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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

    My Favorite Canvases: Canvas on the Cheap + Discount!

    A couple of weeks ago on Instagram, I shared a canvas print we received from Canvas on the Cheap.  It turned out to be far more fantastic than I expected and now I seriously want to re-do every family photo in our home.  Canvas on the Cheap has many options to choose from 8″x8″ to 30″x40″, but I fell in love with 16″x20″ frame we received.  And guess what…..there is an exclusive link for Here Wee Read readers below!

    There are so many things I love about these canvases.

    QUALITY: The quality is amazing.  The thickness, the detail, the coloring, the packaging they were shipped in….they pay attention to every single detail!  All photos have a gorgeous semi-gloss finish.

    EASY TO HANG: All I had to do was hang it on my wall, make sure it was level, put my nail and hook up and ta da…..it was perfect!  Seriously took me 5 minutes!  My husband couldn’t believe how fast I did it on my own!

    FAST TURN AROUND:  I got everything in about 2-3 days.

    I wish I could invite you all over to see it in person because the pictures really don’t do it any justice.  Buy one for yourself and your family to enjoy! Everyone needs one of these canvases in their home.

    SAVE BIG ON CANVAS PRINTS FOR YOUR HOME!

    Head to Canvas on the Cheap using my special link to order today!  The 8″x8″ canvases would make a great back to school gift for teachers, birthday presents or anytime of the year.

    Your turn: Have you converted any of your family photos into canvas prints?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    PIN PHOTO BELOW TO SAVE THIS COUPON CODE ON MY FAVORITE CANVAS PRINTS

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    family fun, literary road trip series

    Literary Road Trip: Foxwoods Casino & Resort


    Foxwoods Casino and Resort is located about an hour north of us, which makes it perfect for a quick road trip getaway. Thank you to Foxwoods for hosting us last month!

    We stayed in a one bedroom deluxe room with two double beds that sleeps 4. We found the room to be spacious even with the four of us in it.  The rooms and hallways were always very clean and whenever we asked a staff member a question (like finding our way around – the place is huge!) they were always very helpful and polite. I was particularly taken by the sophisticated colors and the Native American accents shown throughout the hotel, casino and resort. It felt very luxurious and well appointed.  An added bonus was looking at all the beautiful holiday decor since we went right around the Christmas holiday.

    Our room was located in the beautiful Fox Tower.  With the blanket of light snow far below, the views from this height were very impressive. We could have stayed in our room all day enjoying the views.  The views at sunset were incredible!

    While Foxwoods doesn’t have on-site child care, they do offer activities for kids, along with familiy-friendly shows, on-site casinos and adult-themed entertainment.  Also, did you know they are second on the list of top ten largest casinos in the U.S.?  The giant Foxwoods Resort complex currently boasts a whopping 344,000 square feet of casino space, 4,800 slot machines, and 280 table games (including poker tables).  They also have a 20-lane bowling alley, golf course, museum, zip line, outdoor trails, an outlet shopping mall, swimming pools, spas, an arcade with dozens of kid-friendly games and dozens of family-friendly restaurants.

    My husband and I aren’t huge gamblers, but we took turns exploring the gaming area for a bit while one of us stayed with the kids.  During our stay we also had the opportunity to take advantage of the kid-friendly activities.  The kids were so excited to get up close and personal with live reindeer, feed them and take photos with Santa.

    Since we had some last minute holiday shopping to finish we also did some shopping at Tanger Outlets.  Tanger Outlets offers everything from high end shops to affordable stores you know well.  Mixed in with the shops are also many restaurants to choose from.

    Bring on the Books!
    Of course our road trip wouldn’t have been complete without books!  There is a nearby public library just minutes away from Foxwoods (Preston Public Library), but we opted to go to Bank Square Books in Mystic, CT instead.  It’s located directly across the street from the famous Mystic Pizza from the popular movie.  I had been wanting to check out that book store for a while so this trip was the perfect opportunity.

    Overall, I was pleased with Bank Square Books.  It’s a cute and quaint store with a nice selection of both children’s and adult books along with other novelty items.  I purchased a book for the kids as a Christmas gift – one we didn’t own yet: Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel.

    The thing we like most about Foxwoods is everything is in one location.  If we didn’t go off-site to visit the book store, we wouldn’t have had to go outside at all.  Foxwoods is a unique and diverse experience for families to explore.  No matter what your interests, Foxwoods is fun and worth the trip for the whole family.  Be sure to check out some of their upcoming family-friendly events taking place soon!

    Riverdance – Bring the family to go watch this amazing show!

    New England Patriots Cheerleading Auditions – Have you ever wanted to see cheerleading auditions for a professional football team take place?  Well this is your chance to do it for FREE!!!  Great for sports and cheerleading fans!  A fun, free, family-friendly event!

    Piff the Magic Dragon – Go see the break out star from season 10 of NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent’, Piff the Magic Dragon!

    Super Hero Kids Week!
    4/7/2018 – 4/15/2018
    It’s time to take a break from saving the world and celebrate Super Hero Kids Week! This is the best time for kids to unleash their inner super hero and for Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods to unleash it’s savings for all! We are celebrating this 9 day event by hosting all sorts of free super hero themed activities. Meet your favorite heroes and participate in the scavenger hunt for prizes and much more!  For easiest access to Tanger Outlets park at the Fox Tower garage.

    Family Fun Day with Mystic Aquarium- APRIL 14TH
    Join Tanger Outlets and The Mystic Aquarium on Saturday, April 14, 2018 for a fun, interactive family event from 12 – 4 PM near Sketchers. Kids can learn about Dinosaurs and see LIVE tree fogs in a simulated habitat! Touch a real fossil and see ancient artifacts. Families can enter to win an encounter with live animals at Mystic Aquarium.

    Disclaimer: We received a media rate for our stay at Foxwoods.  As always all opinions are honest and my own.

    Your turn: Are you planning an upcoming literary road trip?  I’d love to hear about your experience and where you’re planning to go!  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    family fun, giveaways

    Playtime at the Palace Theatre: Connecticut Family-Friendly Events + A Giveaway!

    Playtime at The Palace, the hit series of live performances geared toward children and families, returns to The Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT on Sunday, January 14, 2018. The fun-filled season of puppeteers, bubble-makers, magicians and musicians has doubled in size for 2018, with eight shows to entertain and delight even the youngest theatergoers.

    Playtime at The Palace runs select Sundays January through April with performances at 3:00pm.  What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon especially during the winter months when cabin fever usually starts to kick in.

    The 2018 line-up includes:

    January 14 – Cardboard Explosion: A one-of-a-kind puppetry experience, Cardboard Explosion brings original stories to life using nothing but cardboard and the power of imagination. With help from the audience, puppeteer Brad Shur transforms simple cardboard shapes into elaborate puppet characters. Audience members will outsmart dragons, choose their own superpower, and train adorable animal sidekicks in this fun, energetic, participatory show.

    February 4 – The Magic of Presto Pete & Incredulous Chris: Traveling two-man kids comedy magicians and real life brothers Presto Pete and Incredulous Chris present this ultra high-energy show. Kids will guffaw and giggle at their crazy cartoon-like slapstick antics and be wowed at the illusions presented. The show is sibling rivalry at its wackiest and packed with audience participation.

    February 11 – Mr. Fish: The Science of Magic: The secrets of magic are scientifically revealed! Most magic tricks and illusions that have confounded and confused audiences for centuries actually have scientific explanations. This show uses mirrors, magnets, air, optical illusions, and mental confusions to educate and delight the audience, demonstrating the principals of light, sight, reflection, magnetism, memory, air pressure, and logic.

    February 18 – The Tanglewood Marionettes Present Sleeping Beauty: Large, beautifully handcrafted marionettes, colorful sets, and integrated lighting and sound create a fully immersive theatrical experience. In the Tanglewood Marionettes’ retelling of the classic tale, a painted storybook opens to reveal each scene and marionettes are brought to life by a master puppeteer as the dramatic events unfold.

    March 4 – Jay and Ray: Jams for Fams: With an energetic, silly and fun show rooted in play-based learning, Jay and Ray explore rhythm, melody and movement in a way that’s entertaining not only for children, but their parents as well.

    March 11 – Casey Carle’s BubbleMania: Dubbed “a true master of his craft” by Cirque du Soleil, Carle’s one-man show combines spontaneous comedy, jazzy music and brilliant bubbling. Carle delights audiences with fantastic fog-filled bubble sculptures, a cube bubble, funky foam, bubble ping-pong, trapping an audience member (or two) inside a gigantic soap bubble and thousands of bubbles filling the stage.

    March 25 – Story Pirates: The Stuck in the Stone Age Tour: In Story Pirates’ newest book, “Stuck in the Stone Age,” two scientists accidentally transport themselves back in time to the age of cavemen and saber-tooth tigers. Audiences join in the adventure to bring Tom Edison (no relation to that Thomas Edison) and Dr. Marissa Morice back home, all the while learning about the building blocks of a good story and proving that every kid has a story to tell.

    April 8 – Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers’ The Legend of the Banana Kid: Featuring twenty handcrafted glove, mouth and rod puppets, and a slew of flying and twirling Styrofoam bananas, “The Legend of the Banana Kid” tells the story of Little Chucky as he heads to the Wild West to outwit outlaws in this cowboy adventure.

    The Palace is offering a “Buy More and Save” bundle for patrons interested in four Playtime at The Palace shows. Individual tickets are $12.50 plus a $2.50 facilities and handling fee. The $50 “Buy More and Save” bundle includes a ticket to four shows when purchased in a single transaction. The facility and handling fees for bundle tickets will also be waived.

    The Palace Theatre is located at 61 Atlantic Street in Stamford, CT. Tickets for all performances may be purchased on palacestamford.org or by calling the box office at 203-325-4466. For the latest news and updates, follow @ThePalaceTheatreStamford on Facebook and @PalaceStamford on Twitter.

    About The Palace Theatre
    The 1,580-seat Palace Theatre is dedicated to performing arts of all genres – music, dance, theater and comedy. In addition to hosting world-renowned performers in each of those fields, the Palace partners with arts organizations like the Stamford Symphony and Connecticut Ballet for their performances. The Theatre’s three floors encompass a deeper-than-typical Broadway-size stage, a café, a Learning Center, a theatre-long art gallery and a magnificent glass-walled promenade. The Palace is dedicated to providing exciting entertainment that enriches the cultural, educational, economic and social life of the community.

    The Giveaway!

    One lucky reader will win a 4-pack of tickets to Cardboard Explosion on Sunday, January 14, 2018!

    • Must be 18 years or older to enter
    • Only one entry per person
    • Contest closes on January 7, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST
    • One winner will be chosen at random and will be notified via e-mail.
    • The winner will have 24 hours to respond by email with his/her name, mailing address, and phone number to the claim prize. If he/she does not respond in the designated time he/she forfeits the chance at the prize. An alternate winner will be chosen.
    • Tickets can be picked up at the Will Call office at the Palace Theatre on the day of the performance.

    Cardboard Explosion

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    connecticut, family fun, literary road trip series

    Literary Road Trip Series: Mohegan Sun, A Kid-Friendly Casino Resort

    Disclaimer: We are thrilled to partner with Mohegan Sun for literary road trip series.  We received a discounted hotel stay and meals in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


    Although casinos are commonly known as adult playgrounds, I was surprised to learn that places like Mohegan Sun offer a variety of activities and options for families with children.

    Kids will immediately love arriving into the lobby area of either the Earth or Sky Tower with the check-in desks surrounded by beautiful sculptures.  We went during the holiday season so we had the opportunity to enjoy all of the amazing, festive décor.

    Upon checking into our hotel room, we were thrilled to learn that Mohegan Sun is all about providing a family-friendly destination experience that truly offers something for everyone. For those who enjoy shopping and eating there are plenty of shops and restaurants with fine and casual dining options.

    Visitors looking for an escape will find the ELEMIS and Mandara spas as well as an 18-hole golf course, fitness center and indoor pools.  And for those who just want to play and try their luck at winning, of course there are plenty of action-packed gaming floors to choose from.  Oh, and did I mention kids eat FREE at some restaurants like Chick-fil-A every Tuesday evening?  Also, kids ages 6 and under eat free at the Mohegan Sun buffet restaurant every day!

    There are also plenty of live entertainment venues for kids, families and adults. Best of all, Mohegan Sun offers a Kids Quest hourly care play center for children, and a Cyber Quest arcade for family-friendly fun!  This was a complete game changer for me since we didn’t have someone else with us to watch the kids.  I was completely sold!  It was such a treat to bring them to a safe place like Kids Quest for a couple of hours while we had the opportunity to explore the casino floor. (We didn’t win big, but we had fun while being kid-free!)

    Of course, we toured Kids Quest first to make sure it was indeed safe and some place we felt comfortable leaving our kids at since they had never been there before.  Kids Quest not only has a fully trained and capable staff, it’s also packed with lots of stuff to keep kids occupied for hours on end.  There are iPad stations, PlayStation stations, video games, rock wall, a stage for karaoke and imaginative play, art supplies, an area for tiny tots & babies, a sports zone and so much more!  Kids Quest is for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old.

    Mohegan Sun also has their own book store called Spin Street which has a small selection of fiction and nonfiction books for adults (no picture books for kids), videos and other novelty items like t-shirts.

    Display of fiction and nonfiction books inside the Spin Street book store

    Display of books and novelty items inside the Spin Street book store

    In addition to checking out Spin Street book store we also ventured out to two local libraries: Gales Ferry Library and Bill Library.  Bill Library is closer to Mohegan Sun and Gales Ferry Library is located about 10 – 15 minutes away from Bill Library.  Both libraries were very charming and quaint with a nice selection of recent and older books for children, teens and adults.  The kids enjoyed playing with the toys in the children’s section of Bill Library, but they were fast asleep by the time we arrived at the Gales Ferry Library.

    Gales Ferry Library located in Gales Ferry, CT

        “The road to knowledge begins with the turn of a page.”

    If you’re thinking of taking a family trip to Mohegan Sun I’d highly recommend it!  Bring the kids to enjoy the arcade or some of the many other kid-friendly activities they have going on at different times of the year.  We’ll definitely be returning more often to visit with or without the kids!

    Your turn: Do you think casinos resorts are for adults only?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books, family fun

    Beyond the Book: Shoe Tying Activity & Craft For Kids

    We partnered with Disney Books to bring you this fun and easy shoe tying activity for kids.

    Using the potty.  Riding a bike without training wheels.  Getting yourself dressed.  Tying your own shoelaces.  Conquering any of these tasks are considered to be childhood milestones that truly set kids apart as “big kids”.  Am I right?

    But shoe tying is not necessarily easy to learn or teach, especially with kids under the age of 6.  Developmentally speaking, children are typically capable of independently lacing up and tying their shoes all by themselves by 6 1/2 years of age.  Prior to that age, there is a progression of skills that build up to conquering the ultimate task–shoe tying.  Despite knowing this information, I decided to start introducing the kids to the concept of tying their shoes a little early.  It’s never too soon to start, right?

    Before we began our craft activity, we read the latest book in the Elephant and Piggie Like Reading! series by Mo Willems, It’s Shoe Time! by Bryan Collier.  It’s such a cute story about a little African-American girl in search for the perfect pair of shoes.  The book provides a great overall message to kids about individuality and daring to be different.  Who says your socks, shoes or shoelaces always have to match?

    I was pleasantly surprised to see this book featured a little Brown girl and her dad!  The kids were thrilled to see Elephant, Piggie and even Pigeon appear in the book.  The Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series introduces readers to new authors and characters through Mo Willems’ beloved characters.  What a fun surprise!  This book was also great for reinforcing concepts like the matching pairs and the difference between your left foot and right foot.

    To make the shoes, I simply printed a free shoe template and glued it to a piece of cardboard for reinforcement.  After the kids colored and decorated their cardboard shoes, it was time to practice tying the laces.  My 4 year-old son had a little bit of a harder time trying to grasp the concept than my 5 year-old daughter.  She’s a tenacious little girl and I have no doubt she’ll get it down after practicing more times and when she’s developmentally ready.

    Since my kids seem to retain information better when there’s a catchy rhyme or song to go along with it, we practiced saying this rhyme during our practice sessions:

    Bunny ears, Bunny ears, playing by a tree.
    Criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me.
    Bunny ears, Bunny ears, jumped into the hole,
    Popped out the other side beautiful and bold.

    If you’re looking for some help teaching your child to tie his or her laces, I hope you found this activity to be helpful.  And if you’re looking for a fun shoe themed-book to read check out It’s Shoe Time!

    Have you already taught your children to tie their laces? What worked for you?

    ************

    Book Featured
    It’s Shoe Time! by Bryan Collier (from the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series from Mo Willems)

    Released November 7th, 2017

    Recommended for ages 6-8

    About the Book

    Tie your laces. Zip your zippers. And tap your toes. It’s…SHOE TIME!

    This lyrical beginning-reader by multi award-winning artist Bryan Collier turns the closet on its heel and redefines what it means to be a pair. Beautifully rendered art paired with rich, rhyming dialog creates a powerful reading experience.

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