The Juggling Hoffmans

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Archive for the tag “family”

The Almost Perfect Birthday Party Giveaway

birthday party ideasSnag a copy of The Almost Perfect Birthday Party: A sanity-preserving guide to planning a party your child will love when you enter the Goodreads giveaway going on now through Monday, Feb 3rd.

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Costume Changes

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Over our 20 years performing, we have had a number of costume changes. While many are variations on a theme, there have been a few pieces that have been sprinkled in along the way. In all but the first year or two, a couple of accessories have remained constant: our Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star high tops and our black derbies. We are so attached to both, we incorporated them into our logo.

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Our Converses have gotten more comments from more people through our career than any other thing we’ve worn. They weren’t as popular as they are today when we first started wearing them. Adults remark that they wore those when they were teenagers and kids pull up their pant legs to reveal the common footwear bond between us.

Derby hat children's parties

Our black derbies were at first a fashion statement, but have turned into an important part of our identity as well as our favorite, most portable juggling props. We started with cheap ones from Kmart and now sport 5 triple thickness, not to mention heavy, made-for-juggling derbies.

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After a year of wearing grown up clothes, like the vests, we switched to a more clown-like costume. I wore overalls while Michael wore knickers, suspenders, and a bow tie. Michael managed to trash his costumes at a twice the rate I did which forced me to spend more time doing one of my least favorite jobs – sewing.

children's shows

I have to say that my favorite material was the first one. I really like the colors. It also signified a time when we got serious about making juggling our career. (The irony is not lost on me that we got more serious as our costumes got less so.) But, it was also the costume that I wore when I was pregnant with both of my children. Fortunately, it was big enough for a 7 month pregnant body. And very fortunately, there are no pictures available to prove it.

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To break things up, we occasionally wore these “old man” pants with suspenders. We found these size 44-short matching gems at Goodwill and just had to get them.

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Michael wore a shirt and tie when he juggled at more “grown up” events like at gala fundraisers or behind the bar at Café Scalessa.

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That brings us to our current costume. We shed our clown-like costumes for a little more sophisticated fun look. I fell in love with the material then promptly turned over the sewing duties to a professional. I can see being in these costumes for a while.

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I hope you enjoyed the journey through our costume history. Which one is your favorite?

Planes & Automobiles; Travel with Kids

Got any great trips planned for the kids this summer? Traveling with kids can be tricky no matter what form of transportation you use.Of course you can do all of the careful planning that you want but you also have to be prepared to wing it and improvise in the event that something goes wrong. I mean, I am sure that most of you reading this can remember a time from your own childhood where your parents had to pull over on the side of the road on a car trip to let you use nature as your bathroom. The best tip about traveling with children is not just to be prepared, but more importantly to be flexible. Traveling can be stressful, especially when kids are involved but ultimately it’s supposed to be FUN! So here are a few tips on traveling with children coming from the experience of growing up with many younger cousins and traveling far and short distances with them using a variety of transportation. Another great blog to reference for more tips and ideas is from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

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Travel by Car

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  • Make sure you know how to get to your destination. If you have a GPS system that you rely on, make sure you bring a map or printed out directions for backup in case the system malfunctions.
  • Bring lots of snacks. Everyone gets a bit hungry during car rides, so make sure you pack a variety of drinks and snacks for the road. Bring a small cooler to keep drinks cold and to store snacks like string cheese or yogurt.
  • Entertainment. If you are lucky enough to have a car with a DVD or VHS player make sure you stock up on a variety of movies to watch. This is especially true if you have multiple kids traveling with you because they will inevitably disagree over what to watch so having a variety gives them more options to agree on. If you do not have a car with a DVD or VHS player, make sure to bring other forms of entertainment for your young travelers such as coloring books, puzzle books, books to read, etch-a-sketch, handheld video game, etc. Also bring an assortment of music to play as well. You cannot always rely on finding a radio station that suits your taste will traveling.
  • Plan to utilize many rest stops. Traveling in the car can feel pretty cramped after a while. Make sure you stop frequently enough at rest stops for bathroom breaks and to be able to stretch everyone’s legs.
  • If you are traveling with multiple children, be prepared for arguments. Make sure you have a course of action ready in case you need to settle a dispute from the front seat.

Travel By Plane

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  • For a more detailed list of tips and ideas for plane travel with children check out The Delicious Baby
  • This is a good idea to do anytime you fly but especially when you’ve got kids in tow. Utilize most airports online check in. This saves you time waiting in long lines when you first arrive at the airport. Make sure you print out your boarding passes
  • Getting to the airport is a struggle for most people. Instead of spending a fortune on airport parking for the duration of your trip, find a family member or good friend to drop you and your family off at the airport. It will be much less stressful than trying to find long term airport parking and having to pay the heavy fees.
  • This seems like a no-brainer, but make sure you pack accordingly for each kid. Do you have a little girl who refuses to sleep without a certain doll? You better make sure you bring it!
  • Pack snacks! Make sure you pay attention to the rules of airports though. Most often you cannot bring things like fruit or liquids over 3 ounces. You will definitely want to pack enough snacks for the flight for kids though. You never know what you will get served for those in flight meals and you certainly cannot guarantee that your kids will even eat it. So make sure you bring enough food to hold them over for the duration of the flight.
  • Stay calm. Traveling with kids is incredibly stressful, but the more you keep your cool the more relaxed your kids will be. Don’t sweat the small stuff and try to make plane travel as painless as possible.
  • Make sure you explain to your children about how airport security works. Sometimes walking through the big detectors can be frightening especially for little ones. Make sure they are aware of what to expect and that it is done to make sure they are safe.
  • Like the car rides, make sure you bring entertainment! Air travel involves a LOT of downtime and waiting so for the sake of your own sanity you will want to make sure you have plenty of activities for your kids or else they will be using all of their energy to climb all over you!
  • Take-off can be frightening for new air travelers. Explain what is going to happen before your flight takes off so your children are prepared for it. For young children is is a good idea to have them suck on a pacifier to help the discomfort of ear pressure from take off. Gum works too for kids old enough to chew it.
  • Before the landing process begins make sure you explain what is going to happen to your kids. Landing, like take off can be a frightening experience especially if this is their first time.

Above all, have fun!

This post has been brought to you by The Juggling Hoffmans. For the perfect entertainment for your next party or event check out our website at www.jugglinghoffmans.com for more information.

Fun With Volcanoes

I’m seeing a trend over the past few weeks of rainy Wednesdays here in Delaware. It always inspires me to write about indoor activities. Now in previous posts we’ve covered great family movies, fun games, and other miscellaneous rainy day activities. This week things are going to get a little messy because I’m going to tell you how to make a paper mache volcano! These are so easy to make  and always a crowd pleaser among the little ones. So here is what you will need:

Supply List:

  • A big table (a kitchen table works great) covered with a disposable table cloth or trash bags (for easy clean up)
  • An empty, cleaned out glass or plastic bottle
  • Cardboard
  • A plastic food tray
  • Duct Tape
  • Flour, water and a bowl and spoon for mixing.
  • newspaper
  • paint + paintbrushes
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Red food dye

For a more explosive (and messy) experiment also try:

  • Diet coke
  • Mint Mentos
  • Red food dye
  • Towels for cleanup!

Directions:

  • Cover the table with the disposable plastic table cloth or trash bags. It’s also a good idea to line the table with an old towel or newspapers too to help soak up the mess after the eruption.
  • Tape the bottle to a plastic food tray. This will be the base. Make sure the bottle is securely taped to the base. This tray will also help keep things not too messy.
  • To make the shape of the volcano, crumple up newspaper and tape it around the bottle and to the base.
  • To make the paper mache batter, mix flour and water together until the consistency is similar to that of pancake batter.
  • Cut or rip strips of newspaper roughly one inch thick. Make sure you have plenty of strips so you can add multiple layers to your volcano.
  • Dip the paper strips into the batter. Make sure they get completely wet. Run the paper through your fingers to get off any excess batter.
  • Layer the strips around the volcano form. Make sure you do not cover the opening of the volcano and also that you cover the entire base thoroughly.
  • Wait for the paper mache to completely dry. This should take an hour or more but you can speed up the process a bit with a hair dryer.
  • Once the paper mache is dry it’s time to get painting! You can decorate your volcano in anyway you want, be creative, be unique!
  • After the paint drys it’s time for the eruption. Pour baking soda into the opening of the bottle in your volcano.
  • Mix vinegar with red food dye and when you are ready, quickly pour it in and watch the reaction create a volcanic eruption!
  • You can repeat the last two steps multiple times. Just keep adding more baking soda and vinegar.

For more explosive and messy results try (this is better if done outside):

  • Instead of using baking soda and vinegar, mix some red food dye with diet coke and pour that into the opening of the bottle in the volcano.
  • When your ready, very quickly drop a few mint Mentos into the opening, stand back and watch this fizzy, fast eruption!

Hope you all learned a little something and get the chance to try out this fun and educational craft.

This post was brought to you by The Juggling Hoffmans. Check out our website at www.jugglinghoffmans.com for the perfect entertainment for your next event.

Night at the Movies

So it’s another rainy day here in Northern Delaware and what does that make me want to do? Watch movies of course! Sometimes it can be really great to just “veg out” and watch movies all day to relax and unwind from the stresses of everyday life. It’s fun to just pop in your favorite movie, snuggle up on the couch with blankets and pillows and share a bowl of popcorn with some friends and family. It’s a really great way to spend a rainy day like today. So silence your cell phone, grab some snacks and enjoy some family togetherness. Here are my Top 10 Family Movie suggestions. These are all movies that both kids and adults can enjoy over and over again, and some of my person favorites! Do you have some more great suggestions? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

The Goonies

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The Little Rascals

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The Sandlot

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Howl’s Moving Castle

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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

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The Wizard of Oz

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Anything by Disney/Pixar

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Some suggestions include: The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Up!, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, and many many more!

Anything by Dreamworks

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Some suggestions include: How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Shrek and more.

Harvey

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Chicken Run

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This is technically also a Dreamworks film, but it’s always been such a favorite in my family I thought it deserved it’s own spot on the list.

If you have any more suggestions for great family movies, we’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment and tell us your favorites!

This post has been brought to you by the Juggling Hoffmans. Check out our website at www.jugglinghoffmans.com for the perfect entertainment at your next party or event.

Painted Faces on Parade

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Anyone who has gone out with little ones probably can remember a time where you were at a fair, or a zoo or some other place or event where there was a face painting booth. From my own experience when I was young, there was no way I was walking past that booth without getting a butterfly or something painted on my face and I had a whole arsenal of reasons why I needed to get it (I probably would have made for a great lawyer with my skills in persuasion!). But why wait until you go a carnival or something for a little face painting fun? You don’t have to be very artistic (although it certainly does help) to face paint. All you really need is some paint made for the face a few brushes, and a little imagination.

Something that I would certainly suggest is investing in an inexpensive face painting kit like this one:

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Face painting kits are perfect because they usually give you at least your primary colors plus black and white (this one happens to also include green). They also generally come with a paint brush and a small face sponge as well as a book with picture ideas and sometimes step-by-step instructions. However, it is not crucial to the face painting process to buy one of these kits, just rather helpful in my opinion. If you have brushes of your own feel free to save some money by following this recipe for home-made face paint with ingredients you can easily find around the house.Before you start painting, make sure the recipients face is clean and dry or else the paint will last as long.

If you aren’t exactly the creative type I certainly suggest looking up easy face painting designs on-line. Many times it is a lot easier to paint a Spiderman face or a pretty flower or whatever is desired if you have a reference picture. Try easy designs like these:

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If you are really adamant about a lack of creative skills there is still another option for you. Stencils! You can either buy stencils are your local craft store or print them out on-line. If you buy them at a craft store they will likely be more durable as they will be made from a soft plastic rather than if you printed them at home you will really only get one use for each stencil.

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Another important thing to keep in mind when face painting is allergies. If you are unsure if someone has an allergy do a small test patch on their hand about an hour or so prior to painting. Most people don’t have any issues but when in doubt it is always a good idea to be safe and check in advance.

A few other tips and advice:

  • Have a towel or a roll of paper towels, you’re going to need it to clean off brushes and wipe off small painting mistakes
  • Have a cup of clean water handy so you can clean your brushes. Make sure you change it out for new water frequently too so it doesn’t get too murky.
  • Consider mixing colors on a paper plate to get more variety in your color pallet
  • Glitter is a fun addition!
  • Make sure the person who is getting their face painted is able to sit still long enough to get the painting completed. All of your hard work would go to waste if you only got through half a butterfly before the child wanted to go play!
  • Make sure you allow enough time for the face paint to dry after you’ve painted it. This means you should explain to the child not to touch his or her face for at least 10 minutes or so.
  • Most importantly, have fun with it! Face painting doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be fun.

This post was brought to you by the Juggling Hoffmans. Check out our website at www.jugglinghoffmans.com for the perfect entertainment for your next party or event!

April Showers Bring May Flowers

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As the saying goes, April showers brings May flowers and since I love colourful May flowers I guess I can tolerate some April showers.  So what do you do when it’s a rainy day and you can’t just send the little ones outside to play? Instead of letting them sit in front of the television, or just lounge around the house all day why don’t you get a little creative and have some indoor fun.

Arts and crafts

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How about some bubble painting? Just mix some food coloring in a few bottles of bubbles, blow them onto the paper and watch them pop with color! Other fun craft ideas include making glow-in-the-dark slime with simple ingredients that can usually found around the home. Go to the link for step-by-step directions from the blog Domestic Charm. You could even make paper plate music shakers! Follow the link for pictures and more detailed instructions. Simply just tape a wooden paint mixing stick (one you can get from a hardware store) on the inside of a paper plate. Then put a handful of dry beans on the plate and tape another paper plate on top of the other one. Make sure it is sealed up tight so you don’t have beans flying everywhere. Next just decorate with your favorite paints, stickers, glitter and more!

Board Games and Puzzles

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Board games such as Candy Land, Hi Ho Cherry-Oh, or Chutes and Ladders are all examples of fun games that can keep kids entertained for a while. Other games to consider are puzzles, Twister, Life, Sorry, Trouble, Operation and more.

Build a Blanket Ford

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There is something about throwing a bunch of blankets over chairs, couches, lamps and more that makes staying inside actually pretty fun. It doesn’t matter how you do it, there is no right or wrong way to build a blanket fort. Just push together some furniture, gather as many sheets and pillows and blankets as you can and have fun!

Get Cookin’

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These rice crispy pops look too easy! Just make a batch of rice crispy treats (recipe located inside of every box of Rice Crispies) and whip out your favorite cookie cutters to cute the treats into fun shapes. Then just stick a lolipop or popsickle stick and dip in chocolate. Make it even more fun by rolling them in M&M’s or crushed Oreo’s, rainbow sprinkles or something else similar.

Have an indoor Scavenger Hunt

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Use this list or come up with your own list and have an indoor scavenger hunt. If you have multiple kids, make it a race to see who can find everything first. Have fun and be creative but make sure to reward your little investigators with some yummy baked goods!

This post is brought to you by the Juggling Hoffmans. Be sure to check out our website at www.jugglinghoffmans.com for the perfect entertainment for your next event!

Goodnight Moon

What is one of the things I miss most about being a kid? Bedtime stories. When I was a kid, I had a whole closet full of books that I would read, read, and read again and ask others to read to me too. It didn’t matter if it was my Mom, my Dad, my grandparents, cousins, or anyone else- if someone could read and it was night time, you can be sure that I had a book picked out and ready to be read to me. The
blog A Mighty Girl offers some great suggested readings geared toward girls with strong female characters. This is a great site to check out if you have a little girl. My post today is going to be on some of the classic children’s books. The books we tend to pick up again and again with a sense of nostalgia and some of my personal old favorites.

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown

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Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling

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Falling Up, and other poetry by Shel Silverstein

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The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein

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Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson

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A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

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Green Eggs and Ham, and other stories by Dr. Seuss

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Holes, by Louis Sachar

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Charlotte’s Webb  by E. B. White

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The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and others by Roald Dahl

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Curious George, byH.A. Rey

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Looking for even more children’s books to read? Check out the Children’s Book Guide for the Top 100 children’s books of all-time.

This post has been brought to you by the Juggling Hoffmans. For the perfect entertainment for your next event check out our website at www.jugglinghoffmans.com.

Picnic in the Park

Spring has sprung! With such beautiful weather, sunny skies and blooming flowers, outside is the best place to be.  What better way to get outside than having a family picnic? Just pack up and head to your local park or even your backyard and plan a day full of family fun. Never actually been on a picnic before? Well keep reading and you’ll learn some tips on how to have a relaxing and memorable day with your family.

First you’re going to have to decide if you want to make your own food, order some food for take-out, or do a little bit of both. It’s a good idea to plan out your course of action a day or so in advance so you can have time to pick up ingredients and make food, or to order ahead so your food is ready when you want to pick it up. Wherever you decide to go for your picnic, make sure you know what amenities the location has to offer. Some parks for example offer picnic areas with tables and even grills, so you will want to plan ahead if you want to grill by bringing coals, matches, and grilling utensils.

Picnics are great fun because you get to spend all day outside in the beautiful spring weather with your family, a friend or even just by yourself. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want with your food and activity choices. Don’t feel like spending too much money? Go a head and pack some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with some fruit (the fruit kabob’s in this post look so easy and delicious)! Want to go all out and try out a bunch of fun new spring recipes? How about trying out this recipe for Napa cabbage salad? Feeling crafty? Why not make your own picnic blanket with this tutorial?

Now picnics of course aren’t just about the yummy food you can bring. Pack a wiffle ball and bat for a fun game of wiffle ball, or baseball and a few gloves for a came of catch. If it is really warm out pack a surprise cooler full of filled water ballons for a water balloon fight! How much fun does that sound?

So pack up a big blanket, fill your cooler, grab your family and head spend some time in this beautiful spring weather we are having! Don’t forget your camera!

 

This post was brought to you by the Juggling Hoffmans. Be sure to check out our website at www.jugglinghoffmans.com for the perfect entertainment for your next event!

 

 

Day Trippin’ Part 2

Hey everyone! This post is an extension of last weeks Day Trippin’ post. With beautiful warm weather coming our way it’s always good to have an arsenal of ideas ready for fun family day trips. Here are some more great family-friendly day trip ideas in the Wilmington, Delaware region but feel free to use these ideas to explore similar areas in your hometown. Reading the post entitled Where is the Camera, by fellow blogger Fly Like A Girl reminded me to tell you all that when you go day trippin’ make sure you don’t forget your camera!

Brandywine Zoo

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Close to home? Check! Affordable? Check! The Brandywine Zoo is a small 12-acre zoo located right off of the Brandywine river in Wilmington, Delaware. There you can find otters, llamas, monkeys and more!

Winterthur Museum

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Check out the historical Winterthur Museum for a family day together that is rich in local history. Kids will love visiting the magical Enchanted Woods while adults will enjoy learning the history of this old DuPont home.

Delaware Museum of Natural History

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Do your kids LOVE dinosaurs and other animals? If so, the Delaware Museum of Natural History is a great place to take them! This museum is full of exhibits that the whole family can explore.

Herr’s Snack Factory Tours

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Everyone loves a good potato chip right? Well how about taking a trip to the Herr’s Snack Factory to find out how they are made? Tours are offered throughout the day so you can get an up-close view of how these crunchy snack foods are made.

Dutch Wonderland

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A kingdom for kids! Right in the heart of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and about an hour outside of Wilmington, Delaware, Dutch Wonderland is a theme park made just for kids! You can spend most of the day having fun at the park and then go across the street for some shopping at the Lancaster Outlets. What’s more fun than shopping and an amusement park all in one day?

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

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Come explore the work of award-winning mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar located on Philadelphia’s exciting and eclectic South Street. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a permanent art exhibit featuring colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and other shimmering knickknacks that will surely mesmerize kids and adults alike.

Milburn Orchards

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Come support local businesses and stop by this family owned orchard for a day of fun in any season of the year. Milburn Orchards offers things hayrides, a farm market and bake shop and you-pick fruit adventures where you can pick your own berries and apples! Yum!

Delaware State Parks

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What more perfect way to enjoy the warm spring weather than to spend it outside in a state park? All of the Delaware State Parks are different and have their own array of activities available. Some of the park features include boating rentals, camping, playgrounds, hiking trails and more. Check out your local state park to see what it has to offer.

This post is brought to you by the Juggling Hoffmans. Be sure to check out our website at www.jugglinghoffmans.com for the perfect entertainment for your next event! We specialize in juggling, balloon twisting, face painting and more!

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