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Last weekend, we visited the East Point Sanctuary in Biddeford Pool. The sanctuary, which was donated to the Maine Audubon in the late seventies, is tucked away, but once we spotted cars parked on the road, we knew our destination couldn’t be far. Our team followed a short, woodland trail that parallels the Abenakee golf course. The trail opens to green pasture with sweeping ocean views. Wood Island Lighthouse also dots the skyline. IMG_5279 IMG_5285 IMG_5295 IMG_5311 The kids were taken with all of the little discoveries along the way — snails resting in tide pools, stones etched by the ocean floor, and curious seabirds cuddled close on the rocks. IMG_5332 IMG_5314 IMG_5335 (1)The sanctuary is also perfect for kite flying. In the field above the ocean, there is plenty of open space for running with a kite so that it catches the sea breeze.

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IMG_5340 All of us were content to linger here for awhile. What a way to celebrate the unofficial start to summer!

FMI about the East Point Sanctuary in Biddeford Pool, visit here.

PS: Two more favorite places to explore in Cape Elizabeth and Wells.

Memorial Day weekend. Huzzah! It’s finally here. As always, we have lots of fun plans in mind. Here are a few on our weekend wish list:

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Listen
We’re hoping the weather will be kind to us tonight, so we can check out Cassidy Holden and the Orleans Kids at Congress Square Park in Portland. The event is part of the Portland Swing Project, which showcases music and dance from the 1920s-40s through live music, dances and performances. CP#1 and #2 love all kinds of music, and we can’t wait for them to experience live jazz.

Explore
CP#1 broke her foot while running in heels (true story), and after six weeks, she finally has a clean bill of health! We are looking forward to getting outside and exploring some new trails. Our family is curious to check out East Point Sanctuary Biddeford Pool with its promises of rocky shores and open fields.

If we can get on the road early one morning, we may also take a road trip to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. This weekend, entry to the gardens is free for all Maine residents with a valid drivers license.

Treats
We’ve been saving our special treats for weekends these days. MP has heard good things about Boulangerie bakery in Kennebunk. A friend who lives nearby says their crusty baguettes are served warm in the morning, and perfect for picnic sandwiches. We’ve also had our eye on The Scoop Deck in Wells for ice cream. Their flavor board is one of the most expansive we’ve seen.

Garden
Our seedlings are coming along nicely on the deck, but we always buy our tomato plants and lettuces at Wealden Farm in Freeport. The roadside stand not only features flowers and plants, but you can also find locally made baked goods, meats, cheeses, honey and maple syrup.

Celebrate
On Monday, MP is running this road race for the first time in four years! Afterwards we’re all planning to check out the Cumberland Memorial Day parade.

Wherever your family adventures take you, we hope you have a fun, 3-day weekend!

PS: The unforgettable place we visited last Memorial Day.

Ever since reading this cookbook, our family has worked hard to eat whole foods as often as possible. We’ve also given up weeknight desserts, and sip homemade smoothies or enjoy big bowls of fruit with fresh cream instead. Our new favorite treat is this easy frozen yogurt that you can make in a food processor. And all you need is four simple ingredients: the frozen fruit of your choice, whole milk yogurt, honey and lemon juice. That’s it!

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Serves 2-3

2 cups of frozen strawberries, mango, or the fruit of your choice
1/4 cup of whole milk yogurt
1-1/2 Tablespoons of honey (we’re partial to Swan’s)
1/2 Tablespoon of lemon juice

Place your strawberries in the food processor, followed by the yogurt, honey, and lemon juice. Turn the food processor on high and let mix for 2-3 minutes until the mixture becomes creamy. If you prefer a sweeter yogurt, add honey, or as a special treat, add a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

Leftovers can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container. MP uses a lidded, glass Pyrex bowl.

A tart, creamy frozen yogurt

A tart, creamy frozen yogurt

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PS: What’s your favorite healthy treat?

Mother’s Day is MP’s favorite holiday. What’s not to like about a day devoted to moms and all they do? She has a few items on her wish list this year—all from some of her favorite shops and craftspeople in Maine:

MP has admired this necklace from Turtle Love Co. for years now. Their mom and baby necklaces are pretty darn cute, too.

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Wyler’s in Brunswick is one of MP’s favorite gift shops. She spotted these sweet succulent plants on their Facebook page. The colorful pots would look great in the kitchen.

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MP has been running for over a year now, thanks to this little guy. A Run ME T-Shirt would definitely be an appropriate gift, considering all the local roads she’s explored.

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And speaking of running, this handmade Luxurious Body Salve from Herbal Grace Creations in Yarmouth is perfect for feet that have been pounding the pavement. MP uses it at bedtime and it’s made such a difference! She’ll be using it in the summer after gardening, too.

il_570xN.662625185_qrixFinally, there is nothing better than a homemade card from the kids, but a letterpress card from Morris & Essex is also special.

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As a special treat for Mother’s Day, our friends at LiveME and Herbal Grace Creations are offering 15% off any order to Cute Potato readers for the month of May! Simply write in ‘cutepotato’ at check out.

Happy Mother’s Day! xo, MP

PS: Last minute ideas for homemade Mother’s Day gifts.

It’s May! Finally. Our lawn is becoming greener, flowering trees are in bloom, and there are daffodils sprouting up everywhere. Last year, to celebrate this greening of our landscape, we traveled to Broadturn Farm in Scarborough for a May Day celebration. MP has long admired the farm for its beautiful flowers and farm-based educational programs. She couldn’t wait to visit with the kids and Grandma Cookie.

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When we arrived, we found a collection of little ones and grown-ups circling around the May Pole. CP#1 and Grandma quickly joined them. CP#2 on the other hand, played the too cool for the May Pole card, and turned his attentions to a fluffy farm dog instead.

may-pole IMG_1551The staff at the farm also set up a crafting table inside the barn where kids could make their own flowers using colored tissue paper, grosgrain ribbon and sticks for a stem. MP still has the flower CP#1 and her grandmother made today.

IMG_1565After spending time with the dog, CP#2 found his way to an open chicken coop. He picked up the young chickens and handed them to any child who was willing. “I have a way with animals!” he announced.

IMG_1555IMG_1567It was such a joy to spend time enjoying the outdoors without heavy coats after a long winter. Welcome Spring! We missed you.

Broadturn Farm’s May Celebration and Open House happens on Saturday, May 9th from 1-4 p.m. FMI, visit here.

PS: Looking for a fun place to visit and picnic nearby? Check out this park and this yummy spot for sandwiches on the go.

CP#1 broke her right foot over Easter, so our school vacation plans are limited to places we can easily get around. We’re considering a trip into Boston to visit the Franklin Park Zoo. MP, who is in need of warmth and flowers, is especially intrigued by the indoor tropical rainforest. And the zoo also provides wheelchairs to guests on a first come, first served basis, which will be a great help to our injured girl.

If Boston doesn’t make it into our plans, we may try going local to the Maine Wildlife Park. MP and DP haven’t been there with the kids since they were toddlers, so it will be fun to see the park again.

The Bowdoin College campus is always a great place to visit.

The Bowdoin College campus is always a great place to visit.

We recently visited the Bowdoin Art Museum and all of us enjoyed the Past Futures exhibit, which highlights science fiction and space travel. The museum is the perfect size for kids ages 7-up, and the bold paintings and space age graphics definitely appealed to our duo. While we were there, MP learned the museum hosts Family Saturdays with interactive activities for kids. This Saturday, April 18, it’s Family Saturday and there’s a free dance concert in the evening, too. If your kids are too small to brave the museum, the campus is a perfect place to explore or ride bikes.

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Just one of many tasty treats from Biscuits & Co. in Biddeford.

Sunday mornings are celebrated at our house with a big breakfast. This Sunday, we’re hoping to visit Biscuits & Company in Biddeford. MP has a thing for homemade biscuits, and she’s the type who likes to compare her own with others.

If the weather stays warm, we’re finally going to get our seeds planted. MP is following the advice of Stephanie O’Neil from Farm to Table Kids, and planting some flowers and vegetables from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

CP#1’s birthday is coming up next week. MP usually makes something special, but she’s asked if we can decorate mini cakes at Ice It Bakery in Yarmouth. This bakery has long been a local favorite of ours, and we’re more than happy to oblige the birthday girl, especially since she’s on crutches for the next few weeks.

cakeOther hopeful plans include a visit to Sunflower Farm in Cumberland to cuddle with the baby goats, and maybe some of us will steal away to our library for a little Thursday morning yoga.

Visiting the kids at Sunflower Farm is a favorite spring tradition.

Visiting the kids at Sunflower Farm is a favorite spring tradition.

We’d love to hear what you and your family are doing for vacation week, too. Drop us a line, anytime! Happy vacation.

xo, MP

 

 

 

Melissa Berluti from The Little Blue Birdie in Cape Elizabeth reached out to us recently, and we’re so glad she did! Melissa designs thoughtful travel bags for kids, containing everything from a wooden matching game to a mini chalkboard, a blank journal and more creative goodies. Since our family is always on the go, these smart bags seemed like a perfect solution for long car rides.

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Melissa, who lived on Nantucket Island in the past, was inspired to create the bags after taking ferry rides on and off the island with her nearly 2-year old daughter. In search of ways to keep her little one occupied, Melissa decided to create a bag that held special things to be used exclusively for these trips.

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In addition to travel, The Little Blue Birdie bags are ideal for sick days, snow days, party favors or even bringing along to a restaurant. And we like that Melissa creates activity bags that are age appropriate (thanks in part to her 10 years of preschool teaching experience).

You can shop for The Little Blue Birdie bags here. Just for Cute Potato readers, Melissa has offered 10% off any item in her shop. Simply use the code “Cutepotato.”

Happy spring travels, everyone!

PS: More fun activities for kids.

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