Friday, June 29, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Down the Shore on July Fourth

Every year for July Fourth, we head to our family house down the shore as I call it since moving to Jersey. I think prior to moving to New Jersey I just said we were going to the beach.

I went through the photos from three and four years ago, and here are a few favorites from summer's past.

And here's are photos from last year, so Ziggy isn't left out of any old photo fun.

There are some photos I think we must recreate this year, assuming I can get willing participation.

I would so love a re-do of the pillow on Magpie's head, the Uncle and Kelly leg lift, and Ziggy and his tie-wearing, stroller pushing walk on the boardwalk.

And of course, we'll be taking old timey photos like this one of Ziggy from last year.

Happy July Fourth!!

If you're looking for craft and cooking ideas for celebrating the Fourth of July, or random photos of my family celebrating the holiday, check out the July Fourth archive.

This is my weekly installment of Old Photo Friday. If you have an old photo of your own to share, leave a comment below and I'll come by and visit!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jersey City Family Fun

We spent Father's Day in Jersey City. I have a lot to share about our day, but the post is still working its way towards being done.

In the meantime, here's some photos of us hanging out on the Jersey City waterfront.

A good time for all.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Looks like the tween is here to stay.

My last post compared my kids on the last day of school last year, and the last day of school this year.

I thought they looked pretty much the same, though Kay is wearing the shorts in this year's photo that her big sister Magpie was wearing last year, so clearly they've grown.

And the year-to-year comparison also revealed their little brother has traded pajamas for regular clothes, but evidently in the transformation forgotten his pants.

But what is most striking is that this is the year my 8-year-old daughter Magpie has decided she is over my photographing ways.

While six-year-old Kay is still clearly happy to pose, Magpie looks like this on the last day of school:

I thought maybe the grumpy barely-tolerating-this-whole-photo-taking-thing was just a reflection of her mood on that particular day and at that particular time.

But a quick look back to the first day of school picture reveals that yeah, that's just her new tween expression, all days, all times.

Thankfully, I've well-documented her pre-tween youth so I'll still have these school photos to enjoy.

And maybe next year, my beloved, dear child, you can crack a tiny smile for the camera?

Or, lemme know tween parents, maybe not?

I'm linking up to Finding the Funny at Kelley's Break Room and My Life and Kids, because semi-surly tweens are funny, right?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Last Day of School

Another school year is in the books, which I guess means we're all ready for the summer.

Here are my kids going off to school the morning of the last day:

Can't decide if when compared with this time last year, the kids are much changed or pretty much the same.
Apparently, Ziggy has evolved from wearing his plaid old-man pajamas to wearing no pants at all on the morning school run.

If that's not an example of one step forward, two steps back I don't know what it.

Happy Summer y'all!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Summer, Late 1970s

Here I am, enjoying a summer day back in the 1970s.

When central A/C wasn't something my little mind could even imagine.

I was more than happy to huddle beside the one wall unit in the study of our house and trade Oliver Wendell Holmes stamps with my older brother and eat frozen lemon pudding.

Fast forward to today, and my family can't even make it through a night of hot temps.

That's right, because our A/C is broken we headed to the local Hilton last night rather then stay in our (honestly, not that) hot house.

For the record, I went under protest, but I did still go.

On Fridays, I post old photos. Join the fun and leave a link in the comments below to an old photo of YOU.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Cool Project for Todlers on a Hot Day

Today, scenic New Jersey was a balmy 97 degrees.

And my home... is without air conditioning.

But alas, I am not complaining because I grouse so much about the cold in the winter I promise myself - and everyone who knows me - that I will at least not complain one little bit about the heat in the summer.

So I shipped the girls off with their grandma and cousin Mary to the relative cool of the shores of Long Island, and decided to make the most of the hot day with my toddler son.

The little guy and I spent most of the day on our front steps playing with frozen blocks of ice I stuffed-up with toys and junk and other surprises just perfect for delighting a toddler.

He got to use a plastic knife to explore and excavate, and I couldn't get enough of his delighted face everytime he got something out.

It was really fun when the ice block split into two pieces, but was still attached via the strand of broken Mardi Gras beads.

Ziggy came up with the fun idea of using our wet hands to make handprints on the steps. Which obviously, I loved.

We used the chunks of ice that broke off to make drawings, and at his prompting, I wrote our names.

And while I would be lying if I said I wouldn't have chosen to end the day by going inside to an icy cold house, it was a pretty great last day of spring.

Hello to everyone here from Pinterest! I have lots more ideas for summer fun with kids on my Summer Pinterest Board. And you can follow me on Pinterest here.

I also love sharing ideas on Facebook, come on over and like

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Last Lunch of the School Year Means... Nutel-fluff!

Friday was the last day my kids had lunch at school - there's still two more days of school, but they're lunch-free half-days.

So, for the last day of lunch of the school year I let my kids make this: Nutel-fluff.

They've been talking about getting to make this for the last day of lunch all year long, and I'm glad to be able to say Nutel-fluff was just as good as they had hoped it would be.

And I'm guessing Nutel-fluff is going to be sticking around as the annual tradition for the last day of lunch for every school year until the end of time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

After making Father's Day videos last year, I figured I wouldn't repeat myself again this year.

But then the kids provided such cute footage of themselves wishing their dad a happy Father's Day, that I couldn't help myself.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Toddler Learned to Text! {Old Photo Friday: Ziggy Grows Up}

This photo of Ziggy is only a year old, which is technically breaking the rules of Old Photo Friday.

And yet, it's not. Mostly because there are no rules about Old Photo Friday.

But also because this last 12 months in the life of Ziggy has been so much more than a year. There is more than a year of difference between an almost-two-year-old and an almost-three-year-old.

For example, let's start with this morning, when Ziggy showed incredible maturity.

He and I were trying to talk, and he kept being distracted by his mobile phone (which looks exactly like a mini calculator from Staples), because his six-year-old sister Kay was calling him over and over again.

He tried screaming into the phone, “Stop calling!”but she just kept calling anyway.

So you know what he did? He said, “hold on, mom. I’m gonna turn off my phone. So Kay can’t distract us.”

See, that’s the maturity of a three year old. He knows when to just turn off the phone ringer, and be present in the now with his mom.

A two-year-old would have never found his way out of that situation with such ease.

How else do I know he’s growing up? Well, sometimes at bedtime I’ll be in the middle of reading a book and notice he’s distractedly pushing some buttons (admittedly on an old TV remote, but that's beside the point).

"What’s up, kid?" I’ll ask.

Ziggy will reply, "Just a minute, I'm sending a text.”

I long for the simpler two-year-old days when there was no text that couldn’t wait until we had finished reading Corduroy for the third, or possibly fourth, time.

Now, at almost three, this kid has some urgent texts that can't wait.

And those are the kinds of changes that happen in kids just like that.

It's Friday, so I'm posting about my old photos. I'd love to have you join me. Leave a link to a post about one of your old photos - I'd love to visit!

And if you'd be more likely to share if I had a linky, leave a comment and let me know that and voila! next Friday there will be an Old Photo Friday linky.

Linking-up to Finding the Funny, which you should go visit at Kelley's Break Room and My Life and Kids because that's where you'll find a lot of hilarity.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Arts and Crafts for Fourth of July, Flag Day and Father's Day

If you're feeling crafty for Flag Day, or Father's Day, I've got some ideas over at

For Flag Day, there are directions to make this easy, and theoretically mess-free, American Flag using dried beans. And of course, it would be perfect for a Fourth of July celebration as well.

I should note that my toddler son threw the beans all over the kitchen instead of patiently gluing them down, which almost anyone would find annoying.

Kitchen floor. With beans the toddler flung.

Almost anyone except his grandma who said, "good for you - crafts are a waste of time!"

For Father's Day, I've got lots of ideas from the Pinterest font - check out Homemade Gift Ideas for Dear Ol' Dad.

And you can always make Dad a video, check out the one I made my husband for Father's Day last year here.

Happy Flag Day!

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Fourth of July!

For lots for Fourth of July arts and crafts, click here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Woodchuck Redux

We have a woodchuck mom and her two woodchuck babies making themselves at home on our porch and in our backyard - and they're not the sharing kind.

I'm totally OK with it because:

1. Animal Control assured me the woodchucks would leave on their own within three to four weeks - and I totally wasn't planning on using my porch, or backyard, for the month of June so it's fine. Really.

Our deck/woodchuck haven
2. Animal Control made me feel like a horrible person for even considering the woodchuck mom and her clawing hissing ways to be a nuisance explaining, "Give her space. She's just a mom trying to do her job."

Mama Woodchuck patrolling my porch and back yard
Yes, Animal Control played the Mom Card on me. And I gotta admit... well played, Animal Control. Well played. Fine, fine have it your way. I will give Mama Woodchuck her space.

3. The baby woodchucks have attracted all the local hawks in the area. So while my kids cannot play outside, they can watch Animal Kingdom Live! through the windows every day.

Baby woodchuck, admittedly adorable.

4. Woodchuck mania inspired my daughter Kay, age 6, to make this delightful dinner:

Now just try and tell me you don't want to come over for dinner at our house. All the delicious woodchuck meatloaf you can eat, and a free hawk vs. baby woodchuck show! Summer doesn't get any better!

I'm linking-up to Finding the Funny at Kelley's Breakroom and My Life and Kids. Because if I didn't laugh about this ridiculous situation, I might have to cry into my woodchuck meatloaf.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Shopping at Duane Reade for Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy. Oh Yeah, and Meeting The Bloggess, Too.

Last week, I got to do some pretty great things.
Tuesday I hit up Book Expo America, or as Stephen Colbert described it, "The Lollapalooza of quietly reading to yourself."

There's something incredibly special about being in a Convention Center filled with books and the people who love them, as well as tons of authors reading from and signing books.

After the Book Expo, I headed to Duane Reade to try a brand-new hair product from Unilever, Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy, as part of the Duane Reade's VIP Blogger program .

I was already sorta dying to try Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy because I've been seeing the TV ads with Heidi Klum, and um, well, who wouldn't want to look like that?
Photo source: Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Facebook page
Duane Reade had a huge display of Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy right inside the front of the store, so I found it really easily.

I spent a long time debating (in my head, not out loud) which of the formulas was the right one for me.  In the end I opted for Total Care.

I also got a bag of deLISH organic lollipops for my son, the self-appointed Lollipop King.

Outside, I admired the flowers. Leave it to Duane Reade - and Manhattan - to make the front of  a midtown drug store this gorgeous.

Back home, I gave a very happy Lollipop King the bag of lollipops:

The next day I showered and tried my new Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy products, with great success - and they smell amazing, too.

I am totally sold on the idea that the secret to hair care is by cultivating a healthy scalp.

And I was very happy to be having a good hair day because I went to hear the one and only Jenny Lawson - better known as The Bloggess - give a reading and book signing for her new release, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, right here in New Jersey.

And here my clear scalp and I are meeting her:

I was so happy with my good hair day, I even snapped another photo of me reading my new book when I got home:

For more photos of my shop, and The Bloggess, check out my Google+ Album.

Get social with Duane Reade! Like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @DuaneReade as well as at the hashtags #DReade and #DreadeVIP.

Get social with Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy! Like them on Facebook, (there's even a page fore Clear Hair Men) and visit their YouTube channel.

I am a member of the Collective Bias(TM) Social Fabric Community(R). This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias #SocialFabric

I am also part of the Duane Reade VIP blogger team (follow along on Twitter at #DreadeVIP).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

We have summer guests!

I would really like to tell the whole, long story of the badger (who turned out to be a woodhuck, which I later learned is just a more fun way of saying groundhog) who we knew lived under our porch, but only recently decided to start living on our porch, and to make sure we didn't go anywhere near it.

I would really like to tell how he spent the whole winter fat and lazy, only to wake-up this spring svelte and apparently, according to Animal Control, somehow now a woman. I was sure he was a he.

I would really like to tell how the new mom is doing a great job of protecting her babies. Doing such a great job in fact that we have ceded all porch and backyard use to her and her offspring until she notifies us otherwise.

But for now, I'll just leave you with these photos of our summer guests.

And in case you're wondering, should you have similar guests this summer, their favorite food is carrots. And they know how to whistle. Loudly.  And it is because of this that they are sometimes called whistle pigs.

Note: If you are supposed to come for a barbecue at our house, we may want to reschedule.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Last Day of School

Here are my daughters on their last day of pre-school in Manhattan, just about four years ago today. In a few months we would move to the suburbs, but when this photo was taken we didn't know that yet.

It was an odd day - there was a big storm the night before and trees were down everywhere, though you can't see them here.

Next week, I'll have a rising fourth grader and a rising second grader, not to mention an almost-three-year-old.

And the stuffed animal on the left? Yeah, Lodo is still around - though not every single moment of every single day like he used to be, but around just the same.

I post old photos on Fridays, in anticipation of a milestone birthday this summer. Once it passes, I'm on to something new.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Yarnbombing Comes to Town

I've made no secret of my love of yarnbombing, so I was beyond happy when a yarnbombing came to my own little town in New Jersey last weekend.

I had the pleasure of meeting the organizer, who was every bit as lovely as you would think a person who organizes yarnbombings - or as this was called CommuKnitty- would be:

And then I made a collage of the yarnbombing awesomeness for Barista Kids:

And then, I was feeling so inspired I did my ultimate act of devotion, I created an Animoto video. Enjoy.

If you're local, you can learn more about Rebel Yarns: A Community Art Action, here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gardening Success

My mother and my cousin Mary have taken my fledgling garden - and me, the fledgling gardener - under their experienced gardening wing.

They worry about my gardening success.

I worry about them worrying.

So I am ecstatic to report that today this bloomed:

I think it's a sign that the garden is gonna be ok, transplant shock and all.

Next week, hopefully photos of tomatoes!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in NYC

As seen from my mother's NYC apartment, The Queen's Diamond Jubilee:

I'm not quite sure why Manhattan is celebrating, but happy Diamond Jubilee just the same Queen E!

Photo source for Diamond Jubilee logo.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Goin' Fishin'

When I was a kid, we had a pond stocked with fish. There was a rickety dock, too as you can see in today's Old Photo Friday.

I have lots of memories of hanging out by the pond - the honeysuckle, the poison berries, the peach tree - but mostly I remember my mom fishing. Out of all of us, she was the real fisherman.

And there was one summer that I remember more than all the others put together.

It was the summer my mother waged a Moby Dick-esque battle against the biggest (and smartest) fish in the pond. This was the kinda fish that fish stories are about. The kinda fish you remember a quarter-century later, and write blog posts about. If fish were celebrities, this one was at least on the D-list.

This fish could not be caught no matter what my mom did.

Fishing poles - and more and better fishing poles - were bought.

Bait was finessed.

Times of day were analyzed, considered, debated.

Friends, like Barbara in the photo above, were invited over to give their advice.

But alas, this clever fish could not be caught.

Finally, at the very, very end of the summer my mother was victorious.

She had won the epic battle, and there lay the fish hooked and helpless.

I remember feeling so much elation on her behalf - she had done it! The fish was caught! Sweet victory!

But in the end, my mom couldn't bring herself to keep the fish.

Grown now, I get it.

But then, my child-self could not fathom how you could toss your adversary right back into the pond.

I post stories and photos from the past every Friday. See them all here.

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