Art for Social Change -Upcycled DIY – Love Wins

When things get tough… we make art. This is the way of the word right? Art heals, The act of creating something is a powerful practice that often times goes neglected when layered deep underneath the stresses of daily life.  As a dancer… movement was my voice, and so is visual art. When stressed, I make art, when feeling hopeless, I make art and these days.. when feeling angry, sad, disgusted by the daily reports from our political “leaders”… I make art. So here ya have it – Art for Social Change -Upcycle DIY – Love Wins!

The kids are feeling this vibe as well. and I’m sure your kids are restless because the words and information they hear at school are not the full story.  I have been arming my 11YO – Lily- with FACTS.  Give them the facts… that is their armor… and ours against the “alternate facts’ people.

OMG, anyway… before I get on my soap box… let me actually tell you what we are doing here today.

The kids and I created an upcycled project to put more good and love into the world.

WE DO NOT SUPPORT this Muslim Ban. How in the world do you rejected an entire group/religion of people.

Again… I digress!

My gosh… let’s put some love into the world. Love and love and love. Let’s remind each other that in the end… LOVE WINS. LOVE is going to WIN!

Here is a quick little DIY for you to do with your kids, family, friends and community. Spread the love. Hang this little sign on trees in your neighborhood, place it in coffee shops and anywhere you want to spread the love.

…and remember… there are MORE OF US!

What You Need:

  • Cardboard – Cereal boxes will do just fine.
  • Paint
  • Wire or thread
  • Beads
  • Love for your fellow humans!

  • Cut up your cardboard into little squares.
  • Paint hearts on the squares.
  • Write a message in a contrasting color.
  • Create hanging handle loop with beads for extra flair.

Hang on trees, walls, coffee shops, libraries or where ever you feel like you want to hang it.

And always remember… that LOVE WILL WIN!

Continue Reading

 Whole 30 Breakfast Best – Sweet Potato Pancakes 

I’ve been making a really simple, delish and kinda fancy breakfast lately. The kids and Matt love this and it’s really easy to put together.

I guess you can call them a Sweet Potato Pancake Delight!

/\ PRESS PLAY /\

Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Onions
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Butter or Ghee (clarified butter)

Shave the sweet potato using a cheese grater or you can use a zucchini peeler to get longer shreds.

Once you have shred your potatoes, chop up one onion and add to the potatoes. Next,  crack an egg and add that to the potatoes. The egg is going to help hold the potato pancake together when you cook it. Salt and Pepper for taste.

​​

Next you add some butter or Ghee to your hot pan. If you are on the WHOLE 30 program like I am… add ghee.

Scoop up small amounts of the mixture of potato, onions, and egg and add to your pan.Just drop the potato mixture in a little clump and then press down to flatten with your fork. Don’t spread the potatoes… just smash them down.

Fried up an egg – we like ours sunny side up or poached. And then you layer layer layer!

Start with about 3 potato pancakes, sliced fresh avocado and the egg to top it off.

Lily likes to add Sriracha sauce to the top of the egg for a spicy kick. 

Eat and eat! That’s it… super easy right. You are going to love this breakfast meal. It’s very filling, tasty and super healthy. You can also add chives, mushrooms and whatever else you want to your potato pancake. 

Continue Reading

Little Messes, Big Lives

Glitter glue marks are all over my freshly cleaned bathroom faucets. I look in the tub and there are little globs of slime, putty or whatever other science project is going on. In the kitchen there is Kinetic Sand all over the floor by the toy kitchen. Paint splatter adorns the side of the wall in another corner and something odd is growing on the kitchen window sill… could be a crystal, a borax project or a fairy garden with fungus. The little space between our kitchen cabinets and the floor plays host to dinosaurs, hot wheels and a myriad of tiny toys, I almost trip on a skateboard as I try to head out the door, the family room is cluttered with an unfinished puzzle, paper boats, Lego set that might get done soon, trains, marble runs and homemade putty or slime. Under the sheets of my bed, at any given moment, lives a dinosaur, a toy rat or a choo choo that “needs his mommy’.

This is our messy life.

In a particular moment of clarity – rare, very rare moment of clarity, I realized that these little messes all over the house are actually great big signs of a life well lived.

I get really teary when I think about the kids growing up. I love them being who they are right now in this time and space and I love how they interact with me, each other and the world around them. I love that every single one of our bathrooms is a fully functioning science lab with something growing, bubbling or waiting to hatch at all times. I love the neon pink glitter Kinetic Sand all over the kitchen floor because that was actually the food being made for the mermaids or some such tale.

I love it.

Yes, there are days where these messes only add to the clutter in my mind, the stress of raising a toddler and a tween, the fog of the life you are in when raising young kids, being in jobs where you are not valued for your worth… and it’s part of the daily never-ending routine of this messy life. Yes, I have those days. But then within the moments of clarity, I realize that my little messes are really signs of big lives being lived out loud.

These messes are short-lived. I am not looking forward to the days without science experiments in my bathroom, without putty and slime bowls on every surface, and days where conversations with dinosaurs are not a priority.

Hold em tight you guys… it really does go by too fast.

Continue Reading

Should have been Hillary Clinton

It was a foggy day in New York. My heart is heavy, my mind is cluttered, my soul is weeping. How did this progressive nation set itself back. How are we so divided on issues of race, sexism, abuse, fairness? I don’t know how to feel and I don’t know what to do. This overwhelming feeling of hopelessness seems to just roll in like the fog today.

I have hope for the future… somewhere deep inside.

But today I mourn.

 

Continue Reading

#YouthMarchTogether

#YouthMarchTogetherLike many of you, we, in this house, are feeling out of sorts and at times hopeless. This is something that our kids perceive and understand. The question I have myself as a mom is, do I want my kids to think that hopelessness wins or do I give them some tools for not just coping, but for being part of a movement that stands for something different.
What kids really need to know now…

they need to know they are Safe

they need to know they are Loved

they need to know they are Accepted

they need to know that GOOD WINS

Kids need hope, they want to be involved, and kids need concrete action. I’ve been going back and forth about how Lily, my 11 YO, can feel involved in this current climate. She feels the unease and asks questions, observes harsh words being tossed around at her school and wants to do something. But what?


Your news feed is being filled with plans of people who will march this weekend, in DC, in NYC, in states all across this country. Some of us won’t be able to make these marches and most kids won’t be there. So how do kids, our youth, who are so very effected by this electoral outcome and the conflicting environment, how do our youth participate in this, how do they get involved?

I suggest a project.

This is for our youth. YOU are the future change-makers, YOU will make a difference, YOU will ensure that kindness and good will win and YOUR VOICE is POWER!

To YOU marching this weekend… our kids, young people, our youth stand with YOU… the millions marching this weekend… we stand with you and this is how we will show our support.


Use the reach of social media to get the message out. I encourage you to write #YouthMarchTogether on the palm of your hand and share an image via your social channels.

Tag @YouthMarchTogether on Insta!

We are all in this TOGETHER. We MARCH forward TOGETHER.

Continue Reading

Weekend Vibes: A day at the Dia:Beacon

Art is a healing medium and i’ve been pretty stressed, as have most of you, within this current social climate. I have been feeling hopeless, helpless and just angry. So we’ve been getting out and roaming the lands, and taking day trips all over the Hudson Valley.

One of our favorite museums in New York is the Dia: Beacon. The Dia:Beacon is north of Manhattan, in the Hudson Valley in the town of Beacon. The museum is housed in a space that used to be the Nabisco box printing factory. This museum features large-scale installations and interactive site specifics.

I used to go to this museum before kids and these days, we just take the kids with us. All the installations are large and take up an entire gallery space, there are no borders or limits to experiencing this museum.

It’s important to expose children to all styles of art. I especially love the Dia because the presentation of these pieces is like none other. You are not looking at a painting on the wall or a classic sculpture. These are art installations that you interact with, you enter into and you add to the artful perspective. Thomas immediately caught on to Fred Sandback’s – Untitled (construction) series. In this minimalist piece, that takes up multiple rooms, Sandback outlines the vertical space with yarn to create a space. Thomas upon seeing this immediately said, ” it looks like there is something there… but there is nothing there, look I can walk right through it”. 


Lily loved the works of Dan Flavin, His light sculptures were throughout the museum and she loved the playful nature of the light and how it appears to change color the more you look at it.

On the weekends there are kids programs and my kids love getting lost in all the supplies and creating whatever inspires them. Lily made Thomas a dress out of the materials and Thomas was only too happy to get her undivided attention for that long.

My favorite has always been the massive Richard Serra sculptures. We loved dancing amidst them and walking through the winding spaces. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company did a dance site-specific at the Dia a few years ago and it was quite stunning.

The Dia is such a gem up here in the Hudson Valley. It’s a quick train ride up the Metro North from NYC and once here, the town of Beacon is full of small shops and restaurants. It’s one of our favorite weekend getaways.

The Dia has locations in NYC as well. Swing by their site to get all the info.

Continue Reading

New Year, Clean Home

Photo Via Unsplash

I love to start off the new year with a clean house, clean inbox, clean closet… just a nice fresh start. The freshness of the new year gives me permission to delete things, toss clothes, items, clutter and do a deep clean.

We’ve had a few gorgeous snow days here in New York and I took full advantage of being stuck inside and … cleaned!

I have a few simple tips to get your house in tip-top shape for the what the new year brings… these tips are especially great if you have a giant dog that sheds everywhere!

  1. Bedroom – Clean sheets on all the beds and as a bonus, I like to buy new pillows for all the beds… your pillows have been on the bed for 12 months. Time to change them.
  2. Wash your shower curtain, bath mats, and all towels – bath, kitchen, bar and guest towels. Throw out your shower liner and bathmats. Just throw them away. Don’t bother washing them.
  3. Clean your baseboards – it really makes a difference. I use a dryer sheet to get rid of the static dog hair and them wipe down with a wash cloth and warm water.
  4. Clean out your car. Do it… start anew!! You can do this yourself or treat your car to a yearly full-detail at your local car wash.
  5. Vacuum. Dedicate a half day to moving furniture, taking cushions off couches, getting behind and under things and vacuum the entire house. Good luck!
  6. Wipe down your light switch plates and doors. Have you noticed how dirty they get. Our doors are all white and so are out light switch plates… filthy little dirty finger marks all over these surfaces. A simple dishcloth and warm water does the trick… or you can use a disinfectant spray.
  7. Drop a few drops of a lavender, lemon or jasmine oil on your heater coils to let the scent drift throughout the house.
  8. Clean out the fridge. I found a nasty tub of rice pudding from last summer deep in there. Clean that out, start the new year with a shiny fridge!
  9. Deep clean your kitchen… the heart of the house. Spend an entire day scrubbing this room down. All appliances, floor, stack of clutter papers in the corner…get this done!
  10. Plant some flowers or succulents. Fill the bird feeders. Start the new year with new life and nature.

Happy 2017 everyone!

Continue Reading

Happy Birthday Jonah

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”

Dean Koontz

My sweet Jonah turned 8 this week. The kids and I haven’t had a party for him yet… although everyday in this house seems to be a party…. that I’m always crashing! We are planning a weekend party with homemade doggies treats and kiddie treats.

Jonah is my sweet baby boy. He’s my constant. Dogs are pretty amazing people and I am pretty sure we have the best one of all.

Our daily routine is pretty much the same , the days I’m home.

//We are all up so very early in the morning and Jonah is right there in the midst of it all, having his breakfast, giving out morning kisses, chasing out whatever animal has been resting overnight in the yard and sending everyone off for the day. When things settle down – Lily is off at 6:45am – he immediately hops on her bed for his morning nap. //Next it’s Thomas turn to get out the door – 9am drop off. Thomas has second breakfast… and so does Jonah. Thomas usually drops a few bits of food here and there and Jonah is ready and willing to clean it up. After Thomas is dropped off… he hops on Thomas bed for his second nap of the morning. I settle into work or head off to the local coffee shop to get things done. When I return… he’s on my bed part two of his second nap. //We usually snuggle in the mid morning, he lies on my legs or leans his head on my shoulder while I work. There is some chasing of birds and squirrels, staring down the mailman who tosses him a treat. The UPS guy walks to the front door and Jonah gets his belly rubs and treats from him too. So much for a killer St. Bernard. //Lily comes home from school at 2:30pm… and Jonah is right at the door waiting for her. Tail a wagging round and round in circles, he greets her with kisses and sometimes knocks her to the floor for more. Oh! that was a lot… nap time again. //Next, I pick up Thomas from school and we get back around 3:15pm – more kisses. Everyone – kids and beast all have snacks… and head out to play. //This nap eating schedule basically goes on until bedtime when he sits in each child’s room for bedtime stories, tucks them in and meets me to watch some TV.

He spends his days sitting outside staring at everyone who walks past. Sometimes he barks at his favorite doggie friends but most of time he sits still… just observing. What a noble beast!

Jonah is an important part of this family. His sweet heart knows no offense and forgives like none other. His soft eyes, deep and soulful are ready to take on the weight you carry, his body ready for providing comfort and warmth and his sweet selfless demeanor melts this cold heart of mine.

Happy Birthday Sweet Jonah. I can’t imagine our lives without this big beast of ours.

Continue Reading

D.I.Y. Upcycled Winter Snowflakes

​​Just because the Christmas season is over doesn’t mean that winter is over. Here in New York… winter is JUST beginning! We had a light dusting of snow today but most of the ponds have a decent layer of ice, the kids and I have been getting out ice skating, sledding, snow ball fight gear ready.

Believe it or not we craft in this house all day and erryday! This week we worked on one of my most favorite crafts ever! Paper Snowflake garlands. This is the best little winter snow day crafting activity and honestly. you don’t even have to do it with kids!!! I did some of this last night while watching “The Crown” on Netflix.

( The Crown) which BTW i highly recommend. yes its a bit slow… for our fast food media brains. But it’s really great acting and script and all those people are still alive!

Anyway… i digress. back to my Upcycled Snowflake Craft.

OK So first … do you get TONS of junk mail in your real life street address mailbox? yes, you do. Look at those envelopes… on the inside of those envelopes live gorgeous patterns to hide your secret info. Don’t throw those away because those gorgeous prints make for the perfect craft!!!

Lily and I discovered this ages ago and used to love to open junk mail just to discover the patterns. The BLUE ones are kinda rare but the RED patterns are super rare!!!

Thomas and I created a few snowflakes this week and I took the project over and made it a full decor thing.

Happy winter everyone… here is to 2 possible 3 freezing months!!! and hoping for lots and lots of snow days!!!

The details:

Your Supplies:

  • junk mail envelopes
  • thread
  • glue
  • a snowflake craft punch ( i should have already had an amazon affiliate account so I can make some money while you all go out and buy this! – but I encourage you to donate a portion of your AMAZON purchase to a worthy cause – the arts, health, science, environent, education.)

I made this funky video about the craft that will certainly help visual learners like myself. Excuse the reflective image of me in the upground… i’m getting there!

Steps… so easy!

  • Collect your junk mail envelopes
  • open them up to reveal the gorgeous patterns
  • use your snowflake craft punch to punk out the snowflake
  • glue two sides together around the thread
  • and keep going
  • done and done

So easy… so simple and it’s a great way to welcome the winter season.

Continue Reading

10 Things To Focus On In 2017!

The New York Mom

Happy Happy 2017 everyone.

2016 was a great year for us as a family. We were settling into our new neighborhood, new schools, new community. Matt’s job took him all over the world and country and his work is really making an impact on a global scale.

But me… I can think back to last year at this exact time and you know what. Nothing has changed. Not a single thing. I feel the exact same way. My life -personal and professional – has not budged an inch since January 2016. I have been here holding down the fort and going through the daily grid with these dragons of mine. And while it’s all just fine, I doesn’t feel all that great to be in the same exact space in mind, body and spirit.

It kinda makes me a little sad. I don’t know where the time went. We had a great year as a family. We went on many trips, vacationed in Florida for 2 lazy long weeks, Seattle, skiing, sailing, we sat with neighbors late into the night and chatted, had dinner parties, went to dance concerts, made new friends… I mean we did it all. But I am left feeling empty because my professional life didn’t move an inch and my personal state of mind and body hasn’t improved.  So this year I’m starting off with a few promises to myself before I make promises to others.

10 Things I’m Focusing On In 2017!

  1. Sleep. I am determined to get more sleep. Our days start at 6am. Lily has to be up for school at 6 and bus pick up at 6:45am. Not fun at all… but I’m up and dragging through the entire day.
  2. Time off smart devices. Raise your hand if you get ready for bed and lay awake by the light of your iphone… scrolling articles, pinterest or facebook. No more! I’m shutting down my smart devices an hour before bedtime.
  3. MOVE! I was in amazing shape before having Thomas. As a professional dancer… dance did my body and mind good. I’m ready to move again, while it probably won’t be on a stage… I think a regular yoga or dance class is in my near future!
  4. Hydrate! More water in this system.
  5. Being Mindful. I know people talk about being mindful a lot, but what does that mean to you? To me ‘mindfulness’ means being in the moment to enjoy your life, to give to community, family… give of your time, efforts, laughter. I want to be in the moments while they are happening and not have to worry about things I’m not accomplishing or the dinner that needs to be done or the email that needs to be sent.
  6. Say no! One great way to be present in your life… especially with kids… is to say no to things. I sign up for way too many projects or volunteer for too many things and this year I think I’ll just scale it back a bit.
  7. Kindness. I’m having a tough time coming to grips with the political climate right now. We have anger,sexism, racism and greed on full display, all around us. I’m fighting this with kindness. Reinforcing kind behavior in my children, and taking care of those around us who need help. And just NOT normalizing bad behavior.
  8. Forgiveness. I’m working on forgiving myself. Yes… did you know you should do that! We hold a lot of judgement toward ourselves. As a mother, I feel that I hold myself accountable for a lot more than I would others. I take on guilt, failures, disappointments and then internalize it. Working on forgiving yourself and releasing those expectations will certainly help me gain a new energy! Going to try!
  9. Releasing of things. – Decluttering my objects. I look around and see just a bunch of stuff collecting dust. Those trips to target where you come back with tons of useless things…but they are sooo cute… releasing them.
  10. Give. There are lots of amazing non profits that are at risk of losing their federal funding. We can help. Matt and I give to a couple organizations every year but this year I am going to get the kids actively involved. We can donate to causes that are at the risk of losing funding like arts, education, science, community… find something you are passionate about and tell more people about it and support that cause.

 

Continue Reading