Category Archives: Out and about

Field Trip Chaperone: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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One of the perks of having Leah & Joey in the same homeroom class is that when they go on field trips, they’re together so if I get the opportunity to be the chaperone, I go for it! Yesterday I spent the day (freezing my rear off in 50 degree below normal for May chilly weather) but I got to witness first hand not only the love Leah has for Joey but the love his entire class has for him as well.

As we hiked all over our local YMCA’ s camp, I watched Joey and his peers. Although Joey didn’t participate in all the activities, he still watched and took things in on his own pace.

Joey didn’t pay attention to what the camp counselors were saying or collect the same scientific data his fellow 4th grade peers were taking on their clipboards they were carrying around. But he watched his peers work and measure things and even noticed things that the other children down notice like the squirrel running through  woods or the swan swimming across the lake.

As we were walking back to the picnic shelter for lunch, I watched and could feel my heart swelling with love as Leah walked with her brother.

And then today I repeated the whole chaperone fun all over again, this time with Aiden’s class and once again, I froze and left the camp this afternoon feeling like a Popsicle! But there’s one thing I cherish about being a stay at home mom, being able to go on the field trips and volunteer at the Joey, Leah, and Aiden’s school, even if I do freeze and have to go above and beyond the call of chaperone duty occasionally, it’s worth every single second!

And I’ll leave you with just a few words of advice for any parent who’s going to be going on an elementary school aged field trip to an outdoors camp with their child and class. Trust me, if you want to have a successful and hopefully stress free field trip you might want this advice, hahaha!

10 Things About Being A Field Trip Chaperone You’ll Kick Yourself for Not Knowing

  1. If it’s cold outside, not only dress your kid in layers, dress yourself in layers as well.
  2. Bug spray… you may not be able to spray the other kids down, but golly, spray your kid down!
  3. Sunscreen, enough said…
  4. Bring Kleenex, I had more kids ask me for a tissue that my three kids have asked me in a year! But whatever you do, don’t just shove some extras in your pocket and call it a day. You may end up with that one kid in your group who won’t take even a clean tissue from your pocket, they must SEE it come out of the package or it’s not considered clean…
  5. Bring extra band-aids, even though there should be a first aid kit somewhere where you’re at, whoever has the boo-boo is going to want that darn band-aid INSTANTLY. It’s like a life or death situation!
  6. Bring diaper wipes, if there’s no sinks nearby and one of the kids stick their hand in the mud, you’re gonna want that wet wipe ASAP or the mud will end up on your sleeve!
  7. An extra bottle of water for the kid that gets sand in their eyes and you need to wash their eyes out. Again, it’s a life or death situation just like with the band-aids!
  8. Bring a trash bag to collect the dirty Kleenex, band-aid wrappers, and diaper wipes in. Trust me on that one!
  9. Bring a second bag to collect all the cool rocks, sticks, and whatever else your group of kids collect or else half of it ends up in your pockets.
  10. And lastly bring a backpack to put all these above items in…


Our trip to the Pez Visitor Center


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!


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.

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.


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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To the lady in Shoprite’s parking lot…



“Hey! You shouldn’t park there.”

As I made eye contact with the lady who told me this just a few hours ago, as I was lugging Joey and a cart full of groceries out of the store into my van at our local Shoprite, I could see the anger in her eyes.

I kindly tried to explain to her that the handicap parking pass hanging in the front window of my van is for my son, not me and that I had just put him in the car. She let out a snobby huff, rolled her eyes, and walked away… Rather than letting it get to me and boil inside and get myself angry, I decided to educate my readers and say to myself, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

You see, the beginning of a regular trip to the grocery with Joey consists of me praying that Joey doesn’t get away from me & runs in front of a moving car, or decides to drop to his knees while walking across the parking lot and then even have to carry the over 50 pounds of dead weight he is and THEN hope that the Caroline’s Cart is available so I don’t have to lift him (and kill my back in the process) and squeeze him into the toddler seat of a regular grocery cart.

There are some outings I don’t have to use the pass. It all depends on how big the parking lot is and how many moving vehicles are around. If it’s a small parking lot, then no, I don’t use it.

Joey’s pediatrician suggested for us to get the handicap pass when I started having back problems from lifting him so much including carrying him through parking lots when he’s too stubborn to walk. He also has a hard time in the heat and gets fatigued easily so it’s a huge help in the summer time especially!

And some of you may wonder why I don’t wait till evening after the kids are in bed to go to the store. Well, Joey LOVES going out with me running errands. He’s like a little mayor of our town. Everywhere we go, someone knows him and he loves to say hi to people by waving and hoping they notice him. This gives him socialization skills with the public and having an Austic child, that’s huge!

There are other people like me who are also proud parents of special needs children who have the same struggles as me going to the store who have had the same type of thing said to them by complete and total strangers. There are also people who have hidden disabilities that require them to have a handicap pass themselves who have as well been singled out by strangers who think they know everything.

Sadly, yes, there are some people who take advantage of handicap passes. Some people hang on to their deceased loved one’s pass and take advantage of it, but let me assure you, the ONLY time I ever use the pass is when I have Joey with me. So please take his post as one from a mom trying to advocate for Joey and educate the public on hidden and visible disabilities and using a handicap pass.

I hope somehow the woman who I encountered today in the parking lot reads this and understands a little more. Also, think before you speak. Thank you! ♥


***I have no makeup on and yes, Joey is picking his nose with his thumb, story of my life, lol!