LEGO Ninjago City Adventure in Westchester – Review

LEGOLAND Ninjago

Calling all NINJAS! The much anticipated LEGO Ninjago movie is finally out in theatres and I have one very excited ninja ready to go! To celebrate the film, we headed to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester to experience their new attraction and get a sneak peek of the new LEGO Ninjago City Adventure in Westchester!

LEGOLAND Ninjago

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester has an amazing new attraction – LEGO® Ninjago City Adventure. We headed over on Saturday to check out all the excitement and it did not disappoint. Legoland Westchester is exciting, to begin with, but now with a Ninjago theme, my little Green Ninja was over the moon.

LEGOLAND NinjagoThe new attraction has lots of cool exhibits that we loved. We loved the LEGO 4D film, decoding the secret language of Ninjago with Ninjago characters and even meeting Kai, The Red Ninja of Fire.

LEGOLAND Ninjago

But our favorite was The LEGO® Ninjago City Adventure which is a two story 2300 square foot play area modeled after the Temple of Airjitzu that the kids absolutely loved. In true Ninja training style, the kids loved finding their way through the maze and working on their ninja abilities.

LEGOLAND Ninjago

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is definitely a not-to-be-missed destination. LEGOLAND is at Ridge Hill shopping center which has a ton of amazing stores and restaurants. The kids love being at LEGOLAND and Matt and I take turns shopping through – Lord and Taylor, H&M, REI, TJ MAXX, Sur La Table, Uniqlo and the super swank new Brooks Brothers Flatiron store!

LEGOLAND Ninjago

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is in Yonkers, NY and open daily. But be sure to get your tickets in advance if you can because it does get pretty busy. Swing by LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester for all the details.

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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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TNYM Travels: A Day Trip to Cold Spring, New York

Are you all recovering from the long weekend. While I certainly enjoyed my weekend with the whole family, I am exhausted and desperately need a day off!

We kept our plans pretty relaxed over the long weekend and just mulled around the house, hung out with friends and went day trippin! Matt and I love to travel with the kids and sometimes a quick day trip is all we need to take care of the travel bug!

One of my most favorite places to spend a day is Cold Spring, New York. This is a quaint little town up the Hudson Valley, about 2 hours north of Manhattan,  with specialty stores that line the main street. But that’s not the main attraction.

Cold Spring has one of my favorite hikes – BreakNeck Ridge. Lily and I have climbed this mountain many many times and love it. Best to go on a weekday because it gets really busy on the weekends and takes the calmness of a hike, out of the experience.

We go toCold Spring so often that I just can’t fit everything you should do in one post.  There is so much to experience in this sweet town that one trip just won’t do it justice.

On Saturday we went for a hike and then settled into lunch at the ColdSpring Depot. A big burger seemed to do the trick for a post hike meal!

We wandered around main street and peeked into all the stores, picking up goodies here and there. We stopped by ColdSpring Apothecary for coffee, and treats. What’s with the new trend of barbershop/hair salon/bars and cafes! You can get your hair cut and have a snack!

One of the newest stores to arrive inCold Spring is Pink Olive – the cutest gift shop with something for kids and adults. I love this perfectly curated little shop with hand-made items and great inspiring decor.

Of course you can’t go to Cold Spring without getting ice cream at MOO MOO’s creamery! It’s right by the water and the views are stunning.

ColdSpring General Store is a must stop as well. Go to the back room for a whole secret stash of must have foods. That Bloody Mary Mix is delish! and they have tons of specialty beers and pickles! 

Where to EAT:

  • Hudson Hills – fresh farm food – simple and delish!
  • The Foundry is a great spot as well but the food takes FOREVER to come out and the server even said – it might not be best for the kids. But we have been to the foundry in the past and it’s good munching if you are not in a hurry.
  • Coldspring Depot – Pub fare. Something simple and delish for everyone.
  • For a quiet romantic meal or drinks and apps – sit outside at Brasserie Le Bouchon. This is french food with yummy small plates and a decent wine list. This place seems a little hit or miss for us, so we only do apps and drinks. The ambiance is great!

I hope you get to head up to Cold Spring this season. It’s a beautiful little town and there are lots of bed and breakfasts for an overnight trip.

 

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Protect Like a Mother -Weekend Art Exhibit with Lysol

 

Protect Like A Mother

Something happens to us humans when we become parents. There is a fierce protective Instinct that triggers anytime we sense something amiss. There have been many times that I have found a surge of energy, strength and anger that races through my body in order to save my child from harm. That instinct kicks in and you step it up to PROTECT LIKE A MOTHER!

Protect Like A Mother

Protect Like A Mother

The protective instinct is a universal truth of motherhood – in the animal kingdom and in our own. Different species demonstrate amazing feats to protect their young…including human mothers.

Protect Like A Mother

Lysol, the cleaning brand, has an amazing exhibit in Brooklyn today and tomorrow ONLY, that is all about this very theme. It’s called PROTECT LIKE A MOTHER and it’s a stunning visual installation under the Brooklyn Bridge that shows images and sculptures of mama animals caring for their young.

Protect Like A MotherI’m working with Lysol to celebrate a mother’s natural protective instinct, honoring that a mother’s first priority is always the safety of her children – whether she is a bear, a monkey, or a person!

An important way that human moms protect their families is by preventing the spread of harmful germs in the home. With two dragons and a giant beast, our home is all too familiar to germs. Now the weather is warm, the kids are always in and out of the house, snacking with their unwashed hands. With the weather being so crazy here in New York, lately, we have had our fair shares of coughs, colds, ear infections and other sickies! Our LYSOL products have been working overtime for sure!

No one protects loved ones quite like mom and no one protects families like Lysol, a leader in germ kill for 100+ years, which offers products that kill 99.9% of germs to help moms protect their kids from passing germs and getting sick. 


I hope you swing by Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, for a special Lysol exhibit celebrating the greatest guardians of all: mothers. The exhibit will give a look at the most incredible and fierce moms on the planet! The exhibit is open Saturday, May 20 and Sunday May 21. For more information visit  Lysol.com/ProtectLikeaMother.

This post is sponsored by Lysol. All images and ideas are my own. Thanks for stopping by and learning a bit about our sponsors here at New York Mom! 

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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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