Category Archives: Fun

Weekend Adventures For The Family

ice cream trainIt’s looking like a wet weekend here in Connecticut.  That means you’ll be stuck in the house with the children.  Well there are plenty of things you can do to keep them and yourself entertained this weekend and not be stuck in the house.  Check out the Ice Cream Train located in Newport, RI. The Ice Cream Train is a unique parlor car that offers on-site soft serve ice
cream sundaes sprinkled with your favorite toppings and a soft drink. Sure to be a hit for the whole family. Ticket prices are $19.95 for adults and children are $14.95 each.

Another fun option is to head to the movie theater.  Currently playing is How To Train Your Dragon 2 and RIO 2.  Both great movies sure to keep the kids entertained for a few hours.

Looking for a evening out try out Quassy Amusement & Waterpark, located in Middlebury, CT. Check them out on a Saturday evening and get a great deal at on $35 which includes:  Parking, Unlimited Rides & Splash Away Bay. Valid for up to 10 people in 1 car safely seat belted.  That’s not only a fun evening but affordable.

When’s the last time you went bowling?  If it’s been a while consider a day out at one of your local bowling alley’s.  It a fun and inexpensive way to spend a day with the family.

Another great  activity for the whole family is the zoo in Bridgeport, CT. Beardsley Zoo has more than 300 animals representing North and South american species. Check out the South American rain forest with free-flight aviary, then head to their farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and more.  A great day for the whole family.  Ticket prices are: $14.00 for adults and $10.00 for children 3-11, under 3 years of age is free.

So don’t let the rain get you down this weekend.  Check out one of these great family fun activities.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job








Amazing Things You Can Use Google For

google tricks and tipsGoogle for most of us is very important tool in our daily lives.  We use Google for everything it seems.  Well guess what there are even more amazing things you can do with Google that I’m sure many of you didn’t know you could do.  Be sure to give them a try for yourself and see.

Set a timer: You can use Google as a timer by entering the time in the search bar. Enter: set timer for 30 minutes

Tip Calculator: Just ask Google to calculate the tip on dinner…and it will do it. Enter: tip calculator

Movie Releases: Yes you can look up a movie release date, just ask Google. Enter: star wars release date

TV Guide:  Well not exactly but on the same idea.  You can use Google like a TV Guide and look up schedules of all your favorite shows.

Healthy Eating:  Well if you are looking to eat healthier you can pull up information of the food items you are looking to eat to see which the healthier choice is.  Enter: pizza vs. cupcake

Look up songs:  Yes you can look up songs from your favorite artist.

Books:  Looking for a special title or author, just enter their name and you’ll find all their books. Enter: books by Stephen King

Check Your Flight:  Need to know when your flight is leaving or delayed?  Just type in: Flight (your #) and the airline.  You’ll get all the information you need

Sunrise/Sunset:  Want to know when the exact time is for sunrise or sunset in your area?  Just ask Google.  Enter: sunrise Connecticut

Google Retro:  this one is just fun.  Type in Google 1998 to get a retro version of the search engine

Barrel Roll:  another fun one…and we all can use a little entertainment during the day.  Type in do a barrel roll and watch what happens to the screen.

These are some pretty cool tips and tricks you can use with Google.  Hope you enjoyed.  Have a great weekend.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance





Local Gifts to Say Thanks Dad

father's dayFather’s Day is Sunday and we want to make sure not to forget our dad’s.  They have been such an important part of our lives.  From coaching our teams, to teaching us how to fish and how to change a tire, dad seems to know all the solutions.  So it’s important to thank dad for all he has done for us over the years.

Consider these local gift options this year.  Take dad out for a nice lunch or dinner at Basil’s Restaurant, then take him out for a drink after at the new Stafford Tavern.  Dad a coffee drinker?  Swing on over to Middle Ground Café and grab a gift certificate, he’ll be sure to enjoy that gift. What dad doesn’t like lawn equipment? Consider heading over to Festi’s Power Equipment & Oil for a new mower or weed trimmer.  You know this will make dad’s day for sure.

Is dad a race fan?  Well we have that solution right here in town at Stafford Motor Speedway.  Stop in and grab dad a pair of tickets for the next race.  He’ll be sure to enjoy a night of racing.

Now if your dad isn’t big on gifts, consider some other options.  Spend a nice day out with dad, whether you go fishing, take a nice hike, or ride together.  Take the time to reconnect with dad and really enjoy some quality time together.

Let’s not forget the dad’s that can’t be home for Father’s Day, the dads who are serving our country.  We thank you for your service and wish you a very happy father’s day as well.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.  Thanks for also being there for us and showing us the way.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Summer Vacation Day Trips for the Whole Family

beardsley zoo

courtesy of beardsley zoo

Summer vacation is almost upon us.  Every summer parents are looking for activities to keep their children busy during school vacation.  Many of us are finding it more difficult to plan those week long vacations due to gas prices and the cost of vacations in general.  So here are some great day trips you can take with your family right here in Connecticut.

Maritime Aquarium: The exhibits and big tanks at the Maritime Aquarium in South Norwalk house sharks, sea turtles, harbor seals, river otters and jellyfish. There’s a shark and ray touch tank and even a family of lovable meerkats.

Beardsley Zoo: Located in Bridgeport you’ll find hundreds of animals at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Among them are Siberian tigers, bison, monkeys, wolves, alligators, bears and snakes – lots of snakes. There’s a walk-through aviary, a New England farmyard and a rainforest building, among other features.

Stamford Museum and Nature Center:  With 118 acres of trails you’ll see wood ducks, painted turtles and frogs. Then check out Heckscher Farm, a traditional New England farm where kids can watch workers milk goats and shear sheep.

PEZ Visitors Center:  Fun for all ages.  Located in Orange you and your children will get true insight into the history of this venerable candy treat. Over 4,000 square feet devoted to all things PEZ.

Rocky Neck State Park:  The whole family will enjoy a day here.  Located on Long Island Sound in Niantic, a 710-acre park offers swimming, fishing, hiking, birding and views of tidal marshes.

Children in the mood to see dinosaurs?  Then head to the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven.  Inside the Great Hall, you’ll see a juvenile Apatosaurus skeleton, a mesmerizing 110-foot-long mural, “The Age of Reptiles,” painted by Rudolph Zallinger, and a fossil of the largest know turtle species, Archelon.

These are just a few ideas to help you and your children enjoy the summer vacation.  Also remember to be safe and have fun while taking your day trips.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


Backyard Safety Tips

backyard safetyMany of us are turning to our backyards as a “staycation” versus traveling too far.  We’ve turned our backyard’s into an oasis that can be a lot of fun for the whole family. You also want to make sure that the backyard stays fun and free of danger.  Here are some tips to keep that backyard safe.


The Pool

Many of us have pools in our backyards. It is a great way to get some relief from the hot sunny weather.  But as you know there are many safety hazards of owning a pool. Consider these tips to keep your pool safe for your family and friends:

  • Install self-closing and self-latching gates
  • Equip your door or gate with an alarm
  • Make sure no one swims alone
  • Have life-saving equipment nearby

The Grill

One of my favorites for sure is the grill and for many theirs too.  As soon as the weather breaks many of us are out on our decks or in our backyards firing up that grill.  But there are safety hazardous with grilling as well.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills have been involved in an average of 7,100 homes fires per year since 2006.  Here are a few precautions you can take to keep safe while grilling:

  • Keep grills on level surface and away from your home or garage
  • Wear a heavy apron and use long-armed oven mitts
  • Remember that grills remain hot long after you are done cooking

Fire Pits

We all enjoy a warm summer evening around a campfire roasting a few marshmallows.  But you need to be cautious when having a campfire in your backyard.

  • Place the fire pit in a safe spot away from your home
  • Always make sure there are adults to supervise the campfire
  • Never leave a campfire unattended
  • Use sand to fully extinguish the fire

Play Sets

Play sets are enjoyed by children of all ages, but you need to make sure that they are safe as well.  Worn and weathered wood can be a danger to children.

  • Always supervise children
  • Do a regular check on the safety of the play set including checking for loose or rusty bolts or rotting wood
  • Make sure play sets are secured on a level ground and use soft materials to help cushion falls and prevent injuries

These are just a few safety tips that can help keep your back yard safe and still be a great retreat for the whole family to have fun.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job



Inexpensive and Fun Ideas for Your Backyard

Now that May is here, we all have the itch to get some gardening and yard cleaning underway.  Looking for something different to add a little color or fun to your backyard? We came across these inexpensive and fun ideas for your backyard.

key wind chime

Key wind chime:  something you can make with the kids and hang in your backyard for everyone to enjoy. Want to make your own?  Check out the instructions here.  Everyone will have fun making this one.

Want to add a touch of color to your backyard when entertaining?  Consider use multiple colors of spray paint for old metal chairs.

We now the mosquitos and other insects can be a real pain when you’re in the yard.  Consider trying this idea we found from  for tiki torches you can make yourself.

Also another great trick to keep mosquitoes out of your backyard is by planting lemongrass.

Looking to add some light to your backyard in the evening, but not too much?  Consider buying glow in the dark paint and painting some of your garden planters.

We all love having a good campfire on spring and summer evenings.  This one can really liven up your campfire for sure.  Add Rainbow Fire Crystals to your next campfire. You can find these on

rainbow fire crystals

Have some trees that came down over the winter?  Consider repurposing them.  You can use them to make an outdoor table or planter boxes.

diy stepping stones

Make stepping stones: another fun family activity.  The kids will have a blast making these.  Full directions here.




We hope these fun ideas will get you thinking while you are working out in your backyard.  There are always ways to dress things up and make fun things with the children that are inexpensive.

If you decide to try any of these great ideas, let us know.  Post a picture of your backyard project on our Facebook Page.  We’d love to see it.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Dont’ Miss the Full Lunar Eclipse

full lunar eclipse

photo credit Earthsky

April 14- 15th is the start to the series of four lunar eclipse’s.  According to Earthsky , “The April 2014 full moon will pass directly through Earth’s dark (umbral) shadow, to stage a total eclipse of the moon for nearly 1 and 1/3 hours, during the nighttime hours on April 14 or 15 (depending upon time zone). A partial umbral eclipse precedes totality by over an hour, and follows totality by over an hour, so the moon takes a little more than 3 and ½ hours to completely sweep through the Earth’s dark shadow. On eclipse night, the brilliant “star” near the April full moon is no star at all but the red planet Mars. They’ll be within each others vicinity all night long.”

The total eclipse on Tuesday is the start to four eclipse’s that will take place over 2014-2015. There will be another total eclipse this year on October 8, and also on April 4 and September 28 of 2015.

As the lunar eclipse takes place the moon will turn a burnt reddish color which is being called the “Blood Moon”

According to NASA, people in North and South America will be able to see the entire eclipse, while sky watchers in the western Pacific can catch only the last half. The moon will be setting in most of Europe and Africa during the eclipse, so residents there probably won’t see much.

So if you are a sky gazer this is your chance to catch this full lunar eclipse, but you’ll have to stay up late Monday night into Tuesday morning to catch this. NASA says around 2 am the heavenly curtain rises and the moon will start to slide into Earth’s shadow.

Hoping everyone has the chance to get this beautiful sight in the skies.  If you are able to get pictures, please feel free to share them with us.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job.