In New Jersey, where MP spent her childhood, there’s an unwritten rule: guests never arrive empty-handed. With this thought in mind, the team spent some time making our favorite cranberry sauce recipe to bring to friends and relatives. MP loves this recipe for its ease—it’s perfect to make with the kids.
12 ounces fresh cranberries, such as Ricker Hill Orchards
1 cup of sugar (use less if you prefer a sauce with more tartness to it)
1/2-cup of orange juice
Optional: Orange zest for garnish
Place a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the orange juice and sugar. Stir this mixture until the sugar dissolves. Next, stir in the cranberries and cook until the skin of the cranberries begins to open (about 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl to thicken and cool.
Once our cranberry sauce cooled, we poured it into Mason jars for gift-giving. We used some twine and a few leaves we found outside to make the jar more festive. MP went over the veins of the leaf with a silver paint pen for a little added flair.
We hope you’ll enjoy this delicious sauce with your family meal. Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
Posted in holidays, Recipes | Tagged cranberry orange sauce, cute potato, easy cranberry sauce, fall gifts, mason jar gifts, ricker hill cranberries, ricker hill orchards, simple recipes for kids, Thanksgiving | Leave a Comment »
We visited Belfast and Rockland during Veteran’s Day weekend and had such a good time. One of the best parts of the trip was shopping around town and getting a few ideas for gifts. The super cute owl lip glosses we found at Out on a Whimsey toy store make great stocking stuffers. And because we’re a family of cooks, MP loved the laminated kids’ aprons at The Good Table. Cooking Together: Having Fun in the Kitchen with Kids cookbook offers some fun ideas, like mini chicken pot pies and orange yogurt pops. Bellabooks has a lovely little corner of their shop devoted to kids. This is where CP#1, who is a fan of the Ivy+Bean series, discovered a paper doll kit of the same name.
1. Owl Lip Glosss
2. Kids’ Kitchen Apron
3. Cooking Together Cookbook
4. Ivy + Bean Paper Dolls
Planet Toys in Rockland is an impressive toy shop that offers inspiration at every corner. This is a place where you can find fun gifts for kids and adults alike. Designer Doodles: Over 100 Designs to Complete and Create by Nellie Ryan is perfect for CP#1, our budding fashionista. A preppy Maine tee is just the thing for MP’s one-year-old nephew, Little J. CP#2, our resident Star Wars fan, adores the hilarious Darth Vader & Son by Geoffrey Brown. Something tells MP he will love to add the second volume to his library. Finally, MP can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t appreciate a good reading light for a gift. She tried this little clip-on light at home and wishes she purchased a few more.
1. Designer Doodles
2. Maine tee
3. Vader’s Little Princess
4. Book lights
How about you? Where’re your favorite place to shop (and get ideas) for the kids?
Posted in Shopping | Tagged belfast, bella books maine, bellabooks maine, Cooking Together: Having Fun in the Kitchen with Kids, Darth Vader & Son, designer doodles, Geoffrey Brown, holiday gifts ideas kids, holiday shopping Maine, Ivy + Bean paper dolls, kids tee maine, Out on a Whimsey, planet toys, reading light, rockland, rockland maine, Star Wars gifts, The Good Table Maine, whale tee maine | Leave a Comment »
What’s not to love about a day devoted to local toy stores? One of our favorite shops, Rainbow Toys in Falmouth, is hosting a daylong event this Saturday to celebrate! The lovely staff promises all kinds of free fun for kids. There will be arts and crafts, face painting, and a giant outdoor game of chess.
The store is also raffling off a Rainbow Loom and bands (which are popular in the CP household these days), a Star Wars Lego set, books, stuffed animals, and craft kits from Alex Toys.
If you’re not near to Rainbow Toys, there are many independent toy shops throughout Maine: Island Treasure Toys, Poofberry’s, Planet Toys, Stone Soup, Out on a Whimsey, Percy’s Burrow, Bella Luna Toys, Treehouse Toys, and more. To find a toy store near your town, try this handy link.
We’re so excited about Neighborhood Toy Store Day, we’ve decided to do a giveaway just for you! Enter to win this beautiful Herve Tullet Coloring Book and wooden toy truck crayon holder from Daytrip Jr. All you need to do is tell us what you love most about your local toy store. Contest ends Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 at midnight EST. We’ll pick a winner at random. Good luck and have fun on Toy Store Day!
FMI on the National Toy Store event at Rainbow Toys, visit their Facebook page.
Posted in Events, giveaways, Shopping | Tagged Alex Toys, bath, cute potato, cute potato giveaway, daytrip jr., freeport, herve tullet coloring book, holiday gift ideas maine, holiday shopping for kids in maine, independent toy stores maine, island treasure toys yarmouth, kids and family maine, neighborhood toy store day, out on a whimsey belfast, percy's burrom topsham, poofberry's, rainbow loom, rainbow loom bracelet, rainbow toys falmouth maine, star wars legos, stone soup toys rockland, treehouse toys portland maine, wooden toy truck crayon holder | 13 Comments »
MP would like to welcome our newest sponsor, the Family Ice Center in Falmouth, to Cute Potato! She recently had the pleasure of chatting with Cumberland-based dad, Josh Brainerd, who manages the ice skating arena. Like most parents, Josh recognizes the importance of an affordable, accessible, and clean recreation center. During his two years as manager, he’s worked hard to make the Family Ice Center a fun destination for kids and parents.
Public skating is available during the week and on weekends. MP loves that little ones up to 5 years old, who are often just learning, can skate for free. For the rest of us, skating is $5 per person. Families can rent skates for just $2 (wow!), or can bring along their own. Skate sharpening is available, too. And once you pay for the day, you can leave and come back during open skate hours. How convenient is that?
In December-February (weather permitting), families can also skate outdoors on the gorgeous Lee Twombly Pond, which was recently named one of the top 10 places to skate in the country by AAA magazine. The pond is an idyllic spot to skate, and there’s a cozy pond house with a fireplace to enjoy before-or after-skating.
Finally, if you have a kiddo that adores skating with friends, there’s a party room available for birthdays, too.
Sound like fun? Keep your eyes here and on Facebook for events coming up this winter. Happy skating season, everyone!
Family Ice Center
20 Hat Trick Drive (behind Walmart)
PS: We also have a giveaway winner to announce! Congratulations to #7, Ruth! You’ve won a set of Alexander Girard Alphabet Blocks. Thanks to everyone who entered!
Posted in Activities, sponsors | Tagged AAA Magazine, affordable skating in maine, birthday parties maine, cute potato, cute potato giveaway winner, cute potato sponsor, falmouth, family ice center, Josh Brainerd manager family ice center, Lee Twombly Pond, maine, pond house maine, skating in maine, things to do with families, top 10 places to skate outdoors, winter activities maine | Leave a Comment »
One of the many things we love about our new home is an upstairs room made for family time. A cozy window seat with hidden storage holds our games: UNO, Scrabble, Apples to Apples, and more favorites. The downside? We haven’t had time to track down a pedestal table to go along with the seating.
CP#1 loves the Q+A game Hedbanz.
Since our search might take a month (or two), we’re so glad for events like the Southern Maine Family Game Festival. The day long event supports the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland. The wonderful caregivers at the hospital helped our nephew, Little J, after an unexpected setback last March and we are so grateful to them.
The gaming event is FREE for children 0-6 years, and just $5 for bigger kids and adults. Visit anywhere between 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and your family can try all sorts of cool games! CP#2 has his heart set on playing LEGOs and meeting favorite characters like Spiderman. His sister is looking forward to trying the Video Game Station (Dance Revolution, anyone?), and having her face painted. As for MP and DP? We’re hoping to test some new games, and if the mood strikes, sit for a caricature sketch.
To celebrate the big event, we’re giving away a gorgeous Alexander Girard Alphablock Collection (valued at $100, and donated by our good friends at Daytrip Jr.). The blocks can be used as a puzzle, learning the alphabet, or creating fun designs.
Want to enter for a chance to win? All you need to do is check out the event schedule and tell us what your family would like to do most. We’ll choose a winner at random. Contest ends Wednesday, 10/30 at midnight EST. Good luck and hope to see you at the festival!
Southern Maine Family Game Festival
Saturday, November 2, 2013
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Double Tree Hilton
FMI: Visit the Southern Maine Family Game Festival site, or find them on Facebook.
Posted in Events, giveaways | Tagged alexander girard, alexander girard alphablock collection, apples to apples, barbara bush children's hospital, barbara bush children's hospital fundraiser, caricature sketch, charity event portland, cute potato giveaway, Dance Revolution, daytrip jr., double tree hilton portland, greater portland family game festival, hedbanz, house industries, LEGOs, scrabble, southern maine game festival, Spiderman, UNO, video game station | 17 Comments »
MP first read about Snug Harbor Farm in Kennebunk on Katy Elliot’s popular home restoration blog. Since then, she’s visited on her own—and with the kids—any chance she gets. Snug Harbor is best known for its line of unique plants and gift shop filled with lovely things for gardeners. But what MP enjoys most? The farm’s inspired, family-friendly events.
Last year, MP, Grandma Cookie, and CP#2 visited the farm for a late afternoon Halloween Play Faire. The kids at the event made paper masks out of autumn leaves and dried flowers (such a sweet idea)! CP#2 and his grandma tried their best to take a bite out of donuts on a string, which is harder than it looks! As for MP? She visited the haunted barn all alone —a feat for a self-described scaredy cat! The barn was dark but fortunately, she made it out in one piece.
Rather than brave the barn, CP#2 decided to visit with the animals on the farm. He loved the ponies, but made an instant connection with a chicken scurrying about the property.
After the fun outdoors, we stopped in the garden shop for hot cider, homemade treats, and some shopping. CP#2 and his grandmother had lots of fun trying on Victorian masks, while MP perused the gorgeous terra cotta pots, terrariums, and unique gifts around the shop.
This year, Snug Harbor is hosting a Haunted Barn Celebration. The folks at the farm promise the barn will be played down for little ones, but no matter, something tells MP everyone in the family will be entertained.
Snug Harbor Farm
87 Western Avenue
FMI: visit their web site or Facebook page.
PS: While you’re in Kennebunk, don’t miss the houses on Summer Street. There are several that are decorated for Halloween from top to bottom. Such fun!
Posted in Activities, holidays | Tagged autumn in Maine, botanical mask, cute potato, donuts on a string, Halloween in Maine, haunted barn party, Image, kids halloween events maine, snug harbor farm, snug harbor farm events, summer street kennebunk, victorian mask | Leave a Comment »
Last night, CP#1 and #2 were treated to a new Halloween tradition called “Ghosting.” The festive activity is a neighborhood endeavor. Each family is assigned a neighbor to “boo” during the month of October. The kids fill a pumpkin with Halloween goodies, sneak up to their neighbor’s door, ring the bell, leave the pumpkin, and run to a hiding place as fast as they can.
We prepared by dressing all in black from head to toe. MP kept referring to CP#1 and #2 as Spy Kids, which delighted them to no end. The team also had a great time filling up our pumpkin with candy, stickers, and glowing skeletons. We included a print-out of a ghost and a poem much like this one:
You’ve Been Ghosted!
Late last night, we left you a treat. The tradition is fun, one we hope you’ll repeat.
Take the ghost and pin it on your door, to let others know, you need ghosted no more.
Now it’s your duty to pass on the surprise, to more families, we must advise.
Gather some treats and deliver them soon, within two nights, under the light of the moon.
Include a ghost with each package you give, along with this poem for the tradition to live.
When it was time to go outside, we crept behind a big boulder and noticed the living room lights were on at our neighbor’s house. Uh oh. The kids worried they might spot us, so we tiptoed down the edge of their driveway and made a plan to creep low to the front door. CP#1 rang the doorbell and we all giggled and ran to their garage as fast as we could, hoping they wouldn’t spot us. The door opened, our neighbor Ms. Polly called out, “Hello?” and we all did our best not to make a sound.
Even if you don’t live in a neighborhood, this is a great activity to plan with a group of local families. The kids talked about their successful “boo” until bedtime, thrilled that they had pulled off the surprise. What a fun way to celebrate Halloween!
For more on Neighborhood Ghosting, visit here.
Posted in Activities, holidays | Tagged ghosting, halloween ideas, Halloween traditions, Halloween treats, neighborhood boo, neighborhood ghosting, neighborhoods and halloween, spy kids | 2 Comments »