Aug 232017
 

Continuing education is a tough decision! There is so much to consider.

I recently made a big decision for my career; I decided to go back to school for my Master’s degree. A little background: I graduated from nursing school 21 years ago with my Associates degree. I had always maintained that I never had any intention of going back, and for years I didn’t. Then I interviewed for a job I REALLY wanted and I didn’t get it. I realized then that having my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) would make me much more marketable and increase my chances of eventually getting the job I wanted. Within 3 months I was enrolled and I finished my BSN in June of 2016. On the last day of classes for me, I got offered the job I wanted (2 years after I applied the first time). Coincidence? Maybe, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. And now that the learning bug has bitten me, I can’t get enough.

Maybe you’ve thought about going back to school and are unsure. I’ve talked to many people about this over the last several years. Some tell me they are too old, others tell me they don’t have the time, and some tell me that just the thought itself overwhelms them. It IS a huge decision. Continue reading »

Aug 222017
 

teacher appreciation gifts

It seems like each year my children get a bit older, the days past by that much faster. They always say, “Don’t blink! Kids grow up so fast!” That can’t be more true! In no time another school year will begin, and I thought it would be fun to share some great back to school gifts for teachers!

Teachers are make such a huge impact on your child, and they help them grow and learn with each day! I think it is a great way to give a gift as a thank you for all their hard work and time they will put into helping your child for the school year!

These are affordable and creative gifts to give to a teacher, that will be sure to put a big smile on their face!

Easy DIY Gifts to Make For Your Teacher

Grape Year: Bombshell Bling – A fun and free printable that says, This will be a grape year! Get it.. grape..great! Continue reading »

Aug 212017
 

Yellow pencils are boring aren't they? Check out these cute DIY Painted Pencils. It's super easy to glam them up and send them to school with the kids!

The first day of school will be here before I know it. Here in New England, we don’t go back to school until after Labor Day, so like I said – it’s coming up quick. This year I wanted to do something special for back to school and I even broke my “No glitter in my house” policy to make this one happen. I made some super cute DIY Painted Pencils. Yellow pencils are boring aren’t they? It’s super easy to glam them up and send the kids to school with something that makes them stand out!

Yellow pencils are boring aren't they? Check out these cute DIY Painted Pencils. It's super easy to glam them up and send them to school with the kids!

I think these DIY Painted Pencils are especially fun because you can paint them in any color you want, so they are completely customizable. I did a variety of colors because I made some for my nieces at the same time I made a few for my almost 4th grader. My nieces haven’t seen theirs yet, but my son absolutely loved his pencils.

DIY Painted Pencils

Yellow pencils are boring aren't they? Check out these cute DIY Painted Pencils. It's super easy to glam them up and send them to school with the kids!

Continue reading »

Aug 202017
 

You’ve seen my Minion Strawberries before and today, I am sharing my Oreo Minions. Oreo’s are a BIG favorite in my house and when my kids saw that I had made Minions out of them, they were so excited.

Oreo Minions

Here’s what you need:

  • Oreo’s
  • Black, Yellow and Blue Candy Melts (you can also used white chocolate that you color with food dye)
  • Candy Eyeballs
  • Candy Melts E-Z Thin (you can also use Crisco)
  • Candy Melts Decorating Tips
  • Decorating Bags or Ziploc Bags

Continue reading »

Aug 172017
 

You all know this guy:

He’s the boy that made me a mom and is one of my two main reasons for living. I almost can’t believe that he’s THIRTEEN now. Omg you guys – I am the mother of a teenager. How did that happen?

I don’t want to embarrass him too much, but I’m going to share a story with you. About a year ago or so, he came off the bus from school and I was waiting at the door to greet him (like always). I wait for him inside the door of course because god forbid his friends on the bus see me outside anxiously waiting for him to come home. Anyhow, like I always do, I went to give him a big hug and kiss the second he walked in the door. Except this day was different. My sweet, sweet little boy almost killed me with the stench that immediately filled the room when he lifted his arms. My god, I almost passed out. I actually I did fall to the floor and pretend to faint because I figured that it would be less humiliating for him if I made light of it at first.

Once I regained consciousness got up off of the floor, I explained to him that it was time to start wearing deodorant. Every. Day.  The weird thing is, that smell came out of no where – one day he didn’t smell and the next day he did. He’s an active kid and now that his body is changing, he’s sweating a lot more. Continue reading »

Aug 152017
 

One of my favorite sweet treats is ice cream.  I don’t care if it’s 20 degrees outside or 120 degrees – there is never a bad time for ice cream. When I was growing up, I had a bowl of ice cream for my bedtime snack every single night.  While I don’t have ice cream quite that often anymore, I certainly enjoy a couple of bowls of ice cream every week. Lately I have discovered homemade ice cream and am so excited that I am not limited to what they sell in the grocery store. Not that I have ever bought an ice cream flavor that I didn’t like, but I do like freedom of creativity that I have when I make my own. I have been on the hunt for some great homemade ice cream recipes lately and today I’ve rounded them all up into once place for easy reference.

Check out these amazing homemade ice cream recipes:

Mint Chocolate Ice Cream
http://amandascookin.com/homemade-mint-chocolate-chip-ice-cream/

Banana Ice Cream
http://happyhooligans.ca/one-ingredient-banana-ice-cream/ Continue reading »

Aug 142017
 

School nowadays is fast paced, and you might find your tween boys come home with piles of homework! Well below are some great apps that are a great way to get organized and keep track of all the homework assignments!

These homework apps for tween boys will make the school year run a lot more smoother when they utilize these apps! They are parent approved apps, if you are concerned!

These apps can help keep their homework in order, use a calculator to help with math, create flash cards to study and more. I love each of these apps, they are great for students to have easy access to making learning and organization easier this school year!

5 Best Organizational and Tool Apps for Tween Boys

My Homework

  • For: iPhone, Android, Kindle, Web,
  • Price: Free

My Homework is a great app for your tween to keep track of their classes along with assignments. When you import an assignment it will allow you to put a due date. Then it will create a priority level (color coded) so your child knows what they need to do before other work! It is a really useful app to have. Continue reading »

Aug 132017
 

If you want a real treat, make a Fruity Pebbles Milkshake. The recipe literally couldn't be easier and this milkshake is oh so delicious.

There is a fantastic little donut shop in Middletown, Rhode Island that my husband and I frequent whenever we are in the area. One day not too long ago, we were there and I spotted a little sign out of the corner of my eye. It said “Fruity Pebbles Milkshake” and I knew that I had to have one. Fruity Pebbles are my all time favorite cereal and a Fruity Pebbles Milkshake sounded heavenly.

We each ordered one and heavenly doesn’t even begin to describe it.  It was the best milkshake I had ever had in my entire life. I said to hubby that I need to try to recreate it at home so that we didn’t have to drive an hour every time we had a craving for one. I went home and got to work – and this is what I came up with.  It was much easier to recreate than I thought and after a few tries, I had it. I am so happy that I can now have one every single day. Ok, not every day, but often.

If you want a real treat, make a Fruity Pebbles Milkshake. The recipe literally couldn't be easier and this milkshake is oh so delicious.

Fruity Pebbles Milkshake

Continue reading »

Aug 072017
 

If you live on the south shore you may have heard of The Quarry Hingham. It’s a wonderful restaurant in Hingham that is quickly earning a reputation for fantastic food and outstanding service. Since earning Boston Magazine’s 2016, Best of Boston South Shore for General Excellence, The Quarry continues to get positive reviews. Chef Greg Jordan, graciously invited my husband, Christian, and myself to dine at The Quarry recently so that we could see for ourselves what all the buzz was about.

The first thing we noticed when we pulled up was the restaurant’s namesake. There is a big old water-filled quarry behind the restaurant, which is housed inside a gorgeous stone block building on the property.

With food made from scratch daily with locally soured ingredients, the Quarry Hingham is the restaurant for good eats on the South Shore.

The menu at The Quarry changes based on the region’s harvest cycles. All of their food is made from scratch daily with locally sourced ingredients and after eating there, I can definitely see why they are consistently getting positive reviews. Continue reading »

Aug 062017
 

This Lemon Ice Cream Cake is an easy dessert hack that people will love! It's easy to make and will be a sure fire hit at your next get-together!

Do you ever find yourself needing something to bring to a cookout or party last minute?  My mother always taught me to never show up to a gathering empty handed, so I refuse to walk in to a party without something. I’ve been a complete scatterbrain this summer and have been forgetting to mark events down on my calendar. Twice so far I have gotten a text from a family member saying how excited they are to see me and the family to such and such party today. And of course since I didn’t put such and such event into the calendar on my phone, I immediately go into panic mode. Not wanting to always be “that” person who brings the bag of ice, I decided that I was going to get a little creative and come up with something easy and delicious to bring with me when one of these events comes up last minute: Lemon Ice Cream Cake!

This Lemon Ice Cream Cake is an easy dessert hack that people will love! It's easy to make and will be a sure fire hit at your next get-together!

My Lemon Ice Cream Cake isn’t super fancy, but it’s better than showing up with a bag of ice, right? Continue reading »

Aug 012017
 

We are all busy, right?  I’m a mom of two tweens (one is almost a teen) and some days I feel like I am going non-stop.  That’s probably because I am and I’m sure you have days like that, too. But just because we’re busy doesn’t mean we don’t want to eat well.  I care about my health and the foods I put into my families bodies, but a lot of the time I am too busy to prepare meals the way I would like and eat the way we should. Thank goodness I found out about Kettlebell Kitchen!  They do the hard work for me!

Kettlebell Kitchen: Healthy Meal Solutions for Busy Lives

What is Kettlebell Kitchen?

Kettlebell Kitchen is a new meal delivery service that offers a variety of fully-prepared, delicious meal plans catered to your dietary needs. Whether you are a professional athlete that requires the perfect balance of nutrients an on-the-go executive that wants a quick, healthy meal without sacrificing taste, or a busy mom like me who wants to eat healthy – Kettlebell Kitchen has you covered. Continue reading »

Aug 012017
 

Whale's Tale Waterpark is the best place in the White Mountains to slide, swim and splash!

Tucked into the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Whale’s Tale Waterpark has been thrilling families for over 30 years. As a matter of fact, Whale’s Tale Waterpark was recently voted one of TripAdvisor’s Top 25 waterparks in America! It’s a great place to cool off, relax and spend some time with friends or family. A visit to Whale’s Tale is a definite wet and wild experience for the whole family.

Don’t worry if you’re not a thrill seeker – I’m not either.  Whale’s Tale has something for everyone. My family recently spent the day at Whale’s Tale and we had a blast. Here’s everything you need to know to ensure you have the best possible time at Whale’s Tale.

Whale's Tale Waterpark is the best place in the White Mountains to slide, swim and splash!

Attractions at Whale’s Tale Waterpark:

Poseidon’s Voyage
Their most thrilling ride yet. Riders of Poseidon’s Voyage begin in the SkyBox; a nearly vertical launch capsule, which is the steepest drop in the industry, with a trap door on the bottom. Tension builds as you hear your heart pounding. Then adrenaline kicks in as the floor suddenly drops out and you accelerate to the top speed of 38 feet per second. Powerful G-Forces glue you to the wall the entire way around the tight 360° SuperLOOP. Continue reading »

Jul 312017
 

My family was recently on vacation up in New Hampshire when disaster struck. A big thunderstorm rolled through.  Gasp!  It was a major storm involving torrential downpours and ping-pong ball sized hail, so we were basically trapped inside of our condo (I’m just glad we were already inside when the sky opened up!!). Anyhow, not five minutes into it my boys both started with the “I’m bored” nonsense. Thankfully all of our devices were fully charged and ready to stream some some of their favorite shows on Fios.

Verizon Fios Tween Streaming Guide

Because I have two tween boys, I decided to round up some of their favorite go-to shows. If you have tween boys, check out this Verizon Fios Tween Streaming Guide because who knows – you might find a new show that you love! It’s super exciting that new areas in Boston are getting Fios service all the time and I am thrilled to be partnering with Verizon to bring you some information about their new service in the Boston area! I’ve had Verizon Fios for years and I have never been anything but happy with it!

1. American Ninja Warrior

From schoolteachers to firemen to police officers to social workers, this competition gives everyday men and women the chance to transform into fearless acrobatic competitors at the six regional qualifying competitions held throughout the U.S. 100 finalists will have a shot at a $500,000 cash prize and the chance to win the coveted “American Ninja Warrior” title at the national finals in Las Vegas. Continue reading »

Jul 302017
 

How cute are these Watermelon Cake Balls?  They don’t taste like watermelon, so consider yourself warned before you bite into one! But they do look like watermelon and they make a really fun dessert to serve at summer parties and cookouts. These Watermelon Cake Balls are really easy to make (because you make them using a cake mix) and I just can’t  get over how cute they are. Trust me, your guests are going to love them! And if you want to play a little joke on your guests, sit back and watch the look of confusion on their faces if you don’t warn them ahead of time that they don’t taste like watermelon!  Ha! These Watermelon Cake Balls will be the hit of your summertime cookout!

These Watermelon Cake Balls will be the hit of your summertime cookout! They don't taste like watermelon, but look the part and are super easy to make

Watermelon Cake Balls

Continue reading »

Jul 262017
 

If you're planning on visiting Water Country in Portsmouth, NH this summer, here are some things to know before you go. Plus there is a printable checklist!

If you are looking for some fun this summer, Water Country is the place to go! They have more slides, pools and attractions than any other water park in the area. There is definitely something for everyone when visiting Water Country.  A day at the water park is just that – a full day.  I always do my prep work before heading out for the day because I like to be prepared.  In addition to packing up all the items I will need for the day, I take a few minutes to look over the website to make sure there are no surprises when I get there.

If you're planning on visiting Water Country in Portsmouth, NH this summer, here are some things to know before you go. Plus there is a printable checklist!

What you need to know before visiting Water Country

Continue reading »

Jul 252017
 

Super fun games for pre-teens

Summer is here and you might have heard your kids say already a time or two they are getting bored! If that is the case in your house, consider buying some new games for them! I have gathered some board games for tweens! These games are for that in-between age, and can be harder to find ways to keep them entertained with games! I have found some, and I think you all might enjoy them! These games are for girls and boys, and perfect for a family game night as well!

I am a fan of family game nights, as it allows you to connect and unwind from a busy week. Share some laughs and these games will be a great one to toss into your game rotation! I think your tween will thank you if you bring home a new game for them. Let them play the game with their siblings, or have some friends over and they can hang out and play games!

Beat Summer Boredom With These Board Games for Tweens

Peaceable Kingdom This or That– This is a quick thinking game for your tween to choose between this or that. Chocolate or Vanilla? Text or Call? It is a fun way for them to answer questions and if you play with them, learn more things about what they would prefer! This is great for ages 10 and up, and you can have 2-8 players! Continue reading »

Jul 242017
 

In a city nearly four hundred years old – troubled with war, murderers, strife and the occasional bout of stray molasses, it is hardly any wonder that Boston remains one of the most haunted cities in America and stories of the glory days of Colonial Boston only scratch the surface of Boston’s darker side. Boston has found itself plagued with some of history’s most nefarious figures – The Boston Strangler, Jolly Jane, Dr. John Webster, Cotton Mather, amongst a slew of other assorted characters. If you want to hear all about Boston’s dark history, the Ghost & Gravestones Tour is the place to hear about all of it.

Explore Boston’s most chilling murder sites, haunted places and spend time with the dead on the Ghosts & Gravestones tour.

I took this fun trolley tour in Boston a few years ago with my husband, but I recently had a chance to take it again with him, my sister and brother in law. Our tour guide was Ashton Burns and we really enjoyed the stories that he told us. Ashton was not only just great a storyteller, but he was also well-informed and ready to answer any questions asked of him. There were a few tours out that night and all of the guides are dressed up AND in character! As I mentioned, Ashton was our guide and sadly, all of the pictures I took of him came out blurry, but he was great and really authentic. The other guide out that night was Betty and our group met up with their group in one of the cemeteries we visited. Continue reading »

Jul 232017
 

One of the snacks we make most often in our house is our Ultimate Tater Tot Nachos.  Tater tots you say?  Why yes – tater tots are a favorite in our house and heck, sometimes we like to get creative with them. We make different variations of them, but this one here is the one we like the best. These tater tot nachos are extremely easy to make and are ready in about 30 minutes.

Ultimate Tater Tot Nachos

Here’s what you need:

  • A bag of your favorite Tater Tots
  • Bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • One tomato
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese
  • About 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup of slices scallions

Continue reading »

Jul 172017
 

This easy jhomemade sidewalk chalk is a fun way to keep the kids busy this summer!

Summer vacation is in full swing and I am so happy to say that my boys have logged more hours outside than they have inside on their screens.  That’s a win in my books. They spend countless hours on their scooters and bikes, playing wiffleball and running through the sprinkler.  They always seem to have fun, but sometimes I like to throw something new into the mix.  I found a recipe for some DIY Sidewalk Chalk and decided to try making some for the boys.

I love it when I run out on an errand and come home to a driveway filled with chalk drawings. So anyways, I had a go at making some sidewalk chalk and I think it came out awesome.  The boys really liked using it and I was surprised at how easy it was to make. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be making a lot more this summer.

DIY Sidewalk Chalk

Continue reading »

Jul 172017
 

It is no secret that I am a proud Bostonian. I have lived in the area all my life and love being from this part of the country.  There is so much to see and do in Boston and sometimes I like to pay tourist in my own city. When I want to see the sights in Boston, I take the Boston Old Town Trolley Tour in Boston.

If you're planning on visiting Boston, spend a day on the Boston Old Town Trolley Tour. It's hop on/hop off and brings you to over 100 Boston attractions.

The Hop On Hop Off Boston Tour covers all the major areas of the city including Downtown, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, the Theater District, and the Waterfront District. On the trolley, the fun conductors narrate the tour with a fun mix of trivia and humorous stories. My husband and I took the trolley tour on a rainy day a couple of weeks back. Since we’re local, we decided to stay on for the whole tour and I am so glad we did. Lucia was our tour guide/driver and she was wonderful.  She is a life-long Bostonian and she was full of stories and trivia about Boston. Continue reading »