Thursday, 28 April 2016

Don't Speak - 49 Date Night Activities

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on 51 conversation starters for date nights, as I know that many friends and I have all struggled to focus date night on reconnecting rather than parenting responsibilities and work stresses.  When we take the time to really connect with each other it strengthens our bonds, whether if we're out on dates with our spouse or on an overdue catch-up with friends.

Here's the thing, sometimes we don't feel like talking, or forcing a conversation, we're too tired, spent an entire day in meetings, or negotiating with a very stubborn four year old. That doesn't mean that we don't want to have a great time together.  Sometimes it helps to make the centre of the date about an activity, making the conversation tends to follow a lot more naturally.

49 Date Night Activities Where Fun Comes First, Conversation Second 

Yahtzee is a go to game staple at our house...on a side note we write down whatever is going on in our lives at the time on all score sheets (we even have an old score sheet from the night we got engaged)

  1. Play some pool
  2. Visit a museum or art gallery
  3. Have an arcade night out, or get your hands on some classic arcade games to enjoy at home (Ms. Pacman night anyone?)
  4. Karaoke or some old school Rock Band
  5. Schedule a beer or wine tasting (at home or at a local gastro pub or brewery)
  6. Attend a poetry reading or open mic, feeling brave?  Go on up!
  7. Check out a concert, big band, great venue, or hidden gem at your neighbourhood hole in the wall.
  8. Go bowling
  9. Play some miniature golf
  10. Get on a boat (canoe, kayak or paddle boat)
  11. Look for a carnival or fun fair, win some prizes, eat some funnel cake
  12. Play some ping pong
  13. Challenge your date to a game of cards (Chris and I have an ongoing cribbage tournament for quiet evenings and big competition, enjoy Crazy Eight Countdown)
  14. Play a cooperative board game (we're currently digging the game Pandemic)
  15. Attend a cooking class together
  16. Hit a drive in movie
  17. Go pick some fruit, bonus points to anyone who make pies or jams together afterwards
  18. Take a hike together, go somewhere really breath taking
  19. Go skating or roller-skating or roller-blading
  20. Go to a comedy club, just don't sit in the front row unless you want to take your chances on being included in a stand-up routine

    Chris rockin out to the Metallica pinball machine at Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago
  21. Take a dance class
  22. Visit an escape room, need more players, make it a double or triple date
  23. Check out a local sports team
  24. Go biking
  25. Look for a bar trivia night and work together to beat other teams (you've totally got this!)
  26. Take a walking tour of a neighbourhood (Janes Walk is a great resource to get started)
  27. Hit a flea market or go antiquing for something special
  28. Try Geocaching 
  29. Attend an art class together
  30. Volunteer for a worthy cause together
  31. Get theatrical, see a play
  32. Try an improv class (okay, maybe there will be a lot of talking involved here)
  33. Go to a spa together (or to save some money pamper each other at home)
  34. Go on a cruise (booze cruise or sight seeing)
  35. Go rock or wall climbing
  36. Take a couples yoga class
  37. Go to a farmer's market
  38. Need to work out some frustration?  How about a game of laser tag or paintball
  39. Want to take target, consider an archery class, playing darts or ax throwing
  40. Play some poker, want to make things interesting? How about a game of strip poker?
  41. Attend a lecture together (it could be on a topic that one or both of you are passionate about, academically or extra-curricular)
  42. Take a ghost tour
  43. Hit the driving range, or play a round of golf
  44. Have a photo shoot, or draw each other
  45. Read a book (or book series) together, this can become a nightly or weekly activity
  46. Get out the dice and play a game of Yahtzee
  47. Try a bookstore date challenge (to learn how click here)
  48. Play Frisbee or catch
  49. Hit the batting cages
Have other date ideas, comment below!

To read 51 date night conversation starters click here

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Little Red Riding Hood - Movie Review Hoodwinked

I remember watching Hoodwinked about a decade ago, in our time BK (before kids) and thinking it was pretty funny.  Despite fairly mediocre reviews on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes I thought it might be fun to watch for a Sunday Night Movie Night with the minions, particularly with Molly's ongoing tumultuous relationship with the Big Bad Wolf, he is her ex-boyfriend after all (no seriously, he is - to read about it click here).

Movie Review: Hoodwinked

Image Courtesy of Amazon UK

What's in it for the Kids?
A mystery movie where you see four distinct perspectives on "what really happened" as animal police investigate finding who is responsible for stealing all recipes and ruining many forest/fairy tale land businesses.

What's in it for the Adults?
Witty, fast, and funny dialogue that is going to make the adults laugh just as much as the kids.  All of you Seinfeld and The Tick fans can enjoy the never tiring, sarcastic voice work from Patrick Warburton.  The movie also features the voice talents of Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, Jim Belushi, XZibit, Anthony Anderson and Andy Dick.  Alternative music fans, the film's soundtrack includes tunes by Ben Folds.

Best Parts of the Movie
The movie is an interesting reimagination of Little Red Riding Hood that forces both kids and adults to look beyond what they know from the original story.  This movie gave us a great opportunity to talk to the kids about perspective and point of view (why we ask for both sides of the story during conflict resolution) as well as trying to solve their first mystery.  Super competitive Molly was at the edge of her seat trying to be the first one to figure out who the recipe thief was, while Jack was hysterically giggling at the antics of the henchmen. Solid 80 minute length movie, which is ideal for watching time with young ones.

Worst Parts of the Movie
The animation for this movie is not good, even for 2005.  My other beef with this movie is a reference made about "Fighting like a girl" despite the film featuring several strong female characters, come on, let's please stop teaching the next generation terrible sexist stereotypes.

Overall Rating
I will admit that my rating is slightly skewed by the fact that I watched it at home, for free instead of at a movie theatre.  I would rate this movie 4/5.  A number of the negative reviews I saw about this complained about how it wasn't as good as Shrek  and how the animation was bad.  Since I haven't seen Shrek in years (and never loved it anyway) and went in knowing about the mediocre animation it wasn't an issue.  Molly and Jack have already requested Hoodwinked 2, which makes me a little nervous, since it's ratings are significantly lower than the first one, but hey my kids like The Little Mermaid 2, so there is no way to know until we try, and it's on Netflix Canada right now.

To read my review on Zootopia click here

To read my review of Kung Fu Panda 3 click here.

To read my review of Good Dinosaur click here.

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Friday, 22 April 2016

Take A Breath - Raffi, Stress and Self-Regulation

A couple of weeks ago one of our babysitters, and friend AW, sent me a link to a new Raffi song, Take A Breath, that she thought might be helpful for Jack when he gets stressed out, frustrated and acts out because he has trouble finding his words.  I listened to the song, long after the children had gone to bed, let Chris take a listen and didn't give it much further thought. Save for Christmas time, and a few select other songs we don't play a lot of kid music in our house, even though our kids (specifically Jack) are big fans of music.  From my adult perspective the Raffi song seemed a little boring and slow to me, so I put it on a shelf.

Image courtesy of The MEHRIT Centre
Fast forward to Wednesday night.  I had a kid pick-up sent directly from the bowels of hell.  Since it's been nice outside the kids have been playing outside after school and I'm able to grab them all rosy cheeked from a big yard where they run around and have a blast.  When I arrived, Jack was determined to get to me first, but Molly was closer.  When Molly jumped into my arms, her brother crumpled into the ground and began screaming and crying hysterically.  I sent Molly off to find both of their backpacks and I picked up Jackie Bear to try and calm him down.  By the time I had stopped him from crying, and explained to him that Molly had gotten to me faster because she was closer to me when I arrived, Molly arrived with the backpacks.  No longer crying he asked me if he could talk to Molly.  I lowered him to Molly and he proceeded to pinch her arm as hard as he could and yelled, "NEXT TIME I'M FIRST!" at the top of his lungs.

I then had two hysterical children.  I set him down, scolded him for hurting his sister and scooped Molly up as we walked to the car. Suddenly Jack ran ahead, got to the car and started punching and pounding on the door both furiously and desperately as he wailed at the top of his lungs.  Silently and as calmly as I could, face red with anger and embarrassment, I got both of the kids into the car.  I told Jack I would talk to him about this when we got home, and refused to engage or provide negative attention for the entire trip to pick up dad from the subway and all the way home.  It was a challenging trip for both of us, I assure you.

When we got home I put Jack in the time out chair, where he sat calmly and quietly.  When time out was over we talked about his frustration and about other ways he can cope when he's upset and feels out of control.  He started crying and told me that when he's naughty it makes him miserable.  We cuddled, I calmed him down, and then I played Raffi's Take A Breath for him.  About half way through the song he asked if the song was about him.  I told him yes, that it was for him and about him.  He listened to the rest of it and happily followed Raffi's instructions.  We moved on from the pick-up debacle and went on with the rest of our evening without incident.  On Thursday at pick-up when Jack got frustrated at me because I opened the car door instead of letting him do it, I asked him if he could try to calm down.  Slowly and deliberately he took a deep breath, just like Raffi's instructions.  Later that afternoon he asked if he could listen to the song again, and we did.

Apparently a 42 year career in children's music has served Raffi and Jack well.  I'm sorry for ever doubting your Raffi.  Thanks for the find AW, it has helped immensely!

To check out the song yourself click here, and give it a listen...The impact on Jack was immediate and amazing.

To read 6 Tips to help you and your child deal with anger, rage & tantrums click here.

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Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Whole World Is Our Playground: Revisiting Jeff Healey Playground

In the summer of 2013 Chris and I took the minions to explore Jeff Healey Playground, a park dedicated to Canadian music icon Jeff Healey and his memory, that at the time was still a work in progress.  I'm pleased to report that the regular fundraisers have allowed the completion of the playground and there is now an interactive musical feature that Jeff Healey himself would love.

My park review disclaimer: If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds ideally some in Toronto proper (indoor or out or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me at

The park is located at Royal York and The Queensway in Toronto (Etobicoke).

Here are some recent photos of the new (to us), music focused equipment that was installed in 2015.

Making Music at Jeff Healey Playground

Beautiful Bells

Jack makes a move towards the colourful drums

Jack is finally big enough to master climbing to the top of the "big kid" structure at the park.

In my previous review I didn't score this playground very high, but a lot of the reason for my score had to do with the age of my children, with the play structures being too "big-kid" focused for the abilities of Molly and Jack who were just two years old at the time.  Now that my kids are four they loved what was available, and I'd say that the added musical feature provides another activity that kids of any age can enjoy.  Today I'd probably rate the playground a solid 4/5.  I'd also add in that the location of this park and playground has made it a best kept secret for the area, and there was no overcrowding, despite it being a beautiful spring day!

To read my review of this park from 2013 click here.

To read my recent review of McCleary (Natural) Playground click here.

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Monday, 18 April 2016

Happy Wanderer - Hiking at Colonel Sam Smith Park

Now that spring is really here, we're making a dedicated effort to get the family out and moving.  I'm still wistful with memories of pre-children days when weekends included lengthy, challenging hikes, followed by even lengthier afternoon naps.  That being said I'm determined to get all of us outside more often, exploring wilderness in and around the GTA.  I can see lengthier hikes on the horizon, and it's going to be great.

This weekend our "ice-breaker" hike/walk was along the paths of Colonel Sam Smith Park (near the Humber College Lakeshore Campus at Kipling and Lakeshore).  What got us excited about this park was the extensive paths along the Etobicoke end of the waterfront.  This park has pay parking on weekdays (free parking on weekends) and is also TTC accessible via the 44 Kipling South bus.

 Checking out the skyline

 Path with a view

One of the principals highlighted in Scott Sampson's book, How to Raise A Wild Child, The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature is how exposure to outdoors and nature is a great way to help children develop their confidence and ability to practice safer risk taking.  As I heard Molly give herself the pep talk of "You can do it Molly!" each time she had to climb a more challenging rock, I knew this trip was a huge win.  Both minions gained more and more confidence as we played along the rocks and enjoyed the weather and view.

 Jack wanted to get a closer view of the swan we came across.  He named him Peter.

We all had a blast on this walk and the kids happily explored without complaining for over an hour.  Most of the paths are paved or dirt, with many other families out exploring on bikes as well.  The only issue we came across was a huge population of gnats, which is probably because it's spring, and we went late in the day (at around 5PM).  The gnats were everywhere! Cyclists were routinely stopping to brush the bugs out of their hair, face and sometimes mouths.  Jack walked a significant portion of our hike using me as a bug shield, but quickly got over it, as the gnats weren't nearly as bad when we were closer to the lake.

One of the neat features of Colonel Sam Smith Park that we weren't able to explore on this trip is that it is the site of Toronto's only outdoor skating trail. (This is definitely going on our to-do list for next winter).  

Have suggestions for excellent, but family friendly, walks or hikes?  Leave a comment or send me a note to

To read about our hike at Lambton Park click here.

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

Keep Talking - 51 Date Night Conversation Starters

One of the first things that Chris and I vowed after we had kids was that we'd maintain lives outside parenthood: we'd hire babysitters and we'd go out on dates.  Four and a half years in, I'd say we do a pretty good job.  The thing that we seem to drop the ball on is getting out for dates, just the two of us. Although we've been getting out regularly, our outings are usually social, which means our one on one dates are often at least 4-6 weeks apart.

On date night it can be hard to turn off distractions and focus on our time with each other where we should be recharging and reconnecting.  Sometimes we fall into a rut where conversation focuses primarily on the kids, family and friend updates, and work stresses.  Not exactly the bonding time we were looking for.

Reconnecting on date night can be scary (photo circa 2007)

Sometimes we create a simple conversation rule: No talking about kids or work, period.  Sounds easy, right?  It's not, trust me.

Since we've routinely employed this rule for a number of years now I thought I'd create a little cheat sheet based on some of the best conversations we've had on dates, along with a lot of research to help conversate better.

51 Conversation Starters & Questions to Help You Reconnect On Date Night

  1. What hobby(ies) do you want to start that you keep putting off?
  2. What is on your vacation bucket list?  Why?
  3. What trendy thing do you want to try together? (Ax throwing, escape rooms, paddle boarding)  
  4. What are you reading right now?  What's on your reading list?
  5. What would make this restaurant, bar (wherever you are) better?
  6. What is your Zombie Apocalypse action plan?
  7. What is your biggest goal right now?
  8. What is one of the most adventurous things you've done?
  9. If you could witness any event in history what would it be? Why?
  10. What is the very best time we've ever had as a couple?
  11. What bands are you passionate about right now?  Who have you always wanted to see live in concert?
  12. What is your first memory of me?
  13. If you could have one superpower what would it be?  Why?
  14. Do you think our marriage makes other couples or our kids want to get married?
  15. What do you want to plan for our next date?
  16. What movies do you want to see?  What do you want to re-watch, why?
  17. Fill in the blanks: Our kids would totally freak out if they knew X about you and me.
  18. Fill in the blanks: I laugh whenever I think about you doing X.
  19. What is your favourite photo of us?  Why?
  20. Where do you want to live/ how do you want to spend your/our time after we retire?
  21. What makes you saddest as a wife/husband?  As a parent?
  22. What activity that I do provides you with the most sensual/sexual pleasure?
  23. What time of day is best for us to have a short, but meaningful conversation?
  24. Which celebrity bugs you the most?
  25. If you could try any job or career for a year what would it be?
  26. How would you spend a perfect day, by yourself?
  27. How would you spend your perfect day, with just me and you?
  28. What is the most honest thing you have ever said or done?

    Date night last month, we haven't aged at all, right?
  29. What do you miss about our dating years (pre-marriage or kids)?  How can we work to get that back again?
  30. What one person from your past (that you lost touch with) do you wonder about and miss the most? Why?
  31. When were you most moved by a friend or family members gesture of kindness?
  32. What ways do you think you and I are most similar?  What ways are we most different?
  33. What would your childhood self think of the person you've become?
  34. What controversial issue do you feel most strongly about?  Why?
  35. If you were to be famous for something what would you want it to be?
  36. What scent brings back a favourite childhood memory?  What is the memory?
  37. What website do you visit the most?
  38. What is the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to you?
  39. What do you admire about me?
  40. How do you know when you are happy?
  41. What was your most intimate moment?
  42. When is our relationship at its happiest?
  43. How (non-verbally) should I tell (show you) that I love you?
  44. What is the one thing that would improve the quality of our home life?
  45. What is the one thing that would improve the quality of our sex life?
  46. What activity is so engrossing to you that you lose track of time?
  47. How do we complement each other?
  48. What do you love the most about your life?
  49. What scares you the most?
  50. How well do you think we know each other?  How would we do on the Newlyweds game?
  51. What does intimacy mean to you?

What questions have you been asked that helped you reconnect with a friend or spouse?

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Monday, 11 April 2016

Touch Me I'm Sick - 11 Productivity Tips When Caring for a Sick Child

Sometimes we have those weeks when we feel like the hamster on the wheel, no matter how hard we're running, we don't make any progress.  This is often how I feel whenever the kids are sick, and everyone involved is desperate to get work done, provide all the necessary TLC for the sick child (overcompensate with the well child who's being shipped off to school), and try to fend off total and complete exhaustion themselves (all the while fending off the creeping feeling that the illness may hit them next).

Last week Molly had a low grade fever that just wouldn't quit, and would randomly spike, often in the middle of the night, punctuated by fever-grade nightmares.  Several days at home with mandatory rest there was no improvement.  Thankfully,because of a fast acting antibiotic, she's now well on the road to recovery and will be returning to school.

Another work distraction (Throwback photo of my kitty cat Panny)

As we muddled through the week I'd often think and stress about work that was getting done, and work that was not.  As this week approaches I know that no one is completely caught up on work, chores, or sleep, but we're getting there, at a snail's pace.  As many people now have the ability to telecommute it can be easier to work from home and get a lot done, however this can change when you factor a sick toddler into the equation.

Here's how to be your most productive self while tending to your sick child

1.Set a realistic list of prioritiesDon't get too ambitious, or you're going to be disappointed.   Knock items off your list with the most important tasks tackled first, anything additional accomplished is gravy.  You will lose some time, but it's more important to be there for your kids!

2. Set your alarm earlier
By getting up just half an hour earlier you can check and clear any urgent email and tackle projects that require maximum levels of concentration without interruption.

3. Hit their snooze button
This is exponentially more difficult when you have multiple children and family members to jockey to school and work, but by keeping the house quiet a little longer you can let your sick child sleep in which should lead to faster recovery, and also hopefully more work accomplished for you, so win-win.

4. Lighten up on the TV rule
Our weekday TV rule is usually 30 minutes to an hour maximum, dependant on weather, extracurricular activities and whether or not it's bath night.  When I'm sick I want to binge watch some comfort TV and movies, why shouldn't I extend the same luxury to my kids?  This allows for an extra hour or two of day time work accomplished.

5. Break out quiet activities
A new colouring book, some play dough, or Lego are great, fairly quiet activities that can allow you to review spreadsheets, reports, or catch up on industry related reading.

6.Encourage them to nap
By taking a break and unplugging yourself you can pull out a number of stops that will encourage your child to get a little afternoon shut-eye, even if they're usually beyond naps.  Curling up with your child, a blanket, some light music, and some favourite stories can put them to sleep.  It's also a great way to connect and help them feel taken care of and pampered.

7. Take shifts
If you're lucky enough to have multiple caregivers in your house it's time to play a little bit of tag.  Have one person go into work early, so they can relieve the parent who has taken a personal day or are working from home.  Same can apply to after work, when one parent returns home, have the other lock themselves away for an hour or two for some dedicated, uninterrupted work time.  Take shifts for middle of the night sleep interruptions too, even if it means that someone ends up sleeping on the couch for the night.

8. Bring in someone from the outside
If your child has a common cold, an ear infection, is recovering from surgery, or has something that isn't easily communicable to others you may want to call in outside help to give you an hour or two break.  Get a babysitter or call in a favour from a friend or the grandparents and go to a local cafe, or tuck yourself away for some conference calls, or face-to-face meetings.

9. Burn the midnight oil, but just a little
An extra half hour or hour post-kid bed time can make a world of difference, just remember not to push too hard.  You'll need some time to unwind yourself, whether if it's going for a run, watching a favourite TV show or playing a game of cards with your spouse.  A break for you will make you more productive in the long run, as will a decent night sleep (when possible).

10. Don't be afraid to postpone and delegate
Groceries still need to get done, so order online.  Meeting at the other end of the city, figure out if it would be okay to postpone by a few days, and then do so, but with giving plenty of notice.  The ironing can wait a few days, it will be okay.

11. Remember everything will take longer than expected
Work will take longer than expected, as will appointments at the doctors office or time at the pharmacy picking up a prescription.  Odds are, if your life is anything like ours, you're probably going way too fast anyway.  Take the time to breathe and enjoy the fact that your little one asked you to crawl into bed with them and stroke their hair, because before you know it, they'll be better and you'll be back to the grind as usual.

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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Danse Royale - 12 Tips for a Successful Trip to Medieval Times

This weekend we went to a family birthday party at Medieval times.  This is a great experience for kids because they pretty much get to do everything that you don't normally let them do.  They are encouraged to scream at the top of their lungs, eat with their hands, boo people, and get rewarded for being rowdy.  There are 9 "Castles" (Medieval Times locations) in North America.

Dry Ice Entrance to the arena

The kids had a blast, we had fun, and everyone went home satisfactorily exhausted, and overall the trip was a great success. That being said there are a few things that we lucked into that made our visit even better.

Here are 12 tips for making the most of your experience at Medieval Times!

Our Knight, The Red and Yellow Knight

  1. Look for deals before you book
    Regular priced tickets can get pretty expensive (in Toronto $65.95 per adult and $45.95 for kids under 12).  They offer group rate packages, special discounts for Scouts and teachers ($30.95 per person), so keep an eye out for a discount.  I've also seen a number of offers during non-peak times for cheaper tickets via discount coupon sites (just Google Medieval Times Discounts with your location).  For parents with kids aged three and under, you are allowed to have your child attend for free, provided that they sit on your lap and eat off of your plate (which shouldn't be a problem food portion wise, as servings are huge).
  2. Get there early, because there will be lines
    The lines, even for ticket holders are pretty long.  We were the last people in our party to arrive, but it was difficult to figure out how to meet up with the rest of our family to get inside as many of the staff were giving us conflicting information.  If you get there early enough you can have your photo taken (available for purchase later) with a member of the cast (usually the King, Princess or Falconer). By getting there early you can also look at the horses and the falcon, browse the gift shop or have a pre-show drink.

    The King 
  3. If you have little kids, try to get seated close to the washrooms
    Jack took full advantage of the free refills of Pepsi at Medieval Times, gulping down two giant steins, this meant more frequent trips to the bathroom.  For those visiting the Toronto location the green and red sections are the closest to the facilities. 
  4. Be prepared to spend more than your ticket fee
    Tickets cover your seat, a cardboard crown colour-coded for your section, your meal, and unlimited pop.  For adults who want some booze along with their Medieval experience, you're going to pay extra for that.  There is also a gift shop that sells Medievalish souvenirs to those interested.  Molly used some of her Easter money to purchase a pink pointy cone shaped princess had (actually called a hennin) and Jack used some of his to buy a flag to wave around while we cheered for our knights, thankfully no one lost an eye during his fits of Pepsi/caffeine infused flag waving.

    The Royal Joust 
  5. Embrace the cheese
    Don't go in expecting a Broadway show, instead expect an over the top, re-imagination of a Royal dinner and battle of knights that is geared to entertain children (Think A Knight's Tale, not Robin Hood), and you'll be golden.  Most of the Knights have flowing long locks that would make even Fabio jealous, some amazing costumes, and will entertain you with a joust and other stage-fighting theatrics
  6. They have booster seats
    If you have a little kid who might have trouble seeing you can ask for a booster seat. Ask early, as otherwise you may end up with the child on your lap for the entire show, which truthfully isn't terrible anyway.

    Jack waving his flag
  7. The knights will throw flowers into the audience
    Thanks to the help of her cousins, and Molly being a giant ham standing on her chair, batting her eyelashes and waving her arms like she was about to take flight, we had a flower thrown to us. The receipt of the flower made Molly's entire day.  For those who don't get a flower thrown their way and have their heart set on a flower (knights will throw flowers several times during the show, so there is more than one opportunity) there are cloth, light-up flowers available for purchase (or you can just buy one from the dollar store and stash it in your bag in case your kid misses out on the flower toss).
  8. You'll have more fun if you get into it
    All staff will call you my lord and lady, call the food different things (the garlic bread were dragons gills), and will make things more fun, especially if you participate too.  One of the drinks they offer is spit, and Jack (naturally) asked for some. Our waiter pretended to oblige, before actually serving him copious amounts of Pepsi.
  9. There are two show time options on weekends
    You can go to a 4:30PM show or a 7:30PM show on weekends.  I'd recommend the earlier show time for people attending with little kids and the later show time for those who were attending with tweens, teens, or a group of rowdy adults.
    A royal horse
  10. Your kids can wear a costume.
    Most kids, particularly the little girls, were wearing princess dresses.  A number of adults, specifically those who were there for a child's birthday party got into the spirit of the venue and also wore costumes.  As someone who loves Halloween, and welcomes any chance to dress up I'm a little sorry I didn't think to pull out the dress up box before we went.
  11. You can bring your own food
    Not sure how your child is going to react to the food served?  You can bring some snacks if you think they're going to turn up their nose at tomato soup, garlic bread, chicken, corn, potato, and a butter tart.  I've also seen online that you can ask for a doggy bag, but didn't see anyone actually get one while we were there, People seated near us for a birthday party brought in their own cupcakes to enjoy in front of the show.
  12. If you're allergic to pets, bring some allergy medication
    We'd forgotten about Chris's horse allergies, and he was sniffling throughout the show.  If you find yourself sniffling at the petting zoo, you may want to have some medication on hand just in case.
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