Halloween DIY craft – Día de Muertos themed painted skulls

It’s halloween and while we have painted and glittered our share of pumpkins, Lily and I decided to do a little something different this season.

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We picked up cardboard skulls from Michaels Arts and Crafts and glittered a few but also gave some the Día de Muertos treatment. Día de Muertos. or Day of the Dead is a mexican holiday which is observered on Nov 1st and is a celebration of family and freinds who have died.

This is also celebrated in other cultures but I love the colors and design and kitchy factor that comes with Día de Muertos.

This is a super simple Halloween craft for kids and adults, while also being educational. So let’s get to it.

You will need:

  • Cardboard Skulls
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint brushes especailly tiny detailed bristles brushes
  • Glitter paint
  • Martha Stewart Liquid Gilding in gold

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DIY_Halloween.JPGSteps:

  1. Give your cardboard skull a full coat of paint. You can give it a double coat if you need.
  2. Start your detailed painting. I looked at images related to Día de Muertos and took inspiration and went for it.
  3. Martha Stewarts Liquid Gilding in Gold is one of my most fave paints ever! It gives a really shiny gold-like color and blings up your skull.
  4. After you have finished painting your skull, let it dry and then add a coat of the glitter paint on top of everything. The new York Mom.JPG

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The New York Mom.JPGSince this is acrylic paint, everything dries really quickly. like in minutes.

Done! That’s it!

These are super easy to make and the end result is really impressive don’t ya think!

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Enjoy! and be sure to share your painted skulls with me.

 

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Best Places for Apple Picking Near New York City

It’s Fall Y’all! Fall is quite possibly THE most beautiful season in the Northeast. Sure we love our summers but the fall with the leaves, and the chill in the air and the apple cider and the cinnamon donuts and the craft fairs and … the silence you have in the home when the kids are back in school! You can see how this is easily my favorite season. To kick off the season, I’m excited to share the Best Places for Apple Picking Near New York City.

Every year we go apple picking several times a season. Living in Northern Westchester, there is no shortage of apple picking orchards all around us. Thomas and I love to go on the weekdays when it’s quite and take our time through the trees, picking the best apples. We make apple pies, apple crumbles, apple juice and simply eat everything we pick pretty fast.

Best Apple Picking In New York

There are lots of lists about the best places to go  so I’m narrowing down mine to a few faves. I have lots of tips and tricks to make your apple picking experience instagram worthy and a memorable fall activity.

Tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Traffic can get pretty intense. Come early in the morning or late in the afternoon for ideal crowd control that 10am time slot is the most coveted which makes the traffic and the orchard insane.
  2. Bring CASH money! Most farms have tons for the kids to do. Hay rides, corn maze, pumpkin toss and of course provisions for the adults – beer, hard cider, and wine is usually served too. There are farm stands with pies, local honey and donuts. So come prepared with some cash!
  3. If you can swing it, go on a weekday. The weekends at most farms within an hour driving distance from NYC can get crazy with lines for everything from hayrides, beer, cider, donuts and even the orchards are overcrowded. Many times the farms will run out of food and booze after you have spent 30 mins in line.
  4. Wear comfy shoes…I know you are all about that instagram feed… but heels in an orchard are just silly. Get your Hunter boots on, some skinny jeans, a cute plaid top, fall hat and done! Comfy and cute.
  5. Call the farm before you to go to see what the apple situation is. Last season there was a shortage and by mid October there was nothing left.
  6. If you know your apples, call the farm to see which varieties are growing right now. To me, an apple is an apple so as long as they are on a tree and tasty, we are good.
  7. Most of these farms have ‘harvest festivals’. Call or swing by their websites to get the info. Most, if not all of these, are run by local families so calling is always better than website info.

Best Apple Picking In New York

Our Favorite Apple Picking Farms:

Westchester County – This is the county that sits directly above Manhattan… it’s the “other” borough. There are a few farms down county but I live in Northern Westchester and these are about a quick 10 minute drive for us.

FISHKILL FARMSFishkill Farm Road, Hopewell JCT, NY 12533 (845) 897-4377

This is our absolute favorite farm!!  We gather up some friends and head up multiple times a year for all the berry picking, apple picking and even just walks around the farm. There are animals, a farm stand and much more.

OUTHOUSE ORCHARDS 139 Hardscrabble Road, Croton Falls (914) 277-3188

This farm is about an hour north of NYC and gets really really REALLLLLY busy on the weekends. They have a ton of activities for all ages with long lines for everything. It’s very popular with “city folk” because of the proximity. On weekdays it’s a great. no crowds but also no activities.

HARVEST MOON FARM AND ORCHARD 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem (914) 485-1210 

Harvest Moon is down the road from Outhouse. Same vibe. Super busy with gorgeous rolling hills and amazing views of the orchards. Check their website for evening live music and firepits.

WILKENS FRUIT AND FIR FARM1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights (914) 245-5111 

This is a smaller farm but also popular with the NYC crowd. There is always lots to do with a farm stand for lots of yummy fall treats.

Apple Picking in N

Take a Drive! 

While the places I mentioned earlier in this post are about an hour’s drive north of Manhattan. I HIGHLY recommend going even further up past Westchester County. This gives you a serious dose of the gorgeous scenery that the Hudson Valley holds and the crowds are not nearly as nutty as the farms closer to the city. These two are our faves and if you go on a Saturday, often times there are local craft fairs and antique markets.

KELDER’S FARM5755 Rt 209 Kerhonkson, NY 12446 (845) 626-7137

There is a giant gnome that’s kinda silly fun and there is SOOO much to do for the kids. Goats, ducks, candied apples… and more.

BARTON ORCHARDS63 Apple Tree Ln Poughquag, NY 12570

Another favorite. Gorgeous drive, lots to do and when the leaves are turning it is spectacular. Check their schedule for the Hot Air Balloon fest!

Our family loves to go toward HUDSON, NY and explore some of the smaller farms there. Take a drive up to Red Hook and Rhinebeck and stop at any of the farms along the way.

Happy Fall Y’all!!

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Summer Vibes: Fashion Must-Haves for #Summaah2017

Summer is finally here and my entire closet needs a massive overhaul!
Last summer, I did a full purge of my closet. I donated and threw away almost all my summer clothing. Well here we are… summer… and I don’t have a thing to wear!
I’ve really been loving the subtle blue and white stripe trend that has taken over. I also love the off the shoulder dresses and shirts and large sunnies that are making a comeback.  And tassel earrings! Who knew you could stick tassels onto earrings and it would work!
Here are some of my absolute fave pieces this summer.
// The off the shoulder dress is a staple this season. I like the stripes and the little ruffle at the shoulders. Grab one in a neutral like black and white or blue and white and you can mix it up with all sorts of colorful accessories.
// A pair of Swedish Hasbeens are my go-to summer sandal! These strappy vintage sandals are perfect for the entire season and I basically live in mine! You can find some deals at Zappos.
// Michael Kors has this new tote bag that is perfection. The round handle and the relaxed look is great for travel, outdoor dinners, or weekending in the Hamptons!
// Bar Necklaces are my favorite. They are simple but still make a statement. I suggest layering multiple pieces! You can find tons of designers on ETSY.
// A statement watch is always a good idea.  I like to mix materials and this Fossil watch fits the summertime bill!
// And tassel earrings! Tassel everything this season. I love these bright blue earrings from TheOutNet.
// Oversized sunnies! LOVE! My round face is totally complimented best by a pair of oversized sunglasses. This subtle shade of rose is a great color for all skin shades.
 Happy Summer Shopping girls!!
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National Jump In Muddy Puddles Day

Did you know there is a day for one of our favorite outdoor activities!!

Today is National Jump In Muddy Puddles Day! And it’s perfect because it’s been raining all week here in New York! No shortage of puddles around!

Thomas and his friends threw on their rain boots and headed to the farm nearby for some muddy jumping fun. We love going to Muscoot Farm here in the suburbs of New York City. The kids love to see all the animals and I love the open spaces where they can just run.

It’s important to let kids get messy. If you have ever been to our house, there is no shortage of messy unfinished art projects, mud boots by every exit and no shortage of mud-pies that line out back garden! We support messy play all the way. Of course these puddles had their fair share of goose poop… but who cares… what’s a little goose poop when you are having THIS MUCH FUN!

Thomas’ preschool is raising awareness for the TY Louis Campbell Foundation. This is a foundation that helps raise funds for pediatric cancer research. His preschool had a ‘hop-a-thon’  and a cocktail fundraiser to help support this foundation.

And then a friend of mine sent me the press info for the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation (TLC Foundation) and I figured I MUST share this with you.

I hope you join me in a simple, fun a quick way to help support the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation and help bring awareness and support for pediatric cancer.

The “Muddy Puddle Jump Challenge” – post a photo of yourself or your family jumping in a “Muddy Puddle”,  on your social account. Muddy puddle not even required!!! Make sure to tag with #PeppaMuddyPuddleChallenge. You can do this the entire month of April!

Feel free to tag me @Thenewyorkmom so I can check out your shenanigans!

Now go out there and jump in puddles!!!

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Tween Scene – 6 Must Haves for Tweens

Tween Scene: 6 Must Haves for Tweens

Tweens are a picky crew and you can’t ever seem to keep up with what’s in and what’s out. It always amazes me when tween trends take off… I mean… lets talk about putty! who knew!

These days we have lots of items around the house that my tween has been obsessing over! Parents of tweens everywhere will tell you that putty is the #1 item. We have putty making stations throughout the house and Lily just can’t get enough!

So I’ve put together a list of our faves. It’s hard to find gifts for teens and tweens that are not tech or high ticket items. These are our go to gifts these days. You can find them at specialty stores or online. But I like to shop local… so maybe your downtown gift shops might carry these goodies!  A lot of these items are for fidgety tweens and adults.

Here is my list of Tween Must Haves. This is what’s being obsessed over and trending in the tween space!

  1. The Fidget Cube– We love this cube. each side has things that click, slide, roll and is great as a stress reliever or busy hands.
  2. Thinking Putty – This is the best putty .. hands down. Crazy Arron’s comes in all sorts of amazing themes and our favorites are the Liquid Glass that is totally clear, the Magnetic and the Electric Teal!
  3. Bath Bombs – I just spent $10 on ONE bath bomb from Lush…. but it was divine! Bath Bombs can be found in all price points, we love Lush products and they are natural and smell amazing. The glitter bath bombs are our favorite.
  4. Spinners! Lily has a few of these and again, perfect for calming nerves, anxiety, focus. These are hard to find so if a store near you sells it… grab it up quick!
  5. Lokai Bracelets – These bracelets claim to have mud from the black Sea and water from Mr. Everest. These are colorful bracelets that raise awareness for various causes and ideals. mental illness, balance…etc.
  6. Electro Dough – not sure that this is a tween must have but it’s pretty amazing. The kit encourages you to make your own dough with house hold items and for putty obsessors.. this is great. But once you have made your dough, there are LEDs and buzzers and all sorts of things that connect for circuitry play! Super cool!
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Spring Flowers – Upcycled Craft for Preschoolers

Spring Upcycled Craft- The New York Mom

Happy First Day of SPRING everyone!!! We have been cusy making some Easter and spring crafts!

After a fairly short but cold winter, I am ready for flip-flops, flowers and dresses without boots!

There is still snow on the ground from the big snow storm last week… but we can hear the constant drip drip drip of the snow melting away as fast as it can to welcome SPRING!

The birds have been out and we even spotted a few young cardinals this morning.

Spring Upcycled Craft- The New York Mom

Thomas and I decided to welcome the season with one of our favorite upcycled crafts. Flowers! This project is so easy to do and the end result is seriously the cutest thing ever. There are also no rules to this project, you can paint, decoupage, glitter…whatever you find in your craft stash.

You need:

  • Cardboard Egg Carton
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Pipe cleaners – for stems
  • Stickers, glitter and anything else you want to add.

Next cut out the egg carton in individual sections.

Then start painting!!

Once you have painted them let them dry and once dry, poke a little hole right through the center of your cut out egg carton section. Weave a pipe cleaner through it… we choose glitter because it’s the best… and you are good to go!

Spring Upcycled Craft- The New York Mom

For bonus points, you can find an empty tin can and add stickers or paint to embellish it up.

Spring Upcycled Craft- The New York Mom

And that’s it! We love this craft, it’s also perfect for Mother’s Day. (HINT)

Thomas loves this craft and we do find ourselves making it pretty often. Next time we are going to collect all the googly eyes we can find and stick them on our flowers!

Happy Spring you guys! I am ready for the warmer weather and excited about the newness of the season!

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Art for Social Change -Upcycled DIY – Love Wins

When things get tough… we make art. This is the way of the word right? Art heals, The act of creating something is a powerful practice that often times goes neglected when layered deep underneath the stresses of daily life.  As a dancer… movement was my voice, and so is visual art. When stressed, I make art, when feeling hopeless, I make art and these days.. when feeling angry, sad, disgusted by the daily reports from our political “leaders”… I make art. So here ya have it – Art for Social Change -Upcycle DIY – Love Wins!

The kids are feeling this vibe as well. and I’m sure your kids are restless because the words and information they hear at school are not the full story.  I have been arming my 11YO – Lily- with FACTS.  Give them the facts… that is their armor… and ours against the “alternate facts’ people.

OMG, anyway… before I get on my soap box… let me actually tell you what we are doing here today.

The kids and I created an upcycled project to put more good and love into the world.

WE DO NOT SUPPORT this Muslim Ban. How in the world do you rejected an entire group/religion of people.

Again… I digress!

My gosh… let’s put some love into the world. Love and love and love. Let’s remind each other that in the end… LOVE WINS. LOVE is going to WIN!

Here is a quick little DIY for you to do with your kids, family, friends and community. Spread the love. Hang this little sign on trees in your neighborhood, place it in coffee shops and anywhere you want to spread the love.

…and remember… there are MORE OF US!

What You Need:

  • Cardboard – Cereal boxes will do just fine.
  • Paint
  • Wire or thread
  • Beads
  • Love for your fellow humans!

  • Cut up your cardboard into little squares.
  • Paint hearts on the squares.
  • Write a message in a contrasting color.
  • Create hanging handle loop with beads for extra flair.

Hang on trees, walls, coffee shops, libraries or where ever you feel like you want to hang it.

And always remember… that LOVE WILL WIN!

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#YouthMarchTogether

#YouthMarchTogetherLike many of you, we, in this house, are feeling out of sorts and at times hopeless. This is something that our kids perceive and understand. The question I have myself as a mom is, do I want my kids to think that hopelessness wins or do I give them some tools for not just coping, but for being part of a movement that stands for something different.
What kids really need to know now…

they need to know they are Safe

they need to know they are Loved

they need to know they are Accepted

they need to know that GOOD WINS

Kids need hope, they want to be involved, and kids need concrete action. I’ve been going back and forth about how Lily, my 11 YO, can feel involved in this current climate. She feels the unease and asks questions, observes harsh words being tossed around at her school and wants to do something. But what?


Your news feed is being filled with plans of people who will march this weekend, in DC, in NYC, in states all across this country. Some of us won’t be able to make these marches and most kids won’t be there. So how do kids, our youth, who are so very effected by this electoral outcome and the conflicting environment, how do our youth participate in this, how do they get involved?

I suggest a project.

This is for our youth. YOU are the future change-makers, YOU will make a difference, YOU will ensure that kindness and good will win and YOUR VOICE is POWER!

To YOU marching this weekend… our kids, young people, our youth stand with YOU… the millions marching this weekend… we stand with you and this is how we will show our support.


Use the reach of social media to get the message out. I encourage you to write #YouthMarchTogether on the palm of your hand and share an image via your social channels.

Tag @YouthMarchTogether on Insta!

We are all in this TOGETHER. We MARCH forward TOGETHER.

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D.I.Y. Upcycled Winter Snowflakes

​​Just because the Christmas season is over doesn’t mean that winter is over. Here in New York… winter is JUST beginning! We had a light dusting of snow today but most of the ponds have a decent layer of ice, the kids and I have been getting out ice skating, sledding, snow ball fight gear ready.

Believe it or not we craft in this house all day and erryday! This week we worked on one of my most favorite crafts ever! Paper Snowflake garlands. This is the best little winter snow day crafting activity and honestly. you don’t even have to do it with kids!!! I did some of this last night while watching “The Crown” on Netflix.

( The Crown) which BTW i highly recommend. yes its a bit slow… for our fast food media brains. But it’s really great acting and script and all those people are still alive!

Anyway… i digress. back to my Upcycled Snowflake Craft.

OK So first … do you get TONS of junk mail in your real life street address mailbox? yes, you do. Look at those envelopes… on the inside of those envelopes live gorgeous patterns to hide your secret info. Don’t throw those away because those gorgeous prints make for the perfect craft!!!

Lily and I discovered this ages ago and used to love to open junk mail just to discover the patterns. The BLUE ones are kinda rare but the RED patterns are super rare!!!

Thomas and I created a few snowflakes this week and I took the project over and made it a full decor thing.

Happy winter everyone… here is to 2 possible 3 freezing months!!! and hoping for lots and lots of snow days!!!

The details:

Your Supplies:

  • junk mail envelopes
  • thread
  • glue
  • a snowflake craft punch ( i should have already had an amazon affiliate account so I can make some money while you all go out and buy this! – but I encourage you to donate a portion of your AMAZON purchase to a worthy cause – the arts, health, science, environent, education.)

I made this funky video about the craft that will certainly help visual learners like myself. Excuse the reflective image of me in the upground… i’m getting there!

Steps… so easy!

  • Collect your junk mail envelopes
  • open them up to reveal the gorgeous patterns
  • use your snowflake craft punch to punk out the snowflake
  • glue two sides together around the thread
  • and keep going
  • done and done

So easy… so simple and it’s a great way to welcome the winter season.

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Craft Kits for Tweens and Teens

Craft Kits for Tweens and Teens
It’s almost time to have all your presents neatly wrapped under the tree. Are you done with all your shopping?? We aren’t! Thomas is super easy to shop for. As a newly minted 4-year-old, he loves anything and everything! Dinosaurs, Superheros, trains, trucks and paints.
Lily being a tween is tougher to shop for. As kids get older the choices dwindle down and gifting is a challenge.
I have found a few crafting lines that are perfect for the tween and teen set. They offer really unique craft kits like – foosball table kits or dream catchers and even a DIY speakers kit.
Here is a great list of 6 Craft Kits for Tweens and Teens.

This is a great gift for older kids. When finished this is one fully functioning foosball table!! Super fun!

Ukulele Kit Kid Made Modern
kidmademodern.com
For the music lover in your home, The Ukulele Kit from Kid Made Modern is a MUST. This kit comes with glitter stickers, paint and everything you need to make and decorate your Ukulele.

This dream catcher kit is easy to follow and comes with feathers, beads and the pom poms. This makes for very cool room decor.

Jam out to your music with speakers you made yourself! This kit comes with foldable speakers, paints stickers and basically everything for you to create you jammin boom box!

Journal Kit Kid Made Modern
kidmademodern.com
If you have a tween or teen you know that journaling is total THING! This journal kit includes a 250 page book paints, stickers, glitter tape and more. It’s a one stop journaling shop!

I have been a loyal follower of Handmade Charlotte and not their craft kits are available at Michaels Arts and Crafts. These unique crafts include everything from chandeliers, to framed art.
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