Tuesday, October 25, 2016

NYC With Kids

I decided to share our most recent trip to NYC with our kids as well as a short recap of the Christmas trip we took there two years ago in case you're thinking about visiting with your kids. When we went the first time, Carter was in Kindergarten and Sophia was in first grade. I wouldn't recommend taking your kids any earlier than that, because even with subway rides there is a lot of walking, and there aren't a lot of things to do and see that are geared toward three year olds.

Christmas in NYC

When we went in 2014 were able to do all of the Christmassy activities you think of in New York - Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, Macy's Santaland (we didn't visit Santa here because the line was RIDICULOUS, but we mailed our letters to Santa while we were there), frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3, and ice skating in Central Park. We also visited Bryant Park to ride the carousel and the 9/11 Memorial. We didn't visit the 9/11 museum because we didn't think it was appropriate at their age, but the fountains were enough to bring me to tears. I couldn't resist sharing a few photos. I can't believe how much Sophia and Carter have changed in two years (not to mention my hair color....so dark!).

Radio City Christmas Spectacular is one of my favorite shows and it's a great way to kick off the holiday season! Make sure you stick around for the living nativity at the end. It's not to be missed!

The frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3 was definitely worth the long wait!

Look at how little they are! Macy's is a madhouse, but it was worth it to mail our letters to Santa!

We spent a lot of time in Central Park. Sophia and Carter loved climbing on the rocks and the playgrounds are fun too! If you want to ice skate, skip Rockefeller Center and go to the Central Park skating rink. We arrived at the rink about an hour before they closed and didn't have to wait long at all to get on the ice.

Fall in NYC

 Since we did NYC at Christmas, we decided to go back this year in the fall and combine the trip with  a fall foliage/apple picking trip upstate. The last time we were there we didn't do any of the big touristy things like Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, etc, and we knew we wanted to, so I ended up buying us all a NYC CityPASS. It seemed to hit all of the main attractions we planned on visiting, and it was a good value for everything included. If you're there for longer than two days, I'd recommend it, but we didn't get the use out of it that we'd hoped with only two full days in NYC. We only ended up visiting the American Museum of Natural History, the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, and The Met (the views on the rooftop bar are pretty cool, especially at night), so we would have been better off getting the C3 option. Oh well, lesson learned.

American Museum of Natural History

The kids loved the American Museum of Natural History, especially since we'd just rewatched Night at the Museum on the plane ride there.  Here Carter and I are doing our best scared faces as we posed with "Rexy."

Sophia is a pretty good little photographer. :)

Top of the Rock

We planned on visiting both the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, but after visiting the Top of the Rock we decided to skip the ESB. Michael and I have been to both, and the views are equally spectacular, but I'm not sure you really need to visit both of them just for the view.

Roof Garden Bar at The Met

The Met isn't necessarily geared towards kids, but we mainly went there for the roof garden bar. We did enjoy looking at the paintings by Monet and Van Gogh, though.

Central Park

Both kids love climbing all of the big rocks in Central Park, and they have some awesome playgrounds. Carter also enjoyed playing Pokemon Go in the park. We ended up visiting the park both days we were there.

Broadway Show

You can't go to NYC without seeing a show, so we decided to go see Lion King this trip. I wasn't sure what to expect with people playing animals, but we all absolutely loved it! If you have a somewhat flexible schedule there are TKTS Discount Booths located throughout the city. They also have an app. We were only in the city for two nights, and knew we wanted to see Lion King, so we ended up getting discounted tickets through the corporate perks website for Michael's work. We saved over $20 per ticket and had seats in row K of the orchestra. The only thing I will say is that I was kind of disappointed because our seats were on the side of the theater and there were a few times where I missed something funny that was happening onstage because my view was obstructed. It wasn't anything major, and we still had a great view of the parade of "animals" as they entered the theater as well as the majority of the show. It was AMAZING!

I am so glad that we decided to go back to NYC in the fall with the kids. It's a beautiful city and there is so much to do and see. The kids loved it and so did we! Next stop, Washington D.C! I totally didn't mean to rhyme there. ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Crock Pot Brisket

Have you ever fallen in love with a recipe you found on Pinterest and then discovered that it had been deleted? Well, that's what happened to me the last time I went to make this crock pot brisket. I clicked on the Pinterest link and this was what I got instead of the recipe:

I was so upset! This recipe has become a favorite in our house and I never bothered to write it down because I knew it would always be there when I needed it. WRONG! Luckily it's a pretty simple recipe and I could pretty much do it in my sleep, so it wasn't hard for me to recreate, but there's just something about having a recipe in front of me that just makes it better. Ya feel me? ;) This is literally the easiest recipe, but I still feel better having it written down, so here you go!

Crock Pot Brisket


2-3 lb. brisket
1 bottle of beer (dark beer is best, but use whatever you have on hand/your favorite)
yellow onion
flour (used as a thickener)

Slice the onion and throw it in the bottom of your crockpot.

Place the brisket, fat side up, on top of the sliced onion.

Pour the beer over the meat and onion. The last time I made this I used Saint Arnold Lawnmower because that's what we had available, but dark beer is best.

Follow the directions on the Better Than Bouillon to create a broth. I usually use about two cups of boiling water to two teaspoons of BTB and add 1-2 tablespoons of flour as a thickener.

Pour the broth into crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.

After 8 hours take two forks and shred the brisket.

Lately we have been having it on Hawaiian Rolls with swiss cheese and horseradish mayo, but I've also made brisket tacos with it. It is delicious however you serve it! Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Peanut Butter Bottoms

One of my favorite treats my mom made when I was growing up was a dessert bar called Peanut Butter Bottoms. It is really easy to make, and tastes so yummy, so last week Sophia & Carter helped me make them. I love when I can get them in the kitchen, and I'm hoping that the more they help me cook, the more they'll be willing to try new things. Of course, getting them to try Peanut Butter Bottoms, or any sweet treat, isn't really a challenge. 

Mom advice: when your kids start eating solid foods DON'T make them something different (you know, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, hot dogs, buttered pasta) than you at dinner. Feed them the same thing you're eating. Otherwise you'll have a power struggle every time you try to get them to eat something new/different.

Peanut Butter Bottoms


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups Special K
6 oz. chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips


Mix together sugar and Karo syrup and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the peanut butter and vanilla. Tip: measure out the peanut butter ahead of time.

Cream together and add three cups of Special K.

Once the cereal is coated, spread into a buttered cake pan.

Melt the chips and spread over cereal mixture.

Allow the chocolate to cool and harden. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Shopbop Sale

Shopbop is having an AMAZING sale through the end of the day tomorrow (Friday, 10/14)! They are offering 25% off for purchases under $500 and 30% off for purchases above $500 with very few exclusions. Now is a great time to buy those Sorel Boots you've been lusting over or a new pair of Hunter Boots! I just ordered a pair of Sorels and love my Hunter Boots! Here are some of my favorites from the sale!

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

At the Orchard

Michael grew up in Binghamton, New York, so one of his fondest childhood memories was going apple picking every year. I don't recall ever going apple picking in Minnesota, but after we were married we lived in Connecticut for a year, and I got the chance to go then. When Sophia was 13 months old we attended a wedding in Binghamton, and we made a point of taking her while there. She loved it! I couldn't resist sharing a few pictures from that trip. She was such a cutie!

Burberry Quilted Jacket {old, similar here and here}

We hadn't been apple picking again since that trip, so we decided to wrap a trip upstate into a NYC trip with both Sophia and Carter. This time around we went to Tantillo's Farm in Gardiner, NY. It was absolutely perfect! There was a cute little pumpkin maze in the front that Sophia and Carter played in while we waited for the tractor to take us back to the orchard. They both had so much fun, and the apples were definitely worth it! I think I finally know what my mother-in-law is talking about when she says the apples in Texas don't hold a candle to the ones in New York! After we finished picking apples, we went back to the farm stand and bought some fresh apple cider donuts - yum!

 Poncho {old Forever 21, similar here and here} / Tee / Jeans {exact, similar cheaper here}
Booties / Blanket Scarf {exact, similar}

It was warmer than I'd expected, so by the end of the day I'd lost the sweater and scarf. The tee is cute on it's own - just tuck the front into your jeans and you're good to go!


After we left the orchard, we went to Angry Orchard in Walden, NY. We sampled the hard cider and then went outside and played cornhole. If you're in the area I'd definitely recommend visiting!