Author Archives: Nichole S.

Binge Watching the Hallmark Channel

All month long….   If you need me, I’ll be binge watching the Hallmark Channel for the next six weeks.


Check out the list of new Holiday premiere movies….all 21 of them.  Hours of cheesy holiday fun!  I couldn’t be happier. Plus some old favorites from the last few years.


Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 11.20.53 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 11.21.11 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 11.21.29 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 11.22.09 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 11.23.00 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 11.23.18 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 11.23.36 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 11.23.53 PM

Nichole’s Picks 11/18 + 11/19

Pick #1:  Arts Boston, Mayor’s Holiday Special 


ArtsBoston, in partnership with Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the City of Boston, and the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, announce the 14th Annual Mayor’s Holiday.  See the link below to enjoy an eight-week celebration of the area’s performing arts featuring thousands of discounted tickets to more than 100 holiday shows.


Pick #2:  Ski, Board, and Skate Sale

Friends of Cutler School will once again be hosting their annual Ski, Board, and Skate Sale at the Cutler School in Hamilton



Saturday and Sunday, Nov, 18th and 19th

Saturday 11/18 – 9am-2pm
Our vendors will be here ALL day on Saturday

Sunday 11/19 – 11am-1pm
Clearance – 50% of most items (Vendors not included)

Cutler Elementary School
237 Asbury Street, Hamilton

Pick #3:  Rockport PTO Holiday Fair

Saturday 9:30-2:00 at Rockport High School at 24 Jerden’s Lane, Rockport



As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities, visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Sunday Morning at Lighthouse Beach

Much thanks to Paul Horovitz for this crisp fall photo from Lighthouse Beach.  Extra happy to use it as my blog post today since in addition to giving me this photo….he also gave me some “homework” to work on for a meeting tomorrow. I had fun adding some water color filters to it.  Blog post done.  Homework about to begin.


3 Days, 24 Games, 72 Periods, 25th Year. Sal Grasso CAYH Tournament. Check.

The 25th Sal Grasso Memorial Friendship Tournament is in the books and after 24 games, lots of teamwork, and a ton of celebrating, our friends from the north are all traveling back home….but, the tournament trophy is staying here! Congratulations, Cape Ann Youth Hockey Nation.

Watching the weekend unfold was pretty special.  I know I am not alone in the fact that, while my boys only played in four of the 24 games, we watched 13 games over the course of the weekend.  Certainly there are many families who stayed, cheered, rallied, and rooted even more than we did.  Watching skaters ages 7-14 years old, at all different levels in their hockey “careers,” as they took to the ice, skated to the bench for coach talks, celebrated goals and great saves, acknowledged their goalies, took a knee during occasional injuries, and lined up to give their “good games” to opposing teams was cause for lots of warm fuzzies.  At the root of it all for the players….is a love of the game. At the root of it all for the parents (early hours, wet equipment, cold toes, nervous moments)…is the love that we have for the fact that our children love the game.  Our hockey players are linked with a unique bond and it begins very early in their learn-to skate-years.  The rink rats, the younger siblings, the runny-nosed milk crate years.  As they develop through Cross Ice, Mites, Squirts, PeeWees, etc. they spend more hours together in rinks than anywhere else.  Their bonds lead to bonds amongst the parents.  The camaraderie that exists at the rink is palpable….and it was even more so this weekend.  So, thank you Skaters, thank you Fellow Parents, and thank you CAYH.

All of Cape Ann Youth Hockey families owe the organizers, the volunteers, the coaches, and the hockey players a ton of gratitude. The work and effort it takes to pull off an event like this should not be lost on anyone.  Some of the Execution Team who absolutely won their game are Kristin Michel, Mandy Milan, Jessica Cusumano, Rob Harris, and Brendan Chipperini. Also of note is Eric Russell who coordinated referees for 25 games and Joe Loiacano who created a great atmosphere for families to gather and enjoy time away from the rink over at Cape Ann’s Marina Resort.  His generosity was much appreciated by all!  Many people offered gifts of time and talent as well.  Of note are Brian Linn, Michelle Cooper, and other parents who worked hard behind the scenes to keep hundreds of people fueled, fed, and warm.  Incredible amounts of coffee and hot chocolate were consumed. We’d also like to recognize Andrew, Claude, Michele and Jennifer from the Westmount Recreation Department. They were at the rink all day every day making sure that the Westmount families were tended to and had point people for all of their needs.  They also may have kept some of us company on the dance floor at the Mile Marker late into Saturday evening…but that’s a story for another day. 

We can’t forget to thank the staff of Talbot Rink who worked long, hard days!  That zamboni made many more than a few trips around the ice and keeping the rink clean, safe, and warm for so many people is no joke. Speaking of long, hard days…the Gloucester DPW surprised us with a “Welcome” sign at the rotary for our Canadian guests. Such a nice touch!

This year’s tournament began on Friday afternoon with opening ceremonies emceed by Michael English, a ceremonial puck drop by Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, a color guard presentation by the Gloucester US Naval Sea Cadets….featuring several Cape Ann Youth Hockey players….and both the Star Spangled Banner and O Canada sung by Alexandra Grace.  While my iPhone recording of our National Anthem isn’t the best of quality, I assure you she was fabulous.  

Next year CAYH will once again be traveling to Montreal, Canada to enjoy gracious hosting by the Westmount hockey organization, but in November 2019 we can look forward to hosting the tournament on home ice once again.  By then we should all be well rested.

rink pano


Last Night’s Taste of Cape Ann

Such a great event!  If you weren’t able to make it to last night’s Taste of Cape Ann, you should be sure to mark your calendar for next year.  So many of Cape Ann’s finest food establishments all under one roof….and all for a great cause….all to benefit the Cape Ann Y Teens.

Sal Grasso Memorial Tournament

The Sal Grasso Memorial Friendship Tournament is a big deal with Cape Ann Youth Hockey Nation….and this is the 25th annual.  Since 1987 Cape Ann Youth Hockey teams have been playing in this tournament against Westmount teams from Quebec, Canada. The tournament alternates home ice. Last November the maroon and white caravanned to Montreal and enjoyed three days of hockey in Canada. This year, the Westmount teams are obviously coming to us.

While sportsmanship, friendship, and teamwork are at the heart of it all, I’d be remiss to not mention that Cape Ann is hoping to secure their name on the trophy for the third consecutive year.  The Westmount teams, unbelievably, took the trophy for the tournament’s first 14 years in a row!  Since then, Cape Ann has won seven and Westmount has won four. Dare I say we seem to be on a slight winning streak and it would be nice to keep the trophy here on Cape Ann.

The Cape Ann/Westmount Friendship Tournament was started back in 1987 by Sal Grasso of Gloucester and Mike Deegan and Peter Wallace of Westmount when Sal paid for a bus out of his own pocket and took a crew of Gloucester kids 6 hours north to play some hockey.  The trek was a huge success as most players billeted with host families and formed bonds that continue to this day. When Sal passed in 2006 the Tournament was aptly re-named the Sal Grasso Memorial Tournament.

So, if you have some downtime this weekend and like some good hockey…head to Talbot rink and cheer on Cape Ann…and Westmount.  Games will be happening nonstop from 4:30 on Friday afternoon until Sunday at 2:00.



Lessons in Honor, Courage, and Commitment

The Gloucester Sea Cadets were invited to provide the color guard at the Dan Healy Memorial 5K race this past weekend in Exeter, NH. I was so honored to have Thatcher be a part of the color guard at the opening ceremonies. Having him witness and take part in an occasion to honor a fallen Navy Seal, especially so close to Veterans Day I suppose, gave way to numerous lessons about honor, courage, commitment…and respect, heartache, pride, and patriotism.  We took the long, scenic ride home and discussed the morning’s events…..and my heart broke and swelled with pride simultaneously as I listened to Thatch explain his feelings about the morning.

While I always think I know how watching this young group of Sea Cadets in action will effect me, I’m still always surprised by how it sneaks up on me.  Many of them, for the record, also rocked the 5K which is pretty cool too.  Learn more about the Gloucester Sea Cadets HERE

Dan Healy died along with seven other SEALs and 8 Army “Nightstalker” commandos when their MH-47D Chinook helicopter was shot down during a mission to rescue a four-man SEAL reconnaissance team in Kunar Province on June 28, 2005. Below is information about Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, US Navy SEAL, as taken from the Dan Healy Memorial 5K Facebook page.  A tremendous individual and an exemplary example.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, US Navy SEAL, BUD/S Class 196, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was born on July 17, 1968 in Exeter, NH and KIA in the Hindu Kush mountains of Kunar Province, Afghanistan on June 28, 2005 during Operation Red Wings.

SCPO Healy was lost when the MH-47 helicopter he was aboard on a rescue mission crashed going to the aid of a team of four SEALs on a reconnaissance mission who were embroiled in a battle with a larger force of the Taliban. When word got back to base about their plight, their fellow SEALs went into action filling two helicopters to go to their aid. Due to his rank as a Senior Chief Petty Officer, Dan Healy did not have to go on that mission, but he insisted. Taking men off of the lead helicopter SCPO Healy told the others “Those are my men and my face is going to be the first one they see”.

For his actions, SCPO Healy was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for Valor, the Purple Heart and Afghanistan Campaign Medal. SCPO Healy’s other awards include Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal (3), and the National Defense Service Medal.



SCHOLARSHIPS- To area students entering the military or a trade school

VETERANS- Aiding Seacoast area veterans in various ways

SINGLE PARENTS- Offering a grant to deserving single parents

This run and walk event is in honor and remembrance of Dan and his fellow teammates. It is held in his hometown of Exeter, NH. For a full line of events; register as a runner or walker, including virtually; donate to The Dan Healy Foundation; or sign up to volunteer please visit


Kids Eat Free at Mile Marker One on Mondays

As if you need more incentive to enjoy a cocktail or two with your spouse and/or your friends while the kiddos swim and splash happily in the pool….safely, just a few feet away!

Now Kids Eat Free at Mile Marker One on Mondays from 4-8 pm!

Enjoy one kid’s meal FREE with every $15 food purchase for kids 10 and under. Applies to dine-in only. Must order from the kids’ menu.  Kid’s steak tips excluded and can’t be combined with other offers. 

Read the details in the flyer below



Rise and Shine

We’ve recently moved from one side of Rockport to the other.  While both sides have their pros and cons (well, “cons” may be a stretch for any address in Rockport) one thing I love about our new local is the view as we leave town each morning.  Almost, without fail, I am compelled to either stop to take a photo….or kick myself for not having my camera.

On another note….what I wouldn’t give to have my morning coffee in one of those deck chairs each morning.


A Room with a View

We spent last night at Cape Ann’s Marina and Resort.  The boys swam in the pool, we ate dinner, and then went upstairs so that Thatch could finish homework and get a decent night’s sleep knowing that Halloween night wouldn’t lend itself to lots of rest and that we have late nights planned much the rest of the week as well.

Here is the sunset and then sunrise over the cut bridge from the deck of our room. Maybe not as spectacular as some, but it was really nice to fall asleep and wake up with such a nice view.


Nichole’s Picks 10/28 + 10/29

Pick #1:  Halloween Haunted Happenings in Rockport

The town of Rockport has all sorts of fun things planned for Sunday.  Pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating through town, a showing of Hocus Pocus and more.  Check out their facebook page HERE

Pumpkin carving begins in Harvey Park at 11:30

Trick or Treating takes place between 3:30-5:30 throughout the shops downtown

From 6:00-8:30 a screening of Hocus Pocus takes place in Harvey Park and the concession stand will be open.


Pick #2:  Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium the Musical

Brooke and Zeke have been cast as the leads in the school’s new production of an old play about a…Phantom. Strange things start disrupting rehearsals and they have to wonder: is this someone’s idea of a joke? Or is the Phantom real? A silly and spooky adventure ensues that will keep the whole family in suspense until the final curtain! Suggested for families with young people ages 7-16+. The show is 70 minutes long with no intermission.



Pick #3:  Ipswich Ale Halloween Extravaganza

Saturday at 2 PM – 5 PM

The Ipswich Ale Brewery will be one stop that you won’t want to miss on your trick-or-treating route this year!

Swing by the brewery for free beer samples and take in the spooky sights and sounds of the brewery.

Don’t forget to bring the kids and let them sip on an Ipswich Soda Pop or snack on some candy while they show off their costumes!


As always for a comprehensive list of family activities visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Applecrest Farm

The stars aligned and neither of the boys had a hockey game on Saturday so we slept late and then headed north to New Hampshire. Destination? Our favorite farm….Applecrest.


We fed the goats….for like ever….because I really can’t get enough.  We took a ride past the corn fields to the apple orchards….even though we didn’t actually pick apples.  The boys strolled through the pumpkins to find the ones. We listened to the Monadnock Bluegrass Band play some pretty sweet music. We drank some cider and smoothies.  We shopped a lot in their gorgeous new barn shop….and ate some pumpkin whoopie pies in the sun before heading home.  The ride up there, if you take the back roads, is super pretty and only adds to the awesomeness of the day.

If you’re looking for a new farm to visit this should be it!  We’ve been bringing the boys since they were tiny.  The Storybook Hayride, put on by the theater department of a local high school, was one of Thatcher and Finn’s favorite fall traditions for several years in a row.  While the boys also love some of the farms closer to us with the potato launchers, paint ball, bouncy jump pillows, and go karts…. even they can agree that there is something undeniably special about simply being together at Applecrest.  The fall foliage, live music, delicious smells, baked goods, orchards, hay rides, and farm animals were exactly what we needed as we took a break from our over-scheduled and rushed weekends.  The fact that the farm is also incredibly dog friendly is a huge plus in my boys’ books.  They must have met 20 dogs along the way the other day.  Applecrest is the kind of place that strangers end up chatting, folks seem to be taking their time, and a perfect fall day unfolds around you while you can simply sit and take it all in.

Did I mention that they have a new outdoor bistro that serves wine and beer as well?  Shot, score.

Free Speaker Series Presents, “Second Language Learning in Young Children” at Harborlight

Come join us for this FREE Curriculum Spotlight focusing on how young children best learn a second language

Thursday, October 26th, 8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m 

Harborlight Montessori, 243 Essex Street Beverly, MA   978-922-1008

As the only school on the North Shore currently offering language immersion in our preschool and kindergarten classrooms as well as weekly lessons in Spanish and Chinese to children from PK – Grade 8, Harborlight Montessori has created a language experience that allows our students to learn systematically and organically.  Our World Language faculty members are all native speakers, which helps to create a genuine, meaningful, and effective curriculum.

Please join us as Harborlight’s Director of World Language, Sandra Lee, shares her vast knowledge and expertise concerning the most effective way to help young children learn a foreign language.  She will share why exposure to a second language should begin at an early age, how second language acquisition is approached at Harborlight, useful online tools to promote further language acquisition at home, and discuss some common misconceptions about second language learning.

Sandra Lee is the Director of World Languages at Harborlight Montessori in Beverly, as well as a Teacher in the Children’s House Program. She has authored both articles and books on the subject of second language learning in young children.

Watch these two short videos of our young students using both Chinese and Spanish as a part of their language immersion and/or language lessons.

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 2.56.19 PM


« Older Entries