My semester is coming to an end. Today is the last day of class and for Online Journalism that means that I am no longer required to continue posting blogs. I started out not knowing anything about the mechanics of keeping up with a blog but I have learned so much along the way. Now I know that there is a whole community of people online who are sharing stories, ideas, photos, videos, thoughts, everything! It really is a wonderful way to interact with people across the world, learn from one another, add to each other’s ideas or just be a part of a community.

I have had a great time coming up with ideas of what to write about. I traveled around New Jersey and looked for people and places that would be both interesting and new. I love living in New Jersey and I wanted people to see the beautiful side of it. I think I did a good job with providing a slight insight to some of the wonderful areas and sights that New Jersey has to offer. Sometime I would find something interesting that didn’t have to do with the topic of my blog but I knew that would happen before I even sat down.

There are so many interesting things out there that I wanted to write about, it was impossible to stay on one track but I am very happy with my overall blog. I hope that it provided entertainment for anyone out there who has been reading though it. I had a great time and I will probably still post a blog here and there. But for now.. farewell! Thank you for all that you taught me, WordPress!

 

Jaime Gallina

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I had the pleasure of visiting Ideal Farm and Garden Center over this past weekend and it was just as I remember it. I worked at Ideal Farms when I was 15 years old as a cashier and it was my very first job (besides babysitting). Ben and Jan Jorritsma are the proud owners and they are the most wholesome and hard-working people you will ever meet. They opened up their first produce stand in July of 1984 and it became so popular that they had to move to a bigger location within a few years. They moved to Route 15 in Lafayette and they still stand strong there today and have expanded even more.

“Up before the sun. The sun goes down, you keep going.” Ben

Christmas time is especially busy this time of year because they have the best cut-your-own trees around. The shop on Route 15 is full of freshly made apple cider donuts, pies and bread loaves from the Amish, bread mix from Walpack Inn, jams, salsas, and countless other delicious treats. They have a beautiful collection of gifts, cards, ornaments, toys, and lots more. I was happy tat they had time to talk with me and allow me to videotape them at work…

Outside one of the green houses was transformed into Santa’s workshop. Christmas music was on while everyone was making and decorating Christmas wreaths, grave blankets, and kissing balls. It was a fun atmosphere to be a part of. Pre-cut Christmas trees of all sizes and varieties were displayed outside for sale. Or if you wanted to make a fun day of getting your tree, across the street are rows upon rows of Christmas trees just waiting to be cut down and taken home.

I drove over to Ben and Jan’s home and had the chance to talk with Ben and Courtney Morris. It was great talking with them and hearing what Ben had to say about owning such a successful business. He was modest from beginning to end and I had such a fun time listening to him talk about some of his stories from working on the farm everyday for the past twenty-four years. Courtney has been a loyal employee and friend since he was just a kid.

“It’s a great family run business and anytime that I can be outside working in a field or with the guys on any kind of farm, I’m there.” Courtney

 Talking with them made me really appreciate the state we live in and all the people who live here. Ideal Farms was my first job and I know that I am going to be getting my Christmas tree from them every year for the rest of my life. I’d much rather have a real tree that was grown by such an honest and hard-working family instead of going to Walmart and buying a fake tree. As I get older and eventually have a family of my own, I want my kids to grow up knowing the importance of hard work and responsibility. This family owned business is one of my favorite parts about living in Sussex County. So if you are ever in the neighborhood, it is definitely a great place to stop by.

MTV‘s new television show, ‘Jersey Shore‘ premeired tonight. It is awful and embarrassing. I am ashamed to say I watched it. Because of this show people are going to view all people from New Jersey this way and I think it is a horrible represention of our state. New Jersey has much more to offer then a bunch of drunken hooligans hanging around the boardwalks, starting fights, pumping their fists, and inappropriately dancing all over eachother.

Welcome to Luna Parc

Hello everyone! I haven’t posted in awhile because  my semester is coming close to an end so that means my work load is getting ridiculous. I have been thinking about high school and how much easier it was back then. I never worried about school and homework but college is a whole different ball game. In high school I took lots of art classes (photography, crafts, crafts 2, crafts 3, drawing & painting, sewing, and even foods class was a form of art i think) I loved the creativity that was challenged and I loved the art teacher, Mrs. Meyers. She is a wonderful and very talented person.

In my senior year at High Point Regional High School I took a senior crafts class as my last art class ever. We made jewlery, scultped mugs with faces on them, and a variety of other exciting projects. Mrs. Meyers outdid herself this year because we got to go on a class trip to Luna Parc. Weird NJ describes this place a ‘psychedelic wonderland in the woods’. They really hit the nail on the head because this house was beyond words…

Before (June 9, 1989)

Now

This house is owned by Ricky Boscarino who bought it about 20 years ago as a run down plain house that was surrounded by five acres of woods. Now it is a captivating and vibrant vision that is surrounded by nonsense and intriguing sculptures on every inch of space. Ricky is an artist and has been transforming this building into a piece of art ever since he bought it. It reminded me of a combination of Alice in Wonderland, Dr. Seuss and Seussville, and the book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Mrs. Meyers took us to the most appropriate place to take an art class. The imagination and creativity we were surrounded by made me want to take a paint brush and transform the world.

Ricky’s house isn’t open to the public but sometimes he has an open house where he displays the jewelery and artwork he has created. He lives here and I couldn’t ever imagine waking up with so many vibrant colors all at once! I have heard of his home before we went on our class trip because my friend Sam, who is a wonderful artist, works for Ricky. By work I mean she spends her days in the summertime in his house helping him create and envision the possibilities of what his home can become. He transformed the shed in his back yard into his workshop and that’s where all the magic happens. The inside of his house is unexplainable. There is so much detail everywhere you turn…

The bathroom is my favorite room of the house.

Ricky made a postcard of out of this photo. That is him in the tub.

(Photos by: nataliyagosselin and Ricky Boscarino)

Do you love Christmas time and soaking up as much holiday spirit as you can? Well I know I do! Christmas came early for me this year. For Halloween my roommates and I decided to be  Christmas elves and instead of putting up Halloween decorations, we transformed our apartment into a winter wonderland!

Me with my roommates Jenn, Lauren, and Megan

New Jersey has lots of fun things to do but I know sometimes they might be hard to find. So I organized a few ideas and events going on throughout New Jersey for the month of December so everyone can get into the holiday spirit because no one likes a grinch! ( 25 Days of Christmas ) Hopefully this is helpful and I will be adding more to it! Feel free to browse around! Ideas from cooking ideas, star gazing, parades and more!

Gallina Family Tree Shopping 2008

This year I think that everyone should throw out those fake plastic Christmas tree imitations and go out there and cut down a real tree! Ever since I can remember, our family has picked a day in early December and we head out to a Christmas tree farm to find the most perfect Christmas tree. We go with my cousins and we compete to see who can find their tree first. It’s not easy and it normally takes a few hours because we are picky people. When I was little this was always one of my favorite days of the year and as I got older it is still just as much fun. We get to the farm and they give us a red ribbon. This ribbon is for when we find the tree of our dreams.  We use it to tie around a tree to claim it as our own. Proper etiquette means that you can not choose a tree that already has a red ribbon on it. That would be stealing. And nobody likes a thief.

Christmas tree searching 2007 with my cousins Tina and Matt

During our search we drink the hot cocoa they serve in the barn and eat the candy canes that they normally give out. I love searching for a tree in the snow but some years there is no snow. After everyone finds the perfect tree we stand in front of it and proudly take a picture with it. This will be the last photo of the tree connected to the earth before we chop it down and take home. It’s not a sad thing because shortly after we bring it home, we display it in our living room and decorate it with beautiful ornaments. Before we go home we all go out for dinner. It’s been our tradition since I was a little girl and I think that everyone should try it! It’s a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and it’s a fun bonding experience.

Isn't she a beauty?!

Having a real tree in our house really makes it feel like Christmas. Yankee Candle can’t recreate the smell from the real thing. It’s just not the same to have an artificial tree for the holidays. Its fun to decorate the tree while listening to Christmas music. Our cats love sleeping underneath the tree. One year we couldn’t find one of our cats and it turns out they we nuzzled in the branches of the tree. Christmas morning wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have our perfectly picked tree!

Here are a few farms that I found online that look like great places to check out:

Evergreen Valley Christmas Tree Farm (Washington)

Belly Acres Christmas Tree Farm (Franklinville)

Hendershot Christmas Tree Farm (Newton)

Shale Hills Farm (Sussex)

Cherryville Farms (Flemington)

Anne Ellen Farms (Manalapan)

The Indian Rock Inn (photo from their website)

The Indian Rock Inn is having a traditional three course all American Thanksgiving feast on November 26th at 7pm for those families out there who don’t feel like slaving away in the kitchen for hours. This Inn is located in Bucks County which is only a 5 minute drive from New Jersey! The menu for the evening includes butternut squash soup, roasted turkey, glazed ham, stuffed flounder, and a variety of homemade pies! This is a great idea for people who are looking for something new to try! It would be interesting to share this day with some new people and turn some strangers into friends. My family is set in their traditions so this would be out of the question, especially because the menu doesn’t mention anything about stuffing and that’s the best part of Thanksgiving in my opinion. This holiday is right around the corner so if anyone out there likes this idea, you’d better make your reservations soon! (610-982-9600)