Your Best Weekend {Volume 6}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

“The only reason we ask other people how their weekend was is so we can tell them about our own weekend.”    – Chuck Palahniuk


September 16 is not only my birthday, but there are lots of other fun days to celebrate.  It’s also Collect Rocks Day.  Take a family hike or walk and collect some rocks.  It’s also Mexican Independence Day – when Mexico became independent from Spain.  Celebrate by going out for some Mexican food or cooking a tasty meal at home.  Sunday is also National Play Doh Day.  Break out the play doh and have some fun making some creations with the kids.  It’s National Women’s Friendship Day!  Get your girlfriends and go out!  Finally, make sure the husbands know that Sunday is also Wife Appreciation Day!  We deserve to be appreciated for all that we do!


Journal Prompt/Reflection: What is something you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Challenge: Schedule some girl time! Sunday is National Women’s Friendship Day after all.  Whether you plan a night out with one friend or a group of gals, celebrate the female friendships in your life.

New Releases:

DVD:  Ocean’s 8 came out on DVD this week.  I haven’t watched any of the others, but I’m loving the female cast of this one.  Hearts Beat Loud is a music drama that has gotten pretty good reviews and may be worth checking out.

Books:  Some new books that were released this week include The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz (thriller, #4 in Jane Hawk series), Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward (politics, nonfiction), I Am Neil Armstrong by Brad Meltzer (children’s book, biography),  Juror #3 by James Patterson (mystery, thriller),  We Fed an Island:  The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time by Jose Andres (nonfiction, food and drink, memoir) and Body Positive Power (paperback) by Megan Jayne Crabb (nonfiction, self-help).

Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter:  What is something that you would like to learn?

Have a Cookie Wars:  Last weekend was filled with chilly and rainy weather.  We ended up having Cookie Wars.  We chose “seasonal” as the theme.  My daughter and I paired up and made Frosted Pumpkin Cookies (pictured on the right).  My husband and son teamed up to make Brown Sugar Cookies with Maple Glaze (on the left).  We halved the recipes and the boys accidentally over salted their cookies, so we girls won.  However, we were all winners in my book because…..cookies!  Lots of cookies!

Date Night:

See a local band.  Many restaurants and bars near us have local bands playing on weekends. Go check out a favorite, or a new-to-you, local band for a fun night out.

Weekly Recommendations:

Song/Music Video: As my youngest started 5th grade last week and both my kids are in middle school now, this song just seems so fitting.



Watch:  You on Lifetime. As always, I highly recommend reading the suspense/thriller book by Caroline Kepnes first. The book turned television series debuted this week on Lifetime.  I watched the first episode and I am hooked!

Ellen on the Go


Listen:  Ellen on the Go podcast.  I love Ellen but since I work, there’s just no way to keep up with watching her show.  The Ellen on the Go podcast debuted this week and features four of the shows’ producers discussing highlights from the past week’s show.  While it’s not as funny as watching the bits, it is still entertaining.  Plus, you get insight from the producers and a peek at the behind the scenes of the show.

Your Best Weekend {Volume 5}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

“Why wait for the weekend to have fun?”  – Loesje

Make sure to have some fun during the week as well!  


September 8 is International Literacy Day. Created by the United Nations, this day, “aims to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.”  Be thankful that you are literate and make time to read today.

Celebrate Grandparent’s Day on September 9.  If the grandparents live close, spend the day together creating memories.  If they live farther away, have the kids make a card for their grandparents.  Older kids can write the reasons why they love their grandparents and/or a favorite memory they have.


Journal Prompt/Reflection: Who inspires you and why?

Challenge:  Get outside and go for a walk.  Take 15 minutes during your lunch break.  Get the family together after dinner.  Take the dog out and walk solo.  Just put on your sneakers and get outside.  There are many benefits of walking.  While you may not get in 10,000 steps a day, it’s a goal you can work towards and this can help you keep track of those steps.

New Releases:

DVD:  Did anyone else grow up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?  The documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? was released on DVD this week.

Netflix:  Netflix just added a bunch of movies including The Breakfast Club, Black Panther, Groundhog Day and Bruce Almighty.

Amazon Prime:  Lots of movie classics were added this week including Ghostbusters, Jerry Maguire, Robinhood Prince of Thieves and Sleepless in Seattle.

Time for a movie marathon?!

Family Watching:  For families with younger kids, Pete the Cat (season 1) is on Amazon Prime.  Elementary-aged kids might enjoy Hotel for Dogs, also on Amazon Prime.  Netflix has The Ant Bully, Lilo & Stitch and The Emperor’s New Groove.

Books for Kids:  Many children’s books have recently been published.  For toddlers who need board books, But Not the Armadillo by Sandra Boynton went on sale this week.  Boynton was a family favorite when my kids were younger. For elementary readers The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson offers encouragement to kids who feel different from their peers.  Did you read The Babysitter’s Club when you were younger?  Somehow, my daughter never got into the series.  But they have made the series into a graphic novel and book number six Kristy’s Big Day was recently released.

Date Night Idea:

Visit a local brewery – Craft breweries have become very popular.  There are many breweries within a short driving distance from us.  My husband and I have enjoyed visiting several of them, sampling beer flights and enjoying some adult time!

Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter: What is the best thing about being your age?

Go Geocaching – Geocaching is like an outdoor scavenger hunt.  You get some physical exercise while also looking for “prizes.”  Read our  Quickstart Guide to Geocaching Using the app and then read what we keep in our geocaching bag. 

Weekly Recommendations:

Recipe:  I just made these Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas for dinner last night.  This is a quick, easy and tasty recipe.  I used Penzeys Fajita Seasoning, not the taco seasoning the recipe requested.  This is a perfect dinner now that school has started and weeknights are busy!

Song:  I was watching Bachelor in Paradise and heard this song during the Samsung Galaxy 9 commercial.  I then had to find out who sings it since I loved it so much!  It’s LSD’s Thunderclouds featuring Sia, Diplo and Labrinth and I’ve been playing it nonstop.

Meal Plan:  School has started which means busy schedules are back.  If you do not meal plan, I highly recommend that you start!  It helps answer the question of what’s for dinner every night and it keeps your grocery bill on budget.  You can read about how I create our weekly meal plan and you can also find over 85 weeks of meal plans on the blog!




Your Best Weekend {Volume 4}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend,” ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!  Sadly, this is officially the last weekend of the summer for us with a three day weekend.  Take advantage of the extra day off!

“Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.” – Bill Watterson


September 1 is National Cherry Popover Day.  Of course, you can celebrate by making a batch of cherry popovers!  Check out these other fun ways to celebrate the day!

September 2 is International Bacon Day.  There are so many ways to celebrate:  Bacon, Egg, Cheese, BLT, Bacon Cheeseburger…..you can have bacon with every meal!  My son would totally wear this shirt to celebrate! And who knew they even had a bacon-themed game?!


Journal Prompt/Reflection: Reflect on your summer.  What were some of your favorite memories?

Challenge: Create a playlist of music that makes you happy.

New Releases:

DVD:  Out this week on DVD of possible interest is Book Club and RBG.

Netflix:  New episodes of The Great British Baking Show began streaming this week.

Books:  As a thriller/suspense fan Tear Me Apart and The Waiting Room are going on my to read list.

Family Fun with Tweens:

Dinner Conversation Starter:  What is your favorite memory from this summer?

Family Fun Idea:  ICE CREAM!!! Sadly summer is coming to an end.  Enjoy the last few days with a sweet treat! You can make homemade ice cream in a bag.  If you have an ice cream maker, try making a new flavor.  Or just go visit your favorite local ice cream shop!

Book Releases:  For fans of Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man series, the newest book Lord of the Fleas just came out.

Weekly Recommendations:

Instagram Follow:  Mystery and thrillers are my favorite book genre.  I recently found @angiesbookshelf on Instagram.  She features lots of new thrillers and suspense books with ratings and reviews.  I’ve been adding to my to-read list like crazy!

Recipe: Do you have an Instant Pot?  With school starting again soon, I know we will be using our Instant Pot more.  One of the dishes I’ll be making is this Instant Pot 20 Minute Chicken Burrito Bowls.

DVD:  We watched I Feel Pretty this past week.  I didn’t have huge expectations for the movie, but I really enjoyed it!  It really sends a positive message to women.



Your Best Weekend {Volume 3}

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Happy Thursday!  Welcome to another edition of “Your Best Weekend”.  Enjoy a weekly curated list of ideas for self-care, family fun, date nights and more to help you have “your best weekend.”  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.”  – Proverb


National Dog Day on August 26th.  Take your dog to the dog park or buy him or her a special treat!  Give plenty of extra pets and cuddles today!  If you, like us, don’t have a dog, take a trip to the local shelter and visit with some pups!  Or visit with some friends who do have dogs!

August 27th is Just Because Day!  So many things you can do today to celebrate!  Eat dessert first, sleep until noon, wear mismatched shoes……just because!


Journal Prompt/Reflection:  What is one lesson that you learned this week?

Challenge: Make time to read.  I’ve always loved to read.  As a busy, working parent, it has gotten more difficult to find time to read.  I’ve learned, I need to make the time.  I bring a book with me to work and read for part of my lunch break.  I always read a couple of pages, or chapters if it’s not too late, before bed too! Although I post a monthly book review of what I read month, if you want some good book recommendations check out my favorite reads of 2017!

Watch (Based on Books Edition):

On Netflix: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – This movie debuted on Netflix last week.  Based on the YA novel by Jenny Han, this teen romance follows Lara Jean and what happens when her secret love letters to her crushes gets mailed out.  As always, I’m all about reading the book first.

On DVD: Ready Player One was released on July 24th.  Based on the book by Ernest Cline this movie is a sci-fi adventure.  Like the book, it is filled with tons of pop culture references.  I have read and watched the movie and think they are both great…..and I’m not a big sci-fi fan…..so take that as you want.

In the movie theater: Crazy Rich Asians opened with over a $26 million bang at the box office last weekend. While I wasn’t a big fan of the book, it is nice to see feature films with Asian characters.

Family Fun with Tweens:

Dinner Conversation Starter: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Family Fun Idea:  Have a family game night.  Check out this post for some of our recent favorites!

Weekly Recommendations:

Read:  The Skimm.  Subscribe to the newsletter and get a summary of all the important news each weekday morning.  The short summaries keep me updated on the relevant headlines with links to more in-depth articles, if I’m interested in reading more.

Recipe: Egg Roll in a Bowl.  This is a family favorite recipe that is so quick and easy to prepare.  My kids love this!  It can be a carb-free dish or you can make rice to serve with it.

RISE Together Podcast

Podcast:  I have recently discovered all things Rachel Hollis.  In her newest podcast RISE Together. her and her husband Dave discuss all things marriage and relationships.  They are such a fun couple and I enjoy listening to them talk.


Your Best Weekend {Volume 2}

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Happy Thursday!  Welcome to another edition of “Your Best Weekend”.  Enjoy a weekly curated list of ideas for self-care, family fun, date nights and more to help you have “your best weekend.”  We are all busy, but we need to make time to enjoy life!

There aren’t enough days in the weekend.” – Rod Schmidt


National Fajita Day is Saturday, August 18.  Make some fajitas for dinner tonight!  We use this fajita seasoning to make chicken fajitas.

Celebrate National Soft Ice Cream Day on August 19.  I see a stop at Carvel in our future!


Journal Prompt/Reflection:  What did you do this week that moved you closer to reaching one of your goals?

Challenge:  Drink more water.  Many dietitians recommend that people drink half their body weight in ounces of water each day.

Shop: To help keep your water chilled throughout the day I recommend S’well bottles.   They come in so many fun designs and work really well.  We take our bottles everywhere and enjoy having cold water at the ready.


On Netflix – The movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society recently debuted on Netflix and is getting positive reviews.  While I was one of the rare few who didn’t enjoy the book very much, I will likely watch the movie.

On DVDAvengers: Infinity War came out this week.  If you’re a fan of Marvel movies, you’ve probably already seen this in the theater.  Now you can enjoy watching it at home as well.

Family Fun with Tweens:

Dinner Conversation Starter: If you could only eat one food for a month what would it be?

Family Fun Idea:  Break out the Mad Libs and take turns creating silly stories!

Date Night Idea:

Try one of the many adult-themed Mad Libs available.

Weekly Recommendations:

Book Recommendation: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay is a YA book that I ended up loving.  YA is one of my go-to genres, but even if it’s not a genre you normally read, I think you should give this book a chance.  It’s an emotional read about two teens who have survived tragedies and end up finding each other and helping each other heal.

Adult Beverage Recommendation:  Westbrook Brewing Co.’s Key Lime Gose.  I am not a big beer drinker. Nor do I really like key lime pie.  However, I could drink this Key Lime Pie Gose regularly.  It’s one of their seasonal beers that is tangy, sour and tart.  It’s such a refreshing beer that’s perfect for summer.  Although Westbrook Brewing Co. is in South Carolina, we purchased it at a local craft beer shop.

Recipe Recommendation: I made this Seared Scallops over Bacon and Spinach Salad with Cider Vinaigrette recently for dinner when it was just my husband and I.  Although my son loves scallops, I wouldn’t categorize this meal as kid-friendly.  The spinach salad is fairly simple to put together and the dressing really makes this dish stand out.




Your Best Weekend {Vol. 1}

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Welcome to “Your Best Weekend”.  Enjoy a weekly curated list of ideas for self-care, family fun, date nights and more to help you have “your best weekend.”  We are all busy, but we need to make time to enjoy life!

“Better days are coming.  They are called Saturday and Sunday.”  – Unknown


National Bowling Day is Saturday, August 11.  Celebrate with a family fun day out at the lanes.  To make it a date night or girls night out, try moonlight bowling.

Also August 11 is National Garage Sale Day.  Map out a few garage sales in your area.  Give everyone a set amount of money and see who can find the cheapest, weirdest and/or coolest items.


Journal Prompt/Reflection: A weekly prompt to help guide your writing or just get you thinking.
“What do I need more of in my life?”

Exercise: If you are looking for a yoga practice that you can do at home, I highly recommend Yoga with Adriene.  I have linked to the intro of her 30 Days of Yoga.  She also has Yoga Camp, Tru and Revolution, all 30-31 day programs with a different routine every day.  Most videos are 20-30 minutes each that are easy to do in the comfort of your own home.

Shop: If you need a yoga mat, I recommend these Gaiam reversible yoga mats.  Not only are they functional, but they have the prettiest patterns!

Challenge : Start your week off in the right direction by going to bed a half hour earlier than you normally do on Sunday night.  There’s nothing like starting a new week well-rested.

Family Fun with Tweens:

Watch on TV: The 2018 Teen Choice Awards this Sunday, August 12, 8 PM on Fox.  You may not know who many of the nominees are, but your kids will!

Dinner Conversation Starter:  A question to spark some conversation during family dinner time.

“If you could trade places with your parent for the day, what would you do differently?”

Back-to-School: While children in some states have started school already, here in New York and most of the northeast, kids don’t start school until after Labor Day.  Help get your kids get ready by shopping now for all of their school supplies.  Kids love getting to pick out new backpacks and lunch bags.  Get everything on the school supply lists (and stock up up on extras, especially pencils!), while stores are having great deals.  Take your kids with you and give them some time to make their choices.

Weekly Recommendations:


Book Recommendation:  I just finished the book Reading People by Ann Bogel.  This is a non-fiction book where author Bogel explains different personality tests and what you can learn about yourself and others from each one.  She also offers insights and practical applications of each.

Recipe Recommendation:  I recently made these Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil.  It makes use of the juicy peaches that have been on sale at the grocery store.  I am not a big pork chop eater, but these were delicious.  It has such a great combo of flavors! This recipe will be made again before summer ends.


Tween Book Recommendation: I read  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate with my son.  The book is narrated by Ivan, a gorilla, who lives in a shopping mall.  He’s used to his life there with his friends Bob, the dog and Stella, the elephant. He even has a human friend, Julie, the daughter of the cleaner.  But when Ruby, a baby elephant arrives, Ivan decides that he can’t have her end up living a life like his.  Although it is sad at times, it is also a heart-warming story that was loved by both my son and I. Have your older elementary kids read this book now, as it is being made into an animated movie!  While filming has started, a release date has not been announced.

Family Fun Recommendation: Visit an amusement park!  Our family tries to visit at least one amusement park every summer.  We visited Dorney Park earlier this summer and last summer we went to Six Flags Great Escape.  Summer is almost over, so plan your day at the amusement park now.