Crafty Crafty!

Best NYC soda, beverages, DIY, Halloween, mom, New York City, NYC, soda, Uncategorized

Halloween is upon us and there seems to be a ton of pre-Halloween celebrations everywhere. My kids are all set in their store bought costumes. I’ve made sure they have every accessory needed – even if I had to go to Etsy and get special hand crafted touches. I dream big for their costumes – but I always need to find someone/someplace else to make it a reality.  This past week I have been BLOWN away with the home made parade of costumes I saw. So unique. So well made. Sigh.

I have always wanted to be crafty…always wanting to make something out of nothing.  Through the years I’ve found I’m more artistic…I’ve done a few oil paintings I’m proud of; designed a mosaic table; and have sketched a few decent portraits.  None the less, every time I walk into a Michael’s Arts & Crafts store – I light up and start dreaming about what I could do with a hot glue gun.

I’ve had many crafting fails – starting with my 8th grade “school bus” costume (made from a refrigerator box and yellow spray paint: 1 it didn’t look like a bus, and 2 it disintegrated in the rain 5 minutes outside of the car) and most recently with the bow holder I tried to make (using large wooden letters, hot glue and ribbon)…I mean how hard could that be?!?

Anyway – I’m clearly in awe of those who can look around their house – see junk – and turn it into something awesome.  I found the Whats Up Moms website and this cool and crafty video:

 

Which is your favorite? Mine is the DIY soda can caddy. Hoping to give it a try next summer!   Leave me a comment with your fave!…or a craft you’re especially proud of.  If you’ve made any soda inspired crafts let me know – I may just feature you on NYC Soda Girl!

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Throwback Thursday: Older Cousins Have the Coolest Stuff

Best NYC soda, beverages, Giveaway, mom, New York City, NYC, soda, Throwback Thursday, Uncategorized

OK- You all know it’s true…Growing up, your older cousins were the COOLEST people you could ever imagine living – they were! OK, maybe my younger cousins didn’t think that about me, but whatever, lol.  So it is no wonder that one of my earliest “GO THERE FOR SPECIFIC SODA” memories has to do with my cousins.

This particular set of 4 cousins (yeah, I have 17 first cousins, plus now most are married and many have kids and we are all still close – it’s quite a scene) lived about an hour away in New Jersey. I vividly remember the drive to their house, how their exit on the turnpike was closer to Six Flags than ours was, and then driving down the long main street and seeing their house on the corner of the side street as we turned into their driveway. I’m not sure we ever went through their front door – I’m sure we did – but my memory is of getting out of the car, walking past the garage and down the tree lined path to their backyard. Right at the end of the path, on your right, was the “beverage table”…and the beverage I always looked for was RC Cola!  They drank it so I knew it had to be the best. I did not know another group of humans alive who drank the stuff (which came in handy as I was the only person in my group of friends who knew the RC stood for Royal Crown) but about 4 times or more a year- I drank it!  I have no idea of what the soda tastes like now. I’ve considered ordering it (feel free to here) but I’m almost afraid to! What if it’s gross?! I don’t want the magical memory ruined!

I may go ahead and give it a shot – I feel I must keep you, my dear NYC Soda Girl readers, fully on top of all soda experiences – even ones that may have happened over 25+ years ago. (Did I just say 25? Jeez…and truthfully it may have been longer.)  Plus, many other “totally 1980’s cool stuff” I still think are/were great! My cousins had it all: The Ghostbusters Commodore 64 game, a badminton net in their yard AND the other thing I looked forward too at their backyard parties – CROQUET!  I really thought that was the best game ever!  Again – no one else I knew had ever played it (or at that young age had never told me)…but I really think they hadn’t because when I finally saw the 1988 cult classic “Heathers”, I had to explain the game to more than one person-thanks big cousins!

So while I haven’t kept up with the RC Cola, video games or badminton, I have taught my children a kiddie version of croquet. Melissa and Doug made a set and during the summers we bring it to my dad’s and play on his lawn 🙂 (I don’t know if they still make that exact set, but this other set seems to get good amazon reviews:Children’s Croquet Set if you’re interested.)

Alright- comment below and tell me your “cool older cousin” stories…AND please, someone tell me if they’ve had an RC Cola lately!

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Don’t forget, you have until 10pm EST Saturday to enter NYC Soda Girl’s $20 Hillstone Gift Card Contest. Enter here!

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Celebrating One Month with a Giveaway!

Best NYC soda, beverages, Disney, food allergies, Giveaway, mom, New Blog, New York City, NYC, soda, soda fountain

Thank you NYC Soda Girl Readers – you’ve supported me and we’ve made it to ONE MONTH!! I’ve loved sharing my NYC soda stories with you!

You’ve heard how I’m often tired and rushed…but yet somehow preplanning for the holidays (follow up-someone has purchased that necklace off my wish list-hooray!)…have a bit of a Disney obsession…appreciate exceptional wait staff service a lot…am a devoted allergy mamma…and so much more!

To say thanks for following me, I’m having a giveaway contest! The only 5 cup rating I’ve given so far has gone to a Hillstone restaurant, so the prize is a $20 gift card to Hillstone Restaurants! That will easily cover a delicious spinach dip and a soda (don’t forget to ask for a chilled glass!)

Here’s how to enter:

Simply comment below, saying “Enter me!”

Want more chances to win?… You got it!

For a second chance, “like” NYC SODA GIRL on Facebook and then comment here a second time “I liked you!” (If you already like NYC SODA GIRL on Facebook you can still enter this second chance by commenting “I liked you!”)

For a third chance, “Share” a NYC SODA GIRL Facebook post on your Facebook timeline (public so it can be verified) and then comment here for a third time “I shared you!”

You may enter from today, Wednesday, October 21, 2015 through Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 10pm EST. I will announce the winner, selected at random, on Sunday, October 25, 2015.

Good luck everyone- and thanks again for reading NYC Soda Girl!

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NYC Allergy Mamma

Best NYC soda, beverages, food allergies, Halloween, mom, New York City, NYC, Pumpkin Picking, Uncategorized

Last weekend was quite the “Allergy Mamma” experience. I had the joy of seeing kids get together to support food allergy kids and then later we had a complete restaurant fail.

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A Teal Pumpkin? What is that? Well, I’ll happily tell you 🙂

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a way to help kids with life threatening food allergies (1 in 13 kids have them) be safe and enjoy Halloween.  The idea is, instead of offering just candy at Halloween you can also have a stash of non-food treats available for kids with food allergies. They’ll know you have them available because you have a teal pumpkin (and maybe a little sign too) out on display.   This year I’ll have 156 Piece Mega Halloween Toy Novelty Assortment; 12 Halloween Ducks, 12 Halloween Pencils, 12 Halloween Sticker Sheets; 48 Halloween Erasers; 72 Halloween Glitter Tattoos!! and 8″ LumiStick Brand Glowsticks Glow Stick Bracelets Mixed Colors (Tube of 100) available, plus candy. Don’t worry non-food allergy friends, no one is trying to take candy out of Halloween, The Teal Pumpkin Project just wants to help more kids be able to safely participate in the holiday just like “all the other kids”.

When visiting Hank’s Pumpkintown (you can read about it here) we bought a bunch of extra mini pumpkins and got together with friends to paint them teal! We went to the Food Allergy Research & Education website and downloaded these coloring pages and signs for the kids to work on too.  You can check out their website and get the downloads too at: DOWNLOADS

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Here are the finished products!

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Still working on what to write with the black glitter paint on the tombstone ;)
Still working on what to write with the black glitter paint on the tombstone 😉

The kids used these materials to paint their mini pumpkins (you can click each material and order from amazon.com if you’re interested):
Crayola Turquoise Washable Paint  mixed with Crayola Green Washable Paint

ALEX Toys Artist Studio 15 Colorful Brushes

Teal Glitter

And for the “Crafty” pieces, I used these materials (or similar ones) so that hopefully we can use the pumpkin and sign year after year:

Halloween Decoration Tombstone

The Plump Pumpkin Keepsake

Teal Acrylic Paint

White Nylon Brushes

Black Glitter 3d Paint

I have to keep in mind how great it is that so many people are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, because this next part of our weekend sadly seems to be the norm.

We went to a family lunch at Antonio’s Trattoria. As soon as we sat down the waiter came over. I explained to him that our child has life threatening allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame, so while we brought safe food for him to eat, we would like to know if those allergens are in the food we want to order.  If so we would order something else. We also asked that while handling his beverage (water cup and straw) please be sure no one who was handling those allergens touches his cup without washing their hands first or putting on fresh gloves.

The waiter assures me that they don’t serve anything with those ingredients.  I could have just left it at that, but it was an Italian Restaurant and my experience is that they usually have sesame present. So I asked about the sesame specifically again, he said “No – oh except for all the hero rolls.”   – Oh.

Then at that exact moment I happen to look around and notice this:

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Yes, you are correct- those are 6 TUBS of Nutella – a chocolate hazelnut spread.  So I point to them and ask “What about that?”

He tells me that “those just sit there.”

“So you don’t cook with them?”

“Well, we have a Nutella pizza.”

Right. So basically when I first tell him about my child’s LIFE THREATENING allergies, he says they don’t even have those items in the restaurant. Thankfully I kept asking. I have no problem bringing food for my child so that he’s safe everywhere he goes. I do not expect restaurants to stop serving the things they want to serve – but please be knowledgeable about what you’re selling and about the severity of food allergies!

Besides the scary interaction I had with the waiter, I simply can’t recommend this restaurant. The highlight of the meal for me was the bread basket and olive oil. For my entrée I ordered the gnocchi caprese.

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When it arrived my kids asked me what kind of soup I ordered. Umm, I didn’t order soup. I ordered a simple pasta dish and  instead received an inedible vat of slop. The soda was a watered down Diet Pepsi.  My husband had pumpkin rice balls for an appetizer which he said were delicious, but beyond that one dish I say AVOID this place if you happen to be in the Bronx!

Oh what a weekend!

NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

Antonio’s Trattoria

2370 Belmont Ave., Bronx, NY

Fountain Diet Pepsi

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Pumpkin Patch Pop

Best NYC soda, Hamptons, mom, Pumpkin Picking, soda, Uncategorized

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After a rocky start driving to Long Island (read here), I’m happy to report we had THE BEST TIME at Hank’s Pumpkintown in Water Mill, New York.  We arrived right at 9:30am as they were opening the gates – the whole farm was practically ours! We decided to take a ride on the Family Corn Train. We bought our tickets and enjoyed a cute narrated and music filled tractor train ride around the pumpkin patch. It was perfect for my family since we have 3 kids aged 4 and under.

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Next we spent about an hour on the amazing wooden play structures and slides.  The kids got to pretend they were lords & ladies of the castle, captains of ships and so much more. Finally it came time to pick our pumpkins!  You can pick your pumpkin from the mountains they have on display or do what we did – EXPLORE THE PATCH! We all walked in the mud searching for our perfect pumpkins and then put them in a wheelbarrow to be taken to the weighing station and paid for. The kids were in their glory!

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After such an amazing morning outside I headed into the farm house to check out the goodies and beverages.  I could taste the smells from the fresh doughnuts, candy apples and kettle corn, but you all know what I was looking for!

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I’ve been pumpkin picking many times in my day and year after year, even after extraordinary pumpkin harvesting, I leave feeling disappointed because I am always dying of thirst because all they sell is cider or tea or coffee…BUT NOT TODAY!!!  Thank you Hank’s!!!! You have broken the mold and I can’t tell you just how much so many of us appreciate it! I scored a 20oz Diet Coke!!!

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Beverages aside, I can’t recommend Hank’s enough. We could have stayed for hours more if we didn’t already have plans for the day. For $12 you can enter Hank’s Pumpkin Maze Park and enjoy even more unlimited fun, such as wagon rides, a giant slide, pedal cart race tracks, the actual corn maze and tons more!  We’ll be back for sure!

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NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

Hank’s Pumpkintown

240 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill, NY

20 oz Diet Coke, $3.00

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