Saturday, December 28, 2019

Splitsville: a great place for a bowling birthday party with nothing to spare!

If you are looking for a fun place to have a kids birthday party then look no further than Splitsville at Patriot Place. They have two different packages available where you can rent two or three lanes depending on the size of the party, and the party package comes with pizza, chicken tenders, and all you can drink soft-drinks (soda, lemonade and iced tea). The nice part about the party package is that you just have to show up a little bit early, and hand off the cake to your server who will handle everything. Our server was a very nice woman named Emily who ensured that everything went off perfectly.

A lot of people were invited and we ended up having the larger party, so there were 8 kids per lane and we took up three lanes easily. It was easy to get the shoe rentals and they had the balls right at the lanes. We had to look around for the smaller sized balls for the younger kids, and Emily was a great help. We made sure to use the gutter blockers and they even had a special contraption for the youngest kids to roll the ball down a ramp so they didn’t have to throw it with momentum. If you’re looking to keep score, and even if you’re not, you need to set up the computer so that you can play. We found that you needed an adult should be present to enter it in and having multiple tech-savvy adults made it a lot easier. If you need assistance the staff is easily accessible and very helpful. Our waitress was great because she brought everything perfectly timed and even helped us round up all of the presents after the meal was over.

The tables with booths are set up right near the lanes so that you can eat while bowling and there are other round tables behind the lanes that adults can sit at to watch the kids bowl. What was nice was that you could start bowling and then have the food come out whenever you want. We chose to have it arrive half-way through the party. My wife ensured that the kids had many activities to keep them busy if some weren’t interested in bowling. The best activity enjoyed by all was a little game of birthday-kid-trivia which were some cute questions about the birthday kid’s favorite items that some classmates might know and some friends would know other answers. The one with the most answers won! We also brought some coloring sheets along just in case some kids didn’t want to bowl.

A few things to note, there is an additional gratuity fee ($20 per lane, or 21% of the food & beverage bill, whichever is greater, at the time of this post) since your server is dedicated to your lanes and party. They will help serve the food that is pre-ordered & included in your package or help you order more food from the lane-side menu-if need be! The server will also help serve drinks, for kids & parents. They have all the utensils for the cake and do not charge an additional cake cutting fee! They also have serving utensils, forks, knives, plates & napkins. There are balloon decorations, but you can bring in any other items or goodie bags if you'd like.  One last thing, you also have to sign a contract to save the party date/time and they ask to have a credit card on file that will be charged in full the day of the event.

We highly recommend Splitsville for your kid’s birthday party. A great time was had by all!











NOTE: We were provided with the party package in exchange for writing this review. All opinions, as always, are our own. No other compensation was provided.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

What I'm Thankful For

As the holiday season rolls around, I'm mindful of how good my situation is: I have a wonderful, loving wife, two great kids, parents, in-laws, and an extended family that is just amazing. I have a job I enjoy and great colleagues to work with. Our town is a wonderfully diverse community that is full of some really great people. We have friends that are like family and family that are like friends. Through my 40 years of living, I've learned that life is like the tides of the ocean, it ebbs and flows, things go up and things go down. I need to remind myself that when things are going well for me, to enjoy and cherish those moments because they can change at any given point.

So, I wanted to take the time to thank everyone in my life, including you, my readers, because without you, I wouldn't be able to offer some fun opportunities and givewaays. I'm also thankful for the brands and various partners I have met through this journey - it has been quite a fun time!

Stay tuned for 2020,  I have some great things lined up and can't wait to share them with you all!

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

RENT the musical 20th anniversary tour is in Boston through 11/10

RENT, the musical's 20th anniversary tour is in Boston through 11/10 at the Shubert Theater. This weekend, I had the chance to check it out and it was quite moving! One thing I learned is that the first national tour of RENT began in the same spot - Boston's Shubert Theater - back in 1996. One thing to note, it was quite loud (measuring over 100 decibels at the beginning of the show), so if you're sensitive to loud noises, you may want to just be prepared!

In case you're unfamiliar with the show, here's the summary according to the press release:
In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.
Here are some photos I took of the beautiful Shubert Theater, a restored 1500+ seat theatre; and considered Boston Theater District's "Little Princess".







NOTE: We were provided with tickets to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided and all opinions, as always, are our own!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Fun and playful Spongebob the Musical at the Boch Center Wang Theater

We had the opportunity to see Spongebob the Musical at the Boch Center Wang Theater in Boston. The kids enjoy watching the Spongebob show on Nickelodeon at home, so it was an easy task convincing them to go to a musical featuring one of their favorite characters.

I was impressed with how the TV show transferred to the theatrical stage somewhat easily. The costumes were vibrant and colorful and the songs were upbeat and lively. We enjoyed the original score and lyrics that were created for the musical by many popular bands and songwriters.

Some of the things that made us laugh were the rap with Sheldon and Spongebob, the line "As serious as a guacamole shortage at a taco party" and where Patrick gives advice to sardines that worshiped him that "life is weird" and he says "Finally someone understands the machinations of my mind are an enigma".

The costumes were as fun as the scenes on stage and it was nice to see technology infused on stage. I also had the chance to walk around during intermission and enjoyed seeing that the tech folks even got into the act by setting up some LED-neon lights around the light board.

Our two favorite songs were the bikini bottom song and the best friends forever song. If you're a fan of the show, we highly recommend that you make plans to see Spongebob the Musical while it's here in Boston through the end of the weekend!







  
 





 

NOTE: We were provided with tickets to see the show in order to facilitate this review, and also provided with tickets for a giveaway that we hosted earlier. No other compensation was provided and all opinions (as always) are our own.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Apple picking in Massachusetts at Stowe Farm

It was a beautiful weekend and we decided to pick apples at a local farm in Millbury, Massachusetts called Stowe Farm. Admittedly, we went quite late in the season and most varieties of apples (Gala, Honey Crisp, etc.) had already been picked through, so we checked out their "specialty" orchard which included a quick hay-ride trip and we picked some varieties we hadn't heard of - Candy Crisp, Ida Red and Jonagolds. They were quite delicious! We decided to check out some other attractions that they had in addition to picking apples like a petting zoo, "Moo-Choo Train" and a playground. All of the attractions required a $3 entry fee per person along with rides costing a variety of tokens. They were a lot of fun and everyone had a great time!











NOTE: We were provided with the experience in exchange for this review. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are our own.

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" (Broadway.com) 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.

Credits
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.