Wordless Wednesday: East Coast Sunrise

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The promise of a glorious day.


Winner - UPrinting Customizable Labels

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
CONGRATULATIONS to Carol! She's the lucky winner of the set of 250 customizable labels from UPrinting!


Cafe Papillon: A Rehoboth Beach Favorite

One of the things I look forward to most during our vacations in Rehoboth Beach is a visit (or 2 or 3, OK, maybe 5) to Cafe Papillon, a French bakery and cafe tucked away in picturesque Penny Lane. Every single time I go to Cafe Papillon I am immediately transported to Paris. The pastries, croissants, and crepes are so authentic that, if it weren't for the English speaking people around me, I'd swear I was in France. Everything is made fresh on the premises daily...can't beat that.

Although everything is delicious, my ultimate favorite are the crepes. Oh. My. God. You will NEVER find a better crepe this side of the Atlantic. The flavors are endless, and it takes me 10 minutes to make a decision.

You can watch them make the crepes before your very eyes. This is a skill, and I never tire of watching.

The finished product...
Chocolate & Almonds

Cafe Papillon also serves an assortment of salads and sandwiches. In addition to the wonderful food, the cafe offers hot and cold drinks such as freshly squeezed lemonade, lattes and cappuccinos. All of which can be enjoyed in a sidewalk, bistro-like setting.

Who needs the beach when you linger in a "Parisian" cafe all day???

Vacation Interrupted

Sunday, August 28, 2011
You know that feeling you get when you are weeks away from a vacation? Excitement, and anticipation. You start a countdown weeks before, and you totally look forward to Day 0. Well, I've had the excitement and anticipation for weeks. Every year, my sisters and I and our respective families head to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for a family vacation.

We grew up vacationing in Rehoboth Beach. We've made lots of memories here, and now we are making more with our own families. We literally look forward to this vacation from the moment it ends the previous year. It's just that good. You can imagine our sheer excitement days before our vacation. But this year, our bubble was popped when Hurricane Irene decided to grace the east coast with her not-so-welcomed presence.

Our vacation was to begin on Saturday the 27th. On Friday, my sister received an email that vacationers were strongly being urged to postpone their vacations until Monday, August 29. Wha???? Monday? That's 2 days. I can't wait to days. I've waited for this vacation for 365 days. I cannot possibly wait another 2 days.

But Irene was not going to cooperate. It was Irene's way or the highway. And so, we hunkered down in New Jersey. We rode out the storm. We expected the worst and were pleasantly surprised when we woke on Sunday morning with full power and a few branches and a bunch of leaves all over the driveway and our street.

We started out the day lazily. Lingering over breakfast. Doing last minute laundry. Slowly finishing our packing. And then, my sister came bounding into the room with some news: the realtor emailed. We could check in as early as Sunday!!!! For reals!!!!

We furiously started packing. It was mass hysteria. A mad dash for suitcases, tote bags, beach bags. It was a frenzy. We loaded the cars. And soon we were on our way. The roads were deserted. No traffic. It was fantastic!

And by 6:30 pm, we pulled into the driveway of our rental house.

Let the vacation begin!


From Long to Short: Harper's Haircut

Saturday, August 27, 2011
Everyone loves the feeling of a new haircut. On a whim, Harper decided that she wanted "new hair". She had her inspiration and took her with her to the salon.


The first snip...

The blowout...

A fresh, new haircut with the inspiration behind the cut...

Enjoying a special treat after her haircut...

Sassy girl...

Don't you just love a new haircut?


Braces for Big Girl!

Thursday, August 25, 2011
I can remember staring at Emma's gummy smile and wondering when her first tooth would sprout. I can recall the first tooth popping up. It was so cute. Quickly one tooth followed another, and soon, her mouth was full of them.

And it wasn't long before those teeth started to fall out, and adult teeth grew in their place. Teeth for life.

Today, some of those teeth were transformed when braces were put on them. Seriously? When did this little girl become old enough for braces? When? I never got the memo...

Pre- and post-braces

Now the fun begins!


My Feature Interview in Meridian HealthViews

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I've been blogging for Meridian Momtourage for almost a year. I love the site, primarily for the support that I receive and the support that I give other readers. The concept is fantastic.

So, when I was asked to be interviewed for an upcoming publication, I was so honored. I've been an avid user of the site, and to know that my input was appreciated and highly regarded was such a boost for me.

A few days ago, I retrieved my mail from the box as I normally would. I placed the pile on the kitchen island and soon forgot about it. A few hours later, I browsed the pile and noticed that this month's publication of Meridian HealthViews was amidst the envelopes and magazine. I did a double take and quickly realized that this could be THE publication that features my interview.

I furiously paged through and found this:


I've been reading HealthViews for years, and never would I have ever thought I'd be featured!


Winner - SUPER by Nicholas Perricone


She'll be getting one SUPER product of her choice. What did she choose? 3-Minute Facial!

Enjoy your facial, Amy!!


Wordless Wednesday: Ducklings

Is there anything more precious in life than a mama and her babies?


Style School with 77kids

Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Are you familiar with 77kids? Surely, you've heard of American Eagle Outfitters. You may even own some clothes from AE. American Eagle recently introduced its line of clothes for the young and tragically hip called 77kids. And I have to say, I'm in total love with these clothes. Everything is over-the-top cute. Why 77? Well, AE guarantees that each piece of clothing can withstand 77 washes. Wow! That's a lot of washes.

On Saturday, I attended an event in NYC sponsored by 77kids. It was hosted by fellow Philly Social Media Moms, Whitney from Mommies With Style and Colleen from Classy Mommy, both of whom I absolutely adore. I mean, what is not to like? I had an opportunity to chat with the marketing lovelies from 77kids and check out some of the truly fun and fabulous clothes in the fall line.

The display in the booth was awesome! Little mannequins dressed in the latest and greatest styles for boys and girls.
Will you check out the fake fur-lined leather jacket for girls? Oh. My. God. I want one!! For myself!! The theme for fall is punk rock. Yes, the fashion of the 80's is making a comeback. Look for neon to be big, too.

There was an array of fabulous sponsors.
Motts unveiled several new applesauce products. Be on the lookout for them at your local supermarket. They are perfect to include in lunches and snacks as the kiddos head back to school.

There was wine! Wine! Provided by Cameron Hughes. If you are not familiar with Cameron Hughes wines, check out the Web site for their full story. The concept is great! So yummy, and it definitely hit the spot.

Of course, you can't attend a media event without some sort of group picture. A bunch of the Philly bloggers.

Many thanks to Jessica and Tina for the great conversation over lunch and on the train ride home. As I always say, blogging friends are real friends, and both Jessica and Tina are proof of that!

Disclosure: I received a swag bag filled with products and coupons from the various sponsors. I was not required, encouraged, or compensated to write this post. All opinions expressed herein are solely mine.


My Toenails This Week: Cheshire

Monday, August 22, 2011
Oh. My. God. How I lurve this color!
Color: Chesire by Funky Fingers (available at Five Below)
Flip Flops by Reef

{My apologies for the lousy picture.}


Disney Summer Social

Friday, August 19, 2011
We didn't have to go to Orlando or Anaheim to spend an afternoon with Disney. We drove an hour to suburban Philly to experience that trademark Disney magic. On Tuesday, we were invited to the "Disney Summer Social", a opportunity for bloggers and their families to enjoy music, activities, and games Disney-style.

The room was filled with Mickey balloons.

There was face painting. Or, in our case, arm painting!

There were so many fun activities including coloring, bowling, make-your-own sundaes, and more!

And fun favors galore...the Mickey ears hats for both boys and girls were HUGE hits!

And don't think for a second that it was just the kids who had all the fun. I got to hang with some of my blogging BFFs.

Tina from Life Without Pink, Rebecca from Running on Empty Mommy, and me.

Photo Credit: Life Without Pink

And I wouldn't be doing this event justice without giving you a peek at the desserts. O. M. G!
Mini cupcakes in EVERY flavor under the sun...including peanut butter and jelly.

And rice krispies treats...dipped in chocolate, covered in sprinkles...Oh. My!
In addition to all the fun, games, and oh so yummy treats, we learned that Disney is adding a cruise ship port in NYC. Yes! You will be able to take a Disney cruise from NYC...a short drive from the NJ/Philly area. I love that! A Disney cruise is on our "Must-Do" list. Looks as if we've got no excuse now. ;-)

Disclosure: I received complimentary lunch, activities and goodies for my participation in the Disney Summer Social. I was not required to write or compensated for writing this post. All opinions expressed herein are mine. All photos are the property of Pieces of a Mom unless otherwise credited.


Emma's Piano Recital

Thursday, August 18, 2011
For the past 6 weeks, 2 days per week, Emma has been taking a piano class. I was surprised when she asked to take the class. Who knew she had any interest in piano? We were more than supportive. My parents never encouraged me to have any interest in music. I wish they had. I am in awe of musicians. Their talent never ceases to amaze me.

Today, Emma had her end of session piano recital. We were so excited to watch her. And so proud of her performance.

Waiting patiently to perform...

The big performance, a solo and a duo with her instructor, Ashley...

Do your children play any musical instruments?


The Lost Art of the Written Thank You Card

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I spent the better part of yesterday morning writing thank you cards for Harper's Baptism gifts. Do you remember what thank you cards are? Do you recall how important they are and what an impression they can make?

I, for one, think that, in this digital age, most have long forgotten about written thank you cards. Most people think it's acceptable to email or text a thank you note. And, there are many people who think it's acceptable to not even bother with a thank you. {Gasp!} But I beg to differ.

A thoughtful and well-written thank you card is the only way we have of truly showing appreciation for a gift received. A proper thank you note shows that we care enough about both the giver of the gift and the gift to offer thanks. Plus, how much fun is it to shop for thank you cards? I just love stationary. So many beautiful choices.

What I've found lately is that when we go to kid parties, the parents are now including printed thank you notes (not even hand written) inside the goodie bags that state, "Thank you for coming to my party. Thank you for my gift. Your friend, X".


Not only is that upsetting to me, but it's insulting too. How can you possibly thank me for a gift that you haven't even opened yet? And, what if I didn't bring a gift to the party????? I'd never do that, but...

I'll be the first to admit that writing out card after card can be dreadful. And monotonous. It's not fun. And trust me. I know this because I just did it. But don't we owe it to our guests to thank them for their generosity and thoughtfulness? They could have just as easily shown up not bearing a gift, after all.


What I'm Crushing on This Week

Monday, August 15, 2011
I'm a bit obsessed with electronics this week. Bear with me...

My iPhone 4
I never thought I'd say it, but I LOVE my iPhone. I was a die hard BlackBerry girl. Never. Ever. Thought I'd give up my BB. But when Emma received her iPod Touch for Christmas, I found myself downloading apps to it and loving them...mostly photography apps. I can't live without Instagram and Hipstamatic. So much to rave about with the iPhone, but most of you already know that.

The Nook Color
I've had it for months but am only really starting to become accustomed to reading books and magazines on it. I never thought I'd be able to give up holding a book or magazine in my hands, but the Nook makes reading on the go and in bed (in complete darkness) so convenient. Plus, there are Web and email capabilities on it. It's almost like having a lite version of a laptop. It has come in especially handy at they gym where Emma and Harper take gymnastics. I can easily catch up on reading, email, Facebook, or Twitter while I watch them. Oh, and the Nook Color? Soooo worth the extra money to have color...especially for the magazines. It's a must!

Just in case you may be wondering...I'm currently reading "Mini-Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella.

Almond Pistachio & Olive Body Scrub by Boots
I picked this up for a steal at Target on Saturday. It normally sells for $9.99, but I snagged it for $2.48. It is an exfoliator. After one use, my skin was softer and shinier. And it smells divine. If you are plagued by dry skin, you need this stuff!

Jersey Tomatoes
There seriously is nothing better this time of year than a plump, juicy Jersey tomato. They cannot be beat. If you've never tasted one, you need to get yourself to New Jersey. Pronto.

The Hubs picked up these Jersey cherry tomatoes at a local farm. They are so sweet. I eat them by the handful...no salt or pepper needed.

And last, but certainly not least is Dunkin' Donuts Iced Tea. Hits the spot. Every. Single. Time. And you can't beat any size for $.99.
What are you crushing on this week?


{CLOSED} GIVEAWAY - Customizable Labels from UPrinting.com

Sunday, August 14, 2011
Are you a business owner with a need for customized labels? If you are not a business owner, would you love a set of labels for personal use?
UPrinting.com is offering one (1) POM reader a set of 250 customizable labels.The labels measure 2" x 3.5" and are printed on 70lb Label Matte and feature front only printing. To view details of UPrinting.com's standard label printing, click here.

UPrinting.com makes designing your labels online simple with an easy-to-use online editor and a variety of free label templates from which to choose. UPrinting.com offers a live chat assistant for immediate online help or you can call their toll-free technical support via telephone.

How do you enter? You have several options, and each will count as one entry (as long as you've followed the specific instructions listed below). This giveaway is limited to US residents 18 years old and above only. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 pm EDT, August 24, 2011. One winner will be chosen via Random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 24 hours to respond to claim the prize. If winner fails to do so within the allotted time frame, a new winner will be chosen.

1. Required: Please comment and include your email address so that I may easily contact you if you are the winner.

2. {Optional} Follow Pieces of a Mom on Google Friend Connect. Leave a comment stating that you do so.

3. {Optional} Follow UPrinting.com on Twitter. Leave a comment stating that you do so.

4. {Optional} "Like" UPrinting.com on Facebook. Leave a comment stating that you do so.

5. {Optional} Follow Pieces of a Mom on Twitter. Leave a comment stating that you do so.

6. {Optional} Tweet this message: “Hope I win the @UPrinting customizable labels giveaway from @PiecesofaMom. http://bit.ly/otwAn5 #contest #giveaway”. Leave a comment stating that you tweeted. Include your Twitter handle.

7. {Optional} "Like" Pieces of a Mom on Facebook. Leave a comment stating that you do so.

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting. No monetary compensation was given and I will receive Customizable Labels for hosting. Check out standard label templates on UPrinting.com.


Back-to-School Printables

Friday, August 12, 2011
I love putting little notes in lunchboxes and backpacks. But I often feel that they aren't cutesy or creative. Tip Junkie to the rescue {again}!!!

Tip Junkie has a wide variety of back-to-school printables, including "This Book Belongs To" stickers, door hangers, schedules, and more. Check them out here.

In the meantime, print this one out for fun and colorful lunchbox love notes!

{To print: Right click image and save to your computer. Open the file on your computer and print as usual.}


A Milestone: A Baptism

I am ashamed to admit that after 5-1/2 years, Harper has finally been baptised. What took so long, you ask? I'm not quite sure. When Emma was born, she was swiftly Christened when she was 3 months old. We started planning when she was 2 weeks old. But as it the case with the second child, you tend to do everything later, and in some cases, much later.

So, after 5 years of discussing, we finally started executing. I won't lie. We were worried about how a 5 year old would handle a baptism with mostly babies. Would she be embarrassed? Would we be embarrassed? Would she totally freak when the water was poured on her head? Would being aware make the act more or less difficult?

And then there was the celebration afterwards. We labored over whether to throw a big party with family and lots of friends or to stick with an intimate celebration with family only. In the end and after much deliberation and number-crunching, we decided on a small gathering of family. We wanted to keep costs in check, and if you've ever planned a party, you know how easily costs can escalate.

Luckily for us, Harper was a trooper. She was actually proud to be the oldest Baptism candidate. No crying. No fussing when the Hubs had to pick her up so that the Deacon could pour the water on her. She made us proud.

This worried me. Surely this was enough to put her over the edge.

With her ever so proud Godparents...

With the proud big sister (who is all about posing) and the Godparents...

The beaming parents...

Mama Bear and her cubs...

Toasting the occasion with Stewart's root beer!

Custom-made cupcakes to mark the occasion. So yummy!

My child of God. Bless her!