Get Back in the Saddle–Horseback Riding is a Fun Tween and Teen Activity

Trail-ride-ready at Seaton Hackney Stables in Morristown, NJ.

I love it when my nieces or nephew visit! My sister calls it “Camp Naomi” when any of her daughters stay over. Last winter, my brother’s daughter spent a few days in New Jersey, and we had a great time exploring the American Museum of Natural History, hand-building at a Visual Arts Center of New Jersey pottery class, and going on a trail ride at Seaton Hackney Stables in Morristown. Though I live in the ‘burbs and my town is a commuter-train-ride away from Manhattan, you don’t have to drive far to find horses. In fact, Watchung Stable is located in a neighboring county in the midst of the wooded Watchung Reservation.

Located in the Watchung Reservation, Union County’s Watchung Stable has a long and rich heritage. Owned and operated by the County since 1933, its goal is to provide the opportunity to learn how to ride, enhance equestrian skills or just enjoy the natural beauty of the 26 miles of bridle paths that weave through the Reservation, a 2,000-acre forest preserve.

Watchung Stable

My niece and I enjoyed the peaceful trail ride through Morris County’s Loantaka Brook Reservation. The stables have a low-key, friendly feel, and the staff and guide couldn’t have been nicer.

Hon, need an excellent tween or teen activity? This is it!

Me and my niece say hi to a stable resident.

Stables near Essex County, NJ: Seaton Hackney Stables, Watchung Stable, Mortonhouse Farm, Silver Bit and Spur Farm

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Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Decoupage Pet Picture Frame

When I worked at Magic Windows, a high-end children’s boutique in Manhattan, the store’s owner added a tween section. She was game enough to sell my tie-dyed tee-shirts and decoupaged picture frames. First I painted them, then I added  inspirational words and gems and–guess what–they sold!

Fast forward to an After School Enrichment K-2 class that focused on pets. The kids loved making their own pet picture frames with magazines cut outs. Mod Podge is my go-to decoupage medium because it’s all you need to glue, seal and finish this project that’s, seriously, fun for any age kid!

Happy creating, hon!

Supplies:

  • wooden picture frame with flat surface
  • magazine cut-outs, photos, hand-drawn pictures
  • gems or beads, optional
  • Mod Podge
  • foam paint brush (preferred) or paint brush
  • cup off water for cleaning brushes, paper towel or rag for blotting

Instructions:

  1. Glue cut-outs, pics, etc to frame.
  2. Glue gems or beads.
  3. Brush Mod Podge over entire frame surface. Let dry about 15 minutes.
  4. Brush on three to four more layers, letting each layer dry about 15 minutes before reapplying.

Sources:  local craft stores such as A Paper Hat Art + Design Supply, national craft store chains such as such as Michael’s.

Greenwich Village

Kaleidoscope image of my daughter.

It feels like Spring today!

It was an unusually warm day when I took my daughter and two friends to Greenwich Village to visit the Museum of Illusions. I passed the museum on a Saturday and, hon, there was a line down the block to get in! So glad we went on a weekday.

We also stopped by a decorative rubber stamp and paper arts shop, The Ink Pad, where we gawked at walls of stamps and stencils, rows of ink, and counters topped with cool, crafty things. (I bought a textured foam pad to try with my Ceramics.)

We had a yummy lunch at Tavern on Jane. As we discussed appetizers, a man in the restaurant proclaimed that the Tavern was known for its wings. I asked if he was the owner, (he was) so we ordered them.

When we passed a shabby chic shop (say that three times fast!) called Soapology, we had to go in. We didn’t have time to formulate custom scents, but we all walked out with lovely, naturally scented soaps.

How could we resist dessert at  Aux Merveilleux, a beautiful French bakery, or pâtisserie, specializing in Frédéric Vaucamps’ meringues and brioche? Magnifique!

Meringues at Aux Merveilleux.