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.
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