Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

Friday Fotos

I can't believe it's Friday again!
Playing in the beach tent...

Enjoying a popsicle with some stuffed friends...

Our backyard friend...


Enjoying the water table...
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Party Excitement

I'm getting really excited about Emma's birthday party on Sunday. Today, I had a final phone discussion with the catering director from the resort, and the all the plans are in place. For the first time in 4 years, we are not hosting the party at our home, and this THOROUGHLY excites me.

For years I have been planning, organizing, cooking, cleaning, baking, crafting and shopping for her parties. This year, of all years, I REALLY needed a break. It feels so good not to worry about all the minutia, the ever so small details that I am known to dwell on.

I need only bring the birthday girl, the cake, decorations and favors. I LOVE IT!

Here's a sneak peek at the indoor pool where the party will be held. I think the girls are going to have a blast!

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Our Family

This is Harper's artistic rendition of our family.

Clockwise: our house, Henry, Pep (the cat), me (I'm the one with long eyelashes and wings), Harper, Emma (those are pigtails coming out of her head), and the sun directly above Emma's head.

A professional photographer couldn't have done a better job at capturing our family!
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Memorial Day

To many Memorial Day means the unofficial start of summer, backyard bar-b-cues and outdoor celebrations. But for so many others, Memorial Day has an entirely different meaning. For me, a year ago, it signified the above, but a year later, and the first Memorial Day without my father, Memorial Day is a day for me to remember my father and the contributions he made, as a soldier, to this country.

So for my father and for countless other Americans who have fought for our glorious freedom, I give thanks most especially today, but also every other day of the year.
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Friday Fotos (on Saturday)

You know it's a good week when you spend more time outdoors than in!

Cleaning corn...

Climbing trees...Eating Popsicles... At the playground...
At the river...
Before school yesterday...

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Weekend Wine

I'm not a big drinker, but every once in a while (especially in the summer) I enjoy having a nice, crisp glass of white wine. Because of my high blood pressure, I haven't been drinking any wine lately. The doctor said I could have an occasional glass, but I've been hesitant as I don't want the alcohol to affect my blood pressure. But in honor of the start of summer, I'm having a glass this weekend, and what better choice than this?


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Steps from my door front

I am grateful to live less than 2 miles from the beach, that would be the Atlantic Ocean. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that I'm most grateful for my proximity to water this time of year, the unofficial start of summer.

But not only do we live close to the ocean, we live steps from a river, the Manasquan River. Does it get any better? This week with sunny skies and warm temperatures, Harper and I started our daily walks. I hope you enjoy the scenery as much as we did.
This is the view from atop the jungle gym at the new riverfront park...not bad at all!
The park was built over the winter. I had no idea it was being built. It's located at the end of a dead end street, and I never drive down that way in the winter. But this week when Harper and I went for a walk, we discovered it. It's fantastic! A new playground, riverfront beach access, a pavillion area with picnic tables, and a pier for strolling. Really quaint!
I don't think I need anymore of an incentive to walk than these gorgeous views of the river!
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My Giveaway Prize Arrived!!

I was so excited to come home from my walk yesterday to find a box sitting on the porch. I knew immediately that it was the 100 followers giveaway that I had won from Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot. To see my original post, click here.

When I had contacted Katie to give her my home address, she told me that she was going to include a few little goodies for Emma and Harper. I had no idea that she was going to go overboard!! Rather than post my own pics here of the fabulously crafty items she sent the girls, I'm going to send you over to her blog where she posted them for Papercrafting Wednesday.

And, hey, while you're over there, be sure to browse around because this girl can craft. Seriously, she can doing anything and everything. I especially love her paper crafting. I've always, always wanted to open my own stationary shop. With Katie's inspiration, I may just be able to do that someday on Etsy.

Thanks again, Katie, for all the wonderful goodies you sent our way. The girls are fired up to get started on their picture frames, and I've got my eco-friendly bottled filled and ready to go!! I'm truly overwhelmed by your kindness.
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The etiquette of RSVP'ing

We've been having birthday parties for Emma and her friends for 4 years now. Not a party has passed where the RSVP's have come in on time. It's so frustrating. I always put a reply by date on the invitation because if you don't everyone will call the night before the party to tell you they will (or not) be there. NOTHING annoys me more than this blatant inconsideration.

This year is no exception. The RSVP date is May 24, and of course, there are more than a handful of people who have yet to respond. What's worse is that Emma has come home from school on several occasions telling me that "so and so" can come or "so and so" can't come. Did I miss something here? I thought the invitation kindly asked parents to call or email me. What is wrong with some people? Are they illiterate? Can they not read an invitation and follow directions? Last year, I had a mom call me the night before the party to ask for directions and oh, RSVP, too. Puh-leez!

I really try hard not to use my blog as a venue for venting, but in this case, many of you may share my predicament. As mothers, party planners extraordinaire, we deserve some respect when it comes to planning a party. Don't we?

First, the resort where we are having the party requires a final headcount from me by May 26th. If they want their child to get their fair share of food, they need to call me.

Secondly, I have to buy and assemble the swag bags, and I don't mean plastic treat bags filled with junky candy and a plastic yo-yo. It's perfectly OK for my girls to come home from a party with this type of goody bag, but I will NEVER give one of these to a party guest. I like to put a little more effort into the party favor than that.

This year, because it's a pool party, I was thinking of giving each guest a beach pail and shovel filled with girly stuff that follows a summer theme. Whatever I decide, I'll be sure to share it with you.

And oh, by the way, thanks for listening!! :)
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The pressure's on

I've been delaying buying a bathing suit for a few months now. Somehow when they go on sale in January, it just doesn't seem right. But when April and May roll around, it's time to get down to business. I usually love shopping for a bathing suit, so many styles and colors not to mention the promise of a great summer. Unfortunately, I've lost my lust for working out over the past year and it shows.

I'm small-framed (5'3" and 102 lbs.) but that doesn't mean I'm ready for bathing suit season. Although I certainly don't need to lose any weight, I definitely need to tone up what I've got. I keep forgetting that I'm 41. My metabolism isn't what it used to be. I can't eat the sweets and snacks the way I could when I was 29. This does not make me happy.

I was doing great last summer. I'd walk almost every day and lift light weights every day. But then in July, my father passed away, and I couldn't get my motivation back. It has taken 10 months and 2 new bathing suits to renew my motivation.

Here are pictures of my new suits, and I promise, by July 4th, I'll post pictures of me in the new suits (yikes)!
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Lunchtime Crooks

When I saw these sandwich bags, I nearly fell off my chair. I don't really have any use for these now, but ten years ago when I was working in a corporate environment, they would've been helpful to have. It is an Anti-Theft Lunch Bag, available at www.thinkofthe.com ($10 for 25 bags). Take a look...

The exterior of a clear, plastic sandwich bag is marked with fake moldy splotches!! How clever! Seriously, I worked in an office where stealing other people's sandwiches occurred on a daily basis. Sad but true.I think it would be hilarious to have a picnic with my friends, offer to bring the sandwiches, and put them in these bags. Their reactions would be priceless. I can just imagine!

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Friday Fotos

This week we had 2 celebrations, Mother's Day and Emma's 7th birthday.

Here's the Birthday Girl enjoying a Mother's Day birthday celebration at my mother-in-law's house.

Emma and Harper with their cousins, Hayley (l.) and Ashley on Mother's Day.
Sisters celebrating Emma's big day on Monday!

Getting ready to dive into a birthday treat!

I had to sneak a picture of the birthday sister in here somewhere!

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My nephew

One of the things the girls look most forward to when visiting Pennsylvania is seeing their cousin Austin. He's 5 months younger than Harper...he'll turn 3 on July 19. To say he's a piece of work is an understatement.

Technically, he is my great-nephew, but I don't like thinking of myself as a great-aunt because it makes me sound as if I am 90 years old. Austin is my niece Kendra's son. I am the youngest of 4 girls. Two of my three sisters have one daughter each, and I have two daughters. Up until Austin's birth, there were no boys, other than my father and my brothers-in-law. We never had the pleasure of a little boy. Now we do. And boy, let me tell you, he is quite a character. A sight to behold.

I think one of the reasons the girls take such delight in him is that he's got a certain energy, a boy energy, to which they're not regularly exposed. He loves to chase them and make them laugh. In fact, just about anything and everything he does makes Emma burst into hysterical laughter.

Here are some fun pictures from our time spent together last weekend.
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The Sweetest Place on Earth

I grew up in a small, rural town on the outskirts of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Chocolatetown, U.S.A. Yes, it quite literally is the sweetest place on earth. Here at the Jersey Shore, we wake early to see the sunrise. In Hershey, we wake early to smell the sweet aroma of chocolate. I'm not kidding. If you time it correctly, you can awake to the delicious smell of chocolate. It fills the air and immediately ignites your craving for the sweet stuff, and the street lights shaped like Hershey's Kisses help to fuel that craving!

This time of year, Hershey experiences a "calm before the storm". The tourists are gearing up to fill the town for the summer. Hershey Park is the main draw, but there are plenty of other places to see and things to do. For more information on the many sights and smells of Hershey, click here.

I can't think of a time when I've been in Hershey to visit family, when the girls and I haven't stopped at Chocolate World, a simulated tour of the chocolate making process. It's fun, and it's free! This past weekend when we arrived at Chocolate World, we quickly learned that it was closed due to a power outage. But we didn't let that stop us from having fun. We parked the car and explored the area just before the entrance to Hershey Park.
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My Birthday Girl

Monday was Emma's 7th birthday! It's hard for me to believe that she's 7. The years have just flown by. I can remember holding her in my arms just seconds after her birth, her first appointment with the pediatrician at 6 days old, her first birthday. Seriously, where have the years gone?


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Out of Touch

Yes, I'm still here. It's just been a crazy few days, with our trip to Pennsylvania, Mother's Day, and Emma's 7th birthday yesterday. We've barely had a moment to catch our breaths! But, you'll be glad to know that I've got lots and lots of great material and pictures to post. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to do that today!
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Going Home

I've been crafting this post in my head for days, probably weeks. It's certainly been on my mind for even longer than that. Today, I leave for two days in Pennsylvania. I'm returning to my childhood home, the place where my sisters and I were born and raised. A home where my parents lived for close to 50 years.

My sisters and I are selling my parents house today in a public auction. The organizational part of me wants to sell the house and wrap up the affairs of my parents' Estate. The emotional part of me wants to hang on to the house forever. This is the home in which I lost every single one of my baby teeth, woke up every Christmas morning believing that Santa had come the night before and placed lots of fun toys under the tree, watched cartoons on the sofa every Saturday morning, and happily celebrated birthdays and holidays.

It is sure to be an emotional day for me. The important part is that I have years and years of wonderful memories of my childhood home and my parents. Those memories will not disappear from my memory once the house is sold. Perhaps they'll be stronger and more special to me.

What is most sad to me is that the house is the largest physical link I have left to my parents, and soon that physical link will be gone. I have other physical links, furniture, jewelry, cards, letters, etc.

But what is most special about the house is that it was the place we shared as a family. My parents, my three sisters and I, and of course, the many pets we've had over the years. I hope the next family to take up residence there will create lasting memories and carve out there own special nest just as we had done for so many years.
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'Mint" to be

For our final Teacher Appreciation Week gift, we thought we'd give something yummy and easy, a glass jar full of lifesaver mints. Teachers are lifesavers after all.




Another super inexpensive gift. I already had the jar hanging around the house. We bought two bags of lifesaver mints that were 2 for $3. The clear wrap, ribbon and card stock were part of my growing collection of craft and scrap booking supplies! Not bad at all!

For more super creative and cute Teacher Appreciation Week gift ideas, click here.
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"Enlightening" a teacher's day

Emma's teacher has been overwhelmed by our kindness and generosity. Today, in addition to her gift, I wrote her a note to let her know how very blessed we are that she is Emma's teacher. I love her teaching philosophy and wanted to be sure she knew just how much she's appreciated by me and Henry.

Here are the little goodies she received today.

A candle and in the butterfly box are matches.

A clever little gift tag.
Wrapped with love.

The candle cost $5.99 and the matches were $.50. I had the clear wrap, tissue paper, ribbon and card stock. I printed the tag using my printer. Simple yet pretty!
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