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May 2013

Free burgers for Burgers at Smashburger on National Burger Day May 28th AND a giveaway!


Classic Smashburger
Classic Smash at Smashburger.  Man, that looks good. Photo courtesy of Smashburger

Smashburger, America’s fastest growing, fast casual “better burger” restaurant, today announced that in celebration of National Burger Day on May 28 it will give away a FREE Classic Smash™ nationwide to anyone with the last name “Burger,” or variations thereof.

 WHAT?! That is so cool!  

According to WhitePages.com, there are approximately 21,687 people in the United States with the last name “Burger” and 1,530 named “Hamburger.”  Either way, burger lovers with variations of “Burger” – or Berger, Weinberger, Rosenberger, etc. – in their names will receive one FREE Classic Smash™ in recognition of the holiday that celebrates America’s favorite food.  This offer is valid for redemption at all Smashburger locations in the United States. Proof of last name is required (i.e. valid driver’s license, passport or picture ID). Limit one Classic Smash per ID.

 So, if you have the last name of Burger or some type of Burger-esque name like Weinburger, Steinburger, Burgermeister, Frankenburger, Whateverburger you can get yourself a free Classic Smash at any Smashburger location this Tuesday.  

“Burgers are an iconic American food.  We’ve been eating them for generations and burgers are America’s favorite food,” said Tom Ryan, Founder of Smashburger.  “But just in the last five years or so, we have seen an explosion in people’s interest to eat higher quality burgers than the typical fast food fare. And with the average person eating 43 hamburgers per year, there is cause for celebration of a national holiday or “National Burger Day.”

 But hey, if you have a last name that's not even close to sounding like Burger you can still celebrate National Burger Day at Smashburger.  With 13 locations in New Jersey including Clifton, East Brunswick, North Brunswick, East Hanover, Florham Park, Hackensack, Montclair/Glen Ridge, Morris Plains, Newark Liberty International Airport (Terminal C), New Providence, Paramus, Parsippany and Ramsey, you can get that burger fix pretty easily.  

To help make that experience even better, I've been given $20 in Smashburger giftcards to giveaway!  I'd love for you to win.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and complete the tasks as explained to enter.  Giveaway ends 6/3 at 12:00AM.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information on Smashburger, or to join its e-club for news, promotions and offers, visit www.smashburger.com.  

Disclosure: While this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.  All italicized writing on this post was taken from a press release made by Smashburger.

Remembering the truth


When I was a kid, I thought I would be dead before the age of 27.  That seemed to be the magical age that I never thought I would get past.  I don't know why I picked 27.  Maybe it was because of Jim Morrison's death at age 27.  He seemed so mysterious and important back then.  

I wasn't happy as a child.  There, I said it.  

I tried.  I wanted to be happy.  

The thing is I didn't have a traumatic childhood.  My family is/was loving and caring.  I had friends.  I joined groups.  I played sports.  I went through the motions. 

I did all the things that happy kids do, but I felt alone in them.  I would always come back to my own thoughts and wonder if that feeling of being slightly off would ever go away.  I wondered if everyone else felt the same way. Does playing a sport truly give a rush of happiness?  Or is everyone else faking it like I am? Does everyone else go home and watch TV in their beds until 4AM and then go to school exhausted just praying for it to end?  

When I was 17, my friend Bryan committed suicide.  It was unexpected and terrible.  Apparently, I was one of the last people to ever hear his voice.  He called that night to talk with my sister.  She wasn't home. He and I talked for a few minutes and then we hung up.  

And then he checked out.


It was the day after Christmas.

I was mad.  I was sad. I was everything you think a pubescent teenager should be.  I stumbled through the viewing line which ran for miles down the road and had to excuse myself 3xs before I was finally able to go to his casket.  Later at home I cried.  My mom hugged me.  My sister cried in her room.  We didn't know how to handle it.

I went to college a year later and couldn't shake that feeling that the end was near.  My dreary outlook on life stayed with me throughout my 2 1/2 year stay at school.  I thought of Bryan often.  I felt closer with him after his death than I did in his life.  

But then something happened.  Something changed.  A light turned on.  I suddenly didn't feel down; I felt up.  I felt the world growing around me... flowers blooming, trees swaying, smiles.  The world just changed.  There is no explanation. It just...clicked.

And just like that, I was happy.

Looking back on those dark times makes me sad.  I have tried writing about them before, but never really get it right.  I just write about them so I will remember them when my kids go through rough times.  So that I can remember I was there once, too.  

Even without any particular pinpointed issue (like bullying, abuse, etc) childhood can be hard.  Yes we all have to go through it, but it does suck sometimes.

I look at my younger years in a different light now, from a different perspective.  What did my mom think?  Did she know?  I think so.  She has always been there for me.  I just didn't think I needed her.  I walked away from her and into my dark room looking for something else...even though she was right there.  I need to remember that when I try to open my own kids' doors and they say no.  

I will pay attention like my mom did and pray and hope they get through any tough times with a smile on the other side of them.  And of course I will be there when they reach for me.  Every time.

Fun times at the Tuckerton Seaport: A recap of the Bluegrass & BBQ festival

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but all my thoughts, opinions, and love for my day at the Tuckerton Seaport are truly my own.

Tucker's Island Lighthouse

 This weekend my family & I were fortunate enough to be guests of Real Mom Media at the Tuckerton Seaport's Bluegrass and BBQ Festival.  We were able to enjoy the festival with several of my blogging buddies who came in from the Philadelphia area to check out all the Tuckerton Seaport has to offer. 

I have to confess something: I've been to the Tuckerton Seaport probably 30 times since they opened, but I've never actually taken a guided tour.  Because I live within walking distance, my family & I always stop in to play mini golf or play on their huge wooden pirate ship.  Sometimes we take a walk to the top of the lighthouse and see if we can see our house from way up there.  We always check out the NJ Surf Museum and brag that their Hansen 50/50 is the same make our brother-in-law surfs.  

Every Friday evening in the summertime, we pack up our beach chairs and a cooler and head to the Seaport for their free Friday Night Concert events.

We love the Seaport.  But we've never actually walked with a guide.

Photo 311
bluegrass under the tent

 Between listening to awesome bluegrass music by both the staged bands and the vendors plucking cigar box banjos and eating barbeque like ribs, fried catfish, and collard greens, we were able to take a walk around the 46 acres to find out a little more about my town's history.

Photo 411
Fried catfish and BBQ chicken from Blossom's Catering

 We looked at duck decoys and sneakboxes that lined the Hunting Shanty and marveled at the names underneath.  My daughter thought it was super-cool to learn that a few of her friends are related to famous award winning decoy carvers and boat builders like Rube Corliss and Gus Heinrichs.  


Photo 111
Checking out the decoys in the Hunting Shanty

 We also got to play about a million different musical instruments including this awesome washboard necktie at Todd's Musical Petting Zoo which was there for the festival: 


Photo 211
Wrote a song about it. Like ta hear it? Here it go!

 I was also very happy to be there for the world premiere of Jersey Shore United a film by Jimmy Ward -a local favorite here on the Jersey Shore since Hurricane Sandy.  Jimmy has been making these fantastic videos of himself running through our shore towns after Hurricane Sandy to help show our progress in bebuilding.  But moreso they show our strength as a large community.  It warmed my heart to see him in person and to be able to tell him how great he is for doing what he does. 


Southern Regional HS sophomore Jimmy Ward

 We ended our day by making a really cute wooden duck magnet which now adorns my fridge.  The kids did a great job!


 Our day at the Tuckerton Seaport was so great.  The kids are eager to go back and learn more and I'm eager to attend more of their awesome festivals.  Up next: the Privateers & Pirates Festival on June 8th 2013! Looking forward to it.  Hope to see you there!


Breadless Cheesy Garlic Bread

Photo 3

Just wanted to share a quick recipe that came to me during one of my cravings for good garlic bread only to find that we were out of the main ingredient: Bread.

Instead of putting on real pants and going to the store or bribing my husband in some way to go for me, I thought, "Hmmm, I really only want the cheesy goodness that's on top.  To heck with the bread!"  

I decided to skip the middle man (AKA: the bread) and just put the cheese itself directly under the broiler. The result was fantastic.  Here's how you do it:

Photo 2


Breadless Cheesy Garlic Bread

About 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese

1/8 tsp garlic powder

sprinkling of oregano

1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese

Sprinkle the mozzarella (similar to how you would put cheese on a pizza) into a pan that can be put in the broiler.  Then sprinkle the rest of the ingredients on top making sure they are evenly dispersed.  Stick in under a broiler until it is bubbly and brownish.  Let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then remove it in one big sheet.  To easily cut it, use a pizza cutter.


 OK, so I know my blog is sorta all over the place. One day it's recipes, another day it's a giveaway, and another day it's a story about my family... I hope it's not too hard to follow.  One of these days I'll organize myself.  Until then it's just Whatever Works. :-)   

This post falls under the category of Weird Stuff I Do. It's about oil pulling.


Oil Pulling face!

I have always had sinus problems and never had any problem taking medication to treat them.  However, as we all know most sinus medications are not recommended when you are pregnant.  

So when I got all knocked up with my daughter, my sinuses started laughing at me.  Sinuses are jerks.

I looked everywhere for a good homeopathic remedy that could relieve my sinus pain and pressure and not cause my baby to come out resembling a Mucinex bottle or something.  Among other remedies like eating whole garlic cloves and doing shots of apple cider vinegar, I found the ancient Ayurveda practice of oil pulling.

Oil pulling is kinda gross when you think of it.  Basically, you take about 10ml of your favorite oil (I like safflower oil) * and swish it around in your mouth for about 15 minutes.  Yes, the same 10ml of oil swishes around in your mouth for 15 minutes.  Then you spit it out and go on your merry way.  

When I read about it, I thought it was so silly it HAD to work.  Guess what?  It did.  After the first few days of oil pulling, I was blowing things out of my nose I never knew could fit in there.  But it did so much more than just that.

See, you are supposed to do your oil pulling first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.  I'm not sure on the science of that aspect (or the science of ANY of it, to be honest) but the process goes beyond science for me.  Those first 15 minutes of the day are the calmest of the entire day.

My kids wake up and see me swishing, so they go about their business without asking me for anything.  If they do need something, we find creative ways to communicate with each other while I can't speak.  Today, my son and I had a great silent conversation about tea and his fluffy blanket using just our eyes and a sort of sign language.

I've been oil pulling for almost 10 years now.  I don't know if it has really helped me physically or if it's just in my head.  Maybe a little of both?  But I do know that it helps start my day off on the right foot most of the time.  Just thought I'd share it with you. 

 *I recently switched over to coconut oil because I heard it gives some energizing effects.  Boy, does it!  It's better than the first cup of tea in the morning.  Honest!


What to write..?


My beautiful daughter at 1 year-old...about 8 years ago

I haven't written here in a while.  In fact, I am one day shy of a full month since my last post.  Sure, I have been busy doing other things, but truthfully the main reason I haven't written here is because I have been struggling with topics.  

See, my daughter is getting older.  She has asked me to stop writing about her publicly.  Even posting a picture of her on Facebook now requires her permission.  I completely understand and will abide by her request because I love her and respect her decision.  But it sort of leaves me with less writing material.  She is one funny and amazing girl.  I am so proud of her and all her accomplishments.  I want to scream it from the rooftops!  Alas, I can't and I won't.

My son, on the other hand is a hambone.  He loves the attention and thinks it's hilarious when people comment about his pictures or funny stories.  So what do I do?  Only write about my son?  Sure that seems like an easy solution, but I feel it's not fair.

Both my kids are remarkable in their own way.  While I would know the reason behind my seemingly one-sided posts that only tell tales of my son's adventures and exclude my daughter, I just don't want them to look back on it later in life and think I was favoring one over the other.

So it brings me back to my main purpose for writing this post: What do I write about when the main topic of my life is no longer a viable option?  It will be a work in progress.  I hope you'll stick around.