Thursday, July 14, 2016

Life Lately

Life Lately has been crazy busy. We have had birthdays, graduations, parties, orientations ... all good stuff. So this post is a little bit of this and a little bit of that to kind of catch up on what's been going on the past couple of months in my neck of the woods. ;)

First up, my "little" girl turned 16!!!!


She loves whales so we had a whale themed party. These cookies were made by my local bakery. Aren't they cute?!


We had a cute little candy bar set up. It was a great day celebrating with family. I promise to share more photos in a separate post. :)

And, she did not waste any time taking her learner's permit test. This girl is dying to drive a car. She passed!!! :O


And...this boy turned 18 and graduated high school. Dang! Do I feel old. LOL!!


He got to wear a special tassel as part of the French National Honor Society. So proud. Lots more pictures to come in another post. ;)

Next up, my sweet niece Mia turned 6!! She had a rainbow themed pool party. The weather was perfect for it! Here are a few shots from the day. :)




To round up the festivities, we just returned home from attending Dylan's freshman orientation. It was a jam packed two days of more information than I could process. Seriously. I felt like I was back in college with all the notes I took. LOL. But, after being back a few days, I *think* we have a handle on it all. Wish us Luck!!! Dylan will be attending Binghamton University in the fall. He is so excited and I am too...for him. I'm sure I will miss him like crazy but this is the next step in this crazy thing called life. I was talking to a friend and I told her I think I will feel it most at dinner time. We eat dinner as a family without fail every night so it is definitely going to feel a bit "weird" without him there.

Here are the cutest little cupcakes they served us for dessert:


And here's Dylan right before we left to come home:


See?! I told you it's been a crazy couple of months. Next week we leave for the beach! I CANNOT WAIT! This mama needs it. :D

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Stranded! Famous People Edition


Today I am linking up with Shay and Erika for their stranded series. This month it's all about three famous people you would pick to be stranded with on a deserted island. This was tricky...much trickier than I thought.

So, here goes...

The first famous person I would pick to be stranded with on a deserted island would be Tim McGraw. I think it would be fun to have him sing to me on a daily basis. And, lets face it, he's not bad to look at either. ;)




Next up would have to be someone who can make me laugh. Being stranded on a deserted island, one would most certainly need a sense of humor. Am I right?! And, for that reason I choose Ray Romano. I think he is hilarious. Plus, I go to bed with him every night...watching Everybody Loves Raymond reruns on tv. :D


Finally, I think I need someone who is motivational and uplifting. This selection was a bit harder to narrow down to just one person. My family would disagree and be able to tell you right off the bat who it would be for this category. I guess I watch and listen to him quite a bit. LOL! Joel Osteen. I find him to be so motivating without being too preachy. I always get something out of his sermons or talks. So, yes. He would be my third and final choice. :) This was FUN!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday! I tell ya. The last couple of weeks of school seem to drag on and on. I've got exactly 14 more school days left and then my little preschoolers and I are out for the summer! WooHoo! So, if anytime during this Friday Favorites post I might seem overly excited over nothing too exciting, now you know why. ;)

First up for me is this turquoise necklace that Cameran Eubanks wore on a past episode of Southern Charm. Goodness gracious I love this show along with The Real Housewives of Dallas. I am a Bravo TV junkie. But, I digress. LOL! I love this necklace. I need this necklace. But I cannot find it anywhere. I have scoured the internet. I found one that I like almost as much but not quite as much. She needs to have a rstyle account so she can link all of her fabulous pieces that she wears on the show.

Here is Cameran's necklace:


And here is one I found on HSN:


See what I mean? Cute but not quite right. If anyone knows where I can find it, just holler. :)

Next up is this Free People dress. It is fantastic. It's comfortable. It has pockets. And the fringe and stitching detail on top is so fun! I predict lots of wear outta this one. ;) Here I paired it with my new favorite necklace from Forever 21 and my wedges I bought for $15.00 at Nordstrom Rack. WooHoo!


My next favorite thing is crafting. I love to craft with my preschoolers and for myself. I scrapbook and make cards all the time. Last Saturday just happened to be National Scrapbook Day. There were quite a few challenges and things going on on Facebook and I was so happy that I got to actually create a few things before we went out to enjoy the weekend as a family.

Here are my cards:




And here are a couple of scrapbook layouts as well:




And last week we spent lots of time in class making sweet crafts for Mamas Day! Here is one of my favorites...


And, finally, over the weekend I hit up two of my favorite stores...Williams Sonoma and Bath & Body Works. I got a new bundt pan and lemon cake mix. I'm a sucker for anything lemon. It's my absolute favorite flavor!


While I was at it, I picked up lemon soap too and a couple of other sweet smelling scents. :)


I hope y'all enjoyed my Friday Favorites. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Stranded!

Well, isn't this a fun topic to link up!! If you were stranded on an island, what three books would you make sure to bring with you. I am linking up with Shay Ms. Mix and Match Mama herself at www.shullfamily.blogspot.com and Erika from www.tabanderika.blogspot.com.

Well, the obvious ones would be the Bible, a couple of my photo albums and I would seriously be good to go. But, I didn't want to let myself off so easily. ;)

So, I thought about it and thought about it and here is what I came up with...

I am Catholic so I thought instead of the Bible, what book could I bring that would bring me peace and keep me close to God. I know!! I would bring a treasury of prayers or a prayer book. That way I could always refer back to a favorite prayer or even just the prayer for that particular day of the week That's assuming I would even know what day of the week it is. LOL!!!

This is what I would bring:


Next up would most definitely have to be something by my one of favorite authors either Emily Bronte or Jane Austen. I remember taking a Women in Literature class in high school and falling in love with Austen and the Bronte sisters. If I had to pick one, it would be Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. One of the best books ever written. I kid you not!


Here is a little bit about it found on Goodreads...

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr Earnshaw's death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

Lastly, I though ooh maybe I'll choose a vegetarian cookbook but then I thought really!? How am I cooking?! On what stove or in what oven? I grew up in the city so this girl has no knowledge whatsoever on how to start a fire out of two sticks. HA!!!!

So, I opted for a book that would make me laugh. Erma Bombeck is brilliant and witty and downright hilarious. If you have never read her, I suggest you start with this book:


"America's irrepressible doyenne of domestic satire."
THE BOSTON GLOBE
Madcap, bittersweet humor in classic Erma Bombeck-style. You'll laugh until it hurts and love it! "Any mother with half a skull knows that when Daddy's little boy becomes Mommy's little boy, the kid is so wet, he's treading water. What do you mean you're a participle in the school play and you need a costume? Those rotten kids. If only they'd let me wake up in my own way. Why do they have to line up along my bed and stare at me like Moby Dick just washed up onto a beach somewhere?" (less)

And there you have my picks!

This was so FUN!!!

My Personal Style

Tuesday, Andrea over at www.momfessionals.com hosted a link up regarding your personal style. Some people went all out and included the styles around their home. I didn't even think of that. I immediately thought of my personal style as it pertains to the clothes and accessories I wear. I will have to save the house style idea for another day. It's a good one!

I most definitely have a style. I like flowy tops. I like embroidered anything. I like dresses in the summer. And I love a good statement necklace. If I had to pick a favorite clothing company or store, it's a toss up between Free People and Anthropologie. Now, I don't always shop there because let's be real the prices aren't the best. And, since I am on a preschool teacher's salary ... well, you get the idea. ;) So, more often than not, I find most of my tops, dresses and costume jewelry in store like Forever 21 or Old Navy. :)

Here are some of my favorite new tops from Anthro (black) and Free People (stripes) which were all bought on super duper sale. I love the gauze bottoms! They are a fun little surprise.


This necklace is from Forever 21. It was under $10.00!


This necklace is by my absolute favorite jewelry designer ... Amrita Singh. More on her later. ;) I picked this baby up at TJ Maxx.

Here are some of my favorite embroidered tops and dresses. They are all from Forever 21!!!




And these next two are from a fun little online shop called shop cissie. They are two sisters from Arizona who carry the cutest trendy stuff. I wear these two out all summer long. LOL!



Ok. So, enough about the clothes I wear. Let's talk accessories I am a sucker for a statement necklace. Most days I don't wear any other accessory but a fun necklace. It's by far my favorite accessory. As I mentioned before, Amrita Singh is my favorite designer. She has a website but I get most of my pieces from TJ Maxx. They are affordable and that way I can buy more. ;)

Here are just a few of my favorite Amrita Singh pieces...


And there you have my personal style in a nutshell. Boho embroidered chic with a bold statement necklace. :)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up - Basketball and Bed

So this weekend was a little bit of this and a lot of nothing. LOL On Friday night, we had plans for dinner and D League basketball with our friend Frank. Since he moved to south Jersey, we don't see him as much as we used to. Dylan and I were supposed to meet them for diner at 5:30 and then head over to the game which started at 7. Well, I get to the restaurant exit on the highway, 30 minutes away, when I realize that I forgot the tickets to the game on the kitchen counter! ARGH!!! So, we had to go all the way back home and just ended up meeting the guys at the game.

But, I got to wear my new dress/top from Riff Raff. I love that it is a little funky and a little boho yet feminine and pretty.


We also got to see Jimmer Fredette right before he was called up the play for the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. That was AMAZING! That boy can shoot a basketball.

Tip Off ..


Getting ready to throw a couple of free throws ...


And Jimmer shooting a technical shot ...


The Kicks won by 20 points and scored over 100 points!

Here is a shot of the boy and me in our seats in between quarters. :)


The next day Frank had to leave early, Stew had a dentist appointment and the kids had plans with friends. I pretty much hung around the house and was a lazy bum. LOL! We even ordered in sushi for dinner and ate on paper plates.

So, Sunday meant getting down to business. But first things first was church. My friend Christine's daughter, Madison, just returned home from a church mission and on Sunday was her homecoming. She spoke in church about it. It was wonderful. I felt so honored to be there.

Here is a shot of Christine, Trina and me. I have known and loved these two ladies for over 15 years. They are truly the best people!


After church, we ran errands at BJ's and the grocery store and for lunch, the family ate the quesalupa. Ever since they saw the commercial a few weeks ago, they have been dying to try it. The verdict was it was good but the quesarito is better. I stuck to my bean burrito and potato soft taco. ;)


On Sunday nights, Stew always grills something. Tonight was a pork loin rubbed up with one of the various rubs from his stash. The names of them or the descriptions always crack me up. He has one for chicken that says it is guaranteed to enhance your breasts. Chicken breasts of course. LOL!!! This one is Rub Some Butt. I mean. Realy?! Ha!


I prepped snacks and lunches for the week and went to bed nice and early. Mondays after a week off are hard. But only a few more weeks until spring break. Yeehaw!!


Friday, January 29, 2016

Slow Cooker Lentils

With Ash Wednesday fast approaching, this year it is on February, 10th, I decided I better start gathering some meatless recipes. There is just so much tuna noodle casserole and eggplant parmesan a girl can eat. ;)

If you are unfamiliar with Ash Wednesday and Lent, let me give you a little background. As a Roman Catholic, you must abstain from eating meat and all foods made with meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent which lead up to Easter Sunday.

Since I am Italian, my go to is pasta. I love anything served over pasta...peas, beans, etc. I also have a thing for lentils especially as an alternative to meat. I have always used my mom's recipe, but being a mom of busy teens, I went in search for a slow cooker recipe. I found one that I doctored up to my liking and thought I would share it with you. Trust me you will love this meatless meal even if you are not a bean lover. :)



Ingredients:

1 (1 lb) bag of dried brown lentils, rinsed (I only use Goya)


2 medium carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced


2 (32oz) cartons of chicken broth
1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste


1/2 cup dry sherry
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

-Spray slow cooker with cooking spray or insert a liner

-Mix all ingredients in slow cooker


-Cover and cook on low for 10 hours

-Serve over ditalini pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

I also found this Lentil Soup with Rice & Spinach Recipe on italianfood.about.com that I thought sounded fabulous if you have a bit more time to for meal prep.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup short-grained rice
1 cup lentils, soaked for 4 hours
1 bunch spinach, washed and cut into strips
2 cloves garlic
An onion
1 rib celery
1 cup plain tomato sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper


Rinse the lentils and cook them for 45 minutes in 2 quarts of water with the onion, celery, and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the lentils with a slotted spoon, and strain the broth, discarding the celery.

Slice the onion and sauté it in a pot with the oil and the garlic for 3 minutes, then add the tomato sauce and cook 2 minutes more. Add the lentils and the spinach, and then the lentil broth.

When the soup comes to a boil add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is done, about 15 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

I plan on sharing my family's favorite Lenten meatless meals with you every week. :)