Monday, November 30, 2015

11/30/15: Space Farm from Thames and Kosmos Review

I have another cool unique holiday gift idea that is great for girls or boys and better yet, no batteries required.  I have always loved kits from Thames and Kosmos and they have come out with another cool one called Space Farm.  Kids can learn what is like to grow plants in a greenhouse dome and in hydroponic tubes without soil!
Here you can see everything the kit comes with.  It is super easy to get started growing.  It even comes with a cool backdrop and little Geekstronaut figures to keep an eye on your space farm as it grows.

First you start out by putting the soil in to the small pots.

Then you add seeds for Tiger’s Jaws (Faucaria tigrina) to each of the pots of soil.
Add some water with the pipette they provide and your plants are ready to grow.  Just put them in to your little space farm with the dome it comes with over it.
The next one was my favorite.  Using a solution that is provided and water you pour that in to a bowl and bring to a light boil.  I did this in the microwave for Evan.  Once the solution bubbles a little split the solution in to two containers.
There are two tablets, one for each container that get mixed in.  This makes a yellow and a green solution that gets heated again.
You then pour your solution in to the hydroponic tubes and put a paper towel over the top until they cool.  When they are cooled they are a gel!  Once the gel is cooled just add your seeds to each and they are ready to grow.
There are also some experiments in the set.  Look at how cool our Space Farm looks!  We can't wait to see what they grow in to!
The set has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $19.99.
What a great gift for this holiday season.  Learn more here:
Disclosure:  I was provided with this Space Farm set for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Friday, November 27, 2015

11/27/15: Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker Dress Rehearsal and Meeting the Cast

I am not going to lie, there are days like today where being a blogger is pretty awesome.  I was able to take my daughter and her friend to dress rehearsal for the Boston Ballet's presentation of Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House.  Plus we got to meet many of the dancers in the show!  What a dream come true for any dancer!  The show runs until December 31st so make sure to get your tickets now.
The girls were extremely excited to go to the show.  Here they are ready to go in.  
Doing a pose as we entered.
 There is a beautiful tree at the top of the stairs of the Boston Opera House.  A great place for a photograph.
This show truly is breathtaking.  The ability of these dancers is amazing!  I was not allowed to take pictures during the show however The Boston Ballet did share some images with me that I could utilize in my post.  Honestly pictures can not do it justice.  You need to see it in person.
Show Photos Provided by the Boston Ballet
Here is one of my favorite scenes.  With the snow falling and the beautiful dancing it gives me chills every time I see it. 
 It is just absolutely gorgeous!
We got to meet some of these dancers at intermission which was so awesome for the girls.  They decided to do a dance position with them.
The show has a full company of 57 dancers 11 Boston Ballet II dancers along with more than 200 Boston Ballet School students.  This year also has new lighting design by Mikki Kunttu.
“Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker premiered in 2012 and is based on the libretto by Alexandre Dumas père titled The Tale of the Nutcracker, which is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”  This scene with the Nutcracker and the Rats is such a fun one that the kids love. 
The girls were very excited to meet the Rat King.  What a fantastic costume!
All of the dancing is absolutely amazing.  Plus the costumes are gorgeous.  There are more than 350 handmade costumes in the show!
I was definitely having tutu envy.
The show is wonderful for families and runs about 2 hours long.  There were many giggles for the bear.  I am amazed at how well the bear could dance!  Quite a crowd pleaser.
These dancers were some of our favorites.  The crowd was really responding to them.
The girls meeting one of these dancers.
 There are 42 performances of The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111)!
Tickets start at $35.
I highly suggest taking the family to see it and starting a family tradition or continuing one if you already have been. 
Follow Boston Ballet on Twitter:  @BostonBallet  #BBNutcracker
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Disclosure:  I was provided with tickets for this show to attend.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

11/27/15: Elf the Broadway Musical in Boston

What a better way to get in to the holiday spirit than watching a holiday show live!  We were lucky enough to go to Elf the Broadway Musical at the Citi Wang Theatre in Boston recently.  This show is so much fun for the entire family!   Judging by the reaction of the audience I think everyone really enjoyed the show.
The show is playing in Boston until December 6th so you still have time to buy tickets.Elf The Musical has opened in Boston. To buy tickets visit 
 When a movie is turned in to a Musical I am always a bit worried of how it will compare.  This show truly captured the spirit of the movie and retold it in a wonderful way.
From the very beginning of the show everyone was enthralled.  I loved how Santa starts out and talks to the audience about the story of Buddy the Elf and even had a shout out to the New England Patriots.  The show really is hilarious at times and very touching.
All show photos credit to Amy Boyle
The highlight of the show and the shining star is Buddy the Elf!
His dancing, singing and acting were spot on.  You could not help but giggle every time he did something.  He truly acted like a "fish out of water" in New York City.
There were so many touching moments with him.  You truly felt for him and wanted him to be happy.  I must admit I left the theatre singing "Buddy the Elf, It's the Story of Buddy the Elf".  Such a catchy tune.
The whole cast was so high energy.  The dancing and singing were wonderful.  The moments with Jovie were really sweet too.
 I love when they were skating together at Rockefeller Center.  It was so beautifully done.
The music was wonderful also along with all the props and back drops.  One of our favorite musical numbers was "Nobody Cares About Santa".  They did a great job with this.
I love the depiction of a family with a Dad who is always busy for work and then learning the true meaning of Christmas by the end of the show.
When they sang the Christmas Song to get Santa's sleigh going I loved it.  "Just sing a Christmas song, it's like magic if things go wrong. Just spread some Christmas cheer, by singing loud for all to hear".  It was so beautiful.
Honestly not to sound totally sappy but sometimes we get totally caught up in the buying gifts and everything we need to "do" for the holidays that we forget some of what the season is all about.  I love another line from the Christmas Song "The ornaments you made way back in second grade, untangling Christmas lights...let those moments live again".  It did make me think back to when I was a child at Christmas and how magical it really was and it helped me put things in perspective.  Being a parent can make the holidays overwhelming but if we focus on believing in the magic of the season it makes it a wonderful time of year!
Here is the Full Tour Schedule:
Check it out when it comes near you.  You will have so much fun!
Disclosure:  I was provided with tickets for my family and I to attend the show for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 23, 2015

11/23/15: Win 4 Tickets to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The Musical

I can't count how many times I have seen the holiday special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  I love that it has been brought live to the stage.  This show looks so fun and great to take the family to.  It is coming to the Citi Shubert Theatre for one week only from December 1st to the 6th and I am giving away 4 tickets!  Read on to win.
All Photos courtesy of Jesse Ashton Photography
After becoming an instant holiday hit in Boston in a sell-out engagement last season, an original television Christmas classic comes to life again as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical returns to the Citi Performing Arts Shubert Theatre stage, playing December 1 – 6 for 13 performances.
I also have a discount for the show to save 25% per ticket!
Enter the code RUMEM for these performances: 
Tue, Dec 1 @ 7pm Wed, Dec 2 @ 7pm Thu, Dec 3 @ 7pm Fri, Dec 4 @ 7pm 
More about the Show:
In 1964, the beloved stop-motion animated television classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, made its network television debut delighting audiences across the country.  This season, the “most famous reindeer of all” from the longest running and highest rated television special will return live on stage with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical.  The world’s most famous reindeer and a holly jolly cast of iconic characters including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster will help Santa save Christmas during three North American tours visiting 50 cities this holiday season. “Because our inaugural run was so popular, we will have three tours this year in an effort to bring Rudolph and his friends to even more families and young theatergoers across North America,” says Producing Partner Jonathan Flom. 
 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical practically transports audience members into the television special as songs drive the plot while familiar and nostalgic set design with projections, costumes and characters are brought to stage.  The cast brings new energy to the classic songs and dialogue, while irresistible and lovable puppets help showcase the charming “roughness” from the television show’s stop-motion effects.  “We address all of the familiar story elements from the television special with a talented cast and puppeteers who help recreate the magic on stage,” says Producing Partner Bob Penola.  
The story tells the tale of a young Rudolph who, because of the appearance of his bright, shining nose, is ousted from the reindeer games in Christmas-town.  He flees town, meets up with new friends Hermey and Yukon, and a series of funny and endearing adventures ensue including a visit to The Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph journeys home, where a snowstorm of epic proportions is threatening Christmas.  Can Rudolph save his family and friends and help Santa save the holiday? 
The production will expand on its campaign benefiting PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center.  
This show looks awesome and I can't wait to go see it! 
Win 4 Tickets to the show on December 1st at 7 pm. Enter below!
Disclosure:  I received 4 tickets for my family to attend the show and 4 tickets to giveaway for promotional purposes.  No other compensation has been received and all opinions are my own. a Rafflecopter giveaway