my scraps

Monday, July 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - 2014 Week 31

Summer vacation is officially half over for us - but that means there is still plenty of summer left for meal planning some delicious, easy meals. I'm keeping my meal plan organized this summer, with some no-meat meals and things that are easy to prepare. We are also taking advantage of fresh vegetables and fruits for snacks, and to round out meals.

Here's what's on our plan for this week:

Monday - Homemade Chicken Tenders, Broccoli
Tuesday - Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Wednesday - BLT's, Leftover Potato Salad (from the weekend)
Thursday - Parmesan Crusted Talapia, Sauteed Spinach
Friday - Pizza Night
Saturday and Sunday - TBD

What's on your meal plan this week?

catch you soon -
This post is linked up with I'm An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday

Friday, July 25, 2014

Get Your Science On at The Franklin Institute

Franklin Hall at the Franklin Institute Philadelphia, PA

If you visit Philadelphia, or are lucky enough to live nearby, you don't want to miss The Franklin Institute! This hands-on science museum opened in 1825 and has been a family favorite travel destination since Ryan was about four years old. We take the train into the city and visit at least once a year to check out the newest exhibits and enjoy our old favorites too. The Franklin Institute recently invited us to come visit and see what's new.

What's new is the completion of the beautiful 53,000 square foot, three story, Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion. This new pavilion is home to the museum's largest permanent exhibition, Your Brain, a climate-controlled traveling exhibition gallery, a state-of-the-art conference center and an expansive new education center. Exciting stuff for Philadelphia and the museum!

Of course we were there to check out all the exhibits - both old and new, so here's what we found:

Your Brain

What a super cool exhibit! This part of the museum, invites visitors to think about how you think! It's all about real-life and what's happening inside your head. There are more than two dozen interactive experiences as you tour this exhibit. My favorite was the illusions and found experiences. It's truly amazing to feel your brain working!

Your Brain Exhibit - Optical Illusion

You can see your nervous system, see a real neuron and test your neural speed, just to name a few.

Neurons Exhibit - The Franklin Institute Phialdelphia, PA

If you're familiar with the Franklin Institute, you  probably know about the famous Giant Heart exhibit. While the Your Brain exhibit hosts the 18-foot Neural Climb. The Neural Climb creates an immersive, playful and emotionally engaging experience. Visitors trigger floor sensors that spark lights and sounds sweeping across the climb.

Circus! Science Under the Big Top

Circus Exhibit at The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA

This highly-interactive exhibit uses science to explore the wonder of the circus. There are 23 interactive exhibits, including a high wire and a elastic acrobats. There is a creative costumes and play are, perfect for younger kids (toddlers - 5 years). Older kids and grown ups can learn the physics behind juggling and the biology of animals, like poop. I'm sure your children don't do this, but sometimes mine will rush through an exhibit and not read anything . . .that's how they almost missed the poop.

Circus Exhibit - Poop The Franklin Institute Philadelphia, PA

101 Inventions
The 101 Inventions exhibit is a cool combination of video and physical display of such iconic inventions as the Punchcard and an Abacus. My kids could not believe we used to want to carry around one of these (sorry about the poor quality photo - low lighting):

In the 101 Inventions area, the Franklin Institute also has a 3-D printer on display. The afternoon we were there the lovely ladies were making a shark. It was pretty facinating to see how this machine actually works. There were also opportunities for kids to invent and build parachutes to test out and also an area to build and create with Legos.

We loved all three of the new exhibits and took plenty of time to wander around them and explore. John and I want to go back and check out Your Brain on our own, so we can spend time to really look at the exhibits.

No trip to the Franklin Institute is complete for us without a visit to the Sports Room and the Locomotive. A nice bonus of new exhibits, these old favorites weren't very crowded at all and we could spend all the time we wanted exploring.

Know Before You Go
  • There is an on-site parking garage, and plenty of kiosk parking around the museum. 
  • There is a cafe inside the museum, that sells a wide-variety of food, and it's pretty tasty too, if a bit pricey.
  • You can purchase tickets online and reduce your time in line.
  • IMAX movies are an additional fee.
  • Planetarium shows are included in admission, but be sure to check the schedule for shows and times.
  • The Franklin Institute's website offers ideas for planning your trip, depending on type of visitor and time available.  (this can be handy if you have limited time)
If you have time, be sure to explore the Museum District around the Franklin Institute. The Ben Franklin Parkway and Logan Circle are must-sees. The city of Philadelphia has so many wonderful things to see and experience, and The Franklin Institute is definitely one of them. Have you visited?

catch you soon -
Disclosure - We received complimentary admission to the museum. As always, all opinions are my very own.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ahoy There - How to Wear the Nautical Look | What I Wore #ootd

Nautical Look Outfit Ideas - #ootd

In fashion this week, let's talk Nautical. A nautical look can be as easy to pull off as wearing navy and white. A simple navy t-shirt and white shorts, paired with some fun nautical-inspired accessories (slender rope bracelet?) goes a long way. To me, a striped t-shirt is the quintessential nautical look piece. No matter the sleeve length, one looks great paired with white jeans, white shorts or even regular denim.

I have two striped shirts that I'm wearing these days, (I am in search of the PERFECT navy and white nautical stripe three-quarter length t-shirt):

Coral Striped Nautical Shirt and White Shorte

Shorts - Lands End (old)
Shirt - Ann Taylor - new this season
Shoes - Vionic
Bag - Kate Spade
Choker - Tiffany
Earrings - Kate Spade
Bracelets - Alex and Ani, Annika Lane, Tiffany and Stella and Dot

Striped Nautical T-Shirt and White Shorts

Shorts - Lands End (old and need to be replaced)
Shirt - Lord and Taylor
Belt - (stolen from my husband)
Shoes - J Crew (Vintage)
Choker - Tiffany
Earrings - Kate Spade

There are lots of cute accessories to complete your outfit too. Alex and Ani has some great bracelets, and I've seen tons of anchor scarves and necklaces this season. Add a straw boater and/or tote and you're ready to hit the open water. Easy hair and minimal make-up complete your ready to sail look!

Are you a fan of the nautical look? How do you wear it?

catch you soon -
This post is linked up at The Pleated Poppy and at Get Your Pretty On


Monday, July 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday (and my 4-Step Process) - 2014 Week 30

Meal planning doesn't have to be difficult. After all this time, I've boiled it down to a basic four-step process:
  1. What's our schedule look like?
  2. What do we have on hand?
  3. What recipes and meal ideas fit our schedule?
  4. What do we still need to round them out?
From steps 1 -3, I pick recipes/dishes and write them in the "Dinner" space on my calendar. From step 4, I make my grocery lists(s). That's really all there is to it. Some weeks I feel more creative, and some  weeks we have very basic, uninspired meals . . .but everyone gets a healthy meal and we don't waste too much food or money. It's not glamorous or perfect - but it works.

This week is pretty basic:

Monday - Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Buttered Noodles, Broccoli
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday, Guacamole, Corn
Wednesday - Boys Night Out
Thursday - Homemade Chicken Tenders for the boys/Chicken Caesar Salads for the adults
Friday - Pizza Night
Saturday and Sunday - Burgers and Dogs on the grill, Baked Beans, Potato Salad

What's on your meal plan for this week?

catch you soon -
This post is linked up at I'm An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Best Summer Ever | #Moms4JNJConsumer {sponsored}

Summer Party Set Up

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

Summer is the time for fun - right? And what could be more fun than having some friends over for  a little old fashioned backyard summer fun? Thanks to The Motherhood and Johnson and Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, we got to share some backyard summer fun with friends and family and do a little summer entertaining.

We know that Target is THE place for all your summer fun essentials! Last summer, we bought the boys an inflatable pool to hang out in on hot days. Well they and their friends use that as a "filling station" for squirt bottles, water shooters, sponges and water balloons! Throw on a bathing suit, grab a towel and enjoy some good old-fashioned water play on a hot day.

Water Balloons

For the smaller kids, you can't go wrong with some sidewalk chalk and bubbles.  Target has a great selection and we keep a supply of both on-hand all summer long.

For family fun, lawn games like badminton, bocce and croquet are all making a big comeback. We picked up a few sets at Target and have been getting a kick out of learning new games. Through August 16, you can play a virtual soccer game, share your score and take a shot at instantly winning a $200 Target eGiftCard. You could also win one of more than $15,000 in prizes! Score savings with Target-specific coupons on key essentials for summertime (and all the time!)


Refreshing drinks and summer snacks are always in demand. When the boys have friends over, we serve up lemonade (traditional yellow and festive pink too) and iced tea to help keep them cool. Soda and Mixers for the grown-ups too. In between water battles, I like to have a variety of snacks to keep everyone's energy levels up! Some fruit, cheese sticks and pretzels keep active kids energized.

Summer Drink Station

After a full afternoon of playing, treat kids to a yummy and cool treat like popcicles or old-fashioned fudgcicles. I found a great recipe on Pinterest, that tastes just like the originals (see more ideas on my Summer Fun board). Don't have enough molds? Don't worry, paper cups and popcicle sticks do the trick too!


With all the summer fun, bumps, bug bites and scratches happen too, so I keep a small bucket handy with Neosporin, anti-itch cream and Bandaids in it for quick fixes! Don't forget the sunscreen! Hats and sunglasses can add layers of protection too for all your outdoor fun!

We sent our guests home with family favorite, everyday HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® courtesy of Johnson and Johnson.

Goodies from Johnson and Johnson

Sadly, we can't invite EVERYONE over this summer, but that's okay because the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® program is offering amazing printable coupons, tips and tools and so much more for all the products you and your family love! So be sure to head over to save! HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® Products are key essentials that can help you and your family keep going and stay focused on fun this summer, no matter what happens. You won't have to worry, because you're prepared for the Best Summer Ever!

How are you and your family having fun this summer?

catch you soon -