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Folk Art and More at the Fenimore Art Museum {Cooperstown, NY}

(Thank you to Go Cooperstown and the Fenimore Art Museum for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Driving by the Fenimore Art Museum, located on Route 80 in Cooperstown, you might assume it’s a giant mansion.  And you’d be right.  Avid art collector Stephen Carlton Clark donated Fenimore House to the New York State Historical Association for its new headquarters and museum in 1939. The museum’s origins date back to 1899. The country estate of Clark’s late brother was built on land that was once owned by James Fenimore Cooper.  Today, it houses a large collection of American Folk Art and Native American Art.

The first floor of the museum includes the Main Gallery, which has one of the largest folk art collections in the country.  The art includes Indian Maiden (pictured above) a Cigar Store Figure, paintings, weather vanes, carvings and more.

The Cooper Gallery is also located on the main floor.  For more than seven generations, the Cooper family has had ties to the Lake Otsego area.  The most well known Cooper is probably American writer, James Fenimore Cooper.  His book, The Leatherstocking Tales, features the iconic story The Last of the Mohicans.  This gallery displays many of James Fenimore Cooper’s personal effects and possessions.

The lower level of the museum houses the Thaw Gallery of American Indian Art.  Eugene and Clare Thaw, residents of Cherry Valley in Otsego County, were avid art collectors and dealers.  In the late 1990’s the couple moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and and began collecting Native American Art.  They amassed a large collection over the years and donated their entire collection to the Fenimore Art Museum.  New objects have been added to the collection, which now numbers over 850 pieces. Also on the lower level are several galleries that host the various temporary exhibitions.

My husband and I both agreed that our favorite exhibit at the museum was the temporary exhibit Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham.  Photography was not allowed in this exhibit.  However, Cunningham (1883-1976) was considered an experimental photographer and one of the pioneers of the art.  Her photographs on display reflected this, covering a depth and breadth that was truly amazing.

We found the Education Room, up on the second floor near the end of our visit.  With comfortable chairs, my husband and I sat and relaxed, perusing some of the library of art books.  The kids enjoyed sitting at the tables drawing and had even more fun using the photo station to create still lifes and practice their photography skills (my son’s picture is above).

Also on the second floor were additional temporary exhibitions including Hamilton’s Final Act: Enemies and Allies, The Barber Surreal: Eugene Berman’s Reimagined Barber of Seville and Thomas Cole and the Garden of Eden.  As you can tell from just the names of the exhibits, the Fenimore showcases a wide variety of art.

Along with the Education Room, the kids really enjoyed the family scavenger hunts.  The Fenimore Art Museum has two different scavenger hunts.  One’s in the Main Gallery and one is in the Thaw Gallery of American Indian Art.  These scavenger hunts make the kids take a closer look at the different works in the gallery to gather their clues.  There is a fun prize at the end of the scavenger hunt.

The back of the museum overlooks Otsego Lake and has beautiful views.  We were prevented from accessing the rear areas on the day of our visit, as there was a wedding ceremony taking place.  But, on a normal day, you can walk around the outside grounds.  We were able to walk the property in front of the museum and see the giant Haida Totem Pole.  The museum acquired this totem pole in 2010, after Eugene Thaw commissioned the work from Haida artist and carver Reg Davidson.  The pole, standing 3o-feet tall, sits on the front lawn of the museum.

The Fenimore Art Museum is a community museum.  Not only does it house the exhibitions described above, but it offers lecture series, community exhibitions, painting and photography workshops and more. Although the museum is small, the changing exhibits and special program offerings, give visitors many reasons to return.

The Details:
Fenimore Art Museum
5798 Route 80
Cooperstown, NY 13326
FenimoreArt.org

Hours:  May 8 – October 8, daily 10 AM – 5 PM October 9 – December 30, Tues. – Sun. 10 AM – 4 PM, Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Admission:  $12/ Adults and Juniors (13-64), $10.50/Seniors (65+), Free/Children 12 and under

Parking:  Free parking along driveway in front of the museum and and side lot

Tips:

*Plan to spend approximately 1 1/2 hours or less on a visit with kids.

*You can purchase food at the Fenimore Cafe, which is open seasonally.

*Docent tours are available daily May 26 through September 3 and Saturdays and Sundays March 31 through May 25 and September 24 through December 30.  They last approximately 4o minutes.  Check the website or admission desk for times.

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Your Best Weekend {Volume 10}

(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policy for additional information.)

It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!  After this week, “Your Best Weekend” will be on a hiatus.  I love curating this weekly post, but it takes a lot of time.  With working full-time, doing the whole parenting thing and trying to write my other posts, I don’t have enough time to get this post written every week as well.

Celebrate:

Sunday October 14 is National Dessert Day!  Oh all the possibilities on celebrating this day.  Are you going to go out and have a treat or stay in and make something?

Self-Care:

Journal Prompt/Reflection: What would your younger self be proud of you for today?

Challenge:  Get a manicure.  If you don’t want to/can’t spend the money, paint your nails instead.

New Releases:

DVD: Out on DVD this week is Hotel Transylvania 3 for a family movie night.  For a date night or solo movie watching night, Eighth Grade is on my list.

In Theaters:  First Man, which looks at the life of Neil Armstrong comes out tomorrow.  For families, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween come out Friday as well.  Rated PG, fans of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series will likely enjoy this movie.

Books:  New books published this week include: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown (nonfiction/leadership), The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (Fiction, sequel), Skinnytaste: One and Done by Gina Homolkoa (cookbook), Elbow Grease by John Cena (children’s book),  Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich (YA/contemporary fiction), Quiet by Tomie dePaola (children’s book), The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (historical fiction, mystery) and Holy Ghost by John Sanford (series, mystery).

 Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter: What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Family Fun Idea: Go for a walk in a park or nearby woods.  Collect fall leaves in different shades, acorns and/or pine cones and then have a fall craft day. Check out some of these fall leaf and pine cone craft ideas.

Weekly Recommendations:

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Watch:  The movie Tully.  Marlo (Charlize Theron), is a mom of three, including a newborn.  Her brother pays for a night nanny for her.  Enter Tully, the young nanny who Marlo forms a special bond with.  The script was written by Diablo Cody, who also wrote Juno and Young Adult.

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Read: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.  I have become a big Rachel Hollis fan.  I didn’t realize until reading this book that she had written Party Girl, a fiction book.  Girl, Wash Your Face is a non-fiction book, where Hollis examines lies that we often tell ourselves that prevent us from living our best life.

App:  Cozi.  I know I’m super late to the Cozi app. My husband is finally getting his first iPhone this week and I’m excited for us to be able to use Cozi to keep us organized.  I like that we can assign each family member a color and can sync calendars to the app.  And it’s free!  I’ve just started using it and am still in the learning stages.  But I’m glad to have an electronic organization system in addition to my Happy Planner.

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National Baseball Hall of Fame {Cooperstown}

Most people automatically associate Cooperstown, NY with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and rightly so.  The little town attracts big crowds of baseball fans from all over the country.  Since 1939, the Hall of Fame has been showcasing its extensive collection baseball memorabilia and housing stories of baseball’s greatest legends.  But, as you will see, you don’t have to be a die-hard baseball fan to get caught up in the excitement!

Full disclosure: I’m not a mega baseball fan but I’ve been to my fair share of games.  I was raised as a Yankees fan and it was fun to see so much historic Yankee memorabilia on display.  My parents and in-laws are on opposing sides for a Subway Series (Yankees vs. Mets fans) and my kids aren’t really loyal to either team.

But what do you do when you visit the museum with two tweens who also aren’t big baseball fans, but you have a husband who is?  You split up.

We arrived right before the 11 AM guided tour of the Plaque Gallery, which my husband joined, and met up with him in the gallery at the end of the tour so we could walk around.  This is really a sight to see, where plaques featuring the greatest baseball players of all time, hang on the walls.

While my husband was taking the tour, the kids and I were working on completing the scavenger hunt.  I love it when museums have these for kids to do.  It helps them focus on some of the major exhibits and forces them to stop and read some information.  It also helped that there’s a prize offered once it’s completed.

Beginning with the exhibit Taking the Field:  The 19th Century, visitors are led through a timeline of baseball’s history.  Other major exhibits in the timeline include: Babe Ruth: His Life and Legacy, Diamond Dreams: Women in Baseball, Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience, Viva Baseball! (focused on baseball in the Caribbean Basin countries) and ending with Whole New Ballgame, which details baseball from the 1970’s to present day.

It was fun to walk through The Locker Room and see all the Major League Baseball teams’ recent uniforms and equipment.

Fans of all ages will enjoy testing their baseball knowledge with the baseball quiz kiosks located on the third floor.

Families with young kids will enjoy making a stop at the The Sandlot Kids’ Clubhouse.  This room has books, television shows playing (including a Dora the Explorer baseball-themed episode) and other fun activities for little ones.  Even my older kids loved the baseball mitt seats!

You must be sure to watch the film Generations of the Game.  Located on the second floor of the museum, the film plays every hour, on the hour.  Did I mention that I’m not really a baseball fan?  This film had me tearing up!  You get to see some of the highlight moments of some of the Hall of Famers.  Their love and passion for baseball is truly inspiring.

Every July, during Hall of Fame Weekend, new members are inducted into the Hall in a special ceremony.  The special weekend also includes an awards ceremony and a Parade of Legends, among other festivities.  This past July, new inductees included Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell.  It was interesting to learn that there’s not a set number of inductees each year.  From a ballot of recently retired players, four different voting panels choose the inductees.

I’m glad that our family was finally able to make a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  As a New Yorker, it seems only fitting to visit this iconic museum that’s really not too far from home.

The Details:

National Baseball Hall of Fame
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326
1-888-HALL-OF-FAME

Hours:  Open 7 days a week (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day)
Labor Day – Memorial Day:  9 AM – 5 PM  Extended Hours Memorial Day – Labor Day

Admission: $23/adults, $15/seniors, $12/children (7-12) & veterans, Free/children (6 and under) & active/career retired military

Parking:
  Paid parking in nearby lot.  Free parking available in three lots throughout Cooperstown with Trolley service ($2/per rider per day).

Tips:

*Food is not served at the museum.  There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along Main Street, where you can go for lunch or dinner. When you leave you can get your hand stamped so you can return during the day.

*Expect to spend a minimum of 3 hours at the museum. Baseball fans will probably spend a lot more time!

 

 

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September Reads 2018

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Last month, I remember thinking that my reading time would decrease drastically come the fall.  With school back in session and driving the kids to their various activities, I didn’t think I’d be able to read a lot.  So, I was greatly surprised to discover that I read ten books last month!  Once again, I’m linking up with Steph and Jana who are celebrating the 4 year anniversary of the Show Us Your Books linkup!  This linkup is where I get most of my reading recommendations and what has made my to-read list triple in length.  Congrats ladies!  I enjoy reading all the book  blog posts every month!

3 stars:

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Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka – High school senior, Megan, likes to direct theater but needs an acting credit for her college admission requirement.  When she’s cast as the lead, Juliet, in her school’s production of Romeo & Juliet, she is not happy.  Of course drama happens both on and off the stage as friendships and relationships are tested.  This was a cute YA drama story written by a couple.

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Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding – Frances and Kate are unlikely friends.  Kate is beautiful, confident and charming, while Frances is overweight and insecure.  But their sons become best friends and the two women do too.  Both are keeping dark secrets that eventually come to light and change their worlds.  I found this to be pretty good suspense read that kept me interested.

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Slow:  Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary – McAlary hosts The Slow Home podcast and has a blog with the same name.  This book is her guide to living a slower, more minimalist lifestyle.  This was my only non-fiction read of the month.  I’ve really been into learning more about minimalism and slowing down.  I just need to start putting it into practice.

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Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman – Erin and Mark are honeymooning in Bora Bora when they make an unexpected discovery in the water.  Their decision regarding what to do with said discovery leads to secrets and lies, taking them down a dark path.

4 stars:

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All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover – I love Colleen Hoover’s books and her newest didn’t disappoint.  This emotional read focused on infertility and the effects it has on a marriage.

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And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman – This is only my third Backman book but so far he hasn’t disappointed.  This novella is really a goodbye love letter between a grandfather/grandson and father/son where memories are brought up.  It was a sad, short read that reminded me of my grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.

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How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan – This story follows three generations of women who are all on Martha’s Vineyard after a crisis.  Each woman is struggling with her own problems and secrets but focuses on the importance of family bonds.  This was my first book by Sarah Morgan.  It seems she’s written a lot of romance books, but this one is more contemporary fiction.

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Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren – After seeing this book show up so many times on the link up I finally got a hold of it.  I’m so glad that I read it and can’t wait to read more books by this duo.  This contemporary romance is all about love and loss.  I loved Ethan and Macy’s relationship and their favorite word game.

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Now is Everything by Amy Giles – Hadley McCauley is the perfect daughter, smart, star lacrosse player, etc. Because when she’s not, she gets punished by her father.  But when he starts getting on her younger sister, Lila, Hadley will do anything to protect her.  When there’s a horrible accident, Hadley is the only who knows what happened.  And after attempting to take her own life, she’s not talking.  This was a powerful, emotional YA read.  The father’s behavior really angered me and it’s sickening to know that there are really father’s out there that behave like he did.

5 Stars:

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I read this book with 10-year-old son. It was a reread for me, but a YA book that I thought might interest him, which it did.  As he’s getting older, I’m finding it more difficult to find “reading” books that hold his interest that aren’t graphic novels or manga.  This was motivating because we are going to watch the movie together.

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Broomstick Sweetie’s:The Dawn of the Suburban Underground Supper Club

(Thank you Nicole for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

The e-mail arrives in your inbox 24 hours before the event and gives you an address and an arrival time.  Wine recommendations are included, since this is a BYOB meal. You have no idea what the menu will be or who else will be attending.  This, my friends, is the dawn of the underground supper club experience and it’s taking place right here in Westchester County.  While the concept of an underground food event is not new, it has finally arrived in the suburbs of New York City.

Nicole Brake is the mastermind behind Broomstick Sweetie’s.  She is a mom of two children (ages 9 and 15), works part-time as a nurse, and is a former ballerina who still enjoys taking dance classes.  What started as a side gig, selling baked goods and fudge at local farmer’s markets, has evolved into an underground supper club.  The goal of Nicole’s supper club is to get people from all over to come together to share a unique dining experience.

Each dining event has a theme where, “seasonally inspired comfort food and dessert with a global influence” is served.  Nicole creates a 4-5 course menu reflecting that evening’s theme.  You don’t know what dishes you will be served until you arrive.  Therefore, the only requisite of the supper club is to be an adventurous eater. It is important to note that these menus are not vegetarian or gluten-free.

Ideally, you attend the supper club either alone, or with one other person.  The goal is to meet and mingle with others where you: “enter as strangers, leave as friends.”  As a super-introvert, I was hesitant about attending.  However, the whole concept intrigued me too much to pass up.  So, this past weekend I attended an October Harvest Moon themed dinner.

When I arrived at the designated location, a platter of bread and homemade chimichurri sauce was set out on the porch, along with homemade sangria. Nicole’s husband Robert was also at the event, greeting guests and making sure everyone was comfortable.   This was a very relaxed setting to get to know the other dinner guests as they arrived.

Eventually, we were moved inside to a dining room. There’s no awkwardness of where to sit, as name cards are set out.  Plus, the maximum guest count is ten, to keep the gathering intimate and manageable.

The printed menu was reflective of Nicole’s goal of seasonal comfort food. As a self-taught cook, many of the dishes she serves are tried and true examples that she’s made for her family.

The first course of the evening was a pumpkin soup.  This was delicious.  It had all the flavors of fall, including pumpkin and apple, and was garnished with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds.  Nicole served generous servings of soup in giant bowls. I chose not finish, although I would have gladly licked the bowl clean, because I knew there were many more courses to go.

Next up was a spinach salad.  The spinach leaves were covered in a peppery vinaigrette and the salad was garnished with slices of pear and Parmesan.

The main course was a garlic infused chipotle pork tenderloin with scalloped potato gratin and butternut squash.  The pork was moist and flavorful, while the potatoes were soft and creamy.  The butternut squash was so tender and sweet that it could have been served for dessert.  Once again, I didn’t finish every last bite on the plate in order to leave room for dessert.  Some diners were smart and asked for their leftovers to be wrapped.  Definitely something to keep in mind for the future, and an added bonus is being treated to Robert’s aluminum foil art.

Since Broomstick Sweetie’s originated as a baking and dessert brand, I knew dessert would be delicious.  I was not disappointed and was glad I had left room for the Apple Bavarian Torte.  An iced broomstick sugar cookie was a bonus treat!

The kitchen of this house was adjacent to the dining room, so we could see Nicole plating dishes.  As I mentioned, these dinners are BYOB.  Several guests brought bottles of wine and invited the other diners to share.  Throughout the evening Robert was making sure glasses were full (of water, wine, or both!) and serving and clearing dishes.

Okay, so the food is delicious but what is the dining experience like?

 

If this introvert had a great evening, then there’s no doubt you will as well!  The ages of the other guests ranged from early twenties to late 50’s.  At the Harvest Dinner there were ten guests including a film maker, an administrative assistant, a kitchen designer, a litigation lawyer, and a financial adviser. Conversation flowed smoothly as we all had at least one thing in common: we like food.  While Nicole does not sit and dine with guests, she does encourage them to come talk to her while she’s cooking.  She even had a pianist playing live music during the evening.

Discussions ranged from favorite restaurants to most adventurous foods eaten.  One guest had eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters (go ahead, Google it), another frog’s legs and alligator.  One couple attended a dinner party where they dined in a swimming pool.  I learned that, in India, there’s no such thing as what we Americans call “curry.”  Curry is really just a blend of different spices.  I also learned that there’s a restaurant in NYC that sells only one dish: steak frites, and obviously does that one dish very well at a super-reasonable price.

I highly recommend attending one of Broomstick Sweetie’s underground supper club events.  Future event through the end of the year include a costume-wearing “Dishes to Die For,” Tastes of Southwest, Friendsgiving Feast, Italian Comfort, a Charles Dickens Dinner and an End of Year Soiree.  The website gives further details on the specific dates.  These dinners are very reasonably priced at $65 a person.

This supper club is great because you can attend alone without any stigma. The whole point is to meet new people and enjoy a great meal.  This is especially attractive to a busy working mom like myself.  Scheduling a date night or a girls night out can be difficult at times.  But if I want to enjoy a night off from cooking, this dinner is a great escape that I can do alone. At the end of the evening, Nicole gave us a parting gift of homemade pumpkin fudge.

It was an enjoyable evening.  I arrived home and told my husband that he needs to attend a future supper club.  While we may end up going again together, I feel like it’s a different experience going solo.  Broomstick Sweetie’s underground supper club is truly a unique dining experience.  Please check out the Broomstick Sweetie’s website to learn more about the supper club as well as to reserve a space at a future dinner.

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Five on Friday {Columbus Day Weekend}

Happy Friday!  I am exhausted!  It’s been a very busy couple of weeks and I am so happy that we have a three day weekend.  We are all finally into a school routine of sorts.  Back-to-school nights and picture day are finished.  Quizzes and tests have started.  And my daughter had her first modified field hockey game this week.  This weekend is busy, but there will be some relaxing downtime because this mom needs it!  My son has a birthday party, my husband has Binghamton University Alumni/Homecoming weekend and I have two dinner events. My daughter is in need of fall clothes and wants to go shopping. Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I picked up Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis from the library this week.  I’ve been listening to her podcasts, Rise and Rise Together and have found her very inspiring.  I can’t wait to read more of this book over the weekend.

2. Watching – All the fall shows!  Grey’s Anatomy, You on Lifetime, This Is Us, A Million Little things and New Amsterdam are on my DVR.  I’ve also been watching Forever on Amazon Prime.  Too much TV, not enough time!  What fall shows are you watching?!

3. Traveling – If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw that we were in Cooperstown, NY last weekend.  Look for posts about our trip on the blog soon! It was my first visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Plus, we visited the Fenimore Museum, The Farmer’s Museum and Fly Creek Cider Mill.  It was a fun, family weekend exploring more of NY state.

4. Drinking – On our visit to Fly Creek Cider Mill we had our first cider slushie.  I had never even heard of such a thing before, but now I wish they had them locally.

5. Flu Shots – The kids and I all got our flu shots this week.  Definitely not a favorite.  But, I want us to be prepared and hopefully not get sick…..because who has time for that?!  I’ve told my husband that getting his flu shot is on his to-do list this weekend.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

 

Tuesday I shared our Westchester County Bucket List.

Thursday I posted the 9th edition of Your Best Weekend.

 Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Your Best Weekend {Volume 9}

(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policy for additional information.)

It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

Celebrate:

Saturday October 6 is International Frugal Fun Day!  You are challenged to do one really fun thing that costs $5 or less.  Challenge on!

October 6 is also World Card Making Day.  Family Fun Idea/Date Idea:  Break out your scrapbooking and/or rubber stamp supplies and start making some cards!  If you don’t have your own supplies you can buy card making kits for kids as well as fancier kits for adults.

If you haven’t celebrated Oktoberfest, now is the time!  In Germany, the beer festival officially ends October 7.  Luckily for us, Oktoberfest celebrations take place almost every weekend in October! Many Oktoberfest celebrations are family-friendly so everyone can enjoy a fun day out!

Self-Care:

Journal Prompt/Reflection: What are five things that you can’t live without?

Challenge:  Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers, just because.

New Releases:

DVD: Out on DVD this week is Three Identical Strangers. This is a documentary about three brothers who were all adopted.  They meet and discover they are triplets and why they were separated.  Looks like a good movie! Another movie out on DVD that has gotten good reviews is Leave No Trace, a drama about a father and his teen daughter living off the grid in the forests of Oregon.  They are then thrown into city life and do not acclimate well.

Netflix:  A ton of new movies are streaming on Netflix this week.  Check out the whole list!

Books:  New books published this week include: Joy’s Simple Food Remedies by Joy Bauer (cookbook/food), A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult (fiction), Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life by Gisele Bundchen (self-help/memoir), Start Now!: You Can Make a Difference by Chelsea Clinton (children’s Books/non-fiction),  Spy School Goes South by Stuart Gibbs (children’s books/series), It’s Okay Not to Be Okay by Sheila Walsh (Christian/spiritual), Eat Feel Fresh by Sahara Rose Ketabi (cookbook/food) and Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber (fiction/holiday).

 Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter: What do you think is your best quality?

Family Fun Idea: Head to the pumpkin patch and pick out some pumpkins.  Then go home and carve them, possibly using one of these creative ideas!

Weekly Recommendations:

Watch:  Forever on Amazon.  Starring Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen, a married couple stuck in a routine that ends up changing.  The show can’t be described too much without giving away spoilers.  It’s a short season with only eight episodes.  I still have to finish the series, but it’s on my to-do list!

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Read:  Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren.  A contemporary romance book that had me hooked.  It’s written by two friends and Christina Lauren is the pen name of the two.

To-Do:  If you haven’t already, start your Halloween costume shopping.  Whether you and your husband are going to a costume party, or for your kids, start planning or purchasing those costumes.

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Westchester County Bucket List

As a long-time resident of Westchester County, I am still amazed at all there is to see and do here.  I’ve created this Westchester County Bucket List as a means for my family to get out and experience all that Westchester has to offer!  We haven’t experienced everything on this list, but we plan to!  Please let me know if there’s anything missing from this list that you think families in Westchester County should experience!  Listed in no particular order:

1. Visit Untermyer Gardens.

2. Walk part of the Westchester RiverWalk.

3. Ride the Dragon Coaster at Playland.

4. Build with Legos at the LegoLand Discovery Center.

5. See a Westchester Knicks game at the Westchester County Center and get a picture with Hudson.

6.  Indoor skydive at iFLY at Ridgehill in Yonkers.

7. Climb the rock wall at The Cliffs in Valhalla.

We enjoyed apple picking at Wilkens Farm. It was a hot day but we picked apples and enjoyed cider dougnuts!

8.  Go apple picking!  Westchester County offers several options including Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Outhouse Orchards, Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard and Stuart’s Farm.

9. Visit the animals at Muscoot Farm.

10.  Get an ice cream from King Kone, the Hudson Creamery,  The Blue Pig, Longford’s and Penny Lick Ice Cream.

11.  Visit the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.

12. Cool off in one of Westchester’s pools or splash pads (Harbor Island Park – Mamaroneck, Wilson’s Wave Pool – Mt. Vernon, Tibbett’s Brook Park – Yonkers, Saxon Woods Park – White Plains, Pierson Park – Tarrytown)

13. Enjoy a picnic out in one of the many county or state parks.

14. Bike on the Bronx River on Bicycle Sundays.

15. Attend Teatown’s EagleFest.

16. Go on a food tour (in your town or any of the other towns in Westchester).

17.  Support local!  Visit one or several of Westchester’s farmer’s markets.

18. See a show at the Paramount Theater Hudson Valley.

19. Visit the PepsiCo sculpture gardens.

20.  Try a new restaurant during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

21.  Enjoy a meal from one of the many food truck’s including Walter’s, Dough Nation and The Souvlaki Truck.

22. Visit the Westchester Children’s Museum.

23. Tour Kykuit:  The Rockefeller Estate.

24.  Walk across the Croton Dam at Croton Gorge Park.

25. Take a tour of Stone Barns.

26.  See a show at the Westchester Broadway Theater.

27. Visit the Hudson River Museum and see a show in the planetarium.

28. Enjoy Sheep-to-Shawl or Djembes and Dance (or both) at Philipsburg Manor.

29. Visit the wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center.

30. Go to the beach – Glenn Island, Playland Beach, Island Harbor Beach, Oakland Beach, Hudson Park East and West and Croton Point Park Beach.

31.  See a movie at the Jacob Burns Center, the iPic theater and the Alamo Drafthouse.

32. Try to Escape from an Escape Room.

33. Visit Teatown Lake Reservation.

34. Climb the ropes course at Boundless Adventure and Spins Hudson.

35. Attend the Clearwater Festival at Croton Point Park.

36. Walk the Croton Aqueduct.

37. Enjoy a Freak Shake from Sugar Hi, Mt, Kisco Diner, Lazy Boy Saloon or the Hudson Creamery.

38. Visit the Neuberger Museum of Art.

39. Attend one of the many heritage festivals held at the Kensico Dam.

40.Visit the Hammond Museum’s Japanese Stroll Garden.

41.  Ice Skate and enjoy Winter Wonderland at the Kensico Dam.

42. Check out the crafts at the Lyndhurst Craft Festival and the Armonk Outdoor Art Show.

43. Listen to some jazz at the White Plains Jazz Festival.

44.  Attend a food festival – Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Festival, Lohud’s Food Truck Festival, Westchester Magazine’s Wingfest and more!

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Your Best Weekend {Volume 8}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

Celebrate:

Saturday September 29 is National Coffee Day!  Enjoy a cup or two of your favorite brew.  Did you know Keurig now has a machine that can make cold brew?  While we love our Keurig, we’re not fans of the plastic waste.   We are looking into getting these reusable filters.

September 29 is also National Mocha Day.  Family Fun Idea/Date Idea:  Bake some Mocha Snickerdoodles or Mocha Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins!

Families can celebrate Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play on September 29 too.  This is a day to encourage families to turn off the television and get outside and play together.  Head to your local park, take a hike or find something else fun to do outdoors this Saturday!

Celebrate National Mulled Cider Day on September 30.  Fall weather is perfect for this hot drink.  You can even use this recipe to make it in your slow cooker!

Self-Care:

Journal Prompt/Reflection: What are some things that you’ve done that you never thought you could do?

Challenge:  Take a digital detox.  Unplug.  Maybe start with a day.  Or if you really want to go big, try a whole week.

New Releases:

DVD: Out on DVD this week is Solo: A Star Wars Story which looks like a great movie for a family movie night, especially for Star Wars fans.

Netflix:  Two family-friendly movies are out this week on Netflix – Disney’s  A Wrinkle In Time and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Books:  New books this week include Tim Tebow’s This Is the Day: Reclaim Your Dream (Christian/Inspirational), Together: Our Community Cookbook (cookbook), the paperback edition of Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (self-help/spirituality), American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera (Ethnic Studies/Essays) and This Old Gal’s Pressure Cooker Cookbook.  For kids who are fans of the “I Survived” series, I Survived the Attack of the Grizzlies was published this week.  The Magic Misfits: the Second Story by Neil Patrick Harris

 Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter: What was something nice that you did for someone else today?

Family Fun Idea: Attend a local football game.  High School football has started.  If you live near a college, try seeing a college game.  And if you are really into football, try checking out a NFL game.

Weekly Recommendations:

Watch:  This Is Us.  The new season began this week.  It’s off to a a great start and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season will bring!

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Read: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover.  Her newest book deals with infertility and the impact it can have on a marriage.  This was an emotional but good read.

To-Do:  Closet Clean out – Fall is officially here.  The weather is getting cooler and now is the perfect time to give your closet (and the kids’ closets) a clean out.  As you switch over your wardrobe from summer to fall, get rid of the clothes that don’t fit and the ones that you didn’t wear this summer.  It’s also a good time to make a list of the fall clothes and shoes that you need to purchase.  Plaid and animal prints are hot this fall.  And you can never go wrong with jeans, sweaters and boots.

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A Weekend in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster County Pennsylvania, a.k.a. “Pennsylvania Dutch Country” is a fun, family destination.  With a large Amish community, visiting here is both an educational and fun experience.  Only 3 hours from most of Westchester County, Lancaster makes a perfect weekend destination.  Read on to see all the fun that can be had in two days.  You can check out the links to read more detailed posts about each attraction. When planning your visit, it is important to note that many attractions in Lancaster are closed on Sundays. Two days didn’t give us enough time to see and do everything, but that’s only the more reason for us to return soon!

Stay: at the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn.  This Inn is a great lodging choice for families, with several different types of sleeping accommodations.  This is not a chain hotel and is situated on 23 acres that includes a pool, two playgrounds and even some farm animals.  The property is spacious with walking paths and a pond.  There is also a restaurant, garden shop and large gift shop onsite as well.

Eat: The Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn has a restaurant on the property that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Breakfast at the Smorgasbord is complimentary with an overnight stay and the front desk offers discount coupons if you choose to dine at the restaurant for lunch or dinner.  We had a dinner and breakfast here and were highly satisfied with both.  The buffet offers a plentiful variety of delicious options including fresh baked goods and desserts.

We also had a delicious meal at Federal Taphouse in Lancaster.  This is a great restaurant for beer lovers, as they have 100 beers on tap.  The menu is very family-friendly with wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches tacos and more.  We tried the Sweet Corn Pizza with creamed spinach, sweet corn, bacon, house tomato jam and ricotta salata.  Yes, it was as delicious as it looks and sounds. We then rounded out our meal with a variety of appetizers with a house made soft pretzel with beer cheese fondue, stuffed meatballs and poutine.  It was a carb-filled feast!

Visit:  The Amish Farm and House for an educational and fun experience.  On the guided house tour you will learn about the Amish history and heritage.  You can take a bus tour that will drive you through the Amish countryside. Make sure to leave time to enjoy the 15-acre farm.  My kids could have spent all day here feeding the goats and visiting the different farm animals.  They also had a great time riding the scooters and enjoying the newest attraction, Tractor Trails, where they pedaled cars around a track.  The gift shop sells a variety of handmade Amish goods and on the weekends.  (located approximately five minutes from the Hershey Farm Inn).

A foodie tour of Kitchen Kettle Village in Lancaster County Pennsylvania.

Kitchen Kettle Village – Kitchen Kettle Village is made for foodies! We had such a delicious time visiting all the different shops and eating our way through the village.  There’s a reason why nearly a million people visit each year.  There is something for everyone here, with 40 different shops selling everything from jams and fudge to quilts and Christmas ornaments.  (located approximately 12 minutes from the Hershey Farm Inn).

Lancaster Science Factory – If you need a place for the kids to burn off some energy, this is the place.  With over 60 different hands-on exhibits, kids will (and adults!) will have a great time at the Lancaster Science Factory.  While smaller than many other children’s science museums that we have visited, the exhibits held the interest of my two tweens for quite some time. (approximately 15 minutes from the Hershey Farm Inn).

Turkey Hill Experience – Although not in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Turkey Hill Experience is not to be missed.  As fans of Turkey Hill ice cream, this attraction was a family favorite.  We got to create our own ice cream flavor in the Taste Lab and learn about tea in the Tea Discovery.  In the actual Experience, we had endless samples of teas and ice cream (approximately 25 minutes away from the Hershey Farm Inn).

(Thank you to Discover Lancaster and the above attractions for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)