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Keeping You and Your Kids Moving During Cruddy New England Winter Weather

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Feb 22, 2016

I’m looking out my window and watching huge, icy snowflakes fall to ground and the only thing I can manage to think of is my longing for the warmer days of summer to return.  I miss gardening outdoors, the visits to the beach and the general ability to move about without becoming stuck indoors from yet another snowstorm.  This feeling of “Blah” is indescribably hard to shake during this time of year when energy is low and the only thing you really feel like doing is foraging the fridge for food that your not truly hungry for anyways.  February is cold.  It’s bleak.  But most of all, iit’s unbelievable challenging to insert a healthy doses of exercise on a daily basis.



Plus- we’re not alone in the battle to find fun and fit activities.  Let’s not forget our kids who have also been trapped in their homes, bouncing off of the walls, desperate to find some sort of activity to channel their vigor.  They’re also suffering not being able to freely roam about and are often succumbing to hours upon hours of television and video games.  Face it-they’re in the same situation as the rest of us.





Our waistbands are starting to expand and our emotional state is plummeting dramatically so what is the answer to fix this problem?  Find ways to simply MOVE!  That’s right!  I’m not suggesting you start running laps around the house or do a thousand pushups when a blizzard occurs.  I’m merely saying that there are little ways that you can to get you and your family up and about again even if you’re stuck in the confinement of your homes.  Try these tricks and tips for a happier and more energetic winter snow day!


  1. Have an indoor scavenger hunt where kids can go on an adventure to find items hidden around the home!  If you really want to make things interesting, add a theme such as their favorite movie or a special place they like to visit where the objects can reflect that theme.  (Other fun games you might want to try are “Twister” and Hide and Go Seek”)


  1. If you have a gamer on your hands, you probably know that a good storm is all that they need to find an excuse to be locked in front of their console with a remote control in their hands for hours.  Try switching the Mario Bros. to a “Dance Party” tournament or other game that enables the players to move.  Tech companies are realizing this growing demand for interactive play so there is more and more to choose from for both parents and kids.  


  1.   Bad weather can also be a great excuse to stay inside and reorganize areas of your home that may have become cluttered after the holiday season.  Attics, basements and closets are great places to start a little early spring cleaning and don’t forget the kids bedrooms where they can chip in and help clean up things on their end.

Tags: Kids, exercise, February

Things To Do During February School Vacation

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Feb 05, 2016

Oh God, say it isn’t true?  There’s another school vacation coming up?!  Weren’t the kiddies just out for the holiday break, clamoring around the house, bouncing off the walls, frantic to be entertained every second of the day and now they’ll be let out again!  


If you’re anything like me, I’m a mom who loves her children but when it comes to these adorable little weeklong breaks from the classroom, I panic just a bit.  Every other month it seams as though I’m pulling out the activity section of the paper or scrolling down local events on Google searching desperately for something that the three of us can do.  If you’re a family who goes away skiing or flies off to a warm beach, you wont know what I’m talking about but for those of us stuck in the trenches we’re most likely calling “S.O.S.”


Luckily, I’ve recently compiled a list of places and projects that might keep my six-year-old and eleven-year-old boys busy for the duration of their vacation.  New England is tough during this time of year making most activities housebound due to the weather.  Keeping this in mind, with a little research we can make the most of our time.  Don’t worry about horrendous credit card bill statements or empty pocket change in our wallets- where there’s a will there’s a way!  Check out these local family favorites and enjoy February break in a relaxing, anxious free environment.  After all, it is called a vacation so enjoy it!



  1. Visit your local library and sign up for their February break programs.  They’re really cool and FREE!
  2. Visit the Museum of Science and Aquarium.  

(Don’t forget to grab passes before from your local library!)

  1. Trampoline Parks are a great way to burn off energy and luckily, establishments such as Sky Zone and Launch are awesome indoor facilities that provide hours of bouncing entertainment.
  2. Go to an art museum-Boston has hundreds!  My favorite places include the Peabody-Essex, De Cordova, Isabella Stewart and Museum of Fine Arts.
  3. The Ecotarium in Worcester is having guests inventors show kids their wacky inventions.  Most related activities are free with the price of admission.


Things to Do at Home

  1. Get out every art supply you own and let everyone paint, draw or sculpt.
  2. Let the kids choose their favorite recipe from a cookbook and have a day whipping up recipes and sweet treats to pass the time.
  3. Sledding and Snow Hiking can be a lot of fun if you’re located near the woods.  It’s great exercise and New England is so beautiful during the wintertime.
  4. Turn the house into a giant tent by tacking up old sheets and blankets to the furniture.  The children will adore camping while snug and warm in their homes.
  5. A Board Game Tournament is wicked fun and will create memories for years to come.  Top games for this include Parcheesi, Sorry, Guess Who and Clue.  

Tags: Kids, Libraries, Museums, February, vacation

Fun Kid Friendly Outdoor Winter Activities

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Dec 30, 2015

Children of New England are all excited because the weather is changing, bringing a whole new list of fun outdoor activities!  While some parents panic about how to entertain the little ones during the indoor season, others are braving the winter elements to make their own fun.   Too often we immediately turn to the expense events with pricey tickets instead of first taking a look in our own backyards.  Snowy landscapes make breathtaking views, not to mention a perfect place to explore, learn and enjoy all of the aspects living inside of it.  Boston is the perfect place to wander the woods and gain a fresh perspective on what our northeastern region has to offer.  Grab your scarves, hats and jackets and get ready for an invigorating season of excitement, exercise and plain old fun!



Skating is by far the most popular sport during the months of January and February around these parts and there’s a good reason why.  Ice rinks are not only prevalent within and our city and surrounding areas but the activity requires very little money (if any).  There might be a small rental and rink fee but besides that, there is no cost.  Check out Patriot’s Place’s new arena if you’re looking for a new site to lace up your skates!


Cross Country Skiing/Snow Shoeing

Before you say cross-country skis and snowshoes are a fortune to invest in, try checking out your local consignment shops, Play-It-Again Sports outlets or even Ebay.  You can get a great d eal on used outdoor snow equipment if you just do a little research before making your purchase.  If the activity sticks, then decide if brand new equipment is the right choice for you and your family.  Once you’ve got your gear in hand, simply open up your back door and get to it!


Winter Hiking

I love winter hiking because there is so much to see that naturally appears once the branches become dusted with fresh snow.  Seasonal wildlife, white-blanketed hills and extraordinary foliage also make perfect portraits for taking snapshots to hang on your wall.  Children can start their own nature journal, track paw prints in the snow or even go on a scavenger hunt!  Make sure you have a knowledgeable guide and go explore the great outdoors to grasp the beauty gifted to New Englanders.


Backyard Maze Making

For your creative and imaginative kids, this is a fantastic game to keep them entertained for hours on those long chilly days.  All they have to do is find some twigs and sticks and design pathways throughout your yard.  They can be as simple or as complex as they desire and watch them tackle their own homemade maze with neighbors and friends!  

Tags: Snow, Kids, exercise, winter, outdoors, Outdoor Living

Free Fun for Kids During the Winter School Break

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 18, 2015

Kids will be starting their December vacation soon and Boston parents are beginning to feel the anxiety about how they will entertain them for a whole week!  I know some families solve the problem by simply hopping a flight to Orlando for a week but realistically, that’s not in the cards for everyone.  For most households, there’s a budget to follow, particularly after the season of giving has finally passed by.  Activities for children can be really expensive so how do we keep them happy without emptying our wallets completely? We get resourceful, that’s how!


Boston has a lot to offer and if you look hard enough, you’ll find that there are quite of few places that are affordable during this time of year.  If you have an open mind and are ready to take charge of the “Winter Break Blues” than browse through these great ideas suggested by New England’s savviest families!


Hiking and Nature Walks



When you live in the Boston area, you’re fortunate to have several beautiful hiking trails across both the north and south shores.  From Harold Parker State Forest in Andover to Hale Reservation in Westwood, there are plenty of paths to take your little ones adventure seeking for hours of enjoyment.  Not only is this a free outing, the whole family will be benefiting from the fresh air and brisk exercise!


Museum Passes


Our city has loads of interesting sites to see and some of the most impressive museums present in the art and science world.  The problem is that many of them can be quite costly, especially if you’re planning on buying tickets for four or more people.  Those fees add up so do yourself a favor and plan ahead.  Often websites such as Groupon will offer discounts or check out local companies who might be sponsoring coupons. 




If you haven’t visited your local library, then you should because I’ll bet you find your new best friend pretty quickly!  Libraries are accommodating to all people of all ages and the best part-everything is free!  These media havens aren’t what they used to be when they only carried a few DVD’s and dusty books.  Most branches support a hefty amount of contemporary digital media, offer computer games, conduct story times and even hold special events during the school breaks.  You’re kids will love the experience and they also might learn something in the process! 







Tags: Holidays, Kids, Libraries, Museums, December

2015’s Most Requested Christmas Picture Books

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 04, 2015

I love the holiday season and I appreciate all of the different decorations, lighting, snowfall and foods associated with this time of year.  Our brains actually recognize these as triggers, letting us know what we can expect.  When we see a pine tree on top of a car, we know that it will be soon be twinkling with ornaments and when we hear the jingle of bells, we know that Santa and his reindeer must be near.  We link these characteristics together as “hints” that Christmas time is approaching and we watch for more of these signals to guide us through the traditions and festivities.


For some kids, these “hints” are harder to connect to so they need a little help identifying special traits to let them learn how to react to special occasions.  A great way to do this is to find children’s picture books, which teach them about what a holiday means and how we celebrate them.  Stories are capable of connecting ideas when associated with indicators illustrated on the pages.  


Luckily, families will have a wide variety of new titles to choose from since this has been a very busy year of publishing Christmas themed books.  From picking out a wreath and tree to sending grandma a holiday card, you’ll be able to select any aspect you wish!  Vivid pictures, poetic phrases, funny storylines and magical adventures all await you so browse this list and find your perfect Christmas read!


Tags: Books, Childrens Book, Christmas, Kids, December

What Flowers Should I Send For a New Baby ?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Oct 28, 2015

“It’s a boy!”  “It’s a girl!”  These are two of the happiest phrases announced when someone becomes a parent.  For such a joyous occasion, friends and family shower the mother with baby clothes, diapers and other gifts welcoming the new child into the world.  One of the most popular presents that couples receive is a festive bouquet of fresh flowers from their local Boston florist!  

photo credit: flower factor /

Having a striking arrangement delivered to the hospital after a baby is born is a wonderful way to say congratulations as well as brighten the sometimes, dismal hospital environment.  Even though the mother’s stay probably wont be for too long, adding a bright and beautiful vase of blossoms to her room will not only uplift the typically dreary décor but will also show her how much you care.  

photo credit: Flower Factor /

Historically, arrangements of baby’s breath or pink roses were the most popular varieties ordered for this occasion but luckily, our city’s best designers are shaking things up a bit!  New styles incorporate a higher sophistication along with a crisp new palette of flowers to choose from!  Clients can either select products that are gender descriptive or not, adding a whole new hue of color to dazzle with.  These are some of the protocols leaving studios and hitting the top five list for most requested floral arrangements gifted to new moms and dads.  What look appeals to you?

Tags: Floral Design, Flower Arrangements, Flower Deliveries, Kids

Safety Tips for Trick or Treaters

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Oct 23, 2015

Let’s face it…. There’s no better place in the world to go Trick or Treating other than New England and if you are lucky to be living in Massachusetts, you’ll experience double the fun!  After all, we do live in spook central being conveniently located close to Salem where the heart of witches and cauldrons were born.  Yes, Halloween is a wonderful and fn time for all of us but its important to keep in mind safety factors for our little goblins and ghouls.  This October 31st, make sure that you and your children go over precautionary tips that will help everyone enjoy Halloween to the fullest.

photo credit:

Safety Tips

* Never trick or treat alone!  Always find a group of Dracula’s and Frankenstein’s to accompany you

* Carry a flashlight with you at all times and wear glow sticks for extra luminescence.

*  Never run from house to house!  Enjoy the stroll throughout the night-it only       happens once a year!

*Look both ways before crossing the road!  People driving should be extra aware of the occasion and SLOW DOWN.

* Wear tight fitting masks and costumes that do not have material or other                                       accessories hanging that might cause an injury.  Let’s make sure you say BOO instead of Boo Boo.

* Walk on sidewalks instead of lawns and never get into a car with a stranger!

* Do not enter any homes without an adult.  Trick or Treating should remain outside and only visit houses that are well lit!

* Have your parents check all candy before eating and throw away anything that is hand made.  Grandma Jenkin’s cookies are ok but never eat anything unwrapped from strangers!

* If you have food allergies, be on the look out for teal pumpkins, which are a sign that the house is giving out gluten free, peanut free treats!  

* Trick or Treating in Boston is from 5-8pm so make sure you’re home in time for curfew since that’s when the werewolves come out!  

Tags: Holidays, Kids, October, Halloween

Fall Crafts for Kids

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Oct 21, 2015

New Englanders are crazy about the fall season, a time where brilliant colors surrounds us, new flavors are created to comfort us and a vast array of new activities are invented to keep us moving when the temperatures begin to drop.  Although we are still gifted with the pleasures of the outdoors, including hiking and harvesting, there are still those “iffy” days when we start to realize we’ll be hunkered down indoors very shortly.  Kids, in particular are sensitive to this realization and that’s why parents need to be fully prepared with options of entertainment.   Rainy, cold, autumn days can be tough on little ones so moms and dads want to be stocked with crafting ideas and materials helpful towards staving of the inevitable winter blues.  Try these fun and festive do-it-yourself art projects for children that not only will keep them occupied during the drearier times of the month but will also enhance your home’s décor for the holidays!

        Fall Leaf Sun Catcher’s

photo credit:


(2) Laminating Paper

Tissue Paper

Paint for Outline


These are not only easy to make but they are simply stunning in glass windows!  To start, lay out a piece of clean 5 x 8 piece of laminating paper.  Shred small, flat sections of red, yellow, green and orange tissue paper and then lay them on top of the laminating paper.  Select a preferable leaf shape and carefully eye ball an outline using paint (or a thin marker) that will dry quickly.  Once it dries, cut out the leaf and lay it on top of the second sheet of laminating paper.  Seal all sides and hang the leaves in the window immediately to enjoy!

    Kid’s Autumn Themed Hand Paintings

photo credit:

Black Spiders

Sometimes making beautiful pictures is as easy as this!

Fall Tree   Acorns

By just using your hands, you can make spectacular painting perfect for this season! All you need is finger paints, newspaper, construction paper and a little imagination to create these lovely seasonal themed pieces of artwork!  These are great to do after school or even give them away to guests as hostess gifts for your holiday gathering!

Tags: Autumn, Fall, Kids, October

Top Children's Books for Halloween

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Oct 14, 2015

Halloween is here and for some little ghost and goblins, trick or treating for the first time can be frightening.  Lucky for book lovers, there are tons of stories perfect for teaching young children all about the spooky holiday while taking a little of the fright away from their worries.  By using furry creatures, clever pumpkins and beloved characters that your kids may already be familiar with, parents have a huge selection to choose from to help get their witches and warlocks ready!  Halloween is more than eerie things creeping behind dark corners- it’s a lot of fun, too!  Here are a few of my favorites that I read to my boys, which have stayed favorites on our bookshelves during the month of October!


The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

August 20, 2002

by Linda D. Williams

CLOMP, CLOMP, CLOMP… This great tale surrounds a little old woman who says she’s not afraid of anything but is she really?  Follow the scarecrow whose clothing makes noises and chases her through the woods to find out if what she claims is true!


Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins


July 21, 2015

by James Dean          Who doesn’t love Pete the Cat or                   the classic story about The Five                 Little Pumpkins?  Now readers will          enjoy a double dose of the tale as               this cool character and his                buddies retell the                   Halloween favorite!

Mouse’s First Halloween

By Lauren Thompson

“EEK” mouse squeaked!”

Poor little mouse is so scared of everything that visits on Halloween night but one by one he finds that all of the things associated with the holiday “are not so scary after all!”


Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody

By Michael Rex

A ghoulishly fun spin on Margaret Wise Brown’s, “Goodnight Moon” told from

the perspective of visiting Martians!  The kids will love the silly comparatives

and parents will adore the unique details the author creates!

Tags: Autumn, Fall, Childrens Book, Kids, October, Halloween

Back to School Flower Arrangements

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Sep 16, 2015

The kids are finally back in school- yahoo!  Okay, we’ll miss the little whipper snappers from time to time but honestly, it’s time for fall to put us back on track that includes our flower arrangements!  Boston florists are already in full swing preparing for a product line dedicated to bring out the autumn feel.  Red, yellow and gold will likely be the featured palette for the next few months so why don’t we add a little something to the mix?  Bean Town’s flower lovers are asking their designers to create back to school styled pieces that reflect the very essence within texture, color and sizing.

photo credit: Flower Factor/ 

For a minute, a few of our finest florists were stumped as to how to deliver such a request but after a little research, they have come up with some pretty cool ideas!   The best part is, if you have a garden still flourishing outside in your backyard, you might even be able to make some of these styles on your own!  They don’t cost a lot and are most likely varieties native to New England’s present climate.  Farm stands are also a great resource to find workable material so make sure you check those out, too!  Here are a few ideas to get the apple rolling!  

photo credit Flower Factor/

Tags: Flower Arrangements, Kids, Design, September

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