Wow. Can you believe that February is almost over? This month flew by! Despite the never-ending snow, we’ve managed to stay sane around here by finding new places for indoor fun (like here and here) and even embracing the snowy weather (like here). Plus, we put together a list of more than 40 indoor play destinations in our popular new post: Ten Days Of Indoor Play.
Once again, Mandy and I have compiled a few of our favorite things from this past month to share with you–everything from new books to new recipes to winter weather science experiments for the kids.
And of course, we also can’t wait to share the latest news from our sponsors! Be sure to keep reading to find out more about these wonderful family-friendly businesses and organizations that make our site possible. From events and activities to grand openings, advice, education and more–they have so much to offer to families like yours!
We really can’t thank them enough because it’s their support that makes it possible for us to continue “scouting your outing.” So if you enjoy reading our blog, please help us support the businesses and organizations that keep us up and running.
We hope you enjoy finding out about all the things we’ve been loving this February!
- Mandy and I are part of a Book Club that formed not too long after we both moved to the CT area almost a decade ago. When we started, there were only a few children among the group, but now we have more than a dozen between us! Over the years it had been really wonderful to keep up with these smart, funny, supportive ladies, and we’re so lucky that our group has been able to keep our (almost) monthly meetings going on for so long. We may not always read the designated book (and we definitely spend more time talking about potty training than prose), but it’s still one of the things we look forward to most each month. This month, it was my turn to host and I selected the well-reviewed novel: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.
- I’m still on my slow cooker kick (three months now!) and I’ve managed to find a few more great recipes. These take-out fake-outs will make you think you should be eating out of those white cartons, but it’s faster, cheaper, and healthier to make it at home. Try slow cooker beef with broccoli, slow cooker honey sesame chicken or slow cooker brown sugar and balsamic glazed pork tenderloin. I’ve also followed Mandy’s lead and created a Recipe Board on Pinterest where you can find these and many more of my favorite recipes.
- It was hubby’s birthday this month, and we usually just get each other silly little gifts for these occasions. This year, I found these really neat ice sphere molds that I thought would be fun. Each one makes a giant ice ball that’s almost the size of a tennis ball! They are great in, um, adult beverages, but the kids are getting a kick out of them too.
- This month we celebrated the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat, which is the new year (or birthday) of the trees. It’s often observed by planting a new tree, but we put a little twist on tradition by starting our own seedlings in this cute greenhouse that we found at IKEA. We’ve got peppers, beans, basil, parsley and tarragon starting to sprout, and Boo loves to watch the daily progress. Hopefully, we’ll be able to plant the seedlings outside in the garden this spring. If you’re interested in doing this too, it’s not too late! Here’s a resource that I found helpful when we got started.
- Even though there are probably a million recipes available for free online, I still love to get a new cookbook now and again. This month I picked up the Skinny Taste cookbook, which is written by the author of a cooking blog that both Mandy and I really enjoy. And I’m also trying out this new Sheet Pan Suppers.
- Each winter there seems to be a movie my kids fall in love with and want to watch over and over. Last winter it was Frozen (of course) and this winter it is Mary Poppins. If you haven’t watched this movie with your little ones, I highly recommend it. One viewing and they will be singing and dancing all over the house!
- My children’s teachers have been embracing our snowy weather by getting the kids excited about winter weather experiments. This past weekend Bruiser had to measure the snow totals before and after the storm and Sparkles has been learning about melting snow and testing out salt and ice melt to see which works faster. I’ve been looking into even more fun winter experiments we can try at home and have created a Pinterest board with a few ideas.
- Another indoor entertainment technique for my crew this month has been books on tape, with the most popular one being Pete the Cat. We’ve bought a few and also checked out a bunch at the library. I just load up our old school CD player and they are entertained for a bit.
- I added a few new recipes to my Pinterest board this month including the Barefoot Contessa’s Salted Caramel Browniesand Skinny Taste’s Lasagna Soup and guiltless Potato Soup. Try them out if you are looking for something new!
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–BOUNCE TOWN, South Windsor, CT & NEW Canton, CT location
This popular indoor play destination now has two ultimate bounce centers to choose from with awesome giant inflatables that will have your kids jumping, bouncing, running and laughing the whole time: Bounce Town in South Windsor, CT and Bounce Town in Canton, CT (opening soon!) And for a limited time, you can take advantage of a special promotion at their new Canton location. Book a March 2015 party at their new location and receive a $50 discount off your party package. Book a party during the month of March for the rest of 2015 and receive a $25 discount. Visit their website for more info: http://www.thebouncetown.com/, or call (860) 352-8170 to book your party today!
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.
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!
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! For more information on our programs, events or membership, visit www.mandelljcc.org or contact the Member Services Center, 860-236-4571.
NEW-SLEEP, BABY, SLEEP, Farmington, CT
Sleep, Baby, Sleep, helping families sleep through the night. Owned by Violet Giannone, Registered Nurse and Baby Sleep Consultant, Sleep, Baby, Sleep is a baby/toddler sleep advice website. If you are having trouble getting your little one to sleep well, this site is filled with tons of great information. If you need help beyond the information on her site, Violet is also available for personal consultations via email or chat. She can help you get your baby/toddler to sleep well by creating a customized sleep plan for your child. Here are just some of the things you can work on: Frequent night wakings, nap troubles, sleep schedules, eliminating bad sleep habits, crib transition, pacifier weaning, and finally getting your baby to sleep through the night. Violet has helped families all over the world and has been featured on parenting websites such a What to Expect When You Are Expecting and Moms Magazine. Contact her by email at violet.sleepbabysleep@gmail.
See what other parents are saying about Sleep, Baby, Sleep:
“My daughter was 9 months old and I finally decided that I had enough sleepless nights and naps were no break for me either. I was feeding P at least four times through the night and naps were only 30 minutes long. So, my husband and I found the Sleep Baby Sleep website and decided to use Violet as our sleep consultant. We decided she was our best option because she offered 100% satisfaction and she was the most reasonably priced consultant we could find that offered so much more than the others! We weren’t disappointed either. Violet gave us great information and a plan that was easy to follow. We loved getting the daily support and quick responses to our questions. Within a few days our daughter was sleeping 12 hours a night and her naps got longer!! We couldn’t believe how fast it worked and wondered why we had waited so long to get help. It is amazing what night after night of good sleep can do for a family! Thank you Violet for offering your time and experience to help our family catch those extra zzzzzzz’s!” ~ Melinda, Canada (See more testimonials here)
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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