Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tips For Making School Mornings Easier

As I scroll through my Facebook feed, I'm seeing more and more children going back to school on a daily basis.  Whether your child is starting kindergarten or their senior year of high school, every parent can agree that getting ready in the morning can be hectic.

Scarlett is starting her third year of preschool in a little less than 3 weeks.  Her preschool starts at 9 AM, which may seem like there's endless time in the morning, but there's not as much as you think! I have to get her ready and also get myself showered and ready for the day, and leave by 8:45 AM.  

This list will allow you to have ample time in the morning to ensure you can get ready as well as your child.  There's nothing like rushing around knowing your child has to get on the bus at a certain time, and you have to get to work.

1.  Pack lunches the night before.  This is truly a necessity.  When you have the time to focus, you can make sure you're packing what you want your child to have.  There's no scrambling in the morning quickly spreading peanut butter and jelly on some bread your son hates.   I always pack Scarlett's lunches for school the night before and get her thoughts on what she'd like to eat.

2. Lay clothes out the night before.  If you have a child like my daughter, then you can relate to them not always wanting to wear certain things.  For those who do have young children and you try to pick out their clothes for them, they may or may not like what you choose.  It's easier to have them lay out the clothes they pick before bed, so they can wake up in the morning and not waste time trying to choose an outfit.  Let's just hope they don't change their minds in the morning! You can even put their shoes by the door so they can slip them on before they walk out the door.  

3. Sign and review all paperwork at night.  I'm not at the stage of schooling where my daughter comes home with a lot of paperwork and announcements for me yet.  That will happen in time.  I do remember bringing home papers for my mom to sign and send back.  Make sure you remind your child to show you anything that is urgent and needs attention.  The last thing you want to do is not give back a permission slip for a field trip and the deadline has passed! 

4.  Make breakfast in advance.  Weekend mornings are more leisurely and I have ample time to prepare beautiful breakfasts.  Once Scarlett goes to bed for the night, I may make from-scratch pancakes in advance for her to heat up in the morning to have with milk and fruit.  Usually I'm creative and add things like sliced strawberries and coconut.  Occasionally, I'll toss peanut butter and chocolate chips into the batter if I want her to have a more fun breakfast.  Frozen waffles and cereal get old after a while and it's nice to have a yummy breakfast to start the day with.  You can easily make egg cups in muffin tins filled with cheese, veggies, bacon, and anything else you'd like to put in.  They reheat well and can be tailored to any child's tastes.  I like to make those as well. 

5. Get the backpack ready before bed.  There's nothing like looking for a specific book or folder when you're running late for school.  Before your child goes to bed, make sure their backpack is ready for the following day.  Ensure all homework is completed and put back into the folders/binders they belong in.  Sharpen pencils and put all pens/highlighters back into the pencil pouch.  It's easier to put papers and books away as soon as you're done with them, rather than leaving them out.  Once your backpack is ready, place it by the door so you can grab it in the morning.  

I hope these tips help your child to have a happy and successful school year! 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Scarlett's 4th Birthday

Scarlett is turning 4 in December.  This is the first year that I actually have no idea what we're going to do for her birthday.  I don't know if we're having a party for her, or will just take her to do something fun.  You might say well it's only August, you have time! If you know me, you know that I like to plan in advance.  I usually have the party theme planned out and I start to buy decorations in about a month or so.  I'm completely out of ideas this year!

For Scarlett's birthday last year we had a pizza themed party at California Pizza Kitchen.  Part of my problem is that my house is not very large, so I can't have too many families over at once.  A party at a venue like a trampoline place is about $350-400 for 10 kids and doesn't include decorations, food, or cake.  As you can see, it's pricey.  

For Scarlett's 2nd birthday, we had a party in my house but it was really tight.  I am not sure if I want to just have a few of Scarlett's friend's over, or if we want to just take her to do something special in New York City since we don't live far.

Hopefully I can figure out a plan soon.  December is not as far away as you think! What did you do for your child's 4th birthday? 
Sunday, August 5, 2018

Enjoy Some Family Fun At Lake Compounce Amusement Park

The summer is a magical time of year.  It's a chance to build memories and explore places you haven't been before.  Some enjoy countless beach or pool days during the warmer months of the year, while others enjoy diving into museums and family friendly activities.  However you choose to spend your summer, make sure you pack a ton in!

Lake Compounce is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States located in Bristol, CT.  Since the park is set on a lake at the base of a lush green mountain, you'll find it's not only beautiful and clean, but family friendly too.  This fun-filled park originally opened in 1846 and would surely be a wonderful place to take the family.  The park is less than 2 hours from NYC, Boston, and Providence, RI.

There's a ride for truly everyone's interests, from small child to adult.  The whole family will enjoy Lake Compounce's Crocodile Cove which is Connecticut's largest water park.  Cool off from the summer sun with a lazy river, water slides, and more.  Lake Compounce offers than 50 rides and attractions, and I guarantee you'll be having fun in no time.  Season passes are available if you'd like to visit the park on a regular basis.

Adults and teens will love Boulder Dash, which is one of the world's best wooden roller coasters, as well as Phobia Phear Coaster.  If you're a dare devil, this ride is perfect for you at speeds of up to 65 mph! I am sure you'll find a ride you'll want to ride over and over.  Don't forget Zoomer's Gas n' Go which is an antique mini corvette ride themed with 1950's nostalgia.

Circus World is the coolest kiddieland around.  There's plenty of exciting rides and shows for the younger crowd in this section of the park.  This has Scarlett's name written all over it.

If you prefer to extend your Lake Compounce visit for more than just an amusement park visit, you can make a reservation to stay at Bear Creek Campground at Lake Compounce.  The campsite is open May through October and features 20 fully furnished cabins, 6 Cub Huts, 5 Teepee's, 56 RV sites and 50 tent sites.

I've lived in New England for 6 years now, but have never been to Lake Compounce previously. Since Scarlett is at an age where she can ride rides by herself and really enjoy an amusement park, I knew this would be the perfect time to take her.

From the minute we walked into Lake Compounce, fun was the only thing on our agendas.  We got to the park when it opened at 11 AM, and the water section didn't open till 12.  So for the first hour while we waited for Crocodile Cove to open, Scarlett rode the caterpillar train ride, Dumbo, a mini kiddie coaster, and a few other rides.  Shockingly, the lines were not long at all and we barely had to wait for any of them! Scarlett loved that she was able to ride the rides by herself, she is very independent!

By the time 12 PM hit, it was very hot at about 90 degrees.  Crocodile Cove was packed with so much to do we didn't know what to check out first.  The wave pool water was cold and extremely refreshing.  Scarlett enjoyed the kiddie section with the mini water slides and went down them many times.  There are crazy water slides for teens and adults that are high up and go very fast.  I skipped those because they are too much for me.  I did go down some calmer water slides which I really loved!

It's so exciting as a parent to see your child having fun.  I loved seeing Scarlett smile and have such a blast.  You're only a small child for so long and her life is all about fun at this age! We spent a decent amount of time in the water section and then headed over to the lake  so she could play in the sand.

If you're spending an extended period of time at Crocodile Cove, you can have lunch or a snack there.  There's plenty of food options like pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries, and cold beverages.  Whatever you could possibly want at a typical amusement park to eat is available.  Don't forget a sweet treat like cookies or ice cream!

Scarlett was very interested to check out the new Daniel Tiger show that Lake Compounce offers.  We went to the 2 pm show and she absolutely loved it! Most young children love Daniel Tiger and the audience was very interested.  The show is very interactive and the kid's were singing and dancing right along with Daniel and Katarina Kitty Cat who is also a main character of the show.

As I walked around, I noticed how clean the park was.  There was no trash on the ground and the park was very well-maintained.  Since this park has been around for a very long time, it has an old-timey feel to it, which I liked.  It's quaint and has a lot of character.  This park definitely does not feel like Disney World, it's small and intimate.

After the Daniel Tiger show, we rode a few more rides and then played some games.  We did not win any prizes, but we enjoyed playing anyway.  I loved Zoomer's Gas n' Go as one of the final rides I rode with Scarlett.  She was the driver and an excellent one at that I might add.  Sitting in an old classic car while you drive around a track with vintage ads while oldies play in the car was really cool.  I'm a lover of classic cars and the 1950's era, so this ride was right up my alley!

Four hours went by in a flash and I couldn't believe how much fun we had.  Like they say, time flies when you're having fun! Scarlett didn't want to leave, and I wish we had more time to spend at the park.  Our Sunday was definitely a fun-filled family day and we had a wonderful time.  We left with happy memories and smiles.  I hope to visit again next summer!

If you're in the New England area, you must make a trip to visit Lake Compounce.  The whole family will absolutely love it!

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Lake Compounce for providing admission tickets in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.