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Five on Friday {Back-to-School}

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Happy Friday!  It’s been forever since I’ve posted a Five on Friday post! I’ve been busy creating the new Thursday “Your Best Weekend” feature that by Thursday night I often don’t have the time or the energy to get a post written for today.  There just hasn’t been enough time to get all the posts written!  #BloggerProblems  The kids went back-to-school (more on that later) this week.  After three days back, they have a four day weekend because of the Jewish holiday.  So they get some extra time to adjust to reality!  Back-to-school means busy schedules! Here are five from this week:

1. Back-to-School – My son started 5th grade this week and my daughter started 7th grade.  They are both in middle school now!  It’s nice that they both get the bus at 7:25 in the morning, the same time that I leave for work.  After two days, they are both slowly adjusting to the early morning wake up time and getting back into the routine of things.

2. Watching – I’ve been back-logged on Bachelor in Paradise episodes.  In the little spare time that I’ve had, I’ve been trying to catch up on them.  Why does each episode have to be 2-3 hours long?!!  I’m almost a bit embarrassed to admit that I watch this show, but it’s really perfect mindless, summer television.

3. Cooking – Back-to-school means meal plans with quick and easy recipes.  This week I made Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas using Penzeys fajita seasoning instead of taco seasoning, like the original recipe requested.  These were really quick and easy to prepare and very tasty!

4. Family Time – Last weekend we got one more trip to Rhode Island in.  We went to the beach and my husband and I went on a fishing boat.  We always have a fun time visiting my parents and enjoying New England life.

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5. Reading – I am currently reading the novella And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman.  I loved his book Beartown and also really enjoyed  A Man Called Ove.  This one is a short, little book. I just started it, but already started tearing up while reading it.  I’ll have it finished by the weekend.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday 
I wrote about our visit to Denning’s Point Distillery.

Thursday I posted Your Best Weekend.

Have a great weekend!  Linking up with Friday Favorites!

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Five on Friday {Slow Down Summer!}

How is it Friday already?!  Although this week was filled with routine – work, camp for the kids, chores, errands, etc.  it went by so quickly.  It’s crazy, but this weekend is the first weekend ALL summer that we don’t have any set plans. I told my daughter that we’d start some back-to-school shopping, because unfortunately, that time is quickly approaching.  Plus, I know the kids want to relax and have some family game time.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – This week I finished a non-fiction book, Reading People by Ann Bogel.  In this book she explains different personality tests and what you can learn about yourself and others from each one.  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it if you enjoy learning about yourself.

2. Watching – I finally watched The Bachelorette finale last night.  You would think with social media I’d see or hear spoilers.  Do you know where I saw the spoiler?  On the TV at the library of all places!  Tuesday we were checking out our books at the library and they have a television that was airing the news.  And that is when I discovered who won!!

3. Beach Day – Last weekend my husband and I traveled to my parent’s house in Rhode Island to pick up our kids.  I really wanted to go to the beach while we were there but the weather forecast wasn’t looking so good.  We decided to go early, while it was gray out, but not raining.  It ended up being one of our family’s best beach days.  Earlier in the week my parents had taken the kids to the beach but there was so much seaweed, they couldn’t go in the water.  On our visit the water was warm enough and clear that my husband and kids went boogie boarding. We went rock and shell collecting as well.  And did I mention that there was hardly anyone there?  We had the beach almost entirely to ourselves.

4.  Snacking – I was kindly sent these Pistachio + Plum Chewy Bites from Setton Farms.  I love throwing a couple of these in my lunch bag for a mid-morning snack at work. I love the tasty combo of pistachios and plums.  Plus, these are 100% natural, GMO free, gluten and dairy free and vegan.  Find out more about these snacks on the Pistachio Chewy Bites site! 

5. Cooking – I made these Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil from Half Baked Harvest.  I am not a big pork chop eater and I loved these!  It’s such a great combo of flavors.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I wrote about our visit to the Millbrook Vineyards & Winery.

Wednesday I posted about our visit to Dorney Park.

Thursday I posted a new feature on the blog Your Best Weekend.

Have a great weekend!  Sharing with Friday Favorites.

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Five on Friday {Happy August!}

Happy Friday!  I probably say this every week, but I can’t believe how quickly the summer is flying by.  After work today, my husband and I will be heading to Rhode Island to pick up our kids.  My parents have been a huge help in watching them this summer while my husband and I worked.  Plus, we’ve gotten more date nights and quality time together then we have in ages!  Win-win for everyone.  Here are five, mostly adultish things that we can’t do with kids, from this past week!

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1. Reading – I have just started reading The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll.  I thought her previous book Luckiest Girl Alive was just okay.  So, I’m not going into this book with high expectations.

2. Watching – This week my husband and I watched Somebody Feed Phil for the first time this week on Netflix.  I can’t believe it’s taken us so long to watch this show.  I didn’t realize that Phil Rosenthal, creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond” is so goofy!  We find the show humorous and it appeals to us as travel and food lovers.

3. Eating – I love a good tasting menu.  Actually, I pretty much like any tasting menu.  It’s fun getting to try lots of different dishes.  I recently discovered that a local seafood restaurant had a summer tasting menu.  My husband and I went there this week and it was so good.  The portions were humongous and each of the five dishes was delicious.  Above is the octopus and lobster mushroom risotto that was one of our favorites.  But if you want to see all of the dishes we had, check out my Instagram post!  I hear the chef changes what he serves…..so, we may have to make a return trip soon!

4. Trivia Night – My husband and I enjoyed a date night first.  Although several different restaurants and bars host trivia nights, we have never had the opportunity to go.  Since we were childless this week we went to a trivia night at a local coffee house.  My husband is amazing at trivia.  For first timers, we did pretty well, I think coming in 3rd or 4th out of seven teams.

5. Craft Beer Shop – I discovered a localish craft beer shop.  We visited Brew & Co. and had such a fun time perusing all the different beers and ciders they carry.  We each picked out three to try and decided that this may have to be a monthly trip for us!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I wrote about Blue Collar Brewery.

Wednesday I posted about The Melting Pot.

Linking up with Friday Favorites.  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {The Last Weekend in July}

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Happy Friday!  I cannot believe how quickly the days are going by.  It’s crazy to think that this is the last weekend in July.  The kids survived their second week of camp and are headed back up to Rhode Island with my parents for a week.  My husband and I have no set plans yet, but we are hoping to make the most of the kid-free time we have together.  Here are five from this week:

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1.Reading –  I am finishing up Killman Creek by Rachel Caine.  This is the second book in the Stillhouse Lake series.  I really enjoyed the first book, Stillhouse Lake and this second book is just as suspenseful.

2. Cooking – This past weekend we had our monthly supper club.  This month’s theme was vegetarian.  I made a Mushroom, Tofu and Cheese Tart from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook.  This is a well-known vegetarian restaurant up in Ithaca, NY where I went to college.  This was a pretty tasty dish.  It would have been even better if I remembered to add the salt when cooking it (face smack here!).  My husband made a tasty Peach Crisp too.

Fit Womens Weekly Podcast        SEXYFIT PODCAST

3. Listening – I’ve been trying to get back into a fitness routine of sorts.  I’ve started back up with Yoga with Adriene and am hoping to set up a gym schedule this upcoming week.  I know I already did a post on health and fitness podcasts, but I recently added two new ones to my rotation – Fit Womens Weekly Podcast and Sexyfit Podcast.

4. Family Fun –  This past Sunday our family visited Boundless Adventures.  It’s an outdoor adventure/ropes course up in the trees.  I did a post on this week (see below) and it was a lot of fun!

5. MakingUrban Kangaroo kindly sent me a Soy Candle Making Kit.  At his request, my son and I spent some time this past weekend making the candles.  They were easy to make and the Coconut and English Rose scents smell good.  The containers are nice and the candles make great gifts (either the kit or the finished candle!).  Plus, I loved getting to spend quality time with my son.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I wrote about our visit to the Lancaster Science Factory.

Wednesday I introduced the Dutchess County Craft Beverage Trail.

Thursday I wrote about Boundless Adventures.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend! 

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Five on Friday {First Week of Camp}

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Happy Friday!  Summer is in full effect and it’s been a busy couple of weeks here.  I am loving summer hours at work, where I get to leave at 12 PM on Fridays. The kids were with my parents in Rhode Island for the last two weeks and came home this past Friday. It was a quiet couple of weeks here without them. Last Saturday my son turned 10!  The four of us celebrated his birthday Saturday and then Sunday we had a family party.  And finally, the kids started their first week of camp. They were excited that they both passed the deep water test.  However, my son isn’t loving camp.  We are only one week in so I hope he starts enjoying it more.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I just finished reading Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee.  This contemporary fiction book deals with mental illness and its impact on family.  It was a really good read.

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2. Watching – I’ve been watching a bunch of different shows.  My husband and I finally finished watching the last season of Orange Is the New Black.  I also watched the first episode of Glow on Netflix and we’re almost finished watching Wild Wild Country.

3. Eating – We did a lot of good eating this past weekend, but I barely took any pictures!  My son requested that we eat at The Melting Pot for his birthday.  This has been a family favorite restaurant for awhile and was delicious and fun as always.  I loved this decorated plate they brought out for him!

4. Dinner Date – Last night I had dinner with a friend.  Although our sons are friends, it’s rare for us to get to go out.  So, it was nice to get to catch up.

5. Playing – We love playing board games and have a bunch of them.  My son though has recently been on an UNO playing streak.  This past week we have played lots of rounds of the classic game.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I wrote about our visit to the Turkey Hill Experience.

Wednesday I posted about the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn in Lancaster, PA.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Battling the Heat Wave}

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Oh man, what a super hot week it has been.  I am not used to these 90 degree temps every day.  It’s way too early in the summer for weather like this! Summer has officially begun and it’s definitely feeling like it.  We have started our summer off with a bang!  We just spent an extended weekend visiting Lancaster, Pennsylvania and then several days up in Rhode Island at my parent’s beach house.  The kids are still up there for another week enjoying time with their cousins while my husband and I get to go to work.  Being so busy, it appears that Five on Friday has become an every other week thing.  Hopefully, this will change as our travel schedule slows down for a bit.  Here are five from this week:

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  1. Reading – I was recently in the midst of reading several different books, some of which I had started in early and mid-June! I finally finished a couple of them up and started a new fiction book.  My current read is Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell.  I’m not even a quarter of the way in yet but I’m enjoying it so far.The Shape of Water (film).png
  2. Watching – My husband and I finally watched The Shape of Water. I thought that this movie was a bit on the weird side and don’t quite understand  how or why it won so many awards.  Have you seen this movie?

  1. Eating – Rhode Island always means eating lots of seafood!  One of my lunch picks was a fried clam boat.  Nothing like fresh seafood, fried to golden deliciousness!

  1. Tween Journals – Does anyone else like to journal?  I keep a gratitude journal that I write in every night before I go to bed.  My twelve-year-old daughter is a big reader and writer.  Fox Chapel Publishing kindly sent me two of their newest journals  targeted towards tween girls.  The You Are Beautiful journal is blank inside, allowing girls to express themselves how they choose. The Always Be Yourself journal has writing prompts, motivational quotes and pages to color all helping girls to think deeply and positively.  My daughter loves the bright colors and designs and she has been enjoying writing in these journals.  I love the positive messages that they promote.  The journals are only $9.99 each, which I think is a great deal!
  1. Website Troubles – This is definitely not a favorite this week. I was working on the blog Tuesday afternoon after work.  I took a break to cook and eat dinner.  Later in the evening when I went to go back on my website is inaccessible with an “Error establishing a database connection.”  Surprisingly, I didn’t freak out and calmly called Bluehost.  It appears that a server detached and physically needs to be reattached on their end.  I of course have no idea what that means. I just know that a little over 24 hours later my site was back up and running.  Phew!

ICYMI on Monday I shared a post about two new eateries, The Little Beet and Melt Shop opening at Savor Westchester.  Both are chains, so you don’t have to be in Westchester County to enjoy the food!

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

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Five on Friday {Happy Summer!}

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Today is the last day of school and summer vacation officially begins for the kids this afternoon!  I will officially have a 5th and 7th grader later today.  This week was a super busy one as the end of school year wrapped up.  We’ve been going non-stop and are also trying to pack and prepare for a weekend getaway we are taking to Lancaster, Pennsylvania this weekend.  I am looking forward to sharing all of the family fun that we have planned visiting some of the local attractions in the area.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I have several non-fiction books in from the library. I’m currently reading The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. I know I’m late to the game with this one, which had received a lot of hype last year. I’m totally reading this book in the wrong season and should be sitting in front of a fire, wrapped up in blankets to truly be hyggeligt!

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2. Watching – This past week my husband and I did a lot of movie watching!  We watched Lady Bird, Molly’s Game and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.  They were all really good, although I was a bit disappointed with the ending of Three Billboards.  I didn’t realize that Molly’s Game is based on a true story book.

 

3. Eating – Fried Chicken Sandwiches.  I love a good fried chicken sandwich.  Luckily, I don’t indulge too often.  A Melt Shop opened recently in Westchester County.  We visited last weekend and one of the items we tried was this fried chicken sandwich. It was really good!

4. Celebrating – My son’s moving up ceremony.  Our elementary school only goes up to 4th grade, so next year he will be attending the middle school with his sister. Tuesday was his moving up ceremony, which was followed by a class pool party.  It was a busy but fun day.  We are so proud of all that he accomplished during his elementary school years and are excited to see where his middle school journey will lead.

5. Father’s Day – On Father’s Day, we went out to lunch with my in-laws and brother-in-law.  We went to a local brewery and then went out for ice cream after.  It was a really hot day so we didn’t do the river walk like we had planned.  But we got to enjoy some good family time and relax later that evening as well.

This week on the blog I posted 5 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes Worth Making.  

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Hooray for the Weekend!}

Happy Friday!  It’s been a crazy busy week at work and I am so glad that it’s the weekend!  I don’t even have anything major planned, as the boys will be on a Cub Scout camping trip.  My daughter and I will find some fun.

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1. Reading –  I am almost finished reading How to Walk Away by Katherine Center.  This was a book recommendation that I got in the Show Us Your Books linkup.  I have to agree it’s a good read.

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2. Television – The Bachelorette is back and I am watching it!  I loved Becca on The Bachelor and was so happy when Ari chose her.  But then when he broke up with her for  Lauren….well, I no longer liked him.  It’s even more fun because my daughter watches the show with me!

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3. Movies – Last weekend the kids watched Jumanji with my husband.  I started watching with them but was not into it at all.  But I finally watched Pitch Perfect 3 and I was so disappointed.  The first movie is one of my favorite movies.  So I hate to admit that this one was pretty bad.  I didn’t like the Fat Amy’s dad/action-movie story line.  Lesson: don’t mess with a good thing!

4. Family Fun – Last weekend we went on hiking at Turkey Mountain with some friends of ours.  It was about a 3 mile hike round trip with a little bit of an incline.  It was well worth it to get to the top and see this spectacular view.  Plus, I love this kind of outdoor activity where you’re getting good exercise but it doesn’t feel like it.

5. Eating – Surprisingly, the wow of the week was this Harvest Bread that I picked up at our local farmer’s market.  It had pieces of apple and raisin in it.  We had it topped with butter, cinnamon, apple slices and honey.  It was delicious!  This wasn’t the best bread for grilled cheese sandwiches, but I made them with it anyway and we enjoyed them!

 This week on the blog I wrote about the Reading Pagoda.

I’m linking up with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {How is it June?!}

Happy Friday!  I cannot believe that it is already June.  The months have been flying by and these past few weeks have literally been a whirlwind.  Can you believe that it’s been a month since my last Five on Friday post?!  We’ve been busy with end-of-year activities and meetings.  It’s hard to believe that my son will graduate elementary school in a couple of weeks!  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I have to say that I haven’t been reading very much lately.  I haven’t had much free time and the time I do have I’ve been binge watching Safe (see below) and working on the blog.  However, I do try to read a little bit during my lunch break at work.  I’ve read Viola Shipman’s other books and have really enjoyed them.  I just started The Recipe Box, but am enjoying it as well.

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2. Watching – My husband and I did a binge watch of Safe on Netflix.  When I heard that Harlan Coben created the show I thought that it was based off on one of his books, but it’s not.  It has the suspense of his books, though my husband and I agreed that it got a bit ridiculous with all the possible suspects.

3. Listening – After watching Safe I got hooked on the theme song, Glitter & Gold by Barns Courtney.  This is one of those great songs that I would have never known about if it wasn’t for the show!

4. Drinking –  If you follow me on Instagram, then you already saw these.  However, as a huge hard cider fan I had to share.  I don’t drink a lot, but if I do, my go-to drink of choice is a cider.  I saw these cute Strongbow Hard Cider limited edition mini cider cans at my local Shoprite.  I love being able to try four different ciders without having to commit to a whole six-pack that I may not like. Even better, the four-pack was only $2!

The Brotherhood of Clams from Chatty Monks.

5. Family Fun – My brother recently moved to Reading, Pennsylvania.  Over the Memorial Day Weekend we took a trip down to visit him.  It was a short visit, but we had a great time.  Our weekend was filled with lots of eating (of course!) a visit to the Reading Pagoda, a wine and food festival and dinner at a local brewery.  It was also so hot that we ended up stopping at Walmart and picking up bathing suits for the kids so they could go swimming in his apartment complex pool.  Pictured is the clam dish that my son ordered when we went out for dinner.  Out of all of our entrees, he picked the best tasting one!  #RaisingFoodies

This week on the blog I shared:

Recent Tween Reads 

Have a great weekend!  Sharing with Friday Favorites!

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Five on Friday {May the Fourth Be With You!}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our Disclosure Policy for additional information.)

Happy Friday and Happy Star Wars Day!  May started on Tuesday with a beautiful spring day and then decided to jump to 90 degrees.  So, it’s been feeling like summer these past few days.  I’m not quite ready for this heat, but I’m not going to complain.  Winter lasted way too long.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks here but we will hopefully have a relaxing weekend.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I am in the middle of reading Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins.  It’s a contemporary fiction book about Nora, a doctor who gets injured and decides to go back home to heal.  I’m half-way through and am enjoying it.

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2. Watching – Over the past two weeks we watched Pitch Perfect 2, Coco and The Greatest Showman.  I highly recommend watching all of these movies!  Pitch Perfect is one of my favorite movies.  While Pitch Perfect 2 wasn’t as great, it’s still a fun movie.  I’ve enjoyed getting to watch them again with my kids and am waiting for the third movie to come in from the library.  Coco was surprisingly good.  I wasn’t expecting much from this animated kids movie but was pleasantly surprised!  The Greatest Showman was great and I know why people are buying the soundtrack.  There are lots of great songs from this movie!

 

3. Eating – We had our monthly supper club this past weekend and the theme was Australian.  It was actually difficult to find “Australian” recipes.  I made lamingtons, which is a type of cake with icing and then covered in coconut.

4. Family Fun – This past weekend our family saw the Cirque du Soleil show Volta.  It was such an amazing show.  It’s in New Jersey until this weekend and then it’s going to Long Island, Oaks, PA, Seattle, WA and then San Francisco and San Jose, CA.  You can read my review of this family fun experience!

5.  Subscription Box Fun (c/o STRONG self(ie)) – Do you have a tween/teen daughter?  They will love this STRONG self(ie) subscription box!  STRONG self(ie) kindly sent me a box to review and both my daughter and I loved it!  This box is quarterly and is filled with items to help our daughters become their best self(ie).  You can read my full review.  If you use code “Foodie20” and receive 20% off your first box!

Sharing with Friday Favorites.  Have a great weekend!