Welcome to my blog!

This blog highlights all my favorite picks and ponderings. I share book recommendations, yummy recipes and fashion favorites! I throw in some surprises every now and then and share my life happenings and LOTS of pictures of my adorable sons, Joey and Teddy:) Hope you'll keeping stopping by!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Favorite!

I only have one Friday favorite today because it's so fabulous that it deserves my blog's full attention!  Listen up, people! This item is essential to your summer wardrobe, but more importantly the price is right! I had a $10 super bucks to Old Navy so I took a spin through the store and there they lie in all their $4.99 glory, the perfect tank! No I'm serious that is what they are called! It is a very adequate name because it is the perfect fit in my opinion. It has just the right amount of stretch and they are longer which I really love. These are perfect for a really hot summer day.  AND I really like layering things so these tanks would also be perfect for layering under other shirts! They have a great variety of these tanks but only a few color combos were on sale for $4.99. Check out the below image!
Image #1: beige/white stripe with neon pinkish trim (btw those shorts from the Gap Outlet are seriously super comfy and cute)
Image #2: navy/green striped with grey trim
Image #3: neon yellow/white striped with grey trim

None of these colors your cup of tea?? The non sale tanks are only $8.50 or  if you buy 2 or more only $7.50!! Not too shabby and I'm telling you, totally worth it! I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!

I couldn't seem to find the sale tanks online but I did find the perfect tank on the Old Navy site and if you are too lazy to leave your house then I suggest you click here!  
If you are hunting down that $4.99 deal than you are a girl after my own heart, and you better go quick because I don't know how long these bad boys will last!

Have a fabulous weekend:)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

An accidental recipe!

It's new recipe day!  This recipe happened quite by accident, but it came out so delish that I had to share!  So a few weeks ago I posted Mix and Match Mama's chocolate chip bundt cake recipe.  As you know I am IN LOVE with this recipe.  It is one of my all time new fav desserts and I  make it ALL OF THE TIME! It is that good.  Anyways, I was all set to make  it yesterday afternoon.  Here I am thinking I was Miss Baking Queen, when I realize I have mixed up the ingredients, poured it in the bundt pan and have forgotten to put in the oil! Yikes.  I was stumped.  I decided to dump the mixture back into my mixing bowl and mix in the oil, no problem, easy fix, no biggie.  WELLL as I was transferring the mixture back into the bundt pan it splattered to the floor! I almost cried, all that work for naught? I salvaged about half and decided rather than waste it, I would throw it into a loaf pan and make chocolate chip bread!  It came out quite delish.  Because I only used half the batter to make the bread, it means that the whole batter will make two breads! Genius right?! So all you would have to do is mix up the original recipe and split it up into two loaf pans and you have TWO pans of chocolate chip bread.  Two for the price of one, people, doesn't get much better than that!  CLick here for the original bundt cake recipe that I linked you to in my previous post!  Then you have a nice loaf of yummy, delishy bread for yourself and you can show off your skills by giving the other loaf to a friend, coworker, man you are trying to swoon??  Your welcome:)



Jump over to my family blog today and meet Woodsy!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My girl Elin is a must read on the beach!

In honor of today's release of her newest novel, my post is all about Elin Hilderbrand! Often referred to as the Queen of the Summer Read, she writes the perfect beachy book.  She draws on the unique atmosphere of the secluded island community of Nantucket to tell engrossing stories of the lives of those who come to visit, and those who make the edge of the ocean a year-round home. The thing that is so captivating about Elin's (yes, I feel as though I am on a first name basis!) novels is that they are completely character driven.  You become so invested in each character; their feelings, their actions, their story.  She creates such vividly realistic characters for the reader.  Her novels are about love and friendship,  family and betrayal and untimely deaths, forgiveness and healing...all set on backdrop of sandy beaches and rolling waves and champagne cocktail parties. Engaging, witty and enjoyable, Hilderbrand will have you captivated at the first line!  I literally have loved every book I have read by her, but here are a few of my all time favs!  Click on the title to get a summary and review!

Blue Bistro (this is actually Elin's favorite book she wrote!)

Joey and I are off to the book store today to pick up our copy of Elin's new book, Beautiful Day! I have been saving all my book gift cards just for this day!! I'll let you all know how it is! 

Be sure to check out my new family blog! Launched yesterday! Click here:)

Monday, June 24, 2013

NEW BLOG!

I am happy to announce that I am starting a family blog!  Click here to check it out:)  I will be keeping this blog for my favorite picks, books and recipes! My new blog will be about my family and I am excited to start! Hope you will follow both!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Don't these cookies just sound summery? They are a great treat for a summer night! They are also super easy to make, because let's face it, if it was hard I would't be making it!  Tonight is the perfect night to grill out and end the meal with one of these scrumptious little cookies! Here's the recipe.


Ingredients
  • 1 box (18.25 oz) strawberry cake mix (like Duncan Hines)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper (I am telling you this is the KEY to baking cookies!! I am not suggesting parchment paper, I am COMMANDING you to use it!  Your cookies will come out SO much better and easy cleanup!! No greasing up a cookie sheet!)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough- stir vigorously until all of the pockets of dry cake mix are gone. Gently mix in the chocolate chips. (Now this is what the recipe recommends, however I never follow directions, I just throw all my ingredients together and stir:) They still came out delish! So do what you wish:))
  3. Drop rounded balls of dough, one heaping tablespoon, onto prepared baking sheet. Stick a few more chocolate chips on top of the cookie dough balls if you want them for looks, if desired.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes – do not let the cookies get brown. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will be very soft at first. 


Easy right?! And I am promise they are as delicious as they are easy! Enjoy:)


Friday, June 14, 2013

From the "Queen of the Summer Read"


This week, I thought it would be fun to get an author's picks for  best summer reads! And who better to give summer book recommendations than the "Queen of the Summer Read" herself, Elin Hilderbrand!  Click here to see what books she tosses in her beach bag to enjoy a day on the lovely island of Nantucket! 

Next week I will be blogging about some of my favorite Elin books that are perfect for summer!

Did you check out my Friday Favorites yesterday?  If not, click here!

Enjoy the weekend!  Happy Father's Day dads!

Fabulous Finds Friday!

It's Friday! A gloomy Friday, but a Friday nonetheless!  In honor of Friday I've decided to do some of my favorite things of the day!

Ok, first up are my Sperrys.  Let's face it, the weather has been down right horrendous lately.  I do not own a pair of rainboots (Ineed to get on that!), so I have been wearing my Sperrys a bunch because they can get wet.  They are the ultimate preppy shoe, but they are so downright comfy, that they are the perfect shoe to wear to work for lots of standing around!  I am wearing them today, see!

 
 
And did you know Sperry has sandals?! They are fabulous! Aren't these striped sandals absolutely adorbs?!
 
Ok I am hoping at some point in the near future the weather will be summer standard so I can hit up the beach.  I would love nothing more than to don a bikini and lay back and work on my tan! But let's be real, I have a 15 month old that I will be chasing around the beach so comfort is going to be key.   I just bought this darling tankini at Old Navy that I am in love with!  I will NOT be posting a picture of me sporting it, but click here to see its cuteness!
 
My final Friday Favorite is my Flower of the Month bracelet. This girl loves her a good bracelet! I like my Flower of the Month bracelet for two reasons. 1. It's big and chunky and accentuates a slim wrist:) and 2. I loathe my birthstone, so it's nice that the January flower is a pretty carnation! Here's a picture of me wearing the bracelet.  Doesn't it look cute with all my bling??
 

 
Well that's all folks! Happy Friday:)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Choco P-Bobs!

Yesterday my mom gave me three ripe bananas because she knows I like to bake with them. And what do you know, there was a cookie recipe on Pinterest that I have been wanting to try that calls for three bananas! It's kismet! These cookies are a chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal banana cookie, but that name is way too long so I call them Choco P-Bobs! Creative huh?? So these Choco P-bobs have no sugar, butter or eggs! Say what?? And they really only have a teeny tiny bit of flour.  I swear they don't taste like cardboard!  These little devils are actually quite tasty, and dare I say...healthy??


Ingredients:
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2-1 cup natural chunky peanut butter (I used smooth pb because it's all I had but I think chunky would be best!)
4 tablespoons maple syrup (I used regular old Shaw's brand, but if you are a high roller go for the good stuff!)
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (note: if you are using salted peanut butter, you may not need any salt, do a taste test with the batter) I did not use salt in mine
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a large bowl, mix bananas, vanilla, peanut butter and maple syrup into a creamy consistency (best to do with a hand mixer).
In another bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder and salt
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until they are well combined, the batter should be slightly sticky. Fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be somewhat runny, this is ok.
Place heaping tablespoon-sized balls of the batter onto a ‘greased’ baking sheet (can also place on wax paper) and cook for 15 minutes.
I made just under 2 dozen!





Sunday, June 9, 2013

Father's Day Gift Guide


It’s almost Father’s Day and if you are like me you are racking your brain for the perfect gift for your dad or the father of your children! Guys are so much harder to shop for then girls! So I have compiled a list of things that may just help you out!

 If your dad or husband is anything like my husband then he will like anything to do with golf, tools or cigars!

 My husband loves to golf.  The proper attire is very important when golfing.  Check out these snazzy golf shirts from Old Navy! Can't beat a price like that! Or how about a gift card to one of the local golf courses?? 

 What is it about guys and power tools?? It definitely makes them feel more manly if they have tools.  And every guy needs a power drill.  Andrew uses his up a storm! Anytime I need something hung on the wall, out comes the drill, along with so major muscle flexing.  Check out this drill at Lowes!

Andrew loves enjoying a nice stogie in the summer. Send your husband over to the cigar bar in South Portland called Calabash CafĂ©!  Check out the website by clicking here.  Wouldn't your hubby feel like a total bro at a cigar bar??
Now my own father would be having none of the above gift ideas!  In the summer all my dad needs is a coffee, the crossword puzzle and the beach.  It doesn't take much to make my dad happy and that is one of the many things I love about him!  My go to items for my dad are usually Uno's gift card(his favorite restaurant!) a coffee card, a new pair of running sneakers  or a six pack of Guiness! All good ideas, and easy!
Still haven't sparked any gift ideas?? Here's a couple more!
 Does your dad like to work out?? Check out this! These lightweight shirts are perfect for a workout! and reasonably priced!
Need sandals for the upcoming beach season?? Click here! These have dad written all over them!

Does daddy-io have an Iphone?? Check out these cool covers? This baseball one is right up my dad's alley!  They also have basketball, football etc.


If none of these ideas work for your dad, I am sorry you are out of luck, it's all I got people!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Beach Book Bonanza Week 3


It is not a very beachy day, but it is the perfect day to cuddle up with a good book.  And as promised I am delivering the perfect summer read; light, fluffy and romanticky (I know it’s not a real word, but it works!)  Susan Wiggs is an author that draws readers into her characters’ lives and minds in a way that makes them real and true and unforgettable.  Her books are the proverbial Harlequin novel, full of the classic happily ever after love story.  And who doesn’t love the predictable happy ending??   It doesn’t make the story any less enjoyable.  Although this is coming from a person who reads the last page of a book first regardlessJ Wiggs has a series of books called the Lakeshore Chronicles that are perfect for a summer escape!  They are all standalone novels, but I think it may be more enjoyable to read them in the order she wrote them, as many of the characters are in each other’s story so it’s easier to follow.  Click here for a full list of all the books in the series.  I have already read three and I am on my fourth! The great thing about these books, is that they are a real easy read, so you will fly right through each one and be eager to start the next!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Recipe Tuesday: Salsa Chicken

Before I got married, I did not cook. At all. So after getting married, I wanted to become all domestic.   My first real recipe I ever cooked was salsa chicken.  It came out delish, and now it is my go to.  SO many people have asked me for the recipe, everyone loves it!  So I am now sharing it with all of you, my trusty blog readers.

Ingredients:

3-4 boneless chicken breasts (more or less depending on how many you are feeding)
large jar of salsa
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 pkg of shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a baking pan with cooking spray.  I always cover my pan with tin foil for an easy cleanup.

Coat chicken in taco seasoning and lay on pan
Top a generous amount of salsa over each piece of chicken.  The more you use the juicier the chicken will be!
Cook for 35 minutes
Top with mozzarella cheese
Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

That's it! So easy and so tasty!

I usually make spanish rice as a side.  I cook up my rice and then add the leftover salsa and stir it up.  It is so good! Another good side would be my corn, black bean and zucchini salad.  Mix them all up and add red wine vinegar, olive oil and a splash of lime juice and you have yourself the perfect side dish:)

Enjoy!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mommyhood Monday-Bubble Guppies

Let me preface this post with this fact.  Growing up we were never limited on the amount of TV we watched.  Therefore, I watched lots of TV.  But I also read A LOT of books; I gobbled series up by the dozens.  I also played outside a ton.  When I was real little, my brother and I made friends with the elderly couple next door.  Every morning we raced over and they let us play in their yard, help with the garden and push us on their tree swing.  When we moved into our new neighborhood, we use to have crazy huge games of kick the can, capture the flag, whiffle ball and kick ball and we use to put on plays for the neighborhood in my friend’s garage.  So all in all I think I was a very well rounded child and had the best childhood, regardless of the fact we were allowed to watch TV.   I hope Joey gets to experience the same kinds of things.  Years ago I babysit for some kids who were very restricted in the amount of TV they watched and food they ate. So, of course, that is all they wanted! It was like pulling teeth to get them to play outside.  So I think getting a good balance is the key!  That officially brings me to the point of my Mommyhood Monday pick of the day post.  Joey finally likes to watch a kid show!  He has never been one to watch shows, which would be a good thing if it wasn’t for the fact that he loves the remote!  He likes to put our TV on the ON Demand channel.  Not to watch a show mind you, but to stare at the list of options with that tiny trailer in the corner.  Yes, my son is a freak.  So to get him to not watch that channel, I would try everything from Sesame Street to Bob the Builder to Baby Einstein.  He was having none of it! Finally, just recently,  I tried a show and miraculously, he sat and watched and danced.  He loves to dance! It’s called Bubble Guppies and we LOVE it here in the Paladino house.  It is absolutely adorable and the songs are so catchy.  I find myself now singing along.  It is also educational which I like, and I found a website full of worksheets and activities that go along with it, so I will definitely be going all Mrs. Paladino on poor Joe as soon as he is old enough!  I know they say children shouldn’t watch TV until at least TV, but you know what? Sometime Mama needs an engaged child if she say needs to run to the bathroom, make lunch, cut little squirm’s fingernails, or the bane of any mother’s existence—apply sunscreen! So the fact that Joey enjoys his little guppy friends—Molly, Gil, Nonny, Goby, Oona, and Deema—is fine with me!

Click here to check out the theme song.  I can't stop singing it!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Beach Book Bonanza Week 2


Last week I kicked off my Beach Book Bonanza series on a rainy, cold day with no sign of summer in sight.  Today I can happily say that summer weather is upon us, folks, and what better way to beat the heat then hit up the beach with a good book!  I just finished reading Summer House by Nancy Thayer.  It is the perfect book to tuck in your beach bag between your sunscreen and an iced cold beverage! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I am just too darn hot and tired to elaborate, so I thought I’d borrow a review from a fellow book blogger, A Cozy Reader’s Corner.  Click here for her review of  Summer House.