H Turns 6 with an Art Party

We celebrated H turning 6 with an art party.. step one was finding the place.  Luckily we found Marlene at Artisan Studio who has been running a local studio just 5 minutes away from us for the past 15 years. We went in to meet her, H needed to pick out what he wanted to create during his party and she was full of ideas and helped H find exactly what he wanted to do. It was a Romero Britto inspired Robot..

The next step was the invitation.. I found a free template online.. thank God for the internet. I have used email services like paperlesspost and evite to send out invites and I have sent hard copies to the school as well.. this time I sent the invite in a text message.. not a link to it.. but uploaded it like a photograph right into the text and it was like magic! I got replies much quicker than I have ever before..

Next was the goodie bags.. the A.C Moore (craft store) in our area was having a massive store closing sale and we stocked up on these art sets

For the cake we continued with our tradition of buying a plain white cake and doing the decorations ourselves.. after some googling H and I settled on a splatter cake which was so easy to do.. and looked so pretty.

Now time for the actual party!

Ms. Marlene explained the steps to the kids and helped them along the way along with an assistant.

Everyone commented about this being the quietest birthday party.. all the kids concentrated on their work. 

Then some pizza and cake :)

It was such a fun and easy party..

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Wrapping up Reading in 2019

I read a total of 17 books last year.. a few less than last year which is a bit disappointing. Here are the last few books I read since my last post

3rd Degree by James Patterson    

Synopsis The Women's Murder Club returns in a shockingly suspenseful thriller. Plunging into a burning town house, Detective Lindsay Boxer discovers three dead bodies...and a mysterious message at the scene. When more corpses turn up, Lindsay asks her friends Claire Washburn of the medical examiner's office, Assistant D.A. Jill Bernhardt, and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas to help her find a murderer who vows to kill every three days. Even more terrifying, he has targeted one of the four friends. Which one will it be?

Thoughts As the name suggests this is the third book in the Women's Murder Club series and I am enjoying them a lot. I like all the characters; all strong women. The books are all quick reads, page turners and thankfully not too predictable. I already have the next book in the series on my shelf waiting to be read. 

One Minute Later by Susan Lewis

Synopsis Vivi Shager is living her dream. Raised with drive and ambition by a resolutely single mother, Vivi has a thriving law career, a gorgeous apartment in London, and a full calendar that keeps her busy at work and at play. Then on the day of her twenty-seventh birthday, an undiagnosed heart condition sends Vivi’s prospects for the future into a tailspin. she’s forced to return to her childhood home to be cared for by her devoted and enigmatic mother. Vivi has always known the woman is hiding something and now she’s determined to find out what it is.

Josh Raynor, a local veterinarian who brings a forbidden love to Vivi’s world. Josh and Vivi are soon inseparable, unaware of the past their families share. All Vivi knows is that Josh is wrestling with a demon of his own…

Thoughts I am a bit on the fence about this one.. it had a Hallmark movie vibe.. But it did shine the light on the importance of being an organ donor and the harsh realities of those who are on the wait list for receiving an organ. 

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter 

Synopsis  A scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air. One month later one of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.
Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves. 

Thoughts This is my 7th Karin Slaughter book, I have read no other author this many times. I love her Will Trent series, he is such a unique and interesting character. The synopsis pretty much tells it all.. 

Eleanot Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Synopsis Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she'll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.


Both boys to my relief and joy are readers.. H is working on his sight words and loves pointing out all the words he can recognize. And a few nights a week I am sharing with them The American History - Conversations with Master Historians.

Lulu's Cafe by T.I.Lowe

Synopsis On the run from a violent past, Leah Allen arrived in tiny Rivertown, South Carolina, battered and broken, but ready to reinvent herself. By a stroke of fate, Leah is drawn to the Southern hospitality of a small cafe, looking for a warm meal but finding so much more. Lulu, the owner, offers her a job, a place to stay and a new lease on life. Through Lulu's tenacious warmth and generosity, Leah quickly finds herself embraced by the quaint community as she tries to put herself back together. Given she's accustomed to cruelty, the kindness is overwhelming.
Soon Leah meets Crowley Mason, the most eligible bachelor in town. A lawyer and friend of Lulu's, Crowley is wary of Leah's sudden, mysterious arrival. Despite his reserve, something sparks between them that can't be denied. But after all she's been through, can Leah allow herself to truly love and be loved, especially when her first urge is to run?

Thoughts While the book had some Hallmark qualities I still enjoyed it. It featured some very intense domestic abuse in the beginning for those not comfortable with that. The characters were all quite endearing and it made for a quick read.

we are only a few pages in.. the book is in a question and answer format so we try to do a few questions a week.. the book starts with Jack D Warren Jr on George Washington.  

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A Warm Sunny Island Getaway - Punta Cana

Hope everyone had a great holiday season. We spent 5 wonderfully warm days in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We had a rocky start with delayed flights and almost missed connections.. but we made it. We took my parents with us, we hadn't seen my dad in over three years and the kids and I had to emotionally blackmail him to make him join us on the trip. It was a great little getaway.. we stayed at Majestic Colonial All Inclusive Resort. The food was fantastic, a great beach and pool and plenty of activities for kids and adults alike. H had a rough time, he had a fever for the first two days and was a real cranky pants for the other three.. M and I were feeling quite burned out these last few months and decided to skip exploration of the island and never left the resort..

Get ready for a photo dump

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Winter Break

December is a busy month.. so many activities, an upcoming vacation to somewhere warm. My parents are flying in at the end of the week for the holidays. I don't think I'll be posting this month. I wanted to wish you all a very happy holiday and a very happy new year from my family to yours.

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lately - Thanksgiving Edition

Happy December everyone.. yup we say it every year and so I'll say it again.. how is it December already?? Seriously!

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving.. it was very nontraditional.. there was no turkey or pie but there was a lot of fun.

We started off Wednesday with a Rangers vs Hurricanes hockey game. M gets these amazing club seat tickets from work every year and we all look forward to going every year. And the fact that the Rangers won 3-2 was just the icing on the cake. We arrived in the city a few hours in advance and wandered around for a bit.. and spotted this big fella in a store.

On Thanksgiving Day we headed to Staten Island to the Lantern Festival.. we had been to one before  many years ago in Montreal when D was little. It was absolutely beautiful.. 

On Friday we had tickets to see Sponge Bob the Musical at the NJ State Theater. But before the show we stopped at our favorite hot dog place, Destination Dogs.

I had the Bangkok Dog and M had the Alderaan Dog which I did not know was a fictional Star Wars planet. So so good.. then off to the show!

The show was fantastic.. we are not a Sponge Bob family.. I have always dissuaded the boys from watching it. But the musical was incredibly colorful and creative. We all enjoyed it. If it comes to a theater near you I'd highly recommend checking it out! 

The weekend was less intense.. H came down with a fever, D went to a birthday party and M and I ran some errands.. 

And here we are back at Monday with me counting down the days to winter break.
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Recent Purchases

So I don't generally talk about my recent purchases... but I am so very pleased with some of my latest ones I feel the need to share.

The first one is a pour over coffee maker. I purchased this one and we are so pleased with it. The coffee is simple to make and simple to clean. I can easily just make one cup just for myself. Now what we are working on is finding the coffee we like the best.. we have tried the common brands, Folgers and Maxwell. Preferred Maxwell. We are currently drinking Wegmans in store brand.. on the fence about that one.. what coffee brand do you drink? We don't do flavors and drink a medium roast. I'd love to hear from you guys so we can try different brands.. yay coffee :)

My second favorite purchase was an Air Fryer. Got this one on a great deal! Love it so much bought another one as a gift. I use it so often.. especially for the kids lunches.. no more using oil.. no more paper towels to blot the oil.. did you know you can even boil an egg in it! We roasted pumpkin seeds in a fraction of the time and they came out perfectly crunchy. 

My third and last purchase were these. I have a lot of trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. Then I feel sleepy and tired all day long.. I have been taking melatonin for some time now but it hasn't been helping much. I spotted these and have been taking them for a few weeks now and they are a game changer.. I am sleeping so much better.. M even took some and he can feel a difference in his sleep as well.. 

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating
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Friday Photography

Red and Blue - A beautiful old red and blue building found in the streets of Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada here

You can buy this print here. Get Free Shipping with code BLOGGER

Prints also available in larger sizes. Contact for more information and special requests.

I am open to wholesale and licensing opportunities. Get in touch for more information.
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