May 222015
 

**Disclosure: Product was received at no charge in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

If your family deals with allergies, then you know how big of a pain it can be. The sniffling, sneezing, congestion and whatever else you’re dealing with can be just too much. My entire family has seasonal allergies, which means we all have to find a way to deal. Check out how our family deals with allergies.

House Cleaning Time

Yes, our house has forced hot air, which means tons of dust is always all over the house. Dust and seasonal allergies do not help the situation at all. We’ve found that doing basic cleaning on a daily basis helps our allergies a ton. We vacuum and dust as we can to help eliminate the extra particles floating around.

We Use the Airfree Onix 3000 Mobile Home Air Purifier Sanitizer Unit System

air purifier1

When you have allergies, like my family does, you have to be proactive about it. Which is why the Airfree Onix 3000 Mobile Home Air Purifier Sanitizer Unit System has become a permanent fixture in our home. Here are some of the main reasons we love this air purifier: Continue reading »

May 212015
 

Families. We’ve all got one, but these days they’re starting to look less like The Cleavers. Am I right? The once traditional “nuclear” family has evolved into a kaleidoscope of possibilities.  Start with parents (maybe two dads, a single mom, or a stay at home dad…), add a dash of half/step/full/adopted siblings, a side of grandparents, a pinch of aunts, uncles, cousins, a splash of pets, topped off with close friends (and all the combinations thereof). Now you’ve got a modern family — each uniquely quirky — yet picture perfect in its own way.

Most of you already know this, but my family is blended.  I am divorced from my boys father & when I married Christian five years ago, I gained a bonus son (who actually just turned 18 and is heading off to college in September).  We have lots of great memories as a family unit and it makes my heart happy that everyone in the house gets along.  For the most part…..

The five of us may not have been together for that long, but we have some awesome memories together. Sometimes we even get a little silly, and those are my favorite times.

zombie family photo

Speaking of blended families, Grace and Frankie, Netflix’s new funny and fearless original comedy featuring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, is a perfect example of how today’s families can shift, rearrange and blend in unexpected ways. When Grace and Frankie’s husbands leave them after 20 years of marriage—to be with each other—the women find themselves facing a change that they never expected, but they shift their perspective to get through it together with the support of their new blended family and, of course, a sense of humor. Continue reading »

May 202015
 

5 Ways to Celebrate Dad This Father's Day Without Breaking the Bank! Need an idea? Maybe two? Check out this great list of 5 easy, budget friendly from the heart ideas! - massholemommy.comYep! It’s already time to discuss Father’s Day! It’s right around the corner.

I have a hard time figuring out what to get my husband for Father’s Day. He’s picky, but also doesn’t use much so it’s hard to figure out just what to get him!

Here are 5 Ways to Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day Without Breaking the Bank:

Homemade From the Heart:
Pictures are always a great way to the heart of dad. Recycle an old picture frame, print off a great photo of the kids and create or find a heartfelt saying to add to the frame. This can be displayed in his office, or living room and remind dad how much his minis truly do love and appreciate him!

Make him his Favorite dish With the kids:
Surprise him with his favorite dish. Main or dessert. Get the kids to help as much as possible, or even just supervise them doing it all! Take photos too! Continue reading »

May 192015
 

7 Best Food Finding Apps

Did you know that May was National Hamburger Month?  Consider yourself informed. Cheeseburgers are pretty much my favorite meal and although I have my favorite places (Wahlburgers), sometimes I like to try burgers from other places.  Ok,  that is a total lie. I am obsessed with Donnie Wahlberg Wahlburgers burgers, but since I am not all that close to the restaurant (it’s about 40 minutes from my house), I am forced to get my burger fix elsewhere on occasion.

Love me some Wahlburgers!

Love me some Wahlburgers!

There are lots of restaurants around my neck of the woods, but if I am not having a Wahlburger, chances are that I want to find someplace new to eat.  Or what if I happen to be away from my home turf — how the heck would I know what restaurants are good where ever I happen to be?  Today, I am going to solve that problem and tell you the 7 best apps I have come across to help you find whatever kind of food you’re looking for. Continue reading »

May 182015
 

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

Rescuing Milo Our Adoption Story

Almost since the time they could talk, my boys had been asking for a dog.  They were pretty consistent about it, too.  I would say that on average, at least one of them would ask me about getting a dog at least once a week.  Sometimes they would even double team me, which was even more fun.  After about five years of their persistent nagging reminders that they wanted a dog, I decided that it was time.

I wasn’t sure where to begin my search, but I knew one thing for sure – whatever dog we decided to make a part of our family, he or she had to be a rescue.  There are so many shelter animals out there in need of loving homes and there is no way I wasn’t going the adoption route.

So, I started searching for shelters in my area to see what the process was and what dogs were available.  Since my house isn’t all that big, I narrowed down my search to small dogs and before long, I found a picture of this cute little dog named Milo who looked like he’s fit right in with our family. Continue reading »

May 172015
 

5 Frugal Travel Tips for Families

If you think that family travel has to cost a fortune, you are wrong! While you may not be able to take a luxury, around the world vacation for $1000, there are plenty of ways to have a memorable, fun trip to a great destination without having to break the bank. It is possible with some planning. Here are some frugal tips for family travel that you can use to plan that vacation you have been putting off:

1.  Do your homework. The best way to spend too much on your trip is to impulsively pick a destination and accommodations. By doing some extra research you can find better deals, places you hadn’t thought of, and free or discounted activities you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

2.  Airfare is a major expense, and often a roadblock to distance travel.  However, there are ways to take the sting out of this expense. There are many websites that you can visit for the latest advice on “travel hacking” your way to anywhere in the world. Continue reading »

May 142015
 

11 Hidden Disney Secrets

Are you a self-proclaimed Disney nut? There are so many secrets and tips to learn that you could never know them all. Before your trip to Disney Land in California or Disney World in Orlando, brush up on your Disney knowledge.

1. There are two lanterns in the window of the Hall of Presidents. These lanterns reference Paul Revere’s Ride, a poem about how the revolutionaries lit two lanterns if the British came by sea.

2. Want a behind-the-scenes peek of the park? There are underground and backstage tours that you can book. You can even check out Epcot Gardens, where hybrid fruits and veggies are grown, some in the shape of Mickey Mouse.

3. Wonder how staff members and the Disney cast get around the park without being spotted? There are underground tunnels that they use to move between different areas of the park. Otherwise, characters from Tomorrowland would have to pass through Frontier Land!

4. There are Smellitizers throughout Disney, which are machines that emit smells that are perfect for the specific area. For example, Main Street always smells like vanilla and baked cookies. The Pirates of the Caribbean line always smells salty, like water. Continue reading »

May 132015
 

I received compensation from Recovery Unplugged for this sponsored post, any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience.

Drug addiction and Alcoholism.  Chances are that you have personally known someone that has been affected by one or the other.  I have a close family member who has struggled on and off with heroin addiction for years. That someone is my brother and I am happy to say that he have been clean for four years now, but there were a lot of ups and downs along the way.

The thing is, when someone close to you is an addict, it affects everyone around them – and one thing I learned, the hard way, is that if an addict doesn’t want help then rehab will not work. Sure, it might work for a while, but if they are not ready to tackle their addiction, there is a chance that they will slip back into their old habits.   I am speaking from experience here.  My brother was in and out of rehab facilities several times before he decided that he finally wanted to get clean and stay clean.  And that’s when rehab finally worked for him.

recovery-unplugged-logo

But when they are ready, the first step to recovery is going to a drug treatment center. Did you know that using music can be a catalyst to break down defenses to help facilitate, motivate and inspire the change necessary for long-term recovery and sobriety?  Recovery Unplugged can be an amazing experience for addicts who are afraid to go into rehab!  And for the families affected, how awesome would it be to see our loved ones replace the drugs or alcohol with music? Continue reading »

May 122015
 

I received compensation from McDonald’s in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions my own.

A few weeks back, I was invited, along with a few other area bloggers, to an exclusive behind-the-counter look at McDonald’s food quality.  At the “Open Door Tour” event,  I was given an in-depth restaurant and kitchen tour, a food demonstration, and had a chance to hear John Cisna, McDonald’s Brand Ambassador speak about making nutrition-minded food choices at McDonald’s and the importance of choosing balanced meals (he’s got a great story, too, so stay tuned).

mcdonalds1

I have to admit that I was really excited when I got this invitation.  I have never worked in the fast food industry, so I was really looking forward to seeing some of the behind the scenes kitchen operations.  On the tour, we spent some time at the McCafe station learning about the coffee, how they make their beverages and a few of my fellow bloggers got the chance to make their own smoothies.

Here’s a fun fact that I learned that day – did you know that once the bag of coffee is opened, it only has a 30 minute shelf life?  So when you get your coffee at McDonald’s, you can be guaranteed that it’s fresh.

We also got to see the grill area, the assembly line and a few of the employees exhibited how they use fresh ingredients when preparing menu items in a few food demonstrations. All of their produce and eggs are purchased locally and are the freshest of the fresh. Continue reading »

May 112015
 

Easy Root Beer Float Cupcakes Recipe

It’s been a busy year for us as far as celebrations and milestones go. My husband celebrated the big 4-0 in January, my little guy just got his First Communion and my step-son will be graduating high school next month.  It seems like it has been one party after another and there are still a few events worth celebrating coming up this summer.  And what’s a celebration without cupcakes?  These Root Beer Float cupcakes will blow your guests minds at your next party!

Here’s What you Need:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 C all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t fine salt
1 1/2 C granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 C whole milk
1/2 Cup Mug Root Beer Continue reading »

May 102015
 

Spy Museum DC

**Disclosure: My family received complimentary admission to the museum in exchange for a review of our experience at the museum.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way*

Many of you know that my family recently visited Washington DC.  I am a planner and had our agenda planned out well in advance of our trip.  I spent a lot of time in DC when I was growing up, but my boys had never been, so I wanted them to give them a chance to experience DC.  One place that I had heard of, but had never been was the International Spy Museum, so I made sure that I included that in our trip itinerary.  I had a feeling that my boys would love it.

I was right.

If you have kids, trust me, you will want to include the International Spy Museum in your Washington DC itinerary, too. We absolutely LOVED it.  In Washington, DC, many of the museums are free, but this one is a paid-entry museum. Don’t let that deter you though – it’s absolutely worth the price of admission!

international spy museum DC

The International Spy Museum is one of the most interactive we have ever been to & my family was entertained the entire time we were there. Continue reading »

May 082015
 

**This post is sponsored by Breathe NH, but as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way*

If you know anything about me, you know that my family is always on the go.  I love taking them new places and exposing my boys to as many new experiences as possible.  I love spending time with them learning new things and creating memories that will last them a lifetime.

NH Fun Pass 2015

Since we are out and about so much, I am excited to tell you about The 2015 Fun Pass discount coupon book.  Every year this book is sold by Breathe New Hampshire as a fundraiser and it includes exclusive discount coupons to over 100 New England attractions (many of the discounts are buy one-get one admissions). Here are a few of the attractions that are included in the 2015 book: Continue reading »

May 072015
 

**This post is sponsored by Safety 1st, but as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

safety1stpopupstoreeventbritefinal-1

Today I am very excited to tell you all about the ever first Safety 1st pop-up shop, right here in Boston! The event is coming next week, May 14-17 and will be held at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, next to the Make Way for Ducklings store!  You will be able to touch, feel and try out all of the latest and greatest baby products including the Step and Go Travel System, the easiest stroller you will ever open! Continue reading »

May 062015
 

This post is sponsored by Unilever, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

Unilever

My shower is filled with bottles.  Body washes, shampoos, conditioners, bubble bath and various lotions. As I write this, there are probably at least 15 bottles in each of my two bathrooms.  I am not over exaggerating, either.  My husband and I each use different body washes and different shampoos.  He doesn’t use conditioner, but I do and I have two bottles of it in one of my bathrooms. Oh, and then there are the kids shampoos and body washes.

You get the picture, we have a lot of bottles in the shower and don’t even get me started about all the stuff that’s in my bathroom cabinet.  I have more beauty supplies than the drug store probably even carries.

So, what’s the take away here?  That being clean and looking good are important to us in our family.

But did you ever stop and think about all the bottles of “stuff” you go through in a week? Me, neither.  And I am a little embarrassed to even admit this, we kind of stink at recycling in our house.  We do recycle, but I know there are things that slip through the cracks so to speak. Continue reading »

May 052015
 

DC Ducks Tour

**Disclosure:  My family received tickets for the DC Ducks Tour at no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Have you ever dreamed of going for a ride in an original WW II DUKW amphibious vehicle? You can. The DC Ducks Tour is a really fun way to get a quick tour of DC and ride in a Duck boat at the same time. The Ducks were originally built as amphibious military personnel carriers immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1942 and in case you are still confused, the Ducks can ride on land and water.

DC Duck Tours Boat

The tour, which leaves from Union Station, lasts about 90 minutes, but ours ran a little over because of traffic. The tour guide was great, too.  He was full of knowledge. He told us about everything we were passing as we drove around, along with some fun facts and trivia along the way. Continue reading »

May 042015
 

**Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Famous Footwear, but my love of shoes is all my own.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Did you know that Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend. That’s right, it’s this Sunday.  If the moms in your life are obsessed with new shoes (and aren’t we all), you might want to consider making a stop at Famous Footwear to pick up mom something for her special day.

They have such a broad selection of styles, it would be hard to narrow it down to just one pair, but let me see if I can help.

They have the cutest flats.  You can get pretty much any color your heart desires, but aren’t these Zigi Soho one’s adorable  And right now they are only $29.99.

famous footwear flats

If wedges are more her style, Famous Footwear has tons to choose from.  I happen to love these ones by Fergalicious: Continue reading »

May 032015
 

DIY Homemade Bug Spray

Here in New England, the majority of our year is cold.  We get spring for a few weeks in May and then it goes right into summer for the months of June, July and August.  By mid-September, the weather is already starting to cool off again.  After the brutal winter we had here in Boston this past year, I couldn’t be happier that the warm weather is finally starting to make its way up here.

I am totally a summer girl, too.  I love everything about it.  As someone who is always cold, I am all for the heat.   There’s one thing I hate, hate, hate about the warm weather, though.  Bugs.  I am such a scaredy cat when it comes to bugs and if I see one in my house, I will stand there and scream until my husband comes running with a tissue to kill it.  Of course, that doesn’t work out so well for me when I am home alone, but I digress.

I live in a woodsy area, so there is really nothing I can do about the bugs except try to repel them as much as humanly possible.  The thing I don’t like about most bug repellents that you buy at the store is that they are filled with harmful chemicals. With two little boys and a dog running around the house, I can’t be spraying chemicals everywhere. That forced me to look for a more natural solution and today I am going to share it with you.  It’s super easy to make and it smells awesome, so you won’t mind spraying it around the house or on yourself. Continue reading »

Apr 302015
 

10 Perfect Foods for Snacking on Road Trips

If there are two things I love in this world it would be road trips and snacking. When it’s time for us to head on a road trip I have to pack my favorite snacks. Of course, I can’t forget the kiddos favorite snacks either. Speaking of road trips, my family just got back from a big road trip last weekend (an 8 hour drive each way to and from Washington DC), so I spent a few days rounding up everything that we like to munch on before we left for our trip. I have found that the following ten foods (and beverages) are perfect for snacking on road trips. Your vehicle may not like you, but your family will love you.

1. Nuts – if you do not have any allergies in your family, then nuts make the perfect snack food for traveling. I like to make a variety trail mix for our road trips that often includes nuts.
2. Berries – I love junk food no doubt, but I’ve also found that berries tend to be a great snack for road trips. The more added sugar I eat while traveling, the worse I feel, which is why I choose to eat something healthy like berries.
3. Cereal – if you want something quick and easy for a road trip, then consider cereal. Cheerios, Trix, Berry Crunch, and all of those yummy cereals make a perfect crunchy snack for the road.
4. Veggies – I love taking veggies with us when we travel. I’ll buy a huge bag of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower and make pre packaged veggie bags. We love ranch so I also buy those little ranch packs to bring with us to help make the veggies a little more flavorful. Continue reading »

Apr 292015
 

grocery shopping with little kidsGrocery shopping is not at the top of my list of happy places. But, I like to eat so therefore I must go grocery shopping. How I’ve grocery shopped has significantly changed since having kids. I have used grocery delivery services, shopped under cover of darkness, taken only one kid with me, and even tried shopping as a family. Now I just take them both with me.

I was terrified taking twins shopping by myself. I have heard so many horror stories of moms bailing on a cart full of groceries and everyone leaving in tears. I see so many kids throwing themselves on the floor screaming because mom said “no” to a precious, life affirming toy they want. I did not want any of those things. So, I devised a plan and executed it with military like precision.

Here are 5 Tips for Shopping With Little Kids:

1. Keep their eyes on that prize. As soon as I found a store that gives kids balloons for free I completely used that to my advantage. The second we walk in I point to the balloons at the customer service counter and say, “see they only give out balloons to kids who aren’t screaming or crying. Do you want a balloon? Then we need to listen, follow directions and use our manners.” BOOM! Now if anyone so much as whimpers I hold that balloon idea hostage. Continue reading »

Apr 292015
 

**This post is sponsored post by Lunchbox, but as always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Have you ever wondered how Italy earned its reputation for creating world-class meals? The secret is actually quite simple: it starts with quality ingredients. With Bertolli, you can bring the taste of Tuscany right to your table. The Bertolli super premium sauce line has been specifically created to deliver an authentic Italian taste by including high-quality native ingredients, imported directly from Italy. Are you ready to take your cooking to the next level with help from these incredible sauces? I sure was.

I recently made this delicious Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Chicken Stuffed Mushroom Recipe with one of Bertolli’s sauces, “Imported Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Italy, paired with Caramelized Onions.” Check out the recipe here:

Photobucket
Are you curious to taste these sauces for yourself? I’ve got good news for you!

If you stop into participating Ahold stores between May 2nd and May 7th from 10am-4pm, you’ll have the chance to sample one of these Bertolli sauces with Johnsonville Sausages. Plus, not only will you get a taste of Tuscany, you’ll also receive a $1 Off coupon, immediately redeemable for Bertolli sauces. Find the nearest sampling event here: Continue reading »