Thursday, December 27, 2012


There's always something new on the horizon, and looming largest is New Year's Eve. I took some time this year to prioritize my resolutions.  Highest on my list: food.

A huge category with an equally huge impact.  They say,  "you are what you eat" - and wellness aside, the intangible gifts that come from gathering at a family table are stellar.  So what will it take?

Like most families, we've got obstacles to hurdle (one with life-threatening food allergies, the other with major aversions, and the babe just learning his way around a meal).  It will take determination, preparation and inspiration to right this ship, but lucky enough there is loads of the last.  Can't wait to share my faves each Friday throughout the year!

Friday, December 21, 2012


Photo courtesy of Jessica Antola
'Tis a few nights before Christmas and I am eager to soak in the spirit with the kiddos this weekend. For eons I have wanted to tackle a gingerbread house and am determined this is the year.

I surfed for instructions and was completely enthralled and inspired by Anna Harrington's "Modern Twist" on the tradition. Her take (recently covered by Martha Stewart) is super cool: the focus is on the imagination of the creator versus cookie-cutter style. And it's not the first time Anna's work has stopped me in my tracks.

Anna is a mom-of-two and the founder/creative director of Brooklyn-based Yummy Time, where she leads cooking workshops for children at Pomme. And as a small world gets smaller, I was able to connect with Anna and find out some "yummy" scoop firsthand.  See my questions below...Thank you Anna!

Q: How did the modern twist come to be?
ANNA: It just seemed the only way to do them.  I never entertained the idea of doing traditional houses with kids. They are so specific in how something should look. In all my classes I like to provide the kids with wonderful and beautiful materials (that provide an aesthetic starting point) but the rest is really up to them.

Q: The beautiful colors make the unique designs really pop. What are your favorite candies to use?
ANNA: I go to Economy Candy on Rivington and buy everything in bulk. Almost nothing is a brand name. I am very careful to buy things that are only plain geometric shapes, without logos. This year I am in love with the colors of the small round chocolates.

Q:While your whole process is uber-inspiring, any tips for the novice or time-short on how to simplify or cut corners if need be?
ANNA: You can always just make frosting which is fast and painless and use graham crackers as building blocks. BUT the house smells amazing from this gingerbread and everyone loves to eat it, so I think it's worth the effort once a year. (Full recipe and instructions here).

Q:What is your favorite thing about cooking with children at Yummy Time?
ANNA: How much more they will taste and eat when they've been involved with making a meal. I can't tell you how many parents are shocked by what their kids eat in my classes. Also, cooking is just like a big art project. It is messy and they can use their hands in a really gratifying way.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


My last post was a declaration to enjoy the moments of this season.  Of the many perks, a favorite is the sense of calm.   Just a dash of preparation and purpose also allows some time for reflection - often lost in the mad dash.

I am a huge fan of clean slates, and in less than a month comes the ultimate.  Instead of my usual hasty promise right before the clock strikes,  I have decided to take advantage of this amazing opportunity we are given each year.

With some time to actually think about it, a few different resolutions for the New Year pop up. How about a twist? Brainstorm a list and set it aside.  Pick a favorite for January, and any time during the year - first of the month or on a whim - revisit the list and go for another.  I just may if I'm game!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


As the years march on, I often wonder if time really can fly?  Summers seem shorter, months and days zoom by.

Thankfully the holidays are the perfect opportunity to be steadfast in our effort to enjoy the moment.  It is an ironic goal, with all the chatter of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the like.

Now is a chance to honor family traditions, to savor the moment, and to think of others.  Little by little, make a point of using and enjoying holiday favorites. Some of mine: window lights, great music, and a Christmas pillow my mom made - a true treasure.  And thanks to my super sister-in-law I found this countdown in my inbox today - the perfect gift!
PS - A blast from the past

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


In one way or another, Sandy was a wake up call to so many of us.  My thoughts and prayers go out to those so burdened by loss and destruction.  Hopefully, with community efforts like Restore Our Shore in New Jersey, and the wonderful people at St. Francis de Sales in Rockaway, the process of healing and rebuilding can begin and sustain.

From my own pre-storm prep I learned some lessons - good and bad.  Prep that helped: filled up the gas tank, confirmed insurance was current in advance of storm, made a cash withdrawal so when credit card machines were down I was able to buy some warm, prepared food and to purchase needed medicine, and made sure I had enough baby food and supplies for a little while.  I also had a lantern that takes AA batteries - stores were cleared of D's right away.

Lessons learned: have a car charger for cell phone, keep copies of prescriptions and pre-fill anything running low (I used up a big chunk of my cash with an emergency run to the powerless pharmacy), stock up on D batteries for flashlights in advance, and keep a car adapter in console for nebulizers, etc. For the future, here is a much more legit checklist courtesy of ABC News that I will most certainly follow.

Again, thought and prayers to all those suffering - stay strong and let us all continue our efforts to help.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I had this on the mind is a previous post from January 2012:
What sounds at first like a groovy mantra, is really precious sentiment. Our greatest joys are never exactly the same as another's, nor are our deepest heartaches, but we all share in common the certainty we will feel both. Sometimes, it is the challenge of others we lament: family, friend, neighbor, stranger.  Sometimes it is our own (very) rough ride we must survive.   Wherever life finds us, when we can we must try to take the time to really enjoy the little things.  Late mornings and lost lunches can always take a backseat to squeezes, squeals and smiles.  XO

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Though they come few and far between, the power of an "ah-ha moment" is life changing.  We are still reaping the benefits of my first one.

My most recent "ah-ha" was a bit more subtle, but none-the-less mind altering: all the "stuff" that we try to do on a daily basis to try to oversee how our children can keep their belongings organized, eat well, complete homework, mind manners etc. etc. etc., means nothing unless our children are an active part of the process.

Case in point: forever and always I prepared dinner on my own while the three kiddos were occupied. Post ah-ha?  Our two of "kitchen-age" trade off weekly between Chef and Sparkler (my desperate attempt at making clean up sound more fun).  The chef and I discuss dinner in advance, including what to serve, sides, drinks etc.  From start to finish they assist and have already learned so much it's mind boggling.  They ask to make menus, name the restaurant, pick plates, cups and more.  Now, when we are finished eating, the sparkler and I spend ten minutes rinsing and loading - with music, chatter, and even a few laughs - who knew!

If everything runs smoothly on a daily basis because someone "else" makes it so, then a child has no training or education in mandatory life skills.  Continuously taking the "quick fix" of straightening up or smoothing out on behalf of a child denies them the instruction they deserve. Though it's hard to imagine, they all grow up.  Ah-ha!

PS - Here's a few more for fun.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's no shocker that life is busy.  A lot of people would say it is "crazy busy", according to the New York Times.  The result? The notion of a family dinner sounds more like fantasy than fact. Thanks to Cozi, help is on the way!

 In order to shed some light on this seemingly universal struggle, Cozi and Partnership for a Healthier America are promoting America Makes Dinner to encourage families all across the country to sit down together, tonight, for dinner. 

According to Cozi CEO Robbie Cape, "Research links frequent family meals to a lower risk of smoking, drinking and drug use, and a Columbia University study even found that kids who eat dinner most often with their parents are 40% more likely to get mainly As and Bs in school." 

I am already a big fan of Cozi, the multi-award winning family organizer, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to find out first hand why Cozi decided to take part in this campaign.  The responses to my questions are below:   

Q: Why is America Makes Dinner an important initiative for Cozi?
A: Cozi created America Makes Dinner to change the way American families think about dinner and provide them with the tools and encouragement they need to prioritize healthy, sit-down dinners.  Most everyone agrees that eating dinner together is a good thing - good for our health, our families and our wallets.  But things get in the way - like homework, soccer practice and not knowing quick and healthy recipes.  Both Cozi and Partnership for a Healthier America, our partner on the America Makes Dinner campaign, are committed to helping build healthier futures for our children, and we hope that families across the nation will join us to promote the importance of sitting down as a family to have dinner and talk about their day. 

Q: What were the findings as to how often families are able to eat dinner together? What was the biggest obstacle to having family dinner?
A: Cozi's American Dinner Survey found that 52% of families with kids at home miss dinner together at least two or three days each week; a total of 104-156 missed dinners annually.  Fifty percent of respondents said demanding work schedules or kids' extracurricular activities are the biggest obstacles keeping them from having dinner as a family.  

Q: How can Cozi help improve the problem?
A: Cozi helps families solve this problem by simplifying the everyday logistics of busy family life and keeping each family member on an organized schedule and aware of the rest of the family's commitments.  The Meal Planner and Shopping List features are especially helpful for getting dinner on the table.  You can store all your recipes in one easy-to-access place online, add ingredients from your recipes right to your list and drag and drop your recipes to create a dinner plan for the week that the whole family can see.  You can also create shopping lists, and even send your list by email or text to anyone in the family.

Q: What was the most surprising information to come out of the American Dinner Survey?
A: We were most surprised to find out that only 4% of parents reported that cooking the meal is their favorite part of family dinners.  Only 16% said eating a home-cooked meal was their favorite part, and the majority, 61%, said that spending time with the family is their favorite part.  Also, that more than half (59%) of families watch television during some or all of their dinners together.

So tonight's the night to start fresh - pick one of these three great family dinner ideas from celebrity chefs and tons more from all around foodies.  Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


It's always fun to find a win-win, and such is the case with dear jane. A quick pop-in to the store last week led me to my new fall faves: best brown leather boots ever and an even cooler bag I have since carried daily.  And all this thanks to a summer closet purge when I consigned a few items to jane.  The store was opened in 2009 by my sister-in-law Jane and niece Isabelle to "reuse what others no longer need, to rethink what we already have, to revitalize these things, and in doing so, our lives."  Sounds good to me.  And I'm not alone in singing jane's praises - check out all the raves, and cool events.  Not around town? Not to worry - subscribe to their weekly newsletter for fun specials and E-commerce coming soon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


One of the most generous gestures I ever received was after the birth of our first child.  A friend inquired when would we be coming home so she could "start the meals" - and over the next few weeks, a different person dropped off dinner.

I have incredibly fond memories (yes, maybe a bit selective) of those first few weeks at home hunkered down with a newborn, in large part due to the relief of knowing that dinner was done.

Since then, I have been able to return the favor many times. Recently, a dear friend whose generosity has made her the ringleader on many of these "make a meal" occasions introduced me to a very cool website Take Them a Meal.   In good times and bad, the gift of a meal can work wonders, if even for a moment.  This super cool site streamlines the coordination process for all - a true gift.

Friday, October 5, 2012


At various points in my life, my daily access to news has run the gamut from watching live C-SPAN feeds (by choice!) to a quick above-the-fold scan of the New York Times.  And while my paper delivery is here to stay, I am loving my new daily e-mail newsletter from theSkimm.  Thanks to the fabulously informed folks at Vanity Fair Agenda I checked out theSkimm and loved what I saw: a "daily newsletter that simplifies the headlines for the educated professional who knows enough to know she needs more." The founders, both former NBC employees, send out fresh content each morning by 6am,  with the previous day's biggest news stories curated for clarity and to encourage some conversation sparks throughout the day. Skimm away!

Monday, October 1, 2012


I was lucky enough to spend this Saturday in NYC with the three in tow - a quick jaunt with a lot of pit stops at some old haunts: the Ancient Playground, a "quick" scoot through the Met (he loved this, she loved this, I loved this!) and our final stop, The Corner Bookstore.

One of my favorite spots in the entire universe, this store used to have house accounts so kids could come and peruse on their own - picking up the latest John Bellairs was a highlight of my youth.   And here's a shoutout to a few more havens: The Golden Notebook, Mitchell's, and Farley's Bookshop.

Friday, September 28, 2012


A recent bout of disappointment was followed by those most welcoming of arms... a silver lining.  Different than a consolation, or a fervent attempt to "look on the bright side", a silver lining sits there shimmering quietly until seen.  The best part about them? The more you look the more you find.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


As a major fan of Gretchen Rubin's, "The Happiness Project",  I eagerly awaited the recent publication of her follow up: "Happier At Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Every Day Life".  It was inspired by an epiphany she had while unloading her dishwasher - a feeling of intense homesickness while right in her own home, with her family nearby.

It may sound a bit hard to grasp, but Gretchen describes her feeling as a "pre-emptive nostalgia", the awareness that this moment in time, while she has her family together, is fleeting.  "Of all the elements of a happy life," she thought, "my home is the most important."

In the same style as her previous book, she starts in September (which she calls the new January) and spends an entire school year devoted to a deeper understanding of her possessions, marriage, time and parenthood, among others.

Full disclosure: while it happens to be right up my alley, Gretchen Rubin takes an uber-analytical approach, described as a "signature blend of memoir, science, philosophy, and experimentation".

Much happiness to all!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


The change of season never fails to thrill.  And in the fall, the kitchen takes on a new role - it is now the source of comfort food like this divine soup.  Now is also a good time to re-stock and re-evaluate the pantry and gadgets - and dust off the crock pot for sure.

Years ago, a simple purchase on a lark at one of my favorite stores in the world, has made the cut for countless seasons. It just might be my favorite thing in the kitchen: my dual timer.  While there are lots of digital models around,  I am a fan of the mechanical kind which I have discovered are a bit more scarce.  After some surfing I just found this version by Taylor which looks super.  Timing two things at once never looked so good!
PS: I could only find it sold as a pack of 3 - keep one and check two presents of the list!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I tend to yearn for "the way things used to be" - but most often I come around and make close friends with whatever change MUST become a part of our new way of life.  In the area of photos though, I am still waiting...

With baby #1 I loved bringing rolls of film to the store, picking up glossy prints, and arranging them into albums - these are my favorites.  Then things went digital and I lost my mojo.

Operation Photo has officially begun: corralling all loose photos around the house into this photo storage case from my pal Lillian.  This roomy archival case holds 2,000 4x6 pics, has movable dividers, and the opposite side opens to fit oversize pics as well - kind of genius.  Ideally the pictures will make it into an album  - but for now they are safe and snug and able to be enjoyed by all.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with (gulp) all the pictures on my computer...HELP!

Friday, September 7, 2012


While this may not be a suggested life mantra, it sure works well for busy mornings packing multiple lunches.  An impromptu purchase during a recent supermarket run led me to this fab find:
The LunchBlox Sandwich Kit by Rubbermaid (BPA- free...microwave, freezer and dishwasher lids...stackable...and a blue ice to boot).  And while those are all wonderful and necessary highlights, best of all is that there's no more guess work - fill the sandwich, side, and 2 snack containers and lunch is done.  No fumbling for one more thing to add, or trying to jam in unmatched containers. Lunch a breeze? Who knew!
PS - Some great ideas for what to pack listed here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Clean slates are always welcome in my book - and back-to-school is the ultimate.  High hopes and fresh supplies get everybody grooving, and this year we are adding two new tools in our house to maintain smooth sailing as the year progresses. Both from the Lillian Vernon catalog (an easy go-to for products like this) are the Homework Organizer - a child's size command central, and the  Days of the Week Organizer - to make mornings a breeze.  High hopes? Maybe...but fingers crossed!
PS: Some heavier fare in this interesting NYT read.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


A spritz of lime is so refreshing in the summer and instantly jazzes up most anything.  And I have long been a fan of preparing soft tacos when cooking for a crowd, but a recent addition to my normal repertoire - the Lima Crema topping from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook -  is so delicious it has solidified my love for this tangy, tart treat. Even better, her scrumptious recipe is dairy-free which works well with the allergies in our house. The full recipe for Lima Crema is listed in the bottom of this article.  Keep up the lime love with this yummy limeade and serve in a pitcher with some fresh mint - it's great plain or as a base for cocktails. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I have been a long-time Nora Ephron devotee, but since her recent passing, I am astounded by her now legendary body of work: essayist, novelist, screenwriter, director, and playwright.  The theme of her work is consistent: simplistic, realistic, romantic - and very often, hilarious.

I was first smitten with her films When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, and have continued to try and read, see and listen to all things Nora.  It's easy to do: she wrote and spoke about everything from recipes, body image, reading, women, divorce, and hair.

In  "Parenting in Three Stages", an essay from the collection I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, she muses on raising a child from newborn to empty nest. She describes a time when, "Back in the days when there were merely parents, as opposed to people-who-were-engaged-in-parenting... Here's what a parent is: a parent is a person who has children.  Here's what's involved in being a parent: you love your children, you hang out with them from time to time, you throw balls, you read stories, you make sure they know which utensil is the fork, you teach them to say please and thank you, you see that they have an occasional haircut, and you ask if they did their homework. "

She goes on to describe a shift,  "...suddenly one day there was this thing called parenting.  Parenting was serious. Parenting was fierce.  Parenting was solemn.  Parenting was a participle, like 'going' and 'doing' and 'crusading' and worrying'. It was active, it was energetic, it was unrelenting... Parenting was not simply about raising a child; it was about transforming a child, force-feeding it like a foie gras goose, altering, modifying, modulating, manipulating, smoothing out, improving."

And finally, after the harrowing tales from adolescence and beyond she ends the essay with Stage Three: The Child Is Gone, stating, "...every so often, your child will come to visit.  They are, amazingly, completely charming people.  You can't believe you're lucky enough to know them.  They make you laugh.  They make you proud.  You love them madly.  They survived you.  You survived them."

Food for thought.  Thank you, thank you Nora.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I remember like yesterday the exact moment the letters of E.B. White's Charlotte's Web came together to form words and sentences in front of my eyes - thanks to Dad.  Every Saturday morning he sat with me, patiently teaching me to read.

I also remember the giddy freedom when I realized I was pedaling my bike alone - my father's hand gone from the back of the seat where it had kept my balance for so long.  All I could hear was "Go, go, go!" as I sped away.

Persistence... resilience...independence.  Fathers are superheroes of sorts - with the power to swoop in and change a life forever.  A million thank-you's to mine and Happy Father's Day to all!

Image found on Etsy for purchase here

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The question above is one that I have asked, or have wanted to ask, often to fellow mothers who seem to have it all figured out.  It dawned on me recently - actually to my relief -  that there really is no secret.

Parenting comes with no manual, and in fact, the more you read about it, the more differing and emphatic the opinions are on how to do it best.  And more often than not, less is more.

There will be, no matter the effort, those instances with our children that we would like to erase: situations that may be upsetting, awkward, unpleasant or otherwise.  Instead of wishing those moments away, I recently remembered a wise kindergarten teacher a few years back who referred to those times as "teachable moments" and suggested they be welcomed.

And although there may be no secret to it all, I can't help but try to find ways to navigate parenting as best I can - my own teachable moments - or at least some help along the way.  An amazing book that I first read about in Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project is the superb parenting guide How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish.  It is a simple read with very practical yet empowering suggestions.  It has been a while since I read it and I am in need of a refresher - I look forward to diving in again.

And when in doubt, I adore the sage life lessons of the grandmother in Ron Howard's film Parenthood.  Her takeaway on a carnival roller coaster? "I always wanted to go again.  You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it.  They went on the merry-go-round.  That just goes around. Nothing.  I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it."

PS: These ten things were posted today on one of my favorite blogs, pvedesign.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


There is nothing better than cracking open a childhood classic to read aloud with the kiddos.  Summer nights are around the corner, and so are later bedtimes and leisurely tuck-ins, perfect for chapter-a-night reads.

Last night we started Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, for the second time for big sis, and first time for bro.  And with each read it seems to only get better!  The amazing worlds that these childhood classics allow our children to enter can make an imprint forever.

I still remember vividly the world of my childhood favorite, The Last of The Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews (yes, Mary Poppins is an author too!).

A few years ago I discovered an incredible reading resource written by her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, entitled "Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment".

It is a pleasure to read and an indispensable tool to encourage and nurture the reading experience from baby to teenager. Her simple message of "creating - or restoring - the connection between reading and joy" is a lifelong gift.

If you've got a favorite please pass it on!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Kids grow up.  While that may not be news, why am I still surprised?  I happen to be heading to the college graduation of a dear nephew I met as a true tyke, so I've got it on the mind. As his Aunt, I know the wonder that he is a grad probably pales to that of his superbly-loving mom, but it still gives me much pause.

I am all at once incredibly proud and incredibly amazed at how time really does fly.  In the midst of piles and papers and recitals and report cards and birthdays and camps and on and on, the whole process is a march to adulthood.   I am so thankful to have had this moment to reflect on that bigger picture.

I attended a blog conference this past weekend where I heard many informative speakers.  But it was a moment with one of the sponsors, (which is fab by the way!), that rocked my world.  The company is launching a Confidence Campaign this summer and asked us attendees to answer on a white board: What's the one thing you want your children to know when they walk out the door each morning?  My on-the-spot answer: Be the best that you can be and know you are loved.

I have of course changed my answer in my head ten times since - but what I do know for sure is after all those mornings my nephew walked out the door, whatever it is that he knew, he certainly is the best! Congratulations T xo

Sunday, May 13, 2012


On my nightstand sits a sweet saying that reads "Sometimes the smallest things take up the biggest room in our hearts."  It often stops me in my tracks, but on Mother's Day, the words ring even more true.

My mother's most lasting impressions are, upon reflection, quite simple by nature but monumental in effect: the way she cracked my window every night to "let in the air fairies" she taught me to rub noses for an Eskimo Kiss...and the incredibly soothing touch of a cool washcloth on my forehead when I was under the weather. But most of all, it is when I tuck in the children that I feel her most close.

It is amazing to me how the words to the three lullabies she sang me each night lay twenty years forgotten, but came back in an instant the day our first child was born. I now sing those same songs nightly, and think of her each and every time.  Love is the greatest gift in the world to give, and hers is infinite.  Thank you Mom for everything and Happy Mother's Day to all!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


To gather around the family table is one of life's most simple pleasures, yet without some forethought it can become furiously elusive. In this day in age of activity-packed afternoons and longer workdays, planning, prioritizing and effort are paramount.

As of right now, the most powerful tool in my kitchen for preparing healthy and delicious dishes (fact: last night's announcement of Chicken and Dumplings elicited gasps of delight from my six year old, along with a request for thirds) is my copy of My Father's Daughter by the queen of multi-tasking herself Gwyneth Paltrow.

Our house, like so many these days, is chock-full of allergies and aversions. I have yet to make a recipe from this book that does not adapt beautifully to our needs: Pancakes, Turkey Sausage Patties, Picco de Gallo, Lime Crema, Roasted Cauliflower, and Balsamic & Lime Vinaigrette just to name a few faves.

And while I have been a longtime fan of the Barefoot Contessa (her Butternut Squash Soup is out of this world), the emphasis on incorporating children into the cooking process and the subtlety of cooking for a child's palette as well as adults is addressed so well in My Father's Daughter.

A great tip of hers is to carve out an hour or so on a Sunday to cook up some staples and stock up the fridge to ease the weeknight madness. Get some good tunes going, grab the best apron ever and have some fun in the kitchen. Best of all? Enjoy it all week with those you love most.

PS: Don't forget to check in with foodie friends for some of their great ideas and inspiration (check out this gem of a blog by one of mine).

Monday, April 30, 2012


This is one of those "if I can do it anyone can" type posts. It is extremely easy for me to come up with a million and one reasons why I simply cannot get exercise on any given day - and all the reasons sound quite convincing, very sincere, and usually totally true.

Among them: zero time, absolutely must do xy or z, and sometimes just too darn tired. So a post about exercise-induced euphoria seems wildly out of character, but the feeling is too fabulous to keep under wraps.

For those on this path already, I count you among my inspiration. For others, here's a few secret weapons I have stockpiled to clear my own path to health and happiness. Escape routes are everywhere so this list is an (almost foolproof) way to keep myself moving and grooving.

Get your Gear On:
Keep athletic clothes in a dedicated place so that when the time is right everything is there, down to the hair ties, socks, sneaks, and headphones. I love the Power Y Tank and Groove Pant for any kind of action. And rev up a yoga practice with the Agility Pant from the super cool company Be Present.

Listen Up:
The right songs are a surefire way to set off that necessary spark. This play list is my current fave and leaves me ready to take on the world, or at least the day. Check out Run Hundred for a monthly refresher. Sync those smart phones and Move like Jagger!

Carve it Out:
Time is golden in all our days, so looking for huge chunks to dedicate to exercise is the fastest route to defeat. 15 minutes can make a big impact on body and mind, and here's a sample of how to work some quick magic.

Stay Inspired:
Find those special people who walk the walk and try to learn from them. We all have different strengths and most are happy to share their insight. Check out these two fabulous women I am lucky enough to know: Meredith and Lara - they both shine a very bright light. LIVESTRONG and Team in Training are two places that are near and dear and provide mountains of motivation.

A Place to Be:
Last but not least, try to schedule an exercise class (hopefully a favorite) for once a week. If you get off track on your own, it's never too far with a weekly check in. Try to find one that really breaks a sweat, it does a body good!

Monday, April 16, 2012


With Spring in the air comes a spring in our step.  Bust open those sheds or storage spots and bring out the gear. Brush off the bikes, joggers, scooters, frisbees, jump ropes, chalk and any other buried treasure from those winter months.  Pass along or donate any outgrown gear and make room to use and enjoy what you have.  Keep the boots around for some puddle jumping too...hopefully soon.
Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


An eye-opening session with the "Table Topics" Family Cube turned last night's dinner on its head.  We received this as a gift a few years ago, and the one time I cracked it open it landed like a dud.  I kept it on a pantry shelf for another time down the road and happened to see it while grabbing some cups last night.  On a whim I whipped out a few cards and was truly astounded to tune into some of the thoughts, ideas, and opinions served up by the kiddos.  The Family Edition is described as "a fun mix of age appropriate questions ranging from silly to thought-provoking...with questions specially designed to engage kids in the art of conversation."  Though I wouldn't opt for every day, it's a great way to connect, reconnect and learn a ton about each other.

Friday, April 6, 2012


It is written time and time again not to eat while standing or on-the-go,  but it can be so tempting (and easy) to do.  After a while, like any bad habit, it becomes the norm.

Take just a few minutes to sit and eat a healthful meal for a small moment of nirvana.  At home, work, or out and about, take a seat and bon appetit!

Monday, April 2, 2012


There is nothing quite like that first birthday candle as your babe takes in their first round of Happy Birthday. Big Bro and Sis to help blow it out - and a room full of wishes for the littlest one. It's a definitely one of those "stop and enjoy" moments in life.  And the "enjoy" part was even easier thanks to a new web discovery - Make it Mine Parties.  I had Peter Rabbit on the brain for the little guy and was able to find the sweetest plates, cups, napkins and cupcake toppers.  And the customer service was out of this world!  Check out their site for tons of birthday party and entertaining ideas.  Lots of goodies in a one-stop-shop.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


An epic journey down and up I95 left lots of time for reflection (and possibly a new affinity for country music).  Here are the top 10 items that made our best-of travel list.
In no particular order:

Cosmo Wasabi Stroller by Combi
I was elated to discover that this stroller was still on the market eight years after I purchased my first.  Having had a fleet of strollers over the years, this one is THE best for on-the-go.  It's incredibly light, allows the baby to sit up and see the world, or recline and snooze (lucky duck).  Fun fact, it amazingly folds in half and stands in place instead of playing the slip and slide game.

DVD Player
For the older crew a pair of these was the ticket to some peace and quiet for all. My daughter was gifted these cuties which were oh-so-sweet and her brother managed just fine with this set.  I never knew about the three-in one movies but they worked their magic too.

No snapped or dull crayons in sight with these around - backseat artists unite!

Pocket Rocket
Packed to the gills with baby's goodies - wipe clean in an instant.

Jack Rogers Sandals
Only pair to pack.  These bad boys in gold go from beach, pool, or evening stroll to a night on the town.

The Boat and Tote
This bag never ever disappoints.  The large size served perfectly as a family overnight bag for a motel pit-stop en route (dopp kits and all) allowing the trunk to stay untouched until the final stop.

Road Atlas
I am a Garmin Girl, but there are those times when you must have the real deal.  Never leave home without!

Party Cube
Aptly named, this little guy brings the music anywhere, anytime.

Nights shared with a pack and play? Never fear - with this little light your favorite vacation read is still safe and sound.


Happy Trails!

Monday, March 5, 2012


For all the past memories I have of unsuccessful attempts to naturally dye Easter eggs with vegetables etc., the MARTHA STEWART + AVERY Home Office line at Staples is a home run.  According to Madame M, "Developing this line has been a wonderful opportunity to focus on what busy, modern households and home-based entrepreneurs really want and need in a home office organization system".  She has most certainly addressed every possible need and more. My personal favorites are the aqua binders, journals, boxes and accessories - which can all be customized with various inserts of calendars, dividers, and the like.  The adhesive labels are amazing and the peel on/off refrigerator labels for important numbers, menu planning, and tracking dates are genius - and solve the pesky problem of non-magnetic doors.  This is just a snippet of what's waiting at Staples for some customized home organization - definitely a good thing!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


While I don't intend to master the art of canning, I am never without a case of Mason jars.  Beyond being reasonably priced and available in a variety of sizes, these jars serve many purposes: fill with fresh cut flowers around the house, hold pillar candles, or contain anything from cutlery to markers.  Inside or outside the possibilities are endless.  Searching for an instant hostess gift? Bring a flower-filled centerpiece to give to a friend - and keep some raffia on hand to tie around the jar for an extra boost.  Simple and snazzy anytime.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Sometimes the simplest tips can make all the difference - and such was the case with the recent suggestion of a homework caddy.   Brought out for homework only and filled with just the supplies needed to complete assignments - sharpened pencils, erasers, a small box of crayons, a few markers, scissors and a glue stick.   No more broken tips in the bottom of a backpack, trips to the sharpener, or mad dash for some color mid-assignment. Peace.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


A Dark Amber pint of maple syrup so kindly brought to us all the way from Gillingham's General Store in Woodstock, Vermont has started quite the chain reaction in our house.   Weekend pancake breakfast is now elevated to superior status with this luscious addition.  The new syrup inspired me to try out a new pancake recipe worthy of such a topping (even made dairy free these are five star),  and our juicer is now dust-free and loving the attention.  I figured out to chill the juice-filled glasses in the freezer while breakfast prep is under way - and the sweet shot of fresh OJ makes for the perfect companion.  A few fresh strawberries and a side of Sunday Bacon round out the plate for a heavenly family breakfast.  Best of all?
We think fondly of the gift-giver with every pour...

Friday, February 17, 2012


Don't get me wrong - I would never turn down a get-a-way.  However, a delightful jaunt today with the three kids-in-tow made me appreciate the simple pleasures of being right at home on vacation. The term "staycation" has always seemed a bit forced to me, but it is exactly what popped into my mind as I reveled in our breezy stroll through town.  It started with the big kids joining the little man for his music class - which was forty-five minutes of pure enjoyment for all of us - and something that could never have happened without a day off from school.  Afterward we parked in town, grabbed a snack at the local coffee shop, then hit up the local library for some Star Wars and Harry Potter reads.  Our walk ended at an amazing new general store where the Valentine's loot from the grandparents was spent with feverish excitement. Sometimes there really is no place like home.  Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


In honor of Saint Valentine I thought I'd share about a new secret love of mine... a poem.  It was love at first sight for me this past November.

I was searching high and low for the best possible way to express my gratitude and love to my Significant after his incredible help during an epic challenge, and the feeling I desperately wanted to convey was so much bigger than anything I could express with my own words.

It dawned on me that some of The Greats had to have felt this feeling before - so I turned to poetry hoping to strike gold.  I leafed through a few books but came up empty handed.  I then searched a favorite website - - and hit the jackpot.

The first few lines of the following poem took my breath away.  Not only did it express the gratitude and affection I so greatly desired, it also spurred a bedtime chat with the kiddos that when you love somebody - even when you are apart - you are never alone because you carry that love in your heart.  Thank you e.e. cummings.

I hope you can share this with someone you love:

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

“[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” Copyright 1952, © 1980, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.

Source: Complete Poems: 1904-1962 (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1991)

Saturday, February 11, 2012


It's certainly not easy reading a book by an author who generalizes that most moms in America stay-at-home in their sweatpants catering to their child's every whim and whine while serving up chicken tenders nightly.

However, I truly believe that, if desired, there are wonderful lessons to be learned everywhere and often in life, and Pamela Druckerman's Bringing up Bebe is chock-full.

Last year I sped through Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and cherry-picked a few nuggets of wisdom, and recoiled at marathon piano practices and discarded Mother's Day cards.

Reading Bringing up Bebe is a walk in a (beautiful French) park comparatively, and Druckerman's French/American comparison shed some welcome new light on parenting and living.

The highlights:

- Babies and children are more than capable of sleeping through the night and it is in the entire family's best interest that all children are "doing their nights".

- The emphasis on healthy food (five fruits and vegetables a day) begins at an early age and raising children with sophisticated palates is a national priority.

-  Snacking (called Gouter) is designated to once a day at 4 pm and is thoroughly enjoyed by all.

- The belief that a child's ability to enjoy playing on their own is a lifelong gift.

- A husband and wife's relationship is never sent to the back burner - it burns bright always and the whole family is happier for it.

-  Children have to say hello and goodbye to the adults they meet because it is assumed they are capable of such respect for elders and are thus on the receiving end of that respect.

- The Government creates an extremely accommodating environment for working mothers including high-quality, free day care and nursery school (gourmet meals included).

Whether or not there are holes in Druckerman's theory as the New York Times or TIME suggests, or that her work is a summary of drastic generalizations (of which it is), I felt empowered and energized as a mother after this read - a good thing for us all.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


That headline glared at me this morning from the cover of a parenting magazine.

I often embrace the old, but when I saw those words in bold print it dawned on me - it's time to embrace the new.

Case in point: I love my moleskin planner...I REALLY do.  I also love mechanical pencils, crossing out to-do lists, and seeing a schedule in detail on paper.

Reality? Forgetting to take the moleskin in and out of my bag each and every time I leave or arrive home leads to many missed moments in a day and lots and LOTS of to-do's and dates circling in my head - and all the while my smart phone sits patiently by my side.

In the past I'd lament my inability to "get it right".  As of this morning? This modern mom is jumping in full throttle to an app I reluctantly tried before  - Cozi.  The tag line reads: Family Life. Simplified.

Sounds good to me!  Cozi is completely free and is an "online organizer and mobile app that helps busy families manage their jam-packed lives...includes a shared calendar, shopping lists, to-do lists" and more.

As modern as I may try to be - I still believe a home paper calendar is a must - a nightly coordination of the two should do the trick.  Simple, right?

Friday, February 3, 2012


Yosi Samra's amazing Samara flats fit like a glove and fold-up flat.   His expanded line includes enough colors and textures to suit any fancy (think patent, leopard and tie-dye) and have a "subtle ease and whimsy that makes girls swoon".  Swoon I do for my gold metallic, and I've got a few more on the wish-list.  They are the perfect grab-and-go flats for work, yoga, errands or a night on the town - and feel more like slippers than shoes.  Fold them up in a carry on, or keep a pair in your purse and check those rain boots at the door.  A staple for sure!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..."  Though Elizabeth Barrett Browning's sonnet was intended for her true love, it may describe our current obsession with our Smart phones.

Flat tire? AAA is on the line in seconds.  Desperate for that movie ticket? Fandango to the rescue.  Family emergency? Indebted to the connection.

But like many things we love, there can be a dark side, especially for our children.  There may be no better time for "everything in moderation" than in our tech-heavy existence.  (Check out this mom's six-month experiment).

Let's practice what we preach as we try to encourage a healthy balance for our children.  I previously posted about Gretchen Rubin's fabulous Happiness Project, and continue to enjoy her practical insights on how to navigate our contemporary culture.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Giggle is in itself a fun word to think about - let alone when it's actually happening.  If laughter is the best medicine -  then it's just a matter of finding the right prescription.  Find out what gets your giggles going and laugh yourself silly.  Movies, books, children, friends, memories?  Notice what brings a smile to your face and stick with it.  More good news?  Giggles are contagious so keep an ear out for peals of laughter among your family and friends and jump right in.  Children laugh about 400 times a day while adults average about 15.  Let's give them a run for their money!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


There is nothing better than the season's first sled.  The gear, gloves, and looks of sheer delight are priceless.  But there's the other fun fact - after making the trek outside - a cozy day inside feels earned.  What to do?  Board games are a personal favorite, and although it never seems to happen enough, to me there is nothing better than playing a game with the kids.  And a post-tuck-in backgammon battle on this board would be icing on the cake.  Here are a few of our faves: 
For Pre-Readers: Zingo and I Spy
Super for Solo Play: Rush Hour Jr. and Rush Hour
Kids Can Play: Yahtzee Jr  and  Mastermind Jr. 
As a Family: Yahtzee  and Parcheesi
For the Grown Ups:  Apples to Apples and Catch Phrase
Your turn! 

Friday, January 20, 2012


What sounds at first like a groovy mantra, is really precious sentiment. Our greatest joys are never exactly the same as another's, nor are our deepest heartaches, but we all share in common the certainty we will feel both. Sometimes, it is the challenge of others we lament: family, friend, neighbor, stranger.  Sometimes it is our own (very) rough ride we must survive.   Wherever life finds us, when we can we must try to take the time to really enjoy the little things.  Late mornings and lost lunches can always take a backseat to squeezes, squeals and smiles.  XO

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Sometimes (just sometimes) an impulse purchase can lead to years of satisfaction...and such is the case with the Deadly Squire Tray.  The extra-large size and super-cool pattern are what caught my eye initially, but now its million-and-one uses are what I enjoy most.  Use it to carry dinner outside on those great summer nights - or as of late - to bring dinner from the kitchen to dine in the family room if the (Giants) are calling. Wherever you are heading - this tray will transport what you need in style.  And my most recent spot for it has turned it into a mommy "transformer" of sorts: use it as centerpiece on the kitchen table, then a serving spot for family-style meals, and finally load up post-dinner carnage on top and head straight to the sink. Check out the site to see some other cool products from this husband and wife design team on a mission.

Monday, January 16, 2012


My significant has always been a huge fan of music, and our daughter is following right along.  But seeing the physical reaction that music has on my littlest guy stops me in my tracks: eyes wide as saucers - head bopping - hands clapping - legs kicking - and his two-toothed grin wide as can be.  Music makes us all feel good, and although there are some parts of the pre-tech world I miss dearly (bookstores, camera shops, movie stores) music is an area where there is lots of fun to be had.  Get out the chargers and the docking stations, passwords and plugs, and take the time to dive deep into iTunes to build up your playlists.  For kids music the whole family can groove to have some Dan Zanes and Ziggy Marly on hand, but make sure to snag some time to surf for your own current favorites along with some oldies but goodies.  And just in case you're looking for a laugh? Here's a bit of humor and music colliding - love that Adele and thank you SNL!

Friday, January 13, 2012


Much like Dorothy, the thoughts of the early morning scramble for gear can frighten the best of us.  Hunting down a lost glove or rain boot while trying to catch the school bus is no way to start the day - believe me, I know!

So, in an attempt to foster a sense of autonomy for the kiddos, yet have there be at least a fighting chance they can find what they need - when they need it - we needed a plan.  Fast.

All the hooks in the world don't mean a thing if little ones can't reach.  Think - what would the kids do? - and organize accordingly.

For us that means a heavy duty basket inside a window bench to house the endless peels of layers upon homecoming (jackets, gloves, hats, scarves, raincoats, backpacks) with space left to the side for one pair of boots and one pair of school shoes each.

Miraculously, once contained, these items wait patiently to start all over in the morning.  It's too cold, too rainy, and just too darn early to not strive for smooth sailing.

PS: Don't forget one of these!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...