Gingerbread train and village with Mom and Angela

Monday, December 22, 2014

Whenever I visit my family in Washington we always get together with my moms friend Angela. Usually we go to see the Zoo Christmas lights, but this year we got together to make gingerbread houses and a train. It was so much fun watching Angela work! She's just so creative.

The Oregon Zoo....Dibble Me!

Friday, December 19, 2014

A trip to the Northwest wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Oregon Zoo. It seems like every time I visit, we end up at the Zoo! Usually we go to the Zoo Christmas lights, but decided not to this year since Cohen goes to bed so early. Instead, just Kari, Cohen and I went on Monday afternoon.

Three lion cubs were born a little while ago and they were out so Kari and I got a chance to see them! Totally cute! Cohen really enjoyed looking at all the big cats, until I started handing him some Gerber Lil' Crunchies and then that's all he really cared about. He would look at the animals and then immediately put out his hand for a puff. It reminded me of the Penguins of Madagascar movie...Dibble Me! It was so funny.

He was also more entertained by the construction going on for the elephant enclosure than the actual elephants. What a funny kid.

I love going to Zoo!

The Tree Wisemans....picking out our Christmas tree

Monday, December 15, 2014

So, Jeff and I have been buying our Christmas trees at Home Depot for the past few years, and I just have to say it's totally lame! At least the Christmas tree lots in NYC are charming! I'm sure there are tree farms in NJ, but Jeff and I have never taken advantaged of them.

I'm so grateful that Cohen and I joined my parents and sister in picking out a Christmas tree this year.  It's one of my favorite family traditions. We went to the Tree Wisemans. Isn't that just the best name ever!

I think Cohen's two favorite moments were watching Grandpa cut down the tree (he was totally intrigued) and watching the men that work wrap the tree so we could put it on top of dads Jeep.

Cohen totally got into watching Grandpa work, but when Kari handed him a piece of the tree to touch quickly learned it was prickly and didn't like it. It was so funny.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas time is my most favorite time of the year! I'm totally sad that I won't get a chance to get into the city to see the Christmas decorations (December in NYC is awesome). Luckily, I had the chance to see the Christmas lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. They were absolutely beautiful!

Jeff and I decided to take a quick trip to Utah to visit family. It was so much fun catching up with family and friends, but I wish we could have stayed a little longer since I missed seeing some people. Hopefully next time!

Christmas Book Countdown!

Monday, December 1, 2014

I've been wanting to do a Christmas Book Countdown for a long time! I finally got my act together and started collecting Christmas Books this year. I have 25 right now (thanks to my mom for buying a whole bunch for me), but let me know if you have any favorites that should be part of my collection!

Cohen is kind of young for this (he likes to suck on books rather than read), but I figure I can enjoy the books until Cohen is old enough to join in on the tradition.

I thought it would be fun to display the Christmas books in our house because a) we would remember to read them (ha!), and b) I thought it would be a fun Christmas decoration! So, I recruited my dad to build me a Christmas tree bookshelf. I designed it (kind of) and my dad did his best to interpret my plans (I'm not a designer or wood worker so my plans were not the best), but my dad did an amazing job! I think it turned out great!

The tree bookshelf is not 100% done. I need to put some yellow stars under our name and I think I might speckle some white on it to help it stand out from the wall a little better. All in all, I love it!

Thanks DAD!

First book to kick off the countdown...The Christmas Train by Thomas S. Monson!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I hope you all have had an amazing Thanksgiving! We sure did!

Jeff, Cohen, and I went up to NYC to have dinner with Eric, Ashley, and Ashley's family. True to form, Ashley had a lovely table set and the food was amazing! Cohen really enjoyed his first Thanksgiving Dinner (since he was too young to enjoy it last year). He downed the stuffing like he had never eaten food before in his life!

I'm so thankful for the wonderful family and friends in my life. I'm truly blessed.

Cohen's First Birthday!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Yesterday we celebrated Cohen's first birthday. We celebrated four days late because we were waiting for Kari to arrive. We didn't do a party. Basically we just did a cake smash and opened presents. It took only one present to realize that Cohen HATES the sound of paper ripping. He LOST IT! So, we had to quietly unwrap his presents for him. He loved all his new toys. Thanks Grandpa, Grandma, and Kari!

Cohen didn't really get into the cake smash. Aunt Kari had to help him out a bit. :) He didn't mind the taste of it, but he just wasn't into getting messy. I'm not really surprised since he's a bit of a diva.

Grandma and Grandpa helped me with the the one year photo-shoot on Friday. I have to say it was the best one yet! I think it was because Cohen loved smiling at Grandpa. Oh, and the fact that we were sneaking him treats. :)

I can't believe he is one years old! This year has just gone by so fast! It's been fun watching him grow and learn new things.

Cohen at 1!

Cohen can now get around on his feet! He loves pulling himself up and walking around the coffee table.

Sitting (Down)
Cohen learned to pull himself up to a standing position last month, but couldn't figure out how to get down. It was really annoying for the first week or so because he would pull himself up and then begin to whine or cry because he could 't figure out how to get down. Jeff and I would have to come to his rescue and try to help/teach him how to sit down. Luckily this didn't last long and Cohen figured out how to sit down!

Top Firsts/Memories of Cohen's first year
  1. Traveling: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, California "Disneyland", Washington DC, and Alaska
  2. First road trip and first plane ride
  3. First restaurant/bar - The Pour House
  4. First Christmas and first Thanksgiving
  5. Baby Blessing with Family and Friends.
  6. First face plant off the couch
  7. Three Haircuts!
  8. Sleeping through the night and then not sleeping through the night and then sleeping through the night again
  9. Rolling - His preferred mode of transportation for several months. He would roll and push off the walls
  10. Figuring out how to crawl 
  11. Flirting with all the ladies at the grocery store
  12. First cold
  13. Laughing whenever he starts crawling into a place he knows he's not suppose to go and mom and dad start chasing him
  14. First baby sitter (Kimmy)
  15. First pinched fingers in the door
  16. First sporting event - Rutger Football game!
  17. First trip to NYC!
  18. First train ride (Disneyland and in Alaska)
  19. First ride - Jungle cruise at Disneyland
  20. Met two Great Grandparents - Great Grandma O and Great Grandpa A
  21. His first sweat treat - Wendy's Frosty (Daddy got in trouble for that one)
  22. Participated in the Apple Cider Donut Crusades of 2014

New Jersey's BEST Apple Cider Donuts?...Melick's

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cohen and I went to two Melick's properties, Califon Farm Market and Oldwick Farm Market (they aren't very far from each-other - Califon, NJ and Oldwick, NJ). There are actually four Melick's properties, but after not being impressed by the first two, we didn't even bother with the others. The donuts are supposedly the same at all four locations (I'm not really sure since the staff didn't know if they were). The markets were not put together very well. The outside flower and pumpkin displays were nice, but the inside was not that impressive. I'm also not a fan of the staff. They weren't mean, but they were very cold and not very friendly. I think I noticed it because the staff have been very friendly and helpful at every other farm I've visited. I'm glad that their donuts were not the favorites, because I really wouldn't want to go back.

 Melick's Apple Cider Donuts: $4.99 per half a dozen
  • These were ok donuts. I'm assuming they were not fresh since they were very dense and dry.
  • There is a Cider Mill property for Melick's and they make apple cider donuts on the weekends. I'm assuming they would be a little better.

    New Jersey's BEST Apple Cider Donuts?...Alstede Farm Market

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    On my way to Melick's Town Farm I came across, Alstede Farm Market in Chester, NJ. It was a pleasant surprise :). They have a really great animal exhibit with lots of animals and a really great goats pen where you can feed them. I really enjoyed walking around with Cohen and showing him all the animals.

    The market small but nice. They had a lot of produce in bins under a tent outside. I couldn't find very many donuts. I'm assuming that they make them on the weekends for the rush and what I saw what what's left.

    Alstede Apple Cider Donuts: $5.25 for half a dozen

    • These donuts were similar to the plain donuts at Delicious Orchards. They didn't have sugar on the outside of them, so I was a little skeptical that they would beat out the other donuts with sugar, but I was wrong! These were our favorite of the bunch.
    • Their texture was in the middle...not very fluffy, but not dense either.

    New Jersey's BEST Apple Cider Donuts?...Stony Hill Farms

    Friday, October 24, 2014

    Ok, now we go up north. Well, north for me :) The first farm I visited was Spring Hill Farms in Chester, NJ. I liked the farm. It looked like they had some fun activities and it had a good feel. They had a lot of staff, especially for a Tuesday.

    The decorations in front of the market were great and the market was very charming. Small, but charming. The strawberry rhubarb pies had sugar on the tops of them at all the places I stopped during my outing. I really should have bought one, because they looked AMAZING!

    Stony Hill Farms Apple Cider Donuts: $4.95 for half a dozen

    • Jeffrey referred to these donuts as "meaty." We think that they might use whole wheat flour in them.  This gave them a very dense/solid texture. It didn't really go over well for us.
    • There weren't any donuts packed up, I served myself. I'm not sure if this is due to the fact that I was there on a Tuesday or if this is how they always do it.

    Fall is my FAVORITE season!

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    I just love Fall....the leaves, the weather, the food! I can't think of a better season! When I think of fall I think of pumpkin treats, pumpkin steamers from Starbucks, and donuts! I still haven't gotten my steamer, but I've done everything else!

    Even though Cohen is too young to remember, I thought it would be important to introduce him into a favorite fall tradition of mine. Meeting up with Ashley for pumpkin picking! We started this tradition in 2009 with Karen and Jen. We drove up to Connecticut to go pumpkin picking and to buy an assortment of backed goods, and then we would always go to TARGET! Cause that's what city girls do. Ashley and I kept up the tradition when Karen and Jen left New York (the traders) and I was so glad Ashley was willing to share our little fall activity with Cohen! Of course we brought Eric and Jeff along with us :)

    Last Saturday we went to A Casola Farms and Delicious Orchards. The farm in Connecticut was better (Something to remember for next year), but we had a good time.

    Cohen got his first pumpkin! Eric picked it out for him! I'm a strong believer that kids should only get pumpkins they can carry themselves. Yes, I'm going to be that lame mom. I think we found a pumpkin that's perfect for Cohen.

    Ashley and I then dropped the boys off at home and headed to Target. Seriously, you can't mess with tradition.

    New Jersey's BEST Apple Cider Donuts?...A Casola Farms

    A. Casola Farms is the last Central Jersey farm I will be visiting/reviewing (with the exception of Delicious Orchards of course!). I liked it there. They had a lot of activities and I bet teenagers would really like it. They have a bunch of haunted activities (hay ride, maze, etc). Jeff thought this place was a little "white trash." I really didn't think that until he said something. I'm not sure if they have a market there traditionally, but what they had there wasn't that impressive. The apple cider they sell is from PA, not NJ! I just think that's wrong. Also, the place was PACKED and they only have two cashiers for buying tickets and any merchandise. A little ridiculous for such a big place.

    A. Casola Farm's Apple Cider Donuts: $4.99 for six of the sugar donuts.

    • They don't sell the sugar donuts in plastic bags since they are concerned with it melting and getting sticky (I totally respect that), so you have to buy them individually at the counter.
    • These donuts really remind me of the Johnson's Corner Farm donuts. They smell amazing, but that smell doesn't translate well into taste. I will say that one of my taste testers did say they like the taste. Said it tasted just like apple cider.
    • The texture was not all! They were very chewy and dense.

    New Jersey's BEST Apple Cider Donuts?...Twin Pond Farm

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Twin Pond Farm (Howell, NJ) was one of my favorite places to visit. It's not too far from our house and I think they did a really nice job with the Fall Activities. They had a lot of photo op opportunities, which I totally appreciate. The market was nice and the produce looked amazing!  I think this will be the place we will visit next year when Cohen's a little older and can appreciate it more :)

    Twin Pond Farm Apple Cider Donuts: $3.49 per half dozen

    • These donuts reminded me of the ones from Mood Farm shape wise. They are smaller and fatter than most of the other apple cider donuts I've tried.
    • I really like the texture and they had good flavor.

    New Jersey's BEST Apple Cider Donuts?...Wemrock Orchards and Battleview Orchards

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Let's go to Freehold. Someone recommend Battleview Orchards donuts, so I decided to swing by after picking up our CSA a couple of Saturdays ago. I found Wemrock Orchards on my way (latterly down the street from Battleview Orchards), so I decided to stop there as well...and I'm solo glad I did!

    I didn't really get a chance to walk around the farm to check out the Fall Activities, but it looked like they offered the usual. The Market was nice. They offer ice cream and a wide variety of baked goods. They really had a wide variety of things. Their pies looked really good, so I think I will be stopping by in November for a little pie taste test. :)

    Wemrock Apple Cider Donuts: $? per half a dozen (lost the receipt and the price wasn't posted with the donuts. I guess I will have to go back and buy more!)

    1. These don't really don't have the best packaging, but it is nice that they list the ingredients, you don't really see that much.
    2. These have great flavor and a nice soft texture. I wish they had a little more crisp on the outside, but since they are packed in a plastic bag (and spent time in my hot car),  I really shouldn't expect that anyways :)

    I really liked Battleview Orchards. It seemed a little more put together then Wemrock and they sell their donuts hot! Gotta love that! Unfortunately for me, they were done selling the fresh donuts for the day, so I had to buy a pack. I guess I will have to go back :) They also sold caramel apples, which I think I will need to go back and try as well. 

    Battleview Orchards Apple Cider Donuts: $3.49 per half dozen

    1. Of the donuts we tried from Central Jersey, my fellow taste testers put these last! Let me just say, that this proves how good the donuts are from Central Jersey. These were good donuts!
    2. The flavor wasn't as good as the donuts from Wemrock and the texture was a little more dense.
    3. Maybe the fresh donuts are better. I will make sure to test those those out as well. :) 

    New Jersey's BEST Apple Cider Donuts?...Terhune Orchards

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Now onto the central Jersey contenders. I have to admit all the central jersey apple cider donuts were pretty good! It was a lot harder picking a winner and a loser for the group. To tell you the truth, I would be very happy if any of these donuts were dropped off at my door. :)

    I drove over to Princeton, NJ to check out Terhune Orchards. I will say this is a very charming farm! They had all the traditional Fall Activities (i.e. pumping picking, corn maze, wagon ride), and they also had a live band and were selling carmel apples.

    The market was really cute. It's not very big, but you can tell that Apple Cider donuts are a big seller. There are several bags of donuts at each cash register.  They do take credit cards by they have a minimum, luckily I had cash on hand. :)

     Terhune Orchards Apple Cider Donuts: $3.50 for half a dozen

    1. Terhune's donuts are a lot chewier than others that we have tried.  Didn't seem to resonate well with my fellow test tasters, but if you are donuts on the more chewy side, these are it!
    2. They had good flavor and while it appears that there is a lot sugar on them, they didn't really taste like it.
    3. They aren't the prettiest of donuts, but it's ok...they taste good. :)