Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Jersey Momma Year in Review: 2016

I know there's all this chatter about how awful 2016 was. As far as celebrity deaths and many world events go, it was terrible. But things on The Jersey Momma page were pretty spectacular this year. I look back at all of the fun we had, all of the places we visited and all of the cool products we tried, and it makes me so proud...yes, I can finally say that...proud. I am proud of this little blog and I hope it brings you as much joy as it brings me. I work very hard to bring you honest, high quality posts. I used to be afraid to say it out loud, but now I will shout it to the world: I'M A BLOGGER! I'M A WRITER! TAKE THAT, 2016!! And in honor of my new found pride, I put together a little year in review post to look back on all the fun. I even made a video! I hope you enjoy it, and that you stick around for the ride in 2017.



Sunday, December 25, 2016

One World Observatory Review: Visiting the Freedom Tower

The Freedom Tower is a familiar sight to most New Jersey residents. We've watched it being built and slowly jetting into the New York skyline from afar. We've waited for the day that we could step through its doors and feel the awesome power of resilience and pride (mixed with sadness, too). The Jersey Momma's Boy grew up after 9/11, so he never saw the Twin Towers with his own eyes. But he watched the Freedom Tower rise, and we knew one day we would want to bring him there when he was old enough. We finally had the chance to take him to One World Observatory, and what a trip it was! If you're curious what it's like to visit, especially with children, read on!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Let's Visit The Christmas Ice Caverns of Fairfield

I grew up in Morris County, and we had family who lived in Fairfield, so we were frequent visitors of Essex County, too.  And every year without fail, we visited the Christmas Ice Caverns, which were part of Fairfield Home and Garden on Rt. 46 in Fairfield, New Jersey.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Let's Review Pipsticks Sticker Subscriptions (with a Giveaway, too)!

My love and enthusiasm for stickers started in the 1980's. I kept a prized sticker collection and still have my sticker books to this day. As a teacher, I used stickers for so many fun projects in my classroom- not just for rewards! I'm a firm believer in the power of positive incentives. Try handing a scratch and sniff sticker to a high school student and see what happens. I think they appeal to the kid in all of us. That's why I was SUPER EXCITED to find this amazing company called Pipsticks, who are helping to revive the sticker craze that I knew and loved so well. And guess what? They even gave me a little surprise for you, so scroll down to enter our Pipsticks giveaway, too!!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Simple Vanilla Muffins

Here's a delicious, simple muffin recipe that's great for breakfast, brunch or even dessert! Simple Vanilla Muffins are one of my favorite treats to bake!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Easy Handmade DIY Suncatchers

I'm always on the lookout for EASY craft projects to do, especially ones that can double as gifts. I came across these suncatchers in the art room of The Jersey Momma's Boy's school. We were meeting there for cub scouts and I happened to see this awesome project on the sidelines that the teacher was working on (I'm sorry, Mrs. E, I didn't mean to snoop in  your stuff! I just couldn't help but notice how pretty they were!)  If you want to make them, too, all you need to do is follow these THREE easy steps (yup, that's it!).


Friday, December 9, 2016

Creamy, Dreamy Easy Rice Pudding

I grew up with homemade rice pudding, although I can't remember exactly who made it. Isn't that sad? I thought it was my grandmother but my mom thinks it was our wonderful old neighbor, Marie. All I remember is a yellow tupperware bowl, and swirling my spoon around that creamy goodness! I searched the internet for a recipe similar to the one I remember as a child, and this was the closest I could find. And it's not hard to make, so come and try it! There's even a printable version at the end of this post.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Staying at The Hotel Hershey: Woodside Cottages Review

If you're familiar with Hershey, Pennsylvania, you probably know about the beautiful Hotel Hershey, located just minutes from Hersheypark. But have you ever heard of The Woodside Cottages at The Hotel Hershey? We've been visiting Hershey for years and we always wondered what the cottages were like. They sit behind the hotel, essentially in their own little neighborhood. Well, we finally had a chance to experience them ourselves, and I'm so excited to tell you all about them! This is not a sponsored post (just an honest opinion, from me to you, so read on)!

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Review of Gingerbread Wonderland at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all of the gingerbread cookies got together during the holidays and had a big party?  I'm sure there would be dancing cookies and palace ballrooms and colorful characters.  I'm sure it would look a lot like The Frelinghuysen Arboretum's Gingerbread Wonderland.



Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Make a Punch Prize Box for Class Parties

As the homeroom parent for my son's classroom, I am always on the lookout for new ideas to use at the class parties.  I have seen 'punch boxes' or prize boxes on Pinterest, but never actually tried to make one myself.

Anyway, punch boxes are kind of like the old game they used to play on the Price is Right, where the contestant would punch their hand through a little crepe paper circle to reveal the prize inside (except the prizes were much bigger on the Price is Right- we have a budget for these class parties, you know. None of the kids will be winning the keys to a new car!)



Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Gift Ideas for All Ages

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Seriously, though, it is wonderful and you shouldn't be stressing about gifts. Every year I like to gather gift ideas that are suitable for all ages, so check out these cool finds from all around the web, and don't sweat the small stuff!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Gingerbread House Hacks : Tips for Easy Construction and Decoration

The first gingerbread house I ever built was condemned.  The walls slid together, the frosting was too watery, and if a gingerbread man tried to move in, he would have been killed by a collapsing roof.  But over the years I've learned a few tips and tricks to build a better gingerbread house.  Especially when there are kids involved!



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Easy Chocolate Marshmallow Bites for Picture Book Month : Celebrating Matthew Cordell

November is Picture Book Month, and I am a proud ambassador for this wonderful cause. Last year I made pupcakes to recognize the adorable work of Stephen Shaskan, and a few weeks ago we made easy, 2 ingredient dog biscuits to go along with the beloved Biscuit the Puppy books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli.  So, what's next, you ask? Why, the adorable work of Matthew Cordell, of course! Matthew Cordell is an author/illustrator of many books for children. His illustrations in the book, If You Were a Chocolate Mustache inspired us to create these easy, chocolate marshmallow bites!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Review of The Crayola Experience - Easton, PA

If you're looking for a fun day trip not far outside of New Jersey, The Crayola Experience (formerly known as The Crayola Factory) in Easton, Pennsylvania, might be for you!  They're open year round, so this is a great stop in any season. There are multiple Crayola Experiences around the country, but the Easton location is closest to us.  This article is designed for easy viewing, so check subject headings and scroll to find the info you need (time is precious and there are a lot of words here, I know!).


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Unique Gifts for All Ages

If you're searching for some fun and unique gifts for those lucky loved ones on your list, then you've come to the right place!  I've gathered some super picks for all ages, so browse through and see what you can find. Oh, and some of these choices contain affiliate links (those from Amazon and Lego), but as I always say, I would never recommend something to you that I didn't totally love myself.  That's not how I roll!  So, without further ado, here are my top funky gift choices for the holiday season.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

The New Jersey Comic Expo: Fun for Everyone!

I had the great pleasure of attending the New Jersey Comic Expo this weekend, and it was SO much fun! Family-friendly, unique and inviting, there's something for everyone at this event!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Disney's Moana Recipes: Jello Treats and Free Printables!

Disney's Moana is one of my favorite movies of all time. I am also a huge fan of The Rock, so I'm happy to help promote for him with this fun post. I'm your gal, Dwayne!  Anyway, I digress. In honor of the new movie Moana, I've come up with a fun little recipe to enjoy, and there are even some cute coloring sheets for you to print out, too!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Review of Christmas in Hershey: Christmas Candy Lane (part 1)

Time for another excursion outside of Jersey!  This one is a two part series, so be sure to read my review of Hershey Sweet Lights.  First, let me start off by saying how much I love Hersheypark.  If you have never been there, I highly suggest it, and it's important to note that it's different for every season.  I have also been there in the Spring and Summer, and each trip has been significantly different.  Anyway, I decided to publish my review of Hersheypark at Christmas (known as Christmas Candy Lane) because I couldn't find many personal reviews online about it when I was planning our own trip (I like to read first-hand experiences). I hope this helps anyone out there who likes to plan as much as I do! And please note this is not a sponsored post. Nobody at Hershey gave me anything for writing this (although that would be nice...)

A Review of Hershey Sweet Lights and Hershey's Chocolate World (part 2)

If you haven't had a chance, please check out Part 1 of my two part blog series, Christmas in Hershey.  In Part 1 I talked about Hershey Park's Christmas Candy Lane and The Hotel Hershey. Here in Part 2, I'll talk about Hershey Sweet Lights and Chocolate World, both of which I love. And please note, this is NOT a sponsored post. I did not receive ANYTHING from Hershey, its parks or resorts. I am just sharing my opinion with you, 'cause that's what I do!

Fun Christmas Attractions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

The holiday season is upon us, and if you're anything like me, you're itching to do some 'holiday stuff' with your family.  And I'm not talking crafts or baking- I mean, cool trips that you can take for some holiday themed fun! So here are 5 of my favorite must-visit holiday locations in the tri-state area.  And would you believe some of them cost less than $5 per person (and some are FREE)?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Easy Turkey-Shaped Lollipops for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so here's a cute, quick way to show some gratitude to your friends and family, or just end your meal with a sweet treat. Turkey lollipops!

Friday, November 11, 2016

How to Decorate for Thanksgiving: Oreo Turkeys and More!

Last year I hosted Thanksgiving for my family, and I went into full-on Pinterest searching, party planning, decorating crazy mode!  I had Thanksgiving Bingo planned, and a Thankfulness jar complete with questions on paper leaves that everyone had to pass around and answer.  I had goodie bags for every guest and a kiddie table that would make Martha Stewart proud.  So from me, to you, I share my Thanksgiving ideas.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Mayo Center for the Performing Arts - Show Review: Moostletoe in Morristown!

As I've told you before, I'm not a huge fan of Thanksgiving, so I'm usually ready to skip right over it and head to Christmas.  There are so many fun things to see and do in December!  If your child is too young to appreciate the Nutcracker, and you can't afford the pricey journey into New York to see The Christmas Spectacular, you might want to try out Moostletoe at the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Easy 2 Ingredient Dog Treats for Picture Book Month!

I am a proud Ambassador for Picture Book Month. According to their website, 'Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates picture books during the month of November.' Today I am honoring the wonderful author, Alyssa Satin Capucilli, who created the popular Biscuit book series! So let's read Happy Thanksgiving, Biscuit! and then celebrate by creating some doggy treats that both you AND your doggy can enjoy together!


Note:  This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you want to read more about my affiliate links and what they are, please read the Disclosure section of my site. 


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Everyone Matters: A Tribute to a Lost Friend and Operation Christmas Child

Last year, the blogging community lost a wonderful writer and friend.  Her name was Melissa Matters, and she passed away suddenly at the age of 36, leaving behind two beautiful children, a husband and family.  I never met Melissa personally, but I considered her a colleague, a fellow writer, and an online friend.  I will truly miss her.  She kept a blog about being a mom, and wrote some beautiful posts about her family and children.  Her blog is called Wading Through Motherhood, and I hope you will check it out.

Melissa was an extremely supportive writer.  I met her during our time at Yahoo Contributor Network. She was always quick to comment and share the work and blog posts of others (which means a great deal to any writer).  So in Melissa's honor, I am starting a blogging movement called Everyone Matters.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Don't Miss The New Jersey Family Pet Show this November!

I am so excited that a Family Pet Show is coming to New Jersey! You might recall my post about Family Pet Show's event last Spring, which was held in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I have been to many different pet shows, and I really enjoyed this one with my family, so I was happy to hear they were coming to New Jersey! Take a look at what to expect at this November's show.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Awesome Painted Pumpkin Ideas from Around the Web

Get those paintbrushes ready!  It's pumpkin decorating season!  I searched the web for some of the coolest painted pumpkin ideas I could find, and here's what I came up with.  I tried to give credit where it's due and link back when possible, so please know that not all of these creations are mine (but the Angry Birds below are ours!).  They certainly inspired me, so maybe they'll inspire you, too.  Happy painting!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

LEMYKA Skincare for Sensitive Skin : A Jersey Momma Review

Being a blogger comes with some perks, and one of them is trying new products and telling you what I think about them. The nice people at LEMYKA Skincare contacted me to see if I would be willing to test their lotions and washes, so I thought, why not? The Jersey Momma's Boy has very sensitive skin, and I, myself, have very dry skin, so I was pleasantly surprised to see just how well LEMYKA'S products worked for us. If you're looking for a high quality, natural, organic solution for skincare, then read on to see what LEMYKA is all about!


Friday, October 7, 2016

10 Easy Halloween Cupcakes That You Can Make Yourself

This year I am a Homeroom Parent for the Jersey Momma's Boy's class. Halloween parties are quickly approaching, so I've already started looking for cute treats to serve in the classroom. Fortunately, the kids in our district can still enjoy a sweet treat if we offer some healthy treats, too.

In all fairness, I know there are some incredible cupcake works of art out there (just check out THIS adorable pair) but my list is really about cupcakes you can easily make yourself. At home. In your own lil' kitchen. And I tried to give credit where credit is due, but if anyone has any issues with me printing their links or photos, please don't hesitate to let me know!  Drum roll, please.... 


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fun Halloween Projects: Candy Corn Kids

If you're looking for a fun and easy project for Halloween, look no further!  Candy Corn Kids are easy to make, cute, and make a great decoration in a classroom or home.  Check out my quick tutorial on how to make your own!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Autumn Review of Sesame Place: The Count's Halloween Spooktacular

Wondering if Sesame Place is right for your child? Looking for tips, suggestions and advice about visiting Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania this Fall? Well, you've come to the right place! Langhorne is not a far ride from New Jersey and is definitely worth seeing if you have little Sesame Street fans at home! And just a note that I was NOT compensated in any way for this post, this is just an honest review of our visit there in the Fall, 'cause that's how I roll.



Friday, September 30, 2016

Blossom Water : A Little Taste of Summer in a Bottle

The weather is pretty dreary here in New Jersey today, and I'm missing those long, sweet days of summer. So I thought I'd share a little sunshine with you, in the form of an awesome new drink that I first heard of at The Fancy Food Show in New York. It's called Blossom Water, and it's actually pure water infused with natural fruit and flower essences. Yes, flowers!!  


Monday, September 12, 2016

No Crowd Day Trips: Visiting Merrill Creek Reservoir

I love spending time with my family.  Strike that, I cherish it.  And truly, it doesn't matter where you go to spend quality time with the ones you love.  You don't have to be at an expensive museum or a crowded orchard festival (check out my blog on alternative things to do in the Fall).  A lot of times we forget that there are simple family things we can do together, too.  This is not to say that I don't still enjoy a good day trip (I'm the Jersey Momma, after all, it's what I do, man!), but I also know that my son doesn't need to be entertained all the time.  We take day trips and visit cool places because we like to.  Not because we're supposed to.  So this time, let's take a no-crowd day trip.  Let's visit Merrill Creek!


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fancy Food Show Spotlight on: Bakerly (and a Giveaway)!

I've been talking about my visit to The Fancy Food Show in New York for months now. There are so many great products out there, and so many yummy things to tell you about! I keep writing about them not because someone paid me to, but because I want to share them with you. Haven't you ever tried something and wanted to tell your friends all about it? Well, that's how I feel about some of the great brands I've tried. I'm so happy to see new choices out there, ones that are better choices for my family, offering no preservatives, no additives, no GMO's. One of them in particular is called Bakerly. Read all about them in today's post, and don't forget to enter my contest to win some free Bakerly products of your own!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The NeverEnding Story Returns to Theaters for a Limited Run!

For the first time in three decades, The NeverEnding Story is returning to theaters for a limited run. Yup, you heard me. You have another chance to see Atreyu, Falkor, and even the dreaded Gmork on the big screen once again. Scroll below to see where you can find it in a theater near you!

And in honor of this special occasion, I unearthed some old friends...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

More Minecraft Books for Kids - Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Review

Diary of a Minecraft Zombie is one of our favorite book series. I once posted an entry about Minecraft books for kids and inspiring boys to read (I also posted a fun craft called Make Your Own Minecraft Shrinky Dinks). Since then, many people have asked me for more recommendations and titles of other Minecraft books on the market. So it's time to share the Diary of a Minecraft Zombie series by Zack Zombie (formerly Herobrine Books), so you can see just why we love it so much.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tetherbox Review: What's Inside?

Subscription boxes are so much fun! Who doesn't love getting a package in the mail? Now you can send a special care package to your favorite college student, thanks to Tetherbox.  Tetherbox is a subscription box service specifically for college students.  Find out what's inside a Tetherbox in today's blog post!


Monday, August 1, 2016

Fancy Food Show Spotlight on Traina Foods Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup!

A few months ago, I attended The Fancy Food Show at The Javits Center in New York, and I haven't stopped talking about it since! There were so many wonderful foods to try, and so many things I vowed to share with my readers because I think you would love them, too. I've been highlighting some of my favorites and hope to do so for the next few months. Today I want to tell you about Traina Foods. And no, this is not a sponsored post or an ad, it's just something cool that I want to share with you because I think you'll like it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fancy Food Show Spotlight on: Hoboken Farms Big Pasta Sauces!

A few months ago, I attended the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. It was an honor to meet so many amazing food vendors and to see some of the new products coming on the market. I'm excited to share my favorites with you- not because anyone paid me to do so, but because I love how they taste. I also think you deserve to know about healthier options with simpler, more natural ingredients (we're so used to buying the same brands all the time, right?). And I especially love to see local businesses gaining notoriety! One of those amazing local businesses is Hoboken Farms.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Science Guest Blog: Why Does it Hail in the Summertime? by Dr. Joe Castanza

I am fortunate to know some really cool people in my life (people with really cool talents).  My friend, (affectionately known as 'Dr. Joe') was kind enough to answer a question for The Jersey Momma's Boy, who once asked me, 'Why does it hail in the summertime?' Now my typical answer to this would be, 'Let's Google it,' but this time I thought I'd have my friend, Dr. Joe, write us a guest blog about this interesting topic.  We hope you enjoy it!

It gets colder (normally) as we go higher up into the sky.
photo courtesy of the National Weather Service

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

DIY: Nutter Butter Ice Cream Cone Cookies

If you're looking for a fun dessert to bring to a barbecue but can't spend hours in the kitchen baking up treats from scratch, The Nutter Butter Ice Cream Cone Cookie is a sure hit!


Friday, July 15, 2016

Japan Fun Box: What's Inside?

Everyone knows I love subscription boxes. I love the prospect of getting a treat every month in the mailbox, and the idea of it kind of being a surprise is even better, since the box contents change each month. I also love Japanese culture- anything kawaii (Japanese for 'cute') and interesting Japanese candies and foods. So when the polite and friendly folks at Japan Fun Box asked if I would review one of their subscription boxes, I said OF COURSE!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cabela's: What's Inside?

Time for another out-of-Jersey experience!  Let's head over to Pennsylvania and visit Cabela's Outfitter's Store!  If you're rolling your eyes, cut it out. Seriously, I am the farthest thing from an outdoor enthusiast.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE nature. I love hiking and visiting state parks.  I love animals and trees and flowers. But I am no camper, and I certainly don't like hunting. But Cabela's is cool.  I assure you!


A Review of Lost River Caverns, PA

Lost River Caverns in Hellertown, Pennsylvania has always been a point of interest for me. I would drive by the billboards on Rt. 78 and wonder, 'What is that place like?'  I asked friends for advice, searched online for reviews, and got such a mish-mosh of responses (from, 'It's cheesy and old!' to, 'It's cool!') that I figured I had to see for myself.



Monday, May 23, 2016

10 Epic New Jersey Bakeries You Need to Visit

Epic is a word that seems to get people's attention these days. Bakery is a word that gets mine. So I thought I'd put the two together to bring you a post about some of the best, most epic bakeries in New Jersey. Now, I know this is New Jersey, so that means we have a ton of amazing bakeries out there. This is just a small sampling of what our state has to offer. If you want to tell me about your favorite in the comments, please do!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Octonauts Live! Coming soon to New Jersey!

The Octonauts are coming to the U.S!!  Not only that, but they're headed to New Jersey! You can catch the show at the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts and Count Basie Theater in November. So fire up the Gup-D, write your Creature Report, and get ready for live-action adventure!! Read on to find out more about the show, then enter to win a family four-pack of tickets to Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure, Live in Morristown on November 19th!


Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Review of Space Farms Zoo & Museum

Are you ready to take another day trip with us?  Let's head on over to Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Wantage!


Monday, April 18, 2016

Let's Visit Bluebird Farm Alpacas in Peapack, NJ!

New Jersey is filled with such beautiful farmland and farm experiences. You can pick your own fruits and vegetables, go on hayrides or explore corn mazes. There are flower farms and herb farms, farms with animals and farms with honeybees. But did you know you can visit a farm and meet adorable, fluffy alpacas, too? Bluebird Farm Alpacas in Peapack, New Jersey, is the perfect place to bring your family and children. Don't have kids? There's a place for you, too, at Bluebird Farm Alpacas. Trust me!  Read on and you'll see what I mean...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

What is The Hershey Story Museum? A Jersey Momma Review

I am a huge fan of Hershey.  It's no secret that I love Hershey Park and the Hershey Lodge. I am a frequent guest of The Hotel Hershey, and Hershey Gardens is one of my favorite places. In fact, out of all of our trips to Hershey (and there have been many) one of the only places I hadn't visited was The Hershey Story Museum.  Until now! Come visit with me! Oh, and just a disclaimer here - this is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated in any way by the museum or any of the other Hershey properties. I just really, really like chocolate.




Monday, April 4, 2016

Jurassic Jersey: A Review of Field Station Dinosaurs

**Please note that Field Station Dinosaurs is now located in Leonia, New Jersey. I visited their former Secaucus location, which is where these photos are from. The Leonia location is similar, but please visit their website or Facebook page for the most up to date photos and info, and just use my post as a basic guideline of what to expect. **

"Jurassic Jersey" has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?  I thought the idea of Field Station Dinosaurs sounded really cool, but my little one is only 4, and not really into dinosaurs, so I thought this was one trip that could wait.  But then a friend of ours gave us tickets as a birthday gift, so off we went!