5 Reasons to Have a Girls Night

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetI was never really one to go out with other girls and have a girls night. Not even in high school or college. I know… I was one of those stereotypical Asians who devoted most of their time studying because an A- was like an F, and we were not having that. Fast forward about 10 years, I meet some crazy fun women at work, and we just all click. The first time we all went out together was at this Mexican Restaurant in Philadelphia. I think we were celebrating a new addition to our team or a birthday or something.. I can’t remember. Those margaritas were killing it, and we had so much fun.

We all planned on other outings, but I always had an excuse not to go. I just felt weird going out without my husband. Most of the time, we would always hang out together and I didn’t want to leave him for girls night. I mean he had his thing he did with the guys – poker night with his cousins every other Friday. At first I really didn’t like it because it was time spent away from each other. – I know.. lol but afterwards I saw how much he liked hanging with the guys every now and then. I mean having conversations about football with me wasn’t working. So I made those nights “mommy and kids movie night”

Then I started seeing pictures of my friends continuing on their girls night without me, and it got to a point where they wouldn’t even ask me to go. Not because I wasn’t fun to hang out with because to be honest, I’m freakin’ awesome… lol! It was because they already knew my answer. I wanted to change that, and made sure I made time for some of the craziest, funniest, most beautiful girls I’m blessed to have in my life. So now we are making a monthly tradition to get together with just the 5 of us. Last night was the first of these monthly adventures, and we had such a fun time together. We’re already excited to plan the next one… A drag queen show in Philly perhaps? Can’t wait.

I also did some research and found out that having a girls night, or even a guys night is actually really good for your sanity. 4 of us ladies are mothers, and we can lose our sanity quite easily. Especially Aziah. Anyways,  I’ve compiled about 5 reasons why having a girls night is good for you.

  • Healthier Life: I googled this so it must be true, that girlfriends are actually stress busters for women. There was a study done in 2002 at UCLA which concluded that when we are around friends, the mood elevating hormone oxytocin is released, increasing our feeling of euphoria. There was also another study at Harvard concluding that “not having regular contact with girlfriends was as detrimental to a woman’s health as smoking or putting on weight.” no thanks…
  • Bonding & Entertaining Drama: We have the funniest stories, and girl talk is so fun. I mean what did Yelena do in AC again?! No… not Yelena! Jamie, maybe…            I mean how fun is it to talk about some crazy stuff in our lives? Also as moms and wives we talk about home life too, and how crazy raising a teen is.. right Jamie? We’re also there for support and be a shoulder to cry on. The bond we have is just amazing. And you know what, actually being physically together and not interacting online is refreshing.
  • Dressing up: As girls, how fun is it to get all dolled up? I know as a kid I would play dress up and put my moms make up and heels on. Now it’s for real. I even got ready 3 hours before I even had to leave. Taking my time curling my hair, putting a little make up on and trying to figure out what outfit and shoes to wear.
  • To escape: Did I mention we were all moms and wives? Well all except for Melissa. We still need to find her a man. Anyways, it’s just nice to get out and unwind with some friends. Kids are fun but you get crazy sometimes when the house is always in need of some cleaning, and they complain about not liking the dinner you just made them. There’s also my husband. I mean I love him and I really enjoy hanging out with him, but I don’t think I have the right reactions to some of the things he says like, “Dude that guy just did a face mask” What mask? He’s wearing a football helmet…And why do we want the Patriots to lose again?
  • A healthy dose of Honesty: Your true girlfriends tell you things you may or may not like to hear. They just tell you how it is. If you look good in that dress or whether you need to get back in that house and change. They will also be honest with you when it comes to relationships and be there when you are heart-broken.

So if you are out there and haven’t had a girls night out in a while, or if you’ve never had one ever (God bless you girl…) Then text your girlfriends , and plan on a little fun girls night out ASAP! Trust me, you will be happy you did.
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Our 2018 Bucket List

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I’ve seen so many Pacific Ocean sunsets growing up on the Central Coast of California but in the 6 years I’ve lived in New Jersey, I have yet to see an Atlantic Ocean sunrise. I mean every year we’ve tried, but every freaking time there was too much fog out or it was raining. This year, I will see a sunrise over the Atlantic dang it!

Eric and I also came up with a few other things to add to our bucket list this year.

  1. Write a letter to ourselves and open in 10 years
  2. Get my second tattoo. Something small and meaningful.
  3. Start a veggie garden. (A Fairy garden for Carson)
  4. Take a road trip to South Carolina
  5. Have a legit picnic. ( checkered blanket and picnic basket)
  6. Do a monthly craft with the kids
  7. Volunteer together as a family
  8. Go paddle boarding
  9. Start a food blog
  10. And the most important one – spend a weekend without the kids. Our eldest child is 8 years old now and we have not had one night without them yet. Definitely a must this year!297D446F-7C6F-41B4-A656-C11B811E79A3.jpeg

 

 
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Sees Copycat Fudge

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When I was in high school, my favorite hang out spot with friends besides the beach was the mall. They had this candy store there called Sees and I remember making a stop there before heading home. I love chocolate, and I always thought that Sees had the best. Even when they opened a Ghirardelli Chocolate and Ice Cream Shop in town (oh my God I know right?)  I was still a Sees girl.

I haven’t had Sees in a while, so this year I decided to research their fudge recipe and give it a shot. I literally made 3 batches until I had the perfect one. The first one is your classic chocolate with chopped walnuts. Then I made one with a chocolate and peanut butter layer on top, and the last one, which was a huge hit at Casa de Arroyo was a white chocolate fudge with crushed peppermint on top. I will have a separate post for that later.

Now that I have finally figured out the right amount marshmallow fluff, and that when they say stir the sugar and evaporated milk while it’s rapidly boiling for 7 minutes, you better stir that sucker for 7 minutes. I was able to have a perfect Christmas present to give to neighbors, the mail man, the cash delivery guy at work, and the lady from Shoprite who likes to talk to me about the end of the world. Oh and by the way, the dollar store has the cutest gift boxes and tins to put them in and it’s the perfect size! Here’s the recipe for the classic milk chocolate fudge. Enjoy!

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CDE9CB16-E18B-4B11-8A23-A802B3EAB098Ingredients:

  • 3 bags of milk chocolate chips
  • 12 oz can of evaporated milk or condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 7 oz of Marshmallow fluff
  • 2 sticks of butter (room temp)
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

 

  • Place some parchment paper in a glass baking dish.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the chocolate chips, nuts, butter, fluff, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  • In a large pot – bigger than you think, add the evaporated milk, sugar and regular milk. Bring to a boil and stir. Once it’s rapidly boiling, keep stirring for 7 minutes. (It’s going to be the longest 7 minutes of your life.) It will start to expand, hence the “larger than you think” pot.
  • After 7 minutes carefully pour this over the other ingredients in the mixing bowl. Start stirring with a spatula until all the chocolate is melted and you have a nice smooth texture.
  • Pour this onto the parchment lined baking dish and spread evenly.
  • you can either set aside to cool or stick in the refrigerator until it’s hard enough to cut.

If you want to try it with the peanut butter layer, I simply switched one of the bags of chocolate chips with peanut butter chips, and did a way with the nuts. I used a separate bowl for the peanut butter and divided a third of the ingredients to go in with it. Then you just pour it over the chocolate portion and let cool.

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Christmas is in the Air

 

 

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I love Christmas. It’s such a fun and joyful time of the year. I’ve been so blessed with so many childhood memories and now, I get to make more with our little ones. I just love the feeling I get when all the decorations get put up, or when we go cut our tree and start hanging the lights and ornaments we’ve collected through the years. Oh and when  Home Alone is playing on the TV!

Recently my husband and I have been spending more time in the kitchen making dinner together and dancing and singing to Christmas music. We just smile as the kids peak over and start giggling. I think it’s because of their daddy’s voice. 😉

Tonight I wanted it to feel more like Christmas by making the house smell like it. It’s very simple. All you have to do is get a pot of water, add orange slices, whole cloves, fresh cranberries, some pine (I cut some from our wreath) and cinnamon sticks. Let that simmer for a while, and your house will smell like Christmas magic!

Our Sunday at the Tree Farm

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For the past 5 years we have been going to this local tree farm owned by a family that my husband knows. This year, we tried a different tree farm. I had promised the owner that I would go visit this year, so we did. This place was a lot bigger, a lot busier, and way more expensive than the other place. We were used to getting whatever size tree for a flat $45, and as we looked through the ones they had, we were seeing price tags of $150 for a 6 foot tree.

We were already there, and the kids were so excited, so my husband and I just said, Eff it… let’s grab a wagon, and a saw and find our tree… The whole time, I was trying to capture video clips so I could create a little movie about our tree cutting adventures. Then switching back to my Nikon to get some shots of the kids as they searched through  hundreds of trees. Once we found the one, I wanted to get the family together and possibly get the shot that would go on our Christmas cards this year.

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I imagined this perfect shot of the four of us and our tree, but it just turned out to be a stressful, frustrating time with me and my husband telling the kids to stand still, and to stop poking at each other. My daughter kept making ugly faces at the camera and at her brother. My son kept antagonizing his little sister because apparently he likes the sound of her whining… I finally decided to just take some candid shots.

After about an hour or so, we finally found our tree. We watched as Eric cut it, and load it onto the wagon. We were exhausted and couldn’t wait to go home. We headed back to pay, and as my husband waited in line, I decided to buy the kids some hot chocolate. The owner even came over and told me to pick out any wreath I wanted- free of charge. His wife made them all by hand, and they were all so beautiful I couldn’t pass it up.

Even though I didn’t get my “Christmas card” photo I was hoping for, we enjoyed our time together picking out and cutting our tree. This is an annual tradition that we will continue to do for as long as we can. Plus, cutting fresh Christmas trees is actually good for the environment.

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Sleepy Hollow Trip

I have been slacking with this blogging thing. With being a mom, wife and working full time, I just kind of let it go. But I want to make sure I update this with some fun posts and memories the kids can look back on. Our Sleepy Hollow trip was actually a month ago, but let’s see how much of it I can remember.

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The village of Sleepy Hollow is about 30 miles north of New York City. It’s right near the Hudson River and is known to many via “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” a short story written by Washington Irving. (He’s also buried there) They even made a movie about it starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. You know, the spooky one with the headless horseman?

Every October, we have made it a family tradition to spend at least a weekend there. This year we booked a few extras attractions and even decided to drive up to Salem one of the days just to say we went there. Checked that off our bucket list. But to be honest, it wasn’t what I expected. I’ll get to that later. So we left on a chilly Friday afternoon. We were all so excited and had our things packed the night before. I made breakfast for everyone, and we double checked to make sure we got everything. Eric packed everything in the car, and I did some last minute cleaning. I hate coming back from a trip to a messy house. But then again, when you have little kids, it’s really difficult to keep your house clean.

It was around 1 o’clock when we finally hit the road. It took us about 3 hours to get there, but we were in no hurry and we love long family drives. We bought our road trip snacks, had Pandora set to oldies and then occasionally switched to country… we were just so excited to spend the weekend together in a different place, and stay at a hotel. We LOVE the excitement of staying over night in a hotel… 😂 When we arrived, we checked in, and unpacked all our belongings. For dinner our first night there, we went to this Mexican restaurant called Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant. We ate there last year, and their food was so good, we definitely wanted to go back this year. Best Mexican food ever.

By the time we were done, it was pretty dark out so we decided to go back to the hotel and hang out at the indoor pool before we went to our first attraction at 9 pm – The Great Jack O’lantern Blaze! This place is amazing. Volunteers carve thousands of pumpkins and set them up in these crazy beautiful displays. It was great going for a nice family stroll looking at all the pumpkin displays. It was definitely worth the $25 per person.

The next morning we woke up early, and Eric asked if I was sure I wanted to go to Salem. He really didn’t want to go but he would if I really wanted to. I mean yeah, we could have found some things to do during the day in Sleepy Hollow or the surrounding areas, but it was Halloween season, and I was about to cross over 2 new states I haven’t been to. So yeah, I said I wanted to go, but boy do I regret going. I loved the time we spent with each other and the experience of going to Salem. But the traffic was CRAZY and it seemed like there were more people there than New York City. We only spent about 2 hours there. We had another attraction to go to in Sleepy Hollow so we got in the car, and headed back. The traffic back was just as bad.

When we arrived back at the hotel, we had about 30 minutes to get ourselves put together from spending hours in the car. We were going to this murder mystery at this spooky looking mansion owned by Jay Gould. He was a leading railroad developer back in the 1800s and was super wealthy. This murder mystery was kid friendly and the kids loved it. It was a little silly but I loved hearing the kids laugh and get involved. After that was over we went back to the hotel and ordered some Italian food to our room. It took sooo long for the food to arrive, but the dessert we got was amazing!

This was our last night, and we were pretty ready to be back home in our own beds. We woke up the next morning, ate breakfast and did our usual cemetery walk. Sleepy Hollow cemetery is so beautiful, yet creepy. The morning was a bit chilly and the air was crisp – a perfect fall day. We didn’t spend too much time there. We decided we would just look for Andrew Carnegie and William Rockafellers final resting places and head home.

I planned on taking so many pictures during this trip, and in my mind I had every day and every activity planned out. It really didn’t go that way. We just kind winged it and enjoyed our time together. The Salem trip, where I imagined this enchanted Hocus Pocus land was just a stressful street fair type of walk. It was hot and crowded, and Carson wanted to be picked up every 5 minutes. I don’t know if we’ll be back to Salem anytime soon, but see you next October, Sleepy Hollow!

 

Apple Picking Adventures

temporaryJaxson was about two years old when we started our apple picking tradition. It’s just so fun picking fruits from trees! We also love these memories we’re making with the kids. This year was pretty good. Carson was in a good mood and made the whole experience pleasant. Last year – not so much. It was hot and she kept whining, wanting to be picked up every 2 seconds. Jaxson, as always was well behaved. Lol!

 

Our Fall Family Traditions

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It’s officially Fall! This is one of the reasons why I wanted to move to the East Coast. The only bummer is that it goes by so fast! Here’s a list of some of the fun things we like to do as a family before all the leaves are gone, and winter keeps us indoors, making us wish we were back in California.

1. Country road drives: First we stop at Wawa for snacks, then we just drive around looking out the window at the beautiful fall colors.

2. Family walks: We love the crisp autumn air and being outside. (We just don’t like our daughter begging to be carried every 2 minutes.) There’s this place about 45 minutes from us called Duke Farms. It’s a beautiful nature preserve, and it’s free!

3. Pumpkin pickin’ and Hayrides: Every year we go to this place called Locust Hall Farm. They have fun activities for kids, and there’s a hayride that takes you to the pumpkin patch. We pick out our pumpkins, little gourds and Indian corn. The kids love it!

4. Sleepy Hollow NY: It’s become a family tradition. Every year in October, we spend a weekend there searching for the headless horseman! It’s such a beautiful little town, with lots to do from a guided cemetery tour by lantern, haunted house tours, and our favorite, The Great Jack O’lantern Blaze. We’ll be posting about this trip soon!

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5. Apple picking: Another family tradition, where we pick waaayyy to many apples! We always go to this place near our home called Strawberry Hill Farm. The owners are always so nice and they have so many apples! I end up making apple pies and other pastries with all the apples. So yummy!

6. Obv. pumpkin carving: Every year we try to get all fancy with the carving. Never comes out the way we want. Lol!

7. Family get-togethers: Well it is also football season and the Arroyos are huge football fans with the fantasy football and all that ish. But seriously we sometimes meet up at a family members house, enjoy great food, and just have fun! We’re one big loving, crazy, loud family!

We’ll probably try a few new things this fall, but our most favorite part is making these memories together! Oh and I almost forgot, Fall also means Jaxson’s, Carson’s and mommy’s Birthdays!! Woohoo!!!

 

A night in the mountains!

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This weekend we packed up our family and camping gear, and took an overnight trip to the Catskills mountains. You don’t always know when you are creating a lasting memory or starting a family tradition, but that is exactly what we did.

Our adventure started with a 3 hour drive from New Jersey to Albany county in New York. It was so relaxing to drive through the small towns, hills and valleys on the way to the camp site. We knew that there would be a little rain when we left home, but we were not going to let that stop us.

We found this place online called Magic Forest Camp. I  have to admit that this place looked a little sketchy when we first pulled in, but we got to our camp site and realized it was exactly what we wanted. No swimming pools or other resort campground stuff, but in the woods with no electricity camping. REAL CAMPING!

 

We started our night by cooking dinner on the fire and having SMORES for dessert! As the night went on we read ghost stories from a book and enjoyed a night away from electronics and the rest of the world. After that we put the kids to bed, and spent several hours trying to fall asleep but were unable to do so because of the loud group of 20 something year olds at the site up the hill from us.

The next morning, we got the fire going again and we had breakfast and coffee. After that we packed everything up, and went to a state park high up in the Catskills mountains. We stopped for an amazing view overlooking the landscape below. Looking down from the top almost gave us a sense of vertigo. As we continued along the road in the park, we found a stream coming down from the mountain, which we followed up as far as we could. It was awesome! The water level was so low we were able to walk in the stream bed itself without getting anything more than our feet wet. The kids loved it! Walking in the water, climbing rocks, and eventually playing in and around a small waterfall.

 

On the ride home we came to realize that this is what having a family is all about! It’s not just going to work and paying bills. It is spending time with each other. Experiencing life together. Respecting each other. Showing your family that they come first. Do that and the love happens on its own!

 

 

Everyday is an Adventure.

Hi guys!

We’re the Arroyo’s! Our family started in 2008 in Monterey Ca. My husband is a Jersey boy who fell in love with a California girl, and now we have 2 beautiful children and live in New Jersey. We wanted to start a diary documenting our family adventures. Hopefully one day when our kids are older they can look back and see just how much fun we had and how much we love them.

We love spending everyday together and enjoying the simple things in life. Sundays are our family days. My husband and I never work on this day, and it’s when we usually go on our “Adventures”. Or as Jaxson used to say, “affentures.” When we lived in California, we would go on nice drives along the PCH, stop and have picnics on the cliffs, hike through the redwoods, or play in the tides pools.

Here on the east coast, my husband has been teaching me how to be a New Jersian! Like shore instead of beach, and jimmies instead of sprinkles! Lol! Seriously though, we spend our summers at the beach, autumn we go for walks and take trips, winter we spend inside “it never got this cold in California”, and the spring we come out of hibernation! But the best times we have are with each other, because out of everything, family and love is all that matters!

We hope you enjoy our moments and memories as much as we do creating them!