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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Curious George Curious About Me App Review


I have three kids (8,6,4) and my littlest is dying to read like the big kids!

The Curious About Me app is a wonderful way to get the non readers and new readers like him to write their own story. And THEN the app reads the story back to them. It reads them the story they just wrote. Cool!

Curious George and the man with the yellow hat walk you and your child through a series of questions all about them. How much do kids like to talk about themselves, right?

They get to draw pictures, take pictures and videos, record their voices, and use pictures available on the device they’re using. They can use all these mediums to tell their story.


My 4yo got such a kick out of hearing his own voice and seeing his pics and videos in the story with Curious George. He can’t wait to go back and rewrite his story and to create new ones.

From Houghton Mifflin:

Developed for preschool-aged children, the app enables learners to star in two unique stories—Curious About Me and Day at the Zoo. By helping children communicate their personal experiences and interests through drawings, activities, and photographs and recordings of family members, the app promotes social interaction and collaboration and builds a foundation in language development essential for success in reading and writing.

“For generations, Curious George has brought together parents and children in the spirit of learning and imagination,” says Sanj Kharbanda, SVP of Digital Markets at HMH. “Curious About Me provides an opportunity for parents and children to laugh and play together while also giving young learners an engaging digital outlet in which to create and communicate through words and illustrations.”

You can get the app here!

This post (as well as my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by Houghton Mifflin.

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Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a Chickpea!

We call them crunchy things in our house. The yummy crunchy, usually salty, snacks that we know aren’t good for us but we love anyway.

“Do you want some crunchy things?” I say.

We buy healthy crunchy things. But they’re not what they are KWIM? Like vegetable chips or sticks. The kids just think they’re eating chips.

I’ve tried to make healthy crunchy things. The kids are “Meh” about Kale chips. Chick peas? Every single time I try to roast them they come out all wonky. Some are soft, some are too crunchy. Then I put too little spice or not enough. I’ve never gotten it right. Never. But the few that I find in there that are good, I love. So I keep trying.

I was walking down the natural food aisle of the supermarket the other day and I see these little packages getting no love on the bottom shelf. Does that say “Chick Peas”?  And there are four different bags! Four different flavors?! I was a little too excited about the chickpeas. I think my 3yo actually shushed me.
Biena Foods Erb Photography

I bought all four flavors of the Biena Food Roasted Chickpeas. I have to confess, I did not have high expectations. I mean come on – they’re chickpeas.

Clearly because I’m posting about them I liked them. I wouldn’t tell you about something that I thought was yucky. But I didn’t just like them, I loved them! The honey roasted were my favorite.

I feel like these snacks could be your grandmother’s ;-) They are made with all-natural ingredients that you can feel good about putting in your body. That includes the actual chickpeas, which are non-GMO and come from American farms! For centuries, chickpeas have been prized for their protein, fiber and nutrient content. They’re satisfying and help keep you energized all day. People worldwide love them, like me! And you know what else? If you’re in Massachusetts – they’re LOCAL. Gotta love giving the love to local.

These things are what our grandmother’s snacked on, I’m sure of it. But I know they didn’t taste this good! Poorvi and her team went through 500+ test bathches to get the flavors right for me, I mean, us.

So you wanna try ‘em? The good people at Biena would like you to try them too! They want to send you that sampler pack above. Awesome right?

Visit the Biena website and tell me which flavor you’d most like to try! Just leave a comment below.

You can get extra entry by:
Liking ViolaCay on Facebook Leave a separate comment.
Liking Biena on Facebook. Leave a separate comment.

Maybe if we all love them enough they’ll move them off the bottom shelf to the money spot at eye level ;-)

The winner is Julia M. – Congrats!


Winner has 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. This giveaway will close at 11:59PM ET,  May 21th, 2013. Please leave a separate comment for each entry and remember to use a valid email address. The winner will be chosen via the WordPress plugin “And the Winner Is” and will be notified by email and announced here on the blog. All opinions are my own.

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Sweet Andy’s Cookie Review – YUM!


A giant box of cookies landed on my doorstep the other other day. All hail the baking gods! And the people at Sweet Andy’s Cookies of course.

Here’s what I thought…

There is supposed to be a video here. No? Please refresh your browser – it will appear like magic :-)



This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by MomTv and Sweet Andy’s Cookies. All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own.

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Art of Animation Cars Suite Video Tour

When we were at Walt Disney World we stayed at the brand new Art of Animation Resort.

As soon as I saw pictures of the Cars Suite I KNEW that’s where I wanted to stay. My 2 yo has seen the movies at least 100 times. They all love it. I investigated a lot of other options and kept coming back to the Cozy Cone ;-)

Besides the Magic of Disney and the wonderfulness of Nana, the other factor in our trip not becoming a gigantic disaster was our room. Our glorious Cars Suite.

Here’s a tour…


There is supposed to be a video here. If there isn’t please refresh – it’s like magic :-)

Full review of the Art of Animation Resort soon!

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Wine I’m Likelii to love

Yes, please. For love of all that is good and grapey can someone please tell me what wine I will like?

You? You site on the internet you will tell me? I’m game!

When I go into the liquor store (packy for those of you of a certain age and live in New England) I am sometimes (always) dumbfounded by what wine to choose. I know what I like, but I don’t know what else I might like because of what I like. KWIM?

A new startup in Cambridge, MA knows what I mean. Likelii brands itself as the Spotify and Netflix of wine. Intriguing, no?

Sure I’ll give it a whirl. I’m postive a computer can do better than the college student that mans the register and my local wine seller. But can it compete with my sommelier? Wait, I don’t have one of those, just that college kid. Wait, Likelii has them on staff and they also have some coding and algorithm nerds (lovingly said by a nerd) that have a built a super magic wine search engine?? I’m beginning to understand.

Likelii homepage
So this is what happens- you go to the homepage and it prompts you to tell them which wines you’ve been sipping (or chugging) on recently. Then you press a button and voila. The sommeliers and algorithmers bring you a list of wine recommendations you’re Likelii to love. Easy.

Can’t remember any names? Haven’t been to a swanky dinner party lately? No problem. Under Get My Recommendation on the home page is a little i. Why they have made it this small I have no idea, but lies beyond it is nothing short of amazing. My favorite part of the site really.

Choose red, white, or both. Then narrow it down. Cabernet, Malbec, Pinot Noir. Oh my. You’re on your way to finding something fantastic in no time.

Likelii wine recommendation
You can keep a list of wines you’d like to try, rate the ones you’ve already tried, and then buy away and have them shipped right to your house (if you live in a state that allows that).

So it turns out you don’t need fancy sommeliers, or seemingly random reviews on the bins (90 anyone? Huh?) You don’t need to pick the most expensive, or the cheapest for that matter. Pick the one you’re Likelii to love by telling the super computer what YOU already love.


(That’s Italian for cheers, I’m not saluting you. Stop already.)


This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program by Likelii. I received a gift certificate :-) All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own. Cheers.

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