Sunday, July 20, 2014

5 Things to do this Week!

After an amazing family vacation to the island where my mom grew up in Croatia, I'm back and ready to blog!  Here are 5 free/cheap things to do this week.

1.  Spray parks.  There are going to be a few scorchers this week - Tuesday is supposed to be 88 and Wednesday is supposed to be 90.  So why not hit up a spray park?  Waltham not only has some excellent spray parks, but during the week the Boys and Girls Club is at a few of the locations giving free lunches to kids.

2.  Frog Pond.  Keep cool in Boston by taking a wade in the Frog Pond.  Enjoy the shade in Boston Common, a picnic, a ride on the carousel, and cool off in the Frog Pond.

3.  See a free outdoor movie.  The Sandlot is playing in Newton Highlands after live Irish music.  The Hatch Shell has Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.  Both on Friday.

4.  Visit the MIT Museum or the Franklin Park Zoo for free on Friday, courtesy of Highland Street.  Get there when it opens, though!

5.  Check out tide pools.  Drive on up to Joppa Flats in Newburyport for tide pooling.  $2 per kid.  Afterwards, I suggest visiting Bob Lobster for some fresh seafood!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Free Music and Outdoor Movies in Newton Highlands

Can't make it to the outdoor movies at the Hatch Shell?  Newton Highlands has live music AND movies!  Bring blankets, beach chairs, and pack a picnic.  (Or buy drinks and snacks sold there)   Newton Highlands is right off the green (D) line, for those of you looking for something T-accessible!

 This is a GREAT lineup and includes one of my all-time favorite movies...Mary Poppins!

Here's the schedule from the Hyde Center website:

 June 13 6:00 p.m. Concert: Studio 2 Beatles Tribute Band, (rock)
 Dusk Movie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

 June 20 6:00 p.m. Concert: In The House, (R&B, Motown, Reggae)
 Dusk Movie: The Nut Job

 June 27 6:00 p.m. Concert: Specific Gravity, (rock)
 Dusk Movie: The Lego Movie

 July 11 6:00 p.m. Concert: Gringo Kings, (Jazz & Salsa)
 Dusk Movie: Frozen

 July 18 6:00 p.m. Concert: Four Guys in Tuxes, (family mix)
 Dusk Movie: Princess Diaries

 July 20 8:00 p.m. New Rep Theater , Shakespeare in the Park
 “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

 July 25 6:00 p.m. Concert: Black Velvet Band (Irish)
 Dusk Movie: The Sandlot

 July 27 8:00 p.m. New Philharmonia Orchestra
 Classical and Popular Music

 August 1 6:00 p.m. Concert: Reminisants (Oldies)
 Dusk Movie: Rear Window

 August 3 8:00 p.m. Red Sox & New York Yankees Telecast

 August 8 6:00 p.m. Concert: Soft Touch Dance Band (Big Band)
 Dusk Movie: Saving Mr. Banks

 August 10 8:00 p.m. Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
 “Much Ado About Nothing”

August 15 6:00 p.m. Concert: Jumpin Juba (rock)
 Dusk Movie: Mary Poppins

 August 22 6:00 p.m. Concert: Heritage House Blues Band (blues)
 Dusk Movie: Despicable Me 2

 September 5 6:00 p.m. Concert: Waiting for Neil
 Dusk Movie: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

*All events take place outside on the Hyde Playground. In case of rain, everything moves inside the community center gym.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Bucket List

Summer officially arrived this weekend and we couldn't be more excited!   Last year I created a summer bucket list and we did almost everything on the list, so I've decided to do it again.


  • Salem Willows.  A great place for summer fun!  A historic merry-go-round, mini golf, arcade games, ice cream, right on the water.  Everything is inexpensive and it's a great beachy outing.  
  • Look Park.  I'd love to head out to Amherst for a day trip and spend some time at Look Park.  There's playgrounds, paddle boats, mini golf, a little zoo, and spray parks.  I went there once before I had Isaac and I've been wanting to take him since last summer, but we never got a chance.  
  • Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH.  A friend posted some pictures of her family at the Seacoast Science Center and it looked like so much fun that I'm looking forward to taking Isaac!  It's only $7 for adults and $3 for kids.  
  • Frog Pond.  We can't get enough of wading in the Frog Pond!  I can't wait to spend an entire day at Boston Common this summer.
  • Blueberry picking.  We had a great time strawberry picking at Ward's Berry Farm last week but next month we plan to pick blueberries at Tougas Farm.  
  • Camping at the Cape.  The best way to do a Cape trip on a budget during the summer is to CAMP!  Last year we enjoyed Sweetwater Forest in Brewster. 
  • York, ME.  We usually try to go to York once a year, but last year the summer just went way too fast!  Fun-O-Rama is always a good time with some bowling and skeeball and ice cream or candy at The Goldenrod is a real treat!  And you can't get much more New England than the picturesque Nubble Light.
  • Walden Pond.  GO EARLY!   The parking lot fills up fast on nice days and it's also shaded in the morning.  
  • Visit a new Mass Audubon location.  I'd like to visit a location where we've never been before!  
  • Picnic and play at Artesani Park in Brighton.  The wading pool is wonderful on a warm day!  
  • Boating.  I'm on the lookout for some inexpensive boating options.  Charles River Canoe and Kayak is expensive.  Stay tuned for cheaper alternatives...

What's on your summer bucket list?


Friday, June 20, 2014

5 Fun Weekend Activities

Woohoo!  The first weekend of summer has arrived, bringing with it a GORGEOUS forecast.  Here are some free or inexpensive happenings for the weekend.  Enjoy!

1.  Verrill Farm's Strawberry Festival.  PYO berries, strawberry shortcake, pony rides, music, burgers, hay rides.  Free admission.

2.  Watertown's Greek Festival.  Greek food (including pastries!), games, music, dancing.  Starts tonight and goes through Sunday.

3.  Riverfest on the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers. Kids can explore the riverbanks, ride boats, listen to music, and more.  These activities appear to be FREE!

4.  Free Beach Party in Acton.  Beach admission is waived for this event which includes hula hooping, sand building, and more fun and games.

5.  Play outside until dusk.  Tomorrow is summer solstice, which throughout my childhood meant playing outside until the sun went down.  Even if it's past your kid's bedtime, let them stay up and enjoy a long day full of daylight.   Some of my favorite memories were getting to play outside until 9 on the first day of summer.  This could be made complete with ice cream sandwiches or ice pops.  :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fun at Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

We're always looking for kid-friendly hikes.  (Meaning, mostly flat, not too long, ones that loop around)   I also love to take advantage of our Mass Audubon membership.  So, when my husband said that he wanted to do a Father's Day hike, I suggested Broadmoor in Natick.  We had a truly lovely time.  The weather was great, the trails were totally doable for even my 4 year old's little legs, and we saw some fun critters.

Check out what we saw:





Friday, June 13, 2014

5 Fun Father's Day Activities

Have you thought about what to do for the dad(s) in your life this Sunday?  Here are some fun ideas!

1.  The current Boston forecast for Sunday is 80 degrees, sunny, and dry.  There are so many great Boston-area beaches to choose from!  If freshwater beaches are your thing, head to an inland state park such as Walden Pond and spend the day swimming, boating, and picnicking.  Or get an early start and head to the North Shore or even the Cape.

2.  Visit Stone Zoo or Franklin Park Zoo...dads get in free on Sunday!  What a deal!

3.  Dads also get in free at Old Sturbridge Village!  Enjoy the lovely day in Central Mass.

4.  Treat Dad to some good pub grub at John Brewers (Waltham and Malden) or Brewers Coalition (Newtonville).  Dads eat free there on Sunday.  They have a great kids' meal, too!

5.  Go for a picnic at one of my favorite picnic spots around Boston.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Favorite Places to Picnic

Water play at the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway
We love picnicking!  It's one of our favorite pastimes during the non-winter months.  Here are a few favorite places to picnic around Boston.

1.  Castle Island in Southie.   Lots of picnic tables, a beach, watching the airplanes take off, and a great playground!  If you forgot to pack anything for your picnic, Sullivan's has cheap eats.   You can spend all day at Castle Island.   

2.  Boston Common.  Enjoy the landscaping, the sights, and in the summer you can wade in the Frog Pond for free!  There are lots of nice spots for a picnic, and afterwards you can do the Swan Boats and the carousel, or take a stroll up Newbury Street.

3.  Artesani Park.  There are picnic tables galore at Artesani Park in Brighton.  There's a big parking lot and it's only a 10 minute bus ride from Central Square.  The playgrounds are fun and the wading pool in the summer is really awesome!  

4.  Cochituate State Park in Natick.  Make a day of it!  Rent a paddleboat, go swimming, throw around the ball, and have a picnic.  There are even barbecues.  Last year, the DCR offered nature programming for kids and hopefully will do the same this summer.  Take a peek at last year's schedule for an idea of what they offered.  Bring cash, as there's a $5 parking fee.  (Or buy a season parking pass - we go frequently and it pays for itself!)

5.  Auburndale Cove in Newton.  A trail, ducks to feed, a big mountain of sand, playgrounds, and a picnic area.  The Cove is one of Isaac's favorite playgrounds!  It's nice and wooded and perfect for a picnic.  

6.  Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.  Head over to the North End for some pizza and pastries and bring them over to the Rose Kennedy Greenway!   There are tables, plenty of places for kids to run, a carousel, and free entertainment!  

What are your favorite places to picnic?