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Kids Activities

4 Halloween Happenings in Boston

If your Halloween is not so happening, spice it up at one of these four events taking place around Boston this Halloween.

  1. Fenway Park Trick-or-TreatingHere’s a win-win: The kids get candy, and you get to walk around the legendary Fenway Park. This Halloween, children and adults alike are invited to go trick-or-treating around the field’s Warning Track, receiving candy from the park’s staff. Wally will make an appearance, as will the Sox’s three World Series trophies. Additional fun includes balloon artists, face painting, caricatures, and stilt walker Big League Brian. But before the big event, there’s a pumpkin contest on Thursday, October 29—enter your carved masterpieces from 5-7:30 p.m. If yours is one of the top three winners, it’ll be on display during the Fenway Park Halloween festivities for all to see. Free, Saturday, October 31, 1-5 p.m., Fenway Park, Gate C, redsox.mlb.com.
  2. No Tricks, Just Treats at Boston Harbor Hotel’s Spooky Tea. The Rowes Wharf Sea Grille invites you and your little ones to put on your BHH_Rowes Wharf Spooky Tea 3costumes and celebrate Halloween in the city. Dip into their Witches’ Brew Apple Cider, don their DIY caps and decorate a few cookies then fill their own trick-or-treat bag with Halloween goodies to take home.  Kids will get a kick out of the Trick-or-Treat Treasure Hunt. while the adults in tow can sip champagne and enjoy a monstrous selection of seasonal treats like scarily delectable tea sandwiches, scones and holiday cookies.   Reservations are required and this party does not come cheap ($45 per adult, $20 for children 12 and under). The festivities take place Friday, October 30, Saturday, October 31 & Sunday, November 1, 2015 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, Inside the Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA, (617) 856-774.
  3. Brick-or-Treat at Legoland Combine two of kids favorite things- Halloween and LEGOS and you’ll be happy to bring your little monsters to Legoland This October for Brick-o-Treat.  The transformation Legoland has taken creates a Halloween LEGO wonderland that will have you just as mesmerized as your kids.  A Monster Mash scavenger hunt will lead your kids through Miniland where you’ll encounter clues to find your treasure. Add a spooky pumpkin trail, and a themed a building challenge and you have the makings of a candy-free Halloween. $14.95-$29.95 (children under 3 free),  Saturday, October 31, Legoland Discovery Center, 598 Assembly Row, Somerville, 866228-6439, legolanddiscoverycenter.com.
  4.  “Heroes & Villains” at Brass Union. If you’re an adult who can sneak away and are looking to party like you did pre-kids then you should headimage006 to “Heroes & Villains” at Brass Union. Head to Brass Union for an adults only comic-themed Halloween bash that will have your kids green with envy. Enjoy the dance party, costume contest, themed libations and candy.   DJ ABD will take to the turntables and spin a variety of genres from hip-hop, funk and soul to ‘80s hits. For good measure, DJ ABD will mix in a dose of Halloween classics so revelers can do their best “Monster Mash.” Brass Union, 70 Union Square, Somerville – 617.623.9211 – www.brassunion.comOctober 31 from 9pm-2am; 21+; complimentary admission.

 -Satisfying your spook this Halloween, Jess

Handmade Animal Magnet Tutorial

I recently attended the wedding of my childhood neighbor (Congrats Kayla & Steve!).  I truly enjoy going to a wedding or event that has every little detail thought out and presented in a unique way and this couple did not disappoint.  The theme was whimsical woodlands meets fairytale love story.  They did an amazing job and their wedding was really a true representation of their personal style.

One of my favorite details of the wedding was the seat card holders for the guests.  Each seat card was displayed upright in between a mini animal toy figurine which was cut in half with a magnet attached on the inside of each end.  I guess my kids found these little figurines just as enjoyable as I did since I woke the following morning to a screaming match over whose new toy it was. Since I only had one to spare, the only solution was to make my weekly trip to Michael’s a little early and get the supplies needed to re-create these little woodland gems.

Here’s what you need:

  • Plastic mini animal toy figurines (I got mine at Michael’s)
  • Sharp knife
  • Fine sand paper
  • Non-toxic paint or spray paint
  • Magnets
  • Clear glue (I used gorilla glue as well as hot glue to really secure in place)

Picture 1

Step 1:

Picture 2Take the plastic animal of your choice and vertically cut the animal in half.  If you notice that the edges of your animal are a little rough after the cut, take a fine grain sand paper and sand the edges so that they are nice and smooth.

Animals with magnetsStep 2:

Connect 2 of your magnets together (its easier to work with them already connected first).  Take your gorilla glue and dab a little on one end of your magnet as well as a little on the flat side of the animal.  Hold the magnet in place on the animal until dry (30 seconds – 1 minute).  Repeat this step on the other half of your animal.

Step 3:

Start hand painting or spray painting both sides of your animal and let it dry completely before moving to the next step.

Step 4:

Animal Seat Card HoldersOnce the paint has dried on your animals, use a glue gun to seal around the edges of the magnet.  This adds some extra adhesive to make sure that your magnets stay in place.  Once the glue has dried, your magnets are ready to use.

This is a quick project that will add some whimsical fun to your home or next event.  The magnets are a unique idea for seat cards at your next dinner party, a perfect way to display photos or décor for a birthday and they also look great on the fridge (just in time for all the lovely artwork your kiddies will bring home from school).

Animal Magnet Card HoldersTry this project next time you are stuck in the house with your kids on a rainy day.  Complete steps 1 and 2 on your own and then let your kids use their creativity to paint the animals the colors of their choice.  It is a great way to educate your children on their animals or dinosaurs, they get to explore their creative minds with some crossbred species of animals and you will have some pretty cool magnets to hang all their beautiful artwork with.  Picture 8

Just one wedding guest who appreciates the little details that make a stylish wedding, Thia 

Share your kids creative animal masterpieces with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

5 Free, Family Friendly, Fun Things To Do Around Boston This Summer

This summer, the team at Amazing Matriarch has been hard at work finding FREE ways to fill your days with activities that every member of your family will enjoy in and around Boston. Read on to find five of our favorite ways to entertain our kids when we just don’t want stay home or fork out serious cash for an activity.

1. Splash Parks

Not only are these water areas a way to cool off on hot summer days, most are FREE! Make time for favorites in the center of the city like the Rings Fountain on the Greenway or the squirting frogs at the Frog Pond. Or enjoy FREE parking along with your FREE water park at one of the parks in the suburbs of Boston. The city of Waltham has 8 spray parks, most in locations with easy parking, and many that are fenced in. And Belmont, MA is home to Beaver Brook where you’ll often find someone from Amazing Matriarch enjoying the water followed by a game of catch and picnic on the expansive lawn on the other side of the Brook. We like Boston Central’s comprehensive listing to find new spray parks to explore.

2. Bike Paths

Cape Cod Canal
Cape Cod Canal

With a new bike rider and a 2 year old who thinks she’s the coolest on her tricycle, I tend to be cautious about where we go to ride bikes. Many paths are packed with riders who find “newbies” a bit annoying making it a bit scary for those who are just learning. However, there are several trails that will have your young riders moving along with confidence.

The Cape Cod Canal is a waterside oasis for riders, walkers and anyone looking to enjoy the sea breeze. With FREE parking on the access road between the Bourne and Sagamore Bridge you can easily bring your bikes down the stairs, directly onto the trail that hugs the non-Cape side of the canal.

Having been detoured there recently when a nearby beach lot was filled, my kids had a blast zooming around while more experienced riders passed them with ease and cheered them on. Clean restrooms are conveniently located along the path.

After, enjoy a pre-packed picnic under a shady tree, bike to the end of the trail (with more experienced riders- or pay to park within the beach reservation) and take a swim at Scusset Beach. Or drive across the street to one of the clam shacks on the other side for a taste of summer by the sea.

Recreation Sundays on Memorial Drive are a favorite for Bostonians. With the wide road with scenic Charles River views open for biking, walking, running or rollerblading you can be sure there’s plenty of room for bike riders of all levels. Open late April-November annually, this section of Memorial Drive allows you to detour into Harvard Square for shopping,  a libation or a bite to eat.

Experienced riders can continue along the paved pathways for the miles that lead to the Esplanade and into Downtown Boston. Explore the city by bike then head back before Memorial Drive reopens at 7pm.

Zipline @ Joey's
Zipline @ Joey’s

3. Playgrounds

Some summer days require little activity on my part. For those days I head out on playground explorations with my little ones. Being zero budget meccas of fun playgrounds can entertain my kids for hours without any creativity or activity on my part. Often, I enlist a friend with kids to join me so we can chat while our kids run wild (I do get looks of horror from first time moms who find my hands-off, solve your own problems approach to playground parenting appalling, but I’m ok with that). As someone who’s always seeking something new I get tired of our lame local playgrounds and head out to find other cool spots for my kids to frolic.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of playgrounds around the city and in the suburbs. Some are simple with swing sets and slides, while others add extra excitement like zip lines. Leave your local playground for the day and seek out something special. You won’t spend a dime and your kids are sure to be beat by the time you leave.

Joey’s Park in Belmont is tops fro a range of activities to suit all ages. A zip line, where amazingly, even on a crowded Saturday, you’ll find kids patiently waiting in line for a turn and helping toddlers who try to cut in the kindest of ways. Lots of climbing structures, tires to hop from and even a musical feature sit alongside an expansive lawn and tennis courts. Your kids could play all day at this amazing FREE playground.

The playgrounds along the Charles River Esplanade are awesome! With a variety of climbing structures and pathways for kids to ride bikes all while within your view; if watching more than one, you’ll feel in control and at ease while your kids get some energy out.

4. Take in a movie outdoors

Two Boston spots make it their mission to bring you outdoor movies for the family all summer long.

The Hatch Shell, located along the Charles River, offers Free Friday Flicks. Pack a picnic and your kids and head into the city to sit alongside the Charles taking in a movie and the view for FREE, with little worry that your little ones are too loud or rambunctious for the “theater”.

Music and Movie Fridays at the Boston Harbor Hotel are geared towards a more mature audience, but are still fun for families with older kids. Enjoy harbor views from the pier and enjoy movies from your youth or even your parents’ younger days.

5. Free Fun Fridays

Probably the best FREE fun you’ll find around Boston takes place on Fridays with 70 Free Fun Friday events happening throughout the summer. For 10 weeks, starting the final Friday of June, you’ll find 7 different free activities for families throughout the entire state. Visit old favorites or discover new spots without spending a dime.

-On a mission to save you money all summer long, Jess

Share the free activities that keep you going on long summer days with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

Five Father’s Day Ideas That Require No Wrapping

If you’ve let time slip away and are panicking about what to give the father of your children this Father’s Day, then Amazing Matriarch has a few ideas you can pull off and look like a pro who planned well in advance.

1. 18 holes

Plan a round of golf with his best buds. Maybe it’s his kids or friends he rarely sees without them. If Father’s Day is not the time to let him freely hit the links, coordinate with the ladies in the lives of his foursome and book a tee time you know will work, pay for it when you call, and then let Dad play all day without the worry his phone will ring with a request from you.

2. Take something off his plate

Dad’s are busy people; take over a chore he dreads and give him some much deserved free time to spend with the family.

3. Plan an itinerary for his perfect day with the family

Think of what he likes and set a plan in motion for a day that’s all about him. Maybe he’s active and a morning hike followed by an afternoon bike ride with a cooler filled with his favorite “to go” eats in the trunk that ends with an ice cream at his favorite stand or parlor is just the ticket. Or perhaps he’s the kind who’d relish a day of peace and quiet vegging out on the couch; make his quiet time happen while you and the kids prep an elaborate feast. Perhaps he’s a foodie and a meal out is just the ticket; be sure to reserve a spot at his favorite clam shack, steakhouse, or burger joint. Whatever it is Dad loves, you do-without making him make a decision.

4. Divide the day

If your kids are still at home let each pick a special activity they want to do with Dad and divide the day into chunks so Dad can spend some one on one time with each; even if it’s just an hour to throw rocks in the neighborhood pond. It’s not often a parent of more than one little one gets to enjoy their kids solo, and it’s something every parent values.

5. Get his Dad to you to celebrate

If the father of your kids is close to his father get them together to enjoy the day. Even better if he’s far away.  Drive the many miles to pick him up, spring for a plane or train ticket and bring his Dad to your home for Father’s Day.

Then watch the smile hit his lips because nothing says I appreciate you more than a well thought out adventure.

-Sharing simple ways to show you care, Jess

Share your “unwrapped” Father’s Day got ideas with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

Family Friendly Scavenger Hunt Activity for National GO Day

The warm weather is in full effect in New England and June is the perfect month to get outdoors and enjoy some active and healthy fun in the sun.  The humidity hasn’t yet set in and the kids are still in school so you are still limited in terms of travel.  Day trips to the beach and family hikes are a favorite pastime for late afternoons and on the weekends in our household.

In recognition of National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day), Saturday, June 13, 2015, plan a family excursion to the beach or an adventurous hike through the great outdoors.  A fun activity to do with your little ones is our Amazing Matriarch scavenger hunt.

Your kids will collect an assortment of natural treasures; they will learn about other habitats and the environment (hello, hands on science), and they’ll work on developing their math skills as they count their treasures.  Best of all they’ll remember what they learned, making this hunt better than any standardized test the powers that be deem a priority.

Here’s what you need:

  • Amazing Matriarch’s Scavenger Hunt List
  • A small bag or pail to collect and store your found items

Print up Amazing Matriarch’s scavenger hunt list (click on the beach edition or forest edition images below to download), cut the page in two and create little booklets so each child has a guide of their own.  For reference, I take a single hole punch and put a hole in the top left corner of the booklet and secure with a ribbon that can then be tied to a bag with handles, or held on their wrists for easy access.  A stapler, tape or glue will work for securing the pages together in your booklet as well.

Amazing Matriarch Beach Scavenger Hunt                              Amazing Matriarch Forest Scavenger Hunt

For a few glorious minutes, you’ll get to relax a bit and enjoy nature at its finest while your kids’ attention is focused on the thrill of the hunt.

– Just one adventurer adding a little learning to Family Fun on your next outdoor excursion, Thia

Try this activity with your family on National GO day and share your experience with us via Facebook:  Amazing Matriarch,  Instagram:  amazingamtriarch or  Twitter:  @AMatriarch;  Tag us using #amazingmatriarch. 

Colorful Mommy & Me Boho Bracelets Tutorial

Create This Nordstrom Inspired, Mommy and Me Look with Our Amazing Matriarch How-To

The bohemian trend consistently reminds me of warmer weather.  I tend to stock my summer wardrobe with a lot of boho-esque pieces.  I love the comfort and  freedom of the loose, flowy fabrics when the temperatures soar.  With little effort, you can rock your inner bohemian goddess and look put together at the same time.  That’s a win win for any mom in a rush.

Recently, I came across some really fun, colorful, boho-chic bracelets at Nordstrom and I was inspired to recreate the look for less.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that these bracelets are very easy to make and look store bought. As I noticed my daughter picking them up and putting them on the moment each was completed, I decided to make her a matching set that fits perfectly.

Here’s what you need (all can be found at Michaels or your local arts and crafts store):

  • Different Variations of Colorful Beads
  • .5mm or 1mm Stretchy Elastic Cord or String (I prefer clear so you do not see the string when the bracelets stretch apart)
  • Closed Jump Ring in the Finish of your choice
  • Embroidery Floss in the Colors of your choice
  • Clear Glue

Step 1 – Stringing the Beads:

String the beads of your choice on the stretchy elastic cord.

**Tip**

Keep your string attached to the roll until you have completed stringing the beads.  This will help keep the bead in one place.  Once you have finished stringing the beads, tie a knot at the end where you inserted the beads, leaving about 1.5 inches from the knot until the end of the string so as to tie the sides together at the end.  It’s better to be generous and leave more string than less as you can always cut what you don’t use. If you don’t leave enough room at the ends then you will not be able to secure the beads properly.

Step 2:

Once you have finished stringing your beads, double knot the cord on one side (so the beads are held together).  Next, take the pair of scissors and cut the other side of the cord that is still attached to the rope.  Be sure to leave at least 1.5 inches from the end of the knot to the end of the string for the final tie.  Double knot that side of the cord so the beads do not slide and are held in place.

Step 3 – Making the Tassel:

Take an embroidery floss color of choice, that is already looped (most already come this way).  Grab your scissors and cut the floss in the middle of the loop.  Take one end of the floss bunch and wrap some clear tape around the tips.  Insert the taped side of floss through the middle of a closed jump ring.  Once the floss is inside the ring, cut a 3 inch piece of floss and wrap it around the nape of the thread (below the ring), securing with a double knot.  Next, remove the tape at the end of the tips and cut the tassel to your desired length. 

Step 4:

Once the tassel is complete, take one end of the clear cord and insert it into the middle of the tassel closed jump ring.  Finish your bracelet by securing with a surgical knot.  I like to apply 2 surgical knots and finish off the bracelet with some clear super glue to insure that the knot does not slip out of place.

These bracelets are perfect for infusing a little boho into your summer wardrobe or accentuating your swimsuit while sitting on the beach or by the pool.  Plus, they attract lots of compliments.  Make this your next mother and daughter project on a rainy day, not only will you love them but your daughters will be so excited to have a matching pair!

If you love these boho bracelets but don’t have the patience to try the look for less, here are a few of my favorites:

Just one Bohemian bringing colorful accessories to your summer wardrobe, Thia

Try this project at home with your mini me and share your experience with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us using#amazingmatriarch. 

3 Days on Nantucket with Kids During the Off-Season

Amazing Matriarch’s Guide: Off-Season on Nantucket with kids

White Elephant Residences
White Elephant Residences

When you think of Nantucket hot summer days spent seaside followed by warm summer nights mingling outside come to mind. But Nantucket in the off-season is quite spectacular. With few more than the locals on island, you can get a glimpse of real life on Nantucket, see the sites without the crowds enjoy a meal without fighting for a table, and snag a deal on top notch accommodations.

For three days, we packed one suitcase each and set sail for Nantucket Island. My husband, myself, our 5 and 2 year old embarked on the fast ferry from Hyannis to the docks of Nantucket on a chilly spring afternoon. Our adventure began immediately as the unexpected rough seas had the kids referring to Kwazi on Octonauts each time the boat bumped and jumped. Happy to disembark, this final boat arriving for the day (the seas were deemed too rough), we were warmly welcomed to Nantucket and rapidly whisked to our hotel.

The White Elephant is known as a harbor side, high-end, family friendly resort and our stay proved its worth. Located blocks from Downtown Nantucket, this resort is in a prime location for walking, allowing you to leave your car parked (or off island), and without the hassle of navigating traffic (even in mid April it increased as the week wore on) or finding parking. Staying outside of the Hotel and Inn itself, at the White Elephant Residences, our lodging more closely resembled an apartment, ensuring our family could spread out and enjoy our stay on Nantucket, even if the weather kept us inside. The two bedroom unit offered ample space for our family of four, and we sure did make use of it.

Whaling Museum
Whaling Museum

With two bedrooms the kids bunked up, enjoying a sibling sleepover all three evenings: movies in bed, staying up late talking and waking far too early; they had a blast in their shared bedroom. They both used it separately when quiet playtime and rest were on their mind. Best of all, they eagerly awaited the trinket placed on their pillow each night by the White Elephant staff- a stuffed elephant upon arrival, one lobster that evening and a whale the another, and I eagerly awaited watching the giddy excitement when they found their treasures.

Fully opening for the season the week we arrived, the White Elephant proved itself to be a well-oiled machine. Functioning as if it had been at full speed all winter, the concierge offered plenty of suggestions, including a sheet highlighting island events the week we were there, earmarked with ideas for entertaining the kids throughout the week. Best of all, they provided us with two guides geared towards kids about Nantucket.

Library time
Library time

The Nantucket Kids Adventure Guide was invaluable. It offered so many ideas for exploring the island that we could not possibly complete all that appealed to us on this one visit. Listing everything from playground guides to hiking trails to warnings, this book could have entertained us for weeks. The Look Book was a little old for, but still big hit with, my 5 year old son, allowing us to do a treasure hunt of Nantucket’s hot spots.

The library, Atheneum as it’s called, is a short walk from the White Elephant and hosted two activities that my kids still talk about : a sing along and a LEGO challenge. Both free, and requiring tickets or pre-registration,  they were great ways to feel like a part of Nantucket and be indoors. Year-round activities change and are geared towards various ages, but are certainly worth looking into before you head over. I initially came across the Atheneum when doing a Google search in preparation for our trip on the Nantucket Island Events website. Offering a comprehensive calendar listing I was able to simply click on the dates I planned to be on island then further research those of interest.

Children's Beach
Children’s Beach

This website also clued me in on free art projects taking place at the Whaling Museum. A visit to the Whaling Museum, followed by diorama construction and a treasure hunt kept my kids entertained for hours after lunch at the Pharmacy’s old fashioned soda fountain.

Situated right outside the White Elephant, you’ll find a sandy shore for play, Children’s Beach. Home to a seaside playground, and snack shack (which had yet to open) we spent time there each day, sometimes returning multiple times a day. The kids loved digging in the sand, and even testing the still cold from the winter water while the air temp hovered in the mid 50’s. We watched the ferry arrive and lobstermen bring in their haul while climbing, swinging and sliding. Holes were dug, friends were made and the sand in their shoes even made it’s way to the mainland.

Dining on Nantucket is anything but ordinary. A collection of quaint eateries mix with foodie havens bringing locals and visitors a taste of island authenticity as well as trendy tastes. Breakfast was something prepped in our large kitchenette: bagels or cereal, but the rest of the day we dined out. Sandwich shops allowed us to bring back lunch so cranky kids could stick to nap time while the rest of of played games or snuggled on the couch with a movie.

Met on Main
Met on Main

When we dined out, we found ourselves in the midst of a dining culture often reserved for major cities. A family friendly dinner at Nix’s brewpub gave adults a darn good lobster roll while serving kids pizza to their liking. A lunch at Fog Island Cafe had us seated among working locals looking for a great sandwich and even better iced tea.

Hiring a sitter for our final night on Nantucket, we walked around town piping into several popular eateries for drinks and dinner. We kicked off the evening with a drink at Nautilus. With its small dining area, chefs table and bustling bar specializes in small plates and killer drinks. It was difficult to stop at just one cocktail as everything is made fresh and the balance of flavors ensure your cocktail showcases the ingredients within. This pre-reservation pop in gave us a glimpse of the menu and left us planning a return to indulge in dinner.

Dune, was where we found ourselves eating that evening and it lived up to all I’d heard. Overwhelemed by the menu choices, we opted to share what appealed to us. Fresh oysters; perfectly briny and icy cold found their way to our table to start our meal followed by a clam special laced with chorizo in a light and aromatic broth, then came a smoky roast shrimp and grits, fluffily cod and the miso ramen. Glasses of wine were poured and dessert ordered before we walked to our final destination that night.

Cocktail Time
Cocktail Time

LoLa’s hip vibe made their bar extra inviting. Loud music pumping and small groups chatting gave this Nantucket  restaurant the feel of New York City. After a quick nightcap, we turned in for the evening, welcomed back by our sitter who had successfully managed to get our excited kiddos to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Our boat ride home was bittersweet. As we checked out, we saw crowds checking in to take part in Daffodil Weekend. Boarding the fast ferry back to Hyannis, we pledged a return for more off-season fun, maybe in the fall.

 

-Making hot destinations easier to explore with your kiddos, Jess

Let us know how your trip to Nantucket turns out! #amazingmatriarch on social media. Find us on Facebook: at AmazingMatriarch Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  #amazingmatriarch 

Kidgits is Calling All Young Foodies for 1st Annual Lil Chefs Event

Kidgits

The Simon Malls Kidgits Club is whipping up some creative cuisine and loads of fun with this first annual event for Lil Chefs. On Saturday, May 16th, 2015 from 12pm – 2pm, children will experience, hands-on, the endless possibilities of food pairing. At the end of the day you can expect a new generation foodies to emerge. Hosted in the Macy’s Center Court at the South Shore Plaza (250 Granite Street, Braintree, MA), there will be a variety of food focused activities including:

Never too young to learn to cook
Never too young to learn to cook
  • Healthy Snack Ideas
  • Decorating Desserts
  • Food Samples
  • Disney and Lego Activities
  • Design your own Chefs Hat Craft
  • Kidgits Club Members will receive a Free Chefs Hat & Apron

All Kidgits are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the event to be donated to The Braintree Food Pantry to help those in need.

The Kidgits Club, which recently launced at the South Shore Plaza, is a fun and interactive program that focuses on health, wellness, education, safety and entertainment for children ages 3-8. For more information on how to become a member, visit www.simon.com/kidgets.

Make it a Mother’s Day She Won’t Forget

Before my kids came along Mother’s Day meant hosting elaborate feasts for my mother, mother in law and grandmother. Or running from house to house ensuring everyone got equal time on Mother’s Day. But the stress of appeasing everyone, in one day, all about an hour away form one another, became a burden when I became a mother and had two little kids demanding my attention so I switched things up and started a new tradition.

There’s no escape to the spa or ditching the kids in favor of “me time” on my mother’s day menu, but there are two elements I insist upon that fit the stage of life my kids are in: family fun (ideally outdoors), and eating out (even if it is just take out).

Anyone is welcome to join, but I plan a day that works with the weather (last minute) and revolves around my kids naps, keeping them active, avoiding cooking and cleaning for any member of my household, and keeping me sane.

Check out my picks in and around Boston for a Mother’s Day you won’t forget no matter your life stage.

If you’re the mamma of young children and want to skip the stress but keep your kiddos close, here are a few ways to have fun with little ones:

  • Find a local bike path. In the Boston area we often spend Mother’s Day biking Memorial Drive, where  the road is closed and the scenery along the river includes city views. My kids release some energy; I don’t worry about their decible level and  everyone has fun.
  • High tail it to waterfront park. South Boston’s Castle Island let’s you let loose, stroll the pathways or enjoy a picnic. Or skip the advanced preparation and have a kid friendly meal at Sullivan’s where the fried food is legendary and the lobster rolls reasonably priced.
  •  Go for a hike. This Mother’s Day, Boston area favorite Mass Audubon area, Blue Hills is offering a pancake brunch and guided hike
  • Check your local listings of places moms get in free.  Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm offers moms free admission on Mother’s Day.

However, just because my life stage dictates my activities and the idea of anything fancy, contained or controlled is torture with my two and five year old, does not mean this lady can’t dream. Those of you with well-mannered older kids should enjoy a little relaxation (someday this will be my ideal Mother’s Day). And Boston area restaurants have brunch plans with your name on them. Excellent restaurants serving up Mother’s Day meals you’ll remember include:

Legal Harborside
Legal Harborside
  • Legal Harborside serves up seafood treasures that are sure to make the aquatically inclined momma swoon. $65 gets you a customizable prix fixe complete with lavish choices like the (pictured) treasures of the sea. Always welcoming to little ones, Legal’s makes it easy to enjoy your Mother’s Day meal.
  • Hard Rock Cafe teams up with  the New England Aquarium to serve one rockin’ menu this Mother’s Day.  Breakfast is a bargain with a $13.95 price tag for adults and $9.95 for the kids. children under 2 eat free.
  • Head to high tea at Aragosta. Serving brunch earlier in the day, you can do something different and treat mom to high tea served from 2-4:30pm.

If your kids are grown (or close to it), or mom’s treat is eat out without them, then a couple of excellent suggestions include:

  • Pastoral’s monthly cooking class. Cooking with Mama kicks off on Mother’s Day and let’s you and your mama learn a new skill side by side. or simply indulge in brunch, where $42 gets you three courses and a cocktail.
  • The Taj Hotel where the view of the Public Garden is equally as spectacular as what’s on your plate. Sit outside on the rooftop patio or dine in elegance within the ballroom dining area. The buffets will include an impressive seafood tower and seatings are at 11, 11:30, 1:30 and 2:00pm
  • Reserve a table at Bistro du Midi where you’ll find elegance on your plate as well as in the decor. Window tables let you peek at the Public Garden while you sip their signature Bloody Mary that lives up to any hype you may have heard (the champagne cocktail is also delightful). A social occasion spot for sure, Bistro du Midi is a top choice for moms and their adult children.
  • Bergamot is serving three courses for $44 from 11am to 2pm, allowing mom to sleep in then enjoy a special dining experience.

-Because Mother’s Day should be fun for everyone, Jess

Fill us in on your favorite Mother’s Day activities! #amazingmatriarch on social media. Find us on Facebook: at Amazing Matriarch,  Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  #amazingmatriarch 

April Vacation: Plans in a Pinch

Make the most of your spring break in Boston, without any advanced planning

April may be the height of spring in other parts of the country, but in the northeast, spring’s  just starting. The weather can be fickle making advance planning a bit of a pain when you’ve got the great outdoors on your mind. But don’t fret because there are plenty of plan in advance free options for the matriarch in a pinch.

Check out the Boston Marathon.

The finish line may be the most rowdy and crowded spot along the route with revelers enjoying the lively bar scene that calls Boylston Street home, but the ‘burbs’ offer excellent options for families to sit back, relax and cheer on those completing the 26.2 miles. Pack a picnic (just in case you can’t get food when the wee ones hunger pains kick in), bring a folding chair and set yourself up in one of the town centers that welcome visitors to take in the excitement of the Boston Marathon. Options include:  Ashland, Natick Town Green, Wellesley, or Newton City Hall.

Get cultured at the MFA.

This may not be an outdoor activity, but trekking the kids to a Boston museum from your parking spot, or on the MBTA in the pouring rain is not exactly exciting. Throughout the week of April 20th, 2015, the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) will welcome early art enthusiasts to explore their inner Picasso with activities that make kids feel welcome and excite them about art. All the while allowing you to enjoy a bit of culture without worrying that their behavior will have you banned for life.

Head to a zoo before the summer crowds arrive.

Courtesy of Zoo New England
Courtesy of Zoo New England

Boston’s sprawling urban animal kingdom, Franklin Park Zoo hosts a variety of activities beyond their usual round-up.

Celebrate Earth day on April 24 with a Party for the Planet.  Along with exciting activities, you will learn what you can do to keep Earth happy. The party kicks off at 10:00 a.m. and continues until 3:00 p.m.

Enjoy animal exploration. You’ll be privy to a lesson about a specific animal in a fun, kid friendly way.  April 20 and 22 will find visitors engaged by Linne’s Two-toed Sloth at 10:00 a.m. and the Camel at 1:30 p.m. While April 21 and 23  showcases Tigers at 10:15 a.m. and Kea at 11:00 a.m.

Teens can get hands-on with Zoo New England’s ZooTeens where fun and educational activities are taking place daily from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Courtesy of Zoo New England
Courtesy of Zoo New England

Enjoy the Aussie Aviary kicking off its season just in time for April school vacation week. Open weather permitting from 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day this week. Visit with a seedstick in hand (available for purchase); meander through brightly colored budgies in an interactive space and you may just create a landing zone for birds to visit directly with you.

For a mere $5 fee (in addition to zoo admission)  you can head off to Africa, on a motion simulator ride that takes you on a 6D high-speed chase to capture poachers. Making your way amongst wildlife like elephants and wildebeest you’ll work with rangers to return a baby rhino to his mother.

Visit the Stone Zoo April 20 – 24, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and go beyond learning about the animals who live there to meet those who care for them. Zookeepers will be out and about for meet and greets at scheduled times, scavenger hunts will be set-up and other exciting hands-on activities await you like a very special Princess and Frog Day.

If you’re still seeking last minute things to do; check out USA TODAY’s 10best and find fun family friendly attractions for families with kids of all ages.

Encouraging every Amazing Matriarch to turn an ordinary April vacation extraordinary, Jess

Tell us about your April vacation adventures! Find Amazing Matriarch on Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  #amazingmatriarch. 
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