Five on Friday {Birthday Boy Weekend}

Today is a big day in our house.  My “baby” boy turns 9!  We have several days of celebrating the birthday boy starting today with funfetti cupcakes at camp and a sushi dinner.  This was our last full week at home for awhile now. My son attended a local Cub Scout day camp this week and the kids had some play dates with friends.  Next week we leave for our first leg of our #NYSummer2017 road trip!  Here are five from this week:

1. Family Fun – Last weekend we took a tour of the Nina & Pinta, replica Columbus ships.  Afterwards, we went to the West Point Museum and then stayed for their Independence Concert and fireworks show.

2. Watching – This week I didn’t watch any movies or much television.  I watched The Bachelorette and a couple of episodes of the Real Housewives of New York.

3. Baking –  I bought a huge container of blueberries this week.   Although my daughter complained that I just made blueberry muffins I had her help me make more!  Last time I made buttermilk blueberry muffins.  This week I made Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins.  She wasn’t complaining when she ate them, so I guess they were okay!

4. Reading –  I am half-way through Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult.  This is one of the books on my summer 2017 reading list.  Picoult is one of my favorite authors and this is one of her few books that I haven’t read yet.  It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for years!  So, I’m glad to finally be dusting it off and reading it.  As usual, it’s a great read so far.

5.  Planting – My parents gave me five tomato plants that they bought but didn’t need.  So, I put them in pots this week in hopes that they will grow!  I also found these mini rose plants on sale at my local Shoprite this week for $1.99 each!  I planted them as well this week, hoping they will survive my black thumb!  When the weather wasn’t too hot I also did a bunch of weeding.  Not a favorite job, but it has to get done.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my June 2017 Reads and joined the Show Us Your Books link up.

Wednesday I wrote about Soukup Farms Coffee Infused Maple Syrup.

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


Five on Friday {4th of July Weekend}

Happy Friday!   Summer is in full swing and we are enjoying every minute of it.  As you read this, we are currently on our way up to Rhode Island for our annual 4th of July family get-together.  We will hopefully have nice weather and a fun, relaxing couple of days filled with good food and family!  Here are five from this week:

Watching – This past week I watched Office Christmas Party.  It had some funny moments, but overall wasn’t worth my time!  I also took the kids to the Regal Summer Movie Express.  We saw the movie Ice Age: Collision Course for $1/ticket!  Neither of the kids had seen it before and they both  enjoyed seeing it on the big screen.

Eating – We had our monthly supper club this past weekend.  This month’s theme was Nigella Lawson recipes.  Although I know who she is, I don’t think I ever cooked one of her recipes.  I finally decided to prepare her Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad.  I say prepare, since there was no cooking involved!  However, this was such a light, refreshing salad, perfect for summer!


Reading –  I just finished the book The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman.  This was an emotional, but really great read! It’s the second book in the “heirloom novel” series.  Although I’ve packed several books for our Rhode Island vacation, I know I’ll get very little actual reading done over these next couple of days!

Farmer’s Markets – Summer means farmer’s markets are in full swing.  We have so many farmer’s markets around us and I’d like to try to visit as many as I can.  Not only do they sell fruits and veggies, but there are lots of prepared food for sale (pies, jelly, pickles, honey, cheese, meat, etc.) as well as coffee, baked goods and hot food.  Last weekend I visited one in Cold Spring and bought the tasty beef empanada pictured above and some New York made cheese.

Baking –  Since writing my 5 Questions with Joel Gamoran, I’ve really been trying to reduce my food waste.  I bought buttermilk last week for a chicken recipe but had a lot left over.  I picked up some blueberries this week and my daughter and I baked Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins this week.  I apologize, but no pictures were taken of the muffins before we ate them and I stuck the leftovers in the freezer for future breakfasts!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I posted my summer 2017 reading list.

Wednesday I shared Fun Gifts from UncommonGoods.

I hope you have a great weekend!  Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!


Five on Friday {School’s Out!}

Today is the official kick-off of summer vacation for my kids.  This last week of school was filled with a class trip for my daughter, yearbook signings, and play dates. Last Saturday we went up to my in-laws to celebrate an early Father’s Day and a belated birthday for my brother-in-law. We have lots of fun and travel planned this summer and we are so excited!  Here are five from this week:

1. Father’s Day – We celebrated Father’s Day with a visit to Playland Park, a local amusement park here in Westchester County.  We couldn’t believe that my 9-year-old son had never been and the last time my daughter visited she was too young to remember.  So, we were long over-due for a visit!  We had such a fun time going on the rides together and eating some park food.

2.Mother/Daughter Lunch Date –  My daughter has had 1/2 days of school for the last week and a half.  Earlier this week we enjoyed a rare lunch date at a local steak house.  I ordered this prime rib wrap and she ordered a cheese steak.  She suggested we share which I of course was up for!

3. Watching – This week I watched very little television.  On one of her half-days of school my daughter and I watched Harriet the Spy:  Blog Wars on Netflix.  I have to say this movie was a bit cheesy, but she enjoyed it.  Since she’s been home, I haven’t been able to watch Housewives while I eat lunch, which used to be my normal routine!  So now I’m behind on Potomac and New York City!


4. Reading  – I am almost finished with the YA book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  What a powerful, and thought-provoking read.

5. Baking – I was long overdue in muffin making.  After requesting Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins, I had my daughter help me make these from  Annie’s Eats.  We shared one warm, out of the oven and it was so good!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar
Monday I shared my last weekly meal plan.

Wednesday I wrote about Savor Westchester, the new dining experience at The Westchester.

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




Five on Friday {Father’s Day Weekend}

Yeah for Friday!  This has been a fun but busy week.  The kids have less than a week of school and we are looking forward to summer!  Father’s Day is this weekend and unfortunately, the weather forecast isn’t looking that great.  This may have an impact on our weekend plans, but keeping my fingers crossed!  Here are five from this week:

Reading:  I recently finished reading The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman.  This was a really enjoyable read that I highly recommend!  I’m currently reading Sarah Jio’s Always.  I’ve only read one other of hers but loved it, so hoping this one’s good as well!

Before I Fall (film).png

Watching:  This past week I watched the movie Before I Fall.  I recently read the YA book and have to say, like in most cases, the book was so much better. I also watched the movie A Dog’s Purpose with the family.  I had mixed feelings about watching it after hearing about the alleged abuse of the animals when filming.  However, we all watched it and really liked it.  I will admit, it had me in tears several times.

Eating:  This week I was invited to a tasting of some of the restaurants in the new food court at a local, upscale mall.  Not only did I get to meet some local bloggers and Instagram friends, but I also got to enjoy a tasty lunch!  This crispy chicken sandwich with honey chile sauce was so good!

Outdoor Time:  Last weekend we visited two, new to us, state parks.  We went hiking/geocaching in both.  Despite the heat on both days, the kids were troopers and we found new caches.

Local Attractions:  Last weekend we also visited a Washington Irving’s Sunnyside.  We visited the American author’s home overlooking the Hudson River.  This was our family’s first time visiting the historic site.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar

Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Tuesday I shared my May Reads in the Show Us Your Book link up.

Wednesday I posted my first “5 Questions With….” interview with Chef Joel Gamoran.

Thursday I shared #NYSummer2017.

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



Five on Friday {Hooray for the Weekend!}

It’s Friday, which means we made it through another week!   As of now, the only thing scheduled for the weekend is soccer.  We haven’t had a free weekend in awhile, so I’m looking forward to it.  Here are five from this week:

1.Reading – I am currently reading This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel.   Five-year-old Claude wants to be a girl when he grows up.  His parents want him to be whoever he is, which for him means wearing dresses and changing his name.  However, they don’t want to share with everyone that their child is transgender.  They also have to worry about the four older siblings who are burdened with keeping this secret.  I am almost finished reading this book and from what I’ve read, I highly recommend it.  It’s a heartbreaking book about a topic that has become pretty relevant today.

2. Watching –  I finally watched Rogue One.  My husband said I’d like it…..but he was wrong.  I didn’t dislike it, it was just okay.  I’ve come to accept that I’m not a big Star Wars fan.

3. Family Fun – Last weekend our family visited the Liberty Science Center in Jersey, City, NJ.  We received complimentary passes, for an upcoming post I’m writing for the Westchester County Moms Blog.  None of us had ever been before and we had such a great time!  Our favorite exhibit was the limited-time, MythBusters exhibit.  My husband has watched every episode of the show, so this was right up his alley!  There were props from the show on exhibit as well as many hands-on activities and a live show.

4. Lunch Date –  My husband and I had the chance to enjoy a rare lunch date last week.  Dan Rooney’s Sports Pub at the Empire City Casino, invited me to try their burger entry in the Westchester Magazine’s Burger and Beer Blast.  We got to try this Bloody Mary Burger and several other items from their menu.  We had a delicious time!

5. Eating – And speaking of Westchester Magazine’s Burger and Beer Blast, last night, my husband and I gorged ourselves with not only burgers (and beer for my husband) but also ice cream, empanadas and more!  We left the event a tad bit stuffed!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendarMonday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Currently 2017Wednesday I joined the monthly Currently link up.

I’m linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!  Have a great weekend!


Five on Friday {Memorial Day Weekend}

Happy Friday!  I am currently in Rhode Island with the family enjoying a couple of days at my parent’s house.  It’s not quite beach weather yet but a couple of days of rest and relaxation is what this family needs!  Here are five from this week:

1. Mother-Daughter Day – Last Saturday my husband and son were at a cub scout event.  I took my daughter to Djembes and Dance at Philipsburg Manor.  It was a celebration of African culture through music and dancing.  After we came home, got some Moe’s takeout and watched some television together.


2. Reading – I’m still reading A Gentleman in Moscow.  It’s been very slow reading for me.  I’m also reading The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares.  While I enjoyed her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, this book isn’t my fave.  I’ll hopefully finish it today and then I’m not sure what book I’ll be starting next.

3.  Family Fun – Last Sunday we went to Smorgasburg Upstate where we had this Mac and Cheese Donut topped with a Bacon Jam.  It was so good!  Crispy on the outside and cheesy and creamy on the inside!  You can read more about our day in my post (linked below).


4. Watching – We finally watched La La Land this past weekend.  I like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling……but I was not a fan of this movie!  I really like musicals too, so I was surprised that I wasn’t into it.

5.  Eating – Thanks to Brenda, I learned about Firework Oreos.  After she wrote about them in a recent Friday Favorites post, I was on a mission to find them.  Well, I was successful and I was not disappointed with them.  They are regular Oreos but have Pop Rock candy mixed in the filling.  They are so fun to eat! I haven’t been the biggest fan of some of the more recent limited edition Oreos, but I really enjoyed these!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendarMonday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Wednesday I wrote about Smorgasburg Upstate.

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


Five on Friday {Feeling Like Summer}

Happy Friday!  I’m hoping today’s temps don’t reach the 90’s like they did yesterday and Wednesday!  I’m not quite ready for it to feel like summer.  This has been a pretty uneventful week around here, which I must admit, I kind of like! The boys are spending tomorrow at a Cub Scout event so my daughter and I will get to enjoy some quality mother-daughter time!   Here are five from this week:

1. Mother’s Day – Did you have a nice Mother’s Day?  The kids brought my coffee and their homemade cards and presents to me in bed Sunday morning.  Then we all ate breakfast together.  The weather forecast wasn’t looking great but we managed to fit in a trip to Untermyer Gardens.  I’ve been wanting to visit this place for awhile and Mother’s Day seemed like the perfect day. We had a great time walking around the gardens and taking in the Hudson River views…..and we were on our way home when it started raining!  When we got home the kids helped my husband cook a delicious dinner….and dessert!











2. Reading – I haven’t had much reading time this week, but my current book is Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens.  I’ve read a couple of her other books and they’ve been pretty good suspense/thriller type reads.  I’m not quite half-way through this one yet, but so far, so good.

3.  Proud Mom Moment – Saturday, my daughter performed her first alto sax NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) solo.  She had been practicing for several weeks and woke up Saturday morning with a sore throat and cough.  She persevered though and did an awesome job!  Of course I had to take her out to celebrate a job well done with a special treat of her choice.  As you can see in the pic above, she wanted a Smash Burger Oreo milkshake.  P.S. – She got her score earlier this week and received a 27/28 (Outstanding).  #ProudMom!!

4. Watching – I didn’t watch any movies or start any new shows this week.  I’ve been catching up on my regular shows:  Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, the Real Housewives of Potomac and the Real Housewives of New York.  We also have been watching the Amazing Race and Dancing with the Stars as a family!

5. Eating – I’ve been trying to eat a little more healthy at home during the week.  On the weekends when we go out, all bets are off though!  I picked up these Yasso frozen yogurt bars last week and have been enjoying them.  I love anything S’mores flavored, so these were perfect.  I feel a little better eating frozen yogurt rather than ice cream!

ICYMI this week on the blog:
2017 calendar

Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Wednesday I posted Fun Summer Family Food Experiences.

Thursday I shared Dinner Deals in Westchester County.

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


Five on Friday {Mother’s Day Weekend}

I am so happy that it’s Friday.  This has seriously been one of the busiest weeks ever.  I volunteered every day this week at my son’s school book fair.  Plus, this week was my daughter’s band concert, swimming lessons for my son, Open House night at the elementary school, multiple doctor/dentist appointments before and after school, piano lessons, and a Girl Scout and Cub Scout event!  I am exhausted!  But, I survived and will hopefully get to relax a little this weekend.  After all, Mother’s Day is on Sunday, right?!   Speaking of which, Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow mom readers.  I hope you have  a great day celebrating you!  Here are five from this week:

Family Fun – Last weekend we enjoyed family time at a Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival.  We got to see lots of performances including sword demonstrations, Japanese drummers, traditional dancers and more.  Unfortunately, the weather was a bit chilly and it started to rain at one point.  But, we made the best of it and had a good time.

Cooking – My slow cooker has gotten a lot of use this week!  Check out this Monday’s weekly meal plan to see what was on our menu, including this Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast with gravy.

Watching  This past week we watched Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find them and Hidden Figures.  I didn’t read either of the books first and didn’t really have any idea of what either movie was about.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed both movies.

Reading – I just started A Gentleman in Moscow yesterday afternoon.  It’s the book of the month for a Goodreads group I’m in, otherwise, I hadn’t even heard of this book! LOL!  I usually enjoy historical fiction, so I’m hoping this one’s a winner.  I’ll hopefully get in some decent reading time this weekend.

Eating – At the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival we ate ramen, skewered beef and this Okonomiyaki.  This was our first time trying it, but won’t be our last.  It’s a savory pancake made of cabbage and egg and topped with two different sauces and pork belly. Yum!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendarMonday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Life According to Steph

Tuesday I posted my April 2017 Reads and joined the Show Us Your Books link up.

I’m linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!  Have a great weekend!


Five on Friday {Happy Cinco de Mayo!}

Yeah for Friday and happy Cinco de Mayo!  Unfortunately, this has not been the greatest week for me, as you will read below.  I’m glad that it’s over and hope to have a hopefully enjoyable weekend!  This weekend my son has soccer and we are going out to dinner to celebrate my mom and brother’s birthdays! Here are five from this week:

1. Mother/Son time – Last Sunday my husband and daughter went to her Girl Scout Father/Daughter dance.  I took my son down to the local park so he could play on the playground and play some Pokemon Go.  Then I took him out for some ice cream.  This local ice cream shop has board games available to play, so we played a couple of rounds of Guess Who? (yes, there were two pictures missing from my board!) while he ate his ice cream.  On the way home, we picked up some Smash Burger for dinner.  Lucky boy got to eat dessert before dinner!

2. Dentist Problems – Excuse my rant here.  I had a dental cleaning this week.  Since we got new insurance at the beginning of the year, I had my husband call ahead and make sure the office had all the correct info needed before my visit.  Except, when I got there, they had made an error and gave me a difficult time, when they were at fault.  Needless to say, I ended up stressed out before my exam.  I’m already not a fan of the dentist and this didn’t help.  Luckily, I had a good visit and no cavities.  And then yesterday, while eating lunch I chipped a tooth!!  Now, I need to go back tomorrow!  Waah!   I like my dentist a lot.  However, I’m not a fan of the office staff at all.  I’m debating whether to switch dentists for one with a friendlier staff…..but not sure if it’s worth it.  Decisions, decisions.

3. Allergic Reactions – I’m fortunate enough not to have any food, pet or seasonal allergies.  Last Saturday at my son’s soccer game, I was sitting in my camp chair and noticed tons of little black caterpillars all over me.  I flicked them off my arms, the camp chair, my jeans, etc.  This went on the entire hour and a half of soccer!  The next day, I started breaking out in itchy, mosquito bite-like bumps in the areas where the caterpillars were (my arms and upper chest area).  At first, I didn’t think much of it.  But the number of bumps increased and I was so uncomfortable from the itchiness.   After some research, my husband and I concluded that the tiny caterpillars were gypsy moth caterpillars and I had an allergic reaction to them.  Yes, there’s such a thing, and I am lucky enough to be one of the few who are allergic.  After several days of Benadryl and anti-itch ointment the bumps have subsided and I’m doing okay.  But it’s been an itchy, uncomfortable week.

4. Reading – I’m currently reading The Circle by Dave Eggers.  It’s a Book of the Month read for a Goodreads group that I’m in.  It’s science fiction/dystopian and definitely not a book I’d pick up on my own. However, I’ve been sucked in and am really enjoying it.  And I just discovered that  Tom Hanks and Emma Watson star in the movie that is currently playing!  I’ll wait until it comes out on DVD but I do want to watch it.

5. Bargain Shopping –  I haven’t been doing much shopping since we’re trying to stay on budget and cut unnecessary expenses. Yesterday, I was shopping  for a birthday present for my mom at Kohl’s.  I ended up finding this spring/fall windbreaker type jacket (Don’t mind the unflattering pic of the jacket.  There’s a reason that I’m not a fashion blogger, LOL!!).  It was marked with the original price of $90. Since I found it on the clearance rack, I decided to price-check it, and discovered it was $9.00!  With my coupons and discounts, the jacket cost me a whopping $6.50!   I couldn’t pass this bargain up!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar
I shared our weekly meal plan.

Tuesday I wrote about why you need a seasonal family bucket list.

Currently 2017
Wednesday I co-hosted the monthly Currently link up.

I’m linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!  Have a great weekend!



Five on Friday {Last Weekend in April}

And just like that, April is over!  Let’s celebrate that we’ve made it through another week!  Tonight, I’m leading my daughter’s Girl Scout troop in cooking a meal for a badge earning activity. This weekend my son has soccer and my daughter has her Girl Scout Father/Daughter dance.  Here are five from this week:

Celebrating: Last Sunday my daughter had her Minute to Win It birthday party with her friends!  After a lot of planning and stress (on my part) the party was a success!  There were lots of games and friendly competition, pizza, a make-your-own-sundae bar and cupcakes.  We also finally picked up her free birthday treat from Barnes & Noble.  I think I can finally say that we are officially done celebrating her birthday!

Family Fun:  Last Saturday we went to the Historic Hudson Valley Sheep-to-Shawl Fest.  Visitors learned each step in the process of turning wool into cloth, using 18th-century techniques. Despite the chilly and rainy weather, we had a great time.  There were lots of hands-on activities for the kids and we got to see an unhappy sheep get sheared.  This woman was teaching us how items like onion skins and flowers were used to dye the yarn.

Reading:  Recently, I’ve been feeling unmotivated to read.  By the end of the day, I’m exhausted and only read a few pages before I’m ready to fall asleep.  I’m about half-way through my current read Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  Once I finish reading this book I will be caught up on all her books until her newest one comes out this summer.  In this book Elsie, a twentysomething, loses her husband in an accident (not a spoiler!).  It’s a sad read and when I finish this, I’m going to need a good mystery/suspense!

Watching:  Last week, I was watching television while on the elliptical at the gym.  I saw Rachael Ray interview Phil Keoghan, host of the Amazing Race.  I didn’t realize this show is still on and is currently airing season 29!  I decided to DVR the show and realized that I could watch the couple of missed episodes on demand.  The kids decided to sit and watch with me and we soon got sucked into an Amazing Race watching marathon.  I think we watched three episodes straight!  They are now hooked and I hope this will help them catch the travel bug!  In the meantime, we now have another weekly show to watch together.

Performing:  Last night my son had his 3rd grade recorder concert.   He also played with the advanced recorder ensemble that he’s part of.  He had to try out for the ensemble and has had weekly before-school practices for the past couple of months.  He did a great job!  Luckily, my children have inherited my husband’s musical and artistic genes, as they are both great musicians!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar

Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Wednesday I posted a review of Giada De Laurentiis’s children’s book New Orleans! from her Recipe for Adventure chapter book series.

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