Okay, so technically it’s not November anymore. But we couldn’t miss an opportunity to share all the fun things that went on behind the scenes last month. And actually, with the holidays right around the corner, the timing is perfect for us to give you a sneak peek at some of our favorite holiday tips and traditions.
In case you missed it, we recently published our annual Holiday Guide with over 100 (yes, 100!) ideas for festive family fun. It’s filled with some of our very favorite outings–like Winterfest in Bushnell Park, the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Festival of Trees and Traditions, Santa’s Workshop at Wickham Park, and the Wood Memorial Library’s Gingerbread House Festival Extravaganza. You can find out more about these and other fun events this Thursday, 12/4 when we return to Better Connecticut! And don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook for reminders about upcoming holiday events.
In sponsor news, we’re officially welcoming our newest partner, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. And Family Dental Practice of Bloomfield is sharing some helpful tips for keeping your toddler’s teeth in tip-top shape. Plus, mark your calendars for the Independent Day School’s Open House on January 11, 2015. And the Mandell JCC is throwing a Centennial Celebration on December 14th that you won’t want to miss!
So keep reading to discover more about…
1. (Shawna) It’s officially holiday party season, and I’m starting to bake big batches of my favorite cookies to bring to a pot-luck or cookie swap: Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies from Cooking Light. They’re ridiculously delicious. Plus, they are so unique that I’m reasonably sure no one else will be bringing them too 🙂
2. (Shawna) Speaking of cookies, some of my favorite holiday gifts to make are layered cookie mixes in a jar. They are so easy to assemble and it doesn’t take much to make them look beautiful. I especially love to make custom labels at Evermine.com. Try my old standby recipe: Butterscotch Cookies. Or find dozens of other ideas on free sites like Mixesinajar.com.
3. (Shawna) Confession time: I am totally addicted to Pinterest! And I’ve been loving all the holiday decorating ideas I’ve been seeing there this season. I’ve started an OAAM Holiday Crafts board so we can share our favorites. But my front-runner has to be this adorable kid-friendly felt menorah we’ll use for Chanukah this year.
4. (Shawna) Boo is really getting in touch with his creative side these days. So I’m really thankful for one of our all-time favorite FREE apps: Lazoo Squiggles! It lets him “draw” all sorts of pictures and even animate them. Plus he can save his creations to my camera roll, which makes it super easy to share them with friends and family. But the best part is that I don’t have to worry about cleaning up paints, crayons, or markers. Love it!
5. (Shawna) Making gingerbread houses has been an annual tradition for me and hubby since before we even had kids! Last year Boo really got in on the decorating fun, and we can’t wait to see what he’ll make this year. To gather inspiration for our design, we love to head over to the Wood Memorial Library Gingerbread House Festival Extravaganza. And recently, we headed up to the Springfield Museums for their Adventures in Gingerbread exhibit. Now if we could only choose our favorite!
6. (Shawna) The little guy is growing up fast (16 months already!). We’re loving these Melissa & Doug Chunky Puzzles for him. He can really get a good grip on the whole piece, and he can even get the shapes to fit into their cut-outs all on his own! Plus, when we’re done playing puzzle, the free-standing pieces are great for pretend play.
7. (Mandy) I’ve got a new craft project for the kiddos this holiday season. It was something we did each year when I was a kid. We’ll attach 25 pieces of candy to a holiday-themed display, hang the display somewhere in the house, and the kids can eat one piece of candy each day until Christmas. It won’t make Christmas come any faster, but they sure will enjoy the wait a little more!
8. (Mandy) We spent Thanksgiving this year at home in West Hartford. I know many travelers weren’t too excited about the snowy weather, but my kids had a ball playing outside in all of the snow (or maybe it was more like slush). They even got a chance to take an inaugural run on our local sledding hill. I was certainly happy that I had already stocked up on winter supplies — and this year all of our snow gear didn’t break the bank. I got everything we needed from either our local kids consignment sale, Cute Kids Consignment, or our local consignment store, Max and Lily’s Closet.
9. (Mandy) I have added a few new dinner recipes to our family rotation this month. My kids are really enjoying these chicken nuggets which are surprisingly easy to make. And the whole family seems to enjoy this BBQ meatloaf (I made it with ground turkey) and these stuffed chicken breasts (I mean anything with bacon AND cream cheese just has to be delicious). I’ve also been making this mediterranean quinoa salad just for me.
10. (Mandy) I took all three kiddos by myself (gulp!) on a roadtrip to DC in November. There we visited with my sister and explored the city. Our favorite outing was a trip to the Smithsonian National Zoo (which is FREE!).
11. (Mandy) Bruiser and Sparkles had a big milestone last month — they received their first set of school pictures! My babies are growing up.
But we’re really loving our amazing sponsors!
Don’t forget to check them out too. And help spread the sponsor love. If you know friends, family, neighbors, coworkers or anyone else who might be interested in what our fabulous sponsors have to offer, please share. It’s one simple way you can help support our site and keep us “Scouting Your CT Outing.” Thanks!
**NEW SPONSOR** CONNECTICUT CHILDREN’S MEDICAL CENTER, Hartford, CT
Connecticut Children’s is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the health and well-being of children. For the sixth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Connecticut Children’s a top hospital in the 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.
Our top physicians and researchers are dedicated to advancing pediatric care through medical innovation and cutting-edge technology. With more than 200 pediatric residents and fellows in over 20 pediatric subspecialties, Connecticut Children’s is the primary pediatric teaching, clinical and research partner for the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Connecticut Children’s research portfolio includes nearly $20 million in active awards.
Getting kids healthy and home is our goal. And we do it every day. Do you have a Connecticut Children’s experience that you would like to share? Tell us about it.
Visit www.connecticutchildrens.org or call 860.545.9000 for more information.
FAMILY DENTAL PRACTICE OF BLOOMFIELD, Bloomfield, CT
- Give them their vitamins with meals, not after meals and not before bed.
- Switch to a sugar free vitamin… if they will eat it.
- Switch to a vitamin with Xylitol (sugar substitute good for teeth), one is made by Kirkman.
THE INDEPENDENT DAY SCHOOL, Middlefield, CT
The Independent Day School is design thinking and hands-on. It’s life long friends and knowing that you’re known. Nature trails and vegetable gardens. And academic rigor and preparing for next steps. It’s finding out who you are and what you’re good at. It’s making mistakes and trying again. It’s being a kid, the best kid you can be. It’s not like any other school. It’s IDS. It’s the way we are. All for the love of fearless learning. 1:6 teacher/student ratio. Find out more about IDS at our Open House, Sunday, January 11 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Financial Assistance Workshop at 3:00 p.m. Sign your Kindergarten through Grade 5 child up for a Design Thinking Workshop while you tour the school at 860-347-7235.
THE MANDELL JCC, West Hartford, CT
Now in its Centennial year, the Mandell JCC serves people of all backgrounds and at every age and stage of life. It is a gathering place and resource for the Hartford region, providing recreational, cultural, educational, and social programs designed to promote physical, intellectual, and spiritual well-being of its members and others who participate. As a center where all are welcome, our mission is rooted in a fundamental commitment to inclusivity and in universal Jewish values. We work to build community, cultural identity, and bridges of understanding by celebrating diversity and fostering appreciation for Jewish culture and heritage. The Mandell JCC looks forward to kicking off its Centennial with a family celebratory event on Sunday, December 14, 2014.
Once again, a great big “thank you” to our current sponsors. We are very proud to showcase them here on our site, and we look forward to introducing you to even more family-friendly businesses and organizations in the future.
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