Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fashion's Night Out and Stella & Dot

Love to shop? Well, I just learned from my mama friend and fashionista, Melanie, that September 6, 2012 is "Fashion's Night Out!" (As Lila would say, "seriously?!") On this night, various boutiques and department stores host special events with lots of goodies and great deals. Apparently Fashion's Night Out is a global initiative that has been going on for a few years now (this is the 4th annual). Why am I just finding this out?!

Okay, I must admit that I am a bit clueless about fashion. I know what I like but don't ask me what's hot this season or what piece goes with what. Um, that's when I call Mel.

My friend since grammar school, Melanie is visual manager for a retail store and a Stella & Dot stylist. In case you haven't heard of it, Stella & Dot is a boutique-style jewelry and accessories line sold through independent stylists. I like it because of the beautiful, versatile jewelry but also because it's a great entrepreneurial opportunity for mamas. In addition to grown up jewelry, they have an adorable collection for little girls. So, Mel asked me to host a mommy and me Stella & Dot party. Fashion I'm not sure about-- parties I know!

Our theme was "Teacups & Trinkets," a mommy and me tea party with yummy treats and lots of super cute accessories to play dress up with. Honestly, isn't it fun to play dress up at any age? That's the cool thing about a Stella & Dot trunk show-- your stylist will literally come with a whole trunk of jewelry for you to try on and enjoy. We had a blast! For hosting, Lila and I earned big discounts on jewelry. Anyone who knows me knows I love a good deal!

Playing dress up.

Yummy snacks.

Girl talk and giggles!

So, how will you spend Fashion's Night Out? 

You could visit the Fashion's Night Out site for a list of shopping events in your area or stay home, relax, and treat yourself and your girlfriends to a fun girls' night!

Enjoy! -Tara

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kid Clothes Consignment

With the changing of each season, as I sort through Lila's clothes, I inevitably come across items barely worn or, even worse, with the tags still on. Ugh! I cringe at the thought of money wasted. How did she outgrow this already? I used to fill trash bags with adorable, practically brand new clothing and just give them away. Of course, it's nice to donate but sometimes it's so hard to part with those special, name brand items. Can't she just squeeze into this one more time? It wasn't until recently, I thought of selling. I started hearing from other moms who use Ebay, Craigslist, and consignment shops to make a little extra cash for baby items they no longer need. In turn, they use the money to purchase the next sizes and gear, often for a fraction of the price from another consigner. Brilliant!

I started by using Once Upon a Child. Instead of consignment, where you have to wait for your items to sell, Once Upon a Child buys your clothes, toys, and gear up front. You get a check that day. So, if you have a box of stuff you were just going to drop in the donation bin anyways, you could take it there and see if there is anything they would want to buy. Just a heads up-- don't expect to make a ton of money. For a bag of clothes, I usually leave with about 40 bucks. Also, expect a wait for up to an hour.

For the first time, I am trying Tiny Tots Consignment. This is a semi-annual children's and maternity consignment sale. It's organized by two moms and when I say it's organized, it's really organized! Consigners sign up and enter inventory online. You then print your tags which include a description of the item, price, and a bar code. The time consuming part is that you have to prep your items so that they are "sales floor ready." This meant ironing, hanging, and tagging items days in advance. Consigner drop off was yesterday. I anticipated a long line and wait like at Once Upon a Child, but I just breezed right in. Once checked in, I joined the other consigners and started hanging up and displaying my items.  Everything is sorted by gender, size, and category. I followed the instructions online and priced my items at 1/4 of the original retail price. Glancing at some of the items already on the floor, I did notice that others were more aggressive with their pricing. I priced my baby bath at $4 and saw the exact bath there priced at $8. Since the tags are preprinted, there is no way to make last minute price adjustments. Well, I suppose my items will be viewed as the better deal and sell faster than those priced higher. 

The sale takes place this weekend, August 24th and 25th at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford, CT. Consigners receive two passes for a pre-consignment sale on Thursday. I already have my eye on a big girl bike for Lila for $15! 

Hopefully, I'll land some good deals and make a little extra cash!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Peanut Butter Sushi

"Lila, how about some peanut butter sushi for lunch?"

"WHAT?!" Lila gave me that look I've seen before-- "My mama's totally lost it."

Yes, peanut butter sushi.

It's not a new idea, so I can't take the credit. I've seen it mentioned on-line a few times before, so I finally decided to give it a try. It certainly raised an eyebrow and piqued Lila's interest. She waited at the kitchen table, quite impatiently, anticipating crab meat, rice, seaweed, and peanut butter!!! To her relief and delight, she received a sweet treat that she thoroughly enjoyed. Instead of the same ol' sandwich, she had fun eating her PB&J with chopsticks.

Here's the recipe...


  • All natural peanut butter (for an allergen-free substitute, use soy or sun butter) 
  • Unsweetened apple sauce or any fruit jam 
  • Apples
  • Whole wheat wrap 


Spread a thin layer of peanut butter and apple sauce (or jam) on the wrap. Be careful not to use too much or it will leak. Roll the wrap and cut into pieces. Insert a small piece of apple in the middle. Serve and enjoy!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top 10 Car Ride Hits

For the past month or so, Lila and I have included Daddy in on our daily commute. In an effort to be a little greener and frankly to save money on gas, we've been car pooling together to work and summer camp. Some mornings it's crazy and hectic, but overall it has been nice to have a few extra moments as a family.


I must admit I do miss our "girl time" which consists of popping Dunkin Donuts munchkins while blasting and belting out our favorite songs. We don't get to do this in the car with Daddy... It's a girl thing.

An eclectic mix, here are our Top 10 (Lila Approved) Car Ride Hits:

#10) Brown-Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
This song warms my heart because it is one of my own cherished "riding in the car with mom" songs. Well, I've become my mom and tune into the easy listening station on the morning commute. (Hey, I need to hear the news, traffic, and weather.) Just like me, Lila loves this song because she is a "brown eyed girl."

#9) Hey There Deliah, Plain White T's
Here's another one that Lila believes was written just for her. It was hot while I was pregnant, so Lila's been hearing it since she was in the womb. It was played so much that year Lila was almost named "Deliah." Although this song has sparked the "one hit wonder" curse for the group, it is a sweet song and has affectionately become one of Lila's favorite lullabies.

#8) In the Garden, Monkey Monkey Music
If you're not a mom or dad of a toddler or preschooler, you probably have no idea who and what I am talking about. But, believe me, on the birthday party scene Monkey Monkey is hot! Cute and catchy, several Monkey Monkey songs could be included on this play list, but "In the Garden" is one we often put on repeat.

Lila at the Fresh Beat Band Meet and Greet. OMG!
#7) Just Like A Rock Star, Fresh Beat Band Again, only parents will know what I'm talking about... the Fresh Beat Band is huge! Kids loooovvvee them and parents will find themselves singing Fresh Beat songs to themselves when their kids aren't even around. Sure, they're bubblegum pop, but undeniably their songs are contagious. Hate if you want-- They are currently on tour and selling out venues!

#6) Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
Lila's been jamming to this song since she was in diapers, partly because she thought it was her mama on the hook. Whenever the video was on she would point at the TV screen and say "Mama!" Yes, I wear a skin tight leather and perform with Jay-Z in my spare time. (I wish!) Alicia Keys is gorgeous, so I certianly don't mind my own daughter thinking she's me. Thanks, Lila! xoxo

#5) Pon De Replay, Riahanna
This is one of those feel-good club jams that Lila likes to bop her head to in the back seat. She gets a little tongue-tied trying to sing along, but it's all good. (Be sure to get the clean version on Kidz Bop 9).

#4) I Like to Move It, Erick Morillo
Wanna get the party started? Play this song and any group of young children will instantly start moving and grooving like the Peanuts gang. Seriously, this song hypnotizes children. Madagascar has made it a party (and car ride) favorite.

#3) Beautiful Girls,  Kidz Bop 13 (Original, Sean Kingston)
Lila loves this song. The original isn't completely appropriate for kids, but the kid-friendly version tweaks the line "they'll have you suicidal" to "in denial" (phew, much better).

#2) Hot & Cold, Katy Perry
Lila became addicted to this song after Katy Perry's appearance on Sesame Street with Elmo. She sings it constantly. Mom-of-the-year that I am, I added the original song to Lila's play list. Little did I know that one of the lines was "You PMS like a b***h, I should know." No joke when they say kids' brains are sponges. Unfortunately, Lila sings this song word-for-word. Yes, b***h and all. I haven't decided if I should draw attention to the word yet or not. Totally my fault.

#1) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper
YES! Love this song! And I love that Lila loves it. This has become our car ride anthem. Totally 80s, but totally timeless. This is the #1 girl song of all time.

"Oh Daddy dear you know you're still #1, but girls just wanna have fun. Oh, girls just wanna have fun!"


Thursday, August 9, 2012

From Clara's Point of View

Not surprisingly, given the high number of photographers in our family, Clara caught the photography bug at an early age. She frequently borrows my phone to take pictures of life around her. The subjects of her photos are mostly her dolls, dolls I see every day on the bed, on the floor, on the couch. And yet, these dolls that I am usually bending down to pick up look quite different from Clara's point of view- they are her friends, her equals, her playmates.

Clara usually takes these photos when I am busy doing something else, and so it won't be for days or sometimes weeks that I stumble across a dolly portrait in my phone and realize that Clara has been to work. I love the directness and closeness of her photos-- the earnestness that shines through. Although my little girl seems so grown up in so many ways, these photos remind me that she is still a little one seeing the same things I see each day from a very different perspective.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Eggs for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner...

We eat a lot of eggs at our house. One of our favorite and easiest dinner meals when we're too tired to cook a real dinner is to prepare sunny side up eggs on toast. More often than you might think given my current suburban surroundings, I dream about living on a farm. Although it took me well into my thirties to understand which fruit and vegetables are in season, I am, in fact, just one generation away from a whole family of farmers on my father's side. There is something about picking fresh vegetables or seeing an egg nestled in the ground that evokes a sense of calm and right-ness in my soul. I wish I knew more about the ins and outs of farming, but in the meantime, I settle for being part of a CSA and frequenting the local farmer's markets.

A recent fun find was the farmer's market at the Stamford Nature Center held on Fridays from 10am-2pm. It's a small market, and I was somewhat wary when the representative from the Nature Center called out with great urgency that there was just one container of eggs left-- she seemed to be pushing these eggs very hard. They looked like very small eggs to me. Turns out that they are bantam hen eggs from the hens on the property. For only $1.50 for the container, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try them. The eggs were less than half the size of a regular-sized egg, but they were flavorful. Although I'm not yet ready to keep a chicken coop at home like some of the other mama bloggers I read about, this felt like just about the next best thing.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thank you preschool teachers

I feel so fortunate that Lila attends a wonderful preschool. It is a nurturing, creative, and stimulating environment and because of it I'm convinced that she is a much smarter four year old than I was. I am amazed by her ever expanding vocabulary and knowledge base. I honestly did not know that a caterpillar forms a "chrysalis" before becoming a butterfly, until Lila informed me of this process. She has learned so much and I admit I can't take much credit. Her teachers are fabulous.

A few weeks ago, Lila was suddenly overcome by the inspiration to create her own rendition of the "Three Little Pigs." When she arrived at school, she shared her idea and instead of just brushing it off, her teacher allowed her to put on her play. As I was leaving, Lila (hands on her hips) was busy deciding where the stage should be. The teachers and student interns were the cast, the children were the audience, and Lila was the director, producer, and, of course, the star of the play. Lila was so proud of herself. I believe that this will be one of those moments that will help to shape Lila's self concept and perhaps her future. (Hmmm, the next Tyler Perry?)

She has attended the Children's Center since she was 18 months, beginning in the Yellow Room and progressing to the Green Room, Purple Room and now the Blue Room. Relating the rooms to high school terms, Lila is now entering her "Senior" year in preschool. (sniff sniff). As a college counselor I have seen many tearful, proud, yet anxious parents sending their kids off to college or watching them graduate-- I can totally relate already. I get ridiculously emotional with the ending and beginning of each stage in Lila's life.

Today was the last day of school for the year for Lila (the center closes for the month of August). When Lila returns in September, this will be her final year at the center. Then, it's off to kindergarten... and before I know it, college!

Knowing how emotional parents get, Lila's school hosted an end of the school year event to really bring on the water works-- Family Day. This was hosted in June since some of the students are off for the full summer. Here are some of the highlights of the day:

The children made us fruit salad and lemonade and ordered an array of delicious mini muffins. They decorated each table with adorable handmade centerpieces. 

During circle time, the children were asked
"why do you love your mom?"& "why do you love your dad?"
I just love the responses!

For the grand finale, we watched a slide show of their productive year in the Purple Room. The kids were excited to see themselves on the big screen.

Lila and her friends wait patiently for the show to begin.
It's hard to come up with a way to thank Lila's teachers for all that they do. I trust them to care for my "baby" for eight hours a day and they truly exceed my expectations.

As a thank you gift, we decided to bring "an apple for the teacher"-- cliche, I know, but this one was covered in caramel and dark chocolate and topped with a drizzle of white chocolate. YUM! We included a thank you note which Lila personally decorated with lots of her favorite stickers. I'm hoping they enjoy these decadent treats as they relax and celebrate the end of another great year. 
Signature chocolate covered apple from Chocolate Rain Shop in Norwalk, CT.
Lila thanking one of her teachers for a wonderful year!