Friday, January 17, 2014

Angry Birds Go! Telepods Review

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My kids love angry birds! What is more fun than dive bombing birds into pigs? Not much around here, that's for sure. Ever since the original app came out I have had some version of it on my phone to keep the kids entertained for long car rides, any occasion in public when I need them to not be screaming, etc. I got the chance to review the new Telepods game and knew my kids would like it.

I showed Nate and he wanted to play it immediately. Arielle even took a break from her rock star dress up time (no I don't normally dress my toddler in pink pleather and sequins) to play with us. We set it up, the kids picked their cars and we were off to the races! The kids had fun blasting their cars to the finish line. Arielle liked it because she actually had a chance to beat her big brother at something, and did several times! 

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Of course Nate checked out the box after we were done racing and noticed there was an app that went with the game. He and Daddy downloaded it and now it's the new favorite app in our house. It's not just for kids, folks. My husband is somewhat obsessed with Angry Birds Go! at the moment. Luckily it is fun and has a catchy tune! Hasbro has done so many fun things with the Angry Birds franchise. The mix of hands on and technology is definitely a hit with our family!

Disclosure: I received the Angry Birds Telepods game for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, June 3, 2013

First Day: June 2013

I do love when the 1st day falls on a weekend. Too bad, even when I take the pictures, I forget to get a post up! Oops! The first day of June was a lovely summery one! It started with lots of caffeine (for mommy), 3.5 hours of cleaning (ugh), a trip to the splash park with friends, ice cream, and a date night. Not a bad Saturday, if I do say so myself!
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Join us in our 1st day fun at Journey to Josie!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter 2013

Easter weekend started on Saturday as it usually does, making a giant mess with some dye and eggs. In my brilliance, I managed to get a tie dye kit this year. Next year we will return to the normal eggs in the cups kit...and a natural dye so I will let the kids actually eat the eggs later on. This one involved a little plastic dropper and kids without enough fine motor skills to wield it quite right! The eggs looked cool though and the kids had fun, so it wasn't all bad. As you can see, Nate is serious about his eggs.
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This year Nate can read, so I decided to set up a scavenger hunt for them to find their baskets. I came up with a poem (so difficult for this un-rhymey kinda girl) to start the hunt and then hid 6 clues inside of plastic eggs. Nate read the note and each clue and figured them all out on his own. He would get so excited when he solved each one. The look on his face was priceless and then he would sprint to the next location with his sister following along behind him.

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When they found their baskets they ripped into them. Both kids got new bubble bath and scrubbies. Nate got a Skylander, a Lego Power Ranger, a mini basketball hoop that sticks to the window and a squirt gun. Arielle got a plush My Little Pony, little stickers for her nails, and a squirt gun. They barely even noticed that there were only 3 small eggs with jelly beans inside and a Pez dispenser.
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We went to the park for a little fresh air and exercise then got ready for Easter dinner with the family. I should mention that there are ~30 of us at every big event. While I love the big gatherings it is a little hectic, so I have learned to let go of some control. More about how this backfired later. I made a flower to match Arielle's outfit and managed to get a few pictures of her when we first arrived. I knew I had to get them quickly before she managed to lose the clip and soil her dress. I can't believe how big she is getting. We even got a family picture this time, so there is proof I actually exist!  Coming out of this New England winter we are all so pale...except for Nate.
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The kids had an Easter egg hunt in the yard and ran around like crazies. I am sort of a Nazi when it comes to candy. The in-laws...not so much. There was so much chocolate ingested by each of my kids, and very little actual food. Every time I turned around Arielle had another piece of something sweet in her mouth. I try to tell myself that this is one day a year and just let it go, but that logic doesn't fly when the 3 year old is puking at 3 in the morning! All in all, it was a fun-filled family day and we are one day closer to warmer weather! Happy Easter!
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Menu Planning Monday

I have been planning my meals each week,but haven't been keeping track afterward. I love the weekly meal planning because it is a great resource for me to look back on when I need inspiration for the current week. I browse Pinterest all of the time, and a lot of my new recipes come from there, but it is nice to have a repository of the ones I know we liked. Here are last week's and this week's menus:

Last Week:

Roasted chicken with balsamic green beans- Easy roasted chicken with salt and pepper on the outside and an onion and lemon on the inside, served with green beans that were cooked then cooled and tossed with some balsamic vinegarand a littl ebit of oil.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie- We love this recipe. Lentils replace the meat andit is a hearty, flavorful meal.

Greek chicken with salad (lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, green pepper, greek dressing), hummus and whole wheat pita.- For the chicken I just marinated the breasts in olive oil, lemon, garlic, rosemary, and oregano then broiled it. I can't wait to get back to grilling weather! The hummus was pretty good, but the raw garlic was really strong and almost oddly spicy. I think it would have tasted delicious with roasted garlic and I will use that next time.

Pesto pasta with sauteed portabello mushrooms and roasted cauliflower on the side. - This was juat a quick dinner because we got back too late to make what I planned. It was yum just the same!

Shrimp tacos with multigrain tortillas and chipotle lime slaw- I pieced together a couple recipes for this meal. The shrimp marinade I got here and the slaw recipe came from here. It was a great combo and the first time for both recipes.Definitely keepers!

Roasted root veggies and salad- We roasted beets, carrots, parsnips, red potatoes, onions, and brussel sprouts and served them along side a salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and balsamic vinegrette. It's nice to have a couple meatless meals during the week. Not only does it cut some meat out of our diet, but saves money at the market by not purchasing meat, which can be pricey.

This week:

Homemade chicken tenders with steamed green beans and cucumber salad- This is the hubby's contribution this week. He dips the chicken breast pieces in egg and then dredges themin seasoned panko breadcrumbs and then pan fries them. The cucumber salad is just sliced cucumbers marinated in red wine vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.

Southwestern quinoa and black bean wraps- This is the first time I will make this recipe...I'll update it after we see if we like it!

Broiled halibut with asparagus and roasted new potatoes

Asian meatballs, with steamed edamame and brown rice- First time making this too, so I'll update later!

We have dinner at both in-laws this week too, so that's two fewer meals to make and I don't usually plan for Saturday since we often eat out once a week.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

First Day March 2013

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I think this is the first 1st day that I have no pics of the kiddos. I left for work before they woke and got home after they were asleep. I missed them, but sometimes you need a girls night!

Link up for First day at Journey to Josie!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In Everything Give Thanks

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I think we are all guilty of this from time to time. We get caught up in working toward the things we want and miss opportunities to bask in the glow of the amazing things already in our lives. Even in the valleys of life, we all have things to be thankful for. These are some of the things on my mind this week:
  • My amazing husband who works so hard and re-arranged his schedule so he could stay home with the girl 2 days a week. It not only saves us money on daycare, but it gives them daddy-daughter bonding time that I think is so sweet.
  • My awesome little boy who got his second quarter report card back and has come so far in his social skills from this time last year. He is so smart and I am glad his behavior is no longer holding him back from shining!
  • Opportunities at work to stretch myself and learn new things.
  • Friends, old and new, that are a big part of my life.
  • Hearing that my friend's daughter is fighting and doing well in her battle with cancer and appreciating every healthy day in our family.
  • My sweetie peetie girl who looks at me with her sparkly eyes and tells me all the time how much she loves me and that I am her best friend. 
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Link up for Thankful Thursday with Joanna at Baby Gator's Den!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Birthday Memories

Week 4 in the Me before Mom series asks: How did you celebrate your birthday? Do you have a favorite celebration? Worst? From the cake to the presents to the guests, invite us in to the party.

I don't remember too many big birthdays when I was a kid, so the parties I did have really stand out in my mind. I think my favorite birthday was when I turned 6. My birthday is a few days before Halloween so we had a costume party. My mom found a prom dress at Good Will and, using her mad sewing skills, turned it into a pint sized gown. We were really into country music so I was a salon girl and my brother was a cowboy. I don't just remember the party from the photos. I have vivid memories of bits and pieces of it. We lived in a condo complex and we split up into 2 groups and went on a scavenger hunt. Then we had cake and all the girls stayed for a sleep over.

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Ahh, the 80's and my mom's feathered hair. Good times. I loved this party. It still makes me warm and fuzzy thinking about it. My pretty costume and my first sleepover will never be forgotten.  
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Of course many a birthday passed after that one. There was the birthday in 3rd grade when I got in trouble at school for lying and my party got cancelled. Fast forward to 6th grade and me and my best friend got to go to a New Kids on the Block concert as my present.

Jump 9 more years to my "Not-so-sweet 16" and you can call that my worst birthday on record. In a nut shell, I got a powder blue, '67 rag top, VW bug. I took the day off of school to get my drivers license. I went to school only for my first class, in which I had a test, and then I left. I made an off-hand comment to a teammate on the volleyball team about missing practice, which she told my coach and got me kicked off of the team. My mom had planned a surprise party so, to get me out of the house, my boyfriend and I took my new, old VW and went to dinner at the Olive Garden. On the way home my car died going up a hill and I couldn't get it started. A cop had to block traffic the other way, we pushed the car so it was going downhill and had to pop the clutch to get it going. By now, my awful day had me in tears. We manage to get home and I walk into the party. "SURPRISE" is right, the girl who got me kicked off of the team is at my party. Long story short. Suckiest birthday ever, made worse by the fact that I was a dramatic teenager.

5 years later, I turned 21 in the city where everyone should turn 21, Las Vegas! A bunch of my friends from work decided to drive up with us, so we were rolling 10 deep in the casino. I was so sassy with my burgundy bob! I can't remember how many shots I ingested, exactly, but I managed to not get sick. I wish I could say the same for my friend who puked at the Black Jack table. I was so mortified that we grabbed our chips and cashed out! I did win $250 bucks on a slot machine and was the star of a song at the NY NY dueling piano bar.

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On my 26th birthday, the Red Sox broke the 86 year curse and won the World Series. My hubby is convinced I broke the curse, and who am I to argue with his logic? My 30th birthday was spent watching Coldplay live with my bestie Joelle. I have some fun plans for my 35th birthday so stay tuned! I love birthdays. I think it is like having your own holiday. It is your day, the day you came into the world. I don't think I will ever stop wanting to celebrate or at least acknowledge it, no matter how old I get! 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

How comfort food got its name

Week 3 in the Me before Mom series, hosted by Carla at All of Me Now, asks the question:

What was your favorite home cooked meal as a kid? Did you help make it? How did it make you feel? Share the scents, sights, and flavors.

My mom found out she had MS when I was 8 years old. She had to go on disability when it got too difficult for her to work. I think she felt guilty about her illness and how it affected my brother and I. She was the most loving parent and, though we had very little money, she always made sure we had home cooked meals. When we celebrated, we got home baked sweet treats. When we were sad or had a particularly rough day, she would make us our favorite meal. This is probably why I associate food with comfort. It was the one thing she could control when her body would not always cooperate.

My mom put a big focus on us eating dinner as a family. Even though our family was just me, my mother, and my brother, we ate together almost every night. No eating in front of the TV, no distractions, just dinner together where we would talk about our day and things that were going on in our lives. As an adult I look back on our dinners together and am glad she didn't let us chomp mindlessly to some show. I now make that a priority in our house and the only food eaten in front of a TV is on football days!

My mom was originally from Indiana. She grew up with all-American meals and we had much of the same. I can pretty much recite our menu staples: Fried Chicken, Spaghetti with Ragu and garlic bread, Polish sausage (always dipped in a combo of ketchup and mustard) and fried potatoes, Americanized ground beef tacos, and my favorite, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and canned corn. While I try to make healthier, more diverse meals for my family, I still make that meatloaf meal. it is not some fancy multi ingredient meatloaf. It is the recipe on the back of the Lipton onion soup mix and I love it...and so do my kids. The only thing I hated about that meal was the "combo". My brother, like all little brothers, lived to torture me. I was a weirdo special and didn't like my food to touch. My brother knew this and would purposely try to gross me out by making his combos. On meatloaf night a combo would be taking his piece of wheat bread, buttering it, layering on meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn, and ketchup and making sure I knew how much he was enjoying it as he ate. Bleh. Thankfully, I have moved past my food issues because my kids make combo bites of that meal now, minus the wheat bread.

While times have changed and I have grown up, certain meals can always bring me back to my childhood. I cherish these memories and hope I am building some for my own kids.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! rocked Boston!

We had the chance to go see Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! Get the Sillies out!  at the Orpheum Theater in Boston on Saturday. Both of my kids love the TV show and I knew they would have a blast.

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My kids couldn't even wait until the show started to sing and dance in their seats. As soon as the lights dimmed they were cheering for their favorite characters, Plex and Foofa.The set is partly digital with a huge screen at the back of the stage. The screen images changed along with each song which I thought was pretty cool.

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Of course they played a bunch of my kid's favorite songs like "Hold Still" which had them both wiggling and dancing in the aisle and "Hugs are Fun" which resulted in a rare snuggle moment between the kidlets. My husband, who is not a huge fan of most kid shows, actually said he loved the show. I am pretty sure the presence of Biz Markie helped with that.  photo gabba1_zps9b822299.jpg
I really liked that there were a bunch of kids dancing in the aisles and in their seats and as they performed the songs they encouraged them along. Nate had a chance to show off his sweet dance moves and managed to get a dancing buddy out of it in the form of my friend Joanna's (Baby Gator's Den) son. I definitely see a dance party play date in their future.
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Over-all, the show was a perfect length, 80 minutes including a 20 minute intermission. I think it is just the right amount of time to hold my kids' attention. It was truly fun for the whole family, even though that sounds lame and cliche! There are still plenty of stops left on the tour, so don't miss out on this show!

Disclaimer: I received compensation for my posts in the form of 4 tickets to the show. All opinions and dance moves are my own!