One of my dear friends started a new non-profit organization to help when disaster strikes, called Activation ReAct.  Elizabeth was one of the organizers of the #JerseyLove Social Good trip that I participated in last year, and she has a huge heart for helping the community and activating people to get involved.  She asked me to share this information with you, and I said I’d be happy to help, and this is important information to share anyway!

Did you know that 50% of Americans have not discussed or developed an emergency plan for family members about where to go and what to do in the event of a local disaster?

Have you?

I have to admit, that I haven’t. I’m always thinking about the right things to have on hand for emergencies, but we’ve never talked as a family about where to meet if an emergency occurred and we were separated. Honestly, I wouldn’t even know how to begin.

To help with that very issue, has resources to help you put together emergency communication plans.  In addition to the communication plan, there is also detailed information about specific types of disasters and how you can prepare.  Click here to read more about National Preparedness Month and find out all the ways you can get ready.  It’s not a fun thing to think about, but doing so now will help you to avoid a situation such as this:

Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated in any way for this post. My participation does enable a donation to be made to Activation ReAct.


Dyson on QVCPsst!!  TODAY August 10th, 2014 only, QVC is featuring the Dyson DC59 as their Today’s Special Value.  If you were on the fence about purchasing a new Dyson, act fast before it sells out!  The DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum with 7 Attachments is on sale for $449.99 (reg. price is $549.99)!

For more information on the QVC Today’s Special Value click here.


You might already know that I am a die-hard Dyson fan.  There is a story about how I got my first (and up until the DC59, my only) Dyson vacuum that has become the stuff of legend among friends and Marc’s co-workers.  I’m not doing it justice here, but it involved me being pregnant with Rayna and all I wanted for Christmas was the Dyson Animal Ball vacuum.  I was nesting big time and I told my husband that it was ALL I wanted.  Come Christmas morning there was a giant wrapped box by the tree and I was so excited.  Until I teared it open and inside was not the vacuum of my dreams, but a set of pink women’s golf clubs.  The tears flowed immediately, but I had to wait until the next morning to send my husband back with the golf clubs, while I bought my vacuum.

I have been using that Dyson pretty much every day of my life since then.  I swear by it.  It picks up everything, is so easy to dump the dirty contents into the trashcan without touching a thing, and the pole piece is ideal for long distance bug-suckage when you’re terrified of big bugs.  The only downside to this model has been that it is ungodly heavy.  I’ve been looking at the new cordless Dyson models mostly because vacuuming the stairs in my house is such a chore.  Even with an attachment onto the hose, the vacuum needs to be lugged up and down every few steps.

dyson dc59When I was offered a chance to try the new DC59 I was VERY excited!  I was expecting a great lightweight vacuum for toting up and down the stairs, and the cordless feature would be especially awesome for cleaning the car, but I wasn’t expecting a vacuum to replace my beloved ol’ ball.

WELL.  I have to say, that the DC59 has just as much “sucking power” as my previous model, if not even more.  It has the same long pole for keeping my distance from huge creepy crawlies, and all the attachments you need for cleaning (crevice tool, dusting brush, mini motorized head).  The best part of all, for me at least, is just how lightweight it is.  The whole unit weighs just under 5 lbs. and the motor is up at the handle which makes it easy to lift it all around for cleaning up high as well as down low.  As you can see in the picture on the right, you can connect all of the attachments right to the motor for having a small handheld, or they can all attach to the super lightweight stick for “full size” use.

I have used mine every which way so far, and I have been completely satisfied with the results.  The only two things that have been a learning curve for me have been 1. the trigger and 2. the small dirt canister.  The trigger requires you to hold it down the entire time you are vacuuming, which is to preserve battery life when you’re not actively using it.  Also, and maybe I just have a particularly dirty house (which is 100% possible!), I find that the small trash receptacle needs to be emptied often.  It is still the easy, push-button-and-dirt-ejects-into-trash feature that I love, but I personally require a bigger reservoir!

The fact that this vacuum is so portable and lightweight has allowed me to bring it to the beach house with me, which I was so excited about, as the vacuum here stinks (literally and figuratively!) and I just don’t have the room in my packed minivan to lug my previous Dyson.  As soon as I got here I vacuumed the small 3 carpeted rooms (which had just been vacuumed with the junky old model that comes with the place) with the DC59 and I already picked up a canister full of dust that had been left behind:dyson dirtThe next big beach house task was to vacuum the backseat of my van, which is where Buddie (my Dalmatian—did you know that Dalmatians shed something fierce?  Fun fact, their short hairs are barbed on the end meaning THEY STICK TO EVERYTHING AND NEVER COME OFF).  I didn’t bring all the tools with me, just the main articulating floor tool and the crevice tool, but I feel like it really accomplished quite a bit (I used the turbo “Boost” mode, which brings extra powerful suction for crazy pickups like this):Trunk Collage I wish I brought the mini motorized tool with me, as then I could get the upper sides of the trunk, but I couldn’t believe just how hair-free the bottom of the trunk is.  That crazy Dalmatian hair is so hard to vacuum, and the Boost mode really did wonders on it.

I can’t wait to use this vacuum more, and I’m hoping we can find a place to hang the charging station, as it looks super convenient to keep it docked and charging on a wall, always ready to go.  Just another one of the downsides to not having a coat or utility closet, I guess.

Do you have a Dyson vacuum?  Do you love it as much as I do?  Ever since I finally got my vacuum back in 2007, I’ve been sold.  I seriously will never buy another brand of vacuum.

Disclosure:  I was given a DC59 to review.  I was not paid or obligated to write this post, all opinions are 100% my own.


This Sunday we made a little family day trip up to the Liberty Science Center for a blog event with Jersey Moms Media.  I have never been to the Liberty Science Center before, but I had heard about how “little kid friendly” it was and thought it would make a nice family day (for one of those rare weekends when we’re not at the beach!).  It certainly didn’t disappoint!  PLUS- I’m giving away 4 passes here on this post, so a lucky winner can enjoy their own family trip as well!

I thought it was going to take about an hour and a half for us (we are in South Jersey, near Philly; the LSC is in North Jersey, near NYC) but we really made great time.  Since it only took us about an hour, we were quite early, so we stopped at Liberty State Park and let the kids run around for a few.  That was also really fun for them as it was their first time seeing the “Statue of Libterby” as Marckie kept calling it ;)

When we got back to the Liberty Science Center we were just in time to snag a photo op with our favorite big red dog: Clifford!LSC1cliffordWe waited for our fellow Jersey Moms and then were escorted to a fun lunch provided by the Liberty Science Center.  The staff were on hand to tell us about the can’t-miss exhibits (Clifford, Beyond Rubik’s Cube) and to get the kids warmed up for some science fun.  After we ate, they had little stations set up for the kids with hands-on mini exhibits.  Here Rayna, Marc and a new little friend are learning about color mixing with colored dough:


Then, all the kids gathered together for a group “live science” demo using liquid nitrogen:

LSC3livescienceThat really was the best picture I could get as once the “smoke” started little Marc got very nervous!  He kept saying “it’s hot!” and we tried to tell him no, no it’s cold! ;) So I had to hold him and walk closer so he could experience the cold steam phenomenon!

After the demo we broke up to check out the exhibits on our own.  On our way we checked out an awesome hive of bees:

LSC4beesAnd then we were off to the “Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog” exhibit.  It was like a giant play area, with a 9′ tall Clifford to climb and other fun little play spots.  Rayna loved sorting the mail and both kids enjoyed seeing the world of Clifford in a fun and tactile way:

LSC5cliffordplayWhile we were on the 4th floor we checked out the Beyond Rubik’s Cube exhibit, and I’m kicking myself because I can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures here!  Because even now when I’m asking the kids what their favorite part of the day was, they both agree that the robot that solves the Rubik’s cubes was their favorite!  There was a robot that would take any mixed up Rubik’s cube and solve it in as few steps as possible, but when “he” was done he would dance and show off excitedly.  They loved it!

Also on the same floor was “Our Hudson Home” which is a touch tank area with fish, turtles and other creatures that live in the Hudson river.  Despite the face she’s making, Rayna was excited to spot some puffer fish in the tank:

LSC6hudsonhomeAnd yes, still on the 4th floor (can you tell this is where we spent the lion’s share of our time? It’s ok, then there will still be “new” things to see when we come back!) there was a cool exhibit for kids called “Block Party”.  There were a bunch of giant foam blocks and noodles for kids to make their own imaginative creations:LSC7blockpartyWe moved down to the 3rd floor to try out the famous Touch Tunnel.  The Touch Tunnel is a dark little maze where you have to crawl on your knees and use your hands to find your way out.  I did NOT think that little Marc would do this, but since big Marc went in with both kids I guess he felt secure enough.  They all had a great time, even if the only “hidden camera” pic I was able to get of them was this: :)

LSCtouchtunnelWe checked out a few more exhibits and Rayna was even chosen for a volunteer at one demonstration about the power of air:

LSC9energyOne thing that I especially found interesting was this little exhibit about how radioactive some household items are.  You may not know that I am a vintage pottery junkie and all of the dishes in our house are as old as me or older.  It’s hard to tell that the little meter was going off the charts on this red Fiesta pottery for being super radioactive!LSC8fiestaI wonder if there’s a way to test my old ceramics for uranium…eek!

The last thing we did was the outdoor play area where the kids got to crawl around some more:LSC91outdoorI was a little bummed that we missed a cool Tesla light show, but at this point in our day it was time to call it quits, especially with Mr. No Nap.  We ended up taking the ferry from Liberty State Park over to NYC to get a quick dinner and the kids loved it.  If you’re in South Jersey, or coming from a long drive, know that there is plenty of stuff to fill your day at Liberty Science Center and in the surrounding area.  It was a really fun day trip that we will definitely be doing again!

Are you ready to win tickets?  I have 4 tickets right here for a lucky winner!  All you have to do is leave a comment to enter.  Then just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to confirm that you left a comment and you are entered.  There’s easy ways to earn additional entries for liking and following me and the Liberty Science Center.  Giveaway ends 8/13.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with a free passes for my family. All opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Club: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is Rayna’s first chapter book

July 23, 2014

I haven’t signed up for the book club in a while (because I am realistic about my expectations for myself lately when it comes to blogging), but I just had to sign up for this one since I thought it would be a perfect read-aloud book for Rayna.  We have not delved into the world […]

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Yard sale finds, Franklin Flea and more of the like

June 3, 2014

So it is already established that I’m in a blog funk.  I feel like so much of what I would write about is already being said.  Who needs to rehash a recipe when you can just send your friends a link to one that has already been published?  And “how to” type stuff? It’s already […]

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I left my heart…in Costa Rica

May 6, 2014

High on a volcano…it calls to me. I quit blogging for a little while.  I’m not so sure anyone but my husband really cared or missed my posts.  He’d pull up my site through the little app on his phone and remind me when my last post was.  And I very much could care less. […]

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My #DisneySide at Home Celebration!

March 19, 2014

If you follow me on Instagram, or if you are really observant and have noticed the badge I put up here on the blog, then you know that I was selected to host a #DisneySide at Home Celebration! What is that, you say? Well, it is basically like a House Party or a Mommy Party […]

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My #Listerine 21-Day Challenge is Complete!

March 8, 2014

Three weeks ago I told you about how I was embarking on a 21 Day Challenge with Listerine.  I had all the ingredients to enjoying a healthier mouth: Listerine toothpaste, Listerine Antiseptic and Reach Floss.  The kids even had their own Listerine Smart Rinse to get in on the “swishing” habit. I have to say […]

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How I get FREE Disney movies for my kids

March 5, 2014

My kids watch a lot of movies.  I’m not going to lie about it, in fact, one confession that I feel a little guilty admitting is that my kids are almost always watching a DVD when we are in the car.  As soon as we got the minivan with the built-in entertainment system it was […]

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Book Club: “Prayers for the Stolen” and keeping bad news out

February 18, 2014

Have you ever heard of the term “highly sensitive person?”  I didn’t go to school for psychology or anything, so I just recently heard of it, and I don’t know much about it, but I really feel like that applies to me.  I’m definitely an introvert, and I definitely need quite a bit of alone […]

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