Nov 242015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BeHealthyForEveryPartofLife #CollectiveBias

Date Night Essentials

Over the years, my husband Chris and I have had some pretty epic dates.  When we were first dating he took me to a shooting range & that’s the exact moment when I knew he was a keeper.

When it comes to fun date nights, he’s got a knack for finding some pretty cool things for us to do.  We’ve gone to a couple of paint nights,  tons of different ghost tours, we’ve made our own beer – from scratch and we’re regulars down at the Firehouse Theater in Newport, RI to see the Bit Players, which is an improv comedy troupe.

This is us at the Medieval Manor in Boston, which is a themed dinner & show.  It was one of my favorite dates.

date 1

I’m not sure if this qualifies as a “date” per se, but last year when we were in Manhattan to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, he let me drag him all the way across town to see the Ghostbusters headquarters.  It was rainy and cold that day, but he knew it made me happy. Continue reading »

Nov 242015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareTheHoliday #CollectiveBias

Easy White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

There are certain times of the year when I like to do something special for my boys teachers and bus drivers.  Each year for teacher appreciation week I get their teachers a gift card to go out to eat.  I mean, if anyone deserves a night off without having to cook, it’s a teacher.  Then at the end of the school year, I also get nice gifts for the teachers as a way to thank them for such a great year with my kids.  Of course, I always like to get something for the bus drivers, too.  After all, they are responsible for getting my boys back and forth to school safely every day.

At Christmas time, I like to get festive when it comes to gift giving.  I love to make sweet treats for the teachers and bus drivers and based on the feedback I have gotten from them in the past, my baked goods are always a hit.  This year, the bus drivers and teachers are getting some delicious white chocolate peppermint fudge.  It’s easy to make and I know it’s going to be a big hit. Continue reading »

Nov 192015

Do you watch NBC shows? I do. They’re some of the best out there. With everything from The Blacklist to Heroes Reborn, the NBC lineup is super strong this year. Unfortunately, I’m rarely able to watch NBC shows – or any shows, for that matter – live. So what’s a girl to do?


Watch NBC Shows with TVEverywhere

I’ll tell you what I do. I use TVEverywhere. Here’s the thing about television for me. I love it, but I’m rarely around when any of my favorite shows are on. That’s where TVEverywhere comes in. It’s not your cable on demand. TVEverywhere is another way to watch NBC shows that I love on my computer or laptop. Continue reading »

Nov 192015

Copycat Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Recipe

I don’t know about you, but the Olive Garden is one of my favorite places to go out to eat. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like packing up the family and traipsing out. Do you remember all the rotten snow we had here in Massachusetts last winter? I am hoping we don’t have a repeat this year, but I am prepared in case we get snowed in a lot this year, too. Luckily, there are some really good copy cat recipes out there, so you can have your Olive Garden favorites right at home. I happen to love their Pasta e Fagioli Soup and it’s so easy to make at home, which means I can  have it any time I like.


  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 large Carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery Stalks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 14oz/400g can of chopped tomatoes or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 quart/400ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Cans Cannellini Beans
  • 1 (3-inch) piece Parmesan rind (optional, but if you
  • can get a hold of it, it adds a lot of flavor).
  • 1¼ cups/125g Small Pasta (ie – Small shells or ditalini)
  • A couple of good handfuls of Flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

Continue reading »

Nov 182015

Are your kids full of excuses when it comes to going to bed?  My oldest has always been pretty good about going to bed, but my little guy on the other hand is full of reasons why he can’t just close his eyes and go to sleep. The thing is, I used those same excuses back in the day, in fact I think I invented the art of bedtime stalling, but now that I’m the mom, by 8 pm I am just too tired to argue with him.


Here are just a few of the excuses he’s given us as to why he can’t go to bed:

  • I just slept yesterday
  • I want to stay up to watch the moon
  • I’m afraid there’s a monster in my closet.
  • I just don’t feel safe
  • I need a drink
  • I have to pee (even though he just went 5 minutes before)
  • I don’t like my pajamas
  • My feet are hot/cold
  • I need a tissue
  • I need another blanket
  • There is a dog barking loudly outside

Continue reading »

Nov 182015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiftingAMemory #CollectiveBias

Special Delivery From the North Pole Printable Gift Tag

If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ve seen this photo before. If you’re new, meet my family.

my family at Taras wedding

In the photo, I am pictured with my bother, sister and my parents. The picture was taken the day that my sister got married (a little over two years ago) and it’s the most recent photo of the five of us together.

What you don’t know about this photo is that it took a lot of work to get my mom over to the spot where we took this photo.  At the time, you would never see her go anywhere without her cane, but as you can see in the photo above – she doesn’t have it.  It took two people holding her arms to help her walk to where she stood for the picture. Continue reading »

Nov 162015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendHallmark #CollectiveBias

No Bake Peppermint Bark Recipe

Christmas will be here before we know it and I could not be happier about it.  I love this time of the year. The food, the family, the presents, the decorations – I love all of it. One tradition that I look forward to every year is cutting down our Christmas tree and spending the afternoon decorating it.  While decorating the tree itself is fun, I always like to make something special for my family to munch on while we trim the tree.  One of my family’s favorites is my famous No Bake Peppermint Bark and I hope you like it as much as my family does.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of white chocolate chips or Baker cubes (2 boxes)
  • Candy canes

Continue reading »

Nov 152015

Olaf Snow Slime with Printable

Do you have a little one who’s absolutely in love with Frozen?  I have two little nieces that are utterly obsessed with Elsa, Anna and especially Olaf.  I thought it would be fun to make them something inspired by their favorite character from the movie, Olaf. This snow slime is super easy to make and will (hopefully) keep the kids amused for hours.

Here’s what you need:

  • Borax
  • 2 bottles of white school glue
  • water
  • glitter
  • 2 bowls

Continue reading »

Nov 122015

10 Amazing Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes

Now that the cold weather has arrived, what’s  better than some good old comfort food.  I don’t know about you, but a grilled cheese sandwich is one of my go-to’s when it comes to comfort food.  Sometimes I like my grilled cheese with a twist and these 10 Amazing Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes have some of the best twists I’ve ever seen.

1. Broccoli Pesto Mushroom Grilled Cheese

Broccoli Pesto Mushroom Grilled Cheese­pesto­mushroom­grilled­cheese/ Continue reading »

Nov 112015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #loveandprotect #CollectiveBias

I'd Be Completely Lost Without My Husband

My wise Nana once told me that family is where life begins and love never ends.  That’s a saying that has always stuck with me and my family is the single most important thing in the world to me.   Having a group of people that love each other no matter what is everything in life.  With all the things going on out in the world, it’s nice to have a place where the is absolutely no judgement.  And having people, especially my other half, to rely on is priceless.  That’s why good life insurance, like the one offered from Protective Life, is so important.

That’s one of the reasons that I am obsessed with in love with the YouTube sensations, the Holderness Family.  You know them from their hilarious videos, but one of the reasons I love them so much is that they remind me how much families truly do depend on each other to get through daily life. Not to mention, they are fun!

The Holderness family was actually partially responsible for inspiring our family Christmas card last year. Continue reading »

Nov 092015

Created as a way to offer fashion savvy customers trendy bags that won’t break the bank, Olivia + Joy represents the hottest handbags and accessory styles of the moment. They deliver the right trend at exactly the right moment. Pretty, sexy and edgy all at the same time, Olivia + Joy offers studs and chains as well as ruffles and bows with a new twist. The collection features color palettes that vary from black and white for the rocker girl to muted pastels for the girly girl. The line also includes all of the newest twists on well-known silhouettes, such as convertible mini bags with removable straps that turn into a clutch, and much more!


The Zap Zoom Tote from the Olivia + Joy collection is the perfect example of the stylish and cute options to choose from in the collection. Priced at just $98 it’s a steal for a fraction of the price that other trendy bags go for in big boutiques, so, you’ll be able to look and feel fabulous without having to clean out your bank account. Continue reading »

Nov 082015

Pumpkin Sugar Scrub

I love, love, love homemade sugar scrubs!  The options are endless when you make your own, but since it’s fall, this Pumpkin Sugar Scrub is sure to be a crowd pleaser – or an awesome hostess gift at the very least.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 Cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice ( liquid)
  • 1 drop red food coloring (optional)
  • 1 drop yellow food coloring (optional)

Continue reading »

Nov 052015

Last week I had the chance to dine at a wonderful restaurant on Cape Cod.  Located in the heart of downtown Falmouth, the Bear in Boots GastroPub was nothing short of delightful and I can’t wait to tell you how much I loved it.

If you’re wondering where the name Bear in Boots came from, there’s a really sweet story behind it. Wife and Husband duo, Kate and Gates Rickard, named the restaurant after their three children, who are affectionately known to their parents as Boots, Bear, and Squirrel. Although their youngest daughter’s nickname didn’t make it into the name of the restaurant, when you eat at Bear and Boots you will surely notice the strategically placed squirrel decorations.


I dined with three other local bloggers the night we went and the four of us were treated to a nice variety of menu items that were all prepared by Chef Joseph Ellia. Joseph spent some time with us talking about the practices at the restaurant and how many of the dishes were prepared.

**Disclosure: Although all the food I ate that day was complimentary, as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Each night Bear in Boots offers specials in addition to their regular menu. One of the things off of the specials menu that we tried were these wonderful potato pierogies with house-made dry aged saucisson sec.  Oh, they were so good. Continue reading »

Nov 042015

I had been wanting to visit Savannah for many, many years.  Aside from the southern charm and of course the infamous southern cooking, I knew that the paranormal activity in Savannah was high – and I love that kind of stuff.  When I found out that my stepson was going to be graduating from Army boot camp at Fort Jackson, SC, the first thing I did was google how far it was from Savannah. Imagine how excited I was when I saw that it was only about two hours!  Score.

There were so many things that I loved about Savannah. So. Many. Things!  Here is a recap of my personal favorites:

1. The ghost tours!

If you’re a regular around here, you may have already read about my experiences on a few of the ghost tours that Chris and I went on. While we were there, Chris and I went four different ghost tours.  Two of them were trolley tours and the other two were walking tours. We heard a couple of the same stories on the tours, but since Savannah is so haunted, we heard different tales on each tour.


I love learning about the history of new places as well as searching for signs along the way that the other side actually does exist.  Chris and I spent three days in total down in Savannah and sadly, we saw no paranormal activity – although, I will swear on a stack of bibles that our room at the Savannah Bed & Breakfast Inn was haunted.  There was a closet door that popped open a few times, we heard several weird thumps and my phone battery drained inexplicably more than once.  I just couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was breathing down the back of my neck whenever we were in our room. Continue reading »

Nov 032015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HorizonLunch #CollectiveBias

5 Tips for Teaching Kids to Enjoy Reading

Reading is one of those “things” that kids either seem to enjoy or dislike. Luckily in my case, both of my boys truly enjoy reading, but I know that’s not the case with every child. Even if your child seems to dislike reading, there are things you can do to get your child to actually enjoy it instead.

#1. Try Community Reading Programs

Sometimes just reading for your own sake isn’t enough. Kids want to be recognized for their hard work and determination. Community reading programs are perfect for helping kids get excited about reading and making it more enjoyable. During these programs, kids get rewarded for the amount of hours they read… It’s pretty exciting!

#2. Try Reading Together

Sometimes adding a little bit of fun in with reading makes it more enjoyable. Parents, read with your children to spruce up the idea of reading. Spend time talking about the book and even using goofy voices while reading. Take the time to teach your child about how high or low inflections in their reading voice can add a little spin to their reading fun. Continue reading »

Nov 022015

Tavern on the Wharf opened in early June and is already taking Plymouth by storm. Located on the town wharf, when you dine there you are are guaranteed amazing views of historic Plymouth Harbor – seriously, you can see it from every seat in the restaurant.  What makes dining at Tavern on the Wharf really spectacular is that all of their food is fresh and the majority of it is sourced locally.  Much of their seafood comes right from Plymouth Harbor.

Tavern on the Wharf is both casual and classy at the same time. With very reasonable prices, Tavern on the Wharf really is the perfect restaurant for any occasion including date night or just a night out with the family.  The menu was created by Chef John Sheehan, and there is something for everyone on there. John may be young, but he brings lots of experience and fresh ideas to this restaurant.

Last week I met up with three of my fellow bloggers for lunch at Tavern on the Wharf and we were not only treated to a wonderful meal, but got a chance to spend some time with with the chef and were given the opportunity to tour the restaurant and see some of the behind the scenes happenings.

**Disclosure: Although all the food I ate that day was complimentary, as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Tavern on the Wharf1

Tavern on the Wharf’s menu selections include many seafood dishes, in addition to salads, burgers, steak, pizza and much more.  I was truly impressed by the variety of dishes on the menu. Continue reading »

Nov 012015

5 Insider Tips For Viewing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 1

Did you know that over 3 million people head to New York City to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person each year.  Like every one else, I love watching it on television every year, but actually going to NYC to see it live had been on my bucket list for many years.  Since we’re only a few hours from NYC, last year my hubby, Chris and I headed down to Manhattan to see the parade.  Before we went down, I did my research and wanted to pass on my best tips for surviving the experience to you guys.


1. Know the parade route!

This is going to help you in a few ways.  First of all, I highly suggest you plan where you want to view the parade from ahead of time, so obviously you will need to know which way the parade goes. Plus, that way you can tell your cab driver exactly where to drop you off at when you get there.  Secondly, if you are watching the parade from near the beginning of the route, you will not walk into the crowds still watching it when you leave. Continue reading »

Oct 292015

Savannah Movie Tour

Did you know that over 85 movies have been shot in Savannah since 1915, and 10 Academy Awards have gone to those films?  For the last 100 years, Hollywood has recognized Savannah to be the perfect backdrop for filming. From silent movies to the original Cape Fear (1962), The Longest Yard (1974), the TV miniseries Roots (1977),Glory (1989), Forrest Gump, Something To Talk About and Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil (1990’s) to The Conspirator and The Last Song (2009), plus the aptly named Savannah, filmed in 2011, are just a few.


While my husband, Chris, and I were in Savannah recently, we decided to take the Savannah Movie Tour.  The 90 minute narrated tour heads out on a luxury climate-controlled, twenty-four passenger minibus.   Along the way we visited many movie locations up close and view movie clips on LCD screens inside the minibus while passing the same locations.  Continue reading »

Oct 282015

Mini Travel Pouch For Kids

Over the weekend my family and I traveled to NYC by train to visit Comic Con! It takes us just over 2 hours by train for us to get to the city. I was worried about how to keep the kids occupied and reasonably quiet during the ride. I also do not like carrying a ton of stuff so I had to make sure I had all our essentials covered and that everything was light weight and portable.

Thankfully, my kids carry their own back packs. I knew we had a lot of walking ahead of us so I didn’t want to overload the packs. I packed a change of clothes and left enough room for an extra sweat shirt, some snacks and a mini activities pouch. I carried my own light weight pack filled with small snacks and my own essentials.

I knew after the initial excitement of the landscape whizzing by our train wore off the kids would start getting antsy. That’s when I planned to pull out these mini pouches filled with small, quiet activities and require only the power of their imagination. Continue reading »

Oct 272015

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey LEGENDS

I recently had the chance to take my family to the circus and it was the first time I had been to see it in about 30 years.  The last time I saw a Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey production was with my parents, brother and sister in Boston.  My brother was really little at the time (maybe 4 or 5) and at some point during the show a clown was shot out of a cannon.  The loud noise sent my poor little brother in to hysterics so badly, that we all actually ended up having to leave the show.  He just wouldn’t calm down until we left. But such is life, right?

Anyhow, when I found out that Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey LEGENDS was coming to the TD Garden in Boston, I was excited to take my kids.  I just knew that they would love the show and I was right.

circus 1

Disclosure:   My family received complimentary tickets to see LEGENDS from the folks at Feld Entertainment.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way. Continue reading »