Duckpin Bowling {Family Fun}

I’m sure many families have been bowling before.  But have you tried Duckpin bowling?!  Duckpin bowling is similar to the bowling that most of us are familiar with.  However, there are some differences. First, although there are ten pins, they are smaller and lighter than  those used in 10-pin bowling, making it more difficult to roll a strike.  Second, the balls are smaller in size and do not have finger holes.

Our family recently visited the only local Duckpin bowling alley that we are aware of, Danbury Duckpin Lanes, in Danbury, Connecticut.

This is an old school bowling alley. There are no televisions or streaming LCD screens.  The lanes don’t have automatic scoring or pin clearing.  But there is lots of memorabilia and look at that clock!

When you check-in at the main desk you are assigned a lane and given a scoring paper and pencil.  The time is recorded, as you pay by the amount of time spent bowling, not per game.  Scoring is calculated the same way as regular bowling.  Except in duckpin bowling, you roll three balls per frame. 

 

After each roll you hit the floor pedal to clear the fallen pins.

 

Then once you roll your third ball, you hit the reset button to load the pins for the next player.

There is a bit of a learning curve to Duckpin bowling, mostly in getting comfortable holding and throwing the ball. The smaller balls were a bit hard to hold, especially for the kids.  Although the bowling alley has bumpers available,  we opted not to use them.  They are the kind that have to be put in and everyone has to use them.  My son wasn’t very happy about this, since many of his balls ended up in the gutter.

We spent an hour and twenty minutes bowling two games, with my husband winning both.  Although there is a small snack bar at the lanes, we didn’t eat while we were there, as we had gone out to lunch right before bowling.

Duckpin bowling is a fun variation of ten-pin bowling.  We had a great time at Danbury Duckpin Lanes and plan on visiting again soon!

The Details:
Danbury Duckpin Lanes
7 East Hayestown Road
Danbury, CT 06811
(203) 744-4505

Hours:  Closed Monday & Tuesday
Wednesday & Thursday 3:30 PM – 6 PM
Friday 3:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Saturday 12 PM – 9:30 PM
Sunday 11 AM – 6 PM

Price:  3o minute minimum, price starts at $16 for 30 minutes
Shoes:  $1.50/pair

*Credit cards are accepted.

*The snack bar sells food at a reasonable price:  pizza $2.00, french fries $2.00, hot dog $1.75 plus snacks, beverages, ice cream and more.

 

Westchester Weekend {May 5 & 6}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

As always, please check with the website/venue for the most up-to-date information. 

Saturday, May 5:

I Love My Park Day 
Organized by Parks & Trails NY in a partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, this statewide celebration has volunteers helping to clean up and beautify state parks, public lands and historic sites throughout New York.

Pre-register for specific locations through the website.

K104’s 7th Annual Cupcake Festival
Main Street
Beacon, NY 12508

Enjoy sampling cupcakes (for a cost) from local bakeries throughout the Hudson Valley.  There are also family activities and local vendors selling goods.

1 PM – 5 PM

Free Admission
Rain Date –  Sunday, May 6

May 5 & 6:
Hudson Valley Wine and Chocolate Festival 
Patterson Recreation Center
65 Front Street
Patterson, NY 12563
(845) 878-7200

**This event is for adults only, 21+.  This year’s festival has a Kentucky Derby theme! Sip wine, spirits and cider, sample chocolates

11 AM – 4 PM

Tickets:  $30
Designated Driver Ticket:  $10

Valley Con
Jefferson Valley Mall
Hill Blvd.
Jefferson, Valley, NY

The first Valley Con will include video game tournaments, meet and greet and panel discussions with celebrity guests, free movie screenings and more.

Saturday: 12 PM – 9 PM
Sunday:  11 AM – 6 PM

Free

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Cirque du Soleil: Volta

(Thank you to Cirque du Soleil for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As usual, all opinions are our own.)

 

I have been a fan of Cirque du Soleil, ever since I saw my first show, Varekai, many years ago.  For those unfamiliar, Cirque du Soleil literally means Circus of the Sun. However, this is no ordinary circus.  The Canadian company is the largest theatrical producer in the world, and Volta, their newest show, is their 41st production.

Photo Credit – Benoit Z. Leroux, courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

Volta is now performing at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, New Jersey until May 6.  My family and I saw the show this past weekend and we had an amazing time!  Although my kids have seen a couple Cirque du Soleil shows on DVD and television, this was their first live show.  It was definitely an experience that they will not forget!

As soon as Volta starts you are in for a treat.  The colorful costumes, the rhythmic sounds and the amazing acrobatic feats combine for an awe-inspiring performance.  Volta, tells the story of WAZ, a guy who looks a little different than others, with his blue feathered hair.  He hopes that the fame of performing on a popular game show will bring him love and acceptance.  He is led on a journey with the Elites, the Greys and the Free Spirits as he comes to accept who he is.

Photo Credit – Michael Kass courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

The show’s acrobatics focus strongly on street sports, with BMX, rope skipping, parkour, shape diving and more.  There are also some comedic bits as well. My kids found WAZ’s story to be a bit vague and difficult to follow.  However, they loved the acrobatic displays!  During the shape diving act (pictured above), a couple of the performers knocked down the shapes during their dives.  At the intermission, my kids asked, “Did they do that on purpose?”  I told them that I didn’t think that they did it on purpose.  But, we noted how the crowd was super excited for them when they landed their next dive.  These minor mistakes showed my kids that these performers are human and we all make mistakes.  As my daughter noted, “They were super brave to even get up there.  I could never do that!”  So, there were teachable moments during the show as well.

Photo Credit – Patrice Lamoureux courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

The music for Volta was written and composed by Anthony Gonzalez, from the French music band, M83.  As the musical director for Volta, he brings a variety of music styles to the stage.  A band and singers perform live for each show.

Photo Credit – Michael Kass courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

As I mentioned, Cirque du Soleil shows are productions.  This is not a short “circus” show.  The show is broken up into two acts and was approximately two hours, with a 25-minute intermission. This is a show for everyone.  The night we attended there were families with children of all ages as well as couples, young and old.  Tickets start at $55 and are similarly priced to what you’d pay to see a Broadway show.  There are two tiers of seating, with all seats having a decent view of the stage.

 

Get your tickets soon, as Volta is only playing in East Rutherford until May 6th.  Then it will move on to Uniondale, Long Island with performances from May 17 through June 10.  This is a fun experience that your family will LOVE!

The Details:

Cirque du Soleil’s Volta
Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment
1 Racetrack Drive
East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Parking:  $20

Available Shows:
Wednesday May 2:  8 PM
Thursday May 3:  8 PM
Friday May 4:  4:30 PM
Sunday May 6:  1:30 PM and 5 PM

Tickets:
Start at $55, varies depending on the show and seat choice – can be purchased online or by calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783).

Tips:
*Doors open for the 8 PM show at 7:15 PM.  There was a lot of traffic getting into the parking lot of the Meadowlands Race Track.  You then have to take a shuttle bus to the circus tent.

*I recommend either leaving the show as the cast are taking bows or hanging out after the show for a little bit.  The crowds after the show ended were crazy, as everyone had to wait to get a shuttle bus back to the parking lot.  It just so happened that the night we attended it was raining and we didn’t have an umbrella, so we got a tad bit wet!

*Food and drinks are available for purchase. However, be prepared to pay a hefty price.  A bottle of water costs $5 and a bag of popcorn (approximately the size of a medium movie theater popcorn) costs $12.  Alcohol, including beer, wine and spirits, are available as well.  We had an early dinner before we went to see the show and stopped on the way home for a treat.

*Flash photography is not allowed.  If you are in an aisle seat in front of the stage, have your camera ready during the bows.  The cast comes down off the stage and walks into the aisles – you may be able to get a close-up pic!

Westchester Weekend {April 28 & 29}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

As always, please check with the website/venue for the most up-to-date information. 

Saturday, April 28:

Hudson Valley Mac and Cheese Fest
Brotherhood Winery
100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive
Washingtonville, NY 10992

Enjoy sampling over 15 different mac and cheese creations.  All tickets include a self-guided tour of the winery. Soft drinks, wine and beer are available for purchase.

1 PM – 5 PM

General Admission: $30
VIP Big Cheese Ticket (admission at 12 PM): $50
4 PK General Admission Early Bird Special:  $99
Kids 12 and under:  FREE

Sunday, April 29:

White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival
Turnure Park
26 Lake Street
White Plains, NY

Experience Japanese culture while celebrating the cherry blossoms.  Performances throughout the day include dance, taiko drumming, kendo, singing, traditional dance and more.  Food is available for purchase.

11:30 AM – 5 PM

Free Admission

April 28 & 29:
Hudson Valley KidVenture
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
14 Civic Center Plaza
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

This is a two-day event that allows children of all ages to explore, discover and have fun.  There are performances, demonstrations, hands-on activities, Touch A Truck and more.

11 AM – 4 PM

Tickets:
$8 in advance
$10 at door
Weekend Pass:  $12 in advance
Children under 3 are FREE

Westchester Weekend {April 21 & 22}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

April 21:

The Barley House’s 1st Annual Crawfish Boil
The Barley House
665 Commerce Street
Hawthorne, NY 10594
(914) 495-3333

2-5 PM rain or shine
$35/pp all you can eat

April 22:

A Cup of the Valley Coffee and Tea Festival
Culinary Institute of America – Marriott Pavilion
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538

11 AM – 5 PM
$17/pp in advance, $20/pp day of event

Sample a variety of coffees and teas from

Earth Day Celebration
Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Rd.
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 723-3470

12 PM – 4 PM
Free

Celebrate Earth Day at the Greenburgh Nature Center with volunteer projects and workshops that will help make a difference and teach you about caring for the Earth.  A grounding yoga class will take place at 10:30 AM.

NY Metro Reptile Show
Westchester County Center
198 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

9 AM – 4 PM
Adults – $10
Kids (7 – 12) – $5
Kids (under 7) – free

This is the Northeast’s largest reptile expo.  There will be thousands of live reptiles, amphibians and arachnids on display and for sale.

April 21 & 22:

Historic Hudson Valley’s Sheep-to-Shawl Festival
Philipsburg Manor
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

10 AM – 5 PM
Online tickets – Free for members, $16/adults, $12/seniors, $8/children 3-17  Onsite tickets – Free for members, $18/adults, $14/seniors, $10/children 3-17.

Celebrate spring and learn about the process of turning wool into cloth, 18th-century style!  Read our review of this fun family event!

Hudson Valley Comic Con
Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center
258 Titusville Rd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Saturday:  10 AM – 7 PM
Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Free Parking

2-Day Adult Pass: $35
2-Day Child Pass (ages 5-12): $20
Saturday Adult Pass: $25
Saturday Child Pass: $15
Sunday Adult Pass: $20
Sunday Child Pass: $10

The 3rd annual Hudson Valley Comic Con is taking place at Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center in Poughkeepsie.  Meet comic book artists, play video games in the Gamer’s Lounge, enjoy stories and crafts in the Kids Zone, enjoy live shows and panels.  There’s also a costume contest.

 

Sheep-to-Shawl Festival at Philipsburg Manor

This weekend is the Historic Hudson Valley’s annual Sheep-to-Shawl Festival.  This two-day event is held on the historic grounds of Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow.  It’s a spring festival celebrating all things sheep and visitors get to experience the steps of turning wool into cloth…..18th-century style! Our family visited this festival last year and had a great time.

When you arrive at the site, you will walk along a fenced path and step back into time.  Be sure to take a guide that has a map and list of the different attractions, as well as a schedule of timed events.  Interpreters are stationed throughout the grounds to provide information and answer any questions visitors may have.  They work on various tasks, and when appropriate, encourage guests to try as well.

The kids first teased a piece of wool, loosening and spreading it out.  Then they got a chance to card the wool, the process which cleans and separates wool in preparation for spinning.

They were then able to use a spinning wheel to hand spin a piece of wool.  It was a lot of fun for them to have such hands-on experiences.

We got to see yarn being dyed using items like onion skins and berries to get the different colors.

There was an activity station nearby where the kids got to dye their own piece of yarn.

We got to see some very cute alpacas.

And some duck- and sheep-herding.

Of course the big highlight of the day was watching a sheep get sheared, using hand-held shears, as it was done back in the 18th-century.

As you walk the grounds you will see different hand-held tools that were used to weave the yarn, as well as some of the larger looms.

As you can see, there is a lot to see and do during the Sheep-to-Shawl Festival (and I didn’t show all there is!).  Expect to spend at least two hours wandering the grounds of Philipsburg Manor and enjoying the activities.  This year there will be a fashion show and live music as well.  This is a great way to enjoy an educational, hands-on family day of fun right here in Westchester County!

The Details:

Sheep-to-Shawl Festival at Philisburg Manor
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Dates & Times:  Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 – 10 AM – 5 PM.

Cost: Online tickets – Free for members, $16/adults, $12/seniors, $8/children 3-17  Onsite tickets – Free for members, $18/adults, $14/seniors, $10/children 3-17.

Parking:  Free parking is available in the small lot at 381 N. Broadway as well in an overflow lot (make a right at the traffic light and signs will direct you to the lot).

Food:  Food is available for purchase onsite or you can bring in your own food.   Picnic tables are available to sit and eat.

Check out the 2018 Program!

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Westchester County Staycation Fun {For Tweens}

With all of the recent snow storms we’ve had, for many Westchester County families, this upcoming Spring break has been significantly shortened.  Some of you may have booked your vacations weeks ago.  However, for those of you who have not, here are some ideas to make the most of those few days off.  There is lots of fun to be had close to home.  Enjoy some Westchester County staycation fun with some of these great ideas, especially useful to entertain the tweens!

A Maze in Pottery – Spend some time painting pottery!  With over 300 different items to paint, everyone in the family will be able to find something!

Bounce & Trampoline Fun – Sit and watch your kids tire themselves out as they bounce and jump.  Local venues include Bounce (Poughkeepsie), Bounce U (Elmsford) Rockin’ Jump (Yonkers), Rockin’ Jump (Mount Kisco), and Sky Zone (New Rochelle).

Bowling –  Westchester County has several bowling alleys including Bowlmor (White Plains), Cortlandt Lanes (Cortlandt Manor), Homefield Bowl (Yonkers), Jefferson Valley Lanes (Jefferson Valley), Roc ‘n’ Bowl (New Rochelle) and Spins Bowl (Mount Kisco).

Escape the Mystery Room – With nearby locations in Yorktown Heights at the Jefferson Valley Mall and in West Nyack at the Palisades Center, this is a fun family outing for older children.  You can get more info and read about our family’s experience.

Hudson River Museum – Enjoy a trip to the Hudson River Museum.  April 2 through April 6 students on break are welcome to enjoy a FREE planetarium show when accompanied by an adult.

Ice Skating – If you haven’t had enough cold weather fun, Westchester County is home to several ice skating rinks. Check out our guide to ice skating in Westchester County for all the info.

iFLY –  Do you have adventurous kids?  They might enjoy indoor skydiving!  iFLY Westchester is located in the Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers.

Muse Paintbar – With locations in White Plains and Yonkers, at Ridge Hill), enjoy an afternoon of painting.

Palisades Climb – Inside the Palisades Mall, your kids will enjoy exploring the 75 elements that make up the world’s tallest indoor ropes challenge course.  Read all about the fun that our family had!

Spins Hudson – Recently opened in Peekskill, Spins Hudson has laser tag, a ropes course, arcade and bocce and shuffleboard.

Sporttime USA – Although a little dated, there is a lot of fun to be had at Sporttime USA.  There are lots of video games, batting cages, lazer tag, and even a couple of rides (Bumper Cars, Himalaya Roller Coaster and Mini Twister).

 

 

 

1

Brunch and a Broadway Show! {Charlie Palmer at the Knick and SpongeBob SquarePants the Musical}

(Thank you to the Charlie Palmer Group and SpongeBob the Broadway Musical for hosting us.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Dinner and a movie makes for a great date with your significant other.  If you are looking for a fun day out on the town with your child, how about brunch and a Broadway show?!  My children love breakfast foods. I know if we go out for breakfast they will always find something on the menu that they will enjoy. And, really, who doesn’t love bacon and eggs? For a super special parent-child outing, seeing a Broadway show is a real treat! Enjoying brunch before a weekend matinee ensures that you don’t get home too late.  This is especially important when seeing a Sunday show, when your kids probably have school the next day!

My 9 year old son and I recently took a trip into New York City for a mother-son brunch and a Broadway show date.  We started with brunch at Charlie Palmer at the Knick.  This family-friendly restaurant is located on the fourth floor of the Knickerbocker hotel, in the heart of Times Square.

The decor of the restaurant is modern but inviting.  As my son noted: “This is the fanciest-looking restaurant I’ve been to!”  Chef Charlie Palmer creates American cuisine that is sourced locally from the Hudson Valley. For those on the hungrier side, the breakfast menu includes both a Continental and American Breakfast.  The a la carte menu includes a couple of different omelettes, pancakes, waffles, french toast and more. The restaurant also has a different children’s menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Although my son sometimes orders from the adult menu, he opted for the buttermilk pancakes with fresh strawberries from the kid’s menu and added a side of bacon. After seeing the portion sizes, he could have likely finished a meal off the adult menu. As it was, he devoured his pancakes in record time. Breakfast is his favorite meal!

I ordered the Midtown Eggs Benedict.  Two poached organic eggs were served on a potato rosti with Bearnaise sauce, surrounded by chunks of lobster.  This was a decadent and delicious dish!

After we had ordered, a basket of pastries was brought to the table.  We enjoyed these after our brunch to end our meal on a sweet note.  My son especially enjoyed the chocolate-filled croissant. The flaky layers of pastry filled with a sweet chocolate filling was delicious!

I’m not going to lie.  Prices at Charlie Palmer, even for breakfast, are on the higher end of the price spectrum.  My eggs Benedict was definitely a splurge, priced at $26. However, if you are going to have a parent-child date, it’s nice to be a little fancy and treat yourself!

We had 11 AM reservations, which gave us plenty of time to eat before our 1 PM show.  Our food arrived quickly after we ordered.  However, we were not made to feel rushed at all.  After finishing our meal, we sat a bit while I enjoyed my coffee. Service was excellent, with our server being attentive but not annoyingly so.

Charlie Palmer at the Knick is super close to many of the Broadway theatres.  After our delicious brunch, we only had to walk a couple of blocks to the Palace Theatre to see the show. “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?  SpongeBob SquarePants…..”  If you have tweens you are probably very familiar with that song!  Did you know that the Nickelodeon television show made its Broadway debut this past December?  I have to be honest, my son really wanted to see this musical.  Me?  Not so much.  I’m not the biggest fan of the animated talking sponge.  But guess what?  I am here to tell you that you don’t have to be a fan of the show to enjoy the musical.

As soon as you enter the Palace Theatre you are transported into an underwater wonderland.  From beginning to end, guests are treated to a feast for the senses.  Giant fluorescent set pieces glow under black lights. The cast are dressed in bright, colorful costumes. The continuously changing sets are filled with lights, smoke and more.  There are lots of sound effects and the songs are catchy. Most songs were written by artists like Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Plain White T’s, T.I. and more, specifically for this production.  The show ends with bubbles, confetti and bouncing beach balls.

One of the first things you will notice once the show starts is that SpongeBob is not actually shaped like a sponge.  Ethan Slater, does a phenomenal job in taking on the role of SpongeBob.  He has the voice, gestures and even the laugh spot-on!  Although you don’t have to be familiar with the characters from the show, it helps, so you can fully appreciate how well the show was cast.  There is even a story line to the musical.  Bikini Bottom is in danger of being destroyed by a volcanic eruption.  While most of the residents want to leave, SpongeBob with the help of his friends Patrick and Sandy attempt to save their beloved home.

Although the audience was mostly comprised of families with children (right around my son’s age or younger), I think this show will appeal to the masses.  For anyone who loves a good Broadway production, you will not be disappointed. SpongeBob SquarePants the Broadway Musical is a fun and entertaining show.  This is a perfect musical for a parent-child/family day out and both my son and I give it two thumbs up!

The Details:

Charlie Palmer at the Knick
The Knickerbocker Hotel
6 Times Square
New York, NY 10036
(212) 204-4983

Hours: Breakfast 7 AM – 11 AM, Lunch 11:30 AM – 2 PM, Dinner 5 PM – 10 PM

Price:  $$$ (breakfast – most entrees between $16-$30)

SpongeBob SquarePants the Broadway Musical
The Palace Theatre
1564 Broadway (47th and Broadway)
New York, NY 10036

Show Dates and Times:  7 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 PM  Wednesdays, 8 PM Fridays, 2 PM & 8 PM Saturdays,  1 PM & 6:30 PM Sundays

Prices:  (Depend on day/time, seat choice and availability)  Tickets start at $49 balcony seating.

28 Days of February Family Fun

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our Disclosure Policy for details.)

February will be here in a couple of days.  Although it is a short month, with Valentine’s Day, the Olympics and President’s Day/February break, there is a lot going on!  Here are 28 days of February family fun!

1. February is Black History Month.  Published this month, read Young, Gifted and Black with your kids to introduce them to 52 Black heroes from past and present.

2.  Will the groundhog see his shadow today?  Tradition says if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t, we can expect an early spring!  Here are twelve Groundhog Day picture books that you can read with your kids.

3.  Have a video game day!  Have your kids show you their favorite video games and play with them.  My son’s current XBoxOne faves include Cupheads and Marvel vs. Capcom.

4. Today is the Super Bowl! Make some of these snacks for your game day party while you cheer on the Eagles or Patriots!  While I’m not a football fan, I will be watching the half-time show and the commercials.  Take a sneak peek at some of the commercials!

5. Today is World Nutella Day!  Here are 60 ways you can use using this delicious hazelnut spread.

6. Check out the new shows coming to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime in February and plan some binge watching.

7.  Valentine’s Day is in a week.  Have you made or purchased your child’s Valentines?  If you need some ideas, here are over 50 Valentines you can print at home.

8. The 2018 Winter Olympics begin tomorrow in Pyeongchang County, South Korea.  Have your child find South Korea on a map.  Pick out some sports that your family will watch and cheer on Team USA!

9. Today is National Pizza Day!  Make homemade pizza for dinner.  We love this Onion Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza with Balsamic Glaze.

10. Take a family road trip!  Hop into the car and visit a new-to-you nearby town.  Have lunch or dinner out, and explore the sites.  Enjoy being a local tourist.

11.  For many kids, breakfast is their favorite meal of the day.  Start your Sunday off by going out for brunch!

12. Make some chocolate playdough (that you can’t eat!) and then make some chocolates in these heart-shaped molds that you can eat!

13.  Today is Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras!  Read some of these Mardi Gras books with your kids and make a King Cake!  In the United Kingdom, today is also known as Pancake Day.  Celebrate with pancakes for dinner!

14. Happy Valentine’s Day!  Plan a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt for your kids with a sweet treat for them at the end.  Have heart-shaped everything today!  Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make Valentine’s pancakes for breakfast and heart-shaped sandwiches for lunch.  Shape pizza dough into a heart shape for dinner tonight!

15. Add these recently released middle grade children’s books to your book collection or borrow them from the library:  The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle (January 23),  Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire (February 6), Checked (February 6), The Unicorn Quest (February 6),  Marabel and the Book of Fate (February 6), Payback on Poplar Lane (February 6) and The Midnight Gang (February 27).

16. Have a family game night.  We are enjoying Sushi Go Party!

17. Today is National Random Acts of Kindess Day!  Challenge your kids to show kindness.  Some ideas include give 5 compliments today, hold the door for the person behind them and/or help someone in need.

18. Visit a museum.  Science museums are a family favorite since they are so hands-on and fun for everyone.

19.  Happy President’s Day!  Here are seven ways to celebrate with kids.

20. Plan a family movie night!  Some popular children’s movies being released on DVD this month include Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie (February 13), Wonder (February 13), and Coco (February 27).  And for mom time, A Bad Moms Christmas (February 6).

21. Make a bird feeder and hang it outside a window to watch the birds (and possibly the squirrels!) eat.

22.  Today is National Margarita Day!  Make a kid-friendly alcohol-free frozen margarita for the kids…..and maybe ones with some alcohol for the adults!  You can serve them in these fun glasses!  It’s also National Chili Day.  This Slow Cooker Beanless Chili is a great way to celebrate!

23. Have a family date night out and go to an Escape the Mystery Room.  Read about our fun experience doing this.

24. Read a chapter book together as a family.  Take turns reading a couple of pages.  My son and I are finishing up The Lost Hero and will soon be reading A Wrinkle In Time.  I want to read it before the movie comes out next month.

25.  Celebrate the end of the 2018 Winter Olympics with a Korean dinner.  Either go out for Korean BBQ or Bibimbap (one of my favorite dishes!) or make Korean food at home!  Maangchi and Kimchi Mom are both great websites to find recipes.

26. Today is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day.  Have your children retell their favorite fairy tales.

27.  Plan a trip out to the movies.  Family-friendly movies coming to the big screen this month include Peter Rabbit (February 9), Monster Family (February 9), Early Man (February 16), and The War With Grandpa (February 23).

28. If it is winter and COLD where you are, go outside and fascinate the kids with Frozen Bubbles.

6 Fun Games for Family Game Night {Tween Edition}

6 fun games for a tween family game night that parents won't mind playing.
(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our Disclosure Policy for additional information.)

We are a big gaming family.  Although my husband and son enjoy video games, I’m not talking the electronic kind.  I’m talking about board games.  If my daughter had her way, we’d play board games every night.  Finding a board game that is fun for EVERYONE, including the adults, can be challenging.  It has to be easy enough that the kids can win, but also have a high interest factor for the parents, so we don’t get bored to tears.  Here are some of our newest game additions and a couple of family favorites.

A fun domino game perfect for family game night!

Mexican Train – This is a domino game where the object of the game is to get rid of all of your dominoes.   Our set came in an aluminum case that stores the dominoes.  You can play a quicker game and just do a round or two.  Or, you can play 13 rounds, in which the game can last hours!  This game is recommended for ages 8+.  We first learned about this game from my parents and we often play on family vacations to their Rhode Island beach house.  This is a great multi-generation family game.  I recommend that you purchase domino holders, if your set doesn’t come with them.  They are super helpful in keeping your dominoes organized when playing.

An award-winning maze strategy game perfect for family game night.

Mine Shift – This is a maze strategy game for 2-4 players.  It is recommended for ages 8+.  The object of the game is to be the first player to move all four of your jewels from one side of the board to the opposite side. This is a Mensa Select game winner and a 2018 Toy of the Year Finalist.  Our first time playing took about 25 minutes.

A fast-paced matching game perfect for family game night.

Spot It – This is a fast-paced matching game for 2-8 players.  It is recommended for ages 8+.  Each card has only one matching symbol to another card.  You need to “spot” the matching symbols and call it out.  Believe me, it is not as easy as it sounds.  When you’re competing with others and under stress, it can be difficult to spot the match.  The instructions come with eight different game variations that can be played.  We usually play each game one time and all games can be played in about 20 minutes.

A fast-paced dice game that is fun for tweens and adults.

Sushi Dice –  This is a fast-paced dice game for 2 – 6 players.  It is recommended for ages 6+.  Two players go head-to-head, rolling their set of six dice, to try to complete one of the sushi platter cards.  When they have all the matching items they ring the bell and the next round begins.  However, you mus beware of the black skulls.  If you roll one and your opponent sees, you have to re-roll all of your dice.  If the players not actively rolling the dice spot both players with black skulls, the game ends.   The first player to win five sushi platter cards wins the game.  This is a quick game and can be played in about 15-20 minutes, depending on the number of players.

A fun pass the cards game for tweens!

Sushi Go Party! – We first played this game at a school-sponsored family game night.  My son enjoyed it so much he requested it for Christmas.  This pass-the-card game is for 2-8 players and recommended for ages 8+.   In this game, you win points by selecting different sushi combos.  However, since you pass cards, you never know what you will end up with.  There is a card-only version available.  However, the Sushi Go Party! game comes with a board and pawns for help to keep score as well as a menu board that allows you to customize games and play different variations.  The game consist of three rounds and can be played in about 30 minutes.

Wits and Wagers is a fun guessing trivia game for the whole family!

Wits & Wagers – This is a trivia game, where you don’t actually need to know answers.  You just have to be able to guess well!  It’s for 4+ players and is recommended for ages 8+.  Someone reads a question that everyone answers on their mini dry-erase board.  Then everyone bets on which answer is closest to the actual answer.

What is your favorite board game for family game night?