The new year has been off to a quiet start for us at Out and About Mom. We’ve taken a little break from our hectic media schedule to focus on some other aspects of our site, and we even let Mandy (gasp!) take a vacation and spend some time with her family without being chained to some sort of electronic device.
We pulled together our all-time favorite Top 50 Outings for our 50 Things to do with Kids in (and Around) Connecticut in 2015 post. You’ll want to bookmark this one and reference it all year long so you’ll never run out of fun things to do with your family.
We’ve also been working really hard to promote our sponsorship programs. We love the amazing resource and incredible community of readers we’ve created with Out and About Mom, but we’re also realizing that it’s going to take a significant amount of financial support to keep us going. As you may have seen, we are offering a super deal on our banner advertising right now–70% off large and small ads! For a limited time, you can get an ad on our site for just $9. What?! That’s crazy talk. And since this blizzard has kind of thrown a wrench into the works this week, we’re even extending the deadline on our promo until 2.7.15.
So please, if you or anyone you know is a local business owner, encourage them to consider our site for their advertising campaign. You can find all the pertinent information here.
Fortunately, we already have some truly wonderful sponsors. And we can’t thank them enough for their ongoing support.
This month, we are even welcoming a NEW premium sponsor: Bella Beauty in Farmington, CT. As the name suggests, this elegant salon offers “the perfect beauty experience and girls’ party space.” From spa days to tea parties, little girls will loooooove expressing their own unique creativity and being pampered like princesses.
Speaking of love, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and you know what that means–time for some crafty fun with our little ones! (Why, what were you thinking??? 😉 ) We’ve pulled together some easy V-Day crafts and activities on our Pinterst board.
And of course, Mandy and I are itching to share all the cool things we’re digging this month. So read on to find out more about what we’ve been up to in January.
1. My little guy is 18 months now and he is into EVERYTHING. Those inexpensive plastic baby-proofing drawer latches with their 2 inches of wiggle room were more like a challenge to him than a deterent, and after the bazillionth pinched finger I decided to investigate other options. At first I was in sticker shock over the cost of these magnetic baby locks from Safety 1st, but now I think they are worth their weight in gold! Not only do they keep the doors and drawers completely closed (as in, shut tight with no gaps), but you can deactivate them if you’re going to have a few child-free hours in the kitchen and cook like you did before you had kids 🙂
2. This month, the little guy and I tried out one of the BRAND NEW classes for toddlers ages 14-22 months at The Mandell JCC’s Shirley Reaback Early Childhood Center in Glastonbury. He had a ball painting with glue and shaving cream, squishing homemade playdough and “slime”, playing in the sensory table, listening to stories and just generally exploring all the neat new-to-him toys. SRECC will be offering these classes again for February, March, April and May. You can download a registration form here if you are interested.
3. My model train loving family decided to check out this year’s Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show at the Big E grounds up in West Springfield. It was HUGE and so much fun. We all enjoyed the amazing model train layouts, and hubby even picked up a few special items for our future model train project. We’re definitely going to make this a new family tradition!
4. I’m still on my slow cooker kick from last month, and my new favorite recipe is Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore from the January issue of Southern Living (we hold the olives though; hubby is not a fan). I really thought I was onto something with this “prep during naptime” philosophy, but turns out I’m not the first busy mom to come up with this idea (shocker). Fellow mom blogger and CT resident Kelsey at The Naptime Chef has been working this magic for years and I’m enjoying exploring all of her recipes and ideas. In fact, just yesterday Boo and I made her Chocolate Chunk Pretzel Cookies (which worked out great since my home organization task for this week from the 365 Day Decluttering Mission was to clean out the pantry and I was able to make use of the remainder of a giant bag of pretzels that my kids suddenly decided were no longer a favorite snack–isn’t that always the way? I should know better by now 🙂 ).
1. To prepare for the storms this week I did a little pre-cooking of some of my family’s favorite comfort foods. Just in case we did lose power for a few days, I wanted to make sure we had a few yummy food options available. My go-to recipes for the week were Trisha Yearwood’s Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole, a easy and filling crockpot Quinoa Chicken Chili, and a big pot of spaghetti sauce with mini meatballs from Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup recipe (I love that they are little and that you make them in the oven). I also made a big batch of mini blueberry muffins for us to snack on. Want more recipe ideas? Check out some of my favorites on my pinterest board.
2. We recently took our third annual family trip to Walt Disney World and I felt like this year I had more questions than usual as to what to expect at the various parks. So I headed to my local library and checked out the book, “Walt Disney World with Kids“. I have to say that my random book selection was actually a HUGE help when it came to all my last minute trip preparations.
3. A friend recently introduced me to a Melissa & Doug product called the Water Wow Coloring Book. This book has a built in paint brush that you fill with water and kids use to “paint” the pages of the book. The pages will then dry and they can turn around and use it over and over again. These handy books kept my kids busy during our airplane flights, while we were waiting in lines, and during meal times throughout our recent travels. They are now going into my purse so I can whip them out whenever I need the kids to sit still for 5 minutes. You might want to pick up a few of your own 🙂
4. While at the library checking out the Disney guide book, I also picked up a few video media players for our trip. These self contained video viewing devices are so handy. The kids just plug in their headphones and then can watch the variety of videos loaded on the device. We checked out one that included several episodes of the PBS show, Super Why and another that included a video and reading of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” (a favorite in my house at the moment) along with other videos about the author, Mo Willems.
5. I also turned to our amazing Facebook followers this month to get suggestions for some new iPad apps to download for our trip! Thanks to you, my kids were very entertained by all the fun new games I added to our collection. A few of the favorites were: Toca Hair Salon, Fairy Tales by Sago Mini, Peg and Cat Tree Problem by PBS Kids, Pet Cafe by Sago Mini, Fire Truck by Good Glue, and a new Lego Juniors App.
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! LITTLE MS. BELLA BEAUTIQUE/BELLA BEAUTY, Farmington, CT
Little Ms. Bella Beautique/Bella Beauty is a girl’s dream that caters to your Bella for an exclusive Beauty Day, Make Your own spa treats, Tea Parties with Dress Up and the Ultimate Girly Girl Birthday parties. Little Ms. Bella loves to pamper our Bella’s but we are all about teaching our guests about personal care, manners, and using their creativity and imagination. Our licensed stylists can help with everything from recommendations on how to prevent lice to teaching Daddy how to style his little Bella’s hair when mom is not around. Our Tea Parties encourage both imagination and manners. Dress up in your favorite princess dress, get your hair styled, and finish with a tea party while you learn fun tea party etiquette. Come in for a mommy and me Beauty Day or celebrate a special event with a group!
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.
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, Thursday, March 12 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. And save the date for our Summer Programs starting on June 22.
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. Encourage your children to thrive! What parents need to know at the Mandell JCC’s 7th Annual Parenting Conference, Wednesday, February 4, 2015. Contact the Member Services Center,860-236-4571, for more details or visit www.mandelljcc.org.
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.
Are you interested in becoming an Out and About Mom sponsor?
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We’ve Extended our HUGE New Year’s Sale on OAAM Banner Advertising Until 2.7.15!
Hey, we’re not going to let a little blizzard rain…er, snow on our parade. We’re giving you a whole extra week to take advantage of our biggest sale ever!
There’s never been a better time to try out our sponsorship program. We’re offering 70% off one month of our large and small ads when you make your purchase between January 1, 2015 and
January 31, 2015 February 7, 2015.
SMALL AD (125×125):
$30 Just $9! Use promo code NEWYEARSMALL for the Small Ad.
LARGE AD (300×250):
$100 Just $30! Use promo code NEWYEARLARGE for the Large Ad.
Check out our Special Promotions page for more info.
Questions? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to keep up with things to do with kids in Connecticut?
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