Category Archives: Family friendly activities

Happy Easter!

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Today Joey had a pretty cool milestone that meant the world to me. As a special needs mom, the littlest thing that your child can do, can be the most amazing thing ever! Especially when they participate and do things “typical” kids do.

Today, Joey gave me the best Easter present ever, he actually hunted his own Easter eggs without any cues from me to pick them up or helping him! Even without tears, he actually was laughing and smiling! He did it all on his own!

There is nothing worse than watching other children having fun, running around picking up Easter eggs and your child not even wanting to participate. I admit, as much as I love watching Leah, Aiden, and other children participate in Easter Egg hunts, deep down it’s always killed me that Joey didn’t want to join in…

This year, he grabbed his basket and took off through the yard picking up his own eggs! Although he may not have gotten as many eggs as Leah & Aiden, and they purposefully skipped over some so Jojoe would have some to get, he had a decent a amount in his basket.

One small step for man, one giant leap for Joey!

 

 

 

Joey’s Jamboree- Celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness

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One of the events that we love going to in our Down syndrome community is the annual Buddy Walk. For many Down syndrome organizations this is the number one way to raise funds for their organization that helps families in their area.

After taking a few years away from participating in the Connecticut Down Syndrome Congress’s Buddy Walk, due to the craziness of our lives, I decided it was time to form a team again. There’s nothing more heart warming than seeing hundreds of people all come together to celebrate our beautiful children.

October is Down syndrome awareness month and I can’t think of a better way start off teh month by walking in a Buddy Walk. The Buddy Walk here in Connecticut is on Saturday, October 1st at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Registration opens at 11am and the walk steps off at noon.

If you are local here in Connecticut and would like to join our team, we welcome you with open arms to join Joey’s Jamboree. You can register on our team’s website. If you are not able to join us but would like to donate to our team, you may do so by going to our team’s website by clicking here. And remember, it’s tax deductible!

Also, if you would like to participate in your local Buddy Walk, you can see if you have one near you by clicking here.

Thank you in advance for your love and support!

 

Our trip to the Pez Visitor Center

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For our latest family outing, due to the sweltering 95 degree heat today, we wanted to stay indoors so we decided to head south to Orange, Connecticut to visit the Pez Visitor Center.

Don’t worry about getting lost, because as soon as you’re to Edison Road aka Pez Boulevard you’ll know thanks to the street sign! You can’t miss it! It’s less than 2 miles off of I-95!

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Then once we pulled up to the building, we were welcomed by three massive packs of Pez candies on the front of the building. Right away, the kids got excited!

For my fellow special needs families, there’s plenty of handicap parking and there’s ramps right in front of the building, no stairs to worry about entering into the building. There’s also a nice elevator inside the building to get to the second floor.
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While Daddy bought our tickets (they’re reasonably priced: Children under 3 FREE, Children 3-12 $4.00, Regular admission $5.00, Seniors (60+) $4.00, Group (10 or more) $4.00) the kids waited on super cute Pez benches in the lobby, then we entered into the main show room/museum.

The main area was quite crowded at times, so I suggest if you have a child that doesn’t deal well with crowds, I suggest going on a weekday instead of a weekend.

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One of the fun activities they have is a scavenger hunt for all of Snow White’s 7 Dwarfs. Once you find all 7 of the dwarfs and figure out the hidden message, you get a free Pez Dispenser at the end of your visit! This kept Aiden busy the entire time, he takes his scavenger hunts very seriously!

Although the visitor center isn’t huge, there’s so much to see in the small area. After all, Pez Dispensers aren’t that big! There’s thousands of dispensers so don’t expect to see each and every one! They have the very first ones made back in 1948 clear through present day! It was so neat seeing the Pez dispensers from when I was growing up in the 1980’s-1990’s! I remembered many of them!

Once we finished looking at all the nostalgia, we started picking out the dispensers we wanted to buy. Aiden picked out a Scooby Doo collector pack with all 5 of Scooby’s crew as dispensers. Leah picked out 2 Emoji dispensers and she filled a small bucket of Pez candies. Joey of course picked out a Finding Nemo dispenser, and I got a Captain Jack Sparrow dispenser! After all, who doesn’t want Johnny Depp feeding you candy, lol!! The single dispenser packs are $1.99, the fill a bucket of candy is $5.99 and most of the collector packs are $10.99.

One of the great things about this place is that with every ticket purchased, you get a $2 credit towards items to purchase that day! So this is a trip that won’t break your piggy bank! So if you haven’t been to the Pez Visitor Center yet, it’s definitely worth the trip!

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B is for Bubble

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One of Joey’s absolute favorite things to do is to play with bubbles! Although he cannot blow bubbles through a wand yet, he LOVES himself a good bubble maker! If someone who’s working with him at school or a doctors office needs a good positive reinforcement to use with him, out comes the bubbles!

We’ve gone through several bubble makers over the years and for his birthday he received this simple Paw Patrol Bubble Maker and it’s lasted longer than the more expensive ones! He’s been known to break them the first day we give them to him!

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Yesterday, we sat outside for over 1 hour while Joey sat and watched his beloved bubbles fly. The pure joy on his face makes it all worth it! I try to keep several bottles of bubbles on standby for the days we go through a lot or when a bottle of bubbles gets accidentally spilled (which I know has happened to all of you fellow parents at one time or another, lol!).

And as I’m sitting here typing, guess what Jojoe just brought me? A thing of bubbles and signed “please,” so it looks like I’m going to cut this post short and go blow bubbles with my best buddy!

 

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Sidewalk Chalk Fun!

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A while back I spotted this POOF 60 piece jumbo sidewalk chalk set and for $9.50 and if you have Amazon Prime (If you don’t have Prime, you can order it here), you’ll get free 2 day shipping! It’s totally an awesome buy and worth every single penny! And for that price, I ordered it for the kids (and myself). One of our favorite summer time outdoor activities is drawing on our driveway with chalk. And it’s something I can get Joey to do, even just for a few minutes.

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Today, we decided to take our fun a step further and make some chalk scenes to take pictures with! And we had a blast! Thankfully when we went out, the driveway wasn’t too hot from the sun yet, definitely a first thing in the morning activity for the summer since our driveway gets so hot!

One of the great things about this set, is that the chalk comes wrapped it sets of  6 rather than all together. This way, they don’t get all the chalk out at once and get ruined right away, lol! And there’s multiple colors and they’re all so bright and pretty!

The kids had a blast and we can’t wait to make new drawings to pose with soon!

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I’m Bored Jar

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After scanning Pinterest for more ideas, I found a totally awesome idea over at Mum in the Mad House and making an I’m bored jar for the summer! I can’t count how many times when the kids are home from school that I hear the words, “I’m bored!?” What an awesome idea to help keep the kids busy, even if it’s just for a few minutes!

I just printed out the PDF she had available and Leah helped me to decorate the jar and cut out the little slips of paper. Then we decided to write out a few of our family’s favorite activates as well and add them in.

I found an extra canning jar in our basement to use rather than buying one and had some extra cute labels to use for the outside. If you don’t have an extra jar, here’s a super cute one I found on Amazon!

Leah pulled the first slip out of the jar last night and it happened to be “go get Chinese food” so she called her Daddy and thankfully I didn’t have to cook dinner! And this morning, Aiden pulled out “make pancakes” of all things! We’re so excited to put our “I’m Bored” jar to use this summer, along with the scavenger hunt sheets I told you guys about yesterday!

Again, have I ever mentioned that Pinterest rocks?! LOL!!