Swimmom’s Weblog

Diary of a Stay-at-home Mom, motherhood and beyond

Take me out to the Ball Game….. August 15, 2008

I have been completely consumed with watching the Olympics and Micheal Phelps quest for a record amount of gold. I have stayed up way past the times that I should every night so I don’t miss a beat. Remember, like I said before swimming used to be my life, my first love, that is until I met my husband and had kids, but as many of you know, you never forget your first love. Swimming still lies deep in my blood and within my soul.

Anyway…enough about swimming. If you have checked out the link in the upper right hand corner of my blog, I have given you some of my favorite places to take a day out with the family and tonight I have to add 2 places, one of them I wish I added sooner.

But here we go…

1. Kid Junction in Mt Laurel is now open and be prepared on that first visit with your toddler, they will kick and scream and not want to leave, trust me, it happened to me. I love this place because it is very clean. There are great “stations”. They have a great climbing/slide section for toddlers and a smaller section for infants they call Jail with a safety gate so no prisoners break free (cute). They have a post office, a gym, a vet, pizza place and a grocery store. Don’t forget to bring a couple extra bucks for the token rides and to grab a bite to eat in the great little “cafe”. The place is big enough for you child to run around, yet small enough not to lose them. And don’t fret if you do, each child and parent is given a matching number upon entry and they won’t let you leave without checking it twice. Admission is $9.95 for child 2 and over and $6.95 for 2 and under. This place is definitely worth the time to check out and possibly a great place for a birthday party.

2. Camden Riversharks, Campbell Field, Camden, New Jersey. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, or mention it and maybe it’s because we really just took both kids there today so I didn’t think of it. But for $44 (can’t beat it) for the family of 4, (and that’s for the “good” seats). We purchased the seats online and picked them up at the will call, they have great events and today happened to be public safety day so the place was filled with firetrucks and firemen, of course, my son thought it was the coolest thing. After taking in “red”, we grabbed a bite to eat (you could probably pack snacks or eat before hand and just buy ice cream) and then found our seats. My kids lasted a whole 2 innings before they wanted to get up and my husband and I didn’t think they would lost through the 4th inning, but after a carousel ride, playing in the Fun Zone (this does cost $5 but worth every penny) eating ice cream, cruising the stadium and a couple trips to the bathroom (yes, he stayed dry the entire time) before we knew it, it was the 9th inning and we took our seats for a great Fireworks Display (I believe they do it every Friday night). These fireworks beat out the ones we saw on the 4th of July by far. My son thought it was the greatest thing ever and my daughter, put her hand over her face and fell asleep (yes, she nodded off during the fireworks). A cool bonus, great scenery, and with the field being right next to the Ben Franklin Bridge, my train enthusiast caught glimpse of probably half a dozen train trips across the bridge. This is worth every penny. If you can’t check it out this season, put it on your list for next. Oh yeah…if your child is small and doesn’t need their own seat, no charge.

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Mother’s Day May 8, 2008

Mother’s Day is steadily approaching and what a better way to show mom you are truly thinking about her, of course other than breakfast in bed, a spa treatment and something with a big and sparkley jewel, just kidding, is to take her out and about. I know I would love any of these (hint,hint) and there is still time left to plan her special day. So, here are some great things happening around town that you may want to take your mom to, maybe I’ll see you at one of them.

1. Longwood Gardens is celebrating mother’s day with special musical events throughout the weekend to make your mother’s day unforgettable. If you can’t go Sunday, go Saturday or make it a weekend trip. On Saturday participate in the Bird watching tour and then end the day with a special swing concert from the John Clark Big Band. On Sunday enjoy the beautiful chimes of the Harp Music by Janet Witman, followed by a Carillon Concert featuring Dough Gefvert topped off by a Chimes Tower Tour. Events are throughout the entire weekend from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Check out their website for more information.

2. Why not give your mom the presidential treatment with brunch at the National Constitution Center! Enjoy a hot breakfast with made to order omelets, a carving station, a pasta station, salad bar and desert bar. Tickets include brunch, admission to the museum and a special gift for mom. Reservations are required to hop on over to their website to check it out.

3. This one sounds like fun…Treat Mom to a lovely Teddy Bear Tea party at the Garden State Discovery Museum. Featuring teddy bear songs, stories, cookie decorating and crafts. To top it off, Moms are free on Mother’s Day!!¬† The tea party runs Sunday from 1pm to 3pm.

4. Celebrate your Mom and Moms of all species at the Academy of Natural Sciences Animal Moms Weekend this Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am to 3:30pm. Bring your little ones and learn about the nurturing residents of the museum’s Live Animal Center. Home to 100 animals that are injured and cannot survive the wild. Complete with a Live animal show, Learn about a variety of animal eggs, and make a Mother’s Day Card to take home.

5. Maybe you want to give your Mom a break on Mother’s Day and give here a couple hours to go to the Spa, go shopping or just take a nap. Bounce U in Cherry Hill is helping you achieve a little quiet in the house by letting your kids cause a ruckus at their’s. Sunday from 12:00pm to 2:30pm join Bounce U for a laser light afternoon of fun with plenty of bouncing.

Whatever you do on Mother’s Day, and trust me, it doesn’t have to be a lot or cost a lot , just take some time ton show your mom how special she is to you.

 

Let’s get Out and about May 2, 2008

Looking for something to do this weekend? Well, look no further. Here are some fun things around the area to keep you out and about.

1. Celebrate Kidsland ’08 at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, NJ. The Festivities kick off Sunday at 11:00am and the fun runs through 4:00pm. Join them for entertainment, food samplings and over 100 companies will be presenting hands-on educational exhibits. Even more, it’s fun for the whole family and admission is FREE! Check out their website for more information.

2. Is your little cookie monster into Sesame Street as much as mine? Then don’t miss this big red carpet event! Saturday Sesame Place opens for the season, Hollywood Style. Come early and get great seats as you watch your favorite characters make their grand entrance down the red carpet. Along with getting a glimpse of your favorite characters, be the first to check out the new features at the park including the new Sunny Day Carousel. Check out their website for schedule of events.

3. Sesame Place isn’t the only big opening this weekend. Join in for the fun as Hershey Park opens for their big season. Along with all the rides and fun, join them for a great schedule of live performances and of course chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Oh yeah, did I say Chocolate!

4. Looking for a little one on one time with the hubby? Get the babysitter! This is a good one to do without the kids. Join Longwood Gardens for their Jazz and Wine Festival ’08. Sample the regions finest wines and those from around the world, as you listen to live jazz music. Not only will you taste the wine but learn about the wine making process. Check out their website for the music line-up and participating wineries.

5. Now that you’ve left the kids behind, you can redeem it and bring your kids to Longwood Gardens to check out their new display of amazing, I repeat, amazing, treehouses. Bring out your inner child and give their imagination a boost as you, venture to the gardens and check out Nature’s Castles, 3 beautiful, I repeat, beautiful large scale treehouses created by the country’s best designers. This will give you a refreshing view from above the trees, but go with warning, you may now be on demand to create a backyard oasis of your own.

6. SALE! Yes, I said SALE!!! Denny’s children wear is coming to town again with savings of 40-50% and did I mention super cuter clothes for boy and girls. Gear up for the summer with clothes that will be the talk of the park and the party. And you can laugh because you know you only paid a fraction of what the clothes are really worth and trust me, I love deals, and this is a great deal. Denny’s comes to Mt. Laurel Sun 5/4 from 10:00am to 9:00pm and Monday 5/5 from 10:00am to 6:00pm at the Wyndham Hotel in Mt. Laurel (1111 Rt. 73). (Tip…get their early, it’s shopping madness!)

 

ZOO TIP April 12, 2008

If you are a member at the Philadelphia Zoo, don’t forget about the Member Morning Strolls. The Zoo opens at 8:30am-9:30am for their members-only hours at the Zoo (great time to let your kid run free). Perfect to see how the keepers and animals start their morning. The first 500 kids receive a free gift. You don’t have to register for this event, just come to the Zoo and bring your ID.

Member Morning Strolls are April 13th, May 11th, June 28th, July 20th, August 16th, September 21st and October 12th.

 

TGIF April 11, 2008

I know it’s supposed to rain Satuday Morning but don’t let the weekend get washed away.

Here are some great things to do with your little or bigs ones this weekend:

1.Is your little one totally obsessed with Thomas the Train like mine? Visit your local Toys R Us for a Thomas and Friends play date Saturday April 12th from 11:00am to 1:00pm. The fun included Storytime every half hour, Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway Play time, Coloring Fun and special in store savings (of course you couldn’t get off completely free). Show up on time because while supplies last they are giving away Free Thomas trading cards.

2. Bounce U is open Saturday night for Family Bounce Time from 8pm-10pm. Plenty of bounce space will be available as both bounce spaces will be open. Don’t worry about grabbing a bit to eat beforehand, pizza and drinks will be served. Space is limited and reservations are recommended, so email your name, phone number and number of bouncers to cherryhill.nj@bounceu.com. Happy Bouncing!

3. The Discovery Museum seems to be throwing some great weekend events with great themes. This one sounds good enough to eat. And you may to be able to enjoy a taste of the Italian countryside as you join the Discovery Museum for An Italian Affair on Saturday, April 12th. Along with food you can channel Michelangelo and paint your own ceiling fresco or prepare your own pasta. They will also feature a special storytime in the storybook castle with author Strega Nona.

4. Hopefully the rain doesn’t stay too long because this should be a fun one. Venture over to Longwood Gardens this weekend and learn and art of Kite Flying during their annual Kite Festival, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. My husband, master kite flyer (a funny story for another time), would enjoy this one. Anyway, enjoy the art and skill of kite flying as the Leigh Valley Kite Society takes over the Cow lot filling the air with colorful and unique kites. Kids can join in on the fun by making their own kites.

5.Love baseball. Show your children the effect baseball has had on the society through the history of the Negro Baseball League. Discovery Greatness: Illustrated greatness of the Negro League Baseball. This traveling exhibit features 90 photographs that showcase the history of the African-American baseball from the late 1880’s to the 1960’s. It also pays tribute to the National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, pennants, replica uniforms, posters and more. This traveling exhibit will be on display at the African-American Museum in Philadelphia until May 4th.

Here is a great charitable event happening this weekend at the Pump it up in Marlton in support of Autism Awareness Month:

Just don’t bounce! Bounce for a cause! Join Pump it up in Marlton, NJ and Bounce for Autism¬† Wednesday April 16th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Not can you bounce, enjoy pizza and drinks and take your turn at the prize wheel, but 100% off all proceeds will be donated to the Autism Society of America. Tickets are limited. Click here to purchase you tickets and visit their site (www.bounceforautism.org) for more information.

 

House Hunting And Story Time April 2, 2008

If there is anything more stressful than 2 kids on a full out temper tantrum rage through your house, it is house hunting.

It started out fun and turned stressful.

There is so much to consider other than the size of the house.

Schools and Neighborhoods.

And once you narrow down neighborhoods, you really narrow your choice of available houses. And then of course price, you push the limit to make sure it is a house you won’t grow out of in all of 5 minutes, and sometimes negotiations don’t work out. Maybe in the scheme of things, it’s all a sign.

Maybe this house just wasn’t meant to be, life has a funny way of working itself out and maybe the good house fairy is looking down and watching us.

But maybe not, does the house fairy even exist, probably not.

This is the house we want, in the area we want, in the school district we want.

How hard is it worth pushing?

As you can tell, We are first time home-buyers.

Anyway, other than house hunting, I found a nice inexpensive play date to go on with others or just with your own kids.

Today we went to our local Barnes and Noble 11:00 story time.

It was great. The first time we went George was just 2 and not interested in sitting. We walked into the kids section of the store and he made a b-line for the train table (warning, almost every store has one) and it was over.

Separation was attempted but not successful.

This time, we were at another Barnes and Noble and I steered him in the complete other direction,away from the train table (which was somewhat hidden, so thankfully he didn’t even see it) and straight to the story area.

For the most part, he did a great job listening and taking part in story time.

At the end of story time, she handed out coloring pages and crayons to all the kids including George dropped to the floor and colored. He even spoke with the woman in charge of story time and engaged in questions and comments about the book with her.

He was very good, today I got lucky.

The entire story time lasted about 45 minutes.

And then we went out for a slice of pizza.

A slice of pizza and a salad: $8

Watching your 3 year old’s face lite up at Barnes and Noble story time (and his motor mouth in full gear): Priceless.

(Okay, that was cheesy, but you get my drift.)

 

Hooked on Pop March 30, 2008

My husband turned 42 yesterday so , of course, the obvious place to go to dinner was The Pop Shop.

He loves it and it’s family friendly.

Of course they held up to their great standard. We were seated quickly (you can’t make reservations, but if you call when you are on your way they will add you to the waiting list). The food was great and the service was outstanding. Of course my favorite part was when the waitress came out with my husbands desert, topped it with a candle, quieted the place and made everyone sing him happy birthday. His faced turned as red as the Phillies shirt he was sporting! Completely priceless!!

Speaking of The Pop Shop, and their great grilled cheese, April is National Grilled Cheese Month and the Pop Shop serves over 30 varieties of grilled cheese.

Wrap your mouth around that one!

My favorite is the Virginia-goat cheese, roasted veggies, garlic sauteed spinach and tomato on a crust ciabatta.

Yum!

In celebration of National Grilled Cheese Month you can enter their Cheesy Poetry Contest, Be their 2008 Grilled Cheese King and Queen or simply go to The Pop Shop in April in enjoy their Grilled Cheese of the Day platter. The platter with feature a beverage, fries, and their featured grilled cheese of the day, old favorites and new soon-to-be-favorites.