Here are a few quick pictures from the concert at The Bank of America Pavillion in Boston. The Wallflowers were wonderful and Counting Crows were incredible as always.
The 2nd week of family vacation brought us to Canobie Lake Park. We had a perfect day! The weather was warm and sunny and offered a cool breeze. The kids had an amazing time challenging themselves with roller coasters, adventure rides, and more. I have mixed emotions about the food at Canobie Lake Park. On one hand it's amazing that they have created a food allergens guide for the entire park. This definitely came in handy with our dairy allergy. On the other hand the food was completely lackluster and extremely over priced. For 2 adults and 2 children (3 hamburgers, and a hot dog/macaroni and cheese combo plus drinks) the total was close to $60. The day can be pricey with admission, food, and snacks but it was a great family outing!
What to do with an eleven year old and a twelve year old when it's raining. First you head to the movie theater. Snacks, Drinks, and a Movie distracts them for a while. When the next day is also rainy you have to be creative. We first made Lava Lamps. The kids loved doing this even though the "lamps" don't last long.
How to make lava lamps:
1 plastic water bottle with cap
alka seltzer tabs
Fill the water bottle 3/4 of the way with oil. Add water but leave a 1 inch space from the top of the bottle. Add drops of food coloring (yellow didn't work as good as blue and green). Break the alka seltzer tabs into smaller pieces. Add the tabs to the bottle a few at a time and enjoy!
At night time we came up with dessert ideas. One was popcorn balls.
How to make popcorn balls
1/2 stick butter (we used Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
2 cups marshmallows
a regular bag of microwave popcorn (we made ours in a pan from kernels so its dairy free)
Sprinkles, Chocolate Chips, Candy Pearls, Gummy Bears, etc.
Prepare popcorn according to directions. Melt butter and marshmallows in a pan over medium heat. Combine marshmallow mixture with popcorn and stir. Allow the mixture to cool slightly (otherwise the sprinkles will melt). Have the kids add different toppings and create popcorn balls. Place on wax paper.
Our next venture was into Boston to visit the New England Aquarium. I'm kind of a walking contradiction when it comes to the Aquarium. I refuse to go to Carnivals, I support organizations who help protect a variety of animals, and I have a love for all animals and their natural environments. And yet I took the kids to the aquarium as requested. I think kids need to be able to learn about animals, oceans, and be able to see and experience new things. However, I don't believe animals should be kept in small enclosures, nor should they be manhandled by humans, nor should they be forced out of their natural environment. The kids enjoyed the day and we also tried to explain our views to them.
Below are some of our family pictures:
Whenever family visits we try to take them all around New England. This time we had my grandmother, my eleven year old cousin who visits often, and my twelve year old cousin who has never traveled before.
The first day trip we took was to Rockport, MA. You can read all about that in the previous blog post.
Next up was Mini Golf and Ice Cream. We ventured to Middleton, MA to visit Richardson's Ice Cream and for a round of Mini Golf. Richardson's has a large variety of flavors as well as some Dairy Free Sorbets.
Our third day trip was to Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville, MA. Taza creates Mexican style chocolates in a variety of flavors and bars. The tour takes you from start (the plants) to finish (the packaging of bars and discs). Along the way you are able to taste their chocolate discs, chocolate bars, and cocoa nibs. When the tour finishes you are able to walk around their shop. Here you will find all of their products, products from other companies that include Taza Chocolate, as well as other goods.
Our fourth day trip was to Kittery, ME. We did a little outlet shopping: Crate and Barrel, Cooking supplies, Yummies Candy, etc. We then enjoyed some lunch at When Pigs Fly Pizzeria. You can read that review here. Before heading home for the day we drove up the road to Cape Neddick (Nubble lighthouse) and also were able to watch some surfers along York Beach.
Below are some photos from our staycation. Stay tuned for Summer Fun Part 2.
We have several family members visiting from Colorado and one of our favorite places to bring them is Rockport, MA.
We started our day with a little bit of shopping.
For unique and beautiful jewelry, scarves, and clothing you must stop in to Wicked Peacock.
For free spirits looking for clothing, jewelry, incense, oils, and home goods visit Floating Lotus.
For inexpensive dresses, purses, and jewelry sets visit Blue Lantern.
For art you really can't go wrong with any of the fabulous galleries along Bearskin Neck.
At lunch time we have two casual favorites. The first is for hot dogs at Top Dog of Rockport. My personal favorite is the Seeing Eye Dog with pickled vidalia onions and carrots. Our second favorite is Roy Moore Lobster Co. My favorite is the lobster roll while Greg's favorite is the baked stuffed clams.
When you have a craving for sweets a must stop is for Apple Strudel at Helmuts Strudel Shop. The kids also enjoyed ice cream from Sunday's Ice Cream Shop. Sunday's also offers dairy free sorbet and dairy free Italian ice.
Our ride from Ubud to Denpasar Airport took us through lots of traffic and totaled two hours. When we arrived at the airport our hotel representative met us once again. To read about that experience visit here.
You first walk through an outdoor "mall." Shops, restaurants, and vendors. Next you have to go through a security check. Finally you make it to the airline check in counters ours was Malaysia Airlines. This is where we sat in line for 40 minutes. Once you are checked in you head through immigration (don't forget to have 150,000 rupiah's per person in cash). We found our gate (gate 1) and made a pit stop to the bathrooms. I have previously read horror stories about the bathrooms at this airport but the ones we used were clean, bright, had doors, and toilet seats. Luckily we noticed an airline representative talking to a few people. It became apparent that our gate had been changed (there wasn't an announcement). There are several screens for gate assignments throughout so just double check them.
4 hours from when we left The Chedi Club we boarded our flight to Kuala Lumpur. At first our plane didn't have any air conditioning. Apparently the generator wasn't working while the plane was parked. It took a while after take off for things to cool down. My dairy free meal was a roasted tomato and mixed vegetables, fruit, salted peanuts and a water.
We arrived in Kuala Lumpur and knew we had a 4 and 1/ hour layover. So we wandered around and looked through some of the shops. We then decided to try Dome restaurant for some dinner. Dome was very accommodating to my dairy allery. Greg and I both ordered sandwiches and they were good but very heavy. When we got back to our gate we found out (via monitors only no announcement) that our flight was going to be delayed an hour and 20 minutes. We asked at the customer service desk what the delay was and we were informed it was because of passengers who were delayed coming from Manilla. We were definitely frustrated by this but at least we had a long layover in London. We decided to get a coffee and tea at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. The drinks were good but upon looking at the ingredients when we got home they are definitely not too healthy.
Our 2nd Malaysia Airlines flight finally began boarding and we ventured up to the economy section of the 2nd level. The flight took off fine and then we went through several hours of very rough turbulence. The flight attendants were seated throughout the turbulence as well. My first dairy free meal was potatoes, tomatoes, and green beans with a salad, fruit, and a roll. The entire meal was awful. I slept through the snack and thankfully they didn't try to wake me. My morning meal was a potato cake, mushrooms, and a tomato with a soy coconut rice pudding, roll, fruit, and jam. The pudding, roll, and jam were okay but the potato cake and vegetables were awful.
After landing in London we headed to terminal 5 and the connections desk. Luckily this went a lot smoother than when flying to Bali. For breakfast we decided on Giraffe in terminal 5. Greg ordered scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, and a roasted tomato. I ordered Muesli with fruit and soy milk. We also both ordered smoothies. The service was fast, friendly, and food was nicely prepared. I then headed to Harrods for some goodies and gifts. With a new heavy bag we headed to our British Airways flight home.
Our flight to Boston was rather uneventful. However Greg and I will be avoiding the British Airways 747 -400 planes. There are no air vents on this plane. You are stuck in a hot environment, cramped seats, and zero air on you. Touching down in Boston we went through immigration, found our luggage, headed past customs, and called for our car through Boston North Limo. Luckily, we had an excellent driver who got us home in time for the Bruins game!!
For our last day in Bali we booked a half day tour (through the hotel) of a temple and a waterfall for the four of us.
Our driver was Tast, a very friendly and informative man. After breakfast we drove to the Four Seasons and picked up our friends. Tast was fully prepared for a very hot day with four passengers. Inside our car there was water for everyone, cool cloths, a cooler of more water, and cloths
As we drove from stop to stop we passed several houses that were beautifully decorated with flowers and flags. Tast told us these were weddings and to be married on this day it was said to be good luck.
Our first stop of the day was Pura Desa Puseh Temple. Before entering the temple we were given a sarong and scarf. Tast walked us through the various areas and explained as much as possible about the area to us. We had ample time to ask questions and take photographs.
Our 2nd stop was at a Silver Village. We were taken to Prapen Artisan. You are shown through the beautiful property and even given a small tour about the process of designing jewelry with silver. I found a unique piece (it's not for everyone). I purchased a silver ring with a large square piece of lava rock in the center.
Our 3rd stop was Tegenungan Waterfall. It's not the tallest or widest waterfall out there but it is breathtaking. Your view is first from above the waterfall (there is a seating area and small store). If you wish you can walk down a good amount of stairs however they are pretty wide and not too steep. You next have to walk across a grassy, muddy, and rocky area and you will end up down near the waterfall. Our friend Steve braved the water and found it to be refreshing but it did have a strong current.
Our 4th stop was at a typical Balinese house. We were shown how they cook, where the sleep, how the honor their elders, the animals they raise for money, and also the family temple. This was interesting to see but also felt a little strange to be gawking at someone's actual home.
On our way back up to the car we crossed paths with locals holding a ceremony. Just a final touch to end our vacation. Tast informed us we still had about an hour left for our tour but we were all incredibly hot and tired from the sun. We headed back to our hotel for some lunch a pool time! To read about our hotel and the hotel restaurant visit here.
For dinner we decided to meet up at Bridges. Unfortunately, this was our least favorite meal. You can read the full restaurant review here.
Below are a few more pictures of our last day!