Jan 232017
 

It’s the new year, we’ve all heard about self care and how important it is to find some “me time” in our everyday lives. Let’s be real for a second; that’s not how it works. It’s not as simple as just “finding some time for me”. There are always things that need fixing or finding or fetching and half the time it’s the kids themselves. In my life, and I’m sure you’ve been here too, there’s not a lot of real life “me time”. Instead of getting upset about it or running myself ragged, I use these quick tips to make the most of my time so I can enjoy a little time by myself.

How to Find Real Life “Me Time”:

Figure Out What Makes You Happy
This is probably the hardest part of enjoying time alone without the kids. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what they enjoy and just go with the flow. One of the things I try and do is set some time aside during school, sleep, whatever it takes, to just relax and unwind. Isn’t that what all mom’s like? Quiet moments of sitting still! During those few quiet moments I try and think of something that I’d really like to do. Make a list if you have to, I know I’ll forget half of them if I don’t put it in my phone or write it down somewhere. Now I know what to do when I come across some free time. It’s impossible to schedule it so I have to be ready when the time arises! Continue reading »

Jan 222017
 

I recently visited Key West for the first time and I immediately fell in love.  Let me start by saying that Key West was not what I expected.  I went down there thinking it was going to be a quaint little island like Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, but boy, I could not have been more wrong – in a good way, though. Key West is a a hoppin’ place and my husband, Christian, and I were surprised at first about how much to see and do there was there. We were in Key West over Thanksgiving week and were pleasantly surprised that basically everything was open. We crammed a lot into the time we were there and I wanted to share some highlights with you today.

10 Things to do in Key West

1. Eat some key lime pie. Obviously.
Key lime pie is named after the small Key limes that are grown throughout the Florida Keys, so you can’t go to any of the Keys without having at least one piece of key lime pie.  Even if you don’t like key lime pie, you should still have some. I am pretty sure it’s mandatory. Continue reading »

Jan 182017
 

No matter what time of year you choose to visit Boston there are plenty of activities to entertain you during your visit. If you haven’t planned your trip just yet you might want to consider checking out some of these activities before you book! There are seasonal activities in Boston to suit any taste, some are perfect for a family outing while others would make a wonderful date night. I’d be the first to tell you that making more than one trip to Boston so you can take advantage of all these great seasonal activities is a great idea.

Spring
As with most places in the Northeast, Boston is in full bloom during the spring. Nothing says “get out and explore” quite like the crisp spring air. Warm sunny days invite you to get out and enjoy the beauty of springtime in Boston. These are some of the awesome activities you can enjoy during the spring in Boston.

  • The Boston Marathon: 3rd Monday of April
  • The Duckling Parade: Mother’s Day
  • Check out the fresh blooms in the Arnold Arboretum
  • Hop a ride on the Old Town Trolley
  • Freedom Trail walking tours will take you past 16 of the most historical sites in Boston
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a big deal in Boston…in case you didn’t know!
  • Boston International Film Festival: typically during mid April

Continue reading »

Jan 172017
 

During winter months, you may notice that your kids gradually start spending more and more time indoors, sitting in front of their computers, TVs or smartphones. While this type of fun is perfectly fine once in a while, it’s not healthy and definitely not family-oriented if your children have no other memories of charming winter time other than those that gadgets provide them with. In that respect, it’s time that you organize some cool outdoor activities for a whole family to enjoy. And most importantly, relax – these activities do not have to cost you an arm and a leg. All that’s necessary is your creativity, positive energy and love that you all share.

5 Frugal Family Bonding Outdoor Activities That Your Kids Will Love During Winter

Go out and make something
Winter time offers a lot of possibilities. If you happen to enjoy some good snowfall during winter, turn it to your advantage. Together with your kids, you can have a lot of fun in the snow. Making a snowman and other various forms, as well as using snow as a big canvas for your little works of art is a great and frugal way to bond as a family. Don’t feel sad if snow just doesn’t want to color your streets and yards white – you can make your own artificial snow that can serve the purpose of getting all artsy and crafty just fine. Continue reading »

Jan 162017
 

Trying to get your kids to eat enough fruits and vegetables is about as tricky as, well, trying to get a young kid to eat their fruits and vegetables. That’s why smoothies can be the ideal way to conceal the food that’s nutritious for them while giving them their daily intake of fruits and vegetables in a form that almost feels like a desert.

In broad terms, smoothies can run the gamut of flavors and ingredients so it is best to begin with something simple. Try starting your kids off with a pure fruits and yogurt yogurt mixture and work your way to more complicated recipes from there. Green smoothies can be filled with essential nutrients and can be extremely tasty, they may not be the best option for kids who still make dramatic faces overtime they look at broccoli.

A simple recipe to start them off would include frozen strawberries, a banana, and vanilla or plain yogurt. Once they get accustomed to the the basic flavor and texture of those smoothies, you could slowly start reducing the sugar and use a healthier vanilla yogurt instead of the plain yogurt. At this point, you can also start adding additional ingredients, such as blueberries or mangos, a little at a time without drastically altering the overall taste. Continue reading »

Jan 152017
 

My kids and husband are my entire world, but food will always be my first love.  I grew up in a big Italian family and boy did we eat. On Sundays it was course after course after course – we literally would spend the whole day eating. And it was awesome. Now that I’m the mom, I am a little more sensible about the way I eat, but I still love to eat and I especially love dessert. I have a major sweet tooth and red velvet is one of my all times favorites.

If you know me in real life, you know that I don’t participate in Valentine’s Day, but there is no reason that I can’t make an exception for some of these red velvet treats. I would make any one of these red velvet desserts my valentine any day. Have a look at what I’m drooling over:

Red Velvet Cool Whip Cookies from Tammilee Tips

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies from Tales of a Ranting Ginger

Red Velvet Cookies from Viva Veltoro

Red Velvet Cookie Recipe from Not Quite Susie Homemaker

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies from Diary of a Working Mom

Easy Red Velvet Cookies Recipe from A Magical Mess Continue reading »

Jan 112017
 

If the thought of being able to put money into savings makes you laugh hysterically, clap your hands.

If you clapped, you’re not alone. It can be incredibly difficult to put money into savings. And that’s just when the savings are your own. When you start considering how you’ll manage to save any money for your kid’s future — well, that can seem even more impossible.

If you want to save money for your kid’s future, or at least want to try, here are a few tactics to consider:

Start a 529 Plan

Like a 401k, a 529 plan is helpful, but it can be daunting if you’re new to it. The IRS has a detailed and helpful Q&A page that makes for a great introduction to this popular college savings plan.

The short and sweet explanation is this: A 529 plan allows you to save money specifically for education costs without being taxed on the account’s earnings — provided you spend those earnings on approved education costs. It’s considered your asset, so it won’t affect your kid’s financial aid and you can transfer it to their sibling if they’re not interested in pursuing higher education. Continue reading »

Jan 102017
 

After the kids are in bed for the night, I truly enjoy sitting down in front of the boob tube and binging on some of my favorite shows. After a day of being a mom, it’s nice to watch something that’s kind of anti-fairy tail, you know? Without a doubt, my favorite show to indulge in is American Horror Story. It is one of the craziest shows on TV and has definitely proved itself to be one of the greatest shows, ever. There are twists and turns galore and I am literally on the edge of my seat the entire time. If you need any more convincing, here are some reasons why you should be watching American Horror Story.

1. Each season is a separate story.  Each season tells a different story, beginning to end, in just 12 episodes. Each season that airs now is starting to reveal tie-ins to previous seasons. I read somewhere that in the end everything will tie in together, so it actually excites me when a connection to a previous season comes up. The the first real connection was Pepper in Season 2, Asylum. There she was a patient at Briarcliff Manor, but in Season 4, Freak Show, we saw that that Pepper was performer with Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Since then there have been many more and I am positive that there will be more to come.

2. Recurring cast. You will see many familiar faces from season to season, but since the stories change, their characters do as well. So while you see see many of the same actors each year, they may not be taking on a lead role as they did in previous seasons. You just never know. Continue reading »

Jan 092017
 

One of the great things about modern travel is that there are endless options for accommodations. There are countless choices when deciding where to stay when traveling far and wide. You can stay in a hotel, at a campground, in your RV, at a bed and breakfast, or even in someone else’s home! The variety of and style of overnight accommodations has evolved over time and now there are options to suit everyone. If you are thinking about booking a stay at a bed and breakfast these are the pros and cons. Check them out before you book to see if you’d enjoy this type of stay!

Pros of Staying in a Bed and Breakfast:

Let’s be honest, I don’t always like to start with the positives but let’s mix it up a little today!

Activities:
There are TONS of activities happening in house at most bed and breakfast locations. They schedule fun crafting, cooking, touring, and even little trips. Usually the activity levels at a bed and breakfast will depend on the owner but typically speaking there are lots of things to do when staying in a bed and breakfast. Continue reading »

Jan 082017
 

My boys are basically obsessed with anything emoji related. They both got a bunch of emoji paraphernalia for Christmas and I think for both of them, the emoji gifts that they received rank highest among their favorites. Especially those poop emoji slippers that my little man got….

The emoji obsession in my house got me thinking. I wanted to make a fun snack for my boys that was emoji related and then it hit me – Valentine’s Day is coming up and the heart eyes emoji would be PERFECT to put on Rice Krispie Treats. If you are looking for a fun Valentine’s Day treat, you seriously don’t have to look any further than these Emoji Rice Krispie Treats. They are really easy to make and trust me, they will be a huge hit with your kids like they were with mine.

Here’s what you need:

  • 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 4.5 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • Yellow food coloring
  • 1 cup red Wilton candy melts
  • Black sparkle gel icing

Continue reading »

Jan 032017
 

how-to-survive-raising-boys

If you are raising boys then you surely have become familiar with that everlasting boy humor. That humor that is inappropriate for the dinner table yet becomes a frequent occurrence. That toilet seat that never gets put down and that ever growing smell that seems to be boy’s feet. Sure some of you are the lucky parents with boys who don’t exhibit most of these qualities on a regular basis but for the rest of us, we are just getting started in learning how to survive raising boys.

How to Survive Raising Boys

The initial step to ensuring that you survive the years of raising boys is to make sure that your weak stomach disappears. There will be times that you smell odd things on stuffed animals, wonder what’s hidden underneath their beds and why on Earth they still smell after having showered just that morning. Continue reading »

Jan 022017
 

After the initial novelty of it wears off, nobody really likes the cold, especially if you are being forced into it. And if we are being honest, nobody really likes being forced to exercise. So when you are forced to combine those things, it takes a great deal of willpower just to motivate yourself to lace up your sneakers and get out the door.

Not everyone has that strength to do that which is why a lot of people gain undesirable weight during the winter and make annual resolutions for the new year.

Exercising outdoors can be beneficial for your body. The crisp air can keep your energy from draining as quickly as it does during steamy summers keeping you fresher through your workout and the fresh air will help your circulatory system exhale carbon dioxide and other toxins more efficiently. You will however have to take a few extra precautions to protect you from injury and other harm that can come from exposure to lower temperatures.

So here are a few tips to help make your outdoors exercise time more tolerable so that you can keep up with your workout regimen when the thermometer drops:

Cover Your Head and Hands:

Most of your body’s heat is lost on a cold day through the outermost extremities so it is essential to keep your head and your hands warm. If these parts of your body are exposed, it is going to cause the rest of your body to feel much colder than it actually is. There are gloves specially designed to protect your hands from the elements while enabling you to keep your dexterity in your fingers and maintain grip when performing such tasks as riding a bike outdoors while still keeping your hands warm. For your head, even a simple baseball hat can help provide a layer of insulating protection although a beanie-style hat is a better choice if the temperatures are near or below freezing temperatures. Continue reading »

Dec 272016
 

For healthy weight loss to occur we need to reduce our intake of calories which means we should focus on eating foods that are high in nutrients, but lower in calories. If they taste great and can satisfy our biological hunger, that’s even better. That’s why smoothies are the perfect “meal” when you are trying to eat healthier while dropping a few pounds.

Here are just a few ways that incorporating smoothies into our daily diet can help us reach our nutritional goals:

How Smoothies Can Help You Eat Better And Lose Weight

Smoothies are Packed with Nutrients: You can pack a lot of nutrients in your smoothies with ingredients like fresh or frozen berries, assorted fruits and plenty of dark, leafy greens vegetables. For an added kick, substitute coconut water instead of plain water to maintain the consistency you desire while at the same time adding essential minerals and electrolytes.

Smoothies Can Fill You Up Without the Calories: By using ample amounts of leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and chard, you can create a smoothie that’s both low in calories and high in fiber, which helps give you that feeling of being “full” without eating a huge meal. Cucumbers, peppers, and even tomatoes can help add more dietary fiber to your smoothie without adding unnecessary calories and limiting the amount of sugars. Sugars, even if they are all natural, tend to be digested relatively quickly, leaving your body craving more in a short amount of time. For cutting down on sugars even more, try to use fruit sparingly and opt for low sugar varieties like berries for best results. Continue reading »

Dec 262016
 

ham-casseroles-with-leftovers

You have probably reached your fill with turkey and all the associated leftover meals. You can probably go a full year before seeing turkey on your plate. You are going to have plenty of leftovers from another staple of holiday meals as well. The roasted ham is an essential meat for many traditional holiday dinners especially Christmas. While it isn’t quite as versatile as turkey when it comes to reinventing the leftovers into a new meal, ham does lend itself well to a variety of casseroles!

Here are some easy and delicious casserole recipes that create brand new meals from that leftover holiday ham:

Ham Casserole Recipe Ideas

Breakfast Casserole With Ham
Ham lends itself easily to a breakfast meal. You can use the leftover ham for a fun and yummy breakfast casserole that can be eaten for any meal of the day. To make this, scramble eggs with diced ham and then mix with potatoes that have been shredded hash brown style with butter. Top with grated cheese (we like using pepper jack) and bake in your favorite casserole dish. You can even experiment a little with with some cream of chicken soup or sour cream if you want a creamier dish.

Ham Baked Potato Casserole
If you are a fan of twice-baked potatoes, you are going to love this easy potato casserole recipe. For this casserole, you’ll need potatoes and ingredients like butter, sour cream, salt, and chives. Cut the potatoes into thin slices, au gratin style, and place them into the casserole dish with your other ingredients, along with a can of cream of potato soup. Top the dish with cubed pieces of ham and a cheese and bake for a hearty dish. Continue reading »

Dec 212016
 

I don’t know about you, but it’s not even Christmas and I’m exhausted. All of my out of town in-laws were back home for two weeks and there were many family get-togethers over those weeks, so when it came time for me to host a get-together the last thing I wanted to do was a lot of cooking for it. Then I heard about Qdoba’s catering bar, which features a hot buffet-style lineup of bold flavors that makes hosting holiday parties super easy.

Qdoba offers fresh, delicious Mexican food and perfect for business or personal occasions. You can serve as few as ten people or more than a hundred with their Hot Bars or boxed lunches. Set up is a snap and each Hot Bar comes with everything you’ll need – napkins, utensils, and chafing dishes that keep the hot stuff hot.

When you order catering from Qdoba you can choose from a Hot Taco Bar, Naked Burrito Bar, Nacho Bar, Boxed Lunches or Breakfast Burritos. As you can imagine, I was torn about what to get.  I mean tacos are awesome, nachos are awesome and burritos are – you guessed it -awesome. Continue reading »

Dec 202016
 

‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, no child was complaining, not even a spouse. The gifts were unwrapped and toys played with care, while parents reveled in the peace and quiet in the air… Well, that lasted 10 minutes. We know it’s not long before the first “I’M BORED” escapes your kids’ lips during holiday break.

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve been in a slump due to the rainy day blues.  Instead of curling up into a ball and succumbing into boredom, there are dozens of different activities that you can do to keep yourself occupied.  Even if the weather is miserable outside, there is no reason as to why you should be miserable inside!  Below is a list of 4 great things that you can do to chase rainy day boredom away.

1. Plan a Scavenger Hunt

This is the perfect activity for families who have children that enjoy participating in activities.  A scavenger hunt is not only fun for the kids, but it is also fun for the parents.  Make a list of 20-30 items that the family will have to find throughout the house and the individual who finds all of the items first is the winner.  You can choose the prize, such as allowing the winner to pick what’s for dinner and desert that night. Continue reading »

Dec 192016
 


We all have one of those people who is impossible to buy Christmas gifts for. For me, it’s my dad. He already owns everything ever made (I wish I was exaggerating) and if he sees something he wants and doesn’t already have – he just goes out and buys it for himself. Sure, I can always get him gift cards and sometimes I do, but for Christmas I like to get actual gifts, especially for the super important people in my life like my dad.

Then it hit me. Verizon! Verizon has tons of great gift ideas, especially for people who love gadgets and tech. Who doesn’t love gadgets and tech?  Here are some gift ideas for those hard to buy for people that you can get right at Verizon:

Need a new phone?  How about the Moto Z Force Droid:

This phone is seriously awesome. It is Android N + Google Daydream ready. All you have to do is upgrade your Moto Z Force Droid to Android N OS, and then it’s ready for Google Daydream! Plus the Moto Z Force Droid has a next generation Moto ShatterShield™ display, 5.5 Quad HD display, guaranteed not to crack or shatter and a 21 MP camera that helps you capture clearer pics with laser autofocus and optical image stabilization! Continue reading »

Dec 182016
 

easy-diy-gingerbread-man-wine-glass-votive-holder

Over the summer, my parents cleaned out their basement and somehow, half of their crap stuff found it’s way to my house?  I’m still not sure exactly how that happened, but recently I decided to start going through some of it because I remember my dad saying that there were some Christmas decorations in there.  There were.  Plus about a thousand other things that I don’t need in my life.  One of the things that I found in the box was an old wine glass and since I already have more wine glasses than I need, I decided to upcycle it into a candle holder.

I wasn’t sure what to make exactly, but decided that a gingerbread man votive holder would go well with a lot of my current Christmas decorations, so that’s what I made.  It was really easy to make and it came out really cute.

Easy DIY Gingerbread Man Wine Glass Votive Holder

Here’s what you need:

  • Wine glass
  • Brown enamel craft paint
  • Extra fine silver glitter
  • Red, white, and black felt
  • White puffy paint
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue/hot glue gun

Continue reading »

Dec 142016
 

The holidays are in full swing and whether we want to admit it or not, Christmas will be here SOON. The holidays bring all kinds of family gatherings and I like to be prepared for all of them. My husband is one of seven and all of the out of town siblings (and their families) came back home recently, so that equated to many get-togethers while everyone was in town. It’s been a few years since everyone was in one place, so it was pretty special. There were quite a few parties/gatherings over the time they were all home plus a few on my side (and two more coming up before Christmas) and of course there is no way that I could show up empty handed to any of them. It’s been a busy December for us to say the least so I headed over to Stop & Shop because I knew they would have everything I needed.

The first thing I did when I got to Stop & Shop was to grab all the ingredients I needed to make a couple of green bean casseroles. If I show up to any family event without one, I think it’s safe to say that they won’t even let me in the door. Luckily they are super easy to make and the recipe is right on the back of the French’s French fried onions.

If you don’t have the recipe, here is it: Continue reading »