A Family Outing: Port Discovery Children’s Museum

A few Saturdays ago, we visited the Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore for the first time. It’s not the cheapest place to visit. Besides the entrance fee, you have to pay for parking.

Ticket prices vary. As of September 2016, general admission costs $14.95 for ages 2 and up, but they have specials. For example, military personnel receive $2 off general admission for themselves and up to 4 guests. Also, if you have an IKEA Family Card, you can get 50% off one general admission ticket.

If you park in the Harbor Park Garage, which is next to the museum, ask the staff in the museum to give you a discount card to reduce your parking price to $15. I did check on Parking Panda the day before, and I found cheaper garages, but they were a further walk to the museum. Drivers in Baltimore (actually, pretty much anywhere in Maryland) do not stop for pedestrians, even when they’re in crosswalks and even though it’s the law, so I did not want to walk any further with Little J than I had to!

We started on the top floor of the museum and worked our way down. The Wonders of Water play area (closed Tuesdays for maintenance) and Tiny’s Diner were probably Little J’s favorite places to play.

Port Discovery
Little J and Big J building a plumbing system at the Wonders of Water play area. The museum has Crocs (cleaned daily) for people to borrow for this exhibit if they want. They had rain jackets for the kids too.
Port Discovery
Tiny’s Diner has play food, pots, pans, and trays for kids to play with.

Port Discovery
The play food looks realistic!

I felt like the museum did a good job of catering to kids of almost all ages, from crawling infants to upper elementary ages. There were some areas that may appeal to middle school students (like the indoor soccer “stadium”), but I think they’d be a bit old for most of the exhibits.

Port Discovery
In the Adventure Expeditions, you can wander around in 1920’s Egypt, decipher hieroglyphics and more.

The museum also has a quiet room called The Oasis. I think this is a great place for kids who are overwhelmed by all of the busyness in the museum. There’s even a nursing room inside of The Oasis!

Port Discovery
The Oasis has quiet toys, lots of books and places to sit and relax.
Port Discovery
There’s a Nursing Station in The Oasis too! You have to duck down a little to get into it. There are windows between the room and the rest of The Oasis, so moms can nurse their little ones and still keep an eye on older kids.

The pictures in this post were on my iPhone, but once I eventually get picture off my Nikon, I’ll put up another post with more photos. That post will include photos of Tot Trails, which is the more infant-friendly area, and BGE Studio Workshop, the craft area.

Something I really liked about the museum, they don’t let adults in unless the adult is accompanying a child. Also, the adults will have the same wristband code as the child or children. Before you can walk out of the facility with a child, security will match the child’s wrist band with yours.

We spent a few hours there, and Little J still wasn’t able to do everything, so I think it’s feasible to spend an entire day. They don’t sell food there, but they do have a sitting area where you can eat food you brought with you. You can also leave the museum to eat at one of the numerous restaurants within walking distance, and you’ll be allowed back into the museum with your wrist band.

Bottom line- our whole family had fun, and we’d do it again!

What fun places did you visit this summer?

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Review: Avishi Organics Intensive Baby Balm for eczema

Avishi OrganicsWell, Winter Storm Gorgon has passed through our area. We only got a few inches of snow, but oh boy! did it shut this area down. Hubby and I both still worked, and Little J still went to day care, but it was treacherous getting there.

To give you an idea, in a 7 hour period yesterday morning, our local police responded to nearly 150 accidents. The roads were very icy, and people were still driving fast. The snow has stopped, but the temperature will continue to fall over the next couple of days. There’s one thing that the cold, dry weather always brings to our home- eczema.

Growing up in Canada, I often had terribly dry skin on my hands in the winter to the point that they’d crack and peel, but I never had eczema. It took me a while to recognize it on my son. Actually, I think my MIL first pointed it out, when I mentioned he had a really dry patch of skin that wouldn’t go away. This was last winter. It’s one spot in particular above his knee, and has reappeared this year. It goes away in the spring and reappears in the fall once the cold weather returns.

Little J’s eczema doesn’t disappear during the winter, but if I treat it consistently, the skin will at least stay only a little dry. It’s not bad enough then to bother Little J. One time last winter it did get out of control, and his skin cracked and peeled and almost seemed to blister?? It was the first time I’d dealt with something like that, and I was a little horrified.

The last few weeks I’ve been using an Intensive Baby Balm that Avishi Organics sent me to review. When it first arrived, I thought it was just for diaper rash, but then I read a testimonial on their website where a mother said she used it with success on her child’s eczema. So I started to use the balm for that instead, and it works! As I’ve mentioned, the balm (like every product I’ve tried) doesn’t completely get rid of his dry skin, but with regular use, the Intensive Baby Balm helps it get better (the dry patch is soooo close to being completely gone) and the balm definitely keeps the skin from getting worse. The balm does so without chemicals, fragrances, colors, parabens, and sulfates.

You can see the red patchy spot on his leg. This is when I started to use the Avishi Organics Intensive Baby Balm.
Avishi Organics
This is after 2 weeks of application, 3 or 4 times a day. I think it looks better!

I also like that it’s a stick, because I do get tired of having to wash my hands after applying lotions and creams. Yes, frequent hand washing is good when it’s flu season, but it also dries my skin out! Because it’s a stick, I also let Little J apply it himself while I supervise. As a busy 2 1/2 year old, he loves to do things himself.
Avishi Organics Avishi Organics has all the ingredients of their balm listed on their website. Ingredients include coconut oil, neem oil, plantain, organic beeswax, and vitamin E.

Overall, I’m pleased with this product. In fact, this reminds me to go put some on my son’s leg… Okay, I’m back and just took a photo, so you can see what his eczema spot looks like tonight (that’s the “after” photo that I stuck up above). A little goes a long way with this product, so I’m pretty sure this balm will last us all winter…probably two winters.

If you or your little one suffers from dry skin, I recommend you give this a try. And, of course, you can always use this as a diaper rash cream! Visit Avishi Organics to learn more.

Note: I received a free tube of Intensive Baby Balm from Avishi Organics. The opinions reflected above are my own and may differ from others.

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Review: New menu at Bonefish Grill #HelloNewMenu

I was sent a free gift card to eat at Bonefish Grill with Hubby and Little J this past Saturday. You may remember my previous review of Bonefish Grill at their Virginia Beach location. While living in Florida, I ate at Bonefish Grill a few times a year, and always enjoyed the food and my experience. That VA Beach location didn’t live up to my expectations, so I wasn’t sure what to expect this time around.

Today is our first day in our new home (woohoo!) in Maryland, but prior to that we were staying with friends a couple towns away. The Bonefish Grill location we reviewed is in the Waugh Chapel Towne Centre in Gambrills, MD.

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress

I’m just going to apologize right now for the photos. Part of the ambience at Bonefish Grill is dim lighting, which isn’t conducive to great photography…especially with my iPhone.

The new menu includes a Rib-Eye Steak, Bang Bang Shrimp Flatbread, Cold Snap Fresh Ceviche, Watermelon Salad, and more.

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
Your meal always comes with fresh bread and pesto for dipping.

I always order the regular Bang Bang Shrimp as an appetizer and did so before I realized there’s now flatbread version! Oh well…next time.

 Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
Not one of the new menu items, but the Bang Bang Shrimp is a classic favorite!

Hubby was really considering the new Shrimp Pad Thai Bowl, but ended up ordering the new Ahi Tuna Steak instead. The steak was a wood-grilled yellowfin tuna. It included little bowls of all their signature sauce choices: the new Lime Tomato Garlic, Warm Mango Salsa, Herb Pesto, Pan Asian, and Lemon Butter. He chose the new Herbed Couscous as his side.

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
Ahi tuna steak with herbed couscous and veggies on the side. The two sauces shown here are Lime Tomato Garlic and Lemon Butter.
Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
More sauces for the tuna steak- warm mango salsa, herb pesto, and Pan-Asian

I almost went with the new Lobster Grilled Cheese (how amazing does that sound?!), but instead ordered the Spicy Tuna Bowl. I’m a sucker for sushi. My bowl included sushi-grade, sesame-seared rare tuna; avocado; sweet chile sauce; jasmine rice; and passion fruit salsa.

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
Spicy tuna bowl

For Little J, we ordered his fail-safe restaurant dish: chicken tenders and french fries. Bonefish has a great multi-page menu with coloring pages for kids to draw on, as well as crayons to do so. Also, the table cloth is made of paper, so Little J loves to go to town drawing all over it.

When we eat out, we usually skip dessert, but this time we couldn’t resist the new S’mores Flatbread- creamy chocolate, toasted marshmallows, with sliced almonds, and sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs. Looks delish, doesn’t it?

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
S’mores flatbread

Thoughts on the new menu:

I was much more impressed this time around. I really enjoyed my Spicy Tuna Bowl. Between the sweet chili sauce and passion fruit salsa, it had a lot of flavor. Hubby loved his Ahi Tuna Steak, and so did I (obviously, I had to test his out too, right?). The tuna steak is worth going back for, in my opinion! Hubby liked his tuna steak dipped in the Pan Asian sauce, but I preferred the Herb Pesto. I’ve already mentioned the other new menu items that we were considering, and I would definitely like to try those down the road (date night, maybe). The S’mores Flatbread was delicious and a big enough serving to share. All in all…my faith in Bonefish Grill has been restored.

To see the full new Bonefish Grill menu, as well as locations visit their website at www.bonefishgrill.com. And don’t worry; if you’re not a seafood fan, there are beef, chicken, and all-veggie options.

Have you eaten at Bonefish Grill? What dish would you like to try off the new menu?

Note: I received a free gift card to visit Bonefish Grill and try out their new menu. I was not otherwise compensated for this post.

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