Friday, January 31, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings



We had a successful celebration of...
...The Viking's 57th birthday!
It was complete with stuffed shells, a casada cake, all his grandbabies, and cowboy hats!
He recently returned from a trip to Texas and brought cowboy hats for the babies which they  l o v e d  !!
It was a simple night, but filled with lots of children's laughs, making it a success.

I feel like a weight lifted off of me when...
...I received my company sponsored HSA allowance for 2020 and paid off 32 medical bills!
I miss the days when health insurance actually covered stuff, but that's a discussion for another day.

I can't stop laughing at...
...the birthday cake above where the self proclaimed Italian bakery misspelled Nonno.
If grandpa is "Nono" does that make grandma "Yesyes"?  Just kidding...
Despite the obvious mistake, the cake was absolutely delicious!

I'm really upset because...
...we laid down sticky pads in the basement to catch the lobster sized crickets.
Instead of catching a cricket, we caught the cutest, little mouse!

I'm growing more concerned daily at...
...my son's growing nose injury!  He fell on his nose earlier this week and it keeps getting worse.
While the swelling is going down slowly, the bruising is going to from black to green and spreading out.
His doctor says if there was no blood then it can't be broken, but then someone told me it looked "crushed".
Here's to the health of my smushy baby boy's little button nose!

I'm having a really hard time...
...focusing!  Like, a really hard time.  A harder time than ever before.
I constantly feel like I'm running in circles and yet I don't seem to get anywhere.
...and, no, it's not because I'm a mom.  I think it's from clutter of the brain.
I start the day planning to get things done at work, yet ending the day farther behind.
I swear that I'm going to finish a marketing paper that's due in less than a week, yet don't even start.
I expect to write out a new post for R&W, but it never seems to get finished.
If anyone has any advice on how to focus, please let me know!

I'm crying, sentimental, and all out depressed because...
...a dear, childhood friend of mine passed away earlier last week.
For most of my early life through my mid twenties, my "crew" consisted of about 6 people.
Throughout the years, that crew has since grown apart.
We have very little communication these days and see each other even less.
Despite this, I was sickened to learn that a cherished member of our group passed alone in his apartment.
The cause of death is still unknown, but is pending an autopsy.
His unexpected death has brought us all back together, minus one, and we're all questioning..
"What happened to us?"
Here's a prayer for his soul to find the peace, love, and company he so deserves in heaven.
While life took us separate ways, you'll always be in my heart!  Rest in peace, friend.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The best sneakers to withstand rough playtime - Stride Rite Made2Play Sneakers.


One of my biggest pet peeves as a mother, is that nothing you ever buy your child lasts.  While I'm aware that they outgrow things, most products never make it that long.

In September, we bought my daughter a new backpack, lunch box, and sneakers.  By the time December rolled around, everything was destroyed.  Her backpack had ripped seams, a broken zipper, and all the sequins fell off.  The lunchbox suffered a similar fate, but with slightly less damage.  The sneakers pretty much imploded along with my patience a month after purchasing.

At first I thought it was my baby girl fighting evil crime to save the world at the sacrifice of her apparel.  Then I thought maybe she was trying to break her stuff so that she can get new ones.  I gave her long, solid lectures on how to take care of her things despite her swearing that she does.That's when I realized, it's not my princess disregarding her stuff and our hard earned money.  It's the stuff that's disregarding us!  Despite being expensive, most things are just made like crap!


Stride Rite Girls' Made 2 Play Lighted Neo Sneaker, Navy/Pink, 13.5 M US Little Kid; sneakers that last; children's sneakers that last a long time; children's sneakers that hold up; m2p review

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Stride Rite Made2Play Sneakers

That's when I jumped on my computer and did some serious research on sneakers and quality.  I knew from experience that many major name brands just don't hold up like they should.  This includes Nike, Sketchers, Cat & Jack, and Osh Kosh.  Yes, I've personally tried them all!  Keeping that in the back of my mind, I scrolled through hundreds of reviews and testimonies.  I even went to the mom boards I belong to on Facebook to see if they had any recommendations.  That's when all fingers pointed to Stride Rite Made2Play sneakers.

I found a pair in my daughter's favorite colors, said a small prayer, and hit the purchase button.  They were $4 cheaper than the bedazzled Sketchers I bought in November which got me discouraged.  Despite my doubts, they came promptly and my daughter used them immediately.

Ladies and gentleman, here we are more than three months later and these shoes look as good as new!  No, I'm totally not exaggerating.  They look as good as they did on day one!

This sneaker situation has taught me several things.

1.  I owe my daughter an apology for accusing her of being irresponsible.
2.  More expensive products doesn't always mean higher quality.
3.  Before making any purchase, you always need to do some research.
Oh, and the members of those mom boards totally know what they're talking about!

In addition to their higher quality, Stride Rite Made2Play has other advantages.

1.  They have wide width sizes.  Major win for me with my son's chubby feet!
2.  They are machine washable and hold up through the entire washing process.
3.  They are less expensive than the trendy, popular brands.
4.  There's a wide selection on Amazon which means quick shipping for Prime members.
5.  They advertise as an anti-stink product, and whatever that means, it works!

If you're looking for toddler or children's sneaker that last until they outgrow them,
I totally recommend Stride Rite Made2Play.

For the exact pair that I bought my 2 year old son click here.  They withstood all of his toddler shenanigans and lasted until he outgrew them.

What products frustrate you?

Monday, January 27, 2020

List: Ten overlooked items that everyone should have in their home.


A little over a year ago, my baby brother became a homeowner.  He has also since had a baby of his own.  I guess he isn't my "baby" brother anymore.  Like most new homeowners, he was eager to entertain and show off his new dwelling.  This past year, his home has filled quickly with furniture, a growing family, decor, and love.  He managed to fulfill every checkbox with the exception of one thing - a cooler!  Trust me, I am not judging here.  My home is missing way too many things for I to ever judge!

That moment got me thinking.  Most new homeowners can't afford to get everything to fill a house all at once.  This makes it essential to separate the wants from the needs.

With the exception of a bed, bedding, pots, pans, sponges, and other basics, what are some real necessities?


home essentials; things you need; emergency items; new homeowners item checklist

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten odd items that should always be kept in a home.

Everyone should own a flashlight and have it at full charge at all times.  Whether you'll need it during a blackout or to fish out a lost item from under the stove, it's essential.
Can be found here.

You should always be prepared to treat minor cuts, wounds, burns, or other minor injuries.  This means being prepared with a fully stocked first aid kit in an easily accessible place.
Can be found here.

It's common to find smoke detectors in someones home, but let's not forget about carbon monoxide.  You can purchase a carbon monoxide detector separately or part of a smoke/co detector combo.  Tip:  Get advice for placement.  I was advised to place them in the highest, most center part of each room.
Can be found here.

This one may seem silly in comparison to the first three, but trust me, you need it.  I use mine several times a week and can't ever imagine life without it.  I'd move it to #1, but I figured it's not a matter of life or death.
Can be found here.

It's important to keep stock of the most common batteries used in your home.  Whether it be a dead flashlight in a black out or a dead remote during Supernatural, batteries are important.
Can be found here.

Once you are living in your home, it's possible to have that last minute visitor.  People have surprised me with sleepovers throughout the years due to heavy drinking or impromptu visits.  No matter the reason for the slumber party, you'll be glad to offer them a clean pillow.
Can be found here & here.

It's important to keep a can of Lysol visible in bathrooms and some hidden in the closet.  Guests may need to make use of the visible ones and I always make use of the hidden ones.  Anyone else  c r i n g e  at the smell of Lysol?  I do!  Luckily they came out with more tolerable scents.
Can be found here.

8.  Strategically placed, heavy duty sticky pads.
We place sticky pads in closets, in the back of cabinets, in the garage, and in the basement.  They catch all sorts of bugs that may have otherwise crawled across our face in our sleep.  Luckily, the ones upstairs are typically clean.  It's the basement that turns the pad into a graveyard!
Can be found here.

At some point and time you will wish you had shipping tape, gift wrap tape, and even duct tape.  Stock up on it and leave it in several different places because when you need it, you need it right away.
Can be found here.

Many people have skin allergies like me that result in horrible rashes that don't go away also like me.  Since you never know who will be at your home, try to accommodate this with a basic, mild soap.  Mothers with babies, people with allergies, and men that don't want to smell like a daffodil, will thank you!
Can be found here.

What overlooked items do you keep in stock?

Friday, January 24, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings


chiweenie in the snow; cute chiweenie; chiweenie; rescue chiweenie; dog playing in the snow

I breathed a sigh of relief that...
...it finally happened!  My baby girl got her "snow day".
It was the tiniest flurry ever, but produced just enough snow for her to play with.
She got her much desired snow day and we didn't have to deal with any major accumulation.
This is a perfect example of compromise, & all thanks to Mother Nature!

I'm laughing by myself at...
...what I saw while browsing my Google Console dashboard today.  
I look here periodically to see what keywords brought Google searchers to R&W.
The eighth most popular keyword was "Mushy Tushy" and I just can't stop laughing at it.
I'm curious to know why someone would search this term and why it populates my vampire pig.

I got bags under my eyes because...
...I haven't slept in about 8 days all thanks to stress and life choices!
I need to learn to be thankful that I'm fortunate enough to have options.
Then I can just stress about my lack of sleep and ugly dark circles around my eyes.

I did a victory dance when...
...I learned the news that the president of the company I work for and the HR leader were terminated!
Finally they were held accountable for their injustices and poor leadership.
We can only hope that this leads to an improved daily life for the hundreds of thousands of employees.

I'm getting nostalgic every time...
...I see all the movies and shows I grew up with on Disney+.
My daughter put on Flubber, and I got teary eyed.  Then she watched Lizzy Maguire and I cried.

I'm suffering in silence with...
...a sinus infection that's lasted over a month.
An antibiotic and steroid later, and I still can't hear properly!
I won't google my symptoms, I won't google, I really will not google...

I'm feeling a little guilty about...
...my almond milk consumption.  I go through quite a few gallons of it a month because I use it in my coffee.
After reading an article on how almond pollination is killing off honey bees, I feel a little guilty about it.
I'm the last person to sympathize with a bee, but I recognize how much our world depends on them.

I'm sitting here confused at...
...the point of Snap Chat.  My friend asked me to download the app for some low key stalking.
While it was downloaded, I decided to play with it only to find out it has no purpose.
If someone can explain to me the hype, I'm all ears, but for now it's being deactivated.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Life: Happy birthday to The Viking!

Today is The Viking's birthday.
...AKA Dad, Daddy, and now Nonno...
Today he reached the ripe age of 57 years old.
Happy birthday to The Viking!
In honor of his special day, here are some of our favorite memories.



That time he wouldn't give up while playing "I'm thinking of an animal".
After trying to guess what animal I was thinking of with the letter "M" for a solid week, he gave up.
The look of fury that crossed his face after I squeaked the word "moop" will never be forgotten.
For the record, I was 10 and I remember hearing about the moops from Seinfeld!


That time that he saved us from the "sharks" in Maryland.
The sharks were actually dolphins, but he screamed "SHARK" with such panic that he cleared the beach.
After calming down the crowd, the lifeguard pulled my father aside to give him a firm speech.
He didn't get arrested, but we wouldn't even dip our toes into the water after that!


That time he acted like the Hulk and pried open elevator doors during a black out.
I was screaming and climbing on top of my Nanny's head when the elevator stopped.
Panic ensued when my cousin mentioned suffocation in the heat.
While Madre, my cousin, and Nanny were screaming "HELP" and kicking the door, I had a melt down.
I was crying and exclaiming that I was too young to die in that elevator!
That's when The Viking told us all to be quiet and pried open the doors with his bare hands.
He saved us all from suffocation while putting us at risk of decapitation.


That time he snapped hundreds of strings beans for my daughter's birthday party.
My daughter had one request for her 6th birthday, and that was to eat string beans!
Nonno volunteered to help her snap the beans while I cooked the sausage and peppers.
Little did he know he would end up snapping 4 half trays full of string beans.
To this day he'll randomly yell out in horror "thheee beaannss"!!


That time he got into an argument with a customer over dirty feet.
Customers were complaining of a naked man in his laundromat.
The Viking ran next door to find a man sitting there naked watching his clothes run through the drier.
When my father nicely explained to him that he couldn't wash his clothes in the nude, the man freaked.
He threw a glass bottle at The Viking and screamed "I won't leave until you clean my feet!".
Within seconds, the naked man, his half dried clothes, and his dirty feet were thrown to the sidewalk.


That time he caught me sleep walking and dreaming I was a salad.
He knew I thought I was a salad because I walked out of my room to smother myself in vinegar and oil!


That time he drove through the city for hours to find my car.
A friend and I ventured off to the San Genaro feast only to forget where we parked my car.
We got lost trying to find it and my father came to the rescue without question.
Although, he wasn't happy that all I could remember about the road was that it had a fire hydrant!


That other time he had to rescue my friends and I from being stranded in the city.
After several bad experiences, he made us promise to park in a parking garage.
He even gave us the money to make sure that we parked in a parking garage.
Well, we found a spot in front of the club and decided to park in the street against his advice.
The Viking ended up coming to our rescue again because a truck legit ran over my friends car!


That time he let me keep my pet iguana at his dry cleaners.
My landlord didn't want the lizard in her home, so he let my iguana take refuge in his shop.
He even let the iguana run free to stretch his legs and scare the customers.
It was all fun and games until he changed my iguana's name from Beautiful to Ralph!


That time he walked me down the aisle, cared for me during surgeries, and babysat my babies.
He may not be perfect, but he's always been there for me, my husband, and my children.
We are all lucky to have these memories and much more with The Viking.


Please join me in wishing The Viking a happy birthday!

Monday, January 20, 2020

List: Ten winter activities to do this year.


It's common to see endless lists of activities for the Fall, Spring, Summer, and holiday season.  Then Winter comes and the only activity on the calendar is simple - h i b e r n a t i o n.  While I'm all for a day or two of that, let's get up, brave the cold, and live a little!  The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and a snow storm is only a matter of time.  Let's accept the bitter truth and come up with some creative ways to spend our days.  There are lots of things to do during the Winter, whether it be inside or outside.  Besides, life's way too short to let an entire season pass us by!!


winter activity ideas; things to do in the winter; ways to pass time in the winter; family activities in the winter; things kids can do in the winter

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten activities to do during the Winter.

1.  Take an art class with one of your favorite people.
I've never actually done one, but I hear such great things about these events.  Through step by step instruction, your guided into making a beautiful work of art.  This is a fun night out, a learning experience, and a way to get a unique piece of decor!  As an added bonus, there are some that serve wine...

Idea:  They now offer classes like this that you can do with your children.  Have a date night with your kiddies and make some art!  Who says paint night is only for adults?

2.  Get passes for a day or more at an indoor pool.
I'm not one for swimming in water that others are soaking in, but most people love pools.  This is a fun way to pretend it's summer, get some exercise, and dust off that bikini!

3.  Spend the day tubing.
We're not all fit or coordinated enough for Winter sports like skiing or snowboarding.  That's why I absolutely love tubing!  It's fun, season appropriate, and almost anyone can do it.

Idea:  If you and your kids love tubing as much as we do, check this super cool unicorn snow tube to surprise your kid with this year!  It makes for the perfect gift and endless fun without having to rent an expensive snow tube.  Is your son unimpressed with the unicorn?  Check out this really awesome bull dog snow tubeYou're welcome.

4.  Host a competitive game night.
This could be a game where you win cash money like LRC or cards.  You can compete against your girlfriends and loser gets to babysit the kids for a few hours.  Have the kiddies participate with a game of apples and apples.  Winner has no chores for a week.  Whatever the game, keep it competitive and keep it fun.  

Idea:  Throw tacos and margaritas into the mix for a guaranteed good time!  We're currently loving this Skinny Margarita set.  My girlfriend brought this over during out last game night because she's a genius.

5.  Attend an event at the local library.
My library always has a full schedule of different of activities for everyone of every age.  Sign your kids up for a craft, reading event, or even a puppet show.  Join other people in your community for a day trip to a casino or local museum.  Join the roster for their yoga class or book club meetings.  It doesn't matter which event you choose as long as your involved and have some fun!

6.  Have a snow day slumber party.
If snow is in the forecast, gather a small crowd and prepare for an old school slumber party.  Stock up on popcorn.  Pick your favorite movie.  Take out your mani/pedi supplies.  Move over the living room furniture to ensure space for everyone's sleeping bags.  Don't forget to play a few rounds of truth or dare and charades.  The next morning, make a ridiculous amount of pancakes and dive in!  Then recruit everyone to go shovel the show...

7.  Gather around a "camp fire".
On a mild Winter day, bundle up the kiddies and light a bonfire in the backyard.  Make homemade s'mores over the fire while telling silly stories.  Each person should take a turn saying a line of the story until the story naturally ends.

8.  Go ice skating.
Get out and about during a day trip to your local skating rink.  I guess you could go to a lake or something, but that freaks me out...  It's a great way to keep active while having fun and totally festive for the season.

9.  Have a fondue night.
This can be a fun day home or a day out to a local fondue place.  There's nothing better than your favorite snacks except for when they're dipped in chocolate!  You can top off your chocolate fondue with a hot chocolate to just make it over the top.

Idea:  Invest is this fondue set because it's fabulous and you it lets you have fondue night anywhere!

10.  Buy a plane ticket to somewhere warm.
Yea, I couldn't do this one either...but it was worth a try!

What do you love about the Winter?

Friday, January 17, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings


it's fri yay; time to shine; friday meme; happy it's friday; fri-yay; friyay

I'm absolutely in love with...
...the new wardrobe that my daughter was gifted for Christmas!
It's such a fun, pretty way to display all of her dress up clothing without ruining the costumes.
It has a bar to hang the costumes, a full length mirror, shoes racks, and extra storage for hats and accessories.
For a double win, my son can inherit her dress up trunk as his new toy box!
We love almost anything that's pretty and results in organization.

I'm totally not feeling...
...my new class this semester.  I'm taking marketing and it's just gross.
Unfortunately, it's a required class for my degree so I just have to grin and bare it.
With only a few classes left until I graduate, all the classes I've been avoiding are now unavoidable.

I was thoroughly disappointed in...
...the new show, The Witcher!  With all the hype, I was expecting something more fabulous.
The show itself was dark, dreary, and filled with disgusting, bug like monsters.
Although, I am hearing that I have to give it more than one episode.  Maybe I'll try again..

I'm still laughing at...
...my husband's face when my father's birthday gift came in the mail.
The look of disgust that crossed his face when he saw it was a handheld vacuum was priceless.
My father doesn't have one making this a very useful and practical gift!

I'm trying to practice what I preach by...
...not having a mental breakdown that my hubby accidentally bleached our show towels in the bathroom.
I'm trying to teach my babies and husband that a hissy fit doesn't solve anything.
Despite my fake smile, I am totally SCREAMING profanities in my head every time I walk past it.

I'm still walking around sulking because...
...my manager quit and I feel like I've been dumped after a long, serious relationship.
I now report up to someone so high that I'm afraid to even speak to them.  Anyone hiring?  Save me!

I can't stop giggling at...
...the young girls and their Jojo Siwa bows!  
They are bigger than their heads, and yet they rock them every chance that they get.
We got one for my daughter for Christmas, and that's the gift she spoke about for weeks!

I find myself thoroughly concerned with...
...the world right now!  Everywhere you look there seems to be gloom and mass destruction.
Australia is burning down.  Iran & the US are playing power games with real people's lives.
Puerto Rico is suffering from unheard of earthquakes.  It's mid January and Winter didn't even say hello yet!
Here's to peace, safety, and health to all of those living including the kangaroos & sunflowers in the world.
We'd also like add a wish for just one teeny, tiny snow flurry this season to make the kiddies happy!

What are your Friday ramblings?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A detailed & Honest review of Disney on Ice presents Dream Big!


This past weekend, we surprised our daughter with tickets to see Disney on Ice.  This performance was called Dream Big which is a fitting title with the show's main theme of courage.  It encompassed a lovely mix of different Disney classics all centered around the main theme.  We sang.  We danced.  ...& we had a ball trying to guess which story was next!  It was a welcomed experience to break up the dead of Winter.


Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

is disney on ice worth the money; what is disney on ice about; what characters are in disney on ice

We purchased our tickets from Groupon at a very reasonable price.  The tickets were $20 per person including all taxes and fees.  The baby boy was free at 18 months old.  While the tickets were a bargain, everything past the entrance point was disgustingly priced.

In typical Disney fashion, everything was magically displayed and enticing.  I mean, I'm a full grown adult and I wanted to eat the unhealthy snacks and snuggle a stuffed princess!  The stuffed animals were $35+.  The Minnie and Mickey ears were $25+.  A bubble wand was $35+.  The popcorn, snow cones, and cotton candy were just as pricey!  Naturally, my kiddies wanted all of it.  We settled on a Cinderella necklace for my daughter and a Mickey Mouse bubble wand for my son.  Both items combined were more expensive than our tickets, but they did come with a 2 year warranty which was a pleasant surprise.  My FIL had me rolling when he said the bubble wand had more of a warranty than his new fridge!

disney on ice; nycb disney on ice; uniondale coliseum; disney on ice dream big; disney on ice january

In addition to the overpriced souvenirs, there were overpriced photographers stationed everywhere.  We were looking for the typical "Disney on Ice" sign to take a picture with, but none could be found.  If you wanted to take a picture to remember the day, you'd have to do so with their photographers for a crazy fee.   Instead, we took a picture in front of the vendor selling their million dollar snow cones!  Do you think they were stationed in front of these windows to purposely ruin our sneaky pics?!


I may have been a little turned off by their cruel ingenious marketing, but the show itself was great!  We knew our daughter would be in her glory, but I never expected my son to love it as much as he did.  He was dancing, singing, pointing, and screaming in shock at every new face that joined the stage.  He must have screamed the words mommy and mickey about 2,000 times!

We were told by different people that my daughter (6 yrs) was too old and my son (18 mos) was too young.  This was complete nonsense as they both had a blast in their own way.  My in laws never saw some of the Disney movies that were depicted in the show, and they even enjoyed it.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, this was enjoyable for everyone and of all ages!


When I was younger, we would see Disney on Ice every year around the same time.  Those shows were a reenactment of one movie in particular.  This performance was nothing like that at all.

In Dream Big, each Disney classic had their own limited stage time to tell their story of courage.  Their story was told through mostly song and choreography, but some narration as well.  In between skits, Mickey & Minnie would come out to introduce the next act.  There was some comic relief with a special appearance from Goofy and some magic with a special appearance from Tinker Bell.

I would highly recommend Disney on Ice presents Dream Big as one time experience.
..just don't let the good prices fool you into leaving your extra cash at home..

Idea:  Go to the show prepared with this Cinderella bubble wand instead of being guilted into spending double at the show.

Have you ever seen a show on ice?

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