Sensitive letter writer strikes again

We are about to set off for Mexico on an Anniversary trip. That means NO KIDS. I am conflicted. I reeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllly want to go but I’m nervous to leave the kids. I know their in good hands, but I will miss them. I worry. I’m crazy!

I think my daughter could sense this. She gave me this letter. I promptly put it in my suitcase to bring with me. Because that’s what neurotic mothers do.

She has become an epic letter writer. I see journalling in her future!

Parins - 1


Parins - 2

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The Nutcracker 2014

Oh how we love the Nutcracker! We shared our love a couple of weeks ago with a giveaway. We love that too! I feel especially like Oprah when I get to give stuff away. I just wish I could give more! You get Nutcracker tickets and YOU get Nutcracker tickets and YOU get Nutcracker tickets!

My little girl was so very excited to go this year. The last time we went she was 4 and it didn’t go quite as well as I expected. This year was a wholly different experience! She talked about it for weeks in advance. What we would wear, where we would go, who we might see.


We went out to dinner beforehand then ran across the street to meet friends for hot chocolate. It was a wonderful mother daughter event in the city.


We made our way into the Opera House and the magic began. The Opera House is just stunning. It’s one of my favorite venues in the city.


Before we found our seats we stopped at the merchandise to find the ballerina! I have also heard about the ballerina for weeks :-) The last time we were here I let her get a souvenir. She chose a very sweet Clara doll. Apparently her friend at school “had the ballerina that looked just like Clara”. She wanted her too! We found her – turns out it was the Sugar Plum Fairy doll.


Doll firmly in hand we found our seats and then went to visit the orchestra pit. She loves to watch the musicians warm up and wonder aloud why they’re all wearing the same thing (black) and why they’re all playing different music that doesn’t sound so good (practice).


And so it begins! Her favorite parts are the mice and the dancing bear, of course.

Please see my post The Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker – 5 reasons to go if you need a gentle nudge to get your tickets!





Disclosure: This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a program by the Boston Ballet. I was given complimentary tickets to the performance. All opinions are my own. Image used with permission.

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Family Photo Fun! A fundraiser for FWR

A couple of weeks ago we had our first family photo taken in a few years! It was a fundraiser for Fertility Within Reach, a nonprofit that aims to empower infertile individuals to advocate in order to build their family. A dear friend of mine is the founder and she does amazing work. Tracey Rodriquez Photography agreed to come on, was paid for her time and part of the proceeds go to FWR! Win Win Win. :-)

There was MUCH discussion about what to wear for our picture. Matchy matchy or not. What colors? On and on. We shopped in our closet and did not buy anything new. We took an hour and decided and did not sweat it after that. My baby girl helped me and we settled on something that I think looks pretty great.

This is the shot that will make it on to the wall.

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But the following series made it into our hearts!

Right in between these two shots Theo decided he should try to moon us to make us laugh.

That is why everyone is howling and incredulous at the same time.

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And here are my gorgeous kiddos.

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And there’s one more that I LOVE, but I may actually make a holiday card this year (as well as a video, of course) so you’ll have to wait!

Do you get your family photo taken every year? Or just once in a while? We may start doing it every year. They are getting so big SO FAST!



PHOTOS BY Tracy Rodriguez Photography

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Leapin’ Lizards! Annie at Citi Center Wang Theatre

So I told you my family was invited to opening night of Annie right? Well, that was last night, and it was awesome!

It was everything I remembered and more. It was so great to be able to experience it with my own kids after going as a child with my mom.

Everything about Annie was great from the opening note until the lights went up.  This cast of girls! They have so much energy and talent. Annie is played by Issie Swickle and is just pitch perfect. The hilarious and uber talented Lynn Andrews plays Miss Hannigan.

By far my favorite performance is by Gilgamesh Tagget as Daddy Warbucks.  As a kid and even to this day (well, yesterday) I remember actually not liking Daddy Warbucks very much. He seemed cold and distant and perhaps that’s just the way he was played and directed in the other versions of Annie that I’ve seen. But this Daddy I liked from the beginning, and I could completely understand why Annie, and Grace, fell in love with him.

My four year old was set to fall asleep after intermission. He even worked out a little bed with the booster and scarf as a blankie. But when the lights went down again and the orchestra turned it up, he sat straight up. He stayed up for the whole thing. Imagine that? It’s that good :-)



We were so happy to be able to go. If you can, you should go. It’s worth it!

ANNIE plays at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre Wednesday, November 5 – Sunday, November 16, 2014, for 16 performances: Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:00 pm; matinees on Thursday, November 6 at 11:00 am, Tuesday, November 11 at 2:00 pm, and Saturdays at 2:00 pm; and Sundays at 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm. Tickets are priced at $35.00 – $125.00; all prices include a $3.75 facility fee per ticket.  Tickets are now on sale at the Citi Center box office, through or by calling 800-982-ARTS (2787), or through Ticketmaster. Groups of 10 or more may reserve tickets now by contacting Citi Performing Arts Center Group Sales at (617) 532-1116 or

For more information, visit:


Use the link below to save 20% per ticket for select performances, and buy tickets now using the code MOMS

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Annie at the Citi Wang Theatre in Boston – Giveaway!



The first broadway show I ever went to was Annie. First and only until I was an adult.

It was a big deal. We didn’t have tons of money growing up and I think this was a bit of a stretch for my parents. But my mom got the tickets and off we went to Boston. We dressed up pretty, showed up early, and went to the theater.

Next week, because of this little ole blog that I have, I get to take not only my daughter but my mom to see Annie at the Citi Wang Theater.  Squeee!

The show opens next Wednesday, November 5th at 7 pm.

That night, Annie and Daddy Warbucks will arrive at 6 pm in a 1937 Packard to walk the Red Carpet into the Citi Wang Theatre. The Red Carpet arrival kicks off the 2-week engagement of the show. Fun right?

The show at the Wang is directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin and choreographed by Liza Gennaro, this production of ANNIE is a brand new incarnation of the iconic original.  It also features book and score by Tony Award®-winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, ANNIE includes such unforgettable songs as “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” plus the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

Use this link to save 20% per ticket for select performances, and buy tickets now using the code MOMS!

I can’t wait!

And that’s not all!

Would you like to win some tickets? Yeah baby!

Win 4 tickets to OPENING NIGHT on Wednesday, November 5 at 7:00 pm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want more chances to win? Of course you do!
But remember you can only win once! We all talk to each other so we’ll know if you try to be a Greedy McHoggerson.
Here are some other awesome local blogs giving away tickets:

Alexandra Elizabeth

Christy at Quirky Fusion

Emily at Nap Time Is My Time

Family Friendly Boston

Christine & Bonnie at Mom’s Lifesavers

Stowed Stuff


I have been given tickets to attend Annie for this post. Image used with permission. All opinions expressed in this post (and my sharing on social media) are my own.

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Red Jacket Mountain View Resort Review and Giveaway


Last weekend the Red Jacket Inn Mountain View Resort hosted the ViolaCay family! The kids were um, excited to say the least.

And natch, we made a video…

The Red Jacket Mountain View Resort is in North Conway, New Hampshire. The White Mountains are beautiful, there is outlet shopping , and of course Storyland is there.

For the last couple of years we’ve gone to Storyland and looked up the hill longingly at the pretty hotel that sat way up there. The kids knew there was a water park up there too. But alas they had been too little to go. Fans of the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort, and there are many, will tell you it’s quaint. Critics will tell you it’s a little dated. It’s both really. It’s quaintness shined through and it’s datedness fell to the background for me. Yes it’s true, there are lots of stairs and there are LONG hallways with lots of doors. But, that didn’t phase me much. I just loved it. What, or who rather, really shines at the Red Jacket Resort is the people.

From the general manager checking in on us all the way through to the cleaning staff. Just good people.

  • As soon as we got to our room we could see that we needed a rollaway or another mattress or something for child #3 up in the loft. The kids wanted to go to the water park like, RIGHT NOW. My husband called down and they said they’d take care of it. When we returned there was a mattress in between the beds, all made, with his blankie and stuffed Nemo perched on the pillow.
  • The front desk gal Teresa who assured my daughter that “Of course the tooth fairy comes to the Red Jacket, honey” after her brother knocked her tooth out in the water park (Daddy saved the tooth)!
  • The poor boy at the water park desk who couldn’t find a bandaid right away for me. He was clearly the maintenance guy that I had caught off guard while the regular desk person had stepped away. I made him blush when I said I could just a hold one of those tampons on the boy’s skinned knee as I pointed to the other supplies on the shelf. :-) He rushed away quickly to the supply closet to get more band aids.
  • The very patient staffer who lead a group of kids in a craft on a rainy day as they waited anxiously for the water park to open!
  • The waitstaff at breakfast who took care of us, and took our boy’s allergies seriously. Getting a chef to come out and take Theo’s breakfast order personally and then went to make it herself. Toast and sliced apples made to order :-)

We loved our stay and hope that you do too! Yes, that’s right one of you lucky ducks is going to win a 2 night stay at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort! Woooo hooooo!

Red Jacket Mountain View Resort & Kahuna Laguna Viola Cay Family Vacation Giveaway!

Includes: Two-night stay for a family of four at Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway, New Hampshire and passes to Kahuna Laguna Indoor Water Park. Restrictions:  Not available on holidays, holiday weekends or school vacation weeks. Valid through October 2015. Other terms may apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please visit my lovely cohosts at
Diane at Dollops of Diane
Kim at Family Friendly Boston
Jodi at Family Travel Magazine


Disclosure: This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a program with Red Jacket Resorts. I was given a complimentary stay at Red Jacket Mountain View Resort. All opinions are my own.

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