It started off hopeful enough, at least as any year immediately following the great dumpster fire of 2016 could possibly begin. The wild and unrealistic presidential election season has finally drawn to a close and we anxiously await the swearing-in of President-Elect Donald Trump. No, this is not a movie or a fairytale or a nightmare. It is simply another chapter in American history. In the words of Vice President Joe Biden: It is over.Read More
The turkey has been digested! I repeat, the turkey has been digested! You know what that means, right? It's time for Christmas EVERYTHING!
One holiday tradition that millions of American families look forward to each year is capturing that sweet (or funny or upsetting, but likely over-priced) photo with Santa Claus. As far as Christmas goes, this jolly fella is about as big as they get. Who wouldn't want the chance to sit on his lap and ask for literally anything their heart desires? I know I want to. **please bring me something blue and expensive!**
Luckily for Atlanta families, there are several excellent opportunities to meet Santa Claus to capture these fleeting childhood memories in the form of printed pictures, personalized ornaments, and other random holiday ephemera. Here's a look at my top 5 choices for meeting Santa Claus in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
Do you have a favorite holiday tradition? Let me know in the comments!
The 5 Very Best Places to See Santa In Atlanta In 2015:
- Holiday In The Park at Six Flags Over Georgia
- Stone Mountain Christmas at Stone Mountain Park
- Phipps Plaza
- Festival of the SEAson at Georgia Aquarium
- Various events at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead
Princesses come to power in many different ways.
Sometimes they receive their status by kissing a frog, being born into a prominent family, or eating chemically-treated apples. And some princesses take matters into their own hands, err, feet.
Such is the case with Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, now performing at The Fox Theatre. The songs are catchy, and the performers certainly are quite talented in song and dance -- but the real standout of this performance is the costume designers. The special effects created by a 'whirl' here and a 'twirl' there leave the audience captivated. I'll admit to spending a few too many minutes contemplating the ins-and-outs of such costuming genius in between songs and settings.
If your daughter is a fan of princess stories, you won't want to miss this lovely performance about a strong, outspoken and wise girl destined to do something meaningful with the life she has been dealt. This Cinderella story was anything but ordinary, not unlike the musical's namesake.
Cinderella is at The Fox Theatre for a limited time: November 3-8, 2015.
Are you familiar with the Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella tale?
I received media passes in exchange for sharing information about this performance. All opinions shared in this article come from my own personal experiences.
Hey, Atlanta! Get your engines revved up -- a new Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is set to open in Marietta on October 17!
My family and I recently attended a media preview event of this exciting Atlanta family attraction, and we were impressed. We spent 3+ hours at this venue, and still were not able to experience everything that caught our eye. I guess that just means we have to return soon, right? Here's a recap of some of our favorite activities at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games:
We played arcade games -- and with over 120 video games to choose from, we stayed pretty busy!
We tried a little air hockey...
and returned some friendly fire in Laser Tag.
And we even enjoyed a round of bowling (Danger won!)
The real star of Andretti Indoor Karting & Games are the Sodi RTX electric karts and Andretti-designed tracks. Vroom vroom!
If you've got a need for speed, zoom on down to Andretti Indoor Karting & Games on October 17 for the special Grand Opening Celebration! Starting at 11 a.m., you can enter raffles and giveaways for all kinds of great prizes (including a weekend stay from Marriott Courtyard!)
The new Andretti Karting & Games is located at:
1255 Roswell Rd. Marietta, GA 30062
Buckle up, Marietta! You're in for a wild ride!
My family and I were provided with complimentary full-access passes in exchange for spreading the word about the new Andretti Indoor Karting & Games location's grand opening.
You can fly. You can fly. You can fly.
And girls can be brilliant inventors, too.
With just a dash of Tinker Bell's pixie dust and a little creativity, the Darling children embark on an adventure to Neverland with Peter Pan and his fairy friend at Atlanta's Center For Puppetry Arts. This vibrant performance makes use of blacklight effects and a special screen overlay, bringing the stage to life with brilliant splashes of water, billowing clouds, and beautiful props that help the audience stay immersed in the classic tale from start to finish.
We have attended many performances at Atlanta's Center For Puppetry Arts over the years, but "Peter Pan" felt quite unique in both appearance and dialogue. It was comedic without being over-the-top in words or gestures, and appealed to all ages.
The whole family will be clap and laugh along with the entertaining dialogue and lovable characters. Each of the puppets is a delight, but my personal favorite was Nana, the Darling children's sweet caretaker. I think Danger was partial to the dainty (and rather spunky) Tinker Bell, a fairy that expresses her frustration by squealing the alphabet: A-B-C-D-E-F-G!
"Peter Pan" runs from September 22-October 25, 2015, and it is a must-see for Atlanta families. We attended a SOLD OUT performance on Sunday, September 27! Very well deserved, too. If you plan to attend, you may want to consider purchasing your tickets in advance.
What classic tale would you like to see at Center For Puppetry Arts in the future?
Tonight, Team Bradshaw is headed out for a night of adventure at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This seasonal event is held on select nights at Magic Kingdom Park, and we are so excited to be attending the first party of 2015! I will be live-blogging our adventures, so make sure to follow along and check back often for updates. Hope to see ya real soon!
Guests have been permitted to enter Magic Kingdom Park as early as 4 p.m. in previous years, and it looks like this year is on track to follow that trend. I linked our special event tickets to My Disney Experience a few months back, and was able to arrange FastPass+ attractions for the hours of 4-7 p.m. (FastPass+ is not available during party hours of 7 p.m.-midnight.) We took advantage of this early entry opportunity to take a few pictures and meet a few of our favorite Disney Characters: Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell.
It's now 4:45 p.m. We've already finished up with Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell, and even enjoyed a quick dinner at Casey's Corner. Corn dog nuggets and fries? Sounds like the dinner of champions! If you attend Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you will not want to spend precious party time at a long, formal dinner. Next up, Starbucks tea and then Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+!
It's 5:11 p.m. and we have some time to waste before our Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+ return window opens up. We stopped to take a few pictures by the castle and Partners statue (Dre even got a pic of the famous Disney ducks), and now we are heading to Fantasyland for the Barnstormer. Posted wait time is 10 minutes, which is totally worth the smile on Danger's face as we ride. We haven't checked or gotten any notifications about Mine Train being down, but we haven't noticed a cart go by yet. *crossing fingers and toes and Mickey ears* that it is up and running for our return window!
Mine Train is down! I repeat, Mine Train is down! Ahhh! it's a small world seems like a suitable replacement for now. We will try again later. I'll be back with another update after the party begins - 7 p.m.
It's 7:15, and Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party has begun! Cast Members have spread out, and are now checking to make sure guests at the park have valid party wristbands. We were able to use our FastPass+ for our earlier Seven Dwarfs Mine Train return window at 7:01, even though the party had already started. The trick-or-treat lines at Storybook Circus are already very long. We won't even attempt to visit them until later this evening. So what to do? What would you do?
Just finished Astro Orbiter. It's a Bradshaw Disney tradition. This time, Danger rode with Dre. The trick-or-treat trails still have super long lines, so we are sitting in front of Cinderella Castle to catch the first Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular of the season. Starts in 3, 2, 1...
Update at 8:48
We couldn't make it into a great viewing spot for the first performance, but I had a Plan B. We decided to head over to Frontierland to catch the trick-or-treat trails (I had a hunch those would be less frequented, and I was right.) We filled up with candy and started riding attractions while people watched the first parade. Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain are pretty much walk-on, crazy considering how many people are here.
Tip: You can visit the trick-or-treat stations as many times as you'd like. We did the same 2 twice, and Danger didn't even realize it was a repeat. Hey, those lines at other parts of the park are crazy long! Still!
Now we are taking a break and enjoying this adorable ghost cupcake. Everyone, get ready to say "aww!" Lookit:
We will catch the parade and fireworks soon, and then ride a few more things before heading out. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is down again (yes, again!) Hoping we can catch it one more time tonight.
It's now 9:57 p.m., and we may be calling it soon. We just did a few more trick-or-treat trails in Storybook Circus, and rode Barnstormer again. Happy HalloWishes is about to begin, and we are watching it from the back side of Cinderella Castle just to avoid crowds. They are rough this evening! I've taken a few more pictures, and will add those later. Hard to type and walk.
I'd like to add that the line for the Seven Dwarfs meet and greet is the shortest I've seen it all evening. Jump in while you still can!
10:16 p.m. HalloWishes was awesome, even from behind. We sat in the center of some pretty great flares, and avoided the heavy crowds. We plan to check out some of the event-specific merchandise soon.
Anndd... At 10:38 p.m. we decided to head out of the park. We had a good time overall, but Danger and Dre are about to fall over with exhaustion. Poor things, can't even hang at Disney! If your goal is to ride lots of rides with very short waits, you should definitely attend Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. For everything else, you will need to pick what is most important for your family to experience, and just focus on that. Danger and I wanted to do lots of trick-or-treating and enjoy the event-specific entertainment. Dre wanted to ride all the rides. We compromised, and had a good time.
Would we do Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party again? Yes! But there are a few things that could have helped us enjoy this experience even more. I'll share a more detailed follow-up post with tips very soon, but for now, good night!
Guilty pleasures. We all have 'em.
I like sipping Vanilla Bean Frapps from Starbucks, reading the comments section on polarizing web articles, and listening to gangsta rap in the comfort of my bedroom while pinning ALL THE THINGS on Pinterest. (Secret boards for the good stuff. That's how I roll.)
I also like to partake in a weekly binge of Netflix-viewing.
As I'm packing up for yet *another* big move, I usually have Pretty Little Liars or Orange Is The New Black going on in the background. What can I say? Sometimes it just feels so good to tune out while tuning in. My favorite shows and movies are available to stream on Netflix right now, which is just what I needed to get through the packing and moving and utility transfers... oh my!
Danger doesn't usually indulge in a Netflix binge, as she typically sticks to the normal kid things like organizing her Shopkins collections, playing with friends on Animal Jam, and drawing pictures (lots of pictures!) that I simply cannot bring myself to toss. But there are some really great Netflix Kids options to enjoy on long road trips or during sleepover parties or if mama needs a break right.this.minute. Or yeah... if we are moving to yet another new county.
Right now, she's enjoying a couple of my childhood favorites, like Jem and Magic School Bus, as well as a few new favorite modern-kid titles, like Monster High (especially 13 Wishes!), and Total Drama Island.
I know that limiting screen time is supposed to make me a better mom, but you know what? Making sure my daughter enjoys her last few days of summer break while I pack up our whole house makes me feel like Mother of the Year -- even if she is glued to the TV or computer.
What are you streaming?
I have received compensation to share my online streaming habits as a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam. All opinions are my own. Thanks for stopping by!
Last year, volunteers donated 5,500 new book bags and school supplies that helped every school-aged child living in a shelter or group home in the metro Atlanta area receive a brand new book bag filled with supplies.
Visit one of these participating drop-off locations on Saturday, August 1 from noon-7 p.m. to lend your support to the Stuff The Bus initiative from WSB-TV and Children's Restoration Network:Read More