Feb 192018
 

If your child enjoys play dough, try making this homemade Rainbow Play Dough next time. It's easy to make and sure to be a big hit!

Having a child with sensory issues has been a learning experience for me. Because of his ADHD, he fidgets a lot and one thing we’ve found that he really likes to work with is play dough. He usually just squishes it around in his hands, which really seems to help him regulate himself, so I make my own play dough for him fairly often. I have experimented with different ingredients, colors and add-ins (think glitter), but recently I made some Rainbow Play Dough because well, I like rainbows and thought it would be cool to have a bunch of vibrant colors for him to play with.

Rainbow Play Dough

If your child enjoys play dough, try making this homemade Rainbow Play Dough next time. It's easy to make and sure to be a big hit!

Continue reading »

Feb 192018
 

These Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pinwheels are an easy after-school snack idea. They are really delicious and it's an easy recipe to whip up in a jiffy!

I’ve said a before and I will probably say this for many more years to come: my boys come off the bus starving. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that they didn’t eat all day while they were at school. This is especially true when it comes to my oldest. If you’ve ever heard what they say about growing boys – it’s completely true.  That kid eats me out of house and home! Recently I whipped these Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pinwheels for the boys to eat after school and they both loved them.  So now they are in our regular rotation!

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pinwheels

These Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pinwheels are an easy after-school snack idea. They are really delicious and it's an easy recipe to whip up in a jiffy!

Continue reading »

Feb 142018
 

Are you looking for something fun to do? Try a ceramic class! They are making a comeback and it's perfect for all skill levels.

Are you looking for something fun and creative to do? Look no further. I consider myself a pretty crafty person. I scrapbook and crochet, though I don’t have time to do them now that I am in grad school. The one thing I can make time for is my weekly ceramics class. I know, I know……your grandma or your mom used to take ceramics. People look at it as an old lady thing to do, but this class is honestly my sanity some weeks.

I discovered this class completely by accident while attending the Boston Christmas a little over a year ago. There was a ceramics booth with finished products, but one item caught my eye – the ceramic Christmas tree. You know the one I’m talking about – our moms all had one when we were growing up. They have made a huge comeback in the last few years. Then I saw the big ceramic lighthouse that was way out of my price range but was gorgeous (I have a slight obsession with lighthouses). I began talking with the shop owners and they told me I could paint one of my own. Well sign me up!

Are you looking for something fun to do? Try a ceramic class! They are making a comeback and it's perfect for all skill levels.

This is not your Grandma’s ceramic class. We have all ages in our class – our youngest student is 15. We are all very different, but it is like a little family. It’s 2.5 hours of painting, laughing, and therapy. The owner and instructor, Dale, is so talented and helpful. You can tell that she truly loves what she does. In fact, this is her retirement job. She has a huge assortment of pieces and even if you think you have no talent for painting, with her direction you will create amazing pieces. We all made Christmas gifts for our loved ones, and everyone loved them. Prices are SO reasonable ($10 a class or $32 for the month plus the cost of the piece, and some pieces take several weeks to complete). Continue reading »

Feb 132018
 

I never tell my kids where we’re going, I just tell them we’re going on a Mystery Ride and we go. Sometimes we go to Walmart, sometimes we go to Washington, DC. It’s a surprise every time. So, when the opportunity came up to go to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Boston for #LEGOStarWars #MINILAND Preview Event I was psyched. This was going to be a perfect Mystery Ride! With my oldest being almost 13, the age gap between him and the 9- & 8-year olds feels like dog years. It’s getting harder and harder to find Mystery Rides they will enjoy together but something like this was a no-brainer.

Star Wars MINILAND is the newest addition to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Boston. For Star Wars fans, this is a display not to be missed!

When they saw Gio, the giant Lego Giraffe, and realized they were going up to the Discovery Center, the excitement was palpable. Even the tweenager smiled. We found parking two blocks over that was free for the first 3 hours, made a mental note that there was an ice cream shop across the street and headed in for our adventure. Continue reading »

Feb 122018
 

Upgrade Your Trip By Booking Experiences Directly Through TripAdvisor! They offer more than 56,000 bookable experiences in 2,500 destinations worldwide and with that many experiences it's safe to say there is something for everyone.

I don’t usually make any major travel plans during the winter time. If there is one thing I’ve learned as a life long New Englander, it’s that the weather is unpredictable.  It’s such a bummer to have your flight delayed – or worse, canceled, because of snow and yes, I had to learn the hard way about what a bummer it actually is (sleeping at the airport is NOT fun).  So instead we do lots of local outings and day trips during the winter time.

Whenever I am planning to visit someplace new, whether it’s a fun day trip or a vacation, the first place I look for information is TripAdvisor. I can always count on honest reviews by fellow travelers over there, but did you know that TripAdvisor recently just leveled up?  In addition to thousands of honest reviews about anywhere and everywhere, you now have the ability to book attractions, tours and experiences directly through TripAdvisor.

Obviously, it’s February and since that’s the heart of winter here in New England, we’re still keeping it local this time of year. So off to TripAdvisor I went so that I could book some fun activities locally. I sat down and perused the available options for the dates I wanted to do something on. There are a lot of cool things happening in Boston on any given day (Boston is such an awesome city!!), but it was fun to scroll through all of the available experiences. I really like having so many options in one place, so I can easily search for what best suits what I am looking for.

Upgrade Your Trip By Booking Experiences Directly Through TripAdvisor! They offer more than 56,000 bookable experiences in 2,500 destinations worldwide and with that many experiences it's safe to say there is something for everyone.

I ended up picking out a few fun experiences in the Boston area for my family and here’s a little bit about the things I picked. Continue reading »

Feb 112018
 

Moist, juicy, delicious meatloaf with some surprising sauce ingredients that might just make you reconsider your opinion of meatloaf in general!

Begin by pouring your glaze mixture of ketchup, yellow mustard, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar into a sauce pan. Stir frequently until it starts to simmer. Let simmer while you are mixing up the meat, keeping a close eye on it and stirring it frequently.

Moist, juicy, delicious meatloaf with some surprising sauce ingredients that might just make you reconsider your opinion of meatloaf in general!

Finely chop one small to medium sized onion. I use my mini food processor so I can get the pieces as small as humanly possible. I don’t know, but if your kids are anything like my kids, the mere sight of a piece of onion can send them into dinner hysterics. I firmly believe this is my punishment for torturing my mother for so many years over the CHUNKS!!! Oh My GOSH there are CHUNKS IN THIS FOOD! Sometimes they just have to deal with it and pick them out, because as you guys well know, there are onions of some sort in about 80% of the food I cook. I don’t have time to be a short order cook. Over here, you eat what is served or you get to be hungry. Bummer!

After your onion is finely chopped, dump it into a large bowl and mix in the eggs, milk, ketchup, A-1, salt, pepper, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, garlic, panko bread crumbs, and crushed up saltines. Mix this all together well, and then dump in 2.5 pounds of 80/20 ground beef. Stir this until the mixture is fully incorporated with the ground beef. You can get in there with your hands if you want, but I usually use a heavy wooden spoon. Continue reading »

Feb 082018
 

**The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free**

Laundry.  It never ends.  Surely you’ve seen the memes floating around the internet that joke about the 12 seconds when all of the laundry is actually done – and it’s completely true. There is always something that needs to be washed. I have found that the older my kids get, the more laundry they create (sports uniforms, multiple showers on game days, etc) and sometimes I feel like I just can’t keep up with it all. There are times when I think to myself that it would be so nice if I could do two loads at once! Well guess what? The ability to wash two loads at once is now a reality with the LG TwinWash System at Best Buy. Brilliant!

With LG’s TwinWash system you get the best of both worlds. For small loads that can’t wait (think things like your yoga pants after your hot yoga class, the red shirt in a pile of whites, the dirty school uniform on a Sunday night) there is the LG SideKick pedestal washer. You can even use it simultaneously while you do a bigger load up top on your LG Front load washer. This might just be the greatest invention since the wheel for us busy moms!

Not only do these washers have mega capacity to tackle any size load, they are energy efficient while giving you the best cleaning performance. No wonder more households have chosen LG laundry over any other brand!

From 1/11-4/25 receive up to $500 off a LG laundry solution for your home at Best Buy!  Now that’s a great deal!

So tell me, wouldn’t you just love to try LG’s TwinWash System? I know I would.

Feb 072018
 

Did you catch the Facebook live I did this morning with Leah from City Living Boston live from The Royal Sonesta Boston. Actually, Kim from Kimworld was there, too, but she did all the behind the scenes stuff for us (THANK YOU for that by the way, Kim)! During the live stream we covered local things to do over the Winter break/February school vacation.

What, you missed it?  No worries – grab a snack, sit back and have a look:

Before I get into all my February vacation picks, here are a few of the links for things mentioned in the live stream for your reference:

Little Scientists Package: https://www.sonesta.com/…/royal-sonesta-boston/offers

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston February Vacation Offerings http://www.mfa.org/…/special-event/february-vacation-

Mirror Maze Exhibit at Museum of Science, Boston https://www.mos.org/exhibits/mirror-maze

Love Royally at the Royal Sonesta Boston https://www.sonesta.com/loveroyally

As promised here is some information on the locations I discussed in the video (plus a few that I didn’t have time to mention): Continue reading »

Feb 052018
 

If your child wants to impress their friends at school, have them hand out some of these adorable Printable Dinosaur Valentine's Day Cards for their classroom exchanges this year.

When I was a kid I loved exchanging valentines with my classmates in school. Back then the only real option was the store bought kind, which are totally fine by the way, but now that I am the mom I like to get creative with my my kids valentines. I ended up making these adorable Printable Dinosaur Valentine’s Day Cards this year and I am super happy with the way they came out.

Printable Dinosaur Valentine’s Day Cards

If your child wants to impress their friends at school, have them hand out some of these adorable Printable Dinosaur Valentine's Day Cards for their classroom exchanges this year.

Continue reading »

Feb 052018
 

My husband, Christian, and I got recently invited to check out a new show in Boston called “BABEL: An Evening of Mind Reading”. Sounds cool, right?  Well, it was cool. Actually, it was totally mind blowing. We love it when we watch America’s Got Talent and a mentalist comes on and it always ends the same way with the two of us: when the trick is over, we look at each other and say in unison, “how the h-e-double hockey sticks did they do that??”

BABEL is a 90-minute intimate evening of mind-reading with Boston’s premiere mentalist, Christopher Grace, at The Bostonian Boston in the financial district and we went to BABEL’s debut show last Friday. It’s a performance designed for sophisticated adults looking for a different type of entertainment and Christopher delivered on his promise.

BABEL is a 90-minute intimate evening of mind-reading with Boston’s premiere mentalist, Christopher Grace, at The Bostonian Boston in the financial district. It's a performance designed for sophisticated adults looking for a different type of entertainment.

Christopher completely confounded the entire audience on Friday with his seemingly impossible mind-reading abilities, acts of super memory, and actually entertaining rapid fire math skills. He was inside all of our heads and kept up laughing the whole time. Continue reading »

Jan 312018
 

These Mini Shepherd's Pot Pies are a perfect winter meal! They are really easy to make, ready in 30 minutes or less and they will definitely fill your family's tummies.

There are certain nights of the week that we are super busy after school.  On those nights, we don’t get home until after 6 pm, so I don’t have a long time to get a meal on the table. I actually prefer 30 minute (or less) meals on those days because I like to have dinner done and over with by 7 pm so that we can start our night time routine. One of my family’s favorites are Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies. Talk about comfort food!!  The Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies are ready in about a half hour and they go over big with my family.

Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies

These Mini Shepherd's Pot Pies are a perfect winter meal! They are really easy to make, ready in 30 minutes or less and they will definitely fill your family's tummies. Continue reading »

Jan 302018
 

 These 5 places are sure to be an unforgettable addition to any trip through Washington DC. Have a blast showing your kids one of the nation’s most historic cities!

Traveling with kids is such a rewarding experience. Places like Washington DC are fantastic family travel locations. There is so much rich history and fun activities all over the city that you can really show your kids a great time and feel good about them learning something at the same time! The next time you are in Washington DC check out these 5 unforgettable places to take your kids. They will be sure to have a great time and be talking about their trip for a long time afterwards. In the end, planning a trip that sticks with them is the best reward. You want them to have an experience that means something to them so that they can get the most out of traveling!

1. The Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is an epic tribute to one of our nation’s great leaders. Your kids will be blown away by the sheer magnitude of the memorial itself. Nothing makes you feel small like standing next to a humongous statue. They’ll learn so much without even knowing it and having their photo taken next to a giant Abe Lincoln will surely be an unforgettable part of their Washington DC adventure!

 These 5 places are sure to be an unforgettable addition to any trip through Washington DC. Have a blast showing your kids one of the nation’s most historic cities!

Continue reading »

Jan 292018
 

An effective and efficient pantry means you’ll spend less time looking for ingredients.The following tips will help you organize your pantry for quick and easy meal preparation.

Whether you have a spacious pantry or a small space, organizing it really makes sense. An effective and efficient pantry means you’ll spend less time looking for ingredients and as an added bonus, you will know when you’re almost out of a staple so you can make sure you never run out. The following tips will help you organize your pantry for quick and easy meal preparation.

Create Zones
Zones create a space for everything. You might place lesser used items on the highest shelf and the often used items at eye level. Heavy bags of flour, potatoes, and rice can sit on the floor of the pantry. Keep canned soups, canned vegetables, and pastas in separate sections. Creating zones in your panty is a simple and effective means of organizing your pantry. You can help others follow your system by labeling each zone. For example, place a label that says, “Cereal” under or over the cereal section in your pantry.

Storage Containers
Storage containers take the zone concept to a new level. They help keep smaller items together and give your pantry a cohesive look. And when you’re going to be using more than one item from a zone, you can simply remove the storage container and set it on the counter. For example, you might store your garlic and onions in a lined bin or basket. Continue reading »

Jan 282018
 

 Make some Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Valentine's Day. They are easy to make and the perfect treat for those of you who celebrate.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I hate Valentine’s Day with a passion. I am part of the team that thinks people shouldn’t be forced to show love on one particular day of the year, but since I became a mom my views about this made up holiday have changed a little. I show my kids that I love them every single day of their lives, but on Valentine’s Day I do usually tend to give in to societal norms because of them. This year, we are all going to enjoy some Chocolate Covered Strawberries to “celebrate” Valentine’s Day. Of course, chocolate covered strawberries are good any day, but these ones are a little more festive because I went all out for Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Valentine’s Day

 Make some Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Valentine's Day. They are easy to make and the perfect treat for those of you who celebrate.

Continue reading »

Jan 242018
 

Popcorn is the perfect movie night snack, but why not get fancy with your popcorn this week? Try one of these 5 fancy popcorn recipes on your next movie night.

Nothing goes better with a Netflix binge session than a big old bowl of popcorn. Am I right? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I like to get a little fancy with my popcorn, so today I wanted to share a five of my favorite fancy popcorn recipes with you.

Astronaut Popcorn

8 cups Popped popcorn — *
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Tang — powdered orange drink
1/3 cup Light corn syrup
1/3 cup Water
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 teaspoon Orange extract
1 teaspoon Baking soda
* 2 tbls of unpopped popcorn makes 4 cups (or 1 ounce) popped popcorn.
Place popcorn in a large buttered baking pan. In separate pan, combine sugar, drink mix, syrup, water and butter. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Cook until mixture reaches 250~ on a candy thermometer, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in orange extract and baking soda. Pour over popcorn, mixing well. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool completely. Continue reading »

Jan 232018
 

Video Games Aren’t Just For Couch Potatoes! You and you family can burn Calories While Having Fun and here's how to do it.

Video games have dominated the market and lured us in with their lifelike graphics and compelling story lines. This ever-changing technology has the ability to immerse us in a fantasy world that makes us practically forget about actual reality. Video games often get a bad rap because of their ability to turn any normal, active adult or child into a professional couch potato.

Not all games are created equal, however. There are some video games that will get you up and moving and even breaking a sweat by the time you are done. Let’s take a look at the benefits of these games and how you can incorporate them in your daily fitness plan.

Get Moving
Active video games such as Wii Fit, Zumba, and Just Dance will get your blood pumping and your heart racing. You will find that your energy levels increase and you will receive the boost needed to jump-start your metabolism. In no time these games will have you sweating like you’ve just been to the gym. The level of activity is up to you. If you’re a beginner you can take it slow or really push your limits if you choose to. Schedule time to “play” a game or two before work in the morning or on your lunch break. It will be much easier to stick to a workout routine if you are having fun at the same time. Continue reading »

Jan 222018
 

Leftovers don’t have to be boring. They also don’t have to be a challenge to reuse. With a little imagination and the right pantry supplies, you can turn leftovers into an original and delicious meal.

You open the refrigerator and it’s full of leftovers. You could reheat them and enjoy them again or you could turn them into something new and fabulous. Here are five Tips to make the most of the leftovers in your fridge!

#1 Soup
Leftover chicken, turkey, and even sausage can be turned into a delicious soup. For example, leftover Andouille sausage can be added to a pot of chicken broth. Add white beans, carrots and celery, a can of drained diced tomatoes and you have a delicious and satisfying soup. Pop a loaf of frozen bread into the oven and your family can enjoy fresh baked bread and soup for dinner.

#2 Make a Cake
Not a chocolate cake but a noodle or rice cake. Leftover pasta, rice, and even potatoes can be chopped or diced small to make single serving cakes. Add an egg and form with your hands. Cook in butter or oil on the stove top. Season with salt and pepper and top with an egg, with pasta sauce or with cheese and vegetables. Let your imagination be your guide. Continue reading »

Jan 212018
 

These mini corn dog muffins will satisfy your corn dog craving without taking too large of a bite out of you daily calorie allowance. They are easy to make and are sure to be a hit at dinner time.

My kids LOVE corn dogs. So do I, if we’re being honest here. What I don’t love is all of the weird ingredients in the store-bought frozen variety. I also don’t especially love making them the traditional way at home. It is messy, time consuming, and deep frying? Come on. I need to quit that.

Here is my alternative, mini corn dog muffins, and I must say, it satisfied my corn dog craving without taking too large of a bite out of my daily calorie allowance. Certainly a LOT less than its deep fried cousin would have. As a bonus, my kids DEVOURED these. My super picky, would eat mac-n-cheese every day if I let him guy had seconds and thirds. You can’t beat that!

Start by mixing the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and egg in a mixing bowl with a whisk. Mix well. Then drizzle the honey over the top. Not mixing it in all the way leaves you with little honey bits in the batter which I LOVE. Continue reading »

Jan 172018
 

Here are some Valentine’s Day date night ideas so that you and your spouse (or loved one) can enjoy a fun-filled evening of celebrating your love on this romantic holiday.

Going out for Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive, elaborate or even super fancy. There are many Valentine’s Day date night ideas that can bring about the most memorable moment without spending a whole lot of money. Today I am sharing some Valentine’s Day date night ideas so that you and your spouse can enjoy a fun-filled evening of celebrating your love on this romantic holiday.

Get Cultural
Head out to a local museum or art gallery together. Indulge in the lovely views of our current and past culture when you plan a Valentine’s Day date night out to an artsy location. If you are both art lovers, a museum or art gallery date night could lead to a wonderful evening of engaging conversation.

Trip Down Memory Lane
Put the kids to bed and plan an evening of looking back at photos and videos of your time together. You can watch your wedding video, family home movies or pull out the old photo albums. This will rekindle the bond that made you two fall in love and allows you to remember all of the good moments. Continue reading »

Jan 172018
 

I don’t know about you, but my husband I are always looking for fun date night ideas. We are both foodies, so going out to eat makes us both very happy, but every now and then it’s fun to change things up. Last weekend we definitely leveled up our date night! We spent a super fun night at the Chef’s Demonstration Table at the Dan’l Webster Inn in Sandwich.

The Chef's Demonstration Table at the Dan'l Webster Inn is a unique entertainment experience. Enjoy a cooking lesson and a wonderful dinner all in one fun night out.

The evening was quite entertaining as about 23 of us watched Chef Steve Chausse and Pastry Chef Lydia Broderick prepare a 3 course meal from scratch. The menu included roasted Stuffed Artichoke Tartlet, Winter Flounder Francaise with a beurre blanc sauce and a Ricotta Cheesecake with an almond crust for dessert. The two chefs made all three dishes from scratch all while providing tips on which tools and materials are best to use and lots of other practical tips that we will be able to use at home. Continue reading »