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.

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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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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.

 

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#LoveYourHair with Dove

#LoveYourHair
#LoveYourHair

As Lily gets older, parenting takes on a new strategy. Instead of slaying dragons and knock-knock jokes, we are now handling mood swings, cell phones privileges and navigating social lives. One thing that I have enjoyed with the tween-dom is getting my hair done. Lily is really into discovering new ways of braiding hair or curling it and I am only too happy to be her ever ready hair model.

Lily is in middle school and any parent of a child in middle school will tell you that these years are full of navigating social norms, mood swings and how one looks! I try to encourage positive body image and hair image any way I can and one of the most simplest and effective ways is through words. I encourage Lily to let her hair just flow naturally. She has thick brown hair that straightens out really well and holds a great curl so her hair issues are nowhere near as major as my curly frizzy hair!

Hair can be a pretty defining part of our overall image. While I never thought much about my hair, except the occasional complaint about frizz, it wasn’t until my pregnancy that I realized the impact my hair had on my overall identity.

My long thick black hair lost most of its volume during pregnancy and it wasn’t until almost 3 years later that it started to grow back to its full thickness.  The hair came back in full force…along with a few straggly greys that stick straight up from my scalp. I mean… not fun!

Lily and I both share the same adventurous spirit and our hair certainly reflects that… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am excited to be part of Dove’s #LoveYourHair campaign to celebrate all types of hair. What do you love about your hair? I encourage you… dear reader… to make your own 3 second video of you and your daughter and tell us why you Love Your Hair! Be sure to use #LoveYourHair and use this link to make your own quick snap! http://bit.ly/2gHGfgi

*This post is sponsored. All opinions are mine*

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Craft Kits for Tweens and Teens

Craft Kits for Tweens and Teens
It’s almost time to have all your presents neatly wrapped under the tree. Are you done with all your shopping?? We aren’t! Thomas is super easy to shop for. As a newly minted 4-year-old, he loves anything and everything! Dinosaurs, Superheros, trains, trucks and paints.
Lily being a tween is tougher to shop for. As kids get older the choices dwindle down and gifting is a challenge.
I have found a few crafting lines that are perfect for the tween and teen set. They offer really unique craft kits like – foosball table kits or dream catchers and even a DIY speakers kit.
Here is a great list of 6 Craft Kits for Tweens and Teens.

This is a great gift for older kids. When finished this is one fully functioning foosball table!! Super fun!

Ukulele Kit Kid Made Modern
kidmademodern.com
For the music lover in your home, The Ukulele Kit from Kid Made Modern is a MUST. This kit comes with glitter stickers, paint and everything you need to make and decorate your Ukulele.

This dream catcher kit is easy to follow and comes with feathers, beads and the pom poms. This makes for very cool room decor.

Jam out to your music with speakers you made yourself! This kit comes with foldable speakers, paints stickers and basically everything for you to create you jammin boom box!

Journal Kit Kid Made Modern
kidmademodern.com
If you have a tween or teen you know that journaling is total THING! This journal kit includes a 250 page book paints, stickers, glitter tape and more. It’s a one stop journaling shop!

I have been a loyal follower of Handmade Charlotte and not their craft kits are available at Michaels Arts and Crafts. These unique crafts include everything from chandeliers, to framed art.
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Kid Made Modern – Craft Kits For All Ages

We’ve had a few snowy days up here in the suburbs of NYC and I for one love it. Snow days force us to slow down and take in the season. The kids are home from school and we spend our snowy days baking and crafting. ( in between the yelling and fit throwing) keepin it real yall!

We’ve been working with Kid Made Modern and testing out a few of their crafty kits and I have to report… we love them.What makes Kid Made Modern stand out from other craft kits is their attention to detail, their modern designs and the sense of unique whimsy.

This Winter WonderLand Kit was my favorite to work on. After the kids were in bed after a long day in the snow and friends coming over, I settled by the fire-place and caught up on my latest Netflix binge while painting away. I stayed fairly true to the shapes and tried my best to paint them in as they look, but Thomas, upon seeing them the next day, wanted to douse all the pieces in glitter! A kid after my own glitter lovin heart. Maybe they need an makeover!

While you are busy running around purchasing your Christmas gifts, I would like to suggest a crafty kit from Kid Made Modern. You can find a great selection at Target. We especially love the massive Arts and Crafts Library that comes with everything your little crafty heart desires! There are also gem shaped crayons, or the Ukulele Kit

Long after the holiday season is over… we still have a few months of winter! Making something fun and creating art is our go to boredom buster! You can swing by KID MADE MODERN to pick up a few sets of your own or swing by your local Target to grab them asap!

Happy Holidays everyone!!

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A S.T.E.A.M. Play Space at The Westchester Mall

The long-awaited play space at the Westchester Mall has finally opened! and just in time for the winter months.

Thomas and I headed to the mall to run a few errands and pick up a christmas suit for him and lo and behold… the play space was open! This is part of the new Connect and Play – tech lounge and play center that really brings the classic mall play space into the tech world. There are comfy couches and charging stations all around and the play space is nothing short of an interactive science and art center!

This Play space is not like other mall play spaces. It’s almost like a mini children’s museum with a full S.T.E.A.M. focus. There are 4 primary activity centers featuring – art, engineering, music, and a tile table. A STEAM jr, space for babies and toddlers is blocked off to keep the crawlers and early walkers contained and safe.

Thomas and I were there on a weekday morning and it was really quiet and clean. I am curious to see what this space will look when it’s used. While I felt that the space was pretty cool with the STEAM focus, Thomas wanted to just run around and there really isn’t any space to just run. Additionally the Tile Table is pretty small and there were 3 kids at the table when we were there and that was at capacity, the digital art easels filled up too and Thomas had to wait for his turn but it took some of the play out of the experience. I know my toddler and he wants to tumble and run and there isn’t much for that. But there is a lot of interesting interactive play and he loved the engineering corner.

Thomas and I are looking forward to spending some time at this play space this winter. Bonus for me… there is an Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Potterbarn, Apple Store, Sur La Table and so much more at the Westchester!

The fancy new food court is slated to open Aril2017… I can’t wait! Seems like this is a new concept for mall food courts and play spaces. I’m looking forward to seeing all the changes.

The Westchester Mall is in White Plains, NY and a quick train ride or drive north of Manhattan.

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5 Weeks Until Christmas and 5 Toys You Need Now!

 

We have a little over 5 weeks before Jolly Old Saint Nicholas is going to come sliding down the chimney to drop off lots of toys for your kids! I’ve come across some really fantastic toys for this season that will appeal to kids of all ages and maybe even adults… can you say… LEGO DISNEY CASTLE! It’s stunning!

These are few of the favorites that are Thomas and Lily approved. As you know, most if not all of these toys have been tested by me and my crew… AKA Thomas and Lily… and usually Jonah gets a hold of something  and after clawing it out of his jaw… we write about it.

Disney Castle LEGO

Disney Castle Playset – LEGO – $349.00 I don’t know about the kids, but I WANT THIS. The Disney Castle play set has 4080 pieces and builds an amazingly detailed Disney Castle. This is a MUST for Disney Fans. Get it while you can… it’s selling quick!

Torch Blazin Dragon

Torch My Blazin Dragon – Hasbro $65 It’s not the Game of Thrones Khaleesi Dragons… but it’ll do for the kids. This dragon blinks and breathes fire and even “toasts’ marshmallows! Also a hot item this season… so grab it!

Thomas and Friends Mini Playset

Thomas and Friends Minis Twist and Turn Stunt Set $20  This entire line in on my Thomas’s wish list. He can’t get enough of these minis. They twist and turn and spiral back up. Thomas and Friends Minis Playset also have a whole new DC Superheros line… Thomas as Batman… believe it!

sky-viper-remote-control-hover-ptru1-23893606dt

Sky Viper Hover Racer $99.99 This hover craft is #1 on Lily’s list. It’s tough to find toys for kids as they get older so I was super excited to discover the Sky Viper. It’s a great, sturdy quality, that can handle rough play and a giant dog going after it!

Love-2-Learn-Elmo

Love2Learn Elmo HASBRO $59.99 – Just when you think you have outgrown the Elmo stage… they reel you back in. This is the new 2016 version that is bluetooth compatible. Imagine Thomas’ surprise when Elmo said his name! There is soooo much this new version of Elmo does that I could write a whole piece on it. It helps with learning alphabet, numbers, colors, silly phrases and songs… so much more! PJ Masks Headquarters Playset

PJ Masks Headquarters Playset – $69.99 Thomas is WISHING for this playset. We can’t find it anywhere!! PJ Masks – which is NOT TJ MAXX –  I thought he was saying this all along… anyway PJ MASKS is Thomas’ favorite show and if you have a toddler/preschooler then you know what I am talking about. This Headquarters Playset is all he wants and it’s sold out practically everywhere. It’s such a fun toy that has spinning parts a slide and whatever else magic that Thomas is into. No really though… if you have a PJ MASKS fan… this HAS to be under your tree. Along with every PJ MASKS toy made!

There is so much. SO PLEASE keep stopping by. I want to have short gift guides this year so as not to overwhelm anyone. We have DIY guides, Craft, indie… all sorts of guides coming up and soooo many toys!

One more thing… from my soapbox… PLEASE try to shop local… I know that some small toy shops don’t carry these toys ( but some might). If you do shop online, please link your shopping spending to a charity many places like Amazon and Target allow you to do that.

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Dear Hillary Clinton

This is a quote by John Wesley... Hillary Clinton, the devout Methodist that she is... uses this as her inspired mission.
This is a quote by John Wesley… Hillary Clinton, the devout Methodist that she is… uses this as her inspired mission.

Dear Hillary Clinton,

I have LET YOU DOWN.

I FAILED YOU. I did not voice my political opinion early enough for fear of social stigma. I did not work tirelessly for you and for us – For my kids.

I let you down.

I owe you my future.

Regardless of what the political electoral outcome… YOU –  Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton – are MY leader.

You are my inspiration, my guide, and you are my voice.

You have started a movement and I am in. You have broken the ceiling Hillary… the ceiling has been shattered… because us girls have a new voice, we have the OK to ask for what we want, to expect more, to be more and not ever stand for bad behavior and shitty ideas. You lifted us up and you are going to keep on being the voice for us.

Hillary, you ARE my president, you ARE my leader… you are my future.

I mourned today… like the rest of the nation, because please remember… YOU WON. Y O U WON!! But electoral votes cramped that style.

Thank you for this voice, thank you for this fearless voice, thank you for inspiring my 11YO, for putting the fire in her change-making belly!

YOU are ALIVE in us all… just you watch… we are going to look ‘them’ in the eye and say… here we are, now what! Love is going to win. We are going to win.

Hillary, I let you down – I should have shouted your name from the rooftops.

But here I am… we are moving forward.

As our Methodist faith says – “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”

You, Hillary Clinton are MY FUTURE… we are not done.

“Democracy DEMANDS our participation” Hillary Clinton #ImSTILLwithHER

M

 

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Celebrating This Perfectly Messy Life with Bounty

 

Life with kids is messy… and Bounty is here to help clean up those little messes.

Life is messy and life with kids is messier. Remember those early days when the little dragons were sweet cherubs sent from the gods up above to enrich your life in ways you could never imagine. Remember how you looked at them and their sweet faces, thinking “you are the best thing ever”. Their gross spit ups or diaper blowouts… disgusting as they were can be described as a cute mess to non kid having friends. When flinging spaghetti across the room was a picture perfect moment, well those moments still happen just not as cute the third, fourth, millionth time….

We only celebrate the first messes. And while parenting is messy… would we ever have it any other way? Not me. I’m perfectly happy with my perfectly messy life.

I’m working with Bounty to talk about the little messes of life. With Bounty Paper Towels, parents can enjoy these moments while the Quicker Picker Upper does the work.

bounty-messy-firsts

I spent an evening with Mother and Author Kristin Cavalleri and chatted toddler messes. She shared a few of her tips.

Tips for Avoiding Messy Mealtime Madness.

  • Stop Playing Fetch – don’t pick up everything as kids throw them on the floor, clean up at the end of the meal with Bounty Paper Towels.
  • Practice Patience with Utensils – try sticky foods that will be easier to be scooped up by utensils – Oatmeal and yogurt are two faves.
  • Peace of Mind Placemats – Clean up will be so much easier with makeshift placemats made from bounty paper towels
  • Set a Good Example – Eat Healthy and exhibit positive eating habits for the kids.
  • Avoid High Chair Messes – Place a paper towel in your child lap this way all the run away food gets caught in the bounty paper towel and it’s a simple clean up when done eating.
  • Have Them Help You – encourage kids to help clean up so they learn to tidy up early on!

This post is sponsored by Bounty. Thanks for stopping by and checking out The New York Mom and learning a bit more about the sponsors.

 

 

 

 

 

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