Long Island’s North Fork with Kids – Gingerbread University and Wineries

Gingerbread University

It was a post-Thanksgiving on Long Island’s North Fork and a great way to spend time with my family and get into the holiday spirit! Growing up on Long Island I had some, but not a significant, appreciation for the beauty of the island’s less populated fork.  The towns along the north shore of the Island are dotted with former potato farms turned wineries, farm stands, and the quaintness you may expect in a small New England setting. My approach had always been to turn every getaway from home into an opportunity to explore an area.  Even though I grew up on Long Island, it’s really something to see how it’s changed and now view it through the lens of my kids.

We started our day with a trip to Gingerbread University in Riverhead. I’ve heard about this festive locale for a while but finally had the time to visit. Kids can chose from small gingerbread people, giant size holiday cookies, or a fully assembled gingerbread house. A full container of colorful candies are provided and a brief lesson on how to get the best results from your bag of icing and the rest is up to your imagination! It took my kids about 45 minutes to fully decorate their houses and left with two securely wrapped houses and certificates of completion!

Gingerbread University Long Island

All of the fixings provided at Gingerbread University on Long Island

Prices range from under $10 to $35. It can get pricey if you are visiting with multiple kids but it was a very “sweet” way to start the season! Tip – make sure to make a reservation because spot do fill up quickly. Open on the weekends but check the website for specific hours as they do vary. Continue reading

Passports with Purpose 2014 – Win a Trip to Killington Resort from Ski Vermont

Killington Passports with Purpose 2014

Passports with Purpose kicks off today and I’m thrilled to take part in it this year!  Passports with Purpose is a non-profit organization that began in 2008 by a group of travel bloggers as a fundraiser to held communities in the developing world.  The fundraiser is now an annual event held during a two-week period in November/December that largely focuses on helping those in poverty, specially women and children.   To date, Passports with Purpose has raised nearly $400,000 to help communities in Haiti, Cambodia, India, Mali, Zambia, and other international non-profit organizations. This year’s campaign will go towards Sustainable Harvest International.


For every $5,000 Passports with Purpose raises during the fundraiser, Sustainable Harvest International will help a family in Honduras learn to farm sustainably and feed their family with training and support lasting for five years.   With a commitment like this, the benefits for the entire community will continue well beyond the five years. In my early 20’s I gave up my corporate job to volunteer for a year with Habitat for Humanity International who also encourage the same hand-up not hand-out philosophy and their impact can be witnessed in communities across the globe. Plus, all donations (minus small fees associated with Pay Pal) go directly to Sustainable Harvest International.  Organizations like these make lasting contributions to communities and here’s how you can help!

The 2014 online fundraising event will run from Monday, December 1 to Wednesday, December 17, 2014. During that time you will be able to place a $10 bid on amazing prized through the Passports with Purpose catalog of prizes.  Travel bloggers from all over the world have secured travel prizes and related gear that YOU can bid on.  Bid as many times as you would like for more chances to win! 

I’m truly excited to host a fantastic vacation package, generously donated by Ski Vermont as part of this year’s Passports with Purpose campaign!  The lucky winner and a guest can take a dream ski vacation at Killington Resort in Vermont. Killington, commonly known as “The Beast of East” is the largest ski resort in Vermont!  The package includes accommodations and lift tickets for 5 nights for two guests (mid-week non-holiday). Enjoy long days on the slopes and wind down at one of many après-ski destinations at Killington. Then get cozy for the night in one of the lodges or condos at Killington.  This would make a great parent getaway or upgrade and bring the whole family!

Passports with Purpose Killington

As many who read this blog know, my family started skiing together last season and Vermont was our go-to destination. Killington is massive and has already been open for the 2014-15 season for about a month now!

This is a great package and your bid of $10 to Passports with Purpose is your access card to win! I sincerely hope during this holiday season that you too can give a little to benefit those desperately in need while giving yourself the chance to win a great getaway in Vermont!  Follow the campaign using hashtag #PwP on social media!

I would like to extend a very grateful hand to Ski Vermont for signing on to Passports with Purpose this year and donating this incredibly generous prize.  I would also like to thank the PwP sponsors, TBEX and Home Away for their continued support of Passports with Purpose.

Exploring The Wild Center of the Adirondacks

The Wild Center

The Wild Center, the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, is a fascinating museum that strives to educate and expand the knowledge of visitors of all ages about the uniqueness of New York’s Adirondack Mountains.  Located on over 80 acres in Tupper Lake, the heart of the Adirondacks, its location is an ideal spot for a day trip for those camping nearby, skiing, or exploring the Lake Placid region and Olympic Center.  My family had the chance to visit after a very fun, long weekend camping at nearby Rollins Ponds.

The Wild Center is more of an experiential center that lets visitors use of all of the senses to learn about the sites, smells, animal markings, and people who make the Adirondacks home.  After entering the almost rotunda like entrance, visitors walk along a Living River Trail, complete with river otters and freshwater lake fish and end through experiencing a winter tree line summit.

The Wild Center

During our visit, kids and adults could touch, feel, freeze, and witness the beauty of the changing landscape of the Adirondacks.  The kids were able to step inside a maple sugar shack and naturalist cabin to explore more through interacting with the exhibit.  The Wild Center provides the right mix of hands-on exhibit space with educational material to keep kids enthralled and adults interested in learning more.

The Wild Center

Kids can see, touch, smell, and feel the Adirondacks at The Wild Center.

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The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze – The Tri-State’s Biggest Halloween Event

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Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Get your spook on at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

During the summer months, a visit to Van Cortlandt Manor includes a tour of the stone manor house, brick ferry house, the heritage gardens, and a stroll down a quiet country road along the Croton River. For fall and Halloween enthusiasts, check out the manor during October and November when the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze transforms the grounds with more than 5,000 hand carved, illuminated jack o’lanterns for the tri-state’s biggest, most electrifying Halloween event.

For the first time in 2005, Van Cortlandt Manor was illuminated by thousands of hand carved jack o’lanterns throughout the month of October at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. The Blaze’s Executive Director, Michael Natiello, said the true inspiration for Blaze is the landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor. The work of artists Michael Heizer, Robert Smithson, Donald Judd, and Andy Goldsworthy complement and draw attention to the site’s architecture, history, and landscape. Celebrating it’s 10th year in 2014, the Blaze embraces Washington Irving’s Spirit of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, boasts an anniversary pumpkin cake, turning acrobats, a springing jack-in-the-box, giant spider web, dinosaurs, witches, and more!

Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

The great pumpkin arch that welcomes guests to the Blaze


Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

10th anniversary pumpkin, the Headless Horseman, and Tumbling Acrobats and Circus Characters

Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Giant Spider Web, Witches Around the Cauldron, Grand Father Clock, and a Field of Dinosaurs

Complete with sound effects, elaborate synchronized lighting and the second volume of an all-original soundtrack by recording artist Richard Christy, the Blaze is one Halloween event you do not want to miss! Recommended for ALL ages.

Tickets are still available for November 5, 9, 14, and 16. The Blaze sells out quickly, so get your tickets now! Click HERE for tickets.

Happy Halloween!



Albany Ski and Snowboard Expo Ticket Giveaway


Albany Ski ExpoCan you think of a better way to get pumped for ski season than hanging out at a ski and snowboard expo for an afternoon.  Well you’re in luck because Wandering Working Mom is giving away 2 tickets to the Albany Ski and Snowboard Expo on November 7 –9, 2014 at the Empire State Convention Center in Albany!  Enter below for your chance to win!

The Expo is in its 53rd year and the areas largest event dedicated to the areas abundance of winter sport options.  You can stock up on great winter gear and apparel, where many tend to be hugely discounted for the event, from Alpin House (main sponsor of the event), Potter Brothers Ski and Snowboard Shops, and my local favorite, Steiner Sports.  Plus talk with many of the area’s top ski resorts from New York and Vermont to plan your family’s getaway this winter!

A big highlight of the event are the hundreds of free lift tickets! Yes, free lift tickets folks! The first 400 attendees on Friday will receive buy one get one lift tickets to some of Vermont’s best mountains.  On Saturday and Sunday, the first 400 guests on each day will receive a free lift ticket to awesome mountains in New York, courtesy of I Ski NY.  Arrive early and plan to wait in line because these freebies go fast!

The Albany Ski and Snowboard Expo will take place Friday, November 7 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, November 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, November 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tickets are $10 at the door and $8 if ordered online.  Kids under 10 are free!


Last year was my family’s first season skiing as a family and we started off by going to the Albany Ski and Snowboard Expo.  The kids loved it, we loved it, and this year we’re going with a list of gear we want and giving ourselves some early Christmas presents.  Enter below for your chance to win 2 tickets to the Albany Ski and Snowboard Expo.  This giveaway ends on Sunday, November 2nd at midnight so enter now!

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Kelder’s Farm – Home of the World’s Largest Garden Gnome


We drive past the gnome, or “Elf,” as my oldest son so affectionately named him, on a monthly basis when we travel upstate to my in-laws. Every time we pass Kelder’s Farm in the Hudson Valley, we say “hi” to the gnome and promise the boys that we will visit another day. Well, “another day” finally came earlier this week. After a weekend visit with my in-laws we decided it was time to visit Kelder’s Farm, take a picture with the gnome, and pick a nice pumpkin to bring home with us. The farm is about an hour and 45 minutes from Binghamton (and forty minutes from our home) so the boys were able to nap before our farm adventure. We arrived after 3:30 PM to find ample parking, no lines, and lots to do! It was only a matter of minutes before the boys spotted the animals and loved checking out the donkeys, llama, and goats.

Kelder's Farms

My kids would have been content just feeding the animals all day at Kelder’s Farm

My husband and I were excited to check out the other activities on the farm, but the boys had other plans – they were content just hanging by the animals, and so it was another lesson on parental flexibility. We managed to point them in the direction of the life-size wooden train and tractor that occupied their attention for quite some time. They really enjoyed their view from the train, the hay ride pulled by the big John Deere tractor.

Kelders Collage

While the boys were playing conductor, I was anxious to go pumpkin picking! I managed to sneak away from the boys for a few minutes to check out the prices for the activities, ask some questions about picking, and enjoy some alone time to check out all the fun stuff the farm had to offer. Lukas and Ethan are too young for mini golf, but a jumping pillow is right up their alley, so we added that to the list of fun things to do next time. I was tempted to buy donuts or cider, or even a hot dog, but I knew we had a bag of fresh donuts and a giant chocolate chip cookie in the car from the Cider Mill in Endicott. What would we do with more donuts?!

The hay ride stops near the pumpkins, allowing us to get off the wagon to pick, if we want! I could not have asked for a better plan…I knew I was pushing my luck wanting the boys to go on the hay ride and pick pumpkins when all they wanted to do was play on the wooden train. Fortunately, they were excited for the hay ride…especially once they sat down right behind the tractor. They had a great view of the John Deere the entire ride. Once we arrived at the patch, we jumped off and began the hunt. Normally, it would take me a long time to find the “perfect” pumpkin, but I had little time today. Within minutes, I picked up a big pumpkin and we were back on the wagon and heading up the hill.

When we got off the hay ride, we went over to the gnome, “Elf.” Lukas was excited and wanted to climb up his giant leg, while Ethan was more impressed with the cars driving past on the road nearby. I was able to enjoy a moment with my boys, one we had wanted for a long time. I took a minute to take it all in – thankful for the opportunity to explore a new farm with my 3 favorite people in the whole world. As we got back to the car, ready for the last leg of our ride home, we shared a Kelder’s cider and the big chocolate chip cookie we had purchased earlier that day. What a perfect ending to an afternoon of fall fun!

Kelder's Farm

Seeing the world’s largest gnome – check!

What to expect at Kelder’s Farm:

*100 acres of U-Pick fruit and veggies of all kinds – raspberries, grapes, apples, corn, tomatoes, assorted veggies, potatoes, lettuce, & pumpkins.

*Fall decorations available for purchase

*A host of farm activities – jumping pillow ($5.00/all-day pass), mini golf ($3.75/game), petting zoo food ($1.00, or you can find lots of food on the ground in front of the animals), corn maze ($3.50), and hayride ($3.00/person). You can purchase a package for all of the activities for $10 – ages 2 & up.

*A food truck with cider, donuts, and more!

*A 70-year-old dairy farm turned into a farm market with fresh produce, baked goods, and a ton of signature private label products such as jams, sauces, honey, syrups, and more!

*An educational experience – check out the history of the farm when you walk through the market.

*Stunning views of the farm and the Hudson Valley.

*Jackie & Chris Kelder, wonderful hosts who treat you like family when you’re there!

Kelder’s Farm is located in the beautiful Hudson Valley, at 5755 Route 209 in Kerhonkson, New York, about 10 miles from Ellenville, 20 miles from Kingston, and 90 miles from NYC.

Break for Cheese at the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company

Old Chatham Sheepherding Company

Old Chatham Sheepherding CompanyNew York’s Hudson Valley was in its glory this weekend with gorgeous blue skies, postcard worthy fall foliage, and the overall old school charm that makes this area a perfect afternoon trip from the Capital District.  We made our way to Kinderhook to get our fill of pumpkins at Samascott Orchards.  It’s worth the drive out to Samascott as the crowds are fewer than farms closer to Albany and the selection of pumpkins is always excellent.  But given the day was so beautiful and the kids were in good spirits (always helps), we drove another 20 minutes to the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company to take in the sheep and take home a little of the Hudson Valley with and the famous Black Sheep Cheese!

The award-winning Black Sheep Cheese label in known across the country with cheeses and yogurts produced entirely of sheep’s milk.  The dairy products produced by the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company have a unique creaminess to them and with one bite you’ll notice the texture and taste as being different from cow and goat milk products.  Black Sheep Cheese also has cheeses made with a combination of cow and sheep’s milk.  You can purchase yogurt and cheeses by the wedge, block, half-wheel, and whole wheel at a self-serve cheese shop that basically consists of an upright fridge and an honor system pay box.

Black Sheep Cheese
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