Story Land Adventures

I can’t believe summer is around the corner. We have less than 20 days of school left- and kicked off summer by spending Memorial Day Weekend in the mountains. We visited the North Conway area and spent a few days at Story Land (SL) last summer on two occasions and we loved it! We made our first trip of the summer and I decided to take note of favorites from this year and last year! The important details are rightttt here 👇🏼 Please add a comment and let me know where to go next in this gorgeous area!

Where To Eat

Good question! Here are some of our favorites!

Glen Junction (2018) – perfect location! Literally at the bottom of the hill that leads to SL. We stopped in for breakfast. There are trains that run around the top of the rooms- very entertaining while you’re waiting for food. Coffee was hot, pancakes were yummy- and the commute to SL was perfect!

(2019) – We went back again! And it was just as delicious. The trains were broken (and a hazard to run since they circle the restaurant) so the kids were a bit disappointed but the food did not disappoint!

Muddy Moose (2018) – we sat outside on the patio. The menu is typical bar food- my cheeseburger was incredible! The kids got 3 different meals and all cleaned their plates (very rare for them)! Definitely a good spot to check out! (Traveling with 3 young children will accidentally cause Barbie to photobomb 😆)

May Kelly’s (2018) – by far, my favorite place we ate! And by far, the most delicious steak tips I’ve ever ordered! The atmosphere was fun, upbeat and very decorative. My kids loved looking around the room at all the fancy randomness. Our waitress was attentive, kind, and on top of our drink refills. Our food was delivered in a timely manner and it was absolutely mouth watering.

(2019) – Once again, I ordered the steak tips. I don’t regret it one bit! Amazing! My husband ordered an appetizer sampler called the “Taste of Ireland” and loved it! It filled him so well- he had to wrap his meal to go!

Go try this little Irish cottage pub! Actually, run to May Kelly’s! ☘️

Abenaki Trail (2018)- Restaurants everywhere need to take a little secret right from this open dining room. A kids corner. Set right in the same room as most of the tables was a step up to a small corner stage with blocks, crayons, baby dolls, and even Mickey Mouse on the tv! My husband and I loved it here. Very homey feeling. We actually conversed while our kids safety stayed in our eyesight and out of our hair. Small and okay food, but perfect for a nice lunch out of the heat.

Red Fox (2019) – We visited this spot last year for the first time. We waited an hour to be seated for dinner. It’s a short ride from SL, and we went there right after the park closed (rookie move). This year, we learned! We called around 1pm and made a reservation for 5:15pm. We walked right in and sat down! The best part (other than the food!) is the kids toy room & movie room.

Toys! And seating for adults. I’m telling you- check this place out! The pizza was delicious, the carrot and turnip mashed were out of this world and our kids loved the scoop of vanilla ice cream with whipped cream and sprinkles. The beer was cold, food was hot, belly’s were full! We jokingly said we should eat there every night , we love it!

Delaney’s Hole in the Wall (2019) – This was my 5 year olds favorite place! She loved the grilled cheese and loved the French fries (and she basically only eats these two items- so that’s saying a lot!) My favorite were the crispy green beans (drooling thinking about them!) They lay down large pieces of brown paper for kids to color on and my kids thought it was the funniest thing ever! “We can draw on the table?! Are you sure?!” “Oh my goodness!! Look! I’m coloring on the table!” They played hangman and tic tac toe and cleaned their plates. My cheese burger was delicious, and my husband raved about the Cobb salad.

So, we’ve covered food. And Story Land is coming up in its own post soon. If you’re looking for more to do in the area… here are some spots we’ve checked out!

Diana’s Bath – Nice walk in the woods that brings you to a beautiful waterfall. The kids loved finding rocks, exploring the trail and splashing in the puddles. We did not pack bathing suits, but you absolutely could! A few bathing suits, towels and a picnic basket and this could be a lovely few hours. Parking is a few dollars and is the honor system.

Echo Lake – A gated recreational area surrounded by a 1 mile loop around the lake is a unique spot to check out. It cost us $10 to get in and park (I think adults were $4 and kids over 6 were $2). It wasn’t quite swimming weather but the kids loved the casual “hike” around the lake. We ended on an empty sandy beach area perfect for building sand castles. My husband and I sat at a picnic table and watched the kids build and run while we chatted. The scenery is just beautiful. They have (clean) restrooms, plenty of picnic tables, grill setups, and a vending machine. There were no lifeguards when we visited, but there were 2 lifeguard chairs that I assume are staffed during the busy season. This location is perfect for a fall or spring toddler friendly flat ground walk/hike. I can only assume how beautiful it is in the summer months. ☀️

Cathedral Ledge State Park – You will not regret this auto road drive for the views! We stopped in pretty quick on the way to Echo Lake. The views were incredible. You can see the Saco and Echo Lake. We saw some men climbing the rocks and my 6 year old was fascinated. Lucky for us, they were wonderful and answer all 736 of his questions after they finished their climb.

Conway Scenic Railroad – There are three trips – a one hour, a one and a half hour, and a five hour. We traveled last summer with a 2,4&5 year old- so we did a one hour trip. It was exciting for my husband and I because some of the views were just breathtaking. The kids loved snacking and exploring the train and holding their very own train ticket! One hour was a perfect trip. It gave us enough down time to relax and enjoy the train, but we pulled into the station just as the kids were getting antsy.

Cog Train to Mount Washington – This trip was awesome! The station is about an hour from SL (we stayed 5 minutes outside the park). It was an awesome experience- one I highly recommend! It was a bit pricey (adults, $72, and children, 4-12 $41) but worth it! At one point, the front of the train is fourteen (!!!) feet higher than the back of the train. The steep climb is fascinating, the views are incredible and the experience was enjoyed by all. It takes about an hour to get there, an hour to get back down, and you have an hour to spend at the summit. At the top there is a snack area to purchase food and drink, a gift shop, a museum, and lots of tables. The day we went, we were literally inside a cloud. It was sunny above us (so they say) and sunny below us (we have proof of that from the ride up/down). While unfortunate we didn’t see the views, not many people can say they were in the middle of a rain cloud! My oldest was very fascinated by that. This trip is totally worth it! We all had a lot of fun!

Our family has fallen in love with this little slice of heaven. We love our visits to the North Conway area! We just got back 3 days ago- and I think it’s time to plan the next trip!

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End of year gifts

Parents everywhere are crying because school is out! And teachers everywhere are drinking and celebrating because school is out!

End of year gifts are fun for me. I like to consider myself a creative person so it gives me an excuse to do something fun and different for the teachers. And who doesn’t love Pinterest?

Here is what I came up with this year for my sons kindergarten team!

I put graham crackers , marshmallows, and chocolate bars in a bucket and wrapped it in plastic wrap. Add a ribbon and tag- and done! For his two main teachers, I added a coffee gift card because teachers don’t have blood, I’m convinced they have coffee in their veins!

My daughter goes to a preschool program that allows high school students to teach lessons under the guidance of a certified high school/preschool teacher. It’s such a fabulous program! I ended up getting cute scented and named pocket size antibacterial lotion and added a cute tag for the high school “buddies”. My daughter also insisted we give all her preschool friends a tube of bubbles. My son was gifted bubbles last year from a friend and wouldn’t you know- my daughter didn’t forget that! Cute tag turned these bubble tubes into a quick end of year gift that most 4 year olds will enjoy! (Or dump out 25 seconds after opening them, but whatever!)

Happy summer my friends! ☀️

Ali’s Park of Eastondale

A quick pit stop on the way to the grocery store brought my youngest baby and I to Ali’s Park at 74 Pine Street in South Easton this morning. It’s tucked away neatly in a neighborhood but I had no trouble finding it.

A lot of the playground equipment was intriguing and new to Teagan, so she was running around like a crazy lady. Although it was perfect for an active two year old- I think my other 2 would love this one too!

This was, by far, her favorite! The “bumpy silly slide”.

She also loved this moving globe attraction! She was able to climb it and loved when I would turn it for her (like a merry go round).

I happened to stop by while a local mom group was meeting to play. One of the moms came over and introduced herself and was very welcoming, which was refreshing since that isn’t always the case at playgrounds!

This was overall a great spot! In addition to the playground equipment there was a covered area with picnic tables and a basketball court too. You could definitely pack a lunch, throw a bike in the trunk and spend the day here! Just pack sunblock if you want to use the swings- no shade and no trees near those! ☀️

❤️bbt

P.S. I looked up “HASKD” and found this:

http://www.haveasammikindaday.com/single-post/2018/03/07/HASKD-has-donated-a-swing-set-to-help-rebuild-the-Eastondale-Playground-Lots-of-Sammi-Smiles-at-this-park

How it costs me 20 cents to sleep in peace 😴

How it costs me .20 cents per kid to sleep though the night. Alone!

I never wanted to share my bed with my kids. I wanted it to myself. I wanted my room to be my “zone” and a no kids allowed. Fast forward three kids later, and it isn’t working out that way.

My girls go to sleep great in their own beds. They share a few books, a giggle or two and off they go to bed in their own beds in their room. However, between 1am and 5am it’s inevitable that they appear snuggled up between my husband and I. Most of the time, we don’t even hear them come in!

My son is in the scared, “what’s that noise”, “can I lay with you tonight” stage. So, he falls asleep in our bed and we move him. Well, my husband moves him. He is too big for me to gently put in his lofted bed. Once in his bed, it’s great! He will stay there until morning.

So, how do I get everyone to go to bed in their bed? How do I get three little bodies to stay in bed? I have no idea. So, I asked my 5 year old. We talked about a sticker chart. We talked about special places we could go when we got a certain amount of stickers. Then, he mentioned that instead of stickers I could tape a quarter to his chart and then we could buy a special toy when he saved enough money. I had an “ah ha!” moment! Genius! 💡

I went to party city and got three small mason jars and drilled a long coin hole in the tops. It’s visual. The kids can see how much progress they are making. They can physically put a coin in the jar. A dime for going to sleep in their bed AND a dime for waking up in their own bed. My son suggested a quarter but I quickly vetoed that suggestion when I realized it could quickly add up to $1.50 per day to sleep alone!

So, wish us luck! Any similar bribery positive reinforcement that has worked well for you?

Disclaimer: I am not a professional. The tape is to smooth the edges of my jagged cut marks with a drill 🙈🤷🏽‍♀️

Playground Review – Norfolk- Norfolk Community Park at Rockwood Road


Today I was meeting friends in Foxboro and asked my sister in law for a playground suggestion- which brought my college roommates and a whole lot of our kiddos to Norfolk Community Park!

I have very little to say EXCEPT this playground is AMAZING! Perfect for the little ones. Lots of fun stuff to do, plenty of safe places to climb. A "new age" merry-go-round, completely fenced in, huge sandbox, and lots of open space for running too. Literally, this place has everything.

My oldest (5yo) spent a lot of time on this 'train'.

My girls (3yo & 1yo) were intrigued by the huge sandbox and the open area hills to run!

And look at this awesome hidden bench inside this 'building'. This building has stairs and 1 ladder reaching a platform with 1 slide. I was completely comfortable allowing my 1 year old to explore this structure without me close by.

Pros:
Bathrooms (porta potty) ✅
Fenced in ✅
Picnic tables ✅ (and they were low to the ground! Comfortable for adults to sit but also very safe for kids!)
Lots of swings ✅ (inclusion swing & baby swings too)
Open area to run ✅
Grassy area to lay infant on ground ✅
Kids who entertained themselves and ran around for almost 2 hours while mommy got to sit and chat with friends?! ✅ ✅

Cons:
It's kind of far from my house. Obviously this is a subjective "con", and won't keep me away from coming back to visit this spot! 🤣🤷🏽‍♀️

Shoutout to my FSC gals for a fabulous day exploring the Foxboro area! And special shoutout to kristen for reading our minds and meeting us at the playground! 😜

Playground Review- Union Point -Weymouth 

I visited Union Point playground a while back and loved it!!! It was shady, offset from the road, had tons of picnic tables and a covering over them too. It was near the dog park but far enough away to give my 3 year old comfort since she is a little uncomfortable with animals. It was great- one of the higher ranked playgrounds on my radar! 

But…. it moved! It’s now located closer to the front (entering from Weymouth). It’s close to a busier road, shares a fence with the dog park and now has ZERO shade. While it still has picnic tables – they are across the parking lot in 100% sun. Lucky for me- it was just a quick trip with my youngest to fill time before I picked up my older kids at camp. She seemed to enjoy it- aside from the 4 older kids just sitting in the only shady part of the whole climbing structure. (I don’t mind older kids using playgrounds, by the way. I do mind when they sit there, ignore toddlers, and refuse to move for said toddler to use a slide.) 

Check out my pros and cons below! 


Pros

  • Scavenger hunt (pictured above). My daughter enjoyed finding these items on little circular plaques throughout the playground structure. She is younger but still understood the concept of finding the matching animal or item!
  • Easy to find (it’s closer to the entrance of Union Point now, so it’s much easier to find!)
  • Has 4-5 tables 

Cons

  • No shade. Hot, hot, hot. We visited on a 80 degree day, it was hot. Occasionally a cool breeze would pass through and it was amazing! 
  • No shade on picnic tables (we tried sitting at them but the bench was too hot to sit on)
  • No baby swings
  • Shares a fence with the dog park (crazy I know that I’m listing this as a ‘con’. My middle child isn’t crazy about dogs. She wasn’t with us during this visit but I’m willing to bet she would not have been a fan of the dogs barking/playing (fighting)) 

Would I go back? Yes! Do I think it’s a cute, close by, smaller playground that could use some shade? Yes! Could I visit after the sun goes down and have a totally different opinion?! Absolutely!  I’ve heard rumor the location of the playground moving is only temporary, I’ll keep you posted! (Or please keep me posted if you have inside info!) 

❤️ bbt

Watson Park Splash Pad – Braintree

I’ve lived in Braintree for most of my life- and I’ve been raising children here for 5ish years now. Today, we ventured down to Watson Splash Pad for the FIRST time! 

My kids had a blast! There are some definite pros and cons- but overall not a bad little spot to cool down for a few hours! 

When we got there there was a lot of activity- but a mom I was talking to said it was fairly empty today! Yikes! As the afternoon went on- it filled up quick- with older kids. Once my youngest (21 months old) started getting knocked down… we knew our time was up and it was time to go! 

Pros 

  • location (it’s in the town I live in)
  • Gated in (one way in- one way out)
  • Lifeguard on duty (pro in the sense that there is an extra set of eyes IF he was looking at anything other than his cell phone. Also a pro that he had a first aid kit BUT was out of bandaids. I felt more secure with him sitting outside the gate – but he didn’t actually do anything at all 🤷🏽‍♀️)
  • Benches to sit on inside the gated area
  • Porta potties available 
  • Playground next to splash pad (this could also be a con!)
  • The water rotates where it comes from (variety is the spice of life – I feel like it kept the kids entertained since it wasn’t always coming from the same places)
  • No button to press to reactivate the water spraying (my kids fight over who gets to press it at other splash pads – I can’t imagine the madness that would go on with 30+ kids trying to press a button!) 


Cons

  • No shade
  • Parking can be tricky (so I’ve heard. Apparently street parking and parking lot parking is for residents only. There is an additional lot for visitors that has a walking path to the splash pad).
  • Playground next to the splash pad (I also considered this a pro!) 

I’d definitely go back again. My kid are already asking!  And I can’t complain since all 3 kids are fast asleep and it’s 7:57 pm! 

🤗😴
❤️ bbt