Get The Itch Out Of Summer

July 27, 2015
family, motherhood

Get The Itch Out Of Summer! #joyofmom


Ah, summer! I love everything about it from the beach to the long, lazy nights in the backyard hanging out with my family. The music is playing, the food is yummy and then….darn it! Another bug is feasting off my arm or leg.

The one thing I don’t like about this season is these “souvenirs” from our time outdoors. It’s especially tough for moms of little ones who just want to scratch and scratch. Why? It itches, Mom!

First a little info: It itches because mosquitos do drink our blood as food.

You start to scratch because the little buggers inject you with anticoagulant to stop your blood from clotting while they drink. The end result is a minor allergic reaction or red bump that’s itchy.

Here are a few of the most natural, DIY bug bite treatments for your kids. Of course, see your doc if the condition persists or seems serious.

*Your first course of action is to keep some antihistamine cream or stick at the ready to stop the swelling and itch. Let’s say it’s missing or you’re out of it. Rush the bite victim into the kitchen where you can have some damp and chilled (keep them in the fridge always) green tea bags on hand. The cold of the bag will stop the itch and the actual compounds in the tea stop the inflammation.

*Always keep aloe vera in your fridge or grow an aloe vera plant in your home. This plant has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and will draw the sting out of a bug bite. If you keep cold aloe gel in the fridge then the chilliness of it will also stop the itch.

*Still itching? Crush one regular aspirin and mix it with a few drops of water to make a paste. Put the paste right on the bite. The salicylic acid in the aspirin (also anti-inflammatory) gets rid of the itch.

*Insist that your little one takes a quick bath. Take half a cup of oatmeal and put it in the tub as you run the water to help cope with the itch.

*Rubbing alcohol can remove the itch, but going on it can sting, too. Warn your child and say that you’re zapping the bug juices together.

*Do you like to camp? Always keep some honey on hand because it contains a natural antiseptic ingredient. This is also a good way in the wild (or the wilds of suburbia) to prevent infection. (Don’t do this is you plan to stay outdoors, however, as the sugar in honey could bring more bugs your way.)

*Another quick kitchen cure is to rub a basil leaf on the bite. Many moms insist that the itching stops immediately.

*If your kids turn bites into little infections because they scratch all night long then try to make a game out of not itching. Put a piece of clear scotch tape over the bite before bedtime and tell them that there will be a special surprise in the morning if it’s still there.

*You can mix baking soda with warm water by taking one tablespoon of it mixed with one pint of water. Gently apply to bite with clean fingers or a cotton ball. Leave on and then wash.

*Mix baking soda with a few drops of household cleaning ammonia to form a paste. Place on the bite, allow to dry and later wash with warm water.

*Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and place it on the bite. Leave for several minutes and then wash with warm water.

*Create a thick paste from a pinch of corn flour with several drops of apple cider vinegar. Place on the bite. Allow the paste to dry and the itching will have stopped. Wash with warm water. If your child is squirmy then put a bandage over the mix to keep it in place until it dries.

You can even try a variety of all of the above to get the itch out. Here’s to enjoying the rest of our cherished summer time with our family ~ sans the itchy bug bites!

10 Ways to Declutter Your Mommy Life

July 20, 2015
family, motherhood

10 Ways to Declutter Your Mommy Life Before Summer Is Over! #joyofmom


Tick, tock, tick, tock. That sound you’re hearing in your heart is summer beginning to wind down.

For most of us, there are only six more weeks (!) until the new school year begins. Are you already asking yourself: Where did my summer go? If so, it’s time to declutter your Mommy life and make some real time to enjoy the last weeks of the glorious and gorgeous warm weather months. Here’s how:

Step 1: Slim Your Schedule. Of course, there are those never-seen relatives coming to town and invites to pool parties from that child your child barely knows. It’s time to go through your schedule and only say “yes” to those activities that really make sense. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with “should I do’s?” then say no to two out of three of them. The goal is take some family time out just for your little tribe. Leave one or two free nights a week for your family to do something fun and spontaneous like a bike ride or movies in the park. Summer is about seizing the moments.

Step 2: Put Down the Social Media. You might get on your kids for bringing their devices to dinner, but how many summer nights have you wasted just hanging out on IG or FB. Stage a Social Media Takedown night once or twice a week where no one touches a device from the hours of 7 to 10 p.m. You might be met with “seriously, mom?”, but it will be worth it to have your child back from Snapchat and Instagram.

Step 3: Don’t Rush the Season. Sure, your kiddos might want to load up on all the back to school stuff we’re already seeing at the stores, but put the brakes on. It’s still really early and you don’t want to be in school mode just yet. Why not re-focus on summer, the precious slower moments, and that great pool, park or picnic. Don’t end your summer before it’s really over.

Step 4: Do a MAJOR Summer Cleaning. I love spring cleaning, but now that the kids have been home for weeks the house is starting to look like a mess again. Instead of endless little cleans, stage a whopper one. Have your kids donate old toys and clothes, while they also help you de-clutter the kitchen. Purge the old pots, pans and gadgets that should be in that giveaway box. As a Mom, get rid of your old beauty products that have been lingering over a year (when the chemicals change and can become dangerous). Clean out every room in the house by going through doors and closets. A huge purge feels good and leaves room for what’s new and fresh. Reward the family for a hot, sweaty job well done with some fun beach or pool time.

Step 5: Figure Out Finances. We’re more than halfway through the year. It’s a good time to get a grip on family finances before the holiday season sneaks up on us. Look at your credit cards and figure out how to start saving now. You’ll be glad you paid attention come November-December.

Step 6: Have A Mid Summer Fiesta. All the graduation and holiday parties are over now leaving many families with nothing to do on weekends. Get together with another mom or 2 and through a mid-summer fiesta at a local park or a yard. It’s something to look forward to during the dog days of summer and a way to reconnect before the busy back-to-school rush starts.

Step 7: Plan a Date Night With Your Mate. With all the family fun of summer, you might forget about a little couple time. Get tickets to that great outdoor concert or book a table to dine al fresco. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but make the time to plan an amazing night out with your love.

Step 8: Live in the Moment. There will always be chores and things to do, but you need to know when to shut all that into the OFF position. The key is living in the moment because this moment will never be here again. What’s better than chasing fireflies in the dark? Or grabbing some frozen yogurt and sitting on the curb while half of your neighbors show up to do the same thing? Summer is about the little moments. Make sure that yours is not spent in front of a screen (TV or computer) and you’re getting out there to enjoy the balmy nights.

In the end, you can de-clutter your Mommy life by focusing on what’s important: Your family. Summer 2015 will soon be a memory, but what you’ve done to make it memorable will last a lifetime.

Essentials To Bring On Family Summer Vacation

July 13, 2015
family, motherhood

Essentials To Bring On Family Summer Vacation! #joyofmom


You’re vacation bound! Get out the suitcases, grab your swimsuit and tell the kiddos to jump in the car. Zoom to the airport and you will be one of millions of moms this month who jump into summer vacation season. Whoo—hooo! Relaxation, plus some well-needed family fun times is just around the bend, over the woods, or through the clouds.

It’s that time of the year to love, laugh and linger at the beach or your favorite destination. As the family vacation season hits us, I wanted to remind moms of several essential items to pack in their carry on airplane bag, which is a mom’s secret weapon on both long or short plane rides.

Happy summer vacay!

My list of favorites.

1. A Fast $20. Kids always want something at the airport, so it’s helpful to have a quick $20 bill in the pocket of your carry on to buy a few {healthy} treats, but not go overboard. Make a game out of it and allow the kids to only spend that money. Or if your kids are bringing their own money and they’re under 12 then put their stash in bags in your carry on. That way, no one is losing their vacation funds.

2. Extra wipes. Kids seem to find goopy, sticky stuff whenever and where ever possible. A savvy mom will have a fresh pack of wipes on hand at all times. Also, the airplane tray that pulls down is always full of germs. It’s a great idea to give it a quick wipe for your kids touch it.

3. Earbuds for all. The worst thing ever on the plane is having a movie and not enough buds for everyone. Make sure to buy/collect some new ones and have them with you to dole out and then collect them so you can issue them out again.

4. Chargers. No longer is my charger packed away where I can get to it. We don’t need that stress of watching our battery drain, planning when we next need to use our phone, and estimating what’s left on the battery. (And doesn’t our phone always seem to drain on hyper speed when we feel we’ll need it most!) Bring at least two chargers (in case one doesn’t work, get’s lost, etc.) and make sure one is in your purse, at all times. It’s a “whew…” to take off our mental to-do or worry-about list. I take the rest of the chargers for electronics, group them together in a bag, and pack away. Easy to find and ready to use when we need them.

5. Gum. Kids hate when their ears pop, so make sure your gum supply is ready to avoid any mid-air tears from pressure changes. Most of us don’t chew that much gum anymore, so it’s an easy item to forget. And if you can plan in advance, there is great tasting healthy chewing gum that you can order online or find at a local market.

6. Nuts and Raisins. Why buy all that expensive, often unhealthy food that the airline sells like cookies and chips. Instead, bring a homemade trail mix packed with almonds, a few chocolate chips and raisins. It will be a treat, an energy boost, plus a much better way to snack.

7. New Chapter Book or Comic. Kids bored on the plane? There’s nothing like something brand new to read that will get their attention. Save it for the trip, so it’s a surprise and then watch them get into it. Make it a contest to see who can read the longest.

8. Deck of Cards. A long plane trip or car ride is the perfect time for fun card games, which will really pass the time and double as a family activity.

9. Cheat Sheet Package. Once you land, you don’t want to be searching for your hotel confirmation or maps. Take one of those big plastic sealed baggies and place in it a copy of your hotel info, all confirmations including car and hotel, plus a map of the new city or any directions you’ve printed out in advance. You can later use that bag for wet swimsuits.

10. Your Inner Child. Hey, moms, you’re on vacation, too. Pack something for you in the bag from a guilty pleasure book or magazines to your favorite CDs for the car or plane ride.

Enjoy! Have fun! That’s what vacation season is all about! And, as always, safe travels!

Photo courtesy of Piper+Claire

Summer Sun Protection Tips for Your Family

July 6, 2015
family, links i love, motherhood



Baby, it’s hot outside! In fact, most of the country is stuck in a major heatwave these days from 115 out West to 90 percent humidity in NYC.

Families are active and mommies know that sunscreen is our best friend along with easy sun blockers like floppy hats and sunglasses for yourself and the little ones. Even if it seems like the sun is hiding behind clouds, our skin can still be harmed by the sun’s UV rays (especially children!). It has been proven that children are especially at risk of developing health problems later in life if they experience sunburn.

To avoid burns, it’s recommended by pediatricians to apply sunscreen on our children every day, throughout the day, and to wear sun hats to shield their face and eyes. Here’s our personal favorite sunscreen and hat brands for optimum skincare and sun health for you and your family.

Badger Balm is a broad spectrum protector against UVA & UBA rays using the safe mineral zinc oxide. It contains no Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, or other harsh chemicals that are typically found in sunscreening agents. Instead, it is made with an organic base of sunflower oil, beeswax, and vitamin E. Badger Balm is water resistant for at least 40 minutes, hypoallergenic, and is not tested on animals.

We also truly love Goddess Gardens. This too is an all-natural broad spectrum SPF 30 protector, with zinc and titanium as its active ingredients. You won’t find any synthetic chemicals, paragons, or alcohols in this sunscreen. It is a certified organic product, water resistant for 40 minutes, and comes in a recyclable container.

For babies with the most sensitive skin California Baby is the way to go. Fragrance-free, mineral-based, and PABA free, this sunscreen is perfect for those with skin sensitivities or fragrance allergies. California Baby’s most active ingredient is a highly micronized Titanium Dioxide that scatters and reflects dangerous UV rays. This brand comes highly recommended by leading dermatologists and allergists, and has won many awards for its products such as “Best Sunscreen” from WebMD and babble, and best eco-friendly baby skincare by SheKnows Parenting Awards two years in a row.

To ensure your baby’s face stays completely away from the sun’s harmful rays, sun hats are imperative. Our two favorite brands are Flap happy and i play. Flap happy is a great brand because they have an assortment of floppy hats, flap hats, and crusher hats. Our personal choice is this flap hat with ties. It was designed to provide excellent sun protection by its large brim to shade the face, a flap that covers the ears and neck, an elastic band inside to help the hat fit snuggly around the head, and ties to keep the hat from falling off. This hat can be worn in or out of the water for all-day sun protection.

Our pick from i play is this mod brim hat with ties. This hat has a wide brim and special UV-protective fabric that is breathable, wicks away water, dries quickly and keeps your baby cool and shaded all day long. This hat also has the ties to keep in place, and can be worn in or out of the water. (i play also has a matching swimsuit in the same pattern, so cute!)

Sun protection is an important topic for everyone in the family, especially the little ones. Applying sunscreen each morning is a positive habit that everyone should introduce into their routines. Even in cloudy weather, our skin can be damaged from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. It’s important to apply sunscreen to your children every morning if they are planning to spend time outside, and re-apply every 2 hours as needed. As always, babies under 6 months should be kept out of the sun completely.

Here’s to enjoying the warmer weather, sunshine, and, of course, precious family bonding time outside this summer!

Tips For a Happy and Safe 4th of July

July 4, 2015
family, motherhood

Tips For a Happy and Safe 4th of July! #joyofmom


Summer is in full swing with the arrival of 4th of July, which means it’s time for sparklers, parades and a glorious long weekend with your friends and family. Not only do I want you all to enjoy yourselves, I want your family to be safe, so I culled the best tips to keep your kiddos (and pets) protected while they have fun. Have a fabulous holiday everyone!

At the Parade:
~ Crowds can create confusion. Of course, we’re always hyper conscious about having our children at our side, but in the event someone gets out of our site for a moment, there should always be a meeting spot. Make it a public place that’s super easy to locate and remember. Quiz (in a fun yet important way) that your children know that spot – and that you’re sure they do. Also, especially if your children are young, make sure they know your cell phone. Quiz, even make up a little tune with your cell number, just be sure they know it by heart so it can easily repeat it, if needed.
~ Create a buddy system between your children and their friends. Buddies always make sure the other buddy is there…if not, go get a mom – ASAP.
~ Sad to say, but do not eat candies thrown from floats. You really don’t know who is doing the throwing. And most candy is simply not healthy. There are lots of fabulous and healthy choices for sweets and you and your family can enjoy them, back home or you can bring them with and enjoy at the festivities.

In the Pool:
~ Make sure that an adult is always keeping an eye out even if there are lifeguards. Take turns with the other moms. Never just rely on lifeguards. There can be many children at the pool and, simply, too many for the lifeguards to appropriately watch.
~ Remind children to stay away from pool drains and pipes.
~ Remember that a child who isn’t moving in the pool could be a drowning child. Drowning isn’t usually accompanied by thrashing around, but by stillness.

~ When using sparklers, make sure your kids are always standing. Don’t hold your child and allow them to hold a sparkler. You can both get burned. Don’t allow your kids to throw, run or wave sparklers when holding them.
~ Make sure that the kids are far away from the people who are setting fireworks as they’re often unpredictable and can launch in the wrong direction.
~ Never try to relight a firework that isn’t working as it can immediately blow up. Wait 20 minutes to even handle it and then put it in a bucket of water.
~ Keep your hose on with the sprayer turned off, so it’s ready for emergencies.
~ You can call your local authorities if neighborhood fireworks become a M-80 show or anything else you feel is dangerous.

At the Grill:
~ Create a fun perimeter around your grill with a little white fence. Make it a no-kids or pets zone.
~ Clean your grill more than once to avoid any greasy fires when cooking a large amount of food. But keep a big jug of water by the bottom of the grill for emergencies.
~ Make sure there’s always an adult around a hot grill. If you have to leave it ask another adult to stand watch.

Clean Up:
~ If someone else’s firework remains land in your yard then throw them in a bucket of water to soak before you throw them out, so the trash isn’t set on fire.
~ Do a walk around your backyard the following morning and throw away any remnants of fireworks or a party. To avoid any possibility of your child picking them up or your dog eating them.

For Your Pets:
~ While fireworks may be fun for people, the loud, unexpected sounds of fireworks cause a lot of stress and anxiety for our furry friends.
~ Keep them indoors at all times. If you or your neighbors are doing home fireworks, a curious pet could run toward a lit firework or run away from the loud bang.
~ Make sure your pet has up-to-date tags and a microchip in case they are lost.
~ Don’t allow your pets around that glow jewelry your kids love. The inside causes stomach irritation and could create intestinal blockage if ingested.

Here’s to a Happy and safe July 4th and holiday weekend!

Greek-Style Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki

July 1, 2015
by vicki, family, motherhood

Greek-Style Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki! #joyofmom


This recipe originally caught my eye because it claimed, “even the kids will eat this!” I thought of so many of my friends whose kiddos are picky-eaters and the recipe sounded delish and so healthy, that it was on my must try and share with you list!

I recommend using ground turkey with a bit of fat in it. I have used the 99% fat free variety and the burgers were a bit dry in the end, even 97% had a preferable texture. Instead of using sliced red onion on the burger I prefer to chop it up and put it in the burger – it tastes even more savory. And I use big leaves of Bibb lettuce to wrap it in instead of using a bun (my husband isn’t the biggest fan of bread).

When I started making this recipe I did not have a grill so I baked them in the oven on a broiling pan to drain off the fat. Now that I do have a grill I still bake them! Also, the tzatziki recipe is incredibly simple, but if it’s not your thing the burgers are still delicious without it. Or, here’s a secret– Fage makes a super tasty tzatziki. It can be a little tricky to find though.


Prep time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4-6

For Burgers:
1-pound ground turkey
4 ounces crumbled feta
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen spinach
Sliced tomato and red onion (optional)

For Tzatziki (yogurt sauce):
6 ounces plain yogurt
1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup minced peeled cucumber
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8-teaspoon dill
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425° (or fire up the grill).

1. Combine turkey, spinach and feta in a bowl. Mix well, season with salt and pepper.

2. Form six patties and place on a broiler pan (or on the grill).

3. Bake on center rack for 25 minutes. If you’re grilling, cook about 7 minutes on each side.

4. Meanwhile, combine all tzatziki ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and adjust flavors to taste.

5. When burgers are cooked through, stick ‘em on a toasted bun and top with tomato, onion, and a hearty dollop of tzatziki. Or make smaller patties and serve two on a bed of lettuce.

Accompany with one of your family’s favorite veggies dishes ~ a nd that’s dinner!

Courtesy of DailyWorth

Best Skincare Tips for Moms: Interview with Dr. Paul Nassif

June 29, 2015
by vicki, motherhood

Best Skincare Tips for Moms: Interview with Dr. Paul Nassif #joyofmom


There is just something about seeing the bright, happy face of children that warms our heart. Kids just have that natural glow that can’t be bottled because it’s part pure wonder and never ending joy!

With the focus on wellness now, I know all moms out there want to make sure that their children and the rest of the family are taking care of their largest organ: their skin. What should you eat? Drink? Avoid?

We thought it would be great to get the 411 on all things skincare for both moms and kids from Dr. Paul Nassif of the hit show “Botched.” We asked Dr. Paul for some great tips.

Q: Dr. Nassif, why does stress play such a big part in skincare for moms?
Dr. Nassif: “When your stress becomes at a high level, you’ll find that your skin doesn’t look great because you’re not functioning properly. You really need rest to repair your body and your skin at night. It’s important for everyone, old and young, to get good, quality sleep.”

Q: What should moms omit from their own diets and the diets of their children for good skin health?
Dr. Nassif: “The first thing is diet cola. You don’t want to be drinking chemicals and it’s all chemicals. If you must drink it, practice moderation. But you do have to get off of it as your go-to beverage. It’s the worst thing for you.”

Q: What should you limit with children?
Dr. Nassif: “Try to get rid of excess sugar. I have a sweet tooth, too. But you should really watch processed sugars and not allow too much. Have a small amount of dark chocolate. It’s good for you even if it’s sugar. Remember that most smoothies are full of sugar, too. Limit them or make them at home, so you’re sure of the ingredients.”

Q: How important is drinking clean water for your skin? And what else should we add to our children’s diets for their skin?
Dr. Nassif: “Anything that hydrates you without the sugar or chemicals is great. Water is the best thing for a human being. Make sure to also add some fruit and avocado to your family’s diet. Your skin and their skin will thank you.”

Mommy Summer Tips: Part 2

June 25, 2015
by vicki, family, motherhood

Mommy Summer Tips: Part 2! #joyofmom


Yesterday’s blog focused on some of my favorite mommy summer tips. There wasn’t enough space for all of my faves, so here are a few more!

Hair Rising: Moms, it’s summer and there is a lot of running around, and a lot of humidity. This means less mommy time for us, which is fine. But what are you to do if you have a big business meeting or a major summer event looming? Your hair actually looks better after you slept on it and the natural oils provide the shine. Don’t wash, just go! It frees up time and the look is perfect.

Move It: Studies show that when you’re dragging, a summer nap might not be the best thing. So ditch those pillows and have the entire family grab their sneakers. Regular exercise actual boosts energy levels. Even a walk or bike round around your neighborhood, playtime at the local park, or a little yoga video in the living room will boost moods and energy.

Your Wee Master Chef: It might be tempting to eat out more in the summer, but that means extra calories and extra expense. Why not encourage your kids to become little master chefs? Kids love to cook dinner for the grown ups in their lives. Have the little ones be your assistant chefs and the older ones can work to make salads, side dishes and even put the dinner on the plates. Other children can host and another act as the waiter or waitress. Everyone has a job and each child can help decorate the kitchen that day to make it your own special “must try restaurant” located in your very own kitchen.

Theme Park Bound: If you have Disney or another theme park on the summer agenda be a bit strategic about when you go. Kids (and their parents) hate to stand in long lines so consider visiting in the morning or evening where you can avoid the crowds and the heat of the day. You can easily fit in some fun pool time at your hotel to occupy the afternoons. Also bring along some clip on fans for strollers to keep your toddlers cool.

For Pregnant Mommies: Consider taking off your rings on those extra hot days. Fingers will swell in the heat and some mommies to be have even had to cut off their wedding rings because soap, water or even lotion didn’t work. It’s easier to remove them for a few months to avoid that situation. Also future mommies should ask their doctors about using a SPF that’s higher than 15 as the sun increases melanin production, which leads to pregnancy mask. Best yet is to stay out of the sun.

Chore Jar: One of our mommy readers sent us a fabulous idea! She told me she writes down 10 to 15 chores for the next seven days and then folds the paper and puts them in a jar. On Sundays after dinner, the family holds a “chore lottery.” Each of the three children reaches into the jar and pick their chores for the week. It’s fair (and fun!) way to divvy up the chores plus when the work is done the piece of paper is put into a special mom jar to let her know. Add some fun things to the jar like: 1 frozen yogurt if your chore is done by Wednesday. Surprise your little love bugs with a slip that says: You Have the Week Off! Love, Mom!

Photo courtesy of Leah Zawadzki/Lily Blue Studios

Mommy Summer Tips: Part 1

June 24, 2015
by vicki, family, motherhood

Mommy Summer Tips: Part 1! #joyofmom


It’s the season of beaching it, holiday weekends and having fun in the sun. Who doesn’t love summer, where the days are warm and the nights mean running the grass trying to catch lightening bugs.

This is Part 1 of my favorite list of random + best of mommy summer tips that will truly make your living easy.

Set A Routine: Make sure to keep some kind of routine that keeps everyone on track including times for meals, outings, etc. Despite how some family members may feel, a schedule (even a relaxed or flexible one) actually is a good thing. It ensures that you and your family don’t miss out on any special things on your summer to-do list.

“Bugging” Out: Who doesn’t love playing in the sandbox? The only issue is those bothersome bugs that scare your child or even bite him or her. Stop bugging out by first removing the old sand. Get rid of or sift through it to make sure there aren’t any bugs. Then mix a small container of cinnamon into the sand. Cinnamon actually repels bugs, and, most importantly, is safe for your kiddos.

Beach Babies: I love to romp around a sandy beach with my kids, but I’m not so thrilled about sand all over the car. Here’s a great way to keep the sand where it belongs: When your kids are done for the day dry off their feet and legs in the parking lot. To avoid any residual sand take a simple bottle of corn starch baby powder (that you can keep in the car) and sprinkle it on their feet and hands. Sand and powder repel each other.

Road Trip: I just love the essential oil aisle at Whole Foods! And summer is the perfect time to put those yummy smelling oils like orange to good use. I put a small amount on my fingers and lightly dab {my car} air conditioning vents plus place little drops on the floor, in both the front and back. Every time we get in the car we smell a fabulous, sweet and, just simply, happy smell!

Too Much Fun In the Sun?: Of course, contact your pediatrician immediately for a serious sunburn or if your child is a baby. For mild sunburn, Moms need to remember that it’s crucial to keep your child hydrated with water and out of the sun after a burn. You can also take a bag of frozen veggies out of the freezer, wrap it in a towel and place on the burn. It’s important to use the towel, so the icy veggies doesn’t cause more damage.

Tomorrow: Part 2 of Mommy Summer Tips

Photo courtesy of Leah Zawadzki/Lily Blue Studios

Saying So Long

June 9, 2015
by vicki, family, motherhood

Saying So Long! #joyofmom


Saying So Long

How do you say goodbye?

It’s a lesson I’ve tried to teach my daughter over the years. Yes, she has said goodbye to her teachers, close friends who’ve moved, beloved and cherished pets. What happened the other day was a different kind of farewell. My daughter just graduated from college and it’s bittersweet to say so long to a place that has been a home for four years. Even more so to leave two roommates that are now family.

The girls have done much more than live in an apartment together. They’ve grown up together during the years when their families were far away. They shared their hopes and dreams, fears and traumas, joys and sorrows during a time when they were taking those first shaky steps as independent young women.

They’ve also shared the world’s traumas that were a little too close for comfort including the Boston bombing. Then there were natural disasters including the hurricane, which coincided with their move in day! And the record-breaking snowfall in Boston. As well as the countless days (over the past two years) where Bostonians were mandated to stay off the streets for their own safety.

They grew from it all. In the coldest parts of the winter, there was often a warm bowl of soup waiting when you got home. If the news was scary, there was another roommate on the sofa next to you. When school was stressful there was an open ear and heart at the kitchen table.

These girls were not just an amazing support system for each other, they were a long-distance mom’s best friend! If one of them wasn’t around, we moms could easily ask either of them, “Is she OK? “ The moms trusted their answers because the happiness of everyone in that little apartment meant something to each of them.

Their friendships were beautiful, real, wild and complex and also delicate. Living together brings all the little life issues to the bigger moments. It warms my heart to know that the girls weren’t alone and could walk into another room and find someone who deeply cared.

Last week, graduation was a happy and sad event as the girls are leaving Boston and scattering to different parts of the world. They’re starting new lives as they continue on their separate paths to make a mark, and a difference, in the world. There was the inevitable packing up of the apartment as they also put away their day-to-day bond. No, it will never be the same. As usual, time moves us along and people scatter. Of course, there are phones and iChats, but it will never be the same as walking in that front door and saying, “I can’t believe what happened to me today.”

This is another life lesson our kids learn. Friends will come and go. Bonds will strengthen and occasionally break.

How many of you moms reading remember an old friend you haven’t spoken with in years? Did you remember to keep in touch? Did you have time? Could you still reach out?

I shared with my daughter the importance of cherishing the beauty of close friendships as one of life’s true gifts, and the importance of adding action to those feelings. In other words, pick up the phone, make a plane reservation, and don’t allow too much time to slip by. She already knew this. She’s been an old soul. Always.

As I write this, my eyes are welled with tears as I think about one of my best friends from college and how we lost 25 years of precious time. We reconnected two years ago when her beloved mother passed on. Another friend from college reached out to me to let me know, as she feared I wouldn’t hear the news. I literally dropped everything and ran right over to be by her side. I would have traveled around the world to do so. When our eyes finally met, we agreed in an unspoken look (that only old friends know) to never lose touch again. We haven’t. And we won’t.

When the last box was packed in Boston just days ago, I hugged the girls and told them that I loved them. And I thanked them for being there for my daughter and for each other.

Ines (one of her roommies) left a little note in each of the girls’ rooms the last day reminding them to keep striving for their dreams and to remember that the other two are only a phone call away no matter where their journeys take them – and that they must vow to call each other.

I guess that’s how you say goodbye.

With a note.

And a promise.

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