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Category Archives: Special Dates Series

Special Date: Providence Place

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In our home, I like to make birthdays very special for each person.  Usually this means spreading a few activities throughout the week of the person’s birthday, in order to keep the celebration going a bit longer.  The most recent one to enjoy this special treatment was Karla.  On the day of her birthday she had birthday cookies to bring to school, cupcakes to share at daycare,  and a birthday dinner with her dad and brother at a restaurant of her choosing.  The birthday gifts, cards, and calls from family and friends spanned for a few days.  During the weekend she had a costume party at home, with guests mostly consisting of school mates.  I thought an appropriate way to top off the celebration was taking her out on one of our special one-on-one outings we call Special Dates

She wanted to watch the new Adam Sandler movie, Jack and Jill.  I usually wait until movies are showing at the discount movie theater to bring my kids – movie tickets are ridiculously expensive nowadays, but seeing this was a special occasion we headed to the matinée at the  Providence Place Mall cinema. 

Providence Place Mall is right at the heart of Downtown Providence.  It’s establishment was part of the renaissance period the city went through beginning in the early to mid 90’s.  Another icon of this period, Waterfire, is right across from Providence Place.  The Mall is considered upscale, and it is home to about 180 stores, including several restaurants.  Some of the companies showcased include Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co., Coach, The Apple Store, The Cheesecake Factory, Sephora, J. Jill, Ross-Simons, Build-A-Bear Workshop, and Dave & Buster’s among others. 

After having a good laugh at the movies, we had lunch at the food court.  The agreed upon restaurant: Johny Rockets!  Here we ordered a couple of burgers and fries and we shared a delish strawberry milkshake. 

Since a trip to the mall is not complete without some retail therapy, I took her to Claire’s, a somewhat affordable accessories store with a juvenile theme.  She picked out some gloves and hair accessories and we were good to go.

I am always glad to spend my time giving individualized attention to my kids.  It builds our relationship and their trust in me.

Special Date: Friday Night Live

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Special Date: Friday Night Live

Friday Night Live Crew

It is not in vain that Providence is called The Creative Capital; we have a good concoction of cultures, flavors, and rhythms, as well as many artists injecting life and energy into the city.  I enjoy this mix and often drag my kids to cultural events, may they too develop an appreciation of varied forms of art.  For our latest special date, Aleck and I attended Friday Night Live,  a weekly family friendly Improv show where a group of talented performers make it up as they go.

We had lots of laughs during this interactive show where the actors often ask the 

Aleck and I at the show

audience to provide random words as inspiration for their improv skits.  Part of the show is an acoustic guitarist that gives the performance an extra kick.  They also have an Open
Stage Night once a month where members of the audience get their 5 minutes of fame to perform a skit of their own. This clean comedic performance, which was named Best of Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly,  is family and wallet friendly at $5 per person.  Aleck and I absolutely enjoyed it.  He was happy I brought him to the show as our special date, and took many pictures of the skits.  I was glad to have such a handsome companion (not that I am biased ;))at this event.

Friday Night Live is part of the Everett company, “a cross-cultural, cross-generational group of artists that creates original evening-length dance theater performances, produces film and video, carries out a wide range of educational programs, and mentors new generations of young artists” as stated on their website  “Everett, through its Company, Stage and School, brings live art to diverse audiences. With a 25-year history, a Company that tours nationally; a vibrant Stage of monthly programming; and a School that offers free classes to low-income youth in everything from ballet to improvisation, Everett is at the forefront of integrating art and community…  No one is turned away for lack of funds and 95% of students attend classes for free.”

At the end of the performance Bianca, one of the talented young actors, asked us to watch a short promo video for a film she’s hoping to produce as part of her final thesis at Emerson College.  In her own words 
Got You tells the story of an 8 year old girl’s discovery of her mother’s suicidal thoughts. This film aims to raise awareness for depression and suicide and how it impacts the relationships we have with our loved ones. I would be so eternally grateful if you could help make this film a reality. Every dollar toward a donation counts, but even if you can’t help out financially, please spread the word! We NEED to raise $5000 by December 3rd!” 
I strongly encourage you to help.  Donations start as low as $1.  As someone who has dealt with postpartum depression, and still deal with clinical depression and SAD, I know how painful and alienating this condition can be, and the profound effect it has on one’s relationships.

Here is the link to the “Kickstarter” page where you can learn more information and also donate:

Special Date: Brunch and Flowers

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I have come up with a very fun way to help me accomplish goal #4 on my bucket list, by scheduling one-on-one time with each of my kids; when we go out for  fun, talk about them and whatever wonderful things are occupying their minds at the moment.  We call these outings Special Dates.  I document some of those dates here, hoping as time goes by, that the memories will be “officially” preserved.  On this occasion, thanks to a Groupon I snatched a couple of months ago, my daughter and I were delighted to indulge our love for breakfast foods, by visiting The Breakfast Place in nearby Attleboro, MA.  Sunday brunch, that’s gotta be my favorite meal ever; and in such good company it just fills me with joy.  This cute little breakfast joint has a 60s air to it, and they play the oldies, which I believe Karla enjoyed.  Their service is great; it seems to be family operated and they really give you the special touch treatment; making you feel very welcomed.  The little lady and I spoke about the new school year and reuniting with friends, over a veggie omelette, with wheat toast for me, and scrambled eggs with a chocolate chip pancake for her.  We also shared an order of french toasts, which by the way, were the best I’ve had in a long time.  The servings were generous and we could not finish our meals so we took our leftovers to go.  Karla liked it so much she plans to ask her dad to bring her back soon. 

We then headed towards Roger Williams Park in Providence in order to cross off the last spot on my list of places to visit within the park, The Botanical Center.  I must say this is a beautiful and serene garden; I think it will be my new favorite spot to sit and relax while reading a book.  My princess also commented on how pretty and peaceful it was; she also enjoyed snapping pictures of the flowers and mom, among other things.

Special Date: Carousel Village

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For our last special date Karla chose to use her Feinstein Jr. Scholar Card at Roger Williams Park Carousel Village.  This card grants her a free ride on the carousel, free pop-corn, and a free face painting.  As I love Roger Williams Park, I was happy to please her.  We got on the carousel and went round and round giggling away.  Afterwards we stumbled upon a nice gentleman who was showing his parrots and letting people take pictures with the birds.  Karla was cautious about the parrot and did not want a picture with it; but of course, I couldn’t miss this opportunity.  The bird climbed on my arm, and even pecked at my sunglasses, which were resting on top of my head, while my daughter snapped a few shots. 

Karla went on to the bouncy house.  I would have loved to go in as well but the one that supports grownup use was out-of-order that day, so I just watched her have fun.  As she was the only one in the bouncy house at the moment, Karla quickly got tired and wanted to go on to the next station.  A jumping thingamajig; she patiently waited in line until it was her turn.  Then she was strapped, lifted, and given the instruction to start jumping.  She did, and then her giggles got the best of her making her knees weak and unable to jump as hard as she is capable of.  Still she seemed to be enjoying herself.  Lastly, we went for her pop-corn, and got some Del’s Lemonade.  We walked around the Japanese garden a bit before heading off to pickup Aleck.  I am really enjoying these special dates with both of my kids.  Not only will we cherish those moments for years to come, but it also lets them know how special they are to me, which is a great piece of goal #4 on my list.

Special Date: Swan Ride

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This was another one of those “Killing Two Birds with One Stone” outings as it counts toward at least 2 of the goals on my Bucket List. My son Aleck and I had one of our Special Dates where we get to spend quality time just the two of us doing something we both enjoy.  Special Dates with each of my children is one of my ongoing efforts towards goal # 4 on my List “Raising Happy, Healthy, Confident, Cooperative, Responsible, and Faithful Children.”  Since Aleck chose to visit Roger Williams Park and hop on a Swan Ride for our date, it also counts towards goal #24 of my list, “Exploring Rhode Island from A to Z.”

It was a nice warm day and after running a few errands and having lunch at Chelo’s, one of his favorite restaurants, Aleck and I headed to Roger Williams Park for our Swan Ride.  The very nice young boy attendant helped us get suited with life jackets for our mini  adventure. He recommended waiting for one of the boats equipped with an awning  because  being under the sun without it while pedaling the boat could be brutal; we listened to the voice of experience, and I was very thankful for it later.  

As soon as our boat was available we carefully loaded the Swan.  We received quick navigating instructions and off we went.  For $6 per person you get to ride 25 minutes, which let me tell you is more than enough pedaling for me.  As my legs are longer than Aleck’s, I was mainly in charge of the pedals, while he was in charge of the direction shift.  We passed many other joyful riders, admired the lily pad patches, gazed at the geese and ducks in the lake, and most importantly, enjoyed our time together.  I was glad he chose the Swan Ride since that is one of the spots I had chosen to visit within Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI.  This park has been one of my favorite places to visit since I was a teen, but there are a handful of spots/activities I had not experienced yet; The Swan Ride is no longer one of them 🙂

How about you; what is your favorite Park and what do you enjoy doing there?