Archive for February, 2013

Newton MA, Victorian house in Newton,

Humblebrag Parenting

The Parent HumbleBrag

How do you keep a clear head in a town that races to nowhere and the measure of success is how busy your kids are? I have two pieces of advice:

  • No one can get sick or injured. Flu shots are mandatory. Products like Mucinex can help keep you going when you do succumb.
  • Kids and Parents: Run your own race.

My mom friend Penny grew up in the town we live in. I think of our suburb as full of transplants from all over the place. I forget that there are a chunk of parents who actually grew up here, went away, and then came back to raise their families. At coffee today, she was bothered by the new parenting humblebrag that she encountered when bumping into a high school classmate who also returned to Newton.

Newton MA, Victorian house in Newton,A Victorian house in Newton, MA that dares to be different.

“Do you remember,” Penny asked, “when everyone would brag about how many hours they worked?”

“You mean, post college?”

“Yeah, when we used to work 50 to 100 hour work weeks?”

The number of hours worked was a proxy for how important and/or successful you were apparently.

Read more…

healthy heart month, Campbell's contest, canned soup

Heart Smart for February

Heart Smart for Your Loved Ones

My husband’s cholesterol is a little high and he’s tried diet and exercise to bring it down. It helped a little but Lipitor is even more effective. Still, he likes to go off Lipitor for a while just to be off meds, so we’ll shop and cook with more vigilance to make sure we’re eating super healthy when he does that.

Some swaps are pretty simple.

We use extra virgin olive oil as our cooking oil of choice for pretty much everything except baking.

Instead of white rice, I’ll mix half the amount with brown rice. The trick to that is to soak the brown rice overnight so that it cooks at the same rate as the white rice. My Korean mother-in-law taught me that. And if you forget to do that the night before, add hot water to the brown rice for a few hours before cooking.

Oatmeal is also something I push. PickyKidPix and I both like oatmeal — steel-cut or quick oats — but no one else in the family does.  It’s delicious with a little brown sugar and berries and is proven to bring down cholesterol levels. So, for my husband, his oats of choice is Cheerios. I also grind up oats in my blender to sneak it into baked goods like cookies. No one is the wiser for that!

Home made soup is another strategy for getting our kids to eat more cooked vegetables We also welcome the warmth during our cold New England winters! My husband uses the Cooks Illustrated‘s chicken noodle soup recipe and it’s a big hit with our kids.

The problem though, is that it’s very time-consuming.  It’s a multi-step process including making stock and then making the actual soup. I personally don’t have the time or the patience to follow the recipe but I enjoy the end result when my husband is in the mood for an all day cooking project.  Read more…

monthly blog goals,

Monthly Blogging Goals Check Up

Monthly Blogging Goals for February

I was a little nervous to check up on how I did on my blogging goals last month. I know I didn’t read enough middle grade chapter books. I am posting daily instead of 4 times a week too. Ah well!

monthly blog goals,

This month, I am revising my goals since I clearly am having trouble hitting them.

1) Focusing on 1 social network

This hit home:

Copyblogger suggests picking just one social network where your audience seems to congregate and then putting in the time and energy to really do it right. You can focus on others later.

That makes sense to me. I am punting all other social media networks with the exception of Pinterest. No more messing around on Sulia or trying to learn Instagram. And I’m on maintenance mode on Twitter in terms of growing my following. Read more…

Chinese New Year party, Chinese New Year arts and crafts, Chinese New Year Party for Kids, Chinese New Year crafts for kids,

Chinese New Year Crafts for Kids

Chinese New Year 2013: The Year of the Snake

My daughter’s Middle School Chinese teacher is throwing a great Chinese New Year’s party for all her students — 60 of them plus siblings! She is planning crafts, games, cooking demonstrations and a pot luck. In addition, her students will perform — in Chinese — both skits and songs. It’s ambitious! Luckily, a lot of parents are also helping out.

year of the snake, happy chinese new year, chinese new year snake painting, grasshopper and sensei

Grasshopper and Sensei’s Year of the Snake painting.

The parent volunteer committee met to go over the activities.

Some are coming from this book: Read more…

Look Another Book, Bob Staake, seek and find picture books, search and find picture books, seek and find, search and find

Picture Book of the Day: Look! Another Book!

Seek and Find Picture Books for Kids

My son and I love Seek and Find picture books. We even find things to find in picture books where the items are somewhat secret. Picture books that are also games make reading interactive and fun! Look! Another Book! by Bob Staake My son loves search and find books and we both fell in love with Look! A Book! a few years ago. His new book is equally wonderful! Staake’s delightful artwork include die-cuts in the shape of different size circles highlighting details of his illustrations. We also like the rhyming text that tells you what to find. There are 125 things to find in total. Read more…

Kid Lit blog hop

Best Books for Kids Blog Hop

Children’s Books Blog Hop

I’m excited to be part of a KidLit Blog Hop as a guest co-hostess. My other partners-in-crime are:

Our Hostesses:
Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews
Heidi from Geo Librarian
Jaymie from Snacks for Max
Sue from Kid Lit Reviews

Katie from Youth Literature Reviews

Our Co-Hostess:

Cassondra from Beyond the Covers Read more…
every day acts of kindness, 100 acts of kindness, easy everyday acts of kindness, random acts of kindness, RAOK,

Easy Everyday Acts of Kindness

Easy Acts of Kindness for Every Day

I’m thrilled to be joining Toddler Approved and other great kid bloggers from the Kid Bloggers Network on a 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge.

100 acts of kindness project, acts of kindness

10 Simple Acts of Kindness Kids Can Do via The Good Long RoadKindness Project for All Ages via Living Montessori Now and Raising Figure Skaters25 Acts of Kindness {as a Mom}Being Kind to Strangers via Kitchen Counter ChroniclesA Valentine’s Day Countdown via One Perfect Day Read more…
dating our husbands, 14 days of dating our husbands, dating your husband,

Dating My Husband All Over Again

Dating My Husband and Downton Abbey

Mari of Inspired by Family Magazine blog brought up a good point last month: the need to date our husbands again. It’s true. With three busy kids, we are great at coordinating the logistics of who picks up whom at what time, but after a day of running around, we are pooped. Our dinner-without-kids have been relegated to our anniversary and our birthdays. And when I got sick for my birthday dinner-without-kids, we still haven’t had time to reschedule.

As for movie night, we are even worse. We used to get out for a non-kid movie once a year (which isn’t much, I totally agree). But it’s been years since we’ve made time for dinner and a movie out. It takes so long that we are lucky to just eat dinner out.

Mari’s vision is to encourage our readers to get back to the basics by sharing simple and fun ideas to date our husbands, and just in time for Valentine’s Day! She has assembled a great group of mom bloggers and we hope you will share your ideas too! Read more…

Felix Doolittle, Love Notes, Mini Heart Cards, Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine’s Crafts for Kids

Getting Crafty for Valentine’s Day

My college roommate was talking about her new mother-in-law a few years back, describing her as “crafty.”

“Crafty, in a good way,” I asked? I was thinking sneaky Machiavellian crafty.

“No, not evil crafty. Arts and crafty!”


My brain just does not compute crafty because I am not good at arts and crafts. The thought of homemade Valentines as my kids’ school requires typically fills me with dread because my kids are too old for my old standby: paper lace and pink heart paper cutouts.

Thankfully, this year I have Pinterest and the Kids Blogger Network. I am going to use these resources for homemade Valentines this year. If that doesn’t work out, we can always use ecards from HallmarkHere are some ideas I’m considering.

Do you make or buy Valentines? Please share your ideas!


The Imagination Tree has lots of heart crafts ideas ideal for making cards for different age recipients. I like her potato print cards for school Valentines and her heart shaped photo holder would be perfect for grandparents. The red and white clay heart ornaments would be another option that would stand out for school Valentines.

Imagination Tree hearts crafts

Doodles and Jots demonstrates how to make your own heart shaped box instead of buying one. In real life, she’s a product designer. Can’t you tell? My older kids would love to make this! It would be perfect for a teacher gift and she gives a recipe for chocolate pretzels. Now, I just have to save cereal boxes!

doodles and jots heart box craft for older kidsRead more…