Celebrating 20 years together!

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

I haven’t posted anything for a while because well, I’m blocked.  My brain hasn’t been able to produce any new words or ideas.  It’s so frustrating and when I try to create something new, there’s two little, beautiful girls screaming their heads off right behind me so needless to say, I can’t concentrate on my writing.  In my house there’s no room where I can lock myself in and write, with the exception of the bathroom, but they still find me in there and literally sit outside the door and wait for me to come out.  Precious, I know.

Anyway, a milestone was celebrated yesterday and I wanted to share it with you.  My husband and I still celebrate our dating anniversary.  We don’t do gifts, just basked in the day, each other, and the knowledge of how long we’ve been together.  20 years ago, my husband came over to my parents house and presented me with a red rose.  The previous day, over the phone, he had asked me to go out with him and I had replied yes.  We decided to make the fourth of August our anniversary because it was the day when we saw each other and the rose sealed our commitment as newly boyfriend and girlfriend.  Yesterday, we spent the mid-morning into early afternoon at the beach, on a beautiful day, celebrating with our two little girls.

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Don’t you just love the way I shield my bathing suit body with my daughters.  🙂  Works every time!

We like going to the beaches at Far Rockaway, specifically Beach 59.  We’ve never had a problem there and afterwards we decided that a good pizza pie was in order.  We finished the day at home relaxing.

I hope to celebrate many more years with my high school sweetheart and I hope I can inspire you all to simply LOVE.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Funny face friday and congrats are in order

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

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I made this funny face lunch for my oldest daughter today.  It consisted of a mini raspberry muffin/doughnut, two mayo and cheese sandwiches, apple slices (in a bowl to look like a hat), mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, a big cherry tomato, and green salad.  I wasn’t able to make another one for my youngest because she was resting due to a fever. 😦  Once she woke up I gave her liquids, Cheerios, and apple slices.

I also wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS to my lil’ sis whose been a great supporter of my blog (reading and liking my post entries).  She was promoted today to Detective in the NYPD!

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We’re very proud of you Detective!

Keep shooting for the stars and hitting them hard, but always stay safe!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

I went away on vacation…

…but I’m back.

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

I have a love/hate relationship with packing for a vacation.  Of course, I LOVE the fact that we’re going away to someplace new or someplace where we had a great time before.  I HATE having to think of all the clothes, toiletries, toys, etc. that we need to take with us and packing for three people (myself and my daughters).  I try to pack outfits for each day for Olivia and Sophia, but then I start wondering, “what if it’s cool or what if one of them has an accident,” so more clothes go into the suitcase.  It’s great to have options, but I don’t want to over pack, but then again I don’t want to under pack.  Ugh!!!  See what I mean?  It’s a vicious cycle, but I think I did well last week.  We were able to pack everyone’s clothes and shoes in two suitcases and an overnight bag.

Since we had a wonderful time at a resort in South Lee, Massachusetts last year, we decided to return this year.  The resort (Oak N’ Spruce) does need some major upgrading regarding their townhouses (that’s where we stayed and the rug was FILTHY!), but their pools and mini golf course are great along with the location of the resort, which is situated to many great attractions.

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We travelled to nearby Pittsfield, where there’s a quaint little town full of shops and restaurants along with a library, which we dropped in.  The children’s section offered toys, several sitting areas, and books galore.  My girls had fun playing with a dollhouse and stuff animals.  Olivia was amazed with finding books that she had read in her school.  It was very peaceful in there.  I loved it!

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Olivia finishing up a book and Sophia having fun with the puzzles at the Library

We also visited the Berkshire Mall where we saw a movie, Despicable Me 2, for the first time as a family!  It was great.  We had a big tub of popcorn as well as a giant blue raspberry drink.  I know, it was sugar chaos/heaven, but we shared it together.

The ultimate find at the mall was a Bouncy House play area, which we went to twice.  I even snuck into one of the bouncy houses and bounced my heart out with Olivia!  🙂  Needless to say my girls had a blast!

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Awesome place!  If we go back to Lee, Massachusetts we’ll definitely look for this place again.

We ate at some great places and I got a chance to visit the Lee Premium Outlets (got my shopping on) throughout the week.  All in all we had a great time being together as a family and can’t wait to go on our next vacation in August to Virginia.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Comparing First and Last day of School pictures

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

I wanted to share this idea, which I did with my daughter, that I saw on Pinterest.  On Olivia’s first day of school we took pictures, of course, but I also took pictures on her last day of school so we could compare and see how much she grew.  Boy, did she ever!

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Her sweet, little baby face has disappeared and in its place is a sweet, little girl who had so much fun learning.  I’m going to do this every school year so I can see my little girl grow into a fine adult.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Queens Botanical Garden

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

One can live in a certain place for a long time without ever visiting certain tourist attractions or landmarks.  In my case, I regrettably never visited the Twin Towers here in New York City, which is why I’ve decided to venture out more with my family and see what this great city has to offer.  I’m done with taking advantage of it.  It’s time to explore and make memories.  Plus, we have a COOL Culture Family Pass (http://www.coolculture.org/programs/cool-culture-family-pass), which is a pass that offers families free admission to 90 cultural institutions if they have children enrolled in Pre-K or Kindergarten.

This past Saturday, we visited, for the first time, the Queens Botanical Garden at 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, New York.  We went around mid-morning and this place can be easily described as beautiful and absolutely peaceful or as my husband put it, “completely Zen.”

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As you can see my daughters had a blast.  My youngest, Sophia, loved running around the grass while my oldest, Olivia, loved throwing herself and laying down on the grass.

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I had fun taking pictures of all the flowers and…

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…this little fella.   I got close enough to zoom my camera in and take a great pic of him or her!

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At the Wedding Garden everything is set up so you can get married there.  Isn’t it wonderful?

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My husband enjoyed the Herb Garden and I greatly enjoyed visiting the Queens Botanical Garden with my family.  We will definitely be visiting again soon.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Celebration Recap

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.

My youngest daughter is officially three and we had a birthday week-end celebration with friends and family.  We broke things down by celebrating her actual birthday on Friday, just us in the house.  I wanted to make a small (I like the Jiffy cake mix), funfetti cake

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and it was the perfect time to try out these Bake-Even Cake Strips (Wilton) that I’ve seen online and found on sale at AC Moore craft store.

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I didn’t realize I went overboard on the sprinkles until…

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…the cake was done and I flipped it out of the baking pan.

As you can see the cake strip (around the pan) worked, but there were noticeable differences other than the cake dome that appears when you don’t use this strip.  The cake sticks to the side of the pan more and the bottom was moist when I took it out.  I like that it baked even, but I don’t know if I’m going to use the strip again.  We’ll see.

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I melted a little bit of the Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Chocolate frosting (15 seconds in the microwave) in a glass bowl and this made things easy to spread on the cake.  I really don’t like when the cake crumbs combine with the frosting.  I threw a little bit more of sprinkles, yes more, on the frosting and then…

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…the #3 candle.  My daughter loved her funfetti cake.

I chose the theme of the cartoon Bubble Guppies featured on Nickelodeon.  I decorated with free printables from nickjr.com and purchased a huge #3 balloon.  Balloons are always a huge hit.

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The banner, poster, and pin the tail game were cute, easy, and fun to put together.  Just go to nickjr.com and click on birthdays and you’ll see all of the themes and projects available for each.

The following day was Saturday and we invited friends and family with kids to join us at an indoor playground/arcade (funtopiausa.com).  We paid for the kids admission, tokens for them to play the arcade games, and food (pizza, popcorn, and drinks).  We stayed for about two hours and when it was time to go I gave each invited guest a goody box filled with candy, toys and stickers.

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My aunt had given me these boxes about a year ago and I was so happy to finally have a reason to use them.  I glued the images of the Bubble Guppies, which I printed out at nickjr.com, and made the middle image with my daughter’s name.  I then took the glitter glue in blue and green and made swirl lines like waves on the boxes.  I then filled the boxes with candy (skittles, smarties, Tootsie rolls, lollipop, rose ring pop, candy bracelet, and sixlets) from orientaltrading.com along with little toys like a mushroom spinning top (not shown) and Easter Pop-Ups, which are a lot of fun for children and adults.

We ended the day with my husband’s homemade piñata, which he made with a balloon, scraps of paper, and modge podge.

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My husband had fun making this and the kids had a lot more fun whacking the heck out of it.

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On our last day of celebration (Sunday), my family came over and we sang happy birthday once again with another cake (Oreo No Bake Dessert), chocolate lollipops (vanilla, dark mint, & peanut butter), and great, homemade food.  Thanks Mom and my aunt Aida!

I was pretty happy with this plan of action for celebrating my daughter’s birthday.  Many people get really stressed out planning birthdays and end up spending a lot of money.  I didn’t want the headaches or the empty wallet.  No offense to anyone who goes big, because of course, if I had space and extra money, I would be singing a different tune, but at this moment minimal is the way to go.  So one birthday down, one more to go.

Take good care all and thanks for visiting.

Until next time…

Happy Birthday Sophia!

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Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.

Today is a very special day for me.  It’s my daughter’s birthday.

Happy Birthday Baby!

Can I even call you that anymore?

Because today you’re 3 years old.

Your brilliance astounds us, you’re stubborn as a mule, your sweet, adorable face charms the wits out of people instantly, you’re fierce (just ask your big sister who you try to “lovingly” knock down), and you’re definitely a comedian in training, hence the picture above.

You keep me on my toes and make my nerves go haywire, but then you stretch your arms out wide and declare that you want a big hug, which is always followed up with a big, sloppy kiss on my cheek.  You coyly say “I love you Mami,” and melt my heart away.  I then want to devour you, figuratively speaking, of course (us mothers can’t help this feeling, it’s just there) and I tell you so, prompting you to say with a very serious face, “No Mami, you can’t eat me.”  Ok, maybe not today, so I tickle you instead.

You’re filling my mind with sweet memories and I hope I’ll never forget them.  Two days ago, we watched a squirrel munching away on something and you giggled with delight.  You have a love for animals and aren’t afraid to venture close enough.  Not even big dogs deter you.  You’re amazing.  On our way back from the supermarket, we spotted another squirrel.  He disappeared around the massive tree and you asked, “Where he go?” I told you to look up and there he was.  Suddenly, he turned and looked straight at us with his beady, little eyes.  I’ve never seen that before and I whispered to you, “he’s looking at us,” and you slowly backed away, making me laugh.  I couldn’t resist and said, “Run!”  We held hands and started running and laughing down the block.

You bring me joy, you drive me nuts, but most of all I’m so honored to be your mother.

I love you baby girl, ‘cause you’ll always be my baby, no matter how old you become.

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The many faces of my little girl.

There’s the “don’t-take-my-picture!” look, mischievous (that’s grandma’s lipstick on her face, which she secretly applied and got caught red-faced, HA!), and pure happiness!

Happy Birthday Sophia!  We love you!

🙂

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Spring is finally here…but I’m not ready to venture out!

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.

Spring finally made an appearance yesterday, but in my opinion, it felt more like Summer.  It was hot.  I don’t like hot and my body and mind are not ready for this weather.  At least not yet.  My husband made a comment the other day that we don’t get to experience days that stay in the 60’s or 70’s weather wise.  No, it goes from 35 degrees one day to 80 degrees the next.  What the freak?  I haven’t even started packing away the winter clothes and looking for the summer ones.

It takes me awhile to adjust to the warmer weather because I’m an introvert, but my children prefer to be outside so I start negotiating with myself.  Take them outside for a little while because it’s nice.  At least 45 minutes, that’s not too bad.  You can handle that.  Repeat a couple of more times throughout the week until you’re ready to venture out more.  This is how my mind works.  This is how I convince myself to go outside, even though every fiber in my body wants to stay indoors, but I do it for my daughters because they do need some fresh air, sun, and outside playtime fun/exercise.  And I guess I need some of that as well, but don’t quote me, please.

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Speeding down the block

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Scooting and three wheeling

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Water station

As parents we sacrifice a lot and going outside your comfort zone may not seem like a big sacrifice (or deal) to some people, but it is to me.  I’m working on myself and trying to evolve for my little family.  I have a lot of quirks a.k.a. fears that I’m trying to conquer little by little, at my own pace, and I know it can be frustrating to some of my family members and friends, but in the famous words of Popeye (remember him?) “I yam what I yam.”

Please take it and don’t leave it.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Autism Awareness Month (April)

autismSpeaks

http://www.autismspeaks.org

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.

It’s Autism Awareness Month and I just made a donation to autismspeaks.org in honor of my little cousin, Nicholas, who has come very far and will go even further than the stars.  He is a wonderful little boy who is loved by many, but especially by his dedicated and super mom Rosie, his hard-working dad, Waymon, and his big bro/HERO, Gabriel.  I love hearing about Nico’s accomplishments, which have been many and I’m so proud of his mom, my cousin, who takes such good care of him.  It’s TOUGH, but she has kept her ground and the rewards of that bravery and pure love come in the form of smiles, hugs, words, and songs that come out of her little boy.

I love this family so much!

If you are able to, please contribute to this cause.  Thank you!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

What’s rare? A good night’s sleep

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Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.

As for me, my oldest daughter almost gave me a heart attack at 3 o’ clock in the morning today!  I’m peacefully, sound asleep when all of a sudden something is touching me and this is how I wake up: literally yelling and bouncing off my bed.  I don’t know why I wake up this way, but I do and it drives me (and my husband) absolutely nuts.  My nerves get shot to hell and my poor little girl is standing there in the dark not knowing what to do.  She woke me up because her fingernail was bothering her after she had picked at it and wanted me to cut it.

At three o’ clock in the morning.

I couldn’t see (due to darkness and bad eyesight), I’m cursing in my head, and I desperately want to close my eyes and go back to sleep, but I can’t because my daughter needs me.  So I grabbed my eyeglasses and a nail clipper, turned on the blinding light, clipped away that wretched fingernail, and tucked my daughter and myself back into bed.

I remember reading an article a long time ago about this woman who loved to sleep.  That was the whole article.  She had an immense love for sleep and loathed anyone or anything that took it away from her.  She even shuddered at the idea of becoming a mom and losing her beloved sleep.  I enjoyed reading that article, especially that part because I knew what she meant.  Before I became a mom, I loved to sleep as well and there were no interruptions.  Now, a good night’s sleep is rare and I know that I’m not the only one out there seeking sweet, pleasant dreams.  From the person who can’t sleep because they’re worrying about their finances or job, to the sleep deprived new mom who has to wake up every two to three hours to feed her newborn child, the single dad who has to take care of his sick child who can’t sleep, or the person who has a loved one in the hospital.  We’re all in it together.

Sleep, where art thou?

Please come back!

One day I will sleep again and no, I’m not talking about the temporary kind.  That can stay far off into the future, knock on wood.  I’m just wanting some good ol’ restful sleep because once that happens, your body and mind feels the difference and you’re hooked.  Some nights I do go to bed late and that’s because I want to see TV, but I’m about to be scaling back on the tube time because I’m missing the zzzzzz’s too much.

Good (luck) night!

P.S. Breaking news on the wiggly tooth.  My brave daughter wiggled and wiggled her tooth until she pulled it out herself last Friday.  The tooth fairy came that night and left two golden, chocolate coins, two dollar bills, and a small certificate.  My daughter, without a second thought, generously shared her new gifts with her little sister!  🙂

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Take good care all.

Until next time…