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.
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.
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!
(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policy for additional information.) As the kids get older, family game nights get fewer and far between. Busy schedules mean less time when we are all home together. However, when we do get the occasional opportunity when we are all home together, the kids love a fun family game night! I’ve already posted about some of our game night favorites, but wanted to share three more new-to-us games that we’ve been enjoying recently.
Cat Chaos – Cat Chaos is a fast-paced, card swapping game from Ginger Fox Games. The game consists of 100 cards (4 cards of each of 25 different Cat Celebrities) like David Meowie, Hairy Potter, Pawdrey Hepburn and more. Four cards are placed face up in the center of the table. The rest of the cards are dealt face down to the players in six piles. When the youngest player says, “meow” the game begins.
Picking up only one pile of cards at a time, players must swap their cards with the cards in the center to create a group of four of the same card. When a complete matching set is made, the player yells out the name of the completed set, i.e. “Luke Skywhisker” Although the game can be played with two players, we have found that it is more fun with all four of us playing. It is a quick game and is easy to learn. When we want to play a quick family game, this has been our go-to. Plus, it’s small and easily transportable to take with us when we travel.
Picwits!(c/o MindWare) – Picwits! is another fun card game consisting of picture cards and captions.
Players are given six picture cards. The judge turns over a caption card and each player needs to choose one of their picture cards that they think best matches the caption. The judge chooses their favorite and the player who submitted that picture card wins the caption.
The game ends when one player collects 4-7 caption cards, depending on the number of players. This game is similar in format to games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity (for adults). I never realized how long this game has been around, as it won the 2013/Spring Parents’ Choice Fun Stuff Award Winner for board games! This is always a fun game for us to play. There are a variety of picture cards ranging from the cute to funny. It’s interesting to see the different picture cards we choose to match the caption and which card the judge picks as their favorite.
Details: Ages: 10+ Time:- approximately 30 minutes a game Players: 4+
Q*bitz (c/o MindWare) – On the total opposite end of the game spectrum is Q*bitz. This is a visual dexterity game. The game consists of four wooden trays with a set of sixteen colored cubes in each tray. The game is played in three rounds.
In the first round, one of the 100 picture cards is turned over. Using the colored cubes in their tray, players race to recreate the same pattern that is on the card. The first player to accurately do so, wins the round. The second round involves cube rolling. A new card is turned over and players roll all sixteen of their cubes, selecting the cubes that match the pattern. They continue to roll the unused cubes until they have recreated the pattern on the card. The first person to do this wins the round. In the last round, a card is turned over, and players have ten seconds to memorize it. Then the card is turned face down and the first player to recreate the pattern or comes closest to recreating it wins the round.
This is a quieter, more individual, but still fast paced game. We’ve played this game with just two of us as well as the whole family. It really tests players’ visual skills and dexterity. Our least favorite round is the memory round and sometimes we just skip that round and replay one of the other rounds. This game has won multiple awards, including the Parent’s Choice Gold Award.
The Details: Ages: 8+ Time: 15-25 minutes Players: 4
(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policy for additional information.) Happy Friday! I am looking forward to getting that extra hour of sleep on Sunday when we fall back! My daughter’s last field hockey game of the season is this afternoon. As of now, they tied one game and have won all of the rest! They did amazing and it was so fun watching them. I’m actually sad that it will be over after today! My son is spending two nights camping with his Boy Scout troop. So, it will be just three of us for most of the weekend. We won’t be doing too much, since I don’t like being too far away when he’s camping out. Here are five from this week:
1. Reading – The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff. This is my in-person book club’s November pick. The story is about a traveling circus in Europe during WWII. I love historical fiction taking place during this time period and am enjoying this book.
2. Watching – This week I watched the movie Booksmart. It’s about two academic overachievers who want to let loose and live it up on their last day of high school. They decide to go to the biggest end of the year party, but of course, hit some snags along the way. I thought it was just okay and don’t understand the 97% rotten tomatoes score.
4. Flu Shot – Not a favorite, but last weekend I got my flu shot. I’m not sure if it’s early, late or just the right time to get one. But, a friend at work’s husband and kids both had the flu the week before. I really don’t want to get sick, so I made sure I got to urgent care to get my shot. The kids already got their flu shots, but my husband still needs one.
5. Halloween – I felt so bad for the kids that it rained on Halloween! They both went to the middle school Halloween dance Wednesday night and went out trick-or-treating with friends on Halloween. Connor wore this Akatsuki cloak and headband which he loosely based off of a character from his favorite Netflix show, Naruto. For the dance my daughter was Cinnamon (she wore a red t-shirt with a colored printout of a McCormick cinnamon jar taped to the front), along with her friends Nutmeg and Paprika and they were “the Spice Girls.” Halloween, she and a different group of friends dressed up as the characters from Friends. She was Ross…..she wore a pair of my husband’s jeans and a white t-shirt…..don’t ask. Sadly, because of the horrible, rainy weather both nights and being in a rush to get her places, I did not get a single picture of her! #badmom My husband took Connor out trick-or-treating with his friends to a nearby condo complex and Abby went to her friend’s house with the rest of the “Friends” cast for trick-or-treating and scary movie watching. So, this was the first Halloween in forever that I was actually home to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters. All five who braved the rain! Yes, only five of them. Good thing I bought candy that we like!
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I’m ending the month with a wrap up of some of our October Favorites! We are talking food, entertainment, family fun and more. I even quizzed the kids about their favorites this month to share with you!
Is it fall without eating cider donuts?!
Dana’s favorite, besides the donuts, were the pierogies we enjoyed for lunch from Helena’s Specialty Foods. Homemade, with different fillings, like jalapeno bacon and Farmer’s cheese.
Earlier this month we had gone to lunch down in the city with Dana’s family. We went to a Vietnamese restaurant and I got to enjoy this Chicken Vermicelli, which is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes.
And I can’t forget about this chicken sandwich I had from the Phoenicia Diner. I love a good crispy chicken sandwich and this one didn’t disappoint. It was topped with spinach, Swiss cheese, smoked tomato jam and a chipotle aioli.
We didn’t go apple picking this fall, but we finally did not one corn maze, but two at Kelder’s Farm!
We also visited the Catskills. We were hosted by the Emerson Resort & Spa and had such a nice fall weekend away.
We tried the Catskills Rail Explorers for the first time too, which was a lot of fun. I am all about new experiences for the family.
We hiked Giant Ledge, which I believe is the tallest hike that we’ve done so far. And we got to enjoy this amazing view! Fall foliage wasn’t at its peak, but we still felt like we were on top of the world!
Date nights are few and far between…..something we need to work on. However, this month, we enjoyed seeing An American in Paris at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. Before kids, we used to see Broadway shows in NYC all the time. Now, we don’t get down to the city very often. Neither of us had seen this show before, so it was a fun night out.
Books: I didn’t read as many books as I usually do this month. But, out of the four books that I did finish, three of them were four star reads! This month, I recommend, After The End, Three Amazing Things About You and Someone We Know. I’ll be writing full book reviews in my October Reads post on November 12. Dana’s been listening to ALL the audio books on his commute to work. His favorite this month was The Science of Motivation by Brian Tracy.
Movies: We didn’t watch too many movies this month but both my husband and I really enjoyed Rocketman.
Television: I have been watching the second season of Working Moms (Netflix). I’ve also started watching for the first time, Fleabag (Amazon Prime) and Schitt’s Creek (Netflix). My husband and I have watched two of the four episodes of David Chang’s new show on Netflix Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Beauty: For the past four months or so, Dana’s been sporting a mustache and beard. It took awhile for me to get used to it, since I’ve never been a fan of facial hair on him. But it really suits him and it’s grown on me. His favorite this month has been Bedhead For Men Fuel Around beard oil. He uses it every morning after getting out of the shower.
The Kids October Favorites:
TV – She’s been binge watching Friends and Breaking Bad (Netflix). This was the first I’ve heard of her watching Breaking Bad! #Badparent
Book – Her favorite book this month was The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. It’s been sitting on my to read bookshelf for years. She’s beaten me to reading it.
Food – One of her favorite meals this month was Egg Roll in a Bowl, which I have posted on the blog.
Clothing – She’s been living in her hoodie sweatshirts. She doesn’t have a particular favorite. She just likes them oversized.
Makeup – My daughter wears more makeup than I do….basically because I wear none. Even though she’s been blessed with long, beautiful eye lashes, she makes them stand out even more with L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Makeup Lash Paradise Mascara, which is her favorite.
Video Games – He’s been playing Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 on the Xbox nonstop. He also recently started playing Overwatch again because of the special Halloween event.
TV – When he’s not playing video games, he’s watching Naruto on Netflix.
Book – His favorite book this month is actually the manga series One Piece. Do you see the theme here? (He’s obsessed with all things Japanese.)
Clothing – Not sure if it qualifies as “clothing” but he’s been loving his Halloween costume. He’s been wearing his Akatsuki cloak and headband ALL the time.
Food – His favorite dinner was blueberry pancakes. If this kid could eat breakfast for every meal he would!
Family Fun – The top on his list was the corn maze!
Welcome to Weekend Reading! I’ll be sharing links to some articles or fun things I’ve read or seen throughout the week. Grab your cup of coffee and a comfy blanket and enjoy!
1.November 1st is World Vegan Day and Ben & Jerry’s is celebrating by giving away a free scoop of their non-dairy ice cream to customers between the hours of 4 – 8 PM! They have 10 flavors to choose from!
2. After your kids go trick-or-treating next week, check out some ideas on what to do with all the leftover candy!
How is it already the last weekend of October?! This month has just flown by. We had a busy weekend, which you’ll read more about below. But the rest of this week has been pretty uneventful, minus regular mom duty a.k.a chauffeuring the kids around to their activities, cooking dinner, laundry, cleaning, etc.! My daughter has one more week of field hockey left in the season. Her team has improved so much from last year and currently are undefeated, with one tie. It’s so fun to watch her and her team play. Our weekend plans are still up in the air at the moment, so we will see what adventures it brings! Here are five from this week:
Reading – I am finishing up Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell. This is a chick lit/contemporary romance book that I’m really enjoying! It’s my first book by this author but I will be checking more of her books out.
Celebrating – The Peekskill Brewery celebrated their 11th anniversary this past weekend with a block party. We stopped by and my husband enjoyed “Peaceful Border.” This Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout was a collaboration of the Peekskill Brewery and Peaceful Provisions, the amazing vegan doughnut shop that I’ve raved about in a past Five on Friday. Well, we got a surprise when we discovered that the first 48 people who purchased “Peaceful Border” got a complimentary Mexican Hot Chocolate Doughnut! Win, win! And yes, it was delicious. (And please ignore the horrible nail polish job! My nail polish had chipped horribly, but was so difficult to take off! ……Thus the half on/half off color in this pick! LOL!)
Date Night – Sunday evening, my husband and I enjoyed a night at the dinner theatre. The Westchester Broadway Theatre hosted us to see their newest production, An American in Paris. We love seeing Broadway shows and I had never seen this musical.
Baking – I haven’t done much baking recently. So Saturday, I made some Cinnamon Apple Muffins. I didn’t even add the cinnamon, sugar, butter topping and they were tasty. I ended up freezing most of them and they’ll be great for quick breakfasts.