Looking for a good way to spend $10 today?


"Marley Dias is an 11-year-old New Jersey resident who’s spent more time giving back to her community in her brief time on this planet than most of us will spend in a lifetime. She’s received a grant from Disney, traveled to Ghana to help feed orphans, and now—in her latest act of altruism—she’s rounding up children’s books that feature black female leads so that she and her peers have more fictional characters to look up to."

(via/ Jezebel)

Send books by February 1st to:
GrassROOTS Community Foundation
59 Main Street, Suite 323, West Orange, NJ 07052

Books of any age are welcomed. You may also donate for the purchase of books.
Suggested donation: $10. To support online tag your favorite book using hastag #blackgirlbooks.

Links if you'd like to read more about it:

Movie Night

Tonight mom went out with some friends so Sierra and I had a daddy-daughter movie night. We ordered some take out, set the projector up, and kicked back to watch Harry Potter. Something about it was just so special. Laughing at the funny parts, covering her eyes or grabbing my arm at the scary parts and snuggling closely / getting sleepy toward the end. Just one of those special little moments I hope I never forget.

Home movies are important

I love taking photos of my family and our adventures but there's something different about video. It captures the sound of your child's voice, their funny little mannerisms and movements, and all the other little things a photo just doesn't capture in the same way. I love seeing photos of my own childhood but they don't compere to the home movies I have. Even the low quality, shaky, on-the-shoulder camera videos my Dad made just mean a lot more to me. It's like a time machine in a way the photo album just isn't for me.

The whole photo/video thing is a tough balance. You want to be present, be living in the moment and truly enjoying your time together but you also don't want to forget these things when your children are older.

If you can - I highly suggest getting a dedicated photo/video camera. Not only is the quality going to be better than your phone but it forces you to be more present. We bought a GoPro camera (this one) and I've been trying to shoot video whenever I can so I'll have these types of memories as she, and I, grow older. There are endless camera options out there but for me the GoPro is the perfect one for us. It's tiny (fits in your pocket / bag), it's relatively inexpensive and takes great quality video. It also is meant for sports/action so it does a good job of capturing a non-blurry video of the little one running around. You shoot your video or take your photo and keep moving. With a phone you take your photo, then most likely spend some time staring at your phone filtering, editing, posting, liking, commenting, sharing, etc. When you just shoot and edit/share later (back at the hotel, back home, at night after the little one is asleep, etc) it helps you be more 'there' -- at least for me anyway.

ANYWAY - We recently went on some really fun trips and I made a few short videos of them. Hope you enjoy them! Feel free to share your own videos or just your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.

#MondayMomLife (Kate Foley)

Today marks the start of a new era for my little family. My two youngest children have officially started daycare for the first time ever. So far, we had been able to have their dad and I work around each other’s schedules with some help from family friends, but in single mom life, that obviously isn’t the plan any more. 

photo (1).JPG

I’ve been working on the steps towards an independent life for the last few months, and have recently been getting a lot closer. A job and child care were the first two big steps forward, and then a place to live by ourselves that fits within the single mom budget will hopefully happen next. 
I know that ultimately daycare will be good for the kids. They will have a lot of social interaction with other kids, and will learn to listen to authority figures other than me which will help for school, but it is definitely something that is hard for me to accept as now part of our routine since I was able to avoid it for such a long time. 
So, for today I have dropped them off, will get to work, and will start the day that is the first day toward building this part of our future. 

Puppet Showplace Theater Giveaway Winner!

About a week ago we put up a giveaway for tickets to the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, MA. Today we used a 'random chooser' website to pick a winner and we're happy to announce the winner is: Kevin Kempton! Thanks to everyone who submitted and we'll have a new giveaway soon I'm sure!

Even if you didn't win you should still check out a show at the PST!


LEGOLAND® Discovery Center in Somerville, MA

So I'll start out by saying that we read rather awful reviews of 'Legoland' in Somerville so haven't been since the opening about 6 months ago but today Sierra said 'Daddy can we go to Legoland? All my friends at school talk about it and say its so cool!' so we figured we'd give it a shot.

Most of the bad reviews mention things like: price, lines, over-crowding, not big enough and noise levels. So let me preface this by saying we went on Superbowl Sunday so were one of maybe ten families total. We didn't wait in line, there was almost no one there and the noise was very low. So my review may be a bit different than usual.

About price - Yes it's expensive. Again I knew the price before going so I can't complain about it. I wasn't ambushed at the door. The price is a bit high for what you get. To put it in perspective here are family memberships at other places in Boston:

Children's Museum: $150 for 3 floors of activities. Comes w/ additional free passes.

Science Museum: $125 for 3 floors of activities. Comes w/ additional free passes.
Legoland: $260 for 1 room of activities. No free passes.

So yes it's basically double the price of other places in Boston and is 10% of the size (if I'm being generous) so no I won't be getting a membership BUT the $55 I paid for 3 tickets for the day felt very worth it. It may be a bit over-priced but its not insane and like I said you do know well in advance.

Now that we have price out of the way...

Legoland is located in Assembly Square in Somerville which is basically an outdoor mall with a movie theater, just about any store you can imagine and tons of restaurants as well - you could easily make a day out of it (and parking is free).

Once you've given your ticket you are greeted by a staff member, handed a map and ushered onto a colorful elevator and told 'You'll be playing a game right when you get off the elevator' as seen in the photo below this made our little one quite excited.

Once off the elevator you walk into a dark room with a series of projectors and each kid is stationed at a joy stick and singular button and go through a series of games to build a little 'Minifigure'.

After this you head to the next activity where you ride in a small roller-coaster like car and are handed a gun to shoot 'bad guys' and save a princess. If you've ever been to Disney it's basically a much smaller version of that Buzz Lightyear shooting game they have there. I sort of wish we were told what would be next as we don't normally do gun-play and it was a bit surprising not to mention a little scary, dark and full of fake spiders which made our little scaredy cat a bit frightened. If your child is small I would probably skip this part and head right into the main room.

After the ride you exit to a room-sized model of Boston that you can walk around and look at. Included is the Zakim Bridge, TD Garden, State House, City Hall, Fenway Park and even a mini-Cheers. The entire room cycles between night-time and day-time so you can see the city in different ways. Although you can't touch anything obviously there are a series of buttons that let you interact with the space, throwing a pitch at Fenway Park for example. Here are a few photos or for an entire album click here.

  The Zakim at night

The Zakim at night

  Fenway Park and the Citgo Sign

Fenway Park and the Citgo Sign

  City Hall, The Hancock, The Prudential, etc.

City Hall, The Hancock, The Prudential, etc.

After the Boston room you enter the actual 'Legoland'. Yes, like the other reviews, it is only one room which if you've been to Children's or the Science Museum can feel like a bit of a let down but we were there for easily 3 hours and not once did our child feel bored. She loved it the entire time and my wife and I both said we didn't feel ripped off. Although small, it is quite engaging especially during winter months when you can't be outside very long. It's a great spot to let your kid run, play, and burn off some energy.

One of my favorite activities was the 'Lego Racers' area where you have buckets of car pieces (bricks, wheels, etc) and can build a car and race it down a huge ramp with a timer, noises and lights. We all joined in on the fun with this one.

There is also a 'Master Builder Academy' room if you want to escape the noise of the main room and have some more focused time on building. They have videos teaching you how to build more intricate designs.

There is a full sized Lego kitchen with working blender and oven. Like I said we went on Superbowl Sunday so we practically had the place to ourselves so Sierra easily got to do anything she wanted with no-lines but I can see how an area like this could be a bit of a mad house with 300 kids.

In addition to tons of building activities there are a few 'rides' like the one seen above as well as a 4D movie theater showing a short movie every 15 minutes. We got a little wet so keep that in mind!

  They have a section for smaller children with a small slide, soft mats, and a little "ball pit" where the balls are actually over-sized rubbery soft legos.

They have a section for smaller children with a small slide, soft mats, and a little "ball pit" where the balls are actually over-sized rubbery soft legos.

A lot of the reviews we read complained about the cafe. I'm not one to complain but I have to agree it's very limited and over-priced. There is a no re-entry policy so you can't leave to grab a quick lunch elsewhere like you can at other museums around the city. You are not allowed to bring your own food so if you have dietary restrictions (such as being vegan like us) I would keep that in mind and eat right before you come to avoid hungry children and grumpy parents.

Sierra's favorite area by far was the large jungle gym like play structure called the Legoland Fire Academy. Tons of climbing, crawling, running and things to do in here. She played in here for probably an hour with other kids just going bonkers. When you live in Boston this is a HUGE thing in February. Indoor playgrounds are a big win in my book. This thing alone made the ticket price worth it honestly.

So all in all: It's overpriced but not so overpriced I felt like I was being ripped off. We spent close to 3 hours in there and not once did we feel bored. My kid did not want to leave when it was over and already wants to go back. There's things for little kids and big kids. If you plan your trip accordingly: eat beforehand, come on an off day during non peak hours, and set your expectations you will have a good time.

Legoland Discover Center Boston's Website
@LDCBoston on Twitter


Top 10 Digital / Connected Toys

Here are our top 10 favorite 'connected' toys for kids. These are in no specific order. If you think we missed something please let us know in the comments section! -Craig

1. ToyMail



ToyMail is awesome! It's a small toy that, with a companion app for your mobile device, let's you send messages to your children and they can reply. It's a very new age version of the walkie talkie. It's $60 bucks and comes in a variety of styles/colors to suit your kids personality. Their mission is to create technology for kids that doesn't put them infant of another screen. Very cool!

2. Sphero



Sphero is a a remote controlled orb that you control using any smart phone. It's fun for adults and kids and can go up to 45 mph! It lights up, is water proof and comes with ramps so you can do tricks. On top of being fun on it's own there are 30+ apps for it that make the things you can do with it pretty endless.

3. Osmo



Osmo connects to your iPad and has no actual electronics to it. It's a clever little tool that allows your child to interact with the iPad in a whole new way. They use real life things like Tanagrams, markers, and letter blocks to complete puzzles on the screen. Very unique and cool. A bit pricy for what it is but totally worth it.

4. Kids Creation Station



Kids Creation Station will turn your children's drawings into 3D printed objects. We haven't done this ourselves but the images / stories on their site seem very awesome. Such an interesting way to archive your children's artwork and give them a one of a kind gift they created. Disclaimer: This one is NOT a toy - it is meant to be decorative.

5. Roominate


$19 - $99

Roominate toys are a series of toys that spark imaginative play help develop important science, technology, engineer and math skills. It was TIME Magazines' #1 toy of 2014 and features on ABC's 'Shark Tank' television show. The product teaches special and fine motor skills, self-confidence, creativity and allows children to solve hands-on problems. It also teaches them how wheels and pulleys work and even basic circuitry!

6. Teddy the Guardian



This teddy bear is unlike any other. It is equipped with sensor that track your child's heart rate, oxygen levels and body temperature and gives you information about their health over time. It's unclear if you can buy one for your own child - but currently you can donate money and they will give teddy bears to children in hospitals.

7. Wonder Workshop Toys



Dot and Dash are two little robots that teach young children the principles of coding. They strive to break the mold of what toys are 'okay' for kids. The toys come with a series of apps including Go, Path, Blockly and Xylo for different activities. Dash & Dot can also be programmed by your child to do virtually anything they want. According to their website the toys are designed for children ages 5 to infinity.

8. Ubooly



Ubooly is a a mix between a toy and a plush phone case. According to their website it is guaranteed to outlast any other toy be played with 11x longer than your average toy. The app comes with the games / activities for: alphabet, bed time stories, grammar, human body facts, and hundreds more - and they add content monthly. You can even program it to know your childs name, age, favorite color, interests, etc.

9. Anki Drive



It's hard to do a 'digital/connected toys' post and not mention Anki. You may remember Anki from when they launched at Apple's 2013 Keynote. They've made some pretty big leaps since then - they went to market, they've introduced multiple new cars and tracks and they launched an Android version of the popular game. What it is basically is a super up version of the track-racing games we had as kids. You control the cars with your smart phone and the cars zoom along on the included track and can even interact with each other using special powers, etc.

10. Little Bits (DIY Electronics)


$99 (Starting)

Little Bits is awesome. This is geared at an older age then most of the other toys we've mentioned but with adult super vision could easily be for any age. The kits allow your children to build all sorts of amazing things with light, sound, logic and sensor activities. Thanks to a partnership with KORG you can even build your own working synthesizer! They have tons of different kits to suit your children's interests including: music, space, and coding.

'Dads & Doulas' by Annie Yonkers

When I was pregnant, I had a doula. She was fantastic. I knew before I got pregnant that I wanted to have one when the time came. After I got home from my first meeting with her, however, I realized I hadn’t consulted Chris - I just kind of assumed he would be on board. I asked him about it, and even though he was trying really hard to be supportive, I could tell that he had some reservations.

His primary worry was basically that he was concerned that the doula would “replace” him when it was time to go to the hospital. I thought that was a valid concern, given that he really didn’t know what a doula was, or why I wanted one. We had never talked about it.

According to the DONA International website (which is a great resource for learning more about doulas and finding one in your area):

“The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.”

For a first-time parents, you have no idea what’s going to happen when your baby is born, and for many people that’s stressful in the best situations, and can be downright terrifying to some. Doulas come with the experience of witnessing many births, and will be an advocate for your best interests as a third party, unaffiliated with the hospital or birthing center you’re going to. They also will be with you throughout your labor. Nurses may come and go, but your doula will be at your side.

In my case, Chris (and I, obviously) ended up really appreciating having a doula, because aside from being able to support me in countless ways, it took a lot of pressure and expectation off of Chris, which made the birth experience that much more positive for both of us. It allowed Chris to be in the moment and there for me the whole time, because he only had to worry about me, while the doula could worry about everything else.

I think most people believe that doulas are only there for the mothers, and while their focus is, of course, mom and baby, having a doula present gives dad a chance to relax (as much as he can) and focus on the main event, and not everything else that’s going on.

One last doula-nugget: Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. In my experience, I would attribute this to the reduced stress and advocacy doulas provide during labor and birth. Need more convincing? Here’s a great article on reasons why dads should demand a doula.


#MondayMomLife (Annie Yonkers)

Greetings readers! My name is Henry’s Mom (aka, Annie) and I’m excited to be able to contribute to this awesome blog! My husband, Henry’s Dad (aka Chris) has known Craig longer than he’s known me, and will also be contributing to THD when he finally gets a free moment. Here’s a little background slash introduction to my parenting world. Our son, Henry, was born in October of 2013, and has spent pretty much every day since then smiling, learning, and exploring. We live in New Hampshire with 3 cats, 2 dogs, and my dad. (Let’s hear it for multi-generational homes for millennials!) I cherished every day of my maternity leave, but was eternally thankful that Chris worked from home and was willing and able to take on the responsibility of being a stay/work-at-home dad. He would diligently send me photo updates almost every day, share his insane stories of the weird judgement he would get  from women when they saw him alone, out, with an infant, and generally keep me posted on various types and frequencies of Henry’s bowel movements.

Anyway, flash forward to June, Chris and I had returned from our honeymoon/first family trip and I quit my job. Seem sudden and irrational? Maybe it was. But when I was on the trip with my family I came to the realization that I kind of like spending time with them. I didn’t hate my job, but I wasn’t crazy about it either, and there wasn’t a huge amount of growth potential without totally pigeonholing myself. I realized that the money I was making at my job wasn’t worth the time and moments I would be missing out on being there. So I quit.

I gave myself two months to “figure things out” and to see if being a stay at home mom would work for me. It didn’t. Not really. I love my family and I love my son, but I need something to spark my creative brain. Just when I was getting to the brink of cabin fever and starting to look for a new job closer to my home, I was given the opportunity to freelance for a friend of mine, part time. So now, Chris and I both work from home, are here for Henry, and yet still can’t manage to put our clothes away when they’re clean.

But Chris and I are figuring it out. Because we both work from home we have to manage the balancing act of “work” time and “free” time and “Henry” time, because those delineations aren’t made for us through daycare or work schedules. What’s working for us now is I take Henry most mornings, Chris takes him in the afternoons and then will also work after dinner. I love the freedom we have to go grocery shopping when it isn’t a madhouse, make doctors appointments that aren’t first or last in the day, and just being able to slow down and watch Henry turn into a kid.

Working from home hasn’t been a cake-walk, though. Would I be making more money if I went back to work? Of course. Would it be easier to figure out health insurance? Most definitely. Would it be worth it? I’m not sure. Maybe when Henry’s a little bit older, I’ll be more inclined to dust off my nice pants and blouses, but for now I’m happy in my stained t-shirt at home with my son who’s just starting to figure out spoons.

Look for my posts on THD about parenting roles and expectations from your partner. As more and more dads stay home with their kids, what other expectations have shifted/should (or should not?) shift with that role?

Puppet Showplace Theater Giveaway!

Hey guys! We are stoked to announce that we have two tickets to give away to the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, MA. You can read a review of one of our experience's at the theater here

The Puppet Showplace Theater has been presenting puppet shows by professional puppet companies for over 40 years. They have over 300 performances per year, and are enjoyed by little and big kids alike (okay- and the grownups, too).  

They have an amazing schedule lined up and the winner of the giveaway gets 2 free tickets and can pick any show they want!

You can get up to 3 entries in the contest by doing these things:

We'll pick a winner one week from today!

#MondayMomLife (Kate Foley)

Hey everyone! While I’ve posted here before once or twice, I wanted to take a minute to reintroduce myself since I’m in a completely new section of my life. My name is Kate, and I am a 29 year old single mom to three kiddos (Declan- 5, Kieran- 3 and Maeve- 1). I’ve known Craig for six and a half years, right as we both started our lives as new parents and was lucky enough to meet most of the other hipster dads at Craig’s wedding.

In my newer journey as a single mom, I have recently relocated back to the Boston area from living in Austin, TX for the past four years. In that move, I’ve been learning a lot about raising kids solo, what co-parenting can mean on different ends of the spectrum, and the true meaning of a support system.

Now, obviously I’m not a hipster dad, or a dad in much capacity (except that I suppose I’m currently filling in the “dad” shoes for my littles), but I certainly have views on dads. I want to take a minute and give a shout out to all the men that have been helping me fill the “dad” void for my children the last several months. I am amazingly lucky to be surrounded by men that will create art with my five year old, let my three year old sit in their lap, and play games with my one year old.

Here on THD, I am hoping to be able to talk about dads’ influence in kids’ lives from the mom perspective, any views on the single parenting life that people are interested in, and fun stuff to do with little ones around Boston. Let me know if you have any questions for me!

(Nearly) Seven Months into this Fatherhood Thing

Penelope was born (nearly) seven months ago and I can’t believe it’s been that long. I know seven months isn't a long period of time, but I still can't believe it.

As you may have noticed during the last seven months, I've been a terrible blogger. In fact, I haven’t written a blog article since before Spring. Even worse, I wasn't even actually a father yet the last time I published anything.

So, I’m going to try to redeem myself a little bit and cram as much into this post as I can. And since it’s 2015 and this is the Internet, I’ll mostly just include pictures.

At the Hospital

My wife delivered our daughter (Penelope Alice Montville-Quesada) at Newton-Wellesley Hospital on June 14th at 3:14am during the first round of the World Cup (I had to throw that in). She was 8 pounds 7 ounces.

Newborn Photos

Felicia's childhood friend Ashley (Cleopatra Photo) took newborn pictures of Penelope on the first day we were released from the hospital. I absolutely love how these pictures came out – and yes, the picture of her balancing her head on her hands scared the shit out of me.

Family Portraits

We again called Ashley (Cleopatra Photo) to take family portraits. We took the photos in an old mill building in Clinton, MA  I loved its rustic aesthetic. It was a brisk New England autumn afternoon and Penelope was incredibly well-behaved (which seems to be a general trend...so far).

First Holidays

Since June, Penelope has experienced a number of first holidays. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from each.





Felicia and I are first time parents with iPhones – we don’t need a reason to take pictures of Penelope (and ourselves). Here are a few of my favorites.

And that's it...

Hopefully I'll blog more consistently this year.


Kanye West's "Only One" feat. Paul McCartney

How can we not post about this? Kanye recently teamed up with a little-known musician Paul McCartney to create a song where he "feels like his mom sings through him to his daughter". The song is sung as if it's his mother singing to him from heaven about him, his daughter and his wife and it's damn good (unless you hate auto-tune). Think 808s not Yeezus in regards to style. 

REVIEW: "The Family Show" at Improv Boston

My niece came to visit recently and when thinking of what to do to make sure her trip to Boston was fun I did some googling. I stumbled upon 'The Family Show', a weekly children's oriented night of comedy, at the Improv Boston club. 'The Family Show' is the winner of the Nickelodeon Award for Best Children's Theater and considered by audiences to be the 'Pixar of Boston Comedy'. Tickets are $14 for adults and only $8 for children under 12 and it runs every Saturday at 6PM. I quickly snapped up the last two tickets for the show before it sold out, which I'm told it does every week as it's one of their most popular shows.

So, on Saturday night we bundled up and fought the snow to head to Central Square in Cambride, MA for the show. The place was packed with excited kids of all ages from as young as 4 to up to 14. They have snacks, juice, and water for the kids and beer and wine for the adults. It's a seat-yourself situation so if you want a seat in the first row I suggest you get their early but the room was tiny, just a few rows on either side of the room so no matter where you sit you're practically on the stage so wouldn't stress about it.

The show was hilarious and very interactive! They started by asking the crowd if they knew what improv was and explaining it in a fun way. The show then went into a series of different style improv bits all of which had the kids interacting by calling out words and phrases as well as actually getting on stage for some parts. There was situational comedy, slap stick, impressions and even a good amount of singing. It was awesome for both kids and adults and would be good for any age of child. There are enough 'over the kids heads' jokes to keep the adults laughing but nothing raunchy or vulgar what so ever. It truly is a 'family show' and really felt worth the money and time. We had an a really great evening and I would absolutely go again!

Find more info on the show and Improv Boston at their website or twitter. Tickets can, and should, be purchased ahead of time here.

Footnote: The club is located in Central Square in Cambridge, MA and if you've never been it's a great location for a night out. It's located on the red line of the subway and has tons of bus service as well. The area has every kind of restaurant you could think of (I suggest Veggie Galaxy!) and other fun things to do if you want to make a night of it.

REVIEW: The Joshua Show at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, MA

It's that time of year in Boston where outdoor activities aren't so fun due to the extreme cold (25 yesterday!) so we're always on the hunt for indoor activities to keep our 5 year old entertained. One of our favorite places to go is the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline Village which is just outside of Boston where we live. The Puppet showplace theater has been operating for 40 years and presents over 300 performances by professional puppet companies each year! Tickets are reasonably priced and the theater only holds 100 legally so the shows are always intimate and fun and make for a great experience.

We've enjoyed every show we've ever seen at the Puppet Showplace Theater and yesterday was no different. We went to go see The Joshua Show, who is described as "The Ambassador of Joy" and "A Hipster Mr. Rogers". Puppeteer Joshua Holden brings audiences a heartwarming story about friendship, confidence, and the value of being yourself. Mr. Nicholas, a sock puppet and Joshua's soulmate, makes an unnerving self-discovery that causes him to spiral down a path of loneliness and hopeless despair. How do you cheer up when life gets you down? Find out in this whimsical production featuring multiple styles of puppetry, live music, physical comedy, and tap dancing!

Joshua Holden is the winner of 'Best Performance' and 'Fan Favorite' at the Puppeteers of America's National Festival in 2013 and has been described as a "Modern day Mr. Rogers with hipster appeal" by the Boston Globe. 

The show we saw was geared at a younger age (Maybe 2-6) but we went with a 9 year old who had a great time as well... OK and so did the 28 and 29 year olds. It was funny, heart-warming and gets you involved shouting out ideas, drumming on your knees and even encourages kids to get up and dance during one of the funniest scenes, the 'Silly Dance'. After the show Joshua came out into the lobby and to the delight of the children, including ours, spoke with them, took photos, asked them their favorite parts of the show, and was just as nice as his on-screen persona.

There are only two performances left and they are today at 1:00 and 3:00 PM! Tickets are $15.00 each and can be purchased by phone, in-person or online here: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/34168. If you can't go today don't worry because The Joshua Show travels a lot and I'm sure will be back or in your city soon! He'll be in Iowa, Chicago and Atlanta next!

Follow Joshua on his Website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.