Tag Archives: holiday

It Was All Good

First of all, let me just say having a 4 day weekend is one of the best things! I actually felt like I had time to do things and not being left to feel rushed and find “poof” the weekend is over.

Thursday we kept it low-key and went to enjoy our lake. Some friends showed up to keep us company. The girls were able to occupy each other and the moms got to chat and catch up. (one of the nice things about the girls growing up.) Sitting and looking out over the lake as blue skies soar above is so peaceful and is one of the aspects that makes living here in the summer wonderful.

That evening we mounted up and headed to the next town to enjoy their firework festivities for the first time. They did an awesome job! Rock on Denville! When we arrived a fantastic cover band was playing hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. People were dancing and letting their fourth of July flag fly! It was an interesting site, this park lawn. Some people must arrive way early, because they had mini tailgating set ups going on. Their were people working on their embroidery, one woman was spinning yarn, others playing board games. If it wasn’t in the middle of an open field with not one lick of shade to be had, you might have convinced me. My daughter went and made a friend with another little girl with a beach ball. It was nice that she was occupied, saving us from the litany of “when are they going to staaaart?” And miracle of miracles, some friends found us (!) and we had some enjoyable company for the show. Denville even had an orchestra that accompanied the fireworks. It was a really nice touch. My only complaint was that the fireworks were short. But doesn’t everyone feel that way?


Little Miss Firecracker

On Friday I sent Bean to camp for half a day and ran errands. We were hosting a “drinks and desert” party that evening. I figured drinks and desert was much less work than BBQing. With the obscene heat we are having, I’m glad we opted not to BBQ. It’s too hot to stand in front of a grill!

Drinks and desert is the perfect combo. Cold drinks always feel good on a hot night. And I did most of the desert as “finger type food”, or stick type food, because everything is better on a stick. This also makes it easier for guests to sample a wide variety (and it cut down on the amount of paper products).


Everything seems fancier on a stick


The kids station. Juice boxes, silly string, bubbles, glow in the dark headbands and masks, light up balloons.


Not a party without cupcakes!

When it comes to party planning with kids involved, you cannot go wrong with 2 things: silly string and glow sticks. I need to figure out how to buy silly string in bulk. The howls of laughter and glee from spraying friends (and more importantly, being allowed to!) is awesome to hear. For those worried, it disintegrates pretty quickly from your arms and clothes, you just have to brush yourself off. I think the backyard looks pretty cool with all these bright-colored streamers everywhere after they are done. Once it rains, it’s gone.

We also used glow in the dark balloons. They have a little battery-powered light in them that pulses different colors and at different speeds. Also a big hit with the kids. You can purchase the Illooms brand at your local Wal Mart or order them online.

Besides the silly string and glow things, I think the real highlight was our purchase of a snow cone machine. My daughter was beyond excited about it and was telling everyone she got a snow cone machine. The kids were so jazzed they were practically on top of me when I was making them. And the adults figured out we could make mommy versions by pouring the mai tai’s over them. I love creative friends! The machine we purchased isn’t super huge, and can easily be taken to parties. I think we might be popular party guests 🙂

The rest of the weekend we spent chillin in our backyard. I have to say, finding a misting fan has gone up on my list of things to do. Because dang its hot in Jersey!



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Happy Fourth of July

Enjoy your long weekend and celebrate the U.S.!

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Best Christmas and Holiday Books for Kids

I know, I know…there’s only, what 3 days until Christmas and you’re probably done done done with gifts for your kids. I thought I was too. But, can never resist the call of something cute. If you need a few more things, books are always a great idea. I love sitting and reading to my daughter each day before nap time. And, if this list is too late for this year, consider it an early Christmas gift for next year!

(I’m happy to say, we have many of the books on this list, and they are a joy to read over, and over, and over, and over! again!)

Taken from parenting.com

1. The Elf on the Shelf

How exactly does Santa keep tabs on who’s naughty and who’s nice? Turns out he’s got a mole–the elf on the shelf–who comes packaged with a companion book. The elf mysteriously changes locations overnight, and kids love looking for him as soon as they wake up in the morning. Bonus for parents: Since the elf’s always watching, you should be able to milk major good behavior out of your kids.

2. The Night Before Christmas

We all know the magical, evocative words of Clement C. Moore’s traditional holiday poem. This gorgeously illustrated version, which uses collage papers and oil paints, adds a modern twist: Santa wears funky pants, sports dreadlocks and leaves the children traditional African gifts.

3. Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

Nancy’s psyched about the holidays until her ultra-fancy tree topper breaks. Can the ultimate girly-girl learn to love plain old DIY tree decorations? As always, the detailed, sparkly illustrations make this a fave among the princess set.

4. The Berenstein Bears and the Joy of Giving

Does your kid have a case of the holiday gimmes? Brother and Sister Bear do too, until they learn what Christmas is really all about. This holiday-themed book in the series begun in 1962 ends with everyone learning a very important lesson, just like always.

5. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Remember this one from when you were a kid? Older children will love this 1972 classic, in which the six misbehaving Herdman kids — the “worst kids in the entire history of the world” — take over the church pageant and reinterpret the story of Christmas. The mix of outrageous moments, hilarious hijinks and profound surprises makes this one read parents will love as much as kids.

6. Dream Snow

Lovers of Eric Carle’s classicThe Very Hungry Caterpillarwill recognize the same iconic collage illustrations in this wintry tale about a farmer who dreams about a white Christmas. LikeCaterpillar, the pages hold extra interest for young readers, with cutouts and counting.

7. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

Brer Rabbit meets African tradition in this tale of a rabbit looking for something special to give his sick grandmother for Karamu, the Kwanzaa feast.

8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

What would Christmas be without the Grinch? Kids love the dastardly character, who plots to cancel the holiday, only to find it happens anyway, even without the presents. Grinch-loving kiddos will go for the animated and live-action movie versions too.

9. Olivia Helps With Christmas

The plucky piglet gets her house ready for Christmas, “helping” her parents in the most unhelpful ways possible. The charming black and white illustrations–punctuated with green and red accents for the holidays — play off the spare words to tell the whole story.

To continue with the list, click HERE.

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What To Do With Your Santa-Phobe

We have a Santa-Phobe in our house. Sitting on his lap? Ha ha. She won’t even look down that wing of the mall where he sits. She hates anything with his picture on it. We’ve never had a picture of her sitting on Santa’s lap. She’s 3. I have one (1!!) of her with the Easter Bunny. She was 6 months old and didn’t know any better. The Easter Bunny ranks only a smidge behind Santa. Basically, she’s not going to mingle with any character. We don’t even bother with trips to Sesame Place.

Sound familiar to you? Here’s a fun article posted on The Today Show’s website.

What’s a parent to do with a little Santa-phobe?

The ho-ho-horror: If Santa freaks your kid out, don’t push it, experts advise

Ho, ho … EEK!

What’s a parent, or a Santa, to do when the obligatory Christmas photo op goes terrifyingly off the rails?

Fernando Martin remembers the moment well. Son Xandro was stunned into silence during his first visit to the Jolly One at age 21 months near home in Lancaster, Pa.

“They put up this tiny house with just Santa, an assistant and a heater,” dad recalled. “He got spooked. Santa offered him chocolates. He did not take them.”

There was no lap sitting, but there is a picture of a cringing Xandro in dad’s arms while Santa leans in. Now 4, Xandro hasn’t been back.

While thousands of little Santa believers do just fine every Christmas, the minority is far from silent. They cry. They shriek. They perform the death grip on a parent’s leg.

Many parents have been there: Overheated, overstimulated kids. Nap and snacks skipped to protect turf in line and avoid, heaven forbid, another Santa visit on another day in a mall full of crazed shoppers.

Then there’s Santa himself. Usually a fine specimen but sometimes sweaty, exhausted or otherwise sketchy, eyes peeking out of bushy white beard. Perhaps he’s less jolly after the 1,000th kid. Maybe he hasn’t been to Santa school.

Six-year-old Halle Harrison paid her first visit to Santa at age 2 with her three older siblings after a Christmas program that took forever in a small preschool gym in Nampa, Idaho.

“We waited in line for an eternity,” mom Taunia Kerner recalled. “I was about to lose my mind by the time we got up to Santa’s lap. I insisted everyone sit since we had waited for so long.” Her other kids did fine. Halle “went ballistic screaming, crying.”

The worst case scenario is when a parent fails to turn tail, hoping the situation will miraculously work out, said Krista Casler, a child development specialist at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

“The whole reason for doing it is it’s supposed to be fun, but some parents really want that photo,” she said.

They want it bad. They bribe. They yell. Worse, they take Santa to the dark side with threats of the naughty list and no gifts come Christmas Day if a child doesn’t smile.

To continue reading, click HERE.

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Planning a Labor Day Picnic? 5 15-Minute Meals

Taken from Shine.Yahoo.com

Even if you planned ahead for your party, you may still be in the same boat as I am: I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking on the last unofficial weekend of summer. I want to host a get-together I can actually enjoy with my friends, which means keeping cooking to a minimum. I’m not up for more than chopping, tossing and serving.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Active time: 10 minutes | Total: 10 minutes

1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons light ranch dressing
1 small whole-wheat sandwich bun
1 leaf romaine lettuce

Combine chicken, carrots and barbecue sauce in a bowl. Spread ranch dressing on the bun. Top with the chicken mixture and lettuce.

Makes 1 serving.

To see all five recipes, click HERE

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