Jersey Kids on Good Morning America’s Sneaky Teacher

The kids and I were filmed Monday for a segment on Good Morning America, called Sneaky Teacher. One of the beautiful things about living close to New York is that they need “talent” (in this case known as middle-American families) to film once in awhile in their features, and if you’re within driving distance, you too can be considered. I can’t figure out how to embed the video here, so here’s the link to Good Morning America’s Sneaky Teacher segment with Jersey Kids.

Want to know how we were chosen? What’s it like to be filmed by Good Morning America? Read my personal blog post on how we got onto Good Morning America and what it was like shooting. 

 

Cherry Blossom Festival – Branch Brook Park

Did you know that Newark’s Branch Brook Park has thousands of cherry blossom trees, with more variety (and number) than those in Washington DC, which is so well known for their trees.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is coming up in April, and it’s popular, with 10,000 visitors a day at the peak.

Aside from just looking at the blossoms, come for some activities, including:

April 9 – bike race – the Cherry Blossom Challenge.

April 10 – 10K and one mile fun run

On April 17th, check out Bloomfest, with lots of events, including Japanese cultural demonstrations, live music, kids’ activities, crafter’s marketplace and food. Free admission, open from 11-5. Activities are mostly around the Essex County Cherry Blossom Welcome Center.

 

Miller-Cory House Museum – and kid-friendly downtown Westfield

If you’re looking for some New Jersey history, and a chance to see what things were like in the 1700-1800s, head over to the Miller-Cory House in Westfield, NJ. (And read on to see what to do in downtown Westfield when you’re done).

The house was built in 1740 – on 100 acres of land. You wouldn’t believe it now, since it’s in the middle of a residential neighborhood where most lots probably don’t exceed .3 acres on average. Inside you’ll find the house with typical period furniture, and kids can see what a kitchen with no electric dishwasher looks like! Pots and pans hang from the walls, the floor is uneven and the walls wood-paneled.

The house is open on Sundays in fall through spring, or for prearranged group programs on weekdays. It’s staffed by volunteers – including a lot of elementary school teachers. They dress up and lead kids in crafts, read stories and talk with kids about the theme of the week. There’s also open-hearth cooking demonstrations in the building next door. Continue reading “Miller-Cory House Museum – and kid-friendly downtown Westfield”

Discount Massages in New York and New Jersey

Getting a massage in New York or New Jersey shouldn’t be a pain in the neck or cost an arm and a leg. Okay, bad puns I know, but life’s little indulgences can add up quickly.

Today I’m over at Suddenly Frugal talking about how to score great deals on massages. Check out the link.

And know that the East Coast Spa Week is coming up October 11-17 – get a massage, facial or other body treatment for just $50. In Manhattan alone, 102 spas are participating, offering massages, facials and more. Included are Red Door Spas, Perricone MD Flagship Facial Salon, Clarins Skin Spa, Jurlique, the Spa at Trump, and more.

In New Jersey, you can book $50 treatments at 45 spas. In the Suddenly Frugal post, I mention using group buying websites to get great deals on massages, facials and the like. In fact, I got a fabulous  massage at the Jillian Wright Clinical Skin Care Spa for $59 thanks to Groupon (versus the standard price of $130).

KGB Deals is offering several great packages right now – look for the deals listed on the right side of the web page.

–$12 entrance to Turkish and Russian Baths ($30 value), plus 20% off all services while you’re there (including the platza oak leaf scrub, Dead Sea Salt scrub, Dead Sea mud rub, and Swedish or Russian massages). Get the deal here.

–$29 for a spa manicure and pedicure plus hand or foot reflexology at Tribeca Spa of Tranquility ($70 value). Get the deal here.

–$49 for deep pore cleansing facial at Albina’s Spa ($120 value). Get the deal here

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Review: Six Flags Great Adventure – Plus Discount Codes

“He said he was in Paris. He said it was urgent I come.”

“To Paris?” I asked.

“No, to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey…”

Long Lost by Harlan Coben

Six Flags Great Adventure

This Jackson, NJ location is the is the largest Six Flags in the country. Woo hoo! Having been to several in California, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It was clean, the employees were helpful (except one) and the other visitors weren’t quite as skanky as at other Six Flags parks. Continue reading “Review: Six Flags Great Adventure – Plus Discount Codes”

Review: Six Flags Wild Safari in New Jersey

Jersey Kids review of Six Flags new Wild Safari Park is here – 2013 review)

This New Jersey park claims to be the largest drive-through safari outside Africa. It’s 350 acres, and it does take awhile to drive through. You’ll see something different each time you go through, but at least early in the day, it’s cooler for the animals and you may see more of the 1,100 that live there.

(Of note: on August 30, 2012 Six Flags announced that Wild Safari would close to individual cars starting in the 2013 season. Instead, the park will become a regular Six Flags theme park attraction – Camp Aventura – where guests will ride in open air vehicles driven by park employees. Guests may be able to hand-feed or pet some of the animals. For an extra fee, guests can zip line over the camp. Read the review of the newly opened attraction here.)

You won’t find these rides in the background in Africa!

Admittedly it was a bit odd in the beginning and end, because you can see Great Adventure rides in the background. It’s hard to picture these animals in the wild, with the Kingda Ka coaster doing its thing. But once you journey a little further inside, you forget about the amusement park (you can’t see it anymore) and just focus on the animals.

It’s a nice park – with signs in each area telling you what animals you’re seeing. They apparently have a CD/DVD you can buy (CD to listen to in the car, DVD to watch at home) – but I didn’t see anything about this on the website. Continue reading “Review: Six Flags Wild Safari in New Jersey”

Review: La Salon in Millburn

When SpaFinder recently ran its $50 specials, I looked for spas in my area to test out. I chose La Salon in Millburn.

The facility:

I arrived a few minutes early for my 10 a.m. weekday appointment, and walked in at the same time as the person opening up. The waiting area consisted of a basic chair next to the front door. I arrived before my therapist, JoJo.

La Salon tries to be upscale, but it’s not. They run a hair salon downstairs and have a handful of massage rooms (plus a manicure area) upstairs.  The massage room door had a small glass window on it, with no curtain or covering. When I changed, I was a bit self-conscious that someone might walk down the hall and look into the room. I was supposed to lie down on my stomach on the table, using a bath towel to cover up with (instead of the usual large sheet). While it was cozy, it’s a bit harder to cover yourself up with a towel when you’re lying on your stomach.

Continue reading “Review: La Salon in Millburn”

Land of Make Believe – Review

If you’re looking for some clean, family fun, and your kids are on the younger side, head to the Land of Make Believe in Hope, New Jersey. They have lots of kiddie rides and a fun water park good for both younger older kids.

The park is quite manageable for families with young kids. It’s not too big (but not so small that you’ll get bored). The rides are geared toward kids age 6 and younger (preschoolers will be quite happy). My 8 year old was bored with most rides, and I was surprised that my 6 year old was happy to ride them.

The Rides: Expect everything from a carousel to a small tilt-a-whirl. The mini roller coaster was fun for us – it goes in a loop and is good for the younger set. There probably 15 rides.

Attractions: We didn’t check out the arcade, Haunted Halloween House, jump houses or Dog Pound (games). There’s also a train circling the park and a hay ride.

The Show (Middle Earth Theater): The park put on a very cute interactive show featuring any kid and adult who wants in. Dori and I were part of it, and we could choose our part. The skit was funny and the kids had a great time dressing up and acting in it. Zack had fun watching. They said they want to do it again next time we go.

Continue reading “Land of Make Believe – Review”

The New Jersey State Fair – with Kids

It seems like there are two state fairs in New Jersey. There’s the State Fair at the Meadowlands, and the New Jersey State Fair Sussex County Farm & Horse Show. The latter is August 6-15, 2010. It has the stuff you might expect from a state fair, like a demolition derby, home arts, baking competitions, artistry using a chain-saw and wood, animal shows, lots of 4-H activities, lawnmower racing, a farm tractor pull, taxidermy, model trains, robotics, cyclocross bike racing, quilts and more. Oddly, there’s nothing on the website about rides and games.
We went to the  State Fair at the Meadowlands. It’s open until July 5, 2010. It has rides, entertainment and games. We did a daytime excursion, as part of a company summer event. It was so hot we spent a fortune on drinks. This was our first State Fair in New Jersey, and to be honest – it was really small! I’ve been to county fairs that were much bigger. And I really missed the 4-H kids and their animals, the hobbyists and the vendors inside their own building, hawking all kinds of dishwares and housewares. Apparently, though, it’s the largest fair in the New Jersey, New York metro area. (Note: the reader who commented so politely below points out that this is actually not the REAL state fair – this one is actually a for-profit carnival).

Okay, then. Here’s my review of the State Fair Meadowlands – with kids.

Here piggy, piggy!

LIVE SHOWS – the shows are all free with admission. We saw the Sea Lion Splash – very cute. They have three sea lions who jump, dance and do other tricks for you. The show is about 15 minutes long and kids can stand up front to watch. We missed the BMX Stunt Show, which looks like fun. It goes through the end of the fair. Hypnotist, Steve Bayner is funny. The Batcopter aerial show runs daily, and you can get a 2 minute ride for $30. The racing pigs were a lot of fun, also about a 15 mintue show. Check the schedule before going – the shows change daily. Continue reading “The New Jersey State Fair – with Kids”