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Five on Friday {Beginning to Feel Like Fall}

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Yeah, it’s Friday!  We made it through another week and have a long weekend, with the kids off for Columbus Day. This weekend both kids are going to birthday parties.  I’m solo parenting tomorrow, while my husband goes up to Binghamton University for Homecoming/Alumni weekend.  My nieces are visiting from Maryland so my kids will get to spend some time with their cousins too.  It should be a busy, but fun weekend.

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1.Reading – My son is in 4th grade and one of my favorite times of the day is when we read together in the evening.  We recently finished reading the last Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) in the series.  We are currently reading The One and Only Ivan which we are really enjoying.  I know he won’t be into reading with me much longer so I have to enjoy it while I can.

2. Watching – Fall television is back and I’m enjoying This Is Us and Grey’s Anatomy.  I haven’t tried any new shows but if anyone has any recommendations I’d love some!

3. Animal Love – Last weekend we went to the baptism of my friend’s son.  She had a small petting zoo at the party.  My kids are huge animal lovers and spent a lot of time petting the softest rabbits.  They were also loving the two goats that were there, even though one of them tried eating my daughter’s skirt.

4. Eating -We were shopping for a new sofa last weekend.  While we driving to the store we saw a Chick fil-A.  I had no idea there was one of these restaurants anywhere near us!  Okay, it’s close to an hour away, but that’s probably a good thing!  Of course we had to stop and have some chicken sandwiches!

5. Class Trip – Wednesday I chaperoned my son’s class trip to a local marsh.  They did a water study in a creek and then we canoed around the marsh.  Well, I learned that I’m not a great canoer.  I had my son and another student in my canoe.  I think we spent more time in the reeds than out on the water.  After taking off our life jackets our backs were all sweaty.  I commented on how sweaty I was and my son noted, “yeah, I’m sweaty from all that stress of the canoe ride!” LOL!!  Not sure he’ll be getting in a canoe with me anytime!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar

Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Tuesday I updated a post on children’s Halloween picture books.

Thursday I wrote about our visit to the Seneca Park Zoo.

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

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Family Fun at the Seneca Park Zoo

(Thank you Seneca Park Zoo and Visit Rochester for hosting us.)

The kids and I visited the Seneca Park Zoo this past summer.  Located in Rochester along the Genesee River, this 15.5 acre zoo is home to over 90 species.  If you are expecting a gigantic zoo, this is not it.  Despite its small size, it offers plenty to see and do for several hours of enjoyment.

We visited on a Sunday and arrived at the 10 AM opening.  While at the admission booth, we learned it was “Funday” and we each received a ticket for a free small popcorn.  This was a tasty surprise!

The zoo’s layout is a straight path.  As you walk from the admission booth, the first building you see is the main building.  This is where you will find animals like the orangutans, lemurs,and white rhino. During our visit we were able to see a snake in the midst of shedding its skin, something we had never witnessed before.

While visiting this area we attended the orangutan experience.  We got to see four-year-old Bella playing around outside while her mom Kumang, pictured here, sat and watched.  I might have a love of orangutans and could have stood here all day and watched these two.  Denda, the dad, was inside the main building.

After leaving the main building, you can walk the Genesee Trail, which leads to the Eco Center.  The fish, reptiles, amphibians and otters live here.

From the Eco Center, you will next visit the Rocky Coasts.  As you walk, you will pass several animals including the Spotted Hyena, Gray Wolves, and Amur Tigers.  The Rocky Coasts area houses the Sea Lions and the Polar Bear habitat.  Sadly, Aurora, the zoo’s only polar bear, didn’t make an appearance while we were visiting.

Personally, I don’t think a visit to the zoo is complete without watching the sea lion feeding. For the best view, I recommend standing along the railing above the rocks.  We got to see 8-year-old Sea Lion, Lily, being fed and given her daily check-up from the zoo keeper.  Lily’s two-month old baby, Bob, sat on a rock sleeping in the sun for the duration of her feeding.  Bob was born in June 2017 and named via an online poll.

In the Center for Biodiversity Exploration you will find the  Z.O.T. (Zoologists of Tomorrow) Zone.  This is a hands-on display with different areas of zoo exploration for kids to engage with including zoo planning puzzles and Critter Kitchen (choosing the correct diets for different animals).

The “A Step Into Africa” exhibit is at the far end of the zoo.  This is where the baboons and the zoo’s four female elephants are housed. During our visit, we were able to see one of the elephants being scrubbed clean.  It was funny to see her being fed treats of whole ears of corn, heads of cauliflower, zucchini and peppers while she was bathed.  The elephants know over 50 verbal commands, which was impressive to see in action.

We ended our visit eating lunch at the Crater Canteen.  I was impressed by the food selections available as well as the reasonable prices.  The three of us shared a Strawberry Fields salad ($8.50) and a Canteen Panini (smoked turkey with pesto, fresh Roma tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella on sourdough bread for $8.50).  For those not as adventurous, they have burgers, hot dogs and chicken tenders as well as “Little Cubs” kids meals.  In the Crater Canteen area, there are several umbrella-covered tables for eating.

For me, one of the key features of the zoo isn’t the animals.  It was the docents standing at several of the exhibits.  These volunteers are there to answer any questions and inform visitors about the animals that they are viewing.  There is also a ZooTeens program where students in grades 8-12 act as zoo ambassadors.  During the summer, the teens make presentations and engage guests in interactive learning activities.

The Seneca Zoo is currently undergoing extensive renovations, which are expected to be completed sometime in 2018.  Construction is underway for new habitats for the White Rhino and the Snow Leopard.  Plus, there will be an “Animals of the Savanna” exhibit, as well as Red Panda, Giraffe and Zebra exhibits.  A new eatery, the Trailside Cafe, will also be opening.  When all the new construction is completed, the zoo looks to be an even better place to visit.

As I mentioned, this is a small zoo.  In approximately three hours we visited all the animal exhibits,  watched a couple of demonstrations, and ate lunch. There are animal experience programs occurring throughout the day and a small playground. Depending on the attention span and temperament of your children, you can make a longer or shorter day of it. This is a great family attraction to visit when in Rochester.

The Details:
Seneca Park Zoo
2222 St. Paul Street
Rochester, NY 14621
(585) 336-7200

Hours:  10 AM – 4 PM (April – October) 10 AM – 3 PM (November – March)

Parking:  Free parking

Admission:
April – October –  $12/adult, $11/seniors (63+), $9/youth (3-11)
November – March  $10/adult,  $9/seniors, $7/youth

Food:  Two food service areas Eagle’s Landing Cafe and Crater Canteen  (most entrees cost between $5.75-$8.50, most beverages, sides and snacks are priced between $2.25-$4.75)

Tips:

*The zoo is stroller-friendly.

*You can bring your own food and snacks.

*Make sure to check out the daily program to plan out what animal encounters you want to see.  Each experience only occurs one time each day.

 

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Children’s Halloween Picture Books Round-Up {Updated 2017}

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Halloween will be here soon!  To help get you in the holiday mood, we have rounded up a collection of Halloween picture books to share with you.   This collection includes recent releases as well as some oldies but goodies that we’ve read.  Stop by your local library or bookstore and pick some of these fun Halloween books!

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The 13 Nights of Halloween
Written and illustrated by Rebecca Dickinson

from amazon.com:
A rhyming Halloween story follows a shy goblin boy who gives his sweetheart a special present on each of the thirteen days of Halloween, and eagle-eyed readers must find the presents hidden in the illustrations. 

A witch brews up a special potion to help a shy goblin propose to his sweetheart on Halloween night. She gives him thirteen nights of Halloween.  This book tells the story of the gifts he gives to his sweetheart each night.  It is most enjoyable when sung to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas.”  We read this book several years ago, when my daughter and I took turns singing the lines aloud to our son.  I have to say, it got old for me around the fifth night but I was a trooper and finished the book with her.  The illustrations are really great and detailed.  Readers are challenged to find the presents that the goblin is giving and a tiny wizard mouse on each page.  As much as I wasn’t into this that much the kids really enjoyed this book.

*This book was borrowed from the library.  

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Boo!
Written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli

from goodreads.com:
The inimitable Baby brings a humorous spin to the holidays in a cheerful board book fit for trick-or-treat bags.
It’s almost Halloween! How should Daddy carve the pumpkin? So many expressions to choose from! What should Baby be—a princess or pirate, ballerina or clown? When the jack-o’-lantern’s ready (looking suspiciously like Baby), it’s time for a little ghost to head out in the slightly scary night. But fear turns to excitement as the pumpkin fills up with treats. WOW!

Fans of Patricelli’s books will enjoy this Halloween board book.  Readers follow along as Baby gets ready for Halloween and picks out a pumpkin, chooses a Halloween costume and goes trick-or-treating.  The simple but colorful illustrations will appeal to the youngest readers.

*This book was read at a local bookstore.

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Boo Who?
Written and illustrated by Ben Clanton

from goodreads.com:
A shy little ghost who’s new to the group has trouble fitting in until his special talent comes to the fore. Boo is new. And even if the other kids are welcoming, it can be scary being new, especially for a shy ghost who can t play any of their games. (“You tagged me? Oh, sorry. I couldn’t feel it.”) Can Boo find a way to fit in and make friends with the rest of the group? From the creator of Rex Wrecks It! comes a funny story about feeling invisible and finding a way to be seen and appreciated for who you are.” 

This isn’t a Halloween book, but has a ghost as the main character, so it’s a seasonally appropriate read.  It’s a cute and simple story about making new friends and fitting in with others.

*this book was borrowed from the library.

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CinderHazel:  The Cinderella of Halloween
Written and illustrated by Deborah Nourse Lattimore

from goodreads.com:
Filled with wonderful details and funny mishaps, this spin on the classic Cinderella fairy tale is the perfect Halloween treat.  Cinderhazel is a blond witch who loves dirt more than anything. When her stepsisters and stepmother fly oiff to attend the annual Halloween witches’ ball, where the elusive Prince Alarming will make an appearance, they leave Cinderhazel behind. All her attempted spells turn to dust — until her witchy fairy godmother appears and sends Cinderhazel off to meet the equally messy prince. Could this be the beginning of filthily ever after?

This book is a Halloween take on the traditional Cinderella story.  In this book, Cinderhazel’s stepsisters are going to the Witches’ Halloween Ball in hopes of seeing Prince Alarming.  But with the help of her witchy godmother she makes it to the ball.  The story takes a detour from the traditional tale because when the clock strikes midnight Cinderhazel meets the Prince, and of course there’s a fairy tale ending.  I didn’t like that the title of the book is CinderHazel but the character’s name in the story is spelled Cinderhazel, with a lower case h.  This definitely wasn’t one of my favorite versions of the tale of Cinderella but the kids seemed to like it and it was fitting for Halloween.

* This book was borrowed from the library.

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City Witch, Country Switch
Written by Wendy Wax
Illustrated by Scott Gibala-Broxholm

from goodreads.com:

Mitzi is a city witch.  She likes pizza and plays, crowded subways and noisy streets. Muffletump is a country witch. She prefers hayrides and fresh air, pumpkin picking and her pet snake. When the cousins visit each other, their differences come between them. How can they solve their problem? With a spell, of course But finding the right one isn’t so easy. The rhyming text makes this a wonderful read-aloud, while the vibrant watercolor and colored-pencil artwork contains fantastically funny details for kids to pore over.

This book isn’t technically a “Halloween” themed book but because of the witches I thought it was seasonally appropriate.  Prior to reading this book I was more familiar with author Wendy Wax’s novels for adults.  This book, told in rhyme, is a take on the classic tale The City Mouse and the Country Mouse.   Witch cousins Mitzi and Muffletump visit each other’s homes and discover that they each prefer their own homes better.  This is of course after they perform spells to create a more enjoyable visit. The illustrations are eye-catching and colorful helping to make this a fun read.

* This book was borrowed from the library.

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Creepy Pair of Underwear!
Written by Aaron Reynolds
Illustrated by Peter Brown

from goodreads.com:
Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He’s not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. But when the lights go out, suddenly his new big rabbit underwear glows in the dark. A ghoulish, greenish glow. If Jasper didn’t know any better he’d say his undies were a little, well, creepy. Jasper’s not scared obviously, he’s just done with creepy underwear. But after trying everything to get rid of them, they keep coming back!

This isn’t a Halloween-themed book but it’s a “spooky” tale that will entertain readers. What child does not find humor in underwear?  Fans of Aaron Reynolds books will need to check out this latest of his.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

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Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
Written and illustrated by:  Adam Rex

from goodreads.com:
Being a monster isn’t all frightening villagers and sucking blood. Monsters have their trials, too. Poor Frankenstein’s cupboard is bare, Wolfman is in need of some household help, and it’s best not to get started on Dracula’s hygiene issues. What could be scarier?  Nineteen hilarious poems delve into the secret lives of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bigfoot, Godzilla, and others. In a range of styles that pay homage to everyone from Charles Schulz to John James Audubon, the monstrously talented Adam Rex uncovers horrific–and clever–truths you won’t want to miss.

This is not your typical Halloween book about trick or treating.  It does however feature all kinds of monsters, zombies, and mummies in poems.  Yes, this book is a book of poems about monsters and some of the poems also feature food.  The kids especially liked the Phantom of the Opera who keeps appearing and can’t get songs out of his head, which of course requires the reader to sing the words to that particular tune.  A lot of the humor is for older kids and adults but I think younger kids will still enjoy listening to the poems and looking at the detailed and funny pictures.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

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Fright Club
Written and illustrated by Ethan Long

from goodreads.com:
Each year, on Halloween eve, Fright Club meets to go over their plan: Operation Kiddie Scare. Only the scariest of monsters can join Fright Club-Vladimir the Vampire, Fran K. Stein, Sandy Witch, and Virginia Wolf have all made the cut. They’ve been practicing their ghoulish faces, their scary moves, and their chilling sounds. But when a band of cute little critters comes along asking to join in the fun, the members of Fright Club will find out who really is the scariest of all!  This clever, rollicking read aloud text and delightfully spooky illustrations will have young readers laughing, cheering, and begging to be the newest members of Fright Club.

This  Halloween picture was an okay, cute read.  The kids enjoyed me attempting to speak in a vampire voice.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

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Goodnight Goon
Written and illustrated by Michael Rex

from goodreads.com:
Goodnight monsters everywhere, in this parody romp with its own special twist!  Goodnight tomb. Goodnight goon. Goodnight Martians taking over the moon.   It’s bedtime in the cold gray tomb with a black lagoon, and two slimy claws, and a couple of jaws, and a skull and a shoe and a pot full of goo. But as a little werewolf settles down, in comes the Goon determined at all costs to run amok and not let any monster have his rest.  A beloved classic gets a kind-hearted send up in this utterly monsterized parody; energetic art and a hilarious text will have kids begging to read this again and again.

This book is also not a “Halloween” themed book, but since the main character is a goon, I thought it seasonally appropriate.  This picture book is a spooky  parody of the classic story Good Night Moon that the kids enjoyed.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

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The Halloween Queen Who Lost Her Scream
Written by Donna Davies
Illustrated by Rob Peters

from goodreads.com:
Halloween author, Donna Davies has created an exciting Halloween mystery that will have your kids sitting on the edge of theirs seats. An action-packed tale of a Halloween Queen named Calliope who lost her scream right before Halloween. Meet an amazing cast of Halloween monsters from witches to zombies as they go on an adventure to help their Queen and save Halloween. Filled will stunning colorful Halloween illustrations by the very talented Rob Peters. This delightfully fun book is sure to become a family tradition.

Calliope, the Halloween Queen kicks off the Halloween Bash every year with a scream.  But this year, someone has stolen her scream. Told in rhyme, the reader follows the black widow Mina as she searches for clues to who stole the Queen’s scream.  We are taken on an adventure as she helps to gather the special ingredients needed for Witchy Wanda’s special potion to help the Queen get her scream back.  After reading this book I discovered that the author is a local Hudson Valley resident and owns/runs the publishing company.  Overall, this was a cute Halloween read.

* This book was borrowed from the library.

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The Hallo-Wiener
Written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey

from goodreads.com:
Oscar is short, like all dachshunds and other dogs make fun of him. On Halloween he takes more ridicule than ever in his hot-dog costume, but one brave act makes him a hero. Color illustrations throughout. A “School Library Journal” Best of the Best of 1995.

Dav Pilkey is the author/illustrator of the famous Captain Underpants series, which my son loves.  In this story, Oscar, a dachshund is picked on by the other dogs.  For Halloween his mother gets him a hot-dog costume.  He doesn’t want to make her feel bad so he wears it, even though he gets made fun of.  He can’t walk fast in it and misses all of the treats.  The other dogs who have gotten all of the candy and who usually make fun of him have a change of heart after Oscar helps them out.  There is some hot dog humor in this book, that probably only older children and adults will get.  This was a cute story that the kids enjoyed.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

The Haunted Ghoul Bus

The Haunted Ghoul Bus
Written by Lisa Trumbauer
Illustrated by Jannie Ho

from goodreads.com:
Of course children know about the big yellow school bus…but have they ever heard about the haunted ghoul bus? It’s wilder and way cooler, with a Mutant Mummy driver and a menagerie of monster passengers. But one Halloween day someone else gets on board by mistake: a normal little boy. Soon he’s taking a ride with a furry werewolf, a skeleton whose rickety bones go clitter-clatter, a grinning pumpkin head, a swirl of bats, and a friendly witch named Dolores. Told in fun and appealing rhyme, and featuring holiday-bright illustrations of a cast of unforgettable characters, this playful picture book has sturdy cardstock pages and embossing throughout. It’s perfect for celebrating a (not too) scary Halloween. Kids will want the ghoul bus to come to their neighborhood, too!

This Halloween book, told in rhyme, tells the story of a little boy who mistakenly gets on the ghoul bus.  He meets lots of different creatures on his ride.  The pictures are bright and colorful but overall, the story was just okay.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

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I Dare You!
Written and illustrated by Nicole Maubert

from goodreads.com:
This very scary, very silly book will have young children roaring with laughter as they dare each other to touch the hair of a spider, the belly of a monster, the sticky tongue of a snake, and many more icky parts of creepy creatures! But who will be brave enough to turn to the last page to see the spookiest monster of all? The truly courageous will be rewarded with a shockingly hilarious—yet eerily familiar—surprise!

This is a fun touch and feel board book for the youngest readers.  They can touch a spider, a witch’s wart, the teeth of a shark and more.  This is another seasonally appropriate but not Halloween-themed book.

*This book was read at the local bookstore. 

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It’s Halloween
Written by Jack Prelutsky
Pictures by Marylin Hafner

from goodreads.com:
Thirteen poems to spice up the holiday that ghouls and ghosts love most. “Prelutsky’s Nightmares tamed for beginning readers. They’re catchy at the most rudimentary level.”–Kirkus Reviews.

Wow!  This book was first published before I was born!  Definitely an oldie….but goodie!  This book caught my eye because Prelutsky is a well-known children’s poet.  We are a fan of his Scranimals and my daughter has read his  poetry collections A Pizza the Size of the Sun and The New Kid on the Block.  This book was a cute collection of Halloween-themed poetry.  He writes about everything from “Bobbing for Apples” to a “Haunted House” and a “Skeleton Parade.”  The illustrations have a classic, older look to them.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

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Little Blue Truck’s Halloween
Written by Alice Schertle
Illustrated by Jill McElmurry

from goodreads.com: 
Beep! Beep! It’s Halloween! Little Blue Truck is picking up his animal friends for a costume party. Lift the flaps in this large, sturdy board book to find out who’s dressed up in each costume! Will Blue wear a costume too? With the delightful rhymes and signature illustration style that made Little Blue Truck a household name, Blue’s new adventure is full of festive costumes, fall colors, and plenty of Halloween fun!

Many young readers are familiar with Little Blue Truck.  In this book readers follow along as he drives to a Halloween party.  On the way he stops to pick up his animal friends, all disguised in their Halloween costumes.  This is a fun lift-the-flap book told in rhyme.

*This book was read at a local bookstore. 

Pete the Cat: Trick or Pete
Written and Illustrated by Kimberly & James Dean

from goodreads.com:
Pete loves Halloween and candy but not so much scary surprises. Follow Pete as he goes trick-or-treating from house to house and discover what is waiting behind each door. With over ten flaps that open to reveal fun spooky surprises, this book is sure to be spooktacular! 

Fans of Pete the Cat will enjoy this Halloween-themed book.  Pete enjoys trick-or-treating but doesn’t want anything spooky to happen.  As children lift the flaps of this book they will meet Pete’s friends and follow them on their trick-or-treating adventure.

*This book was borrowed from the library. 

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Scary, Scary Halloween
Written by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Jan Brett

from goodreads.com:
Four pairs of eyes stare from the blackness to watch fearsome creatures trick-or-treat.

This is another oldie but goodie Halloween book.  Award-winning author Eve Bunting has written over 250 books and illustrator Jan Brett (a family favorite)  is also an award-winning author and illustrator of many books.  Written in rhyme, this book is told from the perspective of something with two green eyes, shining in the night.  It watches as children go trick-or-treating dressed up as goblins, witches, and ghosts.  Only at the end of the book is the identity of the narrator revealed.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

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Tell Me a Scary Story…But Not Too Scary
Written by Carle Reiner
Illustrated by James Bennett

from goodreads.com:
A little boy has an adventure in the scary basement of his mysterious new neighbor, Mr. Neewollah. 

A father tells his son a scary story about a little boy who meets his neighbor Mr. Neewollah and has an adventure.  Our book came with a CD in which Reiner reads the story.  While I was unfamiliar with comedian Carl Reiner, my husband is a fan.  This was another okay Halloween story.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

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There’s a Monster In Your Book
Written by Tom Fletcher
Illustrated by Greg Abbott

from goodreads.com:
Bestselling author of The Christmasuarus, Tom Fletcher, has written a brand new picture book perfect for bedtime, where a mischievous monster has invaded the pages of your child’s book!  This read-aloud, interactive picture book treat invites children to make magic happen page by page, tilting, spinning and shaking the book, and then seeing the funny results when each page is turned. A fantastic celebration of all the fun that can be had with a book, with a wonderful wind-down bedtime ending!

Again, this is not a Halloween book, but with a monster as the main character, I thought it fitting for the holiday. This is a fun, interactive book that has children doing all sorts of things to try to set it free.

*This book was read at a local bookstore.  

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Trick Arr Treat: A Pirate Halloween
Written by Leslie Kimmelman
Illustrated by Jorge Monlongo

from goodreads.com:
Charlotte Blue-Tongue, Peg-Leg Pete, Glass-Eyed Gabby, and their friends swashbuckle through the streets demanding loot and treasure from their neighbors in this Halloween pirate tale. As their world transforms from neighborhood to pirate’s lagoon, they shout, “We be pirates. TRICK ARRR TREAT!” But what’s lurking in the shadows? Are the pirates brave enough to defend their treasure?

This Halloween picture book was published in 2015. The story, told in rhyme, is about a group of children dressed as pirates trick-or-treating on Halloween. Overall, it was just an okay read for us.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

Do you have a favorite Halloween book that you recommend we read?

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 87}

2017 calendar

It’s Monday again!  Which means that it’s time for another weekly meal plan. If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you. Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and my family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly recipes to try.  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan.  As you will see, this week’s meal plan was unintentionally filled with pasta and meatballs.  There were carbs…..lots of carbs!  Be on the lookout though, I’m hoping to incorporate some healthier meals into our meal plans in the upcoming weeks.

Saturday:  We had fried chicken from Acme and fries.  Definitely not a healthy meal but it was quick and easy. My husband was working outside all day and my daughter and I had to head out for a Girl Scout event.  Some days, you gotta do what you gotta do!

Sunday: My daughter woke up dreaming of spaghetti, meatballs and garlic bread.  Hoping we had that for breakfast, which sadly, we did not, I decided to make it for dinner.   This is one of her favorite meals and she was very happy with dinner.  I don’t have a go-to meatball recipe and just mixed some ground beef, diced onion, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, one egg, salt, pepper, some Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Monday: I was at the Culinary Institute of America for a blogging event so my husband was on dinner duty.  He made grilled cheese sandwiches with cheddar cheese and apple slices.  I got to dine on food like these fried shrimp!

Tuesday:  I made Broccoli and Bacon Chicken Alfredo Linguine from Closet Cooking.  Healthy cooking this is not!  Obviously, we all enjoyed it because…..bacon!  This was easy to make and wasn’t too time consuming.  I think cooking the bacon took the most time.

Wednesday: I made Family-Style Meatball “Fondue” from the September 2017 issue of Cooking Light.  Unfortunately, I only realized when grocery shopping Sunday afternoon that we were going to be eating meatballs twice this week.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but one of the reasons why I try to meal plan.  The Sunday evening spaghetti and meatballs dinner was a last minute decision and I had already had this dinner planned.  These meatballs were different than the ones we had Sunday since they were made with ground turkey.  Even though the recipe noted that the meatballs would be very soft, I added some bread crumbs to prevent them from totally falling apart. I found these meatballs to be lacking in flavor and probably won’t make these again.  No matter how hard I try, one veggie that I haven’t been able to get my kids to like is mushrooms.  I should have just left them out of the sauce since they picked around them. Instead of toasting a baguette I bought already made garlic bread toasts to scoop up the meatballs and sauce.  I served this with a Caesar salad.

Thursday: I went out to dinner with a friend but needed dinner for the rest of the family.  I made an “Impossibly Easy Breakfast Bake” from Betty Crocker.  The recipe makes enough to serve 12, so I halved it.  Sadly, the bell pepper that I bought Sunday afternoon had gone bad sitting on my kitchen counter.  I only discovered this Thursday morning when I went to make this.  I wasn’t running out to the grocery store to pick a replacement up, so I made it without.  After putting everything into the prepared backing dish, I didn’t think that there was enough liquid covering the sausage and potato mixture so I added two more eggs. While this is relatively easy to put together, it does need 40-45 minutes to bake.  I cooked it early in the afternoon and had my husband heat pieces up for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is always a hit in our house and according to my husband, they all enjoyed this.  I got to enjoy leftovers for breakfast the next morning.

Friday:  I made our weekly pizza but added leftover turkey meatballs from Wednesday night’s dinner.

What is on your dinner menu this week?

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Thirsty Thursday: September Beverage Round-Up

A September Beverage Round-Up of the different drinks that we tried throughout the month.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of September.  For this month’s “Thirsty Thursday” I’m doing a beverage round-up of new drinks we’ve tried during the past month.  Just when we think that the beverage market has reached its saturation point, new drinks continue to be created.  And, of course, NY Foodie Family has to try as many interesting newcomers as we can!

Included in our September beverage round-up this is a 5 calorie antixoxidant-infused beverage.

bai Antioxidant Cocofusion – bai launched in 2009 and is the Mandarin Chinese word for “pure.”  It is also an acronym for “botanical antioxidant infusions.”  The company creates beverages using only natural flavors and without artificial sweeteners.  This was our first time trying a bai beverage and I picked up this Antioxidant Cocofusion in Puna Coconut Pineapple at our local Acme.  It was on sale but but normally retails for $2.29 a bottle.  This is a coconut and pineapple flavored coconut water and the flavors were noticeable. The drink is sweetened with stevia which I thought had a noticeable taste.  My husband noted that this particular flavor might be enhanced with the addition of some rum.  There are four flavors in the Cocofusion line including Andes Coconut Lime, Maui Coconut Raspberry, Molokai Coconut and this Puna Coconut Pineapple that we tried.  Although we weren’t huge fans of this particular flavor, I am interested in trying drinks from some of their other product lines.

Izze Fusions – Izze brand beverages was co-founded by best friends Todd Woloson and Greg Stroh. The brand is named after Todd’s daughter.  The Izze line of products include sparkling juice, sparking water and these fusions. Izze Fusions are fizzy fruit beverages that come in three flavors:  orange mango, lemon lime and strawberry melon. The drink is sweetened with stevia extract, which had a noticeable taste.  The rest of the family enjoyed these though. Fusions are sold in a box of eight at local grocery stores and retails at our local Acme for $5.99.

Langers Cucumber Lime with Mint Juice Cocktail – Langers is a family-owned juice company that has been producing a variety of beverages since its formation in 1960.  When I saw Cucumber Lime with Mint juice cocktail on the shelf I had to give it a try, since I’ve never seen anything comparable before.  This juice cocktail has no high fructose corn syrup.  It definitely has a very evident cucumber and lime flavor.  I have to be honest, neither the kids nor I were fans of this drink.  My husband made good use of it by mixing it with some bourbon to create a cocktail.  I purchased this beverage at our local Shoprite on sale for $1.99.

This kombucha energy beverage comes from Poland. It was included in our MunchPak snack subscription box.

O by Oshee (Kombucha energy drink) – This beverage came in our MunchPak snack subscription box.  While I don’t think that this beverage is available in local stores, it is available through the MunchPak store. This drink comes from Poland.  My husband enjoys kombucha but when he tried this drink he couldn’t detect any kombucha flavor. Instead, this drink reminded him of a regular Red Bull.

Ocean Spray Cran-Pineapple – I grew up drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail.  Over the years, Ocean Spray has continued to expand their line of cranberry juice beverages.  Whenever I see a new cranberry flavor, I have to try it.  We all enjoyed this Ocean Spray Cran-Pineapple.  I liked the combo of sweet and tart flavors.  These drinks tend to be sweet and have quite a bit of sugar.  But we always dilute our beverages with 3/4 seltzer and 1/4 juice which makes a nice spritzer.  I bought this juice at our local Shoprite on sale for $1.99.

Included in our September beverage round-up ROAR organic is an organic coconut water.

ROAR Organic Electrolyte Infusions (I received samples of this beverage for review purposes only.  All opinions are my own.) ROAR Organic kindly sent me a sample of their beverages to sample.  Founded in 2016, ROAR Organic is a line of USDA certified organic coconut water-based electrolyte infusions.  They currently come in four flavors (Pineapple Mint, Cucumber Watermelon, Strawberry Coconut and Mango Clementine).  They are made with all-natural flavors and sweeteners.  We received the three flavors pictured above.  Like many of the other drinks reviewed this month, these drinks contain stevia.  I find stevia to have a bitter taste and prefer to drink beverages that do not contain the sweetener.  However, my husband and kids enjoyed these drinks.  The electrolyte-infusions in these drinks set them apart from the other coconut waters on the market. Out of the three flavors we tried, the favorite was the Strawberry Coconut.  ROAR Organic can be purchased online at Taldepot.com and Amazon.com.  They are sold in bulk and retail on Taldepot.com for $31.00 for a pack of 12 (18 oz) bottles.

Included in our September beverage round-up ROAR kids is a line of water-based beverages for kids.

ROAR Kids – (I received samples of this beverage for review purposes only.  All opinions are my own.)  ROAR organic also sent me a sample of their new kids line of beverages.  ROAR Kids is a water-based beverage that is naturally flavored.  As you can see, they partnered with Disney’s Marvel Studios for their packaging.  With just 2 grams of sugar per serving, ROAR Kids comes in Grape, Apple and Fruit Punch flavors.  Both my kids enjoyed these drinks, with their favorite being the grape-flavored.  ROAR Organic can be purchased online at Taldepot.com and Amazon.com.  They are sold in bulk and retail on Taldepot.com for $21.00 for 12 (12 oz) bottles.

Have you tried any new beverages recently? 

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Horseback Riding in Watkins Glen with Painted Bar Stables

(Thank you Painted Bar Stables, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes for hosting us.  As always, all opinions are my own.)

My kids are super adventurous and really wanted to try horseback riding this summer.  They were very excited to discover that they were going to go riding for the first time on our trip to the Southern Finger Lakes region of New York.

Painted Bar Stables was established in 2003, with Erika Eckstrom taking ownership in 2008. Located in Burdett, NY, minutes away from Watkins Glen, Painted Bar is a community-oriented riding facility.  There are approximately 37 horses at the stable, including three foals not yet ready for riding. The stable has a horse suitable for just about any rider and can accommodate groups as large as 15.

When we arrived at Painted Bar Stables, Erika was there to greet us.  As with any outdoor recreation activity with a physical risk, waivers have to be signed before riding and helmets must be worn.  Once we entered the barn, Erika gave us a short, but informative, overview on horseback riding.  She told us how to hold the reins and steer the horses. She noted that the rider is in control of the horse, but if we are not diligent, the horses will take advantage. For example, they prefer that the horses not eat during the trail ride.  However, the forest is a buffet for them and they will try to sneak in snacks if they can.  She used great analogies and explanations that the kids were able to understand, which helped give them a better understanding of horses and their behavior.

Prior to our arrival, Erika had chosen horses to match our sizes and riding ability.  My 9 year-old son rode Smudge, a small tan pony, perfectly sized for him.  My 11 year-old daughter rode Captain and I rode Panda (a.k.a. “Panda Paws”), a black and white horse named after a flavor of ice cream.  Once we met our horses Erika had her assistants help us untie them and we walked them out to the paddock. Once we mounted our horses our stirrups were adjusted and we were ready to ride!

Although I have some previous riding experience, it had been years since I was last on a horse. I have to admit that I wasn’t scared for myself riding, but I was concerned about how the kids would do being on a horse for the first time. Cody, one of Erika’s assistants, accompanied us on our ride, bringing up the rear. I was riding in the middle with my son in front of me and my daughter behind.  Since I couldn’t see my daughter, knowing Cody was there to help her made me a lot more comfortable.

Our trail ride was an hour long and approximately three miles. We rode from the paddock along a pasture where we saw some of the other horses, including the foals, grazing. We then rode past a field and eventually entered the woods.  The ride was a great length for us beginners and was super enjoyable.  It was a very scenic and peaceful trail ride. During the ride, the horses navigated fallen logs and rocks.  There were a couple of shallow streams we crossed where we stopped for a moment to give the horses a water break.  As we came to different parts of the trail Erika gave us reminders on how to sit (lean back  going down a hill or slightly forward riding up).  There is one part of the trail where the horses need to trot up a hill.  While my daughter loved it, my son was a bit unsure.

Erika really adapts the ride to the riders. At the end of the trail, there’s a straight path back up to the paddock, perfect for riding with a little more speed.  She asked if we wanted to ride a little faster up the hill.  Since my son was a bit hesitant, she rode with him up the path at a comfortable speed.  Then Cody led me and my daughter up at a faster trot. It was a win for everyone!

My kids loved horseback riding!  It’s all my daughter could talk about for days.  I had to hear how much she loved Captain and how she wants a horse of her own.  Getting a horse is never going to happen, however the kids are anxiously awaiting their next opportunity to go horseback riding.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures during the trail ride.  I kept my phone in a waist bag under my shirt, afraid that I’d drop it during the ride.  Plus, this was one of those experiences that should be fully taken in and enjoyed.

The Finger Lakes region of New York is such a picturesque area with lots to see and do.  On your visit, I recommend you make some time for a horseback ride at Painted Bar Stables.  Erika and her crew will ensure you have a great ride!

The Details:
Painted Bar Stables
4093 Lake Street
Burdett, NY 14818
(607) 216-8141

Hours:  Trail rides are by appointment only, available through the online rider request form.  Please give 24-48 hours advance notice.

Price:  Painted Bar Stables offers a variety of trail rides, specialty rides and even overnight and multi-day pack trips. The basic beginner rides are listed below.  Please check the site for other rides and prices.

Scenic Trail Ride (1 hour – 3 miles) $55/person
Beginner Adventure (1 1/2 hours – 4.5 miles) $$80/person

If paying by credit card, there is a 3.5% surcharge.

Additional Info:

*Children must be at least 8 years old to ride.
*There is a maximum weight limit of 250 pounds.
*Long pants and closed toe shoes or boots must be worn.
*Arrive 5-10 minutes before your scheduled ride.  If you are late it will cut into your ride time.

Tips:
Remember to wear sunscreen and bug spray.

Don’t bring along anything that you don’t mind losing!

If you enjoyed your ride, tip your guide.  Although it’s not required, tips are always appreciated.

 

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 86}

2017 calendar
 Monday means that it’s time for another weekly meal plan. If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you. Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and my family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly recipes to try.  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan. Since it’s officially fall, it will be getting darker sooner.   Unfortunately, I fear my dinner pictures will be negatively affected.  Just a pre-warning, that they may not be looking as light and bright as they have been!  Now on to our menu from this past week:

Saturday: It was my birthday and we went out to celebrate!  I had been wanting to go to Polpettina to try their Eggplant Chips.  We had a carb buffet with the chips, truffle parm fries, pizza and a fried eggplant, broccoli rabe and burrata sandwich.  Everything was delicious!

Sunday: After a day of eating in the city we weren’t too hungry at dinner time.  My parents had given us some veggies from their garden so my husband made a ratatouille sauce of sorts with tomatoes, eggplant and squash. Fresh garden tomatoes always make any sauce taste extra delicious! He served the sauce over spaghetti. As per his usual cooking style, there’s no recipe.

Monday: I made Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken from Get In My Belly.  It’s an adapted version of a Damn Delicious recipe.  As you can tell from the plate, the dish was super liquidy.  The chicken had great flavor from cooking in the sauce all day.  Unfortunately, chicken thighs are not the most photogenic food!  LOL!  I served the chicken with rice and veggies.

Tuesday: I made Mini BBQ Meatloaves from Cooking Light, December 2015.  I served these with roasted potatoes and veggies.  Since the recipe only called for a 1/2 pound of ground beef and a 1/2 pound of sausage and made eight mini meatloaves, I ended up doubling the recipe.  I usually buy meat in bulk and freeze it by pounds.  By doubling the recipe I didn’t have to figure out what to make with the leftover 1/2 pounds of meat and I ensured that I’d have leftovers for lunches during the week.  These meatloaves were so tasty!  I loved the flavor combo of the ground beef and sausage with the BBQ sauce. This was a kid-approved meal and wins for me as best dinner of the week.  I would definitely make these again.

Wednesday: I made Creamy Balsamic Skillet Chicken from Lovely Little Kitchen.  I didn’t mean to have chicken thighs twice in one week.  I was supposed to make the pineapple chicken last week but we had gone to my parent’s house for dinner.  Let me just say that my chicken looks nothing like the chicken in the original recipe.  My sauce didn’t reduce and thicken and was a liquidy mess, as seen from my plate!  The flavor of the chicken was okay but this is not a dish that I’d make again.

Thursday: I made Cheesy Sausage Zucchini Rice Skillet from I Wash You Dry.  Since the kids were off from school I ended up making dinner late (as can be seen from the terrible lighting of the picture!).  This dish is easy to make with few ingredients.  Unfortunately, I thought the kielbasa overpowered the flavors of everything else.  For those with picky eaters, this might be a plus, since the zucchini taste is barely discernible. The kids enjoyed this but I wasn’t a big fan.

Friday: I made our usual Friday night pizza.  Tonight was plain cheese, a favorite of the kids.

What is on your dinner menu this week?

Five on Friday {The Short Week}

I hope everyone had a great week and is ready for the weekend!  We had a short week here with the kids off from school yesterday and today for the Jewish holidays.  They have slowly adjusted to their weekly school routine and things are running pretty smoothly around here (knock on wood!).  We don’t have an exciting weekend planned but my husband hopes to get a bunch of yard work and house projects completed.  My son has soccer, my daughter has a birthday party and we have our town day celebration. Otherwise, we will hopefully be enjoying a relaxing weekend. Here are five from this week:

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

1. Celebrating – Last Saturday was my birthday and I had my celebratory weekend all planned out.  Saturday we went apple picking and out to dinner.  Then Sunday we went down to the city for an eating tour.  I couldn’t believe how hot it was Saturday.  We were in the apple orchard in the middle of September, sweating like crazy.  But we picked a bag of apples and had some cider doughnuts.

My daughter made apple crisp and cinnamon apple muffins.

2.  Baking – Yesterday, being off from school, my daughter got baking fever.  I was already planning on making muffins.  But she asked if she could make them on her own.  So, from start to finish she made Cinnamon Apple Muffins from allrecipes by herself.  Once the muffins were in the oven she decided that she wanted to make something else.  So the two of us made an Apple Crisp together which we enjoyed for dessert last night.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any vanilla ice cream, but it was delicious without!

3. Eating – Although we live pretty close to New York City we don’t get to go very often.  My birthday was a perfect reason to head down for the day. There were some foods only found in the city that I really wanted to try after drooling over my Instagram feed. We enjoyed a delicious day of eating all the foods! (Check my Instagram feed for more deliciousness.) Out of all the food we ate Sunday, this Unicorn Special from Taiyaki was the kids’ favorite and definitely wins for being the cutest!

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4. Reading – This week my son and I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I am so happy that I finally finished the series. I’m very happy with how the book ended and was even crying in parts.  Now, we just need to plan a trip to Universal Studios to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

5. Celebrating Small Wins – One of my blog business goals this month was to create my LinkedIn profile.  My husband had been telling me for months that I needed to create one.  I finally sat down yesterday afternoon and took some time to set it up!  It’s still a work in progress and I currently only have 2 connections.  But for me, this is a big step! Next up…..business cards!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendarMonday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Tuesday I wrote about our visit to Watkins Glen State Park.

Wednesday I shared a recap of our #NYSummer2017.

Thursday I published a Westchester County Fall Fun guide.

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

 

Westchester County Fall Fun

 

Tomorrow marks the official first day of fall. With the leaves changing color and Halloween quickly approaching, there is so much to see and do.  Here is a round-up of some of the Westchester County fall fun to be had!

Please note, not all of these events are family-friendly! 

Apple Picking:

While there are many apple orchards throughout the Hudson Valley, you don’t have to travel far to go apple picking.  Westchester County is home to four apple orchards.  In addition to apple picking, many offer family-friendly activities, as well as (Please check each website for specific dates, times and cost.)

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard (North Salem)

Outhouse Orchards (Croton Falls)

Stuarts Farms (Granite Springs)

Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm (Yorktown Heights)

Fall Festivals:

There are tons of fall festivals taking place in September and October throughout Westchester County.  While there are too many to list, we’ve listed some of the more popular events.

Hudson Valley Irish Fest
September 30, 2017 – 11 AM – 7 PM
Peekskill Riverfront Green
Peekskill, NY 10566

Enjoy a fun day celebrating all things Irish.  There will be live music, food, vendors and family fun.

Once Upon a Time Fall Fest & Train Show
Weekends beginning September 30 – 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Lasdon Park
2610 Amawalk Road, Rt. 35
Katonah, NY 10536
Tickets: $10/adult, $5/child (12 and under)
**Free admission on October 29 for children in costume!! 

Enjoy seeing trains, a hay maze, storytelling, a dinosaur plant garden and more. This year’s theme is Once Upon a Time, centering around children’s books.  There will be wine and craft beer tastings on select dates.

Farm Fest at Fable Farm
October 1, 2017 – 10 AM – 4 PM
1311 Kitchawan Rd.
Ossining, NY 10562

Enjoy a day at the farm.  Feed the chickens, tour the hydroponic greenhouse, shop local vendors, enjoy cooking demos and more.

Harvest Fest
October 7, 2017 – 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Stone Barns Center
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591
*General Admission tickets sold out!!
Celebration Tickets and packages available starting at $150

Enjoy a day on the farm with hayrides, educational tours, cooking activities, live music, local food and beverage vendors and more!

Fall Fest
October 7-10, 2017, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Hilltop Hanover Farm
1271 Hanover Street
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Free to attend, but activities will have fees

Enjoy an entire weekend of fall fun! Farm produce will be on sale and there will be pumpkin picking and other family fun activities.

Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival
October 14, 2017 – 10 AM – 4 PM
Robert E. Bell Middle School
50 Senter Street
Chappaqua, NY 10514

More than 90 children’s authors are expected to attend the book festival and will be signing books and reading excerpts.  Enjoy a day of books, fun, food and entertainment.

21st Annual Sleepy Hollow Street Fair
October 14, 2017 – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Beekman Avenue
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Enjoy vendors, a kid’s carnival, food from local restaurants and more.

HarvestFest on the Hill
October 21, 2017 12 PM – 3 PM
Ridge Hill
1 Ridge Hill Blvd.
Yonkers, NY 10710

Enjoy an afternoon of family fun and entertainment.  Children can wear costumes and trick-or-treat from 12 PM – 1 PM.  There will be square dance lessons, pumpkin painting, live music, food and drink and more.

                                                                                    Croton Gorge Park
Fall Foliage:

Westchester County has some great places to do some leaf peeping!  Here are a couple of recommendations.  Please leave me some of your favorite places in the comments!

Croton Gorge Park
35 Yorktown Rd.
Cortlandt, NY 10520

Enjoy an easy wooded hike up to the Croton Gorge Dam and then take in the beautiful waterfall and scenic views!

Fall Foliage Afternoon Cruise on the Hudson River with Trinity Cruise Company
Riverfront Green Park
Peekskill, NY
3 PM, select Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October
$22/adults, $20/seniors, $14/children 16 and under

Enjoy a 1 1/2 hour cruise on the Hudson River as you take in highlights including Iona Island, Bear Mountain, Anthony’s Nose and more.  Food and beverage are not included but snacks and beverages are available to purchase on board.

Rockefeller State Park
125 Phelps Way
Pleasantville, NY 10570
7 AM – Sunset
$6 parking fee

Read our Rockfeller State Park blog post for more info!

Halloween Fun:

(photo by Angie Gaul – courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley)

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Van Cortlandt Manor
525 S. Riverside Avenue
Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520
Dates:  Check website for specific dates
Tickets: $20/adults ($25 – Fri./Sat.), $16/children (3-17) ($20 – Fri./Sat.) (Free for members and children under 3)

There’s a reason that thousands of visitors visit the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze each fall.  Sound effects, lighting and an original soundtrack accompany thousands of carved pumpkins artfully arranged on the grounds of Van Cortland Manor.  Get your tickets soon as this event always sells out!

Jay Ghoul’s House of CuriositiesHalloween Without a Clue
Lyndhurst
635 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Oct. 19 – 22 and Oct. 25-31, 6-9 PM (check website for specific dates and times)
Tickets:  $25/adults, $20/children (12 and under)   advance reservations are necessary

Enjoy a nighttime, fun and spooky theater performance that lasts approximately 30 minutes.  It is a family-friendly event, though young children may be scared by the costumes and low lighting.

Spooky Tales
October 30, 2017 – 3:30 PM
Caramoor
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY 10536
Tickets:  $15/adults, $10/child

Children ages 3-8 are invited to listen to Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk tell spooky, but not-too-scary, stories to celebrate Halloween.  Come in costume and enjoy some refreshments in the Summer Dining Room after the performance.

Haunted Houses:

There are not many haunted houses in Westchester County but get your scare on with these three.  Parents, you  know your children.  Even though many of these attractions are recommended for ages 10+, don’t take your children if you don’t think that are up for it.  Weeks of nightmares are not worth one night of fun for you! 

The Haunt at Rocky Ledge
1402 Old Orchard Street
White Plains, NY 10603
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in October (check website for specific times)
The Haunt at Rocky Ledge includes two haunted houses, a walk through the woods and a haunted cornfield.  Expect to be scared!

       (Photo by Tom Nycz – courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley)

Horseman’s Hollow at Philipsburg Manor
100 Continental Street (Philipsburg Manor overflow parking lot)
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in October (check website for specific times)
Tickets:  $25/Saturday tickets, $20 (online)/Friday and Sunday, $22 (phone order)/Friday & Sunday Fast track tickets are an additional $15 per person (members receive a $5 discount)

Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow is transformed into a town driven mad by the Headless Horseman. Get your tickets in advance as many nights sell out.  Recommended for ages 10+

Scared By the Sound
Playland Amusement Park
Playland Parkway
Rye, NY 10580
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in October (check website for specific times)
Tickets:  $20

This walk-through attraction is recommended for children 10+

Performances:

                (Photo by Jennifer Mitchell – courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley)

Irving’s “Legend” at the Old Dutch Church
Parking is at Philipsburg Manor:
381 North Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in October (check website for specific times)
Tickets:  $25/adults, $20/children under 18 (members receive a $5 discount)

Enjoy master storyteller Jonathan Kruk’s dramatic performance of Washington Irving’s classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Performances take place weekends throughout October and last approximately 45 minutes.  This event is recommended for children ages 10+.  The event takes place at the Old Dutch Church across the street from Philipsburg Manor.

Oktoberfest:

Bear Mountain Oktoberfest at Anthony Wayne
September 23 – October 29 – 12 PM – 6 PM
Anthony Wayne Recreation Area
Palisades Parkway, Exit 17
Bear Mountain, NY 10911

Although not in Westchester County, the Bear Mountain Oktoberfest is one of the largest in the area.  Enjoy live music, food and of course beer now through the end of October.

Farmers Markets:

Pick up locally grown produce and shop local vendors.  #SupportLocal

John Jay Homestead
Saturdays (through October 28) – 9 AM – 1:00 PM
400 Jay Street (Rt. 22)
Katonah, NY 10536

Muscoot Farm
Sundays (through November 26) – 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM
51 Route 100
Katonah, NY 10536

Check out the 20+ vendors and then go visit the animals or take a hike!

Also check out other local farmers markets in Croton-on-Hudson (Sundays), Harrison (Saturdays), Hastings (Saturdays), Larchmont (Saturdays), New Rochelle (Fridays), NY Presbyterian in Cortlandt Manor (1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month), Ossining (Saturdays),Peekskill (Saturdays), Pleasantville (Saturdays), Rye (Sundays) and White Plains (Wednesdays).

Food:

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week
From October 30 – November 12, 2017  almost 200 restaurants throughout the Hudson Valley will be offering special three-course lunches ($19.95) or dinners ($32.95).  Now’s a great time to check out some new restaurants in Westchester County and beyond.

Dance:

Costume Bash Dance Party (for adults)
October 13, 2017
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street (Rt. 22)
Katonah, NY 10536
7 – 8 PM, VIP experience
8 PM – 12 AM, costume bash
Tickets: $80/each, VIP experience: $125/each

Adults, put on your costumes and get ready for a fun evening of music and dance.  Enjoy cocktails and raffles with a prize for most creative costume.

Movies:

Fall Flicks Outdoor Movies
Cross County Shopping Center
8000 Mall Walk
Yonkers, NY 10704
Schedule:
Friday September 22 – Beauty & the Beast (2017)  Arrive at 5 PM to get selfies with the characters before the movie.
Friday September 29 – The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Friday October 6 – Monster House (2006)

Bring a blanket or chairs to the Green for a movie, free popcorn and family entertainment.

If you know of a Westchester County fall fun event that should be added, please let me know in the comments below or e-mail me at NYFoodieFamily@gmail.com. 

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#NYSummer2017 In Review

Our family had an amazing summer traveling around New York State.  Through four separate road trips, we saw parts of New York that we had never visited before. During one of these trips, I discovered my love for the Adirondacks and I can’t wait to make a return visit.  This summer also made me realize that we’ve only seen a fraction of what New York has to offer.  We really do live in a spectacular state! Here is our #NYSummer2017 in review: (Links take you to the full posts on the blog.  They will be updated as additional posts are published.)

Trip #1 (Albany, Adirondacks, Saratoga)

Day 1:  We traveled from our home in northern Westchester County to the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology in Troy, NY.  After a couple of hours at the museum we drove to John Boyd Thacher State Park in Vorheesville, NY.  We stayed at the Econo Lodge in Colonie for one evening.

Day 2:  We drove into Albany and toured the state Capitol building.  We then walked around Empire Plaza, past the Egg to the Corning Observation Deck.  After riding the elevator to the 42nd floor for some amazing views of the city we headed back to the concourse for lunch.  After lunch we visited the New York State Museum before driving to Moreau Lake State Park, where we tried cabin camping for the first time.  This was our “home base” for the week.

Day 3: We visited the Adirondack Experience in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.  My husband drove up after work Friday evening and met us at the cabin for a long weekend.

Day 4:  We visited the Olympic Sites at Lake Placid.  We ate dinner at A&W.

Day 5:  We spent the day at Six Flags Great Escape and then had dinner at Farmstead Flatbread in Queensbury.

Day 6:  We drove into the town of Lake George.  Unfortunately, it was a rainy and cold day.  We played indoor miniature golf  and walked around by the lake.  After a Middle Eastern lunch at Ali Baba Express, my husband drove back home.

Day 7: The day started out rainy again.  Our first stop was to Yaddo Gardens.  Then we visited Congress Park in Saratoga Springs where we rode the carousel (pictured above) and had lunch at Ravenous Creperie.  After lunch we drove to Saratoga Spa State Park where we did some geocaching and walked the geyser trail.

Day 8: We spent the morning at Lake Moreau and the kids finally got to go swimming.  Later in the afternoon we went white water rafting with Beaver Brook Outfitters.  That evening we drove back home.

Trip #2 (Buffalo/Niagara Falls)

Day 1: We drove the 6.5 + hours to Four Mile Creek State Park.  We were tent camping on this trip.  We got there after dinner and had to set up the tent…..in the rain.

Day 2: We drove to Buffalo and had a great brunch at the Lake Effect Diner. After eating we did a quick drive around the SUNY Buffalo campus.  During our drive it started to rain so we visited the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum.  After spending the afternoon there we drove over to the Canada side of the Falls.  After taking lots of pictures of the Falls in the rain we walked around Clifton Hill.  Luckily, by evening the rain stopped. We were able to see the falls lit up and the fireworks show before heading back to the campsite. We returned to the campsite to discover our tent had caved in and the kids’ air mattress and sleeping bags were soaked!

Day 3:  After packing up the camp site, we headed to the falls area on the American side.  After lunch, we took the Maid of the Mist boat ride and then headed home.

Trip #3 (Binghamton/Ithaca)

Day 1:  We headed up to Binghamton.  On the way up, we stopped at Animal Adventure Park and got to see April the giraffe and her baby Taj!  We then drove to Binghamton University where we walked around my husband’s old college campus.  After, we visited Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca.  The water was freezing, but the kids braved it to go swimming.  Finally, we drove to Cortland and had dinner at Central City Bar and Grill before heading to our hotel.

Day 2: We spent the day in Ithaca visiting Cornell University, my old college campus.  We started at the Botanic Gardens, then did some geocaching and walked along Beebe Lake for a bit. We walked around the campus and headed down to Collegetown for lunch.  After lunch, we drove to the Dairy Bar for ice cream.  After leaving Cornell, we drove down to Purity Ice Cream in Ithaca for some more treats!  We ended the day at Buttermilk Falls State Park.  It took us awhile to hike down to the falls where we were disappointed to discover that there was no swimming allowed that day.  We spent a little time at the playground and then had to hike back up to the car.  We then headed back home.

Trip #4 (Corning, Rochester, Syracuse)


Day 1:  We drove up to Corning, where our first stop was the Rockwell Museum.  After a short visit to the museum, we had lunch at the Old World Cafe.  Then we visited the Corning Museum of Glass.  After our visit, we went to our hotel at the Staybridge Suites, where the kids had a quick swim in the indoor pool. Then we headed out to dinner at Hand + Foot.

Day 2:  We drove to Elmira and went kayaking down the Chemung River with Southern Tier Kayak Tours.  After a quick lunch, we drove to Watkins Glen and went horseback riding at Painted Bar Stables.  Then we visited Watkins Glen State Park and walked the Gorge Trail to see all the waterfalls.  We made a short stop at Seneca Harbor Park before heading to dinner at Nickel’s Pit BBQ.  After dinner, we drove to Hammondsport, where we stayed for the night.

Day 3:  We spent the morning walking around the Village Square in Hammondsport.  We went down to Depot Park, where only my son was brave enough to withstand the cold temps for a quick dip in Keuka Lake.  We then had lunch at the Village Tavern Restaurant before heading to Rochester.

Day 4:  We spent the day at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester.

Day 5:  We spent the day at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford.

Day 6:  We spent the morning at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester.  We then drove to Syracuse and spent the rest of the day at the New York State Fair.

Day 7:  We got up early and drove the four hours back home.

We had a lot of fun this summer and the kids will have lots of memories.  As you can see, there is so much to see and do throughout New York. We can’t wait to continue to explore the Empire State!

What is your favorite New York State attraction?

 

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