Where to Camp in Massachusetts

The good thing about Massachusetts is that it is close to some amazing camping spots. (And super close to Connecticut!) When you are ready to walk out of the office and sit next to a campfire making s’mores, Massachusetts’ outdoor playground doesn’t disappoint. Whether you want to camp near the dunes on the Cape or in the forest near a lake, you can find a great camping spot in MA. Where to camp in Massachusetts is as simple as deciding what you want to relax around and drive just a couple hours to get there.

Where to Camp in MA

Nickerson State Park, Brewster

Close to Cape Cod is one of the largest campgrounds at Nickerson State Park. There are over 400 campsites, yurts, and a group campsite is available. This camping mecca sits on 1900 acres of forested land and has eight kettle ponds where you can fish, canoe, or go swimming. One of the best things about the camping spots is that they are very large and have a lot of privacy with all the trees around. There are no hookups here but they do have flush toilets, showers, picnic tables with fire rings and dumping station available.

Wompatuck State Park, Hingham

Just 35 minutes outside of Boston is a great campsite that can accommodate both tents and RVs. Bring your bicycle and hiking boots and have fun on both the paved and hiking trails. You can fish at Cohasset Reservoir and have fun kayaking there too. Bring your water jugs and fill up on the fresh drinking water at Mt. Blue Spring – a true treat to do on a hot summer day. The campsite offers electric hookups, a dumping station, and potable water.

Shawme-Crowell State Park, Sandwich

When you want to camp near the beach out at the Cape, this is the campsite you want to head to. It has 285 sites in a wooded area and it even has yurts to rent. You can bring your horses and ride them on 15 miles of roads and trails. It has full hookups and a dumping station for your RVs.

Can’t stand to fully unplug from social media? Bring along a solar battery pack!

Where do you like to camp?

15 Creative Ways to Use Old Socks

How many times have you folded you clothes and found that a sock is missing? We always joke that the sock monster ate them again. What really happens to these missing socks no one will ever know but since you now have one sock that doesn’t match anything you might as well find some ways to use old socks before dumping them into the trash or worse yet…..saving them in a box that clutters up your living space!!

Kids have a tendency to love wearing a pair of mismatched socks but on adults it really doesn’t go over well so finding ways to re-purpose them is probably a good idea! Here are a few creative ways to use old socks to get you going…

15 creative ways to use old socks

  • Socks make great dusting partners! Throw a sock onto you hand and spray with your favorite dusting polish and go to town. You will find that it is much easier to wipe down all you furniture with a sock on your hand and it works great for getting into the nooks and crannies. It makes it really easy to dust those pesky mini-blinds that cause us so much grief! You can even enlist a little help from your kids although you may want to skip the polish on their’s.
  • Instead of buying new Swiffer pads take a 2 large socks and place them on both ends of the Swiffer and dust your floors normally. It will save you loads of money and you can just throw it in the wash to clean and re-use. Just think if the sock monster steals one of the mismatched sock it wont’ matter!!
  • Use as an overnight hand moisturizer for a sever case of dray skin. Rub a hefty amount of Vaseline on your hands and put socks on your hands to hold in the moisture and save your bed sheets from getting all greasy! Can’t stand the thought of wearing socks on your hands all night? Tray leaving on for an hour or so while you are watching your favorite show.
  • Use old socks to make a homemade dish rag. Cut the end off of the toe of the sock and cut all the way up one side and use for scrubbing dishes or cleaning up greasy messes that you don’t want to stain your nice dish cloths.
  • Make a homemade Christmas stocking by taking an old sock and coloring on it with marker. This is a great project for kids to make a present for mom and dad! You can also have them glue on cute buttons or small balls for added decoration.
  • Save old soap slivers and throw into the bottom of an old sock. Once you have a good amount in there tie a knot in the end and use as a wash cloth while bathing. This works really well for the kiddos who tend to have a hard time holding onto the slippery soap.
  • Use them to protect fragile items when moving or shipping something in the mail.
  • Slip a pair of socks over your tennis shoes when painting to keep them safe from unwanted splatters
  • Old socks work very well to use as mittens for children in the winter. Double and triple layer them for added warmth. Keep plenty of spares so you can change them out when they become wet.
  • Make a really cute and easy pet toy. Take an old tube sock and tie a knot in the center of it for a chew toy for you dog or take a baby sock and add some catnip inside and tie a knot in the end for your favorite feline!
  • Place rice into an old sock and tie or sew the end shut for an great re-usable heat pack. Heat in microwave for 20-30 seconds depending on how hot you want it. It can easily be used around your neck or on any part of the body conforming to the shape it needs to be in. This is great for reducing pain from sore muscles, back pain or sinus issues.
  • Old socks work great for keeping water and soda bottles cool. Just slip it on from the bottom. If you have a problem with it slipping down the bottle just place a rubber band near the top to keep it from slipping down. Using different color socks can help children know which water is their’s.
  • Make sock puppets!! Everyone loves to play with a good old fashioned sock puppet! You can keep it simple and just draw a face on with markers or you can go all out and add on yarn or a cool fabric for the hair, googly eyes and a button nose!! Make sure you pull out the coffee table and throw a blanket on top and have your kids go behind it and put on a puppet show for you.
  • Use in the garden to tie up small trees or plants.
  • Use to hold small objects such as marbles, jacks, screws…. basically anything that is small and needs to be contained to keep from getting lost or rolling around on your floors. I often throw spare change into socks and label them with a permanent marker with the item I am saving for. This is a great idea for the kiddos!

Do you have any great ways to use old socks that have worked well at your house?


5 reasons to have stylish baby wipes on hand #HuggiesMomStyle

Just because I don’t have a baby in diapers anymore doesn’t mean I don’t still have a use for stylish baby wipes.  We still use wipes frequently, and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon.  I’ve been toting around Huggies Clutch ‘n’ Clean wipes lately-the wipes arent a new thing, but the cute and fun clutches are so much more fun than “regular” travel packs or a few wipes tossed in sandwich bag for just-in-case! Fun designs, bright colors ,and an easy to refill clutch make for a great little on the go must-have for me! This post is brought to you by our friends at Huggies.  Opinions are my own.


1. On the go messes

Being on the go doesn’t always mean having a place to clean up.  Sticky messes even having hand sanitizer with you isn’t what you  need.  Sticky hands don’t improve with sanitizer.  … having wipes on hand makes quick work of hands, faces, etc.  Being able to do a quick wipedown of the tray on a plane, table at a playground….having those wipes on hand really make things easier.

2. Freshening up

When I’m traveling (especially on a plane!) I always feel like I have “airplane” hair and face.  I don’t know what it is, but the second I land I want to clean my face and wash my hair.  Given that I’m usually on the go and don’t have time to do a big freshen up in the bathroom when I travel, having a few baby wipes can at least give me a few seconds to freshen up my face, neck, arms.

Summer is the time I use baby wipes most for me- between more outdoor activities and simply needing to freshen up from heat and humidity… I love having wipes on hand to just do a quick cool down and freshen up. Quick and easy.

Plus, in a pinch? Baby wipes make a great makeup remover!

We’ve used the wipes to get the kids a bit more presentable when they are going from, say, a baseball game to a sibling’s dance recital. Quick and easy…

3. Travel “Pitstops”

If you’ve traveled any distance with a kid, you’ve probably heard the “I have to go to the bathroom” line at a completely inopportune time.  Perhaps you are in traffic, or on a stretch of highway with no exits coming soon.  Perhaps, like me, you still keep the on-the-go potty in the van just in case and like to keep wipes on hand because, well, once you go, you have to cleanse yourself and it’s nice to use a wipe that’s wet and not just dry tissue.

4. Letting kids help clean

My kids have all helped to clean the house since they were very young.  We’ve always tried to find ways to let the kids help- baby wipes have always been a great option.  We have felt a lot more comfortable letting little ones help with baby wipes than other wipes that may contain harsh chemicals, especially when kids might still put things into their mouths.

The Huggies Designer Tubs come in prints, patterns and colors that are meant to match our homes- while characters are fun and engaging for kids, we don’t all want to have our entire house screaming “WE HAVE SMALL CHILDREN” all day long!  The gorgeous Designer Tubs allow me to keep them out and about so the kids can wipe down their new kid table and shelves for their books and toys quickly and easily.  The thinking for me is, maybe if they SEE cleaning tools, they might use them without prompting?!

5. Spill and stain removal

Is there anyone out there who spills something on their clothes at an opportune time?? For me, I’m forever spilling something or realizing I spilled earlier and have a stain at very inconvenient moments.  Baby wipes are great for getting a lot of stains and spills off of clothes, and the wet spots they create dry rather quickly.  Maybe it’s just me who’s clumsy- but I’ve used baby wipes for years and years for on the go spot removal!


What do YOU use baby wipes for? 


Samsung NX300 Smart Digital Camera

Taking pictures is one of my favorite things to do. I think my kids are already in love with snapping photos to capture memories and moments- they are forever asking for a turn with the camera and it’s fun to see the world from their lens-of-view! Actually- fun fact: 2 of the below photos were taken by my kids.  Can you guess which?

Our friends at Staples sent us the Samsung  NX300  to try out for several weeks- in part to snap photos for the #30SummerDays photo challenge in June!






captain hook

samsungnx300 peony





This little camera packs a really powerful punch! The NX300 has 20.3 MP, comes WiFi-enabled and takes gorgeous photos.  You can upload photos directly to social media! PLUS, you can do some editing of your photos right on camera.  :) The strap that comes with it is a nice length and not super bulky. Easy to tote around and have some fun grabbing photos and videos with it.  My kids have LOVED experimenting with this camera- it’s quite fun to see their perspective in photos!

The Samsung NX300 20.3 MP SMART Microless Camera comes with a 20-50 mm lens in the box.  There’s a whole array of lenses that you can get for this camera, so for those of you who don’t want the bulk of a DSLR camera, get your shopping list ready.  Lots of lenses, small body, FAST speed, touch screen- the NX300 has it all and then some when it comes to bells, whistles and tech specs to make you drool.  But what makes the NX300 stand OUT is the size.  12 ounces.  That’s a lot lighter than my 1.7 lb Canon, and that’s without a lens on the body.  Smaller size means it’s easier to carry a variety of lenses, or just to carry a smaller bag with you.  Traveling with a bulky DSLR isn’t always an option- now you don’t have to choose between phone photos or the DSLR. There’s a happy compromise!


*Samsung 20.3MP smart compact system camera in white color with 20 mm to 50 mm lens has 3.3″ touch screen AMOLED display and 2.5x optical zoom while featuring 1/6000 fast shutter, cmos sensor and HD movie mode.

*Samsung 20.3MP smart compact wi-fi enabled camera in white color with 2.5x zoom and 3.3″ touch screen AMOLED display features a lens of 20 mm to 50 mm focal length.

*Camera has 5472 x 3648 & 1920 x 1080 image and video resolution respectively.


Grab it: You can find the Samsung NX300 20.3MP Camera (available in white, brown or black) online and offline at retailers, including Staples, for $749.99. (I have the white, and it’s awesome.  I think the brown is just so different and fun!)


Enter to win a $750 Samsung NX300 SMART Camera With 20-50 mm Lens in white!


Favorite Things Giveaway Summer Hop #favoritethings

Over the winter I participated in a Favorite Things giveaway hop.  I decided to join with some of my favorite blogging friends for a My Favorite Things Giveaway Hop again for a summer version! These prize packages are put together by us for YOU and are filled with our favorite things! Ready for some fun!?  Our Favorite Things - SUMMER GIVEAWAY Here’s the low down on this giveaway hop- all 16 of us have the same format on our posts so it’s easy to follow along. Each prize pack has at least a $50 value and has some of OUR fave things!!

  • Take a look at the collage above to see all the amazing giveaways!
  • Scroll down to see  giveaway details.
  • Enter to win My Favorite Things prize package below.
  • HOP around to all the other sites, check out their amazing prizes, and enter to win their gifts!

SUMMER Blog Hop - Hop Around

1. A Helicopter Mom | 2. About A Mom | 3. Moscato Mom | 4. Homemaking Hacks | 5. Kids Fun Review | 6. Better in Bulk | 7. A Nut in a Nutshell | 8. My Sweet Sanity | 9. Mom Luck | 10. Around My Family Table | 11. The Rebel Chick | 12. Just Stop Screaming | 13. Sunshine and Sippy Cups | 14. MiscFinds4U | 15. The Divine Miss Mommy | 16. This Mama Loves

SUMMER My Giveaway - Enter to Win

Two of my biggest loves (that aren’t human) are bags and personalized items.  I LOVE them both.  I honestly would wear monogrammed stuff every day if it was a possibility.  Or at least put the kids in it.  I think I get it from my mom, because there are pictures at many ages where I was wearing sweaters with “Brett” or “Brettie” or my initials from childhood in existence. The bag thing? Probably not so much from my mom. She was more into function. I just love bags. I also change them often, so I like to keep options open based on my mood, my outfit, etc. My Favorite Things giveaway prize pack is a fab bag and a fab engravable necklace for one of you! My niece in law is a Stella & Dot stylist.  She’s also one of my favorite people. So naturally, when I saw her sporting some new personalized pieces I had many, many questions for her! stella kellyI love this bar necklace.  LOVE it.  I wanted to do my Twitter handle on one, but it’s 8 characters available and my Twitter handle is too long… maybe I should change my Twitter handle.. ha! Given how much I love these bar necklaces… this is the first part of My Favorite Things prize pack that one of YOU will enter! It comes in silver and gold for color and you can use 8 characters…so start thinking of what you want to put on your necklace if you win! We will be ordering it through my niece so you will choose what you want and I’ll be paying for you! The engravables range from $32 to $98 in price- the bar necklace we are giving away retails for $58! stella-dot-engraveable A note about the engravables from Stella & Dot– these aren’t available to order online, you’ll need to reach out to a consultant directly…. Kelly will be glad to help you I am sure- KNLaur@gmail.com is her email. Tell her I sent you! Also please feel free to share a pic of your new jewelry when you get it with me, I would love to see!! And now, bags. I love bags. If you ask friends, they’ll probably tell you at one point or another they have shopped for a bag in my closet.  It makes my husband crazy but it’s me and it’s who I am.  For a brief time I had a thing for diaper bags, but since the kids have outgrown them, that’s kind of over. I had eleven at my highest.  Totally serious.  Bags = awesome. Since I my mind was already ON Stella & Dot and I just ordered my first bag from them, I thought that part two of my giveaway for My Favorite Things should be a bag from there, as well.  I went with a bag that so many have ordered and loved and ordered as gifts – the Metallic Ikat Tote Bag! stella-dot-fave-things01   The bag is en route to my house as I write this so I will have to update with more photos when it comes.  This is Kelly’s bag shown above with one of her necklaces. I can’t even wait to get mine! The reason I chose THIS bag- well, there are multiple reasons. But my sister has it in the navy color and the versatility paired with the gorgeous fabric make it almost the perfect bag (I think there is no one perfect bag because I change my mind on what I like from day to day)!!  You can transform this bag to make it larger and hold more stuff, and you can fit  your things – and I mean ALL of your things- without worrying about space. There’s pockets, there’s quality construction, and there’s GORGEOUS fabric that can suit just about any taste.

stella dot prize pack 02

The Ikat Tote transforms in a snap from a carryall (and boy, do we mean all) to a satchel. Interior smart phone pocket, zip pocket, and water bottle pocket. It retails for $98 (although it’s on sale right now for $58!)

  • Measurements: height – 12.5″, length 19″, depth 5″, strap drop – 8″.
  • Exterior: metallic ikat in coated linen.
  • Interior lining: red diamond print in spill resistant material.
  • Trim and handles: espresso textured.
  • Top zip closure.
  • Signature Stella & Dot hardware: gold clover and arrow charm.
  • 1 exterior slip pocket and 3 interior pockets to fit your phone, keys, and, wallet.

 My Favorite Things prize pack with the engravable bar necklace and Ikat bag is valued at $116! I can’t wait to spoil one of you with these fabulous items!


Small living space design: Living Room

I am so excited to tell you all that our tough-to-decorate living room is now functional- and BEAUTIFUL. Small living space design is possible- it’s just something you  need to be (very) creative with. Our once awkward living room space that was short on style, function and seating is now beautiful, functional and has plenty of seating!

The inspiration for this room came from Option 3 (remember, I shared with you the three concepts that Raymour & Flanigan sent over a few weeks ago)! Many of you also chose option 3- does it scare you that so many of you think just like me?

Option 1 Artemis II Photo A


Now, you can also make a mockup of furniture placement for yourself – for free- right on Raymour & Flanigan’s Room Planner. It’s a great tool- we were able to try so many pieces in different configurations and it was nice to be able to see what the physical space was going to be between pieces- something I have to admit I kind of didn’t think of at first.  Thankfully one of us in this house has a good head on their shoulders.  :)

Once we knew we were going for this look, I headed into our local Raymour & Flanigan to make sure the pieces were both comfortable and something we liked the look of before bringing the whole family in.  The staff was more than helpful and gave some very good insight and suggestions to work with the concept we liked best. About a week later, all five of us descended onto the same store…. and I have to tell you, we had so much help. SO much.  Not only were the staff members available for questions, but they were quick to offer suggestions and alternatives when we were unsure of something, offering bottles of water to the kids and asking them lots of questions as we parents shopped and looked into details and measurements. As a mom, this is a BIG DEAL to me- we can’t always hire a sitter to take the kids so they are often with us for purchases and decisions like this and being in an environment where the kids are not just tolerated but welcomed and talked with is a HUGE thing and one that will get me back through the doors next time I have a similar purchase to make.



What they suggested vs. What we chose

We loved the overall feel of this design. We felt like the 2 chairs and a table might not be the best fit for our family since the kids like to pile on daddy when he’s in a chair… so we opted to look into some of the larger chair options.  The Artemis II 3-pc. Microfiber Sectional Sofa was an absolute yes for us- although we didn’t go with the chocolate color as pictured above.  That would be directly due to Tobey, our yellow lab who sheds like crazy! The actual pieces we have here at the house aren’t quite the same as the 3 piece on the site- we have a loveseat on the left and a right facing chair on the right with the wedge in the middle.  The wedge, by the way, is the coveted spot by all 3 kids and mom. The stores carry the Artemis II pieces in both the River Rock and Gypsy Vintage (our color) in stock so there wasn’t a delay for us in ordering a different sized option.  That one extra seat on the couch has made a huge difference for family movie nights and game nights!


Entertainment Center – while we liked the unit chosen, we weren’t sure we wanted a full sized unit.  We opted instead for the Del Mar 52″ TV Console – a shorter unit that we thought would help make the room feel larger. It also keeps the television just a bit higher off the ground and a little further away from little hands!


Chairs with a table mid-room.  The Phoebe leather accent chairs are darling. I sat in them at the store. They just aren’t something that would fit our family needs.  If we had another living space, or a more formal living room, I would get at least one of these because they are a fun color, great design and actually quite comfortable. We had a mission to maximize space and usage and stuck to our goal. We went through at least 35 chairs before we made a decision. Kind of like Goldilocks, only times five.  The Emmett Microfiber Rocker Recliner had us at “hello” because of the super comfy cushioning, wide seat (it’s 50 inches wide, so small enough for our space and large enough for at least an adult and kid to snuggle), and luxurious fabric in a charcoal color that complements the lighter grey of the sectional and offers a different texture for contrast.  I’m in love with this chair. It’s that chair that I’ll snuggle up with a blanket and lose myself in a book for hours on end.


Living in a smaller, older home, we are short on closet and storage space. The Karia Flip-Top Storage Ottoman gives another texture to the room, a place for playing games, setting drinks or snacks, resting feet, or even extra seating.  The rounded shape means less bumps into corners- and helps give a more spacious feel in the room. This suggestion was spot on!


Floor lamp. We love the idea of a floor lamp behind the couch- the wedge gives a nice little space for a lamp (and soon, a small table).  We opted for a single uplight because we felt like the arc lamps might get bumped and knocked around a lot with kids in the house.  The warm bronze dark finish of the Multi Scroll Floor Lamp fit with the colors we were going for in the room and also had the uplight feature so we could worry less about kids bumping the glass.


Small table and chairs. I LOVED the Nevada 3-pc. Dining Set when I saw it. I knew the kids would want to sit and play games, build Legos, puzzles, do homework, etc. together.  (I didn’t really think the whole 2 chairs thing through, and we will likely be adding 2 more to the mix quite soon). The colors work with the room and drop-leaf sides mean that bigger puzzles or games, or groups can be accomodated.  Cards, anyone?


Area rug- given that most of what we’d chosen was in greys, browns and blacks ,we thought a silver or grey based rug would work well to pull things together in our living room.  We did the Brigitte Area Rug in two sizes, one for the main area and a smaller size for the “kids’ end” of the room.  It helps define the spaces but adds some warmth and comfort to the room.



REVEAL!  It’s reveal time! 


So that’s it. Our brand new, functional and stylish living room.  Decorating a small space can be done- and done well- with some creativity!!


Check back in a few weeks- I’ll be updating when our new window treatments arrive to complete the look. This whole room was furnished top to bottom for under $5000, and including the 5 year platinum protection plan and custom window treatments for 3 windows.  We did already have the storage cubes/shelves and one small lamp that we repurposed but everything else is brand new! I have to call this one a win by Raymour & Flanigan and a BIG score for the Martin family!


Glazed Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This post brought to you by LIBBY’S Pumpkin. All opinions are 100% mine.

We are right back in the swing of activities now that summer is here.  Swim team, swim lessons and tennis lessons are daily for each of my 3 kids for the next 6 weeks.  We are on the GO and not always able to cook a full breakfast before rushing out the door.  Since we’ve been enjoying the whole pumpkin theme for ingredients lately, I thought we’d try a breakfast bread that can easily be brought on the go, with and without the glaze. So here is our latest- Glazed Pumpkin Bread Recipe that’s easy to do and everyone loves it!


Glazed Pumpkin Bread Recipe



1 15 oz. can of LIBBY’s 100% pure pumpkin

1 C. oil (you could also substitute applesauce if you’d prefer)

2 C. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

3 C. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

pumpkin bread in process

Glaze Ingredients –

2 C. powdered sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tbs. butter, softened (I prefer using real butter, not margarine)

2-3 tbs. milk (this depends on how thin or thick you want your glaze. The more milk you add, the thinner the glaze will be and vice-versa).

pumpkin bread baked

Directions –


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour 2 loaf pans.


#1. Combine all the wet ingredients – Libby’s pumpkin, oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.


#2. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix well.


#3. Pour the pumpkin batter evenly into the two greased loaf pans.


#4. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Bread will turn a light golden brown color.


#5. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool completely. While they are cooling mix up the ingredients for the glaze.


#6. Once the loaves are completely cooled pour the glaze over them. **The glaze will melt if the loaves are too hot.

glazed pumpkin bread recipe

 Don’t forget to follow LIBBY’S Pumpkin on Pinterest and also make sure you check out our Pumpkin Pancakes with Pumpkin Butter, Pumpkin Meatballs and Sauce,  and Pumpkin S’mores Bars!

Why pumpkin?  It’s easy. Pumpkin is a superfood. Pumpkin adds extra fiber and Vitamin A to recipes. It’s packed with Beta Carotene. It can be used to replace the fat in some recipes and cut the amount of sodium per serving in others. When used as a replacement for butter, eggs or oil it can also reduce calories. It can be incorporated in breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and beverages – all that taste great.  You can feature the pumpkin flavor and create your recipes around pumpkin, or you can “tuck” it into other recipes to get the added benefits of pumpkin and not have the dish be all about the pumpkin.

Share your fave #PumpkinCan fact via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for a chance at a weekly prize! Good luck!

What will you make with pumpkin next?

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5.0 from 6 reviews
Glazed Pumpkin Bread Recipe
Pumpkin bread topped with a sweet glaze
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: American
  • 1 15 oz. can of Libby's canned pumpkin
  • 1 C. oil (you could also substitute applesauce if you'd prefer)
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 C. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Glaze Ingredients -
  • 2 C. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tbs. butter, softened (I prefer using real butter, not margarine)
  • 2-3 tbs. milk (this depends on how thin or thick you want your glaze. The more milk you add, the thinner the glaze will be and vice-versa).
  1. Directions -
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
  3. #1. Combine all the wet ingredients – Libby's pumpkin, oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
  4. #2. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix well.
  5. #3. Pour the pumpkin batter evenly into the two greased loaf pans.
  6. #4. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Bread will turn a light golden brown color.
  7. #5. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool completely. While they are cooling mix up the ingredients for the glaze.
  8. #6. Once the loaves are completely cooled pour the glaze over them. **The glaze will melt if the loaves are too hot.



On the go first aid

On the go first aid is not always something we stop to consider. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my husband being safety man, I’d probably not be prepared often on the go.  He’s always been insistent that each of our vehicles have a well-stocked first aid kit. Which we do.  But I usually leave it in the van, and don’t carry it with me.  Some men carry protection in their wallets.  My husband carries bandaids (totally serious, and always at least 2…. which I found out when I cut my finger on my own jeans in a store a few months ago… he whipped out a bandage!!)  Mr. Martin totally needs a Safety Man shirt.  He’d rock that. Also a cape.  Made from bandages.

All of those scrapes and cuts from summer fun don’t have to have to be a nightmare to contend with. At least not anymore. Having a first aid kit nearby can help immensely, and it doesn’t have to be a big kit.  A few basics are all you need!

What to include in an on the go first aid kit


Bandages (I recommend a box with multiple sizes)

Ace bandage (or similar- can be used to support a twisted ankle or knee, or tied as a turnicot)

Puracyn OTC Wound & Skin Care  

Puracyn OTC Wound & Skin Care is a unique, patented solution of electrochemically treated saline for cleaning and healing wounds, including cuts, abrasions, irritations and lacerations.  The solution mimics compounds naturally produced by the body, making it an ideal aid in wound cleaning and healing.

Doctor-tested Puracyn® OTC Wound & Skin Care is non-irritating, non-toxic and non-sensitizing as well as safe, effective and easy to apply in first aid situations. It does not contain antibiotics, steroids or alcohol and no prescription is required.

Benzocaine (or similar) in case of sting or bite

I’d love to suggest coins to call for help from a payphone but I’m not sure where many payphones are located anymore! 

on the go first aid kit

On the go first aid kits don’t need to be a full first aid kit. The above items will all fit into even a sandwich sized reusable container and won’t take up a ton of room in your day pack, diaper bag, etc.  It will allow you to treat minor cuts, scrapes and wounds on the spot when you are on the go, so that all of those fabulous fun memories you are making with your loved ones aren’t interrupted or put on hold to go back home or to the car for some first aid.


My kids haven’t spent much time at the beach.  We just haven’t been often- pools, lakes, yes.  Ocean? Not so much.  On Mother’s Day, we took our first family of 5 trip to the beach! It was tons of fun, no injuries, and we’re all anxious to visit again when it’s warm enough to swim!




You can see the drops of Puracyn on his leg- we left them there so you can see that the solution itself is clear. We used the Puracyn to clean the wound for a few days- someone won’t keep bandages on and continues to fall and scrape the knee over and over again…


Check out the HUGE and fabulous giveaway Puracyn has going on over at their Facebook page-you’ll have a chance at winning a $400 summer themed prize package for fun at the beach, on a camping trip, at a backyard BBQ and more! Enter from 6/21 to 7/24/14 (18 and older)


This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. I received one 4 oz. spray bottle of Puracyn® OTC Wound & Skin Care and a branded first aid kit. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. I received one 4 oz. spray bottle of Puracyn® OTC Wound & Skin Care and a branded first aid kit. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.

4 reasons to visit American Girl Stores this summer

When my niece Sam was 8, I slept over her house on Christmas Eve.  When we got up Christmas morning, she was over the moon delighted to find that Santa had left her her very own Samantha Parkington American Girl® doll.  That was about 20 years ago, and my sweet little Sam will be marrying her best friend in the fall. She’s still got her Samantha doll, and every single accessory that went with her, tucked away at her dad’s house, saved for when she has a little girl of her own.
My niece Erica spent hundreds and hundreds of hours playing with all three of her American Girl dolls.  She played alone, she played with her friends…and even now, as a college junior, she still has those beloved friends in her closet, ready for playing at a moment’s notice.  It’s nice that my girls are so much younger than their cousins, because it lets the girls see what their older cousins played with when they were younger, but it also gives the older girls a chance to play with their beloved dolls again (and again, and again and again….)
My oldest daughter’s first baby doll was a Bitty Baby.  The Bitty Twins were welcomed into our family not long after that.  My girls both got an American Girl doll (a Just like You doll and a Bitty Twin, respectively) when they were flower girls in my nephew’s wedding a few years ago. We’ve added a Molly and McKenna are both currently residing in this house now, too.  These dolls are loved.  They are played with, played with more, and played with more still.
One thing I have noticed about the entire American Girl® line of dolls, furniture, clothing and accessories is that they are made WELL.  American Girl® doesn’t skimp on quality, and that makes a big difference. They are more expensive than many other similar dolls and product lines, but the quality lasts and lasts and lasts. The dolls, the clothes, the accessories are made to be played with and used, over and over and over again.
And that’s not even all of what American Girl has to offer.  I love the books as much as the dolls and accessories. There’s historical books, fiction, arts, crafts, activities, and books about being a girl.  The books aren’t preachy, they aren’t full of inappropriate content or language.  The historical books do a really great job depicting what life was like in different times for 12 year old girls- something that helps kids to understand and relate- and engage even more with their dolls. My only complaint about the whole American Girl concept is that I wasn’t a kid when they were around, I was born too soon and missed out on the awesome. Thankfully for me, I have kids who love it so I can live vicariously through-and with them :)
abby and american girl with eyebrows
I don’t know how many of you remember our little friend Abby, who we sent a wigless American Girl® doll to.  Sweet Abby lost her battle with cancer earlier this year, sadly.  I know that having a doll that looked so much like her meant the world to Abby and her family. Not all companies make a doll without hair for girls and boys who don’t have hair.  Not all companies would allow a lady from Connecticut to be able to gift something like this to a perfect stranger, a thousand + miles away, to brighten a sick child’s day.  But American Girl® does, they did, and continue to do so. american-girls-bitty-twins
One thing that’s a MUST on our summer to-do list this year is visiting our local American Girl®store (local being relative, because we don’t live near the Boston area, but it’s just over an hour drive and worth the trip(S) we plan to take).

American Girl is your Summer Destination for exclusive events and summer-only opportunities that celebrate girls and help them make memories they’ll cherish. You’ll also find summer exclusives in the store, restaurant, and salon!

Top 4 Reasons to visit American Girl


  1. Parties & Special Packages: Thrill her with a gourmet meal, signature desserts, goody bags, doll tiaras, games, crafts, and so much more. Choose the perfect way to celebrate—whether it’s her birthday or any day! (My lucky girls both have summer birthdays, just 2 1/2 weeks apart!)
  2. Exclusive Events: She can take a cooking class. Have a book signed by a favorite author. Spend time learning about one of the characters she loves. These are just a few of the unique events and workshops.

One of the exclusive events this summer at the Boston (Natick, MA) store was  American Girl at the Boston Duck Tour.  Last Friday, we met outside the store, boarded a beautiful coach bus, which of course had Kit’s movie playing for our viewing pleasure, water and snacks were passed out to all of us guests, and we were in downtown Boston in no time at all.  We got to enjoy the 80 minute Duck Boat Tour with Skipper the Skydiver. After a fun 80 minutes- during which some of the girls and boys decided they’d like to have a turn driving a Duck Boat, we headed back to shore, and back to the store.



The store was a BIG DEAL to our little group. None of us had been before. We hadn’t any idea what was in store for us (well, we sort of did, but it was really exciting when we went in!)

The Duck Boat Tours were a lot of fun, we saw so much of Boston and so many cool landmarks and learned a lot of the history of the city.  Shopping after the tours was just the icing on an already awesome cake and we had a blast.
       3.  Dining: From scrumptious starters to delectable desserts, American Girl menus feature girls’ favorites—and dolls are welcome to                join the fun, too! You can make reservations at a Cafe or drop by a Bistro, each offering service throughout the day, from brunch                    through dinner. (Please note: Denver and Kansas City do not offer Dining.)

We enjoyed a lovely lunch before we started our shopping (we needed to refuel!) The chefs made a special batch of cookies just for those of us who’d gone on the Duck Boat Tour (aren’t they adorable??)


Everything was delicious- and I have to note that one of our party is on a gluten free diet and the folks at American Girl couldn’t have been more accommodating.  They had 3-4 options that were gluten free when something needed to be changed or substituted, not just one.  Just that ‘extra’ quality we love about American Girl so much.  The chef actually came out to speak with us personally when we arrived!

      4. American Girl Doll Hair Salon: Treat your girl’s doll to a new ’do, ear piercing, and pampering, too! Visit the Doll Hair Salon,                  and watch the American Girl® specialists work their magic. (My soon to be 5 year old is getting her ears pierced for her birthday,                  and while she cannot pierce her Bitty Twins’ ears, she did find some earring stickers for dolls  at the store- perfect for a 5 year old to              use).


Free events

We were fortunate to head back up to the Boston store to enjoy a Bitty Baby Story Time- an ongoing story time in the Bitty section of the store.  An employee set out special rugs for the kids to sit on and read from an oversized Bitty Baby book.  My girls sat through the story four times, and thoroughly enjoyed coloring while listening. Absolutely worth a visit just for a free story!


The Summer Reading Bookmark Craft has been ongoing Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 2.  Kids can fill in American Girl themed reading logs, and then make fun Isabelle bookmarks.  I was actually really impressed by the bookmarks- not by the quality, but you can change them up with a simple fold change and have a very different bookmark from everyone else.  There are, of course, stickers to decorate.  My kids LOVE to read so they were happy to have fun new bookmarks. My little one is in LOVE with Isabelle so she really can’t stay away from anything related to her!


Have you visited your local American Girl store yet? 


This post is sponsored by American Girl. Opinions are my own.

Is dog weight loss possible? #perfectweight #sciencediet

Dealing with being overweight is hard for an adult. We have to be motivated to change. Consciously change our eating habits. What happens, however, when the person overweight is of a different breed. Did you know the negative health effects that excessive weight cause for humans, affect our four-legged friends as well? This was the reality Dereck Voorhies of Virginia faced, with his pet dog Thundercleese.  The Voorhies family adopted Thundercleese, a terrier, at four months of age, from a shelter. They were expecting their first child, and wanted their chocolate lab to have a companion during the transition! They found out a week later that Thundercleese had parvo. Rather than giving him back to the shelter the Voorhies paid expensive fees to treat their new family member and nursed him back to health.


5 & ½ years later, they were faced with another health issue as they learned from their vet that Thudercleese is carrying around an extra 6-9 lbs of fat. While this may not seem like much to a human, for a dog; this extra weight can lead to serious health issues. Dereck reports that in the last year Thundercleese has had lower energy and more difficulty walking due to carrying the extra weight around.  Dereck immediately changed Thundercleese food to some common weight loss pet foods. While they were successful in scaling down his weigh, Thundercleese still seemed hungry (and a bit grouchy) after eating the food.


Luckily, the Voorhies family wasn’t discouraged. They pressed on, and decided to try the 10 Week Turnaround from Hills Pet using “Perfect Weight” pet food. After 10 weeks of the program, Dereck reports that Thundercleese is leaner, and more active and energetic on his walks! In 10 weeks, Thundercleese lost a whooping total of 10 pounds! They look forward to many more years enjoying Thundercleese’s company and companionship.


Join the 10-Week Turnaround Sweepstakes! This provides pet parents the chance to WIN great prizes such as gift cards awarded weekly, and the Grand Prize of a year’s worth of FREE FOOD! www.Sciencediet.com/perfectweight


Now, our Tobey isn’t very overweight.  He was getting bigger, but as he’s gotten older his appetite has decreased and he’s lost some of what he’d gained. That, and we make smart choices about his food and treats that we offer to him each day.  We’re happy to report that Tobey’s quite happy to nosh on the Hills foods and we’re hoping that by making good choices for him we will have him with us for several more years to come. Let Hills know what you and your pet(s) think of Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Perfect Weight food http://www.hillspet.com/products/pet-food-reviews.html.


Share your real life stories of your pet’s weight experience. Hill’s would love for you to share your stories with them on their Facebook page!


This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Perfect Weight pet food, but This Mama Loves only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.