Aug 222016
 

Last week I headed up to the Merrimack Premium Outlets to spend the day shopping so that I could stock up on all the back-to-school essentials that my kids will need this fall!

Merrimack Premium Outlets is an outdoor shopping center located 35 miles northwest of Boston and easily accessible off Exit 10 of Everett Turnpike (RT 3 from Boston). They have over 100 stores and in New Hampshire, you can enjoy tax free shopping at stores like Banana Republic, Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store, Coach, Elie Tahari, J.Crew, Michael Kors, Nautica, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Tommy Hilfiger and more all at saving of 25%-65% everyday.

My 12 year old will only wear Under Armour clothing these days so I was happy to see that they had an Under Armour outlet there. My little guy is into Nike, so I was wicked happy that I could get lots of great clothing for my boys for back to school at discounted prices.

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For the 2016 back to school season, Simon is encouraging shoppers to ‘find your style’ while reflecting on your past first days of school and the outfits that were the height of fashion in the 80’s and 90’s. Continue reading »

Aug 222016
 

Tips to Improve Interaction on Twitter

Twitters’ true value is engagement, while sure the search engines index it and you will have a Google Page Rank for your Twitter profile, without interaction you are wasting your marketing time. It is super easy to get intertwined with Twitter and being a broadcaster. When you have blog posts scheduled to go out live, content to get out there on a regular and your feed is full of information, you are half way there to improving interaction on Twitter.

Getting the content out there is not as tedious as working to improve interaction; after all you want your followers to engage with you because it reaches a wider range of viewers. When someone @ replies to you, their followers get to see your name and read the conversation. Having that interaction with people on Twitter helps to build your online brand, personal character and shows that you are a real person seeking to engage with others.

Twitter tiles

As a blogger on Twitter, it’s all about building the person behind the brand because people want to follow bloggers who keep it real, are approachable and maintain a loyal interaction online. If you are seeking to improve interaction on Twitter, then please follow the below tips to ensure your interaction increases on a steady basis: Continue reading »

Aug 182016
 

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

Homemade Slime #recipe #craft 1

Have you guys seen the new Ghostbusters movie yet?  I took my twelve year old and two of his friends to see it the weekend it came out and we loved it – not that I had any doubt that I would.  The original Ghostbusters (from the 80’s) is my ALL-TIME favorite movie, so there was no chance I was missing the new, updated version.  It has an awesome, and I do mean awesome, cast and definitely lived up to the hype – oh and I’ve seen it three times already.

Since we’re such big fans of Ghostbusters, I decided that I need to make some homemade ectoplasm (slime) for the kids to play with. Slime, goo, gunk, glop, ooze or whatever you’d like to call it, this creation will please boys (and girls) of all ages. It’s incredibly easy to make and only requires 3 ingredients!

The combination will create chemical reaction that can be fun for a hands-on educational experiment. Chemical bonds form as you mix the ingredients. The molecules stick together and become polymers which create the slimy texture. The formula is also non-toxic and, when kept in an air-tight container, it can last years. It’s not recommended for consumption, but it won’t harm those little ones who just can’t help but try and taste it.

You Will Need: Continue reading »

Aug 162016
 

Leading contemporary circus troupe Cirque Éloize premiered their latest creation, Cirque Éloize Saloon, at Foxwoods Resort Casino’s Fox Theater on Friday, August 12 and I was lucky enough to be able to attend the opening performance with my husband. Yay for date night!

cirque eloize saloon2

Cirque Éloize, a leading worldwide contemporary circus troupe, is thrilled to unveil their latest creation, Cirque Éloize Saloon, at Foxwoods Resort Casino’s Fox Theater next month. This captivating and energetic show transports audiences to the height of the Wild Wild West era, telling the story of a piano tuner’s astonishing journey through a world filled with gold diggers, rail workers, chorus girls and cowboys. Mysterious and intriguing characters will light up the stage to explosive live music, resulting in a series of unexpected situations packed with rhythmic acrobatic prowess and original choreography. The series begins Friday, August 12 and runs through Sunday, August 21 for a total of 12 remarkable performances at a variety of family-family show times.

Continue reading »

Aug 162016
 

Opened First Aid Kit

When someone thinks of a first aid kit, perhaps only band-aids come to mind. However, a first aid kit is much better off if it has more of the necessities in it. Summer is here and it’s time to ensure you have everything you need in your first aid kid. Here are some ideas:

25 adhesive bandages in various sizes
If you are like me, you go through A LOT of them, so if you are prepared with different sized band-aids, you will be covered for boo-boo’s of all sizes.

Antiseptic Wipes or Alcohol Pads
It’s important to clean the wound before you put on a bandage and keeping wipes in your first aid kit will help you do this quickly and easily.

Antibacterial Ointment
Whenever your child gets a cut or an open wound, it’s important to clean it before putting on a bandage. Using an antibacterial ointment such as Neosporin can help clean the cut and keep the bacteria out. Continue reading »

Aug 142016
 

BMG logo

Can you  believe that Blue Man Group is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year? I’ve seen the show a few times over the years and it’s one of those things you need to experience for yourself.  It’s so hard to explain what the show is all about unless you actually go see it with your own eyes, but I’ll try:

Blue Man Group is comedy,theater, rock concert and dance party all rolled into one. This wildly popular phenomenon delivers an outrageous, multi-­sensory experience you’ll never forget. Don’t miss the show that has captivated 35 million people worldwide. Blue Man Group – enemy of monotony, remedy for boredom, promoter of overjoy and elation!

For their 25th, they embarked on a World Tour in March, launched their third album, THREE, in April and will release their first ever book, Blue Man World, in October.

BMG world book

Blue Man World is a graphically rich, textually dynamic, cheekily clever deep dive into the world of the Blue Men, as well as a hilarious cultural satire. Including archival photographs, specially commissioned artwork, infographics, and interviews with Blue Man experts (both real and potentially not real), it answers all the burning questions including: Who are these Blue Men? Where do they come from? Why are there only three of them? What drives their curiosity? What do they hope to accomplish? Continue reading »

Aug 142016
 

Orange Crush Cupcakes Recipe

We do a lot of family movie nights in our house.  Since the kids are out on summer vacation, we tend to do a couple of movie nights per week as opposed to our traditional Friday night movie nights during the school year.  We love snuggling up on the sofa with a yummy treat and spending time together watching movies & eating.  I recently made these Orange Crush cupcakes and knew they were perfect for the family movie night we had planned later that evening.

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 Crush Soda

Orange Crush Cupcakes4

Directions for cupcakes: Continue reading »

Aug 092016
 

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

Chef Boardee

With the back to school season approaching, my family is looking for easy weeknight meal solutions. By spending less time in the kitchen, we can enjoy other after-school activities together. Now through August 29, 2016, each 14.5 to 15 ounce can of Chef Boyardee is on Rollback at Walmart for only $0.80! Purchase five cans for $4 in a variety of flavors that include: Mini Ravioli, Beefaroni, and Spaghetti and Meatballs. You can enjoy a week’s worth of quality meals at an affordable price.

Be sure when you stock up on Chef Boyardee at Walmart to look for the Chef Boyardee cans that feature NO artificial flavors, NO preservatives, and NO artificial colors. With quality ingredients since 1924, Chef Boyardee has been a pantry staple for many families.

While shopping at Walmart, be sure to look for the Rollback signs for Chef Boyardee in the Canned Food aisle!

Aug 082016
 

Small Disclosure

When I was a kid in school my two least favorite subjects were math and science.  I hated math because I am just not good at it (to this day I still stink at it) and I remember being bored in science class.  Now that I am an adult, I wish I had listened more in science because a lot of that knowledge is relevant in my adult life, but hey – I thought I knew it all back then and wouldn’t have listened to my future self anyways.

Anyhow, now I’m the mom and both of my boys love science and math.  They especially like science and because of that, we do lots of science experiments in our house.  It makes my heart happy that they are learning and don’t even know it.  Because my boys love doing science experiments so much, when MEL Science asked me to check out some of their chemistry sets I just couldn’t refuse.  Especially since the kids are on summer vacation and I want to make sure I keep their brains active while they’re away from school.

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MEL Science is changing science education through a subscription service of nearly 100 interactive chemistry sets chocked full of experiments per year with free mobile apps for iPads, iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets. Even cooler, MEL Science kits are VR-based, and the kit’s complementary Google Cardboard device integrates perfectly with VR to emphasize 3D graphics, macro photos, and videos that allow both kids, parents, and science buffs to view molecules up-close. Here’s a YouTube video of the MEL Science chemistry kit in action. Continue reading »

Aug 082016
 

Back to School Morning Routine Hacks

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Tyson Foods, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JDgreatdays  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Guys, it’s happening – back to school that is.  The kids are going to be out there waiting for the bus before we know it and trust me, I know how chaotic school mornings can be.  It’s important to find ways to cut back on the chaos and make everyone’s lives a little easier and I believe I’ve found the secrets to a smooth morning.

1. Lay out clothes the night before.
Picking out clothes seems like something that shouldn’t take more than five minutes in the morning, however, when you’re in a hurry it can take forever. If you take five minutes the night before and lay out yours & the kids clothes, you will eliminate having to worry about it in the morning.

2. Set the alarm for a few minutes early.
Try getting the family to wake up at least 10-15 minutes earlier than normal on school mornings. Kids can be slow getting around because they are struggling to get used to a routine, so getting up a few minutes earlier will give them a little more time to wake up and get going. This might mean sending the kids to bed a few minutes earlier as well. Continue reading »

Aug 072016
 

Fun For the Whole Family at the Brand New Water Park at the Cape Codder in Hyannis

Last week my oldest son turned 12. TWELVE!  I’m honestly not sure when that happened, but in any case I can personally attest to the fact that the “tween” thing is real.  He’s not quite a teen yet, but definitely he has all the attitude & sassiness of one.  He’s also apparently too cool to do “kid” stuff anymore, which has created a bit of a challenge for me to keep him entertained (and off those pesky electronics) this summer. Both of my boys have August birthdays and I always plan a day of fun for them on their special days and this year I was really scrambling to come up with something that my oldest would like.

Then it came to me – I would take them to the brand new water park at the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis.  If you’ve been around here for a while, you may remember that my family stayed there about 18 months ago and the boys really enjoyed the indoor wave pool (if you need a refresher, here is the post).  I had heard that the Cape Codder was expanding and creating an amazing water park and when I found out that they had just opened on Friday July 30th, I knew that it was where I was going to take my kids for my oldest’s birthday. My oldest loves to swim and I knew a day at the water park would be right up his alley.

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The Wave Pool, which was already there, is approximately 10,000 square feet and the expansion is an additional 20,000 square feet – you  you can only imagine how excited both my boys were when I told them that’s where we were going! It’s the only one of its kind on Cape Cod and has so much fun to offer! Continue reading »

Aug 032016
 

I have received information and materials from JOHNSON & JOHNSON CONSUMER, Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division, LLC. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post. #PositivelyPrepared #BacktoSchool #CollectiveBias

10 Things to do Before the Kids Go Back to School {Free Printable}

Every year around the end of May I sit down and make a list of all the things I want to do with my boys over the summer.  Around here, the kids get out at the end of June and here I am six weeks into their vacation wondering where the time has gone.  It seems like once they do finally get out of school, July 4th is not far behind. Throw in a few summer birthdays, a day trip here and there, a couple of beach days and BOOM! All of the sudden it’s August already.

Even though it’s flown by already, my boys have had a really great summer so far.  We rented a cottage on the beach the last week in June, which was a blast.

boys 4th cliff

We’ve been to a few museums and playgrounds over the summer and we’re regulars at the beach in Newport, RI. Continue reading »

Aug 012016
 

8 great grilling hacks

As summer is here, it’s time to dust off the outdoor grill and get busy.  My friends at Scotties asked me to share my favorite soft summer moments that make me slow down and savor this wonderful summer season.  Without a doubt, having cookouts with friends and family tops the list. I love hanging out with good company and enjoying some great food while I’m at it. You don’t have to be a gourmet “grillmeister” to enjoy grilling and produce an amazing summertime meal. Check out these 8 great grilling hacks to help you out.

Super clean. Although, not the most favorite part of the process, but a necessary one after each use. Keep your grill covered and then break out the grill brush and give it a good scrub so you have a great grilling surface all times.

To marinade or not marinade? Take a few extra minutes in the morning, and simply add a nice marinade or a brining liquid to your proteins. Then, save time when you get home and fire up the grill. Make sure to use a little cooking spray or olive oil over the grates to help prevent sticking. Marinades high in sugar, like some barbecue sauces, tend to burn and stick, so be careful.

One tool to do it all. You really only need one good long pair of tongs for all your grilling needs. Keep it handy and keep it clean in between uses and it’s all you’ll need. Continue reading »

Jul 312016
 

TMNT Treat Bars Recipe

My boys are big time snackers. Now that they are home for the summer I’m constantly hearing things like “Mom, I’m hungry” or “I need something to eat”. They are very dramatic about it, too.  I often hear them telling me that if they don’t get a snack right away, they will pass out and die. No kidding.

Obviously I prefer healthier options like fruits and veggies when it comes to their seemingly constant snacking, sometimes I like to surprise them with a fun treat. The Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles are pretty popular around our house, so when I saw a box of TMNT cereal at the store the other day – I knew exactly what I was going to do with it: make some tasty TMNT treat bars for them. They’re incredibly easy to make and trust me on this, they will be a huge hit with the kiddos.

Here’s What You Need

  • 6 Cups TMNT cereal
  • 8 Cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/8 Cup Wilton jumbo dot confetti sprinkles
  • 1/8 Cup lime green jimmies (yup – they are called jimmies up here in Boston)
  • 3 Tablespoons softened butter

Continue reading »

Jul 272016
 

Small Disclosure

Back when I was a kid, there was no such thing as a “tween”.  You were a kid or you were a teenager.  That was it.  Somewhere along the line the “tween” thing happened and guys, it’s legit.  Kids between the ages of 10 and 12 fall into the “tween” category because they are too old to be considered a kid, but too young to be considered a teen. My oldest son is going to be 12 next week (wait, WHAT??) and this mama is struggling to come up with awesome birthday gift ideas.

Jddoh

You might be thinking that a kid who’s not really a kid or a teenager should be fairly easy to buy for, but trust me on this – it’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a while. He’s too old for toys and too young for “teen” gifts.  I am thinking teens only get gift cards, but hey, I could be wrong.  I am not the mother of a teenager – yet, so I have never had to buy gifts for one. Continue reading »

Jul 262016
 

Helpful Things I Learned from MacGyver

MacGyver is one of the best guys when it comes to “life hacks”! There are so many great things that I learned from MacGyver; he really does give out some of the best tips and tricks! Some of these can really come in handy, others are just really clever, and some I can’t believe are even real. I suppose this is kind of tribute to the master…In today’s day and age we’re all pretty obsessed with life hacks and MacGyver was the OG of life hacks! If you’ve ever needed to remove a stripped screw, unlock a door from the outside, or turn a chip bag into it’s own bowl then this is the post for you. If you’ve never needed to do any of those things this is still the post for you, you’ll likely rest A LOT easier knowing that you CAN do all of these things just like MacGyver!

Remove a Stripped Screw

You can use a rubber band placed over the top of a stripped screw to remove it without the screwdriver slipping!

Never Leave Home Without a Swiss Army Knife

Okay so maybe leave it at home when you go to the airport but other than that you should have one. It’s got everything you need for all kinds of situations! Continue reading »

Jul 262016
 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Scott100More #CollectiveBias

How To Make Overnight Guests Feel at Home

I love, love, love having people come to stay at my house – whether it’s just for one night, a week or even longer. My husband is one of seven and since a few of his siblings have relocated over the years, sometimes when they come “home” they need a place to stay. I am the first one to raise my hand when one of them needs a place to stay. My brother in law, his lovely wife and my super cute 1 year old nephew are regulars at my house and I get so excited whenever they tell me they are coming up. They live in Astoria (Queens, NY), so since they are fairly close, they come back to Massachusetts pretty often.

When they (or anyone else) stay at my house, I want them to be comfortable and feel completely at home. Just a few extra touches here & there can really make your overnight guests feel special.

1. Clean and/or Pick up your house.
Give your house a good cleaning. If your house is already clean, go through your house room by room and get rid of clutter. I am a parent and that means that there are toys all over the place. Take an afternoon to pick up all of those things laying around and put them back where they belong. Why not get the kids involved while you’re at it? I do!

How To Make Overnight Guests Feel at Home3

In addition, I always use having overnight guests as an opportunity to cross things off of my to-do list. Have a doorknob that’s wiggly and needs for the screws to be tightened? This is the time to get those little things done. Continue reading »

Jul 252016
 

My husband, Christian, and I are self-proclaimed foodies.  And by that I mean that we like to eat.  Scratch that….we love to eat.

Christian and I had a chance a day off from the kids recently and around 1 pm, we both looked at each other and realized we hadn’t eaten lunch – which explained the rumbles coming from our tummies.  We were in the area, so we decided to have lunch at the new (ish) Bonefish Grill located at University Station in Westwood, MA. This is only our second time dining at the Bonefish Grill and since the last time we went was for brunch, we decided to go for lunch this time so that we could try out their new seasonal summer menu.

Bonefish Grill1

The wood-grilled fresh fish experts at Bonefish Grill launched their new seasonal menu last month and it features delights like fresh, hand-cut simply grilled Wild Salmon, Rockfish with Citrus Aioli + Shrimp topping and Dayboat Scallops — sushi grade George’s Bank scallops on a bed of creamy corn risotto topped with crispy bacon, lemon butter drizzle and green beans. Continue reading »

Jul 242016
 

Brown Rice Spaghetti and Spicy Tomato Sauce with Chickpea Meatballs recipe

I am always looking for ways to incorporate healthier options into meals. These chickpea “meatballs” are a great way to do just that. The fresh, bold flavors of this spicy tomato sauce pair perfectly with a rustic, Italian red and deliver a healthy and thoroughly nourishing meal in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bundle fresh basil
  • 6 oz. brown rice spaghetti (about 1/2 a box)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Continue reading »