Things for Families to do in NYC

A number of friends have inquired about my family’s trip to New York City. We went from dancing in car seats to dancing on airplanes, dancing on subway trains, dancing in taxis and ultimately… stepping here there and everywhere NYC style.  My sister and brother-in-law lived in Manhattan for a number of years allowing us to visit a number of cool places… All with an NYC-transplant as our tour guide. While there, I decided to take note and write down a list of go-to places. Here’s a mom’s perspective. Yep! All kid friendly. Happy travels!

The List

Brooklyn Bridge – walk accross

Shark Boat

Empire State Building

Parks – EVERYWHERE

Museum of Natural History

Chinatown

Time Square

Doughnut Planet

Central Park 

Governors Island is a very cool place and it’s free. 

The SUBWAY – don’t rent a car

World Trade Center Memorial

The Breakdown

The day that we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge we ended up walking 11 miles! There’s an area on top only for foot traffic which gives an amazing perspective.


The Shark Boat actually goes on the body of water and takes you past all of the important landmarks like the Statue of Liberty – giving a cool perspective. There’s usually a Groupon for discounted tickets. ​

The Empire State Building has two options for ticket prices. I recommend purchasing the ticket for the MAIN DECK which is on the 86th floor. It is the one that has open air rather than windows. Feeling the breeze through your hair 86 stories high is spectacular.. No need to pay more to go any higher… if you go higher you’re looking out through windows and do not get the same effect. 



If the kids are going, many of the PARKS have water features which are pretty cool. Make sure you always have a bathing suit packed.



We had a lot of fun at the Museum of Natural History. (That’s where they have all of the dinosaur bones.) They have a price posted her ticket but are willing to take a lesser amount as a “donation” which is a nice perk. 

Chinatown is filled with decadent foods and fun little places to shop. It’s really fascinating to see the difference between all of the boroughs and areas throughout this amazing city. 

You can find a number of fun places to eat in Time Square. It’s worth it to go in the early evening so you can see all of the flashing lights. The last time we went it was super crowded, but the kids were intrigued. 

New York City is known for its number of delicious foods. I highly recommend visiting Doughnut Planet. They have the best donut I have ever eaten. Try a few. 

Governors Island was once a full-service military base for the US Army and Coast Guard. You take a ferry from the mainland across to the island, it’s free. Once there you can explore a number of military ruins… a citadel, view artifacts- like cannons, lounge in hammocks on a gorgeous greenbelt and see a clear view of the city. There are often little snack shops set up in the picnic area. 

The Subway is fun! I can take you to wherever you need to go. Make sure to get a map. Some stations have cool break dancers to watch. 

The World Trade Center Memorial is a somber place. Beautiful yet heartbreakingly sad. Seeing so many names on the memorial is an eye-opening experience. 


Enjoy NYC!

❤️ Jen

San Diego County Fair Fun

Now that summer is off to a running start, I’d like to suggest taking your kids to the San Diego County Fair. If your kids are like my CarseatDancers, they ask, “Where are we going today?” every stinkin’ morning. 

We’d never been to the fair before and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. It took a good 30 minutes to park but made up for it by providing a people mover tram to the enterance. They were pretty efficient and had plenty of employees. TIP: Do not wash your car prior to going. 

We quickly walked up to the ticket stalls and were whisked through quickly. It helped that we found an opportunity to get the kid’s FREE admission through their summer reading program. 

Yes, read 10 books and come to the Fair free!Kids up to age 12 can get a free day at the San Diego County Fair if they read 10 age-appropriate books and have that verified by their teacher or librarian.


I even found a GROUPON for discounted adult tickets! 

Pig races. 

Carnival rides. 

Carnival games. 

Carnival prizes. 

Decadent foods. 

Wrangling wooden cattle + petting horses. 

+ Live music. 🎶

We wandered for hours and truly enjoyed ourselves. Bring sun screen. Drink water. Completely in awe over the sights, the sounds, the smells… 🐷👏🏻🎡🎢🎠💰🎉👧🏼🐵👱🏼‍♀️🦁🍡🍦🐂🐎🎶

Go!

Happy summer! 

xoox ❤️ Jen

Tips & Tricks to Show Your DisneySide @ Home

Our family adores everything Disney and as a Disneyland Passport holder we are regularly displaying our Disney Side there. But why should you have to leave your Disney Side at the parks? Our celebration, as shown here, can easily be duplicated with just a few tips , tricks & Disney Magic.

When I heard that I could host a Disney Side @Home Celebration for family and friends my girls and I squealed with glee! Disney is more than just a place, it’s a magical feeling… one that you can share, at home. 20150222-100202-36122433.jpg
I received an exclusive Disney Side Princess Party Kit filled with all of the necessary party planning tools needed to spread our Disney magic, at home. And with just a pinch of Pixie Dust and imagination our Valentine’s Day Disney Side Princess Party was a ROYAL success.

Photo Tip: Squat down at your child’s level for a better shot.

My girls were eager to open the box, get started with the guest list and create handmade invitations for their fellow princess friends.

Tip: Allow your kids to help decorate the invitation. I made a prototype that my five-year-old could easily copy.
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Let’s Party!
Valentine’s Day 2015
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10 little Princess were invited to join in the festivities. We had sweet plans for our Princess Brunch. 20150309-192128-69688425.jpg Our dining table was covered with an array of princess decorations. We had Sophia the First snack bowls, napkins, placemats, cups and plates on the cutest Sophia the First tablecloth. The centerpieces were delightful… surrounding them, we placed our collection of princess toys.

Decorating Trick: It’s fun to incorporate the toys that you already have.

In the mix we displayed the prizes and party favors. Each girl went home with a little something special. Our Disney Side @Home Celebration Kit came chalk full of goods for the At-Home-Princess.
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The Palace Pets were a huge hit!
20150309-182912-66552952.jpg & Lucky us, the owner of Pegatopia sent over some of her adorable, hand painted, peg Princess dolls as prizes too. Check out her adorable Etsy shop! 20150309-183304-66784254.jpg
Our takeaway favors included a plastic princess cup (I bought the cups for $1 at Target.) overflowing with goodies! Complete with a lipgloss, nail polish & nail file, stickers, tiny Disney Princess themed heart-shaped-candy box, tiara, pencil and wand.

Party Favor Tip: Place take away items in something that guests can look at and remember over and over when used. i.e. Cup
20150309-183437-66877163.jpg We served breakfast treats for even the most picky of princesses.
On the Menu:
❤️ Pastries
❤️ Olaf Noses (Mini Carrots)
❤️ Fresh Fruit
❤️ Princess Punch
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💛 Twinings Tea for the moms. My fave was “Nightly Clam.” Shhh… I had a second helping when the party was over. One lucky mom went home with a box of teas.

Guest Tip: Moms of partygoers love a little attention too!
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Let the games begin!
With a slight amount of preparation, all of our guest princesses had a ball playing these games:
💛 PinThe Smile on Mickey
💛 Disney Parks BINGO
💛 Fortune Tellers
💛 FROZEN Bowling
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Our day came to a close after a stroll through the wildflowers.

Trick: Add an element of the outdoors to your party and create a carefree full-circle ending to their magical day. 20150309-191947-69587373.jpg 20150309-191946-69586979.jpg Lastly, an Ode to the fabulous Sleeping Beauty. Clearly, my preschooler had a dreamy day. 20150309-192407-69847678.jpg
Cheers to celebrating your Disney Side @Home!
❤️ Jen
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Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate a Disney Side @Home Celebration, with the expectation that I would share this experience with my readers. All expressed opinions are strictly mine.

2015 // New Year // New Resolutions

Just before the new year I read something about “investing in yourself.” I took this mantra to heart when coming up with my New Year’s resolutions. 20150106-002700-1620912.jpg
Laugh More
Not that I don’t. Laugh, that is. LOL! I just felt like I could spend less time being frustrated with the normal “mom life” things & “busy teacher” things and laugh, more. 20150106-004129-2489974.jpg
Hike
I am literally surrounded by breathtaking valley and mountain views {in every direction} with room to roam. I rarely take advantage of going outside to exercise, for FREE! This year, I vow to take regular hikes with my family. I’m a tad sore from yesterday’s hike… but I feel fantastic! 20150106-005022-3022044.jpg
Organize
I started with my closet, then my daughters’. We’ve already given away the bags of goods. 😊 Next, the girls’ toys. We will donate what’s purged. This works perfectly just after Christmas. I even think they’ve forgotten about some of their “old toys.” Out with the old & in with the new. They are totally fighting over, I mean loving Addison’s Merida Archery Set. 20150106-005656-3416833.jpg
I was laughing {more} when Delaney, 5, asked, “Mommy, who’s A-N-D-Y & why did they write on Jessie‘s boot?!”
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Conquer A Fear
Not sure what this is yet. All I know is that it will have NOTHING to do with snakes or skydiving! Really.

Take An Important Risk
So, I purchased all of the necessary materials to get my real estate license. Why not? I’ll certainly let you know how that risk goes come summer. {I’m excited but need time to focus on this venture.} Heck! People have always told me that I can sell anything. Did you know that I once sold the shirt off my back?

Cheers to 2015 & your Resolutions!
Remember: “Invest in yourself.”
❤️ Jen
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4-year-olds // Keeping it Real

Well, the afternoon started off pretty well today and then got progressively worse as the night went on. Life with a four-year-old can get a little daunting. Who knew we’d go from Terrible Twos to Treacherous Threes to WTF!?! Fours? When I really think about it, it seems that on most days, she is completely irrational. Cute & brilliant but irrational. But tonight… She threw a wrench into our normalcy.

Me: “Please stop crawling on top of the table. It’s time to do homework.”
FYI: Preschool homework is pretty intense these days & no we don’t allow her to crawl accross the dining table.
DEA4: {Whispers to my five-year-old, and I quote,} “I’m nignoring mommy.” – She’s always been sassy. SMH.
She crawled across the dining room table AGAIN, preceding to bump and spill my coffee. {Yes coffee, I brew a cup nightly… for my sanity.} Immediately bawling, she jumped off the table and stood on the Naughty Mat {An idea similar to that of the Supernanny.}
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I went with it and said nothing.
After approximately three minutes of sobbing she stops.
Silence.

DEA4: “Mommy. I’m sorry. Can I please get out of time out?
I walked over to her and sat on the floor facing her. – My time out ritual.
Me: “Why are you standing in time out?”
{The question that I ask every time prior to one being removed from time out.}
DEA: {Gently clasping my face in her hands, she looked me square in the eye.} “I’m sorry for not wisssening to myself. I wuv you. Amen.” {She followed with a kiss on my mouth.}
Needless to say, I was quite shocked!

It was nice that she actually showed some remorse for her actions. & On her own. It’s refreshing that sometimes she can be so sweet.
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Cheers to baby steps & keeping it real!
xoox

Jen

Blueberry Muffins // Failure

We made {just-add-water to the box mix} Blueberry Muffins

Problem: I think the can of blueberries had fermented. OOPS!
I don’t know what I was thinking. 20140119-100123.jpg
The final product tasted like MOONSHINE!
Delaney 4: “Mommy, vis is bisssGUSTING!”
#foodFAIL

Does anyone have a recipe that they love and are willing to share?
Like, one from scratch… with fresh blueberries.
Please post your link here.

Cheers to successful baking!
❤ Jen