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.

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