Friday Favs- Summer Edition (kids)

Look, Ma we made it! The end of the longest school year is finally here and I am here for it. My little one will is signed up for every possible week of summer camp and I am looking forward to a few weeks of nothing on the calendar for myself.

Summer Learning

While I am all about relaxation and a much needed break for everyone, I certainly want to prevent the dreaded “summer slide” where the kids’ minds turn to mush so here is what is currently in my cart to keep the learning going.


Summer Journal




I often get asked about leveled readers and I am NOT a fan; however, I do appreciate needing to know what type of books to buy for your child so they can be reading independently. I really like the “I Can Read” series (wayyyyyyy better than Step Into Reading). Start with the “Shared Reading- My First” books and then move onto the “Beginning Reader- Level 1” (this is after your child is successful with the decodable BOB books). Order a bunch online or even better, take your child to a local bookstore to pick out a few.

Of course, you know I’m recommending a handwriting book!

These Phonics Dominos are in my cart.

Chapter Book Recs (all are series)

Dory Fantasmagory

Zoey and Sassafras

Ivy and Bean

Junie B. Jones (not MY fav but find me a 5/6 year old that doesn’t love these books; they are my go-to for reluctant readers)

Magic Tree House  (my own daughter is not a fan but they are a classic for a reason)

Narwhal and Jelly

Katie Woo

Owl Diaries

The Princess in Black

Amelia Bedelia

The Boxcar Children

Little House 4-Book Box Set (great for teaching about life way back when)

Best of Children’s Classics

Summer Camp Prep

These suits are perfect for camp; easy on and off and less sunscreen=a win for all

Obsessed with these water bottles

Oh, I am so borrowing this glitter sunscreen…

And this shimmer spray…

Are we doing crocs again? I’m on the fence but if I do, it’ll be these glitter ones.

OK, so that’s it for now. Wishing everyone an amazing summer; we all deserve it!

Eat Seasonally

Just looking at the picture above makes my mouth water. The heat is on and we’re all looking for ways to cool down and stay fit during the summer season. During my trip to Italy last summer, I learned the secret to everything tasting unbelievably fresh and delicious= seasonal ingredients. I added that to my travel journal but, alas, failed to follow through in my every day life.

While in the Hamptons this past weekend, the girls and I decided to go strawberry picking. Standing in the fields eating red, ripe strawberries, feeling the juice drip down our chins, I was yet again inspired. I made my way over to the stand to check out the other fruits and veggies that were for sale. I picked up some asparagus and red potatoes and voila! I added some carrot quinoa and we had a dinner that was fresh, healthy, and yummy.

Those that know me, know I love to cook. I’m certainly no chef and I base all my meals on recipes. So here comes the change~ I’m going to take a trip to the local Farmers’ Market each week, stock up on whatever looks good and then plan my meals. I came home and looked into Farmers’ Markets and found a local, weekly market ten minutes from our house. Perfect!

Realistically, I may not make it to the Farmers’ Market each week or my family may be craving something that isn’t there. Plan B is stocking up at the local market. Listed below are the seasonal fruits and vegetables that should be easy to find.

Summer Fruits:




Berries- All

Cactus Pears





Summer Vegetables:


Basil (I’d like to try growing some)






Green beans





What I love about this list is that there are quite a few fruits and vegetables that are not a part of our diets. My favorite source for recipes is because recipes found on here are rated. Choose a four or five-star recipe rated by 100+ people and you can’t go wrong. I typed in Rhubarb and found a recipe for Rhubarb Strawberry Crunch rated 4 1/2 stars by 467 people. I can’t wait to try this out! (Don’t forget to read the reviews as there’s usually great suggestions for making the recipe even better)

Eating seasonally provides you with many benefits. Your food will be more nutritious and taste fresher. You will be lending the planet a hand by saving on the cost of transporting out of season fruits and veggies from various parts of the world. By shopping locally, you are stimulating your community and/or state’s economy. And last but not least, you’ll save some $, perhaps to purchase a few summer outfits! 🙂



Start a “Home Learning” Project With Your Kids This Summer

So far this blog as been a little bit of everything that makes up my crazy life but it’s real objective is to motivate myself and possibly inspire others. Each summer I have the idea to start a Home Learning project with the girls but can’t seem to follow through. I’m making a commitment now, for the world to see! Read about our first project below.

It’s time to break out the colored pencils and watercolors! One of the things that saddens me about the state of education these days is the lack of time available to teach some of really interesting and important things such as history and art. To help close the gap in my daughters’ education as well as expand my own, I’ve decided to begin what I’m calling our “Home Learning” projects.

First up, Art!

I decided we would begin in the renaissance period, studying Michelangelo and Da Vinci. For the Michelangelo portion of the project, I had both girls work together on a PowerPoint presentation. My older one found the information and the younger one chose the pictures. My older one scoffed at first but quickly got into it and was very eager to share the completed project. To introduce Da Vinci, I found a cartoon video on youtube. We watched it together and then googled his most famous works of art.

Now mind you, the girls wouldn’t be happy about doing this if there wasn’t real art involved. After checking out the Crayola website, I found a really cool project that manages to encompass both artists. I also wanted to have the girls try sculpting because both artists did that as well. I made a trip to the art supply store and stocked up on clay, new colored pencils, small canvases, Crayola Texture It!, and watercolors. The first day we all tried sculpting and the girls quickly grew frustrated and bored. That’s ok~ at least they gave it a go! Yesterday, we worked on the second project and although my older one lost interest fairly quickly, my seven year old and I spent two hours drawing and painting together. Quality time like that is priceless.

To “cement” what they’ve learned, I bought them both composition books and they’re summarizing what their newly acquired knowledge. Nothing intensive~ just a few sentences. I think music during the renaissance period will be up next, following our upcoming weekend trip to D.C. (government/politics).



Rosé All Day

With Memorial Day, the unofficial start to Summer, behind us, it’s time to lighten up- our wardrobes, our fragrances, our attitudes, and, with any luck, our schedules. As I was kicking off Memorial Day at DB Bistro in Miami, I rediscovered one of my favorite summer beverages, Rosé wine.

A rosé (from the French word rosé- ‘pinkish’) is a great wine choice for the season because of how refreshing it is. Dry or sweet (or dry and sweet!), it’s the perfect compliment to an outdoor soiree, a good ole’ fashioned BBQ, or a day spent on the boat.

Since there’s nothing more fabulous than knowledge, here’s the low-down on rosé…

Rosé does not necessarily come from France, as many mistakenly believe, but is produced in a variety of regions. There are three major ways to produce rosé wine: skin contact, bleeding the vats, and blending.

  • Skin Contact: When the goal is to make rosé wine, this is the most common process. Black-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically one to three days. The must (the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit) is then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). Because the skins contain much of the astringent tannin, the wine that is created has a much lighter taste than red wine.
  • Bleeding the Vats: Bleeding the vats (or Saignée) refers to the process of creating Rosé wine as a by-product of red wine fermentation. When a winemaker desires more tannin and color in a red wine, some of the pink juice from the must needs to be removed at an early stage in the wine making process. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding and the pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rosé.
  • Blending: Blending is exactly what you’d guess- the mixing of red and white wine. This is the least common way to produce rosé.

If you’re not familiar with rosé, fear not. I’ve listed a few recommendations at various price points below (along with the regions where they are from ) to quench your thirst and get you started on the road to rosé. Wine is subjective and there’s no better way to find your own favorite than to taste, taste, and taste some more. If you have a favorite, please leave a comment and spread the love to others.

Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 10- $18 Cote de Provence
Jean-Paul Balland Sancerre Rosé 10- $20 Loire Valley
Chateay Barbeiranne Rosé- $20 Cote De Provence
Antinori Guado Al Tasso Scalabrone 10- $15 Italy
Marques De Caceres Rosé- $12 Rioja, Spain
Menage A Trois Rosé- $10 California blend