The Mint Chip Mama’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide!

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The Mint Chip Mama - 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

#holidaygiftguide #mtholiday

Can you believe the holidays are right around the corner? Thanksgiving is creeping up quickly and before we know it snow will be falling and presents will be everywhere!

The Mint Chip Mama - 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

I put a lot of time and love into my blog posts and Facebook page (where I post something fun daily). So many places and products have crossed my path that I absolutely LOVE. Thought it would be fun to share them with you and help in the eternal search for holiday gifts.

The Mint Chip Mama - 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

I also think the best gifts are experiences so you’ll see that’s the biggest section below. How much would YOU love if someone got you a gift certificate to one of the local attractions you’ve been dying to try? To me that’s the best gift – it keeps on giving all year long and you don’t have to find a place to put it in your closet.

Enjoy!

Experiential Gifts Because You Have Enough Stuff

Camelback Mountain Skiing & Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark in Tannersville, PA

Crayola Experience in Easton, PA

Diggerland in West Berlin, NJ

Eden Resort & Suites in Lancaster, PA

Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA

Splish Splash in Calverton, NY

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Lancaster, PA

Whitaker Science Center in Harrisburg, PA

Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia, PA

Adventureland Season Pass in Farmingdale, NY

Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA

The Ride Manhattan Tour (Midtown or downtown)

Big Apple Circus tickets

ParkWhiz (nationwide)

NYBG Holiday Train Show in Bronx, NY

Wildlife Conservation Society Membership in New York City

Puffs The Play in Manhattan

Hershey Park in Hershey, PA

The Mint Chip Mama - 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Books

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck

The Complete Book of Fashion History

The Golden Girls Adult Coloring Book

How Not To Hate Your Husband After Kids

The Little Book of Hygge

American Presidents Activity Book

My Very Own Trucks

Adventures in History (Playmobil) 

Tuck Everlasting

The Mint Chip Mama - 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

For Your Male or Female Friend Who Has Everything

The Swankey Beverage Tote 

Pic’s Peanut Butter

Bug Bite Thing

Raisels

Luxe Bidet

GH Cretors Popped Corn

Aladdin Glass Mason Jar Drink Dispenser, 32 Oz Insulated Tumbler & Mason Cups

Avocado Hugger

Barbuzzo Wine & Martini Glass

A Hole Paperweight

Bracelet Flask

World’s Softest Socks

Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

Eco Nuts Wool Dryer Balls 

Jessica’s Natural Foods Granola

O-Venture Key Ring

Oilz+ Shea Butter Moisturizer from Scrubz Body

Bondi Unique Flexible Cell Phone Holder

For The New Mom

Fridababy Bitty Bundle

UPPAbaby Universal Infant Carseat Cabana

REMI – Baby monitor, sleep trainer, nightlight, bluetooth speaker

Babyganics products – especially the individually wrapped Hand Sanitizing Wipes

Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat

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For the Seasoned Mom

GB Pockit Stroller

Mabels Labels

Mixed Pears Food Scissor

Fun Stuff For Kids

Tomy John Deere Lawn & Garden Set

Crayola Color In Socks

H2OGo! Splash Blobz

NameBubbles Customized Wall Decals

Cobra Paw

Kudo Banz

Sleeping Queens

TriceraTACO Taco Holder

Roller Coaster Challenge Logic & Building Game

Perfection

Table-Time Look & Learn Tablecloth

RSDubs Ribbons Hair Accessories

Moluk Plui Bath Toy

Battleship

Stand N Swing with chain

Sequence Game

The Mint Chip Mama - 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

For Your Breastfeeding Buddy

PumpEase Handsfree Pumping Bra

Glamourmom Nursing Tanks

The Comfy Cradle

Evenflo Breastpump

The First Years Breastflow Milk Storage Organizer

May everyone’s holiday season be filled with joy!

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The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center – a Top Family Destination in PA!

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The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

@whitakercenter #whitakercenter Facebook

As a kid I was completely obsessed with science centers. They were my favorite place to go. On a class trip, with my parents, any way I could get to a hands-on science center simply made my day. The same excited butterflies recently entered my stomach when I found out The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center – located in Harrisburg, PA was in the path of our family vacation.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

As authentic as a good old hands on science center can get – my kids (and let’s be honest, I) had THE best time. OK, my husband too… and the baby. So we were five for five! We started our day on the third floor playing with light, sound, air, and everyone’s favorite – the giant bubble machine.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

We then moved on to what would be our home for the next two hours – the “tot” area – KidsPlace. I could not get my kids – ages seven and three – out of this amazing area filled with everything a kid could want to exercise their imagination.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

Even the baby got in to it!

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

Between the play ambulance, theatre (with multiple background curtains and really nice props), water play area, fish tank, big brick & slide structure, they were engaged and playing and content as can be. Guess what we were able to do? Sit down and just watch!

If The Harsco Science Center was nothing but this one area I’m convinced they would still think this was the highlight of our trip.

Also in this area was my favorite accessory to any good family venue – a nursing room! Part a mom’s refuge from her own children and part a quiet, private, cheerful place to breastfeed, it got a full A+ from me!

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

Heading down a flight, brought us to the “Move It” area with car races, die cut machines, and tons of play experiences.

Followed by the circus themed “Carnival of Health”, that was filled with interactive exercise games as far as the eye could see.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

Heading down another flight brought us to “Forces of Nature” where we learned about weather (including a hurricane simulation machine) and gravity. The kids loved lifting thousands of pounds with pulleys and having very fast wind blown in their faces! Since the last few months have been filled with crazy weather occurrences it was nice to have hands on demonstrations so the kids could actually learn about them.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

But here – the pièce de résistance – was the “Backstage Studio”, including a stop animation lab. Upon seeing this, my husband became giddy. It was quite possibly the most excited I’ve ever seen him at a place for kids. Normally the guy telling us it’s time to go – he sat down and created a whole movie for our kids which he proudly played. Forget them; I was excited to watch HIM enjoy it so much!

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

What we thought would be a fun back-up – in case of a rainy day while visiting amusement parks – turned out to be the highlight of our trip. I can’t recommend The Harsco Science Center enough if you will be in the Harrisburg, Lancaster, or Pennsylvania Dutch area. Rain or shine, this place will be a hit.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

As if their permanent exhibits aren’t cool enough, they have visiting exhibits as well (while we were there it was dinosaurs!). If you live in the area you can also take advantage of the wonderful programs they offer like Little Learners and a Parent-Child STEM Adventure program for kids 3-5. They also have Girl Scout programs and Girls in STEM programs.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

With the holidays coming, definitely check out the Holiday Celebrations including the seasonal Whitaker Wonderland – a sock skate rink, “snowball” pit, and Cranky Cars – from November 17, 2017 – January 28, 2018.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

Venturing past the little ones – The Whitaker Center offers movies on the giant screen (Central PA’s biggest if you’re keeping track!) and live performances (including comedians and musicians) at the Sunoco Performance Theater.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

We really did have the best time. Plus the kids got to learn a little science (ha ha- tricked them!). I can’t recommend this place enough. A great stop for Fall, Winter, or a place to add to your itinerary for next summer.

The Mint Chip Mama - The Harsco Science Center at The Whitaker Center - a Top Family Destination in PA!

***GIVEAWAY***

I’m not the only one who wants you to experience this amazing place, the kind people at The Whitaker Center want you to come as well! They’ve generously offered to give away to one lucky reader of The Mint Chip Mama a Family Four Pack of tickets!

To win, please comment below – what your kids would be the most excited to see (or learn about) at The Whitaker Center!

Winner will be picked Wednesday, November 1st, 2017, 5pm EST.

Please also take a moment to follow my blog & like my Facebook page where I share a little something special every day!

Cherry Crest Farm – A Great Family Destination!

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The Mint Chip Mama - Cherry Crest Farms

We were so lucky to visit Cherry Crest Farm on our last trip to Lancaster, PA. We saw the farm last year as we passed by in the Strasburg Railroad, but it wasn’t until a friend highly recommended it that we made it a “must see” this time around. I get why, this place was fantastic!

To be honest, we loved it even more than expected. From the huge and legit corn maze (read: we had to sit through a corn maze orientation), to the tons of “old school” games and rides and slides, to the local food, to the pig races – we had to pull the kids out of there.

We began our day immediately heading to the Pedal Cart Track where my daughter, who is notorious for wanting to drive anything anyone will let her – got her fill.

The Mint Chip Mama - Cherry Crest Farms

Next, we headed to The Amazing Maze to see what the hubbub was about. As Corn Maze first-timers, we were really impressed and opted for the beginner trail with our three kids – ages 7, 3 and 1. Besides seeing real ears of corn growing in the real corn husks, there were little hidden surprises and fun “corny” signs everywhere! My kids loved finding these Ninja Warrior places, or fun maze puzzle piece stations.

Completely worth mentioning here is the love Cherry Crest Farm puts into this maze. This year’s theme was Charlotte’s Web and from an aerial view that’s just what you got. Plus with color coded ropes in the maze you could tell which part of the design you were in the whole time. Their 22 years of a-maze-ing designs are proudly displayed at the entrance.

Next, we headed to “The Courtyard” Area. Here my kids spent a TON of time playing with the Rubber Duck Race and going through the Straw Bale Maze. When my daughter told me she wanted to go on their “Website” I took a moment to say we’re not looking on phones while here. Then I saw her pointing and laughed. You have to say, Cherry Crest Farm has a good sense of humor!

The Mint Chip Mama - Cherry Crest Farms

But the piece d’resistance of this area was definitely the Lil Wagon Express. We went on it many, many, many times. But it is not just a wagon ride, it is a scavenger hunt to find hidden animals along the way. My son loved finding them. Every. Single. Time. (Hint, they were made of wood and didn’t move).

The Mint Chip Mama - Cherry Crest Farms

For the moms in the crowd I have to take a moment to compliment Cherry Crest Farm for not only having a lovely Baby Changing Area and Nursing Suite, but a bathroom stocked with what’s needed when it’s needed. You know what I mean. No quarters necessary (thank you!).

Enroute to the expansive area up the hill called “The Barnyard”, we stopped to take a picture on the Bucking Bronco. Not sure they made it the full 8 seconds, but Luke Perry would be proud.

This area was amazing! We could have spent an entire day just here. My kids high-tailed it to the Barnyard Jump for some intense jumping and then moved on to the Hay Chute Slide & Straw Bale Racer. The kids were able to walk up the hill themselves with their burlap sacks and then come shooting down. This was done a dozen times. I was ok with that because I didn’t have to walk up the hill even once (read: parenting win).

The Mint Chip Mama - Cherry Crest Farms

Next, my daughter tried the Giant Slinger. Now this is mean, but my favorite part was the power of the sling shot’s backfire shooting her onto her tush in a very surprising situation. She was not as amused as I was…

As big builder fans, our next stop was the Lil Cabin Builders area. Here the kids made life-size cabins out of huge Lincoln Logs. Next, they tried out their newly chiseled muscles on the Post Pounders and all the fun games out and about in the area.

The Mint Chip Mama - Cherry Crest Farms

Finally, we caught a pig race and wanted desperately to make it over to the new Battle Zone but just didn’t have enough time. But this is a good problem to have, it means we have to go back!

The Mint Chip Mama - Cherry Crest Farms

With three distinct seasons at Cherry Crest Farm– Spring, Summer, and Fall we can easily return and get to do even more. They’re open until November 4th, 2017 this season and honestly, I’m dying to go back for the Flashlight Maze and Pumpkin Festival. Plus – spoiler alert – the Fall has campfires and s’mores!

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They have some pretty unique events too throughout the year, including a Facebook Fan Day – where admission is free if you liked their page. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before!The Mint Chip Mama - Cherry Crest Farms

In my opinion, with the weather now cooler, and the summer traffic gone, Fall seems like the best time to visit Cherry Crest Farm. But then again, anytime would be a good time to go. Oh, Cherry Crest Farm – you had me at fresh squeezed lemonade and fudge.

The Mint Chip Mama - Cherry Crest Farms

***GIVEAWAY***

The lovely people at Cherry Crest Farm want you to visit too! They are offering one lucky reader of The Mint Chip Mama a family four pack of tickets!

To win, please comment below with the activity your kids are the most excited to try at Cherry Crest Farm and why!

Winner chosen Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 at 5pm EST.

Splish Splash – Long Island’s Award Winning Waterpark!

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Splish Splash

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

@SplishSplashWP #SplishSplashWP

My husband and I recently got to relive our youth by taking our children to the 96 acre water park Splish Splash – an award winning water park practically in our backyard!

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

Located on Long Island, only a short distance from where we live, we spent the day shooting around in water tubes, descending down twisty slides, and laughing our soaking wet butts off! (Don’t tell my kids I said butt.)

I remember so vividly when Splish Splash opened in 1991. I was 13 and at the height of my water park obsession. My Dad & I packed up the car and were on our way. My husband had a similar vivid memory, Splish Splash was his first destination after getting his license. Our kids didn’t care about either. Ha!

But we love days like this- where raising our family close to where we grew up both brings up nice memories and let’s us create new ones. 

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

Enough with the nostalgia, let’s get on to the day! Splish Splash is right off the L.I.E about 45 minutes east of where we live. We parked and headed inside. With maps all over and the larger attractions numbered, it was easy to find our way around.

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

We started on The Abyss riding two at a time. It was great that my three year old could go on a big ride to start the day. I was even happier to find this was the case on most rides!

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

We continued on to Mammoth River. My kids giggled the entire time down while I smiled that we could all ride together in one raft as a family.

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

Next, we visited Hollywood Stunt Rider. Another family ride with winding dark tunnels. Equally great about this ride was the view – we were above the trees (a really big deal to my kids) – and could see the whole park.

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

My daredevil daughter next begged to go on Shotgun Falls, a free-falling drop slide with a five-foot drop into a very deep pool. Luckily her father is a good sport and took her.

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

Realizing height was a bit of a challenge on some rides, my husband offered to take our 38ish” son over to the beautiful and activity filled Kiddie Area while my daughter and I headed to the awesome roller coaster like Bootleggers Run. I should mention, at 5’2”, I’m a pretty lame tall team captain.

We met back up at Johnny Rockets for a quick lunch. As a big “bring our own lunch” family this was a big upset for us, but the park doesn’t allow outside food so we gave it a go. We got a chocolate shake. It all worked out.

We continued together looking for family rides and headed towards The Battle of Mutiny Bay (which also happened to be the perfect low key post-lunch digestfest ride). With water cannons coming at you from on-lookers, you had no choice but to attack back! My kids were hysterical! I can see why the Travel Channel voted it one of their 10 favorite water park rides.

Next, we relaxed a bit in the Kahuna Bay Wavepool, one of two wave pools we tried and then on to Dinosaur Falls and Dragon’s Den. The rides were great – not too scary but exciting and thrilling, the perfect combination.

Speaking of perfect – one of our last rides was everyone’s favorite – the Lazy River. I was lucky enough to have a snuggly little boy on my lap who just wanted to cuddle. I could have stayed that way for days.

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

Our time at Splish Splash was wonderful. The park was clean, there were tons of options for children of all ages and sizes, and there was plenty of shade.

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

A few Splish Splash tips now that I’m a pro:

  1. My daughter often suffers from swimmers ear so we got her the EAR BAND-IT Swimming Headband. She loves it and so far so good.
  2. I bought the Travelon Floating Waterproof Smart Phone/Digital Camera Pouch because I realized I had to take pictures! All were taken through the plastic, not so bad, right?
  3. I love individually wrapped Babyganics Alcohol-Free, Hand Sanitizing Wipes and always have one with me. We quickly washed our hands before lunch without walking to a bathroom. Score!
  4. Wear water shoes NOT flip flops, I happen to love these from Keen.
  5. You can never go wrong with a nice long sleeve rash guard.
  6. I found a super cool (not) sunglass cord in a drawer and figured – why not?
  7. We rented a large locker (there are three choices, large fit an over-stuffed beach bag easily) but cubbies were at each ride entrance.

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

If you live in the area, and have a child over 36”, you should definitely check out Splish Splash. It would be a great destination the week before school starts. The Travel Channel agrees, they voted Splish Splash one of the best water parks in America!

*Get your discount tickets here!*

Or use promo code: MintChipMamaSBlog17 in the top right box on the website!

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

Oh Baby! Show. My Top New York Baby Show picks!

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May is coming and that means it’s almost time for the New York Baby Show! Join me May 20/21st at Pier 94 for this great event – the largest show for new and expectant parents in the country! Even better – I’m so excited to offer my first ten readers free tickets here! Check out my review of last year’s show below! Please like my page & comment below if you were one of the 10 lucky winners!

The Mint Chip Mama

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One of the reasons I like the The New York Baby Show so much is that they always draw a great combination of vendors – both large and small scale to their event. This year didn’t disappoint. I was happy to walk the floor and see some new and innovative products as well as some of my favorites. As a mom pregnant with my third child it is nice to see there are still maternity or baby products that can be created to fill a need. I present to you my findings!

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One of my favorite companies at the show was Little Partners. Completely new to me they offer only a few products and all brilliant. What started with their Learning Tower twenty years ago – a great product that allows your child to stand (safely contained) in a raised step stool in the kitchen promoting interactive play and…

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Fire & Ice – Great Family Fun at Camelback Mountain!

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#MTCamelback @SkiCamelback

Skiing is a sport people love – unless you’re me – and your skill level is “drinking hot chocolate” (I’ve come to terms with it, I’m ok). I married a skier who doesn’t get to go very often (see above) who swore he’d raise our kids to be skiers. But when is the right time to bring a kid on their first ski trip? Luckily that question was answered when we were invited to the Momtrends Winter Break at Camelback Mountain last weekend. The time in now, people!

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Ironically I grew up going to the Camelback area annually, just never skiing, so it was a fitting location for my family’s first ski trip. The kids were beyond excited; it was barely containable in the car. Not only did we promise them a day of snow activities – like skiing and snow tubing, but a grand finale at Aquatopia – the largest indoor water park on the East Coast.

The Kids 90-Minute Beginner Lesson Package had everything we needed – including a full day lift ticket and equipment rental. We followed the easily marked, fool proof “step” system to get boots and skis, then headed right outside to the private Children’s Learning Area (aka minimal things to complain about for a first time ski boot wearer who wants to carry their own skis like a big shot).

Perfect for kids aged 4-12, they learned how to put on equipment, stand, balance, walk, get up and glide. This self contained area was drop off, so parents (read: my husband) could enjoy a few runs while the kids were in ski school. I was simply happy to sit and watch the big waves and smiles coming from the “magic carpet”.

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We not only lucked out with the weather (50 degrees!) but met the nicest staff, making our first ski experience a positive one.

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My daughter loved it and was good! As soon as the lesson ended she wanted to go on the bunny slope with my husband. He happily took her.

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My little guy – like his mom – decided the hot chocolate trail was the right one for him. I can respect that. We headed into the bright, window filled dining area of the main base lodge to rock our Après–ski.

The first half of our day came to a great close.

On to the second half – Aquatopia!

We headed to our car – parked in preferred parking (well worth the upcharge, the same price as a locker but you get proximity and storage) – and made our way over. Although Camelback offers a shuttle we opted to drive so the kids could take a quick nap.

Excitement grew as we approached Camelback Lodge and saw colorful slide tubes going in and out of the building.

We entered – wow.

Besides Aquatopia (the 125,000 square foot, two level, indoor water park), Camelback Lodge offers Arcadia Entertainment Center – filled with an indoor ropes/adventure park, “win a ticket” games galore, a paint your own pottery place, a huge candy store, mini-golf, laser tag, and bowling! Yes, all under ONE roof!

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As we headed to the family changing rooms, we past a swim up bar, private rental cabanas with TVs, a lazy river and 7 pools. We didn’t know where to begin!

At only three, I was curious how my son would do and WOW did he love it. Spending the majority of his time at Kartrite Quest, he zoomed down slides big enough for a thrill (and me – to nervously trail behind him!) but not too scary. We went approximately three million times before he conceded to a break in the Penguin Play Bay.

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My daredevil daughter, on the other hand, was ready to climb the stairs to the eight over 48” ride area with the kind of slides a water park enthusiast dreams of (including the Venus Slydetrap, the only slide of its kind in the world)! My personal favorite was the water roller coaster Storm Chaser. I would have gone on a hundred more times if my husband let me. I mean if there was more time…

As the day ended, we quickly showered the kids (so they were bed-transfer ready) and headed out. As we drove off, the little snores we heard – almost immediately – confirmed that we had one heck of a great day.

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Only a two hour-ish drive from Long Island made Camelback a great first stop to my kids becoming the next (enter name of a famous skier here). We will definitely return!

A few tips from The Mint Chip Mama for your fire and ice vacation!

Ski Tips:

  1. Get to the mountain an hour before your lesson to allow for a relaxed equipment rental experience.
  2. Be cool with your kid not liking skiing. Drinking hot chocolate is slated for the 2020 Olympics. Maybe they’ll like it next year.
  3. “Bad ski weather” aka warm, misting rain, etc., is an awesome time for beginners because it keeps the crowds away.
  4. Keep the tags on your new ski stuff so you can return if not used.

Water Park Tips:

  1. Bring 2 sample size bottles of body wash/shampoo so you and your spouse can divide and conquer your post water park wash down.
  2. No need to bring towels, they’re included (yay!).
  3. Bring a plastic bag for wet suits.
  4. Bring a puddle jumper if your kids can’t swim. Although life vests are available, kids can’t wear them on the slides and holding your breathe while your three year old goes down a slide into a shallow pool is a veeeeery long trip. PS – it was fine.

Overall Tips:

  1. Pack separate bags for skiing and the water park; just grab the one you need.
  2. Pack water bottles; refill them every time you have the option.
  3. Pack 10x the snacks you think you’ll need. No, make that 20x.
  4. Bring a chair, oh- just keep one in your trunk. It comes in handy more often than you’d expect.
  5. Never underestimate a powernap to keep your kid and/or husband melt-down free.
  6. Leave your baby home with your mom even if your husband says no. What? Did I say that?img_2790

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).

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