When our family grew from 3 to 4 we upgraded our car. This is of course a natural progression of things wouldn’t you say. We actually added an SUV to our existing sedan. The ‘tiny car’ sedan as Thomas refers to it has become Matt’s car and the “fancy car” our SUV has become my car. Upgrading your family car is a big decision there isn’t a shortage of selection on the car market. Do you get a SUV, a minivan, a larger sedan?
I’m working with Chrysler on their new campaign – PACIFI KIDS – to celebrate the launch of the new Chrysler Pacifica. This new car combines super luxury with comfort and of course the most important feature… space. We are a family on the go and never a weekend goes by without a quick road trip to the beach, the Vermont mountains, Boston, D.C. , Canada… the choices are endless when it comes to road trips around here.
Chrysler also takes all the guess-work out of purchasing a car with #Fieldtrips. Field Trips are ultimate test drives that include the entire family and get you excited about your new car purchase. Chrysler’s new campaign PACIFIKIDS puts families in the forefront with a new way of testing the car.
This super cute video basically sums it up
Now through October 26 you can enter to win a Field Trip experience – Fill out your ‘permission slip’ + share you awesome field trip idea + upload a family picture and you are on your way to win your own Field Trip! But it gets better!! You can enter to win a snazzy new Chrysler Pacifica from Nov 12 – 18. Swing by PACIFIKIDS.COM for all the details.
Living in New York means that every season gets a grand hurrah! and Fall – being my favorite season, gets lots of hurrahs! Apple Picking is one of our favorite fall festivities. The smell of the crisp air, the walk through the orchards, apples eaten along the pick, apple cider, cinnamon donuts… I could go on forever. Apple picking with kids has it’s set of challenges as does basically doing anything with kids. Here is my tried and true list of do’s and don’t of apple picking with kids from my years of schlepping my kids up and down orchards up here in New York.
HUGE TIP – Some of the orchards have already run out of apples so please call before you head up. We are fortunate to live in the middle of orchards so we go all the time on weekdays with no crowds.
Apple picking on the weekends is for those of you who like to live on the edge. We go to some of the orchards that are about an hour north of Manhattan. The weekends are insane. There is no charm in over crowded apple picking orchards. You have to stand in lines for everything and sometimes after standing in that line for 30 minutes you STILL don’t get your Cinnamon Donut! Then you have to walk forever to get to your car to then sit in traffic inching forward as your kids scream because … remember… no cinnamon donut! Go during the week if you can.
Take the kids apple picking when they are off on ‘school days‘. It’s not as crowded and you will certainly dodge the ‘Instagram Selfie’ crowd.
Dress – don’t wear heels when apple picking! I can’t believe I have to tell you this… you would be surprised at how many gals show up in heels! You know this is dirt and mud and orchard land right. You are walking up hills and picking apples! Skip the heels. Wear your fall boots, skinnies, a sweater and a hat. Rock!
Bring water, it can get hot up in the orchards so bring water. The orchards are usually a bit of a walk from the car so a backpack with a snack and water is best.
Some orchards have evening music so check in advance and time your trip accordingly.
I wear sunscreen year round and so do the kids. So add that to your backpack.
A little provision for you and your honey. Go ahead – fill that water bottle with a little something special. Sit up at the top of your apple orchard taking in the scenery and sip away. Because those drink lines are super long and not worth the wait.
MUST go on a hayride. So fun. And definitely do the corn mazes!!!
Poision Ivy likes to go all around apple trees. We haven’t had an issue but some orchards might overlook this and forget to take the poison ivy out. Be on the look out for three shiny leaves!
Eat the apples from the tree. I know you paid for your bag of apples but what’s apple picking without munching on one red delicious fruit while picking.
Head up north to theHudson Valley – Beacon, Coldspring, Hudson, Rhinebeck … all amazing towns with gorgeous views and not half the crowds. The time you will spend sitting in your car in traffic will be put to great use driving through the Hudson Valley on twisted roads with falling leaves while taking in some of the best scenery that New York State has to offer.
There ya have it. A bonafide tried and true guide to apple picking this season. Have fun!
My kids come with the wildest ideas on what to call their creative creations. We spent a week on Shelter Island last month and played in the water and sand every single day. Thomas started building ‘Palaylias’. These are ornate sand dunes surrounded by a deep moat with water fed directly from the waves.
I don’t know how he decided on the name, expect one day when Matt joined us on our Palaylia building project… Thomas proudly declared – You want to build a Palaylia.
and so it was… Palaylia. Pronounced : Pa – lay- lia. sound it out!
Thomas loved playing on the beach. He does remember his beach days from last summer but this year, he is now 3, it’s such a different experience. He also has no fear at all and at any given moment he’s neck-deep in the water…waves and all.
At this point I KNOW you are curious and want to build a Palaylia of your very own. Being the DIY diva that I am … not… I will teach you the secrets of the Palaylia.
How to Build a Palaylia:
Pick your spot right at the tide line. The waves should wash into your Palaylia moat.
Dig up lots of sand to make a massive sand mound.
Make sure your sand mound is half wet and half dry sand.
Dig a moat all around your sand mound.
Collect seashells. Lots of them.
Place seashells all over the sand mound. Try to cover ever single sand space.
Find a feather or drift wood to place on the very top of your sand mound.
Walk in circles around the sand mound backwards chanting the lyrics to Cake by the Ocean. (optional)
Step away and watch the waves come into your Palaylia.
E N J O Y !
We are heading off to Florida in about a week… more beaches and more Palaylias.
*Thomas made this word up. Please don’t take it for your marketing gain without credit!*
The weather in New York has been amazing these past couple days and this makes me so very happiiee! Watermelons have been overflowing at the grocery stores and Thomas and Lily can pretty much eat an entire melon in one setting. These babies can’t get enough of this summer fruit. I kinda miss the seeds in watermelons don’t you. Remember back in the day when watermelons had those giant black seeds? and you would have contests to see who could spit the seeds out the farthest? These kids are robbed of their summer spitting contests.
Our back yard is filled with birds every color of the rainbow and the bird feeders have been needing to be refilled every other day. Matt and Lily even saw a humming bird at our feeder last week and Jonah sits under one of the trees and teases all the squirrels and birds.
It’s our first spring season in the new house and we’ve really loved seeing the flowers and trees and wild life wake up from their long hibernation.
The weather has finally warmed up enough for us to throw on some coats and boots and headed off to the farm. The kids and I have been stir crazy and have been craving a good ole afternoon at our local farm. Muscoot Farm, is just a couple of miles from our house and it’s our go-to on any given day for hiking, farm chores, and saying hello to all the animals.
I used to take Lily to this farm when she was younger and it’s been a treat to be back in the area for Thomas and his own farm adventures.
Some of the pictures… the ones with the leaves… are from a trip to Muscoot in November. But I came across them while writing this and had to share. Thomas loves this farm and we love to support it. From the farmers market on weekends, the kids programming, Maple Sugaring, fairy gardens, farm chores… all of it. There is something for every age and never a dull moment.
It was still a bit cold this week, but we managed. The trees were all being tapped for maple syrup and there were babies in the barn. Thomas is at eye level with all the animal private bits so this makes for constant, interesting, non-filtered, commentary for all to enjoy.
Although the ponds were frozen it didn’t stop us from our favorite activity… throwing things into the water. This time we threw ice chunks into the water and watched them bounce all across the pond.
I’m so excited for the week ahead. We have temps in the 50’s and 60’s which means it’s flip-flop weather right!
We barely even had a winter over here and i’m still eagerly awaiting the warmer weather. Just thinking about flip flops, shorts, no jackets, no snow boots, no socks… enough to make a gal do a little summertime dance!
Hello blog! it’s been a long while. but we are back in the storytelling business!
We have moved into our house. our casa, our abode! Finally!
our long summer on the run from the law, lootin towns and shootin clowns has come to an end.
we are h o m e.
while i write this, there are boxes piled high in every single room, this house is smaller than our last home so we are going to have to get rid of our wares. who wants stuff? come and get it!
The kids are happy, the yard is huge and has no shortage of critters lingering around. Last night as we came back from dinner, there were 2 massive deer across the street in the neighbor’s lawn, the raccoons can be heard at night, wasps in the vents, woodpeckers, rustling of trees all day and hummingbirds… HUMMINGBIRDS you guys! i have never seen a hummingbird in real life and now they are all over our yard! Lily is especially excited about all this nature and has already built a house for the fairies. We unloaded the art boxes and Thomas wasted no time creating something pink! his favorite color these days.
Lily has signed up for Ballet at the best school in the burbs – i know this because as a professional dancer i am a total dance snob!, She has already found her #squad.
The neighbors have been over, the mailman has dog treats and even the school bus driver asks us about the move.
As with most houses that aren’t brand spanking new, this house needs some updates. I cannot wait to start working on these and can’t wait to show you some of the DIY stuff I have planned. We have kitchen remodels, bedrooms being painted, lawn stuff and even a new coat of paint on the house. Which Matt is convinced he can do himself!
I’ve been getting a lot of emails about our move from all of you who are looking to move to the suburbs from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx! – how did you move, how did you choose your town, are the schools really THAT great, there are amazing restaurants up there aren’t there, is it good for families with young children, is it safe, is it true that all the yup-sters ( yuppy hipsters) have moved up there, what about the taxes, is Martha Stewart really your neighbor… yes yes and yes yall!
I promise… superly promise… to write a post where I tell you exactly how we narrowed down our search and decided to settle in the town we did. also i can give you the low down on real estate agents and our fab attorney… did you know you need an attorney in NY state to buy a house… ours is awesome and you should use him!
I have to unpack and catch up on this life of mine that has been on hold for 2+ months!
We are only on day 5 of staying in a hotel while we wait for the closing of our house. It’s been a challenge trying to keep up with my writing assignments, dealing with hotel wi-fi, and keeping Thomas occupied while living in one room. Matt’s gone all day to work and Lily has been in DC with her grandmother and cousin for a summer adventure. It’s been me, Thomas and Jonah all day trying to stay busy to keep from going crazy!
I wake up fairly early to get a head start on emails and work and then by the time Thomas wakes up 6AM… it’s go time. Matt is out by 8am and we are left… staring at the whole empty day ahead of us.
Thomas thinks it’s SUCH a treat to wake up every morning and walk down the hill to the Lobby of our hotel, grab our orange juice and fresh waffles, sit outside on the balcony for breakfast and talk about our day ahead! This usually entails big plans to catch a bear or shark or dinosaur and ways for him to collect money to buy some Hot Wheels toy he has his eye on.
We’ve been going to the charming town of Coldspring a lot. This little town, along the Hudson Valley has been one of my favorite getaways for years and now we get to hang out there practically everyday, lunching at the Foundry Cafe, getting to know the locals, and just wander as if we belong there.
Thomas has had no trouble making friends at the park and loves the quaint Tots Park right in the middle of town. We head back to the hotel for an afternoon nap which is quite the challenge because Thomas is unfamiliar with the space and just wants to run around. After a nap we take Jonah on a quick hike and then spend endless hours waddling in the swimming holes we have discovered or collecting sticks and rocks.
Matt comes home in the evening and my whole body does a happy dance!! Yes relief! Human contact… human conversation!
We have been treating ourselves to dinners out at our favorite Northern Westchester restaurants. Thankfully there is no shortage of REALLY amazing grub up here.
It’s hard chasing around a toddler all day in a hotel environment. We’re not home so there is no such thing as letting him play while I get work done or any sort of break. He sees me in the same room as him and immediately wants to play… all the time! Keeping up with this little wrecking ball MOTO is engagement every. second. of. every. moment. Non stop.
This week Thomas kept me on my toes by : Falling into a thorn-bush, eating a roasted green chili at dinner, stepping into a snake hole, throwing Cheerios all over the hotel room, spilling orange juice all over his car seat, throwing sticks at me, throwing rocks at me, taking off his diaper and running through the lobby … the list goes on. He’s being 2. He’s doing his job… and I just have to keep up! Honestly if I can make it through every day with all his limbs in tact… i feel pretty good.
Of course as expected, bedtime is a total joke! He hasn’t been going to bed until 11pm-ish. and when i wake up at 4am to get work done… this does not give me a big window for anything.
Next week we are heading to our friends house for a few hours and sit in a real kitchen and eat a meal and do laundry. Simple luxuries that you take for granted everyday.
I’m not complaining really. I guess I am… but I’m just venting really. I know people have it much worse than us and I am so blessed that we can afford to stay in a great place while we wait to move into our awesome new home. I know there are single parents out there who have it MUCH worse and there IS no escape. At least this is temporary… I get it. I get it all. I am very thankful for our life and I know that we will look back on this whole experience and think it was SUCH an adventure. I know i know. But it doesn’t negate how tough it is and how completely anxious I feel right now.
As always this online space is a journal of sorts and good and not so good I try to keep it real… it’s the daily dailies of our life!
One of my favorite things to do is go for a ling hike. For birthdays, mothers day… any occasion … a hike is my go to activity. There is no shortage of hiking in the New York tri state area and on Saturday we headed over to Caumsett State Park for a full day of hiking. So if you are looking for places to hike in New York with kids … try Caumsett State Park!
Caumsett is gorgeous, If you haven’t been you should go, just for the sheer change of scenery every mile. You have large rolling meadows, deep jungle paths, beaches, cliffs and even secret gardens.
Lily and Thomas share this love of the outdoors with me and in all honesty if you have a kid, a hike is the perfect place to go, You can just let them go run around and explore in nature.
We walked over to the beaches of Caumsett which is really the Long Island Sound and Lily was thrilled to collect indian rocks all along the shore. Thomas loved throwing rocks into the water and just running free ‘ in his feet’ as he says.
You can also bike Caumsett and maybe next time we will do that because our whole excursions took about 3 hours. but such fun!
Caumsett offers fishing, camping, horse back riding and all sorts of outdoorsy activities. We paid $8 for our park entry fee, although you could get a yearly permit if you go often. There is a -Wilderness Survival Class- for adults only.. I wonder if they just drop you off in the middle of the state park and come pick you up in the morning… if you survived! Lily would looove this!!
I’m so glad the weather has finally warmed up here in New York. Today felt like summer after the few days of winter style weather we have had! Happy Hiking everyone! go outside!
The kids have been pretty stir crazy these past few weeks. Snow days are great and all, but when it’s solid sheets of ice outside… that’s not as much fun. It’s been too cold to do anything outside. So I packed everyone up and we headed up to the Poconos for a weekend getaway. We were invited by the MOMs and Vaseline for a weekend at Woodloch Pines Resort. Woodloch is a quick 2 hour drive from New York City. Lily and Thomas slept the whole way there and back… i enjoyed some time listening to NPR while driving. A luxury I can’t seem to find time for most days.
Woodloch was everything we needed to get our winter sillies out. After an extravagant welcome lunch, we suited up for a day of outdoor snow activities. Lily immediately hit the ‘Extreme” snowtube hill. Thomas and I stayed at the bottom of the hill and cheered everyone along.
Next we went over to the frozen pond for some ice skating. Again, Thomas couldn’t skate but walked on the ice, fell lots of times, tried to catch fish under the frozen ice, screamed out SHARK a few times… you know 2-year-old shenanigans. The pond was large so there was plenty of room for the kids to skate around and play ice hockey.
Dinner was a lot of fun because a whole parade of legendary characters greeted us and roamed through the dining rooms. I mean Elvis and Batman were in the same building folks! The evening was full of resort type entertainment, a concert hall had a magician who made a bird disappear, a show-tunes filled show followed complete with sequins ball gowns and step touch dance choreography. The kids and I went to the arcade and tree forest to go climbing and ride bumper cars.
Once we got back to the room, which overlooked the lake, Lily and I stayed up, chatted and sat on our balcony to take in the moonlight reflecting off the frozen lake. We talked and laughed like we were both old souls. A family of deer walked through the snow leaving small footprints and we watched them … silent.
This was probably my most memorable moment of the entire trip. This magical relaxed time with my tween who most days wants nothing to do with me.
The next day was just as busy with pony rides, arts and crafts, more snow tubing and ice skating, bumper cars… etc.
There is a lot for kids to do at Woodloch. Archery, shooting, ice hockey, race cars, bumper cars, tubing and lots of indoor activities as well. No shortage of activities.
The rooms were clean and large. Our room had 2 large rooms – a living room with 2 pull out couches, bedroom with 2 queen beds, 2 bathrooms, deep bathtub, a large closet for storing all your goods and a balcony. A small kitchen area was also included.
The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly and I felt that everywhere we went the kids were safe. The staff seemed to remember everyone and was always looking out for the kids. Woodloch is the quintessential family travel destination for family reunions and getaways . I made it a point to give Lily a bit of freedom, so I let her go tubing without me and meet me back at the craft room where Thomas was busy schmoozing on the ladies. Lily did really well with her new-found independence and honestly… it was the vibe of the resort that let me set her free.Of course now she thinks I’m going to set her free on the streets of NYC… so no that’s not going to happen!
The cold 19 degree weather definitely plays a number on your skin… and barreling down those snow tubing hills gave Lily’s face a bit of a Winter Burn. But thankfully this trip was sponsored by Vaseline Brand and we had plenty of goodies to try out during our stay. I’ve been using Vaseline petroleum jelly on my hands but had never used their Intensive Skin Care line. This company has been around for 140 years… and their products certainly helped our wind burned faces.
If you are looking for a quick little getaway this winter, I highly recommend Woodloch Pines Resort. Dreaming of a summer time trip!
A few pictures from our big ole historic blizzard which was a flizzard.
We still had a good foot plus of snow but just not the excitement of a blizzard. I love snow days. Somewhere along the way when you have kids, us parental types forget how fun it is to be a kid… and snowdays are a perfect reminder.