Adventures in House Hunting

The New York Mom

Today we looked at 6 homes in Westchester County. One … we absolutely fell in love with.  We started the wheels on the deal making from the front lawn of the home. It’s one of those historic, room to grow charming walk to everything sort of homes. Our entire family fell in absolute LOOOOOVE with the house.

I want this house. But something tells me that this might not happen because so far things have been fizzling out to cash offers, or counter offers beyond our budget.

You know when you fall in love with a home and envision your family growing up there. I was almost in tears thinking of Lily’s prom pictures on the front lawn… oh my gosh. let me stop!

The kids have been amazing through all this. Thomas just wants to jump on all the beds and eat all the fresh fruit displayed so proudly on the fancy granite kitchen counters. Our real estate agent must think we starve the ‘gundu’ baby!

From the 15 homes we have seen in the last 7 days , we have offers out on 2 maaaaybe 3. This is a hot market. April- May-June are hot months in the New York real estate market. everyone is getting ready to buy a home and settle in for the fall ‘back to school’ season.

So much to do… so stressful.

Kids are awesome. My kids are awesome- est.

After a long day of house hunting, we came home … feeling defeated – confused- stressed.

The perfect remedy for moments like these is always a home cooked meal.

food

We made:

a Jamaican Jerk seasoned pork chop

Truffle oil drenched brussels sprouts and broccoli sautéed in bacon, onions and garlic.

fresh tomato bruschetta with extra virgin olive oil, coarse himalayan pink salt, red onions and anchovies.

Dinner.

the kids ate it all up and it was nice to feel like ‘home’ again… through food.

Continue Reading

these days

The New York Mom These past few days have been filled with non stop movement. Not a moment to stop and rest. Between moving, finding a new home in a new community, packing, work, tween, toddler… it’s been a lot.

Jonah has caught 3 birds in the back yard in the past 2 weeks. And tosses them around as he plays with them. Lily and Thomas were first hand witnesses to this bird catching flinging in the air show and there was a lot of screaming that followed. I guess we need to stop filling our bird feeders… AKA death traps!

The New York Mom

The New York Mom

So we are moving to Westchester County from our current home. while I am very familiar with Westchester County, finding a place to live and narrowing down the neighborhood is proving to be quite the challenge. The higher up the county you go, the more space you get for your dollah while still keeping the quality of schools and beauty of the Hudson Valley. Everyone keeps telling us about how all of Brooklyn is moving to the Rivertowns  – Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings on Hudson, Ardsley, and how we MUST move there. While we love the Rivertowns we can’t seem to find a balance of home and space and money and taxes. Also, why do you want to move to the “Brooklyn of the burbs”! Leave Brooklyn alone… move to the burbs!

The New York MomOne of the homes we have been circling sits on 3 acres of land and today I caught Matt looking through some chicken websites to see if we should have peacocks roaming our 3 acres. Lily wants a zip line and I’m sure Jonah will probably catch a turkey or two for dinner. Also I’m fairly sure there are wild animals or unknown tribes of people living on the 3 acres and late at night when it’s pitch dark outside… i read too many murder mysteries…

The New York MomI don’t know, it’s not like I’m throwing in the towel on a busy life and the hustle of NYC, it’s just that as Lily gets older, her social life and activities are taking over our schedule. And we need to root ourselves into a community for her sake. These past 3 years have been tough for her in the friendship department and I’ve seen her creative flame flicker and almost dim. I’m hoping this move brings newness to her sweet soul.

The New York MomI can’t wait to do a full recap of our house hunting process. Westchester County is HOOOT right now and everyone seems to be moving there… i’ll share our our real estate agent experience, resources, neighborhoods and tips and tricks for finding your perfect spot.

after we find our perfect spot!

Tomorrow we are looking at 5 more homes. Wish us luck!

Continue Reading

DIY Engineering kits with GE and Brit + Co

 

GE has a really funky tech store called  The Maker Shop that is up online through the end of May to celebrate women in STEM! The store includes all sorts of cool items like 3D printed roses and laser cut necklaces.

I was sent the cool DIY Shibori Tote from Brit+Co and a littleBits starter kit . This kit has everything I needed to make one orignal painted tote bag with LittleBits engineering bits to light the interior of the bag. Super cool.

Swing by the THE MAKER SHOP for all the deets. and go gift a friend or two or YOU… with a little techy STEM goodness!

Continue Reading

We’re Moving

The New York MomThe New York Mom     It’s been a tough 10 days. We are moving. While this is a joyous time for us, and we are only moving to Westchester County, this move it’s riddled with { emotional } complications.

It’s been really hard to tell our friends, neighbors, teachers, sitters and those we have grown to love these past 3 years that just when the pot was simmering with goodness, we have to hop out.

The toughest blow came from an anonymous parent from Lily’s school. I was just voted on the PTA for the coming year.  This parent sent me an email that read – the hopes we had for the enrichment and change you would help bring are leaving with you. 

While this is a humbling compliment, this is a hard compliment to accept.  Lily’s school has been a challenge for her. But the PTA, the principal and teachers are the ‘ ground soldiers’ as they say. This school is amazing in the advocates who fill these spots on the PTA. The parent involvement is next to nothing but the programs offered by the PTA prove otherwise. I was honored to be nominated for the position by parents who hardly knew me but heard me advocate for my child all year and STILL voted me onto their board and I was looking forward to a year of change in motivating parent involvement at her school.

But you know… moving is complicated.

We are really happy about this move, it’s really fantastic for Matt, for me, for our family and for our future.

But it’s complicated.

Lily took this well. She doesn’t have many friends at school, which has been a subject of much discussion. In the 3 years we have been here she has been invited to ONE birthday party, there are no play dates and no weekend plans with friends. Her childhood is slipping away and her social interaction is going with it. It’s not her, it’s the community we are in. She does have a crew of solid friends at church and leaving this group of church friends is going to be hard for her. It’s sinking in slowly and she had a sad meltdown this evening and we sat and talked and  I’m sure there will be many more of these chats but we know this move will help her socially and help her find her voice in this great big world she’s embarking on!

Moving is hard and while we are excited about what’s ahead, the next few weeks are going to be tough, emotionally.

Continue Reading

My Top Picks from The New York Baby Show

New York Baby Show

The annual New York Baby Show was held last weekend in NYC. This 2-day baby expo offers products, seminars and services for expecting and new parents. Everything from doulas to doctors, photographers, stroller companies and organic baby products are showcased for 2 full days. Navigating the world of baby gear is daunting and often time parents end up with too much gear and not enough space. The New York Baby Show had expert tips from all corners of the baby advice world to help parents  be informed about the latest products on the market and make decisions to fit them and their new babes!

The Bump New York Baby Show

While walking the floor and meeting the companies and brands was fun and all, my fave part was getting glamed up in the Momtrends Lounge with Nicole and her team. The Momtrends Lounge offered complimentary babysitting and the ever awesome Glam Squad. Nails, hair, makeup… all done by the fab team from The Glam Squad.

Momtrends

I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite picks from the New York Baby show – the latest and greatest on the market!

Check out this great video that I did with TTPM for my full coverage of the New York Baby Show.

One of my favorites and most overlooked Baby Must Have items is a camera. Let me talk you through my reasoning… most parents have a smart phone – like me- and use this for taking photos all the time. When Thomas was born, I upgraded my old camera to a fancy DSLR… why… to take better pictures of my sweet babe. Brilliant idea… a lot of parents do this. For some parents, this is the time they ever even buy a great camera. Canon was at the New York Baby Show sharing tips on how to take fab photos of your babe with one of my favorite photogs – Karilyn Sanders Photography. 

Canon The New York Baby Show

Canon has a whole range of cameras that have wifi capability, filters for your pics and low light capability so those sleeping baby pictures come out perfect without waking up your babe.

 

New York Baby Show Canon

The fanciest of stroller at the expo was not even at the booth… it was this German stroller that this fancy man was pushing his babe in. Lovezzzz! The New York Baby Show

There is SOOO much that overwhelms parents in the baby gear world.. so feel free to drop me an email if you ever need some tips! newyorkmom1 {at} gmail dot com

 

Continue Reading

Cherry Blossoms in New York City

 

Hey you know what’s great about New York City in the springtime… the cherry blossoms. You can’t escape them. You can’t escape the cherry blossoms and you can’t escape dancing underneath them and you can’t just loving every moment of springtime in New York. The cherry blossom in Central Park in New York City are nothing short of natures miracle!

Last weekend we met some of our sweetest friends in Central Park and picnicked and danced and laughed and just welcomed this warmer weather.

After the dreary winter we all just went through, a few days of sunshine and happiness is the perfect thing to get you out and about with your sweetest friends.

Central Park is just bursting with the pinks of the Cherry Blossoms and the greens of the freshly mowed grass.

Spring \\  as if  the earth opens up to fill us with the gifts she’s been harvesting while the surface is frozen and glistening \\ Spring.

There is nothing quite like the first gorgeous spring day of the season and we spent it outdoors every single day over the weekend!

Thomas and I wandered around central park this afternoon and if you plan on heading out there, you might just catch the last of springtime blooms this week… i hope you grab a moment to wander through the park to soak in this beautiful season.

with friends!

 

Yay for Sppprrring!

 

Continue Reading

Milestones and Daily Adventures at Costco

This is a Sponsored Post. As always thanks for swinging by and catching up on our shenanigans and learning about our sponsors. 

COSTCO:HUGGIES 11

I’m thrilled to announce my collaboration on a cool social media campaign with Costco+Huggies and Alphamom. Here is the first of many little stories i’m sharing! * To read the full article please head over to ALPHAMOM.com *

COSTCO:HUGGIES 7

—-

There are many milestones in a baby’s life but none as significant as the first steps.

Thomas took his first steps around 11months. I remember the moment perfectly. We were in Shelter Island for a weekend getaway and after a full day of exploring, hikes and bike rides we finally settled in for the night. Matt and I were putting a puzzle together as Lily was playing with Thomas in the same room. And then we heard,’ Look mom, dad, Thomas is walking”. And just like that, Lily was calling to him and there he was… taking his first steps… toward his sister.

And just like that we had a walker ready to go explore the great big world ahead of him.

I love being home with Thomas during these first years and he is my sidekick and my constant companion on our weekly shopping trips to the grocery store or Costco. Shopping at Costco is always an adventure. He notices the seasonal offerings – today he was really excited about the surfboards, and the blow up pools, and of course all the food sampling throughout the store. Thomas’ favorite stop is the flower wall, as he calls it. He likes to stop and smell the flowers and we usually leave with a sweet bouquet for his sister.

COSTCO:HUGGIES 14

We also pick up Thomas’s essentials… diapers!

I don’t know about you but we go through a pretty steady stream of diapers around these parts and that certainly lightens the wallet quick. In the month of May you can visit any Costco Wholesale or Costco.com to save $6 on the New! Huggies® Little Snugglers Plus Diapers or New! Huggies® Little Movers Plus Diapers AND $5 on Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes. This offer is valid May 7 – 31. See your Costco Savings Book for details.

* To read the full article please head over to ALPHAMOM.com *

COSTCO:HUGGIES 3

Continue Reading

A Mothers Day Story

In November I wrote an article about ADOPTION that was picked up by the Huffington Post. It received an outpouring of love and support and many people shared their own personal stories. One that stood out to me was from a friend back in my hometown. Jennifer placed her child for adoption 22 years ago and shared her story with me. It’s beautiful. Bring the tissues out. But more importantly it’s raw and a pure celebration of love, sacrifice and the truth about being a mother.  Whether you are like me – and adopted a child or like Jennifer and placed your child for adoption… This Mother’s Day I want to share Jennifers story with you as we celebrate mothers, mothers who gave birth to us from their bodies and mothers who birthed us from their hearts.

—-

Mothers Day

I was 17 years old, pregnant, scared, and in complete denial about everything! When my parents found out I thought for sure I was going to be on my own. Boy was I wrong!! With love and support they helped me get through everything one day at a time. What I didn’t realize, was how cruel the outside world could be. The stares, the snickers, the cold looks. I was completely on the fence as to what I was going to do as far as whether or not to keep the baby or place the baby up for adoption. Abortion was NEVER an option!!! My parents suggested that I make a pros and cons list for both situations and then maybe go visit a few of the adoption agencies. Well that’s where life got tough. So called friends said horrible things like “what are you thinking giving that baby away”, or “you can’t keep that baby, you’re just a kid”. There were so many hurtful words. So I thought ok, let’s visit a few agencies and see if they can be more helpful. I walked in the door and was greeted by smiling faces and a comment of “you are in the right place, you have to do the right thing and give your baby up for adoption”. Excuse me? I don’t HAVE to do anything I chose not too!!! Needless to say I didn’t say much while I was there, and I left in absolute tears. How can they tell me what I have to do!! So, on to the next agency I went, and of course I had my guard up and was probably even a little rude to the ladies when I first walked in. But the experience was so much different. They listened to me, they asked me how I was feeling, what my thoughts were, what my plans were. It really helped to have someone on my side and not telling me what I had to do.

After that last visit and going over my pros and cons lists, I knew adoption was the best option for my son. He needed a family that could spoil him rotten and could stop on a dime for him. I can’t say that the adoptive parents would love him any more than I could, but I knew they could give him so much more than I ever could.

Here it is “birth”day. Emotions are out of control! Am I sure this is the right thing, did I chose the right parents, am I making a mistake…. And look at this little face…

The next day I left the hospital without him. The following day he will go home with his new mom and dad. But deep in my heart I knew I made the right choice. Do I think about him? Of course I do, every day and especially on his birthday. I still shed tears talking about it, but I am not ashamed or embarrassed about what I did!

But unfortunately the pain of people’s words would still strike! I got comments like you would not believe. “Don’t you regret what you did?” “You’re his real mom how could you do that?” I literally had to stop talking to certain people because I couldn’t take it anymore. What people don’t realize about adoption is that there are two sides to the story of the child involved. And two moms who’s hearts have been through so much. While the biological mom is trying to move on with her life, the new mom is trying to make changes to adjust to a new baby at home. A baby she has longed to have, or maybe even helped save, or maybe god just wanted her to have. Please think twice before asking either of us your questions. One heart is feeling lonely, while the other is feeling overwhelmed with joy. The questions to the new mom about the biological mom are none of anyone’s business. I pray to god that people don’t think I was this drunk or drugged up teenager that got knocked up by some strange boy. That is not even close to the truth!

To this day I have people ask why I have chosen not to find him yet. My answer to that is simple… I promised him on the day he was born that I would never stalk him, invade his space, or track him down unless he wanted me too. I left that door open for if he ever chose to come and find me. If he chooses to never find me I am at peace with that. I just pray he has gotten the most out of life and is proud of the parents he has. People look at me funny when I tell them that too. It’s not that I don’t want to run right out, look up his address, and knock on his door. What it has to do with is I gave him that choice the day I gave him up. I don’t know if he thinks about it, or if he is just so content in his life that he chooses not to find me right now.

And it is ok!

Please don’t judge either one of us, just remember us all in your prayers, and remember that you will never know the full story, and always remember that it’s the child’s happiness that both of the moms involved are after.

Many Blessing to you all,

Jennifer Pratt

Jennifer Pratt

Continue Reading

A Summer Treasure Hunt with Brain Chase ~ Giveaway

*This is a sponsored post with BrainChase and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own, thanks for swinging by and hearing about my sponsors*

With less than 2 months left until school is out for the summer, I have started my summer – camp of mom – planning already.

Lily has a week-long sleep away camp, and another local arts camp she gets involved in, we have our annual trip to Florida, our DC trip and many weekend trips planned all summer long. It’s a busy summer every year and it’s always a challenge to maintain our summer learning schedule.

This summer I have teamed up with Brain Chase and Lily and I are going on a virtual hidden treasure hunt all summer.

adventureitems2015.2

A few weeks ago I had shared my excitement about Brain Chase and as we get closer to the start date of June 22, 2015

Lily is giddy with excitement. I am too!

—–

and guess what… We are giving away one complimentary Brain Chase registration, value of $199. 

To enter this contest:  Leave a comment on this post. Contest ends May 18 at midnight! 

—–

So come join us!!

Brain Chase is an online real treasure hunt powered by reading, writing, math, and languages. To unlock the adventure, kids are given 4 tasks each week – they have to read, earn energy points, do writing assignments in order to move on and find the big 10,00 prize! If you and your kid do solve the puzzle you will be flown out to the location to dig up your buried treasure. Really! how exciting right.

Continue Reading

11 Mothers Day Gifts from Anthropologie

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I picked out a few of my favorite things from one of my favorite stores to shop, browse and get inspired. Anthropologie.

This one stop shop had everything you want and lots you don’t neeeed. But it’s all such great stuff and the whole store makes you feel as if you just floated your way into a dream. I obsess over the displays in the store and try to figure out how to recreate them while collecting all sorts of goodies for the home, bedrooms, kitchen, closet, shoes, bags, jewelry… all of it.

Here are 11 of my favorite picks! Everything from delicate vintage inspired frames, iphone cases, a fancy bag, mommy and me nail polish and even red strappy heels. Everything you needs for mom.. or you this Mothers Day.

and like i said…nothing you neeed… everything you want!

11 Mothers Day Gifts from Anthropologie.  

Mothers Day gifts from Anthropologie

 

Continue Reading