Saturday, August 30, 2014

Canobie Lake Park

We were provided with complimentary tickets to Canobie Lake Park to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

We had such a fantastic time at Canobie Lake Park last weekend! Canobie Lake Park is an amusement park located in Salem, New Hampshire that is packed full of fun for the whole family. I grew up going to Canobie Lake Park but hadn't been in years, and certainly not yet with my four year-old, so I was so excited to be invited there for the day!

Canobie Lake Park offers something for everyone.

There are huge roller coasters...

Lots of kiddie rides...

And tons of family-friendly stuff in between...

Even Castaway Island, a water park...

Photo courtesy of Canobie Lake Park

Speaking of the water park, if you plan to visit it, make sure you are ready to get wet. There is no way to not get absolutely drenched. And if you have a small child, an adult must join them. Just be ready! It's wet and chilly and tons of fun! There are lockers within the water park if needed, a bathroom, changing rooms, and lots of lounge chairs for the by-standers. Don't lug your water gear around all day though - leave it in the car until you're ready and bring it back when you're done! Just get your hand stamped on your way out of the gate for easy re-entrance.

I really loved that at four years old, my daughter could ride almost every ride at Canobie Lake Park that I could (with the exception of the huge roller coasters, which was fine by me!). We made a lot of great memories and I heard more than once, "I like the rides that make my belly feel funny!"

Sorry for the blurry photo but this is inside The Caterpillar!

Every ride was staffed with friendly, cheerful, and happy-to-be-at-work employees. They greeted each child with a "high five" on every single ride! They were easily identifiable throughout the park and always helpful and courteous. This isn't exactly one of the staff members I'm talking about, but if you can see the hawaiian-looking blue shirt on the far left, that's one of them!

We didn't brave the biggest rides on this trip since we had a four year-old in tow, but the familiar Canobie screams tell me that the old roller coasters are as good as ever and the newer ones are just as great if not better!

A general admission ticket to the park gives visitors unlimited access to every ride, including the water park, and all live performances. You'll pay extra for any arcade games and food. Parking is free, free, free!

If you're planning to eat at Canobie Lake Park, you'll find lots of food options inside, both meal type options and typical park treats like cotton candy, fried dough, and popcorn. Unlike some parks that allow you to pack a picnic lunch, you may not bring any outside food or drink into Canobie Lake Park. If you'd rather pack a lunch, you'll need to leave it in a cooler in the car. Like I mentioned previously, you can leave the park during your visit; just get a stamp on your hand when you exit (what a great idea so as not to have a hold up on entrance lines!) and you can return to the park throughout the day (as long as your stamp doesn't rub off). For the record, the pizza is pretty yummy!


We visited Canobie on a Saturday which made me a little bit nervous about crowds. It certainly was crowded but the lines were reasonable for much of what we intended to do. The kiddie rides are fast and the lines are short. The rides for the "cars" for bigger kids and grown-ups were very long, as with the roller coasters, and Sky Ride. The good old Log Flume had a long line but we decided to wait in it and it moved super fast... fast enough that there were no complaints from the four year-old... and we did it three times in a row! The log boats in this ride never stop moving so as soon as one group gets off the next groups climbs in so the line really doesn't stand still.

After you ride the Log Flume (which you really must), do consider purchasing, or at least checking out the photo Canobie took of you on your way down! Just visit the little hut to your right after you exit the ride and you'll see yourself up on the screen with some different purchase options. I know, I know, totally gimmicky... in fact, I never buy stuff like this! But let me tell you something. I bought it this time, and it was worth every penny.

This is the picture that my mother took of my daughter and me coming down the hill (for the third time).

And this is the picture Canobie captured for me.

Priceless. I tried to walk away after I saw this picture and then I turned around and went back to purchase it. Bring a little extra spending money... it's worth it!

By the way, don't confuse the Log Flume with the Boston Tea Party! You get much wetter on that one... even just watching it... so keep your eyes open for wet walkways... a sign of what's to come if you stand there too long!

A fantastic new feature that is live at Canobie Lake Park is their new mobile app! It is perfection. I would download it to your phone before you go because when you arrive you can mark the location of your vehicle in the parking lot and it will show you, like a GPS, how to get back to it at the end of the day. You can open it to view a map of the park and it will tell you how close you are to whatever attraction you are interested in and it will show you how to get there. It will also give you a description so you know what to look forward to! It will even show you where the nearest bathrooms are (all of which were large and clean, by the way). The app is great. If you have it, you won't need to pick up a map at the gate.


Canobie Lake Park is tons of fun. We were there from about 11:00 AM until about 8:00 PM, didn't even make it on every ride, hated to leave, and can't wait to go back!

Labor Day starts the fall season at Canobie Lake Park and they will only be open on weekends, but there are lots of fun seasonal things to look forward to. Just check their schedule for hours and special events and plan your trip today!

We were provided with complimentary tickets to Canobie Lake Park to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hoppers from ThinkFun

I was provided with free product from ThinkFun to facilitate this review.  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  All opinions expressed are my own.

We have had such a good time trying Hoppers, a new, super fun game from ThinkFun! You know the old school peg solitaire game?  It's been around for ages, but ThinkFun has created a really cute update ~ it's peg solitaire with a HOP!

In this twist on the classic Peg Solitaire game, you leap one frog over another, removing frogs until only one frog remains.  You set up the Hoppers board according to a challenge card, and then use your thinking skills to find the right sequence to remove all but one frog.  With its whimsical design and easy storage, Hoppers will keep children and adults endlessly entertained on long road trips or rainy days!

Hoppers offers cute little challenge cards in four levels, easy, medium, hard, and super hard.  My husband, a longtime peg solitaire fan, has mastered every level.  I, on the other hand, have not!  My four year old loves the idea of the game but doesn't really get the concept yet.  Although, the design is perfect for an imaginative little mind.  My daughter loves to just play with the frogs and hop them all over the place.  They really are so cute, aren't they?

The quality of this product is great and the storage is perfect!  It's so convenient to pack up neatly when you're done playing and easy to transport if you're taking it on the road.  You just pull out the drawer underneath the lily pond and you have little pegs on which to store the frogs and a spot to fit the cards.

Hoppers is geared toward ages 5 to adult.  It is sure to keep your whole family entertained... and individually, at that... and we all know that quiet alone time is a must sometimes!

You can find Hoppers on the ThinkFun website or on Amazon.  It comes with the game grid with storage, 40 challenge cards, and 12 adorable froggies!  If you love peg solitaire, I know you'll love this.  And if you've never played before, you should!  It's good exercise for the brain and a whole lot of fun.

I was provided with free product from ThinkFun through to facilitate this review.  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Shop and Learn Cash Register from The Learning Journey International

I was provided with free product from The Learning Journey International to facilitate this review.  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  All opinions expressed are my own.


We love pretend play in our house and one of my daughter's favorite things to play is "store."  We have a different toy cash register that beeps, scans, and lets you pay, but we recently had a chance to try a new one and it really is so much better and really amazingly fun!  The Shop and Learn Cash Register from The Learning Journey International is one of our new favorite toys!  When we were invited to try and review the Shop and Learn Cash Register I wondered if it might be too young for my four year old, but figured even if we didn't use it much, we could still review it for you.  Well, the interactivity of this cash register makes it so much more versatile than most toy cash registers and I think she will continue to use it for quite a while!  I was very pleasantly surprised!

The Shop and Learn Cash Register comes with two AA batteries, five food items, five coins, and a credit card.  Everything is great quality and so colorful!

There are two volume settings.  Hallelujah!  Toys that only come with one volume setting kind of make me crazy because more often than not, the volume setting they come with is way too loud for a mommy's eardrums!

There are three play settings, or activity modes, on the cash register.  This is my absolute most favorite feature and is what sets this cash register apart from others.  It makes it more fun, more exciting, and more educational.  It also creates an experience that allows a child to play alone without feeling that they need a companion to play a separate role as customer, etc.  We still do play it together quite often, but it's not a necessity as it often is with other toys.  Here are the different activity modes:
  • Let's Play!  This setting is great for the youngest players who are just learning some basic identification of items and numbers.  You can slide a food item down the register belt or press a button on the cash register, and it will tell you what the food is (including color) or what number you pressed.
  • Find It!  This setting is a guessing came.  The cash register asks you to find a food item or press a number button.  If you slide the right food item down the register belt or press a button and it will tell you if you're correct.
  • Let's Go Shopping!  This setting is our favorite.  The cash register asks you what you want to buy, you slide it down the register belt, it identifies it, tells you how much it costs, and asks you to pay with coins or credit card and you do.  It's so fun!

Now that you've heard from me, here's what my four year old had to say about the Shop and Learn Cash Register and what she likes about it:
      • I like to buy food!
      • I like when it says the things!
      • My favorite thing is pressing the buttons!
      • I use the buttons a lot!
      • It's fun to play alone and with somebody else!

      If you are in the market for a new educational toy for pretend play, we highly recommend the Shop and Learn Cash Register from The Learning Journey International.  It is fun, educational, and high quality.  I think you'll be pleased with your purchase!

      You can find The Shop and Learn Cash Register online at The Learning Journey International or on amazon.

      I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  
      All opinions expressed are my own.

      Sunday, August 10, 2014

      Cake Mix Cookies

      Have you embraced the Cake Mix Cookie phenomenon?  If not, you need to!  Cake Mix Cookies are the easiest, yummiest cookie ever.  I am all about homemade, from scratch, cookies, but sometimes it's okay to cheat.  The Cake Mix Cookie cheat is an amazing one!

      I've seen Cake Mix Cookies a bazillion times all over Pinterest but never had a reason to make them so just kind of skimmed over them.  When my daughter was planning her 4th birthday party this month and requested a "strawberry" theme, I remembered seeing some Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies on Pinterest and was able to easily whip up this delicious, colorful, and totally theme appropriate treat!

      I've since branched out and made Lemon Cake Mix Cookies too.  And Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies.  And Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies.  And Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies.  And today I'm going to make Carrot Cake Cake Mix Cookies.  I'm clearly semi-obsessed with Cake Mix Cookies!  My daughter's birthday was one month ago today... so that's 6 times in one month.  Every batch has been a huge hit and seriously... they are so incredibly easy.  In the interest of full disclosure, I'm eating one right now as I type.

      You are going to follow this basic recipe for every batch you make...

      • 1 box cake mix of your choosing
      • 1/3 cup oil
      • 2 eggs

      • Heat oven to 350°
      • Mix ingredients together
      • Put in the fridge for about 10 minutes so the dough is not so sticky
      • Make 1 inch balls of dough
      • Flatten slightly with fingers
      • Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes (give or take a couple)
      • Let sit for a minute on the pan and then move to cooling rack

      You can add some extras depending on what flavor you are making.  With Chocolate, I added a teaspoon of vanilla and rolled them in sugar before baking.  With Lemon, I added a teaspoon of lemon extract and rolled in powdered sugar before baking.  With Red Velvet, I sprinkled with powdered sugar after baking.  Be creative!

      So far, my favorite has been Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies... they taste like brownies!  My husband says the Funfetti ones are the best cookies he's ever tasted.

      What's your favorite?  If you haven't tried them, you should!

      Sunday, August 3, 2014

      Disney Social Media Moms On-The-Road Philadelphia 2014

      Earlier this summer I had the privilege of being invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On-The-Road in Philadelphia.  It was such an exciting honor to attend!  What a whirlwind day full of fun, learning, challenge, inspiration, and many good friends!  My husband and I joked about the fact that we drove 6 hours to attend a 4 hour event.  Well, let me tell you something...  we would do it again in a heartbeat!  It was worth every second in that car (although hopefully next year it's in Boston... either that or we will fly!).

      Here's a glimpse into some of my favorite moments from the day...

      Special thanks to all of the organizers, facilitators, and sponsors of this event.  The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Team is amazing!  I am so incredibly grateful to have been a part of this special day!

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