Easy Cabinet Makeover

We bought this small, two-door cabinet several years ago. It was originally hunter green and we had it in our bathroom in our first home. It was a sweet, small little house with a rather good-sized bathroom that had zero storage.

This little cabinet held it all! A family of five with three small children has A LOT of ‘stuff’ from toiletries, tub toys, hair accessories, etc. When we redecorated that bathroom I painted it black to better match the new decor.

When we moved to our new home 17 years ago, we placed it in our upstairs hallway, and there it has sat for all this time. It acts as a catch-all to various items and is the perfect place for a night light and whatever else finds itself landing there.

I have wanted to paint it for years, its just boring and blah and kind of just stuck there because it happens to fit the space. This spring I decided to go for it and boy, does it look different now!

I removed the doors and all of the hardware and lightly sanded it all over. The metal hinges and wooden knobs were painted black. I had seen on a DIY show years ago that you could soak old metal hardware in a crockpot to remove years of paint and build-up. I boiled some water in a pyrex bowl in the microwave then placed all the metal hinges in the hot water to soak for a while. The paint just rubbed right off of them!

I decided to prime the cabinet because I was using such a bright paint I was afraid of the knots in the wood bleeding through. Not really sure if this step was necessary but I didn’t want to find out the hard way after it was all finished!

In between coats of primer I worked on the hardware. I knew I wanted them to be gold so I decided to just spray paint them with a gold I had on hand.

I poked holes in this cardboard left-over from an old ski-goggle box for all of the screws and knobs and just laid the hinges flat on top of old cardboard . Then I spray painted them all.

I was so happy with how they turned out! Next up I started to paint with my bright, crazy green!!!

Needless to say, I was going for a very different look! Anyone who knows me can tell you I don’t usually decorate with a lot of bright color. My home is mostly whites, grays, beiges and blues.

As it was getting brighter and brighter I was getting so excited! I found it really hard to be patient and wait for it to dry! Finally, it was time to re-attach all of the hardware and hang the doors.

Voila! Here is my finished product. It sure stands out now and honestly makes me happy every time I see it! Big difference form before, right?

Do you have any fun DIY projects that you’ve done around your house? Or maybe one that you’ve wanted to do but have put it off? I’d love for you to share them with me! I get so inspired when I see other people’s projects!

This week I also transformed an old sofa table. I hope to share that with you soon! The spring weather has me super-psyched to get back to all the projects I’ve put off during the long, never-ending winter!

Scroll down to comments and let me know about your DIY projects or if you’re planning on doing any in the future! I hope this project will inspire you to go for it! Don’t forget to sign-up for my email list!

Easy Fruit Salsa

My family LOVES fruit salsa. Now that spring is here and summer isn’t too far behind, I’m sure I will be making this a lot! It usually doesn’t last very long when I do.

Years ago, when my kids were really little, I learned about fruit salsa at a Pampered Chef party. I believe they called it Apple Berry Salsa, and it was sweetened with jam and sugar. I loved it and started making it for my family quite a few times a year!

Typically, this salsa is served with cinnamon chips for scooping. To be honest, my family members tend to serve themselves a small bowl and eat it with a spoon! I will share my family’s version with you!

Fruit Salsa

  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • container of strawberries
  • 3 kiwis
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar or sweetener of your choice

Let’s make it!

Wash all of your fruit. Peel the kiwi and apples and dice into similar sizes. Then, if you’re like me, eat the apple peels while you’re finishing the prep! Hull the strawberries and dice. Next I like to zest a bit of the orange peel over the top because I just think zest adds such a refreshing flavor! Cut orange in half and squeeze all the juice over the top of the diced fruit. I usually add a tbsp of brown sugar or coconut sugar or whatever strikes my fancy that day!

You don’t have to add any sweetener if you’d rather not. It will still be delicious!

Cinnamon Chips

  • 4-6 tortillas
  • cinnamon
  • sugar
  • water

I buy the small to medium sized tortillas and cut them into eight or more wedges with a pizza cutter. Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment (for easier clean-up!) You can either lightly spritz them with water or use a pastry brush to brush water on them.

We always keep a shaker container of cinnamon sugar in our spice cabinet to put on toast, so I just sprinkle this over the wedges. If you’re looking to use less sugar you can just sprinkle cinnamon on them.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Ovens vary so keep a close eye on them! Let cool and dig in to your yummy salsa!!

This recipe is very easy and always a hit wherever I bring it! It can be served as an appetizer OR as a dessert. It is delicious over vanilla ice cream or for breakfast mixed with your favorite yogurt. I found Gracie using it the other morning to add to her breakfast smoothie.

I hope you will try out this recipe because I know you will love it! Scroll down to the comment section and let me know how it goes!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is coming soon! Sunday, June 16th is the day to celebrate the special guy in your life, whether it be your dad, husband, uncle, brother, cousin or friend.

I thought I would compile a list of Amazon finds that you can shop for now to be ready for that special day! What’s better than shopping from your couch, right?

1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10

You can click on these corresponding numbers above to go directly to the Amazon link for each item. Easy, peasy! Full disclosure…I may receive a small commission if you buy through my links, at no additional expense to you!

  1. Amerigo Whiskey Stone Set: Keep these in the freezer to COOL down, not WATER down, your favorite beverage.
  2. YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler: The best cooler ever! Easy to carry, lightweight and keeps things cold so long!
  3. Echo Show: Your new best friend “Alexa” but with a small screen and better speakers. Great for listening to your favorite tunes, podcasts, watching your favorite sports, video calls, reading recipes in the kitchen and more…
  4. YETI Loadout Bucket: This utility bucket has so many uses! You can use it for fishing, toting your tools, icing down your fave beverages, washing down your boat, storing kindling, etc. There are various accessories available to enhance its use!
  5. O’Neill Men’s Hybrid UPF 50+ Sun Shirt: Great sun protection for your guy for boating, paddle boarding, lawn mowing, etc.
  6. Heavy duty garage storage hooks: We just did a major power clean-out of our garage and we definitely need more places to hang up our lawn tools, skis and bikes!
  7. Leaf Scoops: This may seem like a silly gift, but let me tell you…we have a huge lawn and my husband spends a ridiculous number of hours mowing, raking and taking care of it all! Not to mention fall leaves!!! Silly…maybe. Practical…YES!
  8. Reynolds HOT Bags for Grilling: We use these all year long! If you like to grill lots of your favorite veggies, potatoes etc. you will love these!!! Just toss everything in, by itself or with your favorite seasonings, place it on the grill and it’s all cooked in a nice, neat little package.
  9. Feetures Running Socks: Favorite running socks in our household!
  10. Cornhole Set: I don’t know about you guys but we LOVE cornhole!!! This set comes with a carrying/storage bag and the ability to choose colors for the bean bags. Such a fun game for the whole family!

I hope these ideas help you find some great gifts for Father’s Day! Let me know if you try any of them and what you think! Enjoy!

DIY Garage Door Upgrade

Years ago, when we replaced our garage doors, we were at the end of a very long home remodeling project. The doors that I wanted, with windows and fancy hardware, were not in the budget.

Our garage is set back in our yard, not attached to the house but a direct visual for me, day in and day out, from my laundry/sewing/craft room. For many years it drove me crazy because the doors were so plain and boring!

A little more than four years ago I decided to look into upgrading the doors. My son’s high school graduation was going to be the following June and I wanted the appearance of the garage to be better for an outdoor graduation party.

I searched online and at local garage door companies for options to either replace the doors or to have windows installed. I was so shocked at how much it would cost for new doors. Ours were in perfect condition so I definitely couldn’t justify that expense! The cost to just have window panels put in was almost as much as new doors.

Being a DIY-er at heart, I began to search for solutions on the internet and found that some people actually painted faux windows on their garage doors! Since I really wasn’t looking for windows for the purpose of actually seeing IN TO the garage, but for aesthetics only, I had found my answer!

I set out to my local Ace Hardware for all of my supplies! I used a good primer that was tinted gray and then a black paint in high-gloss enamel. I wanted there to be a bit of sheen to the color like a window would have.

My supplies:

  • stepladder
  • spray cleaner
  • paper towels
  • level
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • Frogtape
  • small paint rollers
  • paint tray
  • gray tinted exterior primer
  • high gloss exterior black paint

What I did:

I washed the areas to be painted with a spray cleaner and paper towels and let dry. Then I taped off the perimeter of the window shape with Frogtape. This was pretty simple to do because the doors already had four rectangular shaped areas molded into them!

In order to tape off the window panes I used a measuring tape and a pencil to mark the center of the rectangle on top and bottom and on the right and left-hand sides. I then double checked these markings by using a level. I used the thinnest Frogtape I could find to then tape the lines for the window panes.

After everything was taped off I was ready to prime. It was easy to just roll the primer on with a small paint roller! I let the primer dry for a couple of hours.

Next up was the paint! I used a clean roller and just rolled it right on over the primer. I honestly can’t remember if I did more than one coat or not? If it seems like you need more than one then be sure to allow drying time! The tinted primer helps with the coverage so one may be sufficient!

I removed the tape shortly thereafter and stood back and admired my finished product. I couldn’t believe it looked like real windows!

I found inexpensive decorative hardware at my local Home Depot. At the time I think it cost around $25 per door. There were easy to follow instructions and it didn’t take me long to install!

All in all I think this entire project took me about six hours, mostly because of drying time. I know I started after the kids went to school and was done by the time they got home.

Since the time I refinished these doors I have seen kits that have window decals and hardware that are magnetic. What a genius idea, IF your garage doors are metal! They would be great for a rental property, also!

In recent years we have repaved our driveway, added exterior lighting, re-shingled the garage roof and added a cupola, and purchased this metal awning for the side door. It looks a lot different than it did four years ago!

I would highly recommend taking on this project if you, too, are bored with your garage doors! If you’re lucky and are not a DIY-er, you could try the new adhesive versions!

Let me know what you think about my project, and I’d love to hear if you decide to take one on ourself!

Missing in Action

Hello there to all of my ‘pershing road’ readers, that is, if you’re still here after my ‘sabbatical’ from this blog!! I started ‘pershing road’ last fall after hemming and hawing, writing and prepping throughout the summer months. I was so excited and gung-ho to get it up and running, and I was pretty diligent about posting regularly. Then the time came to dive head-on into preparations for Gracie’s after-prom party. Many months later, after lots of blood, sweat and tears (literally!), I am glad that it’s over and so proud of what was accomplished!

What is the After-Prom Party?

I was a co-chair for the decorations committee for my son’s after prom party five years ago, then again for my older daughter’s three years ago, so, of course, I wanted to be a part of it for my youngest’s prom! I am extremely grateful that our school district and amazing local community support this event. It is put on by our PTSA and it is a lock-in party after the formal prom party. We hold it in the high school and we usually have a 95% or more attendance rate from the prom goers and junior class members (even if they don’t attend prom!)

Although I have been involved with decorations, that is just one aspect of the many important factors that make this event possible! It is completely free for the kids to attend and we do a lot of fundraising and rely on donations from so many community members! We actually start planning around October. There are a lot of games and entertainment such as a casino area, musicians, magician, hypnotist, bouncy houses, photo booths and an unbelievable raffle with hundreds of prizes, everything from concert tickets, kayaks, dorm fridges, AirPods, clothing, hiking and camping equipment, you name it! Not to mention the food!!! The food committee gets donations from all different local venues and there is so much good stuff to eat all night long!!

The formal prom ends at 11:00pm and the students rush home to change into comfy sweats or shorts and get to the school as quickly as possible before we close the doors. The party goes from 11:45 pm, when the kids have to arrive and check-in by, until 4:00am.

Why have an After-Prom Party?

We consider it our job to make this after-prom party so awesome that they:

  1. Can’t wait to get there
  2. Don’t feel like they’re ‘in school’
  3. Have so much fun that they tell their friends, who then can’t wait to go in the future!

There are too many horror stories out there about terrible tragedies that occur on prom nights. Our school district and we parents don’t want our students to be faced with any of these challenges! Each year the PTSA chooses a secret theme for the after-prom party. We then decorate around that theme in the hopes of transforming the school into a fun-filled environment that doesn’t look like the same old walls they see day in and day out!

Why is it so much work?

This year we decided to transform different areas of the school into different cities around the world. The students enter the party into one of our gymnasiums. Believe me, it’s a pretty ugly space! We have our work cut out for us!

Welcome to London, England

We built a huge Big Ben towering up into the center. Lots of left-over cardboard came in handy for our double decker bus that we made as the backdrop for the food cafe area. Assorted cafe tables, kindly donated from local families and friends, finished out the eating area. Then we created the outline of the London Eye ferris wheel out of strings of lights on the wall. Old materials from past proms and school musicals came in super handy to build a facade of the London Bridge.

On another wall we decorated around the bleachers to make it look like Kensington Palace, complete with some royal visitors!! These made some fun photo ops for the kids.

At the exit heading out of London we had the Platform 9 3/4 for all of our Harry Potter fans! This was another fun place to take pictures!

Where to next?

When the kids left London they found themselves entering the Central Park area of New York City. There was a fun hot dog cart serving hot dogs from one of our favorite local restaurants!

The walls were decorated with lights to outline the cityscape at night and the Brooklyn bridge. We transformed a staircase into a NYC stoop which then led to a fun newsstand filled with delicious treats!

My teens are as into the show ‘Friends’ as I am. When I think of NYC I think of ‘Friends’ and felt it necessary to make this image of the Central Perk facade on my Cricut machine. We had a Central Perk sitting area as they exited the park and entered the subway.

From here we had a very long hallway to decorate. What else could it be but the NYC subway? We bought and created some artwork of New York scenery, enlisted some talented art students to make some graffiti, and transformed this space into a subway.

Off to Venice, Italy

The last area we had to decorate was where we were serving coffee and desserts. We decided to make it resemble an outdoor cafe in Venice, Italy. We set up many tables and had lights and flags strung above. There was a musician playing and many kids tended to hang here and relax and enjoy all of the amazing desserts from local vendors!

After-prom success

I am mostly highlighting the decorations in this post because that is the committee I was on, however, they are just one part of why the after-prom parties at our school are such a big hit! Each time I have been involved I am blown away by all of the hard work put forth by a multitude of parents, staff and community members!

What about the actual prom?

I haven’t posted about the actual prom yet because those pics will require permission from my girl!!! Hopefully I’ll be able to share those in the near future!!

Do you think an after-prom party is important?

I’d love to hear what you think about our after-prom party! Do schools in your community host one? Do you do other things to help avoid prom-night tragedies? Please leave me comments below!

Amazon Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! Here’s to surviving yet another week! We are full on into February now and the holiday season is well behind us. This is the time that most people are starting to be able to look ahead and think about spring and beyond!! Yippee!

I had a lot of feedback during the holidays when I posted gift buying guides for you all. It made me feel so good that I could actually make your shopping experience a bit easier! I wanted to share some of my faves, all available through Amazon, that I either have given in the past or received and loved. For the most part, they are not exactly romantic ideas for Valentine’s Day, but we all have birthday gifts to buy year round for friends and loved ones, right?

I am providing direct Amazon links with each item, and, full disclosure, if you choose to purchase anything by buying through these links, I MAY receive a small commission, with no additional charge to you! Just putting that out there!

Most of these items are just things I buy regularly and use in my everyday life. They are available from many different stores, but sometimes it’s just really convenient to shop from your couch, ya know? I tried to include things priced more competitively on Amazon than anywhere else. I have made quite a few Amazon purchases lately. It’s just so convenient and most items are on my doorstep in the blink of an eye! Plus, with all the cleaning and organizing I’ve been doing those boxes are coming in handy for packing up my donations!!

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes

Life savers at night and when traveling! I always have these on hand and so do my girls!


Sensodyne Toothpaste

Great for those of us with tooth sensitivity!


Rapidlash Eyelash Serum

This really works and is much cheaper than others on the market!


Feetures Socks

I can’t run in ANY other socks!!!


O’Keefe’s Helping Hands and Lips

The ONLY lip and hand treatments that get me through the winter months!!


Joico Color Balance Shampoo

I highlight my hair and the lighter strands can get brassy looking at times. This shampoo helps to tame the yellowing in blond and grey hair. I use once a week.


Glide Anti Chafe Balm

This magic stick works so well to help avoid skin chafe for athletes and also works well to help avoid blisters when wearing new shoes!


Gimme Brow

This is a fool proof, slightly tinted gel that is so easy to apply to enhance your brows!


Instant Pot Duo Plus

You had to know I was going to include this!!!  If you didn’t get one for Christmas then get one NOW!!  You’ll thank me later!


Instant Pot Accessories

Just ordered these because the sealing rings do take on the scent of spices that you cook with. Now I’ll have options! The glass lid is great for making popcorn and for when you’re keeping a meal warm.


So there you go, ten of my current Amazon faves! Honestly wouldn’t want to live without any of these products! Let me know if you have any questions and if you do purchase or already use any of these, please let me know what you think!!!

Basement Organization Project

Hey everyone! I know I’ve been a little MIA for the last couple of weeks. The end of the holiday season and the start of a new year always tend to catch me a little off guard. I put my all into the fall and early winter, preparing and decorating for the holidays, which I just love to do! I always have tons of energy and get super crafty and festive.

Then comes January, and my ‘get up and go’ seems to have left the building! I feel like a wet noodle and just want to take a nap! Well, we all know that’s never possible, so I usually have to give myself a little pep talk, put on my big girl pants, and charge forward to tackle the new year!

All of the bloggers that I follow started out on January 1st with major intentions, plans and wonderful resolutions. They put out tons of fresh, new, inspiring posts full of positivity and exciting content. Not me, I’ve got nothing… Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been cooking, baking, cleaning and organizing up a storm, but I haven’t taken the time to sit and compile blog posts on all my endeavors.

I’m not usually one for major resolutions for a new year, why set myself up for disappointment, right? My personal plan did involve a more organized, regulated exercise regimen. I ended up getting a nasty stomach bug in December, and between that and the usual holiday chaos, I really didn’t feel that great for a few weeks. My exercise routine went right down the toilet…which led me to my next project!!!

As you may recall, the day before New Year’s Eve my husband woke up to our upstairs toilet leaking down through our first floor and basement. Good times! Once we got the leak to stop and all the water cleaned up, we had weeks of contractors in and out of the house to repair all the damage.

As I mentioned, the water leaked all the way down to our basement. Our basement is not what one would call ‘finished.’ We live in an area with a high water table, and we have had water in our basement on two or three occasions, once being just last week as we had a terrible freezing rain storm on top of many inches of snow and ice buildup. We have the one side of the basement, the side that is the driest, fixed up as a room for the kids to hang out in and have their friends over. It has wall to wall carpeting(that I had cut to fit the room but NOT installed permanently in case of water issues), a large sectional, comfortable chairs and the largest TV that we own. Our kids spend innumerable hours down there and that is where they always gather when their friends are over.

The treadmill is at the other end of the basement, in another decent room that is actually an add-on from when we had our house renovated 15 years ago. The problem is the room in between these two spaces, the room I have to pass through everyday on my way to the treadmill.

I know many people have ‘that room’ in their house. The room where everything gets thrown. The room that collects basically everything in the lives of the people that live in the house. The ‘middle room’ in our basement is the bane of my existence! I am a fairly clean and organized person, and when I have to pass by this disaster area everyday to get my workout in I just cringe!

I swore it was going to be my first project when the kids went back to school in the fall. Didn’t happen. It just got worse and we added even more to it! Then I swore it would be my first project of the new year. BINGO!!! Once the water leak occurred and we had to scramble so much to move stuff around I finally got the inspiration I needed to get my butt in gear!

I’m not going to lie, I forgot to take pictures at the very beginning. These were taken after I had already started to clear stuff out!!! Yeah, gross, right? Remember, it is NOT a finished basement, especially this room! The floor needs to be scraped and painted, the walls, too. It is literally just a storage space.

In the past few weeks I have spent almost all day every day down here trying to make sense of the chaos! I pulled everything out of the room and started from scratch. I bought and put together several new shelving units, and I put them all on casters in case they need to be moved for water issues.

As I started to organize I put everything that I knew was trash into black garbage bags and everything that I wanted to donate into clear garbage bags. That way I knew where each bag of donations was to go. This was a big help when I organized the truck deliveries!!

I have now taken two truck loads of items to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore, two truck loads to our high school boutique, which offers clothing and other personal items for those in need, and two truckloads to the dump! It helps that I’ve been watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix series on cleaning out and organizing! She’s so inspiring!!

Now I walk through this room everyday on my way to the treadmill and I tend to stop and just smile a little. It’s so organized! I know where everything is!!! I used all clear storage bins which, in my opinion, is the only way to go. You don’t need to label them or open them to find things.

I am so happy to have this project behind me and to be able to see the light of day again! Up next is tackling the mudroom closet, cleaning closet, front hall closet and the linen closet. I’m anticipating a few more truckloads leaving the house soon! I’ll keep you posted! I already cleaned out all of my kitchen cabinets and gave away all the extra glasses, coffee mugs and water bottles that we have collected through the years. Those items seem to multiply like crazy!!

How about you guys? Have any of you been hit by the Marie Kondo bug? Any big plans for home projects coming up? If you do have a desire for inspiration to get a project going I really recommend watching this show! Not only will it inspire you, but you will realize there are many people with bigger messes to tackle than you!


Favorite Family Games

We are heading into a long holiday weekend with a huge storm heading our way. Living in the northeast, we are used to storms like this, and for the most part, we go on ‘business as usual.’ With the predictions for this storm there are also a lot of travel warnings and suggestions to stay home if possible, especially Saturday night into Sunday.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and stocked up on a few staples along with some fun treats for Gracie to enjoy this weekend. The temperatures are supposed to plummet so much Sunday into Monday that her ski race for Monday has been postponed. You KNOW it’s a storm in the northeast if a ski event is affected!!! With this news I assume that most social and sporting events will also be canceled.

Besides all the skiing, sledding, skating, snowshoeing and shoveling that will undoubtedly happen this weekend, many people will also be stuck inside with the dangerous travel conditions and frigid temps. I have already purchased ‘A Star is Born’ which, in my opinion, is THE BEST MOVIE EVER, to watch again this weekend. I’m sure that there will be a lot of TV binge watching and movie marathons going on!

Another thing that our family loves to do is play games! We have a couple of go-to faves, but I decided to share a handful of game ideas with you to bring some joy and laughter and fun-filled family bonding to your weekend.

First off, puzzles. Yes, I can definitely say that our extended family has a bit of a puzzle obsession. We love the challenge, and the more complicated the better. Here’s the thing…we’re a competitive bunch and sometimes it’s a little hard to walk away!!! Deciding where to work on a puzzle is important because you are inevitably going to lose that space for a few days or for however long it takes you to complete! We have spent so many family vacations and holidays together having to stand up and eat somewhere random because the kitchen or dining room table is covered with puzzle pieces! We also have a tendency to work late into the night, as long as we can keep our eyes open enough!

Next up, card games… We have a few favorites that we play over and over again whenever we’re together. I would have to say that our oldest fave is ‘SPOONS.’ Spoons is a fun, easy card game that is great for all ages! My kids started playing it when they were really young, and when Gracie had her ski team to dinner this week the kids (teens) all played a couple rounds before they ate. I think of it as musical chairs in card-game form. We have an actual store-bought version from when my kids were little because it contains giant plastic spoons easier for little hands to grab. You can play it with a regular old deck of cards and metal or plastic spoons right from your kitchen! I will link the store-bought version, but you’ve most likely got everything you need right in your homes! You can easily look up the rules on-line.

SPOONS

‘LCR’ or ‘LEFT CENTER RIGHT’ is a dice game that our family also plays a lot! You need at least three players. If you purchase the game it comes with playing chips, but our family likes to either play with quarters, starburst, or other fun things that make it more interesting!!! You’ll love it and it’s fun for all ages, also!

LEFT CENTER RIGHT

‘KINGS IN THE CORNER’ is another favorite! You play with a regular deck of cards and the rules can easily be found online. It is basically solitaire for a crowd! Very fun! I love to play cards but I am always messing up the rules between all the different games I have been taught throughout my life. ‘Kings’ is so easy to learn and remember!

There are a handful of other family-friendly games that we love. ‘HEADBANDS’ is super fun and great for all ages, ‘PICTIONARY’ is also great for any size crowd. When we play we set up the kids old art easel from when they were little and attach large pieces of paper to it. You can just google words online if you don’t actually own the game!

‘BOGGLE’ is one of my very favorites, but that is because I usually win!!! It is all about connecting letters to see who can make the most words each round. Each player writes down as many words as they can find while trying to beat the clock. Whoever comes up with the most words, that no one else saw, wins! There is also BOGGLE JR for younger kids!

BOGGLE

‘HEADS UP’ and ‘5 SECOND RULE’ are games we learned about from watching one of our favorite shows, ‘ELLEN.’ They are hilarious and spark a lot of competitiveness!!! If you have never played MAD GAB then you don’t know what you’re missing!!! It is played with teams and you race against the clock to sound out a group of words that spell one thing but actually sound like another. Hard to explain, but just go out and get it, you’ll thank me later!!! Just be ready to laugh!!!

‘HEADS UP’
‘5 SECOND RULE’
‘MAD GAB’

The links that I have included in this post are all to Amazon, but most of them are available at Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond and/or Barnes and Noble, in case you want to run out before the storm to grab one!

Let me know if you do and if they add laughter to your weekend! I hope you all stay safe, keep warm and have fun!!

There’s a Storm Coming!

The meteorologists are predicting our first significant storm of the season this coming weekend. The temps are dropping and there’s no doubt that winter is really here!

Since it is looking like we may actually get a decent amount of snow accumulation, there’s a good chance that a lot of us will be staying in for most of the long holiday weekend.

I thought I’d share a few of our favorite winter recipes to make and enjoy with your family while you’re hunkering down and staying cozy! I have some delicious, easy ideas to make in the instant pot to enjoy after a day of skiing or sledding, and some yummy baked goods to keep you fueled for all of that inevitable shoveling!

Last week I made buffalo chicken sliders for dinner for my extended family when we got together to hang out and play games. This was a super easy dinner that I, of course, made in my instant pot!

I bought a pack of four boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a 17 ounce bottle of my store brand’s buffalo wing sauce and a jar of one of our favorite kitchen staples, Saucy Susan. Saucy Susan is a peach apricot glaze-type marinade that we use for many different things.

I placed the chicken into the instant pot, salt and peppered both sides, then dumped half of the bottle of wing sauce and half the jar of Saucy Susan on top. Be sure to spray the pot first with cooking spray!

I put the lid on the instant pot, sealed the steam vent, and set it to pressure cook for 18 minutes. Once the time was up I released the steam, removed the lid and shredded the chicken breast on a cutting board with two forks and put it all back in the sauce and set my pot to ‘keep warm.’

I am so mad that I didn’t take any photos of the end product! They were so delicious! The Saucy Susan just adds a bit of sweetness to the wing sauce and cuts the heat a bit. If you like full-on buffalo wing heat then you certainly don’t have to add it!

I bought mini rolls and made a batch of coleslaw, a big salad, and tater tots for the kids. For the sliders we put the shredded chicken on a roll, sprinkled some shredded cheddar on that then added some coleslaw on top. So yummy! Those of us trying to do less carbs and calories had a salad with the chicken and coleslaw on top. I put out ranch and bleu cheese dressings to serve with both. Delicious!!!

Another easy, yummy dinner I made recently is chicken tacos. I make this recipe a lot in my crockpot, but I made it in the instant pot this time and it’s so fast and easy! All you need is 3-4 boneless chicken breasts, a packet of taco seasoning, a jar of your favorite salsa, a can of black beans (optional), canned or frozen corn (optional) and a small jar of diced green chiles (optional).

I put the chicken, half of a 16 ounce bag of frozen corn, the green chiles and the black beans, after rinsing and draining them, into my instant pot. Then I poured the salsa and the taco seasoning packet into a mixing bowl and stirred to combine. Then I poured the liquid mixture over everything.

Like I said, this is a recipe that I make a lot in my crock pot. I wasn’t sure how to convert it to the instant pot use so I did browse through pinterest to see if I needed to do anything differently. One recipe said to add a half cup of chicken stock to the liquid, so I did follow that advice.

(Side note: the chicken broth was not necessary, too much liquid!!!)

I put the lid on my instant pot, sealed the steam vent and set to pressure cook for, I think, 15 minutes? Once the timer went off, I released the steam , removed the lid, and removed each chicken breast to shred with two forks. It literally falls right apart!

I added the chicken back into the pot and stirred everything to combine. Then I set the pot to ‘keep warm’ and prepped the rest of my taco fixings. Go-to toppings for us are diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream and fresh chopped cilantro, but use whatever your people like!

We like to warm our tortillas on our favorite cast iron griddle pan and melt the cheese first as the base of the taco. Once the cheese is melted and the tortilla is slightly browned, remove and build your taco. Enjoy!!!

So far this fall and winter I have posted a few baking recipes that are sure to keep you warm and cozy over the long, stormy weekend to come. I made a double batch of our favorite banana bread yesterday because I had a bunch of overripe bananas. You may recall me posting this recipe a while back, but if you’d like to make it please click on the link below the picture!

Best Banana Bread

Another long-time favorite in our house is mini pumpkin muffins. I make these a lot!!! The recipe is for pumpkin bread, but my family prefers the mini muffins. They go a LONG way!! I will link the post below containing the recipe.

Mini Pumpkin Muffins

Waking up on a snowy, winter weekend morning is made that much better when the smell of fresh-baked scones is wafting throughout the house! Our faves are buttermilk scones and your family will love you for making them! Recipe below!

Buttermilk Scones

I hope you all stay safe and warm this weekend and that you enjoy time with family and friends. I encourage you to try one or more of these recipes and PLEASE let me know what you think of them!!! I have no doubt you will be pleased!

Happy Weekend!

Twenty-Four Hours in New York City

My three kids and I were able to get away for a quick trip to NYC between Christmas and New Year’s with my sister and her two kids, my parents and my brother and his family. That means we were trying to explore and navigate the city with thirteen people between the ages of 9 and 73.   Not an easy task I tell ya’!

My brother found us a great hotel in the financial district, an area  I had never explored before. The rooms were suites and the kids loved the rooftop deck! We had a nice living area to hang out in together and the views from the roof were amazing!

Nonna and Poppy’s kids. Oldest (22) to youngest (9)

All I can say is…thank goodness for Uber!  We popped around during the day to a few different areas of the city, mostly centered around food places the kids wanted to try! We did some shopping and had lunch in the West Village, once we finally found a place that could accommodate our large group at a moment’s notice!

That night we divided and conquered. The guys went to the Ranger’s game so the girls headed out to the Black Tap in Soho.  Very cool place with yummy cocktails and great appetizers!  The girls got the milkshakes and they did not disappoint!!!

The next day it was pouring rain with crazy winds.  We decided to head to the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the Oculus.  We all met up inside the Oculus and boy, is that place amazing!  It’s an absolutely incredible structure with a ginormous mall beneath it!

We walked across the street and spent some time by the reflecting pools. They are just unbelievably beautiful!  Then we headed inside the museum and explored the various displays and memorials.  It was all a very humbling experience and I’m so glad we visited.

Every time I have visited New York City I wish that we had more time!  There is so much to see and do but we always seem to just go for a short overnight.  However, I truly cherished this experience with ALMOST our entire family.  My husband and my sister’s husband stayed home to work and take care of our dogs.

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC?  I’d love to hear and start my list for our next visit.  I’m bound and determined to stay a minimum of two to three nights next time!