Tuesday, August 26, 2014

For the Boys

Back to school, means back to birthday parties.  Right?  Ours days of a gift closet stocked with 10 identical gifts, is long gone.  And the quick bolt into learning express seems to be hitting the dust too.  Now more than ever, my three kids are eager to be involved in buying the gift and they really want something individual.

In most cases, Toys"R"Us has been traded in for Sports Authority and Dicks.  Especially for the boys.  Their favorite gift to give is a pair of these Nike elite socks with a gatorade bottle.
 They also love anything by Nerf.  This "fire vision" football comes with night vision goggles.  So, when the sun sets, they can continue to play.
What boy doesn't love a bow and arrow set?  This has been a go-to gift for a number of boys this year.  They especially love the sound it makes when you fire it.

For less sporty gifts, we will go out of our way to hit The Age of Reason toy store in Westport.  It is a wonderful "mom and pop" shop that makes every effort to stock quality gifts.  Their selection is well edited, but truly has something for everyone.  Puzzles, brain teasers, science kits (like none I have ever seen), board games, and tons of stuff for your naturalist or architect .  I also love that they stock interesting books that marry back to the different toys in the shop.  In the spring we bought one friend a bird feeder coupled with a field guide to birds in Connecticut.  

We have a few friends that love the outdoors and have found lots of fun gifts for them at REI.  The headlamp is one of our go-to gifts.  

And the boys love this adventure pack

I love that my kids are starting to recognize that their friends have special interests.  And I love that they are thoughtful enough to consider this when selecting gifts.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Smoke this

Ric and I are both from the south and we love BBQ.  Once we pass that Mason Dixon line, we're all about BBQ, sweet tea and some Chik-fil-A.

Since BBQ joints are a little few and far between in Connecticut, we go out of our way to try them out.  Especially if someone has recommended one.  We can usually tell if it's going to be good if we smell smoke as soon as we get out of the car.

For the past four years, we have enjoyed some favorite places in neighboring towns.  We love Dinosaur Barbecue in Stamford.  The meat is solid and they have combined that simple barbecue idea with some more gourmet touches to create something for everyone.  My kids love the pulled pork, Ric loves the brisket and we all love the pimento cheese/ chorizo appetizer.  Bobby Q's in Westport is also great and smells super smokey when you walk through the corridor to their restaurant.  We love that they serve burnt ends and the trinity (St. Louis Ribs, Caroline BBQ, and Texas Brisket)-- along with one of the largest bourbon selections in the area.  While they have a lot more variety than most Southern BBQ joints, they really do focus on the meat and it's flavor.  Occasionally we will go on Monday nights where kids under 12 eat for $3.00.  That is a rare find in Fairfield County!

This summer while I was home in Atlanta, my sister and I went to one of our favorite gourmet cookware shops, Cooks Warehouse (It's like a Cook Nook but merchandised beautifully http://www.cookswarehouse.com/). Their staff is extremely knowledgeable, they stock top-of-the-line, dream worthy pieces, and they offer cooking classes throughout the week.  As we pulled up, I immediately saw a sign saying "Big Green Egg Sale".  I have NEVER...in my life...ever..seen a BGE sale.  I couldn't get in the door fast enough.

Let me start by saying that BGE's is a type of smoker that can also function as an oven and a grill.  I have talked about these for years, but the price tag has kept me at bay. I knew the sale had to be good enough to load a 150 lb smoker in my car and drive it back to Connecticut-- not to mention,  relocating my daughter from her coveted solo spot in the third row to the middle with two boys in order to accomodate the box (for 15 hours).  This, my friends, would be a labor of love.

Reader, meet Maude, our new smoker.  I am absolutely obsessed!

Our first adventure-- two slabs of ribs smoked for 3 hours and then finished on the grill with some Johnny Harris Sauce.

All of this was served with my very own sweet tea with fresh mint (and a scotch with a massive ice ball for my co-chef)

I know we will use our BGE a ton.  We've smoked brisket and chicken since this first stab at ribs.  And considering we lose power for almost a week every year due to storms, Maude will be our source for cooking everything in the freezer.  Who knows what we will smoke.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Last week of Summer

I really can not believe that there is only one last week left to summer.  We've been busy cleaning closets, filling-in with new kicks and clothes and organizing fall sports equipment.  But we aren't willing to let go so quickly.  Saturday night we enjoyed a healthy Paleo dinner, a specialty cocktail and watched Mrs. Doubtfire.  It was an all around success.

So, lets start with the cocktail.  A Greenwich Insta friend mentioned this drink that happens to be a staple in the Mid Atlantic beach areas.  It's called an Orange Crush and it was delightful.  The biggest recommendation is to use FRESH juice and that shouldn't be hard this time of the year.  Make this drink this week-- you won't be disappointed!

The Orange Crush 

2 oranges, juiced
1.5 ounce vodka
1 ounce orange liqueur
splash of lemon-lime soda
Pour all ingredients into cocktail mixer and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of orange. 
As summer comes to an end, I feel like I need to get my family eating better and cleaner.  We have eaten out so much and we I have hardly made a decent dinner all summer.  Don't get me wrong, we haven't been surviving on junk, but we have had a lot of "throw together" dinners.  Hopefully, being forced into a schedule will correct that.  So, while KF and I were having a mani/pedi yesterday I pulled a Paleo recipe off of Pinterest and committed to making it.  You know what?  It was fantastic.  The chicken is stuffed with a combination of artichoke hearts, spinach, parsley and roasted garlic.  Click HERE for the recipe.   I served it with sautéed spinach (seasoned with kosher salt and garlic) and a packet of quinoa and brown rice (made by Seeds of Change) that I use frequently because it takes only 90 seconds to make...BAM!  

Hopefully I'll keep up with the healthy eating.  Now that KF has officially decided to give up swim team, I won't be at the pool from 6:15pm until 7:30pm three nights a week.  That, my friends, is life changing for all of us.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter my friends!

It's incredible how my Easter baskets have evolved as my kids have gotten older.  While we always use the same Pottery Barn baskets, the contents have changed dramatically!  I've gone from stuffing them with sweet easter board books, small cartons of goldfish and binkys to lulu lemon headbands, minecraft flip flops and Gatorade water bottles.  It's actually fun to pick things for each of their dispositions.  I usually have a running pile of booty that I collect throughout the year and whatever doesn't get used at Easter will be added to the stockings at Christmas.  Of course, all of this is in addition to what the actual Easter bunny brings my littles ;)

KF's basket is always the epitome of her.  This year she got the following:

  • Jesus calling for kids (the sweetest devotional you can buy)
  • Peep lollipop
  • Spray String
  • VV flip flops (that I scored at the sample sale)
  • Skinny Mini Emergency kit (another score at J. Crew)
  • Pompom swimsuit cover-up
  • Gatorade water bottle
  • Glam nailpolish
  • EOS lip balm
  • Lulu lemon headbands
  • Burts Bees Facial towelettes in pink grapefruit
  • Candy

Chomps basket is usually more sporty,but this year had more games

  • Peep lollipop
  • Spray String
  • VV flip flops (that I scored at the sample sale)
  • Gatorade water bottle
  • Bug Slinger
  • EOS lip balm
  • Candy
  • Frog catcher
  • Peg game
  • Flashing bounce balls
  • The British airplane from the movie Planes

Baby J's basket contains anything active that he can play with immediately.  He is my busy child.

  • Peep lollipop
  • Spray String
  • Teva mush flip flops 
  • Gatorade water bottle
  • Bug Slinger
  • EOS lip balm
  • Candy
  • Frog Catcher
  • Grenade
  • Flashing bounce ball

Friday, March 28, 2014

Baby J.. One down-- twenty to go

Holy cuteness... just look at that sweet face.  At SEVEN years old my baby just lost his first tooth.  He was the last kid in his class to lose a tooth and the most excited.  He was watching the movie Muppets Most Wanted at his friend's birthday when it popped out.  Needless to say, he was thrilled to lose a tooth with so many of his good buddies around him.

That night the tooth fairy came and brought a crisp five dollar bill.  

Of course, there has been a chain reaction and several more have begun to get "swaggel-y" as Jackson says.  And a face plant on the Henry's trampoline has definitely made the front tooth next in line for dropping.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Made it Myself Monday-- Tie Dye

I am known to be pretty crafty.  While the left side of my brain loves to create, the right side of my brain hates to get everything so messy.  So, when we take on a craft project, I try to be well organized so the project is smooth and tidy.

KF had her good friend spend the night last week and I pulled out one of my pending projects to try. Sharpie Tie Dyeing.  Leave all those buckets, dye, and rubber bands behind, this is faster and cuter (in my opinion).

Here is what you will need:

  • Tee Shirt (we used oversized for nightshirts)
  • Pom Pom Trim (optional)
  • Sharpies (we used the new NEON version)
  • Red Solo cups
  • Rubbers bands
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Medicine Dropper


  1. Slip a plastic cup in-between the front and back of the tee shirt.  When you find a spot that you like, pull the fabric taught over the lip of the cup and put an elastic band around the cup.  I usually place about three to four cups in the shirt at a time.
  2. Use your sharpies to draw designs.  These designs will "spread" with the rubbing alcohol.  We made snowflakes, hearts, and scalloped borders along the outside to give the designs a circular feel.  
  3. Drop the rubbing alcohol on the design.  If you use too much, it will just go into the cup (love that!).  Watch the design transform.  At this point, if you want more color, let it dry and add more designs and more alcohol.
  4. I used a hairdryer to dry as I went.  This takes about one minute (also love).
  5. Keep moving the cups and designing until you have a design that you are pleased with.
  6. We sewed some pom pom trim to the bottom of the shirt just to make it even cuter.  If you have a sewing machine this takes less than 3 minutes.  In fact, I let the ten year olds do this part themselves.  

And there you have it...no mess tie dye!

Sample Sale Season!

Many of you have asked me about this sale.  So here are early details.

Sample Sale!

Thursday, October 10th  10am - 8pm
Friday October 11th  10am - 4pm

Greenwich Boys and Girls Club
4 Horseneck Lane Greenwich, CT 06830

and don't forget what starts at 8am today

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Baby Starbucks

I love Starbucks.  Seriously.

When we lived in New York, we probably hit the Starbucks a couple of times a day.  There was one on the block where we lived and another just outside my office.

Once we had children, I couldn't exactly get something for myself and ignore that little bundle in her stroller.  So, KF would get a strawberry smoothie to sip.  Fast forward, we now have three little bundles and trust me, Starbucks can become a line item in your budget if you are going frequently and buying everyone a drink.

Needless to say, I have cut back by habit tremendously.

If you like to take your little ones to the coffee shop, here are some great non-caffeine options

  • HOT CHOCOLATE-- You can have the barista make the original (which has a richer and darker flavor).  If you have a picky eater, you can have the barista heat a horizon chocolate milk.  Whip Cream optional.
  • PASSION ICED TEA-- This is a Hibiscus (read: Berry) flavored tea-- sweeten it with plain or raspberry simple syrup and I promise your bundle will love it.  Alternatively, you can have the barista cut the tea with lemonade.
  • SMOOTHIE-- orange mango, strawberry or chocolate are all available and they are pretty good!
  • BABYCCINO-- Think of this as a cappuccino but with no coffee added.  Frothy milk is fancy for the younger set!
  • BLENDED STRAWBERRY LEMONADE-- made with strawberry puree, lemonade, cream base and sweetener.
  • CARMEL APPLE SPICE-- This is apple cider heated up with carmel and whipped cream on top.  And again, if you have a picky eater, you could also have the barista heat up an apple juice from the refrigerated area.
  • RASPBERRY ITALIAN SODA-- using a pellegrino from the front case, ask the barista to add a couple pumps of Raspberry syrup and if you want, some sweetener.
  • SYRUP CREME FRAPPUCCINO-- Strawberries & Creme, Vanilla Bean, and Double Chocolatey Chip are all made without any coffee and with a caffeine free base. 
  • VANILLA STEAMER-- This is my kid's favorite.  It's 2% milk with a couple pumps of vanilla syrup.
There is no reason not to make the coffee shop a fun place for the smaller set.  In fact, for an after school treat, it's definitely easier on your waistline if they choose it over the ice cream shop!  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Where I come from

I am from the peach state, but yesterday, we were doing our peach picking at Silverman's in Easton, Connecticut.  The weather had a hint of fall in it and the sky was a brilliant blue.  I combination that always reminds me of the morning of September 11th.  We headed out early and enjoyed the farm's petting zoo first.  They had all sorts of interesting animals.  The kids laughed as I called them all by wrong names (emu/ostrich, reindeer/deer, bison/buffalo ..really, what's the difference).  For the first time in a long time, I sat back and watched my kids genuine excitement.  They are quickly approaching the age where screams of delight and running for pure excitement at a petting zoo will not exist.  So, I indulged in the moment.

There was one BIG buzzkill of the day.  They only had doughnut peaches for picking.  So, we picked our minimum of 20 pounds and now I have to figure out what to do with all these little peaches.  I'm pretty sure the uses are limited.  However, if you know of one or ten recipes, please send them my way (cough, cough...Mrs. White).

 We ended our stay with a play on the playground.  I loved the wooden structures.  The bench that the kids are sitting on was their largest tree on the property tht fell when Sandy came through.  Such a great use for a sentimental tree.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Recipe du Jour

The farmers market has so many wonderful veggies this time of year.  With beach/swim time and activities to keep the kids occupied, I am always looking for recipes that are delicious, but more importantly, quick to prepare.  I found this recipe in Real Simple Magazine and it is a slam dunk!  My kids love it and it only takes about 10 minutes to put together.  Tonight I served it with Salmon and Quinoa and it really hit the spot.  Definitely add this to your weekly menu.

Pea, Fete and Crispy Prosciutto Salad

  • 2 thin slices of prosciutto (2 ounces)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh peas (about 2 cups) or two cups of frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces Feta, crumbled (1⁄2 cup)
  • scallions, thinly sliced


  1. Heat oven to 450° F. Place the prosciutto in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until beginning to darken, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool (the prosciutto will crisp as it cools), then crumble.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the peas and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes (1 to 2 minutes if frozen). Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the peas with the oil, Feta, scallions, prosciutto, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

KF.. Eleven Down-- Nine to go!

The First Molar finally came out on our car ride home from Atlanta this summer.  Of course, she promptly lost the actual tooth before we made it to Darien.  I am sure I will find it in the floorboard of the car when I finally get to vacuuming and cleaning it.  No joke, there is an equivalent to a four course meal on the floor.

We have had our first consultation with the ortho and are now waiting for the remaining molars in KF's mouth to come out so we can get started with the braces.  It's actually a lot of patience on our side as we would love to get those teeth corrected sooner rather than later.  Thankfully our wonderful ortho has stressed the importance of timing and has said that if we can just wait for the right timing, that her time in braces will be much shorter.

The above chart shows the teeth she has lost, to date.  The "M"s indicates that the tooth is missing.  One which we lost in the car, two swallowed, and one of her front teeth which I have somehow lost...ugh.

I'm a little obsessed with the teeth...can you tell?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

End of School Stats 2013

We Spent our final day of school in Martha's Vineyard.  Best last day of school. Ever.

Here are the stats for the 2012/13 school year

Baby J (6.4)
Starting Height: 47"
Ending Height: 50 1/2" or 4' 2 1/2"

Starting Weight: 51.2
Ending Weight: 55.5

Chomps (8.1)
Starting Height: 53 1/2"
Ending Height: 57.5" or 4' 9 1/2"

Starting Weight: 78.0
Ending Weight: 81.6

KF (10)
Starting Height: 53 1/2"
Ending Height: 56 1/4" or 4' 8 1/4"

Starting Weight: 79.6
Ending Weight: 81.9 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bath Time with The Peach

I'm definitely the type of girl that likes to take a long shower.  It's the only time that I am guaranteed no chaos and a little bit of thinking time.  So, in my shower, I clear my mind and plot my course for the day.  I work through problems, come up with things to google, and make my mental to-do list.

For the past few months, I have been indulging in Molton Brown Bath and Shower gels.  Their products are so rich and the scents are so saturated-- that I smell them all day long.  Last week, when I ran out of my last bottle I used the Neutrogena rain bath (which I usually love ) and was shocked at the difference.

If you are considering giving these babies a whirl, try my three favorite scents...