Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Get Ready for Beach Season! Here Are Some Local Beaches to Visit

With the temperature finally rising, it’s time to start thinking about the beach! Here are some ideas for family friendly beaches in the Boston area:

Castle Island in Boston is a great shoreline beach spot with views of planes landing at Logan, beaches, walkways, and Fort Independence.

Crane's Beach is located in Ipswich and boasts four miles of white sand and gentle surf. Bath houses, lifeguards and a concession stand are onsite making it convenient for families but parking is expensive ($25 on the weekends) Spots are available if you arrive early enough and since beach stretches for miles it’s not hard to find a spot even on the most crowded beach days!

Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the Sea is a beautiful sandy beach with restrooms and a nice concession stand. The rocky cliff makes the beach feel like it’s part of the Maine coastline. Parking can be an issue but you can find limited metered spots in the nearby downtown area if you beat the crowds. Also, the commuter rail is just a short walk away, originating from North Station.

Duxbury Beach in Duxbury offers two beaches in one as the beach is a thin peninsula with a parking lot in the middle. Outer Beach offers a great spot for sun-bathing, walking and swimming. Inner Beach has protected clam beds, kayaking, a boat launch and some ideal bird-watching opportunities.

It’s also the perfect time to make sure you have all the gear you need for long days in the sun. Whether you’re poolside or spending the day at a local beach, being organized and prepared is the best way to ensure a happy day for all ages. Summer essentials include waterproof sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Fruit, granola bars, and individual packs of crackers are easy, portable snacks, and of course, you’ll want to bring plenty of water. Don’t forget to tuck in a magazine or book, and keep your cell phone accessible but out of direct sunlight. With a little bit of planning, you’ll have everything you need to stay safe and have fun this summer.

To see the Summer 2013 line of stylish, versatile SCOUT beach bags, totes, and coolers, check out Jennifer's Scout shopping website, or e-mail Jennifer Mingolelli at jenniepstyle@gmail.com. Readers who enter summer at checkout will receive a 10% discount and 5% of sales will be donated to the Parent Talk organization.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Boston's Best Baby Expo Highlights

Written by Emily Roach

This past week Magic Beans hosted the annual Drool Baby Expo in Boston at the Westin Waterfront Hotel. It's a night where you can touch, feel and play with all the latest baby gear on the market. Ever wonder how easy it is to fold up a certain stroller or travel crib? This was the chance to see what's new, trending and also visit with a number of local organizations like Tiny Signs, MyGym and Purely Pears.

image source: pnmag.com
I really liked the Magnificent Baby clothing line. The prints are cute and modern and the magnetic closure are so easy for middle of the night baby changes.

Click here to read more highlights of the Drool Baby Expo...

Thank you to Magic Beans for offering Parent Talk members a discount this year to the Expo!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Create a Fairy Garden

 Written by Cheri Pugatch

Fairies and princesses are the hot topic of conversation in a house with two little girls.  I came across the idea of creating a fairy garden from a friend on Facebook, and to say it was a hit with my girls would be an understatement.  They had a blast going to Home Depot to pick out the whiskey barrel planter and perennials to plant in the garden.  Next stop was Michael’s.  We bought fairy houses (aka unfinished wooden bird houses) to be painted along with fairy garden decorations (pretty rocks, sparkly butterflies and fake moss).  

Next the girls painted their fairy houses and my husband sprayed the houses with a polycrylic protective gloss to make sure the painted houses would be protected from rain.  This can be purchased at Home Depot or your local hardware store.  

The last step of the project was to fill the barrel with soil, plant the flowers, and arrange the fairy houses with décor.  This final step was so much fun for the girls (see pics) and they are so proud of the fairy garden that they created.  Every day we check to see if there are any fairies visiting.  I plan to sprinkle a little fairy dust every once in a while so the girls get excited to see traces of the fairies J

Friday, May 17, 2013

Drool Baby Expo this Tuesday in Boston! Parent Talk discount too!

Here’s what you (and your friends) can look forward to next Tuesday night at the Drool Baby Expo:
· Meeting all of the biggest and best names in the baby industry
· Seeing the hottest baby products up close
· Taking advantage of many ONE NIGHT ONLY exclusive discounts and promotions
· Participating in a raffle with over $12,000 in prizes
· Noshing on yummy treats & mocktails provided by Magic Beans

Drool Baby Expo is being held on May 21 at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in Boston. Drool is an exclusive expo that lets you connect with all of the top baby brands and stock up on all of your baby needs in one place, with great deals and awesome freebies! At the event, you'll also get access to yummy refreshments, complimentary spa services and free entries to win over $10,000 in raffle prizes!

For any Parent Talk members who are interested in coming, you get $5 off of each ticket, by entering the promotional code ParentTalk5. More information, to purchase tickets, visit droolbabyexpo.com.

Here's a highlight of the 2012 Drool Baby Expo to give you and idea of what you will find at the event.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Parent Talk Cookbook in action!

Written by Vidya Kagan, Cookbook Committee Chair 

What better way to sell the cookbook than to make some of the dishes and serve them to friends!  I recently hosted the PT Cookbook Committee for a potluck dinner.  Each of us made and brought different items, and the evening was “simply delicious!”  For starters, I made the Chipotle Dip and Chicken Salad Cups.  For dinner, we had Adam’s Favorite Salad (made by Lara) and the Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetable (made by me).  We ended the meal with MC’s famous Caramel Pecan Cookies.  What a treat!

These and other fabulous recipes are waiting for you, so please buy your copy of Simply Delicious:  The Parent Talk Cookbook today!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Get Kids Ready for Summer Camp (Giveaway!)

Written by Emily Roach

The weather is finally nice and our thoughts turn towards long summer days and family trips. The other exciting part of summer for many kids is camp! Your kids had lots of options to choose from at the 1st annual Parent Talk Summer Camp Fair, and it's almost time for them to enjoy a new adventure.  Here's a few ways to get ready for summer camp, plus we are partnering with Kiddo Tags to offer a $40 Gift Card to a lucky family to order labels for camp stuff.

Here are some of the things to plan to pack for day camp. Remember to start with a backpack the kids can manage themselves, but big enough to hold a swim towel if needed. 
image source

If you have big kids heading to sleep away camp, here are some additional items for your list.
  • Clothing that is easy to coordinate
  • Mini first aid kid
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • A little piece of home (photo, stuffed animal)
  • Sneakers and water shoes
In order to ease the transition into camp for both big and little kids, it's helpful to talk through the schedule they will face at their camp. If there is a tour available for both parents and kids to attend, take advantage of it together. If swimming is involved, make sure they are not stressed in the water and have adequate skills to avoid poolside meltdowns. Even if you think they are prepared, be understanding when those meltdowns happen and you get a phone call. We went through that last year as my daughter wasn't used to having a male teacher. Kids can get funny about the strangest things so just be flexible, and help them get mentally prepared.

Getting your stuff labeled for camp is key. There's a lot of stuff floating around that often looks the same so having your kids name on it is handy for all those camp counselors.

If your kids have allergies, an labels and ID bracelets may be a lifesaver. Kiddo Tags offers both wristbands and labels for children with allergies or medical conditions. The design options are cute and you can get your child's input on customizing them. You can order yours now and get 20% off using the coupons code: awareness. (Expires June 30, 2013).

One lucky Parent Talk family will win a $40 Gift Card to Kiddo Tags to get their child ready for camp! Please enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Contest is open until May 22, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author
Emily Roach is the writer/owner of Random Recycling, a blog focused on healthy living for modern families. She lives in Needham with her husband, two children, and is expecting baby number three this summer. She loves to cook, garden and spend time at the beach.

Dislcosure: I was provided Kiddo Tags to help my kids get ready for camp this summer. The designs and color options are cute and the ordering process was very easy. All opinions shared here are my own. Parent Talk is not responsible for the fulfillment of this giveaway. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Quick Trips with Little Ones Outside Boston

Written by Betsy Miller

Now that spring is here it’s time to begin exploring again.   What better way to enjoy the gorgeous weather and inspire joy than to take a little day or overnight trip?  Parent Talk members have mentioned New York City, Mystic, CT and Portland, ME as some of their favorites. These prove to be quick trips that promise amazing experiences to be had with a little planning and a few hours on the road.If your family is interested in an overnight stay, be sure to check out deals online like Groupon Getaways.  Many of the close-by packages include dinner and kids stay free.

New York City

Only a 3 hour drive or quick train ride away, some of the most exciting andfamily-friendly fun can be found in the Big Apple.Things to do and see include:
  • Central Park: I'd highly recommend the CP Zoo and a night-time carriage ride.
  • Staten Island Ferry – it’s free!
  • Children’s Museum of Art in SoHo.
  • Times Square: Toys R Us has an indoor Ferris wheel.  Also, if you are interested in seeing a show there is the TKS stand in Times Square (across from TRU) that sells cheap tickets the day of the show.  Be aware the Times Square can be very crowded, very loud and overwhelming to some children.
  • Top of the Rock: Amazing views from the 70th floor of the
  • Rockefeller Center, also home to NBC Studios.
Places to Eat:
  • Serendipity: delicious frozen hot chocolate is always a hit with kids.
  • Restaurant Row: tons of low-key, delicious Italian places on 9th Ave (my favorite is Becco on W. 46th between 8th and 9th)
Places to Stay:
  • Le Parker Meridien on W. 56th. It was great, but it was a pull out sofa and not a full wall. It also had a free in-room breakfast, which was awesome and two entrees with one side fed all of us. Also has a great roof top pool and is walking distance to Times Square (thanks, Karin Dupuis for the suggestion!)
  • Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South.  Suites and very nice amenitites.  Perfect location right on Central Park and within walking distance of FAO and Times Square.
  • Doubletree Suites and Marriot Courtyard also have suites.

Mystic, CT (thank you to Susan Orr and Jen Leonard-Schaffsteinfor the info!)

Mystic is a charming New England seaport town with activities both quietand exciting.
  • Mystic Aquarium – one of the best aquariums in New England wit hands-on attractions like petting stingrays and beluga whales .
  • Dinosaur Place – kid-sized amusement park includes trails to explore, a playground and splashpad.
  • Near Mystic on the Connecticut College campus there is a really pretty arboretum- lots of walking in the woods and gardens... a great place to let the kids explore.
Places to Eat:
  • Mystic Pizza (from the 80’s movie, of course!)
  • Costello’s Clam Shack – about 10 minutes down the coast in the
Noank shipyard is this very casual place known for chowders and clam bakes.Be sure to visit the website for directions as it can be hard to find.Places to Stay:
  • Hilton hotel with an indoor pool. It is very close to the aquarium.
  • Foxwoods is close and has many dining and hotel options. Also has a spa for treating yourself after a long, action-packed day with the kids!

Portland, ME (info also provided by Susan)

Things to do:

  • Willard Beach--very scenic, neighborhood-type beach in South Portland.  You can view the islands off the coast and a lighthouse. Within walking distance is a good bakery called Scratch for lunch or treats.
  • Walking trails: there are something like 40 miles of walking trails in Portland. There is one called Back Cove.
  • Boat rides and tours: take the boat to various islands off the mainland and explore-Peaks Island is the one with the most on it.

Places to Eat
  • Lobster Shack at Two Lights--fried seafood and home baked desserts that you sit outside eating at picnic tables overlooking a lighthouse. And I think it is BYOB. (10 min from Portland in Cape Elizabeth)
  • Flatbread pizza:  good kid-friendly restaurant.

Place to stay:

  • Portland Harbor Hotel
  • Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth is really nice. Suites are available which is good when traveling with small kids.
Where are some of your favorite places to take a trip with your little kids? Leave a note in the comment section below.

photo credit: Selbe B via photopin cc
photo credit: oefe via photopin cc

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