Kevin Can Wait – Now Mondays at 8pm EST/ 7pm CT on CBS!

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Kevin Can WaitMondays at 8pm EST/7pm CT on CBS stars Kevin James as a newly retired police officer looking forward to spending carefree, quality time with his wife and three kids, only to discover he faces tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets.img_0373

Who knew right in my backyard a multi camera sitcom was being taped every week!? In Los Angeles they’re a dime a dozen, in New York City they’re common but on Long Island!? It’s a first!

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When I was invited to visit the set of Kevin Can Wait I couldn’t resist. Besides loving the show it was literally eight minutes away from my house.

The set tour was so cool. Especially, since I’ve never been on a sitcom set before. I loved walking through the “rooms” of a show I watch weekly and recognizing the props from where I saw them last – my living room!

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I was amazed at the level of accuracy and authenticity the set had to the characters. Dressed like in a real family home with three kids, there was non-stop Mets memorabilia, nursing slogan water bottles, and even assembled Magna-Tiles at the base of the stairs juuust like in my house.

While on set we were lucky enough to sit down with the show’s two stars Kevin James and Erinn Hayes and the show’s Executive Producer/Director, Andy Fickman.

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As you can imagine in a group of parent bloggers many questions came up about how the stars themselves parent both their real children (Kevin has 4, Erinn has 2) and their TV children. It was interesting to hear that the TV kids are older than both Erinn’s kids and Kevin’s kids so it’s fun for them because teenagers are unchartered territory.

And yes! Stars are just like us. I loved hearing how Erinn too used to drive around in a plotted out highway route so her kids could nap, while looking for a coffee drive thru. It was also nice to hear that just like our kids – their kids also get carsick and act like nuts!

Here are a few more highlights from our Q& A:

Who are your comedic influenced?

Kevin: Jackie Gleason and John Candy – both big guys.

Erinn: Carol Burnett and Madeline Kahn. Goldie Hawn in Overboard – I just rewatched it recently, it was a Great performance.

(I agree it’s one of my favorites! I like it when she goes Buh Buh Buh Buh – which is how I feel at the end of the day with my three kids!)

How do you like doing a TV show vs. a movie?

Erinn: there’s longevity on TV and only one story in a movie. On a TV show you are exploring the lives of these people and are curious what’s coming. You can add to the characters as the show goes on.

Kevin: in a movie you can’t change the character once it’s over but with TV you can evolve the characters. There’s also a rhythm with a live audience – like with live stand-up comedy. With a movie there is no audience watching, with TV you get an immediate audience reaction.

How do you like filming on Long Island – for a show that takes place in Massapequa?

Kevin: I love filming on Long Island. It brings total authenticity. It’s just a different energy. Plus since this is the first show filmed here it’s like an exciting event. My wife is starting to love Long Island too. We love the change of seasons.

Erinn: I like the change of season too but my family is in Los Angeles so I go back every weekend.

What would you do when you really retire? 

Erinn: I’d love to get a Volkswagen camper and go on little adventures.

Kevin: I have no end in sight. I love what I do.

Erinn: Me too!

Favorite places to eat on Long Island?

Kevin: Robkes, All American Burger, Umberto’s, Chris & Tony’s.

Erin – I was so shocked that strip malls have great food!

How does your Mets fan pride carry through? 

Kevin: Before every show we sing “Meet the Mets” with the audience. We also have some players making cameos.

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So what is the big thing “Kevin Can Wait” for?

For his retirement plans! You think life will go one way but it goes another. As Kevin (James) said – Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.

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Now, isn’t that the truth…

Check out this week’s episode – Hallow-We-Ain’t-Home” on Monday, October 31st at 8PM – CBS. On Halloween, Kevin and Donna’s neighbors “trick” them in holiday style when they pretend not to be home to avoid giving out candy. Also, Chale has an altercation with a man dressed as a Viking (Noah Syndergaard).

Follow Kevin Can Wait on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

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They spelled my name wrong – but they gave me a Gyro Bowl (Inside joke from the pilot episode)!

 

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Dutch Wonderland – A Fantastic Family Destination!

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Hear Ye Hear Ye.

If you’re looking for a fun weekend getaway, look no further than Dutch Wonderland.

While the water rides are hibernating for the season, the dry rides & shows are plentiful and festivals are non-stop!

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Few things are a young family’s rite of passage like a road trip to an amusement park. So as a new family of five we decided to give it a go. We strategically planned our visit to Lancaster, PA in early September before our school started – but while most others were already in session. Off peak, off peak, off peak.

I should note I have been DYING to go to Dutch Wonderland for (give or take) thirty five years. As a child my parents and I frequented Amish country but as my Dad says “It was raining every time we tried to go”.

Uh..huh…

While I won’t say I specifically remember sun…. I’ll just say I never got to go – but I passed those castle gates many a time with my hand outstretched towards them and a tear in my eye.

Alas…

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I vowed that one day, one day (!) my kids would get to walk through those castle gates. That day, people, was September 1st, 2016.

With three kids – six and a half, almost three, and three months we thought this was the perfect time to visit. I have to say – we were right!

The park is large in attractions but not overwhelming. While you could go on all the rides in one day the best offer around is to take advantage of the evening preview the night before. For us – with the earlier closing hour of 6pm – this was perfect. We arrived at 3pm and knocked out all of the “bigger” rides we knew would have lines the next day. I loved the preview not only for the efficient (and complimentary) aspect of it but also so I could plan our full day there with some knowledge of the park layout from my own eyes vs. the online map.

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My daughter loved the “bigger” rides but equally loved the smaller rides she could go on with her little brother. The rides were a bit edgier than our local amusement park so she was super excited. My son loved driving the cars and the train. I liked the “sitting and recharging” rides – read: train, monorail, and boat ride. As a parent – shade plus sitting is always a big, big win. The baby was excited for the new “Nursing Station”. But truthfully, I found the whole park nursing friendly with benches located all around.

While the summer months (Memorial Day – Labor Day) are a great time to visit Dutch Wonderland to take advantage of Duke’s Lagoon, the Fall and Winter months are a killer time to go as well. Rides in jeans and a t-shirt vs. tank tops and sweat? Sign me up.

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The 2016 season is still going strong. In the Fall there is Happy Hauntings (Saturdays and Sundays through October 30th) featuring themed rides, special entertainment, tasty treats, and the Trick-or-Treat Trail (a safe, interactive trick-or-treating experience).

If you’re looking for a party – check out the Spook-tacular Halloween Bash (Saturday and Sunday October 29th and 30th) featuring music, dancing and more.

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In the winter – on select dates from November 19th to December 30th you can check out the Dutch Winter Wonderland with rides, entertainment, and the Royal Light Show – a spectacular display of thousands of twinkling lights dancing to your favorite holiday tunes!

Want to do good and receive a complimentary ticket to Dutch Winter Wonderland!? Well head there on November 19th, 2016 between 3:00pm and 9:00pm (the grand opening evening of Dutch Winter Wonderland) with a new, unwrapped toy. Children under the age of 12 will receive one complimentary admission in exchange for each donation to the Toys for Tots Foundation toy drive.

As frequent visitors to our local amusement park – which has the same number of rides packed in to half the acreage – it was absolutely delightful to spend a day at Dutch Wonderland. Not only were there tons of rides and games, special treats like Dole Whip Junction and Funnel cake, a few Dutch education stations (my kids were really into these), shows, and characters – there were also lots of fun “stick your face in the picture” thingies which we all love.

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So at 38 I can say my dream came true. I finally got to enter those big castle gates, walk over the drawbridge – naturally surrounded by a moat – and see the amazing place that is Dutch Wonderland. We had such a great time. The park wasn’t big enough to be stressful, but was big enough to fill our day and leave us wanting to return.  There were plenty of places to eat, rest, play, and enjoy. Dutch Wonderland’s location offered many fun resorts and restaurants within a ten minute drive and there was more to do in the area than we had days to be there. Just a fantastic weekend all around.

Go. Enjoy.

Think of me when you’re eating that Dole Whip!

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Mr. Popper’s Penuins at The Victory Theater

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@Popper_Penguins #loveoftheater @NewVictory 

Tonight I was lucky enough to see Mr. Popper’s Penguins at The New Victory Theater. It was fantastic! Or should I say fin-tactic!? 

flap-tactic? 

flip-tastic? 

Ok, I’ll stop. 

I’ve seen a lot of kids shows and I usually play along and like them for my kids but this was different. It was legit adorable and funny. 

We didn’t know the story beforehand so we didn’t know what to expect. Not only were the four actors who played multiple characters (including ten penguins) great but they carried the story though flawlessly (and with delightful British accents). 

Photo Credit: Helen Murray

Our favorite scene was when Mrs. Popper relented to becoming a penguin foster mom and sang a list of rules to her new Captain Cook. Why was it our favorite? Because my daughter turned to me afterwards and told me I had the same list of rules for her! Ha! 

Special things kept us engaged like “snow” falling and the hilarious penguin “puppeteers”. Plus as a huge fan of British comedies, I loved the circular rotation of “new” characters coming out with different accent. 

Photo Credit: Helen Murray

But the best was at the end when the entire audience was invited to stand up and join in the “show” and waddle like a penguin (I’m a sucker for audience participation!). 

The show was wonderful but the whole experience at The New Victory Theater was great. Including that they handed out booster seats as we walked in (perfect for me – a serial booster forgetter). But even better – they had a whole “come early & stay late” room downstairs dedicated to crafts and activities for ticket holders – free of charge – before and after the show. Plus the usher was totally into it and got my daughter into it too! 

If you’re looking for a family friendly show – please check out Mr. Popper’s Penguins. While the age listed says 4-7 I think a younger kid would love it (I’m bummed I didn’t bring my 3 year old son too) and an older kid would appreciate it. My six and a half year old daughter LOVED it. She said a few times on the way home she thought she’d like it but she loved it!

Mr. Popper’s Penguins has a run time of 55 minutes and is playing at The New Victory Theater through October 30, 2016. Tickets start at $25. There is an autism friendly show October 29th. For more information or to order tickets check out their website