Spring Day Trip?

Maybe a mental-health day trip?

Consider Liberty State Park in Jersey City!

We visited Liberty State Park over Spring Break and had an amazing time!

Spring is just a beautiful time for traveling, hiking, day-tripping and anything outdoors really! The weather can be so pleasant and everything is started to bloom.

ALL TRAILS APP

If you have the All Trails App and you search up Liberty State Park which will give you directions on how to get to Liberty State Park and the New York Bay. FREE and easy parking!

NOTE: the only bathrooms we could find that were open were port-a-johns / porta-potties which weren’t the greatest – so bring wipes and your own sanitizing agents.

GIANT AREA

This 3 mile loop has stunning picturesque views of our number one lady, the Statue of Liberty. Provided is a gorgeous paved trail that wraps around the waterline. This path makes for easy physical distancing for safety and to enjoy the sun and air. Great for walking, biking, and photography! Wear your sneakers and be prepared to walk. The park is free to enter, free to park and free to explore! Only the ferries and anything over on Ellis Island / Statue of Liberty have fees.

Liberty State Park was pristine (aside from the Porta-Potties). When I say something is immaculate I mean “Disney clean”. If you are a Disney addict, you will know what I am talking about. There are no other parks in this country as clean and spotless as Disney World and Disneyland. You know how sometimes when you’re at an amazing zoo you might have Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park come to your mind. The water here and being on the boat reminded me of Seven Seas Lagoon – only wishing we were cruising over to Magic Kingdom for the day but perfectly satisfied to have the actual real view we had.

NOTE: we did not come across any food vendors so definitely bring your own food, snacks and drinks as of April 6, 2021.

Continue reading “Spring Day Trip?”

Last Minute DIY Easter Pics

With Covid rules and regulations a lot of people might be skipping out on visiting the Easter Bunny this year but that doesnโ€™t mean you have to skip out on Easter ๐Ÿฃ Pics ๐Ÿ“ธ of your kids!

IDEA 1:

Gather up your kids and head up to your nearest State Park. If you are working they are staying open later now, and it is better to go towards the late afternoon anyway – so the sun wonโ€™t be shining in their eyes!

The state park idea is fun because the kids can go exploring around the area while youโ€™re doing it or even have a picnic. Throw some quick dresses ๐Ÿ‘— on your girls and cute shirts on your boys and let nature do the rest. Try out Portrait Mode on your iPhone!

It was very windy when we went up last week!

IDEA 2:

Take whatever Easter decorations and props you have and head into your own yard for some pretty pics.

*Have a tripod?! Set up your iPhone to take 10 seconds for an automatic pic of you with your family!

IDEA 3:

Have an early Easter Egg hunt and take ACTION pics of your kiddos hunting for eggs – in their nicest attire.

Also if you have Easter Pics from the year prior that never got sent to anyone? We were in Disney World for Easter 2019 and had pics with Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny that never went to anyone only because they were taken on Easter while there ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Check out my last post on What Is Going In My Kids’ Easter Baskets HERE!

LEGO Harry Potter Diagon Alley

LEGO Provides Creative Outlet: Therapy & Inspired Creativity During Pandemic

LEGO Harry Potter Diagon Alley brings my older son Mikey’s LEGO Collection to 743 sets, with 1,676 Minifigures. This delicately detailed set comes with 5,544 pieces, with 21 bags and 4 books of building fun. Mikey spent between 7-10 hours building this set during Christmas week when he received it as a Christmas gift. Mikey found the windows in this particular set to be most interesting. Needless to say it was his favorite gift! Lego Harry Potter Diagon Alley has become one of this LEGO Expert, Builder, and Creator’s all time favorite setsfor NOW. Mikey likes to keep track of all his LEGO Sets and Minifigures in a website called Brickset.com .

Mikey’s Completed Lego Harry Potter Diagon Alley

LEGO has always been a source of therapy for Mikey and a creative outlet. LEGO is so very inspirational…. I have always loved Mikey’s interest and love for LEGO. LEGO building teaches children how to follow directions as well as it is inspiring. It is fantastic for fine motor skills. When we aren’t out hiking and I want my kids off of screens, video games & electronics LEGO is what I turn to. Get off the screens and get creative!

I purchased this set along with many others through Rakuten. Sometimes I purchase Legos through the Rakuten site either from the LEGO Store (which offers a lot of neat promotions), Walmart, Target or Kohls depending on pricing. I enjoy online shopping through a site called Rakuten where I get cash back quarterly just by shopping through them. The LEGO Store – www.lego.com usually provides some good cash back deals through Rakuten.

Simply copy and paste this link into your browser:

https://www.rakuten.com/r/VBRAGA?eeid=28187

Next: create an account. Once you have created an account you click on what store you would like to shop from and that is all you need to do.

My January 2021 Cash Back Balance!

I should be expecting my next Rakuten check to come in February. After all the online Christmas shopping, I have earned $101.00 cash back! I am so excited. Some of the stores I enjoy shopping through Rakuten are: Macy’s, Chewy, Walmart, Target, LEGO, Sephora, Ulta, BAM Books A Million, Kohls, Old Navy, BJ’s and more!

When we visit Disney World one of our must-do stops while there is the LEGO Store in Disney Springs! You never know what Lego statues and decorations you find surrounding you. The LEGO Store in Disney Springs accepts Disney Gift Cards – so you can save money if you are a member of BJ’s or Costco which sells Disney Gift Cards at discounted pricing and use them for your LEGO Store purchases in Disney Springs. Am I the only one who still calls it “Downtown Disney”?!

We are excitedly awaiting the opening of Legoland NY! The new theme park that was supposed to open last year but was delayed to the world pandemic of COVID-19 is located closely in Goshen, NY. Just 40 minutes from our North Jersey home. After a year of being inside, we are really looking forward to hitting this park daily.

We are really hoping to check out the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios in Florida this year!

Coming up for Mikey’s 13th Birthday this March, Mikey is asking for LEGO Ninajago City Gardens which is a 5,685 piece set. We are super excited to see how this set comes out and just how long it takes Mikey to build!

Mikey has also spent some time designing and building his own LEGO house.

What are you doing to safely pass the time during COVID-19?

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Hiking and Nature; Walking Cures Covid Boredom

Nature Views Fill The Void In The Heart

My how life has changed! Back when Covid hit last March, we were all basically afraid to leave the driveway. It was really hard to relieve some of the boredom and mental anguish of what was going on in the world around us. Having Disney World and Disney Land closed made what was happening in the world all the more REAL. Prayers to the 400,000 Americans that have lost their lives to Covid-19. As someone who was always planning their next family Disney World Trip – I knew I was in for a real struggle, and some real emotional damage. I was someone who not only was planning an upcoming trip, but a trip for the following year after! In 2019 we traveled to Disney World three times! I am forever grateful and thankful for all the wonderful trips we have had, not just in Disney but all over. We went in April 2019 and stayed at Port Orlean’s French Quarter. August we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and New Years Eve through the first week of January 2020 we stayed at the mother of all DW resorts The Grand Floridian.

I knew then that things were not going to be the same for a while so I needed to find some ways to help my whole family – and also as an outlet, a way to keep myself sane! We needed something we could do together while getting exercise all at the same time. So my sister-in-law introduced me to the All Trails App.

It is difficult to put into words how the time walking outside each day really affects and lifts my mental health and wellness. It gives me something to plan with my family. I know they have said it has been proven that nature cures depression – yes! I am telling you it works. As someone who loves, lives and enjoys to plan – I find myself battling so much sadness. I feel grateful and blessed that we are all OK, & healthy and that we have survived Covid but I still feel this deep sorrow… to be missing out on such precious time traveling with my children; while they are still “small” yet not so small. You know really where I would love to be with them.

Being on the “go” 24/7 came to a screeching halt. I was working at an elementary school, (now on leave) and was able to work around the kids being at school. I would pick them up from school and each night of the week we had a different sport, or club that they were running to. In the beginning of the quarantine, it was nice to have a break, but being the very social person I am, has made it a heavy burden to bear. The scenic views we discover while on the trails are absolutely majestic and soul-warming – reassuring that it will be ok. It will be ok even if we don’t see our family, our friends and our favorite mouse for a while.

We even spotted a frozen waterfall about 2 weeks ago at the Wallkill Valley Wildlife Refuge – picture above.

The only way my children have been staying connected with friends is by playing online, and of course they are online for virtual learning all day. I find hiking to be my only way to disconnect from electronics and find special time with them. I love going on a hike into the woods, only to find a beautiful clearing with water! In the spring and summer these water ways are filled with butterflies, turtles, birds and more. Since it has been winter here in North Jersey it has been a little rough to hike in the cold, but it is still interesting to see what we might find when we venture out.

Additionally, when the kids are finished with school each day we go to our local park which has a beautiful track to walk. This is about a 40 minute walk and we all seem to really look forward to it. We can disconnect from school embracing the good vibes of nature. The movement forcing our blood to flow and fresh air helping lift everyone’s moods and focus. Amazing conversations can happen – most of the time. My youngest is still 10 (who suffers with POTS and EDS) so sometimes he still has a meltdown here and there. We have been lucky enough to spot some wildlife here and there on the park track like snakes, deer and most recently a Barred Owl!

Barred Owl

I have also gotten really excited about the sunsets we see while walking at the park after school as well. There is just something about it that is so beautiful & it brings this calm peaceful feeling. This spring I hope to find pretty flowers and butterflies to photograph while out and about exploring.

Bald Eagle

Hiking is FREE. Hiking is safe: outside – safe and distanced from people. It makes you feel like you are “away” almost on vacation. You never know what you are going to see!

What are you doing to safely pass the time during the pandemic?

Do you have any plans of an adventure into the unknown? Click here for some Walt Disney World Planning Tips

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EXERCISE TIME for the kids during the quarantine 2020!

Outside Play

We seem to have a good homeschool routine down. As soon as my kids get up in the morning, they are logged into google classrooms and doing their work. They are motivated to get it done early so they can have the rest of the day, to do whatever they like. They aren’t allowed on any screens until all their work is completed for the day. Sometimes they just need some moral support to get the work done.

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In addition to the schoolwork, one of the most important things I do every day, now that we are home – is making sure my kids get a few hours of exercise play time – which can be challenging living in the Norteast where some days are 65 and other days are still 40.

We were walking the park track but we haven’t been back there in a few weeks as the cases of the COVID19 became more rampant. So we are fortunate enough to have an extremely long driveway and property to venture around. I try to have the kids to 10 laps of the long driveway every day.

Basketball has been tons of fun – some games of horse – and also my youngest is a pretty good player so my husband will play some 1-1 with him.

One important factor the kids really need right now is family security, don’t just let them sit on screens for hours on end. Show your children that you enjoying having fun with them. They need to know their family is happy to be with them and it really is a great time for bonding. Don’t make it seem like it is a chore to spend time with your kids! You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun either!

Here are a few ideas of family bonding time:

A simple deck of cards laying around makes for a fun game of Go Fish. Color & draw together! Read together, even if its just the comics in the newspaper. Play catch. Challenge your kids to a race. As I have been brainstorming for some activities that we can do together as a family, I have put an order in for some Pickle Ball, tennis rackets and balls, magnetic darts. A table top foosball game, as well as a table top billards – thinking we can move to the deck on nice days. Im excited for a speedball turnball set and trying to figure out where a good spot will be. We set up a ping pong table in the basement where the exercise bike and elliptical are located. Ask some friends to borrow any puzzles they aren’t using. Find some Legos laying around and create something new.

Earlier last week some pretty bad weather blew through, which prevented us from completely going outside for a day – so I had my youngest (who suffers from POTS and we believe Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – so it is imperative he gets enough exercise every single day! ) do exercises from a list that I found on Pinterest which was pretty funny. Here’s the link to the video:

Indoor Exercise Time

I am enjoying creating silly videos of the kids playing outside, doing all sorts of things like hide-n-seek, rolling down the hill and they tried to come up with a thowing the ball at each other type game – we will need to retry that one. The videos are a good way for our family members & friends to reconnect with us and feel as if they are playing with us.

My kids have had a lot of positivity come out of this. In addition to being relieved of the stress and social anxiety of having to go out to school each day, they have also rekindled themselves with some toys they haven’t played with in years and reconnected with each other. They are only 2 years apart so my husband and I have taught them to grow up playing together and caring for each other. Now that my oldest is in middle school that changed things a bit. But being home has rekindled our connections.

We just started a new Disney World Puzzle that I just ordered off shopdisney.com for Easter – so I will definitely have pictures of that when its all finished. It is going to take a while because its 1000 peices. Browsing the shop disney website is givng me a feeling of peace but I really have to be careful and stop ordering things for now.

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How are you and your family spending time together during the quaratine? Let me know in the comments below.

When are you planning your next Disney World Vacation?

Self Care: Easter Sunday I decided to get glammed up for the day – click here to read about it.