Sunday, December 22, 2013

Win Big with Kidoodle.TV

I participated in a Blog Blast program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV. I received a promotional item and a free trial as a thank you for participating.

This time of year, things can get busy. Really busy.  Sometimes you just need a few kid-free minutes to get things done.  Kidoodle.TV is great for just that.  I love that I can leave my boys with the iPad or the computer for a little bit and know that what they are watching is appropriate for their age, because I selected it myself in the Parent’s Room section of the app.  They love that they can have a little bit of “screen-time,” watching shows like Adventures of Chuck & Friends or Inspector Gadget without me hovering over them. Win-win.

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  • Built for kids, not just aimed at them, Kidoodle.TV is designed specifically for the use and navigation by kids (ages 12 and under), ensuring an age-appropriate viewing experience.
  • Featuring a brightly colored, easy-to-use user interface, customizable Kid Profiles for up to 5 kids, and great entertainment and educational content from a variety of sources, Kidoodle.TV is child oriented and convenient, with no adult content and with robust controls for parents.
  • Parental controls include age category filtering and title selection and de-selection, which allows parents to tailor available content to each child’s needs.
  • Once logged into Kidoodle.TV, parents simply select a Kid Profile and hand off the navigation to the child.
  • Kidoodle.TV features content appropriate for its audience and is free of advertising within the service.
  • Kidoodle.TV offers the freedom and diversity of Internet access but with parameters built in to assist with child safety.

 

Plus, Kidoodle.TV is FREE for the month of December! AND if you try Kidoodle.TV for FREE and enter by December 31, 2013 you could win 1 of 10 tablets or 1 of 10 Kidoodle.TV year-long subscriptions!

To enter the giveaway, go to Kidoodle.TV to sign up for a free trial. Follow the on-screen directions and submit!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

LEGO® KidsFest New England 2013–recap #legokidsfest

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to this event, all opinions are my own.

I can’t think of anything better to do on a rainy Friday, then getting picked up early from school and going to explore over 3 acres of LEGO® family fun..  You should have seen the look on my kindergartener’s face when he walked into the school office where my 2-year-old and I were waiting to whisk him away to LEGO KidsFest.

We had “VIK” (very important kid) tickets so we got to go in an hour early and check out a workshop with a LEGO Master Builder.  We learned about Sideways Building, Balance, Locking and more.  Then, we got to try our hand at building either a spaceship or a robot for one of the Master Builders to check out.

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After we put our LEGO bricks away, we headed on over to race some LEGO TECHNIC 4x4 Crawlers, this area was a big hit!

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Behind the LEGO TECHNIC area was Creation Nation, a basketball sized map of the United States.  We were invited to create a mosaic tile of anything we wanted to be placed on the map.  My boys worked on a square together and then decided they wanted it placed in New Mexico. Check out how big the map is! I can’t wait to see the finished map, up on the KidsFest website!LEGOusa

Then, it was the moment we had all been waiting for – The BIG Brick Pile!

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We grabbed a sample of juice from Honest Kids, in the monochromatic build area, before heading off into LEGO Model Museum.

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The model museum was great! My kids are big fans of Star Wars and Superheroes so they were able to see many of their favorites!

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The little guy was getting a little tired at this point so we made a quick trip to the LEGO Duplo section, where there were more big LEGO brick piles and a little coloring area sponsored by Scholastic.  Then we hit up the gift shop and headed out!

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We all had such a great time! The remaining sessions of LEGO KidsFest New England are all sold out so keep your eye out for the next time it comes to town.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce

Disclosure: I received complimentary admission as a part of a media preview event. All opinions are my own.

After a fabulous Thanksgiving, followed by a morning ofholiday lights lounging and setting up Christmas decorations, my family and I headed out to Lake Compounce for their Holiday Lights event.  I took my oldest son last year and we had a great time.  There is something magical about being at an amusement park at night with signs of the season all around you.

We arrived around 5:00, just as it was getting dark out and were immediately wowed by the blue tunnel that went to through to the park entrance where there was a light show set to holiday music.  It was cold out, but it’s hard to let that get you down when you are literally walking in a winter wonderland.

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I loved the snowflake lights “falling” on the buildings – can you see them in the background?

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We grabbed a quick bite to eat and took some photos with Santa and with some of the props they had inside. I loved the sleigh, surrounded by Christmas trees. One of the shots I took is going to be on our Christmas card!

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They were anxious to get on some rides, so we headed out into the park. Doesn’t the carousel look beautiful with all the lights? I’m obsessed!

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There were a bunch of rides open for their age group (they are 2 & 5) and they had a blast!

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Before heading home, they got to play along with a children’s musician who had just taken the stage!

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It was such a great night!

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There was so much to do there, we didn’t even get to everything.  Like shopping, letters to Santa, cookie decorating, an ice sculptor and story-time with Mrs. Claus. We’ll just have to go back again next year!

Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce takes place weekends from 11/29 to 12/22  Fri-5-9, Sat & Sun 4-9.

Tickets for adults are just $14.99, kids 10 and under are $10.99 and kids under 3 are free!

Visit the Lake Compunce website to purchase tickets ahead of time and to print out a coupon!

If you are a 2013 or 2014 season ticket holder, admission is free.

Lake Compounce Family Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT 06010

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving ‘13

I love Thanksgiving. It’s just a great day to spend with family.  You don’t have to worry about gifts, you just eat, drink and be merry!

This year we went to my sisters house.  We trade off between my family and my husband’s family every year and then we host everyone at our house for Christmas! It works well and this year was my sister and my brother-in-laws first Thanksgiving in there new house.

We started the morning off early.  My older son and I bundled up and headed into town to run in the Turkey Trot 5K.  It was a cold and windy morning, but he was so excited to run his first 5K! I figured it would take us about 45 minutes to an hour to complete with a 5-year-old and we clocked in at 51:51.  He was so excited to cross the finish line and they announced his name as the youngest finisher!  The race director told me he was probably the youngest finisher in the history of the race and he is making him a special trophy! I think this will definitely become a tradition, it was an awesome way to kick-off the day.

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After a quick trip back home to clean up and change, we were on the road to my sister’s house.  My husband decided to take back roads there and they ended up being roads that my dad would take when I went to work with him! The bit of nostalgia and pretty scenery made the hour-ish ride very enjoyable.

We munched on some light snacks and sipped some mimosas while my mom a.k.a “Gaga” finished up making our feast.

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Then, the table was set and dinner was served – yum!

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I had a little bit of everything, can you tell that I like the sides more than the turkey? And I followed it up with some awesome spinach salad.

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…and onto dessert! My Uncle always brings a banana cream pie and eclairs from Luigi’s in Bridgeport. They are my favorites! I also had a little chocolate bottle filled with cognac and some much needed coffee to counteract all the running and eating.

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We weren’t done yet, though! We took a quick hike after dessert and then had some Viking Blod Mead by the fire, while the boys had some bowls of whipped cream (hey, it’s a holiday!)

It was a wonderfully exhausting day and I can’t wait to get together with everyone on Christmas!

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Please let the turkey fall, please let the turkey fall….

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Date in N.Y.C.

For our anniversary back in October, my husband got us tickets to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  It was one of our first big dates we went on when we first started dating so it always been kinda special to me.grandcentral

We were kind of bummed that morning when we woke up and it was raining.  Who wants to walk around the city in the rain? But, we hopped on the train and made our way in and about half way there the skies cleared up and the sun came out! We got to Grand Central with a few hours to spare and I even took a picture of the ceiling for the first time.  I’ve only been about 25 times!   It came out pretty bad, haha. I’m sure I’ll be back and maybe I will remember a real camera and not have to rely on my cell phone!

We headed out to Rockefeller Center to walk around before the show. The tree is still covered up but there are plenty of Holiday decorations lining the streets and in the store windows.  There really is no place like New York City at Christmas time.

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We took the glass elevator down to the Rock Center Café for a quick coffee date and to watch the ice skaters. We ended up getting an odd variety of refreshments, coffee, calamari and sangria. Whatever, it worked and it was all delicious! Especially the sangria that tasted like it was made with mulled wine spices. Although I wish the “seasonal fruits” were more than just the bar’s drink garnishes.rockcentercafe

We also checked out the LEGO® store and checked out all the awesome-ness and got super psyched for the upcoming LEGO KidsFest! I loved all the Star Wars LEGO displays and that LEGO sign is made completely out of mini-figures – how awesome!

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The Christmas Spectacular was – spectacular! I’m always in awe of how coordinated and in sync the Rockettes are. Coordination is something I greatly lack.  I love how they incorporate a different story line with their classic dances (the toy soldiers is my favorite!) and they also include the story of Christmas with the living Nativity. The 3-D is awesome too!

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Afterwards, we took a short walk to McGee’s Pub.  One of our favorite shows to watch together is How I Met Your Mother and their favorite hangout on the show, McLaren’s, was inspired by McGee’s Pub.  I really didn’t have high hopes for the food, but I was going more for the experience.  I grabbed a Harp and the McGee’s burger which was topped with sautéed onions, bacon, cheddar cheese and St Louis BBQ sauce.  It was actually really good and the perfect thing after a day spent walking around the city! I would definitely go back again.  It had a fun atmosphere, good food, great prices and a sweet selection of Irish beers. Sláinte!

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It was the perfect day spent with my honey <3. I can’t wait until our boys are old enough to actually enjoy New York City at Christmas time!

LEGO KidsFest Ticket Giveaway–Winner!

LKFminifig_3160_for_websiteThank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway to win a pair of tickets to LEGO® KIDSFEST! I left it up to good old random.org to pick the winner and it decided that comment #2 from Wendy would be the winner. So, congrats Wendy!!

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Sorry if you didn’t win! There is still time to purchase tickets. Act quickly though! Both Saturday sessions are completely sold out and there is limited availability for the a.m. Sunday session.

NOTE: No tickets are available at the door for any session listed as "Sold Out."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Parallel Post of Trumbull is Celebrating Its First Year!

parallel postAbout a year ago, a great farm-to-table restaurant opened right down the road from me at the Trumbull Marriot, 180 Hawley Lane, Trumbull, CT.  Parallel Post, features modern American cuisine with Northeastern regional flair.  I have been dying to try this place out since it opened but, it’s not always easy to get out of the house when you have two little boys! So, I was so excited to attend a Happy Hour there last week with menu samplings and an amazing cocktail made by their mixologist, Bootleg Greg.

The food and the atmosphere were both outstanding.  I felt like I was somewhere along Connecticut’s Gold Coast or in the heart of Manhattan.  I didn’t feel like I drove 5 minutes away from my little area of suburbia.

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We started with a specially mixed “BlogThat Libation” made by Bootleg Greg.  It was a sweet and savory blend of strawberry, rosemary and gin; cleverly presented in cork-top bottles with a picture of Connecticut Blogger’s Wendy Limauge on the label!

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Next up were House-made Chips served with Feta-Dill Dip.  Both were amazing and I could probably put the Feta-Dill Dip on pretty much everything.  In fact I had some with the wings that came out next!

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The wings were great, they were super flavorful without being overly saucy and they were the perfect amount of crispy.  The blue cheese dressing was to-die-for.  It had to have been made in house.  So creamy and… just perfect. Oh my, I think I just started tearing up a bit thinking about it!

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The Smoked Swordfish Dip on Grilled Bread was next.  The bread was also perfectly crispy and the dip was a perfect blend of smoky, citrusy and spicy.  It seemed like all the flavors hit you at a different time, making a unique and satisfying culinary delight!

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And then there was Parsnip Soup.  I wish I had some right now, it would be perfect on this cold New England night.  So creamy and delicious and slightly nostalgic of my mom’s “Bugs Bunny Soup” aka Cream of Carrot.  Man, I really wish I had some now!

Sadly, I had to leave after the soup.  I heard there was pie and there was a dinner deal so good that I thought about blowing off my plans a few times, but I will be back!  Parallel Post has two great events coming up, that I would love to partake in.

To celebrate their one year anniversary, Parallel Post will be launching their Lunch Club on Monday, November 18th. The program is complimentary and patrons that sign up will receive a loyalty punch card to earn monthly-alternating benefits.  For every fifth punch, you will receive a different perk such as a complimentary sandwich, appetizer or 10 to 20 percent off lunch.

Then, on Wednesday, November 20th, Parallel Post will have their “Pals of the Post” dinner. A five-course dinner with liquid accompaniments from Two Roads Brewery, Onyx Spirits, Connecticut Distributors and Shearwater Coffee Roasters.

For $65 per person, you will experience a welcome reception featuring spirits and beer, followed by a family-style wine dinner prepared by Chef/Restaurateur, Dean Max James; Executive Chef, Christopher Molyneux; and Chef de Cuisine, Ali Goss.  After dinner, Greg “Bootleg Greg” Genias, will serve a coffee cocktail made with Shearwater Coffee Roasters’ beans to complement the dessert spread presented by Madelyn Rendon.

It sounds like an awesome, delicious, good time! To reserve a seat, please e-mail farmtotrumbull@gmail.com

Happy One Year Anniversary, Parallel Post! Here’s to many, many more!

LEGO® KidsFest New England 2013–Ticket Giveaway!

I am receiving LEGO® KidsFest tickets in exchange for promoting the event. All opinions are my own.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how excited my family and I are about attending LEGO® KidsFest!  Now that the event is less than a month away, I wanted to also give one of my readers a chance to score a pair of tickets!

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I am giving away two tickets to the Friday session, which takes place on December 6th from 4:00 to 8:30 p.m.  You can check out the full schedule of times and buy tickets here. Please keep in mind that they are seeing record high sales this year and the first session on Saturday, December 7th is already at limited availability.  So, if you would really like to attend, it’s a good idea to grab your tickets early!

By the way, how awesome is LEGO Hulk?!

The life-sized LEGO version of the famed green marvel superhero, THE HULK, took 80,000 bricks to build and weighs a mere 400 pounds.

Okay, onto the giveaway!

To Enter (leave a comment for each):

Make sure you leave a comment for each entry! Contest ends on 11/20/2013 at midnight. Good luck!

General Giveaway Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. Ends on 11/20/2013, at midnight EST. The email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner and will never be given out to anyone nor sold. The winners will be randomly chosen and contacted via email. The winners will have 72 hours to respond. Only one winner per household. Please make sure you check your junk mail folder.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#GetItDone with Microsoft 365–and a giveaway!

This is a compensated post on behalf of One2One Network.  All opinions are my own.

GIVEAWAY OVER! Congrats to Wendy, comment #5!

I’ve been trying out Microsoft Office 365 for the past couple of weeks and I absolutely love it! It makes me feel so organized, even though organization isn’t one of my strong suits.

The new Office combines the latest Office applications with offerings like Skype world minutes and online storage with SkyDrive. Use Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs, and 5 mobile devices. Switch between devices and pick up right where you left off.
Microsoft Office 365 has been extremely helpful in my new role as PTSA Secretary.  I am able to take notes during meetings with my tablet and easily transfer them to my computer, the minutes are pretty much done by the end of the meeting!  Also, I am able to easily pull up information for anyone who asks about things that were said at meetings.  I think I may encourage other PTSA members to get Microsoft Office 365 so that we can easily share documents, images and notes!
It has also been great for simplifying my blog-post-writing routine.  I am able to easily transfer notes and pictures to my computer.  It’s great!
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With my son starting elementary school this year, I have found myself wearing many hats. I am always on the go and it’s great that I am able to use Microsoft Office 365 on the go to get work done!
According to a recent study conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Microsoft, more than half of office workers (53%) would be willing to work more hours—and one in five would be willing to take a pay cut—to have more flexibility in where and when they got work done.
My husband is lucky enough to have a flexible work-at-home schedule and he really does work more hours than a typical 9-5 job.  When work is convenient, it’s easier to #GetItDone!
…And now if you show Microsoft how you #GetItDone. You and a friend could win a trip to some of the most happening events anywhere. Get it done alongside the most accomplished athletes, filmmakers and musicians around—on a trip to NYC, a journey to Park City, Utah, or a musical voyage to Austin, Texas. Visit http://bit.ly/GetItDoneContest to share and enter to win:
• A February trip to NYC, America’s most get it done city—with enough cash to buy tickets to the big football showdown, or catch your favorite Broadway show.
• Slap on your skis and head to Utah this January, where you can get it done in between indie flicks in Park City.
• Fly to Austin in March, where you'll enjoy a boot-scootin' week of living history, live music and interactive in the heart of Texas.
You can also win a year subscription to Microsoft 365 right here!

Check out all the great benefits of Microsoft Office 365 here and enter to win below!
  • The latest and most complete set of Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.
  • One license for the entire household to use Office on up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs or Macs, and get Office on Demand from any Internet-connected PC.
  • An additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, nearly three times the amount available with a free SkyDrive account.
  • 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month to call mobile phones, landlines or PCs around the world.
  • Future upgrades, so you always use the latest time-saving technology.
  • Automatic save to SkyDrive, so your documents — and even your personal settings — are always available from virtually anywhere and on your favorite devices.
To enter, leave a comment for each:
Good Luck!
Giveaway ends 11/19/2013 at midnight
General Giveaway Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. Ends on 11/19/2013, at midnight EST. The email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner and will never be given out to anyone nor sold. The winners will be randomly chosen and contacted via email. The winners will have 72 hours to respond. Only one winner per household. Please make sure you check your junk mail folder.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rustic Crust Apple, Brie & Prosciutto Pizza with Caramelized Onions & Pine Nuts

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**This recipe is currently entered in the Rustic Crust #MyOhPie Recipe Contest and I would love your vote! You can vote here every day through November 11th 2013.  Thank you!!**

Ingredients:

1 Rustic Crust Classic Sourdough Pizza Crust

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small Vidalia onion, chopped

¼ tsp. sugar

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and thinly sliced

4 slices prosciutto, chopped

¼ pound brie, rind removed & chopped into ½ inch chunks

1 tbsp. pine nuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450⁰

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes.

Empty the contents of the saucepan onto the Rustic Crust Classic Sourdough Pizza Crust and spread out evenly. Then, spread apples, prosciutto, brie and pine nuts evenly over the top of the crust.

Lower the oven temperature to 425⁰, place pizza directly on the oven rack and bake for 10-12 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

LEGO® KIDSFEST is coming to Hartford! December 6-8

The Big Brick Pile is a popular spot -- but no worries -- there is plenty of brick for everyone.The LEGO® KidsFest National Tour stops at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT, December 6-8, 2013, bringing all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building and experiences together in this three acre activity- and entertainment-packed family event for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests.

We can’t wait, our whole family is LEGO® obsessed! My husband has a huge collection of LEGO bricks from his childhood and now my boys are starting their own collection.  We’ve spent the past week putting together sets that my son got for his 5th birthday and it’s been great.  LEGO is so timeless, people of all ages can enjoy them together!

Check out everything the 2013 LEGO® KIDSFEST has to offer:

• LEGO Model Gallery: dozens of life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks

• LEGO Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from the crew who get paid to play

• Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.

• Race Ramps: build your own custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family

• LEGO Games Arena: roll the dice to play LEGO board games

• Construction Zones: creative free build, play and display areas

• LEGO DUPLO®: younger visitors can explore imagination through building

• LEGO Retail and KidsFest Marketplace: purchase LEGO merchandise and official KidsFest tour goods

• Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment

• Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color to foster group creativity

• Brickscapes: fantastic displays that combine lots of LEGO and DUPLO sets

• And much more, covering over 150,000 square feet of space

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Do you want in on all this awesome-ness? Stay tuned because I will be giving away a pair of tickets to LEGO® KIDSFEST soon!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Free Advance Screening of FREE BIRDS AMC Plainville, CT

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In this hilarious, adventurous buddy comedy for audiences of all ages, directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!), two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history - and get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good.

It hits theatres on November 1st 2013, but if you are in the Plainville, CT area you can grab free passes to an advance screening on October 26th at 10:00 a.m.

Click here to download up to 4 passes:  http://l.gofobo.us/VK3z6UDw

OR visit www.gofobo.com/RSVP and enter code: DGDFGDUQBZ

*Please note: seating will not be guaranteed and is available on a first come, first serve basis so please arrive early!

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The Dove Foundation has awarded Free Birds with a Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for All Ages

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