Wednesday, July 23

I Kind of Live in Stars Hollow

I live in this tiny, adorable little town in NJ.  It's about 2 square miles and about 10,000 people.  Most towns around me are not much larger than that in square mileage, but mine is one of the only ones with a really cute downtown area.  There is one long lamp-lined street filled with restaurants, stores, and salons.  It ends right at the railroad station, and just beyond that there is the Veteran's Park.  The park is just a big grassy area with gazebo in the middle.  The whole thing has a very Gilmore Girls-esque feel to it sometimes.

What adds to that effect, are the town functions we put on.  Christmas parades, sidewalk sales, concerts in the park, etc. It really is fantastic to have so many cute things to do in town.  What's even better is our house is only about a 10 minute walk from town, so it's super easy to just pop in and see what's going on.

Back in May, there was a craft fair going on in the park area.  There were tons of tables set up with people selling all sorts of things.  Statues, clothing, jewelry, etc.  Some was hand-made, some not.  Skip was actually off that day, so we popped the girls in the double stroller and headed it.

Emmy had brought some of her piggy bank money and was eager to pick out something for herself.  She and Charlie loved just wandering around, looking in all the little booths.  Emmy finally decided on a little cat statue for herself, and matching yellow bracelets for her and Charlie.  Pretty sure my heart melted when she said she wanted to get one for her little sis as well.

After we were done shopping we headed over to get some squeeze-cup Italian ice...a must for sure!  We relaxed in the shade for a bit while we had our treat.

I absolutely love that our little town has so many fun activities for us to head in and go to.  In fact my mom and I just headed in there recently to the big sidewalk sale every year.  The whole main street shuts down and all the stores open up onto the sidewalk.  There were bouncy-houses, face-painting, and of course, more Italian ice!

I'm so happy we bought a house here and have such a great place to raise our girls.  Our area of NJ is super crowded, but this definitely brings a small-town feel to the place.  Now if only I could find my own Luke or Taylor we'd be set!

Tuesday, July 22

The Good that Followed the Bad

Last week was a hard weekend for so many people.  A passenger plane was shot out of the sky...not one, but two NJ cops near me were killed in the line of duty....a friend of mine passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, rocking us all to our core, and leaving behind a young thirties widower.  Last week was a bad week.  There were plenty of tears, consoling, and lots and lots of cleaning to keep busy.  

We were lucky that after such a tough week, one of our best friends was coming to stay with us for the weekend.  In those four days, I laughed more than I have in a long time.  We ate good food, worked out hard, shared stories, and adults and kids alike played hard.  

There were BBQ's, playground visits, trips to the zoo, hide-and-seek, and the most epic water fight you've ever seen.  We went to bed way too late and got up much earlier than needed.  And we enjoyed every second.

Setting up cover for the water fight, obviously 

I felt guilty a lot, about all the fun I was having.  So many people were in the middle of dealing with the worst tragedies ever, and here I was sitting outside with my friends, tears running down my face as Skip does his drill instructor impression.  I was so happy to have such a great emotional break after the week we had, but I knew a lot of people couldn't have that choice.

But I guess that's what we're supposed to take away from all the tragedies in our personal lives and around the world.  Life is so so short.  Everything you think you know, have planned for, dreamed of, can all change in an instant.  Nothing in this life is a guarantee. 

So it's important to have weekends like this...gathering friends and family close, playing, loving, and just enjoying these special moments together.  There will be more hard times to come for all of us, but weekends like this will be treasured forever.  

Friday, July 18

Pop Secret Perfect Pop App

This post is sponsored by Pop Secret, but my opinions are all my own.

Family movie nights have been a regular occurrence around here since Emmy was little.  Though the day changes with Skip's schedule, we have them almost weekly.  As parents, we know that our time with our kids is fleeting and so precious.  Because of this there are few things I love more than snuggling up on the couch with them and watching a movie!

We always make sure to have a kid-friendly movie queued up to go.  Charlie has her milk, Emmy her juice, and the best part?  Snacks a plenty!  Chocolate, gummy candy, and Pop Secret Popcorn are a must.  But nothing ruins movie night more than burned I right?

The downside to trying to achieve the perfect bag of popcorn is that someone {usually me} has to stand in front of the microwave while it's popping, attempting to count the pops or something to make sure it doesn't burn.  And I don't know about you, but that is never fun...nor am I really that good about it.  I remember being so excited years ago when the POPCORN button was being introduced on microwaves {wow I'm old} However, it still never really worked the way I'd always hoped and I was still ending up with burned popcorn.

But now, thanks to Pop Secret and the Pop Secret App, I no longer have to stand there counting kernels or suffer through another bag of burned popcorn!  Not only that, it is so easy to use!

 All you have to do is download the Pop Secret App {which is free to download!}, grab your favorite Pop Secret Popcorn and you're ready to go!

For our movie night I bought Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter, cause in my world, the more butter the better!!

Put the bag into your microwave.

Either press the popcorn button on your microwave, or set it to the time listed on the bag.

Open the Pop Secret App, make sure the volume is all the way up on your phone, and point it towards the microwave.

As your popcorn pops, the app listens to each kernel to give you the perfect time to stop the timer.  I just loved watching the little bag grow higher and higher on the screen!

As soon as your bag has reached popcorn perfection, the app tells you when to stop.

Perfectly popped popcorn!

See, none of those burned spots in the bag I am usually so used to seeing.

Nothing better than a perfect bag of Pop Secret Popcorn to add to our family movie night!

I am hooked!  We will never make another bag of Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter without the Pop Secret App again!

If you're not a huge butter fan, you can also try out all these other delicious Pop Secret Popcorn flavors:
Light Butter
94% Fat Free Butter
Extra Butter

The Pop Secret App can be used with an IPhone 5+ on iOS 7+

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Pop Secret.  All experiences and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 15

Summer Lovin'

I swear every time I blink time seems to start moving faster and faster.  I cannot believe we're already halfway through July already!  It makes me way sadder than I'd like to admit, but at the same time we have been taking advantage of every moment we can this summer.  Our days and weeks have been so full, and I'm just loving it.  And I don't just mean that we're running around moving from activity to activity.  We have some of those days, and the rest are spent in lazy, playing outside in the sprinkler fashion.

We have been spending out time at playgrounds, walking, hiking, outside-eating, sprinkler-playing lots of snuggles time fun.

We added a new addition to the family.  Bella Callina {whose name changes daily} is Emmy's newest pet...and she really has been taking good care of it!

Emmy also decided to join the business world a little early and asked to run a lemonade stand one day.  We live on a relatively quiet street, so we thought, why not!?  She sat out there three seperate times during the day and actually had quite a few customers!  I just love that she wanted to participate in this very time-honored kid tradition!

I've also been trying to fill in every spare moment I have with home projects, deep cleaning, and de-cluttering.

I'll have to show case some of what I've been doing on here another time!

We had a great eye appointment for Charlie yesterday, and girlfriend no longer has to wear her eye patch!!  The doctor said she has 20/20 vision in both eyes and since the wandering eye is getting much better, she should grow out of it on her own!  We do have to go back again in October to check the progress again.  I'm sure there is always the possibility throughout her life of it coming back, but for now we're celebrating a patch-free life.

After years of nagging I was finally able to convince Skip to watch all the Harry Potter movies with me.  I have ever watched them all one after another like that and it was like visiting with old friends:)

 I'm also blond now....even more blond than in this picture I posted on Instagram, cause I added in a few more highlights last night.  Clearly I have a problem but blonds have more fun right? ;)

I feel like I'm so far behind in blogging, and some other things I'd like to get done around the house.  But this summer is flying by far to fast and I plan to just embrace and enjoy every moment I can!  Hope you're all having a wonderful summer as well!

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