The Beach - Free Fun in the Fall

Yesterday, the boys and I headed to the beach.  Yes - the beach in November!  Our beach (Point Pleasant, NJ) is lucky enough to have a small aquarium that is open all year.  CheezWaster was itching to go to an aquarium and since we had never visited this particular one, I thought it was the perfect time.  The aquarium is only 2 floors and not very large - perfect for toddlers.  When we arrived we were lucky enough to get there just in time to see the penguins fed.  Afterwards, we walked a little bit on the boardwalk and then headed onto the beach.  There were tons of shells to pick up and the kids loved seeing the bigger waves of autumn.  There was also tons of wildlife to be seen.  We chased seagulls, looked at some jellyfish that washed ashore and even stumbled across a half of a (sadly dead) starfish.  The kids had fun playing in the sand and just enjoying the beautiful day walking on the beach.  And so - did I.

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Ice Man Costume

So - if you are like me, your kid decides to pick the one character in the world that doesn’t have a pre-made, store-bought costume option.  CheezWaster decided he wanted to be Ice Man from the X-Men this year.

Iceman from tjhe X-Men

Iceman from the X-Men

This costume is relatively simple to make.  We purchased a boy’s light blue mock turtleneck unitard from an online dancewear company.  I was a bit upset that this wasn’t shiny spandex material when it arrived,  but the website didn’t really have pictures of the unitard colors either.  I think the shiny spandex would have made the costume a bit more true to the character.  We then purchased 2 types of wide ribbon - 1 piece of light blue and one piece of clear/white with silver sparkles.  We overlayed the ribbons and sewed them on to the costume - attaching them to the side and back seams of the unitard.  We then used silver trim to make the X in the middle of the belt.

We used a make-up set from Ice FX.  I found mine at Walgreens but also saw them at Party City and several other costume shops.  These sets come with everything you need to do the light blue makeup and ice crystals.  We added the ice crystals to CheezWaster’s eyebrows, cheeks and hands.  We also used a blue gel hair dye on his hair. And WHA-LA - there you have an Ice Man from X-men costume.

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Halloween and the Allergic Child

While I myself do not have a child with food allergies, I was a child with food allergies.  And Halloween, much like every other holiday that revolved around food, was no fun at all.  In light of having been through it and knowing what it was like, I always keep some non-food Halloween treats on hand, just in case.  We have in the past had people ask us if we had any nut-free candy (I always do!) and I’ve offered the non-food treats, to which they have always been appreciative and usually accept them over the candy.  I’ve also had friends who would pre-deliver special treats to the houses on their block and then take their kids with food allergies trick or treating to only these houses.  My treats this year are cute little Halloween pads and pencils.  Not the most exciting thing, but if you can’t have candy, it is probably like Christmas getting something other than candy at any house.  My mom also always keeps a roll of quarters by the door, just in case. 

This year, even though I was fortunate enough to outgrow (most of) my food allergies, I’ve thought long and hard about how I’m going to avoid the candy in the house, given I’m on Weight Watchers.  1) I’m just saying no.  2) I’m giving my kids neat little color changing Halloween books in their treat bags. 3) Depending on how much candy we get, the Halloween fairy might stop by our house and exchange most of it for a nice toy instead.  Save the kids’ teeth, Save mommy’s butt!

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Great Wolf Lodge is GREAT fun for all ages!

For the 2nd year in a row, as part of a larger vacation, we spent a night at the Great Wolf Lodge.  Both of our stays have been at the Williamsburg, VA location.  Not only did the boys have a blast, so did my husband and I.  The first time we went, The Destroyer was only 10 months old and CheezWaster was 2 1/2.  Despite their young ages, there was plenty to do.  With them a bit older this year, there was even more fun to be had.
The boys started off in the kiddie section and enjoyed riding the small slides, as well as playing with all of the sprinklers. 
Kiddie Slides

Kiddie Slides


Kiddie Slides

Then, once The Destroyer was accustomed to that, we ventured to what I like to call the medium slides.  They are part of the Fort McKenzie tower structure that is the center of the waterpark.  There are 2 and they aren’t too bad for the smaller kids (though 1 time The Destroyer did come down backwards and head first).  This is also where the huge bucket of water dumps every few minutes.  The Tower is full of neat ways to get to the top including nets, stairs, and tubes.  Down where the huge bucket drops are many sprinklers in which the younger (and older if they like) kids can play.


There is a wave pool which is fun for all ages.  The waves go off about every 5 minutes and then offer a break for regular swimming.

The Wave Pool

 The waterpark also has a few larger tube rides that the whole family can ride (though no infants).  We rode 3 larger tube rides with both kids.  There also is a river tube ride in which you just sit and float around the river.  The water park also has a sports type pool where they have balls and nets you can play with.  Not to mention there is a cool surfboard on a wave that you can ride.  These are more for the older kids and some have height restrictions.

Singing Clock in Lobby

3 times a day the clock in the lobby performs a show with the figures singing and moving.  At night, there is story time in the lobby by the fireplace.

Wiley Wolf

This year, we were lucky enough to have Wiley Wolf join our story time.  He stayed and greeted and took pictures with all of the kids.


 There is an arcade that has games for all ages.  The staff in the arcade was great, too.  We only enough tickets for one small ball prize, but because The Destroyer began to pitch a fit, they gave us a second ball at no charge.  Now, that is some great customer service!

The Bear Paw Sweets Bear

The Destroyer just loved this bear.  It was outside the Bear Paw Sweet Shop just next to the waterpark.  Whenever we went down to the water, he just HAD to sit in the bear’s lap.

Great Wolf is a great hotel option or great weekend getaway (we’re lucky to have one about an hour away from our house, too!).  Rooms are very reasonably priced and they offer a lot of family suite options if you want to bring along the grandparents (so you can ditch the kids and ride the BIG KID water slides!).  They offer various food options such as a quick serve restaurant, a full serve restaurant and a Pizza Hut Express (our dinner of choice to take back to the room after the kids are all tuckered out from water park fun).  They also have many other fun options for the kids (young and old).  There is a Cub Club where you can do crafts,  a Teen Zone where they have internet access and video games, a spa that offers adult and kid services, a Magiquest game around the hotel where you follow clues.  There really is a ton of stuff to do there and the waterpark is included in the price - AND the best part is you can use the waterpark as of 1:00 on the day you check in (even if your room isn’t ready yet) and up until 9 PM the next day (even though check out is 11:00 am). 
I’ve seen people with kids of all ages at Great Wolf.  This is a place I will go over and over with my kids.  They enjoy it now as toddlers and with so many activity options, I’m positive they will enjoy it as they get older, too. 
Not to mention, my parents gave us a gift certificate for Christmas last year after hearing what a blast we had.  Not only did we have another great time, but it was free for us! 
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Hours of Free Fun!

The holidays are quickly approaching and I’ve already started taking advantage of some of the online sales and coupons.  One added benefit of ordering stuff online (besides of course not having to venture to the store with 2 kids in tow and potentially catch swine flu!) is the bubble wrap, which can provide hours of free fun (for my kids at least).  The other night, the kids literally spent close to an hour and a half jumping around like lunatics on the massive box of bubble wrap we had left over from our new water cooler.  It looked like such fun that even I joined in (I wonder how many activity points I got for that?!).  The kids thought it was hilarious that when I jumped on the bubble wrap it sounded like fireworks going off.  I’ll be looking forward to many more nights of jumping around with my Bubble Wrap Maniacs before and after the holidays!

Bubble Wrap Fun

Bubble Wrap Jumping Maniac!

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