Monday, October 7, 2019

Spongebob the Musical is coming to Boston and you can win a 4-pack of tickets!

Do you or your little ones enjoy watching Spongebob? If so, now there's a musical starring him and his friends! It's coming to the Boch Wang Theater this month and you can win a 4-pack of tickets by entering through the rafflecopter below:

Here's more information from the press release:

About The SpongeBob Musical
A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world's most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what do you get? The bold, original musical The New York Times declares, "BRILLIANT!"
"Wonders pour from the stage in a ravishing stream of color and invention" (Time Out New York) as Broadway's best creative minds reimagine and bring to life the beloved Nickelodeon series with humor, heart and pure theatricality in a neon-sparkly "party for the eyes and ears" (Daily Beast). Be there when SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face catastrophe—until a most unexpected hero rises to take center stage. This "creative explosion" ( is "nothing short of genius" says Theatermania, so bring the entire family to celebrate friendship and cooperation, and learn the power of unity and inclusion.

Get ready to enjoy the "Broadway Extravaganza" (The New Yorker) that New York Magazine calls "effervescent candy-for-the-spirit." Explore the depths of theatrical innovation in THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL, 2018 Best Musical winner of the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, where the power of optimism really can save the world.

Lorenzo Pugliese as SpongeBob SquarePants, Beau Bradshaw as Patrick Star, and Daria Pilar Redus as Sandy Cheeks, with Christopher Cody Cooley as Squidward Q. Tentacles, Zach Kononov as Mr. Krabs, and Tristan McIntyre as Sheldon Plankton.
Rounding out the company are Joshua Bess, Morgan Blanchard, John Cardenas, Natalie L. Chapman, Richie Dupkin, Teddy Gales, Stephen C. Kallas, Méami Maszewski, Stefan Miller, Mary Nickson, Dorian O'Brien, Caitlin Ort, Elle-May Patterson, Helen Regula, Sydney Simone, Ayana Strutz, Miles Davis Tillman, and Rico Velazquez.

Directed and conceived by Tina Landau, the musical features a book by Kyle Jarrow and a score from orchestrator Tom Kitt and a variety of pop artists: Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani and Lil’C, and songs by David Bowie and Brian Eno, and by Tom Kenny and Andy Paley.

NOTE: I was provided with tickets for the show as well as tickets to give away in this contest. No other compensation was provided.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sesame Place is a fun destination for kids of all ages!

This summer, we took a road trip and went to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA to help celebrate Sesame Street's 50th anniversary! It was a short 4+ hour drive from Massachusetts and luckily, the weather held out for the duration of our trip! One thing that can be a little daunting is if the forecast in the middle of summer is above 90 degrees, there isn't a ton of shade so you should be sure to plan your showtimes and meals accordingly. Arrive early! If you're there for when the park opens, you can avoid the lines and the rush. We recommend packing snacks and sunscreen because the food was typical attraction fare and the nice part about this park is that they let you walk in with your own food.

We tended to do the dry rides first and then spent the rest of the day on the water rides. That way, we weren't totally soaked for the entire day. On the water slides you weren't allowed to wear water shoes, so just be aware of that and Crocs or shoes that are easy to put on and take off would be best. Your feet will certainly be feeling tired after a day of walking around on the concrete slabs. The water rides were a lot of fun, just be sure to wait in line for a little bit, but the lines go fast!

If you plan on going to Sesame Place, there are a few things to make note of:
  • Be sure to buy tickets from AAA or purchase tickets in advance rather than walking up to the gate and buying tickets outright. You will almost always save some money.
  • If you find that it's too hot outside, there are a few air conditioned places, like Elmo: The Musical, various restaurants and the gift shops.
  • They don't print maps anymore to help the environment so if you want a map, print it at home... They recommend that you take a picture of the map or download their app.
  • You can buy add-on packages to your tickets that include a meal at a discounted price. One meal is the Pizza and Pasta Buffet that is all-you-can-eat that includes salad and even chicken nuggets - a favorite among the kids (but no characters show up).
  • There is a daily parade down Sesame Street! It wasn't an issue for us to line up and get a good sea, just be sure to get there early. If it's hot, then the seats under the trees are the first to go!
  • If you are prone to motion sickness, we HIGHLY recommend you avoid the Peek-a-Bug. Emily said it looks harmless, but she was very sick after it. 
Some of the attractions we loved were:
  • The Lazy River
  • Ernie's Splash Pad
  • The Sunny Day Carousel where all of the horses were themed with Sesame Street characters
  • The Flying Cookie Jars
  • Flying Fish 
If you've been, comment below with your favorite memory!

Here are some of the photos we took:

NOTE: We were provided with admission to the park to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are our own.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Aladdin is now out on Blu-ray/DVD and digital download! Enter to win a download code!

This weekend, we had a lazy morning and watched Aladdin Live on BlueRay! It was great to see how Disney turned the time-honored classic Aladdin into a live-action movie. We were dancing and tapping along to the new versions of the classic songs. It was so fun to enjoy this movie at home!

I'm giving away two sets of digital codes for both movies. You can enter to win them through the rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

According to the press release for the movies:
Fans of all ages will enjoy the exciting, humorous tale of the lovable “street rat,” Aladdin (Mena Massoud), courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and the larger-than-life Genie (Will Smith) with all-new bonus features. The release of the live-action adventure coincides with the addition of the original animated classic to the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection  —  granting “Aladdin” fans everywhere the opportunity to own both magical movies.
Extras explore elements of “Aladdin” that audiences adore, from the film’s treasured, iconic award-winning music to its beloved characters and their hilarious antics on and off screen. Viewers get the first look at an all-new song “Desert Moon,” deleted from the final film, written by eight-time Academy Award® winning composer Alan Menken and Oscar®-and Tony Award®-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“The Greatest Showman,” “La La Land”). Features document Guy Ritchie’s joyful, easy-going approach to directing that led to movie magic; Will Smith’s fresh take on the infamous shape-shifting blue entity confined to an oil lamp; Naomi Scott’s powerful performance as the spirited princess who yearns to lead the people of Agrabah; and the indescribable feeling of playing Aladdin chronicled personally by Mena Massoud. Deleted scenes and a blooper reel round out the fun. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Baseballism is a great shop for fans near Fenway for fun gear! Enter to win a t-shirt now!

If you're reading this blog, then you can quickly tell things I'm interested in... Family, Sports, Tech, New England and Art (not in that particular order, of course!) and from time to time I find out about some really fun places to check out when you're in Boston. One of them is a great baseball store named Baseballism, right on Landsdowne Street in the shadow of the Green Monster! If you mention my blog, Parental Ideas, you'll get 10% off your entire order!

As a brand, Baseballism started in 2012 after a successful Kickstarter campaign to sell t-shirts based on a design that the founders created for a youth summer baseball camp they created back in 2006. They came together because they "had a passion to teach the game the right way." From the moment I stepped into the store it reminded me of coaching my daughter for softball and learning from my fellow coaches about how to teach the game. I'm on the board of our local youth Softball and Baseball association and immediately was drawn to everything I was seeing on each shirt.

The Baseballism Cap Giveaway
before every home game at Fenway!
As a softball coach, I felt right at home, and as a dad, I just fell in love with all of the fun puns!

They opened last summer, right during the historic 2018 season. I recently went in to pick up some gear, and had a hard time not buying everything in the store I just love all of fun designs they have. What's really nice is that the clothes are so comfortable. The staff lets you browse the store at your own pace and can help with any questions you may have.

If you are walking down Landsdowne Street roughly 25 minutes before the start of a home game, you may see Katy, the store manager, standing on top of the store speaking into a megaphone and tossing some limited-edition baseball caps that you can only get from the "cap toss" - the hats aren't available for purchase!

Here are some of my favorite t-shirt designs that you will most likely see me wearing. The folks at Baseballism are so great, they are offering a 10% discount if you mention my blog, Parental Ideas, when you're in the store and they also offered to have me host a giveaway and all you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

With every purchase they give you
a great reusable drawstring bag!

NOTE: I was provided with some neat Baseballism swag to facilitate this review. Baseballism will also be providing the t-shirt to the winner of the giveaway. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Enjoying the penultimate season of PawSox baseball in Pawtucket!

PawSox Mascot Sox at the Fan Fest
This summer, we enjoyed a few games of PawSox baseball in their penultimate season in Pawtucket. There were lots of fun activities for minor league baseball fans. Some of our favorite moments were playing catch in the outfield with both of my kids as well as my parents, watching Roger Clemens get inducted into the PawSox Hall of Fame, and enjoying the PawSox Annual Fan Fest after a game in August. We got to visit booths of PawSox sponsors like Papa Ginos, McDonalds, National Grid, Hasbro, and others!

One great way that the PawSox are involved with the community is by having their mascots, Paws and Sox, go to various events. They are even available to come to your birthday party or gathering! We highly recommend it. Paws spends time with everyone at the event and will play catch, interact with kids and adults, and is personable. The mascot staff who accompanies Paws is great and enjoys interacting with fans as well. If you're a school, non-profit, or charitable organization they will show up at no cost. To be considered you must submit your request at least four weeks prior to the event.

McCoy Stadium
Undoubtedly, the best moment was seeing my daughter's softball team high-five the PawSox players as they take the field. While I'm sad to see the Pawtucket Red Sox leave Pawtucket, I'm glad to have had the experience as a child to enjoy minor league baseball near my home and now have had the chance to share the same experience with my own children. I look forward to next season in Pawtucket and I'm sure there will be lots of fun times to be had as the PawSox celebrate their time in Rhode Island before their move to Worcester in 2021.

The PawSox annual Fan Fest

Playing catch in the outfield at McCoy before a Sunday PawSox game

PawSox Mascot Paws being silly!

NOTE: We were provided tickets throughout the season and a visit from Paws to facilitate this review and enjoy some great baseball! No other compensation was provided and all opinions, as always, are our own.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Half-sour pickles, my favorite recipe!

I've always loved a good half-sour pickle from a New York (or NY Style) Deli. The absolute tops outside of NY are from Rein's Deli in Vernon, CT (exit 65 off of 84). Since I haven't been there in over 5 years I decided to make my own using cucumbers grown from our garden or my dad's garden.

Half Sour Pickles
In order to make these delicious pickles, all you need to do is to throw them in the fridge for 4 or 5 days. The hardest part is waiting for them, but the longer you wait, the better they will be!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Total Jar Space Needed: 64 oz (1/2 gallon)

  • 4 or 5 Kirby (also known as "pickling") cucumbers - or whatever you can fit in your jar(s)!
  • 1/4 cup sea or kosher salt (if you're using kosher salt make sure it doesn't have an anti-caking agent)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • a few pieces of dill (fresh is best, but so is freeze-dried)
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves (or 3 teaspoons if from a bottle) garlic minced
  • additional whole coriander seeds and peppercorns to add on top

  1. Wash your cucumbers well
  2. Dissolve salt in the water and make sure it is fully dissolved
  3. Grind up all the dry ingredients (peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and bay leaves). There are a few ways to do this. The easiest way I've found is to put them in a freezer bag and smash them with a hammer. You can also use a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle.
  4. Put your cucumbers in the jar. If you're using multiple jars, then divide everything as equally as you can.
  5. Add the minced garlic over the cucumbers and the ground up spices.
  6. Pour the salt water on top. If there is any water left over, you can toss it.
  7. Put some pieces of dill on top.
  8. Add in some additional coriander seeds, peppercorns and a bay leaf.
  9. Make sure all of the cucumbers are completely covered in water and close the jar.
  10. Shake the jar back and forth genthly so that everything moves around.
  11. Put the jar in the refrigerator. You should let them sit for at least 4 days before eating. If you're anything like me this is the hardest thing to do!
  12. Enjoy!
A few things to note
  • Please make sure you are using a half-gallon jar as that is what all of the measurements for this recipe are. If you want to make more, just remember to increase everything accordingly.
  • If your pickles aren't crunchy enough, the next time you make them, you can add 1/4 teaspoon Ball Pickle Crisp Granules at the end.
Wash the cucumbers

Dissolve the salt into water

Ground up spices

Put cucumbers in the jar

Add spices on top of the pickles
Put the salt water in the jar and cover the cucumbers entirely.

Add coriander, peppercorns and dill on top

Make sure the cucumbers are fully immersed in the water

Put the jars in the fridge and wait 4-5 days.


Friday, August 23, 2019

My 12 minutes on the Monstah on the weirdest day at Fenway!

Finally saw some baseball atop the Green Monster!
Yesterday, I had the chance to watch something that hasn't happened to the Boston Red Sox in 51 years: a suspended game that didn't continue the next day. The Red Sox didn't know how long the resumed game would last and realized they could use this unique opportunity to create a fun atmosphere for the next generation of baseball enthusiasts and they absolutely hit a home run! There were activities all around the park from a pre-game walk on the warning track to running the bases after the game and everything in between. A perfect day to enjoy baseball in Boston.

The team opened up the park to all kids 18 and under for free, and all other fans were admitted for a $5 general admission ticket with all proceeds from the tickets going to the Jimmy Fund to supplement fundraising efforts from the 18th Annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon that just concluded yesterday.

I could not believe how crowded it was
on the concourse after the game!
I arrived at the park around noon, and it was the day to watch some baseball atop the Green Monster (or Monstah as we say here in Boston)! As a kid, I never imagined that I'd be able to watch a game where the nets used to catch homeruns, but I got to live out that dream today as the team let fans choose any available seat that they wanted and I was surprised to find out that the Monster seats were fair game. I couldn't believe it. For a whole 12 minutes, I was able to watch the Red Sox win from one of the most coveted seats at the old ball park! It was truly magical and I hope to be able to do again at some point.

“We haven’t had a suspended game that wasn’t played the following day in over 50 years,” said Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy. “This is a unique opportunity to open up the ballpark to kids this summer and also help raise money for our friends at the Jimmy Fund who will be concluding their annual telethon just hours before the makeup game takes place.”

The food lines were so long, and the food was so delicious!
There was a special kid-friendly $1 food menu including Kayem Fenway Franks, cotton candy, popcorn, chips, cracker jacks, candy, and Hood sports bars. The lines were so long, but so worth it!

The gates opened at 11 a.m. with fans being able to walk along the warning track prior to the game and then various activities on the kids concourse in center field. Even though it was quite hot, there were a lot of young fans at the ballpark and many parents pushing strollers on the concourses. After the game, kids were invited to run the bases, thanks to Marshall's sponsorship, and the line was so long it stretched from the center field kids concourse entrance to the field all of the way back to the oldest Red Sox logo (1908) on the first base line.

I kept walking around wondering how many hot dogs would be sold throughout the day as every line I went to was 40 people deep. One vendor I asked after the game said he sold 150 hot dogs himself, and that one of the stands probably sold over 2,000. Surprisingly the shortest lines were for coffee - I guess everyone had their iced coffee fix prior to coming to Fenway.

The baseball portion of the day only lasted 12 minutes when Brock Holt (#12!) hit a walk off single to end the game - more on that later. Maybe I'm the only one that found it interesting that the game lasted 12 minutes and ended on a play by a player who wears #12. As I was watching the video highlights of the game a broadcaster said it could be 12 minutes or 12 innings. Quite foretelling!

I found my answer on hot dogs after reading some recaps of the day. According to Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald: "The Sox had 16,441 scanned tickets at the gate on Thursday afternoon, 15,140 of which were new tickets. More than 6,000 of them were given away free to children while adults made a $5 donation to the Jimmy Fund.  With discounted food prices including $1 hot dogs, more than 11,000 hot dogs were sold.  Kids were allowed on the warning track before the game and ran the bases afterward. Nearly 4,000 children participated." (source:

On August 7, the Red Sox were playing the Kansas City Royals and were tied 4-4 in the top of the 10th inning with catcher Meibrys Viloria facing a 2-1 count against Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor and the game was suspended due to unrelenting rainfall. The two teams wouldn't meet up until a mutual off-day, when Kansas City was traveling to Cleveland after a series in Baltimore and the Sox had finished a series against the Phillies and were preparing to head out west to play the San Diego Padres. When play resumed today at 1:05 pm, Taylor was pitching to Nick Dini, who was pinch hitting for Viloria. The Royals went in order, 1-2-3, and then the Sox came up to bat. Benintendi struck out, Vasquez doubled and then Chris Owings went to pinch run for him. Sam Travis was intentionally walked. The game ended when Holt singled on a line drive to left field and Chris Owings scored.

According to Elias, the last time the Red Sox played a game that was suspended and did not resume the following day was June 13, 1968 – the second game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park against the Angels. That game was suspended in the sixth inning with a 1-1 score. The game resumed on August 4 with the Red Sox winning 5-1 on a walk-off grand slam by Ken Harrelson.

Have you ever seen the food prices at Fenway
so good, so good, so good?

The "run the bases" line seemed to go forever!

Tessie, one of the two mascots, was on hand for photos!

DISCLOSURE: I am providing this recap of the day for your enjoyment. I donated money for admission to the continuation game in support of The Jimmy Fund and all of the amazing work they do. As part of the #RedSoxParents program, I was provided with tickets to a Red Sox Game earlier this week for promotional purposes. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.