Five on Friday {A Short Week}

Since Monday was President’s Day, the kids had two days off from school.  This short week has totally thrown us all off.  However, I’m glad it’s Friday.  Last weekend we spent a few days in Rhode Island for a quick, family get-away.  We had some quality, fun family-time which was just what we needed.  The weather has been unseasonably warm (no complaining here!) and we have a pretty low-key weekend.   I feel some early spring cleaning and decluttering may be happening!  Here are five from this week:


1. Reading – I am currently reading Every Thing You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia.  It has started off slowly, but I’m sticking with it.

2. Watching – While we were in Rhode Island last weekend we watched the Trolls movie.  My kids had seen the movie in the theaters but were happy to watch it again with my husband and me.  I love Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake.  While the movie had some great music I wasn’t overly impressed with it…..is it only me?!  I’ve been watching The Bachelor and cannot believe that Corinne is still around!  I have to catch up on watching this week’s This Is Us episode and am a couple episodes behind in Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.  Too much TV to watch and not enough time!!

3. Eating – So much good food over this past week!  While we were away this past weekend, my husband and I shared this Thai Chicken Pizza and a California Cobb salad from California Pizza Kitchen (CPK).  This was also our kids’ first time eating at CPK, which we couldn’t believe!  We also had some gelato, tasty sliders in Providence and Turkish food in Connecticut on our way home.

4. Family Fun – While in Rhode Island we spent a day at Foxwoods Casino…..but no gambling!  They recently put in a large outlet center so we did some shopping.  Then we had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then took the kids to the arcade.  My daughter loves Skee ball!  We also visited the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum and walked around Providence.

5. Blogging – Last week I was accepted as a member of Food Tribe, a foodie influencer agency.  I love food!  So, I’m hoping this turns out to be a fun and tasty experience!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar

Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Wednesday I reviewed Dinner Thyme, a meal delivery service.

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


Dinner Thyme Meal Delivery Service {Review}

I received product samples to facilitate this review.  However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I was very excited when Dinner Thyme reached out to me and asked if I’d like to try their meal delivery service.  As a reader of the blog, you know that cooking dinner for my family every night is important to me.  When searching for recipes to make, quick and easy are my top priorities.  If you’ve tried other meal delivery services before, you know that although all the ingredients are delivered to you, you still end up cooking the recipe, which often takes at least 30-45 minutes to do.  Dinner Thyme is different from most other meal delivery services in that each meal can be cooked in approximately 10-15 minutes!

Most entrees cost $11.95 – $12.95 per serving.  One of the benefits of Dinner Thyme is that you can choose exactly which menu items you’d like and select the number of portions of each item that you want.  This is great for example if you want a home cooked meal but you know your spouse is going to be away.  You can peruse the menu and pick one portion of a meal that you’d like that maybe he or she probably wouldn’t enjoy.  Then you can pick two portions of another dish that you both like that you can cook another evening. Or, if you are inexperienced in the kitchen but want to impress your significant other with a home-cooked meal, Dinner Thyme is perfect!  Easy to follow directions are provided with quick cooking times!

If you’re looking for something sweet to end your meal with, Dinner Thyme also has dessert add-on options each week.  From cookies for $1.65 to a cheesecake for $3.95 a slice, there are four dessert offerings.

So how exactly does the Dinner Thyme meal delivery work?

Each Monday, the upcoming week’s menu is e-mailed to you.  There are nine menu choices each week, including at least one chicken dish, a fish and/or seafood choice, a pork selection, a pasta, and a vegetarian dish.  Each choice lists the price and the estimated cooking time.  You can decide if you’d like to order any of the meals and in what quantities.

If you don’t want to order anything that week you can choose the “skip this week” option.   Depending on where you live, you may also have the option to choose a delivery day.   Approximately five days before your order is shipped you will receive an e-mail receipt confirming the meals ordered.  The e-mail also notes any ingredients that you may have to have on hand (olive oil, for example).

Dinner Thyme Delivery Box

The order is shipped via FedEx and you receive an e-mail with the tracking number.  You do not need to be home when the package is delivered.  Insulation and ice packs are used to keep the ingredients cold.

A letter is attached to your recipe cards noting the meals you ordered.  It also notes within how many days each recipe should be prepared as well as general recipe tips.  For example, shaking the sauces before using and non-stick pans are usually recommended for cooking.

The ingredients in the box are labeled with letters to indicate which items go with the corresponding recipe.  Everything is pre-portioned so you have the exact amounts to cook the recipe.  Recipe cards include nutritional information as well as easy to follow, step-by-step instructions.

Dinner Thyme is currently available in the eastern region of the United States.  The delivery area includes Maine down to parts of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and as far west as parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas and Missouri!

For you lucky readers, Dinner Thyme is offering $20 off your first order with coupon code: READYSETCOOK!

Now, on to my review!


I tested out two Dinner Thyme meals.  I chose four portions of Pineapple Salmon Tacos with a Sour Cream Sauce priced at $11.95 for each portion.  I also chose four portions of Chicken and Waffles with Braised Kale and Butter Syrup priced at $12.95 per portion.

For my zip code delivery is available only on Tuesdays.  Last week, this happened to be Valentine’s Day.  My recipe card noted that the salmon tacos were best prepared within 3 days of delivery and the chicken and waffles  best within 4 days, so I decided to make the salmon tacos first.

Pineapple Salmon Tacos

Pineapple Salmon Tacos with a Sour Cream Sauce:
My kids wanted to help cook me dinner so I had them make the Pineapple Salmon Tacos.

With supervision, the kids were able to put this meal together on their own.  My daughter cut the salmon into strips and cooked them in the pan while my son coated the salmon in the pineapple glaze and prepped the tortillas.  They both helped drain the pineapple pico and put the arugula and sour cream in bowls.  While the “time to table” for this recipe was estimated at 9 minutes, with the kids cooking, it took almost 25 minutes.  This was with several pauses to reread instructions, find proper dishes, etc.  The directions and execution of the dish was super easy, even for an almost 11 and 8 1/2-year-old.  If I made this dish on my own, I think I could have had it made in the estimated 9 minutes.

A serving size for this meal was three tacos a person.  I was a bit skeptical that just the tacos would be enough food to make a meal.  When I make tacos I usually serve a salad or rice as a side dish.  I was surprised to find that three tacos was perfect for my husband and I.  Taste-wise, this meal was a winner!  Both kids loved the tacos.  I set out all the ingredients separately so they could add what they wanted, but they both put everything on their tacos. The kids each had two tacos each, which left some ingredients left over.  There was actually a lot of arugula left over, but my husband made a salad for lunch the next day.  He topped the arugula with the leftover salmon and pineapple pico.  I used the leftover tortillas the next morning to make myself scrambled egg breakfast tacos.  So, nothing was wasted.

Chicken and Waffles with Braised Kale

Chicken and Waffles with Braised Kale and Buttered Syrup:
We love chicken and waffles!  It’s a perfect comfort food, especially with this cold weather.  It’s definitely not a dish that I think of as a quick, weeknight meal though.  I decided to test this recipe out on my own, without the assistance from the kids to get a more accurate idea of timing.  This dish required a bit more in the prep department, since the chicken had to be floured, dipped in the buttermilk mixture and then covered in the corn flake mixture. It then had to be cooked in a pan for 1-2 minutes per side.  Unfortunately, I could not fit all four chicken breasts in my skillet, so this prolonged the overall “time to table.”  I also found that the 8-10 minutes that I had while the chicken was cooking in the oven was not enough time to get the bacon crispy.  So, I cooked it for a bit longer and still did not get the bacon crispy in that extra time.

Although the “Time To Table” for this recipe says 15 minutes, for the reasons I mentioned above, it actually took me closer to 25 minutes.  For a weeknight meal, I don’t think that’s bad at all.

The chicken breasts were decently sized.  The kids ended up splitting one and then my daughter came back for a second half.  This was plenty of food for both my husband and I.  Taste-wise, this meal was another winner.  Everyone enjoyed it…..especially the kids!  Braised kale and all!

I recommend making sure you have a pair of sharp kitchen scissors handy.  As seen in the above pictures, almost all the ingredients are sent in vacuum-sealed packages.

Overall, I enjoyed and would recommend this meal delivery service.  The stand-out benefits were definitely the speed in cooking and having the exact amount of ingredients needed to make the dishes.  Not having to measure out ingredients and not having all the prep work cut down on clean up as well, with fewer dirty dishes!  As an experienced home cook, I found most of the weekly recipe selections to be dishes that I have made or can easily make on my own.  Having a family of four, paying $11.95-$12.95 per serving can quickly add up.  My kids loved the recipes (and cooking the meal!) and have already asked when we are getting it again! While I wouldn’t rule out using Dinner Thyme meal service again, at this point, it’s more of a use if/when needed type of service for us.  However, for couples, especially those who would like to cook more at home, this is a great service!

Remember to use coupon code READYSETCOOK for $20 off your first order!  I’d love to hear your experience with Dinner Thyme meal delivery service!


Weekly Meal Plan {Week 66}

2017 calendar

Happy President’s Day Monday!  We enjoyed a fun weekend in Rhode Island and are headed back home to New York today.  Every once in awhile, it’s just nice to get away.  We stayed at my parent’s house, even though they weren’t there this weekend.  As my son said, “so, the four of us are going from our house to another house with just the four of us?!”  Yup, that’s pretty much how it went.  However, as my husband pointed out, this house didn’t have a bedroom that needed to be cleaned, or a piano that they had to practice on.  So, it was a mini vacation for everyone! We are headed back home now and will be back to our normally scheduled dinners!  Here’s a look at what was on last week’s menu:

Saturday –  We went out for Chinese, at my daughter’s request, before we headed to the West Point ice hockey game.

Sunday – On the weekends, my husband will usually run out to the grocery store to pick something up to cook. However, it snowed all day Sunday so he didn’t get to the store.  I had some frozen crab cakes that I cooked up with some fries.  Quick, easy and no real cooking!

Chicken Cacciatore

Monday – I  was out at The Crooked Knife for a #foodiechats dinner event.  My husband made the Chicken Cacciatore recipe from Closet Cooking that I had put on the menu.  I had leftovers for lunch and it was good.  I’m not a big chicken-on-the-bone eater, so I cut my chicken up and threw it in with the pasta and sauce.  I heard my son wasn’t a fan because he didn’t like the mushrooms, olives and peppers that were in the sauce!

Pineapple Salmon Tacos

Tuesday – We had a Dinner Thyme meal delivery service delivered Tuesday (see a review tomorrow on the blog). The kids made Pineapple Salmon Tacos with a Sour Cream Sauce for dinner (with supervision!).  This meal was a hit with both the kids and adults!

Chicken and Waffles with Braised Kale

Wednesday – I made Chicken and Waffles with Braised Kale and Butter Syrup, also from the Dinner Thyme meal kit delivery service.   This was another dinner winner in our house!

Turkey and Apple Hash Crispy Burritos

Thursday – I made Barbecue Turkey & Apple Hash Crispy Burritos from Every Day with Rachael Ray, June 2016.  I ended up cooking the ground turkey and hash fillings earlier in the afternoon.  My husband got home from work before I got home with kids from piano lessons, so he ended up frying the eggs and assembling and cooking the burritos.  It was a team effort for dinner Thursday night!

Friday – I made Salami & Brussels Sprouts Pizza from Every Day with Rachael Ray, August 2016.  I was in the mood for something different from our normal regular cheese pizza!  This was easy to put together and tasty!


Five on Friday {President’s Day Weekend}

Happy Friday!  This week was a busy, but fun week.  The kids started off their Monday with a 3 hour delay.  Tuesday was Valentine’s Day and then we finally ended the week on a “normal” note!  President’s Day is this upcoming Monday.  In the past our school district gave the kids the entire week off.  This year, they only get Monday and Tuesday off.  So, we are heading up to Rhode Island tonight for a few days of fun and relaxation.  This week was a very food-filled week, as you will see below…..but then again, those are my favorite!  Here are five from this week:


1.Reading – I just started reading The Girl Before by JP Delaney.  I’m in the mood for a good suspense/thriller and I’m hoping this fits the  bill!  I’ll hopefully get in some quality reading time this weekend!

Lobster Terrine

2. Foodie Fun – Monday night, a friend invited me to a #foodiechats event at The Crooked Knife in NYC.  I am not on my twitter game, but this was such a fun night of meeting new people, eating great food (like this three layer lobster, avocado and potato salad terrine!) and tweeting.  If you love to talk about food, every Monday evening from 8-9 there’s a #foodiechats twitter party.

Donut Pub Donuts

3. Eating – Donuts.  Monday night before the #foodiechats dinner, my friend and I spotted The Donut Pub.   We stopped by for a little pre-event treat.  I love a good donut and these didn’t disappoint!  A Smores Cronut and a Maple Bacon Cronut?!!! Yes please!!!  And they are open 24 hours!  So, after the event we stopped back so we could pick up some Valentine’s breakfast treats for our kids and husbands.

Black Knights vs. Niagara University

4. Family Fun – Last Saturday evening we went to a West Point Black Knights ice hockey game.  This was my husband’s winter family bucket list item.  Although I never watch sports on television, I find live events to be so much fun!

Eggs Benedict and Banana Muffin

5. Cooking – Sunday was supposed to be our supper club’s monthly gathering.  This month’s theme was brunch.  Because of the snow and ice, we ended up not going.  However, since we had all the ingredients my husband made his Eggs Benedict and I made my Banana Muffins with Mascarpone Cream Frosting.  Umm, I’m not going to lie, yes, they were both as delicious as they look!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar

Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Life According to Steph









Tuesday I shared my January reads in the monthly Show Us Your Books link up.

Hockey Knight

Thursday I wrote about our experience at the West Point Hockey Game.


Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!  Have a great weekend!


A Night with the Black Knights Hockey Team

Hockey Knight

Living in northern Westchester County, we are fortunate to be so close to West Point Military Academy.  Besides being a top tier educational institution, West Point is home to some pretty competitive sports teams.  This past Saturday evening, our family visited West Point to spend a night with the Black Nights ice hockey team.  This was the first time that either my husband or kids had ever been to an ice hockey game.

Attending an ice hockey game was my husband’s winter family bucket list item.  We decided to go see a West Point hockey game, since they play so close to home.  After referencing our calendar, we picked a date and purchased our tickets online via the Army Hockey website.

Tate Rink is located inside the 131,000 square foot Holleder Center.   There are multiple entrances to the building. We parked in the F lot, where there are stairs that lead directly down to the center.  Our tickets had an 8:00 PM start time printed on them.  Luckily, we arrived at the rink around 7:15 PM, thinking we were early.  We discovered that the game had started at 7 PM and we had missed almost the entire first period!

The Black Knights Hockey Team

We had purchased $15 bleacher seats that were three rows from being the last seats.  Although our seats were high up, literally almost in the rafters, I thought we had a great view of the game.


For those unfamiliar with ice hockey, like I was, two teams of 5 players, plus the goalie are on the ice at a time.  The game consists of three, 20-minute periods.  With time outs, ref calls, etc. and zambonis resurfacing the ice in between each period, expect to be at a game for more than the 60 minutes of active play time.

Black Knights vs. Niagara University

The evening that we attended, the Black Knights were playing Niagara University.  The game was fast-paced and exciting. I was a bit surprised at how aggressive the players were and several fights occurred throughout the game. At various times throughout the game the penalty box was occupied by players from both teams!

Black Knights final score

During the game we saw, breaks in the playing time were filled with upbeat music, an emoji camera (requesting you to flex for the cam!) and more!

These two particular teams were pretty well matched and the game went into a five minute overtime, after the third period ended in a 4-4 tie.  With less than 41 seconds remaining on the clock,  Conor Andrle scored a goal, clinching a win for the Black Knights!

Concession Stand

Thinking we were seeing a late game (8 PM) we ate dinner before we arrived at the rink.  However, there are concession stands selling food and beverages.

Overall, we had a great time seeing the Black Knights hockey team play.  I am looking forward to attending another game or two next year!

I highly recommend attending local college and or minor league sports events with your family.  They are an affordable night of family fun and are a great introduction to sporting events for kids.

The Details:

The Black Knights hockey season is usually from October through February.

When:  There are still two home games, February 18 and February 25.

Tickets:  $15-$20 ($15/bleacher seats, $20/chair seats)

Getting There:  Take 9W north to 218.  (the first exit that notes West Point) The entrance to West Point is directly across the exit ramp.  Be prepared for the driver of the vehicle to show picture ID and have your car trunk searched.

Parking:  Free parking is available in the A or F lots.

Concessions:  Food including chicken fingers, fries, popcorn, cotton and beverages are available for purchase.


January 2017 Reads

Life According to Steph

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Today on the blog it’s all about book love!  I am linking up with Jana and Steph’s monthly Show Us Your Books link up to share my January 2017 reads.  This month I read 12 books.  It seems like a lot, but several of them were middle grade fiction books.  I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts and adding to my goodreads list!  And speaking of goodreads, you can friend me if you’d like to see what I’m reading or what I’ve read.  So in order of least to most liked, here are my January reads:

2 Stars


Marvin and the Moths by Matthew Holm – This is a middle grade fiction book that I read and reviewed for Kiss the Book.  It involves a science experiment gone wrong and giant moths and a killer spider……yeah, not really my thing!

3 Stars


Autumn’s Wish by Bella Thorne – This is another book that I read and reviewed for a Kiss The Book review.  It’s the third book in a YA series that I was just “eh” about.  Not having read the first two books in the series wasn’t really a problem.  They give enough back-story about what happened in the previous books.  My issues with the series is that it is written about a group of high school kids.  However, it’s kids my daughter’s age (almost 11/middle school) who are fans of Bella Thorne from her Disney show Shake It Up.


Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo – Raymie starts taking baton lessons in hopes of winning the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition.  If she wins, her picture will be in the newspaper and she’s hoping that her father, who left town with a dental hygenist, will come back home.  She meets two other girls at the baton lessons who form an unlikely friendship.  My daughter read this book.  Since we no longer read together, like my son and I do, I like to at least occasionally read some of the same books as her.  This won the Goodreads Choice 2016 for middle grade and children’s books and has been nominated for other awards as well.  Having read some of DiCamillo’s other books, this book was just an okay read for me.

4 Stars
Home by Harlan Coben – Besides James Patterson, Coben is one of my go-to authors for quick, suspenseful reads. This is book number 11 in the Myron Bolitar series.  It had several unexpected twists.  While I prefer to read a series in order, I think that this book can be read as a stand-alone without feeling totally lost.


The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – I read this book with my son over the course of a couple of weeks.  Somehow I had missed ever reading this book on my own.  This is book #2 in the Chronicles of Narnia series, but I think the most popular?  Honestly I didn’t even realize there was a whole series and that I wasn’t reading the first book, until we had already started reading it.  This was a great fantasy read that we both enjoyed.  We then watched the movie which we both liked, even though it was a little different in parts.


Nowhere Girl by A.J. Paquette – I received this book and read and reviewed it on my blog for Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  It tells the story of Luchi, girl born in a prison in Thailand.  It’s the only life she’s ever known.  But when her mother passes away, she is released into the real world.  As Luchi embarks on her journey, she learns secrets about her mother’s past.  This was a really great book that I had never heard of and would never have read if I hadn’t participated in Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  Our children need access to more diverse books, including this one!


Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake –  3 year-old Sophia disappears from a playground for a few minutes, scaring her mother, Jill.  When she is found she has a tiny needle mark in her arm, which everyone convinces Jill is just a bug bite.  But then  Jill feels like she’s being watched and has someone been in her house?!  When Sophia is later taken from her own house, the blame is put on Jill and her husband, David.  Jill has to prove her innocence and find her daughter.  This was a suspenseful read that had me guessing until the end.


Perfect by Sara Shepard – I finished the third book in the Pretty Little Liar series.  Since I started reading the series, it looks like I’m reading about one book a month.  These books are filled with lots of high school drama.  They are fun, brain-candy reads for me.


Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick – I love Anna Kendrick!  In this book she talks about the beginning of her career, being a celebrity, romance and more.  It’s all told in her humorous, tell it like it is, down-to-earth style.  As I was reading, I could imagine her voice telling the stories.  If you’re a fan of hers, I recommend this book!


Word of Mouse by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein –  Isaiah, known as mouse #97 was raised in a laboratory along with his other 96 siblings.  In an escape attempt, he is the only one who makes it out of the laboratory.  He eventually meets Mikayla, another mouse who introduces him to her family.  Can he convince them to help save his family?  This is Patterson’s newest middle grade fiction book.  My son is fan of Patterson’s other middle grade fiction series.  He borrowed this book from the library and loved it so much that he insisted that I HAD to read it.  I thought this was a cute read and had good lessons on accepting differences.


You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero – I’m going to be honest, this book isn’t for everyone.  But if you like self-help, inspiring books, then I recommend this one.  Sincero is a success coach who tells it like it is.  One of her biggest messages repeated throughout the book is “love yourself.”  This was a timely read for the new year as I try to figure my -ish out!

5 Stars


One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I have seen this book reviewed on so many Show Us Your Books blog posts that I finally had to read it.  I’m sorry I waited so long!  If you want a book that gives you all the feels, this is one of them.  I won’t give a summary since I think almost everyone in the link up has already read it, but I loved this tear jerker of a read!


Weekly Meal Plan {Week 65}

2017 calendar

Monday, Monday…..back again.  Which means that it’s time for another weekly meal plan.  I’m sorry to say that this past week  was filled with a bunch of “eh” meals.  There was a good amount of comfort food though which was good with all the snow and cold weather we had last week!  Does anyone have any special dinner plans tomorrow for Valentine’s Day?  We are trying a new to us meal delivery service, so hopefully we will have a homemade tasty dinner!  Stay tuned for more details!

Saturday – We went to a Westchester Knicks game and ate there.

Sausage & Peppers

Sunday – My husband made Sausage and Pepper wedges for the Super Bowl.

20 Minute Moo Shu Pork

Monday – I made 20-Minute Moo Shu Pork from Gimme Some Oven.  Every now and then I’ll order Moo Shu Chicken when we get Chinese takeout.  So, I’m very familiar with the dish.  This recipe had Asian flavors, but in my opinion, didn’t really taste like the Moo Shu that I’m used to eating.  I served the filling in flour tortillas with a side salad.  We had leftovers for lunch on Thursday, during snow storm Niko, which I served over rice.

Monte Cristo Waffle Strata

Tuesday – I made Monte Cristo Waffle Strata from Half Baked Harvest.  I had high hopes for this dish.  I prepped it Monday night, so all I had to do Tuesday was stick it in the oven.  I only served it with syrup….not the powdered sugar, cranberry preserves and fresh fruit that was recommended.  And I used frozen waffles (which I toasted first, as directed!).  I mean, c’mon, it’s a Tuesday night here!  After cooking, the bottom was super soggy.  The top layer was good though with the meat and cheese.  I normally like a salty/sweet combo, but this didn’t execute well for me.

Mexican Potato Sausage Casserole

Wednesday – Have you ever made a recipe that you found on the back of a food product?  I rarely do, but ended up making this Mexican Potato Sausage Casserole from Simply Potatoes.  The only change I made was not adding diced tomatoes and adding salsa at the end.  Which I found to be a good change.  However, this was another dish that was just “eh” this week.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Thursday – I made Slow Cooker Beef Stew from allrecipes.  It was a perfect meal for a snow storm!  I’ve made beef stew in the slow cooker many times, though this may have been the first time that I used this particular recipe.  It was tasty enough, but didn’t get thick.  I served the stew with some biscuits.

Bacon Tortellini Bake

Friday – I made Bacon Tortellini Bake from Fake Ginger instead of our usual homemade pizza.  This was a nice comfort meal to make and eat after spending an hour outside at the elementary school watching my kids go sledding with friends.  It was easy to prepare as well.


Five on Friday {We survived Niko!}

Happy Friday.  As I’m writing this post on Thursday evening, I’m wondering if the kids will have a delay tomorrow. We got blasted with at least a foot of snow from storm Niko yesterday…..but we survived!  I made cinnamon buns in the morning and prepped the slow cooker with beef stew for dinner.  It was nice to have a lazy day of reading, movie watching and blogging!  This weekend is busy with a hockey game and supper club!  Here’s a look at five from this week:

28587957       25883848

1.Reading – During yesterday’s storm I finished reading Small Great Things.  Jodi Picoult has always been one of my favorite authors and this book proved once again why.  I’m very excited to hear that it’s being made into a movie starring Viola Davis and Julia Roberts!  I just started reading The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.  Very different from Small Great Things!  But after reading that one, a light, fluffy romance is probably good!

2. Watching – The kids and I watched Amazonia last weekend. Yesterday, they watched Suicide Squad.  My son has been wanting to watch this movie forever, and it finally came in from the library (where we get most of our movies from!).  I tried watching it but it was so not my thing.  Normally, my husband screens all the Marvel PG-13 movies that my son loves before watching.  But since he was working from home yesterday, he gave the green light for my son to watch it. Umm, from the scenes that I saw, he probably shouldn’t have……bad parents award over here!

Cake Batter Cookies

3. Eating – All the bad for you (but really good!) things!  If you follow me on Instagram, you know I made these Cake Mix cookies, then my mom dropped off some of her amazing homemade coffee cake on Sunday and then I made cinnamon buns (not homemade!) for breakfast yesterday!  So, lots of yummy treats this week!

Westchester Knicks

4. Family Fun – Last weekend we went to a Westchester Knicks game.  They are a local NBA D-League team, which is the official minor league of the NBA.  This was my son’s Family Winter Bucket List item.  It was our first time seeing a basketball game and was a lot of fun!

Me Time!

5.  Me Time – Knowing Wednesday that we were in for a big snow storm, I decided to do something I normally never do on a weekday…..me time!  I went out to a local coffee shop for a latte and some quiet reading time!  It got me prepped for a full day of being snowed in with the kids!

ICYMI this week on the blog:
2017 calendar
Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.
Wednesday I reviewed the family movie Amazonia.

Thursday I posted a Guide to the NYC TKTS Booth.

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


Your Guide To the NYC TKTS Booths

Do you love the theater and seeing Broadway shows?  If you are a fan, then seeing at least one show is a must when visiting New York City.  After all, Broadway is famous for showcasing the best of the best!  There are currently 45 Broadway shows selling tickets.  Some of these shows have previews beginning in March, but allow you to purchase your tickets now.  If you have your mind set on seeing Hamilton, I wish you lots of luck in getting tickets.  If you really want to take your kids to see Aladdin or the Lion King, then you should definitely pre-purchase tickets based on your travel plans.  However, if you are more flexible in what Broadway show you see, then I highly recommend you visit one of New York City’s TKTS booths.

TKTS Times Square

There are four TKTS booths in New York City located at Times Square (pictured above), South Street Seaport, Lincoln Center and Downtown Brooklyn.  The Times Square ticket booth only sells same-day tickets.  The other three ticket booth locations sell same-day evening tickets or next-day matinee tickets.  They all sell tickets to a variety of Broadway shows and plays at up to 50% off!

Here are some tips for purchasing tickets from the TKTS booths.  First off, check the site for each locations hours, since they differ.  Matinees are usually performed only on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Second, plan on getting in line at your ticket booth location of choice approximately one hour before the booth opens.  Yes, you heard me, one hour in advance.  If the booth opens at 10 AM, I’d aim to get in line by 9 AM for best ticket choices.  Bring a book, your phone (with a portable charger!) or a friend to entertain you while you wait.  This ensures that you get the best selection of shows to choose from.

TKTS Show Board

All of the shows with tickets available for purchase that day are listed on the monitor located near the TKTS booth.  You can also download the TKTS mobile app to see the current show listings.  Ticket availability changes daily.  Just because you saw tickets available for a show yesterday does not mean that they will be available at the booth today.  Keep in mind that you will not find tickets available at the TKTS booth for shows like Hamilton, the Lion King or Aladdin, among others.

It is recommended that you have at least 5 different show selections ready.  Depending on your place in line, you may sadly watch your first, second or even third choices disappear from the screen as they sell out.  If you have your heart set on seeing a specific show that is listed, be prepared to sit separately from your party.  Often times, the more popular shows that have tickets at the TKTS booth only have single seat availability.

Plan on spending at $75+ a ticket.  From what I’ve been told and my personal experiences, TKTS only sells Orchestra seats.  This means you are getting amazing seats at up to 50% off regular price.  Keep in mind that regular orchestra seats can run upwards of $350+ depending on the show!  If you have a large party, have more than one person wait in line, as they will only sell six tickets per person.

Please remember, depending on location, you are purchasing tickets to that day’s matinee or evening performance (or the next day’s matinee, depending on which location you purchased your ticket from).  These tickets are also non-refundable.  Before you leave the window, double check you have the correct number of tickets and that they are for the correct show, date and time.  While recently standing in line to purchase tickets I overheard a woman telling an employee that she wanted to exchange her tickets that she had purchased earlier in the week.  Unfortunately, she was out of luck!

While holiday vacations are popular times for visiting New York City, they are also busy times for Broadway as well.  I recommend not trying to get tickets from the TKTS booth during these times.  We learned the hard way, attempting to get tickets over the Christmas break.  The line was super long and by the time we made it up to the window, there were no family-friendly shows available that had four seats together for a matinee show.  We ended up getting back in line later the same day (an hour and half before the booth opened!) and were able to purchase tickets to an evening performance.

While standing in line, there are several TKTS Patron Service Reps walking around, ready to answer any questions you may have.

Finally, no matter how desperate you are for show tickets, it is highly recommended that you do not purchase tickets from scalpers (the guys and gals on the street trying to sell you tickets).  There is no way to tell if the tickets are legitimate or not.

The TKTS booth may not be for everyone.  As I mentioned, if you are visiting New York City and have a specific show that you want to see, I recommend purchasing tickets prior to your visit.  However, if you love musicals and are flexible in what you see, (and don’t mind giving up time to stand in line) then I’d give the TKTS booth a try.  For theater fans, it’s a great way to see Broadway shows at an affordable price.


Amazonia: A Journey into the Amazon


DVD release date:  October 4, 2016, Lionsgate
Rating:  G
Genre:  Family
Run time:  83 minutes
Source:  borrowed from the library

Synopsis from Lionsgate:
Amazonia seamlessly blends thrilling storytelling with breathtaking wildlife photography. As Saï, a tiny capuchin monkey, departs the big city for a new life, his plane is forced to land in the Brazilian rain forest. Abandoned and alone, he forages for food while observing the jungle’s endless varieties of wildlife. As predators approach, Saï’s incredible instincts rescue him from danger at the last minute. One fateful day, he learns he’s not the only capuchin in the Amazon…

Review:  This film follows Sai, a capuchin (a monkey that lives in Central and South America) who is a domesticated monkey, working in a circus.  He’s being transported on a plane when it crashes in the Brazilian rain forest.  The viewer follows Sai as he acclimates to his new environment and learns to survive in the wild.

The film is narrated by Martin Sheen.  Although the film is fictional, lots of factual information about the flora and fauna of the rain forest is presented.  Although this is a fictional movie, it provides lot of useful information about the rain forest.  The scenery is breathtaking with lots of close ups of the various insects and animals that Sai encounters, as well as the Amazon River.

As much as I’d love to visit the Amazon rain forest, it is unlikely that a trip there will happen anytime soon!  So, I was happy that my kids got to see beautiful video images of the rain forest in this movie.  While watching this, my son ask what the difference between a jungle and a rain forest is, or if they are the same thing.  After a little research we discovered that the Amazon rain forest is also referred to as Amazonia  or the Amazon Jungle.  Merriam-Webster defines a jungle as, “an impenetrable thicket or tangled mass of tropical vegetation.”  So, it appears parts of the rain forest can be considered jungle-like.

The DVD has special features including “The Making of Amazonia” and “Minuscule Bonus Episodes.”  They are filmed in French with English subtitles.

I watched this DVD with my 8 and almost 11-year-old children.  The kids thought it was “cute” and they both were engrossed watching it.  As a huge lover of monkeys, I too enjoyed watching this movie. To be honest, I’m not sure that this movie will hold the interest of all children.  I recommend this movie for older elementary kids, age 7+.  This is not a fast-moving, action-packed movie, but dependent on the child’s interest level, younger children may enjoy watching this movie.

Rating:  Recommend for children 7+