Four Little Monsters Blog
The adventures of a Mom and her monsters.
Four Little Monsters is your source for family friendly event, product  and travel reviews in Mid-Atlantic USA. We find fun wherever we go, even right here at home.
Philly, Baltimore, Wilmington, DC, In Between and beyond. 
Kids, Family, Family Events, Philadelphia Theater, Pennsylvania Events, Maryland Events, Delaware Events, Kids Events, Kids Have Fun, Kids Clothes, Kids Rooms

DIY Easy, Affordable Floral Arrangements from Bloominous for Weddings & Special Events

by EJ on 10/27/14


When planning floral arrangements for our wedding back in 2007, we were simply overwhelmed. The wedding florist markup was insane: $5 boutonnieres, $40 centerpieces and $50 bouquets. Due to budget constraints, we opted for a near-everything DIY wedding. These days it's totally cool for brides to lean more toward DIY to cut costs. As with most DIY projects, there's a ton of research, purchasing and arranging to make it work which can prove just as overwhelming and more time-consuming than hiring someone to do it for you. Thanks to Bloominous, however, there's an easier way to handle the DIY floral aspect of wedding and special events without having to overwhelm yourself or your budget.


What are the advantages of using Bloominous DIY Floral Arrangements for your wedding or special event?

1. Save Money. With Bloominous, brides can save anywhere from 30 to 50% off their original floral budget. Each piece is priced without the typical 300% markup of wedding florists.

2. Bloominous provides easy DIY floral projects. Most DIY services do not send prepped flowers. Bloominous flowers come cut-to-order, dethorned and trimmed, saving you a ton of time. Each kit comes with step-by-step photographic instructions for easy assembly. Each piece takes ten to twenty minutes to assemble and includes flower care products and design tips. 

3. Collections featuring specialty flowers are designed by a florist with 10+ years of experience in event and floral design. Trends, vases and favor ideas are offered on the blog to inspire a complete look.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters was compensated for this promotional post.

 

Five Star Home Foods, Inc. Food Delivery Serving PA, DE, NJ and MD, FREE Sample Pack of Meats and Veggies

by EJ on 10/27/14

Fellow moms and dads of many, imagine this: top-quality, natural meats, poultry and more delivered right to your freezer without you having to step foot into a grocery store, eliminating the grocery store markup. Imagine that you get to pick from over three-hundred food items and change the menu as you please. On top of that, you also get a free deep freezer, allowing you to store four to six months of food at a time. Imagine all that time saved. Impossible? Not at all. With Five Star Foods, this can be your reality. 

Five Star Home Foods, Inc. FREE Sample Pack
Food choices include over three-hundred natural-growth, hormone-free meats and poultry, wild caught seafood, pastas, organic vegetables and juices, whole grain breads, cookie doughs and desserts. New choices are added monthly. Food orders are customized with the help of a Five Star representative using your budget, family size and food preferences. Delivery is completely free. There are no membership fees. You order when you want and you are not locked in to order again if you choose not to. Food is portioned perfectly, vacuum sealed and flash frozen. 

Request a FREE SAMPLE pack and sit down with a Five Star Home Foods representative who will explain the service in the comfort of your own home.

Five Star Home Foods Pork Sample
Our sample pack, shown above, included two perfectly sized portions of chicken breast, two pork chops, two chopped steaks and one bag of broccoli. If you live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland, request your free sample pack HERE.

We cooked the pork first, which was perfectly portioned at 6 oz. for each serving. We fed two adults and four children. This might be pushing it for some families but our kids are not huge meat eaters - yet - so the portions worked out perfectly for us. Plus, we're used to buying the thin-sliced pork in the grocery store so these were a feast. Our Five Star pork was not thin-sliced at all. Each chop was thick and juicy. 

I cooked our pork in a pan, using a red pepper, garlic marinade with crushed mustard seeds and paprika, topped with buttery sauteed onions and chives. The difference in the meat compared with what we normally buy at the grocery store was remarkable. The pork was paired with Five Star broccoli and a homemade garlic-butter sauce. The whole family really enjoyed the meal.

The Five Star Home Foods Process has many built-in advantages.

When you request your FREE Five Star Home Foods sample pack, a culinary consultant will contact you to schedule a meeting time at your home. The consultant will assist you in customizing a meal plan based on your family's needs, budget and preferences. If you place an order, it is delivered within two to three weeks. A Five Star delivery specialist then arrives at your home and packs your orders' contents into your freezer, moving items remaining from any previous orders to the front. You can always follow up on the Five Star website for recipes with great accompanying pictures.

The Five Star Home Foods Safeguard operates under the highest standards. Following proper aging, all meats are trimmed, portioned and packaged. Each portion is labeled, vacuum-sealed in airtight, transparent wrap that prevents against freezer burn and also prevents dehydration and color changes. After wrapping, meats are flash frozen to seal in vitamin-rich juices and maintain freshness. Unlike grocery stores, which are inspected maybe once a year (and are warned ahead of time), the Five Star facility is federally inspected daily by the USDA. An on-site USDA office guarantees the safest and highest quality of food. 

Save on food prices the longer you remain a customer with Five Star Home Foods.

If you're married but don't yet have kids and are planning to, you might consider beginning food delivery now. The longer you're a customer, the bigger the savings on your orders later on. As your family grows, your food costs decrease. Plus, you'll earn savings on appliances like commercial freezers or protection plans on existing freezers over time, too. Check out the rewards program HERE.

Check Four Little Monsters Blog later on this week for more on our meeting with a Five Star Culinary Consultant. Keep checking back over the next three months for continued updates on our Five Star experience.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received a free delivery of Five Star Home Foods product in exchange for promotion and honest reviews. For every new customer referred by Four Little Monsters, Five Star Home Foods, Inc. will donate $100 to the blog. All opinions do belong to the blogger.

 

Delaware Kid Stuff Coupon Book, Review & Giveaway

by EJ on 10/09/14


I'm not a huge fan of fundraiser season in schools. I groan when all four kids come home begging me to sell, sell, sell so they can win some plastic light-up thingy. Of course I want to raise money for kids' education but all the fundraisers that come home from school and extracurricular activities gets overwhelming. Plus, it's hard to ask friends and family to buy products like candles and wrapping paper - not that enticing and way overpriced. However, I just discovered a fundraiser product that really did impress me and that I believe parents and families will want to buy. It's the KidStuff Coupon Book, a leading fundraiser coupon savings book sold exclusively through schools.

The KidStuff mission is to raise money for education. Since 1993, KidStuff has raised over $55 million. Schools earns 50% of the profit from the coupon book sales. That's $12.50 or more for every book sold that goes right back into your child's school. The Delaware edition costs parents $25 and is good through next December 31st of 2015. The savings inside spanning hundreds of vendors far exceeds the money spent on the book. The vendor selection is huge and with the holiday season sneaking up on us, families can use the KidStuff Coupon Book to save on the products they actually want to buy and of course, save money doing so.

This year's Delaware edition of KidStuff includes savings for families on shopping, activities and food at these fabulous locations: Toys“R”Us, Babies“R”Us, Macy’s, Acme Markets, Sears, Food Lion, Payless, Pathmark, Superfresh, Children’s Place, Loft, Ulta, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dick’s Sporting Goods, H&M, Sports Authority, Party City, Aéropostale, Dorney Park, Crayola, Six Flags, Sesame Place, Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Sciences, Adventure Aquarium, Maryland Zoo, Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery, Stratosphere Trampoline Park, Brandywine Zoo, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Wilmington & Western Railroad, Subway, Dairy Queen, Papa John’s, Saladworks, Domino’s, Carvel, Pizza King, Auntie Anne’s, Rita’s, Little Caesars, Cold Stone, Texas Roadhouse, Dunkin’ Donuts, Taco Bell, Hardee’s, Applebee’s, Wendy’s and hundreds more. You can visit www.KidStuffCouponBook.com to see a full list of vendors and attractions. 

The KidStuff Coupon Book fits nicely in your car or medium-sized purse. Plus, it's super easy to navigate. It's divided into three color coded sections: Blue for Shopping & Services, Yellow for Activities and Red for Food. Whether you want to save on admission to Adventure Aquarium or spend a day shopping at the beach outlets, KidStuff has savings coupons for you. Plus, you can grab a .99 cent latte at Dunkin Donuts on the way. I love that there's a huge selection of coupons for local attractions. We are always out and about and this section will definitely come in handy. Some of the Delaware attractions include the Brandywine River Museum of Art, Brandywine Zoo, Centre Ice Rink at the Delaware State Fair, Christiana Skating Center, Coastal Kayak, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Delaware Theatre Company, Dover Symphony Orchestra, DuPont Theatre, First State Golf Center (Hello, Dad!), Jolly Roger Amusement Park, Lightship Overfalls, Old Pro Golf, Pond Ice Arena, Rookery Golf Club, Wilmington & Western Railroad and so much more!

WIN a copy of Delaware's KidStuff Coupon Book 2014-15

Want to win a copy of the Delaware 2014-15 edition of KidStuff Coupon Book!? THREE lucky readers will WIN a Delaware edition KidStuff Coupon Book. Enter using the widget below.


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Monster Jam at Wells Fargo Center, Review

by EJ on 10/04/14

My boys and I experienced our very first Monster Jam show last night at Wells Fargo Center in Philly. Monster Jam, a mixture of sports, monster truck stunts and performance, promised high-intensity entertainment for families. Honestly, I didn't expect to love Monster Jam as much as I did. My sons were enthralled from the very first moment to the last. Apparently, due to the smaller venue (Wells Fargo Center doesn't have the room that some of the other Monster Jam shows do), the stunts weren't as amazing as some of the videos we found online, but my boys didn't care. Each time a truck jumped up into the air, my four year old would stand up and throw his hands up with excitement. It was pretty cool to see him so into the show. They loved that each Monster Truck had a name and very unique look. We picked our favorites and cheered like mad.

I've got two very different boys. My four year old is the rough and tumble, beat everything up, yell everything he says kid. He just loves trucks and anything with wheels. My six old is more reserved, more into characters and super heroes and story lines. He doesn't care too much for trucks and things that go. However, Monster Jam was the best of both worlds, pleasing them both. Each truck had a "personality" and my six year old thought that was great. It was a little bit like wrestling when the drivers made their victory speeches and taunted the audience but not on a ridiculous level like wrestling. It was kid-friendly. He couldn't wait to get his hands on his favorite souvenir truck to take home. My four year old, on the other hand, loved the stunts and the cheering and all the noise.

Rule number one when seeing Monster Jam... bring ear plugs! Make sure they're good and tight in your ears when Grave Digger is out driving because that truck is INSANE CRAZY FRUITCAKE LOUD. If the good Samaritan behind us hadn't handed me two sets of extra ear plugs he had, we wouldn't have survived the whole performance. My ears still hurt today. My boys, however, were totally comfortable with their ear plugs. Of course, they sell Monster Jam licensed ear covers and stuff inside, but they definitely weren't cheap.

Oh yes, we'll definitely check out more Monster Jam in the future. We had a really good time. Like... a really good time!


There's still time to check out Monster Jam tonight at Wells Fargo Center. Check it out tonight at 7:30 PM!

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog received Monster Jam tickets in exchange for promotion and review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

 

Monster Jam Opens Tonight in Philly at Wells Fargo Center

by EJ on 10/03/14

Monster Jam hits Philly at Wells Fargo Center beginning tonight October 4th through Sunday, October 5th. The coolest Monster Trucks from all around the world including Grave Digger, Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Captain's Curse, Spider Man, Team Hot Wheels, Black Stallion, Overkill Evolution and El Toro Loco will come together for this action-packed event. Monster Jam is an awesome blend of sports and entertainment showcasing amazing stunts using the world's coolest Monster Trucks. 

I'm taking my Dad and my two boys so we'll be back to the blog this weekend with a review of the event. I'm assuming that my rough and tumble, toy smashing, destroy-everything-in-sight four year old is going to think the whole thing is amazing. He loves trucks. He also loves to smash them into things likes walls... and his little sister. Sigh. Therefore, Monster Jam is right up his alley. I'm slightly more than a bit excited to take him.

Save on Tickets to Monster Jam at Wells Fargo Center
There's still time to check out Monster Jam with our exclusive discount code. Enter promo code "BLOG" to save $10 off $25 and $35 tickets for tonight's performance using this link.
 
Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog received tickets for a Monster Jam performance in exchange for promotion and review.

Dreadnoughtus Day at the Academy of Natural Sciences this weekend in Philly

by EJ on 09/18/14

Calling all dinosaur lovers! This Saturday, September 20th, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University celebrates the gigantic dinosaur Dreadnoughtus with Dreadnoughtus Day, a day devoted to this 65-ton supermassive plant-eating prehistoric dino and the scientists that discovered the fossils. Lead paleontologist Ken Locovara, PhD of Drexel University, will be on hand to answer questions and show the fossils. 

Auditorium lectures will include The Discovery of Dreadnoughtus with paleontologist Ken Locovara at 11 am and Life in the Field with Jason Poole, the Academy's Dinosaur Hall coordinator, artist and one of the discoverers of the Dreadnoughtus fossils at 2:30 pm.

Fossil specimens from Dreadnoughtus will be on display all day, ONLY for this event. Kids and families can talk to team members who were in Argentina when the fossils were discovered as well as the experts who prepared the fossils for display.

In North American Hall, visitors can learn about sauropods, titanosaurs and paleontology at a fossil discovery station. 

Check back later next week for the Four Little Monsters Review of Dreadnoughtus Day at the Academy!

Visit the Academy online to plan your visit and get more info about Dreadnoughtus Day.


Monster Jam Wells Fargo Center, 4 Pack Ticket Giveaway

by EJ on 09/05/14

Is your little one a fan of huge trucks and big wheels? If so, then you'll want to check out Advance Auto Parts MONSTER JAM coming to Wells Fargo center October 4-6th, 2014. The coolest Monster Trucks from all around the world including Grave Digger, Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Captain's Curse, Spider Man, Team Hot Wheels, Black Stallion, Overkill Evolution and El Toro Loco will come together for this action-packed event. Monster Jam is an awesome blend of sports and entertainment showcasing amazing stunts using the world's coolest Monster Trucks. 

Unique to Monster Jam events, every fan attending the show gets the chance to meet the drivers and get autographs before and after the show. The stars of the show stay until every autograph is signed! 

Save on Tickets to Monster Jam at Wells Fargo Center

Enter promo code "BLOG" to save $10 off $25 and $35 tickets for Friday night's performance using this link.

WIN a Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Monster Jam at Wells Fargo Center for Friday, Oct. 4th

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below for chances to win a family 4 pack of tickets to Friday night's Monster Jam performance.

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Track Great White Sharks in Real Time Using OCEARCH.ORG #SHARKWEEK

by EJ on 08/13/14

My husband happened to be surfing for the first time in ten years when "Genie" the 14-foot Great White Shark decided to visit the coast of Assateague Island, Maryland last month. No, he didn't come face to face with Genie. In fact, we found her ping marker in an online map in our exact location and time we were there using OCEARCH.ORG. Of course, we happened upon this data the day after his surfing adventure. I'm not sure he would have gone in the water if he'd known ahead of time. When he did find out who he was swimming with, he was pretty impressed with himself.


Whether you want to check out who is or who is not in your area when you're taking a swim at the beach, OCEARCH Shark Tracker is an incredible tool to have at your fingertips. OCEARCH is an ambitious shark tagging project that provides you the ability to track over one hundred sharks, seventy of them Great Whites, along the Eastern seaboard in real time online. The OCEARCH mission is global conservation for these apex predators as well as public safety. For our family, OCEARCH makes shark education accessible to the kids, who love to track their favorite sharks up and down the coast. When a shark pings in near us, we all get so excited.

Sharks are infinitely amazing creatures, predating pretty much anything on this planet with a spine. OCEARCH makes these apex predators of the seas more accessible to us landlubbers while promoting their conservation as well as your protection.

Teach kids about conservation of Great White Sharks using OCEARCH.ORG.

Our kids need to know that Great White Sharks are particularly vulnerable since humans have over hunted them for years and years. Tracking sharks allows scientists to understand their lives and behaviors. Why continue to conserve and protect the Great White Shark? Apex predators are like the lions of the ocean, keeping the ecosystem in balance. To remove the king of the food chain would disrupt the entire system. Not to mention, a creature that's been around for as long as sharks deserves some serious respect.

Photo courtesy of OCEARCH.ORG

Since we were in such close proximity to her, Genie remains our favorite shark to track. She was originally the first shark tagged in the OCEARCH project. She was tagged in Cape Cod back in September of 2012. She measures 14 feet and 8 inches long and weighs in at 2292 pounds and has traveled nearly 5000 miles since she was tagged. She's not as coast-hugging as some other sharks but her travels are fascinating. In the past year, she's traveled up and down the East Coast, from Rhode Island down to the bottom of Georgia and back again. She last pinged in at sea off of Georgia and South Carolina in late July.

Remember, if you want a healthy ocean, you need sharks!

 

#SharkWeek Easy Shark Party Menu & Crafts for Kids & Family

by EJ on 08/11/14

In celebration of Discovery Channel's Shark Week kick-off the monsters partied like sharks last night, gobbling up fried fish, steamed shrimp and an ocean-blue cream cheese, pineapple-raspberry pie. Then we made our annual Shark Hat crafts to watch the premier in style.


The Shark Party Menu.

Fish sticks or homemade fried fish. Substitute mozzarella sticks if you're not a seafood family.
Steamed Shrimp.
Seaweed Salad (we just used all green veggies like cucumbers, green peppers and onions). Top it off with some Italian dressing.
Dessert can be as creative as you want. We chose cream cheese, crushed pineapples and whipped marshmallow for a pie. After mixing up all the ingredients, we added blue-raspberry
flavoring in our cheesecake-marshmallow pie, to turn the whole thing blue. Then we used whipped cream to shape some waves on top, and carved chocolate into shark fins, which popped out from the waves. 

 The Shark Party Crafts.

We make Shark Hats every year and wear them when we watch Shark Week. This year's hats were more creative than ever.

Grab some construction paper, scissors, glue and tape. Measure the bands first, then cut out your shark head shapes and attach the mouths, teeth and eyes. Attach the shark's head to the band using tape, for immediate wear.
 

4th Annual #SharkWeek Blog Event at Four Little Monsters, Commence!

by EJ on 08/10/14

This time of year gives us some super warm fuzzies here at Four Little Monsters Blog - why, it's Shark Week! Discovery Channel's Shark Week begins tonight, August 10th at 8 PM and runs through next Saturday, August 16th. Living along the Atlantic gives us a special appreciation for all things ocean-dwelling and sharks certainly top the list.

For our 4th annual Shark Week Blog Event, we'll be focusing on kid-friendly shark fun and hosting an awesome giveaway at the end of the week. So let's get our Shark Hats ready, (see here) bake up some Shark-friendly treats (see here) and get this week-long Shark Party started.

Here's a rundown of Shark Week's 2014 lineup:

Sunday, August 10. 8 PM: Air Jaws: Fins of Fury. 9 PM: Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine.

Monday, August 11. 8 PM: Great White Serial Killer. 9 PM: Jaws Strikes Back. 10 PM: Monster Hammerhead.

Tuesday, August 12. 9 PM: Alien Sharks: A Return to the Abyss. 10 PM: Lair of the Mega Sharks.

Wednesday, August 13. 9 PM: Zombie Sharks. 10 PM: Spawn of Jaws: The Birth.

Thursday, August 14th. 8 PM: I Escaped Jaws 2. 9 PM: Sharkageddon.

Friday, August 15th. 8 PM: Megalodon: The Extended Cut. 9 PM: Megaladon: New Evidence.

Saturday, August 16th: 9 PM: Great White Matrix.


School's Out! A Work from Home Mom's Summer of Madness

by EJ on 08/06/14

You know that time back in high school, when you didn't feel well, and the nurse let you lay down in the sick room for ten minutes before sending you back to class, and you looked up and saw that "BABY'S ARE EXPENSIVE" poster. Yeah, you know the one. While that is definitely true, more so now than then, I'm thinking they need to make another poster... PARENTING IS THE HARDEST THING YOU WILL EVER DO. Money aside, parenting is physical, mental and emotional. I do think a poster like that would deter more young people from having babies early. I mean, parenting is damn hard when you're an adult. SO HARD.

I'll just come right out and say that this summer has been the hardest summer for me so far as a parental unit - and my kids are still young. I just turned thirty. That didn't help my emotional state. I love my kids dearly, and they make me laugh with all their silliness; I beam with pride at their smarts and creativity, their care for one another and their love of exploring this world with me. Let's be honest, though, five kids are LOUD. They ARGUE. They MESS like they're getting paid to mess. Then while you're dealing with all the noise, bickering and messing, you have to conjure up whatever is left of your sanity and soul to raise these little monsters to be good people.

Since school let out in early June, it took me oh, an entire month and more, to wrap my brain around having all five kids in the same house all day long, every day for the entire summer. I'd really gotten spoiled having three kids in preschool all year, one in Kindergarten and a third grader. As a work from home mother since 2005, my routine has evolved so that I start working during the few hours my younger kids are in school, as that's when work actually gets done. Then the little guys nap and I work some more.

So far this summer I feel as though I've been walking around my house for fifty  odd days guzzling coffee and having panic attacks, attempting to talk to customers on my so-called business line while my five year old screams that she never wants to see me again at the top of her lungs because I won't meet her demands for juice during those two tiny minutes I'm talking to said customer, then shuttling kids to whatever day trip, activity or park, grocery store and all those places we go, with my brains completely and utterly scrambled. Whew. Not a sentence. Parenting around the clock while trying to run a company in the same house doesn't always work the way I want it to.

No, being a work at home parent is no walk in the park. Well, I guess it depends on what kind of park we're talking about. I imagine that a park filled with screaming, poop shooting vegetation that wrap their twisty little vines around your ankles, arms and neck while you're trying to make a phone call to a client might be similar. Under the stress, I do occasionally lose sight of why I started this work from home venture years ago in the first place. I had one kid when I started my business. HA. When I'm hiding in the dark, locked bathroom, holding the door knob tight with one fist and emailing a customer on my phone with the other hand, whilst a toddler or two attempts to jimmy the lock on the other side, I grit my teeth and think WHY ME!? Some days are a breeze. Yes, my kids can be absolutely perfect beings. But not every day. They're little humans, after all. They need, need, need and need all the time. They want, want, want and want all the time. It literally never ends. And... that's okay. In fact, I'm pretty lucky there are kids on the other side of that door and not some jerk-faced boss.

Five kids is a lot. It's not like three kids. It's not like ten kids or whatever the saying is. It's like five kids. Whether you've decided to have a big family or fell into it accidentally (we are the latter), you'll likely agree that it tests you daily. If I had a hundred bucks for every time a parent of one said to me, "Wow, five kids? I've only got one and I'm exhausted." Yes. Thank you. Five. I've got five. I am very proud. You've got one. I can't even remember having just one. Don't get me wrong. I totally get this. If your one kid is anything like my toddler then I totally get this. I have a toddler that thinks it's hilarious to run out in the front yard butt naked while I'm busy changing the baby's diaper, despite my repeated "you do not have permission to go outside right now." He waves his winky at all the neighbors and laughs menacingly as I chase him through the garden. Yes, there is kid safety junk all over that door! The boy is smart - and dexterous. This little gremlin vandalizes the walls daily and we've already repainted twice this year. The walls and furniture are his canvases for crayon squiggle art, Sharpie pens that I thought I'd hidden oh so well (we've got Sharpie in the carpets, too) and of course, poop. Good ol' poop. I just cleaned some out of a doll's eyeball and bleached the heck out of that brunette - who is now a blonde. Hey, she's lucky she didn't get thrown in the trashcan.

Go ahead. Tell me to put the crayons on top of the refrigerator. Don't worry, they won't find it there. I think the couch must be throwing up crayons because it does not matter how or where we hide them, toddlers are crayon magnets and they will find every single one. In fact, I think the couch just throws up everything. Specifically, it throws up whatever things I just cleaned up ten minutes ago. Toys. Laundry. Cereal. Actually, it took me a few weeks to realize that AJ had a secret stockpile of all the broken bits of crayons under his mattress. He's got to have other stockpiles, too.

I thought I was done but oh, wait! What about those lovely individuals who make comments like, "Five kids... you and your husband sure are busy." I never can decide if they mean busy chasing after kids or busy making them - maybe both. Shut up!

Anyway, things are finally starting to fall into a semi-routine. Work is on track. It just took me a while to figure out what the heck that new routine was. Now here we are, weeks away from another school year beginning. I actually do love working from home. We can stop what we're doing and check out a museum or visit the playground. I can take the kids out back and soak up some sun when I'm tired of staring at emails. I can build a Lego castle or become a Ninja Turtle stalking the hallways in search of The Foot Clan if called on to do so - at any moment. I can pick up a sick kid from school if the nurse calls. I am always with my children while I'm providing for them. This is one amazing thing that I've built here and something to be proud of. It's not perfect. It's usually a total mess and boy did it muddle my head this summer. But it's us. Maybe I felt like a crazy person last summer and forgot because all the love filled me up since then. Who knows.

As I write this, my oldest son - six - is rolling across the kitchen floor like a burrito in the thick, white comforter I've washed four times this month because he won't stop rolling across the floors in it. Sigh.

Queen with Adam Lambert Concert in Philly via ScoreBig.com, Review

by EJ on 08/05/14

This summer will go down in history as the summer I experienced the concert of a life time, Queen with Adam Lambert. I was able to find amazing seats using ScoreBig.com, a ticket website that can save you up to 60% on the concerts and events you want to see. We saved $40 off the retail price of each ticket, right alongside the stage, using ScoreBig.com.

Musical legends and original members of the British rock band, Brian May and Roger Taylor joined forces with Season 8 American Idol runner up Adam Lambert for this summer's tour. May said in his March 6th interview with Rolling Stone, "This is the closest that you'll ever get to see Queen as it was in our golden days, but it's not a reproduction. It's not an imitation. We're here live and real and we have a great singer. They'll be a lot of newness about this. I think that's very exciting. It'll be loud and dangerous and all the things that people used to look for in us."

I've been a Queen fan ever since I was seven, jamming in my Aunt's car in the parking lot of a local mall. She'd just purchased a Queen Greatest Hits album in honor of the passing of Freddie Mercury. Flash forward to this summer, I arrived at Wells Fargo Center this mid-July, with an unrelenting smile, mascara huge, glitter in my hair and totally ready to rock. Our seats were right along the side of the stage, within a stone's throw of the band's sound system. I spent the hour before the show giggling and admiring the dozen or more guitars just across the walkway being prepped for Brian May.

My husband pointed out the crazy range of ages throughout the audience. There were many old timers, completely decked out in Queen gear and every other age you could imagine right down to a ten year old who wore a sparkling Adam Lambert t-shirt. It seemed like everyone was there. The younger Adam Lambert fans were strewn throughout the stands, but I wondered how those who were not so familiar with the American Idol runner up, the original Queen fans, would take to his singing lead for their beloved band.


The performance did not disappoint - at all. In fact, it was everything and more than I hoped. Though I never had the chance to see Mercury live, there's really no reason to compare the two singers. As May stated, they're not trying to reproduce the original Queen. Lambert is his own thing, bringing a new voice - a powerful one - to Queen, while honoring and paying tribute to what once was. Of course, Lambert brings a theatrical element that is all his own and reminiscent of the flamboyant Mercury, walking the stage like a cat in crazy heeled shoes, studded and sparkling jackets, sunglasses, a shiny gold microphone and my personal favorite, the amazingly glittery diamond crown for the last song. When Adam hopped up on the balcony that hovered over our section and waved at me, I nearly fainted. Even in heels, he is drop dead gorgeous. When he hit those high notes, it felt like my head didn't have room to contain the sound and I had to shake my head to relieve the pressure. Judging from the reactions of the audience, he'd won over a ton of new fans.


Brian May and Roger Taylor gave amazing performances, too. They were total legends, owning the stage in their own right. May, with a camera strapped to the top of his guitar, showed the audience on the big screen, just how talented he still is at sixty-seven years old. May's interpretation of Mercury's "Love of My Life" was one of the most touching performances I've ever seen. His appreciation for the audience and of his former band mate was so genuine.

The memories made that night were many and ScoreBig.com made it happen. Rock on!

Further Reading: ScoreBig.com Website Review

Four Little Monsters Blog received a promotional code for use on ScoreBig.com in exchange for this review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

Summer Star Gazing Guide for Kids & Families

by EJ on 06/20/14


Photo Credit: www.fourlittlemonsters.com
Our most recent visit to The Franklin Institute got my monsters' curious brains whirling again, specifically, in the direction of the night sky. We had the opportunity to visit the museum's Planetarium, showing To Space & Back, which taught us how technology developed for use in space, has transformed the way we live on Earth. After the show, the kids came home with a renewed adoration for the night sky so we got busy putting together a plan for exploring the stars and the universe above. Here's our guide to summer star gazing from our family to yours:


Begin with eyes upward, right after sunset. 

After dinner is over and the wiggles are out, step outside after the sun goes down. Although it's darkest past midnight, there's still plenty to see in the summer night sky just after the sun sets. This is an opportune time to set up the camping chairs in the back yard and look up. Have the kids - and yourself - focus on breathing, relaxing and looking upward. Take turns pointing out what you see. Mercury is fading fast and should no longer be visibly by the 23rd of June, but Jupiter, Mars and Saturn should be highly visible for the entire month.

Jupiter, cream- colored and the brightest dot in the whole sky at this time, will appear in the western sky, while Saturn and Mars will appear in the Southern end. Saturn shines the least bright of the two, a gold color, while Mars, more reddish-brown, shines brightest.

Photo Credit: www.fourlittlemonsters.com

Excite the kids with super cool star-gazing gear.

Any dedicated star gazer will appreciate the gift of magnification. If your child has a summer birthday, that's the perfect excuse to invest in a kid-friendly telescope or a great pair of binoculars.

Locate constellations for great story telling sessions.

Kids love a good story and there's no better time to brush up on your mythology than under a summer night sky. Mythological legends often tie together heroes, enemies, enchanted animals and terrible monsters. Sounds like a Disney movie, right? Pull up a mythology story website on the tablet and start reading out loud! There are hundreds of stories in the stars. The kids can find specific constellations in the sky that go along with the story you choose.

Grab a constellation guide and a space-themed reading list at Scholastic.com/Summer.

Encourage a love of astronomy outside your back yard. Visit a State Park or star gazing program.

Photo Credit: www.fourlittlemonsters.com
Here in Delaware, several State Parks offer star gazing programs and meteor shower viewings throughout the seasons, appropriate for beginners and advanced star gazers. You can also visit an observatory, like the one at Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation, for more star gazing programs and opportunities that are kid-friendly.

If you've got news or info about a great family-friendly star gazing event or program in the Mid-Atlantic area, please share by leaving a comment below!

 

Krispy Kreme Grand Opening in New Castle, DE, WIN free doughnuts for a year!

by EJ on 06/19/14

Come celebrate the grand opening of Krispy Kreme’s New Castle, Delaware location at 114 N. DuPont Highway on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 starting at 6:00 AM. Located directly in front of the New Castle Farmers Market, the location will offer more than 15 varieties of Krispy Kreme’s beloved doughnuts, including the signature hot Original Glazed®, 6 varieties of fresh baked bagels, as well as a complete selection of Krispy Kreme Chillers®, espresso beverages and Krispy Kreme Signature Coffee Blends. The new location will also feature a full-service 24 hour drive thru, outdoor seating and free Wi-Fi.


"It’s a sweet kick off to the long holiday weekend, “ said Keith Morgan, CEO, “The residents of New Castle have been incredibly enthusiastic throughout the process, and we can’t wait to bring the joy of Krispy Kreme back to Delaware!

All are welcome to participate in the grand opening festivities and if you get in line early, you could win free doughnuts for an entire year! Prizes will include:
  • One free dozen Original Glazed® doughnuts every week for a year to the first customer in line.
  • One free dozen Original Glazed® doughnuts every month for a year to the next 99 customers in line.
(Prizes for the first 100 people in line are available only to fans 10 years of age and older.)
  • Additional prizes will be given out at random throughout the day. Prizes will include t-shirts and other Krispy Kreme merchandise.

Summer Happenings and Discounted Admission at Penn Museum, Philly

by EJ on 06/19/14


Penn Museum of Philly, PA is offering discounted general admission this summer. All July and August, save 1/3 off general admission and pay only $10. As always, kids under 6 are free. Through Labor Day, active military families are also free. "Summer is an ideal time to visit a great museum, and discover something new about the world," said Julian Siggers, Ph.D., the Museum's Williams Director. "Penn Museum has the world renowned collection to do just that - and some great summer programming, in the gardens and inside, to appeal to all ages."

  • Summer Nights Wednesday evening concert series. A diverse line up of music, a laid back outdoor vibe, as the Museum stays open. Optional gallery tours between sets! 5:00 to 8:00 pm, through September 3.
  • Summer Wonder Family Programs. International, interactive, and fun. Wednesdays at 11:00 am in July. (air-conditioned)
  • Unearthed in the Archives. Fridays at 2 pm. Join archivist Alessandro Pezzati and staff as they pull out a gem from the Museum’s archives—and bring Museum stories to life (air-conditioned)
  • Award-winning outdoor gardens. Penn Museum’s lush urban gardens feature sculptures and fountains by Alexander Stirling Calder, places to sit or eat, even a reflective koi pool.
  • In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies. Conservators at work open their windows twice a day to chat with visitors (air-conditioned gallery and workspace)
  • Free bottled water at the admission desks, while supplies last
  • Take a break with ice cold, fresh squeezed lemonade, just $2, or free with $7 lunch entrée, every day in the Pepper Mill Café.
When you go, keep in mind that while some galleries are air-conditioned, some are not. "We like to have a sense of humor and we hope our visitors do, too. That's why, in those un-air-conditioned spaces, we invite you to join our fans," said Dr. Siggers.

  

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Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_popocorn'>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_popocorn'>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>