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!


The Best Adult Coloring Books and Supplies - Part 2

You might remember my last post about the best adult coloring books, the latest craze that's sweeping the nation. Don't knock it till you try it, I always say! Coloring for adults is a relaxing hobby, and a great way to express your artistic side, without a need for artistic talent! I've been exploring many different types of adult coloring books and mediums, so here are a few of my favorites, along with some tips if you plan on trying this fabulous hobby for yourself.

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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Let's Visit Medieval Times: A Jersey Momma Review

Being the planner that I am, I searched the internet for a review of Medieval Times ages ago and could never quite find what I was looking for. I wanted an honest opinion on what age group this show was for, what it entailed, how the food was (that's just how I am, you know?). And since I never found exactly what I was looking for out there, I decided to see the show for myself and bring you my very own review (because I know I can't be the only one out there wondering what Medieval Times is all about!). This is not a sponsored post (although MT people, I'd be more than happy to come back and review a king's court package or something for you if you're offering! Just sayin'....).  And remember, my posts are designed for easy reading, so feel free to scroll to find the information you're looking for.

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.


Monday, October 24, 2016

A Review of ABC Mouse - Is It Worth It?

Before I tell you about ABCMouse.com, let me just point out that I was not paid for my review, nor has anyone given me anything for free to review (although, that would be nice...).  I am also not competing for the "Mom of the Year" award as some people have accused me of (come on, you know there's no such award- we'd all be winners!).  I'm just a mom who likes to share ideas. I was a teacher, you know.  Maybe this blog is a way for me to keep teaching, but this time I'm teaching everyone about cool stuff.  'Nuff said.

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

We ventured out of New Jersey again to visit Langhorne, Pennsylvania, home of Sesame Place!  About an hour from Central Jersey, Langhorne was not a far ride 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.

If you're pressed for time, remember that my blog posts are reader friendly.  You can easily scroll for the info you need.  Check the headlines and be sure to read my JERSEY MOMMA TIPS at the end of this post.


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 26, 2016

5 Alternatives to Pumpkin and Apple Picking This Fall

I hate to admit it, but I am not a fan of apple picking in the Fall.  Well, that's not exactly true.  I am not a fan of apple and pumpkin picking during the weekend in the Fall.  Why, you ask?  Because everyone and their mother is in those apple orchards on a sunny day in the Fall!  And I know some people don't mind the crowds, but I can't take it.  I'd rather hit the local orchard after school with the Jersey Momma's boy if I can (that does exclude Mr. Jersey Momma, but he's okay with that).  Or I'd rather find an alternative.  So here are some ideas for fun things to do besides apple and pumpkin picking this Fall.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Scratch and Sniff Stickers: A Collection of Memories

Scratch and Sniff stickers will always hold a special place in my heart. Sometimes referred to as 'stinky stickers,' or 'smelly stickers,' the mere sight of them bring back nostalgic memories for so many people. So I thought it would be fun to take a little walk down memory lane and see some of these old scratch and sniff stickers from the 1980's. Want to come along? They're all from my own collection!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Easy Autumn Leaf Pressing

When we were kids, my mom used to press autumn leaves for us with wax paper.  We would collect the leaves and then she would use the iron to press the leaves between two pieces of wax paper.  But I have a confession to make.  Now that I'm a mom, I don't iron.  I don't even know how.  There, I said it.  I mean, don't get me wrong, if I really need to use the thing, I can figure it out (I've used it for plenty of craft projects!).  But if you handed me a men's dress shirt and said, 'Can you get the wrinkles out of this for me?'  I'd sheepishly answer, 'maybe?'   Yep, it's true.  Laugh if you must.  So anyway, I recently saw an easy way to press leaves in Family Fun magazine.  All you need are some leaves, clear contact paper (I got mine in Walmart in the aisle where you find dish/kitchen utensils), and a pair of scissors.  The roll of contact paper was about $5.00, but it's a thick roll, so I can use it again next year, and maybe even the year after that.



Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Review of PLANET SNOOPY in Dorney Park Allentown, PA

We're venturing out of the Garden State again, this time to explore Planet Snoopy inside of Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Who doesn't love Snoopy? The absolute cuteness of this park will make your heart melt.


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!


Monday, September 5, 2016

Back to School Night: Tips for Teachers and Parents

If you've read my profile or the About Me section of this blog, then you know I used to be a teacher. Back to School Night (or Open House as some districts call it), is a teacher's chance to tell you all about the school year.  It's also a parent's chance to learn all about their child's teacher and classroom.  I thought I'd share some tips for both teachers and parents for this important evening, since I've learned some things about holding a successful Back to School Night over the years,  If you're scrolling, you'll find the teacher section here at the top, and the parent section towards the bottom.  Happy reading!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Raising Awareness: Blood Cancer and Childhood Cancers

In November of 2011, I was pleased to take part in the National Brain Tumor Society Race for Hope in Philadelphia in honor of an amazing little boy named Stephen, who lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 7.  I remember being profoundly touched by the whole walk, seeing families and loved ones come together, celebrating survivors and remembering those lost.  I recall thinking how strong Stephen's family was, how loving his friends were.  I couldn't fathom how they handled something so horrible, how they endured such a tremendous loss.  Little did I know that two weeks later I would find out for myself.  My nephew Joey was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), a deadly form of brain cancer.  He was only 2.  No matter how much we hoped and prayed, GBM was a monster, and it took Joey from us before he could even turn 4.

Joey and The Jersey Momma's Boy at the last birthday party they spent together.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

10 Classic New Jersey Attractions You Should Revisit

What comes to mind when you think of classic New Jersey attractions? Chances are, the places in your memory are still in existence today. New Jersey is filled with classic attractions that families and visitors have enjoyed for decades. Why not make some plans to revisit them this year?


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...

Transitioning Back to School with Creative Lunch Box Notes

Going back to school is not always easy for kids.  As a child, I loved school, but The Jersey Momma's Boy doesn't hold the same affection for education!  Crazy, right?  I'm a former teacher.  The teacher's kid doesn't like school?  Figures!  Anyway, who knew that some lunch box notes would help him make the transition back to school this year?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Fancy Food Show Spotlight on: Callie's Charleston Biscuits!

I will probably be talking about The Fancy Food Show until next year, but I can't help sharing some of the amazing foods and brands I sampled there. One of my many favorites was Callie's Charleston Biscuits. If you're looking for something new to serve at a cocktail party or even at a family dinner or brunch, you must check them out! The best part is their wholesome ingredients. It's like you're eating something homemade!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Hotel Hershey vs. The Hershey Lodge - Which to Choose? (part 2)

If you're planning a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania and you're not sure which hotel to stay at, The Jersey Momma is here to help! Are you wondering what the difference is between The Hotel Hershey and The Hershey Lodge? Read on!


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!