Monday, September 1, 2014

Menu Plan Monday :: 9.1.2014

I can't believe that August is a distant memory and school starts in just 3 days. We returned from vacation on Saturday and have slowly been easing back into our routine. It's time to really buckle down and get back into the swing of things.

Part of getting back into a groove is, of course, devising a meal plan. So, this is what we'll be eating this week.

Monday - Typical Labor Day picnic consisting of beef sliders on the grill, pasta salad, and corn on the cob.

Tuesday - Pasta with zucchini and tomatoes (my own recipe, but this one is similar), side salad, and cheesy garlic bread

Wednesday - Asian chicken salad with peanut noodles

Thursday - White bean soup with garlic knots

Friday - Dinner out. We'll be going to our favorite Friday night joint now that the summer tourist season is over.

Saturday - Hubs is on dinner duty.

Sunday - Spinach and cheese stuffed shells with a side salad

What's on your plate this week? For more meal time inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday linkup.

To view all of my menu planning posts, click here. Visit my What's For Dinner Pinterest board for even more ideas.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Objects of My Obsession

Today is our last full day in Rehoboth Beach. Tomorrow I'll be heading back to New Jersey. This week's installment of OOMO is all about the things I love in Rehoboth Beach. I'll be sad to leave this favorite vacation destination, but I'll be looking forward to our return next year. But for the next 28 hours, I am taking full advantage of vacation mode. Have a great Labor Day weekend! xx

{Just about everyday of our vacation started with a gorgeous sunrise}


{My favorite local pizza from here}


{Long, lazy days spent on the beach}


{The best crepes this side of the Atlantic from here}

{Morning walks with scenic views}

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Best Online Reads


All the links I am loving this week:

1. Jersey shore food experiences you must try before you die via NJ.COM.

2. This is your body on coffee via Prevention Magazine.

3. 10 celebrities and their animal look-a-likes via One Green Planet.

4. 9 vintage Los Angeles postcards and they way they look today via Curbed LA.

5. 10 awesome and inexpensive DIY projects via Design Sponge.

6. 26 pictures of dogs hugging humans via Bored Panda.

7. Best books for fall 2014 via Huffington Post.

8. 5 ways you're putting on eyeliner wrong via Woman's Day.

9. 26 brilliant Instagram accounts that will expand your world view via Huff Post Tech.

10. The 4 words that will make you seem more polite via Business Insider.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Rehoboth Beach Sunrise


One of my favorite things to do while on vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is to watch the sunrise. It's such a peaceful time of the day.




For more Wordless Wednesday photos, click here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gazebo Room's Salad Nicoise {Recipe}

Gazebo Room Restaurant
Today my friends at Gazebo Room have generously offered up their recipe for Salad Nicoise. This salad was the most popular menu item at the Gazebo Room restaurant when it was in operation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Today, although the Gazebo Room restaurant has long been closed, the company has been bottling their famous dressing for years. For more information about the history of Gazebo Room, click here.

I've been enjoying Gazebo Room dressings on salads, pastas, and as a marinade for years. It's my go-to dressing. Before it was available at grocery stores in New Jersey, I would stock up on it each time I went to central Pennsylvania to visit family.

I was thrilled when the folks at Gazebo Room agreed to share their iconic recipe for Salad Nicoise with the readers of Pieces of a Mom.

Gazebo Room Salad Nicoise
Total Time: 30 Min.
Makes: 6 Servings

Ingredients:
6 small red skinned or new potatoes (boiled, halved)
1 lb. fresh green beans (lightly steamed)
½ lb. mixed field greens
1 cup artichoke hearts
1 medium tomato (wedges)
3 hard-boiled eggs (halved)
½ cup Kalamata or green olives
½ red onion (sliced)
3 tbsp. capers
1 (6 oz.) can of tuna in water
Or 8 oz. fresh seared tuna

Dressing:
4 oz. Gazebo Room Lite Greek Salad Dressing
3 tsp. Dijon Mustard

Preparation:
Pour Lite Greek Dressing into a small mixing bowl. Whisk in Dijon Mustard. Set aside.
On a large platter, prepare a bed of mixed salad greens, and decoratively arrange remainder of ingredients over greens. Pour dressing over salad while gently whisking.

Notes:
For easier serving, divide greens over 6 salad plates, and arrange ingredients on each individual salad before adding dressing.


For more information on Gazebo Room, follow along on Twitter and Pinterest and become a fan on Facebook.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Living With Type 1 Diabetes :: Hitting The 6 Month Mark

Yesterday marked the 6 month anniversary of Harper's type 1 diabetes diagnosis. While there have been days when it seems like diabetes has always been a part of our lives, there have also been days when it seems we've just begun this battle.

I'll never get used to the roller coaster ride that is type 1 diabetes. The constant struggle to maintain a healthy blood sugar is a daily challenge. Looking back, I now realize that Harper's first few months post-diagnosis were a walk in the park since she was in a "honeymoon" phase.

Her honeymoon phase is starting to end, and her body is no longer producing residual insulin. The past month has been a battle. Constant monitoring of blood sugar levels, sometimes on an hourly basis. Calls to the endocrinologist on a weekly basis to adjust insulin dosages. Adjusting insulin to accommodate fluctuating blood sugar levels. It's been a lot of ups and downs.

It's been 6 months of on-going education. Every day we seem to learn something new about this complex disease and how it specifically affects Harper.


And then there's diabetes burnout. No one tells you about this in the hospital, but it's very real. The days you wake up and don't want anything to do with diabetes. It happens to the diabetic, and it happens to the caretakers. This disease can be draining on everyone involved. There isn't a moment in the day that I don't think about diabetes and what affect is it having on Harper. And I always seem to be giving a shot or calculating carb counts or replenishing diabetic supplies or calling the insurance company.

Most days I know we will be OK, that type 1 diabetes is manageable and controllable. But there are other days when I look at Harper and feel an overwhelming sadness for her. She's been handling this like a trooper, but I can see in her eyes that some days she wants to go back to the way she used to be. She wants to be carefree about her eating. She doesn't want to stop in the middle of what she's doing to check her blood sugar.

Everything seems so calculated now. What time will she eat? How much will she eat? When will her insulin peak? At times, I wonder if we will ever really get used to this life.


I know we will, but that day seems so far in our future. So for now, we will continue on our path, guiding each other and keeping each other, especially Harper, from veering too far off the trail.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Let's Chat :: The Importance of Family Vacations

This morning I am waking up in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I'll be spending the next week here with my sisters and their families. It's an annual family tradition that started in 2007 when we returned to the place where we spent many, many family vacations as children.

Now, seven years later, we all look forward to this sort of family reunion. It's a week of beaching it, eating at our favorite boardwalk joints, card games, bingo games, morning walks, and lots of laughs.

I love that year after year, we make this trip a priority. After the deaths of both of our parents in 2007 and 2008 respectively, we knew just how important this vacation would be. It's a time to honor our parents. It's a time to remember the times that we had been here as kids and a time to make new memories with our own children.

At the heart of it, Rehoboth Beach, to us, means family. It's a place to celebrate who we are and what we have become. It's our second home, in a sense, and the place that signifies the importance of spending time together.

Whether we are all together or we split up and go our separate ways at times during this week, we are always somehow connected. And that's one of the things I love most about this vacation. We don't have to spend every moment of every day together to know how much each of us loves being together.

At the end of the day, I can't imagine a summer that doesn't include this family vacation to Rehoboth Beach. Not only is it a chance to refresh and recharge, but it's our time to reminisce and reconnect.

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Summer Sleep-Away" by Ofer Aronskind {Book Review & Giveaway}

Ever since my daughter started reading novels as part of her school curriculum, I've read them with her. Not for her, mind you, but rather at the same time that she was reading them. I did this to stay in touch with her school work and to be able to help her if she was ever "stuck" on a project or assignment.

What I found was that I actually enjoyed the young adult literature genre. When I was asked if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing Ofer Aronskind's "Summer Sleep-Away", I gladly accepted. I am drawn to books with summer themes during the summer, and this book seemed like the quintessential summer read.

"Summer Sleep-Away" has themes that are native to just about everyone, no matter your age. We can all relate to some of the central themes and plots throughout "Summer Sleep-Away". The one recurring theme that I could most relate to was the one where Ari was constantly having to do things and go places he didn't want to do or go. specifically going to sleep-away camp.

The main character Mattie Kleinfeld, just as each of us often does although reluctantly, steps on to the camp bus and is on his way. The bus ride isn't an enjoyable one. He thinks he won't make any friends or have any fun. Once at camp, he gets the bunk that's in the absolute worst shape all of them in his cabin. But soon Mattie's luck turns around. His bunk is quickly upgraded with a new mattress and his cubby is promptly repaired.

This book brings back many fond memories of my adolescence. The nervousness about making new friends. The self-consciousness about everything I did, every move I made. Experiencing that scary yet exhilarating feeling of being away from home. Rejoicing in the fact that maybe your parents were right for sending you away. The book is complete with all the rites of passage of our teenage years.

Mattie experiences these and more, and whether you are 15 or 50, "Summer Sleep-Away" is completely relatable book. In fact, both my daughter and I were thrilled with this book. She especially loves books where friendships are formed and flourish. I loved reading about all of Mattie's adventures while at camp including swimming, fishing, hiking, and even having his first girlfriend.

But it's not until Mattie and his friends happen upon a clue that changes everything for Mattie. Without offering any plot spoilers, Mattie and his friends set out on a camp adventure that gives Mattie some clues about his background and strengthens his bonds with his camp buddies.

"Summer Sleep-Away" is available on Amazon.com. But you can win a copy right here on Pieces of a Mom.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note about the author: Ofer Aronskind was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and came to the United States at the age of six. He grew up in Little Neck, Queens, on the outskirts of New York City. He attended SUNY Albany then took a year off after college where he spent the year in Los Angeles writing screenplays. The following year he came back to NY to attend St. John’s University School of Law and graduated in 1989. He went to work at the law firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges as a real estate attorney and worked there until 1997.

He currently resides in Short Hills, New Jersey with his three sons and is a real estate investor. New Jersey resident Ofer Aronskind remembers what it was like to be 12 years old: the challenges of middle school, making new friends, attending summer camp for the first time, having your first crush. By drawing on events from his life, as well as those of his three teenage sons, he has been able to vividly recreate some of life’s most memorable experiences in his young-adult novels.

You can find more information about Ofer Aronskind on Facebook, Twitter, and at this Web site.

Disclosure: received a copy of Summer Sleep-Away as well as compensation. All opinions in this review are my own.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

6 Great Recipes for National Lemonade Day

Pucker up! Today is National Lemonade Day, and I can't think of a better time of the year to celebrate this favorite summer time drink. Today, in honor of country porches and wooden rockers, I'm sharing a few of my favorite recipes involving lemonade.

1. Frozen Pink Lemonade Pie via Dessert Now Dinner Later

2. Strawberry Coconut Lemonade via The Kitchen McCabe.

3. Raspberry Lemonade Mini Cupcakes via Your Cup of Cake

4. Blackberry Lemonade via Yummy Serving.

5. Strawberry Lemonade Sugar Cookies via Lil' Luna.

6. Tipsy Basil Lemonade via Women's Health.