Monday, December 21, 2015

Bird's Nest Project

Christopher had to build a bird's nest for an extra credit project in school. He had to find twigs, grass, soft materials, and anything else native to nests. Joey just had to help because these kinds of projects are his favorite thing to do. Chris was happy about that because these kinds of projects are his least favorite thing to do. They made mud, and patted it around the sides of their nest.
Tomorrow, Chris has to lug it to school, remove it from the plastic base, and hope it all stays together. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

For the love of outdoors

We love living so close to the mountains. Within 5 minutes, we are on hiking trails in the Ramapo range and can really enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer. We enjoy hiking at the Ramapo Reservation but lately there have been so many black bear sightings that they closed the trails for everyone's safety. We've found that Campgaw Mountain, just around the corner, is just as pretty and has equally challenging trails (not too challenging though, with the kids in tow).  Greg and I love going and hope that by bringing the kids, they too will have an appreciation for outdoors and enjoying nature.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 2015

This is one of the first years that Joey knew immediately who he was going to be. "HULK. That's who I want to be this year, Mom!". Well, that was easy! We got a Hulk costume and then it was on to trying to figure out what Chris would be. He has always been a tough one. SO MANY CHOICES. And not to mention he is getting older and not really into being superheros or movie characters anymore. So, this year he was a zombie hockey player. Anything to get to wear that New York Rangers jersey again.
We enjoyed Halloween in true NJ style- we had lunch and treats at our friend's house, and began trick or treating at 3pm. Yes, they start soooo early here! What a blast, though!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day trip to Philly

We decided to take a day trip to Philadelphia last Saturday. It's just under 2 hours away from our home and is a really easy drive. Philly was in full-on preparation for Pope Francis and it was so cool to see all of the banners and all of the store fronts with signs of welcome. The boys have ALWAYS loved the idea of running up the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art like Rocky and they finally checked it off their bucket list. We had a blast touring the city and will be back soon!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Our annual July trip to Michigan

Every July we spend a few days with Greg's family in Michigan. His family is always up for spending a good deal of time outdoors doing outdoorsy things. During the summer, it stays light until 10pm because of how west MI is in the Eastern time zone, and it feels like the fun days never end...
We usually do an annual canoe/kayak trip along the Pere Marquette but this year we wanted to switch it up a little so we spent the day in the Ludington area along gorgeous Lake Michigan. The beach was really nice and the boys enjoyed the calm of Lake Michigan. The waves were more mild than what they are used to at the ocean and the loved being able to walk out far before it got deep. We also had fun riding the Sand Dunes at Mac Woods. We had never done this before, and I had no idea what to expect. It was a lot like riding a roller coaster and I didn't exactly love that, so I moved to the front of the vehicle next to the driver, and was much better!!  Greg and the kids really loved it. I've never seen them smile and laugh so much! Once we were at the top, the sand on the dunes was amazing and the view of Lake Michigan even moreso! I have a feeling we will be doing this again next summer!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Baseball and Fireworks on the Fourth of July

Baseball is as American as apple pie and we had the pleasure of attending a really fun game last night with some of our great friends. The Rockland Boulders play just over the NJ/NY border in Ramapo, NY and the kids all had a blast eating hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, and candy while watching the home team win. After the game, we got to enjoy fireworks at the stadium. Such a great time!

Thursday, June 11, 2015


This past Sunday we celebrated Joey's seventh birthday. I say it every year and I'll say it again: I can't believe how fast he is growing! He is getting so tall! Joey is a loveable, sweet little boy who is super-duper smart and loves to help us with projects around the house. He is a math whiz and loves science. He is also an awesome baseball and street hockey player. He loved all of his birthday presents, but especially loved the lock for his bike, the water bottle holder for his bike, and a membership to the Ramsey pool! xoxoxo we love you, Joey!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Things you do for great ice cream

I've been following Ample Hills Creamery on Instagram for over a year. And for over a year, with every single tempting picture that's posted, I say to myself "ONE OF THESE DAYS"....well, that day was Mother's Day. We made the trek from North Jersey to Midtown to Downtown across the Brooklyn Bridge and down to Pier 5 to have ourselves an incredible, tasty, and luscious treat from Ample Hills on the Waterfront. Along the journey, we stopped at the Heights Cafe on Montague St. for Mother's Day brunch, and then continued along to Pier 5 in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The weather turned from warm and cloudy to hot and sunny, so this ice cream was more delectable than I ever imagined as I took each step along the way. Greg and I both had the "Salute!" Blueberry Limoncello sorbet, Joey had the Peppermint Pattie, and Chris stuck with the classic Vanilla Bean. The sorbet was super-charged with flavor, and I am pretty sure my teeth were blue after I ate it but boy was it worth it!!

A photo posted by Mary-Irene Marek (@maryirenem) on

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Double Knock Out Roses

I love the look of super hardy Double Knock Out roses. We just bought 4 more bushes to place around our yard for pops of pink color among all the green. What I love even more is that they are so abundant, you hardly even notice if you steal a few clippings to have in short vases or jars around the house! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Rangerstown Hockey House

Growing up in Boston, and being a die-hard Bruins fan, I never thought I'd find myself rooting for the New York Rangers. But, when life put me and my family in a suburb just 23 miles from the city, you find there are certain things that you just cannot avoid. Sport are big here. Make that HUGE. Sports are a major part of the culture, and my kids are enjoying living in a sports town (I am too!) We have truly adopted the NYR as our local home hockey team. We've been to games and we've faithfully watched them all season long. Chris was so excited to do the NHL Bracket Challenge and for the last week he's been begging for us to take him to the Rangerstown Hockey House. We went on Sunday, and really recommend it for fans of all ages! It was right at Madison Square Garden (easy peasy from Penn Station for us!), and was completely free of charge. They did the Beard-A-Thon, Accuracy Challenge, photos with the green screen, wore the Broadway Hat and got to call a game just like the hockey commentators on TV! We went with a friend of theirs from school and we all had a blast! The RangersTown Hockey House is open to everyone while the Rangers are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Classroom projects for Earth Day 2015

I had a great time volunteering in my boys' classrooms this year for their Earth Day project. Every year, the PTO chooses a school-wide project, and asks 4 parents from each class to come in for an hour and work with the kids. This year, we produced origami newspaper pots. There are about a million videos for how to fold newspaper into pots on YouTube, but I can't seem to find the exact one that we watched in the classrooms, otherwise I'd link here.
I went to Joey's class in the morning to plant marigolds, and then joined Chris in the afternoon and we planted peas. I decided to use the day as a personal day off, and in between going in to the kid's classes, I got a few things done here at home. Overall, this was a great day!


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