Summertime fun is in full swing here at Out and About Mom. We’ve already been criss-crossing the state, heading out to find new warm-weather destinations to share with our readers.
This month, we had so much fun checking out new-to-us destinations during Connecticut’s Open House Day on June 13th. Make sure to mark your calendar NOW for next year’s event when dozens of CT destinations offer special deals and discounts to visitors!
We were also so excited to tell you about The Connecticut Office of Tourism’s new initiative: the “Roar Tour,” featuring tons of dino-mite locations for prehistoric fun.
We’ve also got an amazing series of giveaways going on right now. How’d you like to win a family four-pack of tickets to one of the famous Talcott Mountain Music Festival events this summer? Enter today for a chance to win tickets to their 4th of July themed event (complete with fireworks!) coming up on July 3rd, and then keep an eye out for more opportunities to win tickets to upcoming events in the following weeks.
And in case you haven’t noticed, it’s officially pick your own fruit season here in Connecticut! We were out picking strawberries by the box-full this past month, and now we are waiting anxiously for the raspberries, blueberries and peaches to make their juicy debuts! To celebrate this all-too-short season, we put together a list of all the places we’ve been to pick our own fruit in the four years we’ve been blogging.
And just yesterday we took Better Connecticut’s Melissa Cole on a tour of Dondero Orchards in Glastonbury–one of our favorites. (Be sure to tune in to WFSB Channel 3 on July 9th @ 3:00 p.m. to see how that segment turned out– did we mention that we brought ALL SEVEN of our kids?! Ahhhh!).
Plus, we were in the Better Connecticut studio today sharing a few more of our top picks for pick your own. (In case you missed it, you can catch that segment here.)
We’re also continuing to expand our newest offering– our Birthday Party Venue Directory. We’ve got more than a dozen great party destinations on it already, and it’s growing by the week! Check it out to discover some really unique and exciting options for your child’s next birthday celebration. And if you can, share it with your friends too!
Of course, we’ve also got all the latest news from our amazing sponsors as well. Like creative camps, summer classes, family-friendly events, and all the best resources to keep your little ones healthy (and happy!) this summer.
At home, we’ve been grilling, chilling, playing, planting, swimming, sunning and just generally enjoying all the opportunities summer brings us for spending time with our kids (and sometimes acting like one–ha!). And we can’t wait to share with you all the things we’re digging this month. Like…
So keep reading to find out more about everything we’ve been loving this June!
1. We had our first strawberry picking outing of the season a few weeks ago and came home with an entire flat full of juicy red berries (who knew a toddler and a preschooler could be such prolific pickers!). After we’d eaten our fill of the fresh fruit, I went on the hunt for some yummy strawberry recipes to make use of the leftovers. We all enjoyed these delicious strawberry oat squares, which are made without any butter or oil and just a tiny amount of refined sugar. And although I am hardly the most nutrition-conscious mom in the world, I do love it when I find recipes that are both good and good for us! For more ideas on ways to transform your fruity loot into delicious delicacies, you can check out our Pinterest boards for Peach Recipes and Apple Recipes.
2. Our pool is finally open for the season and our collection of toys, floats and other pool gear is growing rapidly! Boo is loving this fun pirate ship float, and hubby and I are enjoying these Swim Ways spring floats (this one and this one), which are super comfortable for lounging, but also fold up tight for easy storage (and with all this pool paraphernalia, we definitely need to maximize our storage!).
3. With two small children who hate running errands (and really, what kid likes it?), I do a lot of online shopping. When a friend told me about Ebates, I thought it was too good to be true that I could get checks in the mail just for doing all the same online shopping I did already. But it’s actually true! I just visit the Ebates website first, check if the online store I want to shop is eligible for cash back (stores like Target.com, Drugstore.com, Overstock.com, Macys.com and hundreds more) click through to the site I want to shop and voila! I actually get checks in the mail every few months. I’ve already earned more than $50 in cash back just for buying the things I was already buying anyway! There’s no fee to join and it’s totally free to use! So if you are an avid online shopper like me, definitely check out Ebates before you make another online purchase.
4. After our recent visit to The Dinosaur Place in Montville, CT, we decided to make a stop in nearby Salem, CT to sample some ice cream from Salem Valley Farms ice cream stand, which a reader recently recommended to us after we posted about our top ice cream destinations last month. The ice cream was fabulous (so many delicious, homemade flavors to choose from!), and we loved all the picnic tables and open space where the kids could hang out. So if you are down in that area of the state, definitely stop by for a scoop! I highly recommend “cow tracks” 🙂 (Just a bit of Momsense for you: it’s cash only, though they do have an ATM onsite.)
5. We had the first pickup for our CSA share with Deercrest Farm in Glastonbury, CT last week! I was so excited to see this box positively brimming with beautiful fruits and vegetables. We had fresh lettuce, swiss chard, turnips, beets and more gorgeous strawberries! I’m already enjoying the challenge of learning to cook new-to-me items (although, this creamy parmesan and sausage pasta with the swiss chard was not exactly one of the “healthy” meals I had envisioned making when we signed up for a CSA–but it was delicious!).
1. I’m attempting to do a little bit of gardening this summer. I picked up some rather large (and inexpensive) pots fromOcean State Job Lot and filled them with a tomato plant and cucumber plant. Then in the ground we planted green beans and sunflowers. I’m not much of a gardener so we will see how this goes BUT I did notice a few tomatoes starting to show. There seems to be potential! I’ll let you know.
2. I can’t believe this cup has lasted an entire school year and is now going strong for the summer. The Camelbak eddy kid’s bottle is a must-have item in my house. I bought one for each of my kiddos at the beginning of the school year and they are still using the same bottle for their summer hydration. These things are spill proof and easy for the kids to use. A great summer tool.
3. Speaking of summer, I finally put together a summer go-pack for my family. I purchased these mesh bags and filled the largest with pool/sand box/spray pad toys. Then I filled the middle-sized bag with suntan lotion, hand sanitizer, bug spray, band-aids, Benedryl itch stopping gel, and sun hats for all of the kids. I keep both bags in the trunk of my car so that we have what we need when we are out on the go!
4. As I begin to make my way through our summer bucket list I wanted to find a fun place to document my outings and other things happening over the next few months. So, I decided to revive our Instagram account and have started posting a few pics there. It seems to be the place to be for bloggers these days and I know many of our readers use Instagram so I thought I would give it a try. Be patient with me as I attempt to learn a new social media platform! And be sure to follow us at www.instagram.com/
5. The roses are in bloom at Elizabeth Park in Hartford and it is a must-see display! Plus,one of my favorite summer events, their summer concert series, starts up next week. This year the concerts will run every Wednesday night from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm from July 1 through August 12. Can’t wait to go! Check out the 2015 schedule here.
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!
CONNECTICUT CHILDREN’S MEDICAL CENTER, Hartford, CT
Named among the best in the nation in the annual U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings, Connecticut Children’s is the only free-standing children’s hospital in Connecticut that offers comprehensive, world-class health care to children.
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. Discover how The Independent Day School can unlock your child’s full potential. Schedule a weekday walk-through by calling 860-347-7235. Summer Programs start June 22.
THE LITTLE GREEN TAMBOURINE, Canton, CT
The Little Green Tambourine, located in Canton, CT, is a healthy living creative arts studio offering a variety of opportunities for kids to learn and play. Check out their exciting summer programs and events including Kids Night Out, Mommy/Daddy and Me Tea, Red White and Blue Cupcake baking and Decorating Class, Summer Open Play, Sugar Cookie Shaping and Decorating Event, “Under The Sea” Toddler Camp, Family Science Day AND MORE! For a complete list of programs, including dates, times and pricing, click HERE. Or contact Suzanne DeRosa at 860-352-5504 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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. For more information on the Mandell JCC, contact the Member Services Center, 860-236-4571 or visitwww.mandelljcc.org.
We would also like to thank the following businesses/organizations for supporting our site via sponsorship:
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.
And thank you to our readers for supporting the businesses and organizations that make our site possible!
Shawna & Mandy
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