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When the kids were toddlers and winter was at its worst, we’d clear the cars from our garage and let them ride around in circles. The activity didn’t seem like much, but CP#1 and #2 always had a blast. MP is certain her duo would have loved this award-winning Spherovelo ride-on toy. Designed for children ages 10-24 months, the Spherovelo can be stabilized for little ones who are just getting their footing, and later, once the stabilizers are removed, it helps children learn to balance while they ride.

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Our friends at Daytrip Jr. have generously offered a Spherovelo (valued at $105) to one lucky reader. All you need to do is comment below. Contest ends Friday, January 23 at midnight EST. Good luck!

Congratulations to lucky #4—Jeanne Meyers! Jeanne has won the Spherolvelo scooter from Daytrip Jr.

PS: Indoor go-carts for big kids.

CP#2 is the kind of kid that rarely gets cold. The temperature could be 20º outside and you’d find him in short sleeves waiting for the bus. His mother, on the other hand, is shivering nearly all the time. Maybe that’s why MP is always on the lookout for cute, warm things. If she’s going to be cold six months of the year, MP figures she might as well have some colorful winter gear to enjoy.

With this thought in mind, you can imagine MPs delight when she discovered Yarmouth-based Betty Louise Studio. Studio owner Katie Chalmers creates adorable hats for adults and kids. Katie crochets all of her wool hats by hand, and her attention to detail shows.

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All of Katie’s hats are hand washable, and fit perfectly with regular wear.

Just in time for the chilly weekend ahead, Katie has generously offered to giveaway a child’s hat (3T-5T) to one lucky Cute Potato winner. All you need to do is comment below. Contest ends Saturday, January 17, 2015 at midnight EST.

Good luck and stay warm, everybody!

Congratulations to lucky #1—Jillaine Geary! Jillaine has won a child’s hat from Betty Louise Studio. Thanks to everyone who entered. We’ll have another great giveaway coming up soon!

Now that the long winter season is upon us, MP has been brainstorming ways to the keep the family outdoors and active. Here are some of the adventures she’s hoping to take:

Ice Fishing
Full disclosure: Grumpy Old Men with Walter Mathau, Jack Lemmon and Ann Margaret is one of MPs favorite winter films. In the movie, the men are particularly competitive when it comes to ice fishing. MP has always dreamed of visiting an ice fishing hut and catching a fish or two. She’s hoping the team will be up for experiencing a guided trip of our own.

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Sleigh Rides
When CP#1 was just a babe, we took her on a horse drawn sleigh ride in Vermont, where we rode through a beautiful open field with a short break to warm up by the campfire. MP would love to have the same experience in Maine. Thankfully there are several great options for sleigh rides throughout the state, including Rockin’ Horse Stables in Kennebunkport.

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Ice Castles
While not in Maine, we’ve heard a lot of good things about Ice Castles—destinations where families can explore man-made castles of ice much like in the popular film, Frozen. There are two locations in New England this year. One is in Stratton, VT and the other is in Lincoln, NH. By the looks of the photos, this experience is worth a road trip!

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Toboggan
Ever since she read this Boston Globe article, MP can’t wait to toboggan at the Camden Snow Bowl. The 400-foot, ice-covered chute is going to be scary, but in a fun roller-coaster kind of way (at least that’s what she’s hoping).

SundayFebruary17,2008014ACross-Country Skiing
MP believes that CP#1 and #2 are finally ready to try cross-country skiing this year. She can’t wait to take them to Carter’s in Oxford, where MP first learned how to ski. Wish us luck and lots of patience!
out.skiHow about you? What’s on your list of things to do this winter with family?

How We Celebrate

Our team had a quiet New Years Eve (DP was sick with a cold), so to make up for it, we planned a decadent New Years Day Celebration. MP made a creamy quiche au fromage, bacon, and our favorite marbled chocolate banana bread. We had a giant bag of oranges in the fridge, so the kids made fresh-squeezed orange juice and poured it into champagne glasses. When the food was nearly ready, CP#1 and MP rifled through an old dress-up box for crazy hats, leis, and noisemakers to add to the festivities. The result? A fun New Years Day brunch for the four of us.

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IMG_4171Sometimes thrown together celebrations are the best, don’t you agree? Hope you and your family kicked off the New Year with some fun, too!

Merry Merry

Our team is getting ready to celebrate with family and friends over the next few days. We wish you the happiest of holidays, and we look forward to seeing you in 2015!

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xo, Cute Potato

MPs friend from book group always makes the most delicious, buttery desserts. Her sugar cookie recipe really is the best. It’s our go-to, traditional holiday cookie. The dough is so easy to work with and the cookie itself is perfect with a drizzle of semi-sweet chocolate, a sprinkling of sugar, or decorated with Royal icing.

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Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened (we like Kate’s Homemade)
2/3 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 cups sifted flour

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together the softened butter and sugar. Next, beat in the egg. Add vanilla, salt and flour and mix until all ingredients are well blended. Gather the dough into a compact ball and cover it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough 3-4 hours.

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After taking the dough out of the refrigerator, allow it to get to room temperature (about 30 minutes). While you’re waiting, preheat the oven to 350º. Then generously flour a kitchen counter or large cutting board. When it’s soft enough to work with, roll out the dough. Have the kids dip the cookie cutters in flour before cutting shapes (this helps prevent the dough from sticking to the cookie cutter).

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Once the cookies are cut, place them on a cookie sheet. Bake about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Place the cookies on a cooling rack 10 minutes before decorating.

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While we’re on the subject of good things, our friends at Organic India are offering a 3 boxes of their stress-relieving teas to one lucky Cute Potato winner! The kids like the caffeine-free Tulsi Ginger for bed time, and MP is especially fond of the warming Masala Chai. To enter, simply comment below. Contest ends Friday, Dec. 19 at midnight EST. We’ll pick a winner at random and announce next week. Congrats to Sydney! She’s the winner of 3 boxes of tea from Organic India!

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Good luck and happy holidays to all!

MP has to admit, now that CP#1 and CP#2 are seven- and eight-years old, it’s more challenging to find them gifts for under the tree. These days, MP is leaning towards items that are equal parts useful and fun. The kind of gifts that last well beyond trends or sudden whims. Enter L.L.Bean’s latest 2014 Gift Guide. MP was surprised to find herself dog-earring more than a few pages of the catalog. Yes, there are the expected turtlenecks, flannels, and shearling slippers, but look a little closer and you’ll find some incredible gifts for the 7-up set.

Trailblazer, Jr. headlamp
CP#2 loves to read in bed. Seriously, if you asked him, he’d tell you reading the Captain Underpants series was his favorite activity right behind drawing comics. While Trailblazer headlamps are great for camping, MP believes they’re equally useful for kids who read themselves to sleep at night.

273977 Trailblazer Jr. Headlamp

Adventure Duffle
We own a few Adventure Duffles in large sizes, but the idea of gifting a super cool, buffalo plaid version for our many road trips is enticing. Plus, MP can add monograms, too.

155533 Adventure Duffle red buffalo plaid

Kids’ Mad Bomber Hat
MP has a thing for Mad Bomber Hats (as evidenced in our first Christmas card with CP#1, pictured below). Kids just look so darn cute in them. Plus they’re really, really warm.

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285048 Kids Mad Bomber Hat

Sonic Snow Tube 
Our new backyard has an amazing sledding hill. And since we plan to live here until the kids are grown, a Sonic Snow Tube seems like a great investment.

253663 Sonic Snow Tube berry snowflake

Kids’ Graphic Camp Bag, 40º
CP#1 adores peace signs and sleepovers. What better gift than this fun, printed sleeping bag that’s also warm enough for summertime camping trips.

284929 Camp Sleeping Bag, Kids' Graphic 40° chalkboard peace

As a treat for the holidays, our friends at L.L.Bean have generously offered two Trailblazer, Jr. headlamps to two lucky readers! To enter, all you need to do is comment below. We’ll pick the winners at random. Contest ends Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. Good luck!

Congrats to Dani Gardner and Kelly D. — you’ve both won a Trailblazer, Jr. Headlamp from L.L.Bean. Happy holidays to all who entered!

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