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 »

Oct 252016
 

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Have you noticed an increase of teal colored pumpkins on people’s doorsteps in your neighborhood over the past few years and have been wondering why?  It’s because of a relatively new nationwide initiative dedicated to making Halloween safe and fun for all kids and it’s called the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Every child should be able to experience the joy of going out trick-or-treating on Halloween night, but often times kids with food allergies are left out of the fun since most candy is off limits to them. The Teal Pumpkin Project helps make sure that all kids will be able come home on Halloween night with something they can enjoy.

The Teal Pumpkin Project™ was launched by the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014. It’s a great way to let people know that you are offering non-food treats to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. This way, kids with food allergies and other medical issues such as diabetes can still have a fun & safe Halloween.

Instead of candy a few of the parents I know in town are beginning to offer things like bubbles, glow sticks, spider rings and little bouncy balls for the trick-or-treaters that come to their home.  Oriental Trading Post has lots of safe, non-food Halloween goodies for you to offer to your trick-or-treaters this year if you are planning on participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.  This way no one has to miss out on the Halloween fun. Continue reading »

Oct 242016
 

new-food-options-at-the-td-garden-in-boston

Picture this:  You & your family (or friends) head out for a night at the Bruins, Celtics or other event at the TD Garden in Boston.  You fight the traffic getting into Boston, find parking, walk from where ever you parked to the arena, get through security and suddenly you’re starving. It happens every time, right?

Whenever I head into the Garden, the first thing I usually do is make a quick detour to the closest restroom, find my seats and then scout out the food options. What I have always loved about the TD Garden is that they have so many great food choices.

Concessions and food options include:

  • Big Bad Burger: Signature juicy burgers drizzled with Gooey Sauce; optional double, triple or quadruple patties.
  • Boston Common: Local fresh seafood menu including fried clams, lobster roll, lobster bisque and clam chowder.
  • Garden Grill: Classic Boston sandwich menu that includes shaved steak roll with house made cheese sauce and fan favorite grilled chicken sandwich.
  • The North End Butcher: Kayem meats including an Italian sausage with peppers and onions and jumbo all-beef gourmet hot dogs.

Continue reading »

Oct 232016
 

spooky-scarecrow-fingers

Do you remember how I was telling you that I Like to get creative with my Halloween snacks? Last week I showed you guys the Creepy Witch Finger Cookies that I made for my kids and today I want to tell you about another fun Halloween treat that I made for the kids. Spooky Scarecrow Fingers. We like to have fun with our food around here and what says fun like a spooky scarecrow finger cookie?

Guys, these seriously could not be easier to make and how cute are they? A few of my boys friends have peanut allergies, so I have to be careful about who I give these to – but the ones that come by after school that don’t have any food allergies love it when I make these. If you want to impress your kids and their friends, too, give these cookies a try.  They are easy to make and don’t take long at all to make – so you could make them often like I do.

Spooky Scarecrow Fingers

Here’s what you need:

  • Nutter Butter cookies
  • Yellow candy melts
  • Candy corn
  • Yellow icing

spooky-scarecrow-fingers1 Continue reading »

Oct 212016
 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Healthy4School #CollectiveBias

easy-honey-pecan-overnight-oats-recipe

I can hardly believe it, but back to school is in full swing.  This past summer seemed to have flown by and before I knew it, the kids were hopping on the bus for their first day of school. If you’re anything like me, back to school means all sorts of new things.  New after-school activities to get the kids back & forth to, lots of homework (especially for my middle schooler) and a new routine in general. My boys are each in different schools this year, which means different start times for each of them.  It’s definitely been an adjustment, but so far we’re rockin’ it.

With all the changes in our lives, I try to be proactive when it comes to getting sick. Let’s be real, all of our kids get exposed to all kinds of germs while they’re at school. For the first few years my oldest was in school, we were all sick by the middle of October. It was definitely a learning experience and I am determined to help keep the germs away….or at least make sure I am stocked up on some products to make us feel better if we do get sick.

For my family, eating a fresh, healthy breakfast helps us fuel up for the day so that we’re not running on empty. A good breakfast helps us all concentrate and focus all day long. This Easy Honey Pecan Overnight Oats Recipe is a great way to start the morning off right. It’s easy to make and it keeps our tummies full and helps us power through our day.

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Easy Honey Pecan Overnight Oats Recipe

Continue reading »

Oct 182016
 

must-see-tourist-attractions-in-boston

As with most historic cities in the US, Boston has a rich background and with that comes TONS of tourist attractions. Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States, the area played an integral role in our nation’s history and there are landmarks EVERYWHERE that celebrate this rich and amazing history. Unless you are coming to stay or for a very extended visit, you’ll need to prioritize your must see tourist attractions in Boston. There are some things that you just have to experience while you are visiting Boston. In case you are not as familiar with Boston as I am here is a list to help!

Sports Fans Must See Tourist Attractions in Boston

If you are a sports fans these are the places you will NOT want to miss when you are visiting Boston. Along with being home to some of the best teams that call Boston home, these locations are beautiful works of architecture and some even have historical cred of their own!

  • Fenway Park: Home of the Boston Red Sox
  • TD Garden: Home of the Bruins and the Celtics

If you can’t catch a game while you are in town I highly recommend that you swing by anyway just to take in the awesome and massive feel of these locations! Continue reading »

Oct 172016
 

dollar-store-diy-jack-olantern-treat-buckets

Like everyone’s kids, my boys each come home from trick or treating with a ginormous bag of candy.  Even after the parental candy tax, they still end up with more candy than they could ever possibly eat. Despite all that candy, every year I insist on getting them each a little sweet treat of my own.  I give it to them on Halloween morning and it’s always just been a fun little way to get them excited about trick or treating that night – especially when Halloween falls on a school night. It’s something that my mom always did for my brother, sister and me and we were kids and I have always made sure to carry on the tradition.

These Jack O’Lantern Treat Buckets are inexpensive, really easy to make and make a perfect little treat to give to your kids, neighbors, friends or even send in with your kids to school to give to their classmates.

Jack O’Lantern Treat Buckets

Here’s what you need:

  • 3pk small white metal buckets (Dollar Tree)
  • Green metallic ribbon
  • Black and orange craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Paper plate

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Continue reading »

Oct 162016
 

Last weekend, my family had a chance to attend The Midnight Zoo, a brand new Halloween experience at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. Even though we checked out the website, we weren’t sure exactly what to expect, but ended up being very pleasantly surprised by our experience.

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This is what the website says:

Under the light of the autumn moon, discover a secret corner of Franklin Park Zoo that is home to a mysterious, mystical world. The Midnight Zoo surrounds visitors with never-before-seen creatures from the farthest realms of the imagination. Wind your way through the darkness as the woods come alive in this 360-degree immersive experience. Elaborate costumes, masterful design, and moonlit surprises await you in this haunted habitat featuring over 20 fantastical creatures ranging in size from tiny to over 8 feet tall. Continue reading »

Oct 112016
 

Super Simple Halloween Treats1

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I am a major Halloween lover. I am always scouring the interwebs for fun & festive snack ideas for my kids around this time of year. I love seeing their faces when I surprise them with a fun Halloween treat. Sometimes I have the treats ready when they get off the bus from school and other times I like to whip up something for family movie night.

We try to sit down as a family every Friday night and stream a movie on Netflix, so this past Friday my family munched on these spooky Halloween treats while we watched our movie. These treats are beyond simple to make, especially if you opt for pre-made rice crispy treats.

What you need:

  • 12 Rice Crispy Treats
  • Edible Eyes
  • 12 oz White Chocolate or White Candy Melts
  • Sandwich bag
  • Parchment paper

Continue reading »

Oct 112016
 

ghost-ship-harbor

It’s that time of year again!  Halloween time that is.  One of my favorite things about Halloween season is going to haunted houses. There is just something about screaming my guts out as some creep jumps out at me to get my adrenaline rushing. Lucky for me, there are lots of places like that here in New England and one of the ones I can’t wait to get to this year is Ghost Ship Harbor aboard the USS Salem in Quincy. As the name states, it’s a ship and it’s actually haunted in real life, but each year in October it transforms into an immersive scarefest.

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With more than 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor terror experiences, Ghost Ship Harbor will horrify and petrify fans with interactive and twisted experiences. Ghost Ship Harbor is based on the premise that a plague has taken over and to ensure survival, civilians must visit the USS Salem before the ship departs on October 31.  It was designed by Boston-Based Immersive Productions and Jason Egan, creator of Fright Dome Las Vegas. Continue reading »

Oct 102016
 

creepy-witch-finger-cookies

Halloween is my favorite holiday. As soon as the weather starts to turn chilly, all I can think about is October 31st. For me, the month of October is a month long Halloween celebration. My family does every Halloween activity there is and we go all out when we decorate the house – I’m talking more than any other holiday (including Christmas). One of the best parts of Halloween for me is all the creative ways I can “creep out” snacks for the kids. There are a million and one ways to make festive Halloween snacks and treats and I am on a mission to make as many as possible. One of the festive treats I made this year were these Creepy Witch Fingers. They are crazy easy to make and they are pretty darn cool if I do say so myself.

Creepy Witch Finger Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • Nutter Butter cookies
  • Green candy melts
  • Black licorice
  • Black gel icing

creepy-witch-finger-cookies6 Continue reading »

Oct 092016
 

the-2016-jack-olantern-spectacular-at-roger-williams-park-zoo1

If you are local to New England, surely you’ve been to – or at least heard of the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo.  It’s an annual tradition for our family to attend as well as thousands of others each year. If you’ve never been, you’re missing out because it’s really something to see.  The Jack O’Lantern Spectacular is a nighttime display of 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns all along the zoo’s beautiful Wetlands Trail, with well over 100 of the pumpkins carved into veritable works of art. There’s something magical about so many illuminated jack o’lanterns on display as you walk along the trail. This year The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is presented by Citizens Bank and it runs from October 6 – November 6, 2016.

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Last week I had a chance to preview the Jack O’Lantern Spectacular before it opened to the public and not only that, I was able to go behind the scenes and see some of the action.  I saw the area where the pumpkins are carved and learned how they store the completed jack o’lanterns in a temperature controlled box truck until they are ready to be put on display. Continue reading »

Oct 072016
 

Did you see the premier of Timeless last Monday on NBC?  Over the summer when I first heard about this show, I added it to my list of new fall shows to check out and it definitely did not disappoint.  My husband and I were instantly hooked and  I can’t wait to see more. One thing that really drew me in was the heroine Lucy, portrayed by Abigail Spencer.  She is a talented actress, writer and producer on both the big and small screen, and she is quickly making a name for herself in Hollywood.

TIMELESS -- Season: Pilot -- Pictured: Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston

TIMELESS — Season: Pilot — Pictured: Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston

Spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen the first episode which aired last week, I found that she was a really relatable character and I was totally shocked when she went back in time and ended up altering her future.  I am dying to see what happens next for her. I am also curious about a potential relationship between Lucy and Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter’s character). Continue reading »

 Sponsored Post  Comments Off on Timeless: A New Adventure Every Monday at 10/9c on NBC​
Oct 052016
 

Pumpkin Waffles

Halloween falls on a Monday this year (le sigh), but if you want to surprise your kids when they wake up on Halloween morning, how about these Jack O’Lantern Waffles? I know, I know – getting up early on a Monday doesn’t sound like much fun, but it is a holiday after all, right? I love to watch my boys faces light up when I make them something fun like these fun waffles. The waffles themselves are pretty easy to make and my favorite part is that you can get as creative with them as you want.  As you can see, I put little Jack O’Lantern faces on mine, but you don’t have to if you want to serve yours as plain pumpkins.  Or you can even use different colored M&M’s. Even better, let the kids decorate their own – just have fun with them.

Jack O’Lantern Waffles

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • Orange gel food coloring
  • 3/4 Cup milk
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Mega M&M’s to decorate your waffles with

Continue reading »

Oct 042016
 

diy-teepee-craft

One of the reasons I love where I live is that it’s so rich in Native American culture here.  I live in a town adjacent to where it all began – Plymouth, MA (you know, where the first Thanksgiving took place).  Everywhere you go around here, there are reminders that the Native Americans left their footprint here first and I love finding ways to teach my kids about their culture.  While there are many tribes, the Wompanoags are most prominent in this area.

This DIY teepee craft is the perfect way to teach your kids about the Native American culture here in the US.  It’s easy to make & only needs a few supplies.

How to make a teepee kids craft:

Here’s what you need:

  • sticks of varying lengths but of similar thickness (average of 10 inches 10 1 ft. shown)
  • tape and glue to secure things to the tee pee
  • scissors
  • craft items to decorate your teepee such as various types of string and yarn, washi tape, fabric scraps, ribbon, construction paper, felt, feathers, etc.

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Instructions: Continue reading »

Oct 032016
 

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I’m sure I can’t possibly be alone when I say that I love shoes. By shoes I of course mean boots, flip flops, sandals, flats, heels, the whole nine yards. I know not all women are into shoes but I am definitely part of the stereotype and I’m a proud shoe lover! There’s nothing I like more than making sure my tootsies are warm, cozy, and comfortable as we head into the fall and winter months. I like my boots to be stylish but also effective at providing comfort…let’s face it, I’m all about comfort!

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The Naot Gazania is an awesome boot. They’re a low, lace up, calf height boot. They have a zipper and laces which is awesome for me. I like that I can adjust them for the perfect fit but then easily put them on and remove them with the zipper. Another really great feature of these boots is the sole. It has about a million layers of comforty goodness…okay not a million but there are a bunch! The Gazania boot has a cork and latex footbed which is great for breathability and moisture absorption; the whole insole is then wrapped in suede and overtime your footprint is molded right in there. Nothing better than feeling like your shoe is meant only for your own foot. It’s like heaven in there! Continue reading »

Oct 022016
 

candy-corn-play-dough-recipe

Did you know that you can make your own play dough?  My kids have always loved it and I make my own pretty regularly – for home and some to send into the kids classrooms. Recently I decided to make candy Corn play dough for my kids to play with here at home. What a fun fall craft!

The 2 main ingredients I used to make the playdoh were cornstarch and hair conditioner. I know it sounds unbelievable and I was definitely skeptical at first, but it really works!! Some of the recipes I have read about on play dough say to use 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part conditioner. I think that’s going to depend on what type of conditioner you use. I used the VO5 brand and I found that I needed close to 2 1/2 cups of cornstarch with 1 cup (8 oz.) of conditioner. So the exact measurements are going to depend on what type of hair conditioner you use. Just play around with your ingredients until you get your desired texture.

This recipe will yield approximately 3 cups of candy corn play dough.

Candy Corn Play Dough

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 parts cornstarch
  • 1 part hair conditioner
  • Yellow food gel
  • Orange food gel

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Here’s what you do:
1. Add 2 cups of corn starch to a large mixing bowl. Pour 1 cup of hair conditioner into the bowl and stir with a spatula until the mixture forms into a ball. Continue reading »