Posts Tagged 'kids'

November 5 – 6: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

tea time sandwiches

Tea time! (photo by Leslie Kalohi)

Thanks to Halloween, jury duty, and some fun new freelance ventures, I’ve had precious little time to blog this week. But I’m pulling my crap together today to get something short and sweet out — since I know there are, like, three of you sitting on the edge of your seats out there wondering, “God, when are they going to post again?!”

Well, my dears, here you go.

It’s pricey — $25 a kid — but dying to take the kids to this DIY (but with the help of a NYC chef) Yummy Tea Time Party at lovely DUMBO shop Pomme tomorrow. (Reserve a spot by email.)

Can’t wait to make tracks to the new space for the Children’s Museum of the Arts. Looks awesome.

On tap to cook this weekend — gotta knock out the last CSA squash for the season — is Mark Bittman’s Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon. If you’re looking to take down a lurker squash or two at your house, I recommend these Garlic and Herb Roasted Potatoes and Squash — made them last night and yum, yum. The balsamic vinegar adds a ton of flavor. One other late-breaking idea, from a friend I just had lunch with: Butternut Squash Risotto. This one, a Chez Panisse recipe, looks good.

I’m also eyeing this chili, from the fine folks over at Dinner: A Love Story.

Happy cooking, eating, socializing, wine drinking, kid wrangling weekend!

(flickr photo: Leslie Kalohi / never cool in school)

Metropolis: A New York City Timelapse

New York City, day and night, night and day. By Will Boisture, via MUGuide.

Your kids will love. So will you.

October 22 – 23: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

cowgirl costume by Cookies and Costumes

Cowgirl costume by Cookies and Costumes on Etsy, $55.

I spend a ton of time coming up with activities and outings to entertain my kids — sometimes, I just want somebody else to do all the work. So, bring it on.

* Best Halloween Apps for Kids

* Last-minute handmade Halloween costumes for kids from scary-good Etsy

* Free Halloween events for NYC kids

* And totally tune into the kids’ Halloween mixes on Pandora Radio. They will LOVE dancing to the theme from “Ghostbusters.” And you won’t mind it, either.



Cookies and Costumes on Etsy.

October 1 – 2: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

bring to light nuit blanche

Bring to Light: Nuit Blanche


Education, art, and poetry combine with The Hive Learning Network NYC at Bring to Light: Nuit Blanche New York 2011 in Greenpoint. Young NYC-based poets will be doing fun and funky things with light and digital projection in the waterside ‘hood. Impress the kids with the art, pick up a pizza on the way home, and still get everyone to bed at a decent hour. This event sounds like the kind of thing we live in New York City FOR. ie: Freakin’ cool.

Earlier in the day, drop by the Children’s Museum of the Arts Block Party — they’re finally in their new space!


Time for pumpkin picking!

Happy weekend!

Via + Mom Congress: What I’ll Be Doing for You This School Year, Kids

First day of school

Second grade and Kindergarten -- bring it!

Jasper and Magnolia are back in school! Full days! Five days a week! Yippeeee! Not only does this mean — most importantly, of course — that after an exciting summer break, they can resume in earnest the exhilarating learning process. It also means I have some time to myself. Yippeeee X 2!

Sort of. Time to myself means time to think, and that’s a tricky thing these days. With all this parenting stuff, and the day-to-day weight of it, I’ve lost myself a bit. Or a lot. Maybe even a big, huge, gaping expanse of a lot.

I have to reinvent. Redefine. Let go of some things and embrace others. Get back in touch with who I am. Yesterday, something made me think of Anne Lamott, who I’ve read in the past and enjoyed, but it’s been years since Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions, and Traveling Mercies.

Anyway, I Googled her and found two interesting things: 1) a video of an interview she did with Stephen Colbert for Grace (Eventually). They are both Sunday School teachers and he gets her “God” thing and it is very funny. If you like her at all, watch it! 2) a piece she did for The Oprah magazine on Becoming the Person You Were Meant to Be.

Ding, ding! A sign!

OK, it turned out to be a little up and down for me, but I found two good takeaways:

“You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren’t. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don’t think your way into becoming yourself.”


In all of this figuring out yourself, your true self, your spiritual self if you want to call it that (I don’t, but), you’re looking for “The self that is revealed in divine feminine energy, your own, Bette Midler’s, Hillary Clinton’s, Tina Fey’s, Michelle Obama’s, Mary Oliver’s. I mean, you can see that they are divine, right? Well, you are, too.”

Um,… OK! Divine me, divine mom. I’m…. working on it.

One thing I know for sure is that a new school year has begun, and I have to take an active part in making it a good one for my kids. Last year, I kicked ass (if I do say so myself) by planning Touch-a-Truck Brooklyn — we raised a ton of money for the school and, I hope, elevated the elementary school’s profile in the borough. I’m proud of that, and I have a million ideas for how to grow and improve the event this year. I can’t take on being the lead organizer again, but I can be an important consultant. I can say yes to taking on a few, manageable, key things, and I can make some good stuff happen.

What else can I do for you, Dear Jasper and Magnolia, to make sure that you get the best education possible this year?

I can communicate with your teachers to make sure you’re participating and getting the most out of your classroom experience. I can help make sure your teachers — hardworking and impressive as they are — have the resources they need to do their jobs well.

I can read to you and let you read to me. I can ask you about your day and show you that I care about every single little detail of if (because, in ways that you are too young to understand now, I really, truly do.)

I can send you off in the morning with a sense of security — a feeling of certainty that you are loved, supported, seen and heard. That I have confidence that you will succeed in learning — and, just as important — make me, yourselves, and each other laugh in the process.

I can remind you that I’m on your team. That we’re in this school thing together, and that learning is fun!

Let’s dive in! I’ll be holding your hand — and helping you through your homework — the whole way.


To read other open letters from moms to their kids about education, hop over to Mom Congress on And, YO, listen up — you can also submit a short essay and photo or video to enter your kid’s school for a chance to win $20,000! A pretty awesome contest, all in the name of better education. Go,

Spread the word!



Tips for Helping Your Child Learn to Read

Tips from a Kindergarten Teacher

Public vs. Private School

Would You Home-School Your Kids?

A Fun, Creative School Fundraiser

August 27 – 28: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

High Line

High Line / photo by: join the dots

We walked the new section of the High Line this week — dying to go back, do it again, and have lunch at the food trucks parked under the 30th Street entrance. There’s shade and picnic tables — easily manageable with the kids.

But it’s an outdoor activity — wonder what Irene will have to say about that? An earthquake, a hurricane — things are wild around here this week, and I’ve got a twitchy, unpredictable mood to match. Still feeling out of sorts post-sabbatical. Will it ever pass?

Anyway, weekend linkage:

* more on the High Line food trucks. Just say “taco.”

* inspiration: a vintage farmhouse dining room transformation.

* Design Mom’s Work Life Balance Project (love her tips.)

* OpenHouse NY 2011 Preview List.

* culinary fun for the kids at Taste of Brooklyn.

Happy weekend! Hope Irene treats you right!

(photo: join the dots)


Europe with Kids: Anyone Homesick?

Europe with kids

We will have been gone two weeks tomorrow — I’m reluctant to type that, the time is flying by so quickly — and Chrissy and I have just started to hear a few fleeting mentions of missing home. (Really, I think to myself with wonder? Really?)

But from the kids it’s pretty sweet. Here’s who’s missing what (crucial stuff, people.)


What do you miss from home?

All of my toys. I miss my three best toys the most — my Spiderman, and my Hero and Thomas trains.

I miss our new TV. And our Scooby-Doo movie, “Abracadabra-Doo.”

My oatmeal for breakfast!

School — I miss Ms. Oram and Ms. P. and Ms. Plasencia and Ms. Bittner.

And all of my friends.


What do you miss?

My Barbies, my princesses, my castle and everything

Everything, even my own bed.

And I miss my dollies

I miss our cereal.

And our entire house.

I miss Quinn, Carl, Isadora, Abby — all my friends.


You fessed up to missing some things about home…. So, what are they?

Officially, “no comment.”

After having spent two full weeks of uninterrupted time with our children — morning, noon, and night — Chrissy notes that she does miss some things about home, but has declined to answer this question on the grounds that it may incriminate her (and would like for me to emphasize that she’s having a wonderful time and would not like to be anywhere else in the world.)


I love Brooklyn but, really, miss nothing — well, maybe our house, just a little — and am busy plotting how we can spend more time here more often. A year abroad, a la Design Mom? Can we figure out a way to make it happen?

There’s only one way to find out.

A Reality-Check via Babble: Stay-at-Home vs. Working Parents

Be Brave

Parenting: A tough job.

I read a funny Babble post last week on the differences between the daily lives of stay-at-home and working parents — and let’s just say it struck a chord (for others, too, judging by the number of comments). Chrissy and I have had a few, ahem, conversations recently about how different our days are and how, honestly, sometimes it’s difficult to relate to and truly appreciate what the other has had to deal with.

Heather Rigby, who wrote the post, is feeling the same with her husband — so she came up with a list of questions to “help him and other office-bound parents gauge how (cough, cough) similar their days are to ours.”

Here are some of my favorites….

* When you walked into work this morning and pleasantly greeted your co-worker Jim, was his first reaction to scream “NO! WANT JASON!” followed by an office supply being thrown at you?

* Do you have to lock yourself in the supply closet or bathroom on a regular basis in order to make phone calls?

* Did you finish a complete thought at any time during the day?

* Have you had to come to an associate’s aid because she fell off her desk after trying to climb on top of it using a rolling chair?

* When you reached for the report a co-worker was handing you, did he snatch it away at the last second and scream “MINE!” while shoving you backwards?

* While you are using the restroom, do various co-workers come in the stall and ask you to settle a disagreement or open a packet of fruit snacks?

And to those, I’d add a few questions of my own….

* Did a co-worker or your boss call you a poopy or a baby today when you did something they didn’t like?

* Did the person in the office next door stick his tongue out at you as he walked by?

* Did you have to let a colleague play with your iPhone for a few minutes so you could get something done, but then need to beg him: “Hold it with both hands! Please don’t drop it!”?

* Did you have to remind anyone in a meeting not to stick their fingers up their nose?

* Did you have to break up an argument over the red crayon?

* Did you find yourself finishing the half-eaten bits of a co-worker’s lunch or snack instead of getting your own?

* Were you at any point inadvertently spit on while a co-worker made loud farting noises?

No, I didn’t think so. (P.S., honey — I know you *did* have to deal with a whole long list of stresses that I did not. Endless meetings, crazies on the commute, and more. I’ve been on the other side, too, and being a working parent is also hard — I get that. Bottom line: Being a parent is hard.)

But, seriously…. I do get extra points for wiping butts and snotty noses, right?


8 Surprising Things About Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

New York Magazine on Why Parents Hate Parenting

Chipotle-Spiked Hummus & Avocado Sandwich: A Quick & Easy At-Home Lunch

Love Her or Leave Her? Barbie

Barbie Princess Tea Party Barbie Doll

Princess Tea Party Barbie Doll, from Amazon, $12

Last week I was conflicted over leggings.… They’re so comfortable! But when I wear them I feel like my thighs deserve their own Brooklyn zip code.

This week, I’m thinking toys — specifically Ken’s significant other.

I loved playing with Barbies when I was a little girl — the endless clothes changes and hairstyles, the elaborate stories about the glamorous events my dolls were attending. And I don’t think it did any lasting psychological damage. (The comment about my thighs was for fun — I DO have big thighs, but I have a pretty realistic body image and no self-loathing issues. I’d like to be thinner, yes, but that’s about it.)

Even though my memories of Barbie are oh-so-fond, I’ve been reluctant to get Magnolia one — she’s seen them in stores, she’s watched some of the Barbie movies (which have a surprisingly “girl power” message), and she’s said more than once she wanted one. We debated it for Christmas, but decided she was too young. She’s already into princesses and sparkly things and stuff she deems “pretty” — I figured why further the girlie obsessions by bringing home Barbie?

Also, cliche, but I don’t want her growing up too fast — she’s only four! I’ve seen other kids her age and younger at the playground clutching a Barbie, but I secretly turned up my nose. Dolls are one thing, but why give a kid so young a woman in miniature to play with? I don’t want M. fast-forwarding to a fixation on mature looks and clothing, or the idea that she wants to grow up in a hurry because older = better.

And I certainly don’t want her to see Barbie as the physical ideal for a woman.

Thus my *previously* anti-Barbie stance — at least at this age.

Then we went to Texas, and M. unearthed some of my old Barbies from my childhood toy box. The girls looked like they’d suffered in the heat of a Texas attic for 30+ years, for sure — Superstar Barbie had some unattractive melted hair and Malibu Barbie was shy a leg — but M. was DELIGHTED to have found them. She was instantly engaged in play. Quiet, independent play. For longer than 10 minutes.

This is a draw for the mommies. Potent stuff.

Later in the trip, we headed to Wal-Mart to get each of the kids something new to play with during the long car ride to the great-grandparents’ house and the trip home on the plane. She’d been so happy with mine that we caved and got a Barbie for M., who could hardly believe her good fortune.

But we went with the tamest one we could find, the Princess Tea Party Barbie Doll above. No slutty clothes, no trashy glitter and glitz, no red carpet accessories — she just came with a tiny tea set.

M. has nicknamed her “Barba,” worries that she’ll get lonely or scared if left in a room without a human, and sleeps with her nightly. It doesn’t seem so awful, but I don’t know….

What do you think? Harmless toy or the root of all evil?

Barbie: Love her or leave her?

Magnolia on Having Two Moms, Shiny Brite, and a Few of Her Favorite Things

M. with magic wand from Simply Playing on Etsy

Magnolia with her magic wand from Simply Playing on Etsy.

In a recent Babble article on advice for mom bloggers, I read a tip from Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, on a fun way to keep things fresh: do a guest post with your kids. So I decided to interview mine to see if they had anything funny or incriminating to say about us. Unlike those Deborah Solomon “Questions for…” columns in The New York Times, where they make it clear she has “condensed and edited” at will, I’m gonna give it to you straight.

Up first, Magnolia:

How old are you now?


Do you know what an interview is?

No. I don’t know.

What do you think mommy is doing when she sits at the computer?

You’re writing — sometimes you write a letter to mommy. Sometimes, you read a book to me and Jasper. Because sometimes you need to do stuff on the computer.

Any idea what a blog is? Have you ever heard that word?


What do you like to do on the computer?

I like to do…. um, write a letter to Jasper. I like to watch a movie on the computer. And I like to do…. That’s all the things I can think of.

What do you think about having two mommies?

I love my two mommies! I wish they had a magic wand that has real magic and when they say magic words, it would do real magic.

What do you like the most about our house in Brooklyn?

I like Rainbow in My Room. And I like this soccer ball.

What makes you really happy?

This magic wand. Cookies. Playing in the snow. Catching bugs in a jar.

And what makes you sad?

Um — when Jasper takes away my toys. And when Jasper takes away this magic wand from me.

What’s the best part of having an older brother?

His socks and shoes. I need to think about it…. Um, I like his trains on his train table.

You’ve mentioned a few times that you have a new magic wand — what do you like about it?

Um, its real magic. And its little strings. And the rainbow part of it. And the heart on the top. Did I do an interview?

You did! What do you think?


And later this week, Jasper weighs in. Stay tuned!

For more on Jenny Lawson, and her kind of super-amazing holiday post that ballooned into an avalanche of kindness, generosity, and general good-doing, read Today’s HuffPost Greatest Person: Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess. Talk about magic.

(magic wand from Santa, via Simply Playing by Adolina on Etsy)

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