Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink




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Best Online Reads

1. The smart way to procrastinate via Huffington Post.

2. Why you experience boredom via The Guardian.

3. No-bake summer desserts everyone will love via Woman's Day.

4. The best colleges in every state via CBS News.

5. Twenty-five best films of the 21st century via The New York Times.

6. Whys happiness is difficult to define via Quartz.

7. Seven easy weekday breakfasts via Lemon Stripes.

8. Ten cites Americans are moving to right now via Forbes.

9. The most famous band of all time from every state via Business Insider.

10. The ultimate foodie road trip through America via Food and Wine.

Summer To-Do List

It's the first day of summer, so it seems only fitting to share our summer to-do list. Here at the Jersey Shore, there is no shortage of fun summer activities, events, and random things to do. From beach movies to local fairs to concerts and so much more, you'll find plenty to keep the entire family entertained for a few months.

Here's to a summer full of sun, sand, and checking everything below off the list!

1. Go peach picking and make this dessert and these cookies.

3. Walk across The Brooklyn Bridge.

4. Host a rosé tasting party for friends.

5. Spend an hour stargazing on the beach.

6. Go to Friday night beach movies at Jenkinson's.

7. Have breakfast/brunch herehere, and here.

8. Enjoy rolled ice cream on a hot summer's night from here.

9. Go to New York Mets baseball game (bonus if it's an away game).

10.  Take an aerial yoga class here.

What's on your summer bucket list?

See my summer bucket lists from years passed here: 2016, 2015, 2014

5 Issues To Resolve Before Selling Your Home

When your home hits the market, your number one goal is to sell as quickly as possible. By doing this, you'll avoid the nightmare scenario where a house is left for months or in some cases years on the market. It’s easy to avoid this possibility when you know how to make your home attractive to buyers. However, before you even start to consider the improvements you can make, you need to look at the problems. There are certain home issues that will immediately cause buyers to lose interest and completely avoid buying your property. Think about the problems that alert you when you visit a potential new home. You should always tackle these problems before the house goes on the market.

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1. Cramped And Cluttered
If your home looks cramped and cluttered it’s going to look far too small for potential buyers, and that’s a problem. Particularly, if you are eager to attract young couples or families . They want a property that is spacious with plenty of room for their family to thrive and grow. Even if your home is large, it can still look small if it’s packed full of furniture, and most potential buyers have a difficult time seeing beyond the clutter.

How To Take The Simple Stresses Out Of Daily Life

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Now that summer break has arrived, many parents are feeling in an extra pinch in their schedules. Whether you work full-time, part-time, or stay-at-home, we are all feeling a little extra stress with the onslaught of summer break upon us. Many of us need to find camps and daycare for our children. Or we are pressured to get them into summer activities that are entertaining and fulfulling. This can often mean an extra burden that we don't normally experience during the school year. With that in mind, here are some simple ways I reduce some of the extra stress I experience during the summer months.

Plan Everything
People often talk about the importance of planning for those in work and in school, and there's a good reason for this. A lot of the time when you're working on something, you're going to be doing so to some kind of deadline which means that you need to use your time as carefully as possible. Well, it turns out that you can actually get a lot of the same benefits from planning every aspect of your life. From when you're going to do chores, to the time you want to spend with your family, by planning everything you're going to be able to feel less like you're rushing around trying to get everything done, and more like you've got a solid handle on the way things should be.

Accept Help
One of the biggest causes of stress in a lot of people's lives is the desire to do everything themselves. A lot of the time this comes from the attitude that, if you're not able to do everything for yourself, that you're somehow weak. This is obviously nonsense! Whether it's reaching out to your family for emotional or practical support, or even hiring someone like to take some of the pressure off many simple chores, there's nothing wrong with asking for help. By accepting help and support from those around you, you're able to focus your energy in much more productive, useful, and positive ways elsewhere.

Another reason that so many people find themselves becoming so stressed is that they often consider everything to be just as important as everything else. By doing this, you basically set yourself up for huge amounts of pressure and frustration. If you treat everything as equally important, then you're going to end up feeling incredibly guilty when you inevitably have to pick one thing over another. By prioritizing your time more carefully, you're going to be able to figure out what's really important and what you can afford to let slide every once in awhile. Think about the things that matter the most to you and focus on them. Sure, you'll probably need to get to the other stuff sooner or later, but there's nothing wrong with setting certain things aside for a little while.

Truths About Moving That Every Family Should Know
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If you’re in the process of searching for a new home, it is most likely the most important thing you’ll do this year. When you find "the one", the perfect home, it will form the heart of a happy existence for the entire family.

This is an exciting time in your life, but it cannot be taken lightly. Therefore, educating yourself with a few home truths is a vital part of those early preparations. Knowledge is power, and this information will put you in a position of authority and will help you avoid serious ramifications later.

Tips For Starting Your Day On The Right Foot

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It's Monday, and what better time to chat about ways to get off on the right foot the moment our feet hit the floor? We’ve all heard the expression ‘waking up on the wrong side.’ And, there’s no denying that some days, you wake up in a bad mood. You could attribute that ‘wrong side of the bed’ headspace to the events that happen just after you leave your bed. Your morning routine, rather than what side of the bed you get out of, makes every difference in how your day progresses. If you receive bad news or even stub your toe first thing, it sets the tone for the entire day. But there are other, controllable factors that can influence the way your day plays out.

No one embraces the idea of waking up early, but it’s the first step towards a successful day. When you don’t wake up until the last moment, you’re going to rush. Not only does this open you up for mistakes and mishaps, but it also means you have no time to enjoy your morning. Is it any wonder this has an adverse impact on the rest of your day?

The good news is getting up early doesn’t have to be painful. Setting your alarm an hour earlier is all it takes. To accommodate the earlier alarm, get into the habit of going to bed earlier. Then, you don’t lose out on sleep. It’s also worth ensuring you get as much sleep as possible during that time. Invest in a comfortable mattress like those mentioned at ChooseMattress to ensure you sleep soundly. It’s also worth having blackout blinds to ensure the sun doesn’t wake you before your alarm does. If you’ve been in and out of sleep for an hour before you get up, you’ll feel much worse.

One of the ways I ensure a good start to each day is to complete a task first thing in the morning. On most days it's something as simple as making the bed. I then move on to folding a load of laundry or emptying the dishwasher. Taking care of these simple yet dreaded tasks puts me on track for accomplishing bigger and more complex tasks throughout the day.

Shocking as it is, the next piece of advice is to avoid caffeine. How many of us reach for coffee straight away? In truth, though, this doesn’t do us any favors. The jolt of caffeine first thing in the morning makes your body go from calm to crazy before it’s even awake. That’s not going to end well. Even if coffee does perk you up, you’ll soon crash. Instead, stick with juices and caffeine free teas. If it helps you kick the habit, try caffeine-free coffee! It may give you a placebo effect without the damage.

It’s important that you spend some time doing something you enjoy in the morning. That way, you’ll feel much more relaxed and positive about the day ahead. You may want to spend ten or fifteen minutes reading, or listening to music or catching up on a favorite podcast. Whatever you choose to do, try to stay in a positive mindset which can see you through the day.

Home Improvements That Pay Off

Whether you’ve just moved into a new house, or you’ve been settled for several years and you’re planning to sell, there are a number of ways you can breathe life into a worn-in property, give yourself some extra space and comfort, and ultimately add a little more value to your home to help boost the asking price. While home improvement is the most effective way to ensure a good price when it's time to sell, some people invest their time and money in things that offer little return, or that even bring down the overall value of the house. Obviously, you want to make sure the money and effort is going to be worth it, so here are a few suggestions for home improvements that are certain to add value to your home.

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Attic Conversions
If you want a good return on your investment, consider an attic conversion. It's a safe investment, and can be carried out with relative ease and little disruption to your daily life. For most homes, this is the easiest way to add an extra bedroom, perhaps with an en suite. Extra bedrooms typically add between 10 and 15 percent to the value of any property, and can be a very practical addition for young couples with a growing family. The only drawback to an attic conversion is that it takes a large initial investment, which can be hard to cover for many people. A new staircase, and a large bedroom with skylights or dormer windows can typically cost close to $50,000. Although it can be a little nerve-wracking to pump this amount of money into your home, the immediate increase in value makes the investment well worth it!

Tips For Helping Your Kids Fall and Stay Asleep

Girl Sleeping With Her Brown Plush Toy
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Sleep. It’s such a simple thing. But, when you have kids, your sleep patterns definitely start to change. Before you were a parent, you could get all of the sleep you wanted. Eight hours a night used to be a goal easily met. With you have children, though, this task becomes a lot harder. From birth through their teenager years, kids can throw a wrench into the sleeping habits of their parents. But, solving this issue isn’t as hard as most of us think. There’s usually a reason for your child failing to sleep. Any number of things can keep someone awake.

It’s important to understand why sleep is important to a child. There is no shortage of credible theories floating around. Studies do shoe that humans perform much better after they’ve had the right amount of sleep. For a growing child, the right amount of sleep could be anywhere from eight to twelve hours each night. Without this, they could struggle to do their school work or even develop properly. And, so, sleep is critical to children. And, it’s an area worth working on if you've got a little one struggling to either fall asleep or stay asleep.

Before They Go To Sleep
To start, you have to consider the time before they sleep. In most cases, this is the time which will disturb their sleep the most; if it isn’t handled correctly. The food people eat plays a big part in their sleep. Certain foods, like sugary and fatty foods can make it much harder to fall asleep. However, something filled with starch could make it easier. Regardless of what they eat, though, it’s important to make sure that your child doesn’t eat anything prior to two hours of going to bed. Instead, they should have their dinner much earlier, to give them a chance to burn off their energy. In this cases, it’s usually excess energy which will cause the issue.

Next, it’s time to think about the entertainment your child will consume before they sleep. The human body uses light as an indicator of when it should go to sleep. As it gets darker, a hormone called melatonin is released. Unfortunately, though, this hormone can be disrupted by one of the most common devices out there; the humble digital display. Flat screen TVs, mobile phones, and computers all use screens like this. So, for at least twenty minutes before they sleep, they should be kept away from electronic devices.

Although it may not seem it, children work very well when a routine is established. Going to bed is often hurt when this routine is broken. So, as the final step to ensure success, you should create a very clear set of jobs they have to do before sleeping. For example, having them turn their devices off at 9 PM would give them plenty of time to brush their teeth and prepare for the next day. Along with this, they have to get into bed at the same time each day. So, if these tasks take half an hour, have them start on them half an hour before bedtime. To ensure success, these routines should only change when they have to.

While They Sleep
A lot of parents end up getting cheap, flimsy beds for their kids. And, of course, this makes sense. The odds are that they will break or grow out of any bed you give them before too long. But, a good night’s sleep each night is more important than a little bit of money. Thankfully, though, you don’t have to splurge on a whole new bed. Instead, you can just replace the bit that makes a difference; the mattress. When choosing a mattress, it’s important that you use resources like Slumberland and Plushbeds Eco reviews to get an idea of what’s out there. Mattresses from companies like these will be much higher quality than the options you find in places like Ikea. But, unfortunately, not a lot of people realize this. And, this results in a lot of sleepless nights for their kids.

Like adults, some children are very light sleepers and will be woken by small noises. Of course, after a short time of living with your child, you should have a good idea of how they sleep. But, even if they sleep quite heavily, it’s important to make sure they’re not being disturbed. In a lot of cases, the child themselves may not realize that it’s the TV you’re watching in a nearby room that keeps them awake. Instead, they will simply try to sleep through it. This doesn’t mean you should go to bed when they do, though. Instead, you just need to be thoughtful when consuming entertainment and moving around your home.

Along with being disturbed by you, a lot of children struggle to sleep out of fear. Of course, this fear isn't a negative thing. People are scared of the dark because of their instincts. And, children will often be found worried about things because they let their imagination run wild. Reminding you child that you’re always there for them is important. But, you can do more. A lot of parents opt to share their child’s bed with them when they are scared. You can let them know that there aren’t any monsters. And, if there were any, they would be scared of you. Night lights and other tools can also be good for night terrors.

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of what needs to be done when you’re struggling to get the little ones to sleep at night. Sleep is important to adults and kids alike. But, during this time, kids will be relying on you to help them with it. They can’t be solely responsible for this themselves.

Friday Fresh Picks: What's On My Radar

It's been a crazy, busy, emotional week here. The last day of school is today, and with that comes a host of end-of-year activities, events, and shows. Plus, Harper graduated from elementary school yesterday, and that's brought a whole other level of emotion to my otherwise peri menopausal emotional state. Needless to say, I've been need of distractions.

In today's Friday Fresh Picks, I'm sharing a few fun things on my radar lately that have proven to be great distractions when I've needed to step back for just a moment. I hope you find something here that piques your interest.

A few months ago I told my sister that if Fleetwood Mac ever tours again, we are going to see them. Hello, bucket list. Looks like I'll be able to cross this one off my list as Stevie Nicks is reuniting with the band to go on tour.

I've taken a break from my weekly menu plan posts because I felt uninspired and burned out. But when I found this YouTube series, I was intrigued. I've been trying to find some fresh and inventive ways to prepare meals on busy nights and during busy weeks to save time. This series of videos solves my dilemma.

Three Summer Projects For You and The Kids

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If you have young children, it's always good to have a few back up plans for sumer activities in the event of inclement or overly hot weather. Summer doesn't always mean vacation. It's just a well-deserved break from work and school, giving you that much-needed quality time with the ones you love.

Having said that, kids don't always see it that they. They get bored easily and then complain and whine until you think of an activity for them to do. So why not come up with a few fun projects this summer? Something that you can all do together, that's fun and is also a great way to bond too.

Here are a few ideas for projects you can do as a family.