I love the outdoors and our family gets outside as much as possible. I run the Boston Area Active Kids Club outdoor playgroup. Come play with us!

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Friday, 17 June 2011 02:49

Outdoor Playgroup Time Change

Hi everyone,


I just wanted to let you know that the time of our "regular" outdoor playgroup meetings have changed.  We will be meeting at the Hollis playground in Braintree on Fridays at 10 a.m. through July 29th.  Pam will be the contact person there and she has two daughters and a Joovy sit and stand stroller so you can spot her.  We will also have many other outdoor adventures going this summer, including an upcoming trip to Davis Farmland in Sterling on Wednesday, July 6th to visit the animals and play in their splash pad water area!


Join our meetup group to find out the details about every event:


Hope to see you there!





As we sit here and gorge ourselves on macaroni and cheese,  I thought I would share my recipe.  This is one of our favorite things to pack in a thermos for an outdoor lunch when it's cold out, and though the warmer weather has begun- who doesn't like macaroni and cheese at any time of year?  It's been a long and winding road to my "perfect" recipe.  My requirements for the perfect recipe?  Using lower fat ingredients- i.e. no heavy cream, but still keeping the integrity of a homemade macaroni and cheese- whole grains, and vegetables.  I tweaked a recipe I liked and here is the result.

My usual "quick" way:


  1. 3/4 cup dry panko bread crumbs
  2. 2 tablespoons melted butter
  3. 8-10 ounces whole wheat or multigrain macaroni (depending on how cheesy you want it) - I prefer rotini because the kids can spear it with a fork
  4. 2 tablespoons butter
  5. 1-2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. 1/4-1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  8. 1 1/2 cups milk (I use 1%)
  9. 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  10. 1/2 cup carrots (or more)



    1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish or 2 quart casserole- depending on baking method (see step number 8). Place the breadcrumbs into a small bowl and mix well with the melted butter; set aside.

    2.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, then place into a large bowl.

    3.  While the pasta is cooking, steam the carrots in a small pot.

    4.  In another saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, pepper, salt, and dry mustard until incorporated, then pour in the milk and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring constantly until the milk has thickened.

    5.  Take the milk off of the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese until melted.

    6.  Put steamed carrots and about a cup of the cheese sauce into a food processor (I use my “Magic Bullet”) and puree until totally smooth.

    7.  Add the carrot cheese mix back to the rest of the cheese sauce and stir until incorporated.  Pour over the macaroni and stir until evenly coated.

    8.  Pour macaroni and cheese into the baking dish, then sprinkle evenly with buttered breadcrumbs.  Switch oven to broil and broil until the top is golden.  If you have more time, put it in a 2 quart casserole, leave the oven on bake and then bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.



    Quick, quick, quick version- omit breadcrumbs and carrots and don't bake at all

    Omit carrots

    Use even more carrots (if you can get away with it!)

    If your kids don't mind vegetables they can see, add peas to the cheese sauce, or chopped fresh spinach

    Cook ½ cup of onion in the butter before adding flour, etc.

    Substitute some of the cheddar with another type of cheese



Sunday, 01 May 2011 14:53

Pan-Mass Challenge Kids Bike Ride

There is a Pan-Mass Challenge Kids Bike ride for the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on June 12th at Wompatuck State Park for ages 3-15 with varying courses, ranging from a small loop for preschoolers to rides several miles long and mountain bike loops.  Registration is $15 and there is a suggested fundraising minimum of $50.  You can also volunteer to be a route guide or help in other areas.  Check it out:

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 18:18

Letterboxing "Treasure Hunt" May 5th

Thursday, May 5th, 10:00 a.m., Webb State Park- at the end of River Street, North Weymouth.  We will be in the gazebo right at the entrance to the park near the parking lot.


Letterboxing is like a treasure hunt and it's a lot of fun!  Little boxes are hidden all over the country just waiting to be found and you probably didn't even know it.  In the boxes are stamps that are usually hand made and representative of the place where the box has been hidden.  Upon finding the box you stamp the stamp into your own personal notebook and then you take a stamp you have made and stamp it into the notebook inside to box to let people know you've been there.


At our letterboxing meetup we will:


- Make personal stamps (I will provide supplies)

- Hunt for a letterbox nearby

- Hide our own letterbox which the kids can check on in the future to see if anybody has visited it




Please RSVP 24 hours in advance so I can have the right amount of supplies for the kids.  Make sure everybody is dressed appropriately to get dirty, and as the weather is getting warmer, bring sunblock, hats and water if needed.


RSVP at:


We will meet in most kinds of weather. We will NOT meet if:

-The temperature listed on for that zip code "feels like" less than 20 degrees. This takes wind and humidity into consideration.

-Heavy Rain

-Rain + extreme cold


Monday, 25 April 2011 11:51

Holbrook Playground

Tomorrow we'll be meeting at the Holbrook Playground at 3:30 p.m.  See the details here:
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 01:10

Beals Park Tomorrow

We're meeting tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.:
Thursday, 07 April 2011 17:27

Bike Party!


We had a fabulous weather this morning with the sun shining and the birds chirping all around.  So many people came out to ride and play together as well as have a nice, tasty picnic.  The kids took over the park, roaming the paths on their bikes and scooters and stopping at the playground for a little slide or see-saw action.  They taught each other how to play hopscotch using the sidewalk chalk.  They also couldn't resist climbing up to the path along the esker and running back down the hill.  A good time was had by all- we must do it again!  Next week we'll be at Beals Park at 3:30pm on Tuesday.  Hope to see you then.

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Tuesday, 05 April 2011 15:19

Rainy Day Games- Worm Letters and Numbers


We've had plenty of rainy days around here, but we finally got a rainy day with somewhat temperate weather where we could go out and enjoy the rain!  Today is a drizzly day, though we were prepared for the worst.  We set out to a nearby park which might not be your typical pick on a drizzly, windy day since it is a small peninsula and the weather is more extreme there, but it's a favorite place of ours.  The boys set off pretending to be knights in the forest with the swords they brought along that our neighbor gave them- a little imagination always dulls the bite of the wind and weather, I think!

We played some of our usual favorite games like hide and go seek and found some nice, big puddles to stomp in and we started spotting buds on the trees, but the best thing was what we discovered in the puddles, or what my son discovered, I should say.  The puddle was filled with earthworms!  He picked one up and this little guy was really active.  My son started telling me what letters and numbers that the worm was making with his body and a new game was born.  We each had to hunt for a worm and then we'd hold them in our hands and decipher the shapes that the worms were making- a perfect rainy day activity that involves everything from getting down into the dirt and water to sounding out letters and counting.  The worms started to get less active as they dried out in our hands, so we also talked about how they need to be in a moist environment to be healthy and what our bodies need to be healthy as well.

Unfortunately my camera battery died before we got to the worms, but we still got some pictures of our morning!





Hello!  We're planning on meeting at the Hingham Playground behind the fire station on Main Street at 3:30, but there's a good chance of rain and it's not too warm out, so keep an eye on the meetup site to see if this event is held or not.

Also, we'll be having a bike/scooter/ride-on party at Esker Park (at the end of Elva Road in Weymouth) on Thursday, April 7th at 10am.  Bring your favorite thing to ride and a snack to share.



Tuesday, 22 March 2011 17:33

Beals Park, March 29th 3:30pm

We had a nice morning at the playground, even though it was a bit chilly and wet from yesterday's freak snow flurries.  Next week we'll be at Beals Park.  Remember, the weather can be unpredictable this time of year and though it might not feel that cold outside, when you're outside for an extended period of time, you may feel differently, so I suggest overdressing or dressing in layers just in case, and always have a hat and pair of mittens for everyone in the car/stroller or whatever you're using to get around.


See you next week!