Dec 022016
 

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Cirque Dreams newest touring show is coming to Boston for the first time! Cirque Dreams Holidaze will be playing at the Citi Shubert Theatre December 9-11 for six performances ONLY!

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THIS IS A SHOW NOT TO BE MISSED…it’s a cirque show…Broadway musical…holiday spectacular…and family show all in one. From the creators of the groundbreaking Broadway hit Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, Cirque Dreams Holidaze is “so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil” according to the New York Daily News and “a delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleigh load.” The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle raves, “even the Grinch would be impressed with this Christmas wonderland.” “Stuffed with so much holiday cheer and audacious acts, Scrooge would exit with a big ol’ smile on his face,” hails the Erie Times News about this “Broadway-worthy spectacle.” “The perfect way to come in from the cold, forget the holiday stresses and find the magic of the season” proclaims The Oakland Press. Don’t miss this international sensation that “Dazzled…at The Kennedy Center” according to the Washington Post. Continue reading »

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Nov 302016
 

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Have you guys ever eaten at the Bonefish Grill?  If you’ve been around here for a while you know that the Bonefish Grill is one of my husband’s and mine favorite restaurants. The food at Bonefish Grill is delicious, the prices are very reasonable and I think that the Bonefish Grill is a great restaurant to stop into for a casual meal or a special night out.

At Bonefish Grill, they focus on every little detail of your experience, anticipate your needs, and provide personalized service that allows you to enjoy a delicious meal in a comfortable, vibrant atmosphere. Their menu is the envy of the seafood world and has taken the mystery out of fish. Full of fresh and innovative dishes, their menu specializes in seasonal fresh fish, and indulgent appetizers like our guest favorite, Bang Bang Shrimp. Dinner, Lunch, or Brunch, you know when you walk into Bonefish Grill you’ll find that they do it right, every single time.

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Continue reading »

Nov 292016
 

Do you remember what it was like to become an “adult” or turn 18 and what an exciting time that was? I know I do. It’s a time of exhilaration and uncertainty and it’s a time when teens may need family the most as they hit that next milestone in their life. Sadly though, many teens don’t have a family to help them make that transition. Every year 20,000 youth age out of the foster and adoption system. That’s 20,000 teens a year who don’t have someone to stand and cheer for them at graduation or help them move into a dorm room. Teens who age out of the foster care system face a number of struggles including homelessness and unemployment. Becoming an adult is difficult enough without having to go it alone.

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In the U.S. there are over 400,000 children in the foster care system and over 100,000 are available to be adopted. So often we think about young children when we think about adoption and foster care but there are so many children, from tweens to teens that are in need of a family. The majority of children are ages eight and older. Teens who have been adopted are more likely to finish high school and go on to college. Continue reading »

Nov 282016
 

Teaching your Children to Help Out Around the House

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Does it seem like your house is never clean, despite wasting your day away picking up? Chances are you have kids! Children tend to be messy, both when playing and even eating. It can be frustrating as a parent to be responsible for all this mess, especially if your children are getting older. Instead of following those kiddos around, constantly picking up their messes, try getting them involved in the cleaning process instead. Here are some great tips you can use to help teach your child to help out around the house.

One Toy Rule

Start with the one toy rule. Not sure how this rule works? Basically, each child gets to start with one toy to play with. It can be any toy in the house, but that’s the only toy they’re allowed to have out. Once they’re done playing with their toy, they need to put it away before they can grab something else to play with. This will help keep your house clean and toy-free so that there’s not an overwhelming mess by 9 am. Continue reading »

Nov 272016
 

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If you are a regular around here you already know that my youngest son was finally diagnosed with ADD earlier this year. It was a very long process and it truly felt like an uphill battle for a long time, but once we got confirmation of what we already knew – his dad and I fought hard to make sure he got all the help he needed.

We worked with the school and were happy that he qualified for an IEP (Individual Education Plan). Part of the plan was placing him in an inclusion classroom for this current school year. His teacher is ah-mazing and he’s got a wonderful teacher’s aide in the classroom for half of his day. He’s been working really, really hard and is making some huge progress this year thanks to the help of his teachers.  Obviously this makes my heart very happy.

Back in September at the school open house night, I met his teacher for the first time (although we had already emailed back and forth several times by then) and I asked her if she used parent volunteers in her classroom.  Surprisingly not all teachers do, but she was thrilled that I asked and I started volunteering a few mornings a week in her 3rd grade classroom the following week. I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me to be involved like this.  I am loving getting to know all the kids in the class and seeing what my son is up to during his school day, too.

The kids in my son’s classroom are awesome. They are seriously an awesome bunch of kids, so I want to bring them (and the two teachers) a treat.  These Santa Hat Cupcakes are perfect, right? I used a cake mix to make the cupcakes, so they were easy to whip up and come on – they are adorable, right?

Here’s what you need: Continue reading »

Nov 212016
 

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Sometimes, making a home-cooked meal from scratch with a main course and sides just isn’t possible because of time constraints. It doesn’t need to take hours of time and leave you with a sink full of dirty dishes to clean when the cooking process is complete. There are plenty of satisfying meals that you can create with just one pot or pan. Just toss the ingredients together and you’ll have a home-cooked meal that everyone in your family will love in no time!

Meal planning is much easier when you use the right tools to help you prep ahead of time. For these ideas, all you need is a cutting board, a few favorite spices, and your family’s favorite cuts of meat. We like to alternate between chicken, pork, beef, and simple pasta nights. One pot meals can be a staple of your meal plan, and they require little to no time freezing, defrosting, or other time-consuming tasks in the kitchen. Check out these simple ideas for one-pan or slow cooker meals.

Easy One Pot Meals For Your Family

Classic Chicken Dinner. Chicken and vegetables are a staple in just about every household. Usually it requires multiple pots and pans to prepare everything, but there is also an option for cooking everything in just one pan. Cook chicken breasts first, then wash out pan. Put the chicken back in with your other ingredients to cook the rest of the way.

For a classic one-pan chicken dinner, you can season the chicken, potatoes, and any veggies, such as carrots, you like in the pan with a packet of ranch seasoning mix. It’s a simple swap instead of mixing and matching spices from your pantry. Continue reading »

Nov 202016
 

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Thanksgiving dinner leftovers are as much of a tradition during the holiday, as, well, Thanksgiving dinner itself. You are no doubt going to be leaving the get-together, or loading up your own refrigerator if you happened to be the host, with containers full of food. You could just reheat those leftovers and recreate the initial meal experience but where is the fun in that? Get creative and turn that leftover bird into something entirely new for your post-Thanksgiving meal planning.

Turkey, especially when it comes pre-cooked for you, is versatile enough that it can be used in a number of quick, easy and healthy ways. Here are just a few ways you can turn those Thanksgiving leftovers into something new and tasty:

1. Taco Salad: Thanksgiving tacos? Of course, don’t be such a Puritan. A taco salad is a fun way to mix it up a little during the holidays. The turkey naturally has less fat than beef, so you are already cutting back on calories.

Just add lots of vegetables, such as lettuce, tomato, onions, and red peppers. Don’t go overboard with the cheese and substitute avocado instead of sour cream for a more nutritious alternative.

2. Turkey and Veggie Casserole: Want to reinvent your Thanksgiving leftover into something familiarly unique? Try making all those leftovers into a casserole. Mix those leftover vegetable like carrots, Brussels sprouts, and green beans with shredded turkey into a casserole dish with some mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice, and just a little bit of cheese on top. Continue reading »

Nov 162016
 

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Anyone that knows me in real life knows that I always have a bracelet on.  I seriously never leave the house without one (or a stack of them) around my wrist.  So imagine my excitement when I got an email from Rachel, the owner of Mama’s Linkz Jewelry asking if I wanted to check out one of her bracelets.

Uh, YES!

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Rachel creates jewelry specifically designed to remind us of the connections we share with those who give us strength, comfort and meaning in our lives. It’s through this simple reminder that this jewelry line taps into a powerful energy of healing, comfort and peace in which a loved one can connect with you anywhere in the world. On her site she has bracelets that are perfect for mothers, daughters, grandmother, aunts, fathers, sons….as you can see, she has something for everyone. Continue reading »

Nov 152016
 

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Whеn іt соmеѕ tо a ѕwеаtу wоrkоut, wе lоvе a wаtеr brеаk rеwаrd аѕ muсh аѕ thе nеxt fіtnеѕѕ fіеnd. But аѕ the mеrсurу rіѕеѕ, іt’ѕ mоrе іmроrtаnt thаn еvеr tо fосuѕ оn оur fluіdѕ аll day long. Aftеr аll, wаtеr іѕ thе mоѕt еѕѕеntіаl nutrient оur ѕуѕtеm nееdѕ.

While іt’ѕ truе a tаll glаѕѕ оf wаtеr іѕ the bеѕt knоwn wау tо ѕtау hуdrаtеd, thеrе are рlеntу оf аltеrnаtіvе орtіоnѕ іf уоu dоn’t lіkе thе tаѕtе оf tар оr couldn’t bе bоthеrеd wіth bоttlеd wаtеr. Surе, уоu саn іnfuѕе plain оle drіnkіng wаtеr wіth flаvоrful fruіtѕ lіkе lеmоnѕ аnd raspberries. But you саn аlѕо rеасh for ѕоmе оf thеѕе wаtеr-rісh fооdѕ аnd fluіdѕ that kеер thе H2O bаlаnсе juѕt rіght—аnd wоn’t requirе so mаnу trірѕ tо thе wаtеr сооlеr!

How to Stay Hydrated When You Hate Water

Eat It Up

Whо ѕауѕ уоu саn’t have уоur wаtеr—аnd еаt іt, tоо? Aссоrdіng tо thе Inѕtіtutе оf Mеdісіnе’ѕ rесоmmеndаtіоnѕ wе ѕhоuld еаt 20 реrсеnt оf оur dаіlу wаtеr іntаkе. Sоuр, yogurt and oatmeal аrе аll grеаt fluіd-fіllеd fооdѕ, but these ѕummеr-frіеndlу fruіtѕ аnd vеggіеѕ саn аlѕо hеlр wіth hуdrаtіоn. Nеxt tіmе уоu’rе fееlіng thіrѕtу, ріlе these on уоur рlаtе.

1. Wаtеrmеlоn

In the wоrld оf thіrѕt quenсhеrѕ, wаtеrmеlоn wеіghѕ іn аѕ a mаjоr соntеndеr. Based оn іtѕ nаmе, іt’ѕ nо ѕurрrіѕе thіѕ fruіt is mаdе up оf 92 реrсеnt wаtеr! But іtѕ ѕаlt, саlсіum аnd mаgnеѕіum іѕ whаt makes іt іdеаl fоr rеhуdrаtіоn, ассоrdіng to a 2009 ѕtudу аt thе Unіvеrѕіtу оf Abеrdееn Mеdісаl Sсhооl. Thе ѕummеrtіmе staple іѕ аlѕо a gооd ѕоurсе оf роtаѕѕіum, vіtаmіn A аnd vіtаmіn C. Continue reading »

Nov 142016
 

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Traveling in NYC with your family can be an experience of a lifetime…until it’s time to feed everyone. You can end up spending a small fortune on food that you kids won’t even pretend to enjoy, yet alone eat. Instead of arriving and feeling totally overwhelmed, check out some of these family friendly restaurants in NYC. They’re sure to help you enjoy not just the sights and sounds of the city but also the tastes!

Beacon
25 W. 56th Street
Beacon is awesome because the open fire grill can be viewed from the restaurant, their food is awesome for adults but they also serve kiddie fare (and in a hurry). Little ones can color to their hearts desire while ordering from their own special menu and heads up, kids under 9 eat for FREE. This is all well and good but the best part is that you don’t have to suffer and eat French fries and pizza too. You can have a completely adult meal that you will LOVE while your kids also get to eat something fun, in an awesome location that is interesting and appealing.

Arties Deli
2290 Broadway, Near 83rd Street
Arties Deli is new on the food scene in NYC but it’s great for the family nonetheless. Pickles and bread come out fast and early to keep everyone sated until the meals arrive and they have tons of kid friendly food like fries, burgers, chicken fingers, and hot dogs! Everyone will have fun and be able to relax in this family friendly atmosphere while also getting a meal they will enjoy! Continue reading »

Nov 092016
 

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A slow cooker is godsend to any busy family’s food preparation plans. You can cook an entire meal while you doing other things during the day. This is perfect for when you have to work or chores to do, but you have desire for a nice home-cooked meal. When it comes to home-cooked meals, nothing is better than a big plate of comfort food and a slow cooker is a perfect tool to prepare it with little effort and less clean up.

Here are some of the top comfort foods you can cook in your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Comfort Foods

Pot Roast. Everyone loves a delicious pot roast, but not everyone loves the hassle involved with preparing one. Don’t worry, you don’t need to turn on a hot stove and make your kitchen a sauna by having the oven on all day. You can easily let the roast cook in the slow cooker. By the time dinner rolls around, your roast is will be tender and practically falling apart. For best results, use a chuck roast and add in some potatoes, carrots, beef or vegetable stock, water, seasonings, garlic powder, and onion powder. Let it cook all day on low or for a few hours on high. Continue reading »

Nov 082016
 

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Fall is my favorite season.  I love the colors, the big sweaters, the chill in the air and pumpkin flavored everything. With the fall season comes holidays and for me that means that some family will be coming from out of state to stay with us (yay!!). In addition to a good cleaning before they arrive, I like to have some fun decorative things around my house. This autumn leaf soap is a perfect way to welcome my guests to fall in my home and on top of that, it’s useful.  You can never have too much soap, right?

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Autumn Leaf Soap

Here’s what you need:

  • Shea butter melt and pour soap
  • Red and yellow soap colorant
  • Leaf soap mold
  • Pyrex glass measuring cup
  • Spray bottle of rubbing alcohol
  • Soap scent (I chose Apple)

Continue reading »

Nov 052016
 

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Now that it is autumn and apple season is at its peak, you might be tempted to buy apples by the bushel from your local grocery store. While this may be a great way to save some money by buying in bulk, you may end up with more apples than you and your family can eat before they go bad.

What are you to do then when you have an overabundance of apples that are fast approaching their end of freshness? Try making your own applesauce and apple butter, of course!

Both are easy to make at can be stored to use later throughout the year.

Applesauce and apple butter are easy to can and preserve which allows you to store them for up to year without taking up precious space in your fridge or freezer. As an added bonus, your homemade versions will be healthier and tastier than the mass-produced and processed versions you often find at the grocery store.

You can customize your apple preserves to your personal taste and you always know exactly what ingredients go into every jar.

Ready to give it a try? Here are quick, tasty recipes for making your own applesauce or apple butter at home. Continue reading »

Nov 042016
 

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As you know, I recently spent three wonderful days in Bradenton Florida.  It was my first time in the area and while I was there, my days were packed with fun activities and lots of great food.

Full disclosure: I don’t like seafood.  I know, I know….

I am one of the few people from New England that doesn’t and when I arrived in the area and saw that my itinerary was full of dining reservations at seafood restaurants, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to find something that I was able to eat. Thankfully, that was not the case at all. The group that I was with dined at three restaurants known for great seafood, but all of them served non-seafood items for people like me. Phew.

Today I want to tell you about some of the highlights at all three of them so that if you are planning a visit to the Bradenton area, you can plan a meal at one of these fantastic eateries.

1. Pier 22

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Dining at Pier 22 is truly unique waterfront dining experience. Continue reading »

Nov 022016
 

Hello!!  As some of you may remember my daughter is on the dance competition team this year.  Yay!!!!   One of the things that makes life easier is a dance duffel bag with a clothes rack, so this dance mom started shopping.  And then had a heart attack at the prices!!!  There is basically one main company that makes these and this momma is not paying $150 or more for a bag!!!

So what’s a momma to do when buying does not work?  I make my own with the help of my dad 🙂

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This is the almost finished project.  I still need to paint the pvc pipe.  Notice our cat Sassy checking it out lol.

So the first thing I did was order a rolling duffel bag.  I ordered a 26 inch duffel bag.

Continue reading »

Nov 012016
 

As you know, I recently had the chance to stay on Anna Maria Island, Florida. If you missed my list of great things to do in the area, be sure to check it out here. While I was on the island, I stayed (with three fellow bloggers) in this beautiful house, named Malibu Beach from Anna Maria Vacations.

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Anna Maria Vacations is a truly a unique rental company.  They specialize in only the finest vacation rentals and their properties are carefully hand selected in order to provide their guests with the upscale vacation experience they desire. All of their properties are diligently maintained on a weekly basis with emphasis put on each unit being kept in peak condition. From luxury Gulf beachfront homes to beach condos to bay waterfront homes to many exquisite inland homes just a few minutes stroll to the beach – Anna Maria Vacations will help you find the property that best serves your needs. Continue reading »

Nov 012016
 

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This is a sponsored post by Mirum Shopper. All opinions are my own.

A couple months ago my 10 year old niece started saying that she hated school and didn’t want to go anymore. I was shocked because this kid has loved her classmates, her teachers and everything about school since the first day when she started Pre-K. I knew something was going on and I took some time to speak to her alone in her room. My niece is beautiful, inside and out. She is pretty enough to be a model but more importantly, her personality and her heart is even prettier. She is a sweetheart – always wanting to help someone, defending someone who is being bullied – she loves just about everyone she meets.

In her room that day, she told me that a boy in her class called her ugly and told her she was too skinny and looked like a skeleton. What she confided in me not only broke my heart, but it gave me flashbacks to when I was her age. You see, I was the fat kid back then. I was teased when I was her age and my reaction was the same as hers; I didn’t want to go to school anymore. A place I loved became a place I dreaded going to and it hurt me to even think that the same thing could be happening to my niece. Continue reading »

Oct 302016
 

7-things-to-do-in-the-bradenton-florida-area

If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I recently visited the Bradenton, Florida area for the first time. During my time there, I stayed on Anna Maria Island with three fellow bloggers (yes, just like The Real World) in this beautiful house from Anna Maria Vacations.

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Anna Maria Island, Florida is a seven-mile strip of beautiful white-sand beaches that lies between the turquoise Gulf of Mexico and the bay. The island is so quaint and cozy and it truly makes you feel as though you have taken a step back in time because of all of the “old” Florida charm.

On AMI (Anna Maria Island), you won’t find any high rise condos or fast food joints. Instead you’ll find a wonderful selection of local eateries and everything from quaint cottages to deluxe beach houses by the sea. Honestly, you need never leave the island to find fun and relaxation.  From watching the sunset while dining at many of the water front restaurants on the island to shopping in some of the wonderful specialty shops to good old fashioned people watching – there is something for everyone on Anna Maria Island. Continue reading »

Oct 262016
 

The tradition of “Booing your Neighbor” has been around for several years now and it has really grown in popularity as a fun, safe, family-oriented activity. It’s also known as “Ghosting” or “Boo-gramming” and each year, this new tradition is building in popularity. The person doing the “booing” would put together a home decorated bag of treats including a note with instructions on how to “boo” and a poem and deliver it anonymously to their neighbor, friend or relative. The recipient would then have 48 hours to do it to their next door neighbor or friend which creates a chain throughout the neighborhood.

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It’s an easy and fun way to brighten someone’s day & here’s how you do it:

1. Choose your “boo” bucket.
2. Fill your “boo” bucket. Continue reading »