Woodbury Common: For All Your Shopping Needs


Located conveniently off the New York State Thruway, lies Woodbury Common Premium Outlets Center.  The Simon owned property recently underwent a $100 million renovation and looks amazing.  Besides the cosmetic changes to building exteriors, they have added other decorative touches like the fountained sign pictured above.

Coupon Book

The outlet center features 220 stores and includes a variety of shops from Gap Factory to Gucci and everything in between.  The stores are housed in five different neighborhoods: Hudson Valley, Hamptons, Adirondacks, Saratoga and Niagara.   Each neighborhood is labeled and has directories, like the one below, listing all the stores.


If you are a AAA member, you can stop by any information desk and pick up a free coupon booklet.

Parking Garage

Whereas parking used to be a problem on super busy holiday weekends, the outlet now has a three story parking garage in addition to numerous parking lots.


Don’t worry where you park, as there is a free shuttle service that stops at all the neighborhoods.

Children’s retailers include Carter’s, The Children Place Outlet, Disney Store Outlet, Gymboree Outlet, Osh Kosh B’Gosh,  and Polo Ralph Lauren Children’s Factory Store.  The Gap Outlet, J. Crew Factory and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH also sell children’s clothing.

For fans of designer bags, Woodbury Common has you covered.   There is Coach, Coach Men’s, Dooney & Burke, Kate Spade New York, Vera Bradley and more.  Designer fashion includes Armani, Balenciaga, Bebe, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Dior, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Tahari, Escada, Fendi, Gucci, Helmut Lang, John Varvatos, La Perla, Michael  Kors, Prada, Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren,  Roberto Cavalli, Ted Baker London, Theory, Thomas Pink, Tory Burch and more.  I couldn’t tell you how the prices compare to regular retail, because I don’t shop at these stores!

Converse Outlet

My favorite outlets to shop in are the Banana Republic Factory Store, the Gap Outlet, the J. Crew Factory and LOFT Outlet.  I also like the Nine West Outlet for shoes.  My kids love the Skechers and Converse outlets as well as the Disney Store outlet.

I was not joking when I noted in the title “For All Your Shopping Needs.”  Besides the expected clothing, shoe and designer bag shops, Woodbury Common also has many jewelry and watch stores including Pandora, Fossil, Citizen Watch Company, Zales Outlet and TAG Heuer.  Plus, there are luggage stores (including Samsonite, Tumi), housewares (Corningware, Frette, Le Creuset), make-up (including BareMinerals, Crabtree & Evelyn, and Elizabeth Arden) as well as Yankee Candle, Vitamin World, Bose, a Toys “R”  Us Outlet, Bose and both a Godiva Chocolatier and a Lindt Chocolate.

Market Hall

Of course will all the shopping you’re doing, you are going to get hungry.  The recent renovation includes Market Hall, a new food court which houses several eateries including an Au Bon Pain, Chipotle, Cinnabon, Kung Pao Wok, Pinkberry, Melt Shop, Tony & Benny’s and a Pret A Manger.

Shake Shack

Besides the Applebee’s that has always been there, new sit-down dining options include a Shake Shack and a YO! Sushi.

So, now you’re ready to come to Woodbury Common and start shopping!  Here are some things to keep in mind:

This is an outdoor shopping center.  Keep the weather forecast in mind when planning your trip.  As you can see from my pictures, our most recent visit was on an overcast day.

This place is huge!  With 220+ outlets, you will NOT be able to get to every store during a one day visit.  Check out the directory before visiting and make a list of the outlets that you definitely want to get to.

Keep in mind that these are outlets.  Most stores carry out of season, overstock, irregular merchandise, etc.  Don’t expect to find the same merchandise that you see at the brand’s regular retail stores.

Some outlets like Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Store have their own lines of clothing that are never sold at the regular retail stores.

It is important to note that The Children’s Place Outlet differs from The Children’s Place retail store and does not accept retail Children’s Place coupons.  However, they do accept outlet specific coupons, which are noted as such.

From our personal experience, outlets accept store credit cards (at least this is true for The Children’s Place and Gap/Banana Republic).

Labor Day is coming up, so expect BIG sales and lots of crowds during the holiday weekend!

What is your favorite outlet store to shop at?



Five on Friday {Week 7}

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!  It’s been a quiet week around here as I was husband-less and kid-less for most of the week!  We went to Rhode Island last Friday and my husband and I left Sunday.  The kids stayed with my parents for a few days and did not come back home until yesterday.  My husband had a work training for almost three days in New Jersey, so I was home alone!  I got to have dinner with a friend who I hadn’t seen in ages, got lots of shopping time, and lots of quiet reading time in, so I can’t complain.  A little peace and quiet does the body good!  I’m so happy to have the kids (and husband!) back home and am looking forward to some quality family time this weekend!  Here are five from this week:

Grey's Anatomy Logo.svg

Watching:  This week while I was home alone, I finally started watching the most recent season of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.  One episode in and I was in tears.  I also watched a few episodes of Scandal as well.  Now that my husband’s back we watched a couple more episodes of American Odyssey and are almost finished with it.


Reading: I am currently reading The Choices We Make by Karma Brown.  It’s a great book that has me interested in the storyline.  I will definitely have it read by the weekend.  I am so behind on my magazine reading!  I have last week’s US Weekly to finish, Glamour, Westchester Magazine and a Cooking Light!

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Eating: While in Rhode Island we took my parents out to dinner for their anniversary.  My son decided he HAD to have the stuffed lobster.  I decided we’d share it and my daughter and husband shared the paella.  Needless to say, my son learned that he still loves lobster in butter, but he doesn’t like the “stuffing.”

Date Night

Enjoying:  Date night!  We don’t get many date nights in, so it was nice for my husband and I to be able to go out to eat.  We had drinks (I had the frozen sangria, above!) and tacos at Taco Dive Bar and then went next door to the Hudson Creamery where we shared a sundae.  The weather was beautiful and we had a gorgeous view of the Hudson River.


Excited:  The kids start school next Thursday.  This past week they got their teacher assignments and they are both happy with who they got.  This of course makes me happy!  I think they are both going to have great years!   For myself, today I went to a photo shoot for the Westchester County Moms Blog.  I have been accepted as a contributor, and once a month I’ll be posting an article on the blog.   It’s looking to be a great new resource for moms, especially in Westchester County!

ICYMI this week on the blog:
Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.
Wednesday I posted books you should read before you watch the movie this fall.

Linking up with Tif, Amanda, Andrea and April.  Have a great weekend!


Read It Before You Watch It – Fall 2016

Read It Before You Watch It Fall 2016

As a reader of this blog, you know that I am a huge bookworm.  I also love to watch movies.  However, I have mixed feelings about books being made into movies.  As a general rule, I have to read the book prior to seeing the movie.  I like to get my own images of the characters in my head as I’m reading.  And then once I’ve seen the movie, my visions are ruined because I then associate the movie actors and actresses with the characters.  Case in point, even now, while listening to the audio books of Harry Potter with the kids, Daniel Radcliffe IS Harry Potter.  Okay, that example may be a bit extreme, but doesn’t everyone think of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen?!

Second, it is very rare for me to watch a movie that is better than the book.  I end up feeling like most book to movie adaptations are just okay.  However, a couple of movies that come to mind that I thought were pretty good include Gone Girl and Room.  I’ve rounded up a list of movies that have been adapted from books that are coming out this fall.  Read it before you watch it!


The Light Between Oceans(September 2) This book was the winner of the 2012 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction.  I liked the book, but wasn’t wowed like so many other readers.  I will probably wait to see this one on DVD.


Bridget Jones’s Baby(September 16) In a rare occurrence, the movie Bridget Jones’s Baby the book will be released AFTER the movie!  So, this one you can’t read first, since the movie comes out on September 16 (my birthday!) and the book will not be published until October 11.  However, if you’ve read any of the Bridge Jones books then you are familiar with the character.


Queen of Katwe(September 23) This is a non-fiction book about a Uganda, teenage chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi.  This book sounds interesting so I may end up reading it and then watching the movie on DVD.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children(September 30) This is a book that I haven’t read and am not sure that I want to.  Paranormal, horror, sci-fi, supernatural fantasy are not my typical reading genres.  On the same note, I’m not really sure this is a movie that I want to see! LOL!


The Girl On the Train (October 7) Out of all of the movies, this is probably the one that I’m most looking forward to.  I really liked the book and think it will be a great suspense movie!


Inferno(October 14) I loved Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.  Somehow, I stopped reading the Robert Langdon series after that.  I even have #3, The Lost Symbol sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read.  So, I definitely won’t be seeing this movie until it comes out on DVD so I have some time to read both The Lost Symbol and Inferno.


The Lost City of Z (October 15 – New York Film Festival) – This is a non-fiction book about British explorer Percy Fawcett.  I don’t usually watch action/adventure type movies and I know that I won’t be reading this book, so I’m not sure about this one.


A Monster Calls(October 18) This is another book/movie that falls into the fantasy/horror genre….which is not my thing.  I’ll be skipping this one as well, but I’d love to hear what others think of it.


American Pastoral(October 28) This book won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize so it’s a relatively older book to be made into a movie.  Based on the mixed reviews of this book on Goodreads, the movie actually sounds more promising.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18)  This is another book that I have yet to read, so will not be seeing the movie until DVD.  It will probably be awhile even then, since I’d like to first finish the Harry Potter series with the kids.

Are you looking forward to seeing any of these movies?


Weekly Meal Plan {Week 49}

2016 Calendar

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  We spent a relaxing couple of days up in Rhode Island.  Beach time, lots of reading time and delicious food made this mom very happy!  The kids are staying with my parents for a couple of days so we are childless.  Unfortunately, my husband is at a two day overnight training in New Jersey.  So, I’m home alone for the next couple of days!  I’m going out to dinner tonight with a friend tonight.  I also plan on getting in some good reading time and catching up on all my Real Housewives episodes!  There will NOT be a lot of cooking going on this week!  Here’s a peek at our most recent weekly meal plan:

Zucchini Tian

Saturday – We had our monthly supper club.  This month’s theme was Julia Child.  I made a Zucchini Tian from RecipeTin Eats and my husband made Julia’s famous Chocolate Almond cake.  We had another delicious dinner!

Sunday – We watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and shared a Pepperoni Roll, Buffalo Chicken Roll and Chicken Parm Wedge from our local pizzeria.

Spinach and Feta Chicken Burgers

Monday – I made Spinach and Feta Chicken Burgers that I served with French fries and onion rings and marinated cucumbers.  I adapted this recipe from Belly Full a LOT by using ground chicken, frozen spinach, added red onion and additional spices.  These burgers were flavorful and even my daughter who doesn’t really like feta cheese enjoyed hers.

Breakfast Nachos

Tuesday – I made Breakfast Nachos.  No recipe involved here, just tortilla chips topped with cooked chorizo, scrambled eggs, chopped tomato, sliced olives, salsa and shredded cheddar.  I stuck the pan under the broiler until the cheese melted and then topped with sour cream.  Nachos in any variety are ALWAYS a hit!

Slow Cooker Chili

Wednesday – I know it’s hot, but I made chili in the slow cooker.  It was easier to brown the meat and prepare the crockpot in the morning and not have to worry about cooking dinner later in the evening.  I adapted this recipe from allrecipes, since most of us in the family prefer beanless chili.  I only added one small jalapeno pepper and no cayenne pepper to make it kid-friendly.  I served the chili over rice with shredded cheddar and sour cream.

Summer Squash and Chicken Chowder

Thursday – I made Summer Squash and Chicken Chowder from Cooking Light, June 2016.  I cooked chicken thighs in the slow cooker instead of using a rotisserie chicken breast.  This soup was very flavorful and tasty!  I topped it with Greek yogurt as recommended.  I served the soup with biscuits (not home-made!).

Friday – We ate dinner at my parent’s house up in Rhode Island – BBQ chicken, potato salad, tomato and mozzarella salad and marinated cucumbers!

What is on your menu this week?


Five on Friday {Week 6}

Five on Friday

Summer is officially winding down and we are getting ready to go back to school.  While I’d like to say we did lots of fun stuff this week, the reality is that it was filled with lots of errands.  My daughter enjoyed some get-togethers with friends and my son, jealous of his sister’s get-togethers, finally realized that maybe he should have chosen to go to camp (where all his friends are during the day!).  Today we are enjoying my husband’s company picnic at a local park and then we are headed back to Rhode Island for the weekend.  My husband and I are heading back Sunday, but the kids are staying with my parents for a couple of days.  Here are five from this week:

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Reading:  This week I finished It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover and Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino.  I recommend both!  I’m hoping to get a lot of reading in this weekend while relaxing in Rhode Island because my to read pile from the library is crazy!

Watching:  Besides of course the Olympics, thanks to Megan’s recommendation my husband and I started watching American Odyssey.  I’m not sure how I ever missed this show but I’m enjoying this military action thriller.  It is very reminiscent of Homeland which sold me on trying it out to begin with.  My husband is “eh” about it, but we are two episodes in and I’m still interested.

Supper Club

Eating:  Saturday we had our monthly supper club.  I made a Zucchini Tian and my husband made a Chocolate Almond cake for our Julia Child themed dinner.  It was delicious as usual!

Home Renovating: I have been talking about repainting some of the walls in our house for a few weeks now.  This week I bought the paint and my husband has been so wonderful in working on this house project every night after work.  I’m slowly doing (really having my husband do! LOL!) some DIY house projects that are long overdue.

QuizUp Logo.png

Playing:  My daughter has gotten the family addicted to the trivia app, QuizUp.  My husband, daughter and I all have created accounts and now we challenge each other in trivia quizzes.  There are hundreds of topics to choose from and you can play against friends or with random opponents.  It’s addicting and fun!

ICYMI this week on the blog:
Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.
Wednesday I posted Getting Back Into a School Routine.

Linkng up with Tif, Andrea, Amanda and April!

I hope everyone had a great week!  Enjoy your weekend!



Getting Back into a School Routine

School Routine

Unfortunately, summer has gone by way too fast and it’s time once again to start thinking about getting back into a school routine.  This year I have a third and a fifth grader.  My fifth grader starts middle school, which in our district means catching a bus at 7:25 AM.  This is a big change from the 8:50 AM elementary school bus!  Summer has meant long, lazy days, lack of routines and staying up late.  I’m trying to slowly ease the kids back into school mode over these next couple of weeks so they are not in shock once September 1 rolls around!


1. Regular bedtime:  Getting to bed at a reasonable time EVERY night is probably the biggest adjustment that the kids have to make.  Like me, my kids need a lot of sleep to function well.  Last year, bedtimes were 8 PM and 8:30 PM for the kids.  For these next two weeks we are doing our best to get the kids back on track with these bedtimes.

2.  Re-establish a morning routine: This summer since the kids weren’t at camp, if we didn’t have a morning appointment, I’d let them lay in bed.  They’d wake up anywhere between 8 and 9 AM, but then they’d lay in bed and read a book.  Some mornings, my daughter didn’t get out of her bed until 10:30!  Then they’d come downstairs, eat breakfast and then go up and shower and get dressed.  Obviously, this lazy schedule can’t work once school begins.  So, I’ve been having them get up and out of bed when they wake up.  They can’t come downstairs for breakfast until they are showered and dressed.  And breakfast now has a time limit.  Thirty minutes max (and that’s being generous!).

Cleaning out Drawers

3. Clean out closets and drawers: During the school year the kids need to pick their outfits out the night before.  There’s nothing I hate more than hearing “I have nothing to wear” when trying to get them out the door in the morning.  I have recently tortured the kids with our seasonal “fashion show.” We go through their closets and drawers and I have them try clothes on to see what still fits and what doesn’t. This helps me figure out what we need to buy for fall as well as remind them of what they have to wear.

School Planner

4.  Set up calendars and planners: Both my kids have calendars in their rooms.  Over the summer my daughter also bought herself a planner.  I am hoping that a planner will help her keep track of her schedule, since she likes to participate in lots of school activities.  Now that she’s in middle school and has different teachers she also needs to keep track of her various tests and projects.  Plus, back to school means back to scouting, sports, music lessons, before/after school clubs, etc.  So the kids are seeing me keep track of all of their activities on the family calendar as well.

School Supplies

5.  Buy school supplies: We haven’t received teacher assignments yet, but school supply lists are available on our school website.  My kids love to help shop and pick out their school supplies.  This also helps to get them excited to go back to school to use all of their new stuff!

What have you been doing to get back into the school routine?


Weekly Meal Plan {Week 48}

2016 Calendar

Monday means another meal plan!  This week it was quiet around here, as my daughter was away with a friend of hers.  She didn’t come home until Saturday, so it was just three of us for dinner this week.  Most of our dinners this week don’t have a linked “recipe.”  I ended up winging most of the dinners based on what I had on hand.  I’m proud of myself for actually getting dinner on the table this week.  It was SO hot in New York this week and honestly, most nights I didn’t really want to cook.  However, we had lots of CSA veggies that had to be used, so dinner got made!


Monday – I made tacos with Mexican rice and roasted broccoli.  Any kind of taco is a hit around here.  I had picked up some large taco shells at a big discount from Acme and we filled them with ground beef, tomatoes, cheese, salsa and sour cream.

Slow Cooker Spare Ribs

Tuesday – I made Slow Cooker Spare Ribs, roasted potatoes from the CSA, chopped salad mix and tomatoes from the CSA with basil and balsamic.  The ribs ended up a little drier than I liked but we dipped them in BBQ sauce.

Stir Fried Steak

Wednesday – I made a steak stir fry with rice, sautéed Swiss Chard.  I threw some onions and eggplant and peppers from the CSA into the stir fry.  I made a sauce using soy sauce, brown sugar, honey and teriyaki sauce and thickened it a little with cornstarch mixed with water.

Stuffed Zucchini

Thursday – I made Stuffed Zucchini from Taste of Home.  I’ve made stuffed zucchini before, usually with sausage.  This recipe reminded me of a meatball stuffed inside a squash.  It was tasty and my son ate a small zucchini.

Ricotta Zucchini Pizza

Friday – My husband came home from work early and helped make homemade pizza.  We made one cheese and one with ricotta cheese, sautéed zucchini and red onion.  Yum!

Zucchini Tian

Saturday – We had our monthly Supper Club Saturday night.  This month’s theme was Julia Child.  I made a Zucchini Tian and my husband made her Chocolate Almond Cake.  It was a delicious meal as usual!


Five on Friday {Week 5}

Five on Friday

Yeah for Friday!  It’s been a long, hot, quiet week around here. My daughter has been in D.C. and Hershey Park with a friend of hers and their family.  She’s been super busy and having an amazing time from what I can tell from our short phone calls and pics that texted to me.  So, it’s been me and my son for most of the week, with not much exciting going on.  He had piano lessons, we went to the library, we cleaned out his closet and drawers to see what fall/winter clothes still fit to prepare for the school year and we picked up some more school supplies.  He has a friend coming over today and my daughter will be coming back home sometime tonight!  We sure have missed her around here!  This weekend we have our monthly supper club

A green, gold and blue coloured design, featuring three people joining hands in a circular formation, sits above the words "Rio 2016", written in a stylistic font. The Olympic rings are placed underneath.             Stranger Things logo.png

1. Watching – The Olympics, mostly gymnastics and swimming.  Darn you Facebook, where I end up seeing results before I’ve gotten a chance to watch!  My husband and I also finished Stranger Things on Netflix.  When we first watched the show, I was thinking that I wasn’t going to like it.  Sci-fi and horror are not my thing.  However, I was sucked in and hope there’s another season coming!


2. Reading – I’m currently reading Colleen Hoover’s newest book It Ends with Us.  I have JUST started it but I’m sure it will be finished this weekend!  I love Hoover’s books!


3. Eating – Lots of CSA veggies!  Zucchini, eggplant, peppers, Swiss Chard!  And this week we got our first tomatoes!  There is nothing like a farm fresh tomato!

4. Planning – on re-painting one of our living room walls.  It’s currently a teal blueish color but I’m thinking a more neutral brown color.  I’ve picked up some paint chip cards from the Home Depot and we will hopefully buy some paint this weekend.


5. – Remembering – The fun we had in Maryland last weekend visiting my sister and her family.  My kids don’t get to see their younger cousins very much so it’s always nice when we can fit in visits with each other.   My sister has a giant hill in her backyard and she set up tarps to make a giant slip and slide. She had tubes that the kids used to slide down it.  What fun they had!  There is an awesome Korean restaurant near their house and we eat there EVERY time we visit.  Bibimbap for the win!

ICYMI this week on the blog:
Tuesday I shared my July reads.
Wednesday I  posted a recipe for Pattypan Squash with Basil.
Thursday I shared my son’s July reads.

Linking up with Tif, Amanda and Andrea!  Have a great weekend!


The Kid Reads: July 2016

The Kid Reads July 2016

Welcome to The Kid Reads July 2016 edition.  The summer has provided lots of reading time for my 8 year-old son, a.k.a. “The Kid.”  We’ve been making weekly visits to the library where he has been choosing lots of books to read.  I’ve also been trying to get him to read some of the books off of our own bookshelves so I can donate them once he’s finished.  Here’s a look at what he’s been reading this month:


Cheesie Mack is Cool in a Duel by Steve Cotler – This is the second book in the Cheesie Mack series.  You can read our review of the first book in the Kid’s June book post.  Cheesie will be starting sixth grade in the fall.  He loves making lists.  In this book Cheesie and his best friend Georgie are headed off to sleep away camp in Maine.  In error, Cheesie and Georgie are placed in a cabin with the older boys, including Kevin, the boyfriend of Cheesie’s sister, June (“Goon”).  Tired of Kevin’s bullying, Cheesie challenges him to a Cool Duel.  This book is recommended for readers ages 8-12.  There are 15 chapters with very few illustrations.  There are several points in this book where Cotler breaks down the so-called fourth wall and has Cheesie directing questions to the readers.

The Kid’s Review: I liked this book because it’s funny.   I like the spitball game that Cheesie and his friend’s play on the bus.  Cheese is a good character because he tries to stop bullying at camp.  My favorite part was the talent show because Cheesie makes a really creative project.  I would recommend this book to someone who can read long chapter books.  It’s 229 pages!

*We borrowed this book from the library.

Field Trip to Flying Feathers Farm by Michelle Poploff –  Mrs. Bono’s class has been invited to Flying Feathers Farm.  They take a field trip to the farm where they learn about the different farm animals.  Wanda spends the time there searching for a special animal ,but will she find it?  This book is six short chapters with lots of illustrations.

The Kid’s Review:  I thought this was a fun book.  It had lots of jokes and the characters are monsters.

*We own this book.


Missing Monkey! (Good Crooks Book One) by Mary Amato – This is a mystery series geared towards readers in 2nd – 4th grade.  Twins Billy and Jillian are the children of criminals.  Their parents want them to follow in their footsteps and in this book, their parents end up stealing a monkey from the zoo.  Billy and Jillian feel bad about the theft and try to find a way to return it, but a series of unfortunate events occurs.  This book has 14 chapters with some Secret Extras at the end.  There are small illustrations every few pages.

The Kid’s Review: I liked this book because Billy and Jillian don’t want to be bad like their parents.  They do good deeds.

*We borrowed this book from the library.


Now Look What You’ve Done (Timmy Failure #2) by Stephen Pastis – The Kid read the first book in the series, Mistakes were Made last month.  In this sequel, Timmy Failure continues his work solving cases at his detective agency, this time with the help of Aunt Colander.  He wants to enter a detective contest at school to win $500.  However, a series of unfortunate (but according to the Kid, humorous) events prevents him from entering.  This book is recommended for readers ages 8-12.

The Kid’s Review:  I  liked this book because it is super funny.  Timmy is a good detective who solves his cases.  In this book Total, Timmy’s polar bear, does things that Timmy does not like.  This is why Timmy makes the Lazy Bear 2000.  If you like funny books, then you should read this one!

*We borrowed this book from the library.


Poison Island (Zac Power #1) by H.I. Larry – After I mistakenly borrowed book #3 in the series, Mind Games, my son requested the first book to read.  This series is about Zac and his family, who are ass spies and work for the Government Investigation Bureau (GIB). In this book, Zac Power is sent to Poison Island to track down an enemy scientist.  When his brother is kidnapped, Zac must save him and find Solution X to solve the mission.  This series is recommended for readers ages  8-11.  There are some illustrations throughout the book.

The Kid’s Review:  I liked this book because there are lots of cool spy things like Tramp-o-Socks and Eruption Powder.  I liked that Dr. Drastic made a potion that can turn your tongue into a party whistle.  I like Zac Power because he is very smart like me.  I recommend this book to readers who like detective stories.

*We borrowed this book from the library.


The Science Fair from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler – This is the fourth book in the Black Lagoon Adventure series.  In this book Mrs. Green announces that there is going to be a science fair and everyone has to participate.  Hubie doesn’t know what he is going to do and has nightmares that no one likes his project.  On the day of the science fair, his project ends up being a hit.  This series is recommended for readers ages 7-10.  This book series has short chapters and lots of illustrations.  I read this book and honestly was not impressed.  There are a lot of bad puns and really bad examples of science fair projects.  However, young children may find this book humorous like my son did (see below) and enjoy all the illustrations.

The Kid’s review:  I liked this book because it’s funny.  I liked reading about everyone’s science fair projects.

*We own this book.


Stop That Hamster (Ready Freddy! #12) by Abby Klein – This is book number 12 in the Ready Freddy! series.  In this book, Freddy is chosen to take care of Harold, the class hamster.  There is one problem though, Freddy’s mom won’t let him keep it in the house.  Freddy’s friend Robby comes over to help take care of Harold, who ends up escaping from his cage.  Ready Freddy! is a popular series, which is recommended for readers ages 4-8.  My son has read several of the books in the series and has enjoyed them.

The Kid’s Review: I liked this book because I think hamsters are cute and there is a hamster in this book.  Freddy makes Harold a cool Lego rocket ship.

*We own this book.


We Meet Again (Timmy Failure #3) by Stephan Pastis – My son has been devouring the Timmy Failure series, with this being the second book in the series that he’s read this month!  This is the third book in the series, in which Timmy has to complete a nature report.  Unfortunately, he is partnered with Corrina Corrina, his biggest enemy.  In this book he is hired to help find the Miracle Report and also deals with his mother dating his baseball coach.  This continues to be an enjoyable series for my son.

The Kid’s Review: I liked this book because it’s about friendship.  Timmy doesn’t like Corrina Corrina in the beginning but they become friends at the end.  Timmy is a good character because he’s funny.

*We borrowed this book from the library.



CSA Spotlight: Pattypan Squash with Basil

Pattypan Squash with Basil

In this week’s CSA spotlight, I’m focusing on Pattypan Squash.

Pattypan Squash

Pattypan squash are a variety of summer squash that have a unique, UFO like shape.  These squash come in yellow, white and green varieties and are also known as scallop squash, sunburst squash and custard squash (among other names used).  This recipe is a great summer recipe since there are few ingredients and it uses basil, which is abundant during this time of year.  Although the squash look different, I found them to have a similar taste to yellow squash and zucchini.  While the kids aren’t big fans of squash they each had small portions of this side dish.  I served this as a side with chicken cutlets and mashed potatoes.

Chicken Cutlet, Mashed Potatoes, Patty Pan Squash

Pattypan Squash with Basil
Recipe slightly adapted from Food Renegade

3 1/2 cups patty pan squash, sliced (approximately 7 small squash)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   Spray a 2 quart cooking dish with non-stick spray.  Place a layer of squash slices on the bottom of the dish.  Drizzle some of the melted butter on top and sprinkle some of the basil and salt on top.  Continue layering this way until all the squash and basil has been used.  (I had 3 layers).

2.  When finished layering, cover the dish and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until squash is tender.  Serve warm.