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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was provided samples of Eastern Standard Provisions Co. pretzels and salts. As always, all opinions are my own.

Eastern Standard Provisions Pretzels

October means fall is here. Think sweater weather, football games and Oktoberfest. Bring on the beer and pretzels. Eastern Standard Provisions Co. makes artisanal pretzels with all natural ingredients. They come in the mail SUPER fresh – ready to eat that day (or throw in the freezer if you’re saving them for a later date). The pretzels come in a variety of shapes and sizes, pictured here is the Wheelhouse (left), Slidepiece (top right) and the Turnbuckle (bottom right). They have a larger size of the Wheelhouse, called the Topknot and a larger version of the Slidepiece, called Fourseam. I have to say that I liked the sidepiece and the turnbuckles the best.

Custom Salt and Sugar

I might be one of those weird people who actually likes pretzels plain. More times than not, I just like a hint of salt. So if you’re a purist, Eastern Standard Provisions Co. has traditional pretzel salt. Feeling a little more saucy? Try the chili lime salt or the truffle salt. Sugar your thing? Try the French Toast sugar or the raspberry lime sugar. 1oz. packages of these salts and sugars will be available on the website soon!

The pretzels are hand rolled and once you get them, you just need to brush with a little butter (or olive oil or water) and sprinkle with your topping of choice. The bigger pretzels can take up to 20 minutes to bake, and the smaller ones can take as 3 minutes to heat up.

Pretzel Ice Cream Sandwich

I love a good sweet and salty combo, so I put together this fun ice cream sandwich. Cook up the pretzel according to the directions. I topped this one with the French Toast sugar (and let me tell you, we put this on anything we could get our hands on it was THAT good). Slice Slidepiece in half. To get ice cream to perfectly fit inside the bun, we sliced some vanilla ice cream with a knife and then cut the perfect circle out with a cookie cutter. Place on pretzel and roll in your favorite sprinkles. Salty and sweet perfection in…4 bites.

For more information on how to get your own delicious pretzels, visit Eastern Standard Provisions Co.’s website here.

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Mystic Aquarium

Sponsored Post: I worked with Cross Sound Ferry, who graciously gifted us round trip travel tickets. As always, all opinions are my own.

I had been wanting to take the kids to the Mystic Aquarium all summer, and we finally went last weekend. We couldn’t have asked for better weather all weekend. So we piled up the car with our 8,000 bags, the stroller, the pack and play, snacks for the ride and floaties for the pool. We survived the 2 hour road trip with a promise of stopping halfway for some munchkins!

The aquarium was our main reason for going to Mystic. We arrived Friday, late morning, and headed straight there. You can bring your own lunch – they have tables outside for you to eat at, or they have a restaurant where you can find the usual suspects: pizza, chicken fingers, etc. After filling our bellies, and making new friends with a very friendly duck, we went on to explore the aquarium. My kids loved the Beluga whales, one of them was particularly photogenic! We looked at penguins, jellyfish, touched string rays, and even caught a sea lion show (get there early for a front row seat and you will be able to get up close and personal with them when the show starts!). We bought our tickets ahead of time to get the best prices!

Lighthouse Bakery

After the aquarium, we checked into our hotel and went exploring. I always like to check out the local shops and bakeries in any city we travel to. Before dinner we went to the Lighthouse Bakery, a little bit tucked away from the main road. There weren’t a ton of options since it was late in the day, but we walked away with some very delicious treats, including tiramisu (not pictured) and some AMAZING raspberry bars.

Engine Room

Dinner came from a recommendation from a friend, the Engine Room. They weren’t accepting reservations that evening, but we went early and didn’t have to wait for a table. They have a cute little patio out front if the weather is nice, and high top tables and high top booths inside. The decor was definitely Instagram-worthy, the service was friendly, and the food was delicious. I wanted one of everything on the menu and could have definitely come here two days in a row. Everything was flavorful and we walked out full!

They have a kids menu that includes: Grilled Cheese, Chicken Tenders, Cheeseburger, Hot Dog, Mac and Cheese and Pasta with Butter. I was afraid that the kids weren’t going to like the Mac and Cheese, because they really only like Annie’s, and this was house made, but they licked their plates clean. That should say something to you right there.

After dinner we walked around a bit to work off dinner. There were a bunch of cute shops that we walked by (that were all closed), that I will have to visit on another trip here. FYI, we could have used one more day in Mystic, just to visit shops and wander around town.

Shops to stop at next time include: Trove, Mystic Sweet Shop, Fat Face, Sea Bags, and the Candy Shop (to name a few). Vault Coffee Roasters was also on my list, and if you go on Saturday or Sunday at 8am you can catch the Deviant Donuts pop up!

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Company

Even though we were stuffed from dinner, there is always room for dessert. We stopped into Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream for a little treat. It’s hard to tell what the kids enjoyed more, hanging out at the drawbridge or having ice cream. I tried the white pistachio and strawberry ice creams, both were very tasty. Other original flavors include: Mystic Mud, Chocolate Chambord, Lemon Chocolate Kiss, Chocolate Mint Oreo, Seaport Salty Swirl, and Mystic Turtle to name a few. They also make shakes, smoothies, and New York egg creams!

Hotel Breakfast

We decided to stay at the Hampton Inn, right near the aquarium. The hotels in the area were pretty booked, as Mystic gets a lot of overflow when there are shows at the casinos. We weren’t planning on staying at the hotel except to sleep and swim, so it didn’t really matter where we stayed as long as the rooms were quiet and clean (which they were). Pools are key with our kiddos to tire them out 😉 . Breakfast was included, so we filled up on waffles, eggs and yogurt before we packed up for our day trip to Long Island.

Cross Sound Ferry

We picked up the Cross Sound ferry in New London, about a 10-15 minute drive from Mystic. We arrived about 30 minutes early to get our tickets and square away things since we were driving our car aboard. My kids were super excited about the idea of driving a car onto a boat! The process was smooth and everyone was loaded on quickly. It was a beautiful morning to be out on the water. I always love taking boats places when we can – another favorite thing is taking the water taxi in New York. The boat had upper and lower decks, so it wasn’t super crowded anywhere. There is a snack stand on board in case you get hungry, with plenty of tables both inside and out. The kids loved exploring all the decks of the ferry, we didn’t even have to break into our bag of tricks to keep them occupied. The ferry takes about an hour and 20 minutes, while the passenger only high speed ferry takes about 40 minutes.

Side Note: Cross Sound Ferry also offers a wonderful lighthouse cruise. Read more about it here.

Blue Duck Bakery

If you’re traveling with kids, you know that they get hungry about every 12 seconds. I know for a fact that at school they have ONE snack between when I drop them off and when they have lunch, so how come whenever they are with me all day, they are hungry for snacks 8,000,000 times a day?!?! But in our house, being hangry is a REAL THING, so we stopped into Blue Duck Bakery for a treat (note: the kids had a muffin, I didn’t feed them cookies first thing in the morning. Although, truth be told, it has happened on occasion in our house). There were a lot of delicious cookies and pastries, top choices of ours included the sour cherry danish and the Linzer cookies.

There is also another coffee shop next to the carousel, across the street from the Blue Duck, Aldo’s Coffee Company .

Greenport Carousel

The carousel was a big draw for my kids – they could have stayed here all day and their afternoon would have been complete. The carousel is located in a beautiful park with lots of grass for the kids to play on, and it overlooks the water.

The carousel is 100 years old and it is open year round. In season it is open daily and off season it is open on the weekends. The carousel features 36 horses, and while it says that you can grab rings (like the one on Martha’s Vineyard), it was not working when we were there.

There is two hour street parking right across the street from the park and public restrooms nearby.

Crazy Beans

Staying out all day can be tricky. One of my kiddos still takes naps – so when we got to lunchtime, there was an EPIC meltdown (to end all meltdowns). I took the other kids for lunch at Crazy Beans, a very family friendly place, while my husband handled the tantrum outside. Crazy Beans can get very busy (and the tips are cash only), so make sure to get there early.

There were so many cute shops right in town that I would have loved to check out, but didn’t have time due to said EPIC meltdown. Here are a few places I’ll check out next time: Goldberg’s Famous Bagels, Flavors Dessert Cafe, Kate’s Cheese Co., Sweet Indulgences, and Hampton Chocolate Company.

Side (kind of funny) story: when we came out from lunch, kiddo #1 was still having a meltdown. I carried him over my shoulder kicking and screaming, because we were way past the point of no return (if you have kids, you know just what I’m talking about). Now, you know that when your kid is having a meltdown in public, the last thing you want to do is have to deal with strangers who are a) trying to ‘cheer your child up’, b) trying to tell you a personal story about their own kids when they were young, c) trying to tell you that you should enjoy the kids while they are young because they grow up so fast, etc. or d) just trying to talk to you in general while you are trying to deal with your screaming child. An older man came up to me and said, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you if you were kidnapping this child…” and proceeded to just stand there are stare at me. Ummm….yes, if I was indeed kidnapping my child, I would have totally marched him down Main Street where hundreds of people could see me and I would totally admit it to you when you asked me just now. Meanwhile, my husband, who is Caucasian, walked up and the man takes one look at him and say, “oh, you’re together, ok then” and proceeded to walk away.

North Fork Doughnut Co.

So after we get the kids into the car, we decide to drive around to see if we can get them to nap in the car (and avoid any more meltdowns). We drive by some amazing looking farm stands and an insane amount of vineyards. A few years back I came to Greenport and did a little vineyard trip with some girlfriends. If you come without kids, you may want to check them out – see more about my previous trip here. We drove by an old pickup truck with the bed overflowing with ripe tomatoes, a place selling fresh roadside oysters and there were more charming places than I could count.

We just drove down Main Street to see where it would take us, and happened upon North Fork Doughnut Company. I ran in while the kids were snoozing and picked up a half dozen for the road. How cute are these handmade doughnuts? They’re made with local ingredients, so just another reason to love them more.

The glazed and the cinnamon sugar doughnuts were delicious classics – fluffy and light. The Samoa tasted almost exactly like those delicious cookies, the closest I’ve tasted so far. The apple fritter just tasted like fall, delicious and sweet. The black raspberry jam filled doughnut did not disappoint, and they didn’t skimp on the jam.

When I was growing up, we didn’t have sugar cereal, except for special occasions. I loved Frosted Flakes and Apple Jacks (but only the orange ones – not the green ones). Fruity Pebbles were never my thing, but I bought one just for fun (it would look good in photos). The glaze on the cereal doughnut was delicious and I actually liked the Fruity Pebbles, well done!

Greenport Creamery

After naps in the car, we head back into town and have some ice cream and one last ride on the carousel. We stopped at Greenport Creamery for a cone and I had just enough time to pick up a vintage bag from Sea Bags.

Cross Sound Ferry

After a full (and eventful) day on Long Island, we took the ferry from Orient Point back to New London. We took a different boat, so the kids were again, happy to explore.

Did you know that the ferry offers a rewards program? They also have casino packages if you are coming from the Long Island side – your choice, Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods.

Cross Sound Ferry

There is something so calming about being on the water. The evening boat ride was exactly what we needed at the end of the day. When we arrived back in New London, we were off the boat in under 10 minutes after we docked – perfect timing to grab a quick bite to eat for dinner.

Mystic Diner

Another friend had recommended the Mystic Diner. It was just what you would imagine it to look like on the inside and very family friendly. Let me just say three words: BREAKFAST. ALL. DAY. Either that or just skip straight over dinner and have pie!

Looking for pet friendly restaurants in Mystic, try Sea View Snack Bar, a cute outdoor clam shack with picnic tables that overlook Mystic Harbor. You might also try Pizetta, Pink Basil or Dog Watch Mystic.

Hotel Pool

We had the pool to ourselves Sunday morning and got all our energy out before our car ride home. The good news is that the hotel is right near the ramp for the highway, gas stations, the aquarium and bonus, there’s a Dunks right next door!

Li’s Bakeshop

There were two bakeries that I wanted to check out before we left Mystic. The first was Li’s Bake Shop. This is the kind of bakery that reminds of you things your grandmother used to make (nostalgic baking). You can taste the love (and butter) in every bite. The buckeye brownie was my favorite – but you can’t go wrong here. Also pictured: whoopie pie, chocolate chip cookie, Mystic cookie, peanut butter cookie, croissant and lemon bar.

Sift Bake Shop

Sift Bake Shop reminds me of Paris. Adults turn into children as they drool over towers of pastries behind the glass. They have a large picture window so you can see the pastry chefs mixing up all the delicious treats in the back. The picture above does not do that sticky bun justice. It is big enough to share, but trust me, you aren’t going to want to. That caramel and pecan topping will make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven. I love macarons, not to be confused with macaroons, and these ones were just perfect. The shell had a little bit of a bite to them, but they melted in your mouth. We tried vanilla, pistachio, Meyer lemon and key lime.

So that was our weekend in Mystic. We stopped in RI on our way home to see if they had my favorite jam, but we were too late in the season. We will have to come back earlier in the season next year!

Tell me all your favorite things to do in Mystic, CT!

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Knead Doughnuts

We love to head down to Providence to the zoo, so I was excited when my friend Ziggy suggested meeting at Knead Doughnuts for a little snack before the day started.

I met Ziggy when I was working in PR downtown. He’s one of those people that you feel lucky to know – a kind heart, a sharp wit, and you just feel happy when you’re hanging out. I went to his wedding, and we have kids around the same age.

Knead Doughnuts

I had heard about Knead Doughnuts before, but when Ziggy mentioned this location had better parking than the downtown location, I was sold. FYI they have three locations: Downtown at 32 Custom House St, West End at 56 Cromwell and on the East Side at 135 Elmgrove Ave.

Knead Doughnuts

They have so many delicious choices, it was hard to pick just one. So we didn’t. We took home a dozen just to sample each and every flavor. They have old fashioned, cake and brioche style doughnuts. I like to get a glazed doughnut just for a baseline. There is nowhere to hide with a glazed doughnut, if it’s not good, you’ll be able to tell. This one happened to have THE most delicious vanilla bean glaze, not too sweet, and the texture was just right. I couldn’t wait to get home and try the other flavors. Make sure to check out their website to see their most current menu offerings.

Knead Doughnuts

The best part was that in the back there was this cute little doughnut shop play area for the kiddos. How cute is this?

Roger Williams Zoo

After getting sugared up, we headed out to the zoo to see some animals. Super fun day with good friends. Head over the the Roger Williams Zoo website for more information or to plan your visit.

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PVDonuts

Leah, Kim and I hopped in the car for a little road trip to Providence, RI. Providence is just about an hour away from Boston, and there are TONS of cute places to eat.

First stop, PVDonuts. Their handmade donuts are over the top delicious and cute to boot. Check out their Instagram page to see the rotating monthly menu. The line can get long, so if you know you’re going to make a stop there, I suggest ordering ahead, you don’t have to wait in line (go straight to the side counter)! There’s a link in their Instagram bio to help you place an order.

It was insane just how many boxes of donuts we piled into Leah’s car, but it sure smelled delicious!

Rebelle Artisan Bagels

Now that we had our sweets in hand, on to the savory. We have all seen those amazing Instagram photos of bagels stacked high on sticks, and we wanted to see them (and taste them) for ourselves. Rebelle Artisan Bagels hand rolls and boils their bagels. Stop in for one of their delicious egg and cheese sandwiches. Their breakfast sammie is a spinach, pepper and onion frittata with cheddar and bacon and their Spanish tortilla is a pesto and onions frittata with chorizo and manchego cheese. How could you go wrong with either?!

Yoleni’s

We headed into Downtown Providence to check out Yoleni’s, a wonderful Greek marketplace, similar to Eataly but on a much smaller scale. They have over 800 Greek products (we loved the tea and the honey), an amazing dried fruit and nut display case and a restaurant where you can get the MOST delicious authentic Greek yogurt. (we had ours with sour cherry!!!) Make sure to try some of their freshly baked savory pitas while you are there.

We needed to take a little break from eating, so we took a short walk over to Craftland, a great shop to pick up some gifts from local artists.

Bucktown

Next stop, lunch. Save room. Seriously. It might not look like much on the outside, but the food here at Bucktown is outstanding! We were lucky enough to hang out with Ashley, one of the owners while we ate. This young chef has talent beyond her years, bringing you delicious comfort food from her family’s recipes.

Bucktown

Make sure to bring some friends with you so you can try one of everything. Not to be missed are the chicken biscuit and the hush puppies. They have seafood plates, fish sandwiches, and fried green tomatoes on the menu too (to name a few things). Stop over on Monday nights from 5pm-10pm for $1 oysters and beer and wine specials. And good news for Bostonians, they are planning a second location in Mission Hill.

Waffle Providence

Barely able to move, we stopped back downtown to pick up some sweets for the road. First stop, Waffle Providence, who specializes in Liege waffles. There waffles are decadent on their own, with their brioche dough and pearl sugar, but you can get them with any number of sweet (or savory) toppings. Build your own from their extensive list of toppings or get one with a scoop of ice cream from The Ice Cream Machine.

Just around the corner is Knead Doughnuts. I had visited their other location with my friend Ziggy, so I didn’t pick up any doughnuts here this time. A more extensive post on them coming later this week.

If you’re heading to Providence, and it’s not a Sunday or a Monday (because they’re closed), make sure to stop by and try Ellie’s – they have some of the most delicious cakes and treats.

Where are your favorite spots in Providence?

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Sponsored Post: This post is a paid collaboration with Nellie’s Free Range Eggs. As always, opinions are my own.

Is this healthy for you? A question that we hear frequently in our house these days. Ever since my kids started to go to school, they come home saying things like, “John’s mom gives him Doritos every day at lunch, how come we can’t have them?” My answer, “Go live at John’s house…” I’d like to think that we are a middle of the road kind of family – my kids eat veggies and fruits with every meal and yet, sometimes I let them have ice-cream before lunch….

We have been talking a bit about proteins and carbohydrates, and how if we don’t eat a good breakfast, we will be hungry later in the day. Protein gives you fuel to get through your day. I have one really good eater, and one that is just recently becoming a bit more adventurous. A staple in my house has always been eggs. They are quick and easy to make, and my dad lets the kids help make them, so that instantly makes them awesome in our house. Everybody can agree on scrambled eggs, but we are slowly trying other styles.

For breakfast, we tried baseball eggs on a bagel sliver (basically a quarter of a bagel). The adults had it with Sriracha and the kids had it with ketchup. We made them with yolks and without. The kids thought that having a “baseball” for breakfast was pretty cool.

(Top right) I made some egg salad and put it in a cute baseball helmet – the kids could decide if they wanted it as a lettuce wrap or if they wanted it on bread. Super easy to make ahead for lunch at home.

(Middle right) We tried “toad in a hole” with my best (read: sad) attempt at making a baseball glove out of brown bread. We added a little fruit on the side and yes, my children won’t eat a thing if it is touching another thing on the plate. Are your kids like that too?

(Bottom right) Egg salad sandwiches with baseball cheese. I bought slices of cheddar cheese and used a baseball bat cookie cutter to make them into cool shapes. You could use any shape that makes your kid happy. I also used those mini babybel cheeses and made them into baseballs. I get in a rut at school because lunches are already hard for me, and then add on no peanuts, tree nuts or coconut in their meals. I’ll admit, there were many days in a row where I just sent my kids to school with cold pizza.

(Middle bottom) We rarely have bagels in the house, but when we do, I buy them from Stop and Shop pre sliced. Each bagel is sliced into four pieces, you’re still getting the delicious bagel, but cutting those calories (and carbohydrates) down significantly. I am not a huge fan of cream cheese, but I have these great memories as a kid of visiting my grandparents in New York and my grandma would always have Temp Tee cream cheese (and pink grapefruits). So I put a little schmear on a bagel for the kids with some peppers to make it look like a baseball. Super easy, super cute.

So what’s with all the baseball themed eggs you ask? The Red Sox just named Nellie’s Free Range Eggs the official egg of the Red Sox. Nellie’s eggs are certified humane. What does that mean? The hens have room to run in fields, have a more diverse diet and are in general healthier. How can you tell they are healthier? Their deep gold color of the yolks of their eggs. And let me tell you, it’s instantly noticeable when you crack open that first Nellie’s egg.

For more information about Nellie’s Free Range Eggs, click here.

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Disclosure: I was sent a sample product for review. As always, all opinions are my own.

I always love a good flight: beer, ice cream, you name it – I’m in. This way, you get to sample a little bit of everything and pick your favorites. Honestly, I had never even thought about a caramel tasting/pairing before. I had sampled McCrea’s in the past and they are one of my top candy picks – way before they ever reached out. Their caramel is smooth and just melts in your mouth – and their flavors are complex.

So of course I wanted to try their caramel “flight”. They sent me a fun sheet of suggested pairings. Did you know the classic vanilla pairs well with a lightly baked Chardonnay or a semi sweet sparkling wine? If beer is more your thing, try it with the sweet caramel notes and smooth finish of an amber ale. Cape Cod Sea Salt pairs with a Sancerre or any white with a bit of minerality to it. It also pairs nicely with the light fruitiness of summer ales of fruit beers. And that tapped maple caramel (one of my favorites), well it pairs with a warm crafts bourbon or a Pilsner.

Want to know how to throw a caramel tasting party of your own? Click here to get a step by step tutorial on their blog. But seriously, like you even need an excuse to invite your girlfriends over for wine and sweets? I didn’t think so…

Pick up this grand tasting box ($29.95) that includes 9 flavors, including: Dark Roasted Mocha, Ginger Fusion, Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt, Single Malt Scotch, Black Lava Sea Salt, Tapped Maple, Cape Cod Sea Salt, Classic Vanilla and Deep Chocolate.

So what are my top picks? I’m a classic gal, I love the Black Lava Sea Salt because it has a little crunch to it, and the Tapped Maple is just so smooth. What’s your favorite flavor?

Visit McCrea’s Candies website here.

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My husband is hard to shop for. Like, really hard to shop for. Before we started dating I thought of myself as a good gift giver – a thoughtful gift giver. But every time he opens a gift (that I think is just perfect), he makes ‘the face’, you know which one I’m talking about. This year, he will get a card from the kids and maybe I will let him sleep in (maybe). So here are some things I would like if I were celebrating Father’s Day.

Starting at the top left, I love these belts. Made by Ladder 34, these adjustable belts are made from authentic fire hoses and a portion of the sale will be donated to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Belts will run you around $35 and come in a variety of colors. If belts aren’t your dad’s thing…they have some cool mats and wallets.

Next, on the top right, we have wallets made from vintage baseball gloves. Mack Provisions lets you pick a glove from their collection that they make into your unique wallet. At $150, these are a little more on the expensive side, but I think that any baseball enthusiast in your life will really be touched.

I love the fish hook keychain from Todder (bottom right) ($25). These are made right in Newburyport, MA. If your dad already has a keychain, try checking out their bags, belts, bracelets, coasters or even a leather mason jar sleeve.

And finally, if you’re looking for the ultimate preppy gift for your dad, try customizing a pair of Sperry boat shoes. You can pick from over a dozen colors – maybe go classic with a pop of color on the laces, or maybe go bright and fun with a monogram. They are not much more expensive than the regular boat shoe, so why not go the extra mile.

What are some of the best gifts you have given for Father’s Day?

This year I hosted our annual neighborhood Easter egg hunt. The ladies of the ‘hood got together for some wine and ‘egg stuffing’ the night before – we had over 200 eggs. Sounds like a lot of eggs, but we had 30 kids – ranging from age 8 months to 12 years old. It was a little stressful doing the prep work, but seeing how happy the kids were made it all worth it. I’ll share some of our fun ideas for the food table in another post (after Easter) but wanted to share some fun Easter basket ideas that I worked on with Leah.

I love a good hooded towel. It has to be durable, because, well…kids. Picked up this cute one at The Nutshell in Milton. It could be cute for a boy or a girl. Glitter bunny ears were from Target, the bunny balloon was a great find (in a pack of 6) from TJ Maxx. The pom pom bunny pen and the “surprise bunnies” (peel away the layers of tissue for fun jokes and prizes) were from Paper Source. We aren’t big candy people in our house – so if we do give candy, I’m a firm believer in giving them a few “good quality” pieces instead of a whole bunch of “regular” candy. The egg, chicken (how cute is that?!?!) and the bunny (bottom right) are from EHChocolatier. Have you visited their new storefront in Cambridge yet? You should! The chocolate bunnies in the box are from L.A. Burdick. (I think I’ll keep those for myself!)

We reuse the same baskets every year – I love this one (same as above, but with a different liner) from Pottery Barn Kids. They may seem expensive, I picked mine up the day after Easter when everything went on sale. My daughter is obsessed with unicorns (and llamacorns) so this hooded towel from Pottery Barn Kids was a perfect addition to the basket. The shoes are Cat and Jack from Target – how cute are they? She put them on and started to tap dance across the floor! The large egg is from Williams Sonoma and is filled with a mix of chocolate, marshmallows and jellybeans (but really, I just bought it because I adore the egg). Leah picked up the headband and how awesome are those headphones? They’re WAVE made by BuddyPhones. My kids are just getting into the age where they will be wanting to use screens and these are perfect (because I can’t tell you how much Daniel Tiger’s voice gets on my last nerve 😉 ).The headphones limit the volume so the sound can’t damage your kid’s ears, they’re waterproof, they’re wireless and they have a 24 hour battery life.


I saw moonlite at Target and was a little nostalgic – these are the projectors of my childhood with an upgrade! I picked up the starter pack which had 5 Eric Carle story wheels. You download the app, clip the projector to the flashlight on your phone, and viola! bedtime stories come to life! You still read the story, but there are some fun sound effects (my kids got a kick out of seeing the pictures on the ceiling)! My kids love the Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site book so I picked that one up as well. The jelly beans in the mason jar (but you could get a cute bear shaped jar too) are from Lolli and Pops, the seersucker ears are from Pottery Barn Kids, the Peter Rabbit egg is from Williams Sonoma. The blue box of chocolates are made by Charbonnel Walker (one of my favorite chocolatiers) and I was pumped to see they were being sold at Williams Sonoma.

Spring is right around the corner, so Leah decided to add these cute garden tools from the Hearth and Hand with Magnolia Garden Set. The full set includes a watering can, a trowel, labeled wood garden stakes, a shovel, a spade, and garden fork – all in a cute bag. You can pick one up at Target got about $20. I’m a sucker for old school toys, and how cute is that wooden rabbit? What you can’t see is that on the end of the string there is also a wooden carrot!!

This basket has some of the fun things above but with the addition of ThoughtFulls Happy Day pop open cards. Everyone could use a little sunshine in their day and there are 30 cards in this box, each with a different inspiring quote on it. And how can I not include some “Little Notes” from E. Frances, these little lady bugs are perfect even after Easter!!

Gräem Nuts and Chocolate in Concord is one of my new favorite shops. Not only for the obvious nuts and chocolate, but the decor inside transports you into a different era. I picked up these cute pre-packaged foil wrapped eggs for our basket, but you have the option of picking your own out of the case. UMMM…can we just talk about those cute bunny “little notes” from E. Frances?!?! GAH! So cute! We bought the “lil’ bear” mugs for all the kids and we have the mama and papa bear too. Super cute Williams Sonoma, well played.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought about adding books into our Easter baskets before, but Leah brought up the idea and I was instantly in love with it. She picked out Larry Loves Boston, by John Skewes. In this series, Larry the pup visits all the popular Boston spots, such as the Freedom Trail, the Public Garden and Faneuil Hall. “The Rabbit Listened” by Cori Doerrfeld might just be my new favorite book. The text is minimal but the message is a good one. We already have “Too Many Carrots” by Katy Hudson, but that would also be a cute bunny themed book for a basket. Add in a cute bookmark and you will be all set!

Every time that we go to Belmont, I always like stopping in and grabbing an ice cream cone from Rancatore’s, no matter how cold it is. Rancatore’s was founded in 1985 by Joe Rancatore.  You may know Joe’s brother who owns Toscanini’s in Cambridge.

I love their sense of humor – see the “pine cone” on the right in the top photo. The service in Belmont is always top notch.

Flavors are seasonal – you can catch some of your fall favorites now like pumpkin, pumpkin hydrox, autumn spice, and butter pecan in store now.

I don’t think I ever realized it, but they also make ice cream cakes (duh). Two layers with a crumbled cookie crust, with your choice of hot fudge, butterscotch or raspberry puree. They decorate with whipped cream made from scratch in any design you can dream up.

Where is your go to ice cream spot?

Rancatore’s

36 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA

www.rancs.com

Hours of operation:

School year:

Sunday to Thursday   10 AM – 10 PM

Friday & Saturday   10 AM – 11 PM

Summer:

Every Day   10 AM – 11 PM

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I love fall festivals – and we spent a fun day at Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough. The afternoon was filled with tractor rides, great live music, pumpkin carving and painting and of course, lots of good food. The chocolate pie (bottom right) was an exceptional dessert – and I picked it up while the kids were on the hay ride so I didn’t have to share! Made by La Maison a Gateaux, a French woman living in Shrewsbury who makes delicious, organic French crepes and cakes. The cake was rich in flavor but not heavy at all. I should have gone back for two more pieces! Another favorite from the afternoon was a slice of pizza from Anzio’s, a pizza shop located out in Grafton. They offer brick oven thin crust pizza that people go crazy for. Their restaurant offers soups, salads, pasta and calzones – and they offer catering as well. At the Harvest Fest they were offering cheese and pepperoni – we had one of each, and the slices were enormous.

Chestnut Hill Farm is open year round and they have two miles of trails for you to hike. They have chickens and goats on the 131 acres of land that is owned by the Trustees. They have a seasonal farm stand that opens mid May and they offer a CSA.

Anzio’s Pizza

135 Westboro Road, Grafton, MA

http://www.anziosbrickovenpizza.com/

Anzio's Brick Oven Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chestnut Hill Farm

Chestnut Hill Road, Southborough, MA

http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/greater-boston/chestnut-hill-farm.html

 

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