Archive for May, 2010

The beach at Sebago Lake State Park

We’re a little biased when it comes to Sebago Lake State Park. Mom and Dad Potato were engaged here, so the park is near and dear to our hearts. For families, Sebago is a perfect destination. The beach is shaded by pine trees, the water is clear and there are plenty of picnic tables and charcoal grills nearby. It’s not unusual to see family reunions, birthday parties or friends picnicking outdoors. And such spreads! There’s also a playground geared towards kids of all ages, trails and a snack bar in walking distance from the beach. And laugh if you will, but we’re thankful the restrooms and the parking areas are in close proximity (the location especially came in handy when CP#1 and #2 were babies).

If your family likes canoeing and kayaking, there’s a boat launch just after the entrance to the park. The water is calm and we’ve enjoyed exploring the cove. It’s an ideal spot for those new to paddling.

The beach at Sebago Lake State Park is one of many favorites that we hope to highlight over the summer. Of course, we’d love to hear your suggestions, too!

Sebago Lake State Park
11 Park Acess Road

For fees or information on purchasing a Maine State Park pass, visit:
http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/. See our past post, All About the Buckle, for more area highlights.

PS: If you don’t have time to pack a lunch, try The Good Life Market, where you’ll find delicious boxed lunches for the whole family.

The Good Life Market… yum!

The Good Life Market
1297 Roosevelt Trail

For kids who were especially good at the beach, stop for an ice cream at The Mosquito.


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While shopping at the WestFest last weekend, Mom Potato discovered Betsy Nelson’s lovely baby shoes. Nelson—a Portland-based textile designer—uses new and vintage fabrics to create these cute little kicks. Her 100% cotton shoes fit newborns-two months old, but Nelson plans on adding bigger sizes and elastic for babies on the move. The shoes are soft, washable and are only $10-15. What a fun baby gift!

To order, contact Betsy at:  betsybeans@alum.syracuse.edu

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Update: The French Press closed in August 2010. For more on the closing, visit here.

This weekend, Team Cute Potato decided to try Westbrook’s French Press Eatery for breakfast… or more accurately, dessert. While the breakfast sandwiches were tempting (can’t wait to go back for the Californian: egg, avocado, sprouts and goat cheese), we couldn’t pass up the house made donuts. Still warm from the fryer, these sandwich-like donuts were decadent with a capital “D.” We tried the 3 for $5 donut special, selecting double chocolate, cinnamon sugar and The Elvis—filled with peanut butter, banana and chocolate. Mom Potato loved the melted peanut butter in The Elvis, but boy, is it messy. The same applies to the double chocolate. CP#2 was thrilled with this donut, proven by his instantaneous chocolate beard. Warning to parents: bring plenty of wipes, bibs and maybe even a change of clothes.

Our healthy little breakfast

Coffee at the French Press is provided by our local favorite, Coffee by Design. Mom and Dad Potato enjoyed skim milk lattes, which were just right…. plenty of frothy milk at the top, but a generous cup of good strong coffee below.

Caffeine for the parents

The space at the French Press is bright and open, allowing little ones to run off to the small play area in plain sight. There’s a wooden, tabletop stove, play fruits and vegetables, a tea set and surprise, pretend donuts. A little yellow table with chairs is also available for coloring or reading books. But the big draw for CP #2, were the three pinball machines nearby, where we unloaded quite a few quarters.

Chef CP#2 cooking up a storm

The French Press also serves lunch, which looks just as fabulous as breakfast. And more good news… when your family is finished eating, you can walk to the Peek-a-Boo Play Center or Riverbank Park Playground on Main Street.

The French Press
855 Main St
887 1040

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While visiting the Portland Public Market House, we spotted a sign for Saturday’s WestFest—a neighborhood festival at the Reiche School and Community Center. The West End event certainly sounds promising. The kids love wagon rides, face painting, live world music and dancing. And they’ll be thrilled to visit the wildlife exhibits, play in the bounce house and see the winners of the Bike/Tricycle Decorating contest.

CP#1 is the biggest face painting fan we know

As for Mom Potato, she’s looking forward to checking out the giant yard sale and crafts. Oh, and sampling some yummy treats at the bake sale.

Reiche Community School
166 Brackett Street

Saturday, May 22
Rain or Shine
8 a.m.-4 p.m.
(Music starts at 10:00 a.m.)


See the West End Neighborhood Association’s website for a full schedule of events.

Wheels Around Us
CP #2 is a big fan of trucks, so we’re certain he is going to have a blast at Wheels Around Us on Sunday. The event, sponsored by the Wells Parent-Teacher-Student Association, makes it possible for kids to get behind the wheel of a fire truck, police car and garbage truck…. just to name a few.

CP#2 dreams of driving his own truck someday

Wheels Around Us kicks off at 11 a.m. with a bicycle parade. And the first 200 kids get a free hard hat to wear. Fun! There will be a BBQ and bake sale, which means there is no need to pack a lunch (we love that).

Harbor Community Park
Harbor Road

Sunday, May 23
11 a.m.-3 p.m.

$12 per family/$5 pp


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Today, Team Cute Potato discovered the wonderful book, Thanks to the Animals, by Allen Sockabasin—a musician and storyteller from the Passamaquoddy tribe. The story is about a family traveling by bobsled from their seaside home to their woodland shelter for the winter. While making the journey, the youngest family member, an infant boy named Zoo Sap, tumbles off the sled without anyone noticing. The baby is left alone in the cold, but is soon cared for by an unlikely cast of characters. One by one, a beaver, a moose, a bear and more creatures emerge from the forest and encircle Zoo Sap.

When his father realizes Zoo Sap is missing, he travels through the night to find his son. By sunrise, he is overjoyed to discover the baby safe and sound, surrounded by woodland friends.

Sockabasin’s story is lovely on its own, but with the addition of Blue Hill artist Rebekah Raye’s illustrations, Thanks to the Animals is sure to become a favorite.

PS: If you’re like us, you’ll want to listen to Sockabasin tell the story in his native language. His publisher, Tilbury House, offers the audio version online.

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Ours is hunter green and not quite as new, but what a great find!

Cute Potato #1 wasn’t feeling herself today, so half of our gang was housebound. Dad and CP #2 decided to check out the new Goodwill store in South Portland, and they came home with a surprise… a kids’ Radio Flyer wheelbarrow for $5 (we spotted it on Amazon for $29). It’s in great condition and the kids are excited to use it in our Community Garden this summer. Now only if Mom Potato could find an adult-sized version for the same price.

Have a favorite bargain hunting spot? Share it with us below. We’ve posted some of our favorites in the past, but we’re always searching for more.

Goodwill Store
555 Maine Mall Road
South Portland

For stores throughout Maine:

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Team Cute Potato is looking forward to Plow Day at Deri Farm in North Yarmouth this Saturday. Last year, the weather was a little gloomy, but CP#1 and #2 didn’t mind. Our duo loved running around the muddy fields with scores of other children. After peeling them away from their new found friends, we hopped on board a horse drawn wagon for a short ride to the Skyline Farm Carriage Museum.

Originally scheduled for 5/8, Plow Day will take place this Saturday

The museum is worth checking out—many of the antique carriages date back to the 1800’s. This year, the featured exhibit is inspired by the children’s classic, Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell.

The highlight of the event is the hard-working teams of draft horses that plow the fields for planting season. Friends from the Farmers Draft Horse, Mule and Pony Club of Maine will be on hand to answer questions from curious kids.

Farmer Justin Deri is planning a seed guessing contest for aspiring young gardeners, and he’ll have seedlings to plant, so kids can get their hands dirty, too.

One word of advice: don’t forget your Wellies!

Plow Day, Saturday, May 15
9 a.m.-noon
Free admission

Deri Farm at Skyline Carriage Museum
95 The Lane
North Yarmouth

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