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Review: Something Rotten – appropriate for kids?

You don’t have to be a Broadway junkie or know Shakespeare’s plays by heart to enjoy Something Rotten, but you’ll get more out of it if you do.

Something Rotten on Broadway

Something Rotten on Broadway

Is Something Rotten appropriate for kids? More on that later. First, a little background. This musical comedy is based in the Renaissance, where one of Shakespeare’s playwriting contemporaries is trying to come up a show that will make him famous and well paid. With the help of a “friend” he creates the world’s first musical. Hilarity ensues.

Actually hilarity runs throughout the entire production. Continue reading Review: Something Rotten – appropriate for kids?

7 Things to do with Kids in the Hong Kong International Airport

I recently spent some time in Asia, including 4 hour layovers in the Hong Kong International Airport. While my kids weren’t with me, I looked around to figure out what I would do with my kids if they were. Fortunately, they would not have been bored! Here are my top 7 things to do with kids in the Hong Kong International Airport.

1. Kids Workshop - They had a cute area set up for art programs with the kids. These are limited to weekends (Saturdays/Sundays) and you have to sign up because as you can see, space is limited. The workshops are free. This was in the main concourse – I don’t know which gate.

Kids workshops at the Hong Kong International Airport

2. Kids’ play areas –  Continue reading 7 Things to do with Kids in the Hong Kong International Airport

Big Apple Circus Review – Metamorphosis

We went to the Big Apple Circus Legendarium show two years ago, and had a great time. When I thought about going back this year for Metamorphosis, I wasn’t sure how different it would be. Turns out it’s a completely new show, in the familiar small tent atmosphere. I brought along two teen girls, including a high school sophomore, and two tween boys.  We all loved it – and when I asked them about their favorite parts, each listed something different. I’ve been telling people to go to the show since I got home.

a contortionist

The contortionist got into this little box, and then her helper got in there too. Look for the band above the stage under the French looking Big Apple Circus sign.

What follows are pictures of some of my favorite acts, but there were many more I didn’t include here. And they’re not in order. The Big Apple Circus brings in different acts each year. This year’s show is Metamorphosis, which was not a theme that really carried over through the whole show (well, aside from the ringmaster’s coat). There were a few references, but basically it seemed to me to be just the title. Not an issue. Continue reading Big Apple Circus Review – Metamorphosis

Review: It’s Only a Play – Appropriate for Kids?

My daughter and I continued our Superbowl Sunday tradition – of going to a Broadway show. This year it was It’s Only a Play, and I fretted a little over whether it was going to be appropriate for my 13 year old. My Zumba, instructor who saw it the weekend before (but after I got tickets) shook her head no and said, “language!” Well if that was it, then I was hopefully okay. More on that later.

its only a play

The plot: A group involved with a Broadway play production gather at the producer’s house for an opening night party, awaiting reviews. The group includes the wealthy producer, the playwright, the playwright’s male best friend who turned down the lead role, the female lead, the director, a critic and the hired coat boy. The play is set in the producer’s upstairs bedroom, while the party goes on behind the scenes.

While you don’t have to be a frequent theater goer to enjoy the play, it really helps a lot if Continue reading Review: It’s Only a Play – Appropriate for Kids?

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Passports with Purpose Raised How Much?

Passports with Purpose

Thank you to all who contributed to the Passports with Purpose fundraiser. We raised $26,000, which will help five farming communities in Honduras to farm more sustainably for the next five years. The tools and education provided to them through Sustainable Harvest International will make a major and long-lasting impact on these communities. They’ll plant thousands of trees and help feed hundreds of people in each community through this work.

If you bid on prizes, you should be finding out if you won (you won’t be contacted unless you won) by December 22 at the latest.

Even though you can no longer bid on prizes, you can still donate to SHI through Passpsorts with Purpose. 100% of the donation goes to SHI, as Passports with Purpose is an all-volunteer group of bloggers organizing it.

A big thanks to all the sponsors of PWP, including TBEX and HomeAway, and our Frisco Kids and Jersey Kids prize sponsors, Schoola and Breathometer. A reminder that you can still use Schoola’s 25% off discount code TRYSCHOOLA at checkout, through December 30. And for last minute gifts, Breathometer makes two portable products that connect to your smart phone, for checking your blood alcohol level. It’s fun to use and helpful too.

Red Carpet Screening: All Hail King Julien

Last minute! I have two family packs of tickets to give away to the red carpet screKJN_HERO_KA_1s_w4.0ening of All Hail King Julien, Netflix’s newest original series. I need to pick two families tonight to give them to. If you’re interested, leave me a comment below with the number of people in your family, and let me know how to contact you. If you don’t want to leave your email address in the comment, you can email me at, but please do put the comment down first.

At the screening, you’ll see the first five episodes of All Hail King Julien. Madagascar’s King Julien scored his own series! King Julien will take on the jungle’s craziest adventures in the new comedy series, along with his loyal sidekicks Maurice and Mort plus a whole new cast of colorful animals.

Details about the screening (you need to be on the list to go, so don’t show up unless I tell you to!)

When: Friday, December 19 from 7-9 p.m.

Where: SVA Theater – 333 W. 23rd Street

Liberty Science Center’s New Infinity Climber, Rubik’s Cube and Guitar Exhibit

While I did a more comprehensive review of taking the kids to the Liberty Science Center for a previous post,  I was there recently and wanted to fill you in on some of the changes and new exhibits. The most exciting is the new Infinity Climber, which finished installation a few weeks ago. This “multi-story play space” is suspended 35 feet above the ground. It has 64 petal platforms (they look like lily pads), to climb on, taking you higher and lower. It’s surrounded by a net, which is stiff enough to keep you in, but not so stiff that it hurts.

a infinity climber

The Infinity Climber is the world’s first suspended climbing space of its kind, and can fit 50 adults and children in there at one time. You have to be 42 inches or higher to go in. It’s great for groups to go in together.  Continue reading Liberty Science Center’s New Infinity Climber, Rubik’s Cube and Guitar Exhibit

Passports with Purpose – Win Awesome Prizes

We’re partway through our Passports with Purpose fundraiser, and I wanted to give you a heads up about some of the awesome prizes available.

But first, a very brief intro about Passports with Purpose. This is an fundraiser done by bloggers who are ALL volunteers. Each year, the organizers pick one charity to raise funds for – and a specific project within it. This year, we’re supporting Sustainable Harvest International, and for each $5,000 raised, we’ll be helping one family farmer to get the tools, resources and know-how to farm more sustainably. This benefits the entire community, not just one family. At last tally, they’d already raised enough to help three families ($15,000).

sustainable harvest  This money is raised in $10 increments, when people like you donate. With every $10 donation (100% goes to Sustainable Harvest International), you get one raffle entry into the prize of your choice. There are a ton of prizes, ranging from hotel stays in Scottsdale (like the Four Seasons) and a dude ranch stay for 4 at Tucson’s Tanque Verde (thanks for hosting Ciao Bambino!). Or five nights lodging and lift tickets at Killington (thanks for hosting, Wandering Working Mom!)

I’ll highlight some of the other great prizes here: Continue reading Passports with Purpose – Win Awesome Prizes

Luggage storage in New York City

We spent a few days in New York City over Thanksgiving. On our last day, we would be finishing up in the Times Square area, taking either the bus or the train back to New Jersey. It made no sense to leave our luggage at the borrowed apartment across town. We weren’t going to lug it around with us all day, and we didn’t think a hotel (given all the security issues these days) would randomly take someone’s luggage for the day, if they’re not a guest.

I did some research and it turns out there are plenty of luggage storage options outside of hotels, in the New York City area. My sister pointed me to Penn Station, where she usually keeps her bags when going into the city for fun time, before heading to the airport. And that’s where we went.

Amtrak has a luggage storage area (see photo below), in the main waiting area between gates 5 and 6. Technically it’s for Amtrak customers only, but they didn’t ask me for a ticket or proof that I was going on Amtrak, nor did they ask my sister the four times she stashed luggage there. Continue reading Luggage storage in New York City

What we can learn about sustainability from the rain forest

A few summers ago, my family went the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador. Seeing the dense forests, the foliage and meeting some of the people who live there was a fabulous experience for me and for my kids. Our guide spent a lot of time talking with us about the problems the native people there have had, most of which involve outsiders coming in and cutting down trees and drilling for oil. It’s a constant tug of war between preserving the rain forest and all its benefits, and making a living and providing the world with its constant need for oil-based products (including fuel) and lumber.

Brazilian rain forest, home to the Kayapo people.

Brazilian rain forest, home to the Kayapo people.

While I won’t get into all that here (it’s something I recommend reading more about, especially with your kids.), I was contacted recently by Pure Energies, a North American solar energy company. They wanted to share photos and videos from a recent trip that their CEO and some employees took, along with the International Conservation Fund of Canada, to the Brazilian rain forest. Continue reading What we can learn about sustainability from the rain forest