Can you believe the summer is coming to an end?! I feel like it was just yesterday we were saying goodbye to our preschool teachers and looking forward to lots of fun summer camps and outings!
Despite this latest heat wave, fall is certainly upon us. Four of our five kiddos have gone off to school full time (some for the first time!). Pumpkin Spice products are lining the grocery store shelves. And signs are popping up to announce the start of local fall fairs and festivals.
As you may have noticed, Mandy and I took a little break from writing new posts for the last two weeks in August so we could spend some extra time with our families before the fall schedules kicked in. But now we are back and starting to think about all the fun events coming up this season. Stay tuned for our much anticipated Fall Bucket List next week!
Thanks to our recent Blog-A-Versary, we’re also realizing how many places we’ve visited over the past four years (hundreds!), and trying to find ways to reintroduce our readers to some of these outings that are collecting dust in the OAAM “vault,” so to speak. In the meantime, we had fun selecting our favorite outings from the past year to share with our readers in a post celebrating this latest milestone.
In sponsor news, we’re offering a super deal on our Large and Small Ads this month.
And to help make it even easier for small businesses and individuals to advertise with us, we’ve created a simple tutorial to help them develop beautiful, professional-looking banner ads that are absolutely FREE!
We’re also still growing our Birthday Party Venue Directory, and we’re hoping that this will become a go-to resource for all of you planning parties for your little ones in the upcoming months.
And of course, Mandy and I have been saving up our lists of all the cool things we’ve discovered this month so that we can share them with you here!
But first, let’s give a shout-out to the folks we are really loving now: our sponsors!
Because without their support, our site would not be possible. So if you enjoy our posts and love being “in the know” about the latest things to do with kids in Connecticut, please 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!
This Month’s Premium Sponsors:
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 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 fall programs and events including Cooking Camp, Mommy/Daddy and Me Pumpkin Painting, Pumpkin Cupcake Baking and Decorating Class, Halloween Parties, Wacky Science, Fall Messy Art/Open Play, AND MORE! Plus a BRAND NEW preschool enrichment program twice a week for 3 hours! For a complete list of programs, including dates, times and pricing, click HERE. Or contact Suzanne DeRosa at 860-352-5504 or suzanne@
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 visit www.mandelljcc.org.
MUSCULOSKELETAL HEALTH CENTERS, Simsbury, CT
Located in Simsbury, CT, Musculoskeletal Health Centers specializes in general chiropractic medicine with a focus on pediatric chiropractic care, as well as prenatal chiropractic care for woman who have pain and discomfort relating to pregnancy.
And coming this fall, they will offer the first all inclusive fitness center in Connecticut with personal training memberships starting at just $29/month.
They also offer Cosmetic Acupuncture, an ancient practice that has become the go-to method for those who want a fresher, younger looking appearance. Clients who are looking for a natural solution, without the invasiveness and stigma of surgery, or the risks of Botox, are increasingly turning to Cosmetic Acupuncture. Practitioners have found that much like traditional Acupuncture, when needles are inserted into pressure points in the face, it releases energy and endorphins, improving blood flow and stimulating cellular re-growth.
We would also like to thank the following businesses/organizations for supporting our site via sponsorship:
- Imagine Studio creative and performing arts studio (West Hartford)
- Kindermusik with Jen
- Quincy Limited Car Sun Shades
- Sleep, Baby, Sleep, Website & Personal Baby Sleep Consultant
- Tots411 preschool directory
- Wapping Fair, September 10-13, 2015 (South Windsor)
This month we’re also loving…
- The big news in our house is that Boo headed off to Kindergarten at the end of August. He now rides the bus and everything! In fact, he’s so grown up, I almost feel like the nickname “Boo” isn’t going to be appropriate anymore! Maybe I’ll have to work on a variation 🙂 For the second time, we got all our back-to-school gear from Pottery Barn Kids. I love the variety of colors and patterns (Boo picked out dinosaurs), how everything coordinates and fits together, the availability of monogramming, and how both the backpacks and the lunch bags have all sorts of nifty little details that really add a higher level of convenience– such as a zippered pouch to hold an ice pack in the lunch bag, and the ability to attach the lunch bag to the backpack with built-in clips.
- August was a great month for native tomatoes, and I’ve enjoyed finding new ways to enjoy these local treasures. We’ve piled them up on mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto panini, we’ve enjoyed a simple caprese salad, but by far my favorite meal was this super simple, fresh “no cook” tomato sauce over pasta. Yumm. You’d never know that I pretty much hated tomatoes until I was in my 20’s 🙂
- Sometimes I can be a little compulsive when it comes to not letting things go to waste, especially food. So I’m always trying to use up that odd item in my pantry or fridge with a new recipe. This month, I had half a container of buttermilk languishing in the fridge and so I decided to take a chance on a new buttermilk banana bread recipe from iambaker.net that I found on Pinterest (we are big fans of banana bread around here and I usually don’t mess with the standard family recipe). This is the most delicious banana bread I have ever tasted! I’m so glad I had that leftover buttermilk!
- Speaking of waste, although I love the convenience of the fruit squeeze pouches they sell in the stores (and trust me, we buy A LOT of them), sometimes I feel a tinge of guilt watching those empty packets pile up in my trash. I also cringe thinking about how I can buy an entire jar of regular apple sauce for the price of a couple squeeze pouches filled with it! So I decided to try out these reusable food pouches by Little Squeeze Me, and I am so happy with this product! It’s easy to fill, easy to clean (dishwasher safe), and the zipper seal stays shut tight even while my 2-year-old is squeezing out the last drop of his snack. I love that it’s more economical, but I also love that I can increase the variety of the foods my kids try. Right now, the little guy is obsessed with vanilla yogurt mixed with a variety of fruit jams (a trick I learned from Mandy!).
- With 80% of our kids back in school, Mandy and I found time for a morning “meeting” recently. To celebrate the unofficial start of fall, I tracked down a recipe for baked pumpkin doughnuts from a site I have found many yummy recipes on called Cooking Classy for us to snack on. These were delicious! And because they are baked, not fried, you can feel better about giving this treat to your kiddos (and yourself too!). You will need a doughnut pan, but since there are so many wonderful baked doughnut recipes out there (here’s another one of my favorites), it will certainly get good use!
- I’ve been enjoying binge watching a few tv shows this summer. The first is the hilarious scripted comedy on Bravo called “Odd Mom Out“. I seriously could not stop laughing and can’t wait for the second season to be released. The other is “Madam Secretary” on CBS. If you want to check it out you can watch the first season online this week with a free trial from CBS.com.
- It is back to school week in our house and that means it is time for making lunches. We are still completely in love with our Lands End lunch bags and are using them for the second year in a row. If you need a bag for your kiddos, they are actually on sale this week at a great price! Unfortunately, my favorite lunch containers didn’t last quite as well as the lunch bags so I’m on the lookout for some new ones to add to the mix. We currently use plastic containers with three storage compartments (similar to these) But a recent video from What’s Up Momshas me wanting to check out stainless steel options as well. We will see what I find!
- We’ve done a lot of traveling over the last month which means I’ve loaded up our mobile devices with new games to keep the kids entertained. Some of our favorite apps include Toca Builders, Pet Cafe, Inside Out Thought Bubbles, and Peg & Cat:Tree Problem. But probably the app both my girls and I have been enjoying is this crazy one called YouCam Makeup. Try it! I promise you will be entertained!
- And I’m back into my running routine this fall which means I’m back into listening to some great podcasts. My current favorites are The Startup Podcast which was started by former host of This American Life, Alex Blumberg plus I’m enjoying one of his spinoff podcast shows, The Mystery Show. And speaking of This American Life, that is a great podcast as well. If you haven’t listened to their recent story on magnet schools in Hartford, it is definitely worth checking out.
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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