Dec 102016
 

Cirque Dreams Holidaze is playing at the Citi Shubert Theatre in Boston through December 11!  There are only six performances of Holidaze in Boston before they move on to their next destination and this is not a show you want to miss if you’re in town. I saw their first Boston performance last night and was completely blown away.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze is a cirque show, Broadway musical, holiday spectacular and family show all in one.

Broadway director Neil Goldberg re-imagines the holiday season with over 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers from 12 countries showcasing an endless variety of imaginative, heart-pounding and gravity- defying feats you have to see to believe. There were gingerbread men flipping in the air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires along with snowmen, icemen and penguins, balancing, jumping and spinning in disbelief. The show celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, choreography and exciting production numbers. Performers and costumed ornament characters twirl, bounce and soar thru the air to original music and seasonal favorites brought to life within a stage setting of gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering trees & soldiers creating a larger than life wonderland of amazement. Continue reading »

Dec 082016
 

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

easy-jalapeno-cheese-fries

I don’t know about you, but my family is heading into our busiest month of the year. Between holiday parties, extra school events, December birthdays and life in general, we’re pretty much non-stop from now until the first of the year. I don’t mind because I love spending extra time with the people I love and since my husband is from a huge family (he’s one of seven), there are plenty of chances to visit our loved ones. Of course, I can’t show up empty handed, right? These easy Jalapeno Cheese Fries are one of my favorite go-to dishes to bring to family gatherings. Unfortunately for me, and lots of others, the jalapenos = heartburn. Thankfully Nexium® 24HR Capsules come to the rescue (stay tuned for more info on that).

jalapeno-cheese-friess

My Jalapeno Cheese Fries are easy to make and they always go over really well. Continue reading »

Dec 062016
 

I have received information and materials from Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post. 

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

how-to-freeze-your-favorite-foods

Time seems to be a commodity that is in ever-shortening supply these days. Especially this time of year when the holiday are quickly approaching. Because of that, we often don’t take the time to eat right and often opt for quick and simple solutions when it comes to dinnertime. That option isn’t always the healthiest. But with just a little pre-planning, you can make a variety of dishes that can be prepared beforehand and stored in your freezer which you can reheat quickly and enjoy when the time is right. Not only will this save you time when your week gets hectic, it will also cut down on your intake of take-out and fast food, making you a healthier and happier person.

Here are some tips for simple freezer meals that will let you enjoy a home-cooked meal without the time usually needed to do so:

Know What Not to Freeze
Before you freeze any of your dishes, make sure you know what kinds of foods won’t lose quality and consistency during the freezing process. Some foods don’t hold up to freezing temperatures. For starters, you should never freeze dairy or cream-based ingredients, such as milk or sour cream, yogurt, or cottage cheese as it will often crystallize and separate into its components upon thawing. If you are going to be freezing cream-based soups, be careful with how it tastes when it is reheated. You also want to avoid certain fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruit, cucumbers, watermelon, and lettuce. Cooked eggs are another food that will lose its consistency after freezing. If you want to freeze potatoes, they should either be raw or be mashed potatoes. Continue reading »

Dec 052016
 

Let’s be honest, Boston is the best sports town around. There’s really no argument there and when your family are all huge sports fans, you just have to take them to see their favorite teams play in person. Even if you have one of those mega flat screen televisions mounted to your wall, live games are so much better. There is nothing like the energy at live sports games – especially in Boston!  We take our sports very seriously around here!!

celtics3

I’m really thankful that I live in an area in which we have such easy access to all of our sports teams and can go watch a live game pretty much any time we want. The thing is, my kids are not happy to just go and watch the game – they want the whole kit and caboodle: snacks, drinks and a #1 pointy finger thingie. As you know, that all adds up quick.

That’s why I am a huge fan of the Boston Celtics Family Packs.  Celtics Family Packs are an affordable and fun way to bring the whole family to the TD Garden for an unforgettable experience. By purchasing a Family Pack, you get to see the game, get snacks and each of your kids will get to walk out with a cool bag of Celtics swag.  All that for one price – that won’t break the bank. Yay. Continue reading »

Dec 042016
 

pokemon-elf-on-the-shelf-idea

This year marks the 4th year that our Elf on the shelf, Snowy,  has come to visit us. My oldest son (age 12) does not believe in any of the Christmas magic anymore….sigh, but my 9 year old does and I want to do as much as I can to keep the magic alive for him.

Back when I first got the EOTS (Elf on the Shelf) for our house, both of my boys were both believers and I thought it would be fun to have Snowy get into all sorts of shenanigans overnight while the boys slept.  They would wake up each morning in December anxious to see what kind of mischief that Snowy got into while they slept.  They loved every mess he made, but by the third year (last year), I was out of ideas.  My youngest made to to note that Snowy had sure gotten lame since his first year at our house.  Gee, thanks kid.

Anyhow, I am struggling yet again this year, but I was able to come up with this cute Pikachu idea since both of my boys were SO into Pokemon Go over the summer.  It only took me a few minutes and they both thought it was funny (even the non-believer).

Easy Elf on the Shelf Idea for Pokemon Fans

Here’s what you need:

  • Bunch of bananas
  • Red and black Sharpie markers
  • White puffy paint
  • Elf on the shelf

Continue reading »

Nov 302016
 

bonefish-logo

small-disclosure

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.

bang_bang_tacos_20116

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.

help-children-in-foster-care-for-national-adoption-month

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

small-disclosure

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
 

santa-hat-cupcakes

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
 

easy-one-pan-meals-to-feed-the-family

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
 

6-healthy-and-easy-thanksgiving-leftover-ideas

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
 

mama-linkz-jewelry-logosmall-disclosure

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!

mama-linkz-jewelry1

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
 

how-to-stay-hydrated-when-you-hate-water

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
 

best-family-friendly-restaurants-in-nyc

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
 

slow-cooker-comfort-foods

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
 

how-to-make-your-own-autumn-leaf-soap

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?

autum-leaf-soap10

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
 

how-to-make-applesauce-and-apple-butter

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
 

where-to-eat-in-bradenton-florida

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

img_1776

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 🙂

brandi1

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 »