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A Visit To Hudson Valley Brewery

(Thank you to Hudson Valley Brewery and Dutchess Tourism for hosting us. As always, all opinions are our own.)

Hudson Valley Brewery is currently one of three craft breweries in Beacon, New York.  Located on Main Street, the brewery resides in a white painted brick building that was formerly a metal dinghy factory.  You enter the brewery through a garage door that opens into a large, warehouse-type tasting room. Visitors can start a tab at the bar with a credit card.  The bar is strictly for ordering beers, as there are no seats to sit at, and it’s constantly bustling with guests.  However, there are plenty of picnic tables, both inside and out to sit at and relax while enjoying your beer.

Hudson Valley Brewery specializes in sour IPAs.  They have a 30 barrel system and last year released 65 different beers.  They rarely make the same beer twice, so there’s plenty of reasons to visit often.   The descriptions of these beers make me want to try them all!  The brewery doesn’t offer flights, but most of their beers are available in three different sizes (4 oz, 8 oz or 16 oz).  Each guest is allow to order two beers at a time, but multiple trips can be had.

The day of our visit, my husband tried two different beers.  He tried the Holocene and the Motueka Incandenza.  The Holocene is a 6% sour IPA that, according to the menu,  tastes like, “poundcake, mango drink and funfetti.”  The Motukea Incandenza is also a 6% sour IPA and the tasting notes include “limoncello, green Boston Fruit slices and Glacier Freeze Gatorade.”  This was my husband’s first time trying sour beer, but after this tasting he has become a big fan.  He enjoyed both of these beers but liked the Incandenza a little bit more.  The Fauna seemed to be a popular beer, as it was ordered several times while we there.  It has an enticing light pink color.

If you enjoy the beer, you can purchase cans to bring home with you.  The colorful, pastel-colored cans are designed by artist Evan Cohen. They have a can release every two weeks, alternating Fridays and Saturdays.  New releases are very popular, and some sour beer fans even camp out before the day of a release to ensure they get to be one of the first to sample it.

We visited on a summer Saturday and the brewery was bustling even shortly after the 2 PM opening time.  Visitors come from all over to sample their sour beers.  The brewery is doing some brisk business and within the next year they have plans to expand into the building next door with a restaurant and tasting room.

The Details:

Hudson Valley Brewery
7 East Main Street
Beacon, NY
(845) 218-9156

Website: http://hudsonvalleybrewery.com
Hours: Thursday & Friday 5 PM – 10 PM, Saturday 2 PM – 10 PM, Sunday 2 PM – 8 PM

 

 

 

 

1

Your Best Weekend {Volume 3}

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

Happy Thursday!  Welcome to another edition of “Your Best Weekend”.  Enjoy a weekly curated list of ideas for self-care, family fun, date nights and more to help you have “your best weekend.”  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.”  – Proverb

Celebrate:

National Dog Day on August 26th.  Take your dog to the dog park or buy him or her a special treat!  Give plenty of extra pets and cuddles today!  If you, like us, don’t have a dog, take a trip to the local shelter and visit with some pups!  Or visit with some friends who do have dogs!

August 27th is Just Because Day!  So many things you can do today to celebrate!  Eat dessert first, sleep until noon, wear mismatched shoes……just because!

Self-Care:

Journal Prompt/Reflection:  What is one lesson that you learned this week?

Challenge: Make time to read.  I’ve always loved to read.  As a busy, working parent, it has gotten more difficult to find time to read.  I’ve learned, I need to make the time.  I bring a book with me to work and read for part of my lunch break.  I always read a couple of pages, or chapters if it’s not too late, before bed too! Although I post a monthly book review of what I read month, if you want some good book recommendations check out my favorite reads of 2017!

Watch (Based on Books Edition):

On Netflix: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – This movie debuted on Netflix last week.  Based on the YA novel by Jenny Han, this teen romance follows Lara Jean and what happens when her secret love letters to her crushes gets mailed out.  As always, I’m all about reading the book first.

On DVD: Ready Player One was released on July 24th.  Based on the book by Ernest Cline this movie is a sci-fi adventure.  Like the book, it is filled with tons of pop culture references.  I have read and watched the movie and think they are both great…..and I’m not a big sci-fi fan…..so take that as you want.

In the movie theater: Crazy Rich Asians opened with over a $26 million bang at the box office last weekend. While I wasn’t a big fan of the book, it is nice to see feature films with Asian characters.

Family Fun with Tweens:

Dinner Conversation Starter: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Family Fun Idea:  Have a family game night.  Check out this post for some of our recent favorites!

Weekly Recommendations:

Read:  The Skimm.  Subscribe to the newsletter and get a summary of all the important news each weekday morning.  The short summaries keep me updated on the relevant headlines with links to more in-depth articles, if I’m interested in reading more.

Recipe: Egg Roll in a Bowl.  This is a family favorite recipe that is so quick and easy to prepare.  My kids love this!  It can be a carb-free dish or you can make rice to serve with it.

RISE Together Podcast

Podcast:  I have recently discovered all things Rachel Hollis.  In her newest podcast RISE Together. her and her husband Dave discuss all things marriage and relationships.  They are such a fun couple and I enjoy listening to them talk.

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Walking Tour of Bannerman Island

(Thank you Dutchess Tourism and Bannerman Castle Trust for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

As life-long residents of the Hudson Valley, my husband and I both heard of Bannerman Island, but only recently got to visit the castle ruins and hear the history of the infamous site.  While many, like myself, refer to it as Bannerman Island, Bannerman Castle actually resides on Pollepel Island.  This 6.5 acre piece of land sits amidst the Hudson River.  Over 100 years old, the island and castle are only accessible via tours by the Bannerman Castle Trust and the New York State Parks.

Tours depart from either Beacon or Newburgh.  We took a tour from Beacon, which departs right near the Beacon train station.  Visitors board the Estuary Steward for an approximately thirty-minute boat ride to Bannerman Castle.  Once you arrive on the island, your tour guide greets you for a seven stop, 1.5 hour walking tour of the island.

The story of Bannerman Castle is an interesting one.  On your tour you will hear the story of how and why Francis, “Frank” Bannerman VI had the Castle built.  I’m not posting many photos of the island or writing about the history of the Castle in this post.  It is more fun to hear and see the story in person.  Although Bannerman Castle is part of the Hudson Highlands State Park, the repairs and upkeep of the Island and structures all come from the Bannerman Trust. They really appreciate visitors coming to take the tour and see the Island.

You get to walking inside the family’s summer residence, which acts as a Visitor Center and also houses a small gift shop.  This is a renovation that was recently completed, though the second floor, pictured above, still remains off-limits to visitors.

As you tour the island you will see breathtaking views of the Hudson River and surrounding Hudson Valley.

You will also see beautiful gardens and flowers throughout the island.  These gardens are maintained by a team of volunteers who weed, plant and water them.

Unfortunately, you do not get to walk inside the Castle.  As you can see, support beams are attached to help protect the remaining structure of the Castle.  While this experience is family-friendly and recommended for children ages 11 and up, there were no children on our tour.  My husband and I purposely chose to do this tour on a summer day when our children were with their grandparents.  However, there are plenty of family-friendly events hosted on Bannerman Island throughout the season including Broadway and Theatre shows, movie nights, musical performances and more.  Be sure to check out the calendar of events!

The Details:

Bannerman Island Walking Tours

From Beacon: Saturdays at 11 AM and 12:30 PM, Sundays at 12:30 PM
From Newburgh:  Sundays at 11 AM

Admission:  $35/adults, $30/children under 11

Parking:  Free parking is available on weekends at the Beacon Train Station

Tips:
*Make sure to wear sneakers or comfortable walking shoes.  You will climb 70 steps from the dock up to the beginning of the tour.

*You can bring your own beverages.  Water and drinks are also sold on the boat and at the Visitor’s Center.

*The tour is not wheelchair or stroller-friendly.

 

Dinner and a Beer Flight at Mill House Brewing Company

(Thank you to Dutchess Tourism and Mill House Brewing Company for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Mill House Brewing Company is located on Mill Street in Poughkeepsie, right off of Rt. 55.  Surprisingly, the restaurant was never actually a mill and was most recently a Chinese restaurant! My husband and I didn’t realize until visiting that we’ve driven by this place multiple times on our way across the river!  Now that we know that it’s there though, we will be back.  Mill House Brewing Company is a brewery and a pub.  When we talked to people at other stops on our Dutchess Craft Beverage Trail tour and mentioned that we were visiting Mill House Brewing Company, they always commented on how good the food was here.  And they weren’t wrong!

The restaurant has an extensive menu, filled with so many delicious options.  My husband and I debated making a meal out of Appetizers and Bar Bites, because there were so many dishes that we wanted to try!  In the end we took our server’s recommendation and shared the Fried Calamari Salad.  The portion was humongous and could have been a meal in itself!  I had never heard of a fried calamari salad before, but it was so good.  The calamari was so tender and the chili-lime vinaigrette and Srirarcha Ranch aioli complemented the arugula so well.

For our entrees we shared the Fig and “Pig” pizza and a Deep Fried Scallop and Oyster Po’Boy.  The sandwich was messy good!  Unfortunately, it was a daily special and not something that they serve every day.

The pizza Fig and “Pig” is one of five pizzas that the restaurant serves.  This has smoked mozzarella, housemade duck bacon, black mission figs, arugula and aged balsamic.  We were getting full and took most of the pizza home with us!

Mill House Brewing also has several burgers on their menu, including the 50/50 burger being the winner of the Hudson Valley Burger Bash, three years in a row.  They also make several different sausages and offer a variety of pasta, seafood and steak dishes.  There is something for everyone at this Mill House and I can almost guarantee you that it will be delicious.

We were seriously too stuffed for dessert, as much as we wanted to try some of them (I’m talking about you, Peanut Butter Sundae and Cannoli Profiteroles!).  Just another reason for us to go back!

“….our A-Team here, who make “holy s#*t” moments happen at Mill House day in and day out.”

But of course, besides serving amazing food, we can’t forget that Mill House is also a brewery!  They have 16 taps and are always changing the beers that they serve.  My husband enjoyed a flight, where you can choose 5 beers for $15.  His flight included Kold One, which is their most popular beer, Cross Reference Blackberry, Cucumber Blessings, Velvet Panda and Northwest Territory. Although he enjoyed them all, his favorite was Cucumber Blessings. This award-winning cream ale is crisp and dry with notes of cucumber.  Basically, a perfect summer beer!

Assistant General Manger, Chris, told to us that the brewmasters Jamie Bishop and Larry Stock have become more experimental with their beers since they acquired the additional space down the street that houses 20 additional barrels.  According to Chris, asking him to name his favorite beer is like asking a parent to name their favorite child.  However, at the time of our visit, his current favorite brew was Zoe.

Brewmaster Jamie works with a local artist to create unique badges for each new beer.

If you really enjoy your beer, hopefully it is one of five that are sold in cans.  Kold One, Cucumber Blessings, Hubar I DIPA, Grocery Getter and Northwest Territory Imperial are their five beers that you can find in stores like Whole Foods, some local beer distributors and even Grand Central Station.  Otherwise, you can purchase some on your way out of the restaurant to take home with you (along with some of their home homemade sauces made with their beer).

Stop by The Mill House Brewing Company for a delicious meal and a cold brew (or flight)!

The Details:

Mill House Brewing Company
289 Mill Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(845) 485-2739

Website: www.millhousebrewing.com

Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30 AM – 9 PM, Friday 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM, Saturday 11 AM – 10:30 PM, Sunday Brunch 11 AM – 3 PM, Sunday Dinner 3 PM – 9 PM

5

Your Best Weekend {Volume 2}

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

Happy Thursday!  Welcome to another edition of “Your Best Weekend”.  Enjoy a weekly curated list of ideas for self-care, family fun, date nights and more to help you have “your best weekend.”  We are all busy, but we need to make time to enjoy life!

There aren’t enough days in the weekend.” – Rod Schmidt

Celebrate:

National Fajita Day is Saturday, August 18.  Make some fajitas for dinner tonight!  We use this fajita seasoning to make chicken fajitas.

Celebrate National Soft Ice Cream Day on August 19.  I see a stop at Carvel in our future!

Self-Care:

Journal Prompt/Reflection:  What did you do this week that moved you closer to reaching one of your goals?

Challenge:  Drink more water.  Many dietitians recommend that people drink half their body weight in ounces of water each day.

Shop: To help keep your water chilled throughout the day I recommend S’well bottles.   They come in so many fun designs and work really well.  We take our bottles everywhere and enjoy having cold water at the ready.

Watch:

On Netflix – The movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society recently debuted on Netflix and is getting positive reviews.  While I was one of the rare few who didn’t enjoy the book very much, I will likely watch the movie.

On DVDAvengers: Infinity War came out this week.  If you’re a fan of Marvel movies, you’ve probably already seen this in the theater.  Now you can enjoy watching it at home as well.

Family Fun with Tweens:

Dinner Conversation Starter: If you could only eat one food for a month what would it be?

Family Fun Idea:  Break out the Mad Libs and take turns creating silly stories!

Date Night Idea:

Try one of the many adult-themed Mad Libs available.

Weekly Recommendations:

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Book Recommendation: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay is a YA book that I ended up loving.  YA is one of my go-to genres, but even if it’s not a genre you normally read, I think you should give this book a chance.  It’s an emotional read about two teens who have survived tragedies and end up finding each other and helping each other heal.

Adult Beverage Recommendation:  Westbrook Brewing Co.’s Key Lime Gose.  I am not a big beer drinker. Nor do I really like key lime pie.  However, I could drink this Key Lime Pie Gose regularly.  It’s one of their seasonal beers that is tangy, sour and tart.  It’s such a refreshing beer that’s perfect for summer.  Although Westbrook Brewing Co. is in South Carolina, we purchased it at a local craft beer shop.

Recipe Recommendation: I made this Seared Scallops over Bacon and Spinach Salad with Cider Vinaigrette recently for dinner when it was just my husband and I.  Although my son loves scallops, I wouldn’t categorize this meal as kid-friendly.  The spinach salad is fairly simple to put together and the dressing really makes this dish stand out.

 

 

A Day of Contemporary Art at Dia: Beacon

(Thank you to Dutchess Tourism and Dia:Beacon for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Dia:Beacon opened in 2003, bringing a significant collection of contemporary art to the Hudson Valley.   Housed in a former Nabisco box-printing factory, this art museum has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a short walk from the Beacon train station, and on weekends it is filled with visitors traveling up from the city.    NY Foodie Family visited Dia:Beacon a couple of years ago.  However, our most recent trip was a day date, sans kids, and proved to be an entirely different experience! My husband and I were able to view the exhibits at a much more relaxed pace.

Artist Dan Flavin is well-known for his work with florescent lights.  He has several works on view at the museum, but untitled is one of my faves.

Another interesting display is On Kawara’s Today series.  The paintings were completed on the date depicted on the surface in the language and date format of the country where the artist was at the time.

The art at Dia:Beacon is not just paintings that you see on the wall.  There are exhibits on the ground like Robert Smithson’s Map of Broken Glass.

You can walk on a set path through Francois Morellet’s No End Neon on the bottom floor of the museum.  You can also walk inside Richard Serra’s series of Torqued Ellipses exhibition. On nice days, you can walk out to the gardens designed by artist Robert Irwin.

 

The museum is large and you can spend a couple of hours looking at the exhibits. I’m going to be honest, some of the exhibits perplexed me.  Strands of yarn, different shaped holes in the ground, a pile of rubber……please don’t ask me to explain or understand it.  But, it’s all definitely interesting to look at!  Many of the pieces are on long-term view at the museum.  However, they also continuously bring in new exhibits.

After visiting Dia:Beacon, I highly recommend traveling into the town of Beacon.  There are lots of great restaurants, shops and the Hudson Valley Brewery, which are all a short drive away.

The Details:
Dia: Beacon
3 Beekman  Street
Beacon, NY

Hours:  January – March, Friday – Monday 11 AM – 4 PM,  April – October, Thursday – Monday 11 AM – 6 PM, November-December, Thursday – Monday 11 AM – 4 PM

Parking:  Free parking

Admission: $15/adult, $12/students and seniors, Free/children 12 and under and members

Additional Info:

*There is a cafe and bookstore/gift shop onsite.

*Public tours are given on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30 PM and 2 PM, free with admission.

*The museum is a short walk from the Beacon train station.

*On the last Sundays of the month Hudson Valley residents receive free admission with proof of residence.  City of Beacon residents, as well as residents of the adjoining communities of Fishkill, Glenham and Chelsea receive free admission every Saturday and Sunday.

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July Reads 2018

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

It’s time once again to link up with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  Summer is flying by and I’ve been trying to read up a storm.  I read a good mix of books this month including three non-fiction books and variety of fiction.  And I’m happy to report that the majority of them were enjoyable reads!  Here are my July reads:

3 stars

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Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman – I have recently become a big fan of The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise.  If you are a fan of the show, do not read this book!  This book will ruin the show for you.  While it’s nice to know the truth behind the show, I’ve become jaded by the info I learned.  I will continue to watch the show, but unfortunately, not with the same enthusiasm that I had.

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Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris – I really enjoyed Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown.  However, I found this book to be a bit disappointing.  I found several of the plot lines unbelievable and didn’t really like any of the characters.  Fans of B.A. Paris may want to give this book a try.  Otherwise, I don’t recommend it.

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The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking – I’m late to the hygge (hue-guh) game and only finally got to this book now.  I feel like I picked the wrong season to read this book.  Hygge is all about coziness (think warm sweaters, candles, stews, etc.).  I thought this book was okay, describing all things hygge and how to live a life of hygge.  This was one of three non-fiction books I read this month.

4 stars

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Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee – Two sisters struggle as one sister, Lucia has a mental illness.  Older sister Miranda feels responsible for taking care of and watching Lucia. But as an adult, Lucia is able to live her own life.  This book was a good look at how mental illness affects a family.

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How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake – This was a decent YA book.  There are a couple of story lines going on in this book – one with Grace dealing with a mother who acts more like a child and the other with Grace falling in love with a girl.  This book has gotten a lot of positive reviews in the LGBT community, as I know this was the first YA book that I’ve read with a bisexual character.  I really disliked Grace’s mom and it’s hard to believe that there are really parents like her out there.

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In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park – Park was born in North Korea and fled the country at age 13. She eventually made it to South Korea and this book is the story of her escape.  I found this book to be so insightful.  I’ve heard about how bad North Korea is, but didn’t realize how bad it was, until reading this.  Park’s story is so inspirational after all of the horrific events she survived.

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Killman Creek by Rachel Caine – This is the second book in the Stillhouse Lake series.  You do need to read the first book in the series, Stillhouse Lake, before reading this one.  I found it just as suspenseful as the first.  The third book won’t be released until March of 2019, but I will be reading it to see where the series goes!

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell –  Ellie Mack disappears at 15.  Her mother Laurel meets a man at a local cafe and the two start a romance.  But when Laurel meets his 9-year-old daughter Poppy, who shares a strange resemblance to her missing daughter, she starts wondering what really happened to her daughter.  I had taken a break from suspense books for a bit, since I was finding them to be so formulaic and predictable.  This book was actually a decent read and a nice reentry to the genre.

Enjoying Locally Made Spirits at the Taconic Distillery

(Thank you to Dutchess Tourism and the Taconic Distillery for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Distillation is the process of selectively boiling and condensing a liquid to separate the components, in this particular case, the alcohol. The Dutchess Craft Beverage Trail currently has three distilleries.  The first one that we visited is the Taconic Distillery located in Stanfordville, NY.  The Distillery was established in 2013, originally known as the Millbrook Distillery.

Driving up to the Distillery, the first thing you notice is the giant dog on the side of the building.  This is an image of Copper, the owner’s beloved dog who passed away.  It is also Taconic Distillery’s logo and is found on everything from its bourbon and whiskey bottles to the tasting glasses and stickers.

Taconic Distillery’s founder, Paul Coughlin, is a big hunting fan and lover of the outdoors.  The decor of the tasting room reflects this love.  The wood lined walls and leather furnishings give the space a rustic and cozy feel.

My husband, the spirits drinker, enjoyed a tasting at the Taconic Distillery.  We asked the bartender for her recommendations.  She started him off with the Dutchess Private Reserve, a 90 proof straight bourbon whiskey.

Next, he had the 90 proof Founder’s Rye Whiskey.  He finished with her favorite, the 115 proof Barrel Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

The bourbon and ryes are made onsite and after the tasting, our server took us into the back so we could see the actual distillery. To be considered NY state grown, 75% of the ingredients used must be made in New York.  Taconic’s products are 100% New York state sourced, from the grains to the spring water.  The Distillery performs their bottling every Tuesday.  As a small-run operation, bottling is an all-hands-on-deck affair.   Although the operation is small, their products are available in liquor stores in 12 states.

The spirits are stored in barrels to age.  The maple syrup that they produce from their nearby farm, Rolling Hills Farm, is also aged in their barrels.

While the Taconic Distillery doesn’t serve food, they do have a carry-in/carry-out policy.  There is plenty of outdoor seating, including a lovely fire pit, and a grill is available for public use.  Who could say no to enjoying a cocktail with this view?!

The Details:

Taconic Distillery
179 Bowen Road
Stanfordville, NY 12584
(845) 393-4583

Website: https://www.taconicdistillery.com

Tasting Room Hours: Saturday 12 PM – 6 PM, Sunday 12 PM – 5 PM, Closed in January

Tasting Price:  $15 for 3 tastings of your choice and a souvenir glass or $8 for a cocktail

6

Five on Friday {Slow Down Summer!}

How is it Friday already?!  Although this week was filled with routine – work, camp for the kids, chores, errands, etc.  it went by so quickly.  It’s crazy, but this weekend is the first weekend ALL summer that we don’t have any set plans. I told my daughter that we’d start some back-to-school shopping, because unfortunately, that time is quickly approaching.  Plus, I know the kids want to relax and have some family game time.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – This week I finished a non-fiction book, Reading People by Ann Bogel.  In this book she explains different personality tests and what you can learn about yourself and others from each one.  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it if you enjoy learning about yourself.

2. Watching – I finally watched The Bachelorette finale last night.  You would think with social media I’d see or hear spoilers.  Do you know where I saw the spoiler?  On the TV at the library of all places!  Tuesday we were checking out our books at the library and they have a television that was airing the news.  And that is when I discovered who won!!

3. Beach Day – Last weekend my husband and I traveled to my parent’s house in Rhode Island to pick up our kids.  I really wanted to go to the beach while we were there but the weather forecast wasn’t looking so good.  We decided to go early, while it was gray out, but not raining.  It ended up being one of our family’s best beach days.  Earlier in the week my parents had taken the kids to the beach but there was so much seaweed, they couldn’t go in the water.  On our visit the water was warm enough and clear that my husband and kids went boogie boarding. We went rock and shell collecting as well.  And did I mention that there was hardly anyone there?  We had the beach almost entirely to ourselves.

4.  Snacking – I was kindly sent these Pistachio + Plum Chewy Bites from Setton Farms.  I love throwing a couple of these in my lunch bag for a mid-morning snack at work. I love the tasty combo of pistachios and plums.  Plus, these are 100% natural, GMO free, gluten and dairy free and vegan.  Find out more about these snacks on the Pistachio Chewy Bites site! 

5. Cooking – I made these Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil from Half Baked Harvest.  I am not a big pork chop eater and I loved these!  It’s such a great combo of flavors.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I wrote about our visit to the Millbrook Vineyards & Winery.

Wednesday I posted about our visit to Dorney Park.

Thursday I posted a new feature on the blog Your Best Weekend.

Have a great weekend!  Sharing with Friday Favorites.

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Your Best Weekend {Vol. 1}

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

Welcome to “Your Best Weekend”.  Enjoy a weekly curated list of ideas for self-care, family fun, date nights and more to help you have “your best weekend.”  We are all busy, but we need to make time to enjoy life!

“Better days are coming.  They are called Saturday and Sunday.”  – Unknown

Celebrate:

National Bowling Day is Saturday, August 11.  Celebrate with a family fun day out at the lanes.  To make it a date night or girls night out, try moonlight bowling.

Also August 11 is National Garage Sale Day.  Map out a few garage sales in your area.  Give everyone a set amount of money and see who can find the cheapest, weirdest and/or coolest items.

Self-Care:

Journal Prompt/Reflection: A weekly prompt to help guide your writing or just get you thinking.
“What do I need more of in my life?”

Exercise: If you are looking for a yoga practice that you can do at home, I highly recommend Yoga with Adriene.  I have linked to the intro of her 30 Days of Yoga.  She also has Yoga Camp, Tru and Revolution, all 30-31 day programs with a different routine every day.  Most videos are 20-30 minutes each that are easy to do in the comfort of your own home.

Shop: If you need a yoga mat, I recommend these Gaiam reversible yoga mats.  Not only are they functional, but they have the prettiest patterns!

Challenge : Start your week off in the right direction by going to bed a half hour earlier than you normally do on Sunday night.  There’s nothing like starting a new week well-rested.

Family Fun with Tweens:

Watch on TV: The 2018 Teen Choice Awards this Sunday, August 12, 8 PM on Fox.  You may not know who many of the nominees are, but your kids will!

Dinner Conversation Starter:  A question to spark some conversation during family dinner time.

“If you could trade places with your parent for the day, what would you do differently?”

Back-to-School: While children in some states have started school already, here in New York and most of the northeast, kids don’t start school until after Labor Day.  Help get your kids get ready by shopping now for all of their school supplies.  Kids love getting to pick out new backpacks and lunch bags.  Get everything on the school supply lists (and stock up up on extras, especially pencils!), while stores are having great deals.  Take your kids with you and give them some time to make their choices.

Weekly Recommendations:

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Book Recommendation:  I just finished the book Reading People by Ann Bogel.  This is a non-fiction book where author Bogel explains different personality tests and what you can learn about yourself and others from each one.  She also offers insights and practical applications of each.

Recipe Recommendation:  I recently made these Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil.  It makes use of the juicy peaches that have been on sale at the grocery store.  I am not a big pork chop eater, but these were delicious.  It has such a great combo of flavors! This recipe will be made again before summer ends.

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Tween Book Recommendation: I read  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate with my son.  The book is narrated by Ivan, a gorilla, who lives in a shopping mall.  He’s used to his life there with his friends Bob, the dog and Stella, the elephant. He even has a human friend, Julie, the daughter of the cleaner.  But when Ruby, a baby elephant arrives, Ivan decides that he can’t have her end up living a life like his.  Although it is sad at times, it is also a heart-warming story that was loved by both my son and I. Have your older elementary kids read this book now, as it is being made into an animated movie!  While filming has started, a release date has not been announced.

Family Fun Recommendation: Visit an amusement park!  Our family tries to visit at least one amusement park every summer.  We visited Dorney Park earlier this summer and last summer we went to Six Flags Great Escape.  Summer is almost over, so plan your day at the amusement park now.