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Five on Friday {Happy Summer!}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our disclosure policy for additional information.)

Today is the last day of school and summer vacation officially begins for the kids this afternoon!  I will officially have a 5th and 7th grader later today.  This week was a super busy one as the end of school year wrapped up.  We’ve been going non-stop and are also trying to pack and prepare for a weekend getaway we are taking to Lancaster, Pennsylvania this weekend.  I am looking forward to sharing all of the family fun that we have planned visiting some of the local attractions in the area.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I have several non-fiction books in from the library. I’m currently reading The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. I know I’m late to the game with this one, which had received a lot of hype last year. I’m totally reading this book in the wrong season and should be sitting in front of a fire, wrapped up in blankets to truly be hyggeligt!

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2. Watching – This past week my husband and I did a lot of movie watching!  We watched Lady Bird, Molly’s Game and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.  They were all really good, although I was a bit disappointed with the ending of Three Billboards.  I didn’t realize that Molly’s Game is based on a true story book.

 

3. Eating – Fried Chicken Sandwiches.  I love a good fried chicken sandwich.  Luckily, I don’t indulge too often.  A Melt Shop opened recently in Westchester County.  We visited last weekend and one of the items we tried was this fried chicken sandwich. It was really good!

4. Celebrating – My son’s moving up ceremony.  Our elementary school only goes up to 4th grade, so next year he will be attending the middle school with his sister. Tuesday was his moving up ceremony, which was followed by a class pool party.  It was a busy but fun day.  We are so proud of all that he accomplished during his elementary school years and are excited to see where his middle school journey will lead.

5. Father’s Day – On Father’s Day, we went out to lunch with my in-laws and brother-in-law.  We went to a local brewery and then went out for ice cream after.  It was a really hot day so we didn’t do the river walk like we had planned.  But we got to enjoy some good family time and relax later that evening as well.

This week on the blog I posted 5 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes Worth Making.  

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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5 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes Worth Making

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our disclosure policy for additional information.)

My husband and I like to think that we are pretty minimalist with the number of tools and gadgets we keep in our kitchen.  We spent years without an Instant Pot and seemed to manage just fine with our slow cooker.  Back in December, after seeing so many Instant Pot recipes online, I decided that it was finally time we got one.  We received our Instant Pot as a Christmas  present and have been using it regularly every since. The Instant Pot is such a versatile cooking appliance.  After trying out many different recipes, here are five Instant Pot chicken recipes that we think are worth making.  Almost all are Asian-inspired recipes and served with rice.

Instant Pot 20 Minute Chicken Burrito Bowls – Mexican-inspired dishes are always a hit in our house.  I’m super happy when I can get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes and this is one of those recipes.  This has all the flavors of a chicken burrito in bowl form.   I omitted the diced chiles from this recipe but otherwise cooked as directed.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken –  Although butter chicken is not the same as chicken tikka masala, it is very similar.  When you’re in the mood for some homemade Indian food, you can have this chicken ready in approximately 35 minutes.

Instant Pot Chicken Pad Thai – My husband made this dinner for us.  This isn’t homemade pad thai, as it calls for jarred pad thai sauce. We used Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Sauce.  I’m going to be honest, this dish tastes nothing like authentic pad thai.  However, if you want a pad-thai inspired dish, this will do it.  Especially if you want or need it made quickly.

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken is a quick and tasty dinner!

Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken –  This is another dish that has Asian-inspired flavors but doesn’t quite taste like traditional sesame chicken.  This was still enjoyed by the family and is quick and easy.  Can’t go wrong with that!

Instant Pot Sticky Korean Chicken – A quick and tasty chicken recipe!  I recommend cutting back on the gochugang or chili garlic sauce if cooking for kids.  This dish still had some heat, even when I cut back on the spicy sauce.  I recommend doubling the amount of chicken if you want to have some leftovers.

What is your favorite Instant Pot chicken recipe?  

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May 2018 Reads

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It’s time to share my May 2018 Reads with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  May was a slow reading month for me.  I was busy and when I did have some free time, I was just not motivated to read.  June is off to a great start though, so hopefully my reading mojo is back!  Here are my May reads:
3 Stars

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One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus – I started this book months ago, wasn’t into it and returned it to the library unfinished.  Then, several SUYB bloggers raved about it.  So I decided that I needed to give it another try.  It was Breakfast Club-esque.  It’s also a YA book and I feel like it read like a YA book.  Overall, it was an okay read for me but I’m glad that I went back and finished it.

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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – I hadn’t heard of this book until I discovered that Starz was creating a television show based on it. I’m all about reading the book before the show or movie so I had to give it a try.  As a foodie, I loved reading about the food and getting a behind the scenes look at the restaurant.  However, I found the writing to be overly-wordy and I found none of the characters really likeable.  I’m curious to see what the show is like though.  Has anyone seen it?!

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You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero – I really liked Sincero’s first book, You Are a Badass.  Her second book focuses on bringing more money into your life via manifesting and mindset.  Not a bad book if you are into that type of thing.

4 Stars

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Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins – When Nora Stuart is injured in an accident, she moves from Boston back to her small hometown of Maine to recover.  While there, she ends up discovering things about her past and forges new relationships.  I enjoyed this book and think it would make a good summer read.  This was my first Higgins book, but I think I may check some of her other books out.

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Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt – This was the second non-fiction book that I read this month.  Your Best Year Ever provides an actionable 5-step plan to reach your goals.  It’s motivational and helpful in goal setting.  However, I think I’d get more out of this book if I owned it, rather than borrowed it from the library.

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Five on Friday {Hooray for the Weekend!}

Happy Friday!  It’s been a crazy busy week at work and I am so glad that it’s the weekend!  I don’t even have anything major planned, as the boys will be on a Cub Scout camping trip.  My daughter and I will find some fun.

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1. Reading –  I am almost finished reading How to Walk Away by Katherine Center.  This was a book recommendation that I got in the Show Us Your Books linkup.  I have to agree it’s a good read.

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2. Television – The Bachelorette is back and I am watching it!  I loved Becca on The Bachelor and was so happy when Ari chose her.  But then when he broke up with her for  Lauren….well, I no longer liked him.  It’s even more fun because my daughter watches the show with me!

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3. Movies – Last weekend the kids watched Jumanji with my husband.  I started watching with them but was not into it at all.  But I finally watched Pitch Perfect 3 and I was so disappointed.  The first movie is one of my favorite movies.  So I hate to admit that this one was pretty bad.  I didn’t like the Fat Amy’s dad/action-movie story line.  Lesson: don’t mess with a good thing!

4. Family Fun – Last weekend we went on hiking at Turkey Mountain with some friends of ours.  It was about a 3 mile hike round trip with a little bit of an incline.  It was well worth it to get to the top and see this spectacular view.  Plus, I love this kind of outdoor activity where you’re getting good exercise but it doesn’t feel like it.

5. Eating – Surprisingly, the wow of the week was this Harvest Bread that I picked up at our local farmer’s market.  It had pieces of apple and raisin in it.  We had it topped with butter, cinnamon, apple slices and honey.  It was delicious!  This wasn’t the best bread for grilled cheese sandwiches, but I made them with it anyway and we enjoyed them!

 This week on the blog I wrote about the Reading Pagoda.

I’m linking up with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Visiting the Pagoda at Reading

 

During a recent visit to Reading, Pennsylvania our family visited the iconic pagoda.  Situated on Mt. Penn, the 110-year-old pagoda looks down upon the city and is, “Berk County’s most famous cultural and historical icon and landmark.”

As you drive up Dureya Drive, it is a surprising sight to see the majestic pagoda appear.  The walk from the parking area to the pagoda is a photo-worthy view of Reading, even on a cloudy day.   It sits 620 feet above the city of Reading and is anchored to the mountainside.

The pagoda was commissioned in 1906 by William A. Witman, Sr. and was intended to be a luxury resort.  Completed in 1908, the resort never opened due to the denial of a liquor license and a bank foreclosure.  Witman eventually deeded the pagoda to local business owner Jonathan Mould and his wife.  They in turn “sold” the pagoda for $1 to the City of Reading in 1911, who has since owned and cared for it.

The pagoda is seven stories high.  You enter on the second floor, through the Pagoda-Skyline Gift Shop and Happy Cat Cafe.  The cafe sells a variety of snacks and drinks, with plenty of seating to sit and enjoy them.  Although there is no admission, donations are requested to visit the top floor of the pagoda.

There are several staircases, totaling 87 steps in total, to climb to reach the top observation level.  Decorating the walls of each level are framed postcards and photos of the pagoda through the years. The sixth level of the pagoda houses a small exhibit that details the history of the pagoda and includes a small number of artifacts.

The observation floor is a small space.  There are two coin-operated binoculars that give a close-up view of the city of Reading.  Hanging from the ceiling is an antique Japanese bell.  This bell was cast in Japan in 1739 and shipped to the pagoda in 1907.

During your visit, be sure to walk down the outside steps and walk around the base of the pagoda.  There are several benches where you can sit and enjoy the view.

A visit to the Reading Pagoda will probably take about an hour.  This is a unique attraction that should be added to your to-see list when visiting or traveling though Berks County.

The Details:
Reading Pagoda
98 Duryea Drive
Reading, PA

Current Hours: (please check with the pagoda or the website for up-to-date information)
Thursday –  2 PM to 6 PM
Friday – Sunday 12 PM to 6 PM

Admission:  Free – $1.00 donation requested (50 cents for children 6-12 years) to visit the top floor observation area

Parking: Free parking

Tips:
*Wear comfortable shoes.  If it’s a nice day there are hiking trails adjacent to the pagoda.

*Food is available for purchase at the Happy Cat Cafe.  Snacks are reasonably priced with bottles of water for $1 and hotdogs for $2 each.  Only cash or checks are accepted at the cafe.

*There are bathrooms at the base of the pagoda.

*For geocache fans, there are two geocaches nearby (although we could only find one).

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Five on Friday {How is it June?!}

Happy Friday!  I cannot believe that it is already June.  The months have been flying by and these past few weeks have literally been a whirlwind.  Can you believe that it’s been a month since my last Five on Friday post?!  We’ve been busy with end-of-year activities and meetings.  It’s hard to believe that my son will graduate elementary school in a couple of weeks!  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I have to say that I haven’t been reading very much lately.  I haven’t had much free time and the time I do have I’ve been binge watching Safe (see below) and working on the blog.  However, I do try to read a little bit during my lunch break at work.  I’ve read Viola Shipman’s other books and have really enjoyed them.  I just started The Recipe Box, but am enjoying it as well.

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2. Watching – My husband and I did a binge watch of Safe on Netflix.  When I heard that Harlan Coben created the show I thought that it was based off on one of his books, but it’s not.  It has the suspense of his books, though my husband and I agreed that it got a bit ridiculous with all the possible suspects.

3. Listening – After watching Safe I got hooked on the theme song, Glitter & Gold by Barns Courtney.  This is one of those great songs that I would have never known about if it wasn’t for the show!

4. Drinking –  If you follow me on Instagram, then you already saw these.  However, as a huge hard cider fan I had to share.  I don’t drink a lot, but if I do, my go-to drink of choice is a cider.  I saw these cute Strongbow Hard Cider limited edition mini cider cans at my local Shoprite.  I love being able to try four different ciders without having to commit to a whole six-pack that I may not like. Even better, the four-pack was only $2!

The Brotherhood of Clams from Chatty Monks.

5. Family Fun – My brother recently moved to Reading, Pennsylvania.  Over the Memorial Day Weekend we took a trip down to visit him.  It was a short visit, but we had a great time.  Our weekend was filled with lots of eating (of course!) a visit to the Reading Pagoda, a wine and food festival and dinner at a local brewery.  It was also so hot that we ended up stopping at Walmart and picking up bathing suits for the kids so they could go swimming in his apartment complex pool.  Pictured is the clam dish that my son ordered when we went out for dinner.  Out of all of our entrees, he picked the best tasting one!  #RaisingFoodies

This week on the blog I shared:

Recent Tween Reads 

Have a great weekend!  Sharing with Friday Favorites!

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Recent Tween Reads

(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more details.)

School has been busy but my tweens have still been reading up a storm.  Here is a look at some of the recent books that my 9 and 12-year-old children have been reading.  With summer vacation soon approaching, maybe some of these reads will interest your own tweens.

The 9-year-old:

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Big Nate on a Roll by Lincoln Peirce
Published: HarperCollins, August 2011
Pages: 224
Source: borrowed from the library
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the third book in the Big Nate series.  This series is similar to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series in that there are lots of cartoon-like illustrations mixed with the text.  In this book, Nate’s Timber Scouts troop is selling wall hangings.  The grand prize is a customized skate board that Nate really wants.  But he has major competition from new troop member Artur.  Who will win the grand prize?! As a fan of cartoons and comics, my son likes this series.  He’s read a couple of other books in the Big Nate series and thinks Nate is a funny character.

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Bunny vs. Monkey: Book Two by Jamie Smart
Published by: David Fickling Books, August 2015
Pages: 64
Source: borrowed from the library
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

This is the second book in the Bunny vs. Monkey children’s graphic novel series.  Bunny fights for good while Monkey fights for evil.  This book is broken up by seasons, with several comics for each month.  Each comic stars Bunny, Monkey, Pig and Squirrel along with some other woodland creatures. Monkey is always unsuccessfully trying to destroy the forest. My son found this book to be hilarious.

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The Lost Hero: The Graphic Novel adapted by Robert Venditti
Art by:  Nate Powell
Published by: Disney-Hyperion, October 2014
Pages: 192
Source: borrowed from the library
Rating: 4/5 stars

My son and I read The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan together a couple of months ago.  When he saw this graphic novel at the library, he of course had to check it out.  This book combines his love of comics with the great story of The Lost Hero.

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Middle School Get Me Out of Here by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
Published by: Jimmy Patterson, May 2012
Pages: 288
Source: borrowed from the library
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the follow-up book to Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life.  Rafe is now in 7th grade and has been accepted into art school.  The family is now living with Rafe’s grandmother in the city, after there’s a fire in the restaurant where his mom worked.  His new school isn’t all that Rafe expected it to be and he deals with bullying and trying to make new friends and fit in.  There are plenty of illustrations in this book that help add to the story.  Fans of the first book will likely enjoy this book as well.

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Stick Dog Slurps Spaghetti (#6) by Tom Waston
Published by: HarperCollins, March 2016
Pages: 240
Source: borrowed from the library
Rating: 3/5 stars

This is the sixth book in the Stick Dog series. This is another series with lots of simple drawings. Can you tell the type of books my son enjoys reading?!   In this book after Stick Dog and his friends get a small taste of spaghetti, they go on a search to get more.  He enjoyed this book as much as the others that he read.

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Zach King: My Magical Life 
Illustrated by:  Beverly Arce
Published by: HarperCollins, September 2017
Pages: 208
Source: borrowed from library
Rating: 5/5 stars

Zach King is a social media star and magician.  My Magical Life is his debut novel targeted for middle grade readers.  Everyone in Zach’s family has a magical power, but he hasn’t discovered his yet. So, his parents decide to stop homeschooling him and send him to a regular middle school.  This book comes with a free downloadable app and it will eventually be coming to the big screen. Prior to reading the book my son was familiar with Zach King from YouTube.  He loved this book and thought it was a fun read.

The 12-year-old:

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30 People Who Changed the World – Edited by Jean Reynolds
Published by: Seagrass Press, October 2017
Pages: 144
Source:  c/o publisher
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This is a non-fiction book that includes 30 “bite-sized essay from award-winning writers.”  Biographies include Julius Caesar, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Park, Sally Ride, Queen Victoria, Malala Yousafzai and many more.  Each essay includes photographs and additional print and media resources to learn more information about the individual.  My daughter found this book to be very educational.  This isn’t a book that she read straight through, but rather would read an essay every now and then.  Her favorites include Sally Ride and Malala Yousafzai.

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The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson
Published by: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, June 2016
Pages: 309
Source: borrowed from library
Rating:  4/5 stars

This is Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson’s first YA novel.  In this book, high school sophomore Charlie is training to be an Olympic gymnast.  But she really wants to do normal high school things like date boys and go to prom.   I read this book when it was first published.  I had to remind myself that it is a YA book, intended for younger readers.  However, the writing and story is appropriate for even middle school readers.  My daughter really liked this book.  She liked Charlie and found her double life intriguing.

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Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens by Julie Mata
Published by: Disney-Hyperion, May 2014
Pages: 288
Source: borrowed from library
Rating: 3/5 stars

This middle-grade fiction book is about Kate Walden, a seventh-grade film fanatic.  She’s working on her breakout film Night of the Zombie Chickens starring her mom’s organic hens.  Then her best friend ditches her for the “cool kids” and Kate ends up alone at the loser table during lunch.  Kate ends up dealing with both family issues and friendship issues all while trying to finish her film. My daughter thought this was an okay book about perseverance.

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Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Published by: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, March 2010
Pages: 295
Source: borrowed from library
Rating: 5/5 stars

11-year-old Melody has cerebral palsy and cannot walk or talk.  However, Melody refuses to be defined by her disability.  My daughter loves this book so much and has read it multiple times.  She finds it very inspirational and highly recommends this book to middle school-aged readers.

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Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
Published by: Jimmy Patterson, June 2017
Pages: 336
Source: borrowed from library
Rating: 3/5 stars

Seventh graders David and Michael are still stuck with the nicknames they received in preschool, “Pottymouth” and “Stoopid.”  When a new show on the Cartoon Network debuts, with the name “Pottymouth & Stoopid” the two become very popular.  Who is making the television show and how do they know so much about David and Michael’s life?  This book is a humorous take on the serious topic of bullying.  My daughter thought that this was an okay read.  She’s read several other of James Patterson’s series and this wasn’t her favorite.

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The Power of Poppy Pendle by Natasha Lowe
Published  by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, September 2012
Pages: 268
Source:  Courtesy of the author
Rating:  3/5 stars

Poppy is born into a long line of witches and has inherited great powers. Even though she’s a talented witch, she really wants to be a baker. However, her parents disagree and will do anything to keep her away from baking.  That’s when Poppy decides to take matters into her own hands.  This is the first book of three books in the Poppy Pendle series.  Several recipes that Poppy makes in the book are included in the back of the book.  My daughter thought this was a good book.  She liked when Poppy stands up for herself and makes new friends.  She also enjoyed reading about all of the delicious things that Poppy made.

 

 

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5 Podcasts Every Blogger Should Listen To

Are there any other podcast fans out there?  I am a podcast junkie and am always on the lookout for new ones to listen to.  I know that there are hundreds of podcasts out there.  As I’ve gotten more serious about blogging, I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities to educate myself about the business. There are tons of podcasts about blogging, starting a business and become an entrepreneur.  However, here are 5 podcasts every blogger should listen to (in my humble opinion!).  I’ve listened to these regularly and have found them to be very helpful.

Boss Girl Creative Podcast | A Podcast for Female Creative Entrepreneurs

Boss Girl Creative
This podcast is hosted by Taylor Bradford.  I was first introduced to Taylor with her blog Pink Heels Pink Truck, which is now the Taylor Bradford Blog.  She’s someone I was familiar with who has become a bossgirl.   Boss Girl Creative provides strategies on social media and blogging to help grow an online empire.  To-date, there are 154 episodes.  I really enjoyed her Nitty Gritty series where she interviews various influential bloggers about their blogging journeys.

The Chopped Podcast

The Chopped Podcast
This podcast is hosted by Marley McMillen, of the blog NamelyMarley.  She is also the creator of the Chopped Conference, a one-day conference for food bloggers.  It’s been a couple of months since a new podcast episode has aired.  However, to-date there are 157 episodes to listen to.  While this podcast focuses on taking your food blog to the next level, most of the information is very relevant to any type of blog.

The Food Blogger Pro Podcast

Food Blogger Pro Podcast
This podcast is hosted by Bjork Ostrom, husband of Lindsey Ostrom from the blog Pinch of Yum. Don’t be misled by the title of the podcast.  Yes,  this is another podcast that is targeted towards food bloggers.  However, like the Chopped Podcast, most of the episodes are useful to all bloggers, regardless of niche.  To-date there are 151 episodes to listen to.

The Influencer Podcast : Marketing, Influence, Blogging, Entrepreneur, Branding, Business, Social Media, Growth

The Influencer Podcast 
This podcast is hosted by Julie Solomon, a New York Times best-selling publicist.  This podcast focuses on helping create a brand and business.  She interviews various influencers and leaders in the social media realm. To-date there are 60 episodes and 11 influencer insights mini-episodes to listen to.

Pursuit With PurposeOK
Pursuit With Purpose
This is one of the newer podcasts that I’ve started listening to.  Melyssa Griffin is another blogger that I was familiar with before she started her podcast.  This podcast focuses more on, “creating a life and business that is meaningful, authentic, and fulfilling.”  This podcast focuses less on the hows and whys of blogging and more on mindset and motivation as a blogger.  To-date there are 38 episodes to listen to.

What podcasts do you listen to that help you blog? 

 

A Weekend in Corning

Nicknamed “Crystal City,” Corning, NY is perfect for a fun family weekend getaway.  Situated in the southern Finger Lakes region, there is something here for everyone. Last summer I visited Corning with my two children and we had a great time. However, the town will appeal to art lovers, wine connoisseurs, or couples looking for a romantic getaway as well.  The trip to Corning is a little less than 4 hours by car.

Where to Stay:

Staybridge Suites Corning
Staybridge Suites Corning is located a short distance from the Corning Museum of Glass.  This hotel is perfect for families.  Our suite had a small kitchenette with a table and chairs and a living room with a television.  The kids shared one bedroom and each got a bed all to themselves, while I slept in the other bedroom.  Getting ready in the morning was made easier with a bathroom in each bedroom.  My kids loved swimming in the indoor pool.  Breakfast is included with your stay, which is always nice when traveling, to save on expenses.  The buffet had a decent selection of hot and cold choices including oatmeal, scrambled eggs, waffles, pastries, fruit and more.  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings the hotel hosts an evening reception with complimentary food and beverages.

What to do:

Rockwell Museum
The Rockwell Museum is located in the heart of Corning, on the corner of Cedar Street. The museum houses a diverse collection of art that tells the story of the American experience through the works of American artists.  Open at 9 AM, this is a great place to start your visit in Corning.   You can easily spend a couple of hours viewing the paintings, sculptures, photographs and other works of art.  You can buy a combo ticket to the Corning Museum of Glass and take advantage of the free shuttle.  Read all about why this museum is great for families!

 

 

Corning Museum of Glass
Most people associate Corning with the Corning Museum of Glass and of course it is a mandatory stop on your trip. The Corning Museum of Glass houses the world’s largest collection of glass art, with over 3,500 years of glass history exhibited throughout its galleries.  During your visit you will also be able to watch live glass making demonstrations that are held continuously throughout the day.

Prior to your visit, be sure to make a reservation at the Studio if you want to participate in a Make Your Own Glass experience.  For an additional fee, you can enjoy a memorable glass blowing experience and take home a souvenir of your trip.  Because the glass needs to undergo a slow cooling process, it must remain at the studio overnight and can be picked up the next day or shipped to your house, for a fee.  Read all about our visit to the CMOG.

Other Museums and Historic Sites
Located in or around Corning you will also find other museums including the Arnot Art Museum,  Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, the Finger Lakes Boating Museum and the Erie Depot.  History fans will also enjoy Mark Twain’s Elmira.

Watkins Glen International Speedway

Located approximately 30 minutes away is the Watkins Glen International Speedway.  If you are into car racing, you may want to plan a weekend when a race is taking place.  On specific dates, you can purchase a pass to drive your car around the raceway!


Shopping

The Gaffer District is home to over 50 shops. From clothing, jewelry, glass, wine, cigars, art and more, you will find something for everyone among the different shops.

Wineries & Breweries
The Finger Lakes is well-known for its wine trails.  But did you know that the region is also home to many breweries and distilleries?  While not something that I could partake in with the kids in tow, I can’t wait to return with my husband to enjoy the craft beverage trail.

Outdoor Fun
There are many different outdoor activities to enjoy in Corning.  Depending on when you visit you can kayak, hike, bike, fish, boat and even horseback ride.  No matter what season you visit, you should make time for a stop at Watkins Glen State Park.  A short drive from Corning, this New York State park is home to 19 waterfalls, a couple of which you can actually walk behind!  During our visit we kayaked, went horseback riding, and also visited Watkins Glen State Park.

Where to Eat:


 Old World Café

Within walking distance of the Rockwell Museum is the Old World Cafe.  It sits in the heart of the Gaffer District, and is a perfect place to grab lunch.  You can enjoy the homemade soups, sandwiches and salads, but leave room for some Purity ice cream, served in the parlor.

Hand + Foot
Back in the Gaffer District enjoy dinner at Hand + Foot.  The have a drink menu featuring an extensive list of draft beers.  Their menu features sandwiches and dishes made with seasonal ingredients.  The restaurant focuses on community and has one long table for seating, conducive for meeting the locals and making new friends.

Nickel’s Pit BBQ
After a hike at Watkins Glen State Park, visit Nickel’s Pit BBQ located on North Franklin Street. The restaurant is located in the historic Watkins Glen fire department building.   It serves all kinds of delicious BBQ in a casual, but fun atmosphere.

Village Tavern Restaurant
Located approximately 40 minutes away in Hammondsport, near Lake Keuka, is Village Tavern Restaurant.  This European style bar and restaurant serves award-winning wines and over 100 different beers.  While the restaurant specializes in fresh fish and seafood, the lunch menu includes a variety of salads and sandwiches.  This restaurant is seasonal and is open May through the beginning of December.

Note:  Thank you Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes for hosting our visit.  As always,  all opinions are our own. 

Duckpin Bowling {Family Fun}

I’m sure many families have been bowling before.  But have you tried Duckpin bowling?!  Duckpin bowling is similar to the bowling that most of us are familiar with.  However, there are some differences. First, although there are ten pins, they are smaller and lighter than  those used in 10-pin bowling, making it more difficult to roll a strike.  Second, the balls are smaller in size and do not have finger holes.

Our family recently visited the only local Duckpin bowling alley that we are aware of, Danbury Duckpin Lanes, in Danbury, Connecticut.

This is an old school bowling alley. There are no televisions or streaming LCD screens.  The lanes don’t have automatic scoring or pin clearing.  But there is lots of memorabilia and look at that clock!

When you check-in at the main desk you are assigned a lane and given a scoring paper and pencil.  The time is recorded, as you pay by the amount of time spent bowling, not per game.  Scoring is calculated the same way as regular bowling.  Except in duckpin bowling, you roll three balls per frame. 

 

After each roll you hit the floor pedal to clear the fallen pins.

 

Then once you roll your third ball, you hit the reset button to load the pins for the next player.

There is a bit of a learning curve to Duckpin bowling, mostly in getting comfortable holding and throwing the ball. The smaller balls were a bit hard to hold, especially for the kids.  Although the bowling alley has bumpers available,  we opted not to use them.  They are the kind that have to be put in and everyone has to use them.  My son wasn’t very happy about this, since many of his balls ended up in the gutter.

We spent an hour and twenty minutes bowling two games, with my husband winning both.  Although there is a small snack bar at the lanes, we didn’t eat while we were there, as we had gone out to lunch right before bowling.

Duckpin bowling is a fun variation of ten-pin bowling.  We had a great time at Danbury Duckpin Lanes and plan on visiting again soon!

The Details:
Danbury Duckpin Lanes
7 East Hayestown Road
Danbury, CT 06811
(203) 744-4505

Hours:  Closed Monday & Tuesday
Wednesday & Thursday 3:30 PM – 6 PM
Friday 3:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Saturday 12 PM – 9:30 PM
Sunday 11 AM – 6 PM

Price:  3o minute minimum, price starts at $16 for 30 minutes
Shoes:  $1.50/pair

*Credit cards are accepted.

*The snack bar sells food at a reasonable price:  pizza $2.00, french fries $2.00, hot dog $1.75 plus snacks, beverages, ice cream and more.