Five on Friday {M.L.King Weekend}

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Yeah for Fridays! I am ready for a three day weekend! It’s been a busy week, with me running the kids to Physical Therapy, piano lessons, the orthodontist……plus getting dinner ready, laundry done, the house cleaned….. I know so many of you can relate. One of my favorite times of the day is getting to put my pajamas on! This weekend my daughter has another cheer competition and we are hosting our monthly supper club. We are also expecting our first snow storm of 2020 tomorrow. I hate snow on a weekend. At least let me get a snow day, if it’s going to snow! Here are five from this week:

1.Weekend Hike – Last weekend was in the 60’s! After spending most of Saturday inside at my daughter’s cheer competition, we had to get outside on Sunday. We did a quick hike (an uphill walk really) up to the Ninham Mountain Fire Tower in Carmel. It was a super windy day, which made climbing up to the top a little nerve wracking. But there are some beautiful views at the top. I want to go back in the spring and fall for some better scenery though, since the trees are all bare and brown.

2. Eating – We recently discovered a tasty eatery in Brookfield, CT that we visited again this weekend. The Hummus & Pita Co. is a Mediterranean fast casual restaurant. We shared a falafel pita and a vegan shawarma bowl. It’s all really good!

3. Cooking – This week my daughter cooked the ratatouille (pictured above) for dinner (with Dana slicing all the veggies for her with the mandoline). My son cooked Sticky Sesame Cauliflower that we had with rice and veggie dumplings. We also had leftover ratatouille over pasta, Morningstar Farms “Chik” sandwiches with tater tots, and Creamy Vegan Broccoli Cauliflower Soup.


4. Watching – I didn’t really watch a lot this week. Between busy weeknights and then doing daily yoga (Yoga with Adriene), I was able to watch Brittany Runs a Marathon on Prime over two nights. It was a good movie

5. Reading – This week I finished The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald. It was a pretty good suspenseful read. I am currently reading Such a Fun Age and liking it so far.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my December 2019 Reads.

On this week’s podcast we talk about going vegan and more!

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!


Five on Friday {Ready for the Weekend!}

Hooray for Friday! Even though the week hasn’t been super busy,  I am exhausted and so happy for two days off. My daughter has her first cheer competition this weekend.  This is her first year doing modified cheer so I will finally get to see what we have gotten ourselves into!  I’m hoping to do a little more cleaning and organizing this weekend as well. Here are five from this week:

1.  Exercise – I’ve been continuing my walks during lunch most afternoons. I did skip yesterday, when it was 28 degrees…..just couldn’t get myself out there! Dana and I are also doing Yoga with Adriene’s 30 day Home challenge together. He’s been so good at keeping me accountable. For his first time doing yoga, he’s doing really well too!

2. Art Museum – Last weekend we visited a new-to-us museum, the Hudson Valley Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Their current exhibit is “How We Live.” There were some interesting and fun pieces of art. Although the museum is small, we had a fun visit. While we were there, we paid a small fee to take a watercolor and collage class. Dana is very artistic and our kids inherited his art skills. They were all in their element and created some great pieces that I am hoping to frame.

3. Reading – I’m currently reading What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. This is a historical fiction/romance/fantasy read.  It’s my work book club pick and even though it’s gotten amazing reviews on goodreads, I have to say I’m not loving it.  I am curious to see how it ends though.

4. Watching – I haven’t been watching much of anything recently. Dana and I are still watching an episode of Mrs. Maisel and The Man in the High Castle on the rare occasion, but we just haven’t had much time to sit and chill in front of the television.

5. Broadway Show – Dana was in the city over the weekend for an alumni event. While he was down there he went to see the Broadway show Come From Away. He raved about how great it was….but what Broadway show isn’t?!! It’s definitely on my want to see list.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I posted Getting Organized in 2020.  

This week on the podcast we talk about bumper cars on ice, indoor skiing and more! 

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!


Five on Friday {Hello January!}

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Happy Friday and Happy 2020! I am so excited for this new year and all of the new possibilities!  Short intro this week – here are five from this week:

1.  New Year’s Eve – Since having kids, Dana and I have enjoyed almost every New Year’s eve at home.  Our most recent tradition as the kids have gotten older is to have appetizers/snacks for dinner and have an epic family game night.  This New Year’s was no exception. Our menu consisted of truffle fries, vegetable dumplings, Bang Bang Cauliflower and Vegan Garlic Buffalo Brussels Sprouts. We played lots of games including Spot It, PicWits, Canine Chaos and Q-Bitz.  After an early sparkling cider toast with the kids, I was in bed by 11 PM!

2. Reading – I finished my first book of 2020 on New Year’s Day!  Book #1 was The Arrangement by Robyn Harding. It was a quick, suspenseful read.  I was short of my Goodreads goal of 75 books read in 2019 by 2 books!! I have decided to try for 75 again for 2020.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold poster.jpg

3. Watching – The family had a movie night and watched Dora and the Lost City of Gold.  It was actually a surprisingly funny movie. We think this is because our kids grew up watching Dora.  My husband and I have been watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Man in the High Castle. How have we made it this long without watching either of these?!!  I had tried Mrs. Maisel a long time ago and quit it after five minutes. I have no idea why because we are loving it! A member of my book club recommended The Man in the High Tower.  This is not a light and fun show, but it is good.  

4. Holiday Fun – Last weekend we visited the Grand Holiday Illumination at Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers.  We visited last year as well, but fortunately, the weather was so much milder this year! These gardens are beautiful and it’s so nice to see them decorated and lit up for the holidays. It was a fun way to wrap up the holidays.   

5. Puzzling –  Most of my New Year’s Day was spent working on this puzzle.  It was a Christmas present from my son…..he knows me well. It’s been a while since I worked on a puzzle. They become addictive and I really can’t start one when there’s things like holidays coming up! It was so nice to relax and listen to a podcast while I worked on it.  

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Wednesday I posted A Life Well Lived.  

This week on the podcast we talk about our holidays and the new year.  We also have a new format where we focus more on Hudson Valley news and things to do.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

Five on Friday {Happy 2020}

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Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah!  It’s been a busy couple of days celebrating the holidays. While my husband and I have been working this week, the kids have been enjoying sleeping in and relaxing! It’s hard to believe that the next Five on Friday will be in 2020! We are planning a low-key New Year’s Eve celebration with family game night and appetizers and snacks for dinner! Honestly, I may not even stay awake to watch the ball drop. I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year’s Eve! Here are five from this week:

1. Christmas Eve – our tradition is to spend Christmas Eve at my cousin’s house in Connecticut.  We only usually see this side of the family once a year, so it’s a fun time catching up.  We brought a dessert pizza and a variety of Christmas cookies from the different cookie exchanges.  There was also apple crisp, lots of other cookies and a panettone. But my brother brought this flourless chocolate cake that was not only beautiful but delicious!

2. Christmas – We always host Christmas with both my parents and Dana’s parents.  Plus, my brother came up from Pennsylvania and Dana’s aunt came over. We made turkey, rice and gandules, mashed sweet potatoes and roasted root vegetables with a balsamic sauce. It was another delicious meal and we all ended the evening stuffed! 

3. Holiday Gifts – Two of my gifts this year were this mug and a Fitbit Inspire HR.   Some of our other gifts included a new air fryer and sheets for our bed.

4. Reading – I have been reading holiday themed books this month.  I just finished Let It Snow by Nancy Thayer, which was a cute Christmas read.  My last holiday book for the year is 25 days ‘Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander. I hope to have this finished before the new year.

5. Watching – This past week we watched a couple of movies.  My daughter and I watched Where’d You Go Bernadette? I read the book ages ago and remember not liking it. However, the movie wasn’t bad. It rarely happens where I enjoy the movie more than the book! Dana, our daughter and I also watched The Art of Racing in the Rain since the three of us had all read the book.  It followed the book pretty closely and we all liked it.

Sharing with Five on Friday! Have a great weekend. Happy New Year! I’ll be back in 2020!!


Five on Friday {Have a Holly Jolly Christmas….}

Happy Friday everyone! This is the home stretch to the holidays!
Hanukkah begins on Sunday this year. The kids requested that we celebrate with potato latkes and jelly doughnuts. We will also be busy finishing up our holiday shopping and wrapping all the presents this weekend.

This will be the last post on the blog before the holidays. So before I get into my five from this week, I want to wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa. Whatever holiday you celebrate, may you enjoy the time with your family and friends. We will be celebrating Christmas Eve at my aunt’s house. Then Christmas Day we will be hosting my parents and brother and my in-laws and my husband’s aunt.

Here are five from this week:

1. Supper Club – This month’s supper club was our annual pizza night and cookie exchange. Above is a picture of the different pizzas we had. My husband made a Chocolate Chip Dessert Pizza and I made a Mushroom Arugula Pizza. Plus, the daughter of one of the couples in the group decided to make pretzels. It was a delicious evening, but needless to say, we were stuffed!

2. Cookie Exchanges – At our December supper club we also do a cookie exchange. This year, I made Cranberry Bliss cookies, based off the Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars, which I’ve never had. Dana made Maple Brown Sugar cookies. Luckily, my cookie recipe made four dozen cookies, because I brought some in for my office cookie exchange, which was this week as well. This is always a delicious time of year!

3. Reading – This week I finished another Christmas read, Christmas at Little Street Bakery. This was an okay holiday read. I’m hoping to get a couple more holiday themed books in before the end of the year.

4. Band Concerts – This was also the week of band concerts. Of course, the kids’ concerts were on separate evenings. So we had two nights that we had to go. We always love hearing my daughter play with the smaller jazz band (pictured above) before the regular concert. They are really good!

5. Another Day Off – Tuesday, we got hit with an ice storm and enjoyed another day off school/work. It’s days like these, when the roads are hazardous, that I’m especially grateful that my husband can work from home.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Wednesday, I wrote about Westchester Winter Wonderland.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend and a happy holiday!


Five on Friday {…’tis the season to be jolly….}

Happy Friday! It’s lucky Friday the 13th! Christmas is less than two weeks away and we are busy, busy, busy!  This weekend is filled with Christmas festivities! I am going to a friend’s annual holiday party Saturday night and then Sunday we have our annual supper club pizza and cookie exchange.  Here are five from this week:

1. A Christmas Carol – last weekend we traveled up to Kingston to see the Ulster County Ballet perform A Christmas Carol.  The dancers were so talented and did a great job. It was a nice way to celebrate the holiday season!

2. Westchester Winter Wonderland – This past weekend, Westchester Winter Wonderland hosted us at their annual event.  This outdoor attraction is filled with lights, music, rides, entertainment and more. Stay tuned for a future post.  We had a fun time, but it was so COLD!!

3. Reading – I have been reading all the holiday themed books this month.  I am finising up Let It Snow by Nancy Thayer, which is a cute Christmas read that takes place on Nantucket.

4. Snow Beautiful – We had another snowfall this week and I ended up with a 2-hour delay and the kids had a 3-hour delay which was nice. The drive to work was so beautiful with the snow on the tree branches.

5. Holiday Prep – Our Christmas cards arrived from Snapfish and we are working on getting them addressed and stamped to mail out. Dana and I are heading out tonight to do some Christmas shopping. I’m really hoping it’s not too crazy.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my November reads.

This week on the podcast we talk about Holiday Traditions.  Then we end with our Quick Hits of the week!

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!


Five on Friday {It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas….}

Hooray for Friday!  New York had its first big snowstorm earlier this week which resulted in a snow day for the kids and I on Monday.  It was nice to ease back into reality after our 8 night cruise. However, even with a shortened week, it felt really long!  We had such a great time with my family on our cruise vacation. Read more below!

1. The Ship – We sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas.  This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean, our favorite cruise line. The ship left from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ, a little over an hour drive from our house. We enjoy cruising out of New Jersey, which allows us to not have to fly. With the Thanksgiving holiday, the cruise was filled to capacity with over 4,000 guests.  However, since the ship is so large, it rarely felt super crowded.

2. Eating – Umm, what weren’t we eating?!  The kids enjoyed ice cream cones at all hours of the day.  It was truly vacation for them, where they were eating dessert with every meal.  I may have indulged in some creme brulee and other goodies myself!  In the past we’ve been happy with the food on Royal Caribbean. Unfortunately, we weren’t wowed by the food on this trip.  But of course, we still did our fair share of eating. 

3. Warm Weather – It was so nice to be able to shed our winter jackets that we wore when we departed and enjoy the 75+ degree weather in Florida and the Bahamas.  The kids loved seeing all of the palm trees and we all couldn’t believe at how blue and clear the water was down there.

4. Family – My husband and I called this trip Thanksgiving on the Seas.  Normally, my sister hosts Thanksgiving in Maryland. But this year, we (my parents, brother, and my sister and her family) all decided to take a cruise together instead. We had a lot to celebrate this year including me and Dana’s 15 year wedding anniversary, my 40th birthday and my mom’s 70th birthday. Plus, Dana’s birthday was a few days before we left for the cruise.  And while we were on the cruise my niece turned 7. It was fun getting to celebrate her actual birthday on the boat!

5. Disconnecting – While you can pay for wifi on the cruise ship, we opted not to.  We wanted to fully disconnect and enjoy our vacation. And enjoy we did! While we were in port we left the ship and enjoyed excursions and the beach.  When we were traveling down and back from Florida and the Bahamas we enjoyed all the Anthem of the Seas had to offer including bumper cars, the rock wall, the North Star and lots of great shows!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Yesterday, I posted a recap of past Westchester County Experience Gift Idea posts.

This week on the podcast we talk about Holiday Experience Gift Ideas.  Then we end with our Quick Hits of the week!

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!


Five on Friday {Bon Voyage}

Hooray for Friday!  We are super excited that we will be leaving for our cruise tomorrow!  Tonight we are busy finishing up packing. Just a heads up, there will be no Five on Friday next week. I am truly taking a vacation. No work, no blogging, just relaxation and fun. Here are five from this week:


Reading – I am currently reading The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger. It’s contemporary fiction about a group of friends who all are trying to get their children into the new gifted school opening in their town. So far, so good.

Celebrating– This week we celebrated Dana’s birthday. We didn’t go crazy knowing we had the cruise coming up.  But we did go out for dinner and came home and had cheesecake to celebrate another year with our favorite guy! 

Cooking – This week we made Spaghetti with Meatballs, Cod with Hoisin Glaze, served with Simply Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Zucchini, Asian Turkey Burgers, Chicken Marsala over Pasta and homemade pizza.

Buying – last minute things for the cruise including waterproof cameras and a waterproof phone case. We found both on clearance at Walmart. I love a good deal! 

Preparing – for the holidays.  Since we leave this weekend and will be gone for 9 days I wanted to make sure we were prepped for the holidays.  Last weekend we put the tree up and even got our Christmas card photo taken.  

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Wednesday I posted a Subscription Box Gift guide.

This week on the podcast we talk about our November Favorites.  Then we end with our Quick Hits of the week!

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

Five on Friday {One More Week}

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Hooray for Friday! Yes, in one more week (plus a day) we will be boarding Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas for our family cruise! We booked this cruise so long ago, that it seemed like the time would never come. It’s finally starting to sink in that it’s happening and I’m kind of freaking out a little! The packing and making sure the kids have correct seasonal clothing that fits…..amidst our regularly packed schedules. It will all go smoothly, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself! So of course we are going to pack this weekend and I’m also hoping we can put up our Christmas tree. However, we are in the middle of a house project (read more below!) that needs to get finished before go. Here are five from this week:

1. Supper Club Dinner – Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is taking place until Sunday. Ever HVRW our supper club goes out to dinner.  Friday night we tried a new to me restaurant, the Clock Tower Grill, in Brewster. We had an amazingly delicious dinner, which included these shrimp and grits with bacon marmalade.  


2. Reading – I am currently reading Something Like Happy by Eva Woods.  It’s the story of an unlikely friendship between two women, one of whom is terminally ill. Polly, who is sick, has recruited Annie to join her in her quest for 100 days of happiness challenge. I’m enjoying this book and will likely finish it over the weekend. Then I want to start some holiday reading.

Aladdin (Official 2019 Film Poster).png

3. Watching – This past weekend we watched Aladdin on DVD.  Will Smith did a great job and we all enjoyed the movie. When I was in high school, we sang a medley of songs from this movie for chorus. And after our wedding ceremony my husband and I walked down the aisle to “A Whole New World.” So this movie has some memories for me.

4. Cooking – This week we cooked Chicken Cutlets with homemade mac and cheese and roasted asparagus, Fish sandwiches and french fries, Hoisin Shrimp and Broccoli, Creamy Butternut Squash Alla Vodka Pasta, Roasted Greek Chicken and Farro Salad with Oven Fries (pictured) and homemade pizza.

5. House Project – We decided to FINALLY repaint our kitchen cabinets.  This has been something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  My husband and daughter worked super hard last weekend priming the cabinets and then I helped get the first coat of paint on them. The school/work week is too busy to work on them, so we have to get them finished painted and back up this weekend.  It’s amazing how much a coat of paint and new handles can change the look of the kitchen. I wish I had taken before pics. There’s not much to look at right now, except the insides of my crowded, messy cabinets. They used to be a light blond wood color, and this is the new color, a dark grey.

6. Playing – And a bonus. We were able to sneak in a quick family game night and played PicWits! again. This is a fun game that we’ve been enjoying. It’s similar to Apples to Apples but uses captions and picture cards. I wrote more about it in my recent 3 More Games for Family Game Night post.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my October Reads.

Wednesday I posted Advent Calendars for Everyone in the Family

This week on the podcast we talk about all things fast food.  Then we end with our Quick Hits of the week!

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!


Five on Friday {Veteran’s Day Weekend}

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Hooray for Friday! This week has seemed really long. Tuesday was Election Day and the kids had off of school. Dana worked from home and was such a sport, taking Abby to the orthodontist, PT and then driving her and a friend to the movies. Me…..I had to work. This year we are celebrating Thanksgiving on a cruise with my family. It’s hard to believe that we leave two weeks from tomorrow. This is a celebration cruise of my 40th birthday (back in Sept.) my mom’s 70th birthday (back in May) plus Dana’s birthday is four days before the cruise. And we get to celebrate my niece’s 7th birthday and Thanksgiving while we are on the cruise! Lots of good things to celebrate! However, since we don’t get back until December 1, I’m thinking that we may put up our Christmas tree this weekend! Here are five from this week:


1. Reading – I have been reading Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. This is a YA mystery. It’s reading VERY YA! But after finishing The Orphan’s Tale, I needed a mindless, easy read.

Yesterday (2019 poster).png

2. Watching – Last weekend while my son was on his Boy Scout camp out my husband, daughter and I watched the movie Yesterday. I knew a little bit about the movie – a world where people don’t know about the Beatles, and a musician who introduces their music to the masses. It was actually very good! Earlier this week my husband and son watched Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This movie has a a pretty all-star cast. Unfortunately, Godzilla is just not my thing.

3. Cooking – This week’s menu included slow cooker whole chicken with mashed potatoes, homemade pizza, Slow Cooker Lasagna, Sausage Potato Soup, and thisEasy Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake.

4. Regal Unlimited – We enjoy watching movies but don’t go see them in the theater very often. That is about to change…..we just discovered Regal Unlimited. For $18 per month, you can see unlimited movies! And holiday movie season/pre-award show season is coming!

5. Christmas Cactus – I love plants. But I am not good at keeping them alive. My husband has nicknamed me the “Plant Slayer.” So, I was super excited to see my Christmas Cactus blooming!

6. Eating – A bonus, because these were so good. Shoprite stores has just introduced a new specialty brand, bowl & basket. We recently tried their Maui Sweet Onion flavored kettle chips and they are good!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Wednesday I posted 3 More Games for Family Game Night.

This week on the podcast we talk about Thanksgiving must haves and a mish mash of topics. 

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!