Upgrading Your Family Car with PacifiKids

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.

This post is sponsored by Chrysler. 

 

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Apple Picking with Kids

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

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.

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

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!

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

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.

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

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! Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

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 the Hudson 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!

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5 Things to Do in New York This Weekend

The New York Mom
Dear friday… you know you are my favorite right All those other days.. they are just little weekly obstacles to get to you. But here we are… Friday!I love my weekends and we are always out and about exploring and roaming around trying to find trouble.  This weekend there are a ton of great things to do and I figured I would  share a few things on our agenda.

The New York Mom

  1. Hamilton – The epic musical that is sold out until next century has a significant show this evening. Tonight is Lin Manuel Miranda’s last show. So you know it’s going to be E PI C ! Good luck getting tickets. But if you don’t have tickets you could always stand outside the theatre after or before the show to catch glimpses of the cast.
  2. Hudson Valley Balloon Festival – * Updated* – We tried to go to the festival on Friday evening and it was a bust. There were no food trucks, the balloons were not set up all day and they never launched due to weather but never made an official announcement. Maybe this isn’t a good year to go* We are heading up the Hudson Valley this weekend for this grandiose balloon festival. We often see hot air balloons floating high above and the kids get so excited that we decided to go this year. There is a ton of info about this festival so just swing by the site to check it out. Balloon launches are at 6pm every evening and 6am on Saturday and Sunday as well. I’ll see you there.
  3. Brooklyn Flea/Smorgasburg – This is a summertime MUST in NYC. Located on the Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn, this flea market is a total scene! You can spend a whole afternoon looking at all sorts of interesting odds and ends while munching on  yummies from award-winning food trucks. Fashion, food, fun and kid friendly!
  4. John Jay Homestead Farmers Market – Take a Saturday drive up north of Manhattan to the John Jay Homestead Farmers Market. This amazing market is open 9am – 1m with a special scavenger hunt for kids. Local resident Martha Stewart has been known to ride up on her horse to pick up a few provisions. After the Farmers Market – stay in Westchester County for lunch at any number of great restaurants. I’ll suggest a few if you want. If you have kids – head to Muscoot Farm down the road to see the little piglets!
  5. The Amazing Max Live – This is the most wonderful magic show with a very entertaining magician. Lily and I saw The Amazing Max years ago when she was about 6 and I can’t wait to take Thomas on Sunday to see this show. Please swing by the site to see show dates… or I’ll see you Sunday!

 

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Celebrating with Breyers

This post brought to you by Breyers Ice Cream. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The New York Mom.

The New York Mom

What better way to celebrate the last day of school than a bowl of ice cream! And that’s just what we did last week. After Lily’s moving up ceremony from 5th grade we headed over to Madison Square Park for some ice cream and fun with the popular ice cream brand,  Breyers! Madison Square Park is one of my favorite parks in NYC. It’s not full of tourists, you have Shake Shack right there, Fishes Eddy’s across the street, benches that wind throughout the park and no shortage of people watching.

 

  The New York Mom     

Breyers is celebrating 150 years of ice cream goodness and we were invited to partner with the brand and help celebrate. I’m not an adventurous ice cream eater so I stuck with the classic Vanilla which was good because Breyers Natural Vanilla is America’s #1 Vanilla Ice cream. You can taste the fresh cream, milk and sugar.

 The New York MomThe New York Mom

To celebrate the 150th birthday, Breyers introduced a new ice cream variety. Aptly named – Breyers Ice Cream cake. This was the kids favorite because it features Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream and loads of chocolatey crunchies, sandwiched between Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream

The New York Mom

The event in Madison Square Park was packed with celebs and ice cream lovers lined up to walk through the massive Ice Cream Container to learn about Breyers and how the ice cream is made. The line for ice cream, walking through the mini museum and photo opp was wrapped all the way around the park. People wanted some cold ice cream on a hot summers day!

A bowl of creamy vanilla bean ice cream is a staple in this house. That vanilla ice cream with the flecks of bean, late nights sitting at the kitchen counter catching up on the day or summertime family reunions with lots of soft ice cream melting slowly by the potluck outdoor BBQ party. There is a bit of nostalgia included with Vanilla Ice Cream don’t you think?

Lily and Thomas have discovered root beer floats. Summer classic right! Simply add a couple scoops of Breyers vanilla ice cream into a tall cup, pour some root beer to cover the ice cream. Add a straw and done! So yum. Make sure the root beer is caffeine free… we made that mistake once and had bouncing kids all over the house. Not a good look.

You can find Breyers Ice Cream at your local grocery store.

Breyers Ice Cream

 Breyers only uses milk and cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones* *Suppliers of other ingredients such as cookies, candies and; sauces may not be able to make this pledge. The FDA states that no significant difference has been shown between dairy derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST treated. The vanilla that goes into Breyers products is 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified,and comes from sustainable vanilla farms in Madagascar.

 

 

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Summer 2016

We are in summer mode over here. The kids are out of school and the lazy summer days have begun. Lily has a sleepaway camp later in the summer, Thomas starts a local town camp next month but for this week we are winging it!

I’ve decided not to put Lily in an all summer camp this summer. I want her to just hang, get bored, to have unstructured days, to find her own entertainment, and to hang out with the neighborhood kids.

We moved to this community for this very reason. Lily walks to the town pool, downtown, rides bikes all over the neighborhood with friends, eats popsicles in the afternoon and builds fairy houses with Thomas. It’s that old school – non programmed- summer days of old.

We’ve been having lazy brunches in town and long strolls through our neighborhood saying hi to the chickens and pig and goats.

Yummy Salmon Toast from the Reading Room in Katonah,NY

If you know us , you know that we don’t sit still for long and we have a whole list of summer trips and day trips and quick jaunts all around the tri-state and I can’t wait to share this with you. New York has just so very much to offer and there is never a shortage of engaging activities for kids… I’m talking about hikes, museums, towns to wander through, flea markets, balloon festivals…etc.

Summer 2016 we are ready!

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Weekend

Weekends are for wandering don’t you think? Summer has officially begun here in New York and the long weekend just confirmed the arrival of the season.

If you follow along on Instagram then you know we are travel bugs. The whole summer is spent traveling and eating and road tripping all over. Since moving up to Northern Westchester we are surrounded by endless travel possibilities all within a 5 hour drive of us. Montreal, Canada… Philly, Boston, Rhode Island, Vermont, Catskills, Lake George, and still the gorgeous beaches of Long Island that I miss so very much.

Last weekend we went up the Hudson Valley to Coldspring for our favorite hike. If you are looking for an amazing view, powerful climb up the mountain and just an escape… you need to go to BREAKNECK – the White Trail. This is not for beginner hikers since it’s more of a climb but so amazing. We saw a couple snakes that Lily was thrilled about and wanted to hug them and pet them and make them her own… ummm no… this jungle girl of mine has no fear. It’s a beautiful hike up Breakneck and takes about 30/45 minutes to get to the top. Thomas and Matt wandered the many shops in Coldspring, ate ice cream and counted all the choo choos at the train station while Lily and I were fighting off snakes on the hike!

After our 2 hour hike, we headed to nearby Beacon, NY for some grub. There are lots of changes up the Hudson Valley and it’s all still charming but losing that old vintage, farm feel. The Hipsters have taken over the towns and while they still have the charm, they now are cleaner, a lot more expensive, and kinda sterile. But still worth a trip… for now.

I hope you get a chance to explore and roam this season. Whether it’s a quick day trip to a neighboring town, or on a jet plane across the world… go travel and explore!

happy weekend.

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A day at the Bronx Zoo

One of our most favorite things to do is go to the Bronx Zoo. When Lily was little, i used to spend many many MANY days there with our group of friends just wandering around and chatting with the animals and playing in their amazing Childrens Zoo or Butterfly Garden. Now that the weather has finally warmed up, Thomas and I have a standing date on Tuesday at the Bronx Zoo.

The Bronx Zoo always has something exciting happening, but last week it was particularly busy!

As in the animals were getting busy! It is that time of the year and all the animals were busy doing their natural mating dances.

The goats, giraffes, geese and the peacocks. The peacocks were by far the most frisky. And even tried to come after my sweet moto. Who was scared away by the pomp and circumstance of this ritual.

We love the zoo and take full advantage of it while the kids are young. When Lily started kindergarten and was in school full time, we hardly went. So i’m taking full advantage of the zoo pass – gifted to us by grandma- and it’s our weekly stop!

Thomas has his rounds while at the zoo –

  • The monorail
  • The bug carousel
  • The butterfly garden
  • The 4D RIO experience

and … we have to roar at the lions!

Hope you make it to the Bronx Zoo this season. It’s really such a blast

*this post is not sponsored. we just love the zoo.*

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An Easter Brunch Cruise Around Manhattan

Hornblower The New York Mom

We did something a bit out of the box for easter this year and it was the best thing ever! We went on a cruise around New York City. No matter what time of the year this is a great activity for kids in New York City or just a bucket list item for anyone visiting New York City.

Hornblower The New York Mom

Our family is spread out throughout the country with the main fort being in Florida where our parents and grandparents live. My sister-in-law lives in Brooklyn which can feel like a different state sometimes! Matt usually cooks a great big feast for Easter brunch and we spend the whole day flying kites and riding bikes and planting flowers. This year we didn’t have any family visit us for Easter so Matt and I decided to take an Easter brunch cruise around New York City. Let me just start by saying, this was the BEST IDEA EVER! If you have young kids, an easter cruise with Hornblower Cruises is pretty perfect.

Hornblower The New York Mom
The obvious… no cleaning, cooking, wrangling of children nothing… just show up, have a great time, dance, eat and take in the most incredible views. After church we headed over for our Brunch. It was a quick drive down the west side highway and on Sunday’s there is hardly any traffic.

Hornblower The New York Mom

Upon arriving we were greeted by the Easter Bunny… this was a dancing, skipping, very happy Easter Bunny. Thomas was over the moon. He could not believe that we were about to get on  big boat with THE Easter Bunny.

Our table was set with everything we needed including a chilled bottle of champagne!

Hornblower The New York Mom

Hornblower The New York Mom

The food buffet was great – with a variety of food for everyone. Meats, fish, veggies, pasta, carving station, kid friendly food. A massive dessert table with a chocolate fountain seemed to be the hit. After eating, we headed up to the top of the boat to take in the views. Stunning. If you have never been on a cruise around Manhattan you are missing out. It’s romantic, it’s beautiful and you’ll never have access to these views unless you are in the water.

Hornblower The New York Mom

 

Hornblower The New York Mom

New York CityNew York CityBut wait there is so much more… a live jazz band was playing the entire 2 hours and the floor was packed with little kids and adults dancing! And then…

and then…

Hornblower The New York Mom
The EASTER BUNNY! After the cutest easter egg hunt – on the boat – the Easter Bunny came around and said hi to all the kids and adults and danced and took pictures and had the best time.

Hornblower The New York Mom
The Hornblower stops right in front of the Statue of Liberty for about 15 minutes and the views of this and the photo opps are amazing we didn’t make it out in time because the EggHunt had just ended and the kids were busy counting the loot. Priorities ya know!

Hornblower The New York Mom

Hornblower The New York Mom

Hornblower The New York Mom

Overall, this was a great experience. We would absolutely do this again… even with family visiting. The kids loved it, Matt and I didn’t have to worry about anything and the kids both napped on our  45 minute drive back home.

The staff on the Hornblower was the sweetest and catered to the kids and played along with the Bunny. The Bunny by the way was the real deal… and we snapped the best picture for easter!

Hornblower The New York Mom

Hornblower Cruises operate all year-long and I HIGHLY recommend their cruises for visitors this summer. What an amazing way to end your trip to New York – a dinner or brunch cruise around the greatest city in the world with dancing and champs and great food. It’s such a great time! They also have private charters and all sorts of bundles. Swing by HORNBLOWER CRUISE for more.

*This post is sponsored by Hornblower Cruises. All opinions are mine, we really had a great time* 

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A Day at Muscoot Farm

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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. IMG_1670   IMG_1749 IMG_1769-0 Muscoot Farm

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Exit 4 – A Gourmet Food Hall in the Heart of the NYC Suburbs

Be still my food loving heart! A one stop gourmet food hall for all my hangry cravings!

Earlier this month, Exit 4 Food Hall opened in the town next door and they invited me to come over for a sampling for Media Night. I’m not going to beat around the bush… it’s good. really good, so good in fact that if you are heading up north from Manhattan it is TOTALLY worth the stop. They made it easy for you to remember… EXIT 4 off Interstate 684.

So what’s a food hall. Well if you are in Brooklyn or Manhattan then you know exactly what these are. It’s one restaurant that has several different food style selections almost like a food court but elevated without the free chicken bourbon samples.It’s not fast food and no chain restaurants it’s gourmet sit down dinner food in a very communal seating situation. You can expect prices to be anywhere from the teens to $25 for an entree.

Exit 4 has 9 stations that include everything from the freshest raw oysters to home-made pastas, sandwiches, bahn-mi, chicken and ribs, cheese and meat platters, sushi, wood fire pizza and more.  A bar serves wine, beer and other cocktails. This is the new wave of eating that has taken over the Brooklyn and Manhattan food scene and now it’s right here… in my back yard!  As a family of four, one of use has to always compromise when we go out to dinner. In comes the concept of a food hall to fit all our needs. Thomas can have his mac and cheese to his heart’s content, Matt can have some oysters and sashimi, my pick is the squid ink pasta and Lily can have her lobster roll.

Izi Albanese, the owner of Exit 4 Food Hall, has successfully collected a handful of local culinary favorites to come together in one place and this is the winning recipe. The long communal tables, quiet comfy seating in the back, bar stools that are never empty for too long and the excitement of the entire place makes for a staple that needs to be rooted in any town. This place gets PACKED and loud and there is a waiting list because they don’t take reservations… especially on the weekends and I love it. No more sleepy suburbs… there is LIFE up here!

The nine food stations at Exit 4: 

Charcuterie 153

You get your cheeses, smoked goods and meat platters. And did I mention the Chocolate fountain!

X 4 on Tap

Featuring local craft beer, wines on tap, and my obsession… nitro coffee. You MUST ask for this!

Fuoco Wood-Fire Pizza

Create your own pizza or choose a gourmet combination for the table.

Dirty Roots

Myong Feiner, who has a local cult following, spins a Korean twist on everyday salads and sandwiches.Try the Grilled octopus and the Ahi Bahn Mi.

Rotiss-A-Q

Slow cooked meats, comfort food and classic sandwiches.

Inno Sushi

Chef James Jung is at the helm of this one with a signature Exit 4 Sushi roll and for those of us who crave the real deal… a Poke Bowl (sticky rice, raw fish, seaweed and other ingredients) is on this menu!

Piacci Pasta Bar

The pasta bar boasts fresh pastas, some I have never even heard of, and my favorite – Squid Ink. Choose your pasta, choose your sauce, choose your protein and it gets whipped together right in front of you.

  

Rawsome Seafood Bar

Joe from Mount Kisco Seafood is the captain of this seafood ship with fresh clams, oysters, an overstuffed lobster sandwich and seasonal soups. It’s a seafood… especially shellfish lovers treat and will not disappoint.

  

Head on over to Exit 4 Food Hall to get your foodie fix in the burbs!

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