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Now that summer is "officially" here, it is time to think drink! Who doesn't love a cool drink on a super hot day? Hazy days by the pool or at the beach beckon tasty beverages. Casual dinners and weekend cookouts are also prime times for a cold one. If you are tired of the same old drinks though, stay tuned. Each year new drink mixes are rolled out, but some of the classic remains. Of course, if you are driving you will have to go virgin, but if you are staying at home, by all means indulge. Here are a few tasty picks to start your summer off right!

Sour Watermelon Slushies

Total Time: Prep: Level: Easy – Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. Sour Patch watermelons
  • 1 c. vodka
  • 1 c. sprite
  • 1 c. lemonade
  • 1 c. ice
  • Pink food coloring (optional)

Directions

  1. Add Sour Patch Watermelon gummies to vodka and soak overnight.
  2. To a blender, add 2 ounces flavored vodka, Sprite, lemonade, pink food coloring (if using) and ice.
  3. Blend to combine. Garnish with Sour Patch candies and serve.

Lemonade Mimosas

Total Time: Prep: Level: Easy – Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 bottle champagne
  • 2 c. lemonade or pink lemonade

Directions

  1. In a shallow dish, mix lemon zest and sugar.
  2. Rim champagne flutes with a lemon and dip in sugar mixture.
  3. Place one slice of lemon inside each champagne flute, bending if needed.
  4. Fill flute halfway with champagne and top with lemonade. Serve.

Pepper Thai Cocktails

Total Time: Prep: – Level: Easy – Serves: 1

Ingredients

For the Strawberry Pepper Syrup
  • 12 strawberries, plus more for garnish
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 6 oz. water
  • 1 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
For the cocktail
  • 3 Thai basil leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
  • 1 oz. soda

Directions

  1. Make strawberry pepper sauce: Blend strawberries, sugar, water and pepper until fully combined.
  2. Make cocktail: In a mixing glass or tin, muddle basil leaves with 3/4 ounce strawberry pepper syrup. Add lemon juice and Smirnoff No. 21, then fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass and top with soda.
  3. Garnish with sliced strawberry and a Thai basil sprig.

Frozen Dark and Storny

 

Total Time: Prep: – Level: Easy – Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 can ginger beer
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 c. ice
  • 4 oz. dark rum

Directions

  1. In a blender, blend first 4 ingredients until smooth.
  2. Divide among 2 glasses and float 2 oz. dark rum on top of each.

 

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It is getting to be vacation time for us northerners. I am not talking the big trips, we save those for the winter, I am talking fun short trips. Trips to the beach, long weekends on the Vineyard, etc. I know for me, packing is a huge pain. You don't want to take too much, but then you also may need that black dress. The best way to pack is to really know where you are going to be staying and what you will be doing. I am all for spontaneity, but knowing a good part of your trip can ease the packing woes.

For starters, where are you staying? Are you renting a house? Did you choose a nice hotel or B&B? This matters as you can use their amenities to your advantage. For example, if the hotel or house you are staying at has a laundry facility, your packing changes completely. You just don't need to bring that much as you can quickly wash it or have the staff wash it for you. This is well worth the few dollars, trust me. This allows you to bring a lot less clothes and will also make less laundry for when you get home. I hate that after vaca laundry dance, ugh.

You can also head to any big box store and grab travel size of almost any kind of soap and shampoo. If they do not have your brand, grab it anyway. You can empty out the bottle when you get home and add in your specific shampoo or conditioner. You will be amazed at how much space this saves in your bags. It is also a great idea to grab a travel toiletry bag. You can keep everything neat and clean in there and if you do happen to have a spill, you can clean it up quick and it will not ruin your clothing. You can also unscrew the tops of your bottles and place a small amount of cling wrap to the bottle and then elastic it. This will make sure no spills occur just incase those tops screw off. **Cling wrap is also great for laying out your jewelry on sheets and placing another layer over the top. This makes your chains stay in place with no tangles when you travel!

Shoes have to be the worst part. These are better packed first so you can stow items in their soles. Make sure the shoes you are wearing when you leave the house are ones you will be wearing on your trip too. Try to limit it to 2 pairs. One for everyday, one for evening. Wrap them in plastic bags and place in bottom. You can then fill in the soles with other items to save space.

You should also pack a few extra plastic bags in case you bring home dirty clothes or shoes. You can keep them wrapped up and separate from your normal clothes. Also, do not forget the sunscreen, bug spray, and a small first aid kit.

 

 

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Some great new models are rolling out this year and with it tons of great options. Home Point’s suite of smart home products from trusted brand names are designed to fit seamlessly into your life and home. Finding the right home used to be all about "location, location, location." Today, it's also about convenience, energy saving and safety. Home Point offers all three in two versatile packages.

Ask Pine Hill Estates today about how you can get Home Point installed in your new home in Raynham, MA.

Convenience

The future has never been this easy to use. Home Point’s suite of carefully selected products from trusted brand names are designed to fit seamlessly into your life. Intuitive app-driven controls from your smart devices allow you to create the experience you want and the future you deserve … today.

Energy-saving

It begins with the Nest Learning Thermostat, a smart device that provides both energy efficiency and accurate climate control. Whether you’re out to lunch with friends, spending a busy day at work or enjoying a family vacation, you can tailor the thermostat’s settings to save energy while you are away.

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Safety

Late nights, long hours, lonely evenings: No matter the reason, you should always feel safe. With Home Point, you will. A high-definition video camera, smoke and carbon monoxide detection, and Lutron lighting that can be scheduled to turn on at sunset and off at sunrise.

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Packages

We offer two Home Point packages to provide precisely the features you want.

Home Point Standard

 

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  • Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge, 2 Pico wireless remotes, 2 visor clips, 5 in-wall dimmer switches
  • Nest Learning Thermostat
  • 2 SnapPower Guidelights

Home Point Plus

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image-home-point-package-plus-titan-homes-800x261

Home Point Plus includes everything offered in the Home Point Standard packages, as well as:

  • 1 Nest Protect
  • 1 Nest Cam Indoor
  • 1 SnapPower USB charger outlet cover

Call us today to find out more!

 

 

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Long days sitting in the sand or by the pool are almost here and that means a fabulous summer reading list. So many great books have come out this year that it will be difficult to choose. But choose you must! Summer is fast approaching and you must be prepared to relax and catch up on your reading. Many of these I have read myself, but I will add in a few recommended reads for you too. If you are like me, I love to tell everyone I can about a great book I read. Please post in the comments your favorite summer reads so we can all enjoy! Happy Sun Bathing!

Save Me The Waltz – Zelda Fitzgerald
This book is written by the famous Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of Scott Fitzgerald. There is a new interest in the 1920's power couple as of late and of course everyone knows Scott's books. Zelda was a brilliant writer in her own right though and this story is basically a retelling of her life as she saw it. It is an interesting take on the Fitzgeralds and well worth a read.

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk – Kathleen Rooney
It's the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk. As she crosses the unsafe landscape of a run-down Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be-in surprising moments of generosity and grace. As she strolls, she recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America, cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown. A love letter to city life no matter how shiny or sleazy, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic, from the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

For One More Day – Mitch Albom
I loved this book – this is a DEF read. He is an amazing write.
A beautiful, haunting novel about the family we love and the chances we miss. For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? As a child, Charley “Chick” Benetto was told by his father, “You can be a mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both.” So he chooses his father, only to see the man disappear when Charley is on the verge of adolescence. Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been crumbled by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits bottom after discovering his only daughter has shut him out of her wedding. And he decides to take his own life. He makes a midnight ride to his small hometown, with plans to do himself in. But upon failing even to do that, he staggers back to his old house, only to make an astonishing discovery. His mother — who died eight years earlier — is still living there, and welcomes him home as if nothing ever happened.

Just One Day AND Just One Year And Just One Night – Gayle Forman
I know these are 3 books, but Gayle Forman is the most amazing writer. If you have not read any of her work, I encourage you to do immediately. Her stories make you think, question, laugh, and just appreciate your life and loves. Such beautiful stories. Pick up these books right away and you won't be disappointed.

The Arrangement – Sarah Dunn
This one is so funny, get ready to laugh.
Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They've got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It's the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school's "hot lunch," dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, "chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife's version of chopping wood." When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they've made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There's a part of her, though-the part that worries she's become too comfortable being invisible-that's intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she's known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-"real life," or the "experiment?"

Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

IT – Stephen King
The new movie is coming out this Fall so use this summer to brush up on your IT history. It is a large novel so it is perfect as a summer novel goal.

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Mother's Day is this Sunday and the question on everyones minds is where to take Mom for breakfast,brunch, lunch, or dinner. The same old place won't due as we all want to celebrate the wonder that is Mom, so where to go? We have put together a great list of local restaurants and banquet halls that offer up amazing menu's for Mom. From small local fare to large halls serving massive buffets, there is something on this list to make Mom smile, besides the flowers 🙂

Waterfront Grille in New Bedford
36 Homers Wharf
New Bedford, Massachusetts

Waterfront Grille offers a casual atmosphere and contemporary New England cuisine. It is a local favorite, as well as a must-see for tourists. There is a great harbor view from every seat in the house, and a first hand look at the fishing industry at work.

waterfrontgrille

Bittersweet Farms
438 Main Rd
Westport, Massachusetts

Bittersweet Farm is the perfect setting for special occasions. Enjoy a romantic dinner for two in our cozy Fireside Tavern or on our beautiful patio when the weather permits.

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White's Of Westport
66 State Rd
Westport, Massachusetts
Treat Mom to a fabulous Mother's Day dinner! We're offering our Grand Dinner Brunch Buffet and our Full Course & Traditional Family Style dinners. Reservations are required, please call 508-675-7185 to reserve your table!

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Stoneforge Grill
90 Paramount Drive
Raynham, Massachusetts 02767
Make your Mother’s Day Special at Stoneforge Grill! • Reservations Begin at 11:00 am to 8 pm • Featuring Mother’s Day Dinner Specials plus our full dinner menu View: Stoneforge Grill Mother’s Day Dinner Specials

Stoneforge-Grill-Mothers-Day-Dinner-Specials     Publick-House-Mothers-Day-Dinner-Menu-1     Publick-House-Mothers-Day-Dinner-Menu-2

Wherever you decide to go, the only thing that matters is spending time with Mom. Have a wonderful Mother's Day everyone!

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OH, It is WaterFire season again! I love early summer as it means basins will soon be lit and gondola's will be floating by. If you have never been this is, in my opinion, one of the best attractions around. You will love the atmosphere, the vendors, the food, and just the general beauty of it all. These events also raise money for charity and send tons of money into the local businesses that vend there. It really is lovely so if you have not gone or are looking to go again, here is the schedule for the summer. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 18th
Full Lighting – Sunset: 8:24 p.m.
Sponsored by CVS Health Charity Classic and The Providence Journal
Event Details | Music Program

Saturday, July 9th
Clear Currents Paddle at WaterFire
Full Lighting – Sunset: 8:22 p.m.
Sponsored by Amica Insurance with the generous support of the Textron Charitable Trust
Event Details | Music Program

Saturday, July 23rd
Full Lighting – Sunset: 8:12 p.m.
Sponsored by Cox Business
Event Details | Music Program

Saturday, August 6th – C is for Cure: A WaterFire Lighting for RI Defeats Hep C
Full Lighting – Sunset: 7:59 p.m.
Sponsored by HepCHope.com
Event Details | Music Program

Saturday, August 20th
Clear Currents: Paddle Night at WaterFire
Full Lighting – Sunset 7:37 p.m.
Sponsored by Fidelity Investments and National Grid
Event Details | Music Program

Sunday, September 4th
Full Lighting – Sunset 7:15 p.m.
Sponsored by the Providence Tourism Council
Event Details | Music Program

Saturday, September 24th
Full Lighting – Sunset 6:38 p.m.
Sponsored by the Confucius Institute & US-China Institute at Bryant University and Nortek
Event Details | Music Program

Saturday, October 1stFlames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™
Full Lighting – Sunset: 6:26 p.m.
Sponsored by Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation and Lifetime Medical
Event Details | Music Program

Saturday, November 5thWaterFire Salute to Veterans
Full Lighting – Sunset: 5:34 p.m.
Event Details | Music Program

Thursday, November 17th – FireBall*
The stellar celebration at the future home of WaterFire Providence!
5:30 – 11:00 p.m. at the WaterFire Arts Center

Did you know that each year WaterFire attracts nearly 1 million visitors to downtown Providence to experience art in the city. Annually, WaterFire activity creates $113 million in economic output for local businesses too so get out and enjoy a wonderful night of vendors and ambiance and help support a great community too.

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It is almost blockbuster time! Each year, when summer rolls round, you can be sure we are in for some great new movie releases and this season is no exception. We are finally having a summer without another Avenger movie and in it's place are some great options. I do have to say I am excited for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie as the first one was really terrific. I am not a huge fan of these types of movies, but it was really good so it made movie #1 on our list.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5 Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' continues the team's adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage. This is set to make another Billion this May.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – May 12 Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.

Despicable Me 3 – June 30 Gru meets his twin brother Dru he never knew about. Everyone loves the adorable minions and this is a great family film to bring the grandkids to.

It – September 8 Children start to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine. The neighborhood children unite together to face Pennywise, an evil clown whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries. I think everyone is waiting for this remake!

Snatched – May 12 When her boyfriend dumps her before their exotic vacation, a young woman persuades her ultra-cautious mother to travel with her to paradise, with unexpected results. Amy Schumer returns two summers after Trainwreck with Goldie Hawn as her movie mom in one of the most unlikely (and welcome) on-screen pairings of the year, with a screenplay by Kate Dippold (The Heat/Ghostbusters) and Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies/The Night Before) at the helm.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – May 26 Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil's Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him. Captain Jack's only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

With so many great movies coming out, which one will you be watching? Let us know in the comments!

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Some people by now have their returns, others are waiting for the direct deposit notification or the check in the mailbox. Once you get your refund though, what should you do with it? Save it? Have fun? Invest? There are many avenues to take and none of these are wrong. Which one is the smartest though? The average tax refund was $3,218 in 2015. That's a good chuck of money. Consider how this money could help you in future instead of the present with a few of these options…

Emergency Fund. Start or build an emergency fund. Nearly 3 out of 10 Americans have no emergency savings. Most financial experts recommend that you have the equivalent of at least 6 months' worth of expenses stashed in a savings account.

Invest in yourself. Think about it: You are your biggest income-producing asset. Your expertise, talent, experience, work ethic and reputation for bringing delicious snacks to office potlucks are all part of what adds value to this asset. And unlike stock market returns and interest rates, you can influence your own rate of return by improving your value in the working world. Using your tax refund to pay for additional training, tuition, a work-related conference or membership in a professional organization is an investment that can pay off for years to come in bigger paychecks and greater job stability.

Open an IRA. If you don't have the option to fund a 401(k) or you would rather put your tax refund directly in a retirement account, consider opening or funding an IRA. You can elect to have part or all of your tax refund directly deposited in an IRA on your tax return, so no additional work is required. If this is your first IRA, be sure to do the math on whether a Roth or traditional option will work better to reduce your lifetime tax bill. You may also need to do some research to find a low-cost IRA with great investment options. IRAs have much smaller contribution limits than 401(k) plans, so take care not to over-fund the account. The 2017 contribution limit is $5,500, with a $1,000 catch-up option if you're age 50 or older.

Contribute to a HSA. Another way to get ready for retirement is to prepare for potential health care costs. One way to do this is to fund a health savings account if your health care plan allows for one. A HSA gives you another tax-advantaged way to save, and the money can roll over from year to year and be used for medical expenses at any time. HSA investment options are often limited, and not all health care plans allow for the use of a HSA. But if you have maxed out your other tax-advantaged retirement savings options, a HSA can allow you to bulk up your savings for health care costs.

While all of this is very important, don't forget to do a little something for yourself. This is just as important as anything listed here. Happy Monday!

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Yard Sale season is upon us! The weather is turning, leaves and flowers are sprouting, and yard sale signs are being posted. Some people make it a sport to visit as many sales as they can on the weekends while others just stop when they see one. Whether you are an avid yard saler or the occasional one, there are may great websites now to help aid you in your search for treasures. We will run down a list for you, but please feel free to leave any we do not list in the comments below. Happy searching!

1. Craigslist – of course. Craigslist is wonderful for countless reasons, but one of their best section is garage sales. 90% of people holding yard sales will list them here so it is best to check this one first. Just go to https://southcoast.craigslist.org/search/gms and have a blast!

2. Garage Sale Finder –  http://garagesalefinder.com/yard-sales/ – This is a great site that features a search tool and also has a feature that will send you alerts to new sales in the areas you choose.

3. Yard Sale Search –  http://www.yardsalesearch.com/ – We mentioned this on our Facebook page too. Great website with built in search feature. It comes up first in Google searches so people are more apt to post their sales here.

4.Yard Sales – https://yardsales.net/ – Another great website to check out. Very popular and remember not everyone is going to post their sale on all these sites, so best to peek at all of them before heading out.

5. Garage Sales By Map – This is the big one, tons of sales and a great mobile app that makes it easy to plan your day –  http://gsalr.com/

I hope you all have a great season of treasure hunting! See you out there!

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Easter is surely on it's way. This festive holiday is a favorite in our house and we love to go all out with hunts, activities, baskets, and of course good food and family. I can think of no better blog this week than one filled with what we serve and plan on this special day. We'd love to hear what you bake and play too so please let us know in the comments how you celebrate.

This year I am planning a brunch menu. My menu is finally complete and I am baking the following goodies!

Eggs Benedict Casserole
French Toast Bake
Baked Spiral Ham
Chicken and Egg Salad
Deviled Eggs
Cheesecake Strawberries
Peep Kabobs
Mimosa's
I will also pick up various baked goodies and treats as well.

Here are some inspiration shots for you!
  Image result for french toast bake   Image result for deviled eggs chicks  Image result for peep kabob Image result for crescent carrots

I am also changing things up this year a bit as far as the hunt goes.

First thing in the morning, I am making a batch of 20 plastic eggs that all contain a piece of a puzzle. Once solved, that will lead them to their goodies. Even if you have no kiddies at home, this is a great idea for visiting grandchildren. Hide all the eggs and they have to collect all 20 to have all the pieces of the puzzle and to their basket!


I want to make the back of the clues into a map for the final big egg.:

After that, we hunt! I have decided to assign each hunter a colored egg. Each person participating will be assigned an egg color so when they are hunting for eggs, only the color they are assigned can be picked up by them. This makes for more personalized prizes in the eggs and assures everyone gets the same amount! Feel free to hide some special golden eggs though!


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I am also going to set out a mason jar full of M&M's and whoever guesses the right amount, takes it home!


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What do you have planned for Easter? Let us know in the comments and Happy Easter everyone!

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