Author Archives: Nichole S.

Nichole’s Picks 5/30 and 5/31

Pick #1  Draft Horse Plow Day and Vintage Baseball at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, Newbury

While I’ve never been here for this particular event, we’ve enjoyed other days at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm.  I should add that the Ipswich Ale Tapmobile will be there too.

Read all about it HERE

Sunday, May 31, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, Mass.

Free to Historic New England members, $6 nonmembers, $4 children

Draft mules participate in plowing demonstrations as part of this twentieth annual event and enjoy games of 1860s baseball. Learn how horses are harnessed, hitched, and cared for. Watch the shearing of our resident sheep, and see how the wool is washed, carded, and spun into yarn. Enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, farm animals, blacksmithing demonstrations, children’s crafts and games. Listen to traditional New England music or watch the teams of the Essex Base Ball Association, the Newburyport Clamdiggers, Georgetown Samosets, Portsmouth Rockinghams, Lynn Live Oaks, and Lowell Base Ball Nine, play baseball using 1860s rules. At these fun, historically accurate games, players pitch underhand, a ball bounced once and caught is an out, and no gloves are allowed. Snacks, baseballs, and cards are available for purchase. Grass field seating: bring blankets and lawn chairs, no reserved seating.

Please call 978-462-2634 for more information. Purchase tickets now

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Pick #2  Millbrook Meadow Duck Race, Rockport

Saturday, May 30th at 11:00!

GMG’s own Paul Morrison and his RD will be there…head on down and cheer them on!

For the record, while the Duck Race is sure to be fun, Millbrook Meadow is always a gorgeous place to spend the day!  Located right across from Front Beach, the park has recently had a beautiful and extensive overhaul.  It is truly one of the town’s treasures!

Read more about Millbrook Meadow HERE

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Pick #3   Touch-a-Truck and ChowderFest

What child doesn’t want to get up-close and personal with some super cool trucks, ambulances, fire trucks, ATVs, motorcycles, and more?

Head on over to O’Malley Innovation Middle School on Saturday, May 30th to check out the cool vehicles and eat some delicious chowder….all to benefit the Fishtown Horribles Parade.

Tickets for Touch-a-Truck or Chowderfest are $5 (with a max amount of $20 per family)

Tickets for Touch-a-Truck AND Chowderfest are $8 each (family max of $30)

For a more comprehensive list of family activities, check out our friends at North Shore Kid

Got Fish? Boyhood at its Best.

I have a feeling there are many days just like this one in these boys’ futures.  I love so much that this is how they care to spend their days while growing up on Cape Ann.  Good friends, good times, good fishermen.  Watching them enjoy each other’s company like this, while doing what they love, gives me the total warm fuzzies.

Rockport’s Memorial Day parade

Live Blogging

Little, Big Boy….or Big, Little Boy?

So, Thatcher turned 8 yesterday.  And, lucky you, since I haven’t done one of those l.o.n.g parenting-is-crazy type blog posts for a while…I’m due.

This birthday has hit me.  I’m not sure why.  It isn’t a biggie as far as birthdays go.  It isn’t an “oh my goodness, my baby is already old enough for Kindergarten!”, or an “I can’t believe my baby is now double digits!”, or a “how is it possible that my baby is officially an adult!”.  It is none of those.  It is just 8.  But, as with much of parenting, I was blindsided.  I was completely surprised at how sad…well, not really sad….maybe nostalgic….I was.

I should say, for the record, that I’m totally ok with my boys growing up and I’m kind of loving this age. All the more reason that I was surprised by being upset.  I loved the baby stage and thought my boys were tremendously excellent during the toddler and preschool ages, but I have to admit that I have enjoyed watching them grow into full-fledged boys now that they’re both elementary school age even more.   I was incredibly happy that I honestly felt “done” (not in a holy crap, shoot me, I’m done kind of way, for the record….but a two kids works for me, I don’t have the slightest itch for a third kind of way).  I did a victory dance and end zone celebration when they got out of diapers (both right at 2 1/2 thank goodness), when they were finally able to buckle and unbuckle their own car seats (AMEN), and when they switched from tubbies to showers.  I have also been absolutely smitten by the fact that I can travel light.  By “travel” I’m not speaking about actual vacations…..just your everyday trip the store, beach, or even restaurants!  No more packing 800 snacks and 1,000 activities to keep the boys quiet and well behaved.  It is now seriously as easy as “Brush your teeth and get in the car.”  AND…as if that isn’t cool enough…they’re even helpful sometimes.  Mind blown.  They now unpack their lunch boxes and backpacks after school, fill their own water bottles EVERY time before leaving the house, feed the dog, take care of the rabbit, fill the bird feeders (kind of), and water the plants.  Shot, score!  I am also totally enjoying the fact that we enjoy the same music (for the most part), like some of the same shows (watching The Voice and Amazing Race together has been pretty cool), and the same sports.  While the Bruins have held their interest for years already, this is the first year that they’ve really enjoyed watching the Red Sox on TV.  Thatcher can tell you the starting line-up, the pitching rotation, and some of the more interesting stats. Yeah, me!!

So, it has been good.  It has been easy.  It has been fun. We’re in a pretty awesome place. We’ve started to enjoy each other on a slightly different level.  I’m not explaining it well…but, it is no longer us entertaining them…it is us experiencing things together….and with A LOT of great conversations.  They’ve developed senses of humor that aren’t just super cute like when they were little, but are actually funny….like, for real.  So, why so teary?  I still don’t know.

It started to hit me when I went birthday shopping.  I was looking for something in the sporting goods section of a large toy store.  As I walked from the front left corner of the store to the back right corner of the store, it occurred to me that Thatcher had outgrown every single isle in the entire store other than the sporting goods.  I thought that simple fact would be cause for a happy dance, but instead I felt a tiny pang….a little bit of a loss.  Oddly enough, I don’t even like shopping in those large toy stores anyway….so why care that he’d outgrown it?  And then, all day yesterday, as if aware that he was suddenly older on a different level….Thatcher acted like he was 15 all day long.  We were kind of riding the fence between little kid and bigger kid for the last year or so and I feel like, all of a sudden, he not only hurdled the fence, but then ran so far away from it that I can’t even see the darn fence in his wake.  Like, when (although not my proudest moment) he asked if we had arranged for the Patriot cheerleaders to bring out his birthday cake at dinner.  What?

So, my first little guy is now a big guy.  He had his choice of how to spend his day yesterday and, in typical Thatcher fashion, his choices summed up his love of life as he knows it.  He knew right away….with zero hesitation…that he wanted to catch minnows, go to the beach, definitely NOT skip hockey, eat some sushi, and maybe grab an ice cream on the way home.  Who could say “no” to that?  So, he opened his presents (over a plate of fried dough and bacon), we packed for the beach, he caught hundreds of minnows with Finn and a couple of his best buds,  raced home for quick showers, played 90 minutes of hockey, hit the Studio for some sushi and a Chocolate Torte with fresh Raspberry Coulis…and a candle, and then headed home for bed.  The only thing we didn’t fit in was the ice cream on the way home.  No room in the birthday boy’s belly.  Maybe tomorrow.

After we said our last “Happy Birthdays” and “Goodnights” I heard him rustling around in his bed.  When I asked what he was doing he said, “I can’t find Hospital Bear.”  Hospital Bear is a little stuffed animal that we put next to Thatcher as soon as he was born….and whom he has slept with every night since.  We found the little guy under the blankets and as I walked out of the room I heard him say, “Happy Birthday, Hospital Bear.”  Maybe he isn’t all grown-up after all.  Maybe that fence is just a little bit back in sight.

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Thatcher and “Hospital Bear”

Who's 8?  This Guy!

Who’s 8? This Guy!

Minnows!

Minnows!

Birthday Wish

Birthday Wish

Sushiville

There is some serious sushi flying over the sushi bar at the Studio tonight!

You’d Be Crazy To Not Take Advantage of This Red Sox Package

I know that I’m super fortunate that my boys have had the opportunity to experience some pretty awesome days at Fenway Park and with the Red Sox, but I also know that it can be REALLY difficult to score tickets that don’t break the bank…never mind actually feed the kiddos while you’re at the game.

If you’ve always wanted to go, but couldn’t justify spending that kind of $$$….or even if you’ve gone 100 times and simply want to go again….this is a SWEET DEAL!

Read all about it and BUY your tickets HERE

JUNE 1, 2, and 3 ONLY!

4 Game Tickets, 4 hot dogs, and 4 sodas ALL FOR ONLY $75!

A great deal for families! Bring the whole crew out to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox take on the Twins. Courtesy of our friends at Aramark, $75 buys 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, and 4 sodas.*

* Tickets must be presented at concession stands to redeem food/beverage. No substitutions available.

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Throw Yourself to the Wolves

When I did my “Picks” post yesterday I wanted to include a fun event at the one and only Wolf Hollow, but I wasn’t able to confirm until this morning that it is indeed happening.  Didn’t want to steer anyone in the wrong direction!

This Sunday, May 24th, Wolf Hollow will be hosting “Family Fun Fest”.

The event takes place from 11:00-3:00 and includes activities such as:

Educational presentations every hour

Children’s games and activities

Pizza from Ipswich House of Pizza

Snow cones from the Kona Shaved-Ice Truck

AND, last but certainly not least, free samples of local brew served up from the Ipswich Ale Brewery. Not for the kiddos though.

Read all about Wolf Hollow HERE

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Nichole’s Picks for 5/23 and 5/24

Pick #1

They’re open, they’re open.  Thatcher and Finn have been asking me for weeks when Maritime Gloucester will be opening for the season and I can finally tell them…and you…that their aquarium and exhibits are opening for the season on May 23rd!

Check out Maritime Gloucester HERE!

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Pick #2

The Newburyport Spring Festival!  Read all about it HERE 

Held Sunday & Monday of Memorial Day Weekend. Celebrate the season in downtown Newburyport! Enjoy great live music, art, fine crafts, and food from Newburyport’s best restaurants.

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Pick #3

The Peabody Essex Museum.

This is always a fantastic place to spend the day, but I’m super intrigued by a new exhibit that they have on display and I can’t wait to go see it.

Read about the exhibit here:  Stickwork:  Patrick Dougherty

Check out more of the artist’s incredible work here!

Patrick Dougherty bends, weaves and flexes saplings into architectural sculptures that dynamically relate to the landscape and built environment around them. Over the last 30 years, he has created more than 250 works throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Constructed from saplings collected by area volunteers, the natural structure will provide dramatic counterpoint to the highly finished wood-frame Crowninshield-Bentley House that dates to the early 18th century. This is the first time PEM has commissioned an outdoor sculptural installation.

From the PEM website

From the PEM website

For a more comprehensive list of family activities please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Welcome, Chief Horvath

Rockport is happy to welcome Police Chief John Horvath.  Chief Horvath takes the reigns from Interim Chief of Police, Jim Mulligan.  Chief Mulligan was welcomed aboard after Rockport’s long-standing Police Chief John “Tom” McCarthy retired this past fall.  Most recently, Chief Horvath has served as the Chief of Police at UMASS Amherst.

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Dining at Davio’s

MarketStreet in Lynnfield is doing it right.  It isn’t merely a place to shop, bowl, walk, or dine…it is absolutely a destination.  It’s a reserve-a-few-hours-and-make-a-day-of-it kind of place.

The other day, after a bit of shopping, we sat at the bar at Davio’s and enjoyed some really fantastic snacks.

Check out their MENU here

See what else MarketStreet has to offer HERE.

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Motif No. 1 Day

My coverage of Motif No. 1 Day doesn’t necessarily reflect how much fun we had!  If you missed it this year, make a point to be there next year.  Kudos (and then some) to the organizers, volunteers, performers, vendors, and everyone else who played a role in this tremendous community event!

Here are some of the photos that I did manage to snap while being pulled in three different directions…literally…thanks to two boys and a dog.

Huge Sale at Palazola’s

Live Blogging!

Live Blogging From Motif No. 1 Day

Great Fun!! Come on down!

Feathered Friend

The most passive, and obviously injured, seagull was on campus for the past couple of days.  It wasn’t possible to tell exactly what was wrong with him (or her) but, it seemed clear that it couldn’t fly.  Thatcher and Finn fed him a can of tuna fish, which he happily gulped down, and then a co-worker took him to a veterinary clinic.  He was so gentle.  Fingers crossed for the poor little guy (or gal).

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Nichole’s Picks 5/16 and 5/17

As with last weekend, Pick #1 was a piece of cake!

Get out and get your Rockport On!

Pick #1

MOTIF NO. 1 Day is a can’t miss day of fun, for sure!

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PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR EVENT DETAILS!

AND, HERE FORE A FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS!

Pick #2

Such a great month of events for you history buffs…or for anyone who hopes to share this piece of American History with their children.

Revolutionary Revelry in Lexington

SATURDAY, MAY 16th

Lexington Battle-Green BBQ Festival
11 am – 7 pm, $

Let the Battle Begin!  BBQ and Summer Food Vendors, New England Craft Beers on tap and Live Music! Admission benefits The LABBB Collaborative Schools for Special Needs Students!
Once inside food and beer may be purchased from vendors.

$5 Admission Fee, Kids 13 and under enter free! Food cost additional
At the corner of 1557 Massachusetts Avenue and Woburn Street, Lexington
Lexington BBQ Battle

Artists En Plein Air
10 am -2:00 pm, Free

Local artists will demonstrate their skills along the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway.  Watch as they create unique pieces and discuss their artistic process.

At Minuteman Commuter Bikeway sites between Hancock and Woburn Streets, Lexington
Lexington Tourism Committee

Freedom’s Way Hidden Treasures
10 – 4 pm, Free

Hidden Treasures includes 45 towns in the Freedoms Way National Heritage Area. Free activities for intergenerational audiences to explore this area’s history, culture and nature. Lexington shows off the arts and culture “hidden treasures.” This event will spotlight Pop-up Art displays and performances, as well as guided, and self-guided walks around town and conservation lands.
Hidden treasure maps have been created for you to follow.

Along sections of the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and at sites throughout Lexington
Freedom’s Way

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SUNDAY, MAY 17th

Lexington Battle-Green BBQ Festival
11 am – 7 pm, $

Let the Battle Begin!  BBQ and Summer Food Vendors, New England Craft Beers on tap and Live Music! Admission benefits The LABBB Collaborative Schools for Special Needs Students!
Once inside food and beer may be purchased from vendors.

$5 Admission Fee, Kids 13 and under enter free! Food cost additional
At the corner of 1557 Massachusetts Avenue and Woburn Street, Lexington
Lexington BBQ Battle

Freedom’s Way Hidden Treasures
10 – 4 pm, Free

Hidden Treasures includes 45 towns in the Freedoms Way National Heritage Area. Free activities for intergenerational audiences to explore this area’s history, culture and nature. Lexington shows off the arts and culture “hidden treasures.”  This event will spotlight Pop-up Art displays and performances, as well as guided, and self-guided walks around town and conservation lands.
Hidden treasure maps have been created for you to follow.

Along sections of the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and at sites throughout Lexington
Freedom’s Way

Unscheduled and Unplugged

I don’t know about all of you, but I have found…this year more than ever…that our “down time” is fairly nonexistent.  We leave home at 7:15 to get to work/school and most days the boys and I aren’t home until 5:00.  Hockey was 5 days a week from October to almost April and now there’s baseball, t-ball, and some flag football.  Throw in some meetings, appointments, errands, etc. and we are out straight.  When we get home it is a somewhat mad rush to tackle dinner, showers, guitar practice, and packing the necessities for the next day (I am thankful every day that they don’t have “real” homework yet).  If there was a moment to spare the boys’ “go to” for most of the winter had been to grab their iPads or some zombie time in front of the TV.  I’d be lying if I said that I minded.  Facts are that I needed time to get things done and they’re incredibly active all week long…so I did’t fret when they stole those moments of screen time at all!  As the weather got nicer, however, I started to cringe a bit when they would hunker down, iPads in hand, to zone out.

So….I couldn’t have been happier to come home from a run the other night and see them playing an ever so simple, and full of giggles, game of hopscotch with the neighbors.  I sat on the curb to watch…and once I overcame my embarrassment that they had somehow made it to “almost 6″ and “almost 8″ years-old without ever having played before….I took a few minutes to appreciate the moment.

Warmer weather has brought more hopscotch, bike riding, and some serious games of catch!

If Eyes are the Windows to the Souls…

If eyes are the windows to the souls, what are front doors to the homes that we love?  I have a quirky affinity towards front doors.  When we can’t afford to do the renovations that we’d so love to do, I find myself sprucing things up…or maybe just mixing things up…by throwing on a fresh coat of paint, changing a wreath, looking for door knockers, etc.  I am also somewhat obsessed with quarterboards….but that is a blog post for another day.

These are a few that have caught my eye recently.

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