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Five on Friday {10 More Days Until Christmas!}

Happy Friday everyone!  Can you believe we are down to 10 more days until Christmas?!  Within a week, I’ve mailed out our Christmas cards and made a huge dent in the shopping.  I must say, I feel very accomplished this week!  This week was also super busy. Almost every evening there was an event that either I had to be at or bring the kids to.  This weekend we are going ice skating with my son’s class.  Sunday we are celebrating Hanukkah with my mother-in-law’s family at a latke party.  It should be a busy but fun weekend!

Holiday Party – Saturday we had our first real snow fall.  My friend was hosting a holiday party that evening.  Fortunately, we are also neighbors, so I was able to walk to her house and not worry about driving on the roads.   It was a potluck dinner and there was a White Elephant gift exchange.  It was a delicious and fun mom’s night out!  I came home with the Godiva Hot Chocolate and Coffee set as well as a cocktail mixer collection.

Belt Test – Wednesday evening my kids tested for their orange belt in Tae Kwon Do.  They both have been participating in a before-school Tae Kwon Do club for four years now.  Since the club is at their schools we don’t get to see them.  So it was nice to see them in action during their test.

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Reading – I am currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  Although I don’t get hulu, I’ve heard the show is great.  For some reason, I think based on the cover of the book, I thought the book was historical fiction.  That’s actually not the case and it’s a science fiction/dystopian book.  I’m a little over half-way through and it’s really good.

An elf stands between the letters "e" and "f".

Watching – Last weekend we had our annual viewing of Elf.  I don’t watch a lot of movies more than once.  However, it has become a tradition that we watch this movie around Christmas.  We still laugh every single time.  Definitely a family favorite!  Do you have a favorite holiday movie?

Microwave-less – Definitely not a favorite!  There is some electrical issue with one of our kitchen outlets.  Somehow, it short-circuited and broke our microwave.  The buttons on the panel are non-functional.  So, I brought up a smaller microwave that we were storing in the basement, plugged it in, tried using it, and the same thing happened!  So, we are now down two microwaves this week!  You would think it’s not a big deal, but it has made me realize how much we use it!  Re-heating my coffee, heating up my lunch, making popcorn, cooking veggies (yes, I use those frozen steam bags a lot!) – getting the outlet fixed and buying a new microwave is on our to-do list!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my November 2017 Reads.

Check out how I make our family's weekly meal plan.

Wednesday I posted an updated Peek Inside Our Meal Planning Process.

Thursday I wrote about our visit to Gulliver’s Gate.

I’m linking up with Katie, April and Andrea.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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Visiting Gulliver’s Gate: Stepping into a Miniature World {Family Fun}

(We were provided tickets to Gulliver’s Gate.  However, all opinions are our own.)

My family and I recently visited Gulliver’s Gate on a recent trip to New York City.  Based on the name alone, you probably aren’t quite sure what exactly this attraction is.  Named after the Jonathan Swift’s classic novel, Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver’s Gate is an amazing miniature world.  Using the latest interactive technology, the creators of the exhibit hope to “ignite your imagination and challenge your perspective.”

Gulliver’s Gate covers the equivalent area of an entire football field and is divided into eleven different exhibits.  The exhibits have been created by artisans from eight different countries and four continents.  This $40 million dollar attraction took sixteen months to complete and has been open since May of this year.


Before you enter the Gulliver’s Gate exhibit floor, each visitor will be given a key. which can be used to interact with the different exhibits.  Each blue kiosk will tell you what motion element you will activate and some kiosks even have two different interactions depending on which direction you turn the key. For example, the kiosk above started the parade.  After your visit, you are welcome to take your key home with you as a souvenir, or drop it off in the return box in the lobby.

You will also be given a visitor’s guide when you enter the attraction.  Inside, you will find a map of the exhibits as well as a scavenger hunt.  We had a fun time trying to find all of the items in each exhibit.  If you have difficulty, each exhibit has a guide that will help answer questions (and show you where the hidden items are!).  As you can see, we weren’t quite successful in finding everything!

The first exhibit you see when you step off the escalator is New York City.  This miniaturized version of the Big Apple was created in Brooklyn, New York and took 258 days to make.  Here you will find landmarks like the Empire State Building, Central Park and the Guggenheim.  See trucks cross the Brooklyn Bridge, take a peek inside Grand Central Terminal and watch as the subway pulls into the station.

The major monuments and attractions in each exhibit have informational tags to tell you more about them.  Altogether, there are over 100,000 miniature people, 1,000 trains and 10,000 cars placed throughout the exhibits.  Most of the elements are in HO scale 1:87 and many of the vehicles move.

After visiting New England and Niagara Falls you will make your way through Europe and the British Isles.  Great detail was put into all of the exhibits and there is so much to see!  One of our favorites finds was spotting these famous musicians in the British Isles exhibit.

Gulliver’s Gate has done a great job of infusing pop culture icons into the exhibits, some of which are hidden for the scavenger hunt.  Snoopy is in the Middle East, Batman and Spiderman  are in New York City and the Knight Rider Car is in Europe.

We had recently seen a special on Netflix about the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore.  We were surprised to find a model of the hotel in the Asia exhibit!

As you make your way through the exhibit you will come upon the control room.  Here you will see technicians monitoring all of the exhibits and making sure everything is running smoothly.  The exhibit has its own GPS system and self-driving vehicles move via sensors and a computer system.  In the airport, planes actually take-off.

In between the Asia and Middle East exhibits is the Model Workshop.  Behind the garage doors, we could see artisans working on models. When the doors are lifted, guests can actually talk and interact with the model workers.

Special for the holidays, each exhibit has surprise themed miniatures including The Grinch, Grandma getting run over by a reindeer, the Twelve Days of Christmas, lots of Santas, menorahs and much more!  Look closely to see if you can find them all!

If you’d like a memento of your visit, you can have a miniature version of yourself created!  There is a 3D scanner that can make a mini model of yourself  (your choice of three different sizes) for a cost.

The length of your visit will be determined by how long you wish to stop and look at each exhibit.  There is so much to see that you can make multiple visits and probably find something you missed the first time. They are also continually adding to the exhibit.  Currently in the works is an airport system that will connect the different exhibits to the main airport hub.

If you are looking for a fun and unique outing in New York City, visit Gulliver’s Gate!

The Details:

Gulliver’s Gate
216 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036

Visit the website for the most up-to-date information.

Hours: 10 AM – 8 PM, Daily, seven days a week

Admission:  Timed Tickets – $36/adults, $27/seniors  (65+) and children (ages 6 – 12), Free/children (0-5)
Flex Tickets (allow you to visit any day or time) – $41/adults, $32/seniors and children
Family Flex Ticket – Good for 2 adults and 3 children for $108

Tips:

*Visit early if you can.  We had 10 AM tickets and arrived when the attraction first opened.  There were no lines and the exhibits were not crowded.  By the time we left it was substantially more crowded.

*Try out the scavenger hunt included in the map.  It encourages you take a closer look at the exhibits.

*There is a gift shop that sells all kinds of travel-related souvenirs.

*No food or drinks are allowed in Gulliver’s Gate.  If you are looking for a nearby place to eat lunch or dinner, within a short walking distance you’ll find Junior’sGuy’s American Kitchen & BarCarmine’sSardi’sCity Kitchen and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

 

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A Peek Inside our Meal Planning Process

 

Check out how I make our family's weekly meal plan.

Meal planning is crucial in making our family dinner time run smoothly.  It also helps keep our grocery bill within a reasonable range each week.  There are many ways to meal plan and there is no one tried and true method.  You honestly have to figure out and do what works best for your family.  I am showing you how I create our weekly meal plan which will hopefully give you some tips and inspiration. IMG_1090[1] 1.  The Calendar:  You can find fancy, online printables if that will help motivate you.  In our house we don’t go the fancy route.  As seen above, I use the back of a piece of scrap paper and set up a monthly calendar.  I plan our menus weekly and write the meals in pencil, so I can erase and move things around if needed.

2.  The Day:  The grocery circular for Shoprite, where we do most of our shopping, comes on Saturday with our newspaper.  Over the weekend I write out the menu and make the grocery list.  Then I do the actual shopping Monday.

3.  Time:  I’m not going to lie.  Meal planning takes time.  Especially in the beginning if you have never done it before.  Even now, it sometimes takes me about an hour, but that’s because I enjoy it.  I rarely, if ever make the same recipe twice.  So, it can take me awhile to go through all of my recipe resources (see below) and pick out the new recipes I want to make for the week.  Once you’ve been meal planning for a little bit and have found some recipes that your family enjoys, you can repeat them throughout the month.

4.  Resources:  So, where do you find recipes?  Well, you can start here on my blog, at the recipe index!  Really though, there are so many food blogs out there, ranging from family focused, quick and easy meals, to more involved recipe blogs.  It can actually be quite overwhelming!  I subscribe to several food blogs and get new posts e-mailed to me.  Here are a few blogs that I use often and recommend:

Closet Cooking – Some of the recipes can be a little more involved but Kevin posts recipes for dishes with a variety of flavors and different cuisines.

Damn Delicious  – For quick and easy, family-friendly dishes.

Melanie Makes – For more quick and easy, family-friendly dishes.

Half Baked Harvest and How Sweet Eats are both great blogs with consistently good recipes.  I’ve rarely made a recipe from these blogs that wasn’t delicious.  However, some of these recipes can be a bit involved or require a bunch of ingredients.

Try cooking recipes from several different blogs.  You will eventually find you like certain bloggers’ recipe choices, presentation, photographs, etc. over others.  You don’t need to subscribe to all of them! I have two folders in my web browser favorites.  One is titled “Recipes” and anytime I see a recipe I want to make I bookmark it there.  If I decide to make the recipe, I bookmark it in the “Cooking This Week” folder, so it’s easier to find when needed.

I also subscribe to Cooking Light and Every Day with Rachael Ray and highly recommend both magazines.  Instead of keeping piles of magazines lying around, I rip out the recipes that interest me and stick them in a folder.

For beginner cooks I highly recommend the website Allrecipes.com.  You can search for recipes by a number of different factors, including ingredients or name.  I’ve found most recipes that I’ve used from the site easy to make.  It’s especially helpful since there are tons of ratings and reviews.  If a recipe has lots of five star ratings, it’s probably going to be good.

Several bloggers post a “Meal Plan Monday” where they share their upcoming weekly menu, often with links to the recipes that they are making.  While you probably won’t follow a blogger’s exact weekly meal plan, it can be helpful for inspiration.  I recently stopped posting my weekly meal plan, but you can find over 85 of my past weekly meal plans for some ideas!

Here are some blogs that I’ve found that share a weekly “Meal Plan” post:

I’m an Organizing Junkie – Not only does Laura provide her weekly menu plan, she also hosts a link-up where other bloggers can link up their weekly menu plan.  Check this blog out for loads of inspiration!

Skinnytaste – for some lighter, healthier meals.

And let’s not forget about Pinterest.  There are millions of recipes posted on that site.  Start creating boards of recipes that you see that interest you and you can refer to your board for inspiration when meal planning!

I’ve found that as much as I enjoy reading cookbooks, I don’t use them very often, since most recipes can easily be found online.  I do have several older editions of the Cooking Light Annual Recipe collection cookbooks.  They have the whole year of recipes from the magazine bound nicely into one book.

Again, the recipes you choose will really depend on your family’s food and dietary preferences.

5.  The Planning:  If you are new to meal planning, it might be easier to start with some recipes that you know your family eats and enjoys and maybe aim for one new recipe a week.  I recommend you use your grocery store circular to start your planning.  If chicken is on sale this week, I recommend making at least one chicken dish and buying some extra chicken that you can freeze for the future.  Some people prefer to have a themed dinner for each day, like Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday.  This helps in keeping a consistency to meal planning.  My meal plan varies from week to week.  I try to have a meatless meal, a chicken dish a pasta dish, a burger/sandwich, etc.  Other weeks I sometimes plan by cuisine.  I will plan to have a Mexican-themed dish, an Asian-themed, breakfast for dinner, pizza, etc.  Sometimes, if I find a bunch of interesting chicken dishes at one time, I will pre-plan and space them out throughout my monthly calendar.  Once I find a recipe that I decide I’m going to make, I write it in pencil on the calendar, along with the name of the source (blog name, magazine, website).  Although I will have my five recipes for the week written in, I won’t necessarily make them in that order.  When we eat each meal depends on factors like which dishes have produce that may spoil or how busy our schedules are.  I will then write in each box, what day I actually plan on making that dish.

6.  Grocery List:  I then take my grocery list and go through the recipes I plan on making for the week.   I write down the ingredients that I need for each recipe on the grocery list.  I circle the recipe on the calendar to know that I made sure I had everything I needed for that recipe.  Like I mentioned previously, I will stock up on proteins, chicken, ground beef, pork chops, etc. when they are on sale so I have them for the future.  I recommend stocking up on other staples when they are on sale as well.  There’s nothing like having to buy something at full price for a recipe, when it was on sale last week!  Pasta, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, rice, etc. are all items that you will probably use a lot of.

I hope this helps give you a better idea on how to meal plan, if this is new to you!  Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments section or e-mail me.  I’d love to hear how others meal plan and am always looking for tips on how to make the process easier!

 

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November 2017 Reads

Happy Tuesday.  I want to wish all my Jewish readers a Happy Hanukkah! It is also time once again to share my November 2017 Reads.  As usual, I’m joining Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  November was a slow reading month.  I just had very little motivation to read.  So, unfortunately, there’s not much to share this month.  However, I’m looking forward to checking out all of the other posts in the link up to add to my to read list!

3 Stars

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier –  This review was posted in my new monthly The Tweens Read post, since both my kids read this book last month.  This is a graphic novel with a telling title, since the book is about ghosts. Catrina’s little sister Maya has cystic fibrosis.  Their family moves to Northern California for Maya’s health.  As they explore their new neighborhood they discover that there are ghosts all around them.  This book was inspired by Dia de Los Muertos.  This was the first children’s book that I’ve read that has a character with cystic fibrosis.  I thought the author did a good job of describing the illness.  There has been some controversy over the accuracy of how Dia de Los Muertos is depicted in the book. If this is a child’s first book about the Day of the Dead, they make get a skewed idea of what the day is really about. This book is different than Telgemeier’s other graphic novels,  like Smile and Sisters, which are more realistic fiction based.  Both my kids enjoyed this book.

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I Totally Meant to Do That by Jane Borden – I’ve had this memoir on my shelf for so long.  Borden is from North Carolina but moves to New York City.  It’s basically living in two different worlds.  Some parts of the book were humorous and others dragged on.  Overall, just an “eh” read for me.  Now that it’s read though it’s getting donated!

4 Stars

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Far From the Tree by Robin Benway – This YA book is about three adopted siblings living in different families.  They end up meeting each other in their late teens.  Each of them is going through their own issues but end up supporting each other.  This book really takes a look at adoption and what defines family.  It’s an emotional but really good read.

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The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine – Amber Patterson is a nobody, but she has a plan to make herself into a somebody….doing whatever she has to to get there.  This suspense/thriller book got me out of my recent reading slump.  Although it’s slow in the middle, it picked up at the end.  I found it interesting that this book was co-authored by sisters (Liv Constantine is their pen name).

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – This book is a family drama with a LOT going on.  Everyone has secrets and nothing is as it appears.  I enjoyed Ng’s storytelling  even though it took me awhile to get into the book.  This is the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Fiction. Ng’s other book, Everything I Never Told You has been on my to read list for awhile now.  Since I enjoyed this one so much, I may have to read it sooner than later.

 

 

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Five on Friday {NYC Weekend of Fun Review}

Happy Friday!  As another weekend arrives, I’m starting to get a little stressed out.  I’ve barely made a dent in my holiday shopping.  The holiday cards arrived last week and are getting mailed out tomorrow.  I would have done them sooner, but my daughter really wants to help and she’s been very busy this week.  My goal is to get them done this evening while my husband and son attend our local tree lighting ceremony.  This week, my five on Friday is a highlight of our day spent in NYC last Sunday.  It’s always a fun time going down to the city, even though it’s crazy busy during the holidays! This weekend one of my friend’s is hosting a holiday potluck.  It should be a fun mom’s night out!

1. Tree in Rockefeller Center – Can you visit NYC during the holidays and not see the tree in Rockefeller Center?  When I tell you I felt like a canned sardine, I’m not joking.  We attempted a family selfie, I got some pics of the kids in front of the tree and then we were out of there!

2.  National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey – I wrote a whole post on this NYC attraction earlier this week (see link below). It’s a unique and fun immersive, underwater experience.

3. City Kitchen – I love finding and trying new places to eat when we are down in the city. We really like food halls, like City Kitchen and Urbanspace.  These spaces host several different food vendors/stands in one building.  You can get food from whichever places you want and then sit and eat.  It’s similar to a food court, but much more upscale!  This Shiro-Obi Ramen from Kuro Obi was amazing.  I’ve had a decent amount of ramen in my life and this broth was the best that I’ve had.  Seriously, the best!

4. Gulliver’s Gate – I will be posting a full review next week on the blog about NYC attraction, Gulliver’s Gate.  Located in Times Square, it’s a world of miniatures.

5. Holiday Windows – In honor of the 80th anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Saks Fifth Avenue’s holiday windows theme is “Once Upon a Holiday.”  Each of the Fifth Avenue facing windows had a scene from the Disney movie.  Unfortunately, you can see the reflection of the buildings across the street in the window!  And I thought the tree was packed with people.  The line to see these windows snaked around the building!  We did a walk-by and got to see them, without waiting in line.

Bonus:  Lunch Date With My Parents – My parents are retired and live in Rhode Island. They have a condo in New York where they come stay when they have doctor’s appointments or have plans with family and friends.  They were in town this week and asked if I would go to lunch with them.  Of course I was thinking, what bad news are they going to tell me?  Since I never go to lunch with them alone.  Well, it was just that, lunch.  No bad news!  They just wanted to spend some quality time with their daughter, since when we’re normally together there’s usually a lot of family or I’m busy cooking or hosting.  It was really nice to sit and catch up with them.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Some unique holiday gift ideas perfect for Westchester County families.

Monday I posted Holiday Gift Ideas for Westchester County Families.

Check out this gift guide for ideas of stocking stuffers for tween girls.

Tuesday I shared a guide with ideas for Stocking Stuffers for Tween Girls.

National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey is an immersive, family fun experience in NYC. Take a journey under the ocean and learn all about the sea and its life.

Wednesday I wrote about National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey.

Check out these three new Hanukkah picture books for 2017.

Thursday I shared 3 New Hanukkah Picture Books.

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

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Three New Hanukkah Books for 2017

Check out these three new Hanukkah picture books for 2017.

(This post contains affiliate links.  By ordering through them NY Foodie Family makes a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this blog.)

Hanukkah begins Tuesday, December 12.  My husband is part Jewish and although we don’t make a big deal out of celebrating, I find reading picture books with kids helps build holiday excitement. My kids are a little old now for picture book reading (their opinion, not mine!).  However, in the past we have read lots of Hanukkah books which I featured in this round up. Even if you aren’t Jewish, I think reading Hanukkah-themed books with kids helps them gain a better understanding of a different culture and holiday.  Here are three new Hanukkah books for 2017.

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Little Red Ruthie:  A Hanukkah Tale by Gloria Koster
Illustrated by: Sue Eastland
Published by:  Albert Whitman Company, August 2017
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99
Source:  borrowed from the library

Review:  This is a cute Hanukkah take on the classic Little Red Riding Hood.  Ruthie is a smart and brave little girl who even teaches the wolf about Hanukkah.  A recipe for potato latkes is included in the back of the book. This was a cute Hanukkah story.

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Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg
Illustrated by: Anjan Sarkar
Published by: Farrar Straus Giroux, October 2017
Pages: 40
Price: $16.99
Source:  borrowed from the library

Review:  This book is about an Indian-Jewish family who is celebrating Hanukkah by making dosas.  The main character gets annoyed at his little sister because she climbs too much.  Luckily though,  little Sadie’s climbing comes in handy.  At the back of the book is a recipe for dosas and sambar.  I enjoyed the multi-cultural aspect of this book very much.  However, I found the plot to be a bit forced.

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Way Too Many Latkes by Linda Glaser
Illustrated by: Aleksander Zolotic
Published by: Kar-ben Publishing, August 2017
Pages: 32
Price: $17.99
Source: borrowed from the library

Review:  Faigel makes the best latkes in all of Chelm.  But this year she has forgotten the recipe.  With her husband, Shmuel’s help,and using the rabbi’s advice, Faigel ends up making way too many latkes.  Luckily, the problem is easily solved.  Chelm is a fictional Jewish town and part of Jewish folklore.  There is more information about Chlem stories at the end of the book.  This was an okay Hanukkah read.

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National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey {Family Fun}

National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey is an immersive, family fun experience in NYC. Take a journey under the ocean and learn all about the sea and its life.

(We were provided tickets to Ocean Odyssey.  However, all opinions are our own.)

Located in Times Square in New York City, National Geographic Encounter Ocean Odyssey is a fun, family experience.

If you are looking for a new, one-of-a-kind family outing in New York City, you must check out National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. Conveniently located in Times Square, Ocean Odyssey is an immersive, underwater experience.  You will use almost all of your senses as you “travel” from the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific to coastal California via the Pacific Ocean.

While I’d love to fill this post with pictures of our experience and give you all the details, I’m going to try my best to keep it short, but informative.  The Encounter really needs to be seen and experienced in person.

Entrance to the Encounter Ocean Odyssey is by timed ticket.  We had 2 PM tickets but arrived early and were admitted in.  We were placed in a group of approximately 25 people and began our journey.  You move with your group throughout the majority of the Encounter, over 60,000 square feet of space.

The Encounter begins in The Shallows.  Here we were introduced to sea life via a screened wall and floor.  After a few minutes here, we then entered the Coral Reef.  The reef is fairly dark lit by the glow of the bioluminescent coral and eels.  There is some seating in this room but the exhibit is interactive and meant for guests to walk around. After the Coral Reef you visit Deep Ocean at Night. This is a very dark room with benches for guests to sit on.  In this exhibit we used our sense of hearing to listen to the sounds of the ocean at night.

The journey then continued to Squid Battle.  Here we watched on surround screens as two Humboldt squid battled it out.  We then walked to the Kelp Forest & Sea Lions.  The kelp forest is a maze that you must navigate.  At the end, you get to play with a sea lion and make him do tricks with your hand movements. Our Encounter ended at Bait Ball where we watched a 3-D viewing of a feeding frenzy.

In every room there are knowledgeable guides, who explain what is going on. They usher you from one room to the next.  The group experience lasts for approximately 45 minutes.  After that, you are free to stay and explore in Exploration Hall for as long as you wish.

If you complete the scavenger hunt at the National Geographic Encounter Ocean Odyssey, you get a puzzle piece to decorate and add to the Ocean Community Wall.

In Exploration Hall children can color ocean images, learn more about the animals in the exhibit via touch screens, or “clean up” a portion of the ocean via the Pristine Seas Challenge.  There is also a scavenger hunt which anyone can complete by watching a series of videos.  Once the scavenger hunt is completed and shown to an Encounter Guide, you are given a puzzle piece to design and place on the Ocean Community Wall.  Although our kids spent some time exploring the exhibits in the hall, they did not wish to participate in the scavenger hunt.  As you exit the experience you are routed through a gift shop selling branded memorabilia and ocean-related gifts.

National Geographic definitely went for the “wow” factor with the Ocean Odyssey Encounter.  It was such a fun and different experience.  However, keeping with the Society’s mission, they did a great job of educating guests as will.  Visitors will leave with a greater knowledge of the wildlife living in the Pacific Ocean and the importance of keeping the oceans clean.

The Details:

National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey
226 W. 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue, Times Square
New York, NY 10036
(646) 308-1337

Hours: Sunday – Thursday 10 AM – 10:30 PM, Friday & Saturday 10 AM – midnight
Last tickets are sold one hour prior to closing time

Tickets:  Online, for reserved time, $39.50/adults, $36.50/seniors (65+) and veterans, $32.50/child (12 and under)

Tips:

*Reservations are highly recommended.  Order tickets online if you are looking to visit at a specific time.  If purchasing onsite you will be admitted for the next available time slot.

*This experience is recommended for ages 3+.  Strollers are not permitted in the experience. but there is place to park them during your visit.

*Photography is allowed, but flash photography and video recording are prohibited.

*If you are looking for someplace to eat before or after your Encounter, there are many restaurants within walking distance including Junior’s, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, Carmine’s, Sardi’s, City Kitchen and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

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Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Tween Girls

Check out this gift guide for ideas of stocking stuffers for tween girls.

(This post contains affiliate links.  By purchasing through them, NY Foodie Family makes a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this blog!)

Last week I posted some stocking stuffer ideas for tween boys.  Today I’m sharing some stocking stuffer ideas for tween girls.  I find there are many small items, perfect for this age group, that can easily fill a stocking.  Here are a few ideas that my eleven-year-old daughter has enjoyed in the past, or would like this year!

To EAT:

Candy and gum is always a hit with this age group.  Stock up on her favorites so she can share with her friends!

TO WEAR:

Girls are always in need of hair accessories and they make great stocking stuffers for tween girls.

Hair Accessories – My daughter has long hair and enjoys wearing braids and pony tails.  She is always in need of hair ties.  We found this set at Justice that includes matching colored bobby pins. Claire’s and other accessory stores sell all kinds of fun hair accessories too.

Jewelry – Jewelry is always a great idea for tweens and I don’t think you can ever go wrong with earrings (if her ears are pierced), necklaces or rings.

My daughter loves the variety of lip smacker flavors available. These are a great stocking stuffer idea for a tween girl.

Lip Balm/Chapstick –  As much as my daughter would like to wear makeup, I think that she’s too young.  Since she can’t wear lipstick she loves lip balm. Her current faves include Lipsmackers and eos. They come in a variety of flavors and shades.

A tween girl can never have too many bottles of nail polish! They make a great stocking stuffer for a tween girl.

Nail Polish – Just as with lip balm, a tween girl can never have too much nail polish!  Tweens love fun colors and designs. Nail files also make great stocking stuffers.

USEFUL:
Portable Power Bank – 
Although my tween doesn’t have a cell phone, she does enjoy using her Ipod….A LOT.  It’s always in need of charging and with a power bank she can charge it while out.

School Supplies – Even though school started several months ago, kids are always in need of pencils, pens and other school supplies.  Holidays are a great time to replenish their pens, pencils, post-its and more. She will love it if you get fun, designed supplies.

JUST FOR FUN:

Bath Bombs – Tween girls are obsessed with bath bombs!  This bath fizzers look like a lot of fun.  As it dissolves the user will find a small surprise inside.  It could be a small toy, a key chain, charm or more.

Phone/Ipod cases – This is another item that girls never seem to have enough of.  My daughter is always changing out her Ipod case.  There are so many fun cases with quotes, designs and characters. Unicorns are big right now and my daughter would love this case.

Slime – Slime is still a hit with the tween girls.  They especially enjoy making it and I know my daughter will love this Galaxy Slime starter kit.

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Soft’n Slo Squishies – My daughter and her middle school friends are obsessed with Squishies.  Made by Orb Toys, these are squeeze toys that rise back to their original shape, very slowly.  They are stress relief toys for kids!   They come in a variety of collectible shapes and sizes.  The newest Squishies are Costume Cutiez, that come with swappable costumes.

What are you putting in your tween daughter’s stocking?  

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Holiday Gift Ideas for Westchester County Families

Some unique holiday gift ideas perfect for Westchester County families.

I’ve been posting various holiday gift guides these past few weeks. However, there are some unique gifts that you can give to families living in Westchester County.  Check out this post that I shared on the Westchester County Moms Blog last year for some holiday gift ideas especially for Westchester County Families!

Some new additions this year include “Experience Gifts”:
While these places may not sell gift certificates, you can give money with a note for its intended use, or ask for a family experience, to these Westchester County family fun venues.

Grand Prix New York (Mt. Kisco, NY) -This venue has Go Karts, bowling and an arcade.  A full day of fun for families with older children.

Legoland Discovery Center (Yonkers, NY) – Designed for children ages 3-10, this venue has 2 rides, 10 build and play zones and a 4D cinema.  Located in Ridge Hill, there are several restaurant choices nearby for lunch or dinner.

Spins Hudson (Peekskill, NY) – Your family can have a day of fun here.  There’s an indoor ropes course, arcade and laser tag in this one venue.

 

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Five on Friday {Welcome December}

Happy Friday!  I skipped last week’s Five on Friday, since I was visiting with family.  I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving and have recuperated from turkey overload.  I spent Thanksgiving in Maryland visiting my sister and her family for the holiday.  While there we got to celebrate my niece’s 5th birthday too, which was fun.  I can’t believe that today is the first day of December!  I feel like it’s going to be crazy from now until the end of the month!  Thanksgiving weekend my husband put the outdoor Christmas lights up and we put up and decorated our tree.  This weekend we have a fun trip planned to New York City.  Here are five from this week:

Thanksgiving – A belated picture of our Thanksgiving feast.  The only downside of not hosting is that we don’t have the leftovers!  Luckily, I save my free Shoprite turkey and cook it for Christmas dinner.  So, we will have to wait until then.

Christmas Card – Our card has been ordered!  Last year we scheduled time to take a nice family picture.  Yeah, that was not happening this year!  We chose a collage card from Snapfish and filled it with different pictures from throughout the year.  Of course, it was only after the card was designed and perfected did I realize that each card was $1.70!! Luckily, I took advantage of their Cyber Monday deal.  But, it was a little more than we were expecting to pay.  They should be arriving any day and I will hopefully have them addressed and mailed out sometime next week.

Eating – As if the Thanksgiving feast wasn’t enough, we have a tradition of going out for Korean food the night before Thanksgiving.  I always order bibimbap, my favorite Korean dish.  Between sharing this with my daughter, plus the mandu (dumplings) and kimbap (Korean sushi rolls), I was stuffed.

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Reading – I finished Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng this week.  This was a really good book, but it took me awhile to read it.  It started slow, but picked up near the end.  I have just started reading Before We Were Yours.  I’m thinking I should have picked a lighter read after Little Fires Everywhere, and may be having book regret.  But, we shall see.

Watching – I haven’t had much time to watch anything this week.  My husband and I watched a couple of episodes of the newest season of the Great British Baking Show on Netflix.  I’m several weeks behind on This Is Us and Scandal.  We really don’t watch that much television and are looking into cutting our cable…..again.  Between Netflix, Amazon Prime and cable, there is just way too many choices and not enough time.  We had previously cut cable a couple of years ago.  However, now that my kids are getting older and we are leaving them home alone at times, we want the house phone.  Can you believe that it’s cheaper to have a bundle with internet, cable and phone over just internet and phone?!!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I wrote about Escape the Mystery Room, a great family date night.

Tuesday I shared Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Tween Boys.

A roundup and review of the November tween reads of my two kids, ages 9 and 11.

Wednesday I shared the November reads of my two tweens.

Here is a calendar of 31 days of December fun. If you are looking for some fun things to do this month I've got you covered!

Thursday I posted 31 Days of December Fun, a calendar of fun things to do this month.

Linking up with Katie and Andrea!  Have a great weekend!