Sunday, July 31, 2011

Buy some peanuts and cracker jacks....

Today was our first family baseball game.  We had won a four pack of PawSox tickets for today's game, earlier this summer.  I haven't been to McCoy stadium in close to 10 years but not much has changed.

I love its family friendliness.  Much of the blue section seats are shaded, big plus for the little ones.  There are facts about the team and stadium all over the place.  General admission tickets are $5 for kids and $7 for adults.  I mean, really, it costs more to go to the movies.  And for a whopping $1.75 the boys split a giant freeze pop, turning their faces and hands blue.
I had to giggle.  I loved the old baseball tunes playing in the background, including "We're talkin' baseball" which I only know because of an obscure Simpson's reference "...we're talkin' Homer, Ozzy, and the Straw...."   I loved that episode.  But I digress...
We tried to teach the boys the little about baseball we knew, because neither of us are actaul fans of the sport (yeah, the NFL lockout is done!)  But Boog was catching on, and Mudge wanted to know about the "guy that fell" when a player slid into second.
We had preplanned that we would only stay a few innings.   We stayed through the bottom of the fourth, since we know our kids would NOT last an entire game, especially during a nap time. And it was just enough.  They got their first baseball experience with the Pawtucket Red Sox versus the Louisville Bats (at the point we left, they were behind 4:1).  Would I go again? Absolutely! It's a great experience all around.

For further family frugalness, you can pick up discounted tickets through your local AAA. You can also sign up the kids for the Paw Sox Kids Club to get freebies and special events.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kids pick out the oddest presents....

Going to a liquor store with my children is NOT what I would normally do.  But today was a special day. We had to go birthday shopping for Daddy, who is turning 40 tomorrow.

The funny thing is Boog wanted to get him a tool.  Great.  Went to Home Depot and picked out a Dremel thing and off we went.

But the Mudge wanted to get Daddy something special: "his favorite cookies and his favorite beer, Samuel Adams."  OK.  So we stopped at Stop and Shop to pick up a half dozen packages of Milano cookies.  Then I reluctantly took them into the liquor store to pick out beer.  "But mom, only Daddy can drink it because he's older than 21.  He's gonna turn 40 and that is way older." Yes, Boog.  And we even found some pirate beer.  Couldn't pass that one up since Daddy is a pirate. 

The kids were soooo excited to give him their presents, and also the handmade cards.  Boog wrote out the reasons that he loved Daddy, and I scribed for Mudge.  Things like: Because he loves me; Because I play paper, scissors, rocks with him; Because I like him; Because he goes swimming in the pool with me; Because I hug him.

It was so cute and meaningful.  Way better than Hallmark.  In fact, I've given up on purchasing cards from the kids over the past year, because they enjoy making them for their friends and family, and it is fun to see their creativity shine through.

Anyway, at least Daddy will be set on grog for a few weeks....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Going Commando...

Hangin' in the breeze
Swaying in the wind
Being free
Letting it all hang out
Free Ballin'
Going Rouge
Going Commando

Much like the Scotsman in the old Scottish tune, my boys like to go without underwear from time to time.  I have had to refrain them from going commando during the day, so they enjoy their freedom at night.  Tonight, Boog decided against.  But Mudge whispered to me in a joyful anticipation, "Can I go commando, Mommy?"  Of course, honey.  "Yeah, I love going commando!!!"   
I can't make this stuff up.  I don't need to.   My kids are odd.  And I don't mind.

words and music by Mike Cross

Well a Scotsman clad in kilt left a bar on evening fair
And one could tell by how we walked that he drunk more than his share
He fumbled round until he could no longer keep his feet
Then he stumbled off into the grass to sleep beside the street
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
He stumbled off into the grass to sleep beside the street

About that time two young and lovely girls just happend by
And one says to the other with a twinkle in her eye
See yon sleeping Scotsman so strong and handsome built
I wonder if it's true what they don't wear beneath the kilt
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
I wonder if it's true what they don't wear beneath the kilt

They crept up on that sleeping Scotsman quiet as could be
Lifted up his kilt about an inch so they could see
And there behold, for them to see, beneath his Scottish skirt
Was nothing more than God had graced him with upon his birth
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
Was nothing more than God had graced him with upon his birth

They marveled for a moment, then one said we must be gone
Let's leave a present for our friend, before we move along
As a gift they left a blue silk ribbon, tied into a bow
Around the bonnie star, the Scots kilt did lift and show
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
Around the bonnie star, the Scots kilt did lift and show

Now the Scotsman woke to nature's call and stumbled towards a tree
Behind a bush, he lift his kilt and gawks at what he sees
And in a startled voice he says to what's before his eyes.
O lad I don't know where you been but I see you won first prize
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
O lad I don't know where you been but I see you won first prize

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Turtles, and Alligators, and Scorpions, Oh My!!!

Arachnophobes, Ophidiophobes, and Herpetophobes beware.  RI House of Reptiles is full of everthing a little boy can dream of.

I took the boys on a hop, skip and a jump to 580 Harris Ave, Providence to check out RIHOR, since their predecessor, Regal Reptiles is closed.  And we were so glad we did.
Yes, that IS a SCORPION on Booger

The kids got to come face to face and handle a ton of creatures including but not limited to: a large Albino Burmese Python, a scorpion, a chinchilla, a ferret, a turtle, a tarantula, an alligator, some cockroaches, and a gecko (which now is on Boog's birthday wish list).
Normally, I wouldn't post a pic of myself but the snake was 55lbs and putting his tail in my pockets.

The family owned and operated business includes Beth and her 11 year old son Fox who were there today to give us the world of information and experiences.  We got to feed the turtles these super meal worms, which had I not had sons, I would NEVER have done.  We witnessed alligator feedings.  Super cool.

The closest I will EVER let my son near an alligator.

For $6 (and if you go to their website, you can print out a BOGOF) we were there for 2 hours and we had such a great time.  Be prepared to park on the street, as it is a little off the beaten path. They also offer educational programs for schools and birthday parties.
Bring your camera, curiosity, and your courage.  You'll need them all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If only Shaggy and Scooby had one of these...

One of the best things I did for semi self sufficiency is make a snack drawer. Located in our little pantry closet is a 3 drawer Sterilite container. Top drawer, a thousand boxes of pasta and rice. The bottom, a million packets of Carnation Instant Breakfast and dinosaur oatmeal. But it is the middle drawer that is parenting gold. The snack drawer.

In it is a plethora a mostly healthy things. Some prepackaged, like Clif Z bars, Quaker granola bars, Planters Nutrition Trail Mix, and Healthy Option fruit snacks. But when I had to divvy up the boxed and bagged things, I had a semi moral dilemma. The green mom in me wanted to use reusable containers, but the kids wouldn't choose them because they couldn't readily see what was inside. I also noticed freshness was an issue, getting stale quickly. So then the practical mom in me conceded and decided to use zip top snack bags. I love them. Portion control. Freshness. And viewable contents. So in go goldfish, Cheezits, popcorn, whatever...

Now the kids just ask to grab a snack or I go tell them to get something from the snack drawer. And because I filled it, I don't care what they pick.

And what's even better is that I can store the good stuff like our cherished Milanos where they can't reach, on another shelf...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Messing with the kids is fun...

We love to screw with our boys. It keeps us giggling about our "effective" parenting skills. So here are some of the few examples we have messed with them, just for fun:

1. We convinced them that I, as well as all moms, do in fact have eyes located in the back of my head, under my hair. And because Dad does not have hair, he doesn't have them.
2. We threatened to take away Mudge's third birthday for almost a month if he didn't eat his supper or clean up his toys.
3. As previously noted, we convinced them that Kyle was indeed a real pirate. The real sword helped.
4. We ask if we need to cut off their appendages if they are complaining of a minor boo boo.
5. If it looks like a nugget, it must be a nugget, even if it isn't.
6. Telling them they can get up and out of bed until the duck quacks. Amazingly it doesn't quack until morning
7. Nana is certainly the creator of Mario Kart, so ask her all of the questions

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Swabby Mates and the Pirate Ship

So many of the kids would not keep their hats on their heads, but thanks to Captain Kyle and the other dads, the Scurvy Swabby Mate crew was born.
For less than $2 a pop, we purchased bandanas for the kids.  Their pirate hats would keep their mow-hawked heads safe from the sun while in the water and on the boat.
It worked perfectly.  Even the 18 month olds would happily keep them on.  And the infant pirates as well.

So in their pirate hats, they were beckoned to the pirate ship, UB's boat anchored just slightly off shore, to jump the plank.  And they did this for hours.  They did this for 7 days.  It was great to watch and be a part of.
It is pretty funny, now, because the tale of Captain Kyle started before our trip.  He convinced Boog and Mudge that he was in fact a pirate.  He had the sword to prove it.  They believe it and have asked if they are now part of his crew since they walked the plank and said "Arrr" all week.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Back to Reality....

Just returned from Lake Ossipee, New Hampshire. It was...

Liberating.  Except to read on my iPad, I vigilantly tried to limit any WiFi, hence lack of posts.  And frankly most of the people I would talk to were sharing the sites with me.

Pleasurable.  Actually read an entire book over the week, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Frustrating.  Now I have to get The Girl Who Played with Fire.
Gorgeous.  Couldn't beat the scenery.  Lake front property.
Tasty.  Grilled pizzas, swiss and shroom infused and bacon cheddar burgers, sangria, grilled chicken, steak, roasted mega marshmallows, and circus peanuts (thanks pam).   Now I am hungry.
Fun. Absolutely.  Jumped off the Pirate Boat with swabby mates.  Knee Boarded. Swam. Ran. Rode Bikes. Had a Pirate Treasure Hunt.
Relaxing. Kind of, since there were a total of 8 kids under 6 years old.
But all in all, a wonderful vacation spent with wonderful friends and family.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best. Preschool. Ever. Guest Blogger: The Brombergs

Hi, OT Mommy Fans! We are the Brombergs – Sam, Casey, 3 year old Harry, 9 month old Cecilia, and Freddie, the Brazilian Basset Hound.  (Seriously, the dog is from Brazil.  We have papers for him Portuguese.)  Sam and Becca are cousins, and we call Becca’s Mudget, “Little Sam.”  He and Harry are just about a month apart.  We live in Oakland, Maine, which is near Waterville, in the Belgrade Lakes Region.  Casey is writing these posts, with Sam looking over her shoulder making “suggestions.”

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine occupying 200 kids under five with no tv and no timeouts for 12 hours a day.  Before you start panicking at this image, take a look at this place:

This is Harry Bromberg’s preschool.  (I say Harry Bromberg because he is only now starting to grow out of a tendency to refer to himself in the third person.  It’s pretty entertaining.)  Educare Central Maine is a palace – the kind of child care facility you can only dream about, an $11.5 million kiddie castle.  It’s only been open since August 2010 and there is a huge waiting list for both low-income and middle income families.  Harry had been on the waiting list for 10 months before he got in, and Baby Cecilia is now 15 months on the waiting list.  (Yes, the math is right, I put her on the waiting list in the womb.)  We call Cecilia the Educare Baby, because some of the national Educare funders are using her photo in their PR materials.  The kids only made it on the middle-income waiting list because I work for the social service agency who developed the center locally. 
See?  You’d give money to a face like this!
I don’t know about the rest of you, but around here, I’m not sure which experience is more stressful, trying to buy a car or finding a safe, affordable place to care for your kids.  All the guesswork is taken away with Educare.  It’s part of a national network of state of the art child care facilities and the only one in the northeast.  They use a curriculum that is basically Head Start put on steroids, with the added bonus that all the teachers have either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in early childhood education, with low student-teacher ratios to boot.  The facility also serves as a learning lab for other child care providers and early childhood education degree students to take classes, do observations, etc.  We have parent-teacher conferences every three months and design goals for Harry, which includes teaching us how to help him with those goals.  They have independent evaluators come and work with the kids to assess developmental skills and milestones.  However, it’s not done like he’s a lab rat.  It’s all about him and what we all do together to help him.  It’s actually really cool.

Research tells us that 85 percent of all brain development happens before age 5, with most of it actually happening by age 3.  It’s amazing for us, having Harry in this program.  We already have a glimpse of what his true potential will be and he’s only 3 ½.  He’s grown so much emotionally and in intelligence since he started in January.  If you’re not a believer yet, watch this video put together by the Ounce of Prevention Fund.  I’m not much of a crier, but this makes me choke up every time I watch it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Five Minutes or Less

The following is the first of a monthly snip it from The Joyful Organizer herself, Bonnie Joy Dewkett

No one has enough time.  However, we can all find a few minutes here and there.  You can accomplish a lot more than you think in just five minutes.  By keeping a list of items you can accomplish in five minutes or less, you can quickly attack them when you have time. I’ve compiled a list of things you can get done in five minutes or less below.  Keep in mind that it is easy to get off task and doing so will make the task more time consuming.  Stay focused and keep moving.  The most important thing is to realize that you can move mountains a little bit at a time. 

Clean out Your Wallet
Get rid of old receipts.  Put extra change in a jar or bank someplace else in your home.  Make sure all credit cards are current and make sure gift cards still have value.

Throw out expired food from the pantry.  Clean out the fridge.  Clean out freezer.  Refill hand soap.  Refill Jet Dry.  Wipe down counters.  Put snacks into plastic baggies so they are ready to go for lunches during the week.  Clean out the pet bowl.  Refill sugar, flour or other canister items.  Clean out coffee pot.  Clean out the microwave.  Run and or empty the dishwasher. 

Kid’s Room
Sort through old crayons and dispose of broken ones.  Make sure all socks have a match.  Dispose of games or puzzles that are missing pieces.  Have kids pick up toys.  Check under bed for lost toys.  Mount a shelf to add storage. 

Take out trash.  Start a load of laundry.  Sew a button.  Sweep or vacuum a room.  Sort through today’s mail.  Call and remove yourself from a catalog mailing list.  Go through the car wash.  Pay a bill.  Cancel an appointment.  Make an appointment. 

Living Room
Put DVDs and Video Games back into their cases.  Fold throw blankets.  Fluff pillows.  Remove dishes.  Program your thermostat to save money on heating and cooling costs. 

Put dirty laundry in the hamper.  Pick up clothes off the floor.  Put shoes back in closet.  Clean jewelry.  Go through undergarments and get rid of worn out items.  Make the bed.

Change out hand towels.  Clean toilet.  Clean sink.  Change to a new toothbrush.   Dispose of old makeup.  Clean out medicine cabinet and throw away expired medication.  Change the roll of toilet paper.  Dry or fluff your bath mat. 

Every house functions differently and has a different configuation of rooms and family members.  The above items are ideas to get you moving in the right direction.  Once you have a functioning list of five minute tasks, you can dispense them to family members to do on a daily or weekly basis.  Getting these little items done will really make sure you can function better on a daily basis and will also help you live a better, and less stressful life!

Bonnie Joy Dewkett is the owner and operator of The Joyful Organizer.  She offers professional organization services to help you organize your home and your life.  Email The Joyful Organizer at for your free home organization guide or to schedule your free organizational consultation.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pulaski Park- Take only memories, leave only footprints, and don't forget to carry out your trash

When I was younger, I must have gone to Pulaski a dozen times.  Found off Route 44 in Glocester, RI, Pulaski Park provides a great place to swim and fish at Peck Pond, short hikes just about all year round, a rentable pavilion for parties, and you could even cross country ski, though I haven't done that.  There are bathrooms and changing areas, as well as a ramp down to the pavilion and beach.
But this trip to Pulaski on July 10th was the third part of the RI Great Outdoors Pursuit.  The boys got to try out their Spider Man abilities at the RockSpot Climbing Wall, for free. Boog got all the way to the top!  Mudge, about 1/2 way!
Yup, that's Boog at the top!
They had an obstacle course, beverages from Garelick farms, fishing, swimming, tree identification, and face painting, as well as a slew of other things.  
All in all, a great day hosted by the RI Department of Environmental Management, just a hop, skip and a jump from us.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Awesome things to do in Maine (A sampling of our favorites – by no means a comprehensive list!) Guest Blogger: The Brombergs

Hi, OT Mommy Fans! We are the Brombergs – Sam, Casey, 3 year old Harry, 9 month old Cecilia, and Freddie, the Brazilian Basset Hound.  (Seriously, the dog is from Brazil.  We have papers for him Portuguese.)  Sam and Becca are cousins, and we call Becca’s Mudget, “Little Sam.”  He and Harry are just about a month apart.  We live in Oakland, Maine, which is near Waterville, in the Belgrade Lakes Region.  Casey is writing these posts, with Sam looking over her shoulder making “suggestions.”

Bounce House Bargain in Bangor
In June, the Maine Jump opened in Bangor, which is a little over an hour from where we live, but conveniently located near a set of grandparents. Unlike more populated states, there really are not a lot of bounce house places here.  The Maine Jump only has four stations so far, but one of them is large, like a mini obstacle course.  $5 buys your child (ages 3 and up) two hours of bouncing and sliding fun.  There is no charge for parents, but parents have to accompany the child at each station.  There are concessions on-site, and the food is all allergy-free.  No gluten, no peanut butter, no poor kid with food allergies feeling like a leper.  The Maine Jump is a good value, especially considering the quality nap your child will take afterwards. 

Another fun Bangor spot is Downtown’s Maine Discovery Museum.  Interactive is the name of the game here.  Every exhibit is a sensory or tactile experience, with each designed to educate about Maine or inspire the imagination.  There’s a working replica of the Tidely Idely (for Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man fans) and a giant, climbable tree house, among other attractions.  For quiet spaces, there’s also an exact set up of the room from Good Night Moon, with copies of the book so that you can read it with your child.

Last summer, the CMBG opened a beautiful children’s garden.  I’ve heard some visitors describe it as “Disney-esque” in quality.  There are scheduled story hours and kitchen garden events, but the real highlight is the beginning of August’s Maine Fairy House Festival.  If you have a little girl who’s all about princesses, this will be right up her alley.  But tourism planners in Boothbay Harbor are no fools – the Maine Fairy House Festival also coincides with a Thomas the Train tour on a local historic railway.  There’s also an oceanarium nearby with an awesome touch tank, making Boothbay and CMBG a nice visit.

If you really want to explore Maine, there’s a new Web site that can help you find hiking trails for any ability. has mapped and rated trails all over the state.  In Western Maine, where Sam grew up, there’s even a group of people called the “Peak a Week” club, who hike progressively more difficult trails each week through the course of the summer.  In our area, we stick to some of the easier trails, which seem to surround so many of the lakes.  This helps both Harry and I – I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world, and with a baby in a Baby Bjorn, I need something easy.  Our favorite is a 15 minute ascent called French’s Mountain.  At the top, you have 180 degree views of the Belgrade Lakes.  It’s easy enough that Harry was walking up it without a problem at age 2.

Worthwhile Tourist Trap – Old Orchard Beach
Pier fries, snow cones, sand castles and the largest carnival/amusement park in Northern New England.  What’s not to love?  Don’t get me wrong, OOB is crowded and some of the tourists that come could learn some better manners, but all in all, it makes for a good day trip.  We conquered Harry’s fear of carousels this weekend, which was totally worth it.  We also discovered a great parking area (Jimmy’s) that had beach access AND included private restrooms in the price of parking. 

Another great Tourist Trap – L.L. Bean in Freeport
You can’t drive through Southern Maine without stopping at L.L. Bean, especially if you’ve never been before.  There’s a giant Bean boot that makes a great photo op, plus a play area in the kids’ section with lots of interactive and learning spaces.  Our favorite part is the big aquarium, rainbow trout and other native fish species.  But the really cool part of the aquarium is its “bubble,” letting a little person feel like he or she is in the tank with the fish.  L.L. Bean has lots of free concerts and child-friendly activities, since Freeport is its flagship store.  Just remember, though, if you go for a big event, you’ll have to wait in line for a chance at the bubble!

Open Lighthouse Day
If you love Pete’s Dragon, you can have the opportunity to visit a real Maine lighthouse on September 17.  Lighthouses all over Maine are open to the public that day as part of an awareness program by the U.S. Coast Guard.  Depending on the lighthouse you visit, you can go pretty high up in the tower.  It’s really cool.

Less costly than York’s Wild Kingdom (which is also an amusement park), the MWP showcases rehabilitation and conservation efforts of native species.  Bottom line – if you want to see a moose and a black bear, you can see one here.

Bar Harbor and Acadia could totally be their own entire post.  There is a lot to do here and there are some neat historical features to the area that make it a can’t miss place to visit.  Park yourself at Rosalie’s Pizza when you’re tired after a long day – some of the best pizza in Northern New England.

So, come and see us!  We’re worth the trip!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Audubon Fort Wildlife Refuge

So we completed the third of the at least six we need to do as part of our Passport to the Trails program through the Audobon Society of RI.
It was a gorgeous day and we were up early, so I packed some snacks, water, and their bikes and off we went.  The Fort Wildlife Refuge Trail is located on Route 5 in North Smithfield, across from Primrose Fire Department.  The terrain on the blue trail itself was pretty doable, but it was the freaking bugs that were making us use our fast feet.  Even though we doused ourselves with OFF, they found every spot that apparently wasn't like our eyes, ears and nostrils.  It was really annoying.  And we now have welts on our bodies that rival small countries.

The boys decided we all needed names on this hike.  I was "Captain", because I was the adult.  Mudge was "Look Out" for a couple of reasons: 1. He was using the binoculars 2. I kept having to tell me to look out because he wasn't watching where he was stepping.  Boog was "The Entomologist" because he was the expert.

Despite the bugs, we prevailed and located the Frog rubbing near the pond.  We really didn't stop much because of the bugs, and I ended up carrying Mudge some of the way.  But it was a good mile of being outdoors, going through "Fern Forest" and over "Broken Stump Log" as the boys cleverly named them.

Now I have to decide which one we'll do next...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Road ID, My Family's Peace of Mind

It started when Kyle began running about a year ago. He had little choice but to run in dark.  Durty Feets told me about his Road ID so I looked into the company. Road ID is well known among runners for their basic concept of an identification bracelet for the just-in-cases of the world.  You know, get hit by a car, have an asthma attack, pass out from heat exhaustion, whatever.

At Christmas time, I purchased the Wrist ID Sport (above), the Firefly Supernova in blue (below), Firelfy laces and some Speede and Aireator socks. Like I said he was running at night, I wanted him to make it home. He could have caused a seizure to drivers with the Supernova on blink mode, but he could be seen.  And that's what I wanted.

But now fast forward to current day.  I have been running for a few months, completed one 5K, and had done so using my husband's identification.  Kinda funny since my cell is on his bracelet so that wouldnt do me any good; luckily it has room for 2 contacts.  Finally the other day, I purchased my own Road ID Slim, which is basically a silicone wrist band with the metal identification piece attached.

I've worn it running, and I am also wearing it when I am out with the kids for the same reasons.  My oldest knows our home telephone number, but in case of emergency the Road ID has my two contacts.  God forbid anything happens during a nature walk or a bike ride, at least someone can get in touch with my family.  I am actually considering getting the two boys their own IDs as well.  It is also a good alternative to the medical ID bracelet and because it comes in different colors and styles, children with special needs can wear it without feeling funny, especially if they have the Shoe or the Ankle ID.  And now, Road ID has come out with a pooch friendly Scout ID that doesn't jingle, like the one our dog Maggie uses.
There are tons of reason to check out Road ID, but the main one is for peace of mind, which is why it was created.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Acme Anvils hit my kids every couple of days....

I always giggle to myself when I see the boys hit the wall.  You know, after going full speed swimming, biking or playing, just the simple request or phrase of anything turns into a full blown wail storm of crocodile tears...

It kinda reminds me of old Bugs Bunny cartoons when Wile E. Coyote is chasing the Road Runner; kids are going along full speed them BAM! Down for the count.

Actually, I think Wile E. Coyote is the quintessential preschooler.  Just going and going, thinking it is a good idea, chasing after the fun.  To be ultimately smashed by the acme exhaustion anvil.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Ate My Children....

 Finally, we made it to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  Since I've had the boys, every year I have wanted to make the trip out to Western Mass to visit it because who hasn't read his stories.
It was only a 1/2 hour from Magic Wings so I figured we were heading south and east to go to my dad's house before going home, so why not stop.  Wonderfully, they accepted AAA and apparently had some Groupon discounts as well.  So for the three of us was just over $15.
Boog was so excited to read to Mudge inside the caterpillar, which was just a little quiet nook with little bench seats inside to explore some books.

The museum itself had three exhibit halls.  One with Eric Carle memorabilia, and two others with works from featured authors Tomi Ungerer and Barbara McClintock.

The boys had to complete a scavenger hunt of things A thru Z found in the artwork, which was a great way to engage them in it.  Then we went to In the Art Studio to make experiment with the color black.

 But alas, it was time to go.  With artwork in hand, and of course a opportunity with the Punch Buggy Caterpillar, we were off.
I am glad we went.  Though we didn't look at everything, like the library and the auditorium movie, we came, we saw, we enjoyed it.