Mar 272017
 

April Fools Day is coming up quick guys and I am already planning out some awesome April Fools Food Pranks to play on my boys.  Growing up, there was absolutely no pranking in parent’s house.  They didn’t go for that sort of thing, so my sister, brother and I behaved. Then I met my husband, Christian, and he happens to come from a family full of pranksters. Christian knows I am not a fan, so they rarely get played on me, but my boys are a whole other story.

The boys think pranks are the best thing ever and pretty much live for April Fools Day because that’s the only real day that they can get away with them without consequences. But what kind of a mom would I be if I didn’t play a few pranks back?  I have experimented over the years and have found that food pranks are the best way to go with my two. It gets them every time. If you want to try some food pranks of your own, take a peek at some of these links.  There is lots of good stuff in there. Continue reading »

Mar 272017
 

News flash – cookout season is coming! With the warm weather heading our way, most of us will be coming out of hibernation and that means cookouts, cookouts and more cookouts. We host plenty of them at our house and will get invited to equally as many over the course of the summer. Whenever I get invited to one, I always volunteer to bring my quick and easy Italian Pasta Salad.  It’s so easy to make and it’s always a hit.

Italian Pasta Salad

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 (12 ounce) box of pasta I used the Tri Color Rotini
  • 1 package of Pepperoni Minis (0r buy full size and cut into fours)
  • 1 8-ounce mozzarella
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 can of sliced black olives
  • 2-3 tomatoes (or buy the grape tomatoes and cut in half)
  • 1 bottle of Italian dressing (we like Wishbone brand)

Continue reading »

Mar 262017
 

Confession: I have more broken crayon bits in my house than actual whole crayons. It goes something like this – We get a new pack of crayons, the kids use them once or twice, 2/3 of them break and all of those broken pieces end up somewhere in the abyss. And because apparently no one in my family knows how to clean up after themselves, I would end up finding these little crayon pieces all over the place and at some point I decided that enough was enough.  I grabbed an old shoe box and started putting all the broken crayons I came across in there….and there they have sat, collecting dust, for several years.

I was at the store recently and found a really cute bunny mold. I thought it would be super cute to make new crayons out of and that’s exactly what I did. I took out the box of old crayons and got to work making some bunny crayons with the kids. It’s a fun Easter activity to do with the kids and they seriously could not be easier to make!

Continue reading »

Mar 222017
 

There are tons of obvious things for travelers and tourists to do in Washington DC. They will be wonderful and exciting and they will also be packed full of tourists and kind of boring after a trip or two. On your next trip to Washington DC instead of making a beeline to the usual hotspots consider a detour through some of these hidden gems in DC. Sometimes the most fun and interesting experiences in any city are off the beaten path, unknown locations full of potential and stories! Happy Exploring!

Hidden Gems in Washington DC

Secret Singing Gardens
Okay so the gardens don’t actually sing but they do play some awesome music! On your next trip to Washington DC this hidden gem is sure to ignite your inner sense of childlike wonder. Technically it’s called a “soundscape” but the combination of the music being piped through the underwater speakers, bouncing off the outdoor auditorium type seating creates the ultimate in musical experiences. Not only can you experience the awesome audio entertainment of the Lover’s Lane Pool, you can also explore all of the gardens! In spring and summer the gardens are truly magical experience! Check out the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens the next time you are in DC. Continue reading »

Mar 212017
 

Spring cleaning is one of the only things that stands between you and an amazing spring. Ok, maybe it won’t ruin your whole season, but if you are anything like me, you dread it all year long and procrastinate as much as humanly possible. The reason spring cleaning is so daunting is because it’s a lot more than just the regular day to day (or weekly) cleaning – it’s a whole lot of work. To be honest, for a lot of us starting our spring cleaning takes a quite a bit of motivation. Today I am going to share some of the ways I motivate myself to get started with my spring cleaning and hope it helps you, too.

Inspiration

The first step to motivation before anything else is to be inspired, if you have no inspiration then you will ultimately end up like me – being lazy and skipping an entire year or two.  So go out and buy some of those home decor magazines you always avoid and throw that “my house will never look this good” attitude right out the door. Sure you may not financially be able to buy all that spendy decor, but trust me when I say it’ll give you some great ideas on how decorate your house in a way that perfectly fits your personality once you are done with the deep cleaning.  I also like to call this one “the reward system”. Once you’re done cleaning, reward yourself with a little shopping spree to liven up your living space a little bit. Continue reading »

Mar 202017
 

In case you hadn’t noticed, experience gifts seem to be all the rage these days. In case you don’t know what an experience gift is, it’s just what it sounds like – it’s an experience. Think things like taking a flying lesson, white water rafting or even taking a cooking lesson. When it comes down to getting gifts for that hard to buy for person in your life, an experience is definitely the way to go.  I always say that life is about making new memories and an experience gift is a great way to do that.

Cloud 9 Living offers a whole range of experience gifts starting at just $50! Pick something you’ve always wanted to do or give someone a gift they’ll never forget! From stock car racing to couples massages to zip lining, Cloud 9 Living offers 2,000 Experiences in 51 Cities.

As many of you already know, I lost my mom last month and now that all the hubbub is starting to wind down, I thought it would be fun to grab my dad and sister for a fun adventure.  After the last six weeks, we all really needed it. And yes, I do have a brother, too, but he has a new baby at home, so I figured he could go next time. You know, when he’s able to get a good nights sleep and can enjoy it a little more. Continue reading »

Mar 192017
 

I end up volunteering to bring desserts a lot when we have family dinners because I know that I can whip up a bark recipe and everyone will be really happy to see me walk in the door with it. Actually, a lot of people request it and when there is a holiday coming up, I try to get as festive as possible. This Jellybean Bark that I came up with for Easter dinner fits the festive bill and if your family is anything like mine, it will go like hot cakes. Plus it’s super easy to make and the best part is that you only need a few ingredients to make it.

If you signed up to bring dessert to Easter dinner this year, why not make this Jellybean Bark?

Jellybean Bark

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups white candy melts
  • Jellybeans
  • Easter sprinkles
  • Edible Easter grass

You will also need:
Continue reading »

Mar 152017
 

How to keep your kids entertained during school breaks can be a little rough. Those long breaks – winter holidays, spring breaks, and then summer break can be a lot. At first your kids might love the freedom, but over time find themselves being bored more often and getting frustrated! If you are looking for ways to keep your kids entertained, you might find some of these ideas below helpful. Granted depending on your child’s age will depend what fits there needs! But, hopefully a few of these might save you from a day of, “I have nothing to do, I am so bored!”

Ways to Entertain Kids During School Breaks 

Arts and Crafts: Thanks to the world of Pinterest you can always find fun arts and crafts to do. From making bird feeders with old toilet paper rolls to making salt crystals. You can find fun art projects for kids of all ages. Plus a lot of them can be very inexpensive, but keep your child busy for hours! So search out DIY crafts and see what fun ideas you find. 

Scavenger Hunt: This can be a lot of fun, create a scavenger hunt. Create a list of items they will have to go on a hunt to find. This can be one of their favorite toys, some kitchen utensils, the sky is the limit here. Then at the end you can have a surprise like a cookie or even a cheap dollar toy from the dollar store. They will love doing it!  Continue reading »

Mar 142017
 

When I was a kid, as soon as I got home from school there was always a snack there waiting for me.  My mom loved to bake and nine times out of ten, my after-school snack was a delicious homemade treat.  Now that I am the mom, I like to do the same for my boys and I get especially giddy when there’s a holiday coming up because that means I can make fun themed treats for them.

There’s no shortage of St. Patrick’s Day treat recipes out there, but I found quite a few good ones and have a nice collection of them for you here today. I am going to make it my mission to make everything on this list for my boys. And for the record, I’m making all of the ones that use Lucky Charms as one of the ingredients first because that is just plain awesome.

St. Patrick’s Day Desserts and Treats:

Gold Coins
http://www.lovethispic.com/image/242751/use-edible-gold-to-spray-on-oreos-to-make-gold-coins-on-st-patricks-day

St Patrick’s Day Oreos
http://happybrownhouse.com/st-patricks-day-oreos/#_a5y_p=5071250

Lucky Charm Munch
http://deliciouslysprinkled.com/lucky-charms-munch/

Cake Batter Brownies
http://www.bostongirlbakes.com/2015/03/04/cake-batter-blondies-2/

Shamrock Parfait
http://merlotmommy.com/st-patricks-day-parfaits/?utm_content=bufferfaf10&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer Continue reading »

Mar 142017
 

Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park and whenever I tell my boys we are going there, their faces light up. They love it because it’s fun, but I love it because it’s fun fitness disguised as family entertainment!

Sky Zone Kingston offers great activities such as Freestyle Jump, a SkySlam basketball dunking court, GLOW (all ages), Ultimate Dodgeball, a Foam Zone, and a Toddler Court for kids walking to 4 years old. We also offer a full schedule of SkyFit classes, Toddler Time, a special abilities low-sensory jump, and more. But did you know that you can have your child’s birthday party at Sky Zone?

Their goal is to make your party as easy and seamless as possible so you and your guests can focus on fun – and not have to worry about set up/clean up. Sky Zone offers a standard package (see below), but every party is completely customizable to your requirements. It is your party, after all! Continue reading »

Mar 132017
 

There is more to meal planning than cooking and freezing. There are certain things you can do before you start meal planning that will help you become more efficient in the kitchen. This guide is going to take you from overwhelmed at the grocery store to organized with a plan. The goal is to save money when you shop while enjoying healthier and more delicious food.

Pick a day. Before you start with your grand plan, pick a day that works for your family for meal prep. This would require clipping coupons if you do so, reading the sale circulars, making a list, and shopping. When you return home, instead of quickly putting groceries away, you can start formulating your meals into freezer bags and containers.

The truth is that meal prep can become over stressful over time, and you may just give up. Don’t let a setback make you quit. Write it down, shop in the early or late hours of the day to avoid crowds, and use the internet to help you track lists and recipes. Continue reading »

Mar 122017
 

I found myself babysitting some little ones recently and since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, I wanted to make a fun craft with them. We ended up making this Felt Clover Craft and the girls were so happy with them when we were done. This craft is pretty easy to make and with a little help from a grownup, real little ones can do most of it by themselves.

Felt Clover Craft

Here’s what you need:

  • Green felt
  • Green craft paying
  • Paint brush
  • Threaded needle
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue/hot glue gun

Here’s what you do:
1. Cut out 4 identical (or as close as you can get) hearts (about 1.5″X 1.5″) from your green felt. Continue reading »

Mar 082017
 

We all need time to ourselves, and what better way to spend it than in the company of friends? I’ve never been one who enjoys going to bars, and I am even less inclined to do so now that I’m older. Sure, a girl’s night out is fun occasionally, but it can get expensive. My friends are I prefer a girl’s night in; much cheaper and often a lot more fun! Here are some ideas for Girl’s Night In:

Pinterest Night– I’ve done this many times. The rule was that we each had to pick a Pinterest project (sometimes we worked on the same thing, other times we did different projects). We tried out some great food, some not-so-great foods, and made some cool stuff. We typically also had a bottle of wine, but that is optional. I know that my Pinterest page has over 5,000 pins, many of which I will never make, but I have tried more than a few out this way. Give it a try!

Craft Night– At one point I had a group of friends who were a crafty bunch. Some knitted, some crocheted, and some scrapbooked (I am a crocheter and a scrapbooker). We had snacks and drinks, and we always chatted the night away. We had many laughs on those nights. We made it a monthly event and rotated houses each month. Continue reading »

Mar 072017
 

If you haven’t seen the hype of Instant Pots around the internet, you are missing out! This nifty kitchen gadget can help you simplify your time in the kitchen. Instead of having a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and saute pan, you can have an Instant Pot! This tool handles many tasks that other appliances do just in one simple cooking option. If you are ready to make the switch to an Instant Pot, here is what you need to know.

Instant Pot Starter Guide

Just what exactly is PSI conversion? One of the questions that pressure cookers users have about Instant Pots is how to convert recipes to your Instant Pot. Pressure cookers have specific recipe instructions, and it is possible to convert those to the Instant Pot. This is perfect for your family, especially if you have children in your home and you are worried about having a pressure cooker.

PSI conversion may sound difficult, but it is pretty simple. Just remember that the typical pressure cooker works at 15 PSI while the Instant Pot works at 11. What does that mean for you? Converting the recipes will result in a longer cook time in the Instant Pot. Cook them for just a few extra minutes longer if the recipe is meatless. Continue reading »

Mar 062017
 

Many of you know that I volunteer in my son’s 3rd grade class. It’s one of the most rewarding things I do and I truly love spending time with all the kids. I am at the school two mornings a week and they are the highlight of my week.

My son is in a pretty small class (18 kids including my son), which makes it even better. If you’ve been around here for a while you know about our struggle to get him diagnosed with ADD, but once we did he got placed in an inclusion classroom – and it was one of the best things that’s ever happened to him. He’s having the best school year he’s ever had and a BIG part of that is his teacher, the classroom aide and the awesome kids in his class.

But I digress…..

On the days I go in to the school, I arrive about 9 am. When I get there the kids are usually working on their “morning work” which is either a math worksheet, a writing assignment or sometimes it’s a puzzle. The other day when I was there, the kids were working on a puzzle. It was a winter themed word scramble and as I was helping some of the kids figure out the words, I thought to myself “I should make one for St. Patrick’s Day”.

So that’s what I did. Continue reading »

Mar 052017
 

Truth be told, I am not big on eating breakfast. Food doesn’t sit well with me until at least two hours after I wake up, so it’s hard for me to eat before 9 am.  I know it’s important to eat in the morning and that is where I developed my love of smoothies. Being a busy mom on the go, I can’t leave for the day without putting something in my tummy and smoothies are perfect because they are not overly heavy. One of my favorites is this healthy Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie.  It’s satisfying, filling and I love that it sticks with me all morning long so that my tummy isn’t rumbling around 11 am! How embarrassing. Plus smoothies are super easy to make, so you can whip one up in a jiffy and be out the door in no time.

Healthy Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

Serves: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes Continue reading »

Mar 012017
 

Creating and maintaining social media profiles matters when it comes to ensuring you keep your blog awesome and running smoothly. The most recent hottest place for bloggers to promote their content is Instagram. Many struggle with trying to find a way to grow their Instagram following though, and that’s why I have written this post today. I want to share 5 ways to grow your Instagram following so that you can succeed in having another social media platform that works to promote your content.

Play on Emotions

People love to have their emotions played with and no I don’t mean this in a bad way. Photos that you share on Instagram should hit an emotion of some sort so that people will click that little follow button and keep up with your Instagram account. People are usually driven to follow someone on Instagram if the following emotional responses are triggered:

  • Ability to relate to the photo and caption provided.
  • Desire to leave a comment with their opinion on the topic.
  • Compassion to follow you along on your journey.

While there are many emotions you can play on when it comes to human beings, be certain that you try your best to tug on the right emotions. If you want to grow your Instagram following then you need to play on positive emotions of empathy, compassion, happiness and memories. Continue reading »

Mar 012017
 

Okay, so I am new to this whole blogging thing ( BIG thanks to Robin for giving me a chance!!) and recently attended my first blogger event. It was for a chalkboard t-shirt company called Chalk Me Up! I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with the owner, Shelley Henshaw, and she is super nice and has such a great product.

Shelley developed the idea in 2011 when her son came home with a can of chalkboard spray paint and used it on his wall. Shelley thought it would be great if she could get it onto a t-shirt, and over the course of the next year tried every kind out there. In 2012, she finally hit the jackpot and found one that worked, and the rest is history. She is now in her 6th year of business and the t-shirts have been a huge success, particularly in her home market of New York/New Jersey. She wants to expand into New England (and all over, of course!) because she grew up here in Western MA.

These t-shirts are so cool! Each one comes with a free box of chalk (it works best when the chalk has been worn down a bit, though) and you decorate them any way you want. Want to change your picture? A damp cloth will wipe it away easily. They are machine washable and can be dried in the dryer, though the color of the shirt may fade, so air drying is best. They come in several designs: the talk bubble, heart, flower, T=Rex, shark, and a brontosaurus. She can even do custom orders (there may be an extra fee). Continue reading »

Feb 282017
 

As you probably know, Dr. Seuss’s birthday is coming up this week – on March 2nd to be exact. We are really big fans of his work in our house and read his books almost every night around here. We have every book he’s ever written, so we definitely have a lot of his books to keep us busy. Today I wanted to share a fun craft that I made recently that was inspired by Dr. Seuss and one of our favorite books of his: A Truffula Trees Fork Painting from The Lorax. We seriously love The Lorax and since it is one of our all time favorites, I couldn’t resist a fun craft inspired from that book in particular. These Truffula Trees are really easy to make and I think it’s a fitting tribute to the works of such a brilliant man.

Here’s what you need:

  • White paper
  • 2 Shades of each green, blue, and pink craft paints
  • Colorful paper straws
  • Plastic forks
  • Paper plate
  • Hot glue/hot glue gun

Here’s what you do: Continue reading »

Feb 262017
 

If you’re looking for an easy, fun snack idea for St. Patrick’s Day, this recipe for Leprechaun Bark aught to do it.  It’s colorful and has a great mix of flavors in every bite. My kids love when I make this for them and yours will, too. Leprechaun bark makes a great after-school snack or pack it up and save it for dessert after your boiled dinner on St. Patrick’s Day.  Either way, it’s sure to be a big hit.

Leprechaun Bark

Continue reading »