Uncategorized

Life through my lens… Easter!

I’m a big event planner for special days… I like Birthdays to be special for the person who’s day it is, I plan what we will be doing, the food, the cake, the decorations, sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan, but I like to try to get it right, and Easter is no different! This Easter started on Thursday for us, unfortunately not for Paul though as he doesn’t get Good Friday or Easter Monday off, so with that in mind we headed to meet Paul for what turned out to be a late lunch at his office…

IMG_0668.JPG

IMG_0667.JPG

IMG_0669.JPG

IMG_0674.JPG
The afternoon was slightly rushed due to car restraints that come with sharing your car… the weather was beautiful, if not a little windy, and the scenery was fabulous, so a few photos had to be snapped!

IMG_0669-0.JPG

IMG_0670.JPG

IMG_0693.JPG

IMG_0671.JPG

IMG_0694.JPG
As the weather was going to be reasonable for the weekend, we decided to head to my happy place… The beach on Saturday! It was a bright sunny day with lots of sunshine and blue skies, but oh, that wind was brutal… Paul was a trooper and spent along time playing in the sand with Florrie, even with the mother of all hangovers (no sympathy there though)!

IMG_0751.JPG

IMG_0740.JPG

IMG_0743.JPG

IMG_0750.JPG

IMG_0779.JPG

IMG_0756.JPG

IMG_0775.JPG

IMG_0761.JPG

Easter Sunday was not a restful and relaxing day for me as I’d imagined, there was the basket making, the gift opening the egg hunt organization, cake making and dinner prep, but thankfully my mum did most of the last one, by late afternoon I sat with my glass of wine and breathed a sigh of relief…

IMG_0833.JPG

IMG_0813.JPG

IMG_0821.JPG

IMG_0812.JPG

IMG_0931.JPG

IMG_0858.JPG

IMG_0845.JPG

IMG_0930.JPG

Easter Monday was girls shopping day out, of course Tate was the only boy allowed until at the last minute Jordan decided to gate crash our fun Urban Outfitters day shopping…

IMG_0936.JPG

IMG_0943.JPG

IMG_0944.JPG

IMG_0945.JPG

IMG_0960.JPG

IMG_0946.JPG

IMG_0948.JPG
There is just something about Easter weekend that I love, perhaps the promise of spring just around the corner, or the thoughts of an alarm free week ahead as my children had Spring break… Or just some quality time with my family… One thing is for sure though, getting home after a fun packed weekend, kicking my shoes off and sitting on my new rug, hand dancing with my children to Jordan’s new vinyl was the perfect way to finish our Easter off!

IMG_0962.JPG

Advertisements
Uncategorized

… And just like that, it was over!

As summer draws to a close I am reflecting over these past few months… We started out in a very unorganized way, we have had very little BBQ’s this year… Really not like us, we haven’t sat out all evening drinking a chatting, again very unlike us, and I personally have just felt tired and drained… Now I can’t even blame Tate for lack of sleep as he is such a good baby… I just really feel there is something lacking about this summer… And now it’s almost Fall!

IMG_4664.JPG

I think my lack of energy is because I need to find a direction and. stick to it, I feel like sometimes, I just wander aimlessly around, but these past few years have been tough for our family, due to a series of events, life just seems hard in every direction… So I’m trying to find some positive vibes in each and every day, because despite everything we are a close, loving family and that means everything in life… Well that and a glass of wine, of course!

The one thing I will remember this summer for, is our pool days with our very kind friends, this year there have been a lot of fun wet days spent in their pool, and for that I am truly grateful to them… Florence’s confidence in the water has improved so much, her love for swimming has increased so much over the summer months, each pool day has seen her grow into a happy diver, swimmer, racer and her smile each time she jumps into that water is magical!

This was Tate’s first summer pool experience, although he was dubious at first I think his confidence has grown too… We even got a couple of smiles from him as he kicked his little legs, splashing away!

IMG_4494.JPG

This is also the summer we discovered that Florrie loves sand, the Cake Boss shop, movies in the park and Twix Bites… Now we are all totally addicted! Mabel has become a very competent swimmer and Blu has actually left his Xbox and his room and sat with us for long periods of time… We even got him to chat a little… Now that is crazy!

IMG_4680.JPG

Summer also saw Mabel hanging out with her friends more, movie dates, swim dates and of course shopping trips to the Mall, this was also the summer that she became a teenager and went to her first concert, which she absolutely loved!

IMG_5073.JPG

We have been to the beach a total of three times this summer, and I have decided that beach days out of season are the best… The long drive sat in traffic, the high costs to park your car and then the charges to get onto a extremely busy beach in the height of summer are far outweighed by our after Labor Day beach trip… The drive was easy, parking was not only easy but very cheap, 4 hours on the beach plus one hour having ice cream equalled $5 prime position parking versus $15 for a dusty long walk parking place in the height of summer. The weather was fabulous yesterday 93f, the beach was free and much quieter than it was a few weeks ago… My thoughts are summer may be almost over but I can see a few Fall beach days in our future… Maybe!

IMG_9111.JPG

Well school has already started for my older children, universities/colleges are back, but tomorrow truly signifies the end of summer for me… Blu heads back to High School as a Sophomore and Mabel starts her final year in the Middle School as a newly fledged teenager, I’m starting this semester with a new project, homeschooling a three year old… But that’s a story for another day!

Good luck to everyone for this new school year and to all us parents with the love and support each of our children need!

Uncategorized

MIA…

The summer used to signify rest and relaxation for me, when my older boys were young the start of the summer holidays/recess meant long lazy days, no alarms meant laying in bed all morning watching tv and on those days we planned an outing we would be up extra early visiting places before the crowds arrived… The beach trips meant leaving the house at 6am and getting to the beach with a breakfast picnic and a flask of coffee, just as the crowds arrived at lunch time we would pack up and leave… I thank my very good friend for showing me this way of summer beaching… Such fond memories!

Now these past two weeks of summer have not been like that, it’s been go, go, go… We have left too late for trips to the beach, meaning we have arrived at the beach to find crowds of people and then have sat in hours of traffic on our way home. When we have been at home all I have heard is I’m bored, I’m hungry and what are we doing tomorrow?

With the weeks of the summer flying by I want to bring back rest and relaxation with a healthy mix of days out and chores around the house… I need to get organized right now!

We got together one evening and for the first time ever we planned a summer list of want to do’s…

Morristown… Cake boss shop… Completed
Dingmans Falls walk
Flea market
Beach… Completed
Water play park
Dorney Park/water park
LBI
Arboretum… Completed
Mall… Completed
Read a book… Completed by Mabel
Concerts in the park… Completed one movie in the park
Bowling
Arts and crafts projects
Hyline NY
Zoo
Go carting
Mini golf

As you can see we have completed a lot of our list in just two weeks, in between all that fun we have also had a lot of excitement with some relaxing pool time courtesy of our friends beautiful pool, and also Mabel has had a wonderful sleepover and a two day community pool play date… All this water fun led to us purchasing an adventure waterproof camera… The underwater photos are amazing and not worrying about sand in my camera on the beach is so good!

20140709-104943-38983762.jpg

If you love taking your camera everywhere you go… Then I would recommend an all adventure camera, taking photos in the pool is amazing and beach photos become worry free… Sand in the camera is no longer a worry… Our camera was on offer in Costco $149.99, $50 off and included a float handle, so when your not using your camera it can just Bob around in the pool, waiting for the next time you want to snap away… Mabel has taken selfies to a new level… Underwater… So much fun!

20140709-105423-39263081.jpg

As always I must mention food… My summer favorite at the moment is salad with fresh figs, a suggestion from Rachael Ray, yesterday I bought some beautiful fresh figs from Trader Joes, I quartered them and added them to my green salad, drizzled balsamic glaze over and it was sooooo good! Tonight I am making a variation of the Pioneer Woman’s Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches with a nice fruity green salad again…. Happy summer cooking!

Uncategorized

A perfect Easter afternoon…

What do you do when your Spring break is cancelled? You pick a day over your three day weekend and go to the beach… The sun is shining, the temperatures are finally above freezing and we have food for a picnic, so we are going in search of a vacation, even if it’s only for one day!

20140420-094819.jpg

We had a wonderful time at the beach, it was windy when we got there but after a while the wind calmed down and it was a very pleasant sunny 66f, making it perfect for our April beach day… This is my favorite time of the year to visit the Jersey Shore, it’s not so busy, the water is cold, true, but the sand is clean and usually empty, there are no fees to get onto the beach or to park your cars… And the weather is cooler than summer but just nice to enjoy the the waves crashing in… Perfection!

20140420-095300.jpg

Our Easter Saturday Afternoon began with the perfect parking spot, sad I know, but it really made my day! We bought a small picnic of chicken and cheese rolls, a salad and fresh strawberries, we sat on a bench, on the boardwalk overlooking the beach eating our home made lunch, Tate was sleeping in his stroller and Florrie was talking so excitedly about the sand and sea shells! After lunch it was time to hit the sand, and this in my opinion was the BEST part of the day, because my little Florrie for the first time ever walked on the sand and wasn’t scared, in fact she loved it, she went down to the water with her Dad and paddled her feet… It was truly COLD, according to Paul, but they did it anyway, but not for long! Whilst Florrie searched for sea shells, Paul and Mabel kicked a ball around! I sat on the boardwalk with my camera and people watched for a while, my Mum took some photos and we just enjoyed the moment!

20140420-100411.jpg

Frozen yogurt and a spot of shopping strolling along the boardwalk shops, perfected our afternoon… Then a leisurely sit in the Corner Cafe drinking coffee and eating more ice cream, chatting and listening to Florrie sing Let it go from the movie Frozen, this made our afternoon purely wonderful!

The moral of this little story is… Whenever you think it’s not quite the right time of year for the beach… Remember anytime is perfect for the beach, the sea, the sand, the boardwalk, all make a perfect day out whatever the weather!

20140420-101230.jpg

My dream is to one day live by the beach and spend all year, whatever the weather loving living right there…

Happy Easter!

Uncategorized

MIA…

This summer has not really gone as planned, it’s been quieter than usual, explanations coming later! The food we have eaten has been oh so bad, junk food to the max, we have been at home a lot, just a few days out and about, and then this last week we did finally organize ourselves enough to vacation for a week… And that really was an oh so much needed break away!

A couple of weeks ago, we finally got our acts together and booked a week away in North Carolina… I was not looking forward to the 8 hour drive to Raleigh, but with 3 drivers, Dom came along with us, it wasn’t too bad. I don’t really know what I was expecting from this southern state but it more than lived up to my expectations, so much so, I think I could easily live there! Everyone was extremely friendly, the roads were easy to drive on, clean, wide and the best thing no traffic or police hanging around in every nook waiting to get you for silly things! The whole place seem to be thriving, new and again so clean, no empty, closed down buildings in sight, everywhere seemed to be booming unlike here in New Jersey! Now if you wanted to eat out there was everything you could imagine and things you hadn’t even thought of, every shop you wanted was all within an easy driving distance… Each town had it’s own identity, Raleigh was more a smaller city with thriving business’ everywhere, Apex was the cutest small quiet town and my absolute favorite Chapel Hill, a thriving college town with lots of bars, shops and a great feel about it!

A two hour easy drive took us to Wilmington NC, home to Dawson’s Creek… Who knew? Here in Wilmington are three beautiful sandy beaches… Wrightsville Beach was the nearest to our hotel, clean, gorgeous blue water and well worth a visit, we spent 6 hours on this beach, Florrie even took a dip in the water here, but she still did not like the sand! I think the beast thing about this beach for us was the Starbucks situated just off the road just before you got to the beach! Carolina beach was a little bit more vibrant with a boardwalk and shops, this beach was beautiful, very clean and the most gorgeous view out to sea, we were on the beach for about 4 hours when a storm came across the beach, it was amazing to see, we maybe stayed too long taking photos of the amazing sky, because when the rain came, it really came hard and we got absolutely soaked… It was fun though! There is also another beach within Wilmington, Kure beach, unfortunately we did not manage to get to that one… Maybe next time!

Downtown historic Wilmington was my perfect town, a gorgeous boardwalk along the water, cute restaurants and shops, antiques, homemade ice cream and lots more for the avid photographer and her camera, unfortunately my younger children did not feel the same so we cut our tour short of this must visit town!

All in all I am totally in love with North Carolina… There was one tiny thing I was not so impressed with though… I do not like pumping my own gas, thankfully on this trip I did not have to do it, I am guessing I have turned into a Jersey girl… As they say Jersey girls don’t pump gas, and this Jersey girl has forgotten how to pump her own gas!

20130901-120707.jpg

20130901-120728.jpg

20130901-120804.jpg

20130901-121124.jpg

Uncategorized

Getting ready for the beach….

A great way to start our summer, or not, as officially summer recess does not start until next week for us… Is a trip to the beach, so today for me today is all about getting ready for our day on the sand tomorrow! We are not taking our usual picnic with us, phew… No sandwiches to make, we are meeting friends and eating Italian style on the boardwalk, but I know my family, they will want to snack the sunny, fingers crossed, sandy afternoon away… So here is my kind of beach picnic for a Sunday afternoon…

I am going to bake fresh strawberry muffins and a skinny chocolate chip buttermilk biscuits
I have bought a huge bag of pita chips, I am going to take some sliced cheese and a freshly made lime and corn salsa…
1 cup of quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 cup of frozen blackened corn
1/2 red pepper finely chopped
The juice of one lime
1/2 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes
A small bunch of cilantro, chopped

Toss the first Four ingredients in a bowl, in another bowl whisk together the next four ingredients, combine both bowls together toss add in fresh cilantro and serve with your giant bag of pita chips!

I am also taking an iced cooler with bottles of water and freshly made blueberry tea, half and half lemonade jars with fresh blueberries

Time to get out our beach equipment that has been stored away all winter long, I must not forget some napkins and our sun cream… I love a long sunny afternoon at the beach, it will be interesting to see if Florrie actually goes on the sand this year, last year she was so scared, but it made for an easy afternoon as she wouldn’t get off of the blanket… This year it may be very different, but lots of fun!

20130622-104202.jpg