The Jersey Momma Year in Review 2018

Monday, December 31, 2018
2018 has come to a close, and I must admit, I'm a little sad to see it go! What a great year it's been! Once again, I'm so proud of how far this blog has come, and I am humbled by every person who reads it. It has always been my greatest wish to help others with this blog, to provide honest opinions and a safe resource for families to come to when looking for advice, reviews, recipes and more.

Check out my 2018 highlights below, especially if you're new to the blog. There might be some posts you haven't read or some recipes or reviews you want to revisit. Happy New Year, everyone! I can't wait to share 2019 with you. I already have BIG plans in store (*claps hands enthusiastically*)!


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Hersheypark Announces Expansion: Hershey's Chocolatetown Opening 2020!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Hersheypark is expanding! The plans for Hershey's Chocolatetown were unveiled today in a fun social media reveal by Hersheypark. What can you expect from this expansion, happening in 2020? Read on for more details!

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Winter Boredom Busters for Kids

Winter can be so much fun for kids, but it can also get boring pretty quickly, especially on sub-zero days when you literally can't go outside. So I've compiled some ideas for indoor winter fun (that don't take too much planning or effort).  Think Spring!



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Easy Overnight Stuffed French Toast

Saturday, December 22, 2018
If you're looking for an easy stuffed french toast recipe, look no further! This is a recipe that I make every Christmas Eve to enjoy Christmas morning, but it's good any time of year and tastes amazing. Plus it's easy, easy, easy! You know I'm all about the ease.


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Minecraft Books for Kids: Inspiring Reluctant Readers

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Minecraft has truly taken the world by storm, and there's no better way to inspire young readers than with subjects they love. But if you search any book site for Minecraft fiction, your choices are a bit overwhelming! So I've narrowed down some of the best Minecraft series we've read so far (and believe me, we've read many over here). I've also included Amazon affiliate links throughout, in case you'd like to purchase some of them yourself (you can read about my affiliate connection on my disclosure page). If you like this post, you can also read my other reviews,  More Minecraft Books for Kids: Diary of a Minecraft Zombie and Minecraft Comics for Kids.


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Winter Day Trip Ideas in New Jersey and Beyond: Indoor Winter Fun in NJ

Friday, December 7, 2018
Winter day trip ideas are a big topic of a discussion on message boards and in Facebook groups. It's hard to figure out where to take the kids when the weather is bad. Finding fun indoor play ideas is hard enough, but entertaining kids on the weekend or during a vacation when it's too cold to do anything else, well, that ain't easy! So here's a list of over 25 fun things to do in and around The Garden State during the winter months. From play mazes to museums, I've got ya covered!


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Callie's Charleston Biscuits for The Holidays: New Fancy Food Show Find!

The holidays are just around the corner! I have something new for you to try at your holiday table this year, and you're not going to want to pass it up, trust me. Over the summer I was honored to experience biscuit making first hand with Carrier Morey, owner/creator of Callie's Charleston Biscuits while attending The Fancy Food Show in New York City. What fun it was!! I'll 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. If you're looking for something new to serve at your holiday table this year, you must check them out!


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Gingerbread House Hacks : Tips for Easy Construction and Decoration

Thursday, December 6, 2018
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!

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How to Make a Punch Prize Box for Class Parties

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
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. Until now!


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Celebrating Smallfoot with a Blu-Ray DVD Giveaway!

Sunday, December 2, 2018
Have you seen Smallfoot? It's such an adorable movie and perfect for a cozy family movie night this winter! I'm celebrating the DVD and digital release of Smallfoot with a giveaway! Win your own Smallfoot Blu-Ray DVD Combo Pack below! Read on to find out how.


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

Saturday, December 1, 2018
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! If you like my Hershey stuff (and I hope you do), be sure to check out my Hershey Insider Page for all of my Hershey posts.


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Let's Review Pipsticks Sticker Subscriptions!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
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.


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A Review of Gingerbread Wonderland at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
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.


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Let's Visit The Christmas Ice Caverns of Fairfield

Sunday, November 25, 2018
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.


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5 Fun Finds from PetCon New York

Last week I had the pleasure of attending PetCon in New York City with my pal, Kid Congeniality. I was curious if it was worth the trip or if my dog loving friends would appreciate it. OMG, people, can I tell you how much I absolutely LOVED it?! There were so many things I adored about it, but here are five that stood out for me the most. Read on!


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Fun Christmas Attractions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Thursday, November 22, 2018
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)?


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

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
September is National Biscuit Month! So here's a flashback to one of my favorite biscuits of all time- Callie's!!

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!

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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.


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The Christmas Chronicles (Starring Kurt Russell) on Netflix: A Spoiler-Free Review!

Sunday, November 18, 2018
I was excited to hear about the new Kurt Russell movie, The Christmas Chronicles, debuting on Netflix this November. I was even more excited to get a sneak peek at the film so I can tell you all about it (without spoilers, I promise!). Read on for more info. Hint: you're gonna love it!

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DIY Thanksgiving Turkey Wreath

Friday, November 16, 2018
Thanksgiving crafts for kids are all over Pinterest, but this is one of my favorites! It's so basic and simple, it can even be done as a classroom project with young students. It makes a cute decoration for Thanksgiving and constructing it can keep the little ones occupied on a rainy (or cold!) day. It makes a cute gift for grandparents or teachers, and you can even personalize the turkey by adding a name across the belly or adding a little hat or bow.


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A Review of Christmas in Hershey: Christmas Candylane (part 1)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
My review of Hersheypark Christmas Candylane in Hershey, PA is one of my most popular posts! Have you ever visited Hersheypark at Christmas? It's so much fun! First, let me start off by saying how much I love Hersheypark. I actually love Hershey, PA so much that I devoted an entire page to it on my site. So be sure to check out my Hershey Insider Page for all of my other Hershey review articles (no one paid me to do this, it's not sponsored). This post is a two part series, so be sure to read part two detailing Hershey Sweet Lights.


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Enter to Win a Double Gift Card Pack in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Who's ready for another giveaway hop? I know I am! Once again, I've teamed up with The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island to bring you a fun giveaway hop called The Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway! If you're not sure what a giveaway hop is, read on. You'll find out how to win a set of gift cards from me, as well as prizes from over 100 other bloggers! Yup, you read that right- this month I'm giving away not one but TWO gift cards!


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Holiday Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for Boys, Girls and Kids of All Ages

Monday, November 12, 2018
If you're searching for Christmas gift ideas for girls, boys (or even moms and dads), I've got you covered! If you're looking for Hanukkah presents, stocking stuffers, or just a present for yourself, I've got you covered there, too. Check out my list of fun toys, collectibles, and unique finds for the holidays!


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

Thursday, November 8, 2018
In 2015, 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.

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

Friday, November 2, 2018
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!


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Easy Turkey-Shaped Lollipops for Thanksgiving

Turkey suckers, turkey lollipops- whatever you call them, these Thanksgiving treats are so much easier to make than you think! They're a cute, quick way to show some gratitude to friends and family, or just end your meal with a sweet treat.


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Cruising from New Jersey: Reviews, Tips, and Advice on taking a Cruise from NJ

Monday, October 22, 2018
Have you ever considered taking a cruise from New Jersey? Are you nervous about cruising, a first time cruiser, or wondering if you should cruise again? Well, I'm here to tell you all about our most recent cruise from Cape Liberty, New Jersey (Bayonne) on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas. We visited Bermuda, which was AMAZING! Read on to see what we experienced- especially if you're a first time cruiser or nervous about what you'll experience. I hope I can put your mind at ease.

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Fun Halloween Projects: Candy Corn Kids

Friday, October 19, 2018
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!


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Enter to Win! Teen Titans Go! to the Movies Blu-Ray Combo Pack Giveaway!

Monday, October 15, 2018
Teen Titans Go! to the Movies was one of our favorite films of the summer. I wrote a spoiler-free review here that you can read, and now I'm back with a fun Teen Titans Go! giveaway! Enter below to win your own Blu-Ray DVD combo pack of Teen Titans Go! to the Movies from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment!


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10 Easy Halloween Cupcakes That You Can Make Yourself

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
We're not all cupcake artists, and sometimes it's hard to find the time to decorate a beautiful cupcake for a party or holiday. So I combed the internet for some easy Halloween cupcake decoration ideas, and I've compiled them in a little round-up below!


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Awesome Painted Pumpkin Ideas from Around the Web

Saturday, October 6, 2018
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!


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Enter to Win an Amazon e-Gift Card in the Howl-o-Ween Giveaway Hop!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
It's time to celebrate Fall with a giveaway! Once again, I've teamed up with The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island to bring you a fantastic giveaway hop called The Howl-o-ween Hop! If you're not sure what a giveaway hop is, read on! You'll find out how to win an Amazon e-gift card from me, as well as prizes from over 75 other bloggers!


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Minecraft Projects for Kids: DIY Minecraft Shrinky Dinks

Saturday, September 29, 2018
Minecraft crafts for kids are always a big hit. Who doesn't like Minecraft, right? The Jersey Momma's Boy could play Minecraft for hours if I let him. I'm a gamer, too, and I really like Minecraft, but I have my limits! I recently lured him away from the screen with a hands-on Minecraft activity. Do it Yourself Minecraft Shrinky Dinks! What's more enticing than that??


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More Snacks to Liven Up Your Lunch Box

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
I know packing lunches can be super boring, whether you're packing for a child or for yourself. It's so hard to come up with new lunch ideas, and packing a lunch every day can be so redundant! Well, The Jersey Momma is here to help! You might've read my first post entitled 9 Exciting Snacks to Liven Up Your Lunch Box, or the follow-up 5 Better For You Lunch Box Snack Ideas. Now I'm back with some more fun finds from the Fancy Food Show!


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Easy Autumn Leaf Pressing: No Ironing Required!

If you're looking for an easy way to preserve Autumn leaves, I've got ya covered! This is the easiest way to collect and press Fall leaves with no ironing required! Even the littlest hands can do it. You can hang them in a window or even send them to friends who don't get to see the bright colors of autumn where they live. It's one of the best Fall projects for kids (and adults, too)!


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15 Toy Picks for the Holiday Season: Highlights from The Toy Insider's HoliDAY of Play

Friday, September 21, 2018
The hottest toys of the holiday season are here! The Toy Insider recently held a fabulous event in New York City called The HoliDAY of Play. They unveiled their Hot 20, STEM 10 and Top Tech 12 toys, and I've picked a few of my favorites to share with you today. They're not just great holiday ideas, but fantastic gift ideas for kids in general. Check it out!

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Peppa Pig's Surprise is Coming to New Jersey: Peppa Pig Live Tour

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Peppa Pig fans, rejoice! A special live show is touring North America, and she's coming to New Jersey! Check out the details below, and make some plans to see your favorite piggy this November! There's even a special VIP experience package available.


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The Aquatic Experience is Coming to New Jersey! Enter to Win Tickets!

Saturday, September 8, 2018
The Aquatic Experience is coming to New Jersey! You don't need to be an aquarium owner to enjoy this awesome show, coming to the Meadowlands Expo Center this October. There are plenty of fun activities for kids and beautiful aquatic displays to see. Contests, touch tanks, shark demos and more! Read below for information, then enter to win a family four pack of tickets!!


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Enter to Win a Walmart Gift Card in the Oh the Places You'll Go! Giveaway Hop

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
I'll admit it, 'Back to School' is not one of my favorite times of year. So why not soften the blow a little with a fun giveaway?  I've teamed up with The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island once again to bring you a fantastic Giveaway Hop called Oh the Places You'll Go! If you're not sure what a Giveaway Hop is, read on! You'll find out how to win a Walmart gift card (and you don't have to use it for school supplies!) as well as prizes from over a hundred other bloggers!


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10 Books to Check Out this Fall: Fun Reading Suggestions for Kids

Saturday, September 1, 2018
Looking for reading suggestions for your child? I found some fun book titles to start off the school year and hopefully inspire young readers! This list features both picture books and chapter books and can reach a variety of ages, so please check it out!


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Squishmallows: Where to Find, What's Coming, What's New

Monday, August 13, 2018
Are you a Squishmallows fan? To say I'm addicted is an understatement! It's no secret that I love stuffed animals, but Squishmallows are in their own unique category. There's just something about them. They're soft as velvet and, well, squishy. Read on to hear about all of the amazing Squishmallows that I saw at Toy Fair New York this year!


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PLANET SNOOPY Review in Dorney Park - Allentown, PA

Friday, August 10, 2018
Wondering if Planet Snoopy is worth the money, or if it's right for your little one? 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.


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Homemade Baked Meatballs and Sauce with La San Marzano

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
If you're looking for an easy baked meatball recipe, The Jersey Momma has you covered! I'm here to share my favorite family recipe with you, and tell you about an awesome authentic line of pasta sauces that go great with my meatballs. If you still don't believe me, you can enter to win your own set of these fab La San Marzano sauces yourself! Read on for more!


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Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card in the Sweet Summertime Giveaway Hop!

Thursday, August 2, 2018
Summer isn't over yet, so that means it's time for a fun Giveaway Hop! I teamed up with The Review Wire and Chatty Patty's Place to bring you an exciting Amazon gift card contest. There are also other blogs listed below that you can hop around to and enter their contests, too. Blog hops are so much fun because bloggers offer great prizes, and your odds of winning are usually pretty good.


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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.


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

Monday, July 30, 2018
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!


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Teen Titans Go! to the Movies: Spoiler Free Review by a Major Super Fan

Thursday, July 26, 2018
Titans, GO!....to the movies!! Seriously, anyone who knows me knows that I am the biggest Teen Titans Go! fan out there. I have seen every episode and I have my favorites (I'll post them at the end of this review). So, do you need to be a super fan like me to enjoy Teen Titans Go! to the Movies? No way! Any kid will appreciate it, and so will their parents! Let me tell you why...


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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018
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
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Sugar Crusted Raspberry Muffins

Monday, July 23, 2018
Raspberry muffin recipes are easy to find on Pinterest, but this one is especially good because of its sugar crusted top- and you can use fresh raspberries! Read on for the simple recipe!


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

Thursday, July 19, 2018
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.

**Diary of a Minecraft Zombie has reached a milestone of selling over 2 million copies worldwide!! Woo hoo! Congrats, Zombie!!

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