Saturday, November 26, 2016

11/26/16: Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker A Wonderful Holiday Tradition

The day after Thanksgiving for me is the true kick off to the holiday season.  This year we kicked off the season by heading to dress rehearsal for the Boston Ballet's presentation of Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House.  It was so exciting for my little dancer and her friend to experience the show up close and meet some of the performers.  The show runs until December 31st so make sure to get your tickets now.
The kids couldn't wait for the show!
The show is so breathtaking.  I enjoyed watching the technique of the dancers including their beautiful turns.  I could not take pictures during the show however The Boston Ballet did share some press images with me.
Show Photos Provided by the Boston Ballet
We even got to meet the Mouse King at intermission.  The kids were so excited to meet some of these wonderful dancers.  The costumes some of the characters need to dance in must be such a challenge.
I love the falling snow and the ability of these two was amazing!  Their leaps and turns were fantastic.  Their technique and stage presence was wonderful.
The kids got to meet them also.
Here is one of my favorite scenes.  With the snow falling and the beautiful dancing it gives me chills every time I see it.
 The show has a full company of 57 dancers 13 Boston Ballet II dancers along with more than 224 Boston Ballet School students.  
This is the 5th year of Mikko Nissinen’s re-envisioned The Nutcracker.  It is based on the libretto by Alexandre Dumas père titled The Tale of the Nutcracker, which is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”  There are so many amazing dances in the show.  These are some of my favorites.
 
This is always one of my favorites as I danced many times to "Waltz of the Flowers" and my daughter danced to it last year in her recital.
The show is about 2 hours long and does have an intermission.  The time flew and both of the girls were amazed the show was as long as it was as it went by so quickly for them.  I have been taking my kids for many years and they love it.
There are 43 performances of The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111)!
Tickets start at $35.
Visit http://www.bostonballet.org/nutcracker/
I highly suggest taking the family to see it and starting a family tradition or continuing one if you already have been.

Follow Boston Ballet on Twitter:  @BostonBallet  #BBNutcracker
Like them on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bostonballet
Disclosure:  I was provided with tickets for dress rehearsal for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

11/23/16: STEM Toys from Uncle Milton

I love toys that allow kids to learn at the same time and Uncle Milton does an awesome job with this!  We got to check out the new Virtual Explorer Space Expedition and the Star Wars Science Force Spinners Magnetic Lab with BB-8 and Evan had a blast playing with them.
I was especially impressed with the Virtual Explorer Space Expedition.  Being a space enthusiast and someone with an Aerospace Engineering degree I couldn't wait to see what this had to offer.  The coolest thing is that it allows you to explore the solar system via virtual reality technology!  The star planetarium projects hundreds of stars on the wall.
There is a dial that you can use to set it to a specific date.  There is an explorer activity guide that helps you learn about constellations, space expeditions and the solar system.
The Virtual Reality goggles open up for you to put your smart phone in to.  You then download a free app to start exploring.  The cool thing is that when I looked through I saw that the technology was Powered by Vuforia.  My company PTC which I have worked at for 18 years acquired Vuforia so this is our technology powering this toy.
There are Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality cards that unlock adventures.
Here it is as packaged.  It retails for $49.99.  They also have a Prehistoric Safari and Antopia Adventure.  You can see those here.
We also received the Star Wars Science Force Spinners Magnetic Lab with BB-8.  Evan loved the Star Wars The Force Awakens movie and thought BB-8 was cool so I knew he would like this.  You put the rip cord in to allow it to spin.
Us the force to push BB-8 with the magnetic force controller.  Use the speed rail for tricks.  Kids get to learn about magnets, friction and physics.
Even Shellie had fun playing with it.
Here it is as packaged.  It retails for $19.99.
Check out Uncle Milton Online:

Disclosure:  I was provided with these products for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

11/23/16: Lola the Therapy Dog Book Series

Reading is so important for kids so this is why the next cool gift in my Holiday Gift Guide is a book series about Lola the Therapy Dog written by Marcia Goldman who is her owner.  Our new puppy Shellie the Sheltie decided to check out the books too with real pictures of Lola.
These books are adorable talking about visits to the doctor, going to work, first day of school and being a tattletale.  Lola is a little Yorkie.  I had a little Yorkie named Rocky when I was growing up.  They are great little dogs but not usually therapy dogs but Lola overcame the odds and became one.
How cute is she?
Lauren read to Shellie about going to the doctor.  Even Shellie was really interested in the cute pictures of Lola.  Lauren loved reading the books and thought Lola was adorable.
This is a such a wonderful book series because it teaches kids how to overcome their fears.  Children will identify with the feisty Lola as she struggles going to school, passing tests, and finally achieving her Big Dog dream.  If Lola can make it in a world of Great Danes and Labradors, so can anybody who's feeling like a runt.  The book shows children how through hard work and determination, anyone can achieve their goals.
You can purchase the books on Amazon.  What a great gift for your budding reader.  They are easy to read for young children and would be perfect for Kindergartners to Second Graders.
Disclosure:  I was provided with the set of four Lola books and small stuffed animal.  No other compensation was received and as always all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 21, 2016

11/21/16: Cirque Dreams Holidaze in Boston

I love the holidays and I love going to holiday shows with the family!  Cirque Dreams Holidaze is coming to the Boch Center Shubert Theatre in Boston from December 9th to the 11th and I can't wait to see it.  THIS IS A SHOW NOT TO BE MISSED!  It is not only a cirque show, but it is also a Broadway musical, holiday spectaculalar, and family show all in one!
This show looks fantastic with 30 performers from 12 countries with 20 acts!  
More information about the show:
Steve Litman Presents, and Larry Magid Entertainment bring this show to life.  From the creators of the groundbreaking Broadway hit Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, Cirque Dreams Holidaze is “so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil” according to the New York Daily News and “a delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleigh load.”  The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle raves, “even the Grinch would be impressed with this Christmas wonderland.”  “Stuffed with so much holiday cheer and audacious acts, Scrooge would exit with a big ol' smile on his face,” hails the Erie Times News about this “Broadway-worthy spectacle.”  “The perfect way to come in from the cold, forget the holiday stresses and find the magic of the season” proclaims The Oakland Press. Don't miss this international sensation that “Dazzled…at The Kennedy Center” according to the Washington Post. 
The show is an endless variety of imaginative, heart-pounding and gravity- defying feats you have to see to believe.  Experience gingerbread men flipping midair, toy soldiers marching on thin wires along with snowmen, icemen and penguins, balancing, jumping and spinning in disbelief.  The show celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, choreography and exciting production numbers.  Performers and costumed ornament characters twirl, bounce and soar thru the air to original music and seasonal favorites brought to life within a stage setting of gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering trees and soldiers creating a larger than life wonderland of amazement. 
Tickets are available for Cirque Dreams Holidaze at the Boch Center Box Office, Bochcenter.org, or by calling (866) 348-9738.
There are shows on the following days and times:
Friday, December 9, 2016 at 8:00PM 
Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 11:00AM, 3:00PM and 7:30PM 
Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 11:00AM and 3:00PM 
Here is a quick preview of the show:

Disclosure:  I was provided with four tickets for my family to attend Cirque Dreams Holidaze.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 14, 2016

11/14/16: Family Holiday Fun at Charmingfare Farm

I love the holidays in New England!  It is a wonderful time for lots of family fun.  Charmingfare Farm in Candia, NH has 3 great holiday events for the family!  Christmas Tree Spree which is free admission, horse-drawn Lighted Winter Wonderland and Santa's Big Party.  We have gone to Santa's Big Party in the past and it was so much fun for the kids!  There was a horse drawn carriage ride to the party, animals to feed, pony rides, and we got to see reindeer.  Read on and I have a discount code and a GIVEAWAY!
All of these events look like so much fun!
Here is some video of the Lighted Winter Wonderland that you can win tickets to below.

Here we are with Santa at his party.

There are more details on their website for dates, hours, and pricing.  
Order your tickets to Santa's Big Party online and use promo code: santa 16 you will SAVE $5 per person.
The kids doing a conga line with the characters.
Santa waving goodbye to us.
For current special offers go here:  http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=13172&dealid=3100
Enter below to win 4 tickets to Santa's Big Party or Lighted Winter Wonderland!  Valued at $100!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure:  I was provided with tickets to Charmingfare Farm from being in the US Family Guide Blogger Network.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

11/9/16: Blue Man Group Celebrates 25 Years

We love going to fun shows and exposing the kids to new things.  Last weekend we went to Blue Man Group at the Charles Playhouse in Boston.  It was amazing to find out that Blue Man Group is celebrating their 25th Anniversary on November 17th!  In fact from now thru November 17th they will be doing giveaways via Twitter at @BMGBoston so make sure to follow them so you can learn how to win.
In addition to the daily giveaways, Blue Man Group Boston will offer a limited number of $25 tickets to each show up to November 17th. These special tickets can be accessed under the Special Offers Section of their website.  Use promo code 25BDAY when purchasing online or at the Charles Playhouse Box Office to access this limited number of tickets per performance.
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Blue Man Group is really hard to explain and to be honest I wouldn't want to give away what happens in the show but it is a lot of fun!  It includes comedy, theater, rock concert and a dance party all in one!  This will not be a show to bore the kids.  Remember that if you are in the front set of rows there are plastic parkas on the seats as something may fly out at you.  We were in the first row without the parkas.  The theater is on the smaller side so every seat is a great seat!
Plus the show is continually refreshed with new music, fresh stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology.  It is so amazing that a show with no words spoken is so mesmerizing to adults and kids alike.
The anniversary show on November 17th will also have a celebratory theme with a lot of surprises in store.  In true Blue Man spirit, they don’t want to divulge their plans and ruin the surprise for their guests.  Make sure to head to the downstairs lounge after the school to meet the Blue Men themselves!
They even have a book coming out called "Blue Man World".  It is a deep dive into the world of the Blue Men.  It answers the questions Who are these Blue Men? Where do they come from? Why are there only three of them? What drives their curiosity? What do they hope to accomplish?
For more information about Blue Man Group, visit https://www.blueman.com/ or call 1.800.BLUEMAN.  The show has no intermission and runs about an hour and 40 minutes.  Here is a quick preview of what to expect:
Get your blue on and go see the show!
Give them some blue love online:
Twitter: @BMGBoston and @bluemangrou
Hashtags #DareToLive and #BMG25 
Disclosure:  I was provided four tickets to the show for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Friday, November 4, 2016

11/3/16:JORD Wood Watches Review and Giveaway

It is so difficult to come up with unique gifts for loved ones.  I found a beautiful gift that I love and I know any man or woman would love, JORD Wood Watches!  They are gorgeous unique watches that are made to fit your wrist and made out of real wood.  Read on and I will be giving you a chance to win a $75 coupon to get this cool watch for yourself or for someone on your Holiday Gift List.
Look at how gorgeous this Cora Series Zebrawood and Turquoise Women's Watch is!  
I love that it can be used with dressy clothes or casual clothes.  It is the perfect beautiful accessory.  It is also comfortable to wear.  Plus there are so many lovely color combinations of wood and faces.  Shellie our new Sheltie puppy likes the watch.
 
It is very easy to size your watch as they have a Watch Sizer on their website here.  You just print it out and use it to determine the size of your wrist.  It is very easy to put on and take off.
 You can tell the attention to detail that JORD has by just looking at the lovely high quality box the watch comes in!  
Even the glass on the watch is sapphire glass which is one of the most scratch resistant materials on earth.  I love looking at the inner workings on the back.
They also have awesome Men's Watches.  My husband loved them and liked many of the styles.
Do you want to win a $75 coupon for a Unique Watch?  Plus for everyone who enters you will receive a $20 coupon.  The contest ends November 30th so enter now!  Dog not included!
Enter here:  https://www.woodwatches.com/g/eandl  

Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.  As always all opinions are my own.