Valentine Love Notes for kids

Valentines day is my favorite holiday, and I don’t mean all the romance, buy me chocolate, a dozen roses valentines day. I mean all the pretty pink (I adore the color pink), showing one another love, making pretty cards, giving little gifts to the ones I love.

Ever since my twins first valentines day I have tried to celebrate and make the holiday special for them. One of the ways I have done this is by writing little love notes to them for each day in February leading up to Valentines Day. It’s a simple yet beautiful way to show your kids how much you love them, and how special they are.


Here’s what I do:
Each night starting the last night in January up until the night before Valentines Day I write a simple note to each of my kids, then I place them in these little *mailboxes. When they wake up the next morning they each have a note that I get to read to them. It’s that simple. Don’t have a little mailbox? Tape them to their door or make one of those paper valentine mailboxes, or a shoebox would work too. Happy Valentines day!

*I found these mailboxes a few years ago in the dollar bins at Target, and I actually just saw very similar ones this year if you’re looking for some.



Homemade Vegan Hot Chocolate

It wouldn’t be a snow day without a steaming mug of hot chocolate, now would it?


Sure you can just grab a packet of hot cocoa mix and add it to warm water but trust me this is just as easy, taste so much better, and you’ll know exactly what is in it. It’s so easy it’s hard to even call this a recipe. I used unsweetened plain almond milk but any dairy free milk will do.



Unsweetened plain almond milk 3 cups
Cocoa powder, unsweetened 2 Tablespoons
Sugar 2 teaspoons

– Add milk to a medium size sauce pan and gently heat over medium heat until hot, but not boiling
– Whisk in your cocoa powder, and then your sugar until it is smooth without any lumps
– Pour into mugs and enjoy


Vegan Lentil Loaf

As I write this I’m pretty sure FoodTV may blow up my email and my phone tonight begging me to come and host a show. I think they will call it….Mama V, the Mom who cooks vegan cuisine with her kids. I peeked at a few lentil loafs and came up with a rendition of my own. We served it with roasted sweet and white potatoes. It was delish!


Vegan Lentil Loaf

Here’s what you will need:
Lentil loaf:
1 cup of uncooked lentils (wash them and sort them there are always some random stones, etc in the package
3 cup of water
1 small onion diced and 1/2 of an onion
Half of a sweet potato shredded
Half of an Granny Smith Apple shredded
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup of oats (crush them with food processor to make a powder)
1/2 cup of bread crumbs (any kind you like, seasoned, homemade…whatever floats your boat)
1/2 cup of Walnuts chopped
1 tsp of dried thyme
3-4 tblsp of Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup of ketchup
2Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
2Tbsp of Apple Sauce
1Tbsp of Agave

Pre-heat your oven to 350.
Place the 3 cups of water in a pot and let the water boil you can add salt and half of the onion to flavor the water, or use a veggie broth or just plain water. It’s up to you. Add the lentils and let the water come back to a boil and then lower the heat to let it simmer for about 40-45minutes. You want to basically overcook the lentils. In the meantime, take 2tbsp or so of the oil and sautee the onion and garlic for a few minutes, then add the sweet potatoe, apple and walnuts. Sautee for about another 5 minutes. Put this in a large bowl, then add the breadcrumb, ground oats, thyme, dash of salt and mix well. Once the lentils are finished take 3/4 of it and blend (I used my Cuisinart hand blender) then other 1/4 just put in the mixture bowl. When you have finished blending the lentils add them to the bowl as well. Mix well with you hands is best. Then taste to see if you need salt or pepper. Now, if this wasn’t vegan you wouldn’t be able to just stick your finger in and taste. You would probably get really sick. :0

Get your loaf pan out and lightly grease with remaining Olive Oil and then add parchment paper to cover the inside with some paper hanging out the sides. Put your mixture in the loaf pan and push down with your hand to make it even. Now, to make the sauce…
Take all the ingredients and wisk really well. Take half or so of the sauce and cover the top of the load generously. Save the rest for dipping.

Place your loaf in the center of the oven and bake for about 45 then remove and let sit for about 5 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan and let it cool on a cooling rack. Then slice and enjoy!!!

You can always add celery or carrots instead of sweet potato. I saw a lot of recipes that called for those ingredients instead. Sweet potatoes are so good for you I decided to add them instead. Have fun with it!!


Snowed IN? Have indoor fun with SNOW!

We like to take the term SNOWED IN literally around here!



Since you probably just unloaded the mounds of sand toys from your trunk to make room for the sleds, brush them off and bring them inside!


What you will need :

  • Sand toys
  • Large bucket to collect snow in
  • Sheet or blanket to lay on floor and a few extra towels for wiping up
  • A cookie sheet to build SNOW castles on
  • Waterproof gloves or mittens
  • For the young ones put on their snow suit as they might end up sitting in the snow towards the end of play time
  • Small sticks, buttons, ribbons, raisins and a baby carrot for a small indoor snowman

While you sit back with your cup of coffee and watch your kids enjoy the snow in the warmth of your home, be sure to snap a few photos and share your SNOWED IN creations with us on our facebook page we would love to see them!



Sledding at the Shore

Blizzard warnings are in effect for Northern and Eastern NJ!

By now I’m sure you are all prepared to make french toast in the morning!!! What, didn’t you stock up on milk, eggs and bread?

With all joking aside, the snow is here and that can only mean one thing…..time for SLEDDING!!!


Grab your tube, sled or hey its Jersey grab a boogie board and hit the hills!

We are sharing a list of some of the BEST places to sled in Ocean & Monmouth county!


  • Windward Beach – 265 Princeton Ave , Brick
  • Ocean County Park – 700 Ocean Ave, Lakewood
  • Castle Parks soccer field – corner of North Bay Ave & Oak Ave, Toms River
  • Bridge Hill – corner of Beaver Dam & Rt. 88 by the bridge VERY limited parking, Point Pleasant
  • Toms River County Club – close by on Washington St., Toms River
  • Lakewood Pine Park (hill is in back picnic area close to river), 500 Country Club Dr., Lakewood
  • Blues Claws parking lot (surrounding area, look for rows of cars on the street) – 2 Stadium Way, Lakewood


  • Holmdel Park – 44 Longstreet Rd , Holmdel
  • Thompson park – 805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft
  • Monmouth battlefield state park – 16 Business Rt. 33 , Manalapan
  • Spring lake park – corner of Passaic Ave & 5th Ave, Spring Lake
  • Oak Glen Park  245 Preventorium Rd , Howell
  • Beacon Hill Golf Course – 8 Beacon Hill Rd , Atlantic Highlands
  • Glenwood Cemetery – 130 Monmouth rd West Long Branch
  • Cheesequake State Park – 300 Gordon Rd, Matawan

Oatmeal Bar Breakfast

Looking for an easy weekday breakfast that’s not only fun for the kids but also healthy?

Try an oatmeal bar !!!


My four year olds went crazy for their oatmeal when I added their options in cute little bowls and let them pick and choose what they wanted. They loved sprinkling, poring and mixing up their breakfast all on their own. Here’s a list of the ingredients we used but the options are endless.
-Bowls of your favorite oatmeal ( we used steel cut oats)
-chia seeds
-sliced bananas
-flax meal
-almond butter
-soy milk

We love hearing from our readers so comment below and let us know how your kiddies enjoyed their oatmeal bars and what options you used.

FREE Glass Art demo

My daughter and some friends had planned to take a group glass making class last week, when plans fell through her friends mom purchased a take home kit and helped the girls create their own glass art butterflies with the tools she had in her own garage!!!

I love my handy mama friends!


You can check out a FREE DEMO with a Glass Blowing Open House at Rainbow Art Glass

1761 State Route 34, Farmingdale, NJ  / call to reserve your spot #732-681-6003

Saturday, January 24th @ 3:00pm – 8:00pm

You can also join in the fun by doing a project of your own!!!

All projects or finished pieces for sale will be at a 10% discount for the night of the open house

Blowing a Bubble: $30 for Small and $45 for Large

  • Choose up to 2 colors for decoration.
  • Staff will introduce students to blowpipes.
  • Students will learn the steps to making a bubble.
  • Learn the technique of gathering glass from staff.
  • Work hands-on applying color, shaping with blocks, and blowing to overall size and shape.IMG_1783edit


Blowing an Ornament: $50 (one size only)

  • Choose up to 2 colors for decoration.
  • Staff will introduce students to blowpipes.
  • Students will learn the steps to making a bubble.
  • Learn the technique of gathering glass from staff.
  • Work hands-on applying color, shaping with blocks, and blowing to overall size and shape.
  • Staff will add glass to bubble to form a loop on top to transform to an ornament.



Making a paperweight: $55 (one size only)

  • Choose up to 2 colors for decoration.
  • Staff will introduce students to a punty.
  • They will than learn the steps to make a paperweight.
  • Work hands-on applying color, shaping with blocks, and starting a neck line.
  • Staff will assist in all facets from gathering to transport to the annealer kiln for cool down.



Making a Cup or Pint Glass: $60

  • Choose up to 2 colors for decoration.
  • Staff will introduce students to blowpipes/puntys.
  • Go through all the steps of making a bubble.
  • Learn how gravity can be used in shaping.
  • Work hands-on applying color, shaping with blocks, blowing piece to size,
    and transferring from pipe to punty, and working on lip.


Making a Flower: $30 for 1 color or $37 for 2 colorsglassblowing lily

  • Choose color(s) for decoration.
  • Staff will introduce students to blowpipes/puntys.
  • Students will learn the steps to decorating a flower.
  • Learn the technique of gathering glass from staff and “tweezing” the design.
  • Work hands-on applying color and tweezing to overall size and shape.

Maple Sugaring in New Jersey

I spent some of my teenage years living close to Canada and thought that was the only place to get real maple syrup, well… besides Vermont!
Last year the kids and I went to a maple sugaring festival here in New Jersey and I discovered just how much New Jersey maple trees have to offer this time of year.
Maple Sugar Fest Sap Toss Game
Maple Sugar Fest Sap Toss Game
Check out the list of New Jersey Maple themed events below:
Maple Sugaring
Sundays, February 1, 8, 15, 22, March 1, 8, 15, 22, 2015
from 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Visitor Center
Tenafly Nature Center
313 Hudson Ave.
Tenafly, NJ
Learn how to identify a maple tree and the history of syrup making and how technology has changed the way we gather sap over the centuries. The group will check Tenafly Nature Center’s tapped tree and boil down sap to make fresh, warm maple syrup, a sweet treat for all to taste. All ages are welcome.
Howell Living History Farm
Saturday , January 31st 2015
Tree Tapping Workshop: 11am & 2pm
70 Wooden’s Lane
Lambertville, NJ
Join the crew working the farms 150-tree sugar bush operation. Enjoy the work, fun and rewards of helping tap maple trees, hang sap buckets and cut firewood for the use in syrup making.
Maple Sugaring Fest
Sunday, March 1st 2015  from 1:00 pm to 4:00pm
Reeves-Reed Arboretum
165 Hobart Avenue
Summit, New Jersey 07901
Learn how early settlers tapped maple trees and turned the sap into delicious maple syrup! Take part in our family scavenger hunt and see whether you can successfully complete the “Maple Syrup Challenge.” Round out the day with a sampling of maple syrup and flapjacks made here at the Arboretum! Registration is not required.

Martin Luther King a Day of Service

Dr. Martin Luther King was a man all about service, giving back, community gatherings and bringing people together.

There are so many ways for kids to get involved in the MLK Day of Service on January 19th!



Martin Luther King Day of Service at Rutgers–Camden
January 19, 2015
Rutgers -Camden
303 Cooper Street
Camden NJ
This event features a national call to service to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Volunteers, families, and community members come together to participate in a day of action, both on the campus and in the community. Activities are open to students, faculty, and staff of the university; their families; and children and adults from across the City of Camden and the State of New Jersey. – See more at:

Learn something new and expand your knowledge:

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Upper Shores Branch (Lavallette)

Monday, Jan. 19, 10- 4 pm Help make a craft for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and get some Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service freebies!  Best for grades Kindergarten through 8th.  Drop-in.

Connect with the community:
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Celebrating Freedom & Community
Monday, January 19, 2015; noon-5 pm
Newark Museum
49 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102-3176
This event features a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of films, musical performances, tours and hands-on workshops for the whole family. A full day of activities for the entire family honoring a great American.
Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka will give words of inspiration at 3pm – See more at:
St. Gregory’s Pantry
Pt Pleasant, NJ – 08742
(732) 892-9254

How are you celebrating the life and contributions of Martin Luther King this year? Leave us a comment below!