Archives

CARLY RAE JEPSON PLEASE HAVE MY SON CALL ME MAYBE:)

Well, here I am almost 24 hours into my first official day as an empty nester and in addition to  Carly Rae Jepson’s hit single “Call Me Maybe” ringing through my head ad nauseum since   it was the official ‘move in the dorm’ song yesterday, I  found myself dealing with my new EN status by organizing my jewelry.  Twas that or imbibe mimosas to quell my pangs of this healthy moving forward period and the plethora (love that word just rolls off the tongue so nicely) of tears.  Cause yesterday we drove Luke to college to begin his freshman year.

We began our day packing (i.e. stuffing our car!)

How did we get all that in there!

  

Good thing i didn’t eat breakfast!!

 Then when we got there we went directly to the amazing golf facility to see his coach and look at his locker, golf bag, shoes etc. (and yes I’m a proud moma as he was recruited to play Div. One golf for his new home away from home)

 

all in the bag!

If the golf shoe fits . . . 🙂

Next we went to his dorm and met his roommate Nick who’s from the Chicago area and is a delightful and adorable young man whom personality wise may have been separated at birth 🙂

The Roomies!

Unpacked….Cleaned…Organized….Made his bed…(note “call your mother pillow!)

Thank god for those Sterilite rollin storage bins from Walmart!

Set up the rest of his room with Luke’s dad and Nick’s folks, Diane and Grant…

Dianne was brilliant wirin thru the ceilin…luke used his putter to help!

Made sure his ATM card worked, and once set with cash and his new life, we were given a not so subtle hint that it was time for us to as he tossed the pillow i gave him into the trash….and smiled that smile that always melts mom’s heart…

Trashin’ mom 😦

So the hugs, kisses, tears, I love yous followed by more hugs, kisses, tears  and I love yous and then our prodigal son said, ” Ok , mom you can go now, I love you but you’re starting to annoy me’….Ouch!!! Do you think our children say those kind of things to make our leaving easier…I wonder….NOT!

So off his father and I went quietly and tearfully into the sunset (actually it was pouring) to lament, have a few cocktails, and believe that all of us will be fine and individually live happily ever after.  THE END or rather THE BEGINNING!  

Which brings me back briefly to why i decided to organize my jewelry,  Actually  it’ was a great way to balance doing something tedious ‘n  simple with my inconsistent attempts of  bringing some Feng Shui into my day to day life.   But I’ll share how i did that in my next post…Meanwhile, time for a poor me, crying break.  And, Luke if you’re reading this, PLEEZE CALL ME MAYBE love u!!! xoxo

Spread the glove!

SOME FORGET ME NOT SPRING CLEANING MULTI-TASKERS

Unknown

Though it hasn’t been feeling very spring-like in the North, today is the first day of spring…YEAH! And, as part of my ongoing crusade to make housework less work so we have more free time, I’ve put together a few of my favorite spring cleaning store-bought multi-tasking products.  And,  I’ve partnered with  some companies to share their new twists on these staples which will help save us time, money and our manicure this spring cleaning season or any other day of the year!

 

ALLERGEN FIGHTER ‘n  AIR FRESHENER:  Spring cleaning usually means we focus on cleaning  windows, curtains and our bedding.  But we often overlook the areas that harbor dust and dust mites like on our bookshelves, plants and lampshades.  Introducing the latest and greatest my savior:

Swiffer 180 Duster with Gain:  It has fluffy fibers to help trap ‘n lock the dust instead of the old-fashioned feather duster which I feel just move dust from one place to another.  It can get in tight places like underneath furniture, nooks in your coffee table and corners of picture frames!  PLUS this new Swiffer freshens the room by leaving behind the joyful scent of Gain for all we Gainiacs!!!

 

GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:  For years, I’ve been soooo frustrated by the fact that I know there’s more spray left in my cleaning products but no matter what I do to access the remaining liquid I either spill it on a surface-wasting it or I just chuck it.  Well no more!  Thanks to the brilliant peeps at Clorox they’ve come to my (our rescue!) with SMART TUBE (R) TECHNOLOGY! It’s a built in tube that reaches all the way to the bottom of spray bottles, allowing you to spray every drop. It’s available on bottles of Clorox® Clean Up®, Tilex® and Formula 409® Cleaners.  Hmmm now if a wine maker could invent similar technology for that lil bit of wine left at the bottom of the bottle that would really be grape to the last drop!

 

NEVER HALF BAKED: NUMERO UNO MULTI-TASKER: If I was left alone on a deserted island the one thing I’d want with me is baking soda…It’s so useful for so many things around the house from cleaning, to fixing drains to stain removal to odor absorption and all else betwixt n between. And now Arm & Hammer has answered my dreams with a laundry product that has an incredibly strong cleaning power aptly enough named Arm & Hammer Ultra Power 4X liquid laundry. It’s super concentrated so you need less to get more. It costs about 50% less than the leading detergent per load, so you have more money to get that manicure! And with the small bottle, it’s easier to carry around and pour!

 

LIGHTENING THE LOAD:  I love anything that saves me time as you know particularly when it’s a chore I abhor and do far too much of like laundry.  But alas having a teenage son this is my fate, which is why I love, love this LG Washer.   It will save your health, time and energy!  It has steam technology, with cleaning options like an allergen reduction cycle that will get rid of 95% of common household allergies. Great timing with those spring allergies in the air! The Turbowash technology will save up to 20 minutes per load, and you can fit an entire set of king size bedding, including the comforter, in a single load. And this model has earned ENERGY STAR “most Efficient” designation, meaning that this washer falls in the top 5% in its class! That’s lightening the load on all fronts!

 

A MANI-CURE’S TWO BEST FRIENDS: 

 1. HABIT BREAKER-MANICURE SAVER: Old habits are hard to break but this one my friends you should run don’t walk to do!!  Usually I pre-wash my dishes and during spring cleaning I wash those party plates, platters and glassware that lay in my cabinets collecting dust.  Forget that! New Cascade Platinum that is a manicure’s best friend since it requires NO PRE-WASHING.  Simply scrape off large food pieces and place those babies right into the dishwasher.  You can even leave them there for 24 hours and they’ll come out sparkling clean…my martini glass never shined so!  And, it’s another multi-tasker since it will help prevent filming on the walls of your dishwasher machine.

 

2. HABIT BREAKER-MANICURE SAVER: Betwixt the New Cascade ‘n this LG TrueStream technology dishwasher is so powerful that you practically eliminate pre-washing for all your dishwasher safe dishes, glassware, pots and pans will be a rarity in your life — OMG!!!  There is also a sanitary rinse option that rinses your dishes with 160 degree water, for an optimal clean. It is also Energy Star qualified and saves nearly 5,000 gallons of water a year vs. hand-washing. With the EasyRack Plus adjustable rack system, it minimizes the frustration of fitting everything that you eat, drink, serve or cook on in there. And BTW if you really want to multi-task tightly wrap a salmon filet with a lil bit of butter, white wine, and mustard in piece of aluminum; run it full cycle with a dishwashing load and viola you’ve also got some Clean Cuisine!  Bubbly optional…as in champagne J

And, BTW here are a few tips on the best way to load your dishwasher to insure the best results!

      • Place forks and spoons facing up and knives down – this ensures that you get the most detergent interaction, but keeps things safe!
      • Glasses mugs, plastics and bowls go on the top rack at an angle to allow water to properly drain off.
      • Plates, bowls, cookware go on the bottom rack and must be spaced out to allow the water and detergent to clean everything.
      • Before starting your machine, run the sink in your kitchen until the water is hot.  This helps ensure the water that enters your

machine is at the optimal temperature.

 

TRIED ‘N TRUE ‘N SOMETHING BOU-QUET:  Though I wish I could put everything in my dishwasher certain items are a no no like my fine crystal.  That’s why I always use the classic uber grease-fighting Dawn Ultra which has 2x the grease-fighting ingredient vs the leading non-concentrated dish soap which means your suds last longer and you save money cause you use less. WIN WIN!  I also use it to wash my microwave plate which sports those coffee overheats and spills!  And, with spring in the air, it’s a no brainer for cleaning my vases and then filling them with a beautiful bouquet of flowers…Aahhh tra la tra la…spring is in the air!

HALLOWEEN TIPS ‘N TREATS TO SATISFY ANY BOY’S OR GHOUL’S SWEET TOOTH

Halloween is a holiday packed with scary goblins, spook-tacular activities and lots of our child’s favorite treats (and ours too!).  And, half the fun of the day is the time spent going door to door seeing how many treats they can collect. The trick as parents is making sure that our children wait until they get home to go through and enjoy their bounty.  Allowing your children to enjoy their candy in moderation is ok and don’t get too concerned with the type of sugar in the candy (sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup) as experts agree i’ve learned from research and partnering with the Corn Refiner’s Association, that it’s all about balance and moderation as sugar is sugar and all sugars are nutritionally the same.

So here are a few tips and treats to help you balance the sweets they eat and satisfy their sweet tooth:

TIPS

  • Don’t send them out hungry
  • Satisfy their ‘sweet tooth’ pre trick or treating
  • Instruct them not to eat ANY items before they arrive home
  • Compromise ‘n remember you were a child once too and Halloween was a day  for eating a few more candies then usual J

TREATS

YUMMY MUMMY Makes 4

What You Need:

  • 1 8 oz. can of refrigerated crescent roll, seamless if available
  • Cookie sheet
  • Aluminum foil to fit sheet
  • 4 slices of American or cheddar cheese
  • Plastic knife
  • 4 Pre-cooked sausages
  • 1 raw egg, scrambled or cooking spray
  • Mustard

How to Make Them:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Unroll dough on tin foil
  3. Use knife to cut 4 even sized squares
    1. If not seamless dough connect two crescents together to create four mummies
    2. Place cheese slices on dough before cutting ‘wrapping’ strips and cut at same time as ‘dough’.
  4. Place cheese slices on dough before cutting ‘wrapping’ SP from center
  5. Place ‘mummy’ i.e. sausage in center and wrap strip over strip
  6. Brush with egg or cooking spray
  7. Bake per dough package instructions or until brown:  approx. 10-12 minutes
  8. Use mustard to make the eyes and mouth

TRICK OR TEETH:

What You Need:

Pear or Apple cored and sliced in approx. 1/4 inch slices width-wise

How to Make Them:

  1. Cover the ‘jaw’ i.e. fruit slice with a thin layer of ‘gum glue’ i.e. peanut butter or Nutella
  2. Place the ‘teeth’ i.e. mini marshmallows around the edge of the ‘jaw’ (fruit)
  3. Open your mouth wide and enjoy!
  4. Optional:
    1. Make an upper ‘jaw with teeth’ and place on top
    2. Dye one or several of the teeth using food dye

i.     Red for blood

ii.     Black or blue for rotten

 SPOOK-TACULAR SPICED TEA-Makes a Quart

What you need

Gummie worms

Ice cup trays

2 cups water, boiled

2 caffeine free, apple cinnamon spice tea bags

8 ozs. Apple cider

8 ozs. Ginger ale

4 tsp. sugar

How to make it:

Put a gummy worm in each ice cube compartment and cover with water.  Freeze 2-3 hours.

  1. Dunk the tea bags in the hot water (which should be in the measuring cup) until it turns dark.  About three minutes, and, then, throw them out.
  2. When the tea has cooled, pour it into the pitcher.
  3. Add the apple cider, ginger ale, and sugar.  Stir with the wooden spoon.  Pour over ice, and get ready to enjoy a spook-tacularly spiced drink.

BLACK CAT CUPCAKE CONES Makes 12

What you need:

1 box (1l.25 oz) cake mix

12 flat bottom ice cream cones

12 cup muffin pan

1 16 oz can vanilla frosting

Black gel coloring

Decorative icing tubes in assorted colors

Assorted Candies:  red gum drops, twizzlers, Reeses Pieces, Red and Black shoe laces; Candy cones; M & M’s

How to Make Cupcakes:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325
  2. Prepare batter per box instructions
  3. Fill each cup 3/4 way up with batter
  4. Stand cones straight in muffin pan
  5. Bake 25 mins on center rack…use toothpick to test doneness.. it should come out clean
  6. Cool for 10 min.

How to Make Cat’s Face:

  1. While cupcakes are baking make ‘black paint’ for face with frosting and adding black gel per instructions
  2. Spread on black paint with a plastic knife
  3. Suggestions on making CAT face:
  • Ears:  Candy cones
  • Eyes: White icing to draw slanted football shaped eyes and use colored M & M of choice for pupils
  • Nose:  Red round sugared gum drops
  • Whiskers:  Red shoe lace candy or icing color of choice
  • Mouth: Red icing or red twizzlers torn into 1 “ pieces.

 Goes purr-fect with big glass of milk! 

HI HO HI HO TO HABITAT FOR HUMANITY GLOVES ‘N I GO!

They say one pix is worth a thousand words. Well I have many pix to share with you which will speak volumes for four words in particular:  Community, Empowerment,  Women and Humanity.  And, together these words speak volumes on how Women coming together form an amazing and Empowering Community that truly (and literally) makes a difference building better lives for all Humanity…What can I say :“WE WOMEN ROCK”.

Ok, so why am I so personally jazzed?  See last weekend I had the honor of spending two amazing days hosting events in NYC and NJ/Paterson for Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s Fifth Annual National Women Build Week.  It’s an initiative they’ve partnered on that takes place the week leading up to Mother’s Day.  The 411 is it challenges women to pick up a hammer and join fellow women at construction sites across the country to help build affordable homes alongside  the local family for whom the home is being built.  So here are some of my 1000 plus word pix-

PLEASE NOTE; Doug my trusty photographer aka Beau the Builder took many more pix which will be posted later in the week so if some of you terrif peeps who participated aren’t seen here you will be and deserve to be!

 Day One:  I was in Paterson ‘spreading the glove’ with hardhat, hammer and fellow jersey gals:

Just like a Chorus line!Go ladies…wall’s up!

Giving New Meaning to Hitting Nail on the Head!

Givin’ new meaning to hitting the nail on the head!

Joinin’ hammers w/BUILD GENERATION-gals 18-24! Love her red locks!

Day Two:  I was in NYC at the New York city Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Taft Houses Youth Chorus Center celebrating a ‘brush with kindness’ with paintbrush, shovel,  Lowe’s Heroes, local volunteers, 

And my new best BFF WNBA”S five time Olympian/gold medalist, Teresa Edwards… whom I challenged to a 1 on 1 match and beat gloves down…NOT!

My new BFF, wonder woman Teresa Edwards

OOPS! Accidental me 🙂

NYC fam partner Dimitrea Tokunbo, Hab-by volunteer, moi ‘n Teresa brushing it up!

Hi ho! Hi ho it’s off to dig i go!

She gave me one…backwards LOL!

That’s all for now…just want to say thank you thank you thank you to all my Habitat for Humanity Paterson, NYC and national buds for inviting me to host…gloves are packed and ready to go whenever you need me xo 

PS;  One mo’ thing that I’ll just tease here…at the NYC event I was blown away by the NYCHA Youth Chorus who gave an amazing and inspiring performance. 

Joyfull Noise from NYCHA Youth Choir that made us all smile:)

And, they ended it with my new fave song SMILE by Kirk Franklin…but that’s a blog for another day…But for today remember “you look so much better when you smile” 🙂 Spread the glove!

SCUZZA ME THAT ‘S AMORE: MOONSTRUCK IN LEWES, DE

WOW! Where does the time go? I can’t believe it’s May 7th and in two days my baby boy is going to be 18….yikes…pictures to follow!! Today, though i’m finally getting back on the bloggin trail having been quite remiss due to an incredibly busy/whirlwindy kind of month…So let’s see, where doth this accidental one’s month retrospective start….

In Lewes, Deleware where on a unusually warm April Day my loving matey and I set sail on the Cape May/Lewes ferry with bubbly in hand to help calm the somewhat choppy Delaware Bay seas Arrrrrr 😉 We were on our way there for a few reasons:  1) we love Lewes.  2) we love Lewes 3) we love Lewes 🙂  It’s a quaint town that unless you take the ferry from Cape May might never stumble upon as it seems to be the forgotten sister to better known ReHoboth Beach, DE.  Lewe’s main street, Second Street,  is about 1/2 mile long but on it you’ll find just about everything one needs/wants…A great Mexican restaurant -Agave, a continental one- The Buttery; a fab jewelry store: Chatelaine’s and Doug and my fave place TOUCH OF ITALY http://www.touchofitaly.com/ which is owned by Joe and Bob the Builder (not to be confused with Bob of Nickolodeon fame!).  It’s a spot where we have spent much wine (and no that is NOT a typo!) and time.

We discovered it a couple of months ago as we were walking along Second Street and spotted what looked like those good ole fashion Italian delis you saw in The Sopranos, Moonstruck (one of my top ten movie faves)

or imagine in Italy.

So we went inside and if our eyes could eat we would have devoured everything in sight …Italian cheeses hanging from the ceiling, fresh mozz in the case, an array of heart don’t fail me after eating those fatty, yummy italian meats and sausages, marinated artichoke hearts on stems, seafood salad complete with squid that had their tentacles in tact (love them!), authentic Italian desserts and on and on..

Mama Mia…That’s Amore! Yum!!!

But our delight and surprise didn’t stop there when out of the corner of my eye I saw folks sitting at tables eating these incredible italian sandwiches and brick oven pizzas that i would soon forget watching my girlish figure for! And, it got even better:  set in the far back corner of this cozy epicurean oasis I saw a bar… now that’s amore!

Doug and I immediately planted ourselves on two stools and per Henry’s suggestion (Henry runs the place and I am thinking of kidnapping him to take care of us) we ordered what he considered to be the best white wine in the world; a true antipast,  meatballs, then a bottle of red wine and 3 hours, 3 pounds, one major buzz and one pair of early anniversary diamond and sapphire earrings later  from my amore D we exito-d.  Now you know why we love, love, love Lewes. Spread the glove!

MARTHA STEWART, MARC ANTHONY ‘N I WANNA KNOW: DOES UNCLE SAM SPEAK PRADA?

I confess I have never done my taxes…not as in didn’t file them which will have the IRS  knocking on my door in about 30 seconds ‘n moi perhaps learning how to knit with my cell mate a la Martha Stewart‘. Nope, in years past I chose to have ‘professionals’  figure out how to give Uncle Sam his fair share of my hard earned income.

And, when you think about it many famous folks like Marc AnthonyWillie Nelson; The Osbornes; and Ja Rule  Slide10.aspx have tried to decide what they think is fair and have not faired well. But, as one of my all time fave performers James Taylor reminds us “You can run, but you can not hide” : 

And, though he was talking about love, the IRS -damn them-eventually finds us whether we’re in New Jersey, Beverly Hills or sippin Pina Coladas on a beach in the tax-free Caymans.

Anyway, this year I’m doing most of the work since like 99.9% of us, I’m trying to cut back on my expenses.  So no more lawyer like accounting firm with 15 partners letting the meter run even when they’re boasting about THEIR kids. Yup this year it’s mostly me.  As a result, I now understand why so many accountants are bald as I’m pulling my hair out and rubbing my head simulaneously trying to  figure out where the hell my money went and how to organize all this s…t 🙂  

It’s truly a humbling experience and made me feel a bit like Rebecca Bloomwood from the best selling book and fun albeit silly movie: Confessions of a Shopaholic which I coincidentally watched last weekend.  The movie starred Isla fisher.  For those who’ve neither read nor seen it, the title pretty much says it all…’cept for girl meets very rich handsome boy whom is her boss, they fall in love, girl lies to him then joins Shoppers Anonoymous, and boy recounts cause afterall love conquers all particularly in the movies…The End.

Anyway, trivial as the movie was it did make me realize how we can easily let things get out of control with our finances…And, in her case with her credit cards which launched her path to becoming a shopoholic at the ripe ole age of 7…

Fast forward 20 years she takes a job at a place where she is asked to help other people save money by writing a financial column.  Clearly in over her head, she decides to relate buying investments to buying shoes…quite an analogy but one that works and her column becomes a huge success…as i said this was a silly albeit fun movie/book.  So as I have been working on my taxes all well and about to loose it, I decided to take to writing this blog hoping it will help me sort through all this stuff.  And, in the spirit of Rebecca’s debut column, I am going forth and approaching doing and organizing my taxes as I would do my closet:  One line item and one pair of shoes, pants and shopping bags at a time labeled: ‘Drop 10’ (as in pounds and bills); Discard (cut the excess) and Donate (an always tax deduction)!    So there I confess and hope Uncle Sam speaks Prada too!  Spread the glove! 

STEAMIN’, PREENIN’ AND ALL THINGS SPRING CLEANIN’

Happy 152 Pony Express Birthday!  Who’d have thunk horses would some day by left in the postal dust n dirt for email and tweeting!  Speaking of dust and dirt here I am rehearsing for a TV tour tomorrow with some terrific companies I’m working with to help us get rid of dust and dirt like:

  • Stanley Steemer whom I’ve now got on speed dial since I’ve also discovered they not only deep clean and sanitize carpets but also hardwood floors, upholstery, tile and grout,
  • My buds at TIDE and their oh so cool new single unit dose Tide Pods which are idiot and mess proof and can be used in a HE or non HE washing machine
  • LG and their new LG TurboWash Washing Machine which will save us 20 minutes per load EVEN on large loads …and with us averaging nearly 400 loads a laundry per year think about all the free time we’ll gain…LOVE THAT!

And, Chase’s Freedom card is gonna help us earn 5% back on up to $1500 through June when I shop for my spring cleaning supplies or anything else I buy at the grocery store.

Oh, yeah I’m also gonna get a makeover…Mobile Makeover that is courtesy of Radio Shack…where you can trade in your old working phone for anywhere from $30-300 instantly for store credit…Think it’s time to pony up and express myself with a new iPhone 4S!  … Hope you’ll tune in!

Spread the glove!