Long Island Mom

What I've learned about being a mom.

The Best of Me

A new Nicholas Spark book-turned-movie sure to make you shed a few tears and believe that true romance does exist is coming to theaters.  This one stars James Marsden (remember how great he was in The Notebook and X-Men??) and Michelle Monaghan (of many movies but I always think of Mission Impossible) and looks like the perfect date-night or girls night out movie.

Here’s the plot synopsis :

“Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of the beloved friend.  Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.”

There will be a screening of The Best of Me in Deer Park this Thursday, October 2 at 7pm and I have 100 pairs of tickets – for free!!  Just go to http://www.relativityscreenings.com/LImom and remember to bring the tissues!!  See you there :)

 

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Big Apple Circus

The Big Apple Circus is coming back to it’s hometown of New York City at Lincoln Center starting October 17th!

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The circus was always a favorite of mine and my siblings, and is a fun-filled, family-centered night out I would love to pass on to my children.  Many of today’s circus events feature exotic animals, and although that sounds like fun, in theory, many times these animals are mistreated and even abused.  For this reason, we haven’t attended many of the circus events we have seen come to our area.  Big Apple Circus does not use exotic animals, in favor of domestic animals like dogs and horses.  These animals are very well taken care of, just as we take care of our domestic pets.  Trainers have years of experience with these animals and even sleep in close proximity to the animals they work with while they’re on tour.  Big Apple Circus treats their animals with love and respect, and that’s something that I know is so important to moms and dads everywhere.

Our family will be attending the Big Apple Circus on November 2nd and the kids can’t wait.  As a gift to our blog readers, Big Apple Circus is offering $25 off of EVERY TICKET, not just the total purchase price, for readers of Long Island Mom.  At checkout, use the promo code BIGAPPLE (*Limited availability. Offer good on select seats and shows. Other conditions apply. Children under 3 are free when on the lap of a paid adult, one child per lap.)

I hope you’ll give Big Apple Circus a try – it’s such a fun experience for the whole family and one you can feel good about taking the kids to!

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Feeling Safe

I got into a car accident today – my first real accident that wasn’t a fender bender in a parking lot or something equally minor.  It was terrifying, mostly because my 3 year old was with me.  We were on our way to Toys R Us to pick up birthday gifts for my niece and my best friend’s daughter, and got hit by a young guy who blew through a red light.  The car spun several times before it came to a stop and I just froze there for a few seconds before springing into action and getting my daughter out of the car.  It was smoking, fluid leaking out all over the road, and I ran to the street corner to get out of the way.  The guy was texting, he later admitted to the cops, and this wasn’t his first accident.  In fact, he had just gotten his car back from his last incident.

We are fine, physically.  Sofia, who is a complainer by nature, hasn’t said a word of anything hurting.  I feel sore all over but I think I tensed up so hard before he hit us that I might be sore for a few days.  Does this mean I don’t need to work out this week?? All kidding aside, we are incredibly lucky that nobody was hurt.  Within seconds, 2 women and an elderly man were next to me, asking how we were doing and if they could do anything.  They waited until the cops came, gave statements, asked again if they could get anything for us, and then left.  I never asked their names and don’t think I even said thank you.  They were patient, kind, and protective, and they didn’t even know us.  My faith in humanity is restored.  In New York, on a busy Saturday, these people took the time out to help a shaken, shocked mom and her frightened daughter.  One of the guys that works at Joe’s Crab Shack even came out and offered to get us something to eat or drink and stayed for a few minutes until he saw everything was ok.

And now, I’m left with a feeling of ‘What if…’

I’m not loving this side effect.  I’m reminded how quickly things can go so so badly.  We’re ok, we got very lucky, and all I can think about is how badly this could have gone.  My son was home with daddy, sleeping, and his car seat is on the passenger side, where we got hit.  I was in an SUV, and he was in a compact car.  When we spun out, we didn’t hit anything, or anyone, else.  Any number of small changes in this series of events and we could have been really hurt.  Sofia has been clingy and emotional all afternoon and evening, and to be honest, so have I.  I keep hugging them so tight and kissing their faces, trying not to cry.  At any moment, car accident or no car accident, these precious babies could be taken away from me, a thought I never want to have, and yet right now, it’s the only thought I have.

So, sometimes it takes a scare to remind you of what’s really important.  And they’re in my lap right now.

 

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Cider Pork Chops

Thanks to my friend Callan who runs this fabulous Facebook group Weekly Menu Recipe Swap, I found this incredible Apple Cider Dijon Pork Chop recipe with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and apples.  The whole thing took 20 minutes and the results were lick-the-plate awesome.  I added couscous but we really didn’t need it, the sweet potatoes are filling enough.  It’s the perfect Fall recipe and was soul-satisfying.  Here’s the link to the recipe and a pic of my delicious results.  Hope you enjoy!!

Also, join Callan’s Facebook group to post your favorite easy recipes and see some great ones others are posting!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cider-Dijon-Pork-Chops-with-Roasted-Sweet-Potatoes-and-Apples-51163600

 

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Mac and Cheese

My mom’s macaroni and cheese is one of my all-time favorite foods and reminds me so much of my childhood.  When I went away to college, this was one of the recipes I begged my mom to give me, and when she did, she omitted a key ingredient, the Coleman’s dry mustard.  I only realized she ‘forgot’ to tell me about it when I saw her making it the summer after my Freshman year when I was at home.  No wonder it didn’t taste like hers.  Coincidence? Or was she ensuring I would always come home for her cooking?  I have the recipe now, and I make it for my own family, but something about the way she makes it will always make mine feel inadequate.  Must be all the love in it or something :)  Here’s the recipe, with the dry mustard, which can be found in a regular grocery store in the spice aisle.  Don’t forget it!
1/2 stick butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 lb macaroni
4 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 lb shredded cheese (I use monterey jack and cheddar but you can use pretty much any cheese on earth.)
salt and pepper
Coleman’s dry mustard
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Boil macaroni 1 minute less than on package and drain
3. saute garlic and onion in butter and olive oil, salt and pepper
4. add dry mustard and flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute
5. add milk and whisk until it’s no longer lumpy.  cook on medium, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken.
6. add 1/2 of the shredded cheese and mix until melted
7. mix in cooked macaroni, put in a pan, cover with the rest of the cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
You can also put the unbaked mac and cheese in the fridge a day or even 2 ahead, then pop it in a 350 oven for 45 minutes.

 

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2 years later

Two years ago today, I was in the hospital anxiously and nervously awaiting the birth of my son David.  It started at church (ironically, not a place we frequent) when I stood up and thought my water broke.  Turned out to be a placental abruption, meaning a trip to the hospital.  30 hours of monitoring later, it looked like there was nothing they could do to stop impending labor.  A few short hours after that, David was born at 5 lbs 3 oz, just shy of 5 weeks early.  Everything looked ok and we breathed a sigh of relief, only to find out he had jaundice and would need to go into the NICU.

More testing, leaving the hospital without my baby boy, returns to the NICU, blood tests, pumping, leaving my 2 year old daughter at home with my mother, nights up worrying about him, it all is so fresh in my mind.  He came home 5 days after he was born and again, sighs of relief.  A trip to the pediatrician 2 days later to test his blood, and back to the NICU.  They couldn’t figure out why his jaundice wouldn’t subside and there we were, calming a screaming newborn as they tried to get an IV into his tiny veins.  I have never felt pain like that in my life and hope to never experience it again.

My son will be 2 years old tomorrow and is happy, healthy and a handful.  He talks, he runs, he hugs and kisses and I have never felt so lucky in my entire life.  I am a mom to a baby boy who had a tough debut.  In no way do I think what our family went through bringing him home is worse than anyone else’s story and in no way am I complaining or looking for sympathy.  What this experience taught me is that nothing should be taken for granted.  I had such an easy pregnancy with Sofia, and her delivery was not only normal, but easy by comparison.  David has taught me so much, but most of all how lucky I am to be a mom to 2 healthy kids.  It would seem that pregnancy and childbirth are normal, everyday experiences, but they are not always perfect and can end up tragic in a heartbeat.

So, this year, on his 2nd birthday, I am reflecting on what this little crazy boy has taught me and how happy I am to have him.  He’s a force to be reckoned with and one of the 2 lights of our lives.  He is a bundle of love, has a terrific laugh and loves surprises.  He loves his family, especially his sister, and anything with wheels.  He dances like his father, god love him, and can eat his weight in fruit snacks if given the opportunity.  He makes us laugh and can turn anyone’s bad mood into a good one with his sweet disposition.  He also unrolls toilet paper with the skills of a cat.  Not sure if that’s a skill that will come in handy, but he’s proud of it so we’ll list it.

We love you David and we will always be so proud of you.

David

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It goes so fast…

‘It goes so fast’ is always the first thing veteran parents tell soon-to-be parents or parents of young kids.  It’s so cliché, but now I know it is so true. My son turns 2 next week and my first baby, the girl who made me a mommy, will be 4 in a few short months. As I sat next to her on the couch tonight, her long, skinny legs sprawled out across my lap and her long blonde hair cascading over the cushions, I had a hard time remembering what she looked like as an infant. It seems now that she has always been this age. I can’t remember the times before she started to walk and talk, and it’s hard for me to remember the long nights rocking and nursing her in her room. It also seems like all of those times were minutes ago, and I have a hard time recognizing her as she sings and dances across the living room, using expressions like ‘tell me about it mom’ and ‘oh mannnnn’. How did 4 happen upon us?

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And my son, my baby boy who turns 2 in a few short days, when did he become a real person? I think back to the early days in the NICU, hoping he was ok and would come home soon, the frustration and heartbreak of Early Intervention Services for a 10 month old who wouldn’t even roll over. Now I see a confident, giddy, laughing toddler, running and jumping and climbing over everything he really shouldn’t be. How did these 2 years fly by the way they have?

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Now I am the ‘It goes so fast’ mom, cautioning my new mom friends to take lots of pictures, to document everything, because – it does. It goes. So. Fast. I know in another blink they will be in high school, then another blink and off to college, having their own babies. It’s so difficult in the day-to-day craziness to take the time to soak in their kid-ness. It takes a moment like tonight, when I barely recognize the very people I made myself, to make me slow down and appreciate how special it is to be a mom. I feel so truly lucky to sit here and see what happy, well-adjusted, beautiful children I have. I get to be their mom, and no career accomplishment or personal accolade will ever measure up to that.

So, to all the soon-to-be moms, new moms, and moms of young kids. Soak it up. Because it goes so fast.

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Beauty Review – Younique

I had the opportunity to test a new mascara from Younique 3D Fiberlash Mascara.  This is not an ordinary mascara, and I have tried probably every single one.  I have blonde, thin eyelashes and don’t generally leave the house without mascara on.  I have never come across a mascara that makes my eyelashes this full and long.

It is a 2-step system and gives you a false-lashes look without the glue, mess, and removal issues.  The first tube is a black gel that looks like a regular mascara.  You apply 2 coats of this, then add the fibers, which come in the 2nd tube.  Apply them to the ends of your lashes to extend and fill-in your lashes, then seal with the gel again.

Excuse the weirdness of my makeup selfies, but here are my results :

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Fiberlash on the left and Regular Mascara on the right.

 

 

And here are some of the results from other users who clearly have other people taking their pics or are just generally better at taking a makeup selfie than I am:

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If you’d like to give it a try you can buy it online, it’s $29, but is definitely worth it for the results! You can try it for 14 days and if you don’t like it, return it for a refund.

Follow the link below to try it!

https://www.youniqueproducts.com/KimBradt/party/522798/view

 

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Peapod

Our local grocery store – Stop n Shop, has had a grocery delivery service called Peapod for a long time now, which I discovered shortly after my daughter was born. You are able to buy your groceries online, on a very easy to navigate website, pay, and pick a delivery time. For a fee (normally around $10), they bring your groceries to your door. What a lifesaver, especially after my son was born and the thought of taking 2 kids under 2 years old into a grocery store gave me hives.

To be honest, once the kids were old enough to tackle grocery shopping, I felt guilty paying $10 to have someone bring them to me. I also had a hard time thinking far enough ahead to have them deliver, as the delivery times are normally 2-3 days from when you order. So, I’ve been schlepping my kids with me ever since. At 2 and 4, they’re old enough to:

– throw things into the cart when I’m not looking
– knock over displays
– beg and cry for toys/junk on every single aisle
– try to open packages of things they want to eat once I put them in the cart
– yell ‘I HAVE TO PEE RIGHT NOW’ as soon as I’m next in line to pay

My local Stop n Shop (and many throughout Long Island and Fire Island) is now offering a pick-up service for free (I believe a small fee is coming but for now it is totally free). Using the same Peapod delivery website, you add items to your shopping cart, pay, and then pick up during a one-hour window that is convenient for you. Bonus is that window is normally the next day.

I used the pick up service today, and was able to sit in my car in a spot by the front that they designate for this service, call the phone number on the sign (or you can go in) and they bring the groceries to your car, give you your receipt and you’re on your way.

No lines, no ‘clean up on aisle 3′, no mystery items you swear you didn’t put in your cart, and no tantrums.

This infographic explains all the benefits of this service:

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Peapod is offering a $25 off online gift code to one lucky winner!  All you have to do is like Long Island Mom on Facebook, and like the Peapod post on my Facebook page.  I will pick a winner on Thursday at 5:00pm and that person will win the gift code!

Give it a try, it takes one of the worst chores out of your weekly list!

 

 

UPDATE: As of October, Peapod has instituted a $2.95 fee for pickup orders and a $60 minimum order.  With PodPass, new customers can enjoy 60 days of no-fee pickup.

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