Two Thousand Fourteen {In Pictures}

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
It certainly has been a memorable year filled with ups and downs. At the close of each year, I like to reflect on all that we've experienced over the course of the past 365 days.

{A visit to my hometown, which is also home to Chocolate World}

{A diagnosis that shook us to the core}

{I experimented with some new hairstyles}

{I found a new favorite donut joint}

{Shopping for a few of my favorite things}

{A fun weekend spent in NYC with plenty of spectacular views}

{A Philly visit with my sister who was there on a layover}

{Beach movies at Jenkinson's}

{Summer fun at Knoebels}

{Summer swimming}

{First day of 7th and 3rd grades}

{We crossed paths with a zombie}

{We encountered dolphins in the wild in Captiva, Florida}

{We enjoyed some time in Miami's South Beach}

{It's just not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie}

{I celebrated my 47th birthday}

{Emma played the part of scientist at the Liberty Science Center}

{We continued a holiday tradition with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall}

Thanks for taking a walk down Memory Lane with me!

Mini Champagne Cupcakes

Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Whether you are hosting a New Year's Eve gathering or attending one, these Champagne cupcakes are perfect for the occasion. Make a mini version for a large group, and you'll be the toast of the evening!



2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening (softened butter can be substituted)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 orange juice
3/4 cups champagne
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter softened
3 tablespoons champagne
6 tablespoons pulp free orange juice
3 tablespoons grated orange zest
gold colored sugar or edible glitter (found in the decorating section of the baking aisle)

Preheat oven to 350°

1. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a separate bowl beat butter on a medium speed, and gradually add sugar.
3. Add eggs one at a time, then add Golden Blossom Honey, orange juice and champagne.
4. Gradually add the mixed dry ingredients. Once combined, fold in orange zest.
5. Line mini-cupcake tins (found in the baking aisle) with papers and pour batter evenly into a tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

In a large bowl whip powdered sugar, butter, champagne, orange juice, and orange zest on medium speed. Spread onto cupcakes and sprinkle with gold colored sugar or edible glitter.

Yields: 72-74 mini-cupcakes or about 35 regular cupcakes.

Sole Society Sale ~ Save Up To 60%!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014
I was planning to completely unplug from the blog today, but once I got word of the HUGE sale going on over at Sole Society, I just had to share!

So many great styles to choose from and the prices are unbelievable! Now is the time to buy that pair of boots you've been eyeing up since September.

Georgeann Riding Boots (Shown in whiskey; also available in black and dark brown). $74.58

Shade Wedge Booties (Shown in grey; also available in black and wine). $59.97.

Valentina Wedge Boots (Shown in ash; also available in taupe and black). $54.98

Natasha Bootie (Shown in black leather; also available in dark brown, army, black, dark mushroom, tan, and vintage cognac). $44.98

Franki Mid Heel (Shown in black; also available in wine and camo black). $44.97.

Caressa Ankle Strap Flat (Shown in ruby crimson; also available in adobe and grey black). $29.98.

Woven Stripe Scarf with Fringe $17.48

Slouchy Wool Beanie $12.48

Happy Shopping!


Comfy, Casual Clothes for Hanging Around The House

Saturday, December 27, 2014
The week between Christmas and New Year's Day is spent totally hanging out and relaxing. Currently, we are spending a few days visiting my sister in central Pennsylvania. With little plans other than to veg out by the fire and spend time with family, our ultimate goal is to be relaxed and comfortable.

I can't think of a better way to achieve our goal than with clothes that are perfect for lounging. Comfy doesn't have to be frumpy. There are plenty of stylish options out there.

Snuggle up with a warm, cozy blanket for a Netflix marathon.

1st Row: Blue | Green | Chevron
2nd Row: White | Light Gray | Dark Gray
3rd Row: Beige Fur | Striped | White Fur

And don't forget to to keep your toes toasty!

1st Column: Socks | Socks
2nd Column: Slippers | Slippers | Slippers
3rd Column: Slippers | Slippers | Slippers

* Some links contained within this post are affiliate links.

Life Lately: Christmas in NYC

Friday, December 26, 2014
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is a visit to New York City to admire the department store windows, to gaze up at the Rockefeller Center tree, and to take in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

On Saturday we took our annual holiday trip to NYC. It was an early day for us. Our tickets to the Radio City show were for 9 am. We were up and out of the house by 5:45. Whew!

Our first stop was the Today Show. Yeah, it was that early.

We then headed to Bouchon Bakery for some pastries and hot chocolate. It was so cold. But it was perfect weather for our Christmas visit. Armed with our hot chocolate, we headed for the tree.

Always a beauty...

If you're looking to capture the spirit of Christmas, head to New York City. It always does the trick for me. The city takes on a magical quality this time of year.

It was getting close to showtime, so we briskly walked over to Radio City Music Hall and settled into our seats.

This show continues to amaze me year after year. If you've never seen it, put it on your bucket list because it is definitely not to be missed.

My favorite part is the march of the toy soldiers.

The Rockettes' 12 days of Christmas is always a treat!

The show ends with a live nativity scene, complete with sheep and a camel.

After the show, we continue with tradition by visiting the American Girl store. It's always mass chaos at this store during Christmas, but the girls love to browse all the floors.

Each year we end our NYC visit with lunch at Rosa Mexicano. We love the guacamole prepared tableside. So tasty!

Do you have any holiday traditions that you look forward to each year?


Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 25, 2014
From our home to yours, we wish you the happiest of holidays and the best new year ever!


Favorite Holiday Baking Traditions #GetYourBettyOn {Giveaway}

Monday, December 22, 2014
One of my favorite holiday traditions is baking cookies. As a child, I remember helping my mom bake dozens upon dozens of cookies. She would fill our kitchen counter with row after row of our favorite Christmas cookies.

Today, I share that same tradition with my daughters. Although I have to admit one loves to help bake the cookies and the other loves to eat the cookies. For us it's an entire process from deciding on the types of cookies we'll bake to shopping for all the ingredients to baking them to enjoying the fruits of our labor.

This year, we downsized our baking in light of Harper's diabetes, but we certainly weren't going to let this holiday tradition pass us by no matter what! One of my favorite cookies to make is sugar cookie cutouts. I love rolling the dough, choosing the cookie cutters, and of course, decorating them.

Yesterday, Harper and I whipped up a batch of these family favorites. When baking with children, you need to give up the notion of perfection. They tend to do everything overzealously, from stirring the dough to decorating the cookies.

We spent most of the morning and early afternoon shopping. So by the time we were ready to start baking, we needed a little help from Betty Crocker. Rather than making the dough from scratch, I started with Betty Crocker's Sugar Cookie mix in a pouch. Just be sure if you are using the cookie mix that you follow the directions for cutout cookies rather than the normal sugar cookies.

Here's a plate of a few of our finished products (like I said, kids can be ambitious cookie decorators!) It's fairly obvious who decorated which cookies!

Betty Crocker shares more ideas for sugar cookie recipes.

This holiday season and beyond, you can #GetYourBettyOn by baking up some delicious goodies for yourself or for guests with baking products from Betty Crocker.


Betty Crocker has created a basket filled with baking goodies for one lucky Pieces of a Mom reader. The basket (image attached) includes:

  • Kitchen tablet stand
  • Betty Crocker™ Mixing Spoon
  • Betty Crocker™ Oven Mitt
  • “Get Your Betty On” Apron
  • Gingerbread Cookie Cutter
  • Betty Crocker™ Sugar Cookie Mix
  • Betty Crocker™ Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
  • Betty Crocker™ Whipped Vanilla Frosting
  • Betty Crocker™ Holiday Recipe Booklet 2014 – feat. The Top 10 Cookie Decorating Ideas of 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday's Fresh Picks: 4 Great Birthday or Holiday Gifts for Girls

Friday, December 19, 2014
Just in case you are a master procrastinator, I'm sharing one last list of suggestions for holiday gifts. As the mom of two girls, I feel like I am constantly on the lookout for great gifts for girls. From year round birthday parties to holiday gifts, I can never have too many ideas at the ready. My kids spend their fair share of time on their electronics, so when I am choosing gifts, I like those that are hands-on, interactive, and encourage play.

In today's Friday's Fresh Picks, I'm sharing a few of my favorite gifts for girls. I always have a few of these (except for the Electra Cruiser) on hand for those times when I just can't get out shopping before a birthday party.

1. Lottie Dolls $20 from or
Lottie Dolls are a new, innovative doll for children aged 3- 9. They feature bodies based on the average proportions of a 9 year old girl. Lottie Dolls are all about doing many of the activities a real child her age would do, and is not in a hurry to grow up too quickly. Lottie Dolls doesn’t wear make-up, high-heels or jewelry.

There are 14 different dolls, each unique with a theme to which young girls can relate. We received the Pandora's Box Lottie. She comes complete with a cat who has her own bed and accessories. You can see the full selection of Lottie Dolls here.

2. WisdomWithin by Allison Morgan $15 from Amazon
In the busy world in which we live, it's often easy to get so bogged down on the day to day chaos that we often forget the basics. This book does an engaging job of illustrating the importance of recognizing the role nature plays in our everyday lives and how it it is essentially the route of our existence. At the end of the book, there are yoga poses and mindful meditations for both adults and children. Snuggle and read this book together or make it more interactive by practicing the suggested yoga positions and meditation exercises with your child.

3. Bo The Rainbow Creature Kit $18 from uncommongoods
Little hands can create their very own mini fleece monster. Since each kit is handmade, each monster is unique. Let them unleash their creativity by allowing them to create their own color scheme and design.

4. Beach Cruiser Bike starting at $ from Electra
I have fond memories of all the time spent on my bike as a kid. Riding our bikes to our local swim club was a rite of passage as a teenager. I want my girls to know the freedom that comes with riding a bike. The Electra Beach Cruiser is a classic. These bikes aren't cheap. They are definitely an investment. But like a car, an Electra cruiser will last you for years and years.

Friday Fresh Picks are hand-picked favorite items, reviews and highlights from the amazing women you see above.

Visit their websites to learn about other amazing picks from this week!

To view all of my Friday Fresh Picks posts, click here.