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What You’ll Learn on a Maple Sugar Tour

Every winter we see listings for maple sugaring tours, and every year we seem to be busy or forget to go. This year we finally went. What will you learn on a maple sugaring tour? A lot!

We went to the Great Swamp in New Jersey for our education. They were offering two sessions on a weekend afternoon – for $3/person (though no one asked for or collected money – and we checked in at the outdoor education center desk).

Follow the maple sugar leaf signs to the sugar shack at the Great Swamp. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

While there’s no way to know for sure who discovered maple sugar, Continue reading What You’ll Learn on a Maple Sugar Tour

Review: School of Rock on Broadway

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly Broadway show, School of Rock should be on your list.

School of Rock Broadway show curtain. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The plot: Failing rock guitar player and overall sloth needs money to pay the rent, so he poses as his teacher roommate when offered a substitute teaching job at an elite school. He can’t teach, of course, so he starts a class band to compete in the rock competition and hopefully win enough money so he can pay his rent. The kids get into it and chaos ensues.

The pros: The kids are adorable and talented. Lots of kids (I think 13), so this is a great show for kids! The kids play their own music and of course sing as well. The cast is diverse (different ethnicities, gay couple etc.). The show is lively and the music good. The set is great too.

The cons: You’re going to have to suspend your disbelief a lot in this show. First, the main character Dewey moves very quickly to start the rock band in the classroom. Probably the first day or two. Most of the characters are charicatures and stereotypes. Against all odds, the kids are able to sneak out of the classroom to get to the competition and even though they don’t win (spoiler alert!) the crowd goes so crazy the judges change their mind. Parents discover new things to love about their kids, everyone (except the losing rock band) is happy. Continue reading Review: School of Rock on Broadway

Help the Community FoodBank of New Jersey

It’s that time of the year when we stuff ourselves silly and buy to excess. You’re probably already doing things to help those less fortunate. But I wanted to share our experience with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ).

Photo courtesy of the USDA/Flickr.

The food loading area at the CFBNJ. Photo courtesy of the USDA/Flickr.

I brought my kids to the CFBNJ when my college alumni group organized a volunteer session this month. It was a really interesting experience. Here’s what we learned. Continue reading Help the Community FoodBank of New Jersey

Bloomingdales Holiday Windows 2016

We loved the Bloomingdale’s windows this year, which feature chandeliers. They’re all going to be auctioned off to benefit the Child Mind Institute.

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They even look pretty from across the street. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Each window features a chandelier from a different artist.

 

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Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading Bloomingdales Holiday Windows 2016

Barney’s Holiday Windows 2016

Barney’s theme this year is the Love Peace Joy Project. It features work from prominent artists you may or may not have heard of. More on that below. These windows were a lot of fun.

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Rob Pruitt’s cardboard monsters watching TV. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

These first two photos are from Rob Pruitt’s window creation. Continue reading Barney’s Holiday Windows 2016

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2016

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the holiday windows, what are you waiting for? Here are some of my pix from Saks Fifth Avenue. Though I didn’t go at night, they have a lovely light display on the building, above this candy entrance.

Saks Fifth Avenue front holiday entrance

The front entrance of Saks Fifth Avenue. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Their theme this year is Land of 1,000 Delights. It’s a fun pairing of sweets and some awesome clothing. Continue reading Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2016

Review: Is Oh, Hello on Broadway Appropriate for Kids?

I wasn’t sure what to expect for Oh, Hello on Broadway, given that I didn’t know much about the show (we had relatives in town for Thanksgiving, and they chose it). And if you’re wondering, is Oh, Hello on Broadway appropriate for kids, my answer is below. My one-liner about the show: it was a hilarious (partly stand-up) routine with two comedians who seemed to be having a great time on stage, right along with us.

Is Oh, Hello on Broadway appropriate for kids?

Is Oh, Hello on Broadway appropriate for kids? Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The plot: Continue reading Review: Is Oh, Hello on Broadway Appropriate for Kids?

Review: 2 Niagara Falls Hotels with Kids (Best Western Plus Cairn Croft Hotel and Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls)

On our trip to Niagara Falls, we stayed at two different hotels. Our time was limited, and we chose one hotel in the heart of the tourist district, and one that was slightly further away. Here’s our review of both.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel

Continue reading Review: 2 Niagara Falls Hotels with Kids (Best Western Plus Cairn Croft Hotel and Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls)

What’s a Clifton Hill Fun Pass at Niagra Falls, and Should I Get One?

What’s a Clifton Hill Fun Pass at Niagara Falls, and Should I Get One?

The Skywheel is one of the Fun Pass included attractions

The Skywheel is one of the Fun Pass included attractions

It’s hard to miss the giant Skywheel on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Chances are, you’ll want to go to get a good view of the falls from up high (and to see everything else from a bird’s eye view). The Skywheel is part of the Clifton Hill complex, a touristy area a block or two from the falls, that looks like you landed in Vegas. But very family-friendly. Continue reading What’s a Clifton Hill Fun Pass at Niagra Falls, and Should I Get One?

Niagara on the Lake with Kids – and What to do on the Way

There’s plenty to do outside of the immediate Niagara Falls viewing area. Here are some options en route to Niagara on the Lake with kids.

The whirlpool area is downstream from Niagara Falls, and is a natural whirlpool. It’s not walking distance from the falls area, but you can take the WEGO bus or drive there. The whirlpool is right before a bend in the river. There are a few things to do in that area, plus an overlook.

The Niagara Falls whirlpool area, with aero car cables.

The Niagara Falls whirlpool area, with aero car cables.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Continue reading Niagara on the Lake with Kids – and What to do on the Way