Escape Reality And Explore The Renaissance

It’s fall, and fall in New England wouldn’t be complete without King Richard’s Faire, the oldest renaissance faire in New England. Here, you will be immersed from head-to-toe in a 80-acre forest that is set to resemble a 16th century marketplace. The family and I had a great time exploring the artisans, watching the shows and interacting with each strolling character as they passed by. The are knights, mimes, mud beggars, wenches and members of the royal family walking amongst you. You truly feel as though you have stepped into another time. If you have a child who enjoys history museums, this will surely delight. My son, loves to learn about different places and times in history. He felt as if he went back in time and really enjoyed himself.

 

I thought at first, King Richard’s Faire might not be a good fit for my son due to his Sensory Processing and Anxiety. Think loud noises, smells and crowds. But, if you scope out the map ahead of time, find a quiet spot to rest and try not and fit everything in, chances are you will have a plan for success. It was loud, but not in an obnoxious way. The wind and trees seemed to dull out some of the crowd noise and we found a great spot to take a break under some pine trees. We let him dictate the shows he wanted to see, which worked out perfect. He chose the Great Cats of The World Show, The Royal Parade and the Challenge of Champions. 

Honestly, the Great Cats of the World Show is worth the ticket alone! We sat in the 2nd row right and got to see a Black Panther 10 feet in front of us. And the white Bengal Tiger was just as impressive. The Geoffroy Cat was small but mighty (and adorable to say the least). The knights put on a great show. There was horseback riding, jousting and tricks with their lances among other things. And our knight (blue & white) won the challenge! My son picked the right spot to sit in! The Royal Parade is the perfect chance to see all the roaming characters in one place! It’s also the prefect time to grab a bite to eat and find a table and watch as they make their way around the village!

 

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Let’s talk food. We split a bloomin’ onion, chicken fingers & fries platter and some fudge! It was all delicious. The food was exactly like what I expected, with a slight edge over regular carnival food.  I did notice they offered gluten free options as well as lactose intolerant! As a mom to a food allergy kid, I found this to be a refreshing surprise! I can’t forget about the massive ice cream cone and homemade pickle served from a barrel! Delicious! It does get a bit busy around the traditional lunch time, so if you can wait to eat later that will save you from having to really search out for a table.

Listen, we could have stayed longer. Explored more. Played more games. Ate more. Shopped more. But, we had about 1 hour drive and it was getting late in the day. There really is so much to do and see there. I find this event is more suitable for kids 7 and over. The games were fun, but some I think would be better for the older set versus the younger! Same with the shows. While some kids younger than 7 would find the shows enjoyable, I think the majority of older kids would be able to sit for them longer and really get something out of them! Landon was the perfect age! He is almost 9 and like I said, in love with history.

If you are looking for a quintessential fall New England event to enjoy, get yourselves to King Richard’s Faire.

I am so grateful at the opportunity to receive free admission to this years event in return for a review. And guess what? I have 4 tickets to give away and are good for any of these dates: October 8, 10, 15, 22 and 23. I only wish to be able to attend next year and cross off everything we missed off our list! My son is already talking about his outfit that he wants to wear! A knight who fights for freedom and love! What is better than that? I have my eye on a flower crown!

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Namaste~

Joy

A Busy Moms Guide To Staying Active

If you know me, you know I adore fitness. Not for vanity reasons. I am what society likes to call “plus-size”, so I think the vanity portion is lost on me! I adore fitness because of how it makes me feel. I feel strong. It clears my racing, anxious thoughts right away. It sends a dose of happiness right to my brain. I am over 1 year free of my anxiety medication because I turn to fitness. Plus, it is fun. Yes, fitness can be fun. It can social. It can be life-changing. It can be what gets you through the day. It can be whatever your heart desires. But, only if you commit yourself.

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No, you do not need to go all in. You don’t need to start running 5 miles per day and spending hours at the gym. You can start small. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Chances are if you run into something without taking the time to properly see what works for you, you might end up jumping ship real fast. I don’t want that. You don’t want that. I want you to succeed. Whatever your definition of success is. Everyone’s success is measured differently. Just as everyone needs to find what works for them!

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I recently wrote an article for Rhode Island Health & Fitness entitled, A Busy Moms Guide to Staying Active. I talked about some of the ways we as moms, or any individual can fit more activity into their lives. We are a nation that is constantly living in the fast lane. Self-care can’t happen if you don’t slow down and make the time!  Check it out here, and perhaps there are some tips you could take into your lives today and become happier & healthier!

Namaste~
Joy

Comfort Food Gone Clean: Chop Suey

Comfort food. I know there has to be more people out there like me that crave it after a bad day! Or how about just any day for that matter? Comfort food is, well comforting. It does something to our insides. That is GOOD & BAD. It tastes delicious and can actually make us feel better when we treat ourselves to our favorite food. However, chances are the food in question is full of fat, sodium and carbs and really has no nutritious value to it. Fear not, I am determined to makeover some of the most well-loved comfort food dishes out there! Comfort Food Gone Clean. I will turn them into delicious, lean & nutritionally valued meals for all to enjoy! First up- Joys Chop Suey.

Chop suey is usually filled with sodium and carbs, and really no amount of veggies that go into it matter much. Other than the protein of choice, chop suey is not something you want to consume on a weekly basis. I, however have come up with a dish that you can eat daily (if you wish) and is PACKED with nutrition. Not only is it delicious, it is so easy to make! I challenge you to try the recipe and let me know your thoughts! Remember, it will never taste “exactly the same” as traditional chop suey, but it comes pretty darn close and definitely will satisfy your craving!

Ingredients:
99% lean ground turkey (or chicken)
1 large organic yellow pepper
1  organic Vidalia onion
1 package of organic mushrooms
1 cup of Butternut squash noodles (I bought them already made at Whole Foods)
1 15oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
Spices to taste preference:
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp Himalayan sea salt
1/2 tbsp black pepper
4 long stems of basil (diced)

Recipe:
Dice up the pepper, onion, mushrooms and saute in oil of your choice. When that combination is almost done cooking, add the butternut squash noodles to the same skillet. Once the noodles have cooked (about 5-7 minutes), remove the veggies from the skillet. Add a small bit of oil back to the pan and place the ground turkey in. Top with all the seasonings (minus the basil) and cook until browned. Once the turkey is cooked, add the can of tomatoes and bring to a slight boil. Push the turkey mixture to the sides of the skillet, creating a empty circle in the middle of the pan. Add the veggies back to the skillet and reheat for a few minutes. Once you feel the veggies have reheated enough, mix all the ingredients together. Portion out 4 servings and top with fresh basil.

Comfort Food Gone Clean

Super easy, one pan and so good! I don’t know what else to say other than you have go to try this! Be creative with it. Add different chopped veggies, your favorite seasonings etc. Maybe try it with zucchini noodles as well? This was packed full of protein and fiber and ZERO carbs! It was so satisfying, it is on the menu weekly from now on. Try it and let me know what you think! For those friends who are following the 21 day fix meal plan, you’re in luck! It is 21 day fix approved! It’s time to make mealtime delicious & nutritious!

Namaste~
joy

 

New York Hall of Science- Family Fun is Awaiting

Family Fun is awaiting you.   New York Hall of Science offers a hands-on approach that explains science, technology, engineering and math programming to children of all ages. NYSCILogo150

Their permanent exhibit, Connected Worlds, is a fully immersive, digitally rendered, interactive display. Visitors explore the interdependence of six environments and interact with creatures, trees and plants within each atmosphere. Through gestures and movements, visitors learn the core principles of sustainability and see the impact of human decisions on the environment. Visit today for an immersive experience!

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My husband has been eagerly awaiting taking our son here. He is at the perfect age and just loves science! My husband grew up not far from here and spent many days with his own family (and school trips) here. I am excited to be able to watch him happily reminisce about how it was like when he was younger, while having a completely new experience with our son!

We are ready to learn and make memories at the New York Hall of Science!

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Reduce Your Child’s Stress With SELF-REG By Dr. Stuart Shanker

If you are a parent, chances are there are times when things can get pretty stressful with this parenting gig. Whether it is you or your child, sometimes our emotional responses are not what we would say is appropriate! Fear not, there is something that can help alleviate the stress! SELF-REG is a new book written by Dr. Stuart Shanker, that aims to help parents and caregivers (and their children) break the stress cycle and successfully engage in life. This book resonated with me more than I thought it would. And, I think it could do the same for you.

13512009_1369642833052803_7513924312647813087_nAt the start of the book, you learn about the discovery of the limbic system, often referred to as the “emotional brain” and how it’s connected to our emotions. Each one of our memories is stored here and is associated with an emotional response, whether it be good or bad. Now I know why I am still afraid of the dentist at 33 years old! The ability for our emotional response to be rational and precise, largely is affected by one’s stress level. Each person has an individual level of stress that their limbic system values as a threat. When a threat is seen, our ability to control our responses is lessened.

“Self-control is important but not the central organizing feature of a strong, healthy mind and life success. Self-regulation is.” Dr. Stuart Shanker 

Right from the beginning of the book I felt at ease about my son and I. As most are aware, we both have been diagnosed with Anxiety Disorders and Sensory Processing Disorder. We are usually playing out a “fight or flight” scenario in our minds weekly, even when nothing seems to really be bothering us. When we are anxious, we tend to be more emotional. Overly happy or terribly sad and agitated. It all seemed to make sense. Dr. Stuart Shanker explained it in a way that was easy to understand. I always knew our anxiety was something that we couldn’t control, but it is always nice to hear that we are not alone.

SELF-REG: 5 Core Steps for Transforming Behavior

  1. Read the signs and reframe the behavior
  2. Identify the stressors
  3. Reduce the stressors
  4. Become aware of when you’re overstressed
  5. Figure out what helps you calm, rest and recover

How simple do these steps sound?  While it may take time to learn ALL the signs and stressors, you can start putting these to use immediately. Think about a time when your child was acting fresh or rude. Was there something bothering them? Was there a large crowd, noise, light bothering them? Were they not feeling their best? I ran these steps in my head a few times and was able to determine a few stressors of my son’s that I wasn’t aware of before. We can help our kids navigate their emotions on a healthier level with these steps. Society sometimes tells us that having emotions is a bad thing. That we need to keep them bottled up and repress them. With these steps, kids (and adults alike) will also learn the importance of emotional openness and safety. Holding our emotions in can actually lead to more stress in our lives.

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I highly suggest this book for anyone who has a tough time recognizing their child’s behavior.  These steps for transforming behavior are not to control our children. It is to help them understand “why this” behavior and to help them self-regulate. It is never too early or late to start learning this technique. And remember, these steps can help us understand our own signs and stressors. A little understanding can go a long way, especially when we can understand ourselves on a deeper level. We not only become better parents, but better people for it.

I was given an advance digital copy to facilitate my own opinion. You have a chance to win a hardcopy of SELF-REG by entering the giveaway below. I hope you enter~there is much to learn from this book!
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The Great Escape Room: A Brain Busting Experience

A few weeks ago, a small group of us Rhody Bloggers got to try out The Great Escape Room in Providence and boy was it AH-MAY-ZING! However, it does do a little something to your ego if you do NOT escape! Kidding, but we were shy of escaping by about 5 minutes!  I thought I was pretty clever, but boy were the clues wicked tricky! I think that’s what made it so enjoyable. It wasn’t your average clue. You had to think and really use your mind! They were out-of-the-box clever and challenging! I think I can safely speak for the bloggers in attendance and say it was a great experience, one we will surely take part in again.IMG_3473

Picture this,  you are locked in a room. You have 1 hour to solve a bunch of clues in order to solve a bigger puzzle that unlocks the doors to said room. Problem is, you don’t know what you are solving or looking for. It is a riddle? Is it a numeric code? Are you looking for words? Are you looking for numbers? At the beginning, it was quite confusing. You just start tearing the room apart piece by piece. Literally. Our in room guide Andy (who was so great),  kept telling us to just make a mess and search anything and everything.  So we did! We started finding clues (can’t tell you what) and started to put them in the right order (or so we thought). Nothing is as it seems and yet everything was. Don’t over-think. That’s a hint I can give you!

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This is great activity for the whole family, a bunch of friends, team building and even private parties! The location is perfect for anyone looking for some fun in Providence. After you ESCAPE, you are surrounded by tons or yummy restaurants and cool shops. Perfect summer afternoon in the city.  This could be a great rainy day activity this summer as well!  Tickets are $28 with a $1.80 processing fee. They also offer Student and Military discounts and 10% off a group of 10 or more.

The Great Escape Room Providence is a real-life room escape game based on the popular computer and mobile phone escape games. Escape the room games are the newest craze sweeping the nation! After entering a room with your team, the door is locked behind you. 60 minutes are on the clock! You must work together in order to find clues and solve puzzles that will lead you to your escape. It is part scavenger hunt and part puzzle game. 

Are you ready to become a Master Sleuth?  Get ready to Escape The Room!

 

AllerMates: Why Is It So Important To Wear An Allergy ID?

I have a wonderful guest writer today on my blog!  Iris Shamus Wife, mother to three awesome kids and founder/CEO of AllerMates. Based in New York, Iris and her team create helpful content, answer emails, ship their products and obsess every day about keeping kids safe. Please read below to learn why wearing allergy/medical ID is so important! I have had AllerMates products for my son since he was diagnosed with food allergies many years ago. I truly love them! I know you will too! 

I started AllerMates after an incident with my food allergic son’s preschool. One of his buddies, who had multiple food allergies including a dairy allergy, was given a dairy snack by his teacher. He had a severe allergic reaction, and I started to think about how easily that could have been my son.  I set out to look for something I could slap on him to help remind his teachers and caregivers of his health concerns.

To be honest at the time I was completely unfamiliar with medical alert accessories. I think I sort of associated them with elderly people who were at risk of heart attacks or something! Who knew that I would become such an advocate of medical alert IDs… although I was determined to create a much more modern version of one that my son would think was “cool” and fun to wear!

But first, what is a medical ID?
Medical IDs are pieces of jewelry that could one day save your life. Adults typically wear metal bracelets with their allergies, prescribed medications and medical conditions engraved on the surface. However, these metal bracelets aren’t always too kid-friendly, so if your kiddo has a food allergy or health condition, try a kid-friendly medical alert bracelet or dog tag.

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At AllerMates, we refer to our bracelets as allergy bracelets or health bracelets as opposed to medical alert bracelets, since most of our products are designed for kids. In fact, we like to think of ourselves as pioneers in the industry considering that no one used the term “allergy bracelets” until AllerMates came around!

 Why are they so important?
As parents or caretakers, it’s tough to imagine that your kid will ever be in an emergency medical situation, however, it’s important to be prepared for them. More than 95% of emergency responders state that they check for a medical ID when they’re called for emergencies. And they’re not the only ones. Teachers, day care workers, camp counselors and other caretakers are also trained to look for allergy bracelets or necklaces on kids. If your child is ever involved in a medical emergency, having allergy bracelets or necklace that identifies his or her health concerns is essential in preventing a tragedy.

To be honest, when I created the original AllerMates bracelet, I was more concerned with having a communication tool to teachers and caregivers to help PREVENT an incident. Some medical alert accessories have the information inscribed on the BACK of the accessory and I thought, why not have a fun visual for all to see? Why are we hiding this critical information instead of making it bright and noticeable?

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If you have a kid with a food allergy, you’re probably all too familiar with the stress that comes along with sending kids to birthday parties and play dates. What if your child accidentally eats a food with his or her allergen? Because kids’ medical alert bracelets and dog tags are so brightly colored and noticeable, caretakers will immediately recognize that they need to look out for allergens when serving your child. Think of these bracelets and dog tags as a way to ease your concerns and give you a little peace of mind.

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Living proof that my dream came true and that kids could actually be excited to wear their allergy bracelets. Here is Britney Spears’ stylish son photographed with his AllerMates bracelets.

When should you wear a medical ID?

Kids should keep their medical alert jewelry on at all times. Why can’t kids take it off at home? Let’s say Uncle Bill, who just so happens to stop by over the weekend, doesn’t remember that your son has a peanut allergy, and feeds him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every. Parent’s. Nightmare. Avoid this situation by keeping the medical alert jewelry on at all times so that caretakers are always informed of your child’s health concerns.

What options are there for kids?
Luckily, there are tons of options that parents will love and kids will love wearing! AllerMates makes medical alert bracelets for a variety of kids’ health concerns, as well as dog tags and charms. If your kiddo has multiple allergies or health conditions, you can purchase the charms and attach them to a multi-charm bracelet. That way, kids don’t have to wear multiple allergy bracelets to keep caretakers informed of their many health concerns.

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With all of these fun options for kids, there’s no excuse to NOT wear medical alert jewelry!

Be sure to visit our website, www.allermates.com, and sign up for our newsletter to always stay in-the-know with allergy news!

xo, Iris