Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-by-Roald-Dahl-666x1024I 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 of chapter books yet, she’s still very much into pictures, but as she’s getting ready for 1st grade in the fall, I felt like she was ready to stretch her listening skills and imagination a bit farther.

I remember watching the classic Willy Wonka movie with Rayna one year, but she was more freaked out (cue the boat scene!) than really interested.  Now she doesn’t seem to have any memory of the movie, so reading the book with her has been really fun, but…..oh my lans….FULL. OF. QUESTIONS.

I didn’t realize that the #1 challenge of reading a chapter book with Rayna would be the outrageous string of questions that make it nearly impossible to complete reading one page in twenty minutes!  She was mostly struck by Charlie’s family life and how poor the family was.  It was as if she couldn’t comprehend a family where there was just NO food.

The next thing to really stick out to her was Violet Beauregarde.  She was disgusted that “she puts gum behind her ear when eating” and that she put the same old piece of gum on her bedpost at night.  Rayna had to get up off the couch where we were reading and go over how disgusting she found this! ;)   Later we were talking about which one of the other kids we thought was the worst of them all, and while I thought Veruca Salt was clearly the worst (or maybe she just has the worst parents?) Rayna still thought Violet was pretty disgusting.

I’m really grateful that we started our world of reading chapter books together with something as fun and interesting as this.  Maybe it is also my enthusiasm for the story that is keeping her going, though.  I’ve always loved the movie, who doesn’t?  It’s pretty fun and funky, and…extremely embarrassing but typical confession alert…I might have had a crush on good ol’ Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, ha!  I’m definitely off to enter the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes, be sure to read below for more details!

Disclosure:  This post was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Penguin Young Readers Group, in partnership with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the world-famous candy emporium, and First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books for children from low-income families, is launching a year-long international celebration.

Head over to From Left to Write to learn how you and your child can have a chance to win the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes where the grand prize is a magical trip to New York City plus much more! For every entry submitted, Penguin Young Readers Group will make a donation to First Book. Then, join From Left to Write on July 24 as we discuss Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As a book club member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


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 out there a million times over.

I was talking to Marc the other day in the car, and I was saying “what do I even feel like writing about these days?”  And I had a box of really adorable vintage champagne glasses on my lap and I said, well, I love telling the stories of the stuff I buy.  And I could talk about my pottery all the live long day.  So I guess that’s a start!

So I thought I’d get a post written on something that would be so easy for me to talk about.  Every Saturday that we are able (when tee ball or birthday parties don’t conflict) we go yard saling.  For some reason yard sales are so much funner for my husband when we are at the beach house.  But either way, at the shore or at home, we yard sale.  The kids suffer through it while watching a DVD and occasionally they can come out and buy something.  They’re used to it by now ;)

Well two weeks ago we were down the shore and there was a small neighborhood yard sale in a retirement village.  My kind of sale!  We always joke that when you see a walker in the driveway, you know you’re going to find some antiques (I hope that doesn’t sound insensitive!).  I went to the first table and immediately spotted these adorable champagne glasses:

vintage champagne glasses

They are just so Mad Men and I loved them.  The sweet little old lady whose table it was told me that they were $5.  Hmm…where would I put them?  It wasn’t just one small thing, this was 6 pieces to have clanging around and how often would I use them?  I told her I’d come back.  I managed to buy a $3 (because it was badly cracked) McCoy planter and I made my way back towards her table.

I asked Marc what I should do since I was so on the fence.  He said something he rarely says: “If you like them, get them!” (as opposed to the usual “Where are you going to put that?!” or “Don’t you have enough plates?”)  That was it, I did love them, so why not buy them?  As I paid the $5 the darling old lady got misty eyed as she packed up the glasses.  “These have been in my family a long time,” she said.  Suddenly it was as if she realized that I was feeling bad for “taking” them, she handed them over with resolve.  “Enjoy them!” she said happily before making me promise to “put some champagne in them.” :)

This weekend we were back at home and I decided I wanted to go check out the Franklin Flea pop-up that has been in the old Strawbridge building.  I admitted to Marc that I mostly just wanted to check out the old abandoned building, and also the booth of a fellow Philly Social Media Mom’s store Fresh Vintage.  So we packed the kids in the sit and stand and strolled over ($11 all day parking FTW).

There was some cool stuff, but a lot that is not my forte (records, vintage clothes, upcycled jewelry).  I almost bought some Pyrex, but I didn’t and…this is my one regret…this glass pitcher that matched the aforementioned champagne glasses for $10.  I meant to buy it and then just completely forgot about it, dang!

The kids were pretty rammy in the place (which I was disappointed that you didn’t get to see very much of, there was a guard blocking the entrance to the very “time forgot” cafe area.) so I think that contributed to my forgetting to buy something.  Marc did buy this hideous ashtray after it came to his attention that he and his manly cigar smoking friends did not have an ashtray to bond over.  It ended up being from the Fresh Vintage booth no less:

roseville ashtray

You can’t tell how large it is from the picture, it’s about the size of my head.  I really think it’s terrible, but how can I fault a man for purchasing an ugly vintage item when I drag him relentlessly to sales of ugly vintage items? lol!

So that is a tale I was able to really tell.  Is my writer’s block cured?  I can only hope :)


I left my heart…in Costa Rica

by Bay on May 6, 2014

blog CR mega zip 14

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.

Just over a month ago we went on an amazing trip to Costa Rica through Marc’s job.  Before the trip, I was a hot mess of nerves.  I couldn’t think about leaving my children for such a long and far trip without feeling physically ill.  To say I was worried would be an understatement.  I made a will, created schedules for Rayna’s school transportation arrangements and bought little Marc a birthday gift to open on his actual 3rd birthday, which was another huge source of guilt and angst: we were going to be gone for his real birthday.

Right before it was time to embark on our trip, little Marc picked up the dreaded stomach bug.  He was a barfing mess less than two days before our flight out.  Add to that my sister’s whole family was down with strep (she was the primary caregiver for my kids, they were staying at her house for 4 of the 6 days), yet I finally had amazing calm.  Everything that I could have done had been done, and we were getting on the plane and I had no other choice.

Our first day, which was mostly traveling, turned out to be horrid, because then big Marc was puking before we even left for the airport.  Since we were flying with Marc’s bosses we had the good fortune of flying first class for both flights, which was a blessing and also a waste.  Blessing because Marc was in close proximity to the bathroom, and also bit of a waste because I was miserable regardless.

Once we arrived in Costa Rica, though, I was smitten.  It was 80 degrees and beautiful.  We took a pretty long bus ride to our hotel while the tour guides filled us in on the country and why it is so great (98% literacy rate = better than the United States is the one they are the most proud of.  My favorite was when she said “all of our produce is organic.  So it is much better than what you have at home.”  Touche)

Marc managed to recover by that evening’s dinner and I managed to not succumb to any illness until our own flight home (hooray!*s*)  But really.  I feel like I could live in Costa Rica.  The beaches were beautiful, the people were friendly, the temperature and surroundings are pretty much like heaven.  I cried when we were driving home through cold and dirty Philly and wished I could just beam our whole family to start a new life ;)

Which leads me to the general funk I’m feeling.  I can’t say I’m depressed, in fact I’m probably happier than I usually am with my life in general, but the blog?  I’m not totally feeling it.  I’m in so many blogging groups and the amount of drive and ambition these women have regarding their blogs is amazing to me.  I just…don’t care?  I mean, sure it’s nice to make money and get cool perks because of your blog but I just can’t justify spending the amount of time and energy away from my family and other pursuits to make it “worth it.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not quitting my blog.  I just am feeling better about it not being such a responsibility.  In my usual form, now that I’ve written this post I’ll probably actually start posting more regularly, but if I don’t, it’s ok.


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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My Listerine 21-Day Challenge Starts Now!

February 13, 2014

One member of my household religiously swishes Listerine at least once, every single day.  I can admit that, no, that person is not me.  At least every night I hear Marc diligently using his Listerine antiseptic (not just any mouthwash, it has to be the “real deal” Listerine) while I am just barely struggling to […]

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The easiest way to get your iPad repaired – iheartrepair #review

February 11, 2014

You most likely know that everything I do takes me a very long time. I agonize over a lot of things, and tend to make things more difficult than they already are. This even applies to something as simple as getting a broken iPad screen repaired. (Which is a complete NECESSITY for us, as the […]

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Book Club: “A Well-Tempered Heart” and airmail envelopes

February 5, 2014

Do you ever find yourself compelled to instantly Google something that you were thinking about?  I know I’m a child of the information age, but I think this also has something to do with my self-diagnosed ADD.  As soon as I start wondering about something, all I have to do is whip out my phone […]

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