Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fun at The Crayola Experience

Last month I signed up with the following blog entry for a chance to win a complimentary, fun-filled day at The Crayola Experience for my family. I was asked to share why I thought it would be a great chance to win, and then didn't hold my breath.  If anything, it opened my eyes to a place that was not already on my parent radar as a kid-friendly place to consider for Sarah.

To my surprise, I was randomly selected as one of ten winners to receive admission tickets along with a $50 gas stipend for transportation.
Most adventure or activity type places such as The Crayola Experience including Great Adventure, Sesame Place, Hershey Park or even Disneyland, have a cost for entrance that can seem a bit high, especially for big families. However, if you plan ahead, seek out any promotions in advance, consider carpooling with friends like we did, and bring along food and snacks, you can save money in other ways and still have an enjoyable time that is fun and memorable. 

When I stood in front of The Crayola Experience all I could do was smile. I was ready to be a kid myself.  That's the beauty of being a parent. While you still have to be responsible here you too can unlock your youth and relive fun memories and experiences.  
I love arts and crafts so you can imagine that I was in it with Sarah every step of the way drawing on computers watching my designs dance around on walls and making wall art on paper plates with melted crayons.  
There was so much to do. Let's see, you can:

- Draw messages on computers that danced on walls (left) 
- Develop personalized crayons and wrappers
- Create markers of one or two colors
- Take and print images from photo booth (above)
- Make personalized puzzles (below)
- Design a paper car with melted crayons that dries in seconds 

And, there was so much more.
Lest I not forget to mention, there is also a nice size jungle gym that gives parents a rest and the kids a chance to run around and be crazy. In fact, when I needed a mental break while Sarah was playing with her friends in the gym area I sat down at one of the many tables and made a treasure box with tissue paper squares and glue and took a much-needed moment to chill out, not think, and breathe doing something I enjoy.

Certainly bring your camera to capture the fun memories and activities you will do together with your child. Also be prepared to come home with a baggie, provided as part of admission, filled with lots of arts and crafts projects done onsite.

With four floors of interactive and unique attractions there is certainly something to meet all of your family's wishes and interests.  

A cool part of the exhibit was learning about the history of Crayola and how the crayons are made.

It was pretty neat.

When I left The Crayola Experience I kept saying that I wished we could have spent more time on the fourth floor.  I especially loved the melted crayons to apply on paper cars. They dried so quickly I kept wanting to do more. If only we weren't so tired from our full day of activities. To do again, I would start on the top floor and work my way down. 

Here are suggested tips for your visit:
  • Plan ahead
  • Visit Monday through Friday versus weekends as crowds are less
  • Seek out any promotions in advance
  • Consider carpooling with friends/family
  • Bring along food and snacks, and water
  • There will be so many things your kids will make and be able to take home. Therefore, no need to visit the gift shop if you are looking to keep your trip budget-friendly.  You will have many keepsakes from your visit.

Expect to be tired after your visit to The Crayola Experience but if you pace yourself and get there early it can indeed be a fun filled day. I do suggest that if you are at all able to visit Monday through Friday that is certainly better as the crowds are much less than the weekends.

One request I would like to suggest for The Crayola Experience is that they have a "rest area" for parents whose children need a nap and a place that we can bring blankets for them to lay on to take a cat nap or come down from the high if necessary before proceeding with doing more.

All in all...this was a fun experience and look forward to doing it again. Thanks Crayola!

Disclosure: "The Crayola Experience Tickets for Admission and the Gas Card were provided by Crayola."



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11: Never Forget

Sarah's drawing of the Twin Towers
Tragedy struck us
On September 11
Must never forget

Cherish family
And friends who are special to
Thankful for living

Share this history
Keep the memory alive
Time to remember

The World Trade Center
Had a life all of its own
Work, play, fun, and more

Hug our loved ones
Remember, never forget
Be sad, be thankful

Those whose lives were lost
Forever in our hearts
We will not forget

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Happy Jewish New Year - Helping Kids to Believe

A tasty treat of apples and honey
is a great way to toast the New Year,
that and a glass of wine too.
To all of you, my faithful readers, and your loved ones who celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah -- L' Shanah Tovah -- Happy New Year.

I wish you and your families a prosperous, happy, and healthy new year filled with renewal and forgiveness and the great start to many things grand.

The start of Rosh Hashanah is my favorite time of the year. I have to admit that this year I am a bit caught off guard with it starting at the beginning of September and during the first week if school. Not exactly the best way to go into the holiday, a bit stressed.

What I most love about this holiday is that it's like a restart button. You look at the past year of life and reflect on what you did, what you said, who you hurt literally and figuratively, what you did for your community, and the way you treated yourself.

The latter is often an offense many of us commit.

We often hear the phrase that we must love ourselves before we can love others fully. This couldn't be more true. While we may not love everything about ourselves it is this time of year to forgive ourselves for being so hard on ourselves and give ourselves a break.

This is a lesson that regardless of religion should be taught to children so that they can grow up with confidence.

I know all too well that it is easy to hard on oneself. However, in order to admit, then forgive and move past it, you will always be stuck. We are human. We may not love everything about ourselves, but we can certainly be nicer to ourselves.

While many look at the World's New Year in January as the time for reflection and new beginnings, as Jewish people that time is now for us.

From a previous blog post on Mommy's Point of View I said, "It is a significant time dedicated to reflection, thoughts for change, memories of the past personally and historically, and commitment and plans for fresh starts personally, professionally, and in local, national and global communities. It's also a time for family gatherings, special meals and sweet tasting foods, especially apples and honey to celebrate this joyous New Year."

Further, "Jewish people commit to resolutions, but don't call them resolutions. For example, wanting to lose weight, quit smoking or start exercising are important life-altering behavioral changes, but on this holiday our commitments run deeper and involve change that centers on righting the wrongs we have done to others, and to ourselves, and to establish new paths for growth, change and Jewish learning moving forward. It's as if we get to the meaning behind how we feel, the anger we have against ourselves, and the emotional and physical commitment to make a change."

Therefore, it is my job to look in the mirror to be honest with myself, be happy for whom I am and who I have become, and to be the parent I am and wish to be, and to love me. It is also time for change all around. It could be getting more involved in your community, making a new friend, apologizing to someone for how they have been treated, or asking yourself for forgiveness and starting a new.

As parents we have a great responsibility to help our children to understand what it means to believe including traditions, values, and history to help them start on the path to their own spiritual connection.

I look forward to continuing the education with my daughter on the traditions I grew up with and those I have come to love and appreciate and own in my adulthood, and creating new memories with her to have for years to come.

I wish you a sweet and joyous new year, prosperity, love, happiness and, most importantly, good health.

Happy New Year. L'Shanah Tovah.

Halloween Candy for the Troops

While we all recover from over indulging in too much candy during Halloween, still the candy is in our homes staring at us willing us to...