Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The World in 100 Years

On a trip to the Catskills, we embarked on an adventure to find Rip Van Winkle related murals. 

I hadn't read the story in years and was trying to recall the details to share with the kids, and luckily I found it in a country store in Tannersville. 

The biggest differences Rip experienced were escaping his "shrewish wife" and hanging with his dog. 

What will be different about the world in 100 years?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Let's Play Spring-O!

Mother Nature tempted us with a taste of spring last week. She's turned the thermostat back down this week, but we know spring is on the way.

I can't wait.

I love spring. For me, spring means cherry blossoms, running in shorts, bees buzzing, outdoor soccer, longer days, track season.

For others, spring means different things.

What symbolizes spring for you?

Last week a friend of mine commented that spring was almost here because she saw the robins return. I had never thought of robins as migrating birds, so I wondered if they really did leave during the winter. It turns out some robins migrate, but not all. And it's not just weather that motivates their migration.

Our family loves to play games and I decided to make SPRING-O, a fun little game to play while we're waiting for spring to really arrive.

The best part is, you can make this game at home and play it with your family. Make it simple for younger players, or make it complex for older kids and adults.

So let's play Spring-O!


  1. On a piece of paper, draw a grid of nine squares. 
  2. In each of the squares, write down signs of spring. You could write down things about new plants growing, insects and animals, warmer weather, or outdoor recess and sports seasons.
  3. Put a free space in the middle of your grid.
  4. Play SPRING-O with your family and friends and mark off a square when you see that sign of spring. You can play to win when you have a row of three or when you fill up the entire card. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Things That Count

Things I Count

Steps I take in a day
Ounces of water I drink 
Miles I run per week
Words I write in a story 
Dollars coming in a month 
Likes on social media posts
Pounds I weigh 
Dollars going out in a month 
Emails in my inbox 
Calls I make as a volunteer
Hours I sleep a night
Books I read a year 

Things I Can't Count 

Cookies I have eaten 
Moments spent in daydreams
Laughs shared with friends
Kisses from my husband
Tissues I’ve used on runny noses
Hugs with my children
Raindrops that have fallen on me
Phone calls to my mom 
Problems my friends have helped me handle
Bandages I’ve put on skinned knees
Licks of ice cream cones

Waves that have washed over my feet

Monday, January 15, 2018

What To Do When it Rains on Family Vacation

Oh no - the worst has happened! You're staying at a hotel with your family and it's pouring down rain. 

Now what do you do? 

Don't worry - I've got some great ideas to help you stay sane during the rain.

It's not the time to turn on the TV, this is a golden opportunity for real family time. Here are great ideas for entertaining the kids (and keeping the adults sane) from toddler to school age, as well as that "perfect storm" of all three! The best part is, these ideas rely on things you would have handy in a hotel, no special equipment or preparation needed. 

Toddlers: Lay out the bedspread on the floor and get on the ground with your cooped-up kid and make a toddler obstacle course with pillows and cushions. For older tods who aren't quite ready for Simon Says, play a simplified version of "Copy my silly face" or "Copy my clapping pattern." You'll be amazed at what your little one can show you!

Preschoolers: Hunt through your luggage and roll up some socks (a bigger sock ball is easier to catch) - practice tossing the socks back and forth to each other, moving back one step for each catch. Count your catches and keep track of the score. Winner gets to pick dessert at dinner!

School age kids: Why should smartphones be a distraction from family fun? Turn this downtime into something special and have your school age kid prepare some interview questions for you and your spouse, then use the video feature on your phone to record the conversation. It's the perfect time to create that digital scrapbook that's been on your to-do list forever.

Combined age groups: Work together to create a monster! Using the notepads in the hotel drawers, fold a paper into thirds. Each person can create part of the monster (head, body, feet) on one-third of the paper, but can't look at what the others have drawn. Unfold and reveal your "horrible" creation! And there's never a bad time to have a Sock Puppet Show. Older children can rehearse and perform the show while the younger siblings become thrilled members of the audience.

More ideas include Shadow Charades, No-writing scavenger hunt, and Paper Airplane Airport and Playing Card Bingo. 

What ideas have you used to stay sane during the rain?

As a traveling mom of three boys, I know the panic that can ensue when bad weather threatens to ruin a great vacation. But stay cool, moms and dads, and remember to enjoy the moment and create your own unique memories, regardless of sun or rain. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Puzzle Personality Test

We have three boys, and while they are similar in many ways, they are also astonishingly different. Sometimes their differences emerge unexpectedly and I'm surprised and delighted to discover unique perspectives and skills. Other times, I'm caught off guard in the midst of a major miscalculation.

I should have known that the puzzle I picked out as a 10th birthday present for our middle child was not a perfect fit. While the image on the puzzle was just right - a wizard and dragon playing a magical game of chess - the box sat unopened for months. I suggested it as an anti-boredom activity numerous times, but he always turned it down. I should have read the signals.

When I found a dinosaur puzzle, 1000 pieces, I knew right away it would be a great Christmas gift for the oldest. He's always loved puzzles and has even completed 3D spheres and fun shaped crystal puzzles.

The oldest and I plowed right into the dinosaur puzzle two days after Christmas. It was a family effort, and I did stay up a little too late one night even though we were leaving for the airport early the next day.

It turns out, I also love the challenge of a good jigsaw puzzle. I think, even though it takes a long time and there are lots of mistakes, I really love the definitive feeling of completion that puzzles guarantee.

When we returned from our travels, the middle son pulled his wizard puzzle off the shelf. He and I started with the systematic process of overturning pieces and building the outer frame. Thanks to a two-hour delay, we had a chance to work together one morning, and I promised I wouldn't proceed without him. The next day, I asked if he wanted to work on it again during the two-hour delay, and he declined. I couldn't resist the call of a puzzle and while he was at school, I made significant process on the wizard.

I thought he'd be pleased when he got home, but I was very, very wrong. He was devastated. His reasons for being upset were complicated, but my belief is he was frustrated that I did something he was struggling to do, and he didn't like feeling 'behind.' He didn't really want  to do the puzzle, but he wanted the same connection I had with the oldest on a project. He also hated how hard it was and how frustrated it made him. He was already off-kilter that day and eventually cried a total of four times. The puzzle wasn't really the problem, it was just learning that he didn't like doing the same things his brother, dad, and I enjoyed.

You can't force pieces together that don't fit.

We hashed it out and I encouraged him to try and let himself acknowledge when he doesn't like things and not to force himself to do things just because others seem to enjoy them. He's still figuring this out about himself. I'm still figuring this out about myself.

Maybe one of the oldest human behaviors is trying to be like others, because it can be scary to head off on our own and follow our hearts.

Is it better to be happy on our own, or miserable with those we love?

Does this have to be an either or choice?

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Christmas Prince Quiz

It's the holidays, and we're busy, but it's important to take time to be with friends…and to watch movies like A Christmas Prince. 

Although I feel the synopsis is misleading - she's not so much undercover as completely lying to everyone - the movie is quite open and honest about what it promises to deliver.

If you have enjoyed experienced this movie like I have, I invite you to take my brief quiz. Submit your answers and I'll choose a winner and make a donation to the charity of the winner's choice!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Demand Gun Sense

Americans shouldn’t have to worry about being shot at outdoor concerts, movie theaters, elementary schools, churches and nightclubs. We don’t have to live like this.

Our country is at a defining moment: Do we want to live in a country where the NRA leadership’s “guns everywhere, for anyone, with no questions asked” vision prevails? Where we we are all armed to the teeth in every moment of our daily lives? 

This nation’s gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than the average of other developed nations. This is a uniquely American crisis.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We must demand action to end gun violence.
To join the movement to end gun violence, please text ACT to 64433. To honor Las Vegas, we must demand that legislators act now.