Big Apple Circus! Review from the Ring.

Big Apple Circus presents METAMORPHOSIS in its annual Boston engagement at City Hall Plaza from Tuesday, March 24 through Sunday, May 10, 2015.

Yesterday, the fam and I went to the Big Apple Circus at City Hall Plaza in Boston.

bigapplecircus2 MUCH. bigapplecircus3 FUN.bigapplecircus5

Both my husband and my son were pulled into the ring for some of the fun. My husband was an especially good sport as Francesco the Clown brought him in, dressed him as a bride, and made him jingle bells on the skirt by shaking his hips. Oh my, my, my, it was funny!

Yep, it was so much fun even my lap go into the act. Wait, what? Yes, confetti exploded right over my head. All over me. I may still have some in my hair right now.


We were in the front row in case that’s not obvious to you at this point. But there is not a single seat is more than 50 feet away from the action. So if you have the money and want to spend it go ahead and get up front, but all the seats are great!

You can get tickets here! And use the code APPLE to get 20% off.


For 37 years Big Apple Circus, New York’s original one-ring circus, has been delighting audiences of all ages under its Big Top by presenting the finest in live family entertainment featuring world-class circus artistry. Experience the instant connection between audience and artist as your family sits less than 50 feet from the ring. Big Apple Circus is a not-for-profit performing arts and outreach institution committed to invigorating the communities we serve with the joy and wonder of classical circus. Tax-deductible contributions made by corporations, foundations and individuals enable Big Apple Circus to bring its special magic to diverse audiences through its outreach programs — Clown Care[SM], Vaudeville Caravan[SM], Circus After School[SM], Circus For All!® and Circus of the Senses® — as well as its critically acclaimed performances.

A Note for Food Allergy Moms:

From the Circus – “We do not sell peanuts as a single concessions item nor do we present animal partners that eat peanuts, however we do sell concessions items that contain peanuts such as M&Ms and Cracker Jacks.”
****UPDATE!! The Big Apple Circus has updated its policies about nut products in concessions… “Your little peanuts are important to us, which is why our concession stand does not sell peanuts or products containing peanuts. Snack on!” 



This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a program by The Big Apple Circus. I have been given a free tickets to the circus for this post. All opinions 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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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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