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.

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Back to School: Backpacks for Tweens

Back To School: Backpacks for Tweens
The kids are in the middle of the hot days of summer and while we here in New York still have over a month and half to go before school starts, most of the country starts in mid August. Lily starts 6th grade, this fall,  and it’s very exciting. Her sense of style is really becoming her own and no longer will I be able to pick out her accessories, clothes and backpacks.
To keep up with your picky tweens awesome personality, I’ve picked a few of our favorite backpacks this season. Everything from the trendy Pokemon to the classic Herchel is here on this list to fit your picky tweens style!
1. Miss Selfridge Holographic Mini Backpack $53 // 2. Accessorize Galazy $59// 3. Realm Divide Backpack $40 VANS // 4. Nintendo Backpack – $40 VANS // 5. Multi Tropical Backpack $34 GO JANE // 6. Herschel Supply Company $100 Nordstrom // 7. Aeropostale $25 // 8. Pokemon $20 HOT TOPIC //
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Back to School with The Kissing Hand

Thomas started a new school today and now that he’s 3 he goes to the ‘preschool’ program. The monkey is most nervous and anxious for him and read him – the kissing hand – tonight. It’s the same book we read to her before the first day of school every year! It’s a great book for calming those back to school anxieties.

 

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, is a book about Chester the Raccoon who is nervous about his first day of school. Him mama plants a kiss in the palm of his hand and says, ‘ overtime you get sad put your palm against your cheek and think mommy loves you, mommy loves you.”

It’s the sweetest and before Thomas headed off to school this morning… Lily gave him a sweet kissing hand reminder.

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Moving to the country… or NYC suburbs

Hello blog! it’s been a long while. but we are back in the storytelling business!

We have moved into our house. our casa, our abode! Finally!

our long summer on the run from the law, lootin towns and shootin clowns has come to an end.

we are h o m e.

while i write this, there are boxes piled high in every single room, this house is smaller than our last home so we are going to have to get rid of our wares. who wants stuff? come and get it!

The kids are happy, the yard is huge and has no shortage of critters lingering around. Last night as we came back from dinner, there were 2 massive deer across the street in the neighbor’s lawn, the raccoons can be heard at night, wasps in the vents, woodpeckers, rustling of trees all day and hummingbirds… HUMMINGBIRDS you guys! i have never seen a hummingbird in real life and now they are all over our yard! Lily is especially excited about all this nature and has already built a house for the fairies. We unloaded the art boxes and Thomas wasted no time creating something pink! his favorite color these days.

Lily has signed up for Ballet at the best school in the burbs – i know this because as a professional dancer i am a total dance snob!, She has already found her #squad.

The neighbors have been over, the mailman has dog treats and even the school bus driver asks us about the move.

 

As with most houses that aren’t brand spanking new, this house needs some updates. I cannot wait to start working on these and can’t wait to show you some of the DIY stuff I have planned. We have kitchen remodels, bedrooms being painted, lawn stuff and even a new coat of paint on the house. Which Matt is convinced he can do himself!

I’ve been getting a lot of emails about our move from all of you who are looking to move to the suburbs from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx!  – how did you move, how did you choose your town, are the schools really THAT great, there are amazing restaurants up there aren’t there, is it good for families with young children, is it safe, is it true that all the yup-sters ( yuppy hipsters) have moved up there, what about the taxes, is Martha Stewart really your neighbor… yes yes and yes yall!

I promise… superly promise… to write a post where I tell you exactly how we narrowed down our search and decided to settle in the town we did. also i can give you the low down on real estate agents and our fab attorney… did you know you need an attorney in NY state to buy a house… ours is awesome and you should use him!

For now…

I have to unpack and catch up on this life of mine that has been on hold for 2+ months!

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Back to School Must Haves for Tweens

I know the rest of you have had your kids in school for the past few weeks…but those of us here in the NorthEast still have over a week to go. This year Lily… my sweet 10-year-old fashion opinion generator… has decided to chime in on my Back to School round-up.

As Lily is getting older, I have loved seeing an evolution in her style. Some day’s she relaxed, other times she fancy, and she certainly has an eye for spotting trends.  Lily isn’t really a follower of fashion she sorta blazes her own trail! ( says the proud mom)  A little fashion blogger in the making!

It’s important to let your child experiment with what they are wearing, it’s their way of figuring out who they are, what they like and what makes them feel comfortable. These items on our list have  all been hand-picked by… my tween fashionista …Lily. We all know 10-year-old – 5th graders are the pickiest of all sooooo for your Back to School shopping… I give you Lily’s personal // must – have // list! Back to School2015

  1. Whether it’s picture day, no gym day or the first day of school, a casual dress is a staple . Dress this up with fancy shoes or some fall boots and a jean jacket for multiple looks throughout the year.  $58JCREW.COM 
  2. A simple yet total statement piece top coat goes from fall to winter to spring and even an evening at the movies with friends. This one from Appaman stands out in the crowd as a total classic.  $99APPAMAN.COM  
  3. Ok I am soooo glad Lily picked this color because it’s my absolute favorite. Kanken Bags have a cult following and if you don’t have one… GET THEE ONE NAO! Kanken – Kanken Backpacks – Fjallraven $75FJALLRAVEN.US 
  4. Basically we covet every sort of bauble from CrewCuts… and while we are at it… the Jcrew jewels line too. This pink elephant adds a pop of color and whimsy to any outfit.  $19JCREW.COM
  5. 5th grade begins a whole new world of wonder so we thought it would a great time to start a – line or thought a day – sort of journal. Low commitment but a nice memory of the year.  $17TARGET.COM
  6. Planet Box makes all sorts of compartment boxes and we want them all. But we only have one and love it. These are a bit pricey but you only need one. The stainless steel is easy to clean, rejects bacteria and is eco-friendly. $75 PLANETBOX.COM
  7. Another stainless steel item. The Kid Kanteens are mini version of the KleanKantees which there is no shortage in this home. Even the little MOTO has a baby Kanteen milk bottle. KLEANKANTEEN.COM
  8. We love our BOGS! We really do. These shoes are classic, fashionable without sacrificing one ounce of practicality. These boots are waterproof and are good for fall, winter and spring.  $95BOGSFOOTWEAR.COM
  9. Have you seen Charm It Charms bracelets and necklaces? We love these and gave the bracelets out as birthday party favors for lily’s 8th birthday. These charm bracelets have tons of charms with every theme possible and the pops of colors and kitschy factor are perfection! Love to Travel Gift Set $27 SHOPCHARM-IT.COM

Happy school year everyone!

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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.

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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!

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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! 

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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.

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My 9 Year Olds Homework is driving me crazy!

Every evening, there is a quiet unheard cry from parents who are losing their minds over their child’s homework.

I am one of them.

We, the media, discuss the hardships of having a baby, the challenges of life with a toddler, the troublesome teenage years but we sort of skip over these pre-tweens who are going through something pretty major on a daily basis and homework is only the smallest part of their struggle.photo (47)

Lily is a smart child, top of her class. Her homework is not an overload by any means. It’s exactly what I would expect. It’s a reinforcement of what was studied in class that day.

For my 9YO, her daily homework is my hell. Whether she is exhausted from the pressure of being in 4th grade, the social pressure of school, the pressure to study and learn at warp speed or just being a 9 Year Old with lots of changes going on… our daily homework routine is my hell!

The cries start almost immediately and won’t stop for about 3 hours. which is how long her 40 minutes of homework takes.

As a parent of a 9YO I want to tell all of you coming up the parenting pipeline. Get ready for it. If you thought homework was bad when YOU were a student… it’s HORRID when you are a parent.

After we try to soothe her cries, she finally settles into a rhythm and gets it done but the meltdown takes a good chunk of our evening. It’s stressful, it’s exhausting and it’s isolating.

Isolating because – no one talks about it. Maybe there is a ‘my child does homework better than your child’ check list, which I am not aware of. Or maybe parents don’t want to discuss their struggles with their pre tweens so openly. I don’t know. But would you people PLEASE talk about this because I feel like I am going through it all alone and my child is the only one having full meltdowns every. single. night.

Lily is an A student, her grades are A’s, she gets her stuff done but this homework is killing her. Her teacher is great and while she does lay down the law and makes sure her students all know what is expected of the curriculum… Lily is stressed and there is A LOT to learn this 4th grade year. The pressure is on!

My heart breaks seeing her cry like this. I don’t want to say she struggles through homework, but she is so stressed to get it done and get it done right that it’s almost too much for her little mind and body to take.

What do we do parents? How do you handle this? Do you have any tips you can share with me, because I am emotionally drained every single night.

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9 things I want to tell my 9 Year Old as she starts 4th grade.

This post has been sitting in draft since February… when Lily turned 9. Tomorrow this sweet-pea of mine starts 4th grade. While she is excited and has nervous energy and I am anxious and stressed and don’t want her to goooo! This is the part no one tells you… you just don’t want your kids to grow up! 

All of you parents who are off sending your kids to Kindergarten or Preschool for the first time this year… it doesn’t get easier. It just doesn’t . Each year is a reminder to how closer you are to losing your baby. Lily will always be my baby…I know i have to give her wings to fly and all those things…but my winged-flying-child will always be my baby!

As kids get older, they start to take on habits from other people who are around them. School friends, teachers, mentors, coaches… all play a very vital role in how your child responds to the world. And while it is great to have a variety of influences, I just want to slip some of my knowledge and thoughts to Lily this 4th grade year.

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As Lily starts 4th grade… I say these 9 things to my 9 year old change-maker!

  1. Be KIND. You don’t have to be nice … but you have to be kind…ALWAYS. There is a big difference between these two words. Nice: pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory. Kind: considerate, helpful,humane.
  2. Mean Kids are sad kids. But can also be very scary kids. In life, there will always be mean people… you ignore them and be brave and strong. and ALWAYS tell me if you are being bullied.
  3. Ask questions. Always ask questions. Ask your teachers, your parents, your friends, yourself… always ask questions and don’t ever stop asking questions.  I love your questions and you have such an inquisitive nature. Keep asking questions in life. Keep researching things like you do and keep trying to find YOUR OWN answers.
  4. You hate me some days but I love you everyday. It’s true. Your 9YO hormones are wreaking havoc inside your small body and since you love me so much I am the one who gets the worst of it. I take that as a compliment and I love you even more because of it. I love you every single day no matter what!
  5. Be thankful. when you wake up in the morning… be thankful. when you eat. be thankful. when you go to school be thankful – because girls in most countries don’t get that chance. be thankfull for your freedom because people are trapped in their world and you are not.
  6. Keep jumping. You are such a monkey and I want you to never forget that. Keep moving and climbing and jumping through life. Your body is strong and is only going to strengthen your core and your being… so jump around and find your movement through life.
  7. Always hold my hand. I love when you hold my hand. Your sweet hand fits perfectly into mine and we match. Hold my hand always.
  8. No means NO. Right now this seems like nothing…but I want you to understand this phrase and let it sink into your being…NO mean NO always.
  9. I am your mother, which means.  I will always support you and only you no matter what.  I will always be on your team, I will always fight for you, I will always listen, I will always pick you up, I will always have macaroons waiting for you and I you will forever be my little egg.

Off you go Lil… jumping into 4th grade. You are a change-maker and are going to do amazing things in this world!

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20 days of school with Schoola

This post is sponsored by Schoola. 

The New York Mom

It’s Back To School time and I’ve partnered with SCHOOLA and their 20 days of school campaign, to help raise 25,000 for Kipp Academy in the Bronx to help fund their music program.

If you know me at all you know that my heart is in arts education. As a fierce advocate for the Arts, I support arts education right from elementary school. This project makes me so happy and I really hope you are inspired to join me.

Kipp Academy in the Bronx REALLY needs this program. 95% of the kids qualify for free or reduced cost lunch. 95 PERCENT!!! More than one in seven kids, at KIPP academy,  receives special education services. Music helps KIPP Academy reach and engage every child who enters its doors. The slogan on the Music Room wall sets the stage—All of Us Will Learn Music.

Arts education is absolutely vital to the development of young minds. Arts educations effectiveness has been proven time and time again, When kids are engaged in dance, theatre, music or visual arts they improve in their academics, don’t drop out of school, attendance in school is higher, find a focus and their self esteem gets a boost.

and the best part… exposure to the arts from a young age creates amazing little human who will grow and do amazing things!

I’ve had the fortune of being a guest artist teaching dance in schools all across New York City and it’s been the most fulfilling part of my professional dance career. Teaching dance at schools like KIPP Academy where most of the kids are at risk was especially fulfilling. I was able to – for a short time- give these kids a small escape from their lives while also teaching them about movement and art and collaborations. These kids don’t have access to the arts like you and I do. With programs in the arts getting cut in public schools more and more every year, we need more than ever to help out schools like KIPP Academy succeed. Let’s help them buy new instruments, let’s help them teach music to these talented kids, and lets help them make artists who will grow up and shape our creative future!

I’m thrilled to share my collaboration with Schoola with you and really hope that you – me- WE can help KIPP academy raise the 25,000 they need to fund their music program.

Schoola is an online consignment store  which sells only  brand name kids clothes. A portion of the proceeds goes to schools in need and I’ve chosen KIPP Academy and their music program. 

Here’s how this works. Simply shop for back to school stuff at SCHOOLA and money will go right to KIPP ELEMENTARY.

  • For every transaction made from Schoola, Schoola will donate $1 to the KIPP Academy.
  • For every person who requests a donation bag, Schoola will donate $1 to the KIPP Academy.
  • For every clothing donation made from Schoola and when you fill out your school information ( a school you’d like to support), $2 of every $5 made will go back to the school that you support.

Follow this link so we can help KIPP Academy! —> SCHOOLA

It’s going to take so little to make such a big difference!!!

This post is brought to you by Schoola, the best place to buy discounted kids clothes all while give back to schools in need. Click here to learn more about Schoola. Click here to see what people are saying.

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and so it begins…

 

 

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A boy in Lily’s class has been making her drawings and giving her rings and things. and everything has hearts on it. lots of hearts.

and so it begins… my mama-bear-spidey-senses are not loving this phase one bit!

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