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    connecticut, family fun

    Celebrate The Harlem Globetrotters During Black History Month + Save on Tickets!

    Formed in 1926 by Abe Saperstein, The Harlem Globetrotters are legendary worldwide and famous for their one-of-a-kind family entertainment.  Throughout their history, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 122 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers.

    This weekend we’re taking our kids to have their first-ever basketball experience with the Harlem Globetrotters.  I couldn’t be more excited to go since it will be our family’s first Harlem Globetrotters basketball game.  I’ve always wanted to go witness their one-of-a-kind basketball artistry live in person and now we have the opportunity to go.

    I’m ready to see all of the dribbling, the dunking, and the comedy that will be on full display.  It is sure to be a family-fun experience for us all and I love that we’re going to a game during Black History Month.  What better time to go and support and all Black basketball team!  Not only will it be exciting, but also a learning experience to teach the kids about the tremendous impact the Harlem Globetrotters have had on the world both on and off the court.

    Does your family also want to pay homage by seeing this one-of-a-kind family entertainment experience live?

    Visit the Harlem Globetrotters Tickets & Schedule Page to see when they’ll be in a city near you!

    Our readers can SAVE 25% for ALL Harlem Globetrotters Games with promo code FUNFAM.

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    family fun

    Budget-Friendly Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: Something for Every Member of Your Family

    Roses are red, violets are blue, here are some gift ideas that we’ve picked out for you!  With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start spreading the love.  Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to let those around you know you care, and give a gift that gets remembered.  I personally like giving intentional, practical and thoughtful gifts that people will actually use and appreciate.

    Whether shopping for your partner, your child, or your favorite four legged friend, we’ve got you covered!

    For the Adult Book Lovers

    Book Beau

    We adore this book sleeve from Book Beau that helps protect your books!  Your books need some hugs and kisses, too.

    Price Range: $15 – $30 depending on the size purchased.

    Image courtesy of Book Beau

    Go on a Library Date Night

    Here’s a bookish idea for partners to try…a Library Date night.  How fun is this?  The best part, it’s completely FREE.  You can download the free printables here.  If you decide to try this on your own, tell me how it went, pretty please!  I’d try it, but this isn’t my husband’s thing.

    Price Range: FREE


    Image courtesy of The Dating Divas

    For the Kid Book Lovers

    Book-Wrapped Pencils

    Spice up your child’s reading and writing with these book-wrapped pencils.

    Price Range: $9.00 + shipping

    Image courtesy of Bouncing Ball Creations

    For the Couples or the Entire Family

    Poo-Pourri

    Roses are red, violets are blue, I love you much more when I can’t smell your poo.

    Spritz the bowl before you go & no one else will ever know.  Poo-Pourri is a blend of natural essential oils that create a barrier to embarrassing bathroom odors.

    Price Range: $4.95 – $44.95 depending on the size purchased.


    Image courtesy of Poo-Popourri

    For the Pet Owners

    Conversation Heart Rope Toy

    Because our four-legged family members like presents too!
    Price Range: $6.99


    Image courtesy of Petco

    Cat Scratching Post

    Price Range: $19.99


    Image courtesy of Petco

    For the Foodie Or Anyone Who Likes Breakfast in Bed Or Taking Baths

    Portable Bathtub Bed Tray

    Makes for a perfect gift for just about anyone!  This item is definitely on my wish list!

    Price Range: $44.99



    Images courtesy of Amazon

    For the Travel Enthusiast

    Scratch Off World Map

    These maps are a fun way to keep track of your past travels while helping you stay inspired as you plan your future trips. You simply scratch off the parts of the world you’ve been.  Fun for the whole family to plan travel trips together.

    Price Range: $19.99 – $39.99

    How to Travel the World on $50 a Day Book

    An awesome travel resource that every traveler needs in their arsenal.  This book shows you how to travel the world on a budget with an easy to follow format.  Read it to learn how to become a master traveler and navigate the world — no matter where in the world you want to go!

    Image courtesy of Amazon

    Your turn: What gifts are you giving this Valentine’s Day?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    family fun, parenting

    3 Bookish Things I’m Grateful for This Year


    Thanksgiving Day is upon us once again here in the United States – it’s my absolute favorite holiday of the year.  Not only do I love eating yummy food, but I also love spending time being surrounded by family and friends.  And what is it about Thanksgiving that makes food taste so good on that specific day?

    This year I’ve been more intentional about showing gratitude and appreciation for the things and people I have in my life.  I thought since Thanksgiving is tomorrow it’s the perfect day for me to share a few bookish things I’m grateful for this year.

    1. 50 States 50 Books
    If you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard me talk about the awesome community service project I’m working on with my two children.  It’s called 50 States 50 Books.

    Started in July 2018 by my children, the mission of the 50 States 50 Books project has one main mission: help close the literacy gap in America and expose more children to diverse literature.  Our goal is to collect 50 diverse children’s books for each of the 50 U.S. states and donate them to deserving schools, libraries, and other organizations throughout the country.  So far, we’ve collected over 650 diverse children’s books and donated them to 13 different states.

    We’ll soon receive a gracious 800-book donation from a publishing company which will help us complete 16 additional states.  That will take our total to 29 completed states, with 21 remaining left.

    So far the excitement and support for our project has been amazing!  We’ve been featured in our local newspaper, local television morning talk show, The Huffington Post and Moneyish.  The kids’ school even got in on the action and allowed us to have 3 donation boxes throughout the school for our book drive.

    My kids also received a Kid Kindness grant for their project from Kindness Grows Here.  The money received from the grant will go towards our shipping and supplies expenses allowing us to ship books 50 at a time to 6-8 different states.

    If you’d like to support us by sending us new or gently used diverse children’s books for kids ages 0 – 17 you can send them here:

    50 States 50 Books
    P.O. Box 992
    Middletown, CT 06457

    To make monetary donations (to help us cover shipping and shipping supplies) please visit our Go Fund Me page.  My children also have a wish list of books to choose from if you’d like to make a book donation.  You can find the wish list here.

    2. The Bookstagram Community on Instagram
    Would you believe nearly 4 years ago I had no idea what Instagram was or how to use it?  Yeah, I was a little late to joining the social media world, but now I LOVE it – especially Instagram.  Instagram is the one social media platform that I gravitated to the most and it’s where I’ve found a sense of community.

    Prior to joining Instagram, I was clueless there was this whole bookstagram community of book lovers out there like myself.  I’m eternally grateful for the kind people I’ve met and collaborated with over the years.  By sharing, networking and collaborating with others, I’ve been able to grow my audience organically to over 35,000 people on Instagram alone.  I’ve also had the opportunity to work with brands and local businesses, libraries, connect with authors/illustrators and other bloggers.  Oh, and let’s not forget all of the wonderful books I’ve found out about from other book bloggers, parents and educators!  My TBR list is SO long because there are so many amazing books out there to read.

    3. Completing My First Library Program
    In September 2018, I began my first ever library program at one of my local libraries.  It turned out to be one of the best experiences I’ve had all year.  Each week we explored a different region around the world, read picture books and worked on craft projects.  The program was geared towards children up to age 6 and allowed us all to “travel around the world” through books.

    Each week taught me new lessons about things like: giving, sharing, patience, kindness, empathy, and using your imagination.  The kids also reminded me of the importance of incorporating laughter and play in your day.

    Overall, 2018 has been a good year for me and my family thus far.  With just a few more weeks left in the year, I’m excited to see the new bookish things I’ll be adding to my gratitude list in the weeks and months ahead.

    Your turn: What are some bookish (or non-bookish) things you’re grateful for this year?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    family fun, literary road trip series

    Literary Road Trip Series: Sun Valley, Idaho

    Sun Valley is a gorgeous resort city located in Blaine County, Idaho, known for its fantastic ski activities and beautiful sights.

    Thousands of tourists flock to the Sun Valley each year to ski Bald Mountain or to take their children to Dollar Mountain to master the art of skiing and snowboarding.

    However, there’s more to the Sun Valley than snow sports. Here, you’ll find a hidden cultural scene which is wonderful to discover as well as several educational hot spots where you can kick your feet up, grab a book and learn something new.

    If you’re planning on visiting Sun Valley this season, continue reading this article to find some exciting tips as well as the best things to see and do in the region.

    Where to Stay in Sun Valley

    While there are a wide variety of places to stay in Sun Valley, one thing you most certainly need to keep in mind is that depending on the season, accommodations can really fill up fast. In order to avoid disappointment, it’s recommended that you always be sure to book your Sun Valley Idaho Lodging or some of the many alternatives prior to your arrival.

    Family Activities in the Sun Valley

    Now it’s time to start planning the destinations you’ll explore and the activities you and your family will participate in during your stay in Sun Valley.

    Although the Sun Valley is a relatively small destination, there are several experiences which families simply cannot miss during their trip to the region.

    Learn how to Ski or Snowboard

    Visiting Sun Valley and not experiencing the snow is like going to an ice cream shop and not spoiling yourself with an ice cream. There’s nothing inherently wrong with avoiding the winter months in Sun Valley, but if you do, you’re missing one of the highlights of the destination.

    Take advantage of the fantastic instructors and community surrounding the Dollar Mountain to learn all you need to know about skiing, snowboarding, and a variety of other snow sports. This is an excellent opportunity to bond as a family and have a fantastic time playing in the snow.

    If you’re already familiar with the snow sports, you might want to head over to the Bald Mountain, or Baldy as the locals call it is the best spot to ski in the region. With dozens of beginner to intermediate trails to ski as well as some expert routes for those who are experienced skiers.

    Visit the Ketchum/Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum

    Alternatively, if you and your family are not too enthusiastic on participating in the winter related activities and would like to stay warm and dry but still care to learn more about skiing, we recommend you make a quick stop at the Ketchum/Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum.

    The Ketchum/Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum is a fantastic place that both preserves and tells the story of the region, it’s cultural and economic growth through the ages and the importance of skiing to the Sun Valley and its community.

    Mountain Hiking

    You can also experience the sights and beauty of the Sun Valley region mountains without having to wear skiing gear. You can take a leisure trek through the region and bond with your family as you walk through this fascinating destination. If you and your family are hikers, you will really love the hiking trails available in the area.

    Have an Educational Tour at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden

    Whether you’re traveling with young children or visiting with your significant other, touring the Sawtooth Botanical Garden is a fantastic way to learn about the natural diversity of the region, the importance of native and cultivated plants, and the beauty of gardening and its relationship with humanity.

    Not only are the botanical gardens absolutely stunning, but you’ll learn a great deal about the ecology of the region and a number of other things you might not know about gardening and plants.

    The Chapter One Bookstore

    For those who love reading and can’t be far away from a local bookstore while traveling you should stop by the Chapter One Bookstore, a fantastic shop that feels just like home.

    A perfect mix between an indie bookshop and large favorite bookstores, this place is perfect to dive in and seek out rare books, enjoy a cup of coffee, and chat with some locals about the community.

    The Community Library

    If libraries are included in your idea of a great family trip, you won’t want to miss the Community Library of Sun Valley.

    With contemporary exhibits, dozens of different programs to educate the community and its visitors, and thousands of resources to learn from, The Community Library is an excellent place you should visit if you’re an avid reader who loves this essential part of life.

    Discover Ernest Hemingway’s Legacy in the Sun Valley

    Ernest Hemingway is one of the most memorable writers in American history. An author that influences millions of writers worldwide and still is held with high esteem in the places he lived and gathered.

    Sun Valley is the final resting place of this magnificent writer, and there’s a great legacy that surrounds his works that you can find in the region.

    You can find his home, which doubles as a museum thanks to the efforts of the Community Library, where hundreds of different artifacts and items of his life are on display. The exhibit is an excellent place to learn about the life and works of this influential writer.

    Experience the Indie Art and Music of Sun Valley

    With the influence of Ernest Hemingway and dozens of other artists who once called this region home, Sun Valley has become a fantastic scene of contemporary art, indie music, and theatrics.

    From the Sun Valley Summer Symphony to the other art galleries set throughout the region, the Sun Valley has an impressive display of places to enjoy art and surround yourself with a loving community.

    More than just Snow and Ski — Experience Everything Sun Valley has to Offer

    While many tourists assume that Sun Valley is simply as a ski resort or a winter getaway for those looking to take part in some of the many snow sports on offer, it’s actually much more diverse than that.

    From learning about the legacy of Ernest Hemingway to exploring and discovering surprising new artists who live and perform in the venues of the valley, there are dozens of activities and events for everyone in the family, regardless of the age difference.

    Hopefully, you’ll find the locations and tips in this article helpful for your plans to make a literary road trip to Sun Valley, Idaho, and you can enjoy this magnificent location and all the experiences it has to offer.

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    connecticut, family fun, literary road trip series

    Literary Road Trip Series: Wee Faerie Village + Old Lyme Public Library

    The Wee Fairie Village is pure magic!  The kids and I recently visited for the first time a couple of weeks ago after learning about it from a friend.

    What is the Wee Fairie Village?
    The Wee Faerie Village, is a popular, annual tradition at the Florence Griswold Museum.  This year the theme was Lettersburg Junction, which featured enchanting regions where faeries live in alphabetically placed houses resembling all the letters of the alphabet, from A to Z. There were also the Numbertown and Punctuation Stations which were all amazing to see in person.

    Upon entering the museum we were provided a handy DIRECTIONARY (map) to begin exploring Lettersburg Junction one fairie destination at a time.  Before we headed out to the village, we spent about a half hour inside the museum learning about Florence Griswold who transformed her home into an art colony in the early 1900s.  Her home is now a national historic landmark which is today known as the Florence Griswold Museum.  The museum exhibits both American art and historical material. Its collection spans fine art, sculpture, works on paper, artist’s studio material, toys and dolls, ceramics, furniture, textiles, decorative arts and historic artifacts, and the Lyme Historical Society archives.


    With our map in hand, we began search the grounds for the elaborate faerie dwellings.  Each one was a beautiful miniature habitat made out of natural or found materials.  The map listed the faerie dwellings along the route using cute faerie-sounding place names such as “Beachy Bungalow”, “Umbrella Utopia”, and “Gnome Sweet Gnome Home”.  Each village had witty monikers that were often wordplays on some aspect of the historic artist or their art.  Also, at each fairie dwelling there were hidden items to find which added a fun scavenger hunt and reading theme to it.

    Can you find the garden gnome?

    Can you locate Lily’s little locket?

    Can you find our magical quiver filled with rainbow arrows?

    Checking out the Pagoda Palace fairie dwelling

    The Wee Faerie Village project was designed to encourage visitors to explore, use their imagination, enhance their creativity and develop love and appreciation for the arts.  I think it definitely meets and exceeds those goals – we truly had an amazing time!  I loved seeing the kid’s faces light up as we marveled at each enchanting fairie dwelling.  The range of artistic expression in the faerie dwellings was astounding!  It was also great to see other kids exploring the grounds with parents and sometimes even grandparents making it a fun inter-generational event for everyone.  We’re looking forward to attending again next year!

    Old Lyme Public Library, Old Lyme, CT

    After visiting the Wee Fairie Village we headed over to the Old Lyme Public Library which was only a two-minute drive from the museum.  It was our first time visiting that library which was originally established as a free public library back in 1897.  The library was recently expanded in 1995, which more than doubled the square footage of the previous building, including a large Children’s Room and Community Room for public use.

    Your turn: Have you the annual Wee Fairie Village yet?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    family fun, literary road trip series

    Literary Road Trip Series: Riverview Farms Fall Festival at Robb’s Farm


    Disclaimer:
    Riverview Farms for provided my family with complimentary admission to the Fall Festival in exchange for writing an honest review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

    The Riverview Farm Fall Festival Season kicked off Saturday September 8, 2018 and runs through the first weekend in November.  The festival is held at Robb’s Farm in South Glastonbury and is open Fridays noon-6pm and Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm.

    Robb’s Farm is well-known for their ice cream and in the fall, they partner with Riverview Farms to bring a Fall Festival to the area.  The festival includes hayrides, a pumpkin bounce house, corn maze, pumpkins, baby animals, pony rides (on weekends) and goodies to eat.  Did somebody say apple fritters and ice cream?  Yum!  We were able to check out almost everything on our recent literary road trip.

    Riverview Farms Fall events includes a petting zoo, hay rides, face painting, birthday parties, tours, baby chicks to hold, plus a 24′ Pumpkin Bounce.  There was a birthday party going on the day we visited and it looked like the kids attending were having a blast!  Riverview Farms also operates a petting zoo out of the Old Cider Mill in Glastonbury in the fall, which would be another family-friendly place to visit for animal lovers.

    Here were the things we were able to check out during our visit back in September:

    • Hayride
    • Pumpkin Bounce
    • Apple Fritters – Highly Recommended. (They are melt in your mouth good!)
    • Plenty of photo opportunities

    We also went in to check out the ice cream shop because the kids wanted water to drink since it was quite warm outside.  They have an assortment of refrigerated juices and bottled water inside the ice cream shop.  Although we didn’t taste their ice cream it sure looked good.  Plus, it’s all homemade and there is a nice variety of flavors to choose from.  We ate our apple fritters, drank water and had an impromptu story time on the picnic tables under the pavilion.

    The kids said they enjoyed the hayride the most followed by the pumpkin bounce house.  I enjoyed the hayride too, but was happy I donned my comfy Koral workout pants instead of wearing shorts because there was lots of hay on the seats of the wagon.

    The kids and I headed to the Glastonbury Public Library after our trip which was just a short car ride away.  I had the opportunity to read a little and check out some new books while the kids spent about an hour playing in the adorable play house at the library.  It was the prefect way to end our fun-filled mommy and me literary adventure.  We’ll definitely be back next fall to visit the Fall Festival again!

    Glastonbury Public Library

    After Thanksgiving, Robb’s Farm opens their Holiday Shop featuring trees, wreaths, hand-made bows, garland, kissing balls, seasonal pots and seasonal plants.

    Your turn: Have you ever visited the Riverview Farms Fall Festival?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    family fun

    Your Guide to Literary Road Trips Across America

    Literary lions like Jack Kerouac and Tom Wolfe have long been known for their tales about the open road, specifically the American highway. In fact, their adventures represent far more than just taking to the pavement. The road is a wondrous place — a car being the visible expression of freedom, a drivers license the ticket and the cross-country route the destination.

    Simply put, travel by car is at the heart of American culture — and beyond. From pioneers who chased the Gold Rush out west, to college students who long for summer road trips to young adults that drive home for the holidays, the idea of a road trip is ingrained in our culture. So, to celebrate this symbolism of freedom and the authors who’ve inspired us all, CarRentals mapped out their guide to literary road trips across America.

    From short, in-state drives to daring cross-country adventures, this guide will inspire you to pick up these literary classics and possibly recreate each author’s experience.

    Your turn: How fun would it be to recreate trips like these or create your own?  Have you ever done your own version of a literary road trip on your own or with others?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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