|August 8, 2017|
Santa's Village is a theme park located in northern New Hampshire. It has lots of rides and attractions for kids and adults all around the Christmas Theme.
In their advertising, Santa's Village mention that it's one of the USA's Top 25 Amusement Parks - The only New England park on the list! It's worth checking out if it's better than Canobie Lake Park and Six Flags New England.
Someone told me that it's a half day park. That didn't appear to be the case as our recent experience showed that you can spend the entire day at the park and still not get on all the rides.
For kids, it's a long ride from North Conway to Santa's Village. We stocked up on some fruit snacks so no one was hungry on the ride up to the park.
Based on our past experience at Canobie Lake Park, we decided to play it safe and bring sandwiches and gluten free snacks to the park.
We stopped at Haniford the night before and got some cold cuts and some gluten free bread. We packed everything in a bag cooler with an ice pack.
There are lockers near the entrance. However, they don't charge for strollers. We simply hooked our bags to the stroller so that we could stop and eat whenever. There would be no need to go back to the entrance to get our bags.
We had no problem finding a table to eat at lunch time near Burger Meister Food Court. We did notice that most people did buy food from the concession stands. A few people did have bag coolers.
We did buy drinks and cotton candy, along with plenty of souvenirs. We certainly help contribute to the local economy. We even stopped at the local Dunkin Donuts in town to get a drink for our ride back to our cabin in the woods.
There are lots of fun things to do in the park. Lots of exciting rides and adventures for the kids. There are shows happing all the time.
Some memorable rides:
We found that the Elfabits to be a fun game!
The water area of the park is a lot of fun, and kids can spend a long time enjoying the slides and waterfalls. There are plenty of chairs for parents to sit and watch their kids. There are changing rooms nearby, and if you forgot to bring a towel or bathing suit, there's a store that has all the water park accessories that you need.
We ended the day at the Water Park, so the kids wouldn't be soaked or cold when going on various rides.
Don't forget to pack bathing suits, towels, and pool shoes. Pool shoes are not allowed on the large slides.
Everyone having fun at the HO HO H2O Water Park
My six and a half-year-old daughter had a lot of fun at Santa's Village. She had a fun time looking for the alphabet elves and going on all types of rides.
Of all the things that we did on our two-week vacation, she loved the time spent at Santa's Village.
|August 1, 2017|
This past weekend we saw a double feature at the Mendon Twin Drive-in.
This has become an annual tradition. Every summer we head over to Mendon and have fun at the drive in. It certainly puts a different twist on going to the movies.
Unfortunately the Mendon Drive-in has no Gluten free meal options in the snack bar. They have cheese burgers and fried foods. I didn't bother asking if they had a dedicated fryer for their french fries as I am sure they don't - it appears to be a small kitchen.
The only safe options are Popcorn and ice cream.
We ended up cooking up some frozen Gluten free pizza and bringing some gluten free snacks.
Did you know that you can make Smores at the Mendon Twin Drive In? When you arrive, go over to the Beer Garden to make some smores before the movie starts.
You have to buy a smores kit and it cost $6.42 for the kit. You get two Wooden sticks and Marshmallows, a Hershey Bar and Gram Crackers enough to make 4 Smores sandwiches.
Unfortunately the Marshmallows and gram crackers are in the same bag. This doesn't make it safe for Celiacs.
If you ask for extra Marshmallows, you will get about six more in a separate cup that you can use for toasting.
Perfect! Now everyone can enjoy roasting marshmallows before the movie.
Ya. $6.42 is a bit expensive for roasting marshmallows but it keeps the kids busy and makes it a fun summertime night treat.
Going to the Mendon Twin Drive-in is a fun way to entertain company.
|July 25, 2017|
The last weekend of July is a busy time in Gilroy, California as it's the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. I really looked forward to going when I lived in California.
Here's a classic Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipe that I got when I visited in 2000. This is naturally Gluten Free and nice side dish.
Steam the potatoes with the jackets on, and peel while warm and cut into pieces. At the same time, use a garlic roaster and roast the entire head of garlic, then peel and extract the garlic cloves.
In the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer, blend together the butter and roasted garlic on low, until they are pureed together and spoon in the potatoes while warm and keep the beater going on medium low, alternating drabs of half and half and adding the other seasonings.
Optionally, you can layer this with sliced crimini mushrooms in a baking dish and then bake with provolone on the top.
If you really like Garlic, put in an extra garlic head!
|July 18, 2017|
Someone on my Facebook feed recently posted this MEME:
How after 5000 years of humanity surviving off of bread do we have so many people within the last decade who are entirely allergic to gluten?
My reply comment was simply:
There are two things that are going on:
1) Did you know that the bread that we eat today isn't the same as the one made years ago.
Today's bread isn't fermented. Not so long ago the bread dough was a living, breathing colony. This caused the bread making process to be slow and an inefficient process. Today, instead of allowing the bacteria in the water to power the wheat and change it - manufacturers have put in "safe" additives - such as yeast.
Because of the new process various natural nutrients aren't in the bread anymore. Manufactures have to add micronutrients in to make the today's bread be nutritious.
2) Celiac is an autoimmune disease and was only officially recognized as a disease not so long ago, but the symptoms have been around for thousands of years.
In the second century, Aretaeus of Cappadocia, a Greek physician, wrote about childhood and adult coeliac disease. He wrote, "If the stomach be irretentive of the food and it passes through undigested and crude, and nothing ascends into the body, we call such persons Coeliacs."
The term 'Celiac Disease' was made by Dr. Samuel Gee in 1888. It wasn't until 1950 that Dr. Wilm Dicke, a Dutch physician, discovered the best cure for Celiac Disease was to have a diet free of Gluten.
It wasn't until the mid-1990's that full acceptance of the 'Celiac Disease' was officially accepted by the general public.
So while the whole Gluten Free seems to be a new thing, it's been around for a while.
|July 11, 2017|
The Deluxe Depot Diner in Framingham opened up in 2016 and has gotten great reviews from local residences. We have driven by the restaurant several times to see many cars parked in the front.
I recently checked the "Find my Gluten Free" app and was surprised that to find it ranked pretty high, so we decided to check it out.
The menu is a bit confusing as there isn't a whole lot of items that were marked as gluten free. We talked to our server and he told us that he would let use know if a dish could be made gluten free.
For example, the Deluxe Depot Diner has Gluten Free bread for sandwiches and hamburgers but there wasn't any indicator on the specific sandwiches were gluten free.
We settled on the Gluten Free pancakes, as my daughter was excited to try them.
We wanted to order a side of bacon, but the server told us that they weren't gluten free as they were cooked with other foods that contained gluten. While we were a bit disappointed that she couldn't have bacon, we were impressed that someone was aware of cross contamination.
We ended up settling for just chocolate chip pancakes, and if she was still hungry we could order another pancake. We were told that the pancake was pretty big, so we decided to try one.
The pancake was very good. My daughter only ate half of it and wanted to take the rest home. This is typical of how she eats, she never finishes a full meal when we eat out.
When I asked her if she liked it, she gave me a typical 2 thumbs up.
We'll certainly come back again. In fact, we liked the place so much that we visited the place twice within a week time. The restaurant was nice and quiet, and even though it's next to the train tracks, the trains weren't making all that much noise as they went by.
Personally I liked the Classic Reuben Sandwich, which could be made gluten free with the gluten free bread.
You can find the Deluxe Depot Diner at the corner of Waverly Street and Concord Street in downtown Framingham. There is a small parking lot on either side of the Deluxe Depot Diner, in addition, you can park on Waverly Street.
|July 4, 2017|
Recently we were in East Providence, Rhode Island at a friend's house. We were attending a graduation party.
We stayed late for dinner, and the host decided to order from PieZoni's. They were going to go with a more local pizza place, but PieZoni was the only one that offered Gluten Free pizza and delivery.
My daughter was very impressed with the Gluten Free pizza she had several slices. She told me that it was just as good as the pizza she gets at Bills Pizzeria in Natick. The pizza looked very good, I had a bit since it looked like it was soggy, but it was nice and crunchy.
We certainly recommend PieZoni to anyone looking for delicious gluten free pizza in Southern New England.
There are many Piezoni locations around Southern New England. In Massachusetts, they are in Attleboro, Easton, Fall River, Franklin, Plainville, Raynham, Stoughton, Taunton, Walpole. In Rhode Island, you can find Piezoni in Barrington, Cranston, E. Greenwich Square, East Providence, Lincoln, Middletown, Pawtucket, Providence, Smithfield, Warren and Warwick.
|June 28, 2017|
Have you ever worked on a document and then an idea came up for something completely unrelated to what your working on?
Ya, it happens to everyone.
The problem is if you completely stop what you're doing - you'll loose focus on the task at hand.
EverNote Helper (Menu Item) can be a real life saver. When you encounter a distraction thought, such as "I should really check out that Tom Cruise - Tom Gun Music Video" you can just make a quick note without closing the program you're in. This is possible because EverNote Helper is a Macintosh/Windows system-wide utility.
I have found that EverNote helper is good way to remember things when you don't want to interupt your current task.
As an added bonus, you can take a quick screenshot with your quick note. You don't need to take a full-screen shot - you can just take a picture of a selected area of the screen or any window.
Macintosh users can add a voice recording but I don't see any use for that. At my office it's pretty quiet - I don't think I would ever use this.
Don't think it's something you need to use? Check out some real world tasks that have happen to me:
At first I thought having another menu item didn't make any sense. However, I discovered that it makes perfect sense for just a quick note.
Once you remember the keyboard commands you'll be using this feature all the time.
Quick Cheat Sheet Guide.
Think about it - when was the last time your desktop sticky note had a screenshot?
|June 27, 2017|
My daughter is a huge fan of America Girl and fortunately, we live near the one at the Natick Mall. It's a great place to shop and the cafe is a nice treat.
The American Girl store at the Natick Mall has two stories, the Bistro takes up half of the second floor.
Reservations are highly recommended during peak lunch and dinner times. We know from experience that they do close early on New Year's Eve.
The Boston's Children's Hospital Celiac Support Group has held lunch events here several times in the past. That alone should tell you that this place takes gluten free very seriously.
They have delicious gluten free options.
We have eaten here several times in the past couple of years and have never encountered a problem. In fact, my daughter has requested going here for lunch every year for her birthday.
She likes to bring her American Girl doll. They have special seats for the dolls so they can sit at the table. If you forgot yours, or don't have one, you can borrow one for the duration of your meal. (They even get their own place settings)
We usually do a bit of shopping afterward. So it's a fun experience for her.
This year we might be going to xxx as she likes going there.
Don't forget to mention that you need to eat gluten free. The servers have been excellent about catering to the needs of Celiac. They will explain all the items on the menu that can be prepared Gluten Fee.
There's a single price per meal for a starter and a Main Course, currently it cost $16.50 for adults. So all the meals are a single price, which makes it easy to just focus on what you want to eat.
There's not a lot of options for the appetizers. My daughter usually gets the Fancy Fruit Fondue option. I recall that the Mediterranean Hummus and the Warm Artichoke-Spinach Dip are other Starters that can be made Gluten Free.
On our last visit, my daughter had the butterfly pasta with butter and oil. She ate most of it, and we brought some home so that she could enjoy as a small snack.
In the past she would have the Butterfly pasta with Alfredo sauce. It's her version of Mac & Cheese since they don't have any gluten-free mac and cheese. She also tried the Bistro Burger with the gluten free bun.
If you're celebrating a birthday, call ahead a few days early and they will have a specially prepared gluten-free birthday cake. The Natick American Girl Bistro don't make the cake they get it from Something Sweet Without Wheat a bakery that specializes in Gluten free cakes.
The cake is actually really good.
What's really nice is that if you have a large party they will serve noncelicas guests a regular cake. That way the birthday girl gets more cake to take home.
Overall it's a fun dining experience. If you should encounter an issue with the server, make sure to let the manager know.
One time when we visited, the server didn't appear to know much about Celiac. We were concerned that things wouldn't go well and did ask for a different server.
That was the only time we ever had an issue. That was several meals ago and we still go back for the delicious food and fun shopping experience.
|June 20, 2017|
Earlier this year the site featured a comprehensive post about the Celiac Disease. It's a well-written guide for anyone that was just diagnosed with Celiac. Perhaps your entertaining a friend that mentioned that they are eating gluten this guide will point you in the right direction.
There are four delicious recipes to try. (Isn't it fun to try something new?)
If you want a simple to read artcle about eating Gluten Free, I would suggest checking out the Celiac Disease Diet Guide (Plus 4 Delicious Recipes) at jenreviews.com.
|June 13, 2017|
Gluten-free eating may seem like a trend, but it is a serious lifestyle choice for many people who are affected by a number of symptoms caused by gluten sensitivities. If you feel at all different after eating gluten-heavy foods, such as having a headache or feeling less energetic, you may want to examine whether or not you are gluten intolerant.
Luckily, there are many ways to change your diet to exclude gluten. The food market today is becoming increasingly aware of customer’s gluten-free needs, and making the choice to eat food free from gluten is quite simple.
There are a number of perks for your health and body if you decide to cut out gluten, including:
If you are looking for a fast solution to cutting out all gluten, you can try something like a raw juice cleanse to infuse your body with proper nutrients to help you begin feeling healthier in a short amount of time!
Check out the The Gluten Free Diet Plan: What You Need To Know for a lot of useful information:
|June 7, 2017|
EverNote is a great tool to organize everyday notes. You can put notes in Notebooks and tag them so you can easily find them later.
Did you know that EverNote Supports Emoji icons? It's a cool way to highlight notes or notebooks. Check out this example of the Done and Food Notebooks.
As you can see it's pretty easy to identify the use of those particular notebooks.
Emoji are a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication.
You can use emoji within your documents. But did you know that you can use them in headers and in Notebook names?
This can make it easier for certain notes or notebooks to stand out. As in the above example, my 'Done' notebook is where I store completed Blog notes.
Androd Emoji and Apple Emoji are different, this is important to know if your using EverNote on different devices types.
Also keep in mind that Apple and Android don't have the same Emoji library. When Android encounter an Emoji that is not in their library, you'll get a box to indicate an incomplete emoji, If you keep a single OS platform, then this isn't a problem.
Using Emoji is a good way to make ordinary notes stand out. This is a great idea for those reference notes that you may need to use all the time.
Just remember to not throw an Emoji on synced Notebooks. (i.e. Notebooks that are being used by IFTTT, such as Twitter and IOS Photos.) If you add an Emoji, you're essentially changing the name and that may cause the sync to fail.
|June 6, 2017|
This past weekend we attended the first annual Saint Bridget 5k and fun run. There were carnival games and food trucks to make it a fun filled day.
One of the Food Trucks that was there was the Bit’Chin BBQ. They offer a complete set of BBQ options, everything from Ribs to Hot Dogs. Certainly, a good truck to have to feed a hungry group of runners.
My daughter loves Chicken Wings and was disappointed that it wasn't on the menu. They carry Chicken Fingers but I figured that it wasn't gluten free.
My daughter asked the order taker if they had Chicken Wings, the person told us that they didn't but asked the chief. To everyone's surprise, he said that they did.
My six-year-old daughter asked if it was gluten free and let them know she has Celiac. They said that it was and they could prepare it gluten free.
We waited for about five minutes for them to cook the wings.
My daughter absolutely loved the wings, she said they were just as good as the ones she gets in Boston. (Durgin Park)
She didn't eat all of them, so I had a chance to eat a couple and I would agree - they were delicious. My first thought was "Not bad for a food truck." They were cooked perfectly and full of flavor.
We certainly recommend the wings. If you should encounter the truck, make sure to ask for the wings.
Everyone I talked to at the event said the food was good. I had a hot dog - not gluten free - and it was good.
As the day went along, the lines was getting longer. I think once word got around how good the food was, everyone wanted some of it.
You can find more information onBit’Chin BBQ on their website. They have a menu of all their offerings. We found the prices to be very reasonable and the service to be excellent!
Bit’Chin BBQ were very flexible and arrived at our location at 7 am. They set up quickly and were up and running before the first runners arrived.
We were very happy that they came to the school event and will certainly invite them to the next one. (Hopefully, we won't have to wait a year!)
|May 30, 2017|
This past weekend we stopped into Not Your Average Joes in Westborough. We haven't visited here in a long time.
Not your Average Joes has a separate Gluten Free menu. You will need to ask for it when your host takes you to your seat.
Part of the attraction of going is their bread with the cheese/pepper oil dip. It's very yummy.
Fortunately they do have a gluten-free bread, you will have to ask the waiter for it.
It took a while for our bread to arrive at the table, I believe the waitress forgot that we requested it. Once we reminded her, she brought five slices of a gluten free roll to our table. What's nice is that she brought another dip dish so that there would be no cross contamination with the other dish at our table.
My daughter is a Mac and Cheese lover - which kid isn’t? She was excited to find that they have gluten free mac and cheese.
We ordered the meal and let the order taker know that she has an allergy.
When the order came out, it was delivered by the manager, a clear sign that they take their gluten free food seriously.
My daughter loved the Mac and Cheese. When I asked if she liked the one here or the one at Maggiano’s Little Italy from last weekend. She said that she liked this one better. I think she said that because of the bad experience we had.
In any case, she was very happy to enjoy the dipping bread and Mac and Cheese. We all enjoyed our meals, and will be back sometime soon.
|May 23, 2017|
This past weekend we saw Annie at the Boch Center (Wang Center). After the show we headed over to Maggiano's for an early dinner.
Since we arrived after a sold out show the restaurant was very busy. In addition, there were several nearby graduation ceremonies. We planned ahead and had reservations. However, we still had to wait 20 minutes before sitting down at our table.
While the food was great, We did have a problem with our waiter. While we were waiting for our order, my daughter was getting hungry. There was bread on the table, but it wasn't gluten free. The waiter told us that the didn't have any gluten-free bread.
We asked if their soup was gluten free, he seemed a bit unsure. We then asked if he could get cucumbers for her as an appetizer, he then told us that he was "too busy to get the cucumbers."
We were shocked that he would say that and asked to see the manager. We were afraid that this would turn into the experience that we had last year at the Cheese Cake Factory.
Thankfully the management did step up and made our experience enjoyable. They were out of the way to make sure that the table service was very good.
When we placed our order, we did request the kid's meal to be served the same time as the appetizers. Turns out that less than 30 seconds later that the meal arrived at our table. The original server, who had no time, could have simply checked on the status of the meals.
My daughter order the Fettuccine Alfredo with gluten free pasta, basically fancy Mac & Cheese. She loved the meal and ate most of it. There wasn't enough leftover to take home, which she usually does.
For desert, she had Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with some chocolate sauce. It was excellent!
Gluten Free Fettuccine Alfredo
Yes! Despite the initial poor quality of service. We will certainly go back. We did enjoy the food and had a good time after watching Annie.
Maggiano's Little Italy is located at 4 Columbus Ave near the theater district. We parked at the Motor Mart Garage, which is located just upstairs. It cost $28 to park at Motor Mart Garage, which is the same price as the garage next to
The restaurant is located about 3 blocks from the Boch Center - Wang Theatre.
If you are going to a show, make the reservations at least 30 minutes after the show ends. That will give you time to leave and walk over to the restaurant.
|May 16, 2017|
Last Year, I posted that Cupcake Charlie's carries some gluten free goodies. They have a delicious selection of gluten free pudding cakes and cookies.
On a recent visit, we were surprised to find that they carry gluten free cupcakes. It turns out that they have a very limited supply and they get their shipments on Fridays.
When my daughter took a bite into her cupcake, she was pleasantly surprised to find a chocolate fillings. She loved it and can't wait to get another one.
Cupcake Charlie's is located on the second in the middle of the Natick Mall. Your best parking options would be to park at the third level in the garage near Lord and Taylor. Then it's a simple walk to the Mall and head towards Neiman Marcus.
Make sure to stop by on Friday, as we have visited the store numerous times on the weekend and didn't know that they had gluten free cupcakes.
You can eat in or take it home. Tip: Take it home so that you can enjoy the delicious treat.