Monday, June 29, 2020

List: Ten products that I use every day.

After an extended period of mandated quarantine, it became vital to differentiate between needs and wants.  The stores were barren, funds were low, and trips to venture out were limited, making each trip crucial.  It was during this time that my husband and I needed to decide what were things that we really needed.  For example, I prefer certain shampoos, but settled for the cheaper, easier to find store brands.  My husband loves his goodies to munch on, but he sacrificed his snacks for the kid's favorites.  The kids learned to eat new things such as granola and berries instead of their typical cafeteria meals.  These were small changes to make to ensure that bills were paid and that we lived comfortably.

This got me thinking, what are items that I use daily just to make me happy?
Luckily, I bulk purchase more expensive items so I was well stocked during the pandemic.  While I wouldn't call them a "need", I'd categorize them as a level ten "want".  We all have our high level wants which I bet we go out of way to stock up on in our new normal.

top ten beauty products; essential daily products; favorite products

Ten of my favorite products.

I knew that I used my fair share of almond milk, but didn't realize how much until isolation.  I go through about 3 gallons a week and I don't even drink it straight!!  I only use it for my coffee.  My hubby teases me now because when I get down to a few containers, I panic, like legit panic!  This is one item that I know I'll be subconsciously hoarding for years to come.
Can be found here.

For a honest & detailed review of this product click here.  
My feelings still hold true making this my #2 wanted product.  I use it at least once daily.  It really helps my trouble spots and I get anxious when I miss a dose.
Can be found here.

As much as I love my coffee in the morning, I cherish a soothing cup of chamomile tea at night.  It helps me relax while giving me something hot to drink.  Can you tell I don't drink much water?
Can be found here.

With my sensitive skin allergies, I limit the brands of laundry detergent to what I know.  We typically stick to detergents that are labeled for sensitive skin and free of perfume.  To make up for the clean laundry smell I miss, we use this fabric softener in lavender.  It's heavenly!
Can be found here.

I opted to go make up free throughout the quarantine, but couldn't stay away from my mascara!  Despite being isolated aka hidden away from society, my lashes were always glamorous.
Can be found here.

At a time when we are washing more than ever, I'm so glad I have a lifetime supply of scented soap!  The Rose Water & Ivy is my favorite but my cabinet is stocked with all sorts of fragrances.  Scented soaps seems to be a go to gift and I'm totally not complaining!
Can be found here.

In a world where antibacterial cleaners are crucial, I still reach for my favorite granite cleaner.  Every night before bed, I spritz and shine all of our counter tops in the kitchen.  This keeps the kitchen smelling lovely, the counters sparkling, and my OCD smiling!
Can be found here.

Here's another product that I've mentioned in the past, but it remains a must have for me.
My facial skin literally craves the moisture after each washing.  My skin absorbs it immediately.
Can be found here.

I use this body wash as a nourishing shaving cream and cleanser every day.  It leaves a subtle, lovely scent on my skin.  It also keeps my skin soft and nourished.
Can be found here.

I go through tubes upon tubes of this stuff.  It makes my lips soft with a lovely hint of mint!  Bonus - My daughter hates the smell of mint so she leaves my tubes of lip balm alone.  I'm also a big fan of the tingly feeling that the mint leaves behind on my lips.
Can be found here.

What product do you use daily?

Friday, June 26, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

friday rose

We really enjoyed our mini...
...Father's Day celebration last week!  The Viking came to visit and we hung out in the backyard.
The kiddies had a blast in their inflatable pool and the men enjoyed relaxing with a cigar.
I surprised them with a tray of sausage and peppers for dinner and some sides.
My hubby was extra happy for that because he didn't have to grill in that crazy heat!
We lit a bonfire, roasted marshmallows, and listened to The Viking tell us spooky stories.
It was yet another example of simplicity passing just as nicely as an extravagant celebration.

I was shocked to learn...
...that The Viking's spooky stories were true!  He spent the entire night trying to convince me.
His spooky stories were all about Sasquatch and real life encounters with it.
While it was entertaining bonfire conversation, I'm not sure how much I believe it.

I feel beat down because...
...I had to deliver termination notices to 8 of my team members this week.
It's never an easy thing to do, especially when the people being let go don't deserve it.

I'm wishing Nanny...
...a very happy 79th birthday.  It's a little late, but is still said with the same amount of love.
We can't imagine life without you.  You're truly the rock to our family and world.
Here's to many more years of youthful life, happiness, and memories!

We really enjoyed watching... son dive into his homemade birthday cake on Tuesday.
This boy loves to EAT!  Forget a party.  Just get this boy something sweet to eat!
While we're having a mini birthday gathering on Sunday, I couldn't let it pass without a birthday wish.

I'm really looking forward to...
...seeing my son's face when he learns of my silly surprise!
Since we couldn't hire a Baby Shark to come to his party, I had to do the next best thing.
I got Thor the puppy of thunder a Baby Shark costume to wear to my son's birthday party.
If there were inseparable before, I can only imagine how inseparable they become after this!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Life: Happy Birthday, Prince Charming!

Today my last baby is officially not a baby any longer.  He's two years and one day old.
In other words, yesterday was his birthday.  He's officially a toddler.. &, I cried my eyes out!
We didn't get to celebrate in the traditional sense nor the way that we all wanted to.
Instead, we acknowledged this milestone with a simple cake and lots of hugs.

Prince charming, you have grown so much in this past year.
You were a late walker because you had a lot of weight to carry, but you first walked end of October.
You're a great eater.  Your favorite foods are blueberries, goldfish crackers, yogurt, bananas, beans, and WAFFLES.
I legit hear my little prince screaming "WAFFLES, pease, WAFFFLLLEESSS" in my sleep.
Your favorite shows are Spongebob Square Pants and Mickey Mouse Club House.
Your favorite movies are The Incredibles and all of the Toy Story films.
Your favorite game is to chase your sister while either growling like a lion or OooOoo-ing like a ghost.
Your best buddy is Thor and your favorite place to be is wherever he is.
You're a true mommy's boy that will only fall asleep at night while holding my hand and I love it.
You really hate bathrobes and fight with them any chance you get.
You've been speaking in full sentences for months now and you know how to count to ten.
The only color that you ever say is "green" so I'm going to assume it's your favorite!
You have an obsession with any type of remote so you love to steal and hide them from us.
You also like to call random strangers on the phone and scream "HI" loudly into their ears until they hang up.
You love to sing your favorite songs including Baby Shark, Little Bunny Foo Foo, and Perfect by Ed Sheeran.
You have the cutest dance that you bust out anytime you hear any hint of a rhythm.
You're petrified of snakes.  You cry and scream "scared" even if one just pops up on the TV.
You are stubborn and have a temper, but you also have the sweetest most charming disposition of anyone I know.
I'm so proud to be your mommy and love the little man that you are!  Just stop growing so quick, please..

Please join me in wishing this very handsome boy a happy birthday!

Monday, June 22, 2020

List: Ten Summer activities to do this year.

This past Saturday marked the end of Spring and the start of a new season.
Ladies and gentleman, it's officially Summer time!

While Summer isn't my favorite season, it's usually associated with carefree fun.  ...and who doesn't love some carefree fun?  Yes, please!!  This year may be a little different, but that just means we need to get creative.  With a little outside of the box thinking and some smart decisions, this can still be a fabulous Summer!  Here's a list of Summer activities that we hope to be able to do before the end of the season.

Related:  Ten Summer flowers to play for blooms all season.

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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 family activities to do during the Summer of 2020.

1.  Get creative with an outside DIY project.
While I'm the least artistic person, like ever, even I have done some simple DIY projects.  Build yourself a wooden planter to grow vegetables or build a bird house to hang in a distant tree.  Refurbish old planters with spray paint or hand paint smooth stones for a small rock garden.

Idea:  Check out this guide on how to refurbish planters with spray paint for an easy DIY.

2.  Climb to the top of a lighthouse.
This is the best time of year to make the climb up the never ending steps of a lighthouse.  You'll feel accomplished for making it to the top and be rewarded with a spectacular view.  It's also the place for the ultimate game of I Spy!  You'll be surprised what you see up there.

3.  Listen to live music at a local park.
Bring your lounge chairs, some refreshments, bug spray, and your closest friends.  The kids will have a blast dancing among themselves while you sway to the music and chat.

4.  Make a homemade frozen treat.
Our favorite is a homemade ice cream sandwich with Ben & Jerry's ice cream, of course.  If those aren't your thing, try a homemade ice pop, slushie, or Italian ice.  

Idea:  My kiddies absolutely LOVE making & eating Disney themed ice pop with this kit.
5.  Go fresh or saltwater fishing.
I grew up going on a fishing date with my brother and father every Monday night.  While we don't do it as often with our kiddies, we try to go at least once or twice a year.  The babies love the thrill of catching a fish, playing in the sand, walking in the water, and watching boats.  For a bonus, it's usually followed by a quick service fish meal and ice cream on the shore.

6.  Have a water balloon fight.
Our favorite Summer memories are when daddy someone gets soaked from a surprise attack.  Fill up a bucket of water balloons, bust out the water guns, or just turn on the hose, and c h a r g e  !

Idea:  With advanced water balloon technology, they are easier than ever to do.  My daughter loves these.

7.  Attend a local festival.
We've been to all sorts of them including seafood festivals, strawberry festivals, and even a Greek festival.  Whichever festival you choose, enjoy the themed food, music, and activities.  You'll also be doing a service to local businesses that are acting as vendors at the event.  That's a win, win!

8.  Slide down the Slip N Slide.
Rock a well supportive bathing suit, run, and slide down a slip and slide!  This may sound a bit childish, but it's even more fun as an adult.  Let loose and slide with the kiddies.

Note:  The Slip N Slide that you often see my kiddies enjoy on Instagram is this oneYou're welcome.

9.  Play a neighborhood game of man hunt.
When the sun goes down, set hiding parameters and rules.  Then play a massive game of man hunt.  Everyone hides to the best of their ability.  "It" tries to find and tag them before they get to base.  Think of man hunt as an extra challenging version of hide and seek and tag, but in the dark.  Just remember, no backyards and don't cross the invisible perimeter.  It's only fun when you play fair!

10.  Explore a new terrain and have an adventure.
Visit a nature preserve or park and explore along the nature trails.  Jump in the car and take a mini road trip to a new town and play tourist.  Venture to your local city for some urban exploration on foot or via Segway tour.  I won't judge.  Wherever this takes you, just make sure it's a memorable Summer adventure!

What is on your Summer bucket list this year?

Friday, June 19, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

six flags safari

The kids had an absolute blast at...
...the drive thru Safari this past weekend.  While I was amused, the kids had a ball!
From the luxury of your own car, you drive through the safari where the majority of animals roam free.
The entire safari takes about 2.5 - 3 hours to get through, dependent upon animal interruptions.
At one point, we had to stop to wait for a giraffe to finish crossing the road.
My son screeched at every animal he saw and my daughter did her best to be his tour guide.
I didn't care for the staff's lack of limiting entrants.  The safari was too packed for comfort.
If there was an emergency, there was no moving the car out of harms way or exiting.
There was also no monkey attacks to the hood of our car like many people warned us.
Overall, it was a great adventure and welcomed change to the dreariness of our isolation.
Except for when a moose decided to charge full speed at our car and made me almost crap my pants!

Ever since, my son won't stop...
...ROARing.  Everything you say to him is responded back with a simple "roar".  Ok, Mr. Lion.  Do you!

The Mr. & Mrs. have had...
...babies!!  Our favorite little birdie friends have finally brought their babies to say hello.
They are all real noisy with the sweetest chirps and they are obsessed with sunflower seeds.
They come to visit every day.  My favorite is the one with two crazy feathers that look like angry brows!

I'm moping around all sad because... baby boy will be turning two years old in just a few days!
While I'm glad that he's growing into a happy and smart young man, the thought is depressing.
He's my last baby and I'm just not ready to admit that my last baby isn't a baby anymore.
...onto the next ramble before I start tearing up again..

I'm completely horrified because...
...we just received the news that my daughter's BFF has to have her jaw broken to repair it.
She's been sucking her thumb for so many years that it caused bad enough damage to warrant a break.
I can't even imagine having my own jaw broken, let alone a 7 year old girl's.

We're seeking advice...
...on how to get my thumb sucking baby boy to stop sucking on his thumb!

We're seeing the light because...
...our governor finally gave us a date for when gatherings of 25 people are allowed.
It looks like it's coming just in time for my baby boy's birthday!
We will only invite immediate family, but it will be so nice to celebrate his birthday with guests.
Double the light is shining because nails salons are also being given the clearance to open!  YAY!
I immediately ordered a few Baby Shark party decorations and an ice cream cake for the event.
It's nothing like the party we usually do, but small and intimate has been actually really nice.

We're so proud of... little ballerina!  While they couldn't have a normal recital, they put on quite a show in the parking lot.
They danced their little hearts out and did it with the biggest smiles on their faces.

I'm wishing a very happy day to...
...all the hard working, loving, and responsible daddies, granddaddies, and uncles out there!
You help provide for us.  You offer us protection.  You give good advice.  & sometimes fix a broken sink.
Happy Father's Day!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Ideas: Things you need to attract birds to your bird feeder.

After posting details on how to create a bird sanctuary in your own yard, I got lots of questions.  I made it clear how to attract birds to your yard, but I didn't list exactly what you would need.  Before we begin, I want to make this clear.  Each species has it's own wants and needs.  While these things will attract birds to your yard, you still need to ask yourself this question.  "What bird or birds am I looking to see?"  Once you get an answer, tell me and I'll help the best I can.  This specific post is going to recommend items to attract an array of species.  I'm up to 9 different species and counting with making minimal changes.  The 9 are sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, finches, cowbirds, starlings, grackles, robin red breast, & flickers.  I've also seen hummingbirds that's a whole other post.  For now, remember bugs, nectar, and RED.

how to attract birds to your backyard; how to attract birds to your feeder; how to make a bird sanctuaryDisclosure: 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.

How to attract birds to your bird feeder.

A bird seed that attracts most species without fail is black oil sunflower seeds.  As mentioned in my previous post, most seeds are filled with useless "filler" seeds that birds won't eat.  This isn't going to help you attract birds to your bird feeder.  The birds are looking for quality.  I use Wagner's Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.  It has no fillers, it's nutritious, & it's priced right.  This food is great for ground feeders, too.  For example, blue jays will pick up the seeds the sparrows toss.

Small bird feeders can only feed one or two birds at a time.  You'll want one with plenty of perching space.  I use a hexagon, house shaped feeder similar to the one found through this link.  REMEMBER - Birds attract other birds.  The more birds that fit on your feeder, the more that will come.

Similar to above, birds that eat from suet cakes will only bother digging for high quality food.  I use Wildlife Sciences 240 Wild Bird Suet Plus Cakes.  It's good quality and the right price.

The birds that eat from suet feeders are a little harder to attract since they're extra picky.  They include woodpeckers, flickers, sometimes blue jays, and the evasive European starlings.  To overcome this, I have two suet feeders set up at different heights to attract different birds.  The feeders I use are Squirrel Buster Suet Bird Feeder.  It deters squirrels, has a crumb port, and two sides!

Like you, birds want to be able to drink when they go for a meal.  Set up for a one stop shop.  They like clean, fresh water to drink, splash, and bathe in.  Did I mention CLEAN?  My husband recently surprised me with this bird bath that I've been eyeing for my birthday!  The birds love it.  I love it.  My yard loves it.  It's a triple win mostly because it's pretty.

For a bird to hang around, there has to be a place for them to quickly dive for refuge.  If you have a feeder standing in a bare yard, chances are birds won't come because they won't feel safe.

This I learned from experience and not from my research.  My visitors love a safe spot to roost.  Every time I peek out my window, I see several birds roosting on my garden stepping stones.  My theory is that the stones get warm from the sun making for a warm and cozy spot to rest.  I have a similar one to this garden stone that the birds love, but their favorite is my souvenir from Disney!

What type of bird are you looking to attract?

Monday, June 15, 2020

List: My top ten favorite flowers to plant for the Summer.

Our Mother's Day tradition is to plant a vegetable and flower garden.  After eight years of this tradition, I find myself reaching for my favorites year over year.  We also tend to plant in the same spots as a strategic move to attract and detract specific wildlife.

To become one of my favored flowers to plant, I have a few non-negotiable items.
1.  They must flower all season long.
2.  They must be able to handle high heat and direct sunlight.
3.  They must be a resilient plant in terms of care and temperature.
The weather here can be fickle and we don't want one cold night to result in dead flowers!

Luckily for us, we have found quite a few flowers that meet all of these demands.  I never in my life thought I'd get compliments for our flowers, but we do, and pretty often.  Here's a list of my favorites and the reasons why.  Hopefully some of them become your favs too!

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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.

My top ten favorite Summer flowers to plant.

While I do love a traditional tea rose bush, nothing gets me as excited as a cabbage rose!  They come back every year, grow as large as you allow, and bloom beautifully during the warmer months.  I have two flower beds completely dedicated to different colored cabbage rose plants.  The only con to roses is that they fall victim to mites.  Be prepared to spray monthly with insecticide.  The BEST insecticide is this one.  It actually works, is also a fungicide, and is OK for organic gardening.  Fun fact - My wedding flowers were solely, gorgeous, pink cabbage roses with gold tinted leaves.

Scarlet Sage or Red Salvia plants are gorgeous flowers to plant annually for color.  They flower all season long and grow outwards leaving your garden covered in colorful gorgeousness.  They do real well in full sunlight and scorching temperatures as long as they're watered properly.  They also attract hummingbirds which is another added bonus to this resilient flower.

This is by far the most delicate flower on my list, which is why I save it for indoor gardening.  I grow them from seeds and let them flourish in a pot under the sunniest window.  They grow in a bush like shape and bloom countless flowers in all varieties of color.  They thrive better indoors because they are sensitive to mites, aphids, mold, and other yucky things.

Sunflowers are my favorite flowers but I prefer them cut and in a vase.  Unable to tell the difference, my daughter gifts me with one sunflower plant each year.  She gifts me with a sprout and we enjoy watching it flourish throughout the season.  They are such large, happy looking flowers that can't help make but you smile until they attract bees!

We inherited this beautiful perennial flower when we purchased our first home.  The original owners had a woven square of fence that the clematis would climb up as it bloomed.  The plant would return like clockwork year over year even after being cut down mid season.  The blooms are gorgeous, wide spread purple flowers that are unmistakable.  The honeybees love this plant so it's best planted at the edges of your yard and away from entertainment. 

While these certainly aren't the prettiest of the flowers, they are the most resilient.  We plant them each year where the sun hits the strongest because we know they can take it.

In the far corner of my yard is a rock garden that's almost always in full shade.  To brighten it up, I hang two Fuchsia plants because they are easy to grow and prosper in shaded areas.  They attract hummingbirds and bloom bold, multicolored little flowers that resemble a berry.  They make a great hanging plant because they grow down but make quite a mess with fallen flowers.

Last year we were gifted two beautiful, yellow calla lily plants that grew gorgeous, exotic looking flowers.  After researching, I learned that they were perennials but because of their exotic look, didn't believe it.  They not only prospered all Summer long, but they lived and continued blooming throughout the fall.  Spring came and they returned.  If you're looking for a blooming perennial, this is a good choice.  Like most of my other plant choices, they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  Last year I saw my first ever hummingbird on Long Island..and it was visiting THIS plant!

This is another perennial flower that will come back year over year with almost zero maintenance.  We plant them in flower beds close to the fence so that borders can be trimmed with annuals.  Sharing a flower bed with annuals allows for color when waiting for the black-eyed susans to flower.  We also put them near the fence on purpose because they attract pollinators such as bees.  This is a resilient perennial that's survived harsh chemicals such as ice preventing salts in the Winter.

10.  Petunias
My backyard is filled with plant hooks to hang some potted plants for extra color.  My favorite hanging plant flower are petunias because they are resilient and grow bold colored blooms.  They also tend to grow downwards which makes for a gorgeous cascade of falling flowers.  Petunias are another great addition for someone trying to attract butterflies or hummingbirds.  They are also available early in the Spring because they won't die off after a few chilly nights.  Tip- Bees don't like the bell shaped flower, so these are safe to plant near your entertainment area.

What are your favorite Summer flowers?

Friday, June 12, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

The kiddies were super excited to...
...Slip N Slide and play some water games in the yard.  The suns been shining, so why not?
They have a blast running, sliding, and pretending that our backyard is a water park.
If you're looking to entertain young kiddies, than this $25 investment is money well spent!
Daddy is getting a little frustrated because they're destroying the lawn, but he'll get over it.
Not pictured is daddy having as much fun as our babies on it!  Guess he over the "drowning" lawn..
What have you been doing to keep the kiddies entertained in isolation?  Bonus points for new ideas.

I'm over the moon with excitement because... boy went back to school part time this past Tuesday morning!  
Here's to baby boy being much happier around other kids while actually learning something.
He wasn't happy to leave his mommy at first, but he was smiling ear to ear at pick up time.
Being home while mommy is stuck working and beyond stressed is so overrated..

I'm completely and totally obsessed with...
...the Coconut Colada scented hand soap from Bath and Body Works.
I'm washing my hands way more than necessary and keep sniffing away at the lingering scent.  
In fact, I love the smell ever so much, that I just splurged for a 3-wick candle with it.

My office looks empty because...
...we got rid of the 8' X 8' play yard that's been sitting there since December.
It served it's purpose, even more than we thought it would thanks to COVID19, but it was time.
Baby boy lifted the play yard up and rolled out from underneath.  It wasn't containing him anymore!

I'm in total shock that...
...Pier1 is completely going out of business!  This was one of my favorite home decor stores.
I knew that smaller businesses would close, but never imagined large chains like this would shut down.

I was smiling ear to ear at... Shutterfly memory of this week five years ago.  It was pictures of my bridal shower.
I was pretty adamant that I wanted a low key wedding, but my mom surprised me anyways.
They invited our closest family and friends and showered me with love in her small condo.
It was simple, sweet, and one of the only times that I was actually surprised in my life!

Now that the office is empty...
...I can't help but imagine how I would like to more permanently utilize this space.
I keep looking at fancy desks, unnaturally long console tables, book shelves, and ottomans.
While I won't splurge on furniture in the near future, I did pick out a nice area rug for the space.
We recently invested in a new floor and I'd hate for the kids to ruin our investment.
It's a much larger space than I originally thought it was so I'm having a hard time designing it.
What do you put in the middle of a large space acting as an office space/den?
I'm off to Pintrest and Google to see if I can find any inspiration or ideas!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Ideas: How to make eggs without them sticking to the pan.

Ladies and gentleman, I'm about to admit something that I'm terribly ashamed of.  I absolutely, completely, and totally  s t i n k  at making a decent egg.  Well, at least I did stink at making decent eggs up until I learned a magic trick!

How to make eggs without them sticking to the pan.

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.

How to make the perfect egg every time.

My husband melted another spatula.  This time it was melted onto my nonstick pan.  I was upset because that was my only nonstick pan and the only pan that made an OK egg.  After learning that it couldn't be saved, I started doing research on natural pans.  I wanted a 100% ceramic pan made with zero teflon, aluminum, or other harmful materials.  The only "natural" nonstick pans in existence are priced for a billionaire, so I admitted defeat.  ..& then complained to Nanny b/c only my grandma would listen to such a silly complaint.  That's when Nanny blasted me with some serious words of wisdom.  She taught me the deep, dark secret of cooking an egg without them sticking to the pan.  We're talking ANY pan, thus eliminating all of my nonstick pan woes.  Go Nanny!  After testing out her secret method and seeing how fabulous it worked, I decided to share on R&W.

Note- I ended up purchasing THIS stainless steel pan out of the concerns listed above mainly price & health.

Step One:  Prepping the pan.
Lightly oil the bottom of the pan and heat the oil briefly on a low heat setting.

Step Two:  Cooking the eggs.
Put the eggs in the pan.  Avoid touching the eggs at all until the bottom layer of them are cooked.  For some unknown, magical reason, the eggs will separate itself from the bottom of the pan.  Even if making scrambled eggs, don't touch them until you see the bottom solid and cooked through.  You can then start to scramble at that point because the uncooked eggs know not to stick again.  I'm sure there's science behind this, but for this post, we'll continue to refer to the phenomenon as magic.

Step Three:  Plating the eggs.
Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, slide off the pan with zero stickage or mess left behind!  Tip- Let the pan cool before washing but don't let it sit too long.  This will extend the life of your pan.

It may sound simple and like something that should be common sense, but it's not.  It took me 31 and a half years to learn how to make an egg without it sticking to the pan!  To avoid sticking, I used to play with the eggs right away which is where I was messing up.  Little did I know that I had to let the eggs have some time to magically release themselves from the pan.  Bonus points to whomever may know the science behind this magic trick!

What is your favorite type of egg?

Monday, June 8, 2020

List: Ten tips to survive a road trip with toddlers.

Throughout the years I've done plenty of long road trips with children under the age of 5.  We've gone to Disney several times, Savannah twice, St. Augustine once, and the worst Miami.  Most of these exceeded 15 hours and some of them were with a child under the age of 1.  Well, now that you know my resume, one may say that I'm almost a road trip with kiddies expert.  That "one" may be myself, but that's fine.  My experience speaks for itself!  The first two or three trips were rough, but we learned from our mistakes.  Here's to hoping that I can help the amateurs skip over those common errors.  Shout out to the love bug who never made it to those trips..

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How to survive a road trip with kids.

1.  Schedule your trip strategically.
While being mindful of arrival times, try to schedule your trip strategically.  This means planning the bulk of your trip around your children's sleep schedule while considering your own.  For example, when driving to Florida we like to leave around midnight for several reasons.  It's easier to drive through urban areas during the night as opposed to rural, boring areas.  The second reason is the first half of the trip will be with sleeping babies that won't scream "OUT".

There's nothing better than coming prepared with your kid's favorite films to watch during the trip.  They can entertain themselves with movies and avoid neck strain by attaching it to your headrest.  Bonus points for their favorite Disney films on their way to Disney!!

3.  Set up a Pandora playlist that is kid friendly.
A few weeks before the trip, set up a Pandora station and "dislike" the songs that will bore the kids.  You'll have fun passing time singing as a family and they can't say "Are we there yet?" while singing!

4.  Take plenty of stops to refuel.
You'll need to refuel your family in addition to your car so make sure you plan accordingly.  Take time for coffee stops, pee breaks, sit down meals, diaper changes, and just to stretch your legs.  Kids do much better when they are comfortable as opposed to fighting an emergency tinkle!

5.  Plan a fun stop to look forward to along the way.
These don't have to be long trips, but a lunch at a touristy spot is always a fun break on a road trip.  We've done the Paula Deen restaurant, The Cracker Barrel, and The Rainforest Cafe.  As long as they are a place that gets the babies excited, they are a great choice for a stop while enroute.  After all, the best part of a road trip is that you can plan it to your convenience.  Take advantage of that!

6.  Come prepared with mint Lifesavers.
Car sickness is a thing that comes and goes at random.  Or, when you look down while moving like me..  
Mint Lifesavers are a quick heal to car sickness and a road trip must for those prone to nausea.

7.  Use a spare GPS to leave in the back seat.
We use Google Maps and love it.  It redirects you and magically gets you out of traffic when possible.  Most of us are the same, yet we still hang onto that spare GPS that gets zero use.  Set it up so that the kiddies can use it from the back seat and so that it doesn't make noise.  This will give them a fake, yet important job to do and it will reduce the "are we there yet"s.

8.  Limit everyone's liquid intake.
While I'm not promoting dehydration, take caution to limit everyone's consumption of liquids.  There's nothing worse than being in a traffic jam with an emergency need to tinkle!

9Bring plenty of snacks that won't leave a mess.
Have you ever swapped a car seat to find a life time supply of Gold Fish?  I have, now they're banned!  Instead of creating a car seat pinata, bring snacks that are filling, yet won't leave a horrible mess. 

10.  Print out a list of license plates.
Leave your oldest in charge of a VERY important task and leave them equipped.  They will be entertained and feel useful as they cross off each license plate that they find on the road.  This also entertains my hubby to no end.  Weeks later he'll get real excited when he finds the missing plate..  If they are too young to work a list, there are free apps you can download to help with the task.

What was your longest road trip?


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