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January Reads {2019}

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January was a great reading month for me in terms of quantity and quality. I am hoping to keep this reading streak going for the rest of the year! As usual, I’m sharing this post with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. Here are my January reads in order from least to most enjoyed.

3 Stars

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The Exes’ Revenge by Jo Jakeman – Imogen, Naomi and Ruby have all been with the cruel and manipulative, Phillip at some point. Each has their reasons for wanting revenge. The three women end up teaming up together to get back at their ex. Overall, this was just an okay suspense read for me.

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She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell – Twin sisters Bel and Rose attend the prestigious, private Odell Academy. Sarah and Heath Donovan are the dorm heads of Moreland Hall, where the girls live, as well as Bel and Rose’s advisors. Bel ends up hanging out with the wrong crowd and hazes her sister. They each turn to their respective advisors for support. When the story opens we know that one of the sisters dies, but we don’t know which one, how or why. This story is a psychological thriller that had some twists and kept me guessing.

4 Stars

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Clean My Space by Melissa Maker – This was my non-fiction book of the month. I heard about this book from a podcast. It’s a book about cleaning. Yes, it’s a bit repetitive at times, but Maker, who owns a cleaning business really details the process of cleaning. From making your own cleaners to the supplies you need, to the best way to clean each room in your house, this book is a wealth of cleaning information.

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Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen – I didn’t read Teigen’s first book Cravings. However, I really enjoyed reading this cookbook. Teigen writes in a very down-to-earth, relatable way. There are so many recipes in this cookbook that I want to make. So far, I have made one recipe from this cookbook and it was delicious!

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My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren – Millie is the only girl in a gang of guys, all of them professors at UC Santa Barbara and all of them single. When they have a black-tie gala to attend, they decide that they need dates and try online dating. Things get a little messy when Millie and one of the guys, Reid, end up spending a half-night together. I have been devouring Christina Lauren’s books and have enjoyed all of their books that I have read! Just like the others, this one was a fun read and did not disappoint.

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Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen – (c/o Book Publicity Services) Thomas Wildus is almost 13. When he stumbles upon an old bookstore he is introduced to the Book of Sorrows. To read the book he must follow a strict set of rules. But the lure of magic is worth it to him. Through this book Thomas is introduced to a new world, discovers information about his family and learns that he has magical powers. I read this fantasy middle grade fiction book with my son. It was an engaging read, filled with magic and adventure, that we both enjoyed.

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Watching You by Lisa Jewell – Someone is murdered in Melville Heights, a nice neighborhood in England. But who did it? This book has lots of suspects and secrets that keeps the reader guessing. Jewell writes a good suspense novel that doesn’t disappoint.

5 Stars

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The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain – It is 1970 and Carly Sears lost her husband in the Vietnam War. But she is pregnant with his baby and learns that at 27 weeks her daughter has a heart defect that will kill her. Carly’s brother-in-law has a possible way to help her baby, which requires Carly to have strength and courage that she never realized she had. Prior to reading this, it has been years since I’ve read a Chamberlain book. I didn’t think that I’d be interested in the topic of this book, but was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.

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Five on Friday {Ready for the Weekend}

Happy Friday! I am so ready for the weekend. I feel like the weekdays are so busy and I’m in desperate need of relaxation! This weekend we are hosting our monthly supper club. This month’s theme is Creole/Cajun in honor of Mardi Gras. Sunday, I am hoping to go sofa shopping. But honestly, I may decide to chill on the couch all day! We shall see. Here are five from this week:

1.Watching – My husband and I got caught up in the Fyre hype! Thanks to social media, I heard about Fyre Fraud on Netflix. I hadn’t heard of this scandal when it actually occurred, but this documentary was very engrossing! My husband and I also watched A Simple Favor. I love Anna Kendrick. This movie wasn’t a bad comedy/thriller and made for a good at-home movie date night.

2. Brunch – I missed last week’s Five on Friday post. However, I needed to share the amazing brunch that we had two weekends ago. We visited Countryside Kitchen, which has been a place that I’ve been wanting to try for so long. I ordered the Holy Cannoli Pancake – a huge pancake filled and topped with cannoli filling. It was delicious! My daughter had the french toast bites drizzled in raspberry sauce and powdered sugar. My husband had the “Dirty Benny” – poached eggs, corned beef hash and home fries all heaped on top of biscuits and covered with hollandaise sauce. My son ordered stacked pancakes filled with layers of scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage. We all shared and it was such a delicious meal!

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3. Reading – My office started a book club and our first book is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. Goodreads told me that I read this four years ago…..but I remember absolutely nothing about it. So, I’m giving it a reread. I’m also really enjoying The Bucket List by Georgia Clark. I have to say that I didn’t really know much about this book before reading it and was a bit…..surprised about the bucket list!

4. Family Celebrations – This past weekend, my daughter played saxophone in the All-County band. She put many hours into practicing and the concert was amazing! The best band, chorus and orchestra students in the county performed at the concert. Sunday, my son officially became a Boy Scout at our community Blue & Gold Awards Brunch.

5. Cooking – This week, we’ve cooked a lot of “eh” recipes. The favorite recipe of the week was Closet Cooking’s 20 Minute Korean Beef. I’ve made other versions of this recipe, but not this particular one. It was super tasty and yes, doable in 20 minutes!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I updated the Dinner Deals in Westchester County post.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!

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Dinner Deals in Westchester County

Westchester County has so many amazing restaurants, with new places opening every month.  I enjoy dining out, however, with a family of four, it can get very expensive!  Fortunately, many restaurants throughout Westchester offer special dinner deals throughout the week.  Whether you’re in the mood for a burger or a fancy three-course meal, there are restaurants throughout Westchester that cover it all! (Updated February 2019)

**Please confirm the details with the restaurant for the most up-to-date information.  

273 Kitchen
273 Halstead Avenue
Harrison, NY 10528
(914) 732-3333

273 Kitchen allows you to choose three courses for $55 (First, Second, Third course) and a dessert on them.

Angelina’s Ristorante & Brick Oven Pizza
97 Lake Avenue
Tuckahoe, NY 10707
(914) 779-7944

Angelina’s offers a prix fixe dinner menu (appetizer and entree) Monday through Thursday 3-closing for $29.95.

Anna Maria’s Cucina Italiana
18 Chatsworth Avenue
Larchmont, NY 10538
(914) 833-0555

Wednesday is pasta night at Anna Maria’s.  Enjoy 2 courses for $19 (first course and a pasta).  The restaurant is open 5-9:30 PM.

The Bayou Restaurant
580 Gramatan Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10552
(914) 668-2634

Tuesday:  Fat Taco Tuesdays – $10 platter of 3 chicken or steak tacos
Wednesday:  Voodoo Night – $8 Voodoo Wings

Bread and Brine
19 Main Street
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
(914) 479-5243

Wednesday:  $1 oysters all night

Casa Rina of Thornwood
886 Commerce Street
Thornwood, NY 10594
(914) 769-4515

Casa Rina has a $20 three course dinner available Sunday through Wednesday. 

Thursday they offer a $25 four course price fixed dinner.

Monday through Friday they also have a special three course early bird dinner for $18.95 that includes a glass of wine.

Crabtree’s Kittle House
Eleven Kittle Road
Chappaqua, NY 10514
(914) 666-8044

Crabtree’s Kittle House offers a three-course Prixe Fixe dinner menu Sunday through Friday for $39.

Eastchester Fish Gourmet
837 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 725-3450, ext.1

Eastchester Fish Gourmet offers a three course menu for $32.95, from 5-6:30 PM, Monday through Thursday.  The menu changes daily, based on what is available at the fish market. 

Fat Sal’s Bar & Grill
265 Tate Avenue
Buchanan, NY 10511
(914) 930-1771

Mondays:  Buy one burger, get the second one 50% off (equal or lesser value with purchase of a beverage)
Tuesdays:  5 Tacos for $9.95 (w/purchase of a beverage)
Wednesdays:  $6 wines 4 PM – closing (select wines)

Fin & Brew
5 John Walsh Boulevard
Peekskill, NY 10566
(914) 788-4555

Wednesdays Fin & Brew has a three course Prix Fixe Menu for $34 per person.

Golden House Chinese Cuisine
3639 Hill Blvd.
Jefferson Valley, NY 10598
(914) 962-8088

Golden House has a $17.95 dinner special Monday through Thursday that includes a choice of soup, appetizer and dinner (from selected items) and house special fried rice.  There is a 2 person minimum.

Hudson Anchor
222 Beekman Avenue
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
(914) 600-8123

Hudson Anchor has a 3 course $19.95 Prix Fixe Menu.  The website does not specify days and/or times that this menu is offered.  Please check directly with Hudson Anchor for additional information.

The Hudson Room
23 South Division Street
Peekskill, NY 10566
(914) 788-FOOD

The Hudson Room offers a 3 course Prix Fixe meal for $32.95 (appetizer, main, dessert) Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kee Oyster House
126-128 E. Post Road
White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 437-8535

Sunday:  Sunday Fun Day – half price lobster
Tuesday:  Tasty Tuesday – half price starters

L’INIZIO
698 Saw Mill River Road
Ardsley, NY 10502
(914) 693-5400

L’INIZIO offers a 3-Course Prixe-Fixe dinner menu for $33, Monday through Wednesday. 

Sunday they have a burger and a beer deal for $18. 

Mima Vinoteca
63 Main Street
Irvington, NY 10533
(914) 591-1300

Mima Vinoteca offers a three course pre theater dinner for $39. 

Red Hat on the River
One Bridge Street
Irvington, NY 10533
(914) 591-5888

For the month of February, Red Hat on the River is having a Winter Bistro special.  Sunday through Wednesday (not offered on Feb. 13) they have a 3 course dinner for $32.  

Risotto Italian Restaurant & Bar
788 Commerce Street
Thornwood, NY 10594
(914) 769-6000

Risotto Night Prix-Fixe dinner is offered Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday.  $25 includes a select appetizer, risotto and dessert. 

Rye Roadhouse
12 High Street
Rye, NY 10580
(914) 925-2668

Mondays:  Build Your Own Quesadillas starting at $6.95
Tuesdays:  Burger Night – 5-11 PM half-price burgers
Wednesdays:  Fried Chicken Night – Four piece chicken dinner with two sides for $12.95

Saint George Bistro
155 Southside Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
(914) 478-1671

Saint George Bistro offers a Two Course Prixe-Fixe menu for $25 weekdays, Tuesday through Thursday.

Sundays they offer a Family-Style dinner for $29 per person which includes an appetizer and entree for the table to share. 

If you know of any other dinner deals in Westchester County, please let me know in the comments below and I will add it to this list!

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A Weekend at Pine Ridge Dude Ranch

One of my greatest joys in life is traveling and experiencing new things. As a parent, one of my biggest goal’s is to help my children learn to value experiences over things as well. This past Christmas, instead of giving the kids “stuff” Santa left a note telling the kids that they were going to spend a night at the Pine Ridge Dude Ranch.

Pine Ridge Dude Ranch is located in Kerhonkson, New York. The ranch was formerly known as Pinegrove Ranch. In April 2018, it changed ownership and became the Pine Ridge Dude Ranch. It’s only about an hour and a half drive from northern Westchester County. Since my kids recently discovered a love of horseback riding, my husband and I thought that they’d love a stay at a dude ranch!

Pine Ridge Dude Ranch is an all-inclusive resort. Meals, activities and one horseback ride (with most packages) are included in the price. We stayed in a Wyoming room, which included a king size bed, a full bed and a bunk bed. There was more than enough sleeping space for our family of four.


Check-in time is 2 PM the first night of your stay. We arrived around 3 PM and stayed for just one night. The resort has a small arcade, an indoor and outdoor pool, a bounce pillow, climbing wall, mini golf course, tractor rides and more. In the winter, they offer ice skating and snow tubing, weather permitting. During our stay, it was super cold, but there was no substantial snow, so neither of these activities were offered. It was really too cold out to enjoy the bounce pillow and I’m not sure the climbing wall was even open during our stay. My husband and son enjoyed a swim in the indoor pool though!

When you check-in you are assigned dining times. Dinner is the first meal that you are served the day of your arrival and the menu is posted outside the Round Up Corral each day. We were given the 6 PM dinner, 8 AM breakfast and 12:30 PM lunch times. I liked that we were assigned to our own table and had the same server and table for every meal. I’m not sure that I’d be happy with an 8 AM breakfast time every morning, if we were staying for more than one night. So much for getting to sleep in!

For dinner, my husband and I both had the ribs, my daughter chose the Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner and my son chose the Parmesan Crusted Tilapia for our dinner entrees. There is a salad bar available at both dinner and lunch as well. We were surprised at the quality of the food served. For the amount of people they were serving in such a short period of time, the food was decent. Soda and iced tea are included with the meals, but they have a wine and beer list, available at an additional charge, for those who wish to have an alcoholic beverage with their meal.

Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. Breakfast included scrambled eggs, french toast, sausage and potatoes, as well as a variety of pastries and muffins. Cereal, yogurt and oatmeal were also available. There was also a chef making made-to-order omelettes in the dining room. Lunch included cold cuts and bread to make sandwiches, chicken nuggets, as well as soup and the salad bar. The lines got a bit long since everyone enters the dining room at the same time, but moved fairly quickly. If you are hungry between meals, food and beverages are available for purchase at the Trails End Cafe and Chuckwagon Grill. The Trails End Cafe even sells Starbucks.

Pine Ridge has a social director that runs organized activities during the day including arts & crafts, a photo scavenger hunt, and various competitions. Unfortunately, the weekend of our visit was super cold. I’m not sure how many of the organized activities took place, since several of them were supposed to be held outside. Lazer Tag and Paint Ball games are available for an additional charge and sign-ups are done in the main lobby the evening before. My 10 and 12-year-old weren’t very interested in partaking in most of the activities. But we did all enjoy participating in the Bingo game. At the lobby they have a closet filled with lots of board games that you can borrow. We ended up playing a few rounds of mancala while waiting for our lunch time.

The night of our stay, the evening activities included a DJ dance party, a bonfire and a magic show. We did a quick stop at the bonfire, again because it was FREEZING out! Guests were coming out with cups filled with marshmallows for roasting. I’m not sure if these were free or an additional cost, as we were still full from dinner and not interested in partaking. We arrived at The Bullroom early to get a seat for the magic show. The DJ dance party was still going on and the dance floor was filled with only children, most under the age of 10, dancing. The magician put on a great show that we all enjoyed.

The day of our arrival we had to go to the lobby at 5 PM to sign up for our horseback ride the next day. We got there a little after 5 and stood at the end of a VERY long line, which we waited on for over 30 minutes. By the time we got to the desk, there were only two time slots available that could accommodate the four of us. We chose the 3 PM ride to give us more time to enjoy the resort during the day.

Pine Ridge has a LOT of horses. We enjoyed visiting the horses throughout our visit. However, we discovered that petting the horses is discouraged. Children are required to wear helmets, which they provide, on the trail ride. Being very novice riders ourselves, my husband and I both opted to wear helmets as well. The resort offers different trail rides for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. The day of our ride, all rides were walks (beginner rides) since the trail was so muddy.

One of the wranglers assigns each rider a horse. From mount to dismount the ride is approximately 45 minutes long. Our family all liked the horses we were assigned. We rode Pixey, Hunter, Dallas and Shorty. I didn’t enjoy like that the wranglers did not keep our family together for the ride. They had us mount our horses at different blocks. After you’re on your horse, you are left on your own until the ride starts. My husband and I were separated from our children by several other riders. The wranglers also seemed to bunch up together near the front and end of the line, not really checking to make sure that we were all doing okay. I also found the size of the group to be too large. I think there were at least 30 riders, which impacted the 45 minutes. They do have a no cell phone policy while on the ride. I was happy to see that this is strictly enforced. One woman was warned that her phone would have to be taken away after she was given several reminders that cell phone usage was not allowed during the ride. The wranglers are happy to take cell phone pics at the end of the ride for you. Pine Ridge also has a professional photographer taking pictures that you can purchase.

Fortunately, my animal loving family got to enjoy petting the goats and baby calf in the petting zoo. Since it had rained the day before and snowed the morning of our ride, the ground was super muddy! We had our hiking boots on so didn’t mind walking in the muck to get to pet the animals. Honestly, I think the petting zoo might have been the highlight of this trip for the kids!

So, is Pine Ridge Dude Ranch the right trip for your family? That’s for you to decide. My family was good with our one night stay and were ready to leave. I discovered it would have been much cheaper to just take the kids horseback riding. I’m not sure how much the cold weather or the lack of activities that they were interested in participating affected their opinion. However, I’m glad to have finally experienced a visit to a dude ranch. There seemed to be many families during our stay who were repeat visitors. I’m not sure if the resort was sold out during our stay, but there was a good crowd of people.

The Details:
Pine Ridge Dude Ranch
30 Cherrytown Rd.
Kerhonkson, NY 12446
(866) 600-0859

Tips:
*You need to call to make reservations. They do not have an online system.
*Get to the horseback riding sign-ups early! The line gets very long.
*Bring your own snacks and beverages to keep in your room if you think you’ll be hungry in between meals.
*Gratuities are not included, so be sure to bring cash to tip your server, housekeeping and the wranglers.

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Five on Friday {The Last in January}

(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policy for more info.)
It’s Friday, my favorite weekday! Last weekend was a cozy, stay-at-home weekend that was well enjoyed. I can’t believe this is the last weekend in January! I am hoping to check a couple of things off my 19 in 2019 list this weekend, including fitting in a date with my husband and trying a new restaurant.

1.Storm Harper – Last weekend’s storm was a bust! We were expecting a foot of snow and only got a couple of inches. Looking on the bright side, I got to stay in comfy clothes, read a bunch, do some good cleaning and decluttering and watched a couple of movies. So, not so bad after all!

2. Watching – Last weekend we watched the movie Searching. It was a suspense movie with a really unique format. Even though it’s rated PG-13, my two kids (ages 10 and 12) watched it with my husband and I. I especially liked that the movie starred Asian Americans in mainstream roles, where the characters could have been of any race.

3. Cooking – I’m always looking for new recipes to try during the week. One of our favorites this week was Spicy Turkey Taco Salad with Baja Dressing from Half Baked Harvest. It was super tasty and filled with all kinds of goodness – avocado, mango, cheese….yum!

4. Reading – Over the weekend I finished reading The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain. This was my first five star read of the year! I’ve only read a couple of Chamberlain’s books, and it’s been awhile since I read any. I thought that the time travel/science fiction thing wouldn’t be my thing. However, I got sucked into the story and loved it!

5. Loving – our Magic Chef air fryer. Last weekend we were using it several times a day! We’ve found that it makes fries so much crispier than baking them in the oven. And it does it so quickly too! We’ve heated calzones up, cooked hash brown patties, cooked popcorn shrimp and more! We haven’t tried cooking anything with a homemade batter though. I recently picked up an air fryer cookbook from the library, so hopefully we can cook more “homemade” meals. Although, to be honest, I feel like I can live on fries.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I wrote about our first time snow tubing at Mount Peter.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!

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Snow Tubing at Mt. Peter

New York has finally gotten a substantial amount of snow! For those families, like ours, who don’t ski, snow tubing is a fun winter family activity. We enjoyed our first snow tubing experience last year at Mt. Peter in Warwick, NY. Mt. Peter is a perfect for a day trip and only about an hour’s drive from northern Westchester County.

Neither my husband nor I had been snow tubing before, so we weren’t sure what to expect. We had made reservations for a 3-5 PM Saturday tubing session. (Reservations are highly recommended, as they have limited two hour sessions.) We arrived at Mt. Peter a little early to make sure we had time to get our snow gear on. The 1 -3 PM session was still taking place when we got to the snow tubing area so we got to watch others snow tube down the hill for a little bit.

Mt. Peter has six snow tube lanes that are 600 feet long. Once our time slot began we walked over to the attendant to get a tube. You can choose between a single or tandem (double) tube. You must be 42″ to ride in a single tube. If under 42″ you MUST ride in a tandem tube with an adult. Fortunately, both our kids were over 42″ so we got to enjoy both single and double rides.


You carry your tube onto the carpet lift that takes you up to the top of the hill. There are attendants at both the top and bottom of the hill. They let you know when it is safe to start tubing. The speed of the runs vary, depending on the size of the person, as well as the snow conditions. I found that my tube kept slowing down and stopping near the bottom of the hill. I ended up trying my daughter’s tube and went speeding down the hill, almost too fast for my liking! Over our two hour session we went down the hill at least 8 times, maybe even more. The lines at the top of the runs get backed up, but move fairly quickly.

We had such a fun time snow tubing! This was a great way for us to enjoy some outdoor winter family fun. Food is available for purchase in the onsite cafeteria. However, the town of Warwick is a short drive away and has lots of restaurants where you can grab a late lunch or dinner after your snow tubing adventure!

The Details:
Mt. Peter
51 Old Mt. Peter Rd.
Warwick, NY 10990
(845) 986-4940

Sessions:
Wednesday – Sunday: 11 AM – 1 PM, 1 PM – 3 PM, or 3 PM – 5 PM
Friday and Saturday: additional 5-7 PM session

Rates:
$30 weekends/holidays
$24 non-holiday weekday

Tips:
*Make reservations to guarantee you get the date and time that you want.
*Dress warmly! Snow pants and waterproof gloves are highly recommended!
*Bring a signed and printed waiver with you to help speed up the checking in process.

*There is a Little Tikes tubing play area for children under 42″. As my children are older, we did not experience this area. For additional information, please check out the Mt. Peter site.

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Five on Friday {A Long Weekend}

Yeah for Friday! As I’m writing this Thursday evening, I’m hoping for a two-hour delay tomorrow. While we are expecting snow showers late tonight, we are prepping for winter storm Harper this weekend. Snow fall projections keep changing, but the high end estimates are 8-12 inches. We’ve had a pretty mild winter, so a little snow is nice. This weekend we are supposed to have our monthly Supper Club, but it’s likely to have to be rescheduled because of the weather. Otherwise, we are ready to spend a comfy weekend snowed in! Here are five from this week:

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1.Reading – Yesterday I started reading The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain. I haven’t read many of Chamberlain’s books, but this one has gotten a lot of good reviews. Plus, the couple that I’ve read of hers I’ve really enjoyed. So, hoping this one doesn’t disappoint. I’ll hopefully get in some good reading time this weekend when I’m snowed in!

2. Belated Christmas Celebration – My parents have been down at my sister’s for the past couple of weeks. We didn’t get a chance to celebrate Christmas with them so they came over Monday night to have our belated celebration. They brought Chinese takeout and we finally exchanged Christmas presents. It was so nice to see them and get to catch up.

3. Happy Mail – I am not a big makeup wearer but I do love getting my Ipsy bag. When you sign up you get to select your preferences. I’m big on skincare, masks and nail polish and have been happy with the products that I’ve been receiving. My January bag, pictured above, was filled with products that I’ll definitely use. The only one questionable product is the the eye shadow, but I’ll give it a try. Here’s a referral code if you want to check it out. Unfortunately, you don’t get a discount or a free bag, but I’ll get points. However, at only $10 a month, I think an Ipsy subscription is a pretty good deal.

4. Cooking – This week I made Rachael Ray’s Turkey Meatball Stroganoff. This is a recipe that I’ve made several times and the whole family enjoys it. It’s great winter comfort food!

5. Watching – I swore that I wasn’t going to watch this season of The Bachelor. But it was DVR’d so I ended up getting sucked in an am now watching. I’m also super excited that A Million Little Things is back!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I reviewed our December MunchPak subscription box.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! I hope my fellow northeasterners stay warm and safe this weekend! Have a great weekend!

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MunchPak Subscription Box {December 2018}

(This post contains affiliate links. For additional information read our Disclosure Policy.)
Who doesn’t love snacks?! And even better, what about a box delivered to your house each month filled with candy and snacks from all over the world?!! Our family loves trying new foods so we are big fans of the MunchPak subscription box. Boxes can be ordered with 5+, 10+ or 20+ snacks and can be delivered every two weeks or every month. Depending on the size of the box subscriptions start at just $9.95/month.

Each box contains a variety of snacks and candy from different countries around the world. These are full-size candy bars, snack-size bags of crunchy, salty, snacks and more. I like that each snack item has a sticker with a short description of the snack, as well as what country it is from. If you discover a snack that you really like, you can order more from the MunchPak website. Check out MunchPak and get started on starting your subscription!

Our most recent MunchPak box contained the following snacks:

Pocky: Winter Melty (Japan) – Pocky are chocolate covered biscuit (cookie) sticks. This is not a new-to-us snack, as we’ve received Pocky in previous MunchPak boxes. However, we had never tried this Winter Melty variety before. The biscuits are covered in layers of white chocolate and cocoa chocolate cream.

Ulker Cokomel: Strawberry Marshmallows (Turkey) – This cookie reminded me of Mallomars in looks. Except this had a strawberry flavored marshmallow filling. The package contained six cookies, which was plenty for sharing.

UHA Mikauto Puchao: Ramune (Japan) – This was another snack from Japan. For those not familiar, ramune is a Japanese, carbonated soft drink that comes in many different flavors. Each candy is individually wrapped and is chewy with tiny gelatinous like balls. My son loved these!

Cheetos: Bolitas (Mexico) – These tasted like the Cheetos we are all familiar with less of a cheese taste and more of a slightly, spicy kick.

Reptar On Ice (USA) – They placed the info sticker over the part of the wrapper that has the Nickelodeon Rugrats images. It appears that “Reptar on Ice” was an episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon. This was a chocolate bar filled with blue icing that is supposed to turn your tongue blue (which it does). Although I’ve seen a few Rugrats episodes, I was unfamiliar with this particular episode.

Oppenheimer: Chik Chak Hot & Spicy (Israel) – This bag was filled with tiny, crunchy cubes. I didn’t find these to be too spicy and thought they could actually use a little more flavor.

Vidal Gummi Snowmen (Spain) – Our family loves gummi candy. These snowmen came in strawberry and apple flavors.

Toxic Waste Nuclear Fusion Sour Candy (Pakistan) – This bag contains five different flavored, individually-wrapped candies (raspberry lemon, pineapple and passion fruit, banana and blueberry, orange and apple and grape and strawberry. When I tried this candy I had to spit it out after 15 seconds. It was way too sour. However, the rest of my family have more tolerable taste buds and after a bit told me that the extreme sourness goes away.

Avery’s Kitty Piddle Soda (USA) – You can add a drink to your box for an additional $5. Just the name of this Avery’s “Totally Gross Soda” did not make me want to drink it. Kitty Piddle is supposed to have flavors of pineapple and orange. Both my daughter and I thought it had a “woody” aftertaste. None of us were fans of this drink.

MunchPak is a fun monthly subscription box that the entire family can enjoy together. Or, it makes a great gift for any snack-loving friends or family!

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Five on Friday {It Feels like January}

Happy Friday! We are two weeks into January and it feels like it! I am not a fan of the cold temps and strong winds. The only thing I like about winter is snow days! As in, the kids have no school and I don’t have to go to work days. Otherwise, I could totally do without! We were surprised this week with a 2 hour delay. A little extra sleep is always nice. But otherwise, this week was rather uneventful, and I’m okay with that! Here are five from this week:

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1.Reading – I am almost finished reading My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren. I have been devouring this duo’s books and really enjoying them. This is a fun, contemporary romance that takes a look at the world of online dating. I will likely finish reading this tonight before bed and give a 4/5 star rating.

2.Watching – Tidying Up on Netflix. I will be honest, I was not a huge fan of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. However, since I’ve been on a decluttering and cleaning kick, I told myself I’d give the show a try. I’ve only watched the first two episodes, but have enjoyed them. I don’t really find it a show that you can binge watch. But the tips are useful and the transformations inspiring.

3. Baking – Blueberry muffins. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve baked muffins. Although I’m not a big baker, muffins were at one time a weekly thing in our house. This week I made blueberry muffins, which the kids loved. I like that I can freeze them and have them on hand for quick breakfasts or snacks.

4. Planning – This April my husband and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We are in the process of planning a small weekend getaway to celebrate. We’re not planning anything extravagant…..likely a Bed & Breakfast somewhere in New York. More details will come!

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5. Playing – My daughter got me hooked on the game app Wordscapes. You use the given letters to make words that fit in a crossword like grid. It’s semi-addicting and uses a little more brain power than my normal Candy Crush!

ICYMI this week on the blog:


I shared my December 2018 Reads.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!

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December Reads 2018

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December was a busy month and unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to read. I ended the month with a total of four books read, which I think was my slowest month of 2018. Two were holiday themed reads, as I try to read a couple of Christmas books in December.

According to goodreads, I read a total of 82 books in 2018, surpassing my goal of 75. For 2019, I set the goal again of reading 75 books. Here’s looking forward to a new year of great reads! I’m sharing my December reads with Steph and Jana for their monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. Here they are in order from least to most stars:

3 stars:

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Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – The premise of this book interested me – nine strangers who meet at a health resort. However, this book took a weird, unexpected turn. Aside from Big Little Lies, I haven’t enjoyed the other Moriarty books I’ve read. I was hesitant about reading this one and as expected, wasn’t a big fan of this one.

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Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand – This is the second book in Hilderbrand’s Winter series. Unfortunately, I was not a big fan of this second book. Not much actually happens and it ends with the story still unfinished, so you know there’s a third book that you must read (and then a fourth!). I will likely finish the third and fourth books next December to see what happens with the Quinn family and see how the series ends.

4 stars:

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Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler – Haley wants to win a major Toy ad campaign but has no Christmas spirit. Her book sends her to Christmas Camp to hopefully learn to love the holiday and help her with her campaign. When Haley arrives, she first wants to complete the activities as fast as she can to get her certificate and leave. But then she meets some others who help her understand the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers there, it’s a Christmas book, so you know there will be a happy ending. This book was actually a movie first, and was filmed near me in the Hudson Valley. I haven’t seen it yet, but will hopefully watch it next December.

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Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – I have become a big fan of Christina Lauren’s contemporary romance books. Hazel is such a fun and quirky character and I really enjoyed following her and Josh set each other up on blind dates. This is one of those books that I think would make a great romantic comedy movie.