Kingdom, York, Maine. This a great for a variety of ages. There are rides for 2 or 3 year olds up to 8 or 9 year olds. And the animals appeal to a wide range of ages. We could make a trip here every year and the kids would enjoy it.