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Cooking Lately {June 2019}

I cannot believe that summer is here and June is almost over! As I mentioned in last month’s post, due to lack of time, instead of posting our weekly meal plans, I’m posting the dishes from the month that the family enjoyed the most. This will hopefully inspire you to try a new recipe! Here are some of the dishes that we enjoyed in June. Next month will likely have lighter, more veggie filled summer recipes! And if you have a great recipe that I should try, please share! I’m always looking for new dinner ideas.

Asian Turkey Meatballs – I mentioned these meatballs in a recent Five on Friday post. My husband made these for our “bite-size” themed supper club. They were easy to make and so tasty! Make a batch of these and serve with some rice and veggies and you have a complete meal.

Mexicali Hashbrown Taco Casserole – I’m always looking for new takes on tacos. This taco casserole sounded interesting and from start to finish only took about 45 minutes. My husband did the grocery shopping and when I wrote hash browns on the list, he purchased a bag of diced potatoes that were labeled hash browns. He didn’t realize that I needed the shredded hash browns. So this ended up being made with a thicker potato than was called for. Although it doesn’t look it in the pic, the potatoes were cooked. I was too lazy to give them a broil to brown them for the pic! #truth

One-Pan BBQ Ranch Chicken Gnocchi – I’ve been enjoying one pan pasta dishes recently. I’ve been hesitant because in the past the pasta hasn’t always cooked correctly. However, this dish came together nicely. I did dice the chicken prior to cooking it and I omitted the baby spinach. The kids really enjoyed this dish.

Paprika Shrimp and Farro – I try not to repeat recipes very much. But I’ve been going through some old meal planning calendars and remaking some of the recipes again. I believe I first made this dish back in 2017. When I was growing up there was no way that I’d eat this dish. I disliked all grains – rice, barley, etc. So, I have to give my kids credit for eating this. My husband actually made this and he precooked the farro the night before. Then it was super quick and easy to warm the farro and cook the shrimp.

Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet – I mentioned I was on a one pot meal kick and this was one of those dishes. Total time for this meal is only 35 minutes and one that everyone enjoyed. I will make this again in the fall and winter when comfort food is needed.

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole – Breakfast for dinner is always a winner with the family. I’ve made countless breakfast casseroles because they are just so easy and I love having the leftovers for breakfast. I’ve made similar tater tot breakfast casseroles before and this one doesn’t especially stand out, but it was good. This is another dish that I could have broiled to crisp up the tater tots, but I didn’t.

What are you making for dinner this week?

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Five on Friday {Happy Summer}

It’s officially summer! I keep seeing everyone’s last day of school pics on social media but my kids are still in school until next Wednesday! My daughter especially, who is still studying for finals, is not quite feeling the summer vibes yet. Here are five from this week:

1. Father’s Day – My husband wanted to go on a family hike for Father’s Day. Since the weather wasn’t looking great for Sunday we went Saturday. His request was a hike with a good view. I chose Minnewasksa State Park in Gardiner, NY. And it appeared everyone else wanted to go there too. We had to wait 20 minutes to get into the park, since the parking lot was full. It was worth it though. We do love a good waterfall and this one didn’t disappoint.

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2.Reading – This week I started reading Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne. It’s contemporary romance that is a super light and so far, a fun read.

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3. Watching – We just canceled our cable a couple of weeks ago. I’m not really missing it too much, since we have Netflix and Amazon Prime. This past weekend we watched a couple of episodes of the Netflix show The Chef Show with Jon Favreau and chef Roy Choi. I loved the movie Chef and so far this show has been really enjoyable. It’s a mixture of cooking and celebrities/entertainment. We also ended up watching a couple episodes of Awake on Netflix. The concept is ridiculous – contestants are kept awake for 24 hours and then have to compete in different challenges for a chance to win $1 million dollars. Somehow it hooked the family that we watched the first two episodes.

4. Black Thumb – I love plants. But I seriously have a black thumb. I keep buying them and end up killing them. Take this basil plant pictured above. My mom was at BJ’s and they had a deal where she had to buy 3. She offered me one and of course I said yes. I left it out on my front deck. Her plants are doing amazing…..my plant doesn’t look like it’s going to survive. It currently looks worse than this. Her advice was to repot it. Which I did, but I think it was too late. I love fresh basil, especially in the summer – pesto, caprese and more. So, I will likely be buying a new basil plant! LOL!

5. Cooking – This week we really enjoyed this One-Pan BBQ Ranch Chicken Gnocchi from Yes to Yolks. It was easy and tasty.

ICYMI this week on the blog I wrote about my Mom Escape to the Lodge at Woodloch.

Sharing with Friday Favorites….have a great weekend!

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Mom Escape to the Lodge at Woodloch

Crossing the state line into Pennsylvania, it’s as if the sign knew what my trip’s purpose was: “Welcome to Pennsylvania- Pursue Your Happiness” This solo mom escape was my very abbreviated, but much needed, respite from everyday life – my job, my kids and my husband. This was my time to focus on myself. For months, I’d been expressing to my husband that I needed to get away. “Go,” he said, supportive of my needs.

And so, after some research, I decided to visit the Lodge at Woodloch. The Lodge fit all of my requirements – a short driving distance from home, adults only, and a focus on health and wellness.

The Property:
The Lodge at Woodloch is located in Hawley, PA, less than a two hour drive from northern Westchester County. It is one of the three family-owned and operated Woodloch properties (the family-friendly, Woodloch Resort and the golf course community at Woodloch Springs are the other two) located on over 500 private acres.

The property consists of the main Lodge as well as Little Lake Teedyuskung, a Cranberry Bog and lots of wooded forest. Blackmore Farm is walking distance from the Lodge and supplies some of the produce used in the restaurant.

There are also functioning hives, with bees that help pollinate the garden and will eventually provide honey for spa treatments and the restaurant.

As I pulled up to the front gate, Robert was there with a huge smile and a warm and welcoming greeting. He checked my name off a list of incoming guests and directed me to the Lodge entrance. Once I arrived, the valet was there ready to take my bags and park my car. When I approached the front desk to check in, they greeted me by name and welcomed me with a
complimentary refillable water bottle, labeled with my name to avoid confusion with the other guests, and a tote bag. Every employee who I encountered during my visit was always friendly, helpful and had a warm smile.

Activities:
The Lodge at Woodloch is an all-inclusive resort with meals and activities included. However, some of the art classes do have fees. What drew me to the Lodge was the variety of activities they offered. With a focus on mind, body and soul, there is something for everyone. The daily activity schedule is conspicuously posted all throughout the Lodge. However, I’m the personality type who printed out the activity schedules for each day of my stay and highlighted all of the activities that I wanted to do!


The third floor of the Lodge contains the three exercise studios (Oak, Linden and Willow) as well as a cardio gym, rowing room and sitting area with a snack and hydration station. One thing I noticed is that there is no shortage of quiet sitting areas. They are everywhere throughout the Lodge and Spa.

I wanted to take advantage of all of the different fitness classes they offered. The first day, I enjoyed Drums Alive with Ashley ,where we drummed to upbeat music using exercise balls placed in step risers. This was such a fun and energetic class. I took a Splash Dance class with Christy using weighted poles in the water and basically pole danced in the pool. I’ve never taken a pole dancing class, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. It was, needless to say, another fun class. Later in the day, I took a Journaling for Self-Discovery Class with Susan, where I was given inspiration and resources to help me journal. I ended my evening with an after-dinner evening kayak ride with Ryan.

I started the second day with an 8 AM Chakra Meditation class with Alicia. One of my goals this year was to start meditating. I’m hoping this class helps inspire me to start my journey. Next, I took a Barre class with Retta. I’ve taken barre classes before so knew what I was getting myself into! Right after that, I took a Tower Power Class with Alicia. This is a Pilates class using a Tower (an apparatus attached to the wall). While I’ve taken Pilates classes before, I had never taken a Tower class. I really liked it and felt movements were more controlled using the resistance springs. Immediately after, I took my final fitness class of the day: the Great Wall of Yoga, again with Alicia. I really enjoy yoga and have taken classes at my local gym and have practiced at home. Using adjustable straps in this class took it to the next level, as I was practicing yoga while literally hanging off the wall! In the afternoon, I took The Ritual of Tea class, as I’ve started drinking more tea, especially in the evening.

I didn’t take any of the “Creative Discovery” classes during my stay. It’s not because I didn’t want to. I just didn’t have enough time. Many of the classes they offered were two hours. During my visit, classes included Zendoodle, terrarium building, Dot Mandala Stones, Pebble Art, Patchwork Painting, Basic Calligraphy and Decorative Lettering, Decorative Birdhouses and more. Most art classes had a nominal $10 fee.

For those drawn to nature, there are many outdoor activities including guided hikes, Bog Talk, Basics of Birding, Forest Bathing, Basics of Mountain Biking, Forest Yoga, Garden Tour, Tenkara (a Japanese style of fly fishing) and more. As you can see, there is plenty of wildlife in the woods. On a short walk around the property I saw three deer and was able to get pretty close to them! There is also an archery range and an outdoor exploration center called The Lily Pad that has kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and more.

There is also a Lotus Labyrinth on the property. This is a peaceful place for meditation and quiet reflection.

Every instructor was friendly, encouraging and patient, whether there were two people in the class or 15. They were also all very punctual: starting class on time and ending promptly so you had enough time to get to your next activity.

The Spa:

The spa has separate women’s and men’s retreats that include showers and changing rooms, saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools. There are also a couple of different sitting areas in the spa as well.

The Aqua Garden has an indoor pool where the aqua fitness classes are held. However, the most remarkable features of the Aqua Garden are the two heated soaking pools with HydroMassage Waterwalls. I might have spent the majority of my spa time here! There is also an outdoor whirlpool which is open year-round. The changing room has walls of digital lockers. Inside each locker is a fluffy spa robe. At the spa desk you can request a pair of sandals. It was nice to be able to store my things while I was at my spa treatment and the Aqua Gardens and not have to worry about carrying a key.


The treatment rooms are in the downstairs area of the spa, as well as the co-ed Whisper Lounge which includes an outdoor porch and rocking chairs. Relaxation and comfortable seating are the big focus here!

Prior to my visit, I booked the Rosemary Awakening, the spa’s signature treatment. The treatment starts with a rosemary and mint body polish (exfoliating scrub). A quick shower is followed by a full body massage with shea butter and essential oils. The treatment ends with a scalp massage and a foot massage. Amy, my massage therapist was great. She explained each step of the treatment and checked in to make sure I was enjoying myself. Even though I was completely unclothed for the treatment, she was so adept in draping the towels and sheets that I was never exposed or uncomfortable. Needless to say, this treatment was AMAZING and left me feeling so relaxed.

If full body treatments aren’t your thing, the spa offers facials, massages, sleep treatments, FLOAT therapy and more. You can also visit the Lotus Salon for hair cuts and styling, or to get a manicure or pedicure.

The Accommodations:

I stayed in room 322 during my visit. The room is a Veranda Classic Standard with a King bed. There is a large flat-panel TV and a mini refrigerator. There is also a comfy chair and a rocking chair in the room (again, plenty of cozy seating!). The room also has a desk with a salt lamp on it, which I thought was a nice touch. The bathroom has double sinks, a marble walk-in shower and a private toilet.

The best thing about this room was the private veranda with this view! During the day I kept the veranda doors open and enjoyed listening to the rock garden waterfalls. I woke early and enjoyed drinking my morning coffee on the veranda while I read my book. This was extra special quiet mom time!

The Food:


Executive Chef Josh Tomson, graduate of the French Culinary Institute in NYC, leads the dining team. He incorporates farm-to-table dining into the menus and tries to use local products, including produce from the onsite Blackmore Farm, whenever possible. All meals are served in Tree, the onsite restaurant.


Three meals are included in the price for each night of your stay, (dinner on the day of your arrival and breakfast and lunch the next day). There are menus for each meal where you can choose from several different options. Each selection is labeled as to whether it is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-friendly or contains nuts. Many of the items can also be made gluten-friendly or vegan upon request. They have daily specials at each meal as well. Dinner starts with an amuse bouche and then includes an appetizer, salad, main course and dessert. My dinner started with a chilled strawberry soup amuse bouche, then I chose the Colossal Crab and Shrimp Cocktail, the Signature Salad and the Seared Scallops with a Green Pea Puree. For dessert, I had that night’s special: a Skillet Cookie topped with Vanilla Gelato and Chocolate Sauce.

For breakfast the next day, I enjoyed an Open Faced Mushroom Omelet and some fresh fruit from the buffet. The buffet also had a yogurt and oatmeal bar, as well as a variety of baked goods and even a frittata. For lunch, I ordered the Lobster & Crab Roll, which, according to my waitress, is one of their most popular dishes. I had a small bowl of Potato Leek Soup and made a salad from the salad bar.


As a self-proclaimed foodie, I thought the food was quite good. The presentation was beautiful. Portions aren’t huge, but they are satisfying. All of my seafood dishes were excellent. At lunch and dinner there were several options that looked good and I wished my husband was there so we could share dishes! I found dessert and the sweets offered at the snack bar to be so-so.

I have to admit, eating was the only time during my stay that I felt awkward visiting by myself. I don’t think that I’ve ever previously dined alone in a restaurant setting. I brought my notebook to take notes of my visit and a book and I was okay, but it did feel a little uncomfortable. If you prefer, room-service is available for a small fee.

During my stay, the majority of the guests were women; either groups of friends or mothers and daughters. My daughter is still a couple of years short of being old enough to visit, but I can see us visiting the Lodge together. In the meantime, my husband will hopefully accompany me on my next trip here!

If you are looking for a mom escape, I highly recommend visiting the Lodge at Woodloch. Whether you choose to visit solo, like I did, or with a group of friends, your stay here will be super relaxing and fun…everything you need to rest and rejuvenate yourself before returning to reality.

(To see lots more pictures of my visit, please check out my Lodge @ Woodloch Instastories! I received a media rate for my stay as well as a complimentary spa service to facilitate my review. As always, all opinions are my own.)

The Details:
The Lodge at Woodloch
109 River Birch Lane
Hawley, PA 18428
(570) 685-8500

Check-In Time: 4:00 PM
Check-Out Time: 12 Noon
However, you can participate in the classes and activities and/or make spa appointments earlier/later than the check-in and check-out times. Luggage can be stored in the bell hop closet until your room is ready or you are ready to leave.

*This resort is for individuals ages 16 and older.

*It is recommended that spa treatments be booked in advance. They do book up quickly.

*Activities on the schedule marked with an asterisk (*) have limited space and require guests to sign up in advance with the spa concierge. Please be courteous and call the spa concierge to cancel an activity or class that you signed up for but are unable to attend.

* Dinner is served from 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM but reservations are required. Casual dress is recommended. While resort bathrobes and/or workout attire can be worn in the dining room for breakfast and lunch, it is not permitted at dinner.

*Alcohol is available during meals at an additional cost.

*The Lodge encourages guests to unplug. Cell phone use is not allowed in public areas.

*Gratuities are included in your package rate. However, I did leave a cash tip for housekeeping and the valet.

*Check out their website for specials and deals.

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Five on Friday {Father’s Day Weekend}

Happy Friday and Happy Birthday to my dad! This weekend is also Father’s Day. My husband has requested a family hike with a rewarding view. The weather is looking a little iffy for Sunday, so we may have to take that hike on Saturday. Here are five from this week:

1. Supper Club – Last weekend we had our monthly supper club. This month’s theme was bite-sized food. I made Truffle Mac and Cheese Bites and my husband made these Asian Turkey Meatballs. I liked his dish much better than mine! The whole meal though was delicious as always with chicken wings, Thai Turkey Sliders and Pea Pesto and Burrata Crostini. Dessert was mini Lemon Tarts.

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2. Reading – This week I started Run Away by Harlan Coben. His books are so fast-paced that I’m sure it will be finished by the end of the weekend, if not before.

3. Eating – My husband picked up this Steve’s dairy free ice cream at the grocery store. We aren’t dairy free but the flavor looked interesting. It’s a Sri Lankan Coconut Cream base infused with honey/orange blossoms, a pomegranate swirl and chopped almonds. They have some other interesting flavors that we will have to check out as well!

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4. Watching – I started watching The Society this week on Netflix. It’s a teen drama about a town where everyone but the teen residents mysteriously disappear. I’m only two episodes in. Even though it’s rated MA, I recommended it to my thirteen year-old daughter, who I was surprised hadn’t started watching it yet. I likely won’t watch the whole season, but I do like to be aware of the teen shows.

5. Kohl’s Shopping – I don’t shop very often. However, whenever I get a 30% off Kohl’s coupon, I feel like I HAVE to shop. Yes, the regular prices there are way over-priced. But, you should never buy anything at regular price there. There’s almost always a sale and/or a coupon. I picked up a pair of sandals and some shirts. I also got some shorts and a romper/dress for my daughter.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my May 2019 Reads.

Thursday I posted about a visit to the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden {North Salem, NY}

Secluded in the back roads of North Salem is a small taste of Japanese culture right here in Westchester County.  The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden is a hidden treasure of beauty that aims to connect and promote an appreciation of Eastern and Western culture.  My kids both visited the Hammond Museum on school trips after studying Japan.  Last summer, I enlisted my daughter to accompany me on my first visit.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to post about our visit to the Hammond Museum until now.

“But what’s the use of having collections if people can’t see them?” – Natalie Hays Hammond

When you arrive you enter the gardens through the museum. The museum was designed by Natalie Hays Hammond and built in 1957 to showcase her collection of antiques and artifacts that she acquired through her travels.  The art in the galleries change several times over the eight months that the museum is open.

Artist Rosalind Schneider's exhibit Transformed Realities at the Hammond Museum.

We were able to see artist, Rosalind Schneider’s, Transformed Realities exhibit, just before it closed. Currently art exhibits in the galleries are closing mid-June, with new, yet unannounced exhibits replacing them.  Full Bloom, Sculpture in the Garden is on display for the entirety of the season. 

Through the gallery is the entrance to the gardens.  I don’t believe that there’s one way to visit the Japanese Stroll Gardens.  Once you pass through the tea house entry you can go either right or left. The garden path is circular, so whichever direction you choose, you will eventually make your way back to the tea house.  The gardens are designed with the Japanese design principles of balance and harmony.  Balance, in a Japanese garden, is asymmetrical and you will find odd-numbered and triangular groupings.

To the right of entry is the Zen Garden. Also known as karesansui (dry mountain water).  Rakes are available for visitors to create patterns in the rocks.

If you continue on the path to the right you will see the pond to your left and the Katsura Trees and Bamboo Grove  on your right. Bamboo is important to Eastern culture.  From food, to paper, furniture and even planking for houses, the bamboo plant is highly useful.  However, some species are used for ornamental purposes in landscape gardens, like the ones here.

Waterfall Garden at the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden.

To the left of the entry is the waterfall garden.  This is a tiny waterfall that is almost hidden by all of the ferns and mountain laurel.  The water flows from east to west, shadowing the sun’s path.

Straight ahead of the entry is the pond.  I recommend taking some time to sit on the benches by the pond and enjoy the peacefulness and beauty.  If you look closely, you may be able to spot one of the ten turtles that inhabit the pond. Listen and you will probably hear the frogs croaking. The day of our visit the staff was prepping for a wedding later that day.  So we didn’t walk out to the island.

There are a couple of different statues and sculptures located throughout the gardens and this beautiful gong.

Off one of the garden paths you will find The Garden of Buddhist Saints. These are sixteen stones that honor the enlightened followers of Buddha.

There is much more beauty and nature to be found at the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden, than what I showcased here. If you are looking for some peace and tranquility, this is a place that you must visit.

The Details:
Hammon Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden
28 Deveau Road
North Salem, NY 10560
(914) 669-5033

Hours: Open May – November (see website for specific dates)
Wednesday – Saturday 12 PM – 4 PM

Admission:  $5/adults, $4/seniors, Free/Children 12 and under.  Free for members.

Parking:  Free parking available on the grounds

Tips and Notes:
*As a first-time visitor, my daughter and I spent approximately an hour visiting the museum and garden.

*If you have some time, bring a book and sit on a bench by the pond.

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May Reads {2019}

(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policy for more info.)
It’s time for me to share my May reads with Jana and Steph’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. May was a decent reading month for me in terms of numbers, with seven books read. However, four of the books were only three stars, so not wonderful in terms of quality. I did read three non-fiction books this month which is more than I usually tend to read. Here are my May reads:

3 Stars:

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Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This book, told in interview style, describes the building and demise of Daisy Jones and the Six, a seventies rock band. I know that I’m in the minority here with my rating on this book. I love Taylor Jenkins Reid. The format was okay with the interview style/different perspectives. However, I didn’t find the story line interesting.

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Girls Just Want to Have Likes by Laurie Wolk – As a parent, I am really struggling with technology use and social media, especially with my 13 year-old. Wolk gives tips and advice on how to build a foundation and boundaries with technology and social media use.

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Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center – Helen is divorced at 32. She needs a change and decides to go on a wilderness survival course in Wyoming. Right before she goes she learns that her brother’s best friend Jake will also be going. I’ve read a couple of other books by Center. This one was okay but not my fave.

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You Are a Bad Ass Every Day by Jen Sincero – I’ve read Sincero’s other Bad Ass books. This book was more of a resource of inspiration rather than a reading book. I like her other books better.

4 Stars:

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Educated by Tara Westover – At 17, Tara attends Brigham Young University, without ever having a formal education, growing up, “off the grid.” One of seven siblings, she had a traumatic childhood filled with abuse and parents who believed more in their religion than their children. This book starts off very slowly. This was my second attempt at reading it, after originally giving up about fifty pages in. After so many rave reviews I had to give it another try and am glad that I did. Westover’s story is very powerful and it’s amazing that she was able to overcome such odds.

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Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens – Kya, also known as the Marsh Girl, has lived on her own since she was about nine years old. When a well-known community member is found dead in the marsh, Kya becomes the number one suspect. This book started out very slow for me. Since both my mom and a colleague raved about this book I decided to stick with it and am glad that I did. Owens is a descriptive writer, where at times it felt like too much for me. But it was a great overall story.

5 Stars:

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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – I know I am so late to the GOT party. But I finally finished the first book in the series after starting it January 1. This was one of my goals of 2019 and I did it! In the meantime, my husband and I are watching the series and are up to Season 3. I enjoyed the first book more than the show. There’s just so much more detail in the books that they can’t put in the show. But I think they did a great job of editing and making it all work. I have started the second book but with all my other reading, it’s not one of my reading priorities.

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Five on Friday {Ready for the Weekend}

Is anyone else ready for the weekend? Let’s get right into today’s Five on Friday.

1. Solo Getaway – This past Monday and Tuesday I visited the Lodge at Woodloch…..alone. I had been saying for awhile that I needed a solo getaway. After much research, I found this place. I will have a full blog post up soon, but it was just what I needed. This is an adults only, health and wellness resort, less than two hours drive from my home. Two days away, does a body good. Follow along on my Insta-stories to see lots of pics! But look at the Hydro Massage Waterwalls (above)! A combo hot tub and waterfall that was so relaxing.

2. New Classes – While I was at the Lodge at Woodloch I enjoyed new-to-me fitness classes like Splash Dance (aquatic pole dancing – poles in the pool pictured above), Tower Pilates, Drums Alive and the Great Wall of Yoga (check out my Insta-stories for a picture of that!).

3. Reading – So I joined my first in-person book-club (besides my work one). We are meeting in a couple of weeks and this month’s book is Behold the Dreamers. I’m about half-way through and am enjoying it. This is one of those books that I probably would have never read if I hadn’t joined this book club. I’ll have to report back in a couple of weeks after my first meeting!

4. Lunchtime Walks – Last month my work had a health and wellness challenge to walk/run a marathon (26.2 miles) over a month. I handed in my tracking sheet and think I squeaked in the 26.2 miles at the end. Most of the walking took place during my lunch hour. I can usually get in a good 1.5 miles in a half hour and enjoy either walking with a co-worker or walking solo and listening to a podcast. Even though the challenge is over, I am trying to continue my lunchtime walks until it gets too hot.

5. A Chipped Tooth – There’s nothing like getting a call from the school nurse when I’m two hours away and my husband is in a meeting in the city! While I was on my solo trip away, I got a call from the nurse that my son had hit his chin outside on a bench during gym. In the process he chipped the back of his tooth off. Luckily, it wasn’t an emergency. After a trip to the dentist, it looks like it will be an easy repair. My son’s not in pain but the tooth is a little sensitive to cold and heat. He will get it fixed in a two weeks after making sure the tooth is healing properly without any complications.

6. Website Down – Here’s a bonus vent for you all! Wednesday I went to check my Google Analytics and saw that there were zero visitors to the blog on Tuesday. I don’t get huge traffic to my blog…..(yet!), but I definitely get daily traffic. I go to find that my website is down. After chatting with Bluehost, I discovered it would take 24-48 hours to fix. Fortunately, they were able to repair the issue (since you are reading this post!) but it was super frustrating and annoying.

ICYMI this week on the blog I shared You Can Support a Tobacco Free NY.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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You can Support A Tobacco Free New York!

This post was sponsored by Tobacco Free New York State as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Did you know that the average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old?! As a mom of a 13-year-old, this alarms me! As much as we’d like to think that they don’t have access, teens are being exposed to and finding access to tobacco products. My daughter has told me stories of older middle school students found smoking e-cigarettes. And the e-cigarette use in high school students grew 160% in just four years from 2014 – 2018.

It’s not just our teens that are being exposed to tobacco products. Tobacco companies spend billions of dollars in advertising, much of which is found in-store. You may not realize it, but when you stop at the local convenience store with your kids to pick up some groceries, they see the colorful signs and boxes of cigarettes behind the counter. Tobacco Free New York is working to protect our kids from being visually exposed to tobacco products. The simple campaign aims to gather support to move tobacco and tobacco marketing out of view of kids. As a parent of a tween and teen, this is something that I am on board with.

As readers of the blog you know that my family enjoys the great outdoors. We often spend our weekends eating, traveling and enjoying new experiences and adventures. It is important to me that my children are active and healthy and I ensure that they have healthy diets and get adequate sleep. They know the harmful effects that smoking can have on their health and have often questioned why people would knowingly harm themselves. While they are both anti-smoking and probably low-risk, it doesn’t help to see cigarettes and other tobacco products while we are shopping at the store.

As parents, we can do something to protect all our children from being exposed to tobacco products in stores. You can take action by simply pledging your support at the”Seen Enough Tobacco” site. Every pledge counts! Help make New York a healthier place to live, work and play!

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Five on Friday {Goodbye May}

And just like that May is done. I can’t believe how quickly the month went by. We had a great Memorial Day weekend, spending several days in Rhode Island at my parent’s house. Here are five highlights from this past weekend:

1. Beach Time – We spent Friday at the beach. We lucked out and it was empty! I told the kids to enjoy it since we wouldn’t see the beach this empty until after Labor Day. It was chilly and windy but we still enjoyed collecting shells and driftwood, walking on the beach and sitting and reading in the sunshine, while we listened to the ocean waves.

2. Book Reading – I got in some good book reading time as well. Over the weekend I FINALLY finished A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, the first book in the series. I started it in January and have been reading other books, but I’m so happy I finally got it finished. And it was really good too! I enjoyed the book much more than the first season of the show.

3. Waffle Sundaes – My mom made special desserts while we were up visiting including a homemade peach pie one night and these waffle sundaes the next. We might have been a tad bit spoiled!

4. Beautiful Sunset – My husband and I made a trip to the beach one night to catch the sunset. I mean, who doesn’t love a good sunset?! And this one didn’t disappoint. Everything’s better at the beach.

5. Memorial Day – We came home Sunday night so we were home for Memorial Day. Both the kids are in scouts and participated in our town Memorial Day ceremony.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared what we’ve been cooking lately.

Thursday I posted about what we’ve been watching this month.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Hope you have a great weekend!

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What We Watched {May 2019}

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Although my DVR list is extremely long with shows that I need to catch up on, I don’t actually watch very much television. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t love to sit on the couch all weekend and catch up on old shows or binge watch all the ones that I’ve been meaning to watch. There’s just not enough time! The little time that we do have on weekends to watch television is usually spent as a family watching a show or movie together. Here is a quick recap of what we watched this past month:

Family Movies:

A puppy sitting inside a shoe

A Dog’s Way Home – This movie is a bit cheesy and predictable. However, it doesn’t matter. I’m a sucker for a cute dog movie. While this one wasn’t my favorite, as usual, it still had me in tears…..and made my daughter want a dog.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – I will admit that I sat with the family “watching” this one. However, I wasn’t really paying attention to it. I didn’t watch the first one so I didn’t have a clue what was going on. The rest of the family enjoyed this movie though.

Date-Night Movies:

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A Star Is Born – I love the song “Shallow” from this movie, no matter how often it’s played on the radio. I of course had to finally see the movie. And I’m glad that I did, as I enjoyed it.

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The Favourite – I didn’t know much about this movie, except that it had some Golden Globe nominations. I really enjoyed this movie, I think even more so than A Star Is Born. Except, I didn’t like the ending.

A white man at the wheel of an aqua blue car, his elbow resting on the door. An African American sits in the back seat, arms outstretched.

Green Book – I think my husband and I have finally watched almost all of the Oscar Nominated Best Picture movies, minus Vice, which we will hopefully be watching this weekend. I didn’t know much about Green Book prior to sitting down to watch the movie. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I can see why it won for Best Picture.

Television Time – Family Time:

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The Amazing Race – We started watching The Amazing Race as a family during season 29, back in 2017. We became such fans of Becca and Floyd that we did a 5 Questions With…..post with them! They are back in season 31’s Reality Show-Down and we are having so much fun watching them.

Television Time – Mom Time:

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Dead to Me – (Netflix) This show debuted on Netflix this month. The twists have me hooked and even though I’ve only watched a couple of episodes, I hope to finish this soon. There are ten episodes altogether and totally worth giving it a try!

Workin’ Moms (Netflix) – This month I finally caught up and watched the last few episodes of Workin’ Moms on Netflix. This is a Canadian show but I love how it captures all the different aspects of new motherhood.

Television Time – Couple Time:

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Game of Thrones Season 2 – I am so late to the Game of Thrones Game. One of my goals for 2019 is to read the first book in the series. I am a little over half-way through and it’s looking good for me to finish it by December. In the meantime, my husband and I have been watching the series. This month we finally finished watching season 2 and have started season 3. Since we are borrowing the DVDs from the library and some weeks only get a chance to watch one or two episodes, it’s taking us a LONG time to get through a season!