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Posts tagged ‘kristen J Duca’

UltimateMama and her family are heading to Cleveland and Detroit this Easter weekend so the Easter Bunny will visit Michigan.  As usual, UltimateMama will be packing only two carry on suitcases for her family of four so the Easter basket contents must be compact.  In an attempt not to overdue it on the chocolate or candy front, UltimateMama spent the past few months buying a variety of fun items and accessories for her tween girls. They will be thrilled to see these “treats” in their Easter baskets on Sunday morning.  Contents include:

Lindt Chocolate Carrots (4 pack so 2 for each girl purchased at CVS on the Upper East Side for around $4.99)

Glossier’s new Mango Balm Dotcom flavor as well as Glossier’s Mint Balm Dotcom flavor (purchased in Soho – New York City for around $12 each)

Brandy Melville hair scrunchies (purchased in Soho – New York City for $3 each)

LeSportsac ID card case with key ring (purchased in Honolulu, Hawaii for between $15-$20 each)

Essie nail polish which UltimateMama can’t wait to borrow (purchased at CVS on the Upper East Side for around $8 each)

Lanikai body mist and lotion set (purchased in Honolulu, Hawaii for under $10 per set)

Oh K! Caviar face mask (purchased at Twist in Southampton, New York for $8 each)

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UltimateMama loves to set aside reading time each evening with her girls. Whether it is 10 minutes or 1 hour it is nice for everyone to gather on the couch with their own book for some reading, rest, and relaxation before bedtime.  A few of UltimateMama’s favorite book series for girls who are 10, 11, 12, and 13 years old as follows:

Ava and Pip is book one in a clever series by Carol Weston

The Lemonade War is book one in an entrepreneurial series by Jacqueline Davies

The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer is book one in the fantastic Land of Stories series

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainaini is book one in a fairy tale journey series

The Selection by Kiera Cass is book one in a fairy tale series for older, middle school girls (more mature content so be advised)

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass is book one in the Willow Falls series

It’s Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder is book one in her cupcake series

Upside Down Magic is book one in a series by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins

11 Before 12 by Lisa Greenwald is book one in her friendship list series

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordon is book one in the Percy Jackson series

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is book one in a trilogy for older kids due to mature content that includes violence

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UltimateMama believes it is never to early to start shopping for books for Mother’s Day and has a few suggestions to alleviate the stress of your search for the perfect gift!  These books below will please mothers of all ages. UltimateMama also encourages everyone to check out Reece Witherspoon’s Book Club at Hello Sunshine for some amazing reads, including a few that UltimateMama discovered too!

Ultimate Nanny: How to Find, Interview, and Manage the Most Important Person You Will Ever Hire — Your Child’s Nanny by Kristen Duca which is available on Amazon.com now

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is an exciting political novel that one won’t want to put down

Rules of Civility also by Amor Towles is an interesting account of New York City social life in post-Depression Manhattan

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal tells a tale of Indian immigrants in West London

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman depicts a quirky loner who develops an unexpected friendship in Scotland

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is Book One of the Neopolitan Novels about the struggles faced growing up in post war Naples, Italy

Mila 18 by Leon Uris tells of bravery and determination during the Warsaw ghetto uprising

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is about the paths of a blind French girl and German boy in Nazi occupied France during World War II

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah moves readers with the stories of two very different sisters involving betrayal, resistance, and survival in war torn France during World War II

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber is a thriller about the reopening of a murder case by an eager investigative reporter who has a hot podcast that impacts families in a Midwestern United States town

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys which is sometimes found in the Young Adult section of bookstores (but is for mature audiences due to content and subject matter) tells of the courage of 4 interlocking characters from different homelands trying to survive and get aboard a ship to freedom in World War II

Ties by Domenico Starnone is a translated Italian novel which fans of Elena Ferrante will appreciate

Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry is a fun, witty novel about a wife and mother who tries to balance it all while working on Wall Street in 2008

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UltimateMama loves quick and easy dinner choices for kids on busy nights. Rather than ordering take out or grabbing fast food, UltimateMama prefers to do a little pre-planning at the beginning of the week to ensure the appropriate groceries are purchased and ready in a pinch!

UltimateMama’s girls are big fans of grilled sourdough cheese sandwiches with pre-made tomato basil soup.  An ideal meal for any time of year.  For an extra protein kick just add ham or honey turkey to the sandwiches.  Add some carrot sticks, sliced cucumbers or tomatoes, and red grapes to complete your quick and easy meal. All you need is the following:

-Sourdough bread (Bread Alone for example)

-Medium cheddar cheese (buy pre-sliced for convenience)

-Butter (for stovetop grilling)

-Your favorite soup (like Tomato Basil)

 

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UltimateMama and her kids took advantage of the after holiday sales and purchased Christmas stockings at 75% off and decorated them with Tulip Soft Fabric Paint as well as Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint which can be found 365 days a year.  If painting isn’t really your thing always grab a stencil and make fun trees, snowmen, angels, or even Santa Claus himself. Crayola Fabric Markers can be used to add the finishing touches.  These fun creations are inexpensive and pleasing to the eye and will last you forever…or until next year when your child wants to make a new one!


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UltimateMama and her family have a constant flow of guests around the holidays and always keep 5 inexpensive wines (all under $25) on hand for the adults.  Here are 3 bottles of red and 2 bottles of white (or pink considering one is rose) that are perfect for entertaining or gifting:

1. Cantina Zaccagnini 2015 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (red). You can spot it at any wine store as it is the wine with the stick attached to it! Around $18 but one can find it on sale for less. Product of Italy.

2. Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon Vintners Blend California 2015 (red). Amazing with brie cheese and table water crackers.  Around $9.99. Product of California.

3. 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (red).  Goes with anything from burgers to filet mignon to lobster rolls. Around $9.99 to $14.99. Product of Columbia Valley.

4. Whispering Angel Rose 2017 (rose).  UltimateMama’s favorite wine to gift all year long as well as a staple in her refrigerator.  Around $19.99. Product of France.

5. Domaine Serge Laloue Sancerre 2016 (white). This classy selection is always a crowd pleaser if your crowd prefers something white and light. Around $21.99. Product of France.

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Over the weekend, UltimateMama and her two children had a nice one hour shopping trip to stock up on holiday goods and craft supplies at Michaels.  Killing time as it rained on Long Island was quite easy as UltimateMama challenged her family to come up with a gorgeous holiday tablescape that was pleasing for all ages and works for either a dining or side table.  Mission accomplished with the 70% off doorbuster promotions at Michaels. Best of all the total cost was under $25!  The breakdown:

Potted red poinsettia with gold foil (artificial): $6 (from $20)

Metallic garland: $3.60 (from $12)

Small champagne tabletop sisal tree:  $6 (from $20)

Large champagne tabletop sisal tree:  $7.50 (from $25)

Total cost:  $23.10

Happy Holidays!


 

 

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Was it on our bucket list?  Of course!  So, UltimateMama and her family took a quick (relatively at under 5 1/2 hours from NYC) flight to Iceland.

Day 1

After landing, UltimateMama picked up the rental car and headed directly to the Blue Lagoon for an 8 AM spa appointment against the volcanic landscape.  One must book visits in advance.  UltimateMama and her family were treated to the “Comfort” package which included:  entrance fee, silica mud masks, use of towels, and one drink per person.  Remember to take your disposable/water cameras for some fun pictures!

Next, UltimateMama drove approximately 1 hour 20 minutes to start the Golden Circle Tour!

First stop was Thingvellir National Park to see the Everyman’s Gorge between 2 continents-America and Europe as well as the Law Rock.

Second stop after a 50-60 minute drive was to the Geysir Geothermal Field to see Strokker.  UltimateMama and her group grabbed some pizza and did some souvenir shopping at the visitor’s center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third stop was a 10 minute drive to Gullfoss Falls to see the breathtaking waterfall.

Next was a 50 minute drive (in the pouring rain/sleet) to the Kerid Crater.

Finally, after a 45 minute drive UltimateMama and her family made it to lodging at the Hotel Ranga which offers outdoor hot tubs, delicious cuisine, and fabulous Northern Lights displays (if one is lucky and we were)!

Day 2

The Lava Centre, which was only a 5 minute drive from the hotel, offered a glimpse at Iceland’s active volcanoes.

Next, a 15-20 drive to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall enabled us to be fully encircled by a fabulous wonder.

Don’t miss views of Eyjafjallojokull, a glacier volcano that caused panic to air travel in 2010.

After a 10 minute dive one will reach Skogafoss Waterfall and most likely see a rainbow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another 10-15 minute drive takes one to Solheimajokull Glacier which is easily accessible to all. UltimateMama and her family really enjoyed walking on/around it. Be careful!

One can’t miss the black sand beach of Reynisfjara on Iceland’s South Coast, next to a fishing village called Vik, which is only another 25-30 minute drive. The basalt stacks are extraordinary!

Day 3

A one hour tour of the Lava Tunnel is worth one’s time if one wants to see layers of volcanic eruption.

Ægissíðufoss waterfall is a majestic site and close to Hotel Ranga too!

Day 4

Spend the day in Reykjavik before heading to the airport for departure.


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UltimateMama’s two little ones surprised her with a clever breakfast in bed funny face that put a smile on her face! Their secret ingredients:

-turkey bacon hair

-blueberry and strawberry eyes

-corn muffin nose

-scrambled egg mouth

Delicious and nutritious!

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UltimateMama had the honor of attending the opening of Chaos Theory Presents Flashpoint:  An Intersection of History, Perseverance, and Joy curated by Joyce Varvatos with Alexandra Hayden. The powerfully visual show is at 112 Hampton Road in Sag Harbor, New York from July 28 until September 2, 2018. Integrating pieces from various artists in different disciplines the exhibit features works by Francesca DiMattio, Friends with You, Dan Life, Susan Tepper, Do Ho Suh, Raul de Nieves, Kim Hyung Dae, Zeus, Lucy Winton, Friends with You/Daniel Jacobs collaboration, Ouattera Watts, Derrick Adams, and Leo Villareal.

The show blends the idea that chaos and order are not always opposed. The end result is a remarkable mix of the two that all will enjoy. Bravo ladies!

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