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Five On Friday {Almost Thanksgiving!}

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Happy Friday!  I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  To say that November has flown by is an understatement!  It has been pretty quiet on the blog this week, as I was helping out at the school book fair every day this week.  Spending most of the day at the book fair, doing laundry, cleaning and errands, and then shuttling the kids to and from their various after school activities has pretty much been my week.  Not really exciting stuff!  This weekend is my husband’s birthday.  We took a cruise last year to celebrate his 40th, but are keeping it low-key this year.  His parents are coming over Sunday to help celebrate.  The kids only have school Monday and Tuesday next week and then we are headed down to Maryland to spend Thanksgiving with my sister and her family.  I have so much to be thankful for and am fortunate to be able to spend the holiday with my family.  I wish you an early Happy Thanksgiving!  May you enjoy a wonderful day with family, friends and good food!  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I have been in a reading funk lately and not been motivated to read.  This week I picked up The Last Mrs Parrish, which I had on hold at the library.  I think I was in the mood for a good suspense book.  Although I haven’t had much time to read this week, when I do get a chance, I’ve been reading this one!

2. Cooking – I no longer post a weekly meal plan on the blog.  Part of the reason is that it gets dark so early.  I’ve been making dinner later and I’m just not able to get decent pictures.  This week’s winning dinners included One Pan Italian Sausage and Farro from Girl Heart Food and Ham and Sweet Potato Hash from the September 2017 issue of Cooking Light.

3. Holiday Shopping –  Tomorrow only, (Saturday, November 18) Target is having a sale with 25% off toys!  Start your holiday shopping now!  I have posted several gift guides recently for tweens and will have a preschool toy guide coming next week!  It’s crazy to think that the December holidays will be here before soon.  I really need to sit and start making my shopping lists!

4. Dinner Date – Saturday night my husband and I went out to dinner with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend.  It was Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (HVRW) and we went to a new-to-us restaurant that I had been wanting to try for the longest time.  We had a great evening and some amazing food.  My beer-braised short rib with corn and cheese grits and crispy brussels sprouts was a perfect fall dish and so good!

5. Business Cards  – My business cards finally arrived this week!  I ordered them through Vistaprint, during a 40% off sale. The first batch never arrived so they had to resend them.  That was really annoying because I had an event to go to where I wanted to have the cards on hand.  I ordered them with what I thought was plenty of time.  Then there was the shipping issue and they didn’t arrive in time.  On the preview the Facebook icon didn’t look lost on the dark background of the card.  Overall, I’m not a huge fan of the quality either.  I know many people like Moo, so I will have to give them a try next time!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I shared Activity Kits for Tween Girls.

A review of my October 2017 Reads with ratings.

Tuesday I shared my October Reads.

Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April.  Have a great weekend!

 

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October 2017 Reads

A review of my October 2017 Reads with ratings.

(This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this blog!)

It’s time once again for Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books link up.  It’s a time where I get to show off my October 2017 reads as well as see what other bloggers have been reading this past month.  My to-read list grows significantly today! October was a decent reading month for me.  I read seven books last month, with about half being really good reads.  I’ve been in a reading slump lately and even though it’s mid-November, I have only book read so far this month.  I’m hoping that some recommendations from this link-up will help get me reading again!

3 Stars

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The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse (c/o NetGalley) – Nina is happily married and a stay-at-home mom to two boys, living a life of luxury.  When her husband Finn dies in a car accident, she discovers that he has been hiding their huge financial problems.  Her house is repossessed and she must start a new life with her sons.  She moves closer to her sister and begins to find herself, discovering that she’s stronger than she believed.  I didn’t hate this book.  It just was a very slow read for me.  I didn’t realize that Prowse has written so many other books.  I am not giving up on her as an author yet and may try some of her other books.

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – I finally read the second book in the YA Lunar Chronicles series and I’m kind of disappointed.  I read Cinder so long ago and don’t remember much of it.  I do know that I enjoyed it a lot more than this second book.  For those of you unfamiliar with this series, the books are futuristic, fantasy takes on familiar fairy tales.  Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with references to grandmother and the Wolf.  There’s a lot of action and adventure in this book, but I haven’t been into this genre recently.  I’m not sure yet if I’ll finish up the series.

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Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley – A book that revolves around a bookstore where people leave notes to each other in the pages of books sounds like a book that I’d love.  I just didn’t. I found this to be a very slow read until the end.  And it was just so sad and depressing.  I know a couple other Show Us Your Book bloggers have read this book which is where I think I got the recommendation.  It just wasn’t a fave of mine.

4 Stars

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Class Mom by Laurie Gelman – Jen Dixon is an older mom with two grown daughters in college and a son Max, in Kindergarten.  Her friend Nina convinces her to be the class mom for Max’s class.  Jen sends out snarky, but hilarious, e-mails to the other parents.  One of the dad’s in the class is a former high school crush of hers.  She also trains for a mud run and has to deal with some parent and teacher drama.  This is a light, funny read.  While I am involved in the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) at my kids’ schools, I have never volunteered for the role of class parent.  This book totally reminds me why!

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So Happiness to Meet You by Karin Esterhammer – (digital copy provided by Prospect Park Books) In 2008, during the recession, Karin and her husband leave LA with their young son.  They move abroad to Vietnam where they can live more cheaply.  We get an inside look at Vietnamese culture as they live among the locals for almost three years.  I found this to be such an interesting read.  Esterhammer gives a realistic account of what it’s like to live as an outsider in a new country and I loved learning about the Vietnamese culture.  It’s been awhile since I’ve read a non-fiction/memoir book and this was a good pick!

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Without Merit by Colleen Hoover – I am a huge Colleen Hoover fan and I think I’ve read most of her books.  I knew nothing about this book before reading it, just that it was her newest book.  Every character in this book had some pretty deep issues.  I felt like the issues were glossed over and never really addressed beneath a surface level.  So this wasn’t a favorite of Hoover’s.  However, I really enjoy her storytelling, so it still gets 4 stars!  If you’ve never read a Hoover book, don’t make this one your first!

5 Stars

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate – This is a middle-grade chapter book that I read with my son.  It’s told from the perspective of Ivan, a mighty silverback gorilla.  He lives in a mall with his friend Stella, an elephant and Bob, the dog.  When new baby elephant, Ruby, arrives, he is forced to reevaluate his situation and make some important decisions.  This book had me laughing and crying and was just an overall great story for both kids and adults!  This was my first book I read of Applegate’s, but now I’m going to have to check out some of her other children’s books.

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Activity Kits for Tween Girls {Holiday 2017}

A collection of new 2017 activity kits for tween girls. Find something for that 9-11 year-old on your holiday shopping list.

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As kids get older, it gets harder to buy gifts for them. As a parent of an 11-year-old daughter, I can tell you that she still enjoys creating things.  Activity kits are great presents because kids have to spend the time making something before they can enjoy it. They can then take ownership of their project and have pride in their work.  It ends up meaning a little more to them.  Every year, new activity kits are manufactured.  Here are some of the newer activity kits for tween girls.  Maybe one of these will interest the tween on your shopping list this holiday season!  Please note, we have not personally tried any of these products yet, so cannot attest to the quality and ease of use.

1. Just My Style Flavored Lab Lip Gloss – As much as my daughter wants to wear makeup, since she’s only eleven, we only allow her to wear lip gloss. She would love making her own flavored lip glosses with this activity kit.  This would also make a fun activity to do with a friend when they “hang out.”  The kit comes with four lip glosses (3 flavored, 1 shimmer) that kids can layer and mix to create a customized tube.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $9.97.

2.  Alex Toys Knot-a-Mermaid  – Mermaids continue to be popular.  With this kit, kids can make their own mermaid blanket, just by tying knots. After the blanket is completed, they can stitch the shell appliques on. Recommended for ages 8+, retails for $19.99.

3. YOUniverse Crystal Growing Jewelry –  Kids learn the science behind growing crystals and then make jewelry with their crystal creations.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $12.97.

4. Just My Style Glitter Roller Perfume – Kids mix and create their own fragrance with this kit.  There are also stickers in the kit to decorate the bottles.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $9.97.

5. Just My Style Sparkling Fashion Plates – Do you have a budding fashion designer?  This kit includes 15 different plates that kids can mix and match to create more than 100 designs.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $14.97.

6. ORB Doll Designer: Strawberry Sweet – With this kit, kids design their own doll.  They create an outfit for their doll by layering different pieces of fabric and decorating it.  Each kit comes with a doll stand and a pet. Recommended for ages 8+, retails for $12.99.

7.  Plush Craft Personalized Pillow – Tweens love any type of room decor and personalization.  Initials are a big hit with this age group.  If your tween isn’t into a personalized pillow, Plush Craft makes all sorts of different pillow designs including, animals, a peace sign, an ice cream cone, an XOXO design and more. Kids follows a legend and use a special stylus to punch fabric strips into the pillow. Recommended for ages 5+, retails for $16.99.

8. ORB Fluffables – With these kits, kids create their own fluffable.  Using a stylus, kids push fluff into the form to create their animal.  They can follow the enclosed pattern or create their own design.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $9.99.

9. YOUniverse Galactic Bath Bombs – My daughter and her friends love bath bombs.  With this kit, they can make their own by mixing compounds and adding color and shimmer.  Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $12.97.

10. Project Mc2 H2o Nail Science Kit – In this kit, kids will use hydrographic printing to create unique nail designs.  3 AA batteries are required, but not included in this kit. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $24.99.

11. Project Mc2 Smart Pixel Purse – Using an app, kids program their own designs which they can then show off on their purse.  Or they can use one of the pre-programmed designs. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $59.99.

12. Gel-a-Peel Accessory Craft Kit – Kids can design and create their own color changing accessories using the templates provided.  3 gel tubes, 16+ templates and 5 designer tips are included in this kit.  There are different kits including neon, color change, sparkle and more. Recommended for ages 8+, retails for $19.99.

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Five on Friday {Veteran’s Day Weekend}

Happy Friday! It has gotten super cold here in New York.  While I can handle temps in the 50’s, this weekend it’s supposed to be in the 30’s and 40’s.  It’s way too early for cold temps like that!  I feel like the kids have been home all week…..wait, they have been.  They had off Tuesday for Election Day, today for Veteran’s Day and my son had a 1/2 day for parent-teacher conferences yesterday!  This weekend we have some fun things planned.  We are going to a surprise birthday party tomorrow for my dad’s cousin.  My husband and I are also going out to dinner with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately.  None of my holds have come in at the library so, I’m subject to reading books off my own shelves…..the horror!  This week I finished I Totally Meant to do That by Jane Borden.  It was just an “eh” read for me, but it’s one less book on my shelf.  I’m currently reading a variety of children’s chapter books and continuing to work on Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia.  It was on my summer reading list and I never got to it.  I’ve been reading it a little bit at a time but it hasn’t totally kept my interest.

2. Watching – My husband and I have finally started watching Stranger Things. Gone are the days of being able to binge watch a series because……kids!  We are only three episodes in, but are really into it!

3. Play Fair – Last Friday evening, my son and I attended the Play Fair in NYC.  We were able to see (and play with) some of this season’s newest toys that are available this holiday.  He also got to make slime at the Maddie Rae slime booth.  Needless to say, he had a great time!  Anyone else’s kids still into making and playing with slime?!!

4. Supper Club Dinner – This month, instead of cooking, our supper club went out to dinner. We tried out a new, local restaurant Aesop’s Fable.  I had the Chicken and Waffles.  The chicken was so crispy and I loved the maple syrup that had a hint of heat to it.  There was so much chicken that I took half of it home and had it for lunch the next day!

5. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite – I just read that Niantic will be releasing a Harry Potter augmented reality game, Harry Potter:  Wizards Unite, similar to their most recent Pokemon Go game!  It allegedly won’t be out until sometime in 2018.  But players will learn spells, battle beasts and more out in the “real world.”  Any other Harry Potter fans out there excited to hear this news?!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

The musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Monday I reviewed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical.

A gift guide with ideas for presents to give to creative tweens.

Wednesday I posted a Gift Guide for Creative Tweens.

Thursday I shared the Hot Holiday Toys of 2017 for school-age children.

Linking up with Andrea, Katie and April.  Have a great weekend!

 

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Hot Holiday Toys for School-Age Kids {2017 Gift Guide}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting this blog!)

It’s that time of year again.  The toy catalogs are coming in and the kids are starting to make their holiday wish lists.  Don’t get stressed out because I have rounded up this season’s hot holiday toys in NY Foodie Family’s 2017 Holiday Toy Gift Guide.  I recently attended Play Fair in New York City, where the biggest toy brands were showcasing their newest toys, just in time for the holidays!  Here are some of the recent new toys that are sure to be a hit with the school-age kids on your list!

 

Air Hogs 2-in-1 Hyper Drift Drones – These remote controlled can race on the ground or in the sky.  The drone detaches and has a self-righting cage so it always lands upright.  Each set comes with one hyper drift drone, one controller, one USB charger, an instruction sheet and spare propellers.  Sets retail for $39.99 each.

Grossery Gang Muck Chuck Garbage Truck – Muck Chuck Garbage Truck is one of the newest additions to the Grossery Gang.  It has a trash launch catapult and lots of storage space to hold Grosseries.  The cab and sides open for battle mode.  The truck comes with two exclusive grosseries.  Recommended for ages 5+.  Retails for $19.99.

Hatchimals Surprise –  The newest from Hatchimals is Hatchimals Surprise.  Inside each speckled egg are twin Hatchimals.  Help them hatch and then watch as they learn new things.  Choices include Peacats (shown above), Giravens, Deerioles and Ligulls (sold exclusively at Target), Puppadees (sold exclusively at Toys ‘R’ Us) and Zuffins (sold exclusively at Walmart). Recommended for ages 5+. Retails for $69.99.

L.O.L. Surprise! BIG Surprise –  You will be lucky to find a L.O.L. Surprise (Little Outrageous Little Surprise) BIG Surprise this holiday season.  The toy, released back in September continues to sell out and if you do find one, expect to pay a lot more than the $69.99 it retails for.  The L.O.L. Surprise! are blind bag dolls and accessories.  Inside the BIG Surprise are 50 surprises, each individually wrapped, resulting in the ultimate unboxing experience.   If you can’t get your hands on the BIG Surprise, smaller mystery pack dolls are more readily available.  Recommended for ages 6+.

LEGO Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter– Legos are always popular with children of all ages and there are always new sets coming out.  One of the new sets this season is Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter.  Recommend for ages 8-14, this set has 630 pieces.  It comes with three mini-figures and a BB-9E figure. It retails for $79.99.  Other new sets include Star Wars First Order Star Destroyer, Minecraft Waterfall Base, Witch Hut and Jungle Temple and NINJAGO Destiny’s Bounty.

Shopkins Cutie Cars – Cutie Cars are one of the newest additions to the Shopkins line. They are sold in 3 packs (pictured above) as well as in single packs.  Each car comes with its own Shopkin.  They are diecast and can be pushed. There are 37 cars to collect in Series 1. Recommended for ages 5+.  3 packs retail for $12.99, single packs retail for $4.99.

WowWee Chippies – These are remote-controlled puppies that can dance, sing, chase their tails and more.  They have LED eyes and posable hind legs.  There are four different puppies to choose from:  Chipper (blue), Chippette (pink), Chippo (black) and Chippella (white). Recommended for ages 5+.  Retails for $39.99.

One of the hot new toys for holiday 2017.

WowWee Fingerlings Monkeys – Fingerlings Monkeys were just released in August of this year.  These baby monkeys  hang on your fingers and respond to sound, motion and touch.  With over 40 different animations, kids can interact with their Fingerlings by petting it, blowing kisses and more. They can grip on to different surfaces. Parents, do not worry, there is an on/off switch!    There are currently six different Fingerlings (Bella, Boris, Finn, Mia, Sophie and Zoe) which retail for $14.99.  Recommended for ages 5+.

 

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Gift Ideas for Creative Tweens {Holiday Guide 2017}

Gift ideas for creative tweens. Use this guide to shop for some of the more creative kids on your shopping list.

(This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting this blog.)

This is the first in a series of gift guides to help you complete your holiday shopping.  These are gift ideas for creative tweens.  These gifts are great for both girls and boys in the 8+ age range and allows them to use their imagination and creativity.  Many of these toys are brand new to the market this holiday season!

Just released from the Orb toy company. These are the world's first creation compound. A great creative gift for kids this holiday!

1. ORB Molecules – ORB Molecules is the newest product from ORB (formerly ORB Factory).  It is the world’s first creation compound.  The molecules are brightly colored and come in different sizes.  They stick to themselves, but not anything else!   The ORB Molecules are sold in kits so that kids can make their own creations.  These will be hitting shelves in approximately two weeks and will be sold exclusively at Michaels stores.   These kits retail for $14.99. (Recommended for ages 5+)

A great gift idea for creative tweens on your holiday shopping list!

(photo courtesy of ORB)

2. ORB Morph – Orb Morph is not a new product to the market.  Morph is a lightweight, “shape-shifting fluff.”  It’s a building compound that kids can mold, that can also bounce and float.  As kids play with the morph, it gets softer and fluffier. The material doesn’t dry out and can be reused over and over again.   The Morph comes in six different colors and retails for $14.99.  It can be found at Walmart, Michaels, Target and Amazon.  (Recommended for ages 3+)

A fun, new gift idea for creative tweens. They can create pixelated stickers.

3. STiKidotz – STiKidotz are the world’s first 3D pixel art sticker.  Projects start with a square base.  Kids create a design on the base using the dotzPIXELS to create a design.  Once the design is complete you can cut it out with scissors, take off the paper backing and stick it to the surface of your choice. There are creative kits where kids can come up with their own designs.  STiKidotz also sells pre-designed kits that kids can follow to create characters and pictures. These kits are available on the dotz company website and beginning November 7, Amazon.  A starter pack is $12.99 and includes 2 bases and 36 dotzBLOKs.  (Recommended for ages 6+)

Check out the above video to see STiKidotz in action!  To learn more about them check out the STiKidotz website!

A great gift for creative kids. Kids can create many different projects with the one kit.

4. E-Blox Circuit Builder –  E-Blox manufactures three different circuit builder kits.  The Circuit Builder 115, pictured above, contains 37 pieces which kids can use to create 115 different projects. They will learn about electricity, alarms, motors and more as they create.  An instruction booklet is included.  These kits require 3 “AA” batteries.  The kits retail between $19.99 and $44.99.  (Recommended for ages 8+)

Another gift idea for creative tweens.

5.  Oonies – Made by Moose Toys, Oonies are small balloons that you can play with and customize.  Use the inflator to inflate the pellets to the balloons.  Then customize with the accessory stickers.  The starter pack comes with the inflator, 36 pellets and accessories.  The balloons stay inflated for approximately five days before deflating. Kids can make their own designs and creations or use the available theme packs.  The Oonies site has all kinds of games, challenges and more.  The starter pack, which you need for the inflator, retails for $19.99.  You can find Oonies at Target, Walmart, Amazon and Toys R Us. (recommended for ages 5+)

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Get a Golden Ticket to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway!

The musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Many of you readers, like me, probably grew up reading Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and watching the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder.  It was a childhood dream to be able to visit that chocolate factory! Although Tim Burton made a somewhat dark film in 2005 titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , starring Johnny Depp, Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is still my favorite.

The joy of that infamous candy factory continues to resonate with children today, as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has made its way to Broadway.  The show, which opened in April of 2017, continues to attract crowds of all ages.  My eleven-year-old daughter and I recently caught a Saturday matinee showing.

the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, current home of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

(photo courtesy of Polk PR)

The show takes place in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.  Opened in 1910 as the “Globe Theatre,” recent past productions at the Lunt-Fontanne include Finding Neverland, Motown: The Musical,  Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid.

The Candy Bar at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical.

(photo courtesy of Polk PR)

In a partnership with famous NYC candy store Dylan’s Candy Bar,  three concession stands in the theatre sell candy including giant lollipops and cotton candy tubs.  Wine, specialty cocktails and slushy drinks are available as well as the usual bottled water, soda and coffee.

I must warn you that you can’t go into this musical expecting it to be exactly like the movie.  There are too many production technicalities and scene changes for this to happen.  The musical adaptation is an updated, modern version, with social media references and different genres of music. There are even some references that younger children will most likely not understand.  Aside from a couple of classic songs from the movie, the musical features several original songs from Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman.

Act One sets the background of the poverty that Charlie endures and reveals the winners of the golden tickets.  The audience doesn’t get to visit the chocolate factory until Act Two.  I found the set to be surprisingly bare at times.  The whole scene where the children enter the edible candy room was set on a giant, wheeled cube, that lacked the “wow” factor that I had anticipated.  However, there were enough special effects and fun throughout the remaining act to keep us entertained.

(photo courtesy of Polk PR)

Two-time Tony winner Christian Borle does an amazing job playing Willy Wonka.  There are three young actors who rotate playing the role of little Charlie Bucket.  The day of our visit, Ryan Foust starred in the role.  The twelve-year-old actor stole my heart, perfecting the innocence of the character. I was a bit disappointed to see that only Charlie is portrayed by a child actor. The other ticket winners Augustus Gloop, Mike Teavee, Veruca Salt and Violet Beauregarde are all played by adults.  Mrs. Green adds humor throughout the show, selling her wares from her shopping cart.   The portrayal of the Oompa-Loompas was a fun addition to the show as well.

If you are going to shell out the requisite big bucks for a Broadway show, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might be a safe bet for the family as it’s a story that most children are familiar with. It is a fun, family-friendly production that will entertain  and take viewers to a world of “pure imagination”, if only for a couple of hours.

The Details:

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (the musical)
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
205 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036

Duration:  2 1/2 hours, with a 15-minute intermission

Showtimes:  Dates and times vary, please check the website for specifics

Price:  Tickets range from $69-$249 +, depending on date and seat choice

Tips:

*The show is recommend for ages 6+

*Be sure to check out the doors and signs around the theater entrance for some fun, humorous photos before or after the show.

*If you wait by the stage door after the show you can get autographs and photos with the cast!

Ryan Foust is one of the three boys who plays the role of Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

 

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Five on Friday {First Weekend in November}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting this blog!)

Thank goodness it’s Friday!  What a long week it’s been!  As I predicted last week, Halloween did a doozy on us all.  The kids went to bed way later than their regular bed times and Wednesday were both on the cranky side.  Today I’m headed to the Play Fair Media preview night and I plan on spending tomorrow at the event as well.  Sunday I have plans to see A Bad Moms Christmas with some other “bad moms” and then we are going out to dinner with our monthly supper club.  It’s going to be a busy but fun weekend!  Here are five from this week:

1. Halloween – The kids had a great Halloween.  My son took the bus to a friend’s house and then went trick-or-treating with him.  I took my daughter to a friend’s house and walked around the neighborhood with some other parents while we watched our kids trick-or-treat.  As you can see, they got lots of candy!  In our house all the candy gets dumped into one bowl and we all share.  My husband and I get to eat what we want because…..parent tax!!

2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical – Last Saturday my daughter and I headed into the city to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway.  I love the movie and the musical was a little different, but so good! After the show we waited outside the stage door to get autographs and pictures with the cast! It was such a great day out and the weather was beautiful!

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3.  Reading – Last week I finished Without Merit by Colleen Hoover.  I had no idea what the book was even about.  When I heard she was coming out with a new book, I immediately put it on hold at the library!  While this book was not my favorite of hers, it was a pretty good read.  I took a book off my own shelf to read and am currently reading I Totally Meant to Do That by Jane Borden.

4. Lunch Date – Wednesday I had a lunch date with a friend at new, local restaurant Hudson Farmer & the Fish.  It was a tasty lunch and because it’s Hudson Valley Restaurant Week it was a great deal, 3 courses for $22.95! I enjoyed this salmon burger with mizuna and a miso wasabi sauce.

5.  Watching –  We finally watched part two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  We are officially done reading the books and watching the movie.  Hopefully, we will be able to plan a vacation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter soon!  My husband and I also watched the movie The Whole Truth with Keanu Reeves.  I hadn’t seen a crime drama in a loooong time.  But this one was a bit of a disappointment.  We only have one television with a cable box.  I wasn’t able to catch up too much on my shows in the evening since Mr. Foodie Family watched the World Series.  What a great win for the Astros!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Winston Restaurant debuts new fall menu.

Monday I wrote about Winston Restaurant’s new fall menu.

A list of 30 things that you can do this November!

Wednesday I posted 30 Things to Do in November.

Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April.

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5 Things To Do With Leftover Halloween Candy

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween!  Halloween on a school night is tough for the kids.   Luckily, it is only one day a year.  However, with two kids  trick-or-treating we have enough candy in the house to last us until next Halloween! Thankfully, my kids are not huge candy eaters.  They usually donate their Take 5, M&Ms and Twix to my husband and I (they know what we like!).  Then they are good eating 1-2 pieces of candy a day.  I’m not kidding when I tell you that our candy bowl probably has Halloween candy in it from last year.  But what do you do if your kids will devour their Halloween candy stash if you let them?  Or like our family, end up with candy for days?  Here are 5 things that you can do with all of that leftover Halloween candy.

1. Halloween Candy Buyback  – Many dentists and other businesses participate in the Halloween Candy Buyback program.   Children can bring in their Halloween candy and usually earn $1 per pound of candy or other prizes and goodies.  The candy is then sent to troops overseas.

2. Switch Witch – The Switch Witch is basically the Elf On the Shelf of Halloween.  She arrives before Halloween to spend some time with your family. Then on Halloween night your kids leave a pile of candy in front of her and she takes it and leaves them a present.

3. Make a dessert – Because candy isn’t sweet enough, why not add some more sugar to it and make a dessert?!  This roundup includes 50 recipes using leftover Halloween candy.   Kit Kats, Butterfingers, Reese’s, Snickers and many more types of candy are included!

4. Bring it to work  –  Not everyone at your office has kids.  Leave a bowl of candy at your desk, the reception desk or the break room.  Believe me, it will get eaten!

5. Do a science experiment –  If you can’t eat it, play with it!  Here’s a roundup of 21 Candy Science Experiments.   Skittles, M&Ms and lifesavers are some of the candies used in the experiments.

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30 Things to Do This November

A list of 30 things that you can do this November!

A new monthly calendar feature with suggestions of things for you to do this month!
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1. A Bad Moms Christmas comes out today.  Gather your girlfriends and have a girls night out!

2.  Today is National Men Make Dinner Day!  Get your man in the kitchen…..or have him bring some takeout home!

3. Need a sugar fix?  Now’s the time to get leftover Halloween candy on deep discount!  If you’re trying to get rid of the Halloween candy, check out “5 Things to Do with Leftover Hallween Candy.”

4.  Tomorrow we  fall back for daylight savings.  Remember to set your clocks back and enjoy your extra hour of sleep!

5.  For those of us in Westchester County and the surrounding area, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is taking place from now until November 12.  Take advantage of the 200+ restaurants offering 3 course dinners for $32.95.  If you’re not in the Hudson Valley, try dining at a new-to-you restaurant!

6.  Tomorrow, (Nov. 7) Renegades, the first in Marissa Meyer’s new series is published.  Fans of YA fantasy might enjoy this new book. Other anticipated book releases include Artemis by Andy Weir (author of The Martian) (Nov. 14), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Nov. 14) the next Stephanie Plum novel in the series by Janet Evanovich,  and Promise Me, Dad (Nov. 14), Joe Biden’s memoir.  What will you be reading this month?

7.  It’s election day.  Exercise your  right and go out and vote!

8.  Netflix has several new original shows and movies coming in November.  Check out the full list of everything that is coming and leaving Netflix this month.

9. Start going through the kids’ drawers and closets to see what they need in terms of winter gear – coats, hats, gloves, boots, etc.  There’s nothing like being unprepared for a surprise snow storm!

10. If you weren’t able to see these movies in the theater, some notable movies coming out on DVD this month are Cars 3 (Nov. 7), The Glass Castle (Nov. 7), Wind River (Nov. 14), Whose Streets? (Nov. 14) and Logan Lucky (Nov. 28).

11. Happy Veteran’s Day.  Thank a veteran and attend a Veteran’s Day ceremony.  Remember we are the land of the free, because of the brave.

12. Fall is all about pumpkin spice and everything nice. Bake one of these pumpkin desserts.

13.  Today is World Kindness Day.  Here are 10 Ways you can celebrate it with your kids.

14. Cook something new for dinner.  The weather is getting cooler and it’s a perfect time to make a new soup or stew recipe.  This month I plan on trying out this Slow Cooker Sausage Lentil and Arugula Soup.

15. Today is Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.  Get rid of those old condiment jars and throw out the forgotten leftovers.  Wash out the bins and wipe down the shelves.  If you’re feeling really motivated, wipe down the front and sides and vacuum the coils as well!

16. Read some Thanksgiving-themed picture books with your kids!

17. The movie Wonder comes out.  If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading the book first!  It’s a story about August (Auggie) Pullman, a boy born with facial differences.  For the first time he attends the local public school, which becomes a learning experience for everyone.

18. How fun is it to get mail that’s not bills or junk mail?!  Send a friend or family member a card via snail mail to let them know that you’re thinking of them!

19. Are you traveling  by car for Thanksgiving?  Take some time before your trip and do a quick maintenance check.  Fill your wiper fluid and check the pressure in your tires.

20. Ben & Jerry’s is collaborating with Jimmy Fallon on a new ice cream flavor.  The secret flavor finally gets announced this month!  Be on the lookout for it in your local grocery store!

21. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to start thinking about your holiday cards.  Many online photo sites have special upcoming Back Friday deals that early birds can take advantage of.

22.  Disney Pixar movie Coco comes out.  Viewers will also get to see short, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, before the movie.

23.  Happy Thanksgiving! Put on your stretchy pants because it’s time to feast! Start your day with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which begins at 9 AM EST on NBC.  Give thanks today and appreciate all you have.

24. Are you going to brave the Black Friday sales today? Before you go, set up a game plan of the stores you want to visit and the deals you want to take advantage of!

25. Now that Thanksgiving is over try some of these recipes for using up those leftovers!

26. Have a family game night! One of our recent favorites is Wits & Wagers.

27.  It’s cyber Monday!  Get your online shopping deals today!

28. Produce in season this month includes beets, brussel sprouts, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, winter squash, apples and pears.  Buy seasonally and locally, if possible.

29.  November is officially sweater weather! Break out your sweaters and get warm and cozy! I’m on the lookout for some new sweaters.  Have you bought a recent favorite?

30.  Listen to a new podcast.  If you’ve never listened to one, you don’t know what you’re missing!  Check this list out for some new recommendations.  I am always on the lookout for new podcasts, so let me know what you’re listening to in the comments!