A Day at the Philadelphia Zoo

During the summer, I can have every other Monday off if I work an extra hour each day. Some days I wonder if it’s worth it because I don’t get home until around 7pm. I miss dinner with the kid and he’s typically in bed by 8 or 8:30pm leaving me very little time with him. But then the coveted day off rolls around and we do something like…

Meet a Yellow-knobbed Currasow (from South America).IMG_20130812_125551_557

Get an up close look at the amazing world of ants.


Marvel at polar bears while watching them catch fish.

polar bear

Play with friends in a wild land of make believe as I reminiscence about my own childhood playing on the very same structures.

IMG_20130812_143751_206 IMG_20130812_144747_576

Take obligatory touristy photos with statues.


Splash in a fountain as I recall a similar scene from a year ago.
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… and I know it’s all worth it.

Best day of the summer! #MightyMike

I highly recommend that everyone take off of work on a Wednesday here and there. I did just that not long ago and brought my 4 year old to go meet Mighty Mike – America’s Biggest, Baddest Alligator – who is on exhibit at Adventure Aquarium on the Camden Waterfront through Labor Day 2013.

It was the best day of the summer for us so far! We leisurely toured the Aquarium, met Mighty Mike, dipped our fingers in tanks filled with sharks, sting rays, sea urchins, sea stars, and more! We watched a mini 4D movie (SpongBob – banned from the boobtube at home but this was a treat day) and met up with a few friends for a little while.

After we had our fill of fishies, penguins, and hippos, we walked a long the waterfront for a little and discovered the ferry that takes you across the Delaware River to Philadelphia. It was set to arrive in a little bit so we made an impromptu trip to Philly! It was a beautiful day to be on the water and my son’s first boat ride.

Once we got to Philly we went on the prowl for ice cream and found the famous Franklin Fountain only a couple of blocks away. I once read a scathing review of the place some time back and was a little leery but our experience was nothing but delightful. TIP: IT’S CASH ONLY!!! (my only negative) After hunting down an ATM we enjoyed delicious ice cream. Simple chocolate for the kid and the special of the day for me.

We then explored Penns Landing as we took our time heading back to the ferry. After the ferry dropped us back off in Camden, the kid asked to go back into the Aquarium to pet the stingrays again. Not a problem since we got our hands stamped before leaving earlier! We “closed” the place down and finally headed home, tired but with lots of happy memories.












What Makes a Family? DELIVERY MAN Trailer

What if you found out you had 533 biological children?!

Well, in DELIVERY MAN, Vince Vaughn plays an affable underachiever looking for his purpose in life, when he finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them want to meet their biological father.

Sound ridiculous? YES! But totally possible! There’s a real life case of a man who provided 50% of the DNA to some 150+ children! And those are just the children who have reached out and registered on the Donor Sibling Registry to search for their half siblings! There’s also a case from the 1940’s where a doctor is suspected of fathering upwards of 600 children in the UK (though I think the math on that case is dubious).

Ridiculous, possible, or not, looks like the idea is going to make for a cute and heart-warming comedy.

DELIVERY MAN opens in theatres everywhere on November 22nd!

NetZero 4G HotSpot and Wireless Service – GIVEAWAY!

Do you remember NetZero from back in the day? I do! My mom was all over their free dial up service back in the late 90’s. But since the dawn on Cable and FiOS connections I haven’t really thought about dial-up or NetZero and I honestly didn’t know if they still existed.

Well they do, and they’ve joined 2012 in style with a new 4G wireless service.

My mom passed away in ’04 but I have a feeling she’d be just as excited about this new service as I am. I’m pretty sure she would have signed up as soon as I told her about it because NetZero is staying true to their name and offering plans that start out at $0.00 per month.

They pretty much have a service plan that will fit every budget and usage need.

In case you are wondering what 4G is … well, think of it as broadband on-the-go. A fast wireless Internet connection that you can take with you anywhere that there is coverage. And there’s coverage across 80 cites and metro areas so there’s a nice chance that you are covered!

Here’s what the NetZero Hotspot device looks like:

It’s small enough to conveniently fit in any bag or larger pockets so you can take it with you anywhere. The HotSpot device allows up to 8 simultaneous devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) to connect to it. There’s also a small NetZero device call the “Stick” that looks and plugs into your laptop like a USB drive and gives it wireless Internet access. You can’t share access like you can with the HotSpot though.

And yes, I named my hotspot, Hermes, and that’s the password in parenthesis. If you are within range you are welcome to hop on! :)

That is, unless you WIN YOUR OWN! Because, as the post title suggests, I do have a GIVEAWAY for you!

[Hermes = Greek god of transitions and boundaries. Quick, cunning, and moved freely between the worlds. Protector and patron of travelers. Seems appropriate, yes no?]

You can win your very own NetZero 4G HotSpot Device PLUS 3 free months of Platinum Service. Yep, that’s their top-of-the-line $49.99/month plan.

I know Santa will be bringing lots of tablets, laptops, and smartphones to families everywhere this year. In fact, he already brought a couple of Nexus 7‘s to our house and couldn’t resist delivering them early despite my weak protests.

Your family will LOVE having fast Internet access wherever they go for all their portable devices. For a chance to win, follow the directions in the form below. There are several simple ways to enter, pick whichever ones you want to do.

If you don’t want to take your chances or wait head on over to NetZero today and grab a HotSpot for yourself. (Psst, they are on sale right now!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* I am being compensated by NetZero to host this Giveaway promotion.

Christmas Crafts & treats

Christmas Treats

Tis the season to see magazines and Pinterest boards filled with gorgeous and decadent holiday desserts.

But let’s face it, if you have young kids, cover-worthy desserts are probably not going to happen.

And that’s okay, we can leave the hard work to the Marthas and Bakerellas of the world and instead have fun getting messy with our kids.

Here are a few simple and less involved Christmas treats shared by moms around the web that the kids can help with and will love.

1. Pretzel Buttons. If you haven’t made these sweet and salty treats before you are really missing out! They are so simple and kids can do most of the work themselves. If you can’t find the round pretzels, square ones work just as well. Oh, and Hershey’s makes holiday colored kisses too so you can get creative with your color combinations.


2. Painted Christmas Cookies. How fun is this idea? Make edible paints with evaporated milk and a little food coloring and then let the little ones PAINT their cookies. Melissa shares her tips and a sugar cookie recipe too.


3. Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree. Here’s an easy-peasy one for you. Pop open a couple cans of cinnamon rolls and bake them in the shape of a Christmas tree. You could even make it more festive and let the kids sprinkle on some red and green sugar.christmastreet_cinnamonrolls


4. Gum-drop cookies. Not many kids will turn down cookies or candy so cookies + candy has surely got to be a winner. This is probably the most complicated treat on our list but if you can handle chocolate chip cookies you can do this one. Sue used a Paula Deen recipe but shares a good tip to get the job done easier.


5. Christmas Tree Rice-krispy Treat Pops. This is your basic rice krispy treat recipe jazzed up for the holidays. Amy assures us that these pops are deceptively easy to put together with little helpers and provides step-by-step directions.


6. Christmas Tree Cupcakes. We loved the simplicity of the cinnamon rolls above so couldn’t help but include a cupcake version of the idea. Make your favorite cupcakes (no judgment if you use a box recipe), line them up in the shape of a tree, and then let the kids go to town decorating their edible tree. Get creative and use whatever candies and sprinkles you have on hand. Many kid cereals would even make great decorations!


(Originally written and published on Philly Kids Things)