A Daily lifestyle website. Sharing the latest products on the market, Parenting stories, travel guides, and destination information you can use! Along my travels, I became a Certified Food judge so you can also enjoy Food related posts!

July 19, 2019

Letchworth State Park in Western, NY

Have you ever seen the show Rock the Park?? It hosts Jack Steward and Colton Smithtaps who are on a mission to explore every National Park in America?? After binge watching the show on Netflix (when it was on Netflix, ahem!) my little guy and I got the State Park exploration bug. Luckily for us we have several New York State Parks rather close to us! 
Today I'm sharing our exploration of Letchworth State Park in Western, NY
There are a few ways to enter this particular State Park. The last few visits though many have been "Under Construction". If you plan to visit, call ahead and make sure the waterfall trails are open. We once went all the way out and found they were both closed.
The fee to get in is relatively inexpensive. They have maps you can use to drive the roughly 17 mile long road, following the course of the Genesee River. 
This park is easy to navigate but it does require walking shoes. Especially if you want to see the picturesque Waterfalls I'm about to show you.
 The paths are marked and easy to find. 
 The park centers around three major waterfalls within it's territory. Some cliffs are said to be as high as 600 feet in some places! Wearing appropriate walking attire is vital here. The trails do require you to "hike" them. While you don't have to climb they do have several uneven rock stairs for you to use. Take your time and work as a team if you bring your littles along! 
I remember standing at this view(pictured above) and thinking about a particular quote by Ansel Adams:

“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — an endless prospect of magic & wonder" 
I would highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. 
We have plans to visit many more State Parks so I will keep you posted. If you have a park you think we would be interested in visiting, leave us a comment here or on Social Media!
Have you ever visited a New York State Park?
If so, which one, let us know in the Comments below!!

July 15, 2019

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

If you were to ask anyone about my baking abilities they would tell you I did NOT inherit my mother's gift. She can taste a dessert and recreate it without a recipe. From cookies to pies the women can seriously do it ALL! That does not however mean I don't TRY to bake from time to time. Who doesn't like eating raw cookie dough?? Or whip up a batch of some Chocolate Chip cookies?? We have been trying out a few "Chewy" recipes and I think this one is our favorite!!
What you will need:
3 cups of all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened 
2 cups brown sugar 
1/4 cup sugar 
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 cups Milk chocolate chips
Place the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together into a bowl. 
After you can beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar in a bowl until fluffy (roughly 4 minutes). Then, beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. 

Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the dough and refrigerate at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.
When you are ready to bake the cookie dough preheat to 375 degrees F. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges but still soft in the middle (12 minutes). 
Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely. I use these cooling racks...AMAZING, Check them out here.
This particular recipe leaves them nice and gooey in the middle!!
Serve & Enjoy!!
How do you like your Chocolate Chip cookies, Chewy or hard??

July 12, 2019

Things to do in Altoona, PA this Summer

In my job as a travel writer, you never really know what kind of places you are going to visit. If you are lucky, they send an invite via email and ask if you would like to come to their destination. Other times I am heading out to a press trip and want to stop on my way. When we travel South for instance I find breaking up the long trip helps us all from getting cabin fever. The past few years we have been stopping in Altoona, PA on our way to and from both Florida or Hershy, PA. Because of this we have developed a great relationship with the area, one I look forward to growing each year we visit. If you are looking for a great getaway, family vacation spot or just a place to pass through, I would recommend this area highly! 
Hope you enjoy our favorite things to do when in Altoona, PA this Summer:
 1. My first suggestion is bring your family to the Delgrossos Amusement Park! I think I have mentioned it a zillions times BUT trust me it's worth a TRIP!!They have one of the best water parks and it is affordably priced including FREE parking. We literally have made this a yearly Summer MUST DO. The park opens at 11 am but I would recommend getting there a few minutes early to get a locker. If you want my FULL review head over here.
2. Lakemont Park. They also have free parking and a less crowded atmosphere. Some of our favorite things to do were the Go-carts (smiles all around), riding on the "Lake Monsters" via their pond and miniature golf courses. 
3. We were introduced to Tilt Studios this year and I have to say, WOW! This is one of the best mall arcades (located in Logan Valley Mall) we have had the pleasure of visiting. They have a bowling alley, laser tag, black light mini golf, arcade games and claw machines. The rates are so affordable and it doesn't take much to win prizes!
4. Lincoln Caverns and Whispering Rocks. I have driven past the billboard signs for this place since I was a kid. Each time wondering what magnificent formations lay under the ground there. It's not just a bunch of formations, although they are pretty spectacular, it's also a great learning adventure. We learned all about flow stone crystals, stalagmites and stalactites!  
5. Take a hike at Chiminey Rocks in Holidaysburg. I recommend the easier route, if you bring along kids, to reach the over town view. 
They also have a nice little play area and picnic tables.
 6. Canal Basin Park has several replicas of canal lock mechanisms. Perfect for those of you that home school and want to learn more about the history of the area!
7.  Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum. The museum is not extremely large but it does have three floors to explore. They also have a gift shop and garage where you can see them working on these fascinating engines. During Summer hours they also have festivals and events outdoors!
8. The HorseShoe Curve located in Altoona PA has been in operation since around 1854. It was built with the idea that trains could get over the Allegheny Mountains at a gliding incline. 
Enjoy my FULL review here.
9. The play area in the Canal Basin Park is great for little kids. Our home town lacks these wooden structures so it's nice to visit fun themed one's while on vacation.
This area might seem so small in comparison to it's larger surrounding territories but offers so much. Whether you are just passing through or need a good place to relax and recharge there is something here for everyone!
Have you ever been to Altoona, PA??
What places would you recommend while visiting??

July 10, 2019

Our trip to Lake Placid for the I Love New York Horse Show

 This Summer has started off with a "BANG". I am on my fourth back to back Press trip for work and loving it! When I got the invite to attend the I Love New York Horse Show in Lake Placid I was overjoyed. I have never been to this area of New York nor attended such an event! Our Chevrolet Traverse arrived Monday in all it's "beast mode" (the nickname my son gave it) glory. In the last month we have had a landslide of vehicle breakdowns, including blowing 3 brake lines (not all at once). A reliable vehicle for traveling was such a nice change of pace. It really showed my family what we have been missing out on since we have always owned "beater" cars!
 We received the Chevrolet Traverse for review purposes, but this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.
I never would have considered buying a new vehicle until the past month of breakdowns. When my brother came down to Hershey, PA to rescue us from one of our breakdowns; I fell in love with his third row seating. His vehicle though compromised his trunk space in order to fit the third row. With the Chevrolet Traverse we didn't have too! All of our luggage fit! 

The Traverse seats up to eight. The second-row captain’s chairs offer the Traverse’s Smart Slide® feature. With this feature, seats are capable of tipping up and sliding forward, even with a forward-facing child seat in place, to provide open and easy access to the third row.
With having such a nice sized trunk space we could easily have the third row seating. Perfect for those away Hockey tournaments, boy slumber parties or just to take the whole family on a vacation together without being in each other's personal space. I also loved having an isle down the middle to reach the back seats! Sure this car comes with all the modern amenities but my personal favorites? The "Air cooling" seat feature, 4GLTE Wi-Fi (with connectivity for up to seven devices), 7 USB ports and heated steering wheel for Winter time!
 Once we packed everything, we set out on the 7 hour drive to lake Placid, NY. We did stop in Fulton, NY at this scenic little rest stop (pictured above). If you travel with small kids or wonder how we do it so effortlessly...check this post out here. Stopping at these rest areas and letting him run around really helped fight his antsy feet. I also packed his beloved "travel bin" you can see an example of his bin here.
When we arrived in Lake Placid our room wasn't ready so we headed straight to the I Love NY Horse Show. 
 From off road vehicles to pure breed horses we had so much fun.
 If you stopped into the Chevrolet  area and signed up for a wrist band you could score a FREE t-shirt or hat. Let's just say my son basically slept in the hat once they handed it to him.
For his birthday a few weeks back we gifted him these binoculars and he got so much use out of them this trip! We were able to sit pretty close to the jumping action some events were a bit harder to see. If you attend a Horse show (especially with kids) I would recommend snacks, binoculars if you have some, sunscreen and water.
If you follow my Insta-Stories you can see all of our up-to-date experiences while traveling! We may have gotten rained out a bit on Saturday but that didn't stop us from enjoying our time.
It was pretty exciting to see Sam Walker ride Cohbanta to win the $7,500 Chevrolet Low Junior Jumper Classic or Kevin Babington take 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the $100,000 Great American Insurance Group Grand Prix. I truly hope they invite us out next year because it was fun for the whole family.
After a full day at the Horse Show, we would retire to our hotel, the Crowne Plaza and have dinner outside. The sirloin was 👌 as well as the seafood pasta dish. We also shared the apple tart with vanilla bean ice cream for dessert and that was gone before I got my phone out for a picture 🤷‍♀️. Hands down best part of this restaurant was the Mountain View!!
If you are in town I would HIGHLY recommend a meal here at the very least.
After dinner it was time to walk off all the deliciousness! If you do head downtown stop in the Welcome Center. The staff are super friendly, knowledgeable and helped us find all sorts of things to do while in town. 
 When I was invited to this event, the sweet PR lady, saw we were a BIG hockey family and informed me that the Herb Brooks Arena, where the Miracle on Ice movie, was filmed here. This was a highlight of the trip because one of my son's hockey heroes are displayed on the arena walls. The town has hosted two Olympics 1932 and 1980. You can visit the Olympic sites and I hope to come back and do just that!
We also squeezed a visit to The I Love Barbeque Festival interestingly enough it's hosted on Lake Placid’s Olympic Speed Skating Oval. This festival is great to try some ribs but make sure to get a mug of root beer from the Wild Bill's Soda cart! They had all sorts of vendors and entertainment including body building. We saw a guy do 13 reps weighing 600 pds...YIKES!
It has been a whirlwind couple of days. Lake Placid is definitely one of those places you have to keep coming back to experience and see everything it has to offer. I am so very thankful my family had an opportunity to get a taste of what the area was like. We are already planning our next trip back! As I write this our Chevrolet is getting picked up and I have to say it is hard to say goodbye. I hope this is the start of many more stress-free whirlwind trips.
Have YOU visited the Lake Placid, NY area??
 Let us know some places we should visit next time in the comments!!

July 5, 2019

Serene views at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Fairfax County, Virginia

While in Fairfax County, Virginia, I ditched our itinerary and stopped at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. After chatting with a local, they suggested we take some time for a visit. I could not agree more! When we arrived the first thing I spotted was this gorgeous vine over their picnic area near the parking lot (pictured above). I knew we were going to enjoy a afternoon here.
I received a free passes to help facilitate my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
If you are walking around with kids ask for a Scavenger Hunt before exploring.
As soon as you walk in the serene pathways surround you. Fresh flower blooms align the trails.  
 While strolling around I saw several photo shoots in process. I completely understand why because this place is extremely picturesque.
Make sure you stop and admire the western hemisphere's only public Korean Bell Garden.
Did I mention Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is open year round?
If you are in the Fairfax County, Virginia area I highly recommend a visit! 
Do you enjoy exploring botanical gardens?
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