The Mommyhood Life

New England

Take a Ride on the Mount Washington Cog Railway!

A trip to the White Mountains is not complete with out seeing the views from the highest peek in the north east at the top of Mount Washington.
There are 3 ways to get to the top of Mount Washington, hike it, drive it, or take The Mount Washington Cog Railway.  I can’t hike up a hill never mind a 6,288 foot mountain, plus I have three kids in tow so that option went out the window quickly.
Many people drive up the mountain, however I get an anxiety attack driving in town, so windy roads on the side of a mountain didn’t sound like a peaceful afternoon.  Plus I had nightmares of my brakes failing and my car overheating when I considered it, so driving was a “no-way”.
The Cog Railway was exactly what we needed.  We pulled up, and parked, got our tickets, then sat back and enjoyed the views throughout the 3 hour guided train tour.

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Boston Duck Tours ~ Quack Quack Quack!

 *Disclosure: We received complementary tickets for the Boston Duck Tour, all opinions are 100% my own*
 I love exploring Boston, I’ve lived within 30 minutes of the city my entire life and I still learn new facts about its history and find new things to do every time I visit.  Last week we got to go on a Boston Duck Tour, and I must say it was one of the funnest things I’ve done in the city! 
It was an amazing tour!  Our tour guide had the best personality and had us laughing all around the city, while we learned about the history of Boston.
 
The best part of the Boston Duck Tour is that it is a fun time for all ages!  My husband and I loved the relaxing ride around our home city and found some new places we’d like to visit.  Anthony, who is my history lover enjoyed learning an insane amount of facts about Boston.  He couldn’t wait to go to school the following day to tell his class everything he could remember.  Plus the twins, who are often hard to entertain, thought the Duck Tour was “more than cool”.  Getting a Duck whistle, riding a truck into a river, and then getting to drive it!  The kids were on cloud nine!

There are three Boston Duck Tour departure locations, one at the New England Aquarium, one at the Museum of Science, and an other one at the Prudential Center.  Each tour lasts approximately 80 minutes and shows you over 35 famous Boston landmarks.
 
We took the tour that left from the front of the New England Aquarium.  Which worked out perfectly for a nice summer day in Boston.  We spent a few hours exploring the aquarium, then had lunch outside by the harbor, and then as a perfect finally started our Duck Tour.
 
Some of our favorite sites were the Arlington Street Church, Bunker Hill, TD Garden, Cheers, Beacon Hill, Boston Common, and the Public Gardens.
For a full list of the landmarks included in each tour, click here.
Half way through the tour came the excitement of driving into the Charles River!  The kids eyes couldn’t get any wider or sparkle any brighter when they realized Mommy was telling the truth, the truck really was becoming a boat!
 
As if the excitement of riding in a truck that can drive into a river wasn’t exciting enough, once we got far enough into the river the tour guide began letting the kids take turns driving the duck.
This is surely a memory that my kids will never forget!
 Luckily she handed out stickers to all the kids who drove the boat because Aidan was very concerned that no body would believe that he really drove a big duck.  It was adorable! 
Aidan was disappointed when our ride was over, but we will definitely be taking this tour again!  I can’t believe I’ve never taken this adventure before.  I highly recommend Boston Duck Tours to everyone, whether your a Bostonian or a Tourist, there is so much fun to be had aboard these fun Ducks! 

Before we could leave, Lilly had to get her picture taken with our tour guide because “she’s so strong”.
The 2015 ticket rates are:
Adult: $35.99  and  Children: $24.99
They also have special pricing for students, seniors, and the military.
 
Seats are assigned when you buy your tickets, so you can make sure your sitting with your family.  There’s no reason to stand around trying to be first on the Duck Tour.  This is definitely a perk with fidgety kids.
 
If your planning on visiting other landmarks in the city, make sure you start with Boston Duck Tours so that you can use the “Passport to Savings” coupon pamphlet they give you when you book your tour.
 
Learn more about the Boston Duck Tours and get social!
 

The Butterfly Place in Westford, Ma

Lilly recently had a couple doctors appointments in the morning so we decided once they were finished to play hooky for the rest of the day and have some quality girl time.

We went to lunch, did some shopping, and then took a trip to The Butterfly Place in Westford, Ma.  We had never been before, however I saw an awesome deal on Groupon and decided to check it out, especially because Lilly has been obsessing over flowers, butterflies, and birds recently.
 
The Groupon we bought included admission for 2 people for $15.  Which was a perfect price for a quick and educational outing.
The regular admission price is $12.50 for adults and $8.50 for children, which I think is pretty steep for such a small exhibit.  However they do offer numerous special offers including homeschoolers discounts, scout discounts, and veterans discounts.
The Butterfly Place is located at 120 Tyngsboro Road, in Westford Massachusetts.  It was really easy to find, with numerous signs pointing people in the right direction.
 
As you walk in there is an adorable butterfly photo prop that Lilly jumped into without prompting.  As I said she’s obsessing over butterflies right now.
After we took a picture outside, we went in to see all the butterflies.
After you pay for admission, you go through several doors into the butterfly flight area.  This area is filled with plants, flowers, and hundreds of free flying butterflies. 
The butterflies fly all over the place landing on the benches, flowers, and if your as lucky as Lilly they land right on your shoulder.
We walked around the exhibit several times and spent about an hour checking out all the butterflies and flowers.  Lilly got a chart on the way in for $1.00 and tried matching the different types of butterflies, her favorite was the spotted lady butterfly.
The Butterfly Place is open from February to October.
The greenhouse type area where the butterflies free fly is kept constantly between 80 – 85 degrees, because butterflies need warmth to fly.  So if you visit during a colder month make sure you dress accordingly so that you can comfortably enjoy your visit.

After leaving the butterfly flying exhibit, we passed through a small room that had a movie playing that talked about stages of a butterflies transformation and gave some other fun facts.  Then we walked into a hallway area with some more displays with educational information about different types of butterflies.  Lastly we walked through the gift shop on the way out, I was pleasantly surprised that everything in the gift shop was fairly priced.  Lilly got a butterfly bottle of bubbles and a temporary tattoo for $3.50.  We also got a hatching kit, which included a caterpillar, food, and a container to watch it transform into a cocoon and then into a butterfly, so we can let it loose.  Lilly has been checking on her caterpillar everyday and has been learning a lot and loving the experience.
 

Seasons Greetings From Edaville USA

*Disclaimer:  We received free admission to facilitate this post, as always all opinions are 100% my own*
 Edaville is an amazing Christmas tradition around the Holiday Season in New England.  Its an amazing thought to know that this fun family friendly park has been doing the same magical celebration for generations.  I have memories of visiting Edaville’s Festival of Lights as a child with my grandmother and now my children are visiting Edaville and the same quant charm remains.

 The lights and decorations are endless and the kids eyes lit up and their smiles were ear to ear as we pulled up and began walking through the amazing light displays.
 Edaville USA also hosts the big guy in red!  The kids loved spending time chatting with Santa about all those magical Christmas secrets.
 The kids also loved the amusement rides, train displays, and sitting around the fire pit.  However the best part of the night was getting hot cocoa and cookies at the café and boarding the Christmas Train.
We got to sit and relax while enjoying our hot chocolate as the train brought us along the outskirts of the park and through the cranberry bogs where they had decorated with even more beautiful light displays.
 
Edaville USA is an amazing Christmas celebration for the entire family and I am so glad that I am able to enjoy this tradition with my kids!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Packing Tips for Great Wolf Lodge New England ~ Things to Bring and Things to Leave!


I’m a chronic over packer.  Heading out for a weekend getaway, I can easily rationalize packing half my closet and the entire bathroom.  This was the case with our recent trip to Great Wolf Lodge New England as well, and most of the stuff in our suitcases didn’t get touched!  So here is a small list of things that you may need and some things you certainly do not need to pack.

Bring:
• Snacks/meals for your room – eating on site can get pricey, especially when needing to purchase 3 meals and snacks everyday.  Try packing some snacks, stuff to make sandwiches, exc.  The rooms are equipped with small refrigerators and microwaves, making it is easy to cut a meal or two off your budget by eating in your room.
• Cute Pj’s and Slippers for the kids – One of my favorite parts of our GWL stay was the nighttime show and bedtime story in the lobby.  Pack some cute pjs for a great photo opp and some slippers to wear down to the lobby.
• Bathing suit Cover-up – you’ll be making a lot of trips from the waterpark to your guest room or other activities.  A cover-up is a must have because the pool towels must stay inside the water parks and the hallway is much chillier than the water park.
• Sneakers – I assumed all we would need at a waterpark was flip flops but boy was I wrong!  Thankfully the kids had worn their sneakers to the resort because you need closed toe shoes to do the Howlers Peak rope course, and it is a must do at the resort.
• Cape or Costume –  One of my kids favorite thing at Great Wolf Lodge was the MagiQuest game,  If you purchase a Paws Pass you’ll get a basic wand and the game as part of the package.  However all the fun wizard and princess costumes in the MagiQuest store will probably catch the kids eyes.  If you have one packed away in your room, its easier to cut the expense out.
 
• Small Bag for Dry Clothes – After check-out you still have access to the park and activities until closing.  The water park has lockers and changing rooms so packing a small bag with clothes for the ride home can be very convenient instead of digging through the suitcases in the car.
Leave:
• Towels – The resort provides plenty of towels in both water parks.  They have bins full of them so you can get a dry one as often as you’d like, so leave your towels at home.
• Lifejackets – There’s no need to pack all the kids Lifejackets, the resort had them in every size.  So you can leave your at home and still have piece of mind!
• Floats – Pool floats are not allowed in the water park so leave your inflatables and noodles at home.
 
• Sunscreen – A big perk of indoor water parks is not needing to reapply sunscreen every hour.  The New England Great Wolf Lodge only has a small splash pad outside, everything else was indoors so the bottle of sunblock never made it out of the suitcase.

 

A Family Camping Trip 2014 ~ Pine Acres Resort, Raymond New Hampshire

As I talked about last year, I love taking a family camping trip every year.  I grew up going camping eve summer and feel that it is an experience every kids should get to experience.
The campfire, smores, floating around a lake, fishing, dances, and everything else about camping makes for some of the most precious family memories.
We went back to Pine Acres in Raymond N.H. this year,  It’s the campground I grew up going to and now that they have great owners again I am excited that I can take my kids there.  The faces they give me as I walk by a spot and tell them stories of when me and “uncle” were their age, are priceless.
 
We went with my mother, 2 aunts, and tons of cousins, so the kids had a blast as well as the adults.
Pine Acres like most family campgrounds has themed weekends and the theme of our weekend was, Beach Party!  and party we did!  My cousin Johnny did very well at the limbo contest while all the little cousins won second place in the sand castle competition.
The Friday night dance was off the hook with a “light up” theme, they had glow in the dark body paint for everyone.  The glow sticks were everywhere and the memories made were priceless.

       
This was one of our last trips of the season and it in a sense wrapped up our summer before the kids started school.  It was the perfect end to an exciting summer.
Now to begin planning next years family camping trip!  I’m so excited that about 15 more family memebers have jumped on board and we are planning to make next year one for the photo albums!  “Mucci Family Camping Trip 2015” in the making!

Family Travel Fun at the Sheraton Springfield and Six Flags New England

Starwood sponsored our recent trip to the Sheraton Springfield  Monarch Place Hotel for a family vacation to Six Flags New England.  We live in Massachusetts, however Six Flags is a two hour drive west for us.  I hadn’t been to the park sense before Anthony was born because of the long drive.  After a long fun day at an amusement park, who wants to drive 2 hours home with 3 tired and cranky kids!  The Sheraton Springfield is now our resolution to that problem, a family friendly, reasonably priced, CLEAN hotel, that is only 10 minutes away from Six Flags New England!

We arrived at the hotel after spending the day at the Hurricane Harbor, Six Flag’s water park.  Check-in was a breeze, the staff was super friendly and we were in our room within minutes.  We had a king guest room with a connecting double queen guest room.  These worked perfectly for our family of five!

 
If you are a bit hungry after the park or want a great breakfast to start your day off, the hotel has plenty to offer you on site.  Room service is always a fun option and the hotel has a full room service menu, My kids were particularly fond of the chocolate brownies.  The MVP pub is on site for lunch, dinner, or dessert and a cocktail.  We ate breakfast at PICKS restaurant which is also on site.  The food at picks was phenomenal!  If you are a French toast fan, you have to try the bananas foster French toast it was very good.  Antonio got the New England lobster eggs benedict and he loved it also.
Sheraton Club Level guests also have access to a complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors dourves in the Sheraton Club.  Which may I add was also the perfect spot for my husband to sneak away and grab the sports scores during our stay, without changing the TV’s in our rooms that the kids were watching.
Our kids weren’t water logged from the day at the park so once we checked in and ate, their minds were focused on finding the swimming pool.  The indoor pool is located adjacent to the fitness center and pool towels are provided.  I liked that the sliding doors led right out to a large outdoor sundeck.  We sat out on the sundeck at night and enjoyed the refreshing summer night air with the city lights and stars.  The kids weren’t thrilled about the stars, they were all about swimming and jumping around the pool.
The architecture within the hotel was fun, the boys loved the openness of the hallways and the different colored  changing lights that shined from the balconies.

After a relaxing night poolside, we got to get a restful night sleep that made it easy to have another great day at the park.

One of the best things I noticed was check out isn’t until noon time.  This may seem like a minor benefit, however my family has traveled a lot this summer as you can see from this blog and every hotel we have stayed at has had a 11:00 or even 10:00 check out time.  As a traveling mom with little kids, the hardest part of traveling for me is usually check out.  Getting the room packed up, 3 kids dressed, everything in the car, and trying to get myself presentable before 10:00 in the morning after a fun touristy night is not fun at all.  The extra hour to two the Sheraton gave me was a breath of fresh air.  I was able to wake up, have my coffee, pack, even eat breakfast before leaving!  This alone was enough to win my heart.

 
All in all, this hotel is a great option when looking for a family friendly place to stay within minutes of Six Flags New England Amusement Park, The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, The Big E fair, the MassMutual Center, Dr. Suess National Memorial Sculpture Garden, and more. 
I never realized how many fun things there were to do in the Pioneer Valley, I cant wait to go back and explore more!

Learn more about the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, including amenities and area attractions: HERE

*Disclosure: My trip was sponsored by Starwood Hotels and Resorts to help facilitate this post; as always my opinions are 100% my own.*

 


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