Latest Posts

One-on-One Time with the Kids: A Date With My Son

A Date With My Son

One-on-One Time with the Kids: A Date With My Son

1 on 1 time with each kid.  New Year’s resolution.  Somehow it happens more naturally with my daughter, 10.  We just find ourselves together.  My son and I used to find ourselves together.  Building Lego houses.  Making caterpillar homes.  Shooting hoops.  Now four inches shorter than he, I’m barely lucky to block his shot, with no hope of ever scooting past him with a soccer ball or football.  My only hope is to win the tiebreaker in ping-pong.

He’s 13, and 1:1 time is just different now.

How about breakfast out?  A date with my son.  Just the mention of Belgian waffles and bacon gets him to look up.  That’s it.  Our first official New Year’s Resolution Date.

Uh-oh.  What do we talk about?  I mean, we spend time doing things together.  Um, as a family.  But this new 1:1 time . . . with my teenage son . . . at breakfast . . . is a little new.

With my quiet and independent guy (“thanks, Mom, but I’ve really got it all covered,”), most questions about school . . . friends . . . his sports . . . just seem to be probing and get interpreted as me taking the parent role.  Ok.  We won’t go there.  This has to be fun in order to work, doesn’t it?

So  . . . conversation starters . . . but beyond the typical “5 Questions to Ask to Get Your Teenager to Talk” and the beloved family table topic cards.

I paused for a minute and pulled out of my brain that good ‘ole cocktail party tip – ask them questions about what they’re interested in.

For my son, that would be sports.  But not his sports.  That would be professional sports.  College sports.  Scores.  Standings.  All of it.  Any of it.

But I don’t really keep up.  (I mean, I try . . . but it’s just not my thing.)

Ok, then.  Take charge.  And prep for breakfast.  I’ll know about the standings, the point spreads, who’s who in the news, and I’ll ask him about his picks . . . That’s not too intrusive, is it?

So, if you’re looking for a way to connect . . . and get the conversation started with your kids . . . try moving beyond those typical (but loved) “family conversation starters” and do it the ‘ole fashioned cocktail party way.    And, if you do a little research ahead, you just might keep the party goin’.




Are You & Your Kids Ready . . . Just in case??

As parents, we wonder (sometimes constantly) if our kids are ready.  Ready for kindergarten.  Ready to ride the bus.  Ready to be “dropped off” without mom.  With each new stage, comes new questions of “readiness.”  Sometimes we prepare them; and sometimes, they can suddenly prepare us.  Whether we’re ready or not.

Be ready.  Be ready to be their leader, their source of information, their “at that moment” teacher of values.  Some things come quickly with these kids, especially in this rapidly developing world in which we live.  Be ready.  I can help.  I can help your kids too (and have them laugh along the way).

Check out my books and their reviews.  They’ve helped a lot of parents, caregivers, kids . . . to be ready . . . for so much.  For girls, I suggest a Just In Case pouch.  Yep.  A Pouch.  Just in case.  Read on, check out my books.  There’s that . . . and more . . . awaiting to help you and your middle graders be ready . . .

Don’t Miss Out! Here’s Just What Your PreTeen Needs!

Spring has sprung and so have the family life talks at school!

Here’s just what you need to go along with “all those talks” they are having at school — either in the classroom — or inevitably on the bus or at the lunch table.  Bork and his Real Deal book, along with Corky and her Whole Scoop, give growing girls and boys everything they need to know (but only what they need to know) about puberty and the basicsof reproduction.  With rave reviews from moms, you’ll find it a welcomed resource. Including all the basics told in a light-hearted and humorous way, these books “lighten” up and clarify all the information they are getting in school.  Check them out.  You’ll be glad you did!

cropped-cropped-cropped-bork-cover-estore.jpgFront Cover





The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

There’s the Elf on the Shelf.  And now for preteen boys and girls, there is Bork for the boys.  And Corky for the girls.

It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for kids ages 9-13.

Check it out on Amazon for your son or your daughter.  Or find it on

Grab it now to tuck it in the stocking.  You’ll be glad you did.  It’s the funny, helpful, long-lasting gift for your kids  — and you.

It’s never too early to “put it on the shelf,” for that inevitable moment when “those questions” will come.

SleepAway Camp: A Stepping Stone Into Responsibility


Summer. I find myself wanting to re-create my idyllic childhood summers for my children. Isn’t that human nature, parenting nature, perhaps pure Mother Nature that drives us to re-create for our children what was good in our childhoods, while also adding in what we didn’t have?

I always wanted to go to summer camp, sleepaway camp to be exact. My husband too. Whether it was financial restraints, or just not on our parents’ radar, sleepaway camp wasn’t part of the summer recipe. It’s not that I’m complaining. I was blessed with the perfect childhood summers. I spent weeks at the Jersey shore, time in Pennsylvania with grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins, all while spending my everyday summer time in my then hometown in Connecticut. Mornings were spent at swim lessons, followed by the library, and then long, hot, lazy afternoons at the pool. Capped by neighborhood nighttime fun of Kick-the-Can, Witch’s Hour, Spud . . . catching a few of the hundreds of fireflies . . . which later transformed themselves into a temporary lantern for my room. The ice cream truck sang its welcomed song every night, as we paused our street-centered kickball game for our favorite frozen delight. Who could want more? Certainly not me. I just want to re-create it for my kids . . . and then some. Like summer sleepaway camp.

I’ve read that kids who go to sleepaway camp more fully develop some of the all-important, life-lasting characteristics of things like responsibility and independence. Some even go as far to say that college and employer recruiters find those who have attended sleepaway camp to be some of the more probable candidates to succeed. Look at what the Huffington Post says.

But that’s not why we took our son to camp. Don’t get me wrong; that’s certainly a bonus. But it really revolved around that (natural?) desire to “give him a little more than we had.” But I can see it – the responsibility, independence, interpersonal development, conflict resolution, confidence- and leadership-builders that can come out of sleepaway camp. It all came to light when my son and I were reviewing the “daily camp schedule.”

“8:15. Clean Up Cabin Time.”
He said.

Followed by,
“Every day?”

Yep, I thought, as I tried hard to hide my smile. Every day.

It immediately reminded me of the slob-turned-neat-nick I had become after about 2 days in my undersized freshman college dorm room. Let’s just say if I didn’t hang up my clothes right away, my tiny, shared dorm room was a mess. It was that small. Kind of like my son’s camp cabin quarters, shared with his 9 bunkmates and 2 counselors. Upon taking him to camp, I quickly surveyed his new-personal-space-of-the-week: about 10 inches under the bed and about 18 inches radius around him. Won’t take him too long to develop some responsibility for his things, along with consideration of others. Not to mention the independence that naturally comes from a week away from home.

Some people even say their kids return home, and the first thing they do is make their bed.

I’ll let you know.

Until then, I see a few fireflies lighting up the summer night . . .

Spring Into Spring Break!


Spring.  Spring Break.  It’s in the air. Can you feel it?

Check out these 101 Fun Things For Teens To Do This Spring.

Whether you’re traveling or having a spring break staycation, it’s a perfect time to pause, re-group and get a little spring in your step.

  • Consider an IMAX theater showing. In various science centers, museums and other locations, IMAX movies can offer a delight into nature and adventure, and can generally appeal to all ages.
    What venues exist right around you that you never have time to visit? You’ll be pleasantly reminded about what’s out there if you take a moment to think . . . and peruse your local offerings.
  • Try a park. Take a Frisbee. What about local lakes, hiking areas, or coastal destinations that may be within a day’s trip?
  • Try some chocolately fun recipes. Once it gets started, you’ll never know who will flock into the kitchen to “help” and take a peek.
  • Make a movie on your computer or your phone.  Chances are, your kids can lead the way, if that’s not up your alley. Try a music video too. Make a mix of the old with the new and give your kids a taste of the “oldies but goodies.”
  • Are there movies that came and went from the theater, that you never had time to see? Browse your selections. Pick a favorite that came and went. Find a favorite of yours from your childhood. (I’ll never forget the way my kids ROARED OUT LOUD watching The Love Bug one night (I TOLD THEM they would love it!)).
  • Pull out some games off the shelf. The laughter, comraderie and “teamness” (not to mention a little friendly family competition) can be contagiously fulfilling.
  • Share some card games. Fill in your kids on the ones from the past. Don’t remember all the rules? Not to worry – Google does. Cards games like Spit, War, Hearts, Spoons . . . can be a sure fire way to some lightened up fun.
  • Have a smorgasbord. Everyone make their favorite food and dig in. (You may even have some leftovers giving you more time for fun another day.)

However spring is springing in your neck of the woods, whether you’re jetsetting, traveling, visiting or enjoying the beauty of “home,” may this spring break leave you with a spring in your family’s step. Enjoy . . .