Country’s Best Renaissance Faire Set to Open July 5

Our family will once again be hosted by the Faire in exchange for our coverage of the event.

All thoughts shared are our honest personal opinions.

ren faire 2014Bring the family to the Bristol Renaissance Faire for a day filled with food, fools and fun.  Check out the great time we had on our first ever vist to the Faire.

 Voted “Country’s Best Renaissance Faire” for the third consecutive year in 2013, the Bristol Renaissance Faire will open Saturday, July 5, for nine weekends through Labor Day Monday. This summer’s 27th annual Bristol Renaissance Faire promises the same perennially popular compliment of 16th Century merriment, music, food and games that have repeatedly earned top national honors from subscribers of Renaissance Magazine and the Renaissance Festival Podcast, along with some new twists, like a super-charged joust that producers are touting as the most exciting in the country.

An explosive spectacle of thundering horses, bone-crushing hits and surprise theatrical finales, this summer’s joust will raise the bar on Faire-goers’ favorite spectator sport. Knights will boldly fight to be the day’s champion through a series of equestrian endeavors and alternating tests of skill, then determinedly compete to best one another in fully armored jousts of adrenalin-pumping intensity. The lances will be solid, the hits real, the tempers genuine, the dynamics ever-changing, and the outcomes edge-of-your-seat unpredictable.

Also among the unprecedented, Bristol’s interactive, multi-player fantasy game, RenQuest, will unveil a brand new DaVinci-inspired story line. Producers are also premiering Queen’s College, an immersive environment in which Faire-goers can learn period skills ranging from basket-weaving and candle-making to chain-maille construction. Further enhancing the living landscape of the 30-acre village, an expanded Bristol Marketplace will welcome an eclectic array of resident merchants and rotating guest artists; stages will resound with one of the best line-ups of nonstop entertainment to-date, and always-bustling streets will be dotted with an extravagant entourage of larger-than-life animal puppets.

Flying Dragons and Clashing Swords

Sixteen Bristol entertainment stages feature nonstop music, merriment, feats of daring and an eclectic assortment of comedic performers who invite their audiences to become part of the act. Joining Faire favorites, including Dirk and Guido, the comedic sword-fighting duo known as “The Swordsmen,” ropewalker, juggler and foolish mortal MooNiE the Magnif’Cent, Guinness World Record-holding fire whip artist Adam Crack, the Barely Balanced acrobatic comedy troupe, and the Sturdy BeggarsTM Mud Show®, will be a breathtaking aerial silk act making its U.S. debut at Bristol this summer. Suspended from the trees of the wooded Faire site, the Draiku aerial duo will provide a dazzling display of airborne Chinese Dragon artistry.

Among this summer’s special musical guests, the explosive Celtic group, Tartanic, will appear during the Faire’s first and third weekends; Wolgemut, a high-energy minstrel troupe whose name in ancient German literally means “to be in a good mood,” will perform two weekends in July, and VaNa MaZi will arrive with its unique brand of Gypsy Jazz, throughout the month of August. Making their Bristol debut in 2014 are the Merry Wives of Windsor, an 11-piece, all-female folk band that has taken the West Coast Renaissance festival circuit by storm.

One-of-a-Kind Wares

Bristol’s ever-expanding Marketplace offers a breadth and depth of unique shopping experiences that can’t be found anywhere outside the country’s top Renaissance faires. Nearly 180 artisans and crafters display wares ranging from stage-combat-approved swords and handmade chain maille to Scottish kilts, handcrafted leather masks, tapestry wall hangings, sterling silver jewelry, hand-caned brooms, bamboo flutes, even steampunkery and jester socks. Often, patrons have the chance to watch potters, glass blowers, bowyers, blacksmiths and other working artisans create their wares on-site.

Expanding upon the interactive nature of the Bristol Marketplace, the new Queen’s College transports would-be crafters and history buffs alike into an immersive environment where they can learn a rotating variety of 16thCentury arts from basket-weaving and candle-making to chain-maille construction.

Live Action Fantasy-Play

Bristol’s ever-evolving live action fantasy-play game, RenQuest, has become one of the most highly anticipated events of the Faire season. Following the epic conclusion of RenQuest’s Chaos Trilogy in 2013, this summer’s departure to a DaVinci theme opens up the playing field to endless inspiration from the inventor’s imagination. Originating in 2008, RenQuest brings the worldwide popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, like World of Warcraft, into the live action dimension of the Renaissance Faire. The interactive theatrical gaming experience offers players an unprecedented opportunity to experience the Faire through completing quests, honing skills and defeating evil villains. The game spans the entire 30-acre Faire site and employs 30 non-playing characters dedicated to enriching the fantasy experience for patron-players.

Kids Quests provide the Faire’s younger patrons, ages 4 to 10, with two daily opportunities to embark on their own, age-appropriate adventures. Led by Jack and Jill, the 30-minute quests team youngsters with Bristol’s fairy tale creatures in a search for treasure and excitement.

More Kid-Friendly Fun

The Bristol Renaissance Faire is filled with kid-inspired experiences, including more than 30 games and rides, shows that make kids laugh, and special play areas bursting with whimsy and photo-snapping charm. Always entertaining and engaging, Bristol’s Kids Kingdom boasts a climb-aboard pirate ship, giant sandbox, crafts and games activity center, its own theater and a full cast of beloved characters. New to the Kingdom this summer, the Normal Sisters will invite children into their world of witchcraft for a hilarious, interactive stage show called “Caldron Mishaps.” Daily magic shows, story-telling and interactive role-playing adventures also take center stage throughout the day, and at 4:30 p.m., Queen Elizabeth herself shows up in Kids Kingdom for the celebrated Knighting Ceremony, at which she personally dubs all attending children lords and ladies.

Other popular, kid-friendly diversions include mad-cap tea parties with Lady Ettie, kid pike drills at the Military Encampment, toy ship sailing on Mouseboro Pond, and chance encounters with the Faire’s most elusive inhabitants, curious faeries known as Fantastikals, who this summer will be enjoying a newly landscaped Fairy Garden.

 

Taking its framework from the summer day in 1574 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited the English hamlet of Bristol, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is located just west of I-94’s Russell Road exit, near Kenosha, Wis. Open rain or shine, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday, July 5 through Sep. 1, and on Labor Day Monday, Sep. 2, tickets are $23.95 for adults and $11.50 for children, ages 5 to 12. Advance ticket discounts are available atrenfair.com or by calling (847) 395-7773.

Family Fun at WWE Payback

Our family is being hosted by WWE in exchange for our coverage of this event.

20140512_Payback_CenaBray_LIGHT_HP
I’ll be honest and say this totally isn’t my scene. But the boys are asked to have an open mind when attending events I’d like to go to so I’m doing the same. Plus, there’s always the shirtless good looking men to get me through the night too!

My boys haven’t watched much, if any,  WWE on TV but have watched a ton of best of videos on youtube and really enjoy wrestling so it should be fun.  I’m assure that WWE is in fact great family entertainment so I’m excited to surprise the boys with these tickets on Sunday!  If you want to check it out in person visit Ticketmaster for WWE Payback tickets at Allstate Arena.  Otherwise you can get full info on how else you can watch WWE Payback here.
20140522_Payback_Match_Shaemus_Cesaro_LIGHT_HP

Jumping Fun at Jump America in Gurnee IL

Jump America trampoline park gurnee il family night (1)Recently the boys and I went to check out Jump America’s Saturday Family Night.  I have to say I was not at all prepared for the chaos that found us when we arrived.  With the “family night” deal being specifically from 6-8pm I would have anticipated them being ready to move everyone in quickly.  But it took almost a full hour before the last of the crowd was able to get in and jumping (including us).

I was, however, pleasantly surprised that with the all the people that were there (though management insists they are never that busy, even on a Saturday night) that the boys never really struggled to find a place to jump.  There were short wait times to play in the dodge-ball area or jump into the block pits but nothing I thought was unreasonable and there was always an open trampoline in the straight jump areas.

As a mom I was pleased with the amount of monitoring there was to keep the kids safe while jumping and that there were separate areas for different ages.  There was an area for kids 7 and under I believe, 8-13 and 14 and over.

jump america gurnee il trampoline park family fun

 

In addition to the foam block pit area and two dodge ball areas (which also seemed to be separated by age or size though I didn’t see them specifically labeled) there was also this fun basketball area where two kids are allowed to play against each other (with a hoop behind their opponent and a slightly lower than hoop level mesh ‘wall’ between then) for 3 minute games.jump america gurne trampoline basketball

 

The Family Night package also includes pizza, however we didn’t get pizza.  I’m not really sure about letting the kids eat and then continue jumping…it just didn’t seem like a wise idea.  But the pizza smelled and looked good BUT some people did wait in line for what looked like a decent amount of time so if you didn’t have a non-jumper to wait for you, you’d be losing precious jumping time.

We stayed for the full two hours and while the boys insisted they still had plenty of jump left, I think they were really slowing down.

The boys loved it and I’m sure will be begging me to go back shortly.  The regular rate of $12 per child for the first hour is a little steep for me but I might consider investing in a punch card or package for something fun to do to blow off some extra energy especially during the cold months!

Jumping into the foam pit:

Bryan jumping:

Cool and Funny Halloween Costumes

content provided by MrCostumes

My boys have been counting down to Halloween for several weeks already.  You would think they never get any candy with as excited as they get about trick-or-treating but the truth is they get more than their share.  So I have to chalk it up to the excitement of dressing up and pretending to be someone different for a night as well as getting to go out and see what everyone else dressed up as.

I don’t think people tend to think of boys as being the play dress up types but my boys all love costumes.  But my boys have all loved costumes, of course, only the manly ones.  They often decide what they want to be for the ‘next’ Halloween before the candle burns out in this years pumpkin. But every year just to be sure they don’t regret their choice because they aren’t fully informed of their options, we take a stroll down the virtual aisles online to check out the latest cool and funny Halloween costumes for the year.

This year I spotted a can of beans costume I really thought the boys should get because they are ALWAYS talking about farts.  But they stuck with their choices: a skeleton, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Trigger Happy the Skylander….well that last one stuck right up until I was ready to order their costumes and thankfully I got sidetracked and didn’t get it done.  That day Bryan came out of school asking if I’d ordered his costume because he’d changed his mind and wanted to be Iron Man just like his best friend.

funny halloween costumes

I really tried to convince all three of them to do a theme this year, maybe even one I could even make myself like this cool Super Mario crew.  But I was out voted, there’d be no singular theme.   I still think they look pretty cool anyway, don’t you?

 

 

Wordless Wednesday, Pool Days 8-14-13 #WW

pool fun summer back to school swimming

With the last days of summer vacation winding down we headed to the pool this past weekend. But it was a little chilly

pool fun summer back to school swimming cool

 

Link Up YOUR Wordless Wednesday post:

Disney On Ice presents 100 Years of Magic #ChiDisneyOnIce

Once again our family is thrilled to be working with Feld Entertainment to share with you their fabulous series of Chicago based shows.  It looks like it will be another great year, starting with Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic.

Disney On Ice presents 100 Years of Magic

United Center:  Sept. 11 – 15, 2013

disney on ice 100 year magic chicago

Join the celebration as more than 60 of Disney’s unforgettable characters from 18 beloved stories come to life in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic! You’ll be captivated by the one and only Mickey Mouse, the irresistible Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, and many Disney Princesses.  Experience a skating spectacular you’ll remember forever as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic!

Save 20% on weekend shows and 40% on weekday shows with code MOM

Check out these highlights!

 

If you’ve never seen Disney on Ice, you’re missing out on a high energy, beautiful show for all ages.  The sights and sounds, and talent, that go into these productions is amazing and I have never met anyone who wasn’t awed by them.  Every production features a great blend of Disney characters so that everyone, boy or girl, young or old, will find one they love and this year is no different with over 65 fabulous characters who will skate into your heart!

Ready to buy your tickets to Disney on Ice at the United Center?

Don’t forget to you promo code MOM for savings!

  Chicago D20 Micky Minnie Ears-page-001

Beach Day Wordless Wednesday 7-10-13 #WW

DSCN0367 DSCN0376 DSCN0377

Link up YOUR Wordless Wednesday post!

Check out the First-Ever Swashbuckler Weekend at Bristol Renaissance Faire, July 13-14

 

Thanks to the Bristol Renaissance Faire for hosting my family as part of media weekend!DSCN0401

The Bristol Renaissance Faire is battening down the hatches for its first-ever Swashbuckler Weekend, July 13-14. Boasting an incomparable booty of music, merriment, and at least a modicum of mayhem, the weekend will also mark the Bristol debut of the Iron Hill Vagabonds, an acoustic music duo that’s been attracting attention on the national Renaissance faire circuit.

            Bristol fans won’t want to miss the season’s only appearances of Doktor Kaboom, with his side-splittingly funny scientific diversions, and folk-madrigal singing sensations DeCantus. Other limited engagement appearances slated for the weekend include the Bristol premiere of the Jamila Lotus Bellydance Carnivale, and the second in a three-weekend-only engagement of Celtic rock phenomenon Tartanic.

            Named “#1 Renaissance Faire in the Country” in 2012, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is located on 30 wooded acres, just west of I-94’s Russell Road exit, near Kenosha, Wis. Open rain or shine, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday through Sep. 2, and on Labor Day Monday, Sep. 3, tickets are $19.95 for adults and $9.50 for children, ages 5 to 12. For additional information, visit renfair.com or call (847) 395-7773.

DSCN0390

My family and I attended opening weekend and had a fabulous time.  It was a warm and humid day so we were sweaty but thankfully we were filled in on wht appears to be a lil known secret of the Faire, the Friends of the Faire Garden where members have access to unlimited water and Gatorade, shady areas to sit and private bathrooms.  Membership can be purchased via a daily pass ($5 for anyone over 12, free for kids under) or a season pass (sorry I didn’t get the price).  This was a huge savings for us on water and we were able to enjoy the faire longer knowing we wouldn’t wind up dehydrated.

If you’re on a budget, you can also pack a lunch and return to your car as re-entry is easy with a hand stamp.  Also discounts can typically be found online.  Friends enjoyed the current discount by purchasing tickets from Walgreens.

DSCN0400

  Overall the Faire is a full sensory experience, with characters of the time at every turn, stores selling costumes, swords, candies and so many beautiful items with a renaissance feel.  There are rides and tons of shows going on constantly so it’s perfect for families or for date night!

But by far my boys favorite thing are the knights you will find in the jousting arena.  If you’ve visited before, you might be delighted (as I was) to find that the joust will surprise and entertain you all over again!DSCN0422 DSCN0438

The Bristol Renaissance Faire is battening down the hatches for its first-ever Swashbuckler Weekend, July 13-14. Boasting an incomparable booty of music, merriment, and at least a modicum of mayhem, the weekend will also mark the Bristol debut of the Iron Hill Vagabonds, an acoustic music duo that’s been attracting attention on the national Renaissance faire circuit.

            Bristol fans won’t want to miss the season’s only appearances of Doktor Kaboom, with his side-splittingly funny scientific diversions, and folk-madrigal singing sensations DeCantus. Other limited engagement appearances slated for the weekend include the Bristol premiere of the Jamila Lotus Bellydance Carnivale, and the second in a three-weekend-only engagement of Celtic rock phenomenon Tartanic.

            Named “#1 Renaissance Faire in the Country” in 2012, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is located on 30 wooded acres, just west of I-94’s Russell Road exit, near Kenosha, Wis. Open rain or shine, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday through Sep. 2, and on Labor Day Monday, Sep. 3, tickets are $19.95 for adults and $9.50 for children, ages 5 to 12. For additional information, visit renfair.com or call (847) 395-7773.

Chuck E’s Say Cheese! App Makes Chuck E Cheese’s More Fun For Mom

chuck e cheese say cheese app iphone android photography fun

We recently visited Chuck E Cheese as reward for Bryan.  Now this is admittedly usually one of my least favorite places to go simply because I am usually appalled by the behavior of other kids and the sheer volume of the place.  However, this trip was actually a really nice one.  I credit two reasons, one is was the middle of a weekday so it was not at all busy.  The chaos was at a minimum so my stress level stayed low.  And also, they have a fun new app to play with.

Now, there’s no point in loading it before you go. It’s fairly large, storage wise, and you can’t do anything with it unless you are AT Chuck E Cheese’s.  It only take a couple minutes to load so you could start the install before you leave the house and it’ll be ready by the time you get there.

Once it’s loaded, just open the app and look for the “Say Cheese” signs posted through out the place.  You’ll find them on the walls, tables and even games.  In case you’re like me and don’t always read directions, you can use the help feature anytime.  But for me I just needed to read that if Chuck E didn’t pop out move the camera in and out and tap on the screen to focus.  After that we had it down and had lots of fun…that didn’t cost a single token…playing with it.

 

IMG_201306246972a450-c1a1-4298-ae3e-99ce5278fde2

Just Chuck E

Here are some of the photos we took with Chuck E’s Say Cheese! app:
IMG_201306243093bde0-c418-4a71-ba3c-f9a3e0b2149e IMG_20130624711f8a00-457f-479e-9f0b-b320f8d40799 IMG_2013062452b243b5-5849-4d47-a202-f63d64e4d01d IMG_2013062442ff8df2-3c97-4bde-ab85-b34e1133ba38 IMG_201306246bfe0053-b8ba-4098-b613-5f82691e43a0 IMG_20130624c776cd95-ea0b-42e6-a0da-a0b4b93ccaf8 IMG_20130624ad7a662e-fda5-4cf3-84fb-9b37b50051dd IMG_20130624a4aa22d0-f3a3-407f-a01a-1f8fd8437a5e

 

Find Chuck E’s Say Cheese app at iTunes or Google Play Store.

chuck e cheese say cheese app iphone android photography fun icon

Have you tried Chuck E’s Say Cheese app?

I have not been compensated for this post.

Carnival Fun, Wordless Wednesday 6/19/13 #WW

The boys and I spent four hours at a local carnival with some friends enjoying unlimited rides!  We definitely got our money’s worth as it was a chilly damp day, not many other people were out so they could just stay on the rides if they wanted to go again!  Here’s a few of them they enjoyed!

carnival fun friends summer fair rides amusement local 3

carnival fun friends summer fair rides amusement local 1

carnival fun friends summer fair rides amusement local 2carnival fun friends summer fair rides amusement local 4

 

Link Up YOUR Wordless Wednesday post!