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Visit Philadelphia Through Children’s Books! {Family Armchair Travel}

Check out these children's books all about Philadelphia, the city of "Brotherly Love"

Philadelphia, nicknamed the “City of Brotherly Love” is the largest city in Pennsylvania.  This city should be on every family’s must-visit list!  Filled with historical sites as well as many museums and lots of great food, there is something for everyone in Philadelphia!  Whether you read some of these books before a trip or just armchair travel, visit Philadelphia through children’s books!

 Picture Books:

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Journey Around Philadelphia from A to Z by Martha Day Zschock
Published:  2006, Commonwealth Editions
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

Learn all about the city of Philadelphia in this A to Z book.  This book is targeted towards older elementary students and is chock full of information and facts.  Each letter page includes a short, alliterative sentence and three different illustrations. This was our first time reading one of Zschock’s Journey books.  However, she has several other books in the Journey series including New York, Cape Cod and Washington D.C.

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Larry Gets Lots in Philadelphia by Michael Mullin and John Skewes
Illustrated by:  John Skewes
Published:  2013, Sasquatch Books
Price:  $16.99
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

Pete and his family take a trip to Philadelphia and bring along their dog, Larry.  Larry gets separated from Pete and the book follows the two as they go searching for each other.  On their search they visit many of Philadelphia’s famous landmarks, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Square, the Besty Ross House, Pat and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The book is told in rhyme, but provides a small informational description for each landmark.  This book is a nice introduction to Philadelphia for young readers.

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Mrs. Millie Goes to Philly! by Judy Cox
Published:  2008 by Two Lions
Price:  $9.99 (paperback)
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

Mrs. Millie is a very silly teacher!  She takes her kindergarten class to Philadelphia and uses animal words in place of other words, which her students have to decipher.  They wear name badgers (badges), ride the platypus (bus) and see the Liberty Bull (bell).  Each page is accompanied by a humorous illustration illustrating the silly sentence.  Readers will have fun trying to figure out Mrs. Millie’s “mistakes” and they will also learn about some of the sights of Philadelphia including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House.

Chapter Books:

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Philadelphia! (Recipe for Adventure #8) by Giada De Laurentiis
Published: 2016 by Grosset & Dunlap (imprint of Penguin Random House)
Price: $16.99 (hardcover)
Pages:  160
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Source: borrowed from the library

This is the eighth book in the Recipe for Adventure series.  The series is targeted towards readers ages 7-9 (2nd-4th grade).  In the series, siblings Emilia and Alfie are transported to different cities around the world.  They get to taste all kinds of new foods as they help someone in the city solve a problem.  In Philadelphia! the whole Bertolizzi family is transported to the city.  They sample all kinds of Philadelphia food staples like cheesesteaks, pretzels, Italian hoagies and more and visit historic sites like the Betsy Ross House, the Liberty Bell, the Italian Market, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more.  They also work together to try to help their tour guide Emma and her family save their hotel.  Two recipe cards are included in each book of this series.  This book’s recipes are for Zia’s Steak Sandwiches and Emma’s Italian Pizzelles.  While we didn’t make these recipes, knowing that they are from Giada, I’m sure they are delicious!

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The Philly Fake (Ballpark Mysteries #9) by David A. Kelly
Published:  2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Price:  $4.99 (paperback)
Pages:  112
Rating:   3 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

This is the ninth book in the Ballpark mysteries series, a baseball-themed mystery series targeted towards readers on a 2.6 reading level (approximately 1st through 4th grade, depending on reading ability).  In this book Mike and Kate are spending the Fourth of July in Philadelphia.  Kate’s mom is a sportswriter and her friend had gotten them tickets to the three game Phillies v. Mets series.  During the first game the players’ bats keep breaking and the team loses.  The team mascot the Phillie Phanatic is blamed and could possibly lose his job.  Mike and Kate try to help find out who’s really at fault and save the Phanatic’s job. The end of the book includes some fun and interesting notes about the Phillie’s ballpark.   This book was interesting and gave the reader information about some of the other famous sites in Philadelphia, not just the stadium.  This was the first book in the Ballpark Mysteries series that we read but won’t be the last. We are interested in reading #2, The Pinstripe Ghost since we are familiar with and have been to Yankee Stadium!

Books set in Philadelphia that don’t really tell much about the city:

Chapter Books:

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Independence Hall (I, Q #1) by Roland Smith
Published: 2008 by Sleeping Bear
Price: $8.95
Pages: 312
Rating:  3 out 5 stars
Source: borrowed from the library

This is the first book in the I,Q series.  Quest, (Q for short) and his new stepsister Angela are traveling around the country in a luxury motor coach, while their newly married musician parents go on tour.  The book is told over a series of 6 days as the family travels to Philadelphia for the first stop.  While there, they discover that they are in a real-life spy adventure.  This spy/adventure series is aimed toward middle grade readers.

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When Freedom Comes (Hope’s Revolutionary War Diary #3) by Kristiana Gregory
Published:  2004 by Scholastic
Price: $12.95
Pages: 112
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

This is book number 3 in the Revolutionary War Diary series.  Told in diary format, the book details Hope’s experience with the Revolutionary War in full swing.  British soldiers are living in her house, she is cut off from her best friend, whose family are Loyalists and her family learns that her father is weak and sick in Valley Forge, fighting in the war.  Hope’s family lives in Philadelphia, however not much reference is made to the actual city.

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Conveyor Belt Sushi at east Japanese Restaurant {Updated}

Conveyor belt sushi used to be a rare dining experience that I only saw on television.  Luckily, it’s becoming more popular and now, even us suburbanites can partake in the conveyor belt sushi experience.  If you are shopping at the Palisades Mall in West Nyack, New York and are looking for a family-friendly, non-chain, unique dining experience, east Japanese Restaurant is the place to go.

Guests are seated in booths around the sushi chefs, who have their prep stations located in the center of the dining space. As they prepare different rolls and sushi, they cover and place them on the conveyor belt.  The labeled plates travel around the restaurant, and diners take the items they want.

The different patterned and colored plates are priced differently.  White plates cost $1.75 each while the gold plates cost $8.00 each.  Most plates include two pieces of sushi or three pieces of roll.  There are many types of sushi available from the California roll to the specialty Big Thunder Mountain roll. Non-sushi dishes like seaweed salad and fried chicken are also offered.  If you do not see what you want or prefer not to go the sushi route, the restaurant offers a full Japanese menu including teriyaki and tempura dishes.  At the end of your meal, your plates are collected and you are charged accordingly.

What we love about this restaurant is that we are able to try new dishes without a huge commitment.  For a couple of dollars a plate, if we like it, we’ll take another plate of it.  If we didn’t like it we at least tried something new!  This is a great way to introduce your kids to different types of sushi.  Plus, like our kids, they will most likely enjoy grabbing the dishes off the conveyor belt.  It definitely makes for a unique and fun dining experience, which we highly recommend! Unfortunately, the only conveyor belt sushi restaurants that we are aware of that are not located in the city are this one and YO! Sushi at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets.

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The Road Trip Begins….

#NYSummer2017 is starting as we head to Albany, Lake George, Saratoga and Lake Placid

#NYSummer2017 has begun!  As you are reading this, the kids and I are on our way up to Albany for the first leg of our New York State road trip!  On this leg of our road trip we will be visiting Albany, Lake George, Saratoga and Lake Placid.  It will be quiet around the blog until we get back.  However, feel free to follow NY Foodie Family on Instagram and Twitter to get updates on our #NYSummer2017!!

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Rockefeller State Park Preserve {Westchester County}

 

Recently, our family visited Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Westchester County.  The park’s main entrance is located off of Route 117 in Pleasantville. Since that first visit several weeks ago, we’ve already been back.  The park includes over 1600 acres that were deeded to New York State as a generous gift from the Rockefeller Family.  Much of the park was designed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. beginning in 1910 and reflects his passions of conserving nature and carriage driving.  Today, over 350,000 people visit this park every year.

The Visitor Center is open from 9 to 4:30 PM with a person inside available to answer questions.  Outside the visitor center are maps of the trails.

Rockefeller Park also has an art gallery on premise, which is open from 9 AM – 4: 30 PM.

The current exhibit, “Winged Jewels of the Forest” is on display until August 13.  All of the artwork is available for purchase and proceeds that the Preserve receives directly support the gallery.

The park has four main areas, Swan Lake, Eagle Hill, Rockwood Hall and Buttermilk Hill. Each area consists of several different trails that you can walk, jog, or in winter, cross-country ski on.  You can even get a permit to horseback ride or carriage drive on the trails.

Our family enjoys visiting parks to hike and geocache.  However, during trout and bass season, fishing is permitted with a state license and in winter cross-country skiing is allowed.  On this trip we started out on Deer Run and then walked Brothers’ Path which circles around Swan Lake.  The path is 1.1. miles and a perfect, short hike.   It was a beautiful day and we saw many other hikers and joggers along the trails. Using the geocache app, we found four caches on our first trip.

On our second trip we walked a little bit of Overlook Trail.  Then we went back to the parking lot and walked Glacier Erratic, where you can find this amazing rock formation.

With  almost 40 trails, this is a local park that you can visit and hike many times without getting bored.

Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve work with New York State to, “promote the conservation and operation of the Preserve.”  Donations to the Friends go directly into preserving and maintaining the park, as well as supporting educational programs.  Upcoming events include Rocky’s 5K.

The Details:

Rockefeller State Park Preserve
125 Phelps Way
Pleasantville, NY 10570
(914) 631-1470

Parking:  $6 or free with an Empire Pass

Tips to know:

There are bathrooms in the art gallery and in the main parking area.

There are a couple of picnic tables near the park entrance.

Be sure to pack bug spray and sun screen.

We like to carry water with us as we hike.

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Five on Friday {Birthday Boy Weekend}

Today is a big day in our house.  My “baby” boy turns 9!  We have several days of celebrating the birthday boy starting today with funfetti cupcakes at camp and a sushi dinner.  This was our last full week at home for awhile now. My son attended a local Cub Scout day camp this week and the kids had some play dates with friends.  Next week we leave for our first leg of our #NYSummer2017 road trip!  Here are five from this week:

1. Family Fun – Last weekend we took a tour of the Nina & Pinta, replica Columbus ships.  Afterwards, we went to the West Point Museum and then stayed for their Independence Concert and fireworks show.

2. Watching – This week I didn’t watch any movies or much television.  I watched The Bachelorette and a couple of episodes of the Real Housewives of New York.

3. Baking –  I bought a huge container of blueberries this week.   Although my daughter complained that I just made blueberry muffins I had her help me make more!  Last time I made buttermilk blueberry muffins.  This week I made Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins.  She wasn’t complaining when she ate them, so I guess they were okay!

4. Reading –  I am half-way through Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult.  This is one of the books on my summer 2017 reading list.  Picoult is one of my favorite authors and this is one of her few books that I haven’t read yet.  It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for years!  So, I’m glad to finally be dusting it off and reading it.  As usual, it’s a great read so far.

5.  Planting – My parents gave me five tomato plants that they bought but didn’t need.  So, I put them in pots this week in hopes that they will grow!  I also found these mini rose plants on sale at my local Shoprite this week for $1.99 each!  I planted them as well this week, hoping they will survive my black thumb!  When the weather wasn’t too hot I also did a bunch of weeding.  Not a favorite job, but it has to get done.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my June 2017 Reads and joined the Show Us Your Books link up.

Wednesday I wrote about Soukup Farms Coffee Infused Maple Syrup.

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

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Soukup Farms Coffee Infused Maple Syrup {Made in New York}

I recently visited the new Mohegan Lake Farmer’s Market in northern Westchester County.  While the farmer’s market itself was disappointing and almost nonexistent, I didn’t leave empty handed.  One of the few vendors at the market was Soukup Farms, selling their maple syrup.  Their coffee infused maple syrup caught my eye and after sampling a taste I knew that I had to bring some home.

The syrup is a delicious combination of  locally roasted Irving Farm Coffee Roasters Gotham Dark Roast and the farm’s Dark Amber maple syrup. Our weekday frozen waffles have become elevated to another level!  And on the weekends when we get the chance to have have homemade pancakes or french toast, this syrup is the finishing touch.  When I purchased the bottle, I was told that this syrup also tastes really good on yogurt or ice cream.  We have’t tried either of these combos…….yet!

The coffee infused maple syrup is available in three different size bottles, 2-oz ($4.50), half pint ($8.00) , or a pint ($14.00). Currently, Soukup Farms does not sell their products in stores in Putnam or Westchester counties.  However, besides the Mohegan Lake Farmer’s Market, they are also a drop-in vendor at the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Farmer’s Market.  The syrup is available in many Dutchess County locations including the Taste of NY Store  at the Todd Hill location, Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn in LaGrange, McEnroe’s Organic Market in Millerton and JSK Cattle Company in Millbrook.  You can also order this coffee infused syrup, as well as their classic maple syrup and other maple products online or find them as a vendor at several local events!

Soukup Farms is a third generation family farm located in Dover Plains, NY, tapping tree since 1955.   The farm has over 2,000 taps and is continuing to expand.   They are a member of the NY State Maple Association and a participant in NYS Maple Weekends in March. Don’t miss their Harvest Festival this October where you can visit the farm and enjoy some family fun!

The Details:
Soukup Farms
271 Halls Corner Road
Dover Plains, NY 12522
(845) 264-3137

Check out their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest news!

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June 2017 Reads

It’s the second Tuesday of the month, which means that it’s time to link up with Steph and Jana for another edition of Show Us Your Books. While May was disappointing in quality of books, June definitely made up for it!  The majority of my reads were 4 stars and I even had a 5 star book this month!  Here are my June 2017 reads:

3 Stars:

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Always by Sarah Jio – Cade and Kailey were young, in love and planned to get married.  But one day, he disappears, never to be seen from again.  10 years later, Kailey is leaving a restaurant with her fiance when she sees a homeless man and realizes that it’s Cade.  She feels compelled to help him and she tries to figure out what happened since they last saw each other.  The book is told in alternating chapters between the past and present. I had previously read Bungalow by Jio and loved it.  So, when I saw this book at the library, I picked it up.  Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed by this one. I felt like some of the character decisions seemed so unlikely and unrealistic.

4 Stars:

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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – This YA book had been on my to read list for awhile.  I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie, which was what finally got me to read it.  Although I never watched the movie Groundhog Day, I believe this book is similar in which Samantha relives the same day seven different times.  Each do-over she is able to manipulate and make changes based on her past experiences.  The book has been nominated for a bunch of awards and I can see why.  I enjoyed the storyline and Samantha’s character as she evolves through the book. And my own personal rant, there was one character in particular that I couldn’t stand and couldn’t understand how Sam was friends with her….rant over!  BTW, as usual, the book is so much better than the movie.

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The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman –  After her husband dies in a car accident, Lilian Girvan is left to raise their two young daughters.  As an illustrator, she’s given the job of working on a vegetable gardening book.  But, she must take a gardening class which her two children and sister accompany her to.  During the six week class, the students form friendships and help each other through difficult times.  In between chapters, vegetable gardening tips are provided.  I enjoyed Waxman’s writing style and even though the topic of being a widow is heavy, I found her writing style to be fun and engaging.

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The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman –  Mattie Tice was once a famous garden designer.  Diagnosed with ALS, the time has come where her husband Don of almost 50 years needs some help in taking care of her.  Enter Rose, Mattie’s new caretaker and her daughter Jeri.  In the move to a new house, Mattie discovers her hope chest and shares the contents and the memories they bring with Rose.  This is the second book in the “heirloom novel” series.  I read the first book, The Charm Bracelet and enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed this book.  What I find so interesting is that Viola Shipman is a pen name for the author, Wade Rouse.  I am surprised at how well he writes from a a female perspective.

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In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – Leonora (Lee/Nora) is unexpectedly invited to her friend Clare’s hen party.  Surprised since she hasn’t seen her in over 10 years, Nora decides to go with their friend Nina.  They drive to the country to find a glass house set in the middle of the woods, where they will stay for the weekend.  But during that weekend Nora wakes up in a hospital and learns that someone has died.  She has no recollection of how she got in the hospital and she tries to piece together her memories of the past couple of day’s events to figure out what is going on.  I was a fan of The Woman in Cabin 10 and had heard that this book was even better.  This was an enjoyable, suspenseful read, even though I had it figured out before the big reveal.

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This Is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel – Rosie and Penn have five boys.  But their youngest, 5-year-old Claude prefers wearing dresses and wants to be a girl when he grows up.  What ensues is the family having to keep secrets as they navigate raising a transgender child.  This is a beautiful, well-written story that is very relevant in today’s times. This is not a “light” summer read, but in my opinion, a book definitely worth picking up.

5 Stars:

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – 16-year-old Starr lives in the poor and drug-ridden neighborhood of Garden Heights where her father runs a store.  But she goes to a school an hour away where she’s one of 2 black kids in her grade.  She’s with an old friend Khalil on their way home from a party when Khalil is pulled over by a white cop and shot to death.  Starr is the only witness and when the shooting makes national headlines she has some tough choices to make.  This YA book handles a serious, relevant topic but is so well written.

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5 Questions with Team Fun {Becca Droz & Floyd Pierce}

(Photo provided by Becca Droz)

It’s time for another “5 Questions with….”  a feature where I interview notable figures in the food and travel industry. I’ve been a fan of the television show The Amazing Race since it first aired on CBS back in 2001.  I even had hopes of one day being a contestant on the show.  That is until my husband so kindly pointed out that I don’t deal well with stress…..and racing around the world on a televised game show isn’t stressful or anything!  I recently introduced our kids, ages 9 and 11 to the show for the first time this season.  Every week we watched the Amazing Race 29 and cheered on our favorite team, Team Fun!  Becca and Floyd were so enjoyable to watch.  They were always so positive, had so much energy and were, well…..fun!  I jokingly asked my husband, “imagine if I interviewed Team Fun for my 5 questions series?!”  So I was super excited when they responded that they would love to participate.  (My son’s jaw literally dropped when I told him!)  So, as a family we collaborated on coming up with the 5 Questions below to ask Team Fun!

5 Questions with Team Fun:  

1.How much travel experience did you have prior to filming the Amazing Race?

Becca Droz:  Internationally, I did not have a lot of travel experience. I went on a 10 day trip to Barcelona with my family in 10th grade and I lived in Israel for 5 months during a gap year in 2010-2011. I did travel within the states a fair amount, mostly for outdoor adventures. I also lived out of a van with a friend for 5 months when I graduated college in 2014, when we traveled to popular climbing destinations around the country.

Floyd Pierce:  Pretty much none! I’ve been around the country as well as Hawaii. My family once went on a Caribbean cruise, but I don’t really count that since we didn’t get off the boat that much.

2. Viewers rarely see contestants eating regular meals during the show.  Did you guys eat the local cuisine in the countries you visited?  Can you tell us some of your favorite and least favorite foods that you ate? 

BD: Unfortunately we did not get to eat a ton of authentic local cuisine. The majority of our meals were ham and cheese sandwiches made by local production companies and sodium-heavy airplane meals. With that said, my favorite meal was in Greece. We had 13 or so hours to kill before our flight so we asked our taxi driver about a good local spot. He took us to a local “tavern” where we met with Team LoLo (London and Logan) and Team Drama (Brooke and Scott) for a beer and some delicious, fresh gyros. They brought us some complimentary shaved meat which tasted like bacon and a little cup of a yogurty dessert. It was one of the few cultural food experiences I had on the Race.  Also, I tried to go local in Vietnam and ordered goat stew and a duck dish. The goat wasn’t terrible, but the smell of the duck dish alone made me feel nauseous, as did the taste.

FP:  We ate a little local cuisine at this food court kind of place in Panama.  And then we had these awesome Gyros and this skewer of meat in Greece with Brooke and Scott and London and Logan.  The chef liked us so much that they gave us free dessert! They also had really good beer.  Then there was the raw fish we ate in Norway at the lighthouse, and I ate some pasta and eggplant as a part of the roadblock in Italy.  Besides that, we didn’t eat too much local cuisine, as we didn’t want to risk getting sick or mess up our digestion, haha.

(photo provided by Becca Droz)

3. Everyone on your season of the show has such different personalities.  It’s incredible that you two started out as strangers but ended up as teammates with similar dispositions.  How were you both able to keep your positive attitudes in such stressful situations?

BD: By watching past seasons of The Amazing Race it is clear that it is not worth it to let the stress of the Race create tension in the relationship. We both went into the race knowing that staying positive, believing in ourselves and believing in each other were our greatest assets as individuals and as a team. We also wanted to enjoy our experience of traveling the world as much as we could. Needless to say, we both got very lucky.

FP:  Because we knew that’s what it took to win!  I came on the show knowing that it was designed to push you to your limits, it’s designed to trip you up. Staying positive was our way to “outsmart” the race. Plus, it was way more fun to race that way!

4. What was your favorite leg of the race?  And what location(s) would you like to go back and visit when you have the chance?

BD: Each leg was so unique, not only because of the location and the challenges, but because of the phase of the Race, Team Fun’s growing relationship and our ebb and flow of confidence. That being said, our first leg in Vietnam was phenomenal. We did everything right (besides wear shorts). Playing Frogger through the chaotic streets of Hanoi with a 20 foot ladder was wild and memorable! We went from worst to first that leg and were as confident as we’ve ever been, (perhaps a factor that lead to our downfall). I’m looking forward to returning to the area around Lake Como, Italy and Norway to explore the rock climbing and more remote beauty in those areas.

FP: That’s like asking me who’s my favorite child.  Each leg and culture was so different than the others, and I appreciated each one in different ways, even the scary/dramatic ones. If I had to choose a favorite I’d say Brazil, Norway, or the first leg of Vietnam, as the challenges in each of those legs (drumming with a samba band, skydiving, running with a ladder through crowded streets) were so much fun. I’d definitely go back to Norway. It was so beautiful, as if it was directly out of a fairy tale.

5. How have your lives changed since being on the show?  What are you doing now that the show is over?

BD: By achieving my goal of being on The Amazing Race, I set a high standard for myself regarding what I can accomplish in life. Now that the show is over, I am moving forward in a few areas of passion. I am earning certifications in the world of rock climbing so that I can be a more competent climbing instructor and I am taking my personal climbing pursuits to a new level. I am still teaching rock climbing in the gym at Movement Climbing and Fitness in Boulder and outdoor days with the Women’s Wilderness Institute. Floyd and I are developing our YouTube channel to continue spreading the fun and positive vibes. I am currently phasing out of my full time job as a barista and into an entrepreneurial lifestyle where I will arrange speaking gigs and workshops to become more comfortable with uncertainty and to inspire people to see failure as a stepping stone to success. It all starts slowly. At this point I spend a lot of my free time making Fun O Meter buttons in my home button factory and shipping them to fun loving folks around the world! There is more information at www.funstoppables.com. While I am trying to accomplish a long list of goals, I am also taking the time to build relationships with people who I admire and remain introspective as I continue to grow.

FP: I’ve definitely been recognized a lot more, and it’s the first thing people want to talk about! Since the show I’ve had quite a few speaking engagements lined up, but other than that things are mostly the same! Moving forward, I’ll continue to live my life and appreciate the surprise that each day brings me. Becca and I will also continue being Team Fun, and we have a YouTube channel that we will continue posting on!

Thank you so much Becca and Floyd for answering my 5 Questions!  Follow Becca on Instagram and Twitter and check out her website Funstoppables!  Follow Floyd on Twitter and Instagram!   Check out their YouTube channel where you can watch them recap the episodes of their season of the Amazing Race, getting behind the scenes info!  You can also see their audition videos!  Their first episode is below.

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Currently July 2017

Currently 2017
Happy July!  I hope everyone is enjoying the start of the summer!  I’m linking up with Anne and Stephanie for the monthly Currently link up.   Although I’ve been away these past couple of days and am currently on my way home after a little family vacation, I wanted to make sure I was able to get a post up and join the link up.  Short on time, I apologize for the lack of photos in this month’s post.  Here is what I’m currently……

Documenting:  Our summer travels.  We leave in two weeks for our first road trip around the state.  I will be documenting our trip on social media, as well as taking lots of notes for future blog posts!

Accomplishing: Feeling like I’m not accomplishing much.  With the kids home I’m busy trying to keep them entertained while also trying to keep on top of the errands and housekeeping.  Trying to get in a few minutes here and there to work on this blog is a bit difficult a times!

Enjoying:  The first lazy days of summer.  It’s nice not racing around from one place to another and waking up at 8 AM most mornings instead of 6.

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Reading:  Although we were up in Rhode Island for the past several days I didn’t have much reading time.  Most of my reading was done in the three hour car rides traveling to and from. I’m almost finished with my current read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, the newest book by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  I put this book on hold at the library as soon as I found out it was being released!

Spending:  Time with family!  We are on our way home today after spending six days with my parents and siblings in Rhode Island for the 4th of July.  This is an annual family tradition that we all enjoy.  My kids love spending time with their cousins and going to the beach!

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Five on Friday {4th of July Weekend}

Happy Friday!   Summer is in full swing and we are enjoying every minute of it.  As you read this, we are currently on our way up to Rhode Island for our annual 4th of July family get-together.  We will hopefully have nice weather and a fun, relaxing couple of days filled with good food and family!  Here are five from this week:

Watching – This past week I watched Office Christmas Party.  It had some funny moments, but overall wasn’t worth my time!  I also took the kids to the Regal Summer Movie Express.  We saw the movie Ice Age: Collision Course for $1/ticket!  Neither of the kids had seen it before and they both  enjoyed seeing it on the big screen.

Eating – We had our monthly supper club this past weekend.  This month’s theme was Nigella Lawson recipes.  Although I know who she is, I don’t think I ever cooked one of her recipes.  I finally decided to prepare her Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad.  I say prepare, since there was no cooking involved!  However, this was such a light, refreshing salad, perfect for summer!

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Reading –  I just finished the book The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman.  This was an emotional, but really great read! It’s the second book in the “heirloom novel” series.  Although I’ve packed several books for our Rhode Island vacation, I know I’ll get very little actual reading done over these next couple of days!

Farmer’s Markets – Summer means farmer’s markets are in full swing.  We have so many farmer’s markets around us and I’d like to try to visit as many as I can.  Not only do they sell fruits and veggies, but there are lots of prepared food for sale (pies, jelly, pickles, honey, cheese, meat, etc.) as well as coffee, baked goods and hot food.  Last weekend I visited one in Cold Spring and bought the tasty beef empanada pictured above and some New York made cheese.

Baking –  Since writing my 5 Questions with Joel Gamoran, I’ve really been trying to reduce my food waste.  I bought buttermilk last week for a chicken recipe but had a lot left over.  I picked up some blueberries this week and my daughter and I baked Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins this week.  I apologize, but no pictures were taken of the muffins before we ate them and I stuck the leftovers in the freezer for future breakfasts!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I posted my summer 2017 reading list.

Wednesday I shared Fun Gifts from UncommonGoods.

I hope you have a great weekend!  Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!