Category Archives: Entertainment

New Jersey State Fair Meadowlands

New Jersey State Fair Meadowlands #statefair #StateFairMeadowlands
~Thank you to State Fair Meadowlands for hosting the Making Time family. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

Last night my family got the chance to enjoy State Fair Meadowlands at MetLife Stadium, and everyone had tons of fun. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend visiting at night because the lights are gorgeous and the weather is just right for all the fair fun you’re going to have.

My kids didn’t know where we were going, but as soon as we got close enough to see the lit up rides and ferris wheels, it was nothing but ooh’s and aah’s in the car. Then the excitement went up a notch when they learned that’s where we were going. Yay!




A single admission to State Fair Meadowlands will get you access to all kinds of fair food and treats – burgers, turkey legs, corn on the cob, slushies, hot dogs, chicken on a stick, cotton candy, pizza, ice cream, and the list goes on and on. If you’re on a diet, better make sure it’s cheat day because the food is so hard to resist.

And if it’s not the food you’re after, there’s plenty of excitement with all of the different rides. Every ride requires tickets, but if you get an Unlimited Ride Pass (hand stamp) you can ride anything and everything your heart desires.

 

We gave our son an Unlimited Ride Pass and at first I was bummed because we couldn’t find any rides that he was tall enough for. Just as I had given up, we entered some kind of Kiddie Land where he could ride everything and that’s exactly what he wanted to do.

New Jersey State Fair Meadowlands #statefair #StateFairMeadowlands

And what would a fair be without some games? State Fair Meadowlands features so many different game stations, I can’t even count them. I’m talking ring tosses, dunk tanks, basketball hoops, bottle breaking, balloon popping, water squirting, gun shooting, you name it.

New Jersey State Fair Meadowlands #statefair #StateFairMeadowlands

I saw so many people walking around with prizes. As we were walking in, there was a group coming out carrying a bear literally as big as I am. I couldn’t even see the person who was carrying it, haha! That prize needed its own seat in the car.

If the food, rides and games aren’t enough for a fun filled night, there are free shows too. The shows vary from day to day, but you can find out each day’s schedule here. There are pig races, a hypnotist, musicians, comedians, high divers, an open-air thrill show, a petting zoo and more. And they’re all free as a part of your admission!

New Jersey State Fair Meadowlands #statefair #StateFairMeadowlands

New Jersey State Fair Meadowlands #statefair #StateFairMeadowlands

My favorite part of our visit to State Fair Meadowlands was the fireworks. To celebrate the 4th of July holiday, they did a fireworks display last night and are doing it again tonight. These are top notch fireworks. Not those cheap, bought on the corner fireworks.

Just as my son was about to start on a ride, the street lights went dim and the booms lit up the sky. It was loud, but it was beautiful to watch. I’m definitely glad we decided to go on a night the fireworks show was happening.

New Jersey State Fair Meadowlands #statefair #StateFairMeadowlands

I can’t wait until next time and we might even go back before it ends on July 9th! For more information on shows, tickets, parking, and pricing, visit –> State Fair Meadowlands.

What is your favorite part of the fair?

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*Thank you to State Fair Meadowlands for hosting the Making Time family. As always, opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Family Time the Medieval Way

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

~Thank you to Medieval Times Lyndhurst Castle for hosting the Making Time family. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

Last week I decided we’d do family time a little differently. How differently, you ask? Well, we took family time, back in time. All the way back to Medieval times. We spent an afternoon at Medieval Times Lyndhurst Castle, enjoying two hours of medieval entertainment, an era-fitting dinner, and of course each other’s company.

If you’ve never been to Medieval Times, I highly recommend it. First off, there are multiple castles you can visit throughout the US. The Lyndhurst Castle is in NJ, but there are also castles in FL, GA, CA, TX, SC, MD, IL and even Ontario.

So let me tell (and show) you why you should make time for a visit.

I am sharing my experience at the Lyndhurst Castle and do not know exactly what the other castles feature, but if not the same, I’m sure you’ll get the same Medieval era experience.




Warm Welcome

As soon as you walk into the castle you’re greeted just the way you would have been greeted in Medieval times. Everyone I came across greeted me and responded with “my lady.” I’ll admit it was a little weird, but from the get-go everything is time period appropriate, giving you the full experience.

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

And even before entering the dining and entertainment arena, the lobby is jam packed with amazing detail. It’s hard to choose where to start scanning the room and where to end. There’s a Royal Armory where you can view the different types and designs of shields, swords and everything else knights fought with.

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

Don’t forget to look up. It was hard to get into one picture (the head is missing), but there is a large feathered friend crest right in the center, surrounded by adorning kingdom flags. It was huge and so breathtaking. When this is what you get in the lobby, you know the kingdom arena is going to be epic.

Along with the beautiful Medieval decor, there are gift shop areas, a bar to grab an alcoholic beverage or slushie, and different photo opp setups too.

Rep Your City

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

There are six cities that make up the kingdom and when it’s time to enter the arena, you’re directed to your city’s seating area. Each city is lit with its home colors and since we were representing the Green Knight from the City of Leon (lee-own) we were seated in the green area. We knew which city and knight to represent because upon entering the castle we were each given a crown with the color of our knight. Go Green Knight!

Entertainment

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

 

The real fun starts with the entertainment. Right away it’s easy to notice the intricate detail, colors and material of the costumes. From the armor, to the cloaks, right down to the squires and horses, everything is spot on.

You get a glance into different knightly tournament games, the best of which is the jousting. It’s so fun to watch that you forget it’s not real and you’re on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens next. My son got so into it that he was standing out of his seat, swinging and thrusting his light up sword we bought him, trying to imitate the knights. I can’t tell you how many times I almost got hit with his sword.

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

Audience Engagement

One of the great features of Medieval Times is all of the audience engagement opportunities. Obviously, you cheer for your knight, but there are also times the knight turns to interact with the people of his city.

There were three or four times the knights would kiss and throw fresh carnations to a few ladies of their city and at one point each knight deems one special lady the Queen of the Tournament.

Can you guess who won that title for the City of Leon? She wouldn’t take a photo with her sash on.

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

And for the knight who wins the tournament, he gets the chance to crown someone from his city as Queen of something, known for her beauty. I can’t remember exactly what the title was, but our Green Knight won (Go Green Knight!) and crowned an unexpecting little girl in our area.

Dining

The food. Let me tell ya’ll about the food. It was so good and very nicely portioned. We started with tomato soup and garlic bread. Then moved on to the main course, which consisted of baked chicken (each person got a leg, wing and breast), corn on the cob, and half of a potato. Then for dessert we enjoyed a slice of lemon cake.

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

I have nothing but nice things to say about the meal. The taste of everything exceeded my expectations. I’m the kind of person who wants some kind of sauce with my chicken and my potato loaded down with the works, but it was all seasoned so well that it wasn’t needed. And the lemon cake was melt in your mouth moist.

But notice anything missing from these photos?

There’s no silverware! Why? Because in Medieval times there was no silverware. The only utensils you had at your disposal were the two attached to your arms – your hands. So we sipped our tomato soup, and ate our main course and dessert with our hands. It’s all part of the Medieval Times experience.

Experience

Which leads me to the overall experience. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, it is truly a Medieval experience. The language, decor, costumes, entertainment, food, everything. It’s all so real and tons of fun.

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

My son gets very scared in large crowds and when things are different, so I wasn’t sure how he’d react to this. I mean, Medieval Times is like nothing he’s ever seen before. At first he was his usual unsure self, and started crying and tried burying his head into us. He didn’t want to talk to the actors for photo opps or anything.

So we bought him a light up sword and he calmed down a little bit, but as soon as the show started he was all about it. He has asked to go back to the castle literally every day since we went. I know this is one family night he’ll never forget.

Medieval Times is perfect for a family night out. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, you get a true Medieval experience, including dinner and entertainment! #MedievalTimes #LyndhurstCastle #MedievalTimesNJ #familyfun #familytime #jousting #GoGreenKnight

And Medieval Times isn’t just great for family time, but you can go just to have a night away from home or to celebrate anything. There were people celebrating high school graduation, a couple celebrating their recent marriage, and many groups celebrating birthdays. Speaking of, you can celebrate your birthday for free by signing up here!

Which Medieval Times castle is closest to you?

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*Thank you to Medieval Times Lyndhurst Castle for hosting the Making Time family. As always, opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

2017 Summer Fun Guide

Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide #SummerFun

~This post contains some affiliate links, in which I will receive commission for your purchase.~

Schools out, warm weather has arrived, and it’s time to start having tons of summer fun! The first official day of summer is just two days away, June 21st. There’s no delaying the fun at this point, and why would you want to?

If you’re looking for ways to keep the kids entertained, indoors and outdoors, this year’s Summer Fun Guide has something (and probably more than one thing) you’ll love. And remember, you don’t always have to leave the house to have fun!

Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Headphones {Giveaway}

These Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Headphones from Kidz Gear made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFunIs traveling part of your summer fun plans? Keeping the kids occupied can be tricky on long road trips or plane rides, but with the help of some Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Headphones from Kidz Gear, the trip will be a little less stressful for everyone. Visit the giveaway and enter to win a pair!

Paw Patrol Action Bubble Blower

This Paw Patrol Action Bubble Blower from Little Kids made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFun

Who doesn’t love bubbles? Summer fun will always be poppin’ with a Paw Patrol Bubble Blower from Little Kids! It’s minimal mess with maximum bubble blowing power. And no skills are required so it even great for the little ones.

H2O Go!

The H2O Go! made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFunH2O Go! is a super fun way to keep the kids active and cool at the same time. Get them outdoors, away from the screen and enjoying summer the way it was meant to be enjoyed!

The Wobbly Worm Game

The Wobbly Worm Game from Spin Master made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFun

From Spin Master, The Wobbly Worm Game is great for ages 3+ and can be played on any hard, flat surface. Kids try to toss and hoop the worm as he wiggles and wobbles uncontrollably, creating tons of giggles from them. It’s the perfect game for those rainy summer days!

Shibajuku Girls

The Shibajuku Girls made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFun

Each with a different personality and style, Shibajuku Girls are the perfect companion for your little fashionista. Click through to find out more and determine which Shibajuku Girl is a great fit for the fashionista in your life!

Fashionable Threads for Kids

Gymboree Sale On Now!

If you’re going to have fun this summer, you have to make sure the kids have the right clothes because it’s going to be HOT. Shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, sandals and swimsuits are all must-have items. Check out Gymboree, Crazy 8 and Janie & Jack for all of your kids’ summer fashion thread needs. I’m talking cute AND affordable!

Blast Box

Blast Box from Zing made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFun

If you really want to have a banging summer, the new Blast Box game from Zing is what you need. Use simple strategy to hammer nails into a box and avoid popping the unseen balloons underneath. Who will be the last one with a balloon in the Blast Box?

Scoop Ball

These Scoop Ball sets made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFun

Parents, this one is for you too. What would a Summer Fun Guide be without one of my all-time favorite games – Scoop Ball? I played this all the time in grade school and it’s just an all-around fun game, so go ahead and share some of your childhood fun with your kids!

The Story Box

The Story Box made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFun

Not only are toys, games and experiences great for summer, but reading can be just as much fun. This is especially true when you receive new books and stories each month, tailored for the age of your child. That’s exactly what The Story Box offers!

Bonzai Spin Out Water Slide

The Banzai Spin Out Water Slide made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFun

Take the fun outside and go for a spin on the Banzai Spin Out Water Slide. It’s a fun and easy way to catch some rays (and vitamin D), cool off and beat the summer heat.

Ottica Eyewear

Ottica made it into the Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide! Head over to the blog to see what else made the cut! #SummerFun

Mom and dad, I’ve got you covered too. If you’re heading outdoors for summer fun, you’ll want to protect your eyes. The sunglasses selection and service at Ottica is top notch. It’s truly function and fashion all in one.

Sun Basket

With all the summer fun you’ll be having, there’s a good chance you aren’t going to want to go grocery shopping, or even have the time to. But don’t worry! Sign up for Sun Basket and you can have healthy, easy to cook meals delivered right to your door.

What kind of summer fun will your family be having?

*Some links contained in this post include affiliate links, in which I will receive commission for your purchase. I did receive some of these items for review throughout the year, but others are items I have personally bought or would like to buy. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brands. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brands. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Rainy Day #SummerFun with The Wobbly Worm Game

Rainy Day Summer Fun with The Wobbly Worm Game #SummerFun #SpinMaster #TheWobblyWormGame #rainydayfun

~Thank you to Spin Master for providing The Wobbly Worm Game for review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own. This post also contains affiliate links, in which I will receive commission for your purchase.~

When we think of summer, we imagine all the fun in the sun we’re going to have. But the reality is, not every day is a nice sunny one where our kids can play outside. On those rainy summer days, how do we keep the kids occupied inside without putting them in front of a screen?

The Wobbly Worm Game from Spin Master!

Rainy Day Summer Fun with The Wobbly Worm Game #SummerFun #SpinMaster #TheWobblyWormGame #rainydayfun

What is The Wobbly Worm Game?

The Wobbly Worm Game is a fun game for ages 3+ and is perfect for up to three players. It can be played indoors or outdoors, but for the most fun and wobbles, its best on a flat and solid surface.

We first tried it on the rug, but realized Mr. Worm didn’t wobble as much. As soon as we put him on the wood floor, his wobbles and moves were all kinds of crazy.

The weather here has been pretty dreary today, but my kids are still having tons of fun inside with The Wobbly Worm Game. It really is a great option for rainy summer days!

Rainy Day Summer Fun with The Wobbly Worm Game #SummerFun #SpinMaster #TheWobblyWormGame #rainydayfun

How do you play?

Each player has their own set of three color coordinated rings. The object of the game is to toss and hoop all three of your rings around Mr. Worm first. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Mr. Worm has got some insane wobbling skills and his movements make it difficult to win. You never know what direction he’s going to move in!

Check it out!

Why I Love It!

One of the things I love about The Wobbly Worm Game is that it’s adjustable and that means it grows with your kids. The shorter you make Mr. Worm, the easier it is to toss and hoop him. This is great for smaller kids, and when my daughter plays we always make it a little shorter so it’s easier for her.

Rainy Day Summer Fun with The Wobbly Worm Game #SummerFun #SpinMaster #TheWobblyWormGame #rainydayfun
This is Mr. Worm at his tallest (3 feet). You can see he’s a bit tall for my daughter to play with, so being able to adjust the height makes The Wobbly Worm Game fun for the little kids too!

 

When Mr. Worm is at his fullest height, the movements are much less predictable and he wobbles uncontrollably. This makes the game more challenging, but also a better height for older kids (and parents).

The other thing I really love is it keeps my kids active even though they’re indoors. And in a pretty small space for that matter. On most rainy days you’ll find my kids running rampant through every room in the house, but when playing The Wobbly Worm Game they stay in one room and play nicely (well, whether they play nicely is on a case-by-case basis, haha).

Rainy Day Summer Fun with The Wobbly Worm Game #SummerFun #SpinMaster #TheWobblyWormGame #rainydayfun

Another perk? The game is super affordable! Right now it’s just $14.00 on Amazon (hurry because you know Amazon prices can change quickly)!

Rainy Day + The Wobbly Worm Game = Summer Fun

Do your kids like to play games on rainy summer days?

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Making Time 2017 Summer Fun Guide #SummerFun

*Thank you to Spin Master for providing The Wobbly Worm Game for review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  This post also contains affiliate links, in which I will receive commission for your purchase. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Underwater Adventures with the Octonauts + Fish Biscuit Recipe {Giveaway}

Underwater Adventures with the Octonauts + Fish Biscuit Recipe & Giveaway | NCircle Entertainment
~Thank you to NCircle Entertainment for providing the new Octonauts release for review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own. This post also contains affiliate links, in which I receive commission for your purchase.~


Octonauts, to the launch bay!

If you have a little Disney Jr. fan at home, you’ve probably seen your fair share of the Octonauts. Captain Barnacles, Kwazii, Peso and the rest of the Octopod crew explore the ocean in search of fun and adventure.

Along the way, they find many different species of marine creatures who are in need. From helping a frogfish and other creatures with an artificial reef to call home, to cleaning up garbage from the ocean to help protect a flock of seagulls, there’s never a dull moment with the Octonauts.

Underwater Adventures with the Octonauts + Fish Biscuit Recipe & Giveaway | NCircle Entertainment

And you can enjoy all the fun and adventures at home with the new NCircle Entertainment release of Octonauts: 12 Rescue Missions! Just released earlier this month, Octonauts: 12 Rescue Missions includes 12 episodes from the beloved children’s series.

  • Mariana Trench Adventure
  • Barracudas
  • Artificial Reef
  • Siphonophore
  • Urchin Invasion
  • Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
  • Pelicans
  • Red Rock Crabs
  • Loggerhead Sea Turtle
  • Harbor Seal
  • Yeti Crab
  • Over Under Adventure

It’s hard to choose which one is our favorite, but there’s one thing that remains consistent through many of the episodes – fish biscuits to the rescue!

Ever heard of the term hangry? Just like we can get a little moody when we’re hungry, the same goes for some of the underwater creatures the Octonauts encounter during their explorations. But never fear! Tunip and the Vegimals have the perfect fish biscuit recipe to calm the hunger and ease the aggression of these creatures, helping to save the day.

Underwater Adventures with the Octonauts + Fish Biscuit Recipe & Giveaway | NCircle Entertainment

Fish biscuits even help eliminate hangry behavior in my house! And I thought it only appropriate to munch on some fish biscuits while we joined the Octonauts on their adventures today. If we want to be productive honorary members of the Octonauts, it’s always good to be prepared!

Underwater Adventures with the Octonauts + Fish Biscuit Recipe & Giveaway | NCircle Entertainment

Underwater Adventures with the Octonauts + Fish Biscuit Recipe & Giveaway | NCircle Entertainment

Underwater Adventures with the Octonauts + Fish Biscuit Recipe & Giveaway | NCircle EntertainmentUnderwater Adventures with the Octonauts + Fish Biscuit Recipe & Giveaway | NCircle Entertainment

 

4.0 from 1 reviews
Octonaut Fish Biscuits (Sugar Cookies)
Author: 
Recipe type: Sweet Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 120
 
Honorary Octonauts have to be prepared for any kind of creature they encounter on their Octopod adventures, so I've taken a cue from Tunip and the Vegimals and baked up some Fish Biscuits just in case they come across some hangry marine life.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Prepare a cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the sugar and softened butter until smoothly mixed.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla, mix well.
  4. Add the baking powder and salt, mix well.
  5. One cup at a time, mix in the flour until the cookie dough consistency is thick but not too crumbly.
  6. Prepare a surface sprinkled with a little flour and be sure to lightly flour your rolling pin so it doesn't stick to the dough.
  7. No chilling of the dough is required so this is quick and easy! Just take a nice big handful of dough and roll it out evenly on the floured surface.
  8. Using a small fish cookie cutter, cut enough fish biscuits to fill your cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 7 minutes and then remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Place the fish biscuits on a cooling rack and after a minute or two enjoy!

 

This fish biscuit recipe yields about 120 fish biscuits if using these small cookie cutters I got from Amazon. I used the larger of the three that come in the pack. I like these because they’re the perfect bite size and will help us feed more hangry marine creatures on our adventures with the Octonauts! If using a larger cookie cutter, the recipe will obviously yield fewer fish biscuits.

Who is your favorite Octonauts character?

Connect with In this new DVD, Autumn Journey: Guess How Much I Love You, your children will follow Little Nutbrown Hare and his friends on 6 autumn adventures. Enter now for a chance to win your very own copy! #giveawayWebsite / Facebook / Twitter


Enter to win a copy of the NCircle Entertainment's new release of "Octonauts: 12 Rescue Missions" + an Octonauts toy! #giveaway #NCircleEntertainment #Octonauts

One lucky Making Time reader will win a copy of Octonauts: 12 Rescue Missions + an Octonauts character toy (actual character may vary)! GOOD LUCK!

This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on June 9, 2017 at 11:59 pm est.  Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.

 

*I received a sample free of charge from NCircle Entertainment as part of their Brand Ambassadorship. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  This post also contains affiliate links, in which I receive commission for your purchase. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
~Thank you to The Strong National Museum of Play for hosting our visit. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

Just a couple of weekends ago we were visiting family in Rochester, NY and a friend suggested taking our kids to Strong. I was like, Strong? What the heck is that? The Strong National Museum of PlayI went online to check it out and knew right away our kids would enjoy it.

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

At first glance it appeared to be a big children’s museum, where kids can spend the day and just enjoy playing with different set ups. Our kids have been to other children’s museums and loved it, so I thought this would be no different. Boy was I wrong! The experience is so much more than that!

The Strong Museum is NOT a children’s museum (I’ll explain this more in a bit), and even us adults had a great time. We all enjoyed it so much that a day trip to The Strong Museum is now going to be routine for us when visiting our family in Rochester!

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
Enjoy $1 carousel rides on your way in or on your way out!

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong Museum

1. A fun-filled DAY!

When I say you can spend the whole day at The Strong Museum, I’m not kidding. There is so much to see and do, from hands-on exhibits, to fun crafts, historic displays and more.

We visited on a Sunday when the hours are limited to 12pm-5pm. We didn’t get there until around 1:30pm and in the few hours we explored, didn’t even see and experience all The Strong Museum has to offer.

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
Ever wanted to visit Sesame Street?

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
Just another work day at Sesame Street Taxi! And check out those celebrity riders trying to hide in the back. It’s Elmo and Cookie Monster!

 

But boy did it wear us out. We were all ready to go when closing time came. Our daughter actually fell asleep before we left and had to be carried out, and our son started snoozing on the car ride home. Yay for a nap, though!

The Strong Museum is a 285,000 square foot facility, 100,000 of which is actual hands-on exhibits and displays. There are two floors to the museum and we had so much fun on the first floor, that we had to rush through the second floor (hence we WILL be going back).

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

And when you do stay the whole day, you don’t have to worry about getting hungry because there are dining options on-site. Grab a bite at Bill Gray’s Skyliner restaurant, in the lobby, or something quick at Subway, Taco Bell Express, Pizza Hut Express, or Louie’s Sweet Shoppe, all located in the food court.

2. Nostalgia

I experienced some pretty epic nostalgia as we explored The Strong Museum . From Reading Adventureland, which takes us right into the fairytale books we enjoyed as kids, to Bear Country where we can experience the Bear Family’s adventures, it was like reliving my childhood in action. Oh, and the kids enjoyed it too. I just don’t think they understood the excitement I had for it all.

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
Trying to pull the sword from the stone.

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted 6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
Take your pick of story. Little Red Riding Hood? Goldilocks and the Three Bears?
6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
The Giant and his bean stalk. The Giant talks and moves, too!

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted 6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted 6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
How many Berenstain Bears books do you own? We have about 20!

3. History

It’s not even just the nostalgia of reliving our favorite childhood stories, but The Strong Museum is packed full of history. The Strong Museum is NOT a children’s museum, but is the National Museum of Play. Throughout the facility, and especially on the second floor, there are featured displays of historical significance in how play as evolved.

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted 6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

From technology like video games and pinball machines, to more simple play like G.I. Joe, dolls and toy trucks, The Strong Museum has the largest and most comprehensive collection of toys and historical materials, all related to play.

The Strong Museum is home to:

  • The International Center for the History of Electronic Games (largest in the world)
  • The National Toy Hall of Fame
  • The World Video Game Hall of Fame
  • The Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play (187,000 volumes and papers of national figures)
  • The American Journal of Play (first of its kind)

4. Imaginative Play

The Strong Museum is truly an imaginative haven. The countless number of interactive exhibits makes it fun for everyone. My daughter had a grand time sliding down the treehouse clubhouse in Bear Country, making her own fairy wand and creating music with the colorful Crayola “drums.”

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted 6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

My son loves video games, so when he saw the giant Super Nintendo controller, he jumped at the chance to play. This was a blast from the past for me too. I used to play Super Mario ALL the time.

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

He also really enjoyed shopping at Wegmans. Actually, I think both kids enjoyed that. If you’re not from the northeast, you probably have no idea what Wegmans is, but it’s a really popular grocery chain.

We’ve visited children’s museums that have something similar, like the Miami Children’s Museum has a Publix to shop, Publix being a popular grocery chain in the southeast. But nothing compares to the Wegmans shopping experience at The Strong Museum. The kids even got a real receipt for their groceries! How cool is that?!

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
I think the kids were supposed to be limited to five grocery items. My kids obviously don’t listen.
6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
Wegmans features an in-store cafe so naturally The Strong Museum’s Wegmans has to have the same. That is not real pizza, by the way, but doesn’t it look real?!

5. Outdoors brought Indoors

On top of all of the hands-on displays and historical displays, The Strong Museum is also home to The Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. Admission to the butterfly garden is separate from museum admission, but for just $4-$5 per person, you can enjoy an indoor walk through the outdoors.

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted 6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

As soon as you walk into the garden, you see a few butterflies floating around, but if you’re not looking hard enough you’ll miss a lot. Many of the butterflies we saw were just resting on plants. The garden features more than 80 different butterfly species that come from all over the world including Asia, Africa, and South America.

And it’s not just butterflies you’ll find in the garden, but you also might see moths, turtles, quails (watch out so you don’t step on them), a chameleon and let’s not forget the beautiful botanicals.

6. Variety of Programs and Events

As if all of this wasn’t enough, The Strong Museum features different programs and events every week. We visited on Over the Rainbow Weekend and got the opportunity to take a photo with Dorothy and Toto, Glinda the good witch, and the Wicked Witch of the West.

6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted

Upcoming events:

  • May 13, Fairy House Magic – Meet Leafy the Fairy and get a little sprinkle of fairy dust for good luck, visit the Discovery Garden to check out the colorful fairy houses, and more!
  • June 3, Fit Kids Day – Get active in the Fit Kids Fun Zone, discover the best places around town to exercise and more!
  • June 15 to June 25, Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures Mobile Park – Embark on an indoor, action-packed adventure on a 26 foot wide endurance zone that includes vertical nets, a spider web, log swings and rope bridges. (Requires additional ticket purchase.)
  • June 24 & 25, Have a Ball Exhibit Opening Celebration – Enjoy a comedic group perform ball tricks, in celebration of the most timeless toy ever – the ball. Then enjoy the exhibit itself by zooming a ball through a pipe maze, build a cup-and-ball toy, and more!
6 Reasons to Visit The Strong National Museum of Play #TheStrongMuseum #NationalMuseumofPlay #hosted
Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop on your way out and pick up something to play with at home!

What would you enjoy most about The Strong National Museum of Play?

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*Thank you to The Strong National Museum of Play for hosting my family for a day. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the museum. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the museum.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

It has been a crazy couple of weeks of traveling and now sick kids, but in between it all I was able to fit in a visit to the TTPM Spring Showcase 2017 in NYC.

It just so happened to fall on “Take Your Child to Work Day,” which was perfect. What kid doesn’t want to play with toys all day? My two had a great time and even tried to walk away with a few of the toys that were on display.

This was my first ever event as a blogger and I learned so much! Not only about all of the new and upcoming toy releases, but about media events like this in general. But you don’t want to hear about that, right? You want to see and hear about the good stuff – the toys!

So many toys!

 

There were so many brands exhibiting at the TTPM Spring Showcase that we didn’t even have a chance to visit all of the tables before we had to hit the road. But of those we did visit, the toys were pretty epic and I can’t wait for some of them to come out!

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

I think my daughter’s favorite was the Gazillion Giant Bubble Mill from Funrise (last clip in the video). Both of my kids love bubbles, but since the Bubble Mill is a nonstop bubble maker, it’s easier for my daughter to handle and much less messy than traditional bubbles, which she usually dumps out before she can blow any bubbles.

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017 #TTPM Spring Showcase 2017 #TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

She also loves the Minions so we spent some time playing with all of the Minion toys. One that I wasn’t able to get a good clip of was a Minion that is controlled by your iPad. How fun is that?!

My daughter will be so excited when Despicable Me 3 comes out and it might just be her first movie theater visit. Despicable Me 2 was my son’s first, now that I think about it. We just can’t get enough of those Minions!

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

It’s hard to tell which was my son’s favorite because he enjoyed playing with so many of the toys, but if I had to narrow it down I’d probably say the Fast & Furious cars (clip included in the video) from Universal Brand Development.

He stood there and played with a car in each hand, for at least 5 minutes. He didn’t want to leave and when I did finally get him to move on to something else, he tried to take the cars with him!

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Aside from that, he really enjoyed all of the Cars 3 toys. He’s been a big Cars fan since he was two or three. One year we threw him a Cars party (I think his 3rd birthday). So I know he’s super stoked for the new Cars 3 release.

He played with Mattel’s Disney-Pixar Cars 3 Crazy 8 Crashers Smash & Crash Derby Playset (that’s a mouthful) for a bit, trying to knock Miss Fritter’s bus out of the way for the derby win.

And this only scratches the surface! There were so many more brands and so many more toys at the showcase.

Vtech & LeapFrog

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017 #TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Super Impulse Ltd.

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Beach House Group (Antsy Pants)

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Spin Master

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

KidzGames (Kap It)

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

DC Super Hero Girls

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

 The Toy Box

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Whiffer Sniffers

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Jay at Play

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

LEGO

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

PlayMonster

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Tucker Toys

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017 #TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Alex Brands

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Zing Global Ltd.

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Pacific Cycle

#TTPM Spring Showcase 2017

Is that enough toys for you? This isn’t even all of them! Those I included in the video aren’t pictured here, so be sure to check it out. And like I said earlier, we didn’t have time to stop at all of the tables, so just imagine everything that could be missing.

What toy or new movie are you most excited about?

*Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

A Splashing Good Time at CoCo Key Water Resort

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

~Thank you to CoCo Key Water Resort for providing complimentary passes to facilitate this review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

This past weekend my family enjoyed a short staycation in the Mt. Laurel, NJ area. It was nice to get out of the house and explore what the state has to offer and there were different things about the weekend that each of us enjoyed, from shopping, to dining, to a little indoor water park fun.

Yeap, you read that right. We had water park fun in NJ, in April! It was cold and rainy ALL weekend, but it didn’t stop us from splashing around at CoCo Key Water Resort like it was summer.

CoCo Key is an indoor water park that offers family fun for all ages. Guests of The Hotel ML can purchase passes to visit anytime during their stay, or the general public can purchase a daily pass and just spend the day splashing around.

My kids absolutely love playing in the water and since moving from FL to NJ, the only water play they’ve gotten is during bath time. So I knew CoCo Key would be the perfect getaway for them and they ended up having a splashing good time! The water park was their favorite part of our staycation and my son is already asking to go back.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

We ventured over to the water park, which is accessible via the hotel and also has its own entrance, sometime early Saturday afternoon. As you walk in, there’s a counter for purchasing your passes and another counter for cashing in your arcade tickets.

Not only does CoCo Key offer an indoor water park, but also has a nice little arcade. If it weren’t for my son wanting so badly to play in the water park, he could have spent all day in the arcade.

Just beyond the entrance area are doors that lead you into the water park, which is two levels. You enter on the upper level and can either walk down a flight of stairs or take the elevator down to the lower level.

Upper Level

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Dip-In: This is a kiddie play area that’s perfect for the littlest swimmers. A one foot deep wading pool, Dip-In features a pirate ship in the center with double slides, as well as a baby bungee corner, and is lots of fun for toddlers and smaller kids.

The weekend we were visiting, the hotel was offering special movie nights that took place at the water park at 9:30 pm. This was after the water park closed at 9:00 pm, so it was only available to hotel guests. Friday night we went to check it out and the movie, Shrek the Third, was actually playing on the sail of the pirate ship! I thought that was pretty fun and a little added perk for the kids.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Lower Level

Coral Cove’s Slam Dunk: A three foot deep circular pool where you can enjoy a little water basketball.

Coconut Grove Lazy River: A three foot deep lazy river where you can hop in a float and take a relaxing 300 foot ride, but be sure to watch out for the splashy surprises along the way.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Lily Pad Adventure: A fun water activity that tests your balance and strength, the Lily Pad Adventure is like something you’d see in an obstacle course. With the help of an overhead rope to hang onto, do you think you could keep your balance long enough to cross the pool on floating “lily pads” without falling in?

Palm Grotto Indoor/Outdoor Spa: This one is for adults only. While the kids splash around, sit back and enjoy a hot, relaxing dip in the whirlpools of the hot tub spa.

Parrot’s Perch: In the center of it all is Parrot’s Perch. It’s like a big water playground and jungle gym that everyone can climb on, shoot water cannons, slip down the slides and get drenched when the 300 gallon water bucket at the top fills up and tips over.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Large Water Slides: If you’re looking for a real thrill, take a ride on one of the three large water slides – Pelican Plunge, Barracuda Blast, and Shark Slam. Grab a raft and make your way to the top by climbing the indoor stairway. The slides themselves twist, turn and wind outdoors, but they’re all completely covered and protected from the elements. The entrance and all three slide exits are indoors so you never actually step foot outside.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Food

If you plan to spend the whole day at CoCo Key, I can guarantee you’re going to get hungry. But never fear because you can pick up pizza, burgers, chicken nuggets and more at Gator’s Grab & Go, or grab a cocktail at Wet Rooster’s, a full service bar.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Safety

There are lifeguards, on lifeguards, on lifeguards at CoCo Key. They’re everywhere and they actually pay attention to ensure everyone stays safe. There was a lot of whistle blowing during our visit, haha.

If something were to happen though, there’s also a first aid station. And if you need a life jacket for your little swimmer, they’re on hand too.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

What to Bring

For a day at CoCo Key you’ll definitely need to bring your own towels. We just used our hotel bathroom towels since we didn’t bring any from home.

And since I know you’ll want to preserve some family memories, I’m sure you’ll bring along a camera or take photos with your cell phone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any photos of my kids playing around, for fear of dropping my phone in the water and the shear fact of having to wrangle two small kids, I really needed both of my hands available. I did see a lot of people who were wearing waterproof cell phone holders around their neck, so I would recommend bringing something like that along so your phone isn’t far out of reach, but is still protected.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

And for anything else you bring along, lockers can be rented ($10) to keep those items safe. There is plenty of space on both the upper and lower levels to sit, but if everyone in your party is enjoying the fun, you will not want to leave your belongings just sitting around. So the lockers are plus and you can access them at any time you need to.

Our Experience

Since we were visiting on a Saturday, I think the water park was a little more crowded than if we had visited another day. The kids had a really great time and we did too, but there are a few things I want to note.

The first thing is the smell of chlorine is pretty overpowering, which I totally understand given it’s a water park, but it kind of smells like a dirty chlorine. Not that fresh, super clean, dive right in kind of smell. And for as strong as the chlorine smell is and as much as they must be using, the water was pretty murky. I don’t know if this is just a result of all the traffic that comes in and out, or if it was intentional to give kind of like a natural outdoor look to the water.

The thing that really bummed us out was that Dip-In, the kiddie area on the upper level, was closed off and reserved for a birthday party. Birthday parties are a great feature that CoCo Key Water Resort offers, and there are a handful of private rooms near the resort entrance for facilitating them, as well as a large sitting area on the upper level where these parties can also be held.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

But at the same time, this really hindered how much freedom we could give our one year old. Since we couldn’t access the kiddie area, we were forced to stay on the lower level.

Let me preface this a little bit so it makes more sense as to why this bummed us out. So once you get wet, you better stay in the water because – You. Will. Freeze. After getting wet our daughter was literally shivering in our arms so it was either keep her in the water or wrap her in a towel, which she was not about to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else having fun.

The water in the Parrot’s Perch area is very shallow. We sat her down and it barely covered her legs, so this wasn’t going to work for us. The only other option was to sit in the water that was at the entrance to the lazy river. The water was warmer there and it was deep enough to keep our daughter decently submerged so that she wasn’t shivering. The problem is that this was not a very safe place for us to be, or anyone else for that matter.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel
This is where we were sitting at the entrance to the lazy river.

There was traffic coming in and out for those visitors who wanted to ride around the lazy river, and not only that but there were bigger kids hanging out in that area as well and their splashing around and rough housing was not safe for our kids. So not having access to the kiddie area on the upper level was a bit of an issue for us and we actually only stayed for a little over an hour.

The other thing I want to note is that the day we checked out (Sunday), the water park was only open until 3:00 pm due to a private event (normally open until 6:00 pm). Since we had our passes, we could have stayed after checking out of our room and enjoyed the water park until it closed, but we chose not to. And I’m all for private events like this, but as a visitor who’s paying to enjoy a full day of water park fun, this would upset me. I’d hate to show up promising my kids a full day of fun, only to find out that’s not going to happen.

So I suggest calling ahead of time to ensure there are no special events taking place that could hinder your family’s fun. So long as there’s nothing going on that would have certain areas closed off, or affecting the park hours, I think you’ll have a good time.

Overall, my kids didn’t know any different and they had a ton of fun playing in the water. At CoCo Key Water Resort you won’t have to worry about sunscreen, but it’ll still wear you out like a day in the sun. Just the little amount of time we spent at the water park wore me out and I was ready for a nap as soon as we returned to our hotel room.

Have you ever visited an indoor water park?

Connect with Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel: Website | Facebook | TwitterInstagram

*Complimentary CoCo Key Water Resort passes were provided for purposes of facilitating this review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Our Weekend Stay at The Hotel ML

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel
~Thank you to The Hotel ML for hosting the Making Time family at a discounted rate. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

It’s been a while since my family has taken a vacation, so it was time I took action and planned something fun for us. Rather than going all out and traveling far, I decided to find something that was a little closer to home.

Since moving to NJ last November we haven’t really ventured out of our immediate area, so I thought a short staycation would be a great way to get out of the house, explore the state and enjoy some time together.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

So where did we go? We spent the weekend at The Hotel ML!

Hotel

Just about an hour and a half drive from our home, The Hotel ML is situated in Mt. Laurel, NJ. The hotel itself is very beautiful. The entrance is gorgeous and very inviting. As soon as we stepped foot into the hotel lobby, I was blown away.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

There’s obviously the front desk, two sitting areas and a lounge where you can enjoy some beverages and watch a little TV. Everything appeared to be new and modern, and if it’s not new, then they’re doing a good job of keeping it up.

To the right of the lobby area there are meeting rooms for private events, such as conferences, wedding activities and other social events. In fact, I believe someone was hosting wedding activities the evening we checked in. I overheard their party talking about it while passing through the lobby the next day.

Our Room

To the left of the lobby area is the elevator and rooms. Our third floor room at The Hotel ML was a very nice size. It was probably the largest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in and the kids were able to run around to let out a little of their excitement. With two double beds, a lounge chair and ottoman, office desk, dresser with TV and mini fridge, and full bathroom, it was a home away from home.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

After arriving we headed to the closest store to pick up a few snacks and drinks to stock our mini fridge. This was great because the kids are always wanting something, so having the mini fridge helped save us some money on food and drinks throughout the weekend.

While it was a spacious room, there were a few things that could use some improvement and it’s mostly all aesthetic. I was told the room was newly renovated, but the only thing that looked new was the bathroom sink and counter.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

There were marker lines on the window curtains, most likely caused by kids during a previous stay. But it’s a kid-friendly hotel, so things like this are to be expected now and then. The furniture and mini fridge were also pretty dinged up. Again, this is something that can be expected with the traffic that comes in and out, but it was very obvious and immediately noticeable.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel
This was the view from our large room window. Since it was 50 degrees out the pool was closed, hence the pool cover.

 

Another issue was the mattress or bed springs on one of the beds was broken, I think. I didn’t even notice it until the day we left because I had been sleeping on the other bed, but I sat on it while getting ready to leave and drastically sunk down.

So again, nothing in the room really stood out to me as being renovated besides the bathroom sink. While I’m on the topic of the bathroom, I also want to note the toilet was lower to the ground than an average toilet. Not a complaint, but just something to mention. This is actually great for the kids, but as an adult you better make sure you have your squat game on point.

After being blown away at the entry and lobby area, I was expecting a bit of a nicer room. Overall, the room was okay and I’d consider it pretty average. Nothing too over the top and fancy, but it was suitable for our weekend stay.

Dining

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If you get a little hungry, you can always order room service or head down to Talia’s. Situated just behind the lobby lounge is Talia’s Restaurant and Bar. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to dine at Talia’s, but they serve up-scale comfort food all day.

In the morning you can enjoy a breakfast buffet, and for lunch and dinner you can order dishes like Short Rib Grilled Cheese, Portobello Sandwich, half pound Black Angus burger or Cajun Seared Salmon, just to name a few.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

If you’re just looking for a snack, sweet treat or cup of coffee, I suggest heading to The Little Shop of Coffee, located between the elevators and front desk. You can find snacks, ice cream treats, a variety of coffees and a table or two to just sit and enjoy some conversation.

There’s also PLENTY of off-site dining options, too. Starbucks, Ale House and Bob Evans are just across the street from the hotel. And in the general area, a short ride will take you to any restaurant you can imagine. It would take me a while to list them all, but during our stay we dined at Don Pablos, Cracker Barrel and Grand Lux Cafe.

Attractions

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

So, you’re probably wondering what’s so great about The Hotel ML that we chose to spend our weekend family staycation there. The answer is simple – CoCo Key Water Resort! The kids had a blast and I can’t wait to tell you all about it – tomorrow, haha.

Sounds like fun, right? I’ll give you a little info now, just to be fair. CoCo Key Water Resort is on the same premises as The Hotel ML. It’s housed in a separate building towards the back of the property, but can easily be accessed from the hotel.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel
One of the CoCo Key wristbands is missing because my son just couldn’t wait to get his weekend fun started.

 

As soon as we left the lobby area and walked to the elevators, we could smell the chlorine so there’s no missing the fact it’s there, even if you’re not visiting the hotel for purposes of the water park. To get there, just take the elevator down to the first floor (the lobby is on the second floor) and walk your way through the halls.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

There are rooms on the first floor, so I would assume if you’re staying on the first floor, you’re probably going to hear a lot more noise and traffic as hotel guests utilizing the water park make their way through the halls. But just a short one to two minute walk and you’re ready to enjoy some indoor water park fun!

Aside from the on-site fun of CoCo Key Water Resort, there are also some fun things in the general area to do. Want to do some shopping? Head to Moorestown Mall or Cherry Hill Mall. Want to do something fun with the family? There’s a bowling alley right down the road or spend a few hours at Sky Zone Trampoline Park. Still not enough? Make your way to The Funplex for bumper cars, laser tag and more!

I had no idea there was so much to do in the Mt. Laurel area. It was nice to get out of the house and have a mini family vacation, while exploring what our new home state has to offer. I can’t wait until our next staycation!

When and where was your last staycation?

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*This hotel stay was provided at a discounted rate for purposes of this review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Regal $1 Summer Movie Express

Check out the schedule for the Regal Summer Movie Express and enjoy $1 family movies all summer long! #summerfun #SummerMovieExpress

“Schoooooooools out for the summer!” Okay, maybe not quite yet, but summer will be here before we know it. And it’s never too soon to start planning fun activities, right?

One of my favorite (and cheap) activities to enjoy with my kids is the Summer Movie Express by Regal Cinemas. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, various movie theaters show some of the year’s best family movies. The best part is admission is just $1/person! Now that’s something I can afford.

Check out the schedule for the Regal Summer Movie Express and enjoy $1 family movies all summer long! #summerfun #SummerMovieExpress

Some of this summer’s features include Trolls, Kung Fu Panda 3, Storks, SING, The Secret Life of Pets, Monster Trucks and many more.

Week 1

  • Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Ice Age: Collision Course

Week 2

  • Trolls
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Week 3

  • Monster Trucks
  • Penguins of Madagascar

Week 4

  • Rio 2
  • The Boxtrolls

Week 5

  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • SING

Week 6

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Ratchet and Clank

Week 7

  • The Spongebob Square Pants Movie: Sponge Out of Water
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin

Week 8

  • Happy Feet 2
  • Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

Week 9

  • Storks
  • The LEGO Batman Movie

Check out the schedule for the Regal Summer Movie Express and enjoy $1 family movies all summer long! #summerfun #SummerMovieExpress

You’ll need to check your theater’s schedule because the dates vary by state and region, all depending on when school is officially out for summer and when it starts back up next year.

As if the cheap admission wasn’t great enough, a portion of all ticket sales goes to the Will Rogers Institute, too!

What movie are you most excited to see with your kids?

*This is not a sponsored post nor did I receive any samples. I am only sharing my own experiences and opinions are 100% my own.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.